Monday 23 April 2018

On Sandbox Settings

One of the reasons it's been so easy to run a Star Wars Open Sandbox game is that there is so much material available on the Star Wars Universe. This is thanks to the Expanded Universe(now called Legends).

Since the first film was released in 1977, LucasFilm has produced numerous films, novels,  comics, books, computer games, and role playing games, with the requirement that the setting for these works be internally consistent. The result of this coordinated, multi-decade project is a fictional world comprising an entire galaxy of inhabited worlds, it's millennia-long history, and detailed descriptions of significant personages and technology. This provides a wealth of material for contemporary creators to build off of.

This is important for running a sandbox game pen and paper RPG. In a sandbox RPG, the Game Master has no idea what is going to happen in a session. The players' choices during a given session are ultimately what determines the direction of the action. The GM's job is to respond to those player choices in a way that is consistent with the game world, as well as just generally bringing the world to life for the players. As such, the GM needs a really strong grasp of the game world, it's current events, and each NPC's motivations. Being able to build off a deeply developed world, be it real or imaginary, helps the DM bring his own game world to life.

My WWII sandbox game All Zombies: Polish Resistance, had a similar benefit since there is tons of information about World War II Europe. Wikipedia and Google Maps provided most of the background for the game world and as GM I just had to choose a specific location, create NPCs, stat up weapons, and come up with the specifics of local events.

The process for a Star Wars game has been remarkably similar. I've gotten 90% of the background material from Wookiepedia, plus some of the local details from Tramp Freighters.

But recently I got stuck. The party has been looking to acquire a large merchant freighter, and while Star Wars wiki has articles on a number of them, these articles have minimal content and no gameable stats. This makes sense since the various official Star Wars games generally have you interacting with military ships, not boring old freighters.  As GM I could just make up some quick and dirty ship stats, but I'd rather use something with a bit more basis.

So I was feeling pretty stuck until I stumbled upon this list of complete stats for Star Wars Heavy Freighters.

What is this wonderful site, you may ask? It is a free, community-driven Star Wars MMORP with player-created content. That's right, where the Expanded Universe leaves off, StarWarsCombine picks up in order to provide a fully gameable Galaxy Far Far Away. Needless to say, this is a great resource for running a Star Wars Sandbox. In fact, I've already been using their Nav Computer tool for calculating hyperspace distances, without realizing what SWCombine was.

Needless to say, I'll be visiting the Combine again in the future for high quality Star Wars game content.

Saturday 14 April 2018

SW2020 Session 9: Galactic Hustle

Picking up from last session, the party jumped from Yoberra to Rocrin system. They were quickly hailed by a passing space-yacht. After being harassed by a yacht last stession, they were worried, until they found out it was their friend Deeberjay, hitching a ride with friends and coming to join them.

The Lineup

  • Art- Ithorian Force user, tech Rock gardener, with force healing(Avi)
  • Lucky- a Gran with many natural talents, good at dodging, explosives, stock market, interstellar navigation, leadership, pharmaceuticals(Lauren)
  • Deeberjay- a spoiled young Ilay Squib prince with mad hacking ability(Art)

Deeberjay had some news for the party, who hadn't docked at any Airam ports in a while:
  1. The Squib Navy is mobilizing. A First Order Star Destroyer was seen jumping into Hinda System and has everyone in a panic
  2. Darakin University has put a bounty on the heads of the crew of Lambda Shuttle Space Ball, for some reason

The party first considered trying to capture the Star Destroyer as part of their plan to acquire a large ship and fill it with Yoberrans. Then then abandoned that plan and decided to dock at Skor II in Squab System and convince the government to supply them with a large ship. They finally decided on a third plan to land in Rocrin and see if a large ship was available there as part of the Squib salvage operation.

They landed at the Rocrin V spaceport, bought a monthly salvage license, and took their hovercar two days to the site of a crashed Imperial Heavy Cruiser. After inspecting the wreck, they realized that, while it was a very large ship hull, scavengers had already stripped it of all major systems and it would be a difficult project to tow it into orbit and bring it to a repair yard.

The party ended up excavating the lower decks over the course of a couple expeditions. They salvaged:
  • Medicines and medical equipment(which was later stolen by other salvagers)
  • An Auto-Doc medical unit
  • Stormtrooper armors and weapons
  • A working Tie Bomber(which almost got stolen by other salvagers)
They also sold off the Ore they have been carrying around for a long time. The entire expedition netted them upward of 50,000 credits, but they were no closer to finding a large ship for the Yoberrans. On their way back to their shuttle, the party were accosted by a trio of Mandalorians seeking the Darakin bounty on them. They told Deeberjay to leave since no Squibs were mentioned in the bounty. He pretended to comply, leaving and rounding a corner.

Lucky, who had first initiative, tossed a thermal detonator at the hunters. The subsequent explosion killed the large one in the middle and left his friend on the right shell-shocked on the floor. Art ducked around the corner and began to use his Force Reflex Boost skill. The remaining Mandalorian shot Lucky in the chest, leaving her stunned on the ground. At that point, Deeberjay snuck behind her and slashed her with the spare light sabre he had gotten from Art, leaving her bleeding and stunned on the floor.

The party tied up the surviving bounty hunters and took them and their ship up the gravity well and into orbit, with plans to head for Skor II.

Wednesday 11 April 2018

Shipbuilding in Minor and Airam

With the party looking into aquiring a large ship, I need to figure out what shipbuilders are in the area. So far the game has taken place in Minos and Airam sectors or gridquares L20 and M20 on the galactic map. But where can I find a directory of local shipyards?

I started out with a list of major shipyards that I've heard of:

But these are all located in the Core Worlds. That is very far from our game and I'm not sure how to extend the sandbox that far. Besides that, it doesn't make sense to me that Outer Rim residents travel that far to commission a ship.

The next step I took was to look for a map or list of known Star Wars shipyards. I found this list of 130 or so:

After a bit of digging, I found a familiar name: Eriadu Manufacturing Shipyards. This is great since Eriadu is relatively close, in Seswenna Sector, gridsquare M18. It's also has an interesting political connection for our game since the shipyard is owned by House Valorum, ancient rivals to the Tarkin family.

The article on EM Shipyards also mentions a competitor which is even closer to the Airam, Sluis Van Shipyards, in Sluis sector, grid M19.

Both shipyards can be reached fairly directly via the Rimma Trade route, so that if the party decides to take that trip, the DM won't have an excessive amount of preparation to do.

Paradise System

Paradise System after the fall
Paradise System is the Home System of the Ugor. The Ugor fell from the height of their power with the destruction of the Gravity Well Projector they used to organize their system-wide junk yard. In short order, the system fell into dissaray and became, essentially, one big debris field.
However, in recent decades, an upstart young Ugor was able to acquire a new, albeit less powerful, projector and begin the painstaking process of organizing their system into layers and rings. His success has helped him consolidate his power and earned him a stable appointment as High Priest. The Squib have taken notice and feel threatened by this resurgence of their ancient rivals.

Paradise System Map
An Ugor(illustrative)

High Priest Zorkblag the Infallible's reign has seen growing influence throughout the galaxy with the Ugor acquiring key monopolies over certain types of salvage. They even solidified their grasp over the previously contested Nocto System with its valuable salvage rights. Every year, more and more "Pilgrims" visit Paradise to lay an offering at the temple and to fulfill their salvage needs.

Wednesday 4 April 2018

Rude Awakening

The Rude Awakening is an EF76 Nebulon-B escort frigate belonging to the planetary government of Nodgra V, under Admiral Rigell. The planet is home to Imperial survivors who lived through the fall of the Galactic Empire. Rude Awakening is that planet's largest military ship and is generally kept in reserve for defensive needs. It is captained by Captain Farah Atari.

It has a crew of 920 and typically carries:
  • 10 Tie Fighters
  • 4 Tie Fighter/fo
  • 2 Tie Fighter/sf
  • 4 Tie Bombers
  • 4 Shuttles
  • 75 troops

The ships stats are as follows:
  • Speed: 40MGLT
  • Hyperdrive: 2(12)
  • Hull: 448RU
  • Shields: 900SBD
  • Tractor Beam Projectors(2)
  • Armaments:
    • Turbolaser batteries(12)
    • Laser cannons(12)

Captain Farah Atari

Captain Atari is strict, by-the-book officer whose intelligence and reliability have earned her the highest command in Nodgra's military.

  • Ref: 4
  • Int: 8
  • Body: 4
  • Tech: 2
  • Cool: 7
  • Emp: 9
  • Force: 0
  • Interrogate: 5
  • Oratory: 7
  • Leadership: 3
  • Social: 4
  • Education & Gen. Knowlege: 4
  • Navigation(Interstellar): 7
  • Dodge/escape: 1
  • Handgun: 2
  • Pilot(Starship): 7

How will the Rude Awakening react to a First Order Dreadnought entering it's system? Guess we'll just have to wait and see...

Miro Sen

Miro Sen is one of Kylo Ren's Knights of Ren. He is a large, lightsabre-wielding brute with little personality. Kylo uses Miro for missions that require brute force, rather than more subtle ingenuity. No one knows Miro's background but he came to Kylo already a formidable power in the Dark Side.

Unknown to others, Miro Sen is actually the latest identity of Irek Ismaren/Lord Nyax. After apparently being killed by Luke Skywalker and his allies, Irek laid low for a number of years. He is nearly immortal, being more machine than man, including his brain. He was resuscitated and fit out with a new cybernetic body by Grand Master Snoke and now fights with the First Order.

  • Ref: 9
  • Int: 7
  • Body: 8
  • Tech: 4
  • Cool: 7
  • Emp: 5
  • Force: 8
  • Endurance: 8
  • Strength Feat: 8
  • Resist Torture/Drugs: 4
  • Mathematics: 8
  • Shadow/Track: 6
  • Dodge/Escape: 9
  • Melee: 2
  • Fencing: 3
  • Handgun: 2
  • Rifle: 8
  • Pilot(StarFighter): 5
  • Drive(Hovercar): 4
  • Climbing: 6
  • Force Jump: 9
  • Phase: 7
  • Telekinesis: 5

Emergent Order and Insidious Fen

Emergent Order

Emergent Order is a Harrower-class dreadnought belonging to the First Order. It has a crew of 2400 and can carry up to:
  • 95 starfighters
  • 32 bombers
  • 35 shuttles
  • 7300 troops
The ships stats are as follows:
  • Speed: 15MGLT
  • Hyperdrive: 2(10)
  • Hull: 1520RU
  • Shields: 3200SBD
  • Hyperspace Tracker
  • Tractor Beam Projectors(3)
  • Armaments:
    • Turbolaser batteries(8)
    • Quad laser cannons(2)
    • Ion cannons(4)
    • Proton torpedo tubes(4)
    • Concussion missile launchers(4)

Moff Reginald Tarkin

The ship is captained by Moff Reginald Tarkin of the infamous Tarkin family from Eriadu. The Moff has been training in secret for this command for the past 4 years, but this is his first operational mission.

Moff Reginald Tarkin
  • Ref: 8
  • Int: 8
  • Body: 9
  • Tech: 2
  • Cool: 8
  • Emp: 3
  • Force: 0
  • Interrogate: 1
  • Oratory: 4
  • Leadership: 8
  • Social: 8
  • Education & Gen. Knowlege: 5
  • Gamble: 2
  • History: 2
  • Navigation(Interstellar): 7
  • Stock Market: 2
  • Dance: 6
  • Dodge/escape: 1
  • Handgun: 4
  • Pilot(Starship): 6

Insidious Fen

Insidious Fen

The Emergent Order is currently hosting Insidious Fen, a Knight of Ren. A former bounty hunter, he is twice as deadly now that he has found the Dark Side. What is his mission? And is Insidious or the Moff really the one calling the shots?

  • Ref: 9
  • Int: 4
  • Body: 4
  • Tech: 8
  • Cool: 8
  • Emp: 9
  • Force: 4
  • Endurance: 6
  • Strength Feat: 5
  • Interrogate: 4
  • Intimidate: 5
  • Resist Torture/Drugs: 6
  • Streetwise: 1
  • Sentient Perception: 1
  • Riding(Tauntaun): 6
  • Seduction: 4
  • Mathematics: 5
  • Shadow/Track: 1
  • Wilderness Survival: 4
  • Dodge/Escape: 3
  • Melee: 4
  • Handgun: 5
  • Heavy: 3
  • Martial Arts: 5
  • Pilot(StarFighter): 5
  • Drive(Hoverbike): 4
  • Climbing: 8
  • Force Jump: 9
  • Phase: 1
  • Telekinesis: 6
  • Read Mind: 1
  • Light Spear(3d10)
  • Heavy Blaster Pistol(3d8)
  • 4 Thermal Detonators

Tuesday 3 April 2018

SW2020 Session 8: Befriending the Buggers

This session picked up where last session left off, exiting hyperspace into Yelsain System. Their destination: the mysterious planet Yoberra II in search of that world's little-known inhabitants!

The Lineup

  • Pigman- a Gammorian beater/scavenger/heavy machine user/starship pilot(Avraham)
  • Art- Ithorian Force user, tech Rock gardener, healing(Avi)
  • Lucky- a Gran with many natural talents, good at dodging, explosives, stock market, interstellar navigation, leadership, pharmaceuticals(Lauren)
  • Jonah- a space fighter pilot with a revolver from some primitive planet. Han Solo meets Dirty Harry(Michael)
  • Malcolm- this tough spacer-lady is a hyperdrive wiz with a blaster(Gittel)
  • The Wookie- a wookie turret gunner, butt kicker(Joshua)
  • Snortbert- Gammorian who swore fealty to The Wookie(NPC)

The party made their way to Yoberra, jumping to Squab, then Rocrin. On the way, they encountered a space yacht which they scanned and found was secretly armed. Upon contacting and provoking it, the pilot threatened them "You already got one of ours, but we'll get you in the end!" before speeding off. The party chose not to pursue them.

From Rocrin, they made the jump to Yoberra system and flew around the planet a bit, scanning it. They found life signs but no signs of technology. They ended up landing where the desert meets the jungle and exploring. Jonah stays on-board the ship with Snortbert while the rest of the party went into the jungle with Art clearing the way with his lightsabre.

As soon as the party was out of sight, the ship began to shake and sunk beneath the sand, much to Jonah's chagrin...

The party encountered the Eight Legged, insectoid Yoberrans gathering flowers and hunting Yoberran Jungle Boars. The createred did not seem overly intelligent, but a group of six was observed using force powers to stun a boar. The party followed them underground through one of their tunnels.

Jonah was also overpowered by many Yoberrans and brought to meet the rest of the party.

They encountered a cavern with about 100 of the Yoberrans and now were able to communicate. The Yoberrans created a hovering light source with the force and expressed curiosity about the party. They invited the party to increasingly large groups of Yoberrans who become more and more expressive and intelligent. In a group of around 10,000 Yoberrans, with Force-lights zooming around the room and the party being levitated in the air, the Yoberrans told of their grand galactic history, their being pushed out of system after system by other races, and their retreat to this secret planet. They admitted to having stolen small observation craft which they use to keep away outsiders.

The party described the First Order's rise and the Knights of Ren's search for the Force-Using Yoberrans. The Yoberrans agreed to help the party in combatting the First Order if a large enough ship could be brought. With 100,000 Yoberrans on a ship, they could wield enormous  Force-Power against the First Order's fledgling Navy.

The party was sent-off in peace with a ton of Yoberran Flower Mulch, which has powerful medicinal properties.