Monday, December 26, 2016

Roleplaying Rogue One

So I finally got around to watching Rogue One and if you haven't seen it you might as well stop reading here. Take this as a spoiler alert.

Ok, so you're still here. Good. First thing I have to say is that I loved it. And yes, I got chills during the last scene seeing Princes Leia Organa take the Death Star blueprints and jumping away into what becomes the start of A New Hope.

I must comment though that I was falling asleep during a few brief moments. Thought it was the age or lack of exercise, or maybe I was just expecting a movie with a lot of CGI and a happy deus ex machina ending in which the rebels are saved. But then it began to happen, things begun to get really tough. Main characters begun to die. First is Saw, which might go by like some NPC, but then Bodhi (the imperial pilot) also gets blown away. The grenade drops in and it's all over with just a brief "oh shit" moment. Same for Baze after his heroic dash after Chirrut's death. K-2SO also goes down holding the line against what seems like an interminable barrage of Stormtroopers. Finally Jyn and Cassian also perish in an inescapable situation. Oh and then there were all those Tie fighters, so many of them, like a swarm of bees. And the rebel ships crashing into Darth Vader's ship as they rush to light speed just as his ship drops out of hyperspace. Boy that's got to have hurt. Oh and Darth Vader was actually kicking ass with his light lightsaber in the last scenes. It was all awesome and I was jumping around in my seat like a 7 year old, which I am, but nobody seems to notice anymore, lol.

Anyway, back to the point and question I want to raise. Can we roleplay something like Rogue One? It is technically a TPK. All our characters die. Imagine you've been roleplaying Cassian for the last 5 sessions and he's a real good covert ops character by now. A new friend you invited to learn what roleplaying is takes Bodhi, the imperial pilot. Jyn is a character that a friend played a way back and is now "in prison", but she's freed so she can join in the game. K-2SO is run by another player who's shared many adventures with Cassian's player. Baze's and Chirrut's players rolled these characters up for the session, taking a long time to fill up the high skills and stats of such a character.

And then they all die.

Over the last few years I've heard endless ramblings about fairness, balance, equal participation, etc., all so players get to participate, all so players don't get upset by character death, all so players don't leave the hobby after their first session with only a TPK game on their belt. Simply put, ramblings that make roleplaying Rogue One near to impossible. Yet Rogue One is a great movie. A movie that left me with a great admiration of the sacrifice done by everyone of the characters involved. It really gave weight to the statement in A New Hope about the sacrifice made to "obtain those plans". Some of the characters died in "normal" battle related injuries, just like any other rebel soldier, also raising the value of everyone involved and not leaving the common rebel soldier as just some background prop.

How do you handle your games so they don't become a boring succession of "stat increasing" successes?
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