Which Star Wars Character Do You Role-Play?
It's been said that everything has already been written, that every movie has been made, that all everyone can do now is recycle old plots and characters. I don't know whether or not this is true for the rest of the entertainment world, but it's certainly true when it comes to the world of role-playing. Everyone thinks they're a Star Wars character...
There are dozens of characters found in the first Star Wars trilogy, but of them all there are a distinct core whom everyone recognizes. Obviously, you recognize them because you've heard of them before in relation to Star Wars, but it's also likely that you recognize them because you game with them.
Luke Skywalker - The player emulating Luke is often playing a Paladin or Ranger, usually young, typically Lawful Good or something similar. They're on a noble quest to save something or other. They usually insist that they own a sword or shield that was handed down from their grandfather. They're of noble birth or lineage, even though they may not know it. They usually try to lead the party but are drowned out by louder types. They don't want you to kill the kobolds you tied up in the corner, because it would be wrong. They whine a lot.
Leia Skywalker - Whether male or female, the character who's taking after Leia is also taking after the Luke type, in some respects. While not as annoyingly lawful or goody-goody as the Luke, the typically Neutral Good Leia type is also a force to be reckoned with (at least in their own mind), and will often try to lead the party from the back while the Luke takes all the arrows at the front. They're usually smart-mouthed and witty, because they can afford to be. Like Leia, this usually gets them into trouble, and they typically need to be rescued from the center of a swarm of orcs, which they insisted on charging into.
Obi-Wan Kenobi - The Obi-Wan character can be seen in lots of places. Much like Merlin or Gandalf, he's typically older, wiser and of a magical persuasion (either a cleric or a magic-user of some sort). Often Chaotic Good or a similar alignment, the Obi-Wan might take a different name (Ben) or travel in disguise (hooded cloak), and has mysterious origins that he will be reluctant to reveal to other players (strange desert caves, etc.) He's the seer, the advice-giver, the mapmaker, and because he's usually staying out of the thick of things, he'll wind up being the one who actually leads the party. Because he's smartest and most capable, he'll probably be the first one to die.
Lando Calrissian - The Lando character typically presents himself as rich, suave and capable. Sometimes he's a prince or a merchant, but in all cases, he's familiar with ordering others around. Despite this fact, the often Lawful Neutral Lando is not often the leader of the party, and he's usually shoved towards the center and used as needed. Sometimes he's a cleric and a healer, pulled out to handle problems when the first healer has died. Other times, his charismatic self is brought to the front when the party needs a bard to cheer up the rioting crowd, or a fast-talking thief to "negotiate" with the angry guards. Despite the fact that he abides by the law, he'll find a way within that law to support himself above and beyond the needs of the party, even if it means betraying them from time to time.
Chewbacca - Barbarians and many fighters often play the Chewbacca type, happy to wander around smashing things while occasionally eliciting a grunt or groan when they get hurt, and need the cleric. Whether Half-orc, Dwarf or otherwise, the Chewbacca type is often one of the first to break the rules and speak with others in the party without using Common, thus making others question their allegiances. In truth, the often True Neutral Chewbacca type is mostly interested in themselves, and gaining wealth, experience and strength for them and their friends. They get along quite well with Landos and Hans, for obvious reasons. They're also quite happy around beasts and animals, which is why many Druids and Rangers are also Chewbaccas.
Han Solo - The Han Solo type is quite common, usually found among thieves, bards and rangers and some of the more flashy spellcasters. They think they own the world, and they're ready to prove it to anyone who doubts them. They're gamblers and rogues, not necessarily always getting into trouble but always right in the middle of the action. Because of their un-thievely habits of charging into the midst of the fray, they're often killed or injured in battles they probably should have stayed out of. Many times, the often Chaotic Neutral Han will attack or steal something just to show off, or from boredom (or because they were trying to charm a Leia type, whom they get along with very well).
Darth Vader - Darth Vaders are fairly common in experienced adventuring parties, usually found amongst players who've tired of playing Chewbaccas and are more interested in directly seeking their own fortunes, even at the expense of fellow party members. While they're easily kept in check, the Darth types will occasionally get out of hand, especially if powerful magics are involved. You can bet that if there's a magical sword or piece of armor lying around, the Darth is not going to let anyone else in the party get their hands on it. The typically Lawful Evil Darth types don't get along well with Leias, because they're so domineering and will gradually take over leadership of any party they're a part of, but they're respected (if feared) by Lukes, Obis and Landos, because all three of those respect the Darth's power and capability.
Boba Fett - Boba Fett types are found in almost all adventuring parties at one time or another. They're always for sale to the highest bidder, and they don't need any stinkin' role-playing to justify their trip into the dungeon. They expect to be paid well for their trouble, before, during and after the adventure, and if they don't like it then they'll take a little extra when you're not looking. They're typically dressed in all assortment of armor and weapons, gathered from the constant stream of adventures they've gone on. They don't get along well with Hans at all, primarily because Hans tend to feel that the Bobas are taking all the cool stuff, and not leaving any for the rogues to take for themselves. Needless to say, the Boba type is typically Neutral Evil.
Emperor Palpatine - Once in a while you'll find a Chaotic Evil Palpatine type in the party, and if he's not killed off he'll quickly find a way to decimate the party, sometimes intentionally. Like Palpatine himself (and the Dragonlance character of Raistlin), the Palpatine is concerned only with gaining power for himself, at the expense of others. If other characters are happy to be his underlings, he's happy to feed them little bits of power as well, but if they get too powerful or manage to nab a piece of magical equipment that he wants, watch out. They're usually spellcasters, and often necromancers, surrounded by an army of undead which allows them to stand back and cast death spells while you wade your way through their summoned army. There is never more than one Palpatine in a party, because they will inevitably try to kill one another right off the bat.
Yoda - The Yoda is what you get when a Luke, Leia or Obi-Wan gets more powerful. They realize they're stuck being good all the time, and they realize they're powerful enough to run the party any way they want to. This combination of power, and yet an inability to seize power, typically causes them to shrink towards the back of the party, guiding silently from the rear. They'll cast spells without saying anything, solve puzzles and deactivate traps without telling anyone, knowing that they control the destiny of the party without wanting to reveal it. They're usually the ones passing notes to the Dungeon Master about what they're doing, and they tend to vanish from time to time.
C-3PO - The C-3PO is what you get when a Lando, Chewbacca or a Han gets more powerful. Like those others, they're primarily concerned with their own well-being, but rather than remain quietly in the back ranks, they're noisier and pushier, always wanting to be involved in the negotiations, or the divying up of treasure. When battle comes around, they'll usually flee to the back, or "guard the rear," even if they're more capable than others, but when the battle is done they'll be right up at the front ready for their share of the pie. They're usually harmless, and typically get torn limb from limb by a Darth or a Boba over some dispute over treasure.
R2-D2 - The R2-D2 is, believe it or not, what you get when a Darth, Boba or Palpatine gets more powerful. Like the little robot in the Star Wars films, the R2-D2 is much more powerful and important than he'll let on. The R2-D2 knows that if he reveals his power (or his battle plans to the Death Star), he'll be torn limb from limb. In fact, when he does step up into battle, he gets blasted apart and has to be brought back from the dead. Much better to quietly lurk in the background, manipulating events and assisting the party to further his own needs. Then, when the time is right, he can take control. But will the time ever be right? Because he relies on silence, the R2-D2 will often use a C-3PO as a patsy, getting the more vocal character to relay his thoughts and ideas to the party; this adds a layer of obfuscation, allowing the R2 to escape blame if the C-3PO suggests something that brings doom upon the party.
No, it's not always the case, but role-players almost always adopt a type based upon one of the core Star Wars characters. This is not to say that they sit down and consciously say "Hmm, I think I'm going to play Chewbacca today." But inevitably, they're going to fall into a type, and those types are well-represented by the main cast of Star Wars.
So, which one are you?