John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey

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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
Tags: fantasy, gaming
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