Author Topic: SWRPG question - Wookies, Basic, and you  (Read 12811 times)

tmorton

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SWRPG question - Wookies, Basic, and you
« on: August 21, 2009, 11:44:14 AM »
Long-time listener, first-time poster here. REALLY enjoying all the AP's.

I have a question for Tom or anyone else who has run a Star Wars RPG game.

I'm running a Clone Wars era SW Saga game for my son, and he is playing a Wookie Jedi. He's eight years old, so hang with me here. In the beginning he'll be leading a handful of clone troopers on various missions, but something keeps bugging me.

RAW, Wookies can understand, read, and write Basic, but can't speak it. How is he going to communicate with the clone troopers much less anyone else? I don't think there is a specific battalion of clones that understand Shyriiwook, and I'm not sure I want to go down the route of him carrying some sort of universal translator around.

Should I just ignore it? Mind you, this will have no bearing on his enjoyment of the game. This is more for me.

Has anyone else seen this and gotten through it in a logical, or at least non-fun-killing, way?

Thanks
.trey

JonHook

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Re: SWRPG question - Wookies, Basic, and you
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2009, 12:55:14 PM »
Hi.

First, may I say that I think it is absolutely wonderful that you are role-playing with your son. My son is only now 7 months old, and I cannot wait to game with him someday. So kudos to you.  ;D

Second, I should say that I have never GMed a game of Star Wars, but would this work as a solution for you? Being a military unit, is it plausable that the Wookie has a series of hand signals that he has worked out with his troopers? Could he give them silent command with hand signals? Much like sign language?

If not, what about his Jedi powers? Without bogging down in rules, could it be assumed that subtle touches from the Wookie's Jedi-trained mind to that of his troopers can be used to communicate his orders?

I hope you and your son have many years of fun role-playing. :)
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Murph

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Re: SWRPG question - Wookies, Basic, and you
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2009, 12:58:18 PM »
I think in KOTOR II there was a Wookie that could talk basic.  It was explained as he had a speach impediment that hampered his wookie speak, but allowed him to speak wookie.

Or explain it away as he uses the force pursuade power so even if he speaks in grunts and howls, everyone else "hears" basic.

ArtfulShrapnel

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Re: SWRPG question - Wookies, Basic, and you
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2009, 01:08:14 PM »
I've never seen this problem, but I do have a suggestion.

It's well established that the Clone Troopers are raised with accelerated learning and specialized training skills. Given that Kashyyk was one of the primary battlegrounds during the Clone Wars, it would make sense that certain battalions of troops expected to be deployed there would be trained to speak Shyriiwook, much in the way our own military trains some troops in the basics of a foreign language when they're expected to work with local forces.

For flavor, you could establish that they understand Shyriiwook, but not very well. If he starts getting too complex with his orders, you could have a moment where they all just stare blankly at him before a particularly fluent trooper repeats the instructions in Basic.

My two cents.

tmorton

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Re: SWRPG question - Wookies, Basic, and you
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2009, 01:10:08 PM »
@ JonHook - good idea with the hand-signals. Definitely possible. My bigger "concern" was his interaction with non-party NPCs. And thanks - my son and I have enjoyed D&D/PathfinderRPG, but right now his heart is definitely in Star Wars.

@Murph - I hadn't heard of that Wookie in KOTOR II, but I like that idea.

I think right now I'm leaning towards the Force helping him get his point across to NPCs. Thanks for the input!

.trey

tmorton

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Re: SWRPG question - Wookies, Basic, and you
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2009, 01:12:22 PM »
@ArtfulShrapnel,

Thanks - I also like that idea about not fully understanding complex orders! I'll add that to the mix.

.trey

Sentinel

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Re: SWRPG question - Wookies, Basic, and you
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2009, 04:41:08 PM »
Back in the Young Jedi Knights books, Chewbacca's nephew had a little translator droid he could wear on his belt. It could only translate a handful of languages, but that was enough to allow Lowbacca to hang out with all his buddies at the Jedi Temple. The droid developed an amusing personality and functioned much like C-3PO did in the original trilogy.

Also consider that language is rarely a barrier in Star Wars. Everyone seems to understand a multitude of languages. If I remember correctly, the Clone Commandos featured in the game Republic Commando could understand the Wookiee language. As AF said, clone troopers are drilled from birth to fight effectively anywhere in the galaxy.

pwvogt

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Re: SWRPG question - Wookies, Basic, and you
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2009, 05:27:25 PM »
First of all: wookie jedi make the best jedi. Furry Jedi = best.

Second of all, I really like ArtfulShrapnel's ideas. Should be fun and a nice challenge for your son to keep his communication real simple, which should be fun at 8 years old (heck fun at any age, but he's really developing language skills still at that age, so it seems especially cool as an idea).

But yeah, usually Wookies can have a little floating translator, sometimes a "smartass" type droid to help translate. Kind of like a pet, which your son might also enjoy.
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Tadanori Oyama

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Re: SWRPG question - Wookies, Basic, and you
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2009, 07:18:15 PM »
I say there's two ways to look at it:

1) The player's communication is a major issue in the campaign

or

2) The player's communication is not a major issue in the campaign.

If playing so that the unusual nature of his issuing commands with others is constantly brought up or commented upon than do something elaberate and maybe zanny.

If you just want to bypass the issue without having to worry about how he can communicate with everyone all the time, than just don't worry about it and play the game.

Since your son is eight I'd let him pick the option. He can speak Basic, use a translator, use hand signals, or maybe think of something on his own. Gives him more control of his character and lets him have an impact on the game world.

Boyos

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Re: SWRPG question - Wookies, Basic, and you
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2009, 10:09:22 PM »
I like the Droid on his belt Idea, and love the silent commands threw hand signals. Nothing better then having his guys act like commandos not realy ever talking in combat situations, you coud easly add both these ideas to the game, or have one of his men able to understand and translate for him druing NPC's interaction. Despite the clones all being trained up the same way for the most part, they do have some that specialized into diffrent aspects of life. So it would be understandable that the republic would train some of there men to speak diffrent langues.


Phelanar

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Re: SWRPG question - Wookies, Basic, and you
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2009, 07:52:50 AM »
It's probably not the best idea, especially given there are better ones already mentioned, but in the Saga Ed rules there's an item which functions as a simple speaking phrasebook for creatures who can't speak Basic (like Wookies). Imagine one of the better contemporary foreign language phrase books, only it does the speaking for you. You could rule that they have a military version which the character could use. It'd be pretty basic, but might work if none of the other options that people have presented here don't.
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Murph

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Re: SWRPG question - Wookies, Basic, and you
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2009, 12:24:35 PM »
Really, what it come down to is what your son wants to do. 

If he wants to have to deal with possible communication troubles, or novel ways of hand waving, or having a droid pet, put the mechanic in.

If he just wants to play a wookie because wookies are awesome (A sentiment I completely agree with) I'd just ignore it. Theres enough technology/force stuff that it can easily be explained away if he doesn't want to deal with it.

A good example would be what most people did with spell components in 3.5.  No one cared to keep track of how many pieces of bat guano you had on you.  I've yet to see a game that actually kept track of spell components, unless it was something significantly expensive

tmorton

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Re: SWRPG question - Wookies, Basic, and you
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2009, 07:00:29 PM »
Thanks all - some great suggestions and ideas in the comments.

I just spoke with him and gave him a few options. He thinks we should just ignore it, and since I'm doing this as much for him, if not more, than me, I'm on board.

I like the idea of integrating the hand signals, and possibly working with some people not catching his accent, for when we need hilarity to ensue.

Thanks again for everyone's comments.

.trey