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I've seen mentioned a couple of times something called the Rules Upgrade that came with the GM Kit or something? Is it the 4 page thingy?

What does it do to the game?

Does anyone know where I can download a pdf copy of it to get a gander at it?

 

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The first 3 products released in 1987 by West End were the RPG rulebook, sourcebook, and Star Warriors (a hex-based starship combat game that could be integrated into the RPG). However, for a couple of years, nearly every shrink-wrapped RPG-related product released after that included a copy of the 4-page Rules Upgrade. IIRC, they stopped doing this after the release of the Star Wars Rules Companion in 1989(?), which included everything that was in the Rules Upgrade but added clarifications and a few more rules as well (including those for capital ship RPG combat).

Personally, I've never played a purely vanilla 1st edition version of the Star Wars D6 RPG. I started with the Rules Upgrade version (which I consider to be the "1.1 version" of the first edition rules), then later incorporated the Rules Companion (the "1.5 version") into our campaign.

Throughout the years, I've played every other Star Wars RPG released except for the FFG version (though I own the rulebooks ... old habits). Through it all, however, I've always preferred the Rules Companion/1.5 version of Star Wars D6, which kept the free-flowing gameplay that allowed for fast-paced storytelling but had just enough rules structure for the more hard-core gamers in my group.

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The Rules Upgrade

...from the perspective of a GM who loves vanilla 1E, Core Rulebook style.

 

 

DIFFICULTY NUMBERS

Sure!  Use it!  But, it's not really a rule change, per se.  It's already in the 1E core rulebook but just not spelled out so clearly.  There are optional modifiers charts at the back of the book that suggest changing difficulty for this and that.  It's the same thing for the GM to modify difficulty for various reasons.

 

REVISED COMBAT SEQUENCE

From a pure 1E Core Rulebook perspective, this revised sequence is inferior to the original.  First, the sequence requires that Reaction skills are declared and rolled at the start of the round, before any actions are resolved.  This puts a straight jacket on the easy flow of actions in the very cinematic core rulebook combat sequence.  It focuses the game more on dice rolls and less on incredible Space Opera action as described by the GM.  In 1E Core, reaction rolls are never declared.  A character can use them to "react" to another character trying to harm him.  It's up to the player to use a reaction roll, and he doesn't have to decide until he's shot at--this is information that the attacker should not already know (as he does with this revised system).

Second, the revised combat sequence brings to the game the idea of Haste (which is elaborated upon in the Rules Companion).  I have never liked the Haste concept as I think it just brings some chunkiness to a swift and clean system, mucking up the works for no real gain.

Third--and I really dislike this--the revised combat system, the damage roll from a hit is separated from the action roll that achieved the hit.  This means that all actions in a segment take place, and if a blaster hit is scored on an enemy, the attacker must wait to roll damage after all characters in the combat round have rolled their actions.  Then, you go back to the attacker that scored a hit and roll damage.  So, if a character is hit, he still gets to perform his actions--all damage is rolled at the end of the sequence.  I find this very unwieldy in a game and proof that upgrade rules are not always better rules.

Fourth, under 1E Combat, if a character is hit, the minimum that will happen to him is that he is stunned.  That means that he will lose all his actions for the round if he has not yet acted.  The hidden benefit to this is that this simple rule makes complicated combats very easy.  The blaster bolts start flying, and early on, when people get hit, they can no longer act--thus the combat is streamlined.  The new Upgrade Rules, where damage is considered last in a segment, keeps complicated combats rather complicated--because all combatants still act, no matter what, in that combat segment.

NOTE:  That the Upgrade Rules also introduce two versions of Dodge:  The Combat Dodge and the Full Dodge.   The Combat Dodge is a roll of just the Dodge skill.  The Full Dodge is what a dodge is in the 1E Core rulebook:  You roll your Dodge and add it to the difficulty to hit you.  Again, I think this is unnecessary and just complicates a fast moving game.  

In 1E, the Dodge (called a Full Dodge in the upgraded sequence) is a powerful defense.  It is what keeps the heroes alive.  But, the 1E Core Dodge is only good for one segment.  As with all multiple skill use, it degrades every time it is used.  This, a player will have to balance that fact with skill use to keep his character safe.

And, the way it is used in 1E makes it not necessary to have to fiddle with Character Points (from 2E).  The Dodge is weakened with the other options in the Rules Upgrade, which creates the need for Character Points.  Simplicity is degraded, and the crunch feeds upon itself.  Rules beget more rules.  I prefer the quick, sleek fun of core 1E, unburdened by all this unnecessary extra.

More Complication:  Look at the combat example given in the Rules Upgrade.  It's just, flat-out, more complicated than that used in Core 1E.  And, for what gain?

 

COMBINED ACTIONS

This is an interesting rule.  It allows higher blaster attack values at the cost of lower damage rolls.  For example, if two Stormtroopers roll an attack a the same target, both roll 3D for the attack.  If a hit is scored, the blaster rifles do 5D damage.

This means that either trooper can roll a maximum of 18, and the damage potential for both hits is 5D twice.

With the combined action rule, you use the highest die code for the base then add +1 pip for every die code used in support.  In the above example, the roll would be 3D +3. Now, the maximum roll is 21, and the average roll is skewed up 3 points to 13.  Damage, though, is for the single weapon.  So the likelihood of hitting increases, but damage remains with a single weapon.

This seems like a good rule to add to a game, but I caution you.  This rule is very dangerous, and I would not use it.

First, consider that, in 1E, a character's main defense is his Dodge.  He rolls his Dodge skill and adds that to his difficulty.  Dodge is his armor--it keeps the character alive--it keeps the character from being hit and damaged.  The Combined Actions rule is just going to make it easier for your Heroes to get hit.  

Think about it.  Five stormtroopers round a corner and fire on your PC.  They each have Blaster 3D.  Your PC rolls his Dodge and gets a total of 20.  The PC cannot be hit this first segment (the PC is more vulnerable later in the round as his Dodge will degrade).  This keeps the BIG **** HERO ALIVE!!!!

Now, with Combined Actions, those five strormtroopers coordinate fire.  The attack roll becomes 3D + 12!  The average roll is 22!  The maximum roll is 30!  We've gone from no possible hit (against the 20 Dodge) to a likely hit!

Think of Luke Skywalker swinging across the Death Star chasm with Princess Leia on his hip and a squad of stormtroopers blasting away at him.  Which one of these scenarios better fits that heroic moment?  The 1E Core rulebook version, where five stormtroopers start blasting away at our hero, but our hero escapes unharmed (and rather heroically!).  Or, the second, combined fire version, where the hero is hit?

'Nuff said.  I suggest strongly that you do not use Combined Actions in your 1E game.

 

STARSHIP COMBAT

As with normal fire combat, the new version of Starship Combat just mucks up the works and complicates an already graceful, fast and fun system in the 1E Core Rulebook.  The changes mirror those in ground combat, and I think the Upgrade is not an improvement.

 

 

 

 

Edited by player3412539

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1 hour ago, player3412539 said:

Think of Luke Skywalker swinging across the Death Star chasm with Princess Leia on his hip and a squad of stormtroopers blasting away at him.  Which one of these scenarios better fits that heroic moment?  The 1E Core rulebook version, where five stormtroopers start blasting away at our hero, but our hero escapes unharmed (and rather heroically!).  Or, the second, combined fire version, where the hero is hit?

'Nuff said.  I suggest strongly that you do not use Combined Actions in your 1E game.

 

Although I do not recommend using Combined Actions in your 1E based game, here are a few House Rule ideas to keep the rule in check.

 

COMMAND SKILL

Combined Fire must be directed by a commander.  A commander can be the best shot among his stormtrooper, yelling out commands to his fellow soldiers.  Or, the commander can be an officer directing fire.  Or, the commander can be a forward observer or communications operator or squad leader.  Whomever.  A commander must be in contact with his troops.

The number of people that can be combined for fire is limited to the commander's Command skill (or his  PER code if Command is not improved).

Thus, if a normal stormtrooper doesn't have Command, but has Perception 2D, then he can coordinate fire with himself and two other people.  An Imperial Naval Officer, with Command 4D+2, can use the combined fire rule with himself plus 4 others, or just 4 others (if commanding is considered a skill use subject to the multiple action rule).

This makes the command skill very useful.  As the multiple action rule kicks in, the commander loses his ability to effectively command as many troops.  But, a commander can always command 1 other trooper.

 

COMMAND ONLY

If you want to be even more restrictive, you can reserve the combined action rules for characters who have Command skill.  Those without the skill cannot use combined fire.  Those that have the skill operate as described above.

 

OFFICER BASE

The rule typically works by taking the highest shot from among the group and then modifying that shot by the others.  With this rule, the base attack is the Commander's Blaster skill (which may not be the highest Blaster skill among the group), if the commander is participating in the attack.  If the commander is just giving orders, then the highest shot (or that trooper designated by the commander) acts as the base skill.

 

ROLL COMMAND

Another method that could be used is to have the commander roll his Command skill (or PER).  He can command other to combine fire for every 5 points of the roll. 

Thus...

5+ Command 1

10+ Command 2

15+ Command 3

20+ Command 4

And so on....

 

 

 

Edited by player3412539
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I'd argue that the Combined Actions rule was probably created specifically to address how toothless Stormtroopers would be if that rule didn't exist. More experienced PCs with a high enough Dodge skill don't have to worry about ever getting hit by Stormtroopers. But a group of Stormtroopers using Combined Actions is now a lethal force, as it should be. In the example you provided with Luke swinging across that Death Star chasm, that sounds like a great time for him to use a Force Point (which, by its definition, rewards acts of heroism) so he'd be less likely to worry about combined Stormtrooper fire.

I can tell you're passionate about WEG Star Wars. I am, too, and I appreciate your thoughtful, well-constructed response. But we'll have to respectfully agree to disagree. None of the the Rules Upgrade/Rules Companion additions ever hindered the flow or excitement of my group's adventures.

At the end of the day, there's no right or wrong answer as to which version is better ... it's just personal preference. At least we both agree the second edition is inferior ; )  

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18 minutes ago, player3412539 said:

 

Although I do not recommend using Combined Actions in your 1E based game, here are a few House Rule ideas to keep the rule in check.

 

COMMAND SKILL

Combined Fire must be directed by a commander.  A commander can be the best shot among his stormtrooper, yelling out commands to his fellow soldiers.  Or, the commander can be an officer directing fire.  Or, the commander can be a forward observer or communications operator or squad leader.  Whomever.  A commander must be in contact with his troops.

The number of people that can be combined for fire is limited to the commander's Command skill (or his  PER code if Command is not improved).

Thus, if a normal stormtrooper doesn't have Command, but has Perception 2D, then he can coordinate fire with himself and two other people.  An Imperial Naval Officer, with Command 4D+2, can use the combined fire rule with himself plus 4 others, or just 4 others (if commanding is considered a skill use subject to the multiple action rule).

This makes the command skill very useful.  As the multiple action rule kicks in, the commander loses his ability to effectively command as many troops.  But, a commander can always command 1 other trooper.

 

COMMAND ONLY

If you want to be even more restrictive, you can reserve the combined action rules for characters who have Command skill.  Those without the skill cannot use combined fire.  Those that have the skill operate as described above.

 

OFFICER BASE

The rule typically works by taking the highest shot from among the group and then modifying that shot by the others.  With this rule, the base attack is the Commander's Blaster skill (which may not be the highest Blaster skill among the group), if the commander is participating in the attack.  If the commander is just giving orders, then the highest shot (or that trooper designated by the commander) acts as the base skill.

 

ROLL COMMAND

Another method that could be used is to have the commander roll his Command skill (or PER).  He can command other to combine fire for every 5 points of the roll. 

Thus...

5+ Command 1

10+ Command 2

15+ Command 3

20+ Command 4

And so on....

 

 

 

I was typing my other response when this appeared. You may know already this, but the House Rule you've cited regarding the Command skill limiting Combined Actions actually appears in the Rules Companion. However, Stormtroopers are not limited by this rule due to their training, so they may combine fire up to however many are engaged in combat.

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55 minutes ago, BanthaPoodoo72 said:

I'd argue that the Combined Actions rule was probably created specifically to address how toothless Stormtroopers would be if that rule didn't exist. More experienced PCs with a high enough Dodge skill don't have to worry about ever getting hit by Stormtroopers. But a group of Stormtroopers using Combined Actions is now a lethal force, as it should be. In the example you provided with Luke swinging across that Death Star chasm, that sounds like a great time for him to use a Force Point (which, by its definition, rewards acts of heroism) so he'd be less likely to worry about combined Stormtrooper fire.

I can tell you're passionate about WEG Star Wars. I am, too, and I appreciate your thoughtful, well-constructed response. But we'll have to respectfully agree to disagree. None of the the Rules Upgrade/Rules Companion additions ever hindered the flow or excitement of my group's adventures.

At the end of the day, there's no right or wrong answer as to which version is better ... it's just personal preference. At least we both agree the second edition is inferior ; )  

I agree!  I keep saying that ANY version of D6 is a superior game.  And, in truth, I like them all.

After having played all versions, though, 1E, core rulebook, suites my tastes and play style best.

I would like to note, though, that Stormtroopers aren't that toothless in 1E.  They're as they should be.  They emulate what we see in the original trilogy movies.  How often were the Star Warriors hit?  Leia, grazed, in RotJ.  R2D2, in space combat.  C-3P0, on Bespin.  For all they went through, that's not a lot.  And, the droids really don't count, do they?  I'm not forgetting that Luke got his hand cut off, but that was a result of Darth Vader!

Given that players want to play BIG **** HEROES as big as Luke, Leia, Han and Chewie, I say that the troopers are exactly where they should be.

Plus, in 1E Core, PCs don't have Character Points.  All they do have is Dodge, which degrades each segment.  In the end, this system provides protection for the heroes without making them 100% unstoppable.  

In 1E, damage is tough.  Any hit will render a stun, the character being tossed to the ground, losing grip on his weapon, and losing all actions for the next of the round.  Starting from the prone position in the following round (requiring a die to stand up).  This should not happen often to Heroes, and the way the 1E rules play, it doesn't.

Also, don't forget that there should be improved stormtroopers out there.  I think a GM should increase skills on some singled out troops.  A top Sargent here.  A sharpshooter there.  A specialist over there.  They don't always have to be bland, cookie-cutter troopers.  Throw some real Heroes of the Imperials' own into the mix, from time to time.

 

 

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HANDLING MULTIPLE FOES IN 1E - THE HERO METHOD

 

 

 

You're running down the corridor, blaster rifle in your grip.  Next to you is Chewie, keeping pace.  The blast door before flashes open, and all of a sudden, you face 20 stormtroopers, fully armored and equipped, ready to come at you.

How do you handle this using the 1E rules?

First off, as GM, you're NOT going to roll 20 blaster shots at Han (Yeah, I know in the movie, they chased Han, but I need this to fit my example) to figure initiative.  That would be a nightmare.

Go straight to the Declaration.  "Han, Chewie?  What are you going to do?"

"We're going to run as fast as we can in the opposite direction."

Again, I know that, in the movie, the troopers just chased the two.  But, THESE troopers in THIS example are all going to raise their blaster rifles and fire at Han and Chewie.

To make it simple, I'll have 10 fire at Han and 10 fire at Chewie.

 

What about Initiative?

Use common sense.  Han and Chewie are turning and running.  The troopers are behind them.  All troopers can get a shot as the pair run back down the hall.

So, all troopers fire first.  Then Han and/or Chewie completes their movement.

In situations where logical initiative is not clear, simply allow the player to choose.  Heroes have an edge.  They're heroes.

 

Roll all those attacks?

Nope.  You're going to use a house rule (that is suggested by the 1E core book) that is similar to but different than the Combined Actions rule--and this rule doesn't have the problems that the CA rule has.

Roll attacks normally, starting with the highest attack code, or, if all Blaster codes are the same, as is often the case with Stormtroopers, roll the closest attacker first.

You will keep rolling attacks until a trooper misses.  And, once you have one miss, you consider that the rest of them miss.  If you think about it, this is no more of a stretch with the rules than how the Combined Action rule works.  If the first trooper misses, then all 10 end up missing.  

"You're running down the corridor, heart pounding in your ears.  Blaster bolts fly over your head and shoulders, exploding into the corridor walls, leaving smoking, burning divots."

If a trooper hits, then apply damage, but the rest of the shooters all miss (because the target is no longer where they aimed--the target is now writhing on the floor, collapsed from a stun, or worse).

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TOOTHLESS STORMTROOPERS?

 

Sometimes it is argued that stormtroopers are under-powered.  I argue that they're not.  They're exactly the strength that they should be.

In Galaxy Guide 1 - A New Hope, a typical stormtrooper has Blaster 3D, after adjustment for armor.  And, this is typical of all base-line stormtroopers in the game.

Luke Skywalker, the HERO of all HEROES, has Dodge 6D.  And Dodge, in 1E, is computed by the Dodge roll + Range number.

So...troopers do look toothless, yes?

Let's take a deeper look.  And, as we do, remember that the Heroes in Star Wars (original trilogy) rarely, if ever, got hurt, even though all the combats that they encountered.  Luke had his hand chopped off, but that's a special case.  Darth Vader did the cutting.  And, the two droids were both blasted once each.  C-3PO was blasted to bits at Cloud City.  R2D2 took a bad hit in space combat during Luke's trench run.  The only character actually hurt in blaster combat was Leia, when she was grazed on the Moon of Endor.

 

First off, Luke, as stated above, is the GALAXY'S HOPE!  He's not your typical PC.  Let's first compare a starting character, Roark Garnet, from page 8 of the 1E core rulebook.

Roark has Dodge 4D+1.

Now, let's put Roark in Luke's position on the Death Star.  He's got his synthrope grappled around some piping.  A princess is clinging to his kneck and hip.  And Roark is about to shove off, crossing the chasm.

Behind Roark, 4 stormtroopers have gotten the blast door open, and they are ready to fire at him.  Just above his destination are 4 more troopers gunning for him.  Other doors open to ledges around the circumference of the shaft:  there are 2 there, 3 over there, and 2 more there.  All 15 stormtroopers are going to fire at Roark and the princess has he swings.

The troopers all have effective 3D Blaster skills.  Range is Short, requiring a 10+ attack roll.  And, Roark will of course use his Dodge, which is now effectively 3D+1 because he's got to use his Climbing/Jumping skill in order to swing across the chasm.

In effect, Stormtroopers are firing 3D vs. 3D +11.  Chances are, Roark is going to swing across unmolested.

Unless...the troopers roll very high and Roark rolls very low.  The chance is low...but there is a chance.  The troopers could get lucky and roll a 16.  And, Roark could get un-lucky and roll a 4.  And that means at least one of the troopers will hit, spelling disaster for our hero.

That small chance is how it should be with heroes.

With a different game--a grittier, more realistic game--I might be arguing something different.  But, man!  THIS IS STAR WARS!  Where Heroes are BIGGER THAN LIFE!

That, to me, is how it should be in D6 Star Wars.

And, it's not like GMs don't have other options.  In GG1, Death Star Troopers are mentioned.  These guys are elites.  Their Blaster skill is 5D+1.

Sometimes, taking two shots will get the Dodge defense low enough for an attack.

If troopers have time, they can aim.  This adds +1D to their attack codes.

If a PC gets action happy, taking too many actions, this lowers his Dodge defense due to the multiple action penalty.

And, let's not forget that stormtroopers almost always outnumber PCs, giving the troopers a lot more "at bats" to score a home run.

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2 hours ago, BanthaPoodoo72 said:

I'd argue that the Combined Actions rule was probably created specifically to address how toothless Stormtroopers would be if that rule didn't exist. More experienced PCs with a high enough Dodge skill don't have to worry about ever getting hit by Stormtroopers.

1E troopers are a lot more effective than 2E troopers.  Why?  PCs have Character Points in 2E, where they can raise their Dodge code even higher by spending those points.  Plus, 2E characters can specialize in Dodge, raising it even higher at character creation time than is possible in 1E.  There's so much more to defense that a rule like Combined Actions is needed just to give the troopers a chance.

1E is not bogged down with all that other stuff, and the result is that troopers are more effective than their 2E counterparts.

Rules begets rules begets complexity.

I prefer the quick, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants feel of core 1E.

 

 

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