Sterling is an architect, writer and game designer. As an architect, he works on projects of all sizes, local to international. As a game designer and cartographer he works in fantasy settings and a galaxy far, far away.

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Entries in swse (84)


Threat Detected podcast interview

Recently, I was a guest on the actual-play Star Wars Saga Edition podcast Threat Detected. They're running through the entire Dawn of Defiance campaign, recording the sessions and posting them. They also post pictures of their sessions to their website, mainly of the map and terrain layouts during play. Part 1 of the interview runs in Episode 9, from the 1hr 29m to the 1 hr 53m mark. We discuss Star Wars and a bit of D&D 4e.


Star Wars Wednesday - Milk Run

So, last week I thought this was a good idea, but it's turned out less interesting than I thought it would be. So, don't be surprised if it's a bit on the short side.

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Star Wars Wednesday - Convention Games

This past weekend, I attended KantCon, in the Kansas City area. I wasn't sure of my schedule beforehand, so I went as a player, not a gamemaster. I carted along a couple of games in case I needed to run a pick up game of something, but my goal was to play more than run this time around. I've talked a lot about creating adventures for cons the past few weeks. This time I want to talk a bit about the logistics of playing and running in an event, with this fresh in my mind.

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Star Wars Wednesday - Nonheroics

Continuing with the stat block creation discussion of the past two weeks, this time I want delve into the use of the nonheroic class in Star Wars RPG Saga Edition.

In a minute. First, I want to cover one important point on last week's notes on stat blocks for canon characters.

When creating canon characters, you're usually dealing with known character histories. That means the characters must have certain abilities available at certain times in their career. While Saga normally just printed the stats for a character as it was best known, the stats were built with their histories in mind so they could be deconstructed to a logical lower level if needed. So, this means building the character like you would a player character is pretty important. You must pay attention to the order of levels, ability score advancement and potentially the pickup of extra skills and languages if their Intelligence score increases along the way. Sometimes, you have to get pretty creative to fit it all in, and tricks like that can help.

So, nonheroics - what the heck is that class?

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Star Wars Wednesday - Designing Stats 

Last week, I discussed the pitfalls of stat block creation for public use/publication(mostly for Star Wars Saga Edition, but applicable to other systems as well).  Keith "Nar" Kappel of followed up with a good question I wanted to address here.

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Star Wars Wednesday - Dealing with Stat Blocks

A few hours ago, I finished recording/co-hosting an episode of the Order 66 podcast. I'm writing this on Sunday, because I'm traveling this week. If all goes well, this will auto-post at the right day and time. If you never listen to the Order 66 podcast, it is dedicated to the Saga Edition of the RPG, and you can find it at d20 Radio.

In the episode, we talk about creating modules for public use/publication and how that is different from creating an adventure for a home game. Hopefully, some of my more rambling comments still provide some help. It occurred to me, however, that one aspect we didn't address was stat blocks, so I wanted to touch on that a bit this week. I'll be addressing Saga Edition specifically, but most of the following applies to any system.

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Star Wars Wendesday - How long did that take?

Action scenes in roleplaying games are major highlights in the game. In Star Wars, more often than not, they should be THE highlight of the session, or the campaign. Creating good cinematic sequences is key.

Remember that action doesn't always mean combat. There doesn't even need to be a direct physical threat, if there is enough drama in the scene. The results of failure can manifest itself in other ways - the characters didn't get there in time to prevent x from happening, for instance.

Creating a good action sequence can be difficult.

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Star Wars Wednesday - Newsnets

So, it's still Wednesday, right? Sorry for the delay, things got considerably busier at the end of the day than I expected...

Today, or what's left of it, I want to talk a bit about distributing information within the game, for those RPG fans out there. I'm talking mainly about clues and backstory - information that the gamemaster wants the players and their characters to learn about, but may not want to spend a lot of session time playing it out. Sure, the GM can read it out, or play it out with GM characters, but this runs the risk of halting play for a lot of exposition. Handing over a sheaf of campaign notes aren't likely to be read either, no matter how interested the players may be.

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Star Wars Wednesday - Yoda's Species in Play

A long time ago, in a meeting far, far away, George Lucas declared that Yoda's species details would remain a secret. Generally, I'm fine with that - it's a big galaxy, and it's nice to have unknown bits. We don't even know the species name. For game designers, this presented certain challenges - how do you stat out Yoda or one of the other two known members of the species?

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Star Wars Wednesday - Mobilized

This week, I've been totally distracted by several things. I've recently become significantly busier, in a good way, but it has also left me going "Tomorrow is Wednesday? Already?" the past couple of weeks. I'll get things sorted and get some more gaming stuff up in the future, and follow up on the outpost from a few weeks back.

One distraction this week is my new android phone, my first foray in to the smartphone arena. No, it's not "droid" branded model, though that would have been appropriate and fun, especially the special edition R2 model.

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