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About Vondy

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  • Birthday 07/13/1972

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    Rehovot, Israel

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  1. RANT WARNING Sure. And that is a part of Lucas' evolving interpretation of his own work that renders him an unreliable creator. He injected a weird dissonance into his creation that was at odds with what he'd created before. People can play all the disingenuous moral equivalency games they want to make an argument that the Empire (or separatists) can be seen as good guys "from a certain point of view" and that the republic was so deeply flawed that it could be taken as "the real bad guys." Not all "points of view" are equally valid. There were "Good Germans" fighting for the Nazis in WWII. So what? Sophomoric "look how smart I am because I twisted the source material out of historical and meaningful context" tom-foolery and the result of a radically altered narrative from what the original trilogy suggested is not profound. Yes, that "point of view" is given some weak contextual support by Lucas in this "heroes on both sides" throw-away platitude, but does that line hold water when we actually watch the movies? Not really. The Jedi are clearly hidebound and make some flawed moral choices, but Dooku, Palpatine, and Grevious, et all are clear cut villains seeking evil ends through evil means. That there are off-screen heroes fighting on both sides is utterly irrelevant because the movies aren't about them. The Clone Wars are the public face of an ancient struggle between the Jedi and Sith. That's a struggle between light and dark, peace and suffering, good and evil. That's what Star Wars has always been about. That Lucas and a morass of expanded universe writers muddied those waters can produce interesting stories, but it can also be problematic in that it drives the incessant and banal "certain point of view" arguments that recast villains as heroes. Yes, politically, the clone wars were fought between a deeply flawed republic at war with a bunch of plutocratic corporate overlords. Yes, there were good people fighting on both sides. But, in the end, who cares? Star Wars has never been about galactic politics. I saw the original star wars in the theaters. I grew up with that trilogy. Star Wars was a story with clear heroes and clear villains that served as a morality play about good, evil, and redemption. Luke is our Hero. Vader is our villain. Luke, in the end, redeems Vader despite all the evil he did for Palpatine. Star Wars has always boiled down to morality. If you are arguing galactic politics and not basic morality you have lost sight of the forest for the trees. It doesn't matter if the old republic was flawed, or that the trade federation and separatists were, respectively, cynical and useful idiots for the Sith. WThe Sith are the bad guys. Let's be really clear about this: Our heroes are Anakin (for a while), Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, and Padme. Our villains are Dooku, Palpatine, Maul, and Grevious. Ironically, while Obi-Wan tells us that only Sith deal in black and white, its Anakin's insistence on his twisted point of view that makes it impossible for him to turn away from the dark side when Obi-Wan is trying to redeem him. He employs weak-sauce justifications for mass murder, terror, despotism, and hatred. I find most of the arguments in favor of the separatists and, worse, the Empire, that fans make echo Vader beat for beat. hen you enslave entire species, destroy entire planets, and seek "peace, justice, and freedom" through mass murder, terrorism, and despotism, you aren't the good guys, no matter what you tell yourself. Obi-Wan said it all: "You have let this dark lord twist your mind until you have become the very thing you swore to destroy." Or, to quote the Maharal of Prague: "If you want to sharpen your mind play chess; don't distort the truth." Star Wars I-III are a morality play about the fall of Anakin Skywalker. Star Wars IV-VI are morality play about the redemption of Anakin Skywalker. Star Wars VII-IX are... honestly, I have no idea what they are about. Everything else is just commentary. And, with that, I am not commenting on this thread again.
  2. Lucas has explained Star Wars from his own "evolving" and self-contradictory points of view over the past 40 years. As a result, anything Lucas says is only true "from a certain point of view" and "at a certain point in time." This is without working a mob of Expanded Universe writers with their own points of view and contradictory additions int the mix. For this reason, I generally only reference primary sources (on-screen canon) and take Lucas with a liberal dose of salt. I'm sure you've heard of the unreliable narrator in literature? Lucas is an unreliable creator.
  3. "There is no sell. Buy, or buy not you will." Either one understands the history making role of WEG D6 Star Wars in the history of the expanded universe, and roleplaying games, or one does not. Its iconic for more than one reason, but foremost: its good.
  4. I build three 1166 point characters. Action economy is the thing.
  5. My players love the kooky dice, but hate the "wall of talents" and trying to remember everything their characters could do during a session. Often times they would forget. And me? I'm not going to remember what all three player characters and all the NPCs can do while making seat of my pants decisions running a game. We decided, when the player characters reached three full trees, dipped into a signature talent tree, and had 4-5 force powers with one or two highly upgraded, to render the characters "iconic." In other words, we stripped them down, figured out their core concepts and abilities, rebuilt them like they were NPCs. We also renamed adversary "protagonist" and used that instead of remembering the sense upgrade (they all had it maxed out). I was initially concerned that would be too much of a power up (not committing a force die), but after running the characters for a while, giving each 2 "protagonist dice" hit the mark. This would not work for groups with players whose primary psychological reward is constant advancement and power-ups, but my group reached a point where they felt like they had the characters they wanted and had become more interested in the in-story rewards and characters arcs.
  6. For the same reason a Japanese company would manufacture cars in the US. Avoiding import-export taxes, shipping costs, corporate sales tax rates, avoiding supply chain risks, and the like in a major or primary market. If you sell globally you might find printing separate print runs in separate markets cheaper (or safer). For instance, a print run in the EU for European countries and one in the US, Canada, or Mexico for NAFTA countries might prove cheaper. I suspect that when they do the math, however, printing + shipping from China has proven less expensive (thus far) than printing smaller runs in their primary sales market. This could in part be volume and the fact that china is (roughly) equidistant from Europe and North America. If a British company had as many or more consumers in the Eurozone than in the US and Canada printing at home would make sense. If they have more customers in the North America? Not so much. I don't think any of us have access to their sales numbers, so all we can do is assume they've crunched the numbers and come up with what they think the best number for them is.
  7. I think those would be fair interpretations and a fairly consistent way of applying it.
  8. I've always taken Star Wars shields to operate more like "deflectors." Ergo, an angled energy field or field of charged particles that serve to redirect rather than absorb incoming fire. As such, range and angle of attack vis-a-vis the deflectors would be critical, as would the intensity of the field vs. the strength of the attack. Big ships simply generate much more powerful fields at a greater distance from the hull than small ships, which would redirect or dissipate larger blasts from more angles (unless you are a small ship inside the field). A more common scenario would be the Faclon vs. a tie fighter. The tie-fighter will be jockeying for a direct shot with an angle of attack that can score a hit rather than being deflected. Whoever is flying the Falcon is making the opposite effort: keep them firing at the area the deflectors are angled until you can work a firing solution for your turret. Its a similar, but not identical, principle to the front armor of modern battle tanks. They are angled so as to deflect the majority of the blast away from the crew compartment when struck. Several nations have programs to take this to a science fiction level. The US, UK, and Israel all have "force field" development programs for tanks. The general principle is a supercapacitor energizes the armor material with an electromagnetic charge that, if the discharge is timed correctly, repels the incoming fire and reduces or eliminates the force the armor has to absorb.
  9. Personally, I had no idea that it could be raining emitters, let alone crystals. That's fascinating and this thread has taught me a lot!
  10. For me, 1-3. I've run a lot of solo sessions and arcs over the years and love them with a good player. The ideal group for me, however, is 2-3 is ideal because I prefer to focus more on intrigue, role-play, and character arcs. That's not to say we don't have Burly Brawls and Action! But, its less than a lot of other games. I've run successful games for bigger groups, but find I don't care for those as much.
  11. My personal take is that fans have a fetishistic tendency to overestimate and inflate iconic character's abilities. Add in the gamer tendency to maximize power-crunch and enough experience to build Jedi Masters in-their-own-right and perspective is lost. What do we actually see Vader do in the movies? He takes down a corridor filled with rebel troopers. He force chokes some dudes. He fights Obi-Wan Kenobi in a lightsaber duel on the Death Star, but Kenobi lets him win. He force chokes some dudes. He leads the raid on Echo Base and some snow troopers die while flanking him. He force chokes some more dudes. He fights Luke Skywalker (a Padawan) in the Cloud City and wins handily. He force chokes some more dudes. He fights Luke Skywalker (a greenhorn Jedi Knight) in the Throne Room and loses. He chokes out due to respirator removal. Yes, Vader is big and scary. Yes, Vader is "The Dragon." But nothing in the movie canon suggests he can take down a group of Jedi Masters single handedly. I would build Luke in RoTJ with FR 3, Lightsaber-4, Improved Parry-4, Improved Reflect-4, and unmatched destiny. He's a "Jedi Knight," but not really a master, and he should have lost when stacked up against Vader pound for pound. He made liberal use of destiny points and drew on his hate to take Vader down before realizing that was not the Jedi way. Now, if we include Rebels, we do see Vader: Take on Ezra and Kannan at one time. Basically, a Padawan close to knight-level ability and a newbie padawan. Fight eventually overwhelm Asokha. Grown up Asokha is formidable and basically a full-fledged Jedi Knight in-her-own-right. Again, we see nothing to suggest Vader should be able to take down a group of Jedi Masters or even a group of fully-trained Jedi Knights. In other words, there is no evidence he should be able to take down a group of player characters who have risen to become full-fledged Jedi Knights (or Masters) in their own right. Nor do we ever see Vader put himself in a position where he would be forced to fight such a group. He does not engage if he doesn't have the advantage. His biggest strength is that he's smart and picks his battles. He seeks to control the ground, ensure numerical advantage (at least qualitatively-speaking), and to maintain the initiative. Honestly, if Vader is in a slug-fest with 3+ Jedi all at once on neutral ground with no backup the game-master has made a serious error and, I will say it, is doing it wrong. Our group has three Jedi around the book-Ahsoka's level and I would never let that happen. I'd make sure that no more than 1-2 could engage him at once, I'd engineer the space to have elements he could use to his advantage, and he'd have some sort of back-up on hand or ticking-clock or objective in play to complicate the issue. They have gone up against him once and their goal was a fighting withdrawal. One of them put up an impressive fight and held him long-enough to make it a "win" in their book, but that character has three full trees, was built for saber fighting, and the player was extremely creative and had hot dice. Our groups compact is, when a character gets to that point they become iconic in their own right and are rebuilt akin to the iconic's in the book. Aside from tweaks, what growth do they need? If a character has 3600-experience and 9 trees (just wow) they have outgrown the intended parameters the system was designed around and deserve to give Vader a single-handed beat down. There comes a point where linear character growth turns you into a god among gods and we have left the realm of mere mortals. It becomes the stuff of comic books and videogames. Oh, look, its Starkiller! More power to you! But, at the same time you can't have unlimited linear growth without, at some point, breaking the system and exceeding reasonable interpretations of the source material.
  12. Our game started with the non-canonical conceit so it may not count. The conceit: Padme survived and was secreted away by Bail Organa with the twins and Obi-Wan. The starting point: 8 years after Order 66. Important: The Empire is just beginning to solidify its internal controls and push into the Outer Rim and the Emperor still has to rely on guile and manipulation outside his main power bases. The protagonists: Three Jedi survivors. Cal Coda, the last Jedi knighted before the clone wars. Sigyn Ilbis, the last Jedi knighted before Order 66. Garm Bel Ilbis' niece. Kaya Ilbis, a youngling spirited out of the temple during Order 66. Sigyn's niece and Padawan. Backstory: Garm Bel Ilbis obtained a light freighter, the Horizon Ascendant, for Sigyn and Kaya and helped smuggle them to safety where they eventually linked up with Coda. At the start of play they are living on the lam as mostly honest free traders out of Nar Shaada. They have two important contacts: Kaltho the Hutt and Zuske Kimote, a Selonian infochant and rebel sympathizer living on Nar Shaada with her mates. Major Early Events: tracking down Obi Wan, joining Bail Organa's resistance, leading the operation and raid that brought the X-Wing into the rebellion, discovering the ruins at Yavin 4, and arranging for a private meeting between Bail, Padma, and "Uncle Garm" to bring Corelia into the resistance. The player characters have managed to get on the radar of bounty hunters and inquisitors. The Big Change: Padme's involvement led to Palpatine learning she survived. This was a problem because he'd used her "death" to control and shape Vader. Palpatine sends assassins to kill her, but they fail, and he orders Vader back to Coruscant to preempt DRAMA. However, Vader has also learned she's alive at this stage and, much as Caesar recalled to Rome, launches a preemptive invasion. Palpatine escapes to Byss, and despite early gains and near victory, Vader ultimately finds himself forced to withdraw from the core worlds with the now "neutral" corellian sector being the demarcation point. Sources of bacta, coaxium, spice, and ship yards become major points of contention. Balkinization: Vader controls Mustafar and the imperial arms of space adjacent to it. The Emperor retains control of the key core worlds, the deep core, and the Arkanis sector under Tarkin. Many remote imperial commanders and governors further from the core take a "wait and see" position while several key worlds declare themselves "neutral." The banking clans also declare themselves neutral. Palpatine controls far more worlds, however, and maintains firm control in the galactic "northwest." He also has the support of the Corporate Sector... so far. The Hutts forge a secret compact with Vader and become increasingly "uncooperative" with Imperial officials. Hutt activities on many Outer Rim worlds are destabilizing, which drains Tarkin's resources. Strange Bedfellows: To ensure Tarkin can't mount a second front against him, Vader has been secretly aiding resistance movements in and around the Arkanis Sector, especially the Free Ryloth movement. This involvement is, to say the least, extremely uncomfortable for the Rebellion! Vader's "borders" are delineated by Naboo, Malastare, Bestine, Thyferra, Fondor, and Bakura. However, the Hutts don't trust Vader and are playing a double game and running black market goods to the rebellion as well. Rebellions: Bothawui, Dac, and Sullust are in open rebellion and have, over the course of several adventures, allied themselves Bail Organa's faction and forged a "Rebel Alliance." There are rumblings on several former CIS worlds and some members of the Trade Federation (esp. Cato Nemodia) are quietly aiding them, but this is distinct, and sometimes in rivalry with, the Alliance. A Nascent Jedi Rebirth: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ahsoka Tano, Cal Coda, Sigyn Ilbis, and Kaya Ilbis are in one another's orbit. Kaya has gone to Dagobah to find Master Yoda. This has led to a discussion of what the "New Jedi Order" should look like. At this point the PCs are treating Ahsoka as a peer and fellow Jedi Knight when it comes to discussion "Jedi Business." On the Horizon: Maul and Crimson Dawn and aiding the growing Corellian Resistance as a lead up to a major rebellion strike to free the planet and win its shipyards. The sector is in contested space between Vader and Palpatine.
  13. Personally, stats for camels are indispensable for any Star Wars game. I know you meant "cameos," but I couldn't resist. 😈
  14. Yes! There is a text box on the bottom left of page 5 entitled "Using Iconic PCs." Quote: "...full, definitive profiles are beyond the scope of Dawn of Rebellion. GMs are encouraged to modify..." Personally, most of the profiles are in the general ballpark vis-a-vis my own design sensibilities and preferred power-levels and style of play. For instance, I would use Vader mostly as-is in my campaign and would only add Draw Nearer, Drive Back, and Imperial Valor. Others prefer more boucoup godly write-ups and the book's position translates as "More power to you!" I feel they handled this aspect very well.
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