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Threats Cover

Threats of the Galaxy

Will's Rating

/ 4

 

Ready-to-play characters, creatures, and droids for your Star Wars campaign.
This supplement gives Gamemasters an assortment of galactic denizens to populate their Star Wars Roleplaying Game adventures. Nowhere will you find a more useful hive of scum and villainy! This book presents scores of nefarious characters, fearsome creatures, and droids of various levels and across all Star Wars eras. Each character, creature, and droid entry includes game statistics, tactics, and encounter tips.


Reviews

Will: At 160 pages, Threats isn't one of the larger volumes in the Saga system, but its pages teem with various characters for players to encounter, ask for advice, or sometimes fight. Bounty hunters, soldiers, and Force-users from Jedi to Sith and Jensaarai to Force adepts can be found.

Combat-oriented characters aren't the only kinds to be found in Threats of the Galaxy, though. More subtle foes - or possible allies - are available, like crime lords, politicians, information merchants, and even technicians and traders.

There's also a section on beasts that weren't covered in the core rulebook, such as the rancor and Mantellian savrip. Force-affecting creatures also are available, like the vornskr and the Force-blocking ysalamiri from Myrkr. Another section offers many new droids, including R5s and R3s, the Emtrey droid from the Rogue Squadron novels, and rules on playing replica droids.

Characters from across the Star Wars universe, movies and Expanded Universe alike, also get stat write-ups. Talon Karrde and Ghent both have entries, as do Aurra Sing, Bossk, Jango Fett, Lumiya, Darth Maul, Darth Bane, and more.

Some new equipment, such as computer spikes, antisecurity blades, riot shields, and others, are available in specific entries for characters. The book also offers a handful of new species stats, including Bith and Chistori.

Threats of the Galaxy does have some sticking points, however. The book has several stat block errors (Darth Maul's attack rating is lower than it should be, for one), and rules experts will find the errors more easily than those just looking to transplant a character, creature, or droid into their game.

Gary Sarli, a roleplaying author who has worked with Wizards of the Coast before, commented on the errors, and the editing process for RPG books, in a May 2008 post at the Wizards of the Coast discussion boards:

I'd estimate that no more than 5-10% of errors are pure "mistakes" where the author or editor just plain screwed up and didn't know the rules.

Quick qualifier on that last point, however: TotG started its development cycle before SECR* was even in print, IIRC, so the designers and editors definitely hadn't yet learned all the quirks in the rules. In the first year or so of a product line, the percentage of errors from lack of rules knowledge is easily doubled. That editor, and all the freelancers involved, were completely new to the game. (Gary Astleford worked on SotG,* sure, but he didn't have to write character stat blocks in that capacity -- and a book full of stat blocks is hands-down the most time-intensive work in RPG editing, so that means the editor is in a terrible rush during most of the process.)

Also, Threats' stat blocks lack some of the different talents and feats available to characters in later sourcebooks, such as the scoundrel class's sourcebook, Scum and Villainy.

When I've used Threats of the Galaxy, I treat its character listings more as templates to design my own characters. The stat blocks and character descriptions are good places to start when I have a hard time figuring out what abilities a character should have. The existing stats can be improved on and expanded by using material from other sourcebooks in the Saga line.

Threats of the Galaxy is best used as part of the overall Saga line, I've found. When combined with the other sourcebooks, its few flaws are more than outweighed by the basis it provides for gamemasters to create new opportunities and adventures for characters.

[* SECR and SotG are Saga Edition Core Rulebook, the key volume of the Saga version of the RPG, and Starships of the Galaxy, a very-well-recieved guide to the space vehicles of Star Wars - ed.]

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