Wednesday, October 15, 2014

T'Landa Til Bathhouse

A favorite meeting place on Nal Hutta, for Hutts and offworlders alike, is Vius's Bathhouse. Run by a T'landa Til whose name graces the facade, it boasts facilities that appeal to the tastes of his own species, the dominant Hutts, and others. For that reason—and because Vius's staff provides other services for the pleasures of guests—it is now a favorite place for up-and-coming criminal types to meet with clients or employees and make their deals.



The Bathhouse
This building is two stories in height, although it has but one level. The lock on the front door is of relatively poor quality—requiring only an average Skulduggery check to bypass—since Vius doesn't believe that anyone would want to break into the place. It has windows, although they are tall, narrow and clouded so as to prevent entry or spying on the guests and their activities.

1. Entry
The bathhouse's small lobby boasts a pair of settees for guests who are resting, along with a desk attended by a receptionist.

2. Locker Room
Small changing stations fill the walls of this room; they have benches for seating and full refreshers units. There are also lockers in which guests can store their items.

3. Main Pools
Eight meters in diameter, there are four of these pools—one each filled with cool and warm mud and cool and hot water. These are the areas available without special arrangements.

4. Private Pools
Those guests who pay the credits necessary can arrange for service in one of these private rooms. That kind of money also brings special attention from the serving staff, which is why those who wish to do business here often pay the required price.

5. Utility Room
A control station here regulates the flow of hot and cold water to the various pools, and can also be used to drain them in cases of an emergency.


The Staff
Presented below are some of the NPCs who can generally be found in the bathhouse.

Vius, T'landa Til Proprietor (Rival)
Brawn 4 Cunning 2 Presence 2
Agility 1 Intellect 2 Willpower 2

Soak: 4
Wound Threshold: 14
Strain Threshold: 12
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills: Athletics 1, Charm 1, Deception 1, Lore 1, Medicine 1, Negotiation 1, Outer Rim 1, Perception 3, Resilience 2, Streetwise 1, Survival 1, Underworld 2, Vigilance 1, Xenology 1

Talents: Greased Palms, Rapid Recovery, Sound Investments, Throwing Credits

Abilities: None

Equipment: Light clothing, comlink

Vius is a shrewd business manager, but even more importantly, he likes feeling good. He also likes his guests to feel good, and so he does everything in his power to help make that happen. Sure, he also keeps his ears open for any useful tidbits of information; he claims it's just so he can best meet his clients' needs but, if he happens to benefit from such details, too, he's okay with that. He's not terribly ambitious, however.


Okisir, Houk Masseur (Rival)
Brawn 4 Cunning 1 Presence 2
Agility 2 Intellect 2 Willpower 1

Soak: 4
Wound Threshold: 14
Strain Threshold: 12
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills: Athletics 2, Brawl 3, Coercion 2, Cool 1, Discipline 1, Medicine 1, Melee 2, Perception 1, Resilience 2, Vigilance 1, Xenology 2

Talents: Crippling Blow, Defensive Stance, Disorient, Improved Stunning Blow, Stunning Blow

Abilities: None

Equipment: Light clothing, massage oils, towel

Okisir is smart. He knows how to use other species' anatomy, both to make them feel good and to cause them pain. In addition to being a sought-after masseur in the facility, he also acts as the enforcer. That latter service isn't often needed, but when it is he performs the task with ruthless efficiency and even relishes it. In truth, he's rather sadistic, and given to hedonism, too.


Serving Staff (Minions)
Brawn 2 Cunning 1 Presence 2
Agility 2 Intellect 1 Willpower 1

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

Skills (group only): Charm, Perception

Talents: None

Abilities: None

Equipment: Light clothing

These beings are selected from the species that many beings find appealing—Humans and Twi'leks especially. After all, Vius believes that this improves the atmosphere of the bathhouse. He's alwo willing to broker special attention from the staff for guests who will pay the price. Some of the staff don't mind performing such services, while others are eager to find some other kind of opportunity in life.


Using the Bathhouse in an Edge of the Empire Campaign
This location can be incorporated in a campaign in many different ways; a few of the possibilities are detailed here.
  • As mentioned above, some beings like to conduct business meetings here. Of course, rivals might try to spy on those interactions.
  • Given the nature of the place, an assassin could choose this location for taking out a dangerous opponent.
  • In the aftermath of a murder, the PCs could be hired to find the killer and bring him/her/it to justice.
  • A staff member might overhear an important secret and bring it to the PCs, either because he/she/it wants to take advantage of the information, or seeking help because he/she/it is being pursued for having learned of it.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Synergy

This is just a quick note to mention what you've probably already noticed. I've added a list of other Edge of the Empire blogs as a gadget on this one; hopefully this'll create some inter-blog traffic.

-Nate


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Two More Reviews

Coming out of the work day today, I expected to finish reading A New Dawn and then to review it for this blog. I was very pleasantly surprised, therefore, to read online that the first regular episode of Rebels was available via iTunes. Because of that unexpected development, I have two reviews to share today.

Star Wars: A New Dawn
I'll start with the novel first, since it acts as a prequel to the TV series. This one particularly intrigued me because it is the first book to be published since Disney's implementation of a new Star Wars publishing canon.

As a quick aside, I have mixed feelings about the relegation of the existing Expanded Universe novels and comics to “Legends” status. Over the past thirty-five years I've spent a lot of time reading EU literature. Some of the books and comics I have really enjoyed. On the other hand, some of them have made me downright angry. When it has come to running Star Wars RPG campaigns, I've decided to cherry-pick the elements that I like, while leaving out those that don't sit well with me. This makes me more willing to accept the change, since it is essentially what the story group is doing as the new EU moves forward.

With that said, I enjoyed A New Dawn. While the plot was rather complicated, and only really became clear late in the book, I enjoyed the characters. I also liked the fact that, with two exceptions, I didn't know who might live or die. The two exceptions are, of course, Hera and Kanan, who I know will survive to star in the new TV series. Other characters were likable, too, but were open to suffering harm since they're not established members of the canon. I also enjoy John Jackson Miller's writing style, along with his approach of focusing on a small part of the galaxy for this story. Most notably, however, was the fact that the action in the story kept it moving; I could easily imagine this novel playing out as an Edge of the Empire session—albeit it complicated one.

Star Wars: Rebels—“Droids in Distress”
I don't think it's a spoiler to mention that two familiar mechanosapients make an appearance in this episode. I also liked the smaller homages to the original trilogy, details such as a familiar model of landspeeder, droids based on Ralph McQuarrie's original sketches, and the fact that Kanan's blaster looks like the one that Kenner packaged with the Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight Outfit action figure. Those details aside, this episode provided an engaging story; more importantly, it also provided interesting character development. We received some insight into Zeb's story, making him more than just the heavy who can tear it up during a brawl.


I also enjoyed the Firefly-esque vibe of how the crew seems to be living. While we know that they're going to fight the good fight, and take it to the Empire, they also need credits with which to feed themselves and keep the Ghost flying. To that end they're looking for jobs, and that adds extra plot hooks. Like the Edge of the Empire core rulebook suggests, it's good to keep the characters hungry.

The series is pretty to see, picking up with a developing style of animation right where Clone Wars ended. Most notably, there's a surprise cameo at the end of the episode which leaves me wondering how this thing is going to develop in the future, and excited to see the possibilities.

-Nate


Monday, October 6, 2014

Space Slugs

Also known as exomorphs, these creatures occupy asteroid fields and other such places that provide a food source for them. Their unique metabolisms allow them to draw nutrients from both organic material, such as preying upon mynocks, and from inorganic things like starships. They are also unusual in that, while most are around ten meters in length, some can be large enough to swallow starships (if one believes the spacers' tales).

Refer to the Wookieepedia article Exomorph to find more information about these curious lifeforms.

Examples
Presented below are three different stat blocks for space slugs, varying according to size. Remember that rules for differences in silhouette apply when they are attacking targets which are smaller or larger than they.

Typical Space Slug (Rival)
Brawn 4 Cunning 2 Presence 2
Agility 1 Intellect 1 Willpower 1

Soak: 6
Wound Threshold: 16
Strain Threshold: 11
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills: Brawl 3, Perception 2, Resilience 3, Stealth 1, Survival 2, Vigilance 2

Talents: None

Abilities: Vacuum Dweller (as per the mynock, on page 413 of the core rulebook); Energy Parasite (as per the mynock, but it must swallow the target whole in order to digest it); Silhouette 4

Equipment: None


Giant Space Slug (Rival)
Brawn 5 Cunning 2 Presence 2
Agility 1 Intellect 1 Willpower 1

Soak: 8
Wound Threshold: 19
Strain Threshold: 11
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills: Brawl 4, Perception 2, Resilience 3, Stealth 1, Survival 2, Vigilance 2

Talents: None

Abilities: Vacuum Dweller (as per the mynock, on page 413 of the core rulebook); Energy Parasite (as per the mynock, but it must swallow the target whole in order to digest it); Silhouette 6

Equipment: None


Legendary Space Slug (Rival)
Brawn 6 Cunning 2 Presence 2
Agility 1 Intellect 1 Willpower 1

Soak: 10
Wound Threshold: 22
Strain Threshold: 11
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills: Brawl 4, Perception 2, Resilience 3, Stealth 1, Survival 2, Vigilance 2

Talents: None

Abilities: Vacuum Dweller (as per the mynock, on page 413 of the core rulebook); Energy Parasite (as per the mynock, but it must swallow the target whole in order to digest it); Silhouette 6

Equipment: None


Using Space Slugs in an Edge of the Empire Campaign
These creatures can be incorporated in a campaign in many different ways; a few of the possibilities are detailed here.
  • First and foremost, they can be natural hazards if and when the PCs venture into an asteroid field.
  • The PCs could be called upon to rescue the crew of a ship that is being slowly digested in one of these creatures' bellies.
  • Legend has it that a pirate ship fought a battle to the death with one of these beasts, and that the booty in its hold is ripe for the taking—provided somebody deals with the space slug first.
  • A mad genius could try to turn these things into living weapons.



Silhouette
Reference Chart
0—Astromech
1—Human
2—Speeder Bike
3—Speeder Truck
4—Lambda Shuttle
5—Bulk Transport
6—Escort Frigate
7—Dreadnought
8—Star Destroyer



Sunday, October 5, 2014

Rebels Review

Since I was out of town from Friday through Sunday, I wasn't able to watch the first episode of Star Wars Rebels until this evening.

I loved it.

What is more, I think it can serve as a template for Edge of the Empire/Age of Rebellion/Force and Destiny campaigns.

Prior to watching the episode, I read parts of the review on TheForce.net. In particular, there's one comment on that website that stood out to me:

By focusing on a small team in a small region of space, Rebels promises
to show us the Star Wars galaxy as we've never seen it before.”

I disagree, and here's why. My friends and I have been seeing the Star Wars galaxy that way on a weekly basis, on and off, for the past twenty-five years. This is exactly the scope and magnitude that I've tried to capture in RPG campaigns from D6 to D20 to now. The heroes make important contributions, admittedly on a smaller scale than that of the characters from the films, but ones that are meaningful and urgent in their own way.

What is more, the party of characters in Rebels fits RPG campaigns to a T. They have diverse personalities, backgrounds, motivations and abilities, but they come together to fight the good fight. Even though they disagree with each other, they overcome that in order to accomplish their objectives.

I, for one, enjoyed the first episode, and I look forward to this show having a long run.


-Nate

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Old Asteroid Mine

For those who have the ability to harvest it, asteroids can provide a source of considerable mineral wealth. For that reason, there are tens of thousands of these catacombed rocks drifting through space. One fairly typical example is described below.



The Mine
Approaching the asteroid mine is a feat in and of itself. To do so, a pilot must first navigate the field, avoiding collisions with rocks big and small, and then match a ship's trajectory to the tumbling motion of the asteroid. Each of these requirements is handled through a Piloting—Space check, with the difficulty determined by the GM. Success allows the pilot to park the ship and attach via a landing claw, while failure causes damage as mentioned above.

1. Entrance
A six-meter-wide hole provides access to the asteroid's interior. At the GM's discretion, this could be covered with a camouflage tarp that requires a hard Perception check to be identified as a fake. Given the narrow nature of the opening, ships are forced either to hover nearby (a daunting challenge given the movement of the asteroid) or to dock with it, as detailed above.

2. Main Chamber
This broad chamber is almost twenty meters in width and depth, and it has a ceiling that rises to fifteen meters in height. The floor is covered in a fine rock dust, allowing characters to make hard Survival checks to determine if others have passed through the area recently. Additionally, the floor of the chamber is strewn with broken power-drill bits and similar debris from when the mine was active.

3. Tunnels
These branching passages could hold all sorts of surprises, as detailed below. Given the lack of air in them, no sounds can be heard. There is less dust here, too, meaning that tracking individuals requires a daunting Survival check. Beyond that, the things they might contain is left to the discretion of the GM.


R2-D4
Brawn 2 Cunning 2 Presence 1
Agility 1 Intellect 3 Willpower 1

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

Skills: Astrogation 2, Computers 3, Cool 1, Deceit 2, Mechanics 3, Perception 2, Pilot 2, Ranged (Light) 2, Skulduggery 2, Stealth 1, Streetwise 1, Vigilance 1

Talents: Bypass Security

Abilities: Inorganic, Mechanical Being

Equipment: Integral blaster pistol, hidden storage compartment, standard R2 unit features

One possible inhabitant of the old asteroid mine is R2-D4, an astromech droid that was left behind when some of the asteroid's previous visitors departed without taking a head (or dome) count. This unfortunate mechanosapient, whether it be from exposure to neutrinos without the benefit of an atmosphere or long times for processing without other sentient interaction, is now a little... not... right... in the CPU. In game terms, whenever the droid suffers a Despair result, a malfunction occurs. Resolve this issue by rolling d100 and consulting the following table.

d100 Result
Behavior
01% - 25%
R2-D4 acts normally.
26% - 50%
R2-D4 does nothing but babble incoherently in Binary. (The GM can have some fun making up nonsensical statements from the droid, perhaps sprinkled with an actual clue to an important secret in its memory banks.)
51% - 75%
R2-D4 attempts a Brawl attack against itself, an easy task that is sure to incur damage.
76% - 100%
R2-D4 attempts a Brawl attack against the character nearest to it.


Using the Asteroid Mine in an Edge of the Empire Campaign
This location can be incorporated in a campaign in many different ways; a few of the possibilities are detailed here.
  • The PCs could use the mine as a rendezvous point for transferring illegal cargoes or other such illicit business.
  • Alternately, the PCs could find something that somebody else has stashed here, something valuable or important enough that it tempts them to take it.
  • The place could be just filthy with mynocks.
  • If it is actively being mined, the PCs could be nearby when an accident occurs; they are called upon to stage a rescue.
  • If they manage to find it, the droid R2-D4 could pose a threat, or could become an unpredictable companion.
  • This unfortunate droid could provide hooks for other possible plots, since it could have been stranded on this rock since the Force only knows how long. This could include secret criminal Rebel, or even Separatist information.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Secure Storage Facility

For many beings in the galaxy, life is a transient thing. Job opportunities can take them from planet to planet, often with little or no notice. When those individuals need a place to keep their belongings, they can look to a facility like Tonis Luruk's.



The Facility
A meter-thick, four-meter-high duracrete wall surrounds the facility. The only entrance is a broad gate in the front of the facility (1); it boasts an alphanumeric keypad for customers to access, along with security cameras. The main office (2) is a low building in the front of the compound. In addition to Luruk's desk (A), it has a break area for the workers (B), a room for storing records (C), a storage closet (D) and a refresher (E). Workers who are not on patrol can monitor the security cameras in the break area.

The storage units are divided into buildings based on size. Small ones (3) are four meters square and of a matching height, while medium (4) and large ones (5) have dimensions of six and eight meters, respectively. All of the buildings require a common code for their entrance doors, along with individual codes for individual units. Bypassing a lock requires a hard Skulduggery check, and there's always the chance of being seen on the aforementioned security cameras.


Personnel
Detailed below are some of the characters who can generally be found in the facility.

Tonis Luruk, Ugnaught Entrepreneur (Rival)
Brawn 2 Cunning 3 Presence 2
Agility 1 Intellect 3 Willpower 2

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

Skills: Computers 1, Leadership 2, Mechanics 2, Melee 1, Negotiation 3, Perception 2, Ranged—Light 1, Resilience 2, Vigilance 1

Talents: Grit, Rapid Recovery, Sound Investments, Throwing Credits, Wheel and Deal

Abilities: One free rank in Mechanics or Negotiation; add Advantage to Resilience checks; Silhouette of 0

Equipment: Heavy clothing, blaster pistol, comlink, datapad, truncheon

Tonis Luruk is a respected business-being in the Ugnaught community. While that might not seem like a lot, he sees it as his duty to look out for his fellows, and to keep the trust of his clientele. To those ends he is a no-nonsense individual. He suspects that employees of the Hutts move illegal goods through his facility, but as long as they don't cause trouble for him, he doesn't pry into their business.


Ugnaught Workers (Minions)
Brawn 2 Cunning 2 Presence 1
Agility 1 Intellect 1 Willpower 1

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

Skills (group only): Brawl, Perception, Ranged—Light

Talents: None

Abilities: None

Equipment: Heavy clothing, blaster pistol, comlink, truncheon

These Ugnaughts are loyal to their boss, Tonis. They have comfortable, if not too exciting, jobs, and they take seriously their responsibility of keeping the facility secure. In their downtime they enjoy a hand of sabacc in the lounge, or watching a swoop race if one's being broadcast.


Using the Storage Facility in an Edge of the Empire Campaign
This location can be incorporated in a campaign in many different ways; a few of the possibilities are detailed here.
  • The PCs could be hired to retrieve an item from the facility, perhaps requiring them to scope it out before attempting the retrieval.
  • If the item is especially valuable, there could always be rivals who hope to acquire the item before the PCs manage to do so.
  • If the facility suffered an infestation of vermin, Luruk could hire the PCs to help eliminate it.
  • In the aftermath of a break-in, Luruk could hire them to recover an item before its owner realizes that it's been lost.
  • During a visit to the facility, a combat droid being stored in one of the units becomes activated and chaos ensues.