Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My Top 10 Star Wars Adventure Modules

Please note that this list was compiled only from those adventures presented in module format, and doesn't include campaign settings or sourcebooks or compilations of adventures. Also note that a lot of my opinions on these were formed by actually running them in my campaign.

10. Starfall
An interesting twist on the typical adventure, here you start out captured and have to escape from an Imperial Star Destroyer (actually a Victory-Class Star Destroyer). The setting offers a lot of unique challenges and battle arenas, but I remember it most for introducing great NPCs: Wallex Blissex, the Rebel technical wizard, Lira Wessex, the haughty Imperial technical genius (and daughter of Wallex), Captain Kolaff, the battle-hardened and condescending Imperial commander, and T-3PO, the snooty, sarcastic and cynical protocol droid. Three of these characters wound up becoming recurring NPCs in my campaign. In fact, T-3PO was 'adopted' by Arianne Volar and continues to serve (grudgingly) as her assistant.

9. Strike Force Shantipole
An all out action-adventure romp. As mentioned previously in my full review, this module introduces a memorable original race (the Verpine) and a memorable bad guy (The Imperial Commander Bane Nothos). It also introduces the players personally to Commander Akbar, letting them rub elbows with one of the feature-characters of the saga.

8. Mission to Lianna
A rather low-key adventure, all things considered (or at least, it should be if done right). It revolves around a plot to assist a Rebel-sympathetic corporation in sabotaging an Imperial cloaking device experiment. There is lots of undercover and spy action stuff instead of your usual brand of blasterfights and speeder-chases. This adventure is especially memorable to me for a few reasons. First of all, my original Vermillion crew completely screwed the pooch on this mission—a truly epic failure that they have yet to equal. In fact, they screwed it so bad that we wound up writing it out of their history after merging the Vermillion timeline with that of the campaign I was running for Adrienne Olin (Adren). Adren not only accomplished the mission quite gracefully, she grew so close to the NPCs presented in it (the Santhe Family) that we later wrote it into her history that they were one half of her long-lost family.

7. Game Chambers of Questal
An interesting adventure featuring investigation, action and problem solving and including several memorable action set-pieces—from a crimelord's floating arena to the Game Chambers themselves—a devious maze filled with deadly traps and an assortment of unique hunters populating it. It also gives the players the chance to take out an Imperial Moff (Bandor) and his new fear-inducing superweapon. Again, this adventure is especially memorable for me because two of the players (Steve-the-other-one and Mark) had their characters go 'rogue' in the middle of the mission. Splitting up from the main party, they went on a tangental rampage that included speeder-jacking, jamming jedi-telepathy with loud music and impersonation of Imperial officers before finally catching up to the main party just in time for the Game chambers. Yeah, it meant that the session took twice as long as normal, but it was fun.

6. Riders of the Maelstrom
The players escape Imperial pursuit by ducking onto a cruise liner—only to discover that it is being used for a secret meeting between two Imperial Moffs. Throw in a pirate boarding action and the possible destruction of an Alliance safe world and you've got a heck of a plot. But there is more to it than this. The module includes a huge map of the liner itself (the Kuari Princess), as well as details about the various diversions to be found within. I think that maybe half of the time spent on this adventure was the characters just exploring the ship and indulging in all manner of activities—from holo-arcades and 'slaffing' to dancing and drinking and even a bit of shopping. It was a great way to work some character development into a campaign, turning the players loose in a non-combat, non-mission oriented space for a while.

5. Domain of Evil
A very dark adventure, where the characters are trapped in the bad dreams of a fallen and insane Jedi while being pursued by a team of ruthless bounty hunters through a dismal swamp. What's not to like? This is the adventure where Doyce's character Jared was 'killed' in the Dream and almost wound up killing himself for real in the process. If I had to do it all over again, though, I think I would personalize the force-vision-morality-tests a bit more than I did, but it was still a great idea, and a great change of pace in my campaign.

4. Black Ice
A truly expansive storyline that takes players through a number of very different settings and mission types, everything from undercover infiltration of an Imperial research facility (complete with a scientist bragging how he designed the Death Star's thermal exhaust ports) to a boarding action against an Imperial Starship (the Black Ice), to holding a rebel base against incredible odds to a final 'suicide mission' to destroy an Imperial Torpedo Sphere. What can I say, this adventure had all kinds of coolness in it.

3. Crisis On Cloud City
This adventure combines a lot of different elements that I really enjoy. First of all, it includes recurring NPCs (Wallex Blissex and Lira Wessex from Starfall). Second, it includes a pre-ESB Lando Calrissian for the players to interact with, it has a mystery investigation plot, rife with danger and finally it has an evil master-droid who may cause the death of everyone in the city unless the character's succeed in stopping it. A great adventure all around, and memorable to me in particular for the live-action Sabbacc game the module came with—as well as the now-legendary cheating of Harold Hugganut's player, Rick.

2. Otherspace
Aliens meets Star Wars. With recurring villains from other adventures (Bane Nothing, Zardra) and the very creepy Charon and their undead technology, this adventure really struck my fancy. Look here for my full review.

1. Tatooine Manhunt
The first, the best, the shaper of my conceptions of what a good Star Wars adventure should be. A romp through the back-yard of Episode-IV: The Cantina, The Dune Sea, Bounty-Hunters, Tusken Raiders, Lost Old-Republic Heroes. Yep. Its great, as I pointed out in my earlier review.

1 comment:

  1. A great list! I have only 4 WEG SW RPGs that I've never run, and three of them are on here (Black Ice, Crisis on Cloud City, and Mission to Lianna)- but other than that (and having not played Riders of the Malestrom in a dog's age, so not remembering), I'd very much agree with this list.

    For myself, I'd sub in Freedom For Edan, Isis Coordinates (I have a nostalgic fondness for it in the same way you describe for Tatooine Manhunt, despite recognizing Isis' flaws), Abduction of the Crying Dawn Singer, and Scavenger Hunt... at least until I could re-appraise the 4 I don't know about and see if they deserved any of the spots.