Archives for the month of: July, 2016

In my solo Edge of the Empire campaign I am using some house rules that I would like to share with you dear readers.

The first rule is about spending advantages in combat. As a solo player I prefer to resolve effects immediately instead of in the next round. It adds more bookkeeping and things to keep track of so I try to avoid what I call “carry over” effects at all costs. So I came up with these additional ways to spend advantages in combat (in addition to those listed in the rulebook):

-Three advantages can be used to gain one additional success while attacking, but only if the attack itself was successful. You can’t spend advantages to generate a success if you don’t have any initial successes.

-Three advantages can be used to cause one point of direct damage (no soak value deducted) to the target. This option can be used only if the attack itself was a failure (no successes). Think of it as a grazing hit. The attack is still considered a miss and no weapon qualities can be used or activated.

-Two advantages can be used to heal one point of wound damage.

The second batch of house rules deals with the pilot skill. I personally like the idea that the pilot skill matters and that a good pilot should have an advantage over a bad pilot in dogfights. However, the rules as written don’t reflect that in a way I am satisfied with, so I implemented the following rules regarding the pilot skill:

-Gain the Advantage: This is a maneuver now, rather than an action, allowing you to perform another maneuver (by suffering system strain) and attack in the same round.

-The Pilot skill is used to determine initiative in space combat. So better pilots have an edge and get to shoot first.

-The Pilot skill is used to attack under certain circumstances: If the pilot is firing a starship or vehicle weapon, which is not mounted on a turret but fixed to the vehicle and aimed at the target by moving the vehicle itself (like the lasers on an X-Wing or TIE or a turret set to fixed forward fire and operated by the pilot), the Pilot skill is used for the attack roll instead of the gunnery skill.
The gunnery skill is still used if the weapon is mounted on a turret and moveable independently from the vehicle, operated by a gunner.

-Defensive Flying: As a pilot only maneuver, the pilot of a starfighter or tramp freighter can try to avoid incoming fire. Make a hard pilot check. If the check succeeds, the attack difficulty for all attacks against this vessel up until the next turn of this vessel is upgraded once. If the check fails however, the attack difficulty for all attacks made by this vessel until it’s next turn is upgraded once.

Boost and setback dice are added to all checks as usual for stats like handling etc.

In my experience, these minor changes, especially regarding initiative and attacking with the pilot skill while piloting starfighters or tramp freighters with fixed weapons, help to make the difference in pilot skill matter and give good pilots an edge.

After a very long time I will continue my Edge of the Empire campaign. When we left our hero, he was about to get into a firefight with a stormtrooper squad…

As soon as the lead stormtrooper issued his orders, the hallway was lit up by blaster fire. Deadly red blaster bolts filled the air. My Twi’lek passenger dartet forward towards the docking bay entrance, in which I waited for her. She was firing blindly backwards to cover herself.

“Come on! Get in here!” I shouted and drew my own blaster, the trusty DL-44 heavy blaster pistol. Every smugglers favorite weapon.

I wanted to shut the blast door of the docking bay as soon as the Twi’lek was inside but one of the stormtroopers must have anticipated that and blasted the control panel. Sparks flew, circuits burned, and the control panel was disabled. Obviously I underestimated their accuracy.

I returned fire myself, dropping a stormtrooper who ventured to far out of his cover. But stormtroopers were highly disciplined and known for keeping their cool under fire. My passenger managed to drop a stormtrooper but in a coordinated attack they took aim and dropped her as she was just about to reach me. They hit her in the shoulder, the distinct smell of burned flesh was immediately in the air.

I was distracted only a split second. A stormtrooper hit my left arm. I gritted my teeth, the burning pain was intense. I had to fight on. I ignored the pain and returned fire, dropping another stormtrooper. Only one stormtrooper left! With one hand I grabbed a stimpack and thrust the auto-injector into my thigh, with the other I kept shooting singlehanded, finally dropping the last stormtrooper.

I knew I didn’t have much time. Reinforcements were probably already on the way. I grabbed the Twi’lek and dragged her onto the ship, stabilized her with two stimpacks, and jumped straight into the pilot seat. Traffic control warned my to power down the engines, I didn’t have clearance as I expected. I made an illegal blastoff and went to full throttle.

Out in space a pair of TIE-fighters was already hot on my tail. I tried to lose them with some fancy evasive maneuvers but they were to fast and fairly skilled pilots. I didn’t manage to get away far enough. However, thanks to my fancy flying one of them slipped up and collided with the other one, causing some minor damage to their maneuvering thrusters. Even though I already started the calculations for the jump to lightspeed I still had to keep them at bay a little while. We exchanged heavy fire. I did my best to stay out of their field of fire with limited success. I managed to destroy both TIE-fighter but took some hard hits myself before I finally managed to jump into hyperspace.

Game Mechanics:
The session consisted of two battles which were played using pretty standard combat rules. The stormtrooper blasting the docking bay doors was the result of a triumph rolled by the stormtroopers. The evasive maneuver of the Never to Late was done with an opposed pilot check vs. the TIE-fighters. I failed the check but I had two advantages and one triumph left. According to the rules, the positive effect of the triumph happens even if the check fails so I ruled that the TIEs suffered a minor collision and lost their handling dice as a result.

I finally got around to play the last session of my Star Wars one-shot adventure testing out the 13th Age ruleset. So here is what I got from Mythic: Encounter 6: NPC action, increase bureaucracy
Interpretation: This one is simple and it fits perfectly. Because of the increased security and the imperial lockdown Ash is greeted by lots of red tape after landing…

After the intense encounter with imperial customs in station space I was relieved to finally touch down inside a hanger bay of Zelpoint Station. But my joy didn’t last long: Out of the cockpit window I could see two stormtroopers standig guard at the hangar bay exit doors and one stormtrooper accompanying another imperial customs inspector who was already waiting for me. What the hell?! I was just checked…alright, so let’s see how this goes. I lowered the ramp and walked down into the hangar.

“Greetings citizen. I am imperial customs inspector Bane. I need to see your cargo manifest.”

“Well hi there insepctor Bane. Call me Ash and I think there must be some kind of misunderstanding here. I was just checked and inspected by your colleagues out in space. They found everything to be in order. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here now, would I?”

“You probably wouldn’t but I need to see your papers none the less. I have strict orders to inspect every vessel after touchdown. No exceptions. So please Mr. Ash, your cargo manifest.”

I was glad that I had those forged cargo papers. They already passed one inspection, I am sure they will pass another one. So I handed him the datacard…

“Hmm, there seems to be an irregularity with the verification checksum…”

“Oh, yeah, that. That’s nothing to worry about. The guy who filed the manifest got the loading dates mixed up with another shipment and had to alter the loading date after the manifest was filed…just a minor bookkeeping error, nothing more.”

“Is that so? Well, I am afraid I have to run a very thorough forensic diagnostic on this cargo manifest. Until this matter is resolved I am afraid I have to detain you and confiscate the cargo until the issue is resolved.”

He signaled the stormtrooper next to him to put me into binders. Damn! I hate this forsaken sector of space. It has brought me nothing but complications. I had to make a split second decision: Let them take me and hope that it all works out, the chances of that being practically zero, or make a run for it while I still have access to my ship and only a short way towards the ramp. Here goes nothing…

As the stormtrooper moved I jumped back and pulled my blaster. While firing a few distracting shots at the stormtrooper I dashed towards the ramp. Blaster fire erupted and deadly red blaster bolts sizzeled through the air. A few of them hit the ramp and hull of the ship. A stray shot grazed my shoulder but thanks to my heavy plastoid weave leather jacket I was not injured badly, just some minor burns. I finally managed to close the ramp behind me before the stormtroopers could board the ship.

Thank the maker the engines were still warm so I could make a quick exit without a long warm-up sequence but the imperials still got enough time to sound an alarm so the first vessels to greet me out in space were four imperial TIE-fighters in close formation.

I immediatly calculated a small micro-jump just away. I needed to get out of here fast. The ship was in bad shape and I had to be gone before the bigger vessels managed to close in on me. Green laser fire zipped past the ship. I twisted and rolled and pulled every trick in the book to keep the TIE-fighters at bay and the ship out of their sights.

Finally, the navicomputer was ready. I pulled the levers and escaped into the safety of hyperspace. A few moments later I reentered realspace in the vast emptiness of the endless void. The first thing I did was to jettison the cursed cargo. This sector and I, we didn’t get off to a good start. I failed to complete a delivery, I was set-up and on the imperal wanted list in this region of space. I know when it is time to leave and I was overdue. I calculated a course into a more familiar region of space. So long Tamesh Sector. You won’t see me in a while. I engaged the hyperdrive.

So this concludes my adventure with Ash in the Tamesh Sector and my test of the 13th Age system. Coming from 4th Edition D&D I quickly adapted to the mechanics and I enjoyed the adventure, but I think I will stick to lighter systems for solo roleplaying. I will also retire Ash in the Star Wars universe because for future Star Wars adventures I will stick to my Edge of the Empire campaign that I will continue.

Last but not least the game mechanics:
I asked Mythic if I will be checked after touchdown and assigned very likely odds. Mythic said yes.
I then asked if my forged papers pass the inspection and assigned likely odds, because they already did before. However, Mythic said no.
I then tried to fast-talk my way out somehow with a skill check vs. DC 20 which I also failed.
Finally a short battle against a group of mooks (using the 13th Age stats by level table to quickly whip up the opposition) during which I fled back onto the ship.
The space chase and dogfight was another skill challenge. I needed 4 successes against DC 20 which I managed to get before getting blown up.