Why 5e is Not the Right Fit for Stargate

In June it was announced that Wyvern Gaming is producing a new RPG based on Stargate SG-1 and it’s slated to premiere at Gen Con 2020. As a super fan of all the Stargate television series (yes, even Universe), I welcome any Stargate goodness I can get. And while I will almost certainly snap up this new RPG, I don’t actually think the announced 5e license is the best choice.

Let me explain. First, there already is a D20-based version of Stargate. It was produced by AEG in 2003 and was based on their Spycraft chassis. MGM ended up pulling the license so only a few supplements were produced. Even though I didn’t care for the game mechanics, I bought all the books just for the Stargate fluff–it at least made for entertaining reading.

My second issue is with the D20 system itself. While it works great for fantasy where characters become these larger than life heroes, it can seem…odd…for characters that exist in the contemporary world. D20 games tend to have this exponential power curve wherein characters are practically superheroes as their stats go up. Stargate certainly has its fantastic elements, but at no point do I want my SG-1 team member capable one-punching a grizzly bear.

Characters better be wearing these if they seem super-powered.

The AEG version also had a weird mechanic tied to leveling. As a character went up in military rank, they got access to better gear pack-outs. This felt too “gamey” to me. If the SGC was sending me on a dangerous mission and we needed a rocket launcher, wouldn’t they just give us a rocket launcher? It makes sense to limit some gear based on training, but rank? Obviously the new Stargate RPG may have nothing like this, but it illustrates the problems with a leveling system when you are dealing with ordinary humans and, at a game level, you have to give the players something as they level up.

The Wyvern Gaming edition.

A better system for Stargate would be Modiphius’ 2D10 system, the same system used in their Star Trek Adventures. In STA, it is assumed the characters are already highly trained members of Starfleet, so stat and skill increases are pretty minor. As such, there are no “levels” in STA. Instead, changes in the characters are more focused on the personal side, such as their Values and Ideals being challenged as they explore the galaxy. This game system seems much more in line with the spirit of Stargate.

All this being said, I suppose Wyvern Gaming will have the last laugh. I’ll buy all the Stargate RPG products they can make, if for nothing more than to convert it to another system. Well played, Wyvern. Well played.

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