Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Villainous Scum - Corrupting Star Wars with DCCRPG

By the Emperor's Spellburned Face


Earlier this week I announced my Villainous Scum experiment, in which I will create six pre-generated characters for both the Cypher System and the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, and run them through a pair of adventures.  Throw in a few Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures scenarios featuring those same six characters, and I've got a full month of the Force ahead of me.

Oh, and I think a Star Wars movie is coming out.  

Enough with the introduction, let me start digging into the meat of this post:  a Star Wars Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG conversion!

First, let me clarify that this really isn't a true "conversion."  I'm a fast and loose kind of Judge, and I prefer to mod my games on the fly.  Sure, when I was younger I would create my very own sourcebooks to hand to my players, full of character options, alien species, and equipment.  But fast forward to my mid-thirties, and I'd much rather just figure out what's already been published and throw it into my game.  

I've grown lazy in my old age.  

This means that my conversion will be more of a "creative re-imagining", in which I will grab the themes and feelings of the Star Wars Saga, and bolt them onto DCCRPG with the help of some truly amazing Zines.  

The Student has Become the Master


As I mentioned in the last blog post, this is not my first patron-bonded speeder-bike ride through the Star Wars Universe.  Back in the spring, inspired by an amazing, fan created, anime-style TIE Fighter video, I started jotting down notes for possible Stormtrooper occupations for DCCRPG.  My goal was just to reach fifty total occupations, but with the help of the DCC communities on Google+ and Facebook, we hit the one-hundred mark!  

Of course, with one-hundred awesome occupations, from Nerf Herder to Tauntaun Tamer, Cloud City Barista to PalpaTeens Editor, I had to run some games.  I grabbed my Star Wars D20 guide for Tatooine and created a short 0-level funnel that pitted a troop of Stormtroopers against a lowly Jedi named Obi-Wan Kenobi.  

While the two adventures were epic, I never saw them as anything more than gimmicks.  Coming up with a bunch of occupations is far easier than creating five or six new character classes for DCCRPG.  Again, suffering from lazy Judge syndrome, I moved on to experience Star Wars from the Edge of the Empire.  

In these last six months I've had the opportunity to play quite a bit of DCC, from my Viking themed adventures, to my new monthly Crawling Under a Broken Moon campaign.  I've also listened to a lot of the Spellburn Podcast…

… heck, I've listened to most episodes multiple times…

… seriously, go listen to Spellburn.    

As I've grown as a Judge, especially one who loves mash-ups, I've come to the following conclusions:

  1. There is always an easy way to do something in DCC so long as you have the players' buy-in.  
  2. If a hard way is necessary for what you want to achieve, typically another Judge has already done the busy work, so go copy off of them.   
I can tell you with all certainty that a high level DCC-Star Wars game is not only possible, but you can be running a campaign by this weekend.  Perhaps you'd have a different path to the Star Wars Saga, but let me share with you the direction I'll be taking with my Villainous Scum Experiment.

Judge James' Star Wars to DCC Conversion Notes


So here we go.  As you read through these, if you think of any better way to handle the rules please let me know.  I'm definitely open to suggestions.  

Campaign Style

Let's start with the kind of Star Wars campaign you'll be running using the Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game.  I still feel strongly that DCC would best fit a Dark Side style campaign, which is why I originally went with the Stormtrooper 0-level funnel idea.  Using Corruption as a manifestation of the Dark Side just feels right.  How many Stormtroopers fumbled their attack rolls when taking on Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewie on the Death Star?  

Of course, this is just a matter of personal preference.  

Attributes

While Luck is a fun and exciting tool in DCCRPG, I prefer to re-skin the attribute into The Force.  It certainly fits the theme, as in most Star Wars RPG's I've played, from the d6 System to Edge of the Empire, any character can benefit from using the Force.  

Other than this name change, nothing else needs to be altered.  The rules as written for Luck/Force work great in Star Wars.

Alignment

Again, I'm going to dip into the Star Wars-lingo, and replace/re-skin the three DCC alignments as follows:
  • Lawful = Light
  • Neutral = Gray
  • Chaotic = Dark
Naturally these represent a character's connection to the Force.  When picking up a certain Force-imbued item (magic item), it should be the characters' connection to the Force that determines their usage.  Admittedly, by changing the nature of the Alignment system, I've changed how it should be used to reflect character interactions.  A Dark Side user may still be Lawful.

You could just add a Light Side/Dark Side axis on top of Alignment.  Your game, your rules!

Occupations

When it comes time to come up with occupations for your Star Wars DCC characters, there is always my Stormtrooper Occupation list.  Most of these have an Imperial Theme, so if you get one you don't like, just roll again.    

Another option is to choose the Space Dungeon option when making characters using the Purple Sorcerer character generators.  A few items may need to be altered, but you get pretty close.

Classes

This was the part that scared me the most when I was trying to figure out how to run Star Wars at higher levels in the spring.  Then at Gen Con 2015 I purchased my first Zine, Crawljammer, and I discovered how incredible the fan resources are for DCC.  

Here are my suggestions for classes:
  • DCCRPG Core Classes
    • Thief:  Here is your Smuggler or Scoundrel.  Add Weapon Training for Pistols.
    • Warrior:  Soldiers, Mercenaries, and Hired Guns.  All Pistols or Rifles should be allowed.  
    • Wizard:  Force Adepts.  When you think about the Dark Side, any kind of misfire in using those evil powers is certainly generating Corruption.  Think about that scene where Palpatine Force Lightning's Mace Windu and gets his face roasted.  That was TOTALLY Corruption!  
      • Note:  When choosing Spells, work with your players to make sure that whatever is rolled "fits" the Star Wars universe.  Charm Person or Force Manipulation fit, while Flaming Hands and Invoke Patron do not.
  • Zine Classes
    • Psychic Knight:  Jedi!  Found in the Crawljammer Zine #3, this class can be used "as-is" for either Light or Dark Jedi.  
    • Ranger:  Scouts.  Crawl! Fanzine #6 features several new DCC classes, including this homage to the original D&D Ranger.  Just add Pistols and Rifles to Weapon Training.  
    • Technologist:  Slicers and Tech Ops.  This class can be found in Crawling Under a Broken Moon Issue 1.  It features technical skill usage handled similarly to Thief Skills.  
  • Online Resource Classes
Aliens

This is where some imagination needs to come into play.  Obviously playing Humans and Near Humans using DCCRPG is easy, as should alien species like Rodians, Twi-leks, or Duros.  While its certainly possible to come up with an entire list of aliens and their modifications or new rules, I chose the easy path of not doing any of that work.  

At least not yet.

If you want to play a Wookie, make sure that your character has a high Strength and Stamina.  A character with a high Intelligence could be a Cerean.  Falleen probably have high Personality scores.  Another way to showcase an alien species is to connect it to the character's class.  I'll show this when I create Mist, the Clawdite Bounty Hunter and member of the Villainous Scum.  

When using Aliens for Foes, just do the same thing.  Either re-skin human NPC's, or swap out existing monster races for alien species'.  I could see Jawas as Goblins or Gamorrean Guards as Orcs…

… heck, those last two even look the same!

Gear

While I'm all for coming up with equipment ideas on the fly, and most true Star Wars fans know what the tech level looks like, here are some conversion tips:

  • General Equipment:  There is a great weapon list for Sci Fi games in Crawling Under a Broken Moon Issue 1.  
  • Lightsaber:  Damage 1d14, wielder takes an additional 1d6 damage on a fumble.  
  • Bacta:  The characters will need some kind of access to healing, since there aren't any Clerics in the Star Wars Universe.  Consider letting them find tanks of Bacta that contain a given number of hit points.  So a 15 Point Bacta Canister can bestow a total of 15 points to one or more characters before running dry.
  • Armor:  Re-skin, re-skin, re-skin!  Leather Armor could be a Flak Jacket.  Or you could just call everything Light, Medium, or Heavy armor and use Leather, Chainmail, and Full Plate.  
  • Others:  When in doubt, use a close comparison.  For instance a Gaffi Stick is pretty much a Polearm… so just use the stats for a Polearm!  Why get complicated?

Starships

My first suggestion was going to be "don't touch starship stats."  When I ran the Stormtrooper 0-level funnel and the players were on a crashing Lambda Shuttle, I just had them make some Agility rolls.  But then I remembered that Crawljammer #1 features stats for Crawljammer ships, which are perfect for this kind of game!  

Here is a sample vessel showing how easy the rules are to use:
  • TIE Fighter
    • Initiative: +4
    • Atk:  +2 Laser Cannon, 1d6 dmg
    • AC: 14
    • HD: 2d8
    • Act: 1d20
    • Fort:  +0
    • Ref:  +3
    • Will:  +0
*     *     *

So there are my thoughts on how to use DCCRPG to run a Star Wars game.  Over the next couple of weeks I'll be releasing some character designs, each using DCC and Cypher System stats.  A the end of the holiday season I'll be running the adventure Wrath of the Gungan Horde using these very rules.

However, I could always use some fine-tuning.  If there is anything you see in these rules that you would change or alter, please let me know.  Should I make any changes or adjustments I'll be sure to give you credit!

May the Force be with you.