Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Long Road

I got to thinking today about the old Star Wars campaign, and though I've already talked about the characters in it before, I want to focus on several of the them who exemplify the 'epic' nature that my campaign evolved into. With each character, I want to contrast the humble nature of their beginnings with the heights they have achieved through roleplay over a very long real-life and in-character timespan. 

Where she began: Arianne began as an idealistic young pilot, raised on a Rebel safeworld by her parents. Though a skilled fighter pilot, she was ultimately selected for service in Alliance Intelligence. Her starting military rank in the game was Lieutenant, JG (or equivalent)

Major developments: Arianne served as the leader of her intel team throughout the war, but took on other duties as well, including command of a captured Imperial Lancer-Class frigate (during the Minos Campaign) and command of the Gunship Handree during the battle of Endor. During an early mission (Battle for the Golden Sun) she manifested force sensitivity, though her training throughout the war was sporadic. 

Where she is now: Arianne is now a Colonel in New Republic military intelligence. She has also earned the rank of Jedi knight (after turning more seriously to her training in the post-Thrawn era). She is married to a former Alliance field agent, Tiree (who now works with Intel command) and has one child, a son. Recently, Arianne lost her father to a terror act committed by long-time rival Rina Nothos.

Where he began: Marko began as a smuggler and owner of the tramp-freighter 'Lightblade'. He had a 'typical' Corellian-Spacer upbringing (mucking around in the underworld) before throwing in his lot with the Rebellion. At the beginning of the campaign, Marko held no official rank (except captain of his own ship).

Major developments: Marko served with distinction throughout the war, participating in the battles of Hoth and Endor (in the latter, he was one of the commandos that made up Han Solo's strike team). He also worked as informant for Alliance Internal Affairs for a time, helping to uncover a mole within the team.

Where he is now: Marko is now a Colonel in the New Republic Special Forces and the leader of his own commando team (Raz's Raiders), which also includes several other veterans of the Endor Strike team.

Where he began: Ruuk was a free wookiee (I recall), but one with little love for the Empire. His wanderings eventually took him into the Rebel Alliance, though initially as an 'independent operator', without rank.

Major developments: Of all the original characters, Ruuk was one of the most sporadic in his mission-attendence—though he DID serve at Hoth and several other major engagements throughout the course of his career (I honestly don't remember if he served at Endor or not! GAH! Help me out here, guys...)

Where he is now: Ruuk resigned his commission (which I believe was around Captain or Major in rank) and started his own freight hauling business—utilizing several captured pirate craft as the basis for his expanding merchant fleet. He is now a (corporate) force to be reckoned with and has become an inspiration for his people, still recovering from the shackles of slavery.

Where he began: Oman was working as an independent bounty hunter prior to joining the Rebellion and being assigned to Arianne's team. Much like the rest of the team, Oman was initially 'unranked'.

Major developments: As with many of the 'core' team, Oman served in engagements throughout the war, including Hoth and Endor. During the latter battle, he served as a gunner onboard the Millennium Falcon (his kill record during other missions earned him the spot). 

Where he is now: Oman retired from the New Republic with the rank of Colonel (a seemingly common rank among the party—as I kind of see it a the highest a character can have and still be sent into the field). After a convoluted time-travelling excursion, Oman became Governor of a Free Mandalore and (recently) assumed the title of 'Mandalore' of his entire culture. Sometime during all of this, he also managed to marry his one-time rival, Zardra. The two have a daughter.

Where he began: Harry began as a gambler and hustler, floating his way from port to port in the Minos Cluster (at the tender age of 16). At the time, he was just tagging along with a Force adept friend of his. Of course the two of them quickly got caught up in the Rebellion, though they started with no official rank.

Major developments: As with the rest of the team, Hugganut had an exemplary service record during the war. Fighting at Hoth and Endor (serving with Han's strike team). Through it all, he became something of a renaissance man—working a bounty-hunter, a gambler, a doctor (!), a droid-tinkerer, a scrounger, etc. etc.

Where he is now: Like many of his companions, Harry too eventually resigned his commission (as Major). He married a former spy contact of his, the underworld gun-runner Kel. He and his wife used their combined wealth to purchase and develop a resort world, which they now run.

Where he began: Not surprisingly, Bob began his career on Tatooine, as a wandering Shaman who assisted Arianne in the recovery of several Jedi 'heirlooms' from Ben Kenobi's old stead. He sensed his 'path' would take him off the planet, and that is just where he followed it.

Major developments: Though he never quite fit the 'mold' of a Rebel or Republic officer, Bob served faithfully throughout the war. He too participated in the Battles of Hoth and Endor. In the former, he (further) developed a very strong dislike of ice planets. In the latter, he served as part of the strike team (for you movie buffs out there, he took the place of the briefly glimpsed 'prune face' guy—aka the shadowy cloaked figure you see boarding the strike shuttle as Han and Lando talk in front of the ramp). 

Where he is now: Bob never held an 'official' commission among the Alliance or the Republic, but he has attained the rank of Jedi knight in that order. Indeed, Bob has become quite the teacher in that regard—responsible for instructing Arianne, her ward, Reen and finally his own padawan and wife (?), Tishana (whom he met in an excursion to Otherspace). Bob has since returned to Tatooine and become a major spiritual figure among his people—and a moderating influence on their otherwise warlike ways.

Where she began: An orphan, Adren grew up on the streets of Mos Eisley, but somehow finagled her way into captaining her own, ramshackle freighter while still in her late teens. She didn't get involved in the war until AFTER the battle of Endor—when she somehow got recruited into he fledgling New Republic. Her latent Force abilities began to manifest at this time as well.

Major developments: Adren's skill as a pilot earned her fame and rank among the Minos Cluster command and her burgeoning force-skills eventually turned her into one of NRI's top solo agents. Through her efforts, she has not only 'brought down', but actually 'redeemed' several threats to the Republic (including Faarl the Conqueror and a rogue General Veers). Along the way, she married fellow Republic soldier Sebastian Kalidor and also discovered that she was related to the Santhe family (of Santhe/Seinar technologies).

Where she is now: Adren resigned her commission with the (ever popular) rank of Colonel. Though she gave up service for a time to try her hand at professional swoop racing (where she made a name for herself in an exhibition match vs. Blizz Pinnix), she was recruited again into NRI in the wake of the Nagai invasion. She has also attained some stature among the Jedi Order, though she serves somewhat reluctantly—unsure of her own worthiness to be a member of that group. Recently, during the Nagai invasion, Adren lost both her husband and grandmother (Lady Santhe) to separate terror attacks.

As you can see from the above, each of these characters have undergone a remarkable transformation from humble beginnings to (varying) heights of power. I know a lot of GMs would probably qualify this as a 'twink' campaign, but I look back on all of this (and look forward, too) with a sense of pride. And to my players' credit, they all seem to take their elevated positions with grace—and in some cases, IC feelings of inadequacy. 

To me, it is only natural for a campaign to grow in this way (as I have stated ad nauseum in previous posts). In fact, this post is probably just self-serving reminiscing on my part, but then—that's the point of this whole blog, so deal with it!

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