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 (88)


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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Star Wars Wednesday - Superweapon...of the week!

Superweapons. They're a staple of Star Wars. Sure, they were over used in the early books, novels and comics, but they also provided a highly defined and specific target and goal for the story. Eventually, the stories moved beyond the superweapon of the week into other topics, but....

Have you used a superweapon in your Star Wars RPG game?

Why not?

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Star Wars Wed - Trandoshan Hunting Pod

I hope everyone enjoyed last week's April Fools day posts. The "obviously omitted" rules from Wednesday were a lot of fun to do, and those who checked back on April 1st itself got some RPG and minis stats for Simon the Killer Ewok. A couple of notes: the rules were far more popular than Simon, and I actually did send a previous version of those midi-chlorian rules to Rodney Thompson (Wizards Saga line developer) back in 2008 for April 1st. Last week's version was much improved, and a few people noted what I thought of as a joke within the joke - you could eventually use them in play, after some more development and tweaking.

I don't report a lot of Star Wars non-gaming news, but for those who missed it, the official forums at are shutting down at the end of the month. They'll be read only until June or so, but then they will be removed. No word on the blogs, and I'll keep posting there while I can. I've suspected for a long time the blogs would go away with the end of the Hyperspace online fan club, given the lack of upgrades. Didn't expect the forums to also go away. There was an announcement last year that another company was coming in to help run the Lucas sites, so I gather this is all part of that process.

On to this week. Since it's the end of the current Clone Wars season, I wanted to follow up on the final episodes, without major spoilers.

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Star Wars Surprise - Simon the Killer Ewok

Thanks for checking out my blog here on April 1. To celebrate, you get Simon the Killer Ewok!

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Star Wars Wednesday - An Obvious Omission

About this time back in 2008, I sent a proposal off to Wizards addressing a clear oversight in the Saga Edition rules. Although it was surprising that the fans were not concerned about (or seemingly aware of) the omission, it was obvious to me we needed to include it to make sure that all aspects of the Saga were accurately portrayed within the game. Now, several years later, I dug out my original proposal and realized it was sorely lacking in game balance and explanation, likely due to the revolutionary changes it would have introduced to the game, plus it was early in the Saga Edition design process (for me, anyway). So, I present below, a newly updated version to add to the Force chapter of the Core Rulebook.

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Star Wars Wednesday - Mountain Outpost 

Sorry for the delay today, but as usually happens, this took a bit longer than I anticipated. Today's post is once again aimed at the RPG - any version. I've been experiementing with some cartography techniques and below is the result of that effort.

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Star Wars Wednesday - Gambling Wisdom

Updated on Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at 4:53PM by Registered CommenterSterling Hershey

Another "inside baseball" type post regarding Saga Edition this week. However, before I get into the details of scoundrels, nobles and gamblers in the game, I have the following random comments:

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