Category Archives: Fluff/Inspiration

SWN: Jumpstarting my Creativity

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Stars Without Numbers Mongoose CoverFor the last few weeks I really struggled getting anything done. I don’t know what caused it – perhaps it’s this long, cold and dark winter – but my mental health issues have been more severe lately. At this moment I am slowly starting to feel better. The bouts of anxiety I get from time to time are fewer and further between, but I still have troubles when it comes to creativity.

But just today I found a good way to jumpstart my creativity again. Stars Without Number has a pretty elaborate World generating system that allows the game master to quickly roll up detailed worlds. There are random tables for atmosphere, biosphere, tech level, population, tags, etc. Within a few minutes you can roll up a whole slew of worlds. Since I want to run SWN in the near future I decided rolling up a sector would be a good start. So I got my dice and started rolling.

To make things easier for me, I created a spreadsheet in Google Drive that allows me to enter the numbers I rolled and it automatically puts out the results. That way I didn’t have to write everything down myself. Instead I just rolled and watched as the worlds slowly took shape on the spreadsheet – and in my mind. Especially the tags generated by this system really help to jumpstart one’s ideas.

For one world I rolled up the tags Unbraked AI and Zombies. Immediately I had ideas about a world controlled by a mad AI that creates mindless cyborg zombies from any hapless human being it can get its hands on. This world could be the perfect setting for a horror-themed adventure. In another case I got Desert Planet and Alien Ruins, and my mind was filled with ideas of a lost alien civilization whose remains are scattered across a deadly desert. Within a couple of minutes I had a couple of great adventure ideas.

Of course rolling up the worlds is just the very first step. I still have to turn everything into a workable setting. Some worlds I created using the random generation method are pretty silly and don’t make much sense at all, so I’ll have to make some subtle – and not so subtle – adjustments in the coming days. But the important part is that using the random world generation in Stars Without Numbers helped me getting some creative work done. Now I have to make sure that my perfectionism and self-doubt don’t stop me dead in my tracks. Wish me luck!

Star Wars Infinities – The Gathering Storm (Part 9 of 9)

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SW InfinitiesWell here we are at the end of this weekly series! It’s been a great experience for me. For a long time I had wanted to try my hand at doing a series of related posts on a unifying topic and I’m very thankful to Michael who said “Go for it!” when I told him of the idea of revisiting my old Star Wars RPG Infinities (i.e. What if? or alternate story) type campaign.

Through the process of writing these posts I’ve revisited, edited and remixed my notes on that campaign and have reacquainted myself with my plans for the game. In a way it’s reignited my desire to revisit the game. Perhaps it will happen…

I had originally planned to do eight sessions but as I revisited my notes I realized there was one more bit of information I wanted to share with our readers. The characters! My players back then made some very interesting characters and I wrote some introductions for each of them.

When the game began our group had just changed the location of our game, some players had move to the USA and amazingly I had only 4 players as the campaign began. That quickly changed and the group eventually grew to 5 early one and eventually to 6 by the end of the campaign, about 8 or 9 months later.

On this post I’m going to share the character concept the players gave me and the introduction I wrote after my discussion with the players following character creation. The following stories are not simply my creation they were crafted with player input, so I am very thankful we could tell these stories together. A BIG thanks my player then, Luis Manuel Alvarado, Luis Lao, José Bellavista and Karlo Yeager. Two of them are not currently playing with us regularly, but I always hold hope these good friends will sit at my table once more.

Each section will begin with the character concept as presented by the player, in italics, and the introduction I wrote for each of them. So here we go!

  Continue reading Star Wars Infinities – The Gathering Storm (Part 9 of 9)

Star Wars Infinities – The Gathering Storm (Part 8 of 9)

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SW InfinitiesYes you read that right! This was supposed to be the 8th installment of the weekly series of posts based on my old Star Wars Infinities campaign. Organizing the information for these posts has been a trip down memory lane and I realized that I have materials for one additional post. So next week will be the REAL final installment, an overview of the campaign itself. But for this week we’ll venture into crunch territory, house rules!

While the first 7 posts were mostly fluff and (I hope) usable for any Star Wars game, regardless of the system, this one is specifically about the Star Wars Sage Edition RPG. Published in 2007, we quickly embraced the system and got to playing. As I often do before a campaign I submitted a survey to the player about campaign expectations, this gave way to the Infinities timeline and background you’ve read in previous posts. It also gave way to the following house rules.

Back in 2007 I did share some of these rules in the EN World forums and got some excellent feedback form members. The rules evolved, I took some of their advice, ignored other bits, and came up with the following rules…

(Various caveats: I wrote the rules back in 2007, only the core rules had come out. I had some idea of how I wanted the system to work, specifically cutting back on some of the Jedi’s power. Whether I succeeded is debatable. In the end I believe I added needless complexity and there were some easier fixes, but hindsight is 20/20! One last thing, the force talents were adapted from those posted online. I cannot find the original source for all of them; some are adapted from the Imperial Knight Prestige Class (found here), the others I cannot identify. I don’t think I wrote them from scratch, but I am not sure.)

These are the house rules as I presented to my players back them. So let’s take a trip down memory lane to 2007!

Continue reading Star Wars Infinities – The Gathering Storm (Part 8 of 9)