Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dramatis Personae: The Search for Shiv

As always, I have links to Wookieepedia and TV Tropes as judged appropriate.

Time for new characters! Always a fun time! After I displayed dismay at only having a few races to choose from in the core rulebook, our GM opened up the Ultimate Alien Anthology to our group. 180 new species to choose from! Well, 177. Our GM banned 3 races. Bartokk were removed when several players expressed an interest in them. As they gain ability bonuses for the number of Bartok allies nearby, adding 5 Bartokk would break things. Kushiban were tossed out as a previous player's action convinced the GM the race is unbalanced. I really wanted to play a Givin, but that was vetoed since several members were around for an infamous Givin character that died in spectacular fashion. I must reiterate, thermal detonators in mass quantities is a bad idea.

Our character deaths occurred the week before Thanksgiving. Since I had a large essay to due the following week, I missed the next session. Having three weeks to flesh out a character was nice! The GM imposed a harsh restriction: though we were level 8 characters, we would be starting with the same amount of credits as a level 1 character! Instead of starting with 20,000 credits, I had a mere 100! On the up side, you will see he was very lenient on that when we put together our backstories. All characters were required to have worked with Yossa before. How could Yossa trust someone he didn't know?

Yossa: A Gungan war hero, Yossa's survival is the only reason we still have a campaign. Shiv has something very important to him and Yossa will stop at nothing to get it back.

Drev (player's former character was Baniss): An ace pilot and blockade runner, Drev is the owner of the Rodent's Bane. The Rodent's Bane is a Firespray Patrol Craft. Drev is in his thirties, nearly middle age for a Xexto. He mostly takes humanitarian jobs delivering medical supplies and food. He refers to Imperials and other oppressors as "rodents," hence the name of his vessel. He was the wheel-man for an operation with Yossa and four other soldiers in the Corporate Sector. Should he gain more cash, he has the ability to quad-wield blasters. A combination of discounted runs for the Rebels and a droid purchase has left him searching for a big score.

Sparky (player's former character was Bishop): Medic, surgeon, and repair droid, Sparky is a 2-1B medical droid owned by Drev. The Xexto recently picked him up at an auction though the details are a bit murky. The fiercely loyal aids Drev in combat repairs and provides medical attention to passengers when need. Sparky is obsessed with upgrades: both to himself and his patients. He is an expert at building and installing cybernetics. Broken and abandoned droids are raided for parts. He's trying to acquire an ion pistol, but has had no luck so far. Useless droids are rare. Why not make some of your own The group needed a nickname quickly since the character was still being finalized in his first session and "Sparky" was the first we thought of. Signature phrase: "I'm afraid that will have to come off."

Val (player's former character was Ith): Val is a Tiss'shar sharpshooter. whose mother is a legend amongst our group: the medical ninja. Val is not on good terms with her mother. This mother used to be one of Shiv's co-workers. Don't get on her bad side.

Zin (player's former character was the ASP droid): Zin is a Tiss'shar infiltration and explosives expert. Since she frequently remains unseen, she is also referred to as "Val's Imaginary Friend." So far, the only party members to see her are Val and Yossa. Enemies' signature phrase: "[censored]"

Tai Sho (player's former character was Neela): She is a Nagai soldier. Like most Nagai, she is driven by honor. Observant readers might recall that this is set sometime during Empire Strikes Back. Star Wars fans might be saying, "Wait, a Nagai? I thought they invaded the galaxy! And wasn't that after Empire Strikes Back?" Yes they did and yes it was. She may be an advance scout. She once fought a Tusken Raider with only a knife. She kept his gaderffi as a trophy. Her connection to Yossa is unknown. Sparring with her is how beings earn respect and honor in her eyes. Signature phrase: "Honorable combat?"

Shiv: Remember him? He's the Bothan computer and droid expert. Oh yeah, he's also the BBEG of this campaign.

Join us next time as we begin Star Wars: The Search for Shiv!

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Re: Geek's Dream Girl's Geektastic Music

I read Geek's Dream Girl frequently. Dating advice + geekery = awesome! Over there, C did a post called Geek-tastic Music: Nine Must-Listen Geek Songs and I have a few to add. And finishing off the quarter at school deserves some extra content to celebrate! C is also one of the co-founders of 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming.

I'm limiting myself to one by each artist.

My list includes only material that is not on her list:

1. Let's start off with an easy pick: "White and Nerdy" by Weird Al Yankovic has to make the list. 59,107,756 youtube viewers agree that it's an instant geek classic.

2. "Re: Your Brains" by Jonathan Coulton. Zombies? Yes, please. Fan video by spiffworld. Colton's done a lot of other great work as well.

3. "I Had a Shoggoth" by Tom Smith (live at MarCon 2008). An excellent "kids' song" written for the FuMP by the world's fastest filker that manages to cover most things geeky. Smith is another artist where it's hard to pick just one song.

4. "I'll See Your Six" by Joe Bethancourt. If someone ever tries to mug me, I hope the woman in this song is around.

5. "No Such Thing" by Kathy Mar (originally by Zander Nyrond). An excellent science fiction piece. The play buttons on the individual tracks have issues. Click on the top and arrow over to number six. (Again, a submission from my brother.)

6. "Dawson's Christian," originally by Duane Elms, is an excellent ghost story set in space. Here's a cover from Vixy and Tony performed at Coonflikt I.

7. Philosophical Christian rockers Brave Saint Saturn check in with "Space Robot Five." Fronted by a man with a science degree and part of a trilogy of albums written about a fictitious space voyage, it definitely has the proper geek-cred to make the list. In their other works, BS2 has not shied away from the occasional controversy.

8. University of Oregon's a capella group On the Rocks Rick Rolls the audience at the 2008 West Coast A Capella Showcase.

9. By now, you've probably heard "Still Alive" from the game Portal. Yes, it was written by Jonathan Coulton, but I'll shoe-horn it in since he wasn't the original performer. It's been reworked multiple times as everything from a dance remix to a punk cover and has even popped up in Minecraft. Want an instant sing-along at a convention? Play this. This is the only entry with an entire playlist.

On the subject of RPGs, I'd like to add d20 Love by Kimmy Snyder.

Want more? I've got a short playlist of nerdy music set up on youtube.

Yes, tonight's introduction of the new characters will go on as planned. Enjoy your extra fun today!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Loose Ends and Lessons Learned

Loose ends:

The message Baniss sent was to his parents. I knew I would have to do something with my computer use skill and couldn't think of anything helpful. I thought this fit jittery character's cowardice. The message said, "I didn't do it." Baniss took all his levels in Scoundrel.

Ith was force sensitive. In the week I was absent between our escape and reaching the safehouse, Ith used the force to heal Yossa. Our GM joked that the Emperor was sitting on the toilet reading the newspaper at the time. "Huh? What was that?" Ith multi-classed as a Force Adept/Noble.

Bishop never got the chance to properly shine. He was built on the idea of using one blaster set to stun and another on the normal setting. Unfortunately, both the GM and player misread the rules on stun before the first battle and ran with what the GM said there. They'd sorted things out for future fights, but opportunity to use this tactic never materialized. Stunning an opponent with one shot and killing them when they're immobilized fit the "not a nice man" theme the player was going for. Bishop took levels in Soldier before entering the Elite Trooper prestige class.

Neela had some depth we never touched on. I don't have her player's e-mail, but the GM filled me in: "Neela had an odd backstory of parents who were Rebel Sympathizers that died in a smuggling run gone wrong. She was sold into slavery, hence her aversion to binders. She escaped from said slavery and became a bounty hunter with a heart of gold. She would only take bounties that were honorable and didn't conflict with her own moral code... Unless she was desperate and she was reaaaaally hungry. All in all, a very odd duck." Neela was a Scout.

More from the GM regarding our final battle: "They didn't trace you from the credit chip. The "safe" contact that gave you the safe-house also sold you out to the Hutts, who in turn gave your position to the Imperials as a gesture of goodwill. They might have exaggerated how much ordinance you had at the safe-house, leading to the siege formation. Your [computer] message did not make it to your parents as the cache that sends the message was in the same building and hadn't dumped to the main server yet. The Imps never had the chance to look it over. The cache was destroyed in the explosion."

The unnamed ASP droid is still out there. According to the player, the droid has found some new friends. Maybe he'll show up in another campaign. He has not disclosed what levels the character has.

Lessons learned:

1. When reacting to detention by the authorities, it's helpful if the whole party acts together.

2. As cliche as it is, starting in a tavern/cantina can be fun.

3. Write down your backstory and take a hard copy with you. This should lessen potential confusion.

4. If your boss is a crime lord, never tell them you're quitting.

5. If you can't be there, make sure someone has a copy of your character sheet.

6. Delusional characters are entertaining, but can takeover the session.

7. Constitution is not a dump stat. (Compare Baniss being hit by small arms fire to Bishop taking several heavy weapon blasts to the face.)

8. Playing a droid has serious drawbacks. Especially against [spoiler redacted].

9. If you are bitten by an insect, don't wait to get it treated.

10. If you want to make a campaign journal, update it consistently.

I'm working on a piece for the end of the week that will introduce my new character and then we're on to more adventure!

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