May 4, 2016

Revisting some old faces for May the Fourth

Firstly, a happy May the Fourth to my fellow Star Wars fans.

Been a while since I last posted, coming off of the gaming high that was GamerNationCon 2016: Beyond Thunderdome.  And to be honest, not a whole lot worth posting has been going on.  Been revisiting the con module (Taris City Rumble) that I wrote for possible pick-up games, and have wound up revising it considerably so that it has more of an Edge of the Empire feel to it.  Also been working on a new con module set closer to the time frame of The Force Awakens.  I am fully planning on offering these as scheduled events at GamerNationCon 2017: A  New Hope, given the rather ill-fated attempt I made at trying to run a pick-up game last time around.

There is the Captain America: Civil War movie opening in the states this weekend, which I'm eager to see.  I'm pretty solidly in the corner of #TeamCap, even if Spider-Man makes his long-awaited debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe on Iron Man's side of the fight.

But back onto things pertaining to Star Wars.  I've been working here and there on a pretty substantial revision of my Ways of the Force fan document, taking into account not only lessons learned and feedback provided and gained, but also the fact that Force and Destiny has been out for quite a while now.

And in that line of thinking, I started to wonder "what would some old characters from the earliest version of the rules look like now?"  I kind of answered that a bit when I did a minor update of my initial character Valin Starsmore, a Force-sensitive street rat that was originally built as a Smuggler/Scoundrel/Force Exile and got re-built into a Smuggler/Scoundrel/Force Emergent for an Age of Rebellion game.  I had toyed with rebuilding Valin a third time, making use of Force and Destiny, but simply never really got around to it until a little over a week ago, which in turn got me thinking to a couple other old player-characters, such as Auron, the aged Clone Trooper that had defected from the Empire (built as a Hired Gun/Mercenary Captain) and my friend Linda's character from her initial foray into FFG's Star Wars RPG, a young Tapani socialite on the run named Jade Morningfire (and no, the surname was not a coincidence).

So, I opted to go ahead and do complete re-builds of those three characters using the latest material from all three of the Star Wars RPG product lines.  You can find links to the character sheets for each of these characters by clicking on the link embedded within their species/career/specialization listing.

Valin Starsmore, Force-Sensitive Street Rat
(Human Sentinel/Shien Expert)
An orphan for as long as he can remember, Valin never really had a sense of belonging, having largely grown up on the streets, quickly learning to rely upon himself.  His one major edge was an unusual sensitivity to events and the people around him, giving him brief flashes of insight that helped him avoid danger.
That changed when he was taken in by a foster care center, where he came under the care and tutelage of an elderly Human by the name of Cori, who had once been a Jedi apprentice.  As such, Cori recognized Valin's sensitivity to the Force, and saw in the youth the potential for something better.  Over the next few years, Valin learned to better control his fledgling powers but also about the Jedi Knights and their beliefs, even coming to see the older man as the closest thing to a father-figure he'd ever known.  On his 16th birthday, Valin received his master's old training stick and the Old Republic credit that they'd use to train the boy to "move things without physically moving them," as well as encouragement to continue learning about the Force.  Valin can only figure that Cori had some foreknowledge about the impending of the ISB Agent that arrested the older man several days later on charges of treason against the Empire; Cori was never seen again, and a few days later Valin fled the center, certain that staying would put everyone else in great danger.

Valin has spent the intervening time once again living on the streets, doing his best to avoid drawing the wrong kind of attention.  But instead of simply trying to survive, Valin now has a greater sense of purpose, and has not forgotten what he'd learned about the Jedi Knights.  Now, he hopes to learn more about the Force while doing his best to live in accordance with the Jedi Code as best one can in these dark times.

Thoughts: This version of Valin works a lot better overall, even if it meant losing some handy skill ranks from his original iteration.  Not having to fork over XP for a universal spec to be Force-sensitive helped a lot, as did the +10 XP from Morality, enabling him to push his Cunning up to 3, something that's very handy for a street rat.  He's not great as combatant, but neither was his original version, though he lost Cool and Vigilance as career skills in the transition from Smuggler to Sentinel.

Jade Morningfire, Force-Sensitive Debutante-in-Exile 
(Human Mystic/Advisor)
Jade grew up the daughter of one of the noble houses of the Tapani Expanse, accustomed to a life of luxury and privilege that most beings can only dream of.  In spite of her somewhat sheltered upbringing, Jade was a decent person at heart, and even if she didn't quite grasp the plights of the common folk she always meant well in her limited dealings with them.  From a very young age, Jade demonstrated a knack for charming those around her, as well as being unusually perceptive of the moods of others.  Her constant companion was a young gossamer dragonet named Merry, most likely due to a combination of teenage whimsy and the creature's cheerfulness, with the tiny beast frequently curled around his mistress' shoulders when not fluttering about.

It wasn't until much later, well into her teens, that Jade came to learn some of the truth of her heritage.  Highly attractive, Jade was used to being the focus of attention for other men, particularly young nobles of a similar age, though it was a recent suitor, a young yet highly-ranked Imperial officer that had given Jade cause for concern; there was just something cold and unsettling about the man despite his handsome appearance.  Her father had been reluctant to approve the match, given the disparity in social status, but his sudden and uncharacteristic change in opinion lead to a heated argument between Jade's parents, which she overheard purely by chance.  It was then that she learned the man she had called father all her life was not her biological father, and that her mother had a short-lived affair with a Jedi General bearing the surname of Morningfire.  When it became clear that Jade was going to wind up having to wed the creepy Imperial officer, she made up her mind to run away, taking whatever she could grab before fleeing the family's lush estate on Procopia, deciding to adopt the surname Morningfire in honor of her true biological father and as a means of distancing herself from her adopted father after the perceived betrayal of her trust.

Since running away, Jade has had some difficulty in adapting to a life away from the pomp and luxury of the Expanse, learning quickly that most people will not simply do as she wishes because she asked them to.  That and much of the considerable sum of credits she started out with have quickly dwindled to a mere pittance, though Jade is determined to not go back and be forced to marry a man whose mere presence leaves her greatly unsettled.

Thoughts: I had Linda vet this updated version of Jade, and we both liked it.  Jade is a bit weak in her starting characteristics, only having two of them at a 3, which may hamper her in the long run, though her 3's are in the characteristics she'll most frequently using.

Auron Briggs, Former Clone Trooper
(Human Soldier/Commando)
The way that Auron sees it, there's really not a whole lot to tell about him or his life.  Like so many of his genetic brethren, he was created and trained on Kamino as part of the Grand Army of the Republic, given the designation CT-20237.  He entered combat duty during the 15th month of the Clone Wars, and served well if not with distinction; that he survived to see the end of the war is a testament to his level of training given the casualty rate of Clone Troopers.

At first, he accepted the Republic's transition into the Galactic Empire, though he remains quite on the subject of Order 66, saying only that what's done is done and that looking back won't change things.  For the first couple of years, CT-20237 didn't see much of a difference in how the Empire ran things, having never known what life was like prior to the Clone Wars.  But gradually that changed, and he began to see just how corrupt and awful the Empire was in comparison to stories told of the Old Republic.  One incident finally pushed the veteran trooper to the breaking point, at which he deserted Imperial service and set out to find his own path in the galaxy, heading for the Outer Rim Territories.  He knows that as a Clone Trooper that deserted, his life is essentially forfeit, and so adopted the name Auron Briggs to help cover his tracks, at least a little.

For the most part, Auron works as a blaster-for-hire, keeping to a personal moral code as to what sorts of jobs he will or won't take; the seedier side of the criminal underworld sickens a professional soldier like himself, and more than one sleazy underworld figure has found themselves facing the wrath of a man who is far more dangerous than his age would suggest.

Thoughts: Auron was a tough SOB in his Hired Gun/Mercenary Captain incarnation, and he's probably even more of a tough SOB as a Soldier/Commando.  He's got pretty solid combat skills, can take a couple of hits from lower-grade weapons.  I was sorely tempted to build him up to Knight Level just to see how much tougher he'd get with that additional XP, but I kind of like Auron being an entry-level character, with his mechanical lack of skill being narratively enforced by his advanced physical age; he wasn't much more than a front-line trooper during the Clone Wars, so he wouldn't be on nearly the same level of badassery as Commander Rex.

And there we go, updated versions of three staring characters that made their first entrances into the Star Wars universe during the bygone days of the Edge of the Empire Beta.

While I had originally intended to drop a new version of Ways of the Force today, especially since it was on a May the Fourth that the initial version made its debut, things didn't work out that way.  I'm generally pleased with out a lot of the current version looks, but there's still a few things I'd like to tinker with as well as getting the document's layout in proper order (it's currently a bit of a mess).  Given how infrequently I post updates to this blog, maybe next month will see a vastly updated version of Ways of the Force.

Until next time, May the Fourth be with you, always...