In praise of Star Wars Rebels

I'm changing the name of this blog, and #WeWantLeia is why

I spoil it for Siri

Guest Post: How I came back to Star Wars action figures by YASWB

Beatrice and I watch Star Wars together

[Review] William Shakespeare's Star Wars by Ian Doescher 

Star Wars oil painting exhibit "Sandstorm" opens

Breakneck boredom: an old time Star Wars fan's thoughts on Star Trek Into Darkness

They put me on the news to talk about Star Wars

More from Steve Sansweet on Star Wars and gay marriage

Carmine Infantio has died

I can die happy: I've been interviewed by Dungeons & Dragons

Star Wars Episode 7: All My Children?

What JJ Abrams needs to really succeed with Star Wars 7

Star Wars: The Old Republic is gay--on one planet at least

Tongal and Pringles bring us DYI desecration of Star Wars

Reminiscences about West End Games' Star Wars Roleplaying Game

Here's the biggest Star Wars news of 2012

Stephen Quinn interviews me about Star Wars on CBC Vancouver

Star Wars: modern myth or global franchise?

Parents turn child's 1st birthday into extended Lucasfilm/Hasbro advert

Me reading from A Long Time Ago

Highlights and lowlights of the upcoming Star Wars Celebration VI

Grown men (mostly) dressed up as Lando Calrissian

Beggar's Canyon Toys offer Star Wars toy "restoration" service

Blog's t-shirts banned by Zazzle

Will the real David Prowse please stand up?

LaserSaber: Unlicensed, dangerous and yours for only $99

Is this the future of Star Wars?

Is Star Wars link bait?

Dissent not tolerated at the Prequel Appreciation Society

TSOT discovers its nemesis

Comme des idiots: Star Wars teams up with poncy fashion house

US Christian activist attacks SWTOR for being gay

Yodaphone--the latest product pitch from Star Wars Inc.

Attention tortoise-fanciers: do you like Star Wars?

History of Star Wars as related by a bot

Is Star Wars a travesty of science fiction?

Luke Skywalker and company on the Muppet Show

Yoda now shilling instant soup in Japan

Commander who?

$6000 for a toy you can't even play with

Star Wars underwear

Retro Star Wars decor in my son's bedroom

Phantom Menace 3D: Now With Plot

Star Wars and disco: the forgotten love affair

Will Muschamp: What a guy!

Oi, fanboy: grow up! A reply to Darren Franich


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Entries in D&D (4)


Thoughtful piece on D&D's glory days

Yesterday Boing Boing carried this thoughtful piece by Peter Bebergal about D&D past and present. From the piece:

The bigger news earlier this year is the online PDF store Dungeons and Dragons Classics where for a few bucks you can download the “classic” D&D material, including the Basic and Expert guides, as well as versions 2.0, 3.0, and 3.5. The site is not actually run by Wizards, but piggybacked onto the terrific DriveThru RPG, a stellar resource for role-playing. There are missed opportunities here, including not making these available as print-on-demand, an option that has become central to OSR culture.

A more cynical observation, and one I can’t help but make, is that the cost to post these items online is negligible. The operators are able to make a profit on material that it had no hand in producing—content that has long been available in OSR clones. This is not to say that it isn’t terrific to have these items available, as some of them are fairly collectible and Wizards deserves credit for buying TSR when the alternative might have been the end of the game itself. But there is something uninspired in the whole effort. It is as if Wizards does not really see new value in the old D&D material, but merely recognizes the opportunity to make money from those who do.

Nevertheless, reading through these items—particularly the AD&D hardcovers—is a joy. Here is Gygax describing playing a character: “Each of you will become an artful thespian as time goes by—you will acquire gold, magic items, and great renown... This game lets all your fantasies come true... Enjoy, for this game is what dreams are made.” Sure, it’s over the top. But it evoked wonder.

Tellingly, Bebergal goes on to quote the same passage from Gygax's Player's Handbook that I quote from in A Long Time Ago.

What does D&D have to do with Star Wars? A fair bit, as I argued in my book. In any case I'm seriously considering revising the mandate of this blog to "Star Wars and more for men old enough to know better". I'm getting more than a little bored of limiting myself to Star Wars.

Boing Boing: Old School Dungeons & Dragons: Wizards of the Coast's problem child


I can die happy: I've been interviewed by Dungeons & Dragons

Amazingly, the producer of the Dungeons & Dragons web site, Bart Caroll, read A Long Time Ago, enjoyed it "quite immensely", and asked to interview me for the D&D web site. My answer was Yes yes yes yes yes oh my god I have to tell my sister and Scott and everyone I know etc. etc. It took some time to regain my composure.

The interview is now up on Here's an excerpt, but follow the link to read the whole thing:

Wizards: Was there ever any crossover between the two hobbies (I know there was in my earlier D&D games): character names, lightsabers as treasure, D&D scenarios based on favorite movie scenes, dabbling with sci-fi role-playing games? Or to ask a separate but nominally related question, if Han, Luke, Ben, etc., were a D&D party en route to save the princess, what sorts of D&D characters would you imagine they'd be?

Gib: In my earliest D&D days, playing with the Garfield DM, I easily talked him in to letting me create a Jedi Knight class. It made no sense in the quasi-medieval dungeon-crawling setting we were playing in. But Star Wars was still my reference point for all things fantasy at that time, so I suppose it was natural that I started by reaching for what I knew.

(Attached for your amusement is a cringe-inducing example of this failed crossover attempt.)

Thanks again to Bart Caroll!

Dungeons & Dragons: Spotlight Interview: Gib van Ert


Organization aims to honour Gary Gygax with a statue in Wisconsin

The Gygax Memorial Fund is a tax-exempt US s. 501(C)(3) organization which aims to honour Gary Gygax's efforts in the creation of Dungeons & Dragons by means of a memorial in a public park in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The organization also seeks to commemorate Gygax's achievements in other ways.

The fund has received municipal approval for a public memorial in Donian Park, Lake Geneva, and is seeking contributions to the project. According to the fund's web site, the memorial as approved will incorporate a bust, a plinth and a polyhedral die. Famed D&D artist Larry Elmore is involved in the design, and the bust will be created by artist Stefan Pokorny, a classically trained sculptor and founder of Dwarven Forge miniatures.

Wizards of the Coast, owners of Dungeons & Dragons, are also making signifcant contributions to the memorial effort. WotC has created limited-edition reprints of Gygax's 1st edititon Advanced Dungeons & Dragons core rulebooks, with part of the proceeds benefiting the memorial fund. Find out more here.

What does any of this have to do with Star Wars, you ask? I have some thoughts on the links between Star Wars and D&D in A Long Time Ago, but the short answer is that this isn't a Star Wars story at all. Who cares? It's wonderful and deserves to be more widely known. Follow the links below for more information, including how you can donate to the project.

Gygax Memorial Fund


Gygax Magazine launch party features new Star Wars RPG

Like many a middle-aged Star Wars fan, I'm a former D&D player. I describe my introduction to D&D, and pay homage to Gary Gygax, in A Long Time Ago. So when I learned that Gygax's sons Luke and Ernie Gygax, together with former Dragon Magazine editor Tim Kask, and others were launching Gygax Magazine, I signed up for the mailing list right away. I don't play anymore, and haven't for years, but I still wanted to see what this was all about.

Yesterday I received this invitation to the Gygax Magazine launch party in Brooklyn. I'd love to go, but as the general public (that means you) have so far mostly declined to buy multiple copies of my Star Wars memoir, I'm still too broke to quit my job and jetset around the world on the spur of the moment. Luckily for me, the launch party is being streamed live on the Gygax Magazine web site this Saturday, 26 January 2013 at 2 pm EST.

I had decided to write a post about Gygax Magazine, and try to help spread the word about it, even though it appeared to have nothing to do with Star Wars. It turns out, however, that there is a Star Wars connection, and quite an intriguing one. As the invitation explains, "There's a full day of gaming, including Savage Worlds, Marvel RPG, and Star Wars: Edge of the Empire."

What, I asked myself, is Star Wars: Edge of the Empire? I have since learned that it's the first of three new Star Wars tabletop roleplaying games from Fantasy Flight Games. From the FFG web site:

Edge of the Empire is the first of three standalone, but fully cross-compatible roleplaying systems. Each introduces a unique dimension of the Star Wars play experience, but the core mechanics are fully interchangeable. Players and GMs will have the option to use these materials separately or combine them as they see fit in order to carve out a unique, custom roleplaying experience.

The Core Rulebook for Edge of the Empire allows players to create characters with checkered pasts and deep obligations, and it invites them to experience the thrills and adventures of life on the outskirts and the fringes of the Star Wars galaxy. Coming later, Star Wars®: Age of Rebellion™ will allow players to take the fight to the Galactic Empire as members of the Rebel Alliance, and Star Wars®: Force and Destiny™ will permit players to assume the burden of the last surviving Force users who are hunted by the Empire and must fight for survival even as they seek to uphold the ideals of their forbears – the fabled Jedi.

It sounds really fun and different, and the web site make the product itself look gorgeous. 

So if by chance you are a carefree jetsetting type, or happen to live in or around Brooklyn, head over to the Gygax Magazine launch party this Saturday. For more on Gygax Magazine, check out io9's piece from December. And for more on the new Star Wars RPG, visit Fantasy Flight Games.