What should you do when a session feels a bit flat?

We’ve all been in that position from time to time when you run a game session that you don’t feel is up to your best standards, this could be for any number of reasons, you might be tired or have other things going on that serve to distract you from running the game. Continue reading

Fate Star Wars Idea

I’ve recently had the good fortune to play in a Dresden Files Accelerated game using the preview rules that Lloyd ran, I very much enjoyed it; one of my favourite bits of the game was a mechanic dealing with a new type of condition that effectively acted as a power pool for some of your other abilities, each one normally came with a condition that you could tick to refresh your pool at the cost of gaining some sort of longer term complication or disadvantage. Continue reading

Star Wars Notes from Heart of Darkness

I often get people asking me about making notes or prep for role-playing sessions and it’s been something I’ve been thinking about for a while, I’m always torn between making notes in session and making them afterwards. I record my sessions partly because I can watch them back and update notes, this can obviously take a fair amount of time though, however if I write too many notes during a session I feel like I am not giving full attention to running the game. Continue reading

The Rebel Strike Trilogy

We’ve recently wrapped up the Rebel Strike Trilogy, a linked series of three sessions using the FFG Age of Rebellion Star Wars rules set in my Adventures on the Outer Rim version of the Star Wars universe, I’m going to gather all of the material about it in this post.

Cast

  • Kaid-Sen: A dour sharpshooter working for the Rebellion.
  • Inigo Stazzi: A happy go lucky hothead who somehow manages to get the job done.
  • T7-01: A sharp-witted astromech with a talent for penetrating enemy computer systems.

Episode I

The Rebellion has rescued a Quarren known as Sekas Proko from Tattooine, the Quarren has access to experimental stealth technology but will only turn it over if the rebels free his ally Berek Nur from the clutches of the Empire. Kaid, Inigo and T7 board the prison ship Leviathan and attempt to free him.

Intro crawl: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQs1woDHuEM
Commander Sheb Gergran’s briefing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6lu8yUr-I8

Episode II

With the stealth-tech in the hands of the Rebellion it is fitted to the cruiser Constantine and sent out for a test, however, when activated the ship vanishes, it re-appears later in the Draconis sector inside the Imperial blockade around the frozen moon of Ga-Ri V. The fleet intends to distract the Imperials whilst Kaid, T7 and Inigo sneak aboard to investigate.

Intro crawl: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mOwD9MoM5k

After the Strike: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZuu2cYiddk

Episode III

With Inigo away on an important mission, Kaid calls in a favour from a Sullustan contact of his and manages to arrange for some much needed R&R for himself and T7 on the peaceful ocean world of Spira. However an old enemy pursues them there, learning of this Tyber Zann, wishing to clear his debt sends the bounty hunter Remo Williams to aid them.

Intro Crawl: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGle8l9DoX4

I had a great time running this trilogy and was lucky enough to have four excellent players involved in it, there were the usual scheduling problems and such like that tend to plague this sort of game but we stuck with and created a fun story that I certainly enjoyed GM-ing and the players seemed to enjoy getting involved in 🙂

 

Star Wars Adventures on the Outer Rim: Rebel Strike

It’s been a while since I’ve run any FFG Star Wars games (although I have played in some great one-shots and campaign run by such great GMs as Andre Martinez, Michael Lashambe and Ian Christiansen) so I’ve decided that it’s about time saddle, all the FFG Star Wars games are run are set in the same version of the Star Wars universe, loosely grouped together under the label Adventures on the Outer Rim. Reading through my old notes it occurred to me that we’d never really concluded the story of Sekas Proko, Berek Nur and the hidden Alderaanian stealth technology.

Confused? Let me explain.

In one of the first of these games that I ran the players recovered some lost Alderaanian stealth technology from the post-Death Star ruins of the once great planet, betrayed by one of his friends Sekas Proko the Quarren was able to smuggle the stealth-tech aboard a stolen Tie-Interceptor and use it to escape, unfortunately his ally the mercenary Berek Nur was captured by Imperial authorities and taken away.

In a later game I had Seka Proko turn up as a NPC, he was rescue by a group of Rebels hoping to bring the stealth-tech into the fight on the side of the Rebel Alliance.

Since then we’ve heard nothing of this storyline, I’ve been wanting to run another trilogy so I thought it’d be nice to resolve that storyline one way or the other, so I decided that Sekas would set the Rebels an ultimatum, rescue my friend from the Empire and I’ll give you the stealth technology.

You can find the trilogy outline by clicking on the link below:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CnZj5f-Ij44oxIiDfvTD5Ku0f9pXEbBvlxGhIcLBbB0/edit?usp=sharing

If you have any interest in Star Wars RPGs (particularly the FFG system) then check out the Tides of Change community on Facebook, a great group of players and GMs who run games set in various versions of the Star Wars universe, I’ve met some great people through the group and had some great games:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/StarWarsTheTidesofChange/

All About Aspects: Star Wars Fate II – Force-wielding Boogaloo

After my first post about running Star Wars games using Fate Accelerated Edition I got a great response and it compelled me (see what I did there?) to try and write some of it down as a cohesive document.

I got some great feedback from Sam Dimercurio after showing him the rough version of the document and Wayne Peters was good enough to point out that Scott Wegener, one of the artists on the excellent Atomic Robo had already done some great work with regard to running Star Wars in FAE (you can find his document here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/12C27OiWxnBz5_DanJX6UQceGKHUbPMdBLLin91q5bYk/edit)

Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth I have unashamedly borrowed some of the excellent ideas from Scott’s article and incorporated them into my own version of a FAE Star Wars hack, many thanks go to Scott for making his document available to people on Google+.

In-case it needs to be said, this is a fan hack only, no challenge is intended to any copyrights and nor should it be sold for profit in any way, it’s solely designed to allow people who love FAE to add Star Wars to their Fate games.

You can find my version here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByVpAo4rxDGuQWVLWUhNNy1DV1E/view?usp=sharing

 

All About Aspects: Star Wars Fate

I’ve had the idea knocking around in my head for a while to combine my love of Star Wars with my love of the Fate RPG, those of you who’ve gamed with me know that I’m a big fan of the FFG Star Wars games, I’ve played in a lot of games and ran some, all of them have been very enjoyable and I love the narrative dice mechanic used in the game.

So why bother using Fate then?

That’s a good question, and for me it stems entirely from a couple of little niggles I have, my first is that character creation in FFG Star Wars is great if you have the books and all the material in-front of you, there’s plenty of options there to keep the crunch-meisters happy but it’s easy enough so that those of us who don’t find looking things up in rule books all the time quite so compelling, can still get along with it. However, if you are a player who doesn’t have the rulebook then things become a little more difficult, it’s a lot more involved to coach people through creating a character, especially if they don’t have the facility of using some of the excellent character generation programs available for the system.

Whereas creating a Fate character is fairly simple (especially if you’re going to use Fate Accelerated like I’m planning to), the rules are available for free online and, for my money, it is a lot more easily accessible and easy on the pocket, although I appreciate that not everyone finds the Fate rules as easy to understand as I did.

Plus I think the high-fantasy, heroic, action vibe of Star Wars would work well with Fate and I’m interested to see how it would work.

Uber Simple Fate Hack

Okay, I’ve looked at a few Star Wars Fate hack and most of them pretty much started laying on additional details and systems to deal with stuff, which is understandable in a sci-fi system with extra tech and cybernetics etc, but it’s not really the simple one-shot vibe that I’m going for so here are my suggestions for a very simple Fate hack.

Aspects

You have 5 aspects as normal, they are as follows:

  • High Concept: as per Fate Accelerated Rulebook
  • Trouble: as per Fate Accelerated Rulebook
  • Species: the characters race, pick one thing the race is good at and something they are bad at, make it clear in the aspect so invokes/compels are clear.

    For example: Wookie – immensely strong and powerful but prone to berserker rages.

  • Planet/System of Origin: Where your character grew up, again pick one thing that people from that place are good at and one thing they are bad at.

    For example: Citizens of the Imperial are excellent at politicking but not used to surviving in primitive environments.

  • Signature equipment: Pick one piece of equipment that is signature gear for your character and again give it one thing it’s good at and one shortcoming.

    For example: My souped up blaster does a lot of damage but it’s prone to over-heating.

Approaches

These are chosen as per the Fate Accelerated Rulebook.

Stunts

Chosen as per the Fate Accelerated Rulebook, if someone wants to be Force-sensitive, then in addition to having their high concept mention it, they must also take a Force-sensitive stunt, this costs the same as a normal stunt and does nothing on its own but gives narrative permission to do things that otherwise would be impossible using the Force, if a character wants to be good at specific applications of Force-powers then they can take other stunts to reflect this.

Player: I want to leap over the gap between the platforms, is that possible?

GM: Normally no, but you do have the Force-sensitive stunt so I’ll allow you to make a roll to jump it.

Player: Can I persuade the storm-trooper that I’m not the person he’s looking for?

GM: Well since you’ve just strutted up to him in a rebel uniform normally no, but you are a Force-user so I’ll let you make a difficult roll to use the Jedi mind trick on him.

What about spaceships and vehicles though?

Spaceships would be genned in a way similar to mooks, they would have a couple of things they’re good at:

My tramp-freighter is a very fast ship with good manoeuvrability.

And a couple of things they’re bad at:

However its weapons aren’t so great and the sensors have only short-range.

When a person in the ship is using systems in an area the ship is good at then get +2 to their rolls, when it’s a system the ship is bad at they get -2 to their rolls.

Ships would have a stress track and consequences similar to characters but would only be affected by weapons on a similar scale to them.

Conclusion

I think this is a fairly simple way to use Fate Accelerated to run a Star Wars game, it looks okay but I’d have to see it in play to test how it really works, I might have a go at running a game with these rules in a few weeks time.


 

Circuit board tree image designed by Mastermindsro, you can see the full design here.

RP Rambles: Star Wars, the Dichotomy of New and Old

In these RP rambles posts I generally talk and chew the fat about subjects in RPGs that interest me or interesting situations that I’ve encountered in games but that don’t fit neatly into any of my other blog categories. Constructive comments and discussions are welcome, please feel free to put them in the comments box at the bottom of this post.

One of the things that has always struck me about Star Wars is that it has very clear dividing lines; now yes you can say that smugglers like Han and Chewie are a bit more morally grey, but in the end everyone generally throws down of being on the side of light or the side of darkness. The other huge contrast in Star Wars is that between old and new.

Consider how each star wars film begins:

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

We’re watching a science-fiction/space opera film, these are generally set in the future using technology that we can only dream at, however the first line of each opening crawl brings us back to this idea that this stuff happened ages ago, it might seem futuristic but actually it’s more like a myth or a legend.

This may seem to be a bit of a contradiction in terms, but it’s actually pretty clever and I love it for a number of reasons:

  • The creator is giving his creation a mythic frame of reference, we tend to ascribe more important or gravitas to ancient tales handed down (equating age with worthiness for right or wrong), so by making the stories seem mythic it makes us pay more attention to it.
  • It lends the stories a timeless quality, because they are futuristic but also set in the past the stories do not age as badly as some other films, books, etc do.
  • Myths are larger than life, full of gods and monsters, heroes and villains, these stories tend to touch something very deeply rooted in all of us, by creating a space-epic filled with the same elements the Star Wars stories also touch those same roots.

The clever combination of old and new is also reflected in the visual element of the franchise, contrast the sleek futuristic lines of the Imperial Star Destroyer with Maz Kanata’s run down and steampunk looking bar on Tokodana in the Force Awakens, one is sleek and deadly, evoking a sense of the futuristic (despite being filmed many years early) whilst the other is a ragtag, tumble down place that, droids aside, would not have looked out of place today or even earlier in our history.

Along with other mythic elements of the franchise the bringing together of these opposites, old and new, past and future gives extra weight to the stories that the various authors have to tell, combined with the franchises longevity and fan-base it is no surprise that Star Wars has become a massive part of modern life for many people, and I expect it will continue to be a part of our lives long into the future.


If the themes of myths and legends interest you in RPGs then you might want to check out the Mythic Gods & Monsters book written by myself and Johnn Four.

Image is Cowboy and his Lady taken from publicdomainvectors.org.

The Full RED HAND OF THE EMPIRE Trilogy

Last night we reached the climax of our trilogy, where our Inquisitors pursued a Jedi to the Hutt planet of Varda VI; attempting to retain diplomatic relations whilst bringing down a rebel insurrection; an epilogy video was uploaded this morning, you can now see the complete trilogy from start to finish:

 

The Red Hand of the Empire: Episode I

Just finished running the first session of our Red Hand of the Empire trilogy, our players portraying a cell of four Imperial Inquisitors called the Red Hand, trained by Lord Vade himself.

Very enjoyable game to run, thanks to the players involved, looking forward to the next session 🙂