Post-Game: Scum & Villainy - WTF Happened?

Admiral Duck Sauce 2005-06-03 19:57:26
Hey all,

This is the thread where we discuss the game. Post what you liked, what you didn't like, whether I should be allowed to run Star Wars in the future and whether you'd want to be a part of that.

I'll go first. :)

You have to remember that when I started this game, I was coming off of Heroes?, which was a very story-driven game; it had X number of plot threads that needed to get tied up, the rolling that went on was rare, blah blah blah it was a narrative-style game, to use those terms. I decided my Star Wars game would be way more open-ended and subject to where the dice fall.

I think the main problem from my point of view is that when you have a game that depends on the PCs making their own goals, and then that group of PCs' main goal is "Personal Safety", that system doesn't work.

I had a number of subplots in there; some were completely ignored, some were touched on but rejected, and I flat-out killed some of them.

Ship crash/In debt to Gulgo
This one was obviously the main impetus for the first part of the game. Your goal of Personal Safety is compromised by the Debt to Gulgo, so you need a ship and some way to make back the money.

Behind the scenes: The Chance's former captain wants his ship back.

Spice deal with Pinky/Spy on Gulgo for Pinky
You guys talked about, but ultimately rejected Pinky's espionage subplot against Gulgo, opting instead for a clean deal. Looking back, that DOES confirm your goal of self-preservation.

Rebel/Imperial battle over Sullust
You guys don't choose a side in the Civil War. I had it there as a gauge of how everyone felt about it all, but didn't really expect you guys to hop into the battle in a freighter with spotty weapons systems.

Ta the Twi'lek mechanic/assassin/Imperial spy
OK, so this one was more or less forced on you, partially because you guys weren't going to get in trouble with Gulgo, and also because 'Za needed something to do. Yes, Ta was an Imperial spy. She sabotaged the planetary shields so the Star Destroyers could attack. In a related plotline, only one showed up, as you know, and was defeated. Stranded on a hostile world, Ta concocted the story about being a mechanic (in actuality, that was only her cover). The guys 'Za blasted in the landing bay were Rebel agents looking for the Twi'lek. Ta showed Aurelia her true colors on Bespin. I didn't expect it to be such a one-sided bushwhacking, but as I mentioned earlier I was following where the dice led me. You guys didn't pursue, which was fine, I sensed that it wasn't an appealing subplot in the first place.

Behind the scenes: The Gran captain, who ran cargo for Gulgo just as you used you, asks the slug for help and is rejected.

Bespin/Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss
I think Bespin was my most straightforward plotline, whether or not you guys were privy to all the stuff behind the curtain. So... Lt. Briggs was waiting for the Gran captain to arrive with his shipment of spice from Gulgo. You guys show up in the Gran's ship, which spooks Briggs but he plays it low-key. Meanwhile, Lt. Urbani has caught wind of Briggs' dealings and catches up with Wayde, who turns up in the big ol' "Ex-Imperial" registry. Thinking he's met a kindred spirit, they talk and Urbani's men board your ship. Urbani is SURE he's got Briggs now, plus a bunch of pirates, except you guys sold the spice to Pinky. You all know the chaos that ensued.

Behind the scenes:Gulgo no longer has a spice dealer on Bespin who can get the shipments through Imperial searches and customs. This damages Gulgo's operations. He knows it's your ship now and gets the Gran, sending him and Joss on your trail.

Spirit of Ithor/The Sith Lord
Sith Lord? What?
At this point, I needed something more for Erit to do, and Mak's suggestion that he learn more about the Force was a perfect opportunity. Unfortunately, CuteMotherFucker disappeared after this section, and instead of trying to salvage Erit's subplot, I soldiered on despite alienating Erit, and to a lesser extent, Aurelia. More on her later.

A Falleen Sith assassin, thawed out from before the Rule of Two much like Lent was, used his considerable powers to hijack a sizable Imperial force. He managed to gain followers (this is all backstory that would have turned up had you followed this path) and eventually orchestrated the mutiny of two Star Destroyers. Those ISDs attacked the Spirit of Ithor, looking for the sunken tomb of a Sith Lord from the Old Republic which was carted off Ithor when the planet's soil, fauna, and flora were divvied up to the Worldships. He was a Big Bad with dreams of his own Sith empire, and was designed so Erit and Mak could get their Force on with someone who could fight back. Problem was, I think I came on too strong with the Imperials and you guys, in the interests of self preservation, scurried off. I realized after the Spirit of Ithor's destruction that you guys really weren't interested in anything to do with the Civil War and I should stop trying to see if I could cajole you into becoming Rebels.

Behind the scenes: The Sith assassin is still out there, he's got his Sith Lord-in-a-box, and he can still be a Big Bad later.

Nar Shaddaa/Betrayed!
Nar Shaddaa, contrary to what normally happens on the moon in video games, was fairly peaceful. I reeeeally didn't want to see you guys run into hyperspace from EVERY planet you visit. First things first; with no impetus to hunt the Force-user Bak Molan mentioned, it was time for him to die in a crossfire. I was going to have somebody shanghai Mak, sent from Gulgo, but in the end Mak eluded him, and soon after, the forums in general. :)

Silverberg wasn't against you guys; she was legitimately giving you a job up until you left and Gulgo's goons showed up on her doorstep. They contacted Greebu and told him to lock you guys up until Joss and the Gran got there and dealt with you.

I think this was a fairly straightforward plot, once again it worked because it endangered your personal safety. Where it DIDN'T work was where Arnae and Erit remained with the ship, and I couldn't think of a damn thing to engage them. I apologize.

I have used Greebu's ranch in several tabletop games. I love the idea of some crazy crimelord (ex-crimelord in your guys' case) who collects exotic and deadly animals, like the dude from Romancing the Stone ("Look at them choppers, willya?"). So he turns up all the time. I didn't want another big name crime boss, though, so I adjusted his situation to where he's gone mostly bonkers, but still has enough money to maintain his installation. No henchmen, just robots. A bit like that old Disney movie "The Black Hole" with Ernest Borgnine.

Joss and the Gran show up of course, you guys blast everything around and take off with Lent in tow. You guys learn that the Gran was in cahoots with Gulgo somehow, and it's decided that Gulgo will not stop hunting you. Time to take the slug down.

Sullust/Kill Bill- er, Gulgo
There's nothing really to say here that you guys don't know about, except for the identity of the shuttle pilot. From a metagame standpoint, I didn't think it was going to take as long as it did. Erit and Aurelia rotted away on the ship, save for the attack which was easily dealt with. I thought maybe they might breach the ship and then Arnae/Wayde/Za/Lent would have a hostage situation to come home to.

Arnae didn't get too many posts; I don't know whether that was IP being really busy or a lack of interest or just forgetting to check this game.

Also, poor Aurelia. Ivan, I have to confess I just didn't know how to handle what Aurelia was experiencing internally. I should've straight-up asked where you wanted to take it, but I didn't, and I wish I did.

Yes, I did drop the hints that Aurelia could be Force-sensitive. IF Ivan would like to pursue that route, and if Erit would want to teach Aurelia, the trio of Erit, Lent, and Aurelia could make a fine Jedi-oriented group. Not that any of them ARE Jedi, but that perhaps between the three of them they have the mental, emotional, and physical abilities of one. Aurelia empathizes with things; Erit obviously has the Mind Trick/mystic hermit thing down, and Lent is likely the equal of a Jedi in battle.

Then there's the option to take over Gulgo's organization. I guarantee you you'd see Pinky again, plus you'd probably have to choose the Empire or the Alliance, since elements of both would court a fledging crime lord even as other elements work to bring you down. To be honest, though, the crimelord option is more or less an NPC position; your PC can take over, but they won't be getting in adventures. If they do, somebody's going to steal their power.

I'd be up for another game, but I wanted to know your thoughts so I can learn from any mistakes and put more of what you want in a future game.
Gatac 2005-06-03 20:36:15
I don't mind how Erit was utilized. It's kinda hard to have a telepath on the team because it's such a valuable ability to manipulate other people. I mean, look at when Erit *is* using his powers - suicided Stormtrooper, stopped assault, confused gangsters all around.

I wouldn't mind Erit, Lent and Aurelia as a team. I kinda planned to have Erit try to come to terms with his past rather than smashing the bad thoughts away via meditation and living in a quasi-serene stupor from day to day.

Also, what is it with me, philosophical characters and getting sidelined? :D

Dieter 2005-06-03 20:39:32

Quote: from Gatac on 2:36 pm on June 3, 2005

Also, what is it with me, philosophical characters and getting sidelined? :D


I think it's alot to do with the Genre. I mean you do too much philosophy and you get, well...Episode I.
Aihal the Silent 2005-06-03 20:43:48
I really enjoyed the game, but found it difficult to keep track of all of the people that the group had pissed off and how they all related to each other. I guess that's what comes from joining in mid-adventure. Also, Lent's peculiar sense of morality didn't always mesh. Have you considered a faction-based game? That would give the characters common motivations and provide story lines? Remember Troops?

Perhaps we can come up with some type of coding system to keep track of which direction animosity is flowing:

* Players wish to kill this character, this character does not necessarily return the feeling.
^ This character/group wishes to kill the players and the players do not necessarily return the feeling
#Animosity flowing in both directions. Death-fest whenever these groups meet.

Dieter 2005-06-03 20:48:30
I concur with Benn on those notions. Also, we really need a Wiki for Star Wars.

Most people know the difference between a Hutt and Wookiee but there's alot of characters/places floating around to keep track of. I'll pitch in with the new game's upkeep and I'm sure Gatac wouldn't mind filling out descriptions.
Gatac 2005-06-03 20:56:50
Sure, we've got most of the SnS stuff nailed down now, I suppose I could fit it in my schedule.

fanchergw 2005-06-03 21:08:48
Gotta say, I had a ball playing Jileeza - though I suspect you know that by now. ;)

Like Aihal, I had a tough time keeping track of what went before and who everyone was. In my experience, this is a problem that pervades PbP games. The long timeframe tends to dilate as people's posting frequency fluctates. Thus, something that happened for the characters a day or two ago could have been months or even years ago for the players. Unfortunately, players (and this is certainly true of myself) often don't have time to dig through dozens of pages of posts in multiple threads in an attempt to put the pieces together or find a particular factoid that they need.

One way I could see handling this - and I think it would be valuable for all the games, not just this one - would be for the GM to maintain a sideline thread with an ongoing summary of what has happened to that point. This thread would contain a synopsis of what happened, who they met, and the salient points of what they know about each NPC. I suppose this could be done in the Wiki format, but that tends to involve a lot of jumping around links, which makes it less accessible and usable to my mind.

As for the characters becoming member of the Rebellion, that should probably have been mentioned up front. When I was creating my character, it seemed to me that the title "Scum and Villainy" applied to the PCs as well as possible NPCs, and created Jileeza accordingly. This may not have been what was intended, but it was the impression I was operating under at the time. While she was tired of being used by the Empire, she had no more interest in being used by the Rebellion. She was definitely an "independent" kind of character.

Regarding self-preservation and running away, it often seemed to be their only option. Their pitiful little freighter (which had none of the Milenium Falcon speed or coolness) was in no position to tangle with the ISDs and such that kept showing up. A group of stormtroopers is one thing, but ISDs bombarding a worldship just screams "Flee!" to my mind. I think the group as a whole had the capability for bravery and heroism, but were decidedly not suicidal. All in all, there just seemed to be a lot of "overwhelming force" bumping into them.

It's becoming pretty clear that Jileeza won't fit in the future storyline. Perhaps she'll become an NPC acquaintance running her little bizness. Once I have a better idea of the theme of the next storyline, I'll try to come up with someone who works better as part of the group.
CrazyIvan 2005-06-03 21:20:24
My theories on the game thus far:

The Genre. I think part of the problem is, if you look at most of the other games were playing on this board, death is something of a major threat. A Han Solo style charge through the Death Star, shouting at the top of your lungs is a good way to make a new character. Also, I viewed us very much in the sphere of someone like Talon Card (or however you spell his name). Someone very much interested in *not getting involved*. The Chance, as much as Aurelia loves her, is not the ship for the job.

I wouldn't mind joining one side of the Civil War or the other - or for that matter becoming previously mentioned Pirate Queen, but I think the characters need a genuine motivation to do so. Rebellion is not something one stumbles into.

As for Aurelia, she's based very much on Kaylee from Firefly (which you should all see if you haven't). To quote "Machines got workings and they talk to me..." The little breakdown she had was partially something to keep me amused considering how poorly considered it would have been to take her along on the party's little assault plan, and partially to give her a history besides "Mechanic".

Overall, I enjoyed the game, but a outline of who/what the hell is happening would be handy, as would plot lines that either let the non-hard bitten badasses shine, and/or have ways they can be complementary, which is very much a possibility for Aurelia if we wind up spending more time in space, rather than "Boondock Jedi"
Dieter 2005-06-03 21:24:56
What about a city-based game ala Coruscant? There are a million things to do and it would provided an infinite number of storylines and characters.
Aihal the Silent 2005-06-03 21:31:17
Firefly = Awesome show with lines like "If you take sexual advantage of her, you're going to burn in a very special level of Hell, a level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theater"

Anyway, What about a space pirate-ish game? [bear with me] It seemed that in this one we were space pirates that always did the pirating on land. What about a game where everyone had a role in piloting the ship [pilot, systems, weapons, engines, etc..] and we were privateers/pirates for a larger organizations. That way, everyone would be useful. For example, we could play Rebellion officers ambushing supply lines. It's just a thought. Feel free to flame away.
Dieter 2005-06-03 21:35:24

Quote: from Aihal the Silent on 3:31 pm on June 3, 2005
For example, we could play Rebellion officers ambushing supply lines. It's just a thought. Feel free to flame away.

I like it! We get to be privateers but don't have to pay to get our ship fixed.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2005-06-03 21:37:24
Thanks for the input so far, I'll try to add some more.

Rebels... well... I wanted to throw the Alliance and the Empire into game somehow; it just doesn't seem "Star Warsy" without those big guys slugging it out somewhere along the way, and I was playing more towards Arnae's expressed views rather than 'Za's, whom I knew was completely mercenary - so perhaps she wouldn't care what she was doing or who it was for as long as she had a chance to get rich off of it. :)

The ISDs and the Ithorians were a contrivance. To be perfectly honest, the ability to enter hyperspace nearly at will means that a group of PCs can hide from their enemies for a long time. Gulgo simply was not going to find you on the Spirit of Ithor for a while, so I needed a reason to get you guys in gear. I may have overcompensated, limiting you to escape as the only conceivable option. Doh! Also, at that point I was figuring out that the SOP of running into hyperspace really is something they do all throughout the films, why should I stop you? I just needed a way to hold you down long enough to get you to work towards something (Gamdoaan), as opposed to simply hiding out forever.

As for Erit, hehe. I don't tell people when they're getting Dark Side points, but he got a few. :) It's not like it matters, though, since he'd still be Erit no matter what vibes other Force users got off of him.

Where do we go from here? I don't want to limit you guys as far as character choices, because one of the draws of Star Wars is that you can play nearly anything you can think of. I think that maybe the game needs a theme, something a little more concrete than "Scum and Villainy".

Searching for the exiled Jedi would be a fine theme. It gives the party purpose, and is a good reason NOT to simply spend your life on a moisture farm or smuggling odds and ends for several years. However, it's probably not conducive to the aforementioned Scum & Villainy parts of the group. :)

Also, Gordon brings up a good point about the Chance not being as fast or cool as the Falcon. That touches on my main beef with Star Wars as an RPG setting; The iconic people, events, and locations that MAKE it Star Wars have been done. I can't name a bad guy Darth Anything and have him/her be as menacing as Darth Vader. No freighter is going to be as awesome as the Millenium Falcon. I hope that makes some sort of sense.

The Wiki is a good idea, and I'll get it started sometime, although it might not be today. I would also plan on a less-twisty game next time. Something simple, with less reliance on outside NPCs to push the events along.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2005-06-03 21:44:18
And I was writing my post when three or four more popped up. :)

Privateers/pirates would likewise be fine. It would indeed solve some of the problems of certain characters being all in all, more useful in certain situations... situations like gunfights, which did tend to happen ALL THE TIME as I'm looking back. They were just fine ways to end plotlines, unecessary NPCs, conversations, etc... :)

I haven't seen Firefly, but am slated to during the weekend of June 25-26.

Just no more tramp freighters. If you guys want a space-based campaign, I'm gonna do my best to steer clear of anything that could be compared to the Falcon.
Aihal the Silent 2005-06-03 21:53:08
Stealing prototypes and designing your own always seem to work out just fine. Remember the Dauntless and The Flying Tantor?
fanchergw 2005-06-03 22:02:51
In truth, my point about the ship was less about coolness and "iconic-ness" than it was about fitness to the use. In reality, what was has was a relatively third-rate, frayed-at-the-edges, slow flying box with questionable weaponry. While it was capable of getting from Point A to Point B and carrying cargo, it really wasn't fit for serious combat or doing the wild-n-crazy stuff that happens in the movies all the time.

So far, I like both of the ideas that have been put forward. A ground-based game on Coruscant or some other interesting location could be great. However, if it has a lot of intricate political stuff and maneuvering and whatnot, I'm terrible at that shit. Someone else would have to be the brains in the group.

As for the buccaneers idea, I would probably recommend that they be part of the currently-fledgling (I think, based on where I think we are in the history of the setting) New Republic. Their job would involve patrolling a particular sector of space, regulating shipping through the area, stopping smugglers and such, and dealing with whatever problems crop up. This might capture a lot of that Firefly feel that I and others like. (Yup, I figured out pretty early on that Aurelia was based on Kaylee.)
Admiral Duck Sauce 2005-06-03 22:14:46
Sounds like I need to get to some Firefly watchin'.

If we kept it in the just-post-RotJ setting that we have been, the way I envision Coruscant is the aftermath of a planet-wide riot. Nobody controls it, and for the moment, nobody can.

I am personally leaning towards the privateer idea; mainly because it provides an easier way to transfer existing characters over. It sounds like there isn't too much support for a "hunt down the Jedi" game? Perhaps that will simply be Erit's ending, rather than the new game.
fanchergw 2005-06-03 22:25:51
Hunting down the Jedi wouldn't be bad. The main problem I would have would be in coming up with a character with a reason to want to do so. I suppose other people could help me with that if we go that direction.

We would also need to decide on what we wanted to do once we found them. In other words, why are we searching for them and what do we do with them once we find them?

And yes, you really do need to watch them Firefly! :cheesy: (I actually think it's a better setting for a game than Star Wars.)

(Edited by fanchergw at 1:26 pm on June 3, 2005)
Aihal the Silent 2005-06-03 22:29:08
Well. I do like the "finding the Jedi" idea and it could be incorporated into the Privateer idea. Remember, we'd be in an organization and would have to -- for the most part-- follow orders. We could be assigned a Jedi-related mission. We could end up being like Rogue Squadron: We're the most capable, so we get the hardest/most important missions.
fanchergw 2005-06-03 22:40:05
Wasn't Mok originally our primary pilot? I could see my next character being a (former?) fighter/interceptor/whatever pilot in a Rogue Squadron kind of game.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2005-06-03 23:11:38

And yes, you really do need to watch them Firefly! (I actually think it's a better setting for a game than Star Wars.)

That's why I have that Jade Imperium setting I've been working on in the Wiki. I originally came up with it to do a "Half-Life meets Stargate" style game using two PCs per player, but it kind of kept going in my head and it would work for a space opera-ish kind of game. But then it's not Star Wars OR Firefly, so I'm hesitant to bring it up. :)

Fighter pilots might be another route... or some people playing pilots and others crewing a larger gunboat-style ship. I think Mak was your guys' primary ass-kicker, the role Lent has fallen into since.