<em>as opposed to
<i>). Grr. I've felt somewhat at a loose end all day, even with going out. Just stressing, I guess. Doesn't make it any easier to handle, especially when it gets to the stage where I want to do something, yet not any of the available things. Venison sausages helped with that, I must say.
The Game: Star Wars: Saga Edition
The Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Degree of Familiarity: Not much. I've read it a couple of times and planned a game, but that's it.
Books Required: Corebook only
Star Wars: Saga Edition is the third Star Wars RPG to use the d20 rules. The first came out soon after the release of D&D3, and was very innovative in its use of the system. The second was a revised edition, building on the first and taking it in its own direction. Saga Edition strips the game back down to basics and backfills some of the 4e concepts—defenses rather than saves and a much truncated skill list—and included a whole raft of other neat things, like a total lack of AC, the Condition Track, and Talents as class features. I originally got it because I hoped it could run a Clone Wars style game; while I'm not convinced that that's entirely possible below level 20 or so I'm sure a Clone Wars campaign guide will show up and prove me wrong.
I should probably be up front: The original Star Wars films were good space fantasy stories that unfortunately have lodged in the cultural consciousness, leading to people giving a shit about the relative coolness of Boba Fett and Han Solo even today. They were good films, but nowhere near that good. I've not read the prequels, but I've played a lot of Knights of the Old Republic (KotOR), the Bioware game using the old d20 Star Wars rules, set in the universe's history. The prequel films were all utterly shite, but without them we'd not have the Clone Wars, which is the one bit of the Star Wars universe that I actually have more than a passing fondness for. The ARC troopers blowing the everloving shit out of, well, everything that looked at them funny without saying a word; the underwater Jedi; Mace Windu winning against a droid army supported by a flying city; these are the moments of awesome combat that Star Wars should embrace. Unfortunately, the pre-occupation with that wanker Anakin Skywalker sours the whole deal, but even so. The other great portrayal of Star Wars is of course Lego Star Wars, quite possibly the most fun it's possible for two people to have with an air-gap between them.
I have the inkling that I want someone fighting against the Trade Federation's driod army during the Clone Wars. Either an ARC trooper equivalent (badass commando stormtrooper) or a Jedi or something like that. Beyond that, I dunno.
1. Ability Scores
Random ability scores, with the option of point-buy or a default array. Because I've no strong concept, I'll roll the bones (assuming that the bones are discrete readings taken from a generator of pure entropy: random.org to the rescue). Interestingly, this step is all about generating the scores without putting them into a stat—that's step 4. So, 4d6 drop lowest nets me:
Not as bad as I'd feared. Then again, a lot of the d20 games I was in back at uni had me playing a guy with no scores higher than 12 by the dice, so I've learned to hate randomness (Dark Heresy and WHFRP, coming soon, will possibly show a means of avoiding that). Anyway. I've got three good stats, two average, and one sucky. And I beat the default array by a bit, which is nice.
2. Select Species
Why is a Dex bonus so often offset by a Con penalty? A low Dex can be overcome with armour, but Con impacts survivability through HP. But anyway. Rather than worrying about that, I go for Zabrak—a humanoid race with vestigal horns, often dedicated to the point of obsession. Sounds like the kind of mind that could make a good Jedi.
I note a name at this point: Aan Koth. Medium size, speed 6, Basic and Zabrak languages. I also note down the Species Traits: Heightened Awareness lets me reroll a Perception check, though I've got to keep the second result, and Superior Defenses gives me a +1 to all defenses. Which is rather tasty, to tell the truth.
3. Choose Class
This is the point to decide, but I've already chosen. I want a Jedi. Despite my general lack of dribbling about the films and related media, one thought keeps running through my head: I want a fucking lightsaber. About bloody time. That nets me the joint-highest starting HP total, which helps. I note down Proficiencies and Defense Bonuses, the Force Sensitive feat, as well as the fact that I get a lightsaber. Woot!
4. Assign Abilities
Right. Most funky Jedi tricks rely on the Use the Force skill, which is keyed off Charisma. I know that I want a high Wisdom for other Force shenannigans, and a high Strength and Dex both wouldn't go amiss—Dex more than Strength, because I like my bouncy fast characters. I drop the 16 into Charisma, and the 15s into Dex and Wis. The 12 goes to Int, leaving the 11 to Con and the 9 to Str. I don't get any alterations from species, so that's where they're at.
5. Determine Combat Statistics
In other words "do the maths", or "put it all together". Hit points first, I get 30 of them. Defenses come next, and I note that you can add either level or armour to Reflex, while the others always take Level. It's a nice way to integrate armour while removing AC to keep things flowing. As I'm not going to use armour (benefits of a high-ish Dex), that doesn't matter too much to me. As a Zabrak, I get +1 to all Defenses, and the same again as a Jedi. That's pretty rocking. Reflex is 15, all told. Will's the same. Fortitude is a mere 13. Damage Threshold is the same as Fortitude Defense. With a Base Attack Bonus of +1, I have a net Melee Attack Bonus of 0 and a Ranged Attack Bonus of +3. Which sucks, but that's before Feats. Speed is 6, 5 Force Points and 1 Destiny Point.
Though not officially part of this step, I get a bonus language for a high Int. I take Ryl, as I figure he's come to work closely with a number of Twi'leks in the past.
6. Select SKills
Skills are either Trained or Untrained, like 4e. Which is nice, but I do kinda miss Skill Points. With a trimmed list of Skills, they help add differentiation (of course, with a stupidly long list of Skills [I'm looking at you, McWoD] it becomes harder to manage). Still, I'm wibbling a lot even though I only get three picks. Use the Force is a given, and Perception is certainly appropriate . I take Initiative as my last pick, though Acrobatics would also be nice.
7. Select Feats
Just the one to pick, and at this stage in the game it's a no-brainer. Weapon Finesse allows me to use Dexterity in place of Strength for Melee attacks with light weapons and lightsabers.
8. Select A Talent
The Jedi Sentinel talent tree looks pretty cool, dealing as it does with tricks for hunting down minions of the Dark Side, but Lightsaber Combat looks tasty as well. Ever the sucker for swords of burning energy, I grab Deflect—bouncing away incoming ranged attacks is pretty much the archetypal Jedi schtick.
I suspect this is also supposed to be the point where I pick Force Powers, though that's not explicitly stated. I get a suite of 1+Wisdom Mod powers, each usable once per encounter—if I want to use one more than once, I've got to take it multiple times. That'd be fine, but there's no retraining mechanic. Arse. When glancing through the powers, I note that I can assume an average UtF skill check of 18, so taking powers that only have funky effects on a higher DC is risking it. Force Slam looks cool, and certainly has the "waving away a mob of mooks in one". Force Thurst has a similar fun appeal to it, and Battle Strike helps against a big-bad. In general, I'm thinking that he's a Mace Windu type of Jedi, big on using telekinetic tricks to his advantage in combat, but not so much of one for the more ethereal uses. Which will be his downfall, in the end.
9. Determine Starting Credits and Buy Gear
In addition to a lightsaber, I get 3d4*100 credits to buy shit with. 700. Cheers, random.org!
A pistol would be an idea, but I've no Proficiencies. Hrm. An all-temperature cloak sets me back 100, long-range commlink is another 250. A fusion lantern is 25, a basic datapad for 100. A breath mask and spare cannister brings me up to 700.
10. Finish the Character
Aan Koth was born on Iridonia, but he doesn't really remember it. Taken to the Jedi Academy at a very young age, he entered into a rigid reigime of training designed to channel him towards the path of the Sentinel, forever dedicated to tracking down those who drew power from the Dark Side. Despite his natural aptiitude for the Force, he wasn't given a chance to develop his abilities further, instead having to join the fight against the Trade Federation when their droids tried to invade the Twi'lek homeworld of Ryloth. He's usually just a little bit too calm, even when he's throwing around waves of Force power that slam people into walls or brush aside waves of weaker foes. Barely an adult when he was first thrust into a war, that's shaped his outlook on life. War and battles are normal, and it's peacetime that's slightly unnerving, so he relies on others to remind him what to expect when the fighting stops and the Federation are driven away from another planet.
There we go...
Name: Aan Koth
Strength 9 (-1)
Dexterity 15 (+2)
Constitution 11 (0)
Intelligence 12 (+1)
Wisdom 15 (+2)
Charisma 16 (+3)
Hit Points: 30
Damage Threshold: 13
Base Attack Bonus: +1
Melee Attack Bonus: 0/+3 (Weapon Finesse)
Ranged Attack Bonus: +3
Force Points: 5
Destiny Point: 1
Gather Information +3
Knowledge (any) +1
Treat Injury +2
Use Computer +1
Use the Force +8
Weapon Proficiency (Lightsaber)
Weapon Proficiency (Simple)
Lightsaber (2d8 Energy/Slashing)
Breath Mask & 1 cannister