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Revenge of the 5th: Ideas from Star Wars for D&D games

Written by MythicParty - Published on May 6, 2015

vaderWe all love Star Wars, & let’s face it, Lucas letting others pilot the spaceships have given everyone a new hope that we will once again cheer when John Williams comes out of the speakers and giant words start marching across the movie screen.  In the meantime, there are at least 3,720 ideas you can mine from the various SW movies for you D&D games.  In honor of May 4th or May 5th holiday, here are 4 we liked:

Power is not Force

In the original film, there’s a great scene in a Death Star conference room where Darth Vader is force choking an Imperial Officer (Conan Antonio Motti) for disrespecting him & his ‘ancient religion.’  Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, aka Governor Tarkin (1 of only 12 Grand Moffs) orders, “Enough of this – Vader release him.”  And Darth complies.   Now there’s a ton of speculation/analysis as to why Vader did this; i.e. was he actually obeying a command or simply being diplomatic.  In any case, the stereotypical BBG is a supped up villain with tons of HP, rocking ability scores, & all sorts of deadly power.  Not to mention some sick weapons or attacks. Basically, they’re a Vader.  But a real BBG could also be a Tarkin.  Hardly a threat in direct combat, but still a threat with what they could do.  And that, is actual power.  Not the dog, but like Leia pointed out the one holding the leash.  Create some BBG’s who hold leashes yet still instill fear & make PC’s cringe at their foul stench.

Have your own version of a black Stormtrooper

In the new trailer there is a quick shot of actor John Boyega, which caused parts of the Internet to lose their minds.  Setting aside the ‘clones of Jango Fett’ argument, let’s  assume that yes, there are in fact Imperial soldiers with darker skin.  Yes, it was somewhat unexpected- which is a good thing.  So model something in your games after that.  That is, have an element that initially appears one way & than reveals itself to be something else.  An actual example of this in official D&D is Thaqualm.  Who’s Thaqualm you ask?  Why she’s a Lawful Good Monk 8 from the Book of Exalted Deeds.  More on point, she’s a redeemed illithid aka a mind flayer.  Meaning that per D&D canon, there are LG brain eaters.   And if there can be time traveling LG aberrations that originated from the Far Realm and there can be black Stormtroopers, then what else can there be?  Find something equally surprising & surprise your players with it.

Bounty Hunters are the DMs kind of scum

Probably one of the coolest scenes takes place on the Star Destroyer, Executor during Empire Strikes Back.  Vader is hiring an eye candy of various bad-ass bounty hunters offering a “substantial reward” to the one who finds the Millennium Falcon without any disintegrations.  The idea being that the Empire was too big/slow to capture the smuggler, so to catch a thief hire a bunch of thieves.  In D&D, the PC’s can quickly rise in power to the point where the Town Watch or even local militia isn’t a threat.  So if the party breaks or even bends any laws, various NPC bounty hunters could be sent on their trail.  After all, most adventuring parties are loaded with treasure and magical items.  But make the hunters fearless and inventive rather than scream cowardly as they ineffectively fly into things before dropping into monster mouths.

If you have a Death Star, give it a thermal exhaust port

It gets mocked all the time, but the two meter wide opening with a shaft leading directly to the reactor system was crucial to the movie’s plot.  Without this Achilles’ Heel, the fully operational  weapon could indeed crush rebellions in swift strokes.  Basically, if there is going to be a Sauron, there has to a One Ring and then a Mount Doom to chuck it into.  If you make up a crazy monster, give it SOME weakness, even if not immediately obvious.  Whether by research or trial by error, let the PCs eventually discover it.  If they can’t figure out for themselves, then make the D&D equivalent of many Bothan spies, die to bring them that information.  But if they waste too much time, then feel free to have some metaphorical plywood put over that opening to cover that .1% weakness.

 

Ok, that was a quick take on how things from Star Wars can help your D&D games.  What else should make this list?  Let us know in the comments below.

Written by MythicParty

Dog-loving, movie-watching, pizza aficionado. Content Editor for DMing.com, Project Manager for AvatarArt.com, & player of the coolest characters in a weekly D&D game. Halflings are the real heroes.

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