An argument over a few B5 universe ideas...

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Nerroth
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An argument over a few B5 universe ideas...

Postby Nerroth » Mon Mar 06, 2006 11:50 pm

Hi!

I'm not sure if there isn't a more appropriate board for this to go in -but how and ever...

I started a thread at a General Sci-fi boards on another forum and if any of you have any thoughts on the topic and its content, please let me know what you think, or pop in and argue the point one way or another!

Curious to see that there seems to be a divide between B5 fans who follow just the novels and series, and those who take in the games also. I wonder how they will take the Mongoose-published novels...


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Postby The Cheat » Tue Mar 07, 2006 4:44 am

The official word from JMS: Babylon 5 Wars is canon.
Image


As for the Mongoose stuff (assuming I can ever afford to ship it), I'll take it in the spirit I take all Mongoose Material: Enjoy the intent, and ignore it where it conflicts with other canon (the Show, the Trilogies, and AoG products. I rate it at roughly Cameleon Eclectic level.)
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Postby Traveller-61 » Tue Mar 07, 2006 7:30 pm

My take on canon:-
Primary Canon
What we see on screen!
The book To Dream in The City of Sorrows (I know that one is 100%)

Secondary Canon (accepted unless it contradicts one of the above sources)
AOG
Mongoose
Official B5 Products – Security Manual, PC CD Guide to B5 etc
The Trilogies

Where the secondary sources contradict each other (yes, really, it does happen :lol: ) I will accept the one that fits closest to my idea of the how the B5 universe works.

And now a question to all: does it matter?
Mongoose produces the B5 RPG – each game that is run will be in own version of the B5 universe as interpreted as GM! So canon in my opinion is what each GM decides to make it.

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Postby lastbesthope » Tue Mar 07, 2006 10:40 pm

I'm with T-61 on this.

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Postby Traveller-61 » Tue Mar 07, 2006 10:49 pm

lastbesthope wrote:I'm with T-61 on this.

LBH
Thanks LBH - nice to have some company! :lol:

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Postby lastbesthope » Tue Mar 07, 2006 10:59 pm

I come down on the side I agree with, it just happens to be yours this time, although I do seem to disagree with Emperor Penguin a lot :lol:

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Postby Michka » Wed Mar 08, 2006 1:09 am

You know, the first time I heard the word cannon was at a comic book convention in Chicago where JMS talked about how all the product for Babylon 5 was going to be cannon. He had to explain the word to many of us as this was back in 1995. He was specifically talking about the first few paperbacks. Funny how those same paperbacks are now considered non-canon.
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Postby The Cheat » Wed Mar 08, 2006 2:45 am

Traveller-61 wrote:My take on canon:-
Primary Canon
What we see on screen!
The book To Dream in The City of Sorrows (I know that one is 100%)

Secondary Canon (accepted unless it contradicts one of the above sources)
AOG
Mongoose
Official B5 Products – Security Manual, PC CD Guide to B5 etc
The Trilogies

Where the secondary sources contradict each other (yes, really, it does happen :lol: ) I will accept the one that fits closest to my idea of the how the B5 universe works.

And now a question to all: does it matter?
Mongoose produces the B5 RPG – each game that is run will be in own version of the B5 universe as interpreted as GM! So canon in my opinion is what each GM decides to make it.

DW
I agree with most of this, but I'm fairly sure that JMS declaired the trilogies as rated equal to TDitCoS. Regardless, I'd put them higher on the scale then AoG.

You forgot about personal comments from JMS. I'd rate them above the show.


As far as how canon matters? There is a persistent background to B5, and the more you drift from it, the less canon it is. It matters when you are objectively discussing pseudo-history, or arguing hypotheticals unincluded by JMS, say, how the EA would do against the UFP. "Canon" is little more than the collected reference of facts. This doesn't really matter in the slightest when you're doing an RP, because that's just imagination and having a fun time. It's your show, not his.

However, that doesn't mean that how you run an RP has any influence on B5 canon proper.
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Postby The Cheat » Wed Mar 08, 2006 4:42 am

Another note, Nerroth: The Great Crusade is not canon.

Wars of the Centauri Republic and Showdowns 8 however, are.
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Postby Greg Smith » Wed Mar 08, 2006 11:36 am

My problem with what JMS considers canon, is that he later makes it un-canon.

When the first few novels were announced, they were decalered canon, and JMS had some input and they were described as providing additional background to the show. There is a scene in Voices which hints at the Talia Winters sleeper agent plot, for example.

The comics were to have a similar canon status. The story Shadows, Past and Present ties very specificly into the show. JMS even described it as canon on usenet. Oh and issue 1 was written by JMS - how can this not be canon?

Now the only spin-off that is considered canon is To Dream.... Why does he still insist on calling that canon? Could it be because his wife wrote it and he doesn't want to say, "Sorry darling, your book is no longer canon. Your writing just isn't upto the level I consider to be good enough for my universe."

Is gaming material canon - that's a whole other question. :)
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Postby migutse » Wed Mar 08, 2006 11:37 am

I rate some of the written stuff higher than some material seen on the screen. The Gathering is a good example of this. It features many aliens that we never ever see after the pilot and had various other flaws. There are some conflicts even inside thea actual series. One that comes to mind is Infection, where Franklin says that he checked on IPX, but didn't find any information about it anywhere. Later on we are told that IPX is a huge corporation that sponsors many expeditions to dead worlds outside Earth space. It would seem very unlikely, that Franklin didn't find any information about it. I try to make my own "canon", which consists of information that seems to make sense within the B5 concept.
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Postby Greg Smith » Wed Mar 08, 2006 11:55 am

One thing that really bugged me from the Technomage trilogy - Sheridan wouldn't have been able to crash the whitestar into Z'ha'dum without Galen's help. Puhlease!
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Postby mthomason » Wed Mar 08, 2006 12:20 pm

I just go by the rule that the show is canon, and nothing else is even if JMS wrote it himself. Anything else is "pluggable" into the B5 univserse as much as anything I decide to put in myself, and I second The Cheat's view that whatever the GM says goes.

I'll also add that as far as RPGs go, if the GM contradicts the show, the GM is right and it's the show thats wrong. Anything that allows players to "get one over" on the GM just can't be allowed in an RPG. Obviously the GM really ought to come up with a good reason why they've changed canon but they shouldn't be required to state it on the spot.

I also have a problem with anything other than the show being declared canon because I think it's unfair to expect someone to be familiar with the growing range of third party products. I wouldn't expect someone writing a B5 novel to have to research beyond the show itself, and I certainly wouldn't expect them to be required to check AoG or Mongoose products - it's a nice option for technical research but again you have to draw the line somewhere or you'll have authors unable to write a book until they've read 50 others in addition to watching every episode of the show (the latter I feel is necessary, obviously), and researched the rules of a tabletop wargame ("a what?, some will inevitably ask with a confused look on their faces") as well to make sure they know that this ship has twice the firepower of that one!

Anything else gives grey areas and fuzzy lines distinguishing what is and what isn't, so it's the only real hard rule I can use. Otherwise you end up with canon being "the show, no books. Er except this book because JMS wrote it. And this range of third party products because JMS endorsed it. And this book because it was written by the second cousin of a friend of one of the other scriptwriters.....". Gotta draw the line somewhere, so thats where I draw it.
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Postby Satai Delenn » Wed Mar 08, 2006 2:18 pm

To be quite honest I am sick and tired of reading about the fact if isn't approved by JMS it ain't canon and therefore not worth reading or buying.I am grateful to HAVE ANYTHING new in the Babylon 5 universe .
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Postby Nerroth » Wed Mar 08, 2006 2:25 pm

And to think I opened the thread looking for comments on my Dilgar War idea...


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Postby mthomason » Wed Mar 08, 2006 3:40 pm

Satai Delenn wrote:To be quite honest I am sick and tired of reading about the fact if isn't approved by JMS it ain't canon and therefore not worth reading or buying.I am grateful to HAVE ANYTHING new in the Babylon 5 universe .
I don't think anyone's associating "non-canon" with "not worth reading or buying" (at least I know I'm not.) I've certainly read some extremely interesting and entertaining "non-canon" material, and written an RPG module that I certainly would not consider canon. I'm likewise grateful to have a wealth of non-canon resources to draw on in addition to the original canon.

The problem is everyone wants their favourite material to be declared "canon" for some inexplicable reason, as if it means its better than anything anyone else may have produced. I've seen die-hard AoG fans scream about differences Mongoose have created in their material, as if it somehow devalues the AoG material, and I've seen fans of the Mongoose stuff scream back that the AoG stuff is out of print and therefore not worth considering anyway.
If everyone would just consider it's *all* non-canon as it's not 100% from the original show and just get on and enjoy everything we've been given by various sources over the years we'd all be a lot happier. I don't expect Mongoose to refer constantly to AoG material, and I don't expect writers of the new novels to even refer to Mongoose material. If that makes the work inconsistent then so be it, but I fail to see where either AoG or Mongoose have the right to make changes to what was considered canon before either came along, and force those changes upon everyone else developing B5 material, any more than I expect Mongoose to go check they're not clashing with material in any "non-canon" novels, material from AoG, and various B5 reference books. Lets just have Mongoose's interpretation of the B5 universe in Mongoose products...

I've lost count of the number of Star Trek novels I used to read, and only three of them could be considered canon. I also found a number of the non-canon ones a darn sight more entertaining than the canon, so anyone who thinks something has to be canon to be worth buying is missing out on a great deal.

My only real definition of "canon" is that whatever is "canon" is what I have to be consistent with when I write something in the B5 universe (which however much I base it on canon will always be non-canon in my eyes anyway even if I had a signed letter from JMS to say otherwise) , so the less that's considered "canon" the better, IMHO - I have no wish to research every single B5 product ever produced and ensure consistency with them just to tap out a relatively few words myself. As long as I don't contradict the show, I'm happy.
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Postby The Cheat » Thu Mar 09, 2006 3:18 am

mthomason wrote: (which however much I base it on canon will always be non-canon in my eyes anyway even if I had a signed letter from JMS to say otherwise)
And here's where you loose credibility.


Basically, B5 is what JMS says it is. A significant part of that was written by others. Some stuff may be hard to locate and track down, but that does not invalidate it in the slightest.


Canon doesn't particular matter to a GM. It should, however, be the utmost consideration of fluff writers and authors, who attempt to add to canon and consequently B5 proper. You start building in someone else's house, be sure bring the blueprints and wipe your shoes at the door.


And stop comparing it to star trek. The B5 situation resembles Star Wars far more.
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Postby The Cheat » Thu Mar 09, 2006 3:23 am

Greg Smith wrote:One thing that really bugged me from the Technomage trilogy - Sheridan wouldn't have been able to crash the whitestar into Z'ha'dum without Galen's help. Puhlease!
And the reason they'd just let him do that without outside interfearence would be?

I agree that it cheepened it somewhat, but it makes sense from actual ability. And, that scene where Galen fights off reinforcements coming for Sheridan was damn cool.
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Postby ATimson » Thu Mar 09, 2006 5:09 am

mthomason wrote:I also have a problem with anything other than the show being declared canon because I think it's unfair to expect someone to be familiar with the growing range of third party products.
In a case like that, the burden of knowing that is not on the author, but the licensor; the licensor has to give final approval, etc. on the book, and is expected to be familiar with the canon so that they can spot violations. (In the case of Star Wars, it's multiple people with a centralized database; in the case of Star Trek, whose canon consists of just the episodes and not the books/games/etc., it's just one person. And I have no idea how B5 handles is. :P)
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Postby Traveller-61 » Thu Mar 09, 2006 10:34 am

ATimson wrote: In a case like that, the burden of knowing that is not on the author, but the licensor; the licensor has to give final approval, etc. on the book, and is expected to be familiar with the canon so that they can spot violations. (In the case of Star Wars, it's multiple people with a centralized database; in the case of Star Trek, whose canon consists of just the episodes and not the books/games/etc., it's just one person. And I have no idea how B5 handles is. :P)
Ah, if that is the case then it all becomes crystal clear! :D
The B5 Licence is owned by Warner Brothers, and Matt himself has posted here that they have stated that everything Mongoose produces will be canon! End of argument!! :twisted:

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