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 (it was then picked up by Wizards of the Coast, who then released Star Wars d20 in 2000). 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 the Star Wars Adventure Journal. They also edited several books related to, but not belonging to, the Roleplaying Game line, including Star Warriors (which could be used as a substitute for the core books' starfighter rules), the board games Escape From The Death Star and Assault on Hoth, the two-player game Lightsaber Duelling, the Introductory Adventure Game (a rules-light starter set for the RPG, akin to Basic Dungeons & Dragons), Star Wars Miniatures Battles, Live-Action Adventures (a LARPing rulebook) 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 the release of a 30th Anniversary Edition reprint in 2017. They ended up missing the book's actual anniversary year, but it did finally release in 2018.
Fans have continued to keep the game alive. There is even an updated fan edition, subtitled "Revised, Expanded and Updated" (and often simply referred to as "REUP"), which expands "2R&E" even further. The simplicity of the D6 system means there are also ongoing conversions of material from virtually every Star Wars source - later RPGs, the Old Republic Era, and the Disney era. Much of it can be found on d6holocron.com and numerous other sites.
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 original 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.
- Badass Creed: The battle chant of the Legion of Alderaan, detailed in the Rebel Alliance Sourcebook.In the grave of Alderaan,
In the night of Charenthoth,
In the sands of Tatooine,
And the bloody hell of Hoth,
We will meet the enemy,
We will sound the battle cry,
With out comrades at our sides,
We will fight and we will die.
Though they hunt us across space,
Though they kill us by the scores,
Though they crush our blessed home,
Though the mighty Death Star roars,
We will meet the enemy,
We will sound the battle cry,
With our comrades at our sides,
We will fight and THEY WILL DIE!
- 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.
- Death by Irony: In "Tatooine Manhunt", the villains attempt to kill you by trapping you inside a water silo. Meaning it's entirely possible for your entire party to die by drowning on Tatooine.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: A lot, because WEG were inventing most of the lore from scratch, and not all of it stuck.
- 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.
- The planet of the Mon Calamari is called Calamari, not Dac, Mon Calamari or Mon Cala. It is also established that First Contact with the Mon Calamari was recently, within the lifetime of the Empire - it would later be established that the Mon Calamari and Quarren had been Republic members for four thousand years, and the earlier story was retconned as Imperial propaganda.
- Expy: The game provided a number of substitutes for major canon characters, in theory so GMs wouldn't have to deal with their players killing the movie villains.
- High Inquisitor Tremayne is this for Darth Vader, basically meant to serve as the players' personal nemesis.
- Trinta is one for Dagobah, complete with a Dark Side nexus.
- The Torpedo Spheres can function as a smaller, more manageable Big Spherical Battle Station for a player group to infiltrate and/or destroy.
- "Tatooine Manhunt" provides a full set of Expies of the bounty hunters from The Empire Strikes Back. The cover uses Ralph McQuarrie's concept art for the hunters, and Zuckuss, IG-88, Boba Fett and Bossk become Vytor Shrike, IG-72, Jodo Kast and Jungen. (Neither 4-LOM nor an Expy of him appear.)
- 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. Common gamemaster advice is to either have an all-Jedi party or no Jedi at all, since after a while a Jedi player character will outpace everyone else in the party.
- No Campaign for the Wicked: The first edition of the game took a very strict line of players being the good guys, outright declaring that all player characters were members of the Rebel Alliance and offering no support for running campaigns as independents (let alone Imperials!) This gradually changed over the lifetime of the game with sourcebooks like Tramp Freighters of the Galaxy and Pirates & Privateers offering divergent campaigns. Even later editions of the main rulebook took a much more diverse view of possible campaigns with the Rebel campaign merely being the default option among many.
- 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.