Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Star Wars - part 4: "Flight Test"

Episode 49: "Flight Test"

The information the team from the Sky River Venture had acquired from Melly Lemgoo covered Imperial shipping and naval movements for the next quarter. The accuracy of the information wouldn't last long, so the group decided to make several copies of it to get it to various audiences. They arranged to give one copy to the Rebel Alliance, which notified them that a courier would be sent to pick up the data card containing the intel. They planned to sell other copies of parts of the information to pirates and smugglers, to increase the amount of damage done to the Imperial forces while at the same time keeping attention away from the Alliance.

To get the information to their second audience, the team decided to visit their old friend Dexter Vex at Point Nadir on comet Resh. But as they set off for that destination, Neri received a coded message from Luke Skywalker: he had found former Jedi Kanan Jarrus on Ryloth, homeworld of the Twi'lek people. Luke's message also told Neri to come alone. Neri discussed this with her friends and was convinced by them that she should take her padawan Taanar with her. Taanar promised that if her master told her to stay on the ship, she would do so. Neri and Taanar departed for Ryloth aboard the Mithrim Montes, while the rest of the group took the Sky River Venture to Resh.

After Lowarra, ADX, and Dash arrived at Point Nadir, they were welcomed by Dex, who was delighted by the opportunity to get his hands on Melly Lemgoo's data. It turned out that he had actually been at the Wheel for the auction representing someone else, though he wouldn't say who. Inspired by a comment Taanar had made, Dash asked if Dex could get the intelligence to some people who would be willing to distribute their ill-gotten gains to planets or people being oppressed by the Empire. But Dex expressed doubt that he would be able to find any buyers with such altruistic motives.

When the discussion was over, Lowarra and Dash decided to go out for some Frangkth on a Stick, as Point Nadir didn't boast a Biscuit Baron franchise. When they returned to the docking bay where they had left the Sky River Venture, Lowarra and ADX noticed a Human and a Rodian lurking around the entrance, seemingly trying to stay out of sight. They approached the pair, and found that these were the couriers sent by the Alliance to pick up the data copy. The Human male's name was Glin Lokin, and his Rodian companion was Rydu. Lokin was disappointed to find that Neri wasn't present; he was excited to meet the group and especially eager to meet a real Jedi. Lokin also remarked that Dash bore a striking resemblance to his wife Jade, who was waiting at their ship, the Zephyr. He then invited the team to meet his wife, and they accepted. After the three companions met Jade Lokin, they agreed that she and Dasha Creel did look very alike. Further discussion with the Alliance couriers led the three Antarian Ranger commanders to encourage Glin, Jade, and Rydu to consider joining the Rangers. Lokin replied that he and his companions would discuss it. (Note: The players of ADX, Dash, and Lowarra had previously been involved in another Star Wars campaign with the same GM. Lowarra's player played Glin Lokin, Dash's player was Jade, and ADX's player ran Rydu.)

The Ranger leaders had also told Dexter Vex that they wanted to purchase some fighters for the Rangers. He told them that they should travel to Junkfort Station, a civil spaceport orbiting the planet Junkfort, to contact someone who might be able to provide what they sought. Once they arrived at the station they found themselves missing Neri's presence, as her ability to persuade others far exceeded any of theirs and they had a little trouble getting through customs. They were to seek someone named Doghrim out at Hangar 88 or the Retired Duduk Cantina.

Meanwhile, the Mithrim Montes arrived on Ryloth without incident and easily cleared customs. But after their arrival, when Neri prepared to contact Luke Skywalker, she realized she had left the code to use to make contact with him back on the New Hope. Feeling embarrassed by her mistake, she used the Force to reach out to him. In return she received the cryptic response, "24." At first she thought this might be a radio frequency. Frequency 24 proved to be playing jizz music on Empire Free Radio, so Neri decided to go out in search of a cantina featuring a jizz band, ordering Taanar to remain aboard the ship and warning her to keep her lightsaber out of sight. As Neri told her padawan, "I don't care what the old Jedi said, your blaster is your friend."

As Neri headed out to look for a cantina fitting her criteria, she realized she was passing by docking bay 24 and decided to look inside. There she spotted Luke's Firespray-31 class ship and his companion droid, ARD-101. ARD-101 informed her that Luke was awaiting her at the Lost Sloppet cantina.

When Neri arrived at the cantina, she was almost immediately accosted by a Devaronian and his Herglic companion, who demanded to know what a Human was doing there. Neri had spotted Luke sitting in a far corner of the cantina, but he was the only Human present other than herself. Neri demanded, "What makes you think I'm Human?" and Force shoved the huge Herglic, disguising the shove as a martial arts maneuver. The Devaronian then drew a blaster. Neri negated the blaster energy, asking, "Do you still think I'm Human?" Then a familiar voice suggested, "You should be somewhere else," and Neri's harrassers both repeated, "We should be somewhere else" and left the cantina.

Luke explained that he had negotiated transport for them to a distant Twi'lek village that had been destroyed by Darth Vader several years earlier. That was where he believed Kanan Jarrus to be hiding. He had hired a Twi'lek guide to take them there. After Neri told him that she had brought Taanar along in the hope that her presence would help to convince Jarrus to join the New Jedi Order, the two of them went back to the Mithrim Montes to fetch her and their gear.

Their transport proved to be a dilapidated speeder, but their guide assured them it was reliable. The journey to the village took three days by speeder. The village was located in a densely forested area, and they had to leave the speeder and make the final portion of their journey on foot. Neri had already begun to sense the Dark Side resonance that Vader's presence had left on the area well before they left the speeder. They began to hear an eerie humming sound, which their guide explained came from charms set out to deter predators. Suddenly, a huge insectoid creature burst out of the forest onto the trail ahead.

At Junkfort Station, Dash, ADX, and Lowarra met with a shady Bith dealer in used spacecraft. The Bith at first tried to sell them some very old ships, until they finally convinced him they were serious about buying some genuine, effective fighters. Then he showed them some Y-wing fighters that appeared to be in good condition. They gave him a 20% deposit on the price of the Y-wings and took three ships out for a test flight.

Shortly after they left the station, they spotted six other ships approaching, including one YT-class vessel. It quickly became apparent that these were ship-jackers out to steal the fighters, as they realized that their communications were being jammed and they had only ship-to-ship contact. Each of the three Rangers took on two of the 'jackers ships in a dogfight. It was a fierce fight, but a quick one, as the Antarian Rangers outmatched their attackers. ADX was even provoked to anger, shouting, "You don't mess with the Antarian Rangers!" into his coms. In short order four of the 'jackers' ships had been destroyed, and the remaining two had fled. The Rangers returned to the station and were able to negotiate a deal to buy a full squadron of Y-wing fighters at a 6% discount.

Before their guide even had time to tell Neri, Luke, and Taanar that the insect-like monster was a lylek, the creature grabbed him with the pair of tentacles on its thorax and ripped him in half. It then emitted a roar so intimidating that Taanar fled in panic. She collided with her master as she ran, but that didn't distract Neri from using the Force to pick up a nearby huge boulder and hurl it at the lylek. Luke drew his lightsaber. The lylek snagged Luke with one tentacle and began to crush him. Neri pulled him free using the Force and drew him to her, and Luke righted himself to land on his feet.

Taanar overcame her terror and raced back to where her master and Luke Skywalker were fighting the lylek. As she arrived, Luke Force slammed the creature, knocking it over, but it immediately leaped back up onto its many legs and moved forward. Neri drew her lightsaber. Taanar mimicked what she had seen her master do and used the Force to hurl a heavy log at it, but its carapace was very tough and it took less harm from the blow than she had hoped. Then Luke Skywalker lunged forward and his lightsaber sliced off the beast’s head.

Taanar stepped up beside her master. “Master, I’m sorry. When it roared, I couldn’t do anything but run,” she said, head hanging low. From behind them a gruff, unfamiliar voice said, “When a lylek charges, you that’s the smart thing to do.” The three Jedi turned to see a bearded Human man standing there. By the scarring around his eyes it was apparent he was blind, but he seemed to have no difficulty identifying where they were. “Are you Kanan Jarrus?” Neri asked. “I’ve been called by that name,” the man replied.

Neri introduced herself, Luke, and Taanar, then explained that they had reformed the Jedi Order and wanted to talk to Jarrus about joining them. “Come to my camp,” he said. As they followed him to the Twi’lek village, observing that he seemed to have no difficulty navigating the forest, Neri asked how he could stand the oppressive aura of Dark Side energy that surrounded the place. “A few hours of meditation a day takes care of it,” Jarrus responded. “I suppose Yoda sent you.” Neri’s expression grew sad. “Master Yoda is dead. I was with him when he passed,” she told him.

Next session scheduled for August 13, 2016

Star Wars - part 3 : "A Trip to the Wheel"

Episode 48: "A Trip to the Wheel"

The team hadn’t expected to be asked to take Melly Lemgoo anywhere other than back to Echo Base. They were surprised by her request to go to the Wheel, a large space station known for gambling and entertainment. When they questioned Melly, she told them that she wanted to go there to auction some information about Imperial naval deployments and convoys!

This didn’t sit well with the Venture team, but after they discussed it with her they realized that their mission had only been to extract her from Columex, not to take her anywhere specific. They also understood that Melly wasn’t cheating the Alliance by selling the information instead of giving it to the rebels – her agreement with them hadn’t been to give them everything she had acquired, and she wasn’t a member of the Rebel Alliance herself. Although the team members didn’t like it, she had every right to sell the intel to the highest bidder if she wanted to. Further discussion led them to conclude that they should try to acquire the funds to purchase the information themselves.

Once they had come to this decision, Dash sent the Alliance leadership a coded message disguised as a frivolous request for credits to purchase a yacht, to request that they release some of the funds they were holding on behalf of the New Jedi Order and the Antarian Rangers. Melly had already explained that the starting bid for her information would be 100,000 credits, so Dash’s message requested a million credits to help insure that the team could be the highest bidder.

During their trip to the Wheel, Neri made Taanar practice her skills with the Force by having her levitate small objects while doing a handstand. Neri threw small rubber balls around her to distract her during this training.

On arrival at the Wheel, the group learned that the Wheel had a strict no-weapons policy and would scan every visitor for illicit weaponry. Neri and Taanar hid their lightsabers in ADX’s secret shielded compartment. During the scan this caused an anomaly, but Neri was able to persuade the station representatives that this was a special customization of her droid’s equipment. She and her companions entered the Wheel in the guise of a Corellian noble traveling with her droid bodyguard, her personal pilot, her Togruta ward, and a Wookiee nanny for her ward. They were met by Melly Lemgoo and her friend Captain Raulmark Muridep, who extended an invitation to the invitation-only auction, which would take place in two days. After the arrangements had been made the group reserved a modest hotel suite.

Neri decided that the team needed more weapons, so she sought out a black market arms dealer. He warned them that they might be scanned again in the ‘high roller’ area of the station, but they decided to purchase several hold-out blasters anyway. Lowarra also bought a vibroblade and a stun baton.

The team received a response from the Rebel Alliance, but the leaders had decided to release only half the amount of credits that Dash had asked for. They could only hope that half a million credits would be enough to beat the other bidders.

Melly Lemgoo sent the group an invitation to the Main Ring entertainment center, where the auction would take place. As they entered the area, Neri and Lowarra both detected something off about the situation. There were Imperial agents present. Neri immediately drew her hold-out blaster, but the rest of the group other than Lowarra were taken by surprise. One of the agents raised a grenade launcher and fired a net at Lowarra. Lowarra avoided the net and fired back at her assailant. Then a stun grenade landed in the midst of the group, and ADX was hit by an ion grenade. Clearly the Imperials had known who was coming and prepared for them.

Lowarra moved toward the man who had tried to net her, and immediately was caught in an immobilizing trap. A second stun grenade fell into the group, stunning both Dash and Taanar. More ion grenades hit ADX, but fortunately his body was hardened against such effects.

Reeling from the effects of the stun grenades, Taanar took cover behind a piece of the d├ęcor. She watched in amazement as Neri used the Force to lift the still-immobilized Lowarra off the ground and use her sturdy body to try to bludgeon the man who had set up the trap. Unfortunately she missed him and slammed Lowarra into a wall, but the Wookiee was too tough to be bothered much by the experience. Lowarra broke free of the trap and she and Neri focused their attacks on the same target.

Another stun grenade flew at Neri, and she Force thrust the man who fired it off his perch on a walkway overhead. Taanar tried to shoot at him with her hold-out blaster but missed. Neri then attempted to make another Imperial agent flee in terror, but he resisted her and fired on her. Dash was busy exchanging blaster fire with a second man who had taken high ground. Neri managed to stun the man who had resisted her fear effect. One of the men tried to catch her in an electrified net, but she dodged it. ADX was hit several times and despite his hardened exterior took some damage. Another net was fired at Dash, who also avoided it.

Still hiding behind some of the furnishings, Taanar attempted to disarm a man who was heading toward her master with a blaster rifle, but her skill with the Force wasn’t strong enough to pull the rifle out of his hands. Meanwhile Lowarra had flown into a berserk rage and rushed some of the agents, a terrifying vision of flying hair and foaming lips. Inspired by her new friend’s fury, Taanar managed to hit the agent with a potted tree, and Dash then shot him. Lowarra sliced one man into three sections with her vibroblade. The last agent who was still on his feet faced ADX, but Neri disarmed him. Then Lowarra charged him and he ran, only to be brought down by ADX’s fist. Only the agent Lowarra had trisected was dead; all of the others were merely unconscious.

The Imperial agents were all taken prisoner and questioned. They revealed that they had recognized the Venture team on Columex and followed them to the Wheel. The team were just starting to realize how well-known they had become.

During the fight, Melly Lemgoo and her friend Captain Muridep had retreated into a separate room along with a group of security droids. When the fighting was over they emerged to find that the other auction participants had all fled. Muridep tried to bid on Melly’s information, but the team were able to outbid him and acquire intelligence on Imperial ship movements for the use of the Antarian Rangers.

At the end of the session, Taanar Ryl had reached 3rd level and Lowarra had reached 14th level.