Now that my gaming table is complete, I have started up a new campaign and our group has selected Star Wars – Edge of the Empire as our system. Expect numerous posts in the future about the gameplay, mechanics, and other issues that arise while playing the system. The first item I wish to discuss regarding Edge of the Empire is a great idea that was introduced to our group by our DM (and licensed Lucasfilm artist), Grant Gould.
During our first session, our “pitiful little band” met to create characters with the guidelines provided by the Core Rulebook. This process lasted a couple of hours as we traded ideas on how to balance our three-player party. I stuck with an early character concept – a cross between an interrogation and medical droid who had parts of his memory wiped and was stolen from Black Sun. Now the droid, EIT-27, has been reprogammed to help instead of harm, and somewhere deep in the circuits of his chrome brain are essential details on Black Sun operations. The rules allowed me the flexibility to take skills in multiple Careers to build a Droid who could function both as a healer and techno-savvy brain for the party.
With character creation completed, our DM turned his laptop around and told us to gather around the screen. Click below to find out what he showed us!
He then fired up the following video:
Watching the video was a terrific way to launch us into the first adventure. Below, I present three different ways that the easy-to-create Star Wars Crawl Creator can be used to add serious punch to any Edge of the Empire campaign.
It Is a Period of Civil War
The opening crawl to Star Wars is iconic, and anyone with an Internet connection can easily create a unique message that applies to his or her game with the Star Wars Crawl Creator. The crawl can be customized to change the Episode, Title and Message. There are likely many ways this free tool can be used, but I will briefly discuss three.
Campaign Introduction. Our DM used the crawl above to set the stage for the beginning of the campaign. Without saying a word, the players were pulled into the Star Wars universe by the music and crawl, and were also informed of the current situation for their characters – all in under a minute. It is a powerful device to initiate the campaign, and I wish there was a similar technique for fantasy settings like Dungeon & Dragons.
The DM could also use the crawl at the beginning of each session with the players to get the Star Wars juices flowing and immediately set the stage for the upcoming adventure. This could be overkill for a group that plays every week, but most likely a group will gather once or twice a month to pursue glory and riches in The Outer Rim so the device should not get old.
Between Session Stimulation. There are some gaming groups who continue the campaign between sessions through emails or other modes of online communication, and other groups who simply chat about the last session and plan the logistics for the next meeting. The Crawl Creator can be used to engage both types of groups between sessions. The DM could send the players a link to the next created crawl, which provides foreshadowing and details for the next adventure.
The crawl may inspire players to begin communicating about the campaign more often through email or allow them time to prepare how his or her character will respond to the new developments and plot points. This approach offers the benefits of the “Campaign Introduction” in addition to reminding players between sessions about what is happening in their character’s world while they were away from the table. I am certain if our DM were to send out a new crawl before our next session at the end of the month, our group would start sending emails back and forth about how to prepare for the specific circumstances described.
Character Background. The above suggestions are based on the notion that the DM creates the crawl. However, the Crawl Creator can also be used by each player to add energy and life to the campaign. During character creation, each player must select an Obligation (much more on this in future posts) and Motivation for their character. For those unfamiliar with the Edge of the Empire system, think of this as something akin to Alignment – what drives the character’s behaviors? One method a player could use to describe the origin of his or her character is the Crawl Creator.
Each player could enter a brief summary of how their character arrived at the beginning of the campaign and play it for the DM and group. Once again, the iconic crawl urges everyone at the table to dive into a ”Star Wars mindset” and it quickly establishes a few key points about the characters in the world. It encourages the player to think about backstory for their character, but does not result in the creation of a three-page, single-spaced origin story – which I may have written for a 4th Edition D&D campaign.
Punch It, Chewie!
The Crawl Creator is a great way to start a Star Wars-themed campaign. Expanding beyond the Star Wars universe, grasping the players’ attention at the beginning of a session seems to be worthwhile skill to develop. How have you started a session as either a DM or player to get everyone “into” the game?