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View Full Version : Death to Physics Rules (Laws) Lawyers



Xynar
24 February 2003, 04:15 PM
Physics. I don't know all of the laws of physics, nor do I really care. But what do you do when a player or gm that has extensive physics exposure and tries to use it against you in a Star Wars game? Easy. Star Wars has it's own physics laws. Like the Executor "sinking" into the Death Star. Star Wars physics are much more theatrical and fun than real physics. In reality, starfighters would be more like the ones from Babylon 5 and so would space battles. But in Star Wars, fighters have to bank, damaged ships "sink", and when the Death Star blew up, it wasn't an ELE (Extinction Level Event) to the forest moon.

Just a rant. No rave here.

Xynar
The Great Adventurer

Ardent
24 February 2003, 05:08 PM
Well, it depends on how well-versed a person is in physics. Those of us who've hit the point where we're into theory and not fact actually occasionally study physics relevant to Star Wars: dynamics of movement in a vacuum, for instance (will momentum eventually cease? Would this refute the known laws of momentum? etc etc).

However, no GM should take guff from a player but...as a GM, I can and WILL use my superior knowledge of physics for nefarious purposes. bwuahahaha!

Rogue Janson
25 February 2003, 03:47 AM
If any of my players try to argue physics with me when I'm GMing, they're in for it. The laws of physics are expendable - the most notable one being starships hit a max speed and can't continue accelerating.

On the other hand, physics isn't completely useless ... if you want to decide quickly how something works and happen to know the physics behind it, that's very useful. Or if someone (player or GM) wants to pull of something cool and can justify it with some physics (even if they're somewhat spurious) that makes it a lot better.

Does occasionally make me happy that two of my players screwed up their physics A-levels :D oops.

Silent
26 February 2003, 06:23 AM
Well, I think that it's abundantly clear that Lucas was fast and loose with the rules of physics in the movies, so I think that it's fair for you to be fast and loose with the rules in you campaign. After all, in a world where people can pick things up my mental power alone is hardly following the rules anyways.

That said, you have to keep some level of logic in mind when you're making up the world; you can do vitually anything only so long as there's a "reason" for it. If Obi-Wan walks through a wall in the movies and there's no explanation for it, then people are going to be cheesed off, but if you explain it away by saying he did it with the Force then it's more palpatable. Ok, I wouldn't take it to that extreem, but you need to have some kind of "black-box" to which you can give the responsibility for handling all of your leaps of logic.

Vanger Chevane
26 February 2003, 02:45 PM
Originally posted by Silent
but you need to have some kind of "black-box" to which you can give the responsibility for handling all of your leaps of logic.

Good point here. Everyone familiar with the SW Universe knows about Repulsorlifts & what they can do. Does anyone really need to know the details of construction & physics of how one works? Not unless they're involved in the Design & Manufacture of them. Even the novels state that's it's a very old technology, and much of the theoretical underpinnings have been forgotten.


An RL comparison would be yer average Home PC. Few ppl beyond the Engineers who design processors, or work in a similar technically-intensive field, have much of a clue about the methods for creating the transistors & conductive traces from basic Silicon, circuit optimzation and design, heat management, CISC vs. RISC, etc. that go into them. Ppl just buy one based mostly on performance specs, price, and compatibility with the rest of the system.

Most Computer Techs don't go much beyond the component level, like a system having a bad processor, memory, or hard-drive. For the most part, even they have only a general understanding of What's Inside the Component's Box and How It Works.


There is such a thing as going into too much detail, and if a player does that while I'm GM'ing I start asking what high-level-professional-specialty training they have & how it fits the character.

I'd be shocked to find a Freighter Captain who's also a fully certified Electronic Engineer, let alone one with a custom-chipmaking Autofactory on board.

KenobiJim
27 February 2003, 04:43 PM
Fortunately there aren't too many Laws of Physics and just mostly theories... I tend to let my players argue with me a bit, but in the evilest GM way possible I twist it to my own ends. As luck would have it I'm the one with the most Physics and Astronomy education.

Not to hijack this thread but this could be used with any knowledge. What if the players know more about, say, Star Wars history or biology, or whatever? Remember the game is being run by the GM and they are the final arbiter of any rules decisions.

Once again I let them make their own noose. I might change my mind on a ruling based on their knowledge (heck I might learn something good!) but I tend to get really evil about stuff.

:maul:

mojo1701
1 March 2003, 05:10 PM
For the most part, as a GM, I like to be as consistent as I can with physics so that my PCs can think logically about things; "If I do this, what will happen?", instead of "I'll do this. Let's see what happens."

ironwolf56
11 March 2003, 11:17 AM
Look at all these Physics GMs...come on people this is not NASA the RPG, it's STAR WARS. I play in a group with a guy who's a grad student in physics and he could care less when all the rules of physics get broken, because it's STAR WARS!

Satyrgrrrrl
14 March 2003, 01:53 PM
Originally posted by ironwolf56
Look at all these Physics GMs...come on people this is not NASA the RPG, it's STAR WARS. I play in a group with a guy who's a grad student in physics and he could care less when all the rules of physics get broken, because it's STAR WARS!

Though perhaps a little less vehemently, I agree with you. :D

My rule of thumb is:

Anything that comes out of a player's mouth that begins with "Technically...." automatically fails. But, I'm an evil GM.

I think the important thing to do in a game is to be consistant within the game itself, not necissarily with the outside world. So, if PC A can do something, then PC B or even NPC A can do the exact same thing, under the same circumstances, and expect the same result.

Basically, as a GM, you have to pick a consistancy and stick with it. Can physics explain how hyperdrives work? Can you explain how hyperdrives work? Does the book explain how hyperdrives work?

The answers to all of these questions is "NO". That's because Star Wars isn't really science fiction, it's space opera. It's more concerned with the epic battle of Good V. Evil than the fact that Ship A couldn't "technically" (how I hate that word) crash into Ship B. Hyperdrives work because hyperdrives work.

Simple, really. :D

Ardent
14 March 2003, 06:05 PM
Originally posted by Satyrgrrrrl
Anything that comes out of a player's mouth that begins with "Technically...." automatically fails. But, I'm an evil GM.

Then I win! I say "Theoretically..." since most of the physical issues encountered in Star Wars function within the realm of Physics theory. ;)


Hyperdrives work because hyperdrives work.

That won't stop me from theorizing. ;)

Satyrgrrrrl
15 March 2003, 11:00 AM
Originally posted by Ardent
Then I win! I say "Theoretically..." since most of the physical issues encountered in Star Wars function within the realm of Physics theory. ;)


Hate to burst your bubble there, Ardent, but it's THE SPIRIT OF THE RULES, NOT THE LETTER!!!!!!

I win. :P

Note: this is all in fun, hence the :P.

Ardent
15 March 2003, 04:25 PM
I was joking too. ;) And I happen to be the GM, so I really do win. ;)

Jedi_Staailis
15 March 2003, 07:01 PM
come on people this is not NASA the RPG, it's STAR WARS
They have a NASA RPG? Where can I buy it?!? :D

Seriously though, you have to bend the rules of physics for Star Wars to work. You also have to be careful not to bend them too much, or else the "reality" of the game world becomes fuzzy. I've had many movies ruined by a complete disregard for physics that could have been corrected with a little thought. The same thing can happen in an RPG session.

Dr_Worm
15 March 2003, 08:04 PM
I've had many movies ruined by a complete disregard for physics that could have been corrected with a little thought. The same thing can happen in an RPG session.
I don't know...I kinda like a suspension of disbelief in a good action picture. Look at MI2 (or most John Woo films for that matter) for example. That film just kept gettin more absurd as it went, and frankly I loved it. When it finnaly culminated in the "Motorcycle Jousting" scene I was just freaking out in absurd heaven. I mean come on? Their innnerds would have been haggis after that impact, but no...they get up and duke it out! If a character wanted to do the same thing in an adventure I would let him in a second. Can you imagine how cool it would look for a rebel, as a last ditch effort, to leap from his speeder bike only to closeline an on comming scout trooper off his bike with his arm. I would probably even give an exp bonus for cool, cinematic, rollplaying.