Star Wars: Champions of the Light
Improving Characteristics During Play
The core rulebooks do not allow increasing Characteristics with XP during gameplay and may only be increased by purchasing specific Talents. I feel this is too confining and promotes players creating shallow characters by putting most of their Starting XP into Characteristics. Characteristic improvements should be available to any character willing to devote the time and energy into it. Therefore Characteristics may be improved during play, but you may spend a total of no more than your original Starting XP value on Characteristics – that is the XP granted to you by your Species selection. Note that increasing Characteristics in this manner will also improve their Derived Attributes (Wound and Strain Thresholds), just as if they had purchased them during creation. I feel this will allow more flavorful starting characters because points will not be thrown only into Characteristics at creation since they can be improved throughout development, but still maintain the cap intended by the developers. No Characteristic can be increased higher than 6 regardless of how it was increased.
When a map is used during play in Fantasy Grounds it will function as a visual cue to the environment and layout of an area. However, narrative play will be the standard even in this circumstance. To simplify player understanding of movement options the following rules will apply:
- Sections will be created on the map to represent general “zones” of activity.
- Each zone is assumed to allow all the narrative rules, actions, and maneuvers per RAW unless otherwise stated. Stated changes will be applied as aspects to that particular zone, or perhaps all zones in the scene. (i.e. Darkness, Fog, Poison Gas, Difficult Terrain, etc.)
- Moving between zones costs one Move maneuver each.
- Shooting across zones will equate to the following values:
- Same Zone = Short Range
- One Zone Away (Adjacent Zone) = Medium Range
- Two to Three Zones Away = Long Range
- Four or More Zones Away = Extreme Range
- To Engage with a character, you must be in the same zone (Short Range) and use an additional move to Engage with them as per RAW. This will be annotated on the map by placing character tokens adjacent to each other. To break Engagement, you must use a move maneuver. This will place you at short range and in the same zone.
- If a zone primarily contains difficult terrain it will be marked and/or described as such with the following movement modifications:
- Moving into the zone takes a single maneuver as usual. However, exiting the zone takes two maneuvers which must be used during the same turn and not divided between turns.
- An Athletics or Coordination check may be made as a standard action, like most skill checks. Success will allow you to leave the zone with a single move maneuver. Failure, grants no reduced movement cost. Either way, the Action for the round will be consumed by the task of concentrating on overcoming the terrain. Force powers can be used in conjunction with the skill checks if stated as such in the power without the need for additional Actions.
- If a character is described as guarding an entrance of limited size the following modifications apply:
- You must Engage with the character with a Maneuver. You must defeat your opponent with an Opposed check. You must disengage with another maneuver. Failure to succeed at the opposed check prohibits you from disengaging beyond your opponent, however you may disengage to your previous position if desired. Successfully moving past a blocking character essentially equates to a full round utilizing two maneuvers and an action.
- Triggering the above event while in a “Guarded Stance” grants on the opposed check.
- All zones are assumed to have some sort of cover available unless the GM describes the zone as barren and thus negating the “take cover” option. Despite errata altering the effects of cover, for my games it will be stated as such: "Cover increases the character’s ranged defense by 1”. This means that it stacks with other forms of ranged defense.
The following Maneuvers and Actions are modified:
Gain the Advantage
Pilot Only: Yes
Silhouette: 1 -4
Speed: 4 +
… If the check succeeds, the pilot ignores all penalties imposed by his own and his opponent’s use of the Evasive Maneuvers starship maneuver until the end of his following turn. In addition, the pilot also chooses which defense zone he hits with his attack and may select a single fire arc (fore, aft, starboard, port, dorsal, or ventral) which his opponent may not use to fire upon him. The defensive zone and fire arc may not coincide. If he fails his check, he fails to Gain the Advantage from the attempt and still suffers the effects of any Evasive Maneuvers. Once the advantage has been gained, on the following turn the opponent may attempt to cancel out the advantage by using Gain the Advantage as well. This works as described earlier, but his check is one step more difficult for each time he or his opponent has successfully Gained the Advantage against the other.
Using the Force
Using a dark Force pip no longer REQUIRES flipping a Destiny token. However, each dark pip used during a Force check inflicts 2 Strain and 2 Conflict. You may flip a single Destiny token for the entire Force check, if desired, to reduce the cost of each dark pip used to 1 Strain and 1 Conflict. This rule applies to Light pips for Dark side users.
Force Move: Range Upgrade
The range upgrades increase the range that you can start affecting objects. However, the distance that the object can be moved in a single turn remains at short range (1-10 yards). Lifting an object against gravity is more difficult than moving it horizontally. When lifting an object, movement is halved (limited to 1-5 yards per round). Maintaining the Move Power so that an object can travel farther without coming to rest requires a sustained action, which is represented by Commiting the Force dice used to generate the initial effect. Maintaining Force Move generates Strain, equal to the Silhouette of the object(s).
Bonus XP can be obtained by providing character histories and biographies on Obsidian Portal. Session summaries or character journals will also provide Bonus XP. XP gained this way can only be distributed to the character it pertains to.
Plot Twist Cards
One card shall be granted from the combined decks for every “chapter” or major scene change. You may only have 1 card at a time. When a new “chapter” or major scene begins, a new card will be dealt to each player and the old card will be discarded if the player has not used it yet. All cards must be surrendered upon a character’s death and can’t be retained for replacement characters. New (and replacement) characters to the campaign will begin with a single card and gain additional cards as stated above. Players may swap cards if desired, but they may not give them away.
You may “spend” a card to select from the “mechanical bonus”* or one of the four plot twists presented on the card. Roleplaying and story-telling will be expected to explain how the player envisions the event forming, occurring, and, if applicable, a proposed outcome. The GM reserves the right to reject a suggestion, partially or in full, if it would negatively impact the progression of the game or does not fit the situation, though this should be rare. This is an opportunity for the player to inject new elements – person, place, thing, or idea – or challenges into the plot that they would find interesting without having to use Destiny.
*The “mechanical bonus” stated on each card is designed for the d20 system and may not have a direct translation. However, when possible a similar effect can be arranged with the GM using the following guidelines:
|+2 bonus grants and -2 penalty grants .|
|+5 bonus grants and -5 penalty grants .|
|+10 bonus grants and -10 penalty grants .|
|+20 bonus grants and -20 penalty grants .|
Additionally, you may spend a to draw from the deck and immediately select an option from the card to explain what additional effect the action had on events. If the player can not apply an effect from the card at that time then the card is discarded.
Traits as Aspects
Duty, Obligation, and Morality already have a method for the GM to call them into play with significant influence on the plot and benefits. Motivations provide a XP benefit if adhered to but there is no solid method of calling them into play or having them affect the narrative beyond the whim of the GM. Backgrounds lay down the framework of the character but they provide no benefit at all beyond the narrative history of the character.
Destiny provides a method and currency for players to inject narrative elements or provide mechanical advantages but they have no relation to any of the character’s core concepts.
I wish to provide a method for the player or GM to call upon these core components of the character’s being. This will function similar to Aspects in Fate Core RPG. Backgrounds, Motivations, Duty, Moral Strengths & Weaknesses, and Obligation all create Aspects of the character that can be Invoked or Compelled. The Aspect must apply to the current situation and the player or GM must explain their reasoning behind it along with the proposed benefit or risk. If the Aspect does not apply or the reasoning proves faulty then the Aspect can not be called upon. This does not replace proper roleplaying of the character’s traits. This simply provides a method to gain additional benefit or force a hindrance, if warranted or for a situation and is stated in the following formats.
- I/You have ____ and am/are in ____ situation, so it makes sense that ____ would happen.
- I/You have ____ and am/are in ____ situation, so it makes sense that I’d/you’d decide to ____ even though ____.
- I/You have ____ and am/are in ____ situation, so it makes sense that I’d/you’d know about ____ , granting me ____ benefit.
Players may Invoke the Aspect to create a positive outcome that assists the character for the duration of the scene it applies to. This can either be a narrative effect or a mechanical bonus of if it relates to an event requiring a dice roll. If the GM approves the Invocation then proceed, or he may deny the Invocation and flip a Destiny token from Dark to Light and the proposed event doesn’t happen.
The GM may Compel an Aspect to create a negative outcome that hinders the character for the duration of the scene it applies to. This can either be a narrative effect or a mechanical penalty of if it relates to an event requiring a dice roll. If the player accepts the Compel then proceed, or if he doesn’t want to be subject to the Compel he can flip a Destiny token from Light to Dark and the proposed event doesn’t happen. Note that a player may Compel himself voluntarily before the GM attempts to force it. This is simply good roleplaying and will be rewarded with either a Destiny token or a Plot card for use during the current session if brought to the GMs attention.
Example Aspect Usage
I have a Duty to provide Political Support to the rebellion, so it makes sense that I would be acquainted with the public information about the governor of this system.
The player Invokes his Duty as he establishes that his character is familiar with the local governor, negating any need to make skill checks to establish knowledge of public information.
I have a Background of being Poor and Hungry and am searching for salvageable materials, so it makes sense that I would know about Survival granting me on my skill checks.
The player Invokes his background to give himself a boost on a skill check.
You have the droid rights Motivation while a droid is being pushed around by the bar patrons, so it makes sense that you’d decide to stop them even though they outnumber you.
The player must accept the Compel, even though this may not be the wisest choice, or else flip a Destiny token to Dark for the GM to use later.
You have an Obligation of a Gambling Debt to Teemo the Hutt and are being offered a seat at a game of Sabaac, so it makes sense that you have a gambling problem and really want to play, giving you as you try to tell yourself you have better things to do.
The player must accept this Compel and make a roll to resist taking a seat at a penalty, or else flip a Destiny token to Dark for the GM to use later.
I have the Moral Weakness of Jealousy and that smuggler is trying to pick up my girl, therefore it makes sense that I’d go start a fight.
The player does a self-compel before the GM has a chance to suggest it, therefore he gets to either flip a Destiny token to Light or draw a Plot card for use during the current session. (Note that in particularly meaningful situations with significant risk and roleplaying this could also grant bonus XP.)
The adventure Under a Black Sun provides rules for simulating sabacc games. Given the flexibility of those rules, it seems like a good idea to provide guidelines for the typical stakes in such games. In this way, characters who are skilled gamblers are likely to win lower-stakes games, but face a much greater challenge when more money is on the line.
|Difficulty Level||Easy ()||Average ()||Hard ()||Daunting ()||Impossible ()|
|Typical Stakes||1 credit||10 credits||100 credits||1,000 credits||10,000 credits|
The following rules can be used to simulate one round of a game:
- The table agrees on a wager, and each player pays this amount into the pot.
- Use Cool to establish a base dice pool.
- The GM adds Difficulty dice () to the player’s dice pool based on the difficulty of the game and the skill of the opponents.
- The player rolls the dice pool, leaving the dice on the table. He then rolls a single Force die () to illustrate the shifting nature of the cards’ signs. For each dark side symbol (), one Success () and one Advantage () are converted into a Failure () and Threat (), respectively. Conversely, each light side symbol () changes one Failure () and one Threat () into a Success () and Advantage (), respectively.
- To cheat, a character instead uses his Deception or Skulduggery. Upgrade the difficulty of the skill check once. On a Despair symbol (), the PC is caught cheating, and gambling immediately stops to resolve the discovery.
- On a Success (), the PC wins back his wager. For each additional Success (), he wins another wager’s worth from the pot.
- On a Failure (), the PC loses his wager. For each additional Failure (), he loses another wager’s worth from the pot as he struggles to stay in the game.
Spending Advantage, Triumph, Threat & Despair in Gambling
|Recover 1 strain as one of the cards in your hands unexpectedly flips in your favor.|
|Add a Boost die to your next roll as you successfully bluff.|
|Figure out an opponent’s tells and downgrade the difficulty of your next roll once.|
|Reveal a winning hand and win the entire pot (determined by the GM, but generally 5x your initial wager).|
|Suffer 1 strain as one of the cards in your hand unexpectedly flips, forcing you to change your strategy.|
|Add a Setback die to your next roll as you fall for an opponent’s bluff.|
|You lose your ability to concentrate on the game, upgrading the difficulty of your next roll once.|
|If you aren’t cheating, you bomb out, run out of chips, or are otherwise ejected from the game. You lose your entire pot (determined by the GM, but generally 5x the initial wager).|
Morality may apply to any character regardless of their force sensitivity. All living beings influence and are influenced by the Force, as well as follow a general moral code. Changes to Morality will be determined by rolling a Simple (-) Discipline check instead of a d10. This more accurately reflects the effects of a character’s training and focus to repel the temptations of the dark side. Conflict (detailed below) is subtracted from the number of successes generated on the roll and this net value is the amount that Morality is adjusted up or down. The adjective describing one’s moral standard and the typical moral guidelines that would be considered questionable behavior at each mechanical increment can be summed up in the chart below.
|Moral Rank||Morality Score||Moral Standards||Moral Guideline|
|9||90-99||Compassionate||Minor selfish acts (lying for personal gain, cheating, coercion/threatening, stealing for personal gain)|
|8||80-89||Caring||Injury to another, except for self defense (physical or mental, accidental or otherwise, needlessly bloodthirsty)|
|7||70-79||Normal||Theft (stealing from the innocent)|
|6||60-69||Distant||Accidental violation (property damage, death)|
|5||50-59||Removed||Intentional violation (property damage, torture/maiming)|
|4||40-49||Unfeeling||Impassioned violation (manslaughter, killing in frenzy)|
|3||30-39||Cold||Planned violation (outright murder)|
|2||20-29||Bestial||Casual violation (mass killing, thoughtless mutilation and sadism leading to death)|
|1||10-19||Horrific||Utter perversion or heinous acts|
|0||0-9||Demonic||No moral values; Must sleep, must eat, must kill|
Conflict can be generated in several ways:
- Using dark side results to generate Force points when activating a Force power or Force talent. Any time a character uses one or more Dark Side results to generate Force Points, he accumulates 2 Conflict per Dark Side result used. This can be reduced to 1 Conflict per Dark Side result used if a Destiny Token is flipped.
- Performing certain narrative actions as detailed in the chart above. The amount of conflict gained is dependent on the character’s current Moral Rank and the act performed. Performing an act falling within the moral guideline boundaries of your own rank or above generates no Conflict. Performing acts below your own moral guideline generates Conflict exponentially. To determine the amount of Conflict subtract the Moral Rank of the act from your own Moral Rank and square the result. If you did not perform the act but you are an accomplice through knowing inaction, halve the difference before squaring it. (You can never take less than 1 Conflict through knowing inaction.)
- Generating certain results when failing a fear check. When a Force-sensitive Player Character fails a fear check, the GM can choose to have the PC suffer a number of Conflict equal to the difficulty of the check instead of the normal penalties. Generating Despair on a fear check may cause this to happen automatically, and may have other effects as well.
Sometimes a PC wants to attempt an action when the result of it won’t be known for some time. To reflect this, the player will roll the skill check using ability and proficiency dice, and the GM will note it just like when determining initiative order at the start of combat. Later, once it becomes necessary to know if the PC succeeded, the GM will generate the difficulty and challenge dice and roll against the recorded result. In this way, the character is left wondering how he did—but he’ll learn the result soon enough. Any advantage/threat or triumph/despair results that might occur can be interpreted at that time.
An example of this would be if a PC defeated some bounty hunters pursuing him. That character could try to falsify some evidence that he’d been killed in an attempt to fool the being who’d put the bounty on his head. He wouldn’t know whether or not the effort was successful until some time later.