How did you run… Escape from Mos Shuuta/Long Arm of the Hutt

Edit: See the discussion at the SWRPG Community Forum.

Introduction

Often I see questions online from GMs looking for tips and tricks for how to run certain Star Wars RPG modules. I thought it could be useful for me to talk about how I ran some of them. This will include both tips on running the module as written but also the modifications I made either to spice things up or to adapt it to my PCs. I’m going to start this effort with Escape from Mos Shuuta & Long Arm of the Hutt.

Play time

My group of 4 PCs did these two adventures back-to-back over 6 sessions, so around 25 hours of play.

  1. Escape from Mos Shuuta
  2. Dealing with issues aboard the Krayt Fang
  3. Meeting Nyn and fighting bounty hunters
  4. Dealing with Drombb
  5. Geonosis
  6. Return to Mos Shuuta

Incorporating the pre-gens if your players aren’t using them

In the final act, I had some of the pre-gen characters present in Mos Shuuta at various locations so that they could either provide aid or make deals with the PCs. It was nice to have them as additional well-rounded NPCs to incorporate into the story line. Vex agreed to provide information on Teemo’s B1 plans in exchange for the PCs helping him and Pash get out of Teemo’s clutches, while Oskara met up with some of the other PCs at the cantina and signed-on for their raid. All three of those became long-term NPCs in our campaign, dipping into and out of the main storyline. When some of my players were out of town, we even did a side adventure where one of our main PCs did a mission with Vex and Pash. 

Fleshing out the Twi’lek angle

When I was prepping this module, I did a lot of looking around for info on how other people ran it, and one idea I saw was for fleshing out the Twi’leks. I cast B’ura B’an as an older fellow who had the respect of the New Meen community as an overseer but was more of an idea person at this stage in his life, while Nyn Kablo was the action-oriented type. B’ura B’an could inspire people, but Nyn was the one planning and conducting resistance actions. If the PCs can get B’ura B’an back to the mine and get rid of Drombb, the Twi’leks can take charge of their own future in New Meen, operating the mine to their own benefit (and giving the PCs a smuggling gig). Nyn included fixing up the PC’s ship (including some transponder shenanigans) as payment for help at the mine. The mechanic who did that work also became a significant recurring NPC for us (eventually marrying Nyn!).

On the advice of Nashable on the d20radio forums, I added Nyn’s lieutenant Novus Passik, who was secretly in Teemo’s employ, being promised a position of power once Teemo controls New Meen. He planted a bomb in the speeder the PCs would be using. This gave someone for the PCs to be able to blame later and retain a positive relationship with Nyn, as she was not under suspicion once they determined he was to blame. In our game, Novus Passik escaped so he was able to be the villain in a later adventure.

Long Arm had a huge influence on the rest of our 18-month Desert Rose Solutions campaign. New Meen ended up being my players’ base of operations, and they grew it into a proper town with a desert resort (and droid day spa). Nyn became really good friends with some of the PCs and they later rescued her in one episode and helped her do a mission in another (plus attended her wedding). 

Dealing with the Bounty Hunters

The bounty hunters were sent by Teemo, so it makes sense some of the PCs might know some of them, if they’ve all been working for Teemo for a while. I allowed some social checks at the start of this encounter for the PCs to try to sway any of them. In our case, one of them was persuaded that going after the Lylek for the prestige of being a big game hunter was a better calling in life than continuing on as a bounty hunter. It set up that NPC to recur in our campaign several times, whenever big game hunting became an issue, and it helped provide a social component to something that could’ve been just a shoot-out. 

Handling the social scene on Geonosis

One thing that helped me GM Long Arm was to make my own little note pages for each of the NPCs on Geonosis after reading through that whole section. Some of the information about them is scattered across multiple pages, but by putting my notes for each of them on one half-sheet each, I had an easier time dipping into that character when they were approached during the party. I also used that little sheet to take notes on who talked to the NPC and what the general tenor of the conversation was, so that I had material to bring those NPCs back into the campaign several arcs later where they fit a niche I needed to fill. Anatta and (Ota, for that matter) was contacted somewhat regularly by my players to buy information as our campaign went on.

This scene is also a great one to swap out existing NPCs for ones from your PCs’ backstories (or to use these NPCs to fill roles that exist in those backstories). I had a PC with Black Sun connections, so at the party, I had Maru Jakkar remind him of his obligations and that he was a small fish in a big pond. This spurred that PC to resolve to take firmer steps for getting rid of that obligation. 

Finale

Be open to deviating from the module in the final act to allow whatever plan your players come up with to work. My group decided to sell Teemo out to Jabba, so they had to sneak in and sabotage the guns in order for Jabba’s group to use the landing pad. Then there was a narrative shoot-out in the throne room between those two groups, during which my PCs were trying to get Pash and Vex out of the palace safely. 

Incorporating Player Obligation rolls

One way I handle Obligation in modules is little side-quest type things. During Long Arm of the Hutt, in the session the PCs returned to Mos Shuuta, we had an obligation trigger which was an Imperial entanglement of one of the PCs. Since there was known to be an Imperial officer present in the town, she went a little out of her way to find him and blackmail him into altering her service record. It fit easily into what everyone else was doing, but it did require some unanticipated creativity on my part as the GM. It was worth the inconvenience though, as that started a domino chain that shaped the entire campaign. (That Imperial officer even got his own “spin-off series,” which is chronicled elsewhere on our site: Resh Hour.) 

Where to go next/before

As for follow-on adventures, there was a fan-made one called Hunter and Hunted designed to immediately come after Long Arm of the Hutt. I haven’t run that one myself, since my players chose a job offer that led to the fan-made Enemy of My Enemy. That was juicy enough to cover 3 sessions and introduced some villainous NPCs who would haunt our campaign for the next year.

I wrote a sort of prequel to Escape from Mos Shuuta that was designed as another way to introduce people to SWRPG (incorporating some Genesys features). It is not super-polished, but if you’re interested in taking a look, it is Crawl Before You Walk.