I had some concerns that Azarek disabling the Iron Echo was too much like Jayd disabling the Brimia. But ultimately, I figured it worked and the two events happen in different ways. Or I’ll just claim that the Runners and Rogues are similar, so it’s purely intentional and poetic that they have similar events mirrored in their adventures. Yeah, that’s it.

In my original draft, Azarek did not have the metal arm, he did not disable the Echo, and the previous entire action sequence did not take place. The only thing I specified was that the Rogues enter Tet’Sali space and witness the testing of a military weapon, but they then continue on their way undetected. I like my war stories and always find military advances in technology fascinating, so I wanted to incorporate some element of that into RUNNERS. So clearly, this scene was to set up a military technology that would factor into a future story.

The problem with that though is that as originally planned, the Rogues come across this test and then continue on, unaffected. While the sequence sets up something for later down the road in the series, it serves no purpose in the immediate story and thus feels very superfluous. I think at its best, any element of a story can serve multiple purposes, and in this case, I thought the military test could also work to advance the Rogues story.

As a result, I decided that Azarek would do something to force the ship into a vulnerable position, leading to a chase scene with the Tet’Sali. At least that way, the Rogues would have some direct interaction with the Tet’Sali instead of just coasting silently by, making for a more dynamic scene. As an added plus, the failed interception let me introduce some squabbling among the principal Tet’Sali races. I had wanted the Tet’Sali to be an uneasy alliance anyway but had not planned to show that until later. This sequence allowed me to hint at it sooner.

Once I decided Azarek needed to disable the Iron Echo, that then led to the idea of the mechanical arm, which he’d use to construct the disruptor device. In addition to the new chase sequence, I also had Azarek send a message out to his gang, which gave me a whole new element to incorporate into the Rogue storyline. So basically, once I decided not to have the Rogues just passively coast by the Tet’Sali test, that had a big domino effect that pretty much wrote the bulk of their entire adventure for me!