The galaxy is at war. Loyalty and principle are being tested. Endless legions of clone troopers are on the march. This is the world of the Clone Wars Campaign Guide, the latest addition to the Star Wars RPG.
The Clone Wars are all the rage these days, bolstered by the movie and TV series that many fans are growing fond of despite the bitter cynicism that has crept into Star Wars fandom in the last decade. This campaign guide, intended for use with the Star Wars: Saga Edition RPG, lays out the Clone Wars galaxy in all its gritty, war-torn glory. If you’re not familiar with the Saga Edition, it’s based on third edition Dungeons & Dragons, but is vastly improved, and even shares a few elements with 4th Edition. It’s different, yet familiar.
The Clone Wars Campaign Guide (to be released on Jan. 20) offers up all of what you’d expect in any campaign guide: new species of aliens, new droids, new planets, new weapons and starships, a gazetteer that describes the major events of the era, plus a bunch of new feats, force powers and prestige classes. Naturally, you’ll find stats for favorite characters like Ahsoka Tanu, Mace Windu, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker. Those are all very cool, and you could easily find use for many of them even if you aren’t running a Clone Wars campaign. But this guide goes beyond that. The designers here have gone to great lengths to integrate all the new rules and features into the overriding themes of the Clone Wars.
Of course, the Clone Wars era’s theme is pretty simple: war. Therefore, there are rules for having followers, so your characters can lead a squad or act as military leaders. Rules for large scale battles have been included as well. The feats are geared toward military exploits, such as Coordinated Barrage (lets you combine fire with an adjacent ally) and Artillery Shot (allows you to create area of effect ranged attacks). A lot of effort also goes into discussing ways for your characters to take part in the larger story. Whether scout or soldier, Jedi leader or military tactician, each character will have a role to play as the galaxy lurches toward the inevitable, terrible conclusion of the Clone Wars: Order 66, the execution of all the Jedi, and the ascension of Darth Vader. Indeed, a doom-laden, fatalisted vibe permeates the book, and I don’t mean that as a negative. It makes for a very interesting approach to role-playing in the Star Wars universe.
Like other books in the Star Wars RPG line, the production values are excellent. The book is liberally strewn with excellent full-color art. In this case, it’s a bit unusual because they blend comicbook style illustrations with rendered computer graphics in the style of the Clone Wars TV show, and there are even several photos of actors in full costume. Sometimes the differing styles clash, but not to the detriment of the material. Many of the units and characters described are tied to miniatures released for the Star Wars Miniatures game last October.
Each new release for the Star Wars RPG impresses me. These are among the best RPG products being put out these days, and this is probably the best campaign guide yet in terms of the actual content. With this and a few packs of Clone Wars minis, you’re ready for war.