Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
rgrove0172

How much do you wander from canon

Recommended Posts

Im working up my first game and after many years of GMing my own settings am having trouble coping with the sheer scope of the Star Wars universe.

 

Every time I take a step towards fleshing out an area for our game I encounter a ton of established setting info. This is fine if given the time to research it all out, record the pertinent parts for the players to experience etc. but it takes a lot of time and if the new area happens to pop up during a bit of free player action? Ouch? Nothing like bringing up the Wookieepedia on a system and finding hundreds of entries on it, everything from locations to history, species to architecture.

 

I run a detailed game. I enjoy confronting my players with lots of color, relating the cultures and locales they encounter with lots of rich flavor and descriptions. Trying to portray the universe of Star Wars to satisfaction feels pretty daunting, unless I restrict the players freedom and make sure they only go in the direction Ive painstakingly planned for.

 

How do you freeform GMs contend with this? I have a hard time believing you could just wing it when the party decides to plop down at some world that has been thoroughly fleshed out in canon without some serious research investment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For planets with lots of established canon, I've found they tend to fall into two general categories: the first is so large that the canonical areas might be a small subsection of the entire planet and the second is that the canonical entries are very period specific.

 

There are lots of little planets that have been outlined throughout the EU where nothing has gone on for millennia until a book was written about a major character appearing there and doing something.  This usually provides a lot of canonical information about a particular period, but very little background on what was going on before or after that character's activities.

 

On the other hand, planets like Corellia, Coruscant, etc. have a veritable -ton- written about them, yet, they're so large it's possible to have entire campaigns on them without ever intersecting anything other than some of the organizations stationed there.  Consider the size of a city such as Chicago, Dallas, Paris or the like.  Now, despite the fact that there's a ton of history in each of those places, how likely is it that your average citizen will interact with the Mayor or other major players in that area?

 

Granted, PCs are different in that they tend to get mixed up in the spheres of powerful people.  However, this kind of interaction should be relatively easily anticipated and, therefore, planned for accordingly.  If the players are planning a trip to one of the core worlds, it would be a good idea to brush up on the history, organizations and major players associated with that planet at that time.  However, if they're flying off to Flyspeck 6 that's had a trilogy written about it, unless they're doing it at the same time as the characters featured in that trilogy, feel free to make up whatever you like in keeping with the broad strokes.  If the planet doesn't have an atmosphere and is little more than a large asteroid, don't add an atmosphere and plants (I'm looking at you, Rebels).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For most games that I ran I try to follow along, but with Star Wars, I'm not really worried about canon. I won't go against what I've seen in the movies or shows (or my interpretation of what has been seen), but everything else is fair game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've found that you can really drive yourself crazy if you want to check to ensure that you are complying with all the EU material out there. I've decided that the OT movies, Shadows of the Empire, and the Thrawn Trilogy are what I will focus on for my canon. Anything else I may choose to use but I don't sweat the details.

 

For plopping down at a random world, I use a lot of quick reference books, both the old WEG RPG sourcebooks as well as generic books like the Essential Guides or Wookieepedia. I find that I get enough details from those. Planets and even cities are usually so big that you can take a fair bit of liberty with them and not contradict anything.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quite a bit. Our game is set 8 years after Order 66 and stars a pair of Jedi survivors, now aged 28 and 15. The elder, a student of Kit Fisto, had been made a knight shortly before the Council tried to arrest Palpatine. The younger, her niece, was a youngling at the time. They have epic goals - aid the resistance, defeat the sith, and rebuild a new Jedi Order. I've taken the stance that this is their story, not that of the OT power-trio and they may well alter the course of galactic history.

 

Changes: Yoda has passed into the Force on Dagobah. Padme is alive and shot-calling field ops for Bail Organa's nascent rebel network. Obi-Wan is watching over both twins while staying aloof from the rebellion because he's convinced the prophecy will still play out. We don't talk about midichlorians, gungans, or ewoks one way or the other. Sure, they exist, but they don't make appearances.   

 

However, in terms of the setting baseline, I am referencing the films, clone wars, and rebels as the touchstone. Its just, Episodes IV-VII haven't happened yet, and as we all know... "Always in motion is the future." 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the most part we haven't done anything based on non-Legends canon yet.

 

In some campaigns we follow Legends as best we can, usually for such campaigns if we are rebels we are elsewhere during Yavin and Hoth and in the space battle but off screen during Endor. In others we pretty much blow canon out the airlock either as the campaign starts or at some point during the story (One of our fighter pilots in a Privateer campaign killed Vader during Shadows of the Empire for example.) And in others we basically throw Legends and canon out before we get started with the initial changes sometimes coming decades, centuries, or sometimes millennia before the campaign begins.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I keep to the Canon for the most part. Since Star Wars is generally a very well known universe, especially among us gamers, doing so helps keeping everyone on the same level. And since I usually write adventures for homebrewed worlds or entire sectors, it never was a problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm of the mindset canon is great, it's a nice thing to use to quickly familiarise the players with the setting (e.g. everyone has a mental image of what it's like to live on Tatooine for example). However, I don't want it to get in the way of a really awesome idea.

In the case of players deciding to visit random planets, I may quickly look up a planet on Wookieepedia whilst they're doing something else (although I'll try and just read the introduction section for any relevant info). I'll try and stick to canon events as a history that's already happened (although the future is always in motion), but if I see something in 'Legends' I don't like, I'll probably ignore it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do my due diligence when it comes to running games that I want to match canon, at least at the start. If there are gaps in established knowledge that I need filled, I'll fill them in to the best of my ability. Otherwise I leave them alone to be filled by official sources later or by myself/players when necessary.

 

However, I'm not above throwing canon out the window if I think it'll make for a fun game. I've planned an adaptation of the Legacy comics wherein the Empire is a bit more stable after the Battle of Jakku and things proceed from there, and one set during the timeframe of the OT but where Yoda succeeded in assassinating the Emperor. The latter especially requires a lot of thinking and adapting non-Star Wars sources.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My plan is for all of my groups to star in their stories. Sure, this is set during the Galactic Civil War but no, they are probably never running into any people from the canon and are not likely to go through any of the events of the canon. Even if they did, altering the course of history will not be possible but they can still participate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...