Jeremy hopes the Force is with him as he pursues a forensics career in the swamps of Louisiana.
What Are the Best Species in the Star Wars RPG?
Admittedly, 2007 was a long time ago, but Star Wars' official Dungeons & Dragons venture was a treat I grew up with, one that I find holds up surprisingly well today. Since the new-canon timeline (Episodes 7–9) didn't exist back then, it's best used for Legends campaigns, although the base rules can easily be transferred to canon games.
Like most tabletops, the Star Wars RPG lets you choose both a character race and class, further fleshing out your specs by having you select feats and talents. Thus, you have millions of potential characters, but today we'll focus on your species. After all, the Star Wars universe houses more than humans, with each alien arriving with different pros and cons. So, which intergalactic travelers reign supreme? These are the ten best character races in the 2007 Star Wars Role-Playing Game!
+2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom
Keen Force Sense
Suffocates without breath mask
Blind without protect goggles
Kel Dor langauge (in addition to Basic)
10. Kel Dor
Every race knows the default Basic language, but like many aliens, Kel Dor (think Plo Koon from the prequels) also naturally learn their native tongue. They suffer a -2 stat boost to Constitution, which lowers their overall health, but gain +2 in dexterity (for dodging and firing ranged weapons) and Wisdom (for Force powers and intuition). Additionally, Kel Dor have Low-Light Vision, letting them ignore partial concealment due to darkness, and they have a keen Force Sense, letting them reroll Use the Force checks made to sense the Force, keeping the better result!
However, Kel Dor must wear protective goggles and a special breath mask outside their home planet; if they don't, they're considered blind and start suffocating. Thus, be careful when rolling those pesky natural ones (automatic misses), as not only will your action fail, your GM might elect to have your devices sustain damage; be sure to carry spares.
+2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence
Because they're not seen much in the films, blue-skinned Duros are often forgotten, which is a shame considering their powers. They have bonuses to both Dexterity and Intelligence (which dictates how main trained skills you know), making them some of the best scoundrels and scouts in the game. Duros also speak Durese and are expert pilots, letting them reroll any unsatisfactory pilot check, but they have to keep the result even if it's worse.
Every party needs a good rogue, and Duros offer some of the best, especially if your sessions encompass space battles in addition to ground combat.
+4 Strength, +2 Consitution
-2 Dexterity, -2 Wisdom, -2 Constitution
Are knowledgeable of but cannot physically speak Basic
Move -1 on condition track when rage ends
Weapon Familiarity (bowcaster)
Climb and Intimidation bonuses
The most dynamic of all races, Wookiees are the only species to have a +4 in anything, accounting for their colossal strength. Combined with +2 Constitution, they make excellent melee warriors, so give them lightsabers or vibroblades. That said, you have three -2 penalties, so your overall stat adjustments balance out.
Still, Wookiees can once per day fly into a rage (as a swift action), which grants +2 to melee attack and damage rolls, further increasing their physical dominance. They also regain hit points at twice the normal rate, can take 10 on climb checks even when threatened, and may reroll persuasion checks used for intimidation, but have to accept the new result. As long as they're proficient with rifles, they also gain automatic handling of the bowcaster (Chewbacca's weapon of choice).
Overall, Wookiees are excellent units when balanced by others who can compensate for their failings. They aren't subtle, charismatic, or agile, so use others for diplomacy and ranged attacks, and their inability to speak Basic can be troublesome if separated from the group. That said, you won't find anyone with better melee prowess and HP regeneration than a faithful Wookiee.
Extra trained skill
No bonus languages
Humans have no stat modifiers, and they lack any bonus languages, but they're still a versatile bunch you can take in any direction. Humans simply gain a bonus trained skill (useful) and feat (very useful) at the start of the game, giving them greater customization than other races.
It's as simple as that; if you want a well-rounded unit or particularly customized unit who can perform well in multiclass roles, humans are a strong choice.
+1 species bonus to all defenses
Zabraks are well-balanced warriors who don't have as many strengths as some, but really don't have significant failings. Like humans, their basic stats aren't modified in any way, but they receive a handy +1 bonus to all defenses, boosting all three (Reflex, Fortitude, and Will) and becoming harder to hit on all fronts.
Heightened Awareness also lets you reroll any Perception check, though you have to accept the reroll even if worse. Since Perception is commonly used, this is definitely an appreciated bonus, and the Zabrak language on top of Basic is nice. If you want to save the hassle of picking bonus skills and feats as a human, or simply want to imitate the iconic Darth Maul, try a Zabrak on for size.
Sullustans (you may remember Nien Nunb as Lando's co-pilot in Return of the Jedi) look a little funny, but they enjoy several excellent traits. Their lower Constitution is balanced by extra Dexterity, making them excellent pilots and gunsmen, they share the Zabrak's ability to reroll Perception checks, and like Wookiees, they can take 10 on climb checks even when distracted.
They also have full Darkvision, meaning they ignore concealment—even total concealment—from darkness, although they can't perceive color without some light. Still, this vision, combined with their Perception rerolls, makes them superb anti-stealth units who can reliably spot ambushes and assassins before they attack your party.
+2 Intelligence, +2 Wisdom
Perception Skill Focus (when trained)
Mon Calamari language
4. Mon Calamari
The aquatic Quarren and semi-aquatic Gungans just can't compete with the awesome bonuses of the Mon Calamari, who inhabit their planet of the same name. You likely remember this race thanks to Admiral Ackbar's famous "It's a trap!" line in Return of the Jedi, and they bear an impressive stat spread, gaining more than they lose.
Mon Calamari can't drown, and they can reroll any swim check (accepting the result) plus take 10 on swim checks even if threatened. Basically, these guys are your go-to units for underwater excursions. They don't have full Darkvision, but they do wield Low-Light, letting them ignore partial concealment from dark environments. Throw in a skill bonus for Perception (when possessed as a trained skill) and their native language, and you have a versatile character competent on many fronts.
Toughness Bonus Feat
You may recognize this species from bounty hunter Bossk's appearance in The Empire Strikes Back. Trandoshans possess an ongoing enmity with the Wookiees, but they're surprisingly similar in functionality, favoring Strength over Dexterity. This makes them excellent in the soldier class and arguably the best tanks in the game. Not only do they have a naturally thick hide that grants +1 to their Reflex defense (the most commonly used), they also gain the excellent Toughness bonus feat, which grants extra Hit Points as you level.
More than that, they're the only race who can regenerate a lost limb, which occurs in 1d10 days (anywhere between 1–10 days based on a die roll). Full Darkvision means foes can't hide in the shadows, and (like most races), Trandoshans can naturally speak their native tongue, granting a surprisingly versatile skill set.
+2 Wisdom, +2 Charisma
+2 Will Defense
Life Science Knowledge Bonus
Ithorians makes some of the best Jedi (and Sith) in the game. They don't suffer any Strength or Constitution detriments, and their Dexterity penalty doesn't hinder you too much when wielding a lightsaber. Plus, the Wisdom and Charisma bonuses are helpful for Force powers, making Ithorians ideal for consular-oriented builds. In addition, a +2 Will Defense helps resist enemy Force abilities. While knowledge checks in life sciences aren't especially common, if you choose it as a trained skill, Ithorians automatically gain a skill focus, a nice bonus to offset its general scarcity.
The Survival Instinct ability is more helpful, letting you reroll (and have to accept) any survival check. Finally, as a standard action, Ithorians can emit a sonic attack at the cost of moving -1 on the condition track. This powerful bellow hits a six-square cone and deals 3d6 damage to anyone in range. Like most area attacks, the cool thing is how you still deal half damage even if you miss, ensuring you always land at least some hurt on your victims (assuming they don't have the Evasion feat).
+2 Intelligence, +2 Wisdom
Mostly remembered as Jedi Council member Ki-Adi-Mundi, Cereans compensate for their Dexterity failings with nice Intelligence and Wisdom scores, meaning they're also excellent Jedi candidates. Beyond that, Cereans are simply unrivaled when it comes to acting first in battle thanks to their pair of Initiative bonuses: they can reroll any Initiative check, and gain a skill focus when possessing Initiative as a trained skill.
Basically, Cereans are very likely to move first in any encounter, a handy bonus useful in just about every skirmish. Added to their overall stat gains and bonus language, these guys are formidable both on and off the battlefield, and I definitely recommend testing one yourself.
More Star Wars Role-Playing Games
Since this book's release, we've seen newer Star Wars tabletop adventures, like Edge of the Empire, which branches out and provides different stats and abilities than D&D players will be used to. Whether that's good or bad depends on your perspective; it's something fresh, but it takes additional time to learn.
If you've played D&D, Pathfinder, or similar tabletops, I recommend the Star Wars RPG because most of its mechanics will already be familiar, and it definitely gave my group many exciting adventures in the galaxy far far away. Despite its growing rarity, it only costs around $70. To non-players, I know that sounds hefty, but it's honestly cheaper than several new D&D books, and you might be able to find cheaper PDF files online.
I definitely recommend this sci-fi classic for your shelf, but for now, as we eagerly await future Wizards of the Coast galactic expansions, vote for your favorite species, and I'll see you at our next Star Wars countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill
Liz Westwood from UK on November 21, 2018:
Sounds like you are a world authority on anything Star Wars. This is a useful article for any Star Wars gamer.