Sunday, June 10, 2007

New Star Wars RPG is out

WARNING: This post is likely to be uninteresting to the non-RPG gaming folks among my readership.

The new edition of the Star Wars Roleplaying game is out. Here's a link to the list of preview pages WotC put up. I have it and have been reading through it. Many of us D&D players are poring over the system, because many of the changes that might be coming to the D&D system are being "test driven" in the Star Wars system. (Both systems are based on the same d20 mechanic.) Here are some highlights of the new system:
  • Skills have been simplified. Many have been combined. For example, Search, Spot, Listen, and Sense Motive are now all part of the Perception skill. Skill ranks have been eliminated: either you're trained in a skill or not. The skill focus feat has been boosted to +5, and feats are more available. Skill synergies and racial bonuses to skills have been eliminated. Generating a high-level character can now be done much more quickly, and "guessing" the skill check of a high-level character is much easier.
  • Combat has changed a good deal. Most of these changes are designed to speed things up. Swift actions have been incorporated into the core mechanics (of course). Characters no longer gain multiple attacks just for having a high base attack bonus. But characters get a bonus to damage equal to half character level. There are feats which grant multiple attacks, but all attacks end up being at the same attack bonus, rather than at the "descending by 5" pattern of previous editions.
  • Armor class and the reflex save have now been combined into "reflex defense". Saving throws have been eliminated: the attacker must now beat the "fortitude defense" or "will defense" of the target.
  • Hit points are back, but there's also a condition track that determines how functional a character is.
  • Critical hits are back to "natural 20 = auto hit and double damage". Some feats can change this, but there is no "confirming" a critical hit anymore.
  • Characters' starting hp are much higher: they get "triple maximum" hit points at first level.
They have a fun example of a combat from Return of the Jedi (the battle over Sarlacc pit) done in terms of the Star Wars game.

Mostly, I think these changes should help the game. Of course, not everything that works for a Star Wars game would work in Dungeons & Dragons, but it's good to see the game constantly evolving and getting better. I haven't seen any of these new changes in play. But perhaps at GenCon I'll have an opportunity to check out the new system.


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