October 12, 2014

Some gaming-related updates

So the past couple days have been fairly interesting gaming-wise for me.

Friday night, I wound up running a Force and Destiny game after finding out the person I thought was running thought somebody else was running.  I managed to pull a pretty decent adventure together with only 5 minutes of total prep time (and most of that was getting stats together for the initial encounter, a star ship battle).  There were a couple instances where I should have assigned Conflict, but I was a bit run-down mentally.  Still, the group had fun, so that counts as a Triumph in my book.

Also related to Friday after my FaD session wrapped, discussed with the players that were also part of the Mutants and Masterminds game that I was in.  Sadly, we concluded that one player, who was problematic in a couple different ways, had to go, but we are going to move ahead with playing, hopefully starting next month.  Not sure if we're doing the proposed "cosmic" mini-campaign or if we're going back to Emerald City Knights, but that can be hammered out over the coming weeks.

As for Saturday, the afternoon was spent playing in our EotE/AoR/FaD mixed group, and that session took a very unexpected direction.  Short version: our group of Rebel operatives got lured into an Imperial trap aboard a hovertrain, with the Imperials lead by an ISB Agent and most notably an Imperial Inquisitor.  For those that have read the Inquisitor creation rules in the back of the Force and Destiny Beta, you know how brutal an opponent an Inquisitor is.  Let's just say that my Minor Jedi character got a harsh lesson in just how far he has to go before being able to truthfully call himself a Jedi Knight after that particular duel, which did have underpinnings of the Luke vs. Vader fight in ESB.  Half the group's characters are dead, one was taken prisoner by the Imps and is probably not in for a happy fate, while my PC and our Chiss Commander were the only two to escape (albeit with significant injuries) by stealing a small 2-person scout ship (A-24 Sleuth) since the group's modified YT-1300 was under heavy Imperial guard.  From what we discussed after that session wrapped, it looks like we're doing a reboot of sorts, and going to switch over to an EotE-themed game with the party being a group of "independent spacers" rather than agents of the Rebellion.  They also didn't want to create new characters with the absurd (300+) XP required to put them roughly on par with the two escapees, so that means I'll be setting Valin aside for a little while.  Thinking I might actually try out a Colonist/Marshal for this relaunched campaign, as I've been wanting to give that specialization a spin given it's an interesting mix of social acumen and combat prowess.  Still, gonna feel odd not playing Valin, at least for a while.  But then again, the GM did say that once the group got within a reasonable XP range of him, I would be allowed to resume playing my Smuggler/Scoundrel/Force Emergent/Ataru Striker (who has earned 450 XP by this point).  I don't know how much XP the GM is going to hand out, and since we play bi-weekly (give or take), by the time I get to resume playing Valin, the actual core rulebook for Force and Destiny could be on the shelves.  Given that the EotE and AoR core rulebooks were released in July, I'm hoping it's not that long, but we'll see.

Saturday night was a Skype chat with a couple friends, discussing ideas for a Halloween-themed adventure to be run on either the 31st or the 1st.  I think Eric's got a really cool idea for a session, and my suggestion of using Fate Accelerated Edition seemed to really click for him.  So that will be something cool to look forward to.

For the Friday Skype group, I did get the various details (including settling on a name) for my replacement PC in the Age of Rebellion game.  I hadn't posted it here, but my PC in said AoR game, a Human Commander/Tactician, had died during an impromptu mission to free a bunch of resistance cell leaders and a teenage Force adept from an Imperial garrison.  He died from a vibro-knife to the heart wielded by an ISB Agent, keeping the guy from shooting at the rest of the team or prisoners before they all got aboard the Imperial transport we were stealing.  While I had planned/discussed with the GM the exit of my character well in advance, I find that I am going to miss Jacen, at least a bit.  But then, I'm not always comfortable with playing the party leader in an RPG, particularly if I've had a rough day at work beforehand; there were a few times where I honestly felt I was being overly bossy/pushy to the rest of the group (and to the GM a bit) to keep things on-track and moving towards our objectives even when not in combat.

So yeah, an interesting weekend in terms of gaming.

September 16, 2014

Force and Destiny: Dono Version 2.0

A while back, I took a crack at building my namesake Jedi PC from the days of WotC's d20 system, and while it was workable, I wasn't entirely happy with it.  So, being the unabashed tinker monkey that I am, I decided to try some other approaches to building a Force and Destiny version of Donovan Morningfire.  And here's the results:

Donovan Morningfire, Jedi Apprentice (Take Two)
Species: Human (bonus non-career skills are Knowledge: Xenology and Lightsaber)
Career: Guardian
Specializations: Peacekeeper, Ataru Seeker
Total XP: 270
Morality: 50
Emotional Strength: Bravery
Emotional Weakness: Recklessness
Motivation: Justice (Cause) 

Characteristics: Brawn 2, Agility 3, Intellect 2, Cunning 2, Willpower 3, Presence 3
Skills: Brawl 1, Cool 1, Coordination 1, Discipline 1, Knowledge: Xenology 1, Lightsaber 2, Perception 1, Piloting (Planetary) 1, Vigilance 1
Talents (Ataru Striker): Ataru Technique, Conditioned, Jump Up, Parry,  Quick Draw, Reflect
Talents (Peacekeeper): Commanding Presence, Confidence, Second Wind
Force Powers: Enhance (Control Upgrade: Coordination, Control Upgrade: Force Leap [Horizontal]), Move (Control Upgrade: Hurl Objects, Range Upgrade, Strength  Upgrade), Sense (Control Upgrade: Defense, Duration Upgrade)
Soak Value: 3
Wound Threshold: 12
Strain Threshold: 13
Defense (Melee/Ranged): 0/0
Gear: Basic lightsaber (Lightsaber; Damage 6; Crit 2; Range [Engaged]; Breach 1, Sunder), concealing robes (+1 soak), comlink (handheld), glow rod, 3 ration packs, 3 stimpacks, rebreather (as breath mask), utility belt, 200 credits

Okay, so this version's a bit more fragile given no ranks in Toughened or Grit to start out with, but he's certainly a lot more resistant to fear effects and has a good option for strain recovery with Second Wind, which he'll need to help fuel his Parry and Reflect talents.  He's still only got a Force Rating of 1, putting him strictly at Apprentice level, but it works.  Storywise, I just figure he had uncommonly good luck when rolling his Force die.

For his "group resource" I went with the Mentor option, given that his backstory (covered in the fan-fic "Unexpected Destiny") includes Jedi Master Quatre Zidann, who took an unsure-of-himself young boy and helped mold him into a brave (if still reckless) Jedi Knight.  As per the 2nd Beta Update for Force and Destiny, choosing Mentor provides a 5 XP discount on when initially purchasing a new Force Power, which gave Dono an extra 15 XP to play around with, most of which went into Force powers.  Should Mentor not be a group option for whatever reason, easiest fix is to drop the Force Leap upgrade from Enhance and his rank in Perception.

I did opt to keep that rank in Knowledge: Xenology, as for someone that wasn't always the sharpest of kids he was generally pretty-well versed in the traits and habits of the various alien species and cultures of the Rise of the Empire era, even picking up the Twi'lek head-tail language during his adult years.

Overall, I like this build a whole lot, and would love a chance to put Dono on the table in a Force and Destiny game.

September 7, 2014

Force & Destiny Pre-Gens: Human Sentinel/Shadow

Yet another pre-gen, and again one that's not a lightsaber user.  I took the core idea for this character from the notion of Mara Jade in her capacity as the Emperor's Hand, a role for which this character could very well fit, at least in terms of being a covert spy.

Human Sentinel/Shadow
Species: Human (bonus non-career skills are Cool and Melee)
Career: Sentinel
Specializations: Shadow
Total XP:115
Morality: 50
Emotional Strength: Caution
Emotional Weakness: Fear
Motivation: Survival (Ambition) 

Characteristics: Brawn 2, Agility 3, Intellect 2, Cunning 3, Willpower 2, Presence 2
Skills:Computers 1, Cool 1, Deception 1, Melee 1, Perception 1, Skulduggery 2, Stealth 1, Streetwise 1
Talents: Codebreaker, Indistinguishable, Sleight of Mind, Street Smarts
Force Powers: Misdirect (basic power), Sense (basic power)
Soak Value: 3
Defense (Melee/Ranged): 0/0
Wound Threshold: 12
Strain Threshold: 12
Gear: Blaster pistol (Ranged [Light]; Damage 6; Critical 3; Range [Medium]; Stun setting), vibroknife (Melee; Damage 3; Critical 2; Range [Engaged]; Pierce 2, Vicious 1), heavy clothing (+1 soak), comlink (handheld), breath mask, lockpicks, scanner goggles, stimpack (3), utility belt, 460 credits

Design Notes: Like I said, a prototypical Mara Jade type of character, though obviously she's much more focused on the "being sneaky" aspects than being an assassin.  She took a hit to her starting Characteristics, only having two scores at a 3 but she needed that XP for her starting Force powers and to get those two ranks in Skulduggery.

The lockpicks are something I scrounged up from older Star Wars RPG notes of mine, initially written for WotC's RCR version.  Here, they're meant to serve as a primitive counterpart to the electronic lock breaker; in effect a set of thieves' tools for breaking & entering as well as disabling primitive security methods.  Cost-wise I figure 100 credits is about right, with it being an Encumbrance 1 item.  It'd probably also be of some use in picking an electronic lock, but wouldn't qualify a bonus as per the "right tool for the job" sidebar in that instance.

September 6, 2014

Force and Destiny Beta Pre-Gens: Human Shii-Cho Knight

And here I am with yet another Force and Destiny Beta pre-gen character.

You remember when I said that they weren't all be lightsaber wielders?  Well, I've already given you a few characters that weren't, so here's one that is.  In contrast to Donovan, I opted to go with a "back to basics" lightsaber wielder, and you don't get much more basic in terms of lightsaber combat than Shii-Cho, also known as Form I or The Determination Form.

Human Warrior/Shii-Cho Knight
Species: Human (bonus non-career skills are Discipline and Vigilance)
Career: Warrior
Specializations: Shii-Cho Knight 
Total XP:115
Morality: 50
Emotional Strength: Bravery
Emotional Weakness: Anger
Motivation: The Jedi Code (Faith) 

Characteristics: Brawn 3, Agility 2, Intellect 2, Cunning 2, Willpower 3, Presence 2
Skills: Athletics 1, Cool 1, Coordination 1, Discipline 1, Lightsaber 2, Perception 1, Vigilance 1
Talents: Multiple Opponents, Parry, Second Wind, Toughened
Force Powers: Sense (basic power, Control Upgrade: Defense)
Soak Value: 4
Defense: (Melee/Ranged): 0/0
Wound Threshold: 15
Strain Threshold: 13
Gear: Training lightsaber (Lightsaber; Damage 6; Critical --; Ranged [Engaged]; Stun damage), concealing robes (+1 soak), breath mask, comlink (handheld), stimpack (x3), ration pack (3 days), utility belt; 800 credits

Design Notes: One beat-stick, straight up.  He's fairly tough, though a bit susceptible to blaster fire.  I opted to go with only raising his Brawn and Willpower since those feed into his Wound and Strain Thresholds in addition to the Discipline, Lightsaber, and Vigilance skills.  His only Force power is Sense, but he can use that to get a quick defensive boost, and could be a good reason for him to not immediately attack in the opening rounds of combat.  He's got a smattering of ranks in other useful skills, like Cool and Perception, but he is first and foremost a beatstick.

Now admittedly the training lightsaber isn't all that impressive, and I could see some folks thinking this character would be better off taking a much cheaper melee weapon like the truncheon to start with and then going for the +10 XP option rather than the +5XP/+1500 credits that I used.  But I really wanted this guy to start with a lightsaber, and given how lightsaber focusing crystals work in Force and Destiny, it's a simple matter for the Shii-Cho Knight to simply pop out the training emitter and slot in a proper focusing crystal once he happens to find one.

As far as crystal options go, the Krayt Dragon Pearl and Mephite Crystal are both solid options for sheer damage output.  The Lorrdian Gemstone offers some pretty solid defensive boosts, but the reduced damage can be counter-acted by the extended hilt attachment easily enough.

September 5, 2014

Force & Destiny Beta Pre-Gen: Twi'lek Sage

Another sample character from the Force and Destiny Beta.  Previously offered was a character that wasn't really "aware" of their being Force-sensitive, so this time I figured I'd offer up a character that very much is aware of the Force.

Twi'lek Consular/Sage
Species: Twi'lek
Career: Consular
Specializations: Sage
Total XP:110
Morality: 50
Emotional Strength: Compassion
Emotional Weakness: Cruelty
Motivation: Goodness of People (Faith) 

Characteristics: Brawn 1, Agility 2, Intellect 3, Cunning 2, Willpower 3, Presence 3
Skills: Charm 1, Cool 1, Deception 1, Discipline 1, Know: Education 1, Know: Lore 1, Leadership 1
Talents: Kill with Kindness, Researcher
Force Powers: Foresee (basic power), Heal/Harm (basic power)
Soak Value: 2
Defense (Melee/Ranged): 0/0
Wound Threshold: 11
Strain Threshold: 14
Gear: Concealing robes (+1 soak), comlink (handheld), portable healing kit, stimpack (3), 220 credits

Design Notes:For this character build, I wanted to do a "mystic" type of character, and while my first thought was to go with the Mystic career, it turned out that Consular was a better fit for what I had in mind.  The character is a mix of social skills and Force ability, with her two Force powers fitting into the notion of a "mystic" in that she can use the Force to heal or to cause harm while also being "aware" of the Force on a somewhat metaphysical level (thus the Foresee power).  For those of you with the book and checking my math, her rank of Researcher was bought at the 10XP instead of the 5 XP level, setting her up to take ranks in Smooth Talker and Confidence.

Given that Sage is one of two FaD specializations that offer the Force Rating talent twice (but no Dedication), this character is in a good position to become a very skilled Force user, so boosting up the Foresee power and taking the Influence are possible options.  She could also take Sense to boost up her defensive and offensive capabilities as well.  Of course, with the way that Heal/Harm is written, the temptation to deal significant damage to an adversary with a touch is going to always be present, especially as she purchases additional upgrades.

September 4, 2014

Force and Destiny BETA pre-gens: Human Guardian/Protector

Back when the Gamer Security Agency was a thing, I and some others folks did a bunch of sample character builds for the EotE Beta.  Since the GSA is pretty much defunct at this point, I thought I might pick up that tradition here on my own blog.

My last update was a Knight-level version of my namesake character, but I think for these next few character builds, I'll stick purely with the options available in the Force and Destiny book.  And if you're expecting an endless parade of 'saber-monkeys, then prepare to be disappointed.  I'm actually going to try and avoid using the Lightsaber Form specializations, if only to showcase that Force and Destiny presents far more options for characters than just Jedi wannabes.

So without further rambling on my part, let's get the ball rolling with a...

Human Guardian/Protector
Species: Human (bonus non-career skills are Cool and Piloting [Planetary])
Career: Guardian
Specializations: Protector
Total XP:115
Morality: 50
Emotional Strength: Disciplined
Emotional Weakness: Obstinateness
Motivation: Honor (Belief) 

Characteristics: Brawn 3, Agility 3, Intellect 2, Cunning 2, Willpower 3, Presence 2
Skills:Cool 1, Discipline 1, Medicine 1, Melee 1, Perception 1, Piloting (Planetary) 1, Ranged (Light) 1, Resilience 1, Vigilance 1
Talents: Bodyguard, Grit, Toughened
Soak Value:4Wound Threshold: 15
Strain Threshold: 14
Defense (Melee/Ranged): 0/0
Gear: Heavy blaster pistol (Ranged [Light]; Damage 7; Critical 3; Range [Medium]; Stun setting), holdout blaster (Ranged [Light]; Damage 5; Critical 4; Range [Short]; Stun setting), vibroknife (Melee; Damage 4; Critical 2; Range [Engaged]; Pierce 2, Vicious 1), heavy clothing (+1 soak), comlink (handheld), emergency medpac, extra reloads, stimpack (x4), utility belt; 90 credits

Design Notes: The core idea I had for this character was a "stealth Force user" in that he's not really aware that he's Force-sensitive, and is instead someone that's good at keeping other people safe and avoiding danger.  To that end, he's more likely to simply devote his Force dice to the Force Protection talent (once he acquires it) to make him a lot harder to take down.  He's an all-around decent combatant, good with a blaster or a knife.  The emergency medpac is actually from the other two core rulebooks; really not sure why the writers felt the need to replace it with the portable healing kit, which does much the same thing.

August 23, 2014

Donovan Morningfire, Force and Destiny style

I did say that I'd start posting some Force and Destiny pre-gens, didn't I?

Well, I figure that I might as well get the ball rolling with my Jedi namesake.  To be fair, Dono was not the first character I built using the Force and Destiny rules, especially since I used the rules for "Knight-level" characters to create him.  I wanted to try my hand at building a few characters that operate at the standard baseline to see how they compared to starting characters in Edge of the Empire and Age of Rebellion.

But once that was done, it was on to the task that I'd been wanting to attempt ever since FFG announced they had the Star Wars RPG license.  So without further rambling on my part, I present...

Donovan Morningfire, Jedi Apprentice
Species: Human (bonus non-career skills are Cool and Discipline)
Career: Seeker
Specializations: Ataru Striker, Force Emergent
Total XP: 270
Morality: 50
Emotional Strength: Bravery
Emotional Weakness: Recklessness
Motivation: Justice (Cause) 

Characteristics: Brawn 2, Agility 3, Intellect 2, Cunning 2, Willpower 3, Presence3
Skills: Athletics 1, Cool 1, Coordination 1, Discipline 1, Lightsaber 2, Knowledge (Xenology) 1, Survival 1, Vigilance 1
Talents (Ataru Striker): Ataru Technique, Conditioned, Dodge, Jump Up, Parry,  Quick Draw, Reflect
Talents (Force Emergent): Grit, Toughened, Uncanny Reactions, Uncanny Senses
Force Powers: Enhance (Control Upgrade: Coordination), Move (Strength  Upgrade), Sense (Control Upgrade: Defense)
Soak Value: 3
Wound Threshold: 14
Strain Threshold: 14
Defense (Melee/Ranged): 0/0
Gear: Basic lightsaber (Lightsaber; Damage 6; Crit 2;Range [Engaged]; Breach 1, Sunder), concealing robes (+1 soak), comlink (handheld), glow rod, 3 ration packs, 3 stimpacks, rebreather (as breath mask), utility belt, 200 credits

Going by his progression through my old Unexpected Destiny fan-fic as a either an RCR d20 Jedi Guardian or a Saga Edition Jedi, this puts him at about 3rd level in terms of his fighting and Force prowess.  Things aren't quite on par; for one he can't use telekinesis to attack and he can't quite do super leaps, but those two things are only 35 XP away.  And yes, I did technically cheat by using the Force Emergent from the Age of Rebellion core rulebook, but it does the job.

The rank in Knowledge (Xenology) was a bit odd at first (the Seeker career's list of career skills really don't mesh well with Dono's back-story; frankly he's better as either a Guardian or a Warrior, but him being an Ataru student is an iconic element of his characterization), but upon later thought it actually works, as when he appeared in d20 games, he was fairly savvy about different species, and even picked up on the Twi'lek head-tail languages.  The high Presence is more a nod to the fact he had a pretty high Charisma, even before Saga Edition made using the Force dependent on that ability score; were it someone else I'd probably have put the points into Brawn.  Dono did have a pretty good Constitution score in the d20 system, but a so-so Strength, so Brawn 2 works; he always was more about avoiding damage than absorbing it.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with how he worked out as a character.  It's a pretty solid starting point with plenty of room for him to grow, both as a duelist and as a Force user.  I do promise that the next few characters I post will be more along the lines of starting level characters.