Saturday, April 24, 2010

Star Wars - Campaigns I Have Known

I have played in 1 d6 session mentioned in yesterday's post. It ended badly.

I have played in 2 short d20 campaigns. In one I played Jeet Kundo, a Rodian Scout. It was fun but it only lasted about 3 sessions. In the other I played Shub Nurath, a Duros Scoundrel with maxed out piloting skills and a light freighter just waiting to be modified. that lasted 3 or 4 sessions too. What can I say, my friend the usual DM is a bit fickle and his campaigns tend to shift fairly often.

Now I have run 3 campaigns myself:

Campaign 1 was a conversion of the old Star Frontiers Volturnis Trilogy. I set it in the time between Episode 1 and Episode 2 had the star frontiers systems as a distant cluster in the uncharted regions that was resource-rich and would be a big asset to the republic if war broke out. The players were part of a small diplomatic expedition that included senators and jedi. Their ship was attacked by pirates near Volturnis and that's where the campaign began - with the characters trying to get off the crippled ship before the pirates captured them or it crashed into the planet. The whole thing followed the plotline of the modules with the Sathar being an old ally of the Sith who had been hiding and biding their time way out here. With their modified creature army they fit some of the old Sith material very well and the epic battle at the end of the third module it would make for a very Star-Warsian climax and open up future encounters with them.

This campaign unfortunately only got about halfway through the first module before schedule issues killed it, but I still have my notes and doing it in d6 or Saga would be pretty easy.

Campaign 2 was "Desperate Measures", my special forces campaign set during the Rebellion right at the beginning of ESB - the rebels have been chased off of Hoth and are sending out some strike teams to try and knock the Empire off balance or at least distract them while rebel leaders try to re-establish control and a base somewhere. The PC's are one of these teams.

Now this was designed from the start to be a "limited campaign" - I had a concept, I wrote up one good adventure, and ran the players through it. When we were done, we were done. We could always come back and do a new adventure with some of the same characters (and we did) but I wasn't promising an open-ended freeform campaign - I wanted a definite start and a definite end - basically a movie's worth of action. This was the first time I really thought about this kind of game and it set a pattern for everything that followed, whether Star Wars, D&D, or Shadowrun. I always set a campaign goal now - it may be as simple as" get to level 20", but it's a goal. Also we were playing this on our weeknight game and the weeknight game was always our more experimental session where the games changed frequently. It was also the only night I got to play so I didn't want to sign on for a year-long adventure path or something on top of my regular saturday night D&D campaign - this was my compromise.

Anyway it was awesome - it went on for 2 or 3 months, probably 8-10 sessions (I didn't log it the way I do the Saturday campaign) of roughly weekly play and the players still talk about that run. They started at 6th level because they aren't supposed to be newbies, they're supposed to be experienced so they could do some cool stuff right from the start. I won't get into the details of the campaign (another post) but I worked in a nice little arc for the Jedi player, some chances to shine for the soldier, some fun for the pilot (stealing an AT-AT was big for him) and a big-bang climax with the unfrozen clone wars era jedi dueling his old padawan who has a nice new red lightsaber atop a giant mining vehicle while the soldier tosses thermal detonators into massed stormtroopers and the pilot tries to get their ship close enough to evac them before the star destroyer in orbit blows him out of the sky - it was great and I had as much fun as the players as everything came together - it's one of the high points of my DMing career.

About a year after Campaign 2 ended, my guys wanted to do another run with those characters. I had been thinking about this and decided to run Tatooine Manhunt, the very first Star Wars RPG adventure which I had owned forever. I added some material to it to make it a "movie" but I thought the basic plot worked really well in the context of a special missions force. They jumped right on board with their now 8th level PC's, including some new faces, and landed right in good old docking bay 94. There was a lot of fun roleplay around Mos Eisley, at least one barfight, and several encounters with Bounty Hunters looking for the lost republic general. I'd say the high point was the encounter with the Krayt Dragon out in the desert with only a pair of landspeeders and hand weapons to use against it. The soldier was happy that he finally got to cut loose with his big repeating blaster but it is a _very_ big beastie. It swallowed the jedi whole, and that almost had the other PC's turning around to run "We can't beat it - let's just leave!" until he finally managed to get his lightsaber turned on (while being crushed in the thing's gizzard) and cut his way out from the inside.

Alas this one was never finished due to schedule issues again - by the time we could get the group back on track I wasn't keen on trying to pick up where we had left off. Too much time had passed and some of the players were different so it wouldn't have made much sense anyway.

I can say that converting the d6 to d20 was very simple - I just used standard NPC's for soldiers, stormtroopers, pirates and bounty hunters out of the main rulebook. I had creature stats too and just used them where necessary. Spaceships, speeders, weapons- it's very simple. I basiclaly had one page of notes adding some encounters and NPC interactions and one more page covering some equipment changes and that was it. I put standard vehicle and NPC stats on different colored index cards and keep them in an index card box so I can pull them during play - it's a snap to run, even totally on the fly and everyone knows star wars so well it just works out.

Heck even the Star Frontiers conversion was easy - jet copters become air speeders, Explorer ATV's become landspeeders, guns are guns, sonic swords become vibroblades, etc. Again it ws a few pages of notes, namess, target numbers for skills, and connections and a page on what = what and then I just translated on the fly.

So there are my main experiences with the galaxy far far away. I'm sure they won't be the last. If I do start running d6 for the apprentices then I will probably start with Tatooine Manhunt - it's a classic and this time I won't have to translate anything.

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