Never Tell Me The Odds!

Episode XIII: Damage Control

We join our intrepid heroes as they wrap up the mission on Stoytown and return victorious to Centerpoint…

Characters

Debts to Pay

With Nash captive aboard the Triumphant Failure, the party grills him on the details of the spice trade about which their Black Sun contact is so eager to learn details. Nash gives a few minor details, but he is never one to miss an opportunity. He refuses to elaborate without “enough credits to start a new life” – 20,000 credits to be precise.

The party briefly debates this before Desric negotiates him down. Nash finally agrees to 20,000 credits but no longer trusts the party not to harm him. He demands to be taken to a remote space station, Harwell’s Gate, where he will await payment. Furthermore, he asks for half of his payment upfront. The party empties their wallets to scrape together 5,000 credits which Nash reluctantly accepts. The party takes a coulpe of days to travel to Harwell’s Gate, deposits Nash, and then makes their way to Centerpoint Station.

Bug Zapper

At Centerpoint, the party makes their way to Bug’s warehouse where they expect to negotiate an advance payment so they can pay off Nash. The group wanders up the lonely street to the warehouse in Centerpoint’s South Pole. As they near the entrance to the warehouse, a missile streaks across the street from a narrow window. It crashes into the front of the warehouse just as the heroes are diving for cover, setting the entire warehouse ablaze. There is clearly no chance anyone survived the blast.

GMing Pro Tip: if your party ever needs a pick-me-up, kill off an NPC to whom they owe a substantial debt. The heroes owed Bug 10,000 credits and expressed immediate relief at his passing. They had always planned on not paying him anyway, but this made an awfully convenient way of doing so.

Disoriented from the explosion, our heroes collect themselves and look for a means to investigate the rocket’s source. Near the window, a simple mechanical lock keeps an old doorway secure. Desric heads over and easily bypasses the lock. It opens to reveal a narrow, decrepit stairwell leading up as well as a small, easily-missed dumb-waiter from the entryway up to the second floor. Desric can just barely fit himself into the opening and carefully inches his way up.

At the top of the passage, Desric was able to see a figure of some sort stowing something in a case. In order to see more of the scene, he’d have to crawl out of the passage and expose himself. While he pondered, Khron carefully crept up the stairs to get in position to take a shot at the figure while Oskara and Mathus took up positions outside the window.

Desric was on fire this session. Tons of advantage when bypassing the mechanical lock led to the dumb-waiter, and then a Triumph on his Coordination role led to both his and Khron’s stealthy approach.

Oskara takes cover in some debris, doing such a remarkable job that she catches a glimpse of this figure without being seen. The shooter is a Quarren with some significant facial scarring and missing a few facial tentacles. She draws her rifle and aims just as Khron gets ready to shoot. Unfortunately his luck runs out and the Quarren sees him just in time to make a run for it.

Swearing something in Dosh, Khron gives chase along which Desric. Desric can’t quite keep up, having been crammed into a broom closet. Khron keeps pace with the Quarren and manages a hip shot with his rifle which nearly kills their mystery foe.

The chase leads a walkway over some kind of old, dilapidated chemical storage facility next door. Oskara and Mathus find and open a hefty set of blast doors that lead into the facility. Above them the foot chase continues, the Quarren outpacing his rivals and making it to a small window where emergency crews are assembling outside.

I forget the exact roll in which the Quarren rolled a ton of advantage, but that led to the complicating factor of crowds & emergency crews gathering outside. While sometimes I struggle in spending the threats or Despairs, there are just as many times where the dice really help set the narrative direction of the whole session. These emergency crews became a key element.

Mathus heads around the side of the building to cut off any possible escape, but is noticed by a police captain in the process. As he blends into a gathering crowd of on-lookers gawking at the explosion, Desric takes a desperate shot at the Quarren to stop him. While Desric’s shot is wide, it distracts the Quarren long enough for Khron to strongarm him into submission. Having suffered a grievous blaster wound earlier, he passes out.

Last Responders

With the Quarren captured, our heroes had a number of new problems to deal with. Emergency crews were gathering outside to contain the blaze in the warehouse, crews that were also separating Mathus from the rest of the group. Not only did the party need to find a way out, but they needed to do so while carrying an unconscious Quarren out with them.

The party fans out to look for anything that could help them escape. Under the walkway, Oskara finds a decrepit office with an inactive terminal. She manages to find a few loose bills of lading that detail the chemical compounds being stored here, something called Dioxymexadrine. Meanwhile, Desric is able to find a few pushcarts that are worn down, but could be pushed at great effort or repaired somewhat easily.

Outside, Mathus was lamenting all the potential Mechanics, Computers, and Knowledge: Education checks he was missing out on. It was perhaps a little cruel, but it definitely a little fun to watch.

The group then spends a very long time debating escape plans as more and more waves of emergency personnel arrive to deal with the chaos. While none have taken an interest in this storage facility thus far, the crowds outside have been cordoned off and limited strictly to emergency responders.

This leaves Mathus in a tight spot in this crowd of responders. He does his best to look inconspicuous as he meanders before coming up with a plan. He walks to the rear of one of the fire speeders on the scene and begins to steal a rebreather mask and heavy clothing. When a fire responder notices him, Mathus realizes from the behavior of the responder that all the local comlinks are being routed through a nearby police speeder. Never one to miss an opportunity to bypass a computer system, Mathus deliberately gets caught by the police captain who had spotted him earlier and hauled into the police speeder. The captain forces him into the van and curtly tells him to stay put and not speak to anyone for any reason.

This last bit was a really subtle clue that would figure prominently in the next session. In retrospect I should have called for a Streetwise roll from Mathus to notice how unusual it is for a policeman to tell someone to shut up and stay put rather than let a suspect talk themselves into trouble.

The rest of the party continues to discuss escape plans. A very, very long list of options have been discussed with no compelling options. With Mathus in police custody and a steady stream of more emergency responders arriving, the pressure is mounting to act. The team splits up to investigate means of escape.

Khron heads back to the small room where the Quarren fired his missile. He’s unable to find any meaningful clues on the shooter but recognizes the weapon instantly. It’s a “pocket rocket,” a single-shot missile launcher popular with mercenaries for its small form factor. The downside is that a shorter firing tube reduces the effective range of the weapon (mechanically, it adds the Inaccurate 1 quality to the weapon). He greedily stuffs the weapon into his backpack, eliminating any chance of recovering further clues from it.

While this sounds like a player error and cruel GMing, it was actually just a bunch of threat on the identification roll. Just want to set the record straight about my GM style!

Oskara continues to search the first floor of the storage facility. She finds a small crawlspace between this and the adjacent building. It’s cramped, but it’s small enough to possibly hide in and thin enough to breach the wall from inside and head to the other building. It’s also disgusting and unkempt, and she quickly heads out of it and returns to the main area.

Above them Desric is sorting out a way to distract the police captain long enough for Mathus to grab a comlink and try to bypass it to distract the police force. The old facility is littered with debris – Desric take the largest chunk he can find and drops it atop the speeder’s roof. It works, distracting the captain for a few moments as he steps out of the speeder and looks around. A moment is all Mathus needs to snag a comlink and put it behind his back.

After a bit more discussion, a plan finally comes together at long last for our heroes. It turns out to be worth the wait, and with almost Hitchcockian precision the various unrelated details of the heroes’ adventure come together to help them escape.

Weekend at Chemical Burnies

Oskara lines up a careful shot on the storage vats, puncturing them just so that their contents will empty out the facility’s front entrance and out into the street. At once a thick, noxious blue ooze begins seeping out and into the street.

The fire team notices and begins to panic, drawing the attention of the nearby policemen as well. This in turn draws out the police captain watching Mathus as he tries to regain control of his officers. Mathus takes the opportunity to quickly bypass the comlink’s simple encryption protocols and puts out a fake hazmat alert, ordering all emergency personnel to clear the area. This works splendidly, allowing Mathus to escape and blend into the nearby crowd as the police focus on clearing out the area and moving the various emergency speeders.

Meanwhile, the team still has an unconscious Quarren with a gaping chest wound to escape with. Khron and Desric each take an arm and prepare to drag the obviously-shot assailant out into the street when Oskara sizes him up briefly. Thankfully the Quarren is about the same size as her, and in a moment Oskara is frantically searching through her backpack. To the amazement of everyone, she produces the dress she bought in Cloud City in Session 6 and drapes it over the Quarren. While cut for a Twi’lek female, she figures that few people really know Quarren fashion trends to know the difference.

This was an amazing idea. The whole table burst into stunned laughter that Oskara even remembered the dress she bought on Cloud City, let alone shlepping it around this whole time and thinking of it now. Just amazing.

With the blaster wound now covered by sheik evening wear, the rest of the group tried to exit the facility as discreetly as possible. Heading the opposite way as the police force and fire team (which were now on the other side of the quickly-spreading ooze), the group was able to draw relatively little attention. When a few fire team responders took note of them, Oskara was quick to describe how their friend the Quarren was overcome by the noxious fumes of the blue ooze and just needed to be carried some fresh air. The fire team responders, still concerned about containing their hazmat spill, brushed them aside as they disappeared into the artificial twilight of Centerpoint’s South Pole…

Epilogue

Who killed Bug? Will the heroes still have to pay him back? How will Oskara ever get the stains out of that dress? Two of these questions will be answered in the next episode! Stay tuned!

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