Sunday, January 31, 2016

Savannah Landing

This post is the first that focuses on material related to Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens


Savannah Landing
The planet Ansion, at first glance, might seem like a backwater agrarian world. The fact that it is situated on the edge of the New Republic, close to its border with First Order territory, however, makes it an important stopover for beings traveling between the two. For more information about that world, refer to the article(s) on Wookieepedia. 

 Savannah Landing consists of little more that a dozen docking bays forming the outside walls of the settlement, rising up to a height of fifteen meters out of the surrounding grassland. Entrance for ground-based traffic is via the broad sets of blast doors in the north and south walls. Each docking bay features broad, secure double doors out front (1). They are little more than open pits with fifteen-meter-high walls (2). Each one does boast a small set of quarters (3) with bunks, a table and chairs and a refresher, along with a small workshop (4) and a storage area (5). In the center of the facility are the two main buildings, the warehouse and the cantina.

 The cantina is dominated by a large, open room filled with tables and chairs (1). There is a long bar on the wall opposite the entrance. Beyond the bar, a door leads back into the kitchen (2), off of which is a pantry (3). A door in back of the kitchen leads to the alleyway behind the cantina. There are also two private rooms (4) to facilitate more intimate gatherings, and a pair of refreshers along each of the other walls (5).

The warehouse has double doors (1) at ground level and on the loading dock (2), along with a personnel entrance along the side. Most of the building is filled with rows of shelving units (3), and there is an employee break area in the back corner (4).


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Looking Back on 2015 and the Dark Times

This has, all in all, been a good year for Star Wars. After all, Episode VII was finally released and it was highly enjoyable. It's also been a year of significant changes, though. For example, back in June or so, I decided to focus on Dark Times-era material for this blog. While I liked the idea at the time, I didn't feel as much inspiration as I'd hoped, and the current direction of the franchise has turned my interest and energy back toward the Original Trilogy and the new one. To that end, I've decided to wrap up the Dark Times writing. As such, here's a link to a PDF compiling that material.


Dark Times PDF

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Loag Assassins

Detailed below are the assassins who make up the Loag organization.


Presented below are some of the characters who can usually be found in the Loag stronghold.

Recruits (Minion)
Brawn 2 Agility 2 Intellect 2
Cunning 2 Willpower 2 Presence 2

Soak: 3
Wound Threshold: 5
Strain Threshold: NA
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills (group only): Brawl, Melee, Ranged—Light, Skulduggery

Talents: None

Abilities: None

Equipment: Armored clothing, blaster pistol, vibroknife

These recruits, while enthusiastic, are still pretty raw as far as their abilities are concerned. Even so, they make formidable foes in numbers, and handle much of the day-to-day maintenance of the organization. Those who demonstrate the most aptitude are selected for further training and, therefore, promotion.

Junior Assassin (Rival)
Brawn 2 Agility 2 Intellect 2
Cunning 2 Willpower 2 Presence 2

Soak: 3
Wound Threshold: 12
Strain Threshold: 12
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills: Athletics 2, Brawl 3, Cool 2, Coordination 2, Deception 2, Melee 3, Perception 2, Ranged—Light 3, Skulduggery 2, Stealth 2, Vigilance 2

Talents: Dodge, Grit, Lethal Blows, Stalker

Abilities: None

Equipment: Heavy clothing, blaster pistol, vibroknife

Those recruits who show particular promise are given extra training and, eventually, sent on missions for the order. They are trusted to act on their own for low-level assignments—those that do not require the attention of a senior assassin.

Senior Assassin (Nemesis)
Brawn 2 Agility 2 Intellect 2
Cunning 2 Willpower 2 Presence 2

Soak: 3
Wound Threshold: 12
Strain Threshold: 12
M/R Defense: 1 / 1

Skills: Athletics 2, Brawl 3, Cool 2, Coordination 2, Deception 2, Melee 3, Perception 2, Ranged—Light 3, Skulduggery 2, Stealth 2, Vigilance 2

Talents: Dedication, Dodge, Grit, Jump Up, Lethal Blows, Quick Draw, Quick Strike, Sniper Shot, Stalker, Targeted Blow

Abilities: None

Equipment: Armored clothing, heavy blaster pistol, vibrosword

The highest-ranking members of the Loag are those who handle only the most difficult assignments, and who of course are most dedicated to the cause of the organization.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Loag Stronghold

On the planet Merisee there lurks a cult of assassins known as the Loag. For many years they carried out paid acts of murder with virtual impunity, until the Jedi Order decided to put an end to its activities. Six Jedi were sent to do so; it took a year, and three who were sent did not return. Even so, the Loag were broken...

...until the rise of the Galactic Empire, that is. Now that Emperor Palpatine's New Order has seized control of the galaxy, the Loag are reestablishing themselves. While some of their number wish to remain secretive, others want to make a more blatant statement to the rest of the galaxy. For more information about the history of the Loag, refer to Wookieepedia.

The Stronghold
Refer to the appropriate map for the following area descriptions.

1. Stairwell
Trapdoors concealed in the floors of two meditation rooms from the thinking garden provide access to the stairwells; finding them accidentally requires a daunting Perception check.

2. Refresher
These rooms are simple but contain the expected amenities.

3. Storage
Each of these rooms is stocked with extra linens, replacement light fixtures, spare furniture and the like.

4. Hallway
These L-shaped passages are lined with old-fashioned wooden doors sealed by mechanical locks; the residents possess the keys for them.

5. Junior Assassins' Quarters
Young members of the organization who've begun pursuing missions for the cult are given private quarters as a sign of rank and privilege; their rooms are furnished with a plain but comfortable bed, a storage locker (usually kept beneath the bed) and a desk and chair.

6. Senior Assassins' Quarters
In addition to the amenities found in the quarters of their underlings, these rooms also boast wardrobes and more space.

7. Mess Hall
The broad tables and benches in this room provide seating for at least two dozen beings.

8. Neophytes' Barracks
Before they have proven their commitment to the organization, new recruits are housed in these rooms that are lined with bunks.

9. Armory
This room is sealed with a durasteel door secured by an alpha-numeric keypad. Its walls are lined with shelves containing blaster pistols and rifles, body armor, vibrodaggers, grenades and other tools of the trade used by the assassins.

10. Kitchen
Sinks, stovetops and ovens, cabinets of cooking supplies and food preparation tables line the walls of this room, and the odor of meat and spices is constant.

11. Pantry
The shelves that line this room's walls are filled with boxes, cartons and jars containing all manner of foodstuffs.

12. Cook's Quarters
Although not technically of equal rank with the senior assassins, the cook—a Besalisk named Juk Laryn—enjoys private quarters similar to theirs, located just off of the kitchen.

13. Prisoners' Cells
Old-fashioned durasteel manacles hang from the walls of these chambers, while drains in the floor allow them to be cleaned of their inhabitants' accumulated filth.

14. Torture Chamber
A broad table occupies the center of this chamber, one to which unwilling guests can be secured with manacles. There is a strange smell in the area, one caused by the assassins' favorite method of torture—the burning.

15. Library
Walls lined with shelves that hold datacards and readers, holocubes and even some old-fashioned printed lexicons are the most notable feature of this room, along with tables and chairs in the middle of it. There is also a secret entrance to the stronghold's vault, which requires a daunting Perception check to notice and a secret code, or a daunting Skulduggery check, to access.

16. Grand Master's Quarters
Although little different from the quarters for the senior assassins or the cook, this room houses the Grand Master for this sect of the Loag.

17. Secret Vault
The Loag cult stores its most valuable treasures here.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Shrine of Kooroo

Following the end of the Clone Wars, Emperor Palpatine's New Order began a systematic purge not only of any remaining adherents to the Jedi Order, but also of other sects that studied the ways of the Force. Even so, beings throughout the galaxy struggled to prevent the eradication of all teachings, and even sought out like-minded individuals with whom to share their knowledge. In doing so, one of the groups they studied was the Followers of Kooroo. While some dismissed these mystics as dupes or frauds, others recognized the power contained in their mysterious shrines.

The Shrines of Kooroo are located throughout the galaxy's Outer Rim, usually found on worlds with little major development. Examples include those on Gelgelar and Vaynai, along with Hafrinn, Branteez, Suffez and Boztrok. Each shrine consists of three levels, with the first two enclosed and the top one open. Internal features vary, with some boasting inscriptions and artwork. Some also have obelisks or standing stones surrounding them. 

The shrine depicted here is built from neatly fitted stone blocks. It is accessible via broad wooden double doors on the ground floor. Eight columns support the upper levels, and stairs lead upward. When the doors are closed, this level is shrouded in darkness. The middle level features four large windows, with shutters that can be closed against inclement weather. The top level is surrounded by a railing and covered by a narrow roof, but otherwise open.

Using the Shrine of Kooroo in an Edge of the Empire Campaign
Detailed here are some of the ways in which this shrine and its secrets can be used in adventures on the galactic fringe.
  • Most notably, the shrine serves to amplify the effects of Force powers such as Foresee or Seek. Rather than defining this in terms of game mechanics, however, interpretation of what happens is left up to the GM. This might include magnitude, range, strength and duration upgrades.
  • A mystic who hopes to use the shrine to find like-minded individuals could hire the PCs to make the journey here.
  • The PCs could be led to this location as part of a treasure hunt, with a series of clues leading them to it.
  • In the event that they found a previously undiscovered shrine of Kooroo, the PCs could be in for some lucrative business—but they could also draw the unwanted attention from greedy beings such as the Hutts, or even the wrath of the Empire. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Pirate Hideout

In the event that the PCs need to pursue the pirates back to their lair, they can find them in the following camp. 

The Hideout
The pirates' lair is located along the edge of a wooded cliff face. It is a relatively simple affair, tucked in among the foliage of Myrkr. It is built from prefabricated structures, all of which are covered by a sensor-obstructing, camouflage cover (A). There is a broad, open area in the middle, where the Solar Wind can be parked. Surrounding that area are two sets of crew quarters (B), each boasting bunks, tables and chairs, and refereshers. There's also a mess hall (C), outfitted with more tables and chairs, a simple but complete kitchen, and dry and cold storage areas. Finally, any loot and other valuables are stored in the warehouse and shop (D).

In addition to Gran guards, the pirates also keep a pair of tamed vornskrs to help in patrolling the area.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Filling in the Blanks (Pirate Attack!)

Presented here are a few suggestions for putting the PCs into the middle of a pirate attack, using the guidelines presented in a previous article and the pirates of the Solar Wind.

In this case, the target is a debutante from Eriadu named Caryss Fien. She is the heir apparent to the Fien Industries fortune, a young Human woman who has grown up in privilege but who also has a sense of adventure. Indeed, it is that latter quality that has, ultimately, led her into this situation. While her father, Cayess Fien, has consented to have her marry the son of another noble family, Caryss has fallen in love with a dashing rogue (and Rebel sympathizer) named Gel Ontavu. That is why she has arranged a clandestine rendezvous with him aboard the luxury liner Pride of Ryloth. What Caryss doesn't know is that her loyal retainer and bodyguard, Jal Sorn, has betrayed her to Atisako Fellum and the pirates of the Solar Wind in order to claim an easy profit and teach her a lesson about fidelity to her family.

Caryss Fien, the Debutante (Rival)
Brawn 2 Agility 2 Intellect 2
Cunning 2 Willpower 2 Presence 3

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

Skills: Charm 2, Computers 1, Coordination 1, Core Worlds 1, Deception 2, Education 1, Negotiation 1, Perception 1, Vigilance 1

Talents: Dodge, Grit, Inspiring Rhetoric, Kill with Kindness

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

Equipment: Stylish clothing, hold-out blaster, comlink, 5000 credits

While Caryss Fien has grown up with an easy life—wealth, servants, privilege and all of that—she has not entirely embraced her circumstances. Since she was a young girl she has wondered if there isn't something more to it all. That is why she has spent much of her time (too much, if you ask Jal Sorn) hanging out in questionable cantinas, associating with those beings who have to work for a living. This is how she first met Gel Ontavu, a dashing Corellian mercenary and, as it were, scoundrel. Although she was at first smitten with this rogue, their love for each other has grown into something fast and true. Because of her father's disapproval, however, Caryss had been forced to meet with her paramour in secret, such as arranging a rendezvous aboard the luxury liner Pride of Ryloth. What she doesn't know is that her bodyguard and servant, Jal Sorn, has betrayed her itinerary to a band of Gran pirates.

Gel Ontavu, the Paramour (Rival)
Brawn 3 Agility 3 Intellect 2
Cunning 2 Willpower 2 Presence 2

Soak: 3
Wound Threshold: 13
Strain Threshold: 12
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills: Athletics 1, Brawl 2, Cool 1, Coordination 1, Melee 1, Perception 1, Ranged—Light 2, Resilience 1, Stealth 1, Survival 1, Vigilance 2

Talents: Basic Combat Training, Outdoorsman, Second Wind x2

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

Equipment: Clothing, blaster pistol, comlink

Some beings have it easy in life; Gel Ontavu is not one of them. He's had to fight for everything that is his, working as a mercenary in various conflicts throughout the galaxy. These experiences have left him with a plethora of stories, however, ones that he is happy to tell in any cantina that he visits. This is what first brought him to the attention of Caryss Fien, a young Eriadu noble who eagerly ate up such tales. Admittedly, at first she was no more than a dalliance for him. After a while, though, he began to admire the fire of her spirit, stifled as it was by her noble upbringing. That is why Gel has continued to spend time with her, such as this meeting aboard the Pride of Ryloth.

Captain Seathi Oom, Twi'lek Proprietor (Rival)
Brawn 1 Agility 2 Intellect 2
Cunning 2 Willpower 2 Presence 3

Soak: 1
Wound Threshold: 11
Strain Threshold: 13
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills: Astrogation 1, Charm 2, Computers 1, Core Worlds 1, Gunnery 1, Lore 1, Mechanics 1, Negotiation 3, Outer Rim 1, Perception 2, Piloting—Space 2

Talents: Rapid Recovery, Sound Investments

Abilities: Free rank in Charm or Deception; remove setback die caused by hot, arid environments

Equipment: Stylish clothing, light blaster pistol, datapad, comlink; 10,000 credits in private cabin

Seathi Oom wants nothing more in life than to make sure that the passengers aboard his luxury liner, the Pride of Ryloth, enjoy their journey to the utmost. While some might think of him as little more than a simpering sycophant, the Twi'lek takes it all in stride. After all, he can boast a comfortable position that brings him into contact with the galaxy's most noteworthy and influential beings. That beats being a slave to a Hutt crime boss, doesn't it?

Starship Personnel (Minions)
Brawn 2 Agility 2 Intellect 1
Cunning 1 Willpower 1 Presence 1

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

Skills (Group only): Astrogation, Gunnery, Piloting—Space

Talents: None

Abilities: None

Equipment: Uniforms, blaster pistols

These crew members are generally friendly and competent enough—until real trouble starts.

Jal Sorn, the Betrayer (Rival)
Brawn 3 Agility 2 Intellect 2
Cunning 3 Willpower 1 Presence 2

Soak: 3
Wound Threshold: 15
Strain Threshold: 12
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills: Athletics 1, Brawl 2, Cool 2, Deception 1, Melee 1, Perception 2, Ranged—Light 2, Skulduggery 1, Stealth 1, Vigilance 2

Talents: Durable, Grit, Toughened

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

Equipment: Blaster pistol, brass knuckles, comlink

Jal Sorn has served the Fien family of Eriadu for many years. In fact, without their patronage, he would be nothing. That is why he finds the dalliance of the family's heir, Caryss, to be such an egregious offense. She has taken to dating a Corellian mercenary, and has had the gall to ask him to help her conceal the affair. Knowing that no good can come of such a relationship, and seeing an opportunity to line his own pockets, Jal has contacted a band of pirates known as the Solar Wind. He has provided them with hyperspace coordinates at which they can intercept the luxury liner, and thus take its passengers hostage. In this way, he hopes to show Caryss—when her father pays the ransom for her, while her paramour fails to protect her—where her loyalties truly should lie.

Other NPCs?
This is also a good chance for the GM to introduce other NPCs for future use, ones who don't play a major role here but who could become important in the future.

As mentioned in the preceding character descriptions, the pirates stage this attack based on a tip from Jal Sorn. While their interest in this business is purely financial, the matter could become more complicated if the motivations of Caryss Fien, Gel Ontavu and Jal Sorn come into play. Moreover, Atisako Fellum is something of a wild card in this business. Clever characters could take advantage of these uncertainties in order to turn the tide of battle.

Where and When?
There are two answers to each of these questions. Given that this business started on Eriadu, a good option is further along the Rimma Trade Route into Elrood Sector. That sector boasts a large nebula, known as the Drift—a good place to stage an attack without attracting unwanted attention. Perhaps the best time for it, as far as Fien and Ontavu are concerned, is when the ship is approaching the end of its voyage from Eriadu out to that sector.
The ship aboard which this action takes place is a Starwind pleasure yacht, the Pride of Ryloth (see page 264 of the core rulebook for details)s. Check out Wookieepedia to find deck plans for it:

This provides a large vessel in which there is plenty of opportunity for movement, separation, and thus drama. In the same way, allowing the PCs to spend some time interacting with others aboard the ship can also help them become more invested in the action. For example:
  • There might be a game of sabacc, involving one or more of the PCs along with the captain, Gel Ontavu and Jal Sorn. During this time, the PCs could make Perception checks opposed to Sorn's Deception effort to realize that he really doesn't like the Rebel.
  • During other interactions, a political discussion could erupt, providing a chance for characters to learn more about each other.
  • One of the PCs might stumble into Gel and Caryss during a private moment, and therefore learn of their affair.
  • During a momentary drop out of hyperspace, to plot a jump around an asteroid belt, the Pride of Ryloth becomes infested with mynocks; one or more PCs could become involved in blasting them off of the ship's hull, and thereby becoming familiar with the vessel and its crew.

What and How?
When it does happen, the attack is abrupt and jarring. One moment, the Pride of Ryloth is cruising through the mottle backdrop of hyperspace; the next, it is rocked by mechanical convulsions and dragged back into realspace. In game terms, treat this as a major collision (see page 242 of the core rulebook for details). At that point, depending on the outcome of the two critical hits, the ship's lights flicker, alarms sound, and the PCs can react.

This is also when the pirates make their move. While the Solar Wind looms in the distance, the two Z-95 Headhunters move in to attack. Their goal is to beat the Pride of Ryloth into submission, hoping to salvage as much as possible from it. At this point it is impossible to know how the situation will develop, but here are suggestions for some of the possibilities.
  • The first part of this conflict is a space battle. While the yacht's crew responds to this crisis with admirable effort, some of the PCs are likely much better qualified for handling it. To that end, they may need to push their way into taking control of the pilot's console or the gunwells in order to do so.
  • Mechanically apt characters can help by making their way to the ship's engineering section to help with repairs.
  • If the pirates can beat their prey into submission, then the Solar Wind moves in to claim the prize. To that end, pirates in vacuum suits and gravity boots disperse onto the hull, heading for the upper airlock and the passenger boarding ramp. Characters who make average Perception checks can notice the two separate groups.
  • At that point a lightfight erupts. The PCs might want to stall in order to complete repairs, or they could try to repel the boarders once and for all.
  • The varied nature of the compartments aboard the Starwind pleasure yacht provide many opportunities for exciting action. To that end, the GM and players are encouraged to interpret Advantage and Threat in creative ways, and perhaps even to invoke Destiny Points in order to use elements of the setting that can influence the tide of battle.
  • In the event that the pirates claim victory, they search for as much loot as possible. What is more, they decide to take Caryss Fien as a hostage, hoping to ransom her back to her family. Gel Ontavu tries to prevent this, if he can.
  • Given that Atisako Fellum fancies himself a swordsman, one of the PCs might succeed at challenging him to a personal duel.
  • Jal Sorn acts as something of a wild card-chip during these developments. While he does not want to take direct action, he might try to help the pirates if he can do so without attracting attention to himself. The GM should use him when the moment is right for doing so.

Should the pirates win the day, they take their loot and their captive and fly away. That leaves the Pride of Ryloth's crew to pick up the pieces, make repairs and head for the nearest port. In that case, the PCs could have a shot at revenge by undertaking an assignment for Caryss's father to stage a rescue, should he decide not to pay the ransom.

On the other hand, if the PCs can turn the tide against the pirates, they find themselves facing an excellent opportunity. After all, they could claim the Solar Wind for themselves, perhaps even going into the pirating business. Should that be the case, Gel Ontavu has some ideas of an emplyer who'd be happy to pay for their services.

Finally, it could always happen that the PCs turn away the pirates, but that Atisako Fellum and his band live to fight another day. In that case, the Gran pirates can become a recurring enemy for the heroes, turning up during other adventures at inopportune times (but ones that can make for complicated, and therefore exciting, moments).