Sunday, May 13, 2012

Star Wars, FATE Style

So today was gaming day, only the four of us weren't (for various reasons) super-motivated to game. Instead we sat around my table for four hours and chatted about a wide array of subjects. In a way, this brief gaming hiatus for the purpose of casual socialization makes a great deal of sense, since we all four met via gaming and don't know each other super well outside the RPG'ing context.

The four of us being self-identified nerds, one of the subjects that inevitably came up was our shared love of Star Wars, or at least of Star Wars sans the disastrous prequel films.

Darth Maul: just about the only worthwhile thing to come out of the prequels, and he gets killed off way too soon.

After much general discussion of all things Star Wars and a quick viewing of a superb fan film, talk turned to role-playing in the Star Wars milieu. It turns out that both Cid and myself have some very happy memories surrounding the old West End Games d6-based Star Wars RPG.

For me, West End Star Wars was a game I played back in the early 1990s, when I was still in college. I played several sessions of the game with three buddies -- Harry, Jeff, and Nick -- and we all had a grand old time. I remember liking the system a lot and feeling like the game moved along at a fast, satisfying pace appropriate to Star Wars. I played a "greedo," which I only recently learned is in fact called a "rodian."

Before I knew these guys were called rodians, I called them "Greedos."

Harry, our referee in those days, was (and is) a particularly avid Star Wars fan -- here is a very recent picture of Harry with his daughter:

(That's Harry in the stormtrooper getup.)

Now as I've reported before, this group of ours has been playing Diaspora, a rather elegant hard sci-fi game using the FATE system. I am simply in love with FATE. It is very intuitive and encourages good role-playing. And what's not to love about those cool dice?

You can no doubt see where this is headed: somebody (Cid I assume) said "Why not use the Diaspora rules chassis to create a Star Wars campaign?" And with that, our fate (ha, ha) was decided. Cid already had a faux-lightsaber device written up for our "Gateway Late Night" Diaspora game, so all we'd need to add is a rules mechanic to simulate use of The Force. A couple of us could even play the same characters we've already generated -- my guy, Jackson "Floyd" Tarkanian, is a space merchant trying to resist the urge to return to black marketeering. I could easily convert him into a Star Wars-style black marketeer with very little need to alter his aspects, skills, and stunts as writ. The FATE system is just that flexible.

So that is that -- next time this group meets, we will be shifting gears into the Star Wars universe. Cid, our referee, has stated that the action will take place between the events of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, WITHOUT acknowledging the material presented in the prequels. Actually, I am pretty sure Cid will cherry-pick a few ideas/characters out of those more recent films, but will greatly modify their motivations and history for our purposes.*

An inspiring day, and now I cannot wait to start swashbuckling "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away."

Boba Fett sez: "What am I doing in this stupid fucking Special Edition??"

* I have been urging Cid to start his own gaming blog, as he is one of these guys who veritably oozes game and campaign ideas constantly, and who, by his own admission, likes to "pontificate." But starting a blog is a big commitment and thus far he is resisting.

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