After taking a few months off in the late spring/early summer, London and I have resumed our Star Wars campaign. Back in the spring our characters, Wuta the Ewok (London) and Camie Wolfsun (me) had acquired a nemesis in the form of Imperial bounty hunter Zela Sharnakk. In our next-to-last adventure of the spring, she captured us to use as bait for the notorious pirate Maxar Vandanoo, whose bounty from the Empire stands at 20 million credits (they think he blew up a Star Destroyer with a bomb–that was actually our doing, it just worked out that it looked like his doing, but no-one else knows that). In the last spring adventure, we got away from both Sharnakk and the pirates and managed to steal her ship in the process.
In all of the Star Wars campaigns I’ve ever run or been part of, one of the PCs’ first goals is to set up a Sanctuary Point at a random point deep in interstellar space. Sanctuary Point is a place to stash ships and loot where they have essentially zero chance of being discovered by anyone else. Naturally Wuta and Camie stashed Zela Sharnakk’s ship at Sanctuary Point while they tried to find a buyer for it.
Just as naturally, Zela Sharnakk had a tracking device on her ship, and the next time Wuta and Camie got back to Sanctuary Point, she was waiting for them on board their biggest ship. This led to some great and creepy roleplaying as Sharnakk stalked the PCs through the corridors of their own ship, and took down Wuta, Camie, and their guests one by one with stun shots.
Wuta and Camie woke up in an escape pod, sitting on a beach on a deserted island. It later developed that Sharnakk had sold them to some Dark Elves* for use in a Most-Dangerous-Game-style sport hunt. But they didn’t know that at the time; even I as GM didn’t know that yet. I had Run Out of Plot and plunked Wuta and Camie on the island to stall for time while I figured out what the bad guys were up to.
So, our characters started out on a desert island with no survival gear and in fact no tools or belongings at all other than Camie’s coveralls and Wuta’s leather headdress thingy. Everything we wanted to do, we had to roll for, starting with knocking rocks together to make stone knives. I made up a difficulty table for various primitive tools and weapons and every morning of gametime we rolled to see what Wuta and Camie would succeed at making that day. It took us a week to gather everthing we needed to makes bows and arrows (big fish scales for arrowheads, alien bird feathers, animal sinews for bowstrings, etc.).
I was worried at first that London would get bored but he loved it. We both did. We got a scrap piece of paper and every time Wuta and Camie achieved an additional piece of primitive technology, we wrote it down. We explored the island, learned the game trails of the little hoofed animals, and found evidence of the beings who had been there before us (decomposed skeletons with bones burnt black by blaster fire). We made a pen for our animals, and when the local six-legged cat-thing started sneaking in at night and making off with them, Wuta caught it and eventually tamed it. Our character sheets sprouted skills like “hand fishing” and “toolmaking”. It was the complete Robinson Crusoe experience. After flitting across the galaxy, tangling with pirates and bounty hunters and avoiding Imperial entanglements, for a few weeks of game-time our characters went everywhere on their own two feet, and never mastered anything more high-tech than a clay fire-pot.
Eventually the Dark Elves came to the island to hunt us, and we got re-embroiled in the affairs of the galaxy, but those few sessions when we had nothing and could take nothing for granted were some of the most fun I have ever had as roleplayer. I think London could have stayed on that planet forever, making tools and rafts and going full-on Kon-Tiki. That could be a nice little campaign in itself (or could have been, anyway–a second desert-island stranding would be hard to pull off without seeming forced).
* About the Dark Elves in our Star Wars campaign: after seeing Thor: The Dark World, we reasoned that since the Dark Elves predate the birth of our universe, and Star Wars just happens in another galaxy, it was plausible that there might be Dark Elves in the Star Wars galaxy. Like Jeff Rients putting robots and laser guns in his D&D, I have decided that this version of the Star Wars galaxy is going to have a rather, um, elastic approach to canon. London doesn’t know this yet, but I finally figured out what the Dark Elves are up to: they’re going to (1) kidnap the Sith witch we ran into way back in our second-ever adventure, (2) use her as a living key to unlock an ancient stargate left behind by the Builder/Progenitors/Celestials, and (3) summon Cthulhu/the Ogdru Jahad/some crawling chaos in the hope that (4) It will tear down the universe for them. Trying to foil that plan will probably be the opposite of the Robinson-Crusoe-like simplicity we’ve just come from. Should be fun.