Monday, July 29, 2013

Fantasy Flight Imports: Part 5, The Jedi Knights

I'm starting to write this on Tuesday night, July 23rd, listening to FFG Devs Jay Little and Sam Stewart on the Order 66 Podcast.  They're on talking rules, and taking rules questions.  I've got several in the mix, but I'm wondering if they'll get to them with all the commentary and tangenting.

It's Friday now, having completely missed Thursday.  I blame work, overtime, and a desire last night to watch giant robots beat the crap out of kaiju.  The week is still hectic, the phone at work is still ringing, but I'm on my lunch break and want to get this closer to done.

I've got two characters left to cover in my Saga-to-Edge conversion, both of them Jedi.  Both of them drawing exclusively from homebrewed rules for careers and talents.

Tycho Ventor (Skywalker)

It's an alternate universe, a galaxy different from the one George Lucas presented.  Late last year, this PC found out he's actually the son of Anakin Skywalker, and that padawan of Kenobi's that the group fought on Centerpoint station (and knocked out a bridge window and blew her into space to defeat) is his sister.  After a trip to Mortis, which no one remembers, it's time for him to start along the path of eliminating the greatest threat the Jedi Order has known in recent memory; Supreme Chancellor Obi-Wan Kenobi.

To anyone not following my Order 65 campaign, this may seem strange...

Like everyone else in the party, Tycho was converted on a 300xp award scale.  He's a Force Wizard, someone who's more skilled with Force attacks than lightsaber combat.  That actually doesn't translate too well to EotE, given the lack of any real offensive Force power other than Move.  Fortunately, most of Tycho's attacks were based on telekinesis, so we can replicate a lot of his Force Powers pretty well.

Here's a brief rundown on how Tycho looked...
Human Male Jedi 7, Jedi Knight 2
Str 10, Con 10, Dex 16, Int 14, Wis 16, Cha 14
Skills: Acrobatics, Galactic Lore, Perception, Pilot, Use the Force.
Talents: Telekinetic Savant, Telekinetic Prodigy, Dark Side Sense, Resist the Dark Side, Echoes in the Force.
Feats: Force Training x3, Skill Focus (Use the Force), Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus (Lightsabers), Unstoppable Force, Force Regimen Mastery.
Force Powers (14): Force Slam, Force Whirlwind, Mind Trick, Farseeing, Move Object x3, Force Shield x2, Rebuke x2, Vital Transfer, Negate Energy, Force Track.
Force Regimens (4): Quiet the Mind, Telekinetic Practice, Vo’ren’s First Cadence, Vo’Ren’s Fourth Cadence.
Force Techniques: Force Point Recovery
Anyone who's played or read through Edge of the Empire, and my Edge of the Jedi document can see where this is a challenge.  There is no Farseeing, no Force Track power.  His main defensive abilities, Rebuke, Negate Energy, and Force Shield, don't exist.  There are no Force Regimens in the game.  Doesn't matter; the focus of this Jedi is Force Use, so that's where I focused the spending of XP. 

Working with the player, we started in the Consular tree.  Tycho's aiming for as much Force Rating as he can get, so let's see how we got there.  I was still working with update 1.01 at this time, and hadn't moved Well Rounded to the 15pt row.  We started there and picked up Gunnery and Pilot-Space; he's playing Luke Skywalker, and he's supposed to be a hot pilot.  From there it's as straight a shot to Force Rating as we can get; Researcher, Grit, Nobody's Fool, Steely Nerves, Touch of Fate, and finally Force Rating.  From there we go to the Balanced Lightsaber Style tree starting at Side Step, and then taking Shii-Cho and Natural Duelist.  We skip Steely Nerves because he already bought it in Consular, and can go right to his second Force Rating talent, giving him a Force Rating of 3.

Tycho dove heavily into Move, taking 3 Magnitude Upgrades, 2 Strength Upgrades, 2 Range Upgrades, and the first Control Upgrade (able to deal damage with Move).  If he rolls well, Tycho can move 4 objects up to Silhouette 2 a distance of two range bands with enough force to deal damage.  He can also replicate Force Slam and Force Whirlwind with this spread.  To replicate the disorientation of Force Whirlwind, Tycho will want to spend Advantages and Triumphs rolled on the Discipline check to penalize his target.  Tycho has enough Influence to pull the occasional Mind Trick, and Sense to be able to upgrade the difficulty of two incoming attacks.  That's really the best we're going to get with his Force Defense at this juncture, until more Force Powers are released (or home-brewed).

After playing for 4-5 hours (without a single combat encounter, I might add), the player marveled at how tricky it was to be a Force Wizard in EotE.  Force Rating 3 sounds like a lot, but the few times he rolled the player only drew one Light Side point.  According to Anydice, you've got a 63% chance to roll 2 Force Points or more.  Only a 32% chance to roll 3 or more Force Points.  More often than not, Tycho is going to have to choose upgrading range, magnitude, or strength.  That could be real problematic for combat.  Force Rating 4 is slightly better, giving him just about even-odds to get three Force Points that he can use.  While the player's initial impression is that his Force Wizard concept is now broken, he seems willing to see where it goes.

Nicaela Euripedies

Oh, Nicaela; my lovely, darling Jedi Amazon.  Have you been reading up on the latest incarnations of Wonder Woman?  Because there are many similarities here.  Strong, sword-wielding women, both are characters willing to tread on the edge of darkness in the pursuit of justice.

My difficulties for Nicaela were vast.  First, not only was she a custom career, she's also a custom race.  no one, not even the Unofficial Species Menagerie, had done a conversion for Miraluka.  There's just so much to her character, that with the way I made the home-brewed Jedi Career makes her build go off sideways in some areas.  If I had an extra 50-100xp, she'd be perfect (more on this later).  So, more so than any other character, I had to go with what "best fit" and "felt right".

Here's what I'm working with.

Miraluka Female Jedi 7/Jedi Knight 3
Str 16, Con 12, Dex 10, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 14
Defenses: Fort 22, Ref 21, Will 24
Skills: Acrobatics, Perception, Use the Force
Talents: Block, Deflect, Weapon Spec (Lightsaber), Shii-Cho
Feats: Force Training x2, Weapon Focus (Lightsaber), Skill Focus (UtF), Instinctive Attack, Power Attack, Cleave, Great Cleave
Force Powers (8): Battle strike, Kinetic combat, Draw Closer, Negate Energy, Surge, Assured Strike
Force Techniques: Force Point Recovery

Let's get the race problem out of the way.  Through many ideas and incarnations, I ended up going with the suggestion of a couple folks on the D20 Radio Forums;
  • All Stats at Base 2
  • Force Sight: Removes one Setback die caused by low-light conditions
  • Free Skill Rank in Perception or Vigilance
  • 100 starting XP
With that as a base line, my first issue was her starting XP.  I spent 30xp into Willpower and 70xp into Brawn to get it to 3 and 4 respectively.  4 is a little high for her Saga version, closer to an 18 than a 16, but giving her such a high Brawn makes her more of a tank and melee monster.  This definitely fit her playstyle over the years.

She's a combat Jedi, so naturally she started with the Guardian tree.  With the Shii-Cho talent and the Draw Closer lightsaber power (Niman), the next tree for her is the Balanced Lightsaber Style tree.  To cover the cost of buying another rank of Discipline (to qualify for the Balanced tree), I needed to give her a total of 15 starting Obligation (everyone else has 5, except Lucas who had 10).  Based on her role-playing choices and backstory, I found a couple good fits.  Nicaela likes to use the Force; a lot,. to the point that it's actually a minor addiction (that she can try to work off through game play, if she wants to).  This has caused the Jedi Order to become a bit more strict and is "keeping an eye on her".  This can cause some stress to her and the rest of the party as it affects Nicaela's mood.

No one likes being around a moody Jedi.  Well...maybe, Padme; but look what happened to her.

Talents! Two ranks of Uncanny Reactions makes her Vigilance checks all kinds of interesting, rolling 3 green Ability Dice and 2 blue Boost dice. Precise Aim replicates her Assured Strike power, and Shii Cho Master takes care of her "mass mook killing" feats (Cleave/Great Cleave).  Shii Cho, Deflection Training, and Deflect Blasters covers her Lightsaber defense powers.  Niman allows for some "Saber and Force" combo that she had in Saga Edition, except that now she has Pushing Slash instead of Draw Closer (which is what my Niman Mastery talent covers).

With Force powers, I had to shave points some more.  She has enough Move to grab a Silhouette 1 target (person-sized) and move them around.  She can also rip items off of mountings or out of people's hands, and manipulate objects as if she were handling them.  That last one covers her Kinetic Combat power, except that its now a little bit better.  Now she can technically use her talents as if she were wielding the lightsaber.  As a consequence to all this, Nicalea also now effectively has Move Object, allowing her to move things around even to the point of being able to deal damage with them.

So, as I said, it's really a best fit solution, but I think she found it to be a fun one.

Final Thoughts

I finally ran my first Order 65 game while using the Edge of the Empire ruleset.  It was a solid 5 hours of recap and plot reveals.  Finding out and deciding where to go in the campaign.  They had opportunities to have or avoid combat, and ended up avoiding all of it.  It was solid and fun.

Sadly, I didn't get much of a chance to test my combat talents from my Edge of the Jedi document.  I may not get a chance to before October, either.  A consequence of gaming with many folks with many interests and obligations is that entire months are booked solid well in advance.  We are talking about running these characters and stats through an old combat encounter over Roll20.  I'd certainly like to do that, if only to see how my talents play out.

One thing that surprised me is how unreliable Force Rating 3 is for generating enough Force Points to run powers without the Jedi having to draw on the Dark Side.  Out of three rolls, I think Tycho had one roll that could activate the power he wanted.  Nicalea had a similar issue, except that her character said "ta hell with it" and flipped that Destiny Point and took that strain and activated her Move power.  It was awesome, and an aspect of her character that never came out before because the player kept thinking more tactically, not narratively.  She was really pleased with this, and I think we're going to see a lot more of Nicaela's dark side.


I built all these characters (from my Fantasy Flight Imports articles) on 300 awarded points, and only dipped into bonus XP from taking on more starting Obligation where it fit and was desperately needed (Nicaela).  That was based on the Beta Rulebook, where the award per session was 15 for a good session, with occasional bonuses for major milestones.  Now the official Core Rulebook lists the session award at 20xp plus the occasional bonus 5xp for milestones.  Jay Little also went so far as to say (on the Order 66 podcast) that a good measure is "5xp per hour of meaningful gaming, where the story is moving along".  He states that your average game session is 75% actual gaming, 25% people BS-ing around and having out-of-game commentary. 

Assuming these numbers, the Order 65 characters are probably closer to 375-400xp.  I'm probably going to end up awarding these additional XP, but not yet.  Not until I get a chance to see how the cahracters play with the stats they have.  I'll let the PCs get used to what they've got and then give them this extra XP to buy what they want.  I may give suggestions if I just couldn't fit in something (like Nicaela's Draw Closer/Niman Mastery ability), but ultimately I'll let them spend it where they want it. 

Man, this post took a lot longer to get out there than I thought.  It's Monday the 29th now; one week after I started working on this document.  Maybe I'll change gears and go into ranty banter on the First of August.  Or maybe I'll do something else entirely.  We'll have to see.

Likes long walks on the beach, candlelight dinners,
and guys who slaughter entire clans of Sandpeople.

1 comment:

  1. To be fair, the real challenge with Tycho is that he's also a "paladin" who won't use the Dark Side. If not for that, FR 3 would be pretty solid for consistent use (as Nicaela proved). I fear this may lead to several rounds of Tycho "doing nothing."

    That being said, I kinda like that from a story perspective. I think this Force mechanic is the best, most clear cut way to prove that someone used the Dark Side. Choosing or refusing to do so can be a strong character statement.

    I just hope that Force and Destiny provides Talents that change the mechanics to reinforce that statement. I mean, how many times do you see someone fail activate a power? Luke does a few times during training. Occasionally, Mind Trick is activated, but doesn't work on the target. It's one thing to not hit the target with your Move Object, it's another to not even Move the Object.