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The tabletop RPG that kept Star Wars alive returns this year

The classic rulebook and sourcebook from 1987 get a new paint job

1970s poster of Star Wars featuring Luke, Leia and Han brandishing blasters with an ominous Darth Vader and Death Star in the background
Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope

In 1987, Star Wars was all but dead; There were no new films or books on the horizon, Kenner had ceased production on its iconic action figures and the whole thing seemed to be just another passing fad.

The only thing keeping the franchise alive was West End Games’ tabletop role-playing game — and that original classic will go back into print for a limited time later this year, in honor of its 30th anniversary.

Fantasy Flight Games made the announcement at Gen Con. The company currently holds the exclusive rights to publish Star Wars card, miniature and role-playing games, including Star Wars: X-Wing and Star Wars: Rebellion.

The Star Wars rulebook and the Star Wars Sourcebook
Everything included in the 30th Anniversary Edition set
Lucasfilm/Fantasy Flight Games

Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game’s impact on the franchise can still be felt today; It laid the original groundwork for what became the Star Wars expanded universe. The details included in the RPG and its sourcebook have been referenced in Star Wars novels, comic books, video games, TV shows and feature films released since. When author Timothy Zahn signed on to write the now-celebrated sequel novel Heir to the Empire in 1991, Lucasfilm gave him The Star Wars Sourcebook to study.

The original Star Wars role-playing game differs from systems like Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder and even Star Wars’ current RPG. While those games require various multiple-sided dice, Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game is played with more common six-sided dice. Rather than assigning a number of points to their characters’ skills and attributes, players select the number of dice they can roll when using a particular talent.

The introduction page featuring concept art of Luke on Tatooine Lucasfilm/Fantasy Flight Games

The 30th Anniversary Edition of Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game will include two hardcover books: the rulebook and the sourcebook. Both are based on the game’s first edition from 1987 and feature the original graphics, colors and design printed on a higher-quality paper. The rulebook contains a new foreword from the Lucasfilm Story Group’s Pablo Hidalgo, who began his Star Wars career writing supplemental material for the RPG.

The collection is planned for release in the fourth quarter of 2017 and will retail for $59.95. You can pre-order the set now from Fantasy Flight Games’ website.

Polygon was on the floor at the 50th annual Gen Con tabletop gaming convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. You can find all our stories here as they go live throughout this week.

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