Author Topic: [Discusion] Ideal systems for Star Wars?  (Read 3110 times)

Mister Andersen

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[Discusion] Ideal systems for Star Wars?
« on: October 04, 2012, 12:06:20 AM »
Semi off-topic I guess, but since this is the board of adaptation: of the various systems out there, which do people feel would be particularly well suited to running Star Wars? My feeling is that it needs to be something towards the more narrative end of the scale as opposed to the more crunch-centric d20 ruleset which seems to have a tendency towards combat scenarios.

A mechanism for narrative/reality control on behalf of players -- even if it has to be welded on -- would seem to be a reasonable wish-list item that allow passive Force users like Han or Wedge or Rex or Bane to operate on a level of equality to active users such as Jedi and Sith even though said active user would have a much broader palet of options to choose from.

Big_Jim

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Re: [Discusion] Ideal systems for Star Wars?
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2012, 11:12:51 AM »
D6. It's where Star Wars roleplaying started, and has never been bested.

Oniya

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Re: [Discusion] Ideal systems for Star Wars?
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2012, 12:05:20 PM »
You could also try using FATE, since that system is nothing but narrative control. Maybe take a look at the Dresden Files RPG's (uses FATE) magic system to work for the Force. Probably require some tweaking though.

FATE can balance narrative control so Force users get less Fate points (action die) than vanilla characters like Han.

ludomastro

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Re: [Discusion] Ideal systems for Star Wars?
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2012, 12:36:00 PM »
You could also try using FATE, since that system is nothing but narrative control. Maybe take a look at the Dresden Files RPG's (uses FATE) magic system to work for the Force. Probably require some tweaking though.

FATE can balance narrative control so Force users get less Fate points (action die) than vanilla characters like Han.

I heartily second this.  If I could convince my wife to play FATE (not crunchy enough for her), the family (wife and kids) would be playing Star Wars right now.  I don't think you would need too much monkeying around with the system if you used Dresden but it might need a little.

If you want to stay in the FATE neighborhood, check out Strands of FATE which is a generic toolbox approach to FATE - though it has it's own challenges and differences.

@Big_Jim
I enjoy the heck out of D6 but I never liked the way that the Force users / Jedi became insta-win for pretty much everything.

Morganti

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Re: [Discusion] Ideal systems for Star Wars?
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2012, 12:39:40 PM »
I am pretty sure there is also a Star Was conversion for Fate already done
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Mister Andersen

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Re: [Discusion] Ideal systems for Star Wars?
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2012, 02:53:02 PM »
Tell me more of this Fate system please?

ludomastro

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Re: [Discusion] Ideal systems for Star Wars?
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2012, 06:54:34 PM »
FATE = Fantastic Adventures in Tabletop Entertainment

It's a generic role playing system that is an outgrowth of the FUDGE rule-set.  I’m not familiar in the slightest with FUDGE so you’ll have to do independent research on that front.

Here's a snippet of the review that I did on Spirit of the Century - an iteration of the FATE rules.

Quote from: Snippet of the ludomastro review of Spirit of the Century on RPG.net
Basic Mechanics:
You only roll four dice. Each one comes up as a -1, 0 or +1. (You can use 1-2 as -1, 3-4 as 0 and 5-6 as +1 if you don't have FUDGE/FATE dice.) Add or subtract the roll to your skill and compare to a difficulty number. If the combined result is equal to or greater than the difficulty, you succeed.

Skills:
The game runs on skills; there are no attributes. That's not to say that some skills don't function like attributes when needed. While the MIGHT skill is used for anything with brute force behind it, it also governs how much you can lift and carry. Player characters are well above average and have a “skill pyramid” – five skills at +1, four at +2 and so on, capped with one skill at +5. Any remaining skills would default to a neutral +0. Technically each +X has a name such as Good, Great, Terrible or Mediocre arranged into the “adjective ladder” (simply called “the ladder”). Lamentably, I can never keep them straight and neither could my players so we just used the numbers.

Each skill has several possible rolls that fit under the broader category. For instance ATHLETICS covers Jumping, Sprinting, Climbing, Dodging and Falling (or rather, not killing yourself when you fall).

Aspects:
Aspects are small descriptions about your character. Indiana Jones might have the following for aspects: Whip and Fedora and “Snakes! Why did it have to be snakes?!” These should be obvious to anyone who as watched the movies. Aspects can be pretty much anything you and the GM can agree on. However, they are best if they are double-edged. I'll deal with more on that in a minute.

Fate Points:
Part of the reason the system is called FATE (apart from the acronym) is the use of fate points. Character start out with a number of fate points equal to the number of aspects their character has (max 10). While you can spend them to get a flat +1 to a roll, it’s inefficient and boring. Using them – that is to say, reasonably explaining how an aspect applies to a roll – allows you to spend the point and either re-roll a bad roll (replaces the old one) or add a +2 bonus. Now if you only pay for things then you run out of fate points in a hurry. This is why having a double-edged aspect is a good thing. The GM can “compel” an aspect causing you to act in character with it – and granting you a shiny new fate point to keep. (Why else would Indy reach back for his fedora when a multi-ton door is slamming shut? Since he has the aspect Whip and Fedora the GM paid Indy’s player to try and snatch the fedora. Now he could have left the hat behind (declining the “compel”) but would have had to pay the GM a fate point to act out of character. Fate points really are the currency of this game.

Stunts:
If you want to bend or outright break the rules, then stunts are your friends. They add a little more flavor to the character and help define his niche. They can be stand alone or tiered for greater effects. You can even use them to "buy" a unique piece of gear that helps define your character. If you are looking for a point of comparison they are similar to feats in d20. Fortunately, the Stunts are more consistent across choices and create less confusion about how they work.

Spirit of the Century is just one of many iterations of FATE that all take slightly different tracks.  SotC is a pulp game so heroes rarely evolve.  The Dresden Files - based on the novels by Jim Butcher - has character advancement.  It also modifies the skill pyramid - it's more of a ladder in that game.

EDIT: added a few lines.

MikeS

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Re: [Discusion] Ideal systems for Star Wars?
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2012, 07:56:39 PM »
Aspects and Fate points are really the key here.

Just to show how big a bonus of proper Fate point use is: your average die roll is 0, and since you are using so many dice, your standard deviation is small (unlike rolling a single d20).

A +2 skill is already pretty good, and +5 is somewhere around human pinnacle. So using a single Fate point to invoke an aspect is equivalent to a +5 or better in d20.

When you use invoke aspects, it has to be one of your aspects (which are chosen during character creation, and you can think of them as 8ish words/phrases to describe your character, where STRONG is a lot more boring than FLIES LIKE HAN SOLO), one of the opponent's aspects, or a scene aspect. So, for example, you can invoke FLIES LIKE HAN SOLO to add a +2 to a piloting check.
Further, you can create new aspects (eg set something on fire, knocking over an oil drum to create a slick surface), and when you do so, you get to invoke that aspect for free once. You also can only invoke one aspect once for each roll, but you may invoke multiple aspects. But you can see how this very quickly leads to a narrative type of action:
"I attack my opponent with the BROKEN BOTTLE I just made and force him onto the SPILLED OIL." could give you a +4 to attack. Margin of success is added to your damage.

Injuries are creative as well. You get a certain number of soak points (somewhat like hitpoints), and when they are all used up, you are defeated (with whatever consequences the opponent chooses). However, instead of using up soak points, you can also take a consequence (in combat, that is a wound) of certain severity to reduce damage instead. The consequence becomes an aspect that can be targeted by the opponent, and the time it takes to go away depends on the severity of the wound (which, IMO, is one of the most elegant wound systems I've seen so far).

In case you can't tell, I'm very enthusiastic about this game. Unfortunately, the one pbp round that I had the fortune to play in is on hiatus...

Disclaimer: I've only played FATE with the Dresden Files rules, which may differ from SotC.

ludomastro

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Re: [Discusion] Ideal systems for Star Wars?
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2012, 09:48:53 PM »
Disclaimer: I've only played FATE with the Dresden Files rules, which may differ from SotC.

Dresden is different from SotC.

I have both and each is made for the genre it targets.  Wild, crazy fun without a lot of respect for physics in SotC - befitting the pulp genre - and slightly more realistic - but still int eh realm of popular literature - for Dresden.

Sletchman

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Re: [Discusion] Ideal systems for Star Wars?
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2012, 11:41:52 PM »
FATE is a good call, and the Dresden Files RPG is worth reading for it's chapter on world generation alone (something I think a Star Wars game could very much benefit from, especially if it focused on a particular region of space or even a planet).  After finishing the first book a couple weeks ago and reading the rule book, I think Mistborn would also do a pretty good job, depending on the campaign style and game focus.

Any system with internal balance between roles works though, because I'm pretty sure you'll have guys like myself (and a few others in my group) who would rather play as Fett then Kenobi.  So I think that Fantasy Craft (or Spycraft) would also work well, if your players accept / don't want a game where you start as top tier Jedi (unless you start at 10th or whatever).  No experience with it, but a friend ran GURPS Starwars and said it worked really well, too (though it's one of his favourite systems, so there's some obvious bias there - but it does have that internal balance between player choices).

Morgenstern

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Re: [Discusion] Ideal systems for Star Wars?
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2012, 01:45:37 AM »
D6. It's where Star Wars roleplaying started, and has never been bested.

Eh, like any system it had its merits and drawbacks. I liked that it used the not inconsiderable cost of buying the three Force attributes from the same pool of character points you bought all your other attributes from - that went a long way towards leveling the field between the Jedi superstars and everyone else, at least initally. After a few sessions worth of experience got poured onto a character I found it tended to break down with the Force-haves outstriping the Force-havenots. But in terms of MASSIVE support materials being available, dayam, that game had a fabulous run leavng a heaps of books as its legacy, with a few absolute gems amongst them. I actually quite liked the final boxed campaign and ran a game using that as a skeleton for several months. I go back and forth on heaps of dice games though. i have some issues with the way their probability tables evolve over time.

I think that in most cases its just a choice of finding a physics engine you and your players like, then using it to run the sort of experience your table enjoys. I'm not sure the idea of "an Ideal" system even exists... otherwise all games would be evolving towards a single shared epiphany ;D.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2012, 01:47:19 AM by Morgenstern »
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glimmerrat

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Re: [Discusion] Ideal systems for Star Wars?
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2012, 06:40:06 AM »
d6 SW was defined for me by the Tramp Freighters and Gundark's Fantastic Tech books. Galladinium's tech, the Droid book and the Empire/Rebellion books were also absolute must-haves.

My group had a Rodian bounty hunter who was the terror of known space. He defeated a dark jedi in single combat using a flamethrower, a deck-sweeper blaster and phrik alloy armour. Levelling the playing field with Jedi is just a matter of the right tools for the job.
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Bill Whitmore

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Re: [Discusion] Ideal systems for Star Wars?
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2012, 08:39:53 AM »
d6 SW was defined for me by the Tramp Freighters and Gundark's Fantastic Tech books. Galladinium's tech, the Droid book and the Empire/Rebellion books were also absolute must-haves.

My group had a Rodian bounty hunter who was the terror of known space. He defeated a dark jedi in single combat using a flamethrower, a deck-sweeper blaster and phrik alloy armour. Levelling the playing field with Jedi is just a matter of the right tools for the job.

I still use a lot of those old D6 Star Wars books when I run more modern Star Wars games, especially the ones you mentioned above.  I can pull a lot of good ideas from the tech/gear books and the organization information for the Empire and Rebellion work regardless of system.
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ludomastro

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Re: [Discusion] Ideal systems for Star Wars?
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2012, 12:24:30 PM »
I have a large collection of the d6 source books as well because they are so expansive.  Wonderful resources, those.

Mister Andersen

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Re: [Discusion] Ideal systems for Star Wars?
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2016, 06:03:53 PM »
*Casts Raise Thread*

So, I played my first game of the the Fantasy Flight version of the Star Wars rules today some three weeks ago.

It's a fist-full-of-dice resolution system using 6 different custom dice types split between positive & negative, with symbols instead of numbers: competency vs. challenge (d12), capability vs. difficulty (d8), positive situational modifiers vs. negative ones (d6), all of which yield triumph, successes, advantages, threats, failures, and despair. Opposing dice cancel each others' results, and it's possible to succeed yet have something bad happen or vice versa. It looks complicated but resolves fairly easily.

Its a pseudo-classless point-buy system where values for attributes and skills both range between 0 and 5, so you're never looking at the huge numbers of other systems. You start with 6 abilities -- or as the game calls them, characteristics -- that cannot be raised once you leave chargen, so with rare exceptions granted via Talent your character will never get smarter or stronger or more cunning in this system. Growth comes purely through pumping XP into skills and talent trees.

Species choice modifies the starting ability values in a +1/-1 fashion, sets your damage thresholds, and generally gives you a free rank in a stereotypical skill or two for your species or some other small benefit; unsurprisingly humans get slightly more XP to spend in chargen and free choice as to their two bonus skill ranks. Classes exist and are essentially 'splats' -- think of it as being essentially similar to what subtype of the titular supernatural creature you'd be playing in a world of darkness game. You will always be a smuggler or a colonist or a hired gun or a bounty hunter, and that initial choice of class determines your class skills (which are cheaper to purchase ranks in than non-class), and the three talent trees you will get to choose your initial talent from. Whereas your class is fixed, you can always buy up new talent trees (though at exponentially greater cost each time); Force sensitivity is handled through this mechanic.

Sadly I find most of the talents to be somewhat boring, as they're generally steeped in altering probabilities rather than giving you exciting new capabilities.

When making skill checks you roll a number of dice equal to the higher of the skill rating or the attribute its linked to; your rating allows you to replace d8s with d12s on a 1-1 basis so if you have Intellect 3 and Medicine 1, you roll 1d12+2d8 whereas an untrained roll would be 3d8.