Thinking On Your Feet: Tactical Movement in Star Wars Saga Edition

Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that I have just recently finished watching Season One of Spartacus: Blood and Sand thanks to Netflix. While I was watching it, I was constantly reminded of just how important tactical movement and field placement is to a melee character, and this of course, led me to consider the movement mechanics of Star Wars Saga Edition.

 

As much as I love the game, it’s tactical options for melee characters seem to be woefully lacking. Your movement options are either a full movement action, or a Withdraw made to get out of combat and avoid attacks of opportunity. Neither of these pair very well with a lot of feats and talents that melee characters get  lot of mileage out of (Double and Triple Attack, Dual Weapon Mastery, etc). Now there are some higher end talents in certain classes and prestige classes that does allow for these options to be used more effectively in combat, but to me, there should be some other options for the lower end of play as well.

 

In the movies we see lightsaber duels that involve the combatants using the entire are open to them, be it Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Darth Maul fighting on the various catwalks in Theed Palace or Luke and Vader dueling through the various areas of Palpatine’s throne room aboard the second Death Star. Unfortunately, when it gets down to the table top level, these fights will get played out with the two opponents sitting in the same two squares, and letting fly with as many d20 rolls as they can in a round until one of them stops moving more often than not. And that’s just not fun in a system that touts itself as being as cinematic as the movies it was based on.

 

So, here’s my offering to fix that. A feat that can be taken as early as level 1 to give these melee combatants another set of options:

 

Combat Movement

Your study of combat has given you the knowledge required to make the most out of your placement on the field. You know how to strike and from just what angle to make the most of your attacks.
Prerequisite: Trained in Knowledge (tactics)
Benefit: Make a Knowledge (tactics) check as a swift action against a DC 15. If successful, you gain a number of Maneuver Points equal to 1 + your Wisdom modifier (minimum 1). These Maneuver Points can be spent to gain superior positioning on the field in the following ways. These following maneuvers happen immediately and are considered a part of the swift action to activate this ability. In the case of Furious Charge and Sly Charge, the ability is activated and will trigger on a charge attack made in your current turn. Any Maneuver Points that are not spent by the end of your turn are lost.

One Maneuver Point
Watchful Step: You shift 1 square.
Sweeping Blow: You slide an adjacent opponent 1 square.
Luring Blade: You pull an opponent within 5 squares 1 square.
Blade Trap: Your opponent must take a swift action to clear your blade before he can make any attacks. You must remain adjacent to your opponent for him to suffer this effect.

Two Maneuver Points
Furious Charge: You can move an additional 2 squares during a charge action. All other rules for charging still apply.
Sly Charge: After you finish your movement during a charge, but before you make your attack, you can shift 1 square.
Dizzying Attack: Your opponent suffers a -1 penalty to his attack rolls and Reflex Defense until the start of his next turn.
Driving Attack: You push an adjacent opponent 1 square. You then move into the square he just occupied.

Three Maneuver Points
Rapid Step: You shift a number of squares equal to half your speed.

Special: For the purposes of the maneuvers described in this feat, diagonal movement is counted as 1 square. A Push is any movement that takes an opponent away from you. A Pull is any movement that brings the enemy closer to you. Shifting does not provoke attacks of opportunity, nor does any forced movement.

 

In this feat, you have a tactical option for movement that puts more use into a skill that only one Prestige Class really gets any mileage out of (the Officer) thereby making it a much more useful skill to train in.

 

Obviously there’s lots more that can be added to this, and I’m thinking about going through the Movement Tricks from the Essentials Thief in order to get some more ideas as well. But this provides a nice base to build off of.

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7 Comments

Filed under Roleplaying, Star Wars Saga Edition

7 responses to “Thinking On Your Feet: Tactical Movement in Star Wars Saga Edition

  1. Jumi

    That’s a mighty fine list. Have you thought about perhaps having one of the maneuver points being the chance to actually turn an individual to face a specific direction? I know the game generally doesn’t force perception to one general direction, but that would be a great set up for the melee’s ranged assistance, such as guiding a vibrosword user’s weapon to the right, opening his back to a full barrage of blaster bolts from the opposing direction.

  2. Adding in anything to do with facing would just complicate things overmuch. That’s one of the nice things about Saga’s combat is that you don’t have to worry about what direction you’re facing. Realistic? Not so much, but much less of a headache at the table.

    One that I’m looking to add next is a maneuver that will make an opponent flat-footed against the next attack, something like a leading feint. For fewer maneuver points, you can make the opponent flat-footed against the next attack made by someone other than you, which would basically give the same result as what you’re intending up there.

  3. Jumi

    Cool, cool. I can’t remember, but is there anything in the rules about crippling your opponent?

  4. Only through a Jedi talent, and that’s only if you want an attack that would have killed them to leave them alive. There’s inferences in the game as well, and it’s entirely possible, but nothing hard coded. I wouldn’t put anything like that into these maneuvers though. Too powerful an option for so little buy-in. There’s already a good number of later feats and talents that represent the “hobbling/crippling strike” if that’s the feel your going for by modifying the scoundrel’s Sneak Attack talent.

  5. I had been thinking about something like this for SW Mini’s since melee combat just turns into stand and slash.

  6. mysticknight232

    I like the concept a lot but in a game where, as you say, there are very few movement options available, this seems like a pretty powerful feat to be able to take at lvl 1, especially for a swift action and not to mention being able to move diagonally for 1 square point. If you build a character to take advantage of this, he could essentially be shifting all over the BF at lvl 1. Not to mention, you can still take a move action afterwards if you had wanted too. I would think you’d make it a move action at least so that it replaces your ability to hit and run non stop. Perhaps adding a secondary feat later on that improves your tactics so much that it later becomes a swift action and adds additional movement points. Perhaps Combat Movement I grants you use of One and Two point options. Combat Movement II grants you use of Three and Four point options. Or, perhaps all applications are usable only 1/enc like some of the feats (or talents??) they introduced that gave you 3 or so options usable 1/enc.

    Another thought is to add a BAB Prereq to it as well to show how the combatant learned these maneuvers, through actual combat. Something like a BAB +3 just so that this is a feat that the player needs to plan for and take it a couple lvls in.

    Something else I just thought of is that it could become quite powerful with builds that key off of the Skirmisher talent of the Smuggler. I believe if you just move 2 squares, you gain an instant +1 TH. There are other talents that key off of this to help you move w/o provoking AoO. Combined, this could be a really powerful melee build for somebody like a Jedi that just wants to slice and dice through the middle of the BF.

    Have you had a chance to test it out as written yet?

    ps. sorry for the way this rambles…I kept adding thoughts to it as I was typing it out.

    • No worries. Those are all very valid concerns and points to bring up, and a number of things that I admittedly did not think of when initially designing this idea.

      I haven’t had the chance to test it, but the rule is actually going under a very, very major rewrite at the moment. When it’s done, expect it to look a lot like Force powers and Starship Maneuvers, keyed off of Knowledge (Tactics).

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