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"I kill Luke"


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#1 kinnison

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 12:55 AM

As a GM, how much leeway do you give players to go off the rails?

 

I have seen some parts mentioned here on the forums.  One example is the players taking over the shuttle in Escape from Mos Shuuta.

 

A classic 'off the rails' trope would be killing Anakin before he goes pod racing, or killing off Luke before he see's the Droids.


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#2 HappyDaze

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 01:00 AM

If what's going to happen is going to be fun and interesting for everyone at the table, then it's a go. If anyone - especially the GM - isn't liking it then it's a no go.


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#3 copperbell

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 06:00 AM

I dislike altering any in the original movies since it should be easy to run games without having the big three involved... well thats my idea anyway!

 

This is why I ended up trying to find alternative foes for the players to face since the other gm who ran star wars kept throwing in Darth Vader which gets old when he also had Luke turn to the darkside when the other Jedi player was more inclined to that than Luke has ever shown in any of the various books I've read (admittedly I haven't read all of the comics but this particular player has his character make a point of making sure his foes are dead even when it isn't necessary so i stand by that!)

 

Never considered a Han Solo link but as I type this I'm considering Lando Calrissian, it probably helps I'm currently reading the Scoundrels novel however killing off Luke isn't on the cards after all what better explanation for why darth Vader is too busy to hunt my prospective players? ;) 


Edited by copperbell, 12 February 2014 - 01:11 PM.


#4 Ghostofman

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 06:30 AM

If the players want to do it, I try and let them. For stuff will change the continuity, I'm game, but bring that desire up before the campaign starts, not after...
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#5 Sturn

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 06:38 AM

As Ghost said, ensure first this is something your campaign and players really wish to allow. Have an in depth conversation.

 

Depending on how far you go off it could be really fun at first, but kill a campaign. At some point all of the continuity changes will make a game that is no longer Star Wars and hell on you as a GM keeping track of the changes.



#6 CaptainRaspberry

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 07:56 AM

I wouldn't make it easy for them, and they've shown no inclination, but if they wanted it badly enough (it wasn't a spur-of-the-moment thing) and convinced me of it, then I'd do it. It would be an interesting game to run.


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#7 polyheadronman

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 08:37 AM

Before Anakin won the podrace, he was just a slave kid with hopes and dreams.  Before Luke met the droids, he was just a whiny farm boy who wanted to join the Empire.

 

As a GM, these are random not-even-NPCs.  I would have a hard time letting my party go to Tattooine and randomly off a slave kid or a farm boy for no reason.  I think that is a bit murder hobo-ish.

 

Now, if you come to these characters later in their arcs, that is different.  Once the Battle of Yavin is won, or Ani is following Obi-Wan around, these characters are actually doing something with their lives.  That's a different story.

 

Personally, I use the setting, but not the principal characters.  I want the group to write their own story.  Cameos are interesting, and I look forward to the Jewel of Yavin to see how FFG approaches that.


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#8 progressions

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 10:21 AM

How would it occur to the players of an Edge of the Empire campaign to go to Tatooine and murder a young slave or a moisture farmer's son?

 

I'm not planning on having characters in our game meeting Luke, Leia, Han, Vader, or most of the important named characters. If Lando appears in "The Jewel of Yavin", that may be a possibility in the future.

 

Even so, I'd make it very difficult and I wouldn't really let them 'kill' any character that was important to the movies. The character would get away at the last minute, or would heal up later, or fall out of sight, etc.

 

If our characters just suddenly decided they wanted to murder Lando Calrissian, I think we might have an out-of-character talk at the table then and there, as it's not consistent with who they are as players OR as characters.



#9 whafrog

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 10:27 AM

As a GM, how much leeway do you give players to go off the rails?

 

A lot.  Most of the time I'm only a step or two ahead of them.

 

I have seen some parts mentioned here on the forums.  One example is the players taking over the shuttle in Escape from Mos Shuuta.

 

I wouldn't call that "off the rails" at all.  Mind you, there's a star destroyer in orbit which will probably be on alert sooner if the shuttle is hijacked rather than the Krayt Fang, but if that's what they want to do, let them.  That said, if the purpose of running the beginner game is to have a learning session, I'd have no trouble just explaining that you're not prepared for that, but in future they'll have more options.

 

 

A classic 'off the rails' trope would be killing Anakin before he goes pod racing, or killing off Luke before he see's the Droids.

 

If the GM decides to throw in canon references and NPCs, they have kind of opened the door to it.  Still, it depends on what you want to achieve.  You're the GM, if they are lining up a shot on Anakin's pod, and you don't want them to succeed, well maybe those Sand People think the players are taking their spot...or maybe Qui Gon shows up, with 6 force dice, defecting everything automatically, and Adversary 4.  There are myriad ways for you to avoid whatever you want.

 

If the GM doesn't throw in canon references and NPCs, like progressions said, I don't know how the PC would know enough to decide to do those things.  The player is no longer roleplaying, and I'd have to wonder why they're at the table.  But if the table agrees, and they want to flip enough Destiny Points so they know enough (who and where the Lars family is, and that Luke insulted one of them the last time they stayed there), then fine.

 

And after it's over, I'd probably have Obi Wan show up, with 6 force dice, defecting everything automatically, and Adversary 4.  TPK and begin again.  But that's just me, since I'm not into murder hobo canon changing games.


Edited by whafrog, 12 February 2014 - 10:28 AM.

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#10 Concise Locket

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 11:13 AM

As a Game Master, one of your primary concerns should be player agency. Never let an adventure or campaign plot stand in the way of your players creating their own story and solving in-game problems in a way they find satisfying.

 

However, there are a few tricks you can use to give PCs the illusion that they have more freedom than the game allows them:

 

  1. If you don't want a player to shoot your campaign nemesis or a film character in the face, don't ever put them in the same room together. If your plot requires the machinations of Darth Vader, have those plans worked through a third party.
  2. It's fair game to point out when your players are metagaming or acting on knowledge their players wouldn't have. It is a form of cheating. Or at the very least it breaks the social contract that you agree to when you play a TTRPG. Sometimes it's intentional, sometimes it's not but always be kind and cordial when pointing this out.
  3. Use a funnel, rather than a railroad. If you know the end-game, you can always subtly push players from Point A to Point B to Point C by having those points be the plum assignments or payouts. But you should always have a stockpile of quick adventures or encounters at your disposal to keep players occupied when they're distracted or disengaged from the main plot. They'll usually get back to where you want them to be. Note: this is where leftover plot ideas or encounters from failed campaigns really come in handy.
  4. Don't be afraid to change the plot or the final Big Bad. If through the course of the adventure the players seem completely uninterested in wily Dark Side Force users, change your Big Bad from Vader to a pirate captain or something else.

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#11 Joker Two

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 12:22 PM

Depends on the type of campaign I'm running, and what the players want.  Before character creation we'll talk about how we want to approach different aspects of the setting.  All of my current ones are canon-adherent; I let the players witness or even participate in important events or canon plotlines, but manipulate things so that they cannot affect the parts of the outcome that are canon.

 

I.e. they had a chance to grab some Clone Wars-era Separatist Death Star schematics in 1 BBY, but they are different enough from the final result that the Rebels would still have had to scramble for the current plans, so the story of A New Hope is not visibly affected.



#12 LibrariaNPC

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 12:51 PM

All I have to say is: Star Wars Infinities

 

Every group I've run with knows that I'm pretty comfortable with canon, but I'm just as comfortable ignoring it and giving them something entirely different within the same vein.

 

Do they want to be archaeologists/treasure hunters that unearth an ancient battleship that could turn the tide of the Galactic Civil War? Sure, game on!

 

Does the hotshot pilot want to be with Rogue Squadron during the Battle of Endor and possibly place that killing blow to the reactor? Why not?!

 

What if the Order 66 Survivor wants to serve as the Emperor's Hand, defeats Vader to take his place, enslaves Mara Jade to do his bidding, turns Ysanne Isard into his puppet within Imperial Intelligence, marries a Mecetti as a marriage of convenience and eventually overthrows the Emperor with the help of a new group of Mandalorians? Rather far out there, but if the group thinks it will be fun and can MAKE it fun, I as a GM would run the game that way.

 

 

Essentially, I am pretty much "on the rails" with things until the party shows that they really, REALLY want to do something different. If it's fun and everyone is on board for the repercussions and the understanding that we are now going into unknown territory (such as Luke being captured or killed on Tattoine by them ratting out on Han), then we'll make it an interesting game!

 

Besides, remember that as GM, you are working for the enjoyment of the whole table, yourself included. You cannot have a game without the players, but the players can make the game enjoyable for the GM as well. It's an interesting symbiosis that you just have the balance out, even if it means going "off the rails" from time to time.


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#13 Rookhelm

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 01:40 PM

Luckily, you can always say that the group has no idea who Luke is (if they are playing Escape from Mos Shutta, for example and want to seek him out), nor have they any reason to do so.  If they want to go on a killing spree killing every teenage boy they come across, then well....it's not going to make for a very long or interesting game.

 

 

IMO, it's meta gaming and you could easily just say "no".


Edited by Rookhelm, 12 February 2014 - 01:42 PM.


#14 BrandonCarpenter

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 04:32 PM

I'm assuming this is a What If question and not an active cry for help, but let me jot down points of interest and see where this goes.

  • Your SW universe exists outside canon.
    • There is no Luke Skywalker, or if there is, he's a Luke Skywalker and not the Luke Skywalker.
    • I once ran a Rifts game where Karl Prosek didn't exist. Don't remember why anymore, but there you have it.
  • Your SW universe is in the canon universe and canon is immutable.
    • Your party tries to kill Luke, but something, somehow always gets in the way or delays the party. Or instead, your party corners Luke, opens fire on their target, and then inspects the body only to find out they murdered some fool named Anniken Starkiller and they had the wrong guy the whole time! 
    • Right now I'm running a group tangent to The Force Unleashed's storyline. They don't know that yet because I'm the only one that played the game. Next session they're going to meet up with Kazdan Paratus, or try to at any rate.
  • Your SW universe is in the canon universe, but "historical inertia" makes the events immutable.
    • So your party kills Luke Skywalker before he ever makes it to Mos Eisley. R2 still manages to find Obi-Wan anyway with the help of some other force-sensitive named Skunky Tinweasel and that guy fills Luke's shoes, or Leia somehow manages to tap into her force abilities and she fills Luke's shoes. However it happens, the trilogy still plays out the way it will, but some of the names and key players will be changed.
    • If my party somehow kills Galen/Starkiller, eh, no biggie.
  • Your SW universe is the canon universe and all bets are off.
    • Say your players kill Anakin during the pod race and now they're happy with themselves because now Darth Vader won't exist. Surprise them when someone more evil and more powerful takes his place. Or say the party is right there in the trench with Luke as he's about to blow up the Death Star. Imagine the look of shock on their faces when a Despair symbol causes everything to go wrong and Luke's X-Wing spirals out of control and crashes into the side of the trench wall. Now imagine they look at you wondering when Han is going to show up and save their bacon and all you say is, "If you're just going to sit there and stare at me, the Death Star fires..." 

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#15 Shakespearian_Soldier

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 06:19 PM

 

  • Your SW universe is the canon universe and all bets are off.
    • Say your players kill Anakin during the pod race and now they're happy with themselves because now Darth Vader won't exist. Surprise them when someone more evil and more powerful takes his place. Or say the party is right there in the trench with Luke as he's about to blow up the Death Star. Imagine the look of shock on their faces when a Despair symbol causes everything to go wrong and Luke's X-Wing spirals out of control and crashes into the side of the trench wall. Now imagine they look at you wondering when Han is going to show up and save their bacon and all you say is, "If you're just going to sit there and stare at me, the Death Star fires..." 

 

This is my approach. :) Every single time.


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#16 robmox

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 07:42 PM

You guys know this game takes place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, right? At this point there would be some guys who know "that's the dude who blew up the Death Star," but they'd all be in the Rebellion. You wouldn't find Luke on Tattoine, he'd be cruising the galexy with Leia looking for new bases, while Han leads Rebel fighters in assaults on the Imperial fleet.



#17 Veruca

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 03:03 AM

Isn't killing off major characters considered to be somewhat metagaming? I mean, the only reason they would probably want to kill off these character, is because your players (not their characters) know that those characters are big shots in the SW universe. If their motivation for killing off Anakin is to prevent him from turning into Darth Vader, well then... I think that's a pretty obvious case of metagaming.

 

That's also why I'm a bit reluctant to let my group get involved with the plotlines from the movies, unless it's very clear to them that they will probably never be able to harm the big names. At least, that's how I feel about this.



#18 BrandonCarpenter

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 03:24 AM

Isn't killing off major characters considered to be somewhat metagaming? I mean, the only reason they would probably want to kill off these character, is because your players (not their characters) know that those characters are big shots in the SW universe. If their motivation for killing off Anakin is to prevent him from turning into Darth Vader, well then... I think that's a pretty obvious case of metagaming.

 

That's also why I'm a bit reluctant to let my group get involved with the plotlines from the movies, unless it's very clear to them that they will probably never be able to harm the big names. At least, that's how I feel about this.

 

If the GM kills off canon characters, it shows the players that they are the protagonists in the campaign, which may make the players feel special thus feel more invested in the story.

 

If the players kill canon characters, well be prepared for that scenario (see previous suggestions above); Richard Garriott learned that the hard way when the players killed his king in Ultima Online.


Edited by BrandonCarpenter, 14 February 2014 - 03:43 AM.

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#19 Shakespearian_Soldier

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 03:29 AM

You guys know this game takes place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, right? At this point there would be some guys who know "that's the dude who blew up the Death Star," but they'd all be in the Rebellion. You wouldn't find Luke on Tattoine, he'd be cruising the galexy with Leia looking for new bases, while Han leads Rebel fighters in assaults on the Imperial fleet.

 

Yes, the default set up is that EotE happens after IV and AoR after V... but there's nothing in the rules that says you can't change that. My own game takes place a year before Alderaan.

 

It's your game. Do with it as you will. If that means adding or taking away a few years of the timeline so that your group PCs can witness - and change - some key events, then do it.


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#20 Shakespearian_Soldier

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 03:33 AM

Isn't killing off major characters considered to be somewhat metagaming? I mean, the only reason they would probably want to kill off these character, is because your players (not their characters) know that those characters are big shots in the SW universe. If their motivation for killing off Anakin is to prevent him from turning into Darth Vader, well then... I think that's a pretty obvious case of metagaming.

 

I agree. If they've a genuine reason - say, Iconic A killed someone close to PC A - then fair enough; but if, when I ask them why they're about to squeeze that trigger, they pull some ridiculous excuse out of their arse ("he used to bully me in school - I still have the wedgie burns!"), then I'll veto it. If they push it, then I'll push back - hard.

 

But with my games, normally I don't need to push back: my other players tend to police their own when it comes to stupid things, so they'd end up calling him on it long before I did.


"Beg for your life. No, doing so won't save you - but it will make your death more amusing to watch."
- Vago the Hutt; Star Wars: Edge of the Empire





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