Star Wars Special: Adapting stories for a far, far away galaxy (I)

Flash Gordon luchando contra Ming el Despiadado
This turned into Luke against Vader.

It is well known that George Lucas was greatly influenced by many things while creating Star Wars, like by Flash Gordon serials and World War dogfights. One of the bigger influences was, without a doubt, Akira Kurosawa’s cinema and, very specifically, the Hidden Fortress (1958).

Star Wars vs. Hidden Fortress, Mashup by Eugene Baldovino
Vader and alter egos, again.

Coming from here, I’m going to put forward several influences a posteriori. That is, some works which could be adapted to the Star Wars universe in an interesting way, always thinking in roleplaying adventures.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I’ll start with the easy ones. Kurosawa’s cinema makes me think in its adaptations to the american cinema, specially to westerns, like A Fistfull of Dollars, which makes me think in the Trilogy of the Dollar, and in my favourite one: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

The story of the film is easy to adapt to Star Wars: three criminals discover the existence of a treasure guarded by a dead soldier and go to find it, with a big civil war around them. The real problem is that the film is centered in the interaction of the three characters, an interaction based on despise and hate, in wanting to profit from the others and triumph over them. All this is harder to adapt to the typical RPG group, but it can be done.

 

Option 1: One player, the good or the ugly

Easiest one: an adventure for one player, playing the good or the ugly. He has to cooperate with the other to find the trasure, and fight the bad.

Option 2: Two players, good and ugly, only rivals

With two players, one can be the good and other the ugly, and push down their enmity until a healthier rivalry. The search for the treasure is like a competition between them. They will betray each other, but both understand that is part of the game. No killing urges, which are reserved for the bad.

 

Option 3: Two players, good and ugly, to kill

Two players, one good, other ugly, with the film relationships: despise, hate and forced cooperation. Both players need to understand that the story will probably end badly for at least one of them, and the GM must be ready to shorten the story if one of them gets all the information and kills the other.

Option 4: More than two players, nice to each other

A typical PC group. They discover the location of the treasure and go looking for it. The villain is still the bad, now with a bigger retinue to match forces.

Option 5: More than two players, enemies to each other

Similar to the previous, but without nice words inside the PC group. The PC who finds out the location of the treasure will become the good or the ugly, and the others will have to watch him very carefully…

Alternative option: One player, the bad

A parallel story for one player, shorter.

Characters

“Goldie”, The Good: A bounty hunter tired of the world.

“Tukko”, The Ugly: A very bad mouthed scoundrel.

“Sentence”, The Bad: A killer for hire and officer of the Empire, ruthless.

Scenes

Some key scenes would be:

  1. Tatooine: The good and the ugly are getting money from the Hutts, getting paid the bounty on Ugly’s head and then saving him again. They discover a lost imperial freighter, full of corpses, with just one survivor who tells them the story of a lost gold shipment.
  2. Captured: The Empire captures Goldie and Tukko, and they are under interrogation by Sentence. They must run away, or negotiate with Sentence (so they can run away from him later).
  3. Space battle: To get to Sadhill they must go through an imperial space blockade protecting a key point in the system. They have to destroy that key point so the blockade is lifted.
  4. Sadhill: This planet-cemetery contains the tombs of thousands of billions of dead caused by the civil war. Many of the tombs are empty (it is hard to find something to bury when a planet explodes). Here, in the tomb of Morr’icon, is the money, and here do come the good, the bad and the ugly for a last fight. (Tombs are computerised and can be found from orbit).