April 12th, 2008

Obi-Wan Not Good

Is It a Railroad If the Players Are the Engineers?

Ran Star Wars tonight; the session went well, I think (or at least, I certainly enjoyed it). It basically consisted of one of those starship battles where "victory" is defined as "running away before being killed" (which the players did successfully), followed by some investigation of a scout waystation where they were hoping to pick up repair parts for the damaged ship they were escorting and figuring out the mystery of what happened there.

It ended with a cliffhanger, with sirfox's scout/soldier and laurie_robey's Jedi confronted by a big horrible monstrosity out on the planet's surface, with the rest of the party still poking around the waystation some distance away.

They didn't listen to those words of sage advice. This ... could be bad. We'll see next time!

The reason I mention a railroad in the title of this post, however, is because with the exception of the splitting-up at the end, this session went almost exactly as I figured it would, right down to the status of the ship they were escorting. Some of that was because I knew the stats of both the ship they were escorting and the ships attacking and what the probable outcome of the fight would be, and the rest of the adventure flowed pretty smoothly from that knowledge. I did also do some "GM fiat" on the state of the ship being escorted, i.e., deciding what specific systems were damaged and what would need to be done to fix them.

However, at no point during the game did I force the players' hands -- I simply set up the situation and made fairly accurate guesses about what they would do given the circs. Thus, even though it was a completely linear game setup, it wasn't really railroading because the players could have wandered off at any time if they'd really wanted to. ("Well, we blew that. Let's go to Nar Shadaa and join a Hutt's gang!" "Wait, what?") I woulda had to scramble to deal with it, but they did have the option. :)

The next session, is going to be harder, tho. Given the situation they've put themselves into by splitting up, there are a lot of ways it could go, and I'm going to have to try to accommodate the most likely possibilities. Ah well! I knew the job was dangerous when I took it. ;)

-The Gneech

PS -- For my players: the Star Wars campaign page has been updated with the Siravan databank file (in color!), as well as illustrations of the lovely Knobby White Spider (in case you really want to see it again), and what the scouts' shuttle looked like before the pirates blasted it out of the sky.