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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Game Day: The Mandalorian Interlude

by Ken Newquist / April 18, 2010

When we were starting our Star Wars campaign and were kicking around where we wanted it to fall within the Knights of the Old Republic timeline, we struck up on the idea of the Mandalorian Interlude.

We knew we want to start the campaign in the Restoration Period -- a relatively quiet, calm time after the Great Sith Wars -- but at some point we'd enter the Mandalorian Wars, followed by the Jedi Civil War.

What we didn't want to do was slog through every era. The idea was to skip the campaign forward every few levels, allowing us to hit the high points of each era, but not get bogged down in none of them. At the same time though, we thought simply skipping forward 3-4 levels and five years would feel disjointed without some sort of transition.

Enter the Mandalorian Interlude.

For 6-8 self-contained adventures we're going to trade in our regular characters for Mandalorians from Clan Olan. They're old school, individualist Mandalorians who aren't sure what to make of the neocrusaders who are trying to establish order and conformity throughout the clans. The interlude gets everyone -- casual and diehard Star Wars fans -- up to speed on the Mandalorians and their culture while simultaneously showing everyone exactly what it is the Mandos are fighting for.

It also players try out different classes and gives everyone a chance to play in a game in which no one is playing a Jedi. Indeed, the Jedi are likely to be major opponents in the storyline, as one of the bucketheads' primary goals is to draw the Jedi into the war. The decision of the Jedi to fight (or not to fight) in the Mandalorian Wars perhaps the single most defining element of the KOTOR era ... and we get to play a part in that.

The Interlude took a lot of discussion to get off the ground. There was some trepidation about the nature of the Mandalorians -- are they heartless, evil killers? do we really want to play the bad guys, can we possibily be as cool as Boba Fett? -- but ultimately we decided on our current approach. The idea is to play Mandalorians who are every bit as conflicted about fighting in the Wars as the Jedi will be. There's a lot of great potential for role-playing as our traditional Mandalorians decide whether or not to join with the neocrusaders.

Once concluded, we'll jump back into the Mandalorian Wars with our regular characters, and suddenly be thrust into the same sort of gut-wrenching decisions, but this time from the Jedi side of the war.

This is the first time we've tried this sort of story-telling technique within a campaign, and Friday night was our first session. So far, I'm liking it -- it was great to be able to roll up an entirely new character just for this arc, knowing that we'll be back to the main game in a few weeks. It scratches that itch to try out new character concepts without having to ditch our 1+ year old campaign. Sorry wise, I think it's going to tie together the first and second parts of the campaign together nicely, and I'm hoping we can come up with as good of an interlude concept for the Mandalorian Wars/Jedi Civil War break.