Tuesday, October 18, 2016

STAR WARS - SCUM OF THE GALAXY - Part I

Followers of this blog (you know what you are...) may remember that I've been wanting to do a 'Campaigns I Have Known' series focusing on my (limited) time on the other side of the table. Unfortunately, things have been kind of busy in my Real LifeTM, and as such my blog has fallen by the wayside a bit. Campaigns I Have Played is therefore long overdue. 

Since I'm preparing for a new Star Wars campaign, let's start with a campaign set in that long ago, far, far Away galaxy.


I've only been in one long term Star Wars Role-Playing Game. 


Star Wars is, as I've noted in the past, one of my all time favorite games. Not only because I'm an immense fan of the Star Wars universe, but also because the West End Games D6 RPG is a work of gaming genius. Star Wars D6 was my first dice-pool game (I believe). The game also took a really interesting approach to telling the potential player, and GM how the game was to be played. The rulebook suggested a fast paced, free-wheeling approach, heavy on pizzazz and light on a slave-like devotion to the rules they were giving you.


It was awesome, and eye-opening and did quite a lot to influence my outlook on how RPGs could be run, and played. For me it hits the rarely achieved sweet spot between genre atmosphere, and crunch.



As noted in the Campaigns I Have Known entry on my very first Star Wars campaign, I was running Star Wars as an RPG setting long before West End came out with theirs. I usually used a homebrewed / kitbashed mess of a thing that worked largely because we wanted it to. 


When West End Games put out their excellent Star Wars game in 1987, the flood gates had opened, and now anybody, and everybody could run Star Wars to their hearts content. Yet no one did. No one in my circles wanted to run it, though many wanted to play it. It was up to me...as always.


A sad, sad thing that I have experienced throughout most of my 39 years in the hobby is that for every hundred games on the market, there are ninety-nine GMs running D&D.


Anyway, at some point in 1989, while I was working at the Forbidden Planet and attending Pratt Institute (my freshman year of college) a friend decided he really wanted to run Star Wars after hearing about it from me. This was a very surreal time for me, as I was big into the game, had friends who either worked at West End Games, or had relatives working at West End Games, and had family friends who lived only a few blocks from the company's offices on New York's Upper West Side. 


As I have mentioned before, I was the go-to guy for any game that wasn't D&D, and to hear that someone else wanted to run Star Wars just got me so excited I overcome my usual distaste for playing, and came up with a character in a flash. The GM, spurred on by my enthusiasm, had a group assembled in short order, and we played after classes a couple times a week (see below). The game eventually evaporated when summer came, and we all went our separate ways for the off months. 





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Campaigns I Have Known Played
Proudly Presents...

STAR WARS
SCUM OF THE GALAXY






Welcome to the Laughing Gundark Tavern
Drinks so strong they'll pull your ears off.




Title: STAR WARS - SCUM OF THE GALAXY

The campaign was not actually called that. To be honest, I don't think it had a proper title. I simply remember it under this title because the term 'scum' came up at lot during the game.


You may recall from the original trilogy, it came up fairly often there as well. Mos Eisley was a 'Wretched hive of scum, and villainy' according to Ben Kenobi. Bounty Hunters were referred to as the kind of scum the Empire didn't need by an Imperial Officer. Of course the Rebels were Rebel Scum. All these references played into the PCs in this campaign.


System: Star Wars, The Role Playing Game by West End Games. 1st Edition - Some house rules.


Most of the house rules involved an expansion of the skills that ended up almost identical to Second Edition. 


Circa: 1989. It only lasted about six months, with a large break between early December, and mid-February. Still, and all, there were around 20-25 sessions averaging about 7 hours each.


Gamemaster: NEW FEATURE! The GM for this was my friend John's brother Pete. Pete was about 25, white male, Huge Star Wars fan. 


Player Base: There were five regular players, including myself, all male, all between 20-22 years of age. Three of the players were African-American, two were Caucasian. 


A few other players joined in for 'guest star' rolls. Most only for one, or two sessions. Most were male, one female player, same age ranges, various ethnicities.


Characters: The overall theme of the campaign was a bunch of murderhobo ne'er do wells who somehow get it together and end up honest-to-goodness heroes. None of the character were truly that despicable to be honest. They were movie matinee/serial feature crooks, and criminals, with a heavy dose of bearing in mind that the 'law' was the Imperial Empire. 


So really, who's the villain? Am I right?



Alec Raydawn, Human Con Man / Young Jedi (played by Mike F.)


A young con artist who grew up on the streets of Cloud City, the glistening metropolis that floats over the gas giant world of Bespin. 


Abandoned, or possibly orphaned as a child, Alec lived in the ducts, tunnels, and subsurface chambers throughout the city. He eventually gained access to an apartment by posing as a Tibana gas mining executive until he was discovered by the Baron Administrator. A former scoundrel himself, the Administrator let Raydawn go, shipping him off on the next gas freighter to the planet Ord Itani, where Alec could get a fresh start.


While on Ord Itani, Raydawn ran afoul of the notorious crimelord Chuuphga Two-By-Four, and eventually hooked up with a gang of outlaws known as 'The Laughing Gundarks'. Together they uncovered a secret operation by Chuuphga, backed by the Imperial Empire, that lead to the discovery of ancient Jedi texts.


Raydawn's true lineage came to the fore when he discovered his parents may have been Jedi Knights killed in the purge that wiped out their order. Raydawn decided to change his ways (mostly) and follow the teachings of the Jedi in hopes of defeating the Empire.


Alec Raydawn was a handsome if scruffy looking man in his mid-to-late 20s. He normally dressed in a plain, rough and tumble fashion, but was very good at disguise, and blended in well wherever he went. He carried two blaster pistols - a long barreled hunter pistol, and a very small hold-out blaster that was weak, but easy to conceal.


He eventually learns the ways of The Force...somewhat. He never truly masters it, but he continues to try his best. He finds a damaged lightsaber at one point, and is able to repair it, keeping it as his own. It's blade is a pale blue/white.



Dreg, Rodian Smuggler (played by ME! Yay!)


My character! Woo-hoo!


Dreg hails from a rain forest/jungle world in Hutt Space. As such, his coloration in a deeper, but brighter green than most Rodians. His snout is a bit longer, and his antenna, and ears a bit larger than average as well. 


Dreg's father was a legitimate merchant for many years, until the heavy taxes of the Empire and the protection money he needed to pay the Hutts drove his business to ruin. When he was old enough, Dreg decided to take his dad's ship, and try to make money as a smuggler. After every successful haul (there weren't many) he would send money back to his family. 


The life of a Smuggler was tough on Dreg, and he became quite nervous, almost neurotic. He was a terrible shot, a bit of a coward, but good at talking his way out of bad situations. 


Eventually, Dreg found himself on the run from various creditors, including a Hutt named Gumbad, and the galactic kingpin Chuuphga Two-by-Four. He was also hounded by various criminals seeking revenge on him, mistakenly believing him to be a Rodian Bounty Hunter named Reek. 


Hiding out on Ord Itani, Dreg met Reek, and some other characters who all ended up teaming up to save each other from Chuuphga's goons. Before long, they started calling themselves 'The Laughing Gundarks' (named for their favorite cantina - see Synopsis), and became a major thorn in the side of both Chuuphga, and the Galactic Empire.


Dreg wears a long coat, over a cheap, hand-me-down pilot's uniform. He carries a blaster pistol, but is a lousy shot for most of the campaign. Eventually, Reek takes pitty on Dreg, and teaches him to shoot, and fight. 


Dreg is a mess of anxiety, little fears, and neurosis. My portrayal of the character was largely inspired by Woody Allen in Sleeper, and Take The Money, and Run

His ship is his baby, a converted Koensayr KT-104 Troop Transport called 'The Green Sun Endeavor'. The Troop compartments have been converted into cabins, and additional cargo space. It is not the most maneuverable ship out there, though it can go straight very fast thanks to large, and powerful main thrusters. It can take a beating, and dish one out. 
Dreg also has a Treadwell Droid named WED-15ND, sometimes called 'Wendy'.






The Green Sun Endeavor
A Koensayr KT-104 Troop Transport
Converted for civilian use.



Reek, Rodian Bounty Hunter (played by John C.)


A feared, and notoriously tough Bounty Hunter operating in the Outer Rim Territories, Reek originally hailed from a Rodian colony world, giving him a distinctive deep, bright green skin color, and longer than average ears, antenna, and snout. 

As such, there came a point when he was repeatedly mistaken for another native to his homeworld, a cowardly, cringing smuggler who went by the name of Dreg. Creditors, and two big different crime boss both sent muscle to rough Reek up, accidentally mistaking him for Dreg. Reek handed them their butts, and started looking for this Dreg guy to clear things up once, and for all.

Reek, and Dreg finally encountered each other on the world of Ord Itani, when they were caught in the crossfire between people out to get each of them. This soon lead to Reek becoming labelled an outlaw himself, and associated with the 'Laughing Gundarks' gang by both the Imperial Empire, and the underworld figure Chuuphga Two-By-Four. Reek's personal sense of honor made him join up with the ragtag bunch, and devout his note worthy fighting skills to his new found friends, and later the Rebellion. 

Reek is a Rodian in black, and dull red uniform, covered in charcoal colored body armor. He carries numerous weapons, but a heavy blaster rifle, a heavy blaster pistol, and a vibro-knife are among his favorites. He is a terrible pilot, and driver, though he has convinced himself he is good at pretty much everything. When reality sets in he offers to teach Dreg how to fight in exchange for Dreg teaching him how to drive, and co-pilot the ship when necessary.

Reek and Dreg end up best friends, almost like brothers, but their relationship has shades of The Odd Couple (Oscar and Felix respectively).


Hud Choban, Uchoda Mechanic (played by Travis G.)


Hud Choban is an Uchoda (YOO-choh-duh) an original alien species created by the player [Travis] and based on this illustration by concept artist Ron Cobb [for Star Wars: A New Hope]:







Unused alien concept art for Star Wars - Episode IV: A New Hope
By the talented and prolific Ron Cobb.



Choban, like all members of his species, possesses traits related to various arctic animals including polar bears, walruses, and even penguins. Like the Platypus, the Uchoda are egg laying mammals. Choban has great physical strength, but even greater endurance, and stamina. He is an excellent swimmer, and obviously highly resistant to cold and water pressure. His thick fur covers a layer of blubber tissue that provides armor against attacks such as punches, kicks, or being hit with a bludgeoning weapon. 

When we first meet Hud Choban he is working as repair man, and part-time bouncer for a cantina on Ord Itani called 'The Laughing Gundark'.

One evening at work, Choban breaks up a fight between a Rodian pilot, and a group of men working for interstellar criminal Chuuphga Two-By-Four. Later that same evening, Hud sees a few of those same men, and a few others he doesn't recognize, trying to start up a fight with...the same Rodian? Couldn't be. This guy looked totally different, and seemed like he could handle himself. While he should have gone straight home to bed, Choban decided (against his better judgement) to help out the mysterious Rodian. Choban, and his new friend Reek soon cross path's with Dreg, the Rodian Pilot from earlier. The three of them end up caught in a firefight between a group of hired guns after Dreg, and another after Reek. 

The team ends up escaping the battle, and runs right into Alec Raydawn. Also being hunted by Chuuphga, and his minions, Raydawn joins the group and they all head for Dreg's ship.

Choban is easy-going, laid back kind of fellow just trying to get by. His world was invaded, and his people enslaved by the Empire. While he harbored a desire to free his planet, for the most part he just tried to keep his head low, and avoid too much trouble. All that changed when he joined up with the rest of the group.

Hud is about 6' 4", but stoops over a bit, and is very broad-shouldered. His fur is a light yellow-cream color fading to white on his chest. His skin underneath the fur, seen on his face, palms, and the bottoms of his feet, is a very light, warm grey. He rarely wears clothing, but will sometimes don a sleeveless vest for the pockets. He normally has his tools, gears, and weapons on his belt, or in a pack slung across his back. He carries a blaster carbine that he always uses one-handed. 


Tageris 'Tag' Aether, Human Starfighter Pilot (played by Mark E.)

For several years Tag (short for Tageris) was a star pilot for hire, serving as a mercenary on the border between the Outer Rim, and the Inner Rim. At least that was his cover story. In truth, the serious, stalwart, and no-nonsense ace was a secret recruiter for the Rebel Alliance.







Tag Aether's heavily customized

Shobquix Yards Toscan 8-Q Starfighter



While investigating a build up of independent starship movements in the Outer Rim Territories, Tag discovered the galactic kingpin Chuuphga Two-By-Four was amassing a small fleet of armed vessels. Clues indicated he was being backed by another, even bigger party. While trying to follow up a lead, Aether witnessed an altercation between a group of Chuuphga's men, and a small band of scoundrels whom he had been keeping tabs on. 

One thing lead to another and Tag ended up teaming up with the oddball group, helping them escape from Ord Itani with Chuuphga's men hot on their tail. In addition, henchmen of Gumbad the Hutt, and agents of the Imperial Empire joined in. Outer Rim TIE Pilots were no match for Tag and his custom fightercraft, and in combination with the rest of the gang aboard the Green Sun Endeavor, Aether managed to lead the group to relative safety on the planet Nanador. 

Aether kept up appearances as a fellow scallywag, while trying to convince the team to join up with the Rebellion. After many (often hilarious) misunderstandings about what he was really trying to do, the group eventually agrees to become part of the Alliance Fleet.

Tag Aether is a handsome, fit man in his late 20s-early 30s. He is most often seen wearing either a Rebel Pilot Flight Suit in blue (instead of the traditional orange), or fairly normal cloths similar to what Han Solo would wear. His pilot helmet has red stripes across blue fields. He carries a heavy blaster pistol as his standard weapon.

His fighter is a Shobquix Yards Toscan 8-Q Starfighter, a design pre-dating the Clone Wars. Built specifically to be easily modifiable, Tag's version has an Astromech socket for his R2 unit (R2-RB1, 'Ruby'), twin ion cannons from a Y-Wing fighter, and four fire-linked laser cannons. Later in the campaign he gets an improved hyperdrive, improved shields, and slightly more powerful engines. The fighter's main weaknesses are that its sublight speed, and maneuverability are considerably behind more modern fighters like the X-Wing, Y-Wing, and TIE Interceptor. 









Watch for Part II...

AD
Barking Alien











5 comments:

  1. Good stuff! I look forward to more. I like Star Wars d6 a lot but I haven't played it in decades.

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  2. "(...)The game also took a really interesting approach to telling the potential player, and GM how the game was to be played. The rulebook suggested a fast paced, free-wheeling approach, heavy on pizzazz and light on a slave-like devotion to the rules they were giving you."

    The GM's section of WEG Star Wars was a work of art and I think re-reading it today, it would still feel fresh and relevant. It gave advice on how to run a fun game and, even more important, how to give it the Star Wars tone. It was the first game I owned and only with time I have realized how good it was in that regard, compared to most games (Buffy the Vampire Slayer is another good example).

    It's nice to see you back and full of energy!

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  3. This campaign sounds like a lot of fun. The character confusion is really only something you get when the players are working/thinking together - a rare thing sometimes.

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  4. Since the early 90's, the Star Was RPG by WEG was my go to RPG. I enjoyed it (and still do) immensely and preferred it even over D&D.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for coming by Stuart. I couldn't agree more with your sentiments.

      OK...I guess I could...a little more...since I'm not a big 'D&D' fan. ;)

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