After a quarter decade of not reffing, I was asked by a niece to ref an adventure for her college-bound friends, as detailed HERE.
It was weird, it was confusing, and it was a lot of fun.
The location: A recently-opened Imperial settlement called Communication Post Alpha (or “Compost”) – located on an otherwise inhospitable planet, at the bottom of a sheer 25km canyon, there lay an old republic colony transport crashed 2000 years ago. Its colonists, because of the local fungus forest and damaged reactors, have “regressed” somewhat apishly. The Imperials, finding a ready-made city in the grounded transport, have opened the planet up for settlement. This results, of course, in the usual confusion, crime, and cultural mishmash that represents an interesting place.
So the players all came in on the drop shuttle, chatting but not quite bonding (not like experienced players who know Okay, I gotta link up with these other guys to get the game rolling. I could see my brother attempting this, so I moved it as much as I could. Once on the ground (on the dirt landing strip in the shadow of the transport) I went with the old saw – a pickpocket. Kirstin’s character, a household robot, manage a surprisingly good throw with a mayonnaise jar (the first projectile attack after 25 years – a mayo jar?). Anyway, one bloody and condiment-smeared thief, a bit of shakedown and we’re set. Now I’ve got four in one group but the other three entered the transport to behold its vast interior cargo area – now an open-air (yet enclosed-room) bazaar. At this point, now that the players have had a taste, we toss out the buying charts.
Of course, the group still needs to be linked before we introduce one of the three major adventure ideas I had in the can for them – what to do? A couple of rolls arrange for our mayo-smeared wormy thief, in boiling rage, to get six thugs and a submachine gun and stalk down those offworlder’s who’d laid him so grievously (and stickily) low. Of course he swept right past the three others, who now have a chance to fall on his rear (and join the party in a baptism of combat). They made a disorganized effort, made worse when one of their members opened fire on them. Truly a test for any ref.
In the end, a well-tossed sonic grenade went off right between the pickpocket’s boots, blowing him up against the steel overhead and breaking every bone in his body. We had the tentacled alien attempting to steal a rocket-launcher from a merchant, two dead stormtroopers, more on the way and no real gain for all this. In the end, two players in the brig, a death, an a rogue character running about (he had to leave early, so we elected to allow him to slip discreetly aboard an outbound shuttle).
Okay, so now the jailbreak – The dead guy came back as the jailed brother to one of the indigenous players still free. The three in the slammer (boosted to four when the very distinct alien went shopping the day after she’d gone looting) waited to be escorted to the edge of the fungal forest by the troopers and pitched in. I made it pretty easy – the route and complete setup was precogged by a character, and the jail only had one stormtrooper and a deathwatch. It ended up with a furious battle simultaneously inside and outside the jail section, a crew-served blaster being brought in, the entire reception area getting slagged, pieces of housebot rolling around a smoke-filled corridor – mad, crazy fun! One stormtrooper took four hits before finally running out of hitpoints and getting checked off. The players ended up having to cut through a wall, make a scary jump across a chasm (where, below, water glugged and monsters splashed). Another burn through into an ancient abandoned room (and another burn through the rust-locked door) and finally they were in the gaping hole where the leaky reactors had been. Since it was 1:15am, I decided that luckily there were ladders/ropes/sherpas/whatever to get them up three stories to the exit hole, out, and away.
We didn’t get to settle into a grand mission (though I seeded a couple of possible vectors and added a false trail with a drunk monkey), but we did have two wildly confused firefights, two brawls, some worried player discussions, some highfives and lots of smiles.
While I drove home through the wee early hours, I could only grin like a fool.
Yeah, lots of fun.
Thanks, kids, for giving an old ref one more roll.