Friday, 8 December 2017

Star Wars RPG solo - Part 16: Conspiracies, Conspiracies

Meanwhile, outside...

The weather was mild today -- overcast without precipitation, winds rarely topping 25kph, and the temperature reached a balmy -2°C -- so the miners had been ferried out to the surface mines some distance from the compound.

Despite the easier conditions, Wex is barely hanging on. Jather is doing his best to keep him moving as Zil and Lina try to lighten his load. Even so, a lot of the other workers are getting fed up. Wex is sitting on the ground, pretending to adjust the settings on his heat-borer when he suddenly finds himself surrounded by [2d6=] half a dozen angry workers.

Scene 3

Out of Control (d8)

Setup: d8=3, Interrupt (was: scope out target)
Interrupt: PC negative - Wex - Abuse / Ambush

NPC list: contact, target, ISB agent, informant, Imperial commander, rebel agent, love interest, Inzoyln the Bith blackmailer, overseer, executive, Baprasta the barabel shockboxer (false target), Yarishe the Chiss tech (Oosuu's "rival")

Threads: survive the wait, false assassination, Yarishe's gambit

"Look who's taking another break," says a Gotal with a broken horn.

"Mind your arse don't freeze off," adds a mangy Shistavanen.

"Come off it guys," says Wex, "my borer's just really playing up today. Going to pass it over to technical when we get back."

"Like you had to do with your laser drill yesterday?" asks the Gotal. "And your densitometer the day before? No one's buying your 'run of bad luck' story, y'know?"

"Damn lazy human," adds the Shistavanen.

When Zil notices what's going on, she rushes to intercede. She grabs the Gotal by the shoulder and shakes him roughly. "Hey!" she shouts in his face. "Wex is a friend of mine. I suggest you start treating him with the respect he deserves, if you want to stay on my good side. Zlaphotix got on my bad side. You don't want to end up like him, do you?"

[Zil needs to make a Difficult (20) Intimidation roll; 5D=22, success]

A look of panic plays over the Gotal's face. "We, uh, we were just joking, Zil. Didn't mean anything by it. Honest."

"We always like joking round with humans," says the Shistavanen.

The angry miners disperse. Wex looks weakly up at Zil. "Thanks for that," he says.

"Don't mention it," she replies.

"Just one question, though. Didn't Zlaphotix die of a spice overdose?"

"Yeah, but I've never been one to let the truth get in the way of a good threat. And whilst we're on the subject of controlled substances, why don't you see if that friend of yours can get a medpac or something smuggled in. You're not looking so good."

[Q: Can medical supplies be brought in? 50/50 (4+): O1 C1 - No, and...
+Event: Move toward a thread (false assassination) - Carelessness / Bureaucracy]

Two days later, not much has changed. Wex's contact hasn't come through, he himself can still barely stand for ten minutes without tiring, Yarishe hasn't stopped harrying Oosuu, and Zil's been planning a hundred scenarios to do in the Barabel at "Morga's" behest. The only thing that has changed is the weather -- for the worse. Snow is coming down thick, and the wind is gusting high enough that repulsorlift travel is too hazardous, so the miners are working the crystal forest (so-called) near the barracks. The crystal spires are hard to cut through and of a generally low quality, but the alternative in such inclement weather would be to cancel the shift entirely -- and the Empire is not interested in excuses.

Zil looks round and notices a distinct lack of anyone in charge. On a hunch she goes back to the compound entrance for a peek. Sure enough, the overseer and the shift leaders are sitting the warmth of the staging room, playing cards.

[1d5=3 PCs present: OLZ]

Zil goes back to where she was working with Oosuu and Lina. "No one's chaperoning this dance today," she says. "I'm moving the timetable forward."

"Great," says Lina. "At least this'll be over with. What's your big plan?"

"These spires weigh an easy tonne each. I'm thinking someone's about to have an unfortunate accident. Lina, think you can rig it to fall in a certain spot?"

"I can do it."

"Oosuu, can you--"

"Oosuu know. Lure Barabel to spot. Oosuu look helpless, so Oosuu bait."

"I'm sorry, but there's no other--"

"Not discuss now, Zil."

Lina cuts into the colossal crystal spire's base, weakening it so a single nudge from Zil's laser drill should send it toppling. When it's nearly ready, Oosuu trudges off through the snow to find Baprasta and convince her to come help them shift the massive formation.

[Oosuu is sort of using her Persuasion skill and sort of using Con, enough so that I decided to apply the -1D penalty recommended in the rulebook for using the former skill to emulate the latter. Baprasta resists with her full value. O 3D+2=20 (Wild die 6,4) vs. 3D+1=10 (Wild 1! - she doesn't suspect a thing.)

Lina needs to make a Moderate (15) Tech roll to lay the trap. 3D=9 (wild=1!); she takes 5D damage. Str 3D+2=22 (the wild die was overactive in this scene) vs. 5D=16, she's only Stunned]

The disgust in the pit of her stomach is mingling with despair in the depths of her heart, but Oosuu manages to suppress both long enough to smile pleadingly up at the hulking Barabel.

"Hi Baprasta. Lina try fell big crystal, but crystal too big. Strong Barabel maybe help?"

Baprasta tries to smile without showing too many teeth -- a Barabel's toothy maw always looks so threatening to other aliens. "Of course, Oosuu. I'd be happy to help. Lead the way."

Oosuu turns quickly away before her expression goes completely sour, and chokes down a sob. She waves for Baprasta to follow and briskly retraces her steps.

But when they are halfway there, Oosuu hears Zil suddenly start screaming in panic. She breaks into a dead run, as fast as she can throughthe knee-deepsnow, and Baprasta follows hard on her heels. They arrive to see the spire has already broken and toppled over, trapping Lina beneath.

[Q: Does Baprasta help? Likely (3+): O5 C5 - Yes.
+Event: NPC action - overseer - Punish / The innocent]

Baprasta wastes no time, but wedges her plasteel prybar beneath the fallen crystal. She pushes down, straining with all her considerable might, raising the crystal just far enough that Zil can pull Lina's leg out from beneath.

The shock wears off in a few moments, and Lina starts laughing with relief. "I'm OK. My leg's fine. Lucky for me it was mostly snow under me where it fell!"

The commotion had caused many other workers to drop what they were doing and come running. One of the overseers even felt compelled to leave the warmth of the staging room to see what had happened. As there was no serious injury, the overseers do not bother with filing an incident report -- neither they nor their Imperial masters are particularly interested in matters of safety. But the general disruption meant that the shift failed to make quota, and punishments must be meted out to maintain order and efficiency. Over the few days, work periods are lengthened and privileges curtailed until the shortfall is made up.

Zil keeps Lina and Oosuu closer than normal, only letting one or the other out of her sight when she needs to pass a message to Jather and Wex. Zil also insists that they need to wait a few days to try anything else so that Baprasta doesn't get suspicious. She neglects to mention that she needs the time to come up with a better idea. And she certainly doesn't let on that she's been spending more time on trying to find a way out of it than she has on coming up with a new plan.

[At this point, things became very convoluted. To figure out where the adventure was heading next, I asked the Oracle a series of questions:

Q: Do things generally worsen? 50/50 (4+): O6 C3 - Yes, but... simmering discontent only, nothing flashy
Q: Does Baprasta want something in return for helping? Likely (3+): O3 C2 - Yes, and...
Q: What does she want? Ambush / Ambush : needs protection from Inzoyln, wants to join Zil's gang
Q: Does Yarishe try something? Unknown: 1d6=2, Certain: O5 C7 - Yes.
Q: Does Inzoyln put pressure on Zil? 50/50 (4+): O6 C7 - Yes
Q: Does a rival gang start summat? 50/50 (4+): O2 C8 - No
Q: Does real contact show up in the middle of all this? 50/50 (4+): O3 C4 - No, but... soon

Also, some of the PCs had actions they wanted to take. So to decide on the sequence of events, I wrote a list of all the PC & NPC actions, and rolled a d20 for each to determine the "Initiative" order to follow. The order became:


Zil is just stalling, so isn't on the list. Also, random events and interrupts interfered with the order, and in one case even went against what the Oracle had said above, but the exercise was just for getting things rolling rather than determining a scene structure.]

Scene 4

Out of Control (d8)

Setup: Jather tries to score

NPC list: contact, target, ISB agent, informant, Imperial commander, rebel agent, love interest, Inzoyln the Bith blackmailer, overseer, executive, Baprasta the barabel shockboxer (false target), Yarishe the Chiss tech (Oosuu's "rival")

Threads: survive the wait, false assassination, Yarishe's gambit

Jather knows Zil is pre-occupied and is content to let her sit and plot and conspire. He's more immediately worried about Wex, who is looking like he might collapse at any moment. When he hasn't been mothering poor Wex, he's spent most of his free time winning money off his fellow workers playing Sabaac. He'd been planning to... well, he's not really sure what he'd been planning. Company scrip only goes so far in the provision of creature comforts, and there aren't really many to be had here that would interest a jaded Devaronian.

Jather leaves Wex asleep and wanders off to the recreation area to find his marks-- er, card buddies. He lets it be known that he's willing to forgive all their debts, if they could just provide him with a type 46u9-c medicine kit (that's 'c' for cold, not 'h' for heat, he hastily adds). But no one seems to have one. "Why not try the infirmary?" they all ask.

[Jather needed a Difficult (17) Streetwise roll to get one; 4D+2=13, failure.

Without treatment, Wex might be getting worse, so I rolled his STR on the natural healing chart, but with no hope of improvement: 2D+1=11: no change.]

Jather can't let Wex anywhere near the infirmary. One look at him, and they'd ship him right off to hospital -- half a continent away -- and he'd probably never be reassigned here. But just maybe...

After the next day's mining shift, Jather foists Wex off on Lina, asking her to mind him for a few hours. He knows she'll be so happy to spend time with Wex that she won't even ask why, the poor deluded thing. He feels a twinge of guilt, but he'd rather not have to explain things to Oosuu, who would probably try to stop him from doing something stupid. She's far too observant.

Jather creeps back to the staging room, opens the external door, and stands in the cold for five minutes. He even rubs his hands in the snow a bit, but only a bit. Best not to actually damage himself, he thinks. Then he heads immediately to the infirmary, where the [1d6: 1-4 droid, 5-6 nurse] ancient and battered FX-7 medical droid is doing the daily inventory.

"Hey, doc," says Jather.

"Please state the nature of the medical emergency," drones the droid.

"With these long shifts lately it's like I just can't warm up any more. Feel my hands; they're like ice!"

"Have you tried working harder?"

"I've tried everything! Doc, ya gotta help me. I just need a little something to get through. If I had some anti-frostbite meds, it would really improve my peak efficiency. And then my whole shift would be more productive. Everyone would benefit! Just give me one of those 46u9-c jobbies; such a small expense for such a great return!"

[he needs a Very Difficult (22) Persuasion roll: 5D+2=25, score.]

Jather is positively beaming when he finds Lina and Wex in the holovid viewing room. "Lina," he says, "wake up Wex and help me get him somewhere with better lighting."

"What? Why? He's finally comfortable. Besides, I want to know how this one ends."

"The plucky kids get the attention of the Imperial governor with their amazing dance skills, and he's so impressed that he saves their orphanage and has the greedy land developer executed as a traitor to the Empire. Now let's get going."

"If Zil doesn't kill you someday, Jather, I just might have to."

Lina half-carries Wex back to his and Jather's room, to find that both their bunkmates are fortunately elsewhere. "So what's this about?" she asks.

"This medpac," says Jather, "which I finally managed to coax out of the medical droid. Who, by the way, I'm pretty sure was programmed by the accounting department."

Lina rips open the pack eagerly and sets immediately to work, injecting Wex with a series of brightly-coloured hypos [Medicine (Tech) 3D=12, success].

"This should start to undo the damage," says Lina, "but he'll probably still be a bit weak for a day or two. We should just let him sleep now. But since I'm here, I wanted to ask you something. Have you talked to Oosuu lately?"

[Q: Has he seen her since the attempt? 50/50 (4+): O2 C2 - No, and... might not get chance now
+Event: NPC positive (Inzoyln) - Arrive / Allies 1d6+1=3]

"No. Not really. Why?"

"This whole business with the Barabel is really getting to me. I think it's getting to her, too, but Zil's, like, always there so I can't ask her. Could you maybe tell her that I'm having second thoughts? And that I think we should try to talk Zil into re-negotiating with Inzoyln... Unless she's taking Zil's side. Then don't say anything. Please!"

Next post: threats and violence!

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