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



Monday, April 17, 2017

Hints and Allegations, Part 2

In a previous post (linked below), I speculated about some of the possible connections between kyber crystals, the planet Ilum and the group of beings known as the Whills. Now that the trailer for The Last Jedi has been released, I have a few more ideas.

Hints and Allegations

1. I finished reading Ahsoka. While it provides a little more information about Ilum, there's not a whole lot of detail with which to work. It seems that the Empire stripmined that planet, but we still don't know with any certainty if it was converted into Starkiller Base. My gut tells me yes, but my brain can't corroborate that.

2. Do we finally see the Journal of the Whills in the trailer for The Last Jedi? A couple of different articles online tipped me off to that possibility. Given the reference to it in the novelization of The Force Awakens, and the fact that Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus are described as former Guardians of the Wills in Rogue One, my money here again is on yes.

3. The end of the novel Aftermath: Empire's End introduces a big, fancy computer in a hidden facility on Jakku that the Emperor was using to plot expeditions into the Unknown Regions. What is more, the beings who seemed destined to found the First Order were headed into that area at the end of the novel. It seems clear that this is where we'll see the base of operations to which Supreme Leader Snoke orders General Hux and Kylo Ren to return. It's curious that we don't see any of them in the new trailer, though.

4. What's not so clear is the possible connection between the Chiss species in general, and Grand Admiral Thrawn in particular, to activity in the Unknown Regions. Timothy Zahn explored that in his novel Outbound Flight, so I wonder if the creative team from Lucasfilm is bring back some of those elements along with the blue-skinned, red-eyed, art-loving officer.

5. In Aftermath: Empire's End there's also a reference to a ship called the Eclipse. This seems like a throwback to the old Dark Empire comics, in which the Eclipse was a Star Destroyer that put even Super Star Destroyers to shame.

6. Finally, the new trailer includes Luke's line about the Jedi needing to end. Could this be a reference to the Jedi Order's old rule of celibacy that caused so much trouble for Anakin Skywalker? That may be a stretch, but it could be his intention to create a new organization in which Force-users are more integral parts of their communities. Could that, then, be the notion of bringing balance to the Force?

I'll add: One of the biggest questions about Episode VII is that of Rey's heritage. Maybe the "New Jedi Order" will be one in which Force-users can raise their own children, instead of turning them over to a monastic order?

This is all, of course, speculation. If you have feedback or ideas of your own, then please share them as comments.

-Nate

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Last Jedi

Things have been a little slow on this blog for a while. Part of that is due to school, and part of it is from me focusing more attention on my nautical/space fantasy blog. Another factor, though, is the fact that I'd like to focus more on the Awakened Era of Star Wars, and that's been slow in developing.

We finally had the first trailer for Episode VIII, and it has me excited.



-Nate


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Legends of the Galaxy

For those who are interested in organized play--that is, finding places to play where there are regular RPG events, steady groups of players and GMs, and an ongoing storyline--you should check out the group Legends of the Galaxy. The website has rules for playing in the campaign, an event calendar, resources for players and GMs, a messageboard, and more.

Legends of the Galaxy

I'll add a shoutout to Nicholas J. Montgomery for putting in a lot of work to start this organization.

-Nate