(Posted at 11:56 PDT on Nov. 3.)
Prefacing a little: I haven’t read a lot of Star Wars fiction. I tried to read the novelization of A New Hope by Alan Dean Foster. It took a tremendously fun story and made it boring. I’ve watched the six movies, catching A New Hope when I was about 14. I watched the first season of Clone Wars, as well as the Genndy Tartakovsky’s interstitials. Most of my reading has actually been the Knights of the Old Republic comics. I played the game for about six to ten hours before getting killed by the Rankor in the Undercity. That’s my Star Wars cred. I’ve got much more on Star Trek…
So, what don’t I want from Star Wars?
1.) I don’t want biologically impossible and anthropologically unlikely aliens. Sorry, no Ithorians (chair heads), or Twileks. I’ve taken too many physical anthropology classes to know that that stuff just doesn’t make much sense. I could go on at length, and there are characters in the series I like that have features I just find impossible. I find myself falling out of the movie at moments like this. I don’t want my players doing that. I know that, because I will be doing magic I can have explanations for such things, but I’d rather spend my time creating more realistic things that need not be hand-waved.
2.) Clunky, asymmetrical space ships. This is just an aesthetic bug-a-boo that annoys me almost a much as swan-shaped space ships (I have no idea why that one is stuck in my head, but it is). I much prefer the more graceful and aesthetically pleasing Star Trek ships, although I might have a race like the Breen that deliberately have an asymmetrical design sense. But there will be a good reason for it, not just to make the ships look different.
3.) Stagnant technology. Another bug-a-boo for me in regards to Star Wars is how little this star-faring society’s technology has changed in 5000 years of space travel. Technology has changed much in any of the books, movies or games. In fact, I think if you look at the history of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, it goes even farther back than that.
What do I want from Star Wars?
1.) The mix of old and new, embodied by the Jedi. These are old school knights who carry high-tech versions of ancient weapons and following old fashioned morals. I like that. Part of the reason I’m going with a fantasy setting.
2.) Planets are the focus, to the exclusion of stars. Honestly, how many times do we see stars beyond those outside the windows of the ships? I think once in all of the movies, and that’s the suns of Tatooine. We don’t even hear planets referred to as anything like “Sol III.”
3.) Planets are monolithic. Like a lot of old sci-fi, Lucas and crew kept the worlds of Star Wars simple. One terrain type covers most every planet encountered. Tatooine is all desert, Hoth snow, Dagobah all swamp, Coruscant all city. It makes a DM’s life a lot easier.
I’ve got plenty of other sources for ideas. I’ll get into that tomorrow.