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Star Wars Roleplaying Game — Saga Edition

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the for-those-of-you-tired-of-jedis-being-broken dept.

Star Wars Prequels 206

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a ... company called Wizards of the Coast abandoned Star Wars fans who enjoyed their tabletop roleplaying game to an awful fate: product death. The Star Wars d20 product line, which saw print from 2000 to late 2004, attempted to capture the epic adventure that is the Star Wars setting within a simple quantifiable ruleset. Unfortunately, the d20 rules (circa 2000) were far too clumsy to make the RPG 'feel' like Star Wars. Even a 2002 Revised Core Rules book did little to create an intuitive play experience. Now, in time for the setting's 30th anniversary, Wizards has released a brand new edition of the rules, marking a relaunch of the product line. Dubbed the 'Saga Edition', it has completely revamped the d20 rules to meet with demands for Star Warsyness. Read on for a review of the changes, which may finally bring the fun to the galaxy far, far away.The first notable thing about the Saga edition of Star Wars d20? It is small. Instead of the normal 9 x 11 footprint of almost every other gaming book, Saga Edition looks more like a coffee table book, measuring a petite 9 x 9 inches. It's over 100 pages thinner than 2002's Revised Core Rules book, too. A few pages in, and it's obvious that the loss in size and thickness has not come at the price of production quality. The entire tome is full color glossy paper throughout. While there is quite a bit of art reused from previous products, there are also a number of notable original works peppering the pages. What's not there, to my relief, are the needlessly huge quotes from the movies. There are quotes, to be sure, but they're used sparingly. It is laid out to provide the maximum amount of information in the minimum space; a significant improvement over previous main books.The Revised Core Rules seemed to have a half-page-sized quote every three pages, turning most of its 400ish pages into wasted white space. Saga Edition is a tight, well crafted book.

That attention to detail extends to the rules as well, which may be the most refined version of the d20 mechanic yet released in an official Wizards product. Gone are the cumbersome concepts of Armor Class, Defense, Vitality points, and Saving Throws used by other products. The game takes a simple approach: every Star Wars character is a hero. As such, it's possible for every character to take part in every scene, to one degree or another. Character Level, then, becomes the tie that binds every other mechanic. Almost every d20 roll you'll be making is modified by your character's level; neurotically min/maxing every aspect of your character is no longer a requirement.

The difference, of course, is that your choice of class determines your character's specialties. Everyone can participate in the scene where the party flees from the Imperial Star Destroyer in a cargo ship. The star of the show, though, is the Scoundrel at the helm. Classes have been revamped to allow for several 'builds'. Seemingly taking a cue from Blizzard videogame titles, every class has a trio of talent trees. Talents accumulate from these trees as characters gain levels, allowing for my Scoundrel to be completely different from your Scoundrel. Further customization is encouraged by allowing free multi-classing. Prestige classes further this idea of customization by allowing access to novel talent trees, as well as mixing and matching talent trees from multiple base classes. The Officer, for example, allows access to trees from the Soldier and Noble classes.

The best part is, as far as I can tell, none of these classes are completely useless. The Noble, which had a poorly-understood role in previous editions, has become something of a social hacker/bard character. Smooth talking abilities and talents that improve the capabilities of her fellow characters combine into a highly effective support class. The designers have as much as admitted that these changes were prompted by the Jedi. Instead of tuning everything so that the Jedi beat everything else, the Jedi is the baseline all other classes were tuned to. Every character made under Saga Edition rules is going to be some kinda badass.

Badassery in combat is the focus of many class abilities, of course, and it's going to be easier than ever to convey that to players. Combat is dirt simple. There are very few ways to modify in-combat die rolls. The endless hunting for a +1 to hit here or a +2 to hit there will not longer be required. Even better, every character only gets a single attack per combat round, regardless of their level. High level D&D games are marked by endless dice rolling, as characters make a ludicrous number of attacks in a frighteningly short amount of time. And if you really want to attack more than once a round in Saga Edition, you can; you just take penalties for it, penalties more easily compensated for at higher levels.

An additional decrease in the fiddly-factor comes from skills. Instead of requiring you to track skill points, which must be slotted into a dizzying array of strangely over-specific disciplines, skills in Saga Edition are a binary state. Either you're trained or untrained in a skill. Thus, a skill roll looks like this: d20 + half your character's level + relevant ability score (strength for climbing, etc.) + 5 if you are trained. That's it. This mechanic, then, allows even the Princess Leia to fly the Falcon for a short while, or a merciless bounty hunter to sweet talk a taciturn guard; or, at least, it allows for the possibility of such a thing happening. There are far fewer skills as well, with specific uses outlined in the book. The skills Spot, Listen, and Search have all been combined into Perception, for example. This one skill also allows a character to ascertain an object's wealth (Appraise) and see through duplicity from another character (Sense Motive). Thus, with fewer skills to keep track of, players and GMs are encouraged to make heavier use of the few that still remain. Fun without the fuss is the order of the day.

The rules section that benefits most from these rule revamps is the vehicle combat section. Formerly an arcane labyrinth of edge cases and complex maneuvers, simple skill checks and combat tests now allow dogfights and space-based combat to drop neatly into the middle of a Saga Edition campaign. For example, ships are now functionally creatures; characters inside the ships alter die modifiers, and can act independently, but there is no longer a need to keep elaborate track of ship statistics as opposed to crew statistics. The two are now one and the same.

Though I've yet to have the chance to roll dice in a Saga Edition campaign, it's hard not to be impressed by the rule changes this book represents. Essentially the cutting edge of tabletop RPG rules, Saga Edition has the benefit of more than seven years of modern roleplaying design and dozens of gaming books to prove out ideas. The book was helmed by Chris Perkins, a Dungeons and Dragons R&D veteran, and it really shows. It's been a long time since I read through an RPG manual with such enthusiasm; the clarity and precision with which the designers have conveyed their ideas does nothing less than inspire excitement. Based on a tried and true mechanic, eschewing complexity for approachability, and integrating tightly with the miniatures game for even more simplicity, this may be the best product WotC has put out in years. While I'm not eager for a D&D 4th Edition, more products like this make such a concept seem much less repugnant. Highly recommended for tabletop playing Star Wars fans, and anyone interested in the future of d20 game design.


You can purchase Star Wars Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook, Saga Edition from amazon.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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Luke Skywalker (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19479839)

Apple has beaten the world's most popular desktop operating system and the world's most popular Unixalike to the punch with multi-platform support. At Monday's WWDC07 Apple, Inc. CEO Steve Jobs revealed that, when Leopard ships, it will install and run on every one of its supported architectures from one DVD without bothering the user. And the more featured your system is, the more features Leopard will automatically enable.

For example, a user can use the same DVD to install Mac OS X on a dual 533 MHz Power Mac G4, a 32-bit Core Solo Mac mini, a 64-bit Power Mac G5 Quad, and a 64-bit Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro. It even goes so far as to allow 64-bit apps without a 32-bit binary to run in 32-bit mode transparently, which is unprecedented thus far.

Windows, on the other hand, requires a different 32- or 64-bit version for each of its six flavors. So once you decide you want, say, Windows Professional Enterprise, you need to make sure it comes with 64-bit support. Otherwise, you'll be stuck booting your chip in 32-bit mode. Apps must be written and released for 32- or 64-bit and can't run otherwise. This limits users of older systems with Pentium III processors, for example, from running a 64-bit version of a popular game.

Linux eats dust in the race for 64-bit desktopedness too. With Ubuntu 7.05, the latest stable release, things have gotten simpler but still don't stack up to Leopard. So while you can download one version of Ubuntu for both 32- and 64-bit x86, if you want to run 32-bit programs on a 64-bit system you have to download a compatibility layer, check library dependencies, and compile it yourself. 64-bit programs won't work on a 32-bit arch, simply returning an error code and quitting.

That only counts for Intel and AMD, however. Other architectures supported by Linux, which number in the dozens and include 68k, ARM, Power, and SPARC among others, are one-at-a-time installs only and don't have any compatibility between 32- and 64-bit versions. So a user installing Linux on a 32-bit SPARC system from Sun will have to purchase another completely different disc when he installs on Linux on his 64-bit UltraSPARC system even though both processors use the same instruction set.

At most, when counting Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server as two different "versions" of the operating system, you still have only to choose one and are then done with it. Each installs on all four architectures seamlessly and silently.

Windows comes to a total of twelves versions: 32- and 64-bit for each six editions. The number jumps to twenty-four when you consider that you must also choose whether to buy the retail or upgrade versions. This is simply too much work for most people whether they're doing personal use or IT.

Linux does little better, as above with the old download/compile scheme for legacy support. The kicker is that most other distributions of Linux don't even do that well. A user with Fedora Core 7 will still need to hunt down a different ISO for each and every nuance of processor, a real shame since Linux developers sit and scratch their heads over why Linux is still not ready for the desktop.

Come October, Mac OS X will serve everyone with one price, one version, one install: one vision of simple 64-bit desktop goodness.

Wizards of the Coast is the Shit! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19479845)

Magic the Gathering is so fucking cool it makes me feel ok about never getting laid again. Seriously, I love throwing down some cards with my fellow nerds.

How do I mod this ad down? (1, Funny)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#19479855)

Blatant advertising. There's even a click-to-order link.

Re:How do I mod this ad down? (4, Informative)

Fozzyuw (950608) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480059)

Blatant advertising. There's even a click-to-order link.

Last I remember, all /. book reviews had links to Barnes & Noble or some other such big-box book store. There's always a top level post in the comments that goes something like this "Why is there always a B&N link to the book? You can find it for $X.XX cheaper at Amazon [link to Amazon page]"

So, it's nice to see the Amazon link right in the article. Though, it's up to the critic to make it good or bad, 'reviews' are always a form of advertisement. It's usually common practice to give away samples as 'media kits' to get reviews in newspapers and magazines.

Cheers,
Fozzy

Re:How do I mod this ad down? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19480305)

> Last I remember, all /. book reviews had links to Barnes & Noble or some other such big-box book store.

That is because you are a too recent /. user. /. used to insert amazon links, but stopped using them after the one-click patent debacle, and switched to B&N.

Star warsiness? (2, Funny)

Trigun (685027) | more than 7 years ago | (#19479857)

Is there a saving throw against hype?
Does a +10 charisma for small children give you an extra six trillion credits?
Can we actually slay George Lucas?

Re:Star warsiness? (5, Funny)

svendsen (1029716) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480023)

"Does a +10 charisma for small children give you an extra six trillion credits?"

Not sure for others, but my +10 charisma for small children got me 10 years AND I have to register as a sex offender where ever I go. :-)

Re:Star warsiness? (5, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480289)

No, you can't slay George Lucas, but you CAN roll for initiative to see who really shoots first!

Re:Star warsiness? (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#19481165)

I hear Rodians have a -20 racial modifier to their ranged attack rolls.

oblig (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19479871)

These are not the rules you are looking for...

A disturbance in the nerd foce (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19479881)

as if millions of aged virgins cried out in terror of a wasted life and were suddenly silenced...

Yeah well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19479905)

they can change those rules when they pry my level 10 Jar-Jar character sheet from my cold, dead mechanical hand.

Rules size (4, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19479917)

Instead of the normal 9 x 11 footprint of almost every other gaming book, Saga Edition looks more like a coffee table book, measuring a petite 9 x 9 inches. It's over 100 pages thinner than 2002's Revised Core Rules book, too. A few pages in, and it's obvious that the loss in size and thickness has not come at the price of production quality.

I should hope not. The massive and unwieldy size of the 9x11 rule books stems from the inexpensive printing of such sizes. By printing on such large paper (usually in mono-color black and white) they can reduce the cost of both printing and binding. Just run the paper through the printer, staple, and fold.

Printing in smaller sizes is bound to be a sign of quality rather than the lack thereof. Especially if grayscale, color, or (*gasp*) glossy paper are used.

Now if someone could just rewrite the Starfire rules in a format that makes sense to those new to the game... *grumble* *grumble* (Yes, I spent some God-aweful amount of time trying to decode rules that were listed completely out of order, spread across two volume for no real reason other than to confuse you.)

Re:Rules size (1)

eviloverlordx (99809) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480161)

Now if someone could just rewrite the Starfire rules in a format that makes sense to those new to the game... *grumble* *grumble* (Yes, I spent some God-aweful amount of time trying to decode rules that were listed completely out of order, spread across two volume for no real reason other than to confuse you.)


That would require the SDS to become organized and such. And update their ordering and web site. Since the Starfire community is rather small, I just don't see that happening any time soon, unfortunately.

Re:Rules size (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480509)

That would require the SDS to become organized and such. Since the Starfire community is rather small, I just don't see that happening any time soon.

And yet if SDS doesn't get their act together, the Starfire community will only get smaller. It's a wonderful catch-22.

Not that I'm holding out any sort of hope that SDS will listen to the fans and redouble their efforts with proper investments and expansion of the Starfire universe. If they were smart, they'd be using the latest Starfire book from White to promote the board game. Maybe even see about some commercial computer software. Online play would be another great way to expand. Especially if they found an unobtrusive way to monetize the service.

Re:Rules size (2, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480833)

The massive and unwieldy size of the 9x11 rule books stems from the inexpensive printing of such sizes. By printing on such large paper (usually in mono-color black and white) they can reduce the cost of both printing and binding. Just run the paper through the printer, staple, and fold.

Printing in smaller sizes is bound to be a sign of quality rather than the lack thereof. Especially if grayscale, color, or (*gasp*) glossy paper are used.


Wizards of the Coast doesn't print many gaming rulebooks that aren't glossy, full-color hardbacks, and certainly not core books. Heck, a lot of the smaller publishers in the RPG industry don't do anything but glossy, full-color hardbacks. Things have changed since the 1990s.

Re:Rules size (1)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 7 years ago | (#19481153)

Printing in smaller sizes is bound to be a sign of quality rather than the lack thereof. Especially if grayscale, color, or (*gasp*) glossy paper are used.


Is that why the Where's Waldo books were shrunk? Because I'll take the larger ones over my bleeding eyes.

'Petite' coffee table book? (4, Insightful)

magarity (164372) | more than 7 years ago | (#19479921)

Instead of the normal 9 x 11 footprint of almost every other gaming book, Saga Edition looks more like a coffee table book, measuring a petite 9 x 9 inches.
 
Aren't "coffee table books" the really big ones? How is more petite more like a ctb?

Re:'Petite' coffee table book? (1)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480001)

Aren't "coffee table books" the really big ones?
Yes [wikipedia.org] . For obvious reasons. This is what happens when idiots try to use big words or clever phrases.

Re:'Petite' coffee table book? (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480311)

I thought the same thing. The coffee table books are those ridiculously big books that try to consume as much real estate on the table as possible to make it nearly impossible to actually fit a cup of coffee, or anything else for that matter on the table.

Re:'Petite' coffee table book? (2, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480863)

Aren't "coffee table books" the really big ones?


Yeah.

How is more petite more like a ctb?


"More petite" isn't. Square is, because lots of ctb's are, unlike most gaming rulebooks, square.

(Then again, 9x9 compared to 9x11 is, to me, more "short and squat" than "petite".)

Mac OS X- Star Wars Special Edition? (-1, Flamebait)

YourMissionForToday (556292) | more than 7 years ago | (#19479959)

For a lot of things that I would like to do on a Mac OS/X, which I can readily do on my PC, I haven't found a freeware equivalent. There's no equivalent to the simple and versatile photo-viewer functionality that IrfanView offers, for example. Yes, I tried the X11 based XNView, but I have not been able to make that work on my Mac at all. There isn't a more sophisticated text editor available for free, the way there is for a Window machine. There are no freeware Personal Information Managers, unless one resorts to web 2.0 applications. Even when there is a freeware application available, such as GIMP or Inkscape, that's only two graphics software that I'm aware of, compared to the four or five that you can find for Windows. No matter how simple a utility I'm hunting for in the Mac world, I'm continually amazed at how much of it ends up nibbling away at my pocketbook, each taking $10, $15, or $20 at a MINIMUM. If there is a freeware option, there's usually only one or two choices, potentially forcing you to live with usability issues that you may not like, unlike the many choices there are for the Windows world. Not everyone is in love with iTunes and trying to use the .ogg format on a Mac took me many extra steps and extra $$ that I didn't need to go through on my PC). Where are the DVD rippers, freeware video editors (should you want to do something in a format other than .mov or .dv), and money management softwares? It all adds up to quite a sum of money, and that expense is simply not there on my Windows machine. It's stunning that Apple would sell a system that's this substandard. (How different is that from MS creating Vista to be a resource hog?) The whole "it just works" thing is a myth, as far as I'm concerned. Worse yet, is that when you do have a problem, there isn't a good resource for finding a solution. At least on a Windows machine, the odds are very high that there's no problem that someone somewhere hasn't already encountered and resolved, and will share the solution with you. I agree that for artistic types, the Mac works seamlessly. But art, especially music composition, is not my forte, and I want to be able to write, correspond, and blog on my machine. I need to be able to run spreadsheets from work at home, and to be able to edit heavily formatted legal documents. NeoOffice works fine on my Mac, and I use it for casual writing, but it doesn't work with the documents I use for my work. (My NeoOffice is Java based, so I don't know what the author was talking about X11, although I, too, have problems with X11 based software.) In short, my workhorse remains my PC, while my Mac is an expensive toy that I use when I need to do some casual video editing. I'm even willing to sacrifice and deal with the constant security vigilance that a Windows machine requires, rather than have to deal with the frustrations of using my Mac for my normal daily tasks. As for stability, XP has always been rock solid for me, so the much vaunted stability of OS/X is a moot point with me. OS/X is designed to take money out of my pocket, and that it may be a stable system, but it doesn't "let" me do the things I want to do with it.

Meet with demands for Star Warsyness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19479961)

You mean it starts out great, gets even better, then goes straight into the crapper?

Re:Meet with demands for Star Warsyness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19480291)

You're thinking of the Star Wars Roleplaying Game -- Galaxies Edition, coming soon from SOE.

Can't Win, eh? Eh? (4, Funny)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19479963)

The other day posters were complaining about the Sopranos not being 'news for nerds.'

Today they whine about this - Hey!

*slap*

D&D - Star Wars - this is what this site was built for!

Enjoy!

Capisce?

please help (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19479965)

my mom has a myspace page....which is like soooo embarrassing!!!! please troll her into getting rid of it....thanks

                http://www.myspace.com/amandagrashel [myspace.com]

alex

Huge purple penis (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19479969)

In your butt! [goatse.cz]

I predict good things! (5, Funny)

brouski (827510) | more than 7 years ago | (#19479971)

Nothing signals success for a Star Wars RPG like a relaunch!

Obligatory SW quote... (0)

djones101 (1021277) | more than 7 years ago | (#19479981)

If the book is as good as he boasts, it ought to do well.

Reminds me of KotOR in a way, with a WoW twist. Now if we could just get that adapted into a newer version of SWG, we might have something that people enjoy playing again. Otherwise, it's back to waiting for SWGemu [swgemu.com] to progress a bit further.

G.U.R.P.S. (1)

Brian The Dog (879837) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480021)

Did G.U.R.P.S. have a Star Wars version or am I remembering wrong?

Re:G.U.R.P.S. (4, Informative)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480163)

No, not Gurps. It was West End Games that had the Star Wars RPG license for a long time. It was a fun game. I'd be interested to know how this stacks up against it.

Re:G.U.R.P.S. (2, Informative)

ACNeal (595975) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480179)

GURPS has a generic space edition, and quite a bit for Traveller(tm), but I don't think anything specificlly branded "Star Wars(tm)".

Re:G.U.R.P.S. (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480261)

I'm pretty sure I remember one of those too. I think it was a 2nd edition book with GURPS now being 4th edition, but I'm not 100% sure.

Re:G.U.R.P.S. (2, Informative)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480361)

Did G.U.R.P.S. have a Star Wars version or am I remembering wrong?
You are remembering wrong. SJ Games has never held a license to produce Star Wars. Maybe you are thinking if Star Trek? Which, I believe, is printed by someone else, but is simply using GURPS.

Re:G.U.R.P.S. (1)

sanjacguy (908392) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480939)

G.U.R.P.S. is used as a baseline system for GURPS Prime Directive - this is the GURPS edition of the RPG Prime Directive. Prime Directive is one of those little weird things - it's an RPG set in the Star Fleet Battles Universe. Lots of SFB stuff comes from Star Trek (orignal series) which failed to copyright all elements of their series. Yeah - it's weird. But officially there's no GURPS Star Wars, as West End Games had the license for a long time. What's funny is when WOTC aquired Last Unicorn Games, LUG had put out Aria, Dune, and Star Trek. Paramount pulled their license pretty much immediately, as they've always viewed Star Wars and Star Trek as primary competitors.

Re:G.U.R.P.S. (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480909)

Actually, there were a lot of "unofficial" source books on the internet and elsewhere for a GURPS version of Star Wars.

You could always do a sort-of LARP-ish thing... (2, Interesting)

KiltedKnight (171132) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480075)

Re:You could always do a sort-of LARP-ish thing... (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480647)

Yeah. But I'd want to be able to actually HIT my intended target on occasion...

Re:You could always do a sort-of LARP-ish thing... (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480819)

Pfft! Beat my post by one minute. Maybe I'd be a good Stormtrooper after all.

Easy Modification (1)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 7 years ago | (#19481071)

I'm looking forward to this. It looks to be very streamlined and more of a "one book" approach.

But, I really recommend the following change to and "D20" game:

Replace all D20 rolls with 2 D10s. It always bothered me that you had the same chance to hit yourself as do an amazing hit, no matter what your level was. Making it have an average allows the GM as well to get away with really good/really bad outcomes.

Of course, if you want easy role-playing, Witchcraft is by far the best that I have run across. The mechanics of the game take up all of about twenty pages, and 80% of each "page" is usually some sort of artwork or example(figure 2-3 pages, compressed).

Re:You could always do a sort-of LARP-ish thing... (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480677)

I could have joined the Stormtroopers, but they found out I could actually aim and shoot at a target and sent me home.

Re:You could always do a sort-of LARP-ish thing... (1)

spotlight2k3 (652521) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480771)

But if you did that and used this book, could you imagine the size of the dice?
Player: rolls a d20, gets 20
Gm: Player hit critical

News report 2 hours later: a group of larpers were killed today by their dice..... more at 10:00

You're kidding me, right? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19480111)

neurotically min/maxing every aspect of your character is no longer a requirement.

It was a requirement before? The amount of fun you could have in a game was determined by how high a certain attribute was, as opposed to the interaction you had between the players and the GM? I guess if you measure success by "I can do more damage in less time than you, therefore my character is cooler and I win the game" it's a requirement...

The endless hunting for a +1 to hit here or a +2 to hit there will not longer be required.

See above. It doesn't matter if you can get a +1 for a flank attack or +2 because you're within 10' of the target. The dice really, honestly, seriously don't matter that much. Why undergo "endless hunting" to get a bonus to a roll? Just roll the die, see what happens, and take it from there. The GM's not out to get you, and if he is, he's a bad GM.

Thus, a skill roll looks like this: d20 + half your character's level + relevant ability score (strength for climbing, etc.) + 5 if you are trained. That's it.

"That's it," spoken like it's really simple. Simple in comparison to cross-referencing the results of four die rolls on six tables, sure, but that's still needlessly complex.

This is one thing that has always bemused me- how some people are so focused on the mechanics and gaming the system that they miss the fact that they're playing a game with friends. You're telling a story together, you're solving puzzles together, you're (get this) role-playing together. Yes, of course, there's no one way to play a RPG, who am I to tell people how to have fun in a game, but it seems all too often people misspell the first word in the abbreviation: it's role, not roll. Kudos to WOTC for making this "fun without fuss," at least.

Re:You're kidding me, right? (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480515)


While your comments may hold true for many RPG's, they clearly show your lack of experience with Star Wars d20. The entire d20 line is excellent fodder for the min/max crowd. Things like Feats, Prestige Classes, and the revamped class books are chocked full of 'OMGWTFBBQ' (aka game bending) tweaks for the rules-miner to find. Adding Jedi to this mix made it profoundly worse. The entire Force system was so horribly out of balance that allowing anyone to play a Jedi meant they would become the star of the entire campaign. Now, this might make for a good movie, but good roleplaying it is not.

And campaigns involving all Jedi are pretty dull...

Re:You're kidding me, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19480615)

No, I'm familiar with d20. My gripes apply to any min/maxer in any system. Grow up, you damn kids, and get off my lawn. Quit rules-mining, quit rules-lawyering, I don't care if you found an exploit in a certain combination of skills, spells, powers, traits, feats, classes, whatever, that ain't the point of the game.

Mutter, grumble, gripe. Where the hell did I leave my cane?

Re:You're kidding me, right? (1)

Fuzzlekits (909093) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480643)

i believe, absed on other D20 rules sets, That's +2 for flanking and +1 within 30' if you have point blank shot. .. just Sayin.

Re:You're kidding me, right? (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480697)

It was a requirement before? The amount of fun you could have in a game was determined by how high a certain attribute was, as opposed to the interaction you had between the players and the GM? I guess if you measure success by "I can do more damage in less time than you, therefore my character is cooler and I win the game" it's a requirement...

I think what he's saying is that there's no longer a feeling that you have to play a certain type of character to feel "useful" in the party. If you're okay playing second banana all the time in a game, that's fine, but a lot of people feel unhappy if their character is always eclipsed by other members of the party.

A game that lets the smuggler and the princess occasionally shine as much as the Jedi isn't a bad thing. It's one thing to say that a game isn't supposed to be about the mechanics, but the mechanics of a game can place certain restrictions on how players interact with each other and the game world that can either enhance or limit fun. System does matter. [indie-rpgs.com]

The d20 standard system is a gamist system. All its rewards are geared towards triumphing in combat. If you don't pay attention to that in character design, the game will not reward you as much as those that do. Hopefully, the system of the new Star Wars will make it less difficult to triumph without having to obsess over complex mechanics and in doing so stop punishing people who don't play maxed out Jedis.

Re:You're kidding me, right? (1)

Raynor (925006) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480899)

"Thus, a skill roll looks like this: d20 + half your character's level + relevant ability score (strength for climbing, etc.) + 5 if you are trained. That's it.

"That's it," spoken like it's really simple. Simple in comparison to cross-referencing the results of four die rolls on six tables, sure, but that's still needlessly complex."

I have no idea how you guys play. If you fill out your character sheet it only takes a quick glace and a roll to get a skill check. Soon you memorize that you have a zero modifier for Spot and Listen and then you just roll and hope for the best. I fail to see how that equation is 'easier' than d20 + modifier (composed of relevant ability score + ranks)...

Re:You're kidding me, right? (1)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 7 years ago | (#19481285)

Because it's a simpler equation. You're replacing d20+skill points in skill+ability modifier+circumstance with d20+1/2 level+modifier+5 if trained. That, at first, looks at least as complex however since the 1/2 level will rarely change, unlike the skill point difference between say, spot and listen, and the +5 is constant. It's replacing +1, +2, +3, +4...etc with +5 and that makes it simpler.

Honestly though I'm a lot more excited about the possibility of fewer skills. I've always wondered why we need a skill to determine an item's value and another skill to use that item (for instance). Over half the skills in the last ST rulebook were functionally useless unless you were playing an anti-combat game...

Is it the best ever? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19480121)

Women are being "honor killed" and stoned to death because they were raped. Parents are teaching their children how to strap explosives to themselves and suicide bomb. Illiterate peasants are buryng roadside bombs that can, and often do, blow up their own innocent women and children. The same folks that we're fighting "over there" are colonizing the state of Michigan. Religious facism and even Communism (which is responsible for 120mil+ deaths worldwide) are making a comeback in a big way, just under new names.

And you're worried about the highs and lows of this star wars tabletop game. That is why you fail.

Re:Is it the best ever? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19480927)

MOderate Parent as Bummer Dude.

Re:Is it the best ever? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19480979)

And you're posting on Slashdot? Double fail hypocrite.

West End Games Got It Right (5, Informative)

Graff (532189) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480141)

Personally I think the d6 system that West End Games had for the original Star Wars RPG was close to perfect. It was simple, fun, and didn't get in the way of storytelling. Here's an article on the system: Star Wars role-playing game (WEG) [wikipedia.org]

It was easy as a Game Master to assign difficulty numbers to actions and have the characters roll against them. The die rolling was fun (everyone loves lots of dice) and the wild die added an element of excitement to the roll. I once had a player roll the wild die 4 times! Everyone around the table was going crazy, especially since that roll saved their butts.

Advancement was easy and made sense, the skills system worked well, and the source material was amazing. The source material was so good that Lucasfilm considered it an authoritative source for Timothy Zahn when he was writing Thrawn Trilogy.

I have tried playing the Star Wars d20 system and I have come to the conclusion that there is no point in playing anything but the West End Games d6 version. They got it right the first time and there is really no reason to switch to the flavor of the week.

Re:West End Games Got It Right (1)

Bazards (1081167) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480237)

I agree, the WEG version was much better.

10000d6 (1)

Soulfader (527299) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480257)

I've played the old d6 version and the first two d20 versions, and while I like a lot of what was in the d20 versions, the games that we remember the best were the old d6 campaigns.

I'm a little fuzzy on the reviewer's concern for balancing the Jedi class--as though they should be balanced with everyone else in combat. Jedi are badass in the previous d20 editions--but they pay for it in their skills, feats, and behavioral limitations. It doesn't make sense in terms of the game universe for them to be on anything resembling a level playing field in combat, but that's one of the reasons that good games are not just one combat after another.

Vehicle mechanics definitely needed help, though.

Re:West End Games Got It Right (2, Informative)

Lightwarrior (73124) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480343)

I'm a huge fan of the West End d6 system, and it sounds like the Saga edition is hearkening back to that simpler time. That plus a sub-$30 price tag online is enough for me to give it a shot.

Note on the article: the "traits" system reminiscent of WoW's talent trees was included in d20 Modern. It might have been included before that, too - but comparing it to something internally consistent (like a RPG) might have been a better analogy than stretching for WoW (though the WoW reference will undoubtedly reach more gamers).

Re:West End Games Got It Right (1)

Falstius (963333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480397)

The one thing the WEG version was missing was limits on using Jedi Powers. The ideal Star Wars, to me, combines the west end games version with Shadowrun. Fatigue for using special powers, useful cybernetics. The Knights of the Old Republic expansion would be particularly well suited to this.

A fatigue system makes no sense for Jedi. (4, Interesting)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480527)

The one thing the WEG version was missing was limits on using Jedi Powers. The ideal Star Wars, to me, combines the west end games version with Shadowrun. Fatigue for using special powers [...]

Since when do Jedi get tired from using the Force? That never happens in the movies, even when it looks like they're straining themselves doing something hard. The limits on Jedi powers seem to be more that of mental stumbling blocks than a reserve of stamina. Frankly, the idea of Jedi having limits on how often they can use their powers is quite contrary to the style and feel of Star Wars where Luke casually tosses mind-control around, and Qui-Gon throws droids around like he's playing a game of kick-the-can.

Re:A fatigue system makes no sense for Jedi. (1)

Falstius (963333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480769)

I'm not suggesting that the balance in Star Wars needs to be set at the same place as it was in Shadowrun. A low level power would result in little to no fatigue. It is only when the character is pushed to its limits that significant fatigue happens. The also allow the damage received to affect how difficult it is to initiate a power. But this is why all gaming groups have house rules, everyone sees things differently.

Re:A fatigue system makes no sense for Jedi. (2, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 7 years ago | (#19481321)

I'm not suggesting that the balance in Star Wars needs to be set at the same place as it was in Shadowrun.

It doesn't matter where the balance is, it's simply a matter of the fact that Jedi don't get fatigued from using the Force in the movies. Yoda doesn't get tired after lifting an X-Wing or bouncing about like a weasel on methamphetamine. Qui-Gon shows no fatigue from throwing about droids or running all over the place. The Emperor shows no sign over ever running out of lightning bolts to toss at Luke. Not once that I can think of does a Jedi or Sith show fatigue from the use of the Force.

It's not a manner of tweaking the balance -- it's a matter of the mechanic being utterly inappropriate for simulating the game world you're trying to play in. A fatigue system for Jedi makes about as much sense as a Vancian magic [tvtropes.org] system does. Force powers are not exhaustible in the setting.

On a related note, neither is physical stamina. Heroes in Star Wars never seem to get tired no matter how much they push themselves. They might complain a little, but when the action is running, they don't get out of breath and slow down. Exhaustion is not an appropriate mechanic for a pulp/space opera setting as it violates the genre's style conventions on heroic action. Exhaustion mechanics belong in "grittier" settings such as noir or low fantasy.

Re:West End Games Got It Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19480411)

Yeah, when the article came up, I was hoping the new version would just be a revamp of the WEG D6 version. Oh well, I'll keep playing that one. I just wish there was new source material for it so you didn't have to create it all on your own. Oh, and some of the rules are inconsistent with the prequel trilogy, like using telekinesis as an attack gets a dark side point automatically. Yeah, right. I guess Qui Gonn is a Sith then :D

Re:West End Games Got It Right (1)

SilentMobius (10171) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480471)

Indeed, the horrible cancer that is the D20 system has torn its way through many good games, gutting them from the inside out. Even my beloved 7th Sea (Now there was a system that suited the genre) heard the sirens call.

WotC tipify everything that wrong with modern roleplaying IMHO.

Re:West End Games Got It Right (1)

chazzf (188092) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480763)

I was just thinking about that when I ran across your comment. The old second edition sourcebooks were often worth having in their own right just for the concept artwork and background information. The core rulebook told you everything you needed to know about the game mechanics and gave you a decent launching point (a cantina, natch) without getting you bogged down in the rules. Besides WEG, the only Star Wars role-playing game I've really enjoyed was the original Knights of the Old Republic. d20 to be sure, but the game engine hid away most of the madness and let you concentrate on what was going on around you.

Re:West End Games Got It Right (1)

sieb (749103) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480987)

Oh, how I long for the days when I can bring out my D6s and all my sourcebooks. A good part of my early highschool years were dominated by WEG Star Wars RPGing, ah, memories...

Re:West End Games Got It Right (1)

deltatype0 (843675) | more than 7 years ago | (#19481123)

Me and friends used to play the original d6 back in the day and it was quite fun. Especially when you can bust through a wall and shout I'M DARTH VADER! to a group of stormtroopers, roll, and ACTUALLY convince them you are indeed Darth Vader. The thing that gets me about d20, is it really doesn't seem to be different from d6 in other than you are rolling fewer dice. I know there are mechanics changes and everything, but the WEG SWRPG did everything it needed to do, kept with the theme of the movies, and worked. Why change it? Because everything else WOTC makes is d20? They should have just left it untouched and either updated it as is or improved upon it. Eh well. Every once and awhile I come across my old character sheets and remember that my first character I ever made was killed when my friend decided to light a bar on fire. The good days of playing SWRPG on every Boy Scout campout. Boy we pissed off the leaders.

Must be said (3, Funny)

Orleron (835910) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480149)

I've got a bad feeling about this.

West End Games..... (2, Informative)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480181)

I liked the West End Games version better. Too bad it's probably history since West End Games is gone (bought by Wizards of the Coast).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars_role-playin g_game_(WEG) [wikipedia.org]

Re:West End Games..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19480433)

West End Games didn't sell to WotC... They lost the license, which was then grabbed by Hasbro/WotC (Supposedly Lucas' people like it being one licensee for games, toys, etc.) and WEG was pretty much left to die by mismanagement and other factors. They've been bought and are talking about re releasing TORG as that was a popular wholly WEG-owned property.

Better Game, or Better Saga? (1)

Alaren (682568) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480473)

I also preferred the d6 version of Star Wars. The rules were superior and the sourcebooks were amazing.

However, I have begun to wonder if the different system is the whole story. When I played a failed Jedi under the West End rules, he had a lightsaber and some mishmash Jedi powers but he was well-balanced for play. His advancement had to do with overcoming alcoholism and finding an alien master of the force. He was not the leader of the party, but when sober he was formidable in combat... however flashing a lightsaber was bad mojo so he often held back.

Alien masters of the force were not Jedi in the West End universe; they were something else entirely. Jedi did not litter the universe. The entire feel of the game was different before the prequels were written. The dark side/light side mechanic was smoother, gameplay was better, all of this is true, but I really think the worst part of the d20 Star Wars universe is that they had to account for the change in mythos that the prequels wrought.

D&D v4.0 (4, Interesting)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480207)

Could these changes foreshadow the 4th edition of D&D?

Re:D&D v4.0 (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480273)

Only if they bring back Thac0

Re:D&D v4.0 (3, Informative)

TrentC (11023) | more than 7 years ago | (#19481157)

THAC0 is still there, it just has a different name.

From Wikipedia's entry [wikipedia.org] :

The formula to convert THAC0/AC to 3rd Edition "Attack Bonus" (and vice versa) is:
        * BAB = 20 - THAC0
        * THAC0 = 20 - BAB
        * 3rd Edition Armor Class = 20 - 2nd Edition Armor Class
        * 2nd Edition Armor Class = 20 - 3rd Edition Armor Class


In older versions of D&D, your armor's AC value is a set number; for the case of leather armor, it's AC is 7.

If your THAC0 is 17 and you roll a 14, did you hit or not? Well, you subtract your opponent's AC from your THAC0 to see what number you need to hit; in this case, 17 - 7 = 10, so you hit with a 14.

The THAC0 system is counter-intuitive; better armor has a lower score, and will run into negative. So a person with an AC of -5 is actually harder to hit than a nearly-naked person with an AC of 10. And, with those higher -- er, I mean lower -- AC values, you end up subtracting a negative from your THAC0.

In 3rd edition, it's the same range of scores and modifiers, only it's all done via addition instead of subtraction.

Your base AC is 10; studded leather armor gives you a +3 to AC, so your AC is 13. (Note that with the older THAC0/AC scheme, your AC would be 7; in 3rd edition, we're effectively adding the armor value to the base 10 instead of subtracting it, but it's the same delta from the "unarmored" AC.)

To hit your opponent, take your attack modifier (a 3rd-level fighter has a base attack bonus of +3, we'll ignore modifiers for high Strength and the like for this example) and add it to your die roll. So if you roll a 14, add the +3 for your attack modifier, you get a 17, which beats your opponent's AC of 13 by 4 points. Which, if you'll note, is the same delta as in the THAC0 example.

The advantage is that it's more intuitive. Instead of my THAC0 of 10 being so much better than your THAC0 of 17 and my kickass armor giving me an AC of 2 versus the poor unarmored mage's 10, I have a +10 to hit as opposed to your +3 to hit and my armor class is 18 versus that same mage's 10.

Jay (=

Re:D&D v4.0 (1)

arthurh3535 (447288) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480529)

These are just optional Rules in the d20 SRD (System Resource Document). I know I read them as optional rules in multiple places.

They consider this the 'dumbed-down' rules, essentially.

And yes, these are freely available for download. You can play with everything but the actual critters for totally free.

I'll Just Stick With... (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480233)

My second edition Vampire: the Masquerade, thank you! Though I've been dying to get some experienced roleplayers together and give Call of Cthulhu (non d20!) a shot.

I think it's getting oversimplified (2, Interesting)

Lockejaw (955650) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480259)

That attention to detail extends to the rules as well, which may be the most refined version of the d20 mechanic yet released in an official Wizards product. Gone are the cumbersome concepts of Armor Class, Defense, Vitality points, and Saving Throws used by other products.
How is this a good thing? I can understand why people might not like the Vitality/Wound system as opposed to straight HP (though I think V/W removes a lot of weird things that can happen with HP), but the rest are really pretty important in determining what characters are likely to win in combat.

but there is no longer a need to keep elaborate track of ship statistics as opposed to crew statistics. The two are now one and the same.
It's not like you had to do much re: crew stats before. You'd declare your action, make any relevant check, and move on.

Is the next edition of the rules just going to make it a free-form RPG?

Vitality and wound points (2, Interesting)

Soulfader (527299) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480317)

Actually one of my favorite parts of the system. It actually cost you something to use some of the badass Force powers or maneuvers, and managed to make the game still lethal for even a high-level character: even a Jedi lightsaber/weedwhacker could take a critical hit if he was unlucky.

Re:I think it's getting oversimplified (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480597)

Is the next edition of the rules just going to make it a free-form RPG?

There's no need, we already have the Amber Diceless RPG, and you can use that "system" (such as it is) for the development of any type of game.

Highly structured gaming systems are best left to computers; if I want my fate to be ruled by mechanisms and random numbers, then I can sit down at my PC. Humans can tell stories, and should.

Re:I think it's getting oversimplified (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19480673)

How is this a good thing? I can understand why people might not like the Vitality/Wound system as opposed to straight HP (though I think V/W removes a lot of weird things that can happen with HP), but the rest are really pretty important in determining what characters are likely to win in combat.

The new game streamlines things by combining the Armor Class/Defense mechanic with the Saving Throw mechanic instead of having both an active defense (saving throws) and a passive defense (Defense score). So now, you have a Reflex Defense which covers what the Reflex Save used to do as well as what the Defense Bonus used to do. Now all of the die-rolling action takes place in the hands of the attacker and you no longer have to go through 2-3 back and forths of die rolls to figure out who a grenade hits in a cluster of people - one die roll compared to all of their Reflex defenses instead of one die roll for you to throw the grenade and a die roll for each of them to see if they can dodge for half damage. And armor now affects both Reflex Defense and Fortitude Defense (though in different ways).

The Vitality/Wound mechanic has been replaced by a Hit Point/Condition Track mechanic. The Fortitude Defense measures how much damage you can take before moving up and down the track. This neatly replaces the silly Wound mechanic with something less arbitrary and more cinematic in flavor while staying relatively simple with damage (Vitality/Wound mechanics were always too realistic and deadly for Star Wars, IMHO).

The game is in no way close to becoming a free-form RPG. It's just another iteration of removing redundant cruft from the d20 ruleset as well as a way of altering the ruleset to better fit the Star Wars universe. This one is close to finally being lightweight enough to run Star Wars with, though the skill rules still seem a bit wonky.

Re:I think it's getting oversimplified (1)

LastStandingFootman (1102573) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480805)

Thats also my impression. Those rules look Munchkin-like to me... Everything based on level? Come on, I thought D&D first edition was gone for good...

Now, I think that the original "Fading Suns" system (NOT the new d20) was great for fantasy-sci-fi such as Star Wars. I have actually played a Star Wars campaign with just a single page of home rules (yup, just a page for rules concerning use of the Force).

IMHO, level-oriented games encourage roll-playing instead of role-playing.

Saga? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19480351)

Wasn't Saga the rules system TSR (or was it wizards by then) used for a revamp of Dragonlance back in the 90s? It used playing cards for it's randomness generator.

Re:Saga? (1)

Seule (128009) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480755)

There was a game system named that. This is not that game system. Confusing, I know.

Uncanny! (3, Insightful)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480449)

I was just discussing with a friend the other day, why I can't stand to play D&D any more. Frankly, it's all the number crunching and the min-maxing. Back when I started with 2nd Edition, that kind of thing was considered anathema-- "munchkin" to borrow the term that was used. When 3rd came out (and with it the first printing of the new Star Wars game), I was leery at first-- but the simplified mechanics won me over, because I can't stand doing math when I'm trying to have fun. Unfortunately, the number crunching came back with a vengeance-- 3rd and 3.5 had design aesthetics that strongly matched that of CRPGs (the concept of item 'slots', and a wide variety of 'buffs'), including the concept of character 'builds' tweaked for maximum efficiency. Munchkinism was no longer anathema, but virtually required.

This vaguely excites me, if only because they've stripped the numbers down again and apparently made an effort at developing a game that's fun, instead of an exercise in spreadsheet manipulation. Unfortunately, I don't think it's likely to last, because mudflation, feature creep and rule proliferation is pretty much necessary to sell additional sourcebooks. Nobody wants to buy the Complete Book of Twi'leks unless it comes with rules (and illustrations) for Doing That Thing That You Do With Your Lekku.

Re:Uncanny! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19480481)

Really, I think your memory is poor. 2nd Edition D&D was just as munchkinny and included just as many expansion books as 3rd edition did.

Re:Uncanny! (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 7 years ago | (#19481085)

In my opinion, 2nd Ed's strong clinging to the standards and methods set by 1st Edition (attribute bonus progression, core classes, and the like) made min-maxing pretty straightforward when it happened-- you wanted stats higher than a 15, and a +5 weapon. The first few runs of splatbooks (the Complete Book of Foo, etc) and the character 'kits' inside were more for roleplaying flavour than anything else, though the later ones in the series (Rangers and Paladins in particular) had kit-specific rule modifications that, in retrospect, look a lot like prototype Prestige Classes. I have blotted all memory of the Player's Option book series out of my memory, through diligent application of blunt trauma and alcohol, though.

3rd Edition's flexibility, in particular the awkwardly balanced feat system and the Diablo-style 'magic-items of Suffix', makes it very easy to create and equip characters that reach either extreme of 'broken-ness'.

What really got me were articles I've seen published in Dragon, or put up on the official D&D web-page, describing how to build combat monsters in three steps and ten assorted levels. While it is possible to min-max in virtually any system (and just as easy to run a low-power campaign in any), publishing articles like those through official channels suggests some degree of official sanction for the play style. That's my concern-- not that it's possible to min-max, or that it's easy to, but that there is at least the semblance of official encouragement to do so.

Re:Uncanny! (1)

Maul (83993) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480591)

Min/Maxing exists in just about every game. If your 3/3.5 edition campaigns required extreme munchkining, the it was only because your DM was using munchkined NPC enemies and/or poor at balancing the session on the fly.

Re:Uncanny! (1)

Fuzzlekits (909093) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480723)

I have to say as someone who both uses a slew of books in my games and runs a lot of modern 3.5 adventures and settings... Munchkinism is common, but the core rule books aren't so much designed with it in mind. Splat-book fishing can create characters like that, but 3.5 D&D does not have to be that way. In my case my players prefer to tweak a bit, so I simply tweak back enough to make things interesting and keep them balanced as my stories developed. It's a matter of player style as much as the system.

Re:Uncanny! (1)

The Rizz (1319) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480867)

Frankly, it's all the number crunching and the min-maxing. Back when I started with 2nd Edition, that kind of thing was considered anathema-- "munchkin" to borrow the term that was used.
If anything, 2e was worse for min-maxing than 3e. In 3e you can make a fairly unoptimized character build and still be useful in play. In 2e, you had better find just the right race/class/kit combination if you expect to be useful at all past level 7 or 8 (and don't even bring up multi- and dual-classing). In most 2e games I've played, with 6 to 8 players you'd usually end up with 2-3 characters who were the primary badass characters, and the rest were just sorta there during the combats - if you weren't one of the heavy-hitters, you pretty much just sat back and watched during combat, your few attacks or spells being largely ineffectual.

Re:Uncanny! (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 7 years ago | (#19481297)

I've had the opposite experience, strangely enough. We got rid of racial level caps, operating under the philosophy that the effect of racial bonuses was only really felt at low level, and that multi-classing's drawbacks (slow progression, grotty HP, occasional gear restrictions) made up for their benefits, so picking a race was largely a matter of background colour. In the 3rd Ed games that I've played, I've noticed a vast difference in effectiveness between characters of similar level and base class, mostly as a result of feat choices. High stats and serious gear, the standbys of 1st and 2nd, weren't much more than fancy icing.

I'll concede that it's possible that I've been stuck with shitty groups, though.

Re:Uncanny! (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 7 years ago | (#19481019)

I was just discussing with a friend the other day, why I can't stand to play D&D any more. Frankly, it's all the number crunching and the min-maxing. Back when I started with 2nd Edition, that kind of thing was considered anathema-- "munchkin" to borrow the term that was used. When 3rd came out (and with it the first printing of the new Star Wars game), I was leery at first-- but the simplified mechanics won me over, because I can't stand doing math when I'm trying to have fun.

Really, it comes down to the people you're playing with more than anything else.

You could munchkin the hell out of 2nd edition, and a lot of people did. If there's a difference, it's that the 2E rules were a lot less well balanced, so it was a lot easier to figure out what was tough and what wasn't. At least half of the characters at any group I played with in the latter days of 2E were some variation on fighter dual classed to cleric or mage. Thieves? Bards? Ha!

Your group doesn't need to be a bunch of super munchkins for good rules balance to be important. In any cooperative game, people generally like to feel like they're a useful part of the team. If the cleric/wizard can do everything the thief can and a whole lot more and is generally a more useful and tougher character in every way, the guy playing the thief is probably not going to have a good time even if the other guy is trying to not be obnoxious about it. A well designed game gives everyone their day in the sun and encourages cooperation. 3E is a long way from perfect in this regard, and yeah there's a lot of weird-ass or broken special rules in the million supplement books out there, but it feels a lot closer to right to me than 2E did.

Ok so its flame bait.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19480463)

But no matter how you slice it even after all these years D20 still blows. Silhouette, L5R, Shadow Run 3rd, (hell even paladium) are better systems.

Re:Ok so its flame bait.... (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480567)


You had me until you dropped the P-word. Let's compare: Vagabond vs Glitterboy. Balanced, right?

Re:Ok so its flame bait.... (1)

xero314 (722674) | more than 7 years ago | (#19481237)

You had me until you dropped the P-word. Let's compare: Vagabond vs Glitterboy. Balanced, right?
There are dozens of reasons to dislike the Palladium system but it's useless to bring up balance. Why is balance so important in an RPG? Roles are not balanced, in reality or fiction. Ars Magica and the Dr. Who Role playing game are far more unbalanced. Heck even the beloved Vampire RPG is more unbalanced than Rifts. As long as your game has good players and a decent GM balance shouldn't have anything to do with fun.

On and it's easy to balance Glitterboys and Vagabonds, just run a scenario were you have to go somewhere glitter boy armor won't fit, or problem solving skills are actually important.

I can't believe you forced me to defend Palladium. Next thing you know I'll be talking about how Steve Jackson's ideas are original and he doesn't steal them from his fans.

Real life light sabering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19480495)

If you want an authentic Star Wars feel, how about wiring yourself to a car battery and playing swordfight in the basement with F40 fluorescent shoplights?

You can play games without books. (5, Insightful)

v3lut (123906) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480497)

If you can't play Star Wars without a chart to tell you if a heavy blaster kills you more than a light rifle, you've missed the entire point of roleplaying games.

The Story.

Don't get me wrong. I understand some people need structure in their gaming experiences, and sometimes GMs need structure to control the players. But you don't need to spend 30-50 bucks on a main book and a hundred dollars on More Books just to play Star Wars. When you were a kid, you probably did it with sticks and no dice at all.

Imagine watching d20 Star Wars on the big screen. Before Luke and Leia go for that famous swing, there'd be 10 minutes of measuring the distance of the swing, checking the working load on the cable, verifying the sturdiness of the pipes the grapple attached too, checking Luke's strength vs Leia's weight, and rolling constantly for the Stormtroopers trying to open the door.

At that point, I've stopped eating popcorn.

Write your own system. Throw out the charts. Tell stories. It's more fun, more memorable, and a heck of a lot cheaper.

If you like spending money, then take that 150 bucks and buy 10 indie games you've never heard of, and spend some time reading their systems and learning how to take a few rules a long way. Check out octaNe or Dust Devils or Shambles or any of a hundred others.

Money, and time, well spent.

Re:You can play games without books. (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480639)


Structure that doesn't impede play is a necessity. Even on the playground "Bang you're dead" is always, always, always followed by "Nuh uh"...

And those indie systems, while often good, suffer from a lack of support by the community. Want to use a character generator? Keep electronic sheets? Play via OpenRPG, et al?

If anything good came out of d20, it proved that RPG's did in fact have an industry to cater to, albeit a small one.

Re:You can play games without books. (1)

v3lut (123906) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480859)

I suppose that depends on what you mean by 'the community'. Good Indie games get far better support from the authors themselves than big games, and dedicated fans will support their game regardless of its size.

And I will conceed that d20 did show that yes, people do enjoy book gaming. But a small market is not best served by a large entity. For dozens of reasons.

A good GM is never bound by the ruleset. (1)

Maul (83993) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480499)

I played a little bit of the original variant of the d20 Star Wars game, and I don't see how the ruleset bound it from not feeling enough like Star Wars. A good GM is never bound by the ruleset, and I feel that I played with a GM talented enough to make our sessions fun and exciting. In fact, the close similarity to 3E DnD was helpful as we weren't hampered by having to totally relearn a whole new system.

Karma Restored (2, Funny)

mushupork (819735) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480761)

I think I can safely say this story cancels out yesterday's Soprano's article [slashdot.org] . All is well with the /. universe once again, carry on.

Screw the RPG (2, Insightful)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 7 years ago | (#19480853)

Wizards killed the Star Wars CCG, bastards...

Full color glossy paper? (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 7 years ago | (#19481327)

A few pages in, and it's obvious that the loss in size and thickness has not come at the price of production quality. The entire tome is full color glossy paper throughout.

Am I the only one who looks at modern role-playing game manuals and gets a headache? This obsession with four-color printing on every page needs to go. The stupid doo-dads around every page number and obnoxious icons do nothing to improve the readability of the book. They probably do, however, help to justify charging $30 for a book that tells you how to play a game. Give me a 1980s-era AD&D manual any day.

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