Wednesday, October 23, 2013

[Actual Play Report] Star Wars - Scum and Villainy, Session 6

EPISODE 5 - PART 1
OUT OF THE FRYING PAN AND INTO THE FIRE

Having narrowly escaped an assault by the ISD EXACTOR, flagship of imperial hero DARTH VADER, the crew of the BLACK PARIAH fled into the thick atmosphere of the gas giant PUJOOL. Beneath the clouds they escaped detection and pursuit.

Though safe from the Empire, they encountered a new, equally formidable adversary - a centuries-old storm the size of a planet. CAPTAIN VAN DRALL fought to pilot the ship through the fierce maelstrom. Damaged but not disabled, they emerged on the other side of the planet. 

With only minutes to spare before being detected, DESCA DAHL plotted a course for the first system she could think of. The small freighter limped into hyperspace bound for the desert planet TATOOINE. As they began to repair the ship, WULF WARSTAR quickly noticed that all was not what it seemed....

Cast of Characters:


Van Drall
Smuggler, Hacker, Consummate Pessimist

Played by: Walton Goggins
Career: Smuggler
Specializations: Scoundrel, Slicer
Stats: Br 2, Ag 3, In 3, Cu 3, Wi 2, Pr 2
Skills: Charm 1, Computers 1, Deceit 1, Perception 1, Pilot - Space 1, Skulduggery 1, Vigilance 1, Gunnery 1, Ranged - Light 1
Talents: Codebreaker 1, Black Market Contacts 1




Wulf Warstar
Mercenary, Agent of Chaos

Played by: Mickey Rourke
Career: Hired Gun
Specializations: Mercenary Soldier
Stats: Br 4, Ag 3, In 2, Cu 2, Wi 2, Pr 2
Skills: Athletics 1, Brawl 1, Coordination 1, Resilience 1, Vigilance 1, Gunnery 2, Melee 2, Ranged - Light 1, Ranged - Heavy 2, Underworld 1
Talents: Point Blank 1, Strong Arm, Natural Marksman, Sidestep 1, Toughened 1




Desca Dahl
Hyperactive Archaeologist

Played by: Meg Ryan
Career: Colonist
Specializations: Scholar, Scoundrel
Stats: Br 2, Ag 3, Int 4, Cu 2, Wi 2, Pr 2
Skills: Charm 2, Cool 1, Deceit 1, Negotiation 1, Core Worlds 1, Education 1, Lore 1, Pilot - Planet 1, Ranged (light), Ranged (heavy), Streetwise 1, Underworld 1
Talents: Brace 1, Black Market Contacts 1, Speaks Binary




Royce Antarii
Hitman with a Code of Honor

Played by: James McAvoy
Career: Bounty Hunter
Specializations: Assassin, Martial Arts Expert
Stats: Br 3, Ag 3, In 2, Cu 3, Wi 2, Pr 2
Skills: Athletics 1, Brawl 2, Cool 1, Discipline 1, Knowledge: Underworld 1, Ranged (Heavy) 1, Stealth 1, Streetwise 1, Vigilance 1
Talents: Stalker 1, Lethal Blows 1




R5-D4
Astromech with a Broken Motivator and a Broken Attitude

Stats: Br 1, Ag 1, In 2, Cu 2, Wi 1, Pr 1
Skills: Astrogation 3, Computers 3, Cool 2, Mechanics 2, Pilot - Space 2
Talents: None









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Scene One - The Stowaway

The Crew of the Black Pariah spent much of the next several hours trying to undo the damage to the ship caused by the storm. The more they worked on it, the more it was obvious the shields were only going to be able to be repaired in dry dock. Nevertheless, there was still much to be done. Wulf headed to the engine room to replace a damaged coupling. Much to his surprise, he discovered a man, bound and hooded, cuffed to the trivalve assembly. In a corner a few meters from that spot, Wulf spotted a full duffel bag tucked behind some coolant pipes.

The mercenary drew his combat knife and removed the hood. The man was human, with dark stringy hair, high cheekbones and piercing eyes. His skill was pale and his face bruised. Wulf gave him a nudge with the butt of his knife and, groggily, the man came to. After he was unable (or reluctant) to answer Wulf''s accusations and questions, the large man broke the binder cuff and drug him up the metal stairs to the bridge. The man groaned as his head bounced off of each step.

The group assembled to interrogate the stowaway. Wulf tossed the bag down and Desca greedily went through it. Desca pulled out a light blaster pistol, a holdout blaster, two doses of neurotoxin and a stack of Pau'an porn magazines. The stowaway claimed none of those items belonged to him, and deftly resisted providing any useful detail. Desca and Wulf debated what to do with him; the former quite interesting in learning more, the latter suggesting shoving him out the airlock. With an anxious look on his face Van Drall popped up out of the access alcove and asked the crew, annoyingly, if they had searched the ship for anything else of concern.

Desca and Wulf looked at each other in panic, tied the man to a chair, and scrambled off to search the ship. Van Drall ducked back into the alcove and continued to refit the alluvial damper.

Alone, the man began to work himself free of his restraints. Luckily, dragging him up the stairs loosened the rope just enough to wriggle one wrist free. With the ease of a man who had certainly done this a number of times before, the man quickly escaped his bonds. With a loud crack the chair he was tied to buckled - and he was free. He cursed himself for being sloppy, as he could not pretend to be tied up. R5D4, plugged into the mainframe, swiveled his head around in response to the sound, squeaked out something in binary, then went right back to work. Though he could not understand the language, the man got the sense that the droid was metaphorically rolling its eyes at him. Its eye turned back to its work, the stowaway picked up the holdout pistol from the duffel bag and hid it in the small of his back, tucked into his belt and hidden by his long black duster.

Game Note: The player succeeded at a coordination check to get free of his bindings, but generated two threat. We interpreted this as damaging the chair and creating a sound.

Down in the cargo hold, Desca noticed a faint trail of spattered blood, leading from the cargo loading ramp. She bent down to examine further. The blood was no more than several hours old. She tasted the blood, which had the distinct coppery taste of human (or at least near-human) blood. Wulf walked in, and catching her gaze, shrugged his shoulders. He found nothing in his search.

The two followed the trail to the engine room where the stowaway was found. In a corner a few meters from that spot, Wulf spotted a full duffel bag tucked behind some coolant pipes. Baffled but intrigued, the two made their way back to the main hold.

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Scene Two - Interrogation

Wulf and Desca relieved Van Drall's worries as they returned from their search. The stowaway was free of his bonds, and took a defensive stance with his back against the wall. Immediately, Desca raised her rifle and Wulf readied a grenade. After a tense exchange of threats, both sides ready to spring into action, Van Drall piped in from below. "Dammit Wulf, I told you - no grenades on the ship!"

Desca made the first move to relieve the tension in the air, and lowered her rifle. Very slowly, the stowaway pulled the hidden holdout blaster and set it on the floor. Weapons lowered, the two parties began to talk. Desca introduced the crew of the Black Pariah, and proceeded to narrate every detail of their previous adventure - annoying everyone.

In the back of his mind, the man was sizing up the crew. They told him they were headed to Tatooine. Could they be returning him to Keemo Pas, who placed a bounty on his head? A while back he assassinated a merchant named Chooloo. Chooloo happened to be Pas's lover, and he'd been looking for revenge since. Pas is a patient, methodical man who plans every detail with obsessive attention, and prefers to employ only those who do the same. Given the erratic behavior of his current company, the stowaway doubted they worked for him.

Feeling a bit more secure after hearing Desca's story, he decided to share a bit more information. The man replied in kind, and named himself Royce Antarii, and described himself as an individual with quite a few enemies and an aptitude for killing. He had no idea why he was here. The last he knew, he was sipping a strong cup of Felucian coffee some time ago, when he was attacked by an unidentified group. Before he could react, he had a bag over his head and was being tackled to the ground. He broke a few jaws with some powerful kicks, but once the sedative was injected, it was sleepy-time for him. He awoke sometime later in a tiny cell, where he was given meager food and drink. Days and possibly weeks passed and he never saw his captors. Finally, one day he was given a meal laced with a sedative, and hungrily ate every scrap. The next thing he knew, Wulf pulled the hood from his head.

With the tension somewhat lessened, Desca invited him into the makeshift kitchen and fixed him a meal. She regaled him with stories of their recent adventures, never failing to go in great depth about some boring, worthless detail. Royce didn't care. He hadn't eaten in a long while, and the Nerf milk he greedily swallowed was spectacular. After he finished eating, Desca announced that Wulf would give him a tour of the ship, annoying both men.

Wulf reluctantly agreed, and half an hour later the two were fast becoming friends. It turned out they both knew a few notorious figures from the galactic underworld and shared a love for guns. They spent the next two days assisting in ship repairs and trading war stories.

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Scene Three - Revenge!

The Black Pariah made it into the Tatoo system without complication, and made its way towards Tatooine's capitol, Bestine. Van Drall addressed his crew through the interior speaker system. "If you look through the port windows you will see the famous Beggar's Canyon, where part of the Boonta's Eve Classic Podrace is held." After a moment, he continued. "Port is to your left."

Almost immediately, a silhouette 4 object appeared on the ship's radar. It was moving faster than Van Drall's small freighter, and was approaching on an attack vector. The smuggler hit the alarm button, and klaxon's wailed. R5D4 came forward to man the co-pilot's station, while the other three passengers each manned a different gun emplacement. Van Drall executed a quick break, turning sharply against the oncoming ship's flight path. Desca scanned the ship as it came into range, identifying it as a KR-TB Doomtreader, heavily armed and shielded, its transponder code naming it the "Hater Player".

Where all the real mc's is at? 
Almost immediately, the com came to life. "You won't get away from us this time" the attacker announced. "You ruined our careers once, and now its time for revenge!" Wulf and Desca recognized the voice as that of Yasiin and shook their heads in disbelief.

In response to Royce's puzzled look, Desca explained. "Yasiin and Talib were two security guards on Acherin. The two responded to an alert when Wulf and I broke into Jar Tindel's house to..." she noticed Royce's expression glazing over, "well, they had a bit of a tussle with Wulf. By the end of the night, they were unconscious in a ditch."

Game Note: See the session 1 recap here

Closing quickly, the Hater Player peppered the G9 Rigger with laser fire, and rocked the ship with a concussion missile. Their com still open, the crew heard Yasiin and Talib high-five, exclaiming "Damn right!" in triumph. Van Drall gained altitude quickly and quickly nosed his ship back down again, giving his gunners a clear line of fire. Though they connected on the barrage, the opponent barely felt the barrage due to its augmented shields.

"Screw this" Wulf exclaimed, and headed towards the cargo hull. "I have an idea." He grabbed Desca's grappling line launcher and nodded for Royce to follow. As they made their way down, Wulf elaborated his plan on the internal com. The Black Pariah will maneuver such that they are only several meters directly above the Hater Player. Royce will open the cargo bay doors, and Wulf will fire the grappling line down to the top of the attacking ship. Royce and Wulf will then proceed down the line and enter the hatch on the top.

Game Note: I allowed to players to declare that an access hatch existed on the top of the ship by flipping a destiny point.

Van Drall protested, assuming the worst; R5-D4 chirped and whistled excitedly. Slowly, the pilot's readout screen translated the droid's binary: "HELLS YEAH." With a resigned shrug, Van Drall maneuvered his ship into position. Desca continued to trade fire with the opposition, neither side doing much damage. Wulf and Royce opened the cargo bay doors, and signaled to the crew that they were ready. Van Drall feinted a wing-over maneuver, and smirked when he realized that Yasiin was a novice pilot at best. He slammed on the breaks for a heartbeat, then matched the attacker's speed. Perfectly executed, the two ships were now only about 10 meters apart!

Wulf fired his line, and manage to get it to clamp onto the Doomtreader's hull about 9 meters from the hatch. Yasiin cursed when he realized what they were up to, and plunged the stick forward, sending his freighter into a steep nosedive. As the line alarmingly spooled out, Royce tackled Wulf, hurling them both clear of the Black Pariah's cargo ramp.

Game Note: Destiny points were being flipped right and left at this point, with most successes barely succeeding. I stated that if the ranged (light) skill check to fire the grappling line was a success, each advantage scored would remove 3 meters from a base 15 meters of distance between where they end up and where the hatch access was.

The two mercenaries plummeted, barely able to hold on as the Hater Player rolled and changed direction. Finally they slammed into the ship's hull! Wulf kept his grip on the grappling line and secured himself to the top. Royce landed at a difficult angle, lost his hold on Wulf, and bounced off the hull again. Arms flailing as he flew past the length of the ship, he managed to miraculously snag his pants on an exterior communications antenna. Desperately he held on tight. "Damnit, we've got to get beneath them in case he falls!" Van Drall moved his ship into position below the larger freighter.

Fearing to hit her two companions, Desca changed tactics and accessed the Black Pariah's computer system. Working quickly, she located a sub-routine she could exploit to gain access to the Hater Player's computer. She found the system path to unlock the exterior hatch, but was unable to execute the open command as the signal kept dropping. Van Drall passed the piloting off to R5-D4 and began his own attempt to hack the ship.

With the thud of the two men landing on the top of their hull, Ta lib looked at his companion with an excited glint in his eye. Yasiin knew exactly what he was thinking. With a high-five, they both shouted "BARREL ROLL!" The Doomtreader spun on its long axis, imparting centrifugal force to the two would-be shipjackers. The force was too strong for the com antenna, and it snapped, sending Royce on a trajectory that intercepted Tattooine's desert surface. Wulf, thinking quickly, used the motion granted by the roll to launch himself in a long arc, still attached by the grappling line. At the last possible second, he grabbed onto Royce's forearm and yanked him back.

Yasiin's face lit up with a flash of brilliance, Yasiin rotated his ship around. Now inverted, he pitched down to smash the dangling pirates between the two ships. With the new firing angle, Talib opened up on the smaller craft with his linked double medium laser cannons, and shredded the Black Pariah's hull. The two ships collided a half-mile above the surface of Tatooine, but Royce and Wulf managed to escape being caught in that deadly vice. Both ships were damaged in the collision. The Hater Player suffered only minor hull damage, but the Black Pariah began experiencing wild power fluctuations as an external ion flux stabilizer was destroyed.

As the two ships separated, Wulf and Royce once again dangled precariously. To their horror and surprise, the hatch opened! Talib steadied himself and fired downward on the two men swinging below, missing badly. With the hatch open, Royce directed Wulf to use the momentum of the swinging line to launch him into the now-open hatch! Sailing through the air, Royce missed a direct hit on Talib, but managed to gain purchase on the hatch. A forceful kick to the head sent Talib sprawling backwards. Talib lurched towards the hatch controls to seal the two mercenaries out, but Royce staggered him with a roundhouse to the throat. In searing pain, Talib didn't see Wulf scamper through the hatch, nor did he see the combat knife Wolf plunged into his throat. 

In the cockpit, Yasiin immediately cut off his attack pattern and yelled hysterically at his foes "I give up! I give up! No need to kill me!" Royce pulled the terrified man from the pilot's seat, passed him off to Wulf, and settled in to pilot the craft. Wulf slammed the man's skull into the bulkhead to stop his desperate pleading. "I know just what to do with you. Royce, open the cargo bay doors. Yasiin fell limp with doomed resignation as Wulf dragged him to the back of the ship. With a heave, the would-be bounty hunter went sailing into the blue Tatooine sky. Wulf's smug grin quickly disappeared when he saw Yasiin pop his parachute and shoot him an obscene gesture.

Game Note: I couldn't resist flipping a destiny point to ensure the party's would-be nemesis lived to fight another day!


As Tatooine's two suns began to set, the two ships continued towards Bestine. Upon reaching the capitol's broadcast range, Desca noticed a message light on her comlink. The comcode belonged to Bib Fortuna, whom they smuggled illegal spices for some months ago.

“Seems you have been in a bit of trouble lately. Fortunately, The Great Jabba has graciously offered to be of assistance. Meet me at Chalmun’s Cantina tomorrow evening and we’ll review the details.”

Van Drall groaned, echoing the thoughts of the others. "Great. A Hutt offered assistance. Something tells me we can't say no." Ever cheery, Desca merely shrugged. "Could be worse!"

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Scene Four - Wheeling and Dealing


Landing in Mos Eisley that night, Van Drall got his first chance to inspect the newly 'acquired' ship. The Doomtreader was just as fast and more maneuverable. It boasted an impressive weapon layout, and the previous owners had even upgraded the defensive systems by installing a reinforced shield generator. In true bounty hunter fashion, the ship was outfitted with prison compartments that can hold up to 6 individuals. Interestingly, Yasiin and Talib had a full-sized, professional music recording studio and practice space installed. Despite Desca's protests "but I had all that Kashykkian hardwood flooring installed on the Black Pariah" Van Drall decided they'd keep the Doomtreader and sell the damaged G9 Rigger.

The next morning, the crew set out to find a buyer. As they had sizable bounties on their head, it impossible to locate a legitimate buyer, and almost impossible to locate a black market buyer. Thankfully, Royce found just the right person near the end of the day.

Ar Mar claimed to be a legendary podracer who builds his own racers. He said he had a streak of recent first place finishes, and was looking for a fast freighter to transport his racers in. Upon first seeing the ship the Sullustan was not impressed, but the crew promised it had all the upgrades he needed.

Desca put her arm around him and let her Falleen pheromones go to work. She took him into the small kitchen area, where she'd installed a number of modern upgrades. "This ship is fast and well armored, but its also something that will bring in the ladies" she purred. His ears twitching, he began to think he'd get Desca as well. Wulf volunteered to show him the weapons systems and targeting array - but he was less than impressed. Royce and Van Draal took a shot at selling him on the engines; but he didn't bite. In fact, he pointed out a few easy modifications than Van Drall never even thought of. Desca came in to attempt to salvage the sale, but the canny Sullustan suddenly realized he was dealing with some very wanted criminals and made a hasty retreat.

With the only buyer they could locate turned away, they realized they would have to try and sell it to Jabba. Dejected, they set off to meet Bib Fortuna.

Game Note: I had the party make five social skill checks to convince Ar Mar to buy; all they had to do was succeed at 3 of them. Sadly, they failed four times.


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End Part 1