I’ve been doing a re-read of Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy and have found myself once again falling in love with the Noghri. They become such an iconic part of the Solo family in the later Expanded Universe that it has been a lot of fun to go back and rediscover their introduction into the greater Star Wars universe. It didn’t take me too long to realize that these guys needed some game stats to really irritate players that get on the Empire’s bad side in the implied time line of the games. And so, I put together a Rival and Nemesis level Death Commando that can be readily dropped into your campaigns.
Noghri Death Commando
Game System: Edge of the Empire/Age of Rebellion/Force and Destiny by Fantasy Flight Games
Loyal to the Empire, the Noghri Death Commandos were highly skilled, highly specialized agents that served the highest ranking members of the Empire, loyal to such people as Darth Vader and later Grand Admiral Thrawn, until they later joined the fledgling New Republic after evidence of Imperial treachery to keep them in servitude was uncovered. They were highly skilled combatants, trained in the combat art of Stava, allowing them to subdue opponents quickly with quick pressure point strikes and grapples.
Noghri Death Commando [Rival]
Soak Value 4
Wound Threshold 14
Melee/Ranged Defense 1|1
Skills: Athletics 1, Brawl 3, Cool 1, Discipline 1, Melee 2, Ranged (Heavy) 1, Ranged (Light) 1, Stealth, Vigilance 2
Talents: Adversary 1 (upgrade difficulty of all combat checks against this target once), Feral Strength 1, Lethal Blows 2 (+20% to any Critical Injury rolls made against opponents), Pressure Point (Brawl attacks may cause Strain damage instead of wounds, bypassing soak).
Abilities: Stava Training (the Noghri Death Commando’s Brawl attacks gain the Ensnare 1 weapon quality)
Equipment: Fists (Brawl; Damage 4; Crit 3; Range [Engaged], Ensnare 1, Knockdown), vibroknife (Melee; Damage 5; Crit 2; Range [Engaged]; Pierce 2, Vicious 1), armored clothing (+1 soak, +1 defense), other equipment based on mission parameters
Noghri Death Commando Squad Leader [Nemesis]
Soak Value 5
Wound Threshold 16
Strain Threshold 12
Melee/Ranged Defense 1|1
Skills: Athletics 2, Brawl 4, Cool 2, Coordination 1, Discipline 2, Leadership 1, Melee 3, Perception 2, Ranged (Heavy) 1, Ranged (Light) 1, Stealth 4, Vigilance 3
Talents: Adversary 2 (upgrade difficulty of all combat checks against this target twice), Feral Strength 2, Heightened Awareness (allies within short range add 1 Boost Die to Perception and Vigilance check, engaged allies add 2 Boost dice), Lethal Blows 2 (+20% to any Critical Injury rolls made against opponents), Pressure Point (Brawl attacks can cause Strain damage, bypassing soak)
Abilities: Stava Expert (The Noghri Death Commando Squad Leader’s Brawl attacks gain the Ensnare 1 weapon quality. Additional affected targets treat their Brawn score as if it were 1 point lower for the purposes of breaking free from the attack.)
Equipment: Fists (Brawl, Damage 6; Crit 3; Range [Engaged]; Ensnare 1, Knockdown), vibroknife (Melee, Damage 7; Crit 2; Range [Engaged]; Pierce 2, Vicious 1), armored clothing (+1 soak, +1 defense), other equipment based on mission parameters
Design Notes: The Stava Martial Art was one of the defining characteristics of the Noghri in the expanded universe, and while the pressure point strikes and quick disabling were easy to replicate with the Doctor’s Pressure Point talent, the more narrative structure of Fantasy Flight Game’s new Star Wars game made it slightly more difficult to replicate their skilled grappling. I had originally toyed with the idea of allowing them to spend advantage on a successful Brawl check to force a target to take a second maneuver to break from Engaged, but that just didn’t feel clean enough. Then I remembered the oft-overlooked Ensnare weapon quality. What better method to represent skilled grappling locking a character down? Make the Athletics check to break free of the Ensnare harder for the expert level Stava Training in the Nemesis stat block and you’ve got something quick and clean that can really infuriate pistol and rifle shooters that want to stay at range. Beyond that, these guys can really put the hurt on a character by directly attacking their Strain Threshold and bypassing soak through their Pressure Point talent.