Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Storytime: Why I am no longer allowed to use explosives

I've gotten caught up in schoolwork again. Luckily, I have something on a related topic I wrote in order to share with a friend about a year ago. This is my first experience with an RPG and took place when I was in junior high. Both my brother (the GM in this story) and the other player in this game are in the current Star Wars campaign I am writing about in this blog.

We were playing the old West End Games Star Wars RPG. My brother was GMing for the first time and making most of it up on the spot. My friend and I were playing bounty hunters. We met our contact, got the assignment, and decided we needed more firepower. So, we of course went shopping.

The shop had pretty much everything we could ever want... except they were selling something the Imperials deemed illegal... and someone tipped the local authorities off. A group of 6 stormtroopers burst in and the shopkeeper opens fire. The attackers were little too strong. The shopkeeper and my friend were hit early and lay on the ground dying. My character jumped through the door way into the storage room and used the doorway for cover. As to what happened next...

me: "Do they look injured at all?"

GM: "You can't tell. They've got armor."

me: "Is there any kind of grenade back here? Like a thermal detonator? Or maybe a whole crate of them?"

GM (happy to have an out): "Yes! There's a box right next to you!"

me: "Cool! I pick up the box and throw it at them!"

GM (after a brief pause): "You what?"

me: "I throw it at them. Did I kill the stormtroopers?"

GM: "The box?"

me: "Yes, the box! Did I kill the stormtroopers?"

GM: "Did you arm any of them?"

me: "No."

GM: "No, you did not kill the stormtroopers."

GM (on my next turn): "Well, the box didn't work. What do you do now?"

me: "I shoot the box!"

GM (pauses and blinks a couple of times): "You... shoot... the box?"

me: "Yeah! I shoot the box! That should make the grenades go off! Did I kill the stormtroopers?"

GM: "You need to roll to hit."

me (after I roll): "Did I hit it? Did it kill the stormtroopers?"

GM: "Yes, you hit it."

me: "Woohoo! Did I kill the stormtroopers?"

GM: "Yes, you killed the stormtroopers..." (I start celebrating) "... and the shopkeeper..."

me: "Huh?"

GM: "... and Ryan and yourself."

me: "What? How?"

GM: "That was a box. A box of THERMAL DETONATORS! You leveled the whole building!"
me: "Is there any chance I survive?"


"Oh... oops."

Since then, the only destruction I've caused in a city is accidentally lighting a building on fire with a flaming arrow in my first D&D campaign. I doubt that character would be warmly received should he revisit that city.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Session 3: Jailbreak

Bishop Nabool too had a message upon his return. This one contained instructions on how to contact an unnamed individual about a job offer.

"Ah, Mr. Nabool," everyone's favorite Bothan said. "I have a job for you."

"I figured as much."

A map appeared in the projection. "I need you to drive to this location. An aircar will be provided on the listed date."

The date flashed on the screen. Ah, the day of the big parade. Nice cover, thought Nabool. "And?"

"And wait for further instructions. I will pay you 2000 credits. I'll pay you half in advance."

"Most of my weapons were confiscated. I'd like you to replace those."

"I trust you still have something?"

"I have a light repeater."

"That will do."

The message terminated. Well, now to give my current employer the bad news.

The face of Grogga the Hutt appeared on screen.

"Grogga. I just wanted to let you know I've gotten a better offer and will be moving on."

"Oh. I am... disappointed to hear that." A protocol droid translated from off screen.

The link suddenly terminated.

Oh no. What have I done?! Angering a Hutt is generally considered to be a very bad idea.

Pro tip #1:
Always make sure your back story is available in written form just in case the player and the game master disagree on what was in it. The player intended to be working for a small-time criminal and not no that person's boss. The GM did not understand that. In order to keep the game moving, the GM went with what he understood in order to avoid backtracking and replaying the sequence.

Pro tip #2:
Never contact a crime boss to tell them you quit. They will be... disappointed to hear that.

Bishop laid low for the rest of the week. The car arrived as promised on the appointed day. Upon arrival, Bishop looked around noting the nearby bank and a couple of other prime targets. He was a little surprised to be involved in a job so close to the detention center. Suddenly, there was a loud explosion in the distance and the area shook. Lights flickered as and died.

In the jail, the backup generators quickly kicked in. A couple seconds later, another explosion disabled them as well. The containment forcefields on one of the lower levels died. A single red light appeared, accompanied by the skittering of spidery legs.

"Ah, Yossa," Shiv's voice intoned from the droid.

"Well, what's your plan for getting outta here?"

"Retrieve your atlatl."


"In good time."

Yossa and the droid took off down the corridor. The other prisoners, having been kept in a weakened state much longer, did not keep pace with the pair.

"Do the guards have the day off or somethin'?"

"There was a fire drill before the lights went off."

"A fire drill?"

"A fire drill."

"I don't even want to know what you're up to."

"You are wise beyond your years."

Yossa skidded to a stop and whirled on the droid. "Patronize me again and I'll smack you!"

The bot did not even stop. "Noted."

They arrived at a dead turbolift. After what felt like forever, they emerged in an empty hallway. No guards were in sight.

"We need to find the evidence room." With that, the droid skittered away.

"'Da hell?" Yossa looked down the other way, seeing nothing of note. "Can't hurt."

ASP-707 booted up. A strange bot was climbing on him. Only voice and optics are functional. A quick diagnostic test verified nothing had been added to his programming.

The small bot spoke. "Next directive: collect all our weapons and proceed down the hall."

"Next directive is my own."

A sigh emanated from the other bot.

Controversy arose for a second time as our GM sliced into our droid character's CPU. There are drawbacks to playing a droid.

The droid completed the repairs on ASP-707 quickly, then hopped to a locker. "This is the one you want."

They met the Gungan in the hall. "Directive fulfilled," Shiv's bots said in unison. "Let's free your future colleagues."

"Do it yourself," said Yossa. Footsteps echoed further down the halway.

"I... need assistance," Shiv said reluctantly.

"They're the ones that got me into this mess!"

"I know where the warden is."

"You got me there. I owe him a good beatin'."

As those two set off, the second bot turned to 707. "Will you follow?"

707 raised his arm. A cloud of flame burst forth. He slowly stalked down the hallway after Yossa.

Two levels down, they found a control room. Yossa spotted the warden and dashes down the stairs. As he rounds a corner, he finds the warden waiting for him with his back to the wall. Yossa skids to a halt as the smiling warden raised his baton, showing the Gungan a wide array of buttons as he pressed one. Sirens erupted.

Yossa raises his atlatl and fires. The warden smiles again as the projectile harmlessly strikes an energy barrier. Again, the warden smiles and presses a button on his baton. Two small sections of wall slide upward and a single creature walks out. A sand tick the size of a human fist emerges.

"'Da hell?" Yossa says. Suddenly more pour out of the hole and begin crawling all over the energy field, unable to penetrate it. When Yossa moves to fire again, the ticks swarm toward him. One bites him as he flees. The sand ticks pursue.

After several attempts, 707 slices into the the computers in the control room and disengages the pressure-locked cells on the levels holding Banniss and the Rodian.

"Hi, guys! Dis way!" Yossa says as he runs past his compatriots, pausing briefly to flip a blaster pistol to Banniss.

After donning a large, black cloak he pulled from the evidence room, 707 walks slowly out of the control room, flaming sand tick stragglers as he goes.

The Rodian slips on the final flight of stairs, striking her head and tumbling to the bottom. She doesn't get up. Yossa and Bannis hop off the staircase just in time to avoid being struck by her body. A squad of twelve stormtroopers await them in the lobby.

Editor's note:
Bishop does know Huttese, but Grogga insists on always using a protocol droid to translate.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Introducing: Yossa Fel

My apologies about the lack of post last week. I had two large papers due. That also precluded the next session from making it through the editing process in time. Session updates will resume next week.


Yossa Fel is a 34 year old Ankura Gungan. He grew up among his people and served in the Grand Army, achieving significant rank and prestige. He also married and while he has no children as of yet, he is very close to his wife. He doesn't talk about his past at all with anyone, because he's been banished. The great war hero Yossa Fel is not allowed to return to his people, but his wife could not leave her responsibilities to join him. Their solution is to send journals back and forth, so that at least they can share that much. Since his exile, he has been making a living as a mercenary, selling his prodigious skill with his atlatl to whomever offers legitimate work. Even despite all that has happened, Yossa still has a strong respect for the law, although he suspects with considerable frequency that imperial law isn't worth the trouble to follow. He'll generally come across as gruff and a tad mean, but can you blame him?

Yossa is known for his skills with a Gungan atlatl.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Session 2: We have Ways of Making You Talk

First, a pair of stormtroopers came for the Duro. They paraded him along a corridor, through a turbolift, another corridor. Finally, he arrived in front of an Imperial officer. Probably the warden, he thought.

"Ah, Baniss Nootka. You can save yourself a lot of pain by telling us what we need to know now."

"What do you need me to tell you?"

"You know."

"No, I don't. What did I do?"

"You know what you did! Strap him in! I'll be inside shortly."

The guards dragged Baniss into what appeared to be an amphitheater. A single, ominous-looking chair stood on the middle of the black stage. Arm, leg, and head restraints jutted out. Bright lights pointed at the chair obscured Baniss' vision of the audience and reflected off the stage floor. The guards strapped him in, enlarging the metallic head restraint to accommodate his large cranium. After several minutes of waiting, in stepped the warden holding what looked like a stun baton.

"Care to tell me who your accomplices are?"

"Accomplices in what?"

"You know what I mean!"

"No, I don't. What did I do?"

The warden touched a button on the baton and it began to crackle with electricity. The warden pressed it to Baniss' chest and pain shot through his entire body. "Tell me who they are?"

"I don't know what I did." The baton struck him across the face and Baniss felt a shock there as well. "Tell me what you want me to tell you!" A jab to the chest this time. I've got to think of something. Maybe they're interested in the datapad programs I collaborated on over the HoloNet. "I'll talk! Their names are lovemonkey28, piloting_ace32, captainduro..." Whap! The hardest blow yet stung his face.

"I want real names, not user names!!!"

"I don't know their real names!" Another jab. I've got to do something! "Give me any name you want! I'll implicate them in a crime! Any crime! I'll... Oh, that's right. You don't need me to do that. You can handle that on your own."

The warden raised a needle. "This is good at making beings tell the truth, but if you're insistent on just giving us anything..." There was a snap-hiss as a door behind Baniss opened. A humming sound began to resonate. "...this is all we will need." The sound came closer.

A needle jabbed into the back of the Duros head; he screamed in pain, then lapsed into unconsciousness.

Next, the guards grabbed the Gungan and dragged him to a similar amphitheater. The warden arrived at right behind the guards this time. After strapping him in, a guard nodded to the warden. He began to pace in front of the chair.

"Yossa Fel. Tell me what you know about your Duros friend."

"He ain't no friend of mine. Meesa just met him at dinner."

"And what do you know about your... prospective employer?"

Yossa shrugged. "He was picking up the tab. I ordered the most expensive thing on the menu."

"I noticed. It was in the report."

"I figured I would get hauled in, so I thought I'd finish the stew."

"You've been hauled in before?"

"No, but I know how you Imperials operate!"

"And how is that?" the warden asked smugly.

"If you need me to tell you, you're in the wrong business."

The smug smile vanished and the guards fastened the head restraint. The baton began to crackle.

"Is this the part where you ask me a question and I say 'F*** you!'?"

Whap! "You will tell me what I need to know."

"And you really believe that?"

Zap! The baton jabbed Yossa in the chest. "The Duros! What do you know about the Duros?"

"I know he's not smart enough to order well when someone else is payin'."

Whap! "What about the Rodian?"

"I don't know what her problem is."

Whap! "Your employer! Where will you contact him?"

"He never showed at the cantina."


"I can keep going all day," Yossa smiled.

Whap! "So can I. So. Can. I." Zap!

Next, they took Ith. Upon entering the interrogation room, the guards removed her mask. The warden was already waiting, wearing his own mask in order to supply him with oxygen. There was no baton in sight. The guards led her to the chair where they did not strap her in. The stormtroopers stood on either side of her. They must also have their own masks, Ith Sang deduced. Otherwise they couldn't survive in this. She took a deep breath, obviously glad to be out of that mask.

"So, you fancy yourself a detective."

"Yes, I am a licensed private investigator."

"Tell me what you know of those you were with."

Ith relayed everything she knew, conveniently leaving out any details about Shiv and the meeting point. After this, her belongings where returned, minus her blaster, and she was free to leave.

They came for the Rodian, but barely bothered to ask her anything. She had killed one of their compatriots. Vengance, not information, was their goal.

They didn't bother coming for the human. They simply fined him 2000 credits and confiscated his weaponry.

Ith Sang returned to her apartment to discover she had a message from Shiv. "I need you to clear the name of our Duros friend," he said. "Start with the luxury liner Glitterspur, his previous employer."

With that, Ith left to begin her investigation.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Session 1, part 2: Jailhouse Talk

The troopers roughly shoved their prisoners in to their cell; all except the droid were present. Three of them took seats, but the unconscious Duros and Rodian lay on the floor.

Yossa, the Gungan, spoke first. "Why did I go to the cantina? I knew that Duros looked like bad news when meesa get there. Meesa shoulda walked right out the door!" He paused. "At least the stew was good."

"I gathered that," the strange alien said.

"Well good for you! What are you, some kind of detective?" Yossa spat back.


"Oh," a deflated Yossa replied. He turned to the human. "And you! What yousa problem? That not a human place!"

The human slurred his reply, "I wanted some stew. They make good stew."

"Oh. But then why shoot the stormtroopers?"

"It seemed like a good idea at the time."

"'Seemed like a good idea at the time,'" Yossa sneered. "Great. That's great meesa stuck in cell with a crazy human." He glared at the Rodian. "What's her problem anyway? You'd think she'd never seen a pair of binders before!"

"Oh? And you've been arrested before?" the other creature asked suspiciously.

"No, but I know how they operate," he said, switching back to a standard pronoun. "I notice you didn't resist either."

"I hadn't done anything wrong. It's just easier that way."

"And you!" Yossa bellowed at the Duros. "What's your problem?"

Baniss continued to feign sleep.

"Still sleepin' it off?" He turned to the detective. "I want to know what he did! It's his fault we're in this mess!"

"I don't know."

"I don't know either." Baniss decided it was time to speak.

"Look at that! He is awake." Yossa crossed his arms with contempt.

The odd alien went right into detective mode. "Anything unusual happen recently?"

"I got fired today."

"What did you do?"

"I was a navigator on a luxury liner. They fired me to replace me with some human."

"Ain't that always the case?" Yossa shot daggers at the human with his eyes.

"Yeah." The detective sighed.

"I didn't catch your names. I am Baniss Nootka, pilot."

"I'm Yossa."

"And what do you do, Yossa?" Baniss Nootka inquired.

"None of your business, that's what I do!"

"What about you? I've never seen anyone of your race before."

"My name is Ith Sang and I'm a Kel Dor."

"Bishop Naebul." The human chimed in, unsolicited. "I work in... security."

There was a little chatter before they drifted off to sleep, awaiting their interrogation the next day.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Session 1: You meet in a tavern, er... cantina

Most updates will be shorter. This one is pretty heavy on the dialog and character descriptions. It was the last session before my work schedule changed, significantly shortening the time we have.

If you haven't checked out the my character's bio, I'd encourage you to do so.

Handy links are included to Wookiepedia for those not familiar with Star Wars when necessary.

A dejected Baniss Nootka wandered the streets after receiving the sad news: he has been terminated from his job as navigator on the luxury liner Glitterspur. Rodians, Duros, Twi'leks, and several other non-human species wander the streets (pictures provided via links). The aliens are relegated to this section of Coruscant due to the Empire's bias against non-humans. An ASP droid wandered through the crowd as well. Normally, this would draw Nootka's attention but he isn't paying much attention to where he is going.

Yesterday, he received a message from his cousin: Baniss's uncle is dead, killed inside his favorite cantina on Corellia. A Twi'lek fugitive seated at the next table started shooting when confronted by a stormtrooper patrol. The uncle, sitting in his favorite corner booth, could not get to cover. A stray blaster bolt caught him right between the eyes, killing him instantly. Baniss sighed. Could things get any worse?

Suddenly, his datapad beeped. Conflicting thoughts run through his mind: A message? With a job offer? No reply address. Seems questionable and I've got a good bit of credits stashed away, but I want to save that for a droid. Maybe they'll let me fly a ship! Okay, I've got to check this out. He sliced into the network, trying to see where it originated. No such luck. Might as well check the meeting point.

Baniss was the first to arrive at the cantina. A droid floated up to him and directed him to a corner table. Someone else was picking up the tab! He ordered a Bantha steak and looked around. Was that a human sitting at the bar? Why would a human want to be in a Twi'lek restaurant, much less the non-human section of the city? He looks a little tipsy. Maybe he just wandered into the wrong part of town.

Soon, a gungan arrived, followed by a rodian, and a being he could not identify. The being had a breath mask and appeared to be female. An oddly modified Asp droid hunkered in a corner near the table. The gungan ordered the most expensive thing on the menu, a special stew, and kept going on and on about how good it was. "Might as well get a meal like this when someone else is paying for it," the gungan explained. Soon, a small droid skittered over and hopped up onto the table. A hologram flickered out from its projector.

"Ah, you're all here. Excellent," the furry bothan said as he surveyed the three of them. "I am Shiv and I have job for you."

"I figured that," the gungan interrupted.

"Yes, well, I need a new crew for my courier ship..."

Nootka, overcome by excitement, exclaimed, "A ship! Can I fly it?"

"Yes, you will be the pilot. I'm prepared to pay 1500 credits per shipment." Baniss's eyebrows raised. Or rather, they would have if duros had any. That sounded like quite a bit more than the going rate."

"Will there be any shooting?"

"No, there won't be."

"Good! I don't like shooting! It's a bad thing."

The gungan smiled. He new the bothan was bluffing. He knew he was there as an insurance policy in case things went sideways. He guessed that's what the rodian was there for as well.

Shiv gave them the docking bay number and requested they be there in exactly one week, prepared to depart. "Do any of you have gear that would require special transportation arrangements?" Shiv inquired. The gungan raised his hand. "Yes, Yossa?"

"Yeah, I have gear that requires special transportation arrangements," Yossa replied in a surly manner.

"Okay. Yes, I shall take care of that. See all of you in a week, if you're still interested." The droid skittered off before anyone could reply.

Everyone returned to their meals, except Baniss, who grabbed his datapad in an effort to find out information about the ship in that berth. Before he got anywhere on his search, six stormtroopers (half of a squad) walked into the bar. All the patrons stared down at their food, trying not to draw attention to themselves lest they face Imperial wrath. After some looking about, one of the stormtroopers pointed to Baniss's table. "They're coming over here, aren't they?" The gungan half-asked, half stated.

"Yep," the odd being at the table with them responded.

In reply, the gungan started eating his stew faster.

The stormtroopers approached. "Are you Baniss Nootka?"

"Yes. Is there a problem officer?"

"Put your hands up and no sudden movements! You're under arrest!"

While complying with their request, he asked, "What's the charge?"

"You know what you did! Hands in the air!"

"No, tell me."

One of the troopers advanced to the edge of the table as his compatriots fanned out to block escape from that corner. As the trooper approached the rodian, she jumped to her feet, jabbering something incoherent. At that moment, the Asp droid activated its fire extinguisher. Over the commotion, a voice was heard, "Subject is resisting arrest send back-up!"

As patrons rushed from their tables toward the lone exit, Nootka replied, "I'm not resisting!"

The gungan started to eat faster. The odd being held her hands in the air.

The rodian drew her weapon and fired, immediately downing the nearest stormtrooper. "Send back-up now! He's resisting!" the trooper captain implored.

"I told you, I'm not resisting!" The rodian fired on another trooper as another advanced on the human that was still sitting at the bar. The inebriated man jumped up, producing a pair of pistols from nowhere, and popped off a couple of stun bolts that missed their mark.

The gungan ate faster. The cloud of fog expanded around the droid, now engulfing a space right next to Nootka.

"Send back-up! We need back-up!"

"I'm not resis... okay, I'm resisting!" Baniss yelled as he drew his blaster and slid into the gas cloud.

The rodian dropped another stormtrooper. The gungan continued eating.

A stormtrooper tackled the unknown human at the bar, slapping a pair of binders on him. Baniss fired on another trooper, hitting his mark but not taking that one out of the fight. As Baniss emerged from the cloud of droid-produced gas, six more stormtroopers burst through the door flipping tables and taking cover. One fired a stun blast at Nootka taking him down for the count. A trooper tackled the rodian as two of them struggled to apply the restraints. Someone shot the droid and he became useless.

The gungan slammed his spoon down onto the table "Done!" and raised his arms in victory. Both he and the strange alien were restrained and ushered into a transport to take them to the station.
I'll attach the conversation from our stay in the holding cell to the session 2 update. This is long enough already.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Introducing: Bannis Nootka!

My character for this Star Wars d20 campaign is Baniss Nootka.

Baniss is a 20 year old, cowardly Duro pilot. The link has a picture of a Duro that should help you visualize our "hero."
Like most Duro, he grew up on his family's ship, the Glitterspur. Again, like most Duro, his family kicked him off the ship once he came of age. He left on Corellia and has worked as a navigator on a luxury liner, the Baystar, for 2 years. Before the ship's most recent voyage from Corellia to the Imperial capital of Coruscant, the son (Ganner Shran Mors) of the Baystar's owner (Arvid Shran Mors) was hired for another position as a navigator. Conflict arose between the two as Ganner did not like being the low man on the totem pole. Of course, Arvid pulled some strings to remove Baniss. Thus, Baniss is suddenly unemployed and walking around on a planet hostile to non-humans.

Nootka is not the most hardy of characters. As such, his usual response to conflict is sneaking away when no one is looking... or running if they are. If cornered, he will fight and his a good shot with a blaster. I expect his signature phrase in this campaign will be either "Please don't hurt me!" or "Aaaaaaahhh! Run!"

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

About this blog

Who am I? I'm a 20-something guy living in the Seattle area. My group has been together for about 2 years

I've been in 2 Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 campaigns (one of which was just filler to give someone else a shot at DMing), several one-shot D&D 3.5 adventures, a quartet of GURPS sessions at a con, a one-shot Pathfinder session run by a local author (awesome!), a recent home-brewed d12 system, and just started a Star Wars d20 campaign with my Thursday night group. All of this occurred in the last 2 years. We won't count my TPK I caused as a player in the West End Games Star Wars system about 10 years ago. I'll have to tell you about it sometime. It's a good story.

Why build a blog?
I tend to focus most on plot and mechanics and the DMs in my group tend to run sandbox-style campaigns. Not much in the way of a story arc there. As several members of my current group have complained that I tend to neglect character development in favor of mechanics, this blog is intended to help me develop my characters more. Expect some entries to be from the POV of my character writing in their personal journal. Plus, I may tell some interesting stories from previous sessions.

updated August 19, 2011