Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Donovan Morningfire

Using Discipline to modify a lightsaber crystal

Recommended Posts

Or, shock and gasp, maybe they're just using base Lightsabers?

The first lightsaber that Luke uses, is not one he made himself. But making your own lightsaber is a vital rite of passage for Jedi — all Jedi. There are multiple episodes of TCW about this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The first lightsaber that Luke uses, is not one he made himself. But making your own lightsaber is a vital rite of passage for Jedi — all Jedi. There are multiple episodes of TCW about this.

Sure, and there is no need for any dice rolling in the RAW for this.

Only if you want it sweetly modded out, which is fine if being Mechanics.

EDIT: Also there is quite a bit in TCW cartoon I'm more than willing to ignore. Having to use Move to assemble a Lightsaber is chief among them.

Edited by evileeyore

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lepton,

I'd disagree that Obi-Wan could be deemed any sort of skilled mechanic; the closest he got was fiddling a bit with the hyperdrive of the Queen's transport in TPM, and most of that was "yep, it's busted" than anything else. Even installing it was more likely handled by the ship's crew than by Obi-Wan himself.

As for Luke, he never really demonstrated anything close to his father's skill at fixing or tinkering with machines. He could do basic repairs pretty well, but that kind of skill was needed for a moisture farm that relied heavily on droids and vaporators to function. The most the films show him doing is putting Threepio's arm back on and helping Artoo a bit with pre-flight and maintenance on his X-wing.

And bradknowles is correct about Luke being noted as having used a synthetic crystal as well as using the Force to help ensure the quality. If anything that scene could be read as Luke not only making the crystal, but also making a number of modifications at the same time, adding more raw material for shaping the crystal as opposed to Lorne's motion of "crystal polish"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Heya Dono,

 

I don't really want to get too much into the specifics of character lore, its probably a black hole from which we will never emerge, but I'll agree that Obi-wan was certainly not the greatest mechanic in the galaxy! 

 

I think as a general skill description Mechanics covers constructing, fixing and upgrading physical things, and I do not think it is unreasonable for a characters who wants to construct, fix or upgrade their lightsaber to have some proficiency in this area.

 

In the situation where a player, really does not want their character to have the ability to be a mechanic in the wider sense, then I would allow them to take ranks in Mechanics (Lightsaber) and possibly make it a career skill. 

 

I feel that this allows Artisans characters to do their thing, while letting other characters have a degree of autonomy in upgrading their saber if they want it.

 

As a side, when mixing in EotE and AoR characters to a group I would add a footnote to the F&D rules that lightsaber modifications generally require some force-sensitivity to a greater or lesser degree. The GM should decide whether the modification by a non-force sensitive characters should be allowed or difficulty upgraded.

Edited by Lepton Halfspin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This has probably been said already (it's a lengthy thread), but I think what I'm going to do to adjudicate mods to the crystal is have the player roll Mechanics OR Lightsaber, whichever is higher (and if the player has both, I will probably choose to give a Boost to represent the synergy of the two skills). 

Lightsaber is a highly specialized skill with some 'may have other uses at the GM's discretion' handwaving in place already. Knowing how to handle a saber probably means knowing how to maintain a saber because they are, as has been stated, weapons with a high degree of personal attachment to them. It doesn't force a Jedi character to learn a skill or spec they don't want to, still gives them the ability to upgrade the weapon themselves and doesn't bolt on a new system or process (which is, to me, the most important thing).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Going to throw my 2 credits into the mix, despite not posting much. In the Lightsaber skill description on page 89 of the beta book, third paragraph, it reads:

"The Lightsaber skill is most often used to make combat checks while using these weapons, though there may be other uses for this skill, at the GM's discretion."

My idea is, allow a choice between Mechanics or Lightsaber skills with the Intellect characteristic when preforming a modification on the Lightsaber. It is evident the developers of the game had the idea that the Lightsaber skill could be used for more than just waving the weapon around.

The reasoning behind allowing the Lightsaber skill to be used is thus; a individual specifically trained in a weapon often times learns more than just the combat application of the weapon. Modern sharpshooters are taught how to shoot a rifle, as well as how to strip it for cleaning and repairs, how to sight in any optics that can be put on it, et cetera. I see a Force User's training in how to use a Lightsaber being much the same no matter if the training comes from a Jedi in exile, a Force Projection, or a holocron. A Jedi in training is going to be taught everything about the Lightsaber, not just how to be lethal with it.

This method keeps the check in line with the spirit of the game, requiring only one check per mod. It uses a skill someone who wants a modded out Lightsaber is already going to possess, while allowing the tech monkey to use his superior Mechanics skill. It should also scale with the difficulty of the modification check as the character grows.

To represent the Force User's touch of the Force while modifying the Lightsaber, I suggest alotting a boost die per rank in Discipline to the check. This bonus helps represent the mystical side of Lightsaber modification process, while helping off set any possible deficiencies in their Intellect score.

I am by no means skilled with game theory, but when I tried this out with some test rolls today, it seemed to balance fairly well. The extreme low end had some trouble with the starting difficulty of the modding process, however the middle and high ranges seem to work well. There was enough of a likelihood that a character would succeed for a character to take the chance, but without completely doing away with the chance of failure.

That is the basics with reasoning behind my idea for the modding check. There are a few more details behind it, but I will wait and see how badly what I have already put up there gets picked apart, or even noticed, before I go on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can see the basis for using Lightsaber, and agree that it would broaden the usefulness of the skill outside of hitting things.

 

That said, part of the reason I didn't go for that as a possible suggestion at first was that the characters that are going to want to modify their lightsabers the most are going to be those with a LS Form spec, all of whom have Lightsaber as a career skill.  Discipline at least wasn't quite as common, thus dialing back the frequency of PCs having fully-modified lightsabers since many of them are going to be focused on raising Lightsaber as often as possible.

 

And while Intellect does seem to be something of a "dump stat" for the 'saber-wielders (Soresu Defenders being the exception), that only means that PC will only be getting two proficiency dice as it'd only take a few sessions (assuming 20 XP per session) to get to 4 ranks in Lightsaber, which is generally going to be enough to handle a Formidable difficulty.  And the skill is still very useful for hitting things with the upgraded lightsaber, where not every Force user is going to be maxing out their Discipline (yes, those focusing on using the Force as an attack will, but not every 'saber-wielder is going to go this route).

 

The other element of potential concern is that if you allow one combat skill (Lightsaber) to be used in modifications, why not allow other combat skills to do the same?  A PC with ranks in Ranged (Heavy) is certainly going to be pretty knowledgeable about the inner workings of their favored blaster rifle, while a PC with ranks in Melee is going to be quite adept at the care and maintenance of their vibro-sword even if they don't know a hydrospanner from an arc welder, so if the PC with Lightsaber can use his combat skill for modifications, what's really stopping those other two guys for asking for the same perk, especially if there's nobody with the Mechanics skill in the group (which has happened in games that I've played in)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In previous systems that I have run, both SWRPG games and other settings, a PC could pick up a skill specialization to represent a nonmechanicaly inclined character being able to work on their own weapon. This system not having that mechanic in it, and I don't believe it needs it, I wouldn't have a problem letting a PC use their combat skill to reflect their familiarity with repairs and modifications to their respective weapon.

There would be some catches to being allowed to do that though. For one, it works for their own personal weapons only. No picking up your squadmates weapon and tricking it out for him. Second, I would probably levy an upgrade to the difficulty of the work to reflect the PC's lack of general mechanical know how. In retrospect, that same difficulty increase would be needed to be tossed in the Force User's direction as well, to maintain fairness to all.

My idea also runs off of the concept that once the skill check for upgrading modifications hits Formidable (5p), that any further increases to difficulty results in the difficulty dice pool then be upgraded moving forward. So the next mod results in 1r4p, next is 2r3p, so on. I have found that once challenge dice start showing up, my players start rethinking the course they are taking.

There has been more than one occasion where the players were having the party Mechanic upgrade equipment for them, until the first challenge die came out, then they stopped thinking things were good where they stood.

I know upgrading the difficulty dice pool in that manner is not explicitly spelled out in the rules, however doing it in that manner has helped control how far things like modifications get before players reign themselves in. I also admit, I have a very good group of players, so that might be jading my look on things, since I don't have to rules adjucate as much, my players do it themselves.

Final point, I also would say the method I have proposed would probably be more of a sidebar option for an alternate way for the GM to handle Lightsaber modifications, than a replacement for the existing Mechanics skill system. The existing system works very well, until thematics around the Lightsaber come into play. Keeping the current system the default system, while giving the alternative (mine, or someone else's idea) out as an option the GM can allow or disallow as they see fit for their game, I feel would be the best compromise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dono's final point is the one I would make.  Would you let the bounty hunter use ranged heavy to modify his blaster?  his rocket launcher?  His flame thrower?

 

Would you let the wookie use melee to modify the rykk blade, or his vibro axe?

 

How about the smuggler and his heavy blaster pistol?

 

For me, things like this become a slippery slope, elevating combat skills beyond their normal use, and diminishing non-combat skills.

 

Also, when the skills descriptions mentions alternate uses in lightsaber, I believe they were referring to things like the item mentioned in the impossible difficulty side bar, putting out a fire with a grenade.  (Which I need to try sometime.).  That would be an odd use of ranged (light) not exactly a combat check.

 

May just be me, but I think that is the kind of Alternate use (though an extreme example) that they were referring to.

Edited by Thebearisdriving

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If that matter, in my games, I use mechanics for my players, but they can add their Force dices to the roll (to add / modify lightsaber crystals and only them). Each pip can be traded for a success or an advantage, light and dark pips are managed the same way they are managed for any Force power.

The player can do that only if he or she has at least one lightsaber form talent. Basically, I consider that the lightsaber form talent imply that the character developed the Force inspired intuitive knowledge of lightsaber crystals.   

 

It works fine. It matchs the description of lightsabers being some kind of "Force soul weapon" of its wielders (the Force guide them). The lightsaber user doesn't have to heavily invest in mechanic to improve his/her crystal, but doing so improve the chance of success. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I've said before, I'm against all of it. Altering the rules for one set of characters because of "fluff from the EU" reduces the need for Specializations that already exist.

Want to pimp out your Saber? Go find an Artisan (or Technician or Engineer).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That said, part of the reason I didn't go for that as a possible suggestion at first was that the characters that are going to want to modify their lightsabers the most are going to be those with a LS Form spec, all of whom have Lightsaber as a career skill.  Discipline at least wasn't quite as common, thus dialing back the frequency of PCs having fully-modified lightsabers since many of them are going to be focused on raising Lightsaber as often as possible.

 

Shouldn't the group who are guaranteed to have lightsabers have the best ones? If you assume that saber-users are meant to modify their own, then why should the group least likely to wield a lightsaber have ones that are more developed? 

 

It just seems backwards to me. This isn't like splitting up the mechanic and piloting duties so everyone has something to do. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Want to pimp out your Saber? Go find an Artisan (or Technician or Engineer).

 

Yes, just raise every red flag in the Empire by asking for someone with the specs and know-how necessary to build the single most illegal piece of technology in the entire galaxy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Want to pimp out your Saber? Go find an Artisan (or Technician or Engineer).

 

Yes, just raise every red flag in the Empire by asking for someone with the specs and know-how necessary to build the single most illegal piece of technology in the entire galaxy.

 

 

I'm pretty sure the look on the GM's face would look something like this:

tumblr_mfx7f9cmec1qc04bco1_400.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, just raise every red flag in the Empire by asking for someone with the specs and know-how necessary to build the single most illegal piece of technology in the entire galaxy.

Well, if you don't have one in your party, then yes, just call 1-800-IMA-DUMB-ASS.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

That said, part of the reason I didn't go for that as a possible suggestion at first was that the characters that are going to want to modify their lightsabers the most are going to be those with a LS Form spec, all of whom have Lightsaber as a career skill.  Discipline at least wasn't quite as common, thus dialing back the frequency of PCs having fully-modified lightsabers since many of them are going to be focused on raising Lightsaber as often as possible.

 

Shouldn't the group who are guaranteed to have lightsabers have the best ones? If you assume that saber-users are meant to modify their own, then why should the group least likely to wield a lightsaber have ones that are more developed? 

 

It just seems backwards to me. This isn't like splitting up the mechanic and piloting duties so everyone has something to do. 

 

I agree on the first point, but as I noted later in my post and thebearisdriving agreed with, using the Lightsaber skill to conduct the modifications opens the door for other PCs requesting/demanding "equal" treatment and being able to use their combat skills to perform the desired modifications on their weapons as well, or even the pilots of a craft being allowed to use Piloting to modify a vehicle/starship's attachments.

 

As such, it can get to be a very slippery slope, to the point where Mechanics goes from being viewed as top-tier skill by some folks (there have been posts bemoaning just how much can be accomplished via a Mechanics check or that it applies too broadly to too many types of technology instead of being more specialized) to being severely limited to "just fixing stuff that's broken" which may not always occur in adventure; not every group that plays these games is going to have a ship (especially now that Far Horizon offers the option of a Homestead/Business for EotE groups in place of a starting ship), and even those groups that have a ship aren't always going to get into starship combats that requires said ship to be fixed afterwards.

 

I'd prefer that FFG avoid not address the one concern (modification of lightsaber crystals, of which there is a concern no matter how deeply evileeyore sticks his head in the sand and pretends there isn't) by potentially breaking another part of the system in the process and opening a potential can of worms.

 

I've made my suggestions for possible solutions, submitted them to FFG, and as such will leave it to them to decide how best to proceed.  So far, they've done an excellent job with this system, and I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

That said, part of the reason I didn't go for that as a possible suggestion at first was that the characters that are going to want to modify their lightsabers the most are going to be those with a LS Form spec, all of whom have Lightsaber as a career skill.  Discipline at least wasn't quite as common, thus dialing back the frequency of PCs having fully-modified lightsabers since many of them are going to be focused on raising Lightsaber as often as possible.

 

Shouldn't the group who are guaranteed to have lightsabers have the best ones? If you assume that saber-users are meant to modify their own, then why should the group least likely to wield a lightsaber have ones that are more developed? 

 

It just seems backwards to me. This isn't like splitting up the mechanic and piloting duties so everyone has something to do. 

 

I agree on the first point, but as I noted later in my post and thebearisdriving agreed with, using the Lightsaber skill to conduct the modifications opens the door for other PCs requesting/demanding "equal" treatment and being able to use their combat skills to perform the desired modifications on their weapons as well, or even the pilots of a craft being allowed to use Piloting to modify a vehicle/starship's attachments.

 

As such, it can get to be a very slippery slope, to the point where Mechanics goes from being viewed as top-tier skill by some folks (there have been posts bemoaning just how much can be accomplished via a Mechanics check or that it applies too broadly to too many types of technology instead of being more specialized) to being severely limited to "just fixing stuff that's broken" which may not always occur in adventure; not every group that plays these games is going to have a ship (especially now that Far Horizon offers the option of a Homestead/Business for EotE groups in place of a starting ship), and even those groups that have a ship aren't always going to get into starship combats that requires said ship to be fixed afterwards.

 

 

That's a fair point.

 

Maybe something could be rolled into a talent rather than just being a baseline ability. That way the privilege is at least being paid for.

 

How about having the form talents allowing the use of the alternate stat with Mechanics – for example, Nimian Disciple would also allow the use of Mechanics(Willpower) to mod lightsabers. Something would have to be figured out for Shii-Cho (maybe replace Conditioned or a 10pt Second Wind) and Soresu wouldn't change, but it could be a good compromise. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it is a mistake to treat lightsabers like other equipment for several reasons:

 

  • You are expected to build it from the ground up. This is not true for other weapons or even simple tech like goggles or com pads.
  • Building a lightsaber should require plans or instruction, which should be rather rare outside of the jedi order.
  • Building a lightsaber takes a crystal that is a controlled item during any period. Making a crystal is possible but requires additional instruction.
  • If everything is available, even a child can build one. This implies it doesn't take a lifetime of learning.
  • There is no canon concerning 'powering up' a lightsaber with modifications. This opens up all of the possibilities in my mind, including the idea that it is not common or even possible.

I think the basic build process as described in F&D, along with the base difficulty, is fine. The location of a crystal and the necessary build instructions for sabers and crystals, should be driven entirely by narrative.

 

As for physical modifications, I think they should be limited to the current list possible for the hilt of the lightsaber.

 

The modifications that are currently applied to the crystal, should not be possible as a permanent alteration. The character should have to spend successes, advantages, or triumph for damage (as for normal melee) and other improved characteristics above the base crystal. All that would be needed is a small table of possible costs. This takes full advantage of the narrative dice and factors in the force users skill, talents, and powers. That gives a feel more similar to the WEG approach than the WizardsSaga approach. The idea of lightsabers being another +1 or +2 sword, never felt very star warsy to me. Making them a conduit for your force powers is more in line with my sensibilities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Doc,

As for allowing the Form Technique talents to change what Characteristic gets used, there's still some wonkiness.

 

For instance, Ataru and Makashi, that means you've got to allow Agility and Presence respectively, which may be a little too weird for some GMs to accept, and the Shii-Cho Knight gets hosed because they don't have a Form Technique talent.

 

Based on your response, I'd thought of maybe just making it an aspect of the Form Techniques in general, that they get some alternative option to using Mechanics (like just being able to substitute the Lightsaber skill as a for instance), but again that leaves the Shii-Cho Knight out in the rain, so that kinda nixes that idea as a possible solution.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Based on your response, I'd thought of maybe just making it an aspect of the Form Techniques in general, that they get some alternative option to using Mechanics (like just being able to substitute the Lightsaber skill as a for instance), but again that leaves the Shii-Cho Knight out in the rain, so that kinda nixes that idea as a possible solution.

 

Why not just make a small change to Shii-Cho then? Swap out one of the Second Winds (the 5 pointer seems best for what you get here) or Conditioned. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In previous systems that I have run, both SWRPG games and other settings, a PC could pick up a skill specialization to represent a nonmechanicaly inclined character being able to work on their own weapon. This system not having that mechanic in it, and I don't believe it needs it, I wouldn't have a problem letting a PC use their combat skill to reflect their familiarity with repairs and modifications to their respective weapon.

 

Actually this system does have that mechanic. there is a 5 point talent in Force sensitive emergent for making discipline a career skill. there are 10 point talents for changing what attribute you use for a skill, 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Want to pimp out your Saber? Go find an Artisan (or Technician or Engineer).

 

Yes, just raise every red flag in the Empire by asking for someone with the specs and know-how necessary to build the single most illegal piece of technology in the entire galaxy.

 

 

I'm pretty sure the look on the GM's face would look something like this:

tumblr_mfx7f9cmec1qc04bco1_400.gif

 

Something similar JUST HAPPENED last week to my group. They were on the Wheel and decided to Slice Master-Com to see if they could find any lightsabers aboard. One made a really good knowledge education to know how to set the parameters to see if a crystal of that density even existed on the station. Two triumphs later, yes, there was one Crystal that fit that description in a pawn shop. They went there, found an inquisitor. Much fun was had, not so much on the attaining of that lightsaber though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Based on your response, I'd thought of maybe just making it an aspect of the Form Techniques in general, that they get some alternative option to using Mechanics (like just being able to substitute the Lightsaber skill as a for instance), but again that leaves the Shii-Cho Knight out in the rain, so that kinda nixes that idea as a possible solution.

 

Why not just make a small change to Shii-Cho then? Swap out one of the Second Winds (the 5 pointer seems best for what you get here) or Conditioned. 

 

I could see swapping out Conditioned for some kind of Form Technique talent, with the talent providing a Shii-Cho related benefit (but not a Characteristic swap) as well as providing all the Form Techniques the boon when modifying a lightsaber crystal.

 

As for said talent, Multiple Opponents already covers the "good against large groups" aspect of Shii-Cho.  Perhaps the Shii-Cho Technique could allow the user to gain a free Advantage on a successful Lightsaber (Brawn) check, but said Advantage can only be spent to disarm or sunder the target's weapon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×