17 August 2017
1987 game that laid the groundwork for much of the expanded universe was last updated in 1998
Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game wasn’t just influential because it was the first RPG based on the Death Star-sized sci-fi franchise – it also influenced the wider canon and lore of the galaxy far, far away, introducing elements that fed back into the films, novels and games released after the original trilogy had ended.
Debuted in 1987, four years after Return of the Jedi was released and more than a decade before The Phantom Menace would continue the core storyline, Star Wars: The RPG combined a solid d6-based roleplaying system with a comprehensive bible of Star Wars lore, naming ships, race, planets, characters and more that had never been detailed in such a way before.
In fact, the game was so instrumental in defining the wider Star Wars universe that Lucasfilm creative expert Pablo Hidalgo, regarded for his in-depth knowledge and maintenance of the story and galaxy, used his knowledge of the RPG to write the definitive canon for the film studio’s Story Group.
Hidalgo has contributed a foreword for the 30th anniversary edition of Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, which almost perfectly recreates the original double-volume boxset released three decades ago, comprising the RPG and The Star Wars Sourcebook.
The new edition is the first update to the series in almost two decades – the 1992 second edition was last republished in 1996 as a revised and expanded version, and received supplements up to the end of 1998.
Dungeons & Dragons outlet Wizards of the Coast held the rights to the RPG for over a decade, but chose to publish the unrelated Star Wars Roleplaying Game from 2000 until 2010. Fantasy Flight then took on the mantle for Star Wars RPGs with its own Star Wars RPG series, split into three different games including Edge of the Empire and Age of Rebellion, from 2012 onwards.
The 30th anniversary edition of Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game will be out at the end of this year.