I'm preparing to run a Star Wars-themed convention game at the upcoming Gamestorm and want some help refining my concept. (If you happen to be one of the players signed up for the game. . .well, I'll leave it to you whether to read along and get a taste of what's coming or refrain and be surprised on gameday.)The Skywalker Paradigm
So there's this guy, a local Portlander I believe, who started this project a few years ago: an exercise in propaganda analysis, subjecting the original Star Wars to scrutiny as supposed historical documents to see what's 'really" going on. he's got a website
-woefully under-updated; he only treats one and a half films so far--and used to give talks around town and Portland State University and such. He's got a fun theory and infectious enthusiasm for it, so much so that he's got me wanting to game "his" Star Wars!
The major points of the Paradigm:
- As per the opening text crawl, the Rebels are far from the champions of freedom they claim-they're headed by royalty! They're actually counter-insurgents trying to get the aristocracy back into power (not that the Empire are pretty big douchebags as well though).
- Vader isn't quite the Hitler in a Breath Mask that he's made out to be; he's a ruthless career soldier who worked like hell to get the Royals and their Samurai thugs out of power and damned if he's going to let them back. He's also a fairly small fry at first, dissents strongly from the general policy of the Imperial War Machine, and works his way up to the Emperor's side to pursue his own agenda.
- It's Vader who's hiding Luke on Tatooine, not Ben, trying to keep his son out of the galactic conflict. I mean, c'mon, the kid lives with Anakin's own family and under his surname. Kenobi--a fanatic willing to even die for his cause--is hanging around trying to get his hooks into Luke and brainwash him into a killing machine for the Alliance.
- The Force is more or less personal mental and physical mastery, plus powerful mesmerism. TK, "Force Lightning," etc is technological. Also, there's no "Sith" and Palpatine ain't a Jedi of any stripe. Look at the attitudes everyone displays toward Vader's "old religion;" hardly the climate of a Sith-run mysticocracy.
So here's the setup for the game: I'm using the Solar System. Everyone (up to 4 players) will show up and pick a pregenerated character: Luke, Leia, Han, Kenobi, or Vader. They'll also receive a placard succinctly saying in essence, "here's how this character is different from the interpretation you know." The character will have one Key filled in apropos of the info on the placard; the players will get to customize by creating another Key and filling advances.
So what I'm trying to figure out is: how to facilitate actual play
in this scenario. I don't want slavish imitation of an old beloved movie script, I want fearlessly proactive play based on receiving these classic, well-known characters, but with startling and bold new motivations that send the players off in wild directions. I'm hoping to convey that by A) demolishing their preconceived notions of Star Wars,
spurring them to proactivity through Keys, and C) saying upfront that I don't have an outcome in mind and they can make their own
One particular issue I'm pondering: where should play begin
? If I open with the beginning of the movie, there's a lot of ground to cover before conflicts start to cook and even all of the characters are introduced
. Should I start with Luke buying the Droids? Going off to find Kenobi? Leia's capture? Interrogation on the Death Star? I'm thinking of picking several big starting points and adjusting based on what seems most right when we play. By what criteria, I don't know. I could even end up starting as late as Empire, though I doubt it. My two concerns here are achieving strong scene framing that kickstarts the action, and getting as good a chunk of play in as I can in the 4 hour slot.
In fact, scene framing in general is going to be an issue. I've got to be pretty aggressive under the time constraints or play won't get much of anywhere. Any scene-framing-fu you SGites can offer would be great.
And finally, any tips for Solar System crunch, not just for Star Wars in general, but for this version
particularly, would be most helpful. I guess Mesmerism would be the main deal here, but starfighter combat and lightsabers would be helpful to whip up a framework for. Maybe Lightsabers would be just ordinary weapons with a rating or two, but Jedi could access Secrets to do nasty tricks with them?