Sunday, February 26, 2012

Massacre: Clone Wars 4.19

When you watch episodes like Massacre, you know why people want to play the bad guys in role playing games. When you look at the design on the characters, on the good guy side, you have the jedi. For the most part, they have the cool, "I'm ominous and dark" thanks to their cloaks and hoods. But outside of that? They dress in rather drab colors, don't have a lot of variety to them and well, are boring visually.

Now look at some of the most iconic figures in the Star Wars setting like Darth Vader and Bobba Fett. It's hard to remember that Fett was punked like a tool in his second official appearance when you see exactly how popular his is now compared to what he actually did.

But more then that, this episode provides some interesting guidelines in how exactly an evil campaign can work and it boils down to the 'evil vs evil' camp.

One one side, we have General Grevious. Here's another character with a sharp visual design but another one who suffers the plot effect. He's a super ultra bad ass until he's not needed to be then he gets jobbed like any other mook. But the appeal of watching a cyborg run around with four light sabres is still strong.

Then we have the Night Witches. They make a nice interesting visual contrast with the reds against the background of their dark planet. While none of their designs pop out to me like Grevious does, they are still a good variant on a mystic order, like the jedi.

In terms of conflict, when Grevious and Ventress get to challenge each other, the Game Master could set different goals here.

1. Survive X amount of rounds in order for your back up to arrive. While it sounds 'cheating' and its something done in video games, having a timer to survive against lets the players know that there are tough times coming around here.

2. Steal A Tank. Who doesn't want to steal a tank eh? Once Ventress gets the tank, she's able to push through to the front and punch a hole into the enemy.

3. Engage the Enemy One on One. Now this is pretty much the simple that players normally do anyway but by adding the other two elements in there, you have some quick goals that the players have to meet and follow to survive.

Evil campaigns that pit evil characters against one another are often easier to run because at the end of the day, it's not about watching evil triumphant, it's still about watching evil getting its ass kicked one way or another.