Tired of traveling the same old hyperlanes? Had your fill of fighting off stormtroopers? Sick of owing credits to the Hutts? Outer Rim not far enough out for you? Well, it’s not without risks of its own, but have you ever considered Wild Space? Find a planet of your very own, start from scratch, no Empire, no Rebels, no syndicates? It’ll be an entirely new way of life for you out there, so before you start making the astrogation calculations, let me tell you a little about what you might be getting yourself into…
Wild Space is off the grid, but ironically not as full of known problems like Chiss and Palpatine-based shenanigans as the Unknown Regions. It offers a place for a group of player characters to well and truly have some adventures with a clean slate (or as clean as it can get if they have Obligations), up to and including having a planet to themselves.
Considering Careers and Specs
Now, the adventure hooks I’m going to mention can be system agnostic like the Glitch or Nar Shaddaa, but I’m tackling the idea mechanically from the FFG Star Wars Narrative Dice games: Edge of the Empire, Age of Rebellion, and Force & Destiny. That poses some interesting challenges when it comes to building characters.
A campaign focusing on building a colony in Wild Space and exploring the party’s new planet and its surrounding sector is probably going to have a very specific focus. While I wouldn’t go so far as to outright restrict players from taking certain Careers and Specializations, I would suggest, er, suggesting that players consider where they’re going to be and what they’re likely to be doing.
Colonists and Explorers are obviously going to get a chance to shine, including some varieties of Technician. Seekers and Mystics will probably love being beyond the reach of most of the galaxy. Age of Rebellion Careers at large will probably have the most trouble, being as focused as they are on the war, but there are still Specs that will fit right in even without a war to fight (Beast Riders, for one example).
Slicers are going to have trouble if there aren’t computer systems to slice, if there aren’t a lot of minions to chop through Commandos are going to be at risk of feeling bored, and Makashi Duelists are going to feel let down if they never get a chance to play Duel of the Fates in the background.
Basically, the reason for getting away from the rest of the galaxy is to avoid the Galactic Civil War and the criminal syndicates and a lot of the things that many campaigns thrive on. Consider this campaign idea as a way to get away from all that and try something new. If you do include Careers and Specs that thrive on fighting the Empire or making credits off the Hutts, just be aware that you’ll be bringing those things into Wild Space with you.
So what hooks DO you have to work with, beyond the Edge of the Empire?
This is the most obvious one, right? At the very least you’ve got an entire planet to explore, get to it!
This is actually the one that takes the most grunt work on the GM’s side before play actually starts, though. You’ll need to have some interesting locations on the planet for your explorers to find. Natural marvels, resources to tap, areas to expand to. Knowing what kind of characters you’ve got ahead of time can help you build the planet, so I’d definitely recommend finding that out. If you’ve got a Big Game Hunter, for instance, you’ll want to make sure there’s some big game for them to find and hunt.
While it’s probably not a concern for the first few sessions, your party might want to explore other planets in the system, or maybe even the wider local galactic neighborhood. That means more planets, more things to find, and more people to run into!
While they weren’t going for the out-in-Wild-Space-vibe I’m aiming for here, for an example of building an entire sector consider checking out the Crossroads Sector on the Hydian Way.
Building a Colony
This is the other obvious one: actually building and growing a colony. Mechanically, the Base of Operations Obligation from Far Horizons will be perfect for this sort of thing, along with providing the homestead/business mechanics for improving it, but even without those there’s plenty of goals player characters can pursue. The colony will still need things fixed, resources acquired, and problems solved. Without the usual planets and factions to work with, the party will need to come up with solutions themselves.
One trick here is that it shouldn’t just be the player characters at the colony. First of all, particularly if the new colony is isolated, you’ll need NPCs for the party to interact with. Second, different factions among the colonists will provide social conflicts for the party to deal with. Third, tying into both of those, the party will want to have other characters to care about, characters whose survival and happiness will depend upon the efforts of the party. That’ll make everything else more worth it.
Getting Back In Touch With The Galaxy
There’s one particular way for a GM to enable this kind of wild frontier play: strand the party. Whether it’s a crashed colony ship or hyperspace shenanigans that have landed them off the map, it can be pretty compelling to have no way ‘home’. It makes the stakes a lot higher, for one thing, if there’s no immediate way off-planet or no hope of help coming from the wider galaxy.
Of course, there’s a chance that’s not the way the party wants to leave things. Whether they’ve got Obligations back in the wider galaxy, need to retrieve some bacta because of a medical emergency on the colony, or have struck the mother-lode somehow but need someone to sell it to, you could get an entire arc or maybe even a whole campaign out of finding your way back. Navigators are going to love this one!
Being Good Neighbors
You’ve landed on a planet that wasn’t even on the galactic map. But it turns out that you’re not the only people there. In fact, you’re the newcomers. There’s another people here that call it home.
This is a great hook for Politicos and many different flavors of Diplomat, in particular. Whatever other people inhabit your chosen world, whether they’re entirely native or a long-lost group of colonists themselves, this is their home. But now that your rag-tag group of colonists have arrived, you’ve probably got very limited ability to move anywhere else. There can be an awful lot of story potential in working out a diplomatic relationship between the two groups, exploring how they can help one another, and then working together.
Of course, this is also a somewhat delicate topic, considering the real-world history of colonizing here on Earth. GMs and players both should be careful to avoid the harmful tropes that this sort of story might be vulnerable to.
Your party and their companions surely aren’t the only ones looking for someplace away from the galaxy’s troubles or for new opportunities to exploit. As the GM, I’d give a party a few sessions on their own before using this one, because it definitely involves pulling in at least part of the wider galaxy.
Another group of colonists lands, sets up shop, and starts competing with you for resources. Smugglers arrive looking for a place to hide or something to smuggle, and either become a threat or potential allies. Pirates are looking for a hiding place themselves and stumble upon you, or outright catch wind of your new operation and decide to take advantage. Agents of the Corporate Sector Authority start sniffing around for resources to exploit.
Through diplomacy, trickery, or outright force of arms: how will the characters defend their new home?
At the very far end of this hook, if you want to bring the Galactic Civil War back into the limelight, the Empire showing up in any way is going to cause problems. If the Rebel Alliance arrives, looking for another hiding place, how do you choose to handle it?
Nexus of Power
Having Force Sensitives of any stripe is likely to be a boon to a growing colony or an exploratory expedition, but how about we give them their own time in the spotlight?
A really easy way to do this is to have an ancient temple hidden away on the planet, perhaps even a literal nexus of power. Jedi, Sith . . . Jedi temple on top of a Sith temple, as we’ve seen in some canon Star Wars stories. Exploring this temple, the secrets it holds, and any strange powers it might offer could be the focus of an entire arc or more.
Heck, you don’t even need any Force Sensitives around to make that sort of thing interesting. Archaeologists love this stuff.
Aside from Jedi and Sith, though, consider the fact that there are other ways of approaching the Force. While tinged with the Dark Side, the Nightsisters of Dathomir are one canon example of a different sect. Then you have the Bendu, the one in the middle from Star Wars: Rebels. Take this as a chance to create something new and explore a different facet of the Force, something that can help your Sensitives find their own place in the galaxy.
Cargo’s loaded, crew’s ready, and the navigation computer . . . is making its best guess. What are we going to find out there? Well, that’s up to you, isn’t it? I hope you’ve got some idea now, though, of what to look forward to. May your explorations be interesting, and may the Force be with you!
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