Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Inevitible Crossover?

As the caretakers of the comic side of the Star Wars setting, Dark Horse has a lot of material to play with. This gives them access to numerous timelines, each one essentially acting as it's own setting.
In Vector Volume 2, we get a little of the more modern bits with the 'star' of this time delayed crossover, Celeste Morne, is a jedi with a sith artifact that feeds her knowledge of the old rackghouls, entities first introduced in the video game Knights of the Old Republic (and don't quote me on that as I know there are some rabid Star Wars timeline guardians out there.)
Her apperance in the Legacy era though, allows he to meet Cade. Her impression? Close to the dark side but a desire to be left alone.
Remember that assassination mission I mentioned in my last Star Wars based post that the Jedi Council decided to pass on? She's intrigued enough by Cade's ability to heal the ravages of the ghoul plague to help out.
There's a massive battle, Celeste almost falling to her artifact, Cade taking up said artifact and destroying it, the fall of a sith lord, not at the hands of Cade, but at the hands of one of his own, and a future that well, despite the 'success' of the hero, looks bleak.
But as always, what does that mean for your game?
One, if it's a game system based on ye old Dungeons and Dragons rules, it probably has multiple settings. Don't be afraid to mix and match elements to get a better game of out of the engine. I can't be the first person to use draconians in a non-Dragonlance game, and in 4e, they're not even based in Krynn anymore.

Don't be afraid to use 'official' materials to bring said worlds together. While there are whole settings devoted to the concept such as Spelljammer and Planescape, the author Michael Moorcock never had a problem using gates and other dimensional spanning devices, like the Ship the Sales the Planes, to have his characters such as Elric and Corum meet to have truly cosmic adventures. And don't let others tell you it's not 'old school' as the Judges Guild used to have a series of four sourcebooks that also acted as adventurers that included such classic as the Portals of Torsh, Irontooth, Twilight and another whose name escapes me at the moment. Each had a meta story that tied together but the actual ties to each other where shallow.
Don't be afraid to bring in characters that might not fit the setting. While character crossovers can be terrible if done ham fisted, when done in a manner where it all meshes, everyone can enjoy it. In the short stories collection of Elric/Eternal Champion based tales, Karl Wagner does a hell of a meeting between Elric and Kane.
In overall campaign arcs, love your NPCs but don't be afraid to let them die. Celeste, despite going through several phases and timelines, doesn't get an easy off. Darth Krayt, despite his power, suffers the same fate many who rely on evil minions do, the inevitible betrayal. Let the NPCs have their storylines, let them have their moment of glory, and then, let them go into that good night.
Have fun when mixing up the pace and let the NPCs do their duty before heading off into that final sunset.