Okay, so I picked up two copies of the SGD today (one as a Christmas present for a friend) and read through most of it.
Made of awesome.
I'll give a breakdown below:
Chapter One: Droid Heroes
No new races per se, but expanded rules for creating droid heroes, but as a stock droid, custom droid, and a "halfway" option, where you can pick a droid type (astromech, battle, protocol, labor, medical, etc.) like a species, and install components to either emulate a version of an existing droid or design a custom droid. Two new planets (Mechis III and Telti, two major droid production planets) with a lot of fluff about how droids are designed and built by the megacorps and smaller droid manufacturing concerns. Lists of droid manufacturers, with the traits their droids are known for. Essentially, an optional rule to give your droid a slight benefit based on the company that designed them. For instance, a Baktoid droid uses cheap processors, so can be victim of a Persuasion check to cause it to lose an action as it's processor goes into a logic snarl. However, if it beats the Persuasion check, it gets a free swift action. Rules for droid quirks are also found here, and they can apply bonuses and/or penalties to certain actions and abilities, as well as adding flavor to the droid. The first time I've seen a quirks system that I'd like to play with, as it isn't all negative effects, and the quirks themselves seem like they could actually be interesting to play with. Several new feats, mostly for droids, but a few usable by cyborgs and organics who work closely with droids. New Droid Degree talents, and new talents for the Droid Commander and Independent Droid Prestige Classes (book crossover FTW!!!) Lastly, optional rules and guidelines for dealing with droids in-game realistically and logically, covering such topics as damage and destruction, improvised droid tasks.
Chapter Two: Droid Allies
New rules for caluclating a droid's cost, mostly for use with the "Droids as Equipment" rules. The Droids as Equipment rules allow a PC to use a droid like a piece of equipment, giving up swift actions to allow the droid to take actions on the PC's behalf. Rather like the Follower system, but much more user-friendly, though still of limited utility for truly combat-oriented PCs with combat-oriented droids. There's also a handy table for adding "protocol actions" to the droid's list. . . say, for instance, if you add an ability to your pocket droid Noble, you can see what kind of action the droid needs to perform that ability and then learn how many swift actions the droid's owner will need to use to make the droid perform the ability. Sounds complex, but it's actually pretty simple in practice. A sectoin on how to roleplay a droid memorably, most of which struck me as "duh" but is still an interesting read, and rife with ideas. Several pages of fluff, dealing with droids as allies, droids as enemies, ant-droid opinion, pro-droid opinion, droids as property, droid controversies, droid organizations, and droid legends. The Droid Legends section is particularily interesting reading. What happens to all those junked droids left over after various space battles? What happens to the droids aboard a ship that is catastrophically damaged, killing all the organics but leaving the majority for droid's intact? Where did droids first come from? What secrets are the Junk Droids of Raxus Prime hiding? And what happens to a droid who learns to transmit his programming like a virus? Lastly, a small section about droids without bodies.
Chapter Three: Droid Equipment
All kinds of spiffy new droid gear, from automaps to underground and underwater locomotion to new armors. New "droid stations," large droid support facilities. Lastly, a whole page providing tips to GMs for adjudicating droid modifications.
Chapter Four: Droid Codex
The entire last half of the book is devoted to different droid models, with each droid given two pages worth of space. First is a regular stat block, then a "protocol action" stat block. Next is the fluff about that droid, then two or three proposed modifications for that model of droid. Mixed in are at least two sidebars, one dealing encounter suggestions for that droid model, one dealing with playing that model of droid as a droid hero, and another with a "junk dealer's" fluff about the droid, which usually contains adventure hooks based around that model of droid. Finally, and most importantly, a FULL COLOR ILLUSTRATION OF THE DROID IN ACTION. Some of these are stock shots from the movies, but many more are excellently illustrated pictures of the droid fulfilling its primary function.
Various: The book lacks an index (ARGH!) but has numerous sidebars throughout, chalk full of useful information. Some of my favorites are the "junk dealer's" sidebars, denoted by a black circle with a white Toydarian silhouette, with are written from the perspective a droid dealer talking to a customer or associate about this model of droid, that facet of droid design, or whatever.
All in all, a pretty damn good book, really useful even if your campaign doesn't center around droids. The "droids as equipment" rules are an excellent way to allow your players to purchase and utilize droids without having them essentially buy a new party member (a common complaint on these very boards) and would be useful for pretty much any campaign. The droid codex is an excellent place for GMs to get new droids for their PCs to interact with. And of course, if your have a droid hero or droid technician in your party, this book is simply a must-have.
I agree...an awesome book. I enjoyed it a lot and I plan on working the follower system into a system more like the droid one...overall another A book. I am really impressed with the level of quality of saga edition...despite some quirks it has been really solid and enjoyable. I can't wait for the next 2 books...and the Sith version of JATM that's SURE to come out third. (D-TEAM HINT HINT!)
This was the one SAGA book I saw in the upcoming thread and said to myself, "that will sit on my shelf for the rest of time (I'm a collector, especially when I like a game system).
After buying the book and reading through it, I have to say: A really decent book.
1) I like that they included a fairly large amount of new Droid equipment, especially since it affects cyborgs as well. This gives many more options fo droid players and NPCs, so not every higher level droid has the same equipment.
2) I really liked the talent section because it incorporated elements from other source material. My biggest pet peeve is a sort of system amnesia, and while I understand why, it does get on my nerves. But not in this book. THe Droid Officer from CWCG, the Degree talents and Independent droid PrC from FUCG, these are great ty ins, not only helping the value of this book, but highlighting other products. Also, in the art work they pull from several sources, HK-24's adn others in the early part of the book.
3) I really enjoy the space and variants devoted to each droid in the codex chapter. Options and multiple uses with in game rules on how to modify them, it makes each droid model more like 2-3, and they are great for surprising people who think they know it all.
4)protocol rules, for droid helpers. similar to followers.
5) so great fluff. specifically the RP'ing the droid and the section on droid legends. It's interesting and full of imagination.
The down sides:
1) By it's nature, it's a narrowly focused book. Basically droids only.
2) No real mention of replica droids, especially as a droid model. These are my favorite Droid model, so it's a bit disappointing.
3) My biggest pet peeves with droids are not answered. The no con score crap really irritates me, because it's just a logical fallacy. A con score on a droid could represent the degree of quality in the actuators, wiring, durability of materials, and overall quality of the design. no optional rules means that this is still the main mode of operation. While i suppose that would take up too much space in the book, it still bothers me.
4) minor thing. labor droids are not available as large in the stock droid models. That's just silly.
All in all, it's a fantastic book, but it's still a droid book. I'm sure I will end up using it, but the degree of using it is a bit minimal.
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.
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
Well, most labor droids don't need to be larger then medium. Large labor droids, like binary load-lifters, are the exception, and usually designed for very specific tasks, making them of limited use for player characters. Besides, the rules is "don't modify droid's size without GM approval," so the GM could certainly let you play a large labor droid.
I'm glad this was posted since it's not on the main page (Galaxy of War still is) and it's the release date. My book is on the way, no early copy this time, some stores told me they weren't going to be carrying it!?!
I'll update the Index by the time Thanksgiving weekend is over!
Well I'm sorry to say that I don't have the book yet, but I did get the opportunity to sit down with it at the bookstore today and read it from cover to cover (took me about 4.5 hours).
Overall, I'd say it looks pretty good. The options are balanced and interesting. It also answers a lot of old questions that have needed answering, such as getting droid sockets on ships (10,000 cr and 0 EP), adding droid brains to your vehicle (ala the Millineium Falcon) in order to reduce crew requirements, and how much class levels, feats, talents, and skills cost to put into a custom droid model. The book also provides several new optional rules and subsystems some of which are complex, but all are nice.
If the book has a drawback, it's that it is all about droids. If you aren't a droid enthusiast, or don't think droids will play a big role in your games, then there is absolutley no reasn to buy this book (the little clarifications like those shown above can be found online easily enough).
As far as typos go, I found a few--the worst of which was a paragraph being repeated twice in succession.
If I'm REALLY lucky, I'll get it tomorrow. Otherwise I'll have to wait until the day after thanksgiving when I get back from Baltimore. Hopefully it comes tomorrow . . . I don't live TOO far from where it's shipping from >,.<