A smoky meeting room. Austere nobility on one side, shifty spacers on the other. Business is discussed. Subtext lurks and shifts below, with daggers. Moves and counter-moves. There are whispers, glances, and notes are scribbled by scribes. In the background, a bodyguard is standing. She says nothing. There’s a whispered joke at her expense. She notices, but she keeps her mouth shut. It’s not her role to speak. What’s important is that she notices.
She might say nothing, but she’s hurt. She’s angry. She’s not just part of the furniture - she’s part of the scene. The roleplayer behind that bodyguard could just have a stoic statue who doesn’t react to anything - but not noticing doesn’t matter. It’s not interesting. What’s interesting is noticing, and making a choice: to act, or not.
We’ve all seen doormen and bodyguards. They crop up in RP routinely. They sidle into our favourite TV shows, and books, and films, and everything. Background characters are essential, but the background doesn’t have to be two dimensional. When the Ancillary Characters live and breathe and react and choose, the world comes alive. Main characters of any scene are inherently less interesting if they operate in a vacuum. If their choices only impact each other, the story becomes a soap-opera. When actions echo through every character in a scene, they matter.
"The galaxy is silly," a character recently said in an RP session. Somewhere around this was a tangled conversation about Besalisks, Xexto, and ion-blaster toting Ortolans. It's true. Star Wars is silly. It's full of crazy aliens, wise-quipping spacers, and mad inventions. Full of little bits of fluff that have no real impact on the story, but add something special to the world.
Max Rebo (pictured above) is an excellent example. His band is the one playing in Jabba's Palace, and the whole thing was a mistake. Sy Snootles (excellent name), the singer, made Rebo frontman to deflect any flak the band might get. Rebo then turned around and made a lifetime contract with Jabba the Hutt... for free food. The rest of the band weren't pleased. Oh hoh hoh hoh.
So what's your favourite bit of fluff? Nothing central to story, just bits of extraneous detail. It can be from books, films, TV shows, comics, or just something a fellow roleplayer has come up with.
Everyone has that scene, or that character, or that world that always inspires them with new ideas and motivation. The one you go back to when you're feeling out of the groove, to remind you about what you find interesting.
In a setting as diverse as Star Wars, there's plenty to choose from, so what's your inspiration? Are you interested in military roleplay and get you kicks from the Battle of Hoth? Love a bit of Sithy space opera and watch supercuts of Anakin's arc in the prequels? Is it something from one of the games, or the comics? Which character do you take inspiration from for your own?
What part of Star Wars inspires you to roleplay?
When I first came to The Old Republic, I came from a culture where if you were new, your character was restricted to a low level of power and authority, so SWTOR’s culture came as a bit of a shock. I could make any character I wanted. I could make a Darth, or a General, or a Master Jedi. I ended up making a very rich Sith and spent the first few months of my time here going around giving out ridiculous amounts of money while trying to solve as many characters’ problems as quickly as I could.
It’s hard not to feel embarrassed now when I think about that. When I see other people doing the same, it’s easy to see where it comes from. People like to be popular, and they like to do good things for other people. It makes sense that in a fantasy world where you can have as much power to do good as you want, you’d instantly go into a glut.
The problem it results in is the same one faced by the first writers of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I know; it’s a bit of a reach. Stick with me.
"Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid."
- Han Solo
In a war-torn universe where conflict and battles are aplenty, your choice of weapon could be the deciding factor between life and death. Of course, your choice of weapon depends predominantly on your background and skill set.
This is a question we've asked before, but a bit of juxtaposition from time to time is a good thing. What we'd like to know today is what your character from The Old Republic
chooses as their aide, their savior, their weapon of choice. Are they happy with a good blaster at their side, or do they prefer a weapon of a more civilised age? As always, hit our comments section with your answers!
Extracts from the travel diaries of Sally I.; scholar and philosopher. This documentary series, Galactic Misunderstandings, is brought to you by Starwire Discovery Programmes
Galactic Misunderstandings: Mandalorians
It has been quite the journey. When I started my first week, I was a veritable ball of preconceptions about Mandalorians, their nature and their value to the galaxy at large. In truth, I expected to have those preconceptions altered, but I did not imagine the range and variety that I experienced. It is no surprise that a culture that thrives on adaptation should have diversity, which of course means that no stereotype stands the test of every Mandalorian individual; with the exception of a few exceptionally common traits encouraged by the Resol’nare.
Sadly, while I feel better about my understanding and found many ways to extol seeming paradoxical virtues from the culture, part of suvarir—to understand—is to accept the bad as well as polish the good to a mirror shine.
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”
Assumption: most of us are here because we're fans of Star Wars
. The story and its characters sucks us in and here we find an escape from reality as we immerse ourselves into a rich and vivid virtual reality of the universe we've grown to love.
But what good is that universe if it lacks one thing that gives it life, gives it meaning? Without its music, Star Wars wouldn't be the same. The music in the Star Wars films and games gives it life and soul. It engages our emotions.
In roleplay, it is no different. Though we may roleplay in silence most of the time (except for that not-so-awesome cantina music), imagine the difference it would make to hear the sounds of John Williams
as you begin to incite your enemy, as you draw your weapon and start an all-out cantina brawl with countless Treeks
flinging stones across the room. Though this might sound a little silly (but super fun), music enhances the feel of that scene tenfold.
In today's Friday Focus, we'd like to know how imperative the music of Star Wars is to your gaming, your roleplaying and your storytelling, both solo and with friends. Does it change your mood? Does it affect the way you feel? I have no doubt it does, but pop your thoughts into the comments section below!
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.
Many SWTOR players will remember the move from Galaxies and all the hope and homesickness it brought. It can be a difficult thing to leave behind assets collected over many years and to turn away from hours of investment in one game to move to another.
SWTOR remains in full swing with expansion packs arriving consistently and the looming shadow of maintenance mode (the MMO graveyard of No More Content) seeming far less of a threat than before the surge of new expansions, and the release of The Force Awakens.
On the other hand, now Star Wars is owned by Disney, there has been a significant upturn in new games, films and TV shows being released, and with the films being the flagship of this convergence giant, there’s definite pressure to move focus closer to the the Battle of Yavin and away from the Old Republic.
It’s possible that in the coming years, we may see a new Star Wars MMO, focused on the world of the new films.
It’s all conjecture at this point, but how would you feel about a new MMO to explore? Would you relish a breath of fresh air, or would you not want to leave SWTOR’s world behind?
Chut-chut gizkas. Which is it? Is your small-scale guild a font of quality content provided to a limited audience? Is it a nook carved out for your personal headcanon? Or is it just an echo-chambre to boost your e-penis? What’s the dividing line?
Let's have a dig around.
I’ll just get this off my chest right now: I myself operate a small-scale guild. I will be using it as an example hereafter. A dozen members with a following wind, of which nine are active and six are active more than once a week. It was created to slot into a very specific niche: showing the contrast between the vibrant workaday aspects of a Living, Breathing Galaxy & the Big Damn Heroes we see in it. To its members (most of whom have either come from or are still part of large-scale guilds), it’s a hideaway. It’s a redoubt. It’s somewhere they can be free from drama and politics and just get some writing done. To a certain number of vocal outsiders, it’s a heinous little den of villainy. A terrible bastion of elitism and circlejerkery. It’s not alone.
So, why? Is it specific to the members of any given small-scale guild? Or is it a fundamental byproduct of the small-scale model? Is it both?
I'll tell you: I don’t know.
I can’t give you a broad-sweeping answer. I can only tell you my personal experience, and the reports I’ve been given by other members of Filthy Elitist Cliques. For the broad majority of interaction with other guilds, especially other small-scale ones, OOC doubts and suspicion have muddied the waters. Small-scale guilds walk a knife-edge by nature. Whether by a niche concept or internal lore, or simply by the inherent skittishness of members who, as stated before, are often avoiding the trials and tribulations of Large Scale Guilds.