Star Wars: Roleplaying Game, Second Edition
(Revised and Expanded)

  • Written by Bill Smith, Peter Schweighofer, George Staryton, Paul Sudlow, Eric S. Trautmann and Greg Farshtey
  • Published by West End Games
  • First Printing: August 1996
  • Pages: 288

Rating: ****

Star Wars was the very first roleplaying game I ever bought, so it will always have a special place in my heart. I mainly bought it because I though the movies were great, was just getting into roleplaying and decided to buy all the roleplaying material as well. I bought the Star Wars Sourcebook, the Imperial Sourcebook and an adventure and gave up. I only ever games mastered a single session with the system, but got to play a couple of adventures when my brother games mastered a few Tales of the Jedi sessions. It was always a lot of fun, and I hoped to try the Tales of the Jedi campaign again.

So after I bought the Tales of the Jedi Companion, and was offered a spot to Games Master the system, I though it was the perfect opportunity to go out and buy a new copy of the rules. I had seen the second edition rules when they came out and always intended to get a copy. I'm glad I waited, because I got to get a copy of the revised second edition, though what the difference between the two are I have no idea. The books states that they made the game faster added two adventures and some templates. You can get the upgrade in issue 11 of The Official Star Wars Adventure Journal or from West End Games. Here I am going to concentrate on the differences between the first edition and the revised second edition. Though I must say the cover to the second edition was far cooler than that of the revised edition (Darth Vader's head always makes a striking cover, just like on the special edition laserdisc box set).

The rules book is a lot bigger, haven grown from 150 pages to a little under 300 pages (almost twice the size). The interior is now full colour, and makes for much more pleasant reading. They haven't overdone the colour, as can be done, but used it judiciously to highlight rules as well as to break up masses of text. It looks great. The colour photographs are from the movies, and I wish they would use more original artwork. There is a bit, but not enough for my taste. There are a lot of talented artists out there who would do a great job.

The rulebook is now more intelligently divided into nineteen chapters, which are further collected into four sections. The first section covers character creation as well as attributes and skills. Not a lot has changed in regards to the character creation, but they explain the process a lot better. I feel the whole book is geared towards beginning games masters who want to get their feet wet. They start with an introduction, followed by a solitaire adventure to guide the novice through some of the basics. They then begin the real introduction of the system. The attributes and skills section has been expanded, and once again the examples and explanations are much better.

The second section is for the games master, and covers the rest of the rules. Once again, it starts off with an introductory piece for the games master, to be followed by the main rules chapter (which is covered briefly in the player section). The next chapter covers combat, followed by a chapter on movement, space travel and combat and running battles. The rules haven't changed a whole lot from what I remember, but seem to be more refined, better explained and geared towards a faster, more enjoyable game. The last chapter in the section covers the force, which is a lot larger and more important. It seems that since the rules can be played with a movie or New Republic slant, the force has to be explained in more detail.

The next section covers running and designing adventures (along with the new sample adventure). Once again, nothing here to excite old hands and more evidence that this is geared towards novice gamers.

The final section wasn't included in the original rulebook -- the universe section. It covers the galaxy, NPCs, aliens, creatures, weapons and equipment, droids, vehicles, starships and planets. Sure some of the material was here, but most was in the Star Wars Sourcbook. Each section is quite small, with the suggestion that you run off and buy more West End products, which do cover the sections in more detail. Obviously the revised sourcebook would be advantageous to have especially for more detail. At least they give do some detail on the Star Wars universe.

Summary: Over all, West End has done an excellent job of revamped the old rules. It would be a great introductory system for novice gamers, but I believe a lot of veterans out there would have a lot of fun playing the system. They have skimped on the background, but it is still a hefty tome. I would like to see an advanced edition of the rules, geared towards veterans with Tales of the Jedi as the background. Highly recommended.

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