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Stormtroopers are COOL!
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Wajeb Deb Kaadeb
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PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2017 6:57 pm    Post subject: Stormtroopers are COOL! Reply with quote

I was thinking, today on my drive home from work, that it would be damn cool to run a game where the players start as stormtroopers.

I'd have them break up Rebel bases and participate in large scale battles.

As GM, I'd keep throwing more and more powerful moral problems at them: Orders to burn a village to the ground, orders to kill an informant who helped the Empire with info about the Rebels. Order to exterminate an entire town. Maybe have Darth Vader show up--ending with Vader choking to death an NPC who had become a party favorite, or maybe a fellow soldier or officer who had saved the life of one of the PCs.

As GM, it would be interested to see at what point, if ever, the PCs break and decide enough is enough. That they want to join the Rebellion, and watch the PCs go against their masters.

I wouldn't warn the players that this was the plan all along. I'd just keep the pressure on, laying all kinds of suck on them from the Empire--until the players make up their own minds to go in a new direction with the Rebels.

This might even be a great place to start The Far Orbit Project, where the PCs stormtroopers are part of the crew that mutinies, or comes aboard the vessel just as the mutiny is taking place.

That might be a pretty cool campaign.
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Sutehp
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PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2017 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dude, not telling your players that you're going to be throwing serious moral problems at them throughout the campaign is a serious d!ck move. It's irresponsible for a GM to bring up serious moral themes like this without warning.

If players want to knowingly deal with stuff like being involved in atrocities and pillaging, that's one thing, but dropping that onto your players without their consent or prior knowledge? That's a serious GM no-no. Consider how deeply you could offend your players if you pulled that on them without warning. What happens if one or more of your players had lost family during the Holocaust and you asked them to play the part of stormtroopers taking kids away from their families to be sent to work camps or death camps? I can guarantee they wouldn't take kindly to that, especially if you sprang that story twist on them without warning.

Playing an Imperial/bad guy campaign has its advantages, but if you're going to involve your players with mature themes like torture and wartime atrocities, you need to get their permission first.
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Wajeb Deb Kaadeb
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PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2017 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sutehp wrote:
Dude, not telling your players that you're going to be throwing serious moral problems at them throughout the campaign is a serious d!ck move. It's irresponsible for a GM to bring up serious moral themes like this without warning.


Oh, I completely disagree.

And, I've done stuff like this before in other games, and it has always been successful.

In fact, it adds a new dimension to the game and makes it even more interesting than what it was.

I remember playing through Keep on the Borderlands with a Good aligned player picking up that cursed sword in the Caves of Chaos.

As DM, I changed the sword to an intelligent, evil sword, that could possess its wielder. We had a blast, me and the player, with the Good aligned player discovering what he'd done after he "woke up" from being possessed.

The sword required being blooded if it were drawn--and not just a player cutting his own hand, either. Something had to be killed.

In addition, the sword refused to allow the player to use any other weapon. So, if the PC were to fight, then he'd have to use that sword, and something would have to die.

Plus, once the sword was drawn, then a saving throw was made for possession--when the sword took over completely--and the character would stay possessed until (save once per day) a save was made to fight back the possession and for the character to be in his right mind again.

We still talk about that game. It was incredible.

The player ate it up.





In probably the best Star Wars game I ever ran, a player played a Coynite force user. Out of no cause by the player, I decided to try to tempt this powerful character to the Dark Side. I figured the Dark Side, itself, found the character rather tasty.

I started with dreams--the Dark Side calling to him--which got more and more intense. Then, I started putting the character in morally ambiguous situations where choosing one thing would probably lead to a Dark Side Point.

The player just ate this up. We had a great time.

Eventually, this character did fall to the Dark Side. I took him out of play, and the player created a new character. After a time, the Coynite was forgotten as the group focused on this new, unnamed Sith focused on them.

Then they learned that this new Sith was actually Darth Vader's apprentice (this game was before the prequels and before The Force Unleashed video games), a Coynite Sith named Darth Raije (this was also before Darth Rage was created in Legends).

The players thought this was brilliant. Their old shipmate, who had fallen to the Dark Side, was now their main antagonist!

It's was an amazing game.





Quote:
If players want to knowingly deal with stuff like being involved in atrocities and pillaging, that's one thing, but dropping that onto your players without their consent or prior knowledge? That's a serious GM no-no.


Again, I don't agree at all. I think the surprise will be welcome. Plus, the players will know that they are playing stormtroopers going into it.





Quote:
Consider how deeply you could offend your players if you pulled that on them without warning. What happens if one or more of your players had lost family during the Holocaust and you asked them to play the part of stormtroopers taking kids away from their families to be sent to work camps or death camps? I can guarantee they wouldn't take kindly to that, especially if you sprang that story twist on them without warning.


Well, I'd know about that before hand, would I not? I mean, I know who I'm playing with.

I've got two players who have lost children in real life (one to a car crash, one to a brain tumor). That doesn't stop me from having dead children in a game--because I know my players.



Quote:
Playing an Imperial/bad guy campaign has its advantages, but if you're going to involve your players with mature themes like torture and wartime atrocities, you need to get their permission first.


I see your point, but I still don't agree. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this one.

The main game I'm running right now is set in Conan's Hyborian Age. Man, if you think this is a dick move, you sure wouldn't like some of the things that I put into this Conan game. Surprised
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Urban Spaceman
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PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 2:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Sutehp, but you know your players better than we do so if they are ok with that kind of stuff then it could be an interesting campaign.

Out of interest, how sure are you that they won't enjoy being the bad guys so much that they won't want to join the Rebellion?
Might be worth planning for them to be betrayed by some high up Imperial as a catalyst for them losing former allies, and maybe even have them become part of a 'fringe' cell of fighters who might not even be part of the Rebellion.
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Wajeb Deb Kaadeb
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PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Urban Spaceman wrote:
Out of interest, how sure are you that they won't enjoy being the bad guys so much that they won't want to join the Rebellion?


I'm not going to run this campaign. It's just an idea I had.

To answer your question, I don't know. That will be part of the fun for the GM, to see where all this goes. Give the players full reign on what they do--within the boundaries of being stormtroopers.

With my group of players, I think they'd all turn to the Rebellion.
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Zarn
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PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, you could model it after Kreel and Task Force 99. Doesn't need to be much morally ambiguous up until they're going up against Rebels. And even Rebels aren't necessarily squeaky clean. The Empire had anti-slaver operations, for instance, and had their problems with the Hutt cartels.

Or even on detached duty to hunt for lightbatontwirlers, for that matter.

http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Kreel
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Wajeb Deb Kaadeb
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PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do find it interesting that two GMs find it wrong to do what I propose in the OP. I think it's an exciting idea. Fun for both sides of the table.

Of course, I believe in Old School, the "GM is God in his game world" roleplaying, too. A lot of younger players don't subscribe to that way of playing, and even some games today attempt to take some of the power awy from GMs.

Like Modiphius' awful 2d20 system. Yuck!
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Urban Spaceman
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PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 5:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wajeb Deb Kaadeb wrote:
I do find it interesting that two GMs find it wrong to do what I propose in the OP. I think it's an exciting idea. Fun for both sides of the table.


I don't think the story/campaign idea is wrong, I've toyed with something similar myself, but I wouldn't unleash a 'dark' campaign on players without their knowledge, unless I knew them very well (which it sounds like you do).

Whenever you deal with dark themes you have to be careful and aware of your players sensibilities, as you want them to be comfortable with what's happening at the table. I played in a game (not Star Wars) where the GM threw sexual assault in to the storyline, and it was too close to home for one player, causing them some distress.

I know my players very well, we've been friends for nearly 15 years or more, so I have a good idea what their limits are. I know for certain that if I proposed a similar idea to yours, 2 of them wouldn't be interested, so there's no way I'd just start the campaign without sounding them out on it first.
Sounds like your group is different (not better, not worse, just a different set of people) and there's nothing wrong with that. From your first original post, that wasn't clear, so we (well, I, as I don't want to speak for Sutehp) were just giving you a heads up that it would be unwise to go ahead without checking with your players. Sounds like your group already knows each other well enough, but as a word of advice to fellow GM's who might not have run games with darker themes before, Sutehp hit the right note in my opinion.
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Wajeb Deb Kaadeb
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PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Urban Spaceman wrote:
I don't think the story/campaign idea is wrong, I've toyed with something similar myself, but I wouldn't unleash a 'dark' campaign on players without their knowledge, unless I knew them very well (which it sounds like you do).


Well, if they're going to play stormtroopers, they know it ain't all going to be daisies and cookies. The opening scene of TFA sees stormtroopers torching a village, then the mass murder of all the inhabitants.

I figure the campaign would start off surprising in that it's not dark at first. I'd find non-evil things for the troopers to do. As was suggested above, the Empire run non-slavery operations. It's not all evil stuff for the Empire.

These stormtroopers would be patriots. My players are strong roleplayers, so I have no doubt that they'd play good troopers that believe in the Empire.

As GM, it will be interesting to see how long they go along with that, as the dirty work gets dirtier and dirtier. Will I hear, "To hell with this! I'm not killing babies! I'm going going to turn around and shoot the commanding officer!" Or, will the players allow the atrocities to go on?

I think that would be damned interesting to play, as a GM (and as a player).




If I tell the players what I'm doing in this case, upfront, it would ruin the game. If I tell them that we're going to run a campaign based on stromtroopers who mutiny and join the Rebellion, then it probably won't be long, and not very interesting, before the mutiny happens after the game starts.

The interesting part for GM is watching the players react to the escalating horrors. First, introduce patriotism into the game--that not all stormtroopers are bad, and that that are some good people who believe with all their souls in the life of the Empire. Then, slowly degrade that with orders that are harder and harder to carry out.

For the player, the game should be addicting as the players actually live in a stormtrooper's shoes, having to deal with what those troopers go through. How long can you turn a cheek in the name of the Empire? When does an order become unlawful?

I really do think it would be a fascinating campaign.

Plus, my guys are smart, like most roleplayers. They'll probably figure it out.







Quote:
Whenever you deal with dark themes you have to be careful and aware of your players sensibilities, as you want them to be comfortable with what's happening at the table. I played in a game (not Star Wars) where the GM threw sexual assault in to the storyline, and it was too close to home for one player, causing them some distress.


Yes, I know what you mean. As I said above, I know my players. You've been friends for nearly 15 years with one of your players. My youngest relationship is 24 years old. Another player taught me how to roleplay in 1982. And, one player, I've known since First Grade. My God! That was 46 years ago!

I will sometimes runs pretty intense games. Yes, we've had rape in our games (but I try not to over use it--it's story tool that can get old, quick). Other games are lighter, more heroic. It just depends on the game.

I had a new player bring his wife to a Traveller game a while back. I sat her down and explained what kind of game we were playing--that pirates where not black & white bad guys. They were real pirates that really rape, plunder, and murder. I told her that this might not be the game she's looking for.

But, she played and had a great time.

It's not always as dark as I may make it seem, my games. I tend to shock, sometimes, for the story effect.





Quote:
Sounds like your group is different (not better, not worse, just a different set of people) and there's nothing wrong with that.


Yep, I do know them well.

And, your advice is taken well. It just surprised me that people wouldn't think this type of game would not be damned interesting.

I mentioned above that one of my players lost his son in a car wreck a few years ago. That player's character is a Pirate (in my Conan game). For his background, I named his pirate vessel the Queen O' Dragons, better known as the Drake, on the Western shores of the lands of the Hyborian Age.

My player's son is named Drake.

I did this to honor his son. I know the guy doesn't like it when people don't mention his son anymore. He doesn't want people to forget him. So, I did what I did with his character's background to make the player smile.

And, since this was a touchy subject, I ran it by him first, too. First, to get him to OK the background addition I'd made to what he had made up. Second, to make sure he didn't think it belittled his son.

He loves the idea.

I thought so, but I asked to be sure.
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Bren
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PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wajeb Deb Kaadeb wrote:
Of course, I believe in Old School, the "GM is God in his game world" roleplaying, too.
I believe in everybody having fun.

Wajeb Deb Kaadeb wrote:
He loves the idea.

I thought so, but I asked to be sure.
Which is exactly what several other people have suggested you should do in such situations. And you did.

Wajeb Deb Kaadeb wrote:
I really do think it would be a fascinating campaign.
Sounds dull and unpleasant to me. Like exploring the moral choices of a loyal member of the Waffen SS during WWII or playing a bunch of angsty emo vampires. Not is my cups of tea.
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Wajeb Deb Kaadeb
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PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bren wrote:
Wajeb Deb Kaadeb wrote:
Of course, I believe in Old School, the "GM is God in his game world" roleplaying, too.
I believe in everybody having fun.


Yep, everybody having fun while they agree that the GM is the final arbiter of any decision in the game.



Wajeb Deb Kaadeb wrote:
Which is exactly what several other people have suggested you should do in such situations. And you did.


Yep. For that. But, I wouldn't for the Stormtrooper idea in the OP.



Wajeb Deb Kaadeb wrote:
Sounds dull and unpleasant to me. Like exploring the moral choices of a loyal member of the Waffen SS during WWII or playing a bunch of angsty emo vampires. Not is my cups of tea.


Well, from your recent posts, I don't think you'd be invited to play in my game, anyway.

I think we have different play styles. Exploring the moral choices of a loyal member of the Waffen SS during WWII actually sounds interesting to me. Shocked

One of my player once said to me, when we were discussing the actions of a good GM, "What is interesting is playing a character that sees undead for the first time--actually standing in that man's shoes, looking at what is supposed to be dead, moving around, coming at you. Can you imagine the horror? The utter fright?"

"But, do you know what would really be interesting?" He continued, "What would really be interesting is when that character realizes that the undead thing in front of him is a family member."
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Bren
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PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recall some people trotting out the GM is god mantra back in 1974-1975. I was just a teenager back then, but it struck me at the time as an immature way to discuss roles and responsibilities in an RPG. But I cut my friends some slack since we were all teenagers and we were immature. But as a mantra it hasn't improved with age.
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Wajeb Deb Kaadeb
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PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bren wrote:
I recall some people trotting out the GM is god mantra back in 1974-1975. I was just a teenager back then, but it struck me at the time as an immature way to discuss roles and responsibilities in an RPG. But I cut my friends some slack since we were all teenagers and we were immature. But as a mantra it hasn't improved with age.


The idea comes from what E. Gary Gygax wrote in the AD&D DMG.

It's not immature at all.

What it means is that everyone agrees that there is a referee with ultimate authority over the game. Just like a football or baseball or basketball or hockey or volleyball...or (fill in the sport) game.

Games work best, imo, with a strong GM.

But, saying that GM is god doesn't mean that he's a dictator with no care for his players. A good GM considers what each of his players wants to get out of the game and tries to provide that. The game isn't just about the GM. It's about the GM and the players.

It's just that a player should not have a final authority over a GM.

For example, if a GM says that there are six stormtroopers heading down the corridor towards the PCs, a player can't say, "No. That's too many. Let's just go with three stormtroopers instead."

What the GM rules trumps a player ruling (which is really a player request).

Players and GameMasters enter into an unspoken contract. The GM will rule the game to the best of his ability with an eye towards all having fun, and the players agree to play and accept the GM's final judgement--even when they don't agree.

The GM is god. The GM controls, and at least partially creates, the game world and all things in it. Players will argue their points of view, sure, but it is a good game where the players accept the GM's final ruling.
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Bren
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PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wajeb Deb Kaadeb wrote:
The idea comes from what E. Gary Gygax wrote in the AD&D DMG.
Ah yes, the AD&D DMG. TSR's plan to change D&D from a DIY tool set where GMs did their own thing into hard coded rules for regulating convention modules and trying to control 8-12 year old GMs. That was where D&D first started to go wrong.
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Wajeb Deb Kaadeb
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PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bren wrote:
Wajeb Deb Kaadeb wrote:
The idea comes from what E. Gary Gygax wrote in the AD&D DMG.
Ah yes, the AD&D DMG. TSR's plan to change D&D from a DIY tool set where GMs did their own thing into hard coded rules for regulating convention modules and trying to control 8-12 year old GMs. That was where D&D first started to go wrong.


Wow. An army of people would disagree with you on that.

AD&D started me along the road of a life-long passion, as it did for many. I may never have discovered the Star Wars D6 game had it not been for AD&D.

But, again, we disagree. Wink
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