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.

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.
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!"