Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Campaign Concept: Rogue Trader as Guardians of the Galaxy. Also: Starfinder

A few weeks back I described my inspiration for a Rogue Trader campaign driven by Black Sails, Starz amazing pirate series. Over the weekend we watched Guardians of the Galaxy for the first time in a long time and I think I have found the inspiration for the opposite of that other campaign concept.

Black Sails is serious, gritty, full of scheming, betrayals, and violence.

Guardians is far less serious, not nearly as gritty, does have some betrayals, and does have violence. The movie does involve dealing with powerful artifacts and overly powerful opponents so it's a better fit than I thought at first glance.

Rogue traders do have less chance of being put in jail ...
So there are some common elements, enough to make a good game for sure, but the tone would be completely different. I think "grim and serious pirate" Rogue Trader would be significantly different from "comic book movie" Rogue Trader, to the point they might not even feel like the same game.

It's OK Captain Flint, let's talk through this.

Key elements of a GotG Rogue Trader campaign in my mind:

  • Characters are in slightly over their heads, despite being basically competent. Maybe they just recently fell into their positions and the campaign starts on "Day 1" of this new life.
  • Less concern about details, technology, and "realism", looser style
  • Action over plotting and scheming
  • Focus on organizations
    • name
    • goal
    • leader as recognizable NPC
    • one or two lower level members as recognizable NPC's to put a face on things
      (example of what this means: Guardians RT would probably be more "that's Zolo's ship!" than "that's the Red Fury!" when identifying a new arrival)
  • More emphasis on "doing the right thing", even reluctantly and less on "personal gain", comparatively
  • Humor - this would be accepted and encouraged as part of the feel of the game. The closes "other thing" to this kind of feel is probably Firefly - there are serious consequences to actions of the PC's but that's no reason we can't be funny in getting to them.
Organization + recognizable member NPC

There are some differences in the scenarios. A Rogue Trader has a massive crew - they would probably have to stay mostly in the background. It's a massive ship but it's still smaller than serious warships so there are still things you will need to run from. Just think if the Black Sails crew was put in charge of the Enterprise or a Battlestar vs. the Guardians crew - how would those two stories be different? 

Also as I started to think through this I wonder if GotG might be better 'adapted" to a Starfinder campaign. We don't know much about the game yet but a lot of Pathfinder and D&D games start with "out for gold" and end up "doing the right thing" not far into the campaign. 

Yep, that looks about right for a "First Contact" for a lot of my games ...

So I may have talked myself into thinking through a Rogue Trader-like campaign that may end up using Starfinder instead of RT rules to help keep the right tone. I suppose we will just have to see how they fit together when the rules come out.

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