Sunday, January 15, 2017

Hints and Allegations

It's been a little slow for the Awakened Era. After the initial burst of material that was released around the same time as Episode VII, there hasn't been much story development in this time period. (An exception is the aforementioned Poe Dameron comic, which remains a favorite of mine.) Even so, some of the elements from Rogue One seem to combine with others from The Force Awakens to hint at elements that might be important for Episode VIII. In particular, I'm thinking of kyber crystals and that mysterious group known as the Whills.

Here are a few observations.
  1. The prologue to the novelization of A New Hope includes a brief history of the Old Republic and its downfall. It is attributed as “From the First Saga, Journal of the Whills.”
  1. According to the Star Wars Annotated Screenplays, George Lucas originally thought of the Whills as “...somebody watching this whole story and recording it, somebody probably wiser than the mortal players in the actual events.” He goes on to add, however, that “I eventually dropped this idea, and the concept behind the Whills turned into the Force.”
  1. At the start of the Episode VII novelization, Alan Dean Foster includes a bit of poetry: “First comes the day, then comes the night. After the darkness shines through the light. The difference, they say, is only made right by the resolving of gray through refined Jedi sight. --Journal of the Whills, 7: 477.”
  2. In the movie and novelization of Rogue One, the characters Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus are referred to as “Guardians of the Whills.” They guard (or used to guard) a holy city with a temple in it, the place from which the Empire is taking kyber crystals for use in the Death Star project.
  3. It's well established that, in addition to being used in the Death Star's superlaser, kyber crystals are also a necessary component in Jedi lightsabers.
  1. In the Clone Wars episode “The Gathering,” a group of Jedi younglings goes to the planet Ilum in search of crystals for their lightsabers; there they are tested by the caves in order to prove their worthiness.
  1. Apparently, in the novel Ahsoka it mentions that the Empire quickly despoiled Ilum after Palpatine established the New Order. I need to finish reading that novel. 
  2. Here's an interesting development: On the map that comes with the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Beginner Box RPG, the planet Ilum is not listed; in its place is the origin point for Starkiller Base.
I don't know just what these details imply. Maybe it's an important plot point for Episode VIII; maybe it's not. Whatever the case, it struck me as curious.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Star Wars: Poe Dameron Comic Review

Since the initial surge of new material surrounding Star Wars: The Force Awakens, that era in the Galaxy Far, Far Away has been slow in developing. That makes sense, too, given that work on Episode VIII is proceeding toward the film's 2017 release. It's still frustrating, though, since this time period has a lot of exciting potential. One exception to this slow pace, however, is the Star Wars: Poe Dameron comic.

There are a lot of things that I like about this comic.

  • For one thing, Poe's dialogue feels like how he talks in the film; it catches his sense of humor and bravado nicely. 
  • It does a good job of introducing and then building up an interesting villain, Agent Terex. He's a good foil for Poe, since he has lots of the same personality traits--paired with ruthless support for the First Order, of course. 
  • There's a good blend of action and plot development. 
  • There series is ongoing, rather than a limited run. This means that it'll help fill the void between now and December 2017. 
  • The comic also provides an interesting model for a Star Wars RPG campaign, much like the Rogue Squadron novels and comics did back in the day. I can imagine a party of characters like those in Black Squadron, ones who have a variety of specialties, but all of whom are talented pilots. Their adventures, then, entail a combination of ground-based missions and starfighter combat. 

All in all, this has to be my favorite of the new Marvel comics so far.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Sources of Inspiration: Artwork

My apologies for the recent lack of posts; I've been busy with the start of the school year.

While I frequent a number of websites and forums seeking inspiration for Star Wars RPG-related material, a relatively new one for me is the DeviantArt website. This is a place where enthusiasts can post their work, some of which you'll recognize from the Fantasy Flight Games sourcebooks. Here's a link to the Star Wars category there.

Star Wars on DeviantArt


Friday, September 23, 2016

Flashback Friday: A d6 System Star Wars Adventure

While this might seem a bit out of place, I'm posting a short PDF containing a scenario for the old West End Games Star Wars RPG. I wrote it for the third issue of Wildspace Magazine, which supports the old game, but that issue won't be completed. Since it completes the storyline introduced in my adventures for the first two issues, I figured I should provide it for a sense of completion. It has an appropriate title, too.

Unfinished Business

Conversion stats for the FFG Star Wars games are forthcoming.


Monday, September 12, 2016

Demo Scenario: Hutt's Bounty

Continuing this series of short (i.e., two hours' time or less) scenarios, here's one that takes the PCs to Tatooine in search of a being wanted by the Hutts, but also sought by the Rebel Alliance. It follows up on the events of Pirate Attack and Imperial Crackdown, and will lead into Rebel Strike.

Hutt's Bounty


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Rescue at Hosnian Prime

While we're waiting for the downloadable follow-up adventure, A Call for Heroes, to use with the Beginner Game for The Force Awakens, I've put together a short scenario expanding on a suggestion from the boxed set. 

Rescue at Hosnian Prime


Friday, August 5, 2016

Review of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Beginner Game

There was a small amount of controversy when Fantasy Flight Games first announced this product; some fans of the game thought it would herald a new, fourth core series of products. Those fears were quickly quashed, however, and then it was left for people to wait until today for it to be released. Now the time has come.

In its layout, this set is very similar to the ones that preceded it. It comes with a map, a short introduction, an adventure booklet, a rules booklet, tokens to represent characters, and vehicles and creatures. The adventure scenario is pretty straightforward, involving a band of nomads who make a surprising and important discovery aboard a downed Corvette but run afoul of a local criminal gang. From there, however, the story takes a surprising turn, throwing the PCs into the middle of the conflict that is erupting throughout the galaxy. It even has suggestions for adventures occurring after the First Order's destruction of Hosnian Prime.

That, in the end, is what I think makes this set worthwhile for fans of The Force Awakens. It is the first RPG product specifically related to the new movie(s), bringing Star Wars roleplaying into the new era. To me that's notable because I started playing the d6 version of the RPG from West End Games in the late eighties or early nineties, back when there was nothing but the Rebellion Era. Some ten years later, when the prequel movies were hitting the theaters, Wizards of the Coast put out its d20 version; with that and the RPGA's Living Force Campaign, I associated those rules with the time period leading up to the Clone Wars, the fall of the Old Republic and Order 66. This boxed set, then, takes the new FFG rules and sends them into the new era.

In that way, the set achieves its core purpose: It provides an introduction for new players, especially for those whose first Star Wars experience might have been Episode VII. What is more, it leads right into a downloadable adventure, A Call for Heroes. This promises to explore even more of this time period, and GMs can always adapt material from the other FFG core rulebooks and sourcebooks, along with elements from the movie(s). The boxed set also includes a map of the galaxy—including the new planets Jakku, Takodana, D'Qar, Hosnian Prime and Starkiller Base—which is a nice addition. There are also stats for some of the character types who serve the First Order, the Resistance and various criminal organizations,

Finally, it comes with another set of dice, which are always handy.

 For these reasons, I believe this set is invaluable for GMs who want to launch campaigns in the new era of Star Wars.

Review of A Call for Heroes
After reading through this scenario, I've found some things I like and some that I don't. They are:
  • Positive: The document, thirty pages long, presents three separate “missions” that the PCs can undertake. One is a raid on an old Imperial communications station, another is the exploration of an old Imperial research facility, and the last is a return to Jakku to help deal with the Strus Clan enemies made during the scenario Discovery on Jakku from the boxed set. This could easily make for three sessions' worth of play.
  • Positive: These scenarios provide a good mix of encounters, with fast action, creepy atmosphere and good roleplaying opportunities at different times.
  • Negative: I wish that the scenarios had maps. While I know that the Star Wars RPG doesn't rely on maps for game play, I still like to have them to set the scene for the players.
  • Negative: Although I figured this might be the case, there aren't many details about what the Resistance (or the rest of the galaxy) is doing in the aftermath of The Force Awakens. I understand why this is, of course, since Episode VIII is still in production, but I'd hoped that there might be a few tidbits.
All in all, A Call for Heroes provides a solid resource for adventures, even though most GMs would need to do some extrapolation in order to continue developing a campaign in the Episode VII era after this scenario is finished.