Street Wars

“You know what would be cool”, one of us said during on of those rain-soaked drink-soaked Thursday evenings that typified our post-gaming socializing. We’d left the comfort of the hay barn and trudged (good word, trudged) across the car park to the pub. We’d been playing RIFTS as I recall, battling giant Nazi robots with oversized guns. As you do.

“Modern day Star Wars. That would be cool.” For the life of me, I can’t remember who had the idea. It might even have been me. The brain cells which store this memory have long been afflicted by age and decay. Or maybe it was the alcohol. Either way, I forget.

Arms were waved and brains were stormed as we came up with ways to turn the most epic sci-fi movies (this was long before I, II and III – we’re just talking the original and best trilogy here) into something set in the streets of a nameless US City. The end result was a set of scenarios that went something like this.

Not so long ago, in a city near you
The streets were ruled by one gang, the Imps. All of the smaller street-gangs had banded together forming one coalition, an agreement between all of the gangs which set down their turfs and set up a council of gang leaders to oversee control of the city. By tradition the council had no leader, until the Imps took control a few years earlier. This was a dark time on the streets.
Young Luke Walker was an orphan born to poor parents in one of the rougher parts of town. His uncle worked at the local foundry, and often had to rely on his son’s help to make ends meet. They’d recently bought a dog to protect their home – a young doberman pup named Artie. When Artie ran away, Luke set out to find him. What he discovered changed his life. forever.

And so it goes on. We ran a few scenarios too before consigning this to the “cool and we’ll revisit it pile” – though of course, we never did. I’d love to re-run this in d20 Modern! Luke chased after Artie and was saved from a group of Takers (homeless guys in rags) by Old Ben, the local crazy guy. He finds a note in Artie’s collar saying that a girl called Lilly was locked in a basement. They set off to rescue her, meeting up with Hans (a likable crook) and Chevvy (his bearded wheelman) along the way. Ah, good times.

We’d managed to capture that Star Wars – meets – West Side Story – meets Grease vibe by the end of the the third session with our heroes escaping the Imp gang in their battered Corvette Stingray (which I suspect looked something like this– except it had a Falcon painted on the side :) ).

We’d weaved an whole mythos (ok, stole a whole mythos) about Ben Niobi being a member of an old gang from the ‘50s called the Jets. They’d long since been driven out of the city by the cops and other gangs, though the stories of their legendary knife-fighting skills lived on. Ben reveals to Luke that his father was once a Jet, and hands him his father’s customized switchblade, telling him that the legacy of the Jets lives through him.

What’s great about this idea is that it showed the original Star Wars trilogy what they are. Stripped down without their sci-fi veneer and use of the Force, they’re still Bloody Good Stories. And that’s what movie making (and gaming!) should be all about :)

Anyhow. That’s my “we took a movie into our game” story. What’s yours?

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