This is the continuation of the Star Wars Force and Destiny Campaign I've undergone for my housemates and friends. To see previous episodes, please click Here.
The summer is a rough time, especially for those of us in the gaming business, or trying like hell to break in to the gaming business. I ran three Live Action games at DexCon, then went to Indianapolis to run a tabletop and larp at GenCon. After GenCon in September, most of the time was spent trying to find a return to normality. I'd also opened up a Patreon account for all of my fiction writing, including a novel about roleplayers and the characters they create in game. More on that later on.
I'll be honest, I was about to write this campaign off by the Septembers. Games are like boulders, if they aren't moving, then it isn't doing anything at all really. With scheduling and life being what it was, I was willing to move on to other projects. But people in my house brought up the game, and that got me back in to it.
So here we go again, to a galaxy Far Far Away.
Episode II: Kote Darassuum (Glory Eternal)
Having escaped the the Sith prison ship Vectivus, the Jedi Padawans find themselves in orbit over the desolate world of Mandalore.
The Mandalorians have a long and bloodied history with the Jedi. It will not be easy to sway them.
But, with little more than life support and several ships along the way, they must try...
When last we saw our Jedi, they had made the jump in to hyperspace, using random coordinates. Those coordinates lead them to Mandalore, homeworld of the Mandalorian culture. Realizing what awaits them, the Jedi (and their pilot, Donalbain) make some very fast decisions.
They inform the other ships that they are a crew seeking repairs, and are working on minimal lifesupport. They give their ship ID and pray for the best. The ships allow them in to orbit and tow them in to dock in the capital city of Sundari.
The planet of Mandalore is a desolate place, with most of the terrain turned to glass and sand after countless conflicts with the Jedi, Sith, elements of the rest of the Galaxy, and even their own people. They are greeted by several Mandalorian soldiers, all bearing the distinctive T-shaped visor of their helmets. Kal, the one they have been talking to, talks to them about their ship and leads them in to a waiting area while they analyze and assess the damage. Most of the Padawans expect a trap, and have to correct themselves at times to keep themselves under suspicion.
One of the soldiers, an eight foot tall figure in heavy mandalorian metal plate and wielding a laser gatling gun, enters the waiting room and leads them to a turbolift. They are immediately greeted by Sabrina Krysze, head of intelligence. She identifies herself as an ally by reciting the opening line of the Jedi Code. Having been informed of their presence, and their potential incoming, Krysze offers them a job that could benefit each other.
Taking them through Sundari and to the Ducal Palace, Sabrina explains that Mandalore is currently split between a pro-Republic movement, lead by Duchess Wren, and the Kote Durassuum movement, lead ostensibly by Senator Miltos Var. Mandalore tries pascifism before, to disastrous efforts. While the current model maintains the military might and pride of Mandalore, they are decidedly pro-Republic and pro-Senate. The Kote Darassuum movement seeks to secede from the Republic and begin again as its own power.
What is troubling is that this far right movement may have backing and ties from the Sith Empire. Fearing the presence of a Sith Lord on the planet, Krysze tasks the Jedi with acquiring evidence of a meeting between Var and the Sith that is suspected of happening that night.
Fed, rested, and prepped, the Padawans are greeted by a message on the viewscreen in their quarters. It is believed to be the same voiceless friend who had helped them previously. Their text is overlayed on a field with blue butterflies flying about (an image alien to Mandalore). They change to the Holonet, where they cut to the announcement of an alliance between the Republic and the Sith Empire. The Jedi are depicted as being insurgents against the alliance and the few remaining Jedi are branded as fugitives.
Meanwhile, the mining colony (and black market hub) Kafrene is in a state of riot while the senators of Naboo give their total support (and sizeable political standing) to the new Alliance.
The Padawans realize quickly that by helping the Mandalorians may mean more than just a repaired ship, it may mean survival in a now hostile world. They set out to the meetup, with the large Mandalorian joining them. The Mando reveals themselves as Kara, a 5'5'' blonde woman, resting in the massive power armor and wielding a gatling gun. She'll be providing cover fire.
The group set themselves up around the industrial park the meeting is taking place by disguising themselves as a prison work crew, as it is the only way to justify two Twi'leks and a Zabrak on an otherwise near-human planet.
The Senator arrives, and then the Imperial Ship arrives, with a representative and what is believed to be a Sith. This Sith is dressed in a long skirt and bears a metallic mask resembling the beak of a bird of prey. The group has several holorecorders placed, and it is agreed that they will be extracting the senator once the meeting is over.
The Imperial representative appeals to the Senator, wishing for him to bring the Mandalore back to the way they were. As a token of support, and a sign of their skills, they produce what looks like a lightsaber from their robes. However, it is far too box like and rectangular, though the Padawans recognize it from several paintings in the Palace.
The Darksaber, the legendary lightsaber designed by a Mandalorian Jedi centuries before, used as a symbol of Mandalorian might against the Jedi ever since. Feigning compliance, the Senator in the end refuses alliance, and draws the saber on the representative. The saber, however, does not activate.
The Sith in the meeting, identified as Dante, draws her saber (a curved hilt with a white blade) and seriously injures the Senator. The team moves on them, binding Dante in place, restraining the Sith Representative, and seeing to the Senators wounds. By the end of it, Dante escaped on the shuttle while the Senator and Rep are brought in to custody.
The Padawans return the darksaber to Melani Wren, the Duchess of Mandalore, who bore the crystal that immediately made it work. The Jedi were granted a boon: the thanks of Mandalore. With the information gathered, no mandalorian bounty hunter will seek the Jedi out. Later, in their quarters, the Jedi are informed by their mysterious benefactor that with allies, they now must begin their real mission: Find the Seven Masters.
I'm going to be honest, I wasn't as prepared for this one as I'd have liked to have been. Part of that was that I'm still learning the FFG system, and much of what got in the way of this game was working with the system. There is a narrativist element to interpreting the symbol-based dice that I appreciate, and I enjoy the ability to succeed with threat and fail with advantage that the dice allow. However, what is ultimately a qualitative concept is often mired by quantitative measures. In short, the crunch hurts a little during growing pains.
The concept of having the game at Mandalore was a one-in-three chance. The other two worlds were shown to have negative reactions due to the lack of the presence of the Jedi. This lead to a moment where the characters second guessed their arrival. Could they have helped those worlds, would they have been helpful. Could those worlds helped in return? This is one of the themes of Choice that I want in this game.
Unfortunately, I felt the rails very hard in this game. I had mentioned at the beginning that this game was very much mission based, but this one was locked very much in step. Now that we're out of what I feel is the 'tutorial' levels, I think I can trust myself to let more stuff go.
I will say that I was super thrilled with how Dante and Kara were received. Dante was revealed as a credible and mysterious threat. No one is sure who she is and what she serves. Kara was created wholecloth on site, and I would love to see her appear more during games.
Up next, we're going to see what happens when we kick the training wheels off of the proverbial bike, as we meet one of the Seven Masters. Thank you.
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