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Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game

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Star Wars
The Roleplaying Game
Cover based on the original movie poster by Tom Cantrell, 1977.
DesignersGreg Costikyan
  • 1987 1st edition
  • 1992 2nd edition
  • 1996 2nd edition Revised and Expanded
  • 2018 30th Anniversary edition
GenresSpace opera[1]
SystemsD6 System
The core system is based on that of WEG's Ghostbusters RPG.

Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game is a role-playing game set in the Star Wars universe, written and published by West End Games (WEG) between 1987 and 1999. The game system was slightly modified and rereleased in 2004 as D6 Space, which used a generic space opera setting. An unrelated Star Wars RPG was published by Wizards of the Coast from 2000 to 2010. Since 2012 the official Star Wars role-playing game is another unrelated game, published by Fantasy Flight Games.


The game, based on WEG's earlier Ghostbusters RPG, established much of the groundwork of what later became the Star Wars expanded universe, and its sourcebooks are still frequently cited by Star Wars fans as reference material.[citation needed] Lucasfilm considered the West End Games' Star Wars sourcebooks so authoritative that when Timothy Zahn was hired to write what became the Thrawn trilogy, he was sent a box of West End Games Star Wars books and directed to base his novel on the background material presented within. Many of the first uses of Star Wars alien names (such as the Twi'lek, Rodian, and Quarren) appeared for the first time in WEG's Star Wars books. Even after Disney's reboot of the Star Wars Expanded Universe in 2014, much of this nomenclature still exists in new canon works.[2]

In 1992 West End Games published the second edition of the game, in which the title remained unchanged. In 1996 a revision of the second edition appeared, but its title was slightly changed from Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game - Second Edition to The Star Wars Roleplaying Game: Second Edition - Revised and Expanded.[3]

By the end of the game's run around 140 sourcebook and adventure supplements had been published for the game during its run through three editions.[4]

In addition fifteen issues of a magazine series, the Star Wars Adventure Journal, were published between 1994 and 1998. The Adventure Journal was published in novel format with around 280 pages, and consisted of adventures and articles for the game, plus short stories intended to provide inspiration for gamemasters and news relating to Star Wars.

WEG's license to produce Star Wars material was lost after the company declared bankruptcy in 1998, and the license was later acquired by Wizards of the Coast, who held it until 2010.

In 2018, Fantasy Flight Games published the 30th Anniversary Edition comprising the original core rulebook, and The Star Wars Sourcebook.[5]

Game system[edit]

Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game uses the D6 System, originally developed for the Ghostbusters roleplaying game.


In a 1996 reader poll conducted by the UK magazine Arcane to determine the fifty most popular roleplaying games of all time, Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game was ranked 9th in the 1996 reader poll of magazine . The magazine's editor Paul Pettengale commented, "The rich and varied background already created by the movies helps a great deal, but there have been many games based on great fiction, and few of them work nearly as well as Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game. Everything about the system has been designed to complement the setting's unique blend of fantasy, science fiction and myth, and to recreate the same feel and atmosphere as the movies. [...] The rules system is beautiful in its simplicity, yet ably copes with everything from vicious space battles to speedy chases through narrow canyons. A clever set of guidelines covers the use of the Force, complete with details of both its Light and Dark sides, enabling characters to make heroic efforts and pull off the kind of stunts that are vital to what Star Wars is all about. [...] Perhaps the perfect system for introducing new players to roleplaying, and yet offering more than enough to keep even the most jaded gamers happy.[6]


At the 1988 Origins Awards, Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game won in the category Best Roleplaying Rules of 1987.[7]

List of core rulebooks[edit]

Second Edition (1992)
Second Edition, Revised and Expanded (1996)
1st Edition Rules
  • Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game[8] (1987) ISBN 0-87431-065-2
2nd Edition Rules

List of supplements[edit]

  • The Star Wars Sourcebook (1987)
  • Campaign Pack (1988)
  • Tatooine Manhunt (1988)
  • Strike Force: Shantipole (1988)
  • Battle for the Golden Sun (1988)
  • Imperial Sourcebook (1988)
  • The Star Wars Rules Companion (1989)
  • Starfall (1989)
  • Otherspace (1989)
  • Otherspace II: Invasion (1989)
  • Scavenger Hunt (1989)
  • Riders of the Maelstrom (1989)
  • Crisis on Cloud City (1989)
  • Galaxy Guide 1: A New Hope - 1st Edition: 1989, 2nd Edition: 1995.
  • Galaxy Guide 2: Yavin and Bespin - 1st Edition: 1989, 2nd Edition: 1995.
  • Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back - 1st Edition: 1989, 2nd Edition: 1996.
  • Galaxy Guide 4: Alien Races - 1st Edition: 1989, 2nd Edition: 1994, ISBN 0-87431-208-6
  • Rebel Alliance Sourcebook (1990)
  • Black Ice (1990)
  • The Game Chambers of Questal (1990)
  • The Isis Coordinates (1990)
  • Death in the Undercity (1990)
  • Galaxy Guide 5: The Return of the Jedi - 1st Edition: 1990, ISBN 0-87431-140-3, 2nd Edition: 1995, ISBN 087431-267-1
  • Galaxy Guide 6: Tramp Freighters - 1st Edition: 1990, ISBN 087431-146-2, 2nd Edition: 1994, ISBN 087431-212-4
  • Cracken's Rebel Field Guide (1991)
  • Death Star Technical Companion (1991)
  • Domain of Evil (1991)
  • Graveyard of Alderaan (1991)
  • Gamemaster Kit (1991)
  • Planets of the Galaxy Volume 1 (1991)
  • Heir to the Empire Sourcebook (1992)
  • Dark Force Rising Sourcebook (1992)
  • Planets of the Galaxy Volume 2 (1992)
  • Mission to Lianna (1992)
  • Planet of the Mists (1992)
  • The Abduction (1992)
  • The Politics of Contraband (1992)
  • Gamemaster's Screen (1992)
  • Gamemaster Handbook (1993)
  • Movie Trilogy Sourcebook (1993)
  • Dark Empire Sourcebook (1993)
  • Planets of the Galaxy Volume 3 (1993)
  • Han Solo and the Corporate Sector Sourcebook (1993)
  • Supernova (1993)
  • Wanted by Cracken (1993)
  • Twin Stars of Kira (1993)
  • Galaxy Guide 7: Mos Eisley (1993)
  • Galaxy Guide 8: Scouts (1993)
  • Galaxy Guide 9: Fragments from the Rim (1993)
  • Galaxy Guide 10: Bounty Hunters (1994)
  • Galaxy Guide 11: Criminal Organizations (1994)
  • The Last Command Sourcebook (1994)
  • The Planets Collection (1994)
  • Creatures of the Galaxy (1994)
  • Cracken's Rebel Operatives (1994)
  • Classic Campaigns (1994)
  • Classic Adventures Vol 1 (1995)
  • Classic Adventures Vol 2 (1995)
  • Flashpoint! Brak Sector (1995)
  • Galaxy Guide 12: Aliens - Enemies and Allies (1995)
  • Galladium's Fantastic Technology: Guns and Gear (1995)
  • Heroes and Rogues (1995)
  • Platt's Starport Guide (1995)
  • Goroth - Slave of the Empire (1995)
  • Alliance Intelligence Report (1995)
  • The Darkstryder Campaign (1995)
  • Thrawn Trilogy Sourcebook (1996)
  • Shadows of the Empire Sourcebook (1996)
  • Shadows of the Empire: Planets Guide (1996)
  • Tales Of The Jedi Companion (1996)
  • The Jedi Academy Sourcebook (1996)
  • Truce At Bakura Sourcebook (1996)
  • Classic Adventures Vol 3 (1996)
  • The Best of Star Wars Adventure Journal Issues 1-4 (1996)
  • Operation- Elrood (1996)
  • Instant Adventures (1996)
  • Darkstryder: The Kathol Outback (1996)
  • Darkstryder: The Kathol Rift (1996)
  • Darkstryder: Endgame (1996)
  • Star Wars Trilogy Sourcebook - Special Edition (1997)
  • Rules of Engagement: The Rebel SpecForce Handbook (1997)
  • Cynabar's Fantastic Technology: Droids (1997)
  • Secrets of the Sisar Run (1997)
  • Cracken's Threat Dossier (1997)
  • Platt's Smugglers Guide (1997)
  • Pirates & Privateers (1997)
  • Stock Ships (1997)
  • The Player's Guide to Tapani (1997)
  • Wretched Hives of Scum and Villainy (1997)
  • The Black Sands of Socorro (1997)
  • Lords of the Expanse (1997)
  • Gundark's Fantastic Technology: Personal Gear (1997)
  • Classic Adventures Vol 4 (1997)
  • Mos Eisley Adventure Set (1997)
  • No Disintegrations (1997)
  • Star Wars Introductory Adventure Game (1997)
  • Tapani Sector Instant Adventures (1997)
  • Hideouts and Strongholds (1998)
  • Alien Encounters (1998)
  • The Far Orbit Project (1998)
  • Classic Adventures Vol 5 (1998)

Star Wars Adventure Journal[edit]

  • (1994–1997) Star Wars Adventure Journal 1–15


Star Warriors board game cover (1987, art by Ralph McQuarrie).

Four board games were published to coincide with the role-playing game, all of them by West End Games:

A miniature wargame was also written in 1989:

Five gamebooks were published by West End Games in the 1990s:

  • Scoundrel's Luck[18] (a Han Solo adventure) and Jedi's Honor[19] (a Luke Skywalker adventure), both published in 1990, were the two only gamebooks of a series titled Solitaire Adventure, a type of Choose Your Own Adventure books.
  • The Imperial Doublecross, published in 1997, was not part of the Solitaire Adventure series and used the Star Wars D6 rules and characters' die codes.
  • The Lightsaber Dueling Pack[20] and Starfighter Battle Book[21] were picture gamebooks, presenting viewpoint series of pictures and the possible next courses of action, similar to Ace of Aces.

In the early 1990s, before the advent of the modern Internet, the FidoNet Star Wars Echo ran a message forum for playing the West End Games Star Wars Roleplaying Game on-line on computer bulletin board systems. The game also gathered a large Internet following via mailing lists such as the SW-RPG Mailing List.

Fantasy Flight Games reprint[edit]

In 2018, Fantasy Flight Games, the current holders of the Star Wars RPG licence, released a re-print of the original core book, in a deluxe slipcase format, along with the Sourcebook supplement.[22]


  1. ^ Booker, M. Keith (2020). Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction Cinema. Historical dictionaries of literature and the arts. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 390. ISBN 9781538130100.
  2. ^ Veekhoven, Tim (October 30, 2015). "West End Games: Expanding That Galaxy Far, Far Away". Starwars.com. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  3. ^ "Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game Covers". RPG.net.
  4. ^ "The Star Wars Collectors Bible: West End Games". Sandcrawler.
  5. ^ Jarvis, Matt (December 11, 2020). "Star Wars: The RPG's 30th anniversary edition". Dicebreaker. Retrieved August 3, 2021.
  6. ^ Pettengale, Paul (Christmas 1996). "Arcane Presents the Top 50 Roleplaying Games 1996". Arcane (14). Future Publishing: 25–35.
  7. ^ "Origins Award Winners (1987)". Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design. Archived from the original on May 5, 2009. Retrieved October 9, 2007.
  8. ^ Costikyan, Greg (October 1987). Eric Goldberg; Paul Murphy; Bill Slavicsek (eds.). Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game (Hardcover ed.). New York: West End Games. p. 142. ISBN 0-87431-065-2.
  9. ^ Smith, Bill (October 1992). Ed Stark (ed.). Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game - Second Edition (Hardcover ed.). New York: West End Games. p. 176. ISBN 0-87431-181-0.
  10. ^ Smith, Bill; Schweighofer, Peter; Strayton, George; Sudlow, Paul; Trautmann, Eric S.; Farshtey, Greg (August 1996). The Star Wars Roleplaying Game: Second Edition - Revised and Expanded (Hardcover ed.). New York: West End Games. p. 288. ISBN 0-87431-268-X.
  11. ^ "Star Wars: Star Warriors". BoardGameGeek.
  12. ^ Woods, John (April 1988). "Flexible Fighting". The Games Machine. No. 5. Newsfield. p. 99.
  13. ^ "Star Wars: Escape From The Death Star". BoardGameGeek.
  14. ^ "Star Wars: Escape From Death Star Game". BoardGameGeek.
  15. ^ "Assault on Hoth: The Empire Strikes Back". BoardGameGeek.
  16. ^ "Star Wars: Battle for Endor". BoardGameGeek.
  17. ^ "Star Wars Miniatures Battles". BoardGameGeek.
  18. ^ "Item - Scoundrel's Luck". Demian's Gamebook Web Page.
  19. ^ "Item - Jedi's Honor". Demian's Gamebook Web Page.
  20. ^ "Item - Lightsaber Dueling Pack". Demian's Gamebook Web Page.
  21. ^ "Item - Star Wars Starfighter Battle Book: X-Wing vs. TIE Interceptor". Demian's Gamebook Web Page.
  22. ^ "Don't Underestimate the Force – Star Wars™: The Roleplaying Game 30th Anniversary Edition". Fantasy Flight Games. August 16, 2017.