Friday, February 13, 2015

Lulu Ogrin's Inaugural Swamp Skimmer Open Race

During his extensive travels on Nal Hutta, Lulu the Gungan has become intimately familiar with much of its swampland. Sometimes, when he is in a hurry to serve his Hutt bosses or just feeling board, he experiments with a type of repulsorlift piloting that he calls “swamp skimming.” This consists of decreasing the amount of lift from his skiff's repulsordrives, letting it skim a bare meter above the surface. That makes piloting more challenging, of course, but also more dangerous and more fun.

It wasn't long before the Gungan recognized an opportunity to make some credits through this type of activity. He scouted out a potential course, one that would provide plenty of obstacles for the competitors, and then planned how to make it marketable. Then he pitched the idea to Slarr the Hutt. Somewhat to his surprise, Slarr liked the idea. In fact, the Hutt offered up a sum of 10,000 credits as the prize for the winners. Thus sponsored, Lulu put out an open call for competitors.


The Competition
Characters introduced in previous blog articles can provide plenty of competition for the PCs in a race such as this; here are just a few of the possibilities.
  • The Trandoshan hunters from “Conversion”
  • Togala Genu, Xexto hotshot from “The Rival”
  • Golthani Ru, a Corellian who works with “Ma'char'ba the Ugor and His Scavengers” (and keep in mind that her sister, Tescali, pilots Slarr's sail barge)
  • Sen Wral, a Shistavanen who leads a band of “Nerf Rustlers”
  • Kerwen Chee, a Corellian who pilots a “Mag-Lev Train”
  • A group of ne'er-do-wells who've developed a reputation as “The Shipjackers”
  • The Togorian pirates of “The Fireclaw Horde”
  • The mix of beings who operate “Captain Zate's Interstellar Traveling Chop-Shop”
As always, of course, this also provides the GM with a good opportunity to introduce NPCs for future use.


Preparations
Those who wish to participate in the race must purchase a Bantha-II cargo skiff in order to do so. What is more, Lulu inspects each one in order to make sure that the repulsordrives have been properly limited. Given that, the PCs are free to use talents or credits in order to boost the functioning of their skiff. They also have a chance to meet the competition, as an introductory “meet-and-greet” is held at Haiuk's Lodge for everyone involved.


Sabotage?
Of course, spending some time rubbing elbows with one's competitors also provides opportunities for cheating. The GM can represent this by having an opponent (or someone hired by an opponent) make a Skullduggery check opposes the Perception efforts of a PC. Success allows the cheater to introduce some kind of flaw into the PCs' skimmer, such as a fluctuation in the repulsorfield, a flicker in the propulsion system, or something similar.


Gambling?
Characters who wish to do so are free to bet on the outcome of the race, with wagers up to 1000 credits being accepted. Success pays an amount equal to the initial wager multiplied by the number of competitors in the race.


Involving All of the Players
Since only a few of the PCs are likely to be involved in adjudicating the race, other players might be given the job of making checks for the opposing teams.


The Start
When the time of the race arrives, competitors are directed to an open patch of relatively flat and dry ground (area 0 on the map). There they are directed to the starting line, and Lulu himself begins the competition by firing a slugthrower.



The Course
Refer to the appropriate map for the following area descriptions. To conduct the race, have the PCs and their competition make a series of checks, and keep a tally of their total successes and advantage. After two circuits of the course, the winner is the racer or team who has the highest number of successes; use advantage as a tiebreaker. In the event that two characters are tied at the end of the second circuit, the two pilots in questions should make opposed checks until one is the winner.

The first part of the course is known as “The Boil.” It's a section of swampland that covers a volcanic vent, causing the fetid water to bubble and churn. To simulate this, have someone in each skiff make a hard Vigilance check to notice an impending eruption. Then, apply any advantage or threat from that check to the driver's hard Piloting—Planetary effort. Totals from the second check are applied toward determining the winner.

Next up is the section called “The Tumble.” It is a section of hills that act like a slalom course for the skimmers. This time the driver should make an average Strength check, with the results from it being applied to that character's Piloting—Planetary effort.

Finally comes the area known as “The Tangles.” It is a bracken of twisted and gnarled trees through which the racers must steer their skiffs. This requires a hard Perception check by someone aboard each skiff, with the results from it being applied to the driver's Piloting—Planetary effort.
Note, too, that failure on any checks causes two points of hull trauma to the skiff in question, as does a despair result. (Failure with despair, therefore, causes four points of hull trauma in total.) Vehicles that suffer too much damage are eliminated from the competition.


Unexpected Developments
It's always possible, of course, that events happen which are complete unanticipated by the competitors. These add drama and difficulty to the race; a few options are presented below.
It could happen that fog rolls in across the course. Should that happen, all characters suffer a setback die to their checks, unless they have some kind of perceptive ability that overcomes the obscurement.
There's also the chance that a dragonsnake erupts from the swamp to attack the 'skimmers. In that event, it latches onto the side of the skiff, attacking available targets and adding a setback die to all piloting efforts due to the unbalanced load.

Given the dangers present by the course itself and the aformentioned developments, it could happen that the PCs' or one or more of their opponents crash their 'skimmers and thus cause injury to the drivers and passengers. This could present a moral dilemma for more altruistic characters, or a shot at redemption for the PCs if they are losing the race.



Rewards
In addition to claiming the 10,000-credit prize, the PCs could also attract the attention of a wealthy sponsor, possibly a Hutt, who seeks capable pilots with a variety of additonal skills for other races or even for entirely different kinds of business.



Races such as the Inaugural Swamp Skimmer Invitational can provide a sense of connection and continuity in a campaign, since they can recur annually throughout the course of play, and thus bring the PCs back to a familiar location. Similarly, they're also a good way to introduce rivalries with NPCs, ones that could start out friendly but then turn nastier as the stakes increase.



Friday, February 6, 2015

Bounty Points

In a Star Wars roleplaying game, questions regarding how much of a bounty should be offered for various criminals can be important. This article attempts to quantify a system for answering those questions. First, presented below is a table—based on the Reputation score from Wizards of the Coast's D20-based Star Wars RPG—to keep track of just how notorious criminals can become. Every illegal activity of which a character is suspected earns that individual a certain number of bounty points. That total, in turn, determines how (in)famous the character has become, along with what kind of bounty might be offered.

Bounty Points
Relative Reputation
Reward Offered
0
Unknown
500 credits
1 to 2
Hometown
1000 credits
3 to 5
Homeworld
2000 credits
6 to 9
Star system
5000 credits
10 to 14
Many systems
10,000 credits
15 to 20
All systems
20,000 credits
21
Galaxywide
50,000 credits

Refer to pages 384-5 of the Edge of the Empire core rulebook to find the five classifications for crimes against Imperial law. Those classes are listed below, along with the bounty points that each of them earn.

Crime
Penalty
Class Five
0 bp
Class Four
1 bp
Class Three
2 bp
Class Two
4 bp
Class One
8 bp

Additionally, certain circumstances can modify the bounty points earned (at the GM's discretion, of course). Some of these are listed below.

Circumstance
Modifier
Destruction of Imperial or other government property
+1 bp
Injury to an Imperial or other government official
+1 bp
Having a connection to the Rebel Alliance (minor)
+1 bp
Death of an Imperial or other government official
+2 bp
Having a connection to the Rebel Alliance (major)
+2 bp
Public display of Force powers
+2 bp


The GM might also wish to add a setback die to attempts by characters at maintaining a low profile, if they are in a place where they are considered to be known. For example, a character with six bounty points would suffer a setback when in his home star system, while one with twenty-one bounty points would suffer one everywhere in the galaxy.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Lords of Nal Hutta (P)Review

Presented here is a preview of what people can expect to find in Lords of Nal Hutta, released this week by Fantasy Flight Games.

Page 1: Crawl

Page 2: Credits

Page 3: Table of Contents

Page 4: Short Fiction

Pages 5-7: Introduction

Chapter 1 (Pages 8-39): “Criminal Empires”
This section provides a history of the Hutts and an overview of their political system. That is followed by detailed descriptions of four major—Desilijic, Besadii, Quinaalac and Gorensla—along with shorter descriptions of eight more. That is followed by breakdowns of the major Hutt criminal enterprises, such as slavery, spice dealing, gunrunning and other smuggling, black marketeering, piracy and gambling. There's also information about the Hutts' relationships with the Empire and the Rebellion.

Chapter 2 (Pages 40-91): “Hutt Space”
This chapter is a gazetteer of planets in Hutt Space. It presents Nal Hutta, Nar Shaddaa, Varl, Kintan, Klatooine, Saki, Sriluur, Toydaria, Vodran and Ylesia, along with Kwenn Space Station. Each of these writeups includes planetary information, details about specific places of interest, and stat blocks for creatures and characters who can be found there. There are also shorter writeups for seven other worlds.

Chapter 3 (Pages 92-117): “Player Options”
Articles on the FFG website have already mentioned the four new species presented in this section: Hutts, Ganks, Nikto and Sakiyans. There are also fifteen new weapons, two types of armor and various modifications and other gear. That is followed by a dozen new vehicles and starships.

Chapter 4 (Pages 118-144): “Modular Encounters”
Following the example provided by Suns of Fortune, this book presents five detailed encounters ready to be dropped into any Edge of the Empire campaign.

All in all, Lords of Nal Hutta has the high production values to be expected from Fantasy Flight Games, and the content seems to be a solid mix of fluff and crunch. I'll report back with a more critical review once I've had a chance to read the book.

-Nate



Sunday, February 1, 2015

Conversion

I like to play the most recent version of the Star Wars RPG, if only because that's the one most likely to be played at conventions and game stores. Even so, there's a special place in my heart for the old d6-based system from West End Games. That's why I've been submitting to WildSpace Magazine. In the interest of supporting Edge of the Empire, however, this article presents stats for characters in my adventure "Crashing the Party."

-Nate


Crashing the Party
Presented here are Edge of the Empire stats for the characters in this scenario, along with suggestions for adapting skill checks from the d6 System to that RPG.

Zissik, Trandoshan Pilot (Rival)
Brawn 3 Cunning 2 Presence 2
Agility 2 Intellect 2 Willpower 2

Soak: 3
Wound Threshold: 15
Strain Threshold: 11
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills: Astrogation 1, Gunnery 2, Mechanics 1, Perception 2, Piloting—Planetary 1, Piloting—Space 2, Ranged—Light 1, Streetwise 1, Underworld 1, Vigilance 1

Talents: Dead to Rights, Full Throttle, Skilled Jockey

Abilities: One free rank in Perception; Regeneration; Claws (see the EotE core rulebook for details)

Equipment: Flightsuit, blaster pistol


Narra, Trandoshan Sharpshooter (Rival)
Brawn 3 Cunning 2 Presence 2
Agility 2 Intellect 2 Willpower 2

Soak: 5
Wound Threshold: 15
Strain Threshold: 11
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills: Athletics 1, Cool 1, Gunnery 2, Leadership, Lore, Mechanics 1, Melee 1, Perception 2, Ranged—Heavy 2, Ranged—Light 2, Vigilance 2

Talents: Point Blank, Side Step

Abilities: One free rank in Perception; Regeneration; Claws (see the EotE core rulebook for details)

Equipment: Flightsuit, blaster pistol, blaster rifle, padded armor


Nissal, Trandoshan Stalker (Rival)
Brawn 3 Cunning 2 Presence 2
Agility 2 Intellect 2 Willpower 2

Soak: 4
Wound Threshold: 15
Strain Threshold: 11
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills: Athletics 1, Melee 1, Perception 2, Ranged—Heavy 2, Ranged—Light 2, Resilience 1, Stealth 1, Survival 1, Vigilance 1

Talents: Expert Tracker, Hunter, Outdoorsman, Stalker

Abilities: One free rank in Perception; Regeneration; Claws (see the EotE core rulebook for details)

Equipment: Heavy clothing, blaster pistol, blaster rifle, crash survival kit


Trill, Trandoshan Brawler (Rival)
Brawn 3 Cunning 2 Presence 2
Agility 1 Intellect 2 Willpower 2

Soak: 4
Wound Threshold: 15
Strain Threshold: 11
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills: Athletics 2, Brawl 2, Cool 2, Melee 2, Perception 2, Stealth 1, Vigilance 2

Talents: Jump Up, Lethal Blows, Quick Strike

Abilities: One free rank in Perception; Regeneration; Claws (see the EotE core rulebook for details)

Equipment: Heavy clothing, vibroblade, blaster pistol, comlink


Captain Caleb Oresh, Imperial ISB—Use the stats for an Imperial Intelligence Agent from page 402 of the EotE core rulebook


Shona Venn, Correlian Smuggler (Rival)
Brawn 2 Cunning 2 Presence 2
Agility 2 Intellect 2 Willpower 2

Soak: 2
Wound Threshold: 12
Strain Threshold: 12
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills: Astrogation 1, Cool 1, Gunnery 1, Perception 2, Piloting—Planetary 2, Piloting—Space 3, Ranged—Light 1, Skulduggery 1, Streetwise 1, Underworld 1, Vigilance 1

Talents: Dead to Rights, Full Throttle, Skilled Jockey

Abilities: One free rank in each of two non-career skills

Equipment: None


Kublarrha the Wookie (Rival)
Brawn 3 Cunning 2 Presence 2
Agility 2 Intellect 2 Willpower 1

Soak: 3
Wound Threshold: 17
Strain Threshold: 9
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills: Astrogation 1, Brawl 2, Computers 2, Cool 1, Mechanics 2, Melee 1, Perception 2, Ranged—Light 1, Resilience 1, Survival 1, Vigilance 1

Talents: Fine Tuning, Gearhead, Solid Repairs, Toughened

Abilities: One free rank in Brawl; Wookiee Rage

Equipment: Details



Sunday, January 25, 2015

Star Wars #1 Review

Two Wednesdays ago, Marvel Comics (/Disney/Lucasfilm) published the first issue in its new line of Star Wars comics. This was a bittersweet event for me. I first started reading Star Wars comics with Dark Horse's release of the Dark Empire title back in 1991. While I didn't love everything that Dark Horse produced, I though they did an excellent job of maintaining the brand. When Disney acquired Lucasfilm last year and announced that Marvel would regain the license, I was sad to hear it. Even so, I was interested to see what Marvel would do in the aftermath of the consolidation.

To Marvel's credit, this premiere seems to have been highly anticipated--so much so, in fact, that my friendly local comic store was sold out when I went to buy the issue on the next day, and so I had to wait a week in order to do so. C'est la vie.

As a first impression, I like the art. It's fairly straightforward, and the characters look how they're supposed to look. The action starts up quickly, and there are a number of moments that really capture the Star Wars feel.

On the other hand, I'm concerned about the focus and scope of the storyline. It features the main characters from A New Hope--and doing a nice job of including Chewie and the droids in meaningful roles, by the way. It also brings in Darth Vader. While I can understand starting the series with a bang, I'm worried that we'll see too many near-miss confrontations between Luke and Vader, and that it will become tiresome. I'd also like to see more original characters, ones that might actually be killed during combat. Only time will tell, I guess.

-Nate

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Tests of the B'omarr

Presented here is the first of what will hopefully be a series of puzzles that B'omarr monks could use to test the PCs.

-Nate


Tests of the B'omarr
Members of the B'omarr Order have their knowledge and intelligence tested in a variety of ways. This includes tests of logic, familiarity with sacred teachings, and the ability to remove oneself from physical worldly concerns. Presented below are some puzzles that B'omarr monks might use as a challenge for visitors who wish to deal with them.

The Puzzle Box
For this test, the PCs are presented with a broad, flat metal box with an elaborate grid engraved in its top, along with six rings of six keys. Each ring holds six metal keys; all of them on a given ring are engraved with the same number: 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8. They are given one clue: “Seven is the key; what is the correct order?”

1






2






3






4






5






6







The key to this puzzle is remembering that the numbers one through six, when divided by seven, produce repeating decimals that all use digits matching the numbers on the keys—and all in variations of the same sequence. To that end, the correct order of keys is this:

1
1
4
2
8
5
7
2
2
8
5
7
1
4
3
4
2
8
5
7
1
4
5
7
1
4
2
8
5
7
1
4
2
8
5
6
8
5
7
1
4
2

If the PCs are able to devise the correct order, the box opens. Inside is a small scrap of parchment with a single question: “What comes next?” The correct response is either 0.999999, repeating, or, more simply, one.



Monday, January 12, 2015

Monks

Detailed here are some of the characters who can be found in the B'omarr Monastery.

Initiates (Minions)
Brawn 2 Cunning 2 Presence 2
Agility 1 Intellect 2 Willpower 3

Soak: 2
Wound Threshold: 5
Strain Threshold: NA
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills (group only): Brawl, Discipline, Perception, Vigilance

Talents: None

Abilities: NA

Equipment: Robes

These new members of the order may lack in many of the refinements that their superiors possess, but they bring plenty of zeal. To them are given such tasks as guarding the monastery, performing manual labor, and the like. They perform these tasks with cheerful efficiency, knowing that enlightenment will eventually be their reward.


Acolyte (Rival)
Brawn 2 Cunning 2 Presence 2
Agility 1 Intellect 3 Willpower 3

Soak: 2
Wound Threshold: 12
Strain Threshold: 14
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills: Brawl 1, Discipline 2, Education 1, Lore 2, Medicine 1, Perception 2, Resilience 1, Survival 1, Vigilance 1, Xenology 1

Talents: Grit, Natural Scholar, Researcher, Resolve, Well Rounded

Abilities: One free rank in each of two non-career skills

Equipment: Robes

Those monks who persevere through the initial testing process begin to learn the secrets of the Order, growing in wisdom and fortitude. They are charged with oversight of the monastery, commanding the lesser initiates.


Curate (Nemesis)
Brawn 2 Cunning 2 Presence 2
Agility 1 Intellect 4 Willpower 4

Soak: 2
Wound Threshold: 12
Strain Threshold: 13
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills: Brawl 1, Discipline 3, Education 2, *Lore 3, Medicine 1, Perception 3, Resilience 2, Survival 2, Vigilance 2, Xenology 2

Talents: Confidence, Dedication, Grit, Intense Focus, Knowledge Specialization*, Mental Fortress, Natural Scholar, Researcher, Resolve x2, Stroke of Genius, Toughened, Well Rounded

Abilities: One free rank in each of two non-career skills

Equipment: Robes

Only the most dedicated individuals achieve of the levels of self-discipline and understanding claimed by these monks. Indeed, for them the only further step is to have their brains removed from their bodies so that they can spend the rest of their lives contemplating the mysteries of the universe unhindered by mortal distractions. Most of the time, any given temple only has one curate in it.


Using the Monastery in an Edge of the Empire Campaign
This location and its inhabitants can be incorporated into an Edge of the Empire campaign in many different ways; a few of the possibilities are detailed here.
  • Given their ceaseless contemplation of the universe, the B'omarr monks are first and foremost a source of information. This is especially appropriate for PCs who pursue the way of the Jedi, since the monks have studied Jedi teachings hidden from the Imperials.
  • The monks expect something in trade for their knowledge, however; ancient scrolls, datadisks and even holocrons are their preferred method of payment.
  • Should one or more of the PCs decide to join the Order and follow its tenets, the situation could provide some excellent roleplaying opportunities.
  • If the monks were to be threatened by outsiders (as is detailed in the Firestorm plot), they might seek out troubleshooters who could help with the problem.