Tales From the Long Exile – The Shaven Wookiee

I know my previous post implies that I was going to review Paizo’s Map Packs today, and I’ll get to that. But I figured I’d gone a long time without gifting you with an anecdotal story from my oft-painful experiences gaming. So, here we go.

I once had this friend named David. I rightly forget how I met him, but there he was. Of the numerous things I could say about David, only one of them is relevant: That he was a massive Star Wars geek. Now, I’m not too much for Star Wars. I mean, yeah, I like the movies, but the more I delve into the lore, the less I like it. See, I like my stories with a little moral ambiguity. I know the lore Star Wars is based on and hell, I actually agree with some of it, but the notion that people are either saintly, or kitten-puntingly evil just irks me.

But enough of that. David was a huge Star Wars fan. So much so that he actually knew about the fight between Obi Wan and Anakin in the volcano, long before we actually saw it in Revenge of the Sith, I’m talking a good five or so years before. He’d seen the movies, read the books, he’d probably even read the comics. It was all Greek to me after a while.

Fast forward some. Apparently based on my own interest in Dungeons & Dragons, David picked up Star Wars d20. You know, back when White Plains actually had book stores. Anyway, he wanted to run this for some of his friends, myself included. And none of us saw a reason to tell him no, I mean, here was a man who ate, slept and breathed Star Wars. Surely, he could be counted upon to tell a compelling story within the canon. Truly, what is the worst that could happen?

… As it happens, we would soon find out.

He told us to roll up Jedi characters, and this was going to be sometime during the Old Republic. I really forget details, but the Jedi were not extinct yet. At the time, I was on a Half-Orc kick, as I was planning on fielding a Half-Orc Barbarian in a D&D 3e game one of the others never quite got running, so I figured there was only one thing I could do. I was going to run a Wookiee Jedi.

One day soon, I’ll tell you all about Airi, and then you will know my love of bizarre, off beat characters. For now, this Wookiee Jedi, whose name I have forgotten, but it probably sounded like an asthmatic clearing his throat.

I suppose I will begin at the end: The game lasted exactly two sessions. I was only present for the second. I am not certain what happened in the first, but I remember with vibrant clarity what happened in the second: David introduced his villains, the Pursians. Yes, anthropomorphic cat people. While I have rather little respect for George Lucas, he would nevertheless be spinning in his grave, were he dead. Of this, I am certain.

But even this would have been excusable, if not for what happened next. Yes, a fight with his three villains that was so one-sided, terms like “curb stomp” and “squash match” seem vaguely inadequate to describe them. To wit, it was three of us against ONE of them, and we lost in a single round.

I found out, some years later, that this was because the three of them had been rolled up at level 15, to our level 1. I really wish I were making this up.

But I suppose that explains what happens next- the leader of the three attempted some kind of Force power on my Wookiee. She apparently rolled well. As for me, I rolled a 1. Resulting in my Wookiee being shaven of all his fur. This is the kind of thing we should have been laughing about, but we weren’t. Even today, I find I cannot laugh about it. It just wasn’t funny.

When David excused himself to go to the bathroom, after it was all over, I leaned over the table, and through gritted teeth, intoned “We are never playing with him again.” Nobody really opposed me on this.

When people hear that I played Star Wars d20, I am often asked, “How is it?” To which I can honestly respond “I don’t know.”

If I had to convey a moral from this debacle, it would be this: Take heart, noble Game Masters, and know that, while you may not know much, it is not what you know, but how you use it.

Or, perhaps more succinctly, you’d be hard pressed to do worse than run a Star Wars game with cat people

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