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. 


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.


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.


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