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Cannibal Halfling

Adventure Log: Living on Borrowed Time

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A new home for the crew of the Borrowed Time means a new thread to get the word out about their adventures!

 

With the Mad Adventurers Society disbanding at the end of the year, Adventure Log has moved to a brand new site: Cannibal Halfling Gaming!

 

Adventure Log is an account of an actual play tabletop RPG campaign, and the current main feature is Age of Rebellion: Living on Borrowed Time. A sequel to an Edge of the Empire campaign, our story follows the old scoundrels and the new recruits as they take the fight to the Empire in the years after the Battle of Yavin, with the Rebellion teetering towards the abyss.

 

Each article tells the story of a single gaming session, and once we reach the end of the session's events I try and glean a few practical lessons that can be learned from what went down on either side of the GM's screen.

 

The Prologue tells the story of what the old crew of the Borrowed Time got up to when they were living on the Edge of the Empire, and I talk about lessons I've learned about creating a 'sequel' RPG campaign.

 

Part 1 sees our intrepid band of idealistic ne'er-do-wells and full-blooded Rebels start their first mission together with an unexpected and unwelcome bang, and I talk about ways to make sure your first session makes for a good first impression.

 

Part 2 sees our crew flashing back to a briefing with a certain Rebel General, before picking up where we left off as they try to catch the one Imperial pilot that got away, and I talk about how you can use flashbacks to fill your players in and enhance your story.

 

Part 3 sees our gang of cunning miscreants finally get to catch their breath, take stock of their objectives, and pull a few fast ones as they take the fight to the Stormtrooper Corp in an effort to spark off a rebellion. Afterwards, I talk about when letting a player use a Signature Ability might not be the best idea, and how to gauge the use of these powerful options.

 

Part 4 has our prospective galactic saviors interrogating not just their captive spy but their own allies, as they try to see if there are more spies in their midst. After the fact I talk about letting player ideas turn into red herrings or plot curves, and touch upon showing your players what your bad guys are up to.

 

Part 5 features rebels lying their faces off, rampant vehicle theft, and plenty of explosions. However, their actions on Toprawa and those from the smuggling days have caught up with them, and a dangerous new foe is on the hunt. Afterwards I talk about how to hit your players where it hurts without killing them, and look at one way a GM can handle a large number of players.

 

Part 6 has 'cunning' plans, clever disguises, deliberate over-acting, and a poor Politico who suddenly can't seem to lie his way out of a paper bag. Leaving our heroes about to reach the climax of their first mission together, I talk about how far ahead you should - and shouldn't - plan your campaign.

 

Part 7 sees our band of freedom fighters reach the explosive conclusion of their mission to Toprawa, while an agent of the Empire hunts one of them down. As the smoke clears, I'll address how to approach a player habit that is getting their character in trouble and putting a dent in group cohesion.

 

Part 8 finds half of our crew trapped on a ship where the biggest danger is the nearby stellar phenomena. The murderbots on board aren't much better. Did I mention someone turned off the air? When we leave our heroes still stuck in that mess I'll address some ways to use published adventure material in your game, even when you're GMing your own story.

 

Part 9 gets the crew back together and then sends them racing to opposite ends of the Raptor in a desperate race against time and the Empire. After a somewhat statistically unlikely but quite exciting ending, I go over some ways to create tension and a good sense of challenge for your players, without resorting to just making enemy combatants more deadly.

 

Part 10 sees the old hands of the crew introduce the new ones to the seedy underbelly of The Wheel as they try and gather information on the elusive red blades. After dealing with the results of their search, I discuss putting player characters in situations outside of their primary specialty, and when you might want to keep the dice gods from interfering in what's going on.

 

Part 11 throws our Rebel friends right into the mess as they fight to end a threat that managed to get away last time. After the last blaster shot, I discuss a number of ways to keep a Recurring Villain alive long enough to get the big payoff of their defeat, even in the face of players determined to end all foes in their first encounter.

 

Part 12 finds the Borrowed Time team safely stashed away from the action, which each crewmember doing their own things to rest, recover, and keep busy. Then we take a look at how downtime can be helpful for the rest of your campaign, and ways to make sure the downtime is enjoyable.

 

Part 13 simplifies things with the Empire bringing its might right down on the heads of our rebel band, with the rebels having to prove their worth while outnumbered and with no easy way out. Some new Mando-crafted toys come out to play, and a dark figure pulls strings on the other side. Win or lose, I'll then discuss how to make a smooth transition both in and out of the game after players have to take their leave from the table.

 

Part 14 will be posted this Friday, 12/23/16, as the Borrowed Time crew and a growing contingent of allies and friends continue their fight against the Galactic Empire. Give the archives a look and watch this space for more adventures and the lesson I learn from them. As always comments, questions, and all the other various forms of feedback are welcome on the site or right here. Have fun reading, have fun playing, and MTFBY!

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Glad to hear you've enjoyed the Log so far, and thanks for the kind words about the MAS! I had a great two years there, and I'm going to miss it.

 

There's a lot of good news, though. Secret projects like the Transit RPG will continue, and most of the Mad Adventurers are going to split off and keep doing their own thing. I've set up CHG, and the 'GM Word of the Week' and 'Delve' podcasts are going to continue on their own new sites. The Mad Cleric is still at it, Rob Almond looks to still be Gaming in the Wild, and Jacob Waterman's working with Nerdolopedia now. And those who split off ahead of the rest of us are working away, like Jay Draper with his Dresden Files RPG podcast "City of Steel", and the quite-relevant-to-this-forum 'Tales from the Hydian Way' podcast with Ben, David, and Joshua.

 

Thankfully, just because the Society is closing doesn't mean the lot of us have stopped being Adventurers, nor are we suddenly not Mad. I kind of have to be to keep up with the Borrowed Time, after all. ;)

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The Borrowed Time crew and their allies might have made a (mostly) clean getaway, but now have to face the fact that they're on their own, cut off from the Alliance until they can re-establish contact. The good news is that they've got a few ideas on the books that will let them continue the fight against the Empire in the meanwhile. For now, at least, they are their own commanders, and they decide to return to an old haunt to make a recruitment pitch.

 

They say you can't go home again, but maybe you can pull off a visit with fake transponder codes and a few good lies.

 

Adventure Log: Living on Borrowed Time Part 14 visits some old hangouts and some old friends, while our rebel band tries to make some new friends before the Imperials can get to them first. Once the party has seen what their choice of objective brings them, I talk about how giving your players a multiple-choice adventure can help with player input, session planning, and even the plot!

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As the Borrowed Time's list of compatriots and allies continues to grow, the team decide to cause a little trouble for the Imperial war machine. It'll let the Empire know that not just Inquisitors need to be worried about the rebel band, and they might just be able to get back in touch with the Alliance and come out of the cold. Not only that, but they might get to take care of some of their logistical and personnel issues, too.

So they decide to walk into the local police station to cause trouble. Because of course they do.

Adventure Log: Living on Borrowed Time Part 15 takes us to the planet of Sullust and gets our rebel friends embroiled in a home-grown fight that's almost more corporate war than civil war. After we see how well their lies hold up and find out just what a space banana can do, I explain how giving your players some creative power in the game world and the people in it can get them even more invested in the story you're trying to tell.

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The Battle of Hoth has left the Alliance scattered across the galaxy and High Command silent. The crew of the Borrowed Time and their allies will keep the Rebellion going by themselves if they have to, so it's off to Thyferra to rescue a stranded Rebel SpecOps team and get their hands on any resources they can grab.

The Inquisition hasn't forgotten about our heroes, however, and the Beast is on the trail  . . .

Adventure Log: Living on Borrowed Time Part 16 is a session of cantina espionage, grand theft bacta, and one really big explosion. While the gang tries to make their escape while burning debris is still raining from the sky, I address some ways to handle a player who's still in the game even when their character is down for the count.

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The crew of the Borrowed Time is scattered across Zalxuc City, their pilot is in a bacta tank with one less leg than he woke up with today, and the Mandalorian is driving the speeder truck full of bacta, bugs, a crying Bothan, a confused security droid, and an angry Trandoshan.

It's a good thing they stole the truck instead of renting it, because they certainly wouldn't be getting their deposit back . . .

Adventure Log: Living on Borrowed Time Part 17 sees our ostensibly successful rebels trying to seal the deal as they race for the spaceport with their stolen cargo to escape from the planet Thyferra. After Caleb gets his speeder truck license revoked for reckless endangerment of himself, I talk a bit about . . . well, writing an Adventure Log of your own, and what it can do for both GMs and players who decide to write one!

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Things have been going well for the crew of the Borrowed Time, the odd loss of a limb aside. Perhaps too well. As they try to strengthen the ranks of their ragtag fleet they plan an ambush for Imperial forces and a duplication of their biggest job from the crime days, but time may finally have run out as there happen to be traps within traps.

Honestly, I have no idea how they're going to get out of this one.

Adventure Log: Living on Borrowed Time Part 18 has false information, boarding parties, and an all-out fleet engagement. Just as things take a turn for the worse I talk a little bit about what can happen when players don’t realize they’ve taken a turn for the worse, and what to do to make sure they’re not completely blindsided.

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The crew of the Borrowed Time is scattered across three different ships. An Interdictor cruiser is keeping them from jumping away to safety. An Imperial Star Destroyer is bearing down on them, carrying a dangerous enemy and sending reinforcements ahead. There's no doubt in the minds of the rebels: if they don't get out of here soon, it's all going to be over.

Sometimes you need to put all your eggs in one basket. Or one Interdictor cruiser, as it so happens.

Adventure Log: Living on Borrowed Time Part 19 has more Inquisitors and Inquisitorial Stormtroopers than the Borrowed Time really cares to deal with at once, exploding corvettes, and some tricky Force powers. After we see who lives to fight another day, I ponder some thoughts about the use of miniatures and props compared to theatre of the mind, in Star Wars and elsewhere.

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