Friday, May 28, 2010


I have been plugging away at my Star Wars rules compendium and I have revised my expectations for it—or at least for the Sourcebook part of it. Where before I was trying to limit the materials on species and planets and ships and droids, I have now made the decision that I am going to try to include as much as possible in these sections—with the main guideline being: if we saw it in the movies, it should be in the sourcebook. To this, I am including bits and pieces of expanded-universe stuff that I like (or at least tolerate).

Of course, this has vastly increased the scope of the sourcebook section, but I think that in the end, it will feel more complete this way—and will actually be something that has never been done before for the D6 system—a single document that includes stats on and information about just about everything we saw in the movies—not broken up into Imperial Sourcebook, Rebel Sourcebook, Droid Sourcebook, etc., etc..

My only concern with this (beside the fact that it is a lot of work), is the format I am putting it in. One of my biggest pet peeves with the various sourcebooks is the layout of information from a 'reference' standpoint. As beautifully designed as I feel the 2nd Edition, Revised/Expanded rulebook is, It irks me somewhat that information on one subject (ship, alien race, etc.) is often broken up, either between columns or sometimes between pages (requiring you to flip back and forth to reference things). While I understand that from a reading viewpoint (and efficient use of space), this is a standard and even 'good' thing, from a gaming perspective, it is sometimes frustrating. Therefore, I have erred in favor of the functional. Every 8.5 x 11 page is going to have two columns, and for most things (races, vehicles, droids), only one item will be detailed per column, in its entirety. Therefore, a GM or player can flip to the page, find the item and get all the relevant details on it without going back and forth between pages or columns.

The drawback to this is the fact that with such a huge sourcebook, the similar formatting is going to be somewhat repetitious. It is a tradeoff, I realize—and one I've given a lot of thought to. In the end, however, I think this is for the best.

This type of formatting is going to require a limitation on the amount of information for each entry, but from a gaming perspective, I don't really have a problem with offering just the most important and relevant information about something. If a player or GM wants more 'depth', they can simply look for it on the Internet—because expanded as this sourcebook section has become, it is still going to be a 'snapshot' of the Galaxy, not an in depth exploration of every aspect. Of course, this may be a bit confusing when players find Web information a little different from my personal 'take' on something, but.. meh. People tweak and change things to their tastes anyway. They can do so with this.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Other Sith and Jedi

When I was first introduced to Star Wars, at the tender age of six, I remember learning the names of the various characters in the movies. It was on one of the trading cards (still smelling of bubblegum), that I believe I first saw Darth Vader mentioned as a 'Dark Lord of the Sith'. Even then, I wondered exactly what a 'Sith' was. I would have a long wait for an answer to that. They never really explained it in the original trilogy—or for years after. There were rumors and theories, touched upon in some of the early sourcebooks and novels, but nothing solid until the mid nineties or so. Even then, it didn't seem exactly official, because it hadn't appeared in a movie. The Prequel trilogy introduced us to a LOT of information about Sith and Jedi both, even if it didn't precisely explain everything.

One of the most interesting (and perhaps frustrating) things introduced was the Sith 'Rule of Two'. As put in the movies: "There are always two, master and apprentice." This was later expanded upon as supposedly a law set down 1000 years prior to the movies. That the number of Sith would be kept to only two, to avoid the terrible conflicts and infighting that always tore the Sith Order apart.

Right away, however, we are shown that this isn't the case. Darth Sidious is the master, yes, but in the first movie, Maul is his apprentice and in the second, it is Count Dooku. Obviously, Dooku existed at the same time that Maul did—and its reasonable to assume he had fallen (or was in the process of falling) to the darkside at the time. And there had to be some kind of training program in the works. Otherwise, when Sidious loses an apprentice, he'd have to start all over from scratch. That just doesn't make sense. So, to me, the 'Rule of Two' means not that there are only two sith at a time, but that there are only two 'top dogs' in the organization. It stands to reason that there are dozens, if not hundreds or even thousands, of 'hopefuls' and disciples to the Sith Order. To believe otherwise makes the position of 'Dark Lord of the Sith', rather a hollow one. Number two man in an organization of two guys.

In the original (2D) animated Clone Wars series, this idea of multiple 'hopefuls' certainly seemed to be the case. Asajj Ventress was introduced as an apprentice to Count Dooku. She considered herself a Sith (though she was 'corrected' by Dooku in this, rather violently). But whatever the case, it shows that even in official canon (which the cartoons supposedly are), there are minor Sith out there, waiting in the wings for their chance to seize power. The concept of Emperor's Hands (such as Mara Jade) seems to support this idea as well—as they seem to have had force powers in addition to other skills.

Therefore, in my gaming universe, there were a number of lesser powered dark side folks, most of whom were associated with the Sith Order. The most prominent of these was Lord Stromm (nevermind how pathetic he turned out to be...), but there were others from time to time as well (the foppish, narcissistic Lord Qar comes to mind here). Not only are these 'minor sith' a reasonable assumption, they are necessary for a Star Wars campaign. They provide good, scalable foes for a party—capturing the 'feel' of the movies without having to have Darth Vader as your arch nemesis.

In the movies and subsequent comic and novel series, we are led to believe that Yoda, Obi-Wan and Luke (and later Leia) are the only Jedi left. Again, I find this a bit difficult to believe. There were likely THOUSANDS of Jedi throughout the galaxy. I am sure that the bulk of them could have been killed during Order 66—and many more were likely hunted down in the 20 years between the trilogies. But the idea that only these three (of four) remained is a bit much to believe. I'm willing to bet that many Jedi survived—though perhaps none quite as powerful as Yoda or Obi-Wan. Likewise, I'm sure there were new Force users being born ever day—and even with the Empire hunting them down, the Galaxy is a HUGE place, with lots of remote corners to hide in. Hell, if the Empire couldn't find Luke SKYWALKER—who didn't even bother changing his last name...which makes you wonder if Skywalker is a common name.. the 'smith' of the Star Wars universe...

Again, the idea of many minor Jedi and Force adepts is a central assumption of the roleplaying game. The big challenge of the GM in this regard (at least in my opinion) is to see that these PC Jedi don't steal the stage from Luke. But that's just my personal preference. As much as possible, I do not like to detract from ANYTHING presented in the Original Trilogy. To me, to do so is to make it not Star Wars (the prequels? Well.. I play a bit more fast and loose with them).

Anyway, that's it for my ramblings for now.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dark Empire

When this series of comics came out the early 90's, I was excited. This was before the explosion of the Expanded Universe and right around the same time the Heir to the Empire Novels came out. This was GREAT! Or at least that's what I thought at the time. I quickly bought up the early issues of the comics only to be a bit disappointed.

Overall, I found the plot to be an interesting and even original one. The central idea here was that the Emperor had planned ahead for his death. Through the use of arcane dark-side talents, his 'spirit' was able to return to a secret cloning facility where he was 'reborn' in a younger version of his body. As the Empire descended into chaos and the Rebellion (now the New Republic) steadily drove them back, Palpatine plotted and prepared in his secret lair. Finally, he let his presence become known again—unleashing a new fleet of war machines on the Galaxy, headed by his massive 'World Devastators', these gigantic ships were essentially self-building factories. They would rip up huge sections of planet surface—melting down the 'raw materials' of cities. These 'recycled' materials would be sent to interior, automated factories to churn out new war machines (including automated TIEs for defense)—they would also be used to increase the size of the World Devastator itself. Thus, as it destroyed, the machine became more powerful.

The New Republic is thrown back by this renewed assault and Luke, having sensed Palpatine's return, decides to play a dangerous game and 'pretend' to submit to his power. The plan was to learn the Dark Side's weaknesses by studying from the 'inside' as it were. But things don't quite to go plan. Luke begins to fall. The climax takes place when the Emperor reveals his intention of claiming Leia's soon-to-be born child to become the vessel of his spirit (seems the cloned bodies keep 'burning out' due to the corruption of his dark-side energies). Leia manages to turn Luke back to the light and together they defeat the Emperor—causing him to be consumed by a massive dark-force 'Storm' of his own creation.

Like I said, overall, I find this story line interesting. But in this case, the devil is in the details—those are what bug me and ultimately ruin the experience of the Dark Empire series. I will begin with the superficial—the artwork. Normally, if the story is good, I can forgive a lot. In this case, though, I have to say that the artwork was just... crappy. Every scene in the book seems to be done in either reddish or greenish tint, with characters and environments rendered in very sharp contrast. I imagine that other graphic novels were an influence here—things like 'The Dark Knight'—supposedly 'gritty' and 'graphic'. But for Star Wars? Well, it didn't work for me. It came across as kind of sloppy, with details 'glossed over' by indecipherable shapes and 'greeblies'. But then, artwork is a very subjective thing. That's why this is just a minor 'complaint' about the series.

The first real 'deal-breaker' for me is the fact that Dark Empire and Heir to the Empire seem to have been written in completely different universes. The intro to Dark Empire makes no mention of Thrawn (a major character from Heir), even though the series supposedly takes place just one year after his death. Also, at the end of the Heir, the Empire was broken and in full retreat. And yet in the first pages of Dark Empire, we see they have not only thrown the New Republic off of Coruscant, but are able to do so even while they are fighting amongst themselves. It seems clear (to me at least) that Dark Empire was written to fit in directly AFTER the Original trilogy, with no interposing story line. It was intended to show the Empire still powerful, but in chaos, with the Rebellion growing in strength, poised to take on the weakening Imperial factions vying for power. Unfortunately, NONE of that seems to fit with the political situation we are shown during the Heir to the Empire novels. This seems to be a case of two creatives working in isolation from each other, then a bunch of people trying to put duct-tape over the cracks in the story line.

Another major problem I have with Dark Empire is the overall tone of it. I know that with a title like that, you have to expect the story to be serious. But part of the appeal of Star Wars is an overall optimistic tone—and a sense of humor. In this series, you see very little of either. There are no snappy one-liners. Things seem very grave throughout the entire series, with VERY few rays of sunlight (literally or figuratively). Some folks may like dark and gritty, and it can be a part of star wars, but when it grits and grinds through an entire series, it gets old. The end result for me is that it just didn't feel like Star Wars. It felt like your typical, lat 80's, early 90's dark and moody graphic novel.

One of my BIGGEST peeves in the Star Wars universe is the ever expanding scope of Force powers—to and past the point of belief. Dark Empire has a LOT of this. Okay, so I will buy off on the Emperor's power to resurrect himself (and that requires a lot of buying off). I can MAYBE even see his ability to summon a gigantic, ship-swallowing energy storm in space. this series, he uses this storm (what looks to be a black hole) to deftly pluck Luke and Artoo from the surface of a planet and somehow transport them into a dungeon ship...and all of this while he's not even anywhere close to the star system they're in. Right. And then later, Luke makes a freaking duplicate of himself—a seemingly tangible illusionary double. Hoookay. Whatever. I hate this.

Strangely enough, the Resurrection thing seems to be the biggest problems a lot of people have with the story and I don't mind it that much. I can see the argument of some folks that by having the Emperor 'reborn' you are kind-of taking something away from Vader/Anakin and his whole 'bring balance to the force' destiny. Folks say that by having the Emperor reborn, it detracts from Vader having 'killed' him in Return of the Jedi. I don't see it that way. Anakin, through that action, saved his son and his soul, and had a hand in the downfall of the Empire. Even if the Emperor does return, it doesn't take away those facts.

And as far as the prophecy goes....well, that depends how you interpret it. In my mind, Anakin 'brought balance' quite literally when he turned against the Jedi. In the end, only two 'major' Jedi survived. Balanced by the two major Sith. On a more metaphysical level, the Jedi order seemed to be stagnating and decaying right along with the Republic it served, and even though what Anakin did was horrible and evil, it DID bring about a 'rebirth' of the order. I like to think that the prophecy was speaking of a pivotal moment of change, and that Anakin could have 'brought balance' either by good or evil. Unfortunately, he ultimately chose evil, but either way, the prophecy came true. The clone Emperor is then, for me, a shadow of his former self and the last 'obstacle' Luke faces prior to coming into his own as master of a new Jedi order.

Now, onto other peeves about the story—there was this particular plot hole: Artoo, while hanging out with Luke and the Emperor, manages to shut down the Entire Imperial fleet of World Devastators, just by hacking a computer console. Guess the Emperor didn't forsee THAT one.

So, here I am kind of on the fence about the Dark Empire series—and then Dark Empire II and Empire's End come out. Well. I am not at all 'on the fence' about these two interlinked works. It seems to me to be a rehashing of the same plot. The Emperor is reborn AGAIN (I can buy it once, but not twice. It is just lazy plotting at this point). He has ANOTHER super weapon! This time, it is a huge gun that shoots 'bullets' through hyperspace that can destroy an entire planet. Uhhh... riiight. Oh, and he once again tries to use Leia's kid as a host for his spirit. Yeah. You lost me at '... the Emperor is reborn again...'. There may be some redeeming features of this story (in fact, I used a few elements in my own campaign), but overall I think it is shoddy, schlocky work built upon an already unstable foundation with the first series.

I should point out that, like my impression of the movies, my feelings about these comic series have changed over time. Unlike the prequels, however, my opinion of Dark Empire has deteriorated. The little nags and problems have built over the years to the point where much of this just seems unsalvageable. Still, I included most of this (Dark Empire I) in my Star Wars RPG campaign—and it worked. I think that if I had it to do all over again, I might set the whole series earlier—prior to the Heir to the Empire stuff—it seems to fit better in that chaotic time when Imperial Warlords were battling eachother for control. About the only problem I see is the whole 'using baby Anakin as a host' subplot. But that could easily be omitted. Of course, that wold put a bit of a wrinkle in Mara Jade's backstory (a character from Heir to the Empire), as the 'reborn' Emperor would probably try to call her back into service... blah. No. Probably better to just leave the story where it is, but change it's scope up a little—maybe omit the whole 'Coruscant gets destroyed' section. I'll have to think on it.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Since I am, by trade, an art director (and graphic designer), logos are something in which I have an interest. The evolution of logos is a particularly fascinating thing. Looking at Coke and Pepsi, for instance you see how the logos evolve over time, reflecting the period in which they find themselves, and yet retaining the recognizable 'essence' of what came before.

Logos in the Star Wars universe have been of interest to me as well—particularly the Rebel Alliance logo, since it is probably one of the most recognizable 'symbols' to come out of the Star Wars movies (It was, afterall, emblazoned on the Luke's flight-helmet throughout all three movies). There have been a lot of different backstories written for the meaning of this logo and what it is supposed to represent. The one generally accepted prior to the last couple years has been that of the 'Alliance Starbird' or 'Phoenix'. This story would have us believe that the symbol represents the phoenix-like rebirth of a 'New' Republic from the ashes of the Old. It seems plausible to me. I had always seen the symbol to be both bird-like and flame-like. This wrapped both of those 'looks' into one coherent reasoning.

And then a couple things happened almost simultaneously. The 'Clone Wars' computer-animated movie series came out in August of 2008 and the 'Force Unleashed' video game came out in September of 2008. The former was the first time that the 'Jedi Emblem' first appeared—on the shoulder plates of Anakin and Obi-Wan's armor. This emblem (the topmost logo in the included image), shows what looks to be a flaring lightsaber blade flanked by two crescent wings. To me, the similarities to the Alliance Emblem (the second logo down) were quite blatant. Here, I thought, is a very neat and rather subtle tie-in between the Clone Wars and Rebellion era of the Star Wars setting. It likewise made sense to me that the Jedi—the symbol for what was GOOD in the Old Republic—would be a rallying point for the Rebellion. Thus, it made sense to me that the Rebel emblem was an evolution of the Jedi emblem. And it didn't even rule out the 'phoenix rising from the ashes' symbolism, either—with the lightsaber being the 'flame', and the wings obviously the phoenix.

The Force Unleashed introduced an alternate theory. In this video game we learn that the emblem is actually the family crest of the main character of the game—Vader's secret apprentice. Through an intricate plot, it seems, this dark-jedi was responsible for the founding of the Rebellion (even though in the process he almost got all of its early leaders killed). After the (apparent) death of the 'hero', the Rebellion adopted his family crest as a way of showing respect to the man who started and 'saved' the movement. To me, this all seemed very heavy-handed and just didn't make a lot of sense for a lot of reasons—but then it was the major plot point in the game's story that was supposed to make everyone go 'Ooooh! See!? THAT is the origin for THAT!". And I suppose it is now officially 'Canon'. Meh. Personally? I prefer the first explanation a lot more. It makes a lot more sense that the Rebel Alliance would look to the Jedi as a whole for inspiration rather than to one dark-side apprentice who (supposedly) redeemed himself at the last minute. Of course, you should take this with a grain of salt, as my loathing for the Force Unleashed is legendary.

And before I go, I wanted to also mention the evolution of the Imperial logo. This logo (the bottom-most in the image) is seen most prominently on the helmets of TIE fighter pilots, but also on the shoulder patches of some Imperials personnel. The emblem of the Old Republic (the second to last logo shown in the graphic), is shown on many vehicles throughout the prequel trilogy. The connection between these two seems pretty direct as well—and interesting from an artistic perspective (of course, this perspective is highly subjective).

The Republic logo (to me) seems to show a sun-like symbol in its center, with various semi-circular line-segments in orbit of it and an unbroken outer boundary. To me, this seems to represent a union of 'equal' partners all 'in orbit' of the same 'ideals' and protected (via the unbroken boundary) by their union. Overall, the design is 'open' and even 'airy'—relatively welcoming. In contrast to this is the Imperial emblem. While it shares many similarities (sun-like center symbol, radiating spokes, unbroken boundary), it s a lot 'heavier'. Everything is tightly interlocked—rigid and unmoving.

Anyway, that's just my impression. And yes, I was an Art Student. So I am good as bsing stuff like this.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Marvel Villains!

Though I really can't see where I would ever use 'Super Heroes' in a Star Wars setting, Super-Villains are another matter. There is a lot of inspiration to be found in the Marvel Universe—even if you 'change the names to protect the innocent', there are some great ideas here for use in Star Wars.

A group of 'super powered' (or in the case of this conversion, just very competent) beings dedicated to increasing their own wealth and power. They could exist during the Empire era as a criminal organization, operating against both the Empire AND the Rebellion. Post-Empire, they could be a group of terrorists operating under a leader bound and determined to rebuild the Empire in his own image.

Baron Zemo
The leader of the group, Zemo would be a skilled scientist/engineer as well as a clever politician and tactician. He would also be a highly trained and ruthless combatant. Though he may support Palapatine's rule through fear doctrine, his megalomania is such that he could never see serving another while he could be master. Thus, while he is 'evil', he is also seeking the downfall of the Emperor (to be replaced with himself, naturally). This could be interesting as he may occasionally act to help the Rebellion (when it suited him), providing the chance for a brief, but eventful 'alliance' (which is sure to fall through when he betrays the the Rebels as well). Zemo would be fabulously wealthy, able to support a number of secret bases as well as a small army of underlings to support his team.

A clever inventor who has perfected a suit of flying battle armor. Originally, he used this to pursue a life of crime, but was eventually taken in by Zemo (likely rescued from prison) and put to work serving this new cause. Though self-centered, he isn't moustache-twirling evil, and so may one day turn against his master, but for now, the idea of working with a 'team' (and having a plan) appeals to him.

A technological savant. He is capable of designing and building various high-tech gadgets, weapons and vehicles used by the group. He would likely have droid henchmen with him and would be a whiz at 'slicing' computers. Fixer (his code name) worked for a time with Imperial Intelligence, but they did not approve of his radical (selfish and dangerous) experiments and so he eventually left. He is 'in it' for personal power and the chance to pit his intellect and inventions against challenges. Though not 'evil', per-se, he is supremely self-centered and does not believe in 'causes'. He works for Zemo because Zemo funds his work. Pure and simple.

A hulking humanoid with little subtlety. He's not terribly bright and likes being told what to do. He is the team's muscle, pure and simple, able to take and dish out a lot of punishment. While he would be naturally strong, this could be augmented by armor and/or experimental drugs (designed by Fixer and Zemo). Like Mach-1, Goliath (his alias), is not necessarily evil at heart, but he doesn't trust himself enough to make his own decisions.

And intelligent and ambitious woman, Moonstone (an alias, based upon a charm she wears) was once part of the Imperial social elite—a scholar of psychology who did many studies on mind control and manipulation to aid the Empire's internal security (she may have even had a hand in writing the Tarkin Doctrine of Rule through Fear). Unfortunately, she discovered she had latent Force powers and was nearly 'taken in' by the ISB for 'study' (and/or conversion). She escaped and was taken in by Zemo and now serves as his lieutenant. Unknown to Zemo, however, she plots to eventually take over the team—to become Empress herself rather than serve another. Zemo would have trained her in combat and her growing force abilities make her even more deadly—combined with her knowledge of psychology, she is especially good at manipulating others.

A street urchin who fell in with the wrong crowd, Songbird (the alias she has chosen), is an avian humanoid who's songs are capable of hypnotizing many species. She is also a skilled thief. She was used by a criminal organization in their schemes until her boss (and lover) was killed. Zemo rescued her from prison and has since pampered and protected her—making her feel as though she has a home. Of course the Baron really has no attachment to the girl, but the charade has worked thus far in assuring her loyalty. Fixer has since managed to create a gadget that amplifies her vocals, allowing her to target powerful sonic blasts as well as amplify her hypnotic singing when necessary.

The organization of Hydra works best in a Star Wars setting AFTER the fall of the Empire. It is started by a radical believer in the New Order—one determined to bring about it's return through any means necessary. Terrorism is the key here, as well as various plots to perhaps even resurrect the Emperor himself. The organization gets its name from a mythical beast that grows two heads for every one cut off—thus the many small, fanatical cells seem to survive no matter what is thrown at them.

A young and idealistic Jedi during the Clone Wars, Magnus' beliefs were warped by the fall of his order. He believed that radical, bloody vengeance was the only way to bring down the Emperor and the Sith. Though he has abandoned the ways of the Jedi, he sees the Sith as his enemies as well. His powers as a Jedi have grown and his tactics turn increasingly more brutal. He does not care who gets caught in the crossfire of his vendetta—and indeed, he blames galactic society as a whole for their allowing the Jedi order to be killed and persecuted. Though ruthless, the power of his personality has attracted a great many followers, most of whom are fanatically loyal to Magnus' cause. In his view, what he does is not Evil, but necessary—thus, he is a tragic figure who is gradually becoming what he abhors. Magnus' Acolytes are skilled, and many are Force Users he found while they were still young. He limits the amount of training each one receives to a few distinct areas—wary of them turning their powers against him if they were all 'fully trained'.

An agile, amphibious humanoid with a sychophantic personality. He is a skilled thief, spy and assassin. He is capable of great leaps and acrobatic feats, can cling to walls, can spit a blinding mucous and even lash people with a prehensile tongue. He is generally unpleasant, but loyal enough (though mostly out of fear).

Something of a Force Prodigy, Mastermind is a young man found by Magnus and raised with the sole purpose of being able to read and control other people's minds. Though initially blindly loyal to Magnus, Mastermind is starting to 'come into his own', and is developing a distinct superiority complex to everyone around him—he still follows Magnus, but only because the latter can resist his powers...for now.

A massive, blob-like alien with prodigious strength and little else going for him. He is very loyal as long as he is kept busy demolishing things.

A Clawdite Shapeshifter, Mystique is an incredibly talented and lethal spy and assassin. She is Magnus' sometimes lover and deeply dedicated to both him and the cause.

Another prodigy, Destiny is an alien child found and raised by Magnus with the sole purpose of being able to forsee the future. Unlike Mastermind, she is still very loyal to her master.

A telekinetic prodigy, capable of ripping or blasting things to pieces with sheer application of Force energy. He is an angry young man who has never known a home before the one offered by Magnus.

A pyrokinetic prodigy (a very rare force talent). Pyro is as hot-tempered and rash as his alias would suggest.

A recent addition to the team, brought in to enhance its raw fighting power. This near-human mercenary is as bloodthirsty as they come, reveling in ripping things apart with his claws and teeth. For a time, he had been employed with the Empire as an assassin, but he was too vicious even for them (too uncontrollable). Magnus realizes Sabretooth could be a liability, but for the moment, he is useful.

A cyborg equipped with massive power-armor (all of which was supplied by Magnus). He is a walking tank, providing pure muscle for the team, along with Sabretooth and Blob).

Victor Von Doom is the iron-fisted ruler of the remote world of Latveria. Though ostensibly bowing to the Emperor's will, he is a megalomaniac of the first order who would like nothing better than to rule the Galaxy, himself. He is a scientific and technological genius, but also a dabbler in the Dark Side of the Force. This, plus the resources of an entire planet behind him make him dangerous indeed. It is likely he would pursue the Rebellion in an attempt to make himself look good in the eyes of the Emperor. It is just as likely that he would use the Rebellion to help him eliminate rivals to his rise (rivals such as Darth Vader). Thus, players could find themselves working against the Doctor on one occasion and with him on another.

To the galaxy at large, this is merely an ancient society that has long served the indulged ruling class of the Republic (and now the Empire). But behind the scenes, a secret cabal of Force-Users and their henchmen have, for centuries, been attempting to manipulate the course of history and 'rule' from behind the scenes. They see the galaxy has a chess-board and its beings as pieces to be moved by them. Thus, the 'titles' in their order are all based upon this strategy game. To keep balance (of a sort) between the various huge egos involved, there are four co-rulers of the club:

Black King — Sebastian Shaw
A powerful, yet subtle manipulator. Shaw is outwardly a successful businessman. Among the order, though, he is the de facto leader, developing intricate plans to be carried out by the lesser orders (bishops, knights, etc.) of the club. Though putting on refined airs, Shaw revels in bloody, personal combat (and especially the application of his powers in it).

Black Queen — Selene
A sinister and beautiful woman, Selene has been a fixture in the order for many years—and yet she retains her youth. She does this via a specialized Force energy drain, becoming (in effect) a 'vampire' of life forces. Though vain and petulant, she is incredibly intelligent and manipulative—a perfect partner for Shaw (though a dangerous one, since she craves the 'life force' of Force users above all others).

White King — Donald Pierce
A rarity within the Club, Pierce is one of the few non-Force using members to have risen through the ranks. His technological genius and sheer ruthlessness earned him his spot. His cyborg body and combat skills have allowed him to maintain it. Even so, he is often looked down upon by others in the club. His partnership with his queen is one of convenience—each sees the other as a means to maintain power, and for the moment, that suits both.

White Queen — Emma Frost
As cold as she is beautiful, Emma Frost is a powerful Telepath who is fond of mind control and manipulation. She also possesses the rare Force ability of Cryokinesis. She is unabashedly power-hungry and selfish, willing to use or betray anyone in pursuit of her own goals. She and Selene are bitter rivals—a fact not helped at all by the torrid affairs Frost has indulged in with Shaw from time to time.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Star Wars X-Men

Much like the Avengers, the X-Men can be adapted to a Star Wars setting—though, in my eyes, it is a much more difficult adaptation. The idea of being a 'mutant' as the unifying factor of the group just simply doesn't work in the Star Wars galaxy. My initial thought was to have 'mutation' turn to 'Force use' as the reason for being persecuted, but this simply doesn't work for much of the team. Therefore, the angle I am taking is more along the lines that professor X is assembling unique individuals to help overthrow the Empire. THIS is their unifying goal. Some are Force users, others are aliens—both of which are oppressed under the Empire. Thus, it works for the most part. Those who don't fit into those categories are a bit more difficult to adapt, but can be explained away as sympathetic to the cause—wanting to overthrow the tyranny of the Empire.

X-Men in the Star Wars Universe:

Professor X
Charles Xavier was a young Jedi Knight in the closing stages of the Clone Wars. Along with his close friend and fellow knight, Magnus, Xavier survived the purge. The two of them resolved to overthrow the Emperor, but soon had a falling out when Magnus felt Xavier's methods were too 'tame' and not direct enough. Their final 'disagreement' left Xavier paralyzed from the waist down. Undaunted, he continued his quest, using his powers to hide himself from the galaxy at large, to build up enough money to buy a remote facility and set up as a seemingly innocuous boarding school. There, he would find and train individuals of all kinds to help in his fight against the Empire.

Game-wise, Xavier would have to have some rare kind of nerve damage (or perhaps an allergy?) that prevents the use of cybernetics from simply 'fixing' his broken body. His powers can all easily be explained away through the Force (telepathy, telekinesis, etc.).

One of the more difficult people to 'translate' into Star Wars, this version of Cyclops would not be a mutant, but rather a boy (the son of an old republic war hero), who was injured in a crash that (supposedly) killed his parents. He was subsequently taken in by Xavier, who was actually an old family friend of Scott's (Cyclops' real name) father.

Scott's vision was damaged in the accident, resulting in the cybernetic replacement of his eyes. In learning to use these 'new eyes', Scott became incredibly perceptive–literally the eyes and ears of Xavier. Later, one of Scott's team-mates (the "Beast") devised for him a high-tech visor that improves his already incredible perception. Scott's steady nature and dedication to training also make him the de-facto leader of the team.

Stat-wise, Scott is just a normal guy. He has no 'optical blasts', but instead is a remarkable marksman and scout, using his visor and his cybernetic eyes to identify dangers to the team.

Bobby Drake is a young man with natural force abilities, which professor Xavier is working on building. But most exceptional is his Cryokinesis—a rare power that even Xavier does not possess.

Stat-wise, Ice-man is just a young man. He doesn't cover himself with ice, or 'fly' with ice bridges or anything like that. He just has the power to freeze things and is learning other 'tricks' with this power.

Archangel is simply a winged humanoid alien. He has the natural ability of flight and the desire to overthrow the oppressive Imperial regime.

A strong and agile, fur-covered humanoid. But despite his bestial appearance, the "Beast" is actually an incredibly intelligent scientist—one responsible for developing much of the team's gadgetry. Stat-Wise, he would likely have a 4D Strength and Agility, and close to a 5D Intelligence.

Jean Grey is a powerful young Force User, very much like Professor Xavier, himself—only with a more troubled soul. She constantly faces her darker-side when utilizing her power.

These would be the "Core" X-Men, but others could be added. Those who seem to work best (for me) include:

Nightcrawler: An Alien capable of amazing athletic feats (and of clinging to sheer surfaces). His amazing agility and mobility seem to make his movements seem 'almost' like teleporting, but no, he would not have that power.

Wolverine: An escaped and amnesiac Imperial super-soldier experiment. He would have to be toned down quite a bit from the books—his healing factor being a bit slower and unable to bring him back from death.

Storm: A Force User attuned to the natural elements of wind and water—able to 'summon' storms and the like through a special 'weather manipulation' force power.

Colossus: Re-imagined as a cyborg—though without the metal skin, but rather a suit of armor he wears in addition to his strength-enhancing implants. These implants were given to him by a crimelord (involuntarily) for whom Colossus was forced to work until escaping to join the X-Men.

Banshee: Hated the fact that a male character was given the name of a 'female' monster. So, lets make this Banshee a female near-human and force user with amazing vocal abilities—which can be enhanced by her force powers to produce sonic-shockwaves or even to enhance her 'affect mind' powers while singing.

Shadowcat: Alas, the cool 'walking through walls' power is just too much for me in a Star Wars setting. Rather, I would re-imagine her as a very young, but very capable thief, capable of getting through ANY kind of security device or even computer firewall. Perhaps she does have latent Force powers that Xavier is trying to develop in her.

Lockheed: The dragonlike mascot of the team.

Psylocke: A woman with a shady past. She'd have Force powers, enabling her to fight very well with her katanas and mentally manipulate people. But no 'psychic knives' or anything like that. She'd also be very morally questionable, in danger of going over to the dark side.

Forge: A technological savant with cybernetic prosthetics. A mentor for Beast.

Gambit: A gambler with a shady past. Latent force abilities give him remarkable precognition and even minor telepathy (thus making him a good gambler). They would also allow him to use a staff very much like a lightsaber (enhanced attack and defense). He would also be a master of thrown weapons.

Cannonball: A natural pilot with latent force abilities.

Some X-Men, however, just don't work. Either due to their powers being too 'out there' or the fact that I just think they're stupid (very scientific, I know). These include:

Sunfire (Never liked him much, but I suppose you could just turn him into a pyrokinetic)
Thunderbird (Never liked him much, either)
Rogue (Power just doesn't fit, and a lot of her 'hook' goes away if she doesn't have it)
Longshot (Power just doesn't fit. He just has 'good luck'? Plus? He had a mullet)
Dazzler (She generates pretty lights when she sings... disco songs. Silly)
Jubilee (As much as I LOVE jubilee (and I actually do), I can't reconcile her powers (again, more pretty lights) with any thing Star Warsy.
Bishop (Never liked him much.)
Marrow (Never liked her much. Hate the idea of ripping bones from your body and throwing them at people).
Maggott (Too stupid for words. Seriously, who thought this was a good idea?)
Cable (Never liked him much. Backstory is WAY too convoluted).

Marvel Star Wars (Kind of)

In watching Iron Man 2 this past weekend, my mind couldn't help but wander (as if often does), into the realm of crossover and adaptation into the Star Wars universe. I indulge myself in these little creative exercises from time to time, even though I know I am likely to NEVER 'use' any of it in my gaming. It is just fun for me—and hopefully has some interest for other folks as well. So, anyway, here we go:

The Avengers, Star Wars Style:

Iron Man:
Tony Stark is the genius inheritor of a high-tech weapons development firm. His family rose to prominence making weapons for the Old Republic military—most notably during the Clone Wars. For the sake of dramatic license, we could even say that much of the Clone-trooper armor designs were Stark designs. During the rise of the Empire, Tony's father served the Empire, but quickly came to realize it for what it was. He was conflicted by wanting to keep his family safe and to 'work within the system' to stop the growing tyranny of the Empire. His idealism eventually put him at odds with his partner, Obadiah Stane, who quietly had the Senior Stark bumped off and insinuated himself into the Junior Stark's life—raising him to be the primary developer of military equipment for the company (and its various clients—the Empire, as well as various corporate powers and shady organizations kept out of the public eye).

Tony's narcissistic lifestyle is abruptly interrupted by an attempt on his life—ostensibly by a band of 'rebels', but actually, they're terrorists, masquerading as rebels (and secretly hired by Stane to bump off Stark). Instead of killing Tony, however, they keep him and force him to build weapons for them. Assisted by a fellow prisoner (who is affiliated with the REAL Rebellion), Tony builds a revolutionary suit of armor and escapes. In the process, the Rebel is killed, but not before Tony learns a thing or two about the real situation in the Galaxy—and his part in it.

From here, Tony returns, determined to do good. His goals conflict with those of Stane, and eventually, the two have it out, pitting suits of armor against one another. Tony wins, with the assistance of a Rebel cell calling itself 'SHIELD'. He manages to cover up the whole incident and prevent the Empire from getting its hands on the prototype by sabotaging the plans for his own designs and stating publicly that the prototype has been stolen.

In his power armor, this 'Iron Man', takes up arms against the Empire while Stark continues his seemingly hedonistic lifestyle. Behind the scenes, Tony becomes a supporter of the Rebellion and works to slow production of war materiel to the Empire—though it seems only a matter of time before someone in the Empire sees through this charade...

Game-wise, the Iron Man armor would have to be toned down a bit in just about all areas. But in trained hands, even 'toned down' armor could do a lot of damage fighting a geurilla/commando style war. I picture the armor as +3D power-armor, capable of flight (though perhaps not supersonic) and equipped with many high-tech weapons and gadgets.

The Hulk
This is a relatively easy conversion. Dr. Banner is working for the Empire on gamma-ray experiments. This could be for a number of reasons, but the end result is Banner's exposure to this energy and mutation. Unlike the comic book Hulk, I don't see the Star Wars Banner being able to switch back and forth between forms (I do not like the sudden gain and loss of mass—it just pushes believability past even MY expansive boundaries). Being big and green isn't as big of a deal in the Star Wars Universe as it is in the real world, however. The hulk could pretend to be an alien of this or that species.

The Empire, of course, wants to find him and duplicate the formula to create more super-weapons like the Hulk. Banner lives in hiding, trying to develop an antidote. His intellect would largely be intact, but stress and anger can and does reduce him to mindless rage—often destroying whatever 'cover' he has established and any progress he has made on a cure. With the Empire chasing him, stress and anger are a common thing. Thus, Banner is always on the move—but often finds himself helping others on his journeys.

Again, game-wise, the Hulk would have to be toned down a LOT. No, he can't leap for miles. No, he can't bench press-tanks. I figure he'd have around a 7D strength—which is impressive, but not overpowering.

"Captain Republic"
During the early stages of the Clone Wars, a brilliant scientist devised a serum that would turn an ordinary being into a physically perfect representation of his species. Only one test subject was ever given the serum, however, for Separatist agents attacked the facility during the test- killing the doctor and destroying his notes (secretly, Palpatine set up this attack—he did not want 'normal' soldiers made 'super', he wanted his easily controllable clones). The test subject survived, however, and was indeed physically perfect. He was transferred to Republic special operations, where he earned an incredibly distinguished record in various black-ops missions throughout the war. Though never publicly acknowledge, he soon gained a reputation among the soldiers of the republic—representing its highest ideals through his acts of heroism and belief in the cause. 'Captain Republic' became the slang name for this otherwise un-named soldier.

Unfortunately, it was this idealism that made the Captain a liability to Palpatine. Such a person made a much better hero dead than alive. So it was that on his last mission of the war, the Captain was evidently killed when the ship he was on exploded in the midst of combat. But unknown to all, the Captain didn't die. Through a fluke accident, his body was actually put into a state of suspended animation onboard the derelict piece of ship that survived the explosion. It was twenty years before Cap was discovered—found by an old friend of his, Nick Fury, a republic soldier Cap had served with during the war. Having just woken up to a seeming nightmare world, Cap is now dedicating himself to restoring the Republic.

Game-wise, Cap is a pretty easy integration—though perhaps somewhat 'bogus' as far as a PC goes: He'd likely have 4Ds across the board, or perhaps in everything except intelligence, which would be around 3D. As far as his gear goes, the Shield could be a high-tech remnant of the gear he was provided during the clone wars—now emblazoned with the insignia of the Rebel Alliance. It could function as a melee weapon versus hand-to-hand attacks and as cover versus ranged... and as a thrown weapon when needed (with a built in homing system that returns it to its thrower).

On the remote world of "Valhalla", Thor was a member of the elite, Force-using ruling class. Being a relatively low-tech world (or at least one without space flight), "Valhalla" was unknown to the galaxy at large—that is until the first Imperial scouts arrived. Thor's brother, Loki, quickly ingratiated himself with these newcomers and the Empire in turn used him to topple the rule of Thor's family—most of whom were slain or imprisoned (with the thought as to turning them to the dark side). Thor managed to escape and now seeks to regain control of his world from Loki—though he sees now this can only be accomplished through destroying the Empire.

Game-wise, Thor would have normal human-range stats—though I could see him having perhaps an exceptional 5D in strength. He would have Force powers, but would likely be trained in more physical applications such as leaping and speed and a focus on combat with his chosen weapon, a high-tech energy-hammer. This latter could function as a lightsaber, able to deflect incoming ranged attacks. It would be easy enough for Thor to utilize Force-lightning as well—though this would be treading close to the dark-side, depending upon how he used it.

I take a bit more liberties with this concept than I do the others. First of all, I never much cared for 'Ant-Man', or even 'Giant-Man'. Secondly, When you have two folks with the same powers, one just kind of becomes redundant. Thus, I would combine Ant-Man and wasp into one character. Unfortunately, the whole 'shrinking' thing really pings my believability-meter. Even if you could explain away such technology, I really wouldn't want it to become a 'common' thing in my Star Wars setting. Therefore, I offer an alternate version of the Wasp, without this shrinking power.

The Wasp comes from an insectoid species—though one with a decidedly humanoid appearance (save for antennae, compound eyes and dragonfly-like wings). She was a member of a rich family of her species, leading a life of luxury until the Empire conquered her planet. At this point, she struck back—becoming both a thief and assassin, utilizing her natural ability of flight to its fullest potential (though humanoid in appearance, her bones are incredibly lightweight). She now roams the galaxy, striking whenever and wherever she can against the empire. Her own impetuous nature often gets her into trouble, however.

Game-wise, the Wasp would be very quick (high dex and agility) and perceptive, but not terribly tough (low strength). She would also be capable of flight and would be well armed with a variety of blaster weapons.

These would form the core of my Star Wars Avengers—the 'founding members'. But more could easily be incorporated:

Hawkeye: A soldier with a shady past, specializing in high-tech archery and gadgets.

Scarlet Witch: A Force using Dathomiran witch with a penchant for revealing, red clothing.

Quicksilver: A swoop-racer and pilot with a love for speed.

Black Panther: The errant king of a jungle planet—nearly as physically perfect as Cap himself.

Vision: An escaped high-tech Imperial android with the ability to fly and 'cloak' itself (i.e. turn invisible)

Black Knight: The successor to a fallen Jedi Knight

Black Widow: A former Imperial spy, turned good guy.

Swordsman: A former merc with a checkered past (and perhaps a traitorous heart).

Mantis: A Force-using martial artist

Moondragon: A bald (and bitchy) Force-using martial artist

Hellcat: A martial artist (maybe with ESP?)

Falcon: Guy with a flight-suit.

Tigra: You can never have too many catwomen.

Namor: Really tough and irritable king of an underwater world.


Some folks just don't fit in the Star Wars universe, however—their powers are just too extreme or are a duplication of already existing ones, these include:

Wonder Man (body composed of energy? Yeah. Too far out)
Ms. Marvel (aka Supergirl. Too powerful)
She-Hulk (already have one hulk. Two pushes belief)
Captain-Marvel (Energy body, can fly through space, too mega)
Starfox (stupid concept, and powers that are all over the place: super strength, flight, healing factor, and, of course, his ability to make the chicks love him. Geez. Wish fulfillment fantasy much?)
Doctor Druid (dumb name. Too 'magicky' to be a Force User)

Anyway, you get the point. And yeah, that is just a lot of fun to think about.

Aesthetics: TIE Edition

Being a visual artist, aesthetics are a huge thing for me in most areas of my life (hence my sometimes illogical love of Apple computers and products). Thus it is that when certain things run against my aesthetic taste, I tend ignore them, or outright exclude them. Such is the case with a more than a few 'Expanded Universe' things in Star Wars. One of the most notable of these is the vaunted "TIE Defender". Simply put, I feel that it just looks stupid and impractical—to say nothing of the fact that its stats are completely bogus. There are no trade offs in this thing. It is faster than any other fighter, more maneuverable than any other fighter, more heavily armed than any other fighter, etc., etc.. While this must be great fun in the video game in which it was introduced, it really doesn't endear an already dorky looking design. And the name is all wrong, too. Defender? Empire? Seriously!? Decapitator I could believe, but Defender? That just sounds wussy. So, no. It isn't going to exist in my Star Wars universe.

The TIE Avenger had a better name, and yet, to me the design wasn't as cool as Darth Vader's prototype TIE from Episode IV. Thus, in another divergence from Expanded Universe 'canon', the TIE Avenger is modeled off Darth's TIE rather than being a whole new design.

The TIE Tank is another no-no in my book. Lets see.. a 'tank' with a huge window in the front, crappy visibility and no turret. You have to turn the entire tank in order to aim at something- and the guns are mounted low to the ground, so you can't really fire from cover. Yeah. Just a bad idea all around—and stupid looking.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Ubiquitous Laser Cannon

I understand that Star Wars is a 'Space Opera', not hard science fiction. In fact, that's why I love it so much. I also understand that the RPG rules for Star Wars are an extension of this philosophy of drama and excitement over the cold hard laws of physics. But even in my opera, I like to inject a little bit of 'realism' in my dramatic license.

One case in point is the term 'laser cannon' as it refers to the weapons carried by various starfighters and ships. Almost all ships carry these—usually linked in groups of two to four. And for the most part (even in West Ends world of wacky stats), they always did about the same damage, no matter what ship they were on. Dual laser cannons did 5D, Quad did 6D. On the surface, at least, it seemed to make sense.

And then I muddled right into the middle of it with my size-comparison 'study'. The illustration included in this post represents a rough approximation of the sizes of the various Rebel starfighters to eachother. The green circles indicate the various mounted laser cannons. You will notice a rather significant size difference in the various representations of these laser cannons—especially in the X-Wing (with significantly larger cannons—fig. A) and the A-Wing (with significantly smaller—fig. B). I know some of this can be explained away as being different models or configurations—but I just plain don't buy that one of the X-Wing's cannons does the same amount of damage as one of the A-Wing's.

Also problematic is the fact that the B-Wing's primary laser cannon (the lower of the guns in the circle—fig. D), is supposed to do 7D damage—more damage with just one canon than all four of the X-Wing's guns firing in concert. I suppose I could just shrug all of this off, but remember, I AM a geek, and I do tend to get anal(hyphen)retentive from time to time.

There are a couple of extenuating factors in all of this that could 'explain away' some of the apparent discrepancies. The first of these is that in the A-Wing, Y-Wing and B-Wing, a good portion of the laser cannon's functional hardware could be housed within the skin of the craft (this is shown to be the case with the Y-Wing at least, in the 'incredible cross-sections' books). Why couldn't the A-Wing have something similar- its 'power core' housed inside the craft, with the small barrels only being part of the whole. Same with the B-Wing and its heavy gun. Another fact could simply be more advanced materials. The A-Wing's guns are more compact, but offer the same punch—but maybe they're twice as expensive as the simpler Y-Wing lasers. In any case, there are things I've considered when revamping the stats.

What I have come up with thus far is still in a bit of flux (as of this post), but seems to be working a little better (for me at least):

The X-Wing's laser cannons get bumped up to being HEAVY laser cannons. Firing in concert, they would do 7D damage now instead of 6D.

The Y-Wing, with most of its cannons housed under its cowling, would have dual HEAVY cannons instead of the regular ones, thus giving it a 6D punch instead of 5D. The smaller twin-cannon (ion) over the cockpit remains unchanged.

The A-Wing's teeny lasers are classified as standard 5D Damage, partially because they are more modern designs, partially because some of their machinery is housed under the fighter's cowling—thus the cannon we see is just the 'tip'.

The B-Wing is the biggest change, requiring, in my opinion, a complete revamp. It's original energy-weapon loadout consisted of three fire-linked ion cannons (one on each wingtip, one in the gun-pod at the tip of its 'wing'), one heavy laser cannon (in the gun-pod) and a few chin-mounted blaster cannons (under the cockpit).

My proposed B-Wing revamp gives it three fire-linked HEAVY laser cannons (with a combined damage of 6D+2), three fire-linked ion cannons (the smaller weapons that seem to exist alongside the wingtip cannons), and two LASER cannons mounted under the chin (though the latter seem kind of pointless—still, those DO look like guns under the chin, so...).

Anyway, that's where I am at the moment with this particular madness. What do you think?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Technological Innovation

I have spoken before about the technological plateau of the Star Wars universe. It remains for me, a child of the 20th century, a difficult concept to grasp. So many things have changed so drastically even in my short time on this earth. When I first started playing Star Wars, I hadn't really given any of this much thought. I had just assumed that all the technology of the clone wars (which, at the time, I thought was 30 years prior to the original trilogy), was obsolete junk compared to the 'new' stuff we see in the movies. Just like WWI bi-planes were crap compared WWII fighters.

But that obviously isn't supposed to be the case.

It doesn't help that West End Games lost the Star Wars license prior to the prequel trilogy. Thus, all the ships and tech from those movies has no 'official' game stats to build off of. Then again, considering how wonky WEG stats were, maybe that's not such a bad thing. But in any case, all of this is just a prelude to one of my current tasks—creating coherent stats 'accross the board' for vehicles and technology of both the Original and Prequel trilogies.

What I have decided is this: There IS a nudge up in overall performance between the Clone Wars and Rebellion Eras. It isn't anything drastic, number-wise, but for a technologically 'stagnant' civilization like the Star Wars Galaxy, it is notable. Considering the amount of strife and social upheaval during this time period—the pressures put on designers working for the Empire and the Rebellion—I think it is logical enough that things could change. Maybe the plateau climbs a couple more feet. Considering the fact I don't really have to worry about history in the 'long run', it works just fine for me!

...unless you consider the New Republic Era and its technologies. Do you move THOSE up another notch? Perhaps. Though maybe it is more just a 'streamlining' of technological concepts developed during the previous era—now that there is a little breathing room to actually stop and think before throwing things into combat. Well, anyway, that's what I'm thinking at the moment. Back to work.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Progress Report

My rules Star Wars rules compendium is a much more involved project than I had thought it would be. But I am making progress on it none the less. I have found it much more manageable to break into sections rather than do the whole thing from cover to cover. That way, I can jump back and forth from section to section to avoid getting 'bored' or bogged down with any one. Thus far, the tactic is working—I have gotten through the very 'dull' (from a writing perspective), core rules section by dabbling in many other sections along the way. So far, it looks like the book is going to be organized as follows:

1) Introduction and Philosophy. I haven't started working on this yet, but it will outline my reasons for making the book and my personal philosophy about Star Wars gaming.


2) Core Game Systems. This is complete (as of yesterday). It details how the D6 system works—including things like difficulty numbers, the wild-die, rounds, character points, force points, etc. Though most books tend to begin with character generation, I felt that it is important to know game terminology and how various things work BEFORE you make a character. That having been said, I want to make a much smaller book when this is all over, meant just for players of the game to give them an even more succinct overview.

3) Attributes and Skills. I have worked on this section, but it needs a lot of work still—especially the more detailed descriptions of each individual skill. I figure I probably have about one third of the work on this section complete.

4) Force Rules. Thanks to some work I have done in trying to create a force power compendium earlier, this section has a large amount of its work already completed. Basically, I just need to edit and reformat.

5) Alien Races. This section is nearly complete. I have 20+ races detailed. Again, I placed this prior to character generation so that people can get an idea of what is available when they do make a character.

6) Advantages and Disadvantages. This section has not been worked on at all. It is not part of the original SW system, but it is something I enjoy in games, so I intend to include it here.

7) Character Generation. This section needs a lot of work still. I'm not sure exactly how I am going to present all of it as of yet—but I am going to include various character templates as they did in the various official rule books.

8) Combat. This is going to be a rather meaty section, and though I have a good outline of it, it is going to require a lot of editing—and a lot of examples. I am still debating on whether or not to include vehicle combat in this section or include that in its own section AFTER the vehicle section. I think one section for both is probably the best idea.

9) Movement. Considering that in my many years of running Star Wars I always used very abstract movement rules, I am actually kind of frightened with what to do for this section. I imagine I will be paring it down a great deal. This would also be a good place to include the many very good rule systems I've seen for running 'abstract' chase scenes.


10) The Galaxy. This section would detail the overall layout of the galaxy, its various regions and political situations, etc. This is mostly written, but may need to have a bit added to it. In addition, I want to include a revised map of the Galaxy that does NOT include the retarded 'unknown space' thing.

11) Planets. This section is mostly complete. It details a couple dozen major worlds in the galaxy. I am thinking of adding 'rules' for creating other worlds as well.

12) Weapons and Equipment. I already have most of the charts written up. May need to include some longer written sections to describe some items in more details.

13) Vehicles. This section has been started, but needs a lot of work. Much of the legwork is already done, however, as part of my huge quest to organize and give an accurate representation of vehicles as they relate to eachother.

14) Starships. This section is about a third complete—with starfighters done, transports in the works and capital starships still to go. Again, it is lumped in with vehicles in my effort to create some sense out of often contradictory (or just plain wrong) stats.

15) Droids. I had, years ago, set to work trying to standardize droid design, so I have a lot of source material already finished. Now I just need to edit it all.

16) Creatures. This hasn't been worked on yet, but is going to be a selection of a couple-dozen of the most famous critters from around the galaxy—maybe with some rules as to generating new ones.

This is something I have only recently considered including, but it should fit here. Basically, I would try to condense down various sourcebooks (Rebel, Imperial, Corporate, Criminal) and list out the various organizations important to the SW setting. Unfortunately for me, this is likely to be a MAJOR undertaking.

This section has not been started on either, but would give hints and tips to GMs on how to run a Star Wars campaign and adventure—including information from the various rulebooks as well as my own observations from my own experience. The section would also have to include an example adventure. Again, a lot of writing ahead of me here.

Whuf, so looking back on this? Maybe I'm not as far as I thought I was. I may have to release the compendium in piecemeal form—complete the 'rules' section, then the 'universe', etc. We'll see how it goes.