Tag Archives: star wars saga edition

Help Order 66 – Get Some Swag!

Readers of this blog should know that I have long been a fan and member of the d20 Radio Network and their flagship podcast Order 66, which reintroduced me to Star Wars Role Playing.

Chris Witt and Dave Villegas, better known as GM Chris and GM Dave have been podcasting for over five years, and in that time, they have interviewed everyone from freelance game designers, to lead developers, to actor and Star Wars gamer Sam Witwer, all the while keeping the masses entertained and hungry for more about Star Wars Role Playing. And last December they decided to make the move from Star Wars Saga Edition to Edge of the Empire, the new game from Fantasy Flight Games.

But five years of podcasting have taken their toll on the guy’s equipment. And to that end, they launched a little Kickstarter project with a modest goal of $1,000. Needless to say, they blew well past that goal, and at the time of this post they are sitting just a little over $8,100. And because their initial goal has been surpassed – that means stretch goals!

Everyone pledging at the $20 level will receive a Swag bag from the guys at Order 66. These include map tiles from cartographer extraordinaire and d20 Radio network sponsor, Christopher West as well as Roll20 tokens created by GM Dave. But that’s not all! You’ll also receive a module penned by GM Chris himself, titled Dead Man’s Hand. 

Well, that’s the initial swag bag.

Now you’ll get not one, not two, but four modules – the aforementioned Dead Man’s Hand, but also Summoned, by host of d20 Radio’s Threat Detected, Garrett Crowe. You’ll also get Fallen Starlight penned by the one, the only Donovan Morningfire, aka Jonathon Stevens, noted blogger and freelance game designer. Finally, you’ll get The Hovertrain Heist, which is my original module.

But the biggest news is that they have found a title sponsor to put together the first ever Gamer Nation Con if they manage to hit $9,000, which will take place the weekend of March 14th-16th in 2014 in Plano, TX. This is hugely exciting news, and there’s still time for you to get in on the ground floor.

So check out the Kickstarter page, help out some great guys deliver a quality podcast, and get some cool swag for your trouble. I’m absolutely thrilled to be even a small part of this, and would love to see them attain their goal of making Gamer Nation Con happen.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/435243061/the-new-order-66-podcast

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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.

Kirikinerry-tovante

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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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

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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

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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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Threat Assessment: The Shadowtrooper

First encountered in Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, the Shadowtroopers were the next evolution of the Reborn. Created by the Dark Jedi Desann and Admiral Fyyar and imbued with Force powers by the Valley of the Jedi, these soldiers fought with single-minded determination for Lord Hethrir’s Empire Reborn, cutting their opponents down in silent fury, showing remarkable skill with the lightsaber.

Like the Reborn soldiers, the Shadowtroopers were not strong Force users, possessing only rudimentary knowledge of the dark arts. However, their armor was created with a special crystal, known as the Artusian crystal, which amplified their power over the Force to a small degree.  Coupled with their suits stealth systems, they made the perfect covert and special operatives for the Empire Reborn.

 

 

Shadowtrooper – CL 4

Medium Human nonheroic 6/Jedi 2
Force 3; Dark Side 12
Init +10; Senses low-light vision; Perception +12
____________________________________________________
Defenses Ref 18 (flat-footed 17), Fort 16, Will 14; Block
hp 32; Threshold 16
____________________________________________________
Speed 6 squares
Melee lightsaber +9 (2d8+5) OR
Melee lightsaber +7 (3d8+5) with Rapid Strike
Base Atk +6; Grp +8
Atk Options Rapid Strike, Weapon Focus (lightsabers)
Force Powers Known (Use the Force +11) battlestrike, Force grip, Force lightning
____________________________________________________
Abilities Str 15, Dex 13, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 10
Talents Block
Feats Armor Proficiency (light), Force Sensitivity, Force Training, Rapid Strike, Skill Training (Use the Force), Weapon Focus (lightsabers), Weapon Proficiency (lightsabers, simple weapons)
Skills Initiative +10, Perception +12, Use the Force +11
Equipment lightsaber, shadowtrooper armor (+6 armor, +2 equipment, stealth field generator and Artusian crystal)
____________________________________________________
Artusian Crystal – The shadowtrooper’s armor is embedded with a special type of crystal that amplifies their power over the Force granted to them from the Valley of the Jedi. It grants them a +2 equipment bonus to Use the Force checks and allows them to treat their Wisdom as if it were 2 points higher for purposes of the Force Training feat. This ability will not function for those that do not draw the source of their power from the Valley of the Jedi.

Shadowtrooper, Veteran – CL 6

Medium Human nonheroic 6/Jedi 4
Force 4; Dark Side 12
Init +11; Senses low-light vision; Perception +13
____________________________________________________
Defenses Ref 18 (flat-footed 17), Fort 18, Will 16; Block, Deflect
hp 47; Threshold 18
____________________________________________________
Speed 6 squares
Melee lightsaber +12 (2d8+8) OR
Melee lightsaber +10 (3d8+8) with Rapid Strike OR
Melee lightsaber +7 (4d8+8) with Improved Rapid Strike OR
Melee lightsaber +7/+7 (2d8+8) with Double Attack
Base Atk +8; Grp +11
Atk Options Double Attack (lightsabers), Rapid Strike, Improved Rapid Strike, Weapon Focus (lightsabers)
Force Powers Known (Use the Force +12) battlestrike, Force grip, Force lightning
____________________________________________________
Abilities Str 16, Dex 13, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 10
Talents Block, Deflect
Feats Armor Proficiency (light), Double Attack (lightsabers), Force Sensitivity, Force Training, Improved Rapid Strike, Rapid Strike, Skill Training (Use the Force), Weapon Focus (lightsabers), Weapon Proficiency (lightsabers, simple weapons)
Skills Initiative +11, Perception +13, Use the Force +12
Equipment lightsaber, shadowtrooper armor (+6 armor, +2 equipment, stealth field generator and Artusian crystal)
____________________________________________________
Artusian Crystal – The shadowtrooper’s armor is embedded with a special type of crystal that amplifies their power over the Force granted to them from the Valley of the Jedi. It grants them a +2 equipment bonus to Use the Force checks and allows them to treat their Wisdom as if it were 2 points higher for purposes of the Force Training feat. This ability will not function for those that do not draw the source of their power from the Valley of the Jedi.

Shadowtrooper, Elite – CL 8

Medium Human nonheroic 6/Jedi 6
Force 5; Dark Side 12
Init +13; Senses low-light vision; Perception +14
____________________________________________________
Defenses Ref 19 (flat-footed 17), Fort 21, Will 18; Block, Deflect
hp 72; Threshold 21
____________________________________________________
Speed 6 squares
Melee lightsaber +14 (2d8+11/x3) OR
Melee lightsaber +12 (3d8+11/x3) with Rapid Strike OR
Melee lightsaber +9 (4d8+11/x3) with Improved Rapid Strike OR
Melee lightsaber +9/+9 (2d8+11/x3) with Double Attack
Base Atk +10; Grp +13
Atk Options Double Attack (lightsabers), Improved Rapid Strike, Rapid Strike, Triple Crit (lightsaber), Weapon Focus (lightsabers)
Force Powers Known (Use the Force +11) assured strike, battlestrike (2), Force grip, Force lightning, vornskr’s ferocity
____________________________________________________
Abilities Str 16, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 10
Talents Block, Deflect, Weapon Specialization (lightsabers)
Feats Armor Proficiency (light), Double Attack (lightsabers), Force Sensitivity, Force Training (2), Improved Rapid Strike, Rapid Strike, Skill Training (Use the Force), Triple Crit (lightsaber), Weapon Focus (lightsabers), Weapon Proficiency (lightsabers, simple weapons)
Skills Initiative +13, Perception +14, Use the Force +13
Equipment lightsaber, shadowtrooper armor (+6 armor, +2 equipment, stealth field generator and Artusian crystal)
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Artusian Crystal – The shadowtrooper’s armor is embedded with a special type of crystal that amplifies their power over the Force granted to them from the Valley of the Jedi. It grants them a +2 equipment bonus to Use the Force checks and allows them to treat their Wisdom as if it were 2 points higher for purposes of the Force Training feat. This ability will not function for those that do not draw the source of their power from the Valley of the Jedi.

And there you have them. Special thanks and shout outs go to Dragonis111 for coming to the d20 Radio forums with the request for the NPC blocks in the first place. Hope they find a place in your games and “long live the Empire Reborn!”

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The Predator Skill Challenge

Maybe I’ve been playing too much Batman: Arkham City, or maybe after all this time playing Star Wars Saga Edition, I’m really starting to stretch my arms in regards to encounter design. Either way you slice it, I was struck tonight with a concept for an encounter for a module I’ve been working on, and it does draw a lot of inspiration from way that the Dark Knight’s latest two console/PC releases have handled the gameplay.

There are times in the game where it is better to be stealthy that it is to run in, fists swinging, dropping foes one at a time from various areas and degrees of cover and stealth, be it dropping down from the rafters and grabbing a hapless foe, dangling him from your perch until he passes out, or dropping down behind one as he passes you and putting him in a sleeper hold. Meanwhile, the enemies patrol the area you’re in (usually contained to a single room or area of the map), and will occasionally do searches of the room, and go on alert if and when they find the body of another goon.

This led me to envision a new type of encounter for a GM to run – a Covert Ops Skill Challenge, or a Predator Skill Challenge. Here’s the basic concept as I’m seeing it:

You stat out the CL as normal. The goal of the PCs however is not to hit a certain number of successes before accruing three failures however. Instead, this is run as a pseudo combat encounter, with the PCs either needed to make it to a certain spot on the map, or defeating all of the enemies before accruing a certain number of failures (I’m thinking five or maybe even a few more to account for the increased risk inherent in running this kind of encounter).

Every one rolls for initiative, and you break out the battle map. The enemies, on their turns move in a set patrol route on their Initiative. If, from the direction they are facing, any of the PCs enter their line of sight, the PCs earn a failure and must immediately move back to the nearest square on the map where they are out of line of sight. That enemy (or enemies if they’re linked by radio) also enters into the “alert” condition (more on that below).

Restrict the skill list to ones that make sense in the situation and assign them DCs as normal. If they’re in a shipping yard, Knowledge (social sciences) and Survival probably aren’t going to be useful to the task at hand. For skills like Stealth, or Deception (to create diversions) or wherever it’s appropriate, assign them an opposed Perception check from the nearby patrols. If you want, you can have the patrols all make Perception checks and not the results down when their turn in the initiative comes up.

When the player starts his turn, he can take a move action and a standard action. The standard action is to make a skill check, or to take out of an opponent should he be positioned to do so (more on that below as well). With his move action, he can well… move. There should be a discernible location on the map that they should be moving towards (unless the encounter design is “take out all of the bad guys in this room”). If they all make it there before accruing the requisite number of failures, they succeed. If they take out all of the enemies on the map, they succeed. If they fail the challenge, the alarm gets raised and they have a fight on their hands.

Should the PC be in position to take out an enemy, he can do so with his standard action in lieu of making a skill check. He needs to be adjacent to the enemy and not have been noticed (sneaking behind him, around a corner, above him, etc). The PC then makes an attack roll against the target’s Reflex Defense. A hit means the opponent’s down, regardless of what his hit points are normally. But should another patrol find the body, he and any nearby patrols gain the “alert” condition.

Just what is this “alert” condition? Well, it can mean what you want it to mean. Maybe they get a +2 circumstance bonus to their Perception checks. Maybe they get a Perception reroll, keeping the second result. Maybe they alter their patrol routes. Maybe they pair up. Maybe some combination of any or all of the above.

I plan on putting this idea to the test in the module I’m currently working on, with the PCs needing to escape a shipping yard after smuggling themselves onto an Imperial Detention World without being seen to avoid mucking up the entire operation. Should make for an interesting encounter at the very least.

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Threat Assessment: Riff Tamson

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water…

Hot off of yesterday’s Karkarodon stats, I give you my take on the Karkarodon commander from the first three episodes of this season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Riff Tamson – CL 12

Medium Karkarodon Soldier 7/Elite Trooper 4/Officer 1

Force 7; Dark Side 6

Init +13; Senses Perception +10; scent

Languages Basic, Binary, Mon Calamari, Quarrenese, Karkarodon

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Defenses Ref 28 (flat-footed 24), Fort 30, Will 25

hp 117; DR 2; Threshold 30

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Speed 4 squares, swim 8 squares

Melee bite +17 melee (2d10+12) or

Melee bite +21 melee (2d10+18) with Powerful Charge

Melee explosive knife +17 melee (1d4+10)

Base Atk +12; Grp +16

Atk Options Accurate Blow, Flurry, Impaling Assault, Maniacal Charge, Powerful Charge

Special Actions Commanding Presence, Conditioning, Indomitable 1/day, rage 1/day

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Abilities Str 18, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 16, Wis 9, Cha 8

Special Qualities delay damage, scent

Talents Accurate Blow, Armored Defense, Commanding Presence, Impaling Assault, Indomitable, Teras Kasi Basics, Weapon Specialization (simple weapons)

Feats Armor Proficiency (light, medium), Conditioning, Flurry, Increased Agility, Maniacal Charge, Martial Arts I, Martial Arts II, Powerful Charge, Weapon Focus (simple weapons), Weapon Proficiency (pistols, rifles, simple weapons)

Skills Initiative +13, Knowledge (tactics) +14, Perception +10, Persuasion +10, Pilot +13, Swim +15 (can reroll twice, must take the final result, can always take 10, even when distracted or threatened)

Possessions 4 exploding knives (see below), Karkarodon battle suit (treat as an armored flight suit without life support)

Here you have a character that can really make the character’s lives miserable if he catches them underwater. With an astonishing speed of 8 squares while swimming, he’ll be swimming circles around even the PCs with natural swim speeds of their own. Add in his deadly charge with the ability to avoid attacks of opportunity from those he passes through thanks to the Maniacal Charge feat, and he could really put the hurt on even the most seasoned warriors. His exploding knives are his real ace in the hole and can really be a surprise for the part that finds themselves on the wrong end of things. Speaking of which…

Exploding Knives

This weapon is a mix of simple elegance, and deadly trickery. The knife appears to be a simple combat knife, if a little bit shorter than average, with a serrated blade. What appears to be a decoration on the handle is in fact a detonator connected a timed explosive set to go off a short time later. The serration on the blade makes it difficult to pull the knife out once it is stuck into a person’s anatomy. If the attack hits the target, compare the attack roll against the target’s Fortitude Defense. If it equals or exceeds the target’s Fortitude’s Defense, it had become stuck in the target, and can only be removed with a move action and a successful DC 15 Strength check. Activating (or deactivating) the timer is a swift action, and at the end of the wielder’s next turn, the detonator explodes, dealing 4d6 points of slashing damage in a 2 square burst. Treat this as an area attack by a fixed explosive, meaning the attack is at a +10 versus the targets’ Reflex Defense. Noticing the switch to the timer (or realizing what the knife is) takes either a DC 25 Perception or Knowledge (technology) check. These knives can also be manufactured to have the switch hidden elsewhere, increasing the DC for either check by 5 or even 10, but at a major increase to the cost (an extra 500 per knife per 5 point DC increase). Because of the knife’s explosive property, it is illegal to own on many planets.

Explosive Knife – 500 credits – 1d4 damage plus special – 2 kg – Piercing – Illegal

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Karkarodon – New Species

Inspired by the recent episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, I decided to stat out the Karkarodon, of which Riff Tamson is a member. After some initial feedback and editing on the d20 Radio Boards, I give you the following stats for use in your home games.

Karkarodon

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Ability Modifiers: +2 Int, -2 Wis, -2 Cha. Karkarodon possess a keen predatory intellect, but are capable of being goaded into very rash actions.

Medium Size: As Medium creatures, Karkarodon have no special bonuses to penalties due to their size.

Speed: Karkarodon base speed is 4 squares. They have a swim speed of 6 squares.

Water Dweller: The Karkarodon cannot breathe air, and require special suits to survive in a non-water environment. Without these suits, they begin to sufficate (see Endurance page 66 SECR). Replacement suits cost 3,000 credits, and are difficult to find off of their home planet. Karkarodon characters start play with a suit at no additional cost.

Breathe Underwater: As aquatic creatures, Karkarodon can’t drown in water.

Expert Swimmer: A Karkarodon may choose to reroll any Swim check, but the result of the reroll must be accepted even if it is worse. In addition, a Karkarodon may choose to take 10 on Swim checks even when distracted or threatened.

Rage: Once per day, a Karkarodon can fly into a rage as a swift action. While raging, the Karkarodon temporarily gains a +2 rage bonus on melee attack rolls and melee damage rolls but cannot use skills that require patience and concentration, such as Mechanics, Stealth, or Use the Force. A fit of rage lasts for a number of rounds equal to 5 + the Karkarodon’s Constitution modifier. At the end of its rage, a Karkarodon moves -1 persistent step along the condition track. The penalties imposed by this condition persist until the Karkarodon takes at least 10 minutes to recuperate, during which time the Karkarodon can’t engage in any strenuous activity.

Natural Weapon: The Karkarodon have a natural weapon in the form of a powerful bite attack. When making an unarmed attack, a Karkarodon can choose to use their natural weapon, dealing 1d6 points of piercing damage. Karkarodon are always considered armed with their natural weapons.

Scent: Karkarodon have a keen sense of smell. At close range (within 10 squares), Karkarodon ignore concealment and cover for purposes of Perception checks, and they take no penalty for poor visibility when tracking. The range increases to 15 squares if the Karkarodon is underwater.

Automatic Languages: Basic, Karkarodon

Big thanks to Flagwaver, angelicdoctor, PiercedGeek, Smugglers_Paradise, and FULONGAMER over at the d20 Radio boards for their input.

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