Saga 2.0

After looking over the D&D Next playtest I have a lot of ideas for Star Wars and I am thinking of typing up a new set of rules.  This would be a personal project but if anyone is interested I may email it out.  If anyone is interested I could use some help with testing it/writting it.  My background is that I am very familiar with the setting and somewhat familiar with rpg mechanics.  I have played 3.5, Revised Core Rulebook, Saga Edition and Savage Worlds.  I am currently using google docs for the rules.


Awesome, I'd love to see it. I've played Star Wars RCR, Saga, and D&D 3.5. I've never played D&D 4th edition.

Just in general, what new features are there in D&D Next that are innovative and/or interesting?



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While SAGA 2.0 would be nice I'd hope it would be closer to SAGA 1.5 instead because, to me anyway, SAGA is already one of the best RPGs from a player standpoint.  There are some things I'd do to increase freedom a bit but the only really major change I see needing is to do something about skill checks vs. Defense scrores and we've seen the SAM houserules for that.  I also guess that vehicle combat could be improved but the problem here is do you keep simplicty which is nice or do you make it instanely complex where every turn takes ten minutes or more?

Now SAGA could stand some improvements to the GM side of things.  I may not have trouble making NPCs but there are many who do and using NPCs effectively can be difficult.  Moving beyond the NPCs I'd really like to see some kind of semi-accurate system to determine what an appropriate CL is on things and perhaps an improved wealth system.
 
While SAGA 2.0 would be nice I'd hope it would be closer to SAGA 1.5 instead because, to me anyway, SAGA is already one of the best RPGs from a player standpoint.



I second it. The only serious problem saga has is the interation between force powers vs defenses, so skills vs defenses should be revised. 

I think that an aproximation to D&D 4th is not advisable, 4th edition is too "MMPRPG", and many players dislike the game (by the way a good game) because of that "video game" feeling. 

SAGA as it self would need a revision in the skill system. perhaps A "skill proficiency" could work better; skill proficiency: you become proficient in a particular skill. Normal: if you use a skill you are not proficient with, you take -2 (or -5 more similar to weapon proficiency) in your skill roll.

- the skill focus feat would bestow +2 competence bonus to skill rolls.

- weapon proficiecy would become a skill. (like D&D 4th)

- So, the skill modifier (untrained) is: level + attribute modifier - 2 (or -5)  + misc

Vehicular combat is okey for me, maybe facing could be good for capital ship combat.

the wealth system works well for me.

NPC generation could be good, maybe  charts with standard characteristic with levels from 1 to 20.



I may be a little slow to respond for a while, my house was broken into today.  Anyways I guess you could say I am taking a lot of the simplified mechanics from D&D Next and applying them to Star Wars.  I want to focus on ability scores and removed the 1/2 level to everything.  Base Attack Bonus is gone as is the Use the Force Skill.  Weapon Proficiencies and Skills will work the same.  However aside from Use the Force the skill set will remain the same if I dont add to it.  Since I wont be adding a 1/2 level to everything the DCs will remain roughly the same.  Talents and feats will mostly remain the same just updated to the newer mechanics.  The ideas you guys may not like are:

1.) Full-Round actions still allowing movement however they do not allow you to take reactions until the start of your next turn.  Deflect, Block and Redirect Shot are all reactions.

2.)Force Powers- Instead of having one skill and 60+ powers, I want to try a more abstract system where there are three skill (Alter, Control and Sense) and for the basic abilities such as Telekinesis that most force users show you will describe what youd like to do and the GM will decide the DC with no limit on how many times they can be used.  Before you guys freak out I am reducing a lot of the powers damage and focusing primarily on utility, Lightning is one of the few "attack" powers.  Certain powers such as Battle Meditation will have to be learned via feat.  All powers will be full round actions and maintaining powers grants enemies a bonus to attacking you.  I have not tested this but I dont that Force Disarm, Force Thrust, Force Slam etc are all seperate and I think making it unwise to use powers in combat better captures what we see in the movies, also I never have liked that you can run out of uses of powers.

3.)  Starships-  I am thinking of assigning starships a constitution score and a hit die by class of vehicle and the hitpoints of said vehicle would be determined by the crew. For example a fighter piloted by a level 20 pilot would have more hit points than a starfighter piloted by a level one character.  I am also playing with the idea of standardizing damage on all scale but leaving it up to GM to decide whether it is possible to damage a vehicle with a light repeating blaster etc. 

A lot of what you are proposing sounds very similar to RCR. Force powers in RCR were tied to 3 feats: Alter, Control, and Sense. Certain powers were skills. Other powers were feats. The part I hated the most about RCR was that it cost you VP (hp) to use Force powers.



I may be a little slow to respond for a while, my house was broken into today. 

I’m sorry to hear that.



Anyways I guess you could say I am taking a lot of the simplified mechanics from D&D Next and applying them to Star Wars.  I want to focus on ability scores and removed the 1/2 level to everything.  Base Attack Bonus is gone as is the Use the Force Skill.  Weapon Proficiencies and Skills will work the same.  However aside from Use the Force the skill set will remain the same if I dont add to it.  Since I wont be adding a 1/2 level to everything the DCs will remain roughly the same.  Talents and feats will mostly remain the same just updated to the newer mechanics. 

I’m wondering how you will achieve the same DC if you don’t get to add half your level. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against the removal of half-level bonus. But, you have to reduce the DC’s (at least a little bit) or else you will have a really hard time. The DC 20 Treat Injury to perform surgery will be difficult, even for a level 10 PC. A level 10 mechanic will need training and focus to disable a complex device (DC 25). If you're not trained and focused in a skill, it will be very difficult to perform DC 25 checks. Unless that's your goal. That would make Skill Focus much more valuable.



The ideas you guys may not like are:

1.) Full-Round actions still allowing movement however they do not allow you to take reactions until the start of your next turn.  Deflect, Block and Redirect Shot are all reactions.

I have no problem with that. In fact, I don’t like that movement in Saga is extremely restricted. At least in the other d20, you could take a free 1-sq step with a full attack. But they removed that in Saga, and I’m not sure if it is a good thing. I think I’d like to see more running and attacking without needing to have the Running Attack feat.

Another thing I’d like to see, which we see ALL the time in the movies, is when you are in melee combat and you roll an exceptional roll (a nat 19 or 20), you get a free unarmed attack without provoking an AoO. How many times do we see lightsaber battles with the unarmed punch or kick slipped in? I think it’s in almost every major battle! Instead of a free unarmed attack, another idea I’d like is some sort of bonus disarm attack, which we also see a lot of in the movies. How many times do Anakin, Obi-wan, and Jango drop their lightsaber or gun? A lot.



2.)Force Powers- Instead of having one skill and 60+ powers, I want to try a more abstract system where there are three skill (Alter, Control and Sense) and for the basic abilities such as Telekinesis that most force users show you will describe what youd like to do and the GM will decide the DC with no limit on how many times they can be used.  Before you guys freak out I am reducing a lot of the powers damage and focusing primarily on utility, Lightning is one of the few "attack" powers.  Certain powers such as Battle Meditation will have to be learned via feat.  All powers will be full round actions and maintaining powers grants enemies a bonus to attacking you.  I have not tested this but I dont that Force Disarm, Force Thrust, Force Slam etc are all seperate and I think making it unwise to use powers in combat better captures what we see in the movies, also I never have liked that you can run out of uses of powers.

Again, sounds like RCR, with Battle Meditation being a feat (not that it’s much different from being a talent in Saga). But I’m willing to take a closer look before passing any kind of judgment.

The biggest problem in Saga is that the Force is extremely overpowered at low levels. At level 2, you can easily have a UtF of +14, while the defenses you are targeting are around the same number. This means you don’t have to roll much higher than a 1 to succeed a Force Slam or Force Grip or Move Object. That’s really not fair, especially when a level 2 Soldier and dedicated riflemaster has a +6 attack bonus and needs to roll at least a 9 to hit a lousy Stormtrooper. And Scouts and Scoundrels and Nobles? They’ll need an even higher roll.



3.)  Starships-  I am thinking of assigning starships a constitution score and a hit die by class of vehicle and the hitpoints of said vehicle would be determined by the crew. For example a fighter piloted by a level 20 pilot would have more hit points than a starfighter piloted by a level one character.  I am also playing with the idea of standardizing damage on all scale but leaving it up to GM to decide whether it is possible to damage a vehicle with a light repeating blaster etc. 

I think I’ve only ever had 1 starship combat, so that’s not my area of expertise.





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honestly, could you clarify the rules on attacking objects??? they still make my head spin!

also, I would just make UTF something else, not a skill and not an attack.  Just, using the force.  That negates the ability to use skill focus/skill training.  I would make it just a D20 + will modifier + 1/2 level
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I am working on attacking objects now and I will try to simplify.  

When I said I'd make the DCs the same I misspoke I meant that I am lowering most of the DCs in order to balance not adding half your level.  

What I am looking at now is:
Skill Training/Weapon Proficiency adding +3
Skill Focus allowing a reroll keeping higher roll

and some talents allowing you to take 10 no matter what you roll.

Force abilities will work the same as Weapon Proficiency, and I am not sure I will allow rerolls or taking 10

As far as classes I am condensing the talent trees and rewriting most of them but I will type up some general guidelines for conversion. 
I think there are 2 major problems with starship combat.
1. No on does it. I have an ace pilot pc in my group, so every module must contain a vehicle or starship battle or two. I also have a starship designer... I do more starship. I had a player's fiance who stepped in to run some characters when a lot of players were gone for summer vacations, and she thought it was easier than normal combat, since she had no prejudice toward the mechanics.
2. Big numbers. Have a calculator.
3. Lots of derived stats. At sterlinghershey.com at his Star Wars Wednesday blog is a worksheet that breaks down stats for vehicles and builds with your pc stats the derived stats for everything. Every time I use a vehicle I do the worksheet and scan it into my computer before applying PC/NPC derivations. I still need to remember to invest in a calculator, but it works quite nicely.

Garrett
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also, I would just make UTF something else, not a skill and not an attack.  Just, using the force.  That negates the ability to use skill focus/skill training.  I would make it just a D20 + will modifier + 1/2 level

There are a few Saga house rules that tried to address this problem. One is called the Skill Attack Modifier. It’s calculated like this:

Skill Attack Modifier
To determine your skill attack modifier for a given skill, use the following formula:

character level + key ability modifier + misc modifiers

Character level:
You may add your full character level (including any nonheroic and/or beast class levels) to your skill attack checks.
Key ability modifier: The key ability modifier will almost always be Charisma, but there are a few instances where someone might use a different ability score (such as with a skill substitution ability).
Miscellaneous modifiers: You take a –5 penalty to your skill attack checks with untrained skills (just like you take a penalty on attack rolls with a weapon with which you aren’t proficient), and you receive only a +2 competence bonus from the Skill Focus feat. The GM may also apply circumstance bonuses or penalties depending on the situation.


What I don’t really like about the SAM is that is makes using the Force at low levels very difficult. For example, at level 1 with a WIS 14 and Skill Focus (UtF), you have an SAM of +3. That makes achieving a Force Grip or Move Object (DC 15) very difficult.

My preferred fix is that Skill Focus (UtF) provides a scaling bonus instead of a straight +5 competence bonus. Here are 2 of my preferred fixes:

Skill Focus (UtF), fix #1:
Skill Focus (UtF) grants a competence bonus equal to your character level, to a maximum of +5. For example, at level 2, the bonus is +2. At level 4, the bonus is +4. Skill Focus would cap at level 5 in this instance.

Skill Focus (UtF), fix #2:
Skill Focus grants a competence bonus equal to one-half your character level rounded down, to a maximum of +5. For example, at level 2, the bonus is +1. At level 4, the bonus is +2. At level 7, the bonus is +3. Skill Focus would cap at level 10 in this instance.

(Fix #2 is a more firm restriction than Fix #1.)



I am working on attacking objects now and I will try to simplify.  

When I said I'd make the DCs the same I misspoke I meant that I am lowering most of the DCs in order to balance not adding half your level.

What I am looking at now is:
Skill Training/Weapon Proficiency adding +3
Skill Focus allowing a reroll keeping higher roll

and some talents allowing you to take 10 no matter what you roll.

Force abilities will work the same as Weapon Proficiency, and I am not sure I will allow rerolls or taking 10

As far as classes I am condensing the talent trees and rewriting most of them but I will type up some general guidelines for conversion. 

That’s an interesting twist on Skill Focus. I wonder how taking a higher reroll compares to a straight +5. I think the reroll is much more powerful, since you can conceivable get +10, +15, or +19 if you reroll a 1 and get a 20.





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also, I would just make UTF something else, not a skill and not an attack.  Just, using the force.  That negates the ability to use skill focus/skill training.  I would make it just a D20 + will modifier + 1/2 level

There are a few Saga house rules that tried to address this problem. One is called the Skill Attack Modifier. It’s calculated like this:

...snip...

What I don’t really like about the SAM is that is makes using the Force at low levels very difficult. For example, at level 1 with a WIS 14 and Skill Focus (UtF), you have an SAM of +3. That makes achieving a Force Grip or Move Object (DC 15) very difficult.

You're forgetting one VERY important thing about skills when you use the SAM; it doesn't change anything when you're rolling against something other then a defense score.

With your example you just roll one d20 for UtF to activate Force Grip or Move Object.  You then use that d20 and add your SAM to it to see if it "hits" the target's Defense score but you add you normal UtF modifier to that d20 to figure out the effect.  Your first level Force Using extreme power gamer has a +12 skill modifier on UtF but a SAM of +3.  As long as his d20 roll is 3+ he could move a medium sized object with MO or deal 2d6 damage with Force Grip BUT with he would only be hitting Defense 6 with those rolls.  Now a "normal" 1st-level defense score will be somewhere between 9-15 so using the SAM takes a "sure thing" if the RAW is followed and actually means there is a chance to miss.

If I look at Force Grip from that character his use of that power almost certainly will shut down the target until it dies following the RAW.  When the SAM is used it can still deal a lot of damage but the target character is a LOT more likely to be able to do something about it.

With Move Object on that first level character you'll see that he actually has a good chance at moving large objects.  Now when using the SAM those objects aren't likely to be resisting but with the RAW resistance is futile.

Using the SAM makes the Force a lot more managable when used against things because it isn't "automatic" at low levels while it actually makes it MORE usable at the highest levels when defense scores can finally esclipse skill modifiers.
    



Oh ok, I didn't realize that.


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Oh ok, I didn't realize that.

It is an important thing to remember when using SAMs.  For many things the skill checks against a given DC works fine but that also illustrates problems by "fixing" Skill Focus such that it really only helps at higher levels.  We've been over it before but I like being able to build low level characters, often non-heroic characters, who can reliably hit some of those higher fixed DCs because they get Skill Focus in their speciality.

I should also go back and make some corrections to our example SAM.  You initially said a WIS 14 first level character with skill training & focus would have a +3 SAM with that skill which is just wrong.  It should be +5 = +1 (level) +2 (skill focus) +2 WIS modifier although from here it will not increase too quickly.  This means the minimal d20 roll to get an function from the named Force Powers will only "hit" Defense 8 instead of 6.  Now a +5 "to hit" at 1st level is VERY respectable with that little extra from Skill Focus really helping but it is still a far cry from the nearly "automatic" hits that RAW produces with the same stats.

The Force should not be off typical abilities but off a new ability that can only be increased at creation, jedi knight/sith apprentice or sith master/jedi master (or appropriate comparisons). I'd call the ability: midicholorians.
Garrett
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Could you please give a link for the "derived stats" blog from your #3 below? Thanks
Shane


  
I think there are 2 major problems with starship combat.
1. No on does it. I have an ace pilot pc in my group, so every module must contain a vehicle or starship battle or two. I also have a starship designer... I do more starship. I had a player's fiance who stepped in to run some characters when a lot of players were gone for summer vacations, and she thought it was easier than normal combat, since she had no prejudice toward the mechanics.
2. Big numbers. Have a calculator.
3. Lots of derived stats. At sterlinghershey.com at his Star Wars Wednesday blog is a worksheet that breaks down stats for vehicles and builds with your pc stats the derived stats for everything. Every time I use a vehicle I do the worksheet and scan it into my computer before applying PC/NPC derivations. I still need to remember to invest in a calculator, but it works quite nicely.

Garrett



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This is a fascinating idea. I've spent the last week trying to think of what I'd want different. I have to admit I'm liking the Cortex Plus system for Star Wars over d20. Also, having run for a while with level 12+ PCs, the system is top heavy in the upper levels. I also like the journey and fellowship rules from One Ring, which seems appropriate for Star Wars.
I also look back at d6 with all the skills available. I'd like a Saga that can build an effective Queen's decoy as well as a nerf herder or a holovid cooking host. Star Wars is the story of every day people caught in Galactic events. The prequel characters are the exception to the rule and should not be what people are looking to play in a Star Wars rpg. But that's my two credits.
Garrett
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