Saturday, May 22, 2010

Star Wars: Episode VII: The Darkening Rift

We're heading into the last session(s) of the Star Wars game I've been running using Action Cards. I thought I'd do a quick recap of the first six sessions. The game itself takes place a generation or two after Return of the Jedi. I told the players only to hold as canon anything in the movies, everything else would be at my discretion.

OPENING CRAWL
The Galaxy remains divided split between several factions. While THE NEW REPUBLIC attempts to restore faith in a central authority, it continues to battle with fragments of the Old Empire, including the DEEP CORE BASTIONS and Grand Mof Garrik's CRIMSON EMPIRE. The outer systems remain divided in their allegiance and many have taken advantage of the chaos. The increasing breakdown of hyperspace routes has only added to this isolation.

The Jedi remain a force of myth and legend, working behind the scenes and battling against grave suspicions. Standing apart from politics, the few Jedi Masters have sought out students in an attempt to bring stability to the galaxy. But force users represent a valuable commodity and a target for criminals and bounty hunters.

A handful of heroes have attempted to turn back the rising tide, fighting against these criminals including the HUTT SYNDICATE. They work to intercept them before they can strike at their targets, or if need be, rescue them from their clutches....

Quick Summary of the First Six Session
s
Captain Ryu Regal and his ship the Fortunate Rogue find themselves embroiled in events on a galactic scale beginning with a simple mission. They are hired by the Jedi Wren Marr to look into the matter of a criminal network who seem to be kidnapping force sensitives for some unknown purpose. They quietly track the ship of a smuggler who seems to be moving this very special human cargo. The smuggler rendezvous with a Hutt Slaver ship in a dead system. The heroes decide to board the ship, to rescue the prisoners and hunt for information. They find a skeleton crew on the ship and only one prisoner, frozen in carbonite. They release him just as the Hutt ship begins a jump to hyperspace. The resulting release of force energy from the awaken prisoner seems to disrupt the jump with disastrous results.

Regal and the others have to flee as the Hutt ship begins to fall apart. Regal's second, the droid HK-93, helps lead them through the parts of the vessel beginning to be exposed to the void of space. They reach the Fortunate Rogue and finally see what has happened. The Hutt ship has crashed into one of a set of three enormous sphere ships unlike anything they have seen before. As they watch, these ships move into hyperspace, not by normal means, but apparently by some use of the Force itself. Rae-Lynn, the ship's engineer, is able to determine that the movement of these ships seems to disrupt the hyperspace lanes themselves-- while the ship could follow the spheres, they opt to travel to the destination for the Hutt ship, Volgler Prime.

That turns out to be a backwater system with little to commend itself. Wren Marr speaks with the released force user, Rilos. Orphaned on Tatooine at a young age, Rilos was forced into a life of pit fighting. How he came to be abroad the transport, he is not sure. Rilos asks Marr if he can be trained in the ways of the Force and the Jedi reluctantly agrees. Meanwhile Regal and his crew find out about a Hutt operation in the system on the planet Vogler Three.

Vogler Three turns out to be a world covered in constant storms. Regal manages a dangerous flight in following a Hutt transport-- leading them to an ancient temple in the eye of a hurricane. They enter, and soon realize that it is a Sith Temple. At the heart of it they find the leaders of the Hutt operation and their dark ally, a Sith named Darth Rune. Apparently they have been sacrificing the kidnapped force sensitives in an attempt to open an ancient Sith holding device. The two groups clash, with the heroes gaining the upper hand when a stray shot damages the machinery of the temple. It opens the Sith safe, but also brings down the protections around the temple, releasing a hurricane held in place for thousands of years. Darth Rune escapes and the group barely makes it out of the temple. They have, however, been able to seize the items locked away-- a a Sith Holocron and a sphere of Force power which seems to have been created by the lost precursor race of the Rakata.

Feeling that the Rakata artifact may be the key to what has happened, the group tracks down a rogue expert in the field, Paven Lucksoul. They travel to his last known location, the planet of Lohrans, a step ahead of Hutt Bounty Hunters. On Lohrans they find that Lucksoul has been arrested for illegal trafficking in artifacts. Exhausting other means, they arrange a jailbreak. They get Lucksoul out, but their success is cut short by the arrival of a Star Destroyer from the Imperial remnant, The Crimson Empire. Admiral Drums demands the planetary authorities turn Lucksoul over to them, not knowing he has been taken by the heroes.

Captain Regal and his crew press Lucksoul for an explanation. He reveals that various experts in the matter of the Rakata have vanished over the last several years-- with the Crimson Empire seemingly behind many of those vanishings. He believe they want expertise in the long fallen Rakata, those who first used Force powers, for themselves. They've eliminated any who would not join with them. Lucksoul also explains that he has uncovered a Rakata site here-- and that his assistant is still there. He believes the Imperials will try to seize that site.

The group heads to the Rakata temple, one step ahead of the Imperial forces. There they find Paven's assistant, Alivan Vane, a woman with a strange background and half-face tattoos that seem familiar. They battle the temple's guardians and the engineer Rae-Lynn manages to decipher some of the messages buried in the temple. They point to a location in the Core, a place that strangely corresponds to markings on Rilos' body. They also find out that Paven is more of a fraud than he appeared to be with Vane actually more of an expert. They drop Lucksoul into the wood for the Imperials and make a desperate attempt to break through the planetary blockade. The ship takes heavy damage, but they manage to use the timely arrival of a Hutt fleet (including Darth Rune) to make their escape. However even as they do so, Rilos and Marr feel a strange presence in the Force aboard the Star Destroyer.

Having escaped the Crimson Empire's grip, the Fortunate Rogue heads to the planet of Quel Dor to seek out repairs. There, Wren Marr takes Rilos to meet his own master, the Jedi Knight Scryre Ossaki. Marr's own incomplete training as a Jedi is revealed, his master having sent him away having seen a darkness in him. Ossaki reveals why he reacted so strongly to that. He tells of his former student, the one who fell into the dark side and became the Sith known as Darth Rune. Master Scryre feared the same thing for Wren Marr and so perhaps overacted to his later apprentice's failings. Scryre called Marr a Jedi and gives his blessing for him to train Rilos in the ways of the Force. He warns them that Darth Rune had been allied with the Crimson Empire, but has split from them. Finally he tells them that if anything should happen to him, they should seek out his own master, the venerable Jedi, Luke Skywalker.

Meanwhile Rae Lyn repairs the ship while Grohl, the Wookie medic repairs the injured crew. HK_97 and the Captain look into the current situation. They locate the sector pointed to by the Rakata ciphers-- a dangerous and hidden place. It was apparently a hidden base in the days of the Old Empire. Protected by dangerous gravatic currents with cloaked Imperial beacons as the only means of reaching it through hyperspace. The last of the Cloner race, the Kaminoa, were secretly sent there after having been nearly eliminated by Imperial purges. They also learn that the struggle between the New Republic and the Crimson Empire seems to be on the rise. The Empire struck against the Hutt who would not apparently ally with them, unleashing a weapon which disrupted hyperspace travel within the systems and set a sun to nova. The New Republic, fearing what other weapons the Crimson Empire might have have pull together for a full-scale offensive against them.

After much consultation, the group decides to head to this mysterious system in an effort to untangle these secrets. Vane reveals that she knows of Darth Rune as well, that he was her father but that she managed to escape from him. While she had no force powers, her father marked her with echoes of his own tattos to show ownership and compel obedience. Despite this troubling revelation, Rae-Lynn and Vane figure out a way to use the Rakata Force artifact to transport the Fortunate Rogue to the system...they hope. With a brief prayer they throw the switch.

And they find themselves in the Mythus system, a nearly dual-star grouping of dangerous gravities and currents. They scan and discover a facility on one of the planets. They head there and find an enormous Imperial Science Complex, devoid of people and seemingly in standby mode. They enter carefully and soon realize that this place has been devoted to a singular cloning project. Rae-Lynn leads the group to an unsecured data station in the heart of the facility where they trip off the hologram recording of a decrepit Kaminoan, Noval Main.

Main talks of the history of the facility and its singular purpose. It was established here to overcome the problem of cloning force users. Force powers do not consistently transfer when a person is cloned. Perhaps one in a million times, maybe fewer, force sensitivity will arise in a clones. This place had been built by Lord Vader to clone one person, a Jedi named Anakin Skywalker. The facility was built to be a self-sustaining penal colony for the remaining Kaminoans, cut off from news of the fall of the Empire. It continued on, process clones, raising them, testing them and then destroying the failures. Until an anomaly in the system caused the creation of twin clones, a boy and a girl. They proved to have mighty force powers. However the automated facility only sought a single force user. It launched the girl on an automated transport to another secret facility of the long fallen Empire. The other was to be destroyed, but Noval had other plans. He marked the clone with the location of the facility and sent it out in the reserve launch which had been released by the successful completion of the project. Then Noval turned his attention to turning the facility itself into a death-trap for Lord Vader and any of his agents who might come here.

With that the heroes find themselves caught and the complex begin to shut doors and release monsters created by the last on the Kaminoans-- horrible hybrid made up of the facilities robots and whatever organics the late mad scientist could devise. They attempt a running escape only to be trapped in a large chamber and forced into a fight. The situation grows more grave when Darth Rune appears, having followed them. The battle is lengthy and dangerous with the self-repairing robots posing a major threat and Darth Rune tangling with both Jedi and the Wookie. However the duel ends in the favor of the heroes with Rune falling from multiple wounds.

With his last breath he tells them that there is a greater threat than he out there. Rune wanted the power of the Dark Side to rule and control. But this new threat seeks destruction rather than control. He had served the Crimson Empire, using it to further his studies of the ancient Rakata technologies. He'd found an apprentice in the form of a young girl at an abandoned Imperial facility, a girl with potent force powers. His own daughter, Allivan Vane had proven worthless to him, so he'd made her the handmaiden to his apprentice. Eventually Rune had been able to find and contact remnants of the Rakata, or so it appeared. They were the Decimators, possessing strange force powers. They turned Rune's own apprentice against him and seduced the Crimson Empire with the new powers they possessed. He'd fled to the Hutt to escape before they could destroy him. There he's sought out other Rakata weapons to fight against the Decimators and make himself lord of the galaxy.

Then Rune died, leaving the group with the potent and immediate threat that these Decimators and the Crimson Empire were even now planning an ambush against the gathered forces of the New Republic!