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Why Doesn't Star Wars Hold More Mind Share in the RPG Market?

Eltab

Hero
There are definitely similar real-world examples of a group of people with religious or martial significance going from being respected public figures to being practically kill-on-sight in the same country (due to a new totalitarian government) within 19 years time. I'm not sure if naming the examples would fall afoul of the no-religion/no-politics rules here though.
King Phillippe(?) of France destroying the Knights Templar (and stealing their stuff and revoking title to all their lands) came to mind. But I'm a History nut and read dusty books out of the Storage section of my Public Library.
 

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Retreater

Legend
Do any media tie-in games actually do well? Examples include: Star Wars, Star Trek, Dr. Who, DC, Marvel, Conan, John Carter, Solomon Kane, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and I'm sure many others. I think I've seen it brought up that the licenses to these properties change quickly - often within a couple years. I think that's a big part of it. You can't build an RPG brand when the entire system changes completely every few years. Say what you want about the changes between D&D editions, but I don't think any of them have been as drastic as the changes between WEG Star Wars, d20 Star Wars/SAGA, and FFG Star Wars.
The media tie-in that seems the most successful is Call of Cthulhu (IMO), and it's been largely unchanged since the early 1980s.
 

Why would I bother to keep them separate? That implies I care anything about the new Disney stuff or pay attention to it in any way. I don't care. I actively avoid the new Disney stuff.
...
That's what you're missing, that there is a community of SWRPG fans, but they aren't at ENWorld, which has traditionally been a place mostly for D&D and d20 system, games instead of all RPG's. There are plenty of gaming groups and gaming culture for Star Wars that is chugging along happily and not letting Disney's reboot announcement of April 25, 2014 affect anything, or incorporating anything from their new movies.
If anyone was looking for an answer to OPs question, I think this pretty much sums it up.
 

Malkinban

The Torn
If anyone was looking for an answer to OPs question, I think this pretty much sums it up.
In a nebulous way. Are you positing that Star Wars gaming is seeing some sort of backlash since Disney bought Lucasfilm or are you saying that I am just looking in the wrong places?

I’m not necessarily looking for Star Wars RPG communities, I know about most of them. I’m just wondering why Star Wars RPGs don’t tend to perform as well as their IP would suggest.

The constant shifting of licenses (and thus rules) makes a lot of sense. I can also understand how Star Wars may seem limited in genre elements to the non-fanatic.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Speaking only for myself...it’s a matter of my approach to the hobby.

I loved the original SW trilogy, but Phantom Menace left me cold. Killed the franchise for me. That said, I DID buy some D20 SW RPG material...because I wanted more creatures and feats, etc. to use in my own D20 homebrews. Ditto a lot of other D20 products.

Expanding a bit, of the 100+ RPGs I’ve bought in my years in the hobby, SWD20 is one of very few licensed RPG products I own. Others are Prime Directive (Star Trek from TFG), Justice Machine (Palladium), and Stormbringer, Corum & Hawkmoon (Chaosium). And there’s the Lankhmar stuff for 2Ed D&D. That might be it, though there may be a few more D20 products I’ve forgotten.

Why so few? Because it’s the rare IP that I really want to play in or run. Not even my favorites often inspire m like that. Instead, just like with SW, I’m preferentially aimed at using others’ stuff as fuel for my own homebrewed campaigns. Indeed, I can honestly say that only a couple of those licensed games even got played. Most were just fuel for inspiration.
 

Retreater

Legend
I loved the original SW trilogy, but Phantom Menace left me cold. Killed the franchise for me.
I hear ya. I realized a few years ago that I disliked more of the films than I actually enjoyed. Basically, two great original trilogy films, one "okay" original trilogy film, one good sequel trilogy film. The rest are pretty much bad or (at the very least) boring to me.
It's not like I'm saying Lucas or Disney destroyed my childhood. I just came to realize I don't like the series that much.
 

I loved the original SW trilogy, but Phantom Menace left me cold. Killed the franchise for me.
I couldn't agree more. Star Wars was a major part of my childhood, but the prequels and later sequel movies made me less enthusiastic about SW (to put it in the absolutely nicest way). I still have very fond memories of Star Wars, and do enjoy watching some of the movies, but I am less enthusiastic about the series than before.

This lack of enthusiasm in Star Wars continued when I started playing TTRPGs. Sometimes players would bring up doing a Star Wars campaign, but I honestly don't care much for Star Wars, and that's why I personally don't buy Star Wars TTRPG products or run Star Wars based games.
 

bloodtide

Explorer
Star Wars suffers from the Epic Story Idiot Ball Problem. And at least half of all Star Wars fans are fans of the Epic Story Idiot Ball Star Wars.

The Epic Story is the whole "The third Death Star is gonna blast the Republic in ten seconds and only your group can save it with some plucky comic relief Driods, a cool ship, the Force, some 'pew pew' blasts and a wacky plan!"

The Idiot Ball is the whole bit where the whole galaxy and everyone in it must have an intelligence of -100, so the "heroes" with intelligence's of one are like super smart demi gods. (This is by no means a Star Wars exclusive problem: it's a Hollywood problem).

So the first problem has the very unhappy players doing any "typical" RPG encounter. Say they are trying to steal some go go juice from some wokkies with clubs. Well, that does not feel much like Epic Star Wars. The players want to be jedi lords with four bladed clover lightsbers fighting sith lord dragons on death star III.....not throwing a vibro-dart at a wokkie for 1d4 damage.

The second problem is even worse. The players want the Idiot Galaxy from the movies. They want their characters to walk up to the secret back door...rip out some random wires like an idiot caveman and not just open the door, but deactive the security systems for the planet. Needless to say any game rule actions, like trying to roll higher then a 12, just does not 'cut it' as being fun Star Wars.

So two huge problems for half of your fan base that would play a Star Wars RPG.
 

ccs

40th lv DM
You know what current SW needs that'll explain & preserve everything?
It needs another Abrams movie to introduce an in-cannon alternate universe/timeline, just like he did with his version of ST.
Start it off in the pre-2014 cannon & have a throwaway character take a one way trip to the Disney-verse like Spock did in Trek.

Heck they even have it all primed storywise: Sun Crusher
Don't tell me nobody got sucked into the resulting blackholes this thing caused. Being spat out into an alternate continuity is at least as believable as the mere existence of this ship, crushing Chewie with a moon, or pretty much anything seen in Episodes VII-IX.

And you know what? If there's one parallel SW verse there's probably more. So crap from the prequels that doesn't line up? Maybe that's not quite the backstory for IV-VI after all....

There, problem solved. It's ALL cannon. Just not the same cannon.:)
 
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MGibster

Legend
I recently finished watching the last season of Rebels, and I don't think I could reasonably create Ezra Bridger especially when really starts developing his skills with the Force in any version of Star Wars I've played. I've also found that Star Wars games have the same problem Star Trek games have; staying within genre. Far too often, my Star Wars games take a more mercenary bent as my players are more interested in how much the Rebellion can pay them rather than fighting tyranny. And while I recognize that as a legitimate way to play I don't want to do it in Star Wars over and over again.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
King Phillippe(?) of France destroying the Knights Templar (and stealing their stuff and revoking title to all their lands) came to mind. But I'm a History nut and read dusty books out of the Storage section of my Public Library.
Communists and Orthodox church in USSR. Longer time frame than 22 years though.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
As a long time Star Wars player here's why.

1. Shifting rules. There's no continuity between the systems. I didn't bother with the new system because if the gimmick dice. Eventually the system is going to go out of print and no more gimmick dice.

2. Disney killing off legends. Well guess what the RPG is also legends. All my RPG stuff is legends material, see point 1.

3. Collapse of the Star Wars ecology. Obviously it still exists but not like the 90s. Not much in the way of new games, books, comics. There's some if course but yeah.

4. Fan support.
Fan support is heavily leaning towards Legends to the extent there's entire fan produced RPG books and mods for games that are essentially full games. This crosses over onto YouTube.

Fans if the RPGs seem to have settled on the new one or old D6. WotC stuff is kinda dead because it was terrible quality and SWSE is expensive and hard to get. SWSE is also to hard to tweak without a total rewrite vs cleaning up D6.

I used a fan produced D6 variant for some one off games and my 5E players liked it.
 


Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
You know what current SW needs that'll explain & preserve everything?
It needs another Abrams movie to introduce an in-cannon alternate universe/timeline, just like he did with his version of ST.

<edit>

And you know what? If there's one parallel SW verse there's probably more. So crap from the prequels that doesn't line up? Maybe that's not quite the backstory for IV-VI after all....

There, problem solved. It's ALL cannon. Just not the same cannon.:)
I just had a vision of Obi Wan as a drunk, Luke as a Sith, Leia with slave girls, Solo as a cyborg...and Chewbacca with a goatee.
 

aramis erak

Adventurer
I think the primary reason for Star Wars not capturing more of the share than it has boils down to this: a lot of people are intimidated by the scope and revisions of the IP. Sure, there's the issue of the number of different game systems. Sure, there's the issue of being a single setting (it's not, but for now, I'll let that slide). The simple fact is there's enough out there for Star Wars that it's always going to cause problems.

It doesn't help that post-1999 invaldated a lot of the pre-1999 expanded universe, and the post 2012 Disney canon realignment created yet another fracture.

One friend of mine bought every Star Wars RPG book released.... but wouldn't consider playing it, because he neither trusted anyone to get the feel right, nor was willing to trust himself to do so, either.

Now, as for a single setting... It's not. Like most space games, it's a collection of settings; Yaavin is very different from Coruscant, Tatooine, or the Corporate Sector. Sure, it's united into one supersetting...

But there also are 4 key time zones covered in various works...
The Original Trilogy - the Rebellion setting.
The Prequel Trilogy - Dusk of the Empire setting. Close to, but not the same as, the Rebellion Era.
The Height of the Republic - The KotOR era
The Post-Rebellion setting - either the New Republic of late WEG and the 1990's novels, or the New Republic hinted at in the sequel trilogy... along with the First Order...

There's plenty of room for gaming in the SW expanded universe... but exactly what is canon for a given game is as much a curse as blessing, since it's usually the source of most friction at the table.
 

I've never been the biggest fan of the films (my FATHER is... He even has an unironic love for Jar Jar) but the SETTING has interested me for some time, especially elements like the Grey Jedi.

When it comes to the 'canon' of the series, I typically look at it like Disney expects people to look at it: everything pre-acquisition is OLD canon The main films, the CGI Clone Wars series, and everything from 2014 forward is NEW canon. The FFG game seems to be new canon unless directly contradicted by Disney, for reference.

Oh, and for anyone who is turned off by FFGs preparatory dice: they have a roller app that also covers their miniatures games: Star Wars™ Dice - Apps on Google Play
 
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pming

Adventurer
HJiya!

I was wondering about this the other day. I know that the RPG market has long been dominated by the Fantasy genre, but I can't help but wonder why Star Wars (being Science Fantasy) does not capture a larger part of the RPG market than it currently does.
Because WEG lost the license (and went bankrupt due to their parent company...a shoe import company, believe it or not!...).

I'm 100% serious.

WEG's "Star Wars" was sooo dang good that even Lucasfilm used it's RPG books/supplements as OFFICIAL CANNON! In fact, Lucasfilm sent Timothy Zhan a box of WEG SW stuff and was told "use the background and other stuff in these for your new novel series".

The WEG SW setting and system was perfect for what it was portraying; fast action space fantasy opera. INSHO, it is, to this day, THE best Star Wars setting/system, hands down.

Then WotC got the license, and...well... yeah. :(

If WEG was resurrected and all their old SW stuff brought back into play, and new stuff written....I could see SW making a HUGE comeback in the RPG community. But that will never happen.

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Zardnaar

Legend
HJiya!



Because WEG lost the license (and went bankrupt due to their parent company...a shoe import company, believe it or not!...).

I'm 100% serious.

WEG's "Star Wars" was sooo dang good that even Lucasfilm used it's RPG books/supplements as OFFICIAL CANNON! In fact, Lucasfilm sent Timothy Zhan a box of WEG SW stuff and was told "use the background and other stuff in these for your new novel series".

The WEG SW setting and system was perfect for what it was portraying; fast action space fantasy opera. INSHO, it is, to this day, THE best Star Wars setting/system, hands down.

Then WotC got the license, and...well... yeah. :(

If WEG was resurrected and all their old SW stuff brought back into play, and new stuff written....I could see SW making a HUGE comeback in the RPG community. But that will never happen.

^_^

Paul L. Ming
You notice this a lot rereading the Thrawn Trilogy. From the RPG.

Victory class star destroyers
Strike Cruisers
Carrack class cruisers
Star Galleons.

That's 90s revival/ecology seems to have gone.
 

macd21

Adventurer
When it comes to ‘mind share,’ I think the issue is that FFG aren’t really developing the setting. While Star Wars is generally the number 3 RPG (number 2 if you see DnD and PF as basically just variations of DnD), there’s not much to talk about that isn’t really just a conversation about the movies or other media. Hell, the media gives you much, much more to talk about than the RPG.

As the modern RPG products are just tools to let you implement (some of the) stuff from the franchise, there’s not much to talk about that isn’t better served by a conversation about the show/movie/book. The game itself doesn’t give you new talking points. It was different with the first RPG, which actively expanded the setting beyond the trilogy. There was plenty to discuss and debate.
 


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