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Old February 25th, 2013, 08:08 PM
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Default D6 Star Wars RPG

WEG's D6 Star Wars game is brilliant, no matter which version of the rules you use. It's one of my favorite all-time games. I've said before that I think it's the best marriage between a set of mechanics and a gaming universe that I've ever seen in all my decades of gaming.

Still, I had a few dislikes. I thought I'd list two of them here. Feel free to post your D6 Star Wars tweaks in this thread.

First off, I don't like the combat round structure presented in the game. It changes, somewhat, depending on what version you're using, but it's basically the same in each version.

1. Determine which side in the combat goes first. In SW 2E R&E, this is done by the character with the highest PER score on each side making opposed throws. The character with the highest throw decides which side gets to go first.

2. When a side goes, each character in that side gets to act. And, the character with the highest PER score acts first, followed by the second highest, and so on.

3. But, each character is allowed to do only ONE action. After the entire side has moved (all characters have performed one action), then the second side gets to move, and so on.

4. Once all sides have moved, then we go back to the first side and perform section actions, and so on.

So, for example, if you wanted your character to move to the doorway and zip around the corner, popping off two shots at the stormtroopers, you'd first wait until your side goes, then you'd do one action--you'd move to the doorway. Then everybody on your side behind you gets to do one action. And, then, the other side gets to do one action, until if finally comes back to you, at which time, you can lean around the corner and fire once. Then we go through everybody again, until it all comes back to you for your third action.

On the surface, this sounds like a great way to simulate simultaneous movement and action. In practice, it's dull and boring and...very un-Star Wars, in my opinion.

I was surprised to see this system in the game, to be honest. All over the book, especially the first edition book, you'll see lots of advice on running a quick, seat-o-the-pants game to simulate the frantic action of the Star Wars movies. Then, the game presents this meticulous round procedure.

My solution was to go a more traditional route with the combat procedure. First, I'd have every character in the fight roll PER, and I'd record the order. This sounds like a hassle, but I only did this one time--to establish order--at the beginning of a combat. Once order was established, I followed it to the end of combat. A character could "hold" his action, if he wanted, basically lowering his initiative count, but if he did that, his count would remain at that position for the rest of the fight. If newcomers entered the fray, they simply rolled PER on the round that they entered, and I'd fit them into initiative line-up a the point indicated by their roll.

This worked great when I ran my multi-year Star Wars campaign. The fights would play out in a much more "Star Wars" fashion than what was suggested by the official rules.

Now, under my House Rule, if a player wanted his character to run up to the doorway and pop-off two shots at the stormtroopers down the corridor, well, that's exactly what he'd do when his turn came up: Move and pow, pow.

It did dawn on me that, maybe, the D6 game designers were trying to keep the player characters alive when they designed the combat round. Blasters can be quite deadly, and where one shot might stun or wound a character, two or more shots might incapaciate or kill a character.

So, if you use my house rule, consider all of the ramifcations.

One thing that you might want to consider, if using the House Rule suggested above, is to take a nod from Classic Traveller and add a damage phase in between rounds. So, your combats would play like this:

1. PER check for initiative (first round only)
2. All actions peformed on the character's initiative count, but damage not inflicted until damage phase.
3. Damage Phase: Apply damage just before the start of the next round.

Thus, if you run up to the doorway, pop around the corner, and fire two shots at the stormtroopers, then you'd do that, but if you hit, you wouldn't apply damage until the end of the round.

Thus, the stormtroopers, if damaged, would not feel the effects of that damage until the damage phase. That way, you've still got the easy-breezy Star Wars ease-of movent, and you can simulate simulate a more simultaneous combat round.

The other House Rule I used is one that I brought over from Classic Traveller, and you'll want to consider this rule change only if you're using one of the later editions of the game. That's because the later editions added a lot of skills to the game. For example, in the first edition, you've got Starship Piloting. In 2E R&E, there's Capital Ship Piloting, Space Transports, and Starfighter Piloting. What was governed by one skill in the first edition of the game is covered by three skills in the last edition of the game.

The Technical skills is another area where skills were added. In the first edition, there's Computer Programming & Repair, Demolition, Droid Programming & Repair, Medicine, Repulsorlift Craft Repair, Security, and Starship Repair.

In the last edition of the rules, The Technical skills increase to 18 skills:

Armor Repair
Blaster Repair
Captial Ship Repair
Capital Ship Weapon Repair
Computer Programming/Repair
Droid Programming
Droid Repair
First Aid
Ground Vehicle Repair
Hover Vehicle Repair
Repulsorlift Repair
Space Transports Repair
Starfighter Repair
Starship Weapon Repair
Walker Repair

My first thought, seeing the lastest rules, was, "Well, how did Luke Skywalker get to be such a hot-shot pilot? He's 19 years old--a moisture farmhand on a desert world who has lived with his aunt and uncle is entire life."

Using the 1st edition rules, it makes sense, because there's only one skill that covers Starship Piloting. One can assume that, with one skill, the knowledge needed to fly a military spacefighter isn't that much different than piloting the family vessel. But, if Starfighter Piloting and Space Transports are different skills, then it makes no sense at all that Luke could have flown the X-Wing starfighter the way he did. Where would have have gotten that training--before he was 19 years old?

In order to bridge the 1st and 2nd edition rules, I suggest this House Rule: Whenever a task can be performed by a like skill, then allow the use of the alternate skill at one die less.

For example, young Luke Skywalker could, indeed, have achieved a high Space Transports 6D rating by using Uncle Owen's space caddilac over his youth. When he got to the cockpit of the X-Wing, he saw that the controls were not that much different. Thus, Luke's Space Transports skills serves as Starship Piloting 5D (one die code lower).

The same argument can be made for Repulsorlift Operation. Luke has his two-seat land speeder, and in the garage, we see the T-16 air speeder that he said he used to bullseye womp rats. Plus, the airspeeders used by Rogue Squadron on Hoth would use the Repulsorlift Operation skill. Flying those vehicles around, in my estimation, really isn't that much different that piloting a starfighter. Thus, I'd allow the use of my House Rule: If Luke had Repulsorlift Operation 7D when he met Ben Kenobi, then he is qualified to use Starship Piloting 6D.

Another House Rule I used was to allow the Search skill to be used for Initiative. Search is governed by Perception, and my reasoning was that a character in the Star Wars universe should be learn and improve his combat reactions. Thus, Search became an important skill.

Of course, the game has rules for improving a character's PER score--it's just very, very hard to increase stats. You can do it, but you sacrifice the improvement of a lot of skills. Most Star Wars characters do not improve their six main stats after character generation. Even Darth Vader has the same amount of dice in his six basic stats as any starting human character.

I figured that a character could go to the Star Wars equivalent of Marine Corps boot camp and come out with a better understanding of sizing up a combat situation. Search seemed like the best skill to use for that use.

You may or may not want to do this in your game. One of the ramifications is that you might end up with group of PCs who some perceptive, searching SOB's. If that seems unrealistic to you, then just keep the PER as the stat you use for Initiative. (Or, you can make up an Initiative skill....?)

Other than those changes, I pretty much ran the game as directed by the 2E R&E rules. And, to be fair, if I started a new Star Wars game today, I know I'd use the same round structure house rule and the "like skill" rule, but I'm not sure about using Search for initiative. I go back and forth on that one.
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