Behind an LJ-cut for those of you who don't like seeing 3000-word long posts in your communities.
When we first started I made a statement that the only thing I consider to be canonical are the original trilogy of movies, yet we're playing in a time period four-thousand years before those movies. The Knights of the Old Republic setting, or KOTOR, to be precise. When I first played through the KOTOR 2 video game I discovered that the NPCs who followed you could eventually become Jedi, and so I set about trying to get as many Jedi following me as possible. The ending of the game was kind of lame, but one thing that stuck out was that the characters who had become Jedi were all still on board my ship, the Ebon Hawk, while I was down on the surface of Malachor 5 fighting Darth Traya.
Presumably, and canonically, at the end of the game, your companion Atton Rand flies the Ebon Hawk down to the surface of Malachor 5 and rescues you before the planet explodes, and then you and your remaining companions fly off in search of Darth Revan who has been revealed throughout the plot to still be alive after the events of the first game...
I ignored most of that ending.
I liked the idea that all of these NPCs from the game were Jedi after I played; Atton Rand, Bao-Dur, the Echani swordswoman Brianna, the bounty hunter Mira, and the redeemed Sith apprentice Visas Marr. So, in my game, something happened to the Exile which I'm not prepared to define yet, and all of these other characters returned to Coruscant to form the New Jedi Council and began taking on new apprentices. Roughly three years have passed since the events of the video game, and the Ebon Hawk has been in storage during that time.
When we first got together to talk about the game everybody was already itching to make characters. I'm not sure how it happened, but the players started joking about the characters being like the Jedi equivalent of the A-Team, so almost all of the PCs have A-Team inspired names.
I think most of it was inspired by this...
This has also helped me as a GM though, if I need an idea for an adventure I just look up episode summaries for the A-Team TV show and try to glean something from those. I actually have about three adventures ready to go based on looking through those summaries.
The first mission
I set up the two Jedi characters as newly knighted and assigned to track down a Sith lord who was rumored to be amassing troops in the outer rim. Rickrod De'kar is an Arkanian nobleman who is following the group as an overseer to quell Senatorial fears that these new Jedi aren't just warmongers like the Sith. Our Mandalorian character was given the distinctive honor, or punishment?, of assisting the New Jedi Council by Mandalore himself - since Mandalore had traveled with the Jedi Exile for a time and knew most of the Council from that experience. Pek Faasman and Bak Arwwa, the twi'lek and wookie characters, were crewmembers of a starship, "the Red Fox," which had been conscripted for use by the new Council, the ship was owned by a short-lived NPC by the name of Curvi Vimil and after his death the name of the ship was so reviled by some of the players that the name was changed to "Curvi's Revenge."
The characters tracked the Sith lord, Darth Sarne, to Gandle Ott - the last major settlement on the edge of the uncharted Kathol sector. They were there to interrogate a local noble who had dealt with Sith favorably during the Civil War, and was known to be the last person to see Sarne. When they arrived, the party was ambushed by assassin droids, it was in this battle that Curvi was shot and killed, but the droids were old and badly-maintained machines held over from the war and so were destroyed easily. After the dust settled, the local lord was easily intimidated into giving the Jedi the coordinates to a Sith shadowport that he knew Sarne was headed for.
Upon arriving at the shadowport, concealed within a nebula, their ship was hailed by the troops stationed there. The troops, soldiers still loyal to the Sith, offered to refuel and resupply the ship if the Jedi agreed to take some of them with their ship - by all appearances Darth Sarne had abandoned his troops at this shadowport with no means of resupplying or flying to any local systems. Sarne had left behind some men who were fanatically loyal to him who attacked the PCs before they tried to leave, but failed in doing anything but causing a distraction. Sarne also left a few computer virus traps in case anybody tried to track his route using the port's computers, but these were easily disabled and erased, thus the PCs tracked Sarne to another outer rim planet: Shintel.
Upon exiting hyperspace, the hyperdrive on the ship blew out. They were not going to be able to jump out of this system without first setting down and getting the ship repaired. After landing on Shintel the party soon became aware that the local crime syndicate had a stranglehold upon the citizenry of the planet. Many people were trying to get off of the world, but the local gangsters were keeping them there, and keeping their organizations going through forced labor and extortion. The first order of business was to find a repairman who could fix their ship, and they found this in Fias Pang, who agreed to do the repairs as quickly as he was able provided the Jedi took his daughter, Tia, with them once they left Shintel.
After dealing with the local criminals on several trips around town, and meeting one of Sarne's retired lieutenants, Bak Arwwa left to go help a fellow wookie - he would not divulge why he was leaving or for how long and his absence was immediately felt as the party was soon ambushed by a group of bounty hunters that were working for Darth Sarne. Several Sith soldirs were firing into the melee from a cargo ship hovering over the battle, while others led by one of Sarne's apprentices attacked from the ground. The party had no difficulty taking out the large number of Sith soldiers the bounty hunters brought with them, but they didn't treat their fallen comrades with much respect. After lobbing stun grenades into the back of the cargo ship and knocking every soldier unconscious who was shooting from above, the pilot of the vessel raised the altitude of his ship to get out of firing range and then tilted the angle of his ship to empty the unconscious soldiers over the city, assuredly killing them all. The party tracked the bounty hunters to a warehouse on the planet and immediately attacked. Another of Sarne's apprentices attempted to flee, but she was cut down by the Jedi before she could get away.
The next day Darth Sarne turned himself in to the Jedi. He explained that they had killed more than half the men he was able to muster or convince to serve him again, and they had destroyed both of his apprentices, he did not wish to continue fighting opponents that he could clearly see would eventually kill him, so he submitted himself to them, knowing that the new Jedi Council would spare his life. Their ship was almost finished being repaired, so they took off for Corsucant shortly thereafter.
What Darth Sarne did not mention to these Jedi was that the Sith were fractured, those that knew of one another sought to dominate all other Sith and forge a new army to battle the Republic. The party was ambushed at their first stop along the way to Coruscant, and the Curvi's Revenge took some deadly hits to its shields and hull. The ship's engines straining, Pek and Mird could barely keep the ship together as they crashed in the remote jungle of the outer rim world they had jumped to. Gathering supplies from the ship as quickly as possible, the party set out into the jungle before two Sith Interceptors strafed the
Due to poor planning on my part as a GM, the PCs ended up being able to trek through the wilderness without many problems. It seems that medical kits in the Star Wars universe each come with a collapsible stretcher which is capable of hovering above the ground and has a carrying capacity of 160 kg. So with two of these the PCs were able to carry all of their equipment and supplies pretty easily, and I tried several times to add complications to their trek through the wilderness, but they persevered through rainstorms, poisonous animal attacks and bug swarms.
Upon reaching the starport on the planet, they were met by Republic troops which had recently arrived to the system and scared off the Sith vessels in orbit. The party was quickly ferried back to Coruscant where they turned over Darth Sarne to the Jedi Council and then waited...
New ship, new missions
After several days on Coruscant the Jedi were assigned to a new ship of their own and Atton Rand gave them a tour of their new ship as it was assigned to them: the Ebon Hawk. Atton explained that it had been in storage for two years, but would otherwise work fine as he explained that he had piloted it himself for some time.
The other people who had followed the Jedi were asked if they wanted to stay with them. Pek seemed obliged to continue to work as their pilot, the Arkanian nobleman Rickrod insisted that his senatorial role wasn't finished yet, and Tia Pang (an NPC) was an able mechanic and insisted that she would continue to travel with these Jedi who had rescued her from Shintel. A new Jedi was assigned to the group and an open-ended mission was given to them: a list of Sith agents was stored in their new ship's computers and they were to find these agents and bring them to justice using their personal discretion. Occasionally the council would call upon them to directly inervene somewhere they were needed, but otherwise they were being left on their own.
Their first direct mission was to overseer negotiations with miners who were having a labor dispute on Sleheyron. The Jedi traveled there quickly and were there for several days while they formed a compromise between corporate agents and newly-unionized miners. As they departed from the planet, a space station asked for assistance in the investigation of a murder which had just happened.
Urshal Krahn was a General of some fame, he rose to command Republic forces engaged against the Sith during the war. After the assassination of the Imperial Governor on Sleheyron, Krahn was named Acting Governor, a post he held for four years. Under his authority, harsh measures enacted against local rebels brought an end to an internal conflict, though at a dreadful cost of lives and Republic good will. Charges were brought against Krahn after his post was taken over by an Imperial appointee, Baron Domo Malvar. The accusations of excessive force, violation of various sophont rights codes, and embezzlement of tax revenues were dismissed, but Urshal Krahn resigned in protest over the government’s treatment of him. Still regarded in many places as a hero for his firm stance on Sleheyron, Urshal Krahn directed his estate’s wealth toward mining and became president of his own company, Krahn Minerals. Under his direction, the company stablized a declining profit picture and became a significant factor in the resource exploitation field in the Axun, Belgaroth and Sleheyron systems.
On the station were several suspects, all people that Urshal Krahn had recent dealings with, or long-time grudges...
The party soon determined that the suspect they were looking for had to be considerably strong because the man had been strangled, had four-fingered hands based on the depressions in his neck, and murdered Krahn during a specific time window based on evidence of tampering of the clock in his suite. The party eventually determined that if it wasn't the Baron Malvar with his staff covering for him, then it had to be Oojan Mane since the General's computer had his name in it but any other relevant information was missing.
A mysterious message...
Upon leaving the Sleheyron space station, Pek received a distress call over the communication equipment in the Ebon Hawk from Bak Arwwa. The message contained galactic coordinates, latitude and longitude and a window of time. In the database the galactic coordinates would take the ship to the planet Eriadu, a planet once held by the Sith fleet during the Civil War. The party set course for Eriadu...
The first adventure had many elements stolen from the first Dark Stryder adventure. Basically, I took the names of places and juggled them a bit, and changed the reasons behind the "chase" while removing a lot of the more restrictive elements from the original adventure. The Dark Stryder campaign lasts through about four books, and I simply did not want to make my whole game about following one Sith lord, so I had him turn himself in, which created its own dramatic impulses as the players tried to determine how he was going to betray them or attempt escape.
The Marooned adventure actually came directly from an old Traveller module called ... Marooned.
The original adventure is pretty sparse and is basically a lot of encounter charts and explanations of the flora and fuana of the planet, but I took that and tried to make an interesting trek through the wilderness while being chased by Sith agents... Unfortunaely almost all of the dramatic tension was lost as one of the players noticed that medical kits gave you a powerful stretcher for carrying gear, and they lost the trail of the Sith agents almost immediately after abandoning their crashed ship.
I had planned on stretching out the events on the planet into two sessions, but with so many things foiling my adventure I decided to wrap it up quickly, even going through the arrest of Darth Sarne on Coruscant rather quickly.
I wanted to reward the players with something for struggling through the Marooned adventure so I gave them the Ebon Hawk. I feel that, a lot of time, these extra sourcebooks for TRADEMARKED franchises often include stuff that never gets used. I often find myself looking at pages and pages of material in the books that I think shouldn't be in there because a) nobody is ever going to use that information or b) it was a contractual obligation to put that stuff in there.
The stats for Darth Vader?
Yeah, I'm never gonna use those. Because if I want stats for Darth Fucking Vader I'll write them myself!
Anyway, I decided to give the PCs the Ebon Hawk because its a sweet ship and its one of the few ships that have deck plans in the books, so the players won't have a strong desire to replace it with something else that, say, doesn't have deck plans. There are stats for T3-M4 and HK-47, as well a ton of Sith lords who should be dead during the time period I am running in, but I think I'm going to put all of those to use at some point too because otherwise I've got about 12 pages of material that is just going to be lying fallow - and those Star Wars books are expensive so I might as well use as much of the material as I can.