Other eras: The Old Republic – part 2: What?

So what should be, or need be, converted for using EotE in the SWTOR era? Also, what is needed to play a game set in this era?

What needs conversion?

As my the previous part mentioned, not much is in need of conversion. There isn’t a big trick to it – except perhaps using the SWTOR (and/or KOTOR 1 & 2) soundtracks for immersion and stuff – but that’s play style and shit, not game mechanics, adaption and conversion of stuff. Weapons, like blasters are pretty much the same. Although, how would you treat the commandos assault cannon? I’d say light or heavy repeating blaster – simple as that. For a double-bladed lightsaber, treat it as two weapons for purposes of using two-weapon fighting rules.

So what will this series cover in the coming weeks? In no particular order I’d like to suggest the following list:

  • I’ll attempt to make some suggestions as to how to create new species – the Miraluka and Voss being the main ventures for me. Perhaps in time I’ll try to convert the others too… who knows.
  • A guide to use the various careers and specialisations to create combos that bear similarities with the advanced classes in the MMO. Not difficult to figure out I guess.
  • Starship conversions; basically make a document – or just a series of posts – where the various starships are presented. I’m first of all thinking about the Smuggler’s ship, since, as we all know, EotE is a fringe game: a focus I like, enjoy and will try to stay true to. After that I’m considering the bounty hunter’s starship, and then we’ll see.
  • Creature conversion/generation. I’d like to convert and generate some of the critters and monsters specific to the KOTOR/SWTOR games. Some already exist, like the Rakghoul and perhaps more and others.
  • About Mandalorians: Some of you may already know that I’ve made a document for the rebellion era on these guys – check out GSA. I’ll throughout this series endeavour to create a similar one for the TOR era – which basically means some other starships and stuff.
  • About Sith: I can probably conjure some stats for the species – although I do not see them as specifically Force sensitive crazies that are automatically force sensitive. Not at all. If you disagree, tough, make up some stats yourself. As for the force tradition of the Sith, I see no point in writing much on that, as Wookiepedia is more complete and in-depth on this issue than I could ever bother to be on this blog.
  • About Dark Side powers: Hell, I know force lightning, choke and whirlwind and all that jazz is cool. I’m not sure I’d go too deeply into that though. Mainly because what exists of force powers in the EotE beta book (and who knows what might appear in the upcoming core book) can be used narratively do much the same tricks. Except perhaps choke and lightning. For these I might go the kotor way – the first tier being a touch attack and so on. I haven’t given much thought to this, and won’t for some time. Again, the EotE is for fringe dwellers and seedier types, not nefarious force sensitive evil-doers.

As some of you already know, I’m a starship nerd. I like starships, inanimate objects with flair. I love them. Although I realise that stats for those is not enough for the most hard core SWTOR fans out there, hence my desire to attempt to make more stuff.

There may be other stuff that should or could be converted too – please come with suggestions as to what (I mean, even “how” if you want to).

What do I need to play/GM?

Now, what is needed to play a game set in this era? Aside from the SWTOR and KOTOR soundtracks that is?

  • A rudimentary insight into the era and the conflicts and challenges that can be thrown at the players – preferably more than any of your players.
  • If you’re a player, you could read up on it, but from my own players I’ve been told that its more fun to know nothing and learn small tidbits about the universe as they play – while wondering about all my references and small historical monologues that they know nothing of. They are fans of the films, but few (if any) has read a novel, although some have read a few comic books.
  • You’re bound to have players that have knowledge of the era and the computer games, and/or comics. Whether you’re cursed with a knowledgable pedantic player or just an ignoran pedantic player (or none of thsee) will very much guide the whole gaming experience I think. I know I’d make a terrible Star Wars RPG player (in fact I know I am).
  • This means that if they’re computer game fanatics, you could do well with drawing more from the comic books and novels – and vice versa. This will keep them from meta-gaming too much, and will perhaps surprise and challenge them (I despise meta-gamers). Now, if those players are like me (and perhaps you?) they read the comics, the novels and played the games. “Luckily” I don’t have such players, so I’m always in complete control. If this is the case for you though, I’d love to hear how you manage that.
  • Having a copy of the soundtracks from the various computer games can be a good idea – particularly if one or more of the players played the KOTOR/SWTOR games.
  • The Saga Edition Knights of the Old Republic era campaign guide and the Tales of the Jedi sourcebook from West End Games’ Star Wars d6 RPG. These two – plus wookiepedia and the various star wars encyclopedias (the Atlas, the swtor encyclopedia, jedi vs sith, etc) – would serve you well if only for the fluff – and fluff is as important as crunch, and most of the crunch is already in EotE. The WEG books is based on some early comics set about 4000 years before the battle of yavin (I think one of the series was even before that, like 5000 bby). The WotC guide also draws heavily on the two Knights of the Old Republic computer games,  and some of the more recent comics (I believe). Even for fringe-style games these sourcebooks would help you out more than wookiepedia and I ever could. At least faster and more efficiently.
  • A willingness to ignore the games, comics and novels. This era more than the rebellion era is open to your own canon. While any era can be just as you want it to be, some are more … uhm … reverent of the original trilogy and the films, than say a computer game or a bunch of mediocre novels. This era, the TOR-era, has a canon which you can do anything with, mess it up, reconfigure it, slap its mother and steal its candy. It’s yours to do with as you will, you sadistic megalomaniac you… So above all I’d encourage creativity, use what of the existing material only as a helping hand to your games rather than parameters or guides to what is possible or not – although good stories should be stolen and made your own. Let the group take control of the GenoHaradan guild and let them try to manipulate events and create stability (or chaos), let them topple the Exchange or take out some Mandalorian hotshot. What about ridding the galaxy of hutts? This era lets you change star wars dramatically, without having to pay your respect (not much at least) to the existing stories.
  • I’m sure there’s more I should mention – I’ll come back to that.

Other eras: The Old Republic – part 1: How?

Edge of the Empire is meant as a fringe game – as is known to anyone who has tested it or read about it. There are no official Jedi careers or specialisations. The specific era of the game is the classic rebellion era of the original trilogy, but I propose (and I’m not the first) that this game can easily be lent to other eras, as long as the focus is still fringe style games.

In this post I’ll provide some information as to how to go about this, and future posts will include more era-specific gear and vehicles. I hope.

Generally speaking there isn’t much that needs to be done, at all. The careers as is can work perfectly well in the TOR era. Weapons and gear too – perhaps with some changes, additions and whatnot, but generally I’d say that all you need is to read up on and immerse yourself in the TOR era stories – be it the BioWare games (KOTOR, KOTOR2 and SWTOR) or Star Wars novels from this era, I think there’s about 3 or 4 out now, if not more. There is also the Dark Horse comic books, from mid/late-1990s and onwards – some of these are really good, while others are mediocre. What is common in all these sources is the focus on Jedi (and Sith) – there are other characters and you do see other elements of the galactic society worth investigating, but let us be honest: it’s a Jedi-centric era.

Since EotE doesn’t let you play a “full-fledged” Jedi in the current system, this could mean that players will feel they get less out of this era. I think that this doesn’t need to be the case. If your players wants to play force sensitives you always have the Force Sensitive Exile specialisation. While not a Jedi, it could be used to let the players come from a different Force Tradition – Matukai, Zeishon Sha, the Voss or others. A good story could make this as fun, if not more fun, than playing glow stick toting hippies in monk robes. Yet, it is a known fact that some players desire the glow stick, desire the Jediness – even if they play half-ass paladin types and mainly want to maim and be flashy.

I’m not going to delve into the requirements of playing a Jedi, different game groups and GMs have different standards and requirements for this. Although I cannot find it now, I know there is (or was) a good article on this online, older RPG sourcebooks and the Star Wars Gamer magazines (for OCR/RCR d20 editions) also supplies information on this. Now, if one or more players are dead set on playing Jedi, nothing else, they want to be Jedi! Then here’s what you do: whack them over the head until they submit! Or, you can jump on over to the d20 radio forum and look around there for some insight. For your convenience I’ve already looked up two variations on the Jedi produced there. The first is conjured by Awaypturwpn and contain three specialisations you’ll recognise from KOTOR and SWTOR. The second has these same specialisations, but DarthGM has a different approach and blogs about it here, I link to the first blog post, there’s like 4 or 6 now on Jedi, design and stats. I have not play-tested any of these, but they seem good and usable – but also subject to change and adjustment. Also, I’m fairly certain there’s a third version on the way by esteemed conjurer of rpg goodness Donovan Morningfire – although nothing has been published at the GSA or on his blog yet.

So if you intend to, or want to play the new Star Wars roleplaying game in a different era I plan to show you how that can be done… at least an approach to how to do it. It will entail conjuring rules yourself, gear, species and critters, even vehicles (although I intend to help in this latter part at least). The choice you stand before is how you want to do this, keep it in the spirit of the Edge of the Empire where simplicity and narration is the centre piece, or do you want granularity, details and so forth. If you opt for the latter, perhaps Saga Edition or any of the previous d20 editions would serve better – or better yet, use an entirely different rpg system (like HARP SF for instance). I cannot help you much in that regard though. This series of posts will concern an Edge of the Empire approach; which means no mods, enhancements, barrels and crystal modifications. Simple attachments, sure, but not the granularity you see in the MMO.

Images from Wookiepedia.org

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