It is a dark time for Star Wars role-playing games. There's no official role-playing game being released, and fan-generated content for older games is tapering off. Fortunately though the Order 66 podcast continues to pump out new content for Saga Edition, there's a new AGE-powered Rebellion Era playtest document, and an X-Wing miniatures game from Fantasy Flight Games.
It's been a long time since I did a Star Wars RPG round up -- unfortunately without an active campaign I find it's all to easy to let the months slip by without searching the internet for material.
The Blackrazor Guild held its semi-annual homegrown convention in late February 2012. About 18 people attended NukemCon 2012, some long-time members of the gaming group, others friends who join us from time to time.
NukemCons have become a standard part of our gaming group; we first started holding them because we missed our annual pilgrimages to GenCon. We missed being able to hangout, talk, and have a few beers while throwing dice. NukemCon solved that problem.
After 47 chapters, 10 episodes, and 2.5 years, our Star Wars: Shadows of the Force campaign has come to an end. What started with a fight against pirates on the jungle world of Zebulon Prime ended with against grey market salvagers in the depths of a planetary nebula. In between we saw the rise of Binary Transports, the promotion of three Jedi Knights, the training of two padawans, the discovery of an alien holocron , and numerous battles against the Force knowledge cult known as the Sith Ascendancy.
But the campaign was about far more than numbers. Along the way we changed how we play RPGs, incorporating narrative mechanics like skill challenges that created truly exceptional, truly memorable encounters, including hot-wiring a speeder while fending off high plains lizards and bouncing a starship through a proto-star nebula. We also told some really cool stories, including the adoption of a young Force sensitive Twi’lik and his training as a padawan, the epic battle with the fleet of the pirate lord Ral Duris, and lightsaber duels amid alien ruins in the sunward desert of Ryloth.
For years, Order 66 was the only Star Wars: Saga Edition podcast. Now there are two, thanks to Threat Detected, a show dedicated to playing through the Dawn of Defiance campaign. In other Star Wars RPG news, Saga-Edition.com resumes publication with write-ups for the VCX-700 Heavy Courier and the HWK-290 while Dice of Doom tries out the RPG, and likes what they find.
The official Star Wars: Saga Edition web site is no more, but there are still the occasional posts by former Saga writers.
A round of Star Wars RPG-related posts and web links, including Sterling Hershey's "Star Wars Wednesday" posts about "Adventuring in the Tree", "Running Published Campaigns" and "Species Creation". There are also revised vehicle design rules for Star Wars d6, an adaptation of the AGE system from Green Ronin's Dragon Age RPG, a love letter to the d6 system, and a discussion of story reverals in RPGs.
One of the big differences between running a fantasy campaign and a science fiction campaign is that when playing SF, I find myself constantly looking for starship deckplans.
With a fantasy campaign, many of the maps revolved around buildings, dungeons or overland adventures, and those sorts of maps were easy to knock out over lunch. Failing that, I had plenty of maps from 20+ years of Dungeons & Dragons that I could fall back on.
With my Star Wars campaign though, the adventures are split between world-based exploration and starship- or space station-based combat. Starship based adventures represent perhaps 1/8 to 1/4 of the encounters I run, but when I do run them I often find myself scrambling for deckplans.
The big reason there is that it takes more effort to come up with a rational-seeming starship. A dungeon can be as simple as a series of rooms, but with a starship players always want to know where to find the bridge, engineering, jeffries tubes, etc.
It's been a while since I did a Star Wars roundup, but thankfully the rest of fandom has continued churning out content in recent months. I think this is essential for Star Wars role-playing to carry on; many times when an RPG goes out of print, players move on to other, better supported games. Star Wars is somewhat different in this regard, as fan support for d6 Star Wars shows.
Another MEPACon has come and gone, taking with it two weeks of frantic game preparation and 12 hours of actual play. The convention was held in Clarks Summit, near Scranton Pa. on November 12-14 and looked to have the typical attendance of 100 gamers playing a mix of board games, organized play, and one-shot RPGs. I ran three events, all of which had 5 to 7 players.