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Archlyte

Old School Star Wars

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I enjoy the first three movies from the 70's and 80's the best and try to re-create that style of game. Here are some of my guidelines I use to replicate that feel. 

  • The HoloNet is not the internet, it's more like a Newspaper. If you want to communicate you have to call them, send your droid, or see them in person.
  • No WiFi. For whatever reason there isn't much signal data traffic and the HoloNet not being an internet means there isn't anything to really send/receive. Databases are local and update through some other means. 
  • The PCs have not seen the movies, read the rulebooks, nor have they had access to the comics, video games, nor wookieepedia. Lacking a decentralized internet and being amazingly vast, the Galaxy is not an information society. One of the advantages the Empire has is its ability to collate data and intelligence. Personal memories are not able to hold anywhere near comprehensive knowledge of what is out there. 
  • Droids are basically peasants or slaves. When they act up society generally knocks them back down or destroys them. IG-88 isn't a member of a population of independent droids, he is an extremely rare anomaly. 
  • If you can help it, don't over-explain mundane life details like how mail is delivered or how education is used to qualify you for the workplace. When in doubt, don't explain it. The key that I have found to keeping the feel is to allow people to answer question in their own head about how things are as long as it does not enforce that explanation on others. So for little things like how the mail is delivered or what not it's better to not think too much about it. In other words don't be Pablo Hidalgo.
  • Slicing is mainly Lockpicking and Modding equipment, not Hacking. Slicers are not wizards.
  • Character relationships are important, and often form the glue of the party. The players may split up and if so, the idea is that this creates a tension that will be relieved when they are together again.
  • Humans are by far the dominant species of the Galaxy. The Empire rules the galaxy and is an all-human force. Same thing with the first order. To do this there must be a population advantage for humanity that allows this to be the case. Humans are the main ingredient in most stories in the setting. 
  • Aliens add exotic feel to things. Aliens are used to convey the exotic and cosmopolitan. 
  • Starships are basically like Private planes and Commercial/Military Aircraft. Travel is generally accomplished quickly and without Age of Sail type travel times. Capital Ships are like ships from WWII but when they travel are like Aircraft. 
  • Force-Users are extremely rare and do not conspicuously use their powers. 
  • Don't over-do the Rated R or X stuff. 
  • Use dialogue that isn't modern in tone. The dialogue in the movies tends to be more like D&D type speech than 2019 colloquial speech. Expletives are minimal. *Neutral Speech is actually what I meant. Not modern but not Archaic.

* Datapads & Comlinks not used as iPhones, Supercomputers, Hacking Decks, or Harry Potter Wands. 

* Comlinks are essentially like Personal Radios. Think WWII era communications with limited but scrambled channel connections. 

Again this is not a challenge to anyone's playstyle. I am just looking for ideas and discussion on how to re-create the feel of the original movies. Thanks for any polite responses. 

 

* Added after OP based on forum input. 

Edited by Archlyte

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1 hour ago, Archlyte said:

 

  • Use dialogue that isn't modern in tone. The dialogue in the movies tends to be more like D&D type speech than 2019 colloquial speech. Expletives are minimal. 

I agree with the bulk of your list, but not with this item. The Prequels went for this feel (and suffered in my opinion), but the OT and the more recent stuff have characters speaking much more naturalistically. When people in the OT speak this way, it's either because they are a relic of the past (like Yoda), or are putting on the schmooze (like Lando hitting on Leia). I much prefer my players emulate Han Solo speaking rather than the stilted stuff we get among the Jedi in the Prequels.

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19 minutes ago, SavageBob said:

I agree with the bulk of your list, but not with this item. The Prequels went for this feel (and suffered in my opinion), but the OT and the more recent stuff have characters speaking much more naturalistically. When people in the OT speak this way, it's either because they are a relic of the past (like Yoda), or are putting on the schmooze (like Lando hitting on Leia). I much prefer my players emulate Han Solo speaking rather than the stilted stuff we get among the Jedi in the Prequels.

Agreed, in fact both OT & PT commoners sound like Americans, Coruscant elite sound British, and other upper class but not Coruscant, pronounce things British, but sound American, like Naboo.

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6 minutes ago, 2P51 said:

Agreed, in fact both OT & PT commoners sound like Americans, Coruscant elite sound British, and other upper class but not Coruscant, pronounce things British, but sound American, like Naboo.

Except for Padme. She sounds like a prototype for Siri or Alexa.

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Good list.

On anachronisms: most of the galaxy, especially the Rim, should feel like the Middle East, Africa, South America or Asia in the 1930s. Direct rule through familial/tribal power distribution, limited outlets for speech, tradition and renown instead of popular culture or Westernized fame.

On over-explaining: keep adding places, people, aliens and droids while resisting the urge to connect everything or give a nondescript entity some astonishing cosmic significance.

Names: George Lucas was a genius with this. Take something mundane; change or add or subtract a letter. Or see if it works in plain sight. Only get exotic if the word is from or sounds like something in reality.

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3 hours ago, HappyDaze said:

Comlinks are not smartphones. Don't assume they can text, take video or still pictures, or download files 

Ah that's a great one. Thank you for that addition. Also Datapads are often used like the wondertool. 

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45 minutes ago, wilsch said:

Good list.

On anachronisms: most of the galaxy, especially the Rim, should feel like the Middle East, Africa, South America or Asia in the 1930s. Direct rule through familial/tribal power distribution, limited outlets for speech, tradition and renown instead of popular culture or Westernized fame.

On over-explaining: keep adding places, people, aliens and droids while resisting the urge to connect everything or give a nondescript entity some astonishing cosmic significance.

Names: George Lucas was a genius with this. Take something mundane; change or add or subtract a letter. Or see if it works in plain sight. Only get exotic if the word is from or sounds like something in reality.

Excellent thank you for this. I appreciate that you explained it a bit so that I could get an idea for the principles behind the tips. Anachronisms both of the type you mentioned and technological are so prevalent in this setting. It's like you have to put away the logical path of technology and just use it in a way that mimics some older tech than the far future. 

I think what you said about the worlds being like those older civilizations and holding on to those ways of government and information sharing. I can't stand it when the Galaxy is portrayed as a Utopia but for the Empire. 

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2 hours ago, SavageBob said:

I agree with the bulk of your list, but not with this item. The Prequels went for this feel (and suffered in my opinion), but the OT and the more recent stuff have characters speaking much more naturalistically. When people in the OT speak this way, it's either because they are a relic of the past (like Yoda), or are putting on the schmooze (like Lando hitting on Leia). I much prefer my players emulate Han Solo speaking rather than the stilted stuff we get among the Jedi in the Prequels.

This is a good point and I cede the part about the archaic speech. I tell players to not talk like modern day by having them lean more toward their D&D pattern, but what I really want is more neutral speech. You are right though and the archaic stuff wasn't good. 

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5 hours ago, Archlyte said:

Ah that's a great one. Thank you for that addition. Also Datapads are often used like the wondertool. 

Datapads should be thought of more like e-readers than tablets.  Its there to substitute for paper in Star Wars (Lucas made it a point there be no paper in the OT apparently).   It might be able to display information from another device, but it’s not a tool made for slicing.  More a high tech notepad/portable monitor.

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Interesting thread... I like it 👍

One other thing I try to include is that used/dirty feel that the universe had in the original trilogy, Rogue One & Solo. Everything is worn or has a thin patina of grime... especially in the outer rim!

When my players go corward I make a point of the change in how things look, how everything is well maintained, buildings are uniform, that kind of thing.

As for datapads... they’re a pet hate for me really! The amount of times my players say “I’ll do ‘this’ with my data pad” drives me up the wall 🤣 For me they’re a storage device... u can download a city map, or star chart by physically connecting to a computer system, store bank account details (maybe) or use it as an aid for slicing if they’ve downloaded some kind of anti-security program on there.

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Data PAD.

More actually just glorified E-readers, in fact. People often forgot that fact. Then, as our own technology progressed, Data PADs were seen as more of a modern tablet. With options.

Like AceSolo5 says about buildings and equipment, perhaps an Outer Rim data PAD is nothing more than an e-reader, and a Core data PAD is more like a hand-held computer such as a modern day tablet (with increased price and such, especially locally in the Outer Rim and such).

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I almost always try to feature at least 1 scene, which is based on the OT. My group really appreciated, so much last time the Scoundler was followed by a rodian (Yiyar Clan obligation), he lured him into a cantina, and shot him Han style :D Ofc he needed 2 shots, even being minion, but I try to also reinforce that they are not the heroes of the galaxy, and it's a dark, lonely Outer Rim there :P

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3 hours ago, kaosoe said:

Maybe related, maybe not, but one of my peeves is when I hear someone use the word "space" as a prefix or qualifier to describe something.

Examples:

"I ask for a space whiskey."

or

"Is there a space Walmart around?"

A great point and it made me laugh. Yeah this is bad on two levels because it's not going to be a good descriptive in my opinion, and it leads to using the modern equivalent by adding the adjective. Space Walmart, Space Apple Store, Space DMV, etc. 

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8 hours ago, Xcapobl said:

Data PAD.

More actually just glorified E-readers, in fact. People often forgot that fact. Then, as our own technology progressed, Data PADs were seen as more of a modern tablet. With options.

Like AceSolo5 says about buildings and equipment, perhaps an Outer Rim data PAD is nothing more than an e-reader, and a Core data PAD is more like a hand-held computer such as a modern day tablet (with increased price and such, especially locally in the Outer Rim and such).

Yeah the ambiguity of this item's description must lead people to see it as a sort of whatever-you-want-it-to-be item. I had to really put my foot down on this one because it was getting used as everything under the sun to include a multi-tool to a hacking deck. While we know about miniaturization and how it can be used, to me it's not right with old school star wars feel. The computers and their terminals are often really big in Star Wars lol.

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10 hours ago, AceSolo5 said:

Interesting thread... I like it 👍

One other thing I try to include is that used/dirty feel that the universe had in the original trilogy, Rogue One & Solo. Everything is worn or has a thin patina of grime... especially in the outer rim!

When my players go corward I make a point of the change in how things look, how everything is well maintained, buildings are uniform, that kind of thing.

As for datapads... they’re a pet hate for me really! The amount of times my players say “I’ll do ‘this’ with my data pad” drives me up the wall 🤣 For me they’re a storage device... u can download a city map, or star chart by physically connecting to a computer system, store bank account details (maybe) or use it as an aid for slicing if they’ve downloaded some kind of anti-security program on there.

Man that's a great point, the whole thing about how everything is kind of used and has the nuts and bolts construction much of the time. 

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13 hours ago, Hchar said:

Datapads should be thought of more like e-readers than tablets.  Its there to substitute for paper in Star Wars (Lucas made it a point there be no paper in the OT apparently).   It might be able to display information from another device, but it’s not a tool made for slicing.  More a high tech notepad/portable monitor.

 

10 hours ago, Xcapobl said:

Data PAD.

More actually just glorified E-readers, in fact. People often forgot that fact. Then, as our own technology progressed, Data PADs were seen as more of a modern tablet. With options.

Like AceSolo5 says about buildings and equipment, perhaps an Outer Rim data PAD is nothing more than an e-reader, and a Core data PAD is more like a hand-held computer such as a modern day tablet (with increased price and such, especially locally in the Outer Rim and such).

I agree with @Xcapobl. Datapads are far more than simply E-readers, and definitely fit more into the full tablet if not laptop computer range, given what all of the actual canon and Legends lore about them state. As stated in the latter linked page:

Quote

datapad was a small, usually low-cost, electronic device used for storing information. Taking the place of the more primitive book, a datapad could store textual, graphic, and holographic data. They were commonly used as notebooksday planners, calculators, and sketchpads. Some models could interface with and download information from larger computer networks. Most datapads came standard equipped with a touch-sensitive color screen, audio pickups, headphone ports, and power packs.

 

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2 hours ago, Tramp Graphics said:

 

I agree with @Xcapobl. Datapads are far more than simply E-readers, and definitely fit more into the full tablet if not laptop computer range, given what all of the actual canon and Legends lore about them state. As stated in the latter linked page:

 

Thanks for the post Tramp :)The problem with datapads being a one stop computer tool is that the big terminals and consoles are absolutely ridiculous at that point. Also I find that datapads are often used as story bypass widgets. No need to go research in the library, or to use a terminal or computer of the facility, just use the datapad for everything. It's not that it makes sense for datapads to basically be little notepads and minor computer tools, it's that it fits the feel of the first movies where characters do things manually. So I'm ok with them being like a basic display interface tool, but not an actual computer that can vie with other computers in functionality. Also because I have no real WiFi they don't serve the purpose of modern tablets or laptops. 

Also a lot of what I said in the OP probably doesn't hold up to canon or legends status simply because those movies predated the massive rush to codify everything brought on by the original RPG books and the paperback books. What seemed to happen was that Pablo Hidalgo and the other guys at West End Games did a lot of fill-in-the-blank with stuff from the movies and usually were not super creative in how they did it, often taking the path of creative least resistance. They also sometime would do things that were counter to the use of things in the movies like assuming a bunch of assassin droids have to be around because one was in the movies. You can assume that, but you could also assume the opposite. If you had a word processor and worked for west end games in 1989 or whatever you got to codify it cause George wasn't really minding the store and didn't give a crap.  

What I mean by this is that you can choose to use whatever material you like, and I think that is great. I am currently playing in a game that is in no way close to my version of Star Wars, but I respect the GM and I don't undermine or complain. But since I am trying to go off of what is in the original movies and do minimal extrapolation sometimes explaining everything runs counter purpose to my endeavor. Just want you to know I appreciate your input and where you are coming from though.

Edited by Archlyte

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22 hours ago, wilsch said:

 

On anachronisms: most of the galaxy, especially the Rim, should feel like the Middle East, Africa, South America or Asia in the 1930s. Direct rule through familial/tribal power distribution, limited outlets for speech, tradition and renown instead of popular culture or Westernized fame.

 

I think also that you have not only factional stuff but you also at times have situations where certain species seem to alienate themselves a bit like for instance Trandoshans. I think that if you were to enroll your five-year old in school and find out that the kid was killed that day when the young Barabel or Trandoshan child thought that your child was their lunch it would be an issue. There is certainly a very high level of tolerance and multiculturalism in the setting, but I feel like it would be better served by some more realistic considerations about how this would actually work. The myriad languages, cultures, physiologies, and psychologies cannot be represented fully realistically as it isn't Science Fiction, but I think that having it be completely socially utopian eliminates some stories that would be interesting. More likely I think like you said it resembles old world much more, and that carries along with it some grittiness as far as how beings deal with each other. This also makes friendships and alliances that suborn the common worldview a bit more exceptional and interesting in my opinion. 

 

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This whole discussion of datapads reminds me of reading the 1930's and '40s sci fi books.  They start discussing computers, and I was very confused initially, until I realized they meant people who compute things, not machines that compute things.  The meaning of the words have changed dramatically over time.

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3 hours ago, Archlyte said:

 I think that if you were to enroll your five-year old in school and find out that the kid was killed that day when the young Barabel or Trandoshan child thought that your child was their lunch it would be an issue.

Vivid picture. ☺️ 

I'll admit that I consider Star Trek the place for relations and tensions between species or, I guess, existential meaning in being alien. No matter how strange, Star Wars races are just guys in rubber masks to me. In that sense, like the true multiculturalism you'd see in a Western.

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20 hours ago, wilsch said:

Vivid picture. ☺️ 

I'll admit that I consider Star Trek the place for relations and tensions between species or, I guess, existential meaning in being alien. No matter how strange, Star Wars races are just guys in rubber masks to me. In that sense, like the true multiculturalism you'd see in a Western.

I agree and I while I did use that example it is the kind of thing I would not bring up in game at all. I think your example of the mix of cultures seen in westerns or older period movies is appropriate. I guess in my case it really is mostly an exercise in not following the logical path and instead suspending that knowledge/intuition in favor of something different. I love the Galaxy Far Far Away being vague and weird and awesome because it defies normal explanations in some ways :)

 

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22 hours ago, Edgookin said:

This whole discussion of datapads reminds me of reading the 1930's and '40s sci fi books.  They start discussing computers, and I was very confused initially, until I realized they meant people who compute things, not machines that compute things.  The meaning of the words have changed dramatically over time.

Great point Ed and it got me thinking of how computers in the movies are the size of commercial refrigerators or bigger lol. 

The first movies also came out before the Internet was a part of culture, so the Galaxy George created had that feeling of distance even with fast travel. Information was something that the character had when they needed it and didn't have when it suited the story. I guess that is a good enough guideline for how you handle information, but as for the equipment it seems like Star Wars is sort of set in a situation where the bigger the computer or storage the more useful the Equipment is. 

Also it seems like being physically at a data point or control location is often a thing, and the data ports actually have mechanical actuators for their interface. Which is wild. 

Edited by Archlyte

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