Saturday, November 12, 2016

Star Wars: Poe Dameron Comic Review

Since the initial surge of new material surrounding Star Wars: The Force Awakens, that era in the Galaxy Far, Far Away has been slow in developing. That makes sense, too, given that work on Episode VIII is proceeding toward the film's 2017 release. It's still frustrating, though, since this time period has a lot of exciting potential. One exception to this slow pace, however, is the Star Wars: Poe Dameron comic.


There are a lot of things that I like about this comic.

  • For one thing, Poe's dialogue feels like how he talks in the film; it catches his sense of humor and bravado nicely. 
  • It does a good job of introducing and then building up an interesting villain, Agent Terex. He's a good foil for Poe, since he has lots of the same personality traits--paired with ruthless support for the First Order, of course. 
  • There's a good blend of action and plot development. 
  • There series is ongoing, rather than a limited run. This means that it'll help fill the void between now and December 2017. 
  • The comic also provides an interesting model for a Star Wars RPG campaign, much like the Rogue Squadron novels and comics did back in the day. I can imagine a party of characters like those in Black Squadron, ones who have a variety of specialties, but all of whom are talented pilots. Their adventures, then, entail a combination of ground-based missions and starfighter combat. 

All in all, this has to be my favorite of the new Marvel comics so far.


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Sources of Inspiration: Artwork

My apologies for the recent lack of posts; I've been busy with the start of the school year.

While I frequent a number of websites and forums seeking inspiration for Star Wars RPG-related material, a relatively new one for me is the DeviantArt website. This is a place where enthusiasts can post their work, some of which you'll recognize from the Fantasy Flight Games sourcebooks. Here's a link to the Star Wars category there.

Star Wars on DeviantArt

-Nate

Friday, September 23, 2016

Flashback Friday: A d6 System Star Wars Adventure

While this might seem a bit out of place, I'm posting a short PDF containing a scenario for the old West End Games Star Wars RPG. I wrote it for the third issue of Wildspace Magazine, which supports the old game, but that issue won't be completed. Since it completes the storyline introduced in my adventures for the first two issues, I figured I should provide it for a sense of completion. It has an appropriate title, too.

Unfinished Business

Conversion stats for the FFG Star Wars games are forthcoming.

-Nate


Monday, September 12, 2016

Demo Scenario: Hutt's Bounty

Continuing this series of short (i.e., two hours' time or less) scenarios, here's one that takes the PCs to Tatooine in search of a being wanted by the Hutts, but also sought by the Rebel Alliance. It follows up on the events of Pirate Attack and Imperial Crackdown, and will lead into Rebel Strike.

Hutt's Bounty

-Nate


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Rescue at Hosnian Prime

While we're waiting for the downloadable follow-up adventure, A Call for Heroes, to use with the Beginner Game for The Force Awakens, I've put together a short scenario expanding on a suggestion from the boxed set. 

Rescue at Hosnian Prime

-Nate


Friday, August 5, 2016

Review of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Beginner Game



There was a small amount of controversy when Fantasy Flight Games first announced this product; some fans of the game thought it would herald a new, fourth core series of products. Those fears were quickly quashed, however, and then it was left for people to wait until today for it to be released. Now the time has come.

           
In its layout, this set is very similar to the ones that preceded it. It comes with a map, a short introduction, an adventure booklet, a rules booklet, tokens to represent characters, and vehicles and creatures. The adventure scenario is pretty straightforward, involving a band of nomads who make a surprising and important discovery aboard a downed Corvette but run afoul of a local criminal gang. From there, however, the story takes a surprising turn, throwing the PCs into the middle of the conflict that is erupting throughout the galaxy. It even has suggestions for adventures occurring after the First Order's destruction of Hosnian Prime.

           
That, in the end, is what I think makes this set worthwhile for fans of The Force Awakens. It is the first RPG product specifically related to the new movie(s), bringing Star Wars roleplaying into the new era. To me that's notable because I started playing the d6 version of the RPG from West End Games in the late eighties or early nineties, back when there was nothing but the Rebellion Era. Some ten years later, when the prequel movies were hitting the theaters, Wizards of the Coast put out its d20 version; with that and the RPGA's Living Force Campaign, I associated those rules with the time period leading up to the Clone Wars, the fall of the Old Republic and Order 66. This boxed set, then, takes the new FFG rules and sends them into the new era.

       
In that way, the set achieves its core purpose: It provides an introduction for new players, especially for those whose first Star Wars experience might have been Episode VII. What is more, it leads right into a downloadable adventure, A Call for Heroes. This promises to explore even more of this time period, and GMs can always adapt material from the other FFG core rulebooks and sourcebooks, along with elements from the movie(s). The boxed set also includes a map of the galaxy—including the new planets Jakku, Takodana, D'Qar, Hosnian Prime and Starkiller Base—which is a nice addition. There are also stats for some of the character types who serve the First Order, the Resistance and various criminal organizations,

           
Finally, it comes with another set of dice, which are always handy.

           
 For these reasons, I believe this set is invaluable for GMs who want to launch campaigns in the new era of Star Wars.



Review of A Call for Heroes
After reading through this scenario, I've found some things I like and some that I don't. They are:
  • Positive: The document, thirty pages long, presents three separate “missions” that the PCs can undertake. One is a raid on an old Imperial communications station, another is the exploration of an old Imperial research facility, and the last is a return to Jakku to help deal with the Strus Clan enemies made during the scenario Discovery on Jakku from the boxed set. This could easily make for three sessions' worth of play.
  • Positive: These scenarios provide a good mix of encounters, with fast action, creepy atmosphere and good roleplaying opportunities at different times.
  • Negative: I wish that the scenarios had maps. While I know that the Star Wars RPG doesn't rely on maps for game play, I still like to have them to set the scene for the players.
  • Negative: Although I figured this might be the case, there aren't many details about what the Resistance (or the rest of the galaxy) is doing in the aftermath of The Force Awakens. I understand why this is, of course, since Episode VIII is still in production, but I'd hoped that there might be a few tidbits.
All in all, A Call for Heroes provides a solid resource for adventures, even though most GMs would need to do some extrapolation in order to continue developing a campaign in the Episode VII era after this scenario is finished.


-Nate


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Hazards of Jakku

Detailed below are a couple of the hazards that residents and visitors on Jakku might face in that harsh desert environment. 

-Nate


Sandstorms and the Breath of X'us'R'iia
The latter term refers to the belief of Jakku's Teedo that their world's massive sandstorms manifest from the breath of their goddess. They consists of heavy winds that pick sand and gravel, scouring travelers, vehicles and buildings alike with the powerful mix. In game terms, these sandstorms can be treated like a fire, causing damage equal to their rating (generally from 1 to 3). Those passing through it can make Survival or Piloting—Planetary checks, with the difficulty determined by the intensity of the storm. Refer to page 214 in the Edge of the Empire rulebook for details regarding corrosives.

Strength / Difficulty
1 / Easy
2 / Average
3 / Hard



The Sinking Fields
Located in Jakku's Goazon Badlands region, these areas can trap and drown unwary travelers. In game terms, passing through them requires a hard Survival or daunting Perception check to notice the hazard; failing that then requires an Athletics or Piloting—Space effort, with the difficulty determined by the size of the creature or vehicle in question. Failure on that second check means that the creature is treated as drowning, or that the vehicle is trapped in the sand, forcing passengers and crew to evacuate it (and thus attempt Athletics checks). Only intervention by another creature or vehicle can rescue the victim. Refer to page 214 in the Edge of the Empire rulebook for details about suffocation.

Size / Requirements
0-2 / Make a hard Athletics or Piloting—Planetary check
3-4 / Make an average Athletics or Piloting—Planetary check
5-8 / These vehicles and creatures are generally too large to be trapped in the sinking sands, but can be sucked in by them if they are incapacitated. 

  

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Wrecking Crew

Here are some adversaries for use on Jakku. 

-Nate


The Wrecking Crew
In stark contrast to the inhabitants of Sim-Neleg Village is this band of cutthroats, employed by Slarr the Hutt. They scour the wrecks in search of lost materiel and, more importantly, secrets.

Wrecking Crew Member (Minions)
Brawn 2 Agility 2 Intellect 2
Cunning 2 Willpower 2 Presence 2

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

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

Talents: None

Abilities: None

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

These individuals are rugged and skilled. Motivated by a combination of fear and greed, they are unswervingly loyal to their Hutt employer.

Yahd Denosk (Rival)
Brawn 3 Agility 3 Intellect 2
Cunning 2 Willpower 2 Presence 2

Soak: 4
Wound Threshold: 15
Strain Threshold: 12
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills: Athletics 2, Brawl 2, Cool 1, Melee 3, Perception 1, Piloting—Planetary 2, Ranged—Light 2, Resilience 1, Survival 2, Vigilance 1

Talents: Feral Strength, Frenzied Attack, Knockdown, Lethal Blows, Toughened

Abilities: Free rank in each of two non-career skills

Equipment: Heavy clothing, heavy blaster pistol, vibrosword, comlink

Yahd is, to put it bluntly, a thug. He fills the role of enforcer for the group, acting as the not-so-subtle threat behind Iera's leadership. He's not very bright, but he is tough and adept when it comes to causing other beings pain.

Iera Denosk
Brawn 2 Agility 3 Intellect 2
Cunning 3 Willpower 2 Presence 3

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

Skills: Charm 1, Cool 1, Coordination 1, Deception 2, Gunnery 2, Mechanics 1, Medicine 1, Melee 1, Negotiation 2, Perception 2, Piloting—Planetary 2, Ranged—Light 3, Skulduggery 3, Stealth 3, Vigilance 2

Talents: Black Market Contacts, Dodge, Grit, Stalker, Street Smarts

Abilities: Free rank in each of two non-career skills

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

Iera is the face of the Wrecking Crew, a former street thief who now makes a comfortable living running this salvage operation for Slarr the Hutt. She sees herself as something of a pirate, the captain of a sail barge for now, but with aspirations of one day commanding a fleet of vessels.

Mineto Huru
Brawn 2 Agility 2 Intellect 3
Cunning 2 Willpower 2 Presence 2

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

Skills: Astrogation 1, Computers 2, Gunnery 1, Mechanics 3, Medicine 1, Outer Rim 2, Piloting—Planetary 1, Ranged—Light 1, Skulduggery 1, Underworld 2

Talents: Solid Repairs, Speaks Binary, Tinkerer, Utility Belt, Utinni!

Abilities: Free rank in each of two non-career skills

Equipment: Clothing, toolkit, datapad, comlink, blaster pistol

Once, Mineto Huru lived the simple but comfortable life of a starship technician on Nar Shadaa. He ran afoul of Slarr the Hutt when a vessel he'd repaired malfunctioned, however, causing an embarrassing and expensive crash. Now he's been given the job of refurbishing salvaged items on Jakku, a throrougly uncomfortable place. While he does his job well, he also keeps an eye out for a find that he could trade for his freedom, leaving service to the Hutt forever.

The Sail Barge Raptor and Outrider Skiffs
The Wrecking Crew is based out of a converted sail barge, one very similar to—but not nearly so opulent as—the one operated by Slarr the Hutt. For deckplans, refer to a previous article.


The difference is that this one is outfitted with light repeating blasters, one mounted in front of each stairwell and one in the front of the upper deck. There is also a heavy repeating blaster mounted in the middle of the raised platform in the rear. Scavenged junk is stacked in the middle of the upper deck, while the main deck is filled with projects on which the technicians are working.


The Wrecking Crew also uses a number of cargo skiffs as outriders; the link above is a printable PDF with miniature-scale deckplans for three of them.

Using the Wrecking Crew in an Episode VII-Era Campaign
This band of cutthroats can be incorporated in a campaign in many different ways; a few of the possibilities are detailed here.
  • During any kind of activity for PCs in the Jakku desert, these beings could come along to complicate matters.
  • When a scavenger comes stumbling out of the desert, half delirious from the heat and telling of a valuable score, the race is on to find the wreck and claim the valuables aboard it.
  • This all becomes even more complicated when a tremendous sandstorm arises in the vicinity of the find.
  • When scavenging proves less fruitful than they'd like, these cutthroats could resort to stealing salvage from rival groups such as those at Sim-Neleg Village.
  • If Mineto Huru found something really valuable, the Human might seek outsiders with a ship who could take him offword for a share of the profit.
  • In that case, locals could seek out offworlders to help deal with the problem.



Monday, July 18, 2016

Village Inhabitants

Detailed here are some of the NPCs who can be found in Sim-Neleg Village.

Typical Villager (Minion)
Brawn 2 Agility 2 Intellect 2
Cunning 2 Willpower 1 Presence 1

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

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

Talents: None

Abilities: None

Equipment: Heavy clothing, toolkits, truncheons

These rugged individuals have banded together for the purpose of reclaiming a life from the rugged Jakku desert. While not especially imaginative or altruistic, they are quite resilient and clever when it comes to finding and refurbishing what might otherwise seem to be junk.


Duwo Sim, Sullustan Salvager (Rival)
Brawn 2 Agility 3 Intellect 3
Cunning 1 Willpower 2 Presence 2

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

Skills: Astrogation 1, Computers 2, Education 1, Mechanics 3, Melee 1, Negotiation 2, Outer Rim 1, Perception 3, Piloting—Planetary 1, Ranged—Light 1, Vigilance 2

Talents: Contraption, Fine Tuning, Gearhead, Redundant Systems, Skilled Jockey

Abilities: One free rank in Astrogation skill and Skilled Jockey talent

Equipment: Heavy clothing, datapad, comlink, blaster pistol

Duwo Sim is a smallish Sullustan who dresses in protective clothing and oversized goggles. While not particularly gregarious, he enjoys tinkering and deals fairly with the other beings in the village. Indeed, those who earn his respect can win his friendship, but he is initially distrustful of outsiders.

Sonjah Neleg, Ithorian Scout (Rival)
Brawn 2 Agility 1 Intellect 2
Cunning 2 Willpower 3 Presence 2

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

Skills: Athletics 1, Brawl 1, Discipline 2, Leadership 1, Lore 3, Medicine 2, Melee 2, Negotiation 1, Perception 2, Piloting—Planetary 1, Ranged—Light 1, Resilience 2, Survival 3, Vigilance 2, Xenology 1

Talents: Beast Wrangler, Expert Handler, Expert Tracker, Forager, Outdoorsman

Abilities: Free rank in Survival skill; Ithorian Bellow (see page 58 in the Age of Rebellion rulebook for details)

Equipment: Heavy clothing, force pike, suvival gear, comlink

If Duwo Sim is the brains behind the Sim-Neleg Village operation, then Sonjah Neleg it the village's soul. In addition to training and caring for the dewbacks that the villagers use for exploring Jakku's wreckage fields, Sonjah is an adherent to the Church of the Force. She provides medical care—what she can, anyway—to those who need it, and tells stories from the days of the Jedi as a way of teaching these beings how they should live and work together. While Sonjah is friendly toward newcomers, she is not naive; the Ithorian knows that criminals would happily take advantage of her and her fellow salvagers, and that the First Order would like to stamp out any remaining traces of the Jedi and their teachings.



Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Sim-Neleg, Scavenger Village on Jakku

Many of the scavengers on the planet Jakku live a solitary existence, dwelling by themselves in isolated places and selling what materials they can scrounge to shady, self-interested brokers. There are exceptions to this rule, however, groups who have banded together to work for a common good. One example of this is the beings who live in Sim-Neleg Village. 



The Village
While it might not look like much when compared to the settlements on other planets, on the harsh and arid world of Jakku, this is almost a little slice of paradise. The buildings are made from cut stone covered in a coating of whitewashing clay. None are taller than one story in height, allowing the desert winds to blow across them. All are built around a central square, in the middle of which stands the village's moisture vaporator.

A typical house in the village (1) has a common living space with a kitchen and table (A), along with a larger bedroom (B) and one or more smaller bedrooms (C). There is also a compact but serviceable refresher unit (D). Typically these homes are occupied by a family or by a few unmarried scavengers.
The hub of daytime activity in the village is Duwo Sim's shop (2). Here, scavengers bring their found items to clean and prepare for sale. The main work room (A) is filled with low tables for that purpose. Off of that are a refresher unit (B) and a storeroom for items that are ready to sell (C). There's also a kitchen for Duwo and his assistant, along with their bedrooms (D and E, respectively).
Next door to the shop is the home of Sonjah Neleg, the dewback wrangler. It is laid out much like the other homes, with living quarters (A) and a fancier refresher (B and C), along with a kitchen (D), storage area (E) and bedrooms (F and G). More notable is the fenced-in dewback pen and covered stalls (H), where a handful of those creatures are kept.

What looks like nothing more than a small comm booth (4) is in fact a shrine for the Church of the Force. There is a compact workstation and vidscreen. While this is generally used for contacting nearby settlements and ships in orbit, those who know the proper codes can access a database with teachings about the Jedi Order. (Note that these detail the history of that group, not ways of using the Force.)

After the workday is finished, activity in the settlement tends to take place in the small cantina (5). Rather than having its own proprietor, the cantina is a place where the locals come together to share food, drinks, and whatever entertainment they can muster.


Using Sim-Neleg Village in an Episode VII-Era Campaign
This village and its inhabitants can be incorporated in a campaign in many different ways; a few of the possibilities are detailed here.
  • PCs who crew a tramp freighter could be hired to deliver supplies here and thus have a chance to interact with these beings.
  • Alternately, the PCs could be natives of the village; this option gives the GM a chance to use the settlement rules from Far Horizons, as well as the shop rules from Special Modifications.
  • One who has medical training could even be called on to provide aid to an injured scavenger or even help deliver a newborn dewback.
  • When the scavengers run afoul of a ruthless salvage gang, they might turn to outsiders for help settling the conflict. This could involve claim jumping, payment of protection money or something similar.
  • During a nastier-than-normal sandstorm, some of the village's scavengers go missing; they ask the PCs to help find them.
  • A vicious beasts lurks in the nearby desert and begins preying on unsuspecting scavengers.
  • This could be a stop on a Force-sensitive character's path to learning more of its mysteries; these beings might even have met Lor San Tekka, and perhaps know some of the lore that otherwise would have died with him.
  • The discovery of a long-lost Imperial vessel in the sands of Jakku, one that holds important secret information, draws unwanted attention to this settlement.
  • After the destruction of Tuanul Village by the First Order, some of the scavengers begin calling for militant action against that organization. Others disagree, however, arguing that it's just too powerful of a foe.


Friday, July 8, 2016

Demo Characters

Here's a PDF presenting five characters for use with demo scenario that I printed previously. 

Demo Characters

-Nate


Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Guardian and the Teacher

Here are stats for the beings associated with the Church of the Force shrine. 

-Nate



The Guardian
Currently the shrine has one regular inhabitant, a Barabel warrior named Aurakh. He is a skilled hunter who prowls the surrounding jungle during the night and then takes shelter in the shrine as the deadly sun begins to rise. He also spends time interacting with the holocron, slowly learning what he can about the ways of the Force. While some of this training may seem contradictory to the Barabel's inherently predatory nature, Aurakh is doing his best to develop the discipline of a Jedi warrior.

Aurakh, Barabel Force-Sensitive Exile (Rival)
Brawn 4 Agility 2 Intellect 2
Cunning 2 Willpower 2 Presence 2

Soak: 5
Wound Threshold: 18
Strain Threshold: 10
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills: Athletics 2, Brawl 2, Coercion 1, Cool 1, Coordination 1, Discipline 1, Lore 1, Medicine 1, Melee 3, Perception 3, Ranged—Light 2, Resilience 2, Stealth 2, Survival 3, Vigilance 2

Talents: Expert Tracker, Forager, Hunter, Outdoorsman, Stalker, Swift; Sense Basic Power, Uncanny Reaction, Uncanny Senses

Abilities: Free rank in Cocercion; natural weapons; radiation resistance; stun resistance*

Equipment: Hide armor (treat like heavy clothing), hunting axe (treat like a gaffi stick), backpack with five days' rations and fresh water

While he might at first glance look like a savage warrior, Aurakh the Barabel is in fact an honorable warrior dedicated to learning the ways of the Jedi.

*This character is made using stats from the Unofficial Species Menagerie, Revised & Expanded


The Teacher
This item is imprinted with the personality of Ritsam Mit-Sanij as its gatekeeper. As such, it can provide information for characters who hope to learn the ways of the Force (limited at the GM's discretion, of course). He was a Knight who fought during the Clone Wars and survived into the early times of the Galactic Empire. What is more, he managed to record much of his knowledge in it.
To that end, characters who acquire the holocron can use it to study some of the techniques that Mit-Sanij himself had studied when he was alive. Mechanically speaking, those could include any that the GM wishes to allow characters to learn. What is more, the imprint of Mit-Sanij could be a source of information about the events leading up to and during the Clone Wars and the fall of the Jedi Order, since he lived at that time. In fact, although the imprint doesn't know it, the Jedi guardian died on Nar Shadaa, the Smugglers' Moon, after running afoul of a Hutt crimelord's enforcers.



Monday, June 27, 2016

Pirate Attack! Demo Version

Back on International Tabletop Game Day, I arranged to run some Edge of the Empire. I was expecting a four-hour slot, much like at a gaming convention. It quickly became apparent, however, that what would have been more appropriate is a one-hour demo event. With that in mind, I put together and edited material from my Pirate Attack! posts into the following short PDF.

-Nate

Pirate Attack! Demo Version PDF


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Church of the Force Shrine

Following the end of the Clone Wars, the destruction of the Jedi Order and the rise of the Galactic Empire, access to knowledge of the Force and the lore of those who studied it became quite limited. The Empire persecuted those who showed interest in or sympathy toward the ways of the Jedi. Even so, adherents that came to be known as the Church of the Force managed to pursue their inquiries in secrecy, even creating safe havens where like-minded beings could gather to share their discoveries. One such location is a cave hidden behind a waterfall on the planet Barab I. 


The Waterfall
Deep in the jungle of Barab I is a place where a strong but narrow stream plunges over a vertical wall of rock. The water cascades down into a small pool, what seems to be a place to rest and refresh oneself. What most visitors don't recognize, however, is that the place harbors a secret shrine to the Jedi and the Force.

It takes an average Athletics check with one setback die to climb the rock wall next to the waterfall—while there are adequate handholds, the surface is slippery. Those who succeed can reach a ledge of rock behind that leads behind the water and into a small cave.


This place was once the hideout of a Jedi who survived Order 66 with help from the local Barabels, a Human male by the name of Ritsam Mit-Sanij. While this Jedi Knight was eventually found and killed, he managed to leave behind a holocron that he'd prepared along with some other personal items. Later a Barabel hunter named Aurakh discovered the place. That individual now resides in the cavern, recognizing its importance and revering the honorable ways of the Jedi warriors. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Facility Personnel

Presented here are stats for some of the personnel who can be found in the secret facility. 

-Nate


Research Facility Personnel
Detailed below are some of the characters who might be found in this facility.

Jiru Dow (Rival)
Brawn 2 Agility 2 Intellect 4
Cunning 2 Willpower 2 Presence 1

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

Skills: Coercion 2, Computers 3, Core Worlds 2, Discipline 2, Education 3, Lore 1, Mechanics 1, Medicine 4, Negotiation 1, Outer Rim 2, Perception 2, Resilience 2, Xenology 3

Talents: Cyberneticist, Eye for Detail, Improved Overcharge, Overcharge, Toughened, Utility Belt

Abilities: Free rank in Coercion

Equipment: Clothing, tool kit, datapad, comlink

Jiru Dow is an irrascible Arkanian, a genuius when it comes to blending technology and medicine, if not a very pleasant being. He is amoral when it comes to scientific research, valuing any possible discoveries more than what they might cost in sentient life. He is also egotistical, and hates it when “lesser minds” question his methods or results.


Staff (Minions)
Brawn 2 Agility 1 Intellect 3
Cunning 2 Willpower 3 Presence 1

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

Skills (group only): Brawl, Computers, Education, Mechanics, Medicine, Melee, Xenology

Talents: None

Abilities: None

Equipment: Clothing, datapad, comlink, stun baton


These Humans assist Jiru Dow in his research, and can also act as security guards when necessary. They are trained to respond en masse to problem situations in the facility. 


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Secret Research Facility

Admittedly, I drew up this map for an Aliens scenario. Even so, I think it has good potential for Star Wars, too. 

-Nate


Secret Research Facility
Hidden in a remote location on a backwater world is this small research facility. It could be used for any number of wicked and cruel purposes, depending on the needs of the campaign. 

1. Landing Field
This area is open to the sky above. The rock has been cleared of debris, exposing solid ground; four landing circles are painted on it.

2. Ring Tunnel
Running the circumference of the landing field, this tunnel provides access to the different parts of the facility. Heavy doors lead into it at the four cardinal compass points (marked with 2s on the map), and lighter ones open into the interior rooms. The tunnel also provides a simple but effective means of exercise for employees.


3. Mess Hall
The hub of downtime in the facility is this area, where off-duty personnel can take their meals, have a drink, carouse, and perhaps play a hand of cards or some other game. There are plenty of tables and chairs in the main room, along with a bar counter. There are also private rooms available for more intimate gatherings. Behind the bar is the fully stocked kitchen and food storage area.



4. Individual Quarters
Unmarried members of the facility staff have their own dormitory-style rooms, with beds, desks and cabinets. At the end of each hallway there is also a large bathroom.



5. Family Quarters
Those team members who have families can enjoy these quarters, which boast small but functional kitchens, multiple bedrooms and even a private bathroom. 



7. Med Center
In the event of illness or injury, personnel can be treated here. There is a waiting room in the front, along with four rooms for recovering patients. Toward the back of the area is an operating room, along with the doctor's desk, another bathroom and a storage closet. 



8. Laboratory
Transparent cages—ones that are as strong as steel, however—line two sides of this room. Between them are rows of workstations interspersed with examination tables. This is, of course, where the scientists working for the facility's backer do their work.



9. Comm Center
More workstations line the walls of this room. In the back of it is the database mainframe that connects all of the facility's systems to the satellite uplink which keeps them in touch with the outside world and the rest of the galaxy.




Using the Secret Research Facility in an Episode VII-Era Campaign
This location can be incorporated in a campaign in many different ways; a few of the possibilities are detailed here.
  • The First Order could be using it to develop biotoxins that only affect non-Human species, thereby given them a weapon to use indiscriminately against their enemies.
  • It might serve as a base of operations for some of the Knights of Ren, a place where they study the nature of the Force and plot to eliminate all traces of the Jedi Order.
  • The facility might lie in ruins, overrun by native wildlife but containing secrets discovered during the Galactic Civil War, the Clone Wars, or some time earlier.
  • A Hutt could be bankrolling it in order to discover newer and more addictive forms of spice.
  • It might contain an illicit and scandalous secret project undertaken by the New Republic, the Rebel Alliance or even the Old Republic.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Bloodline Review



Yesterday I finished the newest addition to Star Wars literature, the novel Bloodline by Claudia Gray. This one had me excited for a while, for multiple reason. For one, I quite enjoyed Gray's young-adult-oriented Lost Stars. For another, this is the first adult novel since Aftermath to deal with the time period between Episodes VI and VII, and this one is a lot closer in time to the events of The Force Awakens.

This novel did not disappoint. While it's not the most action-packed entry in Star Wars literature--along that line, I think it's hard to top any of Brian Daley's Han Solo novels--this one held my interest throughout the story. There are some action scenes, but they take second place to the drama that comes from political intrigue. Although that might not sound so exciting, it really was. It was interesting to see some of the machinations in the New Republic Senate that lead up to the formation of the First Order and the Resistance, especially as they directly affected Princess Leia. I can't say too much without spoiling things, but secrets are revealed that have heavy ramifications.

Perhaps most importantly, Gray does a good job of capturing Leia's character. Her voice--internal and when used to address other characters--rang true to what we know of Leia from the movies. She has some good interaction with Han, too, in scenes that help to explain their situation in Episode VII. There are some new characters, too, who are likable without overshadowing our main protagonist. Finally, the novel includes a foldout political poster that captures the spirit of the novel well. All in all, Bloodline sets the bar high for any other books set in this time period.

-Nate

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Special Modifications (P)Review

This one's a little late, but c'est la vie. Presented here is a preview of what people can expect to find in Special Modifications, released this week by Fantasy Flight Games.

Page 1: Crawl

Page 2: Credits

Page 3: Table of contents

Page 4: Short fiction

Pages 5-9: Overview of technicians in the galaxy

Chapter 1 (Pages 10-41): “Expert Artificers”
This section provides more information about smuggler backgrounds and obligations; three new species--the Dug, Besalisk and Mustafarian (with two varieties of them); three new specializations--the Cyber Tech, Droid Tech and Modder; more technician motivations; and two new signature ability trees--Inventive Creation and Unmatched Calibration.

Chapter 2 (Pages 42-63): “Tools of the Trade”
This chapter introduces more than a few ways for using tools as weapons, along with some new armor types. There are also some new cybernetic enhancements and slicing tools, along with lots of new modifications for weapons and armor. Rounding out the chapter are half a dozen new vehicles and even more new vehicle enhancements. 

Chapter 3 (Pages 68-96): “Ingenious Creations” 
The focus of this chapter is running Edge of the Empire campaigns for technicians. That includes suggestions for creating technical encounters during adventures, guidelines for how they can earn a living, and extensive tables for building new items.

All in all, Special Modifications seems to be a very solid addition for players who wish to portray these characters, giving them lots of options for handling their own business and helping their companions do theirs.

-Nate

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Force Awakens Beginner Game from FFG

This please me. It is appropriate for May the Fourth to pass on FFG's announcement of a new beginner game boxed set for The Force Awakens; this seems to indicate that the company has a good future relationship with Disney/Lucasfilm. 

The Force Awakens Beginner Game

-Nate 


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

May the Fourth

For those who live in the Twin Cities metro area, Fantasy Flight Games will be hosting a night of game demos with an X-Wing tournament on Wednesday, May 4th. Check it out.

May the Fourth (2016)

-Nate

Friday, April 1, 2016

Two Beasts and a Droid

No, that's not the title of a new holovid sitcom. Here are stats for three new potential adversaries.

-Nate


Gorgodon (Rival)
Brawn 4 Agility 1 Intellect 1
Cunning 2 Willpower 2 Presence 2

Soak: 6
Wound Threshold: 16
Strain Threshold: 12
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

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

Abilities: Thick hide (+2 to soak value); poor vision (suffer a setback die on Perception checks relying on sight); scent (gain a boost die on Perception checks involving smell).

Equipment: Claws (Brawl; Damage 5; Critical 3; Range [Engaged]; Knockdown), Fangs (Brawl; Damage 7; Critical 3; Range [Engaged]).

This predator is vaguely humanoid in appearance, with short legs and huge arms. Its mouth is filled with rows of sharp fangs for gnawing the flesh of of its prey. .




Chameleon Droid (Rival)
Brawn 2 Agility 3 Intellect 2
Cunning 3 Willpower 1 Presence 1

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

Skills: Athletics 2, Brawl 2, Computers 2, Mechanics 1, Perception 3, Ranged—Light 3, Stealth 3, Vigilance 1

Abilities: Adaptive camouflage (add 2 boost dice to all Stealth checks); infrared sensors (ignores setback dice on Perception checks due to darkness).

Equipment: Autoblaster (Ranged—Light; Damage 6; Critical 3; Range [Medium]); Claw legs (Brawl; Damage 4; Critical 3; Range [Engaged]; Knockdown); self-destruct mechanism

The chameleon droid, a modified version of the old spelunker droids, is upgraded with an adaptive camouflage that mimics the surrounding terrain. It was developed by the Confederacy of Independent Systems for reconnaissance and sabotage missions; these two are the survivors of one such assignment that pitted them against the Jedi temple on Ilum.



Nerfs (Minions)
Brawn 4 Agility 2 Intellect 1
Cunning 2 Willpower 3 Presence 1

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

Skills (group only): Brawl, Survival

Talents: None

Abilities: Silhouette 2

Equipment: Horns (Brawl; Damage 7; Critical 3; Range [Engaged])

These herd animals seek little more in life than obtaining food and water and avoiding danger. They are not aggressive by nature, but can become violent if they feel threatened.
  

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Small Massassi Temple

Presented below is a small Massassi temple, one that requires some puzzle-solving in order to find its treasures. 

-Nate



The Temple of the Heavens
The temple is a smallish step pyramid, one similar to those occupied by the Rebel Alliance more than thirty years prior. It sits on a small island in the middle of a river. The grey stone is covered with moss and vines, making it blend in with the surrounding terrain. Failing that, they might need to resort to more drastic (and perhaps destructive) measures.


0. Entry (Not Pictured)
Given the quality of this pyramid's construction, along with the vegetation growing on it, interested parties must make a hard Perception check to find the removable slab at the top of this pyramid. From there, it's a ten-meter drop to the floor of the main chamber (see below for details). The entrance is represented by the six-meter-wide circle depicted on the map.

1. Orrery Chamber
The center of this temple is filled by a single chamber, one that itself is dominated by a broad ring cut from the stone, along with a structure in the middle that resembles an altar. It is two meters in diameter, with a small hole in the center and a series of twenty-four holes in the surrounding edge. What is more, around the outside of the room there is another circular structure, this one perforated by 201 holes. Their purpose may only become apparent once the PCs possess the keys that should be used with them (see below for details).

2. Cells
Surrounding the orrery chamber there are twenty-four smaller rooms, each six meters square. They provided space for meditation when the Massassi still lived and worshiped here. Now they sit empty, with two exceptions that are detailed below.

3. Gundark Nest
In one corner of the structure the aquatic gundarks have built their nest. They have laid eggs within it, and thus are very protective of the area.


 4. Tomb Raider
Characters who explore the cells and make a hard Perception check notice the corpse of a Human wearing a tattered and rotting jumpsuit, with a water-clogged blaster pistol on his or her hip. What is more, in a satchel this ill-fated treasure hunter has three items. Each is a gemstone fitted atop a thin metal spike; one is green, the second is mottled red and cream, and the third is orange. Although the PCs might not recognize the fact right away, they are the key to accessing the temple's hidden chamber (see below for details).

5. Hidden Chamber
The PCs can gain access to this room as long as they manage to solve the aforementioned puzzle. If an when that happens, a circular staircase opens around the base of the central altar, descending into the darkness below. At the bottom is a round chamber twenty meters in diameter, one that has stone sarcophagi lining the walls. While the remains in this tomb have long since broken down into dust, there are still a few physical artifacts remaining. These include a massassi lanvarok and a handful of ammunition disks for it. At the GM's discretion, there could be more items as well.

Solving the Puzzle
The altar in the middle of the temple, along with the ring around it, represent the relative positions of the system's primary star, the planet Yavin and its fourth moon. In order to access the secret chamber, one must place the green gem spike into the center hole, and then the red and cream one on the outside ring of the altar and the orange one in its proper place, representing the positions of those bodies in the night sky. PCs who don't recognize this connection might make hard Education checks to realize that the device is a primitive type of orrery.  

Monday, March 28, 2016

Slarr the Hutt and the First Order, Part 2

Changes in Personnel
Given the passage of thirty years, it should come as not surprise that there have been changes in staffing at Slarr's palace. Most notably, second in command to the Hutt there is a triumvirate of beings—one old, one new, and one who is somewhere in between.


Slarr the Hutt (Nemesis)
Brawn 6 Cunning 4 Presence 4
Agility 1 Intellect 3 Willpower 4

Soak: 5

Wound Threshold: 18
Strain Threshold: 15
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills: Brawl 2, Coercion 4, Computers 1, Cool 3, Core Worlds 2, Deception 4, Discipline 3, Education 1, Leadership 3, Lore 2, Melee 2, Negotiation 4, Outer Rim 2, Perception 4, Ranged—Light 2, Resilience 4, Streetwise 4, Survival 1, Underworld 4, Vigilance 4

Talents: Greased Palms, Grit, Know Somebody, Master Merchant, Plausible Deniability, Rapid Recovery, Sound Investments x4, Toughened, Wheel and Deal x2

Abilities: Awkward, Ponderous (refer to page 407 of the core rulebook for details); Adversary 2

Equipment: None

Slarr Uwanesh Diann—although few know his third name—is a relatively young Hutt, is well established in the world of organized crime. As such, he is a force with which to reckon in the galaxy. Slarr runs his organization out of his stronghold on Nal Hutta, and commands a growing ensemble of criminal beings. His activities include the production and distribution of illicit drugs, gunrunning and slavery. Most notably, however, he acts as a go-between for agents of the First Order and the parts of space controlled by the New Republic. Like others of his species, Slarr is ruthless in his pursuit of profit and power. While he is happy to share his ill-gotten gains with inferiors who prove useful to him, in the end he looks out only for himself.


Tenrep “Little Dianoga” Cray II, Aqualish Soldier (Rival)
Brawn 4 Cunning 3 Presence 3
Agility 2 Intellect 1 Willpower 3

Soak: 6
Wound Threshold: 17
Strain Threshold: 10
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills: Athletics 2, Brawl 3, Coercion 2, Knowledge—Underworld 1, Leadership 2, Melee 2, Ranged—Light 2, Resilience 3, Streetwise 2, Vigilance 2

Talents: Defensive Stance, Durable, Intimidating, Natural Enforcer, Street Smarts, Stunning Blow, Toughened x2

Abilities: Free rank in Brawl and Resilience; can breathe underwater

Equipment: Padded armor, blaster pistol, truncheon

Known as the “Little Dianoga” because he is his father's son, the younger Tenrep tries very hard to fill the shoes of his elder. This is especially the case following his father's death while protecting Slarr from a would-be assassin. Even so, the younger Cray recognizes that his father fought for freedom, and that Slarr's current cooperation with the First Order is really just a return to the type of autocracy experienced under Emperor Palpatine—which itself was a betrayal of the Separatists' efforts during the Clone Wars. For that reason, although he acts as the chief of security in the palace, Cray has begun to question whether or not he is on the right side of this growing conflict.


Aqualish Enforcers (Minions)
Brawn 3 Cunning 1 Presence 1
Agility 2 Intellect 1 Willpower 2

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

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

Talents: None

Abilities: Can breathe underwater; remove a setback die due to cold or wet conditions

Equipment: Heavy clothing, blaster pistol, comlink

These thugs are oafish and none too bright, but effective in combat. They are quite loyal to Captain Cray, so it would take a good deal of persuasion for them to betray him.


Golun Tosek, Majordomo (Nemesis)
Brawn 4 Cunning 3 Presence 3
Agility 3 Intellect 1 Willpower 3

Soak: 5
Wound Threshold: 16
Strain Threshold: 11
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills: Astrogation 1, Athletics 3, Brawl 4, Cool 3, Coordination 2, Discipline 3, Lore 3, Medicine 2, Melee 4, Negotiation 2, Perception 3, Piloting—Planetary 1, Piloting—Space 1, Ranged—Light 3, Resilience 3, Skulduggery 3, Stealth 3, Streetwise 2, Survival 2, Underworld 2, Vigilance 3

Talents: Anatomy Lessons, Dodge, Grit, Lethal Blows x2, Master of Shadows, Outdoorsman, Precise Aim, Quick Draw, Quick Strike, Stalker, Targeted Blow

Abilities: One free rank in Resilience; one free rank in Outdoorsman talent

Equipment: Heavy clothing, heavy blaster pistol, vibrosword, comlink

Golun Tosek is a cold-blooded killer, nothing more or less. He believes without a hint of doubt that sacrifices earn him the favor of M'dweshuu, and that he will attain through it some kind of glorious standing in a sublime supernatural hierarchy. He is insane. Indeed, that is how he came to take over as Slarr the Hutt's majordomo—by murdering the old Gran who formerly served in that role. Although Slarr is generally pleased with Golun's service, what the Hutt does not know is that this Nikto serves another master, in the form of Snoke.


Nikto Servants (Minions)
Brawn 3 Cunning 2 Presence 2
Agility 2 Intellect 1 Willpower 2

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

Skills (group only): Athletics, Brawl, Perception

Talents: None

Abilities: NA

Equipment: Clothing

These Nikto are rough individuals who work for Slarr because they don't have many other options. Even so, the fact that they have a relatively comfortable life working for Slarr buys a certain amount of loyalty. They know who feeds them and puts a roof over their heads, as it were.


Traborn Yerg, Human Technician (Rival)
Brawn 2 Cunning 3 Presence 2
Agility 1 Intellect 4 Willpower 3

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

Skills: Astrogation 2, Computers 4, Education 3, Gunnery 1, Mechanics 4, Piloting—Planetary 1, Piloting—Space 1, Ranged—Light 2, Skulduggery 3, Streetwise 2

Talents: Grit, Side Step, Solid Repairs, Speaks Binary, Tinkerer x2, Toughened, Utility Belt, Utinni!

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

Equipment: Blaster pistol, comlink, datapad, toolkit

Traborn Yerg serves Slarr by acting as an intermediary between the burgeoning First Order and the Corporate Sector Authority, the primary means by which agents of the former laundered their credits through the latter. In this way, Yerg has risen to a position on par with that of “Little Dianoga” Cray and Golun Tosek. Even so, his newfound influence and wealth do not distract him from his chief passion of building gladiator droids. Indeed, Slarr the Hutt has even asked him to begin building an army of these droids, ones that can be used to begin attacking ships throughout the New Republic. (Slarr the Hutt has it on good authority that opportunities for piracy are about to improve considerably.)


Nikto Technicians (Minions)
Brawn 3 Cunning 2 Presence 2
Agility 2 Intellect 1 Willpower 2

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

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

Talents: None

Abilities: NA

Equipment: Clothing

These technicians are recruited from the ranks of the servants and trained by Traborn Yerg to work in the palace's comm center. Because they know they've been spared from more difficult tasks by him, that gives Yerg some influence over them. He hasn't been willing to exploit that arrangement, however, because of the security that working for Slarr gives him.


KLR-1 (Rival)
Brawn 2 Cunning 1 Presence 1
Agility 2 Intellect 1 Willpower 1

Soak: 3
Wound Threshold: 14
Strain Threshold: 12
M/R Defense: 1 / 1

Skills: Athletics 1, Brawl 2, Cool 2, Gunnery 2, Melee 2, Perception 1, Ranged—Heavy 2, Ranged—Light 2, Stealth 1, Streetwise 1, Vigilance 2

Talents: Dodge, Grit, Lethal Blows, Precise Aim, Quick Draw, Quick Strike, Targeted Blow

Abilities: Droid Qualities, Inorganic, Mechanical Being

Equipment: Armor equivalent to armored clothing, blaster pistol, blaster carbine, vibrosword


Once an experimental prototype known as “Killer,” Traborn Yerg has begun mass-producing these droids to serve as agents of his Hutt master.