Originally, I was going to do S is for Saints, and recycle some content I had posted before, but I thought, that’s a cop out. If I can’t come up with something new, then I shouldn’t be doing this.
I first saw STAR WARS when I was six years old. My aunts had seen it, and figured it would be right up my alley, so they took me to see it. (Yes, I had VERY cools aunts) I forced my dad to find a theatre in Grand Forks, North Dakota that was showing THE EMPIRE STRIKE BACK the day it came out (we were down there on spring break), so I could see it. I remember sitting through a triple bill of all three movies at the old Met theatre downtown. I remember almost getting trampled in a stampede for seats the night the Special Edition of STAR WARS opened.
More than ANYTHING in my life, perhaps even more than RPGs, STAR WARS has impacted my life. I have been a Star Wars since since I first saw the movie. I bought all the toys. I collected the comic book. I bought the video games. I bought the books. I saw the movies in the theatres… MANY times. (I think, at last count, I had seen Episode 1 in the theatres 3 times (back to back the day it came out), Episode 2 three times (again, back to back), Episode 3 twice (back to back… sense a pattern?), Star Wars (NEVER Episode IV) 7 times, Empire Strikes Back 5 times, and Jedi… 4? 5? times) I own the Star Wars Holiday Special. I own both Ewok movies. I have THREE different versions of the original three movies, and will have four when the BluRay edition comes out. Up until January of this year, I religiously bought EVERY Star Wars Del Ray hardcover or paperback release. I have one entire bookcase (6 shelves) devoted to Star Wars novels, and WEG Star Wars RPG stuff. I even have Darth Vader’s autograph.
I know that George Lucas did a lot of reading of Joseph Conrad in creating these films, as well as a lot of working with transcendent archetypes. I think maybe that’s why these movies work for me. Or maybe it was the fact that they came into my life at a very formative period in my own development. For whatever reason, the original three movies imprinted on me. My favourite character was always Han Solo – the rogue whose conscience always pointed him in the right direction. He was the epitome of cool to a pre-teen boy… that black vest, his own space ship, and a sasquatch as his sidekick. What wasn’t to like? To be honest, I didn’t even like Luke until RETURN OF THE JEDI… he was too whiny in the first and second movies, and it wasn’t until he showed up as a true Jedi in the last movie that I could respect him. To this day, I often find myself thinking like Han Solo – trying to be mercenary, but often, ending up following my conscience. In the same way, I hope to be more like old Ben Kenobi in my old age – the wise master, wandering the wastes, protecting the weak and defenceless.
In the same way, STAR WARS has affected my RPG life as well. Just about every character I ever played (Lekon being a notable exception) has had an awful lot of Han Solo’s personality in them. In any game I game-mastered, I often cribbed plot elements from the Star Wars movies. Any time a party went into a bar, in my head.. I had the Cantina Scene from STAR WARS running. Every wise old elder spoke like either Yoda or Ben Kenobi. And every epic sword fight, in my head, had the clang of swords replaced with the hiss of lightsabers. I think I could do a lot worse than using STAR WARS as my exemplar for campaign creation.