Thursday, December 16, 2010

Episode 66: Order 66

Somewhere out there is the text for Episodes 64 and 65; where they got off to I don't know...maybe I'll be able to update them later...

I’m DarthGM, and this is the 66th installment of Fragments from the Rim.  This week we’re talking about Order 66.

With one order, Chancellor Palpatine triggered an event that replaced a corrupt democratic government with a tyrannical dictatorship.  Almost overnight  the benign Jedi Knights who had served the Republic as peacekeepers were wiped out, replaced by faceless Stormtroopers and an aire of racial superiority from the human leaders of the Empire.

Anyone listening to this podcast knows that Order 66 represented a dynamic shift in the Star Wars universe.  It’s a sharp break from what had occurred before, and what the universe was now destined to be.  It’s not the only such event in the Star Wars Universe, there are others.  The destruction of the Death Stars, the Death of Emperor Palpatine, the capture of Darth Revan, the ascension of Darth Krayt; the movies, shows, and EU are filled with focal points and key events that cause a dramatic change in the galaxy.

There’s another Order 66 to talk about that’s caused a dynamic shift, at least to me.  I’ve been gaming in this universe for quite some time now, since the 2nd Edition of the West End Games edition of the RPG.  I’ll be honest; I’ve run some damn good games over the years.  I’ve also run some pretty bad ones.  It wasn’t until I ran into GM Chris on the old WotC Gleemax boards that I discovered the Order 66 podcast.  For 121 episodes I’ve had my conceptions about game balance, good storytelling, and good Gamemastering challenged and turned upside down.  I’ve found that since this event, my stories are better, my encounters are more epic, and my games are move fun.

I would have to say that the biggest change to my style is my hesitation to mess with “Uncle George’s Sandbox”.  I never wanted to introduce something to my games that would enable the characters to alter established canon.  My games would skirt the edge of movie storylines and novels, but never intervene.  Never intersect.  All that has changed.  GM Chris and GM Dave have called an Order 66 of their own on my hang-ups and gaming hesitations and opened my eyes to how much fun this galaxy has to offer.  To stop saying “no” to PCs, (unless they’re violating the rule of DBAD).  To let the PCs fail, because earning a defeat can be more rewarding than being handed a victory.  And to remember that it might be George’s sandbox, but he’s not going to kick me out of it if I play how I want to play.

Fellow Gamemasters; don’t be afraid to toss established canon out the airlock.  Let the PCs fail.  Say “Yes, but what if we do this instead” to your PCs.  And if your PCs kill General Grevious before the Battle of Utapau, or rescue Han Solo before he’s delivered to Jabba, let it happen.  You don’t know the power of dynamic change until it’s presented to you.  It can be an incredible experience if you let it happen.

That’s all for this week.  Thank you GM Dave, GM Chris, TG, and you Gamer Nation for letting Fragments from the Rim entertain you for 66 crunch-and-fluff-filled installments.  We hope to continue to enhance your gaming experience for another 66 episodes.  Until episode 67; 20 side up, one side down.

Originally aired on Order 66 Podcast Episode 121 "Paging Doctor Awesome"

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