RPG Spotlight: FFG’s Star Wars Takes You To A Galaxy Far, Far Away
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… Fantasy Flight Games made the best Star Wars RPG system imaginable.
I love Star Wars. And there’s a good chance that you do, too. Sure, not all of the movies have been slam dunks (Rise of Skywalker made zero sense. I had fun in the theater, but literally nothing about that movie held up to a moment of critical thinking), but the books, comics, TV shows, cartoons, and games are all by and large very good. It’s a big galaxy with years and years’ worth of lore to pull from and multiple generations’ worth of history to delve into–both in the SW universe and in our real world. The popularity and reach of the series has made it into something uniquely immersive in a way that makes it the perfect ground on which to start a very large RPG project.
The Fantasy Flight Star Wars RPG is built on three core source books, each focusing on a different part of the galaxy. Age of Rebellion focuses on the core of the stories, rebels versus the empire. Edge of the Empire looks at the scoundrels and questionable activities happening around the edges of space. Force and Destiny is for force sensitives and jedi endeavors. Broken down, the books are Leia, Han, and Luke respectively. You don’t need all three necessarily; if you’re running a game with no force users whatsoever, you can probably do without Force and Destiny, but together the three books round out the galaxy.
Each corebook has supplemental information that focuses on various part sof the galaxy, whether it’s jobs or time periods or whatever. If you’re familiar with big RPG systems, you’re familiar with the idea of a sourcebook and separate additional books coming out later. The only difference here is that it’s so much bigger. Like I said, it’s a big galaxy.
Character creation is about as hard as your average D&D game with full character sheets and lists of skills and talents. I wouldn’t say that making your character is difficult, but it’s definitely more of an involved process that your average Powered by the Apocalypse game. Plus, it’s Star Wars, so the options for species and career are basically only limited to what you’ve seen on screen or in print. My group had a very diverse collection of aliens, only going off-book once when my brother requested a Kushiban character. Small bunny aliens from Legends aren’t officially playable, but it took us very little searching online to find a homebrew option somebody had come up with. My point is, if there’s something specific you want to play, you probably can.
The one trick will be figuring out which book contains which species. With each core book having its own line of source books, you might need to do some digging on a subreddit or one of the many available online resources to track down where the info you want is hiding.
Leveling up through this game is a little different than other systems. You have a “talent tree” attached to your character’s career or specialization and as you earn experience points you can spend them on more talents off of the tree or the opportunity to multi class and start pulling from multiple talent trees. Not everybody loves this system, but I thought it felt very natural. Your character has more experience and has no learned more specialized abilities. It also gives the player a way to plan their way through their talent tree and work towards specific goals.
This brings me to actual game play and the dice. Like many Fantasy Flight games, the Star Wars RPG has a propriety dice set with unique colors and symbols. Green and yellow dice represent your abilities, red and purple represent the difficulty of the roll, and each symbol represents a failure or a success to varying degrees. If you haven’t played this may sound confusing, but I promise it begins making sense after only one or two rolls. Using this system it is possible for your character to fail overall but still roll enough minor successes to make something good happen or to succeed at whatever you were rolling on but still trigger a consequence against your team. I love this system and the very cinematic possibilities it opens up in game play. You can fail up or succeed your way into trouble, and to me that is very Star Wars.
I’m not secretive about how much I love this game. This is my favorite RPG system, my favorite character I’ve ever played is a Chiss I made for this game years ago, and I’m sad to see that there won’t be more of this system coming out in the future. To me, this feels like Star Wars, good and bad. If you’re a fan of the galaxy and haven’t picked this up, definitely grab a copy while you still can. I think anyone would be hard pressed to make a better RPG system for Star Wars than Fantasy Flight did.
Do you play the Star Wars RPG? Which FFG game are you saddest to see go?
May the force be with you, Adventurers.