Written by Enki
The ability to live the adventures of your favourite television characters is one of the appealing aspects of any license-based Role-Playing Game. However, far too often Gamemasters and players get stuck in the “Middle Earth Campaign” rut with a licensed game. What do you do if you want to break that out of the rut? Easy: Do something different.
The term “Middle Earth Campaign” was posed by Dragon Magazine many years ago to refer to the tendency for every Dungeons and Dragons campaign to be a carbon copy of Tolkein’s classic book series. It would be far too easy for the same kind of thing to occur in a Stargate SG-1 RPG campaign. Does every SG Team need an archaeologist, a scientist, a soldier, and a shol’va Jaffa?
The answer, quite simply, is “No.” The universe of Stargate provides a wealth of opportunity for any of a variety of campaign ideas. Many of these are human-centred campaigns, such as the NID campaign, the alternate SG Command, restarting the series with your own SG-1, or even a Civilian campaign based on an alternate earth.
But perhaps more interesting to some is the non-human campaign. The Stargate universe presents many opportunities to explore the efforts of alien races in tumultuous times. The purpose of this article is to present several looks at alternative campaign possibilities.
Idea 1 – The Shol’va Campaign: “A Serpent Guard, a Horus Guard, and a Setesh Guard meet on a planet….” But seriously, the SG-1 television series has shown us several episodes involving groups of rebel Jaffa. The inclusion of several sub-species of Jaffa and the wealth of possibilities for GM-tailored sub-species makes this campaign not only interesting, but provides a means for significant character diversity. Include a few Spycraft character classes, like a Setesh Faceman for example, and the team suddenly has a lot of options.
Idea 2 – The Tok’ra Campaign: This campaign could go along the lines of the Shol’va campaign, above, but with a few more options. Perhaps a few more Spycraft classes could make appearances, such as the Snoop and Fixer, even a Wheelman if the GM wants to do the extra work of creating vehicle statistics. Nevertheless, the Tok’ra are, above all other species, uniquely suited for fighting the Goa’uld on their own terms.
Idea 3 – The Alliance Campaign: Although the Tok’ra-Jaffa alliance created in “Allegiance” is a tenuous one, it still creates a wealth of possibilities for a Stargate Campaign. This campaign would easily meld aspects of the first two ideas, above, while presenting an even grater diversity. This is also a great campaign idea for groups that enjoy a little inter-character tension from time to time.
Idea 4 – The Reol Campaign: One advantage of License-based RPGs is the ability for the game to explore races seen in the series but not explored in detail. Often, the licensing agent will present the game with a race that the writers do not intend to revisit, giving the game designers a clean run at developing a more detailed look at an already-familiar race. Perhaps this is what has occurred with AEG and the Reol, perhaps not. In any case, the various sub-species of Reol, as well as their rather unique racial abilities, create many Campaign options of which a Gm may take advantage.
Idea 5 – The Asgard Campaign: Admittedly, this is one of the few campaigns that might require characters start above first level, but that is not a requirement. It is reasonable to believe that the Asgard PCs would be first level “by Asgard standards.” The Asgard campaign creates many possibilities not only because of the race, its diversity, and its technology, but also because it could take place at any time… even when the Goa’uld still control large portions of the Earth before the Egyptian gate was first buried.
Idea 6 – The Goa’uld Campaign: A GM might want to tread carefully around this subject, but what of a campaign full of Jaffa that are still loyal to the Goa’uld. This creates less diversity in the ranks of the PCs, but still has possibilities. Perhaps the game could begin with the PCs working for a System Lord with the intent to have them eventually break-away in character. Introduce a Tok’ra infiltrator into their ranks and you have the basis for a Campaign full of intrigue and suspicion. Perhaps the Jaffa and the Tok’ra even decide not to break-away, but instead try to sabotage the System Lord by “working from the inside.”
Idea 7 – The Near-Human Campaign: If the Tauri can make ths Stargate work and start exploring the universe, why can’t other humans? Perhaps, with Jonas Quinn’s prompting, the people of Langaria begin their own Stargate program. To maintain the peace, one team member is chosen from the Tiranians, one from the Andari, and one from the Kelownans, perhaps with the help of an alien “guide” from the Jaffa or the Tok’ra. After all, the Langarians might not be so objectionable to providing the Tok’ra with occasional hosts in exchange for their help. Perhaps a younger world would create their own program, providing opportunities to mix Stargate with other genres like Victorian Horror or Steampunk.
Bringing it All Together – Hogunn’s Heroes: What started as a joke could actually be a viable Campaign idea. Picture this: On the prison planet Kre’uss, the Tok’ra Hogunn, working as an infiltrator within Baal’s ranks, has been appointed warden. Knowing of a shol’va within Baal’s Guard, Hogunn moves the sometimes-insubordinate warrior into position as his captain of the guard. This serves as a punishment for his obstinacy while still keeping him useful in Baal’s eyes. Working together, the two construct a team of inmates consisting of Reol, near-Humans, perhaps even an Asgard Protected Planets’ Enforcer, to serve as a covert team sabotaging major efforts of the System Lords while living in a prison right under their very noses.
These are just a few ideas scratching the tip of an iceberg of possibilities. Experienced role-players may wish to explore avenues previously untouched by the established series, providing the GM with an opportunity to really make his game special. Most importantly, though, don’t feel like you have to play “Middle Earth” with your Stargate Campaign.