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Star Wars Imperial Sourcebook

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I've been reading this off and on for a while.  I'll admit, upon first reading, that it is not as interesting as either Star Was Sourcebook or my cover to cover read-through of the 1E Core rules.  Still, it's a fine book.  It's a universe building book, filling in details not seen on the screen.  The details are interesting if you can use them in your game.  Plus, reading the book gives you an exceptional overview of just how Palpatine kept control of the vast Empire.  Those WEG guys sure did a fantastic job on this stuff.

There are nifty ideas, too, for the enterprising GM.  For example, I am now into Chapter Three, which is about the Empire's Intelligence apparatus.  A side bar has a message from a Dr. Tobias, who is an Analyst Tech, to a Hyndris Kogler of the Infiltration Bureau.  The communication is about using 3P0 protocol droids, which are said to be universal within the Empire, as spy droids.  If done correctly, the droid may not even know about this alternate function.

That's pretty **** cool.

From the communication alone, a GM could easily come up with a throw to alter a 3P0 droid for this fashion.  The letter says that it can be done with minor modifications.  That's plenty of info for a GM to figure what it would take for his game.  Maybe a specialized piece of hardware is needed--a "bug".  Maybe it's a bit more difficulty to set it up so that the droid doesn't realize the function.  The player would have to figure out how to get the droid powered down or otherwise unable to recall the conversion work done on it--or, maybe that's part of the "bug's" function--to suppress or erase that part of the droid's memory.

Imperial Analyst Tech is something that the GM could create as a new template for his game.

Dr. Tobias and Hyndris Kogler could be created as characters for a game.

Players playing Rebel characters may always be on the lookout for new equipment.

How did the PCs come into contact with such a unit?  Did they take over a freighter with "new" protocol droids, all gauged up?

Do the Rebel PCs search for bugs and counter-programming on the new droids?

Maybe, on one of their adventures, the GM skillfully works the droid into the story, having it work with the PCs, with it gaining their trust?

There are lots of creative ideas with this--all from a small sidebar in the book.

Cool stuff.

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Ya know, there's really no way with the D6 rules for Poe Dameron to do what he did in the opening of The Last Jedi.  There would need to be special rules.

First off, you could say that the danger of all those huge weapons on a Star Destroyer have a minimum range.  You could say that the situation that Poe created with the communications to Huff bought Poe time, and that rocket-turbo-thrust device on the back of the X-Wing got Poe's ship to the skin of the Star Destroyer before any weapons could lock on (and, indeed, inside the ship, the order to fire hadn't even been given).

But, it is hard to believe that a Star Destroyer doesn't have any defense, outside of TIE Fighters, to protect its hull with a starfighter that close.

Given the D6 Scaling rules, Poe wouldn't have been blowing up the guns like he did in the film (and in Episode VII).  New rules would be needed, making Poe's craft on the same scale as the turbo-lasers, allowing Poe to do what he did.

According to Wookiepedia, the Resurgent Class Star Destroyer has 1,500 turbo lasers and ion cannons.  We surely didn't see Poe take out that many (in either film). 

So, special rules are needed to duplicate what Poe was seen doing in the films. 

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Imperial Sourcebook - Imperial Troops

I'm enjoying my casual read through the Imperial Sourcebook.  I didn't realize that stormtrooper helms don't necessarily have the same equipment.  And example is Scout Trooper vs. the standard Shock Trooper (Stormtrooper).  The Scout's lenses are capable of macro-binocular vision, where as the standard Stormtrooper only has polarized lenses.

This sourcebook has a wonderful comment to Star Wars GM's, and that is the stats given for the troops are considered average.  This is your average, everyday trooper.  The book goes on to say that a specific, individual trooper can have stats and skills that vary widely.  Elite ships tend to have elite personnel.  Sub-par postings are likely to be crewed with sub-par soldiers. 

This is a reminder to the GM to change things up.  Don't have every stormtrooper that your PCs run into have the exact same stats.  Remember individuals exist.  If you have a story reason to boost (or to lower) stats or skills on an NPC, then do so. 

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Devil in the Details


Like the Sourcebook, this book also has some nifty details recorded within, if you take the time to read the details.  For example, the Loronar Strike Cruiser is a pretty formidable Imperial ship, but buried in the text, it says...


The modular design means that entire systems or weapons batteries can be knocked out by a single, well-placed hit.


There's nothing in the rules to support this statement mechanically, but that information is gold for a GM who wants to make his Star Wars universe more real by using details like this.  A GM could, say, decide to use two different colored dice whenever the ship's 6D Hull code is used in battle.  If those those two designated dice turn up snake eyes, then the lucky hit has struck (a 2.7% chance each time the ship is hit).  The GM should take out the ship's shields, or maneuver code, or a type of weapon or just one battery.  Maybe the sensors.  Maybe knock out the hyperdrive.  Whatever.  Make a quick chart with six possibilities, if you want.  If the 2.7% is too much for you, use three designated dice from the 6D Hull.  Or, come up with something for the attack roll to indicate the trouble.

The point is that this could be turned into something cool in the game.  Players will remember the flaw and maybe exploit it later in the game on another ship.  Maybe they'll concentrate fire to try to make the problem happen (and the GM makes the chance more likely).

The GM can even have his universe grow, as the PC Rebels take advantage of this, some of the Strike Cruisers that the PCs encounter might be upgraded where it is harder for this to happen.

Like the Falcon's hyperdrive going out in The Empire Strikes Back, details like this can really add to a game.

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I still remember the day I bought that sourcebook (1st edition) and marveling at all the compliment layouts and battalion info sitting on a bench near the shop. Remember, these were the days not just before the internet but before any of the EU novels. A *very* large part of what we now "know" about the Star Wars universe (at least pre-Disney canon nullification) at the very least *began* with WEG's RPG books, and in many cases comes directly from them. As the OP stated, things like the ISB, Inquisators, Headhunter fighters, COMPNOR, Interdictors, Incom, all that is from the WEG RPG line. Not to mention, most of the personalities of the "background aliens" (and a lot of names, though Kenner was responsible for a lot of those too).

Timothy Zahn used these books as a resource to write Heir to the Empire, which is what started the whole EU fiction really.

Most modern Star Wars fans have no idea, obviously, that so much of what we just accept as Star Wars began life at West End Games and not in George Lucas' mind/notebook, but as a kid who grew up with nothing more than the OOT, Kenner toys, and Ewoks/Droids, I'm constantly amazed to have been there for those humble beginnings. :)

Edited by Banjo Oz

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