Actual Play

Jepteth a’Ghul: this is not your daddy’s cleric

Jackie’s running an Egyptian-style mini-campaign called Necropolis. Since the campaign itself is fairly high-power to begin with, we had a little leeway for people to do interesting things with their characters.
How interesting? Dave’s doing an anthropomorphic elephant, the background of which is over here. Margie’s playing a young Astral Deva, Justin’s playing a half-dragon sorceress.
Me and Randy? Just plain old humans. (Actually, I’m playing two: Jepteth a’Ghul (Priest/Divine Agent) and Aziz, his cohort (your basic ranger and comedy relief).) I figured one of the more interesting things I could do with a ‘plain old human’ character in a group like this is make up someone who looks at such a powerful montage of beings and immediately thinks: “Obviously, I should be in charge.”

Actual Play

Nobilis Campaign, Session 2, Punishment’s Thought-record

I will very shortly be creating a separate blog for the Nobilis campaign, but until then, such posts get put here.
We played on Sunday. This is the first of the player diaries. (And we have more players now, so more diaries. Yay, diaries.)

Actual Play

“I attack… what’s going on?”

So on Saturday, Jackie and I played through the Living Greyhawk module “Isle of Woe”. This is a huge module of indeterminate quality (well, we didn’t know anyone who’d played it before, so we didn’t know) which is mostly notable for requiring a 16-hour time commitment.
I didn’t want to do it, since it pretty much meant 50 to 60% of my weekend, but we’d made a commitment…

Actual Play

DnD Game

Friday night’s game was fun. I’m enjoying it quite a bit more than I used to — not quite sure why that is, but I imagine it’s basically because I go in cycles of enthusiasm with everything.
Also, there’s the pregnancy.
See, one character (priestess of the sun god) agreed to ‘do something’ that would immensely help out ‘the cause’ — she agreed to this during one of her many dream-time conversations with the god — he’s been visiting her a LOT lately.
Anyway, she wakes up the next morning feeling GREAT and with her eyes all… Glow-y. Really.
And morning sickness after casting Heroes Feast. 🙂
I find that, as the group gets to be more powerful and capable, I’m able to use the sorts of plot ideas that usually work much better in a higher powered campaign like Amber. My original estimates that a starting Amberite would be, in the d20 system, about a CR 10 creatures seems very accurate, as least as pertains to the sorts of stories and scope that they seem aptly geared to handle. With the (large) group now ~level 12&13, these are the days of broad themes and plots… now are the times where they speak frankly with the Duchess over a private meal.
They can kick more ass, and thus I feel less compelled to throw combat at them? Very odd.

Actual Play

News Headlines from Around the Core Worlds

Short version of last night’s session: One player’s Senate Representative character and everyone else went to a Masquerade on a planet-orbitting ship — a fight ensued in a ship dock (they were trying to find a kidnapped ally).
To block the exit from the ship dock, The Senate-boy used his Noble Clout to order the valet to pull his personal ship to the outside of that airlock to block it… in order to DO that, he had to tell the valet who he was…
The real problem: one of the characters ‘finished off’ the two unconscious-but-stable opponents they left on the landing-bay floor, then they fled the scene in his ship.
There wouldn’t normally be an investigation (the partygoers are somewhat under-the-table types)… then the Valet got an idea about getting paid for the news leak.
And all this happened on the morning of the day that the character’s Uncle, Bail Antilles, is (possibly) being named as the minority nominee for the upcoming election of Supreme Chancellor…
The City
“Alderaan’s Golden Boy Hits the Town”
“Mysterious Deaths at Gala”
“Antilles Investigation Clouds Election”
“Senate Rep. flees Murder Scene”
“Bontraar Security Tapes Blank, Missing”
“Swank but Sinister Bontraar Masque Ends in Deaths, Accusations”
Coruscant Sun
“Twi’lek Dancing Girls: Simon A’s Kink”
“Meet the Antilles Assassins”
Alderaan Herald
“Baseless Accusations Fly in Core”
Dl Tgszlg [Bothan Press]
[Bontraar’s Gala Target of Terrorists]
O Po [Nal Hutta]
Senator Antilles kills five, Flees Scene

[with thanks to Stan for the idea]
Actual Play

Prince of Alderaan — 01/31/2003

The group, working seperately, all seek to stop a plot to assassinate Senator Antilles.

Actual Play

Prince of Alderaan — 01/09/2003

It’s 4 AM local time and we open with an image of two towers — the two tallest buildings in the area. We see gritty marketplaces where dirty people buy dirty vegetables and speak some sinister-sounding language. A wiry thirty-ish Caucasian man enters a ground floor apartment whose bleached wood “hookers and beggars” exterior tells us it’s a seedy hotel. He enters a room, releases an electronic lock on a door inside, opens a datapad, picks up a comlink, and identifies himself as “Phin” and requests permission to log on. Permission is granted by the guy on the other end of the line, and with sweat dripping from his forehead, he uploads information. There’s a loud knock on the door, and guttural shouting in a harsh alien tongue is heard outside.

Actual Play

Price of Honor, Session 02/28/2003 — Keep on the Borderlands

When we last left our heroes…
With information in their hands the conclusively linked both Devilish activity in the area to a burgeoning slave trade and the hidden darkling city of Denab Knur, the group decided to head north (center of the Duchy of Caer Maighdean, home of the White Eagle Monastery, and the direction of Denab Knur). After some map review, they decided the fastest way to get north was to go west; specifically by following the Laigh River our of the foothills and through the southern reaches of Maighdean Forest to the coast of Northsea and the road that ran along the coast north to the County (and south to Hyrmsmir).
The hike took several days (during which Karina located them and rejoined the group, and group passed several abandoned or ruined strongholds along the banks of the river, but opted to avoid rather than explore them — most looked quite picked over or poor wooden contructs to begin with, so the possibility of loot was slim, and they wanted to move quickly.
That plan changed as they neared the edge of the forest and spied a relatively intact stone keep on a rise above the river. They planned to ignore it and move on by, but the inhabitants (though certainly not the original inhabitants) had other ideas.
Maighdean Forest has a reputation for deadly fauna and premiere among them are the Maighdean Grizzlies — great beasts that have been known to singly attack and destroy entire groups of foresters — they are normally solitary creatures.
Eight of them came pelting out of the keep’s gaping front gate or through the gaps in the walls and charged the group in a sort of rage.
Still, these were heroes who had faces the worst Hell could offer: surely these beasts were nothing to worry about?
The first charge nearly killed Karina (who found out that illusions don’t work very well on creatures with a good nose) and badly hurt Ran. The group slowly managed to pull themselves together, and only one beast survived to run off into the forest, but when the battle was over, the only thing the group wanted to do was find a place to rest and recuperate — the castle (surely abandoned now that the bears were gone) looked quite inviting.
What they found while exploring was a largely intact castle of quite good design — several of the walls had been slighted (either by the original battle that drove it’s inhabitants away or the depredations of it’s more recent owners), and most of the wooden interiors were rotted away or destroyed, but the overall edifice was quite solid and remarkable. The group rested up and continued exploring in the morning, having located a stairwell that led into the bedrock below the castle.
What they found beyond the basic pantry was a series of largely unfinished chambers that the original masters had never properly completed and one lone stair that led into very old construction that certainly outdated the keep they had seen above. Therein they encountered a skeletal knight gaurding the entrance, armed with a remarkable sword (claimed by Shayla after they narrowly defeated it). The battle was hard-fought and the group decided to rest up before continuing further into the crypt beneath the castle they were already beginning to think of as ‘theirs’.

Actual Play

Price of Honor, Session 01/24/2003 — All Tied Up

It’s been a long time since we’ve tuned in to the tales of the “Price of Honor” campaign, and a lots happened.
To sum up what’s gone before:

Two Years Ago: The Homely Hearth of Hyrmsmir was an Inn like many others: decent food, decent help, and a warm and cheerful fire lighting the walls and ceiling… Wait a second, that firelight is coming from outside the Inn; from the city walls, in fact. Are those screams you hear? The sounds of goblin battle cries? It doesn’t look like your going to get a chance to try the cook’s new dessert cake.

One Year ago: The city of Hyrmsmir had lost its treasured status as a small, safe port on the shores of Northsea. Hyrmsmir was well on its way to becoming a prosperous trading town until the armies came out of the mountains to the east and into the lands surrounding the town. Trade dropped off. Fewer caravans and ships arrived. Hordes of orcs, goblins, ogres, and giants marched as armies with order and discipline under the cover of night. When the armies came, Hyrmsmir was not prepared. The ?Battle of Hyrmsmir? was a massacre, able only to buy the inhabitants time to barricade off small portions of the city. Over the last year, however, men have returned to Northsea coasts, determined to reclaim their lost homes. Although the city proper is still held by the twisted armies of the conquerors, men have managed to gain a foothold in the ruined city, hiring adventurers to recover sections of the city, piece by piece.

Six Months ago: Our Heroes become entangled in the plots of the Duke of Hell behind the armies holding Hyrmsmir and are pulled into the 2nd plane of Hell itself, to the mirror-city of Harmsmire. After a series of (mis)adventures, the heroes narrowly manage to prevent the culmination of the plot that would have swapped the Hellcity with it’s counterpart on their home plane.

Six weeks ago: The group returns home, having discovered that their worlds the prizin an infernal contest — six Dukes of Hell are secretly competing to see who will be the first to conquer the Grand Duchy (or the largest part thereof) — they have set themselves against these hidden foes in hopes of stopping all of the other five Dukes of Hell and maybe even saving the world.

Background: The campaign takes place past the borders of the Duchy of Caer Maighdean, the shores of Northsea. More information on the campaign is here, and notes on the earlier game session and characters are here.

Following rumors of slave caravans and infernal activities, the group has left Hyrmsmir, moving north and gradually northeast along the lower foothills of the Peace Mountains, skirting the swamps of the Lizarim and moving into the Maighdean Forest as it climbs into the mountains — the altitude climbs as the temperatures drop, and the group finds out the the rumors of Devils in the Hills are true.
Two cornugon devils attack them on a mountain pass, and the group is tested (especially without their mage, who is on a personal quest creating several wands). They win through the fight, collect the booty and continue on to what looks like their bolthole in the mountains.
Unfortunately, the bolthold is guarded by a number of Ropers that have been modified in some manner to function out of doors. The party nearly overwhelmed, but manages to hold out… until Gebbet runs up and tries to open the door to the bolthole right away and triggers a trap that summons in another Cornugon. Oops. (He’d feel worse about it if Grim hadn’t told him to do it.)
The group camps out of doors and posts guards — convenient, since they’re ambushed in the middle of the night by hobgoblin troops that they handily dispatch even with Whisper staying wrapped in her bedding. The next morning they go through the hobgoblins things and discover that this operation is commanded from the hidden ogre city Denab Knur. They make plans to pursue this clue to it’s origin.

Actual Play

Session 16 – Prince of Alderaan

Star Wars: The Prince of Alderaan
The RimWorld Bacta War
Part IX: “Automatic”

The group on the independant space station (Corvo, Dag, and Keema) find themselves in a heavy gunbattle with two improved humanoid battle droids and a Droideka. Everyone is badly beat up from the battle, and nearly half of the Rim World Consortium is taken out (including the ship’s captain they were supposed to be introduced to by the 1st mate), but they beat the things down (and cart at least one of the droids (the droideka, natch) back to the ship under a tarp.

The Iktoch group (G___, Sharess, Nayda, and Simon) end up in a fight with themselves… or clones of themselves… or something. It becomes more evident as to what is going on when one of the attackers drop with sparks flying. The six attackers are all droids. The “jedi” have repulsor pads in their hands and feet to increase Jumping and simulate Force push effects. The false jedi’s “lightsabers” use a completely different technology, projecting heated plasma into a ‘magnetic bottle’ that looks like a blade. The weapon’s output is someone less than that of a Jedi’s weapon, it doesn’t cut through solid substances nearly as easily, and the power supply for such an inefficient design is tapped completely out in just under a half hour of use.

The group on the space station negotiates to follow the pirates to a neutral meeting zone on a nearby mining colony. Upon arrival, the pirates have left their ship and are chasing all over the base. It turns out that one of their own number was a spy for the Trade Federation and has jumped ship. The “old” captain was very careful about not mentioning their RWC ties to planets like Naboo (where they get supplies), but the 1st mate mentioned it out in the open to the PC’s after the fight. The fellow is obviously selling this information to the highest bidder (or taking it back to his employer).

Simon locates the speeder that their attackers arrived in. He works on the craft’s GPS for a few minutes and manages to create a ‘back track’ of the vehicles route out of the Iktochi wastelands. Everyone hops in and they take off into the wastelands (after sending most of the droids back with the police).
The wastelands are unfriendly, and the quartet’s speeder is accosted by a “tri-horn bull” (aka a “reek”) — a native, ugly herd animal that is very territorial. They avoid it and finally come to a narrow canyon that ends in a large concealed blast door. As the stolen speeder approaches the door, it opens onto darkness beyond — apparently automatically.
They have a bad feeling about this.

Actual Play

Last night’s game

An annoying railroad section of the plot has come and past, but besides that, probably the first game I’ve really enjoyed as a GM in this particular campaign.
Don’t know why, but I had fun.

Actual Play

Session 15 — Clanky Robot Love

Star Wars: The Prince of Alderaan
The RimWorld Bacta War
Part VIII: “Let’s Split Up”

Apologies for the lateness of this update, but I’d already typed this out at one point and then lost everything.
The group began the session debating how to get Simon and the two Jedi down to the planet of Iktoch to deliver a supply of bacta to their critically injured liege without getting shot out of the air by Iktochi space patrols.
The trick was to look harmless. The problem with this (which Simon was more than willing to point out) was that in order to look harmless, the trio + Nayda had to essentially be harmless.
Eventually, the group decided to jump the Knight Errant into the very edge of the system and jettison an escape pod with the ‘planet mission’ group on board. This seemed to work: they were picked up by a planetary orbital patrol and brought down to the spaceport, where they were immediately identified and confined until authorities could arrive. At that point, Simon talked his way into getting the Bacta to Senator Antilles.
The second complication was more challenging. There was clear (and convincing) footage of the group attacking the RimWorld diplomats during their last stay on the planet (one of the reasons they were being hunted), and equally convincing film footage of a fight they were involved in in the warehouse district at the same time. Simon got the Iktoch diplomatic liason to allow them to clear themselves if possible, and the four left for the area where they’d supposedly attacked the RimWorlders.
Meanwhile, those remaining on the ship tried to figure out how to find the RimWorlders to present them with an alternative to raiding the Trade Federation and immobilizing Hyperspace travel all along the major trade routes. Finally, they hit on a plan to go where the RimWorlders were going: that is, to anticipate the arrival of a Trade Fed ship coming into a nearby system and lie in wait, then follow the raiders back to a base if possible. (Thus far, the Knight Errant has proven immune to the virus that has immobilized any Hyperspace pursuit — no one knows why.)
This basically works. In a nearby system, the Errant lie dormant until the TF ship arrives, watches while the (numerous) RimWorld ships attack, collect the cargo, and jump away. Figuring trajectory, they deduce that the Consortium ships were headed either for an independant space station/trading hub, a farming planet, or a mining colony about 4 days away. They go for the trading station.
Having arrived at the station, they locate the RimWorlders (some of them, anyway, including the first mate), and make them interested in what they’re selling (which is: Bacta worms, with instructions on who to talk to to learn how to take care of them). The whole group heads back to the RimWorld’s docking bay for a nice public chat.
Hell breaks loose:
On Iktoch, our group of investigators are attacked by… themselves. One of the attackers shouts “no witnesses” and the whole group of imposters (?) charge in.
On the Space station, blaster fire and explosions suddenly echo from the vacinity of the RimWorld ship. The group runs for their own ship (and their heavier weapons), while Keema sends her droid to scout ahead. The holoprojected recording shows two Trade Federation Droiddekas clomping out of the RimWorld ship’s cargo hold — the TF apparently hid these little surprises in their cargo to punish would-be pirates.

Actual Play

Session 14

Star Wars: The Prince of Alderaan
The RimWorld Bacta War
Part VII: “Sometimes the Worm Eats You”

Dave Hill
12 July 02

After defeating the Labor Droids on Iktotchi, we took off from the planet and escaped the system patrols, aided by an astrogation virus that was blocking pursuing ships from getting into hyperspace. We still haven’t figured out why our ship isn’t affected.
Three days later, we arrived at system M13.
From the droid we’d recovered, we learned of the assassination of the entire Black Sun leadership, and how a Black Sun faction (apparently housed at a monastery on M13) could, if sucked into the Black Sun civil war, “disrupt pharmaceutical supply chains.”
Sharess had to be intensively treated for injury, using up most of our remaining medpacks; when done, only Corva had any left (two). He always seems to have some extra supplies.
We landed some distance away, under cover, and made our way overland to the monastery, which was some sort of ferro-crete landing platform/multi-level complex suspended over a lake on long sweeping legs. On the way, we were attacked by a long but very narrow snake/worm that seemed almost metallic and dove through the earth as though it was water. It injured Simon pretty badly (as it went through him with the same ease). Gan (the jedi padawan traveling with the Senator that we’d somehow picked up at Iktochi) slice-and-diced it. It was only after the battle that we realized that, as a metal-based creature, it would likely have been susceptible to ion guns.
With binocs, we surveyed the monastery. It all looked peaceful until we noticed the blaster-riddled monk hanging out one window. We sprinted the rest of the way to the stairs leading up to the landing platform, hoping to avoid more worms. It was desserted, save for the blasted ruins of a ship lying mostly under a movable cover. We headed down the stairs, which were formed out of cement to resembled carved stone, with old metal doors. It really felt like a primitive monastery in some places.
We exited at the first level to find the site of what looked like a major battle, all civilians (though armed), lots of bodies. We were able to recover a number of ion pistols and rifles, and proceeded onward.
On computer terminals we found a map, which listed an infirmary on the third main level and in sub-level 3. Level 1, where we were, was communal areas. Level 2 would be the monks cells. Level 3 would be the offices, as well as the infirmary.
The computer revealed records of some sort of enterprise the monks were into, and made reference to units of production and had inventory counts, but seemed vague about what it was all about. Simon was convinced the evasions were intentional.
We found much the same — both vague journals (“our distributors have arrived”) and carnage on level three. There seemed to be multiple parties that had fought there, and lots of bodies and weapons left behind — none of which boded well. The journals warned of potential dangers of the conflict — noting that the “unrest” was “very disruptive to our herd” that “the fighting is getting worse” and “the last shift never reported back.”
The infirmery at that level was ransacked. Lots of bodies, evidently taken out by a thermal detonator.
We found the office of the Abbot, Kostel Lo. Again, the notes in his computer were vague. There were references to ther temples in their Order, and how the Black Sun used them (or was used) for redistribution of “the product”. More references to “the product” and “the herd.”
We descended further, down a spiraling stair, encountering more bodies evidently caught by a trip wire trap.
Down at the bottom of the stairs, we found a freight elevator back up to the landing platform, as well as barrels of bacta, spoiled. Beyond was the door to the lower level. There we found various locked doors and impromptu welded barriers of debris, none of which made us feel any better. Beyond one such set of barriers (short work made of by the Jedi) and door, we found a (very) small sentry droid. Its memory showed it had been patrolling for about 10 days, and hadn’t seen any humans for five days. It was not triggered to attack by our entry, though. A review of its programming indicated it was there to protect against worms, of the sort we’d fought outside the complex, only much bigger.
From there we found the control room, much the same as what we’d already found save that the bodies were skeletons stripped of all flesh. There were big holes in the floor, too. As Simon put it, “Why are we here, instead of a huge army of people who know what they’re doing?”
Peering through the holes in the control room’s floor, we could see only that the large chamber below was … moving. More worms. Lots more worms. Agitated worms. Dag and Simon got the lights running…
The control room overlooked a vast chamber, filled with the worms. In the center was a large extraction tube, to pick up the … bacta that the worms produced (vomiting it over their eggs).
Looking through the computer records, we discovered that a few of the worms had escaped into the outdoors and subsequent explosions (from two competing factions of the out-of-control Black Sun fighting for control of the base) had ruptured their retaining walls. The worms would reproduce quickly with “robust” food sources — like the native animals beyond. Or, on an inhabited planet, the populace, which is why they were being raised on this un-colonized planet. Electricity, the records indicated, would kill them quickly. The worms were sensitive to psychic emanations, too, which is why the monks had been so well-suited to raising them, using their monastic calm to good purpose.
We made a note of the locations of the three other monastaries in the same Order (who were all apparently working on the “ends justify the means” philosophy, figuring that by keeping the bacta production secret and distributing it via the Black Sun, they were doing the most good while protecting the larger sentient galaxy from it’s own greed, bad luck, and stupidity).
Learning what we’d needed to learn, we prepared to depart, first we securing some cannisters of unspoiled bacta, and using the freight elevator (checknig the shaft for traps first) to bring it up to the top, where we could use a grav skiff to get back to the ship without having to walk over worm-ridden terrain.
It was around then that it occured to us that there had been multiple Black Sun factions fighting, but only one ruined ship. Which meant … the sound of an deorbiting ship we heard was Not A Good Thing. We headed back to our ship quickly, and took off just in time to miss encountering the assault cruiser that was landing.
Back in orbit, we fired up the new hypercom that the Senator had had installed for us. We learned that about eighty percent of the Trade Federation leadership had been assassinated during the talks on Eriadu (killed by their own security droids, of all things). The Nemoidians were now basically in charge of the Traders (since their representative in the Council was the only member who hadn’t been there when the droids had gone berserk — how convenient).
As a result, the Trade Federation had declared a state of emergency and cancelled any talks with the Rim World Consortium. Interstellar trade was creeping to a standstill due to the astrogation bug (which was apparently spreading) — which the Consortium was taking credit for, holding space travel hostage until they got more bacta to distribute to the outlying worlds.
We headed back to Iktochi to provide Bayle with some of the bacta we’d obtained. We figured the bacta would also be a useful trade tool with the government there when we turned ourselves in over the trumped charges of attacking the Rim World Consortium.
By the time we arrived there, though, we’d changed our plans. Nayda, Simon, and the Jedi would head down to the planet with bacta for the Prince, while the rest of us would try to find the Rim World Consortium to negotiate with them regarding the bacta sources we’d found.
You see, one of the canisters we’d picked up didn’t have bacta in it; it contained dormant worms. With that to ‘seed’ a new hive and contact with the monastic Order to train them, the RWC could begin production of their own bacta supply.

Actual Play

Star Wars – Session 12 & 13

Session 12 – Stunning Revelations
The GM has lost his notes on this session, so until he finds them, here’s the quick summary:
The party finds the backworld planet that Nayda visited, and backtracks along her route, trying to figure out what she saw or found that was dangerous. This eventually leads them to a secluded landing platform in the middle of nowhere. The group lands some distance away and tries to sneak in, but runs into booby traps.
At this critical point, Faloon betrays the group and stuns several of them, then pulls a thermal detonator, trying to stall until his allies at the platform ahead can get there.
Of course, the group fights, and we all learn how the new stun rules work. It’s very enlightening.
In the end, the group staggers away, some badly wounded, with an incapacitated Faloon in tow. When they reach the ship, they find a message waiting from Prince Antilles, instructing them to break off the investigation and meet him at the planet of ________.
Session 13 – Pieces of the Whole
The PC?s meet up with the Senator’s entourage at the planet of ____________, where he is representing the Republic in negotiations between the Trade Federation and members of the Outer Rim Consortium that has been “liberating” Bacta from Trade Federation shipments to redistribute to the Fringe worlds.
Antilles doesn’t know quite what to make of the information about Nayda. It appears that she simply stumbled into some sort of smuggling operation, except for the droid body that was in her locker at the starport, which seems to imply that she did a little bit more than simply spot a smuggling platform. Antilles confirms that it matches the head of the droid they recovered in Head Trip, and that the head is supposed to contain data directly concerning the bacta shortage, so the fact that she discovered it — in fact, the idea that she knew it was important — is very significant. Nayda has no idea why she would have thought it was important.
That afternoon will be the first meeting of the Trade Federation, terrorists, and Antilles. Antilles wants the group along as his personal entourage (including a Jedi padawan whose master was accompaning Antilles, but who was called away to a disturbance at Eriadu). Simon and Corvo are supposed to be directly assisting the Senator in these negotiations (the Senator thinks the Core Worlds should get most of the current Bacta Supply, based purely on population centers), but a few minutes into the meeting a message is delievered, expressing the regrets of the Trade Federation, who “have been delayed but the continued attacks on our ships”. The Consortium is angry and storms out of the room. The PC’s are on their own until an early breakfast meeting with Antilles.
The group heads out into what passed for the planet?s social life. Nayda tries to teach the farm-boy how to dance, and the groups gets spread out over the night.
Dag will get a call in the very very wee hours from Phin, who shares the ship access codes with him and tells him where he ‘stashed the droid’. He will be whispering the whole time, and will cut off the discussion abruptly. A few minutes later, Dag’s alarm will sound for the meeting.
Very early in the morning (about 3 am) Dag receives a com-call from Phin, who whispers something over the link about ?stashing the droid body? in a specific shipping warehouse and ?creating a diversion?. He gives Dag the access codes for the Knight Errant and his coms cut off. Shortly thereafter, the group is called by the senator?s security crew. The Senator has been attacked. Phin’s blaster is found at the site, tossed in the corner. Phin is missing. Digital recordings show that someone who looked like Phin from the back (the camera?s location), walked up the guards, spoke with them, dropped some sort of gas grenade, then walked into the Senator?s chambers, spoke with an unalarmed Antilles for a few moments, then shot him several times, dropped the blaster and leapt out the window.
There is some indication that the attacker survived the jump with the use of a belt-mounted, one-shot jetpack, used like a sort of parachute. Authorities have searched Phin?s chambers and found papers linking him to the Consortium, which the Consortium hotly denies.
Talks are called off, and the Senator is hospitalized in serious condition (the bacta shortage extends to this planet, and aside from what the party provides and what was in the Senator?s emergency travel store, there is virtually none available).
The group moves to look for the stashed droid body. At the warehouse, they?re attacked by a small group of well-training soldiers. Just after the fight and recovery of the droid body (which has a datachip stuck to it?s chest plate), the group catches a news broadcast that indicates they tried to attack and kill the Consortium diplomatic group (at the same time there were somewhere else entirely, being attacked themselves). Video footage is inconclusive, but does include the right number of light sabers.
The party needs to leave the planet, which proves difficult (especially to get to the ship). They are attacked on the tarmac by an assassin droid disguised as a walking labor droid. The party dispatches the first attacker, but more are coming. Nayda pulls up in a small speeder (with the droid head under her arm) and the party blasts off planet.
The other ships in orbit around the planet can’t seem the Hyperjump, but luckily the Knight Errant doesn’t seem to have that problem. The droid was stashed with a holo-projector chip containing a last minute message from Bail, not to them, but simple notes concerning the droid and what it might mean — he comments that he needs a tech to slice the information, now that all the pieces are together.
Initial slicing of the Droid gets some information — detailing the recent assassination of the entire Black Sun leadership, resulting in major infighting. One of the last entries concerns infighting apparently centered around a fringe-world named ____________, where the local Black Sun contact is listed as a reclusive mountaintop monastery. The logistics analysis on the droid shows that if this particular base is compromised during the civil war, ?certain pharmaceutical supply chains? will be seriously if not permanently disrupted.
(Side note: the Senator arranged for a Hyperspace transceiver to be delivered to the ship. It has yet to be installed, but is much anticipated by the group.)

Actual Play

Sessions 9, 10, and 11

A Scrolling intro for Session 9, 10, 11 (and probably 12 and 13) can be view here.
Here’s a summary of what’s been going on.
Session 9: (03/22/2002)
Sharess is at the academy in lightsaber practice.
Corvo and Simon are at the senate in the Alderaanian pod with Bail, where there is a discussion about bacta shortages. Investigation is put into committee, since there is disagreement between core and fringe worlds about how to split up the existing bacta.
Distributing the Republic surplus based on Senate representation, few of the Fringe worlds would get supplies since many have traded away direct representation to the Trade Fed. Bail is disturbed about the ‘indirect consequences’ of this shortage, and the fact that no one is investigating why there is a shortage in the first place.
Keema, Dag, and Phin receive a call meant for the Senator to help out Nayda, who has OD’d on deathsticks in a downbelow bar. The three investigate, retrieve Nayda, head for a discreet high-income detox clinic.
Nayda is in bad shape — death sticks are notoriously dangerous and she’s been dosed on several, which both speeds up the reaction (resulting in violent fits that require help from several other people to control) and makes the downsides much more pronounced. It’s unclear if she’ll survive.
Those investigating the deathstick dealer back downbelow end up spotting him; he runs (they always run), but this chase changes it’s face when it turns out the guy has (lots of) friends. A nasty firefight ensues, and everyone (Phin, Simon, Corvo, Keema) think it’d be just swell to get out of there. The wounded rest at Nayda’s clinic.
After several tense hours, Nayda regains (exhausted) consciousness, but doesn’t remember anything about how she got down to downbelow. She denies having taken deathsticks as she’s ‘bored, but not stupid’. Bail personally visits Nayda for a private talk. There is an attempt on Nayda/Bail’s life at the hospital, involving an incendiary device and the high oxygen content of the room. (Probably planted by one of the ‘helpful’ individuals who helped hold Nayda down during the fits.)
The only thing that’s clear is that Nayda’s been targetted because of ‘something she saw’ when she was off-world recently. Problem is, she doesn’t remember anything important that she saw. She actually remembers only a little of the trip, because of the deathsticks, and doesn’t remember how she got back to Coruscant (she was on Malastare).
The Coruscant Opera. Bail had to attend, but this assignment is urgent, so the players are given passes to his V.I.P. berth. Finis Valorum meets the PCs at one point. Palpatine makes a point of speaking to one of the characters (Simon) congratulating them on the “Kashyyk business”, talking about protecting the rights of all sovereign states. Sate Pestage nods to Corvo, knowingly.
Bail explains that he is sending the characters, with Nayda, to backtrack her trip and see what is going on. He believes, based certain information, that what Nayda may have seen is very important.
Leaving Coruscant: ship preparation (Corvo picks up some ‘duty-free’ liquor for trade in the Outer Rim) and travel, final destination of Malastare. Sharess’ master will head off on his own for
Session 10: (04/05/2002)
Opening: Dogfight: Trade Federation bulk freighter “Aurodium Sun” is being attacked by pirates. They are asking for aid. Tne local picket ships are quite far away. The party engages two Z-95’s and two Cloakshapes, backed up by a larger gunship that stays at the edge of long range using a large ion cannon against the TF ship. Simon couldn’t even get an ID on the ship’s transponder code, due to the Knight Errant’s much-abused sensor package.
The heroes manage to hold off the pirates until the locals arrive. The gunship jumps out, and the locals find they are unable to pursue. The TF ship is also unable to jump. Everyone is getting a message from their navcomputer that their destination is invalid. The Knight Errant has no such problem. The ship is somewhat beat up, but the group decides to continue towards Malastare, since there’s ample evidence that some sort of local virus has infected all the ships that’ve docked at this Starport.
The party stops for supplies at a slightly-frozen, swampy, ball-of-mud mining colony. No one’s interested in Corvo’s booze, although a number of dealers approach the ship, looking for any surplus bacta.
The trip continues, and Nayda (bored) tries to teach Dag and Sharess how to play Sabaac. Most everyone on the ship gets involved (Keema just watches), Corva digs into his ‘barter stash’ of alchohol, someone comes up with the idea of “Strip Sabaac” and things spiral madly out of control from there.
The jedi lass leaves the room, clutching her robes to her, about 6 hands in. Simon holds his own with Nayda very respectably, but it’s Dag she wakes up with the next morning.
(If only he’d known: Keema was about to call on Simon in his quarters, but just then the ship was hailed by system-edge pirates outside Malastare space.)
Simon keeps the pirates talking while Phin manuevers through the asteroid field that edges the system. (Meanwhile, Corvo and confused Dag discuss women in the Galley, ignoring the klaxon alarms and the abrupt shifts in momentum.) The crew makes it to Malastare space without a serious firefight and the Malastare authorities drive the pirates off.
Session 11: (04/18/2002)
The group is disembarking on Malastare and runs into Falloon, a twi’lek that apparently ‘knows’ Nayda. He’s being followed, and when the group gets outside, they are accosted by a group of thugs while they’re getting into a waiting aircar. The thugs are dealt with, one of which is collected for questioning, and the group flees the scene.
As they flee, the group question Faloon, who explains that he’s been holding a spaceport locker key for Nayda ever since the day she disappeared a few weeks ago. He was going to the spaceport to see what was in the locker when he realized he was being followed and spotted Nayda. Falloon reveals that he’s part of the RimWorld Consortium, a ‘terrorist’ group that’s pirating Trade Federation ships to liberate supplies of bacta and redistribute it to the Rim Worlds. They hope to get enough attention to force some sort of formal negotiation that will get the Outer Rim more rights if and/or when the Mid- and Outer Rims are officially made Taxed Trade Zones (the motion is currently being debated in the Senate as a way to enforce law in the pirate-heavy region).
The thug they captured says that there’s been a price put on the live return of either Faloon or ‘the girl’. Successful bounty hunters are to bring their captives to Shuttle T_____ (lost my notes)
The group goes to Faloon’s apartment, which is a shambles, but that way normally. They decide to head for the spaceport, gather up the contents of Nayda’s locker, peek on this Bounty Shuttle, and try to locate this ‘secret resort planet’ that Nayda snuck off too a few days before she gave Fal the locker key and disappeared.
Fal’s groundspeeder is much nicer than his appartment, and that’s too bad, because about halfway to the spaceport, the street is blocked by a rapidly descending Shuttle T______. A half-dozen troops are hitting the ground before it hits the ground. In response, Phin increases speed — everyone leaps clear and the landspeeder rams the landing shuttle, ending the fight (and Fal’s nice speeder) very quickly.
The group moves to a parallel street and comcalls a local taxi service to pick them up. The car that shows up isn’t a taxi, however, and the group ends up in ANOTHER fire fight. Grenades fly, Phin gets control the speeder, and the group makes its way to the spaceport (finally!)
At the locker, the group finds the body of an L9-unit, missing its head. It seems to be a match for the Droid head they recovered several months ago (the one whose encrypted data contents have yet to be deciphered). Curiouser and curiouser.
Leaving the planet in search of Nayda’s secret vacation spot, the group spies the ship that Shuttle T_____ belonged to and avoids another firefight with a quick jump to hyperspace. (Their sensors may be screwed up, but their wookie-built Astrogation NavComp is fantastic.)

Actual Play

[Star Wars] Death Sticks found in Subadult School

JRADE DISTRICT, CORUSCANT – The Jrade School Board expressed shock and dismay at the finding of death sticks in a public subadult school. PSAS-5128, in northern Jrade, has instituted mandatory locker and body searches after two Level Six students were found in possession of death stick and death stick paraphernalia. “We’re determined to find out where this filth is coming from,” said Principal Havidald Guffin. “For Core’s sake, it’s our privileged children affected here.”

(originally reported in Holonet News)
Actual Play

Session Nine, part one

After a miserable night of dealing with the sudden Senatorial name-chance, I’ve come to this conclusion:
For the sake of my sanity, Bail Antilles and Bail Organa are now officially the same person in my campaign — Bail is the scion of BOTH the Organa and Antilles royal houses (Antilles is his paternal descent, Organa is his maternal) — therefore depending on which official function he’s attending, he might be announced as:
– Senator Antilles
– Senator Organa
– Prince Antilles
– Viceroy Organa
– First Chairman (of Alderaan)
I’M just going to call the bastard “Bail”.
A full discussion of this can be found here.

Actual Play

Session Eight: Head Trip

We couldn’t play on Friday, due to the weather, but we did manage to get everyone together Saturday night for session eight of The Prince of Alderaan, a d20 Star Wars Campaign.
Quick Summary: Dag and Corvo are sent on a ‘routine rendezvous’ in the Inner Rim to pick up a parcel the Senator has made a deal for. Their contact is very hard to find, and apparently very popular with local bounty hunters.
Things are going wrong, so the Senator sends the rest of the group to help out. (Including planting a new recruit to the Antilles household in the camp of the enemy).
The group manages, against great odds to recover (intact!) the head of an old protocol droid that had been recovered by the Bimm tech-scavenger they were to meat. Details are sketchy, but it appears that the droid, when whole, belonged to Someone Important, was discarded accidentally, and is sought by many people.
Other interested parties seemed to include:

  • Two (possibly) unconnected paramilitary groups, at least one of which seemed to have some Republic Military Training (maybe even Senate Guard).
  • One criminal organization who seemed to think their current boss is the heir to all things belonging to the Boss’ predecessor — the droid apparently numbers among these items.
  • One unnamed droid representing his ‘master’.
Actual Play

Session Seven

Star Wars Campaign
Session seven was on Friday the 22nd, and I’m going to talk about that as well as a few notes on the prior sessions.
First, let’s summarize.
Session One was a rescue-in-space scenario where the characters (all members/servants of the Antilles household and currently stationed on Coruscant) are tasked by the Senator to recover/rescue an agent who has important information from the fringe. A ship is hastily bought (via a loan from the Senator) and the mission accomplished with no small amount of pain and blaster fire. The ship is beat up quite badly, and everyone learns the inherent usefulness of Starship Operations: Transport.
Session Two ostensibly involved a favor for one of the Twi’lek Senate officials, in which the group would recover the official’s missing son. It was actually a clever means to an end for Senator Prince Antilles: in investigating the disappearance of said Twi’lek (during trips to both Tatooine and Ando Prime), the party managed to reveal that the twi’lek official not only wasn’t related to the kid, but had strong ties to the Hutt criminal syndicate. The offical leaves Coruscant and the Twi’lek Senator (whose name currently escapes me) the official was working for is disgraced and discredited. The heros were a bit miffed that the Senator sent them into this blind.
Session Three had the party sent to recover a missing shipment of supplies that the Senator had sent to a poor low-tech settlement. What the party realizes upon being assigned an Air Car in order to search is that the low-tech settlement and missing shipment are both somewhere in the lower levels of Coruscant itself. Delving into the guts and abandoned roots of the City Planet ensues, and the party runs into several nasty force users employing Gamorreans, and some kind of “Darkside Ghoul” that had been locked in the undercity for years. They eventually retreat, having recovered most of the supplies, and leave further investigation and heroics to another day… or perferably another group.
Session Four and Five were “Welcome to the Jungle”, an inherently under-explained and incomplete module that nevertheless had a good premise that was useful to me. The Senator assigned the group bodyguard duty for a member of the diplomatic corp (old friend of the senator’s) about to have a meeting on an Ithorian Herd Ship. Blackmail at the end gets the Ithorian home-world very upset with the captain of the herd ship, and the group makes off with quite a bit of hush-money and a cordial hatred of hoojibs.
Session Six and Seven used, at least in part, “Kashyyk in Flames”, also from Star Wars gamer. A more interesting module, which I started by putting the players into a Senatorially-hosted ball at the Antilles Estate. The players are to act as escorts for various guests. In the process they impressed the Wookie Senator enough that he requested Senator Antilles aid in shipping some documentation and supplies back to Kashyyk. Wackiness ensues, and the party ends up revealing a plot that would have allowed the Trandoshan Senator on Coruscant to pass legislation to allow logging and mining operations on Kashyyk in unpeopled areas.
I’m pleased with how things are going, and I’m just about ready to start pulling in threads from previous sessions and get the main story arc really flowing. I was happy with the Alderaanian Embassy Ball — it let me introduce some good NPC’s I can use later, and bring in some of the more interesting members of the Senate for a cameo appearance.
Last session, Robert had to bow out of the game, so we’re down to five. I’m considering two possibilities: adding a sixth (probably Lori), or keeping it at five to let us focus a bit more. Then again, with this group, focus is always a problem, and would be if there were only two people. Still, can’t say we don’t have fun.
The end of session seven also led to a good cop/bad cop confrontation between the group’s jedi padawan and the grizzled spacer scout. On one hand it was a great scene, but on the other, player vs. player interaction (espeicially when one has a clear situational advantage) are always fraught with alot of high emotions (and personal stress for the GM.)
C’est la vie. It has been interesting. Hopefully it will remain so.

Actual Play Table Top

Up up and away

So we started playing the Justice Squad campaign this weekend. Lots of fun. Here’s my personal good/bad/ugly list.
– I’ve never been in a game GM’d by Dave, whom I’ve heard only good things of. No surprise, his style is different than mine, but great fun for everyone, and I always enjoy watching other people work and taking mental notes.
– Supers. It’s just fun. Maybe it’s not Star Wars, but I’m not PLAYING Star Wars, am I? One of the really long-running and fun games I played in in college was a Champions supers game, and I just love the feel of calculating knockback on a hex map. Whee.
– Rules. I’m pissy about BESM most of the time, but I worked my ass off on figuring out a workable version until SAS (supers from goo) comes out, and it seems to be working.

– I can’t min/max a character they way I could in Champions (nor to I want to anymore), but I know the rules better than probably anyone else playing (for now). While the characters themselves are all very cool concepts and built on the same points, there was a certain feeling disparity between them, simply because of design efficiency. This isn’t to say we don’t all have a few points ‘wasted’ on things like Painting or Horseback riding, but after the play-test and redesign, I felt like the character’s I designed were a little overwhelming.
(Offside of this: I’m also helping Dave by statting out some bad guy NPC’s — so I guess I’ll reap what I’ve sown in the long run.)
All in all, really fun though, and I’m looking forward to the next installment a great deal.

Actual Play

Game tonight

Session … not sure what number… sixth? The group just levelled up to 3rd. Rey can’t make it, so I think the scenario I was working on might have to wait a bit.
Which means… NO idea what’s going on tonight. There is one possibility, I suppose.
I’ll end up running Kashyyk (sp?) in Flames, which I’d pretty much decided not to run, but I didn’t want to get into a new major arc with player’s missing. This is going to be a problem for the next couple weeks, I think, since Dave G’s going to miss a ton of the next couple games, and Ghenghis Con is coming up in 3 weekends. Mess.
KiF ended up taking longer than I figured (I started the session with a big party, so we didn’t have the whole night for the module, but I had fun with the party, and I think most other people did as well.
The fact that KiF will take another session to play through is fine, though. The same people will probably miss it next time, which works, and we’ll be able to wrap it up and be ready for the bigger story to start up after GC.

Actual Play

Proper Care and Feeding of your young Geek

This Saturday, I ran a little one-shot for Jackie, Justin and the Hill-Kleerups. Justin was playing his ubiquitous halfling thief, and was scouting ahead.
This has become a wonderful tool for working on communication skills with the Boy (which he doesn’t realize). I describe to him what is in the room, using the ‘normal’ boxed text. Everyone else is sitting at the table, but they aren’t ‘there’, so he must then turn around and tell everyone else what he just saw, reinterpreting and retelling as best he can. It’s an excellent little trick, and one of the reasons that I use prepackaged modules for these one-offs, since I’m more likely to hit some new words for him to learn.
Aside from his use of the word “passage” instead of “hallway” or “tunnel” at one point (which illustrates how the gaming’s helped his vocabulary), there was this exchange:
Him: Okay, the next room is really big, with big piles of garbage in it, and there’s rats crawling all over the garbage. Someone put out box-trap things to catch them, and I saw some guys come in and collect the trapped rats and then leave.
Jackie: Where?
Him: No, they were just regular rats.
We’re warping him.

Actual Play

Game Tonight

Game tonight. I got Nothing.
Addendum: Dave sent me something funny to cheer me up.
Comments on the game and thoughts on the storyline: tonight I’m using a module out of Star Wars Gamer: “Welcome to the Jungle.” I don’t mind using packaged modules, and this one was interesting enough, once I got through the lack of background info… there was a LOT of that missing.
I’ve been twisting these pregens around to make them fit, and it’s worked out so far — WTTJ is basically babysitting a diplomat, whom I’ve made an old friend of the Senator, and I’ll be doing something similar with Kashyyk in Flames after this one.
Still, the first session we played of WttJ was a mess, simply because I hadn’t prepped it well enough, and it required more work than most. Second session (two weeks after this post), explained more and concluded the story to my satisfaction.

Actual Play

Price of Honor

Robert has logs up for the DND campaign over here. They are pretty good, and fun because they really sound like a player retelling the story, switching back and forth between IC and OOC.
I guess I’ll have to post my personal thoughts on the sessions thus far.

Actual Play

Game Log 3 — Down Below

Third game session last night, another one of the sessions I’ll refer to as “Establishing Shots”, to use a movie term.
First Session was meant to get the group working together and get them their ship, also introduce a few little nuances of the system that become sort of important later (ship proficiencies, for example).
Second Session establishes that Antilles doesn’t always tell them everything, or tell them the truth, although they are, generally, on the side of the angels, nonetheless (if the assumption is that the Prince is on the side to begin with.)
This one, Down Below, sent the group into the bowels of Coruscant the city-planet (their home), and I got to give them a slice of the things that go on beneath the upper crust of the planet. Gammoreans and force users rooting around in abandoned structures that shouldn’t have any working mechanics and yet somehow do. They visited the squatter-city of Down Below and met a few of the inhabitants, learning that there are some decent people there (might be interesting if something comes of that), and I think the expectation is that they might have to go back later. It wouldn’t be a bad idea if they did; some more familiarity down there might give them a place to run if needs be.
Next time, I’ve said we’re going to be dealing with the Senate.
Summary, by session:
– Session One favored the Scout/Pilot immensely, since everyone else was at a disadvantage while shipboard.
– Session Two … well, I’m not sure that favored anyone.
– Session Three definately favored the more military and sneaky types, although Juli’s nobel is doing pretty darn well in combats and whatnot (he’s taken out… two Gammoreans in hand-to-hand thus far into the campaign.)
Next session will favor the guys with diplomacy, gather info, sense motive, useful language skills, and so forth. There /shouldn’t/ be a lot of combat, maybe any, but that’s the way it is in the Senate.
Having finished that episode up, I think I’ll have all the establishing shots done, and can continue a bit more into the main story arc. The nice thing is that so far I’ve managed to drop some foreshadowing into every session, although it’s not likely that anyone has recognized it as such.

Actual Play

Star Wars, Session 2

The second session was sort of spread out over an abortive attempt to get something going on 15th, and a ‘real’ session on the 21st of September
All in all it went well. Robert joined us, and Dave G has a revised Jedi character using the new rules I’ve adapted. (I’ll post a link to the original rules at sometime soon, but I feel that many of the prestige class design choices and requirements are deeply flawed, and as such I think it’s worth something as a starting point, and not much as a final product).
The module was… decent. Horribly arranged and badly documented, but there was a couple of interesting things in it. I rewrote the beginning and end of it to show the players that even Antilles will play them in order to get what he wants, and leave them in the dark if it suits them. His intentions may be good, but the end result is the same: the characters are pawns.
This is just the sort of message I was hoping to get across.
This was also the first session I had the scroll code set up to run. I like it a lot, and I hope to eventually meld in an MP3 of the theme music to the html… the timing on it right now is good enough to time it with the stereo.

Actual Play

Star Wars, Session 1

Okay, I don’t remember when we ran the first session… would have had to have been about… let’s say 9/7.
Things went all right. I’ve been digging through all of my old and news Star Wars stuff to see what sort of things I could find that would convert into the era that I wanted. There’s some stuff written for the Rise of Empire, sure, but the problem is that most of it takes place out on the Fringe, which is of no use to me, since I’m doing stuff in the Core Worlds. I need intrigue, etc.
So, first session was a rescue mission to pick up some people who are bringing intelligence back from the Free Trade zone to Antilles. This “intelligence” works really well, since I can work any sort of major revelation into the storyline later in the game and say “you remember that datachip that guy had WAY back in Session One? Well, this is what was on it.” — Then my players can ooh and ahh at the complexity and depth of my plotting, and be amazed that I knew what was going to be happening to them that far in advance.
Love it. That was the good part. Also, worked out a fun way to get a ship to the group, and give it enough quirks that the players really got into it. The thing was used, and used by Ishi Tiib, so there are many fish-jokes going around, and comments about the thing smelling like a wharf, etc. Really got everyone into it. Shot the shit out of the ship, too, which is pretty classic.
Downside — only Rey was geared up for Space Adventure — everyone else pretty much sucks on ice when it comes to running the ship, so that made things not nearly as fun for a few people. Can’t be helped — at least people will be motivated to improve now that they’ve seen that they can suck.
In my experience, one of the the real fun parts of Star Wars games is wanting stuff — there’s a cool toy, or a cool modification to do to your ship, or something you need to fix, or a rare crystal you need for your lightsaber… or something — even if nothing is happening in the plot, you’ve still got things to work on.
So, now people want to fix up the ship. At least one guy wants to get the Startship Transports Feat, and other people want better (and no so fishy smelling) gear. Very cool.

Actual Play

Star Wars, Prince of Alderaan, Beginning

Actually, this is cool. I tried to do something like this about 3 years back with TiHE, and I couldn’t keep it updated properly after about the 19th session, because it was just too much of a pain in the ass. This should be a cakewalk.
Kay. SO. Standard disclaimer: PLAYERS — if you don’t want to know what I’m really think about how the campaign, the session, or your particular character’s storyline is working out, then DON’T READ STUFF WITH “STAR WARS CAMPAIGN” in the title.