After about 15 months without playing Edge of the Empire I thought it would be interesting to try to run it again with a story game mentality instead of a trad mentality, so I put a couple sessions on the calendar with my gaming group. To be fair, my local group is more of a trad group than a story group, so I feel like we had some mixed results. Overall it was fun, but the tone was pretty far from where I originally intended. I guess it felt like the new Star Wars, a bit disney.
I began the game with a high level overview prepared, but I had written no scenes or npc’s. The overview read as follows:
Your worlds are strip-mined and your people are wage-slaves working to fuel the imperial war machine. As the galaxy suffers, a handful of industrialists know a level of profitability that would have been unfathomable to previous generations.
Their deaths would cripple the war machine, and they have signed their own death warrants with the atrocities they have committed.
The rebellion is unwilling to resort to the tactics you all know are necessary to end the empire, so you have started a splinter cell to do what needs to be done.
I then gave the players the following questions to generate the scenario:
Past Tragedy Questions: (Each player answer one)
- Someone you love was killed by them. What happened?
- You used to work for them, until you learned of a great misdeed. What?
- This city used to be something special, now they own every inch of it. What do you miss most?
- You were in an orphanage when it was acquired by the company. What labor did you do?
- You had a good job until they destroyed the market. When did you realize they were responsible?
Resistance Recruitment Question: (Each player answers)
- They found you at your lowest and gave you a glimpse of hope. What were the circumstances of your recruitment? What promise or opportunity convinced you to join the resistance?
Job Preparation Questions: (Each player answer one)
- You know their routine, when are they the most vulnerable?
- This is your city, where can you always go to disappear when they heat is on?
- The law is in the hands of the wealthy, but one of the officers is an idealist. How did you meet?
- Their rise to power was fraught with conflict. Which of their enemies could offer you aid?
- Those closest to them have even more grievances than most. Who did you turn?
The players and I discussed character creation for a little while, and they strategized while looking at the pre-generated characters. One had a character that he played back in 2016 and chose to play that character, a Twilker Smuggler specialized as a Charmer. The others played pregens from the Age of the Resistance beginners game, a Human Pilot and a Human Soldier.
As the players began to answer the questions we started to establish a humorous tone. The Soldier was an ex-sports star from Alderaan who had a contact in the local law because he was recognized as a sports hero. The pilot said that her cover story was as a celebrity chef. The charmer had infiltrated the twilek brothel that their target liked to frequent.
The Sporting Match
After talking for a bit, I established the first scene was at a sports match, no rules rugby with Trandoshan athletes and humans making bets. The soldier was coaching one team and saw the target, Chaz Duchet, arrive in his private box. The soldier used his comlink to reach out to the smuggler and the pilot. After some time passed, Chaz Duchet got a hologram call and departed the match. The soldier left his post beside the match as the head coach yelled at him for neglecting his responsibilities.
On the soldier’s way out some angry sports fans blamed him for the team’s poor performance. They started a brawl, but the soldier was easily able to disengage. (brawl roll - succeeded with advantage) As he exited the arena, he saw Chaz nearing his armored caravan with an entourage.
Follow the Caravan
At this time, the smuggler and the pilot arrived in a small speeder. The party began to tail the caravan intending to follow the target to his next destination. They wanted to find out what had happened with the holo-call. The smuggler tried to access the memory reserves of the old speeder to look for a shortcut to cut ahead, but this ended up freezing up the vehicle. (knowledge roll - failed with disadvantage)
After kick-starting the vehicle, the pilot wanted to catch up with the caravan without being noticed. (piloting roll - failed with advantage) She was able to pilot the vehicle and track the target to their destination, but was stopped over by a trailing police vehicle.
The police wanted to know where they were speeding off to, the smuggler told the authorities that they were undercover security for the imperials. (deception roll - succeed with disadvantage) The officers seemed willing to look the other way in exchange for a bribe. The charmer gave a tiny bribe of ten credits, saying “you boys understand, we just need to do our job.” The guards responded by saying something like “of course, after we do ours… we’ll just make sure your registrations checks out and then you’ll be free to go.” At this point, the pilot handed over 100 credits and an apology. The officers smiled and released the party to pursue their target.
[The smuggler wanted to resist the disadvantage result of me requiring a bribe by rolling an additional charm test. I was resistant to doing this, but after some discussion I was willing to allow it as an escalated difficulty roll. The other player decided to pay the fee rather than risk an additional loss. I feel like there should be a better way to resist a failed result. In retrospect, I might’ve allowed flipping a Destiny point to accomplish this.]
Enter the Weapons Facility
I asked what the players had found out about the weapons facility, as it would have been something they had already identified as a potentially significant target. The pilot said that she knew there were some elite dining establishments within the facility for the executive staff. The party decided that they would use her identity as cover to infiltrate the building, and would then try to locate Chaz Duchet once inside.
They knew that the facility was highly secured, so they left most of their weapons in the speeder. The smuggler had a holdout blaster and the soldier had a vibroknife that they both intended to sneak through security. The first room was a sterile room with two heavily armed guards near a large airlock door, and a woman behind a high-tech desk. They approached the woman and convinced her that they were there to film a reality cooking show as part of the celebrity chef’s holo-presence.
The woman looked unconvinced as they did not have any appointment in the system. Once they mentioned that they were here at the request of Chaz Duchet’s father to prepare him a special meal for his birthday, she looked frazzled as she would have no way to confirm this information. (deception roll - succeeded with disadvantage) She allowed them to proceed but required that they leave their weapons in concealment. The party members with concealed weapons chose to continue to keep them concealed. As they walked away, they turned back to ask her name. She wheeled back from the desk and revealed herself to be some sort of experimental droid, she gave her name as “X6.”
The party walked past the armed guards into a secure room with no adornments roughly 15’x15’. The opposite wall appeared to also be an airlock seal. The party walked in and the door closed behind them. Red laser beams scanned each party member for contraband, but miraculously each party member avoided detection. (skullduggery against 3 purple - successes)
They took an elevator to the third floor and the doors opened up to reveal a courtyard with a massive tree, imported from offworld. Around the room were seated diners of a fine establishment. The party approached the maitre’d who had a previous relationship with the pilot. They wanted the maitre’d to assist them in getting food to Chaz Duchet. (charm roll - succeed with disadvantage) The man was so flabbergasted that he immediately went to get the manager.
The manager quickly organized the kitchen staff and got them to work making an entire meal for the official. The party was forgotten in the busy-ness, they managed to find some kitchen uniforms and got changed. They were looking around for the access badges (perception - failed with advantage) but instead they found a small container filled with small white pills.
They decided to try to find Chaz Duchet before the rest of the kitchen staff had made the meal ready. They stole a badge from a kitchen worker (skullduggery - succeed with advantage), luckily the badge looked just like the pilot. They then decided to get soup and put the drugs into one of the servings, despite being unable to identify the drugs.
The party made it past a door guard and accessed the conference room. Two expert guards stood guard at the door, they seemed unwilling to let the party in. The party again claimed that the food was courtesy of Chaz Duchet’s father. The guards seemed doubtful, but they were unwilling to send the party away. (deception - succeed with advantage) The guards opened the door as if to ask permission, but Chaz Duchet was yelling at the weapon manufacturers so the guards were unwilling to interrupt him. They waived the group in, who placed the soup in front of each member.
When the soup was set in front of Chaz, he raged at the party. He demanded an explanation for the interruption. The group convinced the man that his father had sent the soup (deception - succeed with disadvantage.) Unfortunately, he hates his father so this set him into a further rage. He demanded that everyone else eat, after some more yelling he consumed his soup as well.
The drugs appeared to slowly take effect, amping up the official to emotional highs even greater than before. He began to complain about the supply-chain and low quality materials. He commented that some specific walkers had no resistance to ion damage. After some time, one of the manufactory leaders made to respond to the ranting. As he began to speak, Chaz stood up and shot him in the head.
At the sound of the blaster shot, the guards ran in from the hallway. The kitchen staff were lined up in the hallway, faces looking shocked. Chaz Duchet marched out from the room, still raging. His staff followed him out.
Ambush at the Brothel
The party knew that Chaz tended to go to the brothel at his most disturbed moments. The scoundrel led the group to the establishment and let the madame know to expect the officer. She thanked them for the forewarning and allowed them entry. They set up an ambush in the room of his favorite twi'lek. Once Chaz Duchet arrived, the party emerged from hiding and took him down in a hail of blaster fire.
I found it a lot easier to run the game thinking about the success & advantage rules as a sort of “yes, and” or “yes, but” mechanic. The players definitely engaged throughout the session and made the game feel like it belonged to them. I had thought the game would take a more serious quality, but I was willing to go where the player answers took me. Especially since these players enjoy keeping a humorous tone and lite gameplay.
Session on 1-28-18