Feedback Needed - SWSE System & Character Concepts



  • Hello there, hope everyone is doing well. I'm currently building a Star Wars MUSH set just before the Clone Wars time period, and I'm really curious to hear from people who has experience with SWSE on matters of game mechanics where it felt like it held them back from living their desires through their character. Or perhaps something that was missing beyond game mechanics that would've made their experience better there?


  • Pitcrew

    There are a number of Feats/Talents/etc that are simply better (or worse) than similar ones, but the biggest threat to balance (in my opinion) is comparing skills to attacks/defenses at early levels (under 10-12). This manifests itself through the use of Use the Force for defenses (Block/Deflect) and attack (most damage-dealing Force Powers) and Vehicular Combat, but also works for Intimidation attempts and any other time you roll a skill against a defense or attack roll. The biggest culprit is Skill Focus. At level 1, you can have a Use the Force or Pilot of 15ish, which is about the same as most defenses -- before you add 1d20. My suggestion is to House Rule this to Skill Focus providing a bonus of 1/2 level (round up), with a max of +5.

    There's another minor thing if you're planning to have Dark Side characters, and that's halving the bonuses for Dark Rage.

    Beyond the mechanical, however, the biggest advice I can give you is to keep your focus relatively narrow. Have something specific to tie all of the characters together and give them a reason to interact. Maybe they all serve the Republic as soldiers, peacekeepers, privateers, etc, or maybe they're all connected to emerging Confederate interests. Whatever it is, the Galaxy is a huge place, and if you don't pull your characters together from the start, I think that you're going to end up with them scattered widely and with some of them having little reason to interact with the others.


  • Pitcrew

    Honestly, the best advice I can give anyone looking to use SWSE for ANY setting can be summarized in one word:

    Don't.

    Only DSS is worse as a Star Wars system, IMO, and I've played all three major Star Wars RPG systems enough, on MUSHes and off of them, to say it with some authority. All SWD20 systems, SE included, play like a D20 dungeon crawler with Star Wars stickers slapped over the Dungeons and Dragons labels, to the point that someone I know IRL referred to SWD20 as Dungeons and Death Stars. Balance is known to trigger hysterical laughter, characters are generally cookie-cutter similar, and a gap of a few levels between opponents is known to be insurmountable in most cases. Twinks love this system, because there is so much to abuse; far too much to list, most of which comes from character 'builds'. Which is also the reason why it's not popular with non-twinks who have experienced this.

    That said, if you absolutely have no choice in which system you must use, a few tips may make the game at least bearable for players who come to play a game and have fun, and not to 'win'.

    First, don't take the names of basic classes too seriously. Some games use these names as a reason to restrict access to them. This is a trap that is easy to fall into. The fact is, there is not a great deal to choose from in terms of classes, and restricting access only makes the cookie cutters that much more obvious.

    Second, unless you have a very good reason for doing so (and very few exist), don't restrict access to the Force in chargen, for the obvious reasons. Many players consider Force Slots and other restrictive practices an instant turn-off.

    Third, be extremely careful about allowing Dark Siders as PCs. Twinks love Dark Side characters, because they allow all the Force-y goodness without any of the moral obligations inherent to Jedi and other Light Side Force traditions. Especially Sith. Since SWSE is a twink magnet to begin with, if you choose to allow Dark Siders outside of a campaign that is nothing but Dark Siders, expect problems. Trust me, you won't be kept waiting long.

    Fourth, consider alternate ways to earn XP, and alternate ways to advance. SWSE advancement is glacial in most cases, and no changes can be made to characters until the next level turns over on the XP-odometer. This is a source of considerable frustration to even the best-dispositioned players.

    More as I think of them. This should be a good list to start with.


  • Pitcrew

    @Seraphim73 said in Feedback Needed - SWSE System & Character Concepts:

    There are a number of Feats/Talents/etc that are simply better (or worse) than similar ones, but the biggest threat to balance (in my opinion) is comparing skills to attacks/defenses at early levels (under 10-12). This manifests itself through the use of Use the Force for defenses (Block/Deflect) and attack (most damage-dealing Force Powers) and Vehicular Combat, but also works for Intimidation attempts and any other time you roll a skill against a defense or attack roll. The biggest culprit is Skill Focus. At level 1, you can have a Use the Force or Pilot of 15ish, which is about the same as most defenses -- before you add 1d20. My suggestion is to House Rule this to Skill Focus providing a bonus of 1/2 level (round up), with a max of +5.

    This is a houserule to be very careful with. Sure, it limits Skill Focus, but it also creates a wider gulf between higher and lower level characters when rolling against one another, one that won't be rectified until someone reaches Level 10 (Skill Focus never goes above +5 anyway, so the limit is a moot point). This makes said houserule a favorite among D20 twinks who are already at Level 10 or above, since it is noticeably easier for them to stay on top of the heap.

    Oh, that reminds me... don't start Characters at Level 1 unless there is an advantage for doing so. Most application systems for SWSE I've ever seen allow applications at different tier levels (say, Third, Fifth, or even Eighth Level, just as an example), and only suggest Level 1 if there is a built-in advantage in that selection, or if the character is intended to be disposable (perhaps created for a plot or story arc and not intended to survive, or even intended to die during play).


  • Pitcrew

    @Warlander said in Feedback Needed - SWSE System & Character Concepts:

    Honestly, the best advice I can give anyone looking to use SWSE for ANY setting can be summarized in one word:

    Don't.

    Only DSS is worse as a Star Wars system, IMO, and I've played all three major Star Wars RPG systems enough, on MUSHes and off of them, to say it with some authority. All SWD20 systems, SE included, play like a D20 dungeon crawler with Star Wars stickers slapped over the Dungeons and Dragons labels, to the point that someone I know IRL referred to SWD20 as Dungeons and Death Stars. Balance is known to trigger hysterical laughter, characters are generally cookie-cutter similar, and a gap of a few levels between opponents is known to be insurmountable in most cases. Twinks love this system, because there is so much to abuse; far too much to list, most of which comes from character 'builds'. Which is also the reason why it's not popular with non-twinks who have experienced this.

    That said, if you absolutely have no choice in which system you must use, a few tips may make the game at least bearable for players who come to play a game and have fun, and not to 'win'.

    First, don't take the names of basic classes too seriously. Some games use these names as a reason to restrict access to them. This is a trap that is easy to fall into. The fact is, there is not a great deal to choose from in terms of classes, and restricting access only makes the cookie cutters that much more obvious.

    Second, unless you have a very good reason for doing so (and very few exist), don't restrict access to the Force in chargen, for the obvious reasons. Many players consider Force Slots and other restrictive practices an instant turn-off.

    Third, be extremely careful about allowing Dark Siders as PCs. Twinks love Dark Side characters, because they allow all the Force-y goodness without any of the moral obligations inherent to Jedi and other Light Side Force traditions. Especially Sith. Since SWSE is a twink magnet to begin with, if you choose to allow Dark Siders outside of a campaign that is nothing but Dark Siders, expect problems. Trust me, you won't be kept waiting long.

    Fourth, consider alternate ways to earn XP, and alternate ways to advance. SWSE advancement is glacial in most cases, and no changes can be made to characters until the next level turns over on the XP-odometer. This is a source of considerable frustration to even the best-dispositioned players.

    More as I think of them. This should be a good list to start with.

    100% this. D20 Star Wars in any form sucks. Star Wars isn't a game of classes and levels. FFG tried to do good things with the license and for the most part did, but D6 is probably the best for MUs.



  • @Rucket said in Feedback Needed - SWSE System & Character Concepts:

    100% this. D20 Star Wars in any form sucks. Star Wars isn't a game of classes and levels. FFG tried to do good things with the license and for the most part did, but D6 is probably the best for MUs.

    I'm slowly coding up the latest incarnation for a place (not Star Wars), Mini D6. PDF is free on drive thru RPG. Updated fast static combat shouldn't take more than a couple commands to do, no need for some combat handler with complex formulas and functions. Back in the day with just a roller D6 combat could be ran pretty fast on Star Wars mu's. Latest mini D6 'magic' is way easier, predetermine all affects/spells, get so many per force/magic skill in cg, then spend CP for new ones from predetermined list. Literally cg is one page in PDF, so is combat. Best simplification to date of ye olde SW D6 and, as always it's the same core so all WEG Star Wars books are easily compatible.


  • Pitcrew

    @Lotherio Good luck. What sort of place will it be when it's finished? I might be interested in having a look at it.

    Back on the original subject, there is, regrettably, no "perfect" Star Wars game system, but D6 got as close to the feel of the Star Wars galaxy as any system ever has to date, and, even with its foibles, is still the most accessible outside of MUSHing, and the easiest to learn.

    FFG is almost as good, but has its own issues; I've only ever seen one FFG Star Wars MUSH come to fruition, and it died in less than a year (it was a niche sort of game, admittedly, or it might've lasted longer). A second, earlier game never got off the ground; the creator got disenchanted with the system a few months later, and tried to solicit interest in making it a SWSE game instead, but got no bites. The system code that was used in the first game was apparently very tricky, and was never quite in tune with the on-paper game system, though it got close. I think I heard that it was built from a GeneSys system for a different MUSH, which works just slightly differently than the FFG Star Wars system.


Log in to reply