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edwardavern

The PCs are about to argue...

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Hi all

 

My PCs are about to get into an argument next session, and I'm just trying to find a few ideas to forestall it, or work it into the story without breaking the group!

 

One of the PCs is a droid Ace/Rigger, who is devoted to the YT-1760 that the crew are flying in.  Absolutely no way that she would ever leave the ship behind, unless it was literally blown up (which I'm saving for a climactic moment later in the campaign!).

 

Another PC, a Diplomat/Analyst with an Imperial past, pointed out at the end of last session that the ship was seen blasting its way through an Imperial blockade, and the smart thing to do would be to trade up.

 

Now, obviously there are other PCs involved, and I also have an NPC who could overrule the analyst if necessary, but I'd rather present genuine reasons for the party to keep the ship they currently have.  Money is obviously a big factor - they couldn't afford to buy a decent ship outright - but I'm pretty sure he'll suggest hiring a ship (as Luke did with the Millennium Falcon), and it'd be good to have something in-game to stall this line of thinking.  (Out-of-game I can just point out that it won't be fun for the Rigger and the Pilot to do that, but I'm trying to get my players to think more in character at the moment, so I'd prefer not to do that if possible).

 

Just wondered if anyone here had any thoughts as to why the party shouldn't/couldn't/wouldn't sell the ship?

 

Thanks in advance.

 

(PS I suspect at least one person wants to suggest that the PCs should be allowed to sell the ship if they want to.  Please resist that urge - that's not the issue here.  The issue is that one PC wants to, another PC doesn't, and both have genuine reasons for those positions.  I'm looking for something that can tip the argument so that the PCs don't reach an impasse).

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How about finding a small out of the way imperial world that might not have the news yet and changing transponder, name and paintwork. Won't be cheap in bribes and facilitation payments, but may never be tracked down unless there is particularly zealous investigator out there (5 obligation?)

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Simple - change the transponder code. There are countless YT-1760s out there; it's the unique transponder code that makes it specifically identifiable. Change that, and no one will know it's the ship that blasted through the blockade. Fly Casual has rules for how to change the codes.

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Simple - change the transponder code. There are countless YT-1760s out there; it's the unique transponder code that makes it specifically identifiable. Change that, and no one will know it's the ship that blasted through the blockade. Fly Casual has rules for how to change the codes.

You might want to change the name of the ship and the names on the crew registry too. Changing the transponder code on the Millennium Falcon won't be all that much use if you still call it the MF and your BoSS pad says Han Solo and Chewbacca are the crew.

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This would be a good time to put the ship into Dry Dock (Space Dock) for repairs and upgrades. Your keeping the ship, but dealing with more than just the issue of it being Identified by the Empire. As already suggested, Transponder, Crew Registry, and visual changes.  Hiring or obtaining a temporary vessel would make a good way to salvage or get used parts under the Radar. 

Trading up could be difficult as its a YT1760 and the fact its a hot ship for the time being. Who ever you sold it to or were going to sell it to could turn you into the Empire. When you sell it people are going to look at it more than if you just parked it at the space port. It is not a stretch to think someone who saw the BOLO for the ship to draw a connection to a similar ship being sold in the area. 

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This would be a good time to put the ship into Dry Dock (Space Dock) for repairs and upgrades. Your keeping the ship, but dealing with more than just the issue of it being Identified by the Empire. As already suggested, Transponder, Crew Registry, and visual changes.  Hiring or obtaining a temporary vessel would make a good way to salvage or get used parts under the Radar. 

Trading up could be difficult as its a YT1760 and the fact its a hot ship for the time being. Who ever you sold it to or were going to sell it to could turn you into the Empire. When you sell it people are going to look at it more than if you just parked it at the space port. It is not a stretch to think someone who saw the BOLO for the ship to draw a connection to a similar ship being sold in the area.

This sounds like it would be a win/win for you.

The pilot gets to keep the beloved ship, but it's off the proverbial table for a session or two, as the group follows the analyst's advice and hires out a ship while theirs is "in the shop."

It also presents some great RP opportunities, as the pilot continually compares the "rental" to the regular ship (negatively, of course), while the analyst tries to convince the group as to how great the "rental" is and how beneficial it would be to procure new transportation permanently.

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Having it in the shop is a good idea.  OR... They could rent it out.  Say there's a small-time trader who needs to haul some mundane stuff out to a no-name planet way outside anywhere the Empire's interested in- the trader might even be completely legitimate.  Might not even need to bother changing transponder and registry codes in that case, and they can make some credits on the side.  (And if some low-ranking planetary customs officer Is worried about the ship, it'll take WEEKS to process his request back at the Imperial offices.)  Maybe the renter tells them about some crazy stuff he saw on his trip and the PCs can visit that planet in a later session and have a wacky wild west adventure.

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Simple - change the transponder code. There are countless YT-1760s out there; it's the unique transponder code that makes it specifically identifiable. Change that, and no one will know it's the ship that blasted through the blockade. Fly Casual has rules for how to change the codes.

 

I completely missed that!  Will have to dig those rules out - thanks.

 

 

 

 

If Han and Chewie can continue flying around in a well known ship I don't see why your group couldn't too.

Bingo. Are they hard charging space adventuters or a group of sissy pants?

 

 

Err...well, actually, one of them is kind of a sissy pants.  He's OK with it.

 

But, broadly, that's a good point - it's a big galaxy, and if the Millennium Falcon can keep flying around then surely they can.

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If Han and Chewie can continue flying around in a well known ship I don't see why your group couldn't too.

 

This is what I thought too.  

 

This doesn't seem to bother the heroes in the movies. Or, presumably, in the new cartoons.

They use subterfuge a lot in Rebels. One episode's plot revolved around the crew using a fake transponder code to sneak past an Imperial blockade but Zeb accidentally bumped a switch to emit the real code which led to a scramble to avoid being destroyed. It's definitely not something they casually flaunt in the new cartoons.

Even in the films, by the time of Return of the Jedi the main characters had become so notorious that they had to mostly go in disguise on Tatooine then later used a stolen Imperial shuttle to get onto Endor. You can't say that getting a reputation doesn't matter because it sure does, even with characters as daring and powerful as the main characters in the OT.

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You could make a whole adventure of it.

 

 

 

The ship is in flight while the PCs argue. Mid argument the ship suddenly shakes and drops out of hyperspace. Before they can put the shields up the ship is hit with some sort of ion weapon and disabled completely: their ship is dead in the water. The lights automatically flicker on for auxilary power and then are knocked out when the ship is hit by a second blast. Worse still, whatever knocked them out of hyperspace also blew out of the hyperdrive completely and it's venting coolant into the ship, something the PCs will have to deal with. Investigation of the hyperdrive reveals the damage only affects a few key parts, but they aren't ones the PCs have the ability to replace.

 

Soon after the ship is shaken by the signature judder of a tractor beam locking on. If they get the power back on they're hit with a second blast from the ion weapon: caught in the tractor beam they have no way of evading it. It may be possible for the PCs to get limited auxilary power back on for short range comms, blast doors, life support and sensors but anything high power such as engines, weapons, shields or long range comms is detected and provokes a shot from the ion cannon.

 

Half of the story becomes clear as soon as they look out the window: what looks like the wreck of a Venator-class Star Destroyer is hovering in the space outside. In some places it's been blasted clean through, one of the bridge towers has been blown off and a lot of the vessel appears to be open to space. The ship is clearly not in fighting shape: it looks like it would lose a battle with a frigate in its current state.

 

Any of the more perceptive PCs with ship knowledge will be able to detect that despite the damage the derelict appears to be functioning. The running lights are on in many places including the bridge and a few of the engines appear to be working. This ship may be in no state for a fight but it does seem to be mobile. It might even have a working hyperdrive. The other point of interest is the ship's heavy ion cannons: they too seem to be working and appear to be trained on the PC's ship: this must have been what knocked their systems out but it's unlikely to be what pulled them out of hyperspace.

 

The Venator's tractor beam slowly draws them in. As they approach the dorsal doors open and they can see the flight deck: it looks like a scrapyard. It's littered with ships in various states of disrepair and dismantlement, and as they draw in figures in vacuum suits can be seen chopping them up. Closer observation also reveals a swarm of Clone Wars era buzz droids assisting them. A few drift up to the PC's ship to disable its weapons before it's drawn into the hanger.

 

The ship is drawn into the dorsal hangar where a party of spacesuited figures armed with blasters and heavy cutting equipment move towards the landing pad. They magnetically clamp the ship down then start cutting through the bulkhead: they intend to vent the ship into space to kill the crew.

 

The PCs have several options to get out of this situation.

  • Knowledge of Clone Wars era starships (or looking out the window) reveals that the Venator's main dorsal hangar has several side hangars coming off of it that aren't open to vacuum when the doors are open: they've got containment fields of their own (if the central strip has one it's been disabled). If the PCs have no space survival gear they could use one of the escape pods (if they can get it working again) to fire themselves into one of those hangers so they can fight with air.
  • If the PCs have internal defences on their ships and can get them working they can attack the boarding party with them. They've got control of the ship's doors if they get auxiliary power back up so they could also potentially spring a trap: open most of the doors so they boarding party goes in then close them, allowing them to fight the boarders with air and potentially isolate and capture one.
  • The PC's personal comlinks still work and if they get auxilary power on they can use the ship's short range comms. This allows them to communicate with the boarders.

If the PCs contact the boarders via comlink or by capturing one to interrogate they find they're all too happy to talk: they're a pirate group known as the Scrappers. They capture ships, kill their crews unless they're good for ransom and then chop them up to sell on the Black Market. Persuasion can get them to reveal more: one of the main things they're after is the ship's transponder: stripped out they fetch a handy price on the Black Market: more than counterfeit transponders. The ship has a history, legitimate records and there's no risk of running into the original ship because they've made it disappear. If the PCs point out any flaws in this plan the pirates seem a little dumbstruck: they're not particularly bright.

 

Coercion can get them to reveal how they pulled the ships out of hyperspace: back when they were more conventional pirates they managed to take out an Imperial convoy and loot a significant haul of experimental interdiction mines. They use these to knock ships out of hyperspace. The PCs will later find this out from the pirate's leader (a Hutt who's turned much of the bridge tower into his personal residence) who loves to brag if they are taken prisoner at any point.

 

The pirates also have a degree of lingering disatisfaction with the Hutt that leads them: he lives an opulent life in the bridge tower with his elite while the rest of the band have to do dangerous salvage work aboard a derelict ship: more than a few have died when their sleeping quarters abruptly depressurized. The Hutt also controls access to the ventral hanger on the underside of the ship where functioning ships are stored: the pirates are not free to leave the ship without the Hutt's permission in order to maintain secrecy. The pirates do not freely offer this information but will if asked directly.

 

If the PCs choose to fight and they win then they'll be attacked by a larger force of pirates beyond their ability to deal with. However, these pirates choose to take them captive: anyone who can fight like that has to be worth something to someone in their eyes.

If the PCs fight and they lose then the pirates will attempt to incapacitate and capture them them for the same reasons: they'll then be taken to the brig and meet with the Hutt leader who will freely tell them about the pirate operation due to his weakness for gloating.

 

If the PCs convince the pirates that they're valuable their ship will be transferred to one of the airtight subhangers and the pirates will try to take them prisoner.

 

Either way, they'll probably end up in the cells of the derelict Venator. The Hutt, after checking if they have any bounties (if they do the Hutt plans to sell them, if they don't he plans to leave them to starve in the cells as punishment for lying to him/killing his men) will turn up to gloat and then return to the bridge. Soon after, one of the pirates enters the cell block to speak with the heroes, a grey haired human male with a certain military air about him.

 

This pirate was a mid-ranking officer in the Clone Wars aboard this very ship and survived its destruction He continued into Imperial service, but after being repeatedly passed over for promotion he went pirate. Partnering with the Hutt he orchestrated the convoy ambush where the interdiction mines were captured from the inside and gave the location of the Venator wreck. However, once the operation was set up the Hutt no longer needed him and sent him to the scrapping decks. Since then he's been stirring the discontent amongst the scrapworkers, planning a mutiny so he can kill the Hutt in revenge and take over the ship for himself.

 

He attempts to recruit the PCs, recognising their combat prowess from their fight with the scrapworkers if they had one and from the Imperial bounty on their ship. He tells them that they captured a ship of the same class as theirs, a YT-1760, a few weeks back. He'll give them the parts to repair their ship, the transponder from it so they can avoid the bounty on them and freedom to leave if they assist him in taking over the Venator and the operation. If the PCs agree he'll tell them that he still has the security codes which the Hutt never thought to change and his plan is to take over the auxilary bridge with the aid of the scrapworkers: from there he can take full control of onboard security and kill the Hutt and his elite the same way they kill the crews of ships they capture: he'll take advantage of the countless hull breaches to vent the bridge to space.

 

A: REFUSE TO JOIN THE MUTINY

The PCs have several choices if they choose to escape themselves, but a lot of them are dead ends. If they side with the Mutiny Leader then they attack the Auxilary Bridge. If any of them are tech specialists they can hack into the surveillance network to view the status of these rooms before attacking them. It'd also be wise for them to steal some vacuum suits given the threat of depressurisation.

  • If they try to take the Tractor Beam they find a battle between the Scrapworkers and the Elite for control of it. Whichever side wins will attack the PCs unless they can convince them that they're on their side. If they abandon the tractor beam without disabling it then it will be retaken by the Scrapworkers.
  • If they try to take over the ship's heavy weapons they'll find a heavy guard of the Hutt's Elite. Taking over the weapons is of limited use as they can't be aimed at the ship itself, but they can be disabled to prevent them from firing at the PCs if they try to escape. If they abandon it without disabling it then the Scrapworkers will take it over.
  • The Ventral Hangar as the PCs found if/when they heard about it is completely locked down: it's under heavy guard and magnetically sealed. As the mutineers have ignored it it's pretty much untakeable for just the PCs. Furthermore, when the ship falls (either to the mutiny leader or the PCs) they take the craft there and flee. The PCs cannot get those ships.
  • The Dorsal Hangar is where the PC's ship is and is the side of a battle between the Scrapworkers and the buzz droids. By the time the PCs get there it's over: the Scrapworkers didn't stand a chance and the PCs will have to fight the swarm of buzz droids. Apart from any bulkhead damage dealt by the Scrapworkers it's been pretty much untouched.
  • If the PCs decide to take the auxilary bridge themselves they'll arrive just as the Mutiny Leader takes over the console. Cornered by the Hutt Elite squad he'll threaten to vent the whole ship and kill everyone. Killing him and the Hutt Elite squad gives the PCs access to the Mutiny Leader's hacked console and total control of the ship's doors. This leads to the same ending as Join the Mutiny.

 

 

B: JOIN THE MUTINY

If the PCs fight with the mutiny leader they'll battle through several groups of Hutt Elite until they take the auxilary bridge. The mutiny leader accesses the main console, seals the doors and takes control of the ship. At this point the Hutt will open comms and offer the PCs a large monetary reward in addition to what the mutiny leader offered if they kill him. The Hutt also points out that if they follow the mutiny leader then the innocent bridge crew will die a messy death along with the Hutt: if they side with the Hutt, only one more person dies. Both accuse each other of planning to double cross the PCs, then the mutiny leader moves to vent the ship.

  • If the PCs side with the mutiny leader he'll keep his word: he vents the bridge decks messily killing the Hutt and his surviving elite. The PCs are then free to fix their ship with parts of the scrapped YT-1760 and leave, gaining the new transponder out of the deal.
  • If the PCs side with the Hutt then the Hutt double crosses them. As soon as they unseal the doors a squad of Hutt Elite attacks, trying to secure the console.
  • If the PCs side with neither they must kill the mutiny leader (or he'll vent the main bridge, change the security codes and take control with the Scrapworkers), take over the console and then turn on the Hutt. If they don't open the doors the Hutt Elite Squad is trapped outside and can be vented to space.

AFTERMATH

To summarise, there are three possible outcomes to this adventure.

  • The PCs refuse to join the mutiny. During their escape the mutiny fails. The mutiny leader vents the entire ship as a last resort, killing everyone but a few scrapworkers in Vac Suits and the PCs. The surviving Hutt Elite escapes on the Ventral Hanger ships. The PCs can take whatever they can salvage from the ship including one or two of the interdiction mines (no more will fit in their ship). They'll also have to deal with the lack of atmosphere and lurking hostile buzz droids aboard the Venator.
  • The PCs join the mutiny and don't betray the mutiny leader. The mutiny leader takes over the operation and gives them their freedom, the transponder and the parts to repair their ship and leave.
  • The PCs join the mutiny then betray the mutiny leader: they have total control of the ship's doors. They can vent the Hutt to space themselves or leave him sealed on the bridge: if they free him he'll send more squads to attack them to try and take back the console. They have the run of the ship and can salvage whatever fits in their ship, including the transponder, hyperdrive parts and up to two of the Interdiction mines.

CLEANUP
The players can't take the Venator: even if it's decrewed they don't have the numbers to crew it and hyperspace it away. Their only option is to leave on the one functioning ship left on it: theirs. When they finally leave they encounter a large Imperial frigate which has hit one of the remaining interdiction mines. If the derelict Venator is under the control of the mutiny leader then a battle ensues between the two ships, letting the PCs slip away unnoticed. If it isn't then the Imperial frigate contacts the PC's ship. However, they turn out not to be a threat: the frigate scans the transponder and the captain concludes the PC's ship is a legitimate merchant's vessel that frequently travels this route carrying foodstuffs: they refer to your ship by the name on the transponder and offer assistance. (It'd be unwise to accept it if the PCs have two stolen interdiction mines on board).

 

The problem with a stolen transponder doesn't arise until later on when the family of the original owners of the ship discover the PCs and get the wrong idea.

Edited by Blue Five

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Like others said, a change of BoSS-related data might be enough.

Why the ship ran the blockade is important. Stolen data to lay vulnerable the Empire's ultimate weapon? Fugitives. Otherwise, while there'll be BOLOs, it's a big galaxy. See: The Big Lebowski, "leads."

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The core of the argument is that one or more of the players no longer want the ship. Using their notoriety is just their rationale to argue in favor of getting rid of it. Swapping transponders might delay that, but those players will still want to get rid of it.

Make them want to keep the ship.

The ship is used, right? Next time a Triumph is rolled while on the ship, have it result in the PCs discovering some previously unknown secret about the ship. Maybe there's an extra smuggling compartment with something valuable or very interesting in it that can't be easily removed.

Or a broken string of coordinates are found in the hyperdrive navcomp. That right there is a treasure map they'll have to de-riddle to find the treasure. Any attempt to download the information or remove the navcomp will erase the numbers.

Make them want to keep the ship.

Edited by RLogue177

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I'll also try to give a very simple answer to your problem - that of course isn't a problem as simple as I'm treating it:

 

Is it really the PLAYER that wants to get rid of the ship or is it the CHARACTER?

  • If its the player, talk out of game with both players, because that might cause problems along the way. Most players are willing to give up their favorite toy if it is an epic moment in the story, or accept something they don't like until then.
  • If its the characters let them bicker. One party member teasing the other about their rust bucket isn't much reason for concern, on the contrary, it can be a source if release and fun, If they argue for too long, suddenly something happens that prevents them from arguing further, Surprise Customs frigate, The amazing boarding party encounter in this thread...

Just got an idea, but it is very gm machina, Customs frigate picks them up, and the custom official pressures them into doing something (smuggle something, pay his debts, rob something, acquire something, help his career by sabotaging a colleague). the empire has enough scum in his ranks that doesnt care about the imperial vision, only how to get ahead in their career.

Edited by derroehre

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So, I’m going to add a comment here based on our Monday night group, even though it’s not about our ship(s).

The characters in that game do tend to bicker and poke at each other a fair amount. But that is very different from the players doing so.

However, when the chips are down and a Master Bounty Hunter comes to claim a 40k credit bounty on one of the PCs, we all band together and kill the hunter — and his minions. Then we drag the hunter’s carcass away from the fight and steal his Heavy Battle Armor.

But before and after said event, we’re perfectly happy to joke about how much the bounty is worth and what could we get if we turned in the guy ourselves. But I think everyone understands that is just a bit of good-natured ribbing.

So, yeah — there’s a big difference between the PCs talking about liking/not liking the ship and wanting/not wanting to get another one, versus the players feeling that way.

IMO, it’s very important to establish what the actual case is here, and then you can work on what the best solution is.

Maybe it’s not actually a problem that needs to be “solved”.

Edited by bradknowles

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Bickering between characters is a part of Star Wars. Luke's young idealism clashed with Han's cynicism which was at odds with Leia's devotion to the Rebellion and no-nonsense attitude, Threepio complaining about recklessness to everyone (especially Artoo) and so on. The characters managed to work together in spite of this. Look at the Clone Wars cartoon, Rebels, or Episode VII. It's just what happens when you get a team with diverse backgrounds, goals, strengths, and weaknesses which complement each other but also conflict at times. It keeps things interesting.

Our own group does this as well. My BH is sometimes a sociopath but he's developing a moral code after some major incidents that happened to him. We have a Force Sensitive character who is always angry and being influenced by the Dark Side. We have a doctor who seems to treat other people like experiments and feels guilty for failing the Empire yet doesn't hesitate to break the necks of Stormtroopers. We have a genius mechanic who seems to get along with droids better than people and constantly stresses about family obligations. We clash a LOT. But we also risk our lives for each other on a regular basis. As long as the group supports each other when it matters and the players are having fun, the dysfunctional family mechanic is a great roleplaying tool.

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