Lit We Hav to Go on an Adventure with Jello

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Havac , Mar 7, 2016.

  1. Zeta1127

    Zeta1127 Jedi Master star 5

    Sep 2, 2012
    This is one of my most favorite stories from the Adventure Journal alongside those of Danner, Cassidy and Pahl, Jackson, or the Bantam authors like Zahn and Stackpole, though I only have the small sampling of what was reprinted in Tales from the Empire and Tales from the New Republic.
    Sinrebirth likes this.
  2. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    The Kaal Connection is an adventure by Peter Schweighofer "with Timothy Zahn." That raises the question of just how much Zahn contributed to the story, which is an expanded version of an Adventure Idea outlined by Schweighofer in the Adventure Journal 2 feature Recon and Report: The Journey to Coruscant. The main difference from that Adventure Idea is that The Kaal Connection throws Talon Karrde into the mix of competing factions as well, which is where you can see Zahn coming in. Did Zahn simply consult on the use of Karrde, or actively collaborate in the design of the adventure? It's hard to say.

    The story opens with a vignette. Jeng Droga, a Dark Jedi, is on the bridge of the Emperor's private yacht, the Emperor's Shadow, when he begins screaming in distress, demanding to go to his master, attacking the crew and wrecking the bridge as they try to restrain him. The ship crashes into the seas of an ocean world, seeming to kill Droga. This is contemporaneous with the Battle of Endor, we're told. It's apparent that Droga felt Palpatine's death and lost his mind. This is intended as simple backstory for the presence of a treasure trove on Kaal in the form of the Emperor's crashed yacht, but this little bit here has led to an impressive series of retcons and extrapolations over the years. Droga, with his mental bond to Palpatine, was made an Emperor's Hand and retconned into being one of the Dark Side Adepts of the Dark Empire series. In fact, he even became the vessel of Palpatine's surviving spirit, which entered Droga on Kaal, surviving within him until he could reach his clones on Byss. Droga was even retconned into the events of the Young Jedi Knights series, being finally killed by Kyle Katarn during the Second Imperium's attack on the Jedi Praxeum. That's a pretty good career for a guy created to die crashing Palpatine's yacht.

    Our adventure is set two years after Endor. Ral'Rai Muvunc (here identified as a Sullustan, rather than a Twi'lek -- honestly I kinda like the idea of his being a Sullustan better) has been responsible for providing aid to the industrial worlds the Empire abandoned, many of which have been isolated by the Imperial withdrawal and which are dependent on food imports. Muvunc needs more food, and has been sending agents to liberated agroplanets across the galaxy to contract for supplies. That's the characters' job for this adventure. You're being sent as New Republic agents to negotiate for the aquaculture food supplies of Kaal with Kaal's current ruler -- the crimelord Tirgee Benyalle. The thing is, though, Benyalle's holding open talks with several factions. Muvunc briefs you to expect Admiral Kermen, representing the Empire, and the warlord Moff Prentioch. Muvunc also gives you your negotiating terms -- the New Republic can offer fifty percent of profits, which you're authorized to take up to sixty-five; five million credits immediate payment; transportation; and even offer to provide assistance with labor for the harvest.

    We get our profile of Kaal here. It's a water world (with thirty-six-hour days -- exhausting!) with a population of four and a half million (or about Kentucky, or Oman if you're feeling international [or the Boston metropolitan area if you want to realize how overcrowded the East Coast is]). Its civilizations is pretty much built around a single chain of islands, which have been developed as a luxury resort area. It was a resort world under the Empire, but when the Empire pulled out, Tirgee Benyalle, the crime boss who ran the casino operations on the planet, took over and invested in aquaculture, seeing an opportunity in harvesting food from the rich seas, which had long been neglected.

    The adventure starts when you land on Kaal. Prentioch and Kermen each have a Star Destroyer in orbit; pity you're just in your personal ship. You're greeted by Benyalle's right-hand Duros, Boleb Hiiz. Hiiz Duros takes you to the Grand Imperial hotel and casino, where you have rooms and a three-thousand-credit line at the casino each. If you're concerned about the five crates you have aboard with the five million credit cash payment, Hiiz offers to bring security to take it to the casino vault. Presumably you'll leave people to guard the ship until they arrive, but the first people who show up with a skiff look rather uncouth, because they're not actually the security. They're mercs hired by one of the other parties to steal your cash. Schweighofer leaves this admirably open. Maybe you get taken in and just get robbed. Maybe you insist on going along with them and only figure it out on the way, and get into a scuffle and they get away with your money or they don't. Maybe there's a fight right at the ship. Maybe you figure it out right away and turn them away. He doesn't lock you into one storyline, one scenario. He just gives you a prompt, and lets things go whichever way you take them. He doesn't write his adventure around writing you into a corner. The real security shows up afterward, so you can still get your credits safely stored if you still have them.

    During the trip to the Grand Imperial, Hiiz discusses the planet. Benyalle has ten automated harvesters running, supplementing an economy that took a hit from a meteor strike that hit the planet shortly before the Empire pulled out, causing tidal waves that damaged much of the city and caused the natives to basically abandon the Unis Islands, which had been a somewhat more rural resort area and which were hardest hit by the wave. Obviously, we're talking about the crash of Palpatine's yacht here. Once you're in your rooms, Benyalle comes in person to greet you. The writeup on Benyalle is integrated in the adventure here; Schweighofer does a good job of weaving this all into the storytelling, introducing the characters throughout the adventure and making sure everyone gets a significant appearance. Benyalle is an older woman who ran the casinos, entertainment, and illegal enterprises on Kaal under the Empire. When the Empire left, she stepped into the void, taking over leadership of the planet and starting up her aquaculture venture. She's stretched thin financially, though, and needs a solid contract for her exports to keep the aquaculture business going. I really like this idea of a criminal figure stepping up to dominate a planet, especially since Benyalle's set up as a very different kind of figure, a matronly, warm old lady in the casino business -- so obviously tied to shady practices but not exactly Jabba the Hutt, something very close to a legitimate businesswoman. Something a bit like Lando.

    Since the negotiations don't start until tomorrow morning, Benyalle invites everybody to enjoy the casinos for the day and participate in a sabacc game with the other negotiators that night. Schweighofer sets up the situation to give you a chance to meet your competition, with the various negotiators playing games separately before Benyalle pulls them together for the special high-stakes game, so you can meet them one-on-one and size them up. We start with Admiral Kermen. Kermen is arrogant and serious, but his serious manner hides the devious workings of his mind. He cuts a fine figure, tall and fairly handsome, with a finely trimmed mustache. It's also worth noting that Kermen appears to be the supreme commander of the entire Empire at this point. With Prentioch also appearing in person, you're way out of your league. The New Republic is really not bringing the star power here. "Kermen is in charge of the remnants of the Imperial fleet currently defending the Core Worlds from the New Republic advance. Although he takes his orders directly from the few Imperial Advisors left, he makes most of the decisions -- the Imperial Advisors, ineffective rulers at best, are too busy bickering over how to resurrect the Empire to give sound tactical orders to their fleets." He's at least the commander of the fleet defending the Core, but the way it's phrased, it's clearly intended to make the little-known Kermen the Empire's supreme commander as of 6 or 7 ABY. The mention of Imperial Advisors in power also suggests that we're post-Coruscant here, since it's not Ysanne Isard in power, so our "two years after Endor" may actually push more toward three years (Rogue Squadron hasn't even come out yet, so Schweighofer doesn't know Ysanne Isard should be in power in 6 ABY, but we work with what we've got). Isard's in power too long to push it before her reign, and the fact that the Empire still controls the bulk of the Core would suggest we're rather shortly post-Coruscant, when the New Republic doesn't have all the Core yet. Kermen is playing sabacc here, practicing for tonight at the lower-stakes tables and making good money off people, and happy to fleece you if he can. You may be able to overhear when an aide comes up to him and tells him that the plan is under way and prime candidates have been prepared for insertion. Sounds ominous. Kermen, who needs food for the Core, since the New Republic has taken so many agricultural worlds, isn't really planning on negotiating. He's spent a month seeding his agents into the crew of Benyalle's sail barge, where the negotiations will be held. He's also bribed Sendir, Benyalle's Twi'lek bodyguard.

    Moff Prentioch cuts a rather more comical figure, losing badly at Trin sticks but refusing to acknowledge that he doesn't know how to play it, or sabacc for that matter. If you play him, he'll spend the whole time insulting you, though. He leaves the table after an idiot aide comes up to him and tells the whole damn world that the bounty hunters are here to talk about payment. If you follow him, you can tail him to a spaceport meeting with these bounty hunters -- he's obviously the guy who tried to steal your cash stash. He's hired bounty hunters to assassinate his competitors, as well. Neither of our Imperial friends are much interested in playing fair. He's desperate for resources, as he's in a heated war with Moff Eyrgen for control of the Wornal sector. Prentioch was originally the Moff of Sombure sector, and he went warlord shortly after Palpatine's death. He began expanding, but has become bogged down in a heated war for Wornal sector. He's pompous, short-tempered, and incredibly arrogant. He believes he's the best at everything, always right, and the most important person ever, and has started wearing Imperial Advisor-style robes instead of his Moff's uniform.

    A picture of Talon Karrde's mullet, also featuring Talon Karrde

    Over playing high-stakes sabacc, cannily trying to wheedle information out of everyone, is the friendly Syndic Pandis Hart, purchasing agent for the Sif-Uwana Council. We all know who that is. It's our old friend, Talon Karrde. And his spectacular, flowing mullet. Talon Karrde and his mullet are here to find Palpatine's yacht, which he believes crashed here. He wants the cloaking system the yacht boasted. You might get some hints at this if you follow him when he leaves the table and makes a comm call to "Tapper," asking about the search on the Unis Islands. Karrde's goal is to negotiate a private arrangement with Benyalle to run his own aquaculture operation near the Unis Islands, which would allow him the cover to secretly remove the Corellian-corvette-sized yacht. He's got Quelev Tapper searching for the wreck with a submersible. Notable bits of his bio include the fact that he's already based on Myrkr, he's got the top smuggling operation but keeps his status a secret, and he's always on the lookout for new opportunities and often investigates them personally with Tapper. I like the way Schweighofer's not only included a secret agenda here for everyone, but allowed the possibility of the party receiving some hints of it, without either giving things away wholesale or requiring the characters to follow up on any of it. It's just a little extra opportunity.

    Before the big game, there's a slight chance you could, if you're good at sneaking up on them, overhear Benyalle and Hiiz talking about more crew on her sail barge getting sick from food poisoning, and her telling him to keep it quiet and get replacements quick. Of course, they'll be Kermen's men, but the characters aren't in a position to know that yet. They just might be able to put it together if they overheard Kermen's bit of info and are smart. Schweighofer doesn't script out the game. It's there, and it's enough of a setpiece conceptually that you can run in any direction with it. The important part is that the GM gets the opportunity to show off the NPC negotiators to the gamers. When you go back to your room, there's a bounty hunter ambush. If you put up a good fight, they'll pop smoke and retreat rather than die, but if you capture one it doesn't take much to make him admit Prentioch hired him.

    The negotiations start next morning. Benyalle takes everybody out on her sail barge to one of the aquaculture harvesters and gives a tour. The harvesters are huge and have tremendous capacity -- so much so that Benyalle can't find buyers for all of it. She's got ten harvesters but is only running three of them at half-capacity. She needs big-time bulk buyers to make her enterprise pay off. Back on the sail barge, talks really begin. Benyalle will sell ninety percent of her output to one buyer. She won't provide transportation for the food. She'd like help crewing her harvesters, but won't allow troops to be stationed on-world. Prentioch makes the first offer to her, offering ten million credits up front but a substantially lowball price per ton. He also offers to fund and crew ten more harvesters. "Hart" makes his pitch, for an independent harvesting operation in a thousand-kilometer radius around the Unis Islands, his own equipment provided, and Benyalle is free to sign a deal for her produce with anybody else. He offers a million credits and half the profits on his operation to Benyalle. Then the characters go.

    Finally, Admiral Kermen is up. He points out that only two years ago Kaal was an Imperial world -- there's a whole speech Schweighofer's written. The point is that the Empire never harvested Kaal's food because it didn't need it, but now it does, and it's taking back what was its own before, what was unwisely given up. He and his stormtrooper bodyguards pull guns. Benyalle calls in her barge captain and several crew members, who are armed, but one of Kermen's plants shoots the captain. Most of the crew is Kermen's. At this point, if you don't start a fight, one of the loyal crew will start one for you, pulling his own blaster on the turncoats and popping off. Prentioch hides and calls for backup while Kermen hoofs it while his men deal with the fight. Benyalle, Sendir, and "Hart" stick with the characters. The crew is mainly just trying to keep you pinned down in the room, firing from the doorway to the bridge, which is the only way out. You've got to rush them and take the bridge. If you're able to take the bridge easily, that's when Sendir comes in, finally coming through with his betrayal of Benyalle. Depending on the situation, and if the characters are able to perceive the betrayal coming, he could literally stab Benyalle in the back and then start shooting at the players, or take her hostage, or be thwarted, or just have to pull a blaster and start shooting. If you save Benyalle, your deal with her is pretty much guaranteed.

    A stray shot during the battle damages the controls and sends the sail barge on a collision course with the harvester. Somebody's got to make the rolls to repair the controls and avoid a crash. "Hart" then offers to get everybody clear if you do what he says. Kermen's men still control the rest of the barge, but if you set course for the Unis Islands he's got people. Do that, but you still have to fend off attacks on the bridge, though you're helped by loyal crew members throughout the barge taking potshots at Kermen's crew. You can also see Prentioch's Star Destroyer and Kermen's firing back and forth, and a dropship headed for the sail barge. Take the barge to a certain point and Tapper will pop up with his submersible. You've got to fight to the rail and jump off to board the submersible. Once you start hauling ass away, Karrde lets you know who he really is. He also lets you in on his plan, since he's given up on it. With Imperial factions battling for the planet, and the New Republic likely to get the contract, the area's going to be too hot to get the yacht out, and he just had Tapper blow it rather than let it fall into somebody else's hands. No word on if he gives away his secret to sporting such a rad mullet. As the dropship, which is Prentioch's, pulls up to the barge, the charges on the yacht go off underneath the barge, possibly taking Prentioch and Kermen with it. It's certainly implied in the story, though later material made it clear Prentioch survived and was captured by the New Republic not long after.

    The Star Destroyers pull out, while Karrde no longer has anything to negotiate for (but he still has a kickass mullet). The New Republic wins the contract by default. You can hammer out a deal, and Benyalle offers jobs in her organization to any character who wants one in gratitude for saving her life, which seems like a bit of a conflict of interest. It's a happy ending. We get an Adventure Idea also, in which players are hired by an undercover agent for the Imperial Advisors to find the remains of Jeng Droga, whom they believe survived the crash only to die on the abandoned Unis Islands. You have to search through the ruins of resort buildings and potentially fight some good old-fashioned wildlife (Swamp leeches, everybody! Check for swamp leeches and pull them off! Nobody else got hit? I'm the only one? What's the deal?). The characters find a hut, robes, and a lightsaber, with strange carvings in a cave nearby. While the idea of Droga being dead has been contradicted by the later material that used him, it's interesting to note that nothing here actually contradicts his survival. There are relics of his presence, but there's no body. The characters can report back to the Imperial agent who hired them, who may try a double-cross to keep the secret.

    This is a really great adventure. Schweighofer writes really well, setting out interesting scenarios but finding a way of leaving a lot in the players' and GM's hands, not tying anybody's hands too tightly. He's good at writing prompts for action that give you the tools to work with, rather than just throwing stuff at you without writing out anything to make it stand out, or over-determining the adventure and putting everything on rails. There's a sense of possibility. Plus it's just a fun adventure, taking you through fights and quick-thinking situations and a decent bit of gambling, doing a great job of establishing big personalities to play off for the supporting NPCs, and even dropping in a great appearance from Talon Karrde's mullet and its attached character. There's a lot of character, a lot of activity, packed into a fairly short but extremely colorful adventure. One of the best the Adventure Journal has done so far; only the Spira Regatta can really compete with it, I think. It's my personal favorite, since I so like the supporting characters and what was done with them, especially Prentioch, who's received some nice expansion as a warlord.

    This is followed by the very, very exciting Into the Core Worlds, by Adventure Journal rockstar Paul Sudlow.
  3. Vthuil

    Vthuil Force Ghost star 5

    Jan 3, 2013
    This is another one of those adventures that I've had for a really long time thanks to "Best of the Journal." The Droga introductory vignette always struck me as excessively cool given its lack of real narrative significance, so I wasn't surprised when I found out about all the retcons he experienced.

    Edit: Though conversely I'm surprised that Kermen, who seems a much more logical villain for followup than the ludicrous Prentioch, never really showed up again.
    Havac likes this.
  4. blackmyron

    blackmyron Force Ghost star 6

    Oct 29, 2005
    I've always thought that the early NR era - such as the first two years - are the most interesting for the RPG, really. With the amount of chaos going on, you can have multiple factions and the players feel like they have an impact without having them run into Luke or Thrawn or something.
    jSarek, Sarge, Vthuil and 1 other person like this.
  5. Grand Admiral Paxis

    Grand Admiral Paxis Jedi Master star 3

    Sep 2, 2012
    The Kaal Connection is a really fun piece and definitely stands out as one of the highlights of the Adventure Journal. I was surprised (although not unpleasantly so) that Prentioch was later established as one of the major warlords, given that he's such an obvious bumbler. I have a sneaking suspicion that it has a lot to do with location, given that Prentioch is one of the few namedropped minor warlords who actually has the sectors he operates in specified and it was The Essential Atlas which brought him back into prominence.

    Kermen is another interesting figure, since the loose wording of his bio means that it's possible to interpret him as being in charge of the Imperial fleet or just the fleet guarding the Core Worlds depending on how you read into that line. Interesting fact about Kermen, though: while I doubted he was the Supreme Commander, because of that ambiguity I recommended Kermen as a possible figure to explore back when Jason Fry was asking people on the boards the kinds of things they might want included in The Essential Guide to Warfare. He ended up including Kermen as one of the Imperial loyalists in charge of a fleet during the post-Endor campaign, which we can probably interpret as a pretty definitive statement about what that line meant.
  6. Charlemagne19

    Charlemagne19 Chosen One star 8

    Jul 30, 2000
    I always liked Moff Prentioch as I always felt he was far more interesting than typical Imperial warlords who are just military man after military man. The fact he's the smarter of the two Imperials here is also something which I felt was missed by a lot of players.
  7. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Paul Sudlow's going to take us Into the Core Worlds with our next feature. It's a really outstanding piece, as we'll get into, that builds on a lot of the locations Sudlow's been mentioning in his NewsNets.

    Sudlow starts by painting a picture of the Core. The Core is the home of ten thousand ancient empires, rising and falling, each being consumed by greater and greater states until the coming of the Old Republic that united them all, and then the even larger Empire after that. It is the most technologically and culturally sophisticated region of the galaxy, home to the wealthy and powerful, secure, luxurious, free, and peaceful. That isn't to say all the Core planets are equal; the heart of the ancient Core are the most wealthy, prestigious, and ancient planets like Coruscant, but as you move away from them you find less-developed, much younger worlds, eventually giving way to the Colonies. There's no real definite demarcation between the Core and Colonies, culturally or in any terms other than a line on the map, but the line is meaningful primarily because of how differently the Empire behaves within the Core and without. Even the Colonies are subject to much harsher treatment than the Core.

    There's a neat sidebar here on human origins. No one knows the exact origin of the human species, and no planet has been able to provide indisputable proof of pre-spaceflight human habitation. Scholars generally agree that humans came from somewhere in the Core, but they don't know where, despite fierce academic wars over the subject. Some, though, think that humans came from outside known space, or that their original homeworld has been destroyed or lost.

    Core Worlds culture is generally educated, more than a little arrogant, and comfortable with high levels of bureaucratic government. Core Worlders are used to producing all the best culture and technology, and see the rest of the galaxy as mainly just offering raw materials. That said, the Core isn't culturally homogenous, despite stereotypes; thousands of years of history have given each planet its own unique character. A culture in common has developed through space travel and the HoloNet, but it's not uniform. The Empire, however, is encouraging uniformity by promoting its idea of Human High Culture across the Core, which mostly involves pushing a largely Coruscanti-based idea of Core/Human culture across the Core and the galaxy. Without the HoloNet, however, it's harder to spread, and people are resisting it. The only major success the Empire has had is in spreading distrust of aliens, who used to be common throughout the Core but are now often looked upon as outsiders. The Empire requires special travel permits for aliens in the Core, or accompaniment by a sponsor or supervisor.

    The Core is the economic heart of the galaxy, where almost all of its big businesses are headquartered. The Empire largely leaves economic policy in the Core alone for fear of stifling the economy driving the Empire. Most Core planets export high technology and consumer goods, while they import raw materials, which they've long since exhausted, and food. The government sector is a huge employer, with a staggering thirty percent of the population employed by government and another ten percent by government contractors under the Empire. This, combined with the Empire's hands-off policy toward the Core, has created general goodwill toward the Empire. Most government looks like it did under the Old Republic. Some Moffs and governors have been imposed, but usually on top of older forms of government, and they take care to be unobtrusive, as do the common Imperial garrisons. Imperial intervention usually happens behind closed doors at the highest level of government, not out in public. Core Moffships are so prestigious and powerful that they're highly sought, even though most Moffs have a purview of only a few worlds, not entire sectors, since the worlds are so powerful, influential, and bustling. Even some Imperial Senate subcommittees continue to function despite the Senate's suspension, so entrenched in inertia is the Core government. The result is very little Alliance activity or sympathy in the Core.

    Now it's time to deep-dive into the Core by means of the Ringali Shell. Named for the massive nebula that dominates the skies of the worlds in its two sectors, it's a region of the Core stretching from mid-Core to the Colonies border. Sudlow points out that there are hundreds of worlds here, but most are not particularly significant, having been terraformed relatively late in history or just never developed strongly, they remain rather insignificant planets, comfortable but not important, often client worlds of the more powerful "true" Core Worlds. Sudlow focuses on the great planets strung along the base of the Perlemian Trade Route in the region.

    In the Bormea sector, nearer the heart of the Core, you have Corulag, Chandrila, and Brentaal. They are rich, proud, powerful, ancient worlds. They're overseen by Bormea sector Moff Jamson Caglio, an Old Republic type without much in the way of oppressive instincts, despite his status as an old friend and early supporter of Senator Palpatine's. Caglio has maintained his position because he's not ambitious and therefore no threat to Palpatine. He mostly spends time on Coruscant relaxing and advising Palpatine, and leaves administration in the hands of Governor Zafiel Snopps of Corulag, where Caglio's administration is based.

    Corulag is a model Imperial Core World, pleasant and dull. It's one of the more cosmopolitan Core Worlds, and as a result hasn't developed much of a distinctive culture; it's therefore much more at home with Coruscanti and High Human Culture than most Core Worlds. It's relatively near Coruscant, which is right down the Perlemian Trade Route, and the planet supported Palpatine early. The government in Curamelle consists of an Imperial governor and the House of Citizens, its elected legislature. There are multiple political parties, but all are comfortably pro-Empire. Snopps comes from a background in industry, and is thus more concerned with keeping the economy humming than anything else. Snopps is popular on Corulag, since he's a native son who was originally the planet's senatorial representative before the Senate was suspended and he was appointed governor. Palpatine is reconsidering the wisdom of that course as Snopps becomes more popular. The planet is home to several high-tech firms, including a major Sienar research and development facility in Curamelle near Dammon University. It's also home to the Corulag Academy, a sister school to Raithal Academy and now one major element of the Imperial Academy system. The main campus is in Curamelle, with a training facility in the Imperial Navy base on Corulag's moon. The Academy takes students from across the Core as well as some from outside it, and many Corulag residents attend, leading to a strong Corulag presence among the officers of the fleet (it's clear Sudlow has no idea what to call people from Corulag, since he always carefully avoids having to use a term like Corulagi, Corulagians, or whatever). It has a population of fifteen billion, or twice Earth's, which is at least fairly reasonable for a Core planet.

    The Adventure Idea associated with Corulag has Dr. Aleq Armond of the Corulag Academy working with Sienar to develop new ion engines, along with his students. One student, a Rebel sympathizer, reports that a successful prototype is going to be demonstrated to Navy officials. If the Empire and Sienar went forward with this engine, it would be bad news for the Rebellion, but if the demonstration could be rigged to fail, the whole project would likely be scuttled since it's already far over budget and past deadline. You get to play the team sent to the Academy to sabotage the project.

    Chandrila is the next world down the Perlemian. It's a fairly unusual Core World. It is low density, Chandrilans having a strong aversion to megacities. Birth rates are relatively low, keeping the grassy plains of its two continents clear for multiple small, close-knit communities rather than urban agglomerations. The population is a mere one billion, two hundred million, or slightly less than India's. They seek to remain close to nature, often cultivating gardens, and do not believe progress is linked to artifice and remove from the natural world. They're not pacifists, though, and enjoy hunting. They maintain wildlife reserves as well as natural parks and gardens. As a result, it's one of the few planets to still retain agriculture as a large factor in its economy. Chandrilan farms tend to specialize in high-quality luxury foodstuffs with short shelf lives, taking advantage of their position to supply the rest of the Core with high-end foods rather than try to compete with the bulk producers of more remote agriworlds. The Imperial governor is Gerald Weizel, who lives in an Imperial base outside the capital of Hanna and doesn't interact with the population much. The Chandrilans have not taken to the Empire -- it's Mon Mothma's homeworld, after all -- and the Empire suspects it of being a hotbed of rebellion. Weizel doesn't flex his muscles, however, feeling he'd have a hard time succeeding in overcoming the entrenched Chandrilan political culture and their robust debating skills, developed through a system of direct democracy in which each Chandrilan has a vote on major issues and all have a strong voice in their government. Every Chandrilan town has its public square or town hall where people can gather to debate political issues. This means the representatives in the Chandrilan House are highly talented debaters, used to a raucous style of debate in which withering sarcasm is often a potent force, nothing like the sedate Senate. Chandrila's always been one of the uniquely developed Core planets, half ancient Athens, half early-American Jeffersonian agrarian democracy.

    The Adventure Idea is to have the characters do a favor for Halbard, a Chandrilan shipping magnate, and get paid with a contract to ship perishable luxury produce from Chandrila to Brentaal for reshipment to the Corporate Sector. The run is short and easy, and the pay lucrative, but the schedule is grueling, with the crew having to push themselves to make the deadline. They don't have time to do proper maintenance, which should bite them when things start going wrong during the run. They have to struggle to stay ahead of repair issues that threaten to ruin the shipment, but even if they end up having to pay for the lost shipment, they should make good contacts on Chandrila and Brentaal.

    Brentaal is an arid world, with eight continents divided by small, salty seas. It is dominated by starports, warehouses, container facilities, emporiums, financial markets, and industry, due to its position at the crossroads of the Perlemian and the Hydian Way. The planet has overcome early struggles with pollution to maintain a clean environment despite this massive development and a stagger population of sixty-five billion, though this is not a great comfort to travelers because the natural atmosphere is still relatively high in methane. Now, methane doesn't really smell, but I think this is Sudlow's attempt to say that the whole planet smells like a fart. Politics on Brentaal revolves around the economy, which is dominated by noble houses that control the guilds and shipping houses. The Houses meet in the Trade Hall in the capital to formulate policy and engage in cutthroat intrigue. The Houses remain closely tied to noble family control, though some outsiders have been able to buy into the poorer ones. Jerrod Maclain, the Imperial governor, initially set out to reform Brentaal into a model Imperial world, but quickly got rich off insider tips and special deals from the Houses. He's now a staunch defender of Brentaal's ancient traditions. And the traditions are ancient, with Brentaal having long ago served as the gateway from the Core into the Colonies, a center of trade and exploration. The ideal Brentaalian folk hero is the bold merchant blazing new hyperspace routes. It's still a center of shipping, with much of the good flowing in or out of the Core going through Brentaal. Due to its position on the Hydian, it's the site where most of the Corporate Sector's trade reaches the Core as well. Most of the galaxy's biggest shipping companies are headquartered on or at least maintain offices on Brentaal, usually in the capital of Cormond. Its cosmopolitian mixing has resulted in great local cuisine, as well.

    For an Adventure Idea, the characters can go with antique starship collector Gally Arc to pick up an Esselian general's transport from Brentaal. There, they have to defend the ship from persistent attacks by a team of hijackers intent on stealing the valuable ship.

    From Brentaal we move into Darpa sector. On the border of the Core, it retains a bit of individuality. Until fairly recently in galactic terms, the entire sector was dominated by Esseles, and the Esselian Empire was only officially abolished by the Empire, though Esseles still remains enormously influential throughout the sector. It's also the home of many businesses that relocated from outside the Core to take advantage of favorable economic treatment and tax breaks during the Old Republic. The Empire's hand is relatively strong here for the Core, in large part due to the aggressive nature of Moff Jander Graffe, a former Outer Rim Moff who still hasn't adapted himself to the Core. He's used to brute force, which actually brings him into conflict with many of his subordinate governors, who would prefer to maintain Core standards. Palpatine picked him, though, to keep Ralltiir and other worlds with potential Rebel sympathies down.

    Esseles is a warm, mountainous world with its population of twenty-four billion largely concentrated in valleys and the few plains that exist. Esselians remain relatively independent, their loyalty being to Esseles rather than the Empire, but there's a strong New Order party pushing for control of the government. Its parliament, the Hall, is run by President Cambira Ralle, a Clone Wars hero who is holding out for Esselian independence but reaching the end of his career. Ralle's opponent in Imperializing Esseles is Governor Griff Takel. Takel is an able administrator who's successfully been able to balance the Empire's priorities with allowing Esseles just enough independence to keep the people happy. The New Order Party is strong and gaining strength, with control of the media, and it's only Ralle's popularity that prevents Esseles from falling entirely into the New Order camp. Esseles is used to being influential even for a Core World, getting its own way both in the Senate and throughout Darpa sector, which it historically dominated both militarily and economically. The Esselian Empire shrank dramatically under the Old Republic, but it wasn't until the Empire that it was formally abolished, but it still remains a proud planet that dominates the sector informally and is used to doing so. Its economy specializes in high-tech electronics, and the planet is packed with scientists and engineers, leading most major companies to site research and development facilities on Esseles. It's an especially prominent planet in the field of hyperdrive research. The capital of Calamar is a vast cultural center, home to art centers, universities, and entertainment companies. The Imperial sector fleet is based at Terril Naval Base in New Calamar (commonly called Camalar -- I'm guessing this is a reference to some typo Sudlow made in his NewsNets somewhere).

    Esseles gets a nice little Adventure Idea. Gabrial Atanna, the Republic-era former senator from Esseles, is living in retirement in Calamar as a spy for the Rebellion, passing on information about Esselian defense-industry projects. While traveling offworld, he was discovered and captured by the Empire. A strike team will attempt to rescue him, but the characters are sent to Esseles to extract his wife and grandchildren from the planet so they can be smuggled to an Alliance safeworld. You have to infiltrate Atanna's estate, where they're held under house arrest. Getting them past the fifteen guards there isn't the hard part; getting them offworld is, as all ships are being searched for the Atannas.

    Rhinnal's ice age ended fairly recently. It is a cool world of fjords and rivers. Its population, a small fifty-five million (about that of South Africa), lives in ethnic clans based on kinship. Used to Esseles's rule, they have little response to the Empire's. They had an Esselian governor right up until they had an Imperial one, and the change has not been noticeable; both have been moderate. Phadreas Kole, the Imperial governor, is a mild-mannered man who collects antique speeders and maintains only a small bureaucracy. Moff Graffe has pushed him to work harder to Imperialize the population, but Kole hasn't accomplished much and isn't much interested in it. The governor manages those political affairs too large for meetings of clan heads, and there's little local discomfort with that arrangement. Rhinnalians have a colorful culture that values intricate dress codes and meaningful ceremonies as part of everyday life. Honor and style are high values, and greetings and farewells are highly ceremonious. Almost every day marks some sort of commemoration. The most notable part of its economy is Rhinnal's preeminence in advanced medicine, which extends far into the past, before it was even an Esselian colony. Rhinnalian medicine is so well respected that a Jedi chapter house is still permitted to operate, though there are no longer any Jedi associated with its hospice operations, obviously. It's home to many of the galaxy's top medical schools, including the state Medical Academy in Rhire, an institution so elite that its graduates can effectively have any job and any pay they want. The planet's medical tradition is not elitist, though, and is concerned with the philosophy of healing as well as the science. Consequently Rhinnal produces many doctors who do charitable work or head out to underserved locations on the Rim. It's also known for its weaving, and Rhinnalian rugs are a common luxury item.

    A humorous Adventure Idea has the characters paid to take an aging actress to Rhinnal for cosmetic surgery. She constantly complains and acts the prima donna and is convinced she'll revive her moribund career. It's up to the GM to decide whether she's just an old starlet receiving a free facelift from a doctor fan, if she's delusional and has no appointment and no money, or if something bigger's going on -- maybe she's an assassin putting on an elaborate act to kill a doctor, or a gangster's moll on the run with his money. I like that last one. That makes for some potential fireworks.

    Lastly we have Ralltiir. Ralltiir is the only major world in the sector that wasn't controlled by Esseles over the past centuries. It also avoided Imperial intervention until its government was found to contain Rebel sympathizers, at which point Lord Tion invaded and occupied the planet, toppling the government and reducing it to martial law that's taking its toll on the economy. Dennix Graeber, the newly appointed governor, is a crony of Graffe who's eager to crush the planet under the Imperial heel. Graeber's malevolence extends to masterminding a network to smuggle in arms to the Rebel cells on the planet actively resisting his rule, allowing him to get rich off Rebel funds and justify further crackdowns through the continuing Rebel violence. Graeber runs a military tribunal that's been imposed over Ralltiir's traditional government, the High Council, and now calls all the actual shots. The military occupation is highly visible, cowing the population but also turning it further against the Empire. Sporadic guerrilla resistance from Rebel cells is escalating and becoming more organized, potentially threatening to get out of hand and blow up in Graeber's face. The population (slightly larger than Earth's at ten billion) had long been traditional Core Worlders, and most were unexeptionally loyal to the Empire, until the Rebel presence within the halls of government led the Empire to decide to make an example of it as a seditious Core World to the rest of the Core. The sudden, and to them undeserved, crackdown has actually driven the population much further toward Rebel sentiment than if Graffe had refrained. Long known for its financial sector and neutral markets, Ralltiir's reputation as a safe haven for investments is now gone. It was already becoming hostile to alien investors under the Empire, with dissidents' funds tracked and confiscated. This led to concern from Ralltiiri that their traditions were being violated and their economy harmed, especially as investors started withdrawing. This led pro-Alliance politicians to make their way onto the High Council, which almost immediately provoked the Imperial invasion. Now Ralltiir's economy is in shambles, with many unemployed workers being shipped off the planet to low-level jobs elsewhere to make the situation look better. It's still a center of financial expertise, but investors are looking elsewhere, and corporations headquartered there are pulling out for new locations. Marble, unaffected by the unrest, is now the planet's biggest export.

    The associated Adventure Idea is to smuggle arms to one of the Ralltiiri Rebel groups. You have to negotiate smuggling them onworld, which is relatively simple thanks to Graeber but requires extortionate bribes, only to find out the cell no longer wants the explosives, since its planned sabotage campaign upset other Rebel groups who felt it would only further hurt the planetary economy. They now ask you to smuggle the explosives offworld where they can be put to use, which is much harder since Graeber's government is now on to you after you used its network to smuggle the arms in.

    There's also a sidebar for major corporations in the Ringali Shell. Aether Hypernautics specializes in hyperdrive technology, applying advanced hyperspace research to next-generation systems. Cambriele SolidState makes a huge variety of power cells for every product. Their factories are located throughout the galaxy, but they're headquartered on Ralltiir to get status as a Core business. Danthe Artifice, Ltd. makes droid personality matrices. It sells aftermarket (or third market, in Sudlow's terms) matrices to consumers, but its most important business is as an Arakyd subcontractor, designing their droid systems. Gowix Computers is a Tagge subsidiary that makes consumer and industrial computers and has a popular line of home management systems. Gwain Spices has almost monopolized the import of spices into the Core, sourced from company-owned agribusiness throughout the galaxy, imported and packaged. We're talking about foodstuffs, not illegal spice. HavaKing is a major seller of discount furniture and appliances. Their buyers can be found all along the Perlemian picking out new items to carry. Mansom Corporation specializes in building Imperial-class spaceports. They design and build high-end, stylish designs, and are in massive demand, but refuse to take on more than six projects in a decade, maintaining their exclusivity and unique aura. Sienar Fleet Systems is also mentioned as a corporation not based in the Ringali Shell, but which maintains a major propulsion R&D complex on Corulag.

    A fantastic piece. Rich in detail, in gives you a deep examination of six fantastic worlds to use and a great overview of the Core. Sudlow's a real genius, someone with a real flair for adding in interesting details and creating stories and settings that ring true and feel immersive. I'm also a huge fan of the concept we see in action here, and which I think should be used more, of mini-settings. By which I mean settings that are sort of microcosms of the galaxy, detailed regions that allow for jet-setting travel between worlds but can keep things at a local scope. Regions with history, with a network of interactions, with unique and flavorful worlds that lend themselves to interesting storylines. You can easily imagine whole campaigns set just in the Ringali shell. You can imagine a novel or a comic series following adventurers through the region, engaged in some Rebel activity or underworld pursuit. It's just such a rich article. Absolutely top-notch work.

    This will be followed by Patricia Jackson on Old Corellian.
  8. blackmyron

    blackmyron Force Ghost star 6

    Oct 29, 2005
    Like this one...;)
    jSarek and Havac like this.
  9. JediBatman

    JediBatman Jedi Master star 4

    May 3, 2015
    You know, I always thought that it was strange that in a mere two decades the cosmopolitan, alien filled Coruscant we see in AOTC could become so human-centric that all aliens were confined to ghettos. But now, it seems before AOTC was even made there was text supporting the idea that aliens were more welcome in the Core in the past. Fascinating!
    Daneira, Gamiel and Vthuil like this.
  10. Charlemagne19

    Charlemagne19 Chosen One star 8

    Jul 30, 2000
    What's crazy is plenty of cosmopolitan places have become incredibly xenophobic in RL in about the same amount of time.
  11. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Fragments from the Mind's Eye has Palpatine playing Force lightning over the engine of a car, with the caption "A Star Wars Jump Start." Hah hah hah, Pablo Hidalgo! So funny! Of all the recurring features in the Adventure Journal, this is surely the most pointless, and I'm including the Miniatures scenarios in that.

    Old Corellian: A Guide for the Curious Scholar represents an interesting change. Patricia A. Jackson steps away from short story writing to deliver a sourcefile feature on the made-up language she's featured in her work. It's an approach that could have been interesting from some of our other authors, supplementing their world-building with features that aren't dependent on narrative.

    Like so many of these sourcefiles, it opens with a vignette, Issori linguist Arner Figgis (I'm so glad he's not just a human by default) excitedly and rather arrogantly trying to learn a bit of the language off Socorran smugglers. Predictably, he screws up the line his smuggler guide has given him and inadvertently insults Karl Ancher while trying to get his cooperation with his studies.

    The rest is in the form of Figgis's notes. Old Corellian, or olys Corellisi, has been "extinct" for four thousand years -- a date that seems much too recent, all things considered, but let's assume it survived in use by some Amishesque cultural subgroup or isolated colony -- but can still be found in use among smugglers. Most Corellian colonies eventually acclimated to Basic, but the link to those early pioneers persists among a clannish subgroup of smugglers and pirates, outsiders who use it as a secret language, an in-group marker, "the traditional knot that binds these displaced persons together."

    A prominent dialect of Old Corellian persists on Socorro, an early Corellian colony that remained largely isolated, on which Old Corellian persisted. The Socorran dialect is, in fact, reflective of an older, purer form of Old Corellian than the remaining dialects seen in the galaxy at large. Through misunderstanding, though, the Socorran dialect is commonly termed midys Corellisi, Middle Corellian. Socorran is trickier than standard Old Corellian, full of odd idioms and symbolic, figurative usages. The Bharhulai, a nomadic, technophobic Socorran tribe living in isolation from the others, are believed to speak the oldest, purest existing form of Old Corellian.

    Figgis has some tips for scholars and phrases to use -- greetings, words for friend and yourself, a goodbye, and more. My favorite is the insult-threat "I will eat your ashes," which is pretty badass. Most of these appear to be based on Figgis's limited experience playing sabacc with (and being disrespected by and attempting to avert getting into fights with) smugglers on Socorro. It's pretty funny, and it highlights the fact that Figgis, as established by the vignette, isn't really a reliable source, an overconfident doofus who's more than susceptible to getting led around and made fun of by his smuggler companions.

    Figgis shows great respect for the Socorran/Old Corellian tradition among smugglers, which generally signifies a sense of honor and fellowship. The language is a bond of brotherhood, a sign of a subculture that looks out for each other and will come to the aid of its members. The Socorran smugglers make great, loyal friends if you can find one.

    Figgis gets a writeup, explaining that he's one of the galaxy's top linguists, and even held a position at the Imperial Academy of Science and Methodology despite being an alien. He loves doing field research and disproving other linguists, and often proceeds into dangerous situations fearlessly in pursuit of linguistic knowledge. Usually this is because he's oblivious to the danger. He frequently finds himself unemployed -- or as he calls it, on unplanned sabbatical -- at which times he often does his best work, getting bored and going into the field for down and dirty research.

    The piece doesn't offer much actual information that would allow players to make meaningful use of Old Corellian, no lexicon of terms. It's also not really a deep dive into the language or its history. It's a short piece that's really more about establishing just a little more flavor for the culture that Jackson's created in her short stories, and gently suggesting how GMs could wrap some of that flavor into campaigns, incorporating her Socorran subculture. That subculture, a tight-knit fellowship clinging to a near-extinct signifier of an ancient shared culture, is a pretty cool idea on Jackson's part, ultimately much more impressive than her construction of Old Corellian. As a fictional language posing as a historic component of Basic, which is of course modern English, Jackson's in the uncomfortable position of having to straddle the line of making it sound like an English predecessor without sounding dumb and fake, or just like goofy pseudo-Latin or butchered English -- or worst of all, amateurish Olde Englishe. She does a decent job of not drawing too much attention in that direction. The simpler stuff, where she's trying for a one-to-one relationship of stuff like olys and midys to old and middle, is clunkily obvious; sometimes in the longer stuff she'll just let herself make up a phrase so it's less obviously pig Latin. Some of it is dire, though -- "ihn Socorri nyeve min bhiq ohn suman ehn nyiad," is just a drunk person attempting to transcribe someone being punched in the mouth while saying "a Socorran never turns his back on someone in need." I'm not sure there's any winning with those conditions, but Jackson doesn't really impress even so. J.R.R. Tolkien, she's not.

    At the end of the article, some free space is taken up by In Memoriam: Nigel Findley, a tribute to a prolific freelance gaming writer who wrote Goroth: Slave of the Empire and Planet of the Mists for WEG's Star Wars line, as well as several other works for WEG's other lines and work for other publishers, before passing away in early 1995. It's nice of them to include a note like that, a little obituary for a colleague and contributor, though he hadn't written anything for the Adventure Journal. He seems like an interesting fellow, having lived in Venezuela, Nigeria, Spain, the United States, England, and Canada by the time he was ten, earned degrees in genetics and creative writing, and gotten credits on over one hundred books in five years as a full-time freelancer, including twelve novels.

    Next, Charlene Newcomb has a story about Alex Winger's dad.
  12. blackmyron

    blackmyron Force Ghost star 6

    Oct 29, 2005
    Nigel Findley was one of the most prolific RPG contributors in the early 90s, writing not only sourcebooks but also novels for not only SW, but WEG's TORG game and - probably his biggest legacy - Shadowrun.
    jSarek and Havac like this.
  13. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Charlene Newcomb is making it a bit of a pattern now, swapping between pushing the Alex Winger story forward and pausing to fill in backstory. Two issues ago, she gave us a Dair Haslip backstory short before delivering a big climax for Alex Winger; now we get Passages, a short story about Alex Winger's mysterious dad. Last issue's story strongly implied that she was the daughter of an associate of Rebel commando Tere Metallo, whom Alex very conveniently bumped into, without revealing this to Alex. Now we get a short story about Matt Turhaya, the mystery dad in question.

    Matt wakes up drunk at a table in a cantina, wondering what a guy named "Matt" is doing in a Star Wars story. He sees Tere Metallo arguing with a Wookiee. He doesn't recognize Tere Metallo, which means this must be an origin story. Metallo sees Matt and they share some kind of a moment of connection in which he thinks she understands his pain, and he's then collected by his older brother, Jamie.

    See, what's got Matt so down is that he lost his wife and his daughter within one year. His father, Arada Turhaya, was a Corellian Clone Wars hero, a commander in the Republic Army (and the last name is Old Corellian, meaning bright star -- somebody's been hanging around Patricia Jackson). So Matt shipped out to the Imperial Academy, graduated at the top of his class (does anybody not? Other than Soontir Fel?), and joined the Navy. He got married to his high school sweetheart, Anii Degarienne, and they had a daughter, Alex. Then right before he graduated from the Academy, his wife blew up. Well, the weapons factory she was working in blew up, but the point is she died in a big old explosion. So he sent his young daughter to live with relatives while he served on the Relentless. Newcomb loves her some TTT Star Destroyers. He came to hate the Empire, as most WEG protagonists who were once in the Imperial military do, and deserted. He eventually worked his way back to Janara III to pick up his daughter, only to find that, once more, a big explosion killed his family. The Empire had left his daughter's town in a nice freshly-blown-up state for him. He naturally turned to getting ****faced and wandering aimlessly, in good pulp-fictional-mourning style, and ended up on Tatooine, where Jamie is looking out for him.

    Matt wakes up in Jamie's Mos Eisley house, having slept off his prior drunk. This state of affairs obviously being untenable, he heads out through the clear, still early morning to the cantina. He spots Metallo playing sabacc with a grinning Corellian smuggler who gives all the telltale signs of being Han Solo, including Wookiee partner. Hanonymous takes off, and Matt takes his seat, but Metallo won't let him drink if he wants to play. She's not going to take money off a drunk.

    Cut to Matt explaining to Jamie that he bet Jamie's speeder repair shop in the game despite not owning any of it, so, uh, there's a problem. Metallo comes in to see this garage she just won, and finds out that Matt bet something he didn't own . . . so he still owes here one hundred fifty thousand credits. What the hell kind of game of sabacc were they playing there? Do you just normally assume early-morning drunks are good for a hundred fifty thousand, Metallo? But anyway, she goes with the idea of having him work off his debt by copiloting for her, since he's a good mechanic and all. Hilariously, the furious Jamie is practically tripping over himself to agree that this sounds like a fantastic plan, get this jackass out of my life.

    A month later, on Kabaira (archipelago planet, with two million islands across a surface that's ninety percent water, a corporate government and a mining economy, and a population slightly bigger than Hong Kong), Matt's in a different cantina, drinking again, feeling run ragged by Metallo. She drags him over to meet some business associates, which actually means to play sabacc. Metallo stakes him, but she wins big, probably because nobody seems to realize her senses allow her to tell if you're bluffing. Then some Imperials walk in, and the bar goes silent. The officer bumps into Matt and half-recognizes him, but Matt bluffs his way out of it. He's walking back with Metallo, explaining his situation, when there's another of those pesky explosions that seem to dog Matt's life. They rush back to the ship, suspecting this to be related to the increasing Rebel activity. Del Hunter, one of Metallo's business associates, then staggers up wounded. Turns out he's a Rebel. Metallo takes him in and hides him in a smuggling compartment. Of course, Imperials come up to check the ship. They're led by the officer, who's figured out who Matt is. He captures Matt and that's that.

    We then get Metallo helping out Hunter, a salesman with a medical supply company who's been diverting resources to the Rebellion and leading an underground cell. He's convinced he was sold out. Metallo, who has no love for the Empire but hasn't gotten involved in the fight yet, proposes they break out Matt and Hunter's captured Rebel comrades.

    Matt wakes up, as he's wont to do throughout this story, in jail with the two captured Rebels, with the unlikely names of Blaide and Chaz. Blaide's an old, talkative guy. Chaz is a distrustful teenager. This is their main characterization. Late in the day, a woman comes in, claiming to be summoned on a medical call that the stormtrooper guard just happens to have no record of. She blusters her way into the cell, where Chaz fakes a spell, having heard her coming. She gets in and draws on the stormtrooper. Combined with Metallo shooting her way in, it's a ridiculously easy effort to get them out.

    They shoot their way through a checkpoint and head toward Metallo's freighter, when all of a sudden Blaide turns on them. Called it. He's the spy. He tries to shoot Metallo, but Matt lurches into the way, knocking the blaster aside, and Metallo kills Blaide. They meet up with Hunter at the ship -- turns out Chaz is his son -- and blast off, pursued by Imperials, which is the only way anyone ever leaves a planet in a WEG short. They make the jump to lightspeed. Looks like Metallo and Matt are going to be Rebels now.

    The Adventure Idea is that you're meeting Kabairan Rebels about medical supplies when the Empire raids the meeting. You have to flee the raid, and then steal back the confiscated medical supplies and your impounded ship to leave the planet.

    This isn't a high point for Newcomb, but at least it's not a formulaic Alex Winger time-killer, either. It's got some personality in Matt's keenly-felt sorrow, but that bit of mood is all it really has going for it. Otherwise, it's an entirely by-the-numbers fringer-joins-the-Rebellion story without much in the way of interesting scenes. It dramatizes a background for Matt that didn't really need to be told; it's essentially just a bit of atmosphere around some facts that could have just been wrapped up in a sidebar bio. We know he's obviously Alex's dad, but the story doesn't even bother to outright confirm that or to dramatize any of the moments that are actually key to Matt's background and his relationship with Alex. It just dramatized the origins of his relationship with Metallo and the Rebellion. I would have much rather Newcomb stayed focused on Alex Winger. Especially since this is the moment the Alex Winger storyline stalls; Newcomb will be back next issue, but with a story unrelated to her ongoing Alex Winger saga, for the first time ever, and after that will sit out three issues before putting out one more Alex Winger story. Finally kicking Alex's story into gear last issue seems to have killed Newcomb's forward momentum as she struggles to figure out where to go from here.

    We get another death notice in the form of In Memoriam: Martin Wixted. Wixted, a WEG editor and salesman, and "one of two people on staff who knew all three Star Wars movies by heart," will be best known to fans as the author of Galaxy Guide 7: Mos Eisley.

    I should also note the first appearance, that I've seen, of the Journal Submission Policy. This notice comes at the end of their bio section for authors and artists, and states that Lucasfilm has directed the Adventure Journal to "solicit material only from previously published writers." Those of us who have been with the fandom for a while may recall LFL's longstanding policy not to read or accept unsolicited Star Wars manuscripts or story ideas, and to only publish previously published authors, often cited when someone shows up to ask HAY GUIZ HOW DO I RITE STUR WARS BOK???????????????? This appears to be the point at which this policy was either put in place, or at which it was pointed out to WEG that they wanted the Adventure Journal to follow it, too. Seemingly, this nixes the promise the Adventure Journal made from the beginning of being a vehicle through which you, the Star Wars fan on the street, could potentially contribute to Star Wars. In effect, less so, as the notice points out that if you're totally unpublished, you can just go and get published somewhere else, in some other magazine that does take submissions. And if you're published -- which many of the actual authors who have made it in have been, as gaming industry freelancers and part-time writers -- you can send in your resume and a sample of your work to the Adventure Journal, asking to do something. You just can't send Star Wars work or ideas unsolicited. You have to get the Journal to bite first. Some folks, of course, would have been bitten by this had it been in effect immediately -- I don't think Newcomb or Jackson were published beforehand. The endearingly Wild West days of the early Journal are gone. But hopefully this will be a good thing for the average quality of the Adventure Journal.

    Next time, we close up this best issue yet of the Journal with the Galaxywide NewsNets. And the letter column.
    jSarek, Nom von Anor, Sarge and 4 others like this.
  14. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Paul Sudlow, who has now been hired as a West End Games editor after contributing a good run of excellent work, is back with the Galaxywide NewsNets to close out issue seven. This time, Sterling Hershey has also contributed some material. As the author of Flashpoint! Brak Sector, it's no doubt the Brak Sector material. Just guessing.

    The ongoing saga of Dentaal's depopulation receives the major twist we've been waiting for when the Alderaan Expatriate Network gets the chance to expose the truth about yet another planet's destruction: Princess Leia has distributed a holovid speech identifying the Empire as the force behind Dentaal's destruction. The Empire had claimed that it was the Organas behind it, an escaped vial of Bail Organa's biowarfare strains. Leia offers no proof, but basically says, "You saw how Alderaan played out, and now a plague conveniently breaks out on a world that threw off the Empire?" She says the Alliance is close to identifying the true source of the plague and will release that information. As a speech, it's limited by being all assertion, no proof, but it gets the Rebellion's story out there, and there's a really good passage in which Leia speaks of her mixed joy in seeing Dentaal defy the Empire and dread knowing that the inevitable consequences would be destruction at the hands of the Empire.

    Brak Sector News has the story on the Empire subduing a riot in Amma, Bacrana. Moff Ramier attempted to disperse thousands of supposedly peaceful protesters in the city square who revealed their true nature when they responded with blaster fire and explosives. The Empire routed these rioters without losses and imposed martial law on Amma as it continues to secure the city, having captured the ringleaders but now looking for all the participants, having already arrested hundreds. The riot is rumored to have been organized by the Rebellion, making this "the Rebellion's first attack in Brak Sector." Some great use of scare quotes and Imperial proclamations to take what's basically a factual report and slant it into Imperial propaganda.

    Attached to that story, however, is a viral piece from the Invisible NewsStack. Sliced into this story is the truth, as revealed by our guerrilla journalists: it really was a peaceful protest, a march seeking the restoration of Old Republic rights lost under the Empire. Until the Empire showed up with troops and walkers and told the demonstrators to disperse. Some actually did fire on the Imperials -- a handful of radicals up at the front of the march. The Empire used it as an excuse to attack the entire unarmed demonstration. Hundreds were killed, hundreds more arrested as martial law has been declared. Notably, the Bacrana System Defense Force, the local police, were ordered to aid the Imperials in crowd control. General Reskan ordered them to withdraw, however, when the Empire started shooting. He wouldn't allow the police to fire on their fellow citizens, and now he's disappeared ahead of Imperial retaliation (Flashpoint! Brak Sector would have him reappear as a Rebel leader in the sector). It obviously wasn't a Rebel operation. The most interesting thing about this piece is that some demonstrators actually did shoot, making the truth more a matter of cutting through the Imperial slant than entirely setting the facts straight. As our correspondent notes, the official story is actually mostly true and sneaks in much of the story behind those scare quotes, getting as much of the truth out there to people as possible. So it's not a great example of an official lie being exposed by underground journalism as it is two different slants, the unvarnished facts contrasted with the version massaged to get through Imperial censorship.

    The Colonial News Nets carry the story of an armistice in the conflict between the Corporate Sector Authority and the Trianii Colonies. An ongoing three-year war sprang out when the CSA claimed systems settled by the Trianii belonged to it under its charter. The Trianii have resisted the claim by waging a stiff resistance, attempting to make it too costly for the CSA to claim their worlds to bother. They've succeeded in burdening the CSA, but they've also devastated the planets in question and lost a staggering third of their youth in the fight. Both sides are looking to compromise, and have thus agreed to a cease-fire while their negotiators sit down on Fibuli, a former Trianii colony rendered barren by the war, hoping to hammer out a long-term settlement. I like this depiction of a side conflict, not tied into the GCW, where the CSA isn't so irredeemably evil that it won't try to negotiate an end to a brutal war. It's a realistic take on two sides getting sick of the losses of war and trying to hammer out a peace. It's also notable for two reasons: one, it's an elaboration on Brian Daley's Han Solo at Stars' End, which featured a Trianii character with this conflict as backstory, and two, the CSA spokesman describes the Trianii effort as a "jyhad." It's notable both for grabbing a reference to jihad well before it was a sensitive enough subject that anybody would probably be scared to use the word, and for using a weirdo variant spelling that seems to originate from a Vampire: The Masquerade CCG.

    Cynabar reports on a raw materials shortage in the Mid Rim. Substances essential to the production of capital ships are becoming scarce, especially doonium. The shortage is the result of a long-term decline in production combined with a spike in Imperial orders and Rebel sabotage of critical production centers. Cynabar notes that most of the transports hauling these materials are standard deliveries to Imperial shipyards, but many are military craft assigned to Imperial Energy Systems whose destination can't be ascertained and who aren't seen arriving at any known ports. Cynabar treats this as a chance to make some money by getting your hands on any of these scarce resources you can and waiting for the price to go up; what he's actually stumbled on, of course, is evidence of the second Death Star's construction.

    The Corellia Times has a story on Gowix Computers moving its headquarters from Corellia to Corulag. After three hundred years on Corellia, Gohn Danfeil, Gowix CEO, cites the reason as decreased shipping traffic through Corellia and a decline in Corellia's spaceport infrastructure. Increasing pirate attacks have contributed to an unstable economy, and Corellia appears to be declining. This whole "Corellia in decline" thing appears to be an effort to tie into the freshly-released Corellian Trilogy, which depicted an isolated and economically depressed Corellia, though the general direction of canon has leaned more toward having that as a result of Corellia's post-ROTJ isolation than a long-term economic debility. Gowix's move to Corulag is also a nod to its appearance as a Corulag company in Sudlow's Into the Core Worlds.

    We're back with Cynabar's InfoNet, which issues a bulletin stating it's going to be shutting down for a while. The "Cynabar crew," which joins multiple mentions in this NewsNet implying that multiple people are responsible for the Cynabar production, not a single spacer operating under a pseudoynm, has heard that the Empire is looking to crack down. The presence of three ISDs and an Interdictor over Nar Shaddaa has convinced them that enough heat is on that they'll be ducking out for a while -- even though Cynabar's operations aren't actually run out of Nar Shaddaa, whatever its node ID might say. They promise to be back at some point, but they're lying very low for now.

    This is followed by a Galaxy News Service report about the Empire making an appearance over Nar Shaddaa and Nal Hutta. The flotilla of three ISDs and an Interdictor took up orbit around Nar Shaddaa and its commander, Lord Triege, hasn't said what it's there for. They dropped troops into the Corellian Sector of Nar Shaddaa and appear to have been sweeping for a specific signal. The Empire is searching all ships before they leave (though good luck actually controlling all traffic out of smuggler central with four capital ships), but doesn't even seem that interested in cargo. They've arrested some obviously wanted suspects, but it's obvious that they're interested in Cynabar, not smuggling. We, of course, know why Cynabar's suddenly so hot -- the line of evidence for the DS2's construction he's happened across. It's mentioned as an extremely rare occurrence that the Empire shows up and shows interest in Nar Shaddaa -- this is well before The Hutt Gambit had a major Imperial raid on Nar Shaddaa several years before this story is set -- and Smebba Dunk, head of the Clan Council, expresses the Hutt clans' outrage at this unannounced violation of Hutt-Imperial detente.

    Our last story is on the appointment of a new Imperial governor for Chandrila. Coruscant Daily NewsFeed reports that, after Grandon Holleck's resignation, the Emperor has appointed Gerald Weizel in a lovely ceremony at the Candreal Gardens Center in Imperial City. You may recall Weizel from his mention in Into the Core Worlds. Holleck, who has cited poor health behind his desire to retire to his homeworld, is dinged by commentator Greng Tabbe of the Imperial Public Policy Foundation as a weak, self-doubting leader, while Weizel is seen as an upgrade who can work with political leaders on unfriendly worlds. Weizel was previously governor of Dakshee, a Colonies world, where he deftly handled the Brella Temior crisis. Amier Candle, head of the Imperial University's School of Public Policy, praises the way Weizel figured out that the union heads in the affair were JAN ringleaders and was thus able to resolve the issue without bloodshed. I love the way Candle's "Who would have guessed the union heads were JAN ringleaders?" tells you all you need to know about the fact that they weren't JAN ringleaders; Weizel just made up a charge to arrest them on. So Weizel is praised as a skilled handler of problem worlds who can hopefully work to bring Chandrila back into the Imperial fold. Of course, as Into the Core Worlds tells us, he'd mostly end up sitting back as ineffectively as Holleck. My favorite NewsNet of this batch, just for the pitch-perfect imitation of political reporting, with its talking heads sought out for commentary.

    Another great NewsNets that continues the long, slow burn of the Dentaal affair, introduces a new thread with the rawmat crisis and the Death Star II's construction, and has a couple solid standalone bits. The NewsNets still have yet to disappoint.

    The last bit of this issue is the letters column, HoloNet Hype. We get one long-ass letter from Larry Granato of Denver. Larry notes that, even in Platt's Smuggler's Log entry on running a ship, little attention has been given throughout WEG to fuel. We saw fighters apparently being fueled in ANH, yet WEG doesn't give much attention to what makes your starship go as you fly back and forth across the galaxy. And then I just have to reproduce this in full, because he goes full proto-Saxtonite:

    Schweighofer passes this one off to Bill Smith, rules expert. Smith notes that starships are powered by fuel or by power cells, and ships with converters can turn almost any substance into fuel material. He doesn't want to get more specific or scientific than that at this point, since, after all, we're unlikely to even understand how future technology might work at this point. As for fuel consumption, WEG pushes "roleplaying over bookkeeping," meaning that they don't want to force players to keep track of a bunch of numbers just for its own sake. Rather, they can ballpark fuel needs using the overall consumables statistic for starships, using that as an indicator of when to refresh all supplies, and use refueling as a plot device as needed. So sorry, Larry, but you can take your hard work on starship fuel theory and shove it, nerd.

    It's actually a neat letter, though, showing some thought put into things and providing a framework for understanding fueling that can help those people who want to make use of that kind of thing in their games, even if, as Smith points out, it's not conducive to what WEG's trying to do to force all players to deal with things on that level.

    We'll be back after a brief hiatus with Adventure Journal 8, featuring the return of the Brandls in Patricia Jackson's Uhl Eharl Khoehng, Tony Russo's Red Claws short Blaze of Glory, the shipyard strike adventure Counterstrike, a piece on the Gree Enclave, and a set of adventures built around Dirk Harkness and his Black Curs.
    jSarek, WMIRTUTSF, blackmyron and 8 others like this.
  15. comradepitrovsky

    comradepitrovsky Jedi Knight star 3

    Jan 5, 2017
    Huh. Whatever happened to the 'Lord' title for Imperial commanders? There is this guy, Tion...
    SheaHublin likes this.
  16. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    I like the idea of their being an Imperial nobility, as well as existing noble houses from the Core and elsewhere whose titles are respected when they join the Empire. It adds a cool flavor when your generals and admirals happen to also be lords, barons, or counts, whether because the Emperor made you a baron for being a badass fighter pilot or because you happened to already be a count on Esseles or something before you joined the Army. If a Core princess can serve in the Senate, why can't that young naval lieutenant happen to be a prince too? Or imagine a situation where the king of such-and-such rules a region, but the Emperor has made his more compliant brother, the duke, the sector Moff. There's a great recipe for conflict. I feel like there's a lot of potential flavor for the setting that's been overlooked.
    WMIRTUTSF, CT-867-5309, Landb and 2 others like this.
  17. Charlemagne19

    Charlemagne19 Chosen One star 8

    Jul 30, 2000
    One upcoming Adventure Journal had the Governor of a planet be its former tyrannical King.
  18. Landb

    Landb Jedi Padawan star 1

    Mar 7, 2017
    Yeah I'm a big fan of the idea of "Lord" not being a title afforded to guys like this by military rank, but a separate title recognized by the Empire (either from some kind of Imperial nobility made up of galactic big names or a recognized list of regional nobilities, worthless backwater "nobles" need not apply).

    Fleet Admiral So-and-so of the Imperial Navy, 7th Lord Whatever. Referred to by military rank in military matters, but afforded the courtesy of his title in news reports or social/civilian interaction.

    A fun bit of old colonial/European empire flavour to contrast with the Soviet and Nazi stuff. Also works well with the Space Fantasy aspects of the setting.
    Vthuil, Daneira and Havac like this.
  19. Nom von Anor

    Nom von Anor Jedi Knight star 2

    Oct 7, 2012
    I'd like to see more of the Corporate Sector - Trianii Conflict. It's an interesting regional war at the edges of the galaxy, concurrent with the GCW. We know little about it, but it could generate some stories...
  20. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005

    Time for Adventure Journal 8, November 1995. As always, we begin with Admiral's Communique. This time, the column comes not from Commander Peter Schweighofer, but General Richard Hawran. Hawran, a WEG associate publisher, is making some kind of semi-coherent pitch for a new edition of Star Wars on VHS, re-digitized and with THX sound. And it's not just that -- he's excited by the letterboxing! See, all those little details that he missed are back! He'll never watch the old versions again. It also sounds like he'll never watch the new versions again, because he's a terrible writer who badly needed an editor here ("But that was back in August. Now. those great re-digitized films with the THX sound sit on my shelf, right next to the originals, never to be watched again."). This communicates less than nothing because it's such a confusingly written endorsement, and it's nothing but cheap ad copy. This is by far the worst and least informative this column has ever been.

    We now turn to the section that's supposed to be ad copy, New Horizons. What's coming out in 1996 that they're going to plug? Shadows of the Empire, obviously. It's a book, it's a video game, it's trading cards, it's a comic book, it's a WEG sourcebook, it's even its own making-of book! It's everything! It points out something I had never even quite noticed -- it's the first Bantam novel to be set during the time period of the OT. I guess they're not counting the anthologies as novels, but, yeah, it's odd how little Bantam ever actually touched the OT era. The article can't say anything about the plot except it will involve the Empire's ties to the criminal underworld, but it goes on about Steve Perry, the Hildebrant brothers trading cards, and the N64 game (which is, at this time, "Nintendo's upcoming new 64-bit system, Ultra-64"). Schweighofer's writing the sourcebook. Judge Dredd co-creator John Wagner will be writing the comic adaptation. It's just a ton of press release details, but they certainly make it sound big and prestigious, at least.

    Also coming out are those new VHS tapes Richard Hawran was so ambiguously excited for and/or outraged by. These remastered editions -- the ones I grew up on (the "one last time" promo* is, like, a critical part of my childhood) -- are out, and they and their packaging are so popular that the packaging imagery is on other crap you can buy too! If you care really hard about Star Wars neckties and baseball caps and rebranded novelization covers, you can dig up a copy of Adventure Journal 8 and read it because I sure don't.

    Things I do care about: Bantam paperbacks. Coming out in the next months are Tales from Jabba's Palace and X-wing: Rogue Squadron. Tales from Jabba's Palace is another cool anthology, but the main takeaway here is how much I enjoy the name "George Alec Effinger." Rogue Squadron, already billed as the first of four by Michael Stackpole, is pretty goddamn awesome and gets promo copy to match. "Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron follows the exploits of Wedge Antilles and his hand-picked X-wing pilots. Rebuilding the legendary squadron, Wedge seeks only the best -- the most skilled, the most daring X-wing pilots he can find. Through training and dangerous missions, he weeds out the weak from the strong, assembling a group of hard-bitten warriors willing to fight, ready to die. Even with the best X-wing jockeys in the galaxy, many will not survive their near-suicidal missions. But when Rogue Squadron is ordered to assist in the assault on the heavily fortified Imperial stronghold of Black Moon, even the bravest must wonder if any at all will survive."

    Also there will be a compact disk collectors' set of the Dark Empire and Dark Empire II audio dramatizations, with Empire's End as a "bonus track," which hilariously highlights how pitifully short Empire's End is. You already know what Dark Empire is about but New Horizons makes sure you know some more. It costs sixty bucks. It was a different time.

    Next, after ads for a Tales from the Crypt RPG and the Art of books for the OT, comes a Charlene Newcomb short story that isn't about Alex Winger nor her friends or relatives.

  21. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    I've been seeing some signs that Charlene Newcomb has been having some trouble continuing her Alex Winger series; here, she comes out, for the first time, with a totally unrelated story, before finally taking a few issues off entirely. A Certain Point of View and its sequel, coming many issues later, are the only Newcomb stories with no connection to the Wingerverse. Despite not continuing Alex's adventures, however, the story gets prime placement as the first piece of the issue.

    Our protagonist this time is Lieutenant Celia Durasha, navigator of the cruise liner Kuari Princess. She's introduced playing B'shingh (a kind of knockoff chess or dejarik) against Detien Kaileel, security chief for the ship and some kind of weird-shaped alien. Engineer Dap Nechel is spectating. He's described as a short, bearded alien, so I'll just assume he's Gimli. They break up after she loses, as they're coming in to Mantooine, and Celia talks with Kaileel about a bunch of blasters that have gone missing from his security section, which is becoming a pattern. The last bunch eventually turned up in Rebel hands. Kaileel says he has business to take care of on Mantooine with friends, friends like he has on a few planets they've stopped on. We're three pages in and I can already tell you that Kaileel's diverting the blasters to the Rebellion. Things are kinda predictable that way.

    On Mantooine, Celia runs across Adion Lang among the passengers boarding. A handsome old flame of some sort, he's an Imperial officer now, having gone to Raithal to join the Army,flanked by stormtrooper guards. She likes the way the uniform looks on him. So at least she's not one of those protagonists who's not a Rebel yet but doesn't like the Empire just because. In fact, she's got a brother in the Fleet and another two in the Army. And her dad's an Army commander. In fact, her dad killing her application is the only thing that kept her out of the Imperial Academy. She was so upset at not being able to fulfill her family's Generational tradition that she took off and ended up becoming a navigator for Galaxy Tours. She got this job after saving her previous assignment, a smaller liner, after a pirate attack. So she complains to Adion a bit about Imperial sexism and so forth, and Adion thinks her father kinda did her a favor given Imperial sexism, but she wanted to make her own decision, you get the picture. Anyway, Adion's off to be the new assistant to the sector Moff. Big shot! They suddenly make out a little before she gets confused by all these feelings and retreats.

    She goes to see her mentor, Kaileel. He's got his own troubles, though, and she's called away to meet with the captain. Captain Stenn Glidrick, Imperial Navy veteran, informs her that her brother has been killed on Ralltiir. Her twin brother, Raine. She is very sad, but still makes her B'shingh date with Kaileel, who comforts her, but admits he doesn't agree with the Empire's methods of resolving the conflict. He sounds a little Rebelly when he talks, and suddenly she puts together the whole blaster thing. At that awkward moment, Nechel walks in, so they both pretend she didn't just accuse him of treason and go about their game. Nechel announces the hot new news -- the Empire's blown up Alderaan. Nechel must have pretty damn good sources, since he knows the Empire did it because of the Rebels on Alderaan. Kaileel argues this shows his point that the Empire's an ugly thing that treats people as disposable, and Adion moves in to arrest him. He's found out Kaileel was behind the blasters, too. He has Kaileel led away under arrest, causing great confusion in Celia -- she still likes him, even though his Rebel buddies killed her beloved brother. Adion reveals that he's actually ISB, and this was all a sting.

    Hours later, after the interrogation, Adion lets Celia talk to Kaileel. This is probably not the best idea but hot exes have a way of screwing with even the ISB's judgment. Kaileel's confessed; he's quite calm about the whole thing. Celia's upset he's not trying to save himself. He admits that the Empire hasn't even done anything to him; he just opposes it because it's wrong. Then a stormtrooper comes to tell her her time's up, so she knifes him in the neck. That took a quick turn. She's arranged a breakout, with the help of some of the ship's crew who are quite fond of Kaileel. They take off for the hangar bay, only to run into Adion Lang waiting for them. Kaileel fires on Adion, who kills Kaileel. She cries over Kaileel's body, upset her old flame has turned into such an emotionless, cold functionary. So she knifes him too and runs into a barge, taking off into the safety of the nebula they're passing through as the wounded Adion shouts after her.

    There's an Adventure Idea with you as Rebels sent to meet Kaileel who find he's been exposed, so you have to escape the Empire, steal the weapons back, find out what happened to Kaileel, and escape. I'm rather fond of Kaileel's bio in his capsule too, since he left Kabieroun to study police science and became a private eye with the Mid-Rim Sentinel Agency. He was wounded in the line of duty and retired to the security chief job. There are a few nice touches illustrating the Empire's reach; he left his planet before the Empire enslaved it, and attended Balaidas Academy before the Empire closed it to nonhumans.

    There's a lot to like about the story, with an interesting setup. You've got a non-ideological protagonist who's torn between competing Imperial and Rebel claims on her loyalty, and this whole air of tragedy the story's infused with as things go wrong, relationships break down, and a good outcome becomes impossible. There's a heavy atmosphere to it. The idea of Celia becoming a Rebel, joining the organization that killed her brother and putting her in a position to go to war against her surviving siblings and father, is powerful. But it doesn't really work because the central turn is too poorly motivated. What makes Celia decide to start murdering stormtroopers for a friend who's a traitor to the government she's shown no sign of disapproving before? It's a huge leap and there's nothing in the story that really makes it clear why; she jumps from conflicted, confused, and hurt to murdering stormtroopers in the space of one scene, with whatever decisionmaking drove it entirely offscreen. The whole virtuous becoming-a-Rebel ending is insufficiently justified and comes off hollow as a result. I'd have almost rather seen a story where she turns Kaileel in and then has to live with the consequences, illustrating how the Empire can drive ordinary people to make bad choices. That would be a real tragedy -- that she wasn't in a position to see the Empire's evil and the Rebellion's virtue, that because of her brother's death she turned on her best friend over a cause she didn't understand. That's unlikely ever to happen in a WEG short story, but it would be a little more literary. The story still has plenty of tragedy as it is -- I hope the sequel explores the conflict of going to war against her family, because I really love that setup -- but it doesn't make that turn work. If Newcomb had worked to sell it harder, it would have been pretty great.

    Next we'll learn the secrets of the Gree Enclave.
  22. blackmyron

    blackmyron Force Ghost star 6

    Oct 29, 2005
    Yeah, that story seems to almost be a tie-in to the WEG module Riders of the Maelstrom - or at least using the material as framework for the story, one the reasons that WEG was so important to the other parts of the EU to begin with.
  23. JoinTheSchwarz

    JoinTheSchwarz JC Head Admin & Community Manager star 9 Staff Member Administrator

    Nov 21, 2002
    For a story written around an unrelated piece of art (the cover to Riders on the Maelstrom it's not bad.
  24. Charlemagne19

    Charlemagne19 Chosen One star 8

    Jul 30, 2000
    I, honestly, think this is the best written story in the entirety of the Adventure Journals. I think you misread some of the characters (which admittedly is easy because the story doesn't say who is right and leaves that to interpretation) with a lot of what is going on her heads being emotional and impulsive rather than things they've clearly thought out. She makes the decision to try and rescue her friend over anything resembling conscious well-formed thought because he's her friend. That makes her an enemy of the Empire and that's pretty much the end of that story.

    It's all about a hot headed decision to try to save someone she knows to be a good person from being tortured to death and murdered.

    I think it should also be noted Celia DOESN'T join the Rebellion. There's a "Choose your own adventure" sequel to this story (which may have been printed before--I'm not sure) where we follow up to her about a year later. Celia has become a smuggler named "Crimson" who is implied to be anti-Imperial but not a member of the Rebellion.
  25. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    The Gree Enclave, from solid contributor Timothy O'Brien, introduces us to the Gree, one of those Adventure Journal creations with relatively obscure origins that would go on to feel like a fairly significant element of the setting thanks to further usage, especially by Abel, Jason, and Dan types in guide material.

    The Gree Enclave is a remote Outer Rim collection of planets inhabited by the Gree, six-tentacles cephalopods who are currently fairly insignificant and isolated. What makes them notable is their past; so long ago that even the Gree can't recall it, they were one of the most advanced ancient civilizations of the galaxy on the back of technology unlike anyone else's. They can still make some of the old technology, and Gree masters can manipulate the more esoteric older technology, which is designed to be manipulated by Gree tentacles, and which usually emits musical notes and is consequently designed to be "played" to work. The Gree work to preserve those parts of their technological heritage they still understand, and to maintain the purity of their ancient culture, but they are in deep decline.

    The Gree were at their peak long before the Old Republic was established, so long ago the Gree have forgotten most of their own history. Much of it remains recorded, but the Gree have lost the knowledge to manipulate their own information storage technology. It's known that the Gree developed interstellar travel and visited many neighboring worlds, which they found less developed than themselves. They traded with some worlds and ruled others, but implemented a policy of not granting any other species technology it couldn't have developed itself. Scholars have no real idea how far Gree civilization stretched, whether regional or across much of the galaxy. They pioneered technology beyond even modern capabilities, but their decline happened when they began valuing the ability to operate their technology too much, making it the province of skilled experts who took on only a handful of apprentices and jealously guarded their secrets, with only a few of these experts entrusted with the task of further developing technology. Eventually technological progress stagnated, and even declined as secretive masters died before they passed on their full knowledge to their apprentices. The research and creation castes died out, and the thinned-out operator caste took over primacy from the administrative caste as their ability to manipulate what technology was left became critical. Technology began to give out, and absent the ability to repair it, Gree civilization declined, and many away from the homeworld and its immediate area were cut off.

    The leading Gree castes were once the administrators, operators, researchers, and crafters, but the researchers and crafters have died out, with the knowledge of how to create them in the bio-engineering spawning beds of the Gree having been forgotten as they were no longer needed. Subcastes are regulated by guilds, who send representatives to a grand council for each planet, which are further responsible to the grandmaster council on Gree itself. Each guild council has a limited number of seats, and since all Gree Masters sit on their guild council, this limits the number of masters each guild can declare. Some guilds are willing to adjust the number of their seats; others remain rigid. The Gree live in huge halls, each run by a hallmaster and under the control of a specific guild. The halls are huge, self-contained living systems, the best of which are still mostly functional, and the worst of which are nonfunctional and house the poorest masses. The masses are those who don't have a role within the guilds. Most of them contribute little to society, but the traders are considered among the masses and are actually important, carrying on trade and bringing in resources to the guilds. A new form of trader has arisen, the sevark, who acts as a sort of guide for non-Gree who wish to come and trade with the masters. The Gree economy is barter-based, with goods or services exchanged directly instead of credits. The Gree masters consider payment beneath them; they accept tribute for the use of their abilities, but they are not considered to be selling their skills. They are approached by supplicants who have to flatter and bribe them into exerting their abilities on their behalf.

    What Gree technology still exists is extremely impressive. It can synthesize substances, build complex devices quickly, and transport goods almost instantaneously. This technology is revered even as much of the other technology around it is breaking down or barely above pre-spaceflight levels. Synthesis and construction of devices are among the more common technological masteries. Despite their usefulness to the outside world, these skills aren't as valued by the Gree because they're more common. The Gree aren't really built around other species' ideas of practicality. Textmasters who can access the great stores of information are valued mostly only for their ability to recover operational manuals, not any of the Gree's wealth of other knowledge. The Gree look down on constructing outside technology and get bored of duplicating anything more than a few times. They also really don't like to construct droids, since the Gree dislike droids, believing technology should be something to be manipulated and not independently active. They also reject the idea of duplicating their own advanced ancient technology with the constructor devices. Among the most advanced technology is that of the hypergates, gateways that transport anything passing through it to another gate through hyperspace. This is one of the most valued and secret Gree technologies, even though the gates haven't been activated in hundreds of years.

    Gree space itself is relatively discouraging to outsiders, though the products of similarly ancient species, like Bith and Columi, have an easier time gaining entry. All incoming travelers come through Asation, the only Gree planet open to the rest of the galaxy. It has a decent "alien" population as well as a nominal Imperial presence, which has no interest in the decaying Gree civilization or its technology. Travelers aren't allowed to proceed past Asation on their own; they have to take the Rokak'k Baran, an ancient Gree ship that travels a regular circuit among the Gree worlds. No outside scouts or mappers have been allowed to explore Gree space, so the outside galaxy has no hyperspace coordinates for anywhere but Asation, and independent ships and probes that try to penetrate Gree space have a habit of disappearing.

    The Rokak'k Baran is five kilometers in diameter, and is equipped with Gree weapons, sensors, and shields, which don't function like normal ones. The weapon system produces energy fields that are able to vaporize a ship with a single sweep. It's the only means of travel between Gree worlds, which makes it extraordinarily important to keeping Gree civilization from decaying any further, and Master Rokak'k, its commander, is the most influential single master in Gree space.

    Asation is home to the Imperial consulate, as well as a mostly symbolic Carrack, and a significant alien quarter -- the population is almost evenly split between a million Gree and seven hundred thousand others. The Empire taxes trade with the Gree and does little else. Consul-General Skalus is actually collecting less than he could, since he hates the planet so much that he figures his best chance to leave is to get demoted. Most other species have to use breath masks. This is where the most sevarks are, and there are Gree from all the Gree worlds gathered here to conduct business. The Gree won't trade Gree technology out of the Enclave, though some Gree have been known to do so for rare collectibles. At the center of Satikan, the main city, is the Grand Hypergate, the ruin of seven hypergates and a control obelisk. There are weekly ceremonies attempting to reactivate them, but they're dormant, and two of them have unknown destinations. The city is abuts the overgrown ruins of an ancient city that's forbidden to non-Gree, and intruders there seldom return.

    Lonatro is an agricultural world, though it's degenerated from being entirely farmed to only having ten percent of its surface worked to support the Gree Enclave's population. They also maintain exotic gardens full of rare species from across the galaxy and a vast zoo collecting rare species. Its small population numbers only three million.

    Gree is the Gree homeworld, considered sacred, and visitors must have the Grand Council's permission to set foot there. It's mostly barren, and visitors land in the heart of a giant, but mostly abandoned city they're not allowed to explore. Other ruined cities can be seen across the planet, but only the capital is inhabited, with a planetary population of sixty million. Advanced technology is most common here.

    Malanose used to be a center of research and crafting, and while they've died out, it still has the most functioning technology. They had the longest-functioning hypergates, and maintained the archives of prototypes for all the old technology. The mobile pieces have been distributed, but the largest devices still remain. Its greatest artifact is the Totth'k Lotos, which can rejuvenate Gree by repairing damage to the body, extending their lifespans. Many masters come to use it. A handful of aliens have paid exorbitant prices to use it, though there's no guarantee it will affect their physiology. The population of one hundred fifty million is the second-largest.

    Te Hasa is a hidden world, the secret storehouse for devices the Gree have forgotten how to use. Only ten thousand Gree live there, a priestlike class devoted to trying to figure out these ancient machines. Sometimes someone will unlock the secrets of a device, and become master of a whole new technology. The planet was engineered to be hostile to intruders. It's mostly desert, with the storehouses located in a valley oasis, and is full of bioengineered hostile wildlife. The most dangerous artifacts are kept in an even more secret storehouse way out in the middle of the desert.

    Licha In, with five hundred million Gree, is the most heavily populated Gree world, but was one of the first to decline. It used to be a central trading world, back when it was a hypergate nexus. Now it's broken down into isolated city-states, with the Gree viewing their limited technology with an almost religious mysticism. They're considered the most degenerate of Gree, and the Rokak'k Baran only visits one day per year. They keep the descendants of alien traders stuck on Licha In back when the hypergates first broke down as slaves, and any alien visiting is likely to be taken for an escaped slave. There are a few city-states inhabited solely by aliens, including Duros, Devaronian, and human city-states, that maintain their independence far away from the Gree cities and war among themselves, but whenever they get too powerful, the Gree go to war against them.

    There's an Adventure Idea for players stuck on Licha In, whether because the Rokak'k Baran has left without them, they stumbled through a working hypergate, or they crash-landed. They must survive in this barbaric society either until the Rokak'k Baran comes back in a year, or they find a way to activate a hypergate. This obviously can't really work as a little filler adventure, but it's an interesting idea for a campaign that's still Star Wars but can be set in this sort of degenerated, post-apocalyptic barbarian wasteland, half Mad Max, half Conan.

    There's another, much more extensive, Adventure Idea. It is, notably, the first appearance of Corellia Antilles (in Corellia Antilles and the Ancient Khoz'zak). Star Wars's own female riff on Indiana Jones, she stumbles out of the city-ruins jungle on Asation and collapses near the characters. She's an archaeologist who found a powerful ancient artifact, the Khoz'zak -- you choose what it does -- among a tribe of feral Gree living in the wilderness ruins. She bolted with it, but her team was killed. She wants you to help her recover the artifact, left two days journey inside the jungle ruins. You and she must avoid the dangers of the wilderness, as well as a group of Te Hasan Gree determined to kill her and recover the artifact themselves, then find a way to smuggle it out. Recovering the artifact involves going into collapsed underground ruins full of traps and secret passages. Once you retrieve it, however, the Te Hasans will show up. They're willing to negotiate to buy the device off you, but you absolutely won't be allowed to leave with it. It's a very Indiana Jones adventure, obviously.

    A really interesting piece overall. It establishes an interesting fallen civilization that's got quite a bit going on and a unique society, and gives you multiple locations to play with, a whole miniature region to campaign through. It's not hard to understand why it's been as influential as it has.

    Next time, it's the return of the Brandls in Uhl Eharl Khoehng.