Sunday, 8 May 2016

Star Wars One Shot - World Building

Planet Building Summary

I am preparing to run a two hour long Star Wars one shot game for some of my friends this week. Not having much of a background knowledge of the Star Wars universe, I felt it would be best to have my friends who know a lot more than me help me design the setting.

I set about creating a method which we could use as a group to create the planet on which our game will take place.  I borrowed a lot of ideas from Luke Crane's - Burning Empires, in which the players first design the world they are going to be playing in.

The following steps outline the process a GM can use to have his players help him with setting creation!

Step 1 - Time Period 
What time period or era should the game be set in?
I know nothing about this except like there was an old republic, and now there isn't, and there WERE lots of Jedi but now there isn't.  I decided to leave this portion entirely up to the two dudes I am running the game for.

Step 2 - Galactic Location
Is it a world located in the center of heavily settled regions, or is it one that is along the wilder edges of the known sectors. Perhaps it is a void world, spinning in long forgotten uncharted space? Decide upon the world's location or a system a name if appropriate.

Inner Sector World
The planet is located within well charted, well populated areas of space.

Outer Ring World
The planet is located at the edge of civilization, a simpler possibly more lawless frontier.

Furthest Reaches World
The system this planet is a part of is for some reason lost to all charts and maps and not ruled by any inter galactic body or government.

Step 3 - Atmospheric Conditions 
What is the planet's atmosphere like?

Alien Life-Supporting
Another species on the planet can breathe the atmosphere, but humans and other life forms with similar needs to ours cannot survive here without proper breathing apparatus.

Human Life-Supporting
This planet has the right stuff for human (and similar) breathing! It may be thin and polluted, or fresh and perfectly balanced, but either way it won't kill you.

Non-Life Supporting
The air here is simply too toxic for any known species to breathe. All creatures must use breathing apparatus and be protected from the atmosphere at all times.

Partial Life Supporting
There are areas of this world that harbour a breathable atmosphere.  Perhaps low valleys that trap in breathable gases or safe areas above low hanging clouds of toxic gas.

Step 4 - Weather Systems and Hydrology
How stable and predictable are the conditions on the planet? How much water is present?

Stable Weather System
Normal weather patterns for a planet of this type. Stable seasons and systems with somewhat regular storm systems and visibility.

Turbulent Weather System
The planet is wracked by terrible storms, or has eerily uneventful weather or conditions that never change.

Primarily Water Covered
The planet has large oceans which sustain life on the land, similar to Earth.

Primarily Land Covered
The planet has relatively little to no water, or no surface water. Life is harsher here and survival may only be possible in areas where water can be found.

Step 5 - Technology Level
Different planets and cultures have access to differing levels of technology.

Sub Technology
A sub technology planet does not have any real off world presence. Planetary Governments usually do not exist. Space travel limited to less than early space age or less (rockets, probes etc.). Native species may still be even be quite primitive with little technology at all.

Low Technology
Low technology cultures have a presence in space. They may have several bases or settled a few moons or handful of planets in a single system.  They have yet to develop reliable jump engines or faster than light technology. They have access to blasters, lightsabers and small spacecraft and fairly advanced medical technology.

High Technology
High technology planets have spaceports, inter system trade, galactic alliances or trade.  They are often part of interplanetary or inter galaxy governments or partnerships.  They have access to the most advanced weapons and vehicles.

Step 6 - Primary Form of Government
Is there a planetary government (one governing body or council / group for the whole world)? Or is control of the planet fractured? Perhaps countries ruled by warrior kings? Two different powerful countries or species sharing rule of the planet? Are the various bodies or forms of government on hostile terms?

Step 7 - Organizations
Choose several different factions or organizations which are present on the world and will be a factor in the game.

Are their Jedi on this planet? An academy, a base or a Council?  Is there an Empire or Republic presence? A great guild of merchant houses?  An indigenous species or people?  How about a religious organization? Is there more than one government or power ruling the planet?
Is the planet home to a Rebel Faction or a powerful crime lord and criminal empire? Is there a Slaves and Serfs class within the population?

Step 8 - Security / Access 
Is access to the planet tightly controlled, or is there high planetary security? How accessible is the area or world to visitors or other peoples or species that want to live there? What is the attitude towards outsiders.

Step 9 - Notable Characters
Create at least one notable character for each of the factions. Who are they? What is their personality like and why are they involved in the story?

Step 10 - Final Details and an Example
Top it off with sweet buttery FLAVOUR! Fill in any missing details and toss around a few ideas for names of cities or areas on the planet in which the game will take place.

We haven't yet finalized all of the details for this game yet, however I am going to post an update here with our created setting and characters once we have finished the game. I'll do a small play session update as well!

Thanks for reading!

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