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Valkyrie Magazine and RPGnet are happy to provide this review.

Cracken's Rebel Field Guide
Star Wars
West End Games
[sterling]9.95 - ???pp

As the name suggests, this is a handbook of tricks and treats. The body of the book describes new equipment and upgrades, but there are also rule additions - systems for jury-rigging and prosthetics, and info on computers. There's also enough data on General Craken to turn him into a useful NPC.

The book is very bitty - for instance, there are three new computer devices, five new vehicles and so on. Much of the space is given over to diagrams (some more useful than others) and to making the pages look like data-files.

However, this doesn't mean the individual items aren't fun - I particularly liked the look of the Imperial Bio-Hound and some of the security (and security beating) devices. Some of the jury-rigging ideas are pretty neat, too - they range from giving a blaster a hair trigger to rigging a cloud car for extra speed to creating traps of varying degrees of lethality (done wrong, at least one of them could take out your entire party...). To be honest, a lot of these are things any reasonably competent referee could busk, though they are good on that all important jargon.

I wasn't so keen on the prosthetics and cyborging sections, largely because I don't think Star Wars is the right place for them (and yes, I know all about Luke Skywalker's hand - but this stuff is getting seriously Gibsonesque).

The lack of focus might not matter, except that it's hard to see who the book is aimed at. If it's for players, things like the bio-hound are out of place, since you'd really want to stick it onto unsuspecting players. If it's for referees, I don't quite see how you'd introduce some of the stuff into play. I mean, you're hardly going to suggest your players stop and jury-rig their speeder in the middle of your carefully orchestrated chase sequence, are you? So it follows that the players will need to have read the book and remembered to make the appropriate adjustments - and there goes your chance to land them with some of the nastier secrets it contains (but it does give them the option to develop a genuine Falcon style freighter, which could be good value).

This leaves us with the new rules. The prosthetics ones look pretty well balanced, and the cost alone should keep them rare in most sensible campaigns. The explanation of computer languages is pure techno-babble, but hey, who cares.

The jury-rigging ones are more likely to get a work out, though I'd have preferred jury-rig as an advancement of a particular skill, rather than as a roll on Technology, as here. However, this way it's available even to beginning characters - and you have to love a failure table that includes stops working but need only be slammed hard against something to work again... I mean, how realistic do you want?

Review by Liz Holliday

Product supplied by Hobbygames

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