Friday, August 14, 2020

A Star Wars Scenario and Campaign Setup

  This is based off an idea cooked up by a friend of mine, Keith, in 1993 but never fleshed out or used. I fleshed it out with specifics and a flow. Feel free to use as you like, it is just an extended sketch.

Setup: The PCs need a starship, preferably either a fast one or one that can blend in. Stock freighters are always best. Get it explained why the PCs are together before the session or roleplay out their meeting. It is important that no PC be already active as an agent of the Rebellion but that all at least dislike the Empire.

Best: If one or more PCs are in debt, owe someone a favor, etc., this is best. Don't force it on anyone, of course.

Start: The PCs are in a dive bar near the spacedocks discussing how they can make some credits since there has been no work for some time. They are approached by Meesha Morna (a Loyal Retainer) who explains that she needs a set of diplomatic messages taken to the Wurlagan system and delivered to a woman named Vor'Ma. Vor'Ma can be found in the Hall of Records in the town of Ush, which has a small starport. Meesha says that the key is discretion - if her boss finds out that not only were the messages not sent in a diplomatic pouch but she didn't deliver them herself she is in big trouble. Meesha has to take the rest of her diplomatic messages to Narsa and then to Alderaan.
  She will pay them half up front (enough to make a minimal payment on debt, or something similarly attractive to the players) and Vor'Ma will match the payment on the other end. She expects them to leave immediately. The players should get the hint.
  Meesha is seen to meet with Captain Brakk, owner and pilot of the freighter Red Moon. Brakk and his crew are friendly with the PCs and similarly down on their luck. Meesha and Brakk leave as the PCs do.

Next: As the PCs are boarding their ship they come under blaster fire just as the door is closing. They catch just a glimpse of stormtroopers rushing the ship while a team is setting up a heavy ion blaster to disable them. As the ship blasts out of the docking plaza they soon realize there is a full star destroyer in orbit but, luckily, is moving away. They may or may not have 2 TIE fighters strafe them (GM's call) or long-range fire from the star destroyer (also GM's call) but they see the Red Moon disabled by the star destroyer and tractored into the  Imperial ships boarding bay before they get away and jump to Wurlagan.

Offscreen: Meesha is captured and will hold out as long as she can before she gives the planet's name the PCs are headed toward and then says they are going to the capitol to give the messages to the assistant planetary governor, her contact. This will buy the PCs 2 full days.

Wurlagan: A remote rim world, Wurlagan is dominated by heather-covered moors, rolling hills, low but rocky mountains, and the rare sheltered valley that are very fertile. On the coast of one of the 4 continents is the town of Ush with it's small starport. If they ask at the Hall of Records they learn that Vor'Ma left for her parent's home in the nearby highlands just that morning, but the clerk says she expects the PCs to visit her and a map is given. The party can rent or buy a speeder if they don't have on. It is 6 hours by speeder or a day if they hitch rides.
At the house (a rock structure carved into a cliff with spectacular views of the cold, stormy ocean to the east) they find Vor'Ma (an Armchair Historian), alone in her ancestral home. She will openly scan them for weapons and gear and demand they leave any communication devices in the foyer in a shielded closet. Over tea she will ask them about their backgrounds and history, watching them carefully and subtly gauging their support of the Empire. If they refuse to answer, are dishonest or evasive, etc, she will make more tea. The second batch requires everyone to make a Strength check at -1D. If they fail they must answer her truthfully for 15 minutes.
Once Vor'ma is relatively sure of their dislike and distrust of the Empire she will ask them to spend the night and she will talk to them about the messages in the morning.

The Next Day: After long thought she will confide in the PCs that she is a rebel agent. Only a middleman, her job is to take data brought by field agents to her next contact who takes them to the Rebellion. But 3 days ago her contact and her backup contact both vanished. She retreated here to the family home to see if anyone would follow. The messages the PCs have brought have a code that lets her know to protect them and to get the to the Rebellion as fast as possible. She suspects it is a full intelligence report on the Emperor's personal network of spies! She has no means of getting offworld and is fairly convinced she is watched, so her plan is for the PCs to return to Ush by a back route, slip to their ship, and leave for her next known contact, her failsafe - the master mechanic Jorbo (a Tongue-Tied Engineer) at the orbital scrapyard on the Vorthan asteroid belt. She will try to contact her cousin Vim, who has a small courier ship in a shed in the Green sector of Ush. A courier ship no one knows about. Since her cousin might say no, the PCs should keep the messages. She gives them a token that looks like a simple spanner - if a hidden button is pushed it will confirm they are rebel couriers.

GM Notes: If time is up (i.e., the 2 full days) then the PCs have to get off planet by local Noon on day three of the Empire will lock own and take their ship. If this happens they will have to race to the hidden courier ship (just large enough for the PCs plus one person and a small cargo, but fast and with good shields. It is unarmed, although it has a bay for a proton torpedo or ion torpedo launcher ) and get out with it. If they do go for the courier they learn that Vor'Ma was killed trying to escape arrest by stormtroopers. So they might blast off just as a star destroyer jumps in-system or they might have to slip through the city, avoiding stormtroopers when they can, fighting them when they can't, locating the courier ship, getting it going (grabbing the cousin, a Brash Pilot, if no PCs are pilots) and slipping out past TIE fighters and the destroyer.

Vorthan Asteroid belt: The sparse belt is also home to thousands of derelict starships being broken down for parts. They are clustered around 3 salvage stations - 300 meter globes with 2 residential levels, 3 office and work levels, 2 workshop levels, a life support and power level, and a massive bay where ships are brought in for specific work. Each of the salvage stations have artificial gravity, although this is often turned off within the mighty main bay.
  Jorbo works in Station Lem (the others are Station Per and Station Ora) and deals with smaller electronic components, portable scanners, etc. so he is usually not very busy, but the PCs need no excuse to see him. Once with him if they show him the spanner he confirms who they are, asks to see the message disk (about 6 cm across and 1 cm thick, oval, with a data port end), puts in a reader, gasps, and tells them they have to immediately depart for another location. He gives them a different spanner as well as a portable scanner. He shows them how the portable scanner will give them the astrogation coordinates to their destination and then how to plug it into their ship's computers so that the Rebel defenders know they are allies ("Only attach the scanner this way AFTER you are in hyperspace!"). The spanner is another bona fide.
As the PCs are leaving the station in their ship an Imperial frigate jumps in-system and launches 2 customs cutters. There is a 50% chance one asks to board and search the PC's ship. This is entirely routine and as long as the PCs do not have bombs laying in the halls they will be given a customs stamp and sent on their way. If they run/shoot/etc. they have a tough fight as they get the scanner attached and the coordinates ready!

Unknown Forest Moon: The PC's jump into a very remote system and within moments detect two unusual space fighters approaching them. If they have the scanner attached properly a brief radio conversation will result in the x-wings escorting them in. If not the x-wings will prep for a fight and demand they land very carefully.
  They will be directed to the heavily forested moon of a gas giant and land in a frontier spaceport next to a series of massive ruins of what must have once been a temple. They will meet with Captain Morgo (Ex-Imperial Officer) who will confirm their bona fides, take the data, and debrief them completely. At the end he will ask them if they wish to join the Rebellion formally.
[I assume the PCs will].
After debriefing to determine what roles the various PCs can fulfil with the Rebellion they are given a bunk area and told they will meet with leadership the next day. The Rebellion desperately needs starfighter pilots and gunners and will eagerly add anyone with such skills (even just a high Characteristic!) to these units.
The next day begins when they are brought into the mess hall where they are introduced to their new teams. Mechanics and technicians will work for Burth Awan (Tongue-tied Engineer) and meet their teammates Urlu, Watha, and Meldor. Infiltration/scouts will meet their leader Assa Bortei (a Fierce Tribesman) and her squad Mark, Santo and Liss. Starfighter Gunners report to Gold Squadron as gunners in Y-wings; their boss is Jon Vander (Brash Pilot). Pilots will go to the very under-strength Red Squadron x-wings commanded by Garven Dreis (Ex-Imperial Officer). Gold Squadron includes Nora Wexley, Dex Tiree, and Brace Marko (among others) while Red Squadron includes Ralo Surrel, Jek Porkins, and Biggs Darklighter.
Immediately after the meal everyone hears a klaxon and all rush off to get into full combat uniform, the old hands helping the PCs, then they are summoned to a full briefing.

The Briefing: Rebel general Dodonna introduces himself and asks for quiet. he explains that a recent intelligence gathering mission was successful. He laments the loss of Princess Leia, who was captured trying to get the intelligence to the Rebels, as well as the loss of her personal assistant Meesha Morna. But their tactic of copying the data in the hopes at least one would get through worked thanks to the efforts of the newest members of the team (he thanks the PCs).
But the Empire has been tireless in searching for them and their newest weapon, a massive mobile battle station capable of destroying an entire planet. And it has already been used to destroy Alderaan, a critical supporter of the Rebellion.
He goes on the explain that the emergency briefing was called because the Death Star was detected entering this very system and it is headed towards the base. In a short time it will be clear of the gas giant Yavin and be ready to fire on this very moon, the Rebellion's main base.
Analysis of the Death Star's plans have revealed a weakness...
[insert the bit from the movie]
...the secondary goal of the assault it to provide enough time for the base to be evacuated of key materiel and people. If the assault fails any surviving ships should rendezvous with a heavy cargo lighter hidden in the cometary cloud of the system
Good luck, and may the Force be with you.

GM Notes: In this reality the agents made a copy of the Death Star plans and Leia immediately sent them off via her personal assistant. Leia later gave them to an astromech droid, but it was destroyed when Imperial gunners shot down the escape pod it was in. Leia was coerced and tortured but held firm in the presence of Grand Moff Tarkin.
  Meesha, who was also captured, faced a similar fate but when confronted with the destruction of Alderaan she gave up what information she had, allowing Vader to learn of the forest moon of Yavin within days.

The Battle of Yavin: The PC's ship (their own or the courier) will have been given an emergency proton torpedo launcher installation and it has 6 proton torpedoes. Any pilots and gunners will now be part of Gold or Red Squadrons. The battle can be all-new but remember the sequence - Red provides cover for Gold , etc. The fight should be capable of success if a good pilot or gunner Trusts in the Force and has just a bit of luck (high roll) but it should be very hard. And don't forget Vader! In a pinch if the Death Star MUST go down here have an NPC does suicide dive (but I recommend against it).

Aftermath: Meesha and Leia are probably dead either by execution of Death Star destruction (I suppose you could set up rescue missions if the Death Star wasn't destroyed). Luke and his aunt and uncle are obscure moisture farmers in a remote world; Obi-Wan is a crazy hermit. Han and Chewie are slaves in a spice mine after Jabba got them.
  This is an entirely-new storythread in the Star Wars setting. If the Death Star was destroyed then the PCs that survived are the Heroes of Yavin. If it wasn't then the Empire will shield that exhaust port the PC's mission 4-5 session away might be sneaking onto the Death Star to plant a crippling bomb to take out that shield!
There might never be a rebel base on Hoth; there may be no PC force user to oppose/be lured by Vader; literally everything is new.
It is the ultimate "avoid the setting's status quo" option.

1 comment:

  1. I'm mystified. Why go to all this effort? There's plenty of other planets and fleets for the PCs to fight, and plenty of underworld shenanigans to get involved in.