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Does anyone know the name of the role playing game from around the 80s (or possibly 70s) that was sort of a Star Wars ripoff?

  • There was combat, experience points you could earn.
  • There were tall Jawa type creatures with glowing eyes that had swords like lightsabers.
  • There were bug type aliens.
  • They used something similar to the force but it was called something slightly generic.
  • The characters could be mercenaries or humans, and when character building you could only have a dyed color of hair.

I don't think it was Star Frontiers, and I can't recall if the dice used was D10 or D20.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! Take the tour. Can you remember any other details about this system (such as names, artwork, or dice involved) that could help identify it? \$\endgroup\$
    – MikeQ
    Feb 27 '20 at 2:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ Reminder: Don't answer in comments (including partial or speculative answers). If people think they might have an idea of what RPG the OP is thinking of, they should leave that as an answer. If they're not confident of their answer, they can ask for further clarification about specific aspects of the remembered RPG before leaving that answer, e.g. if there are many RPGs that might fit the description, or if they think OP might be misremembering a certain detail. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Feb 27 '20 at 3:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ Were the only aliens the Jawalike dudes and the bugs? Were the bugs sentient like in Alien or drones like in Starship Troopers? Were the Force powers so generic as to be called simply psionics? Was mercenary a race like human? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 27 '20 at 15:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ What was the production value of the books/materials? Was it commercial TSR-looking stuff or did it seem more home grown? Did it come in a boxed set with dice or was it just a book/booklet? \$\endgroup\$
    – krb
    Feb 27 '20 at 17:54
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Possibly Star Ace.

While I cannot hit all of your bullets, there was a game called Star Ace, published by Pacesetter Games from 1984 to 1986. There was combat and experience points, and human was a race option. Thematically, the game was similar to Star Wars in that there was an evil empire that the good guys opposed. In addition, the game featured a special ability called "noetics," which was basically Star Wars-style Force powers. The game only used percentile dice, two d10s.

The game had what were essentially light sabers--called "beam sabers" in the core rulebook. The jawa-like creatures you are recalling may be the Zoe--3-foot-tall aliens who wore robes like jawas, but always had their hoods down in the game's art work. Their heads were bulbous with large eyes. As for insectile aliens, I seem to recall they existed but cannot find them in the materials I have access to. They may have been in a different source book.

One of the most memorable visual features of the game materials was the player character race Kleibor, which looked like humanoid polar bears and featured very prominently in the game's artwork. If the game you are thinking of is Star Ace, then that will probably ring a bell. Other races were the Crystal Clones (very reminiscent of Vulcans) and Traka, who look a little like the stars of the Broadway version of Cats.

Star Ace Aliens book showing Kleibor and Traka on cover with other aliens.

Another thing about Star Ace that might jar your memory is that the theme of a deck of cards was used. The four character classes, or "orders," equated to suits, so if you were a warrior type, you were Spades; the noetic specialist was a Clubs; Diamonds were stealth/social skill characters (rogues); and Hearts were tech specialists. Playing cards were painted on the starships in much of the artwork.

Star Ace rule books

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG Stackexchange. What an excellent answer! Feel free to take the tour and join us in chat. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 10 '20 at 16:44

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