Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Another Longshot - Launch Day

So there were no updates in December, the primary reason being that any time I had to write for the blog, I spent it on writing for today's topic.  As you may discover, there was a lot of work needed and it seemed to pay off.

New year, new post, new campaign.


Technically seven years in the making, Another Longshot has finally launched.  Set in the "Legacy Era" of what is now called "Star Wars Legends", the campaign takes place primarily in the Hagen sector on the edge of Wild Space.  Mysteries, ancient enemies, new threats, and a struggle to survive and fight the Sith Empire are all themes of this story, and this past weekend my PCs helped me kick it off with a bang.

Day One: Group Besh

On Saturday, the first dice started rolling for Another Longshot. Group Besh, "the Rebel group", got everything started with a romping 6 hour adventure. I think the thing that most impressed me was the lack of combat in this session.  There was one altercation on the promenade of a space station thanks to some Threat results on the dice, but otherwise it was all skills and role-playing to move along the plotline.  The players seemed to have a good time, so much so that three hours after I left (I live an hour away even without snow on the roads) my PCs were still hanging out talking and writing about the game.

I think I may have hooked their interest in the game...

I'm not going to re-hash what the PCs went through; I'll let them do that!  You can find the adventure write-up by the Group Besh PCs here.

I think the best part about the adventure was the collaboration. Everyone tried to make sure that everyone else felt useful and needed in the group. I still think Joe (playing the displaced Jedi) was the odd-man out and may have felt the least effective. Still, he contributed and I'm fairly certain the next session will focus the spotlight on him a little bit more, especially since his Bounty obligation got rolled.

I roll Obligation, Duty, and Morality at the end of the session so I know what's triggering for the next one and can write it into the story.  Works much better than spending hours writing something and then having someone's Oath Obligation get rolled or Space Superiority Duty rolled and having no extra room for random NPC interactions or space battles.

Day Two: Group Aurek

Due to schedules, it worked out that I had to run both groups back-to-back or else Group Aurek wouldn't "launch" until Late February.  Better to get the games going and PCs collaborating, I thought and predominately I was right.  "Group Aurek" is a unique group because everyone is a Force User.  It's basically a Force and Destiny group, with two Jedi, two Imperial Knights-to-be, and an unwilling Sith Apprentice who started off the campaign by saying "enough of this, I'm leaving and I'm freeing my Master's prisoners first".

This is the group with the most overt-ties to the original Longshot game. One of my PCs (Alex) is playing a descendant of the cigarra-smoking, foul-mouthed, unkempt space-pirate-turned-Rebel-operative he played seven years ago.  Now playing an upstanding Imperial Knight named Bleys (sort of a Star Wars take on an old favorite D&D PC of his), he's been saddled with his great-grandfather's broken-down ship and even further broken-down droid. This group also was exposed to the campaign "prophecy", or at least the "Nemoidian Fortune Cookie" variant.  Read all about their harrowing adventures here.

It will be fun to see where this motley crew goes.

Lessons Learned

Two games!  Two PC parties!  11 PCs!

I will never do this again if I can help it.

I ran 12 hours of games and had 5 hours of travel (thanks to detours and snow-delays). My wife is a very loving, understanding, patient soul for supporting me in doing this (and doing my best to give her some quality time prior to this hopefully helped).

I will happily run for 6-8 hours straight, but only for one day.  And I just can't spend that much time in the cars.  The rest of my weekend was basically shot, and I had to bail on an Order 66 episode because I was fried.

If I do have another game-a-rama like this, it had better be because I'm at a con.  Then again, who knows; I'm sure that at some point the calendar gods will decide to throw this scenario at me with a "both sessions on X weekend or one team doesn't play for 3 more months" or something like that.

I need to resolve how I'm doing maps.  Making maps on Roll20 is easy, and handy, but unless more players are using their own laptops to access the game everyone's looking at my secondary 19" widescreen from across the room to see the action. Plus I can't figure out how to center the other screens on what I'm looking at on mine, so I can't "force" the view on the second screen and am constantly shifting back and forth to adjust the PCs view. On the flip side, extra laptops for Group Besh would really clutter the table we're sitting at.  I wouldn't mind using physical maps, but I'd miss out on several good maps of Chris West's and it wouldn't work well with Group Aurek, where we're all sitting around a living room. Group Besh might be easier, but the map could take up more room than the extra laptop or two.  Going to have to work on that.

Someday, my friend...someday.

On a more positive front, I forgot how much music enhanced my game. I'm still using my Beta-release of Syrinscape because it allows me to make my own sound sets with my music and I don't have to pay for a subscription to use it (a recent development from that program's developer). The music was on for the Group Aurek game, with tense overtones coming in  while I'm describing scenes as if I planned them from the get-go.  Definitely worth my time Friday night rebuilding my sound sets from my laptops "format faux pas" a year ago.


Early on I knew that I wanted to document this adventure, perhaps more-so than almost any previous campaign. Let's face it; I'm a known entity now (at least in a very niche group). Folks who are not playing the game will be following the campaign. Also, I've developed something of an issue in keeping things straight, so it helps if everything is written down someplace I can access it at any given moment. Finally, it's good to see things from a PC's perspective, and see what they are thinking.  Many times they come up with angles and sub-plots that are better than what I had planned.

I'm encouraging my PCs to help me develop and record the game, and bribing them with XP to do it.  It'll be small, usually 5xp between sessions, but that 5xp will add up over time.  Assuming I stick with my schedule, that'll be an extra 25-30xp by the end of the year. I know no PC who wouldn't want an extra 25xp to add to their character. That's a bottom row talent, or a Skill from Rank 1 to Rank 3, or a new Force Power with an upgrade or two. With 11 PCs, it's going to be tricky finding something for each of them to do, though.  I think the next few weeks will be needed to hash out the "PC contributions" portion of the campaign.

I hope this works out. I won't really know if I've got this on a good head of steam until we hit LARP season, and arranging games turns into a real puzzle with all the games folks play. To be fair, I've got a plan for that to, I just have to get my PCs to a point where they could have "crossovers" with each other and run with everyone who isn't at a campsite with boffer swords and spell packets on a particular weekend.

And I have to see how I can deal some Wild Cards into the deck...

Hope to have another blog-post sooner rather than later.  Until then, may the dice be with you.


  1. I feel the need to point out that crashing at our place Saturday night was totally an option. That would at least avoid "commuting" to games on the weekend marathon. Especially considering the weather we were expecting.

    1. True, but didn't apply here. I still would have had to drive home to get Jason and Alex for the Sunday Game. And my wife would have had "even less time" with me that weekend. *shrug*