The Problem with Star Wars d20 is the d20.


Other RPGs


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The Problem with Star Wars d20 is the d20. The Star Wars universe is not
best modeled with a d20 style game system. For example, agreeing on a
base list of Classes is hard.

D20 systems have their use, but Star Wars would play best with a skill-centric
system. I'm stunned they didn't clone and re-tune the Shadowrun
game system to implement this Star Wars game.

For example, instead of a d20 system a 'linked attributes + skills'
system could be used. This allows the players to creatively mix melee
weapons, technology use, and the Force as they see fit. The up-front
decisions a d20 game designer has to make about Class organization
and leveling-up puts limits on players. And in a rich Space Opera
genre like Star Wars, I think too many limits in this case.

Basically, Meta-types and class archetypes supported by skill grouping
seems a most natural way of capturing the drama of Star Wars game play
-- at least what you see in the movies.

And, now the GM is important in game play for reasons other than
reading the room descriptions -- which is really all a GM does in d20
games. The GM can use his story crafting skill to model and play out
any situation, expected or not, arising in-game using skill-group based
NPCs. Percentile, d6, d10? It doesn't matter.

So, I don't play Star Wars D20 because of the D20. A d20 style game
system forces the designer to make too many upfront, hard decisions. A
Skills based system built around character Attributes and racial
metatypes allows the players and GM to better use the powerful
imagery we see in the Star Wars movies. Using a d20 system usually
creates a cartoonish version of the world you are trying to capture and
play in, and the Star Wars universe is to cool to let this happen.

So, the actual game system mechanics being used is why I don't play Star Wars d20.

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Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Fantasy Flight's new Star Wars RPG does something similar to what you're suggesting but with even more skew towards narrative.


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Fantasy Flight's new Star Wars RPG does something similar to what you're suggesting but with even more skew towards narrative.

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That's good.

And also we have to be careful about skewing too far into the Narrative
aspects of RPG game playing. The most obvious example is The Fate system.
(I don't play Harry Dresden whom I love, because it uses The Fate system.)

I like "Games" but simulation is important too. The system you use has
to offer enough Simulation (and tools for a GM to create content on-the-fly
during unexpected gaming moments) that balances/complements
the pure narrative story telling.

I mean, I like stories too. But to me playing an RPG is story telling
mixed with simulation, and keeping those two things equal and balanced is
paramount to an awesome gaming session.

Otherwise, we could just go watch a movie (as a group).

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Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm a fan of FATE, I'm a fan of FFG Star Wars, I'm a fan of Pathfinder, I'm a fan of 5th Edition, I'm a fan of the Cypher system.

There's plenty of different itches an RPG can scratch. Simulation, is really an abstraction after all.

My point being, if you wanna cludge a system to make what you think Star Wars should be, you should do it. But, d20 Star Wars works for some people, and SAGA works for some people, and WEG d6 Star Wars works for some people and FFG Star Wars works for some people.

It's all playing pretend in the end.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
My point being, if you wanna cludge a system to make what you think Star Wars should be, you should do it. But, d20 Star Wars works for some people, and SAGA works for some people, and WEG d6 Star Wars works for some people and FFG Star Wars works for some people.

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And this is good, but I'd wager they don't understand why it is working for them.
But they don't have to! I am talking about very technical game design concepts here.

Maybe I should go back to bed ...

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I've run both d20 Star Wars and the slightly different Star Wars Saga version and both, I've felt, played fine. I admit though that my group and I have long experiences with d20 (3.PF, 4e, and now 5e) not to mention dozens upon dozens of hours playing games like KotOR (a Star Wars game based on d20).

Honestly where I think the "problem" lies (and I used quotes because I don't really see it as a problem per-se) is that they're using D&D-based rules for a genre that isn't necessarily like D&D. Maybe it's the mechanics and it feels too D&D like, thus creating the idea that the system isn't suited for a game that isn't D&D.

I've only played with a tiniest bits of other systems but the one that sticks out, to me, for a great Star Wars game is GURPS and from that point, you can mold pretty much whatever class/magic/force stuff you want. It would take time to set up and fix any bugs but if you want a system to completely mold into a specific Star Wars-style game, that would be the one I'd choose.


Diffan wrote:
Honestly where I think the "problem" lies (and I used quotes because I don't really see it as a problem per-se) is that they're using D&D-based rules for a genre that isn't necessarily like D&D. Maybe it's the mechanics and it feels too D&D like, thus creating the idea that the system isn't suited for a game that isn't D&D.

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Personally, I would say "Cartoon Inducing d20 System" instead of "D&D-based".
And your point is taken.

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Diffan wrote:
... for a great Star Wars game is GURPS ...

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Yes, GURPS has put in a lot of work balancing Narration and Simulation.
If GURPS is your only option versus using d20 for Star Wars, then GURPS easily wins.

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I'm sorry, I don't get your point. Is the problem with D20 systems the d20? Or is it the classes?


Grand Magus, I don't mean to sound argumentative, but it seems to me that you're talking about level advancement when you describe the reason the d20 system is bad at modeling Star Wars.

Isn't the d20 system, with its ability score modifier + skill ranks + d20 roll, a linked attribute + skill system, or have I missed a step here? I'd also ask the same question about class skills, cross-class skills and untrained skills vs. meta-types and class archetypes.


Grand Magus wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
My point being, if you wanna cludge a system to make what you think Star Wars should be, you should do it. But, d20 Star Wars works for some people, and SAGA works for some people, and WEG d6 Star Wars works for some people and FFG Star Wars works for some people.

.

And this is good, but I'd wager they don't understand why it is working for them.
But they don't have to! I am talking about very technical game design concepts here.

Maybe I should go back to bed ...

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I think you're right here.

Particularly with that last bit. :)


If the point is that d20 as a system doesn't work for sci-fi games, I dunno I agree with that.
If the point is it's hard to classify things seen in SW to a handful of "classes", then I agree.


The amusing part about all this to me is that I basically agree: D20 is a bad fit for Star Wars. (And incidentally for a bunch of the other D20 Everythings.)

But our dear Magus here hasn't actually commented on anything about that topic since the first post.

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