Carbonite time machine

Han in carboniteAs Larry Niven taught us in his Known Space stories, a stasis box is a one-way time machine to the future. Maybe even the distant future. I dunno if the Star Wars galaxy has stasis boxes, but they have carbonite freezing, which can serve the same purpose.

This dawned on me a few years ago in the long-running campaign I have going with my brothers. So I brought a Sith army into Rebellion-era Star Wars. The backstory was that a Sith battlecruiser was fleeing from the crushing defeat of the Sith by the Republic at the end of the ancient Sith wars. The ship got away, but its hyperdrive was damaged beyond repair. The Sith could not call for help, which would surely bring the Republic fleet down on them, and there was no one to call anyway. So they built up as much sublight speed as they could before they ran out of fuel, aimed their ship toward a distant Sith base in the Outer Rim, and froze themselves in carbonite for the long journey.

Phalanx-class_Battle_CruiserFast-forward a couple of thousand years, and what should come drifting into the PC’s home sector…

It turns out I am not the only one to get this idea. A similar frozen Sith army can be glimpsed in a cutscene in the Forces of Corruption expansion for the Star Wars: Empire at War video game–see the picture below. Thank you, Wookieepedia.

A parallel development in D&D: Zak Smith put not one but two armies, and not just frozen but frozen in the middle of battle, in his Vornheim campaign and book. And then they woke up.

Sith Army in carboniteThis was on my mind this evening because I was looking through Star Wars: The Essential Atlas, which my brothers got me for Christmas in 2012. It’s a great book if you’re interested in the Expanded Universe, and incredibly useful if you play Star Wars: The RPG (any flavor). Not just details on tons of planets, but loads of history, summaries of battles, “close-ups” of particular sectors and their planets, notable shadowports…the list goes on.

For adventure fuel, a very useful section is “The Wonders of the Galaxy” on pages 23 and 24. Especially if you subscribe to Jeff Rients’ idea that PCs should earn XP for travelling to see wondrous sights. Check this out:

The Brass Soldiers of Axum. Thirty-five thousand warriors cast in solid brass and frozen in positions of pain and terror. Legend says that these statues were an actual pre-Republic army, transmuted into their current forms by magic.

Yeah, magic. Or carbonite freezing and a spiffy brass overcoat. So, who’s gonna figure out that they’re real, what’s it gonna take to wake them up, and perhaps most importantly, what were they so scared of, and is that thing still around somewhere?

Bonus Stupid GM Trick: need a list of random Star Wars vehicles, pronto? You could get one by dealing random cards from the Star Wars vehicle decks I talked about in the last post. You could also roll d100, multiply the result by 2, and consult Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels, which has a two-page spread for each of 100 different vehicles starting on pages 2 through 200.

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