Friday, April 23, 2021

Come Sail Away...

We finished running "Rebel Breakout" yesterday, using my modified version of the old West End Games Star Wars. It went fine (the "adventure" isn't all that great...though as a starter/sample, what would you expect?) but the kids really enjoyed it...they were far more enthusiastic about this little game than the supers game. Getting a chance to blast stormtroopers and fly Y-Wings I suppose...

I am satisfied with the system enough that I'm taking the time to write it the moment it's about five pages long, but the final thing will probably come in around 20 or so pages, depending on formatting and how much I decide to "pad" the thing out. Probably there won't be much of the latter...I mean, it's just Star Wars. And it's really just WEG with a slightly different system. We'll see how it holds up over a couple-three adventures.

However, while folks wait for the PDF, I might as well give y'all the gist of the thing...something for the "so inclined" to ponder over the weekend (I will be very busy, with multiple baseball/soccer games and Covid vaccinations going on). Here are the basics:
  • Dice pools get substituted for polyhedrals: 1D = d4, 2D = d6, 3D = d8, 4D = d10, 5D = d12, 6D = d20. Much of the mechanics involve "shifting" die size UP or DOWN. Above d20, shifts go to d20+1, d20+2, d20+3, etc. all the way up to an absolute maximum of d20+9 (the equivalent of 15D; there are a couple dudes who have these scores). Fractional "pips" from WEG are generally dropped or rounded when doing conversions.
  • Target Numbers are pretty simple: Very Easy = 2, Easy = 4, Moderate = 6, Difficult = 8, Very Difficult = 12, and "Heroic" (from 2nd edition) would be around 15, if you wanted to set something that high. Many rolls are contested (meaning an opponent is trying to prevent your action), in which case you must beat the opponent's roll AND the target number to succeed.
  • Character creation goes like this: start with the same six attributes (DEX, KNO, MEC, PER, STR, TEC) at 1d8 each. You can select a max of two to shift UP to 1d10 by selling down others to 1d6. Nonhumans can shift ONE 1d10 to 1d12 by selling down an additional attribute (either another 1d8 to 1d6 or a single 1d6 to 1d4). Skills are mostly the same, though I've combined some ("parry" has just been subsumed under melee, for example, "shields" are part of piloting, cultures/aliens species/planetary systems is just one combined skill as is jumping/climbing/swimming, etc.) to shorten/streamline the list. Starting characters get seven skill advances to raise die types (up to two shifts per skill); so, for example, if I have "Blaster" at d8 (because my DEX is d8), I could spend up to two of my advances to make the skill d12. Characters with force skills (force adepts, aged padawans, washed-up Jedi) can assign these skill advances to the usual control, sense, alter skills, but as they start at NO DIE TYPE (they don't fall under an attribute) the first advance gives you a d4 and the second a d6, should you choose to "max" them. Trappings (i.e. equipment or "starting stuff") is based on template, and I've got a list of 19, mostly taken straight from the original 1E list. It's workable.
  • Combat works more-or-less like WEG: declare actions, adjust die type downward for multiple actions (such as shooting while dodging), high rolls happen first, rolls must beat both opponent's defense AND target numbers to succeed (tie rolls allow simultaneous attacks/damage). Melee is simplified (no parries, just compare attack rolls). Succeeding allows a damage roll versus STR (adjusted by armor) to determine wound level. Wound results are as per 1E rules (stun, wounded, incapacitated, mortally wounded) with the addition of messy, instant kills for damage rolls exceeding 4X the target's STR roll.
  • Damage for melee is generally STR + damage die determined by weapon (knife: +2, club: 1d4, spear: 1d6, sword/axe: 1d8. vibroblade: 2d4, vibroaxe: 2d6). Lighsabers do 1d12 + control skill. Ranged weapons don't add STR, and range from 1d4 (thrown rock) to 1d20+2 for an E-Web heavy repeater (standard blasters are 1d10+1, heavy blaster pistols are 1d12+1). Armor has two ratings: a die roll that's added to STR versus physical attacks, and a die shift to STR versus energy attacks.
For example: a stormtrooper (STR 1d6) rolls 2d6 to resist physical damage (1d6+1d6) and 1d8 to resist energy damage (like blasters and lightsabers). If your angry wookie PC (STR 1d12) bashes him, he's a lot less likely to get killed than if the wook uses his bowcaster (1d10+3), which counts as an energy weapon. 

[working out the damage/armor stuff was one of the trickiest bits, just by the to make armor effective, but not too effective (especially with regard to stormtroopers and modeling their tendency to fold like paper cups)? This actually works out quite well in play, but it took a while to get it right]
  • For fans of The Mandalorian, I added my own rules for beskar armor that work like this: each piece added increases the protection of the armor (+1d6/+1 shift with one piece; +1d8/+2 shifts with two pieces; +1d10/+3 shifts with three pieces, considered a "full set"). A partial set can be worn with light body armor, increasing both physical and energy protection one step (to +1d8/+2 and +1d10/+3); however, doing so forces the character to use the body armor penalty (-1 die shift to all DEX related skills). Beskar amor by itself carries no penalties.
  • Force points are awarded and used much the same as per the 1E WEG rules: spending a force point allows you to double the dice rolled for any actions taken in the round. So, for example, if I'm shooting at a 1d8 (possibly because I'm blasting multiple opponents), I'd roll 2d8 for each shot, greatly increasing my chance of success. My daughter used her force point to convince the AT-AT pilots via commlink that the PCs were actually Imperial pilots (flying Rebel Y-wings) so that they could escape without being blasted; she rolled a truly heroic success!
  • We haven't seen any Jedi characters (yet), but my intention is to allow any force skills found in the 1E rules, rather than worry about characters learning "spells" (or whatever they're called) in 2E. Since it hasn't come up, I haven't had to mock up a table for it, but it will probably be an extrapolation of the stuff I've already got here. Maybe I'll put some Dark Inquisitor types in my next adventure.
  • Skill points: using the rules from 1E (rather than 2E's character points) with some slight modifications. I'm handing these out in play in the form of poker chips; all players get 1 to start and then I toss them another every time they do something amusing, heroic, or "Star Wars-y," and every time they finish a combat or significant action sequence (like a chase). Chips can be spent to re-roll any failed die (one re-roll attempt only!); no player is allowed to hold more than 10 chips at a time.  At the end of the session, the GM (me) throws each player a couple-three extra chips depending on the final result of the adventure...whatever is in their pile (again: maximum of 10) gets "banked" and can be used for buying advances, as per 1E rules (i.e. for skills or for modifying ships and signature gear). Increases are strictly by die type, so it costs a number of skill points equal to the new die to advance it (to improve a skill from d6 to d8 costs eight skill points, for example). Dice that are already at d20 (or higher) can be advanced (to d20+1, d20+2, etc.) with a flat expenditure of 20 skill points; as stated previously, d20+9 is the absolute maximum. 
 Light combat
armor + 1 piece
of beskar.
And...mmm...that's about it. Oh, there's some more stuff about nonhuman's special abilities (basically: you can get an advantage by taking a disadvantage from an old list of mine), and I haven't taken the time to put together the droid stuff (I don't think it will be too hard), but that's plenty for folks who want to try stuff out. I'll add that the d6holocron site has been invaluable resource in putting this together, especially the fan-made sourcebooks for later films and SW shows (most of which are very well done).  

The kids really liked the game, and picked up the rules pretty quickly. They especially appreciated the fast-flying skill chips which caused them both to be more courageous and heroic (seeing as how I was rewarding bold action). This had the effect of pushing the pace (always good for a "Star Wars" adventure) as they competed with each other to see who would be the first to brave the dangerous also caused them to think of clever things to do in order to amuse me. It was a great example of a reward system impacting behavior, and I didn't mind doling out the chips as they spent 'em nearly as fast as they were earned.

In retrospect, it might appear that I've crafted something that looks like a cross between FATE and "Savage Worlds Lite" (I don't actually own Savage Worlds, but I owned and played PEG's Deadlands way back before Savage was even a thing...), though such was unintentional on my part. And I have to say that the lack of fiddly-ness, the abstract wound system (favoring the PCs), and the exuberance of space opera all combine to make for a much more satisfying play experience than what I've found in either of those particular systems. That's pretty cool, and I might play this game for a bit.

In other news, my boy has plans to introduce his D&D club (now fully half of his 4th grade class) to actual Dungeons & Dragons, which will be a serious first for all of them. He's considering the B/X system in order to teach them the game, but anticipates moving into Advanced play soon enough.
; )


  1. Very nice! Reminds me a bit of Alternity, too. Doing away with hit points is always a plus for me.

  2. Neat! Looks pretty easy to convert and use.