Welcome back, Gamers!
Returning to RPGBrigade’s RPG-a-Day August challenge to answer another question on their list — which RPG have I played the most since August 2016?
The answer, unquestionably, is Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars Roleplaying Game. This one’s going to come up a lot as I blog RPG-a-Day. It is without a doubt one of my favorite RPGs ever written, set in my favorite fictional universe. I like it so much I’m actually juggling THREE loose campaigns for it (the game sessions are 4-6 weeks apart, at least), and I’m usually angling to cram in additional one-shots the moment someone expresses even the vaguest interest in Star Wars and / or RPGs. 😛
The FFGSWRPG (whew, that acronym) is a narrative dice system. You construct a dice pool consisting of “positive” and “negative” dice and interpret the symbols. Sometimes you succeed at a task, sometimes you fail, but additional effects like Advantage, Threat, Triumph, and Despair ensure that the results are never binary pass/fail. The dice also encourage players to actively narrate results, giving them ownership of the story. While it’s seems a little unwieldy at first, once you get the hang of it, it’s hard to go back to a simple d20 roll.
The game consists of three separate “core” books, depending on the kind of campaign you’d like to play.
Edge of the Empire, where the stories focus on the smugglers, bounty hunters, fringers, and other assorted rogues, scoundrels, and scum trying to make their way in the universe despite the Empire. It’s the perfect setting if you love Firefly or want to recreate your own Han Solo-style adventures and take on the Hutts. While there are basic rules for Force Sensitive characters, the focus in this setting is not the mystical.
Age of Rebellion focuses on the active struggle against the Empire. The characters are mostly military in nature — fighter pilots, spies, commanders, plucky diplomats — freedom fighters all. As with EotE, there’s a little bit for the player who wants to be Force Sensitive (e.g. like new Rebel recruit Luke Skywalker), but overall, the emphasis is on the military campaign. With not much work, you could swap things around and play a game from the Imperial side of things, too.
Finally, Force and Destiny, the final Core Book (for now), gives players options for playing not just Force Sensitive characters, but full-on Force Users based on classic Jedi types. As the game is set during the height of the Empire, the assumption is that there’s no more Jedi Order, and the PCs must learn the ways of the Force without the guidance of the Jedi Order. Of course, with Darth Vader and the Inquisitors about, it’s a dangerous time to be a Force user…
While each Core Book stands alone as a game unto itself, they’re all designed to be compatible with each other. FFG clearly assumes most dedicated players (or GMs, at least) will end up buying all three books for the “complete” Star Wars experience.
Speaking of, while the game is definitively set during the Original Trilogy (or at least, the Rogue One / Rebels era), there’s nothing stopping you from reskinning the game to any flavor of Star Wars you love. The Clone Wars, The Old Republic, even the New Jedi Era.
So that’s my quick review. What about the games I’ve been running?
There’s the group of outlaws who despite their best efforts, keep getting involved in Rebel activity. Recently, having defeated a long-time Hutt antagonist, they have thrown in their lot with the Alliance full-time. This long-running game is currently set in the Rebels Era, but it began about eight years after Revenge of the Sith. There’s a hotshot pilot, a Force-sensitive Mechanic, a hardened soldier, a sly Force-Sensitive charmer, a shock-boxing wookiee, and a deadly bounty-hunter assassin / ninja.
Another game focuses on a group of rebels and outlaws stranded behind Imperial Iron Blockade of the Anoat Sector immediately following the destruction of the Death Star II. I have to admit, it’s heavily influenced by one of my new favorite podcasts, Dice for Brains (give them a listen!), though our stories diverge significantly from the adventures on the show. There’s an exiled Rebel spy, a priest who might be a con-artist who might be a priest, a wookiee shaman, a forgotten and shattered Jedi, and a bounty hunter with a need. A need for speed.
Finally, the last game features the misadventures of a group of Mercs running jobs sometime after the events of The Empire Strikes Back. Currently, they are attempting to recover a cache of proton bombs left behind when the Alliance evacuated Hoth. There are extreme complications involving Wampas…
I can’t recommend this game highly enough, especially if you’re a fan of Star Wars. If the narrative dice system intrigues you (and maybe Star Wars doesn’t), there’s good news, everyone! Fantasy Flight is releasing Genesys, a generic version of the rules set, for play in any genre, later this fall.