Why WEG’s Star Wars The Roleplaying Game 1st Edition is my favorite d6 System game

Ok, I think I things got a bit out of hand with this title, but that’s basically what I want to write about today. Let’s get some things out of the way first: I am not talking about WEG’s version of the Star Wars universe here. This post is first and foremost about the rules Greg Costikyan came up with.

The mechanics in Star Wars The Roleplaying Game 1st Edition are a successor to the system employed in WEG’s Ghostbusters RPG. In its core it is a dice pool system in which you roll a number of six-sided dice equal to the relevant attribute or skill and compare the total result to a difficulty level set by the GM. If your attribute or skill has a score of – for example – 4D+2, you roll 4 dice, add their results together and add 2. It’s perhaps a bit more math intensive than counting successes in other games, but even a first grader should be able to do it.

To make things simple the game assumes that if you have a certain score in an attribute you automatically have the same score in all skills dependent on that attribute (if you haven’t improved it yet). So if you have 4D in Strength, you have 4D in Brawling, 4D in Climbing/Jumping, etc. I am sure you get the drift.

If you are familiar with other games using WEG’s d6 System, you’ll immediately notice a few things. There’s no Wild Die and there are no advanced skills. The Wild Die is one of the dice from your pool which may explode if you roll a 6 or bad things may happen, if it’s a 1. It was introduced to the d6 System with the 2nd Edition of the Star Wars RPG. Advanced skills are basically skills not everyone can use automatically. If you haven’t bought the skill during your character creation or later via experience, you have zero dice in it.

There are also a couple of other things which were changed in later editions. In 1st Edition movement speed for characters, vehicles etc. was a simple die code. This made running chases etc. extremely easy. Overall Star Wars The Roleplaying Game 1st Edition had one major advantage over all other editions and all other Star Wars games so far: it was extremely easy and fast to run. Later editions mostly added fiddly bit which made the rules more complex, perhaps more deep, but not necessarily better. Especially the wild die made things unpredictable and often in a bad way.

It’s interesting to note that some of the d6 fan projects floating around on the internet including the extremely awesome Heavy Gear d6) use Star Wars RPG 1st Edition as a basis instead of later editions. I guess it’s because it’s easily hackable and there are way less things you have to take care off. In my opinion the rules presented in this game were the best version of the d6 System so far. I even prefer it over the excellent MiniSix by Antipaladin Games. Sometimes I wish someone would have taken the old rulebook from 1987, strip it from all Star Wars references and release it under the OGL. This would make a perfect basis for your homebrew games.

Long story short, I think WEG got it right the 1st time with their Star Wars Roleplaying Game. Later editions didn’t make things necessarily better, but mostly more complicated. Especially Star Wars needs a fast game with a cinematic, over-the-top action. It’s also a shame that WEG later decided to base their generic d6 System books on the 2nd Edition of their Star Wars RPG. Don’t get me wrong, 2nd Edition and 2nd Edition Revised were great, but sometimes I prefer something simpler.

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

7 thoughts on “Why WEG’s Star Wars The Roleplaying Game 1st Edition is my favorite d6 System game”

  1. I tried to use SW 1st Ed as the basis for a techno fantasy game, back when that was the current edition. The problem was: coming up with a decent fantasy grimoir. Every edition of d6 has had the same problem for me, that I had hoped to see solved with d6 fantasy: you have to build pretty much the entire grimoir yourself. The strength is: you can. The failing is: you HAVE to (if you want one). It was always kind of a non-starter for me.

    (I know, as a FATE and FUDGE advocate… I deal with the same exact thing; which is why I never get very far into publishing my own homebrew of them: I get to the grimoir and then spin my wheels; my point is: the irony of my complaint isn’t lost on me).

    (I also have this problem with Savage Worlds)

    I would have thought that, by now, someone with my d6 knowledge than me would have taken the d20 srd grimoir and converted it. I’d even pay for it on dtrpg. Same with savage worlds.

  2. You would think someone would be able to reverse engineer 1st edition using the open parts of later editions. They’ve managed to do it for just about every early flavor of D&D that youcan think of.

  3. Michael, you really need to check out Starwars REUP

    The is SW D6 2nd ED Revised – Expanded AND Updated.

    This is the single most comprehensive incarnation of the SW D6 to date – beutifully presented with modern layout and art.

    Labour of true love for the original D6 system.

    Having plugged that though, I still am very sentimental about the original 2nd Edition (aka the Vader cover) – it was a small book by today’s standards but had a great B&W art and just the right amount of setting / rules to take yout to the Galaxy Far Far away…

    Then again the Galaxy was much simpler back then…

  4. http://www.rancorpit.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=163342&sid=a6d358a886231830f4af0045e5a05c22

    You can find the 1st edition D6 rules redone by the same team. My group had a couple of sessions of the reup edition and it was very fiddly. I played 1st edition way back when i was 12 or 13 and there was a disconnect with those memories and the reup (2nd r&r) book.

    With the release of the 1st edition rules we are definitely going to change back to 1st edition. Looking forward to it!

    1. Unfortunately the link in the post you liked to doesn’t work for me. Perhaps it’s just because I try to access it via my phone. I get the message that the owner of the file has moved it to the trash. 🙁

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