Thursday, November 3, 2011

Another Longshot: Go Big or Go Home

I'm returning to discussing the development of a new Star Wars Campaign, Another Longshot.  For those who may not know, this is a sequel campaign to one I ran back in 2005.  Ending in 2007 a few months before one of the players moved to Georgia on "temporary exile", the game had simply intended to be a "welcome back!" reward for when his life-choice responsibilities finished.  It's slowly growing beyond that, and it's not even slated to get on the table until the summer of 2013*.

Histroy Lessons

The original Longshot Game, run in the previous Revised Core Rules for D20 Star Wars, took place in the Rebellion Era.  It centered around a doomed-but-hopeful mission for the Rebel Alliance to steal an old, moth-balled Venator-Star Destroyer.  This particular ship was part of General Kenobi's Open Circle Fleet, bring it to Mon Cala, and have the Mon Cala shipyards restore it to fighting condition, along with it's original paint job.  The ship would then serve as a symbol from the Republic Era, and as an ambassadorial ship to travel the Outer Rim gathering support for the Rebel Alliance (and the New Republic after the Rebels won at Endor).

Most of the PCs were fighter pilots in some capacity (some were better than others), flying a variety of Alliance fightercraft.  The initial attack on the shipyard went belly-up the moment the ships jumped into the system.  The Corellian Corvette that was carrying the command staff and crew for the Venator blew up due upon arrival dueto sabotage.  The PC's fighter carrier suffered a similar fate mid-way through the raid.  The shipyard was well defended, much more than anticipated, with a Victory II Star Destroyer maintaining watch over the battle and swarms of TIE Fighters coming out of the woodwork.  Somehow, the PCs were able to cover the escape shuttles from their dead carrier to the Venator, power it up, and jump out using the Star Destroyer's back-up hyperdrive (the main one was removed long ago).

No shields, only a back-up hyperdrive, no guns, a barely functional flight deck; it's no wonder the survivors of the raid dubbed the ship "The Longshot".  It would take the Longshot fourteen months to get to Mon Cala in it's current state, and it would have to do it on a multi-jump trek to take on food, water, and supplies at regular intervals.  The Rebel Alliance wanted them to scrap the mission, stating they didn't have any more resources to devote to this "malfed-up mission", but the PCs and the command staff NPCs were able to talk the Alliance Command into letting them try.  The PCs, more resourceful than anyone expected, were able to assist in getting the Longshot to where she needed to be.  Chased by Imperial Inquisitors, bounty hunters, and Imperial seek-and-destroy fleets, the group made it to Mon Cala sixteen months later with the Longshot mostly intact.

The campaign was kind of "Battlestar Galactica meets Hunt for Red October"; that's how I ran it anyway.  The players loved it.  They all had a grand old time and looked forward to the next session.  More so, they looked forward to playing the sequel, already promised when Alex left for Georgia. 

As with all great stories (or preceived great stories), the legend grew, and more people wanted in on the sequel to "The Longshot Campaign".

Many more people.


Names That Mean Nothing To Many

I did an inventory of the players from the original game; Andrew, Joe, Sarah T, Bob, Pete, Kimber, and Special Guest Tim W.  Then there's the list of the potential players to add to the party; Erich, Ann Marie, Heather, Sarah G**, Brett, and Jeffo.  There's also the list of the "Unknown Horde", folks who may want to be in this game but are not yet considered; Random, Tim B, Whitney, Johanna, Sam Witwer***

Given these numbers, I could be looking at a 10-16 person party.  That would be an excessive number of PCs, way more than I've ever had or even wanted to have.  I could write it like the Dawn of Defiance campaign, and run it three times.  But that means that every session is scripted, with little opportunity for PC action to send it far off the rails.  Or if I let that happen, I'm going to end up writing three campaigns that vaguely use the same antagonists and story line.  At that point I might as well cut to the chase and just write one big campaign and have two parties of 6-8 players that are all working towards the same goal, just through different means... that sounds like a kick ass campaign.

Prelude to an Epic

The thought of running a multi-party campaign in the Legacy Era of Star really throws a ton of fuel onto the Fires of Inspiration.  Two parties, one more Galactic Alliance and Jedi focused, the other more Empire-In-Exile focused.  Each operating agaisnt the Sith Empire.  Both sharing stories and objectives, actively or in-advertently helping the other team with their goals.  Big Bad Evil Guys that threaten both teams.  NPCs that like some characters but not others.  Plus, there's the opportunity for "cross-over" teams and "special guest stars".

This screams "Comic Book Super-Team", doesn't it?  Cuz that's what it certainly feels like.

Were I to plan and run a game like this, it would pretty much necessitate the ending, or indefinite hiatus, of all my other Campaigns (maybe with the exception of my Earthdawn game, because I may need a change of pace, and I don't see me being able to get that to it's conclusion in 18 months.)  I'll be running two seperate campaigns, but more than that I'll be juggling the connective tissue between the two campaigns, tracking how actions affect the overall plot, and coming up with ways to make each team affected by the failure or success of the other.

So Order 65, you're on notice.  Brothers in Arms, your time is nigh(-ish).  I will have to finish both of you by Summer Blockbuster Season, 2013.  I have a campaign to write, dammit.

 A potential PC Party...?

* "Coming Summer 2013"...sounds like a movie teaser trailer.  Note to self; make a teaser trailer for Another Longshot...
** I hold out hope against hope that I can get her back to the table.
*** Why the frell not invite him, am I right?  I hear he's got a girlfriend who lives in MA...

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