The one sentence review: This is a lot like "Citizens of the Imperium" for d6 Star Wars.
(I thought I was fairly clever coming up with that. then I realized that most gamers under 30 probably have no idea what that refers to. So...)
When Traveller, the original hardish sci-fi RPG came out in 1977 there were 6 career choices: Army, Navy, Marines, Scouts, Merchants, and Other. "Other" was the shady criminal type career while the others were all military or big time corporate. So there was a heavy military/criminal bent to early groups to the point that some people referred to it as "Merchants and Mercenaries". A few years later this book came out and added things like Doctor, Scientist, Pirate, Diplomat, and Barbarian (among others). It really expanded the types of characters you could play and helped bring the universe to life that much more. I still think it's a great example of expansion without power creep. It was a great book for most Traveller campaigns.
Getting back to WEG Star Wars the core concept of the entire line was Rebel-affiliated characters working against the Empire. Despite including templates like the "kid", the bounty hunter, and the alien force student, the assumption was that players would be involved with the rebellion in some way even if they were not a formal part of the military organization - kind of like "Rebels". As time went on there was some loosening of this approach and more neutral smuggler type campaigns were given some support. This book opens things up quite a bit more.
I admit I was surprised - I would have thought this book would have been held in higher regard amongst the d6 community but it doesn't really seem to have that. it did come out late in the game's run - 1995 - but I was impressed with what it held.
- There's a roughly 25 page section on character backgrounds. This poses a series of questions players can answer about their characters from family and friends and major events of one's past to a fairly long section on choosing a homeworld. Now it does not have a nifty set of tables to roll this up randomly like some systems do but it does have a decent discussion of the kinds of things that go into each point of interest in building up a character's history.
- "Roleplaying Imperials" - say what? I've had players ask about doing this as a campaign (and largely declined it) but I had no idea there was WEG support for it of any kind. There's 12 pages of discussion about different kinds of campaigns from things like TIE Squadron pilots to an Imperial intelligence campaign. The TIE Fighter computer game is noted in this section as driving interest in this type of game and that's completely true - a lot of people liked that enough to consider doing it in a tabletop game. The discussion is followed by about 18 pages of Imperial character templates which are more varied than I expected. It's a solid start if you're interested in running that kind of game. Even in another system.
- The third major section is Independent Templates - this is exactly what it sounds like. 30 odd pages of character types that are not particularly tied to either side: Scientists of various types, reporters, entertainers, corporate types, and a wookie bounty hunter as well.
- The fourth section has roughly 15 pages of Rebel type templates, particularly New Republic types because that was a bigger deal at the time in the Expanded Universe material. It's alright if a lot less of an expansion than the prior sections.
- Finally there are about 20 pages of NPC writeups. This was the least interesting section of the book to me but it does cover a variety of types and could be useful if you need an emergency drop-in NPC with some background information.
Now to clarify - this is in no way essential in the sense that the main rulebook is essential or some of the other books are for Jedi-heavy or Smuggler-heavy campaigns are. If you would like to show your players some options beyond the core book I would say this is the single largest collection of templates in any other single volume. If you're contemplating an Imperial campaign then i would definitely recommend it, as well as if you're thinking of a d6 version of an Edge of the Empire style campaign.