Light vs. Dark
GM Notes - Adventure 1
When preparing this session, I was looking to get our group back into the feel of a Star Wars game. We had just come off a short-duration D&D game in which the DM had to pull the plug on the game because of real-life stuff. Thus, I took my ideas for this campaign and got them rolling in a matter of about 4 weeks and the first few adventures were very much off the cuff as I continued to outline where I wanted the campaign to go in very broad, thematic terms as well as building up the details of the antagonistic forces I wanted to place in the setting. After toying briefly with the idea of a dark side campaign, I switched back into the heroic campaign mode because it was far easier to do in the short preparation time frame.
The second thing I wanted to do with this first game was for the party to try out their characters and just get comfortable playing Star Wars again. For encounters, I wanted a couple of combats, some bartering and socializing, and an exotic location. For the location, I elected to use the royal aquarium on Coruscant, and I utilized Coruscant and the Core Worlds sourcebook pretty heavily in putting together locations and a few details for the session.
Next, I wanted to introduce four key NPCs to the players as well:
Senator Lohk, of the planet Thule, who was a progressive moderate (in favor of reforms usually, and not a traditionalist). My concept for this Senator is that he would eventually be a big mover and shaker in galactic upheavals to come, probably withdrawing his world and allied worlds from the Republic and joining the Sith, whenever that would come to pass someday. From the start, I knew this guy was motivated by self-interest, wealth, and power and would likely see disposing of the “old guard” of a traditional Republic as his way to achieve such desires. He in fact had already been working quietly with the Lettonian Legion (Sith) behind the scenes, and had recently gained more popularity and taken more vocal reformist positions while carrying out his role as Republic Senator.
Jedi Knight Quintis Morgan, who at the time I figured was simply the Jedi protector that sometimes worked with Senator Lohk. I elected to change this by the end of the first game session, but more on that later.
Officer Lassor, who was a character of an unusual alien species, that I figured the players wouldn’t recognize (and they didn’t). He was a backup member of the Senator’s security, but he was also a Sith agent. Even though the Senator worked with the Legion (and thus the Sith), my idea was the Sith faction wasn’t perfectly unified, and someone from the antagonist’s side had it in for the Senator. Thus, they coerced this Lassor fellow into making an attempt on the Senator’s life. It was either that, or a Hutt faction had coerced Lassor out of Legion service with offers of large sums of money to get rid of a famous Senator who seemingly had been supporting the Bothans free-run initiatives in their war with the Hutts. The Lassor sub-plot faded away as bigger sub-plots rose up and it became unimportant later in the campaign. It was one of those off the cuff background things that just didn’t pan out in the long run.
Sergeant Grinder, who was a heavy set human, gregarious and able to crack jokes and be comic relief at times, but also a tough warrior and staunch ally in any fight. He was a mercenary with the Tonowi Rangers.
Finally, my overall goal was to present the party with the choice of working for the Senator, whom they happened to come into contact with, or to work for the Tonowi Rangers, that they also happen to encounter.
Why were the Senator and the Jedi at this cantina? Well, they were there to meet with representatives of a mercenary group, who simply ended up being late to the meeting. The mercenaries in question are members of the Tonowi Rangers and their representative is Sergeant Grinder. They were having a meeting with the Senator to exchange important information regarding mutual interests (the mercenaries are working for the Republic and Senator Lohk supports financing this particular group usually). Who was the droid assassin? It was a droid sent by Officer Lassor, who was running external security near the cantina for the Senator. He used his position to slip the droid in past all other security except the Jedi protector.
Why isn’t Joh-Kel at the Jedi temple? He’s something of an independent Jedi under Master Veren. He’s not officially part of any faction, but he’s definitely not presently an active member of the centralizing Order on Coruscant. The Temple on Coruscant knows of Master Veren’s pupil, and has basic records that Joh-Kel is a Force sensitive human under Veren’s tutelage, as well as his parents’ names, but little else. This allowed me to have a PC Jedi without the stereotypical background and makes it easy for me to manage a game without the players constantly calling on the Jedi Temple or a Jedi Master to bring immense resources to bear. Instead the majority of the Jedi Order and the Temple gradually works their way in later on in the game. Keep in mind, I’m not dead-set against the usual “rise of the empire” way of having Jedi backgrounds, but the players and I were looking for a different idea in this case. I think it added some interesting dynamics about the Jedi Order to the game that will become more apparent in throughout the campaign.
In retrospect, choosing to sign on with the Senator was way too obviously a sweet deal, simply from the mere prestige of working for a Senator, and thus it became the obvious choice. Were I to change the prep and adventure planning for this, I would definitely drop hints that the Senator is willing to cut under the table deals or otherwise willing to partake in shady activities – nothing overtly evil, but nothing that would be surprising to see out of a politician – just enough to give the heroes pause that maybe this guy isn’t a total embodiment of Republic ideals. At the same time, I’d probably portray one or more of the mercenaries on hand as distinctly heroic or noble, which is something you usually wouldn’t see out of mercenaries in shadowy corners of cantinas. Basically, I would cloud the choice with more shades of grey.
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