Thursday, March 12, 2009

Review: Scavenger Hunt


Another of the early adventure modules of the game, Scavenger Hunt didn't make my 'Top Ten' list, but that doesn't mean I disliked it. In fact, it is one of the more unique adventures in the game—geared towards humor as well as action. I remember it being a nice change of pace from the other more serious adventures and it introduced several very memorable characters.

The plot of Scavenger Hunt revolves around the Player Character's party trying to track down an Imperial transport (aptly named the 'Elusive') that just happens to have a captured Alliance data core onboard that could expose hundreds of undercover agents. Of course, finding the Elusive isn't going to be easy. In following the trail of the Imperials, the characters become involved in a war (of sorts) between two junk collecting alien species—the Squib (a race of diminutive, blue-furred squirrel-like critters who love to bargain) and the U-Gor (a race of tentacular blobs who talk like Henry Kissenger and worship garbage).  The search ultimately takes the characters to a gigantic space junkyard, in which is found a particularly interesting piece of garbage...

As I mentioned before, this adventure was clearly written for laughs. Oh, there is a serious mission behind it all, and a variety of different space and face-to-face battles, but the scenes in between and the supporting characters are all very silly. The hyperactive and non-sensical bargaining sessions with the Squib were memorable roleplay experiences for me. The players I ran through this were quite perplexed as they tried to hammer down the details of a bargain, only to find the Squibs adding on yet another layer of complexity (see, to the Squibs, a the more complex the bargain, the better). I especially loved the whole bit about the Squibs trying to unload an annoying chef-droid (L9-G8) by working him into the deal. L9 soon became an amusing addition to the Vermillion gang's ever growing ship droid population.

The U-Gor likewise were great—with their ponderous accents and religious zealotry. The 'war' between them and the Squib was portrayed humorously—with the U-Gor's salvaged and mismatched weaponry being very flashy but incredibly inaccurate. There was another villain in the plot as well, Teehl, a henchwoman of Jabba. But honestly, that whole sub-plot just seemed tacked on—i.e. there wasn't much development of Teehl as a villain, she just appears at one point.

One of the best parts of this adventure (and this is the Spoiler) was the inclusion of a big chunk of the Death Star in the center of the massive space junkyard. In fact, the players may not even realize what this wreckage is, even as they have to board and search it for a particular piece of technology. There is a scene within where they can find Darth Vader's personal chamber and maybe get a bit scared by one of his uninhabited helmets and cloaks. There is another scene where they have to make their way through one of the station's trash compactors—and yes, it just does happen to be inhabited by a very hungry dionaga. The whole set up was a nice way to tie the adventure in to the whole movie mythos—again letting the players run around in its 'back yard' for a bit.

Scavenger Hunt does fall short in a couple areas, however. It can be rather 'railroady' in that the adventure seems to take for granted that the players will react in specific ways, and if they veer from this course, then they're likely to wander right out of the plot. There is a bit of a plot-hole as well—namely the assertion that the Squib have one of their number hiding out on just about every Imperial ship in the fleet (including the Elusive), monitoring where they dump garbage and relaying that back to the Squib scavenger fleet. This just seems awfully far fetched—especially since the Elusive is supposed to be a relatively small transport. This whole point was introduced so that the PCs would be forced to negotiate with the Squib in order to find the Elusive. A better solution would be simply for the Squib to have intimate knowledge of shipping lanes in the sector. Instead of having a Squib spy pinpointing the location of the Elusive, the diminutive aliens could simply provide the PCs with the most likely routes with which to intercept the Imperial ship.

With this minor modification to the plot, and some advance planning of ways to keep the players from wandering outside of it (without simply forcing them to stay on the tracks) I feel that Scavenger Hunt is a great change of pace from your typical serious Star Wars adventure—wacky and a bit slapstick, but with enough action to keep things moving.

No comments:

Post a Comment