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Lightsaber Forms & Characteristics

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I think it's neat that F&D allows one to make a lightsaber-wielder with any of the characteristics. And at first I thought it was neat that with 6 careers, each career can be tied to one characteristic in particular. However, some of the choices seem really odd to me.

 

Consular - this is a career that's based around leadership and negotiation. Presence would be the natural fit, right? But wait, the Niman Disciple uses Willpower instead.

 

Mystic - this career, to me, would seem to be the Willpower-centered one as the one who's most in tune with the Force, but instead it uses Presence.

 

Guardian - the protector of the weak and helpless will of course be the one who has put all their starting XP into... Intellect?!? I guess part of the problem is that we have two tough, physical careers (Guardian and Warrior) but only one physical, tough characteristic.

 

Sure, you could always use Brawn as the default. But you're probably throwing away 10 XP on a talent you'll never use, because there's no synergy between the characteristic tied to your career and the ones needed by your career skills or Force powers. And that lack of synergy bothers me. There's nothing about the Mystic or the Guardian that would make you think you'd want to put any points into Presence or Intellect, respectively. It's not until you look at the lightsaber specialization tree for each career that you might realize that there's a chargen trap there. The Consular isn't so bad since you'd probably want an above-average Willpower anyway, for Discipline checks.

 

So maybe associating one characteristic (and lightsaber form?) with each career wasn't a great idea, after all.

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Well I think that Shii-Cho should have been a universal specialisation to represent the fact that it's the starting entry point and most common form, as well as the fact that it would provide an easy entry for the newly-Force sensitive characters. I'd have had Jar'Kai as the Warrior form so that all seven of the classic forms would be represented. But then I also think you shouldn't be charged the extra xp for taking an alternate form

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Well I think that Shii-Cho should have been a universal specialisation to represent the fact that it's the starting entry point and most common form, as well as the fact that it would provide an easy entry for the newly-Force sensitive characters. I'd have had Jar'Kai as the Warrior form so that all seven of the classic forms would be represented. But then I also think you shouldn't be charged the extra xp for taking an alternate form

 

To the best of my knowledge Jar Kari isn't one of the seven basic forms. The missing 7th is Juyo. 

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My guess is that a large part of it is a mechanical decision to avoid having one super-characteristic.  If the social character can use their social stat for combat, they can get very capable at both easily; it would be 2-for-1 on relevant stat increases.  Same goes for the wise character.  5-2-2-2-2-2 isn't well-rounded, so 2-2-2-2-2-5 shouldn't be either.

 

Also, there's more to someone's ability in a field than the value of the characteristic used by the most active skill in that field.

- Consulars are focused on leadership and negotiation (governed by Presence), but the Niman technique used by "noncombatant" Jedi is about concentration and the integration of Force powers into combat (Willpower).

- Mystics are most in touch with the Force (Willpower), but Makashi is the duellist's form; known for its grace and composure (Presence; think the Cool skill).

- Guardians are warriors, but not Warriors.  Soresu depends on precision and efficiency (i.e. Intellect), especially when defending against blaster fire.

Edited by Joker Two

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Consular is representative/based off of the Jedi Consulars. While often the primary diplomats of the order, all Jedi where diplomats (Obi-Wan, a Guardian, is a consumate diplomat), so Consulars were often the very focused students of the Force (see: Sage). Niman is also the form used by less combat oriented Jedi, and incorporates a lot of Force powers during combat. Off the three specializations for Consular, there atually isn't a social/diplomatic spec (yet (maybe)). Therefor, Willpower.

 

Guardians are defenders, not just combatants. Keeping a clear head is important when your main job is defense, and being able to think clearly and come up with a practical solution is paramount when facing potentially overwhelming odds. Therefore, Intellect.

 

Mystics cover the powerful visionary (Seer), incorporates non-Jedi/Sith orders (like how Dao Jodh is a monk with no ties to the Jedi), and it can also include the 'king's trusted advisor/court mage' character type. Depending on the location and culture, local governments might turn to the well known fortune teller for advice, or the local temple and its monks to help mediate a dispute, or there might be that one really smart guy who seems to know what's going on before anybody else and whose advice almost always seems to be accurate. In those cases, it isn't the predictions that count, but the demeanor and charisma of the individuals and how they present it. And the local governor liking the cut of your jib (good Presence) might mean the difference between being a trusted advisor and having the Imperials knock down your door. Therefor, Presence.

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Well I think that Shii-Cho should have been a universal specialisation to represent the fact that it's the starting entry point and most common form, as well as the fact that it would provide an easy entry for the newly-Force sensitive characters. I'd have had Jar'Kai as the Warrior form so that all seven of the classic forms would be represented. But then I also think you shouldn't be charged the extra xp for taking an alternate form

 

To the best of my knowledge Jar Kari isn't one of the seven basic forms. The missing 7th is Juyo. 

 

 

Ah, that's the one I meant! Thanks for the correction

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First off, I totally agree that it's awesome that they didn't create a situation where *every* Jedi had to stack brawn (or agility) to allow them to be good with a glowstick.  I freaking hated that part of the D20 system, and I'm glad to see it dead dead dead.

 

That being said, I like the current set up, for the exact reasons Joker outlined: 2/2/2/2/2/5 is as unbalanced as 5/2/2/2/2/2.  

 

I think your definition of "synergy" is pretty limited, just because the entire character can't lean on a single characteristic, doesn't mean synergy is absent.  In fact from a design point of view, I prefer still have characters prioritize 2 or 3 attributes, instead of monolithic builds.  This still encourages variety in characters based on player priorities.

 

In your specific instances listed above:

 

Presence and Willpower have a lot of complementary functions, especially in terms of the 'social' skills (Negotiation, Coerce, etc).  I would say there's synergy here, it's just a 'holistic' synergy, not a 'specific' synergy, i.e. The entire character can heavily rely on 2 primary attributes, instead of one.

 

I will concede that the guardian/Soresu/Intellect thing is a little weird, and kinda feels like a solution to the "we gotta put Lightsaber(Int) somewhere, guys" problem.  Maybe I would have give guardian presence and moved Intellect to Makashi or Niman, but I'm not one of the devs, and I don't think the issue is so massive that it requires a house rule.  I don't recall the design of that tree, but maybe just *not* taking that style talent is a reasonable solution.  And if it's not 10 xp just isn't that big of deal.

Edited by LethalDose

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Actually, a lot of the Force power talents that are essentially Lightsaber style moves in the Lightsaber talent trees require you to use the Characteristic from the Technique talent, so yeah, there's reason to take it.

 

I think there's basically 1 per talent tree (other than Shii-cho knight) that calls for checks that are Lightsaber(not Brawn).  Not exactly numerous, but they're big style talents, so yes they're important.

 

Has interpretation been that if you can't opt to make lightsaber combat checks as with a certain attribute, then you can't even attempt to use a power that calls for that kind of lightsaber combat check?

 

For example, If I don't have Ataru Form, am I disallowed from using Hawkbat Swoop (I think thats the right one) since it calls for Lightsaber(Agility)?

 

If so, has this interpretation been supplied by the devs? And if so, link?  I remember this being discussed, but I can't for the life of me remember where, or what the resolution was.

 

Addendum:

 

I just went through the talent trees to figure out how much of an issue this is:

  • Niman Disciple: 1 talent depends on Lightsaber(Willpower), can't get it without Niman Technique
  • Soresu Defender: 2 talents depend on Lightsaber(Intelligence), 1 Path exists that bypases Soresu Technique, costs ~ 10-30 more XP to take that path than the short way (depending on how you count).
  • Makashi Duelist: 2 talents depend on Lightsaber(Presence), can't get them without Makashi Technique
  • Ataru Striker: 2 talents depend on Lightsaber(Agility), 1 path exists to bypass Ataru technique, and costs ~ 100 (!) more XP to take that path (you pick up dedication on the way... still crazy pricey)
  • Shien Expert: 1 Talent depends on Lightsaber(Cunning), can't get it without Shien Technique.

The answer to my question really affects 4 talents, in two trees, and one of those two options (including 2 talents) is just obscenely expensive.

 

I'm really not that worried about the answer.

Edited by LethalDose

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I will concede that the guardian/Soresu/Intellect thing is a little weird, and kinda feels like a solution to the "we gotta put Lightsaber(Int) somewhere, guys" problem.  Maybe I would have give guardian presence and moved Intellect to Makashi or Niman, but I'm not one of the devs, and I don't think the issue is so massive that it requires a house rule.  I don't recall the design of that tree, but maybe just *not* taking that style talent is a reasonable solution.  And if it's not 10 xp just isn't that big of deal.

 

While I would agree that the use of Int is likely just a case of we need to use it somewhere.. but I think the choice of Guardian makes sense if you look at them as the strategiest of the order, in which case I think it's intended to thinking through a problem and formulate strategies. Their high end lightsaber talent is even Strategic Form, the other one using their specialized lightsaber trait is to setup defense for the Guardian and one or more allies.

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Guardians are defenders, not just combatants. Keeping a clear head is important when your main job is defense, and being able to think clearly and come up with a practical solution is paramount when facing potentially overwhelming odds. Therefore, Intellect.

 

Defending the choices that are already in place shouldn't rest on faulty arguments. What you describe as "Therefore, Intellect" is actually pretty close to the description of the Cool skill.

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Poor choice of wording on my part, then. I am bad at articulating my thoughts, even in text. But my theory, I guess, was that Soresu relies on rational thinking to be effective, and other kinds of defense also requires forethought, strategy, preparation, all things that require some degree of intelligent process.

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And... a Guardian can still use Brawn if they prefer for most of their lightsaber techniques, except for ones that explicitly say Intellect.  This is not a downside.

 

And from what I saw in the talent tree for it, that accounts for 2 talents. Both are quite useful talents but both related to defending yourself and/or allies, or what I'd like to attribute to battlefield strategy.

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Actually, a lot of the Force power talents that are essentially Lightsaber style moves in the Lightsaber talent trees require you to use the Characteristic from the Technique talent, so yeah, there's reason to take it.

 

I think there's basically 1 per talent tree (other than Shii-cho knight) that calls for checks that are Lightsaber(not Brawn).  Not exactly numerous, but they're big style talents, so yes they're important.

 

Has interpretation been that if you can't opt to make lightsaber combat checks as with a certain attribute, then you can't even attempt to use a power that calls for that kind of lightsaber combat check?

 

There is no interpretation to make; per the side panel on page 152 of the CRB you must have the talent that lets you use the optional characteristic to make the check. 

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If one is willing to spend the time and effort, you could make a justification for any characteristic being connected to a given Form, such as Agility to Niman Disciple or Cunning to Soresu Defender or Presence for Shii-Cho Knight.

 

Personally, I don't see a real need to get all fussed about it.

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Actually, a lot of the Force power talents that are essentially Lightsaber style moves in the Lightsaber talent trees require you to use the Characteristic from the Technique talent, so yeah, there's reason to take it.

 

I think there's basically 1 per talent tree (other than Shii-cho knight) that calls for checks that are Lightsaber(not Brawn).  Not exactly numerous, but they're big style talents, so yes they're important.

 

Has interpretation been that if you can't opt to make lightsaber combat checks as with a certain attribute, then you can't even attempt to use a power that calls for that kind of lightsaber combat check?

 

There is no interpretation to make; per the side panel on page 152 of the CRB you must have the talent that lets you use the optional characteristic to make the check. 

 

 

Perfect.  Thank you for the clarification; Those sidebars are easy to miss.

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