NX-275, Arkanian Offshoot, Smuggler (played by Jojo, 11yo)
Miko Eiduno, Jawa, Bounty Hunter (played by Evan, 9yo)
I bought the Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Beginner Game out of curiosity, and was at first rather disappointed by the difference in the volume of content between this and the P:BB. Furthermore, the kids were uninterested in the base characters that came with the game, and so it went into the game cupboard for a while.
Recently, the kids were asking about getting into another RPG campaign, and this game came up. I did some googling around, and found this wonderful “The Unofficial Species menagerie” PDF which showed the stats of various Star Wars races based off the EotE system. I showed this to the kids, and before I know it, they were poring through the document, commenting on which race they’d like to play.
If anything, the nice, glossy map of Mos Shuuta is a wonderful way to introduce the kids to the place I hope would host a series of adventures in this part of the Star Wars universe. As I lay out the map, I ask Evan if he’s decided what character he wants to play.
“I want to be something like an imp that travels inside a mech,” says Evan. “Something like that zombie imp in the Z-mech in ‘Plants versus Zombies 2: Garden Warfare’”
Oookaay. “So, something like a small alien that is in a droid, or maybe a power-suit?” I google up ‘Star Wars mechs’, and eventually find some references to exo-skeletons or exo-suits. “Hmmm.. how about this? Perhaps your small alien character found an exo-suit, and modified it into something he can get into and use like a mech?”
“Oh! What about a Shadowtrooper suit!? Those look pretty cool in Star Wars: Battlefront!”
Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. “Alright, now how about your alien? What kind of small alien can you be?” Of course, the choice is pretty obvious. Small alien? Tinkering with mechanical things like mechs? On Tatooine? Before Evan can answer, I grinningly suggest to him, “What about an Ewok!?”
Eventually, we draft up a Jawa for Evan. When I ask him what his name is, Evan responds, “Miko.. Umm. I don’t know.” I grab the improvisation bull by the horns, and write down ‘Miko Eidunno’. We look for portraits of a Jawa, and Evan picks this one:
I ask him for a backstory, and Evan obliges me with this: “I was with a group of other Jawas, travelling in a Sand-crawler. We came to Mos Shuuta, like this.” He trails a finger on the map in the outskirts of town, pumping out a beat-box while he travels to the Electro-enhanced main gates.
“Why is your sand-crawler rapping?” I ask. “Sounds like more of a Rap-crawler!”
The Rap-crawler drives straight into Mos Shuuta, and the Jawas disembark to pay Teemo the Hutt a visit at his palace. “But then, Teemo the Hutt tricks them, and when they leave in the Rap-crawler, it explodes, and they all got killed. I wasn’t killed because I was checking out the dewbacks at the stables when it happened.”
“Ah, I see.” I point at a nearby building. “And so you go and hide in the junkyard nearby.”
“Yeah! And I look for stuff to fix the Rap-crawler!”
“And then you find a beat-up Shadowtrooper suit instead! You then decide to fix it up so that you can get into it, and use it as a disguise in case Teemo recognises you!” Yeap, this is how we roll at our house. I note this all down, and then turn to Jojo. “How about you, Jo? What’s your story?”
Jojo has been googling around for pictures of various Star Wars aliens before she shows me this on her iPad:
“That’s very pretty, Jo! Who is she?” We find out that she’s one of the canon characters in Star Wars named Jareal. We google up Arkanian offshoots, and find out that they are a genetically-engineered species by the original Arkanians who mixed their DNA with other species to produce different sub-species of Arkanians in order to perform menial work, somewhat like slave-castes.
Anyway, Jojo decides that her character looks a lot like Jareal, and begins her story: “Arkanian offshoots are like slaves, right? So my parents were slaves, but they didn’t want me to be a slave. Unfortunately, I still ended up being sold to Teemo the Hutt.”
“I see.” I point at the Mos Shuuta slagworks. “Most slaves in Mos Shuuta work here in the slagworks, mining iron ore for Teemo. You probably grew up in the nearby shanty-town, and worked in the mines during the day.”
“Yeah! And I have organised a rebel group of four or five other slaves, and we’re planning to escape!”
Ah. Plot hook. Very nice. “Okay, that’s cool.” We fix up her character sheet, and I ask her what her character’s name is. She names her NX-275 (a slave name, she explains) but her friends call her ‘Nix’. And soon enough, we were on our way.
A bit about our Star Wars background. To date, the kids have watched all seven Episodes. However, when they were very little (about 3 and 5), I watched Episodes 4, 5 and 6 with them, and deliberately omitted mentioning anything about Episodes 1, 2 and 3. So my kids grew up knowing everything about Luke, Princess Leia and Han Solo, and next to nothing about Anakin, Qui-Gon and Count Dooku. When they were about 5 and 7, it got a little harder when they noticed scenes from the first three Episodes being advertised on TV, or in the shopping mall at electronic shops. “Who’s that kid on that speeder, dad?” They would hint that perhaps there were other Episodes of Star Wars, to which I would vehemently deny the existence of.
By the time they started school, it was nigh impossible to keep Episodes 1, 2 and 3 from being non-existent. Their friends were referring to things from it, and everyone was watching Clone Wars. In fact, it was probably the animated series like Clone Wars and Rebels that gave me an appreciation that (at very least) Episodes 1, 2 and 3 laid a lot of the ground-work for the Star Wars universe.
|See these? Watch them all!
I refer to the map of Mos Shuuta again. “Okay, just to be different, instead of the hot blazing Tatooine sun, it’s now evening time in Mos Shuuta. The slave miners have all gone back to their shanty-town, and most people are either going home, or to the Cantina. Evan, you’re still in the Junkyard. You’ve been here for three days, tinkering with the Shadowtrooper suit you found, and hiding from Teemo’s Gamorrean goons. What do you want to do?”
“Three days!? What did I eat?”
“You had some food supplies with you when your Rap-crawler was blown up. You’re now out of supplies though.”
Evan looks at the map, and points. “I’ll go to the Shanty town.”
I give him a steady look. “Alright, why are you going to the Shanty town? Is there any reason why you would go to the Shanty town, aside from the fact that Jojo’s character is there?”
Evan thinks. “Okay, fine! I go to the Santina. I can probably get more food supplies there.”
“That’s KAN-tina,” I correct him. “Okay, so you make your way there, and soon arrive at the cantina. There’s a lot of people here, probably workers who have all knocked off for the day. They are all talking, drinking, eating, gambling, or watching the Twi-lek who is dancing on the stage.”
“What’s a Twi-lek?” asks Jojo.
“It’s one of those alien ladies with the two tentacles on their heads,” replies Evan promptly.
“Right.” He can’t pronounce ‘cantina’ correctly, but he sure knows his Star Wars. Essential stuff in life. I turn to Jojo, “As for you - tonight is the night! You’ve arranged with a group of about five other slaves to escape from Mos Shuuta this very night! One of the slaves says that he knows a safe place out in the desert where you guys can hide. It’s too dangerous to travel there during the day, what with Tuskan raiders, and the deadly hot Tatooine sun frying everything. But at night, you should be able to get there as long as you don’t travel on foot. You’ll need to ride something to get there.”
Jojo says, “I know! We meet at the Dewback stables! We can get some Dewbacks, and ride out of town!”
The Dewback stables are located right next to the cantina. I sensed an opportunity to bring the two characters together. I turn to Evan, “Meanwhile, you’re in the cantina. What do you want to do?”
“Is anyone looking at me? Do they think I’m a Shadow trooper?”
The crowd in the Mos Shuuta cantina look up at the new arrival. The Shadow trooper suit would have been impressive when it was still in Imperial service. Currently though, there were dents and scratched paint all over it, and some parts of the suit were obviously borrowed from other non-standard Shadow trooper segments. “They think that you’re someone who has obviously put together a shadow trooper suit from scrap. Most of them turn back to what they were doing before.”
At this point, I realise that I don’t know much about what shadow trooper suits were capable of. I ask Evan, and he fills me in. “Shadow troopers are like storm troopers with a little bit of Jedi powers. They can also turn almost invisible - it looks all blurry and watery when they do.”
“Right,” I say. “Well, I don’t think the Jedi powers are going to be available. That comes from the person wearing the suit, not the suit itself. And the invisibility or cloaking device? There’s one in this suit, but it’s not functional. You can probably fix it given the right components, but for now, it’s off-line.”
Evan takes this surprisingly well. “Sure, dad. And because I’m too short to use the fingers on the arms, I’ve stuck my blaster into the arm-piece like this.” He demonstrates by snapping on an imaginary weapon into his forearm, and shows me how ammo is loaded in.
“Okay, so no one is really threatened by your appearance at the cantina. What do you want to do here?”
Evan thinks. “I see if anyone is looking at me.” I tell him that he spots two people at the bar counter, looking at him just over their shoulders. “What species are they?”
That’s a good question. I poll the kids for suggestions, and Jojo thinks that one of them could be a Gamorrean. “That’s pretty good. One of them is a pig-faced Gamorrean, while the other is a sly-looking human. They seem to be observing you.”
Meanwhile, the runaway slaves have arrived next to the Dewback stables. I tell Jojo, “One of them tells you all to wait here while he goes into the cantina to meet someone. He says that this person will help you guys get the dewbacks from the stables.” The slave is wearing a trenchcoat to hide his slave garments, and he goes into the cantina.
I turn to Evan. “You see a person in a trenchcoat enter the cantina and walk right past you. He heads straight to the human and the Gamorrean who were observing you earlier. He immediately starts telling them something. If you step a little closer, you can hear what they are saying.”
Evan decides to step closer, and I tell him, “You hear the trenchcoat guy telling the Gamorrean, ‘You promised that I’ll get better treatment at the slagworks if I turn in those slaves who are planning to escape! Well, they are all outside right now!’”
“Gah! I KNEW that was going to happen!” declares Jojo.
The Gamorrean grunts, and signals. Three other Gamorreans come to him, and they all start heading towards the cantina entrance, hardly paying any attention to the shadow trooper at the door. I tell Jojo, “I give you one chance to do something before these guys appear. You suddenly feel apprehensive, as if you know that something bad is going to happen.”
“How do I know that?” asks Jojo. “I didn’t hear the conversation!”
“I don’t know,” I shrug. I make an mysterious gesture. “Maybe it’s… the Foooorrrce!”
Jojo rolls her eyes, and decides to let the other slaves know what she is feeling, and that they should all jump the fence to take the dewbacks themselves.
And so we arrive at our first dice-roll. Jojo is trying to persuade these guys, so that’s likely a “Presence” check. I decide to stick in two difficulty dice, and we roll the lot. She succeeds, but there’s a couple of Threats to resolve. I explain this to Jojo and ask her what she thinks might have happened. “Um, maybe I convince one of them to come with me, but the other two go, ‘No way! He’s our friend! We trust him!’ And they go to the cantina to see if he is in trouble.”
The two slaves head towards the cantina, and find themselves face-to-face with four Gamorreans coming out! The Gamorreans grunt and immediately beat them to the ground.
I say to Evan, “So you see those Gamorreans start beating up two slaves right outside the cantina! What do you want to do?”
Evan says, “I go to the door of the cantina, and blast them!”
With Evan, I need to be doubly-sure. “Blast who? The Gamorreans, or the slaves?”
“The Gamorreans, dad!”
Ah right. Just checking. “You lift up your blaster carbine to shoot the nearest Gamorrean!” I hand Evan his dice, and he rolls. “Two successes, cancelled by two failures - that’s a miss, Evan!” Miko’s blaster carbine charges up to fire, but it just clicks! The jawa thumps the blaster a couple of times, and tries again, but it still just clicks! “I suppose that’s what you get for getting blasters from the junkyard, Ev!”
“It’s garbage!” laughs Jojo, mimicking a line from Episode 7.
The Gamorrean spots Miko trying to shoot it, and charges at the jawa. Meanwhile, Jojo’s character Nix takes out her blaster and shoots one of the Gamorreans beating up a slave. She rolls well, and the blast badly injures the squealing guard. “You also rolled an Advantage, Jo. What do you want to do with it?” Jojo thinks, and decides that the injured guard falls back against the other guard who was charging at Evan.
I like the idea, particularly since it was used to help her brother. With these two, ‘co-operation’ is a rare and precious commodity that should be encouraged. “The Gamorrean you shot stumbles back into the one charging at Miko, and stumbles his charge! Miko gets to attack him first before he does!”
Miko finally gets his blaster carbine to work, and blasts the charging Gamorrean which goes down dead. Between Miko, Nix and the slaves, they manage to bring down another two guards before the last one starts a high-pitch squealing. “One of the slaves was killed in the fight, just as you hear sounds of thumping boots coming from around the corner! About six more Gamorreans are heading towards you all!”
Nix decides to vault over the dewback stable fence, which she easily manages. She looks around, and sees a dewback with a saddle already in place. The Arkanian offshoot jumps on (Jojo rolled well on her Piloting - Planetary) and as she prepares to ride off, I inform her, “Unfortunately, the dewback stable gates are still closed! How are you going to get through them!?”
Miko, on the other hand, decides to run straight back into the cantina. “I’ll sit at one of the chairs, and pretend that I’ve always been here!” Ah yes, that’s definitely a “Cool” check. He rolls the dice, but it comes up with an awful lot of Failures and Threats.
“Just as the Gamorreans charge into the place, you see the trenchcoat slave (who is still at the bar) point at you and say, ‘There’s the one you’re after!’”
“What!? Why you-” Miko lifts his blaster carbine towards the trenchcoat slave who screams and attempts to dive over the bar counter. However, the angry jawa blasts him in the butt as he tumbles over the counter.
The rest of the Gamorreans pay no heed to the blasted slave as they surround Miko and proceed to thump his lights out. Within a round, the jawa is completely knocked out.
Out in the dewback stables, Nix prepares to charge her dewback and smash through the stable gates. She backs up a bit, and then charges. I hand Jojo her dice, and she rolls a dismal Failure. “With a ‘Hi-yah!’ you charge towards the stable gates! However, just before you reach it, a lone figure leaps up in front of your charging dewback, raises a hand and commands, ‘Stop!’ It’s a woman with very dark skin, like she has been burnt by the sun!”
“Oh, her,” intones Jojo. I knew that she had read through some of the scant profiles of Mos Shuuta’s residents from the Adventure book. “She’s in charge of the dewback stables!”
I nod. “Yup. And with her one command, the dewback skids to a halt, and you are thrown over its head! You land on your back, right in front of the very angry-looking woman!”
Nix looks up at the angry face, and grins sheepishly. “Oh, er. Hi?”
Just then, the stable gates swing open, and a group of Gamorreans charge in. The dark-skinned woman glances up at them, looks back down at Nix, and kicks her in the head.
“You both wake up in a place you’ve never seen before, but you have no doubt where you are. These are the dreaded jail cells under Teemo’s palace! Gamorrean guards wander around and laugh cruelly at all the prisoners!”
“Do we still have our stuff?” asks Evan.
“Nah, they took all those. You’re still in your shadow trooper suit though. They still haven’t figured out that you’re a jawa inside.”
Just then, a short figure enters the place, accompanied by guards. I tell the kids that this guy is Teemo the Hutt’s right-hand man, something like that Twi-lek at Jabba the Hutt’s palace. I poll them for suggestions on what species he is. “What about that monkey-faced dude who was with Lando in the Falcon?” suggests Jojo.
“That’s a Sullustan,” supplies Evan.
Jeez, even I didn’t know that one. “Yeap, okay - he’s a Sullustan with scars on his face and half an ear. He looks at you guys and says in his own language, ‘Good! You are awake! I have good news and bad news for you all!’”
“Wait, what?” says Nix. “Oh sorry, I don’t speak Stupid-monkey-face.”
The Sullustean smiles unfriendily. “The good news is, the great Teemo the Hutt is in a good mood today, and he has decided not to kill you all immediately. The bad news is, you are to be put into the gladiator pit to fight our new battle droids!”
“Don’t we get our weapons?” asks Evan as Miko, Nix and two other slaves are all marched towards an imposing gateway facing the gladiator pit.
“Unfortunately, no,” I tell him. The gateway opens, and the guards push them all into the floor of the pit. I describe the place to them - it’s not a huge gladiator pit like the one in Episode 2. It’s about the size of a tennis court with stone walls all around. The audience sits above, and are protected by a force-field over the pit. “The audience seats aren’t fully populated - there’s about maybe a couple of dozen people here making bets. There’s also a special balcony up there, and that’s where only one person can sit - Teemo the Hutt himself! The Sullustan is there right now, announcing the entrance of The Great And Mighty Teemo the Hutt!”
“More like, Teemo the Butt!” quips Evan.
Teemo the Hutt enters his private balcony seat. “You know how Jabba the Hutt is like a large slug the size of a small bus? Well, Teemo is… a little on the midget size for the Hutts. He’s about the size of two IKEA Lack tables put together.” I motion at the nearby furniture for reference.
“How cute!” says Jojo. “He’s still a butt though!”
Teemo speaks with a short-tongue as well. “Welcwome pwisoners! You are abwout to be killed for ouwr entertwainment!” He motions at another gate on the other side of the gladiator pit, which opens. “Out comes, four genuine Clone War-era Super Battle Droids!”
Evan’s mouth drops open. “What!? Are you serious!?”
I wave my hand. “Well, not strictly genuine. You can see that these guys have been patched up, and scrap has been used to replace most of their parts. You know how Super Battle Droids have those blasters in their forearms? These guys have ordinary blasters stuck on their forearms with what looks like duct-tape.”
Teemo announces, “Lwet the bwattle begin!” The battle droids immediately start charging towards the prisoners. “Just as they get about halfway, the one in the lead suddenly starts breaking down, leaving a trail of scrap and parts, before collapsing into a scrap pile! Its blaster (still attached to its arm) slides towards you guys and stops in front of Nix!”
Nix frowns at the arm. “Was that supposed to do anything?” She picks up the blaster and blasts one of the approaching droids. The other two slaves start looking around for weapons to use as clubs.
Miko charges straight at the droid which Nix shot, and tries to wrestle its blaster off its arm. “Duct-tape or not, this blaster is pretty well secured on this droid’s arm! It punches you with its other arm!”
Evan thinks a bit. “Wait! Did you say that there’s scrap here? I’ll use my Utinni ability!”
Ah, the Utinni ability. The “The Unofficial Species menagerie” PDF states that it’s some sort of ability that Jawas have that adds one boost die when they scavenge through junk. Looks like now was as good a time as any to use it. I hand the boost die along with the other dice to Evan who rolls. A Success! “You quickly rummage through the junk, and find.. a Super battle droid’s jet pack! It looks like it’s still pretty intact too! You probably can’t use it to fly out of the pit though - there’s that a force-field above you.”
“Oh yeah, Super battle droids have those,” remarks Evan thoughtfully. “I’ll point the jet pack at the droid which punched me, and blast it with the thrusters!”
I love innovation. I hand the dice to Evan who rolls them. A Success, and a Threat. “Hmm.. you blast the droid using the jet pack’s thrusters, and it completely disintegrates it! However, remember that this is a REAL jet pack, and the force of its thrusters propels you backwards in the air!” The kids laugh as they envisage the jawa spinning around backwards in the air with the flaming jet pack.
Evan says, “I try to aim myself to hit the other two droids!” I pass him the dice, and he rolls our very first Trumph! “Although you are zig-zagging crazily through the air, you manage to steer yourself to crash into the other two battle droids! The jet pack propels all of you straight into the stone wall, and there is a big explosion! Parts of the battle droids fly everywhere, and in the midst of it all, a very charred-robe jawa crawls out of the wreckage!”
“How about my shadow trooper suit?” asks Evan.
“Well, it’s pretty wrecked now, but you can probably repair it.”
“Maybe you can add parts from the Super battle droids to it,” adds Jojo.
Teemo the Hutt speaks down at them, “Well, it wooks like those so-called swuper battle dwoids that were sold to me weren’t so swuper after all! I’ll deal with whoever who sold them to me later! As for you, I’m vewy impwessed by all your skills! I have a specwial job in mind for you!”
“What?” Jojo protests. “He’s just going to get us to do something awful, like clean the palace!”
“Or I cwould thwow you all into the Slagworks Melting Pot!”
“Cleaning is good!”
And with that, our first session comes to a close. I trumpet out the closing score for Star Wars, and drift the rulebook away from them.
It feels pretty good to be playing an RPG with the kids again. This whole session started with me thinking, “Get them to meet. Work for Teemo.” It was a pretty wild ride to get there, but I’m glad we did!
For the curious, I felt that the Adventure provided in the box was pretty abrupt. It ends with the players getting their own starship, and I felt that the whole Mos Shuuta material was pretty much wasted once the players likely decide to jet their way out to other worlds. So I plan to let them hang around in Mos Shuuta for a while before I let the kids get their very own starship.
Plot Hooks: Teemo's job.