Monday, May 9, 2016

Meditations On Hacking West End Games Star Wars Strike Force Shantipole Adventure By Ken Rolston For Your Old School Campaigns


Coming out in '88 this classic Star Wars Rpg adventure for the  first edition Star Wars rpg puts the PC's right into the classic era cross hairs for a daring mission into the lions den. The blurb on the back of the adventure takes the PC's right into heat of the Rebellion against the Empire;

"Battle Imperial starfighters in the vastness of space, chase deadly probots through asteroid storms, and go up against a heavily-armed escort frigate in this explosive full-length Star Wars adventure.
In the Roche Asteroid Field, a secret Rebel project nears completion. Headed by Commander Ackbar, the Shantipole project has developed a powerful new starfighter for the Alliance arsenal.
But first, Shantipole must be safely escorted back to Alliance High Command. That's where you and your team come in. With a borrowed freighter, sealed holodisc orders, and a good blaster at your side, your ship emerges from hyperspace -- right in the middle of a TIE/LN starfighter patrol!
And they told you this was going to be a routine mission..."
So I know what your thinking what the hell does this have to do with OSR gaming and why is taking a classic West End  Star Wars adventure and talking about hacking it. Well its not to what you might think. This classic adventure by Ken Rolston brings the action of the Star Wars game right to the players door step and goes that extra push over the edge. This classic adventure allows the PC's to meet an iconic Star Wars character as an NPC and play a critical off camera role in the midst of the background of the movies all of the while a key piece of the Rebellion Alliance military hard wear keeps flying and out of the Empire's clutches.
When we begin looking below the surface of the adventure into the story line, background of the adventure plus the way things begin to play out we begin to see a pattern in the adventure's foundation.

Background, Plugging In Elements, and Sword & Sorcery  Because of the military aspect of  Strike Force Shantipole it is very easy to take certain plot and adventure elements and transport these over to your favorite retroclone or old school adventure. The thing to remember is the PC's are playing a central roll in the continuation of one of the most iconic fighters in the Rebel Alliance

Take the action, the background elements, and other messy plot point details and transport this adventure over into your favorite retroclone or AD&D 1st edition sword and sorcery style campaigns and suddenly the utility of the adventure is extended by years. Certain adventures are iconic and easily recognized and work on a number of levels for science fantasy play. Take these adventure elements and transport the whole plot lock, stock and barrel into a sword and sorcery game or campaign and things can get very interesting.

Sealed orders, the fate of a kingdom,incredibly dangerous encounters on the enemies home territory, and other surprises make this style of hack easy and incredibly fun.Throw in some iconic NPC's for various encounters and you have a mini campaign going soon enough.

According to Wookiepedia:"Research Station Shantipole was an asteroid in the Roche system. It was primarily staffed by Verpine. After the Battle of Yavin, the asteroid was the site of the Shantipole Project, in which Slayn & Korpil worked with Commander Gial Ackbar to develop the B-wing/E starfighter." So here's how this might translate over to a sword and sorcery campaign setting:

  1. The isolated island was the site of an ancient military ship yard within a hidden base. 
  2. A special fast pirate ship is being used by renegade forces and only PC''s are aware of it after their aboard and on their way into the jaws of death. 
  3. Add in some pulpy minor monsters, a subplot, a bit of magickal mythology and legend not to mention the HP Lovecraft or Robert Howard connection and your almost ready to go. 
  4. A cult or other faction could help to move the plot along. 
  5. Rival forces for opposition to the PC's could make for some much needed melee and combat. 
  6. Many of the over the top aspects of the Empire are perfect for keeping PC's on their toes with warlord tactics and management ideas. The Empire becomes a world level power and faction with the added twist of the ancient dark magic/religion being behind the rise of the power in your world.
  7. The added dungeon crawling aspects of this adventure give just that much more of a classic D&D style dungeon crawl. 
  8. Many of the plot pieces feel as though they belong to a classic fantasy film or WW II war picture many of these exciting elements can be worked into other plots. Don't try and rush this adventure there are a lot of moving parts and pieces. 
  9. There's something about this adventure where the PC's are a party of rag tag fighters that works on a number of levels. 
  10. This adventure could be adapted to other classic rpg genres such as a post apocalyptic adventure. I used this one as a part of a space going Mutant Future/Buck Rogers style crossover. This style of adventure with altered ships, details, and some backgrounds allowed it to work great at the time.

     Breaking Up The Beast, Parts, Pieces, And More

    As I said this is a beast of an adventure that has a plot that could be used potentially for lots of applications. This is especially true of using Star Wars adventures for WWII movie style role playing a fact that I've used several times in modern style role playing games such as Top Secret and others. The secret to this style of role playing is the movie serial. Breaking up the plot of a complicated or long  range module allows the DM and players to emulate the pulp style reels of the 1930's.

    The serial approach allows the PC's to take center stage on a number of levels and allows the DM to break up the action of the adventure to be stretched into a mini campaign with the PC's playing their vital parts. This approach works especially well in a wartime style scenario or as a sword and planet or science fantasy vehicle. The Fifty Five film The Damn Busters really solidifies the idea for such an exciting adventure with a
    military theme.

     Once again we're going back to the roots of Star Wars in this case the Damn Busters a 1955 UK film that George Lucas used as inspiration for many of the Death Star sequences and trench run camera angles.Many of the action military films of yesteryear not only provide a touch stone with the roots of the film but also provide a clue for getting the most out of adventures that players might not be expecting.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.