STAR WARS: RETROSPECTION- Post-Scripts!
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Inspired by Ush's tradition of giving us a look back at the episodes we have played through- from the first confrontations on Jaglon Beta to the Desert of Stones and the Basilica of Mandragos and the battlefields of Alura- I have decided to write post-scripts in order to have some retrospect on Retrospection!
These mini-episodes, though not all are 'mini,' mark the first successes I have had with running roleplaying games. It DOES help, I think, that it is fairly simple to write a plotline based upon either a character's background or something relating to their character, and they've covered a lot of ground in that respect.
However, as it is true with Galder's plans, nothing ever goes according to plan! You will be able to see that in these postscripts; I had a direction in mind and sometimes you, as players, said 'Forget that!' and took a new course.
So here we go! Starting in order of who finished first...
Xavier Kolarn started off his adventures with the Dark Side group in Episode III of the Second Campaign. As with most new characters, all we really had from him was the rough outline of a character- he was muscular, he was bald, he was quiet, he was violent, he was portrayed by Vin Diesel. His background told of a Jedi Knight who fell when his Master told him he could not be a Jedi due to his inability to act like a Jedi.
It was here in 'Trials' that Jamie really got a feel for Xavier Kolarn, as it is where his schizophrenia first surfaced, later in the game.
The plot for 'Trials' was tailored toward the fact that Xavier ultimately chooses the Dark Side despite his Jedi upbringing, and the fact that the Jedi acknowledged his inability to truly be humble. To make this impactful, we first meet Ko Cabas- the stern and pragmatic Master that molded Xavier into the weapon that he is. I borrowed much of his character from Oliver Reed's portrayal of Proximo in 'Gladiator,' and of course Oliver Reed portrays Ko. He's old and gruff and still quite lethal for his age, but also intelligent and wise. He's perpetually grumpy about not being able to impress this wisdom upon Xavier.
Second, then, is Xavier's assignment- rescue Senator Wojaine of Almania's daughter and other slaves from the Sklaborean pirates, thus named for the Russian word for slavery. But the plan is for the pirates to capture him as a slave so that he can do it from the inside. The idea here is that Xavier, being a Swordsman-type at this point in his life, must give up his lightsaber and rely on his Jedi instincts and skills to do this, not violence. The mission also touches on the problems of outlying sectors- Wuja Wojaine of Almania is a corrupt politician by nature (and, in EU, remains so even after Xavier's help) but Almania doesn't have the forces to fight off Svidrigailov (who borrows his name from a contemptible character from 'Crime & Punishment'). Master Cabas sees this as a chance to hit two birds with one stone- the Almanians need help, and Xavier needs a test in humility.
However, it is flawed from the start, as we find out when the Council reveals that they sent Friste Tem to deal with the Sklaboreans the first time, an old childhood rival of Xavier's. Friste is Xavier's temptation- as intended, Xavier viewed Friste's failure to take out the pirates as a challenge!
Xavier's flight to Almania allows him to catch up on the depth of Wojaine's corruption- the security officer gives information on Wojaine's past dealings and problems with it, the Senator's advisors refuse to really help, and the ship itself is a thing of absurd wealth. It is also Xavier's first encounter with the pirates, as Wojaine takes matters into his own hands- a mistake, of course, he thinks the pirates are still going to work with him. It pits Xavier against the pirates to test him out against them, and also shows what Cabas is capable of. Xavier ends the conflict by attacking Yorrik- Svid's lieutenant- out of anger. They capture the pirate ship but decide to stick to the plan- Xavier's test is of more importance than the mission itself, to Master Cabas.
Xavier arrives on Pydyr, one of Almania's moons, where the pirates are to perform a raid, and again he fails part of his test by fighting the pirates that come for him. Instead of passively letting himself be captured, he takes out some of his opponents before Frost- secretly Friste Tem, violent braggart- takes Xavier on himself. Frost openly uses the Dark Side to defeat Xavier, a part of his test that he passed- not using the Force and therefore not getting the win.
Aboard The Trade, things are set in motion. Xavier makes a friend in Trax, a slave whom will help him overthrow the pirates. Svidrigailov the Pirate Lord- peg-leg and cutlass and all- makes it known to Xavier that he won't cause trouble. This entire sequence is meant to test Xavier's fortitude- pirates kick and taunt him, and Svid brings out Loola- the Senator's daughter- with implications of abuse in store for the girl. Xavier allows himself to be beaten senseless after making a distraction to save the girl from harm... bringing him into the clutches of Frost privately, Frost who has been sending him telepathic messages to provoke him to violence. Frost reveals his identity to Xavier and rants about destiny- another temptation to Xavier, more blunt this time. Join or die! But Xavier instead plans, and Friste lets him; unknown to Xavier, Friste wants Svid dead so that he can take over. At this time, I hadn't intended for the game to carry on past this episode, so Friste's aims were left vague.
Against the will of Master Cabas, who has been creeping about the ship, Xavier then plots a slave riot to fight back against the pirates, in one final climactic battle! It is here that I saw the most variance from my plot... as Xavier was meant to defeat Friste and Svidrigailov in combat! Instead, Xavier was wounded fighting Svid and the pirates without finishing them off, and then Friste defeated both Cabas and Xavier! With that taken into account, I decided at that point to make a sequel to 'Trials.' It allowed for Xavier to display a great deal of pent up anger and negativity that Cabas had feared as there, and for Friste to escape to carry out the rest of his vague plan.
Overall, mainly a fun action piece with some intelligent plotting by Xavier to get his slave revolt underway. It ended in a way unexpected, but honestly, I'm glad it did.
- I kept typoing Almania for a good chunk of the episode. I wrote Alemania, which is the Spanish word for Germany.
- I picked Senator Wojaine and Almania due to the fact that it will later have problems with slavery again, just before the Clone Wars. In fact, Wojaine eventually goes Separatist because he loses his Senatorial position for a slavery scandal. I went ahead and elaborated that the reason he was doing this slave work was because of his greed... something that Dooku can certainly sate.
- Xavier's schizophrenia was ENTIRELY Jamie's idea! I just ran with it, and it is strange to think that there was a time when Xavier wasn't flat-out crazy.
- Trax had very little backstory before this. He's overall neutral, but having his family murdered by slavers certainly makes for a Dark Side ally back story. I also chose not to identify a species for Trax.
- Trax was also the first time I started needling Ush about how to develop the Allies as characters. Trax is primarily a pilot with some technical know-how, so really all he knows how to do well is Pilot and Fix-It, with some very mild Guns skill.
So. It's been a year and a half. Gonna do anymore of these?
I'll continue with Part II of Xavier's fall.
The follow-up to Xavier's game was one that I had not planned on running. In fact, up until this point, the Retrospection games were meant to be unconnected one-shot episodes for the players' enjoyment, to take up time while waiting for Episode IV of Campaign II and to sprinkle some xp here and there for participants. But then Xavier had to go and spoil it by having Friste cut open the fronts of his legs...
In 'Trials,' the Council had asked Cabas to test his Padawan, to see if Xavier possessed enough humility. Since Xavier did not really meet this expectation while apprehending Svidrigailov, the Council decides that Xavier needs to stay in the Temple for some time, to meditate on his existence and try to mend the errors in his personality. He tells nobody about the voice in his head, though he wonders where it came from. The Council assigns the Knight Stathos (who could only ever be played by Jason Statham after I named him that...) to watch him and make sure he goes nowhere. Stathos is more or less Xavier if Xavier was purely a good guy- efficient and deadly, but morally bound to his duty. And also played by an action movie hero.
To further impress upon him the gravity of what is going on, Cabas also shows Xavier down in the Jedi Temple Detention Level, a well-kept secret. I gave some background to Cabas as having been one of the guardians of this place, and showed Xavier two prisoners- Alik Saar, to tie things in with the main campaign, and Ambaln, a corrupted Jedi character from the official Star Wars RPG. Cabas tells Xavier that that will be his fate, if Xavier chooses the Dark Side and doesn't come back from using passion for power. It may be something that is explored again if I write another Xavier episode.
In any case, the Council is compelled NOT to chase Friste Tem. Thanks to the events of Episode III of Campaign I, Ush established that the Jedi Council doesn't want their Knights chasing Dark Siders all around the Galaxy, since it just creates total chaos. This carries over well for the revelation that Friste Tem is a Dark Jedi now. They won't let anyone after him, let alone Xavier.
And so Xavier breaks out! After a brief fist-fight with Stathos, Trax bails him out of the Temple and thus begins a series of planet-hopping adventures.
Raxus Prime- a world of trash that has featured in numerous Star Wars video games- is where I decided to send Xavier in his pursuit of Friste. Like how people used to visit the junkyard when they were searching for spare parts, Friste has done just that to repair The Ravaging Claw after the damage done to it in the last game. Of course, Xavier finds out from the men working the station where Friste got the repairs that he is a day too late- Friste has already left. Still, Friste expected Xavier to chase him, and Xavier is confronted by a horde of snipers trying to pick him off from a pair of trash piles. Xavier manages to defeat the snipers, though he's fairly wounded, when Xorn Elias reveals himself and engages Xavier in a duel.
Xorn's inclusion was based off of the idea that Xavier and Xorn joined Campaign II at the same time- I lumped them together as having escaped the Osokans and the Bureau at Felucia for the purpose of backstory. And indeed, that is also a potential plotline for Xavier as he works with Xorn.
Xorn is an arrogant bastard, as indeed his player made him out to be. Impulsive and horribly reckless, a former Jedi that now operates as a mercenary for Friste. Xorn's background stated that he had stolen some ancient Sith texts and an artifact from an archaeological find and the Jedi Archives. Perfectly fitting for Friste's plot...
Of course, the duel is inconclusive because the Jedi show up to take Xavier back to the Temple. Everyone escapes in their respective ships since Xorn ruins their apprehension with his hatred of Jedi, and Xavier gets a chance to rest at as-of-yet unnamed smuggler haven and recap on what he's learned with Xorn's involvement. A good Jedi Lore roll got him knowledge of the Key of Mortez, the artifact that Xorn seized.
Mortez the Fearsome was a warlord that worked for the Sith during their last tremendous war to take over the Republic, two thousand years before the films. His army of mercenaries, which he assembled into a lethal fighting force, was undefeated, but curiously vanished during the last years of the New Sith Wars. Xorn found and stole the Key of Mortez, and Xavier is fairly certain that whatever it is does is what Friste wants.
Trax takes Xavier to Alouloth (rehashing it from its use as a creepy uninhabited water world with muddy islands where Edana hid for a time), as it is where good ol' Sviddy hid his treasures and maintained his pirate forces with a mass communicator. It is a typical dungeon adventure, complete with flamethrowers and laser traps and ray-shielded boxing robots wearing the skin of people they've killed trying to break in. Xavier finds a great deal of weaponry and treasures at Alouloth, but more importantly he finds out where the Ravaging Claw is. It is beginning an assault on Ord Janon. Xavier uses the communicator to warn the base at Ord Janon and also inform the Jedi Council where Friste's base of operations is located, thus preventing any further use of the treasure and armory by any Dark Jedi Xavier might become friends with one day.
Trax susses that there is a homing beacon on board, but Xavier unexpectedly decided that it wasn't worth removing!
Xavier arrives on Ord Janon just ahead of the pirate landing, joining forces with Captain Somos. The base was inspired somewhat by U.S. military bases out in the middle of the Mojave, with nothing around them but desert, as indeed much of Ord Janon is. That battle goes poorly for both sides- the Republic soldiers are totally wiped out while the pirates are more or less butchered by Xavier. But Xorn shoots him down and he is taken captive. Trax manages to escape, but Xavier is taken aboard the Ravaging Claw and dropped in bacta... where is altar ego shows itself and taunts him. It was the first time I decided to take control of the voice in Xavier's head for plot purposes.
Aboard the ship, Xavier is shown the Key of Mortez and Friste extends his offer one more time... to join him or die. Jamie surprised me (and Friste) again by deciding that yes, he WOULD join Friste and become his partner in crime. Friste explains that the Key is the key to reviving the Army of Mortez, which the Sith placed in statis. It steals souls, for the purpose of giving renewed life to the long decayed army. They only raided Ord Janon for weapons for the new army, and for sacrificial prisoners. He tells Xavier that he will have to handle whatever Trax brings after them, and that if he betrays Friste that the Key will be used on him. Friste departs and Xorn comes in to investigate what is going on between the two of them. Xavier finds out that Xorn is only working for Friste because he wants the Key of Mortez back.
The Ravaging Claw lands on Zrik, a once beautiful paradise of a world that has been reduced to rock and ash by constant, deadly lightning storms. The Sith scorched the world with an experimental weapon before putting Mortez and his forces into statis. Friste uses the Key to bring everyone down into the chamber where the army lays... but first, Xavier must pass through a hemisphere that tests his power in the Dark Side.
The hemispheres were first used in Episode I of Campaign I, where the Dark Jedi and Jedi were tested by the hemispheres in the Monastery of Avalar. The Sith used them to prevent the Jedi or unprepared students from enter the inner sanctum of the Monastery... and the Sith used it here to prevent the Jedi from reaching the army. Xavier passes and starts using the Dark Side.
In the Tomb of Mortez, Friste reveals his full plan- to revive the Army and then use it to conquer the Republic, adding to his army by using the key to revive the dead. Friste ultimately uses the Key to drain the life from not only his prisoners but his associates- all of the pirates are sucked empty of life and reduced to dust.
The scene was all a tremendous mish-mash of Indiana Jones and mad scientist scenes, complete with a Rocky Horror quote and people rapidly aging into dust. Friste gets the machine on by plugging in the Key and transferring life into the Army when the Jedi arrive. Xavier attempts to betray him and destroy the machine, but Friste exhibits powers well beyond his own and uses Sith lightning to shock and torture him. Friste reveals that he is responsible for the voice in Xavier's head, and then the final battle begins as the Jedi turn up, having followed the tracking beacon.
Xavier duels Friste across the top of the great machine and defeats him, then defeats Cabas in a duel across the main grounds of the cavern. Xorn defeats Stathos, and the two decide to stick together for their own survival. Xavier keeps Friste's and Cabas' lightsabers... and is fully a Dark Jedi.
The conclusion was a simple piece using the new system! Xavier fist-fights an assassin droid and beats it to death while working as a bodyguard for Cralt, a crimelord on Tranuus. The Dark Jedi of Epireus show up to recruit Xavier and take out Cralt, who has apparently refused to pay them.
Galder subdues Xavier in a fist fight to keep him out of the carnage... and so ends the episode!
Xavier has participated in two Psycho games, but there is certainly more that could be done for Mr. Kolarn.
- Friste took Svidrigailov's pistol. It is a custom gun that does 5* damage and has to be reloaded.
- The Jedi Council secured both Alouloth and Zrik after Xavier reported them. He could have chosen not to...
I loved thos stories Rex
I want to see just how many wrenches I've managed to throw in your plans
As an addition to the Xavier post-scripts, for those that were curious:
Friste Tem was an Enforcer, once known as the Blackguard. His Lightsaber score was raised to 9, and he had poured a great deal of xp into Dark Side powers and their pre-requisites. His Dark Emotion was Hatred, and he was depicted by ... that one fellow. I can't quite remember who I "casted."
Ko Cabas was my idea of what the Retired Champion template would be, a Master template from long ago that focused on combat. I modeled it off of the Solitaire, with slightly raised stats and lowered skills. Cabas' choice to remain one-handed after losing his arm to Friste was a decision based on the fact that he probably would have been Xavier in a duel otherwise, and in character he felt he would simply just have to re-learn.
Svidrigailov was a Pirate with a raised Combat score, fighting with his energized cutlass with what is now known as "Lightsaber-safe" in the newer rules. He was highly stereotypical, almost Barbossa-esque.
Trax really had no real template to speak of. I gave him talents in Pilot and Fix-It, but not a whole lot else.
Xorn Elias was obviously a Fallen. Having been a PC, I just went with what had been made for Xorn previously.
Sadly, as I mentioned to Rex at the time, a small part of Xavier's game is going to have to be ruled out of continuity; we'll soon see why.
That's kind of hilarious.
That makes Xavier sad
I've known this for some time, I'm intrigued about how that scene will go.
Curious as to what part...
...now I'm just hoping that that never happens to anything in mine.
Oh it will....
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