If you’ve ever watched an episode of Mythbusters, you’re aware that the world of story and the world of reality don’t always match. In films, cars explode when they crash, bullets can be dodged and the winner of an arm-wrestle is always the one with the bigger biceps.

A friend of mine told me about some roleplay a while ago where his character was taking shelter next to a diesel truck which exploded after someone threw a grenade at it. ‘Diesel doesn’t explode’, I said. In that setting, however, it turns out diesel does explode.

Pick half the action films or games out there and diesel explodes. It’s pretty much impossible to make it blow up in real life, but it’s like nitroglycerine when it’s in the flicks. Star Wars has some interesting reality-benders as well.

Lightsaber duels take a long time, when every form of real world swordfighting tends to be over pretty quickly - that one’s usually pinned to force-user precognition, but it happens with non-forcies too. Goons are usually disposable and ignored. It’s pretty rare in Star Wars to see an organization where the guy at the bottom even has a say about where his head ends up rolling.

Skill is almost always the deciding factor in any fight with Star Wars. Luck rarely has anything to do with it, and all fights are usually fair, with the better or more resourceful warrior winning.

These are all things common to a lot of settings. Star Wars’ specific mix of themes and tropes make up its general tone, and tone can differ between media, era, and even the character being followed. I’m sure any military realist novels set in Star Wars will have a different tonal setup. But we roleplay in SWTOR in which the villains are hammy, the heroes are plucky, and that level 70 Mynock will still give you trouble no matter how many rancors you’ve killed.

You can use this as a guideline for roleplay. Many do. Most pick and choose what they like. I can’t imagine many people stick with the killer mynocks. On the other hand, there’s another, less tonally sensitive guideline: the real world. In the real world, sword fights are abrupt, goons have opinions, and combat is largely unfair to a single, highly trained individual.

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