D6 Mini-Campaign: The Prequels
by, 20 May 2012 at 10:13 AM (5520 Views)
Tonight (May 8) I ran the first session of my new D6 mini-campaign. The premise for the campaign is that we're going to pretend that it's 1996, we don't know what the prequels are going to be, and we are going to write the prequels with our campaign. The only things that are true are things that exist in the classic trilogy films, and in official D6 sourcebooks. All other continuity from after that time period is not valid.
The set-up for the campaign is this: the Republic has been engaged in a series of brushfire conflicts with various outlying non-human worlds for several years, mostly over those planets' claims of oppression and attempts at secession. These conflicts have become collectively known as the Clone Wars, owing to the fact that the ongoing disputes cause the Republic Senate to authorize the creation of a clone army, which centralizes the authority of the Republic military in the hands of the Supreme Chancellor for the first time. As the Clone Wars rage on, the galaxy is spiraling further into chaos.
In the midst of this, Admiral Bail Organa of Alderaan has dispatched a former Republic soldier (a clone trooper who was wounded in battle and discharged from the army) to the planet Chathos, where a young Anakin Skywalker has been living after being abandoned as an orphan. At age 17, Anakin is a member of a swoop gang known as the Blacktalons, and he is a capable swoop racer and mechanic. Unbeknownst to Anakin, also on the planet are Obi-Wan Kenobi and Kane Starkiller, a Jedi Knight and his apprentice, respectively. The soldier Organa sent to Chathos has instructions to recruit Obi-Wan and bring him back to Alderaan, where Organa has a mission for him to undertake.
In this version of the prequels, there is no Jedi Council, no overarching Jedi organization at all, in fact. The Jedi are few and scattered, and are more like wandering samurai than monks. They each have their own philosophies and traditions, and may not agree with one another very often, but the Republic continues to allow them to operate as wandering diplomats, spiritual advisors, and law enforcement all in one. Jedi are so rare that most people don't even believe they exist, though well-traveled people may have encountered a Jedi once, or met someone who has. In this game, the Jedi are simply individuals who follow a similar philosophy, with no one to regulate their actions but themselves. They operate on an apprenticeship system, where they pass their knowledge on to their apprentices using their own teaching techniques. When Jedi meet one another, they usually introduce themselves with a short lineage of masters and apprentices, which conveys a lot about the individual Jedi's philosophy, beliefs, skills and even standing among other Jedi. Thus, for Obi-Wan to introduce himself as an apprentice of Master Yoda carries a lot of weight with the other Jedi, as Yoda has taken very few apprentices during the nearly 800 years of his study of the Force.
In the first session, Janos Creel (human clone bounty hunter/mercenary, played by Derek Guder) is aboard a space transport, the Star Phoenix, heading to Chathos. The ship is owned and piloted by BL3K (aka Bleak, a pilot droid turned smuggler, played by Chris Tulach), who has been hired by Bail Organa to see Creel safely to Chathos. As the scene opens (and the opening crawl fades away), the Star Phoenix enters the screen, and after a moment the relative silence is shattered by laser fire, as we see the ship being pursued by two Republic starfighters and a Republic light cruiser. The Republic has blockaded Chathos, for reasons unknown to anyone by the Supreme Chancellor. Creel manages to destroy one of the starfighters and then, as Bleak pilots the ship into position, destroys the cruiser's sensor dish, blinding them. As Bleak turns the ship toward Chathos, an ion blast from the light cruiser disables the ship, knocking out Bleak and sending the ship careening into the atmosphere.
On the planet below, Anakin Skywalker (played by Dan Helmick) is performing some routine repairs on his swoop when he looks up and sees the space battle taking place in the sky above. Lost in thought, he doesn't hear a trio of his fellow swoop gang members, the Blacktalons, pull up on swoops and try to get his attention. After Anakin snaps out of it, the gang leader tries to convince Anakin to join them as they buzz the spaceport control tower, but Anakin declines, and instead opts to take his swoop and head out into the jungle to find the downed ship.
As the Star Phoenix hurtles into the atmosphere, Creel finally manages to revive Bleak and get him back in the pilot's couch. Meanwhile, the primary fuel cells have been damaged and are trailing smoke behind the ship, so while Bleak sets to righting the space transport to keep it from spinning out of control, Creel heads to the engineering section of the ship to try to manually jettison the fuel cells. Unfortunately, emergency systems have locked the cells in place, so Creel opens a crate in the cargo bay marked REPAIR DROID, revealing a blue-and-silver astromech droid inside. The droid manages to release the emergency locks on the fuel cells, and Creel pulls the lever to jettison the smoking cells into the atmosphere. The Star Phoenix, now without its primary fuel, has been righted thanks to the use of the repulsors, but it's still heading in for a crash landing. The ship plunges into the jungle, digging a furrow into the planet's surface.
Minutes later, Anakin Skywalker arrives on his swoop bike and begins looking for things to salvage. To his surprise, the ship's ramp lowers and he sees Creel standing at the top of the ramp, in full (terrifying) body armor, and offers to help with repairs. Inside, Bleak learns that the astromech droid has the designation R2-D2, and the two set about evaluating the damage to the ship. Quickly they realize that most of the damage to the ship is superficial, save for the fuel cells and the large rend in the hull above them. Anakin tells them that he can likely help them find parts back in the city. When Anakin, Creel and Bleak head outside, they are surprised to find a massive jungle cat, called a nexu, exploring the wreckage. After Creel tries to scare it off, three more creep into view, and the group finds themselves quickly surrounded. At this moment, Obi-Wan Kenobi (a human Jedi Knight, played by Logan Bonner) and his apprentice Kane Starkiller (a young, 19-year old Hapan) emerge from the jungle on the back of riding beasts. A quick skirmish ensues, but when the nexu have been driven back introductions are made, and Creel explains that he was sent to recruit Obi-Wan for a mission of great import. He shows a holorecording to Obi-Wan, in which Bail Organa explains that he wants Obi-Wan to escort his wife, Mina, on a mission of great importance.
The group decides to return to Chathos City to get parts for the ship. Chathos is a planet covered in thick jungles (think like South American jungle), and Chathos City is something like Mumbai: large, sprawling, crowded, and with a high poverty rate. Worse, Chathos City was once prosperous, and much larger than it is now, but as outer edges of the city were abandoned, the jungle grew in and reclaimed it. The remaining people crowd together in stacked hovels, though the elite upper class (consisting largely of corrupt Republic bureaucrats) does live in relative splendor. Once the group arrives, Creel goes off to investigate finding some way to get past the blockade, while Obi-Wan instructs Kane to head to the spaceport and report on any suspicious activity. Obi-Wan, Anakin and Bleak head to the Blacktalons' hideout, where they hope to retrieve the supplies they need.
Creel discovers, through a tour through the violent parts of Chathos City's slums, that there is an alien woman looking for a way off-world. She has all the proper documentation to get past the blockade, but no way to use that documentation herself (tensions between the humans of the Republic and alien species are at an all-time high, and even with her documentation she couldn't get past by virtue of her being an alien). This leads to a rooftop meeting with Zythe (a female Falleen diplomat, played by Erik Scott de Bie) where she and Creel agree to work together to get off-world aboard the Star Phoenix. Meanwhile, back at the Blacktalons' garage, the trio has arrived to find all of the Blacktalons slain, with blaster burns indicating that they were killed by Republic troopers. Anakin is devastated to find all of his friends and companions dead, and soon Kane reports back with grim information in the form of a holorecording. The recording shows a hooded, black-robed figure with a red lightsaber killing all of the technicians inside the spaceport traffic control tower; at the edge of the recording, the Blacktalons can be seen buzzing the tower on their swoops. Kane surmises that the Blacktalons were killed after witnessing the attack, and that it was Republic troopers who were soon shipped off-world that did the killing. Anakin agrees to join Obi-Wan Kenobi in heading to Alderaan to meet with Bail Organa, and after making repairs to the ship they take off, make it past the blockade without incident thanks to Zythe's documentation, and make the jump to lightspeed.
Also, I used the StarWars.com Opening Crawl Generator to create the opening crawl for this session. I'm planning on running each session as a single act in a "movie" story arc, meaning that the game is likely to run for only 9 sessions. It's a bit of a breakneck pace, but it really helped me push things along whenever there was a lull.