Saturday, 23 December 2017

Star Wars RPG solo - Part 20: Spire Base

The twenty chosen workers are transported halfway to their destination in fast speeders, whose windows have been covered so the passengers can't see out.

The speeders put down in a snow field, where a 10-wheeled Juggernaut awaits to take the workers the rest of the way, since repulsorlift vehicles are prone to being blown over by gales which plague the area. Even the aptly-named Juggernaut does not venture here casually -- the observation tower has been removed lest the winds rip it off. The immense vehicle is heavy enough to stay on ground, and ride over rough, broken terrain in a more-or-less straight line. Still, it's a bumpy ride.

After five hours, the Juggernaut rolls briefly to a halt. After an expectant minute, it once again rolls forward, but very slowly. All the jostling suddenly ceases as the behemoth rolls over a force bridge. It then comes to another stop, and the order comes to disembark. They've arrived.

Scene 11

Out of Control (d8)

Setup: transport to new site & settling in

NPC list: Trefftun (contact), target, Lt. Haldee (ISB agent / double-agent for the Alliance), informant, Imperial commander, love interest, Inzoyln the Bith blackmailer, overseer, Baprasta

mission, deal with Inzoyln

[NB: Barabel Shockboxer is a character template I probably never would have chosen to play on my own, but I really liked what happened with Baprasta. Her personality congealed really fast, too, so I had her graduate to full PC status at this point.]

As the hatch opens, Zil feels a wave of biting cold assail her. She remembers not to breathe deeply at first, as they had been instructed, and watches with amusement as those who did not heed the warning fall to their knees with the shock. Luckily, Baprasta is there to catch Jather. Zil clambers out of the vehicle into eddying whirls of snow. The grey dusk is illumined by yellow spotlights overhead, which grant Zil her first glimpse of the base, a series of bunker-like low buildings on a island in the midst of a swiftly flowing ice river. Zil then notices several of the other workers stop in their tracks and stare in rapt fascination. She follows their gaze up and is herself momentarily stunned. The base is situated at the foot of an immense spire of solid crystal, which rises one kilometre straight into the sky. Zil can just make out a metal structure clinging precariously to the top of the spire.

Zil watches a sliver of light appear in the main barracks' durasteel wall, and turn into the outer door. A lone figure emerges and yells to be heard above the gusting wind, "Welcome to Spire Base!" The figure waves the workers on inside. Zil notes that the outer door is nothing so much as an airlock -- needed to keep the heat inside in such a frigid place.

The inside of the base is much more spartan than the last but also much emptier; the new arrivals bring the total number of miners up to a mere [20+(2d6x4)=] 56. As the workers were selected specially, they are given relatively more freedom. They are housed only two to a room, and even allowed to chose their bunkmates without restrictions. Zil grabs Oosuu without a second thought. Wex and Jather are already squabbling over which of them gets the top bunk. Lina had been fervently hoping that Wex would want to room with her; she does her best to hide her disappointment and smile when Baprasta asks if she'll be her roomie.

Despite the relative freedoms enjoyed by the workers, the overseer impresses upon them that this is a high-security facility. Indeed, stormtroopers patrol the inside [12 in the worker's base, 24 atop the spire], and two full snowtrooper platoons [25 each] are stationed here. One is inside and one out on manoeuvres at any given time.

The workers' routine is much the same as before, save that special crystals are being recovered and passed to a science team in the laboratory atop the Spire for their research. Not all the crystals are equal, so after sorting the rejects -- which form the bulk of the take -- are loaded on droid-driven ice barges and floated down river to nearest processing station. The crystals that pass the inspection are sent up the spire to the lab via pneumatic tubes. Each worker spends every third day on sorting/loading duty. Oosuu and the other techs are assigned only when things need fixing.

[I wasn't sure where to start the action in the first scene, so I made a quick table:

1. opportunity for revenge
2. Inzoyln pulls a stunt
3. environmental hazard
4. rebel contact
5. mission contact
6. random event

I also made a weather table, but didn't use it very much.

1. clear
2. cloudy
3. overcast
4. light snow
5. heavy snow
6. blizzard

For the first scene, I rolled d6=1: opportunity for revenge. Which necessitated a third table:

1. crevasse
2. ice flow
3. machinery
4. avalanche
5. storm
6. angry 3rd party

Opportunity: 1d6=2

d6+1=3 workers sent to barges to oversee lading
I, + 2 random PCs: O, W

This probably should have begun a separate scene, but the actual arrival required no dice rolling...]

The first fortnight passes without incident, as the new workers get adjusted and the old guard complain about having to explain everything over and over. Oosuu had tried unsuccessfully to persuade Zil that they should let the Inzoyln matter drop, but Zil insists that she is a loose end since she knows they're here on a job for Morga, so cannot be allowed to snitch on them. Zil has both Jather and Lina explain it to the Twi'lek, who agrees to follow whatever plan the rest of them devise, and with a minimum of pouting.

An opportunity is not long in coming. One frigid day, when [1d6=4] the snow is falling lightly but steadily, Oosuu, Wex, and Inzoyln find themselves on sorting/loading duty. The actual sorting is done in a dirty duracrete & plasteel outbuilding, which is heated to a balmy 5 degrees Centigrade by the presence of the myriad spectrometers, laser-probes, fixed densitometer arrays &c &c that are required for sorting. But someone must be outside (in the -20 degree open air) to supervise the loading of the barges themselves; this task has unsurprisingly been given to the new arrivals.

All the rejected crystals travel from the sorting area on a clanking conveyor belt, from which they drop down into an open-topped barge. The 'supervisors' are each given a sturdy metal rake with which to smooth out the pile of crystals and make sure none go over the side. They must also tell the droid barge pilot when to advance when one barge is full, so the next in the train can be filled. The barge droids are too stupid to do anything except pilot down the ice river and back.

Wex, Oosuu, and Inzoyln trudge out beside the conveyor belt and carefully descend the 6m stone steps down to the short, icy dock. The train of barges bobs dangerously in the rapid, freezing current. One by one the workers clamber up onto the side of the barge and jump down inside. The crystals inside are deep enough that Oosuu's waist is at the level of the barge's rim.

Hour by hour the crystal floor rises. Inzoyln keeps her distance, little realising that Wex and Oosuu have concocted a deadly plan. When the barge is nearly full, Wex gives Oosuu the signal. She keeps lookout to make sure no one is watching -- mostly just the droid pilot -- as Wex moves towards Inzoyln, poised for the kill.

[Oosuu: Moderate (15) Perception roll to ascertain if the coast is clear: 4D+2=18, success.
Q: Coast clear? Likely (3+): O3 C2 - Yes, and... droid pilot out of sight
Wex needs a Moderate (12) Movement roll (Dexterity) to get close, 2D+2=11, fail. Inzoyln needs same to increase distance: 1D+1= 9 (wild +2), fail]

Inzoyln sees him coming, and tries to back up. Neither of them is able to make much progress on the unstable and shifting pile of loose crystals. He finally scrambles over to her and gets in close, dropping his rake and grabbing hold of Inzoyln's as she tries ineffectually to fight him off. He shoves her back with all his might. She plunges over the side of the barge and is swept away in the rapidly flowing ice.

[Wex's Brawl 3D+1 vs. Inzoyln's Melee Parry 1d+1+10(armed vs. unarmed): 16 vs. 15; damage 2D+1=12 vs. 1D+2=4, Incapacitated]

Oosuu clambers over to Wex [no move roll for slow movement] and gets the safety line from the side of the barge. Wex attaches the end to his belt, winks at Oosuu, then jumps into the river to 'save' Inzoyln.

[He needs a Moderate (15) Stamina roll not to pass out from the shock of cold: 2D+1=10, fail.
Oosuu needs an Easy (10) Strength roll to pull him back in: 2D+2=16(wild 6+4)]

Wex blacks out the moment he hits the frigid water. He's barely in the river for half a second before Oosuu frantically begins pulling him back out. She deposits her unconscious friend on the pile of crystals and sprints along the rim of the barge to pull the emergency conveyor stop and sound the alarm.

Oosuu is in tears when the other workers come running to see what is the matter. Wex is turning blue -- bluer than she is! -- and won't wake up. Oosuu babbles incoherently at the others about an accident as they all help carry Wex back into the base. The shift supervisor has called ahead for a medical droid, and Wex is whisked away to the infirmary.

[Wex takes 4D cold damage before getting inside: 2D+1=7 vs. 4D=17, Incapacitated.]

He spends the next [4D=] 15 hours recovering in the bacta tank. Oosuu spends what seems nearly that long being quizzed by the overseer, executive, Imperial commander, and Imperial liaison about the incident. She tells them over and over, unwaveringly, that Inzoyln was standing on the barge rim when she lost her balance and fell in. Wex tried to save her but was nearly carried off by the current himself. Luckily she managed to throw him the safety line, which he was able to clip onto his belt before passing out.

[Her Con roll 4D+2=18 vs. the Overseer's 3D=16 and the Commander's 4D=14, success.
Q: Any real fallout? 50/50 (4+): O1 C8 - No.]

Oosuu's very real terror at Wex's brush with death softens even the Imperial commander's heart. They believe her story, and write up their various reports accordingly.

Oosuu is relieved when the medical droid interrupts the meeting to report that the patient will live, and is expected to make a full recovery. She is less relieved to find out that all workers will be attending a mandatory half-day workshop on the importance of safety procedures. But such are the wages of sin, she reflects.

Next post: secret factions are revealed!

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