Star Wars – Game Management
Concluding a Campaign
This article looks at how I ended a three year Star Wars campaign, and why it was time to stop.
This was an interesting experiment in running a Star Wars campaign. Here is the premise of the game as laid out to the players:
- Each character would be built from one of the three core rule books. Edge of the Empire, Age of Rebellion and Force & Destiny.
- Each of the rulebooks would have two player characters, and the only rules those characters can reference is in their core rulebook.
- The campaign storyline would be a series of adventures being run in a round robin style following Edge of the Empire, Age of Rebellion and Force & Destiny before restarting the cycle.
- During each adventure, the two characters from that ruleset would be the main characters of the story and the other four characters would be the supporting cast.
- An awareness mechanic to limit blatant misuse of force abilities.
- The players had agreed to play through the adventures with the intent on completing them in the spirit of the setting.
There were 44 game sessions:
- 1 character creation session
- 12 Edge of the Empire adventure sessions
- 20 Age of Rebellion adventure sessions
- 11 Force & Destiny adventure sessions
I ran the adventures in this order Beta books, the Core Rules, Game Master Screen, Beyond the Rim, Onslaught at Arda I, Chronicles of the Gatekeeper, Jewel of Yavin, Friends Like These and finished with Ghosts of Dathomir.
There was one published module not done, Mask of the Pirate Queen which I intend to use in the next campaign I run.
The Beta, Core Rules and Game Master Screen adventure had some links in them that made a more coherent story, or at least would have been if I had run them in sequence instead of intertwining them with the other two rule sets. So I think concentrating on just one of the rulesets would have made a stronger storyline.
I also removed travel time between planets as a scene change, so it was hand waved most of the time unless it was an important aspect of the adventure, as was ship costs and maintenance. Though monetary rewards were also limited for the same reason as they did not have much in the way of costs.
Some of my players kept using rules outside of the scope of their characters and had to be told “No” and to rebuild as agreed.
I also had players who built characters with the group, then brought a completely different character to the game table. This is just bad etiquette and such behaviour should not be encouraged. The player should have contacted me before changing his character, and now after this and a few other incidents is not trusted to follow the rules without supervision. Not something that I wish to do frequently as a games master.
Keeping the game balanced, so players each get to have a voice and make decisions. The mechanic to have only two players in charge of the scenario was to limit the stronger and more vocal players from dominating the game and taking the fun away from the quite players. This was partially successful, but when you compare that the Rebellion characters had twice the game time in charge, they also had trouble letting go when it was not their turn in charge. This lead to a few arguments, and them sabotaging and shortening the other players storylines.
Character advancement was mostly managed by me as the Games Master as not all the players had the books, no access to the free tool, didn’t have the time or simply forgot. So I ended up managing most of the characters on my computer and provided print outs of characters, then just PDFs when my printer died. This was also a struggle with the group as sometimes they would update their character, and sometimes they would not, so if I had not received their update and had to update for them, I could not take their update into consideration and things were different. It was an ongoing frustrating just trying to get the characters update to date. This was further complicated by players again using rules outsides of the scope of the campaign and being forced to change it back. While it provided good oversight and planning capability, it is not something I would want to do long term again.
I also had to deal with players arguing against the scenario, making running the modules to be harder than necessary, interrupting the game sessions to complain about the storyline. This was also bad etiquette and the players told outside of game, this was not acceptable behaviour at the gaming table. There were a few occasions where this almost ended the campaign with the characters finishing the story at that point and ending due to not following one of the core premise of the campaign. The reason I was running publishing stories and not doing a freeform game was limit time to prepare, and running five other separate games over the same fortnight, so the playing the modules was a core part of this game to allow it to continue to be feasible run.
Things for the next campaign that I will keep in mind:
- The Awareness mechanic worked well and will stay
- The Obligation mechanic will be replaced to align with Duty and the new Awareness mechanic. It was too punishing to be left as it was.
- Gaining a group level and a personal level in one of the three mechanics will also come with a in game mechanic
- Space travel will be a key component to timeframe, costs and limitations applied to the characters.
- Next storyline will be character focused, based on the player character backgrounds and less focused in the adventure’s such that they can now leave them unfinished or unfavourably complete.
It was a good experiment on time management, teamwork and player participation, but it was not a success due to the stress and arguments I was going through just to keep the game running. At the end I was happy to end the game and move onto a different game system for a while and potentially revisit this setting depending on how the next game goes.
The last session had a great cliffhanger where players could imagine they survived, where as a GM I know if the scene went even a few seconds longer it was a total party wipe. I liked the idea of ending on hope instead of despair. So roll the end credits and hope for a sequel in the future.
- 2021-07-04 – Layout.
- 2020-04-26 – Structure and some content.
Game Management: Annotated Stat Block, Character Creation, Choosing a New Campaign, Creating a Galaxy Map, Ending three year campaign, GM’s Luck Roll, Running Games over Skype, Tracking Experience, 2016 Campaign
References: for Characters, for GMs, Dice, Items (Lightsabers, Modifying, Purchasing, Qualities), Knight Level Play, Mechanics (Awareness, Duty, Morality, Obligation), Movement (Personal, Planetary, Vehicles), Roles (Bounty Hunting, Investigations), Secrets (Empire, Jedi, Rebels, Sith)
The Star Wars Beginner Games: Overall Review, EotE – Escape from Mos Shuuta, This includes: The Long Arm of the Hutt, AoR – Takeover at Whisper Base, This includes: Operation: Shadowpoint, FD – Mountaintop Rescue, This includes: Lure of the Lost, FA – Discovery on Jakku , This includes: A Call for Heroes
The Published Adventures Campaign: Character Creation
(EotE) Edge of the Empire, (AoR) Age of Rebellion, (FD) Force & Destiny, (FA) The Force Awakens
Concluding a Campaign: Star Wars
This site is constantly under revision, no blog posts are final as this is a work in progress place for me to develop my game settings and rules. Some posts might be placeholders for future content, so feel free to check back later for updated information.