Only clones get dysentery


Well, I’m back in the saddle and have been for two weeks. First week, aside form getting the campaign started, I noticed that I had to cut out a lot of bad habits. Second week went much better, though rather slower than anticipated.

And to outline it, it’s best to start with the feature presentation.

The opening crawl

STAR WARS: THE THREAT OF PEACE

 The Clone Wars is in its third year and its effects have been felt throughout the Galaxy. Entire worlds have been devastated by the struggle between the Galactic Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems.

 For the past few months, the conflict has been contained to the Outer Rim. Yet other insidious forces of the Separatists have persuaded the elected leaders of the Mid-Rim world of Cerulea to secede from the Republic.

 In an attempt to persuade the Galactic Senate of her people’s loyalty, Princess Varina has disappeared. The Jedi Watchman of her system, Master Wu-Wei Kevar, has dispatched a special team of clones, Kappa Squad, to locate the missing princess….

 (By the way, I had managed to do an actual crawl with the music, but due to the fact that Youtube have funky music detecting software, I have been unable to show it)

The crawl was perhaps the single hardest thing to write in the campaign, and I sympathise with the Maker when he has to write them. There is a forumla for them, passing on information from the general (what has happened since last time) to the more specific (what is happening right now). Check out the film and game crawls and you will see what I mean.

Also, in a crawl you have to convey a lot of information in a precise, concise and unambigious way. It’s akin to fitting the variety of flavours needed for a four-course banquet in a single savoury tart.  And to anyone who has written anything, writing something short is so much harder than writing something long. I mean, look at me now, I’m waffling on, an on, and on, aren’t I?

Yet now I have done a crawl, the next time I do a campaign intro I will do one. Not just for the whole atmosphere of the music blaring while I read, but it’s one of the best ways to convey the information about the game right up front as well as what has happened in the larger world. People who know Star Wars well enough will know that the Outer Rim sieges were occuring in the second to third years of the Clone Wars. And this wasn’t the only story cue I gave the players, as there was a news report detailing the battles of Deko, Cato and Koru Neimoidia.

My design intentions

The story of the campaign I designed to meet certain conditions that I wanted to give to the players. By the way, I am not giving anything away that my players don’t already know or that I have not already told you, so don’t look for hints. I play my cards very close to my chest  because I enjoy the real surprise and elation coming from revelations, mostly because I was deprived of the big one in The Empire Strikes Back.

Firstly, I wanted to be bold, brave and big. We had seen as a group big battles, a space battle and a land battle, but really had only some cursorary participation. Also, the players were really visitors and had no real involvement with it as their goals were different, even if only slightly, from those who were running the battle. I wanted something akin to the Battle of Yavin or Endor, where the players would be there right from the very beginning and have some extent of emotional involvement aside from being in a very cool big battle. So really, the story with the princess and the clones is just a vehicle to get the players there, as there’s no way that this could not be done illegitamately.

This is why for a while I had a problem with the clones, and then in the end made them the focus point for the story. I admit this isn’t what I’d like, as all the players need to be in the spotlight and not just a few. Prove me wrong, people, prove me wrong.

Secondly, as this was the last year of the Republic and the Empire was coming soon, this was the last chance to use quite a number of characters. No hints here, but the characters have met quite a few G-Canon characters, Bail Organa and Sheltray Retrac, but this is only the beginning. Hopefully, I will have managed to find a way of doing this without the tail wagging the dog.

However, I couldn’t fit everyone I wanted in. Not even my own favourite character, which is a shame as I wouldn’t mind having him as an NPC.

The last year of the Republic has also given me the chance to use quite a number of events that happen then that are completely outside the sphere of influence of the players yet still happen. Like Order 66, which I have promised, but there’s nothing more I am going to say about that.

Finally, this is pretty much the first chance I have gotten to do a big campaign, planning it from start to finish and it’s been a very good experience. Thanks must go to my various DM friends (Yes, and you, Dave!) for their help in trying to sort out the entanglements. I have used quite a few of your suggestions, as well as made adjustments along the way to make a better story.

From this, I have the impression that the best campaign is not set in stone. Rather in wet cement, that you have spread carefully but are perfectly willing to let the public come up and write their names and draw pictures. Have other people found this as well? I’d be interested in your answers.

And, I know last week I promised a post on bureaucracy, but that’ll be my next post as I’m rather excited about the new campaign. And I have a few things to say about bureaucracy and how I handled it.

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~ by katanageldar on August 25, 2009.

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