Tuesday, December 8, 2015

"Return to Auilai" - Star Wars: Riptide, Episode 7 Chapter 1

Episode 7 Chapter 1

Kaminoan scientist Doctor Adrap Topas

was forced to create a biological weapon to 
oppress the people of the planet Auilai. 
He later defied his Imperial overseers 
and created a secret cure, but was discovered
and imprisoned.

The Crew of the Riptide rescued Doctor Topas

from an Imperial prison transport
and retrieved the cure from its hiding place. 
While attempting to escape their
Imperial pursuers, they faked the 
destruction of their spaceship.

Now they rush through hyperspace

to transport Doctor Topas and his cure
to the desperate people of Auilai...

The Crew of the Riptide
Evo Shandor - nautolan transport captain
Balin Lee - young human Jedi-in-training
Emily Wonder - human mercenary

Not in attendance this week
Eggs Ledscramb - quarren bounty hunter
Rhys March - twi'lek tech-spec

The Riptide emerged from hyperspace near the water planet Nesia, called Auilai by its natives. The world was under an Imperial blockade. All vessels were stopped and searched to prevent illegal pharmaceuticals from reaching the natives. Evo wasn't too concerned about that. He'd been smuggling these pharmaceuticals past the blockade for months.

This time, however, was a different story. He had left the Imperials on the planet Chador with the impression that the Riptide had crashed into the sea, killing everyone on board. He had no wish to disabuse them of this notion. In addition, he wasn't smuggling pharmaceuticals this time, he was smuggling a living being, a kaminoan scientist capable of curing the natives of Auilai of the gill rot virus forever. Never mind that he was the scientist that engineered the plague for his Imperial overseers in the first place. The important thing was that he had defected and was trying to undo the damage he had caused. 

Evo put Doctor Topas back into the secret compartment and activated the forged transponder signal, letting the Imperial blockade know that the independent transport Razorclam, under owner captain... under captain... 

"Hey Emily! The imperials on this planet pretty much known who I am, so I can't be captain. Also, Balin can't be captain, he's only sixteen."

"I could, too, be captain!" objected the teenager Jedi-in-training.

"Anyway, Eggs is terrible at this sort of thing and so is Rhys. That leaves you. You get to be captain. What's your captain name?"

Emily thought about it, "Call me Alice McLaughlin."

...under owner captain Alice McLaughlin, human. 

Within moments, a squadron of TIE fighters came alongside the "Razorclam" and escorted it to the Star Destroyer ISD Execrable in orbit around the watery planet. 

First, I asked the players if there was anything they wanted to do on Chador before they left. They said no. Then I asked them where they went after Chador. Did they want to go anywhere else before Auilai? Bakki Station? They discussed it but said no. 

While they were in hyperspace, I asked them to tell me how they were going to get past the blockade. I told them the following:

The blockade consists of a single Star Destroyer and two customs frigates in equidistant orbit. There are two squadrons of 12 TIE fighters each in flight at all times, spread out in six wings of 4 TIEs equidistant around the planet. There are 24 additional TIEs in the hangar in reserve.

This means that any approach of the planet will be met by 4 TIE fighters 6 turns away from the planet. An additional 8 can join in 2 turns away from the planet.

Any approach of the planet also involves a 1d6 roll:

  1. 6 TIE fighters intercept them 6 turns away from the planet.
  2. Customs Corvette intercepts 4 turns away from planet.
  3. 6 TIE fighters intercept them 6 turns away from the planet.
  4. Customs Corvette intercepts 4 turns away from planet.
  5. 6 TIE fighters intercept them 6 turns away from the planet.
  6. Star Destroyer intercepts 2 turns away from planet.

When the time came, I would have the pilot make the roll.

I then told the players some options:

  1. Approach and land normally using false transponder?
  2. Punch through? You can't outrun TIE fighters but you can try to survive long enough to make it to the ocean.
  3. Run silent and sneak in?  Hope the frigate/star destroyer/TIE fighter sensor operators won't detect you. 

They thought about the options. I also encouraged them to offer any alternative approach.

They asked about the silent option - what are odds? I had this prepared:

Imperials would be alerted to a ship emerging from Hypersapce. They'd immediately scan the area, which would detect the presence of ship but would not provide a bearing = difficulty 15.

Once verified, they'd do a search to get a bearing and trajectory to plot an intercept course = another difficulty 15. 

They asked how good Imperials are. Once again, I had all this prepared ahead of time. 

  • TIE = Scan 5D (avg 17.5). Search 6D (avg 21).
  • Frigate = Scan 6D (avg 21). Search 7D (avg 24.5). 
  • Star Destroyer = Scan 7D (avg 24.5). Search 8D (avg 28).

They didn't like those odds. In retrospect, they could have emerged from hyperspace father away from the planet, eliminating the proximity hyperspace sensor, and drifted in, increasing the difficulty to be detected. But nobody thought of that.

After reviewing their options, they made a choice.

They emerged from hyperspace. I had Evo's player roll a d6. He got 1. Six TIE fighters.

The "Razorclam" was drawn into the Star Destroyer's cavernous bay with mooring tractor beams. The crew assembled at the airlock as a boarding tube was extended and attached. There was a knock and "Captain McLaughlin" opened the hatch.

A squad of stormtroopers pushed her back, forcing her against an inner bulkhead where she was searched. A few moments later, a thin Imperial customs officer with an aquiline nose and hooded eyes came aboard. The stormtroopers stood aside and snapped to attention.

"Are you CER-tain it is safe to come a-BOARD?" said the officer with the nasally voice.

Evo, standing near the back of the cargo hold, did his best to look like anyone else. It was the bane of his existence, Lieutenant Hector Flynn.
Lieutenant Hector Flynn
Lieutenant Flynn looked around with disdain, "WON-derful. Not aNOTHer MON-calamari vessel." He sniffed the air cautiously and wrinkled the nose, "ONE never forgets their unique OH-dor," he complained, putting nasally ephasis on the odd syllable, drawing them out into long sustained notes. "Let's get this OH-ver with," he sighed.

GM Note
The players did a little cheer for the return of Lieutenant Flynn. 

Lieutenant Flynn asked Emily for the ship's documents as well as her piloting credentials. She handed him Evo's permit datapad.

GM Note
I had Evo's player make his forgery roll now compared to Lieutenant Flynn's inspection roll.

"Very WELL. They seem to be in ORder. HowEVer, I am reQUIRED to submit every SIXTH datapad for a thorough TECHnical analySIS." He handed the datapad to a subordinate.

Balin stepped forward, his hand slightly outstretched. He cleared his throat and interrupted, "Ahem, as you say, the credentials are in order. They don't need to be analyzed."

Lieutenant Flynn paused in mid-handoff, "On SECond thought, they ARE, after all, in ORder. They do not NEED to be analyzed." He handed the datapad back to Emily.

He looked at Balin, "Don't I KNOW you?"

Balin inclined his head and replied, "No. You've never seen any of us before."

The Lieutenant nodded, "No. Of course not. I've never seen ANY of you before."

Lieutenant Flynn interrogated Emily about her identity, the name and itinerary of the ship, and what they were doing on "Nee-zee-yah".

She answered that her name was Captain Heather McLaughlin and that they had come to Nesia with an empty hold. They wished to purchase fish and transport them to markets in the Mid-Rim.

Lieutenant Flynn sniffed skeptically at her story. "Very WELL. The technicians will conduct a SCAN of your vessel and we'll be on our WAY."

Emily gave them a tour. Evo stayed out of the way, keeping his face hidden. To his surprise, the "Razorclam" scored much higher than his last safety inspection. A new refresher had been installed, the broken airlock had been repaired, and other improvements had eliminated many of the previous infractions. However, the presence of the many warning placards, declaring unsafe panels, radiation zones, and exposed wiring, were once again fuel for Lieutenant Flynn's attention.

"What is it about MON Calamari vessels, Captain McLAUGHlin? I had heard stories of ELEgant vessels of arTIStic design. Instead all I see are flying DEATH traps! That's a FINE!"

When he reached the secret compartment festooned with warning placards, he addressed his scanner technicians, hooking a thumb and inquiring,  "What is BEHIND this panel?"

"We don't know, sir. It appears to be uninsulated wiring and plasma conduit. I wouldn't get near it, sir."

The lieutenant recoiled, "Uninsulated WIRing and PLASma conduits within the vessel's ENvelope? That's a FINE, Captain McLaughlin!"

Emily nodded her head and accepted the fines graciously. Evo groaned in a corner. Although it cost them a few hundred credits in fines, at least the secret compartments held up to the scrutiny.

"We are DONE here, Captain McLAUGHlin. You are cleared to land on LeaNAha on the surface. Two TIE fighters will escort you to ensure your safe arrival. Good DAY to you, Captain?"

Lieutenant Flynn gathered up his technicians and stormtroopers and exited the Riptide. Emily, Evo, and Balin simultaneously breathed a sigh of relief.

The Riptide descended to the planet below, checking in at Leanaha before logging a new destination, the underwater city of Panui.

Evo called ahead to alert his mother of his arrival, asking her to meet her in the hangar. He had an important surprise he needed to show her.