Bringing the Force to Pathfinder

Recently I’ve been playing through Knights of the Old Republic (and it’s sequel) and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying myself. I’ve been enjoying myself so much in fact, that I wanted to start up a group to play a little Star Wars RPG. Sadly there are all of one d20 systems available at the moment, by Wizards of the Coast. There are a couple of other systems, the previous edition by WotC (which was a d6 abomination) and Fantasy Flight Games’ d-Weird system (the developer responsible for the Arkham Horror board-game series). Sadly, all of these systems have issues and problems. The old WotC d20 was just awful. It was broken, poorly optimized, edited…pretty much a perfect example of the terrible content that was being pushed to the public at that time (the system just didn’t really function as a cohesive whole). Roughly a decade after that (3.5 was mainstream), WotC released a “legacy” edition that updated the ruleset to a 3.5 cross 4.0 ruleset. This wasn’t the most horrendous of updates (it was actually playable for example). The issue with edition was that the force was comically overpowered. It boiled down to what was basically a skill called “use the force”. Need to do something, pilot a ship through a narrow canyon, talk down a guard, order drinks, tie your shoes? Just “Use the Force!”…kill me now…There were also things done to try and balance lightsabers versus other weapons meaning that lightsabers struggled to do things like cut through a stick of butter. So yeah, not the best edition. WotC has since released the license

Fantasy Flight version did a number of things right, lightsabers feel good to use (and can actually cut through doors AND sticks of butter), classes are relatively balanced, the force isn’t godmode but they did something that really just rubs me the wrong way. FFG produces specialty dice that aren’t useful outside of FFG games but it seems wrong to demand that players not only buy copies of the rulebooks, but also drop $15 bucks on a set of dice that are trash outside of this specific game (there are tables in the rulebook so that you can use normal dice, but that quickly becomes a massive pain and slows play to a crawl). It’s also not a d20 system (which is really kind of sad). Basically, if you want a d20 Star Wars RPG, you’re shit outta luck.

Now I have to answer the question, “Buy why are you boring me by rambling about things I obviously don’t care about?” I’m rambling about this because there’s a clear gap in content here (mostly due to legal reasons if I had to guess, Star Wars being such a massive franchise and all). About a month ago, I sank my teeth into the challenge of creating the Star Wars:Pathfinder. A set of rules, classes, materials,and races for running Star Wars campaigns and games in a modern d20 system. Hopefully I don’t get any legal nastigrams about this (that would be sad).  I’ve been gnawing at the problem for about a month now and I’ve finally finished with the core class mechanics. I’m drawing a lot of inspiration straight from the Pathfinder Core Rules, KotoR I & II and an entire childhood of geeking out about Star Wars.

I’ve faced a number of challenges in hammering out this ruleset. Pathfinder itself has some issues it inherited from 3.5 that people often struggle against without realizing it. One of my goals while developing this system was to address and solve those problems. For example, roughly 90 feats developed by Paizo have the most ridiculous and meaningless requirement, “base attack bonus +1”. This prerequisite is just stupid since every single class possess it by level 2. It crushes the viability of 3/4 BAB classes that really want to be martial and in melee (most of those feats are intended for full BAB, melee classes) and makes building such characters extremely awkward. If I want to build a Rogue around Surprise Follow Through (when you cleave, the second enemy is flat-footed against your attack. Whoo sneak attack dice), I cannot reasonably expect to be “online” unless I split and take a Full BAB class as my first level OR delay and come online at level 5 (it’s actually impossible to get the combo online sooner if the build takes nothing but pure rogue). Another issue I’ve finally found a solution to, is the fact that casters have a “15-minute workday”. I’ve got a lot of writing and transcribing to-do before anything is anywhere near release-worthy, but my last hurdle to making this announcement (the 15-minute workday) I have the groundwork to solve.

tl;dr I’m writing a Star Wars d20 based on the Pathfinder ruleset. Whoo!

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2 Comments

    • Nope! This turned out to be a much bigger project then it seemed like at the time and I didn’t have the experience to bring it about to completion. I’m closer to that point now but I’m ear deep in classes/work/job hunting currently (RIP free time). I may also be writing my own RPG system that seems to have some potential in what little free time I have (but we’ll see if I can convince anyone into playtesting it).

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