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

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Star Wars Saga Stuff

Decided to try again to get some stuff rolling with the Star Wars Saga Edition this weekend; last time I ran (back in June), we left the characters hanging in mid-scenario chasing after a minor crime boss the Alliance wanted to pick up for interrogation.

The next session, assuming it goes roughly as I expect, is likely to have some ship combat, so I've been going over the SWSE ship combat rules. One thing that pleases me is how relatively simple they are and how smoothly they integrate with the regular rules. Instead of tracking "thrust points," movement vectors, maneuvering charts, or any of that kind of hoo-hah, ships move basically like characters do. "Attack run" is like a charge. "Dogfight" is like grappling. And everybody has something to do, even in the dreaded "the whole party's in a freighter being chased by TIE fighters" scenario that has led to so many bored not-pilots/not-gunners in the past, thanks to the miracle of Aid Another and untrained skill checks.

On the other hand, something I don't like as much about this system, is that the stats of the ships seem to be way more important than the stats of the characters in them. For instance, until the pilot's "heroic level" is higher than the armor bonus of the ship, they don't make it any harder to hit. Being a good pilot allows you to pull off some trickier moves and avoid hazards, but mostly what you do is move the ship around and shoot at stuff.

Also, it's harder to gauge encounter difficulty. Each enemy ship has a CL, which should help, except that you have to figure in the players' own ships CL as well. A 3rd level PC in an A-Wing is a lot more powerful than a 3rd level PC in an escape pod, to the point that you're actually balancing "A-Wing vs. enemy ship" rather than "the PCs vs. enemy ship". And until I have some experience at doing this, I have no idea how to come up with an encounter that's challenging but not overwhelming.

Starships of the Galaxy has some neat options for pilots, basically "maneuvers" you can learn in a similar fashion to the Jedi's "force powers." I don't know if I'll use them, largely because jamesbarrett's smuggler-type is really the only pilot-type in the group who might be likely to bother with them and he may not want to burn the necessary feats given that ship combat is only likely to come up every other adventure or so.[1] I suspect I'll put the option out there and let him decide.

-The Gneech

[1] The first session of the game opened with the characters piloting Y-Wings; in the time since then they've mostly been flying transports supplied by the Alliance, either generic "box with a hyperdrive" types or a Lambda-class shuttle which got "upgraded" by a bunch of Squibs whether the characters wanted it to be or not. Now they've been assigned a group vessel that's likely to stay around a while, or at least make repeat appearances, but I have in mind that they'll still find themselves scrambling with the fighters from time to time. Martin and Rumzhin are still technically attached to Rogue Squadron under Wedge, even if they don't seem to associate with them much.
Tags: gaming, star wars
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