Sunday, 25 December 2016

Thinking about Rogue Trader while watching Rogue One

I find my lack of franchise loyalty disturbing...

From the opening scenes Rogue One draws you in visually and lifts you. Although it's theoretically long ago it's really a mostly aspirational future - you'd happily live on Scarif or Lah'mu and technology would help you survive on Jedha.

It struck me though that only two of the worlds shown would fit into Warhammer 40K - volcanic Mustafar and Eadu with its unlikely rock formations. Despite the long-standing utility of aquarium plants for miniatures scenery, Scarif is far too clean and functional for a 40K setting: despite being theoritically the future, Rogue Trader actually the Spanish Inquisition with lasguns and space hulks.

Thinking more about living in the Star Wars universe, superficially it doesn't seem too bad: for the majority of the population the Empire is mildly chafing at worst - although your city or planet might get destroyed from space one day; Luke didn't see anything wrong with joining the Imperial Academy before the untimely demise of his aunt and uncle. But approaching it as a gamer its black and white nature is definitely a shortcoming - stormtroopers are fantastically iconic figures but behind them are the faceless operators of the Death Star, and they themselves are mindless killers (when they can shoot at all).

It may not seem much more conscionable to take the part of the Imperium but (notwithstanding that it's all a bit of a giggle) in its own way it's at least as palatable, not least because you can chose between internal conflict and external conflict (shooting genestealers is OK). Looking at it another way, the Star Wars universe is primarily a story-telling setting and, like Middle Earth, creaks a bit when asked to be a gaming setting.

So, having enjoyed the film, what's my take out at such time as my paint queue allows me to look at 40K?
  1. Hire better location scouts
  2. Urban scenes need a lot more civilians - at least until the shooting starts

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