Now that I am stockpiling all of these cool images, stolen from around the internet to use while gaming, I also have everything I need for actual play reports that hopefully don’t completely suck.
In one of my recent sessions with London, Wuta the Ewok and Camie the Laconic Scout were given the task of tracking down this guy: Udin Heek, Kubaz spy and Imperial agent. He had stolen a datafile with the names of dozens of Rebel agents, and we had to keep him from delivering it to Imperial high command.
Fortunately we were in the Outer Rim where hyperspace travel is not always as smooth and dependable as one might like. We learned that Udin Heek’s convoy was crossing the Golar system to get to a hyperspace beacon which would allow them to jump straight to the Imperial core systems. Heek himself was rumored to be traveling on a Gozanti cruiser like the one shown above. Gozanti cruisers have a reputation for being slow but heavily armed; they were specifically designed to protect convoys against raiding starfighters (sort of like Lancer frigates in miniature, for you arch-geeks out there).
Starfighters are what we had, though, so we did our best. Somebody had to fly a recon X-Wing close enough to each ship in the convoy to tell if there were any Kubaz aboard (this idea brought to you by every third mission in X-Wing and TIE Fighter). That job fell to Camie, while Wuta led the smashy/fighty elements.
The space battle was one of those close affairs that can be awfully hard to set up. If you get a dozen or so ships on each side and play straight, it’s all too easy for the fight to turn into a rout for one side or the other. Happily, this one ended just as I’d hoped it would: the Imperial convoy was destroyed, except for Udin Heek’s ship, which managed to escape to a nearby moon, Greenhold, and the Rebels were victorious but too battered to immediately pursue.
That’s nice because I had a whole gob of plot prepared if everyone ended up on the moon. But if you’re wondering what would have happened if Udin Heek’s cruiser had caught a stray protorp, well, I would have let it blow up. My Star Wars galaxy may not be a pure sandbox, but I don’t cheat players for the sake of the story, either.
As it was, the PCs just barely managed to get their fighters back to base without anyone else dying (a couple of fighters got blown up in the convoy attack). General Tackmore warned them that the inhabitants of Greenhold didn’t appreciate armed visitors. So we went down to the moon in an unarmed Gallofree Yards Medium Transport (the kind from The Empire Strikes Back). Maybe an unlikely choice for this mission, but we made up a list of unarmed Rebel ships and threw dice, and that’s what we got. On the way down, we were met and escorted in by fighters from the Greenhold navy, shown above.
They escorted us to the floating city of Galeport. We landed and got through customs, and then the next order of business was to locate Udin Heek and his Imperial henchmen. We reasoned that a small company of Imperials in an out-of-the-way shadowport would be anxious to blend in, so their first priority would be getting some native garb. So we went to the clothing district to look around, paying special attention to stores that sold work uniforms.
After a few hours of searching we found a group of awkward outlanders that we were pretty sure were some of our Imperials. We tailed them to a tapcafe and set up what we thought was a covert watch outside. But some of their buddies coming from another direction spotted us, and that led to a big noisy fight in the street. We won, but we had to leave quickly before the city militia arrived. We did have time to search a couple of the Imps, and found a keycard to a room at the Galeport Arms.
Naturally, our visit to the Galeport Arms turned into another fight. And it was wacky fight, plagued by bad dice rolls that translated as missed shots, dropped weapons, tripping and falling, and other antics in the uncanny valley between slapstick and shooty death.
At the end, the bad guys got away on some kaadu (the armless dino-duck shown above, minus the Gungan), and Camie and Wuta commandeered some kid’s haycart-pulling falumpaset. Why a falumpaset? Mostly because the word “falumpaset” makes London laugh out loud. There followed a mounted chase from the hotel district to the docks at the edge of town.
At the docks, the bad guys dismounted and took off in some windriders, which are the Galeport versions of these skiff concepts from ROTJ. Wuta and Camie had little choice but to give chase.
This was supposed to be a swashbuckling sky pirates sort of running battle, but it devolved into a grind. In keeping with the anti-outsiders-with-weapons stance I had established for Galeport, I had the PCs leave their weapons on board their ship. They had been able to buy some new hurt-sticks in the city, but only melee weapons and stun clubs, no blasters or anything useful for ranged combat. Naturally the Imperials had smuggled some blasters through customs and Wuta and Camie had filched a couple of small blasters from defeated foes, but they weren’t powerful enough to really put people down quickly. So there was a complicated series of boarding actions and desperate swordfights, which sounds awesome in theory but devolved into lots of repetitive dice-rolling in practice (for me, anyway–London is still so new at this that the idea of rolling the dice 20 times to mow down a long line of bad guys is awesome–so I feed on that). At the end of it all, the only Imperials left were Udin Heek and one henchman, and Wuta and Camie had them disarmed.
Then some armed windriders from King Mannix’s guard showed up, and their crew told everyone to throw down their weapons. For the crime of bringing our offworld fight into King Mannix’s peaceable kingdom, all four of us–Udin Heek, lone Imperial henchman, Wuta, and Camie–were taken under guard to the King’s walking capital city (illustration above from Ryan Church’s “Celestia Galactica Photografica” section of the Star Wars Visionaries comic collection).
We were all hauled before King Mannix, a Nautolean (Kit Fisto’s species). He had managed to keep his people out of the galactic civil war and he was pretty unsympathetic to our explanations for why we had to bring the fight to his moon. At the end of the deliberations he decreed that we would face trial by combat; each side had one hour to choose a champion to represent them in the arena.
The arena fight was a deliberate subversion of the usual trope, since a regular fight-to-the-death would be completely out of character for a pacifist society like King Mannix’s. Each champion would face a single Nexu in the arena; the secret engine of the scene was that the Nexu were tame, and would not attack unless they were attacked first. The Imperials lost the coin toss so we got to see this firsthand. When Udin Heek went for his club the Nexu got growly, and when he pulled his hand away from his weapon it calmed down. But “make peace with the monster” was not in Udin Heek’s behavioral repertoire, so eventually he tried to club the Nexu. The Nexu knocked him down and batted the club away with contemptuous ease, and then hauled him by his collar before King Mannix.
I was hoping that London might have cottoned on to the game, but when it was Wuta’s turn in the arena, he only put his club away long enough to get close to the Nexu, then tried a surprise attack. It didn’t go any better for him than it had for Udin Heek. All four of us, Imps and PCs alike, got tossed into jail, on one of the pendant platforms hanging from either side of the walking city.
That night there was trouble in the walking city. Out the small, high, barred window of our jail cell, we saw an Imperial shuttle fly over the city and set down on one of its landing pads. A little later there was blaster fire and alarms and confusion, and the energy screen blocking the door to our cell went down. We managed to get to an empty guard station and commandeer some pikes and projectile rifles. We ran into Udin Heek and his henchman, who had busted out of their own cell, and tailed them to the tramcars that led from the hanging platform to the upper city. We had a nice running battle that ended with the henchman’s demise and Udin Heek in cuffs. Then we helped the city guard fight off the stormtroopers from the shuttle, and snuck into the palace to take out the Imperial officer and stormtrooper squad that were threatening King Mannix.
As thanks for our valiant defense of his city, King Mannix let us take Udin Heek and his stolen data back to the Alliance. And naturally we kept his Gozanti cruiser for ourselves–stolen Imperial goods are to Star Wars roleplaying what treasure chests and dragon hoards are to D&D.