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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Default Re: Running Star Wars campaigns advice thread

    I was actually just reading up on this stuff.

    The Imperial Sourcebook from 1989 really went all out with massive organigrams of countless organizations and sub-sections that make up the Empire. But only a few seem to ever have been picked up by later writers.
    Obviously the Imperial Navy and the Imperial Navy, as well as COMPNOR, the Imperial Security Bureau, and Imperial Intelligence. I think those are the only ones that are really acknowledged in the greater EU.

    As I see it, COMPNOR is "the party", inspired by Blackshirts, SA, and Red Guards. They are also the people in charge of propaganda and political education. Cool idea and often mentioned, but I don't recall them actually making any appearances anywhere. Though plenty of references.

    The ISB seems to be the official law enforcement service tasked with finding traitors and doing investigations in the loyalty of officers and officials. They are a branch within COMPNOR, but more law enforcement than a civilian or political organization.

    Imperial Intelligence seems to be more like military intelligence, focused on providing information about hostile military forces. Which is kind of obsolete when you rule the whole galaxy. And I think the reason why they very rarely appear in any meaningful capacity. The only case that I am aware of is when Director Isard found herself to be the most powerful official left on Coruscant and assumed rulership over the core.

    I think COMPNOR could be an interesting enemy faction for campaigns primarily set in the core worlds with a focus on instigating unrest against the Empire.
    Imperial Intelligence would make sense as a threat in a Rebel Soldiers campaign.
    For dodgy dealings with shady Imperial officers in the Outer Rim, or adventures about recruiting and organizing new Rebel forces, I think ISB would be the way to go. They really could be quite interesting, as they would be poking around for Rebel activity, which threatens even heroes who are not actually members of the Rebel Alliance, but could also be an asset to remove dangerous imperial officers if their loyalty isn't spotless.

    Thinking about ISB agents as NPCs, how much of a stretch would it be to make Imperial Commandos (Storm Commandos, Shadow Scouts) units of the ISB? They are usually considered to be Stormtroopers, which makes them part of the military, and they do have their own combat uniforms (which are really cool). But their missions generally fall more under the sphere of intelligence operations. I like the idea of Commando platoons being assigned to ISB officers when their missions requires some serious firepower. They could be used to raid Rebel compounds when a full Stormtrooper assault isn't desirably (like needing prisoners or rescuing hostages), but I could also see them working as bodyguards for ISB agents while out of uniform.
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  2. - Top - End - #62
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    Default Re: Running Star Wars campaigns advice thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Question to everyone? How would you approach an all scoundrel campaign? No Jedi and Rebel soldiers. Just space cowboys whose activities range from questionably legal to all out criminal?

    What would conflict look like and what kinds of antagonists would the heroes be dealing with? And what element from the original movies and the EU would you try to build on?

    I think the go to reference would probably be the first third of Return of the Jedi. Jabba seems to be the archetype for scum and villainy in Star Wars.
    Star Wars has a rich variety of ways to be scoundrelly. There's criminal syndicates so powerful they are the de-facto government of star systems, hive city gangs, bandits attacking frontier villages, smugglers and bootleggers, disreputable hackers, slavers, and shady and ill-explored corporate types. (The Corporate Sector is so ill defined in the background you could pretty much just do Shadowrun in Star Wars drag and it'd still pretty much fit.)

    So there's basically no wrong answer to how to do a scoundrel campaign, pick your poison. Same with the antagonists, could be the law (republic or empire), could be a bigger badder criminal, could be one of the galactic powers tying up a loose end.

    What might be a good way to do it though would be to encourage the players to have a variety of those backgrounds so that no matter where the adventure takes them someone's always out of their social context and having to play the fish out of water character-wise (but still has appropriate things to do with their skills).

  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Default Re: Running Star Wars campaigns advice thread

    Given how varied the planets in Star Wars are, I think that's almost automatically a given if the players each play a different archetype of character and the campaign goes to a number of different places.
    You got people from highly civilized Core Worlds and from primitive planets in the Outer Rim. You have soldiers and civilians. Aristocrats, farmers, and street kids. People with government background and criminals. All of them have many different planets where they can shine and planets where they are very much out of place.
    In addition you can also have old veterans and rookies, and even aliens and droids.

    Even when you have characters from the same general niche, they still can have huge differences between them. Han and Lando are both "scoundrels" and best buddies, but you immediately see that they are at home in completely different circles. I think it's not specifically "background" that should be very different, but maybe more the focus on certain character aspects to be emphasized.
    Two street kids who grew up to become smugglers could completely different when one of them emphasizes being a gruff gunslinger and the other a charming con man. You can even throw a timid starship mechanic in with that.
    However, having a farm boy, a career politician, a smuggler, and a freed exotic slave as a group also can work out amazingly well.

    I think the most important part is to encourage players to make their characters distinctive. Pick your preferred term, but get them to make their characters quirky. The last thing that a Star Wars hero should be is generic. I think in most games, many player are feeling cautious about not going overboard and keeping their characters serious and not too flamboyant. But with Star Wars the limit for that is considerably higher than for many other settings.
    I definitely want to try in my next campaign to use the Apocalypse World method to keep asking players questions to make up new details about their characters. For example, if players want to ask around for someone who can help them with a problem, you can tell them "You hear that Lannik Tor currently has a shop in this town and he owes you a favor. Who is Lannik Tor and how do you know him?" Or you could tell them that they spot a wanted note for one of the heroes at a bounty hunter agency. Ask the player who is after him and why. And then use the information the players just made up on the spot later and make it into a big deal and something that give the characters a reputation. I've seen things of that type a few times over the years, and generally the players love it.
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  4. - Top - End - #64
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    Default Re: Running Star Wars campaigns advice thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    I was actually just reading up on this stuff.

    The Imperial Sourcebook from 1989 really went all out with massive organigrams of countless organizations and sub-sections that make up the Empire. But only a few seem to ever have been picked up by later writers.
    Obviously the Imperial Navy and the Imperial Navy, as well as COMPNOR, the Imperial Security Bureau, and Imperial Intelligence. I think those are the only ones that are really acknowledged in the greater EU.

    As I see it, COMPNOR is "the party", inspired by Blackshirts, SA, and Red Guards. They are also the people in charge of propaganda and political education. Cool idea and often mentioned, but I don't recall them actually making any appearances anywhere. Though plenty of references.

    The ISB seems to be the official law enforcement service tasked with finding traitors and doing investigations in the loyalty of officers and officials. They are a branch within COMPNOR, but more law enforcement than a civilian or political organization.

    Imperial Intelligence seems to be more like military intelligence, focused on providing information about hostile military forces. Which is kind of obsolete when you rule the whole galaxy. And I think the reason why they very rarely appear in any meaningful capacity. The only case that I am aware of is when Director Isard found herself to be the most powerful official left on Coruscant and assumed rulership over the core.

    I think COMPNOR could be an interesting enemy faction for campaigns primarily set in the core worlds with a focus on instigating unrest against the Empire.
    Imperial Intelligence would make sense as a threat in a Rebel Soldiers campaign.

    For dodgy dealings with shady Imperial officers in the Outer Rim, or adventures about recruiting and organizing new Rebel forces, I think ISB would be the way to go. They really could be quite interesting, as they would be poking around for Rebel activity, which threatens even heroes who are not actually members of the Rebel Alliance, but could also be an asset to remove dangerous imperial officers if their loyalty isn't spotless.

    Thinking about ISB agents as NPCs, how much of a stretch would it be to make Imperial Commandos (Storm Commandos, Shadow Scouts) units of the ISB? They are usually considered to be Stormtroopers, which makes them part of the military, and they do have their own combat uniforms (which are really cool). But their missions generally fall more under the sphere of intelligence operations. I like the idea of Commando platoons being assigned to ISB officers when their missions requires some serious firepower. They could be used to raid Rebel compounds when a full Stormtrooper assault isn't desirably (like needing prisoners or rescuing hostages), but I could also see them working as bodyguards for ISB agents while out of uniform.
    My personal evidence-based head-cannon is that post-clone Stormtroopers all came up through COMPNOR, they're the "party faithful" troops that get all the best gear and the death's head iconography. While SW:Rebels and such tried to downplay the Imperial Army as a thing at all (official Disney cannon seems to be that there are just Stormtroopers and variants), I think the setting needs the Imperial Army and the Imperial Navy as regular soldiers, with Stormtrooper units dispatched both to act as "elite" troops, and to keep an eye on the regular military for disloyalty and unorthodoxy. Some units maintain an elite level, others are full of barely-competent zealots. Stormtroopers are the guys who will unfailingly charge down a boarding tube in the name of the Empire, the true believers in the New Order, who fit the political and physical ideals set forth. When someone says "you're a little short for a Stormtrooper", it's not such a ha-ha moment.

    Also, if you can get your hands on Fragments From the Rim, it's one of my favorite WEG SW supplements.

    (See pages 130 and 131 of the Imperial Sourcebook for some of where my thinking on Stormtroopers comes from.)
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2020-08-30 at 05:45 PM.
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  5. - Top - End - #65
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    Default Re: Running Star Wars campaigns advice thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    While SW:Rebels and such tried to downplay the Imperial Army as a thing at all (official Disney cannon seems to be that there are just Stormtroopers and variants)
    The Imperial Army does exist in the Disney canon, and in fact appears fairly extensively in Solo (and our titular scoundrel's Disney canon backstory has him serving in the Imperial Army rather than the fleet). Rebels doesn't feature army troopers, but then almost all of the ground battles in Rebels happen in strategically significant locations, most commonly Lothal, which is the sight of the TIE Defender factory in that series and therefore extremely important.

    This actually matches fairly well with Legends canon, in that Imperial Army service, especially by the Rebellion Era, mostly consisted of garrison duty on backwater worlds and providing logistical and vehicle piloting support to stormtroopers during combat. Over time the Empire simply acquired enough stormtroopers to handle all of its important ground deployments and actual battles. This makes sense since ground combat is actually rather rare in Star Wars - you only need ground troops to take out a planetary shield or to acquire some strategically important McGuffin. Any other target can just be reduced to slag from orbit, up to and including whole planets if necessary via a Base Delta Zero. SWTOR is actually a good example of this, since every planet you land on has some special reason why you're actually bothering with ground combat and it's not just two fleets battering each other in high orbit.

    A scoundrels campaign should therefore feature the Imperial Army much more heavily than a Rebellion oriented campaign, since any given team of scoundrels is likely to be working schemes against targets that are not considered strategically significant or are on otherwise unimportant worlds.
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  6. - Top - End - #66
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    Default Re: Running Star Wars campaigns advice thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    The Imperial Army does exist in the Disney canon, and in fact appears fairly extensively in Solo (and our titular scoundrel's Disney canon backstory has him serving in the Imperial Army rather than the fleet). Rebels doesn't feature army troopers, but then almost all of the ground battles in Rebels happen in strategically significant locations, most commonly Lothal, which is the sight of the TIE Defender factory in that series and therefore extremely important.

    This actually matches fairly well with Legends canon, in that Imperial Army service, especially by the Rebellion Era, mostly consisted of garrison duty on backwater worlds and providing logistical and vehicle piloting support to stormtroopers during combat. Over time the Empire simply acquired enough stormtroopers to handle all of its important ground deployments and actual battles. This makes sense since ground combat is actually rather rare in Star Wars - you only need ground troops to take out a planetary shield or to acquire some strategically important McGuffin. Any other target can just be reduced to slag from orbit, up to and including whole planets if necessary via a Base Delta Zero. SWTOR is actually a good example of this, since every planet you land on has some special reason why you're actually bothering with ground combat and it's not just two fleets battering each other in high orbit.

    A scoundrels campaign should therefore feature the Imperial Army much more heavily than a Rebellion oriented campaign, since any given team of scoundrels is likely to be working schemes against targets that are not considered strategically significant or are on otherwise unimportant worlds.
    If the "new cannon" does include the Imperial Army, then I'm happy to be wrong -- I've had discussions elsewhere with people who insist that there's no such thing now, and the lack of its visibility in material I'd seen since the sale seemed to back them up, leaving me to argue that the IA is needed for the Stormtroopers to be what I think they should be.
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  7. - Top - End - #67
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    Default Re: Running Star Wars campaigns advice thread

    Yes, stormtroopers can't be elite soldiers when there are no regular soldiers.

    Wookieepedia seems to treat the Stormtroopers as basically the Marine Corps of the Empire, not being part of the Army. But it's not really indicating the source for that idea.
    Though it would match with Stormtroopers always showing up when Vader is hunting rebels, and being on the Death Stars.

    I believe General Veers is meant to be wearing an Army uniform on Hoth, but being stationed on a Star Destroyer and commanding stormtroopers would make no sense for an Army general. General of the navy seems weird (though the Rebels have Generals commanding fighters like an air force), but General of marines would make more sense.
    But that raises the question why naval troopers exist? The original purpose of Marines was to defend ships from boarders. (But then again, the US likes to use marines for regular ground operations as a second Army, which makes Army officers question the reason for their existence.)

    Retroactively applying purpose and logic to things that were put on screen just because they looked cool is one of the weird questionable pleasures that Star Wars does unlike anything else.

    But I can see this arrangement make good sense:
    Imperial Army soldiers as permanent occupation forces, and defensive garrisons on important planets.
    Navy Troopers as security for Navy ships.
    Stormtroopers as immediately available ground troops stationed as full batallions (or whatever) on Star Destroyers.

    It won't match all depictions of stormtroopers of course. Videogames use stormtroopers exclusively for everything (and always have).
    Going with this system would mean that smaller imperial ships like Carrack cruisers and Lancer frigates would only have naval troopers, as would smaller space stations. Customs checks by navy patrols would also be done by naval troopers.
    And having the presence of stormtroopers indicating Star Destroyers in orbit would also be a fun little detail, I think.
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  8. - Top - End - #68
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    Default Re: Running Star Wars campaigns advice thread

    @Yora:

    There's also an alternative approach possible.

    The Empire could have a parallel structure in place. One half is everything that was created and maintained in the former Republic. Republic Army, Navy, Intelligence, Bureaucracy and such. The other half got installed to keep the Republic part firmly in line and under control.

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    Default Re: Running Star Wars campaigns advice thread

    That too. Dictatorships are often inefficient like that, even more so than democracies already are.

    Got to make sure nobody is powerful enough to dethrone the leader.
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  10. - Top - End - #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    I believe General Veers is meant to be wearing an Army uniform on Hoth, but being stationed on a Star Destroyer and commanding stormtroopers would make no sense for an Army general.
    General Veers is indeed wearing an army uniform on Hoth, and is an army general. He, and all the other AT-AT pilots are Imperial Army personnel, because the Stormtrooper Corps has only troopers, it doesn't control it's own logistics or vehicular support. That's something that the legends EU established based on how the um, historical regime the Empire most resembles worked with regard to this type of thing.

    But I can see this arrangement make good sense:
    Imperial Army soldiers as permanent occupation forces, and defensive garrisons on important planets.
    Navy Troopers as security for Navy ships.
    Stormtroopers as immediately available ground troops stationed as full batallions (or whatever) on Star Destroyers.
    Army troopers are mostly garrisons on unimportant planets, because the overwhelming majority of the planets in the Empire are unimportant. The Empire has 1.75 million full member worlds, but representation on fully 69 million worlds overall (there are about one billion inhabited worlds in the Star Wars galaxy, many have no Imperial presence at all, like Bespin).

    Quote Originally Posted by Florian
    The Empire could have a parallel structure in place. One half is everything that was created and maintained in the former Republic. Republic Army, Navy, Intelligence, Bureaucracy and such. The other half got installed to keep the Republic part firmly in line and under control.
    The Empire actually has, canonically, a parallel structure, both it's political and military. There's the centralized government that reflects the Republic with the Senate and its affiliated bureaucracies and departments such as Imperial Intelligence and the Imperial Navy and also COMPNOR, and there's a regional governance system that Palpatine actually started creating during the Clone Wars comprised of the Moffs and Grand Moffs who have direct control over their territories and report directly to Palpatine and his advisors (the guys in the funny hats). When Palpatine dissolved the Imperial Senate during ANH, this asserted the supremacy of the Moffs (of whom Tarkin was the most powerful so it was a huge boon for him) over the old bureaucratic system.

    Military units were technically subordinate to the Moff of whatever region to which they were assigned, but they were also subject to the commands of the special officers: Darth Vader, the Grand Admirals, various quasi-Sith like Blackhole, Emperor's Hands, etc. who could direct them to do their bidding by virtue of reporting directly to Palpatine themselves. For example, essentially all imperial forces that appear in ESB belong to Death Squadron, Vader's personal fleet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Yes, stormtroopers can't be elite soldiers when there are no regular soldiers.

    Wookieepedia seems to treat the Stormtroopers as basically the Marine Corps of the Empire, not being part of the Army. But it's not really indicating the source for that idea.
    Though it would match with Stormtroopers always showing up when Vader is hunting rebels, and being on the Death Stars.

    I believe General Veers is meant to be wearing an Army uniform on Hoth, but being stationed on a Star Destroyer and commanding stormtroopers would make no sense for an Army general. General of the navy seems weird (though the Rebels have Generals commanding fighters like an air force), but General of marines would make more sense.
    But that raises the question why naval troopers exist? The original purpose of Marines was to defend ships from boarders. (But then again, the US likes to use marines for regular ground operations as a second Army, which makes Army officers question the reason for their existence.)

    Retroactively applying purpose and logic to things that were put on screen just because they looked cool is one of the weird questionable pleasures that Star Wars does unlike anything else.

    But I can see this arrangement make good sense:
    Imperial Army soldiers as permanent occupation forces, and defensive garrisons on important planets.
    Navy Troopers as security for Navy ships.
    Stormtroopers as immediately available ground troops stationed as full batallions (or whatever) on Star Destroyers.

    It won't match all depictions of stormtroopers of course. Videogames use stormtroopers exclusively for everything (and always have).
    Going with this system would mean that smaller imperial ships like Carrack cruisers and Lancer frigates would only have naval troopers, as would smaller space stations. Customs checks by navy patrols would also be done by naval troopers.
    And having the presence of stormtroopers indicating Star Destroyers in orbit would also be a fun little detail, I think.
    To me, at least, Stormtroopers can't be... the parallel thing to a historical thing... that I see them being, without there being a not-Stormtrooper IA to serve as the "regular army".
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

    The Worldbuilding Forum -- where realities are born.

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    Default Re: Running Star Wars campaigns advice thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    To me, at least, Stormtroopers can't be... the parallel thing to a historical thing... that I see them being, without there being a not-Stormtrooper IA to serve as the "regular army".
    The Imperial Army definitely exists to serve that role, it's just that, due to the nature of the timeline, there's not a lot of focus on the period of time when that's actually happening.

    By the time the Rebellion really gets going - which happens around 2 BBY in both versions of canon - the Empire isn't on anything resembling a war footing. The Empire suppressed most active dissent (Separatist holdouts, the Hutts, etc.) almost immediately after it was founded during the Reconquest of the Rim and subsequently expanded to it's largely stable borders fairly shortly thereafter. Thus Solo, which primarily takes places in 10 BBY and features the Imperial Army subjugating Mimban, represents the timeframe for some of the last major campaign initiatives by the Empire (not counting those waged by Grand Admiral Thrawn in the Unknown Regions). The timeframe holds true for both versions of canon as well.

    In Legends canon the outward push of the Empire stops for two reasons. One, it becomes ever more expensive to control unrest with such massive but poorly managed holdings - 69 million garrisoned worlds but only 25,000 Star Destroyers leaves the fleet rather spread thin, even with 100+ other capital ships per Star Destroyer you still can only keep a ship in orbit over a fraction of the planets. Imperial military doctrine shifted towards trying just about anything to find a superweapon that would get around this issue. Two, Palpatine just sort of got bored with the idea of ruling the galaxy with an iron fist and decamped to Byss to play around with Sith Alchemy and schemes of immortality.

    So if you're playing during the Rebellion Era (2 BBY to 4 ABY), most of the places where the Imperial Army is stationed, and not Stormtroopers, are stable worlds firmly in the Imperial Camp. This includes most (but not all, witness Alderaan, Chandrila, and Corellia as key exceptions) of the Core and Colonies, which, while the account for only a tiny portion of the galactic area, represent a majority of the total population. A world like Metellos, might well have an Imperial Army garrison hundreds of millions strong, but there simply isn't a lot of Rebel activity going on there.

    Consequently the Rebellion, and major criminal groups like Black Sun or the Zann Consortium, tangle with Stormtroopers all the time because the Empire has the luxury of deploying stormtroopers to essentially any battlefield they actually care about. And, post-Endor, Stormtroopers remain a major component because they're the only ground troops loyal enough for the Imperial Remnant to trust them to actually fight the New Republic's forces. This is also why post-Endor warlords like Zsinj developed their own special units like the 'Raptors' for major engagements and rebel suppression, because they didn't trust the army garrisons to do it.
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    Asking from the perspective of the d6 system, but I think it applies to all Star Wars games in general.

    Do you think it's worth the effort to bother with money in a Star Wars campaign? All equipment that characters need 95% of the time is a blaster, which is very cheap, and a ship, which is very expensive.

    The vast majority of expanses that characters would encounter are food and docking fees, and that's not something worth tracking in a Star Wars game.
    In a campaign of bounty hunters or smugglers doing their day job from one day to another, there's a purpose to seeing how much money they make and spend. It's part of what those stories would be about.
    But I think in most cases, the players would want to make a single big purchase that they can not afford, and so they have to go on a small adventure to get the money, which then just happens to be the right amount that they need.

    Do you have any experiences either way?
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    Default Re: Running Star Wars campaigns advice thread

    Before I say anything else, I'll say that it's strange seeing anybody say "if you take the good vs evil space magic conflict out, what's even left to do in Star Wars". Like...you do know that Star Wars is this galaxy-spanning setting with a thousand worlds and a million stories and a trillion characters all moving around at the same time, right? Are you, in fact, aware that there exist stories in our real world that don't actually require magic in order to be interesting? And that telling stories like that set in the Star Wars universe does not, in fact, ruin the story by virtue of those stories not originally having magic space samurai?

    Like legit, you could make a "Star Wars" game that's a heist movie, or a slasher horror movie, or an urban fantasy movie, or a war movie, or a spy movie, or a buddy cop movie, or a gangster movie, or a Shadowrun movie. The guns are laser guns, any magic is now The Force, and there's droids and spaceships sometimes, but like...it's not so different a setting that you can't tell other stories in it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Asking from the perspective of the d6 system, but I think it applies to all Star Wars games in general.

    Do you think it's worth the effort to bother with money in a Star Wars campaign? All equipment that characters need 95% of the time is a blaster, which is very cheap, and a ship, which is very expensive.

    The vast majority of expanses that characters would encounter are food and docking fees, and that's not something worth tracking in a Star Wars game.
    In a campaign of bounty hunters or smugglers doing their day job from one day to another, there's a purpose to seeing how much money they make and spend. It's part of what those stories would be about.
    But I think in most cases, the players would want to make a single big purchase that they can not afford, and so they have to go on a small adventure to get the money, which then just happens to be the right amount that they need.

    Do you have any experiences either way?
    I've recently been building for a Saga game, and I'll add a middle tier between them we'll call "droids" because that's primarily what fills the tier. Droids, and particularly expensive pieces of personal equipment, have niche uses which they are perfect for and will save tons of time and money, but you can do without them if you really have to, and they are a bit too expensive to just always say "I'll buy another [droid]" if you lose the other one. Droids are items that are highly useful and kinda difficult to obtain, but losing them doesn't ruin the story, and if it's important enough to the PCs, they can acquire another one without the acquisition being a whole mission in and of itself.

    But the actual amount of credits is...not necessarily important. The character I'm playing in that game started with 130k compared to a more normal 5k for a starting character, and specializes heavily in upgrading gear. I've got another +1/+2 to a bunch of things compared to a stock character of my level, but I still couldn't afford a ship, and my guns aren't that much better. The big difference is that I was able to afford some good droids.

    I'll also say that, for a previous IRL game set in the Firefly universe using the Cortex system, I made a ship administrator who would handle the business side of keeping the ship running. The game didn't last as long as I'd have liked, but that system had the fuel efficiency of ships, the cost of fuel, and the worth of goods clearly marked, and the DM presented options for what kind of cargo we could try to transport/how far we were taking it/what our pay would be. This ended up being a way for all the PCs to talk through the various options and figure out what this or that means. This pay is way too much for the common-as-dirt cargo we're transporting, are we being set up to get shot on delivery or is their secret valuable cargo hidden in there that we're smuggling? This passenger agreement is pretty standard, but between the timeframe and our fuel situation we're gonna have to fly through reaver space to deliver it - buuuuut there's hazard pay if that happens. That approach could easily give your Star Wars adventure an accounting mini-game, especially if there's a handful of obvious traps and one sensible mission that pays what they need. But the upside is, it puts the direction the adventure takes in the players hands, making it a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure where they have to way the risks and rewards and talk it over and that makes the resulting adventure feel more real. There's advantages to skipping that accounting minigame and saying "this is our cargo this week, we're taking it here, here's the risks, here's the rewards, no there wasn't a better option".

    EDIT: Also, if anybody's gonna give you solid advice on running a long-term Star Wars game revolving around criminal enterprises, it'd maybe be a site-regular who's been doing that since March of 2015? Thundercracker has been running The Gathering Storm for more than 5 years now, and that's a crime-organization-focused kinda game, taking advantage of how sandboxy star wars can be.
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  15. - Top - End - #75
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    Default Re: Running Star Wars campaigns advice thread

    @Yora:

    Yeah, money is not that interesting. But: You need money to keep on flying, you need to fly to earn money. Look up the old Darkstryder campaign for an interesting take on the approach. You have a Nebulon-B and full crew, but no support beyond that, so you have to work quite hard to keep that thing flying, the crew in fighting shape and such until you reach the end of your mission.

    @AvatarVecna:

    It entirely depends on what you understand Star Wars to "be all about". I think there two main stances: Either it is regular SF with some mystical crap thrown in to keep it interesting, or itīs about a core struggle about how things should be that comes along with some SF trappings to keep things interesting.

  16. - Top - End - #76
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    I generally don't think money is worth dealing with in Star Wars. If you really want it, you might look at d6 Space and the Wealth stat... more abstract, easier to track.
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    I think the value of tracking money in Star Wars depends on two things: character goals and the level of future tech you're willing to embrace.

    The character goals part is simple. If any of the characters have 'get rich' on their list of character goals then you need to track wealth in some way, because having income exceed expenses is now a major story theme. This is usually more important in a scoundrel-type game, where characters wander the galaxy continually in search of the next big score (and often enough petty cash to splurge on high-class meals as opposed to ration bars), than in a game where characters fight for some ideologically based faction.

    The tech stuff is more a matter of whether or not you wish to embrace characters modifying equipment, buying special guns, tinkering with starships, purchasing droids, and the like. A lot of published Star Wars RPG systems allow for this, but it's not something you have to do. Still it tends to make more sense for scoundrels - who are liable to constantly be tinkering with their gear, seeking out black-market upgrades, and potentially switching equipment based on local legality, than some group of soldiers, who just make do with whatever standard issue happens to be.
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    Money in games is only interesting when you donít have it.

    When you donít have money you have to decide what your character is willing to do to get it. And that means action.

    When you do have money all youíre going to do with it is turn it into something more interesting than money.

    So itís fine to leave it pretty abstract as long as you have something that lets players know what they canít afford and so need to work for.

  19. - Top - End - #79
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    For the game I run I "charge" fixed amount / game month. This covers running of the ship and a basic standard of living for the party

    They need money for
    - Fixing battle damage (to them or the ship)
    - upgrading the ship
    - a more opulent lifestyle

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    Actually surprised by the overwhelming support for not counting credits. I didn't expect that being a popular approach.

    I think one approach that sounds quite workable is to simply say that minor expenses can be paid with pocket change, while major expenses are automatically "you don't have it" and the players first have to find a source of money that can cover the fee or purchase. Whatever difference remains at the end doesn't go into any account and is simply forgotten about.

    Though as an amendment to that, I think it could be useful to keep a record of what major spoils the players cashed in for credits, and remove items accordingly when they later make some big purchase.
    Say the players fought a swoop gang and decide to keep four swoops for themselves, sell the remaining three, and also sell the old landspeeder they used to drive around in, as they no longer need it. Their account would now say "5 swoops and 1 cheap landspeeder traded in". Later the players decide that they need to buy a hover truck and the GM decides that the money they got for the landspeeder and three swoops will cover for the truck, and their account now changes to "2 swoops traded in".

    Basically the players barter goods for goods, but they don't have to haul all the stuff around physically until they find something that they want to trade it in for. Trade it in for "credit" with the galactic merchant community.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Actually surprised by the overwhelming support for not counting credits. I didn't expect that being a popular approach.

    I think one approach that sounds quite workable is to simply say that minor expenses can be paid with pocket change, while major expenses are automatically "you don't have it" and the players first have to find a source of money that can cover the fee or purchase. Whatever difference remains at the end doesn't go into any account and is simply forgotten about.

    Though as an amendment to that, I think it could be useful to keep a record of what major spoils the players cashed in for credits, and remove items accordingly when they later make some big purchase.
    Say the players fought a swoop gang and decide to keep four swoops for themselves, sell the remaining three, and also sell the old landspeeder they used to drive around in, as they no longer need it. Their account would now say "5 swoops and 1 cheap landspeeder traded in". Later the players decide that they need to buy a hover truck and the GM decides that the money they got for the landspeeder and three swoops will cover for the truck, and their account now changes to "2 swoops traded in".

    Basically the players barter goods for goods, but they don't have to haul all the stuff around physically until they find something that they want to trade it in for. Trade it in for "credit" with the galactic merchant community.

    Perhaps keep track of big credits, but not the small stuff? So it's important that they've got 100,000 credits, but not important that they had to spend 100 credits?
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    My current campaign which has been running since Corona started began with the party taking part in the R1 Scariff assault to get them used to the system and shake off the cobwebs(I and one of the players played our last campaign back 1992-2001) and it was essentially a them park ride until the first chapter was over. I time jumped a year and they lost their old ship, owed a Hutt Cartel what sounded like a huge amount of credits and were marooned on an Imperial backwater trading station. I had a McGuffin that was a trap set by the Inquisition and the campaign went from there. They were overly worried about the money situation and I played into it since it was funny to me and had them make encounters with Hutt representatives wanting the money paid back. This was the only real use for money as ship costs were fairly light, they got paid well for doing things, and they haven't quite figured out that just like in real life once you have money, its quite meaningless. I finally have gotten them involved with the Rebellion(who doesn't pay well, but pays enough), we have a weapons dealer character who grabs every spare and fallen gun, weapon and armor piece he can so I am pushing the rebellion aspect more than the struggling to make ends meet. The fallen jedi is about to have another encounter with the Inquisition and have him set off on a path to be the good guy(he has gotten up to 5 dark side points but I don't play that completely in line with the book either). Thinking of having them discover the plan or be sent to discover the plans of another Mcguffin after this.

    The hardest part is having one player with a well thought out character and the other characters being shallow stereotypes. Makes it really hard to keep them all involved.

  23. - Top - End - #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Perhaps keep track of big credits, but not the small stuff? So it's important that they've got 100,000 credits, but not important that they had to spend 100 credits?
    Like having separate currencies of "trival credits" and "serious credits"? I think that could work quite well. Simply as a way to quantify what types of equipment are equivalent to others.

    Looking at the prices for gear in the the d6 system, 1,000 credits would seem like a good cutoff point. Almost all blasters, tools, and basic combat suits fall within that price range, while droids and vehciles are all above that.

    Anything below that can be gained from stores for free, but also can't be looted for profit. I think that should get a good balance that meets the needs of a typical Star Wars story.
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    Just some idle thoughts:

    Iīm not much of a gamer, but I did enjoy both of the SW:KotoR games, as well as Jade Empire.

    Reason being, that class and talent choices defined the character. Gold/Money/Credits is a means to get equipment and equipment is only there to enhance what is already there and fun for you.

    When I was younger and systems like WEG:SW or Shadowrun were new, we swiftly realized that options, therefore power, was available for coin on the market, not for EXP and steady advancement.

    In short, acquiring system mastery made the game less fun for us. In a sense, that changed with Mechwarrior and Earthdawn. The former using Battletech rules, so your mech will be ground down to pieces and you will have to work with what you can get your hands on as replacement, the later being the first RPG I know that dealt with classes and class choices being the thing, outside options being only there to enhance what was already chosen.

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    Scoundrel Star Wars:

    Most important thing is having some level of autonomy. Give them a ship, preferably analogous to the Millenium Falcon or Serenity.

    This does not need to happen quickly; earning your ship can be half the fun. But you do want most of the campaign to be *using* the ship. You don't want winning the ship to be the endgame capstone loot and the story ends.

    However it gets acquired, make sure the acquisition has drawbacks. It's not going to be brand new, never previously owned, and totally registered in the party's name. If it's nice, the PCs probably stole it. If they own it legitimately, it's probably a junker they are fixing up as they go. If they don't own it and haven't stolen it, they are probably working for some crime boss or corporate stooge and the ship is granted while they are employed by the owner. Maybe they begin the campaign traveling with their ship's original owner, who is rather destined for retirement soon after the adventure begins, handing the ship off to their crew.

    The most interesting thing about these drawbacks is that it means that no matter the ship's origins as a party member, its involvement in their adventures is simultaneously a blessing and a curse.

    Past this, you want a firm idea of the PC character goals. Scoundrels are probably best run in a sandbox, or psuedo sandbox, where they can think outside the box and adapt unconventional strategies to their problems. Star Wars is a big box, so you do want to add some structure and linearity for the sake of getting them started, but this is where the best thing to do is get player feedback.

    Have your players write backstories and request them to outline a few backstory friends and foes for their characters to be connected with. These can be, but don't need to be interwoven as primary plot characters. More than likely, these characters will be tangential to the plot, but they may connect in exactly the right way to connect the protagonist scoundrels to their campaign antagonist(s).
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    Brainstorming... first sesseion IF your players are amenable to this sort of thing...

    1) Figure out with each player why their character would be in the brig on a large orbital spaceport... anything from bar fight to picked up on an Imperial warrant to thrown under the bus so his smuggler "buddies" could make their getaway when they got caught to... whatever.

    2) Let them figure out with these strangers how they're going to get out of their cells and stage an escape... if things start to drag maybe pirates launch a raid on the facility and all hell breaks loose. Maybe there's an unlikable NPC they leave behind who can become a recurring enemy or foil. OR, if the soon-to-be crew is missing some necessary skill for running the ship or whatever, or you want to plant a future contact in their awareness, have an NPC who can escape with them.

    3) Let them fight, flee, or finagle their way to the hangers, where they come across several ships they could steal, and give them a few minutes to argue over which ship... have stats and quirks ready for all of them. Again, chance to make enemies and friends right away, from the mortified station security chief, to the owner of the ship they take, to whoever.

    4) Space chase as they try to evade pursuit while plotting a hyperspace jump in an unfamiliar ship. Maybe the character with repair or shipjacking skills has to disable an interlock or remote that the "previous owner" installed, while the sharpshooter gets to apply his eagle eye to the ship's defensive turret, and so on.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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  27. - Top - End - #87
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    Default Re: Running Star Wars campaigns advice thread

    Wow, my ideas were so bad they killed the thread.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Brainstorming... first sesseion IF your players are amenable to this sort of thing...

    1) Figure out with each player why their character would be in the brig on a large orbital spaceport... anything from bar fight to picked up on an Imperial warrant to thrown under the bus so his smuggler "buddies" could make their getaway when they got caught to... whatever.
    Six scoundrels, one lineup, no coincidences.

    They're there because someone wanted them all together for a job. If you're doing anything on the shady side of the law a heist is a good way to start because it explains why you have a group of different characters with conveniently diverse skills all in one place. It also gives the players an inbuilt reason to stick together for the first adventure.

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    Default Re: Running Star Wars campaigns advice thread

    I completed my five months D&D campaign and now work seriously on preparing a first Star Wars d6 adventure. Not having run or played the system before, I think I want to run two or three one shots first before starting with a full scale campaign. (And perhaps check out some players who I might or might not invite for the full campaign.)

    What do you think would be a good approach to short one-off adventures for a single session or two in Star Wars? I think meeting in a cantina and having the characters get to know each other for a while isn't really an option. It probably should be a wild adventure with plenty of action that is very easy to grasp without much exposition. But any neat ideas for a scenario?
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    Default Re: Running Star Wars campaigns advice thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    I completed my five months D&D campaign and now work seriously on preparing a first Star Wars d6 adventure. Not having run or played the system before, I think I want to run two or three one shots first before starting with a full scale campaign. (And perhaps check out some players who I might or might not invite for the full campaign.)

    What do you think would be a good approach to short one-off adventures for a single session or two in Star Wars? I think meeting in a cantina and having the characters get to know each other for a while isn't really an option. It probably should be a wild adventure with plenty of action that is very easy to grasp without much exposition. But any neat ideas for a scenario?
    Is this request about an all-scoundrel kinda set-up, or just general ideas for quick missions that give you some experience with the system?


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