July 12, 2013

Ways of the Force, Version 1.03

Okay,. short and sweet, new version of my "Ways of the Force" fan supplement for Fantasy Flight Games' Star Wars: Edge of the Empire RPG.

Seeing as how the final version of the EotE rules have been released and the core rulebooks are finding their way into people's hands, I thought a week after the formal release would be a good time to get a spiffed-up new version of my homebrew expansion to the Force out there for folks to see, read, and use if enough of the material tickles their fancy.

Most of the changes are related to formatting to try and bring the look a tad more in line with how talent trees appear in EotE, mostly by adding a tag with the XP cost of a given talent or upgrade rather than an column listing the XP value.  A couple sidebars got revamped, specifically the ones for Healing and about allowing the Jedi Initiate Force-Sensitive specialization in one's game.

Healing also got revised, particularly the ability to heal a Critical Injury.  A couple folks felt that as it was originally written, it was far too powerful, and I do have to agree.  I also hope the sidebar is a little more clear on how the Magnitude Upgrades (renamed from Duration Upgrades based upon my reading and re-evaluation of those Upgrades as presented in the core rulebook).

The major piece of new material that I added a page of new gear towards the very end.  There's not a whole lot there, just some items I thought would be neat additions, such as short lightsabers aka shoto, the wan-shen, and things like force training aids (useful for your self-taught exiles) and a nod to one of my favorite in-universe products.

In other EotE related news, a few more articles of mine have been posted at the Gamer Security Agency, such as Zubesh, a Bounty Hunter/Survivalist/Force Sensitive Exile that's an apprentice Gand Findsman, who was a fun character to build for the ongoing Heroes on Demand column.  There's also a new entry in the Equipment Lab - Exploring the Galactic Fringe segment, and there will be more to come in the following weeks, so stay tuned to the GSA for more articles.

As a good number of you have probably heard, Chris and Dave of the Order 66 podcast have a Kickstarter running to help fund their efforts to replace their aging and increasingly obsolete podcasting equipment with shiny and more modern gear.  They were only looking for $1000, and they are fast approaching the $5000 mark.  Dave has made it pretty clear that the excess money raised will be spent towards further upgrading their podcasting gear and to covering server costs, so if you enjoy not listening to the Order 66 podcast and/or using the d20 Radio Forums, consider tossing a few bucks their way.  Check it out here:

Order 66 Kickstater
Now as part of their stretch goals, I was asked to write an exclusive module for Edge of the Empire as a backer reward.  It should come as no surprise that I said yes (admittedly I did make sure that I'd have the time available to write the adventure; nothing worse than saying you'll do something only to find out it's needed sooner than you have the time to work on it).  Called "Fallen Stars," I hope it will be a fun adventure that's a bit of a break from the typical seedy underworld adventures that have been put together so far.  My particular stretch goal has been met, so I guess I'll need to get writing.

Also on the adventure front, I've been dragging my feet in getting my SWSE-to-EotE conversion of the excellent introductory adventure "A Much Larger Galaxy...:" finished.  I've only got a few vehicle stat blocks to write-up and then it's done, but I seem to keep getting distracted by this wonderful EotE core rulebook that's sitting next to my desk.  Now that the most recent revision to Ways of the Force is completed, that should free up some mental bandwidth for me to get this adventure done and out the door.

And with that out of the way, here's the link to Version 1.03 of Ways of the Force
Ways of the Force, Version 1.03

July 4, 2013

The Fourth (of July) be with you...

First off, happy 4th of July to my fellow Americans

Next up, to those of you who've already gotten your hands on the newly-released Edge of the Empire core rulebook... I despise you.

In all seriousness, good for you folks that have the book, and I regret that a shipping snafu that affected my FLGS is all that prevents me from reading said book on this day.  Between what I've read, either at the Gamer Security Agency with their "peak at the EotE rulebook" article or FFG's introduction video for what is "Episode 1" of their "Star Wars roleplaying experience," I've got a fair idea of what to expect.  I'll admit to having done a pause of the video and comparing the talent tree pages shown to what the Final Week Beta Updates indicated they should be, and it looks like the majority of the rules crunch is the same.

You can read FFG's latest news blurb and watch the video here: http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_news.asp?eidn=4228

And long-time veteran Star Wars RPG designer Sterling Hershey also weighed in with his thoughts about the release of the EotE core rulebook, which you can read here: http://www.sterlinghershey.com/blog/2013/7/3/star-wars-wednesday-edge-of-the-empire-release.html

So what does this mean for the fan projects that I've put together so far and the ones I still have in the works?  Short version, only some minor changes will be needed to bring things up to speed with the core rulebook, such as skill names (Deceit becoming Deception, for instance) and updating page reference numbers for the official talents in my "Ways of the Force" fan supplement.

Now that's not to say Ben "Cyril" Erickson and I won't decide to add a few more species once it does come time to post an updated version of our "Unofficial Species Menagerie" document.  Although at this point I'm not sure what species we really have left to cover; there's already 52 different species for use in your Edge of the Empire campaigns, which for most players and GMs are probably plenty enough right there.

While some of the initial frenzy regarding my "Ways of the Force" supplement has subsided (after all, it's been a over a month since the last update), there's still some interest, and I imagine the interest will pick back up as more folks are able to buy the EotE core rulebook rather than the smaller group of folks that were able to purchase the Beta rulebook.  I may play around with the color selections used for the talent trees depending on how exactly FFG has things color-coded in the rulebook.  Sadly, my graphic design skills are incredibly limited, so getting the specializations to look like the professional-quality designs in the core rulebook is probably not going to happen.  I may wind up publishing v1.03 with just the minor tweaks I've already mentioned, and then see about any design revamps for v1.04.

Another EotE-related project that I've been working on is a Word 2007 form-fillable character sheet.  I was hoping to be able to embed fonts, but it would seem the fonts that I really want to embed won't stick.  I've done plenty of web searches for aid, but it seems that embedding fonts just won't work when the fonts are fan-created files, at least not for Word 2007.  So I guess it's back to the old stand-by of simply including a copy of the fonts in the zip file with a note to install them.  Which is a shame, as I would have loved to have the EotE font that FFG forum user Aazlain created.

In non-EotE related things, I received my copy of the FATE Accelerated Edition book.  It's a tiny little thing, but I must say I'm awfully impressed.  Stay tuned to the GSA for my thoughts on it.  I can see a lot of potential in this very streamllined version of FATE, and I'm eager to see how the FAE version of the Dresden Files RPG shakes out in a year or two.

In just under a month and a half, there will be GenCon 2013.  I'm definitely looking forward to going, mostly to meet up, hang out and game with various members of the d20 Radio family.  I'll definitely be playing some EotE in two of FFG's official events, but mostly I'll be on the lookout for pick-up games.  I may very well throw something together for FAE, given how easy it is to run (much less fiddly bits to worry about that Dresden Files).

Speaking of, the final pieces are starting to fall into place for a Friday night Skype game of Dresden Files campaign, in which I will be playing a wereworlf that's on "detached duty" as part of the Alpha's "outreach program" in conjunction with the Paranet.

And after more than a year, the Sunday night Star Wars Saga Edition campaign in which I play will be coming to a close this month.  Even though we've had a number of scheduling issues (tricky thing, getting five people in different parts of the country online at the same time), the campaign has been a blast, from Rikoshi's antics as Kirry, the Squib "entrepreneur" to the development of Nateal's technophile Force-user Niera to what had to be one of the best death scenes for any character that I've played, one that had a major impact on the rest of the party.  Or at least, that's my take on it seeing as how the party's recently acquired space cruiser was named posthumously after Rann Antilles.  It also gave me the chance to (somewhat briefly) step back into the role of my NJO character Alwyn Reezaki, a young Jedi Knight that has found himself in the Legacy Era, with everything and everyone he's known being either dead or gone.

But in the closing of one campaign, a new one will start, this one being an Edge of the Empire campaign, in which I will reprise another character role, that of Valin Starsmore, a slightly off-kilter young Force-user with a major sweet tooth (not quite at the level of Death Note's L, but not that far off either) and a fascination with busty Twi'leks;then again, what male in Star Wars doesn't have a fascination with busty Twi'leks?  It will be interesting to go from a powerful Jedi Knight like Alwyn in Saga Edition to a neophyte such as Valin, but I think seeing Valin develop over time will be a reward in and of itself.  It will also be interesting to see what sort of characters the rest of the group plays, though I did put a bug in Nateal's ear about on particular suggestion, one that she seemed agreeable to, but we'll see how it plays out.

So until next time, stay safe and may the Force be with you.