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About Outmaneuver

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  • Birthday 09/19/1993

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  1. The biggest help I found in trying to structure and run a sandbox campaign was actually another RPG called Stars Without Number (You can find the core rulebook on Drive Thru RPG for free). The whole game is designed around a sandbox playstyle, and I stole a lot of systems, like sector and planet generation, to give me a foundation for a single sector of space that I've set my game in. Stars also has a lovely system called the "faction turn" that makes prep easy and makes the game world a living, breathing, and changing one, where you the GM stat out a few minor and major powers and have them purchase assets to attack and undermine each other, which then spills over into the actual game, and vice-versa. I've stolen it wholesale, and it makes creating flavor and context simple and efficient. What's even easier is the Stars Without Number Sector Generator online tool that instantly generates an entire sector of space complete with random names, political groups, corporations, adventure hooks, new alien species, and detailed planet and location notes! They'll take a bit of fiddling to make more Star Wars-y, but I've found it super helpful to create adventures and entire sessions off the cuff. Beyond that resource, when it comes to running a sandbox game I find that one of the key things in my prep is character. Everyone in the galaxy has needs and wants and motivations, their own set of skills, and specific resources at their disposal, however large or small. Knowing what the NPCs want and how they'll react makes it easier to react to the players' choices and keep the game moving. What BigSpoon said about making your PCs choose a few goals is spot on! After a few sessions you'll find them setting their own adventures and impetus with limited coaxing on your part if the characters feel connected to the universe you've put them in. The most important thing for running a sandbox game is probably a map of some description. In the case of star wars, a simple list of planets and systems the players know about and can visit will suffice (and you can always add and subtract from it). It'll allow the players to make their own decisions without constantly turning to you to provide them with places to go.
  2. I have a friend who is very into board games. He created a giant excel document to keep track of games he'd purchased and games he wanted, etc. I think a spreadsheet would be the way to go.
  3. I remember seeing or hearing somewhere that the reason why Clones fired blue bolts was because their ammunition acted in a way similar to ion cannons, being more effective at taking down droids and mechanical targets while still being relatively lethal to organic targets too, although a little less so than the traditional red lasers. I feel like they mentioned it in the clone wars tv show at some point, but I could be totally wrong. In any case, that's always the explanation I've gone with.
  4. I'm gonna disagree with this a bit. That way when the sudden but inevitable betrayal occurs, it all comes together, the players remember all the little details, and everything is so perfect you look like a rockstar GM. "Oooohh man, so when Steve took the code cylinder in Adventure 3 that was so he could switch it with one he had that had the virus on it!" "Oh man, and that Imperial agent he killed in Adventure 6 really was trying to defect! HE probably knew Steve was a spy!" That is fair enough, your game your rules , but I have seen many a game ruined by the one person who is playing 'against the group'. I have also seen the reaction when it becomes obvious, which tends to be not so much the big reveal (due to the spy character doing something too overt) but more toward the negative as the other players just get frustrated by the (spy) player ruining the game. If your group tend toward being more positive then great. I had a player in a Firefly game who kept pushing the game away from the type of game which has told them I intended it to be, and when the group were preparing to deliver something to a less than savory character he tried (through notes) to buy and plant explosives in the shuttle the other players were going to use. Unsurprisingly the other players were less than impressed when it came to light, even when his stated reason was as a threat to force said bad guy to play fair with the group. I think that the important thing is to be very sure of your groups probable reaction, and if this is the players common play type then think very carefully before allowing it. Also, only allow it so long as you are confident in your ability to ref it properly. I'd say that in order to run a game with a traitor smoothly, and avoid this kind of stuff happening, you should set ground rules for the traitor. Namely, they aren't allowed to directly oppose the players. No assassination attempts and no direct sabotage of the players plans or actions. Instead, his opposed agenda should manifest itself by making missions more difficult for the players. "Wow, there's a whole lot more imps here than our intel would have suggested, and I thought our intel was good!" as opposed to "I sabotage the engines so that the imperial cruiser catches us, and it looks like a mechanical malfunction instead." You shouldn't allow your spy to take direct action against the players mid-session. Sure he can try to lead them astray with words, or try to discourage them from doing something verbally, but that's it. Instead, his influence should come from indirect actions he takes in between sessions. I would run a mini session over email or in person where you give him a few different ways he can try to make the rebel's lives difficult or collect intel to send to his handlers, or sneak out to get specific instructions from his handlers about how to proceed (that's where you can also have some influence on how much impact his actions have). Have him roll skill checks to succeed, failure means he was unsuccessful (but not found out either), success means a successful action, threat will accumulate across missions and you'll give the PCs some clues, whereas advantage goes towards setting up a fall guy, and the difficulty should be set based on how much of a setback it'll give players on their next mission. But most importantly, have a talk with this player and make sure that he understands that his goals should not be to get the party killed, captured, or harmed in any way, and that he's there to increase the narrative tension and provide a really good twist later on. It's not about him winning, but about telling a good story. Maybe his character even has a change of heart during the reveal and decides to help the players escape a trap. On the triumph and despair blog, there's a description of a campaign where all the players were actively working against each other with seperate agendas and defectors and all that. You might find some of his systems useful. I think it's under "Crush the Rebellion" on his website. Link here: https://triumphdespair.wordpress.com/category/crush-the-rebellion/
  5. Honestly, what you suggest might be a great idea. It's how a lot of board games with traitor mechanics work. You know going in that there's a likelihood or outright for-sure that there is a traitor or two in the mix. If you tell the players that you may have planted a spy/traitor in their midst, and it could be a major NPC they work with, or maybe even a player character, the dynamic of the game will have the players a lot more paranoid about their missions and secrets. It'll ratchet up the tension, which could make for some great roleplaying. You could even use that announcement of a possible NPC traitor to set up a fall guy for your real traitor. The reveal will be priceless when they discover that they killed the wrong guy!
  6. What Desslok said about how to handle addiction I think is spot on. It doesn't have to be directly related to his intake of drugs, you can play around with it. Maybe he finds his favorite dealer murdered, or a rival takes over the local drug trade and refuses to sell to him. The PCs are smuggling unknown cargo that turns out to be his favorite spice or something. For the Dutybound guy, you could always hit him where it hurts. If he's dutybound to not attack unless provoked, then have someone else exploit his code and beat up someone he cares about in front of him. His little brother instigates a personal fight with a tough guy, who beats the crap out of the kid nearly to death while the player watches, torn between being big bro and his code of honor.
  7. I think what it comes down to is that you need to have a discussion with your players at the start of a session, before any of this stuff comes up during play and letting them know that those explicit details they keep injecting into the story makes you uncomfortable, and that it's limiting your enjoyment of the game. I've also heard of some groups that have a discussion pre-campaign and set up a piece of paper in the middle of the table as a "safety button," that anyone can press if a situation or description gets uncomfortable to let the gm/other players know to just stop and move on, with no discussion and no judgment. Perhaps a similar system would work for your table? If you voice your concerns and they can't be reasonable adults about it, I'd say it's better to find a new group of players, but hopefully it doesn't have to come to that.
  8. Just wanted to mention that there is actually a talent for spending a destiny point to get an essential piece of equipment. Utility Belt on page 145 lets you do just that. I also think it might be more flavorful to call destiny points lucky and unlucky break points, since luck plays such an important factor in all of the Firefly episodes (at least in my opinion). But I love the idea of running a firefly campaign with the edge rules, and I was tempted to try it out myself! Let us know how it goes once you've had a session or two!
  9. So I understand that tactically, the rebellion operates in cells, employs privateers, prefers hit-and-run ambushes, lopsided engagements, etc. But when I think about the logistics involved with waging a full scale civil war, it doesn't make sense with what I've seen in the movies, i.e. hidden rebel bases with a singular, relatively small fleet and no obvious political weight. My problem is that the movies portray the rebellion as a group of insurgents rather than a real, substantial military/political force, and I realize that I have no idea how the rebellion is actually fighting the civil war at large. I ask because I want to know how likely it is for my players to feel the impact of the conflict. Is it at all likely for them to jump into a system in the middle of an engagement, or be on a planet experiencing heated and prolonged fighting on the ground? Are there rebellion controlled planets or systems they could visit, or does the rebellion not secure territory? What's the rebellion's strategy to win the war other than get lucky and assassinate the emperor, or is that actually it? It'd be really helpful to know to help me flesh some sessions and adventures, since my experience with the cannon is limited to the movies and t.v. shows and one series of post-endor books. Thanks guys.
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