Friday, January 16, 2015

Costumes, Campaigns, and Comics

 It's funny, there are about three or four things I want to blog about, but I'm having some difficulty settling on them to get them out.  I try to keep this blog on-topic (when I am able to write for it, anyway), partially because I think it's better to share my experiences on specific topics; costuming, Gamemastering, anything Star Wars; whatever.  I don't like doing "shotgun blast stream of consciousness" posts, but maybe I need to just to break this log-jam.

Costuming


With Celebration: Anaheim only three months away, there's been a small amount of pressure to 
 finalize some costuming for the con.  My stepson had thoughts about formally getting a Cade Skywalker outfit made, and I was looking forward to helping him put it together.  Problem is Cade's mop-of-hair and my stepson's dislike of having his hair more than 2 inches long, it seems. So he ditched Cade in favor of something else.  At first he thought about being a clone trooper, which could be really cool.  Now, starting on a Clone trooper, like most fully armored Legion costumes, means you just committed yourself to a $1,000 outfit. The stepson was taken a little aback about that, but if that's something he wants to do, we'll find a way to do it.  In the mean-time, he's now looking at other soft-costume characters he may want to do, and is considering Starkiller from The Force Unleased.  "Especially since you know him!"
"...call the POLICE..."

Ah, the innocence of youth.

In other news, I have a box of Biker Scout parts sitting in my father's basement, just waiting to be assembled for him.  It's a good kit, I just have to find the time to drive down and help him with it.  It shouldn't take too long to assemble, either, and I'm fairly certain it includes all the straps and such needed for him to wear it.  The only part I dread is the helmet; my helmet came to me pretty much done.  Just had to attach the visor to the helmet faceplate, and then the faceplate bolts onto the helmet itself.  This is more of a 4-part kit; visor, faceplate, that square brim that goes around the faceplate, and then the helmet itself.  I'm probably going to tap into the expertise of one of my local Legionnaires who's put together this exact kit before, and get some help with that.

But what about my own costumes?  I've lamented before about finishing my SWTOR costumes, or getting them started more like.  The wife says I am to break out the dummy and toss my Jedi Shadow onto it to see where it is and what needs to be finished. I honestly have a fear that doing so will do no more than make an obstruction in the traffic pattern in my house...again...and that it still won't go anywhere.  

We'll see, I guess.

Another Longshot


What a rabid batch of PCs I've cultivated for Another Longshot.  Seriously; I can't remember the last time I had such involvement by my PCs in additional writing, and support for the game.  Maybe my short-lived Earthdawn game, but I think this is even more (probably because I've got 5 more PCs than that game had).  Background stories, in-character reports to command, a pair of Adventure summaries; their writing has even inspired my writing (which is probably contributing to my lack of updates here). Mostly, it's background information for a location that will likely become a prominent one in the game, Port Rasper.  I'll admit, I had a bit of Babylon 5 influence when writing about it.  Hopefully it will keep a unique feel and give my PCs some inspiration for what to do on the station.

Wild Cards


My campaign that was labeled as the "Another Longshot Prequel" has been in hiatus since September.  I ran a Force and Destiny Beta group on a short series of adventures (which I intended to chronicle here, but something came up).  Now with that group brought to a pause, and the main Another Longshot begun, I have a third group of equally rabid PCs asking when I'll be starting up the Tuesday night game again.  Sadly, we lost my former co-host Fiddleback as an active PC. I have found another contender who's looking at making a melee bruiser droid along the lines of the IG-100 Magnaguard; a sort of "Mr T of Droids".  Likely Marauder, maybe Enforcer. He should be good and as a droid could be easily inserted into the party.

I just have to get that game back up and running again.  I've got some ideas, and I think they're worth pursuing.  But man, that would effectively mean that my Another Longshot campaign has 3 PC groups, all in the same overall storyline, with 15 PCs total.

I must be out of my god damned mind...

More variant covers than any Liefield comic, ever

Marvel Star Wars Comics


Just my feedback on Marvel's return to writing for Star Wars comics; I'm not impressed.  They released Issue 1 with over 100 variant covers, and with the exception of an Imperial Captain and a bunch of stormtroopers only included the major characters from A New Hope; Luke, Han, Leia, R2, 3PO, Chewie, and Vader. 

My favorite characters from the Dark Horse runs were the non-movie characters.  Rogue Squadron! Quinlan Vos! The rise and fall and rebirth of A'sharad Hett! Dass Jennir!  K'Kruhk!  Cade Skywalker! Ganner Kreig! Zayne Carrick! Jahan Cross!  If I could costume these people I would! These are the characters I would look forward to the next issue for, stories I really enjoyed.  They made the Star Wars universe bigger.  But with Marvel's latest issue, they made the galaxy smaller.  Insinuating that only the Heroes of Yavin can do the important missions in the galaxy, and only Vader can oppose them.

Eh, it is only issue one...time will tell I guess.

Jedi by day, lead singer of Nickelback by night...
May the dice be with you.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Another Longshot - Launch Day


So there were no updates in December, the primary reason being that any time I had to write for the blog, I spent it on writing for today's topic.  As you may discover, there was a lot of work needed and it seemed to pay off.

New year, new post, new campaign.

...campaignS?

Technically seven years in the making, Another Longshot has finally launched.  Set in the "Legacy Era" of what is now called "Star Wars Legends", the campaign takes place primarily in the Hagen sector on the edge of Wild Space.  Mysteries, ancient enemies, new threats, and a struggle to survive and fight the Sith Empire are all themes of this story, and this past weekend my PCs helped me kick it off with a bang.

Day One: Group Besh


On Saturday, the first dice started rolling for Another Longshot. Group Besh, "the Rebel group", got everything started with a romping 6 hour adventure. I think the thing that most impressed me was the lack of combat in this session.  There was one altercation on the promenade of a space station thanks to some Threat results on the dice, but otherwise it was all skills and role-playing to move along the plotline.  The players seemed to have a good time, so much so that three hours after I left (I live an hour away even without snow on the roads) my PCs were still hanging out talking and writing about the game.

I think I may have hooked their interest in the game...

I'm not going to re-hash what the PCs went through; I'll let them do that!  You can find the adventure write-up by the Group Besh PCs here.

I think the best part about the adventure was the collaboration. Everyone tried to make sure that everyone else felt useful and needed in the group. I still think Joe (playing the displaced Jedi) was the odd-man out and may have felt the least effective. Still, he contributed and I'm fairly certain the next session will focus the spotlight on him a little bit more, especially since his Bounty obligation got rolled.

I roll Obligation, Duty, and Morality at the end of the session so I know what's triggering for the next one and can write it into the story.  Works much better than spending hours writing something and then having someone's Oath Obligation get rolled or Space Superiority Duty rolled and having no extra room for random NPC interactions or space battles.


Day Two: Group Aurek


Due to schedules, it worked out that I had to run both groups back-to-back or else Group Aurek wouldn't "launch" until Late February.  Better to get the games going and PCs collaborating, I thought and predominately I was right.  "Group Aurek" is a unique group because everyone is a Force User.  It's basically a Force and Destiny group, with two Jedi, two Imperial Knights-to-be, and an unwilling Sith Apprentice who started off the campaign by saying "enough of this, I'm leaving and I'm freeing my Master's prisoners first".

This is the group with the most overt-ties to the original Longshot game. One of my PCs (Alex) is playing a descendant of the cigarra-smoking, foul-mouthed, unkempt space-pirate-turned-Rebel-operative he played seven years ago.  Now playing an upstanding Imperial Knight named Bleys (sort of a Star Wars take on an old favorite D&D PC of his), he's been saddled with his great-grandfather's broken-down ship and even further broken-down droid. This group also was exposed to the campaign "prophecy", or at least the "Nemoidian Fortune Cookie" variant.  Read all about their harrowing adventures here.

It will be fun to see where this motley crew goes.

Lessons Learned


Two games!  Two PC parties!  11 PCs!

I will never do this again if I can help it.

I ran 12 hours of games and had 5 hours of travel (thanks to detours and snow-delays). My wife is a very loving, understanding, patient soul for supporting me in doing this (and doing my best to give her some quality time prior to this hopefully helped).

I will happily run for 6-8 hours straight, but only for one day.  And I just can't spend that much time in the cars.  The rest of my weekend was basically shot, and I had to bail on an Order 66 episode because I was fried.

If I do have another game-a-rama like this, it had better be because I'm at a con.  Then again, who knows; I'm sure that at some point the calendar gods will decide to throw this scenario at me with a "both sessions on X weekend or one team doesn't play for 3 more months" or something like that.

I need to resolve how I'm doing maps.  Making maps on Roll20 is easy, and handy, but unless more players are using their own laptops to access the game everyone's looking at my secondary 19" widescreen from across the room to see the action. Plus I can't figure out how to center the other screens on what I'm looking at on mine, so I can't "force" the view on the second screen and am constantly shifting back and forth to adjust the PCs view. On the flip side, extra laptops for Group Besh would really clutter the table we're sitting at.  I wouldn't mind using physical maps, but I'd miss out on several good maps of Chris West's and it wouldn't work well with Group Aurek, where we're all sitting around a living room. Group Besh might be easier, but the map could take up more room than the extra laptop or two.  Going to have to work on that.

Someday, my friend...someday.


On a more positive front, I forgot how much music enhanced my game. I'm still using my Beta-release of Syrinscape because it allows me to make my own sound sets with my music and I don't have to pay for a subscription to use it (a recent development from that program's developer). The music was on for the Group Aurek game, with tense overtones coming in  while I'm describing scenes as if I planned them from the get-go.  Definitely worth my time Friday night rebuilding my sound sets from my laptops "format faux pas" a year ago.

Logistics


Early on I knew that I wanted to document this adventure, perhaps more-so than almost any previous campaign. Let's face it; I'm a known entity now (at least in a very niche group). Folks who are not playing the game will be following the campaign. Also, I've developed something of an issue in keeping things straight, so it helps if everything is written down someplace I can access it at any given moment. Finally, it's good to see things from a PC's perspective, and see what they are thinking.  Many times they come up with angles and sub-plots that are better than what I had planned.

I'm encouraging my PCs to help me develop and record the game, and bribing them with XP to do it.  It'll be small, usually 5xp between sessions, but that 5xp will add up over time.  Assuming I stick with my schedule, that'll be an extra 25-30xp by the end of the year. I know no PC who wouldn't want an extra 25xp to add to their character. That's a bottom row talent, or a Skill from Rank 1 to Rank 3, or a new Force Power with an upgrade or two. With 11 PCs, it's going to be tricky finding something for each of them to do, though.  I think the next few weeks will be needed to hash out the "PC contributions" portion of the campaign.

I hope this works out. I won't really know if I've got this on a good head of steam until we hit LARP season, and arranging games turns into a real puzzle with all the games folks play. To be fair, I've got a plan for that to, I just have to get my PCs to a point where they could have "crossovers" with each other and run with everyone who isn't at a campsite with boffer swords and spell packets on a particular weekend.

And I have to see how I can deal some Wild Cards into the deck...

Hope to have another blog-post sooner rather than later.  Until then, may the dice be with you.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Science Fiction within Science Fiction

There's something that's always bothered me about Star Wars technology, and that's when people try to implant today's technological marvels into it.  The movies have a real "the future that was" theme to them; technological advancements far beyond our scope and dreams in the 1970s and 80s, but when compared to today a lot of it seems retro.  Personal communications are push-to-talk, effectively.  Video communication is nigh-monochromatic and static-filled.  Computers need to be accessed within the system, and can't be accessed remotely.

Maybe it's because I grew up on those films alongside the development and implementation of the home computer, the video game industry, and the dawn of wireless communications and the internet.  I remember when all phones were analog and corded, when television was only what was broadcast over the airwaves, and when computer data was limited to what stack of floppy disks you had sitting in the library.  I bought into the communications tech level of Star Wars as seemingly permanently stuck in the era the films came out in, and I was okay with that.

Even the prequels did little to counter what's come before.  Information is still delivered in person, communications still very line-of-sight and broadcast based.  Heroes have to walk around to find junk dealers, or visit specific people to uncover information about rare weapon technology.

But invariably, there's always someone in one of my games who tries to apply the technologies of today to Star Wars.  They want to use computer skills to look up information about everything, applying tech like the internet and Google and Wikipedia as galactic sources of information.  They are under the assumption that everything is networked, and every computer system can be accessed remotely.  That vast amounts of information can be sent electronically.


There was a discussion over on the FFG boards titled The Google Effect and upon reading it the poster "knasserII"property verbalized what has been kicking around in my head all these years, but just couldn't put into words.


[The] Star Wars setting is NOT an Information Society. They manage perfectly well without everyone broadcasting personal information everywhere or running blogs and creating Wiki encyclopedia. Indeed, they would probably respond to suggestions that they should with very good reasons why they don't want to.
 Most of his posts in the thread involve a discussion on the type of tech in Star Wars, that it's not electromagnetic-radiation based communication (or if it is, it's not like we have today).  The Holonet is not the internet of today; it can share some things like the internet (news sites, government alerts) but it's not the be-all information source from anywhere in the galaxy.  You're certainly not using it to hack a database from across the sector.

He presents an interesting argument that the level of holographic communication (that allows for real time conversation from light years away) could theoretically suffer from a limited bandwidth issue, which is why holo-communications are so "low tech".

In Star Wars, a droid the size of an office copy machine floating around a back-water world looking for evidence of Rebel Bases takes a grainy picture of a shield generator and sends it off to the Empire hundreds of light years away.  Darth Maul's probe droids have to fly back to get him to show him where Qui-Gon and Padme are on Tatooine.  Droids have to plug in to terminals directly to manipulate doors, schematics, and to issue commands.  The biggest system Artoo is able to access on the Death Star is the garbage smasher schedule and reset it; the only reason he could do that was because the Death Star is probably the largest computer network  ever, he was inside of it, and he could only access minor systems commands.  He couldn't remotely deactivate the tractor beam, or let the Princess out of her cell, or turn off the alarms from Cell Block AA-23.

I wonder if the reason is generational.  Or maybe it's simply that we've gotten so accustomed to having our smartphones and internet so close at hand that we can no longer imagine a universe with any sort of advanced technology not having that tech.

I'm kinda curious what "technological advancements" we see in Episode VII.  Will there be an obvious internet-like system, or will the tech stay the same?

Guess we'll find out in 13 months.

May the dice be with you.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Endings and Beginnings

I sit here typing this while a high-tech washing machine launched 10 yeas ago is now doing it's best TJ "King" Kong impression as it rides around the solar system.

Best tweet I saw about this...

Fox News: Why did America waste so much money on this mission?  
Scientist: This was a European mission.  
Fox News: Why didn't America do it first?


Order 65 Draws To A Close

On November 22nd, I'll be running the last session of Order 65, my Alternate Universe campaign that began on July 4th weekend, 2010.  It's taken a little longer than I intended to get to the end, but I did have to take some time off in 2012 to recharge my batteries and come up with a way to convert it from Saga Edition to FFG's Star Wars RPG.

The game didn't go exactly as I scripted out, but it was pretty much where I thought it would go.  I'm still trying to do some sort of self-evaluation to see if that was because I directed the storyline or if it's because the PCs followed the same clues and thought patterns I had going for the plot.  I'm willing to bet a bit of both; sometimes it's up to the PCs to figure out where the GM intends the plot to go.  I think it's a mark of a good GM to let his story happen along with that of the PCs, instead of against them.  I know I steam-rolled over a lot of good RP opportunities because I wanted to move the plot along.  I had a story to tell, dammit.  I don't have time for Lucas's revenge plot, or Nicaella's flirtation with the Dark Side, or Marin and Barrett's issues with their creditors.

The Obligation chart really took a back seat to become an on-again-off-again debuff, and not so much as a source of subplots for my players.  I really feel like I missed out on a lot of the fun of the system because of that.  I suppose I was just so focused on getting to the end of the campaign so I could work on the next "shinny thing".  Stupid ferret-brain.

Another Longshot Prepares for Launch

The next two weekends will have meetings with the 5-6 players in each of my Another Longshot groups.  This will make the weekend of the 22-23rd a very Star Wars weekend for me.

Group Aurek looks very Force-heavy, with everyone playing a Force-user of some allegiance.  At least two Imperial Knights and two Jedi, for certain.

Group Besh looks more on the fringe/Galactic Alliance side of things.  Got one Mandalorian, a merc commander who may go Alliance, and a fighter pilot who also may go Alliance.  No clue what the other 3 PCs are thinking of playing.

I'm leaning towards everyone having Obligation or Duty (as appropriate for their characters) at game start.  Force users will have Morality too, but I'm leaning towards applying the other two "RP Mechanics" in all cases.  It makes sense to me that Imperial Knights have a Duty score, and that Jedi have an Obligation (or two).  Starting scores will be based on the number of players in that party with either Obligation or Duty, as outlined in the Character Creation section of the Core Rulebooks.  So the two Imperial Knights (assuming the fifth player is not an Imperial Knight) will start with a Duty score of 20, since there are only two PCs with Duty in that party.  The Jedi (or whatever) will all start with Obligations of 15, since there are three PCs with Obligation in the party.  If I based it on the number of total PCs, then everyones score would start at 10.  So a 20% chance to have Duty affect the game and a 30% chance to have Obligation affect the game.  That just feels a bit low to me, even taking into account these scores will shift as play proceeds.

I'm leaning heavily towards letting my players modify these starting scores to allow for more XP or gear, as normal, except that any XP earned by lowering Duty or raising Obligation is applied after Character Creation (so it can't be spent to help increase Characteristics).  I'm leaning towards this option instead of starting characters at Knight Level (+150 xp, +9,000 credits or a lightsaber).  I've got a lot of players that are relatively new to the system, or at least new to leveling up their own character.  I want to give them that chance to grow and develop their abilities, but maybe start them a little more advanced than normal.

My conundrum is what to do about those players that aren't Force Users.  The Force Users can basically double dip.  It would only be fair to let the non-Force Users to as well.  I think I'll be working with those PCs to figure out the best manner to handle it; some may have Duty and Obligation, or double Duty hit (and possibly starting with zero Duty, but a ton of gear), or two Obligation types (and really be beholden to someone).

We'll see.

Anyway, that's all for now.  Here's a treat for those who don't follow my twitter feed; the finished image for my Besalik Imperial Knight PC.


May the dice be with you!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Let's Get A Party Started

Anyone who's followed this blog for any serious length of time, you'll notice that occasionally there are times when I got dark for a few weeks.  If I'm lucky, it's only a few weeks.  Rest assured, I try to come back as soon as I can to talk Star Wars at you all.

Another Longshot: The Preparation


So Another Longshot is coming together.  I've set a date for the campaign to start; January 3rd.  I'm excited, and anxious.  I'm setting myself up for something really ambitious; multiple parties, same storyline.  I've tried something like this once before with an Eberron campaign I co-GM'd with my buddy Random.  We ran our own groups, and each group contributed to the over-all story we had written together.  It worked well for...a year, I think?  Then life happened, and the game fell apart.  I made some odd logistics choices too, concerning a journal that both parties had and could write in to share information with the other group.  I had one journal in each party, players who wrote anything in one would appear in the other.  Nice concept, but I spent a lot of time transposing from one journal to the other when I should have just used the same book with each party. Ah well, that was a long time ago; many games under the bridge since then.
 

The parties are starting to come together, at least in number if not in themes.  I've got a couple concepts, which fortunately has the side effect of sparking my artistic side.  One of my players, my fellow Legion-cohort Erich, wants to play a Besalik Force User.  Not a Jedi, but an Imperial Knight.  Thinking about Jedi General Pong Krell in Imperial-Red armor burned such an image into my mind that I had to put it to paper. This also got me to bust out my Wacom Intuos4 tablet I got a couple years back and also work on it.  I'm a fair bit of the way through painting some color onto the Knight.  Got the base colors down, and I'm now working on highlights and shadows. 

I'm changing my technique from my last digital paintings I've tried.  I'm working on a few character portraits in the same vein as comic book art, as opposed to most of the digital paintings seen in Star Wars gaming books these days. I think I work in that style a bit better, and I'd rather crank out some more character portraits in a shorter time (since my free time is pretty well taken of late).

Another player is busting out the obligatory "PC from annoying alien race" and making an Ewok Jedi.  Hey if one brother could make a Gungan Ace Pilot that was pretty effective and fund to game with for my last Legacy era game, then my other brother should be able to do the same with an Ewok Jedi in this Legacy-era game.  I think he's planning to go Ataru Striker and rock that Lightsaber (Agility) skill with twin shoto-lightsabers.  Beyond that, no clue where he's taking the character.

One thing I'm so thankful for is the return of my buddy and former co-host Gonzo from the not-so-wilds of Georgia.  He and his family have finally returned to the land of four actual seasons (Almost Winter, Winter, Still Winter, and Road Construction) and that means he can actually play at the same gaming table as the rest of us instead.  He is also eyeballing an Imperial Knight, as some sort of Star Wars version of a character he's played a few times before.

That puts two Imperial Knights and one Jedi in "Group A" (which coincidentally has 3 players in it with names starting with "A"). 

Group B (which coincidentally has 3, possibly 4 players with first or last names starting with "B") is still forming with the current concepts including a Bothan Mandalorian and a Human Noble/Merc Commander from the Dark Times who was carbon frozen until the Legacy Era.  I shall also be rehabilitating one player's perceptions of what a Star Wars game is, as his last GM...well, let's just say the GM was very liberal with her interpretations of the universe culture.

DarthGM: The Next Generation...?


This campaign is also likely to include another first for me; a player from the next generation.  My step-son is going to be playing, and in one of these groups (depending on final numbers).  It will prove to be an new experience for me, being a parent of his.  True, he's almost out of High School, but I remember my gaming "prowess" at that age and what I was really into when it came to gaming.  He seems to be lining up for a similar bent, so at least I'll have my own experience to fall back on for how to handle things.  All and all, I'm sure he'll do fine.

I think that'll do for now.  Maybe I can come back next week and get some more gaming goodness down.  I've also got some costume projects in my future I gotta get ready to document; Celebration Anaheim is coming up, and we have PLANS.

May the dice be with you...


Thursday, October 9, 2014

GenCon Mod Revisited: Force and Destiny Updates

Two years ago I started to create my own rules for a Jedi Career in FFG's Edge of the Empire RPG and for 18 months my players got to play Jedi in this glorious system.  Around about the time when my GenCon Module was debuting at GenCon 2014, FFG dropped their Beta rules for Jedi and Jedi-like characters, Force and Destiny.  When I made my module, I knew I'd want to incorporate the rules for Force Users that FFG would release, especially if I were going to share "The Big Leagues" with the public. I always knew my Edge of the Jedi rules were temporary; something to bide the time between then and now, and get me running my games with full-blown saber-slingers in my campaigns.  I think I had some great ideas that worked at the time, but naturally the material from the original source came in a few notches above mine.

I promised the backers of the D20 Radio Kickstarter that "The Big Leagues" would be released in October.  Converting over my Jedi (and Sith) PCs to Force and Destiny was the first step in meeting that commitment.

Update 1: Kira Carsen


With Force and Destiny's new careers, I had to find a place to start with Kira.  I figured that her brash nature and role as a melee damage-dealer would steer her towards a Lightsaber style.  Ataru Striker seemed to fit the best.  Ataru Technique allows her to still use Agility with her lightsaber attacks.  Her survivability improves with two ranks in Parry and Reflect, and her damage output is high with Improved Parry and Hawk Bat Swoop.

I wanted to give her a second Specialization to improve her Force Rating.  In the old version, her Force Rating was 3.  In Force and Destiny, a Force Rating of 2 would work just fine as long as the player is willing to earn some Conflict for her by using Dark Side pips rolled on the Force Dice.  I initially chose Seer from the Mystic Career because it was a quick skip to a Force Rating talent and gave her some Grit, Sense Danger, and Uncanny Reactions.  Now I'm taking a second look and thinking that Shadow might be better.  In fact, I might want to start her with Shadow, given her background as a street rat on Nar Shadda.

Shadow earns her Street Smarts, which could help during the Module.  Mental Fortress probably wouldn't affect her too much, so I might just exclude it for the sake of the module. Unrelenting Skeptic would add two Failures to any NPCs trying to use Deception against her.  I remember Kira doing some computer work during some of the adventures in SWTOR, so Codebreaker isn't too much of a stretch.  However I don't see it being used during the Module too much, so like Mental Fortress I'd probably remove it from her talent list just to streamline as much as I can.  If I give her Anatomy Lessons, she'd be able to spend a Destiny Point to add 2 to the damage of any attack, since her Intellect is 2.   I could always swap her Intellect for her Cunning and give her a 3, and bump up her Computers a little, but that's stepping on T7's expertise.  Maybe I'll bump her Intellect to 3 as well.

For her lightsaber, she's got the Double-bladed Lightsaber (Saberstaff).  I wrote these stats before this week's update that increases' the Saberstaff's "Unwieldy" quality to 3, so I'll have to fix that.  I gave her a Dantari crystal which has a good base damage and a neat side effect for when she uses it with Hawk Bat Swoop.

Kira's a brave soul, which is reflected in her Emotional Strength.  She also tends to be a firebrand, and sometimes that bravery can turn to Anger when push comes to shove, hence that Emotional Weakness.  Her Morality is pretty middle of the road, at 55.  I'm somewhat tempted to make her a Light-Side Paragon, just to make sure there's always a Light Side point to flip to dark (see Lord Scourge, below).

Looks like I've got some revisions to make on this...

Kira Carsen F&D v1.0

Update 2: Lord Scourge


Thanks to the novel, Revan, I had a lot of backstory for Scourge to draw from.  Unfortunately, I couldn't use a lot of it because it mechanically doesn't make sense.  The novel says he uses Soresu and Ataru, which would make him a Agility and Intellect-based duelist.  He's also strong, and a melee tank, so he needs a good Brawn too.  I've always thought that Sith Purebloods would be Cunning, so I wanted to start his Cunning at 3.  He also needs a good Willpower, as he's supposed to be an interrogator of high caliber.  That means that Scourge probably wouldn't have a "great" stat (4+) if I gave 3s to all these Characteristics.  Heck, this would mean he had 3s in everything but Presence.  He'd also have three Specs, because he'd have Soresu Defender, Ataru Striker, and Aggressor (the only Spec that gets Coercion as a class skill).  Also because Kira is already an Ataru Striker, I didn't want to double up on those abilities.

So I fudged it a bit.

Scourge has a good Brawn and Willpower at 3, and a high Cunning at 4.  Starting as a Warrior and taking Aggressor, he branches over to Shien Expert, which gives him very good melee and ranged defensive abilities.  It also gets him access to Saber Throw, which he did a fair bit in Revan. He can use that high Cunning with his lightsaber skill.

Hmmm...looks like I didn't update his Dice Pools to reflect the lower Brawn score.  I'll have to fix that.

Aggressor gives Scourge Fearsome and Intimidating, two very apt and appropriate talents for his background as an Interrogator and as the former "Emperor's Wrath".  Shien gets him some good Parry and Reflect ranks as well as Saber Throw.  I'm tempted to also give him Falling Avalance from the Djem So side of Shine Expert, but I think that with his Force Powers would be too much.

Scourge doesn't have anything fancy for his lightsaber, just a basic Ilum crystal with two damage boost mods and a Vicious 1 mod.

The hardest part about Scourge was considering his Emotional Strength and Weakness, and his Morality score.  I figure his Morality score is in the teens, thanks to his adventures with the Hero of Tython.  That makes him a Dark-Side character with a -1 to Strain Threshold and +1 to Wound Threshold.  Looking over the options for Emotional attributes, I selected Coldness for his Weakness and Discipline as his strength.  The immortality ritual he is under is a constant source of pain, so a rigid discipline and mental will is needed to function.  Because of this he has a detached nature, the constant pain has removed almost all traces of compassion and empathy.  He remembers warmth, love, the taste of foods, simple pleasures, but he can no longer feel them.  The price of immortality.

Lord Scourge F&D v1.0

Update 3: Nadia Grell


I pretty much had Nadia's build pegged before I really sat down to map her out.  The daughter of a diplomat, learning from watching, and possessing an insatiable curiosity and a passionate drive.  She's a potent Force-user, but not a highly skilled one.  I started her in Consular with the Sage specialization, as the talents and skills in Sage fit her role as the diplomat for her world and as the padawan and/or spouse of the Jedi Bar'senthor. Because she is the melee damage dealer of the party, she moves to Niman Disciple and puts her high Willpower to work in melee as well as with the Force.

Between Sage and Niman Disciple, Nadia gets a bevy of good social talents; Kill with Kindness, Nobody's Fool, Sense Emotions, and Smooth Talker all beef her up in social situations (and will be a big help during the first part of the module).  Through Niman Disciple she gets some great combat talents; ranks in Parry and Reflect, Force Assault to smash foes she misses with her lightsaber attacks, and Draw Closer to pull targets to her for her to slice up with her saberstaff.

I lowered her Lightsaber (Will) skill to only one rank partially because I don't see her as an exceptional combatant but also because she can technically use Draw Closer every round.  Doing so will add her Force Rating in Force dice to her attack checks, and she'll be able to add any Force pips she wants to spend on Successes.  Nadia really shouldn't have a hard time hitting foes in combat.

Because of all her combat options, I gave her a basic Saberstaff with no modifications for her weapon.  With the Linked 1 quality, and all the options for scoring damage (either by hitting with the saber or using Move if the saber misses with enough Advantage or Triumph) adding too much more damage felt too good.

I ended up giving Nadia two Emotional Strengths and Weaknesses; she's compassionate and curious, but she's also prone to reckless behavior and she can be prone to moments of hatred for those who hurt her allies.  Her Morality is high at 65; on the road to Light Side paragon, but not quite there yet.

Looking over this sheet I see some typos I need to correct. 

Nadia Grell F&D v1.0

What's Next?

Next up is looking at some of the opponents I have, specifically the Force Using ones who could use some of the abilities given in Force and Destiny.  Then I give the module a final polish, add a sidebar for running it with different characters and different Eras, and then it's ready for the public.

I got three weeks.  Tops.

Off to work I go.

May the dice be with you.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

World Building and Costume Conundrums

Wow, it's been a while since I posted.  I could come up with lame excuses why, but you've heard it all before.  Sadly, they're still reasons I've been kept away from this blog for too long.

At least I've got a modern browser on my work computer now, so I can start updating while I'm at work during breaks.

So what has DarthGM been up to in September?  Well, I've ordered a new costume.  Not for me, for my father.  He tried on my Biker Scout at the Dover Mini-Maker faire this past August and really liked it.  So we talked with a few folks and he has a suit of un-assembled Scout trooper armor on a UPS truck en route to his home.  Ideally we should have it set up for St. Pats day (if we troop it)

We also need to make some upgrades to his Old Ben Kenobi outfit.  The outer robe shrunk and the inner robe stretched out during one of the rainy parades he trooped in.  We got new material for his inner robes, but the wool army blankets I ordered to make his outer robe from never shipped.  Never even heard back from the eStore owner I bought them from.  That transaction is now in dispute with Paypal and I'm waiting for resolution.

Preliminary work is being done on a Cade Skywalker outfit for my stepson.  He'll be 18 by the time we go to Anaheim for Celebration VII, which means we can get him into the Rebel Legion group photo if we do a good enough job on it.  It's simple, yet difficult to make.  Gotta make it look right.

I wonder if we can submit him for a BH or SL designation in the 501st.  He was a Bounty Hunting, drug using scum who collected a bounty on a Jedi, and he did go dark-side for a while there.  If Mara Jade could do it and get SL designation, why not Cade?

I promised my stepson that if he got the costume all ready by his birthday, I'd get him Cade's lightsaber.  I thought I was going to have to build it from scratch, but Ultrasabers actually has a really good saber that looks right.

(Looks like Ultrasabers won't let me link their photos, but this is what I see as "close enough!")

Even my wife is starting to look into costumes.  She expressed interest in a couple; we'll see when we can move forward with one of them.

And me?  Cripes, I don't know.  I've been meaning to kick my EVA Jedi Knight/Sith Acolyte into high gear for a while now.  It's all about finding the time to work on it, which means I have to start neglecting something else.  Probably Mechwarrior Online is the next thing I really have to ramp back on.  Too bad, because in December they're releasing the King Crab, and it looks bad-ass.





Oh look; something else to fit into my already tight schedule!

I'm reminded that I was going to release my GenCon Module "The Big Leagues" for public consumption this month, or at least to those who backed the Order 66 Podcast/GamerNationCon 2015 Kickstarter.  I really need to get on that.  Building these characters using the Force and Destiny careers and specializations should prove a fun exercise.

I've made some changes to my "Another Longshot" campaign.  Previously I was running my Tuesday night game (dubbed the "Wild Cards")  as a prelude campaign to "Another Longshot".  I've had some inspiration with what I want to do with the overall Longshot campaign and right now the Wild Cards don't really fit into that.  I've split the Wild Cards off as their own campaign on Obsidian Portal and made a new Another Longshot website.

I've put some time and effort into mapping out a sector of space where the Longshot game will predominantly occur in; the Hagen Sector.  Thanks to Pro Fantasy and their Campaign Cartographer, I was able to slap together a pretty cool map of the area.  I then went and applied my "Eons System Generation" method I talked about a year ago and came up with some pretty fun locations.  I haven't fleshed out every system, but I've got some neat ideas.



And with that, I think I'll call it for another blogpost.  Gotta get back to work.

May the dice be with you.