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Nathan Litton

Exploration story arc Ideas/Feedback

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I am looking for ideas for the next story arc of my campaign - Exploration

The players have stolen previously destroyed exploration data to an unexplored region of space. The players have a sheet with 9 different systems that were previously found with most hyperdrive data lost.

Ultimately, they will locate the explorer who decided to hide in the region rather then return to a galaxy in the midst of a civil war and troopers sent to kill Force users like him.

Inevitably the Empire has found out about the new area to explore and is putting together a team.

What ships and how large of a force would the Empire put together to explore this new area?

How should the players handle locating new hyperdrive routes between the systems?

What kind of obstacles should the players encounter in the systems and planets?

Any other ideas or things to try out? Any other adventures (including WEG, WOTC, 3rd party) that have tried something similar?

I know Into the Unknown has a small exploration side but most takes place in settled space.

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For the Imps, I'd think a small capitol ship, a support ship, and a flight of TIEs. Say, a Raider-class corvette and a Gozanti-class transport/assault carrier with four TIEs. Or two TIE/ln and two TIE/sk (the Striker version from Rogue One for atmospheric excursions). The Imp ground troops would consist of 30 Storm Troopers (with a squad each of Sand, Snow, Scout, Coastal, and Space Troopers), 6 speeder bikes, 1 or 2 AT-ST. If the Imps know or suspect that there is a Force user involved they may be accompanied by/under the command of an Inquisitor (with her own TIE Advanced launching from the Raider).

This size force will let you challenge your players in a number of ways, from minor engagements up to overwhelming encounters from which they will have to flee.

For charting new hyperspace routes to/between the nine systems, I'd involve multiple characters by calling for different skill checks. Computers to operate the sensors and collect astronomical observations, Knowledge (Education) to analyze the data, and finally Astrogation to calculate the route. Each check would give positive upgrades for success and difficulty upgrades for failure to the next check, and Boosts and Setbacks for Advantages and Threats, respectively.

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Part 2 of Beyond the Rim has some overtones similar to what you seem to be going for, including the Imperial interference.  It's a good adventure, easily customizable.

I believe the DarkStryder campaign for WEG also explored into the Unknown Regions, but I haven't run it.  You can get all the WEG stuff at d6holocron dot com...

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The Gladiator Star Destroyer is the perfect 'command ship' for a detachment of Imperials sent on a mission like this. Have it escorted by a pair of Raider corvettes and then give them a handful of small scout ships (or they could use Lambda shuttles if you prefer).

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I think part of the Empire's decision will ride on what they are exploring this section of space for.  What is motivating them to send resources?  Are they just looking for new sources of valuable minerals?  Are they hunting down a suspected Rebel Base?  Are they aware of the possibility of a rogue Jedi hiding out?

If the Empire is just sending a routine survey team, than a VT-49 Decorator may be all that is needed, or a Gozanti for a longer survey mission.

If the Empires suspects trouble, then the aforementioned suggestions are all great.

From a practical point of view, the issue with traveling through hyperspace is identifying physical objects in n-space and determining their mass, location, & vector.  The good news is that space is pretty empty.

In a typical solar system 99% of the matter in in the primary.  And the rest of that stuff is within an orbital trajectory of the Primary.  There are rogue planetoids wandering between solar systems in space, but that comprises of less than .1% of all matter.

From a practical approach, getting to a new system will be a series small hyperspace jumps of maybe 1-5 light years and then taking a break to use the sensors to see if they can locate any rogue planetoids.

If you're feeling particularly cavalier, your intrepid crew could just log a flight to the system's primary and stop short of the Ort cloud.  A couple of days of careful scanning could map out most of the major navigational hazards this side of the primary and then with a couple of strategic short trips, your survey crew could map out the major planetoids (Planets, moons, asteroids, meteors, etc).  In short the first step would be to count Rocks and Snowballs.  (fun)?

But there might be objects which the sensors or operators miss so stumbling over an undocumented navigational hazard is always a possibility.

After that, the next step would be to check out the bigger rocks and see if there's anything worthwhile and easily accessible.  For instance, Jupiter is believed have a core of pure nickel which is about the size of our moon.  HIGHLY valuable, but completely inaccessible.

The biggest hazard that the crew will fight is boredom.  And that's why (so far) I avoid these types of missions.  But you're looking to turn this into an opposed race of sorts, and that may be sufficient tension to keep things interesting.

 

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16 hours ago, Mark Caliber said:

The biggest hazard that the crew will fight is boredom.  And that's why (so far) I avoid these types of missions.  But you're looking to turn this into an opposed race of sorts, and that may be sufficient tension to keep things interesting.

Boredom can be a huge issue with this type of scenario, and the opposed race has to have multiple scenes with variety or it risks simply becoming boredom with dice rolls (now twice as dull!).

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WEG's Galaxy Guide 8 goes into painful detail on scouts.

To plot a new hyper route the usual method is a very long series of microjumps until you get a full safe route. You could have the players roll Astrogation check after check.... but who wants to do that? This is exactly the kind of thing you use and opening crawl to skip entirely and just start the players at the new planet.

 

Seriously though: Big thing is you need to work the narrative. Why are they going there? What will they find? Where will that send them? Why should they do it all? Answering things like this and coming up with an event chain or three will then automatically answer questions like what kind of forces the Empire would send.

In a whole cluster of planets, you've got a lot of options. Perhaps there's a lost colony, or a secret Imperial Base. Maybe there's some kind of extinct civilization, and your players find the whatever that drove them to extinction. Perhaps one planet is a secret Alliance safeworld, a planet where the friends and families of important Rebels were relocated to to ensure their safety.

 

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9 systems = at least 6 new species, some new beasties to capture and sell off to Jabba a zoo, a lost (insert species) colony and a long lost force tradition, maybe one that just uses the force to heal - nothing too flashy. Having a force using species will justify sending in an Inquisitor ;)

When Beta first came out I sketched out a lost cryo-sleeper explorer ship adevnture - seek,download data, salvage anything, wake up anyone still alseep using the .............. ship that could have pods addded to the central core/corridor between the bridge and the engine section. Anyone remember the name I'm AFB.

Edited by ExpandingUniverse

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If you're plotting a route with a bunch of mini-jumps then a single Astrogation check is sufficient. It's one collective task, and the check result tells you how good the route actually is and/or whether there are any interesting discoveries/unwanted excitement along the way.

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If I was the Empire, I would have a carrier-capable ship (Star Destroyer if I could get one, maybe a Nebulon B otherwise) with 4-6 Explorer-type scout ships.  The Neb would serve as a mobile base of operations and resupply point, moving through each system once the Explorers report finding safe routes.

If I'm worried about first contact conditions, I would have the scout carrier act as a quarantine ship and have it shadowed by a bigger ship whose job was to blow it up if it get infected with something that couldn't be controlled.  (Shout-out to Mote in God's Eye for that one).  The mission of the bigger ship is to report back by any means necessary.

Player obstacles include:

  • Keeping clear of the Imperials
  • Extreme/adverse environments
  • First contact (could be sapients, could be xenomorph-type threats)
  • Ancient ruins
  • Mechanical failures
  • A wild-space region where the rules don't apply properly

Imagine force-wielding xenomorphs.  That would be a huge challenge.  Imagine a threat so bad the Rebels and Imperials had to team up to survive it.  Would your players be able to do it?  Even if it meant Imperial slash-and-burn/total devastation tactics? 

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A Quasar Fire Carrier might make a good exploration ship.

Image result for quasar fire escort carrier

Carries a variety of TIEs for defense and scouting, plus shuttles.  150 passengers could be a couple companies of Stormtroopers, plus other exploration types.  Maybe a couple C-ROC as escorts/resupply ships.

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12 minutes ago, Edgookin said:

Maybe a couple C-ROC as escorts/resupply ships.

A C-ROC can't resupply anything. The one shortcoming of that ship is found in its very short legs (low Consumables). Far better to use a CR90 for such needs despite the (ludicrous) price difference.

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