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Flintlock Jazz

Upping difficulty in Mask of the Pirate Queen [SPOILERS]

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I've been running Mask of the Pirate Queen for my players, and just want to run a few things by those who have ran it already.  Obviously there are going to spoilers so if you haven't played it and plan to play it then don't read any further.

 

My players started the adventure with about 400+ xp in general, and so I've had to up the difficulty on the encounters.  They are currently on Ord Mantell and should be assaulting the underground lair there in the next session (assuming no faffing about like last time), and I have been looking at tweaking the stats of Ryale the Pirate Queen's second in command they are supposed to capture and the others they have to fight, and thought I would run through some of the ideas here.

 

Previously, when they assaulted the base I upped the difficulty by adding elite units and leaders to the encounters (all female, since I wanted to push the idea that their leaders were all women, which the base encounters really didn't I felt), which seemed to work well since it pushed them to use resources and wore them down for the final encounter.  For the Ord Mantell one though since there is only really one big battle in the base I feel I need to make the individuals more powerful instead to make them more meaningful, especially since these are supposed to be their elites.  First off I was thinking of upping the Brawn of the Savrips Kel and Tur from 5 to 6, giving them Adversary of at least 1, and changing their armoured clothing to Padded Armour (soak 2).  I am also, and this is one of the parts I am least sure about, thinking about giving them vibro weapons that have the monomolecular blade attachment so that they have crit ratings of 1 since my players also have the same and lots of pierce (and two with the Assassin tree as well so lots of crit enhancements), but obviously I don't want to wind up slotting half the party with a few lucky crits.  I am also thinking that, since one of the party has taken some Force powers and another is thinking of doing the same, of making Ryale a Force Sensitive to both give them an idea of how they work and also to give her some bite.  Either Force Rating 2 or 3 and lots of Move to pee them off, with her potentially being an ex-Nightsister or something, but not sure if it would fit or if it might be too much.  Anyone else seeing Ryale as a potential Force User?

 

Am I working in the right direction here?  Too much?  Too little?  For those that are interested in just what the PCs are bringing we have the Chiss Explorer and Wookiee Bounty Hunter both using monomolecular blades on their vibro weapons (greatsword and axe respectively), both have taken Assassin and the Chiss is also using rifles, the Klatooinian Hired Gun who is the god of Autofire, the Gotal Explorer Force Sensitive Exile who is still going up said tree so is still on Force Rating 1, and only has the basics of Move and Sense, and the R2 Technician who is actually pretty nifty with a blaster.  The droid is actually really good with using their tech skills so I'd consider it a win if I could push them to look for ways to utilise her tech skills to get an edge in the battle or sway it somehow instead of just gunning everything down.

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If the players have pumped their characters up, I would definitely pump up the adversaries.  Maybe the actual pirate queen begins to control the battle via the holographic projector that's supposed to confuse the players, which would require them to realize that it's not actually her, and then disable it. Maybe it's recessed so that you just can't shoot it? Maybe there's a security box around it that the Technician has to hack/take apart to access the holo-port? And the entire time you can have the queen directing the combat, maybe adding bonuses to her side as long as the holograph is functioning. Inspiring Rhetoric? Scathing Rhetoric on the PC's? and the whole time they're fighting a Force-Sensitive and already taking wounds and strain.

Heck, give them strain as soon as they realize Ryale is Force-Sensitive to represent their fear and the stress of a tense battle.

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Ooo, I like the idea of using the holoprojector to confuse things!  Yeah, projecting false images so they don't know whats real and what isn't, and needing to buy time for the tech to disable them or just taking shots and hoping that they actually hit something.  I'm not sure how they will react to something like that, time to find out! :D  Thanks for an awesome idea, and here was just thinking stats...

Edited by Flintlock Jazz

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Remember — the BBEG should never fight the PCs directly. Well, almost never.

They should always be directing NPCs and fighting through proxies. And escape before they get caught.

Plans within plans. Plan for the holoprojector to be disabled, and what consequence might happen when that occurs. Maybe the only known exit blows up and collapses?

Since the Queen has been controlling everything remotely, maybe she has another remote holoprojector she switches to when the primary one goes down? Maybe she was never really in the place to begin with and has been doing everything remotely?

Maybe she’s actually a computer program that uses meatspace entities as her proxies?

Doctor Doom always gets away. What gets captured or destroyed always ends up being a DoomBot. And General Grievous always escaped, up until that last time that he didn’t.

So, your BBEG should escape at least a few times, before they finally get captured. And then it turns out that they were just a pawn of an even bigger BBEG. ;)

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Oh the BBEG isn't there anyway, I've long come to the realisation that any character I put anywhere near the PCs should be ones I don't have a problem with them slotting straight away.  The Hutt enemy of the Klatooinian PC I have been keeping at least one planet away from him since my PCs realised they wanted to kill him and the Fallen Jedi I have living in their cargo hold I am quite happy for them to kill if they realise they really should be killing her (they haven't realised yet).

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There's a fallen Jedi living in the PCs' cargo hold? That sounds like a story that needs explaining... :D

 

 

And how on earth have they not realized that she's an enemy yet?

Well, to be fair she hasn't actually done anything to raise suspicion as such.  Not that they are aware of anyway.  They picked her up on a planet they found (or rather, she waltzed onto the ship after being all mysterious to the Gotal Antaran Ranger in the party) while they were tracking down reports of a hidden Jedi enclave that from what they can tell went crazy, and they suspect that she may be 'a bit Darkside', but she seems to be happy just living in the hold and teaching them a few Force things every now and again, even if her 'timing' for such training can be a bit bad sometimes.  What they don't realise is that she was indeed a Jedi Master, but she went crazy after messing around with Rakatan ruins too much, lured a bunch of fellow Jedi fleeing Order 66 to her hideaway, drove them crazy too, got turned on by her now-Darkside pupils, and left stranded and crippled on the planet the players found her on, and is now hiding on the ship to stay hidden from the Inquisition and her former pupils until she can trade in her old decrepit body, that is only alive through force of will and Force power, for that of a nice young thing, and then leg it.  Oh, and she also does have a sense of obligation to pay back the players for getting her off planet.  But mainly the body thing.

 

I admit I based a large part of her initial premise on Kreia from KotOR 2, with them both being Gray Jedis who had at points in their lives fallen to the Darkside, had been dismissed by the Jedi Order for various reasons and were dismissive of both Light and Dark, but while Kreia was a Mysterious Master kind of thing, this lady is more of a... how to put this... if Star Wars had the internet she would be a Net Troll.  She puts on the whole mysterious kung-fu master thing for the giggles.  She spent one session telling the Gotal repeatedly to 'open her third eye' while the Gotal was busy invading the Pirate Queen's base, supposedly to help her develop her Sense ability but really it just amused her to have the Gotal screaming "What are you on about?!" while shooting pirates, and she tried to guilt trip the Wookiee for killing one of the minions at the base.  

 

Considering what may happen in the next few sessions either the players will realise what she is or she'll be leaving in a nice new body, if they are lucky it will be an NPC's body and not a player one...

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They gave Ryale to her.  GAVE her.  Then ate popcorn while watching her Kylo Ren the poor woman to 'extract information about the Pirate Queen' while the fallen Jedi destroyed her mind, then went off to free some slaves after giving her permission to carry on "and see what else she could get".  Ryale is now the host to the fallen Jedi who broke out the ship and is probably now giving her new body a full test-drive by enjoying all the things she wished she had done in her youth but was restricted from due to being a Jedi before getting on with her plans.  I don't think the players quite understand what has happened either, they are like "Where did blondie get a lightsaber from?"

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I did try to drop hints that maybe they shouldn't be doing that.  I really did.  They even knew she was incredibly dodgy and was referring to her as "that Dark Jedi".  One thing I have learnt from all this is no matter how obvious you think something is it may not be, and even when it is obvious Players will be Players and do it anyway.  

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I am starting my party on Mask tomorrow night. Thanks for the thread and ideas. I have been contemplating some upgrades as well as my party has about 200 and change XP. The problem is the group is big- 7 players so I am either going to upgrade the difficulty or just double the amount of adversaries............or chuck one of those DEF 10, 40 Health Nunnos at them lol

Edited by Currahee Chris

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On 12/8/2016 at 7:29 AM, Flintlock Jazz said:

 

 

Well, to be fair she hasn't actually done anything to raise suspicion as such.  Not that they are aware of anyway.  They picked her up on a planet they found (or rather, she waltzed onto the ship after being all mysterious to the Gotal Antaran Ranger in the party) while they were tracking down reports of a hidden Jedi enclave that from what they can tell went crazy, and they suspect that she may be 'a bit Darkside', but she seems to be happy just living in the hold and teaching them a few Force things every now and again, even if her 'timing' for such training can be a bit bad sometimes.  What they don't realise is that she was indeed a Jedi Master, but she went crazy after messing around with Rakatan ruins too much, lured a bunch of fellow Jedi fleeing Order 66 to her hideaway, drove them crazy too, got turned on by her now-Darkside pupils, and left stranded and crippled on the planet the players found her on, and is now hiding on the ship to stay hidden from the Inquisition and her former pupils until she can trade in her old decrepit body, that is only alive through force of will and Force power, for that of a nice young thing, and then leg it.  Oh, and she also does have a sense of obligation to pay back the players for getting her off planet.  But mainly the body thing.

 

I admit I based a large part of her initial premise on Kreia from KotOR 2, with them both being Gray Jedis who had at points in their lives fallen to the Darkside, had been dismissed by the Jedi Order for various reasons and were dismissive of both Light and Dark, but while Kreia was a Mysterious Master kind of thing, this lady is more of a... how to put this... if Star Wars had the internet she would be a Net Troll.  She puts on the whole mysterious kung-fu master thing for the giggles.  She spent one session telling the Gotal repeatedly to 'open her third eye' while the Gotal was busy invading the Pirate Queen's base, supposedly to help her develop her Sense ability but really it just amused her to have the Gotal screaming "What are you on about?!" while shooting pirates, and she tried to guilt trip the Wookiee for killing one of the minions at the base.  

 

Considering what may happen in the next few sessions either the players will realise what she is or she'll be leaving in a nice new body, if they are lucky it will be an NPC's body and not a player one...

Oh my gosh I love this! Seriously made me laugh out loud and I'm sitting in my office supposed to be working!

So good!

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Tonight is the big night!! :)

 

I've decided to start the adventure off with the "Welcome Aboard" modular encounter out of the Hutt book (Nal Hutta). I am going to modify it to have the Pirates be part of the sorority. Once that little side junket is resolved, the adventure will continue as written. I believe I have 2 new players joining us tonight so I plan on having them be prisoners aboard the Fereallis ship. They will plead with the pcs to free them which will lead to their assimilation into the group.

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Alrightyyyyyy

 

Soooo, the force steered the party into an intriguing set of encounters Friday night. Unfortunately, we got started rather late so we didn't get as far along as I had hoped but nonetheless, it was a quality session.

Just so happened one player's obligation triggered (and that's fairly easy to happen with 6 players!) and it just so happened it was a betrayal obligation. I reread his back story and he is out looking for vengeance as someone wiped out his clan (hE is playing a gank or gand, I cannot recall). I used the "Welcome aboard" pirates as part of the group that had assaulted his clan. He picked up some chatter on the BH guild boards that someone was in orbit of Nar Shadaa fitting the description of the group that attacked his clan. He wanted to get up there and exact some revengence, but alas, the party did not have a ship. Fresh from their score after JOY, they were able to procure a ship but by then, it was too late and the pirates were gone. The starship dealer gave them 5 star accomodations and several hundred credits of chips to play at the local 5 star casino- the Colt 46 Club. ;)

There one of the party members decided it would be a great idea to try and pickpocket from the wealthy visitors there. He was caught and after a heated pursuit, was ultimately gunned down by a wall mounted heavy laser. The party tried to spring him from being a prisoner (as they found out he was in the grips of Keltho the Hutt (from JOY). He heard of the pirate ship in orbit and asked the party to go up there and come back with it and he'd return their friend. They did that and after one of the gunfights, they noticed several containers marked "Zann Consortium". tHEY also rescued another hostage who is part of the group now (the new player- the other guy didn't show up).

The player whose obligation triggered got his revenge. Later he saw the advertisement set by Venlanna and off they went. They were able to complete the sections with the Fence and the Slicer before we had to call it a night.

Good times!!

 

 

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On 1/19/2017 at 2:36 AM, Flintlock Jazz said:

I did try to drop hints that maybe they shouldn't be doing that.  I really did.  They even knew she was incredibly dodgy and was referring to her as "that Dark Jedi".  One thing I have learnt from all this is no matter how obvious you think something is it may not be, and even when it is obvious Players will be Players and do it anyway.  

As someone who tends to play more than GM... sometimes its obvious but I want to see what happens anyways. And sometimes its obvious but my character wants it to happen anyways. 

Of course, the body swap was probably entirely unexpected. What happened to the old lady body?

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Add 'Welcome Aboard' as an intro?  Brilliant.  I might just do that, because I'm trying to "waste" my players' "time."  They are finishing up the last encounter of "Beyond the Rim" next session and they want to jump headfirst into "the next big story" instead of chasing mindless pursuits.  So.... got my work cut out for me.  Beyond the Rim was great as a "run as written" thing, especially since it fit in with their backgrounds and motivations so well.  (Like SCARY well.)  Pirate Queen strikes me as a much more skeletal adventure, so I'm going to modify it a bit for them.  The players politely asked for more "scum" in the game, which I am more than happy to provide.  So here's what I've got so far:

-Right now, the story more or less starts with the PCs stopping at Saleucami so one of them can complete a job for Arend Shen. (from Jewel of Yavin, although they don't know that yet)  I'm making Shen a little sleazier- he's still a financier, but he's also an unscrupulous art collector with a love of Jedi artefacts.  On his off time, he pretends to be a Jedi and hires 'lesser' scoundrels to collect things for him.  Should be a good laugh when the showdown comes at the end of J.o.Y. and he whips out that lightsabre he's been carrying, because it's soon apparent that he has NO idea how to use it.

-The flakiest player is a bounty hunter, so hopefully he friggin' shows up.  Then he'll hear about the bounty when he checks the bounty boards.

-No Zann Consortium.  They're too organised for what I've got planned.  (But Venlana and Porel are staying.  That whole thing is PURE GOLD.)  I'm thinking something about as powerful as the Veiled Sorority, like a lesser Hutt syndicate.  Whomever the PCs choose to ally themselves with is the one organisation that makes it out of this okay.  The other one sinks low, but may try for revenge later.  They already have enough powerful enemies for now. ("Yiyar Clan" as a full-fledged Mafia Family, Imperial Security Bureau)  In the end space battle, the forces fighting the pirates are a [good] mercenary outfit, because this has gotten so bad for the <Not Zann Consortium> that they've exhausted a large portion of their remaining assets to put a stop to this.

-One of the PCs is a "Useless Nobleman" from some Shakespeare kingdom on (by my urging) Saleucami.  He ran away from his responsibilities and an arranged marriage.  The Twist: In the initial "accidental" encounter with his fiance, she calls him by a pet name.  At the end of Episode II, the Pirate Queen calls him by the same pet name.  You know where this is going.  Turns out Miss Fiance isn't so boring after all, and she's been trying to lure him out and show him she loves danger and insanity just as much as he does.  Might have a further hook wherein the PC's family has a little business partnership with <Not Zann Consortium> and attacking them is part of her plan to get his attention, which is an easy hook if that dork bounty hunter decides not to show up.   >:[

-Other bounty hunters are involved the whole way through.  Going to plug as many parts of Tatooine Manhunt as I can into this.  Jodo Kast is to be replaced by the "Dumb Muscle" of the "Yiyar Clan," Blokko Frook. (Who will also leave a trail of bodies through this story.)  One of the others will be replaced by Hondo Ohnaka, (whom they've already met) who is using all this as a pretense to JOIN the Veiled Sorority and hopefully take control of it somehow.  I'll probably re-tool the Graf Lind encounters to be about him.  He has a way of inserting himself into just about any situation.  Additional bounty hunters fighting the defenders and each other to be the first to the bridge in Episode III should be a fun addition.

-It would be nice if there was a way to involve Lando Calrissian somehow, to make for extra hilarity in Jewel of Yavin.  Not sure how this will happen yet.

 

Crap, sorry that was so long.  Feel free to post your thoughts, even if you choose to completely berate me, because that's helpful too.  Cheers.

Edited by Superunknown

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On 09/02/2017 at 2:26 AM, Genuine said:

As someone who tends to play more than GM... sometimes its obvious but I want to see what happens anyways. And sometimes its obvious but my character wants it to happen anyways. 

Of course, the body swap was probably entirely unexpected. What happened to the old lady body?

Yep, I wouldn't put it past the players to do just that.

I had the body stuffed in the locker of one of the player's on the ship.  They autopsied it and found that its been in a really bad shape for a while (she was only alive due to constant Force use).  I realised from further reading however that Essence Transfer (which is a Force power in the EU that allows for body transfer) results in the original body disappearing into dust, so I may have to say that the constant Force use has slowed her dustification and that she has started to crumble next session.

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On 12/5/2016 at 9:07 AM, Flintlock Jazz said:

Either Force Rating 2 or 3 and lots of Move to pee them off, with her potentially being an ex-Nightsister or something, but not sure if it would fit or if it might be too much.

There was a Darth Maul comic back in the day where he was sent to take down a criminal syndicate (Black Sun?  It's been a while).  The second-to-last enemy he faced (and the only one to recognize Maul as a Sith) was a Nightsister employed as the bosses second in command.  So, not only does it fit, it fits beautifully.  Especially for an organization that's run by women!

Regarding the rest, this sort of thing is difficult to eyeball, but it looks good.

 

Edit: just saw that you already ran it.  Welp.   Sorry.

On the other hand, that's...kind of hilarious.  They accidentally befriended a Dark Jedi Master through the power of sheer ignorance.  

Edited by Benjan Meruna

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On 13/02/2017 at 4:08 PM, Benjan Meruna said:

There was a Darth Maul comic back in the day where he was sent to take down a criminal syndicate (Black Sun?  It's been a while).  The second-to-last enemy he faced (and the only one to recognize Maul as a Sith) was a Nightsister employed as the bosses second in command.  So, not only does it fit, it fits beautifully.  Especially for an organization that's run by women!

Regarding the rest, this sort of thing is difficult to eyeball, but it looks good.

 

Edit: just saw that you already ran it.  Welp.   Sorry.

On the other hand, that's...kind of hilarious.  They accidentally befriended a Dark Jedi Master through the power of sheer ignorance.  

Yep, ran it already, sorry!  But its good to know that using a Force-User like that fits with what others have done, and I did run her as a ex-Nightsister (for the brief period she was concious and able to do stuff). 

Yeah, funnily enough she may actually like them.  I had managed to link her into the Klatooinian PC's plot beforehand so she may turn up again, though at the moment she's newly re-younged, desires to do all the things she never did the first time she was young due to being a straight-laced Jedi Padawan, and has access to Jedi Mind Tricks (TM).  What could possibly go wrong?

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Well, we gather tonight at 1800 EST to adventure. Going to finish up with the EXILE then toss them into Blackwind Crater- Im going to toss one of those Ridiculously tough Nunno's their way. They should get into the hideout tonight so it looks like a guns blazin sort of night. My wife said Meatball hoagies are on tap so it's a win all around.

Sitrep on Tuesday!! Everyone enjoy their weekend!!! :):)

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Ok. So, it was a very very good session I am happy to report. We had to start a little later than usual so I rolled Obligation while here at work and that gave me sometime to chew on how I wanted to implement it. Frankly, it was a brilliant move because the thing I have always hated is the "on the spot" improvisation the game forces GM's to do whenever Obligation is triggered at the onset of a session. This gave me more time to work it in a little more seamlessly and it worked brilliantly. Turned out the party discovered a bounty was out on the new guy they brought in the session before. A competitive bounty hunter group dropped by after the party finished the "Exile" section and it led to some interesting RP. Ultimately the party decided to not turn the new guy over and this gives me a chance to drop these competing BH's in on future sessions. From now on I am just going to roll for Obligation a week or two before the next session. That will allow even more time to integrate the angle and stay a little more true to the spirit of the game.

I dropped a Nunno on the party and they made pretty good work of it. I asked the group to make a Knowledge Xeno (or Educ) to see if they could identify it. One did and I read it as an "Omniverous" creature- my eldest son thought I said "Carnivorous" so he blasted it and it retaliated.

Once that scene came to an end, the group walked into the Clone ambush in Blackwind Crater. I was really surprised here as the clones were a very very difficult challenge. I have 7 players in the group so I tacked on 3 extra clones (rivals) and frankly, the party would have probably been slain. I pulled two of them out after 2 rounds because they were just too overpowering. If anyone is GMing this encounter and they have 4 players, I'd take a very close look at what you are putting your players up against.

Next month I am holding my "Con" so we will be playing a Force and Destiny game. Guess my son is going to run a group of Old Republic Sith! :):) This should be pretty epic!! We wont get back to MOPQ till April. Hope to get through the barracks then.

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11 hours ago, Currahee Chris said:

I dropped a Nunno on the party and they made pretty good work of it. I asked the group to make a Knowledge Xeno (or Educ) to see if they could identify it. One did and I read it as an "Omniverous" creature- my eldest son thought I said "Carnivorous" so he blasted it and it retaliated.

You dropped a Philippine Dwarf on them?  Huh?

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Just to update those who may be interested, the players figured out that the old lady had bodysnatched Ryale Wei, and went looking for her.  I was surprised to see my players, who had pretty much handled most things thrown at them and are pretty high xp characters, pretty much soil their pants when they realised Inquisitors were also around, to the extent that the slightest sniff of them being near sent them running.  Maybe it was because their one encounter with a Force User previously involved Ryale Force pulling the Klatooinian's gun from his hands, as they seem convinced they 'lack the means to deal with Force-Users'.  One point they jump into a lift going down as the Inquisitors were coming up the other lift coming up and literally squeeled as I describe them seeing the red lightsaber's light appear as their doors close (they had locked the other lift's door and the Inquisitor had to cut through).  Funnily enough, the Inquisitors literally just wanted to talk, that was all!  Though there was a moment when the Gotal almost used a Force power only to realise that this was a bad idea with Inquisitors walking around literally seconds from rolling the dice...

On 22/02/2017 at 3:08 AM, bradknowles said:

You dropped a Philippine Dwarf on them?  Huh?

Ah, those Philippine Dwarves!  Always a threat to any party!

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