Rewriting the Book on [Non]Heroics

After reading Rodney Thompson’s lessons learned from the Dawn of Defiance campaign and his issue with encounters being harder to create the higher in level the party got, I started thinking and looking at some things with the game. I think one of the cores of the issue is the way the nonheroic class is written. When taken as written, it just doesn’t scale with the party. The stormtrooper that is a threat at 1st level just isn’t a threat at 10th level anymore. While in some games – such as Dungeons and Dragons – this isn’t a problem, since there’s always something bigger and badder around the next dungeon turn, this isn’t the same case with Star Wars where the PCs will be fighting against many of the same opponents throughout their careers.

As it stands, the only way to make the basic stormtrooper a threat is to add levels of the basic heroic classes and prestige classes, or simply create a new enemy stat block which can add a lot of work to the GM’s plate. So in an effort to try and help these NPCs scale a little bit better, and help reduce the GMs work, I’ve started work on doing a rewrite of the nonheroic class.

Inspired by the minion rules from Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition, I basically broke the nonheroic class into two classes, the “irregular” and the “regular.”

Irregulars represent the basic footsoldiers of various military organizations, from the raw stormtrooper recruit to the B1 Battle Droid squad to the Chazrach shock troops of the Yuuzhan Vong forces. These are the opponents that we see characters in the films and EU dispatch with ease and are emulated through the rules in order to carry the same basic premise in game.

The irregular follows the basic progression of the nonheroic class: three feats at first level chosen from the list on page 278 of the Core rulebook, are trained in a number of skills equal to 1 + their Int modifier (also chosen from the list on page 278), and have a poor BAB. But that’s where the similarities end. Here are the proposed changes.

Hit Points:
Irregulars don’t gain hit points as normal. Their hit points are always equal to 1. Any attack that hits them is enough to take them out of the fight. A stun weapon that breaks their damage threshold after being halved is enough to put them at the bottom of the condition track. Area attacks that deal half damage on a miss never deal damage to an irregular on a miss.

Feats: Irregulars only gain a feat every five character levels instead of every three.

Defense Bonuses: Irregulars add a +1 bonus to all their Defenses every four levels.

Damage Bonus:
Every four levels an irregular deals an additional point of damage with all of his attacks.

Damage Expression:
An irregular deals a flat damage expression instead of rolling. The damage varies by weapon, but is always equal to 1/3 of the weapon’s maximum damage (minimum 1), plus any modifiers from high or low Strength. For example, a stormtrooper with a blaster rifle (maximum damage 24) deals 8 points of damage if he hits.

No Multiclassing: Irregulars can never take levels in other classes.

Experience Awards: Irregulars are worth 1/4 the total experience that an opponent of the same CL is worth. For example, a level 1 irregular is worth 50 XP while a level 20 irregular is worth 1,000.

Here’s an example of how a basic Stormtrooper from the Core Rulebook would progress as an irregular:

Stormtrooper
Medium Human irregular 1
Dark Side 1
Init +0; Senses low-light vision; Perception +7
Languages Basic
Defenses Ref 16 (flat-footed 16), Fort 12, Will 10
hp 1; Thresh 12
Speed 6 squares
Melee unarmed +1 (2 damage)
Ranged blaster rifle +0 (8 damage) or
Ranged frag grenade +0 (8 damage, 2-square burst)
Base Atk +0; Grp +1
Atk Options autofire (blaster rifle)
Abilities Str 12, Dex 11, Con 11, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10
Feats Armor Proficiency (light), Weapon Proficiencies (pistols, rifles, simple weapons)
Skills Endurance +5, Perception +7
Possessions stormtrooper armor (+6 armor, +2 equipment), blaster rifle, frag grenade, utility belt with medpac

Medium Human irregular 4
Dark Side 1
Init +3; Senses low-light vision; Perception +9
Languages Basic
Defenses Ref 17 (flat-footed 16), Fort 13, Will 11
hp 1; Thresh 13
Speed 6 squares
Melee unarmed +4 (3 damage)
Ranged blaster rifle +4 (9 damage) or
Ranged frag grenade +4 (9 damage, 2-square burst)
Base Atk +3; Grp +4
Atk Options autofire (blaster rifle)
Abilities Str 12, Dex 12, Con 11, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10
Feats Armor Proficiency (light), Weapon Proficiency (pistols, rifles, simple weapons)
Skills Endurance +7, Perception +9
Possessions stormtrooper armor (+6 armor, +2 equipment), blaster rifle, frag grenade, utility belt with medpac

Medium Human irregular 8
Dark Side 1
Init +5; Senses low-light vision’ Perception +11
Languages Basic
Defenses Ref 17 (flat-footed 16), Fort 15, Will 12
hp 1; Thresh 15
Speed 6 squares
Melee unarmed +7 (4 damage)
Ranged blaster rifle +8 (10 damage) or
Ranged frag grenade +7 (10 damage, 2-square burst)
Atk Options autofire (blaster rifle), Weapon Focus (rifles)
Abilities Str 12, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10
Feats Armor Proficiency (light), Weapon Focus (rifles), Weapon Proficiency (pistols, rifles, simple weapons)
Skills Endurance +9, Perception +11
Possessions stormtrooper armor (+6 armor, +2 equipment), blaster rifle, frag grenade, utility belt with medpac

Medium Human irregular 12
Dark Side 1
Init +7; Senses low-light vision; Perception +13
Languages Basic
Defenses Ref 17 (flat-footed 16), Fort 16, Will 13
hp 1; Thresh 16
Speed 6 squares
Melee unarmed +10 (5 damage)
Ranged blaster rifle +11 (11 damage) or
Ranged frag grenade +10 (11 damage, 2-square burst)
Atk Options autofire (blaster rifle), Weapon Focus (rifles)
Special Actions Coordinated Attack
Abilities Str 12, Dex 13, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10
Feats Armor Proficiency (light), Coordinated Attack, Weapon Focus (rifles), Weapon Proficiency (pistols, rifles, simple weapons)
Skills Endurance +11, Perception +13
Possessions stormtrooper armor (+6 armor, +2 equipment), blaster rifle, frag grenade, utility belt with medpac

Medium Human irregular 16
Dark Side 1
Init +10; Senses low-light vision; Perception +15
Languages Basic
Defenses Ref 18 (flat-footed 16), Fort 17, Will 14
hp 1; Thresh 17
Speed 6 squares
Melee unarmed +13 (6 damage)
Ranged blaster rifle +15 (12 damage) or
Ranged frag grenade +14 (12 damage, 2-square burst)
Atk Options autofire (blaster rifle), Weapon Focus (rifles)
Special Actions Blaster Barrage, Coordinated Attack
Abilities Str 12, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10
Feats Armor Proficiency (light), Blaster Barrage, Coordinated Attack, Weapon Focus (rifles), Weapon Proficiency (pistols, rifles, simple weapons)
Skills Endurance +13, Perception +15
Possessions stormtrooper armor (+6 armor, +2 equipment), blaster rifle, frag grenade, utility belt with medpac

Medium Human irregular 20
Dark Side 1
Init +12; Senses low-light vision Perception +17
Languages Basic
Defenses Ref 18 (flat-footed 16), Fort 18, Will 15
hp 1; Thresh 18
Speed 6 squares
Melee unarmed +16 (7 damage)
Ranged blaster rifle +18 (13 damage) or
Ranged blaster rifle +16 (15 damage) or
Ranged frag grenade +17 (13 damage, 2-square burst)
Atk Options autofire (blaster rifle), Rapid Shot, Weapon Focus (rifles)
Special Actions Blaster Barrage, Coordinated Attack
Abilities Str 13, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10
Feats Armor Proficiency (light), Blaster Barrage, Coordinated Attack, Rapid Shot, Weapon Focus (rifles), Weapon Proficiency (pistols, rifles, simple weapons)
Skills Endurance +15, Perception +17
Possessions stormtrooper armor (+6 armor +2 equipment), blaster rifle, frag grenade, utility belt with medpac

The “regular” class is designed for those NPCs that are more experienced than the typical foot soldier, representing the elites of the various factions, such as the stormtroopers of Vader’s 501st, or the ARC troopers of the Republic Military or many of the elite warriors of the Yuuzhan Vong forces.

The “regular” follows all of the rules for the nonheroic class, except for the following:

Hit Points: The regular gains 12 hit points plus their Constitution modifier at 1st level. At every level thereafter they gain 1d6 hit points plus their Constitution modifier.

Defense Bonus: The regular adds half of his level to all of his Defenses.

Experience Awards: When awarding XP for a regular, they are worth 1/2 the listed amount for a character of the same CL.

Stormtrooper
Medium Human regular 1
Dark Side 1
Init +0; Senses low-light vision, Perception +7
Langauges Basic
Defenses Ref 16 (flat-footed 16), Fort 12, Will 10
hp 12; Thresh 12
Speed 6 squares
Melee unarmed +1 (1d4+1)
Ranged blaster rifle +0 (3d8) or
Ranged frag grenade +0 (4d6, 2-square burst)
Base Atk +0; Grp +1
Atk Options autofire (blaster rifle)
Abilities Str 12, Dex 11, Con 11, In 10, Wis 10, Cha 10
Feats Armor Proficiency (light), Weapon Proficiency (pistols, rifles, simple weapons)
Skills Endurance +5, Perception +7
Possessions stormtrooper armor (+6 armor, +2 equipment), blaster rifle, frag grenade, utility belt with medpac

Medium Human regular 5
Dark Side 1
Init +3; Senses low-light vision; Perception +9
Languages Basic
Defenses Ref 17 (flat-footed 16), Fort 14, Will 12
hp 26; Thresh 14
Speed 6 squares
Melee unarmed +4 (1d4+1)
Ranged blaster rifle +5 (3d8) or
Ranged frag grenade +4 (4d6, 2-square burst)
Base Atk +3; Grp +4
Atk Options autofire (blaster rifle), Weapon Focus (rifles)
Abilities Str 12, Dex 12, Con 11, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10
Feats Armor Proficiency (light), Weapon Focus (rifles), Weapon Proficiency (pistols, rifles, simple weapons)
Skills Endurance +7, Perception +9
Possessions stormtrooper armor (+6 armor, +2 equipment), blaster rifle, frag grenade, utility belt with medpac

Medium Human regular 10
Dark Side 1
Init +6; Senses low-light vision; Perception +12
Languages Basic
Defenses Ref 17 (flat-footed 16), Fort 18, Will 15
hp 53; Thresh 18
Speed 6 squares
Melee unarmed +8 (1d4+1)
Ranged blaster rifle +9 (3d8) or
Ranged frag grenade +8 (4d6, 2-square burst)
Base Atk +7; Grp +8
Atk Options autofire (blaster rifle), Weapon Focus (rifles)
Special Actions Blaster Barrage. Coordinated Attack
Abilities Str 12, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10
Feats Armor Proficiency (light), Blaster Barrage, Coordinated Attack, Weapon Focus (rifles), Weapon Proficiency (pistols, rifles, simple weapons)
Skills Endurance +11, Perception +12
Possessions stormtrooper armor (+6 armor, +2 equipment), blaster rifle, frag grenade, utility belt with medpac

Medium Human regular 15
Dark Side 1
Init +8; Senses low-light vision; Perception +14
Languages Basic
Defenses Ref 17 (flat-footed 16), Fort 20, Will 17
hp 76; Thresh 20
Speed 6 squares
Melee unarmed +12 (1d4+1)
Ranged blaster rifle +13 (3d8) or
Ranged blaster rifle +11 (4d8) with Rapid Shot or
Ranged blaster rifle +8/+8 (3d8) with Double Attack or
Ranged frag grenade +12 (4d6, 2-square burst)
Base Atk +11; Grp +12
Atk Options autofire (blaster rifle), Double Attack (rifles), Rapid Shot, Weapon Focus (rifles)
Special Actions Blaster Barrage, Coordinated Attack
Abilities Str 13, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10
Feats Armor Proficiency (light), Blaster Barrage, Coordinated Attack, Double Attack (rifles), Rapid Shot, Weapon Focus (rifles), Weapon Proficiency (pistols, rifles, simple weapons)
Skills Endurance +13, Perception +14
Possessions stormtrooper armor (+6 armor, +2 equipment), blaster rifle, frag grenade, utility belt with medpac

Medium Human regular 20
Dark Side 1
Init +12; Senses low-light vision; Perception +17
Languages Basic
Defenses Ref 18 (flat-footed 16), Fort 23, Will 20
hp 98; Thresh 23
Speed 6 squares
Melee unarmed +16 (1d4+1)
Ranged blaster rifle +18 (3d8) or
Ranged blaster rifle +16 (4d8) with Rapid Shot or
Ranged blaster rifle +13/+13 (3d8) with Double Attack or
Ranged frag grenade +17 (4d6, 2-square burst)
Base Atk +15, Grp +16
Atk Options autofire (blaster rifle), Double Attack (rifles), Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Weapon Focus (rifles)
Special Actions Blaster Barrage, Coordinated Attack
Abilities Str 13, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10
Feats Armor Proficiency (light), Blaster Barrage, Coordinated Attack, Double Attack (rifles), Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Weapon Focus (rifles), Weapon Focus (pistols rifles, simple weapons)
Skills Endurance +16, Perception +17
Possessions stormtrooper armor (+6 armor, +2 equipment), blaster rifle, frag grenade, utility belt with medpac

This still requires extensive playtesting, but I’m fairly confident that this is going to do the thing I want them to do. Already, it allows a GM who had enough forethought to write up progressions of the major NPCs his party is going to run across with both versions of the class in order to drop them into an encounter when he needs them instead of having to try and convert things as they run across them. I still have to look at how these changes are going to affect rules for building squads as well as mass combat, but those are topics for a different post.

For now, if anyone is more interested in helping me playtest these rules, let me know, either here or on the d20 Radio boards (my user name is Cyril).

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