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Compare/Contrast Saga Edition and FFG Star Wars

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7 minutes ago, penpenpen said:

Before discussing the semantics of armor further, consider the abstraction level of the damage system where almost all armor essentially falls into one of the two categories of armor; "It was chilly outside, so I wore a jacket" (soak 1) and "Full-body environmentally sealed, military grade, hard plate combat armor" (soak 2), the latter of which is equal to a regular set of scrawny pecs.

And that injury for the most part is measured in cumulative points.

Let's not kid ourselves and call anything about this level of abstraction even remotely realistic. It isn't and isn't meant to be.

I look at Soak 1 armors a little differently. I look at them as equivalent to soft Kevlar BP vests, in terms of materials, as opposed to simply a heavy coat.  

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9 minutes ago, Tramp Graphics said:

I look at Soak 1 armors a little differently. I look at them as equivalent to soft Kevlar BP vests, in terms of materials, as opposed to simply a heavy coat.  

If that's what you read into "heavy clothing" I'm going to assume you live in a rough neighbourhood. ;)

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Posted (edited)

I am fascinated by Tramp’s reasoning though:

Armor must absolutely be Soak based because that’s realistic (unlike all sorts of other aspects of Star Wars).

Lightsaber deflect/parry being Soak-like in FFG is just fine even though it’s not what’s depicted (realistic simulation).

Edited by Jedi Ronin

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Posted (edited)

One similarity they both share is they're the only two systems I'm aware of, bar all OGL systems like Pathfinder, where there's a fanmade index listing where everything is.

One interesting thing to compare is the autofire rules. Saga's made stormtroopers super dangerous in sufficient quantities, even at high levels, if you didn't have Evasion or cover. FFG's system is just more damage. Neither really carries the benefit of suppressive fire mechanically, though Saga does slightly better by giving a significant reason to stay in cover. I liked M&M's implementation of giving a penalty to actions done within an area unless the target takes an attack (which, given many starting characters in M&M are literally bulletproof, may be too big a deal).

3 hours ago, Tramp Graphics said:

If you look at any real world modern body armor, they have a stopping power rating. This rating determines how high of a caliber round said armor can effectively stop. Even then, hits to the armor still typically cause some blunt force trauma to the wearer. This is also why game systems like R.Talsorian's Fuzion system (used in their Cyberpunk 203X and Cyberpunk Red games) also use a Stopping Power (SP) mechanic for their armor, which, guess what, subtracts the SP of the armor from any damage taken.  That is how armor works. 

Exactly. If an attack is over the armor's rating it does (at best) nothing. Level III plate isn't going to lower the damage of a 30-06 black tip, it just won't stop it. A graze system where attacks that hit your touch AC but miss your armored AC deal non-lethal damage would be a reasonable system, but neither of the ones in question use it.

I'm not sure why you were so hung up on D20's implementation of armor as DR either. Star War d20 was notorious for armor being pretty much useless since it only applied when you were almost dead.

Edited by NanashiAnon

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15 hours ago, NanashiAnon said:

One similarity they both share is they're the only two systems I'm aware of, bar all OGL systems like Pathfinder, where there's a fanmade index listing where everything is.

One interesting thing to compare is the autofire rules. Saga's made stormtroopers super dangerous in sufficient quantities, even at high levels, if you didn't have Evasion or cover. FFG's system is just more damage. Neither really carries the benefit of suppressive fire mechanically, though Saga does slightly better by giving a significant reason to stay in cover. I liked M&M's implementation of giving a penalty to actions done within an area unless the target takes an attack (which, given many starting characters in M&M are literally bulletproof, may be too big a deal).

Exactly. If an attack is over the armor's rating it does (at best) nothing. Level III plate isn't going to lower the damage of a 30-06 black tip, it just won't stop it. A graze system where attacks that hit your touch AC but miss your armored AC deal non-lethal damage would be a reasonable system, but neither of the ones in question use it.

I'm not sure why you were so hung up on D20's implementation of armor as DR either. Star War d20 was notorious for armor being pretty much useless since it only applied when you were almost dead.

Wrong. Attacks over the armor rating still have some of the damage reduced. The difference is that attacks over the armor's rating actually penetrate. That doesn't mean all of the damage gets through. At least some damage is soaked up by the armor before penetrating. Armor works by spreading the force of an attack over a larger surface area. Even if an attack penetrates, some of its energy is absorbed by the armor first, thus reducing the amount of damage that actually gets through. That is how armor works. 

As for armor being "pretty much useless" in D20 RCRB, that has nothing to do with it being a damage reduction system. It has to do with a deliberate design choice (one also made by FFG by the way), to reflect what we see in the movies, where armor is pretty much useless, and only there for "looking cool". Also, it didn't only apply when you were "almost dead" already. It applied to attacks that caused physical damage (wounds) to the target. 

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Posted (edited)

@Tramp Graphics

Please provide a source for your claim that penetrated armor reduces damage in any meaningful way.

 

edit: Did you miss the fact that the arrow didn't penetrate? The video explicitly says that. I also have to question the fact that you acknowledge that you've essentially just said you dropped Saga because armor wasn't useless (which is still is if you don't specialize it or are NPC classed).

Edited by NanashiAnon

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...so I just got back on this post today....and idk why armor came up as an issue lol. My core issues are these:

1.why should I play a game where I have to play based on multiple answers from dice? With ffg players GMs and players can potentially fudge story like crazy with bad positives and all the combos you can get, while saga it’s a “roll” yes or no answer and continue. 

2.its about the grid, the setup for me. I get that’s work people don’t like but it’s the main difference from sitting there telling stories to actually playing a game. I as a gm can give you a story and set up armies ready to take the party on the board. That’s how I want to play, but I don’t understand why FFG role play game doesn’t really have something like that.

idk I don’t like the prospect of people narrating and doing whatever they can based off of the dice rolls. That’s far more powerful than any ability or Jedi at all. 

D20 system was good for a “I want to do this ‘roll’, oh I guessed I failed/or succeeded”

ffg is “ok I try this ‘roll’, it failed/succeeded, but this also happened, and that bad thing happened, and this happened too. Do y’all get what I mean?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Revanchist117 said:

...so I just got back on this post today....and idk why armor came up as an issue lol. My core issues are these:

1.why should I play a game where I have to play based on multiple answers from dice? With ffg players GMs and players can potentially fudge story like crazy with bad positives and all the combos you can get, while saga it’s a “roll” yes or no answer and continue. 

2.its about the grid, the setup for me. I get that’s work people don’t like but it’s the main difference from sitting there telling stories to actually playing a game. I as a gm can give you a story and set up armies ready to take the party on the board. That’s how I want to play, but I don’t understand why FFG role play game doesn’t really have something like that.

idk I don’t like the prospect of people narrating and doing whatever they can based off of the dice rolls. That’s far more powerful than any ability or Jedi at all. 

D20 system was good for a “I want to do this ‘roll’, oh I guessed I failed/or succeeded”

You know there are rules in place for all of this. You can’t just do whatever you want and the GM is still the final arbiter. Just because a player wants to do something absurd that doesn’t mean the GM has to allow it. And, there are non-narrative ways to spend advantage and threat too. 

Also never had any issues playing on a map with miniatures. The starter sets all come with printed battle maps and tokens for a reason. The system works fine with or without them, just like D&D does.

I’m currently gming a Star Trek game using a custom d20 system based on 5e and, to be honest, FFGs combat is just as or more tactical than 5e in a lot of ways. It’s not 3e level of convoluted but FFGs SWRPG/Genesys system is a lot more tactical than people give credit.

For the record, I like both types of systems, but I wouldn’t bother with a non-ffg SWRPG. Loved KOTOR btw.

Edited by AnomalousAuthor

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Hey there.

Never posted before but saw the topic and wanted to chime in. Always been a pen and paper player. I can remember when D&D came in only one flavor. How many out there can say they played Metamorphosis Alpha?

I see a lot of discord over armor.

The d20 system is vague enough that you can allow for multiple interpretations. Hit Points are an abstract value for an abstract system. Armor is just as arbitrary in this sense. Does it absorb or deflect damage? Well, when you are "hit" by an attack, do Hit Points represent pure damage for your games or is it an abstraction of an ability to absorb, deflect or avoid damage? In my opinion the constant turn progression can become stale without the proper narration and player involvement. At our table, as long as the rules mechanic is followed, the weaving of it into the tapestry of the heroic journey is up to both GM and players, like using the D&D5e ruling on "Plot Points" for players to change the narrative any way they wish. In light of game changing moments like those, we try not to hung up on rule minutia. Armor in our games is only useful in the early stages until class bonuses surpass it for utility. Proficiency in armor for d20 never made sense to me either. 

"Wait, how can I use the armor wrong? Did I put my legs into the sleeves or something?"

To be honest, we couldn't get past it in the end and opted for a different gaming experience. I myself preferred more control and cinematic realism in my games and GURPS gave me those tools. (Gun-Fu is one of the best cinematic gaming supplements ever published!) It even boasts a cinematic rule called: "Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmenship Academy". Need I say more? Regardless, the source material we use is usually found in D20 Saga.

D20 will always hold a warm place in my heart but I must admit that I have no experience with FFG outside of AGOT2nd and LOTR2nd. I liked the SWCCG by Decipher but I discovered it after it died.

After D&D (Basic through 5e), Metamorphosis Alpha (which became Gamma World), TSR's Boot Hill and Top Secret, Every Palladium release ever (until Rifts went bipolar...), Villains and Vigilantes, James Bond, Twilight 2000, MERP (OH, the critical hits in that game were SOOOOOO brutal!!!), Runemaster, Star Frontiers (3 versions of it), Universe, Dune, countless tactical war simulation games that have names which escape my ability to recall (but the best one was a Desert Storm recreation game...loved it), Star Fleet Battles, Call of C'thulu, Paranoia (never finished a single mission ever but pound for pound, the most laughs in a gaming session of any game we ever played) plus a plethora of obscure titles and games most of you would have never heard of so I wouldn't call myself untested on this subject. At the end of the day its just opinion and I imagine the opinions of your players should trump any advice you get here.

Having said that, there is a lot of good advice here on both sides of the discussion...just saying.

Cheers.

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16 hours ago, Revanchist117 said:

...so I just got back on this post today....and idk why armor came up as an issue lol. My core issues are these:

1.why should I play a game where I have to play based on multiple answers from dice? With ffg players GMs and players can potentially fudge story like crazy with bad positives and all the combos you can get, while saga it’s a “roll” yes or no answer and continue. 

2.its about the grid, the setup for me. I get that’s work people don’t like but it’s the main difference from sitting there telling stories to actually playing a game. I as a gm can give you a story and set up armies ready to take the party on the board. That’s how I want to play, but I don’t understand why FFG role play game doesn’t really have something like that.

idk I don’t like the prospect of people narrating and doing whatever they can based off of the dice rolls. That’s far more powerful than any ability or Jedi at all. 

D20 system was good for a “I want to do this ‘roll’, oh I guessed I failed/or succeeded”

ffg is “ok I try this ‘roll’, it failed/succeeded, but this also happened, and that bad thing happened, and this happened too. Do y’all get what I mean?

The key difference between D20 and FFG is that D20 is more "roll" play, miniatures combat game, with every little thing covered by a mess of convoluted rules that determine specifically what a character can and can't do, even when such a limitation doesn't make logical sense. It's not about the story, it's about how many powerful monsters can you kill, and how much treasure and magic can you acquire. By contrast, FFG's system is more "role"-play. The focus is on the narrative created by the players and GM. The dice are there to facilitate the story, not merely determine success or failure. If you want miniatures combat, then play Star Wars Legion

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On 12/23/2018 at 12:49 PM, Tyberius_Deangelo said:

So, my questions is:  Besides the dice systems, how is Saga Edition and FFG's version of Star Wars different in terms of capturing the feeling of the universe, the narrative, and/or any thing that either system did better on when comparing the two systems, whether that be using the Force in the game, balancing Force users with non-Force users combat, space combat, etc?  After all these years, I am just curious what people think of Star Wars now with FFG compared to what Wizards did with Star Wars in Saga Edition.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

1

I have to be upfront. I don't like Saga Edition (nor D20 for anything other than D&D). Now that I mention that, and  I try my best not to talk trash of rules I don't like.

As many mentioned, I also noticed that Saga has more disparity between Jedi / No-Jedi.

For new players/GM I think is easier to make mistakes or fall in traps at character creation, since it requires a greater system mastery. Note that this is also possible in FFG Star Wars, but it has a lesser impact. I also consider that this might not be a problem at all for you or your table.
 

On 3/16/2019 at 9:19 PM, Revanchist117 said:

1.why should I play a game where I have to play based on multiple answers from dice? With ffg players GMs and players can potentially fudge story like crazy with bad positives and all the combos you can get, while saga it’s a “roll” yes or no answer and continue. 

What you see as a "fudge story" element, it's considered in several newer game (post Saga edition) as the desired effect. You can see it in several systems as Yes/No - But/and.

On 3/16/2019 at 9:19 PM, Revanchist117 said:

D20 system was good for a “I want to do this ‘roll’, oh I guessed I failed/or succeeded”

ffg is “ok I try this ‘roll’, it failed/succeeded, but this also happened, and that bad thing happened, and this happened too. Do y’all get what I mean?

I understand what you mean. And I think it works just as intended.

But I get it. its not your cup of tea.

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On 12/26/2018 at 9:58 AM, Bellona said:

Saga had plenty of era-specific books: the Old Republic (KotOR era; this one was in high demand and went quickly out of print), Clone Wars, Force Unleashed (a bit OTT, but definitely covering the earlier years of the Empire), Rebellion Era, and Legacy Era. There were also tidbits about other periods tucked away in various rulebooks (like Mara Jade, Odan-Urr, and Nomi Sunrider in the Jedi Academy sourcebook). All from the old Expanded Universe canon.

While FFG's different core rulebooks do indeed have different flavours, FFG so far has not done much in the way of era-specific sourcebooks. Dawn of Rebellion is one (based on the Rebels animated series which is part of the new canon). Rise of the Separatists is coming next year (2019; supposed to be focused on the early Clone Wars), but we don't know yet how much it covers.

Saga: Lots of different eras covered, heavily favouring Force Users

FFG: Rebellion Era heavily covered, favouring non Force Users

Speaking as someone who has an amazing range of Star Wars Miniatures, I still prefer FFG's system. One thing both systems are great at are the quality of the books. The Saga book covers have an amazing feel, and the FFG books look great on the inside and outside.

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11 hours ago, Whiz Canmaj said:

FFG: Rebellion Era heavily covered, favouring non Force Users

I disagree. FFG made a good job at balancing the game so Force users aren't  more favored than non-Force users.

But since I've never played or mastered any games with WEG D6, D20 or Saga systems I can't tell which one is the best for Star Wars.

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FFG has a more balanced approach with Force users and non-Force users in that a 300 XP F&D character is about as good as a 300 XP AoR/EotE character.

Canonically, Force users have a huge advantage over everyone else. So by comparison to the lore, I would say that FFG favors non-Force users.

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Posted (edited)

I've played D&D with use of original Boxed Set, Basic, Expert, AD&D, Arduin Grimorie, 3.0, and 3.5. I've played Star Wars using WEG, d20, Saga, Traveller, and FFG. My personal opinion is FFG is by far the best to use for Star Wars. Most balanced, best feel, for me.

typo edit

Edited by Sturn

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18 hours ago, Sturn said:

I've played D&D with use of original Boxed Set, Basic, Expert, AD&D, Arduin Grimorie, 3.0, and 3.5. I've played Star Wars using WEG, d20, Saga, Traveller, and FFG. My personal opinion is FFG is by far the best to use for Star Wars. Most balanced, best feel, for me.

typo edit

I have had almost the exact experience of gaming Star Wars that Sturn has and I have come to the same conclusion.

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On 3/20/2019 at 11:11 AM, Yaccarus said:

Canonically, Force users have a huge advantage over everyone else. So by comparison to the lore, I would say that FFG favors non-Force users.

I don't think so.  Force users still need to spend time learning...while they learn to move stuff with their mind, others are taking up sharp-shooting or diplomacy.  Any "advantage" Force users have is only in regards to how much training they've been doing.  Younglings in the temple are earning hundreds of XP before they even get knighted.  The game, however, is set up to start people at "equivalent levels of prior experience", so in that regard I think FFG did it right.

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On 3/20/2019 at 11:11 AM, Yaccarus said:

Canonically, Force users have a huge advantage over everyone else. So by comparison to the lore, I would say that FFG favors non-Force users.

That. . . depends greatly.

Legends authors got into the really bad habit of taking Vader's "The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force" entirely too literally, and came up with wacky, insane, super-duper crazy uses of the Force to make it an all-solving hammer for whatever corner they wrote the characters into.  In particular, I remember the Mon Calamaria healer in the Jedi Academy trilogy curing Mon Mothma's poisoning by literally pulling the poison out of her body with the Force a molecule at a time.  Also, I think it was Jaina in The Crystal Star creating light in her darkened cell by using the Force to rub air molecules together to the point where they glowed (never mind that I'm pretty sure that's not how friction and gasses work, when you have a preteen Jedi literally casting Light like a D&D wizard, you have a problem).  And let's not even discuss the Force Storms in Dark Empire (or anything about Dark Empire, really).

Come the Hand of Thrawn novels, Timothy Zahn had a problem.  The other writers had made Luke, and by extension other Jedi, physical gods to the point where nothing could challenge them.  He couldn't straight-up retcon this level of Force use and say it's not possible, since it was part of the canon he was writing in.  So instead he decided to examine what the Force is, what it means, and what such unbearably over-the-top uses of it do to someone.  He posited that using the Force as an all-solving hammer is dramatically, comically missing the point of what the Force is.  Sure, you can tear a Star Destroyer in half with the proper use of telekinesis, but by using the Force so blatantly, so actively, you drown out its more subtle nudgings and urgings, the little pushes and flashes of insight it gives you, which are in their own way just as or more valuable.  On the more mundane note, deciding that the answer to every problem is "Use the Force" means devaluing it and not looking for solutions to problems that don't involve the Force.  You become overreliant on it, and can't solve problems without it.  And a non-Force powered solution might be a better one, but you don't stop to think about that.

If the Prequels did nothing else, it struck a heavy blow to the idea that all Jedi are superpowered physical gods.  We see plenty of them die to ordinary folks, even spindly, useless little battle droids.  Yes, Jedi can do amazing things, but not all Jedi are created equal, not all of them are equally good at everything, and everyone had vulnerabilities and blind spots.  The Jedi characters we follow in the film are practically invincible not because they're Jedi, but because they're the characters we're following in the film.  Han Solo has the exact same power of survival that Yoda, Obi-Wan, and Anakin do. . . Plot Armor.  Jedi are not, and arguably have never been presented as, superpowered gods untouchable by mere mortals.

In the context of a role-playing game, this becomes even more important.  You don't want one character type to be demonstrably better than another, so all players can play the characters they want and contribute to the group's overall success.  And Star Wars RPGs have struggled with that constantly.  Even back in d6, as amazing as Force powers could be, the experience investiture was steep and the multitasking rules absolutely punishing, making Jedi a bit underpowered compared to non-Jedi. . . until they really hit their stride.  Come the d20 games, and. . . well, it changed so much it's hard to say for sure, but overall, Jedi were fairly well-balanced compared to others.  Saga did it almost perfectly. . . save for the horrible multiattack rules. . . and really drove home that heroic characters are powerful because they're heroic characters, not because of sensitivity to the Force or lack of same.  The Force Power Suite, in particular, was an ingenious method to both eat a Jedi's character build resources and limit their powers compared to non-Force characters without being too limiting or feel like you're being punished for playing a Jedi.  You spent a feat to add a selection of Force Powers to your Force Power Suite, and could use those powers once per encounter.  When the encounter was over, all your used Force Powers came back into your Suite (and there were a few ways to put Force Powers back in the Suite during an encounter).  It helped the character decide for themselves if they wanted to focus on "Force Wizardry" or more straighforward lightsaberage, or do a little of both.  And while the Jedi was burning feats on Force Powers, the non-Jedi were burning feats on things to make them more capable in their chosen roles.

FFG also does a really good balance job, though it kind of annoys me personally.  With every Force Power requiring XP to purchase, and to purchase additions for it, it becomes very difficult to have a Jedi that has access to a broad range of Force powers, usually only specializing in one or two, and maybe picking up some utility with a few more.  And by the time the Jedi has done that, other characters have a talent tree filled out and a Signature Ability maxxed and probably picked up another spec or two, so it all evens out.  But the true beauty of the FFG system is its flexibility with the narrative dice.  If you want a more gritty, realistic tone like the OT, narrate the characters actions and Advantages and Threats in line with that.  If you want to replicate the trailer movies for Star Wars:  The Old Republic, narrate their actions in line with that faster-paced, more epic style.  If you want to go full-out Force Unleashed, go for it.  The rules don't have to change at all (maybe for Force Unleashed), but it's all in how you narrate it.

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