Sunday, 8 January 2017

Star Wars RPG solo - setup & Part 1

After an unplanned hiatus, I'm back to chronicling solo adventures with (yet another) new campaign, using the old Star Wars RPG.

I'd been playing a lot of published solitaire adventures (mostly for T&T and DSA) and as the excitement of a new Star Wars film was building I thought I might have another go at some of the old D6 Star Wars solos. Years ago, before starting this blog, I had been messing about with Star Wars character ideas and made a PC that I never ended up using. I thought I might just dust her off, but part of the reason I never used her was that her history seemed to have two major threads that didn't mesh all that well, and which also spread her skills pretty thin. The most interesting part of the story was how and why she came to join the Rebellion. Now that I've discovered Mythic, it seems like that would be a better story to play through. So then,

Setting & Character

The game will be set during the Rebellion period, some time before the battle of Yavin. I will leave it a bit vague to start. The events of A New Hope would make good Remote Events in Mythic parlance, should the Oracle seem to suggest it, and they might be catalyzing factors in the life of our someday-heroine.

The game will start amongst the criminal element in an urban sprawl on Ord Mantell, which seems an appropriately dismal planet in the Mid-rim. And here it is that I should probably mention that my usual mode of running Star Wars has a lot in common with cyberpunk adventures, seasoned with a hefty dose of film noir; I once ran a game wherein my friend's minor jedi PC had to meet his underworld contact in Riq's Café Alderaan.

So then, onto the character creation. I'm using the 2nd edition (blue cover) WEG Star Wars D6 rules, more-or-less as written, because last year after The Force Awakens came out I bought a second-hand copy of the rulebook in a fit of nostalgia (and remorse for giving my original one away, though it at least went to a good home). Character creation was completely standard (18D attributes, 7D skills), though I did make a custom Template.

Zil Lhahon 
Template: fixer; human female
Dexterity 3D+1
 Blaster 4D+1
 Dodge 4D+1
Knowledge 3D+2
 Intimidation 4D+2
 Streetwise 4D+2
 Willpower 4D+2
Mechanical 3D
Perception 3D

 Persuasion 4D
 Sneak 4D
Strength 2D+2
Technical 2D+1

Equipment: datapad, comlink, hold-out blaster, 1000 credits

- - -

My toolkit for the game will be:
  • D6 Star Wars (2nd ed.) for the rules
  • tons of supplements for the above
  • Mythic GME with my MCSV for the oracle
  • UNE & BOLD for NPCs and events
  • Scarlet Heroes for the random urban tables
  • Wookiepedia for additional information, mostly about aliens races and planets (though if you don't know what an particular alien species looks like, a simple google search turns up plenty of pictures)

I wasn't sure what to do for the first adventure, so I turned to the Travelling Alone charts to see what would fall out naturally; it's worked well before. I didn't quite get to the end of the first week before I had current events on the planet and a mission. So then...

The adventure begins:

Night was settling over the plasticrete jungle that was Ord Mantell City. Zil Lhahon was already up and walking through the market square. She was looking at a night off if her comlink stayed silent, but she couldn't rightly think of how to spend it. There was an uneasy feeling in her stomach, but she put it down to the liquor she'd had for breakfast -- certainly not that nagging conscience thing again. Either way, she figured, some food couldn't hurt.

She fought her way through the market square, scarcely having to break her long stride as the crowd seemed to recoil from her. Perhaps it was the brutal confidence in her unyielding gait. Maybe the livid circles under her eyes just made her look like she'd caught the Tarxian plague.

She went up to her favourite kiosk, jumped the queue, and ordered a #4 with extra purple sauce, hold the zlonks.

"You sure 'bout that, Zil?" asked the aged Arcona behind the counter. "They're fresh today."

"I'm sure, Nallo," she replied. "Fresh or not, I think they taste nasty."

"You're missing out," said the Arcona, scooping out shredded meat onto the thermacooker. "But speaking of nasty, can you believe the repulsortube strike has been going on for six days?"

"Lucky I walk to work."

"I heard the union think they got the backing of the Imperial Governor."

"Seems unlikely."

"You're telling me! Way I see it, They just don't want to send in stormtroopers to break the strike. Can't risk damaging the planetary infrastructure. You want it wrapped?"

"Nah, too hungry. I'll eat and walk." Zil threw down ten credits on the counter and told him to keep the change.

"You're my best customer, you are."

Zil waved goodbye to the vendor, who was already extolling the virtues of fresh zlonks to a sceptical Trandoshan who was next in the queue. True to her word, Zil already had a mouthful of the steaming stew as she began wading back through the throng. She wasn't sure what animal provided the meat protein for this feast, but the sauce was flavourful and not just loaded with salt like at the other stalls.

She'd barely gotten 50 metres when a hand clamped down firmly on her shoulder from behind. Zil wheeled about, shot a death glare at the scarred Zabrak who'd grabbed her, then voiced her displeasure at the alien.

"Ahngi' ngrafung ahm ee ung!"


"I said, 'Dammit Krasstun, I'm eating!'"

"Boss asked me to find you. I was just going to have some food myself, then call you up. But since you're here..."

"Since I'm here..."

The Zabrak slipped a cheap datapad into her jacket pocket. "You need to take this to Vudlor Taf. Quickly."

"But he's halfway across the continent. How am I supposed to get there with this strike on?"

"Not my problem. Later, Zil."

- - -

Writing that out in the strict sequence of how the dice fell would have been a terribly bland way to start, but for the sake of recent discussions on session notes in the Lone Wolf community, I present here the completely unedited transcript (it's short; scroll down to Scene 1 if you prefer to skip it).

Trav alone
-Upkeep: ~break even as still employed~
-buy equip: wander through market on day off
-Event: 64 Asked to carry message
 run into $runner, says boss wants this datapad to go to...?
SH: Within a week’s ride (= a few hours by the repulsortube network)
    take to Vudlor Taf, snivvian Black marketeer

Q: Does Zil know much about person? 50/50: O5 C5 - yes, +Event
Move away from a thread - Adversity / Adversities

tube network shutdown
reason: 1-2 strike 3 rebels 4-5 construction 6 sabotage: 1

Shit, how am I supposed to get there with this strike on?
Not my problem.

-seek patron (not looking)
-rumour: location data, planet; minor, annoyance  -1, Lie / Allies

The strikers think they have the backing of the local Imperial governor, who's really just trying to avoid using troops to break the strike because of the potential for planetary infrastructure damage

-Options. May take any Action, initiate new project, take a job etc.

And from there the adventure went into scenes.

Scene 1

Average (d10)

Setup: prepare for journey

NPC list: Porubek the Kitonak crime lord (Zil's boss), Vudlor Taf the Snivvian Black marketeer

Threads: find private transport, deliver datapad

"So," thinks Zil to herself as she tucks into her #4 with renewed zeal, "just how in the hell am I going to cross half the planet when the repulsortube network is out of commission? Taxis are chartered through to next year... who do I know that has a speeder?"

[Q: Does Zil know someone who might have a speeder? Likely (3+): O3 C3 - Yes, but... not on good terms with them.
+Event: Introduce a new NPC - Procrastinate / Tactics

For Introduce a new NPC events, I am selecting random character templates and giving them 7D worth of skills as starting characters if they look like they'll be sticking round. For now, I'm pulling them from the Platt's Smugglers Guide and the Independents section of Heroes & Rogues (50% chance of either).]

Zil finishes her food and wends her way through the multitudes out of the market. She is drifting up the main street and absently looking in the shop windows when she hears a familiar voice call out to her.

"Heya, Zil, long time no see."

Zil stiffens, hoping she'll see anyone else when she turns round. But no, there he is, just as she'd feared. Jather Plazeed looks shifty, even by Devaronian standards. His eyes are always flicking this way and that, as if he's expecting to be jumped at any second. Then there's the rictus grin, exposing his sharp, uneven teeth, the stooping posture, the nervous hand-rubbing, and a sartorial sense that can only be described as having-gotten-dressed-in-the-dark.

Zil sighed inwardly. "What d'ya want, Jather? I'm really busy."

"Really? You don't look it."

"I'm out running an errand."

"You don't say. For our mutual friend?"

"Yes. Definitely in the name of friendship. Call me a big softie."

NPC Relationship: distrustful
Conversation Mood: neutral
inquisitive - scepticism - skills
Rolling 1d6 to determine a controlling attribute for the skill in question came up with Technical; the Security skill made the most sense.]

"I'm surprised he'd tap you," says the Devaronian.

"And just what is that supposed to mean?"

"I heard you weren't exactly in his good books, what with you making such a mess playing infiltrator t'other day."

"Infiltrator? What--? Who've you been talking to?"

[Q: Does he say? Unlikely (5+): O5 C1 - Yes, and...
random template = Outlaw Tech; d6=m]

"It was Walout Etch. And he should know."

"That grubby mynock! You actually believe a word he says?"

[Q: Does he? 50/50: O1 C7 - No.]

"Well of course not! But he was there to see it. And you know, other people might not be so perspicacious about his account."

[Q: Is there anything to this? rather than using the oracle, it makes more sense to roll a Security skill check. I set the difficulty at Moderate, so she'd need a 12 or better. Her skill is at the default level of her Technical attribute: 2D+1=9, which would be a failure, but the Wild Die came up a 6, so she gets to add another 1d6 to her total; 1d6=3, so she (just barely) succeeded.]

"Look, I made a mistake," Zil practically shouts, and the Devaronian takes a step back in spite of himself. "I almost tripped the alarm in that foreman's office. Could 'a happened to anyone. But --and here's the thing-- I didn't, and I got us in and out with the goods. 'Twas a non-event. And I never said I was no sneak thief anyways."

Zil takes a deep breath and Jather pretends to brush some dirt off his wide, yellow plaid collar.

NPC Relationship: neutral
Conversation Mood: sociable
scheming - proposition - last action]

"Why'd the boss ask you to do it, then?" asks Jather.

"I dunno. Maybe because I don't mess these things up."

"That why you're being sent on a trip?"

"That was fast... how'd you know?"

"It's no great mystery. Krasstun told me he's just seen you."

"Make your point."

"It just so happens I need to get to that part of the planet as well. I was wondering how you're going to get there. What with the strike and all."

"I was thinking of asking Ghrohhji for a lift."

[Q: Is Jather on good terms with Ghrohhji? Unlikely (5+): O5 C9 - Yes.]

"Good idea, Zil! You're lucky to have me along, then. Ghrohhji likes me much better than you."

"Let's go see him then."

Jather Plazeed
Template: Devaronian grifter
Dexterity 3D
 Dodge 4D
Knowledge 3D+2
 Streetwise 4D+2
 Value 4D+2
Mechanical 2D
 Repulsorlift operation 3D
Perception 4D+2
 Con 5D+2
 Gambling 5D+2
 Persuasion 5D+2
Strength 2D
Technical 2D+2

Equipment: 3 fake IDs, datapad, hold-out blaster, chronometer, 1000 credits

Scene 2

Average (d10)

Setup: can we get a lift?

NPC list: Porubek the Kitonak crime lord (Zil's boss), Vudlor Taf the Snivvian Black marketeer, Jather Plazeed the Devaronian grifter, Ghrohhji

Threads: find private transport, deliver datapad

"So, are you going to call him first?" asks Zil expectantly.

"Ghrohhji only lives a few kilometres away," replies Jather. "It's not a bad walk. It might be better if we drop in on him unannounced. Give him less time to make up an excuse."

"Good thinking."

It takes them about an hour to get to their destination, a duracrete flat block with fading glowstrips on the outside walkways and a perpetually broken turbolift. Jather says he'll go in alone, as he'll have a better chance of getting Ghrohhji's help if Zil isn't there.

She waits on the pavement out front, and when Jather doesn't come right back she knows that at least he's made it in Ghrohhji's front door. Then she waits. And waits. And waits some more. Once she thinks she sees eyes peering out from behind window blinds, and hopes it's just the nosey Ithorian that lives above Ghrohhji, and that the look doesn't spell doom for her enterprise.

[If you will recall, the Event that introduced Jather was explained by the Oracle as Procrastinate / Tactics, so, for reasons I didn't actually figure out until much later, he is really trying to work against her. Therefore, Jather is going to do his best to make sure Ghrohhji doesn't help them. Ghrohhji has just been a name until now, so I made him an average member of an alien species selected at random: Dresselian (aka Prune Face).

Asking for help when you are trying to be turned down sounds like the example in the rulebook of using Persuasion for a low-level con, so there's a one die penalty to Jather's skill: 4D+2=23 (the wild die helped). Ghrohhji resists with Perception: 2D=4]

Jather walks out of the building looking even more stooped than usual. Zil isn't sure she's ever seen him without a smile before.

"That shrivelled prat won't lift a finger to help us. I tried begging, flattery, offered him money... nothing! Some people!"

[His Con 5D+2=29 (the wild die again!) vs. her Perception 3D=6]

Zil believes him.

Scene 3

Out of Control (d8)

Setup: d8=3, Interrupt (was: look for other transport)
Interrupt: Introduce a new NPC - Excitement / Vehicle

NPC list: Porubek the Kitonak crime lord (Zil's boss), Vudlor Taf the Snivvian Black marketeer, Jather Plazeed the Devaronian grifter

Threads: find private transport, deliver datapad

Zil and Jather have retired to a quiet cantina to discuss what to do next in order to secure transport. Zil even pays for Jather's drink to let him know there's no hard feelings for failing to convince Ghrohhji to lend them his speeder. She'd known it was a long shot.

A young man walks towards the exit, wearing a milk-blue jumpsuit festooned with racing patches and logos of repulsorlift parts manufacturers. He does a double-take when he sees our heroes sitting in their booth, and his face brightens.

"Hey! Hey [1d2=] Jather! How's it going?" he calls out, striding over to them.

"Oh... Bootleg. Hi."

"Say, what brings you out this way?"

"Oh, you know," mumbles Jather. "Social calls."

"Ghrohhji has something we want," interrupts Zil, "but he's holding out."

"You know how intractable he is," says Jather.

"I see. I, uh, hope you didn't have to bust his knees or anything like that," says the young man, hazarding a glance at Zil.

"No," she says thoughtfully. "But now that you mention it: how's the old speeder racing business these days?"

"Fine, fine. I'm in the black with your boss, still, aren't I? I just don't want to have to throw any more races, y'know."

"Well, if you do us a favour, you'll really keep him on side!"

[Zil's Persuasion 4D vs. Bootleg's Willpower (defaulting to Knowledge) 2D: 19 vs. 8, she succeeds.]

"Favour?" he asks.

"We need to go to the Henxell district. You do have a working speeder, don't you?"

"Sure do! Let me just drop by Ghrohhji's gaff and drop off this power converter I borrowed. Then I'm all yours."

[Q: Does Jather have a way to stall? unknown odds, 1d6=5, Unlikely (5+): O2 C8 - No.]

"Great. Where do we meet?"

"I'll come back here. Gimme a couple hours, then we can go."

"See you then."

[The Excitement / Vehicle result made the choice of template for the new NPC obvious.

Crammer "Bootleg" Bardin
Template: Speeder Racer, human male
Dexterity 3D+1
 Dodge 4D+1
Knowledge 2D
 Business 3D
Mechanical 4D
 Repulsorlift operation 6D
Perception 2D
 Bargain 3D
Strength 2D+2
Technical 4D

 Repulsorlift repair 6D

Equipment: blaster pistol, Racing airspeeder, flight suit, crash vest, crash helmet, 500 credits

Jather couldn't be obstructive when Zil was watching. He'll have to delay elsewhere. Also, these first few scenes were making me wonder if the actual genre of this adventure was less cyberpunk and more 90s slacker film. But that will change soon enough.]