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Archlyte

Mainstream Star Wars vs. Head Canon

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9 hours ago, Archlyte said:

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. 

I'd say it's less "compromise" and more "consensus" among the group of how far down the rabbit hole of what is or isn't canon they want to go.

To contrast to myself, a friend and fellow GM has minimal experience with materials outside of the core films, especially with regards to stuff from the prequel eras outside of the films and The Clone Wars.  So any game he runs, he much prefers to stick with "movies only" and anything else is fanon at his table, which has amusingly lead to some mild frustration from one of his players who is a rabid consumer of Star Wars media and has poured through Wookieepedia like it was his job.  However, the group had a discussion at their session zero of the last campaign my friend ran, and they reached a consensus that made everyone happy and prevented any arguments or bickering at the table on the topic of "well, that's not how it is in the canon!"  Especially as they had enough troubles with the guy playing the Star Wars version of Jack Harkness (or at least the Devaronian version of Jack's unrestrained libido), which made for some stories that were both cringe-worthy and gut-bustingly hilarious.

And on the flip-side, another GM friend of mine is pretty well-versed in the larger expanded universe, due in part to being new to the franchise (never saw any of the films prior to The Force Awakens) and is astounded at just how in-depth the lore is while relatively coherent (at least when compared to the "what is or isn't canon?" status of things over in Star Trek as he sees it).  So assuming it's from the new canon, there's very little that players can truly catch him off-guard with, and if it's some obscure tidbit from Legends, he can very easily dismiss it under the broad heading of "if it's from Legends, then it's not canon at my table," though he's open to adding interesting bits of Legends to his campaign's canon on a case-by-case basis; case in point is the minor Jedi I play in his current campaign started out with a Kathracite crystal (a fairly weak type of lightsaber crystal) in his lightsaber, which is pure Legends, but he liked the idea enough to introduce the entire notion of Adegan crystals into his campaign's canon (didn't stop him from having an Inquisitor destroy that lightsaber though).  But again, it was a discussion point during our session zero about what parts of the established lore he would or wouldn't accept in his game, with the group coming to a consensus that if it was from Legends, then it wasn't assumed to be true in that campaign.

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On 5/23/2019 at 2:20 AM, Archlyte said:

How do you have bad guys that are comedy relief?

Use Jawas, Ugnauts and Dwuni. Only half-kidding, there.

Comic relief can also be release of tension. In one session, my party was on the trail of something, and the last known owner was an agro magnate who'd just been busted by the Empire. Matching pairs of Stormtroopers and planetary security stopped players at a checkpoint. This being BBY and Mid Rim, the ISB was acceding to planetary laws, which allowed the party to meet with the accused — and it was communicated by way of security interrupting the lead Stormtrooper. As their speeder hovered past, PCs heard the Stormtrooper mutter, "...Locals."

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3 hours ago, wilsch said:

Use Jawas, Ugnauts and Dwuni. Only half-kidding, there.

Comic relief can also be release of tension. In one session, my party was on the trail of something, and the last known owner was an agro magnate who'd just been busted by the Empire. Matching pairs of Stormtroopers and planetary security stopped players at a checkpoint. This being BBY and Mid Rim, the ISB was acceding to planetary laws, which allowed the party to meet with the accused — and it was communicated by way of security interrupting the lead Stormtrooper. As their speeder hovered past, PCs heard the Stormtrooper mutter, "...Locals."

Comedy relief or light moments are necessary I agree. But I'm talking about mismatching elements to a bad end. The battle droids are not a threat to the heroes, they really serve no purpose but to make the jedi look like they are awesome when we know they aren't by the time Ep III happens. They die pretty much like normal people would when ambushed by clones, but battle droids are so ineffective base don what we see in the movies that at a certain point everyone is rolling their eyes when they attack the jedi characters. Then they gave them stupid voices and they speak in a lame pidgin for some reason. 

You have all these ingredients for the main and primary form of media, the movies. So all the comic books and novel writing apologists are fine but the movies are the number one source of the story. 

The battle droids are basically a terrible device for doing what was needed, basically a droid army to make the Jedi look tough while also allowing them to dispatch enemies without having a morality problem. I don't know if George was just looking for a new philosophical justification for a "Fun" war, but in the end it was just dumb. If the B1's were going to be that bad they should have completely disappeared after Ep. I as complete failures that were recognized as such. Maybe the point was to weaken the Jedi by sending them against such feeble foes, but if so that is a really stupid idea. 

Comedy is something that will dominate the dish if it is used too heavily. I like comedic elements and they are certainly a part of the setting, but things like Boba Fett slapstick or Stormtrooper Dance routines (if actually included in the world not just in external media) are just fans and writers hitting the bottom of the barrel. There is a certain amount of 4th wall busting there which to me is too heavy a price to pay in lost immersion. 

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16 hours ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

I'd say it's less "compromise" and more "consensus" among the group of how far down the rabbit hole of what is or isn't canon they want to go.

To contrast to myself, a friend and fellow GM has minimal experience with materials outside of the core films, especially with regards to stuff from the prequel eras outside of the films and The Clone Wars.  So any game he runs, he much prefers to stick with "movies only" and anything else is fanon at his table, which has amusingly lead to some mild frustration from one of his players who is a rabid consumer of Star Wars media and has poured through Wookieepedia like it was his job.  However, the group had a discussion at their session zero of the last campaign my friend ran, and they reached a consensus that made everyone happy and prevented any arguments or bickering at the table on the topic of "well, that's not how it is in the canon!"  Especially as they had enough troubles with the guy playing the Star Wars version of Jack Harkness (or at least the Devaronian version of Jack's unrestrained libido), which made for some stories that were both cringe-worthy and gut-bustingly hilarious.

And on the flip-side, another GM friend of mine is pretty well-versed in the larger expanded universe, due in part to being new to the franchise (never saw any of the films prior to The Force Awakens) and is astounded at just how in-depth the lore is while relatively coherent (at least when compared to the "what is or isn't canon?" status of things over in Star Trek as he sees it).  So assuming it's from the new canon, there's very little that players can truly catch him off-guard with, and if it's some obscure tidbit from Legends, he can very easily dismiss it under the broad heading of "if it's from Legends, then it's not canon at my table," though he's open to adding interesting bits of Legends to his campaign's canon on a case-by-case basis; case in point is the minor Jedi I play in his current campaign started out with a Kathracite crystal (a fairly weak type of lightsaber crystal) in his lightsaber, which is pure Legends, but he liked the idea enough to introduce the entire notion of Adegan crystals into his campaign's canon (didn't stop him from having an Inquisitor destroy that lightsaber though).  But again, it was a discussion point during our session zero about what parts of the established lore he would or wouldn't accept in his game, with the group coming to a consensus that if it was from Legends, then it wasn't assumed to be true in that campaign.

Ok so consensus to me is something that requires that everyone is happy enough with it that they are ok proceeding. In your examples I noted that the GM is still pretty much the person who decides what is going to fly as far as what makes it into the continuity of the game. He bends as he sees something that is not too offensive or is actually interesting, but also overall holds to a clear vision for what is going to be the feel of the game if the GM has such a vision or preference. 

But for the type of player like the one you described in the first paragraph, they are invested in a picture of the setting and events as they have accepted it. In the rubber-meeting-the-road examples I have seen where this become a problem, it is usually in the player assuming something will be available or present because of their meta-knowledge. Well X exists in the source material I liked so I should be able to make one in this game. (Wrong answer buzzer sound)

Filter activates.

I personally have several shades of Filtering: Yes, that exists but it's not here now, Yes that exists and it looks like this, No that is not something you would know about, No that does not exist in this version of the setting, No that does not go with the thing you are trying to match it to, etc.

This would be my normal operating mode, but in this thread I wanted to know about other ways of approaching the problem. How far do you compromise? What sells you on the inclusion of something? How far will you go? 

 

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16 hours ago, Archlyte said:

The battle droids are basically a terrible device for doing what was needed, basically a droid army to make the Jedi look tough while also allowing them to dispatch enemies without having a morality problem. I don't know if George was just looking for a new philosophical justification for a "Fun" war, but in the end it was just dumb.

Ah, gotcha. I guess . . . the Prequels are a punching bag for that kind of thing. Looking at the Prequels from 35,000 feet (where you don't have to actually watch them, thus they're beautiful and interesting), I suppose George wanted to get closer to Flash Gordon than he could in the OT; and with the exception of his involvement in Temple of Doom, hadn't strayed from soft-impact 80s family adventure movies like RoTJ.

I mean, it's all been written. Ten years this year since the first Plinkett review. When Lucas shows Steven around the lot and introduces a battle droid, it's classic George: declarative ideas in his head, a library of film homages. But one read of the Raiders story conference confirms that Lucas' vision from within needs expertise from without.

So, to your original question: if this is about the Prequels, mostly, maybe stay close to canon but try making the in-motion game world what a lot of people expected the films to have been like.

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7 hours ago, wilsch said:

Ah, gotcha. I guess . . . the Prequels are a punching bag for that kind of thing. Looking at the Prequels from 35,000 feet (where you don't have to actually watch them, thus they're beautiful and interesting), I suppose George wanted to get closer to Flash Gordon than he could in the OT; and with the exception of his involvement in Temple of Doom, hadn't strayed from soft-impact 80s family adventure movies like RoTJ.

I mean, it's all been written. Ten years this year since the first Plinkett review. When Lucas shows Steven around the lot and introduces a battle droid, it's classic George: declarative ideas in his head, a library of film homages. But one read of the Raiders story conference confirms that Lucas' vision from within needs expertise from without.

So, to your original question: if this is about the Prequels, mostly, maybe stay close to canon but try making the in-motion game world what a lot of people expected the films to have been like.

First off thank you for addressing that question and answering it in a way that I could easily use. I appreciate that input. 

Yeah I remember watching Ep. 1 and it was not too bad. By Ep. 2 I was disillusioned. What really makes the movies bad takes the whole trilogy of prequel films to accomplish. The effect is definitely the sum of its parts. A lot of the damage is really executed in Ep. 2 and 3 where the answers to some questions get answered and I was like can we please put that toothpaste back in the tube lol. 

I'm glad you brought up that part with Steven and George looking at the battle droids and talking about the "Gungas" lol. Part of me really appreciates George and Steven wanting to tap into Peter Pan. I do a lot of work with kids and I appreciate that ability to just be swept away by something that isn't in any way sensible or realistic. It's a wondrous part of being imaginative and capable of being interested in things beyond the purely real and practical. I think if I was 10 when I saw the movies I would have loved all of it, so I think he was dead-on in how he aimed those elements at kids. 

But I'm older now, and though I still love this stuff, some elements are hard to hang with when they seem to be nonsense and I am trying to tell stories of my own in the setting. It's ironic because the "fixes" I am applying can threaten the Peter Pan effect for some people because messing with the image can be jarring. "Hey Just leave it alone and work with that," that sort of thing. 

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On 5/23/2019 at 9:51 PM, Archlyte said:

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. 

Not sure I agree with you in that having a character who lost their parents to a B1 isn't tragic or traumatic. You're someone who had your life devastated by a droid built by the lowest bidder to fight the wars of some far off kleptocrat. You didn't even matter enough for them to put in a proper effort at it. What's worse is that everyone else sees your parents killers as a bad joke.

 

B1's can be made into something terrifying. The CIS did do a upgraded version of them as well, the B2 battle droids don't really need anything extra to make them terrifying.

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Posted (edited)

It should also be noted that what makes Battle droids dangerous and potentially scary is not their individual effectiveness. It’s their sheer numbers. Yes, individual battle droids are pretty much useless cannon fodder, and none too bright. But, there are a lot of them. That means that they can potentially overwhelm a position through simply their vast numbers. In this way, they’re very much  like ants. One isn’t very dangerous, but millions of them in a single collective can devastate and area, destroying everything in their path.

Edited by Tramp Graphics

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2 hours ago, Darth Revenant said:

Not sure I agree with you in that having a character who lost their parents to a B1 isn't tragic or traumatic. You're someone who had your life devastated by a droid built by the lowest bidder to fight the wars of some far off kleptocrat. You didn't even matter enough for them to put in a proper effort at it. What's worse is that everyone else sees your parents killers as a bad joke.

 

B1's can be made into something terrifying. The CIS did do a upgraded version of them as well, the B2 battle droids don't really need anything extra to make them terrifying.

The B2's even sound stupid when they talk though, but otherwise I agree with you on that. These are stories so they have an extra burden on them as far as how you pick the elements. If you choose to have someone killed by rabid jackrabbits then you are making a deliberate choice as far as the tone you are setting. 

Also I think there are much better ways to achieve that idea of my parents didn't matter to anyone, like having them killed by some other equally impersonal but at least impressive foe. The B1s are not someone you can set up as a foe worthy of vengeance, and they were built by insectoids as far as I can remember. It's like getting killed by a freak cardboard box accident. Not great epic space drama.

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5 hours ago, Archlyte said:

Also I think there are much better ways to achieve that idea of my parents didn't matter to anyone, like having them killed by some other equally impersonal but at least impressive foe. The B1s are not someone you can set up as a foe worthy of vengeance, and they were built by insectoids as far as I can remember. It's like getting killed by a freak cardboard box accident. Not great epic space drama.

They were built by and designed by the Geonosians, commanded by Nemoidians. Those would be the ones to target for revenge. The droids just did what they were ordered to and programmed after all, they had no agency or will in the matter so no reason to want vengence against them.

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