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Clone Wars Campaign Guide Review

Posted By JF on January 20, 2009

The Clone Wars Campaign Guide is now available in stores. It is the 6th sourcebook in Wizards of the Coast's rapidly-growing Saga Edition RPG line. It is co-written by Rodney Thompson, Patrick Stutzman and JD Wiker, is 224 pages long and is full of great illustrations and photos throughout. All the books so far are very-well written and produced, and this one is no exception. On top of that, it's very topical with the new cartoon series currently airing on TV. Here's a look at the contents and some thoughts:

Introduction: A great overview of the state of the galaxy and summaries of the major events that led to the Clone Wars.

Chapter 1: Species presents stats for several new species with some links to the Clone Wars which are now available as player characters. The list includes Dugs, Ikotchi, Kaminoans, Nautolans and Vurks. Some species are presented for the first time in any Star Wars RPG: Nelvaanians, Kerkoidens (General Whorm Loathsom's species), Gen'Dai and Kaleesh. Of these, I don't agree that General Grievous' and Durge's species should be made available to players; Kaleesh are a little too rare, and Gen'Dai are too powerful, even if the abilities are reduced here. And I can't imagine anyone wanting to play a Kaminoan, but you have to appreciate the vast variety of aliens in the Star Wars universe!

Other species are covered later int he book as well, including the Republic Clones (in Chapter 7), Chagrian, Umbaran (in Chapter 10) and Geonosians (in Chapter 11).

As a preview, Wizards are offering the Vurk stats as a free PDF download on their website.

Chapter 2: Heroic Traits deals with how the Clone Wars affect characters living in that period, and then breaks it down for each heroic class, offering several new talents for each; then the chapter offers new uses for 4 of the skills (Knowledge: Tactics, Perception, Survival and Use the Force) in ways that mostly deal with large-scale battles; then follows a list of 21 new Feats; and last but not least, there are 6 pages of new rules about how to add followers to your games.

Chapter 3: Prestige Classes starts with new talents and talent trees for existing Prestige Classes from the Core Rulebook. Then it offers three complete new ones: Droid Commander, Military Engineer and Vanguard.

Chapter 4: The Force adds a lot more options for Force-using characters: 8 new Force powers, 10 new Force talents, 8 new Force techniques, 3 new Force Secrets, and 3 Force-using traditions: the Bando Gora (from the Bounty Hunter video game), The Believers (from the Living Force campaign) and the Korunnai (from Mace Windu's homeplanet and features in Shatterpoint.)

Chapter 5: Equipment and Droids offers a wide array of melee and ranged weapons, armor, general equipment and droid models (13 of them!) that can be useful in any time post-prequel period as well.

Chapter 6: Starships features stats for several new models of space transports and starfighters relevant to the Clone Wars that were not covered in previous RPG books.

Chapter 7: Clone Wars Campaigns is the heart of this sourcebook; it explains in great detail how to run adventures in that era, and how to use all the material contained in the book to good effect. the chapter covers subjects like th decline of the Jedi, the corruption and militarization of the Republic, the rise of major villains, how to play on the Separatist side and how to run large-scale conflicts. On top of that, there are 9 pages of new rules on Mass Combat, including how to control large ground and cehicle units.

Chapter 8: Galactic Gazeteer. By now, this is a staple of the RPG sourcebooks as it provides useful information about the state of the galaxy and updates on the important planets in the era covered. But the chapter also offers "stats" for several new planets, pretty much all the ones visited in both incarnations of the cartoon and in the prequel movies.

Chapter 9: The Jedi is different from Chapter 4 as it offers stats for several Jedi template NPC's in categories such as Jedi Service Corps (ex. AgriCorps Worker) and Specialized Jedi Knights (ex. Jedi Archivist). This is followed by descriptions of the 4 Jedi Councils (did you know there were 3 other than the High Council?), and Influencial Figures offers stats for well-known Jedi such as Mace Windu, Ahsoka Tano, K'kruhk, Quinlan Vos and many others. The chapter is rounded-out with stats for 6 Jedi Vehicles and Starships.

Chapter 10: The Republic describes how the big machine works, as it covers the organization of the government (the Senate, the Supreme Court, etc..) and the Republic Army and Navy (how they are divided in groups or squadrons etc..); Personel offers template stats for several specialized clone troopers (including Clone Commandos and 3 from the Revenge of the Sith video game); Influential Figures gives stats for characters from various EU sources (including Admiral Yularen and Commander Rex); and even more stats are offered under the headings Republic Droids, Republic Vehicles and Republic Starships (too numerous to mention here.)

Check out the stats for the Clone Blaze Trooper offered as a free PDF preview on Wizards' website.

Chapter 11: The Confederacy does the same as the previous chapter did for the Republic: it describes the organization of the Separatist government and droid army, and the various factions composing the Confederacy (Trade Federation, Techno Union, etc.) Personel offers templates for frequently-encountered characters such as Geonosian warriors and Trandoshan mercenaries; Influential Figures covers all the great villains of the Clone Wars, such as Count Dooku, Asajj Ventress and Durge; and the chapter is expanded even more with stats for several Confederacy Droids (tons!), Donfederacy Vehicles and Confederacy Starships.

The final chapter, Chapter 12: Fringe Factions is pretty short, since the conflict is mainly about the Republic vs. the Confederacy which were covered pretty thoroughly int he previous two chapters. But it still describes mercenary factions and gives stats for some major Influential Figures who didn't choose any side including Boba Fett, Nym, Chewbacca and Ziro the Hutt. The chapter ends with a few Vehicles and Starships, and 2 Beasts (Dactillion and Horax).

The book ends with a pretty handy Appendix that classifies all the Characters & Creatures, Droids, and Vehicles & Starships (and Weapon Emplacements) in order of Challenge Level.

Overall, this is an incredible source for Gamemasters and players who want to run exciting and detailed adventures set during the Clone Wars. A lot of general material about this period was covered in the Core Rulebook and other sourcebooks, but this one explains in great detail how the Republic and Confederacy work, and gives tons of new options as far as Starships, Feats, Droids and anything that you can think of that can be useful in those campaigns. This is a must, even if your games are set in later periods as the influence of the Clone Wars is still felt even during the New Jedi Order period.

And of course, to help run those games (and practice the new Mass Combat rules) don't forget the Star Wars Miniatures: The Clone Wars starter sets and booster packs. A perfect companion to this great sourcebook.

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