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Narrative Blockage in my Campaign - Bounty Hunter trap
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Lord Zash
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:05 pm    Post subject: Narrative Blockage in my Campaign - Bounty Hunter trap Reply with quote

Hi everyone,

I am running a 1st Ed. campaign and have hit a bit of a narrative block. I think it's my fault as a master for maybe exploring too many plots and not having the experience to deal with it.

Here is the thing. The campaign started in MESA mines (rebel breakout) and from there we developed. In my game, the Imperial Security Bureau starts controlling Bothawui.

My players had to leave their ship at some friend's secret location in order to meet Tiree at Mesa (I had to make it work somehow). They completed the adventure so they joined the rebellion and at some point came back to retrieve their ship. My players' friends managed to leave the planet before the Empire took control of the area but the I.S.B. learnt about who they were.

Fast forward, got a bounty hunter working for the I.S.B. in Tatooine looking for Rebellion Agent Dyllon. My players met Dyllon but in the course of the adventure they cross the bounty hunter. Far superior, this guy nearly kills Dyllon but my players intervene and at some point the bad guy has to leave as the numbers are not on his side. However now this guy has seen the face of each of my players and can pass info to the I.S.B.

Many many episodes after... the campaign has developed... but I never really closed the chapter with the bounty hunter. So I decided to bring him back in the last session right when my players thought they are making big progress.... The bounty hunter sends a coded message to Dyllon (somehow he's traced him) in which he shows my players' friends chained and threatens with killing them. That's it.

So I was thinking on giving two options to my players:

1) Dyllon (my players' favourite NPC) owes them his life so he's going to offer dealing with the issue. Probably he will loose one of his own team in the process but it'll be a happy ending I reckon. That way my players will be able to carry on with what they were doing (they have reached their home sector) and follow their plans without any delay.

2) If the players really want to deal personally with the bounty hunter.... the whole thing is a trap! but don't know how to present it to my players.



My question is.... how does a bounty hunter set a trap? Basically the bad guy wants to catch them all (Dyllon + my two players). Where would you do it?
I want him to be a proud guy. As in his working along with the I.S.B. but wants to do the job himself (or maybe with a few bad guys...)

Many thanks in advance for any replies and MASSIVE THANKS to EVERYONE that replied in my other thread in this subform (Planet Invasion). I am already using some of the ideas given there and the campaign so far is awesome. 8 months, playing twice a month
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Pel
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lot of players will want to take the bounty hunter down and keep their friend alive (because they're the good guys!).

So, how to set a trap? It depends on how proud the bounty hunter is. If he's not above hiring help, you can add other bounty hunters, assassin droids, surplus droidekas, local officials, or even... ISB agents! If he's so proud he wants to capture them singlehandedly (foolish, but props if he pulls it off), that takes a bit more planning and probably some gadgetry.

Now, the players have to want to go where this guy is or at least where he wants them to be so they have to have a good reason to walk into this obvious trap. Maybe there's a coded subchannel offering to defect with some secret superweapon plans (it's a ruse, but can the players take that chance?) or one of the players' other contacts produces intel that suddenly rockets this bounty hunter onto the most wanted list.

An easy way to do this is to have the bounty hunter actually grab Dyllon and tell your players to come get him or he turns their pal over to ISB's tender mercies. He can make some excuse about being in it for profit and the players can buy Dyllon back, or just tell them to show up or he kills Dyllon. Whatever will better motivate your people.

Once the place and time are set (the less prep time the better), maybe the players can briefly mine their contacts for intel on the system and the bounty hunter to see if they can even the odds a bit (hire a rival bounty hunter or tip a third party off to this guy's whereabouts (enemy of my enemy sort of thing).

You can go any number of directions with this thing, just have fun with it.
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Sutehp
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 3:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oddly enough, this reminds me of one of the Firefly comics that I was reading, not more than 2 weeks ago. SPOILERS FOR ANYONE WHO HASN'T READ THE FIREFLY COMIC "THOSE LEFT BEHIND": Basically, one of the Serenity crew's early enemies, Agent Dobson, who Mal shot in the face and left for dead at the end of the pilot episode, turns out to be not quite dead and has become a bounty hunter with a prosthetic eye (naturally as a result of Mal's shooting him in the face, of course). After the events of the Firefly series but before the events of the movie Serenity, Dobson joins forces with the Hands of Blue, those eerie two guys in the business suits who wear blue gloves. It turns out the Hands of Blue are also bounty hunters (of a sort). The HoB seek out Dobson, who doesn't know who they are and naturally refuses to work with them until they reveal they're both after the same thing: the crew of the Serenity. Naturally, the three of them together set a trap for Serenity by going to one of the Serenity crew's contacts: a man named Badger, who has given Mal leads on previous heists (often at gunpoint; Badger is a petty crimelord who is more concerned with his percentage/finder's fee). Badger contacts the Serenity crew and tells them about a stash of money hidden in a derelict spacecraft that is one of many gutted derelict spacecraft making up the aftermath of the Battle of Sturges. Mal and company go to Sturges to collect the much needed money...and are promptly ambushed by Dobson and the HoB.

What Dobson and the HoB did above was contact someone (namely Badger) who both knew/dealt with the Serenity crew before and who also wouldn't cry very much if the Serenity crew got captured or killed so long as he got paid as well.

END SPOILERS.

Anyway, my point here is that your bounty hunter doesn't have to go the whole mustache-twirling-villain-sets-an-obvious-trap route. Bounty hunters worth their salt don't do that. Like any good hunter, he studies his targets without ever making his presence known and learns as much as he can before he engineers circumstances to his greatest advantage.

Being Rebels, your characters probably know someone(s) who's been helpful to them in the past but probably isn't the most savory of people and could turn against them for the right price. And if they don't know anyone like that, then your bounty hunter has another option besides making an obvious ploy like capturing Dyllon and taunting the characters with threats to his life; your bounty hunter can simply study Dyllon and find out what matters to him more than the characters. Does Dyllon have a wife or other family that the bounty hunter can use to get to Dyllon? Who or what does Dyllon value more than the characters? Is there another way the bounty hunter can force Dyllon to unwillingly turn against the characters?

The bounty hunter doesn't have to make his presence known to the characters; in fact, it's far better if he doesn't. All he has to do is force one of the character's allies (perhaps Dyllon, perhaps someone else the charcters know) to just send any sort of message that will get the characters in a place where the bounty hunter wants them so he can ambush them. The first thing the bounty hunter will want to know is: what are the characters after? They're fighting a rebellion, after all, so at the very least, the characters will want food, supplies, money and weapons, all of which are needed in big amounts to keep the Rebellion going. Thus, the bounty hunter has no shortage of things to use as bait for the characters. One thing the bounty hunter can do is force Dyllon to send a false message to the characters saying that he's got a lead on desperately needed supplies for the Rebellion. Voila! Bait set, trap ready, and the characters are now where the bounty hunter wants them.

This can even fit into your Option 1 with Dyllon saying that he'll take care of the bounty hunter for them without their help. Dyllon reassures the characters that he'll take down the bounty hunter with his own team and resources, sets off to do so...and it goes south, his team is killed and he gets captured by the bounty hunter, who then captures Dyllon's wife/family/best friend/whatever and tells Dyllon: "Ok, I have your wife/family/best friend/whatever and I'll kill them unless you tell the characters what I want you to tell the characters. If you try to warn the characters off, I'll kill your wife/family/best friend/whatever." And the bounty hunter is going to make sure to capture Dyllon and Dyllon's loved ones without the characters ever finding out about it. This way the characters get a message from a trusted source and have no reason to think anything is amiss, so they'll walk into the bounty hunter's trap completely unawares.

This is FAR better than the mustache-twirling-villain-making-an-obvious-trap route IMHO.

EDIT/SHAMELESS PLUG: If you can find a copy of it, read the Star Wars Legends anthology Tales of the Bounty Hunters. There are several short stories involving the bounty hunters seen in The Empire Strikes Back. The most relevant story here will be the last and longest story of the bunch: "The Last One Standing", the short story about Boba Fett. In particular, take note of how Boba Fett tracks Kardue'sai'malloc, AKA Malloc AKA the Butcher of Montellian Serat. Long story short: Malloc was a Devaronian and a former Imperial officer who massacred over 800 Devaronian Rebels on their home planet after they had surrendered. Sometime after the Battle of Endor, he quit the Imperial Army and disappeared. A few years later, Boba Fett was hired by Malloc's family (who, years later were still pissed at Malloc for his betrayal) to find Malloc and bring him to justice. Boba Fett eventually found out that Malloc had fled to Tattooine when four mercenaries, two of whom were Devaronian, walked into a certain cantina in Mos Eisly, saw an old Devaronian and thought they recognized the Butcher of Montellian Serat. (By the way, the Devaronian in the cantina scene in A New Hope? That's Malloc.) The old Devaronian, previously thought by the locals to nothing more than a harmless and pathetic old drunk, then proceeded to kill four mercs in the prime of their lives in less than 20 seconds and fled the planet.

It took Boba Fett two years, but he managed to track down Malloc with only two pieces of information: 1) Malloc liked to drink a particular ale called Merranzane Gold and 2) a list of planets in the Arkanis Sector (where Tattooine is located) that had received shipments of Merranzane Gold. That led Fett to the planet Peppel, where Malloc was hiding in a simple hut in the middle of nowwhere...but was surrounded with lots of tripwires and boobytraps to kill anyone who approached. Boba Fett managed to evade all the traps...but he had to leave his armor and weapons behind because Malloc also had sensors in his hut that would have detected anyone approaching with vehicles or high-tech weapons. As a result, Fett had to creep to Malloc's hut wearing little more than his underwear and carrying only a quiver and a compound bow and had to wait for hours with an arrow nocked and ready to shoot. (Compound bows let you do that; it takes the least exertion to hold a compound bow after it's been pulled.) Needless to say, Fett managed to shoot Malloc with an arrow without killing him (Devaronians are too tough to kill with an arrow to the chest) and capture him and take the Butcher of Montellian Serat back to Devaron to face his people's justice.

But the point here is that this short story illustrates just how far a bounty hunter might have to go to get his target. Your bounty hunter might have to resort to something similar and your story will be all the cooler for it.
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Last edited by Sutehp on Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:05 am; edited 2 times in total
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 3:24 am    Post subject: Re: Narrative Blockage in my Campaign - Bounty Hunter trap Reply with quote

Lord Zash wrote:

My question is.... how does a bounty hunter set a trap? Basically the bad guy wants to catch them all (Dyllon + my two players). Where would you do it?
I want him to be a proud guy. As in his working along with the I.S.B. but wants to do the job himself (or maybe with a few bad guys...)

Many thanks in advance for any replies and MASSIVE THANKS to EVERYONE that replied in my other thread in this subform (Planet Invasion). I am already using some of the ideas given there and the campaign so far is awesome. 8 months, playing twice a month


Easy. He sets a # of booby traps around a pre-planned area, and has reinforcements ready to go on call.. Say 2-3 traps +1 per 2 pcs. So if the group has 4 players, there's 4 to 5 traps set. Some could be damaging (like a pungie stick swing arm, or grenade). others could be disabling (like a Gravity plate that ramps up quickly to say 10 x the local gravity, or better yet TOSSES them up to a waiting servo magnet).
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Kytross
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a scenario for you.

The Players (and or not Dyllon, your call) rush to rescue their friends. Put the friends on another planet so they have to take a ship. They are pulled out of hyperspace unexpectedly.

The Bounty Hunter has set up a barricade, moving an asteroid into a hyperspace route to force a ship out of hyperspace. He is lurking in wait and before the players have a chance to react, the Bounty Hunter fires, disabling their ship. The Player's choice is surrender or die.

Now they're captured and the Bounty Hunter gets a win, boosting his reputation with your players even more. It becomes an escape mission, where they have to get free, get all their friends free and have a confrontation with the Bounty Hunter in his lair.
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Lord Zash
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you very much!

Great ideas here.

Let's see what my players decide.
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