Tuesday, October 6, 2015

"Escape from Prexiar"- Star Wars: Riptide, Episode 1


The heroes must defeat a band of ship-jackers in order to get to their ship and blast off from Prexiar. Then they must fend off an attack from the starship of the dread space pirate captain Vangar!

Once they return to Auilai, they must smuggle their contraband medicine past the Imperial blockade and sneak home to their secret hideout in the underwater city of the Auilaini.




Episode 1 
ESCAPE FROM PREXIAR

The Riptide crew have recovered 
their stolen cargo from Vangar
the space pirate and are fleeing
through the forest on a stolen
speeder-transport.

The Heroes
Evo Shandor - nautolan transport captain
Balin Lee - young human Jedi-in-training
Eggs Ledscramb - quarren bounty hunter
Emily Wonder - human mercenary
Oba Womber - auilaini water shaper (not present this week)

Egg-splosion!

Land of the Lost
Having fended off the attack by the pirate speeder-bikes, the team saw a clearing up ahead. Luckily, Balin noticed the dark shape of an AT-PT mini-walker hiding in ambush. He tapped Evo, who was driving their getaway speeder-truck, on the shoulder and alerted him to the danger. Evo slowed down and turned off the trail into the jungle, avoiding the ambush.

However, now they were lost. They travelled slowly through the jungle, winding their way through the trees and debris for several hours until they regained their bearings and could find their way back to their hidden ship. As they did so, a dark shape passed overhead. It was the starship of the space pirate captain Vangar, travelling slowly over the jungle canopy. They had to hurry and hope they returned to their ship before Vangar could find it.

A few hours later, they were in sight of their ship, parked in a clearing up ahead. Unfortunately, Vangar's ship loomed above it. The heroes remained in their cover in the trees and watched as ten pirates descended via jet-pack and landed on their ship. Several pirates went to work setting entry charges on the main airlock, hoping to gain entry. Meanwhile, Vangar's corvette slowly circled the clearing. Vangar addressed the heroes over his loudspeaker:

“Whoever you are, give up now! I am the infamous space pirate captain Vangar — and I might be merciful if you throw down your weapons and surrender. I’d much rather have your ship intact.
But if I have to blow the hatch off, I will — then I’ll finish off all of you! I’ll blast this entire jungle if I have to. You’re all going to die!”

Rumble in the Jungle
The heroes unloaded the six crates filled with medicine and heavy blasters from the speeder-truck. Evo then rigged the speeder truck to fly off trough the jungle as a diversion, hoping to lure away the starship overhead. Balin, for his part, sat down and began to meditate.

As Evo sent the truck off into the jungle, Balin opened his eyes. His pupils were glazed over, revealing white orbs. The Force flowed through the team, enhancing their coordination and battle effectiveness (Enhanced Coordination and Battle Meditation).

Emily and Eggs took crouched positions at the edge of the clearing and began sniping at the ship-jackers about a hundred meters away. Three of the ship-jackers rocketed through the air and landed twenty-five meters away and begin firing back. One of the three landed awkwardly and fell into the mud. A flock of bird-like reptiles took wing, obscuring the combat for a moment.

Suddenly, a large reptilian beast raised its head from the jungle foliage, angered by the commotion and intruders into its domain. The beast charged Evo, knocking him down. Soon afterwards, another identical beast lifted its head from the opposite direction. It charged the ship-jackers.

Eggs used his jet-pack to rocket over to the ship just as the boarding crew were running to take cover from the charges. Eggs was caught in the blast and knocked over but was otherwise unharmed. He regained his footing and entered into combat with the ship-jackers, blocking their entrance to the ship. Emily provided assistance in the form of picking off pirates with her blaster rifle.

Meanwhile, Evo and Balin, with the help of Emily, had driven off one beast and taken care of two of the pirates. The third pirate was killed by the second beast, which soon turned its attention towards Evo.

The beast charged Evo, knocking him down. Through Evo was unharmed, the creature grabbed the nautolan's leg in its jaws and began running off through the jungle. Balin shot the beast a few times, which let go of Evo and continued its flight.

Eventually, all the pirates were defeated and the heroes regained their ship. They loaded the crates on board and took off, just in time for Vangar's corvette to return.

Space Combat
The Riptide rocketed skyward, followed closely by Vangar. Evo took the controls of his ship, Parts the astromech droid was set to plotting the hyperspace jump, Eggs took the shield controls, Emily manned their single gun turret, and Balin sat in co-pilot seat and began meditating.
Balin meditating


Vangar's ship was faster than the Riptide, so the heroes would have to exchange fire with the more heavily armed pirate ship until they could make the jump to hyperspace.

Vangar kept his distance. His four guns had longer range than the Riptide's single gun so he hoped to use that to his advantage. Indeed, Emily is not an experienced space gunner and her shots were sure to miss. Luckily, Evo was able to perform maneuvers sufficient to evade Vangar's fire.

Then Balin opened his milky eyes and the crew of the Riptide could feel the Force flow through them, guiding their actions. They were one, as if they were extensions of a single entity.

Evo turned the Riptide around and closed the gap, bringing his ship in close. Vangar's ship rolled away in an attempt to maintain the range but was outmaneuvered by the smaller freighter. Emily's shots became more accurate, scoring hit after hit against the enemy vessel. Even Eggs became suddenly adept at angling the deflector shields against incoming attacks.

Despite the Riptide's advantage, Vangar's gunners were able to get a few hits in. One shot degraded the Riptide's shields. However, the Riptide is equipped with back-up shields and Eggs was able to quickly re-energize their defenses.

Vangar's ship was taking heavy damage. The pirate wisely turned and fled back to Prexiar. The Riptide could not hope to catch the faster ship and, fearing additional damage themselves, turned and made the jump to hyperspace.



Blockade
The heroes rested during the 30-hour journey in hyperpace to Auilai. Balin practiced his attunement to the Force, entering into a deep hibernation trance from which he had trouble returning (Emptiness). Evo, meanwhile, was hiding the six crates of contraband behind false panels. The panels were labelled with placards that read "DANGER: PLASMA CONDUIT" and "WARNING: RADIATION".

They exited hyperspace in the Auilai planetary system. The blue marble of the water world hung in space before them, only a few island archipelagos dotting its surface. Dozens of imperial warships orbited the world, enforcing a blockade.

The Riptide was ordered to heave to and submit to an inspection. Evo followed protocol as best he could but  was unable to be boarded because of the damaged airlock. Evo was ordered to land at the starport in the capital city of Leanaha for a ground inspection.


Leanaha


Evo piloted the Riptide down towards Leanaha, a large city of several million. The city covered an entire island. Most of the city consisted of ulcault refineries and storage tanks. Dark grey smoke rose from thousands of thermal exhaust stacks, clouding the city in a yellowish haze of smog. A large conical structure at the center of the city served as the imperial administration headquarters and housing compound. The old republic administrative center sat crumbling and abandoned nearby. The spaceport was located on a nearby smaller island and connected by transport tubes and highway.

The transport landed in the designated bay and was met by an Imperial lieutenant, his BoSS assistant, a few technicians, and a small squad of precautionary stormtroopers.

The lieutenant was named Lt. Hector Flynn. Flynn was a petty functionary with a nasal voice that always sounded annoyed that he was being bothered with anything. He greeted Evo with sneering emphasis, "Good after-NOON, mister Shan-DOR. I trust everything is in OR-der?"

When asked about his cargo, Evo explained that he was returning empty. Lt. Flynn rolled his eyes with disdain.

Lt. Flynn made a visual inspection of the exterior of the Riptide. "Damaged outer air-LOCK. That's a FINE, Mister Shan-DOR."

The technicans returned from their inspection, stating, "We confirmed there's no cargo, but there are lots of dangerous wall panels in there. That ship is a DEATH TRAP!"

Lt. Flynn ran through the report, "Insufficient re-FRESH-er facilities for the number of PASS-enger cabins. That's a FINE, Mister Shan-DOR. Exposed plasma conduits. That's a FINE, Mister Shan-DOR. Improperly shielded reactor baffles. That's a FINE, Mister Shan-DOR. Insufficiently sized cargo access doors. That's a FINE, Mister Shan-DOR. Many of these violations were found in your LAST inspection, Mister Shan-DOR. This is your SEC-ond warning! You have two weeks to bring your ship into compliance with code, Mister Shan-DOR, else I will be forced to re-VOKE your flight priveleges. Do I make myself Clear, Mister Shan-DOR?"

Evo recieved his citation for over 500 credits with humility and Lt. Flynn and his entourage departed.

Under the Sea
After the inspection, Evo filed a flight plan to return his ship to the undersea city of Panui. He flew over the ocean for several thousand miles then landed in the open sea. He pressurized the Riptide and filled its ballast tanks, allowing the spaceship to sink and become a submarine.

The submersible transport descended into the depths to Panui. The clear sea soon became cloudy and filled with gas bubbles. Through the dark cloudy haze, the heroes made out the lights of Panui the great underwater city of the Auilaini.

Panui

Panui was composed of several massive towers. Each tower looked organically grown. Indeed, they were made of domesticated coral and shaped by force fields. Flying buttresses reached out to the sea-floor. The towers split into multiple twisting spires that spiraled upward towards the surface thousands of meters above. Powerful force fields shimmered like giant bubbles clinging to the side of the coral towers. Lights could be seen inside the bubbles. Some bubbles were filled with air and some were filled with water. At the base of one of the towers were more recent additions. These structures were made of steel and plexiglass and were built by outsiders. The cold technology of the new additions stood in sharp contrast to the organic artistry of the native construction.

The Riptide passed through a force field and docked in a dry bay. Parts was tasked with repairing the outer airlock door while the rest of the crew returned home.

Oba Womber departed to meet up with his native friends. Meanwhile Evo and Balin led the others past the imperial occupation checkpoint and into the curving corridors inside the coral spires.

The city was in disrepair. Its population was decimated, reduced to a fraction of its former glory. Those that remained were either lame, having been injured in a mining accident, old, or suffering from branchiomycosis, a debilitating disease of the gills. The diseased auilani were listless, confused, floating mindlessly or bumping blindly into walls. Trash littered the corridors. Force fields flickered in disrepair. Outside, the native strong men serving the warlord Rakai rode their giant cyborg shark monsters as mounts, patrolling the city and bullying the old and weak at random.

Although two of the heroes were aquatic, they kept to the air-filled corridors because of the two humans. They arrived at a force field that led to a flooded corridor that led down to the roots of the tower. Evo activated a remote control that drained the corridor and the heroes descended. Once through, Evo flooded the corridor behind them.

They eventually made their way to a secret clinic with both dry chambers and wet chambers. They could see Myr Shandor, Evo's mother, in an adjoining wet chamber, tending to an auilaini suffering from the gill plague with her assistant, a young auilaini named Fob Curing.

When she was done, she passed through the force field membrane and joined them in the dry chamber.

"Greetings my son!" she exclaimed, "You are late! Did you return with the items you were sent to receive?"

"Yes, mother."

She turned her attention to Balin, "And how are you, my little lung-fish?"

Balin replied, "I am well. The Force is with us."

Evo interjected, "You should have seen him! He entered some kind of trance and almost didn't come out of it!"

Balin went pale and glared at his foster brother.

Myr looked stern, "What did I tell you about the Emptiness? I should never have taught you that. It is dangerous and you are not ready. We will have to practice with other, simpler, routines."

Myr then greeted the rest of the team and pleasantries were exchanged.

Afterwards, Myr asked about the deliver. Evo explained that they'll have to return to the ship to retrieve them.

Myr replied, "Fine. You are to bring the medicines here. Be sure you are not followed. Shadow said to deliver the other packages to the second drop point."

Evo nodded, "Understood."

"Then get to it!"

TO BE CONTINUED...

Next week: Delivering the goods in an underwater city patrolled by fish-warlords on cybernetic shark monsters!

Comments
The funniest part of the night came when Egg's player asked me for the capabilities of his rocket pack. I looked them up in the Star Wars 2nd edition Revised and Expanded rulebook.

ROCKET PACK
Model: Zanclraman DSP-5 rocket pack
Type: Personal rocket pack
Skill: Rocket pack operation
Cost: 400
Availability: 2, R
Game Notes: The DSP-5 rocket pack can carry up to 60 kilograms and can move up to 70 meters vertically or 160 meters horizontally in a single charge. The unit has 12 charges.

...wait. 60 kilograms? SIXTY kilograms? Like, 132 pounds??? That's ALL???

Egg's player then pantomimed trying to use his ineffectual jetpack for like five minutes. We couldn't stop laughing as he would make small little hops going "Pfffttt." (little hop) "Hold on. Hold on. I got it." "Pfffftttt.." (short jump) "Okay, wait..." "Pfffftttt." (tiny leap)

Later, when the pirates were using their jetpacks to leap from the corvette to the Riptide, I said, "They're leaping form the ramp and smacking into the ground like bags of wet cement, their jet-packs fluttering like deflating balloons. Pfffftttt!"

That got a big laugh.

I ruled that this was probably a typo and should have been 120 kilograms (264 pounds) or, you know, the weight of an average adult male human?

My only other comment is that Balin's player has made a conscious effort to create a support character. He's playing the party bard. It's his job to enhance the capability of the others. He's doing an amazing job of it too!

Concentration (+4D to next action) to Enhanced Coordination (+1D for every 3D a character has in three skills) to Battle Meditation (+1D to a single attribute) is a potent combo! It changed the scale in the space combat from "It is impossible for us to hit at this range" to "We kick ass!"