Friday, February 26, 2010

The Madness Has Abated

My wife helped me see how ridiculous my recent D20 Star Wars obsession had become...or as she put it, "you need to finish one project before you start going off on another!" Not that Star Wars my "secret project" mentioned earlier...but it certainly was eating up my time (especially cutting into my sleep time), and keeping me from the things I have to finish.

For instance, I've received another four illustrations for the B/X Companion...more beautiful stuff I might add...and have been in contact with another illustrator. Unfortunately, the cover artist I was attempting to hire has fallen through, so now I need to get someone who knows how to paint OR try to mock something up myself that my buddy can "color" for me. Neither prospect is especially appealing, but I really want a REAL cover illo, not some plain-wrapper cover (reminds me of Spinal Tap's Black Album).

The adventure for the B/X Companion still needs to be finished up, especially the maps which need to go to the Good Doctor for finishing. Doc is actually working on an adventure module for the "secret project" and he's been starting to pester me for the chargen and combat rules...something else I need to finish writing! more Star Wars posts, at least for awhile. Certainly not about D20...I'm actually fed up with it.

Oh chargen is fun, if extremely complex and fiddly (finally found out why some of the character write-ups in the core rules have a mysterious extra "+1" bonus in their attack stats: a sidebar on lightsabers gives characters a bonus when using a self-crafted weapon)...and combat is...well, it's a good step up from D20 3rd edition. I certainly prefer the skill rules in the Saga Edition to any other version of D20 I've seen, though that's not saying much.

But the starship rules are the real deal-breakers.

Personal combat using maps and grids is one thing. But dogfights in space need to be more abstract by necessity, at least if one is playing an RPG and not an "X-Wing simulator" video game. Unfortunately, D20 Star Wars treats ship-to-ship combat pretty much the same as personal combat (ships just being extensions of their characters) right down to two-dimensional grid combat. Definitely not what I'm looking for...

I pulled out my WEG Star Wars and compared the two and once again was thoroughly impressed with their handling of the same subject. In fact, the more I read it the more I find I prefer A LOT of the D6 Star Wars game, despite its lack of cool "combat effects" (feats, talents, etc.) or "customizable character creation."

WEG Star Wars still has problems for me, though. The advancement is too slow, the force "powers" are too clunky and ugly, the "backseat to the film NPCs" extremely annoying. Plus it doesn't take into account the Prequel films, which is problematic in some regards. And I have to admit, I get a little tired of rolling handfuls of dice just to add them all together (if you're just looking for one number, why not roll one or two dice and add bonuses? Sheesh!). Also, it's promotion of "fudging" goes against MY dice-rolling sensibilities (aren't there already Force points and metagame mechanics to take into account the heroic nature of the player characters?).

So while WEG did many things right, it still has flaws...ones that make me put it back on the shelf.

D20 Star Wars will be keeping it company, I'm afraid. It's very pretty but it's SO complex I can't see playing it. I mean, I'm sure if I logged several hours of game play, I could memorize most of the fiddly bits (just as I memorized all those rules regarding Weapon Speed Factors and segments back in my old AD&D days). But I just don't have the time and patience for it. Nor the time and patience to find like-minded players. One of the problems I had when I WAS playing 3rd edition D&D was the inability to find players that were on the same page. The games I played in (instead of as a DM) I found that I knew more than the DMs regarding the rules and spent a lot of time explaining the finer points of tumbling and attacks of opportunity and such...and when I had players that KNEW the rules, they were universally gamist munchkins and min-maxers I found incredibly annoying (both as a DM and as a fellow player).

Ugh...I know, I know...I'm a big fat whiner.

Anyway, that's the end of the SWD20 posts for a good long while (and here I was starting to get tempted to do more than browse that Rebel Era Sourcebook - *shudder*). In fact, the next time I talk about Star Wars at all, it may well be to promote my own SW look-alike RPG. After all, Wizards has given up the IP rights to the RPG...I don't think it would be too difficult to build a better mouse trap.

Yes, project at a time. Got it.
; )


  1. Glad to hear the companion is still rolling around. I've enjoyed the D20 posts though--as I'm (eternally) struggling with choosing a sci-fi system.

    I do love the WEG and it's been great to read your observations vs. the latest edition--so thanks for that! :)

  2. Jay, my group is having fun with the new Rogue Trader, although it's a very specific kind of scifi, and no good for anything else, I'd have thought. Also, the rulebook, while very pretty, is a complete mess of vague writing, contradictions and ommissions.

    So, recommended if you like the setting enough to wrangle with the text!

  3. @ Jay: You're welcome! I think I may make some stuff available on the site as a download.

    @ Kelvin: Man, Rogue Trader was (literally) about 15 years too late for me. When I wanted a 40K RPG, all I could get was the wargame...and now the thing holds little appeal to me (I like the dark setting, but I'd rather read a Black Library novel than play the RPG).

    It sure is a beautiful book, though.
    : )