Wednesday, April 6, 2011

StarWars with StarCluster 3?

Wait a minute! StarCluster is a fairly hard-ish space opera. StarWars is as soft and squishy as a sneaker full of poodle poo. What are you thinking of, clash?

Hold on! Hear me out before you react!

Well, if I don't hear you out, there won't be much of a blog post today...

Exactly! Now Star Wars doesn't so much defy real science as ignore it in favor of technology.


Seriously. Any time real science interferes with the setting assumptions, technology comes to the rescue. "We want hand to hand fighting with swords to be important." "But why won't people with blasters shoot the guys with the swords?" "The swords have blades of energy confined in shaped force fields, which can deflect blaster bolts." "Umm, Ok."

Well, StarCluster has light swords, but they don't work like light sabers, and they don't deflect blaster bolts - besides, you don't have blasters in StarCluster anyway.

First of all, what's a blaster but a pulsed laser? Anyway, why can't light swords work like light sabers? If you don't care, I don't care. It's your game. Maybe the force fields are gravitic. Gravity bends light.

What about space travel? The Millenium Falcon travels at the speed of plot! With StarCluster, I use the Transit Calculator and the Orbit map...

So don't use the Transit Calculator. Just say "That'll take about 5 hours."

What about Jump Travel? In StarWars you just engage the hyperdrive.

So drop the jump travel and move through hyperspace in whatever direction you like at the speed of plot.

But the rules say...

Screw the rules. The rules are there for your convenience. If they get in the way of something star-warsy, ignore them. The Canon Police won't arrest you. Really, anytime the rules say something non-Starwarsy, you can usually drop them and use fiat, or there's an optional rule that will work properly in its place.

What about the Force? Don't say use PSI because that's too weak.

Use the optional rules near the end of the book for Attribute-based PSI. It's much more powerful than the standard rules. As long as you have stats to burn, you have PSI powers. Excuse me! Force powers.

What about Jedi? There's no Jedi profession!

Make one! You think there can't be professions that aren't listed? I just put together some common examples! There's nothing difficult about making up new professions! Throw in appropriate PSI - I mean Force - skills, Dash, Focus, Awareness, Observe, Blade, and Meditation. Come up with some appropriate Edges. Remember Augmentations.

What about...

Droids? Robots can do anything Droids can do. In fact I would not allow morphing droids - or morphing anything! StarWars tech doesn't morph.

Aliens? Don't do pure random aliens. Construct your aliens on a more humanoid planiform. Same with vehicles! Create vehicles that use gravitics or legs rather than wheels.

Starship and Vehicle Combat? If you are using the civilians creeping around under the Empire's notice, the main book works fine. If you are doing Empire vs. Rebel Alliance, use the space and vehicle combat rules in In Harm's Way: StarCluster, particularly the optional cinematic space combat rules. Star Wars loves fighters!

The cinematic fights where the heroes kick ass against minions? Use a different Constitution scale to create "named" characters! If the book says use 5X, use 10X for named characters, and 2X for rabble. Use a more cinematic resolution system, like StarPool or StarNova, rather than StarPerc or Star20.

Trust me! It'll work great! StarCluster 3 is designed to do stuff like this!



  1. I'm just puzzled that you have to tell people to do this. What happened to 'make stuff up and hang it on a rules rack'?

    It's ironic that a hobby that calls for leaps of imagination (and is, essentially, 'Let's pretend' for grownups) seems to encourage such narrow and blinkered playing.

    I'm not calling for Gonzo randomness, just for folks to see rules sets as guides to structure and consistancy of results. The story as told in the game should not be shackled by the underlying mechanics - we had a game that was ported across three different rules systems during its two year life and, while the mechanisms changed, the story moved forward with barely a hiccup.

  2. I couldn't agree with you more, Kobold.