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).

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Pirates of the Solar Wind

Here's one band of pirates that the heroes might face during an unexpected attack.

Atisako Fellum, Gran Pirate (Nemesis)
Brawn 2 Agility 3 Intellect 2
Cunning 2 Willpower 2 Presence 3

Soak: 3
Wound Threshold: 14
Strain Threshold: 12
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills: Astrogation 2, Athletics 1, Brawl 2, Charm 2, Coercion 1, Cool 2, Coordination 1, Discipline 2, Gunnery 2, Leadership 2, Mechanics 1, Medicine 1, Melee 3, Negotiation 2, Perception 2, Piloting—Planetary 1, Piloting—Space 2, Ranged—Heavy 2, Ranged—Light 3, Resilience 1, Skulduggery 1, Stealth 1, Streetwise 1, Vigilance 2

Talents: Call 'Em, Dodge, Grit, Lethal Blows, Quick Strike, Quick Draw, Rapid Reaction, Toughened

Abilities: Free rank in Charm or Negotiation; Enhanced Vision (remove up to two setback dice from ranged attacks and Perception checks due to environmental conditions; Adversary 1 (upgrade combat checks against this character once)

Equipment: Vacuum suit (counts as heavy clothing), heavy blaster pistol, vibrosword, comlink

At one time, Atisako Fellum was a confirmed pacifist and a staunch supporter of the New Republic. He looked up to the Jedi and their philosophies, and truly believed peace and justice could be promoted throughout the galaxy. The Clone Wars changed all of that. More specifically, the creation of the New Order—including the declaration of Order 66, revealing that the Jedi had plotted to take over the Republic—tore down all of the ideals in which Atisako had once believed. What was more, the bias of the Galactic Empire against non-Humans meant that the Gran found few opportunities for legitimate employment, and his frustration eventually led him to embrace a new way of life. Now he has gathered similarly disaffected Gran around himself, declaring themselves the Pirates of the Solar Wind. In his mind, the ways of the galaxy have changed, and it makes more sense to sail with them than against them.

Atisako Fellum still thinks of himself as a gentlebeing of fortune, and thus has more of a sense of honor than other pirates. To that end, he may be convinced to engage in a duel with bold individuals, and he tends to show favor to attractive females.

Gran Pilots (Rivals)
Brawn 2 Agility 2 Intellect 2
Cunning 1 Willpower 2 Presence 3

Soak: 3
Wound Threshold: 12
Strain Threshold: 11
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

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

Talents: Dead to Rights, Full Throttle, Improved Dead to Rights, Improved Full Throttle, Skilled Jockey

Abilities: Free rank in Charm or Negotiation; Enhanced Vision (remove up to two setback dice from ranged attacks and Perception checks due to environmental conditions

Equipment: Vacuum suits, blaster pistols, Z-95 Headhunter starfighters

These pilots have been picked from among the ranks of the ordinary pirates and given advanced training in order to fly the band's Z-95 Headhunters.

Gran Boarding Party Members (Minions)
Brawn 2 Agility 2 Intellect 1
Cunning 1 Willpower 1 Presence 2

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

Skills (group only): Brawl, Cool, Mechanics, Melee, Perception, Ranged—Light, Vigilance

Talents: None

Abilities: None

Equipment: Vacuum suits (count as heavy clothing), blaster pistols, truncheons, comlinks

These pirates admire and emulate Atisako Fellum, hoping to become gentlebeings of fortune just like he is.

The Solar Wind

These pirates operate a Wayfinder-class transport named the Solar Wind, with the addition of a second laser cannon. Aboard it they carry two Z-95 Headhunter starfighters. (See pages 258 and 263 of the core rulebook for details.) All three vessels are manned by pilots, leaving Atisako to lead the boarding party. Their usual tactic is to catch a target unaware, and then to beat it into submission with cannon fire. Once the vessel has been disabled, the boarding party moves in to bypass the airlocks and face any remaining resistance. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Pirate Attack!

It's been a bit of a slow summer for me, as far as this blog is concerned. Nevertheless, this post is the first in a series dealing with piracy in the Star Wars universe.


Pirate Attack!
If the PCs are active in the Outer Rim territories—especially during the Dark Times era, when the Old Republic has fallen and the New Order is still consolidating its power—there's a good chance that they'll encounter pirates. This could provide an adventure in and of itself, or the incident could be tangential to, and thereby complicate, other business. Whatever the case, to set up such an encounter, the GM should consider the following questions.

This question can be interpreted in a number of different ways. First, of course, comes the question of who the pirates are who are staging the attack. A previous post presented the Fireclaw Horde, a band of Togorian pirates; future posts will present some more options. Since these pirates provide the opposition for this scenario, it's important to establish their identities and abilities first.
There's also the possibility that the pirates are targeting a specific character. This could be one of the NPCs, allowing the GM to introduce plot elements via that character's background story. On the other hand, the target could also be one of the PCs, especially one whose Obligation is appropriate for triggering such an attack.

Finally, it's possible that somebody aboard the targeted vessel is a betrayer, providing the pirates with the location of the ship in question in exchange for a payout or possibly revenge of some kind.

This part of the attack is pretty straightforward. The pirates could be seeking some kind of desired cargo, one valuable enough that they can risk violent action in order to obtain it. They could also, however, seek to capture one or more beings to ransom, influential or otherwise important individuals for whose safety someone else will pay good money. As mentioned above, this could be one of the PCs or a new or old NPC of the GM's creation.

Where and When?
Chances are good that the attack occurs at a particular location in space. This might be at the end of a hyperspace voyage, just as the targeted vessel is reaching its destination, or in the middle of a voyage—especially if the pirates use a device to knock the ship out of hyperspace (see below for more details regarding this strategy). Whatever the case, it can be useful to know where this happens and, thus, what other planets and systems are nearby, since that influences characters' options for responding to the crisis. For example, an attack near a strongly held Imperial world might allow the ship and crew to run for safety (assuming none of them are Rebels, of course). Alternately, an attack near a large, thick nebula could lead into a complicated pursuit. Whatever the case, refer to pages 328-9 of the core rulebook for a good map of the Star Wars galaxy.

It's also important to know the type of ship being targeted. This could be as simple as it being the PCs' vessel, if one of them or one of their passengers are the target. On the other hand, if someone else is the target, the attack could take place aboard another ship altogether. Should that be the case the GM could do well to choose a larger vessel, one that provides lots of room for movement, action and counter-action. The Wookieepedia wiki has lots of deck plans available; the Starwind Pleasure Yacht is a good example of such a ship.

What and How?
Now comes the nitty-gritty of the plot. First, how do the pirates stage the attack? One option is to knock the ship out of hyperspace. Putting a heavy body, such as an asteroid, in the middle of the target's hyperspace path is a tried-and-true means of doing so. Another possibility is that the pirates know the ship's flight path, and therefore are waiting when it emerges back into realspace. A third is that someone aboard the targeted vessel could sabotage its hyperdrive.

Given that they want to take the ship, as much of its cargo and as many desired captives unharmed as possible, the pirates must adjust the techniques that they use. This includes relying on ion and stun weapons rather than blaster pistols, rifles and cannons. It's also important to consider the reactions of other passengers and crew aboard the targeted vessel. Some of them might surrender outright, and possibly even cooperate with the pirates, while others might be convinced to aid in staging a defense.
As the attack progresses, the layout and features of the vessel can be used to create some exciting action. A few of the possibilities include:
  • The PCs might need to take or regain control of weapons or weapons systems in order to fight back against the pirates.
  • Similarly, tools can be used as weapons, or to fashion traps.
  • In the same way, they might need to take over communications systems, both for coordinating with each other and for summoning help.
  • Other features can be used for defense, too, such as by opening airlocks and hatchways so as to vent air and enemies into space.
  • They might need to reach escape pods—although that could lead to other difficulties.
  • Nearby terrain, such as a nebula or asteroid field, could also come into play.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Merisee Thinking Garden

An interesting feature of the planet Merisee is the preponderance of thinking gardens, areas set aside for quiet meditation and contemplation. While the designs of these structures can vary widely, they have certain features in common. They are surrounded by walls that shut out the noise of the city around them, a feature that is sometimes enhanced with sound-deadening electronic fields. (For that reason, they are also a favorite place for beings who seek to exchange sensitive information without the risk of eavesdropping.) They usually include some small body of water, along with a variety of local flora and fauna. In the latter case, fish and birds are the most common creatures to be found in them. There are also private structures in which individuals and small groups can gather in a peaceful environment.

Refer to Planets of the Galaxy, Volume 3 from West End Games to find more information about that world, its cultures and inhabitants.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The State of the Galaxy: The Confederacy, the Republic and the Empire

The aftermath of the Clone Wars presents a situation that provides plenty of opportunities for conflict, intrigue and other drama; a few of the possibilities are detailed here.

The Confederacy of Independent Systems
This group of secessionist planets and systems that brought about the Clone Wars has been defeated. The charismatic Count Dooku was killed by Anakin Skywalker during the Siege of Coruscant, while wicked General Grievous died at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi on Utapau. What is more, the entire leadership of the group, it is believed, has also been killed, since none of them have been reported elsewhere since fleeing from Utapau. Even so, those elements that do remain can provide many hooks to use in adventures and campaigns.
  • Bomo Greenbark's forces from New Plympto are a good example of a non-Human force that didn't take kindly to the Empire. Accused of harboring a Jedi fugitive, they suffered a brutal crackdown, and many former soldiers found themselves sold into slavery. While these beings are largely defeated, it would take just the right spark to ignite a flame of resistance among them.
  • Following their defeat, many agents of the Trade Federation, the Commerce Guild, the Intergalactic Banking Clan and other such groups fled to the Corporate Sector, where their money and business savvy were welcomed with open appendages. These beings are mostly motivated by their own profit, but some of them might be convinced to bankroll anti-Imperial activities with a little convincing.
  • The Separatists had many secret facilities and projects scattered throughout their territory. Although Republic/Imperial forces dealt with many of them, others still remain, ripe for the taking of those who can find them.

The Old Republic
With the establishment of the New Order, the Old Republic is no more. There is still a Galactic Senate, but it does little more than approve of decisions made by Emperor Palpatine and thus provide a veneer of democracy for his totalitarian regime. Still, more than a few beings remember how things were and work to undermine Imperial control.
  • The Committee of the 2000 represented many worlds whose inhabitants resented Palpatine's growing control. Among these are such senators as Bail Organa of Alderaan and Mon Mothma of Chandrila. Some, such as Fang Zar of Sern Sector, have even been killed for speaking out against the Empire.
  • Indeed, Bail Organa of Alderaan has worked in secret to assemble groups of like-minded beings who are willing to take action against Imperial resources and activities.
  • Sabé the Handmaiden, who once served the Queen and Senator from Naboo, is a good example of an agent who works within the Senate to foment opposition to the New Order.
  • Rahm Kota's militia is one of the few non-clone forces that played a prominent role in the Clone Wars. As such, when Order 66 was given, their Jedi commander avoided assassination. Now they continue to fight, staging guerrilla attacks across the galaxy.
  • The Antarian Rangers were a paramilitary organization that served the Jedi, providing covert operations and reconnaissance. They, of course, did not buy into the official story that the Jedi were plotting to take over the Republic. Now, though they have lost their official standing, many of their members still uphold the tenets of the Jedi Order.
  • Despite the best efforts of the Empire, there are still some surviving Jedi. A good example of this is the survivors of the Almas Academy in the Cularin System. While many of the Jedi from that system were killed in the Clone Wars, it is believed that some fled into the jungles on Cularin, and are still at large there.

The Galactic Empire
The New Order now controls the galaxy with an iron grip. Even so, not all of its citizens are happy with the ways in which the galaxy has changed, and are beginning to suspect that they've been deceived. Here again, suitable persuasion could convince them that it's time to take action against the Empire.
  • Some Imperial military officers who fought in the Clone Wars don't approve of the Empire's brutality; this has led to retirements, like that of General Jan Dodonna. Others, such as Crix Madine, still struggle with where their loyalties lie.
  • Non-Humans face tremendous bias in the Galactic Empire. Very few are selected for military service, and those that fill government positions do so in little more than a token capacity. This has led to much grumbling, and even to outright resistance, such as that promulgated by the Free Ryloth movement.
  • Needless to say, the Empire is doing all that it can to stamp out any resistance; the two organizations most responsible for these efforts are the Internal Security Bureau and the dreaded Inquisitorius.

The Fringe
For those beings who live and work in the seedier places throughout the galaxy, the change of power from the Old Republic to the New Order hasn't meant a whole lot. While much of the corruption that existed in the Senate has been eliminated, up-and-coming Imperial bureaucrats provide new opportunities for bribery and coercion. Additionally, other groups of concerned citizens have started doing what they can to fight the good fight.
  • Whiplash, an organization based off of Coruscant, is a good example of a small local effort. In addition to other activities, these beings maintain an Underground Mag-Lev used to sneak dissidents off of Imperial Center.
  • Ragtag bands like the crews of the Uhumele and the Drunk Dancer travel the galaxy taking odd jobs to keep their fuel cells charged and their ships' galleys stocked, but also do what they can to hinder Imperial influence.
  • The Cult of Those Who Redeem, based off of Merisee, is a good example of a civilian group that remembers the good done by the Jedi, and that doesn't believe Imperial lies about that order's corruption.
  • At first glance, Black Sun might not seem like a good option for those who seek allies against the Empire. This organization—and especially its leader—have suffered persecution from the Empire, however, and thus could be willing to aid those who seek revenge against it.
  • The Bothan Spynet survived the Clone Wars by playing the role of a neutral party. While many of its members are content to do the same during the New Order, there are those who recognize the Imperial anti-alien bias and want to do something about it.
  • Refugees from the Clone Wars present a considerable logistical problem. May have been displaced due to the fighting, and now need somewhere else to live. Some have integrated themselves with populations on other planets, but others find themselves exploited by agents of the government who seek personal profit, such as those who've been sold into indentured servitude.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Strip Mine Personnel

Presented below are some of the characters who can be found in the aforementioned strip mine.


Detailed below are some of the characters to be found in the facility.

Ettoca Lar, CSA Facility Manager (Rival)
Brawn 2 Agility 2 Intellect 3
Cunning 3 Willpower 2 Presence 3

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

Skills: Charm 1, Coercion 2, Computers 2, Cool 1, Core Worlds 1, Deception 3, Discipline 1, Education 1, Leadership 1, Mechanics 1, Negotiation 3, Outer Rim 1, Perception 2, Ranged—Light 2, Vigilance 1

Talents: Bought Info, Plausible Deniability, Rapid Recovery, Sound Investments, Wheel and Deal

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

Equipment: Heavy clothing, comlink, datapad, blaster pistol

Ettoca Lar is every bit the company man. He has grand aspirations of becoming a viceprex in the Corporate Sector one day; for now, his best opportunity is to prove himself as the administrator of this mining camp. To that end, he does everything in his power to ensure the profitability of the facility—at the cost of the workers, of course. Although Ettoca acts self-assured while supported by teams of guards, he is really a coward at heart.

Mining Camp Guards (Minions)
Brawn 2 Agility 2 Intellect 1
Cunning 2 Willpower 1 Presence 1

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

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

Talents: None

Abilities: None

Equipment: Heavy clothing, blaster pistols, truncheons, comlinks

The guards who maintain “law and order” in the mining camp are little better than mercenary thugs. They see the miners as ignorant dupes, and therefore feel little need to respect them. Even so, they try not to be outright antagonistic toward them, since that only makes life harder for all.

Mining Camp Guard Sergeant (Rival)
Brawn 3 Agility 3 Intellect 1
Cunning 2 Willpower 2 Presence 2

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

Skills: Athletics 1, Brawl 2, Coercion 2, Cool 1, Discipline 2, Leadership 1, Melee 3, Perception 2, Ranged—Light 3, Resilience 1, Vigilance 2

Talents: Defensive Stance, Durable, Intimidating, Natural Enforcer, Stunning Blow, Toughened

Abilities: None

Equipment: Heavy clothing, blaster pistols, comlinks, truncheons

These squad leaders are much like their underlings, except that they're even more adept when it comes to a fight. They tend to prefer delivering a beating first, and then asking questions later.

Tomen Bala, Klatooinian Cook (Rival)
Brawn 2 Agility 3 Intellect 2
Cunning 2 Willpower 1 Presence 2

Soak: 3
Wound Threshold: 12
Strain Threshold: 11
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills: Brawl 3, Cool 2, Discipline 1, Lore 1, Melee 2, Perception 2, Ranged—Heavy 2, Ranged—Light 3, Resilience 2, Survival 1, Vigilance 1

Talents: Point Blank, Second Wind, Side Step

Abilities: One free rank in Brawl or Ranged (Heavy or Light), one free rank in another non-career skill.

Equipment: Heavy clothing, comlink, blaster pistol, knife

Tomen Bala started his career at the mining camp as one of the nameless guards who kept order. Before long, however, he found that he felt bad for the workers who'd been duped into toiling there with little hope for release from their indentures. For that reason, and because he was a decent hand in the kitchen, he started cooking. Although he would like to help change the situation in camp, he doesn't believe there's much hope for really doing so.

Typical Miners (Minions)
Brawn 2 Agility 2 Intellect 1
Cunning 1 Willpower 2 Presence 1

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

Skills (group only): Athletics, Brawl, Melee, Perception

Talents: None

Abilities: None

Equipment: Heavy clothing, mining equipment

These unfortunate souls all seek a better situation in life, but are slowly realizing that there's little hope for it because of the stranglehold that the Corporate Sector Authority has over their lives. Many grumble, and some actually try to do something about the situation, but few have the wherewithal to make a real difference.

Vree and Zya Sonu, Cantina Proprietors (Rivals)
Brawn 2 Agility 3 Intellect 2
Cunning 3 Willpower 2 Presence 3

Soak: 2
Wound Threshold: 14
Strain Threshold: 13
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills: Charm 1, Cool 2, Deception 2, Lore 1, Negotiation 3, Outer Rim 1, Perception 2, Ranged—Light 1, Streetwise 1, Vigilance 1 

Talents: Dodge, Grit, Inspiring Rhetoric, Kill With Kindness, Toughened

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

Equipment: Clothing, comlinks, datapads, blaster pistols

The Sonu sisters, as they are known around the camp, provide a glimmer of happiness in the shadows of life as indentured servants. They provide sympathetic ears and charge fair prices. For this reason Ettoca Lar sees them as a threat to the stability of a camp, but their popularity is such that he doesn't dare move against them.

Using the Strip Mine in an Edge of the Empire Campaign
There are multiple ways in which this facility can be used in the PCs' adventures; a few of the possibilities are detailed here.
  • The PCs might first become aware of the mining facility, and the plight of its workers, during a routine cargo delivery.
  • One of the indentured laborers might approach PCs who have a ship and ask them to smuggle him and his family out of the camp.
  • One or more PCs could witness the brutality with which the guards enforce the will of the Corporate Sector Authority and feel an urge to intervene.
  • On a different planet, the PCs might be present when bounty hunters show up to reclaim an escaped worker.
  • When an outspoken and dissatisfied worker is killed in an “accident,” others could call on the PCs to help reveal the truth.
  • As matters escalate, the workers might try to hire the PCs to smuggle in weapons so that they can stage a revolt.
  • If the camp did revolt, retribution from the CSA would be strong and swift.
  • Characters with connections to the Rebel Alliance could see this as an opportunity to recruit new members, and to gain new materiel.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Strip Mine

The abundance of displaced beings in the aftermath of the Clone Wars—unfortunates who've been forced to leave their homes due to the ravages of combat—have created lucrative opportunities for those who are willing to exploit them. A good example of this is a Corporate Sector strip mine. Refugees are hired on as indentured laborers, in theory allowing them to start anew and rebuild their lives from nothing. In truth, however, they end up toiling for the profit of the CSA, while complicated contracts and gauged prices for basic necessities make it nearly impossible for them to earn their freedom.

The Mine
Refer to the appropriate maps for the following area descriptions.

1. Mess Hall
Work crews, guards and other personnel take their meals here; the steady stream of changing shifts means that it is almost always occupied. The old cook who runs the place, a Klatooinian named Tomen Bala, is a good source for information about what goes on in the facility. Refer to building F in the map of the Aerie for details.

2. Outfitter
This building is the very heart of the CSA's indenture scheme. It is here that workers can purchase the basic supplies that they need for life—at a suitably increased price, of course. Due to artificial scarcity and similar forms of gouging, the authorities make it very hard for workers to pay off their contract debt. The outfitter is run by a Human named Ettoca Lar. Typical items that can be found here include those which are unrestricted and have a rarity of 3 or less, excluding weapons. At the GM's discretion, some types of drugs might also be available—albeit in a covert manner. Refer to the map of Trallig's Outfitting to find a layout for this building.

3. Warehouse
All goods that are brought into the facility for sale, and those that are intended for shipping offworld, are stored here. As such, four guards remain on duty at all times. Items that can typically be found here include those mentioned for the outfitter above, but in larger quantities. Refer to the map of Ral'lya's warehouse to find a layout for this building.

4. Barracks
Each of these low, single-story structures consists of little more than rows of domiciles for individuals, pairs or families. They are not fancy, with little more than bunks, a refresher, a storage locker and a desk and chair. Refer to the map of the flophouse to find a layout for this building.

5. Guards' Quarters
Teams of guards—a dozen in each—are quartered in these buildings; see below to find stats for them. Each building contains bunks, storage lockers table and chairs, and a pair of refreshers. Refer to the map for the building A in the Aerie for details.

6. Cantina
The heart of off-duty life for the workers. It is run by a pair of Humans, brother and sister, named Vree and Zya Suno. She is assisted by a quartet of workers at any given time. Unlike the rest of the CSA establishment, she feels compassion for the workers and thus treats them fairly. To that end, it is a safe place for them to come and discuss their grievances. Refer to the map of Li's Cantina to find a layout for it.

7. The Pit
In the middle of the facility is a broad, open pit, the source of valuable ore. It consists of level tiers encircling the deepest part of the pit, connected by earthen ramps. The miners labor here, following the vein of ore.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Dark Times

As I've been wrapping up Hutt-themed articles for this blog, I've also been debating about a new direction in which to take it. While I'm excited to see how the Star Wars galaxy grows and changes with the upcoming movie, I think a useful topic to mine for ideas is the period between the original trilogy and the prequels. These "dark times," as Obi-Wan called them, make for an interesting time period in their own right, and can be a source of material for the era in which Edge of the Empire, Age of Rebellion and Force and Destiny are set. As such, this article provides an overview of Jedi who did or did not survive Order 66. It's a work in progress, so I'll update it as I dig up other sources.


The State of the Galaxy: Order 66 and the Fate of the Jedi
In the aftermath of the Clone Wars, the Empire is determined to confirm the fate of any Jedi who might have survived Order 66. Presented here, therefore, is a list of known Jedi and what is believed to have happened to them.

Jedi Fate
Aayla Secura This Jedi Knight was killed by clone troopers on the planet Feleucia.
Ahsoka Tano This Padawan left the Jedi Order during the Clone Wars; her current whereabouts are unknown.
Anakin Skywalker It is said that this Jedi Knight was killed by the Dark Side warrior Darth Vader.
Caleb Dume This Padawan escaped from clone troopers on Kaller; his whereabouts are currently unknown.
Dass Jennir This Jedi Master managed to escape Order 66 on New Plympto. He was later believed to be active on Orvax IV, Cato Neimoidia, Esseles and Prine.
Depa Billaba This Jedi Master was killed by clone troopers on the planet Kaller.
Jax Pavan This Jedi Knight survived Order 66 and is believed to dwell in the undercity on Coruscant.
Ji-Ad Sarain Following a lengthy period spent in carbon freeze, this Jedi Knight was taken back to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant; he is believed to have been killed during the purging of that location by clone troopers of the 501st Battalion.
Ki-Adi Mundi This Jedi Master was killed by clone troopers on the planet Mygeeto.
Kit Fisto This Jedi Master was killed while attempting to capture Emperor Palpatine in his office on Coruscant.
K'Kruhk This Jedi Master survived Order 66 on Bogden 3 and is believe to be at large in the galaxy.
Mace Windu This Jedi Master was killed while attempting to capture Emperor Palpatine in his office on Coruscant.
Obah the Neti This Jedi Knight was poisoned by an Imperial loyalist on the planet Corellia.
Obi-Wan Kenobi This Jedi Master was killed by clone troopers on the planet Utapau.
Rahm Kota This Jedi Master survived Order 66 and is believed to be at large in the galaxy.
Shaak Ti Reports for this Jedi Master are conflicting. Some say that she was capture by General Grievous and killed by him aboard his flagship, the Invisible Hand, while others claim that she was later seen on the planet Feleucia.
Zett Jukassa This Padawan was killed by clone troopers while trying to flee the Jedi Temple on Coruscant.