Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Kiris Asteroid Run

For hotshot Corellian pilots, there are few obstacles that provide a better chance to showcase their skills than an asteroid belt. In this case, space jockeys from around the sector gather once a year to test themselves agains the drifting rocks of the Kiris Belt. Some are independent pilots looking to demonstrate their abilities, while others are employed by local crime bosses and similar individuals who vie for bragging rights by showing off the talents of their underlings. Whatever the case, all who undertake the challenge of the Kiris Belt face a considerable challenge.



Navigating the Belt
At the start of a race, five subspace beacons are activated throughout the belt; they form the course that pilots must navigate. While it is entirely possible to make it through the twisting mass of rocks at a slow, steady pace with relatively little danger, one who does so isn't likely to win. To represent the speed and maneuvering with which each pilot handles the course, that character must decide on the difficulty of each pass attempted. Higher difficulties reflect moving at a higher speed, flying closer to the asteroids, and the like. A successful Piloting—Space check at that difficulty means the characters scores the appropriate point value, as listed on the table below. Failure, on the other hand, means that the character scores no points for that attempt, and that a collision occurs.

In the end, the winner is the character who is able to navigate the belt most quickly—that is, with the highest point total, representing the fastest speed and most delicate maneuvering.

Difficulty / Points
Easy / 1
Average / 2
Hard / 3
Daunting / 4
Formidable / 5

Collisions
In the event that a competitor hits an asteroid, resolve the resulting damage as usual for collisions. The impact is treated as a minor collision, causing a critical hit but reduced by the ship's defense multiplied by ten. Should the failed check also generate despair, it is treated as a major collision, and thus the critical hit result is only reduced by the ship's defense multiplied by give. Refer to the sidebar on page 242 of the core rulebook for more details. These results are cumulative, of course, so multiple impacts result in an escalating amount of damage.

Involving Other Characters
As long as the PCs are operating a freighter, other characters can become involved in the action. Refer to the table on page 237 of the core rulebook for suggestions, especially the Plot Course, Copilot and Manual Repairs actions.

Other Hazards
Detailed here are some of the other hazards that could crop up during a race. They could be added as a result of threat generated by Piloting checks, or just to keep things lively.
  • A flock of mynocks is attracted to the party's ship; they reduce the ship's handling by one until someone manages to remove them.
  • A big asteroid happens to conceal a little one, adding a setback die to the next Piloting check attempted.
  • As the result of someone else's a collision, an asteroid is sent tumbling into the path of another ship, adding a setback die to the next Piloting attempt.


Using the Kiris Run in an Edge of the Empire Campaign
The Kiris run can be incorporated in a campaign in many different ways; a few of the possibilities are detailed here.
  • As mentioned above, crime bosses sometimes stage competitions here to show off the abilities of the pilots in their employ. Should the PCs owe obligation to one such (perhaps Tebora the Muun or Slarr the Hutt), they could be pressed into competing.
  • The Kiris Run also provides a great opportunity for making some side bets, especially if the PCs do a good job of promoting themselves.
  • This is a good chance to introduce NPC pilots, such as Seng Windrunner, Golthani Ru or Captain Odnah.
  • Not every being likes to play fair. A hotheaded young Corellian facing the PCs might decide to cheat, such as by sabotaging a system on the PCs vessel; treat the ensuing malfunction as a critical hit generated on the appropriate table from page 244 of the core rulebook.
  • In the event that a bad collision occurs, the PCs might find themselves staging a daring rescue of crew and passengers aboard a ship with a breached hull, racing against time before those aboard it are killed.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Age of Rebellion RPG Review

I feel a little strange reviewing the Age of Rebellion core rulebook, given that it uses mostly the same mechanics as Edge of the Empire. Even so, I thought it could be useful to do a chapter-by-chapter comparison of the two books, looking at what's the same and what's different. With that in mind, here goes.

0. AoR has an added introduction, eight pages long, with an example of play; it also talks about using this book with EotE.

1. Playing the Game
These chapters still introduce the core mechanics and concepts. Some of the flavor description is different, given the focus of each book, but they're still pretty similar.

2. Character Creation
Here we see the first big content changes. For AoR, the species included are Bothan, Droid, Duros, Gran, Human, Ithorian, Mon Calamari and Sullustan. Gran was the one big surprise in that bunch; I'm not sure that I've ever had somebody play one before. For careers, there are Ace, Commander, Diplomat, Engineer, Soldier and Spy. Not surprisingly, they are very much war-oriented. There's also a “universal specialization,” the Recruit, that seems easier for characters on other career paths to access.

3. Skills
This chapter in AoR seems quite similar to the one in EotE.

4. Talents
This chapter in AoR seems quite similar to the one in EotE, except that the talents described are ones taken from the careers and specializations. There is some overlap, but there are new ones, too.

5. Gear and Equipment
Although many of the presented in AoR are the same as in EotE, there are a few differences.

6. Conflict and Combat
These chapters seem to be very similar to each other.

7. Starships and Vehicles
While the rules portions of these chapters are very similar, the ships and vehicles presented in AoR focus much more on vessels of the Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance. More starfighters, not so many freighters.

8. The Force
Age of Rebellion presents a new career, the Force-Sensitive Emergent. With it are three new talent trees, Move, Enhance and Foresee. These seem like a natural way to build upon the abilities of the Force-Sensitive Exile presented in EotE.

9. The Game Master
Much of the content is similar in these chapters, although there are changes for the different campaign emphases of the two games.

10. The Galaxy
There is a little bit of overlap here, when it comes to details about hyperspace lanes and the regions of the galaxy. Still, the focus is on the Galactic Civil War and what different places mean to that struggle. Additionally, the worlds that receive full-page write-ups are Alderaan, Byss, Chandrila, Dac (Mon Calamari), Hoth, Imperial Center (Coruscant), Sullust and Yavin IV, none of which received them in EotE.

11. Rebellion (replacing Law and Society from EotE)
This seems to all be new content detailing the structure of the Rebel Alliance and various Rebel activities.

12. Adversaries
Here again there's a lot more focus on the beings who make up both sides during the war, rather than those who live on the fringes of the galaxy.

13. Perlemian Haul
This is, of course, an entirely new adventure from the one, “Trouble Brewing,” presented in EotE.

All in all, Age of Rebellion is very well done. The rules are solid, the art is gorgeous and the book is put together well. It feels weird to pay full price for a tome that duplicates material I already have, but the book could be a stand-alone for players and GM's who want to play this style of adventure rather than the one presented in Edge of the Empire. At the same time, having both books can help present a more varied tapestry of the Star Wars universe in a campaign.

-Nate


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Ma'char'ba the Ugor and His Scavengers

For many beings, all Ugors tend to look the same. Taking that notion a step further, many beings also assume that all Ugors think the same. While most Squibs, at least, would agree, this cannot be said of the Ugor known as Ma'char'ba. While he is just as obsessed with salvage as others of his species, he has come to value something else nearly as much: information.

Once during a salvage operation involving a wrecked spacecraft, Ma'char'ba discovered that a blaster pistol concealed a datachip. The chip, in turn, held information about a secret Rebel mission in the Corellian Sector. Recognizing an opportunity to curry Imperial favor, he contacted a local bureaucrat and delivered the goods. In doing so, he also realized what the focus of his operation would be. Now he employs a crew of Ugor scavengers, along with a hotshot Human pilot and a gifted Givin technician. Together they seek out space junk and strip it of any useful material, especially data that could be of value to others.


Ma'char'ba (Rival)
Brawn 2* Cunning 2* Presence 2*
Agility 2* Intellect 2* Willpower 2*

Soak: 3
Wound Threshold: 14
Strain Threshold: 12
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills: Athletics 1, Brawl 1, Computers 1, Cool 1, Core Worlds 2, Discipline 1, Education 1, Gunnery 1, Mechanics 3, Medicine 1, Melee 2, Negotiation 3, Outer Rim 2, Perception 3, Piloting—Planetary 1, Piloting—Space 1, Ranged—Light 1, Resilience 2, Skulduggery 1, Stealth 1, Survival 2, Vigilance 2, Xenology 1

Talents: Durable, Hard Headed, Resolve, Toughened

Abilities: Adaptable: Ugors receive two boost dice whenever they are required to squeeze through a narrow space. With a maneuver, Ugors can shift a point from one ability score to another. This reflects their ability to extrude the right pseudopods for a particular job.

Equipment: Heavy clothing, blaster pistol, comlink, datapad, electronic tool kit, mechanical tool kit

Ma'char'ba looks like an amorphous blob when not wearing its special spacesuit—a situation that does not often occur. Most of the time this Ugor extrudes a couple of visual apparatuses, along with limbs resembling arms and legs, so as to seem more “normal” to other beings. It can shift its shape to suit the needs of a situation, however, as detailed above. Despite its simplistic form, Ma'char'ba has a cunning mind, especially when it comes to buying and selling items of value.


Golthani Ru (Rival)
Brawn 2 Cunning 2 Presence 2
Agility 3 Intellect 2 Willpower 2

Soak: 2
Wound Threshold: 12
Strain Threshold: 13
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills: Astrogation 1, Athletics 1, Brawl 1, Computers 1, Cool 2, Coordination 2, Core Worlds 1, Gunnery 2, Lore 1, Mechanics 2, Medicine 1, Melee 1, Outer Rim 1, Perception 2, Piloting—Planetary 2, Piloting—Space 3, Ranged—Heavy 1, Ranged—Light 2, Resilience 1, Skulduggery 1, Stealth 1, Survival 1, Vigilance 1

Talents: Full Throttle, Grit, Improved Full Throttle, Rapid Reaction, Skilled Jockey

Abilities: One free rank in each of two skills

Equipment: Flightsuit, blaster pistol, comlink, datapad

Known as “Golly” to those who are close to her—and there aren't many who can make such a claim—Golthani Ru is a skilled pilot, as befits a native Corellian. While she longs for more adventure in her life, she is happy for now to be working as Ma'char'ba's personal pilot. When she has a chance to do so, she likes to test her abilities by weaving in and out of asteroids and performing other such stunts. One day she hopes to haver her own ship, something small, fast and sleek. Until then, she tolerates her unusual boss and coworkers. Golly is a good-looking young woman with black hair, brown eyes and a dark complexion.


Yoon the Givin (Rival)
Brawn 1 Cunning 2 Presence 2
Agility 2 Intellect 3 Willpower 2

Soak: 1
Wound Threshold: 13
Strain Threshold: 12
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills: Astrogation 3, Computers 4, Core Worlds 2, Education 3, Lore 2, Mechanics 2, Outer Rim 2, Perception 3, Piloting—Planetary 1, Piloting—Space 2, Resilience 2, Vigilance 1, Xenology 2

Talents: Bypass Security, Codebreaker, Defensive Slicing, Natural Programmer, Technical Aptitude

Abilities: Givins begin the game with one free rank in Knowledge (Education). They still may not train Knowledge (Education) above Rank 2 during character creation. They also start with one rank in the Researcher talent. Sealed Exoskeleton: Givens are immune to the effects of vacuum or suffocation.

Equipment: Clothing, datapad, comlink, slicer gear

As a Givin, Yoon's appearance—rather like a looming skeleton—is disconcerting to many beings. His personality doesn't compensate for that much. He is a tried and true dataphile, and as such loves to discuss the minutiae of computers and slicing. Because of his abilities, his coworkers respect him, and he believes that Golly is enamored with him. That is not the case. For Yoon it is not so much about the profit, but rather the chance to prove himself against other beings' efforts.


Ugor Workers (Minions)
Brawn 2* Cunning 2* Presence 2*
Agility 2* Intellect 2* Willpower 2*

Soak: 3
Wound Threshold: 12
Strain Threshold: 12
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills (Group only): Athletics, Brawl, Mechanics, Melee, Perception

Talents: None

Abilities: Adaptable: Ugors receive two boost dice whenever they are required to squeeze through a narrow space. With a maneuver, Ugors can shift a point from one ability score to another. This reflects their ability to extrude the right pseudopods for a particular job.

Equipment: Heavy clothing, mechanical toolkits, truncheons

These Ugors are driven by the accumulation of valuable materiel; for them it is akin to a religious experience, with Ma'char'ba as their leader. They talk about work even when they are not working, and they can be tenacious when it comes to defending what is theirs.


The Opportunity
Ma'char'ba and his associates operate out of a Barloz medium freighter known as the Opportunity. It is a pretty standard vessel; Golly flies it, while Yoon, Ma'char'ba and the other Ugors work out of the back. The cargo bay and machine shop are, of course, filled with junk. For more details about the Barloz, check out <http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Barloz>.


Using Ma'char'ba in an Edge of the Empire Campaign
This Ugor and his salvage operation can become involved in a campaign in many different ways; a few of the possibilities are detailed here.
  • After a starship is destroyed in an asteroid collision, someone hires the PCs to go and salvage what they can. At the same time, Ma'char'ba learns of it, and so it's a race to see who can claim the goods first.
  • If the Ugor found information that was damaging to an influential being, that individual could hire the PCs to recover or destroy it.
  • A dashing pilot hero could become a romantic interest for Golly, who might then begin to question her loyal to Ma'char'ba.



Thursday, June 12, 2014

Unusual Species: The Ugor

GM's who are looking to bring new alien species into their Edge of the Empire campaigns can't do better than the Unofficial Species Menagerie from the Gamer Security Alliance. Even so, in a galaxy as far-reaching as that of Star Wars, no sourcebook can be complete. With that in mind, presented here is the first set of stats for an unusual alien species: the Ugor.

Ugors
Ugors are single-celled, intelligent aliens. As such, their bodies can changed shape and, to a limited extent, structure, depending on the tasks with which they must deal. Although they have no particular “normal” shape, those who venture into the greater galaxy often wear environmental suits that give them a roughly humanoid form.

Physiology: Ugors, as single-celled beings, can extrude as many as thirty pseudopods for performing various tasks. The functions of these extrusions, along with all other activities in their cells, are controlled by their powerful brain-like nuclei.

Society: Ugors are obsessed with garbage. This leads many of them to engage in salvage work, an enterprise for which they hold an exclusive contract with the Empire. It also brings them into conflict with other scavenging-oriented beings such as the Squibs, with whom they feud.

Homeworld: Although it is known as the Paradise System, that name is a definite misnomer. That is because the planet itself is a wasteland of pollution and garbage. Resilient as they are, however, the Ugors have evolved to live off of refuse, both by eating garbage and by turning salvage into a profitable way of life.

Language: Ugors speak their own language, Ugor; most can also manifest the appropriate pseudopods with which to speak other languages, although their pronunciations if frequently highly accented.

Life on the Fringe: The Ugor obsession with junk often leads them into salvage businesses, something for which their many opportunities throughout the fringe. They are also known to enjoy extremely complicated bargaining, rivaling even the Squibs with the intricate deals that they will concoct. Given their unusual forms and dedication to their way of life, they do not usually band together with other beings.

Species Abilities*
Brawn 2 Agility 2 Intellect 2
Cunning 2 Willpower 2 Presence 2

*See below for special rules concerning Ugor's abilities.

Wound Threshold: 10 + Brawn
Strain Threshold: 10 + Willpower
Starting Experience: 50
Special: Adaptable: Ugors receive two boost dice whenever they are required to squeeze through a narrow space. With a maneuver, Ugors can shift a point from one ability score to another. This reflects their ability to extrude the right pseudopods for a particular job.

For more information about Ugors, check out the relevant article on Wookieepedia.



Sunday, May 18, 2014

Rebel Mission: Out of Harm's Way

A previous post presented the Rebel outpost known as The Aerie. Detailed here is the first in a series of short scenarios involving missions for the Rebel Alliance. The GM could use these with groups of heroes loyal to the Alliance, or with fringer characters who are willing to work for the Rebels.


Mission Parameters
Captain Gayen Tivis is an important agent of the Imperial Internal Security Bureau. Recently he has begun to question the motivation of Palpatine's New Order, to the extent that he wants to defect to the Rebel Alliance. His problem is that the ISB keeps a team of minders watching over his daughter, Cheltra, in essence using her as a bargaining chip to ensure Gayen's continued loyal service. That's why he needs the help of a few good Rebels.

In theory, this mission is a simple one. The PCs must make contact with Cheltra and share their plan with her. Then, when the time is right, they need to separate her from her Imperial minders and take her into custody. Once they've done so, Gayen Tivis is free to defect, bringing with himself lots of valuable information.

Events
These are a few suggestions for events that might occur during this mission.

1. Contacting Cheltra
The PCs can find Cheltra at a suitably lively, public location such as the Paradise Lounge, detailed in a previous post. Since she's accompanied by ISB Agent Korm Tenek, however, it's important that they are discreet about communicating with her. Options here could include asking her to dance, or perhaps drugging Tenek. It's also important to note that Cheltra doesn't know she's being escorted by ISB agents; she thinks Tenek and the others are friends from her school on Brentaal.


2. Making an Exit
Once the time is right, the PCs can make their moves. It's important that at least one character secures Cheltra, while others probably need to deal with Tenek and his officers. This could even involve staging a diversion, perhaps sending some of the PCs in one direction while the others take Cheltra to safety a different way.

3. Finding Safe Haven
If the PCs do manage to extract Cheltra from Imperial custody, they can take her to a prearranged location. There she can transmit a message to her father, assuring him of her safety, so that he can take his next steps.


ISB Captain Gayen Tivis (Rival)
Brawn 3 Cunning 3 Presence 4
Agility 3 Intellect 2 Willpower 3

Soak: 3
Wound Threshold: 13
Strain Threshold: 13
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills: Athletics 2, Brawl 3, Charm 3, Computers 2, Cool 3, Coordination 2, Core Worlds 2, Deception 3, Discipline 2, Education 1, Gunnery 1, Mechanics 2, Medicine 2, Melee 3, Negotiation 1, Outer Rim 1, Perception 3, Piloting—Planetary 2, Piloting—Space 2, Ranged—Heavy 2, Ranged—Light 3, Resilience 2, Skulduggery 3, Stealth 3, Streetwise 1, Survival 1, Underworld 1, Vigilance 3, Xenology 1

Talents: Bypass Security, Dodge, Grit x2, Hidden Storage, Rapid Reaction, Stalker

Abilities: One rank in each of two skills

Equipment: Blaster pistol, datapad, comlink; other gear as assigned for missions

Gayen Tivis is one of the most experienced agents of the Imperial Internal Security Bureau; as such, he's seen a lot of things. At first, he saw the New Order as a force for peace and security in the galaxy. More recently, however, the things he's been seeing have made it clear that the ISB is corrupt, just a means of ensuring that self-serving Imperials can protect their own interests. That's why he wants to defect to the Alliance. Although in his mid-forties, Gayen is still fit and charming. His dark hair has a little bit of gray in it, but this just adds a sense of dignity to his appearance (and he can always color it if he needs to go undercover).


Cheltra Tivis (Rival)
Brawn 2 Cunning 2 Presence 3
Agility 3 Intellect 3 Willpower 2

Soak: 2
Wound Threshold: 12
Strain Threshold: 12
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills: Athletics 1, Brawl 1, Charm 2, Computers 1, Cool 1, Coordination 2, Core Worlds 1, Deception 1, Education 2, Lore 1, Mechanics 1, Negotiation 1, Outer Rim 1, Perception 2, Piloting—Planetary 1, Ranged—Light 1, Stealth 1, Vigilance 1

Talents: Know Somebody, Smooth Talker, Wheel and Deal

Abilities: One rank in each of two skills

Equipment: Datapad, comlink

Cheltra Tivis is, as far as she knows, the daughter of a wealthy Brentaal merchant who is often called away on business. That's why she spends so much time in the company of her friends, including Korm Tenek, studying when she has to, and traveling when she can. If she were to learn the truth—first, that her father is a spy; and second, that he's planning to join the Rebel Alliance—it would be a lot for her to process. If she can be convinced that it is the right thing to do, however, she might also decide to take up the cause. Cheltra is an attractive young woman, with dark hair like her father.


Korm Tenek (Rival)
Brawn 3 Cunning 3 Presence 3
Agility 3 Intellect 2 Willpower 2

Soak: 4
Wound Threshold: 13
Strain Threshold: 12
M/R Defense: 0 / 0

Skills: Athletics 2, Brawl 3, Charm 1, Coercion 2, Computers 1, Cool 2, Core Worlds 1, Deception 1, Discipline 2, Education 1, Gunnery 2, Leadership 1, Mechanics 1, Medicine 1, Melee 3, Negotiation 1, Outer Rim 1, Perception 3, Piloting—Planetary 2, Piloting—Space 2, Ranged—Heavy 3, Ranged—Light 3, Resilience 2, Skulduggery 2, Stealth 2, Streetwise 1, Survival 2, Underworld 1, Vigilance 2

Talents: Dodge, Jump Up, Lethal Blows, Precise Aim, Quick Draw, Quick Strike, Stalker, Targeted Blow

Abilities: One rank in each of two skills

Equipment: Heavy clothing, heavy blaster pistol, comlink, datapad,

Korm Tenek is an assassin, pure and simple. He takes his orders from higher-ups in the ISB and obeys them without hesitation. Although he can be clever when he needs to be, his sense of superiority—especially when dealing non-humans—sometimes makes him reckless. He is tenacious, however, and anyone who crosses him makes an enemy for life.


ISB Agents (Minions)--Use the stats for Planetary Defense Force Troopers from page 405 of the Core Rulebook.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Age of Rebellion Beginner Game is Out!

I'll post a review of the game once I've had a chance to read it more thoroughly. Suffice it to say for now, however, that these are the game's contents:

  • An introductory two-page booklet with examples of play.
  • The starter adventure, thirty-two pages long, which sees the heroes raiding a place that could be a new base of operations for the Alliance.
  • A forty-eight page rulebook.
  • Folios for four characters. (Two more are available online via the link below.)
  • A double-sided poster map with the facility on one side and specific locations on the other.
  • Cardstock tokens for the characters in the scenario.
  • A set of dice--three skill, three difficulty, two boost, two setback, a proficiency, a challenge and a Force die.
As mentioned above, there are two more character folios, along with a bonus scenario PDF, available via the website.


-Nate

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Drawing a Blank

A reader, Jeralee, asked a good question earlier, so I thought I'd share information about how I draw my maps. I use a free program called Paintbrush; it's the closest thing that I've found to the Paint program on my old desktop PC. My style is based on that from the old Dungeon magazine. For me one of the trickier elements is drawing the initial grid, so I thought I'd share mine here.

-Nate