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FFG suggestion: Release a 5E and PF2 version of Star Wars, as a market test.

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A few years ago, I suggested to Cubicle 7, publishers of The One Ring rpg, that they release a 5E version, just to see how well it sells - to see if there's a profit. I was roundly flamed on the C7 message boards. Pretty much every fan was like: "Cubicle 7 already has a house system. You're wishing for a pony! Never gonna happen."

Not so long after that, Cubicle 7 did in fact release a 5E version: Adventures in Middle-earth. And both lines - 5E and the TOR - are still going strong.

I'd suggest the same to FFG: why not release a one-shot, standalone Star Wars campaign setting for the 5E SRD? And also for the upcoming Pathfinder Second Edition - Paizo said that third-party publishers can get early-bird version of the rules.

It's simply business. 5E and PF are the two largest RPG market shares. As one-shot books, they'd probably recoup their cost. And if either or both sold really well, then you'd know, and could build from there.

It wouldn't replace your Genesys-fueled Star Wars line. The two or three lines would complement each other.

Another way to go about it would be to do a Kickstarter for Star Wars 5E and Star Wars PF2. Might make millions.

Just a suggestion. Now here comes the flames!(?)

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Well, if they were so inclined, they'd be better served by using Starfinder over PF2. I believe it has the same open nature as PF as it is also a Paizo product. Plus, it's already a science fantasy ruleset.

As for 5e... You do know that WotC had the Star Wars license before FFG?

There is also that aforementioned license to consider. The Star Wars property has some really tight reins. Lucasfilm still has to approve any such product.

I'm not flaming you, BTW. I don't think either are likely, but you are welcome to contact FFG and suggest it. Who knows, in a year or two we might see that...

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   So... Why would they spend valuable person-hours building from scratch something that was done a few years ago?  I'm kinda lukewarm on d20 in general, but WotC pretty much nailed it as well as they could.  If you want d20 Star Wars, it's out there, with a complete set of sourcebooks available.  We're talking probably hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop and publish a book using a design philosophy they're trying really hard to get away from.

  As for The One Ring... I dunno, man. It's a good system with some really great ideas, but it's very clearly meant for a niche market.  For a small game, branching into d20 means roping in that larger market.  For a larger game, it means fragmenting your fan base.

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I'd lean toward them making a fourth line (as well as offering revised versions of the current three core books). Not sure exactly what it would look like, theme-wise (sequel trilogy, Clone Wars, or Old Republic era, for examples). That's a new core book, 8 new career splat books, a couple setting and adventure books. 

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On ‎7‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 7:51 PM, Fantasy Flight Way said:

A few years ago, I suggested to Cubicle 7, publishers of The One Ring rpg, that they release a 5E version, just to see how well it sells - to see if there's a profit. I was roundly flamed on the C7 message boards. Pretty much every fan was like: "Cubicle 7 already has a house system. You're wishing for a pony! Never gonna happen."

Not so long after that, Cubicle 7 did in fact release a 5E version: Adventures in Middle-earth. And both lines - 5E and the TOR - are still going strong.

I'd suggest the same to FFG: why not release a one-shot, standalone Star Wars campaign setting for the 5E SRD? And also for the upcoming Pathfinder Second Edition - Paizo said that third-party publishers can get early-bird version of the rules.

It's simply business. 5E and PF are the two largest RPG market shares. As one-shot books, they'd probably recoup their cost. And if either or both sold really well, then you'd know, and could build from there.

It wouldn't replace your Genesys-fueled Star Wars line. The two or three lines would complement each other.

Another way to go about it would be to do a Kickstarter for Star Wars 5E and Star Wars PF2. Might make millions.

Just a suggestion. Now here comes the flames!(?)

It's just bad business. 

- Star Wars is a licensed IP, so Lucasfilm/Disney gets a cut of everything, making recouping of costs harder because there's a larger overhead. 

- FFG already spent a lot of money on the existing line of Star Wars material + development of Genesys. Utilizing another game system essentially means that money was wasted on at least a portion of your customers.

- 5E and Pathfinder are owned by literal competitors, and supporting them would benefit said competitors, by illustrating their system and IDing it's source per that license.

It's just not good business sense to release a product with a  high overhead that actively supports, directly or indirectly, someone you are competing with, while simultaneously devaluing your in-house system.

These Open Game Licenses are a nice thing for small independent operations with their own IP, especially in a day and age when you can self-publish online and still reach a sizable market share. A handful of guys operating out of their garage can invest a few grand in money and a lot of personal time and create an original IP using a system many are familiar with and reach a decent customer base. With a little luck they can even make it a real part or full-time operation. 

But for a larger operation with real resources like FFG, and it's parent Asmodee, it makes more sense to focus on their primo licensed IPs and use them to direct people to their own in-house IPs which don't have the overhead of the licensed IPs.

 

Cubicle 7 is essentially in the middle of those two points. They aren't that a big operation, but they were able to land Warhammer, Dr. Who, and LOTR (which aren't THAT big on the RPG IP list, but are big enough in general to be a decent score), but then they also have a few non-licensed internal(ish) IPs of their own. So for them...eh, maybe going with an existing system to save money on development was a good call. 

 

 

 

 

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On 7/13/2018 at 9:51 PM, Fantasy Flight Way said:

Not so long after that, Cubicle 7 did in fact release a 5E version: Adventures in Middle-earth. And both lines - 5E and the TOR - are still going strong.
 

I am not going to agree with the statement that The One Ring is going strong. The sales are maybe decent or acceptable but not that wow.  John Hudgon pretty much confirm  on their old forum that Adventure in Middle-earth is basically financing The One Ring. That tell a lot. That move probably help Cubicle 7 but I don't think FFG really need that kind of financial boost.

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As others have said, there was already a D20 SWRPG back in the 3e era and if I'm being honest, it's kind of garbage.  To clarify, I used to think it was the best thing since sliced bread and was originally looking to buy a set of the books off of eBay before I tried FFG's system.  If you want a true Star Wars experience from an RPG, it DOES NOT get better than what FFG has done.  D20 was a system built around going into dungeons and slaying dragons, it is designed as a combat simulator and it is fantastic at that, but D20 is not and never will be a great narrative system.  And Star Wars is a narrative universe.

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Posted (edited)

I once heavily played d20 Star Wars (edit: the Saga edition). I still have a nearly full collection in the basement. At the time, it was my favorite version of the d20 system even if you tossed the setting. D&D 3.0/3.5 had become bloated (imho) with "stat paragraphs" instead of the original "stat sentences", for example. d20 Star Wars simplified things again. Even so, I will never run d20 Star Wars again, or probably any version of d20, since turning to FFG's system.

If you must, there's already a d20 system for running Star Wars available. Probably cheaply. This plus the obvious feeding of the competition while taking away development hours from your own system makes it a very easy call for FFG to not delve into 5e.

I'm hoping that FFG's narrative system becomes their ONLY system as they slowly develop new settings or adapt old settings they own to it. I would love for FFG-narrative to grown to be a contender with d20. Note that I didn't say replace. 5e's popularity keeps the industry going, stores open, and the player base growing for the RPG industry. I just love FFG's system so want it to stay alive for decades to come.

Edited by Sturn

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Because Vancian Force Powers would be so much better, make more sense and TOTALLY not grind things to a halt because you spent your only two force slots of the day jumping across two gaps so you can't use the force to jump a third gap obviously...because...some reason, i dunno. Truly it reflects the nature of the force FAR better then what we have had in any other systems and still retains the narrative nature!  

Who needs improving your lightsaber and bettering it over time, reflecting your growing experience and connection to the weapon all Jedi have... When you can, instead, throw your +1 LIghtsaber away for a +2 Lightsaber that does ICE damage! Because that's lore friendly, right?

Who needs this narrative based junk anyway when you can have Grapple rules that require a flow-chart to understand! Who'd want to play something like THAT? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! WHAT FOOLISHNESS! 

 

*Deep breath*

 

Sorry...I Kind of have a violent hatred of PF/D&D's magic system even discounting the balance problems. Plus, as a user of Roll20 I'm just a little sick of people trying to shoe-horn EVERYTHING into 5e.

In spite of my above insane ramblings, I don't HATE 5e (Pathfinder Knows what it did though...). It's a fun system, but it isn't a be-all-end-all system. D&D and PF are good at what they do: Medieval adventuring, and dungeon-crawling beat-em-ups. It can do some other stuff, but you normally have to work hard to make it work. It works alright for the One Ring because, well, it's Medieval adventuring and a lot of the stuff in D&D is Tolkien inspired anyway. So porting it over, while a hassle, isn't going to strain or break it's fundamentals too much. Once you try to deviate too hard from that though, the problems start arising. 

FFG's system works for star wars. It's not perfect, but it's far better then the past systems and just works well for what it does. Trying to cram it into a D20 mold doesn't work that well and would require tinkering with the game to such a degree that it becomes something else entirely.

Besides, as the others have said, there already IS a D20 star wars system that people can play. If people want their D20 with a star wars skin, go grab Saga Edition.

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About the only d20 version of a Star Wars RPG I'd really consider worth playing would be Saga Edition.  It's not without its faults (same can be said for FFG's Star Wars game), but it's generally fairly solid, especially at the lower tiers of play.

Marketing-wise, there is zero reason for FFG to consider doing what the OP suggested.

Firstly, the only reason Pathfinder was a thing in the first place was that enough D&D fans were soured on the drastic changes that WotC made with 4e, and Paizo offered them a way to keep playing 3.5 with a few minor tweaks (which did little to address the main issue of the math behind the 3.X version of d20 completely breaking down once the PCs' levels got into the double-digits, or that spells at that point could be ridiculously overpowered).  Plus, we've had D&D 3.X based Star Wars games, and those had plenty of issues on their own apart from the issue with the core math as mentioned previously.

With 5e, while WotC has generally addressed the math issue and OP'd spells of 3.X, it's also a system geared towards a specific brand of play style, one that doesn't exactly mesh with the general feel of Star Wars stories, on top of being very much a "pass/fail" system where you either do well or you fail with no real middle ground.

As I saw posted on a Genesys facebook group, the narrative dice system isn't for everyone.  That being said, it works quite well for Star Wars, enabling folks to tell some amazing stories and generally avoiding the pitfalls of the binary "pass/fail" system by arranging the mechanics so that on most every roll, something happens (it's the rare result that is simply a failure with no threat or advantage), making it far more enjoyable than a d20-based system.

The d20 OGL is good for small companies that are simply a small handful of folks that have a neat idea for an RPG theme but don't have the time or resources to develop their own game mechanics for; sadly this also means that you'll see a lot of crap being shoved out the door, as the d20 boom of the early aughts demonstrated.  Having worked in a game/hobby shop at that time, I can tell you there was indeed a lot of turds being published as D&D 3e supplements, and the only reason a lot of those sold at all was that little d20 logo that advertised "hey, you can use this in your D&D game!"

And lastly, the books have been selling well enough that FFG has been able to justify the costs of doing multiple printings of their sourcebooks, which generally tend not to sell as well as corebooks.  Given the costs involved with the license, sure doesn't sound like FFG is hurting for a viable customer base.

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On 7/21/2018 at 1:27 AM, Donovan Morningfire said:

About the only d20 version of a Star Wars RPG I'd really consider worth playing would be Saga Edition. 

Even WotC knew the "Phantom Menace" edition and "Attack of the Clones" edition were terrible.  There's no other reason to scrap the whole thing twice in such a short period.  Saga had some issues, but it was solid.  I remember reading through the other two and just thinking, "This is such a mess!"

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5 hours ago, The Grand Falloon said:

Even WotC knew the "Phantom Menace" edition and "Attack of the Clones" edition were terrible.  There's no other reason to scrap the whole thing twice in such a short period.  Saga had some issues, but it was solid.  I remember reading through the other two and just thinking, "This is such a mess!"

Oddly enough, the "AotC" edition as you call it only came about because Lucasfilm mandated that WotC do a re-release of the core rulebook using images and stills from AotC.  Chris Perkins saw that as a prime opportunity to try and fix some of the various issues that the original rules had.  Of course, how well they did is a YMMV situation, but I can certainly see and understand the POV that the system was inherently flawed due to being a re-skinned D&D 3.0 clone with all of the inherent flaws that the d20 system had at that point in its development.

TBH, I am curious to see how a Star Wars RPG under the D&D 5e ruleset would look, now that the current iteration of the d20 system, having done away with many of the fiddling little bonuses/penalties and introduction of "archetypes" into the core classes as opposed to having dozens of prestige classes.  I doubt I'd play it or run it give how much fun I've been having with the FFG's system, but it is an interesting thought experiment.

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I remember hearing in the forums when FFG first got the SW license that part of the deal is that the SW rpg has to be a non standard set of rules. So they couldn't just reskin dark heresy for example. So, assuming that is true they might not contractually be able to make a SW 5e/pf

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5 hours ago, jshlouie said:

So they couldn't just reskin dark heresy for example. So, assuming that is true they might not contractually be able to make a SW 5e/pf

Good. I hope d20 dies, it encourages a video game min/max number crunching play style.

FFG's "Narrative dice" is a good compromise between more esoteric rpgs and mainstream crunchy rpgs.

The player base as a whole, in my experience is waaaay more willing to engage in character development and the story than I've seen in d20 d&d, pathfinder, shadowrun etc.

 

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7 hours ago, TheShard said:

Good. I hope d20 dies, it encourages a video game min/max number crunching play style.

FFG's "Narrative dice" is a good compromise between more esoteric rpgs and mainstream crunchy rpgs.

The player base as a whole, in my experience is waaaay more willing to engage in character development and the story than I've seen in d20 d&d, pathfinder, shadowrun etc.

 

Amen!😎

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There’s undoubtedly a group of people who like Star Wars RPG’s but don’t like FFG’s narrative dice, but is it enough to fund this hypothetical book? I would think a good number of them are happy with Saga edition, and another group are already happy with StarFinder. So this hypothetical book has perhaps not exactly got a huge potential customer base.

It’s an interesting idea, but given the popularity of this current system I doubt it’s actually going to happen.

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8 hours ago, Richardbuxton said:

There’s undoubtedly a group of people who like Star Wars RPG’s but don’t like FFG’s narrative dice, but is it enough to fund this hypothetical book? I would think a good number of them are happy with Saga edition, and another group are already happy with StarFinder. So this hypothetical book has perhaps not exactly got a huge potential customer base.

It’s an interesting idea, but given the popularity of this current system I doubt it’s actually going to happen.

Closest we might (heavy emphasis on "might") see is a resurgence of the D6 system.  Of all the prior SWRPGs, that's the one with the largest and most dedicated fanbase; these are folks after all that stuck with D6 all through WotC's holding of the license and set about creating their own stats for material introduced in the prequels and other media that was released after WEG lost the license.

But as you said, the narrative dice system is running pretty hot right now, so apart from pandering to the D6 crowd (which not sure how much money would be in that), FFG really doesn't have a reason to resurrect what is essentially a dead system.

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