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USH'S STAR WARS GAME- The Complete Synopsis, and the Post-Mortem analysis...
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Ushgarak
Paladin

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Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

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USH'S STAR WARS GAME- The Complete Synopsis, and the Post-Mortem analysis...

Here, then, is the entirety of the first story arc, or campaign. There are very often subtleties and details that escape the players at the time, and the full scope of things is something that only really I have fully appreciated, which is for three reasons:

1. I ran and wrote a lot of it
2. I have been here from the start- only Gundy can also claim that, though Rex has been here for most of it
3. More importantly… I am the only objective ‘player’ involved. Whilst people check between the different threads from time to time, I am the only one fully involved at both at the same time, all the time. There have been numerous occasions- certainly with NPCs like Ascar- when common factors have been flitting between both threads with extreme rapidity (presumably with very fast legs) in a way which it is a shame not everyone could see happening…

And so, for curious long-term players who want to see everything they went through, the more recent players who want to know what they got caught up in the tail end of, and brand new players who want to know what the fuss is about… here is the whole thing!

The background can be established in three parts- Demnos, Avalar and Kuylen.

-

DEMNOS

The Mausoleum of Demnos was, as reported, the centre of power of the Cult of Demnos, founded originally by Darth Demnos, and this game’s contribution to majorly powerful Sith Lords that once threatened the Galaxy.

Demnos set up his headquarters on a distant planet named Zeiton, so far out of the Galaxy that it could barely be considered part of it. Zeiton was thrown into the spotlight for two reasons- first of all, that this remote area of space was actually subjected to a major Jedi counter assault against the Sith, millennia ago (around about the time of Knights of the Old Republic, for fans of that). Secondly, as the players well know, because of the unique properties of the Zeitonians themselves- each of them remarkably gifted with the Force. The instincts and insights this provided them had made the Zeitonians a remarkably advanced civilisation- easily as advanced as the Republic, even though they had only ever worked with themselves, on one planet. It is only the remoteness of Zeiton that had ever held it back- and they were a people without the wanderlust that a species like humans have.

However, what no-one was sure about was how the Zeitonians had never actually accomplished anything with the Force- they were all in touch with their instincts, and could intuitively perform basic powers, but none of them were as skilled with the Force as even a Padawan. [In game terms, there is no firm reason for this, but one theory come up with is that the midi-chlorians, knowing the destruction knowledge of the Force would bring to the Zeitonians, in some way prevented them discovering this knowledge, as part of their symbiosis]. Because of this, the following sequence of events happened:

The Jedi came to this remote world first, and were amazed at what they found- a whole people, billions of them, with an advanced civilisation, all skilled in the Force. Of course, the Jedi also appreciated the danger of trying to train such a people- but they also suspected that without guidance the Zeitonians were in terrible danger of destroying themselves one day due to the Dark Side- and insights from the future seemed to confirm their suspicions.

The Jedi began a process of friendly contact with the Zeitonians, and education to them of what the Force was, how it related to them- and what it could mean for their future. The Jedi saw a great contribution that the Zeitonians could make to galactic affairs.

Then the Sith came

Curious as to what the Jedi were up to, the Sith’s own intuitive skills led them to Zeiton as well. Soon they had assessed the situation, and come to a very simple conclusion- these people were the key to the Galaxy. Not caring about the ‘danger’ of training them- as of course, Dark Siders never are, seeing as the danger is merely that they will fall to the Dark Side- the Sith took no time at all to sense a future where a vast, force-trained Zeitonian army would annihilate all resistance and deliver the Galaxy to the Sith. Of course, a few Sith Lords would probably wipe each other out trying to get command of such an operation, but that was the way of things!

The initial Sith assault was well-planned and vicious. The Jedi were slaughtered, and the Sith set about securing control of the planet. The Jedi responded almost immediately of course- partly because of the danger of the Sith succeeding, and partly because of a great guilt they were already feeling, for the Sith would never have come there had the Jedi not done so. So began the wars.

Legend has the Zeitonian wars lasting for centuries; whatever the truth they lasted for a long time. It was likely the Sith battle fleet that destroyed the surface, but it was a big war and both sides used big weapons. Continuous years of bombardment turned the watery world into a moistureless abomination. The oceans boiled, and the surface was torn away. The inventive Zeitonians moved underground, but as the skies darkened and more and more of them died each day, they began to curse the name of the Jedi who brought this upon them.

Both sides employed Zeitonian troops in the wars, and the Zeitonians, although lacking a combat instinct, developed weaponry that was more effective against Lightsabre wielders than most of the Galaxy carried. But it was in the employment of Zeitonian troops that the true nature of the Zeitonians was revealed. The Sith noticed disciplinary problems which they at first ignored (after dealing with them, of course). The Jedi, less used to treachery amongst their own, suspected a far darker problem. The destruction the Jedi had first tried to prevent by educating the Zeitonians was beginning to become apparent- but BECAUSE of the Jedi, not in spite of them. And this was not the wars, horrible as they were; it was part of the Zeitonian’s base nature.

The Force divides against itself- Light and Dark. The Light seeks to balance and the Dark to destroy. Through careful preparation and education, a sentient being can be taught to accept the Light and reject the powerful calling of the Dark. Those not suitable are never trained. But the Dark will always be there, seeking to destroy the Light. NO amount of education could save the Zeitonians- there were billions of them. And once they learned of the Force, and began to get in touch with it, and gain further insight, they began to train in it. And once they did, they began to divide Light and Dark, unstoppably, and the Dark would seek to destroy what the Light balanced.

In short, Zeiton is some form of horrible natural mistake. The symbiotic nature the Force has with sentient beings has gone wrong on Zeiton, and they have been poisoned with a gift that can only mean their own destruction, Knowledge of the Force itself… is fatal to their people, and the mysterious ignorance they were living in before was the only thing keeping them alive- and the Jedi knew now that the only way to save them was to restore that ignorance.

The Sith worked this all out as well, of course. They just didn’t care- the Zeitonians would either serve the Sith or be destroyed. Their view had the benefit of simplicity.

In the end, the Jedi emerged victorious in their war of liberation, which in turn formed part of a wider victory against the Sith. But by then, there was almost nothing left of Zeiton and its people to liberate. But there was nothing that the Jedi could do- except for one thing.

The Jedi convinced the Zeitonians of the terrible mistake that had been made, and assisted them in setting up a system via which all knowledge of the Force was removed from the planet and their records. One being alone would know the truth the Elder of the Zeitonian race, a man with the general force talent and wisdom comparable to a Jedi Master, who would teach all this to his chosen successor. The wars of the Jedi and Sith were stripped of all evidence, and passed into myth. Strict laws prevented the resurgence of knowledge of the Force. The Zeitonians had been in ignorance before, and they know would be again.

For their part, the Jedi removed all overt evidence of Zeiton’s location, secrets, and even existence, in a bid to make sure that no-one would ever discover it again- and certainly not the Jedi themselves, whose presence would be lethal to the Zeitonians once more.

Soon after, Demnos set up his headquarters on Zeiton. Demnos is noted in Zeitonian myth as the ‘leader’ of the Sith, so he must have been involved in the wars, but nothing is recorded of his Mausoleum- it all came afterwards. In a time when the Sith were on a back footing, he made a bold gambit in setting up his base on the world he knew the Sith would never return to. But how could he do this in secret, without even the Zeitonians knowing? Well, the Dark Side is good at this, and Demnos had much cunning, power and skill. He pulled it off. The Mausoleum was built, and the Cult of Demnos formed.


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Last edited by Ushgarak on Sep 19th, 2004 at 11:19 PM

Old Post Apr 16th, 2004 08:09 PM
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Ushgarak
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Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

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It is uncertain what happened next, but the rumour began to circulate that Demnos had killed himself, and become ‘one’ with the Mausoleum, and would act as Master to any apprentice who sought him in these difficult times.

Over time, the Cult of Demnos became very powerful indeed, one of the greatest threats the Jedi ever faced. But the truth of what happened during its founding was never discovered. The Sith remembered its location, marking it on their maps. The Jedi knew the Mausoleum existed, but either never found its location or dared not return to Zeiton.

The Cult was eventually defeated at the time; its last hurrah was 1000 years ago, during the final Sith Wars, when the name of Demnos returned to galactic affairs. As is known, all (or nearly all…) the Sith Lords were defeated and killed in this war, and the Cult was defeated also. A Jedi Knight named Sareth Komal was the hero of the war against the Cult, who unravelled and destroyed their plots.

Two hundred years later, and a young Jedi named Yoda bore witness to events. The Jedi Council was relatively sure the Sith were totally extinct- though the wisest among them were open minded. An era of peace and prosperity was following, but some sensed that an endless future of Balance was by no means inevitable. Steps were being taken to try and make sure that no-one could ever resurrect the dead Sith. And so their thoughts turned to the Mausoleum. Some of the Jedi must have had insight into the danger of the place, whatever the truth of the now semi-mythical story of Demnos’ death and offer to Apprentices. Something disturbing was sensed. Sith or no Sith, one day, in the far future, it may be one of the Jedi’s own- maybe an ex-Jedi?- that returns to Zeiton, causes the cycle of destruction again, and returns the evil of Demnos once more.

The Jedi were loathe to break their promise to the Zeitonians, but it seemed that if they did not, another Jedi subsequently may well do so anyway, and far worse would result. The long-lived Komal, now a Jedi Master, and his apprentice were given a simple mission. Go to Zeiton. Locate the Mausoleum. Make sure it is never a problem.

“That we break our promise weighs heavily upon us,” said the Council, “but if we do not, the future may never forgive us.”

Komal’s mission- which is probably worth a story arc of its own- was a success. The Mausoleum was neutralised, and he even squared things diplomatically with the Zeitonians, making a promise- in treaty he made with them at the time- that the Jedi were now, for certain, finished with Zeiton forever. They could live on in peace for all time.

After Komal was done, every single piece of evidence that might point to Zeiton’s location was destroyed- including the Sith Astrolabes, that the Sith used to navigate their obscurely encrypted star charts. Zeiton’s story, supposedly, was done. The only ones that knew the full truth were Komal and his Padawan, and if they told anyone, or wrote it down, no-one knows.

---

AVALAR

Avalar is a demonstration of the weakness of the Sith- their inability to break out of their traditional, parasitic ways.

In the final Sith Wars 1000 years ago things, of course, went badly for the Sith but it was a long and difficult struggle. Many great events happened at this time, of which Avalar was one.

Avalar was an attempt to move the Sith ethos forwards. Since the beginning of recorded history, all Sith teaching has been passed on by word of mouth alone, from Master to Apprentice- the Sith guarded their secrets jealously and would not commit them to permanent form.

Avalar planned to change all that. The Sith Monks who founded it- on a distant ice world- set about a decades-long project of codifying all the knowledge and lore of the Sith- all their secrets, and powers… the whole thing, The knowledge was inscribed on stone tablets sacred to the Sith. The idea behind this archive was to set up a training centre to rival the Jedi temple, where Sith students could come and study from the Archive and learn the ways of the Sith en masse, instead of one at a time!

But this idea was considered heretical by the mainstream Sith, and they factionalised against it. Eventually, an army of Darth Bane’s stormed the Archive and slew all the Sith Monks. However, they would not destroy the sacred tablets. The ruined archive was covered in ice over time, and forgotten.

This had nothing to do with the Jedi- they never saw it or had any input with it before the Sith destroyed it themselves. But the Jedi heard rumours of this Archive, this treasure trove of all things Sith. It because a myth- there was no evidence for it, but the story remained on file in the archives.

---

KUYLEN

As noted in his bio, Kuylen was a great Jedi Knight. Born on the world of Charnel, chief world of the constellation of Tasker’s Crown, Kuylen- like all from that area of space- was a born warrior, the instinct being in his people so strong they say they are born knowing how to handle weapons. Kuylen was a member of a noble family- Tasker’s Crown is very traditional- and his detection as a Jedi had difficult legal implications due to his being in line for a hereditary title. But Kuylen took to the task well, showing incredible natural sabre talent and he was not lacking in the Force either.
Kuylen lacked for patience only, which is why he was often assigned to work in the Archives, where he could learn a slower pace of life. Kuylen’s restless spirit was irritated by this, but he was as much historian as warrior, and he learned all about the history of Jedi and Sith alike, becoming a highly learned scholar on the subject, But a man of his talents was too good to waste in a time where Jedi were badly needed. Kuylen was often on active assignment, training two Padawans, before he disappeared in a mission to Hutt space, and was eventually declared dead.

Kuylen had, as is now obvious, had faked his own death and was living under the patronage of Shareth the Hutt, whom he did mercenary work for. But the now Dark Sided Kuylen- the reason for his fall being a bit of a mystery- had a different agenda- his plan now was to rule the Galaxy, in his own way- and with the powers, but not the traditions, of the Sith. With his great knowledge of things historical, he planned to piece together the secrets of the Sith and take their power for his own. Soon slipping away from Hutt space, he began to put his plan together one piece at a time.

First, he knew he would need a group of agents to help him, as he had once been part of a team with the Jedi. He had tried to convince his last Padawan, Argentis, to come with him, but Argentis refused- and in a decision Argentis regretted, he never told anyone of Kuylen’s offer to him. But as it was, he found a sidekick quite quickly- a huge alien brute named Chion.

Over time, Kuylen made other acquaintances- the NPC Dark Sider line-up, of course, with, in the beginning, Krisha there instead of Jolanta, and it is assumed he made initial contact with all the Dark Side players from the first campaign (all five episodes) at this time, as listed in their back stories, though they were only summoned to come serve him at the point at which they started play (subsequent Dark Side players in future campaigns need never have met him).

Kuylen’s obsession was to find Avalar. Guided by the Force, he was convinced that the myth was true, but although he had picked up many clues for its location, his theoretical knowledge lacked practical experience that he had neither the time nor the patience to get. Fortunately, he found someone who could fill that hole for him. This man was Kir Ascar.

As noted in his bio, Ascar was once the talented Padawan Mal Sannan, with a very high midi-chlorian count. Leaving the Order before completing his training, due to issues with control and discipline, Sannan became a Master of the Force in the intervening decades, after learning from a far planet he calls Sirckara. Re-naming himself Ascar, he returned to the Republic as a ‘lucky’ gambler, businessman and collector of Jedi and Sith artefacts. From Sirckara Ascar had picked up an unusual view of the Force where it is seen as an endless circle of telebiogenesis- where all things re-birth into other things, and Light, Dark, Life and Death are meaningless. Obscure as this seems, Ascar is a very powerful Force Master, but had managed to keep this secret as he built up his huge business empire on Malastare. Kuylen tracked Ascar/Sannan down by following his instincts, and also the activities of Ascar’s apprentices, Persis and Majora- the first a powerful local smuggler, the second a rather cruel woman, both of whom Ascar had found and trained- but without much patience, and they had fallen to the Dark Side, regardless of Ascar’s beliefs. They led Kuylen to the man himself, and it did not take Kuylen long to suss out that Ascar’s considerable and highly impressive collection of artefacts was not gained by dealing, but by actually going OUT to ancient sites- many outside the Republic- and gathering them. Indeed, Ascar is an accomplished archaeologist, and he had the practical knowledge that Kuylen needed.
Ascar was wary of working with a Dark Sider- dangerous people to work with. But Ascar was smart, amused, and agreed to help Kuylen in his search for Avalar, though he never thought Kuylen would actually pull it off. But if he did, as part of the deal, Ascar would get pat of the archaeological treasure trove there… Ascar felt he had little to lose by giving Kuylen some help.


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Last edited by Ushgarak on Sep 19th, 2004 at 11:25 PM

Old Post Apr 16th, 2004 08:11 PM
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Ushgarak
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Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

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It took time, but eventually Kuylen DID find Avalar, and proved its existence. Now things started to become difficult. Avalar was on a distant ice world, on a decaying orbit- its lifespan before its sun destroys it can be measured in centuries. Already its gravitational pull is trailing a portion of the sun into its own atmosphere- causing the deposit of valuable minerals into the ice below which the ruins of Avalar lay- including considerable quantities of gold.

Not only did Kuylen lack the resources to mine a planet like Avalar, the gold- whilst useful- also made the planet politically sensitive if discovered- and just to make things worse, Avalar was inside a part of space politically ‘owned’. It was inside the Damagran Confederacy, a part of space consisting of 13 worlds based around the central world of Damagran- all part of the Republic, but with strong independent sentiment. Kuylen could hardly perform a mining operation in the middle of their space, in secret. So instead now Kuylen began to plot.

With help from his intellectual associate Alik Saar, Kuylen formed a three-way alliance. First part was with a politician from Damagran named Faylar. Faylar was a very strong nationalist, who wanted complete independence- and also, though this got lost in the game, a staggering racist, who wanted all non-humans removed from Damagran space. Whilst the Damagran people were independent by nature, the Republic, even in its crumbling state, was just a little too useful for them to leave in ways of trade etc., and the pro-Republic part of Damagran was just a little stronger. Kuylen offered to change all that for him.

The other part of the Alliance was with powerful, but currently outmatched, pirate chief named Pelloran. This man Kuylen had already met and made his offer to.

Note- this careful construction of alliances and contacts, finished before play in the first campaign, is something Dark Side players will have to see about doing themselves in the second

The deal was this. Faylar would provide facilities for both Kuylen and Pelloran. To Pelloran, he would provide a base of operations on the most miserable world in the Confederacy, Jaglon Beta. To Kuylen, he would provide an orbital platform and laser from which to slowly mine and dig on Avalar. Kuylen would split the gold from Avalar three ways- to Faylar and Pelloran. Faylar would buy more power and influence, and Pelloran would be able to massively re-arm and equip his pirate fleet. Pelloran’s duty was then to attack Damagran shipping, in large numbers- so long as he did this, his losses would be made good by more payment. This was significant, as the Damagran people are quite militaristic and not easy targets, whom most pirates stay away from. Pelloran was being used more as a mercenary than a pirate. Faylar, meanwhile, would be able to exploit the situation. He would blame the sudden wave in piracy on the weakness of the Republic, and claim it was restrictions by, and outgoing payments to, the Republic that were making the Damagranians unable to deal with the situation. This would increase the pressure for independence, and with any luck swing the pendulum to his side. All Kuylen asked for in return, as he helped monitor and direct the situation, was to be allowed access to the ruins on Avalar- something neither Pelloran nor Faylar cared about.

In this way, Kuylen got all he wanted. Uncovering Avalar would take months of mining, however, and Kuylen needed to make sure Faylar stayed in power all this time. This, then, became his main objective. It is roughly at this point that the Battle of Naboo occurs, and Kuylen suddenly feels very motivated that this is a good time to act- he is feeling The Phantom Menace, the rise of the Dark Side, though he is not yet suspicious of its origins. He brings his original team together. Many of them, including early players Quam and Edna, and also Krisha and Chion (Saar is off elsewhere at this time), he places, along with himself, on Jaglon Beta, where the Dark Siders are also enjoying the use of a permanent base. He places Galder- who Kuylen is not yet certain of the use of- on the platform at Avalar, to keep the slave workers there under control. Meanwhile, Kuylen’s plan begins to work, and soon, as the relentless pirate attacks begin, the issue of independence suddenly becomes topmost on the Damagran agenda.

This, then, is the situation before any actual in-game events start- the backdrop to the campaign as a whole. But of course, although the background was there, the players would more or less learn of it all backwards, learning first of the troubles at Damagran, and not finding the truth behind the Mausoleum until the very end of the final episode, three years of play later!


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Last edited by Ushgarak on Apr 18th, 2004 at 09:53 AM

Old Post Apr 16th, 2004 08:12 PM
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Ushgarak
Paladin

Gender: Male
Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

Co-Admin

Episode 1- Avalar

The game was simply known as “Ush’s Game” at the time, as Avalar’s existence was a secret- in fact, secret to both sides, as the Dark Side players were told they had a plan, but not what its ultimate aim was- to become Sith- in order so the story had some dramatic reveal for them also (although their characters knew, of course).

This episode was intended to introduce everyone to everything, and also end on a dramatic note at Avalar before the campaign itself settled into the much longer Mausoleum plot. It was, of course, plagued by starting problems, ever shifting players, and incredibly slow play at first- but it was in this episode that Rex and Gundy got playing, and so continuity has been assured.

The basic plot was this- although Kuylen and Faylar are successful, the Republic is not SO decrepit that it really does do nothing. There was also this idea that Chancellor Palpatine was less willing to tolerate rebellion than his predecessor. This was all written way before the AOTC plot was known, but pleasingly it fits in rather well, with Palpatine using Damagran as a test bed for seeing the effect of trying to forcibly suppress independent feeling.

On a side note, the Damagran Confederacy, as opposed to the Republican loyalists, eventually leads to a conflict between Republicans and Confederates. This was hardly an obscure allegory to make, but it did not stop us being surprised when GL did the same thing himself when he wrote AOTC, with the Confederacy of Independent systems. Much the same thing happened when he created Dooku, whom Kuylen is basically a younger version of. These little things seem to keep happening…

So the Republic has prepared a two-pronged mission to restore confidence in the Republic on Damagran. First, diplomatic- a Jedi team will be sent to try and patch things up. Second, military- a battlecruiser is hired to go to the Confederacy and help hunt down the pirates. I use the term ‘hired’ in retrospect- at the time, we did not know that the Republic had no standing forces of its own.

The second ‘prong’ kicks off the story. That battlecruiser is a real threat to Pelloran, and so Faylar, and so Kuylen. Faylar asks Kuylen for help as part of the agreement, and Kuylen sends his agents to destroy it in dock. This is the opening scene for the Dark Siders. But when Krisha destroys the cruiser by activating its hyperdrive in dock, it blows up the whole space station as well. This notably increases the stakes, and Kuylen now knows that increased Republican attention is now inevitable. It also does one other thing- Kuylen has finally caused a notable disturbance in the Force. It is weak… but it is picked up by two people.

The first is Master Kellan Gundark. She picks it up because she was due to go on the mission to Damagran, and so had a possible connection with Kuylen anyway. She picks up the disturbance in the form of a vision briefly going over Episode I events- this vision starts off her play in the game, and was repeated at the start of Episode V. This gives Gundark the idea of checking out Jaglon Beta as well as Damagran, and the Jedi Council agrees to let Gundark follow whatever inspiration from the Force she is getting.

The second is Darth Sidious, who picks it up as Kuylen is a possible rival. Sidious will take time to make sense of what he has felt- but his insertion into events will be felt by all the players later.

And so the Jedi proceed to Jaglon Beta, where they are surprised to see such lavishly well equipped pirates operating openly. Some investigation soon reveals a man named Kuylen as their benefactor- but also the Jedi expose their position to a watching Kuylen, who is on the upper levels of the Jaglon Beta base, which is built around an extinct volcano. He prepares for battle.

Meanwhile, Jedi Yerssot is sent to Damagran to protect the pro-Republican leader. Yerssot fails when he is assassinated by Chion and Krisha. But this is a dummy- Faylar asked Kuylen to kill the pro-Republican Derin on the idea that it was necessary. It was not- Faylar had already won the vote and Damagran was going to declare its independence. Faylar was splitting Kuylen’s forces, because he, in association with Pelloran, was planning to betray and kill Kuylen. When Light and Dark Side meet on Jaglon Beta, the opening fights start. Gundark identifies Kuylen as the presumed dead Jedi, and ex-archivist, that he is- but in battle with him, soon learns his skill and how powerful he has become.

However, these opening duels are interrupted when Pelloran makes his move. Both Light and Dark look to their own survival now as they slaughter a ton of pirates as they cut their way out. Pelloran’s hitman Arashan is one of the first recurring ‘bad guys’, as it were, who gets on the nerves of Yerssot, and Pelloran’s security chief Hade causes great problems for both sides, before being eliminated by Edna. The Light Side begin an extraordinarily long and difficult retreat down the side of the volcano, that Gundark remembers as being exceptionally unpleasant and suffers from high blood pressure if you mention it to her. In the end, both sides get free having wiped out most of the pirates, and both sides also forcibly smash their way through the pirate ships in orbit.

Kuylen is annoyed that his distraction with the Jedi means that he failed to sense the treachery of his allies, but his work at Avalar is almost done, so he races there, hoping to extract the archive before the Jedi turn up in force. Gundark and her team pursue. Kuylen meets up with Galder and proceeds to the surface to enter the Archive and start extracting it, whilst the Jedi arrive soon after and realise exactly what Kuylen’s plan is. Also following him to the surface, the final duels take place as the Jedi battle to stop Kuylen extracting the archive, whilst Krisha- who has sold out to Faylar- uses the mining laser to try and kill everyone in the Archive at once. The final section is notable for the Sith Mirror tests- which test if a person who wants inside the archive is actually a Dark Sider, and which Yerssot accidentally passes and so is captured- and for a very vigorous fight between Lance and Galder. In the end, the Dark Siders escaper with a partial recovery only, and also with a full set of Sith star maps- encrypted and impossible to follow, of course. They have lost their first chance at Sithhood, and also all their allies- the Dark Siders run alone. But the Jedi have failed to stop Kuylen, as such- and Damagran has now totally ceded from the Republic.


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Old Post Apr 16th, 2004 08:13 PM
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Ushgarak
Paladin

Gender: Male
Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

Co-Admin

Episode 2- Revenge

Episode 2 could have been many things depending on what happened in the first game, but ended up being straightforwards. Kuylen heads to Naboo and Tatooine after hearing rumours that a Sith Lord was seen there, and killed Qui-Gon- if this is true, it makes Kuylen… uncomfortable… as his entire plan basically rested on the idea that the Sith do not exist any more. So for now, his grand plans are on hold- but he sends his players to Damagran to kill Faylar for his base treachery.

The situation on Damagran has changed- now independent, a civil war is raging as Faylar’s followers battle with the pro-Republicans under Verdalaine. Faylar has been exposed to the Galaxy as a criminal, traitor to his own people, and associator with Dark Siders, but his support on Damagran remains strong. Palpatine orders a blockade of Damagran as these matters- and perhaps the legality of their independence vote- is investigated. To breach these blockade, the Dark Siders simply sacrifice their ship and land in escape pods. But this tips off the Jedi as to their location.

The Jedi would not really have any business going- except one of their own has already gone after Kuylen. Argentis, his last Padawan, took the news about Kuylen badly, and has left to track his old Master down, leaving a note that it is his business to deal with him. Argentis knows Kuylen well and already guessed that he only had to go near Faylar and wait for Kuylen to turn up. The Jedi had to wait for more evidence of Kuylen’s location to appear before they could follow- their main objective being to PREVENT Argentis taking Revenge, which would most certainly lead him to the Dark Side. The Jedi are given express orders not to intervene in the political situation on Damagran they have no legal mandate to do so. The Council also wants a peaceful solution and fears that Jedi intervening on the pro-Republican side will widen the confrontation. Some players either ignore or forget this edict form the Council, and do indeed both intervene and make promises to the pro-Republicans they cannot follow. The conflict does indeed end up being widened and the players also lose the Damagran authorities as possible allies- a lesson there that the Jedi have to work within practical restrictions, the same restrictions that led Qui-Gon to say “I did not come here to free slaves.” He is not saying slavery is not wrong, but that he is not here to start a war between the Jedi and the Hutts that doing so would cause- it is a shame, but players have to accept the Galaxy is a bad place sometimes.

Faylar has sealed himself in a palace in the captured city of K’rra Chi. Here it appears he has lost- over-extended and losing support, it is only a matter of time before he is taken. Faylar has a plan, however, to gather fresh forces and surprise his opponents- with the purchase of a droid army on the black market, from arms dealer Shareth the Hutt herself, who managed to procure a large amount of the Naboo army when it mysterious got lost in the system before being decommissioned. He is buying this with Kuylen’s gold that he has stolen. With this same gold, he has also put staggering bounties on the head of Kuylen and all of his followers. Argentis, meanwhile, has gotten a job as one of Faylar’s bodyguard, and is waiting for Kuylen, not knowing that Kuylen has sent his men to do the job instead.

Both players penetrate K’rra Chi- the Jedi with the help of the pro-Republicans, the Dark Siders sneaking in through the water intake. Both sides quickly come to grips with the situation, and the Dark Siders realise they are hunted. The main problem is how to penetrate the sealed Palace. When Shareth the Hutt arrives, spying upon her reveals the droid army that Faylar plans to use- and also brings Xeth (BB) into the game, as a Renegade Jedi hired by an altruistic party to trace the missing droids, currently posing as one of Shareth’s bodyguard (seems to be a popular trick…). It is the Light Siders who first meet the Bounty Hunter Balek- whose bio describes all you need to know about him- who is the most dangerous of the Bounty Hunters chasing the Dark Siders.

The players eventually enter the Palace by various means- hiding in the droid crates, through the garbage disposal, or even by making friends with Argentis- which was Edna’s way in, and one of the last things she did before leaving the game. The game climaxes in a huge fight in the palace as the droid army activates and endless foes come forth. Galder kills Arashan and also defeats Lance in a re-match, before being badly wounded by Balek and having to limp away. Quam and Chion eliminate Faylar, whose schemes come to nothing- and the Jedi can only stand by and watch as Kuylen, retuning at the end of the game (because the Dark Side was running out of players) kills his own apprentice, found too late by the Jedi. Argentis, in his dying breaths, reveals that Kuylen told him of his plan, and yet Argentis had stayed silent- and it was this guilt that led him to feel responsible for all that had happened. The Dark Siders steal a load of the gold to pay Shareth to get them off the planet. Krisha- having obscurely rescued Yerssot, so he could in turn be rescued by the Jedi, is slain by Quam. The situation on Damagran is eventually settled forcibly, and the Confederacy returns to the Republic.

This was probably the heaviest victory in a single game that there was, as the Dark Siders clearly won- they didn’t get a total victory, which would have been nabbing a load of gold for themselves as well- but the Jedi not only failed, they actually made the situation on Damagran much worse. It is this that is the final part of the Council’s decision to forbid any mission to track down Kuylen.

Now, this is a decision which seemed to make no sense, but it was a vital one. The Council knows that Kuylen cannot do any long term damage- which is to say, they sense he has not. However, as the Damagran situation showed, there was considerable damage to be done in trying to pursue him wherever he went. If he actively turned up in the Republic or moved against it, that might change things, but the Council was convinced that sending a mission to pursue him, aside from being fruitless, would do more harm than good- and the Jedi were needed for other things. One Jedi was dead, another (yerss) nearly fallen, and a diplomatic situation ruined already (with the loss of many more lives), and they sensed worse to come.


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Old Post Apr 16th, 2004 08:13 PM
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Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

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Episode 3- Artifact

After the shaky first and somewhat dodgy second episode, it is in this one that the game really came together in the coherent way that it now exists, and its future was assured from then on, with a regular and dedicated band of players, though changes still followed. It also returned to the main plotline and introduced the idea of the Mausoleum, the ultimate target of the game.

Kuylen, thwarted at Avalar, is still hopeful for Sithhood. His new target is the Mausoleum of Demnos, where he hopes to learn the secrets of the Sith from Demnos himself, with the studies of the partial Archive recovery being enough to gain entrance. Even better, with the recovery of the star maps from Avalar, Kuylen even has the location of the Mausoleum… if only he had any way of understanding the maps. Luckily, though, he knows how to do that- because in his time with Ascar, he noted that Ascar was the proud owner of a fully intact Sith Astrolabe… all other examples of which had been disabled by the Order- although Kuylen does not know that they were only disabled after the Mausoleum was dealt with- like just about everyone else, Kuylen has no idea that the Mausoleum had been permanently sanitised eight centuries back; his insight into it is purely based on his knowledge of the Sith wars, not the times after them, which interested him less.

Unfortunately, getting the Astrolabe will not be easy, as it means returning to Malastare- far harder now he is a wanted man- and dealing with Ascar- not easy. But he plans to do it anyway, with a lightning fast visit. Whilst there, he also plans one other move; knowing that Zeiton was historically located massively outside the Republic, he plans to steal some special long-range hyperdrives to allow the player’s ships- including his own- to get there. And so the episode starts with the Dark Siders- who in the course of this game drop to two regulars, old hand Galder and new permanent fixture Takuan- raiding an orbital supply depot to steal the hyperdrives, destroying an entire storeroom to conceal what they stole. Kuylen plans, what with Dark Side Obfuscation and a quick operation, to be away before nay heat can come back on his team. However, forces are working against him.

Gundark is surprised when she- and some of her Jedi associates- are invited to meet the Supreme Chancellor himself. He makes them an interesting offer- via means of his extensive network of contacts, as Chancellor, he has, by luck, gotten evidence that Kuylen is on Malastare- and in the precedent set by his predecessor (who sent QGJ to deal with the Trade Federation on Naboo), he wishes to send Gundark to deal with Kuylen. The Council, reluctant, but not in a position to refuse now Kuylen has arrived on a major Republican world, has agreed to loan the Chancellor the use of their Knights, and so Gundark is now placed in personal charge of a Chancellor-backed mission to pursue and eliminate Kuylen.

The truth is different. Darth Sidious is now in full command of the facts, and wants this upstart Kuylen dead. Sadly, Maul is now ‘unavailable’, else he would send him after Kuylen- whether Maul would have beaten Kuylen is uncertain but it would be a match worth seeing. But now he is Chancellor he has other means. His powers as a Sith have located Kuylen, and as Chancellor he will direct the Jedi to do his work for him. From this point on, Gundark and the others are unwittingly working for the Sith.

The Jedi arrival on Malastare- after a length rescue of a starliner under attack by pirates, upon which they meet Balek again, who is on his way to Malastare also- coincides with another event designed to complicate things. Ascar’s apprentices, Persis and Majora, are getting out of control. Unable to learn great Lightsabre skills from Ascar- who is a Master with the Force but not really a sabre man- they are instead learning swordfighting from a dojo on Malastare- led by an ex-lightsabre instructor named Teshan, a non-Jedi who used to help teach the young apprentices, until they turned about 12 or 13 but which point their Jedi skills tended to make them better than him… when he became too old to even fight the younger kids any more, he retired and set up the dojo to make a living. Persis and Majora, disguised as Mogarians (a species that cannot breathe oxygen who as a consequence wear all-over body suits with voice synthesisers, making perfect means of anonymity), are training hard each day- although Teshan is becoming suspicious at their reflexes. More alarmingly, Persis and Majora have just killed one of the other students for fun, and left his body in a nearby alley.

Therefore the Jedi are confronted with two events- the raid on the orbital facility, which was Kuylen’s work but from which they get little evidence, and the murder by the dojo, which was not Kuylen’s work but they think was. Teshan is very helpful to the Jedi, and most importantly, points them in the direction of Ascar (who helped finance Teshan’s dojo as a means of training his apprentices).

The Dark Siders have had no luck with Ascar- Kuylen is too dangerous for Ascar to want to work with him any more. Kuylen now leaves Malastare, leaving the players to try and force some form of deal with Ascar. Kuylen is leaving to meet up with Saar and Edna, who have been securing the co-operation of the elite order of Miramar on Belseraphon, deadly assassins all, by kidnapping the Grandmaster’s daughter. Kuylen is needed to finish up the situation there, but also he plans to send a large contingent to Malastare to help Galder and Takuan should violence be the only solution- Ascar, with his force powers, sabre wielding bodyguards and great intelligence, could not be as casually dealt with as Faylar. Just to really irritate them, Ascar checked if the info Kuylen had was genuine first- and so Ascar himself knows where the Mausoleum is, but won’t say (Kuylen knows it is on Zeiton, of course, but doesn’t know where Zeiton is…)!

When the Jedi visit Ascar, they are impressed by his collection, and also note the existence of the Astrolabe- also that it has been operated lately. Not sure of Ascar’s motives, he is warned about his possible safety but he denies ever having met a Kuylen- his force powers remain still unknown. Gundark’s old Jedi friend Scovione arrives to bring a warning that Pelloran, the pirate chief, has honoured Faylar’s bounties on the Dark Siders- but also extended them to herself, as he holds her responsible for the slaughter of his pirates on Jaglon Beta- Balek has arrived to pick up that contract. Scovione also warns Gundark against continuing her mission to find Kuylen- a more personal repetition of the misgivings that the Council had. Scovione also helps, when the Astrolabe is discussed, in identifying the Mausoleum as Kuylen’s target.

Eventually, with neither side making much progress against the wily and VERY amused Ascar, both sides cut an identical deal with him. The Jedi want the Astrolabe because they think Kuylen has already used it and need to pursue him; the Dark Siders need it to use it in the first place! Ascar promises to each side in turn that they can borrow the Astrolabe if they do him a favour. Ascar, with his vast gambling empire, plans to make a load of money on the Malastare Open pod race, due to occur tomorrow. He says to each side that if they front a driver, he can provide the pod, and a Mogarian suit to provide anonymity (this, of course, provides suspicion to the Jedi about the dojo murders). Ascar’s reasoning is that with their Jedi skills and the fact that many of the sport’s best drivers were taken out of commission by the violent Boonta Eve race on Tatooine three months back (won by some unknown kid…), that they could win., But entering as an unknown, no-one will bet on them- and so Ascar will make a huge profit margin. Of course, he tells neither side that he has made this offer twice…

Entered for the pod race are Mah and Galder. The race is vigorous, vicious and fun- and it is Mah who wins. Both racers survive assassination attempts during the race- the Light Siders by a chancing hunter who is arrested, the Dark Siders an attempt from Balek (who will not try and kill the Jedi whilst in the Republic) which Takuan stops- though I go easy on him in the fight lest he be killed! There is now only one option for the Dark Siders- violence, and the contingent from Belseraphon is ready to act on their order. Just to complicate things, and increasingly petulant Persis has swapped the Astrolabe for a fake, and plans to take on both sides with his private security force.

As the Jedi attempt to collect their prize, the final- and very large- confrontation of the game begins. The Dark Siders- helped by the Miramar, who give the Jedi a big headache as they are elite warriors (for mooks…)- try to seize the Astrolabe. The police-backed Jedi try to hold onto it. And Persis leads his security men against both, causing a small war in the middle of Malastare’s capital. A bothered Ascar makes his escape in the fighting, irritated that others have rather exposed his position- the Jedi, when they trace the owner of Ascar’s relic lightsabre, suss out that it is actually Ascar’s own, and that he is in fact Sannan. They have little time to worry about this during the fight; just about everyone is duelling, Takuan getting an easy start against Scovione’s Padawan Corelay, Galder taking on recently arrived Master Marcus- Galder losing an arm in a solid defeat- Gundark finding out how nasty Chion is in a fight, and Xeth and Lance squaring off against the double act of Persis and Majora, now exposed as sabre wielders.

At the end of the day, the Jedi are victorious, Majora killed, and the others driven off. But they have only held onto the fake- Persis escapes with the real thing. When the Jedi try to trace Ascar, he launches a vigorous force attack on Xeth and escapes also. The Dark Siders have nothing- a considerable tactical reverse.

However, the damage on Malastare is great- both in property and lives. The Jedi are attracting negative publicity- and the Council is nervous about the mission. In fact, they would likely- as Kuylen had apparently gone before they got there and the Dark Siders seem defeated- have chosen to discontinue the mission, but Gundark receives no such order from Palpatine, and carries on her pursuit.


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Old Post Apr 16th, 2004 08:14 PM
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Ushgarak
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Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

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Episode 4- Chase

Like Episode 2, the content of this episode very much depended on the end of the one before. Two things were new about it- first of all, it was the first story that followed directly after the one before, with no time passing, and secondly it was the first with a split plotline, with three separate ‘play areas’ in use- something we shall see more of, especially for the Jedi, in the new campaign.
This game entirely rotated around finding the Mausoleum. Persis had the Astrolabe, with which the Dark Side can find it, and Ascar actually knew where the Mausoleum is. There was also a copy of the star maps floating around for the Jedi to take, but this was never used (the Council have a copy of those maps but would not have let the players use them). In each situation the Dark Siders were getting there first, the Jedi in pursuit, hence the name.

The first ‘thread’ was on Tartarus, a miserable little world in the Lamellan sector, not far from Malastare. The defining point about Tartarus is that it was the centre of a hugely illegal smuggling operation- one of the largest hotbeds of organised crime inside the Republic, responsible for much depravation throughout the Galaxy. It was here that Persis had made his name, and Ascar made a lot of money through this place as well. The reason this festering sore was not yet destroyed was because of the incredibly corrupt Lamellan Government, who work WITH the smugglers and make a heck of a lot of money whilst covering up their crimes and existence. This arrangement had been in place for a hundred years at least, and finally some progress was being made towards shutting down the Tartarus operation- but the senatorial committee in charge of the investigation has become completely bogged down in legalese- slow laws, administrative procedures, and lobbying by Lamellan lawyers. The final result was that the entirety of Tartarus was under this large Republican investigation, but whilst it was going on, no Republican personnel were allowed into Tartarus- save for a small military area- lest they bias the investigation.

This legal deadlock was intended to demonstrate to the Jedi the limitations they are forced to work under for the corrupt parts of the Republic. Persis, with the Astrolabe, had fled to Tartarus amongst his friends there. Dark Siders Chion and Galder- under censure from Kuylen for their failure on Malastare- are sent to eliminate him and retrieve the Astrolabe. A returning Yerssot and new player, Master Marcus, along with Mah, are sent from the Jedi to apprehend Persis and stop the Astrolabe falling into Dark Side hands. But the Jedi soon find they are not legally entitled to enter the main part of Tartarus, due to the investigation. When they invoke their legal power and the important nature of their mission, a representative from the Lamellan Senatorial delegation is sent- named T’Lo Nebb. Nebb is, of course, actually sent to obstruct rather than help the Jedi investigation, and slows them down in every legal way possible- being unable to speak standard is a good start. The Jedi find themselves prevented for ages from entering the main area until they agree to a large set of restrictions, and once they are in there the loud announcement about them being Jedi on an investigation simply scares all possible witnesses who could help them away. The Jedi players get very frustrated by the situation and are unable to make much progress.

The Dark Siders meet up with new NPC and saboteuress Jolanta- horror of horrors, she is Krisha’s sister- and later with new regular player Rah. The Dark Siders actually have a good opportunity to ally with the corrupt smugglers and get them to hand over Persis in return for ‘taking care’ of the Jedi problem for them. Instead, though, the Dark Siders try an out and out violent approach which is very hazardous for them and nearly gets Galder killed. Had the Jedi not been slowed so much by their legal problems, this would have caused severe setback for the Dark Siders.

In the end, though, the Jedi are too slow, and also unfortunately hit by player absence. The Dark Siders belatedly catch and eliminate Persis- although Galder came VERY close to being totally killed; probably his luckiest escape yet- and recover the Astrolabe before escaping amidst much destruction. The Jedi can only return to their fellows cursing both Republican law, and Nebb in particular. A single consolation is that the Jedi capture Galder’s ship, including the long range hyperdrive- but Chion and Jolanta steal a large freighter as an alternative.

The second thread is on the planet Belseraphon, home of the Miramar. Jedi Sieri comes to Belseraphon to check out Kuylen’s apparent link to this place- Kuylen cannot have bought the Miramar’s assistance, that is for sure; they cost too much. Meanwhile, Takuan is sent to replace Edna on Miramar, where Kuylen’s associate Saar- the intelligent NPC Dark Sider now appearing for the first time- needs a force sensitive to help him run the place.

The Dark Side has control over the Miramar having taken the daughter of the Grandmaster of the Order hostage, in a stasis booth at the top of one of the Miramar citadels. Actually, though, that is a fake; she is in fact on Kuylen’s ship; therefore the Miramar can never rescue her. Saar senses- as Edna had sensed more strongly- that the Miramar are soon to rebel anyway- the reason is that since they got a look at the Astrolabe, they have clocked that the objective of the Dark Siders is to bring back the Sith, and the Miramar- pitiless assassins as they are themselves- loathe the Sith due to a vicious war they had with them 1000 years ago, on the losing side. The return of the Sith is something the Grandmaster would even give his daughter’s life to stop. Takuan must work out why the seed of rebellion is spreading, and prevent it.

Sieri leaves soon after making contact with the Miramar, but is there long enough to tell them all they need to know and persuade them to go ahead with the rebellion. There were many clues on Miramar about Kuylen’s objectives, including a copy of the Avalar star maps, but the Jedi side never gets involved in all this. However, Takuan- despite using his force skills to get insight about both this episode and the next one- does not quite make the link in time, and this single move by the Jedi proves decisive. The Miramar rebel and Saar and Takuan only just escape alive- Kuylen has now lost the last of his allies. As Gundark in the third thread had already rescued the daughter of the Grandmaster, this is considered a decisive defeat for the Dark Side.

The third thread is on Nar Shadda, home of the Hutts, and somewhere I made an effort to portray as the most horrific place possible- full of Bounty Hunters and traitorous scum- barely civilisation at all. Here, Ascar has fled, to his multiple Hutt contacts. In fact, Ascar has a plan put in motion to make the best of the bad situation he has found himself in. Fleeing to Hutt space gives him the time he needs to get it all done. Ascar’s movements are as follows:

First he pays off the Hutts who he has ticked off by fixing the gambling on Malastare- by sharing the wealth, he keeps in good favour with his contacts. Then, via the means of a fixer who can arrange for him to meet special people, Ascar meets a notable slaver named Arazi, who sells Ascar a special slave girl from a world which still operates a ‘Courtesan’ class; a girl well skilled in the arts of seduction and pleasure in service to a man. Once he has the girl, Ascar proceeds to a private rendezvous with a Senator named Riordan, whom Ascar has promised the girl to, thus luring the Senator with the bribe to Nar Shadda. Ascar then surrenders TO the Senator- meaning he is taken into Republican custody without the Jedi being involved, so they can do nothing more to him. His lawyers will take it from there.

This situation is complicated by his pursuers. The Jedi want Ascar in order to arrest him and stop the Dark Siders getting to him. The Dark Siders want him in order to forcibly get the Mausoleum’s location from him. Xeth and Gundark go for the Light Siders- backed by a couple of temporary new players- and Kuylen himself goes for the Dark, whilst taking the opportunity to try out some new Dark Side hopefuls, only one of which stays long-term with the game.

The Dark Siders get caught up in work with Hutts, and trying to violently force their way into Ascar’s agenda. The Light Siders are trying to follow Ascar’s trail but are being bothered by Shareth’s droid forces who are after Xeth for his betrayal of Shareth as he was posing as her bodyguard. Balek also makes his first shot at the Light Siders here, wounding Gundark but withdrawing before help can arrive.

A large battle in Ascar’s hotel suite ensues when the Jedi turn up there at the same time as Kuylen, and also several hundred battle droids. The Jedi are badly beaten by Kuylen but the droid intervention prevents the fight from being fatal. The Jedi eventually catch up with Shareth’s man who is organising the attacks on Xeth and in return for letting him go get the location of Kuylen’s ship; after fighting off some hover droid assassins, they cripple the long-range hyperdrive and rescue the daughter of the Miramar Grandmaster, making Takuan’s life harder without him even knowing it!

Ascar double-crosses the Dark Siders, leaving them ambushed, but when they continue to come after him, he finally gives them the location of the Mausoleum rather than have them pursue him for all time. But Ascar is not done yet. Gundark and Xeth finally catch up with him after he has surrendered to the Senator. Realising she has now no power to do anything, a frustrated Gundark can only talk with Ascar- but in order to screw over Kuylen, Ascar tells Gundark the location also. He also gives her a warning not to go, though worded in Ascar’s unique manner, making it seem, like a dare. Nonetheless, three powerful Force users- the collective wisdom of the Council, her friend Scovione, and now Ascar, have all told Gundark it is a bad idea to keep following Kuylen- doubly so to Zeiton, as Ascar knows that the Jedi did indeed destroy the Astrolabes they had on purpose- whether Ascar knew the whole truth also can be debated. The mission is too far advanced for Gundark now- she proceeds.

The episode was broadly a draw- the Dark Siders got what they wanted twice over, both the Astrolabe and, in any case, the Mausoleum’s location, but the Jedi got the location as well, and the Dark Siders lost the support of the Miramar. All that remains now, is Zeiton and the Mausoleum.


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Old Post Apr 16th, 2004 08:14 PM
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Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

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Episode 5- Mausoleum

By now, Palpatine’s subtle efforts to deny the Council news of Gundark’s mission have petered out- specifically after a report by Scovione. But it is too late. By the time the Council realise Gundark has been chasing an Astrolabe and is heading to Zeiton, she is already out of range of the recall message sent by Windu. The Council knows that not only is the presence of Jedi on Zeiton a gross betrayal of former promises, it will also make immeasurably worse the presence of Kuylen, because with Light and Dark presented to the Zeitonians they will surely start to destroy themselves again. With nothing there for Kuylen anyway, the Council consider it a disaster already that Gundark is going- and can only hope that in some way Gundark does bring some good to the situation by stopping Kuylen or his followers, which would at least bring some good news out of the chaos.

The players know none of this, of course, and learn all about the Zeitonians and their history during the course of the game. However, the game in fact starts on the swampy world Dordellus, the Dark Sider’s base, where they have been forced to go to re-fuel the freighter the Tartarus group stole since two ships lost their long-range hyperdrives. This gives the opportunity to do two things- top demonstrate to the Dark Sider’s the need they have for a base- now this one is being abandoned as the Jedi are sure to follow- and also it meant I could demonstrate how the Dark Siders trained in absence of somewhere like the temple to train in, with Kuylen’s crude but effective methods involving competitive examination (the graves of those outside the base an indication that there were more who did not make it), the fighting of captured slaves promised their freedom if they can beat one of Kuylen’s men in fair combat, and chemicals designed to cause emotional imbalances- most especially of fear- which help the Dark Siders get ‘in touch’ with their emotions (a device which gave much amusement (for me, anyway…) on both sides during the course of play). The last thing Kuylen and his followers do there before moving on, is use the Astrolabe to double check Ascar’s co-ordinates, load up as much gear as they can take, send their own personal ships to safe points in the Galaxy, and finally sabotage the base, destroying their own fuel store and wiping all the electronics- also leaving the base without defences against the vicious arthropod insects that plague Dordellus.

The Jedi arrive soon afterwards, having picked up new regular Roan with them after finding his off-course and lost ship along the way. The Jedi penetrate the base cloaking field, and just about survive the arthropod attack when they re-activate the defences just in time. They rescue the remaining slaves and sent them home about Roan’s ship. They also manage to recover fuel for their journey, as the Dark Siders forgot to remove the fuel from the pirated ships that were there (though the ships themselves were disabled), and via an extended series of manoeuvres that involves abandoning half their ships on the way, the Jedi are able to proceed to Zeiton as well.

Both sides have received dire premonitions about the upcoming events. Gundark’s, which re-visits her premonition from the start of the first story, is relatively clear but does not say that much. Takuan’s is full of information but very hard to understand! Both sides receive a number of lines that are used by characters in the episode; half were for the Light Siders and half for the Dark; all pointed towards the final confrontation with the activation of the vengeance device.

Upon arrival on Zeiton, the Dark Siders are surprised by the hostile surface conditions- not improved after 400 years- and soon after that the planet is inhabited. They are also surprised when Kuylen destroys their own ship soon after- to make sure they stay focussed on the goal- and also when they work out that they do not know where Kuylen has placed both the archive and the astrolabe.

Kuylen obviously knows more than the rest of them, and before long, as they journey to an underground city, the Dark Siders have a partial idea of this place- certainly of the force sensitive nature of the Zeitonians. But even Kuylen- unaware of the problems the Zeitonians will cause- is surprised when Zeitonians start throwing themselves onto the Dark Sider’s side so readily, easily throwing away their conditioning which has led them to believe the Jedi and Sith are just myths. The Dark Siders start building up an army, in preparation for assaulting the main government buildings, in order to raid the archives and find evidence of the location of the Mausoleum (as certainly no Zeitonian knows where it is).

The Light Siders are less fortunate when they arrive- alerted as to the presence of Force users on the planet, the Elder heightens security and the Light Siders are soon taken captive- the lightsabre-proof kinetic weaponry of the Zeitonians makes resistance against large numbers of them futile for the Jedi.

By this time, lightsabres left over from the ancient wars on Zeiton have become a badge of office for the ruling Council that assists the Elder in ruling- though they are just as ignorant of the Force as most of the populace. One such Council member performs an early interrogation on the Jedi to try and find out who they are, before the Elder intervenes and has him arrested, before making a polite request to the Jedi that they not talk to any more of his men before their trial and execution tomorrow.

The Jedi argue with the Elder, on the idea that he is ignorant- the Jedi have already learned that they and the Sith are viewed as myths, but without the context of the full Zeitonian history, they do not know why the Elder sees the Jedi as just as big a threat as the Sith. For his part, the Elder does not know that Gundark has effectively been tricked into coming to Zeiton and that the Jedi Council would never have consciously betrayed their promise. However, the Elder’s position is that the Jedi MUST die as soon as possible or his planet is again doomed. He therefore has no interest in the Jedi’s warnings about Kuylen- indeed, her fully appreciates just ho dangerous Kuylen and his men are and would even accept the possibility that he might not defeat them, though he thinks he will if he can maintain control.

Sadly it is too late. Rumours of both the Light and Dark side are spreading like a plague though Zeiton, and people whose beliefs- and force based instincts- are kept in check only by the most rigorous of laws are falling over themselves to get a look at the new arrivals on the planet and to join one side or another. Kuylen sends one of his subverted Council members to hasten the Jedi’s execution, and he does a neat job of framing them still further for evil acts, but the Elder fails in any case- the Ruling Council has split evenly, with half sympathising with the Jedi after their trial, and the other half seeking out Kuylen to join his side and promises of power. The Jedi are released by their sympathisers and Zeiton goes to war, and the Elder knows that by failing to kill the Jedi in time, he has failed his people. He also knows his own destiny ends soon as a result.

Kuylen’s objective is to pull forces away from the palace so that he and his team can penetrate it and get a certain book of records from the archives which Kuylen is pretty sure will help them locate the Mausoleum. The Dark Siders are amused when the Jedi help them achieve that objective when the Jedi all too readily lead the Zeitonian Light Siders to war, out into the streets of the increasingly ruined underground city.

History starts to repeat itself as the Zeitonian ‘problem’ finally slowly becomes apparent. Just as before, all the Dark Siders notice is that their forces are proving somewhat unreliable. But the Light Siders- after Gundark thinks about the situation- realise what is happening, and how it is indeed their own presence that is causing this death of the Zeitonian civilisation. It is too late to stop this war now, though. A summons from the Elder brings the Jedi to the front door of the archives, where the Elder fills the Jedi in on the story of Zeiton- minus the establishment of the Mausoleum, something he has no knowledge of. The Dark Siders, for their part, have a more bastardised version of the story, caring less about the tragedy of the Zeitonian race.

Kuylen and his people arrive soon after. Outnumbered and outgunned, the Jedi are powerless to prevent Kuylen retrieving what he needs and the subsequent murder of the Elder. But a fight ensues after Kuylen leaves; this would be the end of the Jedi but the treachery of the Zeitonians save them, as an en masse betrayal of the Dark Siders begins- and with echoes of Jaglon Beta, both sides are soon fighting for their lives. Both sides escape, but for the Jedi there is a bonus- during the fighting near the archives they by ‘chance’ recover an old document- named the Treaty of Komal. This is in fact the culmination of the diplomatic side of Komal’s mission eight centuries ago. There is no evidence of who Komal is and what he did on the treaty, but half of it is in Galactic, and it includes a promise made by the Zeitonians to never develop industrially into a certain mountain range in the northern hemisphere- this is where the Mausoleum is, and after a small amount of time searching, the Jedi are able to locate it.

The Dark Siders are there already, of course, having gotten all the info they needed. They soon set themselves up, placing loyal Zeitonians to man the considerable defences the Mausoleum has, and also finding the control room. Here they discover the existence of the Vengeance Device, a weapon very much of the Sith mindset. This huge, multi-story crystal is of pure baradium- the element of which a microscopic fragment forms the core of a thermal detonator. The Vengeance Device’s purpose is simple- if it explodes, it will be with enough force to destroy the biosphere of the planet, leaving nothing alive on it, above or below ground. It is basically an extreme form of self-destruct used as a deterrent; it was devised for use against other Sith Lords, the idea being that should another Darth come attack a place, the owner of the Device can simply say “leave or EVERYONE dies…”. The Dark Siders set about dismantling the controls to the damn thing. Meanwhile, down below, the entrance to Demnos’ tomb is found, sealed by apparently unopenable double doors. Kuylen, who is now becoming increasingly Sith-like, including wearing the robes, knows how to open them- the information having been retrieved from Avalar. As the final section of the campaign begins, Kuylen proceeds with the ritual to open the doors.

The Jedi arrive at the valley that leads into the Mausoleum but quickly become confounded at trying to find a way to penetrate its considerable defences. Delay invites disaster, and Xeth and Marcus are both captured. Xeth is taken off to be tortured by Jolanta, as a more professional interrogation of Marcus is begun by Chion, Saar and Takuan, up at the top of the Mausoleum by the controls for the Vengeance Device.

Gundark and Roan gain entrance through one of the gun turrets after using the Force to disable the occupant. After rescuing Xeth- causing Jolanta to flee- they proceed to the Tomb doors, to confront Kuylen- backed by Rah and Galder- at the very entrance to, supposedly, the spirit of Demnos itself. Meanwhile, an equally urgent problem has developed up top.

Chion had been becoming increasingly sullen and unhappy as time went by. Blamed for failure on Malastare, Kuylen had been becoming increasingly less patient with him. Chion had been nurturing a resentment, and was bored with the life being offered. Furthermore, Chion was a being of little grand-scale ambition; he simply enjoyed death and carnage. When he saw the Vengeance Device, he saw an opportunity to finish his life in the most glorious manner- with the deaths of a billion people. Cannily, he separated Takuan and Saar during Marcus’s interrogation, and then disable Saar by effectively wrenching the Zabrak’s arm nearly off. Takuan ran back to Saar’s cries of distress just in time to see Chion activate the device. With no option, Takuan hurriedly released Marcus and the two of them took arms against the brute.

The final fights then began, to decide the final ‘winners’. Up top, in a duel rather closer than I had planned, Marcus and Takuan eventually overcome and slay Chion. With Saar’s help, the full effect of the Device is nullified but the mountainside is still going to be blown to pieces. A small piece of trickery by Saar leads to Takuan escaping; Saar is taken prisoner.

Down below the Jedi were really up against it- circumstance and being a player short than I had envisaged led to the chances of their victory being quite small. As it was, Xeth was able to overcome Rah and come to Gundark’s aid against Kuylen, but not in time, and Roan’s help would really have been needed as well. Kuylen emerges victorious, grievously wounding Xeth in the process. Kuylen completes his ritual and enters the tomb, followed not long after by Gundark. Galder wins his duel against Roan, and with the help of Takuan to remove an obstructing rock, the two of them enter the tomb last of all.

What happens to Kuylen is not recorded, but within the tomb, all thee of them learn the final truth- or the final joke as it were… that there is nothing there! All that is found in the tomb is an old message from Komal, referring to the fact that both the Cult and the Mausoleum had been purged by him and his Padawan. Komal never meant for this message to be read, but he had left it just in case…

The game ends at this point. The destruction of the Mausoleum leaves no more room for fighting; the epilogue section makes it clear that the Jedi escaped and are hurried off the planet by the Zeitonians- the more civilised of which are now in control, with the Jedi’s original captor and interrogator as the new Elder. The Jedi return home to Coruscant, where they report to the Council, now with everyone understanding how Kuylen never presented a threat that needed to be stopped at all costs, and where Gundark learns that her secondment under Palpatine has now come to an end, with her and her team being returned to standard Jedi duties- and also being offered Padawans to train. The bounty on Gundark’s head has also been taken care off after Scovione visited Jaglon Beta.

It is also apparent that the Dark Sider’s escaped more forcefully from Zeiton, and are hiding away for a while until the pressure dies down. Of Kuylen- and for that matter, Jolanta- there is no sign. The Dark Sider’s, defeated by a Jedi who lived eight centuries before they did, appear to have gained, from all their work, nothing at all…


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Old Post Apr 16th, 2004 08:14 PM
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Ushgarak
Paladin

Gender: Male
Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

Co-Admin

POST-MORTEM

Well, I should probably remind the players of this note I made right at the start of Episode V:

“That said, there are two main ways in which this game can end. The first is total devastation. The second is considerable irritation! That is the choice destiny sets you, how it happens is up to you guys.”

We did, of course, get the second. Yayyy!

Yay?

Ok, some people might be a TAD angry at the entire story actually being a colossal waste of time. The Jedi, warned repeatedly not to bother chasing Kuylen as they would only do more harm than good, did so anyway on the idea that Kuylen needed to be stopped as his ambitions were so dangerous., But apparently not so, and all the Jedi caused was a long string and deaths and extreme violence.

The Dark Siders might feel even more peeved, as everything they worked on from the first story onwards was completely bogus. There was never anything for them to gain at all!

So, what was the point?

Well, first of all, let us not forget that the journey is often more important than the end- the experience of playing through the plot should be reward enough other than expecting some life-shattering event at the end of it!

Not convinced, eh?

Ok, secondly, remember I am constrained by the limits of the storyline we play in. I say ‘constrained’- I rather LOVE the setting, but I cannot destroy it. There is simply no way in which the Dark Side players will rise to become Sith Lords and threaten the Galaxy! That simply ‘never happened’, as it were. As much as the Jedi players have to accept that their days are numbered, plotwise, the Dark Siders have to accept that they are never going to ‘do it’, as such.

Still not convinced it was worthwhile?

Ok then. The point is, that this story had a moral and an important lesson for all players. The idea behind it all is basically to demonstrate the great strength of the Jedi in their roles of defenders of the Republic. With their powers of prediction and combat, their skills, and their great wisdom and altruism, the Republic is night-on impregnable. George Lucas has created a Council of the wisest people in the Galaxy, people with a thousand generations of history backing them up. Now, if he wants to explain in his films how they were laid low, that is of course his point as creator and writer- but I am damned if I am going to make them look silly in advance of that! Their wisdom has to exist in great quantities, and in this case the Dark Siders find themselves utterly confounded by it.

In fact, the weak point of the Jedi is this- they serve a Republic that is corrupting from within, and without assuming powers they have no right to assume, the Jedi cannot stop that. Palpatine has the wit and brains to use THIS as a weapon against the Jedi. Fiction may be full of ancient Sith Lords with terrifying artifacts and ancient powers, and the Mausoleum joins one of many ‘ancient and powerful sites that can destroy the Galaxy' that litter the EU, both books and games. And most assuredly, they make for fun plots, which is why the Mausoleum was created. But how does Palpatine conquer the Galaxy? Is it with the ancient power of x that does y? No, it is with good planning, canny thinking- and politics. It might seem very prosaic, almost dull… but why shouldn’t the prosaic be at least as important as the mythological?

But of course, great power in the form of the Force does still enter into it in many ways. With the Cosmic Force, the Jedi are able to predict and avoid potential threats to the Republic. The Mausoleum was dealt with in this way. George Lucas takes pains to explain why the Cosmic Force is FAILING the Jedi in the films- ‘blind are we…’ says Yoda, because they missed the cloning facilities being built on Kamino. This is the point- the biggest weapon that the Jedi have had for a thousand years, that has seen off all measure of threats, is failing them- and Yoda and Windu are indeed worried.

Contrast the Living Force, the instinctive power that Qui-Gon depended on. The Council did not know Anakin had been born, and did not know if he was the Chosen One when they saw him. But QGJ, he just KNEW. His instincts told him all he needed to know- nothing the Sith can do would ever obscure those instincts. And yes, his decision to train Anakin was dangerous and it causes many problems- but he was ultimately right.

In this sense, then, the main plotline represents the triumph of the Maverick, and the Living Force succeeds where the Cosmic fails. Yet George Lucas very clearly calls the Cosmic Force the ‘Greater’ side of the Force, and even if he does not mean ‘better’ by that, he certainly thinks it is entirely valid- especially in as it pertains to destiny. So the moral of this story is- Cosmic Force Triumphant. In many ways, this is the last hurrah of the Jedi’s predictive powers and wisdom protecting the Galaxy- it is all downhill from here. Soon the Cosmic Force will spectacularly fail the Jedi, but no-one should ever think it is weak or ineffectual- it is simply that the Sith have the power to fight it, something the Dark Side players sorely lacked.

So much for the moral of the game. But what was the point in you guys playing it? Well, aside from the fact that a moral like this is much better learned by experience than simple dictum, there are also considerably good reasons why this was not a waste of time for anyone. Fact is, this game was a learning curve for everyone, before you move onto big boy’s games… ooh yes, things will move up a gear from hereon!

The Jedi have learned several lessons, one important example of which is that- when dealing with the Dark Side, pretty much nothing is as it seems. Whilst I don’t want the players to think that they will always look like intellectual midgets compared to the Council, it is also worth bearing in mind that there is always room for more points of view than your own, and you should consider the reasoning behind such views carefully.

The Jedi, as noted, also had several tangible successes that also made their trip worthwhile- they have achieved. Kuylen’s power IS broken and this is by your efforts; his operations will now be undone. Zeiton did suffer, but not by any malice from your part. Terrible as their fate was, it is perhaps inevitable that this will keep happening to them, so I guess there is always someone worse off than yourself… all in all, despite the Zeitonian tragedy, there are good things that have now been done that would not have been done were it not for you.

You have also all had some remote contact with things Sith-like, which will stand you in good stead for future things. The Knights have all earned the right to train Padawans, and Xeth can now start mending his relationship with the Council if he now chooses.

All in all, you guys should be wiser people, and you will have an edge over any new players that join in the form of this experience.

As for the Dark Siders… consider this your graduation. Through the course of play you have learned LOADS- about what it is like to be a Dark Siders. Each of your comrades helped teach you a lesson. Krisha and Jolanta are a lesson that powerful emotion alone is not enough to give you great power. Chion is a lesson that if all you can do is kill, even intelligently kill, your path leads you nowhere but to a pointless end- the most Chion could ever have achieved was killing a billion people- a good result, from his view. But is that all you want from life? If so, you are not a very interesting character… Saar teaches us that even if you are intelligent and sensible and mature, if you ignore the possibly of stupidity or madness in others, you can still be undone.

And Kuylen? Kuylen was everything he needed. Not a Master, he was nonetheless talented with the Force, he was intelligent, educated, well read, a natural leader and fantastic with a sabre. Yet he failed. And his failure is a lesson- no matter how good you are… you simply won’t beat the Republic this way! For those of you with ambition- all of you, I hope!- you have done what few others have ever done- learn this lesson, and still be alive.

The Dark Siders are now cut loose. Kuylen is not leading them any more. You will be in charge of your own destinies. You may feel hard done by, by finding nothing. In many ways, all of you have gained MASSIVELY from the whole experience. You too have grown more mature and experienced, and learned how things work, and this is vital experience for you because you can now strike out on your own. This will be difficult and dangerous and there are many problems ahead of you- but if you think you can take it, then give it a go- else, give up and fade away to nothing…

All of you that have played this campaign can look at those who have not and think ‘Heh… what do YOU know, eh?’ And aside from that, there are rewards in the form of experience to make you more powerful characters.

So, when you consider that you guys had a good time playing it (I hope!), and that there was much to learn, you have all bettered themselves, and there are prospects for the future… well! Somehow, the fact that the Mausoleum was a bust seems less important to me. In many ways, this is worth more than it being some ancient source of power that does… whatever.

Of course, it DID do something once… Komal knew. Who is to say what might be revealed in future?

As to where is Kuylen… good question. How did he feel? What is he thinking? Maybe there is more to what happened to him than might be assumed… or maybe not. But the Force led Gundark to Kuylen… and she has an instinct that perhaps one day, she may come his way again.

Again… my thanks.


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Last edited by Ushgarak on Apr 17th, 2004 at 04:42 PM

Old Post Apr 16th, 2004 08:15 PM
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Dexx
wingless

Gender: Male
Location: Bucharest, Romania

hah...you're trying to trick us into the mausoleum again?...neaaah..i'm not buying it twice stick out tongue

great game, what can i same...ending or not.
can't wait for the second campaign

Old Post Apr 16th, 2004 10:55 PM
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Fire
Senior Member

Gender: Male
Location: On vacation

great ush great

same as dexx I can hardly wait, I hope it starts soon, I never thought I'd make it out of there alive during that last adventure on zeiton.

you're thanking us for playing and/or reading
however I feel it is WE who OWE YOU our thanks
(You took a long time writing all these posts today)


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Old Post Apr 17th, 2004 12:33 AM
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xeous
The Next.

Gender: Male
Location: United States

You are an amazing human, Ush. Will you be my mentor?


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Old Post Apr 17th, 2004 01:06 AM
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REXXXX
Networking

Gender: Male
Location: San Diego

Moderator

laughing out loud

Great work, Ush. Absolutely brilliant!

Now, let us see what the future holds. What happened to Kuylen and Jolanta and if Galder will ever get his revenge on Master Marcus is yet to be known. evil face

Also, now I can show Rah and Takuan the corpse of Lance Windu's master! evil face


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Old Post Apr 17th, 2004 01:41 AM
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Bespin Bart
Buggy

Gender: Male
Location: Everywhere

Gross, Rex. stick out tongue

Good, there was nothing there! Sure, we did all that work for nothing, but we had fun doing it. big grin

Now, on to Campaign 2. When do you think it shall be ready, Ush?


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Old Post Apr 17th, 2004 01:57 AM
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Tptmanno1
Life Ponder-er

Gender: Male
Location: Dreaming...Or am I living...

Yea, all this wrap up is nice and all. and I'm fighting that warm fuzzy feeling, but When do we start the next one??


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Old Post Apr 17th, 2004 03:59 AM
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Fire
Senior Member

Gender: Male
Location: On vacation

you'd wish half-droid you'd wish


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Old Post Apr 17th, 2004 08:18 AM
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Baylin
Back in story!

Gender: Male
Location: Deep shit as always...!

The thing I loved most was the irony - The long hard slog by the baddies and they end up leaving tail between legs and empty handed. laughing out loud Even if we had obliterated the jedi we would still have nothing to show for it. Nothing like a good twist where the baddies would have lost either way! cool

Nice work cant wait for the next installment!


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Old Post Apr 17th, 2004 08:47 AM
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Ushgarak
Paladin

Gender: Male
Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

Co-Admin

Well, I am glad you all enjoyed it...

I cannot give a totally accurate timescale for the new game as it depends on interest and character creation etc. but I thought sa small break whilst I slowly great things up would hurt nobody... a couple of weeks, maybe?


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"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Old Post Apr 17th, 2004 05:09 PM
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Gundark
Mayhem

Gender: Female
Location: Skywalker Ranch

Corpse ? Rex, you are not right in the head, pal. cool

And so, to our Evil Gamemaster, go the spoils !

Well done, Dr. Ush-n-stein ! Putting the campaign down via 'War and Peace' really puts the arc in perspective. Holy cow ! We've really come a long, long way in that galaxy (bloody volcano and all).

I'm surprised Kellan didn't get more of a tongue lashing from the council in the epilogue, but I would say she's pleased, to be sure. The Jedi certainly DID cause a great deal of death and destruction along the way, albiet without intent. The dark siders should be a bit jealous, really. Hehehe.

All in all, I think you did a magnificent job, Ush. And I'd like to thank everybody that participated in whatever form. I know there where plenty of situations where I was holding everybody up and I also want to thank you all for your patience.

I'm looking forward to the next campaign - even with Ush's evil little plot twists he is so fond of sticking you with when you're not looking ! *grumbles* Bloody damned volcano.....


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Old Post Apr 17th, 2004 05:41 PM
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Ushgarak
Paladin

Gender: Male
Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

Co-Admin

Well, that wasn't really a twist; more a pointy thing you got stuck on...


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"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Old Post Apr 17th, 2004 05:44 PM
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