Showing posts with label WotC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WotC. Show all posts

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Tired Thoughts on Tired OGL

I love posts that start with the Chaos Star
The OGL has attained the maximum cultural entropy. Even my wife has a passing familiarity with OGL, which is impressive as she is a nurse and doesn't do "nerd stuff". She's still pretty hot that our children's collective initials are NPC. 

Anyway, I took on this new project to write a campaign setting. And then I busted my shoulder, leaving me to do everything with one hand tied behind my back... literally. Now that I have the immobilizer off, I can start moving and thinking again. 

Here is the long and short of my thoughts on the OGL. 

I have 6 products on DriveThruRPG: 

  1. Kobold’s Folly Mini Setting
  2. Compass Rose Inn Mini Setting
  3. The Hex Pack
  4. Swashbuckler Character Class for D&D and AD&D
  5. Zero to Hero: Uncommon Heroes
  6. Character Sheet for AD&D
Three of these products have nothing to do with D&D, the OGL or SRD: Kobold’s Folly and Compass Rose Inn Mini Settings plus The Hex Pack. I can ignore these. 

The other three are directly tied to D&D. They are nothing without the original game. If push comes to they are either going to be withdrawn or go to "OGL version whatever". I have some decisions to make, I guess. The Swashbuckler Character class really needs to be burned to the ground and remade or dumped in the historical stupidity bin. I'm ok with either. I'd like to rework Zero to Hero into OSE, so I need to wait and see what Old Games Essentials does. The character sheet is a historical snapshot that assumes the use of a couple of books, I am not sure if it needs to be connected to the SDR or OGL because it is literally nothing but an image of a collection of words and numbers that are very context specific to a certain version of a D&D game.  

I have come to the conclusion that I need to abandon D&D and ignore three of my products linked to the SRD and OGL while reworking the other three into something that doesn't remotely touch the works of Wizards of the Coast. 

I have decided to come up with a completely new game system. One of my own devising. In the best case, I am the next WotC. The worst-case scenario is no one uses it. 

What I know now: 
  • I have the basic idea of a game system. 
  • Playtesting has started.
  • It will be called "Zero to Hero", which I am 99.9% is not a copyrightable name. That's cool, I'll deal with it if I can. 
    EDIT - No, No, this is no longer correct. I think I will call it "The Hearts System". 
  • My first book, "Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners" will be worked into this somehow. I don't know how. 
  • I will press on with my new campaign setting and tool it to work with "Zero to Hero". 
  • I need to come up with a better naming convention because if I find too many things referencing "Zero to Hero" I will have to change the name. 
So here we are. 

This is a cross-post with my Ko-Fi project

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Additional Force Feats for my Star Wars Campaign

Based off the new Star Wars movies, the Rebels series and The Mandalorian I have a couple of Force Feats I want to add to my campaign. Strangely, not all of the original force feats displayed by Luke, Leia and Vader are a part of the original WotC Star Wars book. This book was for The Phantom Menace, but oddly didn't include anything from the original 3 movies.

These Feats are more dangerous and useful than the last set I posted. While I spell them out as all being telekinesis in some form or another, they are under the Alter feat. 

Almost all of these are based off the Force Lighting feat, with the DC adjusted for lower levels. 

Telekinesis allows the force user to grab, throw and manipulate items at a distance. Within this group there are 4 feats. 

The force user can grab a loose object and pull it to themselves. This requires one level of force use. At low levels, this is a full round action. At higher levels, it is a move action. The object will end up in their hand or in a desired landing place near them. If two force users are contesting the control of an object, the one with higher die roll wins, no matter the DC requirement or level difference.

This will usually result in a tug of war, where the lower level character has the exact same chance of winning as the higher level character. The primary problem for the lower level character is the higher level character may be able to make more than one attempt per round, the second of which is uncontested. This seriously antagonizes Dark Side characters and they may needless continue the tug of war with the lesser Force user until some other event prevents them from continuing the war. 

Dark Side users gain a Dark Side point each time they repeat this action against another user. 

Use the script, Hayden.
Force User's Level     DC
1-3                              15  (Full Round Action)
4-6                              14  (Full Round Action) 
7-12                            13  (Move Action)
13-20                          12  (Move Action)
+21+                           10  (Move Action)

There is only one modifier to this DC roll, ownership. If the object in question belongs to the character, the DC drops by 2. 

This feat has a cost of 1 vitality per object per round. Characters are limited to one object per 3 levels. 

Examples: Ankin levitating fruit, Luke recovering his saber. 

Sometimes this feat is used as Jedi drinking game.
A force user can lift an item into the air or pin it to the ground. It requires one level of force use and the Grab feat. 

Dark Side users can inflict damage at the same rate as falling a given distance, while Light Side users will tend not damage the item. Like the Grab ability, it has a DC score to succeed against inanimate objects and there is a limit to the number of times they can do this per round. This power only works against inanimate objects. 

Force User's Level     DC
4-6                              15  (Full Round Action) 
7-12                            14  (Move Action)
13-20                          12  (Move Action)
+21+                           10  (Move Action)

The vitality cost is identical to Grab, one per round per object. There is no upper limit to how many things they may lift except the cost. The cost is based on when the objects are moving, not the fact that they have moved. As a consequence, a force user may lift dozens of objects and hold them stationary for a long time. Gracefully returning the object to a resting place will cost more vitality and have its own required DC roll.  

Examples: Rey vs. the rocks, Luke entertaining Yoda. 

Forceful Impact: 

This power is more aggressive than the last two. The force user violently pushes an object or person either out of their way or into a fixed object for damage. Being lifted into the air or slammed to the ground is one of the Force effects that cannot be contested or counter acted by another Force feat. It requires both the alter Feat and the Lift feat. 

This power does have a number of different uses. First, it can be used to hurl an item at a target or hurl a target into another object. There is a DC roll: 

Force User's Level     DC
4-6                              15  (Full Round Action) 
7-12                            14  (Full Round Action)
13-20                          12  (Move Action)
+21+                           10  (Move Action) 

Dark Side users can inflict falling damage on a victim. A Light Side user will can knock someone down, but generally won't hurt living beings. A victim can resist this damage if they can make a reflect save. If pinned to a surface, the victim must make a Fortitude save in the next round to begin moving again. 

One unusual use of this power is to safely propel a target to a destination, as if they lept the distance. When used against a friendly target, the DC is reduced by one. 

When used against a friendly force user, that person can use Forceful Impact to guide themselves to a perfect landing along their flight path. This is a separate roll and will not modify the other character's DC roll. Failure indicates they land where the other person intended, not their choice of landing spots. 

The cost of this power is two vitality points per round per object or target. If pinning a target, the cost must be paid, successful or not. If the force user is adept enough, they can push back and absorb energy. The cost of this is 4 vitality point per unit of damage absorbed, plus a second DC check for Dissipate energy. If both rolls are successful AND the force user dies, there will be a one round delay in the blast to allow people to escape. 

Examples: Obi Wan in every fight in the Prequels, Kanan saving his friends, Kanan and Ezra escaping various fights. 

HR is not involved with the Imperial
Field Promotion Program.

Clutch is completely surrounds a target, prevents movement and can cause damage. It may incidentally lift a target from the ground. It requires the Grab feat and 7 levels of force experience. 

Force User's Level     DC
7-12                            15  (Full Round Action)
13-20                          14  (Move Action)
+21+                           13  (Move Action) 

The force user may inflict 1d6 points of damage per round at a cost of 2 vitality per damage die rolled. The user may choose how many damage dice to roll up to their current level. They may be required to do this for multiple rounds for the desired effect if they guess wrong. When used against a living being, the user receives Dark Side Points equal to the damage done. Light Side users will be inclined to use this power against droids or other non-living targets, while Dark Side users will attack anyone with this ability. 

If the force user has both the sense and alter feats, they may subdue a target for as long as desired, with or without inflicting damage so long as they succeed their DC roll. The sense feat also allows the force practitioner the ability to attack targets at vast distances so long as they can sense the target in some way. For example, they could use a camera to view the target or may hear foot steps at the target approaches from behind. 

Examples: Vader's force choke, Luke crushing the Dark Trooper. 

It wasn't a person, so it wasn't that Dark.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Additional Force Feats for my Star Wars Campaign

Based off the new Star Wars movies, the Rebels series and The Mandalorian I have a couple of Force Feats I want to add to my campaign. Strangely, not all of the original force feats displayed by Luke, Leia and Vader are a part of the original WotC Star Wars book. This book was for The Phantom Menace, but oddly didn't include anything from the original 3 movies. These are not all that incredibly overpowered feats, I merely want more options for my players. 

From the movies, the Rebel TV series, and the Mandalorian, I created 4 more Sense Feats: Whisper, Audience, Intrusion and Affinity, with examples. None of these powers have a cost. 

You can make your thoughts known over a distance, mind to mind. Communication is one way unless two force users have this feat or are somehow related (family or close friends). 
Prerequisites: Sense, Force level 2. 

Benefit: This is silent, mind to mind communication between two characters. It is initiated the force user and the target does not need to respond in anyway. In cases where there is a language barrier, simple thoughts are translated. If a target of this feat is a force user, the communication is two-way. It can be used to form a special link between two force users, like the secret language created by twins, useable over a distance. If the connection is strong, then the location or director of a character can be transmitted. 

Examples: Luke and Leia in The Empire Strikes Back and Grogu and Ahsoka in the Mandalorian. 

Luke calls to Leia

This force feat allows a force user to present themselves to another person. An image of the one requesting an audience appears in the mind of the other. This can be alarming to the target. If two force users engage in this feat, the effect is two-way. Note, the target and user cannot see where the other is. 

Benefits: The target and the projector can see each other in real time and communicate without threat of contact. The illusion is very complete, perhaps causing the practitioners the fight and quarrel as if they were really there. No damage can be inflicted in this way, however people may damage their own environment. Attempting to discern a hostile target's location is a DC 20 and must be derived from clues.  
Prerequisites: Sense and force level 5.
Examples: Kylo Ren and Rey in The Last Jedi. 

Swinging a lightsaber at an illusion is bad.

A force Intrusion has one of two effects, depending on the number of targets. Against multiple targets, the force user can project an image of themselves great distances. Against a single foe, it can be used to compel them reveal information and tell the truth. 

Benefits: An Intrusion can trick opponents into believing the force user is present or even in their head. With extreme concentration, the person can manipulate small items as if they were really present. When used against a single target, a DC check equal to the targets Wisdom will prevent the target from lying for a single round. The target will know they cannot lie for the round and can try to deflect the conversation. This second type of Intrusion is a dark side power. Most people know this is ineffective as a means of interrogation. 

Examples: Luke appearing on Crait, Kylo's interrogation Rey and Poe. A notable except is Vader, who could use this power but does not. It's easier to choke people. People who are flexible in their morality find deflection of questions easy, while more trusting people have harder time. Compare Han and Poe to Rey. 

Better than being there.

Force Affinity can make a victim or group of victims more disposed to leave the user alone or be more friendly. It only works on living creatures, not droids. While not generally a dark side feat, over reliance can have a side effect where the user believes they can charm anyone resulting in instant failure. For example, Kylo and everyone he orders around, Anakin trying to command droids, and the young Obi Wan. 

Benefits: on a DC roll equal to the target's Wisdom, the creature will ignore the force user. On a DC equal to the target's combined Wisdom and Intelligence, the creature will treat the practitioner as a friendly. This will work better on single animals better than intelligent creatures. Pack dynamics can be a hassle for the force user as it could trigger attacks by other members of the pack. Predators are an additional DC 5 because this doesn't change the basic nature of the creature. 

Offering an attractive, different option, choice or making a successful animal handling skill check will provide a longer lasting affinity lasting more than a round. A GM may allow multiple rolls to allow an earnest character to actually befriend the target.  

Attacks on the victim instantly end the affinity. An attack of any kind will cause animals to flee, even if the attack is not on them or even to their benefit. 

Prerequisites: Sense and force level 1. 

Examples: Leia communicating with the Ewoks, Luke trying to calm the Ranor (and failing) and Ezra's ability to commune with every animal. 

This could also be the "Jedi Mind Trick", which seems to make people predisposed to an idea go along with it rather than have a whole new idea. The Stormtroopers were not surprised that those weren't the droids they were looking for, it already happened 80 times that day. Watto on the other hand, had no plan to give stuff away ever, so it couldn't work on him. Luke flat out appeals Bib's greed and desire for praise to turn him to his will. 

Ezra uses this ability on nearly every animal he encounters.

I hope you enjoy these and add them to you game. 

Monday, January 25, 2021

The Last Package Arrived Today

My last package from Amazon arrived today. Now I am almost ready to start a second series of post on modeling. I'll be working on these Bandai 1/144 scale models over the summer. You can find them at many hobby shops, but I've had the best luck on prices at the Big Bad Toy Store

One of the snags with series posts is they start strong and either come to an early conclusion or they just peter out due to a lack of inspiration. 

I hope to change that this year by having a spring/summer series ready to go. I also have a couple of things in my back pocket. My Star Wars campaign looks good to restart and even more exciting (for me anyway) it looks like my gang is ready to go back to the Peninsula of Plenty campaign, perhaps as a hexcrawl. That's two more series to update for the Blog. 

The only problem now is time. I've had my basement flood and defy all attempts to remedy and I recently started a new job which takes up my evenings. My weekend is now Tuesday-Wednesday and I work every holiday for the foreseeable future. I'd know how things will work out, but they will. 

At this point, I am thinking of retiring the Podcast. I really can't see how I'll have the time for all of this. Time will tell. 

Monday, December 21, 2020

YT-3000 Type Freighter for Star Wars Campaign

My Neimoidian bounty hunter, La'ow Houd needs a ship. I started working on a rough image for it. I'm trying to get some sense of proportion and I think I got that down. 

What is missing is details on the front view. A lot of those lines just don't mesh up. One of the issues is, I work in a place that doesn't allow electronics so I am working on paper and from memory. 

As you can see, it has lines similar to the Falcon, but it is not the hot rod that the Falcon is. It has only one gun turret, the radar dish is on the bottom in place of one of the gun turrets and it has a massive cargo hold in the back. I wanted to the ship to be reminiscent of the Clone War ships. To that end, the cargo bay has a massive wing like structure. 

Where Han tricked out his ship for speed, this one is customized for cargo. That cargo bay is designed for holding a sailboat. Weird, eh? 

Well it is the ship of a Neimoidian bounty hunter. La'ow is a technological bounty hunter, he uses data. The sailboat is proof against counter-technological attacks. It is also low profile. 

As a consequence, this freighter is not very fast or good in combat. 

On another note, my next build will be the Millennium Falcon by Bandai. See my Snowspeeder and At-ST builds at these links. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Stat-ing up the Neimoidian Bounty Hunter

I've picked a name for my Neimoidian bounty hunter, La'ow Houd. I have also modified some rules to allow him to be a bounty hunter. According the rule book, they need to 1d10 vitality per level. That means only soldiers become bounty hunters. Judging by The Mandalorian, any boob with a weapon and drive can call themselves a bounty hunter. 

As a Neimoidian, he doesn't have a long tradition of bounty hunting. La'ow is a hunter of data which sometimes involves people. He observed the Mandalorians at home as a trade representative and spy. He has collected many items from Mandalor, but most of it is the not equipment of a hunter. He appreciates their arts and beliefs but doesn't try to emulate their combat style. 

Not all bounty hunters look like this. 
He does have some tricky items that the Mandalorians perfected, the whipcord, a smallish jetpack and the flame thrower. The whipcord and flame thrower are stock Mandalorian weapons in his gauntlets. The jetpack is a modified Tankerenian hoverpack for picking fruit. It can't exactly fly, but it can allow swift jumps and can save him from a short fall. 

He wears light armor which is similar to Rebel combat suits, although customized to his liking. He often wears a short cape and high riding boots in and out of armor. 

He has a light repeating blaster rifle and a heavy stunner. The heavy stunner is specifically designed to shoot like the LR blaster, but with no damage just the stun effect. He also carries a stun baton and sometimes uses electro-nets.   

La'ow has a variety of tools for breaking into systems without a droid. He also has a couple of holographic projectors which stick to surfaces. One of them will project a distortion over his body, so he can appear as a holograph. He must set this up first, it doesn't work on the fly as it requires specific viewing angles to work convincingly. 

At great expense, he managed to get his hands on two lightsabers which he had on display in his sailboat. No, he did not kill Jedi or Sith. He bought them from some really dangerous people. He does not use them as he is unskilled. He has a variety of trinkets from Mandalor, Jedha, and Coruscant which are made of kyber crystals. La'ow thinks they are object de art and it has not occurred to him that they could have any other value or purposes. 

Statistically, I have decided that Neimoidian's have a +1 Dexterity and Charisma, and a -1 to Strength and Constitution. They receive a bonus rank of swimming and the bonus feat Cautious. La'ow is an 8th level Noble and 4th level Bounty Hunter. As an isolated Noble, he can only call in favors from Bergel and Green-5. He is not well known on this planet. 

His ship, the Gallant, is a heavily modified YT-1300 transport. It is not fast, stealthy or very combat-effective. It does have great hover and low speed maneuverability so he is able to deploy his cargo from the starship to the water.   

The cockpit is located between the mandibles and the dish is located on the bottom, in place of one of the guns. The top of the ship has a gun turret and a 12 meter tall sail like cargo bay in the rear. The turret cannot shoot backwards because of the cargo bay. There is a nasty surprise at the top of the sail, a mine launcher with 5 mines.   

The ship is much slower than other YT-1300's as a quarter of the engines are missing to allow the Gallant to carry the large sail shaped cargo bay. La'ow owns a staysail ketch and needed the modified design to carry it. The cargo bay is large enough to enclose the whole boat with the masts and 4 sails deployed. The whole boat is 12 meters long and is crew by light droids. While the ship does have crew quarters, La'ow often sleeps on his sailboat.  

Here is a test image from my phone of his ship. Sorry about the lightness, it's a photo of a pencil drawing taken under fluorescent light at night. 

Like I said, this bounty hunter is non-standard. 

Monday, December 14, 2020

Adding complexity to a Star Wars Campaign - World Building

I'm running a Star Wars campaign on the very distant planet of Tankeren. I need to know some stuff about Tankeren to create this setting.

The map was created using The Planet Map Generator by Torben Mogensen. Tankeren is largely Earth-like, just a bit more arrid on land owing to the equaralterial nature of the land masses. The map really isn't that big, its only for show. 

What about the people? Here is what I know so far: 

  1. Tankeren was a member of the Republic. 
  2. The inhabitants are tribal in nature divided by waves of colonization, there were no native inhabitants.  
  3. Tribes revolve around each wave of colonization.  
  4. The population is heavily mixed up with all species having at least some presence on the planet.
  5. There is no majority species. 
  6. The Separatists had no problems seizing the planet. 
  7. The planet is agrarian, but has a lot of technology. 
Ok, so these people have loose alliances and don't do the representative government thing. What did they have prior to the arrival of the Separatists? A mess. What can I flesh out from these details?

Quite a few things actually. 

The planet is divided into 36 10° zones that
absolutely no one uses. 
Each tribe has an area called a Glide and two leaders called The Bearer and The Breaker. These are short hand terms for "The Cup Bearer" and "The Bread Breaker". Traditionally, the Breaker is a woman and the Bearer is a man, but that's all ancient history. It really doesn't matter who leads in the colonists opinion.   

Ok, what is a Glide? Initially, tribes controlled the land they lived on. But since these people were always technologically advanced, it made little sense to limit the tribes area based on where the houses were. They were also highly mobile using their TNK-101 transports to get around and as supplemental housing. 

A TNK-101 transport, civilian model.
The standard of a Glide was defined as how far a TNK-101 transport could safely glide in a disaster as per the specification booklet. It's about 603 KM (375 miles). This solves the problem of islands having one tribe per isolated landmass. Anything outside of the circle is deemed wilderness and the wave like nature of colonization caused many ribbons of wilderness between most settlements. When Glides are physically adjacent, a large landing strip and tower is built at that contact point. These facilities are used as data control points and as a site for celebrations. They are not militarized. A real world comparison would be an industrial park next to an airport. 

A map of the planet with the Capital Glide marked in red. It is to scale.

The Bread Breaker handles all issues of societal logistics; the distribution or trade of goods, the establishment of Glides, or anything else having to do with logistics. The Cup Bearer is responsible for all areas of social norms; agreements, contracts, honor, law, etc. Notice there is no chief executive or commander in chief. These roles would be taken on by either the Bearer or the Breaker as they saw fit. 

A Glide is the smallest area of control, while a Shield is the next level up. The Shield (or Continental Shield) is ruled by a Shield Breaker and Shield Bearer, who represents everyone on that Continent. The highest and least used part of government are the two Lord(s) and Lady(ies), two people who represent the planet to outsiders. These positions are alloted by tradition, economic power and in the past, might of arms. In almost all cases, anything higher than the Cup Bearer or Bread Breaker is a useless institution, having little to no local control of the Glides they represent. These high level institutions are run by the first waves of colonization and have little in common with the average person. They tend to get into fights among themselves which thankfully rarely trickles down to the citizens of the Glides. 

There are 4 Shields: East, West, Southern and Islandic. They were colonized in reverse order. 

As the Separatists took control of Tankeren, they realized the political situation was more complex than anything they encountered before. Green 5, the lead tactical droid came up with a battle plan to take the planet Glide by Glide called Green Glass Glider or G3xG5. He's a little haughty about his role on the planet. The idea was the droid army would be able to focus on one Glide at a time and this would probably result in a total depopulation of the planet, like a Glassing event. 

Green 5 is currently in charge of the droid army and directed by the Lord and Lady of the planet. They are trying to make the droids more like a police force, which doesn't work very well. It doesn't help that the Lord and Lady have different points of view. Green 5 is flummoxed by the wild, independent nature of the citizens. He spends a lot of time preventing his droids from entering combat situations. The current rioting is baffling to him because the rioters only attack droids if no other target presents itself. 

Green 5 has some conflicting programing due to the fact that Viceroy Bargel has ordered Five to take instruction from the leaders of the planet and to stop taking orders from the Viceroy. Green 5 doesn't see Bargel's organization as a separate power and the hapless droid often reports to Bargel as a matter of course. When he doesn't, he often shares information with Bargel's bounty hunter.  He has no idea that Bargel expects the droid to get himself and his robotic brethren killed when the Rebels or Empire arrives. 

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Session 001 - Character Rewind

I forgot to post character sheets. It's Sunday and I am working on my Neimoidian bounty hunter, but I would like to share the player's initial sheets.  

These are photocopies of a character sheet I had on hand and I rewrote what the players did on their sheets. There are mistakes, either one of the players didn't write in languages or I missed it. 

In either case, these are available by hitting the Pregenerated Characters tabs above or from the links below. When the players share their updated sheets, I'll load those, too. 

Just to recap, there are 5 player characters. Nonin is a Devaronian force adept with a blaster. Talhana is a Zabrak force adept, also with a blaster. Malta is Rodian scoundrel and dreamer, with a tiny holdout pistol. Dex is a human handiman and fringer with a sporting blaster. And lastly is Lidda. She is a twi'lik solder with more weapons than anyone else. Click those links for the individual PDF files. 

The characters have made it to level two, but I wanted to show their initial stats from Session 000.  Click the link for a recap. The short of it is, all of the characters have far more equipment and funds now. 

These characters the players created are forcing me to change up the scenarios in Invasion of Theed. In dumping the players on a different home planet, the scenarios can't play out as described. That one I knew. The second change followed by an adjustment was the players wanted to be in a place like the worlds in The Mandolorian. Since they made that choice they changed their minds. They want lightsabres now. Not too hard. The final change I have to make is the final villains can't exist on the players homeworld for a variety of reason, but the primary is, as played the characters would see these villains as heroes. That just won't do. 

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Aftermath - SW Session 001

"It's not Star Wars without lightsabers," she said. 

True. My campaign doesn't support lightsabers, so I am plugging in an event that allows the players to get their hands on lightsabers. I'm nothing if not adaptable and amendable. Plus, little wacky. 

I'm going to add the kookiest bounty hunter in the Universe. The characters' main antagonist is the former Viceroy of the Trade Federation, Bergel. Bergel is a Neimoidian, who avoids conflict and physical combat like the plague. He has a small band of security sentients and bodyguards. One of them is a Neimoidian bounty hunter. 

What? A Neimoidian bounty hunter? That is so against type, it's insane. 

Yes, it is. This bounty hunter will have to embody the traits of both a hunter and Neimoidian. He will be specialized in taking creatures alive or collecting information. This fits best with his species's tenancy to avoid conflict. He overwhelms his opponents with gadgets and technology to take the fight out of them. He would probably render medical assistance to those he takes before he turns them over as a bounty.

Since bounty hunter is a prestige class in the WotC Star Wars set from 2000, I will make this character much higher level than the party, which means he will have to be amediable to the player's goals. Since he is so "extra", he will have a massive amount of skills the party hasn't seen in one person yet. They aren't going to be able to outfight or outsmart him. At least, initially. 

In true bounty hunter fashion, he has trained on Mandalore. But not to be a bounty hunter, he was there to set up a trade alliance. He gained a lot insight on Mandalore as to what it means to be "independent" on a global level. This is a useful piece of knowledge for Bergel to have access to. The Tankeren are independent like the Mandalorians, but not as hostile. The Mandalorians called him "enchanting" and "charming". Coming from Mandalorians, those are not complements. However, he did make contacts, friends and a few non-violent enemies. 

He has a noticeable lack of Mandalorian armor and weapons. But he does have a ton of gizmos and gadgets that the Mandalorians use. He doesn't really care to kill. Two of these items are lightsabers that he doesn't use. A few of the other oddities use Kyber crystals, like an energy shield, net and entagler cable. In fact, he has a whole collection of Kyber crystal jewelry that he found interesting. This stuff is of low value on this planet as they don't have that tradition of The Force.  

In some part, he will be based on Obsidian Maw. He is cocky but calm about his skills and goals. He will announce his intentions truthfully because he believes in what he is doing. Everything he does seems to come out of nowhere, verging on magic tricks because he is an ambush hunter. He is vehicle to grant the party what they desire. 

Once I have his sheet made up, there will be the small matter of getting him into the hero's sphere of influence. I have few tricks up my sleeve to bring in some of that classic Star Wars feeling into this game. One of the better bits about Star Wars is the host of gray characters who don't fall under the categories of good or bad. This hunter will be yet another of those people. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Session 001 - Spiraling Dice

Invasion of Theed is a basic game engine. 90% of the information inside is geared for combat. Each encounter is broken down into three sections: pre-combat, combat, and post combat. The players are encouraged to use non-combat skills outside of combat, but every encounter defaults to combat for success. There is no way avoid it as stated.  

But I changed the setting, so the encounters had to change. This encounter was still a jail break. The characters were to suborn a couple of Neimoidian guards to get the codes to open the jail. They'd fight off some droids and rescue the prisoners or be captured. 

In this campaign, the lead Neimoidian Bergel is an antagonist but not a physical threat. He has relinquished control of the droid army to the leaders of Tankern, the name of the planet. Those republican leaders ordered the droids to quell the riot. As bad as battle droids are at warfare, they are even worse at policing, public policy and PR. The droids were holding people prisoner that the leadership didn't want imprisoned. Since this is a classic republic, there is no chief executive, only a person nominated for given tasks. The droids can't handle this, they want someone to be in charge to give them orders. 

My players were rolling from their last encounter directly into this one. They were still itching for a fight and not much time has passed since their last encounter with the droids. 

However, they gave themselves an excuse to stop and take a breather. They are rummaging through the speeders they stole in the last encounter. They have found a medkit, a toolbox, some tarps, painting supplies and a couple of cloaks and blankets. 

While the main party was doing this, Dex and Malta crept closer to the jail to scope out the place. Since Bergel has the most knowledge of the droids, he sent two representatives to order the droids to release the prisoners. Unfortunately a Republican Representative named Vidda showed up at about the same time and made the same demand. The droids are confused by the lack of combat and leadership. They don't know what to do and keep calling for help. 

Malta and Dex hatched a plan and returned to the speeders to fill everyone in. 

The nice thing about this group of players is they want to make use of non-combat skills. Some of this exceeds the rules in Invasion of Theed, so we are supplementing with the core rulebook. The party dressed Malta and Dex up as medics and made up Nonin to look like a wounded rioter. Malta and Dex have tiny blasters and planned to sneak them into the prison with the medkits and tool box to bust everyone out. Nonin was unarmed. Lidda stayed with one speeder to snipe targets if things get out of hand. Talhana's part was to use her speeder as a barrier between the droids and the side door. 

As Dex and Malta approached, a fourth "representative of the people" showed up. He is a rioter named Manro. For the player's benefit, I was rolling d20s for each party negotiating, whoever got the highest number has the droids ears for that round. It's a mechanic for the player's benefit so they could jam themselves into the conversation by backing different opinions. 

I'm not doing a blow by blow like the last time. Here is the initial map setup. The player's speeders are at the top and everyone else is in front of the jail at the bottom of the picture. 

The droids were pretty easy to fool. The Dex, Malta and Nonin wanted to get into the jail, which the droids were perfectly happy to do. They claimed to be "medical assistance". The droids flustered at this because they were calling for "assistance", but didn't mean medical assistance. I made Malta and Dex roll to keep their weapons hidden and they succeeded. The droids fixated on the tool kit, but Dex claimed they also repair droids. 

I used that to both help and confuse the party. There were 4 security droids off map, the jailers called them in and asked Dex to provide that assistance. He reluctantly rolled to repair one of them and satisfied, the beefy security droids marched off map to take up their hidden positions again.  

The three adventurers made their way into the jail and once the door closed, set about freeing themselves and everyone else from their cells, providing medial assistance and recovering the rioter's weapons. One problem the party had was they have no communication gear. There are some communicators in the jail, but the characters outside didn't have any and no way to pick them up.  

The force adepts are not powerful enough to use the Force to communicate. I deem that the force-sensitive feat and alter feat is good enough for the adepts to know if a party member is in the area and their general state of being, hurt, angry, etc. This is done on a DC 15, where a failure indicates the character knows they have failed. It's kind of the wrong power for the job. Since the characters were looking right at the jail or know the direction back to the speeders, they can detect their friends and the people right outside the door. 

After a great many die rolls for computer use, disable device and first aid, Nonin, Malta and Dex got the side door open and gave the signal. Lidda started blasting away as Talhana brought the speeder over. There were too many people to ride in the speeder, so Talhana switched places with Dex and he used the speeder as moving cover for the prisoners. 

The four people in front of the jail decided to enter and lock the door to get out of the fight. They are unarmed anyway. The droids are in no position to stop them. The party engages in a running gun battle with the hidden security droids and makes good their escape. 

The text indicates the jail holds a weapons cache. Since the characters are all gunned up already, I changed this 8 comlinks and 8 medpacs. Basically what one would find in a police station, sans the weaponry and armor. Droids don't have armor and store themselves with their weapons on their backs.  

The party decides to leave the city and hide in the countryside. To that end, they trade one speeder to the barkeeper from the first encounter for access to their rooms and some gear. The speeder is worth 6000 credits. Lidda demands some light armor, while everyone else sticks to the basics. Of note, they have 3 datapads, three electro-binoculars, a couple of tool kits, and their smaller personal belongings from their apartments. 

The barkeeper is not the nicest person and is already mad at the party, so he short changes the party and intends to dump their remaining belongings outside. The party intimidates their former landlord into forking over 1,500 credits with all of the gear and extract a promise for him to store their belongings they can't take. This will be a hostile work relationship in the future, but the deal seems to be pretty even. What the party got for the speeder was rather minimal, considering they are protecting goods that have no in-game meaning. 

This session went exceptionally well, I particularly loved the attention to detail the party put into their plans and the fact that they took an interest the last adventure so that they remembered that they had stuff in their apartments. Leaving the city will create some problems for me, I may have to create a different one off adventure to get them back into the city. 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Session 001 Setup - Automatic (Detention) for the People

This next session needs some modification. 7 battle droids, starting at a distance were no threat to the players. Also, the event description from Invasion of Theed won't make sense. 

The players will still be doing a prison break as per the boxed set events, but I am changing the scenario up in true Star Wars fashion. The characters have two land speeders they stole in Session 0, plus 7 blasters from the droids they fought. They are properly gunned up, but have no other equipment. 

The theoretical bad guy Bergel, is a former member of the Trade Federation and a Neimoidian. The boxed set describes a jail with two Neimoidians out front, watching droids take captives. I am changing this. Bergel has sent two representative Neimoidians to get the rioters out of prison. "For the People," they say. The droids can't process the thought and call for instructions. 

Vidda, a city representative shows up to also represent "the People". Vidda is being followed by a rioter, Manro who is also claiming represent "the People". Since all four of these people are unarmed and acting rationally, the droids want to hand over the rioters, but can't figure out who should get them. 

The droids are baffled. Vidda should have control of the droids as a representative of the Republic, but Manro and the Neimoidians actions have confused them. These citizens are unarmed, so the droids have broken into two groups, a pair with holstered weapons arguing with the sentients and four battle ready droids guarding the parameter. The droids are trying to figure out who is really in charge and who needs to be arrested, which is flummoxing every living being. The droids plan on arresting two or more people then hand all of the detained people over to the last sentient. 

That illogical path is par for the course when it comes to battle droids. 

The characters will roll in on this mess directly from their last encounter and tip the scale from confusion to gunfire, in typical Star Wars fashion. 

Here is the starting map. 

On the far side of the map are the party's two speeders. On the near side of the map are the droids and sentients. The four droids on the perimeter have cover from 3 columns, while the other two droids are in contact (arguing) with sentients. 

I have left the prisoner tokens off the map as the players can't see them. There is supposed to be weapons cache inside the prison, but I am swapping it out with supplies the party needs. All weapons inside have been taken from the rioters and should be returned to them once they are free. Off board are reinforcements for the droids, plus the cache and supplies have a few surprises for the players if they get inside. 

Obviously, the characters shouldn't come in guns blazing. We'll have to wait and see how they react to this scenario. 

End of Session 0 - Combat

Set up
Session 0 ended in a shootout. The party was ejected from the bar and into a riot on the streets. All sentient and sensible citizens fled when the heavily armed party arrived leaving only droids. Invasion of Theed comes with a great map and tokens. 

The adventure book is broken down into sections describing each encounter, complete with a mini-map to describe how the real map should be configured. In this encounter, droids are advancing and firing on the players. Each square is 2 meters and blasters have a range of 10 squares. Normally, ranges are straight meters.This is the one difference between the Star Wars core book and this boxed set. It's ok. 

Initial party formation.
The characters start off in a boxed in area, at the limits of blaster range. Since the party knows about the riot, they come out the door weapons drawn. They are able to see two speeders and 4 of five droids. Invasion of Theed has wonderful character sheets and rule recaps to assist the new player in running the game. While simplistic, the rule cover everything from movement to cover. The columns and walls block fire and allow a defensive bonus if one hides behind them. 

Lidda starts off on point with her huge blaster rifle. Nonin and Talhana have blaster pistols while Dex and Malta have lighter weapons. The main difference is range. 

In watching the movies and TV shows, the Droids have a rifle like weapon, but they have the same stats as a pistol. Make sense considering their size.  

Round 1 movement
In these basic rules, characters can move 10 SQUARES, not meters and shoot. If a character stays in place or takes a 2 meter step, they can use that move action to shoot twice.  

Because I allowed the players to generate their own characters and select their own equipment, they have some issues with the basic rules. Lidda has a rifle with a range of 40 units. Malta and Dex have a range of 4 and 8, while Talhana, Nonin and the droids have a range of 10. If you are counting squares, know that we goofed up the ranges by using squares for meters. 

Lidda, Nonin and Talhana get the first shots:

Round 2
The party downs two droids and damaged a third. Malta and Dex realize they are out of range, in either meters or squares. Oops. So they don't get to shoot, even though they were planning on it. 

In round two, Dex and Malta freeze. They have cover from Lidda, but Lidda is the droids primary target as she takes a knee and rips off two shots a round. 

More droids fall as the characters chew them up. The droids have a +2 to hit, but don't hit anyone. Again.

The event calls for 2 droids to remain hidden until the characters reach the speeder, but I decide that they investigate the gun fire in round three. Dex and Malta take cover by moving to the column in the middle of the map while everyone else stays in place. 

Round 3

 In round four, everyone gets a shot to devastating effect. 

The adventure book suggested a running battle, but because we weren't careful with ranges, the characters wiped the floor with the droids. Very often, it came down to having 2 shots per round and no movement vs. move then shoot. 

I will keep this in mind for the next encounter and change the event accordingly. 

This whole event was supposed to be in session 1, but it was over in just about 10 minutes, which is far shorter than it took to write this post. I will streamline my photos in the next post. For this first post on combat and movement, I think the maps and tokens were the star of the recap. I won't be posting a round by round synopsis in the future. 

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Star Wars Session 0 - A Comedy of Characters

This session was a rehash of the Battle of Theed boxed set. The individual scenarios will stay the same, but the background, leading stories and locations have been changed to a different planet. We'll see how that works. 

The Party is a classic five man band, held together by camaraderie as opposed to being thrown together in typical Star Wars fashion. Their friendships started by a mistake. A young Rodian scoundrel, Malta had a passion for history and drive to be a Jedi Knight, like her storybooks. An oddball, to be sure, but she rapidly became friends with a human Fringer name Dex and his force adept associate Nonin. Nonin is an insightful Devarnian, who tends to blend intelligence with his force powers. He uses these abilities to keep his best friend, Corporal Lidda out of trouble, or at least jail. He also is able to score good day jobs through his charm and Dex's contacts at the bar. Corporal Lidda is a Twi'lek soldier of dubious wisdom. She is a hot head and tends to take offence at anything and everything, which explains her severance from the military. The team does their best to keep her out of trouble. 

The final character has just met the group within the last year or so. Talhana, a Zabrak force adept, has suffered the same misconception that outsiders have with the group. She believed Malta was a powerful force adept leading a band of force users, rather than scoundrel storyteller. In fact, she has only recently discovered that Nonin has any ability to use the force. 

The gang is boarding in the apartments over the bar. Exactly how many apartments they have is unclear as Lidda and Dex are co-supervisors and caretakers of the upper floors. They seem to have between 2 or 4 rooms and access to every empty apartment, but often share space to save money or stay out of trouble. Nonin and Talhana take day jobs whenever they can, leaving Malta as the only character without a job. She does have money and the gang believes that she is an accomplished pickpocket but has yet to catch her doing it. As a group, they tend to pool their resources to keep Malta out of their pockets. Malta is often the primary contributor to the gangs fund pool, much to everyone's chagrin. 

Despite all of confusion, the team generally gets along just fine with each other. It's other people, with that same misconception that give the gang trouble. As a result of session zero, they've been fired and kicked out of the bar and apartments. 

As far as equipment goes, no one has armor and everyone has a blaster. Dex has a sporting pistol, Malta has a holdout pistol, while Talhana and Nonin have regular pistols. Lidda, the fiery one, has a blaster rifle and a heavy blaster pistol. The gang is not all about melee weapons but has a variety of axes, knives and clubs or prybars. Lidda has one of each, because why wouldn't she? 

Friday, November 20, 2020

Session 0 - Young Bargel Plays It Safe (SW - WotC)

The setting of this adventure is the planet Tankeren, a far flung planet slightly more popular and populous than Tatooine. It is a temperate world where no sentient life evolved. The citizens of the planet are a wide ranging collection of species that arrived in waves. The planet has been inhabited for thousands of years by this motley crew. Tankern is an agrarian world and IS fairly tribal in nature. Most communities are like Mos Pelgo on Tatoonine, except on a larger scale. 

Tankern was a member of the Republic, but they often forgot that fact due to their local-looking, tribal nature. When the Viceroy Bargel of the Trade Federation arrived, not much changed. 

Viceroy Bargel was directed to take the planet then set up a base for the Separatist forces. The Tankerns didn't care. After "conquering the planet", which involved watching his droids enter every city to little or no notice, Bargel's Base was built. No one complained when he actually named it "Bargel's Base" and declared the surrounding city "Bargel Prime". 

Then everything went wrong. He was ordered to stand his army down as the Clone Wars ended. Ever the diplomat, Bargel declare a holiday: "Separatist Day" while ordering his droid army back to base. Over the next decade or so, the Viceroy hatched a plan to take over the planet's economy for his own purposes. 

It is now 5 years before the Battle of Yavin. 

A local republic has sprung up on Tankeren and Bargel's droid army has been largely shifted his Lucrehulk-class battleship in orbit. The machines have been replaced with flesh and blood assets, mostly from the skilled trades and business community. Bargel has nary a warrior in his outfit, save a small group of thugs, a modest security network and bodyguards. 

The Republic of Tankeren has control of a good many of the Trade Federation's droids as a police force. They hardly do anything at all. Tankeren is not without conflict but the conflicts are limited to tribal skirmishes which rarely end in bloodshed. Such things are beyond the ken of the droid army and few arrests are made. Most of the citizens are farmers, well armed farmers, but still farmers. They escaped the fall of the Republic, the Clone Wars and only heard vague stories of Jedi and Order 66. There is some disquiet at the rise of the Empire, but they have yet to encounter any Imperial Forces. 

The former Viceroy, has been converting his Lucrehulk-class battleship back into a trade vessel. It is a hub of global trade for the planet, specializing trading in the gobi fruit, a nutritious staple of the Tankeren diet. He hopes that it will find it's way to other systems as an exotic good. Bargel has almost entirely divested himself of his army and his relationships with the Trade Federation. His former warship is a sitting duck for Imperial Forces or anyone else who means to take the planet. Bargel has cultivated this situation, building several space and ground stations to take it's place. He hopes that the sacrificial offering of his ship will appease anyone who drops in to bomb the planet. 

Empire, Rebels, Tankerians, whoever, can have the planet. He just wants to be their grocer, middle man and wholesaler. That's much safer than taking a stand against anyone. 

In the introductory session in this campaign, the players are in The Capital city of Tankeren. The planetary Republic has just voted on changing the name of the base and capital from Bargel Prime and Bargel's Base to something else. They just can't decide on what. For now, it is just The Capital. Since Bargel plans to retire safely, he has been lining the pockets of electors to push them into making his name disappear. Not completely, he doesn't want a mystery to attract attention. Just low key would be nice. Bargel Prime and Bargel's Base were fine in his youth, but now is the time for a new name so he can slip into his planned role as a historical footnote as a little known fruit seller in a galactic empire.  

Unfortunately, the vote didn't end well. Conflicting proposals over a new name sparked city wide riots and general strike in The Capital. Bargel is dismayed to find his droids being deployed to the surface by the city's leadership. He isn't sure what caused it, fires, looting or the strike, but all world wide communications are down. He cursed the day he set up the network with the Capital as the data hub. 

Bargel is in the dark, as much as the characters are. 

After an egregious faux pas suggesting the name "Danker" for The Capital, the barkeep has kicked party out on the street. The rioters were mixing it up with the droid's police action. While Jedi are legendary creatures on Tankeren, force adepts are not. Two of the party's members are recognized as being One with The Force, so the rioters have faded back so these two and their friends can use their witchy ways on the droids. 

All the party needs to do is steal a speeder or ship and get out of this mess...