View Full Version : Interesting thought: SW SAGA/D&D4th/ToB hybrid -- ToB refresh question!

2011-08-04, 12:55 AM
Well, right now my group is playing the Dresden Files RPG, but because of how things go we get times where we can't game. Usually it is because someone can't make it, and we find it too awkward to adapt to that on the fly.

So I thought I'd run a Star Wars game when that happens, with reasons why someone might suddenly disappear.

We have all the SW SAGA books, but I find it has some of the major balance problems of 3rd Edition. My group didn't like 4th Edition all that much, though it has some good elements. For instance, 4th edition does a great job at getting rid of MAD, and Healing Surges are a nice mechanic for limiting healing. It also has a generally better skill system.

Well, that's easy enough to incorporate into SAGA. So I made weapon finesse free (I figure the lack of strength to damage and limited weapon selection is sufficient in melee). I use the paired defensive stats of 4th Edition. Use The Force uses the highest mental stat of the character. Partly because of that, you don't get extra skills for a high intelligence. I'm probably going to adapt the 4th Edition use of constitution for health (add con directly to health at 1st level, do not add its modifier to health after that, the modifier does increase the number of healing surges you have).

For skills, I then split up most of the knowledge subsections into other skills, combined the rest into one skill (Galactic Lore), split social perception into Insight (allowing the higher of both to avoid surprise), split intimidation and persuasion, combined jump/swim/climb into athletics, and made a couple of other tweaks.

Beyond that I current have defenses start at 15, proficiency with a weapon give +5 to hit, no skill focus, and skills/attack/defense advance a 1/2 Character Level. That way skill-based attacks are roughly balanced with weapon-based ones. Yeah, I know I need to figure out a method to allow skills to get small bonuses to "hit" like weapons can or they'll be underpowered.

So, what I have left is figuring out what to do with force powers. They aren't well balanced with the rest of the game, nor are they well balanced with each other. They ARE cool, but I want them to be cool and balanced. Also, I need to figure out precise details on how to handle destiny points, Healing Surges, and force points.

Now, Tome of Battle is one of my favorite 3.5 D&D books. It's just pretty awesome in how it powers up melee characters and the mechanics are very nice. So, I was thinking that I could adapt its system to Force Powers, having different groupings of powers (lightsaber, telekinetic, telepathic, healing, etc) and different levels. Of course, I'd have to work out how to balance the damage, but I don't think that's too hard (something like two dice per "spell level" would work, with modifications for area effecting and so forth abilities). Heck, that would allow people to upgrade abilities that are low level into higher level versions, which would be nice (one of the problems my group had with 4th). Hmm, some talents could even become stances (like lightsaber forms), and there are a lot of interesting things to do.

Well, at this point I figured I might as well just have "SW ToB" apply to everyone. It would be easy enough to have powers to using blasters, sniping, etc. I could use feats or skills as a prerequisite to access a tree (so no sniping tree if you can't use combat rifles, no force powers if you aren't force sensitive, no dual blaster powers if you don't have Dual Wield or something like that). Now this might mean I need to cut out a bunch of feats and talents, since they'd be converted to powers. More pressing though, is the fact each ToB class has different mechanics for how many maneuvers/stances they get, and different refresh mechanics.

So here's the question:

Do people think that the Swordsage, Warblade, and Crusader have balanced mechanics for maneuvers (and stances) known/readied combined with their refresh mechanic? One certainly doesn't strike me as superior to another, especially if I allowed players to pick up a power multiple times (which I think I would). Thoughts?

As for DPs and FPs, I thought I might just get rid of DPs (not sure), and use daily FPs. A FP could be spent to grant a 15 on a roll (most likely an automatic hit, to help someone having a string of bad rolls get a hit), or it could supercharge a power (essentially turning it into the equivalent of a 4th edition daily power). That was my initial thought anyhow. It kind of feels like I should combine Healing Surges and Force Points into one thing, but I don't see a particularly good way to do that.


PS. I think this can all work together well, though obviously the players understand there might need to be balance adjustments here and there.

2011-08-04, 02:17 AM
I don't know Starwars SAGA verywell, although I know the rules for 4th edition.
First of all I presuming that everything works the same as in 3.5m although I am presuming currently Jedi use the sorcerer/wizard casting system for force powers.

Swordsage is seen as having the weakest mechanic for obvious reasons.
A round often takes up time when the swordsage could be attacking the enemy.
And during long-drawn out fights, you don't want to wait for a whole round.

So I suggest one of 2 methods:
1: Regain a maneuver for a swift action or a move action, this means that you can just bash the opponent and regain 2 maneuvers, or just 1 when you use a boost or a counter.
2: You must fight defensivly for a round to regain all maneuvers. You still lose a round, but you get a few attacks on an opponent and gain a bonus to AC for it.

I prefer option 1 really.

2011-08-04, 12:28 PM
1: Regain a maneuver for a swift action or a move action, this means that you can just bash the opponent and regain 2 maneuvers, or just 1 when you use a boost or a counter.IIRC Saga already lets you take a swift action in place of a move or standard action.

2011-08-04, 01:09 PM
Hmm, yes, the Swordsage certainly has the weakest recovery mechanic. However, I'd think having nearly twice as many maneuvers readied would help make up for that. More so at higher levels when a Swordsage might have 10 readied maneuvers (13th level with a feat) and that could easily last a whole combat.

Actually, point taken given that and low levels. I do like the idea of having something similar to a Warblade, but only giving back one maneuver. Besides, Adaptive Style (or whatever I call its equivalent), if someone going the Sage route wants to recover powers more quickly.

I think I'd add the caveat that you regain the power at the END of the round (so you can't spam the same power over and over again), and that you can only use this ability once per round. (Prime is right on SAGA, btw, you can substitute a swift for a move or standard, and a move for a standard).

Rambling on, I've thought about splitting up powers into utility and attack (like 4th, but have "dailys" handled by using Force Points to supercharge a power). There aren't a whole lot of real utility powers in SAGA though. Surge, which gives faster movement and better jumping, really is a very useful combat power, so acting like it isn't would be a mistake, imho -- which is a real problem 4th has. Far Seeing is one of the few examples of a power that is just utility, but given the small number I think there are probably better ways to handle giving out utility stuff.

I am sort of thinking of redoing SAGA talents and feats, so that one is always utility and the other isn't. The two have a lot of overlap in function as-is, so seems like a good idea.

2011-08-05, 04:44 PM
Well, I'll get a rough draft of what I have together over the next week or so and then post it and see what people think.

2011-08-05, 10:35 PM
The super charging you are talking about sounds a lot like 4th ed psions. 4th ef psions'd ont get encounter powers at all, they use power points to make thier at will attacks stronger, just a thought if you wantedk to look into it

2011-08-05, 10:51 PM
The super charging you are talking about sounds a lot like 4th ed psions. 4th ef psions'd ont get encounter powers at all, they use power points to make thier at will attacks stronger, just a thought if you wantedk to look into it

Ahh, thanks. I'll take a look. I've just started on the powers right now. First I am going through all the SAGA books and putting Talents and Force Powers that could work as Powers into a list, dividing them into "disciplines" TOB-style. Lots of work just doing that, since a lot of talents can be outright powers or stances (e.g. Lightsaber Styles will be stances...with a higher level Lightsaber Stance that can combine two Lightsaber Stances into one -- might require knowing both).

Right now I have Self Enhancement, Telekinetic, Life, Dark Side, Light Side, Lightsaber, Divination, Telepathic, Energy Manipulation, and "Doesn't Fit" (has Rebuke and some other stuff, might make a Metaforce or equivilent Discipline). Then I'll need to go and make the non-force powers. Right now my idea for "disciplines" there are Marksman, Dual Blaster, Trooper (tough guy), Firepower (heavy weapons and explosives), and Squad. Probably need a couple more. One thing I plan on doing is emphasizing in the text that if a player can come up with a creative way to use a power that's makes sense but isn't what the text says, the GM's job is to figure out how to make it work -- I want to avoid the trap 4th has fallen into where it really stifles player creativity.

Since I'll probably go with 4th Edition-style monsters (they are just so easy to make, though obviously I'll need to modify the system), I need to decide the power level of various attacks. I'm thinking 1st level ones should be like standard attacks with a tiny bit extra (die of damage, movement, etc). And maybe another 2d6/2d8 damage or so per Power Level (like Spell Levels) after that.

Anyhow, I'll take a look at the 4th Psion to see how they do power-ups. It seemed to more like a more fun and flexible way to go and it'll be good to look at how they did it.