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Episode 1855: Gadget Inspector


Sometimes in a game it can be a good idea to slow down the action and provide detailed description, either of the environment, or of the slow passing of time as adventurers explore some area. It allows you to add a lot of atmosphere and mood, and potentially tension.

Think about the scene in the Mines of Moria in the film of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, in which the fellowship are exploring and run across the room with the dwarven and orcish bodies. The director could have launched straight into a battle right away, but instead slows the action and has the characters look around, blow dust off things, learn something, ponder thoughtfully, bump into something...

You can feel the mood shift and the tension build, resulting in heightened drama when the inevitable finally happens. Imagine doing this in a game. The players expect trouble, but then you slow the game down - not for too long, just for a couple of minutes. You describe the sound of the dripping water in the corner of the room, the smell of rotting cheese on the abandoned dining table, the glint of their torches on rusty pieces of chain...

And when the players can't bear the tension any more you unleash it all on them.

Commentary by memnarch (who has not seen the movie)

Updating my guess of Rey to be a treasure hunter and salvager. Possibly going to be an inventor or artificer as well knowing Pete. When you've got trouble hanging onto super-weapons, why not play a character that can just make new super-weapons from various scraps just left lying around? Admittedly it's hard to build a dreadnought from nothing and Rey doesn't appear to be trying to fix up the wreck, but maybe they're starting on smaller projects first.

Equal focus time is difficult to manage in tabletop games. The best I've seen myself is to have a session focus around one character, then have the next focus around someone else's character. But in this case, I think Pete is being quite silly or petty. It was around two years from Episode I to II. And then another two years between IV and V. And another year after VI wrapped up. And there's probably another timeskip or two I'm missing somewhere.

Point is, five years is a long time later to bring that up. On the other hand though, that was a preposterous amount of dice rolling for only one lap, to the point that Ben wondered if all the dice rolling had put her off. So I don't fault Pete too much for bringing it up; we'll probably only get a couple more comics before BB-8 comes in and meets up with Rey anyway.

In movie, this is probably quite the scene to watch, especially if there's a slow zoom out from Rey to emphasize just how big this wreck is. I only noticed the tiny figure in the last panel after rereading it on the fifth time. I don't think any of the other Star Wars movies have had the camera pulled that far back for a single person before. The Battle of Hoth might be close with Luke rappeling up to take out an AT-AT, but that was also in a large scale battle, and it's been awhile since I've watched that movie. Either way, the visuals here look extremely stunning, and I'm hoping this trend continues for the rest of the movie and through Episodes VIII and IX as well.

Commentary by Keybounce (who has not seen the movie)

Of course you need a blow-by-blow. This is Pete, who gave us that factory.

Now, with Pete knowing exactly where to go, and exactly what to grab, it sure looks like this is the last will and testament of R2-D2: "I leave everything to my next-of-character".

Meanwhile: This is large. Just look at that vast empty space. Clearly, the majority of the metal of this ship has been scavenged, salvaged to make a town, just like we saw when a miniature had been pulled apart to make the buildings. Actually, I'm reminded of Portal 2 as I look at the last two panels. Long, long drops into the distance, vast areas of rubble, debris, and plant growth.

And yet, something small and powerful was left behind. I'd suspect this of being the Lost Orb, except that we know that only the Lost Orb, or ships full of wood constantly arriving and stripping whole planets, could possibly be providing the fuel needed by Coruscant.

I mean, it's not like there's nuclear power here. Right? Have we seen any indication of "modern, high-tech power" in this universe without paper? (Well, probably - how else can the planet vaporizing laser be fired by something only the size of a small moon?)


Rey: I rip out the circuit boards.
[SFX]: k’chhoff!
GM: Behind them is a truncated metal cone the size of a bottle, with flanges.
Rey: Oooh. Does it match the diagram?
GM: Hard to be sure in the stygian gloom.
GM: And with your sun goggles on.
Rey: I pull it out.
GM: Are you sure?
Rey: With great care. And my first aid kit handy.
GM: The other end is a slightly larger flanged cone.
Rey: Promising! Do I see any others like it?
GM: No, you can only see one installation socket.
Rey: I mark the location on my map and head outside.
GM: You rappel down through the cavernous interior of the hangar deck.
Finn: Do we need a blow-by-blow account of him moving through a spaceship?
Rey: You can’t talk, Miss Pod Race.

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Published: Sunday, 21 June, 2020; 03:11:17 PDT.
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