March 9th, 2008

Obi-Wan Not Good

"Are You Afraid, Jedi?"

Ran Star Wars last night and had a great time; the players certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves, as well, even though laurie_robey's Jedi Padawan got pounded into the deckplates by the end.

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On the whole, I was very pleased with how it came out. There's even a recurring villain now! :D And I'm really jazzed about running more soon, which is a way I haven't felt about Star Wars for a long time. The previous WotC attempts really just didn't work very well, but SWSE is almost perfect. I wish I'd had this ruleset back in 1987! :D

Unfortunately, as written it does have one major flaw: the chapter on building and balancing encounters is, as Mel Brooks would say, "authentic frontier gibberish." So the climactic scene of this story went through several incarnations before it was finally run -- including one which I can see now would have been a guaranteed TPK, even though as far as I can tell it's exactly spot-on according to the book. (Four B1 battledroids, two B2 battledroids, and Warforged Zath 6th level instead of 4th? EEEEEK!)

Luckily for the heroes, I've been frequenting the WotC SWSE boards for the past week and found the threads where people howled about this defect shortly after the game came out, so I also found the original designer's recommended fix. Apparently, he originally built a completely different (non-gibberish) system that got cut for whatever reason; for the benefit of players he posted a quick-and-dirty version, thus:

Determine total party levels (TPL)
To figure the total "challenge levels" (TCL) of a given encounter of desired difficulty:

Simple Encounter: TCL = < TPL/4; single highest CL = highest hero level (HHL)
Challenging Encounter: TCL = TPL/4 - TPL/2; single highest CL = HHL + 1
Extreme Encounter: TCL = TPL/2 - TPL; single highest CL = HHL + 2
Overpowering Encounter: TCL = > TPL; single highest CL = HHL + 4 or more

When I found that, I was like, "Well sheesh, why didn't you just SAY so?" The formulae may seem like gibberish to non-gamers, but to someone experienced with gamemastering, it should be pretty straightforward.

As it is, I was balancing this adventure with the idea in my head that there were five heroes instead of four (usually we have an NPC party member), which skewed the numbers a bit high. But the party did well and achieved their mission goals. So, well done! :D

-The Gneech