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Tyberius_Deangelo

The Star Wars Universe

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Last night I was watching on YouTube  Half in the Bag's review of the Last Jedi and one of the hosts, Rich, made the comment that there is not much writers and directors can do with the Star Wars universe except have a "doomsday device", lightsaber battles,  space dog fights with x-wings, and a villain  of the week type character to face off against.  I wanted to get input from GMs out there on your thoughts about this statement.   I am hosting with a group of friends this coming weekend a campaign that  starts with the Edge of the Empire Beginner Game and then we will go forward from there.  My goal is to create a HUGE universe where my players are not constantly having to face off against the Empire, and I am hoping my players will make in game decisions to help me think of ideas to expand the universe.

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My first recommendation would be to read into the wiki a lot. Just jump from page to page and see what's there. The sourcebooks are good as well, but there is SO MUCH out there that you can pull from to make the campaigns and build the universe you want. Don't find something you want/need? Make it up. It's a game of creativity and world building, and the core rules and Star Wars frame work to set the scene, but you get to build the set.

I think what the guy in the video is referring to is formulaic nature of today's Star Wars movies because Disney knows exactly what to do to make money. Movies that make money don't necessarily have to be good (that being said, I personally liked Last Jedi, but I understand why people might not have enjoyed it)

For this game, though, YOU are the one in control. You get to decide the canon, so go nuts, do whatever you want, and as long as you and your group are having fun, that's all that matters. (I know that sounds cliche, but rule #1 in the Core Rulebook is to have fun, so all hail the rules!)

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1 hour ago, Tyberius_Deangelo said:

Last night I was watching on YouTube  Half in the Bag's review of the Last Jedi and one of the hosts, Rich, made the comment that there is not much writers and directors can do with the Star Wars universe except have a "doomsday device", lightsaber battles,  space dog fights with x-wings, and a villain  of the week type character to face off against.  I wanted to get input from GMs out there on your thoughts about this statement.

I say that's crazy talk.  These guys have never watched the Clone Wars or Rebels.  You can really host any kind of game within the SW universe, from noir detective to horror to westerns to the great train robbery.  You could even go "ancients" or "medieval" if you wanted.  There are no limits.

(Just to reiterate MHO, but watching those shows is probably one of best references for any GM.  TCW is a bit tame for the first half of season 1, but it really kicks off after that.)

1 hour ago, Tyberius_Deangelo said:

My goal is to create a HUGE universe where my players are not constantly having to face off against the Empire

Easy to do, just don't have them join the Rebellion.  There's no reason the party has to even think about the Empire.  Maybe they're too far into Wild Space.  Or maybe they're in the Core systems, and kind of like the security and order the Empire brings, since the Empire isn't necessarily oppressive in the Core.

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I'm trying kind of a similar thing here: 

https://starwars.rpg-duelmen.de/en/

I want to create a more living galaxy, where things happen, and where other groups interact somehow with each other.

It's far from complete, but in the end i also want some kind of script generated events, and player groups, that on the other hand can also influence things. Right now there are a few things players or better said groups can integrate into their sessions. But I also want to have some kind of channel in the other direction. If a group played something, that influences a planet, a station or whatever, this should be visible as an event for all the other groups, so they can react to this.

Edited by MasterZelgadis

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On 4/9/2018 at 7:57 AM, Tyberius_Deangelo said:

My goal is to create a HUGE universe where my players are not constantly having to face off against the Empire, and I am hoping my players will make in game decisions to help me think of ideas to expand the universe.

This sounds great, I wish you the best of luck!  I too started out down that path, it seems so natural to want to consume all the source material, but I quickly found that I was over-prepping.  As a GM who was where you are about to go, I would prescribe some caution around planning out too many details in advance and trying to do too much with the story behind the scenes.  It can become exhausting!  

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The original trilogy is fascinating as a cultural phenomenon, as we know. But each of the movies pulled from one stage of a fast-transitioning era. ANH is space fantasy with 70s grit, ESB is art-romantic space opera, and RTJ -- to Evans' statement, perhaps -- is an 80s adventure film set in the SW universe.

Then Lucas left in his mothership, and those three movies were all we had for most of a generation. And I think the more narrow ritualism about Star Wars started there.

My advice is to draw from the inspirations of the movies as much as the movies themselves, and for Lucasfilm -- including Indiana Jones -- not just Star Wars. Serials, noir, crime drama. Pull it in and paint it with the setting. You'll be amazed how much you can use.

 

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On 4/11/2018 at 8:02 AM, wilsch said:

My advice is to draw from the inspirations of the movies as much as the movies themselves, and for Lucasfilm -- including Indiana Jones -- not just Star Wars. Serials, noir, crime drama. Pull it in and paint it with the setting. You'll be amazed how much you can use.

As a huge fan of Ocean's 11 (the original Rat Pack version, preferably), I wrote my group a kind of heist like the one in the movie where they had to steal a load of expensive art from a huge cargo ship.

@wilsch is absolutely right, you can *ahem* "borrow" just about anything you need!

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Rogue One and Rebels have showed that Star Wars can be a place - a setting -, not just a collection of characters and repeated story elements. The entire basic premise of Star Wars as a role-playing game, since the first rule book was released by West End Games, is that the fictional universe is a big place and you can tell stories that don't involve Luke Skywalker.

I love Red Letter Media. I love Mike's Mr. Plinkett reviews of the prequels; they're required viewing about how big budgets do not mean good movies. But they're also middle aged men showing their age and crotchety-ness. 

I think Edge of the Empire is a good choice for doing stuff that doesn't involve the Empire. There are plenty of other opposition forces to place against your PCs that aren't stormtroopers and plenty of smaller scale stories that can be told.

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On ‎09‎/‎04‎/‎2018 at 3:57 PM, Tyberius_Deangelo said:

My goal is to create a HUGE universe where my players are not constantly having to face off against the Empire, and I am hoping my players will make in game decisions to help me think of ideas to expand the universe.

*cough*

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This is just the kind of 'outside the box' thinking many GMs and players need. 

The movies are great, but a movie necessarily has to be small and focused, where the best RPGs think big.

I started by just asking the players: 'How would you change Star Wars?' and took it from there.

And it didn't come all at once; many things were developed as we went along and the books were released.  By the time AOR came out, we knew what the Alliance would be for us, and by the time of Force and Destiny, we knew what we wanted from the Jedi and the Force itself.

Maybe I could do a 'MarcyVerse' thread if there was interest.

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5 hours ago, Maelora said:

This is just the kind of 'outside the box' thinking many GMs and players need. 

The movies are great, but a movie necessarily has to be small and focused, where the best RPGs think big.

I started by just asking the players: 'How would you change Star Wars?' and took it from there.

And it didn't come all at once; many things were developed as we went along and the books were released.  By the time AOR came out, we knew what the Alliance would be for us, and by the time of Force and Destiny, we knew what we wanted from the Jedi and the Force itself.

Maybe I could do a 'MarcyVerse' thread if there was interest.

Exactly how many people need to show interest, cause I think the number is currently roughly equal to the number of people on this board....

Edited by korjik

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5 hours ago, Maelora said:

This is just the kind of 'outside the box' thinking many GMs and players need. 

The movies are great, but a movie necessarily has to be small and focused, where the best RPGs think big.

I started by just asking the players: 'How would you change Star Wars?' and took it from there.

And it didn't come all at once; many things were developed as we went along and the books were released.  By the time AOR came out, we knew what the Alliance would be for us, and by the time of Force and Destiny, we knew what we wanted from the Jedi and the Force itself.

Maybe I could do a 'MarcyVerse' thread if there was interest.

This is something I really do need to think about.  How would my group change Star Wars?  Would they want to see a "Negan" style villain like the The Walking Dead has?  Do they want to keep it whimsical like on Rebels.  I have been listening to Campaign on the OneShot Podcast and I have been loving what those players have been doing with the game.

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14 hours ago, Tyberius_Deangelo said:

This is something I really do need to think about.  How would my group change Star Wars?  Would they want to see a "Negan" style villain like the The Walking Dead has?  Do they want to keep it whimsical like on Rebels. 

We had lots (make that LOTS!) of brainstorming/drinking sessions, often late into the night, and innumerable email conversations.  You absolutely need to let them help with the world-building.

You will have to make compromises too - at least half of my players wanted 'Game of Thrones In Space' but my touchstones were Dragon Age and Mass Effect.  So the tone varies between the two, sometimes lighter, sometimes darker, but always within my personal comfort zone.   I believe that Star Wars is a broad church and can be many things to many people (which why I found the concept of a 'No-No List' ridiculous - everyone will have their own 'No-No List', including Disney, and one person's ideas are not 'better' than another's).

You need to establish tone from the start, although that may vary between your games.  You need to work out specifics of what's canon and what isn't - we found there was a surprising freedom in being able to toss out some canonical sacred cows.

Also, there may be unexpected consequences that develop - the MarcyVerse really lacks a 'villain', for example, due to its shades-of-grey morality. 'Antagonists' and 'protagonists' tend to depend on one's point of view. Even the most morally dark PCs and NPCs have pretty good motivations for doing what they do, and all are sympathetic to some degree.  (Plus, the most traditionally-villainous individual in the MarcyVerse is a PC...)

Edited by Maelora

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20 hours ago, Maelora said:

This is just the kind of 'outside the box' thinking many GMs and players need. 

The movies are great, but a movie necessarily has to be small and focused, where the best RPGs think big.

I started by just asking the players: 'How would you change Star Wars?' and took it from there.

And it didn't come all at once; many things were developed as we went along and the books were released.  By the time AOR came out, we knew what the Alliance would be for us, and by the time of Force and Destiny, we knew what we wanted from the Jedi and the Force itself.

Maybe I could do a 'MarcyVerse' thread if there was interest.

I think plenty of us have expressed such interest.

The offer for space on mySWRPG still stands.

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On 4/9/2018 at 7:57 AM, Tyberius_Deangelo said:

 there is not much writers and directors can do with the Star Wars universe except have a "doomsday device", lightsaber battles,  space dog fights with x-wings, and a villain  of the week type character to face off against. 

And see, that's insane. Outside of Doctor Who, I cant think of a franchise more flexible than Star Wars. Want to do a Magnificent Seven- like story? A small, personal heist movie? A spooky haunted house in space like Event Horizon or Aliens? A remake of A Fist Full of Dollars? A WWII movie like the Guns of Navarone or Where Eagles Dare? All of these could be easily adapted into the standing Star Wars universe.

However, this requires Disney to have the balls to step outside the comfort zone. As that puts their four billion dollar investment at risk, this will never happen.

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43 minutes ago, Desslok said:

And see, that's insane. Outside of Doctor Who, I cant think of a franchise more flexible than Star Wars. Want to do a Magnificent Seven- like story? A small, personal heist movie? A spooky haunted house in space like Event Horizon or Aliens? A remake of A Fist Full of Dollars? A WWII movie like the Guns of Navarone or Where Eagles Dare? All of these could be easily adapted into the standing Star Wars universe.

However, this requires Disney to have the balls to step outside the comfort zone. As that puts their four billion dollar investment at risk, this will never happen.

I wouldn’t say “never” until we find out what the Johnson and Weiss/Benioff trilogies will be (or the Favreau tv series, for that matter). We might be surprised. (Or not.)

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On 4/9/2018 at 10:57 AM, Tyberius_Deangelo said:

 I am hosting with a group of friends this coming weekend a campaign that  starts with the Edge of the Empire Beginner Game and then we will go forward from there.  My goal is to create a HUGE universe where my players are not constantly having to face off against the Empire, and I am hoping my players will make in game decisions to help me think of ideas to expand the universe.

I think that one of the balancing acts that has to be done is to go with something refreshing without removing the Star Wars feel of the game.  To be sure, running "gangsters in space" is easy enough.  "IF" (and that's IF) your player know the books, comics, Expanded Universe, and video games to some extent, then that statement will be relative to them.  If they have an EU knowledge, then you can run a Black Sun campaign covering the whole universe.  As a GM, you have to know what your players have experienced and enjoy.

As far as the retread SW tropes go (as you mentioned), it is the way of the movie directors and writers to copy old movies and themes, tweak it, then repeat them.  Not much imagination out there.  They COULD have done more and taken a risk, but they chose same-old, same-old.  As a GM, you'll want to keep the cinematic effect of a starfight as well as the thrill of thwarting the bad guys.

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48 minutes ago, Nytwyng said:

I wouldn’t say “never” until we find out what the Johnson and Weiss/Benioff trilogies will be (or the Favreau tv series, for that matter). We might be surprised. (Or not.)

The oft-rumored Kenobi standalone could buck trends as well, if it actually comes to pass.

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1 hour ago, Desslok said:

Want to do a Magnificent Seven- like story? ... All of these could be easily adapted into the standing Star Wars universe.

Already done.  TCW S2-E17, Bounty Hunters.  Even has an "In Memory of Akira Kurosawa" tag line.

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On 2018-04-12 at 3:37 PM, Maelora said:

Maybe I could do a 'MarcyVerse' thread if there was interest.

That, or to start you could just link to the excellent posts you've already made.  Surely digging through your ~2800 posts won't take too long...  :unsure:

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