After five sessions of fighting pirates and swoop bike gangers, the heroes of my Knights of the Old Republic campaign went up against their first Sith: Kaldros Ygin, an arrogant self-assured student of the Dark Lady Aldera.
I’ve been dropping hints over the last few weeks that Ral Duris, leader of the pirates of Zebulon Prime, had a Sith advisor. Ygin was the first evidence that she might not be the only Darksider on the Prime.
He was also my first chance to try Force powers in the game. I threw a Sith at my players during our long-ago playtest of the game for my SCIFI.com review of Saga Edition, but I’ve purposefully avoided introducing Sith in the regular campaign too early.
I wanted the Jedi padawans to get comfortable with their powers while I figured out the best way to run grunt NPCs. I also wanted the introduction of a Sith to be suitably dramatic moment; introducing them early in the game would make them seem too common place, and I want them to be more exotic and exceptional opponents.
Kaldros Ygin, Sith Student
Kaldros was tasked with patrolling the Zend Forest where it abutted the Emerald Cliffs, otherwise known as the location of the secret pirate base. He killed any loggers and scientists from the Great Tree outpost deeper in the forest who ventured too close to the base. He made the murders look like animal attacks to throw off those in Great Tree, which in turn had the lumberjacks and botanists blaming one another for awaking whatever horror was killing their people.
He enjoyed the mayhem associated with his job, but grew bored with the lack of a suitable opponent. When the heroes arrived, led by the Jedi padawan Quest Fios, he eagerly welcomed the challenge. Too eagerly as it turns out; the heroes slew him.
Kaldros Ygin, Sith Student Medium human Jedi 3 Force: 5, Dark Side: 14 Init: +8 Senses: Perception +8 Languages: Basic Defenses: Ref 14 (flat-footed 12), Fort 14, Will 14 HP 40, Threshold 14 Speed: 6 squares Melee lightsaber +6 2d8+1 Melee belt knife +5 1d4+1 Base Atk: +3, Grp +4 Special Actions: Block, Power of the Dark Side Force Powers Known: (Use the Force +11) Negate Energy, Force Slam Force Scream Abilities: Str 12, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 12 Talents: Block, Power of the Dark Side Feats: Force Sensitivity*, Force Training (3 powers), Skill Focus (Use the Force), Weapon Finesse (Dex to attacks), Weapon Focus (Lightsabers) Weapon Proficiency (lightsabers)*, Weapon Proficiency (simple weapons)* Skills: Initiative +8, Perception +8, Use the Force +12 Possessions: Lightsaber, backpack, food supplies, water, belt knife, short-range encrypted comm link, glow rod
My biggest concern going into this fight was that it wouldn’t be suitably cinematic. In the movies, lightsaber battles rarely end with a single strike; there’s always a flurry of light and sound as Jedi and Sith battle for supremacy.
To that end, I gave my Sith the Block Jedi talent that allows him to turn aside melee attacks. It worked beautifully, allowing him to avoid a lightsaber strike by Quest’s. I also wanted him to have some mechanism for dealing with ranged attacks; Negate Energy — which allows a Use the Force check to turn aside an energy attack — was perfect for that, and came in handy when the JPD-14 Jedi training droid landed a lightsaber strike against the Sith.
Finally, I wanted to make sure I had some powers they’d never seen before, which were unique to the Knights of the Old Republic era. Force Scream fit the bill perfectly; it’s a Dark Side only power, and one we saw used quite effectively in the KOTOR video games. It worked just as well at the table, surprising my players, damaging their characters, and weakening them for follow-up attacks the next round.
So was it cinematic? Hell yes! The pirates quickly fell to a hail of blaster and slug-thrower fire from the non-Jedi, leaving the padawan Quest Fios and the training droid JPD-14 to face off against the Sith. And the Sith, drawing heavily up on his pool of Force points, was able to turn aside their attacks, frustrate their assault, impress them with the true power of the Dark Side.
In the end, my Sith fell to the heroes (felled by an incredibly lucky shot by — of all characters — my quasi-NPC mechanic Zulen Tek) but it was a great test run that stretched the player character’s capabilities.
As an aside, I know the conventional wisdom regarding a GM having a character in the party, but in this case Zulen’s a character I’ll be running when someone else steps up to GM, so we want him to have some actual history with the party. I’m pretty sure the guys were happy to see the the Sith badly wounded, and ultimately it was one of the players who got off the killing shot.