It's been a good year for Star Wars fans. Disney bought Lucasfilm, and announced that a new trilogy -- with some of the original actors, but without George Lucas directing -- will kick off in 2015. We also saw the return of Star Wars gaming with a slew of new releases from Fantasy Flight Games: The Star Wars card game, expansions for the X Wing miniature combat game, and finally a new Star Wars role-playing game.
This month's RPG Blog Carnival topic is "Writing the Game", and it got me thinking about my own efforts to get return to "pen and paper" preparation. I say "return" because most of my game prep is digital; sure I have printed books I refer to before and during the game, but even those have PDF equivalents.
After 18 months of playing Second Darkness our heroes are finally ready to take the fight to the drow. They've skirmished with the dark elves before, but avoided the major battle at the end of Book 2 when they inadvertantly stumbled into the drow lair and had to retreat. The drow then escaped under the cover of night while sending a shadow demon to kill them.
The Unknown Regions is the final sourcebook for Wizards of the Coast's Star Wars: Saga Edition Role-Playing Game. The book serves as a placeholder for all the books left unpublished, and promises to carry players to the unexplored corners of the Star Wars galaxy. It does this by venturing into The Unknown Regions to explore what fans know -- the Chiss, the Rakata and the Sorcerers of Rhand -- and plenty that they don't.
The Unknown Regions details eight worlds created just for the book, introduces a planet generator that game masters can use to make their own, and debuts creature generation rules to populate them. Since Scouts are essential to exploring these brave new worlds, they get a variety of feats and talents, and because no final frontier should be without its dangerous challenges, the book re-envisions "Hazards" as Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition-style threats that require a combination of brawn and skill to defeat. The end result is a tool kit that gives players everything they need to continue their adventures beyond the last book in the Star Wars Saga Editions line.
In the real world, our gaming group's seen numerous weddings (and will see yet another this fall), but in the game world our heroes never got hitched. Until tonight.
Skill challenges were the best thing to emerge from our Dungeons Dragons 4th Edition mini-campaign, and when we started playing Star Wars: Saga Edition, we pieced together our own version of the rules. We based them on 4E's examples, the skill DCs established in Scum and Villainy, and personal experience. The end result created some of the most memorable moments in our campaign, including the heroes' disastrous attempt to escape a proto-star nebula.
Galaxy of Intrigue formalizes these ad hoc rules by creating a Skill Challenge system for Saga Edition that improves the 4E iteration in every way. The source book introduces new feat and talent options for skillful characters, nine new species (including the Bith, Defel and Neimodian), an entire world dedicated to intrigue, eight mini-adventures, and the "The Perfect Storm" campaign.
A year after announcing they secured the licence, Fantasy Flight Games released details on their upcoming Star Wars Role-Playing Game and launched a beta test.
There's not much in the way of details about how the game is played. Based on the beta FAQ, it apparently uses custom dice like Warhammer Fantasty; the beta book apparently includes stickers you can put on your own polyhedral dice to emulate the final dice.
Aliens. We always knew they were out there, ready to invade our planet, enslave the population and strip mine its resources. But we also knew that if they should try it, Earth’s greatest superheroes would rise up and save us.
We were wrong.
When the V’Sori came they slaughtered our super-powered defenders just as easily as they did our armies. Now our cities are conquered, our people are terrorized, and the job of saving the world has fallen to the most unlikely of people: Earth’s super villains.
The dwarven warrior D'klar Ironforge stood on the Deep Roads bridge eying the darkspawn before him. Spittle from the creature's mongrel face glistened in the reflected light of the lava far below. Covering its black-furred hide were the crudely-arranged castoffs of dwarven chain and planted, while its obsidian-clawed hands held a short sword wet with the blood of Ironforge's kin.
With a guttural shout, he charged the creature, bringing his battle axe down in a killing arc that sliced through the cracks in darkspawn's armor, cleaving its spine and sending it crumbling to the stone. The dwarf hefted the axe from the corpse and looked up. The rest of the darkspawn horde stood at the other end of the bridge. He grinned. "Who's next?"
Scenes like this one are something we love to recreate in fantasy pen-and-paper role-playing games. How you do it depends: it could be an improved critical feat in Pathfinder or an armor-piercing daily power in Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, or it could just be flavor text added afterwards. It works well enough, but the game mechanic geek in me finds the feat/power option too limiting. Sure, I want to bury my axe into the darkspawn scum … but when fighting a dragon, I just might rather hit and run instead of going toe-to-toe with the beast.
A new RPG system, a credit card and iPad are a dangerous combination. Especially when the game is Pathfinder, the company is Paizo, and the PDFs are priced at $9.99 a piece.