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!

It Has Arrived!

So, briefly- ICRPG is simple, adaptable to any setting, brilliantly designed, and has revolutionized games outside of itself.

My copy of Index Card RPG Masters Edition finally arrived today!

Snoopy vulture.
c/o United Features Syndicate.

Probably not the most monumental thing to ever happen in the world. But it’s exciting for me! A short while back, Hankerin Ferinale announced that ICRPG Masters Edition was going to be available as Print On Demand from DriveThruRPG. This was awesome! Monumental!

No offense to the nice folks at Modiphius, but I really didn’t have the scratch to buy the $50 hardcover plus shipping. I’ve noticed our FLGS don’t readily carry it. (I checked stores in two states, sadly.) $50 is a lot of money for me these days.

So I ordered it online and the wait began. I perched on our mailbox day and night waiting for it to arrive. This happened with Mecha Hack as well because I love the Brandish Gilhelm (aka Hankerin) artwork. The artwork is only matched by the brilliant game design. ICRPG never disappoints.

I loved the last edition of ICRPG so much. I was overjoyed Runehammer (aka Hankerin, aka Brandish) had made this book available for almost a third of the hardcover price. Of course, I poured over the pdf like crazy, but I love a physical copy of any game, especially this one.

Full confession: I’m biased toward ICRPG and have been since I discovered the game years ago.

So, briefly- ICRPG is simple, adaptable to any setting, brilliantly designed, and has revolutionized games outside of itself. Masters comes with ICRPG Worlds built into it. This game gave us Old Grognards a new way to look at adventure, room, and combat design. Hankerin is clearly a veteran of many RPG campaigns in several genres and it shows in the way ICRPG is written.

The Index Card portion of the name is legit on several levels. It’s a good way to organize as a GM. The game literally encourages this. It’s a brilliant way to keep track of rooms, traps, monsters, spacecraft… You get the idea. Professor Dungeon Master of YouTube fame has latched onto this game and for good reason.

I’m so happy! It finally arrived!!! Worth the wait.

My own campaign settings will be getting dusted off soon.

The nice thing about Masters is that the actual mechanics haven’t changed too much. I’m looking to pull out my ICRPG samurai campaign and maybe putting it out soon. I’ve contemplated a few other games using these rules as well. My meager artistic skills are not as impressive as Brandish’s, though.

ICRPG is a dream to run and create more content for GMs. I really can’t say too many good things about it. Players can pick up these rules in less time than D&D 5E or faster if they’re familiar with any D20 game.

I rely on Bitmoji and stock art for a reason. LOL!

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you! Please try ICRPG if the opportunity presents. It really is worth a try.

Also, thank you Runehammer for putting out such an awesome game. I can’t tell you how much fun I have designing game worlds for this system. Your hard work makes a lot of joy possible. You rock!

Some Lesser Known Alternatives to D&D Fifth Edition

This is a short list of lesser known, less discussed generic rules lite RPGs. If you like D&D, but want to try something new, these are worth a glance.

D&D 5E is a great game and a wonderful introduction to the hobby of roleplaying. Here are some new ways to branch out:

FATE by Evil Hat Productions
  • Index Card Role Playing Game aka ICRPG from Runehammer Games. This is a simple set of rules similar to D20/D&D. It has fewer things to keep track of, which is why your whole character fits on an index card. It’s handy for multiple genres, but excels at fantasy.

    The print copy of the Master Edition is available from Modiphius. I’ve bought into the Second Edition of the game and I absolutely love it! It’s easy on the GM and fun for everyone in the group. If you like the items and monsters in D&D, it’s definitely worth looking at ICRPG.
  • FATE. from Evil Hat Productions. This game has a lot going for it and cool artwork. If you love the roleplaying element of D&D, then this is probably a good system for you.

    It’s easy to learn, easy to run and has cool dice. Honestly, any D6 can work, but their plus, minus, and blank dice are pretty cool. It’s another rules lite game where you can go as in depth or as vague as you’d like. I love it for its simplicity and adaptability as a writer and as a GM.

    I’ve discussed FUDGE on my blog before here. It’s FATE only simpler and a little more adaptable yet. You can literally play any world or campaign you can imagine or steal from. Best part is- It’s FREE! It’s a little older, but very fun.
  • ICONS by Steve Kenson. This is my go-to superhero game these days. It’s got some elements of FATE in the ease of play and dice mechanics. The character creation and abilities have been expanded upon a few times during its run as the Assembled Edition.

    As Steve Kenson once admitted, it’s not even the first RPG he’s ever designed. It’s not even the first superhero RPG he’s ever written. Mutants & Masterminds is a classic and genre-defining game worthy of mention elsewhere. ICONS is a labor of love, as far as I can tell.

    The thing I love most about ICONS is it takes most of the mechanical elements away from the GM so all we really have to focus on is good storytelling. It can be played as campy or as serious as the GM and group desire. The Dan Houser artwork is loveable and very comical.

    While it is a superhero game at heart, I’ve seen ICONS adapted to some pretty interesting subgenres within supers/comic book gaming. Just because it’s intended as a four color comic book world, doesn’t mean it can’t adapt to sentai anime, fantasy supers (He-Man,) spacefaring heroes, or steampunk dystopian post apocalyptic roleplaying. (*Yeah, that’s a thing.)
  • What’s Old is N.E.W, N.O.W, and/or O.L.D. from EN Publishing. There are actually three core books in this series depending on which genre you might be interested in. OLD is fantasy. NOW is modern. NEW is science fiction. All three combine to get some very interesting genres/campaign settings.

    EN World is a D&D fan site from back in the day. Morrus, WOIN’s creator, is a crack game designer on top of everything else he does. He’s definitely got his hands full on any given day. I sometimes wonder how he does it all.

    The mechanics of WOIN are simple enough. There is a ton of free online support for the system. Much like FUDGE and Open Legend, you can pretty much piece the game together for free if you want to. Character creation is about as complicated as D&D 5E, but with fewer homebrew sourcebooks.
  • Open Legend by Brian Feister and Ish Stabosz. Like FUDGE, this game is community based and basically FREE. It’s another generic system that does fantasy extremely well. You can certainly emulate other genres with it, as shown in the core book. Mixing genres is easy and practically encouraged.

    I was attracted to this game because of its, well, openness. If you want to create your own sourcebook for it, they encourage it! Just make sure credit is given where due. It takes the idea of Open Game Licensing to a new level.

    Again, it’s a fairly rules lite, easy to learn game. If you can master D&D 5E, Open Legends is easy and fun to pick up. It’s got the wholesomeness of Essence20 and similar games going for it. Roll 1d20+other dice vs Target Number. The spells and equipment are a bit more fluid in this system. It really does look like what a generic set of core rules should look like.
This is what the Open Legend website has to offer. They really go all out.

This is the first of these D&D alternative articles I’m working on. There are so many games that don’t get enough press or really any press outside of the company’s own meager promotions that I think they deserve some press here and elsewhere. I intend to discuss some lesser known game companies in my next article in this series. Lots of indie publishers deserve more screen time.

Until then, stay safe. Stay hydrated. Be good to one another. Thank you for being here. Please go out and try something new today!

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