The Grand Prix was upon us. We rushed to get our racer entered, then I took a position in the grandstand so I could watch the race. There were many teams competing, but only a few seemed to be a serious threat to our chances. One local kid seemed to be a favorite, Rocket, Rayger, Razer? I think it was Razer. Looking at the odds sheets, I realized I should’ve placed some bets. Anyone betting on us was going to be pretty rich when we won.
Naturally, this backwater planet, as cosmopolitan as it wants to be, is incapable of keeping the track clear. The racers not only had to contend with competitors shooting at them, but big, stupid jellyfish and their winged predators, too. Xena and Herrick did a good job of avoiding them, but spent most of the race lagging behind. They just couldn’t seem to push their racer hard enough to catch up to the teams that got a good lead.
Fortunately, as the race neared its end, some well-placed blaster shots too everyone out except for Razer. I was relieved I didn’t bet on us; there wasn’t as much money in a second place win. Herrick took one last, desperate shot at Razer as the local racer was just about to cross the finishing line, causing him to spiral out of control and crash in a horribly conflagration. We finished! We were the only finishers!
… and we were disqualified for causing the death of Razer. Sith spit.
As we all reconvened, my thoughts turned to how I was going to brush up my resume. I was going to need a job. We didn’t have enough money to stay for much longer (or even to refuel our ship and continue paying the docking fees). Our team killed the local favorite racer. Going incognito for a few years was looking pretty good.
A Hutt’s representative approached us before I could make my move. Our bold racing strategy didn’t help us win, but caught the attention of a Hutt who wanted us to go to the post-race gala as his representatives.
I have a bad feeling about this.
The race took up the bulk of this session, hence the write-up’s relative brevity. We had a short discussion after the game regarding the system. It was another session where many of our rolls were abject failures and the observation was made that the game system seemed to be very swingy; i.e. you either succeeded spectacularly or you failed terribly. It creates drama, to be sure, but I wish there was some way to mitigate that a bit. Failure for several consecutive minor rolls gets frustrating. The Destiny Pool doesn’t help a lot because we typically roll poorly for that, so we are reluctant to dip into it for fear of NOT being able to use it when we really need to.
While our failures in this session didn’t (and wouldn’t have) resulted in the deaths of our characters, they could have potentially locked us out of the rest of the adventure. I don’t honestly know if the Hutt inviting us to attend the gala in his name was a contingency on the part of the adventure for groups who don’t win the race, or an ass-pull by the GM to keep us in the game, as it were. It will be interesting once the game is over to go back and read the adventure to see what is supposed to happen, since we are capable of derailing ANY plot. Watching our group play is like a live-action demonstration of Chaos Theory.
Another part of the game we thought was unnecessarily harsh were some of the rules revolving around vehicles. The race used quite a bit of them and it seemed that the racers’ system strain was too low with respect to how a race should actually be run. Putting the hammer down right out of the gate uses up the majority of your ship’s system strain, one more and you’re essentially out of the race. So, you can hammer it right out of the gate and stay competitive, or play it really conservative and hope to catch up. In the meantime, the other ships are trying to shoot you down so your co-pilot has a choice: shoot back or try to recover strain. Of course the system is really swingy, so at least 1/2 the time you’ll fail to recover any strain (note: I have not crunched the math and worked out the exact probabilities, nor do I plan to do so; these are my impressions).
It was dramatic. It was edge-of-our-seat (though less so for those of us not actually piloting our racer; though the GM had us roll for some of the other teams to keep us doing something during the game). I still feel like no matter how competent you are or how well you plan, you’re 100% at the mercy of the dice, though. Maybe that’s just cynicism from chronic poor rolling, though. Or maybe, Fantasy Flight Games makes their adventures too frickin’ hard for the average group. I’m certainly going to be watching that carefully when I run my Age of Rebellion game (barely in the planning stages, D&D is still next).