Monday, 16 January 2012

Skirmish on Svivren - a short Star Wars adventure

Something a little different today, a recent Star Wars roleplaying game that I ran for some of my Scout Troop...


Jess as Jabba the Jawa
Matthew as Sblex the Nautolan
Tom as Ba'tlak the Klatooinian
William as the Ewok dude
Duncan as Atilla the Human
Edward as Captain Blaze, commander of the Ne'er Do Well

We catch up with our heroes as their adventure is just beginning...

The Ubrikkian cargolifter Ne'er Do Well touched down on Svivren.  The Svivreni chafed under the rule of the human-biased Empire, providing an environment ripe for exploitation by Rebel agents.  One such agent had failed to report in, and the crew of the Ne'er Do Well had been asked to find out what had happened to the agent, and render assistance or rescue him if required.

As Captain Blaze mustered his crew by the main airlock, they heard a rustling sound and a clunk from the nearby cargo hold, and a small furry figure staggered into sight, dressed in a leather hood and carrying a short, stone-tipped wooden spear and a crude bow.

As the rest of the crew stared in surprise at the Ewok stowaway, Atilla was quick to react.  "Permission to shoot the Ewok stowaway sir?" he asked of Captain Blaze, bringing his blaster rifle to bear.  "Granted!" came the reply, and the b-pow! of the blaster echoed through the ship.  Luckily the Ewok had recognised the hostile intention and ducked back behind a cargo pod in time to avoid injury.  As he prepared to charge the agressive human with his spear, a loud clank sounded against the exterior hatch, followed by a muffled voice.  "Open up!  CusBa’tlaks inspection!"

The crew quickly stood up straighter, lowered their weapons and feigned innocence as Captain Blaze hit the main hatch release.  With a whine of actuators the ramp lowered, revealing an Imperial officer flanked by 2 Stormtroopers.  The officer flicked an imaginary speck of dust off his immaculate grey uniform before striding up the ramp into the ship.  "Cargo inspection.  May I see your identification papers please?"  The crew stared at him.  Their fingers twitched nervously.  This was a situation that would have to be handled with great cunning and delicacy.  Which of the crew should try to use their subtle skills of persuasion to con this official into going about their business unhindered?  Curiously, Atilla ran forward and tried to hide behind one of the Stormtroopers, who twisted to follow him with a surprised "What the..?!"

"Hmm... perhaps we should..."began Ba’tlak thoughtfully, but the rest of his words were drowned out by the roar of blaster fire as the rest of the crew grabbed for their blasters and opened fire on the Imperials.  The fight was short but brutal.

Ba’tlak began by leaping backwards and hiding behind a hatch further inside the ship.  Jabba the Jawa jumped forward to attack the closest Stormtrooper but got his feet tangled in his long clothing, falling heavily to the deck, his blaster bolt flying harmlessly out through the open hatchway.  The Ewok stabbed at the same Stormtrooper with his spear.  His satisfaction as the spear thrust into the Stormtrooper's body turned to dismay as he realised it had only slipped between the armour plates without causing injury.  The Stormtrooper twisted with the impact, and the stone tip of the spear snapped off, lodged somewhere between his armour and his skin.  Attacking the Stormtrooper from a third direction was Atilla, but his blaster bolt ricochetted harmlessly off the armour.  The Stormtrooper replied with a hurried shot at the Ewok, but being battered from two different directions, his aim was off and he merely singed the Ewok's fur.  An unpleasant smell of burning Ewok filled the room, but other than that, no real harm was done.

Sblex turned his blaster pistol on the Imperial officer in the centre, winging the officer's leg and causing him to collapse to the deck, crying out in pain.  At the same time, the power indicator on the pistol flickered and died.  Sblex cursed and grabbed for his other pistol.

Blaze fired his blaster rifle at the second Stormtrooper, but failed to injure him.  This Stormtrooper was so surprised at the sudden fury of the attack that he failed to respond.

Taking advantage of the surprise, Blaze fired again, but merely stunned the Stormtrooper.

Using his second blaster pistol, Sblex fired again at the Imperial officer who was writhing on the deck, hitting him in the chest.  The officer stopped moving.

Ba’tlak leaned out from behind the hatch and squeezed off a shot at the first Stormtrooper, who was now beset from three sides.  Unfortunately, in the confusion of the struggle, Ba’tlak's shot missed the Stormtrooper and knocked Atilla's leg out from under him.  As he fell, Atilla instinctively fired back at the source of the shot, his blaster bolt striking Ba’tlak in the forehead, causing him to collapse like a puppet with its strings cut.  Before the Stormtrooper could take advantage of the collapse of two of his opponents, the Ewok dropped his broken spear, pulled round his bow and let fly an arrow.  There was little chance of missing at such short range. His vision restricted by his helmet, the Stormtrooper had leaned forward to see where the diminutive Ewok and Jawa were standing.  His mistake - the arrow penetrated the eyepiece of his helmet and he collapsed to the deck with an anguished cry, clutching at his head.  Jabba the Jawa had managed to free his tangled feet, staggered upright, he put a blaster bolt into the fallen Stormtrooper to keep him down.  The shot blew a large crater out of the deck plates and the Stormtrooper's leg, and judging by the amount of blood, this trooper was certainly out of the fight.  It was a good thing too - the Ewok's bow string had snapped, leaving him completely unarmed.

Sblex transferred his attention from the Imperial officer to the Stormtrooper attacking his Capain.  A blaster bolt flashed, the Stormtrooper's severed leg bounced across the floor and rolled to a stop against the bulkhead, and the fight was over.

As the smoke filling the compartment gradually cleared, Atilla climbed unsteadily to his feet, wincing as pain shot through his singed leg.  After the deafening, explosive action of the last few seconds, it seemed eerily quiet, the only sounds were the laboured breathing of the crew, the distant hum of the ship's air vents and a faint, metallic plink plink as their blasters' flash suppressors cooled.  Ba’tlak sprawled silent and unmoving behind the open hatchway further along the companionway, steam rising from the top of his head.

The others slowly holstered or slung their blasters, awed by the damage they had caused, and uncertain how to proceed.  There was no sound of running footsteps or raised voices from outside the ship - the thick walls of the docking bay must have prevented the sound of the fight from drawing attention.  As the Ewok looked in dismay at his broken and useless weapons, Atilla strode over to him.  The Ewok looked up hopefully, anticipating thanks for his efforts to assist his new friends in their fight against the white-shelled strangers.  With a meaty thud, Atilla's fist connected with the astonished Ewok's head, sending him bouncing across the deck, rolling to a stop against the bulkhead.  As the Ewok scrabbled for his broken spear, planning to poke the splintery end in Atilla's face, their scuffle was interrupted by a loud bleeping sound from the Captain's belt.

Blaze pulled out his comlink and pressed the "receive" button, aware of the eyes of the crew upon him - those that remained conscious anyway.

"Captain Blaze - report!  Have you made contact yet?" squawked their Rebel Alliance contact.

"Erm... no, we've sort of... shot some people.. and then.. umm..."

"What?  Say again?  Have you managed to find our agent yet?  What's going on?"

"We're just going to go and look for him!"

"Well get moving!  Time is important!  Hurry up!"

Blaze rolled his eyes as he put his comlink away.  Then he turned and surveyed the chaos of the airlock compartment, the pools of blood, blaster scorch marks, bodies and body parts, the Ewok and Atilla facing each other with grim expressions on their faces, fists and broken spear-shaft poised to strike.  He sighed.  This was going to be a long day.

Sblex checked over his weapons.  The blaster that had stopped working turned out to have a dud powerpack, exhausted after its single shot.  This was easily replaced, and now he had two fully-functional blaster pistols again.  His weapons fixed, he turned his attention to Ba’tlak.  He had limited first aid training - it soon became clear just how limited this was.  Without stopping to wash his hands, he started to examine Ba’tlak's head wound.  It wasn't deep - he ascertained this by poking inside it with his dirty fingers.  From the way Ba’tlak cried out and squirmed, this obviously caused pain, which implied little nerve damage.  Happy with this assessment, Sblex set about bandaging the wound.  Rather than break open the first aid kit and waste a clean bandage, Sblex found a bit of greasy, oil-stained rag stuck to the floor of the cargo bay.  Peeling it off the floor, he deftly tore off the end part to pack the wound, then used the remainder to bandage Ba’tlak's head firmly to keep the wadding in place.  Ba’tlak muttered something under his breath, it might have been thanks but quite frankly Sblex didn't care, he just wanted to get on with the mission now.  A check of the Stormtroopers revealed a couple of grenades which he popped in his pockets, and he also took one of their utility belts in case anything else on it came in useful.

The Ewok rummaged around the cargo bay for anything useful to repair his spear and bow.  Some new synthetic twine replaced his old bow string, and a Stormtrooper utility knife was efficiently lashed onto his spear-shaft, providing a far more effective weapon than his old stone-tipped spear.  His head was aching from the punch, he'd probably have a bruise but it was hard to tell under all that fur.  The burn patch from the Stormtrooper's blaster was more obvious, but that would just have to grow back overtime.  In the meantime, he was ready to continue his adventure!

The rest of the crew gathered up the casualties and packed them into a couple of crates in the cargo hold.  The bloodstains would soon fade and blend in to the general rusty, grubby appearance of the airlock compartment.

Blaze decided that their first priority was to get some proper medical attention for Ba’tlak.  Actually no, that was their second priority.  First priority was to get some transport!  He mustered the crew by the main hatch once more, and surveyed the grubby, smoke-stained, occassionally bruised/charred/blood encrusted and generally shify looking bunch of thugs.  They made him proud!  He also wanted their R5 astromech droid to accompany them in case they needed any computer systems investigated.  The hatch cycled open once more and they bravely strode forth for the next stage of their adventure.  Actually the Ewok and Jawa had to run because they were so short, and Atilla limped slightly because of his leg injury, plus some of them were half-carrying the semi-conscious Ba’tlak, but that didn't spoil the effect of the brave striding too much.

Part Two - Into the City

So... where to find some transport?  The crew strode straight past the public information terminal at the entrance to the docking bay and glanced up and down the street.  Busy locals flowed past on either side of them.  A few hundred metres down the road, they spotted a sign that appeared to promise excellent value speeder hire, and they decided to check it out.  "I want a speeder bike!" shouted Sblex as they approached, and there were several murmerings of agreement from some of the other crew members.  The owner had seen the crew cutting through the crowds towards his premises, and had already decided what heap of junk he was going to offer this suspicious looking horde.  "I've got a good 8-seater utility landspeeder, would do you nicely," he suggested, emphasizing his trustworthiness witha big friendly grin.  After some discussion and argment amongst themselves, it was agreed that they would accept the use of the large speeder.  The question of how they would pay for the hire of the vehicle caused further discussion and argument until the owner helpfully suggested that he keep their droid as a guarantee that they would return the speeder.  With this agreed, they piled into the speeder, lying the injured Ba’tlak across the spare seats.  At the owner's insistence, the Jawa sat on a piece of plastic sheeting to protect the upholstery.

As they pulled out of the speeder park, they wondered what to do now that they no longer had their droid.  The Jawa piped up "I can build us a droid!", pointing excitedly at a nearby junkyard.

The junkyard proved to be a dumping ground for all sorts of refuse from passing starships.  After a short search, they found a more-or-less intact power droid which the Jawa was able to make operational with parts scavenged from other broken equipment lying nearby.  It couldn't do much other than follow instructions to walk in the direction indicated, but it was better than nothing.  Some care would be required when handling the droid - because of the oversized energy core it carried, a misused power droid could explode with devastating effect!  Throwing caution to the wind, they managed to squeeze it into the back of the speeder and off they went.  Fortunately the hospital was well signposted from the starport.  Less fortunately, Captain Blaze was a very bad driver.  By the time they arrived at the hospital, the speeder was missing some paint and had acquired several new dents and scratches - as had some of the more unlucky vehicles and buildings they had encountered on the way.  As luck would have it, the pedestrians they'd hit had not left any obvious marks on the speeder, so no worries there.  Hopefully by the time the local police tracked down the vehicle it would be back in the hire depot and they'd all be off-world again.

A doctor was soon available to examine Ba’tlak's injury.  He tutted over the first aid that had been administered, and was horrified to descover that Ba’tlak was showing signs of Dervellian Flu, a highly contagious disease.  The entire crew were imediately quarantined for further tests, but the doctor who came to test them quickly realised that his colleague had been mistaken.  He cleaned Ba’tlak's injury and rebandaged it with little difficulty, even finishing it off with a jaunty little hat to keep the dressing dry and safe.

While Ba’tlak's injury was being treated, Atilla was speculating on now he could improve their landspeeder.  "Can I mount a couple of blasters behind the headlights?" he mused.  Sadly there wasn't enough time for him to start experimenting, besides which the rental owner might not be particularly pleased to find such alterations.  The speeder probably wouldn't be street-legal with built-in weapons.

Their colleague securely bandaged, the crew decided upon their plan of action. They had the address of the agent they were supposed to contact, and decided to proceed directly to his apartment, on the third floor of a habitation block close to the starport.  Feeling much better, Ba’tlak volunteered to drive them to their destination.  Having had enough of Blaze's erratic driving, the crew readily agreed, and Ba’tlak guided the speeder smoothly through the streets, even managing to find a shorcut to the hab block.

The Ewok sensed an opportunity to use his stealthy hunting skills to aid his new friends.  Dashing over to the wall of the hab block, he attempted to climb the wall and enter the apartment through a window.  Sadly his climbing abilities were better suited to the forests of Endor than the cities of Svivren, and after a couple of minutesof strenuous effort he fell the few centimetres back the the ground where he landed without injury - except to his dignity and self-esteem.

Meanwhile, Ba’tlak had decided on a more direct approach - he would simply walk in as if he owned the place and search for evidence of a struggle, or a clue to the agenst whereabouts.  Surprisingly, the door proved to be unlocked.  That was unusual to start with.  He started a systematic search of the apartment, pulling open drawers and looking under furniture in the first room.  It was strange, the decoration was somehow more... femenine than he'd been expecting for an undercover Rebel operative.  Perhaps it was all part of a cunningly assembled cover story?  As he entered the next room, a small kitchen, there was a piercing scream from the surprised occupant, a felame Svivreni.  She snatched up a large pan and took a double-handed swing at Ba’tlak's head.  The impact made his ears ring and started his earlier injury aching again, but didn't seem to have done any serious damage.  He beat a hasty retreat, dashing back out into the hallway to see the rest of the crew peering down in curiosity from a balcony at the next level.  Oops, wrong floor - that might explain the occupant's agressive action in response to his sudden appearance in her kitchen.  He hurried up the stairs to join the rest of the crew.

The door creaked slowly open, revealing... a perfectly normal, tidy apartment.  The crew quickly spread out, btu they couldn't see anything unusual.  No signs of a struggle.  No hint as to the whereabouts of the Rebel agent.  The crew were stumped.  What to do?  Time was running out, it couldn't take much longer for the Imperial officer and his escort to be missed.  The local security services could be hunting for their hired speeder even as they stood there.  It was time to leave.

Ba’tlak deftly piloted the speeder back to the starport.  At the rental depot, the owner was not pleased to see the damage to his vehicle.  The crew agreed to hand over their recently acquired Power droid to cover the cost of the repairs.  It was that or their R5 droid - and because that was their only means of interstellar navigation, there wasn't much of a choice!  Atilla and Jabba the Jawa had a whispered conversation in the background while the others were discussing the damage with the rental owner.  Jabba the Jawa made a few alterations to the power droid "just to make sure it was working OK" before they left.

A brisk walk back to their docking bay and the crew were safely aboard their freighter.  Captain Blaze fired up the engines as soon as they were aboard and the ship slowly lifted away from the starport.  As they gained altitude, there was a bright flash from below, and a small mushroom cloud bloomed over the starport speeder hire depot.  Atilla gave a satisfied smirk.  Jabba the Jawa might have done so too, but no-one could see anything ins die his hood otherthan the glowing eyes.  Their tampering with the power droid had set it to explode only 10 minutes after they left if with the land speeder, helping cover their escape.

Taking advantage of the confusion caused by the explosion, the Ne'er Do Well accelerated away from Svivren, pausing only to dump the two crates of dead bodies before making their jump to hyperspace.  What had become of the Rebel agent?  That would have to wait for another day.  The important thing was that the crew had escaped with their lives - for no

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