Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game (1987)

Return of the Jedi had a long merchandising tail, but it was obviously the end of the saga. There were a few attempts to keep the franchise going (the Droids and Ewoks cartoons, the Marvel comics series, the Ewoks TV movies), but they didn’t capture imaginations the way the big screen galaxy far, far away did. By 1986, Star Wars was pretty much over. I was eight in 1986, so I am an authority.

It would be five years before Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire novel would spark renewed interest in Star Wars in a serious way. In the intervening years, it was the Star Wars roleplaying game that kept things alive. It did so in three ways. First, it became the primary place where you
could see high quality stills and production materials from the movies (like the McQuarrie concept art, or the Klaatu, pictured). Second, it expanded the universe rapidly and in ways the makers of the Star Wars movies could scarcely anticipate. Third, designer Greg Costikyan created a masterpiece of a rules system, simple and elegant and flexible in ways few other games of
the time were. (Fourth: how else would you be able to get the first limited edition Star Wars collector’s plate?)

This is the first edition of the core rulebook, published in 1987, the tenth anniversary of Star Wars.

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