Saturday, October 21, 2017

Report #1: The State of the Galaxy


In the aftermath of the Battle of Endor, it's imperative that we establish just what is fact and what is rumor. With that in mind, here is what agents of the New Republic need to know in order to pursue their business.
-Vor Sendalin, New Republic Intelligence Operative

The Battle of Endor
First and foremost, the second Death Star has been destroyed. That much is indisputable; wreckage from that battle station currently hangs in space above, and rains down upon, the Sanctuary Moon. Moreover, many vessels from the Imperial fleet have also been disabled or destroyed, most notably including the Super Star Destroyer Executor.
More important than all of that, however, is the fact that Emperor Palpatine and his enforcer, Darth Vader, are dead. They were, per the testimony of Commander Luke Skywalker, aboard the Death Star, and were killed—or failed to escape—before it was destroyed. While those claims have not been independently verified, I'm inclined to take Commander Skywalker at his word.

Operation Cinder
It seems that Emperor Palpatine might have anticipated the defeat of the New Order by the Alliance to Restore the Republic at the Battle of Endor, since he apparently set up this plan as a contingency to just that situation. This included the following actions.
  • Note: This information was discovered by a team of Special Forces Pathfinders on computers in a secret Imperial facility on the moon of Endor, opposite to the base that projected the energy shield for the second Death Star, as well as an ISB black site facilty on a world known as the Wretch of Tayron.
  • Cawa City on Sterdic IV was the location of fierce fighting, including starfighters used against AT-AT walkers.
  • The deployment of a climate disruption array in orbit around Naboo can only be an act of specific act of revenge against that world, since it is thence that Palpatine hailed. The tide of that battle was turned by General Lando Calrission, leading a strikeforce aboard the Mon Calamari vessel Mellcrawler II.
  • Other targeted worlds include Abednedo, Burnin Konn, Cadovant and Commenor. Whether Palpatine targeted them due to some kind of prior grudge or because of a particular strategic value is not known.
  • Following those actions, Commander Skywalker and Lieutenant Shara Bey infiltrated an Imperial facility on the planet Vetine in the Merrick Sector. While the objective of that mission is not officially known, scuttlebutt has it that they were seeking to recover remnants of one or two trees kept there that had grown in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant.

Imperial Military Remnants
In spite of that victory, many soldiers and officers of the New Order continue to fight against the New Republic—to which they still refer as the Rebellion. Some of the more notable figures, suspected or known to be active still, are the following.
  • Commander Iden Versio of Inferno Squad.
  • Captain Lerr Duvat of the Star Destroyer Torment.
  • Admiral Rae Sloane, aboard the Star Destroyer Vigilance.
  • Grand Moff Ardus Kaine of the Super Star Destroyer Reaper.
  • Admiral Zsinj, aboard the Star Destroyer Iron Fist.

Imperial Governmental Remnants
It should also be noted that the locations and situations for a number of the Emperor's close advisers remain unaccounted; these include Mas Amedda, Sly Moore, Ars Dangor and Sate Pestage. More information about them is forthcoming. The prior two are likely somewhere on Coruscant, and the latter may have been killed in the destruction of the second Death Star, but that has not yet been confirmed.

The Galactic Underworld
While this may seem tangential to the conflict between the New Order and the Alliance to Restore the Rebellion, it is important to note that at least two organizations that are prominent in the galactic underworld have recently suffered setbacks. These may or may not be of use to the establishment of the New Republic, but are included here on the offhand chance that that should be the case.
  • On the planet Tatooine, rumor has it that crime lord Jabba the Hutt has died. Some say that this is because of an explosion aboard his sail barge while attending an execution at the Pit of Carkoon, but rumor has it that a visit from certain agents of the Rebel Alliance may have been instrumental in the slug's death.
  • Given that, events on the planet Coruscant are perhaps even more notable. Following an explosion in the tower belonging to Prince Xizor of the Black Sun syndicate, rumor has it that the Falleen head of that organization has also been killed. Here again, scuttlebutt has it that agents of the Alliance—possibly the same ones—may have been involved.

Using this Report in a Star Wars RPG Campaign
There are many ways in which the details from this report can be used in adventures and campaigns, including the following.
  • The end of the Galactic Civil War puts agents of the Rebel Alliance into an unusual position, having to start acting as the new government in the absence of the Empire.
  • This situation could be exacerbated when criminal elements—possibly ones that were once controlled by Black Sun or Jabba the Hutt—ramp up their own activities, believing that there's no law enforcement able to stop them.
  • Even worse, places like Mos Eisley on Tatooine and the Underworld on Coruscant could erupt with all-out gang wars as criminals vie for control of their now leaderless organizations.
  • The PCs could be part of a Republic strikeforce sent to detail with Operation Cinder on one of the aforementioned planets; the Imperial attack there might use another climate disruption array, or it could take another form.
  • There's also the matter of cleaning up after the Galactic Civil War; the injured and ill need medical treatment, captured Imperials must be disarmed, etc.
  • All the while, remnants of the scattered Imperial forces keep fighting, refusing to accept defeat. Given that their supply lines are disrupted, they might even turn to criminal elements to acquire the materiel that they need.
  • It's possible that more secrets are buried in computer systems like the ones on Endor and the Wretch of Tayron. These could include weapons development projects, locations where prisoners are being held, and the like. (The Firestorm plot is one possible example: http://talesfromtheedgeoftheempire.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-firestorm-plot.html.)
  • As the New Republic government becomes more established, its judicial system might focus on capturing certain ex-Imperials who committed especially grievous war crimes and bringing them to trial.



Friday, October 20, 2017

New Republic Intelligence Reports

For a while now I've been trying to decide on a direction for this blog. I'm excited about the new movie coming out this year, but it's hard to do too much speculating until the new trilogy is complete. There's interesting potential, however, in the time period between Episodes VI and VII, the start of the New Republic. With that in mind, this post is the first in a series that'll look at that period, starting with the Shattered Empire comics and the Aftermath novels. 

Oh, one other thing: With Fantasy Flight Games republishing the D6-System Star Wars RPG, I've decided to start dual-statting relevant articles. 

-Nate 


New Republic Intelligence Reports
There's an old saying that “knowledge is power.” Here, in the aftermath of the Battle of Endor, New Republic Intelligence is acting on that belief; it is the hope of High Command that better communication will give us an advantage over the increasingly scattered remnants of the New Order. With that in mind, I have been tasked with transmitting a regular series of reports as updates to officers, soldiers and other agents in the field about this conflict.

-Vor Sendalin, New Republic Intelligence Operative

Vor Sendalin
Type: New Republic Bureaucrat

DEXTERITY 2D
KNOWLEDGE 4D
MECHANICAL 3D
Communications 4D
PERCEPTION 3D+2
Con 5D+2
Investigation 5D+2
Search 4D+2
STRENGTH 2D+1
TECHNICAL 3D
Computer Prog/Rpr 4D

Force Points: 1
Character Points: 5
Move: 10
Equipment: Average clothes, comlink, 175 credits, sporting blaster

Vor Sendalin is a rather nondescript Human male, of medium height and build, with dark hair and eyes—just the sort who can blend in with the crowd in most spaceports. While he has minimal combat training, his vigilant awareness and keen mind allow him to notice details in situations that might escape other beings—abilities that make him a capable intelligence analyst.
Vor Sendalin
This rather nondescript Human male, of medium height and build, has dark hair and eyes—just the sort of being who can blend in with the crowd in most spaceports. While he has minimal combat training, his vigilant awareness and keen mind allow him to notice details in situations that might escape others—abilities that make him a capable intelligence analyst.

Brawn 2 Agility 2 Intellect 3
Cunning 3 Willpower 2 Presence 3

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

Skills: Computers 2, Core 1, Deception 1, Education 1, Negotiation 1, Outer Rim 1, Perception 2, Vigilance 1, Warfare 1

Talents: Codebreaker, Defensive Slicing, Grit

Abilities: One free rank in two non-career skills

Equipment: Clothing, handheld comlink, light blaster pistol, 175 credits, (Ranged—Light; Damage 5; Critical 4; Range [Medium]; Stun setting).



Using Vor Sendalin in a Star Wars RPG Campaign
There are many ways in which this intelligence operative can be used in adventures and campaigns, including the following.
  • Vor Sendalin makes a good regular contact for the PCs, presenting them with information about, and objectives for, various missions.
  • In this way, he serves as an intermediary between the PCs and the NPCs who are in charge.
  • If he was ever given reason for doing so, this operative might decide to spy on the PCs to make sure that they are truly loyal to the New Republic.
  • Should the operative himself ever be turned by the enemy, he would become a real danger to the fledgling New Republic.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Lost Shuttle

This post takes elements from previous articles and combines them for use in adventures during the era of The Force Awakens.

-Nate


The Lost Shuttle
Previous articles have introduced an Imperial Inquisitor named Neza Yerg, a Quarren who traveled the galaxy seeking Force-users who could be recruited for the New Order or eliminated. This article prevents a way that his discoveries can be worked into a campaign during the era of The Force Awakens, via a Lambda-class shuttle lost in the wastes of Jakku.


Shuttle
To find deck plans for the shuttle, the Absolution, refer to the following article on Wookieepedia.


Guardians
Characters who want to explore the secrets of this vessel must deal with at least two different dangers. 

One is the nightwatcher worm that lives in the surrounding sand, feeding on the scraps of metal that fall off of it. It has become territorial of this food source, and thus protects it from interlopers.

The second danger is an IG-100 Magnaguard droid, a holdover from the Clone Wars and one of two that served Neza Yerg as bodyguards. While the Quarren eventually perished, trapped as he was aboard the shuttle buried in the sands, the droid simply entered a state of minimal power usage. What is more, it could connect to the shuttle's own power core, thereby maintaining its functionality. Refer to the Force & Destiny core rulebook to find stats for it.

Secrets
Most interesting, however, is the log that Neza Yerg created. Trapped as he was, the Quarren recorded details from his investigation in case they might later be of service to the Empire.

Obah the Neti
This potential Jedi, in spite of her potential ability, objected to the violence of the Clone Wars, and therefore opted to join the AgriCorps, in which she used her affinity for plant life to help worlds increase the yields of their crops. That was how she avoided Order 66, taking refuge on Corellia. Even so, it seems that she ran afoul of a local criminal named Pel Ontago, and is believed to have been murdered by him. Even so, her remains—and any items related to the Jedi that she might have had in her possession—have still not been found.



Old Lady” Taya
In Coronet City on Corellia lives this ancient Human woman, one who some say can use a deck of sabacc card-chips to read beings' futures. While I never had time to investigate those claims personally—they seemed, after all, to be of little importance to the Galactic Civil War—I include them here for the sake of completeness.



Zer Noloss
It is no secret that the Gand bounty hunters known as Findsmen possess a mystical ability for finding their quarry, one that some claim is a manifestation of the Force. Whether or not that is true, two facts should be noted about this individual: first, he is among the more highly reputed of his kind; and second, some have claimed that his experience in the criminal underworld of the galaxy has caused him to be sympathetic to the Jedi and thus, possibly, to the Rebellion. What is more, it is believed that he has conducted his own investigations into the history and traditions of various Force-users, and thus might possess information of use to the Inqisitorius.



The Loag
While this organization is a long-time enemy of the Jedi Order, it is believed that they might possess information and items taken from felled foes. For that reason, I recommend that the Inquisitorius keep track of its activities, and perhaps even train agents to infiltrate this organization and thus gain access to those secrets.





Ji-Ad Sarain
In the lead-up to the Clone Wars, this Human was a Jedi Knight sent to investigate the criminal organization run by Riboga the Hutt. It seems that he was eventually betrayed and exposed, and as a result was left frozen in carbonite for years. Eventually a group of beings from the Cularin System managed his release, at which point the details of his story become obscured. Some claim that he was taken back to Coruscant for treatment, but records are unreliable following the Separatist invasion of that world.



The Church of the Force
Among all the possible remnants of the old Jedi Order, this one is perhaps the hardest to isolate. That is because its adherents are ordinary beings who revere the ways of the Jedi, but who go about their mundane daily lives. Even so, I believe that I've found evidence of at least two locations connected to them. One is among the scavengers on this very planet, Jakku, while another is protected by the fierce natives of Barab I. Those who follow up on this report should keep in mind that the scavengers are crafty in their chosen environment, and that the Barabel species holds a peculiar and enduring respect for beings associated with the Jedi.







Friday, August 4, 2017

RPGaDAY 2017 Posts

I apologize for the cross-posting, but I'll share my answers to these questions on all three of my current blogs.

Q1: What published RPG do you wish you were playing right now?

A1: Right now I wish that I was playing more of the Star Wars RPGs from Fantasy Flight Games, especially Age of Rebellion. Right now I really only have time for one weekly campaign, however, and so something more familiar to my players has taken priority. We'll see how the 2016-17 school year develops, though.

Q2: What is an RPG you would like to see published?

A2: I would love to see a space fantasy setting for Pathfinder that's in the vein of the old Spelljammer setting for D&D. The new Starfinder setting is interesting, but I'd rather not add so much technology to a fantasy RPG.

Q3: How do you find out about new RPGs?

A3: I regularly visit sites such as ENWorld and RPG.net for my general RPG news, as well as the message boards for Paizo Publishing and Fantasy Flight Games when I'm looking for info about their lines.

Q4: Which RPG have you played the most since August 2016?

A4: The clear winner here is Pathfinder, since I'm playing in a monthly campaign (the Skull & Shackles adventure path) with some college buddies an I just finished up a weekly campaign (a more traditional fantasy campaign loosely set on the Freeport setting's Continent).

Q5: Which RPG cover best captures the spirit of the game?


A5: For me, this is an easy one; the cover for The Concordance of Arcane Space has always been a favorite, capturing the essence of the Spelljammer space fantasy setting for 2nd Edition AD&D


 Q6: You can game every day for a week. Describe what you'd do!

A6: My gut reaction here is to say that I'd gather a group of players, create some OD&D characters, and finish Keep on the Borderlands once and for all. That's something we tried to do a number of times when I was younger—including an epic effort on a snow day in college—but for which we never succeeded.

A more serious answer is to say that I'd run a series using one of the rulebooks that currently sits idle on my shelf. This could include Wonderland No More using the Save Worlds rules, or perhaps Pirates of the Spanish Main using the same. 

 Q7: What was your most impactful RPG session?

A7: When it comes to sessions in which I've played, the most impactful is probably a weekend-long, epic campaign finale to a Spelljammer campaign that my brother ran. He and I, along with two buddies, had been playing in that campaign for more than a year. For the finale, my aunt took us all out to the family cabin, where Nick ran the module Under the Dark Fist. We played for much of Friday night before going to bed, and then for as much of Saturday as we could, before finishing things on Sunday. In addition to being the action-packed conclusion to that campaign, it was the first taste that I had of really epic adventuring—our characters save the Known Galaxy from the Vodyanoi threat, and then were granted demi-god status because of what we'd done. That extended session, to me, set the bar for what RPG campaign finales could, and should, be.

Q8: What is a good RPG to play for session of 2 hours or less?

A8: For me, the first answer that comes to mind is the d6-based Star Wars RPG from West End Games. Although it's been out of print for almost twenty years now, it still strikes me as an excellent rules-light system that really captures the feel of the setting that it's supposed to emulate. While other games can be run in such a way that the rules seem to be “invisible,” that one, to me, still seems like the best.

Q9: What is a good RPG to play for about 10 sessions?

A9: This, to me, seems like a good chance to try out something unusual, or something that's not so well suited to extended campaign play. (Pathfinder or D&D and Star Wars strike me as really well suited to long campaigns, by the way.) I've been wanting to use Savage Worlds for a short series inspired by Ash vs. Evil Dead, for example, or even something based on RoboCop. Those, in my mind, would make for good ten-game series: ones that have a higher possibility of PC fatality. For that reason any incarnation of Call of Cthulhu also comes to mind, even though I don't have much experience with it.

 Q10: Where do you go for RPG reviews?

A10: As mentioned above, I spend a good deal of time on ENWorld and RPG.net. If those don't provide what I want, then I just Google “Title of RPG Review.”

Q11: Which “dead game” would you like to see reborn?

A11: This is an easy one: the D6 version of the Star Wars Roleplaying Game.



 Q12: Which RPG has the most inspiring interior art?

A12: I'll give a shoutout here to the old Al-Qadim campaign setting. The art wasn't fancy, but TSR did a nice job of keeping one artist—Karl Waller—for the whole run of the product line. This established a really consistent feel, and I liked it.


Q13: Describe a game experience that changed how you play.

A13: Running sessions at conventions and for the RPGA had a big impact on how I plan for and run sessions. Much of that comes from the fact that I needed to tell a complete and satisfying story in a four-hour time period, and one in which all of the characters (and thus players) play an active part. That also pushed me to work on my organization and pacing.

Q14: Which RPG do you prefer for open-ended campaign play?

A14: This is a hard one. On the one hand, I think games like Pathfinder and D&D work really well because the level-based system of character advancement makes for really satisfying development. Eventually, however, characters become so powerful that it's hard to challenge them without having character death become all too common.

 Q15: Which RPG do you enjoy adapting the most?

A15: Savage Worlds stands out for this one because of the ease of adaptability for it, and because its “Fast, Furious and Fun” nature makes it a good fit for lots of cinematic genres. I've written some supplements for using it in the Aliens universe, and have been kicking around ideas for Ash vs. Evil Dead and RoboCop, too.

Q16: What RPG do you enjoy using as is?

A16: For me, Pathfinder is the one that just works well in the setting for which it is intended. While the rules become a little cumbersome and slow at really high levels, most campaigns don't run that long.

Q17: Which RPG have you owned the longest but not played?

A17: That award probably goes to the Masterbook system version of The Adventures of Indiana Jones.

Q18: Which RPG have you played the most in your life?

A18: This one is a toss-up between the various incarnations of D&D and Pathfinder, or to the range of Star Wars RPGs. When it comes to Star Wars, I can recall half a dozen D6-System SW campaigns, along with a few using the d20 System (including lots of activity for the Living Force campaign), one for Saga Edition (the Dawn of Defiance series) and a couple for the new system from Fantasy Flight Games. On the other hand, it feels like I've run or played in a D&D/Pathfinder campaign just about every year for the past quarter century: four in the Freeport setting; a massive Spelljammer epic; various hodgepodges of Dungeon Magazine scenarios in junior high and high school; one based on Against the Giants using 3rd edition; two set in ancient Greece; one in Lankhmar; one that ran to 20th level and ended with the Coliseum Morpheuon super-module; and my current one, playing in the Skull & Shackles adventure path. Additionally, I've run most of those systems and editions at conventions, game days and the like. Let's call it a draw at a dozen of each.

Q19: Which RPG features the best writing?

A19: I really enjoyed reading the 1st Edition of the Star Wars RPG from West End Games because the authors included a good deal of humor in their explanations of how the rules worked.

 Q20: What is the best source for out-of-print RPGs?

A20: For pure efficacy, Amazon is probably the best way to find and order them. Even so, I still like to hit the used book stores to peruse the shelves; there's more of a sense of adventure to it.

Q21: What RPG does the most with the least words?

A21: For this one I'll go with the Mini-Six version of the old D6 System, updated by AntiPaladin Games using material from West End Games. The whole booklet is only some twenty pages long, but provides a complete RPG.

Q22: Which RPGs are the easiest for you to run?

A22: My answer for this is the same as for previous ones: either Pathfinder or the D6-System Star Wars.

Q23: Which RPG has the most jaw-dropping layout?

A23: Right now, any full-color RPG is in contention. My collection is not the most diverse, so there are probably a lot of them with really pretty aesthetics of which I'm not aware. Even so, I do recall that the One Ring RPG looked really nice.

Q24: Share a PWYW publisher who should be charging more.

A24: While I don't buy as many PDF products as I used to, one publisher stands out here: Rite Publishing. I know that they have lots of material with normal prices, but their Pathways e-zine has consistently provided quality content for more than sixty issues.

Q25: What is the best way to thank your GM?

A25: For me, having players tell stories from sessions is the highest form of praise. While not every session is memorable—indeed, I think I have forgotten the majority of them—it's the ones that players tell again and again that make me feel like I've done good work.

Q26: Which RPG provides the most useful resources?

A26: I'll go with the various Star Wars RPGs on this one, since they've helped explore and expand that Galaxy Far, Far Away.

 Q27: What are your essential tools for good gaming?

A27: In addition to books, minis, maps and dice, I always have note cards for keeping the initiative order and paper for taking notes. Throw in some poker chips, too, if I'm running Savage Worlds.

Q28: What film/series is the biggest source of quotes in your group?

A28: I'm not sure about this one, since people will quote from many different sources. When we're playing a Star Wars RPG it's usually the clear winner, but beyond that I don't know.

Q29: What has been the best-run Kickstarter you have backed?

A29: Far and away, the Kickstarter for the Sixth Gun RPG went the most smoothly; the book was released on time and is beautiful. Beyond that, one was late, I'm still waiting on one, and one just disappeared. I'll give a shoutout, though, for Buccaneer: Come Hell and High Water and Harlem Unbound, both of which are currently in progress.

Q30: What is an RPG genre-mashup you would most like to see?

A30: I would love to see a mashup of games with various setting and rules, all linked together using a time-traveling and world-spanning plot via Army of Darkness.

Q31: What do you anticipate most for gaming in 2018?

A31: At the risk of being self-serving, I'm excited to run a couple of scenarios at Con of the North in February, 2018, using the Aetherial Adventures material that I've been writing for this blog. I think it's going to be a lot of fun.





Thursday, June 29, 2017

Spoils of War

I've been slow in creating new content recently, but I'm starting to feel some excitement with the approach of Episode VIII. As such, here's a short scenario that's a follow-up (or more of an add-on, really) to "Rescue at Hosnian Prime."

The Spoils of War

-Nate

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Forces of Destiny

I'd heard about this series some months back, and wasn't sure what to think, but now, having seen some of the footage, I'm definitely intrigued. We'll see how it is next week.

-Nate