Sunday, March 7, 2010

Barbarians of Lemuria and Star Wars

As I have mentioned before my son wants to role-play in the Star Wars universe. So I got my hands on West End Games D6 Star Wars 2nd Edition Rpg. And it left me cold. After reading various posts on, I determined that in my ignorance I had purchased the wrong edition of the game and sought out a copy of the 1st Edition. Ahhhh, much better. Easy, straightforward and even the perceived shortcomings of the game that I had read about didn’t bother me.


As easy as the game is I kind of wanted something a bit simpler. So I cast about (immediately discarding any thought of using WotC’s Star Wars Saga Edition for this purpose) and hit upon Mini-Six. Wow, all the goodness of D6 distilled to its essence. Nice. I would have to throw together rules for dealing with the Force but that shouldn’t be a problem.


I contemplate Barbarians of Lemuria a lot. It is probably the game I think about the most. And not just because of some of the illustrations. I mean, it is such a simple game. So very straightforward, easy to grasp and very flexible. So flexible in fact that there have been a couple of spinoffs for it. The similar but more traditional sword & sorcery setting found in Legends of Steel. The apocalyptic glories of Barbarians of the Aftermath. And the full automatic firepower of Dogs of War. I don’t have BotA or Dogs of War yet but plan on purchasing them soon. Yes, the BoL engine is very flexible.

Hey, wait!

Could I, perhaps, cobble together a Star Wars variant of BoL?

I actually think this would be very easy. It may have been done already but I’m too lazy to search around and find out right now.

How easy? Let’s try to stat up Luke as a beginning character as we are introduced to him in the first movie. (No, not episode 1. The first movie. The real Star Wars.)

Luke Skywalker
Young farm boy destined for fame

Strength 0
Agility 2
Mind 1
Appeal 1

Combat Abilities
Brawl 0
Melee 0
Ranged 2
Defense 2

Water Farmer 1
Droid Mechanic 1
Pilot 2

Force Sensitive

Now, you can quibble with the details. I just whipped this up as an example to show how it can be done. He was already a pilot of some skill. I mean, you don’t just jump into an X-Wing and fly off. I didn’t really know what to do for combat abilities so I just threw some numbers down. If someone has a better example of Luke at this age, I’d be interested in seeing it.

Now, at the end of Star Wars he would’ve gained a level in melee combat and gained Jedi 0 as a career because of his training with old Ben. He is just starting to get in touch with his Jedi-ness but is still very much a neophyte. He has just enough power to help guide his shot into the Death Star (along with his piloting skill) and to use Force telekinesis to get his lightsaber at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back. He can use it but it is still a strain.

I’d have to create a list of boons and flaws. Two obvious ones would be Force Sensitive and Turned to the Dark Side. The Force Sensitive boon would be a prerequisite for the Jedi career. And I think I would probably steal WEG's idea of Dark Side Points. Although many would think it fun to be a Sith and wreck havoc throughout the space-lanes I think that, for my son, showing that there are consequences for evil actions would be a good thing. If you turn to the Dark Side as a result of your Dark Side points you lose control of your character. The character becomes an NPC. And as he commented about Dark Side points in WEG’s Star Wars, “I think only Jedi should gain Dark Side points.” I have a tendency to agree so I think I would use that as a rule.

One aspect of this idea that I really like, and shows the strength of BoL’s career system, is Force powers. You don’t need to have a long list of Force powers. The player can simply propose an action, the GM decides whether it is appropriate or not, and determines a difficulty for it. The weakness in WEG’s Star Wars of having to roll multiple times for certain Force powers would be nicely circumvented.

Lightsaber combat would be easy too. I’d give Jedi character the option to substitute their Jedi career number in place of their melee number. The same with dodging/deflecting blaster bolts.

I’m actually rather excited about these ideas and may develop them further.

Edit: Hey! I just remembered. WotC is giving up the Star Wars license. Maybe Mr. Washbourne could acquire it and produce a Star Wars version of BoL!


  1. I would have given Luke "Jedi Knight 0" as his fourth career from the get-go and not worried about "Force Sensitive" as a Boon. Otherwise you're essentially Boon-taxing characters who want to use the Force (when the main BoLgame doesn't do this to Magicians, Alchemists, or Priests).

  2. Good ideas. I kind of like have "Force User" as a career though, one that replaces Sorcerer in BoL, right down to having to take flaws as the level increases. This would reflect either adhering to the Jedi's code, or the corruption of the Dark Side, as you become more powerful of Force user. If done as a career, beginning Luke Skywalker would probably have an additional career of Force User 0 indicating his untapped potential, and maybe an extra Hero Point boon?

  3. And all of the equipment in Barbarians of the Aftermath can only make the game easier. Gunas, armor, droids, aliens, etc.

  4. Oh, "Marked by the Gods" easily becomes "The Force Is Strong with This One."

  5. Interesting,
    I may have to give BoL a second look. I picked up the Legends of Steel Savage Worlds version, thinking I might should have gotten the BoL edition also.

  6. @ancientvaults - I was wondering if BotA would be helpful. I'll have to buy it before I go much further.

    @Bill - I really like BoL (obviously). If you like rules-lite this is the game for you. It took me all of 5 minutes to prepare for the game I wrote about a couple of posts ago.

    I could've sworn there was a comment about using lego figures for Star Wars but I don't see it now. Lego Star Wars is well loved around my palace and they boys would think it was tre cool.

  7. Great Idea. I think BoL is pretty much adaptable to any high action style game. The only real issue I've had with BoL is awareness style rolls as a lot of the time there are careers that are not appropriate.

    Ive considered that for a sci fi/start wars style game that perhaps adding a Perception stat and a piloting combat skill would be a good idea.

    What do you recon?