Star Wars Wednesday - Rebel Planning

This Saturday is Rebellion Day, for the Age of Rebellion RPG, hopefully at a store near you. I'm very excited and looking forward to it. Here are a few spoiler free tips to help GMs and players plan ahead, plus a few more personal observations about the day. 

I'm very excited to see how players tackle Rebellion Day's Rescue at Glare Peak adventure. There is a lot of room for the GM, Players, and particularly the narrative dice to work their magic. This is the largest special event I've written for, since my original RPGA Star Wars d6 module Milk Run ran at GenCon back in the early '90s. My upcoming Adventurers League D&D Expedition Tyranny of Dragons adventure Drums in the Marsh should see widespread convention and store play, but not all on the same day or event. 

How do I know? FFG posted a list of the stores running the event. It is impressive, with 99 +/- stores running games in 10 different nations. I may have miscounted the stores, but it is right around that number. 

A couple of stores got my attention. One was, of course, Game Cafe where I'll be running it a couple of times. The other was in Copenhagen Denmark. While scrolling through the list, Fantask A/S jumped out at me. Back in the '90s, I spent my 4th year in DiS - Denmark's International Study Program. Fantask was the closest game store, situated in the heart of Copenhagen.

Curious, I visited their website (the link above, you can translate the page from Danish), then took to google street view to find that the store is still in the same location. Looks about the same, too. Yes, only the lowest floor, half below street level. Look up and down the street, and you'll find this is a common feature of old Copenhagen structures.  If I recall correctly, the doors used to be at street level when the building was first built. As the street was reworked, layer after layer built it up to the current level. I just tried to confirm that, and haven't been able to pin it down. Don't ask how long I looked... I also see that Copenhagen still has its ever present graffitti problem. Seriously. More than I've ever seen in any other city, overall. 

Ok, enough of memory lane. Street view can be addictive.

While listening (er, not listening) to the Order66 podcast this week, a discussion broke out in the Echo Base chat about adventure preparations. I thought I'd use Rescue at Glare Peak as an example. It may appear that it is cheating a bit for me, but I'll still make use of some of these items while rereading it to find out what changed in development and editing. Mostly streamlining, by the way, eliminating potentially time consuming options, changing up some of the NPCs, stats, tweaking skill checks and so forth. I'm fine with all of it. First, I expect this sort of thing to happen. Second, I agree with the changes I've seen so far, and can generally figure out why they did what they did. Editing and development is important. 

Back on track. So, I thought I'd use the adventure as an example of some prep items. I had envisioned going into a lot more detail, but lack the time and, frankly, it's probably better to be more focused, the previous paragraphs of this blog notwithstanding. Experienced GMs may not find much new here, but as I was reminded during the chat, new GMs can use tips all the time. Plus there are always new GMs. 

Remember, no spoilers here. That will limit some details on occasion. If you're playing just skip the GM prep section altogether.

PC Prep

Read your character. There are backgrounds that are tied into the story. Use them.

Note that the backgrounds don't include personalities. This is on purpose. The background events and knowledge are needed, but there are infinite ways to play the character, and you get to decide your take on it. Have fun. 

Feel free to elaborate on your character's history, but it is up to the GM to go along with it or not. 

If you can read the rules ahead of time, great. If not, the GM and other players can help you out as you go. 

GM Prep

The Pregen characters have backgrounds. Read them over. The characters are tied directly into the events that are unfolding, and you need to know what they might be acting on. Some might recognize some names and stats, which were reused for the GenCon games.

Read the adventure. Write notes to yourself as you go. Write your own outline of expected encounters. Note and review any special rules, and maybe make a quick diagram of character connections if that helps remind you during the game. Remember, your notes are there to help remind you of certain things you need help with. Don't overdo the details, and use page numbers to refer to items where possible.

If you haven't had time, read the character backgrounds and at least skim it over, then pause between each episode and look it over again. 

If you're short on time, there are suggestions for modifying the adventure. 

Maps. There is a player handout map sheet that goes along with the noted ones in the book. The maps are too small to use the Beginner game tokens in tactical situations. Either just go with minds eye, or bring along a flip map or paper to draw on. I suppose you could try to blow up the map digitally, such as with a screen or projector but the resolution will suffer.

There are a lot of ways the PCs will make their way through the events. There are opportunities for each to significantly contribute to the story, and might (will) take paths never conceived. Roll with it, but try to work the adventure's locations and characters in as they go, even if the circumstances are different. The PCs will naturally go to some of the locations because that's where they need to be to accomplish their mission.

Feel free to add details to NPCs and Glare Peak as needed.

The adventure includes quick start rules for those who don't own the game. Take note of what isn't in there - vehicle rules. That's not to say there aren't vehicles in the adventure, there are. They're handled in a number of entertaining ways that I can't get into without spoilers, but they are still very much part of the story. If you have the core rulebook, feel free to use the vehicle rules, if you need them. If you don't, handle it cinematicly (i.e., just describe the trip or use in general terms) or just stick with Piloting skill checks if absolutely needed.

And remember - you're first priority is to have fun and make sure the players have fun.

Finally, the first Force and Destiny Beta update is out.