Third Edition Announced, Nocturnal Media Acquires West End Games

More news from the Third Edition front:


It has been over a year since we released Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game; Revised, Expanded, and Updated (REUP). Since then, the “team” has gotten back to the game table, played a bunch of various games, and pretty much relaxed our “design muscles.” Making REUP was a strenuous process, but it brings us all great joy that it has been so well received and enjoyed by the fans.

A lot of people wondered why we “disappeared” after the release. Honestly the reasons are different for various members. For most of us, we had finished a long labor of love and wanted to throw some dice. At the beginning of the REUP project, we wanted to make a true unofficial 3rd edition, a successor to the amazing 2nd edition of the game. We pulled back from that idea because we felt that it may not prove useful the majority of D6 Star Wars fans. They had the rules they liked, they already had their preferred house rules, and making a vanity game really wouldn’t be worth the effort.

Still, the desire to make a successor to 2nd Edition Revised & Expanded burns. So after a lot of forethought about how much work this is going to be, several like-minded folks decided to take the plunge into this project.

Let me start off by saying we don’t expect most D6 players to readily embrace 3rd Edition as the pinnacle of Star Wars RPGs. We are a nameless group of designers with our own ideas about how a Star Wars game should be run; inevitably those ideas will differ from other gamer’s ideas. This issue is at the forefront of many of the design choices for the game.

Rather than go on and on about the various facets and elements of 3rd Edition, we decided a basic FAQ would be in order. If your questions about the game aren’t answered below, please post them in the comments and we will try to respond post haste.

So without further ado, our plans for an unofficial 3rd edition:

1. WHAT IS THE GOAL OF MAKING A 3RD EDITION? The whole purpose of this game can be summed up in a phrase: “The game should run just like the movies.” That being said, what is it about 1st Edition, 2nd Edition or REUP that makes the game bog down? We spent some time to look at actual gameplay and find those warts that make things just creep to an anticlimactic halt. We identified several key areas: The Force, vehicle combat, declaration of actions, too many dice, too many rolls, weapon range integration, and keeping track of multiple action penalties and reactions. With some of the problem areas identified, we could start coming up with solutions to make the actual gameplay run smoother (see the next question).

2. HOW IS 3RD EDITION DIFFERENT FROM REUP? We aren’t completely finished our draft of the game at this time, however, we do have a very good idea of what it will look like. There are three big differences: Static Defenses, Vehicle Combat, and the Force.

Static Defenses is a concept born in the Mini6 system rules. Essentially, instead of rolling dodge dice, there is a “static to-hit” number for every character. This number is derived by taking whatever skill would be used to defend against an attack (dodge, brawling or melee combat), multiplying it by 3, and adding pips. This becomes the target number to attack the character.

For example, Jedi Dan has 4D+2 dodge. When he is being shot at by a stormtrooper, the trooper must roll higher than a 14 ([4×3]+2). This number is also modified by the range of an attack (more on that later). And yes, a character can choose to make a “full defensive” move to increase this static number.

Vehicle Combat is borrowed largely from the 1st edition rules. Range is determined by abstract range bands (Short, Medium or Long). Opponents roll an opposed speed roll to determine changes in range. Then gunnery rolls (vs. a static or active defense) determine if a target is hit. This may sound VERY abstract, and it is. But several decades of playing 1st edition have taught us that this method keeps space (and planetary vehicle) combats fast, furious and exciting. Even the 2nd edition Gamemaster’s Handbook hints at using this system during chases and vehicle combat scenes, a nod to what we feel is a far more enjoyable style of play (more so than 2nd edition’s miniatures-style rules). There is a lot more to vehicle combat, but that’s the basic gist.

The Force has always been a love-hate system in D6. It is clunky, that is true. Myriad house rules have been implemented over the years to emulate Clone Wars action, and EU Force Powers to various degrees of success. We really are approaching this subject with extreme caution. The Force is now a single “attribute,” improved by the Die Code x 10 (like any attribute). Gone are the Force skills and spell-like Force powers. We haven’t locked in the exact vocabulary but for now we have divided Force attribute use into several “effects.” Things like Telekinesis, Awareness, Clairvoyance and unique Force abilities. All Force uses involve rolling against a target number (modified by the target’s resistance, range, etc.). The idea is that players will only have to roll once…

Exactly how the GM arrives at the target number is listed in the Force chapter. That isn’t to say it is ALL up to the GM, the rules are there to define limitations and basic difficulties. You can bet that your character can still enter a hibernation trance, heal others or levitate objects. And if you dare to venture to the dark side, you can toss NPCs around like rag dolls.

As far as Jedi balance, this has been an issue from the get-go, depending on your point of view. Lets face it, Jedi are more powerful than the rest of the players, the only inhibition is the Jedi Code. With the 3rd Edition rules it will be tougher to increase the Force attribute, so that will add some balance, but there are a few other balancing factors. The biggest one is the fact that the game is set in the Rebellion Era. Any Force use may peak the interest of another Force user, including inquisitors. This was touched upon in 2nd Edition, but we are expanding this to better fit the setting.

3. HOW WILL IT RUN FASTER? All of the basic changes listed above, and many more included in our drafts, are focused on one thing… to make the game run fast. Static Defenses eliminate the need for an opposed roll, but still provide reasonable defense (and the player can choose to get a higher number if they desire). Vehicle combat is focused on being run like a movie scene, no more keeping track of “spaces” and what speed people are moving at. The Force will be a single roll… bam! done!

Other minor changes have been made to make things move faster. We eliminated “action phases,” characters just declare all their actions when it’s there turn in initiative order and roll them right there, no more keeping track of how many die code penalties there are, and (since we are using static defenses) there are no reaction skills that need to be tracked. All this leaves the GM focused on keeping the action moving, not bookkeeping.

We also got rid of variable ranges for each weapon. Pistols are better at short range, rifles are better at longer range, of course we left allowances for custom ranges for unique weapons too. The goal here was to avoid the issue of the rather random ranges listed in the rules for weapons. For years we have ignored them, and pretty much just made a general GM call as to the range. The 3rd edition system fixes ranged combat into two basic ranges: Short and Long (there is a Distant range for near infinite shots, and a Melee range which is self explanatory). This sounds like a deviation from previous rule editions, but it’s really not. It is just a different way to look at the ranges by simplifying the weapons.

4. WELL THAT SOUNDS NICE, BUT IS IT ANY FUN TO PLAY, I MEAN SERIOUSLY… STATIC DEFENSES, ALL ACTIONS COMPLETED AT ONCE, DOES THIS EVEN WORK? Right about now I am sure some folks are getting skeptical, and with good reason. Let me start by saying that very few of these rules are ours. Most have been developed for other D6 Games. All players completing their actions at the same time, and fixed range bands were part of the Star Wars: Introductory Adventures. Static Defenses were from Mini6. Vehicle combat is a mix of 1st Edition and Mini 6. Of course we made some changes based on our experience at the table… which leads to the next question.

5. ARE THE RULES PLAYTESTED? Yes we have played scenarios at our home tables and brought feedback to the group, no we haven’t had an official play test, but we intend to. We are preparing a play test manual right now that will be used in several “closed” play tests. Why closed? Mainly because we want to observe the rules in action, open play testing is very valuable in some cases, but often the participants are nitpicking design choices that they disagree with. Their disagreement may be valid, or it may be due to misinformation, a misinterpretation of the rules or even a personal preference. Having a closed play test gives us an idea of how our rules will run, and if we wrote them clearly.

We will be asking for volunteers once we have a solid playtest manual draft.

6. I HEAR THIS IS REBELLION ERA ONLY, WHY? Yes it is. It has nothing to do with hatred for the Prequels or disinterest in The Force Awakens. Quite the contrary, we would love to include this stuff… here’s the short of it. The Prequel material is rather expansive, the films have some good stuff, but the best stuff is from The Clone Wars. There is far too much gear and background to fit into a reasonably sized book (yea REUP was cool, but not reasonably sized). Really the Clone Wars deserves it’s own sourcebook.

The Force Awakens stuff just doesn’t have that much published about it, we don’t have a good benchmark. Sure we could generate it ourselves, but then someone would publish an official book that conflicts with what we wrote, making the stats irrelevant.

That leaves us with the Rebellion era. It is the touchstone for most of us when we think Star Wars. It has a plethora of information on it, and tons of stats. Frankly, it saves us a ton of work. And there is the question of the Jedi. Clone Wars Jedi games are awesome, but often non-Jedi characters are diminished. Rebellion Era Jedi are a little more manageable.

7. SO WHAT’S IT GONNA LOOK LIKE? The plan now is to have a 8.5” x 11” color hardcover book. It should run about 300 pages, we are shooting for less. This is mostly so folks can print it out for themselves cheaply. We are planning on doing a black and white version too.

The design is going to be in the vein of all West End Game Star Wars books, only with a bit more flare.

We are going to “package” the files in separate .zip files so that its easier to figure out what goes with what.

8. WHEN WILL IT BE DONE? Well, for now it’s looking like late summer or early fall… all subject to change.

9. I WANT TO HELP, WHAT CAN I DO? Well we are pretty focused on our current design choices… too many chefs spoil the soup and all, but that isn’t to say we don’t want to hear your ideas. Feel free to share your ideas or pitches on the G+ community or in the comments. Just know that about 80% of our own ideas are tossed out for various reasons, so don’t take it personally if we don’t like your idea.

10. ARE YOU GOING TO SUPPORT THE GAME? This is a sticky question. Support means different things to different people. No we aren’t going to market this game and try to hit up every forum and community on the web. This is essentially a private project for personal enjoyment, and we have no intention to be the “next generation of Star Wars gaming.” This is just our best crack at making a newer D6 game focused on Star Wars.

As far as errata, we will do what we can. We are working from the ground up to make the files easier to update for errata. How long we track errata depends on a lot of things. Often times the reports of errors are erratic and difficult to find… especially in a community feed. We will try to work something out, but we can’t commit to support an unofficial game when we are all volunteer. Folks gotta get back to real life some time.

Just to note, we have no intention of releasing the “raw design” files. What we are going to do is release the text as a .rtf file for anyone who wants to use it for their house rules or home game.

So that’s about it for now. We will try to keep you posted on our progress…

You can keep up with the news and comment here.


In further news, Nocturnal Media, headed by the former owner of White Wolf , acquired West End Games. While this does not mean an official Star Wars D6 release, it may breathe new life into other licenses they have,


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