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Star Wars: Edge of the Empire – Build your Bounty Hunter Guild Office

August 23, 2015

marshallThe guys at the always entertaining Order 66 podcast reminded me of one of my favorite elements of the Far Horizons colonist sourcebook in their most recent episode which talks about taking a homestead or a business as a party asset during character creation. We are going to use that as a basis for my ongoing concept for a bounty hunter campaign. There are different upgrades and benefits for running a homestead as compared to a business. While it might be awesome to have a dedicated space station for a guild office (especially with the infirmary, landing bay and mechanic’s garage upgrades), it seems to make more thematic sense to run a guild office as a business. As a business, you can acquire a specialized license (bounty hunting!) that can allow the party access to restricted items (weapons, vehicles, gear).

This provides the party a home base, and possibly a place to rest and recover. Beyond that, as one of the mechanics for taking the homestead/business, there is one NPC per PC to represent the staff that takes care of day-to-day operations while the party is out gallivanting across the universe. This is not only convenient to keep the lights on, these NPCs can become beloved friends of the party and may turn into adventure seeds if they get in to trouble. It could also provide a possible stable of replacement PCs, should something go terribly wrong on an adventure. A nice ancillary benefit of taking this as a starting asset is that all PCs start with a skill associated with the business as a career skill. The Order 66 team suggest not allowing this to be a combat skill, as that would be slightly out of balance, and I agree. For a Bounty Hunter Guild office, I would suggest Knowledge (Underworld), Perception, or Vigilance.

Having a home office makes sense for low-level bounty hunters, as they would start out with easier, more regional bounties before working up to larger, further reaching and higher-profile jobs. Having the PCs based out of a regional office could also mean higher profile hunters stop in from time to time to gather supplies, intel, and maybe trade a few stories and tips.

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For running a casual weekly campaign at a Friendly Local Gaming Store with players dropping in and dropping out now and again, the base can be assumed to be the party asset during character creation. Since there should be an NPC droid or employee per party member, I would encourage each PC to come up with their NPC counterpart. They could be old friends, or have no relationship between them whatsoever, but it takes some of the NPC burden off the GM. Not only that, but whoever shows up for the mission, dictates the cast of NPCs that show up for work that day. Ideally, the NPCs would serve some basic function and have a defining quirk. Possible ideas include a custodial droid that aspires to hunt himself, and trips over itself trying to impress the hunters. Another could be a grumpy Gran operations manager that constantly complains about the quality of hunters these days. There could be an attractive receptionist that always plays it cool around the hunters like Ms. Moneypenny from the Bond movies. Also specifically for a guild office, there could be a meticulous quartermaster in charge of renting specialty equipment for certain missions. The possibilities are endless.

casinoHaving the guild office be a business rather than a homestead would mean the hunters would need services and develop relationships with others in the community/settlement/city. They would likely have to work with a space dockmaster, trade for supplies with merchants, and blow off some steam at a casino or cantina. Building your own sandbox can be challenging, but very rewarding in that the PCs will feel empowered to blaze their own trail. A bounty hunter campaign could become stale if it was an endless string of jobs assigned by the guild. Creating a rich ecosystem allows for adventure seeds to develop outside the acquisitions from the office.

Once the PCs are established, they have the option of starting another office on another planet, or starting one as a homestead (likely spacestation). This would allow them a base that includes an infirmary, landing pad, and mechanics garage if the party pays for the upgrades or takes on the additional obligation. Unlike typical obligation, this would apply to the entire party rather than a single PC. If this obligation is rolled, it could mean maintenance issues or slow business, or something much more serious like a trusted NPC staff member in trouble.

I really like this mechanic as a basis for a more detailed bounty hunter campaign, that could serve as a great pick-up game to play in public. In the next installment I’ll detail some example guild missions, and maybe one or two NPC missions that can come from having the PCs operate out of a home base.

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