RPG Systems for a New Star Wars Game?

May Fourth’s article got me thinking…

Edge Games recently announced they are reprinting the some of the FFG Star Wars. Personally, I’d like to see a new system or a reprint of one of the classic systems. You can read the ENWorld article here.

If I were to design a new Star Wars RPG based on an existing system, what would I use? What would catch the cinematic feel of Star Wars? What is the best Space Opera emulator out there?

Several systems came to mind and none of them were D&D 5E. The first thing I thought of, oddly enough, is Renegade’s Essence20 System. The second system I considered was FATE from Evil Hat. I’m fairly predictable choosing Index Card RPG. And last, I thought about dropping all pretenses and going back to an old school D6 system. (*You know us Old Grognards…)

Essence20 from Renegade Studios is a joy to work with.

I think this would be an easy catch for Star Wars as an RPG.

It’s new, but loveable. I’m still not sure about any kind of open licensing status for this game, and someone really should address that. (Hint-hint Renegade.) It’s a simple, flexible, easy to adapt, and uses a familiar system (D20.) If it can be customized from Power Rangers to GI Joe and then Transformers, Star Wars can’t be that difficult of a stretch.

The only thing I think Renegade would probably struggle with is the massive volume of sourcebooks that inevitably comes with Star Wars. Thus far their track record with creating sourcebooks has been pretty skimpy. Renegade has a LOT of irons in the proverbial fire right now. That’s why I say an OGL for Essence20 would have to be in order. The system could get the job done.

FATE Star Wars. That could be a thing.

Reimagine this with Han, Mace Windu and Chewbacca? FATE Star Wars!

This game system is pretty much made for Star Wars! The narrative style of combat would take a lot of the extra crunch out of the game, which is great for some. It would make Jedi and Sith feel way more epic with their major abilities to cut down entire squads of droids or duel for several minutes without losing a limb. Massive fleet sized space battles and land wars between droid armies and Gungans would be easy without a lot of rules tweaks. I also think FATE captures the cinematic feel of Star Wars and put the characters at the center of their Universe.

All it would take for this wacky scheme to become a reality is for Edge (or whomever is doing the next Star Wars) to Reach out to Evil Hat Studios and offer a collaboration. FATE Space is already a thing and it’s really not hard to believe that the folks at Evil Hat would gladly hook up with one of the single largest franchises in movie/rpg history. How cool would that be?

The Old Grognard in me can’t resist saying it.

Why not?

I’m a sucker for the original. I’ve spent so many hours running and planning for games under the old WEG D6 system, it’s not even funny. My copies of this are very well-loved, maybe even worn out. I love this game so much.

If someone were to convince Disney/Lucasfilm to do a new version of the RPG, please bring back the old system with it. This game did everything you would want the Star Wars RPG to do and then some. It also underwent several revisions over the years and was very streamlined for gameplay. Not to mention the number of old school RPG fans that would come out of the woodwork to teach new gamers how to play this system. It takes less time to make a character than D&D and jump right into the action within minutes of sitting down. What’s old would truly be new again.

I found a great link to the past here thanks to @MikeRJArsenault on Twitter.

I have some outstanding honorable mentions.

Index Card RPG would be a logical choice for Star Wars RPG and I’m sure Runehammer wouldn’t mind. Look at Warp Shell. ICRPG also uses more theatre of the mind style combat and would fit the cinematic feel of Star Wars. Plus d12s. I mean, that’s good, right?

I could see someone trying to use Powered by the Apocalypse, but I strongly urge them not to ever do so. The sheer number of playbooks needed to emulate Star Wars properly would be staggering. I’m still trying to fully wrap my head around being a Keeper for MotW and I just think it would make for a very ugly, awkward Star Wars game. Maybe I’m wrong? You experiences may vary.

I’d also offer up Cortex RPG, a generic system with tons of potential for a good sci-fi anchor. A version of I think it’s highly underrated. I’d also mention the slightly crunchier What’s Old Is New game N.E.W. It’s already got a space game attached, an emulation of Aliens. Either system would be a great fit.

Last, I know Star Wars 5E is already a thing. Yes, using the world’s most well-known and beloved RPG does work for Star Wars. As the proud owner of multiple editions of the Star Wars D20 franchise I can attest to it working quite well. It’s good. My only trepidation is 5E is going to become 5.5 or 6E in about a year and a half? What happens to all of the numerous derivatives when the edition rolls over?

Nobody wants to play the waiting game. We want new Star Wars next week! or now? Sometime in the near future?

But seriously, unless someone puts up an unofficial, unlicensed conversion taking many hours of work as strictly a labor of love, we’re probably not getting a shiny new Star Wars RPG any time soon. Incredibly, conversions involving some of the rules sets listed above are already in use. Dear Disney, please for the love of Walt just volunteer someone to make a new official Star Wars RPG?

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you every day for being here in this space. Have a great weekend!

Fantasy TTRPGs- Starting a Dungeon

Dungeon crawls. Why do they exist and who would build such a thing?

Giving the dungeon, and the module, a backstory.

Whether I’m creating a typical five room dungeon or a massive underground mega sprawl, the first question that always comes to mind is: why? And the why actually goes both ways. Why would anyone in their right (medieval fantasy) mind want to build the complex, possibly underground at all? Furthermore, why would a group of characters want to go into a dank underground complex full of terrible traps and drooling, slobbering monsters?

Now, not every dungeon adventure the party is going to face is necessarily underground. It could be a hedge maze, an old manor, a shipwreck, or something even stranger. The question always remains, why is it there?

Who built it and for what purpose?

Not every dungeon is built for a reason. Some occur naturally. But every dungeon is inhabited for a reason. (Or worse, abandoned for a bigger reason.) I mean, every creature needs a home, right? Even drooling, slobbering, scary monsters gotta live somewhere.

But a true dungeon, a real stereotypical fantasy underground complex, springs to life with a legitimate reason of some sort in mind. I find it important to decide on a cause before I start construction so I know what the centerpiece of the place is going to be. Bear in mind, a truly huge dungeon would take thousands of man hours and gold coins or lots of magic in order to build it safely. Guards and traps are extra, of course.

Then we come to the who. Sometimes it’s obvious from my GM/DM’s perspective that said BBEG or villain needs a cool lair. Sometimes (Out of character) I need a particularly deadly place to stash some epic loot the party might need some time down the road. Other times yet, it’s just for flavor, like a sidetrack or incidental.

The builder’s in-character motive always comes to mind as well. Maybe it’s a tomb full of stone soldiers constructed in memory of a forgotten general. Perhaps a power mad necromancer needed a secluded place to build his golem in peace. (Darn villagers with their torches and pitchforks…) It’s possible a well meaning group of beings long ago wanted to seal away a gate to their realm. It could be the lair of an innocent Ancient Red Dragon that just wanted to keep it’s modest filthy lucre mountain safe before he can donate it to the orphans. Maybe a group of well meaning good samaritans wanted to seal something truly horrific away forever and throw away the key. Still another reason might be to bury a powerful artifact away from those who would abuse its power.

These are mere examples. We could go all day and night coming up with cool reasons to build a dungeon. The history and lore should play an important role in the next step: getting the player characters in the door. To be continued…

Fantasy TTRPG: The ‘Why’ of Dungeon Crawling.

One of my favorites is the group stumbles onto the thing completely by accident through a buried entrance or random hole in the ground. “While doing your character’s business off the trail, he stumbles into a hole and plummets 30 feet into (dungeon room number 1.)”

I like to give players a reason for their character to enter the spooky underground maze of despair and certain doom.

Picking up where we left of yesterday. Why would anyone in their right mind enter an underground complex full of locked doors, deathtraps, and horrifying foul creatures of every sort? Okay, beyond the motivation of, “We’re perpetually angry thieving murder hoboes looking for the filthy lucre mountain to steal.”

What is the hook of the dungeon going to be? What can I put out there to get at least one player, if not the whole group motivated to go traipsing down into The Lair of the Vampiric Devil Dragon? What logical reasons could there be for wanting to cheat death? Okay, aside from it being a fantasy game.

The two most basic kinds of motivation: Intrinsic or Extrinsic.

We’ll start with the complicated reasons- the intrinsic kind. Maybe the group wants to rescue someone. Maybe the lost component of someone’s backstory lies within. Perhaps the lich that built the place is someone’s great grandfather. In extreme cases, it might be to keep some really frightening thing from ending the world. Whatever the intrinsic reason is, it’s something motivated by the characters themselves.

By comparison, extrinsic reasons are pretty simple. The group has a reason to believe wealth, fame and fortune lie within. They’ve been promised a great reward for braving the depths and retrieving the MacGuffin. Gold and magic items top the list of extrinsic motivators.

There’s always basic curiosity and dumb luck.

All of us veterans know some hooks by heart. For example: a ragged looking wizard stumbles into the inn with a map in his hand. He falls over dead in the middle of the group’s table, dropping the map in the unsuspecting rogue’s lap after muttering something about an ancient curse.

One of my favorites is the group stumbles onto the thing completely by accident through a buried entrance or random hole in the ground. “While doing your character’s business off the trail, he stumbles into a hole and plummets 30 feet into (dungeon room number 1.)”

Last, there’s always basic curiosity. Rumors abound at the inn about a miner’s discovery of a door covered in an ancient, unknown dialect. The cleric’s order recently unearthed a series of forgotten vaults underneath their oldest temple. Why is the humble town of Tristram suddenly under siege by hordes of demons and undead? Who lives in the Death Fortress on Skull Island? There might be some sick loot in the old ruins at the top of the hill.

Whatever the reason, good luck to you and your players. Thank you for being here. I appreciate you!

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