A New Universe

entropyAn Ancient Universe
A Mysterious Universe
A Harsh Universe
A Dying Universe

The Valdorri Empire is a highly militant, highly organized regime that holds power in vast swaths of the known universe. But the further one gets from the seat of their power the more nominal their authority becomes. And there are corners of the galaxy where even their authority doesn’t reach. Mysterious aliens and unknown forces exist in these shadows, whose machinations might never be known.

But the Valdorri aren’t the first regime to hold power. Their Empire is built on the remains of those who came before. Everywhere one looks they can see echoes of these previous civilizations, from a building of strange and ancient architecture to the ruins of entire cities. Xeno-archeologist work to understand these people so that they might know themselves and their own people’s place in events. But for every answer they find, it seems they find two more questions.

And then there’s the Wrinkle – the power that holds the universe together and makes many modern conveniences possible. For all of existences combined knowledge and understanding of this power, so much remains completely unknown. Scholars spend entire life times to add a few words to the overall knowledge of the subject. It seems likely that humanity will never unlock all of it’s secrets.

Meanwhile, the universe continues its long, inexorable journey towards Entropy…

This is just the boilerplate statement for a science fiction setting I’ve had for a while. It struck me again the other day and has been hanging in the back of my mind ever since. It draws a lot of inspiration from existing settings, notably Star Wars and Mass Effect, but I’m hoping to put enough novelty into it that it can stand on its own. Where and how it develops from here, I guess we’ll see, but it should be an interesting journey.


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Warning! Content Shift Approaching!

A while back I made the decision that this blog was going to change from a general blog to a focused gaming blog. Well, in the past several months I have been afforded several writing opportunities. I am a staff writer at both Word of the Nerd Online and more recently, The Gaming Security Agency.

The GSA is focused on gaming, and that is where I’ll be directing a lot of those entries that you have come to expect from this site. If you’re a fan of my Threat Assessment or Build of the Week pieces, you should head over there. You can find my articles under Agent 66.

As such, I’m making the executive decision that effective immediately this blog will be moving back to a much more general theme. There will be more regular updates, including smaller pieces as well as personal pieces that aren’t suitable for publication at the other blogs I write for.

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Review: Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Part Two

Note: This is the second part of a larger review of the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game from Margaret Weis Productions. You can read the first part here.

Dice. They are generally one of the central components of any roleplaying game, and there are as many different dice mechanics out there as there are roleplaying games. Sure, some don’t use dice. They may use cards. They may use coins. Some use a game of rock, paper, scissors. A small handful of them might use a combination of interpretive dance and Pig Latin. (I’m trademarking that particular mechanic. Get back. Those millions are all mine.)

But every game out there has some method of adjudicating conflict. And with a game like Marvel Heroic Roleplaying there is going to be a lot of conflict. So, how does this game adjudicate?

Well, the game functions with dice pools, a concept that is familiar to a lot of gamers out there. You roll a number of dice and look for certain things, be they dice that come up certain numbers or matches. However, Marvel Heroic does things a little bit… differently. Each character has a number of things on their sheet, or “datafile” that are rated at various levels of power, from a d6 to a d12. These correspond to the type of dice you roll together when you perform an action. But the first things first, you have to clearly state your intent. This is what helps you to determine what powers and traits you can tap for that particular action. You then set about building a dice pool out of the various listings on your data ile out of your Affiliations, Distinctions, Power Sets and Specialties.

The first thing you need to look at is their Affiliation dice. This is based on the group situation that your hero is in: Solo, Buddy, or Team. Each of them is either rated a d10, a d8, or a d6 based on how well the hero operates in a given situation. Heroes are strong in certain situations, but weaker in others. Captain America works best in a team setting, but isn’t so hot when he’s by himself. Wolverine prefers to play by himself but struggles when it’s just him and one other person. Spider-Man really shines with one other hero to play off of, but his style is kind of cramped in a team situation.

A classic team situation.

Then you get to look at your character’s distinctions. These are the quotes or traits that really define your hero’s strengths and weaknesses. These are things such as “Man out of Time” for Captain America, “Blind Justice” for Daredevil, “Billionaire Playboy” for Iron Man, or “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility” for Spider-Man. If one of these distinctions applies to the character’s situation, they can choose to add it to their dice pool at either a d8, or at a d4 and gain a Plot Point (more on these later).

Finally it’s time to look at your power sets and your specialties. Find a power that fits the situation and a specialty that fits the situation and all of the dice together. This is your dice pool.

This may sound a little difficult to grasp, and granted, it’s a little bit hard to get your head around at first, so let me give you an example. I’m playing Colossus and I’m with several of the other X-Men, including Kitty Pryde, my on again, off again girlfriend, and we’re attacking several members of the Brotherhood. She’s getting the snot beaten out of her and I want to go and help by smashing one of her attackers. I look at my sheet. I’m in a team situation, so I start with the base d10. I see two of my distinctions that could be useful – Ironclad Loyalty and Quick to Anger. I decide to add Quick to Anger at a d4 and take the Plot Point from the Watcher. I add my Godlike Strength at d12 and my Combat Expert at d8 to finish out my dice pool. I end up with a d12, a d10, a d8, and a d4.

You roll your dice and immediately set aside any 1s that you roll. These are what are known as opportunities and are the currency the Watcher uses to grow the Doom Pool (more on that later). Then you add any two dice together to get your total and then assign one of the remaining dice as the effect die.

Your opponent assembles his dice pool the same way, picking and choosing from his data file to build his dice pool and sets his total and effect die, using the same rules as the hero pertaining to any 1s rolled.. If the hero’s total is higher, then his action succeeds and he applies the effect die to the opponent or uses it to create an asset or complication. If the opponent’s total is higher, then the action fails.

There are many, many more things pertaining to dice pools and effect dice and what they can do, much more than I am able to spend talking about here. Assets, Complications, Scene Distinctions and more can all affect your dice pool or dice pools that are rolled against you. For more, I would encourage you to pick up the book and give it a read through. Hopefully I’ve more than piqued your interest a little bit. Stay tuned. Next time I talk about my favorite part of the system – The Doom Pool and speak more on Plot Points.

Originally posted on Word of the Nerd Online.

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Review – Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Part One

Published on April 17th, 2012, Margaret Weis Production’s (MWP) Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Basic Game was released. This game was subject to no small amount of buzz. It was first announced that MWP had acquired the Marvel license at GenCon 2011. This license joined forces with some other incredible licenses, including critically acclaimed television series like Leverage, Serenity, Battlestar Galactica and Smallville. I finally got my hands on a copy as a birthday present.

MWP also had a fantastic stable of writers to put together Marvel Heroic Roleplaying including Cam BanksRob DonoghueMatt ForbeckWill HindmarchPhilippe-Antoine Menard, and Jesse Scoble. The level of talent shows in the design of the game as well as in the writing throughout the book.

It should be noted that this review is coming from only having read the book (which is one of the few game books that I’ve read cover to cover mind you), but I have unfortunately yet to get it on the table. I do hope to do so very, very soon.

Let’s just get this out of the way right from the outset. I love this game, and it is my firm belief that if you are a fan of the Marvel universe, superhero roleplaying games, or of Margaret Weis Productions, you should get it. You can grab it from Amazon for $13.59 or you can get it directly from MWP’s website for $19.99 with the bonus of a free PDF copy. It clocks in at 227 pages in length and is only the size of a trade paperback, more than fitting for the property.

Right from the outset, it is obvious that this is not your typical roleplaying game. Most games dedicate a large section of the book to creating your own persona, and this one does have a section for creating your own hero and talking about the various powers and specialties. But that is not the primary focus of this game. Instead, Marvel places a much bigger emphasis on selecting an existing persona from Marvel’s impressive stable of characters and playing as them for a while.

Whaddaya mean we don’t need a healer?

And the reason for that is the game is not focused around having a character for a long-term story, but instead to explore various characters for a session or two and then take on another character in the next event. You don’t have to worry so much about character balance or having “the right character for the job” in the group of heroes. Whereas a Dungeons and Dragons party may very well fall apart without a Wizard or a Cleric, there is no danger of this in Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, in fact, it might make for some very interesting drama. And with 23 characters in the book, from Captain America to Wolverine, Iron Man to Spider Man, Mr. Fantastic to Ms. Marvel there’s bound to be a couple that catch your eye.

So, just how does the game run? Well, at its core, Marvel is powered by the Cortex Engine, MWP’s in-house game engine, though those of you familiar with any of the previous incarnations of the game might have to take a harder look to notice it right away. It’s the heavily modified version of Cortex from Leverage and Smallville, and is actually modified  a little bit more to focus on the four color action of the Marvel universe, and it does so beautifully. The dice mechanics can take a little while to get your head around, but once you do, it is incredibly intuitive and easy to pick up. In the next installment we’ll get into a discussion on just what dice to pick up and when, as well as talk about my favorite part of the game, the Doom Pool.

Originally posted on Word of the Nerd Online.

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Campaign Journal – Star Wars Saga Edition #4

In this installment, we finally get into the action that I’ve been promising for a little while. So without further ado…

You know how the song goes.

The story begins on the planet of Haalthor, a small colony world in space still controlled by the ousted Emperor Roan Fel. The party is called to the office of the colony administrator and sent on what should be a blue milk run, being sent to a nearby colony to pick up a surplus of foodstuffs and medical supplies. They board their transport, an antiquated Ghtroc 720 held together by mostly string and mesh tape.

Gives you strong bones and a strong connection to the Force. Doesn’t do anything for whining though.

The captain of the ship takes them to their destination, but when they get there, they find no signs of life coming from the colony. No communications. Nothing. As they get closer, they pick up a very low powered distress call, but nothing else. No communications they send get any sort of response, and they fail to see many signs of power. They land the shuttle a short distance from the actual colony and head into the area on foot where their fears and suspicions are confirmed. There is no one alive in the colony. The strangest thing is that there doesn’t appear to have been any kind of battle. There are no blaster marks on the walls, no signs of explosion, no signs of struggle, period. The only thing left in the colony are a few droids, who appear to have been tampered with, as they don’t recall anyone besides the party having been on the colony.

Rann takes the group to the administrative building of the colony where further investigation yields the source of the distress call. The colony administrator managed to get the distress signal activated before he disappeared, but something tampered with the power output, be it whatever screwed with the droids or an actual hacker turning it down couldn’t be determined.

The party decided to head to the landing pad to see if the supplies were still there and at least complete that part of their mission before returning to Haalthor to share this sudden turn of events. As they got there they noticed several stacks of crates that were most likely the cargo they were supposed to have picked up sitting on the pads. As they began to look through some of them, they heard the noise of a ship’s engine overhead, and they saw a landing craft begin to approach the colony. Skai, Niera, Rann, and Kiri all ran for cover, but Jasem decided to see who was aboard the ship and see if they knew anything. As the ship landed, several men in armor came out holding several beasts on leashes. They were followed by a Rodian in an officer’s uniform. They all bore the markings of the Crimson Buzzards, a gang of not quite pirates who made most of their money selling scavenged tech from derelict ships. The Rodian demanded to know who Jasem was and what they were doing here, and the Caamasi related his name and the purpose of their visit as well as telling them they were from Haalthor. The Rodian ordered his men to kill the Caamasi, prompting the rest of the party into action. The ensuing battle and it’s results will be discussed in the next installment as well as commentary on the threats and tactics used.

Originally posted at Word of the Nerd Online.

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Campaign Journal – Star Wars Saga Edition #3

I know I promised that we would get into the action on this post, but I would be remiss if I didn’t take this entry to talk about something that has grown to be super important to me as a GM since I learned of them. Something known as the Three Questions.

GM Chris, host of the Order 66 Podcast came up with these questions, believing that a good answer to these three simple questions can be more important than any amount of back story when looking at a game from a GM’s perspective, because they immediately provide hooks he can use to draw the character, and by extension the player, into the game.

So what are these three magical questions? Well, I’m no bridge keeper, but I’ll ask you anyway.

1. What does you character Love? With a capital L. Even the most reviled, evil despot has something, somewhere they care about a great deal, and would give of themselves to protect – perhaps even sacrificing their life to protect and care for. This could be a friend, family member, or lover. Perhaps a homeworld, a group of people, or a village that once sheltered you. Maybe you have a soft-spot for kittens.

2. What does you character Hate? With a capital H. Even the most benevolent and well-meaning character has something, somewhere they hate, would go out of their way to harm, or would irrationally distrust. This could be an individual in the character’s past, or a group of people. Even a planet. Perhaps the character has a prejudice against Trandoshans, or has sworn to destroy the bounty hunter clan that destroyed his village as a child.

3. Why is your character willingly (and eagerly) working for the [rebellion/empire/guild/organization/order/etc./whatever-group-the-PCs-are-actively-working-with]? Why is your character an active participant in what this group does, and willing to work with the rest of the party? Are they devoted to the cause? Do they have a simple love of credits? Are they devoted to stamping out a threat?

They are three short questions, but there is a lot there a skilled GM can work with and build off of, providing hours and hours of drama and entertainment that the players are going to care about, because their characters are directly involved somehow. But I would go so far as to add in a fourth question just to round it out.

4. Your character has a connection with one of the other characters. What is it? Were they childhood friends (or rivals)? Were they sweethearts growing up? Are they related? Did one help another out of a jam (by saving them from slavers or Imperial troops)? Are they mentoring another character?

This kicks the entire notion of “you meet in a tavern” right in the teeth, something that I am happy to do. Yes, it’s a sacred cow in the world of RPGs, but it’s fatted to the point where it’s well past time for slaughter. This begins the game with the PCs already knowing at least one of the other party members in some way, and already begins building  relationships before the first session and gives the players something to work off of. In fact, this idea is so important, that the wildly popular Spirit of the Century has it as a built-in mechanic during character creation.

I tried the three questions in a campaign, and I haven’t gone back since.

So, to finish rounding out the cast, and to make help make sense of things that are going to be put in motion later, I’d like to present to you the abridged versions of my players answers to the questions three.

Skai Kasian

Directly related to events in his past, Skai has been on his own, and has grown to love the freedom that comes from never knowing where your next job is going to come from. For this reason, he hates those that would prey on others and take away that freedom, be they pirates or slavers, believing them to be the worst kind of coward. His lifestyle has led him to the less regulated Outer Rim where he took a job on the growing colony world of Haalthor.


Holovids have always been an escape for Kiri, and have become his one true constant companion and love through a life of constant upheaval. Kiri also maintains a strict code of honor and has a strong distaste for those who don’t play “fair,” which granted, sounds a little strange coming from someone with criminal tendencies. If you’re going to lie, cheat, and steal, then at least be elegant about it. Unfortunately for Kiri, the law finally caught up with him, and he was forced to sell his ship to get enough bribe money to get the charges dropped. This has effectively stranded him on the colony of Haalthor.

Rann Antilles

Rann still carries a torch for his first love, Seela, a Twi’lek dancing girl. When he left Corellia, they drifted apart, but the peace officer still cares deeply for the spirited young woman. Coming from a long line of decorated CorSec officers, the thing he hates above all is dirty cops and the politics that follow in their wake, catching everyone else in the waves. In fact, this sort of led to him losing his position in CorSec. “Pressure from upstairs” for busting an Imperial loyalists son on a drug charge lost him his job and he drifted away from Corellian space, taking his particular set of skills and knowledge to work on a security detail on a small Outer Rim colony.

Jasem Osar

If Jasem could choose one word to define perfection for himself it would be this. Harmony. His  time with the Revwien and his time studying the way of the Tyia Adepts have taught him that nothing is more important in this world, and the peace-loving ways of his species play to that particularly well. Because of this, he hates being required to perform a violent act. He will do so if the act is necessary, but it tends to push him into a cycle of self-loathing and hatred that tends to lead to further destructive actions and hatred of the person who necessitated the action. After being exiled from his homeworld and being trained as a Tyia Adept, he traveled the Outer Rim, seeking to bring harmony back to those that had suffered at the hands of this new war, moving from planet to planet, eventually leading him to Haalthor.

Niera Kurucz

Niera has always loved droids, more so than even a normal droid technician would. She has always been surrounded by droids and has even gone so far as to take steps to make herself more droid like, putting her at odds with her own people and other organics in general. This has led to a hatred of disrespect, stemming from the disrespect she got from her own people as well as from seeing so many people use and abuse droids as nothing more than simple tools. She was sent to the colony of Haalthor by her company to act as a technician for the colony.

Next time – The First Session.

Originally posted on Word of the Nerd Online

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Campaign Journal #2 – Star Wars Saga Edition

In the last installment, I discussed the very inception of the my latest Star Wars Saga Edition campaign. In this installment, I am going to introduce the cast.

The players are all people from the d20 Radio boards, some of whom I have gamed with before, and a couple who I have not. After deciding on some character creation guidelines, I let them cut loose, and was very excited when I saw what they had come up with.

I decided to allow the characters both a Background and Destiny for this game. The Destiny system was introduced when the game launched. Each character has a destiny they are working towards completing. In doing so, they get a small number of Destiny Points, which allow them to do incredibly powerful things in the game ranging from completely negating a hit to causing an automatic critical hit to changing when you act in combat.

The Background system was included in the Rebellion Era Campaign Guide and was intended to replace the Destiny system. Instead of focusing on where your character is going, it focuses on where you character came from. You choose a defining event, a job you worked at before you became a hero or a different planet of origin for your species. You draw certain abilities from your background, as well as the ability to draw from certain skills that may not normally be in your classes list, a powerful ability to be sure when used correctly.

I also decided that I was going to run a little experiment with this game. Those of you with an ear to the ground within the RPG industry have no doubt heard of the FATE system, which has been generating a lot of talk lately for their intriguing system. The crux of that system is what they call “aspects,” certain phrases, characteristics, or even quotes that describe a character. They can be invoked for bonuses or compelled to make situations interesting. I have decided to try something similar for this game (and so far, it seems to be working pretty well). Instead of Fate Points as FATE uses, the players use and get Force Points when invoking or compelling their aspects instead.

But enough of that system talk. Onto the characters!

We have Skai Kasian, a Zabrak mercenary who suffered a terrible loss at the hands of pirates. He was marooned on a remote planet after pirates shot down and killed the entire crew of the transport ship he was on. He was left alive to be hunted as sport and through skill and a little bit of luck he killed the pirates and was able to escape, dedicating his life to making life as difficult as possible for pirates and others that would prey on those less powerful than them. He is a survivor through and through, and more than a little superstitious, due in large part to a trinket that he discovered while he was being hunted by the pirates. Mechanically, he is a solid fighter, a Scout/Soldier build with the focus on survival, allowing him to avoid some damage as well as push his defenses higher. His aspects are Survivor, Superstitious, and Merc With a Heart of Gold

Next we have Kirikinerry-tovante, or Kiri for short. He is a Squib who was forced into a life on the Outer Rim through his own actions. He had a long and profitable career with the Squib Reclamation Fleet as a scavenger until war plunged the galaxy into chaos again. While the business was still profitable, Kiri was uncomfortable throwing himself in the middle of galactic events, especially those involving the Sith. He took his skills and went into business for himself as a smuggler until the authorities caught up with him. He was able to pay off the officials to look the other way, but it involved him selling his ship and effectively stranding himself on the colony world of Haalthor. Mechanically, he is a pure Scoundrel, focused on stealth and deception. His aspects are Outer-Rim Lifestyle, Caught in the Middle, and Holovid Junkie.

Then we have Rann Antilles, the near-human from Corellia. Rann was a cop, and a good one at that, working for CorSec until he found his commission revoked for busting an Imperial official’s son on drug charges. Finding himself unable to do anything else, he left his former life and bounced around from security position to security position, eventually finding himself signed up on an Outer Rim colony as part of the local defense. Though cocky and smart-mouthed, Rann is an honest cop through and through and actively hates those that give his profession a bad name. Mechanically, Rann is a Scout/Soldier build, another fighter, though this one more focused towards offense as well as some tricks up his sleeve outside of combat. His aspects are An Honest Cop, Chronic Wiseass, and Streetwise.

Next, there is Jasem Osar, the Caamasi Force user was exiled from his tribe after an incident with some slavers. A race that is wildly pacifistic, often to the point of complete and total non-violence, Jasem broke those tenets when he stood up to a group of slavers intent to take some of his people away. Though the results were appreciated, his actions could not be tolerated, and he was exiled from his clan. He drifted for a while before discovering and being discovered by the Tyia Adepts, a Force-using tradition that exemplified harmony and peace, but also showed him how to use his gifts to non-violently handle situations should the need arise. Since then, he has been moving about the Outer Rim, seeking to keep himself out of the war as well as to promote his new doctrine. Mechanically, Jasem is a very interesting character. He is a Noble/Soldier build, and the words used to describe him are “Force Tank.” Despite his lower than average hp, he is built to focus enemy fire on himself and absorb it through various talents and Force powers. His aspects are Peacekeep, Wise Man on the Mountain, and Stubborn Old Fool

Finally, we have Niera Kurucz, the Arkanian Tech Specialist. She always loved machines, and spent more of her childhood with droids and circuits than with other children, tinkering both with a droid that has become a personal companion as well as with herself, going so far as to remove one of her hands to replace it with a cybernetic prosthetic. As she grew, she found herself more and more distanced from her people, she left her homeworld after some “encouragement” from the leaders of her community. She eventually found employment with a very large droid and cybernetics firm that paid her incredibly well to do the things she loved to do. Most recently, they sent her to Haalthor to oversee the installation of several devices that the Imperials had paid the company for. Mechanically, she is another interesting concept. While Force-sensitive, she doesn’t show any signs of it yet, but she is focused on being able to affect the minds of droids with mind-affecting powers which they are normally immune to. At the moment, she is simply a very talented droid mechanic. Her aspects are Uncomfortable Around Organics, Droid-Lover, and Internal Encyclopedia.

So there you have the cast of this adventure. Next time, we’ll finally dive into the story so far. Keep your eyes peeled, and remember – let go of your conscious self, and act on instinct.

Originally posted on Word of the Nerd Online.

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DND Next Open Playtest Launches

This will be a day long remembered. It has seen the end of Kenobi, and will soon see the end of the Rebellion. No wait, that’s not right. Today is a pretty big day in the world of RPGs, though. It marks the release of the open playtest rules for the next edition of arguably the most famous and most important RPG in the history of the genre – Dungeons and Dragons.

DND Next as Wizards of the Coast has termed it has been in “family and friends” testing for some time now, but today marks the availability of the playtest rules to the general public. The emails for those that signed up for it went out earlier today, but don’t fret. You are still able to get your hands on the materials. Just head over the Dungeons and Dragons main webpage and you’ll see a big splash page to sign up to get the materials. 

Fair warning: their page is crawling right now. Just be patient, and they will soon be in your hands. I’m still waiting on mine in the time it took to write this post.

Keep your eyes peeled here.. We’ll be bringing you all of the latest news on the open playtest for DND Next. Until then, keep those d20s warmed up, and good adventuring.

Originally posted on Word of the Nerd Online.

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Campaign Journal – Star Wars Saga Edition #1

It’s always difficult for me to commit to starting a new campaign when it comes to tabletop games. It’s because I usually have so many ideas bouncing around my head that I feel that I am never going to be able to do them all justice.

However, I have had an idea in my head for a campaign for several years now, one I have tried to run several times. Neither of them got off the ground, unfortunately.

So, when I saw that several people on the d20 Radio boards were looking for a GM to run a Star Wars Saga Edition game over Skype, I figured “what the heck,” and tossed my hat in to GM, knowing that several of them were very committed role players.

This time I had no problem deciding what I was going to run.

This particular campaign I have tried to set in numerous eras. It’s first incarnation was in the Old Republic as a one-on-one game with my wife. The second was a Play by Post experiment that existed completely out of the canon timeline, but would have taken place right after the New Sith Wars and the implementation of Darth Bane’s Rule of Two. After doing a lot of thinking on how I was going to pursue it this time, I decided on the Legacy era, having just re-read the Legacy comics from Dark Horse publishing.

For the uninitiated, the Legacy Era is set over 130 years after the events of Episodes IV, V, and VI and shows us a galaxy once again dominated by a Sith Empire. However, this is not the Sith of the classical era. Instead of the Rule of Two, the Rule of One has been instituted – one ruler, one order. There are numerous Sith Lords across the galaxy, pursuing their own agendas, all the while working for the Sith Lord on the throne.

The Jedi Order is once again a shadow of it’s former strength, and Jedi are hunted mercilessly due to a large standing bounty placed on their heads by the Empire. The Sith Empire is in a state of near constant warfare with the Empire in Exile, the legitimate rulers the Sith betrayed to take power in the first place after helping them in the last great war. The Sith Empire is also forced to deal with the remnants of the Galactic Alliance, the government that existed before the last Empire was established by the Fel dynasty some 80 years previous.

As you can see, the Legacy era puts a lot on the table and in the toolbox of any aspiring GM. All the major pieces of previous eras are taken, put into a blender, and set to “frappe.” It gives a lot of opportunity for both the players and the GM to take the Star Wars sandbox and build what they want with it, and for this particular reason is becoming a fan favorite.

At the time this campaign begins, the galaxy is in a state of turmoil. The Sith Emperor, Darth Krayt has supposedly been assassinated by a Jedi of the name Skywalker, and a series of deadly power games is taking place within the ranks of the Sith Empire. The Empire in Exile as well as the Alliance Remnant have stepped up their pressure on the Sith Empire as well, even going so far as to set aside their differences after the last war and fight as allies.

It is into this mess that five strangers take the stage, working to uncover a sinister plot from an unknown faction deep in Imperial space. Hailing from the Imperial colony world of Haalthor, their story is about to begin.

Be sure to keep checking back as the story of this campaign is told. I want to give you all a peek behind the GM screen. I plan on speaking a little bit about my thought process on encounter creation, house rules that I’m implementing, as well as general system thoughts. But most importantly, I hope to entertain you all with the story of six people who come together for a few hours every couple of weeks and play make believe over the internet.

Next time, you will be introduced to the main players on this stage. Until then, remember to fly casual, and may the Force be with you.

Originally posted at Word of the Nerd Online.

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Threat Assessment – The Double Agent

Star Wars is rife with the intrigues of governments both in wartime as well as in the tenuous peace times. It is also rife with spies, from the [in]famous Bothan Spynet to Imperial Intelligence and Rebel Agents. One of the more dangerous archetypes in the world of intrigue is the double agent, the counterintelligence specialist who “works” for an organization as a spy, while in fact, they are a member of the organization they are being paid to spy on.

In Star Wars Saga Edition, we’re provided some great little talents in the Clone Wars Campaign Guide to build a nasty little double agent that can be a major thorn in the PCs sides by making them unable to be targeted.

The following builds key off of one talent – Double Agent. This mind-affecting effect allows the character to make a Deception check against the Will Defense of every enemy they can see when initiative is rolled. If the check is successful, those targeted do not treat the character as an enemy until you attack or obviously harm or hinder them. This allows them to use Feed Information (and/or Spotter depending on what level of the build you’re using) to toss enemies and allies bonuses in combat, allowing them to remain non-targets during the combat encounter, and Rapport lets them toss bigger bonuses to aid another checks. The higher level build also features Blend In, which gives the character the ability to gain total concealment as long as they are adjacent to at least two other creatures, meaning that they can still stay protected even after their cover is blown.

This NPC, when used effectively, can be a major thorn in the characters’ collective sides during combat by buffing their allies without needing to worry about protecting their own arses.

Double Agent – CL 5

Medium nonheroic 6/noble 3

Force 3

Init +5; Senses Perception +17

Languages Basic, Huttese, 4 unassigned


Defenses Ref 15 (flat-footed 14), Fort 13, Will 18

hp 28; Threshold 13


Speed 6 squares

Melee by weapon +6

Ranged hold-out blaster +7 (3d4+1)

Base Atk +6; Grp +7

Special Actions Double Agent, Feed Information, Rapport


Abilities Str 10, Dex 12, Con 10, Int 15, Wis 16, Cha 12

Talents Double Agent, Feed Information

Feats Informer, Linguist, Rapport, Skill Focus (Deception, Perception), Skill Training (Deception, Persuasion), Weapon Proficiency (pistols, simple weapons)

Skills Deception +15, Gather Information +17*, Knowledge (galactic lore) +11, Perception +17, Persuasion +10, Stealth +10

Possessions hold-out blaster, short-range encrypted comlink, several changes of clothes, cyanide capsule

*See Informer feat

Double Agent, Elite – CL 9

Medium nonheroic 6/noble 5/scout 1

Force 5

Init +12; Senses Perception +19

Languages Basic, Huttese, 6 unassigned


Defenses Ref 19 (flat-footed 18), Fort 17, Will 21

hp 42; Threshold 17


Speed 6 squares

Melee by weapon +7

Ranged hold-out blaster +8 (3d4+3)

Base Atk +7; Grp +8

Special Actions Blend In, Double Agent, Feed Information, Rapport, Spotter


Abilities Str 10, Dex 12, Con 10, Int 16, Wis 16, Cha 13

Talents Blend In, Double Agent, Feed Information, Spotter

Feats Informer, Linguist, Master of Disguise, Rapport, Skill Focus (Deception, Perception, Persuasion), Skill Training (Deception, Persuasion), Weapon Proficiency (pistols, rifles, simple weapons)

Skills Deception +17, Gather Information +19*, Initiative +12, Knowledge (galactic lore) +14, Perception +19, Persuasion +17, Stealth +12

Possessions hold-out blaster, short-range encrypted comlink, several changes of clothes, cyanide capsule

*See Informer feat

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