CHAPTER 2: THE ANCIENT REPUBLIC
Hyperspace and Warfare: I’ve always been fascinated by the transition from jump-beacons to navicomputers – the changing trade routes in the Atlas were meant as recreations of the old jump-beacon network, and that’s expanded on here. Most of the mechanics of hyperspace travel are well-established lore, but there’s some new stuff about how starships traveling the same routes are kept apart, and more about secret routes. The Claatuvac Guild’s routes, and Chewbacca’s role in the Guild, were discussed in the Atlas.
War With the Tion: Here’s the first appearance of another theme in Warfare – the question of what the Jedi do when the leaders of the Republic pursue evil acts. Also, the caption mentioning Uthtara is a private memorial of sorts. I created Uthtara as part of a first-person remembrance of a Tionese attack on a Republic frontier world. I had to cut the vignette but left the new planet name behind.
The War of the Jedi and the Legions of Lettow: It was fun to introduce some other ancient Force-using traditions, and to imagine Xendor encountering the Ones from the Clone Wars series. (Troy Denning has made great use of them in Apocalypse.) I also liked Arden’s hatred of the Caamasi, and her derisive nickname for them. I think my favorite part of this section, though, was the idea that the constellations themselves would be strange to Arden, after all those millennia in stasis. That idea came to me years ago, and I kept trying to figure out a place for it.
Blasters: The mechanics of blasters have been explained rather differently in a couple of Star Wars sources, and Paul Urquhart did a lot of heavy lifting helping me sort through the differences. My question about how a stun setting would work led to some breathtakingly geeky emails between myself, Leland Chee, Pablo Hidalgo, Dave Filoni, Tony Rowe and Robert Clarke. Yes, my job kicks ass.
Here’s more from Paul re blasters: “Blaster technology is one of those things that really reveals Star Wars’s pulp-fiction credentials. Everyone knows what a blaster is — a gun that fires zippy glowing energy bullets. There’s also a well-established Expanded Universe vocabulary of “blaster gas” and “galven coils” to describe the bits of the guns. But serious attempts to describe a blaster in realistic terms are, as Jason Fry would say, pretzelly — not least because writers have, over the years, been working with at least two completely different concepts.
“The first of these ideas originated in some of the earliest RPG material from West End Games, whose authors were evidently thinking of a chemical laser — a real-world device in which a laser beam is fired through a gas chamber that acts as a focusing lens. This has the advantage of being a bit of real science, but comes with the big drawback that chemical lasers don’t shoot glowing bullets like the weapons in the movies, and also means all the destructive firepower of the blaster has to come from the power pack, which has to be generating truly massive amounts of energy.
“Pretty soon a new description of blaster technology emerged, in which the laser (if mentioned at all) simply acted as a trigger, a little like the gunpowder that fires a bullet, charging up a slug of “blaster gas,” which gets packaged into a glowing bullet by the electromagnetic rifling in the barrel. Haden Blackman went all out with this interpretation. It describes what we see in the movies a lot better than the “chemical laser” version, and hints that the “blaster gas” (the stuff Lando mines on Bespin) has some weird unspecified properties that contribute significantly to the firepower of the weapon.
“You can probably guess which of the two is my preferred interpretation of the tech, but I hope that the end result in Warfare is ambiguous enough to be read either way.”
The Alsakan Conflicts: Paul did a great job on this section – I love how we get a sense of the Alsakani as a rather different civilization, predisposed by everything from their values to their geography to wind up opposed to Coruscant. Modi’s map is great – we knew a map showing 17 conflicts would collapse under its own visual weight, so the three of us brainstormed which conflicts were the most important to show. I also love Darren Tan’s Alsakani warships – they nicely evoke the Tionese ships, the later ships from Dark Horse’s KOTOR era, and the Invincible dreadnaught, which Han Solo and the Corporate Sector Sourcebook told us hearkened back to Alsakani and Xim-era battle cruisers.
From Paul: “An idea there wasn’t room for in this piece is the fact that that Alsakani society was heavily influenced by an inward influence from the Tion, beginning with a long period of occupation before the Conflicts that had a huge effect on their alphabet and language, and was tied up with myths about Xim the Despot establishing a “lost province” towards the Core thousands of years earlier. The Alsakani probably believed that they were neo-Tionese for a lot of their history, even if it was mostly a national myth.
“Ualp Xathan, incidentally, is an established character, a nonhuman xenoarchaeologist interested in the origins of galactic civilization; his forename was coined by Adrick Tolliver in the awesome ‘Death in the Slave Pits of Lorrd’ as an anagram of ‘Paul,’ as in Urquhart.”
(On to Part 3.)