Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game (later informally dubbed Star Wars d6 to distinguish it from later incarnations going by the same title) was the first licensed Tabletop RPG set in the Star Wars universe, designed by Greg Costikyan and published by West End Games from 1987 until they lost the license in 1998. A German-language version was published by Welt der Spiele a few years later. One player is the Game Master who runs the gameworld, being something like the director and referee, while the other players have a single character or role to play. The player characters have various skills and equipment and some can even use the Force.
Three versions of the main rulebook were published: first edition, second edition, and "Revised and Expanded" second edition. All three were based on West End Games' D6 System.
The West End Games sourcebook collection is made of almost 100 booksnot including second editions and compilationsplus 15 quarterly magazine issues under the title Star Wars Adventure Journal. They also edited several books related to, but not belonging to, the Roleplaying Game line, including Star Warriors, the board games Escape from Death Star and Assault on Hoth; the two-player game Lightsaber Dueling, the Introductory Adventure Game, Star Wars Miniatures Battles, the Live-Action Adventures and single-player adventure books.
The material produced by West End Games was one of the major sources of the Star Wars Expanded Universe (now Star Wars Legends) material before the publication of Heir to the Empire in 1991 sparked new interest in Star Wars publications, and remained an important source of EU material afterward. Being one of the first sources giving numbers and data to the universe shown in the films, several of the statements given by the sourcebooks have been retconned or corrected to better reflect the films and Expanded Universe fiction. Among the best known corrections are the continuity issues involving the Super Star Destroyers and the "discovery" of the Mon Calamari by the Galactic Empire.
When Timothy Zahn was hired to write what became the Thrawn Trilogy, he was sent a box of West End Games Star Wars books and directed to base his novel on the background material presented within. After the novel trilogy's success, West End Games created a series of sourcebooks inspired by Zahn's work. As for West End Games, in 2004, they started publishing D6 Space, a generic Space Opera Game System based on their old game, but without Star Wars-specific content.
Fantasy Flight Games announced in 2017 they were going to make a 30th Anniversary Edition's reprint of the first book and a sourcebook, scheduled for Q4 2017. The release was pushed to for unknown reason to 2018.
Fans have continued to Keep Circulating the Tapes,having made even a updated fan editions of the "Revised and Expanded" edition called REUP and conversions of material from later RPGs, Old Republic Era and Star Wars Rebels despite having clearly reached Stage 6 of Fandom Life Cycle.
The game contained examples of following tropes:
- Adaptation Distillation: The West End Game series is considered some of the best EU out there.
- Adaptation Expansion: Vast-vast numbers of biographies for virtually every character in the Star Wars universe.
- All There in the Manual: THE manual for EU authors.
- Arbitrary Gun Power: Averted. It was very easy for blasters to kill you if you were hit by them. Which is why a high dodge or lightsaber parry skill was necessary.
- Armor and Magic Don't Mix: Averted. Nothing prevented Jedi from wearing armor.
- Body Horror: The fate of Grand Moff Ravik in Otherspace II.
- Black and White Magic: Aside from using your lightsaber, all offensive Force powers were Dark Side.
- Can't Catch Up: The later depictions of canon characters included hundreds of skill points. The average PC started with seven. Adventures tended to be less blow up the Death Star and more blow up the Star Destroyer.
- The Dark Side: Plays a major role in the game. The Dark Side Will Make You Forget and Drunk on the Dark Side are actual effects. In fact, the Dark Side works as The Virus. Every time you gain a Dark Side Point for committing some truly evil action, or simply 'calling on the Dark Side' to get bonuses to a roll, you roll one D6. If you roll below your total Dark Side Points, your character automatically turns evil and becomes an NPC, even if you were using it with good intentions.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Jedi survivors tended to have children, get married, and be recruited as adults. No canon had established how the Jedi Order had been run during the Republic.
- High Inquisitor Tremayne is this for Darth Vader, basically meant to serve as the PC's personal nemesis.
- Trinta is one for Dagobah, complete with Dark Jedi to redeem.
- Jodo Kast is one for Boba Fett.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: Acquiring a lightsaber was considered to be a rather major accomplishment for beginning Jedi.
- Level Scaling: The game suggested characters begin with lower level Imperials and work their way up.
- Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Jedi are more or less unstoppable at higher levels.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Polyhedron magazine #104 article "Dangers from the Dark Side". The Force Vampire is an extremely evil creation of the Dark Side that has crimson Glowing Eyes.
- The Six Stats: Dexterity, Knowledge, Mechanical, Perception, Strength, and Technical. Jedi however have three more: Control, Sense, and Alter.