Cypher Star Wars: Player Characters

So, since this is ongoing (my wife and I may have logged close to 24 hours in the last 48 playing Star Wars: The Old Republic), expect regular post on converting the Cypher System and possibly others to handle the setting of Star Wars. Today, we’ll look at how a hypothetical group of players might build their characters to fit an Old Republic kind of game. We’ll go with a total of four people for these purposes, each with their own idea of what they want to play.

Jack wants to play a Jedi, preferably something like a Trandoshan lizard-person; he’s got this idea of a heroic lizard-person with a lightsaber who seeks out wrongs to right, guided always by the Force. Mark want to be someone like Han Solo – a charming scoundrel with a ship, who survives in the galaxy by wit and blaster. Mary wants to also be a Jedi, but she wants to secretly be a disciple of the Dark Side, channeling the power of fear and hate to achieve her desires. Lastly, Kris wants to be a droid bounty hunter, a machine purpose-built to go to strange places and hunt terrible beings in exchange for rewards.

Looking at this, the GM takes a few notes and leans back to work out the rough details of a campaign as the players build their characters. Obviously the group will need transport of some kind – one of the tropes of Star Wars is that transit between worlds is easy for those who have narrative value, after all. Mark’s character is an obvious choice for the pilot of some light freighter or the like, but the group can be linked together if someone else actually owns it – the two Jedi might have it as a loan from the Jedi Council, making them jointly responsible for upkeep, repairs, and upgrades of the vessel. The bounty hunter droid might be on board working as a repair droid in between bounties, the better to keep in oil baths.

The players, interested in having a ship, find this largely agreeable, with Kris pitching the idea that while her droid is a repair unit on the ship, it also serves as the one who knows all the hidden nooks and crannies to smuggle goods, and so serves more as the partner of the smuggler than anyone’s servant. Mark agrees to the idea, and the GM adjusts the plan.

Jack thinks his options over, and decides he wants to generate his character as a Warrior type. Given his desired species and the timeframe of the game, he’ll have been born on Trandosha, the homeworld of his species, but discovered to be Force-sensitive at a young age and sent to train on Tython. He wants his character to be a bastion of the Light Side, a Jedi Guardian, so he puts two points in his Intellect Pool and four in his Might Pool, bringing him up to 14 Might and 10 each in Speed and Intellect. Keeping the Force in mind, he decides to add the Magic flavor to his character for the supernatural touch, and starts looking over his options for his four starting abilities. Extra Edge immediately stands out – the intense training of a Jedi grants him an Edge of 1 in both Might and Speed, as befits a Guardian. Trained Without Armor is another good choice – he uses the guidance of the Force to avoid danger, not bulky armor. Given the nature of Lightsabers, most of the active Warrior options don’t really appeal to him, so he turns to the Magic abilities, settling quickly on Premonition to give him a semblance of Force Sense, and Closed Mind to further represent his training; his will is backed by the Force, and no mortal attacks aganst his mind stand a chance.

He leans over to the GM at this point and asks if he can get Transdoshan as a descriptor; after some thought, the GM offers to reskin the flavor of the Tough descriptor to represent the Trandoshans, giving his natural armor, a kind of accelerated healing, and additional defensive capability. Jack quickly agrees, glad to get something that solidly represents the character he has in mind, and writes down the abilities from Tough, renamed to give them a proper feel. That just leaves his Focus and his equipment to figure out.

Defends the Weak and Commands Mental Powers both look appealing at first, but neither really fits the concept of a bold Jedi who seeks out the darkness in the galaxy to fight it off, so he looks farther down the list and lands on Looks for Trouble. It’s the perfect match for his Jedi Guardian, who spends so much time looking for wrongs to right. He scribbles down his bonus damage and extra training, then looks over the suggested connections to other PCs. Given Mary’s character, he suggests to her that the two of them likely have a past history, and that his Guardian sees it as a part of his duty to defend her, even when such protection gets in the way of her private studies. Mary likes the idea and the potential to inject some friendly bickering into the game and agrees to the idea.

Lastly, Jack pitches the idea to the GM that rather than all the weapons his choices give him, he only has one – a blue lightsaber; other than that, he fights unarmed, seeking to subdue rather than kill foes. The GM agrees, and Jack writes down his artifact weapon – a light slashing weapon that deals damage like a medium weapon. He writes it all down and sits back to wait for the others to be ready before he picks his remaining gear, envisioning his Jedi leaping around in a Force-powered blur of blue lightsaber and black-green scale, ready to prove himself to the Trandoshan’s idea of a god, the Scorekeeper.

Mark wants to be a smuggler – someone who braves danger and gets through it with wit, charm, and a blaster. He’s fine with being human, so he doesn’t need a modified Descriptor the way Jack did. Given the wanderlust inherent in the character concept, he decides that the Explorer Type sounds like a good match, and decides that agility and wits are equally important to him. Three points each go to his Speed and Intellect pools, leaving him with a Might of 10 and a Speed and Intellect of 12 each.

He looks over the Explorer options and decides he doesn’t need to flavo his character type any; Danger Sense, Decipher, Knowledge Skills, and Practiced in Armor fill out his four first-tier options. Decipher gives him an excuse to potentially be able to make himself understood anywhere in the galaxy, and he picks Piloting and Criminal Operations as his knowledge skills – his character isn’t even remotely pure-hearted, and he’s more than willing to rough it up if he has to do so.

Brash seems like a possible option for his Descriptor, as does Impulsive, but he ultimately falls back to the concept of the character and picks Charming; the bonus to his Intellect Pool and the skill training at any positive social interaction just fall in with his idea of a silver-tongued crack pilot, even if the piloting itself is hampered a bit by his inability to deal with Knowledge tasks. He pitches the idea that his contact is a member of the Hutt Cartel, and that perhaps they mutually owe each other favors through some complex web. The GM approves the idea, suggesting that the contact is a Bothan by the name of Leelanu, part of a spice smuggling operation operating off Nar Shadda. Smuggling spice while working for the Jedi seems like an exciting option, so Mark writes that down.

Next comes his focus – Fuses Flesh and Steel seems appealing, as he could be a cyborg with tricky options built into him, or who is Licensed to Carry because of his blaster, but that seems too much like abiding by the law for his character to do. He settles on Fights Dirty, because his character isn’t above taking an advantage wherever he can. He asks the GM if his extra weapon can be a holdout needler with a burst of poisoned ammunition and writes it down when the GM agrees that it sounds reasonable. More important is the skill training in all forms of deception, making him even more capable of charming his way past obstacles – in situations where he has to pleasantly lie through his teeth, he may get to count himself as specialized in the action, lowering the difficulty two steps.

He asks Kris if she’s willing to be on the other end of his connection, suggesting that the droid met his smuggler while chasing a bounty one day, and that the droid taught his smuggler some tricks he’s added to his repretoire since then. She agrees, and so he writes it down and suggests that when he was contacted by the Jedi about flying the ship, he insisted the droid be hired as a repair unit, to give it a better way of crossing the galaxy in search of bounties. The others like the idea, with Jack saying his Trandoshan disapproves of bounty hunting in general but has yet to find a good reason to object to taking down any scum the droid goes after, while Mary says her would-be Sith is pleased at having a hired hunter on board. The GM scribbles this all down while Mark looks over the equipment list in preparation for the last of his gear.

Mary wants her Jedi to be a would-be Sith – a human strong in the Force who feels the call of the Dark Side and senses that her destiny draws her to it. Picking an Adept with a Magic flavor is an easy decision, and she looks over the list of available options carefully. She wants to be quick and clever, so she puts a couple points into Speed and the rest into Intellect, giving her 7 Might, 11 Speed, and 16 Intellect.

At this tier, she doesn’t need anything from the Magic flavor, selecting Hedge Magic to represent her interaction with the Force, Magic Training as her esoteric knowledge of it, Onslaught as a method of combat, and Practiced with Light Weapons so she can wield a lightsaber. Other options, such as Push, Scan, and Ward, are all tempting, but she doesn’t really need them to fill out her concept.

Looking the Descriptors over, Cruel and Mystical both catch her interest, but she settles on Doomed – her would-be Sith has terrible dreams of her fall to the Dark Side, and she lives with the knowledge that one day she will either be Sith or dead. She increases her Speed to 13 and notes down her skill training – perception tasks, Speed defense, and Intellect defense are all trained for her, now.

She looks over the Foci, skimming Focuses Mind Over Matter and Casts Spells as possible options before settling on Controls Gravity as an extension of the psychokinetic effects of the Force. She asks Mark if his smuggler might be willing to be a skeptic of her ability to use the Force, unwilling to believe she can do what she does. He agrees, thinking that his smuggler is a worldly sort who respects the raw skill and power of the Jedi while scoffing at their beliefs.

With the GM’s permission, she marks her lightsaber as her two Expensive item choices, picking a green lightsaber as a Jedi Consular, then sits back to wait for the GM to assign cyphers and the others to be ready to talk about other equipment.

Kris wants to be a droid bounty hunter, making most of her decisions easy. She decides to be a Warrior, assigning all of her points to Might to give herself 16 Might, 10 Speed, and 8 Intellect, describing her droid as a powerfully built and heavily armored machine. She asks the GM if she can have an electrostaff and a techblade for her Type weapons, and writes them down.

She picks Bash and Thrust as abilities with little trouble, giving her a field of options for dealing with her bounties, then adds Practiced With Armor to help with her desire to be a nearly invulnerable machine and Physical Skills, picking running and climbing as her two options; her droid is good at pursuing fleeing targets wherever they go.

She glances briefly at other descriptors, such as Driven, but decides that Mechanical is the best one; she bumps her Intellect up to 10 and notes that she’s skilled at any action involving identifying, understanding, using, repairing, or crafting machines – something she can use to justify healing herself with regular recovery actions despite being a machine herself.

Her Focus is also easy; she selects Hunts with Great Skill, and asks Jack if his Jedi might have once been caught in one of her traps, having had to free himself from it. Jack agrees, suggesting that their paths crossed at some point well before the droid was hired to crew the ship, and that she might have modified herself so the Trandoshan Jedi doesn’t recognize her anymore. Kris writes it down, and adds her Focus skills, becoming trained in tracking and all forms of movement, which makes her specialized in running and climbing – her prey has little hope of escaping her now!

She considers her droid as it stands, nods, and leans back to see what the GM has for them now.

Next time, we’ll look at the group getting their cyphers, choosing their equipment, and the layout of an adventure that the GM cooks up while the players are busy getting their characters in order.

Cypher Star Wars: Player Characters

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