Monday, December 15, 2014

Old Republic classes as m20 Star Wars archetypes: The Smuggler

After dropping out near the end of the second planet on my bounty hunter playthrough, I've been motivated to try it again (haven't had time, but I've had motivation.  Looking to figure that out soon...)


However, I've completely lost my place with my bounty hunter.  I'm thinking of starting all over again, as a male human smuggler, I think (to be turning into a Gunslinger.)  Back in the day before The Old Republic became free to play, I played 15 levels (the demo maximum) with a female human smuggler character, and thought it was fun--and in many ways very comparable to the bounty hunter slash powertech anyway.  I've also been watching an edited playthrough with the smuggler class (mostly just the conversations and cut scenes, but with some "boss fights".  It's long--156 linked 15 minute youtube videos--but about four hours in, I'm not tired of it yet.  The same guy who posted this did one of each of the eight classes, it looks like.  I can't imagine I won't feel Old Republic youtube fatigue long before I get there, but at least in the meantime, I'm enjoying it.

With my own m20 Star Wars game (including the seeds of a 1,000 years post-Jedi setting), I have four classes, soldier, scoundrel, expert and knight.  This doesn't map exactly to the totally different type of system that Star Wars: The Old Republic uses, but rather, I see the Old Republic classes as archetypes that can be created using m20 classes in a variety of ways.  They're really more role-playing hooks rather than mechanics hooks, but I still see them as interesting interpretations of Star Warsiana that can be useful to me in my own m20 Star Wars game.


Let's start with the Smuggler, since I'm watching a playthrough of that class right now.  The Smuggler is, of course, the Han Solo archetype--heroic, but kind of reluctantly, with a patina of bad-boy attitude and Alpha male cockiness.  I see him also as a combination of the good-guy swashbuckler; a kind of British privateer like Captain Peter Blood combined with the Old West gunfighter thrown in.  A small amount of political French Résistance or American Revolutionary War partisan fighters, although they're not overly concerned with politics for the most part.

Quoting The Old Republic gaming material, the smuggler is meant to be cunning.  Smooth-talking, sneaky, and outside of the formal authority structure, they move easily through either the legitimate or underground worlds--although keep in mind that the legitimate world, as shown on places like Coruscant, is pretty Underworld-like.  Although the bounty hunter is meant to be a "bad guy" class allied (at least nominally) with the Sith Empire, the smuggler is his counterpart in most respects, and a smuggler could actually be a bounty hunter (lower case) by trade.

The Smuggler divides into two advanced classes, either the Gunslinger of the Scoundrel.  The Gunslinger focuses even more on becoming a cowboy in a space western, and adds to that demolitions, sharpshooting and dirty tricks, while the scoundrel focuses on dirty tricks, his scattergun, and--oddly--some healing abilities.  That last is almost certainly a feature required for MMO "balanced party" play and it seems curiously out of place with regards to the archetype itself.  Since I don't have advanced classes, they can be collapsed down into some firearms specialties, demolitions, and dirty tricks.

Because the Smuggler class in SW:ToR and the Scoundrel class of m20 Star Wars are both loosely based on the same archetypical character, Han Solo and his "ilk", it seems that the Smuggler archetype would best be represented by a character with the Scoundrel class with some cool guns, some customized light armor, and--of course--a hot rod space ship.  However, a character who focuses more on being a gunslinger than a scoundrel could credibly recreate this archetype with the Soldier class as well.  If your GM allows a little house-ruling, you could hybridize the two classes to get a nearly perfect Gunslinger; a soldier who, instead of a +3 to Physical takes it to his Subterfuge as the Scoundrel does.  Another option would be to take neither and take an affinity as an Expert; that way you can Demolitions or Vehicle Piloting.

Heck, it just occurs to me that I don't have Demolitions listed as an affinity, and each of the three non-Knight classes have two abilities; I can officially modify the document (version 1.1?) to allow these "hybrid" classes.  Maybe I'll even name them!  I like the concept of making a la carte classes the way I've already done with races.  Until I get the files updated, here's the skinny on this concept:
Class special abilities:

  • Combat bonus: +1 to Damage and attack at 1st level.  +2 at 4th, and +3 at 8th.
  • +3 to a skill
  •  Sneak attack: add Subterfuge modifier to damage roll when sneak attacking.  May require successful subterfuge + Dex check to sneak up on the character in the first place.
  • An Affinity: the ability to reroll a check if desired if it falls within the spectrum of a specialized area.  This includes (but may not necessarily be limited to): Vehicle Piloting, Vehicle Repair, Droid Repair, Computers, Medicine, Investigation, Nobility, Deception, Stealth, Wilderness Survival, Acrobatics, and Demolitions.
  • Lightsaber Training: can use combat bonus, but only when using a lightsaber (the ability grants the use of the weapon as well, including the ability to make a new one during downtime if the original is ever lost.)  Also, any unarmored character with this ability can add ½ his character level (rounded down) to AC, and can, instead of attacking, deflect missed blaster fire back at anyone shooting at him (rolls as if making a blaster attack, can only apply to missed shots; hits still do damage as normal and cannot be deflected.)  If the character doesn’t move or take any other action, he can use his lightsaber to “fight defensively) by adding +4 to his AC against blaster attacks.  Missed attacks when “fighting defensively” can be deflected.
  •  Soldier: Combat Bonus and +3 to Physical skill
  • Scoundrel: Sneak Attack and +3 to Subterfuge skill
  • Expert: One affinity and +3 to Knowledge Skill
  • Knight: Lightsaber Training and +3 to Force skill
However, since all classes as a combination of two abilities, you could conceivably create other classes as well.  Here’s some alternate class configurations:
  • Gunslinger: Combat bonus and affinity Demolitions
  • Bounty Hunter: Combat bonus and Sneak Attack
  • Agent: Sneak attack and affinity Stealth
  • Sith Witch: +3 Force and Force affinity

The “standard” classes are as follows:
If you don’t take the +3 to Force skill at character creation (normally only available to Knights) then you can’t use the Force skill at all, except occasionally defensively, on the occasions when you make an opposed Force skill, as in to resist a Jedi mind trick.
There isn’t really any way to create any type of Knight other than using the Knight class, since the lightsaber and Force use take up the two class abilities, leaving no room for anything else.  Tough.  Knights are supposed to be rare and unusual, not commonplace with a variety of styles.  This, of course, is contrary to the class selection in Old Republic, which has no fewer than half of the options as varieties of Knights.

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