This series follows the trials, tribulations, successes, and failures of a fairly inexperienced GM who has recently picked up the hobby after a long time away. It aims to assist new GM’s by examining what worked, didn’t work, and what failed miserably as he spins up new campaigns, modules, encounters, and adventures for his friends and family in Fantasy Flight Games’ Edge of the Empire/Age of Rebellion/Force and Destiny system.
So this will begin a new series I’ll contribute to from time to time… Drive-Thru Encounters. Posts of Drive-Thru Encounters will contain a modular encounter, with complete stat blocks, background, and information for you to drop right into any Star Wars RPG campaign you have running. We’ll also look at reasons you might integrate your campaign to include the encounter. Some of these may come from one of the campaigns that I run myself, or I may make some specifically for this series. So without further ado, the first installment of Drive-Thru Encounters, a modular encounter known as “The Drop.”
The Drop is an encounter between two Hutts of the Gorensla kajidic who have been warring internally for control. Hutts Loyood and Sinasu are part of the kajidic, jostling for control and influence. Loyood the Hutt is working on a drop to trade money for technology (or whatever suits your campaign) with a local smuggler. Little does she know that Sinasu the Hutt is going to crash the party and attempt to take the credits and the score using his own planted agent and crew. Your PC party will find themselves right in the middle of it.
A local smuggler has arranged to sell some hard-to-find or illegal technology to Loyood the Hutt, who hopes to pocket the cash to help strengthen her position within the Gorensla kajidic. The score is sizable and should help sway the tide and gain her more support. She has working for her a Morgukai Force-sensitive named Xurai, who acts as her bodyguard. This powerful Force user is a Nemesis with a double-bladed lightsaber. She also has several Hutt gang members loyal to her as well. Any smuggler build and some thugs or goons can work for the local smuggler to facilitate the drop.
The item that Loyood the Hutt is trying to get her hands on should be customized to fit your campaigns. Perhaps a macguffin that the PCs are trying to get their hands on could work, or perhaps some valuable illegal tech. Just about anything can work if it works in your campaigns. (In my campaign, it was prototype TIE Fighter plans that one of my PCs had turned over to the smuggler to pay off some Obligation.) The same goes with how much cash is involved. It should be big enough for a good score, but not so big that it might break things if your PCs end up with it. (Lesson learned!)
The drop can conceivably happen in any setting, but an enclosed environment can ratchet up the tension. When things go south, not being able to get completely away from the fight will add to the encounter. For my money, I would also add elevation like a catwalk to look down on the action, and have a fairly wide open area to move in.
Prior to the deal, you can choose to allow the PCs to scope out and prep the area. Sometimes, narratively, this won’t make sense for you, and that’s fine. My PCs planted some explosives as a means of escape as well as stationed the team sniper on the catwalk before things got started.
As the drop begins, things go as planned. GMs should act out the drop going fairly smoothly to start. When it becomes appropriate, Sinasu the Hutt and his gang crash the party and hold up the place, attempting to take both the score and the cash. Sinasu is accompanied by his own thugs and a surprise. Xurai, the bodyguard of Loyood the Hutt, is a traitor and was actually on the payroll of Sinasu the entire time. This reveal should be the big moment that your PCs know everything is going south! Xurai should make a dramatic turn to Sinasu’s side, possibly even pulling his double-bladed lightsaber. (In my version, he immediately killed Loyood, impaling her… and ordering the crew to pull guns on the PCs.) The PC’s should have a “we’re in trouble” feeling.
It also helps if the macguffin is something that should be dangerous in the hands of an evil Hutt, or the threat that Sinasu might sell it to someone worse should hang over the deal. The PCs should feel obligated to try and stop him from leaving with it, even if the characters were not directly involved with the Hutts to begin with.
How to Include your PCs
There are several ways you can incorporate your PC group, regardless of the game line(s) you’re running. The first could be what I did in my campaign, which was to have the party be security hired basically by Loyood to oversee the drop. Perhaps she’s going to pay the party handsomely or give them part of the cut so there is a personal reason the team wants to keep her alive. Maybe the party are the smugglers that are selling their tech or merchandise to Loyood, putting them smack into the action. You could also flip things so that the team works for Sinasu or is told if they help, they can get a cut of the score. A fun idea might also be to have the players in a building when the drop happens, but the team has nothing to do with it. They’re simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
So here are the stat blocks for the main players and their thugs. For the thugs, one minion group of four per PC has been a good number for this encounter. The Hutts and Xurai are extremely big stat blocks so click on them to see them more closely and save them yourself.