Tuesday, 3 November 2015

The Song of Solitude - A Talathen sector rpg report.

The Song of Solitude

This is a hard one to write up as a mission report in the normal format, so I’m just going to write it out as it comes to mind. So please bear with me if this seems more rambly than usual

Part One – Overture

Solitude X is a remote ice world of apparently little or no strategic value, or that’s what we thought at least. The sum total of our knowledge of the planet was that it was cold, strange monks lived there, they had a representative called the “speaker”, and that they produced crystals.

When we discovered that the Empire had taken an interest in the world, we were a little surprised. When we found out the Empire was bending over backward to placate the natives and treating them with courtesy and respect, we were extremely concerned.

Jah, resident diplomat and Ithorian mystic had been dispatched to Solitude X to set up a diplomatic post. It wasn’t initially a high priority to command, but continued reports of Imperial activity escalated that. His initial reports were unsettling as well as confusing. He mentioned that the Imperials were working with “the Speaker”, a Talz who represented the mystics of Solitude and that they were exporting some kind of crystal. For what purpose, he could not say. He also spoke in riddles about “the song, the choir and the discord”, something to do with his mysticism, but nothing that made any sense to anyone reading the report.

Aurek Squad was sent immediately to pose as a diplomatic team and get to the bottom of this mystery. Their objectives were to seize the crystals if possible, get the monks to stop trading if possible, or destroy the crystals if necessary.

Immediately the mission took on a strange tone, as the crew discovered a message on the cockpit dashboard of their ship, cheerfully saying “Welcome to Solitude, See you soon”. This was a secret mission after all, and no one should have known about it.

Part two – The song

Arriving out of hyperspace the crew witnessed a Gladiator class star destroyer leaving orbit at high speed before eventually entering hyperspace. What wasn’t immediately obvious, but what was discovered later, was that this ships registration and ID does not exist, at least not in imperial records that have been recovered.

The squad landed at the diplomatic station, and while flying in noted the arrangement of multiple stations around the monastery as shown in this map.

From there they met their support team, three Bothan’s, one female, two male, who managed the diplomatic station. When asked why they had taken this posting, “they said no one else would do it” and that their boss said that the cold wouldn’t be a probably as they already had fur coats.  Among the crew was Markin, a buck toothed socially awkward Bothan tech specialist. Markin proved to be helpful in setting up surveillance on the Imperials.  

Not long after arriving and surveying the station, and Imperial officer and two snowtroopers arrived under a white flag. He spoke on behalf of “the speaker” and said that no weapons were to be carried in the city, and that the rebellion officials had diplomatic privilege and the Empire would not interfere with their actions and that the speaker would meet them in 4 hours.  After a cordial chat, he left and no one could remember exactly what he looked like and everyone felt slightly nauseous.

Checking the surveillance footage, the team discovered that the camera couldn’t focus on his features either. There was something seriously wrong about him. The team then retired to rest before meeting with the Speaker.

During this rest everyone dreamed of a beautiful choral piece of music with soaring themes and emotive sounds, marred by the odd mistimed note that seemed out of sequence.

Part Three – The Chorus

The team visited the central Monastary and were taking through a series of winding corridors and chambers by a pair of snowtroopers. After a long walk they were led into a massive antechamber, with a table covered in food and drink, five humble seats, a throne, and a dozen snowtroopers standing guard around the perimeter.

He sat with them at the small table, asked them to enjoy some food, ate some and welcomed them to Solitude X.  After the formalities were finished, he rose from the small table, sat on the high throne and discussed business. The Rebels assured him that they were not looking for conflict and that peace was their goal. He spoke strongly about the Empires respect and commitment to Solitude X, but after accepting the rebels at their word of peace, dismissed the Snowtrooper bodyguards.

Then his entire demeanour changed, his eyes glazed over and he started speaking in abstract terms and not full sentences. He spoke of “quiet”, “peace”, “security” and “safety”. He wanted the Rebels assurance that they would not harm anyone on Solitude while they were there. The rebels also tried to convince him that the Empire was malicious and that they were the ones fighting for good.  After getting that reassurance, the Rebels were dismissed and given a protocol droid to take them on a tour of the Monastery.

The tour went on for hours, through many art displays and installations using crystal and light to create complex scenes and feelings, from giant stained glass displays through to crystal arranged to create dramatic lighting effects.  While the art was impressive, after three hours of mind blowing visuals and dull protocol droid narration, the Rebels were a bit over-awed.

From there they went to the primary crystal chamber, deep underground via a turbolift. The chamber was kilometres long, and high, and filled with a massive variety of crystals of different colours and shapes. But what caught everyone attention was that they could now physically hear the song they had dreamed of early. The crystals were vibrating in such a way as to create the music.

The protocol droid informed them that the crystals were in fact a silicon based life form, similar to carbon based plants. The monks of the Monastery tended them as a gardener would, and the crystal art on display throughout the Monastery was made from Crystals that had died. The monks honoured them by turning them into art in death. The Monastery was, in fact a mausoleum for these creatures. They also saw many of the robbed and masked monks, but none of them interacted with them.

Part four – The discord

After the crystal cavern, the Rebels went to the “Hall of Commerce” and observed a large amount of jewelry and art works for sale, at a modest price. There were no sales people, just automated sales machines. Among the pieces, they discovered an unusual ring, it was a clear crystal, but more importantly, it seemed to bend light around it, making the finger within the ring completely transparent.

Seeing the military applications of this crystal, the Rebels purchased it and reported back to rebel command.  Rebel Command issued an order to seize the crystals if possible, or destroy them if necessary.
The Rebels scouted out the neutral platform to their south and located at least one Snowtrooper observing their platform, although he did not appear to have spotted their approach. The cold conditions meant the rebels had to wear sub-zero thermal suits and full survival gear.

Pondering their next move, Markin informed them that a large group of monks were waiting outside the Rebel platform. They spoke in the abstract terms used by the speaker, they now saw the empire as corrupt, and causing discord in the song. They wanted them gone, but as a non-violent species could not act to cause harm. The Rebels said that the clear crystals were the only reason that the empire was on Solitude. Reluctantly, the Monks said they would destroy those crystals if the rebels would remove the Empire from their world.

The monks then summoned a snow storm and led the rebels to the southern crystal caves that housed the cloaking crystals. They said they would do what was necessary and pointed the rebels to the Imperial transport that was ready to leave with a shipment of crystals.

Sneaking past the guards, the Rebels entered the transport only to be captured in a ray shield. The officer they met earlier appeared and informed them they were prisoners and would be taken to his master. He then left for the bridge, leaving four snowtroopers to guard them inside the ray shield.
One by one, the Snowtroopers were distracted and dispatched by an unseen force. Markin appeared, removed his false “buck teeth” and introduced himself as Manny from the Bothan Spynet. He had been on assignment to uncover the threat of the crystals and to establish contact with the Rebellion in this sector. He freed to rebels from the ray shield just as the Imperial Officer turned up.

The all hell broke loose as the officer pulled a lightsabre and proceeded to attack the rebels with alarming speed and ferocity. All the rebels were wounded by either sabre cuts or re-deflected blaster bolts before they finally overwhelmed him with sheer volume of fire. His final words were “my master knows you, he is coming for you”.

Manny seized control of the ship and took it to a rendezvous with another freighter from the spy net. He would hand all the crystals over to the rebellion, if they would bring the Spy-net into the fight and give them a position of authority within the rebel command. The rebels agreed.

Intelligence onboard the ship indicated that the Empire had already received dozens of freighters worth of the crystals, and that the gladiator class destroyer they encountered earlier was not part of the Navy in this sector or any nearby.

Part Five – The reprise

A few days after returning to Axamar, the force sensitive member of the crew had dreams, calling him to return to Solitude X. Upon landing there, they were met by a group of monks, who were saddened by what they had to do to the clear crystals, but gladdened that the “discord” was now gone. Using their abstract language, they conveyed that the crystals are in tune with the force, and that the presence of the unnamed Imperial officer was creating discord, presumably because he was a dark side adept.

They gifted each of the rebels a small potted crystal, one that would be attuned to them and respond to their personality and behaviour. For example, the scientist/doctors crystal has a tendency to reshape itself, so when analysed each time it is different, as that is triggered off his scientific curiosity. They also communicate to them and sing to them while they sleep.


A weird little story that one, but a nice change of pace. That’s the second “force” story in the campaign, but I wanted to explore the force through “non jedi/sith” eyes and introduce some pretty alien concepts, as well as the “paradigm shifting” technology that the players requested at the beginning of the campaign. A good story, but a pain to write up.

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