Tonight I ran the fifth session of our Star Wars: Edge of the Empire campaign. The fact that we’ve reached a fifth session means I must be doing something right; my friends like me and all, but they don’t do something five times just to be nice. But beyond that, I’m having the time of my gaming life. This is the most extensive game mastering I’ve ever done, and it’s got me wondering why I waited so long to do it.
For one thing, it’s essentially rep theater. So far, I’ve played a Hutt, a Jawa, an Imperial officer with a British accent, a scoundrel with an Australian one, a Toydarian who sounds like Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, and an ever-growing assortment of other NPCs that sometimes have me talking to myself in several different voices and made-up languages. I don’t have to do the voices, but I really can’t imagine not. Otherwise, I’m just narrating, and where’s the fun in that, for me or my players? I may have a bit of a sore throat after trying to contort my voice into a Hutt laugh, but that’s a small enough price to pay.
It’s also been fun having to scramble when my players manage to overturn everything I had planned for the evening and force me to make up an entire tangent on the fly. But I have to make it seem like I was ready for it all along, while meanwhile my mind is racing trying to figure out what the hell I’m going to do. It helps that it’s a setting I know well enough — and get well enough — to comfortably riff on, but there have been some real tightrope walking moments. My players keep me on my toes, even when things are going as planned, but sometimes, going off the rails and keeping things moving is even more satisfying.
And I’m having a blast coming up with bells and whistles. I do an opening crawl for every session, complete with the music and the Star Wars logo streaking into the distance. I spent a good hour or so making an elaborate diagram one of my characters had painted on a wall, complete with a cave wall background. I mapped out all four levels of an Imperial outpost my players broke into tonight. In short, I’ve been exercising all kinds of creative muscles, and even if it’s for an audience of only four or five, it’s an appreciative one.
Every worry and bit of apprehension I had going into this is gone. Now I’m jotting down ideas for possible stories, thinking about new characters to introduce, plotting an overall arc. Sometimes you just have to take the plunge into something new to find out you like it. Well, I dove in with both feet and am happily swimming along, and my players are happy too. Not that I never want to play again, but right now, I could do what I’m doing for a long, long time. In a galaxy far, far away, of course.