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Rappy’s RPG Reviews: Star Wars Roleplaying Game Revised Core Rulebook, Part 2

17 Jun

Bringing Balance

Most of what you’ll see in the chapter specifically dedicated to the Force is fluff, but there are a few crunchy notes that affect gameplay that I should go over. First, you have Force Points. Any character can have them, although only Force-Sensitives can have more than 5 at a time. They work sort of like d20 Modern’s Action Points, as well as having the ability to be spent to remove Dark Side Points. Speaking of which…well…Dark Side Points. What can I say about DSP? Well, it partially acts as the alignment system of the game; the more DSP you have, the more “evil” you are. It also acts as a drain ability, in that a tainted character (one that has one-half their Wisdom score or more in Dark Side points) must make a Fortitude save or permanently lose 1 point of one physical ability score each time they gain a new level. This is essentially both an act of penalizing Dark Side players and replicating Emperor Palpatine’s whole deterioration thing.

We’ve Spotted Imperial Walkers

Ahh, vehicles, a part of any ground campaign in a technological game. I will admit upfront that the SWRPG’s classification of vehicles is…odd. They are listed in the categories of Wheeled Vehicles, Tracked Vehicles, Walkers, Ground Speeders, and Airspeeders. This would be all fine and dandy…if it wasn’t already known that there are watercraft, submersibles, and gliders (amongst other things) in addition to those vehicle types. Eh…oh well, I guess it’s not too bad for a core focus. Anyway, there’s 3 walkers and 8 ground speeders described in this core rulebook. Hah, no tracked or wheeled vehicles (or airspeeders, for that matter; they’re vehicles, but stuffed into the starship chapter for some reason), so no saying that “oh, but they wouldn’t have info on such trivial things as watercraft in the core rulebook”. What you do get are just what you’d expect; the two prime Imperial Walkers (the AT-AT and AT-ST), speeder bikes, Jabba’s sail barge and skiffs, a couple of Clone Wars-era ground vehicles, that sort of stuff. All in all, a necessary but lackluster portion of the book.

What a Piece of Junk!

Starships are conveniently the chapter right after the vehicles, allowing them to be good bedfellows. Unlike d20 Modern, which classifies starships by weight class, the SWRPG’s starships are stuffed into three broad categories: Starship, Space Transport, and Capital Ship. 7 starships (including the X- and Y-Wings, TIE Fighter, and the Jedi and Droid Starfighters for you Clone Wars era fans), 5 space transports (two of which are merely modifications of ones statted beside them, like the YT-1300 and the Millenium Falcon, or the Firespray-31 and Boba Fett’s kitted out version known as the Slave I), 7 capital ships (including the infamous Star Destroyer and its predecessor, the Republic assault ship), and the escape pod. Oh yes, the escape pod, the bane of the labeling system; since there are only three starship categories, it is perplexingly classed as a starfighter, even though I seriously doubt an escape pod is ever meant to do any fighting. There are also 8 airspeeders, included here because they follow starship combat rules rather than vehicle combat rules. Yeah… *Shrugs*

A Class Act, That Guy

The gamemastering chapter of the book is the stuffing place of not just fluff, but several portions of crunch, the first of those being prestige and NPC classes. The NPC classes are Diplomat, Expert, and Thug, following in the similar vein of Dungeons and Dragons‘s Aristocrat, Expert, and Warrior respectively. Moving right on from those things nobody but the GM cares about, let’s give a brief rundown of the prestige classes that the SWRPG Revised Core Rulebook provides for you to reach for after your base class career, shall we?

  • Bounty Hunter: If you like sneak attacks, you’ll love this prestige class! Every level alternates between either sneak attack damage bonus or a “target bonus” against a specific target the bounty hunter wishes to…well..hunt. Not exactly the flashiest prestige class ever, but it does what it’s meant to well enough.
  • Crime Lord: Contacts, croneys, cash, and crime-induced fear spreading; this, in essence, is the Crime Lord. Unlikely to see play in actual players so much as nasty NPCs.
  • Dark Side Devotee and Marauder: The Dark Side Devotee dedicates its levels to crafting arcane talismans, strengthening their Dark Side powers, and eventually being able to imbue melee weapons with the power of the Dark Side to increase damage; the Dark Side Marauder, on the other hand, focuses their levels on gaining Bonus Feats, getting the three Force Training feats as other bonus feats, and…that’s about it, really. Yeah, the Dark Side Marauder is essentially the Fighter of the SWRPG world. It does feats and Base Attack Bonuses good, but…doesn’t really do anything else.
  • Elite Trooper: The Elite Trooper has a few class features, such as Uncanny Dodge and Weapon Focus, but is mostly relegated to a 1-level dip for automatic Armor and Weapons Proficiencies with pretty much any non-exotic or Jedi weapon and armor piece there is.
  • Jedi Ace: A 5-level prestige class this time, focusing on melding starship powers and Force powers into a nasty combination. Rather selective but no dead levels here, which, you know, is what a prestige class is meant to look like.
  • Jedi Investigator: Another 5-leveller, just as specialized as the last. The Jedi Investigator’s focus is on strange hybrid of the Noble’s favors, the Bounty Hunter’s target bonuses, and the lightsaber abilities of a Jedi. A rather novel prestige class, actually, if you want to play something different from your average Jedi.
  • Jedi Master: As expected, the master of Jedi techniques. A 10-leveller, strangely enough, in spite of the other Jedi PrCs being 5-levellers.
  • Officer: 10 levels of “I don’t particularly care, to be honest”. Dead levels and not particularly interesting class abilities make this one a dud in my eyes.
  • Starship Ace: Like a Jedi Ace, only 10 levels and with less Force and more ship.

I’ll make a final note on this chapter that is a bit of a downer. Note the lack of a Sith Lord prestige class. Now…Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine, who have NPC stats in the next section, have levels in Sith Lord in their stat blocks, in spite of it not being in this book. Yeah, classy, core rulebook. Claasy.

—————–

Check in next time for Part 3, where we finally slay this beast of a review.

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2010 in RPG Reviews

 

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