Zorba's Palace

Encounter One

Zelda has assured you the new Rebel outpost will make a difference in the long run and you are now considered official members of the Rebel Alliance and will be fully supported by them in the future. Now that you have a better idea where to look in an effort to find your ships, you decide the smart thing to do is return to Tatooine so you can make good on your deal with Zorba the Hutt. The return trip allows you some time to relax and develop your skills, and along the way you send a message letting her know you’re on the way. Instead of having to park in the spaceport like you had to do last time, you receive coordinates for a private spaceport located in Zorba’s Palace along with a one-time use passcode to allow you entry. The spaceport is actually hidden beneath the sand – a set of large bay doors begins to slide open, a small amount of sand tumbling in through the narrow opening, until there is enough room for your vessel to land. The sand that had fallen inside is kicked to the corners of the snug landing bay and the Aqualish you have met previously is waiting.

One thing that you notice before landing, however – there are a number of speeders and other craft outside of Zorba’s front door. It looks like she might be throwing another party. The Aqualish stands at the base of your gangplank as the doors above begin to slide close, raising a hand. “Zorba has requested that you enter the palace unarmed. She is currently performing negotiations with potential clients and prefers her guests refrain from starting fights.”

The PCs have an opportunity to speak with the Aqualish and ask questions, but he will refuse to offer any answers, saying that Zorba has ordered they only speak with her directly. They can choose to try to keep their weapons, or they can follow the directive and store their weapons on the ship. If they try to keep their weapons, they will have to perform a successful Deception/Skulduggery check versus the Aqualish’s Perception. If they are caught, the Aqualish will attempt to confiscate the weapon. If they choose not to leave them on the ship, the weapons will be stored in a storage locker inside the bay. The Aqualish will then lead them to Zorba’s throne room.

Live music can be heard as you approach the arch leading into the main meeting hall, a wicked smell clawing at your nostrils and reminding you of your first arrival on Tatooine. The one-armed Gamorrean Gorrta stands just outside the arch, a new vibro-ax in his remaining hand and a sour look on his face – but when he sees your group approach, he cowers and disappears around the corner. A few other Gamorreans are scattered throughout the room to perhaps act as bouncers, but for the most part the party-goers are too busy reveling in their drunkenness. Zorba herself is seated on the throne atop the raised dais, a Bantha-hide resting over her shoulders and a long hookah-hose clutched between her pudgy fingers. A familiar bounty hunter stands in front of her – the same man who helped you to escape from the Star Destroyer, a frown pulling at his lips as his eye turns to study you – he’s had a bionic eye implanted to replace the one that had been missing previously. There are other aliens, too, who take interest when you enter, the look of their gear suggesting they may be bounty hunters as well.

Zorba tilts her head back with a laugh as she watches you approach, her eyes drawn to the R3 droid at your side, and she takes a long pull from the hookah as her tail flicks against the throne. Benji is standing beside her and translates as she speaks. “Hello again, my friends! I see you had some luck on Onderon, no? Though I am surprised you brought the droid back – it seems like it would have been simpler to just rip out the memory rod.” R3 tweedles with annoyance and rolls back a little on his wheels, Zorba’s smile pulling wider. She raises her free hand to indicate the bounty hunter still standing nearby. “Drego tells me there has been some interesting news coming from the Core worlds about you. That you’ve caught the attention of Emperor Palpatine himself.” Her head shakes as she frowns. “I do not like that at all – therefore Drego is going to remove the tracker from your ship, as promised. Then you will get off my world before you bring the Empire down on my head.”

The players have an opportunity to speak with Zorba now. For the most part she will refuse to work with them, if they ask, but if they are smart enough to do some kind of perception check they may be able to pick up on some cues that she is lying. In any case, Drego steps away from the group and crosses his arms, leaning his shoulders back on one of the pillars near the throne. R3 will tweedle again impatiently before rolling away from the group as well, moving up to join Benji at Zorba’s side.

Zorba takes another pull from the hookah before letting the hose drop into a bowl at her side, folding her hands together in front of her chest as the Aqualish moves to crouch beside R3. Attaching a cable to a port in the droid’s dome, he taps his fingers against the scanner in his hand, studying it intently for a few moments before nodding. Zorba smiles and snaps her fingers and the Aqualish detaches the cable before handing the pad over to her. “You have done very well, my friends. This is exactly the information I was looking for, and now I have no more use for you.” She falls silent for a moment before making a gesture… and you feel the floor beneath your feet falling away almost instantly.

The players have an opportunity to perform an athletics check in order to brace themselves, perhaps even to jump free of the trap door – but even if they do so, Drego will stand over them with his blaster rifle pointed their direction. He will kick at their hands until they fall, though they may get in a swipe or two.

Despite a few bumps and bruises, it seems you are mostly unhurt – though you now find yourselves trapped in a cage of sorts. The walls are smooth so you cannot climb out, too tall for you to jump, even if you climb onto each other’s shoulders. The Hutt chuckles and makes another gesture before the slot in the floor that had opened begins to close once more, bathing you in darkness. There is silence for a few long moments before you hear the grinding sound of gears nearby, a door off to one side beginning to slide open and revealing that the cage you are in is actually made of transparisteel – you can see out and people can see in, but there doesn’t appear to be a method of escape. The cage is mounted on a sand skiff, which soon begins to hover above the rock floor before starting to glide out of the cave.

No pilot is evident on the skiff, which leads you to believe Zorba has some kind of piloting system set up. There are slots in the top of the cage to allow you to breathe, though it also allows sand to filter in as the skiff continues to pick up speed. It isn’t long, though, before a speaker begins to sound from beneath the floor. Zorba’s voice filters through, translated by Benji. “Let me correct myself – I do, in fact, have a little use for you – or at least, for your Wookiee friend. I have been informed that Darth Vader himself is en route to Tatooine in order to collect him and will be presenting me with the rather hefty bounty. However, it will still be some time before he arrives. I have decided to bring some entertainment to my friends, all thanks to you. That skiff will be depositing you in the middle of the Dune Sea. You will have a small timeframe to gather your wits in an effort to survive – and then you will be hunted. The Bounty Hunter that captures you and returns you to my palace will be splitting the reward with me. I would wish you good luck – but you fate is already sealed. Die well, my friends.”


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