Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Vondy

  1. This boils down to Abrams handing Johnson a hook on a silver platter, Johnson pointedly ignoring it in favor of his own vision, and Abrams returning to answer the giant elephant of a question that he put out there. From Johnson's own account the yo-yo handling of Rey's background was more about directorial ego than good story telling. Rian Johnson is a talented director who doesn't understand the franchise or fans as well as Abrams does. Lucas' vision was that this was the Skywalker Saga. You can argue that ended in the throne room over Endor, but from all interviews on the historical record Lucas' sequels would have been about their legacy. Attempting to do away with that in the eighth of nine installments without so much as a nod was... benighted. Johnson is on record saying that is exactly what he wanted to do. Down with elitist legacies and all that. Feel good kid with a broom coda, blah-blah-blah. Johnson's film hit some very high and very low notes. It was crazy uneven. Purple-haired admirals in evening gowns aside, his handling of The Rey Question as was the definitive low note. He made Abrams' job a lot harder than need be. I also think its why Disney brought Abrams back. They made a mistake: there was no oversight ensuring the three films had a coherent thread running through them. If Johnson weren't on record saying he was intentionally acting as a spoiler and going his own way I would agree with your assertion: make it look implausible and double down. But, in this case, the director told us what was going on behind the curtain. Abrams is the necessary clean up crew. Now, I'm not saying Rey has to be a Skywalker. Abrams may well have a clever twist that would be very satisfying and let's him pretend "this is what was intended all along." I await with baited breath to see how he handles the pickle Johnson put him in. The running joke-theory in our house is that Anakin wasn't a Skywalker either. He was Space Jesus and Skywalker was the name he plucked for himself out of thin air because he didn't have one. Rey has no parents? Maybe she was immaculately conceived of the Force via midichlorians and a human mother? Maybe she's Space Jesusa and her legacy is to finish what Anakin began: bringing balance to the Force. That would make her as much a Skywalker as Anakin was and fit with some of Luke's views about the Jedi being past their sell by date. Skywalker = conceived of the Holy Spirit, er, the Force! Right! Erm. Sure. We shall see. Note: I don't really have an issue with purple hair. A purple-haired admiral in a uniform would have been pure gold.
  2. Cool beans. I didn't have a problem with Finn in the saber battle because he came out strong for a few seconds... and then got summarily owned. I interpreted it as Kylo blinking and saying to himself internally "well, that was unexpected" followed by a more serious "no more games." Finn went down quick and hard once Kylo quit futzing around with him and took it seriously.... "that pipsquek nicked me!"
  3. You are arguing several points I did not make. I didn't say it was a problem that artists talk about their art. I expect them to and often enjoy knowing what they intended. Many, but not all, artists have done so throughout time. The issue I have is what amounts to "poisoning the well." Historically, artists generally talked about message after unveiling their work. They let their audience take it in and start interpreting it for themselves before pontificating about it. Some would even, gasp, ask their audience what they thought or what it evoked in them before inserting their egos into the conversation. What is more, fandoms like Star Wars have a life of their own. They often take on a bigger and bolder life than their creator's intended (or even imagined what was possible). The artists interpretation becomes interesting (and I like hearing it after experiencing the art), but not definitive - as Lucas himself maddeningly discovered. There were several brilliant, and essentially valid, interpretations by film and art critics that were made that had nothing to do with Lucas' anti-Vietnam talking points. People have written their dissertations on various interpretations of these films. Which brings me to a key phrase in your comments: "It would have been the same." You just made my point for me. It was not the same. This entire medium of instant message delivery didn't exist. The Internet, let alone social media, has not been here forever. It was not a thing when the the original films came out. I'm not old, but I am somewhat older. When Star Wars came out rotary phones, eight tracks, and print newspapers ran the world. Answering machines with cassette tapes and brick sized radio phones became bleeding edge tech after the original trilogy came out. And that was before the lens of the Internet people now view history through. It was not the same. And that's just the medium and technology the message. The political climate was different as well. The culture wars were a mere dumpster fire compared to the machinean napalm slinging contest it has become today. We didn't always define differences of political opinion in absolutist and moralist black and white terms. There was a greater sense of live and let live. There was also a greater desire to engage in genuine, interested, good-faith discourse. The insult slinging and dismissing of voices based on personal traits rather than the content was much less frequent. Liberals and conservatives even dated, had sex, and got married to one another once upon a time. Yes, close-minded and obnoxious ideologues and extremists have always been with us, but they did not define or dominate the conversation the way they do today. The point being: Lucas was interjecting his views into a less volatile cultural ecosystem, he did so with a dissemination delay that allowed us all to sit with his work before integrated his views,, and he engaged his critics and those who dissented from his views with a lot more class than his inheritors have chosen to do. He also showed a lot of respect for divergent interpretations of his work. He was a better marketing man than the current crop. He pursued an ideologically inclusive rather than exclusive fandom because he realized that's where the money is. Why alienate an entire demographic of fans with in-your-face political posturing? That's straight-up stupid. But, here is my main issue: since when did marketing gurus and Disney executives take on the stature of "the artist?"
  4. Its all make-believe fantasy with space wizards and laser swords. What is and isn't BS is highly subjective. One man's verisimilitude is another man's nonsense. Such is fandom.
  5. Its not nostalgia. Its new medium. It was a different time. We didn't hear Lucas talk about his intended politics until well after the films were released. Sometimes years afterward. And even then, it occurred in mediums that did not instantly disseminate like wildfire. We were allowed to experience the films, come up with our own interpretations, and form our own opinions long before being bombarded with distilled political nonsense. The message was delivered through the art as opposed to being delivered through art critics long before anyone actually saw the art itself.
  6. If you want to myopically zero in on two words, and boil a post down to the identity of the person who made it as opposed reading the holistic whole of its content, feel free. Straw men and ad hominem attacks are Internet norms. I'm used to it.
  7. My question would be: best at what kind of fighting? Crowd control? Precision kills? Gunfighting? Lethal blows? Subdual-Knockouts? Tanking-Distraction? Teamwork? Lopping Limbs Off? Disabling Weapons? Dueling?
  8. Star Wars trailers have been yanking fan's chains, pouring fuel on the flames of speculation, and pulling baits and switches since Empire's trailers hit in 1979. Yes, that's right, they've been screwing with us for Forty Years. Palatine's voice could just be a trailer voiceover that never appears in the movie. It could also just be something that is heard in Jedi dreams and visions with him never physically appearing or directly driving the plot. Or we could be dealing with an EU style clone... I hope not. Too cheesy.. Honestly, the first or second strike me as being the most likely. On the other hand, Mark Hammill is listed in the main cast so we are quite likely to get some hard-core force ghost action. Who knows? I've been a fan since seeing the first film at the age of five in 1977. What I know is that we won't know until we see it!
  9. I like the official write-ups of the named characters for several reasons. One, I've always felt gamer's tend to overrate and overbuild iconic characters (for reasons both mechanical and psychological). Two, they allow for more down to earth players who can be "impressive" without being min-maxed and dipping into 3+ trees, which takes the sting out of relatively slow growth inherent in the system (esp. for force users). Three, they provide a clear set of benchmarks for those who do want them. Four, over the past several decades I've come to look askance at the "GMs favorite NPC as plot device" and "big-bad install-kill" approach to dangerous NPCs. I don't find it fun or sporting or an accurate representation of the source films. And five, I'm not married to canonical outcomes and view the story about the player characters rather than iconic non-player characters who may show up. Its the player character's story. So be it if they change things. If Vader dies before Luke's time... I'm down with it.
  10. I would like to see more sector's of the galaxy explored in more depth. I know it won't happen until the new movie and show are out, but I really liked The Lords of Nal Hutta and Suns of Fortune. Some thoughts: a book on the Corporate Sector or Arkanis Sector. Another more focused option might be a planet book for Coruscant. An adventure book to go with Rise of the Separatists, Collapse of the Republic, and Dawn of Rebellion would also be nice. If its good I'll take more gadgets and gear, etc.
  11. I found the d20 flavors of SW to be solid, playable, and uninspiring. I ran D6 for years and then ran a Hero System version of Star Wars before FFG started theirs. My players find FFG a bit too crunchy and detailed and can't keep track of all their talents. That may sound weird as they also played Hero System, but with Hero you only pay for what your concept needs instead of working your way through trees. As a result, at approx. 500 XP we have distilled all the characters into the NPC write-up format. Oddly, even though that process included a lot of pruning (less abilities in total) the players now make more effective use of their characters and don't sit around saying "what can I do again?" or fretting about forgetting their abilities. I'd run FATE, but the FFG books are so beautiful and filled with goodness, that I'm sticking with it.
  12. I have seen the opening of every single star wars film in the same seat at Cinerama since 1977. I have my tickets for Rise of Ssywalker and I hope its good. I enjoyed Episodes VII & VIII but I didn't love the the way I did the originals. IX may yet grab me. I'm keeping an open mind. I certainly hope it grabs me. I will say I find Solo underrated and love Rogue One. My feeling about VII and VIII is that they were exciting and hit all the fan-service tropes and beats, but they lacked soul. Despite trying, I don't really care about the new power trio and don't sense a coherent story underneath the breakneck action. The actors are all talented and nice to look at, but they haven't been given very much to work with. So far it feels like the writers bowed to a melange of focus groups and lost their own focus (facepalm!) on the ephemeral bits of character and story made Star Wars into more than a just another popcorn film. Which is not to say I won't kick back with some popcorn and re-watch the sequels. I will. As for political messaging, I'm not overly concerned with the content of those messages. Lucas hung left, too. I'm a classical liberal and I'm not wholly unsympathetic. Rather, I'm more concerned with how the message is being delivered. The scripts have been "drop an anvil on their heads" in style and the style of the messaging has been far to pat for my taste. It lacks craft and has a much heavier propaganda vibe than the original films did. Good writers use allegory, analogy, metaphor, symbolism, and good old-fashioned unremarked-upon inclusion without gilding the lily with slogans and sermons to make a point. Less is often more. Further, you can also put a message in a cultural product (art) without poisoning the well with corporate virtue signalling. Telegraphing your side in a culture war on social media creates bias, ruffles feathers, and is counter-productive. I would rather they just let the audience see it without pontificating. I want to absorb the film as an event and experience, and decide how to interpret the end-result for myself. We can all fight about petty political differences online after we've actually seen it and formed our own opinions about it. When you treat your audience like they are stupid you inspire resentment rather than receptivity. For all that, I'm still excited about IX. I'm also looking forward to the Kenobi series and will check out the Mandalorian (though I'm less interested in that). We shall see. Like Polyanna I hope to be pleased.
  13. Our long-running campaign about three Jedi survivors has entered a third phrase and seen a change of ships. The group started out in hiding on Nar Shaada eight ears after Order 66 with a modified YT-1210 named the Horizon Ascendant. After blasting their way out of several star ports, changing their registry, joining the nascent "Amidala-Organa Network" and participating in a series of raids the jig was finally up. They were boarded for "inspection" above a remote mining facility on the Outer Rim by officers from an Imperial Raider. Now, our game is AU with the primary change being that Padme is alive. About half way along she became a player character (and the player has done a brilliant job of it). When the player's realized their cover wasn't going to hold the three Jedi staged a "counter boarding action" and fought their way onto the Raider. When the imperial captain realized he was losing his ship he ordered one of the Tie fighters to destroy the now unmanned Horizon Ascendant and initiated the self destruct sequence. Our heroes and numerous imperials had made use of the escape pods. After being playing cat and mouse with the surviving imperials on the ice ball they regrouped and stole a Quad Jumper from the miners and made good their escape while the other two stole just before a Star Destroyer arrived to reinforce the Raider. The destruction of their signature ship was a big psychological blow and left them reeling. They are presently at a backwater trading outpost recouping and regrouping... and eyeing a pair of heavy Hutt fighters than have been modified with jump seats (two each) by the team of bounty hunters the Emperor secretly hired to find them before Vader realized Padme is alive.
  14. RANT WARNING Sure. And that is a part of Lucas' evolving interpretation of his own work that renders him an unreliable creator. He injected a weird dissonance into his creation that was at odds with what he'd created before. People can play all the disingenuous moral equivalency games they want to make an argument that the Empire (or separatists) can be seen as good guys "from a certain point of view" and that the republic was so deeply flawed that it could be taken as "the real bad guys." Not all "points of view" are equally valid. There were "Good Germans" fighting for the Nazis in WWII. So what? Sophomoric "look how smart I am because I twisted the source material out of historical and meaningful context" tom-foolery and the result of a radically altered narrative from what the original trilogy suggested is not profound. Yes, that "point of view" is given some weak contextual support by Lucas in this "heroes on both sides" throw-away platitude, but does that line hold water when we actually watch the movies? Not really. The Jedi are clearly hidebound and make some flawed moral choices, but Dooku, Palpatine, and Grevious, et all are clear cut villains seeking evil ends through evil means. That there are off-screen heroes fighting on both sides is utterly irrelevant because the movies aren't about them. The Clone Wars are the public face of an ancient struggle between the Jedi and Sith. That's a struggle between light and dark, peace and suffering, good and evil. That's what Star Wars has always been about. That Lucas and a morass of expanded universe writers muddied those waters can produce interesting stories, but it can also be problematic in that it drives the incessant and banal "certain point of view" arguments that recast villains as heroes. Yes, politically, the clone wars were fought between a deeply flawed republic at war with a bunch of plutocratic corporate overlords. Yes, there were good people fighting on both sides. But, in the end, who cares? Star Wars has never been about galactic politics. I saw the original star wars in the theaters. I grew up with that trilogy. Star Wars was a story with clear heroes and clear villains that served as a morality play about good, evil, and redemption. Luke is our Hero. Vader is our villain. Luke, in the end, redeems Vader despite all the evil he did for Palpatine. Star Wars has always boiled down to morality. If you are arguing galactic politics and not basic morality you have lost sight of the forest for the trees. It doesn't matter if the old republic was flawed, or that the trade federation and separatists were, respectively, cynical and useful idiots for the Sith. WThe Sith are the bad guys. Let's be really clear about this: Our heroes are Anakin (for a while), Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, and Padme. Our villains are Dooku, Palpatine, Maul, and Grevious. Ironically, while Obi-Wan tells us that only Sith deal in black and white, its Anakin's insistence on his twisted point of view that makes it impossible for him to turn away from the dark side when Obi-Wan is trying to redeem him. He employs weak-sauce justifications for mass murder, terror, despotism, and hatred. I find most of the arguments in favor of the separatists and, worse, the Empire, that fans make echo Vader beat for beat. hen you enslave entire species, destroy entire planets, and seek "peace, justice, and freedom" through mass murder, terrorism, and despotism, you aren't the good guys, no matter what you tell yourself. Obi-Wan said it all: "You have let this dark lord twist your mind until you have become the very thing you swore to destroy." Or, to quote the Maharal of Prague: "If you want to sharpen your mind play chess; don't distort the truth." Star Wars I-III are a morality play about the fall of Anakin Skywalker. Star Wars IV-VI are morality play about the redemption of Anakin Skywalker. Star Wars VII-IX are... honestly, I have no idea what they are about. Everything else is just commentary. And, with that, I am not commenting on this thread again.
  15. Lucas has explained Star Wars from his own "evolving" and self-contradictory points of view over the past 40 years. As a result, anything Lucas says is only true "from a certain point of view" and "at a certain point in time." This is without working a mob of Expanded Universe writers with their own points of view and contradictory additions int the mix. For this reason, I generally only reference primary sources (on-screen canon) and take Lucas with a liberal dose of salt. I'm sure you've heard of the unreliable narrator in literature? Lucas is an unreliable creator.
  16. "There is no sell. Buy, or buy not you will." Either one understands the history making role of WEG D6 Star Wars in the history of the expanded universe, and roleplaying games, or one does not. Its iconic for more than one reason, but foremost: its good.
  17. I build three 1166 point characters. Action economy is the thing.
  18. My players love the kooky dice, but hate the "wall of talents" and trying to remember everything their characters could do during a session. Often times they would forget. And me? I'm not going to remember what all three player characters and all the NPCs can do while making seat of my pants decisions running a game. We decided, when the player characters reached three full trees, dipped into a signature talent tree, and had 4-5 force powers with one or two highly upgraded, to render the characters "iconic." In other words, we stripped them down, figured out their core concepts and abilities, rebuilt them like they were NPCs. We also renamed adversary "protagonist" and used that instead of remembering the sense upgrade (they all had it maxed out). I was initially concerned that would be too much of a power up (not committing a force die), but after running the characters for a while, giving each 2 "protagonist dice" hit the mark. This would not work for groups with players whose primary psychological reward is constant advancement and power-ups, but my group reached a point where they felt like they had the characters they wanted and had become more interested in the in-story rewards and characters arcs.
  19. For the same reason a Japanese company would manufacture cars in the US. Avoiding import-export taxes, shipping costs, corporate sales tax rates, avoiding supply chain risks, and the like in a major or primary market. If you sell globally you might find printing separate print runs in separate markets cheaper (or safer). For instance, a print run in the EU for European countries and one in the US, Canada, or Mexico for NAFTA countries might prove cheaper. I suspect that when they do the math, however, printing + shipping from China has proven less expensive (thus far) than printing smaller runs in their primary sales market. This could in part be volume and the fact that china is (roughly) equidistant from Europe and North America. If a British company had as many or more consumers in the Eurozone than in the US and Canada printing at home would make sense. If they have more customers in the North America? Not so much. I don't think any of us have access to their sales numbers, so all we can do is assume they've crunched the numbers and come up with what they think the best number for them is.
  20. I think those would be fair interpretations and a fairly consistent way of applying it.
  21. I've always taken Star Wars shields to operate more like "deflectors." Ergo, an angled energy field or field of charged particles that serve to redirect rather than absorb incoming fire. As such, range and angle of attack vis-a-vis the deflectors would be critical, as would the intensity of the field vs. the strength of the attack. Big ships simply generate much more powerful fields at a greater distance from the hull than small ships, which would redirect or dissipate larger blasts from more angles (unless you are a small ship inside the field). A more common scenario would be the Faclon vs. a tie fighter. The tie-fighter will be jockeying for a direct shot with an angle of attack that can score a hit rather than being deflected. Whoever is flying the Falcon is making the opposite effort: keep them firing at the area the deflectors are angled until you can work a firing solution for your turret. Its a similar, but not identical, principle to the front armor of modern battle tanks. They are angled so as to deflect the majority of the blast away from the crew compartment when struck. Several nations have programs to take this to a science fiction level. The US, UK, and Israel all have "force field" development programs for tanks. The general principle is a supercapacitor energizes the armor material with an electromagnetic charge that, if the discharge is timed correctly, repels the incoming fire and reduces or eliminates the force the armor has to absorb.
  22. Personally, I had no idea that it could be raining emitters, let alone crystals. That's fascinating and this thread has taught me a lot!
  23. For me, 1-3. I've run a lot of solo sessions and arcs over the years and love them with a good player. The ideal group for me, however, is 2-3 is ideal because I prefer to focus more on intrigue, role-play, and character arcs. That's not to say we don't have Burly Brawls and Action! But, its less than a lot of other games. I've run successful games for bigger groups, but find I don't care for those as much.
  • Create New...