To Play, Perchance to Dream

Deciding to run any type of RPG campaign starts with the source books and a love for whatever genre or franchise world you’re playing in. But there comes that moment in any game where you sit back, look at it all and say to yourself, “Now what?”

I had that moment when starting a D6 Starwars campaign with my eldest and his friends (If you missed the intro, go back and read What Dreams May Come). I mean, first, I had to get my head around the D6 system. It wasn’t any harder than me learning any other system as I had never run a game in any system. Back in college in the early eighties, I played my first RPG: Dungeons and Dragons. But I never got too deep into the numbers. I just played the oblivious player who just enjoyed the game. Remember those days?

So learning the D6 system outlined in Westend Games source material wasn’t that bad. The hard part was picking a starting point.

Now, if you’re a new fan to Starwars or have always hung around in the ‘fringe’ of the story, you have no idea what I’m talking about. I mean, it seems obvious if you stick to the movie timeline, right? Even today, the nominal fan of Starwars would swear that there are only three eras in the Starwars Universe: Prequels, the original trilogy and whatever you want to call what just happened in the last three. But, especially in the time I was beginning my game, there was literally a whole universe and a multitude of eras to play in.

Now, to begin with, there were basically four eras to play in at that time. Not only could you jump back to the Republic Era of the prequels {although we only had one movie under our belt at the time) and play the Imperial Era and fight the rebellion, but we also had options to play the extremes: the Old Republic Era and New Republic Era. At the time between Return of the Jedi and Phantom Menace, the Franchise had not been silent.

In the time between those two movies, Starwars had been a busy beaver. They had worked hard to get their foot in the door in every media they could. From the Droids cartoon to a literal flood of novels to an amazing era of comics with Darkhorse, the universe not only grew, it exploded! What became known as the EXPANDED UNIVERSE was all canon and it was very exciting to a young, burgeoning writer like myself.

I was SO excited about all of the possibilities that lay before me as a prospective Game Master. I mean, it was amazing enough to look at what the movies brought to the table. But I found so many worlds, quite literally, left unexplored with a myriad of odd aliens and pasts full of backstory, pathos and drama enough for any game.

Unfortunately, I was not a great reader of novels. So, I can say I read very few of the many books at my disposal. But, as a hopeful writer, I was a consumer of stories. Much like my son, as I alluded to in the last article, I was the one at the campfire for Storytime; devouring any bit of lore or story from any source I could get ahold of. One of the early choice finds came via an internet in its infancy. Fighting with dial up and slow downloads, I dug through a vastly near untouched burial ground of campaign ideas, character references and, especially, numbers for almost every alien available in the Starwars universe which will come into play during my next article about character creation.

One of those aliens got the attention of, not only, me, but my son as well: Farghuls. These cat-like aliens had feline reflexes and monkey-like agility along with a prehensile tail. They were highly xenophobic and had a bad reputation for being bad loosers and cheaters with a vain love for bling. Something about that information made me want to start on Farfin, their homeworld.

Farfin was known for it’s natural beauty, underground rapids and criminal element. Running a game for preteens, I decided to calm it down a bit; as Farfin, although still in the grip of a criminal cartel, had decided to develop some tourist trade as a way of bringing credits to their coffers. Not only would vacationers pay good money to gamble in their casinos and sightsee their scenic locations, as a fool and their money, these fools too would be separated.

More about that down the road.

The second element was not only location, but, as I said earlier, time period as well. That’s where Half Price Books in Dallas came in for another win. I had already gotten my beginners set of source books for the Westend game. But I was also a comic book fan. Just so happens, at the time, Half-Price had a very ample supply or old comics at half the cover price. This is where I discovered Dark Horse Comic’s CRIMSON EMPIRE II series.

As I stated before, there wasn’t a lot of info about the prequel aka Republic era. Just one movie so far and, although this was the hot button for these kids at the time, something about the Post Return of the Jedi, burgeoning New Republic Era appealed to me. It was the wild, wild west again in the Starwars universe The Empire was still there, if in shattered pieces, and the Republic was just getting their bearings. So this was one of those perfect times for greedy criminals to capitalize. Enter GRAPPA THE HUTT.

GRAPPA THE HUTT

In the Crimson Empire II series, Grappa was the big criminal boss. Not only was he a Hutt reminescent of Jabba, but just as sinister and double dealing as any Hutt had ever been. He had gathered quite a criminal empire before meeting his end at the finale of that series. And it was precisely there that I decided to start the campaign.

You see, one of the PC’s father worked for Grappa, a couple were smuggling things for him and one, well, He was attempting to steal from him. And in trying to reconcile the fact that the thief was successful against Grappa, I decided to bring all of the players in right before Grappa met his end. Leaving Genon with an encrypted infostick with, what he believed, was a treasure trove of information and credits, the thief became intertwined with these other players with promises that he would crack the code and they would all be rich.

Grappa right before being served for dinner

It just so happened that the smuggler of the group had connections in Farfin. So they found this a perfect place to hide out. You see, the PCs had no idea Grappa was dead and was sure his whole organization was hot on their tail and would catch them at any moment. The only problem was that the criminal cartel was being eyed for takeover by another Hutt who was younger and still trying to make a name for himself. Add a hapless bounty hunter who happens to know the Hutt’s security cheif and walla: the campaign setting is set!

What next? Well, this is where it gets JACKEDUP!

NEXT EPISODE: Let’s meet the cast of characters! These crazy preteens choose their class and alien race. First up, a Toydarian master mind holding the infamous infostick.

TO HEAR HIM TELL IT: THE LEGEND OF Q

FOOTNOTES:

Farfin first mentioned in THE LAST COMMAND by Timothy Zahn

Also see DARKHORSE COMICS: CRIMSON EMPIRE II

WESTEND GAMES:

THE LAST COMMAND SOURCEBOOK

THE THRAWN TRILOGY SOURCEBOOK

ALIEN ENCOUNTERS

ALIEN ANTHOLOGY

THE ESSENTIAL ATLAS

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: