house rules experimenting -- feedback appreciated

I'm considering some house rules for an upcoming SWSE game, and I thought I might avail myself to your collective wisdom.  I've already mined these boards for a  lot of people's house rules, and am using some of them.  Really appreciate you all posting them, as they've been a great help.  Please feel free to be critical, I'd just ask you to keep the following things in mind:

  1. These are rules for a private game, and we are comfortable in my gaming group politely asking someone not to use a particular rules exploit.  In other words, that these rules can be exploited in some cases is good to know, so we can avoid them in advance, but does not automatically invalidate the rule for our use.

  2. Here is my rubric for power:  consider the most powerful option you could make under normal RAW w/out too much effort.  Do these rules create an option that is measurably more powerful than that?  If not, then they are fine.  I'll use 3.5 D&D to illustrate, since I'm more comfortable w/ that.  In 3.5 D&D you could easily make a Druid or a Cleric w/ Divine Metamagic (persitent Spell) and so forth.  It doesn't require obscure mystical optimization to do so, those are fairly straightforward, if reasonably well thought-out, options.  I wouldn't be concerned if, say, my proposed rules for a Swashbuckler made that class more powerful than it is under RAW -- I'd instead be comparing it to those well-supported classes or archetypes.  I hope that makese sense.

Ok, enough preamble, here's what I'm thinking. 

Weapon-Specific Abilities Applying More Broadly
I am fine w/ Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization, and even the Pistoleer and similar feats.  They indicate something to the effect of "I'm a master or more comfortable w/ X weapon."  Very cool.  I'm less sanguine about something like Double Attack being keyed to particular weapons.  That seems to have much more of a "you will use this type of weapon and that's that!" which is common in games, though I don't particularly like it unless that's the whole character concept. 

Suppose I make a character, let's call him San Holo, who's a Scoundrel/Soldier smuggler type who is quite handy w/ a blaster pistol.  So, I nab him Double Attack (pistols) to show that if he takes his time he is going to blow you out of your boots.  That seems reasonable.  But, if San is infiltrating the Death Star and holding a blaster rifle, it seems odd that he loses just so much of his abilities, or, perhaps more importantly, his player loses so much of the options available to him.  Note that this might be a terrible example since on a generous reading San might be fine if he just picked up a carbine and folded the stock.  But, you get the idea.  It also makes it a bit harder to make a flexible multiple-weapons carrying character like that obscure guy Boba Fett.  You're pretty much stuck w/ going Dual Weapon Mastery if you want multiple attacks.  Finally, it elevates the stock of some of these abilities in odd ways:  Double Attack (heavy weapons) is much more useful under RAW b/c you can use it on ground and in vehicles, and I don't necessarily think that is a good thing.

I can see the following objection:  "why does Yoda, who it seems doesn't know the difference between a blaster and a tv remote, get Triple Attack if he picks up a blaster pistol."  My response would be to, of course, key all of these to proficiency -- you don't get the benefits w/ weapons you aren't proficient in.  That sort of solves the Yoda problem right there.  But, further, I'd say that to some extent this is the sort of thing one has to accept when playing SWSE.  It's a level-based game, and that means that a high-level character doing something they have little clue about is just simply better than some low level characters attempting the same task.  To take an extreme case, Yoda, even w/ his non-proficiency penalty, is actually kind of a crack shot w/ a blaster pistol.  That works for me for Star Wars, ymmv.


Abilities ... in SPACE(!)
I like space combat.  And, I want it to be a significant part of any SWSE campaign.  I would also like it to be as interesting and dynamic as possible.  Looking over Starships of the Galaxy right before writing this, I actually think they did a pretty good job w/ allowing you to use your talents and feats in space combat -- I particularly like their rules for Harm's Way/Draw Fire.  I think I'd just like to extend that a bit more and start w/ the presumption that any abilities you have should work in space, unless we think there is a good (mechanical, more than conceptual) reason they cannot.  For example, I'd let someone use Running Attack if piloting a starship. 

Specific Question:  I noticed that Dastardly Strike was not allowed to be used in space combat.  I get conceptually why that might be the case, I guess.  Is there a good game balance reason against the following house rule applied to things like Dastardly Strike and similar abilities:

You can apply the benefits of this talent in starship combat, but only if you inflict actual damage to the opponent (i.e., must get through its shields) and only if the opponent is no more than 1 size category larger than you.

I guess the concern is that you don't want an X-Wing to smash a Star Destroyer to pieces this way, though the proposed rule makes that impossible.  It would then take a Correllian Corvette or something, and that seems fine.  I mean, Demand Surrender and Weaken Resolve have similar results, imho. 
Weapon-Specific Abilities Applying More Broadly
I am fine w/ Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization, and even the Pistoleer and similar feats.  They indicate something to the effect of "I'm a master or more comfortable w/ X weapon."  Very cool.  I'm less sanguine about something like Double Attack being keyed to particular weapons.  That seems to have much more of a "you will use this type of weapon and that's that!" which is common in games, though I don't particularly like it unless that's the whole character concept.

This is extremely odd to me...  Weapon Focus/Specialization being tied to one weapon is "very cool" but Double Attack being tied to one weapon is the game being an evil dictator...  Uhhh...  Why does the same rational that applied to Weapon Focus not also apply to Double Attack (ie the character is very skilled at firing a blaster pistol and as such can make more effective shots a round then a similar character)?
Suppose I make a character, let's call him San Holo, who's a Scoundrel/Soldier smuggler type who is quite handy w/ a blaster pistol.  So, I nab him Double Attack (pistols) to show that if he takes his time he is going to blow you out of your boots.  That seems reasonable.  But, if San is infiltrating the Death Star and holding a blaster rifle, it seems odd that he loses just so much of his abilities...

Why?  Suppose Han (while proficient with them) rarely uses a blaster.  Why exactly should he have an advanced technique that lets him fire it more effectively? It would be odd to me if he wasn't less effective...
That works for me for Star Wars, ymmv.

That's fine, it just seems like a wierd arguement to me...  I doubt it would be unbalancing but then I'm not good with house rules so I'll leave my comment at that.
I agree with murkglow in terms of the double attack sort of thing. 
Something that can be an important distinction between double attack and dual weapon is ammo.  When you double attack you expend ammo from the same weapon when you dual each weapon is only fired once.  I'll grant you that in most instances that won't be an issue but it can become one in a protracted fire fight.
As to your space fight rules you may want to consider most starship weapons have multipliers and you add all of your boni before you multiply.  Let's look at adding 2 dice to a turbolaser shot:

                    Normal 7d10x5    Your Modified shot 9d10x5
Ave damage               192.5                                     247.5
With Crit                     385                                        495

As you can see that extra 2 dice can make quite a difference.  I know that some talents already can be used to add damage to starship weaponry.  I'm just suggesting that you think long and hard about adding other effects that add damage dice to the attack.
I think you're looking at this at a level of simulationism rather than the level of game mechanics. 

Ok, first things first, Weapon Focus is, frankly, extremely minor.  It's something to the effect of "I like pistols."  A minor distinction for style or preference is fine, even though it's worth noting that I pretty much never take those feats, but whatever.  Double Attack is, unless I massively misunderstanding SWSE, not.  Double Attack, and related feats, are what seem to in many cases separate a very skilled combatant from those weaker than him.  It's designed, inter alia, to allow Yoda to ginsu through weaker foes by doing a lot more damage.  By confining it (or a similar "major" effect) to a particular weapon, you are practically guaranteeing that the player will only use those weapons.  If I've got Double Attack (pistols) on my sheet, you can be pretty sure I'm never going to touch a rifle. 

I guess it seems weird that there aren't analogous options to "I'm good at shooting things" -- instead they are confined to "I'm good at this particular weapon," which seems strange to me.  Though maybe that's the D&D player in me talking.  I know such things exist to some extent, Power Attack, Rapid Shot, etc. but then that just begs the question:  why is Rapid Shot a "general" skill applying to all ranged weapons but Double Attack isn't? 

Here's the bigger thing, though, and it knd of addresses what Leo is referring to.  I could, at any point, just take Double Attack (Heavy Weapons), which b/c it applies to starship/vehicle weapons, too, is much more useful.  And, frankly, the effect of Double Attack is potentially huge, controlling for accuracy and so on, but that could be kind of hard to parse.  And, there's Burst Fire and other similar things already in play, which unless I'm mistaken also work w/ starship weaponry that happen to also be autofire (though you take a big attack penalty). 

That's probably a big part of the issue:  the game rules as an evil dictator say the following, "if you're going to take Double Attack (and analogous abilities) w/ any ranged weapon, you should take it w/ Heavy Weapons," under the reasonable assumption that there will be some space or vehicle combat in your campaign.  The stock of that particular skill has been significantly increased, for kind of idiosyncratic reasons.

P.S.:  appreciate the comments.  None of the foregoing was intended to be defensive, so apologies if it sounds as such.
I actually don't have a problem with the proposed rules, and kind of like the Double Attack one. However, to play devils advocate on one point.

A balancing factor for the versatility of Double Attack (HW) is the troublesome prereq of Proficient with weapon. Since WP (HW) isn't on any class' starting feat list, even a soldier is going to have to take a weapon proficiency feat to take advantage of DA in character scale combat.  A character like Wedge can take DA (HW) because Vehicular Combat causes him to be considered proficient with pilot controlled weapons, and he can therefor only use DA in a starfighter or similar vehicle. If he wants to lug around a blaster cannon and double attack with it, he's going to have to take WP (HW).

Another seriously balancing factor of the proposed house rule would be to leave the various Multiattack Proficiencies untouched. That -5 is a pretty serious penalty, even at high levels. Allowing DA to apply to any weapon with which the character is proficient is totally reasonable IMO. But if the player wants to reduce that penalty, they're going to have to specialize. Or do a bit of multiclassing and blow several talents.
Unless I'm playing an Ace Pilot, or intending to carry around Heavy Weapons, I'm not going to take Double Attack Heavy. You know...Ever. Characters are guaranteed to be on the ground. They are never guaranteed to be firing vehicle weapons.

The broadest you should change Double Attack in my opinion is "Double Attack - Ranged" and "Double Attack - Melee". This is by virtue of the fact that Melee and Ranged do have differing feats/talents for the same effects (Rapid Shot/Rapid Strike for example). Proficiency is already a pre-req, so by extension it would still only affect ranged or melee weapons you were proficient with.

If I were intent on changing it for diversity's sake that's how I would go.
I'd like to see those houserules in a more concise format as they are much easier to evaluate.

I'm fine with double/triple attack being restricted to a single class of weapon.  I would point out that with the example of folding a carbine's stock to suddenly take advantage of Double Attack (Pistol) I would NOT be giving the character the benefits of anything normally reserved for Pistols unless it also applies to Rifles; as far as I'm concerned all folding the stock does is reduce the shots accuracy (the range reduction) and allow someone who knows how to shot a pistol to avoid the normal non-proficiency penalty but it is still the base weapon for everything else.  Comparing double shot to Rapid Shot has two very big issues to deal with.  The first is that Rapid Shot is only for ranged attacks and there is a second feat for a similiar ability with melee attacks.  The second is that Rapid Shot is all directed at one target while using double attack means you can shoot (using a rifle here) two targets who are 600 squares away from each other without any additional issues.

IF I was going to make double and triple attack more accessable I'd simply remove the feat requirement  and allow anyone to make a "double attack" with one weapon but at a -10 penalty to all attacks or use "triple attack" but at -20 to all attacks.  Using these options will also remove critical hit damage from any of those attacks although a natural 20 would still hit for normal damage; this is to discourage spamming attacks for that lethal critical hit that becomes more likely with multiple attacks.

I'll also point out that double/triple attack are only helpful if you are a GUNNER using a vehicle weapon.  As a pilot I would never take those feats because I'm not likely to have the full round action needed to use them because I need to spend a move action driving.

Now when it comes to vehicle/space combat I'm open to a lot of things.  I do believe that Running attack can be used by a pilot as he uses the vehicle's speed instead of his own.     
As an addendum, I too have no problem with Double Attack being weapon class specific. It's never been an issue for us. Anyone taking Double Attack is invariably taking other weapon class specific feats/talents as well (lightsaber related, Rifle Master, Gunslinger PrC etc.). A Gunslinger using a rifle is typically losing access to more than simply Double Attack.
Put more concisely: 


I want to allow as many feats, talents, etc. to be used in space as possible.  Are there any abilities that should not be allowed to be used in space?  Some of them will be subject to the "only 1 size category larger" limitation presented in Starships of the Galaxy.


Put more concisely: 


I want to allow as many feats, talents, etc. to be used in space as possible.  Are there any abilities that should not be allowed to be used in space?  Some of them will be subject to the "only 1 size category larger" limitation presented in Starships of the Galaxy.



I'm fine with allowing feats and talents to work in starship combat. The "only 1 size larger" restriction is fair for things like Dastardly Strike.

As for Double Attack, I'm fine with it not being keyed to a particular weapon. After all, Dual Weapon Mastery is not keyed to a particular weapon.

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As for Double Attack, I'm fine with it not being keyed to a particular weapon. After all, Dual Weapon Mastery is not keyed to a particular weapon.


There's a distinct limit to what can and can't be used with Dual Weapon Mastery. Double Attack applying to all weapons means it applies to about twice as many weapons as DWM.
As for Double Attack, I'm fine with it not being keyed to a particular weapon. After all, Dual Weapon Mastery is not keyed to a particular weapon.


There's a distinct limit to what can and can't be used with Dual Weapon Mastery. Double Attack applying to all weapons means it applies to about twice as many weapons as DWM.

The advantages are offset by the prerequisites. DWM only has a BAB +1 prerequisite, meaning it can be taken at level 1. Double Attack has a much heftier BAB +6 prerequisite, meaning it can only be taken at level 6 minimum.

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In my experience: Double attack is almost never taken.  Most people would rather use alternative methods to dealing seperate target damage than to take a feat that has moderate reqs and costs a full-round action and carries a penalty.  DWM often gets rocked out instead.

So FWIW, I think opening up the doable attack to lower reqs and making it the DA-ranged/DA-melee is a nice way to solve the problem.  My only concern, and it's minor, is that ranged attackers do benefit much more from this than melee. 

As for Space: I encourage my players to use almost anythign in space because that provides more options for them as a group.  Since most parties Mystery Machine it up, it can be challanging for them to find the propper uses for all their actions, and I think it's important that their character resources com into play at every opportunity.  As to limitations, I'd say ranges are a problem, and that runs on a case by case basis.  LOS is (I believe RAW) to exist if you have an open comm chanel, so use comp gurus on the ship can spend their time hacking the comm system, then the talker can belittle the crew into submission while you fight and fight.

Also anything Force related is probably not a good idea to apply to space.  It's something that the rules have indicated fairly oftena nd I agree that Force powers should take a backseat in space combat unless they make sense.  Precience as a power, enlighten as a power, and of cource force pilot are all fine, but in general I try and make the non force powers more dominant in space to show that the force is not everything.  (I did however make a home feat to allow force powers at Star ship scale, adn it works out well for those characters so heavily invested in the force that they lack other viable options).
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I imagine that Majestic Moose plays a more "A team" type game than most of us. By that I mean he allows his players to make tanks out of a backyard playground set since the players have more "fun" that way.
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When I and my friends sit down we want a game of heroic fantasy. Rare is the moment when I have cried out in a video game or RPG "that's unrealistic." (Unless there is no jump button. Seriously makes me mad, single handedly ruined the N64 zelda series for me, but that's a digression of a digression.) I mean, we play games with the force in galaxies far, far away, with supernatural horrors, dragons and demi-gods, alternate cosmologies, etc. Reality and it's effects hold little sway to what makes a Heroic fantasy game fun IMO. Just repeat after me: You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You are not how much you've spent on WotC products. You are not whatever RPG you play. You are one of tens of thousands of people that spend money on a hobby. You will not always get what you want
My feeling is just what you say MajesticMoose, which si why I'm trying to experiment a bit.  I think in some cases it's easy for me to rationalize how abilities would work in space.  For example, a power based on intimidation makes perfect sense, they see your starfighter and feel like you're the Long Long Ago equivalent to the Red Baron and are shaken.

Total agreement about the force powers, too.  Isn't there a Distant Power Force Secret that would let them use it at starship scale?  Though that might get expensive resource-wise.

I also think it's easy for force characters, even if they aren't pilots at all, to help out in space encounters.  They can take stuff like Enlighten or even Battle Meditation (which isn't very good, but we'll be giving out a few bonus things to ease the pain of taking it) to support the party.  Even Adept Negotiator should work, subject to the size caveat in Starships of the Galaxy.
I don't know if this discussion is still live at all (it's been quite a while since the last post), but I have some thoughts on the Double Attack discussion.

First, I think the idea that multiple attacks should be broader is tied to the "old school" idea of basing multiple attacks on the base attack bonus, which is a feature of many games, but NOT Saga.

Second, I think a lot of players are unduly obsessed with the idea of multiple attacks, and I think that's a HUGE detriment to the game, because there are so many more interesting options.

And that, I think, is one reason that Saga uses Double Attack the way it does. If you are doing multiple attacks, you are generally using a full-round action to do so (at higher levels, there are some ways around it), which means you're just standing there. BORING. If you're going to maximize use of multiple attacks, you're probably taking only a minimum of abilities that might require use of a move or swift action, which means you're limit your options. BORING!

Frankly, combat based on multiple attacks using standard actions is, in a word, BORING. It's not nearly as interesting or dynamic as combat in which participants are only using their standard action for attacks and using the other 2/3s of the round for more entertaining things.

I think the game designers initially attempted to make multiple attacks somewhat unappealing so they would not be "auto-include" feats. Unfortunately, in a Dex-heavy environment, DWM isn't as unattractive at it could have been.

Do what works best for your game, but I think "more Double Attack" generally means "less options."
@GWek
First, my Return Fire, Mobile Attack, Reactive Stealth Dual-Wielding gunslinger would like to have a few words w/ you ...  He'll want to have even more in a couple of levels when he gets his Assassin levels and his Genoharadan Manipulator talents, to boot.  

Ultimately, eveything you say amounts to this:  "multiple attacks, b/c they take up a full-round action, should not exist b/c they are boring, stifle creativity, drink the blood of Christian babies, and so on ..."  

Now, that might be true, actually.  As the player/creator of the aforementioned gunslinger, I'm personally annoyed that full attacks suck up your standard, move, and swift actions in Saga, whereas I'm used to them only using the standard+move, and Saga has so many nice swift action opportunities that strike me as interesting.  I had to search far and wide for various abilities that would keep him interesting as we went up levels, and that took some work b/c of the way full attacking works.  

If that's the case, though, then what should really be done is banning these abilities.  If you hate on the full attack action, if you think it detracts from the game, then I would say get rid of it.  Creating weird disincentives for it is only going to make someone unhappy in the long run.  Imagine your poor player, who, like me, is a sucker for the guy wielding twin pistols.  How does he or she know that, unbeknownst to them, they are wrecking the game?  

More pointedly, though, I think you're being very unfair.  Why is full attacking a blight upon the game, but aiming, which typically takes the exact same amount of actions in a round leaving you w/ nothing else to do, ok?  What about bracing for autofire?  Now, if you want to excise all those from the game, that's your prerogative, but it just seems like you'd be leaving a large number of tactics and combat options on the chopping block. 
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