Saturday Seed ~ 190 (Star Wars)

This is a seed for whatever version of a Star Wars roleplaying game you might play, with a strong bias toward those who hold little to no sympathy for the Galactic Empire.

The seed
This seed focuses on criminal interplay in the shadows of the Outer Rim. While not necessarily requiring the characters to be criminals themselves, it puts them in the possession of information of value on both sides of the law.

Planting the seed
This seed makes a fine way to start a campaign, or to bring more life and utility to underworld contacts or old friends who have fallen on hard times. Whatever you decide, the seed enters the fertile soil of your particular Outer Rim world when a character or characters comes to learn or realize that they have information which allows them to place pressure on someone important, or to ingratiate themselves with that person, or the powers that be…. or both. How you bring this realization or discovery to light can be as lengthy and detailed, or as hand-wavy as you and your group desire.

In play, I introduced this seed by stating that a PC, a washed out imperial pilot, recognized a face in the crowd from his training days. The PC always more suspicious than anything else, followed at a discreet distance and learned that this NPC was now heavily mixed up in running a scummy, underworld bar frequented by desperate beings and smugglers. His memory of the person would indicate that he had very, very strong imperial ties and sympathies and that to skirt the law like this would be unlikely… and didn’t he have a relative in the intelligence service…?

The details
In the beginning, the details can focus on things which heighten the ambiguity of the is the bar owner an undercover agent or not. Soon, however, confirmation needs increase the value and the desire to use the information in some way. The bar owner is indeed running what only appears to be a safe-haven for the lawless. He is using it to keep track of desperadoes and villains, turning the important ones over to the authorities in just the right ratio to avoid suspicion and keep the locals happy.

Further digging, if desired, can turn up that the underworld does not suspect that there is any duplicity. The authorities believe that the cover is secure, and are relatively pleased with the performance of their agent. The agent has the usual weaknesses found in a person in his position. He drinks too much, gambles a bit to blow off steam, and has an inappropriate relationship with a person easily preyed upon or pressured. He is ripe for being manipulated or worse.

What will the characters do with this opportunity? Will they squander it on a cheap move, or nurture it into a huge score?

What’s going on
There are many layers to which this might be taken, but I find it best to keep things limited to primary colors when in the Star Wars universe, with clear core motivations for characters, despite the trappings of how they might first be perceived, present themselves, or perhaps perceive themselves to be. Interpretations of the bar may be completely out of synch with reality, for example, with the owner under pressure from the Empire to turn over more information, yet due to his interference, is actually getting much less than they think. However, this may dilute the central choices afforded by the seed, and so make its inclusion less interesting.

Affording the players the chance to get proactively involved in blackmail, betrayal, or forcing their way into the action can pay off huge dividends later on in the campaign. How deep can they go, and how long can they stay there? Where do their real sympathies lie? Will they sell others out to the Imperials to save their own skins? Will they lean on or perhaps sell out the bar-owner? To gain what advantage for themselves will they do these things?

Enjoy~

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