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TalkingMuffin

The Lightsaber Skill: What should it do?

34 posts in this topic

Jon D said:

Except that they are so rare and expensive under the current rules that you don't need a deterent..  Except through GM fait, you sure as hell aren't starting with one, and you can almost buy a full up starship for what one would cost.

 

And if your players either go through the massive amount of trouble or save their centi-creds to actually buy one on the black market some how?

 

Let them use it without to much trouble.  Melee combat is a distant second to ranged combat, and the extra difficulty dice is going to show.  SO let them get thier glowly cheese stick on.

First, there are reasons other than deterrence to add mechanics that allow the lightsaber to harm the wielder, like representing what has previously been written about the weapon, or further separating it from other melee weapons.  We can have a mechanical-stat-balance discussion about it, or we can have a whats-representative discussion about it.

Or we can have one conversation with both lines, as long as one isn't selectively ignored to make a point.

Second, the WEG designers gave the lightsaber both a 4X availability rating ("you ain't getting one without pissing somone off.  A lot") and the injurious-to-wielder quality, so we're not the first ones to think it may need both to represent the weapon.

-WJL

 

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Jon D said:

Since there has never been a character in a movie that's hurt themselves using a  lightsaber, encluding Han Solo, I don't see the point.

 

Then again, I never bought into the idea that a lightsaber was ever that inherently dangerous to use, since Luke managed to spar with remotes with less than a few hours pratice without chopping his own leg off.

I think this is a pretty weak argument for not having a risk of injuring yourself with a lightsaber.  

By this argument, since we never saw a heavy blaster pistol run out of ammo, there's no justification for HBPs to be more apt to run out of ammo than other weapons, but we have rules for it in the core beta text.  This is kind of a strawman, but I'm still not aware of that ever being questioned.

Beyond that, I had intended to indicate my write up of the Challenging quality that it would only be active when making attacks, so most of the places where characters are untrained or poorly trained and using sabers would still not have any chance of harming themselves.  I think this is implicit by the fact that I refer to the the wielder as 'attacker', but it should made explicit.  I will strive to make that clearer in future write-ups

Really, lets look at the places where lightsabers are used in the OT:

ANH:

  • Luke swinging around the saber in Obi-wan's crib.  No rolls (not attacking), so no reasonable risk for self-injury.
  • Obi-wan disarms an Aqualish in a bar.  Literally.  Obi-wan is a boss.
  • Luke training with remotes on the Faclon.  Luke is not attacking anything, and I think that was more of a force exercise, specifically using the "Danger Sense" control upgrade of the Sense force power.
  • Vader and Obi-Wan dueling on the first Death Star.  Obi-wan is a boss.  Vader's pimp-hand is strong.

NOTE: I don't think Luke uses the lightsaber for offense ONCE in this whole film.

 

ESB:

  • Luke disarms a wampa on Hoth.  Literally.  This is maybe the one time we could see Luke hurt himself.  He probably has at least one rank in Lightsaber by this point.
  • Han cuts open a DEAD Tauntaun on Hoth.  No rolls since he's not attacking, so no reasonable risk for self-injury.
  • Luke's showdown with Vader in the cave on Dagobah.  Its a vision, so no reasonable risk for self-injury.
  • Luke's showdown with Vader on Bespin.  I'd vote that Luke has two ranks of lightsaber skill and no reasonable risk for self-injury.  Vader's pimp-hand remains strong..

NOTE: Did Yoda ever have Luke train with the lightsaber?

RotJ:

Luke his rocking the saber this whole movie (Sail barge, Endor, Death Star the second), and is at least a match for Vader at the finale.  No reason to beleive that there is ever a reasonable risk for self-injury.   Vader's pimp-hand remains strong, until he loses it.

So, unless I forgot something in the OT, there is one instance where self-injury may have been a risk*: the Wampa fight.  Because it didn't happen there doesn't mean there wasn't a risk.  

*risk of self-injury from despair, based on my proposed write up.

I could extend this counter-point to the prequels, but I think I can sum that up in the following three points:

  • I don't believe that there's any example of someone even holding a lightsaber that didn't have extensive training.
  • Screw the prequels.
  • Seriously, f*ck'em.

So, as easily as you can make the arguement:

 

Jon D said:

Since there has never been a character in a movie that's hurt themselves using a  lightsaber, encluding Han Solo, I don't see the point.

We can just as easily counter with logic internal to the SW universe:

"We do not see anyone injure themselves with a lightsaber because lightsabers are so dangerous, untrained individuals tend to avoid them."

To extend this argument outside SW, black powder weapons can be dangerous to the shooter, but that danger can be mitigated by training and skill, allowing the weapons to be safely operated.  If we were to create an RPG with black-powder weapons based on a revolutionary war movie, we may find it appropriate to a Challenging rating to these weapons, even if we never saw one of these weapons misfire and injure the shooter in the movie. In fact, the "internal logic" argument could be even stronger if we only saw skilled soldiers shooting (and therefore, are not at risk of self injury), instead of untrained peasants.

Now, neither of these arguments definitively proves Lightsabers should be dangerous to the wielder, but that was never the point.  The point is simply to point out the fallacy in the original counter to my write up, that since it was not directly seen, it is not appropriate for inclusion.  

I would love to see this included in later errata/rules, but it's not needed.  Players and GMs should decide for themselves.

-WJL

 

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The only real reason there is anything about lightsabers being dangerous to wield is that WEG needed some mechanic to keep non-jedi from using them. They were worried that lightsabers were too powerful and not "in theme"* with the Star Wars universe.

I don't really see those as compelling arguments, myself.  

 

*which is funny, considering how much material they created whole-cloth

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Doc, the Weasel said:

The only real reason there is anything about lightsabers being dangerous to wield is that WEG needed some mechanic to keep non-jedi from using them. They were worried that lightsabers were too powerful and not "in theme"* with the Star Wars universe.

I don't really see those as compelling arguments, myself.  

 

*which is funny, considering how much material they created whole-cloth

Thats one possible reason why they did it, yes.

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A side note to the "increased difficulty to use lightsabers" topic that may (or may not) be of interest…

Over on the d20 Radio Forums, GM Chris mentioned that his group felt that lightsaber battles were over too quickly, and that such combats were less cinematic and more about who got in the first hit, since a decent attack roll would chew through the target's Wounds in a single hit and/or leave them with a pretty nasty critical hit.

One of the suggestions made was to replace the standard 2 Difficulty dice for attacking with a lightsaber with 2 Challenge Dice, with the intent that this would prolong lightsaber duels.  Now this had nothing to do with lightsabers being difficult to use (which I think is already covered by the fact they need a separate non-career skill that has to be approved by the GM to even exist in the first place), but rather making it so lightsaber combats lasted more than one or two rounds between duelists.  One of the posters (CrimsonSteel) was going to try it out along with a modified "Gain the Advantage" action suggested by another poster, but I don't think he's posted his results as of yet.

I'm not a proponent of such a change, but just throwing it out there.

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Saber vs Saber is a whole differant level of complexity.  all of the great star wars lightsaber duels ended with someone maimed, dead, or becoming one with the force. (ignoring Yoda vs anyone).  otherwise the trained saber user is the ultimate weapon against non-saber wielding foes.  Unless your something with a duel-auto firing blasters and can keep the saber weilder stuck on defensive and it is a draw.  I dont think any RPG except maybe "Lace and Steel" can do it justice.

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This is a cinematic system. Nothing says that the single roll represents 6 seconds of time unlike other game systems. That single roll, or pairs of rolls could easily be the culmination of a room shattering throwdown between two opponents. It's all how you describe the combat from the rolls, or even before any rolls are made.

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If I recall, there are few non-jedi users of lightsabers out there. Certain places of the EU I believe.

I always assumed the real reason that non-jedi usually didn't pick one up was in a galaxy of ranged blaster weapons they were useless to someone without the force. As without the force you don't the reaction speed or "magic" to block ranged weapons.  Hence really on a battle field they would be relatively useless as the person would most likely be mowed down by blaster fire if they started to charge a battle line. (Enough Jedi would have this happen to them if facing lots of blaster bolts.)

Also the fact that you needed the force to create them, they were controlled production and really to get one you'd either have to get a force-sensitive to make one or take one from a dead one. (A task in itself.)

Just my two cents.

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Donovan Morningfire said:

A side note to the "increased difficulty to use lightsabers" topic that may (or may not) be of interest…

Over on the d20 Radio Forums, GM Chris mentioned that his group felt that lightsaber battles were over too quickly, and that such combats were less cinematic and more about who got in the first hit, since a decent attack roll would chew through the target's Wounds in a single hit and/or leave them with a pretty nasty critical hit.

One of the suggestions made was to replace the standard 2 Difficulty dice for attacking with a lightsaber with 2 Challenge Dice, with the intent that this would prolong lightsaber duels.  Now this had nothing to do with lightsabers being difficult to use (which I think is already covered by the fact they need a separate non-career skill that has to be approved by the GM to even exist in the first place), but rather making it so lightsaber combats lasted more than one or two rounds between duelists.  One of the posters (CrimsonSteel) was going to try it out along with a modified "Gain the Advantage" action suggested by another poster, but I don't think he's posted his results as of yet.

I'm not a proponent of such a change, but just throwing it out there.

kinnison said:

Saber vs Saber is a whole differant level of complexity.  all of the great star wars lightsaber duels ended with someone maimed, dead, or becoming one with the force. (ignoring Yoda vs anyone).  otherwise the trained saber user is the ultimate weapon against non-saber wielding foes.  Unless your something with a duel-auto firing blasters and can keep the saber weilder stuck on defensive and it is a draw.  I dont think any RPG except maybe "Lace and Steel" can do it justice.

Kallabecca said:

This is a cinematic system. Nothing says that the single roll represents 6 seconds of time unlike other game systems. That single roll, or pairs of rolls could easily be the culmination of a room shattering throwdown between two opponents. It's all how you describe the combat from the rolls, or even before any rolls are made.

So I've been thinking about these comments for the last few days.  

First off, the purpose of the 'Challenging' quality has absolutely nothing to do with the length/complexity/quality/etc of lightsaber duels, but I see how it is relevant, albeit tangentially.

Second, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever the EotE game needs or should have a lightsaber duel resolution mechanism.  This system is not designed to accomdate Jedi.  If whining about how Jedi aren't in the game is ridiculous, then not being able to support lightsaber duels is even more absurd.  

In fact, NO purpose built star wars RPG has done an acceptable job of representing a lightsaber duel. Ever.   one doesn't mean it can't have one.

However, just because EotE doesn't need a system for lightsaber duels doesn't mean it can't have a system for resolving duels (not just lightsabers) In fact, I believe this system has the best chance yet of representing saber duels and this is a perfect place to invoke the games narrative structure for a solution.  

The Beta text describes "Competitive Rolls" on pg 21.  Since duels typically involve two opponents, making almost simultaneous checks in a contest to kill/bloody/maim/best each other, I think this could be fanastic way to resolve lightsaber duels within the currenty existing framework of the game.  And not just lightsaber duels, it could also be used for duels with pistols, vibroswords, lightfoils, and others.  

A few simple rules for resolution, combined with the narrative dice outcomes, and the system has everything it needs to generate a dynamic and exciting combat scenario.

So, yeah, competitive checks for lightsaber duels is one thing the lightsaber skill could do.

-WJL

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