Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Star Wars RPG solo - Part 3 : Certain complications arise

The Trandoshan hefts her oversized blaster rifle. "Nothing I like better then cracking open them little white shells," she says. "Sangley, see our friends out to the tunnel. Hexod and Tova, you're with me."

Scene 7

Out of Control (d8)

Setup: escape

NPC list: Porubek the Kitonak crimelord (Zil's boss), Vudlor Taf the Snivvian Black marketeer, Jather Plazeed the Devaronian grifter, Bootleg Bardin the speeder racer

Threads: deliver datapad

The human guard motions for Zil, Bootleg, and Jather to follow. Zil glances over her shoulder as she leaves the guardroom, and sees the Weequays are hurriedly setting up a repeating blaster on a tripod.

Their guide stops the centre of the warehouse, and trips a hidden catch on one of the countless durasteel shipping containers stacked in tottering rows. The front springs open, revealing a ladder leading down. "We'll hold them off long enough for you to get away, but if they send for reinforcements you're on your own. Go!"

He shuts the crate behind them. The tunnel is in almost complete darkness, but dim glowstrips on one wall mark the way. It runs for about a hundred metres, where it ends in a door leading into one of the municipal storm drains. When the door is closed behind them, they can barely see where it had been.

[Stealth rolls: Zil 4D=15, Jather 4D+2=12, Bootleg 2D=8
vs. the stormtroopers' Search 3D=7!

Q: Any guards caught and blab? Unlikely (5+): O2 C1 - No, and...
Q: Any problems with Bootleg's speeder parked out front? 50/50 (4+): O4 C1 - Yes, and...]

They emerge in an enormous, plasticrete drainage ditch, the kind Bootleg used to race speeder bikes in when he was a kid. When they get back up to the street, they notice quite a few patrols of stormtroopers and local police, but manage to evade their notice.

They spend the night in a miserable hotel, and walk back the next afternoon to check on Bootleg's speeder, which is nowhere to be found.

Scene 8

Out of Control (d8)

Setup: d8=4, Interrupt (was: make contact with someone in Vudlor's organisation)
Interrupt: Remote event - Disrupt / The mundane

All holovid stations and datastream alerts carry the important news that due to planetary unrest caused by renegade union leaders committing acts of sabotage and prolonging the illegal transit strike, and separate incidents of unprovoked attacks on the Empire's peacekeeping forces, a curfew of 19:00 has been imposed. Additional stormtrooper patrols have been committed to the streets to ensure the public's safety.

Scene 9

Out of Control (d8)

Setup: make contact with someone in Vudlor's organisation

NPC list: Porubek the Kitonak crimelord (Zil's boss), Vudlor Taf the Snivvian Black marketeer, Jather Plazeed the Devaronian grifter, Bootleg Bardin the speeder racer

Threads: deliver datapad

They repair to a nearby cantina to discuss their next move over food. Bootleg says he'll gladly stay around for the time being. He's afraid of what Zil might do to him if he just left.

Jather says he might as well stay and help since the curfew has made it impossible to do his own errand.

[Jather's result was via UNE: scheming - plan - previous scene. He needs to make a Con roll: 5D+2=14 vs. Zil's Perception 3D=8; she doesn't know he was/is up to something.]

They start making the rounds as best they can, but the curfew and imposition of martial law are making it hard to find anyone willing to talk.

[A Streetwise roll is required to make contact with the local underworld. The base difficulty is Moderate (15), +10 for Martial Law, -5 since the party work for (or are) criminals: total difficulty is thus 20; Zil has the best skill level, 4D+2=14, failure.

They can make another roll in (1d6=) 5 days, which mostly only impacts their credit balance; I deducted 50 credits per day (each) for the hotel, food, and drinks in seedy establishments.

Since they had 5 days, I cycled them through Travelling Alone again, but there was nothing interesting until I rolled Event #12, Meet new PC.]

Wex Enstipo
Template: Gunrunner (human)
Dexterity 2D+2
 Blaster 4+2
 Dodge 3+2
Knowledge 4D
 Streetwise 5D
 Value 5D
Mechanical 4D
Perception 3D

 Bargain 4D
Strength 2D+1
 Brawl 3D+1
Technical 2D

Equipment: blast vest, hold-out blaster, modified heavy blaster pistol (5D+2 damage), 1000 credits

Five days later, our heroes are sitting dejectedly in what seems like the thousandth sticky-floored dive they've found, when Zil notices a familiar face at the bar. Wex Enstipo is a ruggedly handsome scoundrel from some outer rim hellhole who's made a name for himself smuggling guns and assorted heavy weapons into Imperial worlds for anyone who can pay. Zil is singularly immune to his charms, and he seems unafraid of her, which is as near to mutual respect as she has with anyone.

Zil sneaks up and leans on the bar beside him. "Hey, spacer, buy a lady a drink?"

"A lady? No. But I'll buy you one, Zil," laughs Wex.

After bringing him back to the table and making introductions, Zil doesn't waste any time. "So, Wex, how's the old 'import/export' business going?"

"Pretty terrible," says Wex. "But I can't think why."

"Tell me about it! We've been trying to get ahold of Vudlor Taf. And now that he's the man of the hour, it's proving a trifle difficult."

"Now there's a coincidence. I don't know where Vudlor's gone, but I need to find him too. I got a shipment of goods sitting in a hotel room and costing me money."

"Let's work together to find him, then."

[Wex's streetwise 5D=20, success (only just); 1d3+1 days]

It takes the four of them another three days of hunting up scum and making enquiries, but at last they make contact with someone in Vudlor Taf's organisation, who informs them that Vudlor has gone to ground and is hiding out in the back of one of businesses he uses to launder money through, a sweet shop in the Naslagud Market district [location via Scarlet Heroes: Tattered market].

Fortunately it isn't far to walk, since Bootleg is (still) waiting for the wheels of bureaucracy to turn so he can pay the impound fee to get his speeder back. The market itself is almost empty; many stall owners haven't bothered to open up, and more than a few shops are closed as well. When they get to the sweet shop...

[Q: Is Vudlor there when they arrive? Certain (2+): O1 C1 - No, and...
The building is (1d6): 1-2 swarming with cops, 3 swarming with stormtroopers, 4 swarming with rival gang members, 5-6 a burnt out shell]

...they find it surrounded by a human street gang, the Skull Street Stranglers -- definitely not friends of Vudlor Taf. Our heroes do their best imitation of startled pedestrians and try to leave without attracting any attention.

[Stealth rolls to remain unseen/unnoticed:
Zil 4D=14
Jather 4D+2=15
Bootleg 2D=11
Wex 3D=12
 vs. the thugs collective 3D=12]

"Oi, yer!" shouts a voice. Bootleg stiffens at the sound, then immediately realises his mistake. He turns about slowly, and tries to look casual. But the ganger right behind him does a double take. "Bootleg Bardin! Well, I'll be a rancor's chew toy! What'cha doing out here?"

"Just looking for a place to buy booze. That's still open. But you guys look busy, so I'll just get out of your way. I don't want there to be any misunderstandings." [Con 2D=7, spend a character point for +1d6=6, total 13; the thug rolls 2D=10]

"Quite right. It's best you go. You might get hurt if you stick around. And that'd be a real shame, cuz I gots 500 credits riding on your next race!"

Bootleg quickly rejoins the rest of the party, who have repaired to nearby side street. Zil has already concocted a plan to shadow one of the thugs; she will lead, the rest will lag behind until called for. She has Jather keep watch to see when they start to break up, and will wait for him to tell her which street to head down in pursuit.

[Jather needs a Moderate (14) Perception roll to notice them breaking up
(4D+2=18, success) and a similar Hide roll to stay unnoticed (4D+2=22, also success).

Q: Does one go off alone? 50/50 (4+): O5 C2 - Yes, and...

Zil needs a Sneak roll to tail: 4D=15 vs. Search 2D=9, success]

The plan works better than expected, and a lone ganger wanders off on [d6=]his own. Zil pads up behind him in the empty street, and taps him on shoulder as she presses her blaster into the small of his back.

"Keep your hands where I can see them or you'll be in the market for a new spine." [Intimidation 4D+2=13 vs. Willpower 2D=4]

The thug put his hands up in the air, and freezes as Zil deftly removes the blaster from under his coat. She sticks it in her belt, and calls her friends. She ushers the ganger in to a filthy alleyway , and the others arrive soon after.

"OK, talk," growls Zil, her blaster pressed up under the ganger's neck.

"What about? I nee--"

"Don't play games with me! What were you all doing at the sweet shop? Why are you messing with Vudlor Taf?" [Easy (10) Intimidation roll: 4D+2=13]

"I saw the holonews," says the ganger. "So he's ruined in the eyes of the public -- who cares? He's a criminal. We ruin his operation -- so much the better." [hostile - resentment - enemy]

"What have you got against him?" [Moderate (15) Intimidation roll: 4D+2=17]

"This is personal between our gang and Vudlor. But if his friends want to try hiding him from us, we can't promise that they won't get caught in the crossfire." [hostile - shelter - friends]

"So where the hell is he?"

"Do I look like his mummy?"

"Don't get smart with me. I ask you again: Where. Is. He?" Zil punctuates the words of her question by grabbing his shoulders and slamming him against the wall. But a glazed look suddenly comes over his eyes, and he falls at her feet. Then Zil notices the rusty, protruding pipe she's just managed to impale him upon.

"Ah, hells..." she says.

[She had needed another Intimidation roll, but the Wild die came up as a 1, indicating a complication. Her total was a mere 4D+2=11, so she didn't get any information, either.]

Scene 10

Out of Control (d8)

Setup: regroup & try again

NPC list: Porubek the Kitonak crimelord (Zil's boss), Vudlor Taf the Snivvian Black marketeer, Jather Plazeed the Devaronian grifter, Bootleg Bardin the human speeder racer, Wex Enstipo the human gunrunner

Threads: deliver datapad

[Time for another Streetwise roll: the difficulty increases by +5 to 25 (Very Difficult) due to things getting generally worse. Wex rolls 5D=21, failure.]

They spend another [1d6=] 5 days trying to find someone who can put them in touch with Vudlor Taf, but the martial law and repeated attacks on Taf's holdings make it a seemingly impossible task. Nerves within their little band are also beginning to fray. Zil and Wex are determined to find Vudlor Taf for their own ends, but both Jather and Bootleg are having second thoughts about sticking round.

[Q: Do either of them bail? 50/50 (4+): O6 C8 - Yes.
Q: Why is Jather staying on, then? Imitate / A path]

Jather seriously considers leaving, then thinks better of it. He feels he must make Zil think he's still helping. Besides, he's been pretending too long to back out now, and the delay is well past the point he was paid to effect.

[Q: Any trouble with Bootleg leaving? Unlikely (5+): O6 C6 - Yes.
From? 1-2 J, 3-4 W, 5-6 J&W: 2
+Event: Close a thread (deliver datapad) - Change / Danger (rival gang now after party -- see below)]

On the morning of the 5th day, Zil's comlink buzzes. She answers excitedly, hoping it's a lead.

"Hey Bootleg," she says a little dejectedly, "that was the impound lot. They said you can come in this afternoon to pay the fee and get your speeder back."

"Finally!" he says. "In that case, I'll be seeing you guys."

"What do you mean?" asks Jather.

"I mean I'm done with this mess. I'm heading back to the track to get some practice laps in before my next race. This has been fun and all, but you guys are seriously bad news. I'm lucky I didn't lose my speeder. Or my head!"

"I thought you were trying to help us for real," says Jather. "You telling me you've just been dead weight this whole time?"

"Dead weight? You sleemos wouldn't even be over here if I hadn't of took pity on you! [sic]"

Jather can hardly find words to reply, but moves towards Bootleg with menace screaming behind his eyes. Zil's never seen him like this before, and decides she should step in before things get ugly. [She needs a Moderate (15) Intimidation roll to separate them: 4D+2 =15]

Zil stands between them and pushes them apart. After a moment's hesitation, Bootleg storms off without uttering another word. Jather retreats to the toilet to sulk.

"Phew!" says Wex, holstering his blaster, "I was afraid I was going to have to shoot one of 'em."

The rest of the day is uneventful. But on the following morning, whilst waiting for Wex to be done in the shower, Zil and Jather are absently watching the hotel room's holovid. The trashy talkshow (my husband left me -- for an astromech droid!) is interrupted for an important news bulletin: notorious crimelord Vudlor Taf has been [1-3 captured, 4-6 killed] captured by Imperial forces. A speedy trial and swift restitution to his victims is promised by the Imperial planetary governor, in the name of public order.

Upon hearing the news, Zil steps outside to call her boss.

[Q: Can Zil get hold of Porubek? Likely (3+): O1 C5 - No.]

"Any Luck?" asks Jather when she comes back in.

"None. It's prolly the increased Imperial presence, though. He'll want to stay hidden too, and he does tend to think the Empire is listening in on his calls."

They aren't sure what to do next, but decide to leave the hotel room for the day as usual in order to stay sane. Whilst they're out and about...

[Party's best Perception (Jather 4D+2) vs. Mysterious pursuers' Sneak (3D): 15 vs. 12]

"Don't turn round, but we're being followed," says Jather quietly.

"Who by?" asks Zil,

"It's [1d6+1=] a pair of heavies."

"Can we lose them?"

"We can try..."

[Their Search (2D) vs. the party's worst Sneak (Wex -- also 2D): 5 vs. 11]

Jather leads them into a crowded street, and when he thinks there are enough beings between them and the heavies, he says to split up and double back to the cantina they just left. Our heroes lose the heavies in the crowd, and make their way cautiously back to their hotel before curfew.

"Now what?" asks Jather.

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