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About PhilMetalJacket

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  1. I cut out the bit with the Gamorreans and expanded the scope of the mission to the mine. I placed a missing agent of the players' Hutt employer on the planet, who they found nearly dead. The players were tipped off to the deception when the droids tried to recruit my droid player who had split from the party. "Wait, brother. Haven't you ever wished to throw off the yoke of your organic oppressors?" To which he replied "Guys, kill the droids." I underestimated my players, who let the surviving rebellious droids go (there was still a big fight with the binary load lifters) and gave them some of the money from the safe, as well as the gunrunner's ship, and the droids took the surviving miners in some dark reversal of the master-slave relationship. The party kept the rest of the money but told the Hutt that pirates had in fact hit the mine, and they had the Hutt's agent to confirm that her ship had been caught in a trap while landing. Oh, and the first thing they did was try to reprogram the cooking droid to carry crates of supplies back to their ship while they checked out the rest of the mine. My players are dangerously self-serving. We're most of the way through Jewel of Yavin now, but my players always ask about getting back in touch with those droid rebels.
  2. I've made a little mini-game to play at the end of a session zero where the players are passengers on a ship in hyperspace and have to deal with some minor mystery or conflict that I can adapt to whatever classes the new players go with. If they want combat, there can be a fight in the mess deck. If they're into mysteries, there can be a minor system failure like the lights or gravity going down. And so on. I've figured this to be adaptable to any of the 3 flavours of the game for the first real session, which may take place at their eventual destination.
  3. You can look at corrupt officials or officers as the thing that subverts the players' point of view, which is a great dramatic turn to take and can force some fun and difficult decisions. If they're elite soldiers who care about getting the job done perfectly, then having someone who they are ostensibly subordinate to come in and take away their win is a great way to motivate action. They return to base having taken down an arms dealer only to have the system governor take all the weapons they seized and start his own arms dealing. Or being presented with an obvious target only to have an admiral suspiciously order them not to engage. Then it's up to the players to decide if their duty is to the Empire and the mission as they see it or to their orders because order and discipline are how they view their world.
  4. The undead zombie horde thing, I feel, is a weird fit for Star Wars. And the rage zombie a la 28 Days Later is not exactly interesting beyond being a mindless and relentless enemy to fight or escape. Either comes down to just survival or finding a cure, most of the time. Basically, in the pop culture environment of today, no one is ever surprised by zombies. If someone really wanted to go the spooky body-horror route, I think the idea of parasites that take over and later emerge from people monstrously, as in Dead Space or The Thing, is legitimately horrifying. And/or a parasite that makes a community of normal people act increasingly weird is both spooky and also somewhat Lovecraftian. It even has some precedence in space sci-fi, such as the Feros colony under the control of the Thorian in the first Mass Effect. So, a colony or station in the vein of Innsmouth or Kingsport which is home to a cult or a population possessed by mind controlling parasites, possibly by the will of a terrifying subterranean or sub-oceanic or deep space-originating, entity. For my own group, I'm writing a scenario about a 2000 year old shipwreck inside a long period comet. It'll probably end up being more tragic mystery than spooky horror, but shipwrecks are a good setting, as well.
  5. I started out my first group with a modified version of Debts to Pay from the GM Kit. "Modified" meaning I skipped the part about disgruntled Gamorreans and started with my own intro. It's a little on rails as adventures go, more about investigating than making big choices, but I tend to think that's good for a getting a group together. And it worked out really well. What should have been really straightforward went totally sideways and left me with a half dozen plot hooks for the future. They let the renegade droids go and gave them some money from the mine's funds on top of that. This group is really looking forward to meeting the droid rebels again.
  6. It's not Star Wars, but the first novel in the Expanse series, Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey, might serve you well. One of the main characters is a detective, working on an asteroid, investigating a missing-persons case amidst race tensions and interplanetary war. It's also a very fun read.
  7. In my current campaign, I've got a Rodian lawyer who is basically Saul Goodman. He represents and advises a number of minor criminals and fringe characters. Beside actual legal representation, he often works as a go-between for various parties with roles ranging from messenger to recruiter. Being a lawyer in the underworld, he is used to threats. He is always watched by at least 4 bodyguards and usually wears a portable shield unit. Getting on his good side means earning the advantages offered by a being well connected in the underworld, but will require paying his fees and doing some favours. The opposite is true of getting on his bad side. He is well off and well connected, so he can afford the best bounty hunters and is motivated to maintain a reputation for being impossible to cross or cheat.
  8. I sometimes like to include superficial quirks to items which can be amusing, but very occasionally useful. People tend to get pretty attached to their weird items. And sometimes you can work it into the game that, say, a ship flies past and the party recognizes the distinctive rattling sound of its engines. How about this: I Don't Even Hear It Anymore: Item emits a strange and distinctive noise when used, but with no apparent ill effects. "Your blaster makes a sort of quacking sound when fired. It's weird, and it draws some curious looks, but it seems to work just fine." It's a [species name] Thing: Item is designed to appeal to the aesthetic or cultural sensitivities of a specific species, at the cost of offending or disturbing most other species. "Taking a closer look, you notice the blaster's buttstock appears to be carved in the shape of a female wookiee doing... something. It's both distracting and highly disturbing." Permanent Marker: Item was tastelessly or incriminatingly decorated by the previous owner, and it is impossible to remove without destroying the item. "You wish you could remove the 'Hello Wompy' sticker the last owner applied to the fighter's canopy, but it's permanently fused to the transparisteel."
  9. So far, it's all in good fun and humor. Because the new guy wasn't around for the character build session with everyone else, they had no idea what kind of person they were conning into being the Captain. I didn't even know what kind of guy he'd be when I started this either. Turns out, he's a very dangerous character (a cyborg killer who collects trophies and keeps them on his person) and I don't think he'd be too easy to abuse. Besides which, I've now established this slimy lawyer character as the one who has basically set them all up.
  10. So, tonight, I started a new game of Edge of the Empire with all first-time players. I'd managed to secure 3 RPG-experienced players a while ago with a total novice to RPGs as a 4th. The plan, the three experienced guys formed the core of the crew. They arrive at a space station run by a minor Hutt crime lord, so that they can recruit a new crewmember. They take a table at a dive bar to wait for their contact, a Rodian lawyer who found this new guy. Here's the part I've been waiting to use: The lawyer slides a datapad in front of the new guy, a surprisingly bloodthirsty Gank assassin as it happens, and explains that it's his contract. To teach him rolling tests, I got this guy to test Education to see if he could find any clauses or things that would be bad for him. He failed, so as far as he knew, there was nothing hidden in the dense legalese of the document. He signed. I then, as the lawyer, congratulated him for taking on the post of Captain for this crew's ship, The Perfect Patsy. I went on to explain that, as Captain, he would be legally responsible and accountable for all the activities of the ship and its crew. The experienced guys were in on it, but the new guy was as surprised as I hoped. I dropped enough clues about the contract that he knew something was up, but not that he'd be captain. And a scapegoat. He said, "I'm going to insist that you guys call me 'Captain.'" I was ready for this, though. "Actually, it says in the contract that they don't. Very specifically." After that, I basically repurposed a few encounters from the Beginner Game for combat. The new guy proved to be a vengeful, trophy-taking murder machine with a chip on his shoulder about being tricked. The rest was basically a breeze. A hilarious game of clumsy thugs and very gullible Gamorreans. Also, the party has now captured a master bounty hunter and his useless apprentice and is preparing to question them. The Gank assassin is really looking forward to this. And these guys are all hooked, now.
  11. One of my players really wanted to do an R2 droid, but with some modifications. Basically, I determined that some of the modifications that make him a viable character required pulling some stock equipment. For example, his former owner installed a simulacrum of his own personality, including a module that lets him speak normally. Also, he's an exceptional pilot. I didn't require credits for this, but I did say he lacks the standard level of slicing ability because of how much processing power the simulated personality and enhanced piloting function requires. He wanted to carry a blaster, so I said it's installed where the standard holo-projector would have been.
  12. The depiction of stormtroopers in the movies was always a failing in the same way adversary soldiers are in a lot of adventure movies. Just a crowd of guys in uniforms running with guns, shooting from the hip, not moving in any organized way. Still, the fiction characterizes Stormtroopers as basically being marines, so I always write them as being skilled professional soldiers, and I assume that they are, in fact, organized the way you would expect soldiers or marines are. Squad and fireteam members should have roles to play, even among stormtroopers. Marksmen, support gunners, medics, etc. I think it could be really interesting to takes some cues from Black Hawk Down, in scenarios and in characterization. Your team, since you say they're not the elite team of super-badass commandos, could be deployed as a element in a much larger operation. Maybe something in the operation goes wrong and the team's mission of securing the perimeter becomes some thing else, like chasing down an escaping target or rescuing the crew of a downed transport. Also, your team of tough professional soldiers could interact with, or at least see in action, a group of near-superhuman elite commandos. Say, your team is taking on some kind of armored vehicle. It's tough but they manage to bring it down with a little luck and a lot of firepower. Suddenly, a second one shows up. It looks bad, but one of the elite guys jumps in, plants a charge on the the enemy tank and boom. Just another day for one of those guys. I guess the other thing to think about in an Imperial military setting, is taking advantage of the overwhelming fire support offered by the Imperial Navy. Test communication skills or cool by accurately calling in fire missions or air strikes, or use beacons or target designators.
  13. I recall from one novel (Wraith Squadron, maybe) that ships automatically drop out of hyperspace when a gravity well or "mass shadow" is detected in their path. Plotting from system to system basically amounted to pointing at a star and letting the gravity well of the star, or an orbiting body, to get the ship to drop out of hyperspace. This, of course, flies in the face of the hazards of astrogation as described in the movies, but the idea that a ship's sensors can detect astronomically terrible hazards does sort of make sense. However! Designating hazardous systems, where a ship should really never go, as being perfectly safe for travel and stopovers could be interesting. Say, convincing ships that it's safe to stop and course correct in a system that's actually home to a black hole. Alternatively, how about a fault that gets ships lost in deep space, perhaps by erasing or moving plotted destinations from the charts. I guess the big challenge comes from making the changes 1) significant enough to do some damage and 2) difficult to detect and correct.
  14. I think you're wrong on this one... If the same cliff was inside a training facility, perfectly dry with no winds or waves, what would be the difficulty ? 2 purples, then 2 purples is the difficulty. Now it's slippery because of the waves, add a setback. There is also a big storm, so add another 2 setbacks. Being shot at, add another setback. Difficulty is now PPBBBB. The difficulty is always how hard is the task in a perfectly controlled environment without any outside interference. Anything else that might change the difficulty of the task is a setback.... ice, snow, wind, rain, fear, time constraint, being shot at, etc. I guess my perspective with this example is that I would compare an outdoor cliff face that is a bit treacherous to an indoor climbing surface that has man-made hazards, and call them equal difficulty. Say, compare running an indoor obstacle course with running through a tricky jungle with a similar array of challenges. So, it's particularly if, or maybe even only if, this was a prepared event. This is where I think GM discretion comes in. If the party says, "let's climb that wall," then the I as GM say, "It's this kind of wall, but these are the environmental conditions." That's definitely optimal conditions plus modifiers. But if you write your scenario with a part that says, "The party must scale a cliff face, difficult because of the environment, to continue," then it's all difficulty. In either case I would consider gear and foreknowledge (of terrain or hazards, for example) to be boosts. Unexpectedly bad environmental conditions, because I feel the group needs more challenge than they've been getting, is setback then. I guess any formula for challenge can be subverted if you plan it that way. Which, I'll admit, is less helpful to someone looking for rule clarification. So, maybe I'm a little wrong anyway.
  15. It's easy to get caught looking at environmental conditions like weather as a setback, but I think they add to difficulty if they're built in to the task. Climbing a wet cliff on a stormy seashore means it's a high difficulty climb. Being slippery isn't a setback, it's part of the challenge. Being shot at while climbing, that's a setback. Mechanically, one simple way to look at it is whether the things adding to the challenge are part of the specific skill check or not. I'll admit, this doesn't work in every situation, but for basic tests I think it's quick enough. You're testing brawn for carrying a crate, difficulty roll determined by weight. There are a number of hazards on the ground that make it tricky footing, which is more of an agility issue. That's a setback.
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