Star Wars: Genesis

Hidden Depths

One of your earliest memories at the academy is of an old Je’daii Master addressing you and the other initiates. Even as a child you knew that the man standing before you, though old in physique, was a powerful being. Every day he would start with a reciting of the Je’daii code. He explained that the Code is not necessarily a strict set of rules, but a general set of guidelines that could help a Je’daii in time of struggle to remain in balance and remember the duality of the Force’s nature.

Je’daii Code

There is no ignorance; there is knowledge.
There is no fear; there is power.
I am the heart of the Force.
I am the revealing fire of light.
I am the mystery of darkness.
In balance with chaos and harmony;
Immortal in the Force.

Then he would follow with the philosophy of the Je’daii…

A Je’daii must study the Force and learn to control and master the abilities which manifest in each of them. In order to survive the wilds of the world, a Je’daii must learn to live their lives in a type of Moving Meditation, being ever mindful of the Force and its rolling currents. A Je’daii must focus on maintaining a balance in the Force, a state at which Tython is itself hospitable. A Je’daii sees the Force as two aspects of a whole; the Ashla and the Bogan. They see this duality in the Force represented in the night sky of Tython in the form of two natural satellites; one bathed in light, another shrouded in darkness. The moons represent the duality in the Force and between the two, the Je’daii see a balance in constant need of maintenance.

Balance in the Force is necessary to the continued existence of the people of Tython. When the balance tips too far in one direction, Tython itself responds in violent storms which shatter the earth and tear the sky. Fires cleanse the forests and quakes bring cities to their foundations. To prevent this Je’daii must not only contain a balance within oneself, but maintain a balance in the world around them.

Much time has passed since those early days, and all of you have finished or are nearing the end of your Padawan training. Today, you stand in the large courtyard of Temple Naar, the Great Je’daii Academy, waiting to go on a journey to collect the resources you need to forge your first Force Imbued Weapon. Like the Je’daii before you, you will complete a tradition that has been taught and passed down through the generations. Your Force Imbued Weapon is an extension of yourself; it will reflect who you are on the inside and out. All of you are excited, and have been anticipating this rite of passage for a long time.

All of you basically know each other, as you have been together at the Academy since your early childhood.

Towards the edge of the courtyard, near the cliff of the mountain side is a shuttle. Hanging out near it you recognize an older student who graduated a few years ago. (Have Scott describe character.) After a few moments of walking around and checking the shuttle he heads over towards your group.

(party introductions)

Before long you hear laughter coming from an entry way to the Academy. Two figures emerge arm in arm, one you instantly recognize as Master Sara Rohmund, a teacher at the Academy. The other is a small, scrawny, and scruffy looking old man with long hair and outdoorsman clothing.

(lore check)

You have heard of a great Je’daii Master named Algorab Hyperburn. He has spent most of his life in the wilds of Tython, hunting giant predators and helping those in need. He is also the Academy’s #1 surveyor for the crystals needed for the Force Forging process.

The two walk up to your group, they hug each other, say their goodbyes. Master Rohmund wishes you a balanced journey and leaves. Master Hyperburn turns towards you with a big smile on his face. “Well my little mugwumps! Shall we go on this great journey? Shall we venture out into the unknown wilds, to find this precious resource that leads to the next step of your journey?” In a loud, excited gesture, he yells, “ONWARD!” and starts marching off to the shuttle.

Everyone boards the shuttle, Gage hops in the pilot’s seat, Hyperburn in the copilot. Once everyone is seated, the shuttle slowly lifts into the air. Being way up in the mountains, the winds can be pretty strong. A strong gust hits the side of the shuttle, (Piloting check; good or bad explain).

As the shuttle finally settles into its flight, Hyperburn swivels around in his chair to face all of you. “We will be stopping by Vur Tepe, The Great Je’daii Forge. There we will talk to the Master Forger, and figure out what you need to do.”

A short time later he pulls out a small handmade pipe, packs it full of some kind of herb, and slowly begins to smoke on it. He looks around the shuttle, casually gazing at you all. You see him close his eyes, a pulse emerges from him in the Force washing over all of you. It sends shivers down your spine and raises the hair on your neck. He opens his eyes, takes a drag on his pipe and says, “Hmmm.”

“You have learned much about the Force in your time at the Academy. Sometimes, we learn our best lessons from stories. So, I will tell you one: a story about losing one’s way.

Once, three Je’daii traveled deep into the unknown wilds of Tython, following a calling in the Force. The first Je’daii was a mighty warrior, fearless and impetuous in equal measure. The second had been the warrior’s master; he was disciplined and wise, but detached. The third was the warrior’s apprentice; she was passionate and loyal, but inexperienced. When they got to the source of the calling, they found a great temple, like none they had ever seen before. It felt old, more ancient than anything they had seen before, and it pulled them inside.

The Je’daii awoke in another place. It was a beautiful world, and idyllic, but also alien. The natural laws of the world didn’t seem to operate the same here. Each of them was open to the Force, and could sense that this place was extremely strong in both Ashla and Bogan. They also knew they could not leave its embrace.

They met others there. The first called herself the Daughter. She was beautiful, too, in a luminous way, and not unkind, but she was also very serious, and stern. She offered to guide them, but the friends became separated, and only the warrior was able to follow. The other two asked him to wait, but he was impatient, and they knew that he would go his own way, whatever they counseled.

A furious storm broke out, and the blooming plants they had journeyed past only hour earlier began to die. It was then that they met the Son. Where the Daughter was the bright and aloof, he was dark and brooding. He asked them if their friend was truly the One. They responded with suspicioun, for that Prophecy was known only to the Je’daii. But the Son only warned them to take shelter from the storm, and left them there.

Now on his own, the warrior found his way to a building, a monastery in the hills of that place. Its symbolism was hauntingly familiar, but he sought answers, and so with little pause he went inside. There, he met the third being, wizened by untold experience, who called himself the Father.

They talked, and the Father said he and his children were called “Force Wielders.” He said that he governed the balance between his family—and between the light and the dark—in that place. If he did not, their power could threaten the fabric of the universe. As the Son had hinted at earlier, the Father asked the warrior if he was the One.

It was a title the warrior did not believe in, and a mantle he did not seek. Still, the Father wanted to know the truth of this. So he sent his children to capture the warrior’s friends, and he brought them to the monastery. There, with the warrior’s old master threatened by the Daughter’s light, and his apprentice by the Son’s darkness, the Father told the warrior to choose which to save.

He would not choose. Drawing upon the Force that was all around them in that place, the warrior subdued both the Son and the Daughter and made them release his friends. However, the great power he displayed only reinforced the Father’s conviction that he was the One.

The Father took the warrior aside, explaining that he was dying and that it was the destiny of the One to take his place, and to maintain the balance. The warrior considered, but refused him. He had a life beyond that place, and a wife he loved passionately, though in secret, for their love was forbidden. The Father said he could not force the warrior to accept his destiny, but warned him that refusing it would bring suffering to the entire galaxy. The warrior would not be persuaded, and the seekers departed into the melancholy sky. Did the Father’s warning come to pass? Well, perhaps I will tell you more of their fate another time.”

As Master Hyperburn finishes his story, you realize you are coming up on your destination. A large metal structure sits at the mouth of an active volcano along the Tythos Ridge. A place of study, students come here to learn the ways of the Force through metallurgy and the construction of tools and weapons. You know this is one of the most important steps a Je’daii must take in their path.

The shuttle lands easily without an issue outside the temple. As you exit the shuttle, your breath is taken away by both the beauty of the Volcano and the extreme heat and wind gusts. Hyperburn quickly ushers you inside of the Temple. One of the earliest structures built by the je’daii, it has stood for a few thousand years, and produced some of the finest quality of weapons ever made.

Having come here at least a few times a year since you started your schooling, you are a used to the loud clangs, smokey air, and constant hum of force energy throughout the great hall. On the walls is a mural of the 4 brothers of legend crafting their first and last Force Forged weapons. Though you have seen these walls many times, a sense of pride, tradition, and understanding washes over you. Ashla and Bogan have guided you to this moment.

Suddenly a door slams open, breaking the moment. All of you turn towards the door to see a large, sweaty, soot covered man. You recognize him as Master Weapon smith T’al. Though he is a rough around the edges sort, he is one of the greatest Weaponsmiths ever to walk these halls.

T’al barrels out the door towards you, and in a loud voice and says, “It’s about time you got here! I have a class in an hour or so.”

Master Hyperburn sighs slightly, “T’al, take your earplugs out and stop yelling at us.” T’al looks down at Hyperburn and smiles, “You know how it is Al, just trying to save whats left of my hearing.” Hyperburn chuckles, “Well tell them what they need to know so we can get this show on the road, I will be waiting in the shuttle.”

Hyperburn walks out leaving you with T’al. He looks around at all of you, sizing you up with one stare. “Hyperburn will take you to a crystal cave that has recently been found. Your goal is to find 2 crystals. One for your weapon and one as payment for forging your weapon here. I will supply the ore and other materials needed for your weapon. Now, if you happen to come across any Crystal spiders, and can get me a pearl from them, I will dip into my special stock of resources for you as trade.”

(Xenology check – Crystal Spiders are passive creatures that live in the crystal caves.)

“If you don’t have any other questions you can be on your way, I expect to see you soon!” He turns around, walks back to the large metal doorway and disappears inside.

Everyone makes their way back to the shuttle, suddenly a large gust sweeps over you (Athletics check).

Once recovering you quickly move into the shuttle, sit down, and strap in. Master Hyperburn is already in the Copilot seat, smoking on his pipe and staring off into the distance. Gage hops in the pilot seat. Hyperburn looks over and says. “Careful getting us out of here.” (Pilot check – Hard)

You eventually make your way back into the air, and head towards the location of the crystal caves. Hyperburn spins in his chair to face you again. “So where were we?” He ponders for a moment as he packs his pipe.

“The tale of the warrior and the Force Wielders? No, it does not end with his departure. Yes, I know that would not make a good story. Remember, our lessons are not always comforting.

So, as the seekers attempted to leave, the Son tricked all of them, including the Father. He meant to break free of that realm and take control of the whole planet. He stole the warrior’s apprentice and poisoned her mind against him. In their desperation, the warrior and his master turned to the Daughter, who led them to a sacred place and showed them a powerful dagger, which she said they could use against the Son. With no other choices, warrior and his master took it and set out to free the apprentice.
It was a trap. The apprentice fought with the warrior, and their conflict only fed the Son’s powers. He captured the dagger and tried to kill the Father with it, so that he could escape. However, his plans were upset, too, for the Daughter intervened, sacrificing herself to save the wounded Father.

In a final attempt to escape, the Son showed the warrior a vision of his future. It was dark and filled with the pain of the terrible things he would do. The Son convinced the warrior that if he joined the Son’s cause, he would be spared the tragedy of his fate. The warrior was afraid, and fell under the Son’s control.

However, the Father was able to recover enough of his power to take action. He confronted the warrior with the hard truth that he alone could choose his own destiny, but banished the knowledge of the future from him. This broke the Son’s hold over the warrior, and the Father determined to make a final sacrifice.

The Son came upon them all, believing his power complete and his way free. The Father warned him of the danger to the planet’s balance, but the Son was heedless. Taking the dagger, the Father mortally wounded himself, in order to sever the Son’s connection to the Force. The warrior then killed the Son.

As he lay dying, the Father’s heart was heavy, for his family was all dead. But he gave the warrior cause for hope, telling him that he could still fulfill his destiny in another way, by continuing on his path. After that, he faded, and the three seekers finally departed.

Why do I pass this story on to you? For the same reason it was told to me. The Force is a balance between Ashla and Bogan. Even those of us who are strongest in the Force cannot know our entire destiny. We can learn to embrace its will, and carry on in the belief that we must maintain a balance or doom us all.”

Hyperburn sits back and lets you collect your thoughts for a moment. “Does anyone have any quest…”

Suddenly the shuttle is rocked violently! (athletics or coordination check) A loud boom crashes outside the shuttle. Lights and warning sounds start coming from the control panel. The shuttle is rocked again, one of the engines goes out and the shuttle starts to descend.

Hyperburn yells over all the noise, “A force storm has erupted on us, we aren’t too far from the cave. Make a landing in that canyon, it should keep us safe.

Skill Challenge – Need 2 out of 3 successes on each skill Pilot, mechanics, computers, other.

If successful ship lands safely, if failed, ship crashes. Once everyone recovers, Hyperburn will stay behind to fix or wait for new shuttle. He tells Gage to carry on and take everyone to the cave.

The Storm bears down on you, pelting you with rain. The force trembles all around you, out of balance as with most force storms on Tython. Gage leads you on a hike to the cave.

The storm eventually subsides, all the rain quickly dries up and is absorbed into the ground, since the canyon is dry and dusty.

(Perception check) Those that pass, hear a screeching up ahead in the distance, as you near it becomes louder and louder. You eventually come up on what looks like a camp. The noise appears to be coming from some kind of large bird in a cage. There are also 2 boars and a large skinned carcass hanging from a dead tree. The large bird is under duress, the carcass also seems to be a large bird. The camp most likely belongs to poachers, and what you see before you is illegal.

“You hear a screech as a group of Raptors jump down and surround you.

(Perception check- find brandings on the raptors/Underworld – these probably belong to the poachers.)

Carry on to the cave. Eventually you make it to the crystal cave. Gage warns of the hazards in the cave, as it can be unstable and full of creatures. You guys enter the cave and walk for a while.

Have each PC make an Average Vigilance check,

As you walk along the passageway, you hear an ominous crack in the cave’s ceiling. Without warning, part of the cavern’s roof collapses downwards, throwing jagged rock shards and choking clouds of dust into the passageway.

Any PC who failed the Vigilance check suffers one wound (ignoring soak) plus one additional wound per disadvantage generated. Disadvantage generated on a successful check results in 1 strain per disadvantage rather than one wound. A dispair on a failure means the PC suffers a critical injury. Triumph means that the PC can react quickly enough to save a fellow PC from injuries he would otherwise suffer (this applies even on a failure; in this case the PC pushes his friend out of the way but cannot save himself).

The cavern in front of you is shaped like a shallow bowl, where the floor collapsed downwards into a depression. The passage seems to continue on the far side of the room, but as you descend into the middle of the bowl, your eyes begin to water and hacking coughs rip through your lungs. (pg 14 Hidden depths)

The passage you’re following merges with an underground stream of cold, brisk water burbling along the floor of the cave. You turn a corner to find the passage dead-ends into a small underground lake. The water seems still, cold, and clear. However, if you hold your light over the surface, you think you can make out the dark shadow of another passage in the lake’s depths.

Swimming through the underwater lake requires an Average Athletics check with ■ due to the
extremely cold water temperature. (pg. 16 Hidden Depths)

As you follow the faint Illumination around a bend in the tunnel, you are momentarily halted in your tracks by the sight ahead of you. Glittering crystal spires jut out from the walls of the cave, shining with an inner light that seems to grow more brilliant as you approach. The cave is pristine, and as you step inside, you feel as if the outside world has fallen away, leaving you at peace, and one with the Force.

Walking deeper into the cave you come upon the docile Crystal Spider. It carapace glows and looks like tiny crystals, it stares at you with its many eyes.

Attack or leave be? Attack – another creature appears to defend, give conflict.

The pull of the Force has taken each of you to a different place within the cave. You now stand before a large cluster of crystals that seems to fill your vision. And yet, despite the size and grandeur of the deposit before you, you realize only a slight chip of crystal is needed. The inner glow of the crystal deposit seems focused at one point, which seems to sing out to you. With care and patience, you should be able to extract what you need without disturbing the growth of the other crystals.

After much meditation, and the tedious process of extracting the crystals, everyone gathers up their things and heads back to the shuttle. You guys are able to rest a bit and head back without any problems.

As you approach the ship from around the jutting rock formation that hides it from view, you find an unpleasant surprise waiting for you: a group of poachers, led by a large Togorian. As the Togorian turns towards the sound of your approach, you see the vambrace on the right side of his armor has been removed to expose a heavily- plated cybernetic arm.

The Togorian turns to face you. "You pathetic lot are all this ship dropped off? You killed my pets and stole from me. You will pay with your lives!” His cybernetic arm twists suddenly, and he draws an oversized vibrosword with a speed you can scarcely follow. You can feel his bloodlust and hate resonate through the Force—negotiation is not an option.

Fight poachers. Perception sees snipers up on the ridge. Every round one is taken out by Master Hyperburn. Eventually regroup and head towards the forge.

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Jasonmc

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