March 18, 2014

A New Beginning for a retired character...

Wow, three blog posts in a single day.  You'd almost think I didn't have anything better to do ;)

Well, the prior post (GamerNationCon: An Opportunity Missed...) covered the downer part of the past few days, namely all the cool stuff I couldn't be a part of due to my flight plans being scuttled due to weather.

This one is instead going to cover the cool stuff that happened.  You see, while I wasn't able to make it down to Dallas to get my gaming fix in, I was still able to get plenty of gaming in this past Saturday.

As Thursday was winding to a close, I got an unexpected e-mail in my inbox.  The GM of a pre-existing EotE campaign that I'd tried to join (it was an utter disaster due to the GM not acting sooner to keep his more assholish players in check, particularly when they started harrassing the one female player that was new to RPGs in general) had passed along my contact info to another chap that was looking to start up his own Star Wars campaign.  Again, it was an entirely new group of folks I didn't really know all that well (I knew a couple from very casual interaction at the FLGS, including the GM), but as the saying goes, nothing ventured, nothing gained.  Besides, it wasn't like I had anything better to do at that point.

Talked with the GM, and got the ground rules on building characters.  Standard starting XP budget, an extra 250 credits for gear, players had the choice of Obligation or Duty, and any official material that FFG had released from either EotE or AoR was allowed, but no homebrew material.  While he's got plenty of GM experience, this would be his first time running FFG's Star Wars system, so he wanted to keep things from getting too wild, which is perfectly understandable, as "homebrew RPG material" can be viewed as code for "horribly unbalanced and broken power-gamer material."

My first question was would he allow a Force-user PC?  He thought about it, and said that he'd allow one, but that no way was he handing out a lightsaber, which I replied was not a problem as I had an old PC that I could very easily re-work into a starting character.  Matter of fact, a few weeks prior I had already re-worked said character to be a rules-legal starting character (including the part of only having the usual 500 credits to work with).  I sent him a PDF of the character sheet, and so my initial EotE PC, a teenage street rat named Valin Starsmore was reborn.  The only real difference was that Valin started out with a blaster pistol instead of a light blaster pistol and an extra stimpack.  It didn't make sense for him to be connected with the Alliance, so I took a Bounty obligation to reflect that the ISB is very interested in bringing Valin into Imperial custody.

Valin Starsmore got his initial start as character for West End Game's Star Wars D6 2nd Edition Revised & Expended system, modifying the Young Jedi template to remove Alter and re-distributing the Attribute dice into an array that wasn't quite as one-sided.  Sadly, the game that I was to play that version of Valin in never got off the ground, and so he went into my file of "characters that have never seen play."  Well, when I got my copy of the Edge of the Empire Beta, I set about looking for prior characters that I could see about re-inventing for this interesting new system.  Now I've a long-standing tradition of my first PC in any new Star Wars system being a Jedi of some type, often with the surname of Morningfire, with my online name being taken from the longest running of those, a Jedi Knight of the Rise of the Empire era named Donovan Morningfire (started as a Jedi Guardian under the OCR, was converted to RCR, and then finally re-imagined for Saga Edition).

Seeing as how FFG had opted to hold Jedi PCs until the third book in their Star Wars RPG product line, it didn't seem right to create a new Morningfire that wasn't a Jedi.  As noted, I was going through my file of "characters that have never seen play."  And there was Valin, a teenage street rat with a noted sweet tooth and very much lacking in self-confidence, with a note that the ISB had a warrant out for his capture as "person of interest" due to being a possible Force-sensitive and connected with his mentor (who had been a Jedi apprentice when the Jedi Purge kicked off back in D6, and was re-imagined as a Padawan that'd escaped Order 66).  And so Valin was remade as a Smuggler/Scoundrel/Force Exile for a one-shot game that Cyril ran.

And he was fun to play, even if he did a real hatchet job on trying to hit on Gizmo, Nateal's Twi'lek Bounty Hunter/Gadgeteer whom she had admitted "Presence of 3?  Yeah, she's pretty hot, busty too."  It was painful I'm sure for the other players (Wayne even noted that his character was ready to come over and show the kid how it was done), but given Valin's almost-crippling lack of self-confidence, it made perfect sense that he'd do a horrible job of trying to impress a hot chick; I've come to see Valin as being a prime example of Adorkable.  His only real Force ability in this incarnation was that he "could see things before they happened" and had a degree of hyperawareness (watch the Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes movies and note the scenes where Robert Downey Jr's Holmes is alone), with Valin's problem being that while he "saw everything," he wasn't always able to properly filter and process that information.  The adventure was fun, and while it ended on a possible hook for further adventures, that never really came to be.

Well, some time later, Cyril was going to start up an EotE campaign after his Saga Edition campaign came to a close.  Once again, I took up the role of Valin, only this time replacing Force Exile with the Jedi Initiate from my Ways of the Force, and adding the Move Power and an extra talent from the Scoundrel tree to his stats being the major changes.  Other characters were Priska, a Bothan Colonist/Scholar (and later re-worked into an Explorer/Archaeologist when Enter the Unknown came out) and Chavbagga, a Wookiee Technician/Outlaw Tech, as well as a Chiss Hired Gun/Merc Soldier that called herself Erina and an archeological assistant droid (Explorer/Scout) whose name I don't remember (sorry Rikoshi).  Sadly, that campaign came to an abrupt end due to GM burnout and some personality conflicts that one of the replacement players caused within the group.  It's been put on hiatus, but as much as I'd love for that campaign to resume, I'm not holding my breath.  Still, I was able to advance Valin a fair amount as well as test out the talent tree layout of my Jedi Initiate, which in turn lead me to make some drastic alterations, the point that I felt it'd be better to just remove that spec and replace it with Force Emergent instead as I wasn't sure what the next form of Jedi Initiate would look like and it wasn't fair to the GM to keep revising my character every so often.

Well, Valin saw new life this past Saturday, and was just as much fun, particularly as the rest of the group came across as very self-assured and assertive (if a bit violent) so it was an amusing contrast.  However, Valin did prove he's no slouch when it's time to get violent, and even managed to land the finishing shot on the major antagonist with the guy's own (dropped) heavy blaster pistol.  The GM ran us through a slightly modified "Escape from Mos Shutta" adventure from the Edge of the Empire Beginner Box, mostly as this was his first time running the system and I was the only person at the table with extensive experience with the system (a couple players had played the Free RPG Day adventure, but that was it).  We've got quite a mix of characters in this group, though there is a slight bias towards combat-savvy types, which makes sense as the GM had pitched this as ultimately being an "Rebel Special Mission Group" campaign, though he's admitted that he'll likely be sticking to published adventures until he's comfortable enough with the system before creating his own adventures.

One of the more amusing things to come out of that session was that one of the other PCs, a youngish female Mirialan Hired Gun/Demolitionist that goes by the name of "Jynx" took quite a shine to Valin, finding him and his sheepish personality to be "rather cute," and thus taking a few opportunities to flirt with the young Force-user.  Also, she definitely saw Valin use the Force to pull that heavy blaster pistol to his hand, so Jynx knows that Valin's not just a self-professed "street rat" with a very acute awareness for danger.  The session ended not long after, so we'll have to wait until next time to see what she does with that knowledge or if it changes her perspective on Valin.

On the off chance anyone's interested, here's Valin's character sheet, reflecting his abilities at the start of this new campaign:

Valin's Story:
An orphan for as long as he can remember, Valin grew up in the foster care system, being transferred from one home to the next home; as such, he never really had a sense of belonging anywhere.  That all changed when the groundskeeper at the latest foster care center, a middle-aged man named Cori, recognized Valin's nascent Force abilities for what they were.  Cori helped the youth understand and begin to control his fledging powers.  But when Cori was taken into custody by COMPNOR agents, Valin fled out of fear that he’d be next, spending the next several months living on the streets.  With only his wits and Force-enhanced reflexes to rely on, he did his best to avoid drawing attention to himsel, even as he kept looking for someplace to belong.  But he hasn’t forgotten what little he’d learned from Cori, and tries to conduct himself in accordance with the Jedi Code as best he can in these dark times of Imperial rule…

As the above shows,he's not a powerful Force-user by any stretch of the imagination.  With only the basic abilities of Sense and Move available to him (and though I did consider replacing Move with Enhance, I'm glad I stuck with Move given how the adventure played out).  We'd earned 25 XP during the session, which I spent thusly:

+1 rank in Ranged (Light)
Purchased the Sense Control Upgrade to allow him to upgrade the difficulty on an enemy's attack once per turn.
Purchased the Toughened talent from Force Emergent.

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