"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!
“Grrr,” does not an interesting character make.
The Sexy Lamp Test is like a cynical monocle through which to peer at films. It dictates that for any film to pass, its female characters must do more than a sexy lamp could. If Wanda Wondertits is seen at a party and attracts the gawping attention of the protagonists, she has done no more than a sexy lamp could have. It’s used as a measure of how bad a film’s characterisation of women is. There’s oh-so-much room here for a Star Wars test though, isn’t there?
The Murderous Coatstand Test. Can that character over there be replaced in this scene by a particularly murder-inclined coatstand? Perhaps with a little automatic hinge to facilitate the sipping of Corellian whiskey (yes, we’re talking about you). Is their sole input in the scene to stand around and promise dire murderfication on anyone who might make fun of their Korbo™ Cruiser Class Pauldrons, or their Korbo™ Genuine* Smugglewear CrimCoat (yes, we’re still talking about you) without providing the least bit of actual interest or movement?
Ring any bells?
Chut-chut, gizkas. I’ll save the intro wordcount and continue straight on from Part I. Bamboozled? Go ye hence and read it. The groundwork of this and that naturally apply. Abridged: Your character is still mortal. Don’t use the excuse of, “I can do standoff!” to pick a fight. Grancha.
I promised you Lightsabers! Or vibroswords, or whatever. The rules are different, here. There’s less loaded-gun tension involved in having wifflebats wobbling about. You can go a different route, though. There’s more to a swordfight than choreographed sweeping slashes and backflips.
Two opposing characters can be locked in a foxtrot footwork match without ever swapping a blow. This is especially relevant for Jedi, who are required to act only in defense. One could even play it out with the lightsaber switched off but to-hand, for example. For Sith, the motives are different but the actions are the same. Intimidation, show of control, showboating one’s nerve.
As with other methods, the trick is to keep the peril factor balanced between the participants until a verbal solution, de-escalation or third-party intervention can be achieved. Aim to disengage. Play it blatantly defensive in the event of an unrelenting aggressor. Give ground, offer to take a little back, but don’t force it. Show the aggressor they are being acknowledged, even if it isn’t going their way. Whisper. Politely. Mind your manners, even especially if the wermo doesn’t deserve it.
It’s method time.
Alright, gizkas, here’s how it goes. Some gorntbreath sleemo’s just drawn on you. Rumpus is inevitable, but emote-battles are still horrible. What now?
Whisper first. Whisper and say, “Hey, Mr. Gornt? I’m going to play for a standoff, alright?” And then you do that. You play for a Standoff. Standoffs are the business. They allow characters to throw the machismo around and look big and tough, then suddenly land in a position where if anyone does something stupid, it ends badly for everyone. This opens the door for dialogue, de-escalation or third-party intervention.
Now, before we get into method, I’m going to lead with the really important bit: The whole idea relies on the assumption that neither party is bluffing and that all parties are willing to do violence unto the other, but that this is not really what anyone wants. Sing with me:
Don’t call the bluff. Do not call the bluff. Never, not ever. Never-ever. Call not the bluff.
With me so far? Never. By all means, have your character bluff! But, if another character says they will stab/shoot yours, assume right off the bat that they do have the stones and they will follow through, regardless of the consequences. You want to play the bluff-caller? Whisper the player! Ask if there’s any sign that the character is bluffing. Even then, assume that their character is entirely serious about doing violent deeds.
People do dangerous things when they’re faced with peril. A crazy number of instadodge emote battles spring into existence because some stoopa bukee says, “Go ahead! Shoot!” Don’t be that guy. I don’t care how much of a badass you think you are, and the guy who believes he has your character right where he wants them certainly doesn’t.
Let’s talk method.
Greetings, mortals. You all read this guff, right? Good.
I covered Ways & Means to Avoid Conflict for Sithy types, last time. Herein, then, some examples and preaching on the equivalent mechanisms for non-Sithies. Again, Jedi are omitted because Jedi are bound by their code and order not to be the aggressors. If you’re starting fights as a Jedi, you’re doing it wrong.
Let’s cut to Mr. J. Average. Whether a skulking smuggler, a vile pirate, a secret agent, a super-duper long-range marksman, a soldier of a galactic superpower of your choice, or whatever. Doesn’t really matter. What we assume, here, is that you have no any magic powers, nor a regiment’s worth of armaments strapped to your extremities overtop an impenetrable shell (including underarms, knees and neck, apparently).
You’re just a guy or gal in the Galaxy, trying to make it. Good for you! So why and how do you avoid starting a fight?
Most pressingly, if you’re just J. Average, maybe that guy with the lasersword and the space magic is scary. Jedi or Sith. Doesn’t matter. They have powers you don’t. They can see things before they happen, snap necks, manipulate minds and squash you with a floating bar counter. Maybe you should just leave them alone? Then, maybe you’re not scared of them. Maybe they’re on your side! Maybe it’s considered proprietous to mind your manners around them. Maybe you actually respect their order, if not the individual. Maybe you should hold your tongue to prevent undermining them, even when they’re talking bantha-poodoo. Especially then
Maybe you share a knowing glance with a pal, instead of spouting conflagratory comments at the guy wearing spikes, or waggling a blaster at the nice man in the brown robe.
A Sith and a Mandalorian walk into a bar. Stop me if you've heard this one before.
Lord Pauldron overhears Sucuy Beskar bragging about how many lightsabers he's got in his collection. Lord Pauldron says he's full of poodoo. Sucuy Beskar whips out his mega-cannon, proclaiming, "Vod gar sucy dikut jate darjetii!” Inevitably, the Sith presumes this means, "En garde, varlot!"
Out comes the glowstick, brandished wild! A skinny Twi'lek chap suffers a touch of the vapours. It's on.
You know how this goes. You don't need my exposition. Someone thinks a little much of their character, the other party doesn't like it, the bracketed out-of-character text flies thick and fast. How do you prevent this? Read on, dear reader, beyond the preamble.
There is an art to playing an ostensibly potent character that is much-overlooked: Avoiding conflict. Even if the character desires it. A Jedi is bound to uphold peace and act only in defence of themselves and others. Sure, why not. That's universal. I shan’t yet approach the motives of ultra-agents, beskar-jockeys, sniper romantics and cybernetic supersoldiers with enormous assets, as their solutions are often far simpler, and can be addressed, perhaps, in future articles.
Sith, though? Let’s wax lyrical, here.
Where lights burn brightest, and liquor flows freest; emotions run at light speed. HoloGossip got word of a Boorish Sith who spends his evenings at cantinas braving the inevitable mundane conversations. Here's the scoop:
According to this Boorish Sith, cantinas are rife with mundane conversations: who happens to be engaged in relations with whom; who may be drinking what at which time, and the quality of said drink at this cantina vs that cantina; and, the inevitable argument between former business partners/lovers/otherwise linked associates. However, according to Boorish, there are slices of "interesting conversation" hidden within these sections of mundanity that can become "useful."
Apparently Boorish has been doing this hanging about in cantinas for "some amount of time," which leads people to wonder: how many other people are like Boorish? Just hanging out in cantinas, hanging on to everyone else's every word? Enough to make every boozehound a bit more tight lipped. So the next time you've had a few too many at your favorite cantina, think before you speak: loose lips crash starships, after all.
Mai Cash | HoloGossip
The Promenade - Nar Shaddaa
[Based on an in-game story from Tichonderos]
Where lights burn brightest, and liquor runs freest; emotions run at light speed. HoloGossip picked up a story about a beloved member of the trader community who has hung up his hat, and gone off to Mantell to garden the rest of his relatively young life away. Who is this Lil'Retiree, and how can he just go and hang up his hat like this? Here's the scoop:
Lil'Retiree made his living traveling the galaxy in his ship selling fine bantha hide sofas to spendy housewives looking to spruce up their living spaces with just the right thing to go in front of the holoprojector. Lil'Retiree told HoloGossip today that he's tired of the bantha hide sofa salesman business, and he's made enough money to go back to his first love: gardening. What happens, then, to these poor, wealthy housewives who now have all of these spendy credits that aren't going to a new bantha hide sofa?
Or is one of these spendy housewives funding Lil'Retiree's retirement on Mantell, ensuring that he does the gardening so that she doesn't get her hands dirty while admiring the lovely sofas he's got stockpiled in the basement? Because everyone knows that nobody gets by traveling the galaxy with only one piece of hide in your cargo hold.
Mai Cash | HoloGossip
The Slippery Slopes - Nar Shaddaa
[Based on an in-character report from Krekldev]
Where the lights burn brightest, and the liquor flows freest, it seems emotions run at light speed. HoloGossip was approached by a Misunderstood Imperial who was irate about his treatment at the hands of a Wanton Republic Female who apparently wanted a little bit more than a tour through his cargo hold. Here's the scoop:
Our Misunderstood Imperial was enjoying a drink at the Slippery Slopes Cantina on Nar Shaddaa when this Wanton Republic Female approached him. She was apparently attempting to lure the fellow from his hard-earned drink. The exchange did not go well: the Misunderstood Imperial took preference to his drink, and the Wanton Republic Female did not get the hint.
She changed her tactics. "I want to defect!" cried the Wanton Republic ... Traitor? This gained our Misunderstood Imperial's interest, and he was led from the cantina. He arrived in time to watch as our Wanton Republic Traitor was carried away by a motley crew of would-be Republic officials. Our Misunderstood Imperial returned to the cantina to order another drink. This is a good time to take pause to remember, when dealing with defectors attempting to lure you away: a beverage never leaves you astray, and rarely gets you thrown in prison.
Mai Cash | Freelance Reporter
HoloGossip - Nar Shaddaa