The Edge of Destiny, October’s Campaign of the Month

Today we’re joined by GM R2Builder to talk about his kick-ass Star Wars campaign The Edge of Destiny. Pull up a chair and have a seat while we all soak up some wisdom from another world!


First off, feel free to tell us about the person(s) behind the GM screen. Where are you from? What do you do both aside from gaming? Married? Kids? Where can we stalk you on the internet? That sort of thing!

Hi! I’m Dan, and I am retired USAF. I am married, and my wife works for the USMC as a DoD employee here in Virginia. I am going to school full time working on my cyber security degree. I am originally from South Bend, Indiana, and have lived all over the US and the world, and now reside in northern Virginia. I don’t have much of a cyber-shadow, but I am on several forums with the handle R2builder. I am working on finishing up two sets of Stromtrooper armor and would like to join the 501st, and also actually build a functional R2 unit. I also like to build miniature sci-fi terrain using Hirst Arts plaster molds.

imageSo…tell us about The Edge of Destiny

Well, the campaign is set 5 years before the events Star Wars: A New Hope. It is about a group of rag tag people living on the edge of the Empire, trying to make their way in it. They started out just trying to make a buck, but little do they know that they have a higher calling, and could help in the formation of the Rebel Alliance, and the overthrow of the Galactic Empire, and the restoration of the Jedi. Also, along the way freeing slaves, building up town infrastructures, defeating despots, bringing about the fall of the Black Sun and Zann Consortium, really just everyday stuff…

What do you enjoy most about the SW:EotE system?

I have never played a narrative system before so this was quite refreshing for me. I played WEG Star Wars back in the late 80’s through the 90’s, and this system really reminds of the fast paced fun of that old system. I also played the D20 CR, D20 RCR and D20 Saga. None of the D20 systems were as much fun for me as EotE has been. I really enjoy the immersive story aspect of the dice. The dice results are not a binary pass/fail. If a character does not succeed in a task, great things can still result from the dice roll, and it is up to the players to tell the story of why that is. Or they can succeed, but still have bad things happen. And I get to tell that story!

What do you enjoy most about sci-fi campaigns, Star Wars in particular?

I have always been a huge fan of Star Wars. I was two when it came out, so it has been a part of life before I can remember. I have always been fascinated by the high tech gadgets and stories of the sci-fi genre. I grew up watching Star Trek TOS, Buck Rodger, Battlestar Galactica. My Kenner action figures and ships were a huge part of my childhood and really helped me develop my imagination, and now that I am “grown up” I can continue to tell these stories and adventures, not with my action figures, but though Role Playing Games.

How regularly do you play, and where do you play? (If you play online, do you use any certain tools to accomplish your gaming such as Google hangouts, roll20, etc.)

My current group plays every other Saturday at my house. We usually start the game around 1200 and go until about 2100, so it a great gaming day for us. A couple of them drive over an hour to get to my house! I have a nice “Geekarium” set up. I have my pretty extensive Star Wars collection on display, so it really helps set the mood nicely. I have some pictures of it in my Portal page. Since we play in person, I don’t use too many electronic tools. I use the Obsidian Portal to keep track of my campaign. I also use my iPad, and I can control my PC iTunes through it to control my Star Wars music playlist and volume through my PC speakers. I also use a great character generator from the FFG Forums made by the member OggDude!

Who puts all of your wiki together?

Well a friend of mine James got me into the Obsidian Portal. Back when I was stationed in Germany with him, he was a co-GM and helped out a lot with the Portal, and taught me a lot about CSS. Since I have moved back to the US, it is just me maintaining it and updating it. I do have a couple of players who post adventure log updates, for a little extra XP of course.

Aside from the obvious, where else do you draw inspiration from when preparing your game?

This is actually a hard question, of course from the best sources in the genera, Star Wars, Firefly, Trek, and so on. But aside from those, it is kind of hard to nail down were I get my ideas. With this campaign, I am getting a lot of ideas from the news. It is amazing how much news you miss out on when you live overseas (7 years in Germany), and don’t have TV. But with all the stuff going on about National Security, the Secret Service, ISIS, Boko Haram, it is not hard to get ideas for the criminal underworld, the Rebels, or the Imperials. Speaking of Rebels, it is no coincidence that my campaign is set 5 years before the A new Hope. I may steal a lot from the new TV show, or have some cameos in my game.

How much time do you usually take to prepare for a session?

Really not a lot. I already have the overall outline for the campaign. The players have some great back stories that I will bring into the game and they can resolve some of their dilemmas and sort through personal demons. This game makes great use of an Obligation system that gets rolled at the start of each session. This could trigger a players past problems for the session. For the most part, I get an idea of an overall goal for the session, and that is it. We sit down to game, and just let the game happen. I do most of my stuff off the fly. It feels like “A Night at the Improv”. It really helps that I have players that take great notes.

Aside from SW:EotE I’m sure you have played other systems too, what are some others you have enjoyed?

Well, I own and have GM’ed all the Star Wars RPG systems out there. I started gaming with the WEG system about 1989 with my cousin. 99% of my gaming time has been behind the GM screen. And 100% of that time has been a Star Wars game. So I hate to say it, but I don’t have much experience with too many other systems or even as a player. I have played Shadow Run one time. Of course I have played a little AD&D, and some D&D 3.5. I have played Pathfinder a few times. I had friend of mine run a very short lived Palladium game that was awesome, Ray was a great DM, but alas, real life happens. I have never ran a game that was not Star Wars, and I have only ever played in a very few Star Wars games. I think full time GM’s make for horrible players though.

How do you know your players, how long have you been gaming with them?

Well, we just moved to Virginia back in June, and got all of our stuff in August. I met this group through Meetp.com around July, so about 3 months ago now. So we don’t know each other that well. A couple of the guys know each other from other games. Even though we just met and are really starting to get to know each other, we are hitting it off very well, and the Group is really starting to come together.

How long have you been using Obsidian Portal? What brought you to the site and what keeps bringing you back?

I have been using Obsidian Portal for 10 months now, and looking forward to using it for years to come! I love the fact that it can be very easy to use and setup, and it can also be quite a challenge to setup and look great! There are a huge number of great looking Portal sites out there! (Tyellador!!!) I am quite jealous of a lot of them. One thing I love about the OP is that I can link in a sound file. So while I may not be able to mimic someone, or do a great voice, I can play a little audio clip and the players can hear what the NPC “should” sound like. I then try to imitate that voice to the (not very good) best of my ability, it is good to be able to hear it myself to kind of “get into character”. I love the fact that I go in and create little hyperlinks for all my locations and NPCs in my player’s adventure logs. They can then have a quick reference to pictures, sound clips, and info on all these. It is really just a great repository for all our knowledge.

What would you say the single biggest highlight from The Edge of Destiny has been so far?

For me watching my group really mesh and work together. Their shining moment came when I introduced an encounter that they could have easily avoided. They were walking along and one player noticed a “tooka doll” (a stuffed animal akin to a teddy bear, I have one in the Portal) lying in the mud. They could have just dropped the toy and went about their day, most of the group chose to take a look around, figuring that a dropped toy on this planet was not common. They see a small girl getting attacked by a group of ruffians, and decided they need to intervene and protect her. One Character was all for not getting involved though. Well the majority of the group gets involved, and blaster bolts and obscenities start flying all over. In the end they saved the girl, and while not everyone wanted to get involved, all helped out. This was a defining moment for the newly forged group and helped cement their confidence/alliance with each other.

Okay, before we get out of here, give us some of your best GM’ing pearls of wisdom.

Man, another tough question. You guys make this stuff hard. J One word: FUN. If you or the players are not having fun, then why play the game. Being a GM can be very difficult, you have to find that fine line where you are giving the Group a challenge without it seeming like a contest or “me versus you” kind of thing. For my final thoughts I will only stay on the positive side: GM’s, make your players feel like HEROES! They should be the center of your attention, the not NPC’s, definitely not GM PC’s, and don’t ever make encounters were they have to get “bailed” out at the last second by a group of super NPC’s. Instead, have them go bail out the second string, make the PC’s the guys doing the butt saving. In my opinion the GM’s focus should be making sure the Players are having a great time while telling a great story. Too many times I have seen/heard where the GM relishes in making things too difficult or the TPK. If your whole party dies, that is not a sign of how great the GM is. So make sure the players are having a great time, and by default the GM will also.
I would like to say Thank You to all those that have been a fan of my Obsidian Portal page, and to the moderators of the Obsidian Portal for recognizing the hard work of my Players and myself for awarding us the Campaign of the Moth. It is truly an honor, and from what I can tell the first Star Wars Edge of the Empire campaign to be awarded the CotM! Thanks to all my SW EotE past players: Alan, Andrew, Austin, James, and Mark. The current: Curtis, Nate, Michael, Paul, and the newest member of the Group, Drew.

That’s it for this month folks, tune in next time as we explore yet another awesome glimpse into a campaign from across the galaxy!

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