Most of you probably remember the line “An elegant weapon for a more civilized age” from 1977’s Star Wars. So it’s probably no surprise that this post is about the rules of the original Star Wars roleplaying game by West End Games.
Released back in the late 1980s the game used an updated and modified d6 System which premiered with the Ghostbusters RPG. If you compare it with the later editions of the Star Wars game and other d6 System games you’ll notice quite a few differences. While a lot of people prefer the more recent editions of the game system, I still have a soft spot for the Star Wars 1st Edition rules.
Overall the 1st edition rules were simpler than the 2nd edition rules. 2nd edition not only added the Wild Die (which could lead to some very epic results and as epic failures), but also tweaked scaling, changed movement speeds form dice codes to a fixed value, changed the damage and healing system, and last but not least added Advanced Skills. Do the changes make the system better? Maybe. Do they make the game simpler? Definitely not.
Especially if you’re looking for a fast system which doesn’t get in the way of roleplaying the old 1st edition rules are probably your best choice. I am actually not surprised that the creators of the Heavy Gear d6 conversion chose to model the rules after this system instead of using the more recent d6 Space as a basis (which is pretty close to 2nd Edition Star Wars).
What I’d really like to see is a generic SF RPG modeled after the original Star Wars ruleset. In my opinion it’s closer to what I personally would like to run. Perhaps I’ll have to do the heavy hauling myself one day, if noone else does it. But you never know.
One of my favorite roleplaying games has always been the Star Wars RPG by West End Games. One of the reason why I enjoyed the game so much were the easy rules which could be explained in mere minutes. Creating a character was extremely fast as well. Just pick an appropriate template from the book and add 7D to the skills. Done!
A couple of years back, Eric Gibson, owner of West End Games, released the rules this game was based on under the OGL. The d6 System is now know as Open D6 and many fans of the system have started writing new material for the system. There are even a couple of small press publishers which have released completely new games powered by Open D6.
Recently I have been searching the web for fan conversions of popular games and stumbled upon an awesome Heavy Gear d6 conversion. The publisher of Heavy Gear has gratiously allowed Evan Anhorn to use their artwork for his creation, that’s why Heavy Gear d6 almost looks like a commercial product.
The 21-paged PDF contains all the rules needed to run your own campaign, but it probably doesn’t hurt if you have access to another Open D6 rulebook. I recommend picking up D6 Space from RPGNow. The conversion booklet doesn’t contain a lot of background information on the setting, so it probably makes sense to pick up the original Heavy Gear RPG as well.
Heavy Gear d6 comes with some tips on how to frame your campaign, an extensive list of equipment, stats for quite a few Heavy Gears, and last but not least with 18 character templates. There are also three supplements already available: Gears of the North, Gears of the South, and Gears of Peace River. Additional supplements are planned and will hopefully released soon.
Heavy Gear d6 looks like a perfect pick up and play game, especially if you’re already familiar with the Heavy Gear setting. Alternatively you can use the conversion booklet as inspiration for your own Sci-Fi mecha game powered by Open D6.
Two days ago, Palladium Books revealed in its Weekly Update that there will be a new roleplaying game set in Rifts Earth (including a line of adventures) created by another company. For everyone who loves the setting of Rifts but doesn’t care for the rules this is great news. Alas Kevin Siembieda didn’t spill the beans what company is currently adapting Rifts to its own system.
I am really surprised that Mr. Siembieda finally allows another company to create a new Rifts game. Fans of the game have critizised the Palladium system for many years now. Any attempts of fans to create alternate rules have been answered by lawsuit threats. After a while people didn’t even dare to talk about the issue anymore.
And now – totally out of the blue – Palladium Books announces that they’ve made a deal with another company to release a whole series of Rifts products powered by a different game system. Of course people immediately started to speculate. Since Jason Richards’ Breachworld RPG shares a couple of elements with Rifts many people hoped he’d be working on the new Rifts game, but it seems that is not the case.
I really hope that the new Rifts game will not use Savage Worlds rules, which is another rumor I picked up on the web. Savage Worlds is not a bad system but I highly doubt it can handle the scale of the setting. To have both Rogue Scientists and Glitter Boys in the same game, the underlying system needs a granularity Savage World just doesn’t have.
There were also speculations that Green Ronin may be that secret company, since they announced “perhaps the biggest RPG story of the year” for GenCon in their January update, but from what we know now it’s more likely that they referred to their cooperation with Wil Wheaton and his Titansgrave setting. I also believe that the AGE System wouldn’t be a good fit either. But their Mutants & Masterminds system might actually work quite well, since it can handle powerlevels very well.
What are your thoughts on that announcement? As always, every comment is highly appreciated! Feel free to share your thoughts below.