It feels appropriate that on the heels of The Book of Boba Fett that the next entry in the 31 Days/31 Characters Challenge for 2022 be a Star Wars character. Not just any Star Wars RPG character but one of my all time favorites by one of my all time favorite people, my dear friend Lynn Morton.
I have known Lynn for over 30 years. Originally I knew her as the girlfriend of a friend of a friend but eventually we got to know each other and become close ourselves. We've seen break-ups, birthdays, weddings, and the loss of friends and family over the decades. Although time goes by where we don't chat nearly enough, we always find a way to stay connected.
A member of what I often call 'The New Jersey Group', Lynn has been an integral part of some of my best TRPG campaigns. She's been mentioned [directly or indirectly] many times on this blog. She played Ziva Yesperani in the Ghostbusters, NJ, Lt. Shilana Kincaid in Star Trek: Thunder Bay, and Dr. Ana Myr Clearwater in ALIEN FRONTIER (the best introduction of a PC after the beginning of a campaign I've ever had).
So it is that I absolutely had to do a post featuring Lynn's first character from the first campaign I ran with her in it.
AKA: The Sphere Dancer, Lady Kashpa
Player: Lynn Morton
System: Star Wars, The Roleplaying Game, 2nd Edition - West End Games
Gamemaster: Adam Dickstein
Circa: 1989-1990. The original campaign - set during the Original Trilogy of Star Wars films - lasted 12 eight hour sessions, run once a month for a year.
Kashpa returned some years later in three one-shot follow-ups; each run after the Prequel Trilogy films were released. The one-shots took place seven years after Return of the Jedi and combined the continuities of the Enter the Brave campaign with those of my New York group's Tales from the Rim campaign.
She remains an NPC in post-Return of the Jedi/The Mandalorian Era games to this day.
Origins: I have told this story before but it's a good one so I'll briefly go over it again...
On the last day of Gen Con (1989 or 90) my friend Martin was feeling down. He did have a great experience, was new to gaming, and was thinking that perhaps the hobby was not for him. I got angry and when I get angry I get defiant and made him create a Star Wars D6 character right then and there. I convinced the rest of our friends to join in and ran a quick session, maybe no more than a half hour long. Everyone, especially Martin, loved it and they collectively asked when we were continuing this campaign.
Continuing? Campaign? Er...OK. About a week or so after returning home I ran a follow-up adventure and then another a few weeks later. Unfortunately, there was no 'campaign'. I hadn't planned on continuing and although they didn't see it, I knew I couldn't maintain this for long. I told everyone as much and said, "If you guys want to play a Star Wars campaign, I am more than happy to run one. This just isn't it though." The group understood and we went about making a new campaign from scratch. We also pulled in additional players, including Martin's girlfriend Lynn.
To think I once knew her only in that way makes me laugh now. She is awesome and takes center stage whenever she's present.
Backstory: Captured by slavers looking to sell attractive and able bodied young Twi'leks to rich Hutt Crime Lords and corrupt Imperial Governors, Kashpa's life changed dramatically when the transport carrying her was besieged by a group of anti-slaver pirates led by Tiree Palmight.
When the handsome and heroic young man found Kashpa and told her she was free she asked him, "To do what? To go where?"
His answer, "Whatever you want. Wherever you want." Palmight pointed out a viewport window at the sea of stars. "That is the galaxy. Give it hell."
And so she did.
Kashpa helped her people land on a remote, unpopulated but hospitable world and then took a small shuttlecraft into space, eventually making her way to the Outer Rim Territories. She learned a great deal apprenticing with a variety of colorful characters and combined it with the training of her, um, original destined vocation. After a number of years, Kashpa was a dancer and performer in high demand among salacious criminals and Imperials, the toast of the Galactic Underworld. She was also a 'Robin Hood'-like assassin, slaying evil despots, slavers, and other villains who preyed upon the innocent and less capable and spreading their wealth among the downtrodden.
On a few occasions she crossed paths with Tiree Palmight again and the two teamed up to free others enslaved by the tyranny of life under the Galactic Empire. The two also had an on-again-off-again romantic relationship but Palmight was always on the move and Kashpa felt her 'mission' couldn't afford too many breaks.
In her mid-twenties, she received a communique from a mutual contact that said Tiree was on the run with the Empire closing in. He needed her help and asked her to meet him on a planet somewhat off the beaten path of respectable hyperspace trade routes. She went then immediately and ran into a group of interstellar misfits - a Smuggler and his odd Astromech, an Alien Scientist, a Wanna-be Jedi, a Mercenary - all looking for Tiree Palmight. Only, they all described a different Palmight, with his age, profession, and even demeanor varying wildly.
As Bounty Hunters arrived to capture the Smuggler, he stole Kashpa Speeder Bike and headed for his ship. Kashpa leaped from the second story of a Cantina onto the back of the bike and the rest is history. The group became a part of the Rebellion against the Empire, learning the truth of the many lives of Tiree Palmight, ending the threat of the 'Worldfist' doomsday weapon, and vanquishing the mysterious Dark Side wielders Denaan Karr and his acolyte Pal Rartha.
Overview: Lynn has a very strong case of what I call, 'Protective Suspicion'; many of her characters will defend their friends like a momma bear watching out for her cubs BUT she must first establish exactly who qualifies for 'friend' status. It isn't always easy getting into the club. Kashpa was a perfect example of this, initially distrusting the other PCs: Smuggler En Fochs, his droid (played by Martin) MAN-2, the mercenary known only as 'Blade Dangerous' (later Blaze Gold), and even the Jedi-in-Training Raiza Kendall. The only one she trusted was the bizarre looking alien scientist Dr. Bospero, since his agenda of seeking knowledge was worn clearly on his sleeve.
Raiza Kendall had a long romantic relationship with her Jedi Master, one Tiree Palmight, and that irked Kashpa even after the two women discovered their Tirees were not one and the same. At first I thought Kashpa was jealous of the life that Raiza had experienced but that wasn't it, at least not completely. What elevated the character of Kashpa was that she saw Tiree had given her the chance to carve her own destiny and by her own decision she'd spent it enacting vengeance moreso than 'righting wrongs'. What Kashpa was envious of was Raiza's naivete and innocence.
At some point between the end of the original campaign and the first of the one-shot 'sequels', Kashpa decided to hold herself to a higher standard and became a respected leader in the New Republic's Intelligence Service.
Before going into highlight moments, I'd like to discuss Kashpa's unique weapons and abilities.
Her key talent and skill was her incredible agility and a ribbon dancing technique useful in both mesmerizing onlookers and serving as a martial art she called 'Sphere Dancing'. Her lithe form and exquisite, graceful movements were perfect for capturing people's attention and forming a diversion. In battle, she moved with a twisting, spinning fighting style that crossed Capoeira with Ribbon Rhythmic Gymnastics.
This martial art was made ten times more dangerous thanks to a unusual weapon of Kashpa's (and Lynn's) own design: Two metal spheres, each gold in color and the size of a small to medium grapefruit, that were hollow except for spools in the center. Wrapped around the spools and between the two globes is a long length of satin-y material of incredible tensile strength.
One could throw and pull back the spheres, lengthening or reeling the cloth, spin, dance, whirl, and juggle the whole thing for a dazzling dance display. At the same time, Kashpa could throw a globe and wrap it around an opponent, use it as a grappling hook, a flail, or even choke an enemy with the material. The edges of the satin-like ribbon were paper thin and strong enough to cut someone like a knife.
While not actively connected with The Force, Kashpa was known to have prophetic dreams, an old 'mysticism' often attributed to the women of Kashpa's family line. Often tricky to decode, her dreams were nonetheless helpful in locating and defeating the mad Sith Pal Rartha, who turned out to be a Twi'lek as well.
As for standout moments, I loved her introduction; mingling among the scum and villainy at a party on the second floor of a cantina, she hears a ruckus down on the street below which makes her look out a window. A scruffy fellow with blonde hair with a dark streak (Smuggler and future friend En Fochs) steals her ride, a top notch speeder bike. She hands her drink to a droid waiter, steps out of a window, runs across the rooftop and then leaps on to the back of the speeder bike as it races away.
As the two are chased by Bounty Hunters and Stormtroopers, Kashpa wrestles with Fochs (who's driving) and tries to wrap him up with the Ribbon of her weapon. When the pursuers get too close she slings out one of the Spheres yo-yo style, knocking one guy off his speeder bike and causing another two drive off the road into a wall. Finally, just as a group of two or three try to overtake the heroes, Kashpa uses her weapon to lasso a post on each side of the road, clothes-lining the lot of them. She than yanked the weapon back as Fochs spun the bike 360 degrees, firing his Heavy Blaster Pistol at the remaining opponents.
Another memorable and very different moments came when Kaspha had a prophetic dream wherein she was walking through the 'Bright Lands', part of the Twi'lek afterlife. There she saw Pal Rartha, the mentally unstable Twi'lek Sith who seemed to be slipping in and out of existence. As Kashpa attempted to help him gather his wits, he was once again consumed by madness. In doing so he let slip a number of hints and clues that gave Kashpa the location and plan of attack that the enemy would attempt in the final battle against the planet Sullust.
It was a deep, spiritual conversation and while it failed to bring Pal Rartha back to sanity, he revealed how pain can drive one to terrible choices if one gives in to it. Kashpa took her pain and used it to make things right and later still, make things better..
Kashpa - As of the Battle of Ord Itani (the last time she was played by Lynn)*
Twi'lek - Female, 30-35 years of age.
Template: Twi'lek Intelligence Agent
Serving the New Republic's Intelligence Service from a base on Kolindoor.
Acrobatics +3D, Dodge +3D, Sphere Dancing +4D
Espionage +2D, Politics +2D,
Disguise +3D, Persuasion +2D, Sneak +3D
Note: Stats reflect a character played numerous times and an in-universe time jump of 7 years.
Equipment: Comlink x2 (one on wrist, one hidden in head-dress), Diplomatic Dress, Formal Attire, Vibro-Knife, New Republic Identification, Sphere Dancing Outfit, Twi'lek Ribbon Spheres. Pet Kowakian Monkey-Lizard, 'Eeky' (formerly known as 'Damn-You-Damn-Rat' and 'Echuta').
Legacy: In any game I run in the Star Wars Universe set between the era of Star Wars: REBELS and Star Wars: The Mandalorian, Kashpa exists and is up to something. Perhaps you'll cross her path and if you're very forthright, totally honest, and extremely lucky, she just might - after a long while - come to trust you.
Next I've got an unusual one...travel with me down a River of Dreams aboard a Magical Mystery Steamboat and meet a cunning, cuthroat canine cutie known as KEI OKAMI!