While browsing the RPG.net fora today, I came across a link to a great essay by Steve Darlington on how to run a Star Wars RPG in the spirit of the movies. Even if you’re not a gamer, the essay has a lot of good observations as to what makes the films so immensely enjoyable. (Now if only Lucas had followed some of this advice while making the prequel trilogy….)
Darlington’s main point is that a SW game needs to convey the epic, space-opera feel of the movies–the heroes must be at the center of everything, they should always be fighting against impossible odds, and the stakes should always be huge. Epic lightsaber battles against a Sith Lord (who is, of course, actually your father) over a lava pit, outrunning the entire Imperial navy in your junk-heap space freighter (with a few little modifications), suicidal trench runs to take down the Death Star with twenty seconds left before it reaches firing range to blow up your planet…. those things are all Star Wars.
Fending off random thugs while delivering spice shipments to a backwater planet for the umpteenth time… that, while it is more along the lines of a typical RPG scenario, is definitely not Star Wars–unless along the way to deliver your spice shipment you get attacked by Imperials, escape legions of Stormtroopers ordered to capture you and send you to the Spice Mines of Kessel, and end up singlehandedly blowing up a Super Star Destroyer seconds before it destroys the whole frickin’ universe.
I’ve run several Star Wars games, and none of them felt nearly as fun as they should have, given my love for the SW movies. Reading this article, I think I have a better idea of why those games didn’t work. Next time, I’ll try to make the adventure a bit more epic and exciting than “get through the Imperial customs station without being noticed.”by