The way I have structured my Star Wars: Edge of Empire campaign at my FLGS is based on my observations about the way that in-store campaigns tend to go. I find that there is usually a large turnout for the first few weeks and then the numbers tend to drop off a bit. You may actually see all of the people who show up that first week throughout the life of the campaign, but there will be a core that will be there every week while the others drift in and out. I find that by the end of week three I have a pretty good idea who will be in that core group of players.
I structured my campaign with those observations in mind. I decided that I would go fairly linear for the first few weeks to maximize action and keep a fast pace. Running a plot driven game instead of character driven game for the first few weeks also makes it easier to deal with the fairly unstable player base during that period. After a few weeks I move towards a more character driven format. I try to set up at least one ongoing hook for each character in the core group. I can usually develop two to three of these hooks each session.
In my current campaign I have six core players with another three that come and go. I spent the first three weeks setting up the campaign. The campaign started with the players in the detention block of a crashing Star Destroyer. They had to escape from detention and get to their ship before the crash. In the second session they smuggled some weapons to a gangster named Lud Chud on Elrood. I used this session to introduce the rivalry between Lud Chud and Boss Kaggle, the Elood sector, and the city of Elrooden.
In the third session Paz Nor, Lud Chud’s right hand man, hired the characters to shake down a woman named Mia So for money she owed the gang. Mia So is a young art student who recently moved from Elrooden to an artist colony on nearby Akana. They travelled to Akana and learned that Mia So had borrowed the money to pay for doctor appointments for bizarre, vivid nightmares she has been having. Her nightmares involve a Dyson sphere with something inside that “wants to get out and kill us all.” They were attacked by a group that Mia identified as “The Seekers” from her dreams. The characters were also stalked by a strange trapezoidal ship during their journey. On their way back to Elrood, they were intercepted by a Star Destroyer and one character was arrested.
In this week’s session that characters decided to drop of some money they owed a Hutt for their ship. Kal, the character who was arrested and managed to escape in a solo session, examined a datapad that he had recovered during the escape. When powered up, it displayed a trapezoid similar to the ship that had stalked the party. The characters accepted a job from Paz Nor to bug a droid rights group, but they let the droids know that they had been bugged. On the way back to their ship they were ambushed by assassins, but managed to fend them off. Upon return to their ship they discovered that Mia and her mother Zan had been kidnapped.
At this point I have set the overall tone for the campaign, and have given the players several hooks to follow. I have also started to work in and develop several of their personal goals. My goal in the next few sessions will be to keep the ticking clock going on the Mia So story so they have a focus while really setting the hook on their personal stories. Following that the campaign will open into a more sandbox like game where they are free to pursue their characters’ personal stories and follow up on hooks I give them.