Star Wars Wednesday - 3,720 to 1

For years...say almost 20 now...I've run Star Wars RPGs at local gaming conventions and at GenCon. It is how I started writing RPG material in the first place. More on that in a future post. Since I started working on Saga Edition, I've used the convention adventures to highlight the latest books and my most recent publications. Once the end of the Saga Edition line was announced, I intended to make a few of these adventures available for free for others to use. 

When I run a convention game, or most home games, I try to use as much published material as I can for gamemaster characters, vehicles and equipment. I like to get as much value as I can out of my gaming products but mainly, it saves time - why make up a new stat block when I've already created about 40 per book? I write the adventures around the aspects of the book I find the most interesting, such as new rules, talents, feats or locations as a way to introduce my players to new aspects of the Star Wars universe. Not coincidentally, it ususally involves something I created.

As such, I usually run the adventure from an outline and list of events, with references to a few page numbers for specific stat blocks or useful rules. I adjust the adventure on the fly to (hopefully) ensure that the players reach the end in the time allowed.

While my references behind the GM screen are slim, I have put more and more work into the character sheets used by the players. Originally, I handed out sheets using the standard stat block format. It was quicker and easier for me to create them, but not aways user friendly for those new to the game. And there are always new players at my convention tables, or ones who haven't played very often, or since D6 etc. Because Saga depends on talents and feats, I started handing out copies of them at the table. Then, I started integrating them into the character sheets. 

Since I use pregenerated characters at the table, I also hand out character backgrounds. A lot of convention games have gotten away from this model (with the rise of Living style events, the RPGA pretty well dropped the "classic" format), but I think it adds so much more to a story, especially if the players aren't using their own characters anyway. I've tried to keep the text to a brief but informative background summary, personality notes and physical description. Sometimes I'll include a list of connections, telling the players how they know and relate to the other characters at the table.

Lately, I've added two more elements - a section called Starting Play, to explain the circumstances surrounding where they begin the game, and a section called Build Notes, highlighting the character's particular strengths. Since I'm usually trying to display the best of Saga Edition, the player character stats I build tend to be technically...interesting? Complex? Often unusual. Frankly, it's usually lost on most players who don't have the experience to immediately see what their combinations of talents and abilities do. The build notes help direct them to actions the character is generally better at.

Which brings us to 3,720 to 1, the adventure I ran at KC Game Fair / Shauncon 28. It highlights The Unknown Regions and the Scavenger's Guide to Droids, the last two products I worked on. However, the player characters also use feats and talents from a broad range of other books in the Saga Edition line. The adventure format shows my current thinking on the information I need at the table to best run a game. When I get around to posting my earlier adventures, you'll see how much more concise this one is over, say, the Knights of the Old Republic one from a few years ago. More on the comparisons between the two at that time.

Another difference is that for this adventure, I depend heavily on a single map rather than producing several different locales. While it makes little difference during game play, it makes a huge difference when adapting the adventure for others to use...suddenly every map I drew on a battlemat needs to be illustrated in a useful way, which is another reason I'm posting this adventure before the aforementioned KOTOR one.

Also, while I did include 3 stat blocks in this adventure, the are actually based on stat blocks from Threats of the Galaxy and the Force Unleashed Campaign Guide. When I ran the game, I just scribbled the changes on a photocopy of the stats, mainly due to time. Now, I've cleaned them up and (hopefully) ensured that the changes are correct. As usual, if you spot anything arwy, let me know.

So, click here to download 3,720 to 1. Players should avoid reading it before playing, but by all means, send your GM here to check it out.  And sorry about the zip file, I had to use 2 pdfs (one for the adventure, one for the characters) which I will try to avoid in the future - lets just say you live and learn on that one.