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Star Wars D6 Basics

Introduction & Credits

This article discusses the Revised and Expanded Second Edition (2e R&E) of the Star Wars Roleplaying Game published by West End Games in 1996. Design Credits: Bill Smith, Peter Schweighofer, George R. Strayton, Paul Sudlow, Eric S. Trautmann, and Geogre Farshtey. I do not own and did not originate nor do I claim ownership or authorship regarding any of the concepts described herein unless otherwise noted. Comment and criticism are welcome via PM.

The Core Mechanic

A player tests whether a character succeeds or fails by rolling equal to or higher than some predetermined target number on a number of six-sided dice (d6s) determined and modified primarily by a character's attributes and skills. One of the d6s (indicated by being a different color, etc) is the exploding "Wild Die." If a player rolls a 6 on the Wild Die she may add six to her result and roll it again, adding the further result. She keeps rolling the Wild Die and adding the result every time she rolls a 6 on it. (What happens when she rolls a 1 on the Wild Die is discussed below in the Gamemaster (GM) section.) The target number falls between 1 and 5 for the easiest tests and exceed 31 for the hardest tests.

Character Creation

The 2e R&W rule book lists a number of templates that players can choose from in order to speed along character creation. The open-ended yet relatively simple character creation rules, however, are one of this rule set's strengths. I will therefore assume the reader is building a character from scratch.


Every character is defined by six basic attributes scores. These attribute scores represent a character's natural capacity; that is, the capacity with which she is born. These are unlikely to (permanently) change over the course of the play. Each attribute score is the basis for tests made during play to determine whether a character succeeds or fails at whatever she attempts. These tests are modified by a character's skill, or what the character has learned over the course of her life (as described in detail below). Skills are based on and categorized by attribute.

The six attributes are Dexterity, Strength, Knowledge, Perception, Mechanical, and Technical. The first four attributes are likely self-evident to anyone passingly familiar with table top roleplaying. The last two merit further discussion. Generally speaking, Mechanical covers a character's natural capacity for operating machinery while Technical covers her natural capacity for altering it. For example, a character talented at piloting starfighters has a high Mechanical score while a character talented at modifying and repairing them has a high Technical score. To further parse the conceptual difference between Mechanical and Technical, see the skills associated with each as detailed below.

An attribute score is represented as xD or xD+y, where x is the number of dice rolled and y is the number added to the result of the roll. A given species has a minimum and maximum number of dice that can be assigned to each attribute. For humans, the minimum is 2D and the maximum is 4D. Players have six attribute dice to add to the minimum value of their attribute scores up to the species maximum. The attribute dice assignable at character creation can be broken down into "pips," which are +1 and +2 modifiers. Each assignable attribute die can be broken down into three pips: either three +1 pips or one +1 and one +2 pip. There is no +3 pip; it is instead equivalent the next whole die added to the attribute score.

Some species have lower minimum and higher maximum scores. A Gamorrean, for example, has a minimum of 1D for Knowledge whereas a Wookie has a maximum of 6D for Strength. Non-human species may also have special characteristics, with mechanical and/or story-relevant consequences. For example, Mon Calamari can breathe both atmospheric and aquatic air.


As mentioned above, skills represent what a character has learned over the course of her life. Unlike attributes, a character's skills are likely to change over the course of play (see Character Points below),

Players have 7D of skill dice to assign at character creation. The assignable skill dice may not be broken down into pips. An assigned skill dice is added to the relevant underlying attribute score when making a test. For example, a player assigns one skill die to the Blaster skill. Her character has a Dexterity score of 3D+2. Whenever her character uses a blaster, she rolls 4D+2.

Each assignable skill die may be broken up into three specializations. A specialization covers a narrow use of a skill and are denoted in parentheses following the skill name. A player need not have assigned a skill die to a skill in order to take a specialization. For example, a player could take Blaster (Blaster Pistol) by spending one third of an assignable skill die at character creation even if she did not assign a skill die to Blaster. If her character's Dexterity attribute is 3D+2, then she will roll 4D+2 whenever her character uses a blaster pistol but only 3D+2 when her character uses other kinds of blasters. A player can stack a specialization with a broader skill die. A player can assign a skill die to Blaster and one third of a skill die to Blaster (Blaster Pistol) such that her character rolls 5D+2 whenever using a blaster pistol and 4D+2 when using a blaster of any other kind.

If a player does not assign a skill die to a certain skill, her character can attempt to use that skill by making a test based on the underlying attribute.

Skill List

This list is non-exhaustive. See Modifying the Skill List below.

Dexterity-Based: Archaic Guns, Blaster, Blaster Artillery, Bowcaster, Bows, Brawling Parry, Dodge, Firearms, Grenade, Lightsaber, Melee Combat, Melee Parry, Missile Weapons, Pick Pocket

Strength-Based: Brawling, Climbing/Jumping, Lifting, Stamina, Swimming

Knowledge-Based: Alien Species, Bureaucracy, Business, Cultures, Intimidation, Languages, Law Enforcement, Planetary Systems, Scholar, Streetwise, Survival, Tactics, Value, Willpower

Perception-Based: Bargain, Command, Con, Forgery, Gambling, Hide, Investigation, Persuasion, Search, Sneak

Mechanical-Based: Archaic Starship Piloting, Astrogation, Beast Riding, Capital Ship Gunnery, Capital Ship Piloting, Capital Ship Shields, Communications, Ground Vehicle Operation, Hover Vehicle Operation, Jet Pack Operation, Powersuit Operation, Repulsorlift Operation, Rocket Pack Operation, Sensors, Space Transports, Starfighter Piloting, Starship Gunnery, Starship Shields, Swoop Operation, Walker Operation

Technical-Based: Armor Repair, Blaster Repair, Capital Ship Repair, Capital Ship Repair, Capital Ship Weapon Repair, Computer Programming/Repair, Demolitions, Driod Programming, Droid Repair, First Aid, Ground Vehicle Repair, Hover Vehicle Repair, Medicine, Repulsorlift Repair, Security, Space Transports Repair, Starfighter Repair, Starship Weapon Repair, Walker Repair

Modifying the Skill List

The following constitutes interpretation and extrapolation of certain statements in the 2e R&E rule book by the author of this article.

A GM may subtract skills from the list above. For example, a GM might want to collapse Jet Pack Operation and Rocket Pack Operation into one skill. A GM may also add skills. For example, none of the skills below obviously cover interaction with ancient relics like Holocrons. A GM could decide that Ancient Relic is a skill, perhaps based on the Knowledge attribute.

The 2e R&E rules allow for more flexibility than simply subtracting and adding skills, however. A GM could decide that (Ancient Relic) is a specialization of the Cultures skill. Or perhaps the GM wants to separate a certain category of relics as a skill, such as Holocron with specializations of (Jedi) and (Sith). Or perhaps use of Jedi Holocrons would fall under Cultures (Jedi).

Finally, a GM may simply want to change how a given skill works and/or restrict its use. For example, a GM influenced by the Prequels Trilogy might be dissatisfied by the way 2e R&E represents lightsabers. That GM might only allow Force-Sensitive characters to take the Lightsaber skill and/or reduce the lightsaber's difficulty from Difficult to Moderate for any character with the Lightsaber skill.

The 2e R&E rules are flexible enough to allow for many different interpretations of the Star Wars setting, which is especially helpful given the breadth of the franchise and its extensive development since 2e R&E was written. The GM should certainly discuss any modifications with the other players or at least put them on notice.

Advanced Skills

The Force

No Star Wars game could be complete without some consideration of the Force. The Force surrounds, penetrates, and binds everyone in 2e R&E, whether they know it or not. It manifests mechanically in four ways: Character Points, Force Points, Dark Side Points, and Force Skills. With the exception of Force Skills, these mechanics are relevant to all characters. Force Points, Dark Side Points, and Force Skills have special relevance to Force-Sensitive characters. Although Force-Sensitive beings are rare in the Star Wars setting, Force-Sensitive characters are not necessarily rare in 2e R&E. A player may choose to play a Force-Sensitive character at character creation or spend 20 Character Points thereafter to become Force-Sensitive. Force-Sensitive characters may learn Force Skills but collect Dark Side Points more readily than other characters.

Character Points

Force Points

Dark Side Points

Force Skills




Actions & Reactions

Damage & Healing

Gamemaster Considerations

The Wild Die


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