USH'S STAR WARS GAME- C II VII (DARK SIDE)- The Master of the White Fortress

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Ushgarak
... which raises the question of, with the Jedi extinguished, what forces did Emperor Palpatine consider may have been able to destroy him?

In many ways, this question is a merely esoteric detail. The Emperor was eventually destroyed by forces he didn't consider a threat at all- the yearning for freedom of the people he thought under his control, and the return of the Jedi- even if just in the form of Luke Skywalker, whose compassion for his father turned out to be more powerful than anything the Emperor could conceive.

Yet examining this question from Palpatine's point of view can be quite illuminating, and indeed it raises questions about possible dangers that could still present themselves to this day. Palpatine was destroyed by the forces of the Light who, consciously or unconsciously, fought to restore the balance that the Sith had eroded. Yet Palpatine's focus was not on balance being restored, for he believed he had that under control thanks to his machinations with the Clone Wars, the Inquisition and Darth Vader. Instead, Palpatine's fears appeared to be more focussed on the possibility of the imbalance continuing- but to the benefit of someone other than himself. Palpatine's genius had been to destroy the balance of the Force from within. Giant Sith invasions of the past had shattered the Republic and killed billions but ultimately had unified the Republic against the Dark Side and, in time, democracy came out triumphant. Palpatine never invaded the Republic; he had been its glorious leader in defence against the invasion by the Confederacy and slowly turned the Repiublic itself into the Empire he wanted. He turned the system against itself, shrouding this plan from the Jedi until it was too late. By using the Republic to destroy itself, he had managed what no Sith had ever managed before- a true triumph over the Jedi- but he had never established the enormous power outside of the Republic that had been the hallmark of previous Sith threats.

The galaxy is, after all, a large and mysterious place, and the Dark Side manifests in many forms. The Sith who had skulked in the outskirts- from Ragnos to Vitiate to Malphas- had become masters of the outer darkness, often turning the evils of the galaxy to their advantage. Palpatine was not a dweller of the outer darkness but a man who spent his life at the shining centre of the galaxy. From Palpatine's view, it was these mysterious and unknown dark side forces that he thought would be his true rivals.

Take, for example, some of Palpatine's great military targets in the years cementing his power base whilst construction on the Death Star continued. First, his attention turned to Lanzar, home of the vicious Osokan race who had been so useful to Palpatine in helping him hunt down the scattered bands of Dark Siders who dwelt at the fringes of civilization- the control system he built for the Osokans later becoming his Inquisition. Once the Inquisition was established, Palpatine destroyed the unpredictable Osokans before he could himself become a target for their deadly ways.

Then consider the planet Thalos, a powerful and technologically advanced planet dominated by a Force-using matriarchy. Thalos' view of the cosmos was semantically different from the Jedi's, dwelling on concepts of Harmony and Disharmony, but the fundamentals were the same. A harmonious Thalos would keep to itself, but recent disharmonious movements on Thalos had been pondering spreading their ways out into the rest of the galaxy, and it was this that Palpatine feared. They also became a target for his Star Destroyers. Interestingly, despite their questionable ethical stances, both Lanzar and Thalos became early areas where the fledgling Rebel Alliance attempted to frustrate the Empire's plans, though those are stories too intricate to cover here.

But Thalos is more interesting to this topic not as a civilization but for one thing it produced, for Thalos was the birth world of the Lady Adelmo, a prodigy of their kind who came to embody the brutal ways of the disharmonious- and who had long been exiled from her home. This merely moved her disharmony from Thalos itself to the galaxy at large (incidentally, bringing Thalos to Palpatine's attention and therefore guaranteeing its peril). Adelmo was searching for an ancient Sith concept known as the Syphar n Kalar, something so powerful that it could conquer planets but so vague that no-one knew what it was and precious few believed it even existed. Yet Adelmo thought it did, and real it turned out to be. Palpatine certainly feared it, yet Adelmo's search came in the days before the Clone Wars started, and Palpatine was not in a position to move overtly against her, though he tried his best to influence the Jedi mission investigating her to come to a destructive conclusion.

Adelmo's propensity for causing enormous chaos in her search for the Syphar n Kalar is w ell known matter of record, but less well known is her surprising talent for searching out allies- in particular, those Dark Side fringers who Palpatine's Osokans had not yet exterminated. Indeed, had Adelmo herself been a less aggravating being in person, she may have formed a great and deadly coalition of her own, but instead she depended on manipulation and sheer power to force others into submission, a tactic which ultimately failed her. Some of these Dark Siders, however, are not trivial details but considerable topics when considering what Palpatine thought was a threat.

For example, in part due to Adelmo's efforts, many of these Dark Siders fled to the planet Manu where they formed a great and deadly army with a great hatred for those that had been hunting them. Their intention was to destroy this mechanism and those in charge of it, and they consisted a very real threat to Palpatine. Yet ultimately, they were no threat to him at all. How did the Sith Lord manage such a complete neutralization of such a threat?

We may never have known the full story were it not for some of the recorded exploits of another group of Dark Siders who had banded together for protection, famed for their skill and daring, if not for their foresight. They are notable for being part of the legacy of the fallen Jedi Larios Kuylen, whose exploits were no small threat to the Republic in of themselves. These Dark Siders- some of whom had known Kuylen and some of whom had become attached to the group in later years- existed mostly for their own survival but, as the Force often wills such things, found themselves constantly involved with the fallout of Kuylen's work. They engaged with many of the factors already discussed in this piece- they knew of the Osokans, of Thalos, of Adelmo- in fact, it is said they may even have known of Palpatine, though being no friends to the Republic they did not share the information.

Most certainly, they knew of- and desired- the Syphar n Kalar, and if this story has any relevance today, it is in this part. For it is said that the Syphar in Kalar was found by these Dark Siders, and maybe even used; some feel it is the Syphar n Kalar that has caused the decades of pain and suffering the galaxy continues to suffer from since this time. But it is also said that some of this band of Dark Siders survived the great cataclysmic moments that were the unveiling of the Syphar N Kalar- and they may have taken some fragment of that power with them, enough to protect themselves from Palpatine in his full Imperial power. That they fled beyond fringes of the galaxy- and the Republic may yet have to confront their legacy.

But to return to this particular example of this threat to Palpatine- the army on Manu. The group of Dark Siders had identified Manu as the origin of a plot to have them all killed; not an unusual prospect for these Dark Siders, but normally they knew who it was that wanted them dead. They had expended much effort in tracking down Manu as the source of their threat, and an encounter with the Jedi in their efforts to expose their attackers had left them in a perilous state and low on resources. They travelled to Manu in an old, beaten down freighter, blissfully unaware of the army awaiting them there (it is often noted that these Dark Siders were more in tune with the instinctive part of the Force as opposed to Palpatine's grand, planned gestures- certainly they expressed an astonishing talent of survival when running headlong into great danger).

Manu- a world only inhabitable for a short time each decade due to stellar radiation- was home to 'The White Fortress', a mis-mash of a thousand generations of pirates, aliens and wanderers who had tried to establish a permanent base on Manu during its habitable periods. Each eventually failed, and each new base was built on the ruins of the one before, creating a vast and random fortress of ruins that gleamed whitely in the piercing sun. It was at this fortress that the Dark Siders landed, and then immediately encountered representatives of the Dark Side army there, an army allied to their great general Larios Kuylen, the revealed source of the plot to destroy the Dark Siders, though they were unclear as to quite why. The Dark Siders were unprepared for such a powerful presence on the planet- and still less prepared for the fact that, simultaneous to their arrival, the Jedi were infiltrating the Fortress as well, searching for the Lady Adelmo (who was also a part of this chaotic situation). These Jedi had been a part of the Dark Siders' pasts and would be a part of their future as well, both on Manu and with the Syphar n Kalar. Yet before they met, there were more immediate problems. The Dark Siders faced a hostile arrival on landing. Normally, they settled their issues via violence, but for once this was not the optimal solution for, skilled as they were, they could not take on the entire army. They were called upon to make great use of Dark Side weapons they were not as famous for- of cunning and deception...

Ushgarak
"That is our destiny now."

The great hologram of Larios Kuylen, projected large enough to be seen for miles, flickers off.

So- a stand off. Before you stands a group of about a dozen men and women with their sabres ignited. Some of you are in disadvantageous positions; Galder has tried to bring a sharp blade to a sabre fight, Con and Relle are now experiencing what other people must feel when pointing guns at people protected by sabres; Gallador and Xavier are just shot of being outflanked by the force in front of you and Azarl is in a force-rock-push standoff.

Worn-face and cloak-dude continue to be the main features of your opposition; worn face guy is speaking.

"What kind of security did you think we would have here, anyway? What made ou think you could just walk in here like you own the place?"

-


And so we begin!

Don't make my written-decades-later history above there a giant paradox by getting yourselves killed here trying to take on the whole Fortress at once. You have a series of challenges ahead of you to make your way to the command spire of the Fortress and find the master you seek- this test is your first. Choose your words carefully.

[Note- more details on game start-up in the discussion thread)

Lord Melkor
.

Newjak
I'm liking the second option. Tell them we heard about this place and that we wanted to investigate it. Hopefully they won't want to torture to gain information about how we heard about this place smile

Or perhaps we could see if the Seer would be willing to help us out with this one. She is after all affiliated with the LAdy

REXXXX
Go for it, Gallador. If anyone can talk us out of this, it's you.

Lord Melkor
"Well, calm down people, no need to kill each other, while we have so many true enemies - Jedi and Osokans!"- Gallador raises his voice, which has quite enchanting effect due to his Force mastery and charisma.

"Well, we certainly did not want to appear like we own this place, didn`t we act humbly? Nor did we know about the security here and what really takes place in the White Fortess".... he glanced around with a grin.

"We heard vague rumors about Kuylen being here from our contacts, but certainly did not expect to find so many force users here...this is trully amazing! We were also hunted, forced to hide, by the Bureau and those abominable pigs. The Force has guided us here, maybe this is a chance for us to join with you and bring doom to our many enemies, as Kuylen said!"

Ushgarak
Well for one of you, at least, that's not a choice.

"Hey!" says one of the unnamed ones. "Isn't that Galder Starkiller?" Galder's reputation merit kicks in- and in this situation, it's a massive boon.

Worn-guy rolls his eyes.

"I can see why you guys are famous for killing and not for planning. You could have started a damn war here!" He sheaths his sabre, and the others do the same, one at a time.

"I can see you're the brains of the operation," he says to Gallador, which I am afraid mandates a response from Rand ASAP...

Newjak
Xavier lets a small snicker escape his lips when Galaldor is called the brains of the operation. "Now that remark might start a war," Xavier says to no one in particular.

Also Xavier's plan from the other thread of shouting here is Galder doesn't seem so bad anymore.

Lord Melkor
"Actually Master Rand here is the Senior among us, I am his advisor." - Responds Gallador, pointing at Rand with respectful nod, not wanting to make them look like fools with bickering.

Ushgarak
An action you can actually take as you don't (yet) have megalomania...

REXXXX
Galder smirks and shifts from an aggressive, stabby stance to a friendly, playboy shrug. But he waits for Rand to talk, not wanting to stir the pot at this exact moment.

General Zink
Rand, for once, is grateful to have Galder along in a social situation.

"Indeed," Rand says firmly. "I lead this group, and I see our reputation precedes us. Not just young Starkiller here.

Assuming his role as Master, Rand gestures for everyone to put away their weapons. He had not reacted so brashly as his colleagues, and kept his lightsaber tucked into his robes. He then folds his arms in front of him and assesses the group of presumably Dark Jedi before him with his oily black eyes.

"As my student states, we did not suspect the full extent of this operation. I'm quite impressed."

Newjak
Xavier feels uneasy about letting Rand get away with calling himself the leader of the group. As he puts away his lightsabers.

That squid is trying to be something he is not. We should end him now for this

Xavier keeps control of his darker sides reckless ambitions. Until Xavier realizes that if Rand is considered the sole leader than all interactions with higher ups may go through the squid. Xavier remembers back to the prison and all of sudden he isn't too comfortable with the thought of that situation happening again. Xavier hopes that Rand isn't too keen on trying to fight him at this moment.

"Well Rand is quite wise but he does not solely make the decisions for the group," Xavier interjects before adding. "But yes this is quite an impressive gathering."

Bardock42
Con will put his blaster away, but won't say anything, since everyone else does already.

REXXXX
Galder winces at Rand claiming leadership of the group.

"Rand knows the Dark Side, but he doesn't know how to lead," Galder snickers, jabbing at the old fallen Jedi Master for his arrogance, as they always do, irrelevant to the situation. He then turns to the assembled Dark Jedi before him and his colleagues. "So, you've heard of me. Tell me what you've heard! How does Kuylen feel about his apprentice these days? Hmm?"

Inside, Galder roils with anger, knowing that Kuylen assembled this army WITHOUT HIM.

Ushgarak
"We know you killed Emperor Rivas, for a start," he says. "And they say you wiped out the leadership of the Golden Serpent. Also that things near you tend to blow up. But don't expect any special treatment here. The General gives the orders- and we haven't heard any about you."

Lord Melkor
"We all were present when Rivas fell to our swords and most of us were when we killed the Lantarnas family."

"Anyway, why won`t you tell us what are the rules here. I am Gallador". He extends his hand to the worn-face.

Ushgarak
"The Force may care about details like that, but people won't," he says. "I am Alvan." He does not extend a hand,. "The rules here are simple. Follow orders, maintain discipline, or die."

Newjak
Xavier looks over Gallador get his hand shake ignored before turning his gaze back to Alvan. "Thanks Alvan those rules are good to know. I am Xavier Kolarn. You mention the General. This sounds like an army more than a simple gathering. Who issues the orders and assigns roles here in that case?"

Ushgarak
"You've got the general at the top," he says, "and then on the next level down you have his five commanders, each overseeing a share of that level. Then each of them has five people like me to enforce order down at the bottom."

Newjak
"Ah thank you. So the general is Kuylen but who is his five commanders? They must be impressive individuals with what I've heard about Kuylen." Xavier continues.

Ushgarak
"They got their positions the hard way, so they are not people to mess with."

Newjak
"I am not surprised that they earned their spots. So what is the next step in this process? An organization of this size must have a way to assign people to a task or operation. Medical, Maintenance, Communication, or something like that," Xavier says matter of factly. Like he isn't in the heart of an army of darksiders.

"Oh before I forget to ask, how were you recruited here Alvan?"

Ushgarak
"I received a message. It seemed worth checking out.

"And if you want a job around here... it's up to you to get noticed."

Lord Melkor
"We are quite a formidable group...-Is there a particular task you need help with?" Asks Gallador, being civil but also not showing particular deference.

Can he use Scan to try to sense if Alvan perceives them as dangerous rivals?

REXXXX
"As if I'll have any trouble getting noticed. If I want a job working for your commander, don't I just need to take yours?" Galder asks Alvan, flashing a smile. "Your General trained me himself!"

Lord Melkor

Ushgarak
Alvan seems difficult to scan...

"I don't need any help at all," he says. "And you're not important enough around here for me to bother fighting. Take me on, if you want to take all my people as well."

Newjak
"That would seem like a tactical error on parts right now," Xavier says to Darksider. Trying to maintain some peace here.

"If anything I think we would just like to get some food right now. Do you know where we might be able to get some?"

General Zink
Rand understands Galder's attempt to show his bravado and skills as a warrior to make his name right off the bat, but realizes that now will not be the time for that.

"Patience, Galder," Rand says, firmly. "There will be a time for that, I'm sure. But it isn't now. Thank you for the welcome, Alvan. My associate Xavier points out the obvious, that our journey was a long one. We would like to rest up. Any chance you could recommend where?"

Ushgarak
He gestures around him- the wide, open area that is the bottom of the fortress, miles of ruins and dilapidated shacks and temporary buildings and the odd attempt at proper construction, generally half finished.

"Find your own home, like the others," he says. "People hang around in some places. I'm sure you'll work it out. But don't try and go up higher into the fortress- that's for authorised people only."

Lord Melkor
"Of course, we can accomodate ourselves.... you are authorized to to go higher, I presume?" Responds Gallador softly. Perhaps lower ranking darksiders would be more useful to get a feel of this place before they go up.

HereticalDruid
Azarl looks over the rubble and ruin around them. He chitters angrily, not wanting to settle for scraping around in the dirt. He settles his mind by knowing that they will probably not have to put up with it for long.

"We will do this for now," Azarl tries to speak in Basic.

He drops the rock he had flung forward, but doesn't forget the Cloaked Man who countered him so easily as he forgets the debris.

"Who are you?" Azarl asks. "You have not said anything."

Ushgarak
"He speaks when I require him to," says Alvan. And answers only to me. I have much to do, so make yourselves at 'home'..."

-

As indeed you should now do! And also start considering plans.

Newjak
"Thank you for your hospitality Alvan," Xavier replies.

He will look to see if the Seer is still with them after the other Darksiders have left the area.

Afterwards he suggests going to find some food because Xavier truly is hungry.

Lord Melkor
So first of all we should find some others who are low in hierarchy. Maybe we can help them a bit and secure food, shelter and information how to advance to upper levels - our long term goal is to get inside. I do not think we have much time - if Kuylen was the one who sent assasins after us, upon hearing that we are here he is quite likely to still have us killed.

Franky, shouldn`t he know already if Alvan made a report?

b1plusb2
It won't be long until he knows we're here. Then we can find out just how badly he wants us dead. So we shouldn't waste time. Relle is down to venture around and find out who doesn't get to go inside, and find out from them how others got into the upper ranks.

Lord Melkor
By the way, Gallador will use a Manifest Destiny.

General Zink
Rand will also use Manifest Destiny.

He proposes not only finding lesser Dark Jedi on the outside to find out more and do research, but builds off of Gallador's idea, stating that as power as we are, we should be able to strong arm and influence other Dark Siders into following our lead and aiding us.

Newjak
Xavier will take his free Dreams usage smile

REXXXX
Galder supports dominating others who know more about what is going on. Or at least beating it out of them so we know how to move up. But more followers wouldn't hurt.

Galder will spend a Force point on Dreams.

Ushgarak
Eller is on the ship.

I'll get the Force powers done, but you only get anything if you didn't get one last episode- these two are closely linked (predictions then help with this story too).

The outer area of the fortress is not precisely defined- a lot of informal gatherings in all kinds of improvised buildings- so you can request to find whatever sort of gathering you like.

What you need to do, one way or another, is to get past the giant walls that separate you from the upper levels. You;re willing to bet they are pretty secure.

Newjak
So Xavier wants to take a different route with this. An operation like this is going to have things that need fixed. Using his newly upgraded fix it score he wants to barter for favors and information with fixing people's broken equipment.

He may need a good talky person to come and help sell his abilities to other darksiders though.

Newjak
Also Ush Xavier wants his Dream sent to him privately

Ushgarak
Multiple plans are possible- I'd arrange yourselves into groups. Careful though- once you diverge, re-assembling may not be easy.

Newjak
How does everyone feel about splitting up to maximize our talents and efforts?

Xavier will go unto the ship to find Eller. Once he sees her, "Hello Eller, I wanted to let you know that it is safe to leave the ship."

Xavier continues, "It appears there is an army being built here under the influence Kuylen though so caution is probably a good idea."

Ush we know Adelmo is here correct? If not ignore the next part.

"Lady Adelmo is here as well."

"So what are your thoughts on this adventure so far?"

Ushgarak
Eller is in an untalkative mood again- she's going to stay on-board.

"Tell the Lady Adelmo I am doing well," she says. You had no idea Adelmo was here until Eller said this.

Newjak
"Wait Adelmo is here?, "Xavier mentions with slight shock in his voice. "I will give her your regards. "If you need anything else let me know."

Xavier will let the other know what Eller has told him.

b1plusb2
"Adelmo is here?" Relle responds. "I thought she didn't work with Kuylen any more. Why won't they just let us in, Galder? Aren't you one of his pupils?"

Relle doesn't like any of this situation to start but she's eager to get to work.

Are Alvan and his goons going to leave us alone?

HereticalDruid
Azarl wants to get to exploring. Coming from a world littered with the ruins of broken empires himself, he finds the White Fortress fascinating. He agrees with Rand that bending whatever outsiders and stragglers we can find to our will might help us at least start our way up to Kuylen.

We have Intimidation in surplus. Only Relle and Gallador have Persuade. Leadership (Galder, Relle, Rand) might come in handy.

I'm counting on Intimidation being the most useful here, though.

REXXXX
"I don't have any answer for that," Galder snaps at Relle. "There's more going on here than we know, so until we know more, I don't know what to tell you. Kuylen's always been... complicated."

Galder proposes that they split up into two groups: "Whoever wants to follow me, and whoever wants to follow Rand."

Newjak
Xavier will go with Galder if he is okay with Xavier's Fix-it bartering plan.

Lord Melkor
Gallador is a bit stunned that Adelmo is here. He asks Eller if she knew that Adelmo is here.

"I cannot imagine the Kuylen and Adelmo cooperating willingly - there are mysterious powers at work here - maybe the person Rand saw in his vision?"

He is fine with splitting into two groups, since Galder and Rand can barely work together anyway. He could go with Rand's group and help with getting control over some darksiders that are at lowest level of foodchain here - maybe help them survive in exchange for support and information about the Fortess. Then Azarl and Relle should go with Galder to help him with social departement. Con could go with Rand's group to have some more muscle.

REXXXX
Galder is fine with Xavier's bartering plan so long as overall he listens to Galder. He welcomes Relle and Azarl to tag along but leaves it up to them, ultimately. Galder mainly wants to assert his dominance since Alvan has already pointed out that his reputation doesn't actually mean squat here.

"Whatever it is, I don't like it," Galder responds to Gallador. "There shouldn't be any connection there. Maybe another ruse? Using Kuylen's image to rally the troops?"

Galder will make sure his weapons are secure before venturing away from the ship they took in.

b1plusb2
"'Complicated' is one word you could use to describe your relationship with your old master," Relle says, smirking.

"Where to, Captain Starkiller?" Relle teases. "Shall we go look at the big wall that keeps us from doing anything important? Or do you want to go show what a big strong man you are to some of the groups around here?"

She double-checks her blasters out of habit, the sleek dual-barreled pistols she crafted while learning her assassin's skills under the Fellowship. She then makes sure her lightsaber is just as easy to access, the double-bladed weapon she built after Adelmo destroyed her first lightsaber.

Bardock42
Con will stay with Xavier, cause he's shy generally. Also he does have Fix-It, so if we go with that plan he could help.

You guys will probably need Leadership to lead some darksiders, no?

HereticalDruid
Azarl will stay with Rand and Gallador. He feels they'll have better luck with these things than Galder will, and thus will probably get more information and less beat up.

Ushgarak
Eller won't give a direct answer, commenting that is simply 'makes sense' that Adelmo is here.

"Your fates are connected and this is too important for her not to be involved."

Yes, Alvan will leave you alone for now!

Leadership is a VERY handy skill with some people here!

Ok, give me a run-down of the two groups and what you will each try to do first.

HereticalDruid
In our group, Rand has the Leadership skill, and both he and Gallador have the Force power, though I'm not sure how useful that would be on other Force-users. I guess it depends on how powerful we are as opposed to them?

Azarl/Gallador/Rand group (based on what Rand said) sounds like it wants to go hunting for a group skulking around outside the White Fortress and see if we can find out more from them.

General Zink
Since Rand used Foresight last episode, can he still get a Manifest Destiny for this episode?

And yes, Azarl had it. Rand wants to find a group that he can dominate with his skills and powers to put them under thumb, give him some protection, and in general found out about how things are run here and how we can move up.

Newjak
Galder's group I guess is going to try Xavier's bartering plan. Trading favors for Xavier using his newly upgraded, and awesome, fix-it score to fix things for people while gathering favors and intel.

Ushgarak
Dominate is, a slow long-term power to have the sort of immediate results you want, but I will bear the power in mind if you try and direct a group.

Can I get an idea of what your short-term goal is for progress? We have one fix-y group and one lead-y group, but if you got what you wanted, how would you then use that to try and move up?

REXXXX
I imagine that Galder's reputation may have some sway in helping him move up, even though Alvan wasn't too impressed. He wants to show that he should be let into the big boys' club through usefulness and leadership, then talk or intimidate his way in.

Ushgarak
You have to apply your Dark Side power structure logic to this sort of thing; moving up implies a challenge to Alvan's place in things. He's not going to let you assume that.

Is your plan to carry the gate by force or is it to convince those above that you should move up?

REXXXX
Convince, for now. Rush the gates if that doesn't work.

b1plusb2
Relle kind of wants to just sneak in... while Galder and Xavier are bartering, maybe she can go have a look at the defenses and get an idea of what we're up against in the first place?

Ushgarak
Well then you have to consider what the official path is, or at least a way that someone in power would accept. It's no good just alienating the entire planet.

b1plusb2
Actually, looking at our skills, Con and Relle would be best to go scouting. Both of us have our group's highest Observation scores and Intrusion to evade detection.

So we should do that and report back to both groups.

REXXXX
Originally posted by Ushgarak
Well then you have to consider what the official path is, or at least a way that someone in power would accept. It's no good just alienating the entire planet.

Well, Kuylen is trying to run things like an army around here. Perhaps there's a way to gain rank?

Ushgarak
Hmm, in all honesty, it doesn't look much like a proper army yet, to you.

Newjak
Xavier is okay trying to convince those above to move us up. I'm assuming a skilled mechanic would prove quite valuable in place such as this. Which Xavier's new Fix-It score of 8 should put him up there smile

Ushgarak
Being a mechanic is not exactly an authority job though. Why not have skilled mechanics down the bottom?

You'd have to think of a reason they might need them higher up.

Newjak
How about being a lead engineer smile Job title matters right stick out tongue

Ushgarak
Yeah, Dark Siders are basically a giant title factory...

It's a viable route, is the hint I'll give, but only if you can piece together why they might need really decent engineers higher up. There's a goal for you.

Newjak
Okay Xavier can work with this. I think his route is going to be to convince them that with an operation this size the key is efficiency. Especially on the mechanical/engineering side. You need a knowledgeable person teaching other people and maintaining a high standard to make that happen. Xavier is the perfect person for that job smile

General Zink
You could also argue that manufacturing armor and weapons or maintaining vehicles and shield generators needs a skilled engineer. An army can't fight if they aren't equipped. Though so far they've all got blasters and lightsabers.


Rand and Gallador could possibly use their talents for leading and intimidating (both in terms of skills and powers) to whip the ragged bands into an orderly army and use that as their bargaining chip for getting into the fortress. An army needs officers, after all. Our ability to organize the sort of people are that are unruly and stubborn by default into an effective force could prove useful in a war against the Republic and the Bureau.

b1plusb2
Maybe we should rethink the structure of the groups, if Xavier's group is going to angle on providing useful technical skills. Xavier, Azarl, Galder, and Con have all the technical skills. Azarl is second-best to Xavier, Con could provide the talky skills to the bunch, and Galder the leadership/intimidate factor.

Relle could accompany Rand and Gallador to supplement the leadership approach.

Sounds like either way we need more information, but at least we're narrowing it down to how to want to get it and what we're trying to get.

Ush- dangerous if Relle slips off the sneak around and scout on her own? Not that I want to split off permanently, that's just a bad idea.

Ushgarak
Originally posted by Newjak
Okay Xavier can work with this. I think his route is going to be to convince them that with an operation this size the key is efficiency. Especially on the mechanical/engineering side. You need a knowledgeable person teaching other people and maintaining a high standard to make that happen. Xavier is the perfect person for that job smile

You can't bluff it out I am afraid- you need to find a solid lead!

Relle- not necessarily dangerous, but I'll be synching up people timewise and you won't be able to help people you are not with.

Those planning a social coup- even if you have the stats, I'll need you to do something to prove your credentials so people en listen to you. Something to ponder!

Newjak
Ush when you say solid lead do you mean an actual example of where a lead engineer would have helped?

Lord Melkor
Originally posted by b1plusb2
Maybe we should rethink the structure of the groups, if Xavier's group is going to angle on providing useful technical skills. Xavier, Azarl, Galder, and Con have all the technical skills. Azarl is second-best to Xavier, Con could provide the talky skills to the bunch, and Galder the leadership/intimidate factor.

Relle could accompany Rand and Gallador to supplement the leadership approach.

Sounds like either way we need more information, but at least we're narrowing it down to how to want to get it and what we're trying to get.

Ush- dangerous if Relle slips off the sneak around and scout on her own? Not that I want to split off permanently, that's just a bad idea.

I think that it might be the better split - Relle has some persuasive skills and has skills in areas Gallador and Rand don`t.

I agree with initial plan of getting control over the lower ranking people and learn what are the requirements of getting up - maybe having a group of followers will make us look stronger.

Maybe there are some kind of tests you can pass or you do favors for the leaders? Learning about the criteria is a good idea.

Taking out Alvan is always an option. I do not think that Rand will be able to appear as servant to anyone.

Newjak
Relle's split looks good

HereticalDruid
Works for me. I'll go with Galder's group, then. Fix-It isn't Azarl's strong point but he's not awful since his Intelligence is high. I can also market my medicine skills, on an individual level. Hopefully my language problems don't get in the way too much.

Taking out Alvan sounds like it needs us to be in a martially stronger position than him. Right now, that's not where we're at.

REXXXX
Galder will smugly approve of having the most combat-proficient group rally around him. And he hopes that Xavier's idea of offering up technical skills to help out the operation here will get them inside the Fortress. He glances back up at where Kuylen's hologram towered moments ago before marching off with his team to find the nearest group to talk to.

b1plusb2
Rand and Gallador - If we need to prove our dominance, it sounds like we'll have to perform some feat that shows that we're the most badass and should be put in charge of whatever rag-tag bunches we're about to encounter. Maybe there's some other guy trying to do the same thing that we can take on, someone who isn't as strong as Alvan but has a similar plan to ours. We can stride in, easily beat him at something he's probably already been working on, and then start giving the orders.

Otherwise, we can tackle some other issue they've been encountering that they haven't been able to solve.

Newjak
Xavier will walk with Galder. He particularly wants to take note of the various technologies? How well maintained they are? How many things are being scrapped inefficiently?

Lord Melkor
Originally posted by b1plusb2
Rand and Gallador - If we need to prove our dominance, it sounds like we'll have to perform some feat that shows that we're the most badass and should be put in charge of whatever rag-tag bunches we're about to encounter. Maybe there's some other guy trying to do the same thing that we can take on, someone who isn't as strong as Alvan but has a similar plan to ours. We can stride in, easily beat him at something he's probably already been working on, and then start giving the orders.

Otherwise, we can tackle some other issue they've been encountering that they haven't been able to solve.

Good plan, let's see what we can find and work based on this. Rand has very impessive mastery of force powers that can help impress the bottom chain darksiders here and Gallador can support him well with his social skills and force powers.

Ushgarak
Right! Let's get this back on the road!

-

Lead-y team!

You quickly discover that getting any respect around here needs a demonstration of force. However, this entire 'culture', if you can call it that, has become a bit self-correcting here. Whilst they are not very disciplined down here, word has come down from up-top that the army should not be constnatly cannibalising itself. CHallemnges for leadership of the group are possible, but only from people who have earned some respect. Randomly killing each other for respect is not allowed- it;s one of the few things the Commanders themselves will come down to enforce discipline about.

But as I say, this has been solved as an issue! There is, apparently, in an area of the Fortress that apparently someone in the past tried to excavate, forming a deep pit, a 'Warrior's Challenge' for those wishing to establish their credentials. It;s not a perfect solution as apparently as challenges go it;s still pretty lethal if you don't run away from it (and some of the people who try it are too proud to retreat), but on the whole it's kept casualties to a minimum. You only get one shot though.

-

Those of you looking for a way up, here's the lay of the land:

Technically speaking, you are already within the walls of the White Fortress. So many outer walls have been built and re-built and knocked down and re-assembled, that it doesn't so much have a perimeter as a sort of 'zone' of outer walls of various heights. Some of these provide welcome shade from the bright sun, and a lot of the little settlements that have popped up are in such areas.

Hence the actual security perimeter has been set up at an effectively arbitrary point somewhere within. What you have is this- the fortress builds up in layers and layers, getting narrower as it gets higher, though it is less like a pyramid and more like a crazy termite mound. At a certain point, most open routes up have been sealed off and covered with a bunch of electronic security. The exception is five of these routes. As you have been told, the General has five commanders in the upper level; there is one open ascent to each of these zones. However, these ascents are heavily guarded by the commander's men, both at the top and bottom. That would be a heck of a fight to force through (to the point where I am declaring it a game no-go- you'd render yourselves incapable of finishing the game and all it would get you is one level up and surrounded by more grumpy Dark Siders)

Looking around in detail, several options present themselves, though I am always open to others:

1. You somehow talk your way past the guards. That obviously solves all problems but it needs a stonkingly good pitch. It's not something you could improvise or do with words alone

2. You actually get yourselves permission to go up there officially. As talented Dark Siders, this is an option. As it turns out, they do apparently need as much technical support as possible- this is a technology dependant army and they've recruited far more killers than engineers.Also, certain parts of the Fortress are built around ancient technologies that people are having difficulty figuring out, and it;s made parts of occupying this place a pain.

3. You somehow render a crossing point uinguarded and sneak through. Like 1, this solves everything but it's impossible to see how you'd do it.

4. You bypass the security and climb a blocked point. Looks like you aren't the first to think of that though- and a few bodies have been left on display as a reminder.

5. You bypass the security ring entirely. There are dozens- perhaps hundreds- of entrances into the interior of the White Fortress all over the place. In theory, you should be able to enter in and pop out of another one higher up, inside the secure zone. Of course, you'd have no idea where you were going, and your Force senses give you a vague idea that it's not at all safe in there.

Bardock42
For option two perhaps some combination of Fix-It, Jedi Lore and Savoir Faire (which Con has) might be a good way to convince people we are the real deal. Perhaps a presentation to one of the commanders, maybe fixing up an artifact we can find down here, could help.

Also, do we have a way to communicate between groups? Some sort of comms/walkie talkies? Otherwise perhaps we should agree upon a meeting point regularly to discuss progress. And try to advance together, if possible.

Newjak
Woo team Fix-it go.

Xavier's evil plan to get promoted and unionize is under way!!!!

REXXXX
#2 seems fairly solid as an option. I'm sure our Jedi Lore scores could come into play, as Con mentioned.

General Zink
When Rand hears of the Warrior's Challenge, he sees his opportunity to establish himself as a powerful individual capable of taking charge of these soldiers of the Dark Side, and hence his route into the White Fortress, and to Kuylen.

"We shall make for this arena and make a display of our power," Rand says, clenching his fist. "Once we own their respect, we can use this to establish ourselves as useful to the leadership of this army."

--

Option #1 sounds like it needs action on the lower levels to make it work, such as gaining control of a portion of the army or some other plot.

Option #2 seems feasible for the techie group, proving their use and gaining access that way.

Option #3 would need some major distraction to draw everyone off one of the approaches... possibly a use for whatever portion of the army Rand influences.

Options #4 and #5 could prove lethal without any sort of plan, or at least drain us of strength for any fighting once we reach the top.

Newjak
So who all is in team techie again?

Bardock42
I think the last word was:

Important Tech Group:
Con (the handsome leader), Galder, Xavier, Azarl

Secondary Group:
Rand, Gallador, Relle

Newjak
That sounds right except for the part where Con is the leader

Bardock42
Hehe, you think Con is handsome...

Lord Melkor
Can the group be re-arranged? It seems like Galder would be the best for Warrior's challenge, though with Rand and Relle it is not as bad.

Would Gallador's Jedi Lore expertise be valuable in figuring ancient technologies?

Okay, so Gallador is not that confident, but he will joint Rand with going to Warrior's Challenge.

"Indeed, showing power may make it easier for us to find followers and respect here, though we need to be cautious. Let's go there, Rand."

Newjak
It's too late Gallador could have joined team awesome but he chose a different path.

Does anyone else find it funny though that the team with Xavier and Galder, members of the PB, are the ones going with the less fighty route lol

Ushgarak
Option 2 is on a case-by-case basis. I gave the engineering feedback as that is Xavier's speciality. Proving you are the 'real deal' and deserve to go up may need a broader approach for others. Or a fightier one.

Jedi Lore is no good for you guys- nothing Jedi-y here, as far as you know (out of story, this is of course untrue, and so Lore may be useful later).

I'll take a list of potential challengers- you can go in as a team!

General Zink
So Option #2 might only apply to Xavier, then, and Team "Tech" might not work.

Galder- you should explore just how much your Reputation will get you, in the talking through sense.

Rand will gladly have Gallador and Relle along if a team battle is the way of things in the Warrior's Pit, but doesn't mind going in alone to prove his personal strength as a Dark Jedi.

Lord Melkor
Gallador can go as team with Rand and Relle.

REXXXX
I'm sure Galder's Rep will act as leverage here and there, but without the social skills besides Intimidate and Leadership, I don't know how far it would get me. It sounds like talking needs some predetermined reason behind it, whether we make that happen ourselves or not. Just saying I'm me and I'm here won't work.

But that does lead me to reiterate Rand's statement as a question... Galder being part of Team Tech only works if his tech-ness works?

Might be better for Galder to try the tunneling under the fortress approach, while Xavier techs himself topside.

Ushgarak
Ok, well, somebody had better take an action, and I'll say what results! If anyone wants to go exploring beneath, do say.

So, is it Rand and Gallador for the Challenge? If so, we'll get going on it.

b1plusb2
Relle is in for the Challenge too! Can't have a fight without your assassin getting in on it.

HereticalDruid
Azarl propose to Galder that they go tunneling underneath the White Fortress, to see what they can find. Galder has Survival and generally kills things well, and Azarl is disposed toward being hard to kill and can trust in his Force ability.

Newjak
Xavier is going his tech route

Ushgarak
The problem with the tech route right now is that it is theoretical. You can't just go to the guards at the gate and say "I'm tech guy, let me up!" I'll need a plan. Galder- well, it would certainly look odd if you have no tech skill with it at all, but it all goes down to how you pitch it.

-

Challenge guys! You find yourself at an area build in the shade of a largely intact part of the outer wall and then covered in bits scavenged from settlements all around, forming a rough dome. Inside is a bunch of loud, baying spectators and...

THE PIT!

The Pit is owned by an elderly Dark Sider named Gann, who is obviously some sort of traditionalist as he wears robes and carries a staff.

There will be four teams today! Your team is one, the other three will each be the size of your team. Gann explains the very simple rules!

"Once all other three teams are dead, the members of the remaining team are allowed to leave. Rules will be forced... by the will of the crowd!"

Loud cheering to this. Gann has got himself a bit of respect, apparently, and those who survive The Pit get a word form him if they want to meet any of the big guys.

"You can cry for mercy at any time and be allowed pout- but only as a team. Your decision must be unanimous..."

You get the feeling that mercy-criers don't come out of this looking too good.

"Of course," says Gann, "This is no melee. You'll find your competitors are not your biggest problem..."

And indeed, you are led to understand that this is a monster-fighting contest. You're not sure what's going to be in there though.

The Pit is ten feet deep, large enough for all of you to be in there with plenty of space, and any weapons are allowed.

b1plusb2
"Either we off the other teams before whatever monster they throw at us kills us, or we let the monster kill them. Or monsters."

Relle is happy to hear that she can bring her pistols to the fight. She fully expects to rely on her lightsabers but it gives her flexibility.

Lord Melkor
Gallador nods calmly to Relle, looking around the area.

"Indeed, let's be careful and try to avoid fighting which is not required for us to prevail.

He turns to Gann.

"Will all teams fight at the same time?"

Ushgarak
"Yes, that is the way!" declares Gann loudly. He has a fondness for the dramatic. Actually you think he's not altogether there, in the head.

REXXXX
Galder will agree to Azarl's plan to go exploring underground. Between the two of them, they should be able to escape any serious danger or hack their way through.

General Zink
Rand wonders how Gann managed to gain his influence, but decides not to explore the subject further until after their victory in the Pit. He takes his lightsaber in hand, watching the other teams to see what they arm themselves with.

HereticalDruid
"Wise decision," Azarl says. "Nobody should go the dangerous path alone."

It probably comes out garbled and incorrect as Azarl wrestles with Basic but he tries.

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