Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Vendetta on Vilhon, a Star Wars RPG Adventure

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

...a band of heroes set out to rescue their friend, Niht Genga, their Twi'lek scout. Nit was captured by bounty hunters as the party returned from their last mission.

Employed by Bal Jaset, leader of House Melantha, the hired guns brought Niht to the game-preserve moon of Vilhon in the Tapani Sector.

Once dumped dirtside he is to be the main event, that is hunted, in the annual Vor-cal Safari.

Can the heroes rescue their comrade in time? Or will Nit become the latest trophy in Bal's orbital hunting lodge?


Dan as: Lacto Ovo, Mon Calamari Jedi Padawan

Adrian as: Ewan, Human Jedi Padawan

Chris as: Took Ilo Donin, Kel Dor Technician

Oliver as: Bail, Human Scout

Ted as: Niht Genga, Twi'lek Scout

Seth as: The Gamemaster (GM)


Based on a tip from "a friend" on Coruscant, the adventurers take off for Vilhon on board their starship Bailout. After docking with House Malentha's orbital hunting lodge they enter the crowded casino. Instead of gambling, the patrons are focused on all the holovid screens. Half of the screens show Bal Jaset and two henchmen trekking through the forest on Malen Isle. The remaining monitors show Niht regaining consciousness in an open field. (He was drugged and beaten by the bounty hunters. But worst of all--he subjected to the obligatory villainous monologue of Bal Jaset).

To make the hunt more "sporting" Niht is armed with a half-charged blaster pistol. After shaking off the narcotic effects, Niht surveys his surroundings and then stares at the holovid droid hovering nearby. The patrons in the casino gasp as they're suddenly staring down the 3-D image of a blaster pistol's muzzle. Everyone jumps at the flash of "blaster red" and then moan in disappointment as half the monitors go snowy and then black.

Meanwhile the heroes, disguised as hunters approach their assigned guide to discuss the arrangements for their own "safari." Using Jedi mind-tricks and a small bribe of 500Cr they convince him start their expedition ahead of schedule.

Pictured below are: Lacto (front, foreground), Bail (front, background), Took (rear, foreground) and Ewan (rear, background) entering the casino.

Once the guide drops the party off at Akau Kahua (North Lodge), Took disables their assigned holovid droid with a blast from his ion pistol. The Kel Dor technician then reprograms the droid while Ewan destroys the rest of the robots in the lodge's garage. Once the droid is re-programmed to act as their scout, the party sets out towards Nit's last known location. Towards the end of the day, both Jedis feel a malevolant fluctuation in the Force eminating from the northeast of their position.

Meanwhile, Nit hasn't been idle. Once a former servant and huntmaster for Bal, he makes his way northwest towards a weapons cache. The hidden trove is exactly where Niht remembers it and he removes a blaster rifle, heavy blaster pistol, a field kit, 2 med packs and several power packs from the cache's inventory. Unfortunately in his haste to avoid pursuit, Nit forgets to take any of the frag grenades.

The next day as Niht gives a narglatch nest a wide berth, he receives strange but comforting thoughts. Words and phrases like "friends near" and "ridge" emerge, while images of Lacto and Ewan appear in his mind. Remembering two of his friends are Jedi's, he assumes they must be on the planetoid and he makes his way to the only ridge on the island--Waena Kualapa (Central Ridge).

Indeed, Lacto and Ewan have been trying to contact Niht using their basic telepathic abilities. Sensing Nit is acting on their thoughts, they continue their trek towards Waena Kualapa.

The third day passes uneventfully for the rescue party as they ascend the crest of Waena Kualapa. However, Niht narrowly avoids a confrontation with a foraging narglatch. Thanks to his hunting skills he assumes a non-threatening posture and the beast moves on.

Pictured below is the location of the rescue party camped out on the ridge's crest (Lacto's figure). The central figure is Niht's last known location, while the figure on the left (south) is the last known location of their friend's pursuers.

The next morning the rescue party awake to the sound of distant shouts and blaster fire. They soon spot Niht running for his life through the forest and towards the ridge, with 3 humanoids and a holovid droid in hot pursuit.

Pictured below is Niht (top) being pursued by Bal (leading the group), his henchmen and their assigned holovid droid.

Through the use of Force-Jumps, jet packs or scaling-line, the rescue party scrambles down the steep slope of the ridge.

Pictured below are: Ewan (left), Bail (center) and Lacto (right) at the foot of the ridge, while Took (still at the crest) activates his jet pack.
Ewan races forward, deflecting blaster bolts with his light saber while on the run.

This being no time to greet his friends, Nit turns back and lays down covering fire with his newly acquired blaster rifle.

Ewan charges into the pack of hunters swinging his light saber at Bal, who manages to dodge the padawan's blows.

Lacto, moves against the right flank of the pursuers firing his blaster as he advances. After a short exchange of blaster fire, the Bothan hunter crumples to the ground when a blaster bolt strikes him in the chest.

Pictured below is: Niht (behind the tree to the left), Lacto (to right), Ewan dueling Bal next to the fallen Bothan; while the surviving henchman fires back at the advancing Took and Bail (not pictured). The hovering holovid droid is at the bottom corner.

Meanwhile Took and Bail maneuver around the hunters' left flank, dodging blaster fire from Bal's remaining henchman. Took fires his ion weapon in attempt to stun him, while Bail on the other hand, blazes away with his blaster rifle.

The firefight continues until one of Bail's shots hit Bal Jaset in his left shoulder. Bal stumbles and drops his guard allowing Ewan to graze Bal's right forearm causing him to drop his vibro-blade.
"Do you yield?" demands Ewan.

Bal Jaset, now staring at the tip of a glowing light saber nods a barely perceptible "yes."

Pictured below is Took advancing through the woods on the hunters' left flank.

As the heroes close in, the question on everyone's mind is: Why did a Tapani "Lord of the Expanse" go through such lengths--and expense--to drag their friend here for Vilhonian version of The Most Dangerous Game?

As Lacto kneels to examine the fallen Bothan, Niht explains that several years ago he was a servant and hunting guide for House Melantha. During his last Vor-cal Safari he and Bal were surprised by a rabid nexu. As Bal fled for his life, Niht killed the beast with his master's discarded rifle. He then stealthily returned to camp where he overheard Bal claim Niht attacked him. Knowing he faced a death-sentence for assaulting a Tapani nobleman, Nit made his way off Vilhon by signing-on as a crewmember of a light freighter. Since then, Niht avoided any "Tapani entaglements"--until now.

As everyone turns to Bal, Ewan asks "Well? Is this true?"

The red-faced Bal blurts out, "Yes! Yes, it's true!" Then he launches into a monologue about how his honor was at stake and had to be avenged, etc, etc, yadda-yadda-yadda; all of which is captured by Bal's holovid droid.
Bal's monologue is interrupted by Lacto when he stands up and announces the Bothan is dead. Unruffled at the death of his henchman, Bal asks Niht "Where does that leave us now?"
Niht suggests that honor has been served because both have seen fear in the other. They should each go their seperate ways now without claiming any "debts of honor" against the other. (Besides, Tapani courts don't punish nobles for "disciplining" their servants and the adventurers are foreigners in this sector). Bal reluctantly agrees.

A shuttle eventually lands nearby and the re-united party escorts Bal and his surviving henchman back to the orbital hunting lodge. As they make their way to the shuttle, Niht picks up Bal's discarded blaster pistol, with enhanced sights, and casually slides it in his tunic.

Pictured below is Bal's confession captured by the holovid droid (farthest figure on the right).
As soon as they are back on the orbital hunting lodge, Bal is hustled away by family retainers immediately upon exiting the shuttle. The casino is now in a complete uproar as patrons are demanding their money back from cashiers, pit bosses and dealers. Everyone now assumes the game tables are rigged and they've all been cheated, since House Malentha is now looked upon with distrust.

The party makes its way to the station's communications ("com") center only to find beleagured operators barraged by incoming calls from bankers, lawyers, PR reps and news reporters. By-passing the chaotic com center, the group makes its way to the station's unguarded computer room. (House guards have been called-out for crowd control duty). Once there, Took hacks into the system and reconfigures the station's IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) code to accept their ship as friendly. (No one's taking any chances, despite Bal's reluctant promise).
However, instead of leaving the system right away, the two Jedi's have another obligation--to investigate the Force disturbance back on Vilhon. After hearing about the Jedi's experience, Nit points to two likely spots on the holo-map. The first is a crash site where a starship went down "hundreds of years ago." The second, about 10 kilometers to the north of the crash site, is an ancient ruin of unknown origin.
The party flies the Bailout back down to Vilhon and lands near the weapons cache. After cleaning out the hidden trove and stocking the ship's weapons locker, everyone embarks on the "technical," an armed air-car the party acquired during Nit's captivity. The Jedi sense nothing at the crash site where a rusted hulk sits, overgrown with vines. They press on to the ruins.

Once at the entry, carved into a small hill, the Jedi become nauseous. Despite their ill feelings, the Jedi advance into the dim gateway followed by Took's holovid droid. Inside they find a stone temple decorated with benevolent looking alien statues of an unknown race. Exploring this level reveals noting but another dark doorway leading to a lower level. As the Jedis descend, Bail and Nit follow, while Took mans the heavy blaster on the technical while controlling his newfound"scout" droid.

The next level is similar to the first one except the malicious alien statues, different from the race upstairs, appear to be weilding stone images of light sabers. The nauseating Force disturbance grows stronger as the Jedis advance towards an opening on the far side of the chamber. Once through the entrance they're pounced upon by 2 vornskrs, large pack-hunting canines that use the Force to stalk prey. And they are extremely hostile to other Force-users.

Bail and Niht break into a run once they hear the echo of the snarling beasts. The vornskyrs, being Force-adepts themselves, readily dodge the glowing lightsabers and the Jedis are repeatedly bitten, raked by claws and lashed by venomous, barbed tails. Lacto manages to severely wound one of the beasts, giving Nit the opportunity to run up and finish it off with a shot from his newly acquired blaster pistol.

The remaining vornskr continues to put up a fight with Ewan while Bail squeezes off some shots when the opportunity presents itself. Nit moves forward to protect the wounded Lacto. In doing so he moves within easy reach of the creatuer. Within seconds, Niht is lashed by the barbed tail. Reeling from the effects of a small injection of poison, Nit staggers back a few steps. With the vornskr's tail coiled around Niht's leg, both Jedis plunge their light sabers deep into the creature's body. The beast remains impaled by the two glowing rods of light until it's snarling death-throes subside.

After binding each others wounds and injecting Niht and Ewan with anti-venom, the party conducts a search of what they now see as a burial chamber. The chamber's sole sarcophagus proves to be the epicenter of the Force tremors. Despite their weakened condition, the four of adventurers manage to remove the top block resulting in a resounding "crash" echoing throughout the ruin. Inside lay one a Force-Pike and two tiny pyramidal objects. Now completely unshielded, the Jedis stagger back from the Darkside Force radiating from both pyramids.

Even the two non-Jedis recognize the wicked artifacts: Sith Holocrons, devices out of myth and nightmares. These evil gadgets were used by the Sith to store arcane knowledge and according to legend--the very lifeforce of it's creator.
Concern over Bal Jaset's revenge fades as they gaze down at the two sinister relics.

Glancing around at his rescuers, Niht says, "I dohn' know 'bout you guyz. Buht I hef a behd feelin' 'bout 'dis..."


No pictures of the temple fight were uploaded. I plan on restaging this scene using some terrain I didn't think to bring with me to the game session.

Hopefully in the next several months, I'll post a made-for-YouTube movie about this and future adventures.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION (courtesy of Wookiepedia):

Lords of the Expanse:
House Melantha:

High Lord (of the Expanse):

Bal Jaset:

Kel Dors:


No comments: