Thursday, December 1, 2011

Session Autopsy / Star Wars Saga Edition as she is played

Hey, I know, let's talk about a discontinued game that you can't buy anymore.
AYes, let's.

So, Star Wars Saga Edition. I ran my first session session two days ago. I've owned the book for pretty much four years, and have held the system in high regard compared to the two previous d20 incarnations and D&D 3.5.
Much of my disappointment with D&D 4e stems from it not being like SWSE.

Having said all that, it's been a couple of years since I read the rules in depth, and a system always contains surprises as you move from theory to practice.

My first surprise was the hardiness of the antagonists.
When I ran D&D 4e, the first encounter the party faced was a swarm of Rats (as is tradition). Each rat was CR1, and they took an entire session to defeat.
My Star Wars players faced off against 12 CL1 Battle Droids, and still had half the session to do two smaller encounters as well.

My second surprise was the amount of damage being thrown about by both sides.
It is unlikely that a Rat could kill a PC in one hit, yet one Battle Droid was able to deliver 18 points of damage in a single shot.
So, Star Wars antagonists are credible threats, and guns are very dangerous.
At one point I was seriously worried that the first encounter would result in a Total Party Kill.
No such luck...

My third surprise was the general ease of the system. It's streamlined, but intuitively streamlined.
The Use the Force skill, for example, makes Jedi Force Powers painless.
Maybe it makes them a little bit min-maxy powergamery, maybe. It seems ok at first level, though.

As mentioned in a previous post, I don't use miniatures. The current primary reason is twofold
1: Star Wars minis have been discontinued
2: Miniatures cost money, that thing which my wife does not like me spending frivolously, and trust me, miniatures are regarded as frivolous.

To overcome this potential hurdle, I took two props along to the session.
A beat up old chess board
An A4 double sided chalk board, one side having a predrawn grid.

As it turns out, I didn't need the chess board, and used the chalk board exclusively.
If combat becomes more complex and/or tactical, then I can see me using chess pieces and sheets of pre-printed A4 grid paper.