Star Wars: Dawn of Darkness

Episode VI

Shroud of the Hidden

The Crawl

aving narrowly escaped destruction in the skies over Ando, the player party, wrongly accused of the ASSASSINATION of Governor Craz Oduur and Colonel Taft Madine have blasted out of harms way and escaped their Imperial pursuers.

Our heroes now face the threat of Imperial eyes in every starport, Imperial agents behind every corner, and the threat of dreaded bounty hunters following their every footstep. At the same time our heroes must discover why they have been framed, and what role the mysterious Jeyen or others may have had in this dastardly plot.

It is a dark and dangerous road that lies ahead for our heroes as they make their escape into the deepest reaches of space…

Journey to Ryloth

With their escape from the Imperial forces in orbit of Ando complete, the player party onboard the Renegade set course for the treacherous world of Ryloth in the hopes of quickly disposing their three Stormtroopers captives as well as make repairs while deciding what their next course of action would be.

After it was decided that the party would remain together for the time being while the events that lead to their being framed for murder were investigated, a great debate in-sued as to what to do with young Umdat. While Kalko and Akira were staunchly in favour of setting him out on his own upon reaching Ryloth, Nyla and Dyneh both had reservations, insisting that he remain with them for the time being instead of being cast out into a cold and cruel galaxy. It was decided that first before acting, the party would ask Umdat if he had any family elsewhere in the galaxy that he could stay with. The party learned however from Umdat that both his parents were “taken” by Imperial forces in the middle of the night the previous year on Quantill City, and that his only sibbling, a brother had been press-ganged into the Separatist army a year prior to that and had not been heard from since. This along with the fact that Umdat revealed he had actually grown up on Coruscant but had no other living family convinced the party with Aiden’s approval to allow Umdat to stay for the time being as it seemed the right thing to do. Also, it was soon learned that Umdat was quite handy in the galley and made an excellent cup of eeffoc.

Tourtured Dreams

As the party went to bed for the first time on their week long journey to Ryloth, a strange series of dark and ominous dreams would befall them. The first to sleep was Aiden, who in his dream found himself in on Coruscant at dusk, surrounded by a massive rampaging mob of rioters and looters of every race and species tearing the galactic capital apart. All of the sudden a calm fell over the crowd, as they turned in unison to a lone figure atop roof of the the burning Senate Building. The figure, whom Aiden could now see was none other than the mysterious Mandalorian he had seen on the newsnet on Ando. This Mandalorian raised their hand, and called out for unity, for strength, and for the grasping of their long forgotten birthright at long last. Together the crowd around Aiden whom rioted only moments before now cheered this Mandalorian, and then donned Mandalorian armour both new and old, sophisticated and exotic, and together this mass of Mandalorians chanted “For Mandalore!!… For Mandalore!!” as the sky turned blood red.

Aiden awoke in a cold sweat, resting assured that it was only a dream, vivid and lifelike as it was. Still he wondered, was there even a chance that this renegade Mandalorian whom he’d seen only on the holonet could actually unite his scattered people. He would never bow before a renegade outlaw and call them Mandalore Aiden told himself, of this he was positive.

On the level below Aiden’s quarters, Kalko found himself wandering a desolate rocky wasteland of a planet at night, with an odd and erie red glow skirting the horizon. Being drawn forward, Kalko descended into a great canyon with towering walls stretching a thousand feet into the night sky. Along those walls Kalko saw massive statues carved, statues of cloaked figures with their heads looking down at the ground below, statues Kalko could swear seemed to shift their heads to follow him as he walked further to the middle of the canyon where a dark shadowy figure knelt. Kalko grew weary as he approached the figure, who spoke in a guteral voice that echoed through the canyon “Our hour approaches friend, yours will serve our desires well”.
“Do I know you”? Kalko asked the still kneeling figure, who then rose and turned to face Kalko revealing a red scale covered face, a beard of razor sharp and straight tentacles, tattered and torn robes and a crow of massive antlers. “You will Kalko… you will” the figure replied, waking Kalko up immediately in a cold sweat as Aiden had.

He had never seen a creature like the one in his dreams, nor had he even imagined one so repulsive. Kalko spent little time contemplating the dream he had just had, going back to sleep soon after believing it to be nothing more than a dream.

Further down the hall of the Renegade’s lower deck slept Nyla, who was walking along a sprawling grassy plain at twilight. Suddenly overhead a loud boom was heard, and Nyla saw a great white light streak across the sky and hit the ground far far ahead. In this light Nyla sensed distress, fear, and a cry for help, yet at the same time to her left a red light appeared in the sky, while a silver light appeared to her right. Both silver and red lights were streaking for the white light, and both Nyla sensed wanted to swallow the light for their own desires. Nyla raced as fast as she could to reach the light first as the two other lights drew closer and closer, eventually reaching the white light. At the last moment to protect the white light Nyla threw herself onto it, feeling a terrible burning sweep over her as the other two lights collided on her, waking her up yet again drenched in a cold sweat. Ever aware of the Living Force, Nyla wondered if this was in fact a message she had just received, and if so what could these lights she saw, one innocent and two sinister possibly mean?

Yet Nyla heard something further, something knew right away was not part of her dream. A whispering from out in the hallways outside her bunk. Going to explore the whispering outside Nyla found no one else awake and about, yet the hushed and sinister sounding whispering of a dozen voices continued, emanating from Kalko’s bunk she was certain. Though she sensed Kalko himself was asleep, the whispering was indeed coming from Kalko’s locked bunk. Soon the hushed voices ceased, and Nyla decided to return to sleep in she could learn the meaning of the nights events soon.

As Dyneh slept next to him, Akira was awaken by the sight of a familiar blue fog creeping into his room, and a familiar voice calling him out into the hallway outside. Seeing that Dyneh was not awaken by these, Akira rose to venture into the dark hallway. There Once again Akira found the apparition of his late Jedi Master, yet this time Akira spoke first. “Leave. Me. Alone. Master. I have a life now! I have responsibilities now! You have no right to tell me otherwise, I am NOT your padawan anymore!” Akira shouted at the apparition, as it stood still listening to his every word. It was silent for a moment, before pleading calmly “… but Akira, she cannot do it alone”, before fading to nothing as the blue fog clouds retreated. Akira then found himself alone in the dark hallway, trembling from the berating he had given the apparition, but confused at what his masters clam plea had meant.

Arrival on Ryloth

With the rest of their journey uneventful, the party arrived on Ryloth and landed in the underground capitol city of Kala’uun built deep into a mountain to protect it’s occupants from the unforgiving hostile environment. After paying the docking fee at the Kala’uun Spaceport and bribing the Portmaster’s lieutenant not to inspect their ship for contraband (as well as the captive Stormtroopers) Aiden ordered the ship restocked while Akira sought out mechanics to repair the whole cut into the Renegade by boarding Stormtroopers on Ando.

Meanwhile Dyneh, wanting a change of clothes different from her Corellian Mining Corporation jumpsuit asks Akira if she could go shopping in the cities lower levels. Though Akira declines as he is recruiting a repair crew, he asks Aiden and Nyla to go with her to help safeguard her. Aiden, Kalko and Nyla then left with Dyneh while Akira finalized a deal with mechanics to repair the hull while Beesix and LE watched over the prisoners.

As Nyla helped Dyneh shop for clothes in a small venders tent on the ground level of Kala’uun, Aiden spotted a mysterious Ithorian pacing back and forth observing their group. Shortly thereafter a grinning sinisterDevorian approached Aiden, claiming to be interested in purchasing the two “lovlies” for 3000 credits total, an offer Aiden promptly refused. The Devorian threatened Aiden, telling him he would regret not selling him the women, prompting Aiden to grab Nyla and Dyneh and make their way back to the Renegade via the city’s massive lifts. Alone in the massive lifts, the party’s ride back to the spaceport was stopped halfway when the lift doors unexpectedly opened, revealing a waiting Gotal and Vratix both with blasters drawn. Before the Gotal could finish saying “You should have sold us the girls when you had the chance” both slavers found themselves looking at a live grenade Aiden had just pulled and armed, holding it casually as a horrified Dyneh screamed at the showdown she was a part of. With a cold stare the Gotal and Vratix lowered their blasters with a gulp of breath, and the lift doors closing safely as Dyneh fell to the ground in her panic, comforted by Nyla. Aiden then deactivated the grenade, telling Kalko it was only an adhesive grenade to begin with.

Meanwhile Akira had been supervising the repairs to the Renegade’s hull around it’s cargo bay door when he heard the chorus of whispering, a sound just like what Nyla had heard the night before. Suspicious that no one else seemed to hear this sound Akira followed it to Kalko’s bunk, where he easily bypassed the security code to gain entrance and track the sinister sounds to a secure lock box under Kalko’s cot. Unable to open the box, the sounds of the many voices whispering gradually grew quieter until Akira could not hear them at all. He reluctantly placed the lock box back under Kalko’s cot where he found it, and left the bunk frustrated at what strange device or item Kalko may have brought on board.

Arriving back at the ship Akira learned what had happened and comforted Dyneh, while Aiden hurried the rest of the party back on the Renegade as a massive display screen in the starport played a COMPNOR sponsored Imperial Newsnet update warning citizens to be on the look out for the dangerous assassins responsible for killing Imperial Governor Craz Oduur on Ando. To make matters worse, a special weather alert was issued warning spacers of an approaching Heat Storm, a ferocious snaking storm of intense fire and heat that would pass over the city, making attempts to leave the city impossible. Though the repairs to the Renegade were unfinished, Aiden made the decision to flee Kala’uun while he still could before the onset of the storm, only narrowly missing it’s thunderous and deadly flames as the Renegade flew to a barren and uninhabited region between the Nightlands and the Brightlands of Ryloth many kilometers from Kala’uun. There the party set the Stormtroopers free, arming them with their knives and providing them with three days rations of water and food. The Stormtroopers accepted the offerings, though were sure to curse the party as “terrorist scum” and warn them that they would be caught sooner or later.

It was decided then that with the might of the Empire soon to be looking for them in this sector that the Renegade should head for the center of commerce and villainy in Hutt Space, Nar Shadda. The rationale being that for now at least, the Hutt’s weren’t looking for them.

To the Smugglers Moon

On route to Nar Shadda Nyla enlisted Umdat to help her with a Jedi training technique she had used while in her youth at the temple on Coruscant, Eyes of the Force. While Umdat would hold a small display screen with random images appearing, Nyla would attempt to see the images in Umdat’s mind through telepathy. Nyla had great success with this technique, and over the course of the week long journey to Nar Shadda greatly improved her skills with telepathy.

With the rest of the journey uneventful, the Renegade reached the infamous “Smugglers Moon” of the galaxy, Nar Shadda. Landing at the main starport of New Vertica, and after a major disagreement between Akira and the Twi’lek Portmaster regarding the docking fee (and a detachment of twelve Gamoreans being left to guard the Renegade as a punishment as a result) Kalko set out to contact his old friend and best contact on Nar Shadda. Within the hour Kalko’s contact, a Trandoshan named Ssruzzz had arrived and Kalko and Ssruzzz caught up on old times. Ssruzzz was quite impressed with the cargo Kalko and company wanted to unload on Nar Shadda, from the three massive crates full of Giggledust spice to the three sets of Stormtrooper armour. Ssruzzz offered a fair price for the haul, though explained that due to the large quantity of spice and the regional politics he couldn’t take the whole shipment off their hands at once, but rather in three sections on consecutive nights, each at a different starport on Nar Shadda. Kalko and the rest of the party accepted the deal eagerly, and then set off upon the many other tasks at hand now that they had three days to spend on Nar Shadda.

Akira tried to speak with Dyneh about the situation, their relationship and if she wanted to go back to her home on Corellia. Surprisingly Dyneh said that would be a bad idea, though did not explain why, and insisted that for now she wanted to stay with Akira and away from Corellia for as long as possible. When Ssruzzz’s trucks arrived to load up the Renegade’s first night’s worth of Cargo, Kalko opted to go with Ssruzzz with the trucks back to his warehouse via Ssruzzz’s Swoop Bike. Along the way to Ssruzzz’s warehouse he explained to Kalko his annoyance that at the collapose of the syndicate run by his former employer Zorba the Hutt. Even worse, the remnants of Zorba’s business empire had been consolidated by Zorba’s son, a villainous and ambitious Hutt working out of a sand covered planet deep in the Outer Rim, a situation Ssruzzz insisted he wanted no part of. Instead Ssruzzz told Kalko of the booming market for Wookie slaves and how he was considering making a move to that business.

Meanwhile Aiden set out with Nyla for the local Bounty Hunters Guild, determined to find out as much as he could about Jeyen and the mysterious Mandalorian he was convinced was in league with Jeyen. Upon arriving at the surprisingly conspicuous and well advertised guild hall, Aiden and Nyla a slimey Gungan information broker named Oodnab who they paid quite handsomely to find out everything he could about Jeyen. Turning their attention to finding the mysterious Mandalorian, they soon found an old but assertive human woman interested in their inquiries. Leading them to a private room away from the cantina portion of the hall, Aiden and Nyla found themselves in the presence of three Mandalorian Protectors, the honored police and guardians of Mandalorian space who answered to the old woman they refereed to only as “Al’verde”.

The old woman explained to Aiden that it just so happened that she was there with the Protectors to recruit another Mandalorian to hunt down the renegade in question, but that upon seeing Aiden she decided he would be a much better candidate than the one Mandalore himself had suggested. She explained that the mysterious Mandalorian went by the name Dar’Manda Arpat, which translates literally to “Seed of the Lost Heritage”. Upon producing a full body image of the Mandalorian Aiden was surprised to see the tapered waist in the warrior’s figure, and the unique armour made to accommodate female breasts, the mysterious Mandalorian was a woman Aiden realized.

Furthermore Aiden was told Dar’Manda had grown up under the reign of the Duchess Satine, a name infamous among the True Mandalorians such as Aiden as being the leader who embraced peace and pacifism at all cost for her sect of Mandalorian society. Dar’Manda had rejected the peacefull culture of Satine, and following the Clone Wars set out to build a new Mandalorian civilization based on the ancient traditions of the Neo-Crusaders who attempted to conquer the Outer Rim millenia ago. Though noble as her intentions were however the old woman explained that her delusions of grander could not have come at a worse time for Mandalorian civilization only recently united under the current Mandalore after years of fracture and infighting. It was feared that these renegade and pirate attacks could be used by the Empire to justify an invasion of Mandalorian space, which the Mandalorians for now were not ready to repel. Aiden and Nyla were then given the little intelligence the old woman and the Protectors had on Dar’Manda, that she and a band of almost 50 warriors were attacking lightly defended mining and trading settlements all along the lower end of the Corellian Trade Spine, but that their attacks had recently been traced to the remote iceworld of Hoth in the Javin Sector.

Aiden agreed to take this job of neutralizing Dar’Manda and her band of renegades for 15,000 credits, and with it found himself directly in the service of the Mandalore himself.

Comments

Even though this was the sixth session of Dawn of Darkness which we’d played, this turned out to be the most fun I had running the campaign for quite a few reasons.

Where To Go Now?

For starters there was a heated but not argumentative debate about where exactly to go next in the big bright universe now that they had been branded as fugitives. The party literally had the entire galaxy in front of them with endless possibilities for adventure and danger. It was only natural that there was going to be a debate about what chances to take next.

Using everything from twenty year old Adventure Journals from West End Games, to the new and excellent book “Star Wars: The Essential Atlas”, to memories from the movies themselves and dozens of books and comics the player party picked Nar Shadda over what would have been some other very good worlds to travel to ultimately (some of which I will surely use at a later date).

In the end Nar Shadda turned out to be a great pick, not just because of the “At least the Hutt’s aren’t looking for us” logic, but also because it was such an expansive world in of itself that it allowed so many opportunity for me to advance the meta plot even though the session could be considered down time. I mean, this is the Smuggler’s Moon”, the “Dark Crystal”, the polar opposite of city spanning planets to Coruscant. I hope my party goes back there one day, only because even with botched sabotage jobs, spice dealing, assassination jobs and warnings of death I only just scraped the surface of what Nar Shadda has to offer adventurers.

Speaking of assassination jobs and advancing the meta plot, these two tied in together at the very end of the session with the introduction of the [[Mandalorian Protectors]] as an organization and the Mysterious Mandalorian the party was contracted to terminate.

On the Issue of Mandalorians

Ah yes, the Mandalorians. For those of you who don’t know and aren’t readers or followers of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, this past year saw a great controversy over the nature of the warrior culture that is the Mandalorians.

Before last year, more than two decades worth of canon had established that the Mandalorian’s had been a warrior culture first and foremost, this went back to the old Marvel Star Wars comic run and had been adhered to ever since. The art of war, the importance of conflict to better oneself, the glory of victory and the honor of a battle well fought were all key components to Mandalorian culture. Since this was established so firmly in Star Wars canon, it served as the basis for stories in video games, comics, novels and such up until recently.

Where trouble began was then the TV show “The Clone Wars”, in planning their second season decided to include the Mandalorians in a major story arch for the TV show. The depiction of Mandalorians as a warrior culture however didn’t seem to sit well with the show’s producers, and it was decided that everything from the Mandalorian homeworld to the status of the Mandalorian civilization during the Clone Wars would be “retconned” so that the Mandalorians were now a peaceful pacifist group who only wanted peace and had abandoned warfare centuries ago.

When word of this reached general fans of the EU, there was shock and resentment at the decision. The decision had an immediate impact on at one on-going book series, who’s author opted to leave the Star Wars brand all together as a direct result of the changes. A great many fans simply couldn’t understand why the changes happened at all, though The Clone Wars TV series has always been aimed at a younger audience than many EU works.

As for me, though I did enjoy the story arch of the TV series which caused the uproar, I also understand the frustration of fans who felt that more than two decades of established work had been discarded. At the same time the last thing I ever wanted to potentially split fans, even if my only contribution to Star Wars is a fan made story with five actors and myself directing.

The TV series is bringing many a new fan into Star Wars for the first time, and so I made the decision to blend the two Mandalorian cultures in a way that has been suggested by some fans and writers as a solution to the contradictions in canon. In this timeline the “pacifist” Mandalorians have “rejoined” their warrior brethren for the good of their people as long as the “traditional” warrior Mandalorians promised to at least tone down the fighting en masse. This solution itself gave me a great opportunity to delve somewhat into the backstory for the Mysterious Mandalorian, explaining that she had been brought up in the “Pacifist” culture of The Clone Wars’s Mandalorians, but longed to be a part of the “traditional warrior” Mandalorians as seen in the old EU.

It’s not the perfect fix, but it works for me.

Episode VI
 

This has been a great read! I especially loved the imagery of Aiden’s dream. “surrounded by a massive rampaging mob of rioters and looters of every race and species tearing the galactic capital apart. All of the sudden a calm fell over the crowd, as they turned in unison to a lone figure atop roof of the the burning Senate Building” and later the sky turning blood red.

How do you keep such detailed notes on what transpires during your games? I always feel like I’m leaving so much out of my adventure logs – especailly things that aren’t written out ahead of time. Maybe its because I write my adventure logs way after everything has already happened. I dont know.. anyways, kudos on the great writing!

Episode VI
 

Well DarkMagus I must confess… for this my wife (Serina) deserves the praise. Though I keep my own notes on dice rolls and what not, it’s she that meticulously plots down every single occurrence by hand. I then fiendishly pirate her notes into my recaps :) I’m certain I could write the recaps without her amazing notes, but they’d be a hollow shadow of what they are otherwise.

Praise be to Serina!!

Episode VI
 

DarkMagus, I am loving the series so far. I am a GM as well and am wondering if you improved the entire Nar Shaddaa session? If so good stuff as I sometimes find it difficult to improvise; or worse make a “mistake” and open up a very difficult plot hole that I have to fix which can make for some very interesting LOST writing. lol

Also are there 3 or 4 PC’s? Aiden, Nyla, Akira are PC’s, is Dyneh a NPC you run?

Episode VI
Dyluth

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