Star Wars with OD&D

So a discussion arose on the ODD74 message forums awhile back, about how difficult it would be to run a Star Wars game using the OD&D rules. The general consensus was that it shouldn't be difficult to do, but there was some disagreement on how to handle the Force--most people assumed Clerical magic would be the best approach. My own thought was that psionics, as presented in Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry are a better, and near-perfect, approach to modeling the Force in a Star Wars game.

This of course led to some disagreement, as psionics in Dungeons & Dragons, at least prior to third edition, have a reputation for being confusing, arcane, and complex. The truth is, however, that like much of the older editions of D&D, psionics aren't all that difficult--they're just poorly organized. After one goes through the rules and gets a handle on them, they are actually quite straightforward.

I, thus, took it as something of a challenge to do up a full sourcebook in the OD&D style (which I have dubbed "Supplement IX," though of course numbering of fan supplements has no official ordering).

Hasn't This Already Been Done?

There are a lot of fan-work Star Wars games out there that are very old-school in their approach, and very well done in their own right out there, as well as a lot of great old-school-style generic space opera games.

Hell, for those who prefer the old West End Games d6 version, you can still download (for free) the latest revision of d6 Space, which literally is their old Star Wars game with the serial numbers filed off. Add to these a wealth of amazing fan works by Thiago Aranha, and you'll have everything you need to keep your d6 Star Wars games going.

Some of the above-linked fan works even claim to be based on OD&D. None of them, however, are what I would deem "pure" OD&D. They create new character classes, have detailed and complex rules for technology and firearms, extensive vehicle combat rules, change abilities, using a differing alignment systems from law/neutrality/chaos, and some even use the Swords & Wizardry ascending AC or Fort, Ref, and Will saves. There's nothing wrong with this, mind you: it's just not what I personally was after. I wanted Star Wars rules that plug into OD&D simply and easily.

Sticking to the OD&D Paradigm

In any case, my supplement had one driving, overarching, guiding star, and that was to stick as firmly within the OD&D paradigm as humanly possible. I did not create new character classes, brand new rules systems, or overly complex subsystems.

Thus, these rules are not an attempt to denigrate other attempts, nor do they make any claim of being "better" or "worse" than anyone else's efforts. They're just my own thought  experiment as to how I could very easily run a Star Wars universe game using my existing OD&D books, this booklet, and as few changes to the game as possible. Certainly, they are my personal, preferred version, but if you find you like one of the other excellent efforts better, by all means, enjoy my efforts from an academic standpoint, then go with your favorite!

Finally, unlike my Age of Conan booklets, these are designed to use the "alternate" d20 combat system which quickly became the standard of OD&D, and is assumed in all of the supplementary books. It also makes use of the additional options from Supplements I-III as well as The Strategic Review, including variant hit dice and weapon damage, the inclusion of thieves, monks, modified bards and modified rangers, hit point bonuses from high con, additional languages from high intelligence, etc.

In particular, the psionics system from Eldritch Wizardry is essential to the rules, recieving only minor tweaks and a plug-in "dark side points" subsystem for measuring light and dark. Vehicle piloting makes use of easily-calculated percentile systems, not much different than other subsystems in OD&D, and are designed to be wide open and malleable so as to adapt them to any different situation you want, from a speeder chase on Coruscant to the Battle of Hoth, all the way to Finn and Poe's escape from the First Order or the Battle of Scarif.

That's about it. Without further ado, enjoy my take on running Star Wars with OD&D.

While you're at it, don't forget to check out all my other Classic Dungeons & Dragons Resources!


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