10 June 2013

SciFi Monday: The Perils of Star Wars Gaming

I'm back. I'm still slightly depressed over my grandmother's death and my father's illness, but I have to go on. I can't put everything on hold forever.
That said, SciFi Monday brings you my plans for a Star Wars campaign I want to run with my family. The oldest is undecided; number two is thinking a Jedi; the boy is all for a trooper; and Beth (wife) will probably play a Wookiee scout/bounty hunter. I'm pulling one I did back in the 1990s and adapting TSR's Volturnus trilogy (for Star Frontiers) for the Star Wars Universe. However, this is set in the Old Republic era (back in the day, it was, of course, set in the Rebellion Era--options are good things!). The Sathar become the Sith Empire, monstrosities like the quickdeath are creations of Sith sorcery, the Frontier is really the Republic, Volturnus is a lost world fought over by the Sith and Jedi a millenia ago, etc., etc., ad infinitium, as nauseam.

We have a timeframe, we have a campaign, and now we have too many choices as far as systems are concerned. Let's enumerate, shall we?

WEG's Star Wars 2nd Edition Revised & Expanded is an old favorite of mine. I bought first edition when it was published and upgraded over the years. I post infrequently on the Rancor Pit Forums as Darth Kjeran and really do love this system. It is quick and fun and not overly complex. The mechanics really allow the players to attempt the type of cinematic action seen in the movies. Death can occur, but one really has to flub it up Big Time to do so. The downside is that force users are all-powerful. Although I do plan on starting the players out as experienced veterans, there is a large disparity between Jedi and EVERYONE ELSE. And I do have at least one player wanting to play a Jedi.

Our next contender is WotC's Star Wars d20 Revised. This one receives much in the way of  criticism from fans for "not feeling like Star Wars." There might be some validity to that viewpoint; however, the d20/3.5 systems works better for science-fiction than it does for fantasy. One of its most important attributes is that of balance. A 7th level Soldier/2nd level Bounty Hunter has a pretty fair shot at taking down a 6th level Jedi Consular/2 level Jedi Investigator/1st level Jedi Master. Now, there are those who still feel that Jedi should be the power gods that WEG made them. However, I read Expanded Universe fiction quite often and Jedi are NOT invincible. Order 66, anyone? Plus, that Soldier/Bounty Hunter is a 9th level character--he should have a chance to go toe-to-toe with a Jedi (or Sith). Cons? Well, as referenced above, multiclassing can get silly, but it does have the effect of recreating some of the iconic roles in the movie in a manner different from that of WEG (which proposes an almost generalist feel with the exception of Jedi characters). Some would add hit the HP mechanic, but the way Star Wars d20 handles wounds makes that a non-issue for me. Also, there is a Old Republic campaign guide that was published for the SAGA/3rd edition of the rules. Very useful.

Next up is the fan-produced Star Wars Galactic Adventures RPG that was forced off of the net. I believe it was in its 6th or 7th revision. I prefer 1.4 due to its art and layout. In mechanics, it is very similar to 0e D&D or Stars Without Number. There are 9 professions (classes) and 23 races plus the optional "race" of droid; it's also a modest 89 pages in pdf. Note that the race descriptions are only a paragraph in size (with the exception of droids who get a full page!). Combat mechanics are similar to Gamma World 1st Edition in that the to hit number is based on type of weapon versus armour type. Skills are handled by d100 rolls on tables similar to AD&D thief tables. There is a three alignment system (Good, Fair, and Evil) that actually fits the milieu nicely. It's a quick, easy game that I am leaning towards using just because of its simplicity.

The last game is also at the bottom of the list. Fantasy Flight's Star Wars Edge of Empire. It's not out yet; July supposedly. I could, of course, pick up the starter game or one of the beta rule books on Ebay. From what I have gathered by reviews, blogs, and vlogs, the game uses a dice pool mechanic (and special dice, of course!) where dice are added by the player and the GM. It looks easy, but that is never the case; it might, however, be extremely elegant. So, it should facilitate cinematic play. The other problem is that Edge of Empire deals with, well, scoundrels to put it bluntly. There are 2 other books planned in the system, one to detail Jedi/Sith and one for Empire/Rebellion (i.e., trooper/military types). There is supposed to be rudimentary Force rules in EoE, but I don't know that for certain. I do know I'll pick this up when it comes out, game whore that I am.

So, there we are. I'm leaning heavily toward SWGA, but I have a plethora of material for both WEG and d20. I just know that I want to run some star Wars; SWTOR is fun and all, but I want to be in charge of the sandbox for a change. :)

Until next time, gentle readers, may the Force be with you!


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