My plan was to review Star Wars Saga Edition (SAGA) books. Then I realized the amount SAGA is a reaction to perceived flaws from this edition, I decided to start here. Wizards published SWRC in 2002 using the d20 Open License as the base. Like a retailored suit, it’s not the best fit.
Problems include damage outpacing hit points. A typical blaster pistol will do 3d6 (3-18) damage, which can kill third level characters in one good hit. Even better, one difference from D&D 3.5 is characters have wound points equal to their constitution, which are depleted after hit points or by critical hits. So a critical hit will kill even high-level characters.
Skills also lag. Since Sci-Fi games have more skills available than medieval fantasy (ex: computer use) players end up pretty limited compared to the movies’ characters. Not helping is Force Users needing skill points to increase force powers individually. So if your Jedi wants to heal herself and a comrade she needs points invested in both Heal Self and Heal Other. Add the various Feat requirements and characters tend to be rather focused and limited.
Last complaints are: A) Life Begins at Level 4 (LBL4). Characters don’t gel until fourth level. Jedi won’t have full Force access until then. The book’s rookie stormtrooper fresh out of boot camp needs to be level 4 just to wear the armor and use the standard gear. B) My love/ hate for the Dark Side Marauder, the only Prestige Class I know of where a player can be eligible at level 2. C) I regret never having space battles, but I don’t regret not having to handle the complex rules.
Moving on. There are nine Base Classes; I want to focus on five of them. Fringers are heroes who survive on planets like Tatooine. Force Adapt represents Force Users who are not Jedi with a focus on primitive, shamanist individuals. The Tech Specialist design high quality gear and with a choice to focus on certain skills. Jedi are divided between Guardians (combat focused) and Consular (skills focused). Various Prestige Classes allow greater archetype focus.
I’ve had good times with this system, but WOTC did such a good job selling SAGA edition based off Revised’s flaws that’s all I see. It doesn’t feel Star Wars enough and needs it’s own voice. Let's see how SAGA does.