The Star Wars Dawn of Defiance campaign continues apace.
The players hit 8th level this week, and are really getting into the meat of the campaign. In an effort to find out more about the mysterious Sarlacc Project of the Empire, Jedi Master Denia sent them to a ruined Jedi Academy to retrieve a Holocron – in the hope that the artefact will grant her the wisdom to penetrate the plans of the Empire.
As they went down into the sub-levels of the Academy, one of the players remarked that it was turning into a dungeon adventure. This was true enough, but players never appreciate that dungeon adventures are often a welcome break for the Games Master. They are very easy to run and the players literally cannot deviate from the path.
Any such thoughts were quickly swept away when the players started hitting some of the (very tough) encounters. The Dark Side was strong in the ruined Academy, and it started messing with their minds. First, they appeared to be seperated from one another and then attacked by someone from their past adventures (which was a good excuse for me to bring Darga the Hutt back, albeit briefly).
Kat (playing Elethial, Human Noble/Jedi) and Sand (Leeana, a Twilek Scoundrel) dove into the encounter with determination. Thinking she was fighting a corrupted Master Denia, Kat promptly throttled Sand to within an inch of her life. The guys (Nick and Andy) were a little more cautious and refused to get into a fight – this saved the party as a whole and the illusion was dropped – only to reveal a Dark Side ooze which immediatly attacked.
This did not prepare the party for the next encounter, against a Dark Side Dreambeast. Not having the exact miniature for this encounter, I plonked WotC’s Blue Dragon on the table – it was a rough approximation of what they were fighting, and the size got the message across. This was going to be a hard battle.
Their first thought was to run, but the party was trapped in a small room with few exits. Sand used her acrobatics to vault onto the beast’s back (either brave or foolhardy, your choice), while Andy (Joshua, Human Soldier) unloaded with everything he had, trying to get passed the Dreambeast’s massive Damage Reduction. It actually ate his thermal detonator…
The party suffered greatly in this encounter, but a combination of rapid firing blastersm, lightsabres and force powers finally brught the beast low before it wiped out the entire party. After that, the encounter with the Noghri Death Commandos seemed like a breeze.
From there, the party found a tunnel into caverns beneath the Academy, where they prepared for the final encounter against Imperial Inquisitor Valin Draco, the agent that had been dogging them for several scenarios now, and in possession of the (now corrupted) Holocron.
A big Jedi battle ensued. Those equipped with clumsy and random weapons such as blasters found that lightsabres were quick to bat bolts away, while Kat found her Jedi powers nullified time and again by the Inquisitor and his protege.
The fight ended with the protege dead and a final confrontation on a natural stone bridge across a very deep underground chasm – a fitting environment for such a fight. The Inquisitor conjured a huge dragon (there is no other word for it), over 200 metres long, that rained down lightning one the players as they fought him one more time. Andy was thrown clean off the bridge by the Inquisitor’s force powers, to be retrieved by Kat, while Nick was nearly blasted into free air by the dragon.
Sand bravely rushed forward to grab the Holocron, which had been the subject of a Move Object tussle between Kat and the Inquisitor, but a lightsabre sweep brought her down. Finally, Kat managed to hurl the Inquisitor from the bridge herself, having beaten down his formidable Force defences.
With this, the dragon fled to the depths, starting a massive cave-in as the Academy’s foundations gave way. Grabbing the fallen Sand, the players raced out of the Academy, rocks falling all around them. Blasting from the planet in their new ship, the players spied a familiar Star Destroyer (the Assiduous) and, curiously, an ancient Dungeon Ship…
The Holocron was ‘de-corrupted’ by Master Denia, and is now under study. When she heard the players had batled the Inquisitor, the Master seemed oddly disheartened on hearing his name.
All will no doubt be revealed as, next week, we start Episode 5, and get to the halfway point of the campaign.