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The 1st Edition Rulebook and Sourcebook's Mystique
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Desert Kris
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 3:57 am    Post subject: The 1st Edition Rulebook and Sourcebook's Mystique Reply with quote

Since the announcement and subsequent release of the anniversary edition, I've been making a point of going through and reading and trying to understand the mystery of these books. I've been spoiled by the 2nd Edition R&E, which I absolutely love. However, I've been fascinated by fans who say that the writing of the 1st Edtion books is phenomenal, that something about the material and presentation fires the imagination and ignites creativity. I've seen this said/written numerous times.

And eventually I hit a passage of text that kind of made me think I had stumbled across a piece of the puzzle. It reminded me of a couple of passages from the Robotech RPG core rulebook, a book that often gets negatively reviewed. The Robotech RPG's suggested setting ideas exploded in my mind into a scenario that got me excited about the game. I had a near similar experience when I hit the passage on page 68, Background: The Force and the Jedi.

There are a few bits from the surrounding text, but this handful of paragraphs details ideas of how the Force manifested and developed within the Galaxy as life proliferated and became sentient, and how it's nature evolved. I subsequently photocopied this page and keep it available with other travel essential materials. I think all the filmmakers for the newer SW movies should read this brief excerpt as a guide for understanding the Force when writing how it manifests in the new movies they develop.

However, I know this stuff is subjective. I am wondering if the magic is in other places in the Rulebook and Sourcebook for other people. Is it in the character profiles of the movie characters? Does Rebel Breakout and the chapter of suggested story game outlines give you direction beyond the horizon of those potential storylines? Does the "limited" scope suggested (after Star Wars, before the end of RotJ) actually create a paradoxical effect of expansive creativity in your minds? Do the character templates summon potential PCs and NPCs in your mind that want to have adventures in the SW game?

I'm curious beyond the broad statements that "it's well written" "It fires the imagination". I've enjoyed exploring the first edition, and trying to figure it out, and found something along the lines of what I think people are talking about. Background: The Force and the Jedi is the specific example I have found, but I would like to know about what specific sections from the text have that special spark for you?
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Falconer
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think a big part of it is the fact that it was done in 1987, and just how much ground they broke. They had to make sense of the OT and put it into RPG terms. They had to nail the feel of the OT while also codifying and establishing the lore of the universe. It was the start of the EU as such — knowingly or unknowingly, books and even movies today build on the 1987 foundation.

I’ve noticed this phenomenon in other places of my life. Like watching the first season of Star Trek TOS and being amazed at how much they came up with basically from scratch. You can do the zillionth ST spin-off show today and it probably won’t impress me, but when I watch The Naked Time or whatever, it’s super impressive because the whole time I’m thinking, “This was 1996! They imagined this, realized it it, nailed it, in 1966!!”
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Whill
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:38 pm    Post subject: Re: The 1st Edition Rulebook and Sourcebook's Mystique Reply with quote

What Falconer said!

I'll also quote myself from the Anniversary Set thread that is sticked to the top of the 1e Forum:

Whill wrote:
And I just want to say again, the new books are gorgeous! And they are so full of good stuff, even for running 2e, like GM tips in the 1e core and fluff in the sourcebook. These wonderful books are the basis of the entire game. I love these books!

...I decided that was good enough for my final viewing of my original books and I sealed my original falling-apart books in plastic wrap tonight. My originals are now officially retired. Henceforth, whenever I want to refer to these two 1e books going forward, I will use the anniversary editions.

The pieces of the original crumbling ten commandments have been placed in the ark. Yahweh has provided new copies to replace the originals. Cool

Whill wrote:
My original books have a lot of personal value for me, both my copy of my 1e core which I've always had, and my 1e sourcebook that I regretted I had sold for 22 years until my original copy improbably came back to me...

I haven't played 1e since 1990, and 2e is superior in almost every way, but having brand new reproductions of these two 1e books that started it all is an indescribably feeling. They are beautiful. I just love having them.

Please read my quoted text above (I really worked at distilling it down to essential ideas). A lot of the mystique is nostalgia for the beginning of this game. For several months, I ran my first campaign of this game with only these two books and my imagination. Not even a GM screen at first!

Please forgive the irreverent Biblical analogy quoted above, but that's what it is like. Leviticus is way more than just the 10 Commandments, and the Old Testament is way more than the just Leviticus, and the Bible is more than just the Old Testament. The game's second edition could even be thought of like the New Testament describing a new covenant that replaces the old one. But you can't just disregard the importance of the 10 Commandments. They'll melt the faces off Nazis!

I may like the second edition better, but it is an undeniable fact that we simply would not have gotten a second edition without the first, and we wouldn't have gotten a 1e game line without these two books, the very heart of WEG Star Wars. It is magick, and magick is not logically understood or even explainable. If you started with 2e, you may not be able to understand.
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KageRyu
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 3:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me, the Mystique and Nostalgia for the Star Wars RPG 1st Ed is numerous and hard to really quantify. Aside from some experimental rules at a few conventions, my first foray into a star wars RPG setting WAS the Star Wars 1e rulebook. I had played RPGs before (I started with Robotech, and Heroes Unlimited, Battletech/Mechwarrior, 40K tabletop, and did some AD&D 2nd Edition with a few friends...and at that point it time that was it - I had Call of Cthulhu 3rd Ed, but none of my friends were brave enough to try it). At the point where I discovered Star Wars, all of the games I had played could best be described as clunky and cumbersome on the rules.

Two very important notes here - Also at this time my top five favorite things in all of creation were Robotech, Star Wars, Star Blazers, Wolverine, and X-Men - I got into Roleplaying in general because Battletech used a lot of Robotech/Macross art, and I stumbled on the Robotech RPG in Waldenbooks. So when I also saw the Star Wars RPG and Sourcebook peering out at me one day, it was instant sale. I wouldn't discover proper Anime for another year or so, and wouldn't find the game I loved nearly as much as D6 until then either.

When I read through the rules for Star Wars I instantly fell in love for how simple things were by comparison to other games. It seemed to capture the action a lot better, and could easily be used to simulate Movie reality (which differs from actual reality). I loved the chapters on the force, and how it was explained and handled at the time (especially given in the original trilogy we see Luke using powers he was never taught...never liked the powers bit in 2nd and later editions). I actually ran a couple of test solo adventures the day after buying the book - it was easy to talk a player into in from my d&D group because he also loved Star Wars...and Bam - we were off. Soon I had most of my AD&D group also playing Star Wars and we would switch off on which games were run... (except one guy who hated Star Wars because ti wasn't Star Trek...). Within months I picked up the Imperial Sourcebook, The Rebel sourcebook, The Death Star Technical Companion, the Star Fighter boxed set... To this day, some of my fondest memories are of that group and those adventures...and a lot of them I ran freestyle with stock characters out of the books, and a few hand written sentences of plot from study hall... The focus was the action and adventure. I must have read the chapters on GM tips a few dozen times that year.

So, yeah, it's a bit of nostalgia, but so much more. I still prefer some of the methods and rules of First Edition to later editions (I prefer the damage scaling in first as it feels more cinematic to me, and the force rules over all).
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Whill
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks KageRyu. Great perspective. And that's a good point I forgot to write about. WEG Star Wars (1e, the original D6 game) was an innovation in RPGs.

I began roleplaying in 4th grade, Basic D&D. As recounted in more detail here, the year that RotJ came out, my group at the time was playing a Basic/Expert-Advanced hybrid homebrew system of D&D. After we saw RotJ, we made a homebrew Star Wars game based on the D&D system we were playing at the time (proto-d20?). We played it several times that Summer before going back to D&D and moved on to some other games like Star Frontiers.

In 1987 I was working on creating an original D&D setting for my next AD&D campaign. I never played Ghostbusters (proto-D6), and I had no foreknowledge of a Star Wars RPG coming out. I just showed up for work one day in the Fall of '87 and found the two 1e books on the shelf for sale. I excitedly bought them that day and started reading them. I immediately dropped my D&D campaign and started planning to run Star Wars instead. Better setting, better game system, better game. I had more fun running Star Wars than I had ever had running or playing any other game.

And overall, WEG SW 2e is even better than 1e. But I still feel the 1e D6 game is a better game system than ALL other non-D6 games that I had played before and have played since. At least for the cinematic adventure games that I'm most interested in. I've ran a few one-shots of other game systems over the years, but since WEG Star Wars first came out, I haven't ran (and never will run) any campaigns without the D6 system. It all started with the WEG Star Wars 1e core and sourcebook!
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KageRyu
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As frame of reference I wanted to mention- among games I actually owned or had played-
In Middle and High School Years:
Robotech (all of the books printed in the 80s by Palladium), Heroes Unlimited, Ninjas and Superspies, Recon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness (and the majority of it's sourcebooks/Supplements), the original Rifts when it came out, MARVEL Basic set, Champions (the really old baby blue cover), Ghostbusters, Ringworld, Cthulhu, Elric of Melnibone, AD&D 2nd, Gammaworld, Shadowrun, Mechwarrior, Phoenix Command, Aliens (6 hours to role up a character that dies in the first encounter), D&D Basic and Advanced sets, DC Heros (the Mayfair Games edition), Star Frontiers, and a few odd games picked up here and there by my mom for me (Universe, and a fantasy game I can not remember).

Late 80's, 90's and beyond:
Star Wars the Role Playing Game, Mekton II, Pendragon, GURPS, Amber, Runequest, Heavy Gear, Jovian Chronicles, Project A-Ko, Cyberpunk, D6 DC Heroes, Men In Black, D6 Core Trilogy, Metabarons (more for source material than as a stand alone), D6 Hercules (again more for source material than stand alone), D6 DC Heros, TORG, Godsend Agenda (still wish I had the Martial Arts book from it) Deadwood...
and the list goes on.
There are several games I played only, but the experiences left such a bad taste in my mouth I left them out. Let's just say, I was very disheartened to learn White Wolf picked up the WEG properties and D6 license.
Of all of the Games I have played, my favorites are D6 as presented in Star Wars, Mekton II, and the Chaosium system as used in Call of Cthulhu, Pendragon, Elric, Stormbringer, and Runequest (I'ts a great system for gritty skill based games).

One of the best thing about D6 even back then was writing house rules was always fairly easy because the system used basic conventions throughout. As long as you kept to those, it was fairly easy to fit new ideas in. I must have borrowed a bunch from other games that I liked over the years and made notes here and there...all very disorganized, many lost to moves over the years, all pre-dating the net. I had a long set of pages on the force and some inherent abilities of each skill that I never could find the complete write-up for, and tried to rewrite a few times unsuccessfully.
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Desert Kris
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you all for your replies and perspective. I wondered in the back of my mind if it was a nostalgia effect kind of thing.

Whill, I think I can understand the reverence you describe, from the standpoint of the reverence I have for the original SW trilogy. There's a sense of the sacred, of these things that other people will call movies and my primordial gut response in my mind is that they are not just movies, they are something more that transcend their medium. I once said to a friend, and he remembered and re-quoted many times afterward in subsequent years, that "Star Wars is the reason that movies are made!" I was the right age for SW, but not for SW RPG 1st edition.

Also, Whills, I read the more extended retelling of how you had a copy of the SW sourcebook, and ended up reuniting with many years later; that's a great story! There's a wonderful kind of magic that happened there, I'm glad you shared that story.

I may have ended up chasing after something that was never there for me, but I have no regrets about my efforts to understand 1st edition. I am glad that I have read what I have so far, and am going to continue plugging away at the rulebook and sourcebook. I am glad to have supported the anniversary reprint and have brand new copies; and I am glad to have a pair of older copies to read at leisure (the new reprint I'm keeping as a back-up/master copy, if that makes any sense).

Falconer, I recently watched through Star Trek TOS in production order, well worth the effort. To try and embrace the sense of what ST was and how it might have developed differently. Reflecting on a possible version of ST where they continued to use the United Earth Space Probe Agency rather than change to Starfleet and the Federation. It's amazing to watch Errand of Mercy and realize that the Klingons were originally just going to be another one-off alien race, rather than a regular adversarial presence that became so popular. As I mention above, I can't really know what the experience was like to contemplate the first Star Wars RPG, but the section I mention in my OP about Background: The Force and the Jedi reminds me of trying to catch a fleeting glimpse of how it might be viewed, before the emergence of so many comics, novels, and newer movies.

Thanks also to KageRyu for sharing your RPG background. I quite like Robotech, and the Robotech RPG didn't seem like much for the longest time until some of it's flavor/background text inspired a scenario. When it talks about the RDF in the reconstruction era post-Macross and calls it a new kind of Wild West, I combined that idea with my home city, Phoenix, Arizona and it's Southwest legacy/history. I crashed a Zendtraedi battleship in downtown, because I hate downtown (all the one way streets). I didn't get very far, but I was excited about Zendtraedi hiding in abandoned mines and ghost towns that still exist. I ended up hybridizing the mechanics, I used the D6 system for combat and skill checks, but I figured out the damage using the Robotech rulebook's information. It seemed like a terrible kludge, but it also seemed to work pretty well!

I'm going to continue reading and working with the SW D6 1st edition. I really love 2nd Edition R&E, but 1st edition seems more simple, which I think I need as a GM. I've had a lot of failed GM attempts, so simple is good. The "1st Edition: A Love Story" is partly inspiring, but I'm also taking notes on what kind of house rules people think work best for 1st Edition, drawing from later editions. Thanks again for everyone's perspectives!
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