A short time ago, I was fortunate enough to be contacted by a reader who made mention of some upgrades that he and a few friends had worked on for the old West End Star Wars RPG. Accompanying this email was a copy of a massive PDF that presents nothing short of a full revision and expansion of the source material. With so much new content collated and created for and by fans of the original game, I decided to run it through its paces with my gaming group and write up the results for you folks at home. Suffice it to say that we all enjoyed the game immensely, and I’m delighted to share the details of the game and our experiences with it.
1 . Infinite Possibilities
As long-time readers of the High Level Games blog will know, West End Games created and expanded much of the Star Wars expanded universe via their many supplements. This newest version of the game utilizes much of this massive setting to allow players to play virtually any type of character. Rules are in place for creating alien races and new character templates, so that players can step into the shoes of their favorite species from any of the books, films, or games. What’s more, the creators have made templates for less common Force-users, such as Pattern Knights, Quixotic Jedi, and Force Mages (as exemplified by the Witches of Dathomir). Players can truly create any character they can fathom, and the tools exist within the pages of this edition to make the process manageable for everyone.
2 . High Powered
In addition to the expanded character template list and creation process, the authors have included rules for hyper-powered combat. Characters can take advantage of advanced martial arts skills with multiple levels of mastery, lightsaber forms that provide unique benefits and special moves, and a huge list of Force powers. Avid gamers and Star Wars fans will recognize the influence of The Force Unleashed, a video game that features an incredibly powerful force-user. GMs will be able and encouraged to create deadly adversaries with amazing abilities so as to challenge the player characters. What follows are epic battles where Force adepts spew red lightning throughout imploding space stations, master mechanics cobble together spare parts to create superweapons, and huge Wookiees spray myriad blaster bolts into hordes of Imperial Remnant Stormtroopers. I’ve found that this edition is best enjoyed in bombastic fashion and high style.
3 . Deep and Complex
It should come as no surprise that a game with such extensive combat options has a complex system to appropriately complement them. This extends to Starship and even Death Star scale interactions, as ships perform daring maneuvers and technicians rotate shields and weapons systems to best support the rest of the crew. Starting with a simple pool of six-sided dice and a difficulty rating, players can use Character Points and Edge Points (translated to Force Points for Jedi and the like) to achieve incredible feats. A host of complications can arise for the heroes as they solve their many problems, resolved simply by modifying the difficulty rating. Characters can even use additional actions to accomplish impressive things simultaneously, and many characters can use the Force or other abilities to gain these extra actions without penalty. This all adds up to a very deep and mutable system for combat and problem solving that makes each encounter unique.
4 . Very Accessible
Included in my lovable band of misfits was a relatively new player, whose reactions and interactions told me a lot about the edition’s accessibility. Despite the complex nature of character building and combat, our newbie found it quite easy to jump into the game quickly. Sure, there were a couple of bumps along the way, but overall the new player enjoyed the game and contributed to the group’s collective enjoyment. She played as the Mechanic (lovingly and hilariously dubbed “Todd”) and fell effortlessly into the role. While it is the simple dice system that made the game so easy to play, it is the expansive options and settings that make the game so much fun to play.
5 . Continuously Updated
Perhaps the best feature of this game is its contemporary nature. The creator is still working on this labor of love, and in fact released an updated version just a few weeks after I was given the PDF, which itself was released in September of this year. It’s quite clear that the people who worked on this game do not wish to see it go away, even this many years after the game system has stopped receiving official updates. If you miss the original game or wish to see support for it continue, I encourage you to check out this supplement for yourself.
I would be remiss in my duties as a reviewer if I didn’t share some of my criticisms of the game. While the PDF does have the same general outline of the Second Edition core book, it’s missing some of the basic rules. Now, if the GM has a copy of the original product they can run the game just fine. Still, it would be convenient to have all the rules in one place. To this end, this edition would also benefit from an alteration in the way information is presented. It was clearly written by fans and for fans, and there’s beauty in that. Yet, the structure could be changed to help new players and GMs get into the game more easily. To its credit, the game does include a useful table of contents, so information isn’t too difficult to find. Once the game receives a bit more polish, it will function as well or even better than the official editions that have preceded it. Keep up the great work, LegendaryExGamer!
David Horwitz is a gamer and freelance writer with an obsession for exploring new forms of leisure. If you’re looking for an inquisitive mind and a deft hand, or just want to chat about gaming, contact him at www.davidhorwitzwrites.com/contact . If you want to check out the game mentioned in the article, you can download it here: https://sabercathost.com/2oLS/Star_Wars_3rd_Ed_10312016.pdf
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