Monday, November 22, 2010

Why do I play Star Wars?

In reading posts from other bloggers that relate to Star Wars I have come across a particular 'sticking point' more than once. Namely, a lot of gamers seem to have a problem with playing in a setting where there is an over-arching Storyline (such as the six movies that now make up the Star Wars saga). To me, this attitude is perplexing- but I think I see its root. I just seem to have a different mind-set when it comes to things like this. Evidently it works as follows:

Some people see a movie-setting like Star Wars and say to themselves: Gee, I'd like to BE the heroes in the movie.

Some people see a movie-setting like Star Wars and says to themselves: Gee, I'd love to adventure in the same world as those heroes.

The former type of person is likely to feel constrained if they are not at least as powerful as the heroes were in the movie. Likewise, they don't want to have the spotlight stolen from their own characters by the people in the movies. I can understand this outlook, both as a player and a GM. Afterall, who wants to play 'second fiddle' to someone else, especially someone else who is only a hero because the 'script' says so. This type of person wants to carve their own path and (hopefully) become the main focus of the story.

The latter type of person probably enjoyed the characters in the movie more than the setting or even plot. They revel in the thought of actually interacting with those characters and being a part of the larger storyline. I can understand THIS outlook as well. I mean, who wouldn't want to hang out with Han Solo and Chewbacca for a while. They're cool. And besides, who says that just because there are other heroes out there you can't have your own adventures and, in your own way, become a major player in the events of the Galaxy.

If I had to pick, I'd say that I fall into the latter category. The reason Star Wars appeals to me isn't just the space ships or blasters or the Empire vs. the Rebellion— a lot of sci fi movies have those— its the people. Though Luke was my personal hero (the one I 'played' on the school yard), I never wanted to 'supplant' him in the game with my own character. I just wanted to be a part of the world that had Luke and Han and Leia in it. But then, maybe my view is a bit skewed, since I'm usually the GM, and not a player.

But quite honestly I just do not understand the argument some people put forth that if you follow the movies it somehow 'limits' what you can do as a player or even GM in the Star Wars setting. Maybe it does in the broadest terms- i.e. you 'know' that the Rebellion will win. But there is just so much room for 'other' heroes in the Star Wars that it frustrates me when people say this. I mean... is being the 'only' or 'main' heroes of a setting the most important thing? It obviously seems to be for some people. But then I've probably gone over this a jillion times in other posts. So I won't go into it much further.

Suffice it to say that, for me, without having the storyline of the movies and the characters who brought it to life (even if they are only in the background of your own game), it just doesn't feel like Star Wars. It just becomes some other Science Fiction/Space Fantasy setting with all the trappings you see in the movies. To me, it feels hollow. But if you have all this backstory and plot development IN ADDITION to an entirely original campaign that a group develops itself– If you have the stories and characters weave in and out– it makes the universe feel all that much larger and (ironically) more 'real'. Well, that's my story anyway. And I'm sticking to it.

No comments:

Post a Comment