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Starting off campaign/adventure
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Straxus
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2017 4:03 am    Post subject: Starting off campaign/adventure Reply with quote

In pretty much all my RPG groups we tend to start a session like this: "You guys are [description of location] (usually where we ended last time). What do you want to do?" Or sometimes: "You are contacted by [contact], he wants you to [description of mission]. What do you do?"
Which is fine, if a character needs to get something done before setting off (buying new armour, or similar) they can do that, and gives players a chance to let their characters to a few "off-duty" things they like to do. Eventually the GM leads them on to the main plot, and off we go.
The downside of this approach is that it can end up taking a lot of time not really related to anything, and players often use unnecessarily long time planning their next move, as I'm sure you all know.

So in my next campaign, and specifically the first session, I want to do the Star Wars approach and start in medias res, and get things moving right from the start. Turns out it's more difficult than I thought to change my ways Razz Here's what I have in mind: It going to be a Tramp Freighter/Firefly-ish campaign, set just after the battle of Yavin, and hopefully having the characters joining the Rebellion eventually.
I'm picturing a Session 0 where we work out character relations, and design their ship. I'll let them choose between a "small" and "large" upgrade package for their ship, the large will give them more options, but more debt, and a more aggressive loan shark/crime boss they owe money to.

In the first adventure, the characters are on a fairly backwater planet. They have brought with them a cargo load of Correlian brandy, that they had the opportunity to buy very cheap from a lucked-out freighter captain who had technical problems with his ship. He also provided them with directions to a buyer for the brandy, a club owner on the planet they are on now. As some of the characters goes to deliver the brandy and collect the money, the ship is having its final upgrades installed. Buying the stock of brandy + the upgrades have left them with no almost no credits left, but they will get a nice sum for the brandy, so they should be fine. The pilot has been overseeing the work, but is now on a nearby bar/restaurant place getting a drink and waiting for the others. As he sits there, he is approached by a woman, quite attractive, and she asks to sit at his table. She tells him she saw him at the starport, and asks to be taken to a planet quite far away, where she needs to meet up with a colleague. (She is a researcher/scientist, looking into ancient alien civilizations) However, she can only offer a small amount of money, too little for such a long journey.

THEN it turns out that the characters have been tricked, the brandy has been watered down, and the club owner - that owns almost all the clubs in town - is more like a mob boss... He is furious and sends a bunch of his goons after the characters. They have to run back to the ship and get of the planet in a hurry.

*This is where I originally had intended to start the adventure - some on the run with an angry mob on their heels, some just turning down a low offer for travel fare, and the ship in the shop. However, it needs quite a bit of setup, a bit much to be revealed in a script (plus, an adventure script is also something completely new to everyone, so I kinda want to wait with that)*

So the pilot is discussing price/flirting with the lady when his mates come running. At the docks, they are happy to find that their ship is ready, the only thing that needs to be done is filling out the paper work/permit for the new gun (or whatever they decides). However, the tech doesn't have time for that until tomorrow...

If the characters decide to just blast off without permits they will have a patrol ship trying to stop them before entering hyperspace + trouble later.
If they plead for a quicker turnaround on the paper work, the tech will mention a "priority filing fee" - which is about the same amount as the lady offered earlier. She had tagged along, and can be helpful charming the tech into the deal. Eventually I want the group to leave (preferably with the scientist...) in a hurry, perhaps having to rush an astrogation roll.

If they make the jump to hyperspace they will have a little breather on the trip, if they don't make it they will have a hyperdrive failure and be stuck for a while in an empty part of space...

Any ideas/thought on where/how to start the whole thing?
So far, my best idea is, at the end of Session 0, to quickly describe the deal, and the planet they have landed on, and that their upgrades is almost done, and have the pilot sit down for a drink, while the others go to deliver brandy and collect payment. Then he meets the woman... and cut.

Session 1 then starts with one group running away, while the pilot talks to the scientist.

Of course both the meeting with the brandy seller AND the meeting with the club owner/mob boss could be fun to play out... Confused
But I really, really want to start out with a bang in Session 1. Smile
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Zarn
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also like to do a couple of hyperspace malfunctions early on - one of my own scenarios is 'The Rogue Planetoid', where the ship gets torn out of hyperspace by the mass shadow of a (small) planet that has been kicked out of its solar system and is a ship graveyard of sorts. With a homicidal droid, of course.

Then, I sometimes run with an Adventure Journal mission, where the player characters come across an old Sith ship, complete with stasis'd Sith that is dreaming... which turns into nightmares for the player characters.

Occasionally, I throw some Gree or other Precursor weirdness at the players - perhaps a couple of systems really are connected in weird ways (and malfunctioning) - and sometimes they get their hands on a unique module or two that they can mount on their ship.

One thing that I've been wanting to do as a player is mount a parasite starfighter on a freighter - similar to what the Ghost did with the Phantom.
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Straxus
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oooh, I like the Rogue Planetoid idea, might want to hold on to that one to a time where they have several NPC's with them, that the killer-droid can pick off one by one. Also, that made me want to play "Space Hulk" again Very Happy
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Zarn
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rogue Planetoid isn't only an idea, it is a fairly fleshed out scenario on my webpage.
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Bren
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarn wrote:
Rogue Planetoid isn't only an idea, it is a fairly fleshed out scenario on my webpage.
Link?
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Zarn
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.pvv.ntnu.no/~leirbakk/rpg/starwars/scenarios/starwars_scenarios_rogueplanetoid.html
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Bren
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks. (And it's in English too.) Very Happy
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Zarn
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2017 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course. Otherwise I wouldn't have mentioned it at all. English is, ironically, the new Lingua Franca of the world.

And, paradoxically, both Straxus and I are Norwegian. Or at the very least, both of us have "Norway" as our location.
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Straxus
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2017 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stemmer det, Leirbakk Smile

I think we both are on a Norwegian RPG-Facebook-group too, but so are some of my potential players, so I won't mention the campaign there.

Anyway, I think perhaps my intial question was poorly written/lost in a wall of text: If you were to start the adventure in the OP, where would you start? When the PC gets hoaxed in to buying watered down brandy?
When they arrive at the new planet? When some of them meet the xenoarcheologist?
When the crime boss/club owner discovers it?
When they are on the run, either by foot or in space?
Other?

I think all of them can work fine, but I'm trying to find the point that needs the least amount of backstory/provides highest amount of drama.
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Zarn
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2017 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After they've loaded up the shipment of less than stellar brandy. Possibly start with them approaching the planet, getting hailed by the traffic control droid. Maybe with a bit of back-and-forth with an Imperial inspector, trying to dodge tax, stuff like that.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spammer Alert. Don't click the link.
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cheshire
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
Spammer Alert. Don't click the link.


Got him.
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Theodrim
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Speaking of hyperspace malfunctions, one of the more fun SWD6 sessions I played in involved one.

The party found a distress beacon when we popped out of hyperspace to make a routine course correction. The distress beacon told a tale of a ship that had been damaged by a pirate attack just before making the jump; the navcomp had been slagged, the hyperdrive had been hit, and relativistic shielding failed mid-jump, meaning the ship could have come from anywhere at any time. We responded, and got nothing on comms, so after a sensor sweep showed no traps or lifeforms on-board we investigated for salvage.

Turns out, it was an Old Republic-era Jedi consular ship. The design was a few millennia old, but the ship was new and some of the bodies were even still warm. But, the entire ship was a bloodbath; blood everywhere, shredded, disemboweled, and partially eaten corpses, like a pack of feral starving animals had been let loose inside it. That didn't mesh with the logs of the pirate attack or the shipping manifest; the crew turned on each other.

We started investigating personal logs. The troubles on-board the ship started after making the jump to hyperspace. First, the Jedi developed really nasty migraines, and getting really disturbing and explicit visions, bursts of negative emotions, and violent impulses. The crew had to subdue and throw the Jedi in the brig with some ingenuity, and after that started getting the same symptoms; in a bout of ship-wide paranoia, they mobbed the Jedi and threw them out the airlock while still in hyperspace. Immediately after that, the crew quickly turned violent and killed each other.

Over the course of all this, the Jedi in the group started getting the same symptoms. We had another Force sensitive, but who wasn't trained, who got it too but slower and less acute. So, they retreated to our own ship while the rest of us continued exploring the derelict. Eventually, the non-FS PC's started getting headaches and seeing disturbing visions, and it was down to me to get to the bottom of it.

I finally managed to access the secured consoles containing the Jedis' personal logs. Once the relativistic shielding failed, the Jedi sensed something on board the ship, that they'd never encountered before. They had no idea what it was, and could only describe it as "pure Dark Side". They tried to figure out what the disturbance was, but succumbed to the headaches, visions, and the crew who was starting to suffer the same before they could. The last Jedi logs were horrifically violent, depraved flow-of-consciousness ramblings...the second-to-last, "it's feeding on us".

To this point, all the PC's had been hearing things. Not just the vision-related stuff like murmurs, droning, screams of agony and pleasure, etc. But more mundane stuff -- doors opening, tools falling and being manipulated, movement. The non-FS PC's had been seeing dark spots, blurs, flashes of movement, a glimpse of something but nothing they could really perceive; the Jedi couldn't see anything, other than that constant, overpowering, Dark Side presence.

I was the first person to actually see the thing clearly; its appearance was "somewhere between a Grey alien and a xenomorph, upright but stealthy, about four feet tall, skeletally-thin, no facial features at all, but covered in black light-absorbing chitin". When I saw it, it was just standing at a table, looking at the scanning equipment we brought on board...and it had no idea I was there.

I was able to add two and two together. It had some kind of natural Force-based camouflage; the less Force-sensitive you were, the better you could perceive it. Likewise, its own senses had to be somehow based on the Force; it was able to sense, avoid, and act upon the PC's based upon their level of Force training and sensitivity.

I was playing an HRD. No presence in the Force. It was as visible to me as I was invisible to it.

Just like that, the predator became the prey...or so I'd hoped. Reality isn't so generous; my character was a medic, and his combat abilities left much to be desired. I tried to jump it and it got away, and I found myself fighting against the clock to stop it before my fellow PC's either fell to the Dark Side and/or turned violently on each other. The Jedi's second-to-last log turned out to be the key; it was the source of the headaches, negative emotions, and violent impulses, provoking people to act out in rage, anger, and fear so that it could feed from the Dark Side.

I had to draw it out, and the only way I knew to do that was to provoke the very event I was hoping to avoid; a violent conflict between the PC's. I managed to wrangle everyone into the cargo hold and waited; arguments broke out, then a fistfight, and right when it looked like it was about to turn lethal, it appeared to feed. While it was distracted, I managed to stun it, grab it, and airlock it; as soon as it died, the other PC's came to their senses.

We never did figure out exactly what it was, or exactly where it came from other than "some kind of hyperspace entity". All we knew was it was a perfectly-adapted predator, whose prey were beings sensitive to the Force. Basically, Event Horizon had just come out and the GM adapted the story to Star Wars, with a touch of Alien and Predator in there for good measure.

Moral of the story, hyperdrive failures are fertile grounds to get creative, and not just do the "everyone sits around talking while Fred fixes the stupid thing".
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Sutehp
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Theodrim wrote:
Basically, Event Horizon had just come out and the GM adapted the story to Star Wars, with a touch of Alien and Predator in there for good measure.


Yeah, I was thinking exactly this as I was reading your post.

Although I read the TvTropes page on it and thus know what happens in it, I never did see Event Horizon. I suppose I should remedy that at some point.
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Bren
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That sounds like a great Halloween one-off horror adventure.
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