Tracon 2019 went by and I was running Star Wars games in the event again. While I was running Rebel era adventures the last time, this time I was running Jedi characters in Clone wars.
The principle was pretty much the same than on the last time. The games turned out to be quite military -themed, which isn't really bad as it's about Clone Wars, but pretty much of the roleplaying aspects I had prepared were forgotten when I was running the game on the fly. I believe the separatists were on a quite aggressive mood.
This time I was only able to run 5 games; As I was selling stuff on flea market and I had some complications there, and I had to wait for a while before my first game, I run only 2 games on the second day. It was a bit of a disappointment, but I was pretty satisifed on the games overall – and only one game exceedes 1h targeted maximum time – by one minute. Thinking afterwards, the biggest disappointment was maybe not having boldness enough to cut a scene short and throw players to something completely different – preferably a roleplaying scene.
How the games went?
Game 1: My first game was a 5-player game. The group had been assigned a mission to retrieve kidnapped senator Amidala from kidnappers, and they had proceeded to a space station; They had sneaked in and were sure they were going to surprise the Kidnappers holding the Senator behind the door, but a charge in and a roll of snake eyes turned the situation into an ambush by hired thugs, commanded by a Darksider shrouding their visions. But five Jedi, even if just graduated, were no match to the darksider and a group of thugs, and the villainous masked figure fled the scene, jumped in a ship and fled the station. Group's Venator destroyer jumped in and destroyed the ship's engines, so the ship crashlanded the volcaning moon below. The group pursued, darksider was able to flee in a freighter that came to fetch him but senator Amidala was rescued.
Game 2: The Jedi were investigating a signal from lost base and were ambushed by separatist force, and were able to escape Gambling station; Assumedly neutral station surprisingly had strong Separatist presence lead by a darksider; After some bad rolls, the Jedi were captured, but were able to get themselves free by shutting some blast doors before being taken to holding cells, fled to the depths of the station and were finally able to hitch a ride from a down-on-luck gambler thrown out of the station.
Game 3: In this scenario, the Jedi never stepped out of the ship. They were chasing a returning scout ship that was not replying to their calls in asteroid field, tried to disable it but it went out with a BIG boom. They obtained logs and found out where the ship was coming from, went to scout and were ambushed by a Separatist warship. By their expert pilot's actions, they evaded, recognized a Separatist comms center that allowed their recent precise and effective operations, and decided to take it out, in which they were successful. Then they were able to fly through the separatist carrier, exploding it from inside out. The mission was perfect success!
Game 4 (Day 2): Another 5-player game. The group were investing a Republic space base they that had it's signal cut. They cut their way into command center, which was booby trapped, which caused the Jedi some complications while their Venator -destroyer was ambushed by a Separatist fleet. Three of the Jedi were run to their interceptors/ARC-170, while the rest stayed behind with clones, trying to put the base back online. After some interesting rolls, while the Jedi pilotes were causing trouble for the Seps, the station's maneuver engines were driven to overloaded (soon critical) state, but the engine room's doors were jammed... The Jedi & Clones mostly made their way out while the station reached critical state and caused critical damage to the Separatist ships, turning the tide of the battle.
Game 5: Another volcanic moon and lost signal. Separatists had been busy setting traps to the Republic. While investigating the command center of the former Republic base, a large Separatist force approaches and the orbiting Venator reports approaching fleet on attack vector. Battle ensues on the moon and in the space simultaneously; Group's Ace makes a precision strike to the ground force's war machines and then proceeds to help the space force. The other two Jedi engage the droids with lightsabers supported by clone troops, defeat them with great efficiency and jump into their own fighters. The Ace does excellent job taking out the larger Separatist ship, but uncannyingly the mastermind general of the opposing force was in the smaller ship – and decided to withdraw after promise to return when intimidated by one of the Jedi. The remaining Vultures tried to take down the Venator by suicide strikes, but the Jedi were able to intercept them. Separatists had suffered a bitter defeat.
Like the last time, I used the 8d6 -system to set up the game. Some options were selected by nearly all players, which made me loosen some definitions on the fly, so all the games wouldn't start in a Casino world.
Character sheets were card-sized character roles (Jedi Guardian, Jedi Pilot, Jedi Consular etc.) with few special abilities. In the beginning I was allowing players to get a second card, a character flaw, but the action-oriened games weren't allowing to bring them out much and on the second day I had misplaced them somewhere and ignored them. In addition to the Jedi, I also had options to play an Astromech droid or all the clones, but in the first games no-one chose them and I also stopped presenting them in the latter games.
My hope was to be able to use a 5-room like story structure, with jumping from one world to another during the session, but I found this a bit hard to execute without strictier planning in a timeframe of less than an hour of gameplay. Also, I had hoped to bring more roleplaying elements to the game, but the situations went so fast that it was hard to think of ways to incorporate them, even if I had planned this a bit beforehand. While action-packed games suit Star Wars well, I might want to run something different next time.
The games went well, although I need to say that I enjoyed Rebel era theme (in last Tracon) more. Players choosing same dice for the same questions almost all the time was a bit annoying, but I believe this is a drawback of 8d6 method; some questions just call for that "We better place that 5 to it!". Maybe changing the order of the questions might help with this.
Next time I run 1h Star Wars games, they'll likely be closer to 'Solo' movie – while it wasn't popular, I enjoyed it and it is excellent concept for roleplaying games!
Audio app (sorry, can't share for copyright reasons, and wide use would blow up my site's data transfer limits!) looks currently like this (when in Clone wars mode) – I might write a bit about it later:
And here's my current 8d6 starting sheet:
Some of the place names might be taken from another inpsiration sheet for Star Wars, but I can't find it anymore; If you know/find it, please let me know so I can refer to it.
Thanks for everyone participating games, arranging the event, and also for reading this! Feel free to comment if you have anything you want to share!
Edit/Addition: One big difference to the previous games were that I was using starship miniatures this time. Last time I run all the space scenes using theatre-of-mind. I was afraid that using ship minis took away from the game, but my fears were pointless. While in Rebel era game Theatre worked well as the players were in control of a freighter and sometimes one fighter, fighting usually some Tie's and possibly an Imperial star destroyer, here we had conflicts between small fleets and swarms of fighter, and the Jedi were in command of the Republic forces. This made a big difference. In future games I keep both options open, and consider it case-by-case.
And as I'm big fan of miniatures and Clones era ships are quite cool (even if these SSB minis are a bit wonky), I was really happy to be able to bring these to the table! To clarify, I was not using any specific rules for starships, but used them to give some visuals and present the big picture & just go with the genial dice system of PbtA!