A few days ago we completed our last Star Wars session of the year and we took a few minutes at the end to talk about a few rules that could be improved by house ruling.
Here are some ideas I have in mind:
1. I would rather be surprised!
At first the cool versus vigilance rule seems an interesting idea, but players and NPC soon realize they are better at one than the other. And when it is Vigilance, it bugs my PC a lot. (Note that this group has well over 100 years of collective RPG experience, they are not new players, they have seen a lot of different systems in play over the last 35+ years)
House rule: Players and NPC choose if they want to use cool or vigilance to determine initiative.
A high cool roll just mean that even in a surprise situation the PC or NPC doesn't panic and makes the best use of the situation. For example he could shoot first...
2. Don't worry it's only a heavy frag grenade!
(Or also known as Don't worry it's only a SK-44 plasma missile!)
A quick look at Wikipedia gives a deadly blast radius of 5 meters and an injury radius of 15 meters for a modern grenade. (I also asked a friend who has actually thrown the real thing...)
To put thinks in perspective, a basketball court is 29 meters by 15. So, if a grenade explode in the center, you would be in the injury radius if you are standing anywhere in the court and probably dead if you are a few steps outside the center circle.
The engaged range seems way too short!
House rule: Blast radius is short range, if the blast quality activates, all targets in short range are affected unless they have cover from the original target, all engaged targets are affected without concern for cover.
This will make all the grenades and rockets much scarier. Maybe a few weapons should have Blast[Engaged], I'll handle them in a case by case basis.
3. Don't worry, there are minions, they can't engage you...
Since a minion group can only take 1 maneuver per turn and still take their action, they are limited in their tactical movement options.
This makes melee minions useless unless they start the combat at short range and have initiative. Since otherwise they cannot engage a PC and attack.
A PC just need to stay at medium range of the minions and their single maneuver will never be enough to get to engaged range. (Medium -> Short, Short-Engaged).
The best they can achieve is 2 point of strain each time the PC moves away using 2 maneuvers. While taking damage from the PC!
House Rule: Engage or disengage is a free maneuver for minion groups armed with melee weapons. A minion group must still respect the maximum of 2 maneuvers per turn.
Note: This is for minion groups, a single minion would not get this free maneuver.
If you have people coming at you from all direction, it is easier for them to get in position to threaten you. And it is easier for them to run away.
4. How far is far enough? And how long does it take?
At the end of most missions, my PC are running away from a planet with anything their ennemies can throw at them in pursuit. It always come down to the same question, how quickly can we jump?
The only indication in the book seems to be table 7-12 on page 246 of EotE. It states that 5 to 15 minutes are required to travel from a planet's orbit to a safe hyperspace jump distance. This translate into 5 to 15 turns at 1 minute per turn.
House Rules 1: A ship must be at extreme range of a planet or other similar massive object to jump to hyperspace. It takes a Fly maneuver to jump to hyperspace.
For a stopped ship in low orbit with a max speed of 2 or 3 this would look like this:
1 Accelerate 1
2 Accelerate 2
3 Short to Close
4 Close to Medium
5 Close to Medium
6 Medium to Long
7 Medium to Long
8 Long to Extreme
9 Long to Extreme
10 turns without strain, 5 with strain. A X-Wing could to it in 4 turns.
The second question is how long does it take to perform the astrogation check.
House Rule 2: The base duration of an astrogation check is 10 turns.
House Rule 3: You can only do 1 astrogation calculation at a time per computer.
Why 10 rounds? It is the average number of turns it take to get to the safe distance...
a. An additional success can reduce the time, so let's make it at least 3-4 turns so success have an use.
b. The Galaxy mapper talent cuts the time in half. For this to have some value the base number should be greater than 4, even 6.
But that roll is even trickier. For the best dramatic effect, I would roll only when they are ready to jump, but you cannot do this if you want to reduce the duration of the check with success.
Aslo, if the ship is damaged the difficulty increase, or if they want to jump from long range the difficult is upgraded.
House Rule 4?:For now I thing I will let them roll the positive dice and note the result. I'll roll the negative dice when they are ready to jump.
PC with the Galaxy mapper talent starts the calculation on turn 1 while the pilot is trying to escape incoming fighters.
She roll 4 success, this give a total time of (10 /2 (Talent) - 3 (extra success)) => 2 turns, much quicker than the pilot can get to extreme range!
By the time they get to long range they have taken heavy damage (> 25% of HT), they decide to jump right now and not wait until they get to extreme.
The negative dice pool is now 1 red, 3 purple (1 base, 1 escaping, 2 heavy damage, jump too early)
If at least 4 failures are rolled, then the PC need to start again, otherwise any failure just add a few turns while she adjust the calculation.
Any critics or suggestions on these rules would be welcome.