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Jut

The Mentalist, Red John, Serial Killers and Star Wars

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Hi all!!

Making my way through The Mentalist right now, on Prime, loved that show back in the day, love it now. 
 

I have a group we just started, looking like 5-8 players meeting weekly. We have gone through the beginner game (everyone rolled up new characters after that) and we are now on to Beyond the Rim.

I have several players that have intricate back stories and I ultimately want to tie what we are doing into their backstories. 
 

the thought of having a Red John type character (the arch enemy of Patrick Jane on the Mentalist, who is a serial killer who killed Jane’s family) would be an awesome enemy to incorporate. 
 

Here is what I have so far: a human Corellian, Explorer: Fringer/Hired Gun: Marauder. I want to set him up with a Jumpmaster 5000 with a .5 Hyper drive, so he is always one step ahead of the party when he needs to be.

The party is big enough that they split up a lot already. Easy to get one or two characters off by themselves.

I was also taking about making him force sensitive and going with the Sense power. 
 

Thoughts?  Suggestions??  Have any of you tried to run a serial killer type character in the background or as a main story arch????

 

 

 

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Not sure if you are familiar with the show, but Criminal Minds is great for getting into the mind of a serial killer. IT IS A VERY DARK SHOW. Star wars is not meant to be dark usually, but you can play it how you want.

I haven't had any experience playing with serial killer characters in d&d, but I think delving into the criminal side of star wars is a great story idea.

You can have the characters work with Republic Judicials or after-the-republic equivilent in tracking down the serial killer or something of that nature.

Here are a few common traits of serial killers as shown by criminal minds:

-They often interject themsleves into the investigation

- They often went through abuse or tramatic experience as a child

- A stressor(s) cause the serial killings to begin. (A close family death/bad financial situation causes loss of home or equivalent, etc.)

- Can be either very good at social skills or really off setting

- Crave Attention, may taunt those pursuing them

-Evolve their kills to a perfect ritual (Leave a dead bird on the body, always pointed at a clue to the next victim)

- If pushed too far begin to devolve. (Killings become more rapid, sloppy, etc.)

 

Hope the info helps.

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IMO, ….NOTHING about 'Career', 'Specialization', 'gear', 'weapons', 'force sensitivity', et al.... will make your character what you want it to be.  If one step ahead is going to be the idea, then they're never really going to face him.  If they ever to face him, he probably won't last long because the nature of FFG is that everyone is pretty vulnerable to getting hit.  As a GM, I don't like to pin myself down by deciding ahead of time what this person "IS".  This allows me the flexibility to add to the bad guy as I go.  It also avoids that quandary when you really need him to be a Politico, but you already decided he was an Explorer/Hired Gun.  That's just my preference.  

Also consider that the PC's aren't going to know what he is, are they?   I mean, he should be an enigma....a mystery, right? Rather than, "Mr. X is a renowned former soldier and explorer", it should say, "Mr. X is a renowned escape artist who is impossible to find."   Just have vague references to his personality.  This will let the player try to imagine what he is and add to the mystery.  

I get it...Mentalist.... Force Power Sense.  Maybe just go all-out in that?  Forget the other careers.  They really don't matter.  You can't give it away early on, either.  Rather, you disguise it in dialogue and clues. i.e. "Mr. X WAS here. About five minutes ago he suddenly got up, checked his commlink, and left!  Didn't even finish his meal!"  The players will think that he has spies out there or an inside person.  This will hide the fact that he senses things with the force. 

My own personal preference is to make the villain sympathetic.  Maybe he does good, benevolent things along the way.  Plant a seed of doubt in the player's heads.  Have a Dooku-like story of how he really is innocent!  That might not apply, but it is fun to throw the players off. 

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23 hours ago, DurosSpacer said:

IMO, ….NOTHING about 'Career', 'Specialization', 'gear', 'weapons', 'force sensitivity', et al.... will make your character what you want it to be

I both agree and disagree with this statement. We as GMs have the power to make NPCs as we want to, with whatever talents are necessary to make the character capable in their respective fields.

HOWEVER, I'm typically of the mind that NPCs should showcase the capabilities of what players can within a respective career, rather than just mashing a bunch of talents together. Using the specializations is a good way to get the core of a character down, flavor wise, and then adding various talents on top of that for what you need. 

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On 6/23/2020 at 12:22 PM, Jut said:

Here is what I have so far: a human Corellian, Explorer: Fringer/Hired Gun: Marauder. I want to set him up with a Jumpmaster 5000 with a .5 Hyper drive, so he is always one step ahead of the party when he needs to be.

The party is big enough that they split up a lot already. Easy to get one or two characters off by themselves.

I was also taking about making him force sensitive and going with the Sense power. 

Might I recommend looking at some of the Spy specializations? I feel like there might be some fun things in there that might make this a more intriguing villain, even when just out of reach of the PCs

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Posted (edited)
On 6/25/2020 at 7:26 PM, GameboyAK said:

I both agree and disagree with this statement. We as GMs have the power to make NPCs as we want to, with whatever talents are necessary to make the character capable in their respective fields.

HOWEVER, I'm typically of the mind that NPCs should showcase the capabilities of what players can within a respective career, rather than just mashing a bunch of talents together. Using the specializations is a good way to get the core of a character down, flavor wise, and then adding various talents on top of that for what you need. 

Your best bet, then, is to use the different Nemesis creation rules, such as those for creating an Inquisitor or Bounty Hunter Nemesis.

Edited by Tramp Graphics

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On ‎6‎/‎23‎/‎2020 at 4:22 PM, Jut said:

Thoughts?  Suggestions??  Have any of you tried to run a serial killer type character in the background or as a main story arch????

It was for a  different system (Mutants & Masterminds 2e) and some time ago, but I did run a campaign where the major villain was a serial killer, with the PCs being more street-level than the four-color "capes and spandex" style of hero that MnM has as the general default.  It was... difficult, since I had to keep the game's rating at PG-13 (most of the players were tweens), so I couldn't get too visceral or too creepy in terms of the actions and mannerisms of said villain.  So that is definitely one thing to bear in mind, is what is your group's tolerance for that sort of thing?  As has been said, serial killers (at least in the classic and even cinematic sense) are really at odds with the general theme/tone of Star Wars, so having a major villain be such an individual might be a hard sell depending on what your players expect out of the campaign.

As far as mindset, Sear_Clone's list of bullet points and of checking out Criminal Minds is a good place to start, and was something I wish I had available all those years ago as a resource to draw upon).

In terms of the build, that's going to depend on how the serial killer in question operates.  The Spy career's specializations are probably a good starting point for a sneaky "capture the prey" method of serial killer, but Bounty Hunter could work just as well, if maybe not even better.  Assuming this campaign is set during a time when the Empire is in charge, it's very likely that a serial killer could operate as a legally sanctioned bounty hunter, focusing on contracts that permit/allow for a "dead" option, perhaps even pursuing/focusing on a narrow variety of contracts that fall within their preferred type of victim.

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I have a real world example for this.  I co-ran a LARP for three years.  In this game there was an NPC.  We just named him Mr. E.  A little on the nose for sure.  We did not stat him out for like the first two years.   He had an idea of his limits and what he could do, but stats were never specifically drawn up until they actually started hunting him.

Watching the players come up with plot ideas about him was AWESOME.  They made connection we NEVER thought of.  Since he was not fully fleshed out, it allowed us to easily change the NPC to match a few things of what the players dreamed up.

 

I would try and stay fluid with the big bads.  Players are a wonderful resource when they just banter around the table about what they thing the bad guys is doing.

We also did foreshadow / epilogue scenes.  Like the mini scenes about the villain in tv shows that the main characters don't know about.  It's not player knowledge.  It just gives them a sense of what the npc is up to outside of their control.  Or even fallout from their decisions.

Something like: 

"Screen wipe.  As the players ship zooms away we pan down to the planets surface.  The rodian farmer turns back from them leaving with a light heart.  They had saved his child.  He walks into the house and stops dead in his tracks.  A black droid was standing in front of his wife.  One had covered her mouth, the other held a blaster to her temple.  The droids head swivels 180 degrees to look at the farmer.   ' You have displeased Jabba.  You did not get the information required.  There are consequences'  The shot pans out of the house... a blaster shot goes off.. fade to black"    

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