Thoughts on the Failure of Licensed IP in the Hobby: The Lack of Disney-fication is a Feature, not a Bug


Small Ball Archmage
RPGers, it seems to me are more interested in the setting that the story of the movie is selling, rather than reenacting their favorite sort of scenes from the movie-- even in the context of their own characters as the heroes. I think in that sense its less of a murderhobo impulse, and more that playing the setting straight is more interesting in an RPG than in a movie: pulling jobs in a cyberpunk universe is inherently tactical, includes problem solving, a reward, and stakes if you fail, but "Can I pull this off? Ok sweet we did it" is often pretty basic as a movie plot goes.

I think one of the reasons DND style fantasy is often regarded as generic enough to pull off most fantasy, is because the kinds of compromises you have to make to pull character concepts or monsters in, the things we sometimes look at and say "DND Fantasy doesn't allow for this" don't really matter to what the person doing it actually wanted. If you want to play as a Geralt-of-Rivia-like, you probably mean you want to play a gruff monster hunter with a cynical outlook but a heart of gold, or that you want powers that feel like the ones he uses in the games, THAT PART is a lot more doable than "I need to play in a zero-compromise rendition of the World of the Witcher." So this world that has loads of monsters, different magical traditions, endless lists of spells, and a variety of classes that are based on different sources of power and fictional ideas, becomes a kind of 'wide denominator'

If you run a magic school game in Pathfinder, you aren't playing Harry Potter exactly, but you can probably get most of what would matter to you about that in: a setting full of magic and mystery, that you explore as students who get into trouble as they investigate weird goings-ons during their time in school and face off against bullies, rivals, and deal with teachers. You don't need a game that emulates Potter's magic system to do that, so if you're comfortable with DND magic that's just fine. If you take this with what I said before, a lot of the RPG impulse is trying to live in the fictional space those characters inhabit, and the status quo of the story is an exciting life to inhabit, divorced from the status quo shattering plot of the film that inspired you. personally, I've always been frustrated by the plot and wish these works spent more time on exploring the implications of their world, and slice of life elements set in the fantastical. In that context "Fantastical Treasure Hunters" played straight is fine, and a great basis for us to add character relationships and personal arcs onto.

Also incidentally, on the subject of Star Wars, I think many of the people who are most enthused to play a Star Wars RPG are traditionally the sort of people who get enthused about reading the Star Wars novels that do in fact fly off the shelves of your local library, or get enthused about playing Star Wars Video Games with their own narratives and sub narratives, like ye olde KOTOR and its exploration of way before the movies and jedi lore, 2006's Battlefront 2's exploration of military actions barely or entirely unexplored by the films, Empire at War and it's preoccupation with the Black Sun Syndicate.

In that context, the Star Wars movies are a beloved afterthought to the rest of the setting, which you can spend a lot of time in if you would like, and easily hold the opinion "The Movies are pretty good, but have you played KOTOR II yet?" when it comes to the fantasy of being a Jedi.

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aramis erak

I think with FFG it helps that they don't specifically have a Star Wars RPG license. They have a license for Star Wars Tabletop games, or something along those lines (which is also why they don't sell Star Wars RPG PDFs – for some reason, they're not covered by the license).
THey specifically had (it's been transferred to Edge Studios) the RPG license.
The reason cited by FFG for no PDFs is that a PDF is considered software by Disney, and thus outside their license. (Given that WotC made the same claim lends a bit of credence to that.)

And technically, PDFs are software - they use PostScript, which is a turing complete programming language. Further, they can embed another turing complete programming language, JavaScript.


Yep, PDFs are considered "electronic games". Also Edge has plans to produce new books but they're on hold due to continuing supply chain issues IIRC.


Reflecting the thread about Licensed RPGs you'd like to see... this concept doesn't even intrigue me. I'm certain, I'm not like most gamers. I've previously mentioned, I wasn't big into comics as a kid, I did purchase some of the horror comics of old (Uncle Creepy, Cousin Eerie and Vampirella), but not more than a half dozen of each back when I was 12. I'm not a collector, I don't collect anything, especially not movie or games products, unless I am actually playing a given IP. Since I'd started to develop and publish my own content, that's all I really want to do is to develop and publish, my own content. I've always created products of my imagination. Sometimes I see some one else's creative ideas, and I often think that's a good idea, but I'd have done it differently. So when I see existing IP, I only think about how I'd do it, not how it was done in a give novel or movie. I have zero interest in other's IP, if I didn't create it, I'm uninterested. I'm not claiming my content is "best" or even "better" than existing IP, just I have no interest in IP, I did not create.

I didn't even post to that thread regarding licensed IPs I want to see as an RPG, because none of that applies to my interest at all. Regarding the "Disney-ificaiton" of content is even further from interest, so I'd never buy a "Disney-ified" product ever.

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