Back in the Star Wars saddle

Back in the Star Wars saddle

Last week the nieces asked if I’d like to role play again. We’d had a fun (but confusing) session (HERE) about a year ago. Everyone wanted to play again. While it wasn’t the usual weekly session I was used to, sure, I’d ref.

From my side of the shield, the story was pretty twisted. The action took place on the Imperial space station Tarkin, a trade-routes-straddling drum that used centrifugal force to keep things glued down. The spaceport and slums were on the inside (deck three), the poor huddled beneath a vault of greasy smog, the outer deck for the rich (deck one) floored in trans-armor to afford a vertigo-inducing flooring. So that was the locale.

The situation was that the rebels had slipped a frigate flotilla into the belt near the station. They’d transmitted an order demanding the station be evacuated in 24 hours, when it would be destroyed. They were under a tight schedule – they had to blow it and leave before the Imperial navy showed up. All the Imperial Station Commander (the weak-bladdered Zeniton) knew was that an important message had been received, one that only HE should act on. He decided to bypass official communication protocol and go (with two troopers as escort) to the seedy “Crossroutes” bar on deck three, beneath that slummy, gassy sky. Here we would meet the port authority official who’d taken the evacuation message.

What he didn’t know was that the Emperor was fully aware of these efforts and had sent an assassin jedi in to intercept the official. If the message was not passed along, if the evacuation did not take place, then the Rebellion would be destroying a floating city with a huge lose of life. Political victory for them.

So the action started with two groups – one in the bar, noticing the strange arrival of the station commander in their dive, and a smaller group witnessing a mugging in the alley across the way.

Oh, the intake of breath from the players when the mugger finished off his victim with a sweeping cut of a light dagger across his throat. Nice effect, that sickly rolling head.

It was a night of surprises. One player chased down the Jedi with the data chip and engaged him (with a knife) in an alley. I was certain I knew how this would end. But surprisingly (and with some sharp playing) she beat and beheaded him with his own light dagger (gaining the chip – whew – I didn’t want it to go out of play). Meanwhile, the escort got shot up and killed, the governor got his wallet and comlink stolen, and the party fragmented into groups of two or three (what is it with these younger players? I don’t recall ever reffing groups who were more likely to split off). Finally some of them returned to the bar (including the character with the chip, who’d broken the code and knew the story). The others tracked down the governor and were deputized to recover said chip. Okay, so things were gravitating back.

Of course, being in a bar where the governor’s escort was shot up, the governor robbed, it pretty much guarantees imperial concern. A squad came in and arrested one player who’d executed a prone trooper (with the same slugthrower she still had slug over her back, woops). But Team A (the bar group) was trying to use its contacts to get in touch with the local smugglers, to get a payout and a ticket offworld. Meanwhile, Team B (the governor’s deputies) decided now was a good time to come back yet inexplicitly NOT join Team A. After a few tense moments, the sluggy smuggler Dagnit agreed to 5000 credits and five seats out on one of his ships. Unfortunately, while this was taking place, Team B used their influence to lock down the port. With a boom, the hanger blast doors sealed.

So now we had Team A getting access to a ship (where they cooled their butts and waited for the port to reopen) while Team B assaulted the governor for the third time and kidnapped him. While tussling in the blacked-out governor’s office with the trooper team, X-wings made a pass just below – things were heating up. With the governor in their control, they Inexplicably didn’t simply tell him to lift the port lock – they told him to send a TIE bomber in to blow up the control room high on the wall to open the door. Two of Team A’s members, trying to stir up a riot against the two troopers guarding the stairs to the control room, were there when the bomber passed overhead and destroyed the tower room. They ran back through a rain of shrapnel. All over the field, refugee ships were heating up, readying to take off. Crowds were storming the gates. The streets were thronged. Perfect chaos – this was just what I’d been aiming for.

The Team A players convinced the captain the the Emmajean to lift and blow the doors with his turrets. Meanwhile Team B shuttled in (dragging the governor) and tried to reqesition his launch to depart – however, the situation on the ground was coming apart and the ship was unfueled. Just as they managed to use their hostage to gain access to an overloaded tramp freighter, Team A’s ship blew the door locks. As they trundled open, every ship in the place lifted to make a run at the doors. Risking it all on a throw of the dice, the Emmajean squeaked through a pack of freighters in its wake. Inside, the interior of Tarkin was a confused mass of shipping trying to get through the one door. There was firing, colliding, stricken ships falling into the thronged streets and going off like bombs. The Rebels, pressed for time, began their assault. The opposite side of the drum blew, and all that smog went wifffff out the hole. Everyone’s ears popped. Team A got a close pass by a couple of X-wings and wisely didn’t fire, made the jump point and punched out. Aboard the Team B ship (slow to realize the danger and only now aloft), the last two guys pulled the gunner out of a bow quad laser to attempt to shoot their way through the packed shipping. However, it turns out that neither had ever operated such heavy weapons and could not arm them. Just then their captain decided to make a run at the door, just as another ship of equal mass did likewise. With a grinding of hull-plating, the two ships shoved against each other, getting closer and closer to that one-ship hole. I went dice-to-dice with the players to determine the outcome. With a thrust, the other ship shouldered them out of the way and ground through the gap. The two players, in their bow turret, got off a nice scream as their vessel smashed into the wall, scraping down its face, a grinding ball of ruin. Tarkin split open, everyone aboard died, and everyone (as my brother quipped) got what they wanted.

So, yes, it was a fun night. We’ve kept the characters so we can try this again sometime soon.