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Concise Locket

Prepping the Next Campaign: A Quasi-Hexcrawl Approach

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Can I ask a question about your keyed NPCs?  Just want to make sure I understand how you're doing this.  Basically, you've given NPCs tags, and when you and/or the PCs need a character that meets (one of?) those tags you...pick one that you like?  Roll on a table of suitable candidates?

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22 hours ago, edwardavern said:

Can I ask a question about your keyed NPCs?  Just want to make sure I understand how you're doing this.  Basically, you've given NPCs tags, and when you and/or the PCs need a character that meets (one of?) those tags you...pick one that you like?  Roll on a table of suitable candidates?

I pick one that I like. Creating a table to roll on is completely unnecessary unless you just like creating tables.

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1 hour ago, Concise Locket said:

I pick one that I like. Creating a table to roll on is completely unnecessary unless you just like creating tables.

I actually do quite like creating tables :D ...but I agree, it's not necessary here.

Second question - how do you adjudicate "finding a contact"?  Streetwise check?  What about for non-underworld contacts?  How are you determining difficulty and/or time required to do this?  Or do you just bypass the check?

(Sorry to keep pestering you with questions; I just really like this idea and I'm trying to see how I can adapt parts of it to my own game.  Hope you don't mind.)

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20 hours ago, edwardavern said:

I actually do quite like creating tables :D ...but I agree, it's not necessary here.

Second question - how do you adjudicate "finding a contact"?  Streetwise check?  What about for non-underworld contacts?  How are you determining difficulty and/or time required to do this?  Or do you just bypass the check?

(Sorry to keep pestering you with questions; I just really like this idea and I'm trying to see how I can adapt parts of it to my own game.  Hope you don't mind.)

You're not pestering. I set up this thread to be a discussion. :)

Finding a contact is dependent upon what the PCs are trying to accomplish and how they're most comfortable playing their characters. I try to be a "say 'Yes' or have the players roll dice" type of GM. If the player describes to me what they're trying to do, I may simply role play it out with them. If he seems hesitant, I may have him roll dice and then we can describe what the results mean.

Streetwise is a good catch-all skill to represent finding someone in a local area. However, because it's an active skill, disadvantages run the risk/fun of attracting unwanted attention. I'm a big fan of Knowledge skills in any game system and, because the two types of people that rebels are going to be interacting with are other rebels or underworld types, a Knowledge: Underworld or Knowledge: Warfare test made while in a specific location would be good skills to use in finding a contact.

I don't want to make it hard for a PC to find a contact so, if they know exactly what they want in a contact, I would have Knowledge skills roll with an 1- or 2-challenge dice threshold, probably with 1 or 2 setback dice depending on the situation. I use setback dice as much as possible because so many Talents are designed around removing them. If they're using Streetwise and/or seem like they need some guidance, I'd set the threshold at 2- or 3-challenge dice threshold, depending on the situation, and also add setback as needed. If I really want them to feel the Empire closing in on them, I'd flip a Destiny point and upgrade one of the challenge dice to a red. I like to keep the Destiny Point economy moving so I like flipping them.

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I personally prefer to have my players meet their contacts in extenuating circumstances.  For example, in our current game the party was attempting to get in contact with the local rebel cell.  This cell would raid the Corporate Sector to finance their little rebellion.  Unfortunately, one of their raids went sideways and the cell lost the majority of their Y-Wings and pilots in the battle.  One NPC, who is a rebel recruiter, crashed her Y-wing and was eventually picked up by a bounty hunter.  The bounty hunter figured the extra 5k of credits would be a nice reward for this milk run.  He just had to take care of a pesky Jedi and then he could collect two rewards from the Empire.  Turns out, the PCs defeated the bounty hunter and they found the rebel recruiter locked up in the hold of the bounty hunter's ship.  Now she's happy to have a crew to work with while she puts her rebel cell back together.

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59 minutes ago, P-Dub663 said:

I personally prefer to have my players meet their contacts in extenuating circumstances.  For example, in our current game the party was attempting to get in contact with the local rebel cell.  This cell would raid the Corporate Sector to finance their little rebellion.  Unfortunately, one of their raids went sideways and the cell lost the majority of their Y-Wings and pilots in the battle.  One NPC, who is a rebel recruiter, crashed her Y-wing and was eventually picked up by a bounty hunter.  The bounty hunter figured the extra 5k of credits would be a nice reward for this milk run.  He just had to take care of a pesky Jedi and then he could collect two rewards from the Empire.  Turns out, the PCs defeated the bounty hunter and they found the rebel recruiter locked up in the hold of the bounty hunter's ship.  Now she's happy to have a crew to work with while she puts her rebel cell back together.

It depends on the contact and the reason why they exist in the framework of the game. Not every NPC has to be Lando, both introducing adventure and complications to the story. Most contacts can be off-the-cuff, the equivalent of that old lady selling fruit in Mos Espa and complaining about the sandstorms affecting her bones. In other words, a source of information giving the players hints about where the story should go.

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18 hours ago, Aurin said:

How do you plan on feeding hooks to players? an infochant of some sort? Or a spy master assigned to the PCs from Alliance High Command?

Good question. This campaign is a "base" campaign and I'm using the Defiant Core base from Strongholds of Resistance so I may encourage them to recruit an intelligence staff.

In the first adventure, they're meeting my version of Locus Geen. I'll probably end up using him as a middle-man, connecting the players to sources of intel or whatever they may need until they can do more on their own.

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Part 6: Recruiting Factions

Five characters aren't going to be able to take on the entirety of the Empire's forces within the Tion Cluster by themselves. They're going to need help and that means making contact with other rebel groups that can supply troops and vehicles. However, because this is a story game and story games revolve around drama, that can't simply be a matter of saying, "Hi, I'm a rebel too. Let's be friends." Rogue One provided an interesting and canonical example in the form of Saw Guerra's Partisans; of a group of rebels that had strayed from the main cause and weren't interested in playing nice with the greater alliance. They had, in fact, strayed so far that the head of Rebel Intelligence wanted one of his agents to put a blaster bolt in his head. So not everyone who's interested in fighting the Empire will necessarily be interested in happily marching under Mon Mothma's banner. Considering that the Tion Cluster was a Separatist stronghold and was home to the Confederacy's planetary capital at Raxus Secundus, it's not unreasonable to think that not every planet wants to bring back the "good ol' days" of the Republic's golden age.

Taking a page from an essay by Robin D. Laws entitled "Improving Dialog Sequences," we see that two characters in a scene form up as a Petitioner and a Granter. The petitioner wants something, the granter can provide that something. In most cases the PCs will be playing the petitioner as they recruit groups to their cause and the groups will grant the PCs permission to take control of their resources. In order for drama to occur, the PCs must earn leverage over the groups they wish to recruit. 

Those forms of leverage and examples of them can include:

  • Bargaining ("If I kick the Empire off your planet, will you join forces with me?")
  • Bribery ("Will you join up if I pay you?")
  • Threats ("Join me or I'll tell the Hutts where you hid that shipment of spice.")
  • Love ("You're my mom. We should fight side-by-side.")
  • Emotional Blackmail ("You abandoned me to the Empire and this is your one-and-only chance to make it up to me!")
  • Obligation ("You said you'd help me when I need you. I'm calling in that marker.")
  • Duty ("You hate the Empire. You should be working to destroy them.")
  • Identity ("You know you're not a coward. Join me and prove it to yourself.")
  • Appearances ("The Alliance will remember you and what you did if you join us.")
  • Approval ("If you join forces with me, no one will ever call you a coward again.")
  • Respect ("You owe me, what your people call, a 'life debt.'")
  • Pleading ("Help me! You're my only hope!")

My NPC list has groups broken down into rebels (people who are down with the cause), the unaffiliated (people who keep to themselves), and pirates & criminals (general outlaws). Any of the above forms of leverage can work against any group in any of the three categories but how they function is going to be different. For example, bargaining with a rebel group would probably involve an act that the PCs would morally be motivated to do, though the timing may not be perfect. On the flip side, if you're bargaining with criminals & pirates, there's a very strong chance that you're going to be asked to commit an act that may involve taking something from an unaffiliated or innocent party. A soft GM may have the PCs simply steal something from the Empire on behalf of the criminal organization. A harder GM, or a GM running a game for a party that's been having a very successful go at it thus far, might want to lean on the characters' morality a bit.

I don't have a satisfying list of factions but this is what I have thus far:

Rebel Groups

  • Arkanian Diamonds - A group of rebels posing as slavers that actually free slaves.
  • Churhee's Riflemen - High caliber mercenaries who only take anti-Imperial contracts.
  • Delan's Revenge - A well-equipped rebel group led by the son of a former Jedi ally.
  • Kintoni Base Irregulars - A group of rebel mercenaries who dislike the Rebel Alliance.
  • Sleeper Cell V-16 - A rebel information network on a highly-trafficked planet.

Independent Groups

  • Bolabo's Garage - A shadowport garage that does black-market upgrades on starships.
  • Star's Nova - A mercenary group purely motivated by the love of credits.
  • The Shield - Private security specialists that work corporate contracts.

Pirates & Criminal Groups

  • Black Sun
  • Beyla Rus - The gentleman pirate that leaves his targets alive.
  • Evram Darkmere - A rebel posing as a pirate.
  • The Grayclaws - A pirate group with heavy rebel sympathies.
  • The Jor Idrall Gang and the Rethorn Gang - A group of criminal smugglers that specializes in acquiring weapons.
  • Corf Sarb Mob - A casino magnate that embezzled money from the Empire.

I have other other pirates and criminals in my game but they're so morally heinous and/or their crimes are so great that they're basically sociopaths. I need more independent groups but it's tough coming up with organizations that would be indifferent to the Empire but would be willing to help the cause. Hmmmm...

Edited by Concise Locket

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Perhaps a faction within a large corporation?  Blastech, Sorosuub and Merrsonn come to mind.  Maybe some of their engineers or plant managers are sympathetic to the rebellion, but they'll keep making weapons for the empire to keep their jobs.  Something similar to the Incom engineers who developed the X-wing.

 

Cybernetic systems providers would gladly sell replacement limbs to both sides of the war.  Perhaps a company named something like Red Star Cybernetics?  The Empire is their #1 customer, but they'll sell to the rebels.

 

Agriculture is important as well.  Feeding your rebels could be a difficult task.  Finding a world or company that will donate or sell food to the Alliance would be necessary.

 

Maybe there's a tribe / cult / organization that are pacifists?  They take in children who are refugees from the war and help them find homes.  Unfortunately, they have trouble placing alien children.

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I think any larger organization - be it a corporation or what-have-you - will have its rebel sympathizers. I listed a few sympathetic, corporate NPCs on the NPC sheet. I suspect that the Empire, especially COMPNOR's Commerce division, takes a dim view of war profiteering from commercial entities that rely on Imperial credits to stay in business. 

I like the idea of a pacifistic religious group helping the PCs without directly getting involved. Real history is filled with stories of monks and nuns helping out those less-fortunate during wartime, even when their religion's politically connected leaders were ignoring the plight of refugees. Star Wars doesn't focus much on what we would consider a traditional approach to religion, and when they do it's either a very isolated religion limited to one planet or it's evil (i.e. Pius Dea). But there are a few possibilities: 

  • The Sacred Way - Worships the gods of space and believes in the worth of a soul (though cyborgs have half-a-soul). 
  • Zealots of Psusan - A female cult out of Kuat where the practitioners are identified by a tattoo around the navel.
  • Doellinism - Worship of the Gran Mother Goddess.
  • Dim-U - Bantha-worshippers found throughout the galaxy.

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On 21/07/2017 at 7:35 PM, Concise Locket said:

Taking a page from an essay by Robin D. Laws entitled "Improving Dialog Sequences," we see that two characters in a scene form up as a Petitioner and a Granter. The petitioner wants something, the granter can provide that something. In most cases the PCs will be playing the petitioner as they recruit groups to their cause and the groups will grant the PCs permission to take control of their resources. In order for drama to occur, the PCs must earn leverage over the groups they wish to recruit. 

Those forms of leverage and examples of them can include:

  • Bargaining ("If I kick the Empire off your planet, will you join forces with me?")
  • Bribery ("Will you join up if I pay you?")
  • Threats ("Join me or I'll tell the Hutts where you hid that shipment of spice.")
  • Love ("You're my mom. We should fight side-by-side.")
  • Emotional Blackmail ("You abandoned me to the Empire and this is your one-and-only chance to make it up to me!")
  • Obligation ("You said you'd help me when I need you. I'm calling in that marker.")
  • Duty ("You hate the Empire. You should be working to destroy them.")
  • Identity ("You know you're not a coward. Join me and prove it to yourself.")
  • Appearances ("The Alliance will remember you and what you did if you join us.")
  • Approval ("If you join forces with me, no one will ever call you a coward again.")
  • Respect ("You owe me, what your people call, a 'life debt.'")
  • Pleading ("Help me! You're my only hope!")
3

This is what I've been trying to do with my social encounters, but I haven't been able to put it into words nearly this clearly or comprehensively.  Thank you for sharing!

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I like the list of influencers. I think it would be interesting to attach 2-4 of these to each NPC and assign boost / setback die accordingly. For example, "Under-Captain Bryant is a dirty customs officer and he hasn't met a credit that he doesn't like. Any bribery attempts (no matter how overt) are entertained and add 2 boost dice to all social interactions."

"Bryant's greed is only matched by his heartlessness. Any pleading or begging is answered with a dismissive scoff before he has one of his rank and file drag the petitioner away. Add one setback die to all pleading social interactions."

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Part 7: Getting Started and Random Thoughts

The campaign kicked off last Saturday with the first session. We established the player characters' group backstory - that they were the survivors of a failed rebel cell - and started the campaign with the characters' arrival at a shadowport following their escape from an Imperial ambush. Most of the players didn't bring deep backstories and that's okay with me. As a GM, I just need a general sense of who a character is and where he comes from, not how many brothers and sisters he has.

The introductory adventure is heavily scripted as it's my intention to use story to establish what the unwritten story-telling guidelines of the campaign: that they're a group of plucky and rag-tag heroes, not a band of murdering sociopaths, and that solving problems through dialog and smart decision making will move them further than gun play (and make for a more interesting game). Gaming is behavior modification through play which uses intangible rewards and punitive measures as a means to ensure cooperation and agreement. Doing that through scripted play is a lot easier than turning lose a group of five adults sitting around a gaming table and hoping they're all ready to bring their "A-Game" on Day 1. While most gamers will side with the anti-railroad sentiment, a metaphorical blank page is incredibly intimidating. 

The most common falsehood that tabletop RPG players tell neophytes is that, unlike a video game character, an analog role-playing game character can do anything he wants. Not so. Be it defined through the rules mechanics or the setting, no TTRPG offers complete freedom of character behavior. Even GURPS has limits. :D Because the first session of a campaign sets the tone of the game, it's acceptable for improvisational GMs to start with a tight story and then relax into the rest of the campaign. 

At the end of the first arc - approximately three sessions in - the PCs will have a working base that they can expand over the course of the campaign. The following story arc will also be scripted - though less so - as I want to illustrate an example of recruiting NPCs into the player characters' rebel cell. After that, I'll probably work with situational points on index cards and shuffle them around.

Random Tips Wot I Do

  1. Anything I can do to keep from opening up rule books during play and, thus, interrupting momentum, I will do. I created vehicle cards based on the same format that FFG used for their Star Wars Characters Cards. I also created additional NPC cards for characters, droids, and animals that weren't included in the published sets. Some GMs swear by their spreadsheets but I'm convinced it's much faster to pull a bunch of cards from a deck and lay them out in front of you than it is to tab up and down. 
  2. Laptops, like open book tests, aren't a replacement for preparing and knowing your info. The slowest games I've sat through were the ones where the GM wrote the adventure in Word and spent the session scrolling up and down trying to find something he jotted down. This is also why, outside of a convention setting, I no longer run games that I didn't write.
  3. Use plastic sleeves on character sheets and give each player a dry-erase marker to keep track of wounds, hit points, strain, etc. It saves wear-and-tear on the paper.
  4. If you're entering hour 3.5 of a 4-hour block of game time, don't throw in a combat encounter. I was reminded of this in my game at 4:30 in a game that was scheduled to end at 5:00. I could tell everyone was pooped and I was both tired and my voice box was suffering. Tracking initiative orders and all the other bookkeeping that comes with combat didn't sound appealing. I scrapped a snubfighter encounter and simply eased into an easy conversation piece between the PCs and a major NPC that would set up the next session.

Up next, What's Hexcrawling and What Does It Look Like?

Edited by Concise Locket

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Ok.... I'm bumping this thread because:

a) It's been really interesting & has made me think about how I run my own campaigns... In fact, the campaign I'm currently developing is going to use a lot of these ideas! 

And...

b) Because I really want to know "What's Hexcrawling and What Does It Look Like?" and how Concise Locket is gonna use it in his campaign :D

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Part 8: What's Hexcrawling and What Does It Look Like for Our Purposes?

Justin Alexander has a very specific definition for hexcrawling. It's a format that suits gamers used to dungeoneering expeditions in that it replaces rooms in a dungeon with locations. However, the end result is still the same.  A controlled experience within a set volume of space. 

Alexander has exploration as the default goal of hexcrawling. At first glance, physical exploration doesn't fit within the story of a fight against evil. However, if you re-frame "exploration" as "intelligence gathering," the concept has legs in a Star Wars war story. Soldiers need to know the terrain, know who they're fighting, and win the hearts and minds of the local populations in order to be successful.

I made a map of the Tion Cluster for my campaign. The Tion Cluster is made up of five sectors, each with its own collection of planets. Each planet is keyed with government, environment, economic, and social information. In a standard hexcrawl, characters move in a relatively linear fashion. If you consider the starting hex to be the center, every other hex unlocks a new ring of hexes. Moving through three-dimensional space, even in a space fantasy like Star Wars, eliminates the standard hexcrawl model as a hyperdrive can take a player character to whichever planet he wants to visit. The only limiting factor is time spent in-transit. My hexcrawl will need to take a different approach.

A space-based game can follow a hexcrawl-influenced model if a few starting assumptions are made:

  1. The player characters don't know everything that's happening on a planet. Knowledge checks can provide some broad strokes - basically the keyed information - but to figure out the ins-and-outs of a planet's society and how it affects the Rebellion's struggle against the Empire, the players have to actually visit the planet, dig around, interact with NPCs, and get into trouble.
  2. Distance matters. Even with spaceship engines that propel travelers across the galaxy in the timespan of a week, the Empire is massive and it's impossible to manage it solely from Coruscant. While many planets have Imperial governors, many don't. Thus, sector governance is the basic building block of the Imperial government. Setting aside border planets and for the sake of simplicity, assume that citizens living in a sector know more about what's going on in their own sector than in other sectors.

For my new "Age of Rebellion" campaign, the players spent a few sessions bouncing around the Tion Cluster. In the most recent session, they established a hidden base on the desert world of Clariv in the Keldrath Sector. They've made contact with a former Republic general and a sleeper cell intelligence group. For the next few adventures, it's likely that adventures will take place solely in the Keldrath Sector thus limiting their area of operations. 

If you review the Tion Cluster document I've produced, the Keldrath Sector has 10 planets including Clariv. Prior to establishing their base, the PCs visited Mullan, the Sector Capital, and both raided a secret Imperial Intelligence facility and disrupted the Empire's plan to imperialize the Mullan government. The simplest way to spur action would be for me, playing an NPC intelligence expert, to provide the players with a report that states the players should investigate a specific planet, say Eredenn Prime. Maybe there's fuel, or ships, or capable fighters there. It's not hexcrawling but if the PCs are indecisive about next steps, it keeps the game moving.

If the PCs want to take the reins, the simplest method is for the GM to present the Keldrath Sector and say, "These are the worlds of significance within your immediate sphere of influence. Which of these do you want to investigate?" The PCs collaborate, make their Knowledge: Outer Rim skill test rolls, and then point out at planet.

Then what?

One method is to have a preset situation on each world and encourage the PCs to engage with that situation. For example, your notes could look like this:

  • The Dellalt Adventure. A Rebel intelligence operative has gone missing on Dellalt. While this is an all-to-common event, Dellalt is a relatively peaceful world of calm lakes occupied by a sentient, reptilian species. The operative's trail leads the PCs to an old, semi-legal mining camp. The camp's leader is quietly holding the operative captive and sends the PCs on a wild-goose chase trying to find their missing agent. When the PCs discover the camp leader's treachery, they must deal with a contingent of Imperial stormtroopers and try to free their lost agent.
  • The Eredenn Prime Adventure. The PCs discover a major Imperial military shipment center in the planet's capital. The shipment center is protected by a state-of-the-art sensor system which the PCs must disable in order to steal the good stuff.
  • Etc. etc. etc.

The drawback to this method is that if the PCs elect to not visit a planet, you've wasted time prepping an adventure. Technically, a GM is supposed to key a specific adventure to a hexcrawl but the nice thing about narrative games is that they provide much more flexibility to GMs than trad games do. NPCs aren't scaled to any particular XP level, thus they can be moved around in a story line in order to meet the needs of the game. Thus, when running a quasi-hexcrawl like mine, it's best that you have a series of situations that can be easily transplanted across any Star Wars locale. If you want to make sure that each of your players gets a spotlight adventure, writing up a situation where a PC's career or history will heavily come into play is ideal. 

TION CLUSTER-RTP.docx

Edited by Concise Locket

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On 9/15/2017 at 1:55 PM, Concise Locket said:

Thus, when running a quasi-hexcrawl like mine, it's best that you have a series of situations that can be easily transplanted across any Star Wars locale. If you want to make sure that each of your players gets a spotlight adventure, writing up a situation where a PC's career or history will heavily come into play is ideal. 

 

Great work so far. I find this topic great because I am starting a similar styled campaign based on reading http://thealexandrian.net/ and wanting to have an open table due to my scheduling and amount of player groups I have.
I have a question that you probably have dealt with in prepping for your campaign. What do you series of situations look like? Like do you have an example for the kind of information you include in a situation that you can flesh out based on player engagement?

Edited by Kota624

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On 10/2/2017 at 0:04 PM, Kota624 said:

I have a question that you probably have dealt with in prepping for your campaign. What do you series of situations look like? Like do you have an example for the kind of information you include in a situation that you can flesh out based on player engagement?

Gnome Stew publishes system agnostic RPG advice books. I'd recommend checking out Eureka: 501 Adventure Plots to Inspire Game Masters. Each plot is a five paragraph write-up of a situation and possible resolution. All you have to do is provide the NPCs but if that's a struggle for you, I'd also recommend Masks: 1000 Memorable NPCs for Any Roleplaying Game. If you have other space opera RPGs on hand, like Traveller, you can grab loose plots from their OTU adventure books. Cyberpunk role-playing game scenarios can be easily translated into "Edge of the Empire" and samurai/medieval knights-based RPGs can be easily translated into "Force & Destiny." Surprisingly, there aren't a lot of RPGs that focus on guerrilla warfare and commando raids, outside of semi-realistic, post-apocalyptic games like Twilight 2000, so you have to be very creative there.

If you have a bit more time on your hands, I'd recommend brainstorming some set-piece situations that are appropriately Star Wars-y and you think would be fun to explore. For example:

The Plot: The PCs are hired to break in to the Coronet City Museum of Fine Art and steal a MacGuffin artifact.
Setpiece Event: Rappelling down or climbing up the sides of skyscrapers. The PCs are going to be climbing through blazing hologram advertisements.
Factions: Fallanassi Adepts, Jedi-in-exile
Locations: Museum, Corellian Times tower
Objects: Ancient hyperspace sextant, Rakata data crystal
Threats: Blackguard Wilders (hostile/evil),  CorSec (neutral)
The Twist: The MacGuffin can only go to one faction - the Jedi-in-exile will make better use of it but the Fallanassi are paying better.

What's interesting about this activity is that it forces you to be creative about where the PCs are going and what they're doing. A variety of problems/activities makes for a better game.

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On 10/5/2017 at 11:16 AM, Concise Locket said:

Gnome Stew publishes system agnostic RPG advice books. I'd recommend checking out Eureka: 501 Adventure Plots to Inspire Game Masters. Each plot is a five paragraph write-up of a situation and possible resolution. All you have to do is provide the NPCs but if that's a struggle for you, I'd also recommend Masks: 1000 Memorable NPCs for Any Roleplaying Game. If you have other space opera RPGs on hand, like Traveller, you can grab loose plots from their OTU adventure books. Cyberpunk role-playing game scenarios can be easily translated into "Edge of the Empire" and samurai/medieval knights-based RPGs can be easily translated into "Force & Destiny." Surprisingly, there aren't a lot of RPGs that focus on guerrilla warfare and commando raids, outside of semi-realistic, post-apocalyptic games like Twilight 2000, so you have to be very creative there.

If you have a bit more time on your hands, I'd recommend brainstorming some set-piece situations that are appropriately Star Wars-y and you think would be fun to explore. For example:

The Plot: The PCs are hired to break in to the Coronet City Museum of Fine Art and steal a MacGuffin artifact.
Setpiece Event: Rappelling down or climbing up the sides of skyscrapers. The PCs are going to be climbing through blazing hologram advertisements.
Factions: Fallanassi Adepts, Jedi-in-exile
Locations: Museum, Corellian Times tower
Objects: Ancient hyperspace sextant, Rakata data crystal
Threats: Blackguard Wilders (hostile/evil),  CorSec (neutral)
The Twist: The MacGuffin can only go to one faction - the Jedi-in-exile will make better use of it but the Fallanassi are paying better.

What's interesting about this activity is that it forces you to be creative about where the PCs are going and what they're doing. A variety of problems/activities makes for a better game.

I totally get what you're saying and for the most this is kind of my style. The thing I am trying to do now is maximize my prep while allowing as much agency as I can. I like this hexcrawl style of open gaming because its easy to pick up and put down with a bunch of different PCs.

I love those 2 links I can't believe I had never seen them before.

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On 10/7/2017 at 5:33 AM, Archlyte said:

This may seem like a weird question, but since you are doing this a bit like Traveller, how are you handling fuel, maintenance, and birthing costs? Also are you doing cargo speculation?

I'm not doing that. Traveller is a good source for plot ideas, and the system is decent for an interstellar free trader simulation, but that's as far as I'm willing to go in terms of carrying over those materials. Super-fiddly and granular bookkeeping rules aren't engaging enough to bring into a narrative system because it doesn't add to the narrative. In most games, that's just something you do in-between the really interesting parts; the fights, the skill challenges, and the NPC interactions. 

I used to have the PCs pay for parking but we've phased that out. In game, we assume that whatever credit funds the PCs get are the profit on top of paying expenses.

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I was just wondering if there was more to come being that this campaign is now underway. I'm also trying to put together how you organize yourself for this type of thing. You have the Planets and the NPCs but do you have like locations on each planet? Do you improvise that? Or do you have adventure scenarios and those dictate the locations you'd need ?

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17 hours ago, Kota624 said:

I was just wondering if there was more to come being that this campaign is now underway. I'm also trying to put together how you organize yourself for this type of thing. You have the Planets and the NPCs but do you have like locations on each planet? Do you improvise that? Or do you have adventure scenarios and those dictate the locations you'd need ?

The campaign is fully under way so I'm definitely done with the campaign prep stage. Two sessions ago, the planet Mullan had a major leadership shakeup due to the PCs exposing an Imperial plot to bring the planet under COMPNOR authority... so that information is already out of date! :P

If you check out the planet listing, you'll see that each planet has three major urban centers listed as that's where the majority of the default action will take place (i.e. looking for leads and contacts). If an additional location needs to be included I'll add it as part of my situational notes before the game. What I'm not interested in doing is fleshing out every interesting detail before hand. I'm a creative guy but with that many planets, it would break me. And I'm 100% sure that not every planet will be visited in the campaign. I have a mental list of cool locations and ideas that can be transported to a variety of planets and will plug them in as needed. 

Most of my pre-existing scenarios, and I only stay about a step ahead of the players, are remixes of existing materials across various games (both Star Wars and non-Star Wars) and notes for scenarios that I think would be cool. I will literally mash together a Star Wars module, a Shadowrun module, and a Mindjammer module in order to make a scenario out of it.

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That makes total sense. I have this habit of wanting to over prep. I get into this rut of wanting to get stuff down but knowing that my players' decisions will supersede anything I prep anyway. We are at the beginning of this hexcrawl type game too so I've been jotting down ideas and feeding them rumors that I've been prepping as we go

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