Thursday, January 24, 2013

Homebrewed Hotness: The Jedi Knight, Part 1

Here I am writing for my blog, just like I said I would last week.  Good intentions and all that survive the first week!  Pop the corks and pass the glasses!

Today we're going back to the Edge of the galaxy, and talking about some custom creations that folks are working on out there in the Gamer Nation.

If They Don't Give You Something, Make It

Talking about Edge of the Empire here; anyone who's been following the game's progress (or read my last blog post) knows that the game takes place in an era of Star Wars where the Jedi...well, they aren't around.  The Jedi were just about wiped out to a man, thanks to the rise of the Empire.  There are a handful of Jedi still in the galaxy at this time (two, if you're a purist who only acknowledges the movies).  Because of this narrow focus to the game the only Force-Users we see for Player Character options is a talent tree devoted to the "Force Sensitive Exile" and three Force Powers: Sense, Influence, and Move.  So the game gives you the chance to be a Force User, but a wicked under-powered one*.

Several folks over on the D20 Radio Boards are in the process of writing up their own version of Jedi; trying to develop their own take on a Jedi Career (or at least a specialization).  Some are focusing on the character who wishes to become a Jedi, and either finds a master or some other way to unlock the lost secrets of the Jedi Order.  This is exemplified by a poster named "Awayputurwpn", and his "Jedi Novice" talent tree.  Former SAGA Developer Jonathan Stevens is working on his own rules set, but has kept it under wraps.  No idea what his focus is on.  Many other posters have been kicking around options for Deflecting Blasters, and Redirecting Shots.  Questions on how to replicate Force Speed and Force Jump have also cropped up, and sparked some debate over whether they should be Talents (and incorporated into Career Specialization trees) or represented by a Force Power (effectively giving it it's own tree).

While I wait for "Dono" to release his work-in-progress, I've decided to dust off the cogs of creativity in my cranium and get some ideas on Jedi and Force Use down on paper.  Or at least computer screen, such as it is.


Jedi Initial Thoughts

After taking in the Gamer Nation's views, creations, and commentary on potential Jedi in the Edge of the Empire rule-set, my first task is to find a place to start.  Am I making a specific talent tree?  Am I making a Force power?  Am I doing a whole talent tree?

I feel the best place to start is to begin at the beginning.  I want to use Edge of the Empire rules to tell my Star Wars stories, but my storyline is bigger than "Fringers in the Outer Rim during the Rebellion Era".  The rules as written for Force-users is inadequate to my needs.  I need a full-blown "Jedi Career".  Starting with that, I have to look at what makes a Career.  Currently in the Beta Rules Set, Careers are Star Wars Archetypes; Bounty Hunters, Colonists, Hired Guns, Smugglers, Technicians, and Explorers.  Looking over my roles, Jedi are just that; Jedi.  There's my career, I'll build from there.

Jedi Guardians
Under each career are three specializations.  These specializations further define what your character's career focus is at game-start; Doctors heal the injured and sick, Pilots are great with speeders and starships, Mercenary Commanders excel at leading small squads, Assassins are good at killing people.  Your specialization helps to define your character's role, and can contribute to your personality and style.  A Bounty Hunter who specializes in Gadgettering is likely to have a much different outlook than one who specializes as an Assassin.  But maybe not, that's the fun of playing a PC; being extraordinary.

As I think about a Jedi Career, this "specialization" step has already been done for me.  Since the release of the original Knights of the Old Republic video game, there have been three basic "Jedi Classes" that keep popping up; Guardians, Consulars, and Sentinels.  Guardians are the noble fighters, the ones best trained in combat and being a martial symbol of the Jedi Order.  Consulars are the mediators, the negotiators.  They are also the ones who tend to specialize in unlocking the greater mysteries of the Force.  The Sentinels are the investigators, the hunters of Sith lore, and the clandestine protectors of the Order.

Sounds like three distinct specializations to me.


Skillful Choices

Now that I've got my specializations, it's time to start writing in the details.  Each Career has eight skills that are "Career Skills"; skills that are keyed to your chosen path and can be improved a lot easier than non-career skills (i.e. lower XP Cost).  Looking over the list of skills, I'm looking for Skill options that every Jedi should have access too. 
  • Athletics; because Jedi of all types are seen as physically healthy and capable.
  • Cool; being emotionally centered and maintaining their calm are hallmarks of your typical Jedi.  Also used for occasional initiative rolls.
  • Coordination; linked to Athletics, many Jedi seem to have good balance and grace.
  • Discipline; almost required, as this is the skill most often linked to Force use (or Force resistance) and Fear checks.
  • Lightsaber; a new Skill that works like Melee, but focuses on the special training needed to wield a weapon that you could very easily lop your own extremity off with.
  • Perception; because an unaware Jedi is a dead Jedi.  Plus the Force can help out greatly in this regard.
  • Resilience; a Jedi needs to have boundless energy and recuperative ability, because the Galaxy seems to need him 27 hours a day.
  • Vigilance; the more-often-used initiative skill, and another skill often linked to Force use.
Jedi Consular
 This lit offers a pretty good baseline for the average Jedi hero.  It's a lot of good combat and action skills, sort of a cherry-picked list between Hired Guns and Smugglers.  I feel these skills are necessary for the average Jedi to have access too, and help represent his upbringing within the Jedi Order.

Each Specialization within the Career adds to the Career skill list, adding in up to four new skills.  There is the occasional skill overlap, which means the player can select the same skill twice during character creation and start with it at Rank 2 at no extra XP cost.  For my three Jedi Specializations, I came up with the following skill choices:
  • Guardians: More martial than other Jedi, Guardians add Brawl and  Lightsaber to their skill lists.  Guardians don't always use their lightsaber for every situation, but when they do they tend to be a bit more skilled with it than purely Consulars or Sentinels.  Guardians also tend to have commanding personalities, and can motivate others to great acts, so I added Leadership.  Finally, there are many Jedi Guardians who are portrayed as good pilots, so I selected Pilot (Space) as their fourth skill option.
  • Consulars: With more of a focus on knowledge and diplomacy, the Consular skill list gives options to help the character in more social challenges than Guardians and Sentinels. Consulars get Negotiate as a skill choice, to reflect that they have great ability at mediation.  Knowledge (Education) gives them a basic understanding of the galaxy and the sciences, as well as how to interact with government entities. Some Consulars are great healers, and many have at least a basic understanding of Medicine.  Finally, Consulars have always explored the greater mysteries of the Force, so Discipline is added as a skill option to allow a starting Consular to have 2 Rank choices in that skill.
  • Sentinels: These Jedi don't always solve problems with the Force, and tend to be more well-rounded in the skill choice department.  These Jedi work in the shadows, and build contacts to help in their investigations.  Stealth is a necessary component to their chosen mission style, and Computers and Skulduggery help the Sentinel gain access to places where subtlety is needed. Finally, Knowledge (Streetwise) gives the Jedi insight and contacts in the far-flung corners of the Galaxy. 
Jedi Sentinel
It took me some time to whittle down the skill list for each of these four steps.  The next part, choosing talents for each Specialization's Talent Tree, is turning out to be another complex puzzle.  The talents in the books provide a good base to start from.  My first pass at a "wish list" for the Jedi Guardian left me with 23 talents to choose from, and that wasn't including the few home-brewed talents I wanted to include.  Considering the talent trees only allow for twenty talents, and a few of them appear more than once (since their effects increase each time purchased), I have some talent-pruning to do.

I'll share the talents I'm considering for each specialization and the reasoning for them in my next post.  After that, it's on to figuring out the Talent Tree, and when you can buy each talent.  Maybe somewhere in there I'll take a break to talk about Force Powers I'm working on, or NPC abilities, or costume work**.

Stay Tuned!

* I'm from the suburbs of Boston.  I get to say "wicked" and have it be grammatically correct for my culture.  Be thankful I type my Rs...
** Sweet christmas, I need to get some progress done on a costume; either a new one or my Jedi Shadow.  Feh.

No comments:

Post a Comment