YOU BEAR WITNESS to a new column here on T&D, Retrofit, and a new contributor, Andy Kotch. I have participated in several of Ross’ past gaming endeavors as a player, including the ambitious homebrew of FFG’s Star Wars RPG: CRUSH THE REBELLION!I usually run games for a small group of old friends and we collectively jump from system to system (space pun) with new campaigns every few months. After delving into the Age of Rebellion starter box, they were eager to give Star Wars a shot.
I didn’t want to simply run CtR. As much as I love the Empire, I was burnt-out on the infinite riches and shocking abuses of power. I wanted to try a different aesthetic, and after polling my players a bit, we all seemed down for a fringe-worldy, get rich or die tryin’, morally gray campaign in space. Fortunately, that’s all the best aspects of Edge of the Empire (and I guess Firefly). The herculean task now lay before me: adapt the thoroughly evil and quasi-legal quest for POWER of Crush the Rebellion into a rough’n’tumble space-cowboy hunt for RICHES.
That is the focus of this column: re-writing and re-purposing what exists of CtR into what I have dubbed “Blaster At Your Side”.
It becomes apparent fairly quickly that more things are going to have to change that just the fluff that accompanies everyone’s S is for Secret Agendas. After pouring over everything I had, it became obvious that BAYS (I always name my campaigns around good acronyms) was going to have to shift focus in a few ways. I divided almost all of my changes into two important categories:
Now as two abstract concepts, there is going to be some overlap and some deficiency, but these two ideas have been the main descriptors of a lot that needed to be addressed. In CtR, the players are elite imperial agents. Money is no object when you own the state banks. No one dares question you when you speak with the Emperor’s voice. Your funds and reputation are both forms of currency that you need never worry about. In BAYS the players are a group of smugglers, bounty hunters, and deserters, all trying to form a group to secretly further their own ends. You need all the money you can get when no one’s taking care of you. Influence and reputation does not proceed you when you’re just some guy who took a job. This constant need for THINGS takes center stage in space.
Permanence is another area that needs to be handled differently. When you can buy everything you’ll ever need, instantly, and replace it just as quickly, things become hugely expendable. When anything truly rare gets instantly taken from you by the Emperor, you cease to focus on amassing power. When the only recommendation you need is your badge, you don’t tend to build connections. These elements all worked incredibly well for fostering an above-the-law “my way or the highway” mentality for Galactic Gestapo in CtR, but in BAYS the collection of things means survival. The crew sets up an H is for Heists every week because they need the money for a future (or often for the far more immediate present). They keep in contact with people because they need the protection of friends (and sometimes the recommendation of the only satisfied employer). This means all the amassing and collecting are rewarded over time.
This column will address changes specifically over a series of articles, starting with the thematic fluff. Keep in mind that, like CtR, this column is being written as the game is actually being played. This means changes (a lot of them). It also means input is doubly appreciated and could easily affect the direction of the game. This week the crew of the Electric Mayhem is being hired by a pirate outfit to destroy a terraforming project by another pirate gang. They’re being hired to go mess stuff up. They’re thugs. In space.