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Defining a Galaxy: 30 Years in a Galaxy Far, Far Away
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Whill
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 8:12 am    Post subject: Defining a Galaxy: 30 Years in a Galaxy Far, Far Away Reply with quote



Defining a Galaxy: 30 Years in a Galaxy Far, Far Away
by Bill Slavicsek

Quote:
It Was a Dark Time for the Galaxy
In the late 1980s, Star Wars was becoming a fading memory. The movie trilogy had concluded. The comic books and novels were winding down. The action figures had run their course. As the franchise celebrated its tenth anniversary, there was a new ride at Disneyland and … not much else. Not until a small hobby game company released Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game and The Star Wars Sourcebook. And suddenly the galaxy began to expand. This is the story of how a group of dedicated fans and gaming professionals helped pave the way for the Star Wars Expanded Universe — as told by one of the original architects! This book explains how material created for roleplaying games helped shape the Star Wars universe — and continues to influence it to the current day.

A history of the Star War RPG by one of its creators! Out now! My copy is ordered and I should have it by Thursday.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1729574939/


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garhkal
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Might have to give that a read. Thanks for announcing it.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's also available as an eBook for Amazon Kindle. I'm reading it now.
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Desert Kris
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for posting that! With the release of the anniversary edition of the game, I've been reading through it for the first time ever, and trying to project myself into the headspace of Star Wars as it was at the time; so the rulebook and sourcebook are fresh for me. It's exciting to have this come out as a behind the scenes making of the game historical perspective.
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Sutehp
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2018 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wishlisted this at B&N. I'll pick it up when I get a chance, but yeah, I really wanna read this soon.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
It's also available as an eBook for Amazon Kindle. I'm reading it now.

How is it?
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
CRMcNeill wrote:
It's also available as an eBook for Amazon Kindle. I'm reading it now.

How is it?

It's decent. I'm about 3/4 through it, and he's reached the point where he went to work for WotC. It's very much a first-person perspective as opposed to an overview.
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Pel
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm also nearly half done and am fascinated with how the RPG and original Sourcebook came together. These guys exercised an extreme level of self control when turned loose unsupervised in the Lucasfilm warehouse. I also liked Mr. Slavicsek's argument on Ithorian vs. Hammerhead.

The first part is a bit bogged down explaining how RPGs work, but once you get through that it's a fascinating window into how our beloved game came to be.

More to come when I finish the book.
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Desert Kris
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The last couple pages really knock it out of the park. He talks about running a friendly game of the 1st edition at a convention during the anniversary year, and he made some notes to tweak and upgrade the rules for faster more cinematic play...and then he provides those updates in the book as an optional for any gamemasters who want to try them out! Wild!
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Whill
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Defining a Galaxy: 30 Years in a Galaxy Far, Far Away Reply with quote

I was able to finish this yesterday. Despite the flawed formatting and a couple minor factual errors, this book is awesome! It did feel a bit superfluous for him to summarize parts of the SW Sb, etc., but I didn't mind much because I love the material. Overall, this book is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the development of the WEG Star Wars RPG and the Expanded Universe.

I knew the Marvel comic was intentionally left out of the WEG material development and the original EU, and then it was officially added to the EU much later (except where it was contradicted elsewhere). But I wasn’t aware that back when the WEG material being developed (pre-EU), Bill was sensibly told to ignore Splinter in the Mind’s Eye. That’s interesting because at some point in the 90’s SotME was stupidly canonized as part of the EU. It was probably just to sell a reprint of the book because the 90s copy I had even had an introduction by George Lucas describing it as the sequel that never was.

Going back to 1987, Ithorians and Mon Calamari are my two favorite alien species. Those two, Quarren, Sullustans, Twi’leks, and Wookiees are still on my top tier PC playable species list and I have ran multiple PCs of all these species. Ewoks, Gamorreans, and Jawas are on my second tier species list, so all the species in the Star Wars Sourcebook (except Sand People) are great PC species, largely thanks to Bill. Of course it seems like Bill is also to blame for a couple things I don’t care for, like Wookiees having claws and Boba Fett being known (and statted) as a galactic badass instead of comedy relief (but at least that sparked fandom of Boba Fett which lead to Jango Fett who really was a badass to fulfill the badass appearance both Fetts have).

Bill didn’t get into the prequels that much but I love that he didn’t waste any energy on bashing in the book - His dislike was only mentioned a couple times and not inappropriately. Bill is also one of those mysterious fans that likes the animated TV shows (TCW and Rebels) more than prequels, but I noticed that he only mentioned what Rebels took from his contributions to the EU with no mention of all the things that TCW changed from the EU. (Some of his Twi’lek continuity was destroyed, for example.)

It's pretty funny that when Bill Slavicsek went to TSR, he ran a many years long WEG SW D6 campaign for the other TSR staff, even as they were developing the d20 system! I love how this book doesn’t go into great detail about his time with TSR/WotC/D&D/d20 - There is a clear focus on WEG in this book. His only justification provided for the d20 system is that D6 breaks down when characters get to high levels. I think this is a valid criticism of RAW, but it is so easily eliminated by simply starting PCs out more advanced than RAW and advancing them more slowly. Bill has some good ideas for speeding up D6 play with static defenses, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Anyway, I always knew that the EU was formed by the shotgun wedding of the Dark Empire comic to Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy with select prior sources being retroactively included, (such as WEG fluff, and the Lando and Daley Solo novels), but I, WEG Star Wars nerd #1, somehow didn't fully appreciate the WEG contribution to that until now. According to Bill Slavicsek, Lucasfilm was resistant to the Star Wars universe being fleshed-out into so much detail and had to be sold on it. That jives with what I had read long ago about Lucas at first not wanting the Force quantified by game rules. But after seeing what had been done by WEG and liking it, Lucasfilm completely flipped and mandated to the Dark Empire and Thrawn authors that the WEG material not be contradicted, and thus WEG was in the continuity basis of these two new works (perhaps more evident in Thrawn).

WEG really was the very basis of the EU, and the SW Sourcebook really is like the “ten commandments” for the entire rest of the EU, which of course heavily informs the new canon universe. Since the majority of material in the Sb was developed by Bill Slavicsek, that essentially makes Slavicsek the founding father of the EU. I could go on and on about this book. I really enjoyed reading this book and I highly recommend that all WEG Star Wars fans read it!
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Pel
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also truly enjoyed the book. Mr. Slavicsek's insights and anecdotes into how our beloved EU universe sprang into being (an EU Big Bang if you will) are entertaining and informative.

Thanks to Whill for informing everyone of its existence and to those who haven't read it, I encourage you to do so. It's really quite good.
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