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Archlyte

Mainstream Star Wars vs. Head Canon

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Posted (edited)

As someone who uses an extensively edited version of the setting to run games, interfacing with mainstream fans of the IP or this game can be a challenge. I respect anyone saying that a game is not for them, so in my various community games I am always gracious to prospective players who feel that my game is not their cup of tea. But I also do not compromise this to the point where I am going to be un-enthused about the PC's/Game and don't want to run it. 

For those of you who have extensive head canon versions of things, how do you go about interfacing with the community which is much less discerning/more discerning where the setting tropes and details are concerned? How do you deal with such conflicts of view? Thanks for any input. 

 

 

 

Edited by Archlyte

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I first ran Star Wars back before the Prequels came out; and when I resumed (decades later) I decided to stick with my own version of the Clone Wars, the downfall of the Old Republic, and some other things.  Fortunately, I have a group of players who are completely cool with it; and are very patient with the fact that I incorporated many elements from the prequels but fundamentally changed what they are.  They occasionally slip and make an erroneous assumption; and I just apologize for the confusion and clear up the discrepancy and then we move on.

And this is why I will only run Star Wars for my main group and not for my little sister's friends, who are a bunch of rabidly pedantic lore-hounds when it comes to this setting.  

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3 hours ago, Vorzakk said:

I first ran Star Wars back before the Prequels came out; and when I resumed (decades later) I decided to stick with my own version of the Clone Wars, the downfall of the Old Republic, and some other things.  Fortunately, I have a group of players who are completely cool with it; and are very patient with the fact that I incorporated many elements from the prequels but fundamentally changed what they are.  They occasionally slip and make an erroneous assumption; and I just apologize for the confusion and clear up the discrepancy and then we move on.

And this is why I will only run Star Wars for my main group and not for my little sister's friends, who are a bunch of rabidly pedantic lore-hounds when it comes to this setting.  

Well that is refreshing to hear as I am a Pre-Prequel fan myself and some of the stuff I just chuck. My current group is very much ok with the games being in my version of things but I am thinking I want to branch out a bit and try to get involved with more community games, where I intend to compromise on a few things in the interest of experimenting with mainstreaming. 

As for the lore hounds I am sympathetic. About a year and a half ago I ran for a group of players who were ****-bent on trying to use the lore and wookieepedia as their insurance policy against ever not knowing things in-game. That failed miserably for them. 

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Posted (edited)

I just tell my group what the major differences are. If they don’t like it, nobody is forcing them to play.

Case in point: I’m about to kick off a sequel era game that incorporates elements from the EU and Disney canon (along with some of my own nonsense). I’m writing up a custom timeline and summary of major events so that the players have a general understanding of the setting. The state of the galaxy does differ significantly from what was presented in TLJ, so if they have any questions that aren’t answered by my primer, or that I haven’t thought about, I’ll come up with something on the spot and go with it. 

Basically, the player characters are theirs, the world is mine.

I probably wouldn’t stray too far from the default setting for a public one off, but I really don’t see how anyone could convince me to run that kind of game anyway.

Edited by AnomalousAuthor

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1 hour ago, AnomalousAuthor said:

I’m writing up a custom timeline and summary of major events so that the players have a general understanding of the setting.

This is a VERY good idea if you're straying from canon in a well-known setting.  The first link on my campaign wiki is an overview of the major historical changes.  

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1 hour ago, Vorzakk said:

This is a VERY good idea if you're straying from canon in a well-known setting.  The first link on my campaign wiki is an overview of the major historical changes.  

Yeah that really is. I will do this for the parts of the setting that are different. My goal in this thread was to explore ways to be more mainstream in my approach without completely selling my soul, a good workable medium. I thought maybe others might have had the same issue or just thoughts on it. For my personal home group I won't be making any changes, but I want to try to be more accommodating when running in like local game store or with players I don't know. 

I am not a Con guy so I have not been in that situation, but I Imagine some of the same GM skills and attitudes will probably apply. 

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I have told my players that all of the Star Wars materials we have are in-universe children's entertainment written about historical events centuries (or more) in the past. The accuracy of the materials varies widely, but they are as historically accurate as movies today that are "based on a true story" but are not necessarily true in every way (helicopter sabers were an artistic liberty and nobody believes that a spinning lightsaber really allowed flight). Note that the idea that history is written by the winners comes up a lot, and the good guys in my settings are not as shiney as they appear in the kids' tales. What goes on in the game is instead the true stories of what happened, even if they never made it into the children's programming.

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As an example, I think it's silly that the droid factories on Geonosis are largely automated since one of the few things really attractive about using Geonosis as a production center is its vast worker caste population. In my Star Wars, the droid factories of Geonosis are not automated--forget what you see in Epsode II--and are instead massive sweatshops (not that Geonosians sweat) with terrible working conditions.

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17 minutes ago, HappyDaze said:

As an example, I think it's silly that the droid factories on Geonosis are largely automated since one of the few things really attractive about using Geonosis as a production center is its vast worker caste population. In my Star Wars, the droid factories of Geonosis are not automated--forget what you see in Epsode II--and are instead massive sweatshops (not that Geonosians sweat) with terrible working conditions.

Leave it to Happy to tempt me. The Geonosian thing is a good point I'd never thought about. I think the whole idea that these large territories were contested by the droids from that one planet and the clones from another planet is hogwash. I'm sure in the intervening years there have been paperbacks and RPG supplements that explain how I am wrong and that all the numbers line up. Everyone just follows the examples of the movies and paperbacks so it's moot. 

I hate the battle droids. How do you have bad guys that are comedy relief? Making the troops into mechanical idiot clowns was a foundational terrible idea of the movies. 

Gungans. What the **** do I do with these dumb things? 

Midichloriens....

Jedi who really weren't needed by the Galaxy because they sucked anyway and they had become lobbyists for the republic or some crap. 

List goes on and on

 

 

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46 minutes ago, Archlyte said:

Leave it to Happy to tempt me. The Geonosian thing is a good point I'd never thought about. I think the whole idea that these large territories were contested by the droids from that one planet and the clones from another planet is hogwash. I'm sure in the intervening years there have been paperbacks and RPG supplements that explain how I am wrong and that all the numbers line up. Everyone just follows the examples of the movies and paperbacks so it's moot. 

I hate the battle droids. How do you have bad guys that are comedy relief? Making the troops into mechanical idiot clowns was a foundational terrible idea of the movies. 

Gungans. What the **** do I do with these dumb things? 

Midichloriens....

Jedi who really weren't needed by the Galaxy because they sucked anyway and they had become lobbyists for the republic or some crap. 

List goes on and on

Again, the on-screen depictions of them as comedy relief is how they would be depicted in-universe on kids shows far further in the timeline. In my reality, the droids and Gungans are both to be taken seriously. As for Midichlorians, that was some pseudo-science cooked up in-universe to try and explain the Force to kids. Historians know it's crap, and the word doesn't even exist in the true events.

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I've always been partial to the idea that the republic had conscript militias that primarily worked planetary defense and holding, but would occasionally be used in larger battles.  The galaxy is just too big for clones to be the only army especially considering the numbers of the droid army.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, HappyDaze said:

As an example, I think it's silly that the droid factories on Geonosis are largely automated since one of the few things really attractive about using Geonosis as a production center is its vast worker caste population.

Glad I'm not the only one who as bugged by that. 

Edit:  pun not intentional. 

Edited by Vorzakk

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8 hours ago, Archlyte said:

I hate the battle droids. How do you have bad guys that are comedy relief? Making the troops into mechanical idiot clowns was a foundational terrible idea of the movies.

I think it depends on how you handle it. 

Making them intentionally DO stupid things in an attempt at comic relief... yeah ok, that's dumb. 

But they are minions, and will roll poorly, especially in small numbers. Generating an opportunity for some naturally occurring silly banter to flavor the narrative result of a droid totally whiffing a relatively simple roll.

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19 hours ago, AnomalousAuthor said:

I just tell my group what the major differences are. If they don’t like it, nobody is forcing them to play.

I'd go so far as to say this is a required discussion point during a campaign's Session Zero, right alongside theme of the campaign and what sort of characters are the players bringing to the table.

For most of the campaigns I've run, I've tended to stick to "what's on the film is canon, everything else is speculation," even though I've got a decent grasp on the larger elements of lore outside of the films.  And I make sure that the players are informed of this before the dice hit the table, starting from WEG up through today; any players that won't accept that and insist that my campaign bow to whatever obscure minutiae they dig up on Wookieepedia... well, those folks are welcome to find another table to play at.

As I've said, I've got a pretty decent knowledge of the expanded lore (both Legends and Disney versions), but I will also freely jettison something that contradicts an element that one of my players wants to bring into the game if I think the player's idea is better.  In one very memorable instance, in a WEG game I was running (taking place several months after ANH, and run a few years prior to TPM being released in theaters), the idea of Boba Fett not so much being a person as being a mantle came up because one PC had Fett dead-to-rights in the cross-hair of the monstrously powerful blaster cannon the character had spent the past several adventures working on and building.  Canon purists would have bent over backwards to let Fett survive (and I did have a different player that had a severe Boba Fettish), but I let the first player have his moment and take down the most feared bounty hunter in the galaxy, blasting Boba square in the jetpack and sending him careening off the side of a skyscraper in the wake of the jetpack's explosion... followed with a cutscene of an unknown male individual finding Fett's corpse and picking up the helmet from where it lay on the ground, with the hint that this lucky scavenger was going to become the next Boba Fett.

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12 hours ago, HappyDaze said:

Again, the on-screen depictions of them as comedy relief is how they would be depicted in-universe on kids shows far further in the timeline. In my reality, the droids and Gungans are both to be taken seriously. As for Midichlorians, that was some pseudo-science cooked up in-universe to try and explain the Force to kids. Historians know it's crap, and the word doesn't even exist in the true events.

Yeah I understand the device you have created to help filter it but that doesn't help me much with the reality that it exists and most people like it. 

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4 hours ago, Ghostofman said:

I think it depends on how you handle it. 

Making them intentionally DO stupid things in an attempt at comic relief... yeah ok, that's dumb. 

But they are minions, and will roll poorly, especially in small numbers. Generating an opportunity for some naturally occurring silly banter to flavor the narrative result of a droid totally whiffing a relatively simple roll.

There is a difference between incompetent units and things that exist mainly for comedy purposes. Unarmed conscripts forced to rush the line are not gong to be effective, but they are not slapstick comedy. 

The fact that they are droids (or drones I don't know) means they have no honor or prestige, no esprit de corps, and no consequence for dying. They are a terrible choice for creating tension and drama. Say you want to have a character whose parents were killed in the war, you can't have B1's be the culprits because this is like a hair above having them die in a freak clothes dryer accident. Nemoidians set the B1's on my parents but the Gungans helped us. Bunch of stupid aliens that aren't even scary or weird cause it's Star Wars so you just have to see them as people, so they are just morons with comedy droids. Useless. 

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2 hours ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

I'd go so far as to say this is a required discussion point during a campaign's Session Zero, right alongside theme of the campaign and what sort of characters are the players bringing to the table.

 any players that won't accept that and insist that my campaign bow to whatever obscure minutiae they dig up on Wookieepedia... well, those folks are welcome to find another table to play at.

 

Dono do you find that Con Games and Community type Games with people you don't know well work with this principle you have set forth? 

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2 minutes ago, HappyDaze said:

Sturgeon's Law applies to people too; 90% of them are crap. Finding the other 10% can be tough, but it's worth it.

Yeah and I should also say thank you for putting your method forward because I do think that is helpful. I am trying to figure out where to draw the line so that I am not being a sucker but also not being an *******. In my personal games I'm Caesar Augustus, but I am trying to cultivate a different sensibility to use in community situations. I guess I am feeling I am largely blind to the sacred cows of the average player. 

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35 minutes ago, Archlyte said:

The fact that they are droids (or drones I don't know) means they have no honor or prestige, no esprit de corps, and no consequence for dying. They are a terrible choice for creating tension and drama. Say you want to have a character whose parents were killed in the war, you can't have B1's be the culprits because this is like a hair above having them die in a freak clothes dryer accident. Nemoidians set the B1's on my parents but the Gungans helped us. Bunch of stupid aliens that aren't even scary or weird cause it's Star Wars so you just have to see them as people, so they are just morons with comedy droids. Useless.

The narrative changes, but I think that's kinda the intent. You can't have someone wanting revenge for their family being killed by B-1's but you can instead apply it to a smaller, more traceable cast of CIS generals and commanders. From a story standpoint it's potentially better as it provides a more interesting opponent.

But I think this also gets into the crux of applying your own canon to the canon. B1's doofiness aside, it's not hard to see that one of George's goals was to provide an opponent that a heroic main character Jedi could cut down by the hundreds while still maintaining the moral high ground. An enemy that you never have to feel bad about gutting like a fish. 

In-canon and legends there's ample examples of pretty nasty CIS leadership targeting civilian populations in one form or another. Be it a weapons test, development of a bio weapon, hostages...

That said, the head-canon depiction you seem to propose, of B-1s being more uncaring and relentless, like T-800s, would be not be a stretch.

 

 

And personally... yeah, my head-canon (and by extension campaign canon) has the CIS military being droid-heavy, but with plenty of organic leaders (typically field grade officer equivalent and above), contractors, special advisors, and "technical experts" to provide that man behind the machine effected needed to give the opposition a face (or scary helmet, as the case may be).

Though I still have B-1s provide bone-headed commentary or overt exposition on a regular basis, typically in response to a pants-on-head roll result or to ensure the players are up to speed on what's going on. But I rarely have them do something intentionally stupid on their own without prompting. 

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1 hour ago, Archlyte said:

Dono do you find that Con Games and Community type Games with people you don't know well work with this principle you have set forth? 

For con games, it's largely not relevant, and the only type of person that brings up the "well that's not how it is in 'cite obscure reference X'!" are self-important jerks looking for an ego trip, and since it's a one-off it's very easy for the GM (be it myself or anyone else) to tell them to go tool themselves if they start being overly obnoxious about it.

I think you overlooked the part where I said campaign, indicating a connected series of sessions with the same group of people.

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4 hours ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

For con games, it's largely not relevant, and the only type of person that brings up the "well that's not how it is in 'cite obscure reference X'!" are self-important jerks looking for an ego trip, and since it's a one-off it's very easy for the GM (be it myself or anyone else) to tell them to go tool themselves if they start being overly obnoxious about it.

I think you overlooked the part where I said campaign, indicating a connected series of sessions with the same group of people.

Well that's helpful though, because it does kind of make me think that maybe this is largely a non-issue. If you don't apply your own filters to those games because they are not campaigns then it's probably not really a consideration worth evaluating. 

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I think that is very true Stan. So it becomes a matter of interfacing with the views of others and as Donovan Morningfire pointed out, seeing the ability to filter as the purview of the GM. My intention when I created the thread was to explore this to determine how much I should attempt to compromise, but the answers I am getting seem to say: not much. 

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