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Star Wars: the Roleplaying Game
The Roleplaying Game
Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game. First edition book cover, 1987. Illustration based on the original movie poster from Tom Cantrell, 1977.
The game, based on WEG's earlier Ghostbusters RPG, established much of the groundwork of what later became the Star Wars expanded universe, and its sourcebooks are still frequently cited by Star Wars fans as reference material. Lucasfilm considered the West End Games' Star Wars sourcebooks so authoritative that when Timothy Zahn was hired to write what became the Thrawn trilogy, he was sent a box of West End Games Star Wars books and directed to base his novel on the background material presented within. Many of the first uses of Star Wars alien names (such as the Twi'lek, Rodian, and Quarren) appeared for the first time in WEG's Star Wars books. Even after Disney's reboot of the Star Wars Expanded Universe in 2014, much of this nomenclature still exists in new canon works.
In 1992 West End Games published the second edition of the game, in which the title remained unchanged. In 1996 a revision of the second edition saw the light of day, but its title was slightly changed from Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game - Second Edition to The Star Wars Roleplaying Game: Second Edition - Revised and Expanded.
By the end of the game's run around 140 sourcebook and adventure supplements were published for the game during its run through three editions.
In addition fifteen issues of a magazine series, the Star Wars Adventure Journal, were published between 1994 and 1998. The Adventure Journal was published in novel format of around 280 pages, and consisted of adventures and articles for the game, plus short stories intended to provide inspiration for gamemasters and news relating to Star Wars.
WEG's license to produce Star Wars material was lost after the company declared bankruptcy in 1998, and the license was later picked up by Wizards of the Coast, who held it until 2010.
Gundark's Fantastic Technology: Personal Gear (1997)
Classic Adventures Vol 4 (1997)
Mos Eisley Adventure Set (1997)
No Disintegrations (1997)
Star Wars Introductory Adventure Game (1997)
Tapani Sector Instant Adventures (1997)
Hideouts and Strongholds (1998)
Alien Encounters (1998)
The Far Orbit Project (1998)
Classic Adventures Vol 5 (1998)
Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game won the Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Rules of 1987.
Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game was ranked 9th in the 1996 reader poll of Arcane magazine to determine the 50 most popular roleplaying games of all time. The UK magazine's editor Paul Pettengale commented: "Very good. The rich and varied background already created by the movies helps a great deal, but there have been many games based on great fiction, and few of them work nearly as well as Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game. Everything about the system has been designed to complement the setting's unique blend of fantasy, science fiction and myth, and to recreate the same feel and atmosphere as the movies. [...] The rules system is beautiful in its simplicity, yet ably copes with everything from vicious space battles to speedy chases through narrow canyons. A clever set of guidelines covers the use of the Force, complete with details of both its Light and Dark sides, enabling characters to make heroic efforts and pull off the kind of stunts that are vital to what Star Wars is all about. [...] Perhaps the perfect system for introducing new players to roleplaying, and yet offering more than enough to keep even the most jaded gamers happy."
The Imperial Doublecross, published in 1997, wasn't part of the Solitaire Adventure series and used the Star WarsD6 rules and character's die codes.
The Lightsaber Dueling Pack and Starfighter Battle Book were picture gamebooks, presenting viewpoint series of pictures and the possible next courses of action, similar to Ace of Aces.
In the early 1990s, before the advent of the modern Internet, the FidoNet Star Wars Echo ran a message forum for playing the West End Games Star Wars Roleplaying Game on-line on computer bulletin board systems. The game also gathered a large internet following via such mailing lists such as the SW-RPG Mailing List.
Fantasy Flight Games Reprint
In 2018, Fantasy Flight Games, the current holders of the Star Wars RPG licence, released a re-print of the original core book, in a deluxe slipcase format, along with the Sourcebook supplement.
^COSTIKYAN Greg, Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, West End Games, New York, October 1987, Editors: Eric Goldberg, Paul Murphy and Bill Slavicsek, Hardcover, p. 142, ISBN0-87431-065-2
^SMITH Bill, Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game - Second Edition, West End Games, New York, October 1992, Editor: Ed Stark, Hardcover, p. 176, ISBN0-87431-181-0
^SMITH Bill, SCHWEIGHOFER Peter, STRAYTON George, SUDLOW Paul, TRAUTMANN Eric S. and FARSHTEY Greg, The Star Wars Roleplaying Game: Second Edition - Revised and Expanded, West End Games, New York, August 1996, Hardcover, p. 288, ISBN0-87431-268-X