A Satisfyingly Messy Finale

It was the finale of my Edge of the Empire campaign last night and I’m still on a bit of a high.

It has been a 24 session sandbox set across seven planets and a couple of space stations with the PCs getting involved in theft, refugees, droid modification, treasure hunts, giant snakes, various Hutt criminal activities, force sensitives on the run, the death of many storm troopers, a hidden Rebel base, one booby trapped toilet, isolationist droids, a bunch of stolen space ships, ancient alien tech, remarkably few fumbles with lightsabres and a pet tentacle chicken.

Oh, and Shika, an NPC who, despite helping out on a number of occasions and being stuck with the PCs for most of the campaign, everyone kept forgetting was there.

It was the sort of campaign I’ve always tried to run but never quite managed to get right. Present the players with a complex setting and leave them to choose what they want to get involved with, then sit back and watch the story unfold.

In this case the players spent the whole campaign trying to look out for themselves but repeatedly getting themselves into trouble by trying to help some people, then doing jobs for free for the less moral members of the Star Wars setting to try and get out of trouble. I don’t thing they actually got paid for a single job in the whole thing!

In the end all of the plot threads came together in a mess of imperials taking advantage of a planet-wide natural disaster while the Hutt violently tries to save himself and a small rebel fleet use this as an opportunity to hit a Star Destroyer. The players chose to push through all of this to find their ship and then save the planet.

It’s great because if I had just made up that scenario I could have thrown the players into it and they’d have had fun and at then end said, “That was a great scenario you wrote.” This way though, with the sandbox, it took twice as long to play but it meant ten times more to them. All the actions they had taken, the friends they meat and saved, the information they had carried, the alliances they had made and broken, all added to that finale, and the PCs were there, diving into the heart of it because they chose to. And that makes all the difference.

We will have a little epilogue next week where we tie up a few plot threads and find out where they are heading next so that I can prep for the next chapter while we play some Whitehack.

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