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My Fantasy Flight Star Wars Experience

I’ve been a Star Wars fan since the days of the original trilogy. Since then I’ve collected and been a fan of the books, toys, comic books, and video games. However, the one area of Star Wars that has deftly evaded me over the years is the role-playing games. Sure, I was aware of them back when West End Games held the license and I even have accumulated several of the sourcebooks, but for some reason I couldn’t find anyone else who played. I blame it on small town life and a role-playing environment that was dominated by Dungeons & Dragons. Nevertheless, my theory was that even though I’m not using the books for their primary reason, I’ll use them for reference books for any fan-fiction I might want to write about. Back then I wanted to know everything there was about the Star Wars universe. Nothing has changed.


After decades of waiting I finally found someone to play with, when I discovered a comics & games shop not far from where I live called Great Stories. This long awaited discovery came doubly useful as I was told participating in a RPG campaign would help me with developing story ideas as I am majoring in creative writing as well. Anyway, it was such a relief to find other fans of RPG games and Star Wars, I couldn’t wait to start playing.


For a first timer, let me first tell you, I had no idea how involved Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars Core rulebook was. Learning the dice and what they mean, how to determine what happens when you role, spending your experience points, how to allocate your ranks and characteristics. It’s no small feat. Luckily for me, the group I play with are all very patient with me and help me along. I still haven’t quite mastered it, but I’m definitely learning. Like Anakin, I too, am a slow learner. The best way to learn is to just play and read the rulebook when you have time afterward.

Our group meets once a month on the first Saturday of the month, and typically goes from 6-9 but times can vary as it is pretty flexible. So before my first campaign in Edge of the Empire, I had to choose a species and a specialty. I chose a Wookiee whose name is Chalarra and he’s a scout. My group consists of an ex-imperial medic, a blind hired gun, a human marauder, a pilot, and a pit droid who’s married to our YT-1300 freighter. Yep you heard that right. Every campaign is a blast and I look forward to playing every month.


The way Fantasy Flight Games and Star Wars has brought me together with other fans has been a real gift. I’ve wanted to learn this game for so long and now that I’m finally involved with one I couldn’t more excited. Thanks to Chris Mills and Great Stories, I finally found a place that gathers people from all over the area.

Eric Onkenhout


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I Was Among my People at Star Wars Celebration Orlando

Last week I was in Star Wars heaven. Four lovely days of everyone around me knowing exactly what I’m talking about when I mention names like Hondo Ohnaka, Cad Bane, Rae Sloane, and Momaw Nadon. Everywhere I looked, my eyes landed on a Star Wars shirt. They were like finger prints—I don’t think I saw the same one twice. Entire families were cosplaying Star Wars characters.

People just like me teared up when George Lucas arrived on stage, and when Carrie Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd spoke at length about her mom’s connection with her character Princess Leia Organa and most of all her connection with the fans. But most of all when John Williams appeared behind a curtain to conduct the Orlando Philharmonic into renditions of Princess Leia’s Theme, The Main Theme, and The Imperial March.


Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017 ran from Thursday 4/13 to Sunday 4/16, and had nearly done me in by Friday afternoon. The folks at ReedPop and Lucasfilm give the fans so many panels they’re going to want to attend the only way to attend every one is to pull a Darth Maul and cut yourself in half so you can be at more than one at a time. I quickly learned that attending every one was impossible considering I had to, you know, eat and sleep. Much to my chagrin I had to skip out on the Lucasfilm Publishers Roundtable so I could actually eat lunch. For a lover of Star Wars lit that pained me. During that panel was announced a new Captain Phasma novel written by Delilah Dawson releasing this September along with a Phasma mini-comic series written by Kelly Thompson with art by Mark Checchetto. A novel called Leia: Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Grey (if you haven’t read her other Star Wars books Lost Stars and Bloodline you should) and Legends of Luke Skywalker by Ken Liu are set to release later this year.


My only regret of this Celebration was not meeting as many people as I would’ve liked. My excuse is it was my first con and I really wanted to hit up as many panels as I could. Next time I want to make more of an effort to say hi to more people. I was lucky enough to make a couple new friends while waiting in those endlessly long lines! Oh yeah, before I forget, I cannot emphasize how pleasant everyone was. Star Wars fans are literally the best. Everyone was is such good spirits—not a frown, whiny kid, or attitude to be found. That was so nice to experience.

Since 2015, there has been a Celebration yearly, except it was already announced that this is the last until 2019. I’m sure Disney/Lucasfilm have their reasons, and I’m sure the Star Wars themed park at Disney which is scheduled to open in 2019 is one of them. I can’t wait!