*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 31, 2014, 06:11:49 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 71 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1] 2 3
Print
Author Topic: Quandry: using a beloved setting that's highly restrictive  (Read 4418 times)
Darcy Burgess
Member

Posts: 476


« on: August 24, 2004, 03:03:07 PM »

Lead-in: Originally posted here, but redirected to this forum.

The Backstory: I'm working on a Star Wars campaign, using a conversion of the Riddle of Steel as a mechanic (if interested, download it here).

The Quandry: My playgroup (including me) prefer what West End referred to as "the Rebellion era" -- the time period in and around Star Wars thru Return of the Jedi.  However, we want Jedi in the game -- something that the Star Wars canon flatly rejects.  In this case the setting is both wonderful and restrictive.  I don't want to kludge on a solution -- such as "you're less powerful jedi that the empire missed in its purge".  This needs to feel right.

The Solution...?  My current train of thought runs something like this: I need to embrace the genre (space opera) and have the solution present itself.  Star Wars is already full of ideosyncracies (a Parsec is a measure of time? hunh?) and inconsistencies, but they're cool...and we forgive them.

My current idea is this: (ps, if you're in my playgroup, look elsewhere...that means you Hermes!)

Picture a planet, off of regular trade routes, but rich in some cool ore or something, that will give the Empire some technological advantage...let's call this substance "ploticite", and the planet "Lost X"

Now, roll back the clock to BEFORE the dark time, before the Empire. (sorry, couldn't resist)

Rebpublican settler are sent to Lost X, along with a contingent of jedi protectors, to negotiate _something_. For whatever reason, the natives aren't overly friendly to the republic, blah blah (some interesting stuff to mine here).

Through a massive plot twist, the planet is cut off from the rest of the galaxy -- Ion storm? The Force intervenes? Whatever, it's a Deus Ex Machina folks, I just need to dress it up in space opera clothing.

FFwd to "rebellion era" -- the Jedi have continued training apprentices (in seclusion), and society on Lost X has evolved and changed to include the republican colonists.

The empire falls on some Republican surveys of Lost X , and surmises its worth. They find some way to break through the Deus Ex Machina, and establish contact with the planet's government.

Plot points:
- PCs are the new generation of Jedi on Lost X
- Most early adventures deal with pirates/brigands, eventually uncovering deeper schemes
- Eventually, PCs will discover the relationship between corrupt planetary government and the Empire, although their characters won't know what the Empire is
- Eventually, full-blown contact with the empire
- This opens the door to the Jedi escaping to fight along-side the Rebellion

the Question  does this hang together?  Am I merely reinventing the kludged solution?  or is this space-opera-y enough to work?

Does anyone have a better or different idea?

Does anyone have a different solution to the initial Quandry?
Logged

Black Cadillacs - Your soapbox about War.  Use it.
Alan
Member

Posts: 1012


WWW
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2004, 03:33:09 PM »

Hi Eggo,

I think that's a great solution.  Sure, it's a kludge, but it's the kind of kludge a professional would use if they wanted to write a novel about that.

A suggestion: if a particular event cut the planet off from the empire, then a reversal of that event is what kicks off your characters' greatest adventure.  You could say, for example. that the planet is within an unstable nebula.  Every so often ion storms rage through the nebula, making FTL travel impossible.  The storm that has been raging for 30 years is about to stop.

So you have a story arc in several phases:

Phase 1: Adventures unrelated to the Empire.  In this phase you do two things: 1) let the character's gain levels; and 2) establish what the players care about in the setting.  Whatever they get attached to is what you will put pressure on in later phases.

Phase 2: The planet learns that the ion storm has abated.  Contact is re-established with the rest of the Galaxy.  (Maybe a rebel ship crashes on the planet.)  Players discover the Empire and the Rebellion.

Phase 3: Players struggle: 1) to prevent the Empire from finding the planet; 2) to prevent factions on their own planet from contacting the Empire; and 3) try to contact rebellion leaders.

etc.
Logged

- Alan

A Writer's Blog: http://www.alanbarclay.com
Sydney Freedberg
Member

Posts: 1293


WWW
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2004, 03:54:08 PM »

This may be more than your group is willing to stomach, but...

To hell with canon.

In fact, to hell with the plots of the three original movies (which is about as canonical as you can get). There is no Luke. There is no Leia. There is no Han Solo. Your characters are the ones who are going to defeat the Empire. You are making an alternative Star Wars with a different set of heroes, and your players get to run those heroes.

What's always bothered me about roleplaying in the Star Wars setting is that there is really only one story, because anything that's not mythic-level fate-of-the-Galaxy stuff is not true Star Wars, it's just filling in the margins around a story already written. If you want to truly capture the spirit of the original movies, you can't allow the original movies to have happened; you have to let your players remake them.
Logged

Eric J.
Member

Posts: 396


WWW
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2004, 04:10:47 PM »

Quote
The Quandry: My playgroup (including me) prefer what West End referred to as "the Rebellion era" -- the time period in and around Star Wars thru Return of the Jedi. However, we want Jedi in the game -- something that the Star Wars canon flatly rejects. In this case the setting is both wonderful and restrictive. I don't want to kludge on a solution -- such as "you're less powerful jedi that the empire missed in its purge". This needs to feel right.


To be brutally honest, I don't think you're doing anything but saying "You're less powerful jedi that the empire missed in its purge".  You're just dressing it up.

Of course, this is fine.  I mean, it's flatly SUGGESTED by both WEG's game and WotC's D20 version.

But I wouldn't pretend that you're getting around a kludged solution.



However, I think that a centeralised conflict on Lost X with mecha sounds excellent.  You've set up a solid conflict that serves as a good focus for a campaign.

Here are my suggestions:

You could either change the society's jedi to force adepts with minimal loss.

Or you could establish a perfectly good reason for the Jedi to stay on the planet.  I just find it hard to swallow that the Jedi got "Stuck there".  Jedi wouldn't abandon the galaxy like that unless they were hiding from the empire or they had a better reason.

I, personally, don't see any reason to make this a Jedi only campaign.  There seems to be no limit to the roles that non-jedi PCs could fill.  They could be diplomats, mecha pilots, explorers, or whatever.

Make the planet important to the Galaxy at large.

Have fun with it.  It's very difficult to tell your own story in the middle of someone elses, but I think you've found one.  My friends and I played a "Liberate a planet" campaign and it was one of the most enjoyable RPG experiences of my life.

May the wind be always at your back,
-Pyron
Logged
Darcy Burgess
Member

Posts: 476


« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2004, 04:53:34 PM »

Wow...I mean wow.  That's why the Forge is great.  twenty minutes later, and the discussion is firing on all thrusters.

Alan -- thanks for the encouragement.  I knew when I posted that my concerns were probably 50% legit and 50% cold feet...a little "shove" never hurts.  The structure points are also excellent.  I generally don't craft "beginning, middle, end" stories -- at least, not consciously.

Sydney -- yeah.  that's a hell of an idea.  I'd be all over it.  However, knowing my group, I think that it would sink the game.  It really comes down to a simple matter of how much work will it be for me to overcome the players' dislike of my monkeying with canon (tweaking is "ok" -- but that sort of wholesale tossing is generally frowned on).  That being said, I could get them hooked on the story, and then spring the "new reality" on them, in a very definitive, clear fashion.  Perhaps their attachment to the game would overcome their concern over "rewriting history".

Imagine: the campaign kicks off much as I suggested.  progresses much as I suggested.  This "lulls" (not the mot juste, but it will suffice) the players into the mode of "playing a side-story".  Then, spring the trap.  The Death Star blows up Tatooine or something -- with the "real heroes"  (Luke, Ben,  Han, Chewie, the Droids)on it.  From there, the plot starts anew.  This could be a wild ride.

Eric -- you're absolutely right.  I'm kludging.  What I failed to get across clearly in my original post is this:  am I dressing it up sufficiently, or in the right fashion, so that the kludge becomes palatable?

I'm not 100% sure where you got the "mecha" angle -- i was trying to refer to a mineral resource.  However, some other technology could be just as workeable -- it's got to be a plot device that the empire wants.  It could just as easily be a better hyperdrive, or a device for cleaning up throttled admirals.  Mecha is cool, but I'm not sure I want to start mixing in something so cross-genre loaded. (this makes me think that I've got to write a Robotech conversiong for Riddle of Steel)

re: Jedi-only campaign.  Not so.  It wouldn't have to be jedi-only.  However, I know my guys -- they'll want at least one.  This means I've got to keep that option wide open.

keep it coming you guys!  this is a huge help.
Logged

Black Cadillacs - Your soapbox about War.  Use it.
Eric J.
Member

Posts: 396


WWW
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2004, 05:18:08 PM »

Well, I'm geologically challenged.

Anyway-

Solid concept.

From what you've said so far, I think you know what you're doing.  Hope you keep us informed.

May the wind be always at your back,
-Pyron
Logged
greedo1379
Member

Posts: 123


« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2004, 07:46:03 PM »

I like the idea of replaying the events of the actual trilogy.  I think you could do it too without the players even knowing.  At least not for a long time.  Just don't make any mention of Luke, Leia, Han, etc.  By the time the players realize that they don't even exist they should wrapped up enough in their own game that they won't care.
Logged
Andrew Martin
Member

Posts: 785


« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2004, 01:11:04 AM »

Quote from: greedo1379
I like the idea of replaying the events of the actual trilogy.  I think you could do it too without the players even knowing.

I've done this with players. One player had generated the classic smuggler pilot with debt owned on his spaceship (Han Solo), and the another player had generated the classic buddy with lots of strength and owing the first player a debt (Chewbacca). So I promptly had them arrive on a desert world, where this whiny farm boy and a old man wanted passage off the planet. :) Lots of fun!
Logged

Andrew Martin
Tobias
Member

Posts: 446


« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2004, 04:04:38 AM »

If you want to go less whole-hog than sydney suggests (although I like his suggestion a lot) borrow a page from the White Wolf method: the book might be wrong. Contradictions mean: make up your own rules.

Another option is the Amber option: what you read is a bunch of lies told by one side. I do not know how Star Wars canon is written in the books, but if the statement is 'between X and Y times, there are no Jedi', there are still ways of slipping out of that, such as:

1. The book is voicing the popular thought of history - there are Jedi's, no-one knew.
2. The book is voicing the thought of the 'victor' - flat-out lie.
3. After Y, those Jedi's had to come from somewhere - what if whatever originated them at time Y also did so somewhere between X and Y?
4. No Jedi also means no dark Jedi? If there are dark Jedi, the statement's already wrong. Or if there are dark Jedi, have a few of them manage to come back to the Light Side. Now there's a story for ya.

I'd try to apply Occam's Razor - the simplest explanation is best. Depending on what explanation for 'no Jedi' your playgroup uses, use one of the above examples. If your playgroup says: 'no, the book is right, it's just as the designers have written, there are no jedi' - then they shouldn't be wanting to play jedi. They can't have their cake and eat it - something's gotta give. The 'planet lost in hyperspace' explanation is more of a kludge (although a fairly good one, SF-wise) than just acknowledging that the 'there are no jedi'  statement might be flawed.

Good luck with it!
Logged

Tobias op den Brouw

- DitV misses dead gods in Augurann
- My GroupDesign .pdf.
Darcy Burgess
Member

Posts: 476


« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2004, 04:42:21 AM »

Greedo & Andrew -- how would you go about handling "plot prescience"?  If we're going to play the movies, then the players know that Moff Tarkin won't evacuate the Death Star, and they're going to smoke him, that Admiral Ausul will come out of lightspeed too close to Hoth, allowing the alliance time to "prepare for ground assault", and so on.

Obviously, character-driven points will begin to diverge from canon, but a lot of important background events become pre-ordained.

Or, is you suggestion a more broad one:

"get involved in a galactic rebellion"
"destroy the death star"
"evade the empire's vengeance"
"topple the emperor"

Alternatively, did your game become more of a "homage" -- enjoying going through the motions of the films (this is fun for some -- I really enjoy quoting SW), and filling in with your own cool bits where the dice allowed?

Curious how you'd handle this.

Tobias -- I really like the whole "the films are Imperial propaganda" angle.  My only concern is, if that's the case...why did the empire lose?

Is it worse.  Are the films New Republican propaganda -- demonstrating to a populace how much better they have it now, as compared to when the {big booming voice}evil galactic empire{/big booming voice} ruled them with an iron fist.

That's got legs...to play the "real" history.  Then, there could be all sorts of alternate takes on the big events of the movies.  Turn the tables, or at least knock them slightly off-kilter...what if Luke, Leia, etc. weren't the real heroes that everyone thought them to be...

Great.  Now I've got to go think again!  :)
Logged

Black Cadillacs - Your soapbox about War.  Use it.
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2004, 06:59:35 AM »

Hello there,

Eggy, you may be interested in the "underbelly concept" that I presented in Open/closed settings.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Alan
Member

Posts: 1012


WWW
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2004, 09:07:21 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards

Eggy, you may be interested in the "underbelly concept" that I presented in Open/closed settings.


I just reviewed that post.  It reminds me also, of a Deep Space Nine episode called "Trials and Tribblations" where the DS-9 bunch ended up behind the scenes of a classic ST episode.  I can't recall if what they did supported Kirk's activities or not - though I do recall they affected them, as when Jadzia in the grain silo drops a tribble down the shute and we cut to it bouncing off Kirk's head.

Underbelly would take more careful planning than the Cut off from the Empire scenario.  In order to support the long number of play sessions required for d20 advancement, the points of contact between the plots would have to be spaced far apart I think.
Logged

- Alan

A Writer's Blog: http://www.alanbarclay.com
ErrathofKosh
Member

Posts: 190

Lest Darkness Fall.


« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2004, 09:15:46 AM »

In the campaign that I was involved in we solved these problems with several assumptions:

The galaxy is just too big for the Vader to kill all of the Jedi.  Our  characters have been in constant hiding since the Purge.  (Obi-wan and Yoda did it, why can't we?)

The Emperor has other servants who are powerful force-users in their own right.  Our anagonists had stolen and researched enough information to become potential rivals to Vader, though they were bidding their time...  (This was prior to the release of the prequels, so the rule that there were only two Sith lords at a time really didn't hinder us...)

We could save the galaxy without the galaxy knowing.

Main characters could be introduced, but our characters never had sufficient resources or opportunity to alter their canonical fate.  (Thus, the main story becomes color.)

Luke is a whiner... (Ok, this isn't an assumption, but I had to say it.)

So, bascially, we were all that was left of the Jedi knights, save Yoda, Obi, and Luke.  We fought powerful Dark-Siders who were very nearly Vader's equals by eventually thwarting their plot to unearth an ancient and powerful Sith weapon.  (It was similar to the new Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy game, I think they stole their plot from us.)

Cheers
Jonathan
Logged

Cheers,
Jonathan
Madeline
Member

Posts: 11


« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2004, 02:32:39 PM »

I like your idea of a planet cut off from the rest of the galaxy harboring Jedi, but I think you could do it without having to add something like an ion storm to the Star Wars universe.  Jedi are incredibly nifty, but so far as I know (really, I haven't read the books or anything), they can't travel through hyperspace with the power of the Force alone...  

If you just need a couple, why not have them on a ship on which, for whatever reason (sabotage!), the hyperspace drive went out?  Their normal-space drive (or the Force) could get them up to nearly the speed of light, but thanks to Einstein, the rest of the universe then moved at a much faster rate of time than the the people in the ship...  (The Forever War option. ;) )

Or, to get back to the planet:  Jedi crash-landed on a planet without sufficient tech to rebuild the ship?  They could have taught new students, or worked to up the tech level, or done both...

How about a Jedi prison camp?  Some Evil Empire type managed to capture a handful of Jedi, dropped them off on an out-of-the-way planet for future use, and then his ship got blown out of the ether before he got back to tell anyone...

Or; Force presience might have helped a couple Jedi in the temple get a shipload of students out just before it was blown to smithereens (maybe they were on a field trip?) and they felt it was their duty to protect and raise the sprogs instead of defeating the Empire by themselves...

Or as ErrathofKosh mentioned, why couldn't your Jedi have been in hiding, too?  Seems like heros do it in the canon.

I'd think that any Jedi who lived through the Purges would be slightly crazy from the mental echoes of all his friends dying when he was unable to help, just to offer an even more tangential bit of brainstorm.  :)

The one trouble with the planet X solution, to my mind, is that the PCs are likely to feel attached to defending their planet, and it might be hard to justify a leap into the full stage of Star Wars space.
Logged
anonymouse
Member

Posts: 302


WWW
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2004, 03:35:46 PM »

In reply to the original post: No, I don't think that'd really be an acceptable kludge/dupe.

I'm assuming that beyond just wanting "Jedi in the setting", your players - at least some of them - want to have Jedi characters under their control.

The easiest thing would just be to take a page from the movies: you start out as Class A (Farmer), and wind up becoming Jedi after the first couple of levels (in the video game sense); the Jedi Knight/Jedi Academy games follow this pattern as well.

This could work with your "lost planet" scenario just fine if you use something like a Soul Forge or maybe a secret cache of lightsabers and a Holocron. Maybe the planet had some interesting Force fluxations/tides, and a small school was setup to study it. Then the ion storms came (I'd put them on a longer time frame, hundreds of years), the original school was razed and forgotten. . .

If that's unappealing, I'd go with Madeline's suggestion of getting lost in time; they get up to .99c or so and just hang there interminably. Or some other hyperspace/stellar accident that causes them to blink out of real time for a dozen or more years. You might even make these old guard Jedi; we're talking Old Republic. Maybe it was a training vessel, so the characters are still untrained/untested Jedi. Perhaps these Old Republics will think that this Rebellion isn't up to snuff, and -they- are going to either take charge of it, or start a third faction.

..okay, I think I'd definitely play in that "Old Republic Idealist" thing. These Jedi, while technically young, would come from a far more enlightened age (not just the 20-odd years Obi Wan is talking about, but a couple thousand). The first few adventures might be feeling out these Rebellion and Empire factions.. and then deciding we want a third option, and that option is -us-. Now you're not only playing in canon on your own terms, but have a chance to "legitimately" affect it, rather than just usurping the original protagonists' roles.
Logged

You see:
Michael V. Goins, wielding some vaguely annoyed skills.
>
Pages: [1] 2 3
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!