Monday, 18 June 2018

The Mines of Kessel - A Campaign I'll Probably Never Run

I know it's been some time since I posted something on this blog.  And I apologize for that.  When I first started writing posts for Stories and Other Such Distractions a year ago, I prided myself on the fact that I updated at least monthly.  May ended up going by without a single update from yours truly.  A fact that I deeply regret and find inexcusable.  So this is me trying to make up for lost time.  For those of you who still read this blog I am eternally grateful.  Without further ado let's get to what you came here to see.

The Pitch

The subject of today's campaign pitch.  The kidney
shaped Prison planet of Kessel and it's
garrison moon(given its appearance
it might be more accurate to
 describe it as an asteroid.
Anyone who is at least the tiniest bit familiar with Star Wars has at least heard of Kessel once or twice.  Who could forget the famous line?  "It's a ship that made the Kessel run in 12 parsecs."  Now in the original novelization of the film of A New Hope Han was just supposed to be talking out of his ass.  (A parsec is a measure of distance not speed for those of you not in the know).  Later on the expanded universe went on to fill in the blanks on the Kessel run (adding in a black hole that the Kessel system orbited known as the Maw that would be smugglers would fly dangerously close to in order to shave time of their route) and the rest as they say is history.  You didn't come here for a lecture on the Star Wars Expanded universe though.  You came here to read about a campaign idea centred around the stinking place.  

Kessel is known for two things, the spice known as glitterstim.  (Which is said to give those who imbibe it the force-like ability to read the thoughts of others, incredibly useful in interrogations.  Which is why the Empire keeps such a tight grasp on its excavation).  The other is its infamous prison facilities where the spice is dug up the cruel Spice Mines of Kessel.  (Imagine something akin to a Nazi concentration camp or a Soviet gulag).  Now many an RPG campaign has kicked off with the escape from such a place.  But very few have taken a look at what it'd be like to have the characters adventure be indentured for an extended period of time in such a place.  

"But..." you say "that's boring."  Is it now?  There's a lot of sources of conflict to be had in an Imperial Prison.  Remember this is a place that's run by what amounts to Space Nazis.  There's bound to be conflict in such a place if you know where to look for it.  Here's a few things just from the top of my head.
  • Remember how old Han Solo made the Kessel Run?  Well what was he smuggling?  There's nothing else of value in the whole Kessel system but glitterstim and free prison labour.  Yet both are so highly regulated, that amounts to pretty much nothing.  Unless...someone's been double-dealing under the table.  Perhaps the staff at this mine aren't the tight-asses you think they are.  They're still immoral pricks, they just care about lining their own pockets than they do the Emperor.  Shipments of Spice may be turning up light, or prisoners may disappear.  (The latter sold into slavery, hey prisoners die all the time in the mines).  

  • And like in every situation there may be some stickler for the rules that wants to blow the whistle.  Maybe the players can manipulate him somehow?

  • In the expanded universe Kessel is described as being littered with ruins of Sith origins.  Up for a little Star Wars dungeon crawl?

  • Just like prison in real life it wouldn't be unlikely for the mine the PCs find themselves at to have rival gangs inhabiting the place.  They could join one of the existing ones or start one of their own.  

  • The population of the Kessel Spice Mines is 78% Alien, 22% Human.  You could literally have a prisoner of every species for PCs of a particular species to interact with.  You could even have one of the most feared prisoners be an incredibly violent Wookie.  (Don't upset him).

  • Then you have the ultimate source of good in the Empire.  A large number of Rebels are sent to the Imperial controlled mines.  As punishment for their betrayal of the Emperor.  If your players tire of being locked up they could mount an escape.  If they take some of these guys with them they've got an in into the Rebel Alliance.  (And you get a way to continue a campaign with established characters if you decide to take a break and come back to Star Wars).

Characters

Now personally I'd use Star Wars d6 for this campaign.  It's simpler than say the Fantasy Flight or Wizards of the Coast games and it has a large online community dedicated to it.  And presents a number of useful templates to base characters off of.  Any one of the following would fit right in in such a campaign.  They could be sentenced for any number of crimes, real or trumped up charges it doesn't matter.  If you manage to piss off someone with the right connections within the Empire.  Your ass just earned a one-way ticket to Kessel.

  1. The Smuggler
  2. The Gambler
  3. The Brash Pilot (remember lot of rebel POWs end up at Kessel)
  4. Any of the Alien Templates (Again the Imperials are Space Nazis)
  5. Pirate
  6. Merc
  7. Outlaw
  8. Outlaw Tech
  9. Slicer
Anyways I think I've rambled on enough for my first effort after my hiatus.  If you liked this post be sure to tell me what you think in the comments below.  Be sure to +1, like and follow this blog.  As always have a nice day and may the dice be ever in your favour.