December 29th, 2008

Star Wars Saga Edition: essential supplements

I ordered the Star Wars Saga Edition core book and expect to get something running soon, and have a little gift card money hanging around, so I want to find out what supplements and additional products are a complement to any SWSE game. Do you find the GM screen necessary? Do Galaxy Times really add a lot to the game? How about the minis (and which sets)? I hear a lot of people say Starships of the Galaxy is required reading, but why, when I usually use ships as plot devices? What does the KOTOR Guide add for someone who loves KOTOR but might not otherwise be able to convince players to try it? How about The Force Unleashed Guide (as someone who has not played the game but knows the basic plot via the comic)? Would Threats of the Galaxy be good for every game, every era? Is Scum and Villainy useful to all games, or just crime stories? What is your favorite and why? How about your least favorite and why?

Personally, I like a book that gives me plot hooks, some new options for players but definitely not rules bloat, interesting places and people, and is fun to read. Non-book accessories should add to the game without distracting from the fun elements (storytelling, wow factor, tactical decision-making, Star Wars-ishness).

Thanks Roleplayers!
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Who is the Law?

(X-posted to my LJ)

I came across this excellent article on magical ethics at Gnome Stew and it got me to thinking about rules and laws. If I can possibly avoid this degenerating into another round of the endless D&D alignment debate, let me ask a question:

How many of you have players that play lawful characters?

It has been my experience in 29 years of gaming that the overwhelming majority of gamers wish to be freed from the fetters of rules, laws, and morals for the 3-4 hours they play. The single most popular alignment I’ve seen is Chaotic Neutral (an alignment I tend to equate with toddlers and the Rum Tum Tugger). Outside of D&D, PCs tend towards activities that would be illegal away from the gaming table.

Why is that? Is it simply a component of gaming escapism? Is it a conscious rejection of society and its norms? Is it, perhaps, as close as one dares to go in rejecting a society that you find oppressive but also allows you to live in the relative comfort that includes having enough free time to engage in role-playing games?

For my own part, I have had a requirement in my last two D&D games that the PCs’ alignments must end in “-good”, but I’ve made no requirements on the Law-Chaos axis (The “good” requirement was driven by having new players in the group – a subject for another post). As a result, of the 10 PC’s I’ve reviewed, 1 has been Lawful Good. On the other hand, a quick flip through my own character book reveals that 6 of the 11 characters I have in there (only one of which is in an active game) are Lawful Neutral or Lawful Good. I’ll be the first to tell you that I lean towards Lawful characters and that is a component of my upbringing and worldview.