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Statting out Darth Vader

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Okay, I know, I know, a LOT of you will roll your eyes at this question and try to tell me how I shouldn't make stats for Darth Vader.

Your opinions are duly noted, appreciated and responded to with a gentle admonition to siddown and have a slice of pizza.  I don't want to hear from you.

 

But I do know some of you out there have, as an experiment or otherwise, statted him out.

 

So what do you think?  What should his stats be?  What should the stats on his lightsaber be?

 

Lay-em on me.

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Hi everyone!

 

First thing, I would use Inquisitor special rules like "No Strain to Parry", Two-turns per Round and Reduced Force Powers Costs like other NPC's build. Algo, I will consider to use him as Adversary 4 and a Rating above 4+(?). Sincerelly I don't what is the proper FR. I'm asking Sam for concepts because, if NPC's have reduced Force costs, then,  no more than 3 or 4 FR would be needed.

 

About stats, well, seems obvius that Lightsaber and Piloting are above 4 or 5. Coercion seems a pretty high value too. Because is an NPC's build, I would not have the need to follow the spec trees or even classes necessarelly. By the way, I prefer to get some concept answers before aswer anything more. Willing to see some samples here :D

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I think Vader is probably a 1500+ xp character, with nearly maxed out lightsaber, coercion, and mechanics skills, maxed piloting and gunnery skills, 4 agility, 5 brawn, FR 4+, and specs including at least two lightsaber trees, Starfighter Ace, Pilot, Rigger, Hotshot, Marauder, and Mechanic.

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I would add to Eruletho description (a good one) that probably is a build based on "scenario character" like Lando. So, it will care more about combat Talents instead non-combat ones. NPC's use to have a "limited" number of talents applied, at high ranks (4 or 5) but not so much variety because seems "scenario focused".

 

Vader seems to be just focused into a killing machine XD

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OK, I'm more conservative than most. I don't think just because a character is on screen that they have all 4s, and 5s. So here we go with Characteristics.

 

Brawn 7

The first thing we really see Vader doing is lifting a dude up with one hand. The guy is big and strong (and cybernetically enhanced). Plus this needs to be high to handle all the cybernetics in the first place. As Anakin, he was an athletic warrior, so this was a high stat before Vader. This is likely the stat he leans on in lightsaber combat.

 

Agility 3

Anakin would have had a 4 here, but Vader isn't very fast anymore. That fight with Obi Wan probably took out a point here in addition to his arms and legs. He still has the high Piloting skills and all the talents, so he's still solid in that arena. Aside from tales of how great a pilot Anakin was, we don't really see Vader do much in this department (and he's visibly slow on screen), so it would be hard to justify it being higher (all those cybernetics obviously went into Brawn). By Episode IV It probably should be 2, but I listed 3 out of Anakin nostalgia.

 

Intellect 2

Vader isn't much of a scholar. Nowhere are we shown that he has above and beyond great knowledge of things (he is a good strategist, but see below). He is good with machines, but that can be covered with a high Mechanics skill. Beyond that, though, there isn't any evidence of a high stat here.

 

Cunning 4

This is what Anakin was known for: thinking out of the box and tackling a problem from an unforeseen angle. Vader shows skill here as well when he cons one of the galaxy's best con men (though that's easier when you show up with a few star destroyers). Vader is no rocket scientist, but he is deviously clever. 

 

Willpower 5

This is one that I think Vader developed post Obi-Wan fight. Anakin could be stubborn, but he was also very impulsive. Maybe a 3 for him. Vader, on the other hand, is a force of nature. The only two people who could ever sway him were the Emperor (out of fear and twisted loyalty) and Luke (out of a father's love) ... and possibly Tarkin. Everyone else has to get out of the way. It also ties into his best social skill: Coercion. 

 

Presence 2 

I'm on the fence again on this one. Other than Cool – which he would have a 5 in – there is no evidence that Vader is good at any other skill associated with this stat. Does he have a "Presence," yes, but the way the game represents that in his case in through Willpower(Coercion). It's possible that he has a 3 and never uses it anymore, and Anakin didn't have the stat this low, but it's hard to justify having it higher based on what we see on screen.

Edited by Doc, the Weasel

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A good and enjoyable analysis. I agree with everything except for this...

 

 

Brawn 7

[...]

 

Vader is strong. That much is obvious. I'm just not sure his brawn is a 7. Chewbacca could easily heft a man and I would think they would have comparable strength. Brawn 5 sounds much more reasonable, especially with cybernetics.

 

As for Force rating. A 4 or 5 sounds pretty reasonable. His powers would likely be Enhance, Move, Sense, and Bind. Anakin may have been proficient with influence, but Vader probably cares little about such an ability.

Edited by kaosoe

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As for Force rating. A 4 or 5 sounds pretty reasonable. His powers would likely be Enhance, Move, Sense, and Bind. Anakin may have been proficient with influence, but Vader probably cares little about such an ability.

 

I would add an underdeveloped Forsee tree (Anakin seeing the future was what got him into trouble in the first place), and Protect/Unleash (we see him use it when Han shoots him on Bespin). 

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As for Force rating. A 4 or 5 sounds pretty reasonable. His powers would likely be Enhance, Move, Sense, and Bind. Anakin may have been proficient with influence, but Vader probably cares little about such an ability.

 

[....] Protect/Unleash (we see him use it when Han shoots him on Bespin). 

 

 

Good point. I had forgotten about that.

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Regarding Vader and cybernetics, other than his right arm (which was a custom job), I'd say the rest of his limbs are just replacements, and thus don't grant any kind of bonus and by extension would cut down the need for such a high Brawn to accommodate all those cybernetic implants.  For implants, I'd say he's got life support (like the one from Lords of Nal Hutta) and his right limb for a +1 Brawn, and that's about it.

 

I'd say a Brawn of 4 (5 with the implant) works, and you can figure that he's got the Enhance power and the Control Upgrades to increase his Brawn and Agility further.  Force Rating I'd say would only be a 4, as he never really developed his "full potential" due to cybernetics (original statement by Lucas on the matter) or a mental block (later statements and what Palps believed to ultimately be the case).  At Force Rating 4, that gives him plenty of dice to commit to Enhance and still have two Force dice left to use on Bind or other powers as he sees fit.  As NPC, he'd be using Adversary instead of Sense.

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The way I always figured Brawn (and all the abilities, but it really only visibly applies to Brawn) is that each rank is half again as good as the previous rank. 2 is the normal, human average, meaning that a 1 is half as strong as a normal, average human. A 3 makes someone half again as strong as an average human, something like an average Wookiee or a trained weightlifter. A 4 is half again as strong as a 3, making is slightly more than twice as strong as a 2. A strong Wookiee, a Human like Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (the most recent Mountain from Game of Thrones, broke the world strength record,) a basic lifter droid, etc. 5 is half again that strong, the Wookiee equivalent of Hafþór, a cybernetically enhanced for strength Human, a forklift, etc.

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Hmm...I have to disagree with Donovan on this. I think Vader's limbs shouldn't be just replacements. Granted, I'm looking at it from the POV of Palpatine, but still...you've got an apprentice with no limbs and badly burned. You want him to be a useful tool, so why wouldn't you give him cybernetics that enhance his stats? Having said that, I think 7 might be overpowered, but I would have no problem with Vader having a 5 or a 6 for Brawn. Agility...I'd go with a 3. He isn't that agile, and whenever we've seen him doing crazy stunts in the comics it's all been Athletics, which is Brawn based anyway.

 

As far as a Force Rating, I'd give him a 4. Any more than that and he'd be impossible for Luke to defeat. I'd say Luke had a 2 or a 3 Force rating by the time of Return of the Jedi. Given the setup of Dark Side pips to Light Side pips, I think there's a good argument for saying that a Light Side Force User with a Force Rating of 3 would be a match for a Dark Side Force User with a Force Rating of 4. Certainly more than enough to Force choke someone or fling debris towards an opponent!

 

As for the rest...well, definitely a Lightsaber skill of 5. Vader's a good duellist, and even one-handed he was a match for Luke in ESB. When he fought two-handed on the gantry, it was all over for Luke. I'd also give him a decent Cool skill. Vader can be intimidated by the Emperor, but most of the time he is in command, he is the most powerful person in the room, and he knows it. He's also got a pretty good Vigilance skill, although I base that on nothing more than how quickly he reacted to Luke trying to kill the Emperor in RotJ. Not too good, though, because Han Solo got the drop on him in Cloud City!

 

I would say that Vader has no ranks in any Agility-based combat skills, so no Ranged (light) or Ranged (heavy), but I'd feel comfortable giving him a couple of ranks each in Brawl and Melee. He's a strength-based character, after all, and given how he lifted the captain of the Tantive IV up in A New Hope, he doesn't seem to have any issues with using his hands. Also, given how the Sith (in Legends) love their alchemically-strengthened Sith swords, a couple of ranks in Melee seems likely. I'd give him the Inquisitor bonus of two ranks in all Knowledge skills--while he hasn't been shown to have a lot of knowledge, I like this because it makes him as an NPC villain harder to completely surprise. If the players go to an Outer Rim planet that has acid geysers, it's good to have your villain be able to know that as well so your players can't point out that he'd get dissolved. On that note, I think Vader has a Cunning of 4. Throughout the original trilogy, he's setting up traps, coming up with strategies and at least knowing who to hire to ensure he gets what he wants.

 

Finally, he's maxed out both Piloting skills. Some people might disagree, but Vader at least has Piloting (Space) maxed out. You could argue that he only deserves a 3 in Piloting (Planetary), but I'd give him max ranks not only because when he was a 9-year old kid he was Podracing, which strikes me as an activity that he would probably have to have had max ranks in Piloting to win, but also because it fits in beautifully with Vader's overall theme. Vader's a good pilot, and as a GM I think it'd be fun to see the look on PC's faces when they discover that he is just as formidable in atmosphere as he is in space. I might also give him 3 ranks in Mechanics to represent his former life as Anakin.

 

As far as Talents, I'd draw from the Warrior class exclusively. Nothing else really seems to exemplify Vader's path, and all three of the Specializations seem built for him--Aggressor, Shii-Cho Knight, and Starfighter Ace.

 

Edit: After some consideration, I need to retract my statement about having no Agility-based combat skills. He's got to have some ranks in Gunnery. I don't know that he has to has max ranks in it, but I think at least a 3. He can lock on to an enemy fighter and do enough damage to destroy it. He doesn't need to have max ranks in Gunnery (although maxing them out would be appropriate to his threat level), but he does need enough to make sure he's going to hit what he aims at.

Edited by Hysteria

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Actually, it was Palpatine that deliberately used sub-standard materials in the reconstruction of Vader, up to and including his cybernetic limbs.  Though it's no longer canon, the novel Rise of the Dark Lord (takes place very soon after RotS) indicates the number of hassles that Vader had to deal with in his new form, things that Palps could have very easily avoided but didn't as a means of asserting his control/dominance over Vader in the wake of his transformation.  Being a Sith and (at the time at least) an adherent to the Rule of Two, Palps didn't want Vader to have too many inherent advantages from becoming a cyborg, and instead saw those limitations as a way for his new apprentice to prove his worth as a Sith Lord.  Sadly, Vader was too broken psychologically to ever truly be able to overthrow his master for most of his remaining life.

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He does need a way to resist charm checks. I don't know why anyone would charm him. But I have a difficult time reconciling a charmed Vader in my mind.

 

I think he could be Charmed, as in you could get on Vader's good side. I think with ranks in Cool (and Cool is a Presence-based skill, which Vader must have about 4 or 5--come on, he's very imposing!), Vader won't be easy to Charm, but Charm doesn't mean Vader falls in love with you (which, given previous relationships, would be VERY BAD for the unlucky player). It just means that you get on his good side, as much as he has one. Sucking up definitely qualifies as Charm. So does trying to impress Vader with your professionalism or competence.

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Nice to see some of these being more... restrained than I imagined.

 

There's a tendency for many fans to insist everyone in the movies has 6+ in every stat and 5 in every skill, that Yoda or Vader have to have 20 Force Dice and the Millenium Falcon has 20 hardpoints (and the stats of a Star Destroyer with Silhouette 4).

 

I like that this is a system where you can be competent with a stat and skills of 3 or 4, and not every NPC is vastly superior to the players.

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Actually, it was Palpatine that deliberately used sub-standard materials in the reconstruction of Vader, up to and including his cybernetic limbs.  Though it's no longer canon, the novel Rise of the Dark Lord (takes place very soon after RotS) indicates the number of hassles that Vader had to deal with in his new form, things that Palps could have very easily avoided but didn't as a means of asserting his control/dominance over Vader in the wake of his transformation.  Being a Sith and (at the time at least) an adherent to the Rule of Two, Palps didn't want Vader to have too many inherent advantages from becoming a cyborg, and instead saw those limitations as a way for his new apprentice to prove his worth as a Sith Lord.  Sadly, Vader was too broken psychologically to ever truly be able to overthrow his master for most of his remaining life.

 

Good point...Here's the thing though--according to Wookieepedia, the right glove was a Mandalorian crushgaunt fitted around a Sith Amulet, which was apparently done to increase Vader's grip strength. Wookieepedia also states in the "Limbs" section that "His mechanical appendages provided him with more strength than that of an ordinary man. He could adjust the servodrivers and pistons in his forearms to provide his hands with enough strength to crush nearly anything they could grasp. With the power of his arms alone, he had the ability to lift an adult being off the ground. When put to use, his mechanical legs would allow him to leap a considerable distance." http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Darth_Vader%27s_armor?action=edit&section=4&editintro=Template%3ALegends_editintro

 

Granted, all this is in the Legends section, but it's what we've got to go on.

 

Having said that, Dono, you do bring up some good points--how do you express this in game terms? Using Enhance is definitely a valid way to play this out, but I'd have to go with the cybernetic enhancements for simplicity's sake. Using Enhance could mean that a statted-out Vader might not be able to use the ability if he needed to--unlikely, but still possible. 

 

As far as the substandard materials Palpatine used, I think I might fit those into an Obligation, something like 10 or 15 points of Maintenance. When they come up, Vader needs to get his cybernetics serviced. It doesn't quite cover how Vader's cybernetics affect him, but I think it gets the job done.

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Nice to see some of these being more... restrained than I imagined.

 

There's a tendency for many fans to insist everyone in the movies has 6+ in every stat and 5 in every skill, that Yoda or Vader have to have 20 Force Dice and the Millenium Falcon has 20 hardpoints (and the stats of a Star Destroyer with Silhouette 4).

 

I like that this is a system where you can be competent with a stat and skills of 3 or 4, and not every NPC is vastly superior to the players.

I partially agree with you, but anyone can enlight me with that senstence on the first pages of the book where told us that heroes can ever go further from those stats please? Thanks!

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Nothing from the books, Josep.  This system feels pretty balanced (though technically things like Force Dice don't have a hard cap, do they?)

 

I'm talking about the fanboys who think that the only way to represent the Falcon is to give it stats beyond what it should have. Even though a fully tricked-out YT1300 is actually a very good ship.  

 

Or fans who feel that everyone in the movies should have maxed out stats and skills. Previous editions of SW games gave the movie characters all kinds of special skills and abilities that PCs couldn't ever attain, just to mark them out as special snowflakes.

 

While I don't feel the movie characters should be statted (seriously guys, that was Lucas' campaign, not yours, make your own heroes and villains!) it's good to see the ones offered here are sensible and not over the top.

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