Tag Archives: Age of Rebellion

Threat Assessment – Noghri Death Commandos

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]


Brawn 3
Agility 4
Intellect 2
Cunning 3
Willpower 2
Presence 1

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]


Brawn 4
Agility 5
Intellect 2
Cunning 4
Willpower 3
Presence 2

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.



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Filed under Age of Rebellion, Edge of the Empire, Force and Destiny, Roleplaying

Threat Assessment: The Kouhun

Another installment of Threat Assessment for you boys and girls as I bring you the latest update to one of the beasts I wrote up back in the Beta period of the Edge of the Empire roleplaying game. Today I give you a look at the diminutive, but incredibly potent kouhun.

This may be the last sight you see. Or more likely won’t see.

The Kouhun [Minion]

Tiny, predatory, centipede like insects around 30 centimeters long, the kouhun are native to the jungle planet of Indourmodo, though they are capable of surviving in most any environment except for extreme cold. Small and swift moving, they also possesses an incredibly potent neurotoxin that can dispatch targets quite quickly. As a bonus, the effects of the poison mimic the effects of cardiac arrest in most sentient species, which makes this creature a very popular choice of weapon for assassins, bounty hunters, and other folks of ill repute. In addition, the kouhun’s natural white coloring meant they were often able to be dyed in the dominant color of the target’s surroundings, making them that much harder to detect.

System: Edge of the Empire/Age of Rebellion by Fantasy Flight Games


Brawn 1
Agility 4
Intellect 1
Cunning 1
Willpower 1
Presence 1

Soak Value: 3
Wound Threshold: 5
Melee/Ranged Defense: 0|0

Skills (group only): Brawl, Coordination, Stealth

Talents: None

Abilities: Agile Fighter (may use Agility instead of Brawn when making melee attacks), Poison (A successful melee attack that deals at least one point of damage from a kouhun injects a poison into the target. The target must make a Hard Resilience check. Failure deals 5 wounds to the target plus 1 strain per threat generated. Despair generated on this roll can be spent to cause the poison to remain in the target’s system, affecting him again next round.), Silhouette 0

Equipment: poisoned fangs (Brawl; Damage 2; Critical 4; Range [Engaged]; Pierce 2)

As you can see, these creatures don’t present much of a challenge on their own, especially to a character who has a high Brawn or wearing heavy armor. But then again, that’s not the creature’s real strength. One could easily argue that if the kouhun is going up against a character in full battle dress, his job has failed. The kouhun is as much a weapon as it is a creature, capable of being deployed by assassins and bounty hunters to take out targets while they are at home or otherwise not as concerned with personal defense. All it takes is a single bite to inject the poison, and that can be all it takes to kill a target. So make sure you check under you bed, shine a light in all of those dark corners, and make sure the windows are bolted shut before you go to sleep tonight. Or wear your armor to bed…

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Threat Assessment: The Wampa

During the Beta period, I had tried my hand at putting together several different stat blocks for the various beasts of the Star Wars universe for the Edge of the Empire roleplaying game as there were very few of them for public use, with mixed success. With a lack of anything better to do this evening, I started to look through some of them again. A few of them now have official stat blocks with the various releases, but a good number of them haven’t. So, I decided why not update a few of them and put them where the public can see them, use them, and abuse their players with them. I’ll start things out with the Wampa, guessing that it will probably only be a short few months before we see official stats for them in the Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook. 

The Wampa [Rival]

Carnivorous predators native to the ice planet of Hoth in the Outer Rim, the Wampa is a savage beast that will attack anything they come across. However, they’re favorite prey is the tauntaun, another creature native to the ice planet. The wampa have adapted to survive in the harsh weather of their native planet and have become consummate hunters, using the environment to their advantage and striking their prey from ambush. Luckily for their prey, they are usually solitary hunters, but have been known to travel in packs to take down larger game. The Rebel Alliance’s Echo Base fell victim to more than one wampa attack during it’s use as a base of operations. Though they were rarely seen off of Hoth, they were known to be used in underground gladiatorial combats and were considered to be a worthy trophy for the big game hunter, their pelts and other parts commanding high prices on the black market.


Brawn 4
Agility 2
Intellect 1
Cunning 1
Willpower 2
Presence 1

Soak Value: 6
Wound Threshold: 18
Melee/Ranged Defense: 0|0

Skills: Brawl 3, Cool 2, Perception 1, Survival 3, Vigilance 1

Talents: Adversary 1 (upgrade difficulty of all combat checks against this target once)

Abilities: Cold Adaptation (may remove two Setback Dice imposed due to cold environmental conditions) Camouflage (may add two Boost Dice when making Stealth checks in snowy environments), Ferocious (may use Brawn instead of Willpower when making Coercion checks), Follow Through (may spend Triumph on a successful melee attack to hit a second target engaged with it, dealing the same damage as dealt to the original target)

Equipment: claws and teeth (Brawl, Damage 6; Critical 3; Range [Engaged]; Knockdown, Pierce 1)

Ferocious is an ability I’ve been toying around with for a while, and it may simply become an ability that all beasts (or at least the more dangerous ones) get in games that I run, simply by virtue of the obvious danger they present to a person who is in their sights, allowing them to use their usually much higher Brawn characteristic to try to scare off potential foes instead of their often lacking Willpower. Only time and additional playtesting will tell if it stays or if it goes, but it’s a decent thought exercise.

Like what you see? Any suggestions? Play reports? Thoughts on Ferocious? Let me know in the comments!


Filed under Edge of the Empire, Roleplaying, Threat Assessment

Design Diaries: The Final Edge of Fantasy

It should come as no surprise to anyone that has followed anything I’ve done in the past year or so that I am a fan of Fantasy Flight Games Edge of the Empire and Age of Rebellion. More importantly, I’m a huge fan of the things that Jay Little did when designing the mechanics that go on behind the game. The “narrative dice” as they are called help to make every single roll of the die important not only to the characters, but to the story as well through the use of several different axes of success and failure. Hearing about the idea of an action failing but still having something positive come out of it was exciting to me. Seeing it in action was mind-blowing in it’s simplicity. Since then, I’ve run the hell out of the game.

But like many others out there, I saw the potential of this engine to run games other than Star Wars. A lot of people started using it to play fantasy games. One poster over at the d20 Radio boards was simply running a general fantasy world. A few other posters were working on running a tabletop game of The Elder Scrolls with the system.

My mind went to a different kind of fantasy when I started thinking about what this game could do. My mind went to something I had spent countless hours in my youth and even into my adult years playing. Something that had gone through so many incarnations in it’s lifetime. Something that had gone from straight fantasy to science fiction and everything in between. My mind went to Final Fantasy.

The thing that drew my mind immediately to the idea was when I saw how Edge of the Empire handled the Force. When rolling to activate a Force power, you gather up a number of white 12-sided dice equal to your character’s Force Rating, and roll them, sometimes by themselves and sometimes as a part of bigger action depending on what you’re trying to accomplish with that particular use of the Force. Each face of the Force Die generates either dark side points or light side pips which are used to power these abilities. As you invest XP into improving your Force powers, you need to generate more and more of these points to activate the upgrades. Each face of the die has either one or two of these pips on them. The total number of pips is the same between the two, but the distribution is different. There are more faces with dark side pips then there are with light side pips, but that dilutes the potency of the dark side results, meaning that you will have a greater chance of rolling one dark side pip than two, whereas with light side pips you have a much greater chance of getting the more potent result of generating two. A character generally cannot use dark side pips to power their Force powers without suffering some ramifications in game from “touching the dark side.” And seeing as a character that is just starting out with the Force only has a Force Rating of 1 and thus only rolls one Force Die when activating his powers, it becomes easy to see that the temptation to use the dark side results will be there. This not only serves to almost perfectly model the use of the Force during the era the game is set in when the Emperor had all but eradicated the Jedi and their vast libraries of information and knowledge on the Force, but also, rather ingeniously I might add, gives a nod to the classic line in Episode V when Luke asks Yoda if the dark side is stronger.

“No. No. No. Quicker, easier, more seductive.”

Absolutely blew my mind when I first heard Jay Little describe it like that.

“But enough of that!” your saying. “This post is supposed to be about Final Fantasy! Right?” Well, yes. Technically. But how the Force Die was used in the game was the launching point of of this mental exercise that later developed into a full-fledged system hack, so bear with me. Some of you more astute readers may have already picked up on where I’m going with this. If so, good for you. You get a gold star*

Final Fantasy has always had a rich tradition of magic in it’s games. And more often than not, there’s a clear delineation between black magic and white magic. Black magic is the stuff that tends to hurt people and white magic is the stuff that tends to heal people.

There are two kinds of pips on the Force Die. One that is a white circle, and one that is a black circle. One side to power white magic, on side to power black magic. Obviously is wasn’t going to be quite that simple in practice, but in concept, the idea was the perfect springboard. The distribution would work quite well in theory – while the level of success would be skewed slightly towards the black magic spells, the number of points generated on those dice would make it harder to hit the required number to activate all the upgrades a high level caster would want.

The spells themselves could all be presented as the Force powers are – a basic ability that you can buy and then a series of upgrades you can purchase to modify the spell instead of just being able to cast more powerful versions of the spell like you get in the console titles. For example, looking at the classic Fire spell for an example, the basic power would simply allow you to cause damage to a target within a short distance from you. You can then spend XP on upgrades to increase the damage of the spell, making it more potent. Or you could spend it to hit more targets, or to hit targets that are farther away. What about giving it the Burn quality?

I’ve got some more notes typed up, but seeing as this post has already broken 1000 words, I think it’s best to save those for a later post. Hopefully this has whet your appetite somewhat.

*Gold star is non-transferable and not redeemable for any other rewards. Gold star has no cash value. Offer void outside of the continental US, MA, and the District of Columbia, or where prohibited by law.

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