Simple Tricks 0

Simple Tricks and Nonsense
Episode 0
October 17, 2015

A Long Time Ago ...

... In a Galaxy Far, Far Away...

Being a HUGE Star Wars fan, all I could think about for about the past year and a half was the upcoming release of Episode VII: The Force Awakens and playing GURPS: Star Wars! We started talking about it around the gaming table and everyone was interested in giving it a try. My idea for a Star Wars campaign would be New Republic Era, about 5 years after the Battle of Endor and focus on non-aligned free-traders and adventurers. This worked for everyone as well. The hope was, that we would be able to come to a conclusion on the current Wandered Roads of Varisia campaign and then switch over to Star Wars, but the timing wasn't working with us so we just got to a stopping point and put that campaign on pause. After playing half a session of WR:Varisia, we got down to some "Simple Tricks and Nonsense" of creating Star Wars characters.

My players were in for a bit of a surprise, as I had told them to NOT make any characters in advance but that we would generate them at the table together. What they also did not know was that I had spent hours putting together a whole galaxy-full of templates that would be randomly selected by each player to build their characters. Everyone started with the same Crew Member template and then we started drawing randomly. I told each player that they could have ONE trade in at the end of the session on ONE template and that I would be selecting an NPC/ GM character to round out the crew from what was left over.

Some of the left-over templates
There were some wide-eyed looks of surprise and chuckles. I told them that the idea was that I wanted to get people out of their comfort zones and try something different. After a minute, everyone was excited about what everyone was going to draw. I had templates for core occupations (like pilot, tech, scoundrel, etc), species (3 versions of Humans, Wookies, Jawas, Bith, Twi'lek, Mon Cal, etc), a handful of "Personality" Templates (like Greedy, Altruistic, Cocky and Washed-Up), and what I called "Attribute" Templates (which had names like Burly, Tough, Charismatic and Brainy.)

We started by drawing Species Templates. Here I gave them few choices. They could be Human, Alien or either. If they wanted to be Human, they drew from the three possible templates (Core, Mid or Outer Regions). If they wanted to be Alien they got to choose from the various other species and if they didn't care, they let chance decide and drew from the whole pile. We ended up with three Humans (one from the Core, one from the Mid Regions and one from the Outer Rim), one Mon Calamari, one Twi'lek and one Wookie. JeCorey had drawn a Bith but in the end, traded that in to be an Outer Regions Human. The Human characters then drew from a large pile of Background Templates. These were divided into one Childhood and two Early Adult Templates and depended on the region of the galaxy one came from. Dan, hailing from the Mid Rim region, ended up with an Under Privileged Childhood and Athletic and Bar Staff experience. Carol, whose character would be from the Core Worlds, pulled Under Privileged Childhood, Lab Assistant and Mule (as in smuggling) while JeCorey, from the Outer Rim came up with a Sheltered Childhood, Normal Adolescence and Survivalist background. These early life templates helped balance out the point costs that were associated with the Alien Species templates.

Next we drew from the Core Occupation Templates. These were the big point value templates, worth [100] points. Dan ended up being the Pilot, Carol got Smuggler (which fit with her Background Templates), Ben was the Scoundrel, Jodi drew Engineer, JeCorey got Scout (which also fit with his Background Templates), and Don drew the Diplomat. Totally getting out of some comfort zones here for sure!

The Attribute and Personality Templates rounded out the draws and this was really fun. Some of these template combinations fit together seamlessly together (like Dan's Cocky, Eagle-Eyed Pilot, Carol's Brainy and Greedy Smuggler (Mule) with a Lab background, or Don's Charismatic Wookie Diplomat (whoa!) and Ben's Dexterous, Altruistic Scoundrel. Some of these would take some work figuring out and some just fell into place. Jodi ended up with a Healthy Grizzled-Vet Engineer and JeCorey's Willful Scout Survivalist seemed to write its own background!

Adin Vill, Washed-Up, ex-Imperial Medic
I drew from the remaining cards and put together a Washed-Up ex-Imperial medic from Alderaan who is lazy and likes to cuss a lot (I got Privileged Childhood, Core World,  Burly, Soldier, Crewman, Medic, Washed-Up!) and Adin Vill was born.
Also Adin Vill

Fun times! Everyone had a blast picking characters. They all wrote down notes and ideas about equipment and such. I told them we would not be leaning heavily on Disadvantages in the game besides those that were already present on the templates, but did allow them to choose 1 or 2 to fill out their sheets and get a few more free points to customize. Each template package had a handful of free points to spend and I also told them they could earn more bonus points to spend for writing up a character background before the next session.

A list of all the templates I used can be found on this Google Doc as well as some (WIP) campaign notes.

At the time, I didn't have a name for the campaign and I mulled over it for a long time until I decided upon "Simple Tricks and Nonsense." This seemed to fit quite well to me because our game will center around the fringes, there will not be any Force-using PCs, and because I love to improvise and make stuff up on the fly. It is also one of my favorite Han Solo quotes from A New Hope. Anyway, that's that on the new GURPS Star Wars campaign. We will eventually go back to our Wandered Roads of Varisia campaign (I assume) but for the time being, we will be playing among the stars!

May the Force Be With You!

Players Present:

+Daniel Ernst 
+Carol Coburn
+Ben Lipe
+Jodi H
+JeCorey Holder
Don K
and +Jason Woollard as the GM


Precis - Kicking off our new GURPS Star Wars campaign by putting some characters together. I provided the group with a handful of templates that were pieced together to create their characters. Nothing like getting outside the box! Go GURPS!


  1. Were thr human background templates listed?

  2. Yea, kinda. In the Google Doc linked above, at the bottom of the Racial Templates, there are 3 Human templates. One for Core Worlders, one for Mid-Rimers and one for Outer Rim folk.
    here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/10Q7EoNpGxO3LQD89YppIFAyDK9MLOeGOXiy8HHWxwCY/edit#heading=h.crx6fa9s537v

    those templates choose from a handful of smaller Childhood Templates I put together and then some Young Adult Templates (most of these were found somewhere on the web long ago and reused, some I made, some I bent into shape from other sources)
    Childhood Templates (taken from a GURPS Star Frontiers conversion I had been doing): https://docs.google.com/document/d/1s0dphRvmQe0ZOkVCY46vSnBJvSb0ImxFx-_wIvlCQRk/edit?usp=sharing

    Young Adult Templates: https://docs.google.com/document/d/15O6ISjefJ2Ky0PQsq9vTv2KoaIQs71vD3-FqmUHXi0M/edit#

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    2. Nice. I like your use of mini-templates. Next campaign I start (or even for replacement characters in my current) think I will create some.