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Dawn of Rebellion Sourcebook

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Retired Clone Trooper vs War Veteran or some other generic term: I’m reading the Republic Commando books at the moment, and they really drive home again that the Clone Troopers are meant to be supersoldiers. I get that in RPG terms things have to be mechanically balanced and whatnot, but from a fluff point of view I kinda like that retired clones are set apart. They’re genetically engineered clones based on the best Mando specimen available, trained to standards only achievable by accepting that any of them who fall short of perfection will die in training (and more, simply because of bad luck), brainwashed to eat, breathe and live warfare, and the ones that make it to retirement have survived non-stop engagement in the largest conflict in any living species’ memory. That shouldn’t be represented by a career or spec available for just anyone with a military career. 

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3 minutes ago, TheShard said:

I'm not convinced mando dna even the "best" is better than many average magnets of other species... Just don't buy it.

It might not have been the most capable in the galaxy but it was also chosen for many other reasons ostensibly; 1) ability to kill Jedi 2) human racism 3) potentially easier to alter 4) inhibitor chip worked with human DNA 

these are backed by what we see on screen but not necessarily true either, as I’m sure someone will point out. I just take them as the inexplicit reasoning why, but that’s my humble opinion. 

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59 minutes ago, TheShard said:

I'm not convinced mando dna even the "best" is better than many average magnets of other species... Just don't buy it.

This might be more in the realm of Legends, but the reason Jango Fett was used as the template for the Clone Troopers wasn't just his DNA (though in the new canon, I believe he's been relegated to just a Mando pretender than an actual Mando), but his skill and competency.  There was a (Legends) video game centered around Jango pretty much competing against a bunch of other bounty hunters to complete a contract put out by Dooku under his "Lord Tyranus" identity.

So less "Jango's DNA is Mando and thus awesome!" but more "Jango was a BMF in prime physical condition" that lead to him being used as the Clone Trooper template.  That he was a Human, and thus letting the Clone Troopers play into the "us vs. them" rhetoric given the Separatist groups were non-Humans while many of the key Republic worlds were heavily skewed towards Human leadership, making them a very potent propaganda tool for Palpatine to employ.

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2 hours ago, nameless ronin said:

They’re genetically engineered clones based on the best Mando specimen available, trained to standards only achievable by accepting that any of them who fall short of perfection will die in training (and more, simply because of bad luck), brainwashed to eat, breathe and live warfare, and the ones that make it to retirement have survived non-stop engagement in the largest conflict in any living species’ memory. That shouldn’t be represented by a career or spec available for just anyone with a military career. 

That's why Clones should have been a species instead.

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3 hours ago, TheShard said:

I'm not convinced mando dna even the "best" is better than many average magnets of other species... Just don't buy it.

It still goes to nature vs nurture, but Mandalorians are famed for their warrior culture and Jango was considered the best of them. The Revan novel goes into this. Not a lot of modification needed to create the ideal soldier’s personality.

On a more practical note, it’s cheaper to use a species that looks human than something a bit more out there for filming mass scenes. ;) 

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47 minutes ago, nameless ronin said:

I can see Clones as a separate species (they age more rapidly and their stats could be a little higher on average), but their training is still determined by career/spec. 

Well, other species include cultural/nurture-based elements, like Mandalorians. They get a free weapons skill for cultural reasons, not because they're biologically better at shooting or swinging at things. I just don't buy the idea that the spec would't have worked if it had been a more generic "Combat Veteran" because clones are too special.

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2 hours ago, SavageBob said:

Well, other species include cultural/nurture-based elements, like Mandalorians. They get a free weapons skill for cultural reasons, not because they're biologically better at shooting or swinging at things. I just don't buy the idea that the spec would't have worked if it had been a more generic "Combat Veteran" because clones are too special.

One or two skill points just don’t cover ten years of the most intense training possible, I feel. Then again, retired clones gaining more xp and spending it on combat skills is kind of ludicrous as well.

More to the point though, I like it being a clone-specific spec simply because for me clones rate that kind of specificity. I’m not saying it wouldn’t or couldn’t have worked otherwise, just that as a matter of personal opinion I feel it’s better this way.

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1 hour ago, nameless ronin said:

One or two skill points just don’t cover ten years of the most intense training possible, I feel. Then again, retired clones gaining more xp and spending it on combat skills is kind of ludicrous as well.

More to the point though, I like it being a clone-specific spec simply because for me clones rate that kind of specificity. I’m not saying it wouldn’t or couldn’t have worked otherwise, just that as a matter of personal opinion I feel it’s better this way.

To each his own. But I'd rather not go down the route of a Gamorrean guard spec, an Ewok shaman spec, a Tusken War Chief spec, etc. etc. There's just a billion different things you could to this with.

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41 minutes ago, SavageBob said:

To each his own. But I'd rather not go down the route of a Gamorrean guard spec, an Ewok shaman spec, a Tusken War Chief spec, etc. etc. There's just a billion different things you could to this with.

Well tbh, there was a galaxy spanning conflict that resulted in the near extinction of the Jedi Order and the collapse of representational democracy for almost every system for nearly twenty years.... and this conflict revolves around Droids fighting Clone Troopers. Could a Tusken Raider or Gamorrean fit under an existing AOR Soldier Career? Yeah, probably, but for the Clone Trooper to not be singled out as unique in the history of the galaxy? That would be a crime. 

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10 hours ago, SavageBob said:

To each his own. But I'd rather not go down the route of a Gamorrean guard spec, an Ewok shaman spec, a Tusken War Chief spec, etc. etc. There's just a billion different things you could to this with.

Force users do get a billion different specs. :P At least half of them would be better handled through Force powers, I think. Point is, we all have opinions and they’re not all in agreement. It’s not a big deal.

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2 hours ago, nameless ronin said:

Force users do get a billion different specs. :P At least half of them would be better handled through Force powers, I think. Point is, we all have opinions and they’re not all in agreement. It’s not a big deal.

That's actually a spot-on comparison! With Force-user specs, you can take them as a non-Force-user and just buy around the Force talents. I wonder if the devs considered making the RCT spec open to all, but restricting a few talents to Human clones (rather than the whole spec). Comrades in Arms and Improved Comrades in Arms would be the operative ones, making it so that your ally has to be a clone of you, essentially. (Not arguing here, just proposing another way they could have avoided this issue.)

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1 hour ago, SavageBob said:

That's actually a spot-on comparison! With Force-user specs, you can take them as a non-Force-user and just buy around the Force talents. I wonder if the devs considered making the RCT spec open to all, but restricting a few talents to Human clones (rather than the whole spec). Comrades in Arms and Improved Comrades in Arms would be the operative ones, making it so that your ally has to be a clone of you, essentially. (Not arguing here, just proposing another way they could have avoided this issue.)

I honestly think most people for who RCT is too restricted would have felt this to be even worse... It’d be just as easy to houserule though.

As for buying around Force talents... Why would you be taking a Force-user spec then? I haven’t tried to match them all up, but at a glance I’d say you can probably find a non-Force alternative with similar talents for each Force spec and you’ll be better off skill-wise (and certainly better off in terms of XP if you start multi-speccing).

All told, this system is pretty much class-based. Not my favourite approach, but it’s serviceable. For me such systems are best if the classes are all clear stereotypes, well-defined concepts with little overlap. Unfortunately that’s not the case here: we have several soldiery specs, a bunch of “I build stuff” ones, a couple smooth talkers, and so on. And on top of that, we have a rist of similar specs except “I’m also a space wizard” thrown in. I enjoy playing and I like the dice system, but the careers and specs are conceptually meh to me (bordering on bleh even). However, if this is how the game is developed then yes, I fully expect there to be a more specs than needed, and that in turns means some of them will probably be a little specific in order to justify having them in the first place. But hey, books get sold so from FFG’s point of view the system works.

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38 minutes ago, nameless ronin said:

I honestly think most people for who RCT is too restricted would have felt this to be even worse... It’d be just as easy to houserule though.

As for buying around Force talents... Why would you be taking a Force-user spec then? I haven’t tried to match them all up, but at a glance I’d say you can probably find a non-Force alternative with similar talents for each Force spec and you’ll be better off skill-wise (and certainly better off in terms of XP if you start multi-speccing).

All told, this system is pretty much class-based. Not my favourite approach, but it’s serviceable. For me such systems are best if the classes are all clear stereotypes, well-defined concepts with little overlap. Unfortunately that’s not the case here: we have several soldiery specs, a bunch of “I build stuff” ones, a couple smooth talkers, and so on. And on top of that, we have a rist of similar specs except “I’m also a space wizard” thrown in. I enjoy playing and I like the dice system, but the careers and specs are conceptually meh to me (bordering on bleh even). However, if this is how the game is developed then yes, I fully expect there to be a more specs than needed, and that in turns means some of them will probably be a little specific in order to justify having them in the first place. But hey, books get sold so from FFG’s point of view the system works.

There are reasons to take a Force spec if you're not a Force user. One is to further enhance a particular schtick, like taking Racer after you've already gotten the use you wanted out of Operator, or taking Investigator to beef up a Skip Tracer. I've done this, and it's actually not a bad way to go about things. Other Force-user specs offer schticks that aren't available elsewhere, like the Navigator. It's actually a brilliant decision on the Devs' part to let folks take Force specs regardless of Force sensitivity, as it adds a lot more variety to character development. (All the more reason I dislike how Dawn of Rebellion handled the RCT, but you know that already.)

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If I can weigh in on this, there's a huge difference between a Republic Commando and a "rank & file" Clone in both training and ability.  Commando equates to Navy SEAL/SpecOps types as opposed to the normal Troopers which could fill any number of military occupations.  Add in the fact that the vast majority of "wartime veterans" are primarily from support roles rather than front-line fighters in dangerous jobs, and odds are that the less experienced Troopers, serving in other capacities or late to the conflict, would be in better health and stand a greater chance of living a longer life.  It would then translate that your Veteran Clone Trooper character really wouldn't be any different from another Human, with the exception of having a backstory and different motivation. 

If you are trying to create a former Commando  PC, you would have to consider the added difficulty that the Empire isn't going to let such a dangerous individual simply retire from service.  Not when they can be disposed of in a simpler fashion.  Of course, it's ultimately up to the GM at the table.  That's the glory of TTRPG.

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2 hours ago, SavageBob said:

There are reasons to take a Force spec if you're not a Force user. One is to further enhance a particular schtick, like taking Racer after you've already gotten the use you wanted out of Operator, or taking Investigator to beef up a Skip Tracer. I've done this, and it's actually not a bad way to go about things. Other Force-user specs offer schticks that aren't available elsewhere, like the Navigator. It's actually a brilliant decision on the Devs' part to let folks take Force specs regardless of Force sensitivity, as it adds a lot more variety to character development. (All the more reason I dislike how Dawn of Rebellion handled the RCT, but you know that already.)

Are you getting that much more out of Racer than Pilot though? To be honest, a lot of this feels exactly like why I think Force powers would have been a better approach than more Force specs, but FFG decided differently. I mean, it’s nice to have options available that you wouldn’t have without the Force specs but in for instance the case of the Navigator you’re basically picking up a book on the Seeker career for it and the Force talents are still a waste of space on the page.

Edit: I mean, in essence what it comes down to is that you want specs that suit your character concept. Either you’re lucky and they exist, or you’re not because they don’t. The Force career books increase your odds, but if they didn’t exist there’d probably be something else instead - books are what FFG sells after all.

Edited by nameless ronin

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5 minutes ago, nameless ronin said:

Are you getting that much more out of Racer than Pilot though? To be honest, a lot of this feels exactly like why I think Force powers would have been a better approach than more Force specs, but FFG decided differently. I mean, it’s nice to have options available that you wouldn’t have without the Force specs but in for instance the case of the Navigator you’re basically picking up a book on the Seeker career for it and the Force talents are still a waste of space on the page.

We're off topic, but Racer is currently the only way to get Free Running, Improved Free Running, and Better Luck Next Time (all three non-Force Talents), and it offers two more ranks of Shortcut for your Operator to play with. Likewise, Navigator offers even more Shortcut (and Improved Shortcut, non-Force), and is the only place to find Studious Plotting, which is also non-Force. YMMV of course, but they seem like solid choices for anyone in those roles. :)

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Not to mention Navigator has Improved Shortcut cheaper than any other spec, by far (I am almost certain). Personally, I love the idea of a Racer/Navigator (or vice versa, depending on species) for any character frequently participating in chases.

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