So when we last left off the Doctor wanted to stage a rescue mission to free the rebellion stooge from the imperials trap that they had ultimately set him up for. The group discussed the odds of survival for an all out assault on an Imperial Garrison and quickly decided that the best chance they had to free the stooge was to do it during a prisoner transport. They returned to “Renka” and asked her to keep an ear out among the imperial pilots for any prisoner exchanges or transfers especially those involving rebels. Renka agreed, but added that there is a surcharge to her normal fees for information on the Empire and it would take some time for her to get the information (I was going to hack up the whisper base module from Age of the Rebellion to add in a holding cells and fix the location for the raid, but they surprised me by wanting it to be a vehicle assault or a space assault where they figured their odds would be better. I could have improvised something, but I had a backup mission ready to play and I wanted to make the jailbreak more than just a couple of improved fights) The group readily agreed and asked if there was anything else going on. Renka says their isn’t much activity on the criminal underworld channels due to the recent assassination as it appears anyone with any sense is laying low until the dust settles. The only interesting thing she has seen recently is an old codger that comes in from time to time ranting about lost treasure and hidden hyperspace routes. The group bites on the lead and asks when and how often the old coot comes around. Renka informs them that he normally comes in just after the monthly trade bazaar full of credit from selling “lost treasures” to off-worlders and gets lit on Corellian Brandy. It’s during these times when he talks about the real treasure as opposed to the knock offs he sells to stay alive. She is expecting him back any day now.
The adventure is based off “The Dead Road” module in the back of the Lords of Nal Hutta book. I chose to write this up in the background due to the interests of a new player in joining the group who wants to play an emerging Sith. I had just bought the F&D beta book at the local gaming store and was thinking of a way to weave the new player into the group. In the back of the Dead Road module it lists a number of rewards including the Morrigan Scrolls. I plan on the group obtaining them and the new player being the buyer. Unfortunately they will get stolen out from under the party leading the new sith apprentice needing to work with the group to recover them at the same time, hopefully, allowing the group to mesh on an enjoyable adventure and on successfully retrieving the scroll I will treat it as a holocron for the Sith player.
The group kills some time for a couple of days hanging around the cantina. The first night they all get into a rousing game of dice from the Fly casual book. The group is doing well credit wise winning more hands then not, so I start having the Brandy brought in between hands. After each round all players drink (resilience test) and on a fail they are too drunk to continue and are done for the night, on despairs they make foolish bets doubling what they originally bid on the next hand. Each round of drinking adds a black die to the pool and players are using their advantage to encourage the others (adding boost dice) to keep playing. The doctor drops first after only two rounds. Credits are flowing freely as are the jokes and laughter and honestly the players quickly fell into it and started hamming it up. The bounty hunter and the slicer played on and seemed to lose all regard for who was winning or losing at Hintaro and instead focus on how the adult wasn’t going to let the 10 year old drink him under the table. (I knew at that point I was spending the next day reviewing her DARE packet from school and saying no to drugs and alcohol lol). At the end of the night (after only 4 rounds or so as those black dice added up fast) and about 2500 lost in credits the 10 year old slicer said “Don’t worry I’ll tuck you into bed,” as the bounty hunter failed his resilience roll and succumbed to a drunk stupor. (this whole round took about 15-20 minutes, but was so worth it for the bonding of the group and the fun had at the table)
The second night in the Cantina was quiet with everyone nursing their hangovers from the night before. As the group left the cantina that night they were approached by an apprentice bounty hunter who took note of the slicer the night before (Bounty is the slicers obligation and they rolled her for the session. I had originally planned the encounter for an unruly bar patron but improvisation is the most valuable tool in the chest right?) The hunter calls out the slicer in for a duel (again using the rules in fly casual for the gunfight). The Slicer wins on the buildup phase and chooses to use aim to shoot for the blaster hand of her opponent. In a very classy bit of rp she out draws the apprentice and shoots the blaster from his hand. The Bounty hunter assassin roughs up the upstart and with a check for intimidating the young fool convinces the upstart that he was “mistaken” about about the identity of his Twil’lek companion and happily accepts the apprentices last bounty in exchange for forgetting this interaction ever took place. (roughly 2500 credits which puts the group at break even)
Spoilers ahead for Dead Road module:
On the third night at the cantina the player are reward by meeting “Jecek” the man from the Dead Road adventure who spins the tale of the lost treasure planet. A group of bounty hunters overhears the conversation and tries to make off with “Jacek” the group acts quickly with the 10 year old slicer using the skills I have seen the most from her as a parent. Deception. She quickly spins a tale about her crazy old step dad who drinks too much Corellian Brandy and makes up stories of grand adventure to cover his dull life as a farmer. Graayl Nor buys the story for now and leaves them be. The group quickly leaves the cantina and follows Jacek to his storage locker where they recover the “key”. On returning to their ship, however, they are greeted by Graayl Nor again this time with his pack of bounty hunters and the apprentice whom the group let go the night before. This triggers a “See that’s why we don’t let people go,” response from the assassin which gives everyone at the table a good laugh. Graayl gives a typical villainous speech about how stupid the pc are and how they will get the treasure and the bounty on the Slicer and make off with the Supernova to boot. A firefight breaks out in the hangar with the doctor ushering Jacek down behind some cargo containers and shooting from cover at the thugs. The slicer draws her heavy blaster pistol and takes cover behind a loading droid that continues to move slowly forcing her to move each round instead of aiming to keep behind the droid and stay in cover. The bounty hunter launches himself at the Graayl (nemisis) and leads with his repulsor fist. The slow firing on the fist leads them to break apart and draw blasters. After two rounds of blaster fire the doctor makes a desperate run to the Bounty hunter assassin’s aid to apply stimpacks to keep the groups hard hitter up and fighting. The slicer does a great job bringing down the thugs with her heavy blaster and when the coast is clear makes a run for the ship. As the Doctor and Assassin continue to struggle against Graayl, local security forces arrive at the entrance to the hanger and open fire on everyone. “Jacek” makes a dash for the ship, whose engines are running thanks to the slicer. The volley of fire from the security forces drops Graayl and critically injures the Doctor with a glancing wound. Quickly realizing they don’t want to leave behind a bounty hunter who has identified the Twil’lek as a bounty the doctor instructs the bounty hunter to grab the fallen Graayl and together they board the Supernova as the ship blasts out of the hanger and makes a quick getaway.
The doctor uses her medicine skill to keep Graayl from dying and flips a destiny token to have some anesthetics on the ship to keep him under heavy sedation (note at this point they have only established that they have them). The doctor has to stay with Graayl to ensure he doesn’t wake up. The ship is jolted by blaster fire suffering 2 strain as security cloudcars intercept the Supernova in the upper atmosphere. The Bounty Hunter mans the guns blasting back at the cloud cars while the slicer races for the atmosphere in the hope of making a clean escape to space beyond the cloud cars (planetary) range. The slicer makes evasive maneuvers to avoid fire (success with disadvantage) and Graayl is thrown from the bed onto the doctor who is knocked to the floor. Ripping out his anesthetic iv’s before the drugs take full effect the doctor is now grappling with a wounded and weary Graayl for the hypospray filled with sedative to get him back under. (Other than applying stims the Doctor had little meaningful contribution to bringing down Graayl and I wanted to make sure the character was getting to do more than following the group being a stim-bot). The weakened Graayl has his adversary 1 removed and suffers 2 black dice for being injured and partially sedated. The Doctor is unable to outmatch the strength of the bounty hunter and grabs a fire extinguisher from the wall and bashes Graayl over the head. With an exasperated breath she calls up the ladder to the Assassin in the gunner pit that Graayl has been “Sedated” which brings a good laugh at the table. Blasting two of the three pursuers the Supernova meets the atmosphere and escapes in to the safety of space leaving the remaining atmosphere bound cloud car returning to the surface. (in all the excitement they forgot to slice the systems or Jam their transponder signal which they’ll discover when they return to the planet.) They plot a course for the edge of the rim to the “Pearl” space station and jump into hyperspace.
While in hyperspace (break for dinner) the group discusses what to do with Graayl, The bounty hunter is tempted to eject him into space, but the other two in the group are not down for it. The group then discusses that they can’t just abandon their current task to deal with it so they must find a way to hold him prisoner while they finish their current task. This brings about the bounty hunter saying “See, this is why we don’t take prisoners,” which brings about another laugh from the group. The group continues on arriving at the Pearl without incident and begins tracking down medical facilities to help the group recover from the combat with Graayl who they bind up with spare cable and leave in a cargo hold with Jacek in the their ship. Jacek is under strict orders to not allow Graayl out of the hold no matter what. “If he dies then he is not our problem,” instructs the Assassin. The medical facilities are overpriced but effective and the group is back to full strength and tracking down Harke to get the final piece to the puzzle. After some negotiations they purchase the location (failed first attempt, so the group decided to try and get him liquored up and I allowed a second test with a boost but at added cost for the booze and he charged 75% more for the information). The group finds a slave collar at the market as well as the exploding shackles from the Nal Hutta source book and decides to pay triple the price on the Pearl to acquire them for Graayl. (Normally I want restricted items to be harder to acquire but the group in talking with each other decided if they couldn’t secure him then he was too much of a liability and they would execute him. I was already scheming up another story arc based on the bounty hunter so I allowed them the purchase as I very much wanted him alive). The book doesn’t give much for the landing on the planet Pybus so I was left to design more if I wanted it to be more than fight a few droids and frogs and find a treasure hoard. I had just finished reading the “Darksabre” book from the EU universe and loved the scene where Han and Leia were invited into a Hutt Bath house and were repulsed by the disgusting sludge called bathwater but forbidden from using it as they would contaminate the pureness of it. I decided I wanted to use that and so fleshed out a story.
The group makes the arrival of the Pybus system and finds the emptiness of the area unsettling. The stories they heard earlier about the planet being forbidden by the Hutts plays havok on them and I force a fear check. The slicer fails and so as a result I put a black die penalty on her actions while on the planet. They stick to the upper atmosphere while scanning the dense jungle planet for anything that looks like a structure and succeed in finding the palace and the grown over landing pad. (I had planned for a fail for them to find the structure but no landing and then a two mile hike through the jungle which would cost each member 2 strain and on a pass they find the grown over landing pad from the Hutt palace and land smoothly they passed). On landing they are greeted by a robed figure who welcomes them and says he foresaw their arrival. He explains he is was a padawan and he and his master were sent to search fr traces of grievous after the assault on the capital of the Old Republic. Their mission was to search uninhabited worlds for signs of the separatist’s. That’s when they stumbled on Pybus. The star at the systems heart is volatile and solar flares make jumping in and out of the system treacherous. Their ship was struck by one such flare on entry to the system and they crashed on the surface. They assumed the Jedi order would send some one for them, but no help ever came. They felt a great disturbance in the force (when order 66 went down) and then silence for decades. The master died of old age and he was left alone on the planet to survive. He had given up on the force and all hope of seeing any sentient being again until he felt another tremor in the force as if billions of people screamed out at once (destruction of Alderaan). Shortly after he began having visions that the group would arrive on Pybus and assumed whatever they were here to do was the will of the force. He cautioned them on their choices moving forward as he sensed their actions would trigger great events to unfold in the universe, but the future was clouded. He could not say if it was for good or evil. The pc’s relayed the betrayal of the Jedi Order (for they would have only known the propaganda at best) and the establishment of the Empire. The subsequent appearance of Lord Vader, and the bounty on information leading to the Jedi. (The assassin was itchy to take him in, but weary of whether they could take down a Jedi Knight after the struggled with the bounty hunter nearly losing the combat) The party leaves the Jedi behind after he refuses to accompany them into the Palace. He cites that his master grew fixated on the place before his death and his belief that something inside drove him mad.
The key Jecek provided opens the door as expected and the party enters the main receiving bay. Old computer terminals covered in dust lay as ghosts and the place is as dead as a tomb. The group decides their first task is to try and restore power to the compound. The slicer makes a mechanics check to trace the power cables from the computer terminals to the wall and then to follow the power from conduit to conduit which will lead the group to the main generator. (The 10 year wanted to check the fuse box like when the power goes out at the house and we helped narrate the rest). The group navigates in the darkness with just a single glow rod and finds multiple signs that animals have take over the compound. The Doctor begins questioning how the animals were able to get in but the Jedi were not. They find the main power generator and are immediate besieged by an Ackalay from the F&D book. The monsters hide is too tough for blaster fire and the group immediately concludes they they are not going to be able to bring it down. The bounty hunter valiantly using his defensive talents from his replusor arm engages the beast while the slicer works to restore power to the facility by reactivating the generator. With the lights snapping on the sudden whirl of power disorients the beast and the group makes a run for the door. sealing it shut behind them. They have no idea how long the power will last and whether the beast will attack the now humming generator and decide to hurry back to the entrance. Once back the slicer makes quick work of the system taking control of the Hutt’s booby traps and getting the general layout of the palace. She learns that the Hutt had creature pens inside and some how they must be loose in the facility. With an ominous tone I reveal that the Hutt’s prized pet was a rancor.
The group makes their way to the main audience hall which they determined from the layout leads to the Hutts personal chambers. They find the hall doors sealed and the slicer makes quick work of the panel. Inside bones and debris litter the hall. The slicer finds another terminal while the doctor and bounty hunter search for anything valuable. The slicer determines from searching the records that the whole palace was wired to a kill switch the hutt had surgically implanted. When he died the palace sealed itself and opened all the pens. In the centuries that followed the creatures must have staked claim to certain portions of the palace and had offspring. The Doctor quickly realizes that there must be more than one of everything down here and how much danger they are really in. The group decides to avoid the armory and underbelly of the compound for fear of the rancors and instead to as quickly as possible traverse the Hutt bath house, find the penthouse, and see if they can find the treasure hoard. They all assume that a hutt this paranoid would keep his treasure room close to his personal quarters and that is their best bet. (Slightly disappointed as the group bypassed my fight with the rancor, but they are being smart and the session is running slower than I expected and I am worried about them finishing by the 10 year old’s bed time). The group enters the bath house house to find centuries old filth filled pool separating them from the entrance to the Hutt’s personal penthouse. The only way across is to shimmy across the lip of the pool or to swim through the muck. The group decides to avoid the pool of filth and try to slip across the lip which is difficult due to the grime and filth. The bounty hunter makes it across, but the Doctor and the Slicer fall into the pit. The Slicer has an especially bad fall and losses her weapon in the muck. On the waters being disturbed the group is attacked by the Pybus Amphibipole’s from the book. They bred in the muck and are quick engaged by three minion groups of three. The frogs are venomous and quickly I realize I put too many in as the group takes a beating on the first round. The bounty hunter getting desperate calls for the slicer to abandon her blaster and run from the pool with the doctor. Both the doctor and the slicer make checks to climb from the filth and run to the next room. The bounty hunter tosses his prized frag grenade he got from Graayl and triggers the blast on his roll doing massive damage to the frog groups. The slicer closes the door and I narrate that the wounds to the frogs were great enough to drive them off. Inside the Hutt’s penthouse the group finds some hutt jewels and a boonta blaster for the slicer (it’ll do for now.) after searching the room closely they find a hidden door in a wall panel that leads them to the fabled treasure room. The party is relived to see their goal and immediately dives for the treasure. That’s when the Hutt Security droids come to life and attack. The group already weary from combat puts up a great fight hiding behind treasure piles and watching as each stray shot from the two droids destroys another valuable. They manage to put down the the two droids and with a sigh of relief are glad that it is over. That is when the slicer on trying to see if she could reprogram the droid to serve the group finds the killswitch similar to the Hutt’s. The room begins to shake violently as the center gives way to a giant chasm that continues to grow. The group scoops up what treasure they can carry and makes a run for it. They dodge falling debris, and realize the whole palace is coming down. To make matters worse the violent shaking has disturbed the Rancor who begins to chase them (using the chase rules from the book) after the group flips nearly all their destiny points during the chase sequence they make it to the landing pad just as the palace behind them sinks into a chasm. They have only a second to catch their breath before the clawed hand of the rancor grasps the edge of the chasm. The group opens fire, but similar to the Ackalay from earlier their weapons have no effect as the beast pulls himself over the edge. Hopelessness begins to set in when the Jedi Padawan emerges again Lightsabre drawn and charges the Rancor. (Jedi is narrative causing a break in the combats) The Jedi takes the Rancors clawed hand at the wrist causing the creature to be staggered on the edge of the chasm. The group is free to act again and on the Jedi’s urging the group opens fire into the wall at the feet of the Rancor causing it collapse and sending the beast down into the darkness.
The group (finally) has succeed at their mission and offers to take the Jedi away from Pybus. He declines reasoning that if the empire hadn’t found him here after all these years it was probably as safe of a spot as any to hide. He offers to be a mentor to any light side force users the group comes across (putting both the mentor aspect from F&D and the Holocron into play so the players have both paths available). The players made off with all three treasures in the back of the book which Jecek demands the siren’s soul and Key for his share. Funnily enough the PC’s agree (I thought for sure he was dead once they left the Jedi) leaving them the Heart of Gamor and the Scrolls. They return to the Pearl where Jecek departs and they add him as a contact for the group. They wrap up the session for the night there and are curious how I am going to work in the new player on their return. I didn’t describe much about the scrolls only telling them they would need to find the right buyer for such an old relic, but they were sure it must be worth something or it would not have been in the Hutt’s treasure hoard.