This was an interesting experiment in running a Star Wars campaign. Here is the premise of the game as laid out to the players:
- Each character would be built from one of the three core rule books. Edge of the Empire, Age of Rebellion and Force & Destiny.
- Each of the rulebooks would have two player characters, and the only rules those characters can reference is in their core rulebook.
- The campaign storyline would be a series of adventures being run in a round robin style following Edge of the Empire, Age of Rebellion and Force & Destiny before restarting the cycle.
- During each adventure, the two characters from that ruleset would be the main characters of the story and the other four characters would be the supporting cast.
- An awareness mechanic to limit blatant misuse of force abilities
- The players had agreed to play through the adventures with the intent on completing them in the spirit of the setting.
There were 44 game sessions:
- 1 character creation session
- 12 Edge of the Empire adventure sessions
- 20 Age of Rebellion adventure sessions
- 11 Force & Destiny adventure sessions
I ran the adventures in this order: Beta books, the Core Rules, Game Master Screen, Beyond the Rim, Onslaught at Arda I, Chronicles of the Gatekeeper, Jewel of Yavin, Friends Like These and finished with Ghosts of Dathomir. There was one published module not played (Mask of the Pirate Queen) which I intend to use in the next campaign I run.
The Beta, Core Rules and Game Master Screen adventure had story links in them that potentially made for a more coherent campaign or at least would have been if I had run them in sequence instead of intertwining them with the other two rule sets. So I think concentrating on just one of the rule sets would have made for a stronger storyline.
I also removed travel time between planets unless it was an important aspect of the adventure. The same went for ship costs and maintenance. Monetary rewards were also limited for the same reason as they did not have much in the way of impact.
Some of my players kept using rules outside of the scope of their characters and had to be told “No” and to rebuild as agreed. Others who had built characters with the group would later bring in a completely different character to the game. This is just bad etiquette and such behaviour should not be encouraged – if players want to make changes they should try to speak to the Games Master first. It’s not something that I wish to do frequently in my own games.
It was not easy to keeping the games balanced so that all players got to have a voice and make decisions. A mechanic was introduced to have only two players in charge of the scenario so as to limit the stronger and more vocal players from dominating the game and taking the fun away from the quiet players. This was partially successful but when you see that the Rebel characters had twice as much time in charge it turned out they also had the most trouble letting go when it was not their turn. This lead to a few arguments and them deliberately sabotaging and shortening the other players storylines.
Character advancement was mostly managed by me as the Games Master as not all the players had the time or resources to do it themselves. So I ended up managing most of the characters on my computer and provided print outs (later PDFs) as needed. This was a struggle with the group as their contributions weren’t consistent and I couldn’t always take their updates into consideration prior to games. It was an ongoing frustrating and was further complicated by players again using rules outside of the scope of the campaign and being forced to change it back. While it provided good oversight and planning capability it is not something I would want to do long term again.
I also had to deal with players arguing against the scenario which made running the modules harder than necessary while also interrupting the game sessions to complain about the storyline. This was again bad etiquette and the players were told outside of game that this was not acceptable behaviour at the gaming table. There were a few occasions where this almost ended the campaign with characters finishing the story at a point that could have lead to an early end due to not following the core premise of the campaign. The reason I was running published stories and not doing a freeform game was limited time to prepare and running five other separate games over the same fortnight so sticking to the modules was a core part of making this game remain feasible.
Things for the next campaign that I will keep in mind:
- The Awareness mechanic worked well and will stay
- The Obligation mechanic will be replaced to align with Duty and the new Awareness mechanic. It was too punishing to be left as it was.
- Gaining a group level and a personal level in one of the three mechanics will also come with a in game mechanic
- Space travel will be a key component to timeframe, costs and limitations applied to the characters.
- Next storyline will be character focused, based on the player character backgrounds and less focused in the adventure’s such that they can now leave them unfinished or unfavourably complete.
It was a good experiment on time management, teamwork and player participation but it was not a success due to the stress and arguments I was going through just to keep the game running. At the end I was happy to end the game and move onto a different game system for a while and potentially revisit this setting depending on how the next game goes.