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SW SAGA as Sword & Sorcery [gaming geekery]

As I mentioned last night, this is an idea I've been chewing on for a little while now. It's no secret that Star Wars is "space fantasy" ... and the Saga Edition ruleset has a lot of changes that really appeal to me as being a good fit for a sword-and-sorcery (or "low magic") game:

  1. Equipment is no longer the end-all be-all of every character class. Running around with little or no armor is now quite feasible, but for characters with the right training it can be a significant advantage.

  2. Swashbuckling, run-around-the-field action! Getting rid of iterative attacks, adding level-based damage, and the nonheroic mooks make for great scenes of hacking your way through a horde of Picts.

  3. Faster Character/Monster Creation. One of the things that turned me off about Conan d20 was that it made the already-complex d20 character creation even moreso. So far creating foes and critters in Saga has been much faster and hasn't required something like E-Tools, which is a big plus.

So here are my preliminary thoughts on a S&S conversion of the SAGA edition; I'm interested and eager for feedback, so please feel free!

Classic S&S generally only has humans, or very rarely humans plus some "elder race" of snake men/sorcerer giants/etc. -- but the humans have a bunch of variant abilities depending on their region or race of origin (e.g., Cimmerians are master climbers with a Con bonus and a Cha penalty). So in a S&S SAGA game, race would actually be race in the literal sense (as opposed to "species" which is what it generally refers to in gaming). You'd probably have something like Northman, Easterling, Common Man, Tribal, and Imperial, with appropriate stat and skill bonuses (with "Common Man" being the +1 feat and +1 trained skill template that "Human" usually fills).

Soldier, Scout, Noble, and Scoundrel would probably port over pretty directly, with weapon and armor proficiencies altered appropriately. I might change the name of the Soldier class to "Warrior" just for flavor, and put some of the Lightsaber Forms talent tree into a "Weapon Mastery" talent tree. Jedi would be gone but might be replaced with a version of the Scholar from Conan d20 as the primary "magic user" class. There would also be a "Sorcerer" prestige class that would give access to darker and more powerful magic.

Other prestige classes might include Thief Lord, Weapon Master, Oracle, Mighty Hero (although this could use a better name), Archer, Warlord, and Priest. Mainly I'm trying to stick with archetypes common to historical, mythological, or S&S sources, but I'm open to suggestions!

Technological stuff (e.g., Computer Use) would be pulled out, obviously, while Disable Device and Open Locks will probably be put back in, perhaps as separate aspects of a single Burglary skill. Gunplay feats will be either removed or modified back into bow/crossbow-based feats on a case-by-case basis. Force feats will be removed or modified into magic feats.

Instead of "Use the Force" skill you'd have Spellcraft, which would serve the same basic function and would be a Class Skill for Noble and Scholar. Most spells would not be things immediately useful in combat ("Withering Curse of Set" and the like), but a few of the classics would be available (a "paralyzing touch" spell appeared in "The Scarlet Citadel", for instance) and would be put into slots much like the current Force Powers. Coming up with this will probably be the most time-consuming part.

One of the great things about SAGA is that equipment is much less important, which fits S&S fiction perfectly -- how many times does Conan get stripped bare and have to scavenge whatever equipment he can grab off his slain foes, just to pick an example off the top of my head? There will probably be Masterwork items, but even the most amazing flaming magic sword will probably add a maximum of +2 to hit and +1d6 damage.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Ideas?

-The Gneech



( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 19th, 2007 03:18 pm (UTC)
as a separate thing, have you looked at the game feng shui at all? i'm not sure it's quite right for conan, which is why i say a separate thing: while it's entirely possible to play a character who's just a big guy who's good at hitting people, in general most of even the straight-up fighter-types lean towards the my-kung-fu-is-superior sort of combat-style intricacies. but in many ways i think it portrays a game world that has a very similar feel to what you want: fantasy head-busting painted with a broad brush and a fast pace. the skill system is a very rough-and-ready thing in the mold of ghostbusters or tfos or toon.

and it has a mooks (nameless antagonists who aren't meant to take much play time) rule, which is what made me think of it. :)
Jul. 19th, 2007 03:23 pm (UTC)
I have a copy of Feng Shui and have tried to work it out many times, but for some reason I just can't seem to get my head wrapped around it. I like the "bonuses for coolness" philosophy behind it, but there's something about the ruleset that I just can't quite figure out.

I suspect it's one of those many systems where I would suddenly grasp it in all its finest detail if I could just get somebody else to run me through a couple of sessions -- but that's not likely to happen, alas!

-The Gneech
Jul. 19th, 2007 03:51 pm (UTC)
As an aside, while I'm not a big Howard fan, the intelligent, crafty, highly competent Conan of the books is NOT "just a big guy who's good at hitting people".
Jul. 19th, 2007 04:14 pm (UTC)
as a character i'm sure he's not, and i hesitated over that description; but i suspect that on paper he might look that way, especially in a game-system that's oriented towards weird kung-fu powers. in most game systems, "crafty" is something the player has to supply.
Jul. 19th, 2007 04:45 pm (UTC)
Actually, mechanically speaking, I kinda suspect Conan is more of a "take a pounding and keep going" guy than "hit people" guy -- he tends to win by being the guy who's still standing after everybody else has run out of hit points. ;)

He also has the Linguist knack and a snarky sense of humor. If he'd been raised in a university instead of a howling wilderness, he would probably have turned into Indiana Jones instead of Arnold Schwartzenagger.

-The Gneech
Jul. 19th, 2007 04:34 pm (UTC)
I think the whole S&S format is where I would be most likely to play a thief. Being sneaky in that kind of world sounds really fun. -Frisk
Jul. 20th, 2007 12:11 am (UTC)
First thing that came to my mind when I saw this while thinking Star Wars.

give access to darker and more powerful magic.

"So, the dark side is stronger?"
"No,no, no. Quicker, easier, more seductive."
Jul. 20th, 2007 12:16 am (UTC)
In the typical sword & sorcery setting, yes, the Dark Side is stronger!

Jul. 20th, 2007 02:38 am (UTC)
If that was the case, Conan wouldn't keep coming out on top in the end. ;)
Jul. 20th, 2007 01:28 pm (UTC)
Sure he could. All the evil wizards ever did in the movies were turn into snakes, shoot snakes like they were arrows, and become big smokey mist-like dragons. And I'm sure there was something in there about a big scary monster and mirrors. Other than that, piece of cake.

Jul. 20th, 2007 10:53 pm (UTC)
Yes, but at that point, his inherent Conan-ness proves that it's stronger than the aforementioned snakes, snake arrows, mist dragons, big scary monsters and mirrors! :)

I can't believe I'm keeping this up with a (relatively) straight face.
Jul. 21st, 2007 12:09 am (UTC)
Yeah. Be glad we're not discussing the D&D movie then.

"Now is your time... TO DIE!" XD

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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