It’s not for the lack of books…

In a comment I posted earlier, I speculated on doing an article on the “economics” of gaming. I expanded on this as a result of through a copy of the Dungeon Master’s Guide recently, wishing that such a book existed for Star Wars Saga Edition. The last time such a book was made for the Star Wars Roleplaying Game was 1996, and this was by West End Games when the system was d6 rather than d20. If anyone who plays Dungeons & Dragons is reading this, you guys have it slightly easier. And there are several reasons why.

Help for Game Masters

As a Level 1 GM with only the book to teach me what to do, you may wonder how much help I got from the book itself in terms of planning a campaign. The answer: hardly any. In their wisdom, the makers of this edition have devoted one chapter to what I consider to be the most important aspect of the game: the story.

After reading, it and re-reading it I had no idea where to begin so I started it like a fan fiction story. Enter Wu-Wei Kevar and the Railroading Plot of Quickness. I discovered the problems with my plot merely thirty minutes into my first gaming session.

You could say that I was so tied up in learning all the mechanics of the game (something still ongoing) that I made the story rather secondary. And this is true not just for me, but with the players as I discussed in my last post.

And I am aware that all the books in the world cannot prepare you for what happens during the game if you have never sat down at the table. This I discovered about ten minutes into the first session.

Yet there are so many little things that I didn’t know about. Like random encounter tables, which I have found immensely useful as I don’t have to script every encounter.

So yeah, I think some sort of guide for Game Masters is needed. Even if only as an online update from Wizards of the Coast’s website. It could also incorporate all the other information that is scattered in the other books…

Help for Players

The same goes for players. D&D has the Players Guide, which players can get without getting near some of the other books that the game has. A DM can also lend a new player a Player’s Guide and doesn’t worry about the player reading certain things at the back of the book that the player isn’t meant to read.

This is not the case with Saga Edition. The Core Book has everything in it, lending it out is not something I’d like to do between sessions as I would need it to either write the new adventure or adjust things that need fixing. And asking the players to buy one for themselves is a bit much, considering that I paid $80 AU for mine.

An alternative would be to hand out a PDF of the book, but WotC have gotten a bit snarky about that recently so we won’t go there.

I really think some sort of abridged player’s guide to the game is needed, just so GM’s can have players at the table with a bit of knowledge before they sit down. Perhaps akin to the all-inclusive pack that has been released with the 4th Ed of D&D, with abridged books as well as dice, character sheets and a few dungeon tiles. It always looks rather tempting to me when I pass it, but I have enough trouble getting this system to take on another.

Lack of Centrality

Sometimes I feel as if I am in the middle of a Choose your Own Adventure story and I take one of those choices that takes you from page 5 to page 105. Yet in this case it’s not just pages but books.

These are the books that I own:

• Core book

Starships of the Galaxy

Clone Wars Campaign Guide

Scum and Villainy

Yet each of them contain a lot of different things on the same topic. Let me give you an example. My next adventure that I will be starting with the players tomorrow I wanted to have a space battle. Not a big one, just a small one to get in the whole “Wow!” factor. In getting information for this, I had to go through three of the four books that I have. The Core Book contains the parts about space combat as well as a few ships that I needed, Starships of the Galaxy contains a few things about mass space combat as well as a few ships that I needed, and the Clone Wars Campaign Guide contains the troopers and things about that era as well as a few ships that I needed.

And then I found out that the stats of a character that I wanted in there were in a book that I didn’t have.

I’m still waiting to hear back from a friend who does have the book so I can get the numbers, hopefully this will be before I need to use her.

Equipment specifics are similar, all of them scattered among the books that I have so I have made very good friends with the photocopier. The same goes for Feats and Talents, the former being nicely presented in a table for easy copying.

Is it too much to ask for one equipment guide? Or one book that has everything about starships? Campaign guide supplements I can understand to some extent, as many are era-specific. However, there clearly needs to be something better than the slap-dash photocopied ones that I had to put together simply for the sake of my own sanity.


The next adventure starts tomorrow. It will probably be fun, but there’s only one other thing that I can predict: it’s going to be an interesting time when the players level up.


~ by katanageldar on May 29, 2009.

One Response to “It’s not for the lack of books…”

  1. […] talked about this earlier on, but now I am ready to go into more or less auto-rant in the materials that I have found since […]

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