It’s worse than you realise. They want to be – CUTE…

In a recent post I wrote about how pre-generated characters and adventures let my players and I work out whether we dig a particular system and/or setting before we go whole hog and start building characters and a campaign.

It really works; after Meli fell in love with Starfinder when I showed her the rulebook (she even reckons the Kevolari Venture looks like an awesome starship – gawd, I love that woman), I decided to round up some mates and play another single-session module (which, of course, turned into three sessions, because “one shot” and “single session” are the biggest lies of the tabletop RPG community). They’re all having a ball and want to continue on with a fortnightly Starfinder campaign.

There’s just one catch. See. a few months ago, some mates gifted me the printed copy of Skitter Crash, a sequel to the module Skitter Shot, where all the pre-generated characters are six-armed, mogwai-meets-Stitch fuzzies called skitttermanders, a species whose whose primary impulse is to help.

I downloaded Skitter Shot and decided to run it for my players – and, surprise of surprises, in a universe that melds elves, dwarves, magic and dragons with plasma cannons, powered armour and starships, they really like playing skittermanders.

They LOVE being the cute little fuzzy impulse-driven wotsits who only make mischief as an incidental to making new friends (“nufriend” is skittermander slang for “someone I’m just now meeting for the first time”) and pitching in.

In fact, at last one of them has made the disturbing revelation that – they may want to play the same team of skittermanders when the campaign starts…

My first impulse at this terrifying realisation was, “What?! All skittermanders?! But I want a broad variety of races, including some of the classic fantasy ones! And when will I get to do the awesome character prompt stuff during the Decuma world building session? All the character history and relationships are already there! And they like each other! There’s no potential for drama!”

Then there’s the fear that a single species team will have the same strengths and weaknesses in the rules.

But really, my only idea of the campaign is purely my idea only. It’s not even based on reality; I have no idea what this campaign will become. My job as game master is just to put pressure on the players, not to define who they are and what they’ll be. That’s what they’ll tell me as we play.

And you know what? I’ve always liked the idea of a campaign where the players are The Good Guys. They don’t get much gooder than skittermanders.

So I think it’s time I stopped worrying and learned to love skittermanders. well, I already do; they’re a bloody brilliant take on the “cute wotsit” concept in science fiction. But if my players decide to go all in on being skittermanders – well, why not? Why not indeed?

It’s all about the lot of us having fun, and if I get more of the joy from them that I got in both sessions of Skitter Shot so far (and note this – they had so much fun in the first session that, despite us taking a fortnightly schedule, they decided to get together again ONE WEEK LATER to play again), I will be winning!

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