Thursday, January 20, 2011

Contemplating the Star Wars campaign for 2011

I have a confession to make. A near-sacrilegious one for a gamer of my vintage: the d6 Star Wars thing is just not clicking for me.

I love the basic system and it works well but there are a ton of fiddly little bits that show up that I do not like as much. Plus the Apprentices have certain expectations as to how Jedi should work and the gimped starting Jedi templates (only 1 or 2 of the 3 crucial skills) are nowhere near the leaping-about-slashing-with-sabers-force-pushing-badguys vision from the more recent movies. It's not all the system's fault - my own lack of familiarity with the rules as a whole is mostly due to my own lack of intensive study of them beforehand but that lack and my inability to string several sessions together in a nice neat row has resulted in some very clunky sessions as I try to play fast and loose but end up checking rules on how to do something and finding a whole little subsystem that I can either learn (in the interests of mastering the whole system) or ignore (in the interest of speed). I end up feeling that as much as I like d6 when it's sitting on  the shelf, Savage Worlds could do it better in play - and there's no lack of Savage Worlds conversions out there. But I have another option.

I really really like Saga Edition Star Wars too, and I have most of the rulebooks. It's good, really good. Plus I already know the rules - it's basically somewhere between 3.5 d20 and 4.0 d20 - so I am already way ahead of it on system mastery (something I feel is important when DM'ing a game) and it will also help the Apprentices as it will feel a lot more familiar coming from a D&D 4E game too.

There's also a question of material - the vast majority of the d6 material is set in or right after the Rebellion Era. Now there's nothing wrong with that, Stormtroopers and Star Destroyers will always be my "home" when it comes to Star Wars, but it's different for my players in this case. Being of the younger generation they've grown up with the prequel trilogy (I know I know) and the Clone Wars animated series. Now there are some d6 conversions of some of this material out there but it seems like a less than optimal solution when I have a couple of books full of material for this era already sitting on the shelf, albeit for a different system.

So I am looking at starting up Star Wars as a new campaign using the Saga edition and set in the Clone Wars era. Actually it will be right before the Clone Wars start as I run them through a conversion of the old Volturnis Star Frontiers adventures. I'm going to make it a regular part of the rotation and not just a fill-in as the d6 experiment was, and that should help keep it alive too. I admit that some of this is part of starting fresh with the Aprrentices for 2011 - We will have a new 4E campaign, a new M&M campaign, and a new Star Wars campaign now with Basic D&D being our fill-in when some of our group is missing.

I'll post up details on each of them as they develop. I've kind of made Fridays my M&M post days and I'll probably do something similar with Star Wars too just to keep some order to this mass of ramblings.

As for d6, it goes back on the shelf for now. I'd love to play it at this point, but maybe not run it. If I stumble across a group in DFW that's running it I will give it a try but for now I'm going to set it aside and go forward with my "all d20 all the time" approach. It's not something I started out aiming for, but it has worked out that way. We will see if this "system synergy" thing really works - or if I should just chuck them all and go with Hero System for everything instead.



Greg Christopher said...

Cool. I demand posts to give us peeks under the hood as it progresses!

Blacksteel said...

Oh I intend to and it's pretty easy as the Apprentices don't know about the blog. Even if they did I'm not sure they would care other than leaving unhelpful comments as a joke.

I'll have some details on the starting scenario next week.

Barking Alien said...

It sounds exciting and I look forward to reading posts about the campaign.

I don't like D20 for Star Wars and will always be a much bigger fan of the D6 system. I even ran demos of the first edition D20 Star Wars for WotC at some game stores in NYC and still went back to D6.

The one benefit to the WotC versions of Star Wars, as you mentioned, is that its much easier to find material on the Clone Wars and related prequel eras.

Blacksteel said...

I do still like d6 I just felt like I wasn't really up to running it all that well. The Apprentices are good at coming up with wild ideas and knowing the system makes it a lot easier to say "yes" to whatever ti is they're trying to do. I'd love to play it with someone else running it and I will probably take another stab at running it down the road.

I had mixed feelings about the original d20 version and even revised had some holes but Saga is a different animal - classes are different, combat is somewhat different, and the whole "talents" system plays very differently than things did in the older versions. Of course I'll know much more in a few months so we'll see if my "like" holds up.