Star Wars RPG 3rd Edition…

The Force Is Strong With This One… After the Break…

Star Wars RPG 3rd Edition…

Tabletop role-playing games (otherwise known as “pen-and-paper RPGs”) were the natural predecessors of today’s computer role-playing games. More precisely, pen-and-paper RPGs were the predecessors of computer multiplayer role-playing games. One person served as the “computer,” making decisions based upon the game’s rules and the other players were the actual players who embarked upon the given adventure.

The role-playing game ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ (otherwise known as ‘D&D’) was the ubiquitous “800-pound gorilla” of the RPG industry; The ‘Microsoft’ or ‘Facebook’ of it’s time, so to speak. Yet just because D&D had a virtual monopoly on the industry did not mean that it was theĀ only RPG to play or even the only prominent RPG. There was, for instance, the well-regarded sci-fi RPG “Traveller,” the sci-fi / post-apocalyptic / comedic “Paranoia!,” the American Western “Boot Hill,” the fantasy “Powers & Perils”… “Adventures in Fantasy…” “Star Frontiers…”

And the list could extend for a very, very long time.

By the mid-1980s, though, the tabletop RPG craze had begun to diminish. People still played the games but they were no longer as mainstream as they once were. RPGs were like other fads: They grew out of obscurity and into the mainstream, became very popular for a time and then the population found other areas of interest to concentrate on.

By the time that the movie franchise “Star Wars” became a tabletop RPG, the movie “Return of the Jedi” had already been out for 3 years. Star Wars, the franchise, had begun a lull that would last for 16 years until the next series of movies for the franchise would premiere. If “Dungeons & Dragons” was early to the RPG craze, “Star Wars” was one of the guests arriving to that party just as other guests had begun to leave.

Even though “Star Wars” was entering what could be generously described as a “mature marketplace” when it came to the variety and accessibility of RPG products, the company that was behind the “Star Wars” RPG franchise, West End Games (WEG), was as prolific in producing adventures and sourcebooks (think of “sourcebooks” as additional rulebooks) for the RPG as the toymaker Mattel was at producing an astounding array of action figures based upon the films. In all, WEG produced around 140 of these books in total. That’s a lot of additional rules to learn… A lot of rules…

It is with a bit of irony that WEG declared bankruptcy and, as a result, lost their license to produce more material, just before the Star Wars franchise premiered it’s prequel trilogy. As a result, no more rules or adventures were made for that particular Star Wars roleplaying game. The license did, to be honest, transfer to another company (Wizards of the Coast) who then made another role-playing game based upon the franchise but it was a different game system with different rules. The two games were not compatible, much like attempting to pound a round peg into a square hole… It could be accomplished but with great difficulty.

Just because a role-playing game system becomes defunct, though, does not mean that people suddenly stop playing it. In the world of the Internet, nothing completely disappears (even if the European Courts and the Great Firewall of China order it so) and so fans of the original Star Wars role-playing game (otherwise known as “Star Wars d6”) began making up their own adventures and their own sourcebooks… And also began to critique the original material…

And begin to wonder why they couldn’t just… “combine” all of the ancillary rules that had accumulated in that RPG for so many years and also, perhaps, even add a few of their own rules that they thought worked really, really well with the game. Because there was no books like that, no one compendium to refer to, no book in a PDF format that was made to be in a PDF format as opposed to people just copying the books with a scanner.

The Star Wars d6 fans wanted the ultimate rulebook… And now they have it.

“Star Wars 3rd Edition” (also referred to as REUP, as in “Star Wars 2nd edition: Revised, Expanded and Updated”) is just that book. It is 506 pages of dedicated Star Wars d6, made to be a PDF and not just a collection of scanned pages from other books. It is a massive achievement that was also a massive undertaking. Everyone involved in the project wasn’t out to make money or achieve a Guinness World Record or gain notoriety or 15 minutes of fame… They did it because they loved the product, cared for the product and saw a need for that product so that it could be appreciated by generations to come.

I’ll confess – I’ve never played “Star Wars d6.” I have no plans of doing so. Yet I appreciate those people who sacrifice a lot for a niche cause that they believe in. This reminds me of the reformatting done with the “Star Frontiers” tabletop RPG and of “The Dark Mod” computer game for the Thief gameplay. It reminds me of the computer project “OpenMW” to create an open-source version in order to play Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind files.

So many Internet projects fail that, when one with this level of ambition succeeds, you can’t help but smile a little even if you have no stake in it’s success or not.

The Force was Strong with this project… And now we all benefit as a result.

Congratulations to everyone who made “Star Wars 3rd edition” possible.

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