Oh boy, it has been a while since I’ve had any time or anything to say. Priorities or something…but I’m back! I’m starting the year off right with a brand new campaign using a system I have never tried to run before: Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars – Age of Rebellion. This has been a long time come, and on Saturday, 14th of January 2017, I ran my first session of it and my new campaign.
The campaign is taking place on a world of my own creation: Eridraan. Located in the Mid Rim not far from the Perlemian Trade Route. It is a temperate, Earth-like world know for its verdant forests, pristine waters, and amazing vistas. Populated primarily by humans, it is a wealthy world that was quickly “admitted” and integrated into the Galactic Empire.
The players and their characters are:
- Archie P as Varrus, a Spy, slicer, and Force-sensitive. Born and raised on Eridraan, Varrus’s parents died in the final year of the Clones Wars defending Eridraan from a Separatist attack. He lived rough at an orphanage as the Republic transformed into the Empire, using his wits and uncanny ability to get what he wanted out of people to survive. As a young teen, he was taken by black-clad figures in the night from his bed at the orphanage, and would spend the next several years enduring torturous training as his Imperial captors attempted to transform him into an assassin. Varrus escaped the first chance he got, returning to his home world with a determination to help overthrow the Empire and save other young people from his own fate.
- Dennis K. as Zerrak Anjek, a proud Soldier and sharpshooter who leads a band of his fellow Klatoonians in fighting for freedom wherever they can. Born into a world where the choices were “work for the Hutts or else”, he struck out with his surviving family after his own parents were killed. Something of a wandering freedom fighter, Zerrak has been drawn to rumors of oppression and secret prisons on Eridraan.
- Thomas E. as Tyris Drayson, a Diplomat, ambassador, and recruit is another Eridraan native. Previously a District Administrator, he was removed by the recently installed Imperial Governor Keevan Noss. After his dismissal, Tyris used his resources to gain the paramilitary skills required for overthrowing the corrupt regime that has his beloved world in its clutches.
Each player has also been given a unique Resource and a Rumour that will aid them in forming a rebel cell. This gives them greater ability than a standard Age of Rebellion character without given them more mechanical power. Each characters Resource and Rumour are:
- Tyris’s Resource is a source within Anthar-Dash Manufactures, codenamed Falchion, that provides him with corporate intelligence and unique opportunities for obtaining equipment. His Rumour, courtesy of Falchion, is that Anthar-Dash has constructed several squadrons of an advanced space-superiority fighter that, due to arms embargos to clients in the Outer Rim, languish unused in one of their space stations.
- Varrus’s Resource is an Imperial captain named Trellius Brelt. Varrus has evidence that the good captain was embezzling credits from the Empire, and holds that knowledge over the Imperials head in order to force him to provide Varrus intel. Varrus’s Rumour, provided reluctantly by the captain, is that the Imperial Security Bureau is going to make a move against Eridraan’s representative to the Imperial Senate, Camillus Trucale, during his commemoration speech on Empire Day.
- Zerrak’s Resource are his family and fellow soldiers, giving him command of a squad of troopers whose loyalty he can rely on almost without question. He has come to Eridraan because of a Rumour regarding a massive secret prison maintained by the Empire on Thyca, Eridraan’s primary moon, where dissidents and non-humans are kept without trial.
These rebels have been communicating between each other over the last few months, using clandestine Holo-Net communiques and cut-outs to send messages. But, after being contacted by a secret supporter calling themselves Fulcrum, the three conspirators decided to risk meeting in person at The White Star, an upscale watering-hole for spacers in the Sink section of Lanarin Capital City. Each arrived in their turn: the grim-faced Klatoonians first, sizing up the place, the gregarious Drayson grabbing drinks (and drawing some attention from a platinum-blond at the bar), and Varrus sneaking through the rear entrance like a shadow.
Seated in the blue and white glow of The White Star, the three quickly agreed that they should seek out the location of the hidden base Fulcrum tipped them off to, which was located deep in the Underworld (a series of underground caverns and waterways). The rebels, guarded by Zerrak’s Klatoonian kin, made to leave through the main entrance when the leather-clad blonde that had solicited Tyris for a drink appeared at his side, link her arm with his. She quickly informed him that Pa Garro, the owner of The White Star, told her to convey that there were Imperials waiting on the street outside to arrest them. Tyris quickly warned the others, and as they emerged from the bar they could see that both ends of the lane were blocked off by two squads each of Imperial Army regulars.
Everyone was keen to escape, and they spotted a large repulsor craft used for hauling cargo unattended just meters in front of them. Their new friend, calling herself Luna Thrace, declared that she was an excellent pilot, and immediately took to the driver seat. The owner of the vehicle was not well please, but as the Imperial soldiers began to close in, that was the least of their concerns. The vehicle surged forward, lumbering towards the Imperials at its best speed.
The black-helmed soldiers began to fire. From the sides of the vehicle, Varrus and the Klatoonians returned fire. Varrus was able to disarm a soldier with his holdout blaster, but the Klatoonians proved far more deadly: they dispatched an entire squad in a single volley, and disrupted the forcefield above the terrace on the main road leading towards the nearby Tenian Waterway, causing a small flood of water and obscuring their escape. Luna blasted them out of their in the stolen craft, taking a circuitous route to the Waterway.
This was the first combat in this system I’ve ever ran, which took us ten or so minutes OOC to sort out. The initiative system through me for a bit of a loop, as I generally eschew such things in my games.
We also saw the first rolls here, and the power of Triumph. After a brief discourse, the players decided to spend the Triumph on covering their escape, which led to the disruption of the force field waterfalls above the terraced-section they were in. An amazing and cinematic idea, driven by my description of the scene and the dice.
However, they players rolls also netted them some Despair in this scene, which would manifest shortly…
Arriving, the small band of rebels ditched the stolen vehicle and headed towards the dock where Fulcrum had left them a submersible vehicle which would enable them to reach the secret base. They loaded the sub without incident, Luna again assuming the helm. But, as they disembarked and made for the waterway, Varrus detected something approaching rapidly on scanners. Zerrak took the ladder up to the small observation bubble to see what was coming: it was a pair of TIE Fighters!
With some quick thinking, Varrus, Tyris, and Luna were able to alter the energy profile of the sub, while lowering it as far into the water as possible in the Waterway. From the air, nothing appeared on scans and visual inspection would only reveal shimmering water where once their sub was. As they manoeuvred, Tyris noticed what looked like a freshly opened passage into the Underworld, which he directed the sweating and overwrought young pilot to.
GM Note: A couple of very good rolls here, netting more Advantage and Triumph, not only allowed them to create a mirage-like effect to conceal them from the TIE Fighters, but also to find an immediate entry way into the Underworld. The Dice are amazing at creating these opportunities, and to me feel like a simpler way of generating narrative power versus invoking/compelling aspects in Fate. I was definitely digging it at this point.
After a rough journey through the unmapped passage, the rebels found themselves hovering down into a large cavern. Landing on an underground lake, they noted the various stalagmite and crystal formations, the light of the sub playing off them. Varrus, in a moment of intuition, reached out with his feelings and through the Force heard the cavern come alive with song. The Mirialan Force-sensitive shed a quiet tear as they went deeper into the cavern, and all felt a moment of calm wash over them as they left, moving ever closer to their destination.
Nearing their destination, Luna landed them in another cavern. This time, scanners in the cockpit told her that the had landed on something HUGE. As the rebels looked out, the large reptilian eye of a leviathan, a large and carnivorous creature native to the Underworld. With a mighty roar, it nearly toppled the sub as it rose. Luna, with Tryis as co-pilot, frantically worked the controls to get them ahead of the beast. Fortunately, they were able to out run it to the final passageway, the snapping of its jaws echoing behind them as they descended to the location of the base.
Two large bay doors stood between them and the hidden base. Using Fulcrums codes, they gained access. They were in a docking area, with old and corroding submersibles languishing in their bays. This place, built into the rock of the Underworld, was expansive and well-built, but had clearly been abandoned for some time. Leaving the sub, the rebels began to explore the facility. On the first floor, they discovered a central elevator and a data pad revealing the command centre to be on the seventh floor of the facility, which Tyris had dubbed The Hive.
GM Note: Dice rolls that didn’t involving flying or shooting! Archie was able to show off Varrus’s slicing skills while Thomas was able to jump in with a Knowledge check after Zerrak discovered the pad. The synergies of the group were apparent in this scene.
Also of note in this scene was Varrus taking Tyris to the side as the Klatoonians scouted and sharing his rumour with Tyris. This beautifully set the stage for the characters first full-blown mission as a rebel cell. That what this session was like: the narrative, be it through roleplay or the dice, evolved from it, with very little need for me to intervene with “encounters” or some kind of scripted event.
Jury-rigging the elevator’s controls, they rose to the seventh floor. There, as they walked towards a circular-strategic console, a pre-recorded message holographic message began to play: the figure, identifying itself as General Camillus Trucale, and that the Hive was formerly the secret command centre of the Eridraan Volunteer Defense Force – a militia that had operated during the Clone Wars – and that, having foresaw the death of liberty on Eridraan and in the Galaxy, had left this base for the next generation that they may rise up against tyranny. The message concluded, and as the rest of the floor came to life, a droid of strange configuration came to life: it identified itself as T7-A01, the former generals personal strategic and tactical droid.
With much to do before the Hive is fully operational and Empire Day just two solar days away, the session concluded. I was very impressed with, despite how obtuse it comes across in the books, the ease of the systems in play. I’m excited for the next session, which will be on January 28th. Keep your eyes open for the next recap and may the Force be with you!