For many years, the Star Wars RPG was the main source of information about the Star Wars universe. The books filled in a lot of the unknown space about how things worked and kept the light on after the comics and first series of novels ended up in used bookstores and basement boxes. The Expanded Universe changed all that while giving the RPG new things to cover and discuss while it also became a resource for those authors—and Lucasfilm itself—to build the universe.
The steady stream of Star Wars materials these days offer plenty of inspiration for Star Wars GMs, but there is a series of books that go above and beyond the technical manuals and art books that are the usually the best sources for adventure ideas. These books, known as the Secrets of the Galaxy series, are written from the point of view of characters from inside the Star Wars universe.
Inside The Secrets of the Galaxy
The Secrets of the Galaxy series consists of six books: The Jedi Path, Book of Sith, The Bounty Hunter’s Code, Imperial Handbook, The Rebel Files and the most recent release, Smuggler’s Guide. Each book in this series is a journal from a source well-known to Star Wars fans that talks about their life and the ins and outs of their particular slice of the galaxy. The book also contains commentary in the margins from other Star Wars characters to call out inaccuracies, offer alternate perspectives from the main author and remind the reader that every writer has their biases. It also makes each book an artifact that GMs can hand out to the players, Dracula Dossier style, and let them suggest where they want to go and do in the campaign.
Fleshing Out Games With Details
The subjectivity of these books works well for people using them in their Star Wars games. Some players and GMs can get wrapped up in strictly serving canon, while these books flourish when a page features an argument between Bossk and Boba Fett in the margins over what planet has the best black market prices for illegal weapons. A GM looking for such inspiration can use Bossk’s suggestion, Fett’s suggestion or even go their own way and set up a scenario where each of the cartels mentioned in the book have started a pricing war and plunk their players right down in the middle of the conflict.
These books also give players of related characters more background info to use in creating and expanding their characters. A player with the Imperial Handbook will be able to cite rules and regulations from the Empire that can flesh out a defected officer now working for the Rebel Alliance. A player wrestling with the power of the Force might find solace in The Jedi’s Path…or temptation in the Book of Sith. There are some official RPG books that cover these areas to be sure, but the basic versions of these books at around a $20 list price are cheaper, easier to find and also free of any rules.
Immersive In-World Props
There is also a more elaborate option for those roleplaying groups looking to spend a little more money. Each of these books comes in a deluxe edition featuring a flashy container that also hails from the Star Wars universe. In addition to a fun little light and sound show when the box opens, many of the deluxe editions also contain additional props and materials stuffed in the box that turns the book from a prop into an artifact. The deluxe versions of these books list at $100 but can usually be found for less during the holidays and other promotions online.
Imagine, for example, the players’ reaction when the GM says the cargo they’ve been hired to steal looks like this:
Book of Sith is already pretty cool, but the deluxe version offers a physical artifact and a corrupted lightsaber crystal embedded in the box.
Using this as the central artifact for a campaign can drive multiple sessions as the players chase down leads from the book, try to match the artifacts within with their sources and stay one step ahead of the bad guys trying to claim everything for themselves.
The most recent part of the line, Smuggler’s Guide, is out just in time for the holiday. Like Bounty Hunter’s Guide, it explores the dingier side of the galaxy full of criminals and smugglers. It’s supposedly the box that Han Solo uses to carry his license and registration for the Millennium Falcon. The scattered materials in the front of the box back up this idea as they are full of the kind of paperwork and trash that one might find in the glove box of any real-life car. In a hidden compartment under this is the titular guide full of the best places to make scores and the grimiest crime lords in the galaxy. The books featured in the deluxe models also don’t have Star Wars branding and back copy on them to add to the authentic look.
Both the basic and deluxe versions of these books are available from booksellers across the galaxy. They make an excellent gift for a Star Wars fan and provide hours of ideas for anyone running an RPG set in a galaxy far, far away.
What’s your favorite kind of Star Wars character? Let us know in the comments!
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Images Credits: Epic Ink, Rob Wieland
Rob Wieland is an author, game designer and professional nerd. He’s worked on dozens of different tabletop games ranging from Star Wars and Firefly to his own creations like CAMELOT Trigger. His Twitter is here. You can watch him livestream RPGs with the Theatre of the Mind Players here. His meat body can be found in scenic Milwaukee, WI.