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

Zardnaar

Legend
We're not talking about mass market here we're talking about role playing games. And as Luiscarlo14f pointed out, some people don't want to play Star Wars because they're characters aren't the big damn heroes who get to blow up the Death Star and cut off Vader's hand. There were plenty of great stories to tell in the Star Wars universe for characters who aren't Luke, Leia, or Han.
There are my example was just explaining the Skywalker effect.

This isn't new you had books set in timelines well away from the Skywalker's back in the 90s. Galaxy usa big place as well and plenty of books for non Skywalker type games.
 

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bloodtide

Explorer
I never understood the Skywalker effect. Especially back in the old WEG days, the universe was so big and undefined that the DM could largely do what they wanted. Who cares if they’re not defeating Vader or Tarkin? That story was already told so let’s do something different.
Well, if your character is not the most important Chosen One Jedi demi god....or one of their friends, then to many people you are "not playing Star Wars".

Plus it gets worse as in the movies the hero character says a one liner and 'pew pew' blows up anything. But when you play an RPG it's all: make an attack roll and do 1d4 damage.

Maybe with the Maldolorian people will finally "get" Star Wars does not have to only be the Epic Skywalker Saga.
 

pming

Adventurer
Hiya!

There are plenty of ways you can avoid the Skywalker effect or even "Well I already know how the story ends, so how is my knock off Han Solo smuggler supposed to beat that?"
I am in 100% agreement with this. :)

I almost got to run this one back in the mid 90's (when we were between campaigns, I'd pick a few games...3 to 5... and write little "campaign pitches". Then print and hand out to the players so they could collectively talk about them and pick one. Anyway...here's my write up for my Star Wars (WEG system, obviously! :) )...

========================
...Luke pushed the screaming engines of his X-wing as three tie-fighters closed in behind.

"Almost there..." he thought to himself. Just then, a bright flash of golden light caught his eye.
"Well, that's two down, but that last one is right on my tail!", Luke told himself. The 2-meter wide target was getting closer by the second.

"Luke", Luke thought he heard the voice of his dead mentor, Obi Wan, calling to him.
"Luke...", there it was again. Obi Wan's voice in his head.
"Use the Force, Luke...", Obi Wan stated.

"Use the Force?!", he thought to himself, "You didn't teach me how, damn it! Went and got yourself killed!". He paused and noticed that strange 'feeling' again. Like when he was practicing against the remote lightsaber bot back on the Millennium Falcon. The Force. It must be.
"Ok. Fine. I'll trust to the force...", Luke said out loud to himself in reassurance. Reaching over, Luke flicked off the targeting computer.

"Luke? You switched off your targeting computer. What's wrong?", a voice asked over the comm-link.

"Uh, nothing. I'm ok". He looked at the stars and at the tie fighter he couldn't shake. He had an odd feeling. He wasn't sure if it was the Force, or his own nerves. Maybe both.

The tie fighter closed in, and Luke's feeling intensified.

Luke Skywalker closed his eyes. He felt the Force flowing through him, becoming part of him, guiding his actions. He fired...
...and missed.


=================

And that was it. That was the "hook". :) The Players PC's were now primed for being "the ones" to defeat the Empire. I had ideas of how the core SW original heroes (Luke, Leia, Han, etc) all sort of drifted apart, blaming each other for their part in the failure to destroy the Death Star...and how Darth Vader and the Empire get emboldened by their success and the 'general populace' growing less fond of The Rebel Alliance, etc. In short...the PC's would be the ones determining the fate of the Galaxy....not Luke, Han, Chewie and Leia. :D

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Hiya!



I am in 100% agreement with this. :)

I almost got to run this one back in the mid 90's (when we were between campaigns, I'd pick a few games...3 to 5... and write little "campaign pitches". Then print and hand out to the players so they could collectively talk about them and pick one. Anyway...here's my write up for my Star Wars (WEG system, obviously! :) )...

========================
...Luke pushed the screaming engines of his X-wing as three tie-fighters closed in behind.

"Almost there..." he thought to himself. Just then, a bright flash of golden light caught his eye.
"Well, that's two down, but that last one is right on my tail!", Luke told himself. The 2-meter wide target was getting closer by the second.

"Luke", Luke thought he heard the voice of his dead mentor, Obi Wan, calling to him.
"Luke...", there it was again. Obi Wan's voice in his head.
"Use the Force, Luke...", Obi Wan stated.

"Use the Force?!", he thought to himself, "You didn't teach me how, damn it! Went and got yourself killed!". He paused and noticed that strange 'feeling' again. Like when he was practicing against the remote lightsaber bot back on the Millennium Falcon. The Force. It must be.
"Ok. Fine. I'll trust to the force...", Luke said out loud to himself in reassurance. Reaching over, Luke flicked off the targeting computer.

"Luke? You switched off your targeting computer. What's wrong?", a voice asked over the comm-link.

"Uh, nothing. I'm ok". He looked at the stars and at the tie fighter he couldn't shake. He had an odd feeling. He wasn't sure if it was the Force, or his own nerves. Maybe both.

The tie fighter closed in, and Luke's feeling intensified.

Luke Skywalker closed his eyes. He felt the Force flowing through him, becoming part of him, guiding his actions. He fired...
...and missed.


=================

And that was it. That was the "hook". :) The Players PC's were now primed for being "the ones" to defeat the Empire. I had ideas of how the core SW original heroes (Luke, Leia, Han, etc) all sort of drifted apart, blaming each other for their part in the failure to destroy the Death Star...and how Darth Vader and the Empire get emboldened by their success and the 'general populace' growing less fond of The Rebel Alliance, etc. In short...the PC's would be the ones determining the fate of the Galaxy....not Luke, Han, Chewie and Leia. :D

^_^

Paul L. Ming
Not really a fan of this type of approach. If you're using an existing franchise it's up to the GM to work with it or make the story work with existing PCs.

For example Luke still blows up the death star. Using SWSE if you have a level 20 Jedi when Luke uses the force it's actually your Jedi guiding Luke.

I would more likely to just time shift if I wanted a galactic threat or gave the PCs operate from the shadows.
 

pming

Adventurer
Hiya!

Not really a fan of this type of approach. If you're using an existing franchise it's up to the GM to work with it or make the story work with existing PCs.

For example Luke still blows up the death star. Using SWSE if you have a level 20 Jedi when Luke uses the force it's actually your Jedi guiding Luke.

I would more likely to just time shift if I wanted a galactic threat or gave the PCs operate from the shadows.
Ok, I can see that desire.

For my group at the time (and my last one...which still held two of the original players from the 90's), we were interested in "Playing in a Star Wars Campaign" and not "Playing through the Star Wars Story". Some folks, like you I guess, really enjoy playing 'through' a story, knowing what's going to happen 'overall'...and rubbing shoulders with the 'actual heroes of the story'. shrug Not for me/us though. Rather just use the general setting and write our own stories. :)

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Hiya!



Ok, I can see that desire.

For my group at the time (and my last one...which still held two of the original players from the 90's), we were interested in "Playing in a Star Wars Campaign" and not "Playing through the Star Wars Story". Some folks, like you I guess, really enjoy playing 'through' a story, knowing what's going to happen 'overall'...and rubbing shoulders with the 'actual heroes of the story'. shrug Not for me/us though. Rather just use the general setting and write our own stories. :)

^_^

Paul L. Ming
They don't rub shoulders with Luke and co.

Normally ran in New Republic era, a smuggler type game, or rebel cell type game.

Or just timejump.

If I was going to run an infinities game (anything goes) I wouldn't copy Luke's story.

Deathstar would probably blow up Yavin and the heroes would have to rally the remaining rebels and figure out how to blow up the Deathstar and defeat Palps.

I did offer an infinities game last campaign for the first time ever but they picked Imperial TIE fighter pilots. I think the other options were old republic, legacy era or Disney canon.

Played some D6 one shots earlier in the year and was throwing around some ideas but Covids interupted everything.

We used Revised/REUP D6.
 

Hiya!



I am in 100% agreement with this. :)

I almost got to run this one back in the mid 90's (when we were between campaigns, I'd pick a few games...3 to 5... and write little "campaign pitches". Then print and hand out to the players so they could collectively talk about them and pick one. Anyway...here's my write up for my Star Wars (WEG system, obviously! :) )...

========================
...Luke pushed the screaming engines of his X-wing as three tie-fighters closed in behind.

"Almost there..." he thought to himself. Just then, a bright flash of golden light caught his eye.
"Well, that's two down, but that last one is right on my tail!", Luke told himself. The 2-meter wide target was getting closer by the second.

"Luke", Luke thought he heard the voice of his dead mentor, Obi Wan, calling to him.
"Luke...", there it was again. Obi Wan's voice in his head.
"Use the Force, Luke...", Obi Wan stated.

"Use the Force?!", he thought to himself, "You didn't teach me how, damn it! Went and got yourself killed!". He paused and noticed that strange 'feeling' again. Like when he was practicing against the remote lightsaber bot back on the Millennium Falcon. The Force. It must be.
"Ok. Fine. I'll trust to the force...", Luke said out loud to himself in reassurance. Reaching over, Luke flicked off the targeting computer.

"Luke? You switched off your targeting computer. What's wrong?", a voice asked over the comm-link.

"Uh, nothing. I'm ok". He looked at the stars and at the tie fighter he couldn't shake. He had an odd feeling. He wasn't sure if it was the Force, or his own nerves. Maybe both.

The tie fighter closed in, and Luke's feeling intensified.

Luke Skywalker closed his eyes. He felt the Force flowing through him, becoming part of him, guiding his actions. He fired...
...and missed.


=================

And that was it. That was the "hook". :) The Players PC's were now primed for being "the ones" to defeat the Empire. I had ideas of how the core SW original heroes (Luke, Leia, Han, etc) all sort of drifted apart, blaming each other for their part in the failure to destroy the Death Star...and how Darth Vader and the Empire get emboldened by their success and the 'general populace' growing less fond of The Rebel Alliance, etc. In short...the PC's would be the ones determining the fate of the Galaxy....not Luke, Han, Chewie and Leia. :D

^_^

Paul L. Ming
Sounds like something out of the What-If Star Wars Infinites. They were pretty interesting. The idea of Luke "missing" the shot sounds like a plot set up for one of those stories.
 

Nobby-W

Far more clumsy and random than a blaster
There have been at least two successful games based on the franchise, although one died for reasons unrelated to the merits of the game. However, it's still an also-ran in comparison to D&D in that everything else is basically an also-ran due to the dominance of the D&D brand in the market. It's still amongst the biggest of the second tier, though.

I think the biggest impediment is that it's a closed franchise. You can only do stuff through the official licensing program if you don't want to incur the wrath of LucasfilmDisney and that means that it's effectively limited to one official licensee. If there's nobody willing and sufficiently well-funded to jump through the hoops then there's not going to be any other third-party Star Wars content. This effectively puts any indie publisher right out of the picture, and there aren't a lot of bigger game publishers with the resources to take it on. FFG is still the incumbent, for better or worse.

The other impediment is the generally chaotic nature of the core product. Most of the recent Star Wars films have been somewhat less than stellar, and it's pretty clear that the folks managing the franchise don't understand the IP or their fan base. Compare this, for example, with the success of Disney's Marvel films. The Star Wars franchise is getting less and less mindshare with younger punters, so it's starting to suffer from an ageing fan base. Unless Disney manages to fix that then it's a less attractive market, especially when you have to deal with the risks involved in Disney's brand police getting a veto on anything you want to publish.

I think that it's not that attractive as a commercial proposition these days.

TL;DR: It's a product that's starting to get past its use-by date and unless one of the bigger players decides that it's worth their while to put the resources in then it's not going to happen.
 
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macd21

Adventurer
Well, if your character is not the most important Chosen One Jedi demi god....or one of their friends, then to many people you are "not playing Star Wars".
I really don’t think that's true of all but a tiny minority of players. Star Wars is probably the third largest RPG out at the moment, despite being quite old for an RPG edition. Plenty of people are clearly happy with it, and have no problem playing someone other than the Chosen One & co.
 

MarkB

Legend
Sounds like something out of the What-If Star Wars Infinites. They were pretty interesting. The idea of Luke "missing" the shot sounds like a plot set up for one of those stories.
It literally was. One of the storylines starts from the premise that Luke's shot goes into the exhaust port, but doesn't make it all the way to the reactor. It causes a temporary power loss so that the Death Star's first shot at Yavin IV is at low intensity, causing massive earthquakes but not destroying it. Han has barely enough time to double back, pick up Leia, and get outta there before the Death Star recharges for a killing shot.

I don't recall the details of the subsequent story, except that it concludes with Yoda taking out Palpatine by using the Force to drop the Death Star on his palace on Coruscant.
 

It literally was. One of the storylines starts from the premise that Luke's shot goes into the exhaust port, but doesn't make it all the way to the reactor. It causes a temporary power loss so that the Death Star's first shot at Yavin IV is at low intensity, causing massive earthquakes but not destroying it. Han has barely enough time to double back, pick up Leia, and get outta there before the Death Star recharges for a killing shot.

I don't recall the details of the subsequent story, except that it concludes with Yoda taking out Palpatine by using the Force to drop the Death Star on his palace on Coruscant.
Oh yeah, I think that was the one where Leia and Luke duel against each other on the Death Star II, Royal Guards with Darth Maul double bladed lightsabers, and, like you said, Yoda doing a self sacrifice by dropping the death star on Palpatines home address while they are both in there and watching the Battle of Endor or something. Or was it Moff Tarkin and Yoda in the Death Star watching everything? Can't remember.
 

Star Wars does not have to only be the Epic Skywalker Saga.
Honestly, the best Era where you can best do that is the Knights of The Old Republic era and Post New Republic/Legacy era.

Games set during The Old Republic MMO is probably another great one

The Clone Wars and it's nature means pretty much "everybody" contributes, depending who you are fighting for, with Order 66 being the doorstopper.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
This thread has me thinking about writing up a Sci-Fi homebrew for HERO with some SW elements- like jedi of some kind- as well as drawing from other franchises (Dune, Doctor Who, Firefly, Niven’s Known Space, etc.) but without going full on kitchen sink a la RIFTS.
 
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Zardnaar

Legend
Honestly, the best Era where you can best do that is the Knights of The Old Republic era and Post New Republic/Legacy era.

Games set during The Old Republic MMO is probably another great one

The Clone Wars and it's nature means pretty much "everybody" contributes, depending who you are fighting for, with Order 66 being the doorstopper.
KoToR kind of covers from the Tales of the Jedi through to Old Republic era.

Alot of references and locations from Tales of the Jedi make it into KoToR 1&2.

New canon post Endor around Mandalorian isn't to developed and there's enough imperials left over to blast.

Legends was set 130 years after Jedi and was probably the last of the good EU to be made. Still had a Dkywalker but he was a deathstick addict and was right on the edge of lightside/darkside.

They had lots of interesting ideas though in that era.
 

MarkB

Legend
The Clone Wars and it's nature means pretty much "everybody" contributes, depending who you are fighting for, with Order 66 being the doorstopper.
Except that you have to live with the OOC knowledge that, no matter how great your contribution (to either side), Palpatine will find a way to balance the scales behind the scenes and keep the war going.
 

macd21

Adventurer
Except that you have to live with the OOC knowledge that, no matter how great your contribution (to either side), Palpatine will find a way to balance the scales behind the scenes and keep the war going.
I think that’s not really a problem, unless you make it one. You don’t have every mission be an attempt to win the war at one stroke. You make it about individual victories - lives saved, allies won, enemies thwarted. Not everything needs to be about saving the entire galaxy.

Like, people playing the 40k RPGs know they’re not going to save humanity, reform the Imperium into a utopia, slay the Chaos gods etc. But they still manage to have fun anyway, same with Star Wars.
 

Eltab

Hero
Except that you have to live with the OOC knowledge that, no matter how great your contribution (to either side), Palpatine will find a way to balance the scales behind the scenes and keep the war going.
OOC I also know what Palpatine is really up to. If the rest of the group is interested, our campaign can be the process of building up the resources to mess with that.
 

MarkB

Legend
I think that’s not really a problem, unless you make it one. You don’t have every mission be an attempt to win the war at one stroke. You make it about individual victories - lives saved, allies won, enemies thwarted. Not everything needs to be about saving the entire galaxy.

Like, people playing the 40k RPGs know they’re not going to save humanity, reform the Imperium into a utopia, slay the Chaos gods etc. But they still manage to have fun anyway, same with Star Wars.
True - but there's a difference between knowing that your actions are insignificant on the larger scale and knowing that there's a shadowy force actively working to counterbalance any victories you achieve, which you have no way of knowing about in-character.
 

macd21

Adventurer
True - but there's a difference between knowing that your actions are insignificant on the larger scale and knowing that there's a shadowy force actively working to counterbalance any victories you achieve, which you have no way of knowing about in-character.
I really don’t think there is. Like I said, there’s plenty of potential in a clone wars campaign, and I don’t think it would bother more than a handful of people. So what if the Empire is going to rise? Those refugees you saved have still been saved. You still deposed the Separatist tyrant of Mintsssa 3. You still stole the prototype starship that you now get to fly around in.

And if your players are amongst the small number who would be annoyed by this - you just play in another period.
 

aramis erak

Adventurer
If a other company picks up the licence I wonder if just redoing SWSE via the OGL or D6 which is now open source would make sense.

Skips the whole we need to design an RPG from the ground up phase.
SWSE wasn't OGL.
D6 has gone OGL, but the OGL d6 isn't quite the same. It's a major edition number difference.
But that's irrelevant.

Any company proposing that would need to convince Disney it's a good idea, and then could likely just literally reprint that edition. Why? Because both LFL and Disney had the sense to demand ownership of the copyrights as part of the license fees. So WEG, HasBro, or FFG/Asmodee have no ability to stop reprints once their licenses end.

As can be evidenced by the reprint of WEG 1E... FFG merely had to convince Disney, and they got to reprint the original.

Star Trek licenses likewise - except it's CBS, rather than Disney. Most license work the same way.
 

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