Thursday, February 7, 2008

History of Star Wars roleplaying

What do Ghostbusters and D&D have in common? Both were the basis for Star Wars RPGs!

I was taking a trip down memory lane recently, thinking about earlier editions of Star Wars roleplaying games. As much as I love the current edition, I was never more excited about a Star Wars game as I was the very first one from West End Games, released in 1987 (the 10th anniversary of Star Wars itself).

I thought maybe others might be interested in the history of the game too, so I did a little reading, and that's when Wikipedia told me that the 1st Edition of Star Wars was based on WEG's Ghostbusters RPG (another of my favorites). And, thinking back on that system, I can kinda see it. If we're generous with the term "based on."

Of course, there's no denying that the first edition that Wizards of the Coast put out after picking up the license from WEG was definitely based on D&D 3rd Edition. So why am I even bringing this up?

Somebody needs to make Ghostbusters d20, that's why! (Or maybe not; InSpectres looks pretty damn cool.)

Anyway, here's the honor roll of all Star Wars roleplaying game editions to date.

Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game
1st Edition
West End Games

Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game
2nd Edition
West End Games

Star Wars Roleplaying Game
2nd Edition Revised and Expanded
West End Games

Star Wars Roleplaying Game
Core Rulebook
Wizards of the Coast

Star Wars Roleplaying Game
Revised Core Rulebook
Wizards of the Coast

Star Wars Roleplaying Game
Saga Edition
Wizards of the Coast

UPDATE: Sterling Hershey has reminded me that he has a history of Star Wars RPGs on his blog, Delusions of Grandeur. It's in two parts, and is excellent reading.


jediwiker said...

I always found it amusing that, when our playtesters complained that the original core rules for the d20 Star Wars were "just D&D in space!", Bill Slavicsek wryly pointed out that WEG's Star Wars rules were just Ghostbusters in space.


Keith said...

Thanks for the anecdote, JD!

I remember hearing that "D&D in space" complaint from people, too. But "Ghostbusters in space"...that sounds like a dream game!

silverforce said...

You'll likely be interested in a couple of posts I did last year on the 20 years of the SWRPG in it's many forms.

20 years of Star Wars Roleplaying Games
Part 1 (WEG)
Part 2 (WotC)

Keith said...

Those history articles are great, Sterling! Very thorough and informative. Thanks for pointing them out.


Andrew said...

The links to the articles by Sterling aren't leading anywhere. Could someone post a link that works? I'm researching which star wars rpg to buy and would be very interested in reading this.