Thinking beyond the expected #StarWars #RPG

I’ve been reading this book:

Battlefront_Twilight_Company_cover

To see more go here: Star Wars Battlefront Twilight Company

I am really enjoying this book. Got it from the library of course. But it does something that many of us are not used to when thinking of Star Wars. It completely goes away from the core characters, there are mentions of Luke and Leia, but they are just that, mentions in passing. There are no Jedi Knights running around with light sabers.

Instead it is a war novel, set in the Rebellion era. It most reminds me of the Warhammer 40K novels. It is gritty, violent, and very interesting. I really like it when stuff like this is released. It reminds me of the Clone Wars series (except for the proliferation of Jedi in the show.) The thing that I love about it is that it shows that there is a great big universe out there. I think that is important, especially if you think about role playing game settings.

It is all very well to tell the story of the heroes. Luke, Leia, Frodo, Aragorn, Gandalf, Bilbo are all interesting characters and their stories make for good fiction and thrilling movies. But what is happening elsewhere? That is the area I like to focus.

When you think about Star Wars, imagine a large galaxy, where faster than light travel exists, where thousands of non-human races exist. And imagine an Empire large enough to control most of that galaxy. An Empire rich enough in resources to create not one, but at last count 3 Death Moons. That’s a huge effort. And the logistics is kind of overwhelming when you think about it. That’s a lot to imagine. And then imagine all the stories that can happen in that universe.

One of my favorite fantasy series is the Malazan Book of the Fallen. And one of the things I like about it is the way it focuses on the stories of the grunts, who spend their time trying to figure out what their leaders are doing. I understand that in Middle Earth the main characters are the closest thing to grunts, because it is a world with a seemingly small population. But not every fantasy world has to be like that.

And that is an approach I like to take in coming up with my stories and the setting. Yes, there is a bigger world out there. And yes, the events in that bigger world will eventually impact the players. But not every player can be the Emperor killer. Not every group can find the great sword, staff, orb what have you, that spells doom for the Evil Big Bad Guy.

I prefer to tell the little stories. The players are the settlers on the frontier, just trying to scratch out a living. And maybe they will make some small contribution if there is a war. But not everyone gets to be the Hero who Saves the Day.

That’s what I mean by thinking beyond the expected. For every Knight with a +5 Holy Sword, there need to be a certain number of grunts sweeping out the trash, killing the goblins and orcs. Some campaigns are about the Heroic Journey. Mine are about survival and exploration.

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