Shades of the Force

Heralds of Zeron

While the player characters recapture the turbolaser, the Sempi army loyal to Bakla makes an attack upon their landed ships. Tarvik Turbo and his Galactic Circus hold them off to a standstill:

Tarvik Turbo mans a turbolaser (How do you think he got the name?) on the C70 Charger and fires several warning shots over the enemy troops, before finally blasting the city’s bridges over the Galatis River, collapsing them and crippling the enemy’s ability to advance in force.

Iluna, the female Zeltron knife thrower, and her PC friend Liessa lay in wait for an enemy group that did make it across the river, hurling knives and zenji needles into them from hidden positions until they cut their losses and withdraw.

Ryllr, the female Kricktorian trapeze artist, took a position in the open, appearing as a small, furry, and helpless squirrel, with extremely large, black, and frightened eyes, cowering in terror. Sempi soldiers obligingly advanced to capture or eliminate this helpless non-threat, at which point they are set upon by Mathazar the Wookiee, wielding a tent post mallet and an anger management problem, along with several large, tiger-like cats that also happen to have venomous stingers in the tips of their tails (in case they weren’t dangerous enough already.) Ryllr simply skitters out of the way, having done her part.

Meanwhile, Valo, Valen, Kaya, and Kerzak rendezvous with Bruce at a Sempi farmstead near the planetary turbolaser emplacement. As they discuss how to save Thekher, armed Sempi begin to emerge from the jungle by the hundreds. They are a militia made up of Sempi farmers and traders who are upset at Bakla’s outlawing of contact and trading with off-worlders, as this is decimating their livelihoods, and they are willing to fight to change it. They are armed with muzzleloading, primitive rifles, and a pair of gunpowder cannons which fire what appear to be a larger, harder-shelled version of the tili fruit that explodes in a burst of blue flame when it strikes.

With the Sempi come the Rebel gunnery team who were assigned to the turbolaser, but were driven away by Bakla’s army. Friendly Sempi took them in and supported them, and they now report to Bruce for new orders. The group decides to attack Bakla’s stronghold in the city, Galatis, and attempt to stop him from growing any more powerful. An emissary from Bakla offers a cessation of hostilities and relaxing of Bakla’s harsh laws if Bruce will hand over the Pendants, but Bruce refuses the offer.

The Sempi militia is willing to fight, but no longer have a strong leader, or a lot of training. Valen offers to lead them into battle, and concocts a battle plan with some input from Valo. He splits his army into five groups, attacking Galatis from five different directions, hoping to draw out the enemy and then trap him in a pincers movement. He assigns Rebel soldiers to each of the five groups to act as his officers, and accompanies one of the groups himself, taking the cannons with that group. At the same time, the rest of the characters plan to slip into the city during the fighting, to make their way to the central ziggurat and stop Bakla.

As the militia army marches towards Galatis, the night sky darkens unnaturally, and Force sensitives can feel a nexus of dark energy slowly pulling together around the apex of the ziggurat, along with a strong light-side presence that is slowly growing fainter. Valen begins his attack as thousands of enemy Sempi soldiers march out to engage him, and it rapidly becomes a full battle of musket fire, cannon shot exploding into blue fireballs, and Sempi falling wounded and dead as the lines face off and send volleys of heavy bullets into each other.

The other characters manage to sneak into the city relatively unharmed, as the battle intensifies. They reach the ziggurat and begin traveling up its slow elevator lift. On the fields outside Galatis, Valen’s soldiers are heavily pressed, and he falls back, managing to get the bulk of the enemy force to press the attack against him while ordering his adjacent groups to attack their flanks. Although his plan works, their progess is limited, and the enemy charges close enough to engage his group directly with bayonets and point blank fire. Valen orders one of the cannons (pulled by a huge, cockroach-like insect the size of a car) to fall back, and the crew of the other gun to abandon it and retreat, along with his other nearby troops. He then places a crude detonite bomb into the ammunition wagon for the cannon and runs like hell, as the enemy overruns his artillery position.

The explosion is powerful enough to be felt by the characters as they ride up to the apex of the ziggurat, and the blue flash lights up the sky. Dirt, ash, a cannon, and pieces of Sempi rain down in all directions as Valen gets up off his face and waits for his hearing to come back. A crater has been blown in the field, and the enemy lines ripped open. He gets his soldiers to charge while the enemy is shell-shocked, crashing into what is left of their line. He attacks the enemy standard-bearer with his officer’s sword, but a swift blow from the metal flag staff knocks the weapon from his hands…

The other characters reach the top of the ziggurat, where they find Thekher locked against one of its three great stone spires, dessicated and slowly dying. Bakla stands near him, drawing in dark energy as well as Thekher’s power, seeming to no longer be one being, but a fusion of a physical form and a malign spirit. He is guarded by five Rakatan soldiers in armor and wielding charged force pikes. He demands the pendants from Bruce, referring to himself as a Herald of Zeron, the Infinite Emperor, telling them that if they will cooperate, they will bear witness to his glorious return, and the restoration of law and order to the Galaxy, where now there is only chaos and war. When Bruce refuses to hand over the pendants, and refuses to join with him, he telekinetically rips all three pendants from Bruce, pulling them to himself, and unleashing a barrage of powerful Force Lightning on Bruce, “If you will not witness his coming, you will be destroyed.”

Valen wrestles with the Sempi officer for control of the flag staff, grappling for control, finally wresting it away from him with a sharp blow to the face, and then stabbing its spear-tip through his body, impaling and killing him, managing to raise the body over his head before throwing it down. The enemy’s morale breaks, and they rout, pursued by Valen’s surviving militia. He retrieves his sword and jumps onto one of the large cockroaches, spurring it on and riding it through the battle, moving as quickly as it can lumber-skitter towards the city and the ziggurat…

Calling on the Dark Side and using the power of the pendants to amplify it, Bakla (now perhaps better called Kyet Mal) nearly overwhelms Bruce with his assault, as his Rakatan soldiers stand their ground to defend him. Valo moves around the flank, dodging a powerful pike thrust from a Rakatan and seizing it around the neck, kneeing it in the face and beating him into unconciousness, then flinging him off the ziggurat. Kerzak goes to the other flank, but is run down by another Rakatan and stabbed with his force pike. Kaya takes cover, looking for opportunities, and manages to pick off a Rakatan with her blaster.

Valo reaches Thekher before he dies (there was, in fact, a countdown) and rips his shackles from the stone, freeing him and carrying him behind one of the stone spires, administering first aid that revitalizes him somewhat, but does not stop the ongoing draining of his life-force by Mal, who blasts Valo with another bolt of Force lightning, shorting out Valo’s cybernetic arm and rendering it useless. He then draws and ignites a lightsaber and engages Bruce, trying to beat and overpower him out of his path, wishing to make his escape now that he has seized the pendants. Bruce holds his ground, using the Soresu defensive form, and barely withstanding Mal’s amplified frenzy of lightsaber strikes and slashes.

Kaya throws a smoke grenade, masking herself as best as she can while reaching out with the Force, finding and seizing the pendants, telekinetically pulling them away from Mal with all the strength she can muster, as Valo charges in, first trying a one handed thrust with a force pike, then drawing The Wrench, dropping low and catching Mal’s leg, twisting and breaking it. Mal went down on one knee, shifting his lightsaber to only one hand and using another to steady himself on the floor, trying to parry Bruce’s counterattack, now that he had been assisted by his friends, but was overwhelmed, Bruce slashing through his lightsaber hilt and then severing his hand, then stabbing him through the chest and channeling Force energy through his physical form.

The resulting feedback and explosion of dark energy eradicated Bakla/Mal’s form and nearly blew the characters off the apex of the ziggurat, snapping one of the huge stone spires and sending it crashing down to the streets far below. Valen arrived, still mounted on giant bug-steed, from the elevator, in time to help the others tend to their wounded and injured, as the darkness began to clear from the sky, returning to a field of stars, and the sounds of battle below faded to stillness. Valo carries Thekher to safety with his good arm, as the Battle of Galatis comes to an end.

Entry of the Gladiators

PCs: Valen, Valo, Liessa, Kerzak, Sabine, Kaya

The group brings their new C70 Charger to Ord Mantell, after bidding goodbye for now to Master Tanaka. Tarvik Turbo and his eclectic circus companions meet with the characters in the ship’s salon pod conference room, where Tarvik reveals their true purpose: The Rebel Alliance wishes to establish a permanent base within the Dulfilvan Sector, and the PCs have been assigned the task of choosing its location and overseeing its construction. Tarvik’s circus provides a travelling cover story: with odd characters, strange cargoes, and constant travel, a circus is the perfect way to covertly scope out locations for the base. Valen and Tarvik come to an agreement on the use of the C70 (and a little help from the Drakkar as well) and decide that the first potential location for a base will be Tantamir. Valo decides to come along, as he wishes to visit Tantamir again.

Upon arrival at Tantamir, the characters attempt to hail the Rebel-held turbolaser emplacement on the surface, but receive no reply, nor do they receive anything more than a preprogrammed, old reply from what is left of the starport. When they land, they are met by a group of armed Sempi, who inform them that while they may set up and conduct their circus, there are a few rules to follow:

- No non-Sempi allowed in Galatis (their city.) - They may not see Thekher, as he has been sentenced for fraternization with humanity and heresy. - Warlord Bakla is now the supreme ruler of Tantamir. - The characters may not buy any trade goods for export, though they may conduct entertainment if they wish.

None of this goes over very well with either side, but there are no hostilities. Valen uses an old Imperial cargo boat to take the group down the river, towards the turbolaser emplacement, while Tarvik Turbo and the circus stay to watch over their ships and set up their equipment. The characters find no sign of the Rebel soldiers at the turbolaser, only Sempi soldiers, and are refused any entry. The Sempi here make only one offer: We want to see Bruce Talathien, as he has something we want and need. Bruce is not present, so this offer fails.

The characters visit and question a Sempi farm, and learn that the Sempi are also suffering considerably under the export embargo and Bakla’s strict, protective rule, and some Sempi that resisted the Galactic Empire are now resisting Bakla in turn. Valen calls the ships and has Lou, the Shistaven “wolfman” sword swallower, come down the river with another boat, bringing these Sempi a case of supplies. They then decide to seize the turbolaser battery.

Lou sniffs out (literally) the Sempi laying in wait for them, and the group avoids an ambush and conducts one of their own, defeating the Sempi attackers armed with submachine guns and spears. They then manage to force entry into the gun tower, fighting a close quarters battle with the Sempi inside. Valo climbs around in an elevator shaft, which is appropriate for a McClaine. Capturing the firing chamber, Kerzak ruins the targeting computer worse than attempting to install Windows Vista, rendering the gun unusable except by 1) Kerzak or his passcode or 2) someone who can roll a 32 slicing check. And Kaya made everyone go first.

What happens next?...

Together Again

Bruce, Wrrl, Kaya, Kerzak, and Sabine return to Ord Mantell, where they reunite with Jeanine and Liessa. Information and introductions are exchanged, and Kerzak receives an invitation for work smuggling weapons for Duros resisting the Galactic Empire.

Unfortunately for the GM, the characters do not take the invitation at face value, and conduct some investigation, suspicious that a third party would be attempting arms smuggling on Ord Mantell, without going through Greda the Hutt. After some inquiry by Liessa, they determine that the invitation is likely bogus. Greda demands that the characters investigate, and, if they are rival smugglers, to put a stop to it.

The characters visit the specified location, which turns out to be a downtown parking garage in Worlport. Kerzak gets alone and ahead of the rest of the characters, and walks directly into their planned “hit” on him. He is surprised and shot multiple times, and only survives after the expenditure of over a dozen character points. The battle gets worse when Golan, the Mytarenor enforcer and Mantellian savrip, wades in, throwing cars and punches with equal power.

The characters eventually prevail, with Liessa crashing a speeder into Golan, and Jeanine taking Fluffy, her blaster minigun, from its duffel bag and unleashing a violent outburst in the form of blaster gas. Golan is killed, and Kerzak rescued.

Later, Jeanine receives a visit from Krylln, the Kricktorian free-trader she assisted. Krylln gives Jeanine a job lead; his cousin, who works in Tarvik Turbo’s Galactic Circus, says that the circus may need new transportation for a tour in the Dulfilvan sector. Upon meeting with Tarvik Turbo (and Lou the Shistaven wolfman) the group agrees to bring their C70 Charger capital ship for him to see, and head for the Shiritoku Spur and the Nagato system to retrieve it, taking along a CSA battle droid crew that Jeanine obtained.

The characters find the village of Matsua, on Nagato, a much more cheerful place since their last visit, and participate in their sea-harvest festival. They visit Master Tanaka, and cook a meal for him, asking him several questions about their research. Master Tanaka is pleased to have them, but disappointed that Bruce did not come along. The characters make plans to travel, with the assistance of the villagers, to where their capital ship is stored.

Trouble on Filve

Bruce, Wrrl, Sabine, and Kerzak travel to the planet Filve, seeking a buyer for their cargo of Gamorrean gold bars. Taking a sky-rail trip to another of the Filvian arcology towers, they are ambushed and attacked by Durge, who is making another attempt upon their bounties.

Durge and his muscle cause significant damage to the party with a combination of jet packs and high powered weaponry. The battle ends when Bruce jumps from the sky-rail bridge and onto Durge, slashing off his arm with his lightsaber and causing them to suffer a 150-story fall. Bruce survives, using the Force to slow his descent. Durge survives the impact, and is able to escape from Bruce, despite his injury, over the sandy, desert wasteland they have fallen into.

The group successfully finds a buyer for their gold, and purchases the last equipment needed to restore the Drakkar to full functionality. They return to Ord Mantell, in order to sell a captured blaster artillery piece to Greda the Hutt.

Enter Shidoshi Tanaka
April 19, 2009

After the impromptu raid (out of necessity for transportation out of the desert as much as desire to attack) against the mercenary-crewed operating base in the Ord Mantell badlands, the group returned to rest and recover at Greda the Hutt’s mansion in Worlport. The next morning, they were summoned as a group to meet with Greda the Hutt, who activated a highly-charged energy/particle field within the throne room, trapping the characters within a glowing half-sphere of energy. As hatches beneath the floor scuttled, still containing the extremely hungry and incredibly violent piranha beetles below, Greda demanded an explanation of why Liessa had seen fit to rob a local business, despite knowing it was paying protection to the Hutt and while accepting his shelter and support.

Those characters who understood the exchange were quite upset with Liessa, who wisely agreed to repay Greda the money he had lost making restitution, along with a penalty payment. Greda released the characters, who then made plans to leave Ord Mantell and pay a diplomatic visit to leadership representatives of the Rebel Alliance, whom had secretly made contact with Bruce and provided him with a rendezvous location. At the same time, G9 finished her plans for Mandusha III, and departed with command of the Marauder Corvette Scourge.

Upon departing Worlport, the Drakkar was attacked in space by a Helix-class ship of unknown ownership, which managed a first undetected volley before being picked up on sensors. Valen chose to turn and engage the ship, exchanging several passes with it, while other crewmembers fired upon it. Liessa managed one hit upon the Helix, but not a powerful enough one to do any damage. The hostile craft struck the Drakkar with its plasma burst cannons, striking and destroying the remaining manueverability thruster jets. Valen considered firing some of the Drakkar’s four remaining proton torps at the Helix, but then acceded to the desires of the rest of the team to disengage and escape into hyperspace.

While in hyperspace, Bruce received a visit from the Force ghost of Arthan Kanis, who instructed him to visit the Nagato system, and to seek out an old peer of his called Shidoshi Tanaka.

Arriving at the coordinates input by Bruce, the Drakkar found itself in deep space, outside the Utapau system. They rendezvoused with the Rebel Blockade Runner Starbolt, docking with the corvette and going aboard. The ship had successfully escaped the debacle on Hoth, and the characters met its primary passenger, President Mon Mothma, and her two Wookiee personal bodyguards. Bruce began the pleasant meeting with her, carrying Greda’s proposal for selling blaster gas to the Alliance, and the President offering to trade Mon Calamari and Verpine technology in exchange. During the conversation, however, both the door and part of the ceiling exploded inward, and dark-hided, muscular beings in simple cloaks burst and dropped in, brandishing vibroblades.

Bruce, Liessa, Valen, and Kaya battled with the Noghri Death Commandos, and Mon Mothma took several pot shots at them with a rapidly ‘borrowed’ pistol of Valen’s, but quickly took cover behind the conference table instead, as she is not nearly as talented a personal combatant. Bruce happened to be sitting close to the door, and thus confronted several of the Noghri at once, who were not expecting to find a Jedi. Several were cut down by his lightsaber strikes in the first moments, while others were Force-pushed away, bouncing off the bulkhead walls. Liessa flung a zenji needle into another’s head, while Valen and Kaya poured point blank blaster fire at their enemies, who swarmed close to attack with vicious blade strikes, attempting to reach the President.

During the battle, Liessa injected herself with a dose of Red Boost, but then immediately jumped onto the conference table, pointing her hands at Bruce and unleashing a scorching burst of Force lightning. Caught off guard, Bruce struggled to deflect and dissipate the electrical attack, finally countering by seizing Liessa in a Force grip and slamming her against the ceiling, then the table, sending her skidding. Kaya tagged Liessa with a stun grenade, striking many in the room’s close quarters with the burst but successfully knocking Liessa unconcious.

Mon Mothma’s bodyguards, recovering from the powerful explosion that would have killed just about anyone else, bulldozed into the room, ignoring the stab and slash wounds inflicted on them as they seized the President and, shielding her, pulled her to safety. The Noghri fought to the death, several with terrible injuries (including at least one missing eye, thanks to Kaya.) In the aftermath, Liessa was examined and found to have essentially no memory of what had transpired. The ship was searched, and the characters, with Valen’s help, eventually determined that the assassins had boarded the craft prior to its escape from Echo Base, brought along by Lord Vader and shielded from even visual detection through the use of the Force. They surmised that the Noghri were to remain hidden as long as possible, only striking when as many Rebel leaders as possible were together (especially if the location of the Rebel Fleet could also be discovered) but were forced to make their attack when Bruce and Kaya unexpectedly appeared, threatening to detect their presence with the Force.

Having reached a good agreement, especially under duress, the characters bid farewell to the President, and headed at Bruce’s request for the Nagato system, in the Shiritoku Spur, in Wild Space. After a long trip, they found a small, isolated, Earth-like world, with only a single broadcasting landing beacon. Touching down, they beheld a small fishing town by the ocean, with the dark-haired, apparently human inhabitants living in homes constructed within enormous, building-sized seashells. As soon as they left the Drakkar, they were greeted by a squadron of CIS Mk1 battle droids, who demanded a 100 Confederate credit landing fee. Unable to produce this, and the droids rejecting Imperial currency, the characters bartered a vibroblade as a payment, and the droids departed.

Exploring the village, the characters found that the residents spoke a language unknown to them, but seemed friendly, albeit withdrawn and hesitant to interact with them. Liessa and Bruce found a drinking establishment inside an enormous, upright shell (in any RPG, there is always a tavern) and Liessa managed to interact more successfully with the locals, sharing drinks and getting them to accept some Imperial currency. However, another, smaller group of battle droids soon appeared, demanding that the tavern’s occupants all disperse at once. The locals hurried to obey, while the PCs did not, and after repeated orders to leave at gunpoint, a fight broke out, where Liessa narrowly avoided a more serious wound, only getting clipped as she dove over (and ‘borrowed’ from) the bar, while Bruce defeated the droids in seconds, slicing some apart and destroying others with their own reflected blaster fire.

Outside, every member of the townsfolk disappeared into their homes, leaving the street empty as a battle droid patrol speeder arrived on the scene. Bruce stood in the middle of the street to meet it, and deflected the burst of autofire its hood cannon sprayed at him. Kaya pulled the gun off target with the Force, while the other characters flanked it, wanting to capture it as they had seen no apparent other speeder vehicles on the world. However, before they could get inside, the speeder, unable to aim its weapon at Bruce, settled for attempting to run him over at high speed. Bruce dropped onto his back, slicing the speeder as it narrowly passed over him, shattering the repulsor units and turning it into a smoking wreck. The characters fled on foot, before more trouble arrived.

As evening fell, the characters took a narrow, sometimes steep footpath up onto the mountainside rushing up from the village and ocean shore, climbing for hours, while night fell, a small band of shattered asteroids trailing after the planet’s single moon. At the treeline, they found a small temple or residence of some sort, with a smooth, stone courtyard, a square pool of water, ornate, lit braziers, and a structure of wood and stone, with open doors and latticed, pagoda-like roofs. Inside, they found a wide, high ceilinged room, with a woven mat upon the entire floor, old, martial melee weapons of various types on the walls, and paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling. At the far end of the room, a stone altar or table of some sort held two small vases, with framed photographs of a woman and a boy hanging on the wall above them. In front of these sat a wooden sword stand, holding a blade within a smooth, lacquered black sheath.

While observing these, the characters were greeted by Shidoshi Tanaka, a tall man of advanced but indeterminate age, with long, dark hair shot through with silver and a long beard woven into a careful, thin braid, wearing a white robe with voluminous sleeves and a pair of sandals. He seemed to be expecting the characters, and greeted each by name, albeit slightly surprised at the presence of Kaya. He seemed to know something about each of them, or even the burden they carried, in the case of Wrrl’s blade. He offered them rest and shelter, and the characters gratefully accepted. He told Bruce that he had known Master Kanis for a very long time, as well as Bruce’s teacher, Master Eelu. He postponed further discussion for a less dark hour, and gazed alone at the photographs on the wall as the characters went to explore the rooms he had indicated they should use freely, apparently considering some inwardly painful thought.

April 6, 2009

The other characters joined Liessa at a Worlport nightclub, in an old, converted munitions warehouse. Liessa was already there, and had been offered ten thousand credits to abduct a particular raver/dancer girl there, Pixie, and bring her to a nearby subway station, alive. The offer was made by a heavily cloaked individual, keeping to himself in a bar booth, accompanied by a four meter tall, huge Mantellian savrip, called ‘Golan’, wearing a suit of armor made out of speeder hoods and scrap steel.

The group met someone Liessa already knew, a gregarious, red skinned Devaronian named Dominic, who appeared to be the most popular drug dealer in the area, and who happily shared drinks and flirtation with Kaya. Valen spoke to the dark-cloaked figure, and was offered ten thousand credits to bring Dominic, alive, to a nearby subway station. Valen said he would think about it. The characters conferred with each other and with one of Greda’s nearby enforcers, a Codru-Ji woman with four vibroblades.

Kaya spoke to the unknown being in the cloak, and recognized him as Zalas, a Kel Dor underboss for the Mytarenor Slavers Guild. She got away from him rather quickly, and managed to hide her startled reaction. Liessa noticed that Pixie had left quickly, and left the club, trying to find her. Dominic, tipped off that something was wrong, also left quickly. Liessa was unable to find Pixie, who had apparently gone into hiding. She did manage to get Dominic to meet her at the subway station in question, where she stunned him from behind and handed him over to Zalas, Golan, and his armed thugs, who refused to pay her any money as they had made no deal for Dominic. They took Dominic away. Liessa then went to the store Pixie works at, but did not find her there, and the store closed. Liessa broke in, robbed the store of the credits on the premises, and left.

Meanwhile, Wrrl replaced one of the Drakkar’s shield generators, and later purchased another one from the Squibbs (after some haggling and not-understood language exchanges) and installed that one too.

The group borrowed a vehicle from Greda, and went back out into the desert to investigate where the Juggernaut had been going. After travelling all day, they saw a ship fly over them as darkness fell. They took a good look at it, and Valen stopped the speeder. The ship then came back, having pinpointed the vehicle, and destroyed it with a strafing run. Fortunately, the other characters had gotten out and moved away, as there was then no time to take evasive action. The ship then flew away.

The group was now stuck on foot in the desert. After walking another full day in the direction the ship had gone, Kaya was able to use her skills from Ryloth to find a small cave to shelter in. Wrrl was forced to drain some saline solution from some of his medpacs in order to provide drinking water to the group, who did not have any appreciable amount. Liessa and Wrrl climbed a rocky bluff and spotted a small base camp nearby, where the ship had landed. Valen also attempted to climb up, but fell several times and then injured himself. Wrrl treated his injury.

The group, needing water and or a vehicle to get out of the desert in, decided to attack the camp at night, and after the ship had flown away. Valen shot and destroyed the camp’s communications equipment at long range, keeping them from recalling the ship, and he and Wrrl ran towards the camp and its energy fence from one direction, while Kaya and Liessa approached stealthily from another. Valen and especially Wrrl took a lot of fire as they crossed the flat killzone around the camp on foot, forcing Valen to instead use his jet pack to cross the rest of the distance immediately. Wrrl took many hits as he could not follow, but survived albeit with many stuns.

Liessa jumped entirely over the energy fence, with a Force assisted push from Kaya. She went about sneaking into the camp’s buildings and looking for a killswitch to the fence power. Kaya soon followed, using her particle rifle to blow up one of the fence’s large steel pylons, and then powerfully using the Force to wrench another of them entirely out of the rock and throw it aside, shorting out a fence section. Bruce should be very proud of his pupil for achieving a 25 telekinesis roll.

Valen blew another section of fence open with a set of bombs made from land mines and detonite explosive. He and Wrrl battled all of the guards, with blaster fire and a particularly strong grenade hit from Valen, taking out multiple targets, while Wrrl, now furious, flew into a Wookiee rage and charged into the remaining enemies with a graphic result akin to running over a series of Barbie dolls and ketchup bottles with a lawnmower.

The group captured the camp, and fled in the vehicles they found there, a truck, two landspeeders, and a speeder bike. They also took with them some captured fuel, equipment, and other miscellenary, as well as a quad laser cannon (anti air) that they found on a wheeled towing trailer. They also found a footlocker belonging to Tysroc, which contained some money, Wookiee scalps, and a datapad, all of which they took. They used the quad laser cannon to shoot the camp’s buildings and fixtures into pieces, and then fled back to Worlport.

They gave Greda all of the vehicles and equipment, except the quad laser, as recompense for his speeder that they had gotten destroyed. He gave them each a monetary reward, and reviewed the data on the datapad, which seemed to anger him. The data indicated that Tysroc and his mercenaries had been hired by Nulla the Hutt, and, in addition, Nulla and the Mytarenor Slavers Guild seem to have signed an alliance to act on mutual goals. There was also information indicating that, for some reason, this alliance wants to do everything it can to discourage the open spice trade. Some third party, not indicated, wants all of the spice for itself. Other spice dealers and pushers are to be shut down. This third party is apparently paying very well indeed for Nulla and the Mytarenor to accomplish this, especially since it is known that normally Nulla would fully participate in the open spice/drug trade.

The quad laser was placed with the Drakkar, with the intent to remove its existing laser cannon and replace it with this better one, after some retrofitting work.

Rescuing Valo
March 30, 2009

The A5 Juggernaut is a burning mess in the desert. Tysroc, and all but a handful of survivors, are dead. Some of them, including Tysroc himself, were thrown into the huge steel wheels and crushed horribly in unnecessary fountains of blood. PCs grappling and battling on top of a speeding war machine is a pretty cool image. Plenty of close calls and dangerous attempts that required lots of character point spending. Everyone contributed:

Bruce got the Drakkar into hyperspace in a single round from a dead calculation start, avoiding the merciless barrage from the unknown capital ship. Then, he kept the enemy swoops from blasting the group’s car, and made it look awesome. He also clung to the underside of a Juggernaut and stabbed his lightsaber into its drive shaft, and then swung away on a rope when it exploded and managed to not die, especially since he was the one in front of it as it kept going while on fire. Bruce needs new pants.

Liessa was the one key character who actually knew where Valo had gone. Without her ability, it would have been too late and too hard to find them, and none of the rest would have been possible. Plus, she has local knowledge superior to any, for the next steps should the party take them.

Wrrl climbed over and on the Juggernaut, often near horribly dangerous machinery, battled Trandoshans with cyberfists and blades, and continued to exemplify the holy smite of Bacca. And he wore his hat while doing so.

Valen is the Rocketeer. Improved Bull Rushing a dude on a swoop bike with a jet pack is a good example. Not to mention throwing bombs, shooting enemies, and ultimately (accidentally) blowing up the Juggernaut, and then bravely going to try and get Valo out anyway, as it exploded.

G9 disrupted an entire hospital and forced a complete rescheduling of the surgery lists, and did so with nothing more than a smile, a few pointed statements, and a set of fetishwear. Plus she can snipe pilots right off their swoop bikes. Not to mention impressing Greda the Hutt with her newest business plan, and being put in charge of a significant piece of his resources. Oh, and ‘helping Bruce heal.’ She Aided Another with a ‘police uniform’ and a disturbing lack of human anatomical limits.

Kaya also impressed the Hutt, and the Squibbs with her knowledge of their cultures, plus she firmly demonstrated that she is not a weenie by being able to run faster than anyone else, jump and climb up a synthrope along a rolling, metal cliff face with angry dudes inside, then shooting enemies and running to save Valo no matter how many explosions there are.

And, of course, Valo successfully ripped out of 7D strength bindings. Protein shakes, bitch.

Mandusha III
January 25, 2009

The Drakkar, with Valen at the helm, pursued the pirate ship Calypso as it attempted to escape into hyperspace. Catching up to it with a microjump, Valen pursued the pirates at all-out speed, as they fled at the same rate, despite damaged engines. Velma landed a lucky, long range hit on the pirates from the gun turret, and they responded fourfold in kind with their still-functioning laser and ion cannon batteries. The Drakkar took a beating, and the other crewmembers began to suggest that Valen break off, but the pursuit continued. Another volley of fire from the Calypso punched through the last functional shield on the Drakkar, and then fully ionized it, leaving it unable to change course, slow down, or fire its weapons. The Calypso continued fleeing at top speed, firing at their pursuer that was now hurtling after it on a dead-stick.

The Drakkar would have been blown up, killing all hands, had Bruce not arrived in his V-19 starfighter, catching up to the rest of the team. The Jedi flew as fast as possible into the chase, disregarding laser fire directed at him and, for the most part, slipping through unscathed, rocketing past the Drakkar and moving into the close-range kill zone of the Calypso’s guns, firing his laser cannons into their already-damaged and glowing-hot sublight engines. The hit was more than the pirate ship could continue to sustain, and it went terminal, overheating, melting down and exploding into a huge fireball. Valen was able to bring the Drakkar to a halt just in time to avoid crashing into the lethal wreckage and plasma.

Resuming their journey to the Mandusha system, the team found themselves looking at a mottled, red-orange gas giant, orbitted by a dozen moons, all but one of which were frozen or molten or otherwise wholly unhospitable, except for the third, Mandusha III. Scanning found massive life form readings, but no cities or communications, and only a very small amount of technology. Homing on this, the ships flew down through thick clouds, finding a waterlogged landscape crowded with swamps, lakes, and thick stands of trees, beaten by an incessant rain. The technology turned out to be a ruined, small industrial complex, and the pilots were able to land on its buckled, water-logged landing pad, which was already partially occupied by a smashed, derelict Republic troop transport.

Our explorers examined the transport, and found that, at some point in the past, it had been ravaged and severely mauled, apparently by brute force. There were no bodies or equipment inside, although Velma found a medical bag containing still-useable medpacs. Checking out a bunker-like building to one side of the landing pad, submerged in almost two feet of water, they found it to be an industrial power station. Velma was able to turn emergency power generation back on, but not before finding and repairing a worn power conduit that had gotten submerged and would have electrocuted everyone in the area.

The group also began to find scraps of messages, sent by apparent Czerka employees at the facility, complaining of freak fatal accidents, missing people, needed equipment, hostile flora, and finally some terrible event that apparently wiped out the remaining survivors. Emerging from the power bunker, they spotted a luminescent, greenish-yellow slime oozing over the top of the Drakkar, apparently eating organic scraps from its hull. When it noticed the characters, it began to fire globs of slime at them, apparently highly sticky, but did not manage to strike anyone before Valen tagged it with a frag grenade, blowing it into hundreds of pieces of slime.

Searching the ruins of the administrative building, they found more evidence of strife, with smashed windows, traces of blood, overturned furniture, and evidence of a fire. Valen made a few skilled observations over the state of the broken windows, inferring that some had blown out because of a fire, while others had apparently been smashed in from outside. Wrrl was attacked by a ceiling-clinging vine, which wrapped around his neck from above and attempted to strangle him, but luckily Bruce was able to sever it with his lightsaber before any damage was done.

Over the noise of rain hammering on (and through) the ruined roof, and the grumbles of thunder, Bruce heard something shift, like metal scraping or falling over. Looking outside, dozens of humanoid figures could be seen, crawling and climbing over the Drakkar and starfighter, or looking on. Some were wearing clone trooper armor. Bruce shouted at them, and all of them immediately spun and stared at him, grunting, salivating, and then running forward through the water and over the broken cement.

The group made a stand in the lobby area of the ruined administrative building. The apparently rotten, corpse-like figures shrieked and rushed the entrance (the doors had been ripped off long ago) as well as the broken window, while others ran around the building, seeking other entrances. Bruce held the doorway with his lightsaber, while Wrrl covered his flank with Bacca’s blade. Valen, Velma, and Kaya provided blaster support. The zombies flooded the room, flailing and biting, seeking flesh to rend. Every character managed to kill some of them, but there were dozens. The flanking ones burst through the walls and windows elsewhere, then swarmed into the rear of the characters. Velma was injured, but managed to play dead, beneath the corpse of a zombie she had just blown away. Bruce was hit by a powerful, telekinetic force and yanked entirely out of the building, then blasted with bolts of Force lightning from something in the shadows. Valen grabbed Kaya and jet-packed through the zombies and out the door (Force-pointing) rescuing her (and probably himself) from being ripped into pieces. Kaya fell off once outside the building, and Valen’s jet pack overloaded and exploded. He Boba-Fetted into the side of the Drakkar, and fell senseless on the ground.

Bruce picked himself up, facing down an apparent Ithorian, skin blackened, rotting, and constantly dribbling off, leaving a filthy, oily residue in the water around him. His eyeballs were missing, and a thin, watery stream of dark bile trickled out of the remnants of the sockets, sparking every so often with reddish energy. He had no clothing or equipment, and seemed to have a reddish glow coming from somewhere within him. He blasted Bruce again with Force lightning, hissing at him with rotten vocal chords that he should never have been so foolish as to come here, and Bruce struggled to dissipate it, throwing up a cloud of steam and sparks as the electricity arced into the surrounding water. Bruce then assaulted the creature with his lightsaber, and it blocked his first blows with a reddish, glowing field of energy springing into being around its rotten hand. Bruce then threw the Force into a mightier, two handed slash, and powered through the energy field, slicing off the Ithorian’s hand at the elbow. His opponent backpedalled, then cursed him, exhorting him to do it again and to use the Force to cause more pain and damage next time, then formed a reddish bolt of energy with his other hand, throwing it and striking Bruce, staggering him (and would have robbed him of a character point, if he had any left.) The creature then reached out, gripping a large section of the broken tarmac with the Force, ripping it free and casting it at Bruce, who managed to dive forward and out of the worst of it. A huge plume of gas, built up under the surface, belched out, and Bruce shut off his lightsaber for fear of blowing everyone up.

Meanwhile, Wrrl eliminated many of the remaining zombies, blowing them up with a combination of explosive bowcaster quarrels and a frag grenade, then moved to try and assist Bruce. Velma shot a zombie in the head as it pursued Wrrl, then ran for the Drakkar, as did Kaya. Valen picked himself up after he came back to his senses, then boarded the Drakkar and prepared to fire the autocannon at the Ithorian. Kaya managed to reach him in time, screaming for him to stop as he would almost certainly cause a major explosion and possibly kill everyone.

Bruce leaped at and grappled with the Ithorian, trying to strike him into unconciousness. The creature reached out and grasped the now red-hot Pendants hanging from Bruce’s neck, and the glow within his body intensified as he tapped their power for himself, calling upon the Dark Side and unleashing a last, now amplified burst of vicious energy. Bruce called upon his last energies (and Force point) driving his hand into the Ithorian’s rotten, ichor-spewing chest and grasping the Pendant that was plunged inside the dead flesh, channeling the light side of the Force into it.

The result was a titanic Force explosion, in both dark and light side energy, displacing all of the water around them and throwing it into the sky, disintegrating the duracrete and broken metal, collapsing part of the nearby buildings, rocking the Drakkar violently on its landing struts and throwing its occupants against the control boards, skidding the V-19 fighter across the pad and almost tipping it over, and throwing Wrrl backwards like a missile, which happened to be a highly hairy and lethal missile when he collided with the last remaining zombie. The sphere of energy finally imploded on itself and winked out, letting water and debris rain back down. The Ithorian had vanished utterly, every trace of his body, down to bled ichor and slime eradicated and consumed by the Force, leaving a Pendant lying on the smoking ground. The area seemed to actually be dead in the Force now. Bruce’s hand was mangled and terribly burned in the act of grasping the searing Pendant and channeling the Force into it, and Wrrl picked him up, administering first aid and a painkiller as he was quite senseless. The last drops of water and pieces of cement finally fell back to earth, and everything went quiet except for the rain still falling down.

What will the PCs do next? Guess we will find out…

The Battle for Tantamir
December 11, 2008

X-wing fighters emerged from hyperspace, outside the orbital band of the planet Tantamir. Great, thought Lieutenant Cole Janson, we’re just outside their close fighter patrol. These guys hate to vary their routines. He keyed on the squadron communication band. “Red Squadron, time to go to work. Lock S-foils in attack positions.” He powered up his deflector shield. “Here they come. Stick to the plan.”

The TIE fighter patrol screamed in, firing rapidly into the close-packed formation of X-wings. At the last second, the X-wings broke in all directions, revealing the four A-wings hiding close behind them, and difficult to see on sensors from the X-wings’ sublight energy wake. The TIEs tried to slow down, or break off, but there was no time. Cole squeezed the trigger and jammed the throttle forward, blowing apart a TIE heading directly towards him and flying straight through the vaporizing fireball. The other A-wings got the rest, as the TIE patrol broke its formation.

“Nice shooting, Green Leader,” commented one of the X-wing pilots. “Thanks, Red Six,” replied Cole. Ahead, the Imperial Star Destroyer Shogundiverted from its holding orbit, slowly coming to full engine power as its angular bulk shifted towards the engagement. Blips began to sprout all over Cole’s sensor screen, as the Star Destroyer began to disgorge more TIEs. That’s right, chase me, thought Cole, as he led the other three A-wings in a wide sweep, while the X-wing squadron reformed and banked in the opposite direction.

The first wave of Imperial fighters was more careful, approaching in perfect formation, now matching the Rebel fighters in numbers, as the Star Destroyer powered forward to get into turbolaser range. Full starfighter dogfighting broke out, with laser fire and bursts of plasma scattering across the vacuum. Cole threw his A-wing into a hard spin, his TIE assailant overshooting him, then bursting into flames when Cole’s laser cannon fire hit his ion engines. Hope Bruce got down alright. Cole swung into a turn, picking a TIE fighter off the tail of an X-wing.

“Emerging from hyperspace at .65, Captain.” “Thank you, corpsman,” replied Alec. He brushed a hand through his white hair, and the scars beneath. He keyed on the communicator. “All squadrons prepare for immediate deployment,” he ordered, then watched the starlines reform outside, as the Alliance Escort Carrier Hornet emerged from hyperspace. So far, so good. The Star Destroyer had gone for the distraction. “Gold Group, Blue Group, deploy, and may the Force be with us.” X-wing and Y-wing starfighters poured out of the Hornet, soaring towards the Star Destroyer’s port flank, while the Escort Carrier itself hung back, trying to draw the Shogun’s attention. “Shields at maximum and priority power,” Alec ordered, taking the direct controls of the Hornet as the first wave of Imperial turbolaser fire lanced towards them.

“Okay, you guys are pissing me off,” Cole growled. He hated TIE Interceptors, and especially the one on his ass. Diving hard, he flew directly at the Star Destroyer, dodging between the turbolaser blasts and skimming along its superstructure. The Interceptor matched him, until he suddenly turned on his landing repulsor unit at full power. G-forces pressed him into his seat as the A-wing suddenly bounced away from the surface of the Star Destroyer like a rubber ball. The TIE Interceptor shot past, the pilot still wondering where Cole had gone when his fighter crashed into a turbolaser battery.

He commed Alec as he rocketed away from the Star Destroyer, switching back to sublights at full. “Hornet, what’s the status? We’re starting to take casualties here.” One of Red Squadron’s X-wings exploded next to him, and he winced. Alec responded, “Blue Group is inbound with escort.” On his sensor board, Cole watched the flight of Y-wings approach, each one establishing a targetting lock on the Star Destroyer for its proton torpedoes, as their escorting X-wings sliced into the TIEs aggressively trying to down the fighter-bombers. “We’ve got to give Bruce more time,” Alec called. “Concentrate fire on the Shogun’s shield generators.”

Static crackled across the comm channel, and Cole swore as a piercing wave of noise filtered through his helmet. Star Destroyer’s trying to jam us. Glancing out his cockpit to starboard, he saw an explosion burst outward from the Hornet. “Fuck,” Cole muttered, as he picked out the source: the Star Destroyer’s squadron of TIE Bombers, hidden behind Tantamir’s moon, had made their presence known, dumping proton bursts into the Escort Carrier as its anti-starfighter laser cannons blazed away at them.

Gunning the sublights, Cole pressed back into his seat as he rocketed straight towards the TIE bombers, followed by the survivors of Green and Red Squadrons. He held the trigger down without letting go, riddling laser fire into the fat, dual-fuselage targets and blowing the lead craft apart, its ordnance going off with a spectacular burst. “Smoke these guys fast,” he called to his wingmen. The TIE bomber gunners spewed out their missiles as fast as they could, while the pilots tried to maintain formation under the withering fire.

One of the bombers managed a shot directly at the bridge of the Hornet; Red Six broke away, throwing power from shields and weapons into thrust, and flying directly into the path of the missile, intercepting it just before it struck home against the Rebel carrier. The X-wing vanished in a burning blast of plasma. Cole blew away the last two TIE bombers in return, eyes hard. Glancing over his shoulder, he was just in time to see a titanic shot of brilliant energy slash upward from the surface of Tantamir, Y-wings and TIE fighters scrambling to get clear of its path, as it slammed into the * Shogun*’s belly.

The Star Destroyer shuddered at the impact from the planetary turbolaser, its rows of onboard lights flickering and shorting out. Its goliath sublight drives flamed out, smoke and fire bursting from its aft quarter. Explosions began to tear the ship apart, as escape pods jettisoned wildly in all directions. Cole reached into the pocket of his flight suit, pulling out a cigar and flicking open his lighter, as he dove toward the planet to congratulate the ground team. *At least I know Bruce is alright. Only a lucky son of bitch could pull that shot off, untrained. *He hoped the assault team had taken fewer casualties than they had, as he smoked in silence, but for the thrum of his engines.

Hoth and Lilith
November 10, 2008

Our band of PCs was asked to help with an emergency at Echo Base; their friend, Lt. Alec, had not come back or called in from his mission to place sensor masts in the frozen snowfields outside. Valen, Kaya, Wrrl, and G9 set out to investigate, riding on tauntauns. Valen demonstrated natural skill at tauntaun riding (his tauntaun is named Rodeo), while the others did not do quite so well, and mostly just tried to get their tauntauns to follow Valen’s. (Good tauntaun. Nice tauntaun.)

They managed to track down Alec via sensor handhelds, but it took some time. The others held up against the cold fairly well, but Kaya (especially being from a hot planet) began to suffer early stages of hypothermia. The purple Twilek made several entirely accurate remarks about the ambient temperature, and her opinion of it. They found Alec on top of a large, rocky outcropping, with a large wampa beast attempting to climb the rocks and reach him. It had already killed Alec’s tauntaun, and wounded Alec’s arm, injuring him and destroying his wrist comlink. He used his blaster carbine to keep it from climbing up to him, but was almost out of ammo.

Valen laid down in the snow, aimed his rifle, and shot the wampa in the back of the head. Unforunately, this only angered the (very strong) wampa, and it turned its attention to these new attackers. Wrrl fired an explosive quarrel from his bowcaster into the rocks, causing many of them to fall down onto the wampa, temporarily pinning it down in the snow.

Wrrl ran down the snowy slope and began climbing up the rocks with his Wookiee claws, to help Alec. At that time, the second wampa appeared, bursting out of the snow where it had lain in wait, attacking and wounding Kaya with a heavy claw blow, and knocking her down the snowy hill. The first wampa burst out of the fallen rock and attempted to charge Kaya, who had landed near it and now smelled of blood, but Wrrl jumped off the rocks, landed on the wampa’s back, grabbed its head and tusks, and snapped its neck with a mighty twist. Epic win.

Meanwhile, the second wampa now decided to eat G9 and Valen, who disagreed by shooting it repeatedly in the head, chest, and groin. It managed to knock down Valen and wound his leg, but the PCs eventually defeated it via the combat team manuever of shooting it with blaster rifles and stabbing it with a vibrosword multiple times. The group managed to make it back to base, now with multiple injured or cold-sick members, and spent a little time in the medical bay.

Wrrl mounted a hyperdrive on Bruce’s new starfighter, with a little assistance from R2-D2 and C-3PO. He only had a few “bonus parts” left over.

After conferring with Command and formulating a plan, the group got permission to take Lt. Alec with them, leaving Hoth and flying to Ord Mantell. Meeting with Greda the Hutt, they obtained permission to follow a large transport belonging to Greda, headed to Coruscant. Once there, they would “shadow” the transport, matching its speed and direction and remaining so close to it that they would not show up as a seperate ship on Coruscant’s detection sensors. Valen managed to perform the very difficult piloting required to do this, which was a good thing, given that the alternative was Golan III Defense Platforms, six Imperial Star Destroyers, one Super Star Destroyer, multiple support ships, and several hundred TIE fighters.

Making it down to the super-urban surface of Coruscant, the group landed and took refuge with Valen’s family company, Centauro Shipping, hiding the Drakkar in one of the company bays and visiting Valen’s mother, Lilith, in the family home at Tau Delta apartment supercomplex. The area seemed to have gotten more run down, despite being near a large industrial complex (Anvil Corridor.) Local criminal and gang activity seemed to be increased, and the group had at least one run in, but no blows were struck as the PCs prefered to intimidate and talk their way out of a fight (which is always easier when you have a very large Wookiee along.)

Lilith was joyful to see her son again, and the group rapidly learned that she cannot be easily conned, fooled, or otherwise lied to, qualities that have allowed her to remain in business after the loss of her husband. Her apartments are comfortable and well decorated with the mementos of galactic travel with a shipping company. She still retains her love of ruby jewelry, open top airspeeders, and technological comforts. The group did learn, however, that recently Centauro has faced difficulties, both from growing local criminal activity, and two aggressive offers from Czerka Corporation to purchase the company, which Lilith has declined. Valen also learned that his old friend, now a Star Destroyer captain, has deflected Imperial authorities from harassing or questioning his mother.

The group sets off to travel towards the Jedi Temple as night falls across Coruscant, relying on Alec’s knowledge of its layout and his escape from it on the night of its destruction, to help them get inside. What will happen next?


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