St"Ars" Wars - Ars Magica system for other genres?

I have roleplayed for a long time. I have played Ars Magica since 3rd Edition. Now that I am older and have children, typically my rpg group consists of me and my wife - our favorite system by far is Ars Magica.
My wife is also a big Star Wars fan. Rather than go through and try to learn a new system, we are thinking of trying to adjust ArM5 to run a few Star Wars games. A few thoughts -

  1. There are a few parallels I see (an homage to the Force Choke, the School of Vilano for hurling objects, rules for premonitions, etc.) that give a solid standard for comparison.

  2. The combat rules are an easy port - just change the name from Long Sword to Vibroblade or Longbow to Blaster Rifle and you are basically set. Huge cannons, blasters etc. would have to be treated with hgher scores.

  3. Force users and Force-attuned would work like Might / Magic Resistance does, with Jedi using their training in the Force as a parallel for Parma Magica. Far fewer beings would have Force resistance, but its definitely an option for those who are trained or some alien species.

  4. Companion rules make it easy for Non-Jedi/Sith characters.

There are some places where this breaks down - Star Wars is not built on a Medieval world view of course. Telekinesis covers everything and does not require Rego Terram and Herbam and Corpus. I thought we might overcome this by a strong concentration on the Techniques with the Forms being more of an affinity. Hoepfully I think this is all stuff good GM-ing can accomodate.

I see Jedi as a sort of Flambeau/Criamon combination, with the Sith being the worst that Tytalus has to offer and I may look for some parallels there.

Another trick I see is lightsabers. They can parry blaster fire (maybe allowing use of Lightsaber skill as part of defense even against projectiles). As for damage, I would guess most armor would be useless and damage would be high. This is powerful in close combat but ArM5 has a story seed about a staff that could burn an entire town to ash in moments so I don't think its gamebreaking.

These are my initial thoughts - does this seem workable? Has anyone else tried genre-bending ArM5 (or even 4)? Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks in advance for your feedback.

Regards,

Angelo

My first instinct is to build force-powers using the Hermetic guidelines, but have the players learn them as supernatural abilities (perhaps foregoing penalties for learning supernatural abilities). High-technology items might be constructed using the enchantment rules.

I've never played it, but I've heard World Tree listed as a successful port of Ars Magica rules to a different setting.

That is a good idea about the special abilities. There is less need for flexibility and improvisation in St"Ars" Wars (but still a need for scalability). I have most of the supplements so maybe the Ex Miscellanea rules regarding supernatural abilities would be the right choice.

Hmm. Perhaps the enchantment and experimentation rules would be useful ported to the good old Star Wars D6 rules... thanks for the idea!

You could design out the powers by Hermetic guidelines and then give people the virtue from the Merinita in HoH:MC that details learning spells by exposure/use...(dang but I can't remember it off the top of my head)

that'd give you a way for advancement without worrying about too much.

-Ben.

I, too, would suggest sticking to Supernatural Abilities. My knowledge of Star Wars is very limited, but I just don't see the characters there having the bredth and scope of power an Hermetic wizard has.

Something you might want to take a look at is the Criamon Path-of-the-body. I think it's essentially for people that want to use Enigmatic Wisdom like the Force. Adopting some of the elements, and the idea of using one Ability (The Force) plus different Initiations for different Paths (Sith, Jedi Knight, Jedi Councilor...) might be appropriate.

I will write up a few Force Abilities and post them for feedback from anyone who cares to provide some. I am going to use approximately the rules for developing abilities found in HoH: Societates.

I plan to use the version where Skill Level determines effect and difficulty is relatively static (rather than the one where he Ease Factor is the sliding scale of difficulty).

Thanks again for the input.

You can also exploit the confidence point bonuses, as well as the "divine aid" rule from RoP:D to simulate using the Force to help you accomplish something.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Tree ... aying_game

It looks like world tree loosely based ideas off of ars magica, but took them in a very different direction.

I think ars magica combat may not handle the cinamatic style of combat you can get in d20 though.

Fruny - that Confidence points is something I definitely plan to use, so we are on the same wavelength there. I plan to change it to Destiny - I think it fits with the source material and I will be a little looser with handing them for force-aligned actions.

A few other adjustments I plan to make -

  1. Two levels of long term fatigue can be used like a Destiny point
  2. Two fatigue levels can also be spent to up your special ability by one "effect level"
  3. Lightsabers add to defense against missile fire

I have about 10 Force abilities sketched out. I have a few to finish and then I will post them. I plan to use the Art scale for Force ability advancement. I am playing with the idea of using Art for Dark Side powers and the Skill scale for Light Side powers to simulate the Dark Side temptation. That may be too convoluted, we'll see.

HTH: Thanks for the World Tree link! I have to say I think Ars can handle the the spectacular stuff fairly well, but I can't be certain until I play it. Once the abilities are up maybe we will have something really discuss.

Thanks again for the input!

Angelo

Yes I did something similar.
I created rules using ArM to Jack Vance's Lyonesse world. The magic system is similar and he used the real Celtic mythology rather the Tolkien styled beings.
However I didn't played it yet.

I too used once time ago the Ars Systems for a Naruto RPG. I Must say that it's differents.

I once used 4th edition to recreate the old Top Secret game. The old-school projectile mechanics worked out well.

We played a modern Ars game for a while. The rules are up here:

geocities.com/sanctumhr/Spec ... intro.html

The firearms rules may be helpful for your St-Ars Wars game.

I have play-ready (but not play-tested) versions of my initial Force powers. There are 15 to start. I tried to keep all the movies in mind, as well as Knights of the Old Republic and The Force Unleashed games. I have run my reasoning by a few other Star Wars fans and generally been met with nods of approval though nobody ever agrees on every point. I will be happy to take any input you have and these are free to you to use and modify if you like as long as Atlas doesn't mind.

I used the spell-construction and special ability rules to build these, though I did stray from hard and fast rules if the source material seemed to demand it. I went to level 5 in each ability though higher levels are certainly out there. I tried to find applicable rules wherever I could (for example, Force Drain is basically stolen completely from Infernal). I will need a few thematic Virtues and Flaws like Strong-Minded, Own a Spaceworthy Ship, etc. I have chosen not to have any fallout for failed Force ability rolls, but botched rolls are in effect as normal.

Probably the most unusual rule adjustment I made was concerning the Force roll - I chose to use a Trait instead of a Characteristic . I did not see one characteristic that really captured use of the Force. Very different species and races use the Force equally well. But Force users seem to be similar in that thay have strong Traits for good or evil, and I thought traits and trait modification captured the nebulous flow for the Light Side and Dark side. Technically a Jedi could know and use Force Lightning at a high level but it would be a rare Jedi who did so (like Katarn did).

I am still experimenting with the appropriate ease factor scale, though I don't want it to be too difficult (there are only a few instances where someone failed with the Force). I am not thrilled with Force Resistance yet (and a few others need tinkering) but overall I am pleased with the way everything hangs together. Thanks for reading this far. Without further ado...

Force Roll: Force Ability Level + Highest Trait + Stress Die vs. Ease Factor or Target (as Ability dictates)

Standard Difficulty Scale
Level 1: 6
Level 2: 9
Level 3: 9
Level 4: 12
Level 5: 15
Other: Force users can expend 2 Fatigue levels to add a +3 bonus to the Force roll (+ a botch die for bonus)
Most abilities continue past level 5 into Force Mastery along the same scale

Force Grip
Level 1: (+5 Damage) Move 10 lbs
Level 2: (+10 Damage) Move 100 lbs
Level 3: (+15 Damage) Move 1,000 lbs
Level 4: (+20 Damage) Move 5,000 lbs
Level 5: (+25 Damage) Move 10,000 lbs
Other: Difficulty level increase by +1 per object affected
Requires Finesse to aim thrown object

Force Push
Level 1: Dex + Size + SD vs. 9 Target flies backward # paces = difference
Level 2: Dex + Size + SD vs. 12
Level 3: Dex + Size + SD vs. 15 (+0 Damage)
Level 4: Dex + Size + SD vs. 18 (+5 Damage)
Level 5: Dex + Size + SD vs. 21 (+10 Damage)
Other: Standard effect level is "group"
Difficulty level decreases by 2 when effecting an individual
Difficulty level increases by +2 if Force Push effects all directions

Force Lightning
Level 1: (+10 Damage)
Level 2: (+15 Damage)
Level 3: (+20 Damage)
Level 4: (+25 Damage)
Level 5: (+30 Damage)
Other: Standard range is 20 paces
Difficulty level increase by +2 to effect a group (60 degree angle)

Force Speed
Level 1: (+3 Initiative)
Level 2: (+6 Initiative)
Level 3: (+9 Initiative) One additional action
Level 4: (+12 Initiative)
Level 5: (+15 Initiative) Two additional actions
Other: Initiative bonus divides over total actions

Force Command
Level 1: Innocuous (+3 Difficulty)
Level 2: Questionable (+6 Difficulty)
Level 3: Dangerous (+9 Difficulty)
Level 4: Heinous (+12 Difficulty)
Level 5: Suicidal (+15 Difficulty)
Other: Target = Intelligence + Command difficulty modifier
Difficulty level increase by +2 to effect a group
* Does not work on targets that have the "Strong-Minded" Advantage

Force Drain
Level 1: One level of Fatigue
Level 2: One level of Long-term Fatigue
Level 3: One Light Wound
Level 4: One Medium Wound
Level 5: One Heavy Wound
Other: Drain exchanges damage per level above between user and target
Difficulty level increase by +2 to effect a group

Force Concealment
Level 1: 1 / 3 / 3
Level 2: 3 / 3 / 3
Level 3: 3 / 6 / 6
Level 4: 6 / 9 / 9
Level 5: 9 / 9 / 12
Other: Bonuses listed are for: Melee / Defense / Stealth
Difficulty level increase by +2 to effect a group
Difficulty level increase by +2 to maintain while moving

Force Sense
Level 1: Building / Ship 1 Fact
Level 2: Line of sight / 5 mile radius 1 Fact
Level 3: City 1 Fact
Level 4: Planet 1 Fact
Level 5: System 1 Fact
Other: Sense an individual's presence within defined area
Difficulty level increase by +2 to include telepathic message
Gather 1 emotional/mental fact about target, +1 for each level difference (e.g. ability at level 5
used in a City yields 3 facts; when used to search a system it yields 1 fact)
Force Concealment is rolled in opposition to Force Sense

Force Jump
Level 1: 10 paces
Level 2: 20 paces
Level 3: 30 paces
Level 4: 50 paces
Level 5: 100 paces
Other: Paces divided between horizontal and vertical axes

Boost
Level 1: (+1)
Level 2: (+2)
Level 3: (+3)
Level 4: (+4)
Level 5: (+5)
Other: Boost effects Dex, Qik, Sta or Str and may be distributed across multiple attributes

Force Meditation
Level 1: (+2)
Level 2: (+4)
Level 3: (+6)
Level 4: (+8)
Level 5: (+10)
Other: Meditation adds bonus to a single roll
Meditation requires an hour when level = skill
Each level target bonus is below skill divides required time by 2 (e.g. level 4 ability used for +2
bonus requires 7.5 minutes of meditation)

Force Recovery
Level 1: (+9 to Recovery)
Level 2: (+12 to Recovery)
Level 3: Heal Light Wound
Level 4: Heal Medium Wound Includes disease & poison
Level 5: Heal Heavy Wound Repairs severed limb
Other: Uses Ritual time rules

Force Choke
Level 1: Long-term Fatigue
Level 2: Light Wound
Level 3: Medium Wound
Level 4: Heavy Wound
Level 5: Incapacitating Wound
Other: Damage level escalates each consecutive round to skill level
Target rolls Stamina + Stress Die vs. Force roll to be able to move

Saber Mastery
Level 1: (+1) *Mastery Bonus
Level 2: (+2) (+1)
Level 3: (+3) (+1) *Mastery Bonus
Level 4: (+4) (+2)
Level 5: (+5) (+2) *Mastery Bonus
Other: Add each bonus to Init, Atk, Dfn or Dmg
Once bonus is chosen it is set - new form required for new bonus pairing
*Defense advantage +6 redirects blaster fire to shooter and shooter must defend and soak
(-3 to required advantage for every assigned Mastery Bonus slot)
*Lightsaber may be thrown as projectile using Ability + Finesse
(+1 additional target for every assigned Mastery Bonus Slot)

Force Resistance
Level 1: (+1)
Level 2: (+2)
Level 3: (+3)
Level 4: (+4)
Level 5: (+5)
Other: Force Resistance Level + Highest Trait + Stress Die vs. Target's Force Ability roll
If differential is +6 or more the resisted ability can be turned back on the user as if botched

Scale the effect higher?
Keep going at a 10/1 rate, 1000->10000->100000.

Add a serious negative modifier for Strong-Minded instead of giving immunity.

Dont use wounds directly, scale to more fatigue levels and target starts taking wounds once out of fatigue levels?

Scale faster/higher. Maybe something like 10/30/60/100/150

Thanks for the feedback!

My thought on Force Grip is that it will continue to scale at the same rate as one moves past an ability of 5 and on into masetry levels. If I understand you correctly we are on the same page.

The Strong-Minded modifier may be the right way to go. I don't know if some races/species are just immune or not - I will research it.

I thought about taking Force Grip straight from Perdo Corpus. I wasn't sure it was worth it - but maybe the paralysis that accompanies the damage makes Fatigue serious enough. I thought the requirement that the power progress through each level kept it from being overpowering, but maybe straight repetitive Fatigue loss is sufficient.

I originally had Force Jump hitting 200 paces at level 5. That seemed like a ton so I scaled it back. I think I may let playtesting decide that one.

I have a few other ings to throw on the pile. Two new Force abilities and a list of some potential mastery level abilities for more advanced players and PCs. I have also included my first stab at a lightsaber.

Force Fear
Level 1: Carry on, -1 to all rolls
Level 2: Carry on, -3 to all rolls
Level 3: Carry on, -6 to all rolls
Level 4: Flee, -6 to rolls if cornered
Level 5: Incapacitated with fear
Other: Force Fear vs. Stamina + Related Trait + Highest Force Ability + Stress Die
Difficulty level increase by +2 to effect a group

Force Shield
Level 1: (+2 Soak)
Level 2: (+4 Soak)
Level 3: (+6 Soak)
Level 4: (+8 Soak)
Level 5: (+10 Soak)
Other: Difficulty level increase by +2 to effect a group

Potential Mastery Effects
Grip - Massive items, Crushing Objects
Push - Longer distances, escalating damage
Lightning - Radius Lightning, longer range
Speed - Take individual damage when fighting a group, "Teleportation" speed
Command - Erase/Rewrite memory, delay command over time, telepathic command
Life Drain - Drain aura (radius), convert life drain into roll bonus
Concealment - Erasing general recollection, distorting recordings, cloaking ships
Sense - Force powers delivered through Sense
Jump - Multiple chain-jumps, near-flight distances, change direction mid-jump
Boost - Effect other Attributes, massive temporary effects, boost others
Meditation - Bonus effects group, bonus can be split among tasks
Recovery - Heal lethal injuries, heal groups
Choke - Begin at higher level, penalties to movement resistance
Saber Mastery - Channel the Force through a lightsaber, multiple thrown targets, crystals
Resistance - Create a Force-Null field, sever someone's connection to the Force
Fear - Permanent stamina loss, trait loss, death
Shield - Increased power, damage what it touches

Force Power Considerations
Concentration roll to maintain multiple force powers at once (Per + Con + SD vs. EF9 + highest FA level)
Additional +3 difficulty per Force power being used

Standard Lightsaber
Initiative +2
Attack +4
Defense +2
Damage +20

As always, thank you for any input.

Angelo

If you have seen episode 1, well then you know immunity exists(Anakins owner).
And from Zahns books you have the Ysalamiri animal that projects a forcerejection bubble.

Oh and i think you probably need to improve that lightsaber of yours, think about it, its like using a sword without having to swing around 4/5s of the weight, and none of the actual weight beyond where you hold it. Totally munchkin! :stuck_out_tongue:

I have definitely seen all the episodes, and I was basing my idea of "mind control immunity" on Jabba moreso than on Watto. I still am not sure if it is due to species or individual immunity. Maybe "Strong Minded" will be a Minor Virtue and "Mind Control Immune" will be major.

What would you change about the lightsaber - any concrete suggestion? Initiative? The reach is the same as a long sword so I figure attack and defense are the same. Damage was just an estimate. Damage and Initiative are where I had doubts.

Thanks!

Watto was species for sure i think, doesnt he say something about him being a -something and so jedi tricks dont work on him?
Jabba, good question, a bit of both is my guess from what little hints i can recall.
Making it a Minor/Major virtue like that sounds like a good idea, then simply apply the major one as part of specie for Watto and maybe the minor one for Hutts, with either the minor again or the major added for Jabba. If you agree with my "bit of both" guesstimate that is.

Big increase initiative for sure, but also attack and defense.
Initiative because you´re swinging around with something that has long reach but where the "blade" has zero weight, try fencing sometime, both with a rapier and one of those huge freakin twohand swords used to smash through heavy armour and you should get what i mean...

Lightsaber seems impossible to block with any normal weapons or armour, thus its really easy to cause damage,just have to connect with the opponents body anywhere and armour will at best just slow it down a little...
Though it doesnt seem to work through shields though, so wouldnt be surprising if someone came up with portable personal shields(even if i cant recall seen or read it anywhere)...

Defensively, it can actually block ranged weapons reliably(by the right wielder at least, wonder how it would do in the hand of a "normal" person) and a hand to hand weapon blocked by it isnt just blocked, it is most likely cut in half.

As long as jedi with sabers make sure to never face to many threats at the same time, sabers are just tooooo good weapons.

However, one really big SUCKS point about it, causing extra botch die or dice for it, because the same things making it so easy to handle, also means its terribly easy to fumble with...
Any normal sword has a balance in it that you can feel when handling it, you can literally feel if you let the blade come to close to yourself thanks to the weight of the blade, but without that?
Damn if i ever had practised with a lightsaber id have cut or killed myself by accident every few minutes...

And a botch should have severe risks to it...

Maybe a separate lightsaber skill(ie an extra Force skill that is) that also reduces botch dice or something?

Its only weak spot that i can recall was some kind of mineral that makes it shortcircuit temporarily if the "blade" connects with it, but it was brittle and poor for armour or weapons so of limited use.