Every GM has had that moment: how do you bring together the lashunta space guitar playing pilot, the android freedom fighter, the skittermander necromancer with ties to the Old Ones, and the pahtra infosphere star envoy, and somehow get them all motivated to adventure together. It’s a classic TTRPG problem, and while sometimes the players get together and coordinate themselves into a group, all too often that scene is left to the game master. Fear not, there are as many ways to get that crazy mix of character concepts together as there are possible characters. Well, potentially, at least. Here are 10 to get you started.
1. The Classic – Whether its the Mos Eisly Cantina or some other drinking establishment thinly based on the Mos Eisly Cantina, it’s hard to argue with the simplicity of having the party all meet at the tavern. Throw in an easy encounter to get them all on the same page, maybe with a mystery that draws them further into the story, and done.
2. Friend of a Friend – Infospheres make this setup even easier. All the players know the same individual, either in person or through some kind of online interaction. When that individual needs help, or goes missing, they are all drawn together to help.
3. In Transit – Everybody has to go places, and there’s no reason your player characters can’t all be on the same transport at the same time. Whether that is a spaceship going through the drift, a shuttle going from space station to planet, or even a desert convoy traversing the red barrens of Akiton, all those varied aliens are onboard and when something goes wrong they’ve got to pitch together to get out of it.
4. Shipwrecked – Like the previous one, but throw in some Lost or Pitch Black action. They were in transit, but disaster struck and now they all have to work as a team simply to survive. Assuming they do, perhaps they now have a mystery or two to solve when help finally arrives…
5. Attack! – the party start all in one place when an attack occurs. Maybe it’s terrorists taking everyone at the gala hostage, or an invading army laying siege to the space station. Either way, if they want to survive, they are going to have to fight as a team.
6. Game within a Game – All the characters are involved in the same ARG, and meet while working on clues provided by the game. This can transition smoothly into the campaign, when the stakes of the ARG suddenly become real.
7. Prison Break – the characters are all incarcerated, for real crimes or framed, or even a combination thereof. Getting out isn’t going to be easy. They’ll need a plan, and a team of neardowells with a varied set of skills if they are going to make it.
8. Subconsciously Connected – just because it’s a sci-fantasy setting doesn’t mean some mystical force can’t bring the characters together through dreams and portents. Why they are being called, and who or what that force is, are the real questions.
9. I Wasn’t Even Supposed To Be Here Today – everybody’s gotta work, and sometimes that means you get thrown into a team with a bunch of wackos you wouldn’t normally interact with. That also accurately describes most RPG parties, oddly enough.
10. Wintermute or SHODAN – an emergent AI has shaped events to bring the party together, and they have a challenge that the group should have just the right skills to meet. How much agency the party has in whether or not they choose to do it is up to the GM.
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Until next time Starfinders!
Artist and Writer