Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Rogue One and the Star Wars RPG
A long time ago and not all that far away I used to hear a common complaint when it came to the Star Wars RPG:
"Eh, the main story's already been told. I don't want to play second fiddle. There's nothing else to do."
First it was at the local game store, in the college dorms, and at the occasional con.
Later it was online. There was a lot of this attitude online.
It used to annoy me. I used to try and open their minds. "Hey, you know there are a lot of other things going on besides the Skywalker stuff. There are comic books. There are novels. There are a lot of other places to steal plots from. Heck there are other SF RPG's like Traveller from which one could adapt material. By the late 80's West End had multiple published adventures to give examples of the kinds of things a party could do in the Star Wars Universe - and those are just the easy options.
By the mid-90's the West End RPG was in full swing with a ton of sourcebooks and adventures. The comics were going again, and the novel line was rolling hot. We started exploring the Old Republic. The TIE Fighter and X-Wing computer games opened up some new territory for play. We were given the "Shadows of the Empire" multimedia plotline.
I still heard that there was not anything really interesting to do with a Star Wars game. Often from people who raved about the Dark Forces PC game.
By the end of the 90's we had a new movie and plans for two more! Whoa whoa whoa! If there's nothing left to do with the universe how are they doing a new movie? Oh wait, it's a prequel about how Darth Vader gets to be Vader so it doesn't count!
Early 2000's we complete a new trilogy, get a new RPG with a whole new take on things, more sourcebooks and adventures, oh - and we get a new computer game about the Old Republic.
I'm still hearing it.
We get a new TV series about the clone wars - nah, it's too much jedi/too high powered/ a kids show - pretty much any excuse you can think of to ignore the single best new era for an RPG camapign since the original movies.
We get another new movie "but it's a sequel so it doesn't count".
Now we have a new series set prior to the rebellion with almost no connection to the original trilogy AND we have a movie coming out that is neither a prequel nor a sequel nor a remake of any prior material. Coincidentally both of these are scenarios that have been played out by anywhere from a dozen to a thousand RPG groups over the last 3 decades. We also have yet another new RPG out with a whole new set of adventures and sourcebooks. Not to mention another wave of novels, comics, and computer games.
And I still hear it!
It amazes me that in the face of almost 30 years of additional Star Wars stories from comic books to computer games to TV shows to additional movies I still see people who a) don't have any idea what to do with a Star Wars campaign when given the chance to run or play in one or b) even worse, object to the idea of a Star Wars game at all because they don't think there's anything else to do outside of the movies. I don't think you have to be a huge Star Wars nerd to have picked up on some of this stuff.
For me, Rogue One is the final nail in that coffin. You don't get to say that anymore as an educated position on the subject. It's been disproven in every form of narrative media we have today.
So I'm not going to try and convince anyone who says this that there is another way anymore. I'm just going to let it go and talk to someone who isn't still living in 1983.