Friday, December 18, 2009

Living Up To The Legacy

In addition to manga, Dark Horse has long been the comic care taker of the Star Wars property. One of those veins of gold they mine, is the Star Wars Legacy era, 125 years after Return of the Jedi. Over here is a summary and preview of the first collection of legacy comics.
As with all Star Wars comics, one of the first things a Game Master may take from it, for any game, system, or genre, is that apperance matters. When I was a kid, Darth Vader didn't stand out so much because of the high end special effects and fighting sequences, but rather, the visuals that came with him. The bounty hunters like Fett? Ditto.
Giving the main characters a distinctive look will go a long way in ingraining them to the players they must interact with.
In addition, because these are Star Wars comics, even though they are in a different time line, they share many of the same elements.
If your group is looking for a standard game of Dungeons and Dragons and they start off as breaking out of their shells as lizard men in some swamp that has no humans and is a pre historic world with dinosaurs and dragons as the masters, it may be an awesome setting, but it's not what they've signed up for. The elements of the familiar can help the players quickly get into the game. When people look at Dragon Age and claim it has no originality, that doesn't seem to stop it from selling or from people enjoying it immensely. When critics talk about Terry Brooks, Ryamond Feist, or a certain Dennis of being Tolkien copy cats to various degrees, they may be over looking the fact that many people like the 'comfort' food category that these elements fit into.
For players, Star Wars Lgecay has a few words about being a legacy character. "The point is-- I have a legacy, too. And I'm just as trapped by mine as you are by yours. Sometimes I wish I could just change my name-- make a new life...I envy you your freedom but I'm not walking away from my responsibilities."
When looking at a legacy character, is your character like Roy from the dreaded Order of the Stick? Willing to go the distance for the family honor and legacy but going against the wishes of the one who sent him on the path? Is he like Cade from this series? Possessing of the powers and abilities but seeking to surpress them in order to ignore that legacy? How a character interacts with the elements that make up the character's legacy will define the role that the character takes in the campaign.
Legacy characters can be a lot of fun. Like the new Batman, who started off as Robin and moved onto Nightwing, they can represent a logical growth and extension for the character. Like the various comic extensions of Marvel's 2099 line, they can be either inspired by the originals or perhaps even time displaced copies of the original who have a name and title to live up to. When using legacies in the campaign, as either a player or a game master, make it interesting enough so that its fun for the whole gorup without overshadowing eveyrone else.