That’s right, ask the Wookiee!
Now onto my third adventure as a Level 1 GM, I have discovered an invaluable resource in planning events and encounters: Wookieepedia. Previously, I had used it mainly as research for my own fan fiction as well as keeping up with the Expanded Universe without reading the books. The role-playing books are good, but they just give me ideas; bare bones that I have to put flesh on so no one pays attention to the Man Behind the Curtain.
I’ll try and nail it down here….
A place, a battle. a character
I don’t know how it is with other games, but by just asking the Wookiee I can have half my adventure story, a few NPC, and the bare bones of a city just after a few hours of Wiki Walking.
Bespin was good for that, but in a way it was too big and I had too much going on. I had a list of clubs and bars to add atmosphere, but railroaded a little when the decided to go into these unplanned places. I had the Sabacc Tournament as a background event to create big crowds and trouble for the law enforcement so the PCs could do their thing. They wanted to go and gamble, so I sent them on a Wild Bantha Chase finding a sponsor for the tournament (which fortunately had a 10K credit buy in), hoping they would get the hint and in the end said that the registration had closed.
And also, some places are so well-known that I don’t have to do anything at all. Case in point: Tatooine. I am using the Tatooine map that came with the game which pretty much has everything I would put in a city except for the spaceport. Saves me describing pretty much anything.
I am thinking this could possibly work in reverse: that some places are so little known that I can basically do whatever the hell I wanted with them. No city, so I can do what I like there, but I have a culture of the planet as well as species traits, not to mention a galaxy-wide war.
Those little bits and pieces
It’s not just the big things that the Wookiee can help me with, I made a rather surprising find when I was researching privateering on there. For those not in the know, privateers are simply legalised pirates. They are given a commission (called a Letter of Marque) from a government during a war, and they are authorised to conduct raids on the government’s opponents. In this case it is a commission given by the Republic against the Confederacy of Independent Systems.
What I was surprised to find was an actual Letter of Marque, it was from the Rebellion era but I quickly fixed that. What was important was the letter showed the PCs exactly where they stood within the law, told them what they were allowed to do and what they could not do. And the fact that it is made out to the captain of the ship means that she has to enforce it.
They also have ID’s, which cause rather amusing scenes when they check in at a customs desk on a planet.
Even NPCs count
One of the things I have always tried to do when I GM is give the sense that there is a much larger story than the one the players are involved in. While what the PCs do can and does have consequences, I feel it is necessary to illustrate that NPCs have their own story that may not necessarily agree with what the party wants to do.
One example is the recurring NPC Jedi Knight, Veena Dorranes, whom the party has encountered on two separate occasions so far. The first time she was a fairly weak Padawan learner who they had rescued from the experiments of the recurring villain. The second was during the awesome-sauce space battle last week, where she let the players land on her ship for safety and then proceeded to arrest them for the crimes they carried out on Bespin (where they had just left). After heroic actions done by the party where they had basically won the battle for them, she apologised and admitted she was wrong.
I’ll talk about her personality in a later post, as I consider her to be a borderline Lawful Stupid character. But through research I can easily slip her into some minor events of the Clone Wars, and because I know of that little order of the sixes that is going to roll around with the certainty that a bruising follows a punching, I know what happens to her.
To some extent, the same goes for her former Master Wu-Wei. He’s currently held captive by the villain, but due to intelligence gathered by the party Veena may be closer to rescuing him now.
One last thing, not related to Wookieepedia, is that the players expect things to happen in terms of story. Like how certain species are hot or act cowardly (like Neimoidians), certain planets have recognised traits as they are so well-known, and there’s events they know are coming, so they can have that in sight in terms of their characters.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a heavy bag to pack.