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kinnison

Beyond the Rim, thoughts (Obvious spoilers)

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Cholganna isn't even a settled system, it shouldn't be on the map.  If you follow the Perlemian Trade Route, you see a spot for  "The wheel" right near the crease in the binding, and further on a bit off the trade route you find Raxus.  But even in the Essential atlas, cholganna doesn't appear

 

In fact 'the wheel' and Raxus don't match up in the Core books map, compared to the one in the adventure.

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We had some fun on the weekend in the wrecked engine section.

 

2 of the 3 players fell through the roof and were swept away in a torrent of water to separate sections of the hulk. one emerged in the lair of a nexu, no adult present but 2 cubs. when he revealed this via his comlink the other character went into meltdown and in the panic forgot that he had a fusion lantern to light his way.

 

he sat blubbering while the other 2 tried to calm him down via comlink.

 

the player in the lair decided to take the 2 cubs, as he tried to navigate his way back up to the roof section he encountered the mother on a series of catwalks above a raging torrent of water. he held a cub over the edge of the catwalk and coerced the nexu into not outright attacking him. his own nerve broke and he decided to try and throw the cub to another catwalk. it flailed through the air and landed in the water to be swept away to its doom. the mother instantly attacked him.

 

he managed to scrabble free of her grip and bleeding, threw himself into the water to escape.

Edited by New Zombie

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My players did the engine section today also. Their main struggle was climbing up the bluff to get into the ship. They had a series of ropes and climbing gear rigged up, and they were trying to climb up as well as haul IT-3PO and a vibrosaw they had brought with them. They rolled an astonishing number of climbing checks that resulted in failure with one advantage, so they just ended up taking forever to get up, although they did manage to drop the climbing gear and have it get carried away by the river.

 

Once inside they didn't find anything useful and lamented their wild-goose-chase, although they had a lot of fun with the struggle of climbing up. We ended with them in the process of climbing back down. Our Wookiee slicer/marauder got to the bottom first and he wants to go look for the climbing gear while the rest of the party are still dealing with getting down. I see an encounter with some arboreal octopi in his future to teach him not to go off on his own on Cholgana  ;) .

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my players landed their ship on the lake shore. they found the boat and used that to get near the top of the engine section. two climbed to the roof ok the third was reaching for the rope and harness the others lowered to him when the boat was nudged by an aquatic predator. he grabbed the rope but dangled waste deep in the water and was attacked by the shark like creature. it bit him but didn't generate enough advantage to grab him. the other players hauled him up out of the water, he was injured, shaken and his enviro suit is a bit worse for wear though.

 

love ad-libbing with this system.

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My players are fairly efficient so we knocked out half of Beyond the Rim in four hours. I use a whiteboard with a stand and, for Part 1, I listed out the various locations. I told the players that they weren't the only accessible locales on the station, but they were probably of most interest. We've played Shadowrun for years so trawling for information wasn't a new concept for us.

 

Our droid PC is a tweaked out slicer so navigating to Cholganna and efficiently scanning the planet were both easy to accomplish. They located the Main Hull in the first go.

Stuff still to do:

  • encounter Cholgana fauna
  • cyber-nexu
  • Sa Nalaor survivors
  • Clan Yiyar
  • Imperial Scouts
  • Raxus landing
  • Clan Yiyar: Part 2
  • Re-building the corvette

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Been running this for a few months now. Getting down to the big finale. Over the course of the three chapters, there have been many huge alterations to the written/intended story arc (both intentional on my part as the GM, and the players' making interesting decisions...).

 

Getting off Cholganna, the PCs were able only to escape with the doc. Harsol and everyone else were forced to scatter into the wilderness, hide from the Empire, and hope to survive until help can come back for them.

 

The PCs have made it clear that they fully intend to return and save the rest of the survivors. Which is great. It even helps catalyze a background story arc for the new PC that just joined. So I'm all for following up.

 

So the big question is, has anyone had their group go back? Any suggestions, pointers, theories or ideas for taking the game beyond the end? Other than the short blub in the back of the mod, that is...

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So... my players weren't real willing to accompany Captain Harsol to The Retreat at his request. They were suspicious of him, he was suspicious of their intentions. Harsol drew his blaster and told them to start walking. The PCs didn't like it, and drew down on him while Yav Yiyar's crew watched from the jungle.

 

Ten minutes of dice rolling later Harsol and his Aqualish crew mates were dead, the six battle droids were destroyed, two of the PCs were out with multiple critical injuries, and the Yiyar clan walked in and ordered those still standing to drop their weapons. In no position to argue, the uninjured dragged their wounded compatriots and three dead cyber-nexu back to the ship while the Yiyar clan began their own salvage operation of the Sa Nalaor. The PCs decided to cut their losses and are probably heading for their rendezvous on Raxus Prime. We shall see what happens in two weeks!

 

I'm glad I didn't spend the time writing this adventure and it reminds me why I prefer to avoid strictly linear adventures. Sterling Hershey is a veteran SW RPG writer but I get the impression he's never written a "standard" commercial adventure module outside of RPGA-sanctioned material. Judging by his bibliography his strength is more in line with free form campaign books. "Beyond the Rim" has choke points where if players zig instead of zagging, they're going to miss opportunities. Tapping writers who have worked on Shadowrun, Cyberpunk 2020, or other freelancer/mercenary-style games, and who are also fans of Star Wars, would definitely benefit EotE.

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it's hard to avoid choke points in either linear or sandbox publications. anything can be considered a choke point if the players fancy takes them in a direction other than the scope of the publication.

 

there's nothing wrong with what transpired in your game, the behaviours of the players, harsol and the yiyar clan are all plausible.

 

you could still get the players to the survivors retreat. once your players get to raxus prime have them directed by reom to return, clearly there are survivors and your players ran like cowards from those yiyar scum. you could invent another foil, say a militant master at arms who takes over the leadership there. or twist the situation such that the yiyar clan have taken the camp and are going to sell cratala et al to the empire, or press them into servitude for their business.

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I'd hate to backtrack to Episode I but when it comes to the players investigating, I understand that the charts are there for picking up random tidbits as they investigate. But. My players are pretty old hat at investigating having come from the likes of Cthulhu and Shadowrun where investigating means going to the nearest bar and asking direct questions from the shadiest looking guy there.

Naturally the book does try to accommodate for this via the infochant in the Blasted Asteroid (The SW Version of JD Wetherspoons according to the book >_>). But if I am reading this correctly, when a player asks a question they roll a skill check which represents the Infochant's knowledge on the subject the player(s) ask and I then refer to the chart to give them an answer... which ended up in me looking rather cluelessly through the charts in vain, looking for something which fit the question. 

I have the feeling I am missing the point entirely so I would appreciate some advice on the subject. As a relatively new GM I do have a bit of a problem with abstract mechanics such as this.

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I'd hate to backtrack to Episode I but when it comes to the players investigating, I understand that the charts are there for picking up random tidbits as they investigate. But. My players are pretty old hat at investigating having come from the likes of Cthulhu and Shadowrun where investigating means going to the nearest bar and asking direct questions from the shadiest looking guy there.

Naturally the book does try to accommodate for this via the infochant in the Blasted Asteroid (The SW Version of JD Wetherspoons according to the book >_>). But if I am reading this correctly, when a player asks a question they roll a skill check which represents the Infochant's knowledge on the subject the player(s) ask and I then refer to the chart to give them an answer... which ended up in me looking rather cluelessly through the charts in vain, looking for something which fit the question. 

I have the feeling I am missing the point entirely so I would appreciate some advice on the subject. As a relatively new GM I do have a bit of a problem with abstract mechanics such as this.

Have the player explain to you where they are going and what they want to find information on. This is the point were you tell them to make a streetwise check (or charm check or whatever). Depending on the results if the check you tell the players what happens narratively, i.e. Ok, you rolled a success but two threats, you entered a smoke filled cantina and managed to meet a rodian who directs you to a pale skinned human sitting iin the corner of the pub, he informs you about *insert info they were looking for here*, but because you rolled two threat a fight broke out btween an old man and an aqualish that scares you for a moment (suffer two strain).

Remeber it is a narrative system, so sometimes brevity is important to keep the story moving to get to the more involved areas of your adventure. Keep it simple.

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I'm planning on starting this adventure soon and had some ideas and questions. First, I plan on portraying IsoTech as a bit less powerful and more struggling to get buy. Their offices on the wheel will be cheap and run down, nothing too impressive. I also plan on making Roem's motivation more of family matter than just business. He wants the tech, but he also wants to know what his father was working on and why it cost him his freedom and eventually his life after he was kidnapped and imprisoned by the Empire as a "Separatist conspirator."

 

Next, I was wondering if anyone had any good ideas or experiences with beginning in media res? I was considering beginning with the players already having accepted the job from Roem, but moving the message pod out of his hands and opening with the characters in the process of acquiring it. One scene that came to mind was placing one or two characters aboard the ship that found the pod, captured red handed on their way out with the pod. The remaining characters would then have to bail them out and return to Roem with the message.

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How would they know about the pod?

 

I recall the adventure said that when it was found he was contacted as it was registered in his father's name.

 

Now if your PC's was sent to pick it up after that then you could have that rival try to muscle in perhaps they've managed to secure a niche aboard the Wheel and having learned from a mole about the pod were sending their own team in to pick it up posing as working for Roem, make an interesting confrontation where they're both claiming to work for the same person until they can get the drop on the PCs and the people they're picking it up from...

 

I wonder what if the pod is hiding a droid so even if they lose the pod the droid found inside has all the details and the PCs don't realise until they return with it... but then why have two different droids involved unless it was sent to deliver a message like that from a new hope and will only show it to someone from Roem's family...

 

No go with what you think works best.

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Could always have the players ship be the ship which runs into the Pod. Pretty immediate way to let them learn about it. If your players are the type to return property, that is..

 

I know mine would bypass the entire Wheel and go try to find the vault themselves.

 

..Or try to sell it in a pawnshop.

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I'm planning on starting this adventure soon and had some ideas and questions. First, I plan on portraying IsoTech as a bit less powerful and more struggling to get buy. Their offices on the wheel will be cheap and run down, nothing too impressive. I also plan on making Roem's motivation more of family matter than just business. He wants the tech, but he also wants to know what his father was working on and why it cost him his freedom and eventually his life after he was kidnapped and imprisoned by the Empire as a "Separatist conspirator."

 

Next, I was wondering if anyone had any good ideas or experiences with beginning in media res? I was considering beginning with the players already having accepted the job from Roem, but moving the message pod out of his hands and opening with the characters in the process of acquiring it. One scene that came to mind was placing one or two characters aboard the ship that found the pod, captured red handed on their way out with the pod. The remaining characters would then have to bail them out and return to Roem with the message.

 

While certainly not in medias res, I had a lead up session to beyond the rim.

 

Our last game was moved to a PbP medium so for this, I had the players roll up new characters. Each of them having obligation tied in some way to Reom.

 

The back story was the Reom's sister (whose name escapes me) has a daughter that the Yiyar clan has kidnapped months ago as a tool to manipulate Isotech. In my game, the Yiyar's influence is a bit more prominent that it's portrayed in the module. The clan knows who all works directly for Isotech. Fortunately, Reom has peripheral contacts that he rarely keeps tabs on so they wouldn't be well known to the Yiyar clan.

 

Enter the PCs. Reom assembles them "Italian Job" style, and tells them he is planning on making a bold business move and he plans on giving the PCs a cut, but he wants to secure his family fist before making a move against the Yiyar clan. He charges the PCs with the task of rescuing his niece, Kenzi. Obviously if the PCs get caught he can disavow all knowledge of them.

 

The whole session ended in a climactic speeder chance onto a moving hover train racing through the subterranean tunnels of Ryloth before traversing the roof of the train while avoiding supression fire from an E-Web.

 

I had Yav threaten Kenzi's life just to make sure the PCs really hated this guy before he made a cowardly escape once they began to overwhelm him.

 

It was a fun session and it lead right into Episode I of Beyond the Rim.

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We're playing our 2nd session this sunday (it's been almost 2 months since our first session!), and I'm hoping I can end it with Reom telling the group he's got a job for them (and then starting BtR on our 3r session). My players are on their way back to The Wheel, and I hope I can get them to go through the Sabacc modular encounter from SoF.

 

Anyone have any suggestions of what my players might do on The Wheel (before I kick off BtR) in case they don't go for the Sabacc bait? The trick is to get them to stay on The Wheel for a few days (to make sure there's time for the pod to arrive at IsoTech, Reom and Shira to look through the data, and Shira going off to fetch the protocol droid from Iso One).

Edited by Veruca

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We're playing our 2nd session this sunday (it's been almost 2 months since our first session!), and I'm hoping I can end it with Reom telling the group he's got a job for them (and then starting BtR on our 3r session). My players are on their way back to The Wheel, and I hope I can get them to go through the Sabacc modular encounter from SoF.

 

Anyone have any suggestions of what my players might do on The Wheel (before I kick off BtR) in case they don't go for the Sabacc bait? The trick is to get them to stay on The Wheel for a few days (to make sure there's time for the pod to arrive at IsoTech, Reom and Shira to look through the data, and Shira going off to fetch the protocol droid from Iso One).

 

There's a gladiatorial arena tournament known as the "Big Game" you can make it pure combat or turn it into a skill challenge.

 

I also threw in a speeder chase with the track being part of the outer parameter of the wheel.

 

One thing I thought of just now would be the "Wheel" equivalent of "Drinking around the World". It would be a challenge to have one or more PCs to visit every cantina around the circumference of the wheel and have one of their house drinks from each place. The bartender would give them a paper coaster when they are finished. The object is to do this in one night and collect a coaster from each pub.

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I just did a search for the Big Game arena. The Wheel suddenly seems like a less civilized place than I imagined. Would it be fair to assume that anyone who is apprehended by Wheel Security for major tresspasses (such as breaking the 'no gunfire' rule, if I read this correctly and there is such a thing on The Wheel) would risk competing in this Big Game? Because this seems to be a fight-to-the-death kind of place. Can anyone say Hunger Games? (Which, funny enough, I have sort of planned for them later on... )

 

I think I might just borrow from the Dark Heresy youtube sessions, and use the arena as a location to hold a shooting contest... or maybe some sort of gauntlet that requires wits and acrobatics.

 

The speeder chase also seems like a very interesting idea. The more options, the better, right? :)

 

I do think I'm going to skip the drinking game though, as they already spent a good deal of drinking in the last session... and I don't want to turn their characters into alcoholics. :P

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it's hard to avoid choke points in either linear or sandbox publications. anything can be considered a choke point if the players fancy takes them in a direction other than the scope of the publication.

Ehhhh... maybe? It depends on how the framework of the story is set up. I've run pre-written adventures that do it well. And others that do it poorly. Beyond the Rim is kind of in the middle but leaning toward "not great."

 

The adventure as written literally depends on the PCs interacting with Harsol in order to discover the Retreat. I presume that a blanket planetary scan in Star Wars isn't good enough to pick out individual life forms. Otherwise, a successful Computers check with enough Advantage would have led them right to the survivor's camp and by-passed the Sa Nalaor wreck all together. My group's slicer scored enough hits to find the main hull in one try. Beyond the Rim assumes the players will have to get out of their ship and hike to these spots and encounter critters. But the rules as written in the Core Book allow for starting players with a functioning ship to simply stroll past half the challenges on Cholganna.

I get the impression that the authorial team was expecting players to gravitate toward being intrepid jungle explorers. But that's a weird idea to put forth in your first full published adventure for Boba Fett: The Han Soloing

 

there's nothing wrong with what transpired in your game, the behaviours of the players, harsol and the yiyar clan are all plausible.

Don't get me wrong, I totally agree. I'm not new at this so player agency is priority 1 for me.

 

you could still get the players to the survivors retreat. once your players get to raxus prime have them directed by reom to return, clearly there are survivors and your players ran like cowards from those yiyar scum. you could invent another foil, say a militant master at arms who takes over the leadership there. or twist the situation such that the yiyar clan have taken the camp and are going to sell cratala et al to the empire, or press them into servitude for their business.

I've never found players who respond well to changing the terms of an agreement. But YMMV. I like your ideas but the fact that they (or ideas like them) weren't considered shows either a lack of playtesting or the author team thinking through alternate possibilities.

 

I know I'm coming off like this is a horrible module and I don't mean to. But it needed another pass.

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I've never found players who respond well to changing the terms of an agreement. But YMMV. I like your ideas but the fact that they (or ideas like them) weren't considered shows either a lack of playtesting or the author team thinking through alternate possibilities.

 

I know I'm coming off like this is a horrible module and I don't mean to. But it needed another pass.

 

oh i agree about changing the terms, but reom did make it clear he was after the tech more than anything. you could frame it such that it isn't an alteration to the agreement but have a new agreement. i imagine the players would likely be keen to get even with the yiyar clan.

 

my players ended last session fleeing into the wreck of the bridge section as the nightflyer arrived with talo at the helm firing his shipboard weapons at them. (yav yiyar was arrested on the wheel due to complications during the kidnapping of IT-3PO). so they haven't met harsol yet, nor am i sure of the circumstances of their meeting. i'll keep your experience in mind if harsol is killed/incapacitated.

 

i personally don't have a problem with the structure of the publication, but i agree about it needing another pass. some of the writing in the read alouds had me cringing, sorry stirling :(

 

there was one in particular that used the word 'appears' over and over in one read aloud section. i'm glad my approach to running this is to pull them apart and put them back together to suit my group.

Edited by New Zombie

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I was thinking more about the In Media Res start more and came up with an idea. I think the first episode is rather dull as written, with the only serious possibility for combat or action being the attempted kidnapping of Eyetee-three at the end of the sequence.

 

Instead of the normal, rather dull opening situation, the PCs will be on retainer to IsoTech, moving parts in return for credits. Roem receives word directly from the star liner captain that they have recovered a hyperspace message pod with Separatist markings addressed to IsoTech via his father, who was arrested by the Empire for his Separatist leanings following the end of the Clone War and was never heard from again. Roem has asked the PCs to recover the pod from the star liner, which is moored clear on the other side of station. They elect to fly their to save time.

 

The pod in their hold, they find themselves being tailed by a pair (or more) of Z-95s on their return trip. The Z-95s, marked with the symbol of the Yiyar clan, open fire, resulting in a chase through the traffic and superstructure of the Wheel's docks. In mid chase is where the adventure will open,as the PCs attempt to shake the Yiyar snubs and reach the IsoTech docking bay.

 

As an aside, this scene will also put some heat on the PCs because the public chase through the docks will bring attention to any further efforts they make during discovery. The chase also introduces the primary villains right away. I plan on emphasizing some mystery regarding the fate of Roem's father at the hands of the Empire. Though his death is assumed, Roem and his sister will still value that information and the search for the Sa Nalaor can be viewed as a mission to learn the fate of their father and his work rather than simply a mission to make some cash with some cool tech. Eventually, the ISB agents can reveal his death at their hands, providing a good "evil" moment that Star Wars stories all need.

 

Additionally, I am considering spicing things up by using the sabaac rules from Sons of Fortune/Under a Black Sun. The infochant, rather than selling the information for a flat fee, will gamble information in a game of sabaac. Winning hands will progressively score the PCs more information, while losing will require them to reveal information about their mission which the infochant can then sell to their rivals. If they refuse to reveal information upon losses, the infochant can increase the heat on the PCs by revealing their movements to the Imperials or the Yiyars, possibly provoking an altercation.

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Oh, I like that idea of having the PC's go out to collect the pod for Reom... especially because my players are, in fact, on retainer to IsoTech. I'm so gonna use that!

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Overall, the atmosphere of the Wheel was very underutilized. Any of the scenes could have taken place on any world with a moderate criminal element. Flying through the ship docks and doing some actual gambling would help differentiate the setting beyond GM description.

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