Switching Characters Mid-Scenario
Last night, I ran a fairly novel scenario. I pulled out the ol’ Star Wars D6 system (officially called The Star Wars Role-playing Game) by West End Games and I ran a scenario called “Operation Skyhook.” In the Star Wars universe, Operation Skyhook was the collective term for the missions involved with finding the Death Star plans and ultimately destroying the battlestation itself.
Unlike most one-shot adventures where you have one set of characters for the entire adventure, I had three sets of characters. The players started with one set for the first part of the adventure and switched sets for the second and third parts. The result was that they got to be part of something larger and they got to try out a variety of different characters with different skill sets.
The first part of the adventure involved a fairly ragtag group of Rebels and hired Smugglers stealing information from an Imperial outpost, only to discover that they were constructing a new superweapon on the planet that was the size of a moon! They landed under false pretenses, snuck around a little bit to discover more about this project, and then saw this sight:
And yes, Darth Vader really was there. That got the players themselves scared!
The little R2 droid downloaded as much data as he could, the Wookiee sacrificed himself to try and lead a slave uprising, and everyone else hightailed it back to their ship to blast off with the stolen information.
Everyone got new characters for events that took place some time later. Part of the info the R2 droid downloaded included information about an Imperial base on Dantua where the full Death Star plans were being held. So this time, the Rebel Alliance sent a strike team led by Kyle Katarn (basically the Chuck Norris of the Star Wars universe). With the help of two Imperial officers who were wanting to defect to the Rebellion, they managed to infiltrate the base, steal the plans, and get out.
The plans were delivered to Princess Leia, downloaded into R2-D2, and eventually wound up on Yavin IV. That’s where we picked up again. This time, the players got to be Red Squadron, including Wedge Antilles, Luke Skywalker, and Porkins (who was a surprisingly popular character at our table). They had 30 minutes real time to destroy the Death Star! I had a PowerPoint presentation going that served as a countdown timer and also played movie clips at certain points to show developments in the battle (for instance, when the TIE Fighters arrived, a video clip from the movie played where they arrived). The game was fast and furious as everyone was racing against the clock. Surprisingly, it was Wedge Antilles who wound up being the one to get a lucky shot to destroy the Death Star!
In the end, the scenario really worked out and everyone had a great time. I liked the idea of having different characters building off of each other story-wise and it also gave the players an opportunity to try different types of characters.
I wonder if this idea of playing with different characters in the same adventure could be used in other ways. For instance, maybe there could be a scenario that swapped back and forth between two sets of characters working together on the same mission. I think that the results might turn out really well, especially if the actions of one group directly affects the other!