Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Proof of Concept: The Jedi Shadow

A while back I took a look at the progression of my main character from Star Wars the Old Republic and saw what he would looks like in terms of the Star Wars RPG. The last time I did this, it was for Saga Edition. It was kinda fun to convert Dunne, my Jedi Shadow with the Tanking spec, into the game and try to compress his build into 20 set levels.  It was also pretty tricky, as I really had to map out what he took, because with a set end-point I had to be choosy about what he picked up, and when.

Now here we are, in the post-Force & Destiny Beta world, waiting for the core rulebook to release, and I wonder if I could make Dunne given the current rules set.  Would he be as fun to play? Can I get a character that captures the essence, and possibly the effectiveness of a "tanking character" in FFG's game?

I dunno about you, but I'm eager to try it out.

Character Generation

We all have to start somewhere; and Dunne started his adventures on the Jedi "homeworld" of Tython.  A fresh twi'lek just off the shuttle, Dunne had his training robes, a training sword, and a novice grasp of the Force to guide him.  He also has about one-and-a-half twi'leks on a one-twi'lek frame, if you catch my meaning; Dunne was pudgy. We won't hold that against him though.

So the be a tank, Dunne will need a good Brawn score, at least at 3. Jedi Shadows, the Tanking-spec for Consulars, use double-bladed Lightsabers. To use them without penalty, Dunne will need an Agility of 3. Many of Dunne's eventual attacks will be based on Move, which uses the Discipline skill which is a Willpower skill.  So he wants a high Willpower.

With 100 Experience Points from the Twi'lek race, I'll buy Brawn up to 3 for 50 XP (1 to 2, then 2 to 3). Willpower up from 2 to 3 for another 30xp. That leaves me with 20xp remaining, and I need to get that agility up. Thankfully, I can start with a Morality score of 50 and get 10 more xp.  That gives me the 30 I need to get Dunne's Agility to 3 and to remove any penalties caused by the Double-Bladed lightsaber's Unwieldy 3 quality.

Twi'leks get a free rank in Charm or Deception.  Given Dunne's kind nature, I'll take the free skill rank in Charm.  He also gets to remove a Setback die from any skill checks caused by arid or hot environmental effects. That will come in handy as he adventures through Tatooine, Oricon, and any other place with hot environments.

Now I have to choose a career. Looking at the book, I find it funny that my best choice to replicate Dunne's "pre-Advanced Career" state is the Consular career. The Niman Disciple will set up Dunne along a perfect track to becoming the great Jedi Master he will eventually be.  I get free ranks in 3 Career skills and two Specialization skills, so here's what I end up with.

Cool and Discipline will help when he is targeted by certain social attacks, and keep him level-headed.  The Consular storyline is all about unlocking hidden Jedi secrets, so Lore will be a big boon for Dunne.

Starting equipment is easy; Ancient Sword (which uses the Lightsaber skill), Heavy Clothing, a Comlink and a Stimpack almost perfectly mirror what he started with way back when I first made him in December of 2011.

Brawn 3, Agility 3, Intellect 2, Cunning 2, Willpower 3, Presence 3
Wound Threshold: 13
Strain Threshold: 14
Soak: 4

Skills: Cool 1, Charm 1, Discipline 2, Knowledge (Lore), Lightsaber 1
Abilities: Desert Dweller (Remove 1 Setback die caused by arid or hot environments from all skill checks), Force Rating 1

Equipment: Ancient Sword (Lightsaber, Range [Engaged], Damage 5, Crit 3), Heavy Clothing (+1 Soak), Comlink, Stimpack

Character Progression

Not a bad starting point.  Now the fun stuff. Dunne's first chunk of XP will be spent to get Move and the upgrades needed to deal damage with it. That's going to be a staple of Dunne's attack options, and one he had very early on in the game.  He'll be picking up more in this tree over time.

Dunne's role in the party will be to be the focus of his enemy's attention, and to combat his foes with a combination of lightsaber and Force attacks. Shadow-tanks are big on deflection or shielding away damage, as opposed to mitigating it with high Soak rolls. Finally, Dunne's Force powers include the ability to smash foes with nearby objects, occasionally Force persuade his way through tough conversations, and disappears from sight to sneak by foes.

Niman Disciple is a solid start to this, as with less than your average session's reward of XP he can get a rank in Parry and Reflect and another point of Strain Threshold from a rank in Grit (boy, will he need that). With the purchase of Niman Disciple, Dunne will now be using his Willpower stat for Lightsaber checks, and it opens up the tree to a bevy of talents he will need.  Dunne will be spending a lot of his XP in this tree, but this tree won't give him everything he needs.

To help beef up his Tanking role, he needs a tree that's going to give him more defensive options and build off the ones he gets through Niman Disciple.  After digging through the book I found a solid choice in the Guardian's Protector spec. Ranks in Grit, Toughened, Parry, and even Reflect will help, plus it gives Dunne access to Body Guard (perfect for a protective tank), Force Protection (which will increase his Soak value if he commits Force dice), and more ranks in Center of Being (Increasing the Crit rating of any attack against him). I can actually take useful talents in the Protector tree while dodging around the ones dedicated to Medicine and Stimpack use, which don't really fit into this concept.  I'll probably also drop ranks into Athletics and Resilience, to take advantage of that better-than-average Brawn score.

Use the Force

Looking through Force powers, Dunne doesn't have many but he does have some good ones. The one he'll put the most points into is Move; to stick with the short-range Shadows have in the MMO, I'll keep his Range upgrades to 1, but I'll buy at least 2 Magnitude and Strength upgrades, as well as the Control upgrade that allows him to pull objects out of secure mounts or opponents hands.

Next is Influence; I see only a little going into that one, to give Dunne his ability to Force Persuade his way through some social challenges. I could see getting one Magnitude upgrade, as I recall him actually using Force Persuade on a pair of individuals at a few points in his story.

Dunne's stealth ability won't be able to translate directly in the FFG system.  For one, he's supposed to be able to disappear to everyone, droids included.  That's simply not possible under the current rules set.  I think the key to mimicking it as close as we can lies in the Misdirect Force power.  With the basic power, a Range Upgrade, and two Magnitude upgrades that should give Dunne the ability to waltz by groups of opponents just like he does in the game.  He just has to watch out for droids in this version.  To get the second Magnitude upgrade, he has to go through the Duration upgrade, which makes sense, allowing him to commit 2 Force dice to keep the effective invisibility going.


I wonder how close to game progression I can get this.  Let's see how it looks after every 100xp, shall we?

100 earned XP: Move power (Basic power, Range Upgrade, Control-Damage targets), Parry, Nobody's Fool, Reflect, Grit, Niman Technique, Defensive Training, Sense Emotions, Reflect (2nd)

Somewhere in here Dunne gets some better equipment, as well as his double-bladed lightsaber. He'll pick up Armored clothing too.

200 earned XP: Influence power (Basic Power, Control - Emotion/Belief), Move Power (Strength Upgrade, Magnitude Upgrade), Misdirect power (Basic power), Lightsaber 2, Knowledge (Lore) 2, Discipline 3, Lightsaber 3

So far so good, after 200 XP Dunne has a solid base.  He's got a few Force powers that are difficult to use with only 1 Force Die, but not impossible if he's willing to risk some Conflict.  Probably time to get his damage taking ability up, and to push for another Force Rating talent.

300 earned XP: Draw Closer, Center of Being, Improved Center of Being, Force Rating, (Misdirect (Range Upgrade, Duration Upgrade)

I like that Draw Closer pretty much perfectly replicates Dunne's Force Pull from the MMO and combines it with a Lightsaber attack. Sure he has Move, but this is a two-part wallop that just looks fun.

Now that he's got Draw Closer, I'll have Dunne pick up a Dantari crystal, so that if he rolls well with Draw Closer he can use any excess Force Points to recover Strain. Mods for his equipment will be a Damage mod and a Crit Rating reduction mod for the crystal, a Superior Hilt customization for the saber itself, and a superior Armor customization for his armored clothing.

Time to get up Dunne's damage taking ability.

400 earned XP: Protector specialization, Toughened, Body Guard, Grit, Toughened, Force Protection, Center of Being, Heightened Awareness, Misdirect (Magnitude upgrade)

500 earned XP: Force Assault, Dedication (Willpower), Grit, Parry, Parry, Resilience 1

So after 500 XP, Dunne looks like this...

Brawn 3, Agility 3, Intellect 2, Cunning 2, Willpower 4, Presence 3
Wound Threshold: 17
Strain Threshold: 17
Soak: 5
Defense: 2/1

Skills: Cool 1, Charm 1, Discipline 3, Knowledge (Lore) 2, Lightsaber 3, Resilience 1
Abilities: Desert Dweller (Remove 1 Setback die caused by arid or hot environments from all skill checks), Force Rating 2, Influence (Basic Power, Control Emotion/Belief), Misdirect (Basic Power, Range 1, Duration 1, Magnitude 1), Move (Basic power, Magnitude 1, Strength 1, Range 1, Control - Hurl)

Talents: Body Guard, Center of Being 2, Improved Center of Being, Dedication, Defensive Training, Draw Closer, Force Assault, Grit 3, Heightened Awareness, Niman Technique, Nobody's Fool, Parry 3, Reflect 2, Sense Emotions, Toughened 2

Equipment: Double-Bladed Lightsaber (Lightsaber, Range [Engaged], Damage 9, Crit 1, Breach 1, Linked 1, Sunder, Superior, Unwieldy 3), Armored Clothing (+2 Soak, Defense 1, Superior), Comlink, 4 Stimpacks

Wow, not bad.  The next 50 xp would get Dunne another Dedication talent (Willpower to 5) and another Force Rating. He could also use some more points into Move to round out his ability to smash targets with objects.

If I wanted to get another specialization (and right now, I'm not sure I do), I'd look at Seer or Sage.  Dunne is still a Consular, and his proficiency in the Force is a big part of his story. A higher Force Rating would also allow him to still have a good Force die pool when he has a few of his dice committed to other Force effects.  Looking at the Sage spec, I don't find a lot of abilities that fit Dunne's style.  I do find a bunch of talents that are useful to this spec over in the Mystic's Seer spec. While expensive to cross-class a third time, the talents he will have access to can't be beat; multiple ranks in Uncanny Reactions, Grit, and Toughened, Dodge, Pre-Emptive Avoidance, The Force is my Ally, and of course two opportunities to buy Force Rating, bringing Dunne's total potential Force Rating from his three trees to 5.


Is a 500xp character unreasonable?  I don't think so.  In my Wild Cards game the PCs hit 100xp after about 6 sessions, and that was a 3 hours per night bi-weekly game.  At that rate a PC would be at 500 xp in 34 sessions (64 weeks), so just over a year.  If it were a PC in one of my larger, yet less frequent games, those games generally go 6-7 hours every 6 weeks, and earn 30xp per game.  That's 16 sessions, so about 100 weeks; just shy of 2 years.

But would I want to play such a character?  Does he adequately fit and fill the role he's designed to do?

I dunno.  Anyone wanna run a game and let me find out?

May the dice be with you.

1 comment:

  1. Pretty neat walk through of your guy from start to pretty experienced.

    Dunno if I'd be running any games with PCs that beefy any time soon, but this guy would be welcome in such a group.