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Episode 1926: The X-wing Files


If you want to do an infodump of background material in your campaign, there are several approaches:

Basically, the best ways to infodump are to make it not look like an infodump.

Commentary by memnarch (who has not seen the movie)

Ok, wow. I thought the last large panel was just a scenery shot until I noticed the small flat bit in front of the ruined engine with the sand inside. I'm pretty sure that's the Falcon in all of its 42×16 pixelly glory, which makes the bright square of pixels behind it the remaining PIE fighter. Sense of scale is hard to manage in still images. Even in videos of the Saturn V, I never really quite understood just how big the rocket was until I was able to see one in person. And there are seafaring ships that are even larger than that! Suddenly realizing the scale of the wrecks is a little mind-blowing.

And we get another clue to the mystery here. Hux obviously knows something about this experiment judging from his reaction to learning about Niima, or at the very least, something about this Dreighton Triangle effect. I'm assuming that's something like the Bermuda Triangle but IN SPACE, so it's obviously completely different. There might even be actual spooky forces at work here! Practically though, I am guessing any complications or anomalies that came from these crashes were a result of the experimental hyperdrive. The Star Trek: Voyager series had a few instances where experimental drives caused problems, so I would be unsurprised if that's the case here as well.

A probable cover-up though would have involved bombing the wrecks from orbit so that there wouldn't be anything useful remaining to find. Sure, scan-blocking sand is wonderful for preventing something from being easily found, but security by obscurity is only a valid method when it's used as an additional security layer and not the entirety of it. Judging by the fact that Rey was able to locate just what she was looking for (after lots of weeks of manual searching), that's all that was used here. Even if the Empire didn't want to get close to the crash location for fear of losing more spaceships to the anomalies, there's no reason they couldn't have just tractor beamed asteroids into a collision course with the wrecks from a safe distance.

Also good to hear that Wedge is still around 30 years later and doing neat things in the background. At least, I assume he's still around. Finding alternate transportation after surviving a crash wouldn't be easy, but if anyone is capable of pulling crazy difficult stunts like that and living to tell the tale, it's gonna be Wedge.

Commentary by Keybounce (who has not seen the movie)

If you remember, a while back, one of the cast pages mentioned a person that was barely seen, with something of value, a new type of spice, on a desert planet. At the time, the forums had a fair amount of speculation[*] about this being a new form of space drive, clearly a reference to Dune. It seems that this has now come to pass, in-comic. We have a new hyperdrive modulator, a new form of space drive, and... something went wrong.

This is, of course, a classic bit of story telling. Whether it's a Federation ship that attempts to use a cloaking device, only to be embedded inside an asteroid, or an experiment that is supposed to teleport an aircraft carrier in our own world, or some strange new form of hyperdrive that breaks you up into a near infinite series of tiny streams that are seemlessly reassembled at the other end except for a few molecules at random that provide the power, mysterious new engines and drive systems are a staple of stories.

Probably because they are also a staple of real life. Using a massive, constant series of explosions to push something to move your vehicle? Whether that's the combustion engine, or the Orion spaceship, this is the sort of thing that, at least initially, will go poorly, while once perfected it becomes normal. Any sort of mechanical system that is new and different will be full of failure until it is not.

And we see that our favorite shapeshifter, who can be anyone in the background at any time, was the key to figuring out what had happened.

Meanwhile: BB-8 continues to hang upside down, Poe continues to speak, showing that he's still alive (and dying?), the remaining PIE continues to chase the Falcon, and all the talking is a free action, so no dice are rolled.

And, if you are going into a spooky ship death zone, chances are you'll find a way to lose that last PIE, and maybe even seem to the ship in orbit that you have been destroyed. It would be so much better if Hux doesn't have a reason to use the full resources of a star destroyer to take out one single 100-year-old, barely functioning pile of junk that is constantly losing the hyperdrive.

[*] Pay no attention to the details of who was bringing up all the rumor mongering of this idea in the old comic threads at the time. Consider that there were probably other people with the same idea that simply didn't bother to mention it because it had already been mentioned. Probably.


Finn: How could star destroyers just crash on a planet?
[SFX]: vreeeeooooowww...
Rey: It’s a mystery. The Empire was testing a new hyperdrive modulator.
BB-8: The one you found?
Rey: Yeah. It was a secret military experiment. Apparently something went wrong and they covered it up.
[SFX]: vreeeeooooowww...
Rey: Tatooine’s sand kept the secret safe. Until a Resistance agent named Wedge connected what we knew about the test with this site.
Rey: He reported weird anomalies that downed his X-wing. Some kind of Dreighton Triangle effect, if you believe that sort of thing.
Finn: You flew us into a spooky ship death zone?
[SFX]: vreeeeooooowww...
[SFX]: pow!
Poe: {dead} Yeah! That’s what I’d do!
Rey: I’m starting to have second thoughts.

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Published: Thursday, 03 December, 2020; 01:11:02 PST.
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