Tuesday, August 24, 2010

D6 Star Wars Revival

I recently started a Star Wars campaign with my group.  At first I had planned on using the D20 version of Star Wars.  I have used D20 Star Wars in the past and I have never been fully satisfied with the overall feel.  It's always left me feeling that I had just spent a couple hours play Dungeons & Dragons but with blasters, lightsabers and wookies.  Whenever I searched for Star Wars role-playing I would always come up with posts about West End Games D6 Star Wars, a system that has been out of print for over a decade.  I had never tried this system before, but the forums seemed to be loaded with nothing but praise for this system, so I decided to give it a try.  I was able to locate a pdf version of the revised and expanded second edition of the game floating around in the torrents.  I read up on the rules and fell in love with this system.  I liked it so much that I ended up hunting down a real copy off of Amazon.

There are a lot of things that I really love about this system.  First, is the deadly nature of combat. D20 always irked me when a level 20 character could take shot after shot from a low-level character and just shrug it off as nothing.  In this system, blasters kill, and if combat breaks out you better duck and cover before you end up a smoldering pile of ashes. This makes players think twice before drawing that blaster or lightsaber, and if combat is inevitable, then they better be smart and use cover and appropriate skills and tactics.

Another problem that used to bother me with the D20 system was how combat between characters and vehicles seemed to clash, and there had to be three different sets of rules for combat: one for characters, one for ground vehicles, and one for starships. The D6 system resolves this simply by using a scaling combat system that unifies combat with character, vehicles, and starships. Weapons become progressively less effective as they attack larger-scaled vehicles and more effective as they attack smaller-scaled vehicles.

The next thing I really loved was how West End Games dealt with character classes.  Instead of character classes they used a character archetype system, where players could either choose characters from pre-made templates or make their own.  The pre-made character templates are great for players new to RPGs. They are all very well designed, with full write-ups for background, and there are many to choose from.  More advanced players will love the fact that they can design there very own archetype from the ground up.  If you want to play a ewok bounty hunter or a twi' lek loan, shark you can.

I also loved how D6 made Jedi hard to play.  In D20 it is too easy to play a jedi character, they honestly have a severe advantage over other character classes with the force skills and feats they receive.  In D6 Jedi are still powerful, but they actually start off somewhat weaker than other character archetypes.  Players that want to play Jedi character really need to invest time and character points in their character in order to get the eventual payout of very powerful force skills.  Falling to the darkside is also a real threat to force sensitive characters, especially Jedi.  If players don't role-play their Jedi carefully they may end up losing that character to the darkside forever. 

It is a real shame that this system went out of print, considering it is vastly superior to their D20 counterpart. These rules really added that "Star Wars" feel to the game.  Hopefully D6 will make a comeback in the future once people realize that D20 is more about making money than making a decent game.


  1. Nice review. I'm going through a D6 Star Wars revival, myself. Jumping on the D6 band wagon. There is a site for us over here... http://www.wegfansite.com

  2. I like dice pool better than d20. I run Shadowrun myself, really enjoy the setting, give it a try sometime...if you dare.