Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Sewers of Corellia

It has been altogether too long since I posted a gaming-related article to this blog. I was looking to focus on the era after Return of the Jedi and leading up to The Force Awakens in a series called "New Republic Intelligence Reports," but I was disappointed enough in the mishmash plot of The Last Jedi that I lost inspiration for doing so. After watching and enjoying Solo: A Star Wars Story, however, I've found a new direction in which to steer things. Here, then, is the first post inspired by that film.

The Sewers of Corellia
I admire anyone who can crawl their way out of a sewer.”

-Dryden Vos, Agent of Crimson Dawn

Beneath the sprawling construction facilities on the planet Corellia lies an unseen world of squalor, desperation and crime. It is inhabited by orphaned children and other beings who seek anonymity or who have no other options, along with those who seek to exploit them. There are criminal organizations, such as the White Worms, as well as loners who desire nothing more than to be left alone.

The Tunnel Network
For the most part, the tunnels start out narrow—with pipes perhaps half a meter in diameter, from individual buildings, that empty into meter-wide ones. Those, in turn, dump into broader tunnels (pictured, above) with walkways for inspection and access from the surface via ladders behind locked doors. Those tunnels converge at junctions, broader chambers with higher ceilings that pour out into three-meter-wide passages, ones that usually dump out into a processing plant or even into the nearest body of water. 

When these tunnels are inhabited, the flow of sewage through the area is, of course, ended. Sometimes clean water is allowed to flow through, at least in some of the tunnels. That is especially the case when beings who prefer wet climates are present, such as the Grindalids who run the White Worms organization. For the most part, side tunnels become sleeping quarters, with the mouth of each tunnel serving as a crude bunk. Junctions, then, can be used as meeting spaces, with underlings gathering along the catwalks to be addressed by superiors from the floor below. If need be, tunnels can be sealed with junk and other debris in order to limit access. 

Note, too, that scrumrats (as the orphans-turned-thieves are most commonly known) and their employers are renowned for protecting their territory using traps. These can be more defensive in measure, such as sensors that trigger an alarm, or they can be crafted to harm intruders, such as by stringing a live electrical across a passage or through a pool of water. Of course, the scrumrats are also known to hoard the valuables that they steal, providing some incentive for those who dare venture against them. While portable wealth such as cash and jewelry is most common, technology is also highly prized—and information might be the most valuable commodity of all.

Using the Sewer Tunnels in an Edge of the Empire Campaign
This network can be incorporated into adventures and campaigns in many different ways; a few of the possibilities are detailed here.
  • Characters who start out their careers as scrumrats could grow up in these tunnels, either living on their own or working in the service of an employer.
  • While the sewer tunnels can often provide access to building on the surface, keep in mind that the entrances and exits to those tunnels are usually sealed with mechanical or electronic locks, and often protected by other means as well. 
  • During a storm, tunnels that are fed by drains on surface streets can become flooded, endangering all who are downstream from them. 
  • Those who are motivated and capable could stage an uprising against draconian employers, perhaps while the spoils from a particularly lucrative heist or caper are available for the taking.
  • Visitors to Corellia might find that scrumrats steal something of value, and thus have to pursue the thieves into the tunnels.
  • This could even happen when Rebels are meeting a contact who carries important information, only to see it stolen.
  • When the tunnel's inhabitants start disappearing, it is up to someone—a scrumrat or even someone from the surface—to find the cause and deal with it. This could be a case of kidnapping, or perhaps a dianoga has come to live nearby.
  • Rebel characters could find that the sewer system is a good means of gaining access to, and then sabotaging, the factories that produce vehicles and other materiel for the Imperial war machine. Of course, altruistic beings who see the difficulty of the scrumrats' lives could be motivated to ad them against those who exploit them. After all, capable and discreet beings of any age could make good recruits for the Alliance.

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