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!

May 4th…

I’ve been a Star Wars fan since 1977. My favorite toys were the Kenner action figures for Luke, Ben, C-3PO, R2 D2 and the landspeeder. Such simple times.

The Force should have hit the snooze bar and rolled over for another century.

Photo by Jay Johnson on Pexels.com

I’ve held back my opinion on this topic for a number of years now. I used to be the absolutely biggest Star Wars nerd on my block. Not just the movies, but the RPG and the novels too. (See what I did there?)  I cherish every memory of those days. Then Disney f*k’n came along and killed the franchise for me.

I’m serious. Anyone who knows me knows I was the biggest Boba Fett fan of my friend groups. I have a Darth Vader shrine as well as one dedicated to my hero, Boba Fett. I cherish my autographed picture of Jeremy Bulloch. (R.I.P.) And then Mandalorian happened. Then this new Boba Fett series. Yeah. yeah… <disgruntled fan noises>

Enough sadness. Let’s turn to the part of the franchise I loved more than anything. The RPG.

Seriously, I ran the RPG all the way through high school and a long time in college. (*Old Grognard moment incoming.) I remember when D6 Star Wars RPG from West End games first arrived at my doorstep. I remember how excited I was when THE Star Wars Sourcebook came out. Back then if I wasn’t running AD&D, it was Star Wars. (Then DC or Marvel supers…) Star Wars RPG was a major part of my life

I had to laugh when the 30th anniversary reprints came out. I still have my originals where I can easily find them. I also have the other D6 editions. It was so amazing attending the WEG writers panel at Gen Con. I learned so much that day.

One of the happiest days of my life was meeting and getting to play in a Star Wars game with one of the original D6 Star Wars playtesters. Really amazing barbeque after we extinguished the fire in his yard, LOL! Ahh… Old gamer memories.

We ran the heck out of the D6 game in college. I met a girl that I dated for a long time through D6 Star Wars. I had this other friend that was into Star Wars in general and the RPG almost as much as I was. He and I talked Star Wars so much and connected so well that my best friend said it sounded like we were speaking binary together. It almost literally sounded like ones and zeros with some giggling thrown in.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

I ran it at conventions. I ran it at home. I role played it solo many times. I had some of the best groups I’ve ever run any game with in Star Wars or any game. Star Wars is the only RPG is one of a handful of games I’ve roleplayed solo. I even found a Clone Wars campaign that I was building for D20 written in a notebook about twelve years ago when I was stocking groceries. (You have remarkable amount of time to think when you’re stocking shelves.)

Not joking- I still have ALL of my old convention game notes, and a couple of entire campaigns I ran for the D20 game still sitting on an old laptop and on paper. My wife will tell you there was a time, before I had kids that I ate, drank, slept and breathed Star Wars. So many good times.

Star Wars D20. Better than people gave it credit for.

I was okay when WotC introduced the d20 Star Wars RPG. I bought every sourcebook that came out like the drooling fanboy that I am. I met the man who performed our wedding looking for Star Wars players online.

The WotC system was based on D20 which was basically a revision of D&D. It was a little clunky in places. Jedi powers were a little tricky, or at least trickier than the old game. Combat was okay to run. Very minis based, not so much theatre of the mind which is what I was used to.

I’m not kidding when I say the RPG is a big part of my life. Or it was, rather…

Welcome to the new era, I guess.

Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

I probably would have breen okay if Disney hadn’t made the third trilogy. Star Wars could have feature at Disney World and they honestly could have left it alone. They could have even dropped some more cool animated stuff like Clone Wars and I’d have been okay with it. (I absolutely love Ahsoka Tano, btw.) Mark Hamill is one heck of a voice actor and they could have done so much.

Ya know, it’s not even the characters in the new movies. I even like the fact that we get to see Jedi being Jedi more than ever. What had me literally screaming at my TV was when they started killing off Episodes IV-VI characters in the most horrible, stupid ways possible!

I get that Harrison Ford asked to be written out. We will all miss Carrie Fisher, may she rest in peace. But why the actual flying flaming f*ck did they bring Luke back just long enough to portray him as a miserable failure and kill the character? Someone should be dragged into the street and flogged with a gaffi stick for that one!

If that’s what Lucas originally intended for Luke Skywalker, then I’m sad. I’d like to blame Disney. After George Lucas handed the rights over, it was all on Disney to do whatever they wanted (their worst) to the franchise. Admitedly, at least we don’t have warm, fluffy revisions of everything where everyone gets along and nothing bad ever really happens. At least the franchise hasn’t been overrun by Ewoks and Gungans holding hands and singing “Yub nub” everywhere.

The only really nice thing that has come out of the last trilogy is the roundabout way the Zahn novels have more or less become canon. That’s a plus because the Zahn books are some of my favorites. Yay, Boba Fett came back and most of the Clone Wars animation was also made canon.

I was still pretty pumped to run the RPG until-

So bummed out about the game these days. I can’t believe where this has gone.

The movies really deflated my interest in the whole franchise. Sorry, friends and family. I don’t know if I can bring myself to run it again knowing what Disney and their crew of assorted hack artists did to the thing. If I ever did run it again, I’d have to rewrite three movies (or more) worth of canon. Then players get confused and complain. Not sure if it’d be worth it even as a writing exercise.

I was all happy that Fantasy Flight Games got the nod to do Star Wars again. I have a couple of friends that work there. It’s a good company. They make a ton of cool stuff. Except they’ve now FFG has canceled the entire line and another Star Wars RPG is in the works from yet another company.

That’s also sort of a downer. (I Sense a disturbance in the Old Grognard Force. Rolled an 18.) Who knows what will happen next or how many dozen sourcebooks will follow. Time will tell. I’m sticking to the old D6 and D20 stuff (plus tons of homebrew) until then. Old Jedi shakes fist at corporations.

So, May the Force Be With You, Always. If Star Wars is still your jam, I’m happy for you. It will always have a special place in my heart. Or Episodes I-VI will, anyway. The D6 and D20 versions of the RPG will, anyway. I kinda miss chopping battle droids into tiny bits with a lightsaber.

Thanks for being here. I appreciate you. See you tomorrow.

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