Sunday, November 29, 2015

"A Minor Complication" - Star Wars: Riptide, Episode 6 Chapter 2


Episode 6 Chapter 2
A MINOR COMPLICATION

The Empire forced kaminoan microbiologist
Doctor Ardap Topas to create a disease
that was used to oppress and enslave
the aquatic natives of the water planet Auilai.

Unbeknownst to his Imperial overseers, 

Doctor Topas also created a cure for his disease
and kept it hidden in plain sight
in his residence.

The crew of the Riptide, 
has freed Doctor Topas 
from an Imperial prison transport
and must transport him 
and the cure he has created
from the Imperial sector capital of Chador
and back to Auilai.

Having recently failed 
to rescue Doctor Topas' 
assistant, Kara Pacha, 
the crew attempts to escape
from her mysterious murderer
in a stolen air-speeder...

The Crew of the Riptide
Evo Shandor - nautolan transport captain
Balin Lee - young human Jedi-in-training
Emily Wonder - human mercenary
Eggs Ledscramb - quarren bounty hunter
Rhys March - twi'lek tech-spec

AN UNWANTED FOLLOWER

Evo put the airspeeder into overdrive, leaving behind the scene of carnage on the streets below as Imperial Stormtroopers ruthlessly massacred innocent bystanders. There was nothing they could do for those people.

As the speeder, a sleek convertible rental, rose over the buildings of the Free Dirstrict of Markaze, Evo spotted someone, something, on their tail. It was an Imperial probe droid! No doubt ordered to follow them as they escaped. Evo tapped Eggs on the shoulder and pointed him towards the droid. Eggs nodded his squid-like head and readied his rifle. Eggs and the probe droid simultaneously fired at each other. The droid's shot went wide while Eggs hit dead-on. One shot disabled the droid and it dropped precipitously into an alley far below.

Evo activated his comm-link.

A RUDE AWAKENING
Rhys was taking a nap in the parts closet at the rear of the Riptide's engine-access compartment. Her comm-link started beeping. It kept beeping. It didn't stop beeping.

She groaned and reached for the accursed device, "What?"

It was Evo. She could hear the rush of wind behind him, "Rhys, we weren't able to save Kara Pachas and we had to make a hasty exit. Put Doctor Topas in the hidden compartment. We're executing phase two of the plan now and we need you. We're coming to pick you up. We should be there in two minutes. Get your gear ready."

She yawned and smacked her lips a few times before replying, somewhat hesitantly, "Okay...Sure."

"Do it!" Evo closed the signal.

She laid back down. She figured she'd get another two minutes.

Suddenly, there was a banging on the raised entry ramp. Then there was more banging.

She cursed her luck and drowsily got up and shuffled towards the ramp controls. She activated the intercom, "What???"

The voice on the other end sounded Imperial and sounded impatient, "This is Lieutenant Furtz of the Imperial Customs Bureau. I am ordering you to open this vessel. If you resist, I will gain entry by force and arrest you."

Rhys panicked just a little, "Okay, hold on." She looked over at Doctor Topas, sitting serenly on a couch in the common area. She gritted her teeth and waved him towards the newly completed secret compartment. She pointed at it excitedly. Doctor Topas nodded and removed himself into the secret room, folding his three meter tall body to fit and sitting with his knees by his chin. He calmly replaced the panel that concealed the space.

Rhys blew out her held breath, took another deep breath, and lowered the ramp, "What's this about?"

The bottom of the ramp touched ground at the feet of a young Imperial lieutenant, a dozen stormtroopers, and two scanner technicians carrying a hover pallet stacked with scanning equipment. Rhys bit her lip at the thought of her new compartment being put to the test so soon.

"Is this the Riptide out of the planet Nesia?"

"Yes."

"Are you Captain Evo Shandor?"

"No, I'm the ship's mechanic, Rhys March."

"Is Captain Shandor on board?"

"Not at the moment now."

"Is anyone else on board?"

Rhys thought briefly about Doctor Topas, "No. Should there be?"

With a wave of Lt. Furtz's hand, six of the stormtroopers trotted up the ramp and swarmed the Riptide. Lt. Furtz strode up the ramp behind them, "I have orders to search this vessel. It matches the description of a vessel that was recently involved in an unprovoked terrorist attack against an Imperial prison transport, during which a convicted traitor was emancipated from incarceration. This won't take a moment. In the meantime, you are to be held in custody while we wait for your captain."

Lt. Furtz motioned to a nearby stormtrooper, "Put her in restraints while we wait."

The stormtrooper pulled his restraints from his utility belt and moved towards Rhys. Rhys backed away slowly and activated her comm-link, still in the palm of her hand, "Captain! There are stormtroopers on the ship!"

The stormtrooper wrenched the comm-link away from her, throwing it to the floor, and grabbed her wrists. Rhys grimaced as her face was roughly forced against the bulkhead while her wrists were bound.

Lt. Furtz stepped toward her, scowling. He spat each syllable through bared teeth with barely constrained contempt, "Get her off the ship. I want two of you guarding her in the hangar while we wait to see what her cap-tain does."

MEANWHILE, IN THE AIRSPEEDER

Evo Shandor
Evo received Rhys' message loud and clear. He turned to the rest of his crew on the stolen airspeeder and said, "There are stormtroopers on the Riptide. It looks like we're going in hot. Eggs, do you have any thermal detonators?"

Eggs titled his head and gave Evo a sour look, "Does it look like I can afford thermal detonators?"

Evo titled his head in return and said, "Well?"

Eggs dropped his head and sighed, "Yes, I have one." He looked back at Evo reproachfully, "But they're expensive! Don't make me use it!"

"Hopefully we won't need to. Okay, we'll be there in about a minute. Get ready!"

Evo gunned the stolen airspeeder and flew towards the massive table-shaped spaceport.
Eggs Ledscramb

INCREDULITY
Rhys was taken off the Riptide towards the hangar's personnel exit. She was accompanied by four stormtroopers and Lt. Furtz. The group stopped near the exit when Lt. Furtz said, "Okay, we'll wait here while they scan the ship."

Rhys inquired, probingly, "So what happened anyway?"

The Imperial lieutenant did not make eye contact. He checked his datapad and looked absently at the Riptide, then replied distractedly, "I already told you, my superiors have reason to believe that this vessel was involved with the disabling of an Imperial prison transport and freed a convicted traitor."

Rhys snorted, "Disabled an Imperial transport. THIS SHIP???" She nodded towards the Riptide. "What kind of transport?"

Lt. Furtz paused for a moment and glanced sidways at the attractive young twi'lek mechanic, "A Gozanti, why?"

Rhys laughed out loud, "A Gozanti is like twice as big as this ship! Plus, isn't it protected by, what, two TIE fighters?"

Lt. Furtz turned to look at her, "Four actually. What are you getting at?"

"I'm saying that there's no way we could possibly have done what you said! It's technically impossible! Are you sure it was the Riptide that was responsible?"
Rhys March
Lt. Furtz began to show doubt, "No, not exactly. The survivors were unable to get a transponder signal from the attacking vessel. However, they said it was a mon calamari design, probably Deep Water-class, same as this vessel. Also, this vessel was on Chador, and left Markaze a day before the attack. So it is reasonable to suspect..."

Rhys interrupted him with an incredulous laugh, practically spitting through her lips, "Spppzzz!!!  Hah! I'm telling you, there's no way! You're wasting your time! Don't you have better things to do? I mean, just how many ships do you have to scan today? How long is that going to take?"

The lieutenant involuntarily glanced at his datapad again as if checking his schedule, "I... Shut up!" He glared at Rhys through narrowed eyes, "Watch her. I'm going to go check on how the scanning is going."

He walked back onto the ship, leaving Rhys flanked by two stormtroopers.

Rhys smiled and made chit-chat, "Either of you know anything about starship engines? Cause I know a lot! Did you know that blah, blah, blah..."

The stormtrooper to her right took a deep breath, "*SKIRK* (heavy sigh)."

A moment later, Lt. Furtz exited the ship with the scanning technicians. He snapped his fingers and the six stormtroopers waiting at the base of the ramp quickly fell into formation behind him.

As the entourage neared the exit,  Lt. Furtz paused and gave new orders to the escort guarding Rhys, "I've decided to move onto the next ship. Stay here and notify me the second her captain returns. I'll question him personally.

The stormtrooper to her right replied, "*SKIRK* (heavy sigh), Yes sir."

Lt. Furtz then left with six stormtroopers and four scanner technicians, leaving behind four stormtroopers on the Riptide and two guarding Rhys.

Rhys smiled with satisfaction.

RHYS PLANS A HEAD
Rhys was alone with her escorts. She was beginning to worry about Evo and the others busting in guns blazing. She had convinced Lt. Furtz that they probably weren't responsible for the attack on the prison transport and that they probably weren't harboring a fugitive. But if Evo started a fight, all that would be wasted and everyone would probably be killed. She had to contact Evo to let him know, but they confiscated her comm-link. She had maybe less than a minute and had to think fast.

After a short moment of awkward silence, she crossed her legs and started to dance.

The stormtrooper to her left took notice, "*SKIRK* What's wrong with you?"

Rhys looked desperate, "I really REALLY have to use the refresher!"

"*SKIRK* Can't you hold it??"

"No! Can't you take me back onto the Riptide for just a second? I'll use the refresher and we can come back out here. I promise."

The stormtrooper on her left addressed the other to her right, "*SKIRK* Okay. You take her onto the ship. I'll wait here."

The stormtrooper on her right replied, "*SKIRK* (heavy sigh). Yes sir."

Rhys was escorted back onto the ship and led towards the newly installed refresher module. She noted the presence of four additional storm troopers searching through the ship. She turned to back to her escort and looked over her shoulder, she wiggled her bound hands behind her, "You can't expect me to go with these still bound, can you?"

The stormtrooper stared at her in silent indecision.

"C'mon. I'll just be in the refresher. I'm not going anywhere!"

"*SKIRK* (heavy sigh). Okay. Sure."

The stormtrooper undid her binders. As she spun around, her hands unbound, Rhys palmed the stormtrooper's comm-link, "Thanks! I'll be right back!"

She went into the refresher unit and made whispered contact with Evo. She hoped it was not too late.

She was in luck. She was able to warn Evo to abandon any assault and inform him that the Imperials were still not sure that the Riptide was responsible for the attack. Suitably warned, Evo landed the stolen airspeeder away from the spaceport. He then called their astromech droid, Parts Drop, on his comm-link, and ordered the droid to discreetly move up to the cockpit and get ready to take off in the case of trouble. Parts Drop beeped and whistled in what Evo assumed was acknowledgement. The crew then calmly walked into the spaceport and returned to the hangar, where they were detained for Lt. Furtz.


IMPOUNDED
Evo and the rest of the crew patiently waited outside the ship until Lt. Furtz returned.

Lt. Furtz put Evo through the standard questions: Identiy, ship's registry and other documents, licenses, and recent itinerary. Evo replied with the truth, mostly.

Evo verified that they left Markaze spaceport on Chador 90 hours ago bound to Bakki Station with an empty cargo hold with the intention of securing a more lucrative cargo. Unable to find a profitable cargo, they decided to return to Markaze.

Lt. Furtz led evo through the ship, poking around the various compartments and asking questions about recent improvements and modifications, including the shield upgrade. Evo dismissed the question, saying that the Riptide was a piece of junk and was falling apart, asking if the lieutenant had seen all the spare parts still in the cargo hold. He said that he needed those junk parts just to keep the ship flying!

Lt. Furtz took notice of several unused panels and framing posts used to create interior bulkheads, unused parts that were in fact purchased to create the secret compartment. Evo explained that they do some bounty hunting jobs on the side and that they were planning on turning one of the many bunk-rooms on the ship into a prisoner holding cell.

When asked about transporting the fugitive traitor Dr. Topas, Evo replied, "Who? I've honestly never heard of this person. Well, he's obviously not on MY ship! You searched it right? Do you need to scan it? Be my guest!"

Lt. Furtz sniffed skeptically but was beginning to believe in the scruffy nautolan pilot's story. "Very  well," said the lieutenant, "you are not under arrest for now. However, I have been ordered to impound every vessel of mon calamari design pending a further inspection and interrogation by Imperial Security Bureau Agent Demek, who has been assigned to investigate the attack on the transport and return the fugitive to justice. A drive lock will be placed upon your vessel until cleared by Agent Demek."

The lieutenant then directed some maintenance technicians to install a drive lock on the ship's flux interlock, preventing its operations. Evo played it cool and did not interfere, but out of the corner of his eye he saw Parts Drop in the cockpit, surreptitiously extending his computer interface to the ship's computer port, ready to start it up and blast off in the case of trouble, as ordered.

Evo bit his lip and ran up to the cockpit, "THAT's okay, Parts Drop. That's not necessary. Thanks."

Parts Drop's dome spun around and blasted Evo with a series of annoyed blurts and honks. Evo patted the droid and nervously tried to laugh it off.

The lieutenant was startled, "What was that about?"

"Oh, nothing. Old droid. It occasionally malfunctions. It's under control."

Parts Drop barged back to the engine access compartment emitting a series of disgusted whorls and buzzes.

"You should put a restraining bolt on that droid. In the meantime, I am releasing you to your own recognizance. Just don't leave the city. Agent Demek will contact you shortly regarding his inspection and interrogation."

Satisfied in his diligence and pressed to inspect dozens more ships today, Lt. Furtz left, leaving only four stormtroopers to guard the hangar, but none on the ship.

Once alone on the ship, Evo checked on Doctor Topas, safely hidden in the secret compartment, and conferred with his crew.

"Okay, we have to act fast. We're abandoning my original plan to pose as window repairmen. I've got a better plan that will get us into Doctor Topas' residence."

The crew gathered into a huddle, "Okay, here's the plan..."

TO BE CONTINUED

GM Notes- This was the most fun we've had role-playing in a while. I got a little worried that it would turn into a bloodbath and everyone would be killed, so I took Rhys' player aside and role-played the little interaction with Lt. Furtz so that she had more information. Then it was up to her to figure out a way to contact Evo and stop him. It was a blast!
Everyone fell in love with the put-upon stormtrooper who had apparently had just about it with everything. I would cup my hands over my mouth and do the little comm-link sound and just sigh heavily. He was the favorite NPC of the night.

Next week - Thrilling Adventure and Violence! 

Friday, November 27, 2015

"Flashback" - Star Wars: Riptide, Episode 6 Chapter 1


Episode 6 Chapter 1
FLASHBACK

The Empire forced kaminoan microbiologist
Doctor Ardap Topas to create a disease
that was used to oppress and enslave
the aquatic natives of the water planet Auilai.

Unbeknownst to his Imperial overseers, 

Doctor Topas also created a cure for his disease
and kept it hidden in plain sight
in his residence.

The crew of the Riptide, 

has freed Doctor Topas 
from an Imperial prison transport
and must transport him 
and the cure he has created
from the Imperial sector capital of Chador
and back to Auilai.

Having recently failed 
to rescue Doctor Topas' 
assistant, Kara Pacha, 
the crew attempts to escape
from her mysterious murderer
in a stolen air-speeder...

The Crew of the Riptide
Evo Shandor - nautolan transport captain
Balin Lee - young human Jedi-in-training
Emily Wonder - human mercenary
Eggs Ledscramb - quarren bounty hunter
Rhys March - twi'lek tech-spec



GM Note - I was actually all prepared to start this week's session off picking up where the last session's climax left off, but the players wanted to resolve all the upgrades and repairs first, so we had a little flashback.
This chapter plays out like Project Management: the Role-Playing Game, but it was a great test of my new homebrew Repair and Upgrade rules that reward good die rolls for repair. 


TWO DAYS AGO
The Riptide had just Bakki station on its way back to Chador. The hold was full of junk parts and damaged components.

Evo had left Rhys with clear instructions:
  1. Shields Upgrade
  2. Secret Compartment
  3. Masking Code Modulator
  4. New Refresher Module
GM Note - I got a chance to use my new repair rules. They worked very well! 
Rhys March

Rhys got to work. Meanwhile, Balin sat cross-legged and began to concentrate. Rhys coordinated Eggs, Parts Drop, and Jamm-Bot 2.0 in helping her. Rhys could feel the force flowing through her, directing her hands and lending authority to her voice, helping her to give direction when it was needed and to back off when it was not. 
GM Note - After Balin's Enhanced Coordination and Battle Meditation, and the assistance of the droids, Rhys was rolling 8D (avg 28) on her Space Transport Repair skill 
The shields required a complete overhaul. Rhys went ahead and purchased components for an upgraded 3D shield system. Normally, 3D shields would cost 20,000 credits. However, Rhys bought a busted shield generator for a steal, only 10,000 credits! She knew she would have to repair it, a Difficult (20) task that would require 24 hours of work. She estimated repairs would also require 4950 credits worth of repair parts. 
Rhys rolled a few sixes on her Wild Die and got 40. That's +20 over the difficulty, multiplying the parts and time by 0.65. The shields took only 15.6 hours and used up only 3217 credits worth of repair parts!
After working on the shields for 16 hours straight, she slept for six hours. No longer needed, Balin went into deep hibernation for 19 hours. 

The next "morning", she got up and went to work on the secret compartment.
The false wall panels made of scanner-resistant material she had purchased from the scrap yard on Bakki station would have cost 2000 credits new. She would up getting these rusted and dented panels for only 1000 credits. She estimated 6 hours to install the wall panels in the cargo hold, an Easy (10) task that would require 500 credits in parts. She rolled 31, +21 over the difficulty, multiplying the parts and time by 0.50. 

The compartment took only three hours and half the required parts!

She then got to work on the masking code modulator that would generate the false transponder codes. 
A new modulator would have cost her 1500 credits. The busted one she purchased was only 750 credits. Fixing it and installing it was an Easy (10) task. She figured 6 hours to repair and install with 500 credits in parts. She rolled 19, +9 over the difficulty, multiplying the parts and time by 0.85. 
Installing the modulator took five hours and used 318 credits worth of parts.

Rhys checked her chronometer. She had seven hours before arrival in Chador. All she had left was the new refresher module. 

She had purchased a broken refresher module back on Bakki station for 1250 credits. She estimated installation and connection to the ship's waste disposal pipes, along with repair of the module itself, would take six hours and require 500 credits in parts, pipes, wiring, and tubing.
Refresher Booth

So she took a nap for three hours!

After her nap, she got up and went to work. She had four hours left and six hours worth of work. 
Installing and repairing the refresher was an Easy (10) task. She rolled 34, +24 over what she needed. 
She installed the refresher in three hours and used only 250 credits worth of parts.
In all, the broken and busted components cost 13 thousand credits to purchase. Fixing them took 27 hours instead of 42. Although she purchased 6325 credits worth of repair parts, she did the job using only 4080 credits in parts.  
Had she purchased all the components new, it would have cost 26 thousand credits. By purchasing used and borken components and repairing them, Rhys saved the crew 6675 credits, and there were still 2245 credits worth of extra repair parts in the cargo hold. 

TO BE CONTINUED...

Sunday, November 22, 2015

"Boarding Party" - Star Wars: Riptide, Episode 4 Chapter 3


Episode 4 Chapter 3
BOARDING PARTY

The crew of the Riptide, at the behest of
Kara Pacha, has taken on a mission
to rescue the scientist Doctor Topas
from an imperial prison transport.

The crew has intercepted the transport
and have disabled it. 
Now they prepare to board
the ship and free the imprisoned 
microbiologist...

The Crew of the Riptide
Evo Shandor - nautolan transport captain
Balin Lee - young human Jedi-in-training
Emily Wonder - human mercenary
Eggs Ledscramb - quarren bounty hunter
Rhys March - twi'lek tech-spec

Is Anybody Home?
The airlocks joined and Emily opened the Riptide's outer hatch. Rhys moved forward with her hand-held cutting torch and cut through the outer hatch of the Gozanti-class transport. When she finished, the metal pieces fell away revealing a darkened passage beyond. The only illumination came from the red emergency panels in each corner and the small illuminators clipped to their jackets and utility belts. An emergency claxon could be heard somewhere far off in the ship.

Emily and Eggs moved forward, adjusting to the 90-degree change in orientation. They climbed the ladder rungs of the chimney-like chute and emerged into a dark passage. The passage ended in another chute but another passage branched to the left halfway down. They carefully advanced and took the passage to the left,

They came to a lift tube. There was no power so the lift tube was unresponsive. They forced the doors open and climbed to the next level. Rhys cut a small hole in the lift door, just big enough to crawl through, and climbed to one side. They had emerged into a small cargo hold. Emily looked into the room and saw a stormtrooper taking cover behind some fallen debris. The stormtrooper was exchanging fire with unsean combatants on the other side of the room, just out of sight from Emily's vantage point.
Balin using the Force
Balin changed strategy. Instead of using the Force to confuse the enemy, causing them to fight each other, he chose to enhance the fighting ability of his allies. Suddenly, Emily, Eggs, Evo, and Rhys could feel the Force flowing through them, guiding their actions, making them better fighters. The three combatants in the cargo hold ceased fighting each other and turned their attention to the intruders.
Resistance
Emily crawled through the hole in the lift door and rolled to one side to allow Eggs to follow. The two sprang into action, shooting the stormtrooper they could see and moving behind the same cover to take on the other two combatants. The opponents turned out to be two more stormtroopers using some crates as cover. A stray shot hit a coolant line, filling the area with steam and obstructing line of sight. Evo shouted "Grenade!" and threw a piece of harmless debris into the steam. The two stormtroopers ran out of the steam and dived for cover.

Once they realized it was a ruse, the stormtroopers got up and returned fire. One took a few shots with his blaster while the other ran up to engage in hand-to-hand combat. Both were soon dispatched. During the battle, another stormtrooper opened the door leading forward. He surveyed the scene and quickly closed the door and retreated to warn others.

After the room was secured, Rhys and Balin used ropes to lift "Parts Drop" the astromech droid up the lift. Rhys had Parts Drop plug into a nearby computer interface. The interface had no power. Rhys jury-rigged a temporary power supply which allowed Parts Drop to at least download the ship's schematic, but not much else.

Ambush
The forward door was locked, but Eggs quickly had the door open. Eggs moved forward after the retreating stormtrooper. He was soon caught under a barrage of blaster fire from the ambush waiting for him. Emily ruished into the room and began blasting! Evo ordered her to take some of them alive for questioning. Emily glanced back at him with a grimace and switched her blaster to stun. She advanced forward on the four stormtroopers hiding behind an overturned table, blasting, blasting, blasting! The stormtroopers were no match for Emily's unrelenting onslaught. Once they were down, Emily restrined them in their own wrist-binders.
Eggs Ledscramb

Emily then grabbed the wounded Eggs and retreated back into the cargo hold.

The team decided instead to head aft towards the holding cells to look for Doctor Topas. Eggs was able to disable the security on the door and the team moved into the long dark corridor beyond. The floor consisted of metal grating and the walls slanted inward towards the ceiling. Small niches stepped down to the left and right every few meters. Each niche contained a holding cell. At the end of the corridor was security terminal manned by a dead officer.

Shootout in the Holding Cells
They stared down the corridor and were halfway to the terminal when a squad of four stormtroopers covered the entrance and began firing. Emily and Eggs took cover in some of the niches and returned fire while Balin, Rhys, Evo, and Parts Drop ran to the terminal. All four stormtroopers were dead after a short battle.
Rhys March
Rhys once again jury-rigged temporary power to the terminal and accessed the computer database. She called up a list of all the prisoners on the transport:

  1. Hanna Fothe - Forgery in the first degree
  2. Kylain Reegient - Mass-murder, Larceny
  3. Volo Ktrame - Criminal sale of imperial uniforms, Impersonating an imperial official
  4. Zandro Groeg - Gaming fraud in the second degree
  5. Gunther Stormchaser - Terrorism, murder
  6. Dulgan Darran - Promoting an obscene sexual performance by a child
  7. Doctor Ardap Topas - Treason
  8. Spike  Bruvumon - Computer tampering in the first degree
  9. Markus Radiian - Making graffiti
  10. Sebastian Brangwin - Criminal sale of Ryll spice in the fourth degree

She looked to Evo, "What should we do? Who all do we want to rescue?"

To Be Continued...

GM Notes
Some great firefights this session. Once again, Balin's Force-power support goes a long way!

For example, Emily has a DEX 3D+2 and a Blaster 5D+2.

Balin's Enhanced Coordination gives Emily +1D for every 3D she has in Blaster, this brings her Blaster to 6D+2.

Balin's Battle Meditation, however, increases her DEX to 4D+2, which increases her Blaster to 6D+2, which boosts the Enhanced Coordination further, increasing its bonus to +2D which increases her Blaster to 8D+2!

SYNERGY!!

Emily went nuts! She was taking 5 shots per round, each at 4D+2. Her player even got a little carried away. During the assault on the forward room, she wanted to keep going, killing everything in her path! Someone had to say, "Ease off, Ripley! Easy off!" We all had an image of Emily panting and calming down.

Shhh.. Don't tell Emily, but if she spends 5 character points on her Blaster skill, it will increase to 6D. That means that Enhanced Coordination will increase her Blaster skill +2D to 8D, then Battle Meditation will take her DEX to 4D+2 which will increase her Blaster skill to 9D!
Emily Wonder, Bad-Ass with a Blaster

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Optimal Firing Position in d6 Star Wars


Space Combat in d6 Star Wars relies on firing arcs. It's important to keep track of which of your arcs your enemy is in because your weapons and shields only cover specific arcs. Also, it's important to keep track of which of your enemy's arcs you are in for the same reason. Sometimes you want to maneuver so that an enemy is in your best arc. Sometimes you want to maneuver so that you are in the enemy's worst arc. Meanwhile, the enemy is doing the same.

What space combat in d6 Star Wars doesn't really cover is how to determine who is in whose arcs. At its simplest, I'd simply let the player choose. But where is becomes difficult is when an NPC is smart enough to oppose the player's choice. Who is right? Who wins?

I have written the following simple rules to help me determine those answers.

1. Space combat initiative is determined by the PER of the pilot or captain.
  • The combatant that wins the initiative is the Attacker.
  • The combatant that loses the initiative is called the Defender.
2. Fire arcs:
  • Forward, Rear, Left, or Right
  • Above or Below
3. The Attacker can use an action to press the attack: Make a pilot + maneuver roll.
  • The Attacker chooses which of their arcs their opponents are in (usually forward)
  • The Attacker chooses which of their opponent's arcs they are in (usually rear)
  • The Attacker can cede initiative to all of their opponents and keep their actions for dodges.
4. The Defender can spend a reaction to counter the Attacker's maneuver: Make a pilot + maneuver roll and compare to the Attacker's result above.
  • If the Defender's result is higher, the Defender is still in the Attacker's arc of the Attacker's choice (usually forward) but now the Attacker is in the Defender's arc of the Defender's choice (usually forward).
  • If the Defender's result is lower, there is no change to arcs.
  • The Defender can choose to do nothing, letting the attacker position the Defender anywhere the Attacker likes, keeping their reactions for dodges. 
As you can see, initiative (and therefore PER) plays a big part in this, as whoever wins initiative has the advantage.

5. Open fire!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Repairs and Parts and Time


One of the things I enjoyed last week was rewarding excellent repair rolls with reduced parts requirement or reduced time requirement.

I was winging it last week, but the idea stuck with me and I have codified that concept into a table.

So, when making upgrades or repairs, each system will have:

1. A Repair difficulty (for example, Easy - 10)
2. A time requirement based on difficulty (for example, 6 hours)
3. A parts requirement, expressed in credits worth of parts (for example, 1000 credits)


Difficulty and Time
Difficulty
Time
Very Easy (5)
1 hour
Easy (10)
6 hours
Moderate (15)
12 hours
Difficult (20)
24 hours
Very Difficult (25)
48 hours
Heroic (30)
96 hours

You make the roll and compare the results to the following table (essentially the same table as the Bargain results):

Repair Roll compared to Difficulty
Parts Cost
-21 or more
Time is up, not done, still need 100% more parts and time
-16 to -20
Time is up, not done, still need 50% more parts and time
-11 to -15
Time is up, not done, still need 35% more parts and time
-6 to -10
Time is up, not done, still need 25% more parts and time
-3 to -5
Time is up, not done, still need 10% more parts and time
-2 to +2
100% complete using 100% parts
+3 to +5
100% complete using 90% parts and time
+6 to +10
100% complete using 85% parts and time
+11 to +15
100% complete using 75% parts and time
+16 to +20
100% complete using 65% parts and time
+21 or more
100% complete using 50% parts and time



Example 1, the difficulty of 10, 6 hours, 1000 credits, you roll 25. That beats the difficulty by 15. You complete the task using only 75% parts requirement (750 credits) and 75% time requirement (4.5 hours).


Example 2, the difficulty is 25 and requires 48 hours of work and 1000 credits of parts. You roll 13. That fails by 12. So, after 48 hours, you've used 1000 credits of parts, but you're not done. You need another 350 credits worth or parts and another 16.8 hours of work.

Monday, November 9, 2015

"Decisions, Decisions" - Star Wars: Riptide, Episode 5 Chapter 1

The crew of the Riptide, at the behest of
Kara Pacha, has taken on a mission
to rescue the scientist Doctor Topas
from an imperial prison transport.

After a daring boarding action
to take an Imperial prison transport
the crew has managed to
locate the holding cell of
Doctor Adrap Topas.

Now they face several decisions:
Many options lie before them
and they must decide 
what to do next... 

The Crew of the Riptide
Evo Shandor - nautolan transport captain
Balin Lee - young human Jedi-in-training
Emily Wonder - human mercenary
Eggs Ledscramb - quarren bounty hunter
Rhys March - twi'lek tech-spec

Rescuing Doctor Topas
Despite the disabled transport's lack of power, Rhys managed to get the ship's security computer operating and download some useful information:
  1. The layout and security protocols of the Imperial sector prison on the planet Vell, outermost world of the Chador system. 
  2. An encrypted file regarding something in the Li Yong system.
  3. A list of all the prisoners being transported:
    • Hanna Fothe - Forgery in the first degree
    • Kylain Reegient - Mass-murder, Larceny
    • Volo Ktrame - Criminal sale of imperial uniforms, Impersonating an imperial official
    • Zandro Groeg - Gaming fraud in the second degree
    • Gunther Stormchaser - Terrorism, murder
    • Dulgan Darran - Promoting an obscene sexual performance by a child
    • Doctor Ardap Topas - Treason
    • Spike Bruvumon - Computer tampering in the first degree
    • Markus Radiian - Making graffiti
    • Sebastian Brangwin - Criminal sale of Ryll spice in the fourth degree
They opened Doctor Topas' cell first. There they found the Kaminoan scientist sitting serenely on the dark room's only furniture: a hard bench built into the far wall.
Doctor Topas
The unflappable Doctor Topas looked at his rescuers with a sense of calm curiosity, "It is obvious that you are not stormtroopers."

Evo came into the room, "I'm Evo Shandor. We're here to rescue you. Your assistant, Kara Pacha, sent us."

Doctor Topas tried to rise but the impossibly tall lithe humanoid was unable to stand fully erect in the cramped holding cell, "Doctor Pacha is alive? Has she been captured? No? That is excellent. We must leave at once and retrieve my work."

Evo asked Doctor Topas about the other prisoners. Did he know them? Were they trustworthy? Doctor Topas admitted that he had not met the other prisoners and knew nothing about them. Balin observed the doctor closely looking for signs of falsehood or treachery but could detect none.

The crew discussed the possibility of releasing some of the other prisoners. Some were immediately disqualified due to their crimes. Others seemed like they might have been useful. Balin voiced his misgivings. There was a chance that any one of them might try to commandeer the Riptide or might cause more trouble than they were worth. Based on that, Evo decided to leave them all in their holding cells. It wasn't worth the risk.

Suddenly, Rhys received a comm signal from Jamm-Bot 2.01. Jamm-Bot said, "NEGATIVE! NEGATIVE!" Rhys understood. Jamm-Bot was no longer able to jam the communications. A signal had been sent and reinforcements were on their way. Evo estimated two hours before more ships arrived. 

The crew hurriedly set about scavenging what they could from the transport. They took several crates of communication and weapons repair parts as well as consumables. On their way out, they noticed that the escape pods had been jettisoned during the battle. 

GM Note - DAMMIT! I just remembered that I made a note to myself that the pilots set the self-destruct to scuttle the ship. This would have doomed the prisoners and given the crew a reason to free the prisoners. Damn it all! I totally forgot about this plot point during the game, even though I had my notes right in front of me. Gah! Stupid missed opportunity!
An hour later, the Riptide was disengaged from the transport. Evo set the hyperdrive to Bakki station and left the Chador system.

Repairs
It was going to take the Riptide forty hours to get from Chador to Bakki Station. Rhys decided she'd do some repairs en route. She got to work on the shield generator. She looked at the parts they scavenged from the Gozanti. It wasn't much. 

"See? This isn't going to work. I don't have the right parts. These are communications parts and weapons components, and maybe only a third of what I need. I can't do it."

Evo said, "Well, see what you can do."

Balin added, "You'll find a way to make it work. Trust in the Force."

Rhys shrugged, "Maybe. It would take a miracle."

Balin closed his eyes and began concentrating. The Force flowing through him, guiding the actions of those around him, "You can do it. Get the others to help you."

Rhys got to work. She started directing Emily, Eggs, and Evo to help her. The normally shy twi'lek suddenly found herself directing the others with confidence, showing a surprising level of leadership and coordination. She also found ways to make non-standard parts work. Laser lenses were adapted to shield focusing arrays. Power couplings were adapted. Wiring was stripped and re-run. She soon had the shield generator back up and running using only a fraction of the parts available.

"Wow. I'm not sure how I did that."

Evo replied, "Whatever. It worked. Now get to work on the engines."

Rhys, guided by the Force, was likewise able to repair the damage to the engines using scavenged plumbing pipes, hoses, and the remaining communications parts. 

GM Note - Repairing the shields was a moderate repair roll (15) and would normally cost 5% of the ship's cost in parts (4950 credits). Balin got her set up by increasing increasing her Technical attribute to 4D which boosted her Repair Space Transports to 6D. Then he increased her Repair Space Transports to 8D. Rhys then coordinated the efforts of her helpers (Command vs. 15) and succeeded, giving her an additional +1D to her repair skill. Balin's help and the coordination of the others gave her a total of 9D to repair the shields. She then rolled several sixes on the wild die, resulting in a total of 52!! 

I ruled that such an impossible roll meant that she was able to complete the repairs using a fraction of the parts needed. 

Repairing the engines was an easy repair roll (10) and cost 10% of the ship's cost in parts (9900 credits). She once again got everyone's help and rolled well over 30+. So she once again did the impossible and repaired the ship's engines using what was left of the parts.
Mokko!
They arrived at Bakki station and instructed Doctor Topas to stay on the ship. They entered the hustle and bustle of the space station concourse and once again secured the assistance of Andre who showed them the way to the Space Oasis. 

They exchanged pleasantries with Mokko, the old mon calamari bartender. Evo introduced Mokko to Rhys. Mokko said to her, "A storm is coming." To Evo's surprise, she correctly replied, "then we better batten down the hatches." Then Rhys remembered that she was assigned to them by Char-Six who was a part of the Shadow's network. 

Mokko got them some drinks and caught up on their latest escapades. Evo asked if he could send an encrypted message to the Shadow. Mokko said he had a secure holo-chess board in a back room they could use. He got them set up and showed them the sequence of chess moves to activate the secure channel.


GM Note - For a few minutes, I couldn't remember the bartender's name. Someone was talking and I suddenly remembered. I blurted out, "Mokko!", interrupting someone. Someone else suggested that Mokko had a weird form of Tourret's where he just randomly blurted out his own name. This unfortunately stuck, and both me and the players would blurt out "Mokko!" during the rest of the scene. Shut up, it was funny.

The Shadow
After a few moments, the hologram of a hooded silhouette appeared, its voiced masked by a scrambler, "Yes, Agent Two?"

Evo focused the holo-camera on himself, but informed the Shadow of everyone in the room. Evo told the Shadow of the past few days, of the rescue of Kara Pacha and the subsequent mission to emancipate Doctor Topas from the prison transport. He relayed the plan to return to Chador and retrieve the cure Doctor Topas had created for the branchiomycosis. He asked the Shadow if there was anything he could do to help and where he could bring Doctor Topas when they returned to Auilai.

The Shadow's reaction was less than pleased. 

"Why would you rescue that monster? He personally caused thousands of deaths on Auilai and is ultimately responsible for the enslavement of its inhabitants! You should have left him with the imperials!"

Evo defended the doctor, "He was working against his will. They were keeping his daughter prisoner."

The Shadow seemed incensed, "So what? He should have let her die rather than cause so much death and suffering on Auilai! He should have killed himself before he let that happen! Why has he changed his mind all of a sudden?"

"They have turned his daughter over to an inquisitor. She's as good as dead now."

The Shadow suddenly became silent. "Very well. We will take him in. Your mission is now a priority. Unfortunately, I can't assign you any other ships or fighters. I will transfer twenty thousand credits to Agent Two's secret account for you to perform repairs and upgrades to your ship and to purchase what equipment you need. Go to Chador. I'll let Char-Six know you are coming. Retrieve Doctor Topas' cure and return here with the doctor and the cure."

Rhys leaned in to Evo, "Are you done?"

Evo looked confused, "Uh, yes?"

Rhys said, "Good," and refocused the holo-camera on herself. "Hi Shadow! This is Rhys."

The silhouette winced and sighed, "NO NAMES! What is it?"

"Well, I was able to download some useful data from that transport. I was wondering if it might be worth a reward?"

The Shadow sounded dubious, "What kind of reward?"

"Like, maybe a fancy party dress with a built in tool belt for me and a cute top hat attachment with a built-in grappling hook  for our astromech droid." She trailed off listing alternative options and describing plans for further upgrades to the droid.

The Shadow was momentarily stunned and confused, "Uh. What? Does this really require a secure holo-net transmission?" The image regained its composure but seemed annoyed, "Look, I'm really busy here! Sure. Whatever. Give the data to Agent Two and I'll transfer another thousand credits."

At that, the hologram ceased transmission. 

Shopping: the Bargaining
Afterwards, while Evo, Emily, and Eggs returned to Major Domo to present their delivery receipt, retrieve the balance of their pay, and conclude their business with Narru the Bloodless, Rhys and Balin took their newly acquired credits to a junk dealer to purchase parts for the Riptide.

On the way, she had an idea. She would purchase DAMAGED equipment and sufficient parts to repair them, thus saving money! 
GM Note - Well, THAT's new! I decided to go with 50% average new price for damaged parts, then they'd repair them as if they were a damaged system.
Her shopping list included parts sufficient to assemble:
  1. Better shields (3D, 20,000 credits average price new, 10,000 damaged, -9 tons from cargo capacity)
  2. Incom W-34T Turbolaser (7D damage, 9000 credits average price new, 4500 damaged, -5 tons from cargo capacity)
  3. Masking Code Modulator (1500 credits average price new, 750 damaged)  
  4. Hidden compartments (2 tons worth, shields from scanners, 2000 credits average price new, 1000 credits damaged, -10 tons cargo capacity)
Total price: 34,500 credits new, 18,250 credits damaged; -24 tons of the Riptide's 85 tons of cargo space.
Rhys is unhappy with the junk trader's price!
Rhys tried to bargain with the junk dealer but was unhappy with the price the dealer offered (110% of average price). Balin, waiting nearby, interjected, telling Rhys that he saw a shop where she could purchase the parts for half that! They turned to go, but the dealer broke down and made a second much lower offer (85% of average price). Rhys agreed and purchased the parts. 
Total cost: 15,512 credits.
GM Note - But now they have broken 3D of shields, a broken turbolaser, and broken hidden compartments. Repairing these systems will require:
  1. Shields: Difficult repair roll and 4950 credits in parts. Let's round it up to 5000.
  2. Turbolaser, Severely Damaged: Moderate repair roll and 2250 credits in parts.
  3. Masking Code Modulator: Easy repair roll and 375 credits in parts. 
  4. Hidden compartments: Easy repair roll and, let's say, 500 credits in parts.
The Masking Code Modulator is useless without transponder codes. Buying a code from an illegal dealer costs 1000 credits. Registering the code with the Bureau of Ships Services costs another 1000 credits and requires a Moderate Bureaucracy or Con skill roll. 
The crew transferred the damaged parts into the Riptide's cargo hold. 

Evo looked aghast at the assemblage of junk and damaged parts brought into his ship, "What is all this JUNK??"

Rhys tried to assuage his fears, "It's alright. They're a little damaged, but I'll make them work. I saved us a lot of credits!"

Evo's mouth stood agape, "It's TRASH! It's worthless! Why would you...?"

Rhys held her hands out as if to smooth over Evo's reaction, "Don't worry! It'll be fine! I'll fix it."

Evo threw his hands up and stalked off to the cockpit. 

To Be Continued...
GM Note - The bargaining scene was fun to role-play, but it led to a very confusing moment during the game. The final result of 85% of average price was easy enough, but then I added on an additional discount of 75% of average price for damaged parts - I later reduced this to half. 
Anyway, this led to some confused players trying to calculated 75% of 85%, made more confusing by other players telling them to take 15% off then another 25% off, then mixing and matching. On top of that, Evo's player started changing the shopping list based on the price - "We can't afford that, what's the price without the turbolaser?" which forced recalculation and another wave of frustrated confusion.
In addition, people were simultaneously trying to figure out the price of the repairs, and... oy!
I eventually stepped in and said, "It doesn't matter. I'll figure out the prices later. I have to make sure you don't wind up paying more for damaged parts plus repair than you would for new parts. Let's move on!"
There was a mass sigh of relief and a chorus of "Thank you!"


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

"The Fog of War" - Star Wars: Riptide, Episode 4 Chapter 2


Episode 4 Chapter 2
THE FOG OF WAR

The crew of the Riptide, at the behest of
Kara Pacha, has taken on a mission
to rescue the scientist Doctor Topas
from an imperial prison transport.

After securing the services of a twi'lek droid
programmer named Rhys March,
along with her experimental
communications jamming droid Jamm-bot 2.01,
they blast off on an intercept course
with the imperial transport...

The Crew of the Riptide
Evo Shandor - nautolan transport captain
Balin Lee - young human Jedi-in-training
Emily Wonder - human mercenary
Eggs Ledscramb - quarren bounty hunter
Rhys March - twi'lek tech-spec


The Riptide

Ambush in Space
The Riptide approached the imperial Gozanti-class transport on an intercept course. The Riptide had powered down almost all its systems in order to produce as low a profile as possible. It eventually came to the attention of the Gozanti's sensors and the larger ship dropped two of its four TIE fighters to intercept.

Evo pushed the throttle to full and shouted the order for Jamm-bot 2.01 to commence signal jamming. Jamm-bot was plugged into the Riptide's computer terminal and its hands were deftly moving over the ship's communications controls. The broadcast antenna began flooding local space with sub-space frequencies. The effect was a sound like heavy bass thuds and wah-wahs followed by modulated electronic wave-forms.

The two TIE fighters engaged the Riptide, but Evo ignored them. He pressed on and got close to the Gozanti. He was easily four times faster than the larger transport, so the Riptide closed quickly. The TIE fighters opened fire and the Gozanti launched its remaining two TIE fighters to deal with the attack!

Balin assumed a seated position in the center of the ship and closed his eyes. Reaching out with his senses, he began visualizing the space around the ship. He could feel the mind of each combatant. He could sense their intentions and predict their actions. He could reach out and manipulate each of the combatants, friend and foe alike, as if they were pieces on a holo-chess board. The Force flowed through the crew of the Riptide, guiding them, directing them, and coordinating their actions as if they were a single mind with multiple bodies.

The Gozanti tried to maneuver to keep its ventral arc facing the Riptide. Evo deftly countered while dodging TIE fighter blasters. Meanwhile, Eggs manned the shields Emily fired at the TIE fighters with the ship’s turbolaser turret.

Chaos Reigns
Balin reached out his hand as if to point at an unseen TIE fighter, then waved his hand as if to encompass all of them.  Two of the TIE fighters began firing on each other. The pair ignored the Riptide and engaged in a dogfight. The third TIE fighter began firing on the Gozanti. The fourth TIE fighter continued to attack the Riptide.
The Force is Strong in Balin
GM Note – Battle Meditation used to sew confusion among the ranks of the enemy, causing them to attack each other, but not preventing them from attacking you.

The TIE fighter attacking the Gozanti caught the transport by surprise and managed to score a direct hit on the ship’s power core! The hit likely would have destroyed the transport had Balin not concentrated on deflecting the attack at the last instant, turning a catastrophic hit into a merely crippling one.

GM Note – The TIE fighter kept rolling 6s on the Wild Die and scored a destruction damage result on the Gozanti. Since they wanted to capture the ship and rescue the prisoner, Balin spent a Force Point to change the Destruction result to a Heavy Damage result. As a result, the Gozanti would soon lose power.

After Emily had destroyed one TIE fighter, Balin turned his attention to the ship. He used the Force to confuse those on the ship. The guns on the ship were soon alternating between attacking the Riptide, attacking the TIE fighters, and not attacking at all.

GM Note – I figured the crew of the ship would start fighting each other, like a mutiny, so I would roll randomly to determine their actions each round.

Soon, all the TIE fighters were destroyed, but not without inflicting heavy damage on the Riptide. The Riptide had gone through all of its backup shields and the system now needed to be overhauled. In addition, the engines had been damaged.

Luckily, the Gozanti lost all power and began to drift and tumble through space. It had also taken damage to its engines and had lost its dorsal turbolaser.

The Riptide maneuvered to dock with one of the Gozanti’s TIE fighter access airlocks and the two ships were soon locked together.

Emily left the gun turret and Eggs unbuckled himself from the shield operator seat. The pair armored up and grabbed their weapon in preparation of boarding action. They gathered at the airlock, checked their power cells, and opened the hatch.
Evo Shandor

To Be Continued…

GM Notes
My original plan was to sent two waves of TIE fighters at the ship, allowing them to deal with each wave before the next wave, then deal with the transport. But Evo's player said, "Nope, we ignore the TIE fighters and get in close!" So I thought, "Okay. Oh well."

Without Battle Meditation, the Riptide vs. four TIE fighters and the Gozanti would have been very very tough, if not impossible. However, using Battle Meditation to cause confusion and animosity amongst the enemy forces was a brillian strategy! As a result, the battle was still challenging but not TOO challenging.

My only mistake as a GM was that I had nothing for Rhys to do. In retrospect, I should have given her communications rolls to make against the Gozanti, or allowed her to do "First Aid" style repairs on the ship. Rhys' player kept asking what she could do and I was kind of at a loss, and I felt bad about that. I'll be prepared next time.