Last of the Jedi

What with the popularity of The Force Awakens, other than with a small demographic of people who are adamantly refusing to understand what happened to their power fantasy from the 70s, I’ve been thinking about tabletop Star Wars and the events as laid out by the movies so far – and in so doing, I hit on an idea for a campaign that I would dearly love to play in, even though the odds of that are fairly slim indeed.

At the end of the prequels, we have the Jedi Temple on Coruscant broadcasting a message telling any surviving Jedi to stay away and go into hiding. Obi-wan and Yoda both go into self-imposed exile, although Obi-wan kind of was a dick and left Anakin to burn to death at the edge of the lava rather than killing him quickly and mercifully, a mistake that came back to bite him decades later as Darth Vader. As far as the galaxy knows, the Jedi are extinct and the newly-minted Emperor has an enforcer with a lightsaber of a color not associated with the Jedi.

Still – the Jedi Temple is warning any survivors of the purge away from Coruscant – telling them to go into hiding. While some Jedi have faced this before in the last few thousand years, it has never been anything of this scale. The survivors either are getting this message along with filtered rumors that the clonetroopers have turned on others, or they just survived the clonetroopers betraying them. Either way, these survivors are going to be confused and frightened. A lot of them likely go to Coruscant anyway, hoping to have it be some terrible mistake, only to be cut down when they arrive.

A few may trust the message, or be terrified by their own direct experiences, or show up just behind another survivor only to see them get torn apart by Republic forces. These few go into hiding; they’re the PCs of this campaign. Even in as large a space as the Galactic Republic covers there can’t be many of them. Some probably get killed before long – they make mistakes, accidentally revealing themselves and getting hunted down.

The rest learn to masquerade as something else – bounty hunters, with a penchant for obscuring their identity behind the armor; smugglers, brazenly hiding in plain sight as the most ubiquitous and unremarkable of scum; some join criminal organizations, hiding their nature behind a thuggish attitude and rough behavior.

And so a few survive the purge and live into the long night of the Galactic Empire. They avoid rumors of the Rebellion, scoff when there’s word of some Jedi hermit here or there. They know no one else is likely to have survived. Lightsabers are a last resort, the Force gets used only in private or when absolutely necessary to remain unimportant and anonymous. A whole new era of Jedi shadows arises – hidden even from one another.

And that’s where we’d begin the campaign – no more than one to three players and a GM, in the time period between the prequels and the original trilogy. The PCs are all Jedi in hiding, who draw a lightsaber as an absolute last resort because every single witness has to be silenced – because there’s a bounty on stray Jedi and any stories that slip loose might draw Imperial attention that they don’t want.

They’re hiding in plain sight – smugglers, which gives them an excuse to wear clothing that obscures their faces and under which their lightsabers can be concealed, or bounty hunters, never taking their helmets off outside their ship, the lightsabers hidden in clever hidden compartments on their armor.

The plot, initially, revolves around their latest near miss – an Imperial dreadnought has just arrived in the backwater system they’re in just as they’re preparing to leave, and traffic is interdicted as stormtroopers march through the spaceport, inspecting spacecraft and interrogating people who look like they might be subversives.

The long plot would revolve around a theme –  the question of choice. Will the Jedi, when they learn that there’s a resistance movement – a Rebellion – choose to stay in hiding while people who aren’t Force sensitive – or worse, who might be but who lack any training in using it, relying on instinct – fight the Sith whose machinations destroyed the Jedi Order? Or will they join the fight? If they join the fight, will they do so openly, knowing that it paints a bullseye on them, or will they strike from the shadows, aiding the rebels without revealing who they are?

And what of it, should they discover other Jedi in hiding – ones who haven’t even dared to keep their lightsabers, who have come to the attention of the Sith? Or when they discover that both of the Sith in power over the galaxy have apprentices in secret? Or when they find a fallen Jedi, wrapped in the Dark Side, who still refuses the ways of the Sith?

Everything about this campaign can be wrapped in questions of choice, forcing the PCs to choose between courses that at least seem to be equally dangerous. Ultimately, the campaign could revolve around the question of whether the Jedi will live up to what they were supposed to be, or if they’ll shrug off the ideals of the Order in the name of personal survival.

Is a Jedi still a Jedi if they refuse to defend the weak and uphold the light?

“What is a Jedi, even? A lightsaber and a few Force tricks? Or is a Jedi something more than that, more than a single person standing alone?”

I’d really like to find out. Hopefully you do, too, now!

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Last of the Jedi

Gatecrasher’s Almanac #4

Name: Grey (Feld’s Apocalypse)

Location: Orbiting a red dwarf somewhere in the Sagittarius Arm

Atmosphere: None on the moon where the gate is; nitrogen/carbon dioxide mix on the planet it orbits, saturated with nanotechnology

Gravity: 0.09G (moon) | 0.87G (planet)

Body Type: Barren moon | Nanotech Apocalypse

Continue reading “Gatecrasher’s Almanac #4”

Gatecrasher’s Almanac #4

The Spectrum Strain

The exsurgent virus, a rather nasty plague that wreaked havoc on the human race during the Fall in Eclipse Phase, is something made all the nastier by the speed at which it mutates, shifts infection vectors, and spawns new strains to cause trouble. One such strain seems benign for a time, with many of the infected not realizing anything has changed until they’ve been an infection vector for months.

This strain comes in only in a nanoplague vector, lacking the casual mutation that some other strains exhibit. It can still infect both synths and biomorphs with equal ease, however; only infomorphs are safe from direct infection.

First two months of infection – Every week during this period, the victim needs to roll against their current DUR x 2; success nets them a point of stress as they have a lingering feeling that something is off about the world without being able to put their finger on it. Failure causes 1d10/2 Stress as they experience brief spates of extremely uncomfortable sensations – flashes of searingly bright light, their sense of touch ramping up briefly to where even the softest clothing feels like abrasive sandpaper, and so on. Aggressive treatment with guardians and nanophages during this time can treat the infection, if the physician succeeds at an appropriate check with a MoS of 20 or better.

Three to six months – At this point, the victim is thoroughly infected and beyond recovery. They roll against their current DUR x2 every other week; success causes 1d10/5 Stress as they continue to experience brief bursts of sensory overload, while failure gives them a single enhanced sense and a case of synaesthesia between that sense and another at random.

Six months to a year – The victim no longer needs to make checks; the infections proceeds on its own, having hijacked their body. Every month that passes adds a new sense to the list of those enhanced by the virus, along with an additional synaesthesia; this continues until the victim’s sensorium is an overlapping mixture of heightened sensory experience in all available senses. At the same time, every two months the victim becomes increasingly programmed toward exhibitionist behavior, feeling an increasing desire to share the XP feed with anyone interested; unless high on some drugs or able to mute the intensity of the sensory information, anyone who taps the XP needs to make a Will x 2 check to avoid taking 1d10 Stress from the sheer ‘noise’ of it. They are also actively contagious, trailing a nanoviral cloud wherever they go.

One year and beyond – The victim is a mobile and contagious Overload grenade, in essence; anyone within fifty meters will finds their mesh inserts being attacked by brute force as the exsurgent tries to force their screaming sensory feeds onto others to immobilize and infect them. Other exsurgents are largely ignored by the Spectrum variety, and some cunning sleepers cultivate the Spectrum strain for use when they strike.

The slow development of the virus often allows it to coast under the radar of groups watching for TITAN-related activity, as victims often write off the early signs of infection as flaws in their morphs until it’s too late. Prior to the six month mark, victims can be saved via backup, as the psychosurgical modifications don’t begin until then.

Most groups aware of this strain are also aware that a Spectrum exsurgent – or multiples of them – suddenly showing up in public without earlier warning signs is a sign that some other threat is moving under the cover of the chaos they cause.

Firewall ranks the Spectrum strain as a moderate threat due to the six-month grace period for rescuing those infected.

The Spectrum Strain

Gatecrasher’s Almanac #1

One of the things in the Eclipse Phase setting is the presence of wormhole gates – structures left behind by either the TITANs or something older and more frightening that connect to other gates across the galaxy. While the sourcebook on the subject has a phenomenal amount of information, you can never have enough strange exoplanets and weirder locations to draw from, and the wormhole gates aren’t entirely reliable, so I’ll be occasionally adding world to the list. Some may have adventure hooks; others may just be odd places to be visited.

So with that in mind, let’s look at the first entry in the Renegade Octopus Gatecrasher’s Almanac, shall we?

Name: Rime

Location: Theorized to be somewhere in the Centaurus Arm, based on pulsar data

Atmosphere: None

Gravity: 0.78G

Planetary Type: Barren/Icy

Continue reading “Gatecrasher’s Almanac #1”

Gatecrasher’s Almanac #1