Star Wars RPG

From 1d4chan

Much like the movies, the Star Wars RPG has gone through various rewrites and the like. Similarly, depending on when a player was exposed to them, they might view the various systems as:

  • Fun and easy-to-learn (or outdated and laughably simplistic),
  • Consistent and balanced (or complicated and system-locked) or
  • A interesting various on classical RPG elements (fuck you and your cash-grab specialty pencil-dice, Fantasy Flight Games).

Which means collectively it drives a classic aspect of tabletop gaming.

Because of how old the IP is (and Lucas' retention of the merchandising rights) there were a lot of supplements and modules made. By a lot, we mean over 100 in a decade for the original West End Games system. As some of the earliest Expanded Universe works that weren't in the "technically happened but so shit you shouldn't remind people they exist" bin, some of the concepts and characters introduced have become fairly widespread, due in part to the WEG system being used at times as a settings-bible by various authors and developers.

Timothy Zahn was actually given copies of this game and the supplements available at the time as reference books for use when writing the Thrawn trilogy (Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command). Yes, this system inspired force-eating sloths, droid starcraft and the baddest blue-skinned strategist ever seen.

Later publishers issued predictably fewer or greater numbers of additional books and materials depending on various factors. Because of the shared story inherited from the films, many of the various ideas and concepts can be adapted over between editions with some creative thought, so having all of the systems at hand isn't a detriment. At the very least, you'll have bedtime reading material for a long time in a basement far, far away.

The First Trilogy: West End Games D6 System[edit]

WEG's system definitely had a simplistic "wild west" feel to it. Many of the supplements focused on small groups making their way through the universe, unconstrained by trivial things like morality, wealth or spare parts. It was a simpler, more elegant time...

Character creation was pretty straightforward. You had so many dice to put into a template, so assign and away you go. Roll the dice for the applicable value-to-challenge, check against a GM-assigned threshold, and move on with the plot.

Everything in the WEG "die code" system is based on the common six-sided die and added bonuses (so XD6+A). Bonuses stack additively as expected, but max out at +2, as when you reach +3, you reduce the bonus value by 3 and raise the die code by 1. Penalties were usually flat modifiers to the post-roll value, however. Generally, dice were referred to as 'dice' or 'die' and the bonuses as 'pips'.

Using a blaster with a scope that gives a +2 value to the Blasters skill with said skill being at 5D+2, results in an adjusted value of 6D+1; yes, modular math happens in WEG, as it was written in a more educated age.)

Everyone gets a race. Even the droids. Yes, this means racism exists. Even with the droids.

Races determine a few things: Your starting assignable attribute dice, the attribute min/max values, your move values, your size, and any special abilities or story factors. It also gives you languages, common names, and other background information for your character creation.

Every character has six attributes: Strength (punchin' and liftin'), Dexterity (shootin' and dodgin'), Perception (lookin' and fast-talkin'), Knowledge (knowin' being half the battle), Mechanical (drivin' and bantha ridin'), and Technical (droid fixin' and lock-pickin'). Force sensitives can also have the force-related ones of Sense (I think I need to check in with Aldebaran?), Control (These aren't neckbeards you are looking for!) and Alter (I'm crushing your head!). Perhaps confusingly though, Force attributes are referred to as 'skills', despite working (and costing in terms of character creation and later leveling) the same.

In general, NPC characters get a total of 12D to divide between their attributes, and PCs (or important NPCs) get 18D, however these are modified by the race of the character. Assigning dice is a matter of staying within the racial limits. For most PCs, this means you end up with die codes of 3D across the six attributes, but you can always min-max your way into turning Stormtroopers into organic origami. Force users have to use attribute dice for their initial force skill values, however, so being a young Jedi is expensive and full of suck until you gain enough experience, but by then it tends to even out a bit.

An average human character has a Strength of 3D, which means they roll 3d6 every time they make a Strength-related check. The strongest 'average' Wookie has an upper value of 6D and so roll 6D6 for Strength-related checks, meaning they are skilled tabletop players.

That covers the basics of being, but what about the specifics of doing? Well, skills fall into two categories: Simple and Advanced. All skills have an assigned attributes. A simple skill's base value always defaults to the assigned attribute, with any later additions (from chargen or experience gained) adding onto that skill's die value as a starting point. Skills can have specializations, making it easier to increase their die values at the expense of limiting their scope of use. Advanced skills always start at 1D however, regardless of their assigned attributes, reflecting the increased complexity of the skill. Starting PCs have 7D worth of dice to split up amongst their skills, as per previously stated rules on points and pips, and can put no more than 2D into any skill at start.

If you have a Dexterity attribute die code of 3D+2 and you put one die into the Blasters skill, your Blasters skill starts at 4D+2. If you have a Strength of 5D+2 and put a pip into Brawling, your Brawling skill starts at 6D.

Yes, this means by leveling your attributes, you level all your skills. Yes, it's astoundingly expensive.

Challenge resolution was usually a matter of rolling the skill or attribute value, adding or subtracting any bonuses and penalties from equipment, location, events and the like, and then comparing that against a GM-assigned value. Passing means win, failure means suck. Contested rolling does occur though, usually when you're trying to get out to the local town for some new power converters.

If you have a bounty hunter character with a blaster skill of 5D, you roll 5d6 every time you shoot at something. If the GM decides that you rolled high enough to hit (usually 10-15 is good enough), the other character rolls a Strength check (and adds on any dice they get for wearing armor). If their roll's total is higher, they shrug it off; if the attacker's roll is higher, the victim gets hurt (and depending on how crappy they rolled, they might die).

As a note for the above, damage intensity was done in brackets of 5 or thereabouts past the threshold. Given the strength of some of the weapons, the game was astoundingly lethal. Having spare characters around just in case was a common recommendation.

Experience was doled out in the classic XP manner, and leveling your skills was just a matter of matching the current die code in XP and then increasing the 'pip' value by +1. Attributes were a little more complicated, but ultimately the same.

Yes, given enough time, you could level your Jedi OC to beat Darth Vader in a lightsaber duel. Yes, he is given stats. You just need to beat 11D in lightsaber combat, backed by 11D in the Alter and Control skills. Best of luck!

The Wild Die[edit]

In a little twist, they added the Wild Die in 2E to spice up the rolls, which meant that one of the dice rolled was replaced with an Exploding die that had some mild consequences if a 1 was rolled.

Different Editions[edit]

The game has various iterations which are all pretty interchangeable:

  • Star Wars (1987)(Simplest, least options, but still some people's favourite)
  • Star Wars 2nd Edition (1992)
  • Star Wars 2nd Edition, Revised & Expanded (RE) (1996)
  • And finally, Star Wars Revised, Expanded & Updated (REUP) (2015)(free, massive new fan created version, top choice for most people)
  • Star Wars 30th Anniversary Edition (2018) (reprint of 1E)

Gungan Mathematics[edit]

A notable aspect of the original WEG system that should be called out, was its failing utterly at the metric system. Someone went and worked out the size of all the ship models used in the movies in feet, then someone printed these directly but changed the unit to meters without doing any math (not even converting it to yards first). This resulted in some fantastically fucked up measurements the EU would often repeat without question. We can only assume this person went on to a remarkable career, perhaps as a NASA engineer.

Halagad Ventor: Original Character, Please Steal[edit]

Halagad Ventor was a minor character for the module Domain of Evil. He's a Jedi that gets tortured into the Dark Side by Vader and escapes, hides on a swamp planet and creates a creepy swamp filled with with partially real Force illusions. The horror setting made the module popular and well remembered so Halagad Ventor is referenced everywhere. He's even co-star of a book.

The Second Trilogy: Wizards of the Coast's Star Wars D20 System[edit]

West End Games (RIP) lost the Star Wars license to Wizards of the Coast, who then made Star Wars D20. As its name implies, it used the D20 Modern system as its basic engine, so gamers that enjoy AD&D 3rd edition should feel relatively at home with it, depending on edition. You see, Star Wars D20 had three editions, the first two being the initial release and a follow-up revision that did a lot of house-keeping on the rules and the like. The third, called Saga Edition, differed so greatly it might as well been a different game, with the only parts that looked like the previous two WotC games being inherited from the d20 System in general, or the WEG rules for a lot of the equipment. Somewhat like how the original Hummer H1 and H2 were civilianized version of the HMMVV (mostly), but the H3 was spare parts thrown together from GM's cast-offs bin.

Saga Edition is sorta like 4th Edition of D&D, and is actually based on the much earlier "Orcus" prototype that was also the source of Tome of Battle. The original and Revised Edition plays like D&D 3.0 since it is still spawned from D20 Modern and skipped a lot of the 3.0 to 3.5 changes.

The Third Trilogy: Fantasy Flight Games' Star Wars Roleplaying Game[edit]

Fantasy Flight Games would later acquire the license and made their own Star Wars Roleplaying Game.

Yeah, the same folks that gave us Deathwatch and Only War, also gave us...this.

Graveyard[edit]

The simplicity and straightforwardness of the system inspired loads of MUDs based on this, but most are dead or small.

Star Wars
About: The Franchise, The Setting, The Movies
Television Shows: The Clone Wars, Rebels, Resistance, The Mandalorian, The Bad Batch
Star Wars Games
Miniature: X-Wing, Armada, Legion
Tabletop: Rebellion
Roleplaying: FFG, WotC (d20), WEG (d6)