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LazerSwordsman

[Mini-Adventure] The Blade of the Heart

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My players started out sans lightsabers at the beginning of the current campaign, but after the first arc I realized that they would absolutely need to have their signature weapons if they were going to survive the next leg of their journey. I didn't want to just have them make a few rolls and see what they built, though; I wanted to make an adventure out of it. So I cooked up the following scenario and inserted it between episodes 1 and 2 as a sort of side-quest. My players really liked it, and I thought I'd put it here for other GMs to use and critique.

The following adventure contains mild spoilers for The Chronicles of the Gatekeeper, but with a few modifications it could be inserted into any low-level campaign. Please review and critique honestly - I want to become a better writer and GM!

 

 

Star Wars: Force & Destiny

THE CHRONICLES OF THE GATEKEEPER

 

Episode 1.5: "The Blade of the Heart"

by Super_Dave (a.k.a. LazerSwordsman)

In this mini-adventure, the PCs seek to construct lightsabers using the recently unlocked knowledge of the holocron of Suljo Warde, which directs them to the icy planet Ilum, one of the few known caches of lightsaber-grade kyber crystals. Unfortunately, closer observation of the planet reveals that the fabled Jedi Temple of Ilum is under heavy Imperial garrison and sealed away behind a thick wall of plasteel. The guards are changed too regularly for the PCs to sneak into the Crystal Cave, but their scanners pick up a faint-but-distinct distress call from an old Jedi transporter, the Crucible Mk. II. Inside the Crucible are parts to construct lightsabers, and an ancient architect droid named Professor Huyang, but no kyber crystals. Fortunately, Huyang knows about a secret entrance to a little-used arm of the Crystal Caves (in fact, this entrance was opened up by the impact of the Crucible Mk. II). He takes them into the caves to acquire kyber crystals, and teaches the PCs them how to activate them, and even helps them to construct their first lightsabers, but upon their return to the ship they are assaulted by the same bounty-hunters who murdered the crew of the Silver Star at the beginning of the chronicle. Huyang offers to buy them time while they flee and hotwire the bounty hunters’ unguarded ship. The PCs have to decide for themselves whether to save their own skins, or to stay and test their new lightsabers against their old foes. Huyang is likely killed during the fight, but he faces his destiny stoically: as the last inheritors of the legacy of the Jedi Order, it is more important that the PCs survive than he.

Shipboard Pastimes

The PCs are aboard the Sathari freighter Tarvix, having recently left Arbooine. Despite having unlocked their holocron’s knowledge of the construction of lightsabers with the recovery of the first kyber crystal, the PCs attempts to construct their own lightsabers are not going well. Read or paraphrase the following aloud:

After helping to overthrow the tyrant Gel Marcolf on Arbooine, you made a hasty exit and purchased passage off-world aboard the Tarvix. This freighter, with its hold well-stocked with lumber and Sathari woodcarvings, makes its plodding way between the Arboo and Lylat systems, as it has done for decades without the slightest alteration in its course.

At first you believed that the freighter’s slow pace would give you plenty of time to construct your lightsabers and hone your abilities with the Force, but the environment has proved stifling. The Sathari crew and captain have no conception of “personal space” or “privacy” (or even “clothing”), so you have only had a handful of hours alone in which to improve your skills with the Force. In addition, none of the components available on the ship are suitable for lightsaber construction: a discovery which you only made after many frustrating failed attempts.

You are sitting in what are nominally “your” quarters, wondering what your next move should be, when the holocron hums to life and the image of the Gatekeeper appears before you. “Good day, students. I have good news: this vessel is approaching the planet Ilum, one of the greatest sources of lightsaber-grade kyber crystals ever discovered. We seem unlikely to get another opportunity like this one to procure lightsaber crystals from such an excellent source. I suggest we make the most of it.”

Presumably the PCs will want to disembark and check out Ilum, but if they need more convincing, remind them that the more times they change ships between here and their destination, the harder it will be to track their movements (in case the Empire has any questions about the two off-worlders who helped topple the reeve of Quolas). The Gatekeeper may also remind them that the planet is probably only lightly garrisoned, and besides, no army of any size could possibly guard every vein and fissure on a planet as large as Ilum. The entire planet is honeycombed with passageways, many of which contain rich deposits of kyber crystals.

The PCs can ask the captain to set them down on Ilum, but the captain refuses: there’s nothing on that ice-ball but an Imperial garrison, and he refuses to deal with Imperials if he can help it. In any case, he cannot allow any delays in delivering his cargo to its destination. Changing his mind will require a Hard (◆◆◆) Negotiation check. The PCs may receive boost dice for creative negotiating tactics.

Captain Kerlos Mastigar is a middle-aged male Sathari spacer and captain of the freighter Tarvix who travels the hyperspace lanes with his close-knit adoptive “family” of crew members. He has dark blue feathers and walks with a slight limp. If asked (or if the PCs use Warde’s Foresight on him), they learn quickly that he hates the Empire and all it stands for; it’s their fault he walks with a limp, their fault he had to leave Arbooine and construct a new spacing family for himself. If the PCs suggest that they are working with the Rebellion, he eagerly complies, offering to not only set them down safely on Ilum but to loan them an A-A3 Dray Light Speeder Truck (Force and Destiny, pg. 255), which he expects them to return to him “without a scratch!” He’ll come and get them on the return leg of this journey, then take them the rest of the way to Cato Neimoidia at no extra charge. If all else fails, the PCs can just jettison an escape pod when they pass by Ilum and crash-land on its surface (which inflicts at least three points of Strain apiece, and possibly some Wounds if they roll very poorly). If the PCs ask the Gatekeeper how they’ll get back into space and continue their journey once they’ve gotten their kyber crystals, read or paraphrase the following aloud:

The gatekeeper simply smiles at this. “Trust in the Force. These things have a way of working themselves out.”

Arrival on Ilum

As the PCs approach Ilum, read or paraphrase the following aloud:

Ilum is a rocky ball of ice and stone orbiting a small, weak sun which fails to bring any warmth to its snow-covered exterior. As your craft approaches the planet, the gatekeeper speaks up.

“I remember well the first time I came to Ilum to select the crystal for my own lightsaber,” the holocron says, with a wistful expression on his flickering holographic face. “The expedition was quite difficult, especially for a youngling like me, but with perseverance and the help of my fellow padawans, we all came out alright. I still remember the way that blue-white crystal sang when I approached it, almost as if it had selected me especially to be its... wielder? Partner? No, to be its student.”

If the PCs ask, the holocron will tell them in detail about the Jedi Temple, and the Crystal Cave below it.

“The Crystal Cave is—forgive me, was — a sacred place where Jedi younglings would go find their lightsaber crystals, in the ritual known as 'The Gathering’. I remember climbing the slippery, precarious slopes of the waterfall to reach the cliffside entrance which generations of padawans had climbed before me… and the cave itself, ah! The Cave is located directly below the Jedi Temple, and it is one of the most beautiful sights in all the galaxy. The shimmering colors, the gentle thrum of the Force… no description can truly do it justice, it must be experienced in order to be understood.”

The entire surface of Ilum is difficult terrain (F&D pg. 279) which means that characters entering or moving through it must perform twice as many maneuvers to move the same distance they would in normal terrain. This inconvenience is somewhat offset by the fact that burrowing into the snow grants a boost die on all Stealth checks to avoid being spotted, and that the nearly-constant snowstorms provide basic concealment, meaning that all Ranged (Light), Ranged (Heavy), Gunnery, and Perception checks add one black Setback die, and add an equal number of blue Boost dice to all Stealth checks.

Once they arrive on the planet’s surface, the PCs only have a few hours to find shelter before they succumb to frostbite and unconsciousness (make Average (◆◆) Resilience checks for every hour of exposure or suffer Strain equal to threat generated). Unfortunately, the main entrance [soundtrack: The Imperial March] to the Jedi Temple of Ilum (and hence, to the Crystal Caves) is blocked by a thick bubble of plasteel and swarming with guards, who (after a successful Easy () Investigation check) appear to be supervising the removal of large quantities of kyber crystals. Though the PCs likely have no way of knowing this, the crystals are being used for the weapons systems of the first Death Star, which is very nearly operational. Sneaking past the guards is clearly suicidal, and the Gatekeeper cautions strongly against it (if the PCs ask, it’s an Impossible (◆◆◆◆◆+1 Destiny Point) Stealth check).

As they leave the mineshaft site to seek shelter, the holocron reactivates. Read or paraphrase the following aloud:

"Hold on a moment, I sense something… It’s very faint… Almost gone, but… wait a moment… yes, it’s a distress signal… from a Jedi vessel! How that can be is anyone’s guess, but it’s broadcasting on an encrypted frequency, and it’s so weak that I’m not surprised the Imperials haven’t noticed it yet. The transmitter must be on its last legs. Might have been broadcasting for decades at this rate. In any case, our duty is clear: if there is even the possibility that one or more Jedi have survived the Purge, we must do our best to rescue them and offer aid."

If asked, the holocron admits that survivors are unlikely, but Jedi have been known to enter hibernation when stranded on inhospitable worlds, sometimes for decades at a time, until they can be rescued. In any case, a Jedi vessel would contain supplies, crucial information, lightsaber components, perhaps even an entire lightsaber or two.  At the very least, it would be better than sleeping out in the open and waiting to be found by patrolling Snowtroopers.

The Crucible

After the PCs have trekked a bit, read or paraphrase the following aloud:

Several kilometers away from the minehead lies the mangled wreckage of a Paladin-class Jedi corvette. It looks like it dates back to the Clone Wars, maybe even the Old Republic. The ship lies trapped at the bottom of a deep canyon, where it appears to have crashed after taking heavy fire. Despite the snow and the years, it’s still possible to see the path of destruction it carved along the canyon wall as it fell at an acute angle: partway up the wall of carbon-scored stone, you can see a small opening in the canyon wall, from which emanates a very faint glittering light.

The PCs can choose which order they want to investigate, though the ship is much easier to reach than the cave entrance, which requires a Hard (◆◆◆) Coordination or Athletics check to reach (later, Professor Huyang’s familiarity with the terrain can grant 2 boost dice on this roll).

As they approach the Crucible Mk. II, read or paraphrase the following aloud:

As you draw closer to the wreckage, you see evidence that at least one occupant survived the crash, as just outside the ship lie a half-dozen small stone cairns arranged in two neat rows. You are also close enough to read the ship’s name: the legend “Crucible Mk. II” is emblazoned on the prow of the ship in red lettering.

The Gatekeeper gasps. “I know this ship! For over a thousand generations, this very ship brought all Jedi younglings to Ilum to harvest their crystals and construct their lightsabers. Or rather, the first Crucible did: this appears to be that ship's successor. Maybe the old one was decommissioned or destroyed? In any case, it appears to serve the same function as the first.”

The Gatekeeper’s face grows dark. “I think I understand why those burial-cairns are so small.”

Once inside, the PCs find that the floor of the ship is uneven, and contains numerous holes, corrugations, and gaps, making it difficult terrain. Though it contains no consumables, there are a few medpacks left in storage, and (once the PCs have all constructed lightsabers) enough spare lightsaber parts to repair each PC’s lightsaber once or to construct one entirely new lightsaber (sans kyber crystal, of course). Once the PCs are inside, read or paraphrase the following aloud:

The Crucible is as badly damaged within as without. The blast doors stand open to the frigid air outside, and small drifts of snow fill every corner and crevice. As you explore deeper and deeper into the ship, you come to the realization that this would have been some kind of transport ship, as it contains several sets of living quarters. You make your way to the bridge, where you see a humanoid figure sitting in the pilot’s chair, slumped over the controls. Its body is completely covered with snow, so you can’t guess at the species or gender.

If the PCs brush off the snow, they realize that the figure in the chair is actually a droid; specifically, a Mark IV architect droid. Once they brush off the snow, the Gatekeeper recognizes who this is: he tells them the droid's name and function, and suggests that they find some way to reboot him, as his knowledge of lightsaber construction would be invaluable.

Investigating the ship’s systems or records, with an Easy () Computers check, reveals that there is still a small amount of power remaining in the ship’s reserves; apparently the ship was shut down before power ran out completely. It might be possible to get life-support back online, if they can close the blast doors to keep the heat from running out (with a Hard (◆◆◆) Brawn check [using the Aid maneuver to grant a Boost die on the check would be acceptable], expenditure of a Light Side Destiny Point, or using the Force Power Move). The Crucible has two sets of blast doors, one port and one starboard.

With a successful Average (◆◆) Mechanics or Computers check (or the expenditure of a Destiny Point) the PCs can give the droid a jumpstart by patching it into the ship’s life-support systems. It awakens after a few moments, as if coming out of a deep slumber. When it does, read or paraphrase the following aloud [soundtrack: Yoda and the Younglings]:

Once connected to the power supply, the droid’s systems begin to whir to life. After a few moments its eyes begin to glow with a soft yellow light. With a screech of rusted metal, it looks around itself, and seems surprised to see you standing around it. “Hello”, it says, looking a bit startled. “My name is Professor Huyang, and I am the caretaker of this vessel. Who might you be?”

Professor Huyang [Rival]

This ancient architect droid is over a thousand years old. He is stooped with age but still spry of mind.

Statistics

Brawn 1, Agility 1, Intellect 4, Cunning 3, Willpower 2, Presence 2

Soak 3, Wounds 10, Melee Defense 0, Ranged Defense 0

Skills: Astrogation 1, Brawl 2, Knowledge (Education) 3, Lightsaber 1, Mechanics 3, Perception 1.

Talents: None.

Abilities: Droid, Master Machinist (Professor Huyang allows allies to add one boost die to any Mechanics checks or other checks made to construct or repair machinery).

Equipment: 3 emergency patches (up to 5/day, heal 3 Wounds apiece), Brass knuckles (Brawl, Damage 2, Critical 2, Range [Engaged], Disorient 1, Knockdown)

In combat, Prof. Huyang is accompanied by a minion-group of Marksman H combat remotes. The exact number of remotes is left to the GM’s discretion.

Marksman H combat remotes

This is a small, spherical, automated droid which hovers and fires small stun shots.

Price 350 credits, Encumbrance 1, Rarity 5

Statistics

Brawn 1, Agility 3, Intellect 1, Cunning 1, Willpower 1, Presence 1

Soak 1, Wounds 3, Melee Def 1, Ranged Def 1

Skills (Group Only): Perception, Ranged (Light).

Talents: None.

Abilities: Droid, Hoverer, Silhouette 0.

Equipment: Micro Stun Blaster (Ranged [Light]], Damage 1, Critical N/A, Range [Short], Stun)

Professor Huyang is extremely knowledgeable about the Force and the Jedi Order, though his desire to be helpful and pass on the wisdom of the Jedi is tinged with regret over his own failure to avoid the Separatist ambush or save the lives of the younglings aboard. He doesn’t know about Order 66 or the Jedi Purge, but he does suspect something of the sort, or else the younglings on the Crucible would have been rescued. He answers their questions about the Jedi and the Force readily, but it knows nothing about Suljo Warde’s fall from grace or his travels. In fact, the professor hasn’t seen Warde since he came aboard the first Crucible to construct his own lightsaber.

If the players ask, Huyang will tell them what he remembers of Suljo Warde as a Youngling. He recalls that Warde came from a privileged background on Chandrila, but he was young enough that he adapted well to the enforced poverty of the Jedi. He also tells them that Warde’s first lightsaber was studded with precious gems; if they ask the Gatekeeper about this, or if he overhears, he may chime in that gems were a gift from his mother, who wanted her son to always carry a piece of Chandrila with him, and to ensure that others knew to treat him with the respect due to the scion of House Warde. Try to avoid having Huyang and the Gatekeeper talk to each other directly, as it’s generally very boring for players to sit back and listen to the GM talk to himself/herself.

If the players ask Professor Huyang what happened to the Crucible and how it crashed on Ilum, read or paraphrase the following aloud:

The professor grows silent at your question, and remains so for a long time before answering. “They held the Gathering, and I was instructed to take the younglings to Ilum, as I had done over a thousand times before. It was supposed to be routine.

“I don’t know what the Separatists were doing on Ilum, but we – I – didn’t see them coming. We had barely entered the atmosphere when they fired on us. I managed to take them out with the ship’s weapons, but we were too damaged to keep flying. We crashed into the surface. Half of the younglings were killed on impact. The other half mourned our losses and waited for rescue.

“But the Jedi were too busy with the war to send another ship to look for us right away. And then one day the Jedi just ceased all communication. As if they had been erased.

“One by one my students wasted away, and I could do nothing to help them. I laid them to rest outside the ship, each with a lightsaber of their own. It was the least I could do for them. They came to me for instruction in crafting their own lightsabers, and instead they found a broken-down old droid who couldn’t even save them from a known enemy, an enemy he should have seen coming.”

One by one he watched the children under his care die of hunger and exposure, unable to save them and unable to join them in death (as he feels he deserves). He completed lightsabers for each of them and laid them to rest under small cairns just outside the ship. If the PCs suggest removing the younglings’ lightsabers from their graves, Professor Huyang becomes furious, and refuses to help them further. If they physically attempt to remove the lightsabers, Professor Huyang will attack them with his martial arts skills, and the assistance of a minion group of three or four Marksman H combat remotes. The PCs also gain 6 Conflict each for desecrating the graves of children for personal gain.

The Crystal Cave

Professor Huyang can be persuaded to come with the PCs on their quest, but that requires a Daunting (◆◆◆◆) Negotiation check. He says he is  a relic of a lost and outlawed past, too old, too broken to accompany them. He would only bring them unwanted and dangerous attention, even if he were able to provide them with any useful assistance, which he can’t. It is much easier to ask him to assist them in their quest to construct lightsabers of their own. If the PCs ask him to help them construct their lightsabers, read or paraphrase the following aloud:

When you mention lightsaber construction, the Professor’s eyes seem to glow a little more brightly. “I may not be a warrior or a Jedi, but I still know how to build a fine lightsaber. I have a record of every Jedi lightsaber ever constructed, you know.” [he taps the side of his head] “If you are truly the last inheritors of the legacy of the Jedi, then it is my duty to teach you how to construct the ultimate weapon and tool of the Jedi: the lightsaber.

First, the Professor asks the PCs to meditate briefly, to clear and focus their minds before they set out (an Easy () Discipline check). Huyang says that they will need to journey into the Crystal Cave in order to obtain some. Fortunately, the Crucible’s impact opened up a new entrance to the cave, one which is not guarded by Imperials. Reaching the entrance (which is well above the floor of the canyon) requires a Hard (◆◆◆) Coordination or Athletics check, though Huyang’s thorough analysis of the terrain provides two boost dice to this check.

Once inside the cave [soundtrack: The Meadow Picnic], the PCs will need to obtain kyber crystals of their own. There are several ways to do this:

  • Make a Hard (◆◆◆) Athletics check to pluck a likely-looking crystal from a high stalactite.

  • Master their fear with an Average (◆◆) Discipline check to remove a crystal from a glowing, skull-like rock formation which seems poised to bite their hand off.

  • In a room filled with (mostly false) crystals from floor to ceiling, make an Average (◆◆) Cool check to allow the Force to guide their hand to an appropriate, functional crystal.

  • Use an Average (◆◆) Mechanics check to overload a small-but-crucial piece of technology, causing it to explode and free a crystal trapped within a wall of ice.

  • Make their way across a frozen pool to reach a particularly enticing crystal, using an Average (◆◆) Coordination check.

The GM is encouraged to design several challenges for each PC which utilize their strongest Skills and play into their Motivations, emotional strengths, and emotional weaknesses.

In between each of these checks, the PCs must also make Easy () Resilience checks to avoid taking strain from the cold (the cave is slightly warmer than the surface, but the PCs are likely going to be in there for a long time, and it’s still a harsh environment).

Awakenings and Construction

Once all the PCs have their crystals, Professor Huyang will take them back to the ship (which is much warmer now that the life-support systems are back online) and teach them how to activate, or “awaken”, their crystals. All PCs must make Hard (◆◆◆) Discipline checks, which will allow them to reach out with the Force and make contact with their crystals.

Once their crystals are activated and attuned, Professor Huyang will instruct the PCs in the art of constructing their lightsabers. This requires a Hard (◆◆◆) Mechanics check combined with a Force Power roll. Remember that any Mechanics check made on a lightsaber other than one you built has its difficulty increased by +◆◆, and that Professor Huyang’s “Master Machinist” ability allows the PCs to add a boost die to these checks. All the PCs construct their lightsabers eventually, but rolling Threat may inflict Strain from frustration, sleepless hours of work, electrical shocks and minor cuts, while rolling Failures may actually inflict Wounds due to burns and emitter malfunctions. Rolling a Despair causes the lightsaber to explode, which deals damage as a frag grenade (Force and Destiny pg. 168) and forces the unlucky PC to start over from scratch.

Once all the PCs have constructed their lightsabers, ask the players (in real life) to sit up straight and close their eyes, take a few deep breaths, and concentrate on using the Force to feel their crystals. Then read the following aloud [soundtrack: Yoda’s Theme]:

The crystal is the heart of the blade.
The heart is the crystal of the Jedi.
The Jedi is the crystal of the Force.
The Force is the blade of the heart.
All are intertwined: the crystal, the blade, the Jedi.
You are one.

Finally, Professor Huyang gives the PCs a small gift to mark this momentous occasion in their training. He holds out his hands and produces a pair of unmodded training lightsaber emitters (F&D pg. 178) which allow the PCs’ lightsabers to deal stun damage instead of wounds. Swapping a training emitter for a kyber crystal (or vice versa) is a maneuver. If the PCs are badly injured/exhausted from their time in the caves and constructing their lightsabers, have them rest up for a night (heal one Wound and remove all Strain) before Huyang presents them with their training emitters.

An Unwelcome Interruption

Just as the PCs are finishing their graduation ceremony, they hear a loud noise from outside the Crucible; though they may not recognize it at first, this is the sound of bounty hunters blowing up the landspeeder which Captain Mastigar loaned them (if he didn’t loan them anything, then it’s just a small avalanche which the bounty hunters started to draw the PCs out).

If they go to investigate, whoever pokes their head out first can make an Easy () Coordination check against a stun grenade which goes off at their feet (Damage 8, Critical 4, Range: Short, Blast 8, Disorient 3, Stun Damage) – if they score a success, no damage. Once they duck back behind the bulkhead, read or paraphrase the following aloud:

“Ahoy, friends!” you hear a scratchy voice shout from not-too-far-away, echoing as it bounces off the walls of the canyon. “We just saw the heat-signature of your vessel, and it looked so cozy we thought we’d invite ourselves in. You know, sit down, drink some tea, have a chat about the good times we had aboard the Silver Star.”

“Well?! Don’t make use stand here out in to cold all day. Are you gonna let us in or what?”

The voice belongs to Nex Pavros, the leader of the bounty hunters who killed the crew of the Silver Star. The bounty hunters are here as part of their mission from Duke Irbian, but Irbian doesn’t know that they bungled the operation aboard the Silver Star and let witnesses get away. Just like Irbian doesn’t want his superiors to know that he failed, neither do the bounty hunters want Irbian to know that they failed (which is why they didn’t ask the Imperials for assistance when they landed).

The PCs can see as soon as they’re close to Pavros, without the need for a Perception check, that his armor and gear are now decorated with dark-blue feathers which look very similar to Captain Mastigar’s plumage. Whether the bounty hunters killed the captain and his crew or “merely” tortured them is left to the GM’s discretion, but this explains how the bounty hunters knew that the PCs were on Ilum.

Alternatively, if the PCs defeated Pavros and company aboard the Silver Star, the GM can replace the below encounter with a squadron of Imperial snowtroopers who have come to investigate some unusual heat-signatures in the area, perhaps led by Lt. Salial Devrays if the PCs have not already dealt with her on Arbooine. Obviously, if the PCs use their lightsabers it will alert their attackers, whoever they may be, that the PCs are Force-sensitives. This may force the PCs to use lethal force against their attackers and administer coups de graces against any survivors, which may incur Conflict.

Remember during this fight that the entire surface of Ilum is difficult terrain, which means that all characters (except the Marksman H training remotes, which can hover) must use twice as many maneuvers to move between range bands. The GM may decide to give one or more the bounty hunters jetpacks, which would significantly tilt the fight in the bounty hunters’ favor.

Battle in the Canyon

[Soundtrack: Zam The Assassin And The Chase Through Coruscant] The bounty hunters use the narrow confines of the canyon and the fact that they have had several minutes to set up an ambush to their advantage. They take cover behind boulders (grants a ranged defense of 1, imposes on Perception checks) and attempt to ambush the PCs wherever possible. At the beginning of the fight, one of the bounty hunters is sneaking up on the PCs from behind; unless they notice him or use Warde's Foresight to see Pavros giving him the order to attack, he shoots the PCs in the back after a full turn of aiming (which adds two boost dice to his attack roll).

Noticing there are fewer bounty hunters than they encountered on the Silver Star, or predicting what the bounty hunters are trying to do, would call for an opposed Discipline vs. Deception check. If any of the PCs use Warde’s Foresight on any of the bounty hunters, they automatically see themselves being attacked from behind by the “absent” bounty-hunter. If they use it a second time on the same or a different bounty hunter, or if the “absent” bounty hunter has already attacked them, they see the final surviving bounty hunter (it’s unclear which, since the GM won’t know exactly who will survive the fight) offering the PCs terms of surrender, and then lobbing a frag or stun grenade at them when their guard is down. Not accepting the bounty hunter’s “surrender” confers 3 Conflict on the PCs, since Warde’s Foresight only reveals possible futures, not immutable destiny; depending on circumstances of the PCs’ victory and how well the PCs roll on their Intimidate checks vs. the surviving bounty hunter’s Cool, the GM may decide to not have the bounty hunter betray the PCs after all.  

Upon seeing that his new students are under attack, Professor Huyang takes matters into his own hands. He orders the PCs to run and attempt to reach the bounty hunters’ ship while he holds them off on his own (with the help of his Marksman H remotes, of course). If the PCs object, Huyang tells them that he accepts this destiny because it means that he can die like he should have done in the initial attack, doing what he was designed to do: protecting his students.

The professor also informs the PCs that there is a narrow, almost vertical ice-chimney at the closed end of the canyon, forward of the Crucible's point of impact, which leads to the surface; he didn’t tell them about it before because there was no need for them to risk the Average () Athletics or Coordination check until now. The bounty-hunters’ ship is probably only lightly guarded, if at all. The professor offers to hold the bounty hunters off here in the canyon while the PCs make their escape in the bounty hunters’ own ship. The PCs must decide whether to stay and fight or flee as ordered.

Although the bounty hunters are remorseless killers, murdering one who is attempting to flee, or dispatching the remaining bounty hunter before he can betray them, should cause a PC to gain at least 5 Conflict.

Fight or Flight

The PCs can choose to either stay and fight or run and flee. If they stay and lose the fight with the bounty hunters, read or paraphrase the following aloud):

As the blaster-bolts sear into your flesh, you fall to your knees in the snow, the world spinning around you. The last thing you hear is the laughter and excited whoops of your enemies as they run towards you.

You awake some time later, locked in a dark, windowless room. Your hands and feet are both in binders, and all of your gear (and most of your clothing) has been stripped from you. The floor is cold, gritty, and as you roll onto your side you can feel bits of rust and grit sticking to the skin of your back. It feels like you’re on some kind of ship, and that you’re moving, but beyond that you can’t be sure.

A loud knock at the door is followed by a trapdoor opening and a bowl of mush being slid into the room. “You’re awake,” says one of the bounty hunters. “You know, you’re lucky. Nassst wanted to interrogate you two himself, but the captain told him no. Duke Irbian prefers his prisoners to be in one piece. At least, when they first arrive,” he adds with a nasty grin.

If the PCs flee, they can hotwire the bounty hunters’ ship with an Average (◆◆) Skullduggery, Computers, or Mechanics check. Piloting it back will likely be easier, as they’ll only need to make an Easy () Piloting (Planetary) check. If they roll well (for instance, if they get a Triumph or five Advantage), they might be able to make it back before Professor Huyang falls in battle. If they take too long (Despair, four or more Threat), then the nearby Imperials notice their little firefight and move in to investigate. The exact make and model of the bounty hunters’ ship is left to the GM's discretion, but it should be large enough to accommodate all the PCs and Professor Huyang, if he survives.

If the PCs stay and defeat the bounty hunters, read or paraphrase the following aloud:

With a last desperate thrust of your lightsaber, you lay low the final bounty hunter, and once again the only sound you can hear (aside from your own heavy breathing) is the howling of the wind and the creaking of ice. The bounty hunter glares up at you from the snow, clutching a wound in his side.

“**** you both,” he spits, “And **** the ship that brought you here! You might have killed my friends, but Duke Irbian will want to know what happened to us! He’ll send more ships, more men after you! You two will spend the rest of your short, miserable lives looking over your shoulders, waiting for the bolt in the back or the knife in the ribs that will – ah! – end your wretched lives.”

Unless the PCs were intentionally dealing nonlethal damage, or score a Triumph on a Medicine check (the difficulty of which is determined by the number of Critical Wounds the bounty hunter has suffered) to stabilize him, the bounty hunter dies of his wounds within a few hours. The PCs can keep the surviving bounty-hunter alive for questioning, but he is not privy to the inner workings of Duke Irbian’s mind, or even the local history of Jorra. The PCs will need to continue their investigations into Suljo Warde’s past if they hope to obtain the second kyber crystal.

The PCs can also attempt to pilot the ship back to the crash-site, where they can level the guns at the bounty-hunters and either kill them or force them to surrender. The PCs are not required to take the bounty hunters with them off-world, and they can let them into the Crucible to stay warm until the Imperials come to pick them up. However, without a way to signal the Imperials, the bounty hunters will die within a few hours from exposure, once life-support runs out; abandoning the bounty hunter(s) to freeze to death, or killing them when they are helpless and unarmed, counts as Murder and confers 10 Conflict to each PC who participates.

The GM is encouraged to allow Professor Huyang to fall in battle against the bounty hunters/Snowtroopers. Not only is this an appropriate end for the character, allowing him to die defending his students as he originally wanted, it also simplifies the GM’s job of running future combats (unless the GM is comfortable allowing one of the players to take control of Huyang during combat in the future).

Whatever the result of the Professor Huyang’s battle with the bounty hunters, read or paraphrase the following aloud as the PCs escape from Ilum. If they fail their Piloting (Planetary), Piloting (Space), or Astrogation checks, read the entire text. If they succeed, then skip the bracketed sections. As you read aloud, play “The Rebel Fleet/End Title” from The Empire Strikes Back, starting at 0:58 if you’re reading the whole text, and from 1:08 if you’re skipping the bracketed sections. If you time it right, the music will swell to a triumphant crescendo just after you finish reading.

As your stolen vessel leaves Ilum’s frigid atmosphere, you [get a hail from the local Imperial authority, informing you that you are in a restricted area and demanding that you transmit your identification documents immediately. You ignore the hail and] punch in the hyperdrive coordinates, and the entire twinkling expanse of the Galaxy blurs and slides into a glowing starburst of light as your ship enters hyperspace, [one step ahead of Imperial pursuit].

You don’t know what the next leg of your journey will bring, but at least you know where you’re headed next: Cato Neimoidia, greatest of the old Trade Federation’s purse-worlds, and the last known location of the Jedi Knight Suljo Warde.

And of course, you have lightsabers now. You have seen that the Force is with you; and with the Force, all things are possible.

The GM may choose to have a squadron of TIE fighters attack the PCs as they leave Ilum’s atmosphere. The exact number of TIE fighters is up to the GM, but the PCs don’t need to destroy all of their foes, only hold them off until the navicomputer can make the calculations for the jump to hyperspace.

XP Rewards

Standard experience point awards for Episode 1.5:

  • Convincing Captain Mastigar to aid the PCs: 1 XP
  • Convincing Professor Huyang to aid the PCs: 2 XP

  • Obtaining and awakening kyber crystals: 3 XP

  • Constructing lightsabers: 5 XP

  • Defeating the bounty hunters/Imperial snowtroopers: 5 XP

As always, the GM should award bonus XP for good roleplaying and engaging with the PCs’ Motivations.

 

Edited by LazerSwordsman

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