RPG Re: Improving Saga Edition (FFG is crap)

Discussion in 'Games' started by twowolves, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. twowolves Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 6, 2013
    star 3
    Bo shuda, ma pateessas!

    I know I'm not making any friends saying Fantasy Flight Games' latest take on Star Wars RPG is crap, but hear me out. I talked to the guys at GenCon this year, and while they have nice books, they are short on maps. The one guy there, Andrew Navarro, I think, who is really nice, said that FFG is not focusing on maps and locations as much as the story itself.

    First, as a gaming veteran, my response was whiskey-tango-foxtrot?! The core of a game is usually the maps. I don't know about the rest of you, but I am a visual person. I like the role-playing and story just as much as anyone else, but maps help me connect to the game in a way that is different than just story-telling. I love seeing all the intricate details of ship layouts, and planets, and such.

    Second, I fear that FFG is repeating the same mistakes that Wizards of the Coast made with Saga Edition's lack of maps. Don't get me wrong, there were a lot of maps, but there should have been more, especially in the Starships of the Galaxy book. West End Games was a innovator, and helped blaze a trail in Star Wars by naming many of the beloved characters we saw in the movie, giving name to their species, origins, and homeworlds. Shouldn't we, as gamers, and more importantly, consumers, demand the same from FFG? And yet, they are ignoring this.

    Therefore, I started improving the Saga Edition rules by minor changes. I loved the condition track. Great idea, because sometimes, you can get your head rung, and that represents a stunning blow. But it always seems to come down to the skills! Why do they insist upon watering down the skill types and combining everything? I'm sorry, but just because you can pilot a landspeeder doesn't give you the ability to fly a space transport. In the 3.5 Edition of SW, they accounted for this. I would love some feedback on how to incorporate a GURPS-style skill set into the Saga Edition rules because that way, you only get skill points for actually attempting to use the skill, and there are a lot more realistic skill slots than in the Saga Edition.

    Moreover, I did not like how easy it was to become overpowered as a Force-user. Saga Edition's Move Object, for example was written terribly. It was worded in such a way where if you blew the Force Point, you automatically did way more damage. I put a stop to that by saying if you tried moving a medium object, it would only ever do medium object damage regardless of spending Force Points or Destiny Points.

    And there should have been a ranking system for the Force powers, i.e., before you get Mind Trick, you would have to learn other, more basic Force powers, like Force Stun. Same thing with Move Object. Before you could get to that, you would have to take Force Push.

    And what about Force crystals in lightsabers? No rules governing the different kinds and the game effects they have.

    Basically, in this thread, I am seeking advice on ways to improve the Saga Edition rules to make them more fair and balanced, something WotC should have taken the time to do. Even on the above stuff, or anything else that would improve that system, including maps of ships or locations from the Saga Edition books that you are willing to share, I would appreciate comments and help on on. I would ultimately like to throw the improvements on the net so others can incorporate them into their game if they'd like. A unified list of improvements that we of the JC forums have reached a consensus on would be kind of cool, I think. I also think it is our right as consumers to demand better, and coming up with something like that would send a message to game companies everywhere, but that's a different thread...lol

    And I apologize to the moderators ahead of time if this thread exists somewhere else, or this isn't the forum for it. I looked for a similar thread and saw none, and this was the only board that seemed to handle these kinds of threads.
  2. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 6
    This actually belongs in Games, I'll go ahead and move it.
  3. twowolves Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 6, 2013
    star 3
    Thank you, sir!
  4. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 8
    I have been playing SWRPG since 2nd ed WEG. Pre 2nd ed R&E, too. So forgive me for disagreeing that FFG rules are crap. And maps? You cannot make your own?
  5. twowolves Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 6, 2013
    star 3

    I didn't say the FFG rules are crap, I said the fact that FFG is crap. Specifically, their new beta system and the direction it's going. Their emphasis on story-telling over game mechanics and map locations is going to harm them. If you're into LARP, great. If you are a table-top gamer, maps and a good combat system are vital. I don't want fast and loose rules, I want consistent rules that make sense. I want FFG to succeed, believe me; I want to see them do what WotC didn't do. But I don't think that they are going to if they don't include maps in their books simply because they aren't emphasizing combat as much. I feel that there was a lot of good material in the Saga Edition, and with the proper tweaking, it can be awesome. Mayber FFG's beta system can, too, but the system I am most familiar with was WotC's.

    Furthermore, I can draw maps, better than most that I've seen in the books, but when I pay $35 for a book, I want to see good quality artwork and maps.
    Last edited by twowolves, Oct 20, 2013
  6. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 8
    Did you get into RP after playing the minis game or something?

    Because I'm not what you'd call a widely experienced gamer. I've played tonnes of D&D from AD&D 2nd ed through to 4E; AEG's Spycraft d20; too much GURPS; WEG's weird "hero" system of d10 mechanics for Indiana Jones; and SWRPG from 2nd ed WEG (the one with the blue cover and Darth Vader's head; not the one with the black cover and the Falcon) onwards.

    Of all those systems, FFG's might just be the best of the lot, precisely because of the narrative focus. I love that I can take a situation where the the PC's net succeed but with disadvantage on, say, a bribery check. I can then decide how to play that out now, or I can have the customs official they're bribing submit his report and a more diligent superior officer has suspicions, investigates, finds contraband and impounds the ship after arresting the bribed official. This unfolds a whole new narrative path for me to explore with my players.

    I literally have some ideas, like scenes, to play out but they're not location specific. Otherwise, my prep started in 1992 when I picked up Heir to the Empire and has kept going for years - i just draw on what I know and the system wholly and lovingly supports me.

    Sorry, I don't mean to keep on about this but how experienced a gamer are you? Because narrative is precisely what RPGs are about, not combat, minis and maps. And whilst I love my blank squares map from the Invasion of Naboo RP pack, and have a bunch of the maps from the minis game, I've not found that they're that vital to my story.
    Gallandro likes this.
  7. twowolves Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 6, 2013
    star 3
    Good points. I have played a lot of D&D, even back to the 2nd ed. I never actually got a chance to play GURPS, but I love the system's skills, and how you actually have to attempt things to get points in them. I like the narrative focus, too. Don't get me wrong. I like it when A GM can adapt the situation, but... Hi, my name is twowolves, and I'm a recovering rules junkie...sniff-sniff...lol I like lots of tables and detail. That's why I liked the excruciating detail in the Cyberpunk series.

    Maybe there's a way to combine the two...I mean, I really like how the stat blocks and stuff were laid out for Saga Edition, and I love seeing the insides of ship. Fires the imagination to see it in print, and it makes it come alive. I wish I could remember exactly how Andrew Navarro worded it, but it gave me pause when he was talking about FFG's new focus... Maybe it's just a knee-jerk reaction on my part to hear that they aren't going to have hardly any maps and such. I do like to be able to figure in my head things like firing angles and line-of-sight effects.

    And please, comment on. This is the discussion I'm craving! :)
  8. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 8
    If you really want to get the most out of FFG's game, I'd highly, highly recommend checking out the Order 66 podcast from d20 radio. Their insight and experience adds a lot to your game, from NPC's with backstory to working in or around concerns with respect of success with disadvantage/fail with advantage moments.

    Coming from a mindset shaped by D&D 4e (aka We Wish We Were WOW) and Saga, it was refreshing to hear a new take which put much of the system in context. Things therefore like placement, line of sight etc, are less crucial because the combat will be shaped by narrative. So, one you figure that out, then you're easily placed to put your enemies in position, work out cover, etc etc
    Last edited by Ender Sai, Oct 20, 2013
  9. twowolves Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 6, 2013
    star 3
    The Wish We Were WOW syndrome will be the death of table-top RPG-ing if it keeps going at this rate. It seems like everything is getting dumbed-down, and I think that's my biggest complaint. I think that might come from me being an older-ish gamer whose used to all the book-keeping from the older systems. I love the nitty-gritty detail, but I think that, skills aside, there was still a lot that could be done to save the Saga Edition stuff. It was a great resource for writing because of how easily you could design and plot out a back-story for a character based around the stat-blocks. I would love to try the FFG stuff (reading and playing it are two vastly different things), and I would still love to play a revamped Saga Edition campaign (can't I have my cake and eat it, too? lol).
  10. Praenomen Cognomen Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 24, 2013
    star 3
    I think you've actually answered your own qualms about FFG's system here: We already have Saga, which was incredibly rules-heavy... to the point of impeding narrative and making combat free of all imagination. "You want your character to strafe to cover, set up a tripwire bomb, and then fire with two guns as you run away? Welp, sorry chap, you'll need to multiclass into this, get the prerequisites for that prestige class, then take these five talents. Then you can do something cool in combat. Until then, your character stands still and fires a single shot." And as you mentioned, Force powers were the opposite of that, because a 1st-level Jedi with the right stats could roll a 13+ on a Force power check and leap up a friggin' skyscraper.

    So to me, what FFG is doing is saving roleplaying from itself. I really don't think gaming should be held back because of nostalgia for old bookkeeping systems; those systems are there, and you could convert almost anything with the right ranged/melee/magic proportions and styles to a Star Wars setting and make it work.

    However, if you must feed your habit... :p Yes, old Order 66 episodes are your best resource. TONS of homebrew stuff around that community.
  11. twowolves Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 6, 2013
    star 3
    I was tinkering with the idea of actually doing away with classes entirely once, and just having archetypes instead, with each archetype having certain talents, skills and feats that if you took them (it was a list of prerequisites, really) then you unlocked more cool stuff. Anyone could take anything, so if you wanted to play a Jedi with a knack for hot-wiring airspeeders, it would be possible.

    Maybe it's just nostalgia for the older systems. I just miss seeing things visually with maps. I love 'em, it's true, and some of the rules, too. I wish there was a way to allow for more actions by something like giving heavier and heavier penalties the more actions you took. Almost like the rules system for Exalted. Then, you could do more than stand there and fire a single shot, but still be realistic about a character's skill level. I just don't think we should abandon all the rules.

    I will continue to look into FFG's stuff, too. Is there a way to convert Saga Edition stuff to the FFG system? I'm hoping that there exists such a thing the way there was a formula for converting 3.5 to Saga Edition. Please tell me someone has come up with a formula for that. And forgive my ignorace...Order 66 episodes? Where can I find them?
  12. Praenomen Cognomen Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 24, 2013
    star 3
    http://start.d20radio.com/home/the-order-66-podcast

    There ya go. Good stuff there... the older episodes are about Saga, and there's tons. On iTunes as well.

    And there's no real Saga conversion for FFG (though there is a WEG conversion calculator available), but if there's specific stuff you need, the forums there can help bigtime. I lurk a lot.

    Also, I've played FFG Star Wars with maps. The best way to do it is to use a grid with bigger range zones, maybe outline some 3x3 squares on your maps or just do big hexes or overlapping circles if you can manage that. Same square & touching = engaged, same square not touching = Short range, a square away = Medium, and two away = long. It messes up movement distances a bit, since Medium to Long takes two maneuvers, but you can fudge that if you really want maps.
  13. twowolves Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 6, 2013
    star 3
    Thank you for the link. I will definitely be checking it out. No conversion...aw, man! lol I have sooooo much high-octane Saga Edition stuff I made! lol I think the fact that you've attained Jedi Master status in only 7 months testifies to your lurking...lol *bowing* "We are not worthy! We are not worthy!"

    Man, I'm going to miss the simpler map/grid system. That was always one of the nice things, to me, how easy it was to count squares and determine range, movement, etc. Sometimes, you really do need maps in combat, especially when there is a lot of action and NPCs to account for. I almost wonder if it wouldn't be easier just to convert everything I've created (an entire campaign setting, complete with dozens of characters, new ships, locations, and story arcs, mind you) over to FFG's beta system and try to sell it to them...? I tremble at the amount of work! I may have to start a new thread for that, just so I am not pummeled by the electrostaffs of the mods! lol But, just to show that there's no hard feelings, a round of gizer ales for everyone, mods included!
    PraenomenCognomen likes this.
  14. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 8
    Well part of what works against your preferences, but ironically in FFG's favour in my view, is the way they've done range as concepts rather than fixed numbers of squares. To that end, FirstnameLastname's point about 3x3 works nicely.

    I also have to say, as a WEG/old school SW fan, I love that there's no Jedi in the current system. It's just wonderful, it really is. No super-powered wizards dominating everything.
    PraenomenCognomen likes this.
  15. dingwog Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Oct 21, 2013
    I've played all the systems and I have to say I've had the most fun playing FFG new system. For me table top is about gathering round a table with your buddies and having fun telling stories, not so much as being precise with how many squares I can move or exactly how I can max my chacter the quickest. We now have great video games for that.

    Your selling your work to FFG is a neat idea but they really didn't build the system for that. However one nice thing about the system is that you can use maps, minis and whatever else you can think of to set the scene for your players. Your just not restricted by the moving rules as if your playing Monopoly. I've run a few EoE games online, using custom maps and tokens to build a scene for my players. Then it is just up to the dice and your imagination as to what you can accomplish on your map.

    I see some of your points but the system is really great and if you can set aside your bias and wants to give a new system a real try, then I think you might enjoy it too. I love Saga but I'm having more fun playing FFG.

    Would love to see some of your maps though. Lol. Good luck!
    twowolves likes this.
  16. twowolves Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 6, 2013
    star 3
    Bo shuda, dingwog!

    I am a little biased! lol I can admit it, it's true! I was the same way when AD&D went from 2.5 edition to 3.0. It's just hard for me to conceive of setting up really complicated battles where maps are almost a must. I am totally against min/maxing, though. I've had some of my best characters when they started off plain and boring. Like my kobold monk...lol Yes, Zu'ul was so much fun to play as lawful neutral, and the kobold in him made sure I had to give him a little bit of a Napolean complex.

    Right now, the book I have by FFG is their Edge of the Empire book, and I'm kicking myself for not buying a copy of the core rulebook at GenCon. I picked this one up, and it's a beta version...

    If you can forgive an old vet his bias, would you be willing to recommend an FFG game on the JC forum boards? Wait, they have those, right? How about running one? You start one up here, and I will play. I have to warn you, though; I like to play surprise characters, like a smuggler who has small, latent Force abilities that he uses on occasion to get by tight spots. Nothing flashy or big, just minor stuff (Hmm, locked in a cage, and the keys are over on that desk...). When using the Saga Edition, it was hard to strike a balance for such a character, but I liked the rules for the most part. I have a feeling, though, that I'm going to be won over, just like I was when 3.5 edition came out.

    And as far as maps go, I just wish I knew how to use my Campaign Cartographer software better. I would love to be able to incorporate it into Star Wars for the campaign I designed. I may start a new thread (or look for one if one exists) on how to use it. I'm not trained in autoCAD, which is what it is based on... Isn't there any free map making software that is good for making SW maps? Ones that aren't super complicated?

    Last, congratulations on joining, dingwog! I was just where you were, what, three weeks ago? I'd love to show you my maps, if I could figure out how that wouldn't violate rules of the JC. I know they mention just posting them here on a direct link, but they are huge in data size (as jpegs) even though they are only 8.5 x 11. Any suggestions?

    Godde da lodia!

    twowolves
  17. dingwog Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Oct 21, 2013
    Have you ever tried Roll20.net. It's an online Google Hangouts based web tabletop app. You can import custom maps, tokens and a full compliment of other things. I've found it limited bit good enough and easier to use than anything out there.

    I'd love to start a Star Wars online dog group. I'm limited in time but I came here for just that reason. Even just a character creation session would be fun. FFG has 7 adventures already available to play and any one of then would be good to begin with.