Dogfights Over Bespin

Work has been very demanding this week, so I have only managed to slip in a few gaming-related activities beyond pre-scheduled stuff.

Earlier this week, my Stormboyz received their first base coat (black jackets and trousers) and… that was about it.  I built an Ironclad Dreadnought for my Dark Angels and got another (normal one) through the post – bringing the total up to three for the 3rd Company.  Two or three more, I think, and I will cal the 3rd Company finished.

Built a Venomthrope as well for the bugs, and finally have enough static grass to finish off the three remaining jungle terrain pieces I have, though the table as a whole can be called pretty well finished. And, today, I received two new models that will be just perfect for battles in a jungle – more on those at a later date.

However, the big gaming event this week was the regular Star Wars Dawn of Defiance campaign.  We hit the middle of the third episode at full speed, with Kat (human noble/rapidly turning Jedi) beginning the big Sabacc tournament where over half a million credits are up for grabs.  She didn’t expect to win, bu th purpose of the tournament was for them to find out details on an exchange between the Empire and a Hutt that was serving a mysterious operation known to the players only as the Sarlacc Project.

The others players were either spectating or working security in the casino, and the session started quietly enough.  They met a few of the gamblers, including an Imperial Officer, and started wondering just how to start gathering clues.

In the four day tournament, Kat was somewhat surprised to make it through the first rounds and start the next day as one of only 15 competitors (there were more than 50 to start with).  They endured a few decoys and ambushes outside of the tournament but, all too soon, the last day of the tournament came into view.  Kat had already managed to squeak through to the final day and the other players waited with bated breath to see how she did (true, there was a mission to follow, but we are talking about half a million credits here!).  The main clues to the mission were revealed in the last stages of the tournament, with the Imperial Officer handing some important information to a woman who was then revealed as the Hutt’s agent.

All well and good, but how did Kat do in the tournament?  Up to this point, all she needed was to pass Wisdom checks at escalating DCs to go through to the next rounds, but now she was rolling off directly against the other competitors.  She lacked the Gambler talent, but a judicious use of a Force Point saw her clinch the pot from the others and win the day!

What was more interesting was what happened next – one of the knocked out competitors tries steling the pot from under the casino’s nose. At this point, the players went near berserk (“that’s my money!”).  The scene ended with the main thief dead in the casino and his comrades being chased through the streets by a vengeful Andy (playing Joshua, a human soldier).  It took a few minutes for the players to remember they had a mission and now that the Hutt’s agent and Empire had exchanged details, they had very little time to decend to one of the lower docking bays to confront the Hutt and find out what exactly was going on.

The scene in the hangar bay did not go as written – the Hutt managed to get away (well, he slithered for his life when one of the players jumped in a Z-95 Headhunter and started blasting anything that moved), but the players got what they needed; the Empire had seen its hand forced by their actions on Cloud City and was steering a Tibanna gas hauler straight for a transport filled with slaves in order to remove any evidence (the Empire trading slaves for gas for Project Sarlacc).

Cue a massive dogfight over Bespin, with the players in Z-95 Headhunters (Sandrine – playing a Twilek Scoundrel – in the party’s transport, manning the turret after having her headhunter shot out from under her by cloud cars) going up against a squadron of TIE Fighters as an Imperial Star Destroyer flew ever closer to the action, trying to destroy the gas hauler before it ploughed into the slave ship and made a right mess.

Nick (playing Teebo, a Duros Scoundrel) came into his own at this point.  The character had always seemed a little cowardly up to now because, it has to be said, he is not much cop in combat.  However, all that changed in the the Headhunter, where Nick’s investment in the Pilot skill and vehicle-related feats paid off big time – Teebo became Born Again Hard, threading his way through the TIE Fighter formation to bring his guns to bear on the gas hauler.

The hauler blew up, the slave ship (now in the hands of the slaves) escaped and, just before the Star Destroyer got into range, there was time for the Big Bad (an Imperial Inquisitor) to threaten the players before they too jumped to light speed.

We are starting episode four next week, which is the start of the second ‘part’ of the campaign, but there is a six month ‘gap’ between the parts, much like there is between the actual films.  It will be interesting to see what they plan to do during that time.  I know Kat wants to go crystal-seeking for her lightsabre, and the party needs a ship as their lift up to now will be off doing other things.  Stay tuned, as they say.

So, I’ll be reading up on the fourth episode this weekend, but the big event will be our monthly D&D campaign (The Rising Tide).  We are still on the preliminary adventures, getting the players used to their characters, but I expect they will finish the second level of The Sunless Citadel fairly quickly, and make a good start on Forge Fury.  After that we will be getting into the campaign proper with an altered Red Hand of Doom that will start setting the tone of the campaign, and move the party to the geographical location needed later on.

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