Building a Better Dreadnaught

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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