Star Wars d20 Opinion

Post Date: 1/2003

After reading some (but not all) of these anti and pro d20 posts, I decided to post my manifesto as a pro-d20er.

I like d20 for many reasons. I do realize its faults, but I also realize other system’s faults too and prefer d20 over them. I have played many systems (d6, VP, Classic Cthulhu, GDW d20 House system, Hero System, Shadowrun, Deadlands) and have learned many things. Some things I have learned are (1) Roleplay should have less to do with the system and more to do with GM and the universe he is portraying and (2) that there are different types of gamers looking for different things in RPGs.

And I know gamers… been around enough of them as a convention gaming coordinator to know.

I have played the VP system and just about gave up on Fading Suns because of it. The VP system seemed VERY anti-PC. My players seemed to fail more often than not and that’s not what a player comes to do in a game. After a while, it’s not fun anymore. When it’s not fun, you don’t want to even put forth the effort to roleplay either. In my eyes, d20 saved Fading Suns.

The VP system was very hard for us to get “excited” about. IT inhibited the players in the things that they could do, and most people only want to roleplay so much. My players, at least, want to have a sense that their PCs can accomplish something. When they roleplay a passionate scene with a house noble, they want to know they have the abilities to back themselves up. VP did NOT provide that for us.

Character generation – I don’t care how complicated one is over the other. They both seemed about the same.

Class Limitations – I don’t feel classes limit anything. Some people don’t come to a game with a character concept and it’s easier for those individuals to put together something. Meanwhile, if someone has an archetype in mind, its fun and more of a challenge to form that archetype around the Class system. Some people don’t see classes like this and see them more as a limitation. It probably takes a little more imagination to see them as flexible framework.

Also, the nice thing about d20 is that you can take other classes from other games (Star Wars, Traveler d20, Dragonstar) and convert to into this system to form the archetype concept you want.

I approach a lot of classes as very customizable. Special Abilities are not hard set and can be changed.

Also, I like the frameworks classes provide because I do feel that ones career does guide you to what skills and feats are available. One of my problems with Star Wars d6 was that no matter what type of hero you formed – a computer slicer or combat brick, you always ended up with the relatively same skills with very little variance… what’s the point then? There was no characters good at one thing because they were a Slicer or a noble, or good at another because they were a tech spec or soldier. I saw this as a potential problem with VP as well.

d20 Open-Ended system – Much more heroic and fun to play.

In my group, we do roleplay and roll-play. We like both. I don’t have a problem with a good measure of both. I like a good game-feel when I am playing an RPG, and d20 provides that. I like to roleplay as well, and the universe provides that.

I don’t think the rule system has anything to do with whether you roleplay or not. It’s a matter of how mature you are a gamer and how “meaty” the universe is that you are playing.

Yes, we have our measure of min-maxers, and that’s part of the game-feel. We put that away when we’re in universe and we ROLEPLAY when in-game.

I think it comes down to what you are looking for in a RPG. This debate occurs quite commonly between Storyteller and d20 fans as well. And I would probably gamble that a lot (not all) of the VP fans were also Storyteller fans. Storyteller fans prefer the roleplay and the system to be relatively invisible. This has a more improvisational theater feel to it. d20ers like to feel like they are playing a game as much playing a role.

So it’s an endless debate that will never convert anyone. All i can say is find a group of like-minded individuals, and game the way you want to with whatever system you want to. But know what type of gamer you are and what your friends are. If you have people of different mind-sets, sometimes you’ll have conflict over the system, other times you’ll have unsatisfied players.

That’s my manifesto, take it or leave it…

Ron McClung

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