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Archlyte

I don't care much for alien species as PC's

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1 hour ago, Maelora said:

Erik B thread

Since you said don't ask, I won't; but I nonetheless need to state for the record that I'm now very curious.  :)

 

1 hour ago, Maelora said:

you don't know what you missed.

That much is abundantly clear. 

Edited by Vorzakk

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7 minutes ago, Vorzakk said:

Since you said don't ask, I won't; but I nonetheless need to state for the record that I'm very curious. 

Don't say you weren't warned; here is the forum equivalent of the Pain Series (and you definitely don't want to ask what that is... one of my gaming guys told me and it killed any interest I had in asking further...)

I give you the legend that is was ErikB:  https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/93455-why-do-you-think-the-alliance-is-cooler-than-the-empire/?page=3

(to be fair, both Desslok and I were on very fine form :) )

I dimly recall the 'Art of Bullying' thread was also interesting as an ErikB retrospective.  (Gryphynx... what a strange fellow he was...)

Edited by Maelora

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2 hours ago, Maelora said:

I give you the legend that is was ErikB

Oh, it was a username.  That makes a lot more sense; thank you.  : )

 

* Reading the Gryphynx thread now*

Holy carp.

Edited by Vorzakk

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16 minutes ago, Vorzakk said:

Oh, it was a username.  That makes a lot more sense; thank you.  : )

Sorry if I gave you the impression that 'ErikB' was some secret MarcyVerse code for some kind of naughtiness :)

Erik was a clown, in all senses of the word, but I didn't hate him.  He was entertaining, in a kind of 'banging your head against a wall because you have aspirins to use up' sort of way.

Gryphynx though... he was a piece of work.   He didn't stick around for long after we derailed his final thread.

Edited by Maelora

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24 minutes ago, Maelora said:

Sorry if I gave you the impression that 'ErikB' was some secret MarcyVerse code for some kind of naughtiness :)

It was also the stage name of a moderately-famous hip-hop producer / DJ back in the late 80's and early 90's; so when I saw "ErikB tread", I thought it was an inordinately weird topic for a Star Wars RPG forum.  :)

1 minute ago, Yaccarus said:

We have now reached topic 5: the legends of past users and their forums.

Thank you, that was just the segue I needed... anyone know what happened to Pretty Haley?

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1 minute ago, Vorzakk said:

Thank you, that was just the segue I needed... anyone know what happened to Pretty Haley?

I was actually about to ask that in my catch-up thread.

Seems like she was last here in February of this year.  She was amazingly cool.  So young, and plenty of reasons to be angry at the world all things considered, but always so funny and positive and sassy. 

Hopefully she's just taking a break as I did.  :(

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4 hours ago, KungFuFerret said:

Well the main issue I have with your complaint, is that all of the aliens we see, in pretty much any work of sci-fi, are analogous to human behaviors.  For pete's sake we have a 50's diner complete with "Heya Puddin!" talking robots in mini skirts, and a big fat cook with your stereotypical stained white t-shirt.  We have cross-species relationships, the most recent being Kannen and Hera in Rebels.   I'm sure there have been other examples of cross-species attraction, and I know you and I have danced around the "Jabba hitting on dancers" debate in another thread, which I will not re-hash here.

But there is precedent for it I think to some degree.  I mean, the most common stripper you see in SW is a Twi'lek, and I promise you that more species other than Twi'lek's are hooting and whistling at them on the stage.   So the idea of a methane-breather hitting on a human isn't any more weird than a human hitting on a Twi'lek.   Kink is kink, and there is no clearly defined book on what makes people horny.

As to them acting like humans, but with an alien-skin, again, I think the aliens we see behave very much like humans, that's why we can relate to them.   I remember when Phantom Menace came out, a lot of people giving Lucas crap for using cultural stereotypes in his aliens.  The way Watto sounded like the stereotypical "greedy Jew", the way the....actually I forget their name, but the race that Nute Gunray was of, being very stereotypically Chinese, even with the shape of the eyes.  Etc etc.    
 

So to say "you're being too human" I think, doesn't really fly well, considering how very human the aliens, the ones that actually got screen time with dialogue that is, are.

 

Maybe you're right about that part about the human aspects magnified (or usually depicted in a vacuum) for the purpose of characterizing Aliens. This is not a super strong point in this argument, and I'm willing to cede that it isn't a primary driver. One thing that does apply here is your own personal content filter. The sexual stuff between the aliens while technically possible is not something I think is worthy of screen time or narrative time in a Star Wars game. There are a hundred thousand ways to better spend your time if you are trying to depict Star Wars.

The 50's diner in Episode II was the exact moment when I'd had enough. I lost interest in the movie at that point and was just watching it to get to the end. That single scene represents George losing all of his old sense and just becoming an EU pulp writer using the path of least resistance answer to what he needed to do in that act. If you watch him talk about THX and his design philosophy you can see that that stupid *** diner is just a complete brain fart and to me represents one of the worst things in the prequels. To me it's worse than Jar Jar, the wooden boy, Padme Monodialogue, and to me it's even worse than midichloriens. That scene was a gift to everyone out there who said, ah I don't know I'm lazy, make it just like the Earth equivalent. 

I agree that the huffing over watto and the nemoidians seemed to be a bit much. George is from an earlier generation, so I don't think that philanthropist Lucas needs to be beaten up over Watto or Nute Gunray. 

I will say that the aliens in a group that are human is done for the same reason that it is in the movies, it's lazy. Hey I took a Lizard Man for my character I'm automatically more interesting than a human. Nope, not so. 

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Eh, I don't think "Aliens as Humans" is automatically lazy.   Like it or not, the story is being told by humans, for humans.  And it's a fact that humans relate more to a character, if they have some traits in common with them.   If they are completely alien, and I mean so foreign that they have no connective tissue to us, they usually turn people off, and is in fact, a great way to make an alien for a horror story.   So if you are trying to show the "like us but different' concept of the galactic republic, or the federation for that matter, the easiest way to have them behave at least somewhat like the audience, so we can identify with them.  "Ok, he might  be brown, 3 feet tall, looks like a walking turd with an extendable neck, and makes screaming sounds like a rabid tauntaun, but at least he clearly shows traits of fear, and hides, and is curious, etc.  That example being ET, a creature that looks quite ugly and terrifying really, without the lovable context of his human like traits.  

Sure, plenty of writers use the "Aliens as Humans" trope as a shortcut for lazy writing, but in and of itself, it's not a bad thing.  It's why we love some of the weirdest, and strangest aliens from pop culture, because we could find a little bit of ourselves in them to identify with.    Or at least that's my take on it.

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14 minutes ago, KungFuFerret said:

Eh, I don't think "Aliens as Humans" is automatically lazy.   Like it or not, the story is being told by humans, for humans.  And it's a fact that humans relate more to a character, if they have some traits in common with them.   If they are completely alien, and I mean so foreign that they have no connective tissue to us, they usually turn people off, and is in fact, a great way to make an alien for a horror story.   So if you are trying to show the "like us but different' concept of the galactic republic, or the federation for that matter, the easiest way to have them behave at least somewhat like the audience, so we can identify with them.  "Ok, he might  be brown, 3 feet tall, looks like a walking turd with an extendable neck, and makes screaming sounds like a rabid tauntaun, but at least he clearly shows traits of fear, and hides, and is curious, etc.  That example being ET, a creature that looks quite ugly and terrifying really, without the lovable context of his human like traits.  

Sure, plenty of writers use the "Aliens as Humans" trope as a shortcut for lazy writing, but in and of itself, it's not a bad thing.  It's why we love some of the weirdest, and strangest aliens from pop culture, because we could find a little bit of ourselves in them to identify with.    Or at least that's my take on it.

Of course it isn't automatically lazy, but in my experience the Alien/Droid choice means that the player feels like they have enough to do with their 1-3 human traits blown out of proportion that they usually call it good. This also has the effect of making their characters celibate, sometimes mute, often uncaring when it comes to any kind of social situations or emotional hooks, and it also renders them unsuited for certain situations that they don't feel their character would be in. 

For the purposes of a Role-Playing Game, and I'm only talking about this, I find that the Alien characters essentially dismiss themselves from many situations that human characters will engage in. 

Every story is different, every setting is different. Having Aliens be extremely human may be a part of what the writer is doing. I am speaking only to Star Wars in the way that I have described my emphasis on tone and feel to achieve a specified effect. Players will sometimes actually forget they are playing an alien, and will do things like one time when my brother was essentially playing a large preying mantis said that he was going to disguise himself in a place he thought the bad guy might be hiding. he proceeded to tell me about the hat and fake facial hair and nose he was going to use for that disguise.

The problem isn't that aliens are boring, it's that people playing aliens in role-playing games are boring to me because they seem to slam the door on interaction and depth as soon as they put on their rubber head. 

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6 hours ago, 2P51 said:

Perhaps, but judging right and wrong at all in fiction seems like an oxymoron to me since it's all make believe.  Context also doesn't have anything to do with being polite.  Out of curiosity though is this an indication of a "crying jag" on your part?

Judging right or wrong for that particular universe. It's about what fits, not about morality or quality. That's no more an oxymoron than looking askance at a James Bond movie in which Conan, Captain Kirk, and Jesus show up as Bond's pals. Not every idea fits the feel of all established media properties. That's not exactly a revolutionary idea.

Of course context has to do with being polite. By taking things out of context in such a ridiculous matter people were being impolite to me.

But I guess your attempt at condescension earlier doesn't count as being impolite either.

Edited by Stan Fresh

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12 minutes ago, Archlyte said:

Of course it isn't automatically lazy, but in my experience the Alien/Droid choice means that the player feels like they have enough to do with their 1-3 human traits blown out of proportion that they usually call it good. This also has the effect of making their characters celibate, sometimes mute, often uncaring when it comes to any kind of social situations or emotional hooks, and it also renders them unsuited for certain situations that they don't feel their character would be in. 

For the purposes of a Role-Playing Game, and I'm only talking about this, I find that the Alien characters essentially dismiss themselves from many situations that human characters will engage in. 

Every story is different, every setting is different. Having Aliens be extremely human may be a part of what the writer is doing. I am speaking only to Star Wars in the way that I have described my emphasis on tone and feel to achieve a specified effect. Players will sometimes actually forget they are playing an alien, and will do things like one time when my brother was essentially playing a large preying mantis said that he was going to disguise himself in a place he thought the bad guy might be hiding. he proceeded to tell me about the hat and fake facial hair and nose he was going to use for that disguise.

The problem isn't that aliens are boring, it's that people playing aliens in role-playing games are boring to me because they seem to slam the door on interaction and depth as soon as they put on their rubber head. 

So basically, you've had a few cases in which you got bad players, they happened to be nonhuman, and now all nonhumans are bad.

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15 minutes ago, Archlyte said:

Of course it isn't automatically lazy, but in my experience the Alien/Droid choice means that the player feels like they have enough to do with their 1-3 human traits blown out of proportion that they usually call it good. This also has the effect of making their characters celibate, sometimes mute, often uncaring when it comes to any kind of social situations or emotional hooks, and it also renders them unsuited for certain situations that they don't feel their character would be in. 

For the purposes of a Role-Playing Game, and I'm only talking about this, I find that the Alien characters essentially dismiss themselves from many situations that human characters will engage in. 

Every story is different, every setting is different. Having Aliens be extremely human may be a part of what the writer is doing. I am speaking only to Star Wars in the way that I have described my emphasis on tone and feel to achieve a specified effect. Players will sometimes actually forget they are playing an alien, and will do things like one time when my brother was essentially playing a large preying mantis said that he was going to disguise himself in a place he thought the bad guy might be hiding. he proceeded to tell me about the hat and fake facial hair and nose he was going to use for that disguise.

The problem isn't that aliens are boring, it's that people playing aliens in role-playing games are boring to me because they seem to slam the door on interaction and depth as soon as they put on their rubber head. 

Eh, what you've described is my two gaming buddies every day.  Doesn't matter if they are playing an alien or not, it's just their personalities.  They are not terribly chatty, and easily self conscious about trying to "act" like somebody.   And I know on at least 2 occasions, my one friend picked an alien/non-human so that he didn't have to talk much.   I don't know who you normally game with, but it could simply be a comfort thing for them.  By playing an alien, they can switch off that one thing they are so awkward at "socializing", and have an in-game excuse, to some degree at least.   

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Just now, Yaccarus said:

So basically, you've had a few cases in which you got bad players, they happened to be nonhuman, and now all nonhumans are bad.

That's a pretty impressive bit of simplification you did there, do I even clarify or just chalk this up to the fact that you probably don't care what I have to say on this issue. I might not have mentioned in in the OP but I have been role-playing since about 1983. Go ahead and tell me I'm using a bad sample.  

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1 minute ago, KungFuFerret said:

Eh, what you've described is my two gaming buddies every day.  Doesn't matter if they are playing an alien or not, it's just their personalities.  They are not terribly chatty, and easily self conscious about trying to "act" like somebody.   And I know on at least 2 occasions, my one friend picked an alien/non-human so that he didn't have to talk much.   I don't know who you normally game with, but it could simply be a comfort thing for them.  By playing an alien, they can switch off that one thing they are so awkward at "socializing", and have an in-game excuse, to some degree at least.   

I have had that too, and in some cases you are right, you have what you have. I find that lately though I have been trying to engage those guys instead of just letting them be. They can go play in any game in town if I am not what they want, but the groups I have now have not quit so I mustn't be that bad. I tell them the truth, that I think that they can do this and that I think they are awesome for trying. I'm excited to coach them and they tell me they like the challenge. It's not for everyone, but I don't speak for anyone but myself. If I make a declaration unless I wasn't paying attention I am meaning me, my opinion. 

There are situations where if you don't play with non-RPers you just don't get to play. I have done both options: Just abstained from playing, and run a game anyway. In many games I have to take what I can get, but that doesn't stop me from trying to get more on an ongoing basis. 

Thank you for your posts btw I think they are interesting and intelligent. 

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19 minutes ago, Archlyte said:

For the purposes of a Role-Playing Game, and I'm only talking about this, I find that the Alien characters essentially dismiss themselves from many situations that human characters will engage in. 

If you were to run an all alien party; all ewoks for example, then then this would be a non-issue then? Everyone would get the same experiences and interactions and be interacting with the environment the same way. The only variation here then is how each player role-plays their character.

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37 minutes ago, ThreeAM said:

If you were to run an all alien party; all ewoks for example, then then this would be a non-issue then? Everyone would get the same experiences and interactions and be interacting with the environment the same way. The only variation here then is how each player role-plays their character.

Yeah that could be the case. Something where the characters have no barriers to personal interaction because they are all some easy-to-identify-with species. 

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2 hours ago, Stan Fresh said:

Judging right or wrong for that particular universe. It's about what fits, not about morality or quality. That's no more an oxymoron than looking askance at a James Bond movie in which Conan, Captain Kirk, and Jesus show up as Bond's pals. Not every idea fits the feel of all established media properties. That's not exactly a revolutionary idea.

Of course context has to do with being polite. By taking things out of context in such a ridiculous matter people were being impolite to me.

But I guess your attempt at condescension earlier doesn't count as being impolite either.

So you're done with your "crying jag" now?.....

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so i have been waiting for almost a week and still not been approved to post, so i doubt anyone will actually end up seeing this but i've read through the entire post and have been wanting to say something since page 4.

I have to be honest that i think that the O/P's assumption about the relatability of human characters and unrelatability of inhuman ones is a bit of a stretch for me. I don't mean to overgeneralize the O/P's ability as a Dm and i don't need to restate what others have already said about the quality of the players or of the DM, but there are a few points that i will touch on.

I am a Person of color who plays tabletop, and for me playing a human character is not inherently relatable due to the fact that yes the majority of characters in starwars have been human, but they have also been white humans, with lando being the only person of color in the original trilogy and very few coming after him. This is something that is a recurring theme in a lot of the gaming community, with the default not being human, but being white humans, whether it is sci-fi or fantasy this has been the case for decades, with one of the greatest offenders imo being star-trek where even its aliens are white humans with a bit of makeup, whole species of not humans in funny hats, but white humans in funny hats if we are to expand the trope a little bit. This fact is further illustrated by the fact that my current avatar, the ridiculous caricature that it is, is one of the closest i can find to someone like me with all of the human options from the edge of the empire avatars being white.
so for me, for the longest time, and i'm sure for people who find themselves in my situation, playing a non-human is easier to relate to in many cases than playing a human, and with edge i usually play a mandalorian due to their cultural diversity, but most often a non-human mandalorian.

to build on this, someone said that humans have no description in the game except for corellians and mandalorians (although mandalorians are not a totally human group) which means that with no limitations, a human character can be from anywhere and their actions would seem totally normal and appropriate for them because hey they're human and a monolith in star wars. 

I have seen the O/P talk about how this is not as easy for aliens or droids because players either do not connect with them or they play them as reskinned humans, and therefore not as the O/P wants them to. To this i have to say two things

  1. that as multifaceted and diverse as humans can be, aliens should be allowed to be just as much so. this means that even though aliens and humans from their respective human cultures are going to have their own cultural norms and mores, and sometimes more than one group of these considering aliens are no more confined to a single planet than humans are, not all peoples from a culture are going to act within those norms. did this alien grow up around primarily humans, are they assimilated as a result or do they act even more like their culture as a result, do they have a globalized/galaxized perspectives, what are their personal quirks and manerisms, so on and so forth. 
    you should never allow your characters to be stereotypes whether they are alien or human, and as a game master it is up to you to encourage your players to avoid this, which honestly might require worldbuilding from both you and your players, which should be done for even your human characters. there should never be just a generic alien any more than a generic human, what planet do they come from, what culture do they identify with, what was their homelife, how do they relate to their culture, how do they relate to their fellow players through all of this, and if there is not enough of their culture known then how would you and the player like to fill in the gaps, these are all questions that should be posed to players as they are developing their characters in order to ensure that they can form a connection with them and with their team mates.
     
  2. second point is that we are playing in a highly globalized galaxy, and with few exceptions most alien and human species have come in contact with one another, and there is going to be some cultural drift across species, from how they perceive their galaxy to what they find attractive, and most likely having the most dominant species (humans) and the most exotified humanoids (twiliks, ect..) being found attractive by everyone. What this means for gameplay is that not only are you going to have aliens that act very similar to humans, but you are going to have humans that act very similar to aliens, lets remember that this is a distant galaxy in a different time, and there is no reason to assume it is the norm for humans to think the same way as we do any more than it is reasonable for vikings to think the same way that we do now.

final point i want to make in direct response to the O/P is to ask if you have considered how your own biases have affected your players, not to say that you do it consciously and its understandable after reading through what you yourself have encountered with past players, but even if it is unsaid players can sense when you just don't like their character, which can prevent them from feeling comfortable enough to properly engage in the system, i also saw you ask someone if one of the GM's players with an alien character had their own arc, and this is a second thing that i wanted to point out about how your own bias might be affecting the situation, because it may be unconsciously preventing you from creating these opportunities for your players. This is something that going through the questioning process with all of your players about their characters can also help with, and i really hope this helps.

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on another point i saw on here but thought would be best to keep as a separate post due to the length of my previous one, on the subject of whether mandalorians represent a culture or a religion, i think it would be more apt to represent them as an etho-religious group which practices cultural-religious adoption of individuals into the culture, much like how judaism functions, In this way you can have people become mandalorians by embracing the cultural and religious aspects of it, and you could also have atheist mandalorians as well. 

i actually identify a few similarities between mandalorians, jewish peoples and palestinians, which is why i take a lot of references for their culture from those two groups.  

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I strongly prefer human and near-human player characters.

The farther from human an alien becomes the less relatable, and IMO playable, they are.

Aslo, the weirder "special snowflake" PCs are the harder they are to run games for.

They make great "supporting cast" and "set pieces" that are key to the SW universe, but...

I don't like them as headlining protagonists.

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13 minutes ago, Stan Fresh said:

Don't worry,  when you grow up it'll get easier to admit you're wrong.

Hahahahaha....I need to grow up?!?!  Check, not done with "crying jag" yet.....hahahaha

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9 hours ago, Maelora said:

Don't say you weren't warned; here is the forum equivalent of the Pain Series (and you definitely don't want to ask what that is... one of my gaming guys told me and it killed any interest I had in asking further...)

I give you the legend that is was ErikB:  https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/93455-why-do-you-think-the-alliance-is-cooler-than-the-empire/?page=3

(to be fair, both Desslok and I were on very fine form :) )

I dimly recall the 'Art of Bullying' thread was also interesting as an ErikB retrospective.  (Gryphynx... what a strange fellow he was...)

Oh, so YOU are the reason I had a whole buncha likes from a 4 year old thread. I was like "Why am I getting likes from something back in 2013?!?"

I'll have to go back and read that again tomorrow during lunch.

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