Sunday, July 8, 2018

Fully Operational update

New Races
The Good: No duplication. Average racial traits.
The Bad: Nothing.

New Specializations
The Good: Many a game will benefit from the Droid Specialist role as he finally fills the lack of a droid 'doctor' role (tangentially filled by mechanics previously).
The Bad: Sapper is what Saboteur always should have been and that's great, but now poor Saboteur looks like the un-focused beta build it was. Shipwrights be wary,  there are several skills that will be universally helpful but check with your GM and make sure your campaign will support your specializations other interests or you may regret this one.

New Signature Abilities
The Good: The Harder They Fall is a fun sounding ability that can really help characters or groups overcome otherwise insurmountable odds allowing for more flexibility in encounters and some really cinematic moments.
The Bad: Nothing too bad, but the more stuff your party has access to the less likely it becomes that Unmatched Ingenuity is going to be relevant or make a meaningful difference.

New Gear
The Good: A handful of cool new weapons (stuff with blast and concussive) and explosives as well as a few neat tools to add to the mix. A couple of circumstantially neat armors. Nice new armor and weapon attachments (can never get enough of these options).
The Bad: Explosive compounds are still awkward.

New Vehicles
The Good: Some good ground vehicle options. Some extra ship attachments and weapons. Probably the shining star of this is the Caisson-Class engineering troop carrier. The Caisson has low Hard Points but it makes up for it in base level versatility (provided by its passenger capacity and vehicle complement relative to its size and crew requirements). Best of all the Caisson is a silhoutte 4 and costs only 190,000 making it a very viable option for a starter ship.
The Bad: Nothing.

Expanded Mechanics Rules
The Good: More options for customization of hardware. Some nice new options in the very small ships category: think speeder bikes and 'cars'. Theoretically there may be some nice options in larger craft?
The Bad: These rules are more poorly (or maybe just awkwardly) written than previous customization option rules (think weapon crafting rules). It also seems far less practical (hard to practice this skill) due to the massive costs involved. I may not be understanding the rules, but I tried to figure out how hard it would be to create some of the base ships using this skill... and as far as i can tell MOST of the base vehicles are either incredibly difficult to replicate using this mechanic or down right impossible to replicate due to un-included special modifications (for instance: the best ship in this book is the Caisson-Class engineering troop carrier, a vehicle that you could not possibly make using the rules provided in this book for vehicle crafting).
If you think ship building sounds fun, makes sure you read this section several times and then come up with a handful of viable goals before you even make a character for this.... otherwise your setting yourself up for failure and dissatisfaction.

Over all score:  6-10

I've updated the Engineering Career with the new Specializations and signature abilities.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Dawn of Rebellion

TLDR: Good book. Lots of fun, inspirational material with some amazing new universal specialization trees. A very significant portion of this book is dedicated to giving stats to iconic characters/vehicles from the time period and the only possible negative of this book is if like me, you are unlikely to ever use any of this.

The Good: No reprints.
The Bad: Nothing overly unique about any of these races.

The Good: Some really iconic locations (Jedha, the Death Star, ect) make appearances. Each location is on theme as being big points of interest during the time period the book focuses on. Excellent information. Some locations have small story elements or other narrative add-ons tied to them that could be enjoyable.
The Bad: Nothing significant.

The Good: Lots of really iconic characters get official stat blocks. A lot of people will be really excited to have stat blocks available to throw in their favorite characters from the shows or movies. 
The Bad: Lots of really iconic characters get official stat blocks. Creating stat blocks for iconic LEGENDARY characters is always super risky. I have found that many people consider the printed words as an end-all be-all..  "how did Maul DO that? it's not in his stats!"... or you run into situations where your player characters are able to overshadow people they should not be able to. The last thing you want, is to throw Vader at your players expecting them to run in terror, only to have them turn and cut poor Vader down in a single turn. In my opinion stating out these characters is slippery slope that my lead to some dark places I'd rather not risk visiting in any of my games.

The Good: 6 New Universal Specialization Trees, all of which are super on point. They are well organized, with healthy and compelling ability arrangements. Each of these specializations is chalk full of inspirational juju.
The Bad: There aren't more.

The Good: A few stand out items like the MWC-35 Repeating cannon, or the new droids.
The Bad: Nothing.

The Good: Some great ships, with no reprints. Hammerhead is a great mid range ship for successful parties to aim for.
The Bad: There are a few ships before the "player options" section that I really wish were more completely stated and price tagged in this section.

The Good: Some potentially useful info for new GMs in the back. Some interesting info about organizations like the Empire, Rebellion and Inquisitors. 
The Bad: Not much.

last thought...
This book is subtitled "an Era Sourcebook"... which has me sort of confused, as I was under the impression that each of the three core rulebooks (eote, aor, fad) was an Era Sourcebook. This book was great, and I want more quality work like this. That said, I do NOT want a bunch of small super focused "era" books. If FFG wants to get out more Era stuff, I think we could all agree that we want a CLONE WARS era sourcebook first, with tons of doids, Clone trooper career tree(s), and some legitimate, complete Jedi Career trees.

Overall Score
If you think giving stat blocks to famous/critical cannon characters/ships is a bad idea = 8/10
If you think giving stat blocks to famous/critical cannon characters/ships is a good idea= 10/10
     two point difference because there is a LOT of this in the book.

Updated Universal Career tree to include new specializations.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Ghosts of Dathomir update

I have finally gotten around to making a much needed update. 

Added  Jerserra's Influence, the new Force power from Ghosts of Dathomir to to the Force power list.
Updated the ALL TREES file to include everything up to Ghosts of Dathomir.
Made several other small corrections.

I don't usually purchase or review adventure books. 
I'm kind of a sucker for Dathomir. I was looking forward to this book for a while and did in fact pick up a copy for myself.
I won't do a full review, but as a huge fan of the Dathomir Witches, Dathomirians and the Dathomirian Force lore, I will say that this was a VERY appropriately named book. When it comes to touching on the true potential of Dathomir and it's history,  Ghosts of Dathomir is not but a shade of what it could have been.

In personal news.
Part of the reason I haven't been updating as often is because I had a second child.
Very happy with my family, but have limited free time.
Another huge contributing factor to my lack of posting, is that the Star Wars roleplay game I had been a part of for quite a long time broke up a little over a year ago and I have not found a replacement group/game.
Not that I have copious free time, but I've been entertaining the idea of trying to get back into a game... 
Anyone in the south Bay Area got a group I can be a part of? lol

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Playset, The Miscreant

The Miscreant

A highly modernized relic from the Clone Wars, the Miscreant is a unique anomaly amongst the Imperial fleet. From her driven Captain and compassionate Commander to the elite Arc Platoon, the ship benefits greatly from the diversity of her crew but will those strengths prove to be her greatest weakness as well?
Jump into the adventure with the Miscreant Playset and decide for yourselves.

What is a Playset?
A playset is a grouping of ideas (that may include; characters, vehicles, rules, etc.) designed to create a modular setting that can be used in full or part, in a variety of FFG Star Wars gaming environments and campaigns. Many details are given in order to spark the imagination and set a complete scene, but in order to facilitate modular functionality of the playset many details are intentionally left to the discretion of the GM.

This idea is by no means incredibly original, there are many variations of this concept out there for various other rpgs. Imitation is the highest form of flattery or something right? While I may not do a ton of these, I like the idea of them. 
It feels more natural to create material for this game when there is some sort of basic setting to build my ideas on. I often do this sort of thing in my head for my own game(s). I just figured, why not flesh my ideas out a bit more and put it all down to share with everyone. Playsets seemed like the way to go for creating and sharing some of these ideas.

fun fact: the ship in the picture is actually a Venator-Class Star Destroyer model from Revell that I built and painted myself.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Disciples of Harmony update

TLDR: Not a bad book..  Not a lot of negative things to say. Unfortunately with a couple of exceptions the positives are also fairly lackluster.  overall rating 7/10 because there also isn't much in the way of duplication (my least favorite thing about all these books)

The Good: No reprints. Moderately on-theme with some cool aspects to each race that would be fun to play.
The Bad: No overly unique traits except maybe the Pau'an lifespan (average 700).
     ps.  how can 'no one' remember the Jedi when there are whole races of people who could have lived hundreds of years with the Jedi order before and expect to live hundreds after, the Jedi downfall? I know 'maybe they are just bullied into not talking about it but this question always stabs at the back of my brain.

The Good: No reprints. Arbiter and Teacher are very on theme and both have some interesting talents to explore. Ascetic can be a very interesting option for those 'loners' or quiet-master types. Ascetic is especially interesting if your game is low in wealth as it supports a character intentionally keeping material possessions to a minimum.
The Bad: Ascetic seems off theme and has a talent with a conflict cost.

The Good: No reprints. Very on theme. Circumstantially either power could be extremely useful. In low combat or more narrative games, both powers could come in handy very frequently.
The Bad: In combat oriented games these powers are likely to prove lack-luster. Even in games that really support the use of non-combat skills and powers Much To Learn may not be as great as it sounds at first. Much To Learn is about sharing your skills and abilities with allies. Sounds great except they have to be near by, and if you're that close why not just do it yourself? after all you have those skills because you wanted your character to be good at those things so you could do those things yourself. Not to say the power isn't still likely to be useful, just that making full use of it will require more planning on the GMs and players parts.

The Good: No reprints. Imbue is pretty awesome and will prove useful in almost any situation and really shine in moments where the character gets to support another character who is having a spotlight moment. Ebb/Flow can give the player a little extra edge in combat or potentially even narrative encounters (though it won't likely be a game changer)
The Bad: Ebb/Flow will require a lot of record keeping.

The Good: Whappity. Some cool non-lethal weapon options (can be really useful for the local law enforcement as well as the players). Individual Field Disruptor is pretty awesome. Most of the gadgets are pretty on theme and seem generally useful.
The Bad: Even though the Individual Field Disruptor has a heavy price tag and is a Restricted item, if those are not played up (and maybe even if they are) it could prove too powerful a weapon/tool for many games.

The Good: A couple of interesting and unique ship options here, maybe even some good story fodder.
The Bad: A few reprints.

The Good: lots of story telling opportunity. could add some extra weight to a party with few PCs.
The Bad: May be a bit clunky to manage and care needs to be taken to make sure the experienced Mentor isn't detracting from the awesomeness of the player character(s).

The Good: some cool story fodder and even mechanics in the 'alternative force traditions' section. Helpful chart for using die results in diplomatic scenarios. 
The Bad: nothing unusual.


Consular class career sheet.
Force powers sheet

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Alpha-Class Xg-1 Star Wing

By request,  The Alpha-Class Xg-1 Star Wing

In my interpretation of this ship, I used the Missile Pack weapon option instead of the standard Missile tubes. I know that Wookiepedia says they have two missile tubes with 8 missiles each, but lets face it.. based on EVERY SINGLE depiction it looks like it has missile tubes lined up 3x2.

 Image result for xg-1 star wing
Basic math says that's 6 missiles, but if i'm to believe that each side is "one missile launcher with 8 missiles" it means that only 2 of those visible missile tubes have a 'reload' missile. If none of those tubes have a 'reload' then the ship only has 12 missiles total, not the indicated 16.

To stop my brain from exploding from this discrepancy, i decided to just give the ship 2 missile packs.
I know... I know..  in the FFG rules, each missile pack holds 8-10 missiles and fires them one half at a time. So the numbers still don't add up. But it makes my brain way happier to pretend the ship is firing 3 missiles at a time from a 6 slotted missile pack than it does to pretend that only 2 of 6 tubes got a refill missile, or that this little starfighter gets a whopping 16 missiles to fire one at a time.

With missile packs, this starfighter only gets 4 shots with it's missiles but they pack a serious punch, which still lines up with its over-all assault role.  and more importantly, it is far easier to visualize based on all the depictions.

can you tell that this kind of junk gets under my skin?

Friday, May 5, 2017

Qui-Gon Jinn had a particular set of Skills

the other day was May 4th.. and I saw a lot of May the 4th be with you junk as usual.
One post got me thinking about Master Qui-Gon Jinn.

here was my rambling though, put in to a semi-semblance of order.
I am confident the following are fairly indisputable 'facts'

*Qui-Gon Jinn had visited the Priestesses at the Wellspring of Life even before the beginning of the Clone Wars where he was taught a great deal about the living and cosmic Force, as well as about the Eternal Consciousness (which he began studying years before his eventual demise at the hands of Darth Maul).
*It’s pretty safe to say that if the Qui-Gon had NOT died at the hands of Darth Maul at that particular time, the future of Anakin Skywalker (and thus the Jedi, Sith and entire galaxy) would likely have played out completely differently.
*By the time of their final fight, It’s highly likely that a Jedi Master as well versed in the flow of the Force as Qui-Gon is, would have sensed that he could not defeat Darth Maul on his own.
*Moments before this charge and his eventual death, Qui-Gon takes to his knees to (however briefly) meditate and focus.
*Qui-Gon Jinn later is able to “find his way back from the netherworld” becoming the first Jedi to continue their consciousness after death.
*After years of communing with the living and cosmic force, Qui-Gon Jinn was uniquely attuned to their ebb and flow.
*Qui-Gon and Maul get separated by plasma shields. Maul even has a shield between him and the room where he eventually looses. As a result of the shield timing, Obi-Wan later is able to run to the same spot Maul occupies when he is trapped. It's a pretty basic issue of timing that I would think a well trained Jedi could have figured out pretty quickly or at least 'sensed' how this situation could play out.

here is where I really start to speculate

If Jinn really wanted to win against Maul in the fight and remain alive at the same time, his obvious best option would have been to play defense when the Energy barriers turned off. Jinn could have just blocked as he backed up, and Obi-Wan could have caught up with them and rejoined the fight so the two Jedi could fight Maul together. Worst case scenario, Jinn gets caught in the same section as Maul without Obi-Wan when the barriers close, but even then Mauls double lightsaber becomes unwieldy for him in such a confined space and .. but i digress.

When the plasma shield separates the 2 combatants 10 seconds goes by before Jinn takes to his knees. I believe that in this time he knows he can not defeat Maul alone in combat, but he also senses a great eddy and convergence point in the Force. He takes to his knees to focus on the Force and 7 more seconds goes by before he closes his eyes. It is my belief that 17 seconds is more than enough time for Qui-Gon to sense that he is at a critical moment in time where one false move could lead the entire galaxy down the path of the dark side or otherwise upset the balance. I believe that whether he has a vision, or merely ‘senses’ it, at some point during these 17 seconds, he understands that in order for things to progress in the best way possible on a galactic scale, he must face Maul alone and loose.
This helps explain why Qui-Gon charges out of the shields at Maul in a move that is obviously going to mean a prolonged one-on-one fight with the Sith.

With his unwavering faith in the force, I don’t think Qui-Gon would hesitate for a moment to sacrifice himself for the good of the galaxy. BUT, he also has a lot of knowledge of the living force, and he believes he can retain his consciousness after death, so he closes his eyes and spend the next 8-9 seconds doing his best to focus on the path to Eternal Consciousness and ready himself for his next phase. He knows he has to loose against Maul, but he also has a plan to keep helping the Jedi in the turbulent future he has sensed. When he got stabbed, he held on long enough to make sure and pass his last request (maybe he saw or sensed that this was a requirement for things to work out) to Obi-Wan, then he CHOSE to physically die. Yes, he CHOSE to die.

In a galaxy full of Bacta tanks, robot hands and other medical miracles, its hard to imagine that he couldn’t have been saved from his single cauterized puncture wound (after all, Maul got cut in half and survived for years without any immediate outside treatment at all, apparently through "sheer force of will").
Instead of hanging on for a few minutes until he could be whisked to one of the almost certainly state-of-the-art medical facilities present in the PALACE they were in, he chooses to attempt the transition to Eternal Consciousness. Unfortunately for Jinn he had the same qualities that would eventually take down all the Jedi; hubris and overconfidence. As a result he made this attempt at when he was not fully ready or able to make the transition and was unable to attain perfect Eternal Consciousness as desired (he could not manifest a body), though he did eventually figure out how to communicate with the living through auditory means.

Despite his imperfect Eternal Consciousness, his death at the hands of Maul at that time, laid the groundwork for the balancing of the force that we are still witnessing today. That groundwork was laid down by choice, by Qui-Gon Jinn as a result of his particular set of skills.

Now I know most will say “he was not meditating, he was just resting” or “he was just regaining composure” or “he sure looked surprised when he got stabbed” or any number of similar things.
I admit, I could be wrong. It may just be incidental that all the future events are tied so directly to this one point in time. It may be pure coincidence that in this light, the scene feels like a practice run for what Obi-Wan later does with Vader. It may have been bad luck on Qui-Gons part that Maul mortally stabbed him.

But… as a wise master once said

“In my experience, there is no such thing as luck - Nothing happens by accident.”

Image result for Qui-Gon but not Forgotten