Thursday, May 29, 2014

GenConMod: The Jedi Barsen'thor Companions

Here we are at the end of May.  A scant 75 days to GenCon 2014, and the official premiere of my GenCon Module.  Development is coming along, as is the process of turning my three pages of bullet points into something resembling an actual adventure write up.  Testing is going well, too.  I'm learning a lot about my NPCs, and the PCs I've been making.  One item that's become readily apparent is that the tanks are, well,  tanks.  They're stomping around with high Wound Thresholds and high Soak values, taking all comers and dealing out massive damage.  Bowdarr and Lord Scourge are the worst offenders; and I'm pretty sure Qyzen's going to add to that list.  I've been making passes at the stats, adjusting them and tweaking them for better balance. 

There is going to be a disparity between characters, that's apparent.  Some characters are simply going to be better in certain areas, and have more effective XP than others.  Still, as long as the character is effective, it should be okay.  The trick, tho; I have to make this module matter to everyone in the party regardless of their role.  Combat, social, skill challenges; the characters that are focused on more social aspects need to feel as useful and helpful as the ones like Scourge and Qyzen who will wallop anyone up against them.

That's going to be a trick; I look at my adventure path and it's a pretty straight line.  I need to include opportunities for more paths to the pivotal encounters.  Some combat, sure, but also a possibility for diplomacy, deception, and investigation to move the story.

I've got 75 days.

But first, one last group to write up stats for. 

Qyzen Fes

Race: Trandoshan
Career: Hired Gun
Specialization: Marauder
Brawn 4, Agility 1, Intellect 2, Cunning 3, Willpower 3, Presence 2
Wound Threshold: 22
Strain Threshold: 12
Soak Value: 8
M/R Defense: 1/1

Skills: Athletics 2, Brawl 2, Coercion 1, Discipline 1, Piloting (Planetary) 1, Melee 2,  Perception 1, Resilience 2, Survival 2, Vigilance 2
Talents: Defensive Stance, Enduring 2, Feral Strength 2, Frenzied Attack 2, Knockdown, Lethal Blows, Natural Brawler, Toughened 3

Equipment: Heavy Battle Armor, Vibro-Greatsword, 2 Stim-packs

As previously stated, Qyzen is a beat-stick.  He's got his vibro-greatsword and the talents to annihilate anything that comes up against him.  I'm actually thinking about removing a rank of Feral Strength and Frenzied Attack, just so he doesn't out DPS the DPSers.  Then again this is a module inspired by the companion character's role and story in The Old Republic.  Qyzen is a devoted hunter and a terror to face in combat.  Plus he worked pretty well as a damage dealer for my Consular in the game, so he could do the same here too.

I've pondered making him as a Big Game Hunter spec from Enter the Unknown to see what he'd look like.  Qyzen would lose a bit of tanking ability, but as a party support character it may work out better.  It's something for me to consider.

Tharan Cederax

Race: Human
Career: Colonist
Brawn 2, Agility 3, Intellect 5, Cunning 3, Willpower 2, Presence 2
Wound Threshold: 12
Strain Threshold: 13
Soak Value: 3
M/R Defense: 1/1

Skills: Charm 2, Computers 3, Knowledge (Lore) 2, Knowledge (Education) 3, Mechanics 2, Medicine 2, Ranged (Light) 3, Streetwise 3
Talents: Brace, Codebreaker, Grit, Intense Focus, Knowledge Specialization 2 (Education, Lore), Resolve, Stroke of Genius, Well-Rounded (Ranged [Light], Medicine)
Abilities: Holi-daze

Equipment: Armored Clothing, Blaster Pistol, Portable Holographic Projector, Portable Supercomputer (Holiday)

Tharan and Holiday are an odd pairing to be sure.  He's a brilliant scientist who's fallen in love with his creation; his super-computer holographic projection, Holiday.  And she loves him back.  How this relationship works is beyond me, but apparently not Hollywood.  In game, Holiday is the mechanism for Tharan's Medic-ability to put opponents in a fragile hold for 10 seconds. Holiday appears next to a target and dances seductively at them, dazing them.  An interesting ability to try to port over to a game, so I gave it a try and gave Tharan a unique ability.
"Holi-daze": Tharan can project Holiday towards a target out to Short Range and attempt to distract or daze the target.  Make a Computers check opposed by the target's Cool skill.  One success is needed to "hit" the target.  Three Advantage can be spent to immobilize the target until the start of Tharan's next turn.  Triumph can be spent to Stagger the target until the start of Tharan's next turn.  If the target takes any wound damage before the beginning of Tharan's turn, the effects end immediately. 
As a scholar, Tharan is a passable medic, a social protege, and a knowledge-skill titan.  He'll be useful in combat, but players will find more mileage from him by utilizing his non-combat skills in every situation they can.  This also brings up a disparity between role in the game and roles in the tabletop incarnation; a similar one as Guss Tuno from the Smuggler Crew.  Tharan's skill set and background don't really fit the role of "Team Medic" very well, and yet that's the role he plays in the Consular's party.  Since this module is more focused on the characters, and less on their SWTOR roles, Tharan merely dips into the Medicine ability and mostly focuses on his back-story as a brilliant scientist.


Race: Twi'lek
Career:Bounty Hunter
Brawn 2, Agility 4, Intellect 2, Cunning 2, Willpower 2, Presence 3
Wound Threshold: 12
Strain Threshold: 14
Soak Value: 3
M/R Defense:  1/1

Skills: Athletics 2, Deception 1, Perception 2, Ranged (Heavy) 3, Skulduggery 2, Stealth 2, Streetwise 2, Vigilance 2
Talents: Dodge 2, Grit, Jump-up, Lethal Blows 2, Precise Aim 2, Stalker 2, Targeted Blow

Equipment: Armored Clothing, Modified Blaster Rifle

Zenith is a simple concept; build a sniper.  Pure DPS from start to finish, he's as basic a character concept as Bowdarr.  He does have some uses outside of combat, it's always good to have a character that can utilize stealth in a party.  But at his core, Zenith is all about finding that perfect position to bring down the opposition with a well placed blaster bolt from across the battlefield.

His rifle will be tricked out with some mods, but no where near as much as Risha Drayden's.  She's got a couple talents affecting her rifle anyway.  Zenith's lethality is based off his innate talents, where Risha's is based on her technical prowess.

Felix Iresso

Race: Human
Career: Soldier
Brawn 3, Agility 3, Intellect 2, Cunning 2, Willpower 3, Presence 3
Wound Threshold: 19
Strain Threshold: 14
Soak Value: 6
M/R Defense: 2/2

Skills: Athletics 2, Brawl 2, Discipline 1, Knowledge (Warfare) 1, Mechanics 1, Ranged (Heavy) 3, Resilience 3, Survival 1
Talents: Armor Master, Durable 2, Grit, Heroic Fortitude, Improved Armor Master, Physical Training, Point Blank, Strong Arm, Toughened 3, Unstoppable

Equipment: Blaster Rifle (Forearm Grip Mod), Heavy Battle Armor, 2 stim-packs

Felix is kind of a better-liked Corso; possibly due to the fact that he isn't as annoying.  The only character in the Barsen'thor's party who translates as a Career from Age of Rebellion, Felix fills the role of a Ranged Tank.  Much like his counterpart in Havoc Squad, M1-4X, Commando seems to be the perfect tree for this gun-toting bruiser.  His soak value isn't that high, but his Wound Threshold is respectable, as is his ability to shrug off critical injuries.

I didn't feel that a high Brawn fit Felix; although I could make a change for the sake of his Soak and Wound Threshold.  Brawn is both strength and toughness, and Felix is a tough customer.  Felix is best utilized laying down fire with his blaster rifle, drawing attention away from the squishier members of the team.

Nadia Grell

Race: Sarkhai
Career: Jedi
Brawn 2, Agility 3, Intellect 2, Cunning 2, Willpower 4, Presence3
Wound Threshold: 12
Strain Threshold: 17
Soak Value: 3
M/R Defense: 1/1

Skills: Athletics 1, Charm 1, Lightsaber 3, Discipline 2, Negotiate 2, Perception 2, Ranged (Light) 1, Resilience 2
Talents: Ataru 2, Grit 3, Force Rating 3, Force of Will, Jump Up, Makashi, Nobody's Fool, Precise Aim, Second Wind, Sense Emotions, Smooth Talker, Uncanny Senses
Abilities: Force Power Move (Force Point: Move a Silhouette 0 item within Short range up to Max Range. Can hurl objects with enough force to damage targets with Discipline check.  Spend a Force Point: to increase Silhouette able to be targeted by 2. Spend a Force Point: Increase the Range Band by 1.) Force Power Enhance (May roll Enhance power check as part of Athletics, Coordination, Piloting [Planetary], or Piloting [Space]; Spend Force Point to add Success or Advantage to the check.  Commit Force Die: User increases her Agility characteristic by 1.  May make a Enhance power check to make a Force Leap Maneuver to move to any point horizontally or vertically to any location in Short range.  Spend Force Point: increase Force Leap range band by one)

Equipment: Saberstaff, Armored Clothing,2 Stimpacks

Ah, Nadia; I felt so creepy romancing you while playing the Consular.  Probably because I thought of my Consular, Dunne, as my age.  And Nadia's like...17.  She seems that way, anyway.  And a padawan.  My padawan.  

Creepy...Anyway, abilities!  

Nadia is built for close range damage.  Legally, to be able to deal damage with Move she needs to have one Range upgrade.  I'm tempted to remove it for the sake of the module, and give her a Magnitude upgrade instead (allowing her to affect multiple targets at once).  That would probably fit better.  I mean, I could do both, but she didn't really use telekinesis much at range.  She's a close-in fighter, I sort of would like to encourage that.  

Because of her role, Nadia also has Enhance to give her Force Jump.  I also bought down the Enhance line to let her boost Agility by committing a Force Die.  More Agility when it matters, and lowers the number of Force Dice for Move.  I can work with that.  (Assuming the player elects to do it that way...)

First Run

I had originally planned to run one of the final sessions of my Order 65 campaign in mid-June.  Due to some conflicts with the players, I'm going to run my players through the module.  I have to start testing it now.  I have no clue how many times I'll get to run and tweak the module before GenCon, so I'm going to grab every opportunity I can.  

And every run should make the final product better.

That's the plan, anyway.

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