Monday, August 10, 2020

A Star Wars Game 30 Years in the Making

Back in 1990 I was in the barracks (I had just returned from 6 months of training and was shipping out to Germany in less than 90 days, so it made the most sense) when Iraq invaded Kuwait. I was a Middle Eastern linguist with a ton of tactical experience and had been in the desert for a ton of my then-young career and I was just going, the end. So much for re-enlisting to get to Germany!
Even though I was going early, we had to get ready. So I had a week to ten to load up gear, settle accounts, etc. A guy I knew from a gaming group (Keith) called one Friday and said his fiancĂ© (Lisa) and her best friend (Jen) had driven down to see him before he deployed and since they were going to dinner he wanted to grab me, too, for a good meal before  we shipped out.

 I tried to skip out but to no avail. In the group room outside my barracks room I was introduced to his fiancĂ© and her bestie.
   That was 30 years ago. It was the day that I met my wife.

We went to dinner Friday (worst Mexican food either of us have ever had, but we had fun) but I worked all day Saturday (about 18 hours, as I recall). Then on Sunday we met in my barracks, ordered a bunch of pizzas, broke out the beer (sodas for the girls, they were both underage!) and played WEG's Star Wars. It was Jennifer's introduction to RPGs.
After the Gulf War Jen and I were dating seriously and the wedding of Keith and Lisa came really fast. Not too long after I proposed, Jen and I got a rental house, and we started married life.
Turns out we both enjoy entertaining so we hosted dinners twice a month and soon had a circle of friends we socialized with pretty consistently.
  We also played a lot of RPGs. AD&D with Lew & Sue Pulsipher and the crew; my own AD&D campaign (Seaward); and Keith ran a very fun D6 Star Wars campaign where Jen and I kept our characters from the first session.
The party was a Minor Jedi (me), a Young Senatorial (Jen), a Wookie (Lisa), and a Brash Pilot (Mike) and we had a stock freighter. The conceit of the campaign was that we were decoys for the Heroes of Yavin. While Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie were preparing to do mission we would do mission B somewhere completely different so the Empire would be unable to figure out the actual patterns of movement for the Heroes.
But eventually I left the army and Jen & I moved and we stopped playing Star Wars.

  The Fun Lads have heard the Saga of How We Met all their lives and they knew we were coming up on the 30th anniversary so they threw us a bit of a party this weekend just passed. Ans Sam ran a WEG Star Wars game!
Me = A Minor Jedi named Arwen (why mess with a good thing?) already part of the Rebellion in a mission to steal an Imperial ship prototype.
Jen = an Arrogant Noble named Octavia ('I should have played this the first time') also on the mission.
Alex = a Mon Calamari named Valerian of the Thousand Fishes on the mission.
Jack = a Kid name Zeke who had stowed away on the ship taking us to the mission planet. His parents 'got lost' some indeterminate amount of time previous and he and his best friend Teebo had made a mini-career of stowing away on ships to see the galaxy.
Nick = an Ewok named Teebo who stowed away, too. Teebo is effectively a klepto focused on stealing shiny objects. And protecting his buddy Zeke.

  The opening was the three rebel agents discovering that an 11 year old and an ewok has stowed away in their secret compartment, but it worked out because when the Imperial Customs agent found it Zeke fast-talked his way into confusing the agent so much he ended up just turning the stowaways to the captain and never getting close to the agents.
  The adventure itself was a gem - convince the feral locals to assist us on an attack on an Imperial base (instant side quest! We aced it, united the tribes, and put together the plan) then the agents plus stowaways sneak into the base, turn off the security, unlock the prototype, set demo charges to knock out power to the turrets and destroy the computers holding the prototype designs then (as the native stage a diversionary attack), get to the hanger and fly away.
  It was the usual entertaining mix of 'no plan survives contact with reality' and 'no player ever sticks to the plan, anyway' with a dash of 'dice, man. Dice.' and was a great 2.5 hours of rollicking fun. The Kid and the Ewok kept fistracting the Imperials with a combination of Abbot & Costello dialogue mixed with Crosby & Hope slapstick leading to the memorable scene:
  [Scene] the fast talk has failed so the kid, ewok, and noblewoman are brawling with a lone stormtrooper trying to keep him from opening a door and seeing the rest of us setting charges. Zeke keeps yelling 'give me back my candy!' as a distraction.
  Junior Imperial Officer turning a corner and seeing this: "Trooper! Stop fighting the lady, kid, and his teddy bear and return his candy THIS INSTANT!" 
While half the party was in a zany 1930's comedy outside the buildings inside the building the rest of us are in the Grim Darkness of the Far Future as my character ends up cutting down 7-8 stormtroopers with my lightsaber, as Valerian shot about the same number dead. We dealt with security, unlocked the ship, and planted demolitions on the generators and computers, then left to join the rest of the team.
We got to see the Potential Recurring Bad Guy, too! A red shuttle landed and flametroopers (Imperial stormtroopers with flamethrowers) came out and I had a very brief  duel with a lightsaber-armed Force user in pimped out armor. I prevailed (he was but injured!) and we left in a big hurry.

We had a great time with a ton of laughter and a good, long 30 minute discussion after.

What I have always liked about the D6 system is that it is very fast in play and intuitive for new players to learn. It lends itself very easily to a "cinematic" style of play and it is amazingly flexible. It is the 'universal system' that impresses me the most, even if I play MUCH more HERO.

We've decided to put D6 Star Wars in the "other games" rotation.


  1. This is the system I cut my teeth on. As you say well it really does the cinematic thing well.

  2. The Fun Lads are Fine Lads, favoring father and frau with filial, family festivities.