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Bromide Hadral

Should characters be allowed to start with a lightsaber?

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Per the devs a lightsaber is VERY powerful. And in the beginning they cause a Jedi to overshadow everyone else. But after a few sessions and everyone else having more talents they dont anymore in this system. Hense knightlevel play. Give extra XP and a 9000 credits and then it is all good. 

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Yeah, letting a beginning PC start out with a basic lightsaber gives them an incredibly powerful weapon that no other PC can really compete with.  About a good benchmark to let your PCs get access to kyber crystals for actual lightsabers is around 75 XP, which really is only about 3 to 5 sessions in, depending on how much XP you award.

 

That said, they could start with a training lightsaber which gives the PC a "ligthsaber" they can use that isn't overpowering (Damage 6 but stun damage only), and they can easily swap out the training emitter when they do get a suitable kyber crystal.

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I'd say it really depends on your game.  Lightsabers are powerful and versatile weapons, and you should always remember that when they enter play.  However, it your game is planning to have a ramped up difficulty from early on, then I don't really see an issue with it.

 

As Donovan mentions, a training saber is also a good way to give players a lightsaber, but reduce the overall power of the weapon.  Also, searching for a kyber crystal is always a good set of missions to run later on in play.

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There is no "one size fits all" answer to this question. Its entirely dependent on the character's backstories, the kind of game you want to run, and whether a "lightsaber quest" is something you and your players want to bother with. In our game, set eight years after Order 66, one of the characters is a fugitive Jedi Knight. She started play with a lightsaber. Her padawan, a youngling she rescued when the order fell, didn't have one. Obtaining a Krayt Dragon Pearl so the padawan could complete her lightsaber was one of our first stories. Now they both have them.

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As others have pointed out, a lightsaber can be a powerful starting weapon, which can make things feel unbalanced.

It is also a giant glowing death sentence in the Imperial Era, so can bring major heat on the group because of one player's choice, which can also make things feel unbalanced.

 

That said, if everyone in the group wants to play the last band of Jedi, and all of them have laser swords, go for it.

I find the knight-level play rules actually put the non-lightsaber folks in a much better position, so that could be a good place to start.

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Depends on which era your playing in. If your empire era+ its hard for someone to get their own lightsaber to start with until they have experience to craft it or someone gives it to them.  Republic and before its much more common since the Jedi order is around.

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Knight-Level play would be the most logical place to start, but I get the feeling you are coming from a "starting level characters" framework. I've got very little experience GMing SWRP myself, but starting with a party full of characters that have 150xp worth of skills, talents, and force powers might be a little overwhelming for a new GM, and new players as well. Just a hunch.

I guess it depends on the overall party make-up, how much you are willing to take on, and how forgiving you and the players are going to be with rules missteps and play stoppage. You may want to start out with the basic setup. As you all become more comfortable and the characters gain XP, it will naturally introduce a higher powered level of play. Obtaining a light saber and the right of passage that comes with it can make for a good story and give the player a goal to shoot for. Also, there is no particular "level" that a player must surpass in order to have one, so you can introduce it at any time you like. On the other hand, if everyone is easy-going and willing to be patient and flexible with the rules, and everyone is on board with the idea, you can use the knight-level play rules on page 104.

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If you're that worried about it give them a modified training saber. Remove the stun, keep it at 6 damage and give it crit 3 vs crit 2. Just don't give it breach, sunder or any of the other traits that the basic lightsaber comes with. It won't be stupid powerful at low levels and the character still has something to work towards while still feeling "jedi-ish."

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Episode 66 of the Order 66 podcast covers Saber-Smithing....or so I've been told, I never listen.

 

Also, the only way I'd let a character start with a lightsaber is if they were in Knight Level Play. If you're starting at basic character levels, I'd say no.

 

As a player, I feel that constructing my own lightsaber during the course of play would be much more fulfilling than just starting with one, which is one of the reasons if I'm playing a Force Sensitive I prefer to start at base level.

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I am running a Force and Destiny campaign for 4 players.

 

I allowed them to take any non restricted items they wanted from the FaD core rule book (they are required mechanics checks for mods), as long as they could afford it with their starting funds of 500-2500 depending on their morality option.

They all elected to start with a variety of hilts and training emitters. I've got a guy dual wielding shotos, another with a shoto and a cortosis shield, one with a regular training saber because he took the full 10 exp as his starting option, and I've got a guy with a double-bladed hilt with the double-priced training emitter.

 

The starter adventure ended with them in the ancient jedi temple, so when I had them create characters after we ditched the premades (we retconned it and said they were the ones that saved their mentor) I figured between their lives up until now and being able to search the temple, they found training lightsabers.

 

I'm running them through the free download adventure Lure of the Lost, and I'll tell you right now, the training blades (especially the 5 damage shoto) do very little damage against most enemies they come across. With no pierce, they are worse off than a brawn 3 character with a vibroknife.

Against minions and weaker enemies, they are fairly decent, but against major enemies that can regenerate strain using advantage, they take twice as long as a group using lethal weapons would.

 

A couple of them are able to generate enough advantages to trigger two-weapon combat or linked, but they aren't always guaranteed a hit. It is going to be a big deal when they finally go on the adventure to get real crystals. They've recently learned from a holocron the secrets of hilt construction, so I'll allow them to possibly get extra hard points on personally constructed hilts with triumph results. But with the damage lightsabers do in this edition, and the experience needed to improve force powers, they really won't be any stronger than a blaster user of the same experience total.

 

I'll also tell you a little consequence of their weapons. They may sometimes receive a morality bonus for using nonlethal weapons, but some of the enemies they knock out will show up as extra enemies in later fights after they wake up, as well as being alive to give a description of the group to interested parties.

 

Also, this game is fun to DM if you have a lot of knowledge of Star Wars. I invent NPCs on the fly of random in-universe aliens. Or if they look around for someone to talk to, I'll throw random protocol droids across their path.

 

So far I don't allow them to loot armor off of enemies, implying that it was damaged in the fight or it would take too long to disrobe them, but I tend to give them every other item the foes carry, or extra items if it helps the story.

 

My little running gag, every droid calls them "meat bag," unless it is a polite droid, in which case it uses "organism" instead.

Edited by Vulf

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Training Sabre for a beginner is ok, full blown Lightsabre is an absolute beast and not recommend. Most players are going to find the parts and make their own sabres, but the pricing can be used as a good comparison to other weapons in the system for relative power levels.

The biggest beast of a "hand held" blaster, the Heavy Repeating Blaster, is still not as expensive as a Basic Lightsabre. Cybernetics are the only personal items that are of similar value, and they boost a Characteristic! So if you're giving the Force Users a Basic Lightsabre any non force users are probably owed a massive machine gun or free cybernetics to make up for it.

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  To some degree it'll depend on how much the character(s) are actually likely to use it.

 

  As an example, my Sage character - the only force-using character - in one RL group has a saber, but being a non-combative personality (actually, the least combative personality of the lot), he doesn't use it as a combat weapon (if pressed, he uses a blaster pistol); to him it's essentially a curio that has the occasional practical application. (Group can't get that blast door open any other way? He'll use his 'plasma cutter' to do it.)

 

  In the case of an all-Force group, starting everyone with sabers is an initial power-up, but it won't make a huge difference in the long run since it's expected that anyone who wants one will get one within a few sessions anyway. In the typical F&D era the group will also need to be somewhat careful about pulling the things out since that will draw a lot of unwanted attention.

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I can't comment on game mechanics but as far as lore goes it depends on what time period and your story arch. Pre order 66 it would be common place for them to have already contructed a saber. Post order 66 but pre episode 7, the over all story in the begining will be helping your pc's discover what jedi are, the force and other pre order 66 knowledge. But this setting wouldnot be a suitible period for a lightsaber.

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  To some degree it'll depend on how much the character(s) are actually likely to use it.

 

  As an example, my Sage character - the only force-using character - in one RL group has a saber, but being a non-combative personality (actually, the least combative personality of the lot), he doesn't use it as a combat weapon (if pressed, he uses a blaster pistol); to him it's essentially a curio that has the occasional practical application. (Group can't get that blast door open any other way? He'll use his 'plasma cutter' to do it.)

 

  In the case of an all-Force group, starting everyone with sabers is an initial power-up, but it won't make a huge difference in the long run since it's expected that anyone who wants one will get one within a few sessions anyway. In the typical F&D era the group will also need to be somewhat careful about pulling the things out since that will draw a lot of unwanted attention.

 

Well let's be clear. There is a difference between:

 

6 damage (no pierce, no crit) training saber that only does strain damage,

 

and

 

6 damage [breach 1] [crit 3] lightsaber with a crystal that can be modified to do up to 9-10 damage and set people on fire.

Edited by Vulf

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Episode 66 of the Order 66 podcast covers Saber-Smithing....or so I've been told, I never listen.

 

Also, the only way I'd let a character start with a lightsaber is if they were in Knight Level Play. If you're starting at basic character levels, I'd say no.

 

As a player, I feel that constructing my own lightsaber during the course of play would be much more fulfilling than just starting with one, which is one of the reasons if I'm playing a Force Sensitive I prefer to start at base level.

 

For the first campaign, yes it could be fun, but if you will play many campaign with force users, it would feel boring to start with the same pattern each time.

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Also just because you are starting as a particular Career and Specialisation does not mean you're actually that thing YET. It could simply mean you have a basic aptitude for those particular abilities and it's the path your going to take. The actual PC has no idea what a "Dedication" talent means, or any other talent, they just know that they are getting better at their specific field due to experience doing that task.

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As previous posters have mentioned I think there are 2 issues really

 

- They are very powerful - probably too powerful for new characters. For new characters I think it would make combats too easy and not challenging enough.

 

- They are quite special items, and will mean more to the players if they are found or created as part of a fascinating in-game story.

Edited by Chimpy

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- They are very powerful - probably too powerful for new characters. For new characters I think it would make combats too easy and not challenging enough.

This was very aptly demonstrated in the Beginner Box adventure, which had two (three if you include the web downloads) characters that had basic lightsabers as part of their starting equipment.  Said characters pretty much plowed through the opposition, up to and including the BBEG of the adventure who got absolutely creamed if faced with more than one 'saber wielder, and still got thrashed even if just facing the Nautuolan Warrior with his Brawn of 4.

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Episode 66 of the Order 66 podcast covers Saber-Smithing....or so I've been told, I never listen.

 

Also, the only way I'd let a character start with a lightsaber is if they were in Knight Level Play. If you're starting at basic character levels, I'd say no.

 

As a player, I feel that constructing my own lightsaber during the course of play would be much more fulfilling than just starting with one, which is one of the reasons if I'm playing a Force Sensitive I prefer to start at base level.

 

For the first campaign, yes it could be fun, but if you will play many campaign with force users, it would feel boring to start with the same pattern each time.

 

Only if the GM has the PC going through the same exact pattern to obtain their crystals each and every time, and each instance it's the same basic Ilum crystal rather than some other variety of crystal.

 

I've been playing Star Wars RPGs since the early 90's (WEG d6), and many of my characters have been Jedi of one stripe or another.  And each time, having that character earn their lightsaber was a dramatic pay-off, a mark that said character had indeed come into their own.

 

Given how much more powerful a lightsaber is in this system as opposed to prior RPGs, earning a lightsaber should indeed be a big deal for both the player and the character, especially if said character is a regular starting PC.  And if the GM is on point, then the story of how that character obtained their kyber crystal should be a good one.

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