Wednesday, December 5, 2012
OTHER CREWS (PART 2): STARHUNTERS
INTRODUCTION (Repeated from Part 1)
One of the things I wish I had done more of in my Star Wars campaign is introduce more NPC 'crews'. Some could be allies to the PCs. Others could be rivals and still others could turn out to be enemies. Oh, every now and then I'd throw a ship captain or two (there were several neat ones in the old Minos Cluster campaign found in the D6 Galaxy Guide 6: Tramp Freighters), but for the most part, these were few and far between.
What seemed to be the barrier to me was that there weren't a lot of 'ready made' NPCs of this sort- at least not in 'official' products of the time. But looking at it now, I see a whole slew of possible ideas I could just steal from other sources (something I am not afraid of doing). So below are some ship crews who I think would make interesting encounters for a PC group in a Star Wars setting. And FYI, I am once again slanting this towards a Rebel vs. Empire time-period. So, without further ado...
THE CREW OF THE SUNRIDER (II)
This crew is based on the short-lived DC comic introduced in the late 70's…'oddly enough' right after Star Wars was released! What a coincidence! In any case, it was billed as a space-opera sort of book. I actually own a couple issues of this and found it…entertaining. In truth, though, I was a little annoyed by the main 'hero' of the book (Flint)- he was just 'too much' for me, with his bad wisecracks and worse accent. Even so, the 'Starhunters' could form a fun NPC crew for your players to bump into.
In the original story, the crew was put together by the corrupt mega-corporation that runs earth. They were sent off to find 'the true origin of man'…and got involved in a battle between powerful ancient races of good and evil. Oh, and they were genetically altered so that if they tried to return to earth, they would mutate and die, so… there.
The exact capabilities of the Sunrider are a bit vague. In fact, the Sunrider was actually destroyed early on in the series and the group commandeered another ship and promptly renamed it the Sunrider II. As far as I can tell, it was a bit larger than something like the Millennium Falcon, but still something of 'transport' scale. As with many sci-fi stories, the ship's computer ("Ozzie") is sentient and forms a member of the crew.
Donovan Flint, Soldier of Fortune
He's a swashbuckler and man of action with an outrageous moustache and goatee and an equally outrageous accent (Irish). He also has this cool blaster pistol that extends (on a chord.. powerchord?) from his wrist. In fact, I think he has two. He was 'recruited' by the corporation for his fighting abilities and rather quickly assumes a leadership role- taking over from Darcy Vale- the Corporate agent sent to lead this particular expedition. Needless to say, there is some friction between the two as well as some sexual tension.
Darcy Vale, Corporate Agent
A beautiful, talented and intelligent woman- but also one with unswerving loyalty to a corrupt corporation. One can assume from this that she is at least somewhat 'greedy'- i.e. she is being well paid and wants to continue to be. She is not happy about being 'demoted' by the rest of the crew when Donovan took over. In fact, she may very well betray the group if given the opportunity. Even so, some of the tactics the corporation uses are enough to give her some 'pause'- and may force her to reexamine her loyalty at some point.
Jake Hammersmith, Engineer (?)
I was never clear exactly what this guy's role on the crew was, though I think he may have been an engineer? In any case, he's a big, strong guy with a massive mutton-chop moustache thing. He also seems to have some kind of a past friendship with Donovan Flint and the two seem to be good buddies. Jake is enamored with the ship's computer-tech, Mindy Yano, and concerned about her health problems. He is also not a big fan of the Corporation or their manipulative tactics.
Mindy Yano, Computer Tech
A petite young woman who is a whiz with computers and electronics. She is shy and somewhat reserved but seems to return Jake Hammersmith's affection. Unfortunately, she has been suffering from siezures which the ship's doctor seem to think may have to do with the Corporations genetic tampering. In reality, unknown to the rest of the crew, Mindy was implanted with a signalling device- something that records (through Mindy's senses) the Sunrider's mission. It periodically sends off messages, and when it does, she has siezure-like symptoms.
Bruce Sellers, Ship's Doctor
An older man with short hair that is greying at the temples. Little is known of his past but he seems to be a very competent and intelligent member of the crew- good at his job and very curious about the ailment Mindy Yano seems to be suffering.
Theodore 'Mac', McGavin, Exobiologist
A wiry older man, "Mac" is a talented and extremely curious scientist. Though he dislikes being 'forced' into the current mission, he is curious if there is actually something to find out there. He seems to get along well with Dr. Sellers, with both men being quite intelligent.
Ozzie, Ship's computer
A highly-spirited artificial intelligence who seems to have taken quite readily to Donovan Flint's command. He is helpful and competent but (as I recall) somewhat annoying in his 'humorous' comments.
I don't know enough about the Series to point to any particular enemies of the crew of the Sunrider- but their main nemesis was the Corporation itself. A bunch of powerful men and women scheming to gain some great power from the discoveries of this crew- and not just for financial gain, either. Rather, they seem to want some kind of 'mystic' power (or at least, that's the feeling I always got).
USES IN THE GAME
The whole 'hunting for the origins of mankind' thing from the comics may be a little far out for a Star Wars setting. But not /too/ far off. What I see is much the same situation. A secret council of powerful businessmen within the Corporate Sector Authority 'recruited' a band of criminals/political-prisoners. They implanted cybernetic devices in order to ensure the loyalty of the crew- and sent along a trusted agent (Darcy Vale) to command. The devices prevent the group from taking direct action that would hurt the Council- but otherwise gives them free will.
The mission the Sunrider's Crew is sent on is to discover some ancient device- a supposedly 'mythological' artifact. I could see this as something like the 'genesis' device from Star Trek. Along the way, they would be beset by space pirates, hostile aliens, monsters, crazies, rival corporations, Imperial agents, etc. Even after Flint 'rebels' and takes over command of the ship, the Corporation (aware of things through its 'spy' Mindy) would let the ship continue, since Flint seems determined to find the artifact anyway. If the crew succeeds, the corporation could just find Flint and take what they want from him anyway.
Does this sound convoluted? Well, yes. But within acceptable limits, I think. In any case, PCs could become involved with the Sunrider crew in several ways- they could be assigned (as rebel agents) to find the 'genesis artifact' and run into this 'rival' group. Or, they could be looking for it on their own prerogative. Or it could be something as similar as a chance encounter in a remote cantina somewhere. Perhaps a couple encounters to set things up. Finally, assuming the crews get along, the PCs and NPCs could team up to find the Artifact together- perhaps taking slightly different (but mutually supporting) paths to it.