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Do you guys ever use Canon/Film Characters in your games?

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Greets,

Came across a dilemma over the past year.  I've run two groups, both campaigns set in the Dawn of the Rebellion era.  (First campaign started around the release of Solo).  I've always enjoyed using a main villain for the PCs to chase and have a major grudge with.  (Shosuro Jocho from L5R 1st, and Prince Vitel DC by Night VtM).

1.  My initial campaign had Darth Maul or simply Maul as the main villain. (I Purchased Dawn of the Rebellion at a FLGS just for It's stats).  Two of the PCs encountered It (Maul) once on Dathomir and LOVED the encounter.  The Sharpshooter distracted Maul by sniping at It, while the others fled through a Imperial checkpoint to their ship. 

2.  One of my Co-Gms used Jyn Erso as a teen and Orson Krennic in another scene during his initial session.  It was a neat little touch...more cameo than anything.

-But for the most part, the players said "Using original characters is the best."

 

II.

Second group I formed and am currently running for.  (Because I moved to a new city).

Dawn of the Rebellion. Have yet to use a named character.  They were working for Bail Organa.  One of my PCs who was running a KOTOR long shot brought in Shatele Shan.  It felt forced and contrived.

Question:  Do you guys use named/canon characters in your stories/campaigns?  I am in the process of blowing up our current campaign due to various reasons (Players leaving, one shots going off from the other GMs, etc).  With the reboot, thinking about using 1 canon character to be the main villain (Maul) behind the scenes initially.

 

General/Personal Thoughts:

-Little cameos like the one GM using Krennic or bringing in Lando for a scene are okay with me.  Having Yoda or Luke Skywalker run around with us is not.  I like the idea of interacting with the NPC for a short scene. 

-I love and hate the idea of bringing in Maul....part of me loves the character as a villain and has a grasp on this current group...thinking they would enjoy it as well.  Other part of me is..."Will they vomit it up like I did with Shatele Shan?"

 

-To me, Maul is not an important enough character that if It died, it would ruin canon.  Yes, Maul comes into the scene during the Clone Wars, Rebels, and SOLO.  But those apperances can be worked around if It were to die.  On the other hand if Luke was to get ganked.....or Han....

 

Thoughts?

 

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We generally do not use such characters as main NPC opponents or allies. Our style is to view them from afar or maybe have a brief interaction with them (i.e. "OMG!!!  Han Solo just walked through the hangar!!!".  We're not the type of group that plays alternative histories or gets a kick out of killing Vader or Tarkin in an RPG.  We tend to stay "hands-off".  But that's just us.  I don't know if it matters or correlates, but we're also purists when it comes to the original movies.  Not much tolerance in our group for things that mess with the originals (whether it be in a movie or RPG).  I actually think it accentuates the RPG experience to play out missions tangential to the movie plots.  IMO, there should be SOME connection to galactic events. 

 

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I used only a few canon characters in my game that covered a year and a half between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back. During Jewel of Yavin, Lando showed up at the gala, but only chit-chatted a little with the PCs present. It made sense to do it, since it was a big fancy party in his own city. When the PCs returned to Cloud City several months later (with criminal obligations due to the heist), they sought him out. It made for a nice scene of social combat, as they negotiated to do a favor for him in order to clear their names. And the players enjoyed fitting into the story line of the movies. Because of their actions on Cloud City (in our universe), Lando knew a person could be put in carbonite and survive the process, which would help him negotiate with Vader in times to come.

The other canon character we used was Wedge Antilles. I chose him to be present on the first Rebel frigate our group of fringers ever went on. I picked him precisely because he was a minor character, but one with name recognition. So the players felt again like their story was fitting in to the bigger picture. One of the PCs talked with Wedge about survivor guilt from the Battle of Yavin. It was a nice scene. Later in the campaign, when the PCs were looking for allies to mount an attack against an Imperial frigate, Wedge gave them instruction on TIE fighter flying and joined their boarding party. But the other Rebels my PCs met were completely new characters or NPCs from earlier in the campaign who the PCs had not known were affiliated with the Rebellion. Such NPCs were more meaningful to the PCs.

So those were some little touches that I used to put the player's adventures into context with the original trilogy. However, the PCs were the stars of their own show, and there was no reason to try to upstage them with characters who already had the limelight in their own movies. For my group, it was about balancing something that could be fun for the players with things that would be meaningful to the characters.

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Posted (edited)

I used General Grievous in my 1 shot, Clone Wars game, when 2 squads of clones, and a knight has to board a Separatist ship to rescue an important engineer, taken from Kuat by a bold ambush. (Plot twist, it was a defection). It was clearly implied in an intro scene, that Grievous took him (no sight of him, but a group of Magnaguards) and by the time they discovered the betrayal, Grievous appeared to make things worse. At the end, the jedi sacrificed herself, to gain time for her squad to recover the object and flee from the ship. It was well recieved.

However, I can second @DurosSpacer as I am very careful not to alter things in the main timeline, especially in the OT. (I have yet to introduce a canon NPC in my long term campaign)

Edited by Rimsen

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My campaign is set in 7ABY in a very non-canon timeline where most of the main film characters died at the Battle of Endor.  They've briefly encountered Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles, but neither actually identified themselves (the players figured it out in the former case even though their characters didn't, and in the latter case they didn't have a clue).  They also found the charred remains of R2-D2's chassis in a museum and retrieved his main memory circuits.  

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My most recent home campaign was set in the "normal" EotE setting between ANH and ESB, and the final arc took place on Lothal, featuring guest spots from Hera and Chopper.

 

Not the most original idea, but I liked making both canon characters as escort companions for my PCs, so there was real incentive for the players to try to keep them alive.

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Posted (edited)

As a player, I don't mind big-name NPCs as quest-givers/mentors, or as walk-on/cameo parts. They could even be mission objectives, such as "rescue X from Y's prison before Z turns up", where if Z turns up with reinforcements, then X can face down Z while the PCs can deal with the reinforcements plus Y and the regular guards.

What I don't want is the big-name NPC as a regular party member or a constantly-used deus ex machina to extract the PCs from TPKs.

If it's to be a strictly-canon campaign, then I don't want to risk the big-names biting the dust before their time. When it comes to AUs, I'm open to changes/differences, so long as they make sense.

 

Edited by Bellona

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I ran Jewel of Yavin where Lando became a very memorable part of the PCs' plan to distract security. In another story of the same group, they took Wade Starchaser from Nar Shadaa to Centerpoint to only then learn that Wade was in fact Wedge Antillies traveling in secret. He was checking the crew out to see if they wanted to do some smuggling runs for the Rebellion - they didn't.

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YES ! My players like a lot to be part of this big saga they love.

I have a campaign in the dawn of rebellion around Bail Organa organizing his rebel cell.

In Force training campaigns I often have Yoda speaking in the minds of the young jedi-wannabe

And some mentions of major characters some times (Obi-Wan, Ahsoka, Leia, Vader, the Inquisitor, ...)

And obviously the presence of the Emperor is everywhere !

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Yes, I do include iconic characters in my Star Wars campaign.

In some respects, I've made some slight alterations to some canon events, but for the most part the history seems intact . . . :ph34r:.

The only iconic character that I have the PC's interact with any regularity is Yoda (but he's the campaign's designated Jedi Trainer).

But for the most part, the rest of the iconic characters are used very naturally and aren't overshadowing the PC's.

For instance, I had the PC's bump into Han Solo and Chewbacca, introducing them as a Human and a Wookie pilot of a YT-1300 cargo hauler, which was visiting their Rebel Base.

It took the players over 45 minutes to figure out that they were talking to Han Solo.  One of the players eventually exclaimed, "OMG, THAT really is Harrison Ford's speech pattern."  (I was actually channeling Mark Hamill's Harrison Ford impersonation so that might have confused the players a bit).

But I'm also interjecting a lot of new NPC's and they're generally played with the same intensity and depth that I would any of the iconic characters.  So when one of the known characters shows up, it's a nice accent piece to the encounter.  And it can also be a nice short cut for the players to understand that aspect of the encounter.

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I feel totally free to use any canon or Legends character in my game (with or without stats, the latter case meaning I might have to make them up myself), and if they die, they die. "If it has stats, the PCs can kill it." The reason is simple; my game, my (alternate) Star Wars reality. If Darth Vader dies in this campaign, why should he be dead in the next, as long as there are totally unrelated, new characters in a way different part of the galaxy performing new feats of adventure? In a literal sequel campaign, however...

😎

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Posted (edited)

My character is a ship kid. He has an "uncle" who was part of his parents' crew when my character was a child. I had him written down on my sheet as "Uncle Elsee, human" in my notes. Three RL years later, when I'd nearly forgotten about him, we encounter him on a job. It's not Elsee, it's L.C. My buddy, the GM, slides into his smoothest Billy Dee Williams and the table erupts with laughter.

Edited by Vek Baustrade

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Posted (edited)

I toss canon out the window when I GM. It's my group's story, not LFL's. The players were tasked to bring a Rebel agent to (pre-ESB) Hoth. They didn't interact with Luke or Leia, but were present when the base was rocked by an explosion that killed Luke and Leia. Thing is, the agent they brought was a double agent tasked with assassinating the Rebel leadership (although they did save General Rieekan, from the assassin) .

It was then that I reiterated that they were the BDH's of the story.

Much later, they had a (brief) encounter with someone in an advanced TIE. The black armored pilot ejected when they nearly destroyed his ship, but managed to latch onto their ship with superhuman strength. It was hilarious watching the players panic and managing to scrape him off against some space debris...

Almost forgot: They were also responsible for escorting and guarding Mon Mothma to a (not so) secret meeting. They saved her and the person she was meeting from IG-88 and another assassin.

Edited by salamar_dree

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I used Lando at the beginning of a campaign once to give the PCs their ship. He was incognito and used the name Gryphon Starchaser. He lost his ship to them (on purpose) in a game of sabacc. The ship, a YT-1300, was a real lemon and he wasn't finding any legitimate buyers.

A short time later, the PCs were carrying cargo (some furniture) to the Organa family mountain retreat on Alderaan. In a daring get-away, they managed to save Bail Organa's life from the Deathstar.

A trio of TIE fighters pursued them in their escape. Just as they were exiting the system, the Falcon was entering the system.

They convinced Bail to go into hiding and begin a campaign of guerrilla style attacks against the Empire. On occasion, he would have a job for the PCs, but not too often.

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Thanks for the input.  I decided to use Maul with stats from dawn of the rebellion as the main antagonist for a new campaign set during the period between episode 1 & 2. Of courses canon will be altered in the campaign.  

The one time I used Maul, as a main combatant the party enjoyed the encounter.  

That being said, if they reject the idea of facing Maul after a few sessions then the idea will be scrapped.  

If it works well, I can see them facing grievous when the campaign eventually moves to the clone wars. Probably a buffed version of GG from RoS. 

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Posted (edited)

Only once. The party was on Tatooine for the first time and having played original content for a year or more, we all had this wonderful meta-revelation of where players were and who they could meet.

So when they hit the cantinas looking for a slicer, I had BoShek step into frame and offer a lead. Subtle and brief but fun.

Edit: Actually, no! I dropped an uncredited, disguised Seventh Sister in for a cameo once, too. May bring her back, again, for color.

Edited by wilsch

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I looked for a remote outpost in one of my campaigns, and I immediately thought of Hondo Ohnaka. Our campaign is set before shortly before the Battle of Yavin, so I used Hondo from the Dawn of Rebellion area and decided he went back to Florrum and now runs a shadowport with some side businesses there. I loved the Hondo as a character in both The Clone Wars and the Rebels series, and it seems, my players like him too. It was planned as a one-time encounter, but now they decided to go back to Florrum and use Hondo's connections and facilities again. I totally like that. 

I have vague plans to end my campaign on the Death Star (probably during the Battle of Yavin), and of course my characters would encounter Vader before he left with his TIE and maybe also a couple of other well-known Imperials. But I still need to work this one out. 

 

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Posted (edited)

To me, the biggest problem with Star Wars is how small the galaxy became during the time of the prequels. It's downright annoying how you can't turn around a corner without bumping into Chewbacca or some crap.

I try not to bring in canon characters unless they are uniquely positioned to move the story forward. So I don't make the droid C-3P0 when any old protocol droid will do. The one exception is if I have a take on a character that is significant enough to warrant inclusion. For instance, I've been itching for a way to have my group run into my version of the cast of Rebels, which is basically how imagine the cast of Rebels if they were in a Lego movie, so waaaaaaaaay dumber and goofier. I'm also considering having a version of Han Solo show up that is basically a mixture of Indiana Jones, Zapp Brannigan, and Bo Duke from Dukes of Hazzard. Will this move the story forward in a meaningful way? Maybe a little, but it will definitely bring a lot of joy to my players, so I really want to do it. 

Edited by Pollux85

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Most groups I ran never encountered established canon characters except for 2:

 

One group (the one that would have intentionally tried to murder Luke or anyone from the films) once stole the ship of Elan Sleazebaggano. The BBEG of the end story arc was a completely unhinged HK-47 that they sort of were tricked into rebuilding when they joined a droid-worshipping death cult.

 

Another group I ran had a single Gunslinger Force Sensitive that was steered towards the path of the Jedi once he encountered his long lost mother-turned-bounty hunter. She gave him her only keepsake of his father: His holocron. That led to him training to the point of building his lightsabers, which he decided to travel alone, back to where he and his father had hid from the Empire all those years ago: Dagobah. There, he encountered the only other citizen of the planet there that time: a small green person with large ears, immensely strong in the Force and just as wise, who spoke with him about the Force and about destiny and the legacy of his father.

 

With that one, I said that Yoda is a Jedi and Jedi are known liars. He must have lied to Luke about being the last of the Jedi to motivate him to take action.

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Posted (edited)

Given our heavy involvement with the alliance over a career spanning nearly 4 and a half years, we have met a catalog of people from the movies at some point or other.

The one whom we had the heaviest investment with was Lando Calrrisan, who set up our first major score and rescued us after that inevitably went wrong from cracking open a alarmed safe box. Since then he was regular contract and also our friend in the way most we met never were. We literally owed him obligations until the last year of our service with the alliance, whom at this point was a general of an entire alliance wing.

 

Leia is actually our current employer after we got fired from the alliance due to being involved in a bothan conspiracy, whom she employed us once before to rescue Luke from a major black sun crimelord via Landos recommendation. We are currently neck deep on Jakku having exceeded nearly three ranks of duty in one brutal mission. 

Recently we had a pilot PC who knew rogue squadron in the way pilots did.

 

Most NPCs, including Han, Chewie, various generals and admirals, various bounty hunters we treated as the situation dictated, we treated superiors as rank, bounty hunters as adversaries/potential (I personally have “killed” IG88 several times.  He only figured out they came in sets later. XD) and everyone else as people. My character first meeting Luke after breaking him out of a jail cell and losing an arm in doing so (again) left hi decidedly unimpressed with the future grand master! XD

 

ill put up the full list later, but usually running into these characters was never a huge deal for our characters; we were big shots in our own right so respect for the endless wet works/explosive strikes against the empire was as respected as their contributions.

Edited by LordBritish

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