"Put Up Your Dukes" is a Star Wars Roleplaying Game mini-adventure for four 6th- or 7th-level player characters and is usable in any era. It brings the heroes into a dangerous part of a port town where they get pulled into a back room to engage in a few rounds of barehanded fighting and seedy exchanges with the locals. Meanwhile, another enemy lurks within the crowd.
This adventure is designed to follow "Steal of a Deal," a Star Wars Roleplaying Game mini-adventure already live on this website. However, "Put Up Your Dukes" also can stand alone.
If you plan to play a character in this adventure, don't read any further. The information below is meant for the Gamemaster's eyes only.
Adventure Synopsis The heroes travel to the port city of Sahl-Evin on the planet Jenenma in search of a ship they know has been taken there by a ring of ship thieves. The criminal organization is led by a Cerean Force adept named Pal-Nada. Pal-Nada runs his ring out of the Blinders district, a heavily industrial section of Sahl-Evin. It's called the Blinders district because people "don't see" most of what goes on down there.
The heroes get sucked into a barehanded brawling match, which leads to a meeting with Pal-Nada -- and the ship they came for.
Getting the Characters Involved As noted above, "Put Up Your Dukes" was designed to be a sequel to "Steal of a Deal," so the easiest way to get the heroes involved is to have them journey to Jenenma in search of the ship they lost in that previous adventure.
However, if you want to run "Put Up Your Dukes" as a stand-alone scenario, the heroes might come to the planet to purchase or recover a certain ship for a patron. Or perhaps they're after a stolen ship that contained valuable information, an important passenger, or a pivotal droid (which could turn the theft into an inadvertent kidnapping). Or maybe the heroes are just shopping for hard-to-find parts.
Scene 1: Welcome to Happytown
When the heroes leave their ship in Sahl-Evin, port authority guards remind them that energy weapons of any kind are not allowed within the city. The guards perform routine searches to make sure that no offworlders bring them in.
Sahl-Evin is a drab collection of large metal buildings with doors big enough to herd rancors through. The sky overhead is red, and the air is thick and humid, but breathable. Only a few people wander the streets between work shifts in this dreary, industrial town. About an hour of asking and a successful Gather Information check (DC 10) lets the heroes know that the Blinders district is the shipbuilding part of town. It's the likeliest place to find or buy a stolen ship because of a ring of ship thieves headquartered there.
Scene 2: The Blinders
Another port authority guard meets the heroes as they enter the Blinders district. The bored Duros guard is standing on the street corner with a blaster rifle slung over one shoulder, but nothing is unusual about his uniform or stance. He asks the heroes their business in the starship construction district. He accepts nearly any plausible response but takes the opportunity to remind them that no energy weapons are allowed in the city. When they deny having any, he says:
| "I know how it is with your kind. You always think you can sneak one or two through, hidden or disguised. That's okay in other parts of the city, but don't take them in Blinders. I'm telling you this for your own safety. If you have anything, don't take it in there." |
If the heroes ask more questions, he doesn't answer. He just gives them an I-told-you-so look and waves them on.
The Blinders district is the only part of the city that has port authority guards posted near its entrances. A successful Spot or Intelligence check (DC 25) reveals this factoid to the heroes. The guards really do belong to the port authority, but they're on the take from Pal-Nada's organization.
Scene 3: The Hutt's Last Laugh
The inside of the Blinders district is little different from the outside. Several hours and a successful Gather Information check (DC 15) reveals that a cantina known as The Hutt's Last Laugh (or "the Laugh") is a common hangout for many workers at the end of a shift.
A successful Gather Information check (DC 25) reveals that the Laugh got its name because this part of town was run by a Hutt until about a year ago, when the creature simply pulled up stakes and left one day. Afterward, the criminal element didn't go away or break into anarchy. The organization continued to operate. No one knows who took over or how.
The Hutt's Last Laugh is a standard hive of scum and villainy. If the heroes arrive in the middle of a shift, the place is nearly empty. A couple of drunken Duros loll in the corner pretending to fly their table, and the bartender is a fifth-degree worker droid modified for bartending. It brings drinks or food to the heroes with bland servility and has no interest in conversation.
If the characters arrive at the end of a shift, the bar is full and lively. Members of many different species mingle, though there's a definite majority of Duros in the room. The droid bartender is replaced by a Zabrak who's curt but friendly to patrons.
The heroes will probably want to undertake their standard investigations, asking questions and possibly making threats. A hero who draws, reveals, or even hints at using a powered weapon tips his or her hand as an outsider who doesn't know what happens to people who bring those sorts of things into this part of town. Raise all Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Gather Information check DCs by 5 if the characters make this mistake.
|What's So Bad About Powered Weapons?|
Pal-Nada, the Cerean Force adept, rules the Blinders district. Though all but in the grip of the dark side, Pal-Nada retains a code of conduct in his organization and a discipline maintained through fear and Force strikes. He also has deals with the local authorities. As long as he keeps the peace among the criminal groups, he can count on being left alone.
One way he maintains order is by strictly disallowing powered weapons in his territory, from blasters to vibro-daggers. This code of conduct has seeped into the local culture as an "honor among thieves" tenet.
Anyone who breaks this rule is beaten soundly by the locals because the Cerean punishes everyone for any infraction. Pal-Nada also pays port authority guards to stand at the edges of the district with blaster rifles and comlinks. At his word, they converge on and kill whomever he directs them to eliminate. In other words, those who cross Pal-Nada's law quickly find themselves at odds with the official law of Sahl-Evin, too.
The following bar patrons know something worth finding out. Contact with any of them will lead the heroes to Scene 4, though in different ways.
Orth Maag: The Zabrak Bartender
Orth is well established in the community. He coughs up all kinds of information for the right price. He knows about an active stolen-starship ring in the city, and he knows that it's headquartered in Blinders. He doesn't know who's in charge, but he's seen a twitchy Twi'lek giving orders.
Orth knows a way for the heroes to meet Esm, the Twi'lek in question, but it involves a little work. In the back of the Laugh, they run a little space for some "friendly competition" -- a pit fighting ring. When there's a fight, word spreads quickly, and Esm is always there in a good seat. If the heroes can find someone willing to fight the local champion, Esm is sure to show. For Orth's stats, use the low-level medic archetype on page 348 of the Star Wars Roleplaying Game core rulebook.
Squedge Eepsey: The Duros Stoolie
Squedge is an observant person and cool under fire, not the sniveling stereotype of a snitch. However, he's taken a recent brush with death a little personally, and he'd like to get off Jenenma to start a new life. He'll trade reliable info on finding whatever the heroes want for a free ticket off-planet when they're done.
However, the Duros also steers them to the fighting circle in the back room of the Laugh:
| "Everybody important shows up when there's a fight. You want to find out who's got a certain something, the person who knows will show if you book one of your buddies for a fight. Arrange it by talking to the Zabrak behind the bar." |
Unlike everyone else, Squedge knows that Pal-Nada runs the stolen-ship ring. He doesn't say Pal-Nada's name, but he assures the heroes that he'll point out the right person at the fight -- if they take him when they go.
For Squedge's stats, use the low-level con artist archetype on page 343 of the Star Wars Roleplaying Game core rulebook.
Tarkil Hroka: A Thick Gamorrean
Tarkil is the champion pit fighter in Sahl-Evin, and he wants fresh meat. If any hero appears especially strong or capable (especially if one is a Wookiee), Tarkil "spills" his drink on that character and attempts to pick a fight. The other patrons in the bar quickly get into it, because they want to see Tarkil thrash someone new, too. Tarkil doesn't really know anything -- he just likes beating people up.
Scene 4: Put Up Your Dukes
When news of a fight spreads throughout the Laugh, the noise level rises dramatically, and several people leave to spread the word even further. About 10 minutes pass between the announcement of the brawl and the opening of the back room. The hero who's going to fight (for it's most likely a player character that will either volunteer or be pushed into combat by Tarkil) is jostled into the back room -- and into the pit.
The back room is a large open area, 30 meters long and 20 meters wide. A door in the center of the south wall leads to the bar. Other doors are in the northwest corner and the east wall. The pit is in the center of the room.
The pit is a sunken oval in a concrete floor, about a meter and a half deep, 15 meters wide, and 20 meters long. The variety of colored splatter stains on the floor suggests that many different kinds of beings have fought here.
The edges of the pit are lined with starship windows two meters high, bolted at the ceiling and floor. The top of each window ends about 60 centimeters from the ceiling, enough space for a motivated Medium-sized character to slip through and an easy fit for a Small character.
The back room is packed. Everyone stands very close to the glass of the windows, except on the west side, where long benches allow important people to sit. The Twi'lek Esm Arkhee appears before the fight starts and takes a seat near the middle of the front bench. He watches expectantly.
Tarkil grunts and stomps around one side of the pit, eying his opponent eagerly. Before the combat begins, Orth bangs on a window from the other side to get both fighters' attention.
He says, "Fight like you mean it. Go."
At "Go," the Gamorrean lunges toward the hero, and the fight begins.
Tarkil Hroka: Male Gamorrean Soldier 7; Init +1 (Dex); Defense 19 (+6 class, +1 Dex, +2 Defensive Martial Arts); Spd 10 m; VP/WP 68/17; Atk +13/+8 melee (2d4+5, fist) or +8/+3 ranged; SV Fort +10, Ref +3, Will +3; FP 0; DSP 2; Rep +2; Str 20, Dex 13, Con 17, Int 9, Wis 12, Cha 7. Challenge Code D. For heroes in the crowd, all manner of side activity goes on. This is a good opportunity to let players stretch their heroes' abilities in using the Gamble or Sense Motive skills. For generic crowd members, use the low-level thug stats on page 355 of the Star Wars Roleplaying Game core rulebook. Other people who interact with the heroes might be low- or mid- level con artists, whose stats appear on page 343 of the core rulebook. Various activities include:
Skills: Intimidate +8, Treat Injury +11, Profession (gladiator) +11.
Feats: Armor Proficiency (light), Blind-Fight, Defensive Martial Arts, Dodge, Heroic Surge, Improved Martial Arts, Martial Arts, Power Attack, Weapon Group Proficiency (primitive, simple), Weapon Focus.
- Someone in the crowd starts making odds. He recognizes one of the heroes as being an ally of the PC fighter in the pit and tries to goad the hero into betting on his friend.
- Someone in the crowd attempts to pick a hero's pocket.
- A small, vicious creature gets loose in the stands near one hero. It attacks the character or someone weak and defenseless. Use the massif stats on page 337 of the core rulebook if you don't have something else in mind.
- Someone tries to sell a hero a sporting blaster in case things "get even uglier."
Don't let these side activities become too involved. They're just a way of giving the other heroes something to do besides sit and watch the fight.
Among all other people, Pal-Nada has also arrived to watch. He stays in the shadows near the northwest door. Squedge takes 20 with his Spot skill to pick Pal-Nada out of the crowd, which forces him to take 2 minutes while sweeping the crowd.
If the hero in the pit falls unconscious, Tarkil takes a round to gloat, and then returns to kick the prone character. The rest of the heroes must intervene, or Tarkil will beat the fallen hero to death.
If the hero wins, the crowd goes crazy -- some in anger, some in jubilation. Having observed the heroes in action, Pal-Nada decides to leave.
Scene 5: We Meet At Last
This encounter can go many different ways, depending on whom the heroes are taking advice from and on how quickly the fight ends.
When the fight ends, Pal-Nada leaves immediately. Esm stays to talk with other people on the benches. The rest of the crowd slowly disperses, most of them back to the bar to continue drinking.
If the heroes accost Pal-Nada, he talks to them long enough to discover their intent. When they ask about a ship, Pal-Nada chooses the character who's been doing the most talking and attempts to plant a suggestion in him or her with the Affect Mind skill, saying, "I don't believe the ship you want is here."
If this tactic fails, the Cerean makes a note of it and graciously accedes to their requests. He summons Esm and directs the Twi'lek to make sure the heroes get what they came for. Then he leaves to plot the heroes' demise, because they have seen him and resisted his power.
If the heroes seem like they're spoiling for a fight, or if one of them displays a powered weapon, Pal-Nada strokes his lobes for a round while he "considers the matter." Actually, he uses the round to prepare his Burst of Speed Force feat. He then runs toward the port authority guards that he's stationed at the edges of the district. At least two are in any area he runs toward, and two more arrive every four rounds after the first. They are happy to shoot anyone the Cerean points to.
For the guards, use the mid-level republic peace officer stats on page 351 of the core rulebook, but substitute blaster rifles for blaster pistols in their feat and equipment selections.
Pal-Nada: Male Cerean Force Adept 7; Init +3 (+2 species, +1 Dex); Defense 17 (+6 class, +1 Dex); Spd 10 m; VP/WP 37/10; Atk +6 melee (1d6+1d8, club) or +6 ranged; SQ Comprehend languages, Force-imbued club, skill emphasis (Force stealth); SV Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +8; FP 2; DSP 7; Rep +1; Str 13, Dex 12, Con 10, Int 15, Wis 16, Cha 11. Challenge Code D.
Equipment: Club (made from landing strut), comlink.
Skills: Craft (space transports) +5, Hide +12, Listen +12, Sense Motive +13, Spot +12.
Feats: Heroic Surge, Low Profile, Weapon Group Proficiencies (primitive, simple).
Force Skills: Affect Mind +12, Illusion +12, Force Stealth +11, Force Strike +10.
Force Feats: Alter, Burst of Speed, Control, Force-Sensitive, Mind Trick, Sense.
Special Qualities: Comprehend Languages -- A Force adept can comprehend any spoken language.
If the heroes talk to Esm without Pal-Nada, the Twi'lek looks nervous. If the heroes have dealt with him before (in the mini-adventure "Steal of a Deal"), Esm remembers them well and wants nothing to do with them. If the heroes did meet Esm before but don't seem to remember it now, you might allow them to make an Intelligence check (DC 10) to see if they can recall the twitchy Twi'lek after all. (If the heroes killed Esm in the previous adventure, just use another Twi'lek with Esm's stats. They're all the same to Pal-Nada.)
Esm Arkhee: Male Twi'lek Diplomat 4; Init +1 (Dex); Defense 12 (+1 class, +1 Dex); Spd 10 m; WP 10; Atk +2 melee (1d3, unarmed) or +3 ranged; SQ Low-light vision; SV Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +4; FP 0; DSP 1; Rep +1; Str 10, Dex 12, Con 10, Int 12, Wis 11, Cha 16. Challenge Code A.
Equipment: Comlink, datapad.
Skills: Bluff +11, Diplomacy +11, Gather Information +11, Intimidate +5, Listen +2, Profession (servant) +6, Sense Motive +7, Spot +2.
Feats: Alertness, Persuasive, Trustworthy, Weapon Group Proficiency (blaster pistols).
As the flunky of the boss, Esm has no real power, but if the heroes threaten violence, he takes them to various chop-shops until the characters find what they came for. None of the workers at the chop-shops display any respect for the Twi'lek, but they do as he instructs them. Esm tries to escape soon after.
If the heroes crossed the port authority, they are jailed. If they killed an authority guard, they will be slated for execution. But since the authority is moderately corrupt, a large bribe would allow then an opportunity to "escape" from the planet if they promise never to come back.
If they told Squedge they'd take him off-planet, the Duros disappears in the confusion after the fight but is waiting with packed bags by the heroes' ship when they return. Squedge might want to stay with the heroes for a while, or just get off at the next stop. He might even be a plant by Pal-Nada to track the heroes and gather intelligence on them.
If the heroes encounter Pal-Nada but he escapes, the Cerean comes away from the adventure with a serious need for vengeance. The characters have disturbed his operation, (probably) broken his rules on his territory, and (probably) killed his favorite pit fighter. He plots their destruction with a slow certainty in the coming weeks and months.
If the heroes never run into Pal-Nada during the adventure, the Cerean still plans to make trouble for them. After all, they've disturbed his operation twice (once in "Steal of a Deal," and once now). Next time, he plans to have them killed.
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