Building a Better Dreadnaught

BPD Part 3: An Infected Trap

Location: Starts on Concordia

Action: Infect Rex with Hive Virus and set trap for Jedi and clone troopers. Details are in GM Only section.

Goal: Defeat the droids, look for clues.


The following Separatists are left behind. (185 Total Cost)

  • 32 B3 Ultra Battle Droid
  • 30 LR-57 Combat Droid
  • 26 Chameleon Droid
  • 24 Commando Droid Captain
  • 17 Commando Droid x4
  • 14 Heavy Super Battle Droid
  • 8 R4 Astromech Droid

Republic characters & Players (218 Total Cost)

  • 60 Fisto (disguised as assassin)
  • 50 Aayla Secura (disguised as assassin)
  • 41 Captain Rex
  • 19 Boss
  • 16 Fixer
  • 16 Scorch
  • 16 Sev (prisoner)
BPD Part 2: Going Undercover

Grace exchanged Ahsoka for a much more powerful Aayla Secura. Overall, this was more of a role-playing adventure session with no combat. I was trying to teach them while in game about what they could do, so I was giving them a few hints, like searching places. They tended to focus on talking to characters as the main means of getting info, as opposed to looking for themselves. They are still trying to gain their confidence and to look at alternatives rather than the first idea that comes to them. Again, I feel that I was trying to get them to talk with each other and agree on a plan, not arbitrarily but for good reasons.

Also, I had a planned story around their undercover attempt, which would fail. But the kids had the dice rolling their way all evening. So, I was scurrying for a plan when Gage provided me a great opportunity.

I thought this session was too talky for them, but, no, they assured me that they really liked the game. They wanted to play more and looked forward to the next one.

Going undercover

The game starts on the Nelvaan snowy plains. Secura and Fisto are wearing the uniforms of the assassins to try to get into the separatists’ base on Nelvaan. I tell that their assignment is to 1] find out what’s happening on Nelvaan and 2] find out where the separatists are building their weapon.

The kids have the Delta Squad clones and Captain Rex with them. I ask them to place their characters and ask them to think what clones, if any, are going with Secura and Fisto and where the others are. At first they wanted to take 3 clones with them into the base, but I mentioned that the Separatists might not want all of them and kill them except for one. The kids talk and decide to take only Sev. The others are in cover further away and track Secura and Fisto. They approach a cave they think is the base and indeed see a T1 loading crates onto a small ship with two commando droids, a chameleon droid, a separatist commando, and a Techno Union Warrior.

Sep commando – ‘Halt! Who approaches? Take another step, and you’re dead where you stand!’

Secura – ‘We are the assassins!’

commando – ‘What assassins? What are you talking about?’

Fisto – ‘We were hired to kill Lem Garon. And we were told to come here.’

commando – ‘Urm. Hold on.’ [summons droid to guard and then leaves for the cave. He returns moments later with General Loathsom.]

Loathsom – ‘What assassins . . . are you?’ [speaks in a halting gutteral, aggressive voice]

Fisto – ‘We killed Lem Garon as hired. Our comm device was damaged in the fight—’

Loathsom – ‘Fight? What . . . . assassins get in a fire fight . . . on Coruscant?’

Secura – ‘There were two Jedi with him.’

Loathsom – ‘And you . . . escaped from the . . . Jedi?’ [His tone is very incredulous.]

Fisto – ‘Yes. I mean, no, we killed them?’

Loathsom – ‘You killed . . . Jedi? You two? Impossible!’ [He orders more droids.]

Fisto – ‘Yes, but we snuck up on them and hit them with grenades.’ [I ask Gage to roll for persuasion. I set Loathsom’s doubt very high at 19. Gage rolls a 20.]

Loathsom – ‘That is . . . interesting. Who is the clone?’

Secura – ‘A prisoner.’

Loathsom – ‘Kill him. We need . . . no prisoners.’

Fisto – ‘But he’s a member of the famous Delta Squad. We could possibly get valuable information.’ [Again, I ask them to roll, and Gage throws another high, 19. I’m wishing he could throw my d20 at games.]

Loathsom – ‘Well . . . then, you are . . . in time. We have loaded . . . and are leaving. Your next assignment . . . awaits.’

[We switch maps to a ship interior. Sev is put into a detention chamber and the assassins are told to rest for the journey to Concordia. The NPCs go to assigned stations to pilot the ship, check the engine, guard the prisoner, and man the one canon onboard.

Gage then talks aloud, to both me and Grace, proposing two options—1. Try to take over the ship by throwing the droids in the air locks, or 2. explore the ship for clues. Grace wants to fight, but I remind them of their objectives. Secura and Fisto decide to split up and to look for information.]

Secura [approaching the commando at the reactors] – ‘Can you tell me what’s going on here?’

commando – ‘What? We’re going to Concordia? Do you know how to stabilize reactor cores? If not, you need to leave this area.’ [Secura leaves.]

Fisto – ‘T1, I need to know what were you doing on Nelvaan?’

T1 droid – ‘Sir, all procedural routines are accessible in my data logs. Please refer to the T1 version 683 user manual for access to those logs and any other functions. This T1 unit has completed its routine and is shutting down for hibernation until the ship arrives at Concordia.’

Secura [going to the Techno Union Warrior/scientist, who took something from the crates and is working in the small workshop on the ship] – ‘What are you doing? Can you tell me what is going on?’

warrior – ‘What? Why are you asking such questions, assassin? You have your job and I have mine. You do not look smart enough to put a slave bolt on a droid.’

[Secura leaves and heads for the bridge, going directly to Loathsom. Meanwhile, Fisto addresses the commando who is now in the hangar.]

Fisto – ‘So, we are headed to Concordia? Can you tell me what is the crates?’

commando – ‘You assassins ask a lot of questions.’

Fisto – ‘We can’t be too careful. Besides, I do not trust Loathsom?’

commando – ‘What?! What are you saying?’

Fisto – ’I’m only saying that I do not—’

commando – ‘You had better be careful what you say. Why are you suspicious? You are a hired assassin anyway.’ [He puts his hand on his blaster.]

Fisto – ‘I am only saying that I do not think killing Lem was wise. We should have —’

commando – ‘ah, I see. A separatist general want-to-be. We all question sometimes what we do, but these generals have a bigger picture. They know things you and I do not. Stay in your place and keep a low profile.’ [He walks away, still somewhat suspicious but needing sleep.]

Secura appears on the bridge.

Loathsom – ‘What are . . . you doing . . . here?!’

Secura – ‘I wondered if you could tell me—’

Loathsom ‘Tell you nothing!!’ [His anger is intense. Gage then Grace, ‘Leave! He’s getting mad!’ Grace isn’t quite picking up on the verbal cues as I thought she might. But at Gage’s urging, she leaves and then heads to the cannon manned by a droid. She takes the droid and throws it in the shaft. I stop her and explain that if she really wants to do that, I’ll be forced to react. She retracts the action and goes back to the rest area where the Techno Union Warrior is asleep.

She picks up on it and goes to the area where he was working. I ask to roll for all three work areas, and she, too, has the god of dice with her. She finds nothing at the first two stations but at third, the display shows the following message that I give them on a slip of paper:

Gholyhu wr Pdod Ydglwk rq Guxfnhqzhoo
Gage immediately sees it for what it is and begins to work on breaking the code. He tries a couple of Caesar codes but they are wrong. I then tell them to hang onto the message. They might find a clue later. But they still fret about solving it.
The ship then lands and we use a third map. I ask what has happened to the other clones. They say that they have followed at a great distance and are on the other side of the planet, where they are monitoring.
When Secura and Fisto exit the ship, I position a host of powerful characters, including Durge, to discourage a possible fight . . . for now, at least.]
Durge – ‘Loathsom! Finally you are here . . . I want off this moon before I can no longer resist killing all the Mandalorians here. You brought the slave circuits?’
Loathsom – ‘Yes. We were able to use Nelvaan’s low gravity and extreme cold to remove traces of the Hive Virus.’
Fisto – ‘Hive Virus?’
Loathsom – ‘Yes . . . it can drive one . . . insane in a few hours.’
Durge – Who are you?’
Loathsom – ‘Oh, these are . . . the assassins we sent after . . . that talkative Lem Garon. You should like them . . . Durge. They killed 2 Jedi.’
Durge – ‘You two? Jedi killers?!’ [I ask Grace to roll . . . and their luck is with them still because she gets a 17 with a +5 bonus. I might have to rethink my checks and saves.]
Secura – ‘The Jedi did not see us and we threw grenades that killed them both?’
Durge – ‘Tell me you were not so scared that you forgot to get their light sabers!’
Secura – ‘We did not have time . . . others were coming.’
Durge – ‘Well, then, it is good to have more than 1 Jedi hunter in this tin pile of an army’ [He laughs and Secura, Loathsom, and Fisto laugh too, where it then becomes a silly laughter.] ‘And what is this clone trooper? Why is he not dead?’
Secura – ‘We thought that he might be questioned, to reveal more of the Republic’s strategy and plans.’
Durge – ‘Highly unlikely. I have questioned clones before, and they are too well trained to succumb to threats and torture.’
Fisto – ‘But what if we infect him with the Hive Virus and send him back?’
Loathsom – ‘Durge, I believe we have found someone cunning enough to match you!’
Durge – ‘That is a good idea . . . we could leave a small group here while we leave with the slave circuits. Then attract a republic ship.’
Fisto – ‘On second thought, that might not work.’
Durge – ‘No, it is good. In fact, you two assassins will stay here with the droids.’
At this point, I stop the adventure. I really wasn’t sure where to go with the adventure for a while. I expected their undercover attempt to fail, but they had those 3 very high rolls that prevented their discovery. The plan was to imprison them all and then have Delta Squad report their capture, leading to another adventure in which two more Jedi join Delta Squad to free the prisoners. But Fisto’s idea was a good opportunity.
However, Gage is very anxious. He wants me to play on their side, but I explain that I will take care of things. He starts talking about a very complex plan for the next time, but I remind him of Durge’s idea—to leave a small group behind. And I point out that their group already includes 3 very powerful characters in Rex, Fisto, and Secura. He then sees where I’m going and he relaxes until he remembers the coded message. ‘How are we going to solve it?’ I tell him that there’s still more to come and they might find a clue for solving it . . . if they pay attention and remember to look around.

Build a Better Dreadnaught Part 1

I tell the kids to pick out two characters—one Jedi and one non-Jedi character. Grace picks up Ahsoka and the quite awesome Captain Rex. [I quickly noted that I must insist on build point limits. oh well.] Gage chooses Kit Fisto and a Saleucami trooper. I tell them that Mace Windu has requested Ahsoka and Fisto because they captured a Genosian overseer who refuses to talk. [I try to imitate Samuel Jackson from Star Wars, but I have much better success trying to imitate him in Pulp Fiction without the cussing.]

The start is rough because the kids are quite silly, making noises and having their characters dance. But just a few minutes into it, they change and begin to role play.

Fisto – ‘We need you to tell us what you know about the Separatists.’

Prisoner [in a low gutteral voice] – ‘Why should I, Jedi? You’ve offered me nothing in exchange.’

Ahsoka – ’We’ll let you go free—’

Gage – ‘We WILL? What are you saying?!’

Prisoner: Ah, that is tempting, young jedi . . . but my life would be worth nothing. I’d be free to die at one of Greivous’s many hands.

Fisto – ’We’ll set you up on an outer rim world. You’ll be secluded, escorted there by clones. But you can’t leave.’

[At this point, I ask them each to roll. Gage rolls a 1, which I’m tempted to play into a completely uncooperative overseer. I decide that’s a bit harsh for the start, which might discourage them. Grace rolls 18 with a +4 persuasion bonus, more than enough for the overseer’s 16 defense. ]

Prisoner – Tempting . . . will I have all that I need? Or will I be abandoned on some rock?

Fisto – ‘Yes, you’ll have supplies, and we’ll put on a good planet with few settlers.’

Prisoner – ‘Okay, I’d rather live and sit out this crummy war than rot in some prison. Grievous, Darth Tyranus and the others are up to something big, something that they think will end the war. It’s a weapon of some sorts.’

Ahsoka – ‘What kind of weapon?’

Prisoner – ‘I don’t know, Jedi! But they were shipping and moving the different parts from all over. And Mandalorians are involved. I’ve told you what I know, now let me go.’

Fisto – ‘We will but we need to verify your information.’

They leave him to return to Windu, who tells them that the offer was strange. Ahsoka adds, ‘But Jedi keep their promises!’ ‘Yes, they do, padawan. You should check before you make such promises,’ Windu responded. ‘But that makes sense of some increase in shipping. Fortunately, we know that Lem Garon is now on Coruscant. He’s a privateer/trader whom we know deals with the Separatists as well as the Republic. But we’ve gotten information from him before. We have him located at a sabacc parlor at this address. Find out what you can and report back.’

[With their other characters in tow, they go to the Coruscant map which just happens to have a sabacc table in a fine drinking establishment. The kids walk their characters in and see two characters at the nearest Sabacc table.]

Ahsoka – ‘Have you seen a guy around here?’

Fisto – ‘What she means, have you seen Lem Garon around here?’

Garon – ‘Anh, I don’t have time . . . I’m trying to play sabacc!"

Rex – ‘This is really important! Where is he?’

Garon – ‘And my sabacc is important to me.’

Fisto – ‘This is about the plans that the Separatists have to build a weapon that could change the war.’

Garon – [slams down cards and glares at the Jedi before storming out. ] ‘Come with me. Tell your jerba with blasters to stay put.’

Rex – ‘Hey, let’s play some games!’

Trooper – ‘Yeah, let’s try these slots.’ [Silliness ensues again until I walk the characters out and prompt for the Jedi to follow. Fisto and Ahsoka follow. I have them choose the specific squares where to stand as I do the same with the two NPCs.]

Garon – ‘Are all Jedi so careless with their mouths in a room full of separatist sympathizers and others who know the price of good information? I am Garon, and I do not need it known that I’m collaborating with the Republic.’

Fisto – ‘This is important. It could mean the end of the Republic.’

Garon – ‘What do I care for the Republic? I’m on the side of those with money who need things done.’

Fisto – ‘Garon, you should know that the Separatists trust no one. If they win, you’ll do their work . . . for free!’

[I then have the kids roll, and Gage rolls a natural 20, which I use as a critical for persuasion. Garon’s defense is 18 to begin with.]

Garon – ’I’ll only tell you this because I fear that it could threaten my ships and my business as well. I made one pickup for them that clearly involved the parts for a Rendili star drive, the ones they used on their dreadnaughts. But I also picked up other parts that look like major improvements. At the docks, I picked up that they were having parts shipped from all over to . . . .’

[At that point, two Fringe characters appeared from behind cover, including a Mandalorian and a bounty hunter. The Mandalorian shot and killed Garon’s lieutenant, and the bounty hunter just missed Garon.

The kids then moved without coordinating with each other, which didn’t surprise me. But their moves were nonetheless effective. I prompt them to talk about what they’re planning to do, not only so that I can hear but so that they get used to talking to each other. Grace first moved Rex out of the parlor towards Ahsoka and then moved Ahsoka in the direction of the Mandalorian who fled inside a shop with a lift. Gage moved his trooper into a sniping position while moving Fisto to a protected spot in the direction of the bounty hunter. Both kids were tentative, though, clearly afraid of losing all their characters. I reminded them that they had two extremely powerful characters in Rex and Fisto. I then roll to see if the Mandalorian can get the lift to work but get a 1. I have the Mandalorian tell the bounty hunter that the lift has broken. ]

Fisto – ‘Prevent them from getting to the lifts!’ [I was pleased that he picked up on the other lifts on the map and sought to defend them. The kids actually were pinching in on the assassins.]

[The fight was short because the assassins were strong but not nearly enought to cope with double and even triple attacks. The Mandalorian killed the trooper, and Ahsoka lost 20 points, but Rex made short order of them with a triple attack. Fisto then finished off the remaining bounty hunter. The kids then search the characters.]

Me – You find 50 credits, armor, and a blaster on one and 75 credits, a rifle, armor and a handheld comm device on the other.

Fisto – ‘This looks like a separatist device.’ [Tries to turn it on but fails. Good, I think, they are interacting with the environment. I tell them, ‘The device blinks on and you see there’s a message but you see that it’s encrypted and unreadable.’ To help them along, I then ask if they have a hacker.] ‘Rex, see if you can get this to work. You have experience with encrypted messages.’

[Rex rolls a 14 with a +6 for hacking. He succeeds but manages to get only part of a recording, something about a meeting on Nelvaan.]

Ahsoka – ’Where’s Nelvaan?’

Fisto – ’That’s a primitive planet that Obi-Wan and Anakin went to and discovered that the separatists were mutating the Nelvaanians into some kind of super soldiers. The Separatists were defeated, though. We should go there.’

[Again, this is good interaction because he relays the information as Fisto, not as Gage. At this point, Gage starts pulling other characters out, so I tell him that he can’t simply recruit and remind him of his orders. They then return to the Jedi Council and update Windu. The conversation is hard to recreate because they were both excited to retell the story. Grace wanted to focus on what she had found out, but Gage insisted on telling what they had learned from Garon first, who had disappeared during the fight. Grace then tries to tell about the comm message again but Gage interrupts her to explain that they lost a trooper in the fight, ‘a good soldier who I fought with before.’ It was a nice little backstory flavor and a good example of his trying to play the character of Fisto. I thought it was also some of the difference in maturity between an 8 year old who wants to focus on what she did — and rightly so! — and an 11 year old.]

Fisto – ‘We would like to go to this meeting on Nelvaan.’

Ahsoka – ‘We have the uniforms of the —’

Gage – ‘Grace, we’ve already told him that!’

Grace – ‘Let me talk!’

Ahsoka – ‘We have the uniforms of the bounty hunters. We could pretend to be them and go to Nelvaan.’

[I didn’t expect this but thought it was a great, creative use of the situation.]

Windu – ‘That is an excellent idea. You’ll need a small ship. Pick 4-5 experienced clones to go with you. Be sure to get a sniper, a hacker, and tracker.’

I then tell them to pick out 75 points of characters. We spent about 15 minutes going through the stack of possible characters. They essentially choose the members of Delta Squad. Altogether, they have 184 build points, which requires me to adjust my separatist squad on Nelvaan because I expected 125-150 build points. I also needed some time to rethink the setup and possible actions. We quit for a late lunch and get ready to go back home. I use the drive home to figure out the rest of the story’s adventures, including where the final adventure takes place. I have 3 other adventures, which they might pursue in any order, for a total of 4 more adventures with a possible 5th to throw in depending on what happens in one. And I settle on a simple Caeser cipher as the puzzle to get the location for the final adventure. My intent is to place some clue to the code on a captured NPC in the next couple of adventures, a clue such A = C, B = D. Then, they’ll find a coded message that they have to decipher. The kids love riddles, but I’m not sure I can come up with one that makes sense in this setting. The gist is that the Separatists are indeed building an improved dreadnaught, aided by Mandalorians of the Death Watch faction. Not only are they improving on the Rendili dreadnaught, which is based on the Kandosii-type the Mandalorians developed, but they are using crystals from Ilum to improve its weapons.


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