Episode 09: Tatooine Manhunt
- It has been many years since I last continued writing an actual play report entry of my oldest Star Wars RPG campaign: Strikeforce Enteague. Where was I? Oh yes. Still back in 1989 real time…
As Cal Tynblade was tossed into a detention cell, Captain Robetre thanked them for allowing him to observe their mission and bade them farewell.
Two weeks later, Commander Drew Greyhelm returned to Enteague Outpost with a pair of new recruits. The first was Scurvy H. Sharky, a high-stakes gambler complete with a cape and an axe to grind against the Empire – by literally wielding a vibroaxe. The second wore padded armour covered by voluminous robes. The mercenary sported a flat-top mullet and carried twin automatic slugthrowers. He went by the moniker “Wisecrack”.
Bounty hunter Ace Browning Crossfire then felt he had some soul searching to do away from the strike force. Drew granted him leave. Ace left, promising to return in the future.
Word came down from Alliance High Command that the planet Alderaan had been annihilated by the Death Star, an Imperial battle station the size of a small moon and the Imperial Senate had been dismantled by the Emperor.
The strikeforce was still shocked by this news when Drew had a new task for them. An Alliance spy wished to meet at the Kwenn Space Station to tell them an important information. Drew assigned bounty hunter Shanna Toarinar, pirate Phoenix Avalon, minor Jedi Ben One-Howel as well as the two new recruits Scurvy and Wisecrack to the mission.
Phoenix piloted the Nexus Point into one of Kwenn’s many docking bays. Kwenn was city in space that had an extensive shipyard beneath it. As they flew into their own docking bay, the team noticed that an Imperator-class Star Destroyer was nested in one of the drydock rigs there.
In Kwenn, they discovered that the Star Destroyer was the Relentless commanded by Captain Parlan. Parlan’s aide, Dana, was the spy they had to meet.
When they arrived at their meeting location, they discovered that Dana was dead on the floor. There was a poisoned dart at the back of her neck and her body was still warm. They spotted an armoured figure who disappeared into the shadows quickly.
The armour was of a Mandalorian design.
But before they could flee, the door exploded and a detachment of Imperial troops arrived led by Lieutenant Voor. Voor ordered the team to surrender, but they swiftly grabbed the datacard in Dana’s tunic and fled successfully into the night.
The datapad revealed that Parlan had discovered that revered Old Republic tactician and a hero of the Clone Wars, Adar Tallon, was still alive and was hiding in the Tatooine system. Parlan had placed a bounty on Tallon’s head and dozens of bounty hunters were now en route to Tatooine to capture him dead or alive.
They had to warn him and save his life somehow. Having a legendary and celebrated military genius on their side would be a bonus too.
Soon, the Nexus Point raised ship and made the jump to lightspeed for Tatooine.
Arrival at Tatooine
They landed in Landing Bay 94 at the Mos Eisley Spaceport, a wretched hive of scum and villainy. A local port officer demanded high port taxes from them which they obliged. It would be prudent not to attract any attention.
They headed into the city hoping they would not stand out too much. Then, they realised that the streets of Mos Eisley was overrun by dozens and dozens of bounty hunters of all shapes, sizes and species.
The team’s first destination was the nearby cantina, a prominent one at the centre of the spaceport’s network of streets, where they decided to mingle and put their ears to the ground.
Ben decided to lumguzzle with an unidentified alien and was victorious.
Shanna, among her own kind, spotted something that chilled her blood. There was a figure sitting in one of the dining booths of the cantina. Although the lighting was stark, she recognised a heavily armed, Mandalorian armoured figure. The figure sat alone and was staring silently and unmoving. Was it the person who killed Agent Dana?
Shanna approached the figure and introduced herself. The armoured figure did not move nor acknowledge her. Then Shanna pointed her long barrelled blaster rifle at him and threatened him. Again, the figure sat silently. Shanna aimed for his knee and fired. There was an ugly flash of light, a spray of sparks and a billowing cloud of smoke.
The bartender Wuher came running and yelling at Shanna, chastising her for damaging his new cantina attraction: a life-sized figure of the legendary bounty hunter Boba Fett.
Meanwhile, Scurvy was making a killing cleaning out novice bounty hunters at the sabacc table.
Later in the day, they saw the Lasat bounty hunter Puggles Trodd, an explosives expert, setting up a registration booth for bounty hunters, forming teams to head out into the desert to locate and capture Adar Tallon. After visiting Lup’s General Store to buy supplies, Kayson’s Weapons Shop to buy weapons and meeting a Dim-U street preacher preaching about the holiness of banthas, they investigated the death of souvenir shop owner Heff. Heff’s distraught daughter Tebbi told them that an armoured hunter had entered the shop and shot her father with a poisoned dart. Just like Dana, the team figured. Could it be their Mandalorian mystery man?
That afternoon they encountered the town drunk Labria, a Devaronian, who informed the team that he could bring them to meet Slag Flats who could help them find Tallon. He took them to his home, a converted water silo at the edge of town. They found Flats, the prospector, dead in her chair. Labria fled in panic. A closer examination of the body produced the dart that had struck the Ithorian at her neck.
There was a datapad on her lap. It displayed the words: ARNO’S NEXT.
Asking around, they found that Old Arno was a desert scout who were close friends with Slag Flats, Heff and an older human who matched the description of Adar Tallon. Hunters were trying to get to Arno in order to get to Tallon.
When night had fallen, the strikeforce received word that Arno wanted to meet them. But at the rendezvous site, they were attacked by mix of bounty hunters led by the grenade-lobbing Puggles Trodd. The Lasat thought he could ambush and eliminate the team, whom he believed to be a pack of rival bounty hunters. The team shot a number of novice bounty hunters easily. This prompted Trodd to retreat quickly.
After the smoke had cleared, the real Arno showed up. He said that he had been scouting in the Dune Sea when Slag Flats contacted him. She had told him to look into the rebel strikeforce. Seeing that the team were there to save Tallon’s life, Arno decided to help them. He told them that three homesteads were sold in the Jundland Wastes about the same time Tallon and his group showed up. However, he did not know which of the homestead belonged to Tallon. This meant they had to check door-to-door.
At Second Dawn, Arno and the rebels realised that something was amiss. The bounty hunter mob was gone from the streets of Mos Eisley. Local merchant the Shistavanen known as Tar Lup told Arno that the hunters had headed out en masse into the desert. They must have gotten a clue and now had a head start on the rebels.
Arno and the team headed out of town on his dilapidated Ubrikkian Bantha-II cargo skiff.
In the desert, they came across a huge krayt dragon attacking a fallen skiff of incompetent bounty hunters. The strikeforce swooped in with their weapons and slew the dragon. Then, wanting no competition, the ungrateful hunters attempt to kill the rebels. Unfortunately for them, they were incompetent.
Late morning, they came across the first homestead. It was a gated manor surrounded by moisture vaporators, owned by Sedi Fisk, according to Arno. However, the manor looked as if it had been abandoned for some years. They were about to head to the second location when a pack of large, hungry womp rats attacked. Against the skills of the team, the womp rats did not last long.
At First Twilight, they reach the Oasis. The Oasis was the Dim-U priests’ community, led by the High Priest Dryon. Dryon provided them with food and a room to sleep in. But as soon as they were falling asleep, there was a sound from outside. The sound of violence.
A single bounty hunter was attacking the Oasis and looking for Arno and the team. It was the famed Zardra. The team rushed out and surprised the lady, who underestimated the team. Shanna faced off Zardra in a gunfight across the Dim-U courtyard. They both drew. Zardra fell. Shanna took Zardra’s stun cloak from her unconscious form.
They arrived at the second homestead. The farm of Bels Lank had been ravaged by hunters. Nothing is left. But as they jumped off the skiff to investigate, they were fired upon by someone inside the house. Wisecrack drew his slugthrowers and moved in. Shanna observed that the blaster fire seemed to wild, random shots. Wisecrack burst through the door and found the shooter to be a crying nine-year-old girl.
Arno said that this was Reen Lank, Bels’ daughter. Reen told them an armoured and heavily cloaked bounty hunter had come and killed her father the previous day and she had been alone since then. Arno volunteered to take Reen back to Mos Eisley and left instructions to the team on how to reach the third homestead: Fort Tusken.
Shanna led the strikeforce on foot. They soon came across a bunch of dead bounty hunters, mostly novices, at a rocky arroyo. Phoenix found one still hanging on to dear life. The hunter told them that they had underestimated Adar Tallon and then gasped his last breath.
An hour later, they passed through a narrow canyon with high walls. After travelling through it for several klicks, they first heard then felt the rumble on the ground. It was a bantha stampede. There was no cover. They tried to climb the walls but were unsuccessful. So, Ace fired up his rocket pack and flew onto the lead bantha. Before the herd had overrun the fleeing team, Ace successfully calmed the beast, slowing it down and finally got it to halt. The rest of the herd followed suit.
That was when dozens of Tusken Raiders surrounded them with their gaderfii and slugthrower rifles.The local brigands brought them to the top of the canyon wall and threatened to kill them. But Ben in his wisdom decided to offer them his brand new portable moisture vaporator. The sandpeople were gratified and stood down. Then, their new allies escorted the strikeforce on banthas to Fort Tusken where they parted ways.
Fort Tusken was a homestead surrounded by impassable rocky terrain, a natural hideout for those who did not want to be found. They sneaked in and found that the garage was also a hangar bay with a number of old Clone Wars-era Incom/Subpro Z-95 Headhunter starfighters.
Ben led the way with his Force skills and soon found Adar Tallon in the music room. With him were his wife Kay Tallon, a Gand mercenary named Vytor Shrike, a Trandoshan outlaw named Jungen and an old human pirate with a blade prosthesis for his right hand, Quist.
The team introduced themselves and brought Tallon up to speed, inviting him to join the rebellion. He thought for a while and decided to join the Rebel Alliance. That was when Quist grabbed Kay and held his bladed hand to her neck. He muttered that the hunters should have been the ones to reach them first, then activated his comlink.
Tallon realised that Quist had been their security leak. That was how Captain Parlan knew that Tallon was on Tatooine. Meanwhile, the combined might of dozens of bounty hunters arrived led by the best of the best: Puggles Trodd, Zardra and the Mandalorian-armoured hunter known as Jodo Kast.
Zardra, of course, wanted her stun cloak back from Shanna.
When Phoenix yanked Kay away to safety, Shanna blasted a hole through Quist. They retreated through the house, holding their own against the hunters, supported by Vytor Shrike and Jungen. Many bounty hunters fell as they attacked.
Upon reaching the garage, Shrike and Jungen volunteered to stay and cover them while the strikeforce escape with the Tallons. They sped away towards Mos Eisley in a landspeeder.
En route, Adar Tallon explained to the team, “There came a time when it was obvious that the Emperor would rule the galaxy. I knew I had to flee or die opposing him. I chose to fake my death and go into hiding until the time was right. I came to this desolate planet far from the interest of the Empire, fell in love, and settled down to start a home. I was happy.
“Then they came. Stormtroopers crawling all over the desert in search of droids. It was then I realised that no place in the galaxy was beyond the Emperor’s reach. I sent out the call to my old crew and they came.
“The only thing I had not counted on was betrayal by one of them, by an old friend…”
Return to Mos Eisley
Driven by Phoenix, the landspeeder kicked sand and dust as it roared into Mos Eisley. They came to a stop in front of Landing Bay 94, hopped out and rushed into its entrance. Then, they were surrounded by Imperial prefect Orun Depp and his security forces. Depp called on them to lay down their arms.
Suddenly, a seemingly tall armoured figure, wrapped in a heavy cloak appeared from out of the shadows of the landing bay. It recited in a mechanical tone that he was here for the legal capture and arrest of Adar Tallon. It held in its right hand a hand grenade and a blaster rifle was in its left. It also identified itself as IG-72 a Holowan Industries-manufactured assassin droid.
A three-way firefight ensued, resulting in IG-72’s grenade going off in the landing bay. The smoke and debris covered the team and Tallon’s retreat into the Nexus Point.
The Nexus Point took off, racing up and out of Tatooine’s atmosphere. It was then that the Relentless dropped out of hyperspace and launched a flight of TIE fighters to intercept them. Phoenix evaded the incoming fire while Shanna calculated the figures for their jump into hyperspace.
The TIEs were almost on to them when a pair of Z-95 appeared firing their cannons at the TIEs. With the help of Vytor Shrike and Jungen, the Nexus Point held out long enough to safely jump into hyperspace together, leaving the Relentless behind.
The Return to Enteague Minor
Upon reaching Enteague Outpost, Commander Greyhelm informed the team that the Death Star, the battle station that destroyed Alderaan, had been destroyed by the Rebel Alliance in the Yavin system. This was a fantastic news to conclude Strikeforce Enteague’s first year of operations.
Before Tallon and his group left to rendezvous with Alliance High Command, he thanked Strikeforce Enteague for safely extracting him away from Tatooine.
- This was run in the middle of 1989. We spent 8 hours playing, IIRC. Much has been lost from my memory and everything written here are from notes I made some time in the mid-90s.