DEBRIEFING: THE STARGATE SG-1 ROLEPLAYING GAME
MY OTHER SITES:
THE COST OF STARGATE RPG BOOKS
I have usually been a very practical person when it comes to the dollars and cents value of my entertainment. When I ran Stargate, I was still a college student and had been for several years, so I had no choice but to be frugal. The books were also fairly new, so finding them used or at a good discount was a quest in and of itself. Although I've had a bit more cash to spend since then, I still love a bargain and I still look for games I know I can run for years to come. Since Stargate is one of those games, let's talk about the costs of the Stargate SG-1 game products, such as they are.
Keep in mind that I have a coherent goal here. I want other folks to play this game. I had a great time with it, and so did everyone I ran it for. At the same time, however, I want people to know that there is more than one place to get these books, and there is more than one set of prices being asked for them. Before you look for these books you should at least know what the base list prices are. That way, you'll either know how much cash you'll be spending, or you'll know what to compare other prices to. You can pay less than the listed price for all of the Stargate books if you really want to; you just have to know where to look.
The Cost of Entertainment
For those who already play roleplaying games, the prices of most gaming books are of little surprise. There's a loose standard and it's only been going up for mainstream games. Most roleplaying core books are sold for approximately $25.00 - $50.00, with many recent releases at the higher end. Additional resource books will cost anywhere from $10.00-$25.00, depending on the type and the depth of the resource. The prices may or may not be considered reasonable, but these are the prices that many gamers are willing to pay. For outsiders, the upfront cost may seem steep, but great gaming books give a lot more than you might think.
First and foremost, gaming books are resources that extend well beyond themselves. They are used for their own content, but they are also used as guides for creating many other things: people, places, creatures, and so on. Gaming books help to keep ideas in order and to provide methods for game creation, but you can also take the bits you like from one setting and use them with an entirely different system. Some books also give you entire stories that you can use, either in whole or in part. You can keep these books for as long as you like and use them over and over again, for years to come.
The first game I set out to run lasted, on and off, for around four years (for more information on this game, see my Dungeons and Dragons site in the links section). My group consisted of five people for much the time. We played most weekends of our years together, and I referenced my books often when we weren't playing in order to work on the upcoming session. I did not pay full price for my set of the core rulebooks for D&D; as I recall I paid about half the standard price, with very decent prices for shipping. So, for roughly $45.00, I got three books that I used regularly to entertain five people for almost half a decade. Even if I had paid full price, it would have been about $95.00 for four years' worth of fun.
Wanna think about what we would have paid going to the movies every weekend? Living right up against Los Angeles, movie ticket prices have been anywhere from $10.00 - $15.00 per person...
The Stargate SG-1 core rulebook book is a tremendous resource. It has information you can use in Stargate games and other modern d20 games, as well. It is about 500 pages in length, in full color, with tons of content and some pictures and diagrams for reference. It also has a decent index for a book of such a length. What's more, you really don't need much else to play the game. You don't even have to have the Player's Handbook with you, if you instead use the SRD available for free through Wizards of the Coast. (See the links section for a link to a hyper-text version of the SRD.)
There are four other resource books that have been put out by AEG for the Stargate game. They are on the same nice paper and fully in color. They all present information that is not to be found in the main book, so it's not like you're buying redundant products. Most of these books present game mechanics for things that have been shown on the television show, as well as characters. All of the books have new information, however, and one of them (I forget now which) features extended information on vehicles, which is missing from the main book.
Sony did not renew its license with Alderac in 2005, so everything that was released for the Stargate RPG has been out of print since then. Many of the books had decent runs, however, so you can still find them used for reasonable prices. Two of the books are available as PDFs from Drivethrurpg, as well, which hints at how the world of roleplaying books has changed since the Stargate RPG came to an end. The physical stores where you might have been able to find second-hand copies are largely gone (though if you do find a local gaming store and they have used books, always check the racks). Drivethru provides previews of the PDFs it carries, so you can get an idea about whether or not you want them, but only two of the books are being distributed that way and only in PDF. It seems unlikely that we will ever see print on demand versions of the SG-1 books, but you never know, and many gamers will do just fine without physical copies.
As of this writing, on November 12, 2013, I was able to find the following prices for Stargate roleplaying products available online*:
Stargate SG-1 Roleplaying Core Book
Stargate SG-1 Fantastic Frontiers Season One
Living Gods: Stargate System Lords (seems to be quite rare, out of print, covering the villains, and thus is ridiculously inflated)
First Steps: The Stargate Unexplored Worlds Sourcebook
Friends and Foes : Stargate Season Two
* I do not claim that these prices are steady, or make any claim about supplies. These figures could easily change in any direction, or supplies could become limited. Please do your own searches so that you get the most current prices available.
You will need the core book to play, but the extra sourcebooks are just that - extra. They are good for more definition and flavor, but you can play quite well without them. Watching the show again can reveal a wealth of uncovered ground and plot hooks, particularly if you expand your viewing to include Atlantis and Universe, neither of which were hinted at in the RPG. If you want to run Stargate in the later years, you'll also want to hit up guides to the show's later seasons since so much happened that the game did not get to cover. In addition, if you run other space-faring games, those books will likely have things that you can throw into Stargate, or you could take Stargate's millieu and run it in a different system altogether.
If you run the base game, it is important to have at least two core rulebooks within the group. One reason for this is that the core rulebook has an amazing amount of gear, and players can choose new gear once per mission. This can take a decent amount of time if there is only one book for the players to use. Another concern is that there are a great deal of different combat rules, feats, and skill uses that players may need to look up for certain situations. It's nigh impossible to memorize them all, but a PDF of the main book would probably be sufficient for a second copy.