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themensch

Start Your Engines! Making Racing-Themed Stories Interesting

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Greetings Esteemed Forumgoers,

  I am starting a new story with a small group of players, and we're focusing on being a podracing team.  Mechanically, I'm all set.  We have at least 3 different rules sets for races, all manner of podracers, and I see a number of tracks to start with from the community. 

  • My first question is around getting the milieu right - I'm not a huge race fan, I don't know all the lingo and I presume that there's some common lingo and procedures no matter what you're racing, be they sloops, swoops, or NASCAR.  I do intend to do research there but if any race fans in the crowd can give me some pointers, I'm all ears!
  • My second question is around keeping things interesting - of course I'll mine old 70's cartoons for race-team-themed plots, but surely there's more material out there for me to consume.  Any fans out there with a favorite to suggest?

We haven't even hit session zero yet so we haven't talked about themes or tropes or triggers or any of that, so I can pretty much take the firehose of information and filter it later.  Many thanks to any who can contribute!

 

 

 

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You could always draw some inspiration from the speed racer movie.

Also consider different levels of the sport.  There's going to be local leagues, quadrant leagues, semi-pro, pro and all of the previous for different styles of sponsors.  As the players get good enough they could attract sponsors, and move up to different leagues.  Of course the higher you go, the more money is involved and the more money that's involved means the more corruption and dirty fighting, etc.

 

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1 hour ago, Ahrimon said:

You could always draw some inspiration from the speed racer movie.

Also consider different levels of the sport.  There's going to be local leagues, quadrant leagues, semi-pro, pro and all of the previous for different styles of sponsors.  As the players get good enough they could attract sponsors, and move up to different leagues.  Of course the higher you go, the more money is involved and the more money that's involved means the more corruption and dirty fighting, etc.

 

Ahh yes, the Speed Racer movie - I was planning to mine the old cartoon but thanks for the reminder!  I do plan to have tiers and leagues, those are good classifications you've set out, thanks!

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4 hours ago, themensch said:

  I am starting a new story with a small group of players, and we're focusing on being a podracing team.  Mechanically, I'm all set.  We have at least 3 different rules sets for races, all manner of podracers, and I see a number of tracks to start with from the community.

Out of curiosity, what are the 3 different rule-sets you're using ? I'm in the long term planning stages of something similar (though 1000 times less elaborate) and need a starting point to get me going.

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6 hours ago, warchild1x said:

Out of curiosity, what are the 3 different rule-sets you're using ? I'm in the long term planning stages of something similar (though 1000 times less elaborate) and need a starting point to get me going.

There's the set in the core book, the set in Jewel of Yavin, and then the fan-made swoop-racing and pordacing supplements combined present a reasonable set from which I can mine to fit what we're doing.  Making piloting rolls is going to get old quickly.

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6 hours ago, HappyDaze said:

I would think that rally-style racing would offer more opportunities for fun stories than circuit racing, but then I can't watch hours of making left-hand turns.

Pod racing would seem to be the rally-style race if what little I've found is to be believed.   But I'd just do what I want for fun anyway, so that's no matter.  We can have the best of both worlds. 

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1 hour ago, themensch said:

Pod racing would seem to be the rally-style race if what little I've found is to be believed.   But I'd just do what I want for fun anyway, so that's no matter.  We can have the best of both worlds. 

I was referring more to races that don't have preset courses. Consider a race through the crowded streets of Coruscant (or Nar Shaddaa) that has no fixed route, only checkpoints. Likewise, in space a race where the ship has to deliver small parcels to various drop points and there they pick up the data holding the destination of the next drop.

I just think that races that circle a track (even if that track is not truly circular) and don't involve non-racers as obstacles/opportunities to be dull.

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3 hours ago, HappyDaze said:

where the ship has to deliver small parcels to various drop points and there they pick up the data holding the destination of the next drop.

This is great! I think some sort of space-orienteering or geocaching, could be fun. Maybe even throw in an occasional Cunning-based Astrogation or Piloting check, for cleverly hidden caches.

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I highly recommend the wonderful movie, RedLine: (The movie has an option English dubbing. So don't let the Japanese dub and English subs fool you)

 

 

Edited by kaosoe

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12 hours ago, HappyDaze said:

I was referring more to races that don't have preset courses. Consider a race through the crowded streets of Coruscant (or Nar Shaddaa) that has no fixed route, only checkpoints. Likewise, in space a race where the ship has to deliver small parcels to various drop points and there they pick up the data holding the destination of the next drop.

I just think that races that circle a track (even if that track is not truly circular) and don't involve non-racers as obstacles/opportunities to be dull.

I had some time behind the wheel today to think about this and I think you're dead-on.  Of course there will be known courses and tracks in a galaxy this large, but the aspects of a rally really make for an interesting theme.  I think this story can support multiple types of races and frankly this just blew the door wide open for potential here.  Thanks!

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My group got in to swoop bike racing and they were asking for it to be anything goes swoop free for all, shooting, kick, biting, and pulling hair.  I stayed away since it seem like it would be brutal if they get knocked off their bike and I didn't want them to die or get seriously injured.  So you can even go to the Mad Max level of racing depending in the planet you are on.   

I stuck with track or course racing, thei speed and vechile size set the base difficutly for them.  Then each section depending on obstacles set there would either upgrade the roll or add challenge dice to the roll.  Racing in the dark 2 set backs, speeding through a dark cavern with stalagmites would add 2 upgrades to the roll due to the risk of crashing.  They group liked the races and then started to increase their characters to do better at them.  

Sadly they had to go back to help the rebellion save the Galaxy so they haven't had any in a while, but now they are really good at chase scenes.

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Things off the top of my head:

Have a reoccurring rival team or teams the get fleshed out over the story. Could be mutual respect for each other under a layer of trash talk or could mean dirty tricks and sabotage.

Side bets. Could be for credits, could be drinking stale milk from an old manifold in front of everyone; anything where the stakes fit the characters and story. If for credits could get involved with the wrong people. Maybe some trash talk leads to a bet the PCs can't win or it puts the driver at odds with the crew. Like the driver has to throw the race so another driver wins after the crew bet the pc driver would win. This could be for any number of reasons such as the other driver is in debt, honor at stake, etc. Maybe even most the crew bets on themselves winning, but a pc on the pit crew has their obligation come back to bite them and has to sabotage the racer.

Travel. Lots of the story can be the time between races. The various towns they stop in can have mysteries, crimes, and the usual plot adventures. Bandits may attack while the crew is on the road. Their racer or other gear could get jacked and they need to get it back. Maybe even a time where all the racers and their crews have to caravan through a dangerous area and circle the wagons at night. 

Supplies. Buying fuel, replacing parts, ect. can all be the inciting indecent for an adventure or the macguffin for an adventure.

Local dangers. Maybe the conflict between two crime factions spills over to the race. Could even end up with the race path going right into the middle of battle.  Have local fauna cause problems, everything from making the race harder to complicating the time on the road to eating all the food.

 

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I would watch a lot of the Fomula Off Road Racing videos.  Granted, your PCs will be in podracers  and not wheeled vehicles so climbing the hill isnt as difficult but then take the course to the next level; loops, jumps, hairpin turns, thread the needle (one at a time so speed counts), weaving through the pillars, etc.

 

Edited by Varlie

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One of the old D6 supplements had a list of slag-terms used by swoop gangs. I'll see if I can dig it out.

One of my players has a swoop racer character, so I've used the races as a background element in a few adventures. 
Rather than make it all about speed, I ended up finding that races involving obstacles as well as finishing first made things more exciting. That way the character can balance speed versus getting past (through, over, or under) an object. 
The races usually involved a bit of Road Rash style bumping opponents off the track.

Swoop gangs and rival races/teams are obvious to use, but also consider betting syndicates. An offer to throw the race can be made. And if refused, then an NPC can be held hostage as an incentive (I did this once, so that the other PC's had something to do during the race - we cut between the race scenes and the rescue attempt, increasing the danger and excitement levels as the swoop racer waited to get the message that he could go ahead and try to win after all).


This also brings up another point: the other players. Assuming they aren't all racing, they will need something else to do whilst the racer rolls dice (unless you are taking care of the race in a single dice roll). It's a tricky situation (you can't kidnap someone every race!). Aside from the rescue attempt, I've had the other PC's break in to a data centre by using the race as a distraction. Another time I waited until the PC's had places their bets, and then handed them random character sheets for the other racers and let them take part in the race (each racer had a secret agenda in this one - it was a very corrupt race).

I'd love to hear what you do with it.  

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My memory was slightly faulty on this one. The swoop slang was specific to the Swoop Gangs of one particular place (GALLISPORT), but here you are anyway:

Back Door: An easy entrance or exit, often created as needed

Blinkers: Narco-spice addicts (because of their involuntary blinking)

Boost-Bot: A droid designed to help steal repulsorcraft and parts

Cherry Bombs: Grenades

LA-LA’s: Locally Authorised Legal Authorities (private cops who control the different city zones)

Lighter: Flame-thrower

Popper: A riot suppression gun (named after the loud popping sound created when fired)

RT’s: Real Things (real law enforcement officers, legitimate cops who seldom left the protection of the walled sections of Gallisport)

Sissy Straps: Seatbelts

Slag: Local swear word

Slag it or Slag you: Choice curse phrases

Sprinkle: Narco-spice

Stonemen: Imperial stormtroopers

Street Cleaners: Imperial Army troopers

SUBAR: Slagged Up Beyond All Repair

Swoopers: Swoop Gang members

Toaster: Thermal detonator

Torch: Blaster

Zones: Territorial divisions in Gallisport

Zoomies: Professional swoop racers

 

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If all of your players are not involved in the raced event, then one thing you can do to keep the other players busy is have them play an NPC Racer in the event.  This way they can still be involved while the race is going on, if there are no off track shenanigans going on.  To encourage them to try and win the race, I offered bonus EXP if their character won the race.

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This seems a good as spot as any for my question/suggestion so here goes.

 

I'm running a racing circuit for a group, they are using a medium freighter for the parties starting ship. The first race just used the standard ship actions and manuevers, but from my point of view a the GM it seemed slightly dull and boring. So for the next race I added modified rules as well as a new pilot only action.

 

Overtake (pilot only): Opposed roll inorder to pass another racer. The Player/NPC taking this Action can be effected by Evasive Manuevers, Stay on Target and Gain the Advantage.

Evasive Maneuvers: In addition to the normal rules of this maneuver it upgrades the difficulty of the dice pool for all Overtake actions until the end of the pilot's next turn. This applies to actions against and by the pilot/ship that executed the maneuver.

Stay on Target: In addition to the normal rules of this manuever it upgrades the ability of the dice pool for all Overtake actions until the end of the pilot's next turn. This applies to actions against and by the pilot/ship that executed the maneuver.

This seems like a solid way of keeping the race more adrenaline packed as well as making the actions and manuevers mean something more than just a default move. I would be glad to get thoughts/opinions on the homebrew rule changes.

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On 9/21/2018 at 6:21 AM, damnkid3 said:

If all of your players are not involved in the raced event, then one thing you can do to keep the other players busy is have them play an NPC Racer in the event.  This way they can still be involved while the race is going on, if there are no off track shenanigans going on.  To encourage them to try and win the race, I offered bonus EXP if their character won the race.

Great idea!  I'm going to do underground rally-style racing (as if podracing wasn't already that) with 2-person teams and I have a 2-person group to start, but as we add more players I will certainly do that.  Heck maybe they'll just be a team with individual racers. 

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