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.