Planet Mercenary Slash Star Wars

My little sister hadn’t seen Star Wars. She knew the basics, but I think it’s worth seeing the whole thing. So while I’m watching the films, I keep thinking about how I would run a Star Wars game in Planet Mercenary. It wouldn’t be too hard, methinks, so I wrote this. I know this is not a complete conversion. If there are any egregious errors, let me know and I will make some changes/additions. Use this however the heck you want.

A setting a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away

While we can use “Star Wars” and instantly let people know what we’re talking about, there is a lot of important question of exactly which part of Star Wars we’re playing in. There are a couple of fun settings you can use. Pre-Empire, there is a Republic run by the ‘good’ guys that can send people (aka jedi) out on missions. Lot of potential space here, as they made a few games to fill the gap. In the Empire era, you can play rebellion vs Empire, run Empire shock troops against whatever, easy to draw the lines where you want. (The idea to run a hidden rebellion campaign intrigues me.) There is also the ‘Post’ Empire, where the Empire’s core power has shattered and there are old Imperial garrisons that are now set up as local warlords, fighting the new republic one whatever fronts the can. There is also the New Jedi Order era, where the galaxy is invaded by aliens. That’s probably beyond most groups though.

In addition to when, the galaxy is a large place. There would be systems with no external governments. There are systems with a strong local ruler. Any type of government you want to throw in can toatlly be running the show wherever you set your game.

You can also choose to use the rules of the universe, without actually using the setting. Just play in a world with people who look a lot like Jedi, without the light and dark aspects. It would play just fine.

Lay out exactly what the world is like for your table, so they can decide if they want to be good, bad, or to play both sides. Lots of examples of all of that in the expanded universe books.

Decide what to do with Named Characters. The game will play differently if the party gets to be Luke, Han, and Chewie. Or if they’re getting orders from them. Personally, I think it’s a bad idea to have the NCs show up at the table, because players won’t handle it well. What happens to your world when the party kills Han Solo before he gives a ride to a hermit and a farm boy? Better to play in the rest of this really large galaxy, away from NPCs making headlines.

Or let them play as NCs. Nothing wrong with a bit of shoe-filling. Decide what will happen if they kick the bucket tho. Without all that plot armor getting in the way, Storm Troopers are deadly.

How rare are Jedi? The films seem to focus on force wielders, so we have a skewed perception of their rarity. There are SW games that make players roll to see if their characters are force sensitive. That sounds lame. Game Chiefs should state their expectations to the players, players should state their expectations to the GCs and the other players. Maybe you’ll have a ship of jedi working as bounty hunters. Maybe the GC says ‘no jedi’, at which point I have to wonder why they’re reading this article. My Jedi powers, which are further down, are not game breaking. It’s quite possible a good blaster would serve you better than some hokey religion.

Fire Teams are a big part of PM, but it doesn’t always make sense in the Star Wars universe. Sometimes, the party is just themselves. This should be another thing the party discusses before anyone makes up characters, just in case. It really depends on, well, how many troops the players have at their disposal. If it’s just the party against the world, fire teams are less likely (and death may mean more). If you’ve aligned with a side with an army, you may have some troops at your service. Or if you’re just mercenaries, I’ll shut up and move on, as you know what you’re doing.

Racial diversity

There are a lot of races in the SW universe, but we only see a few on screen as main characters. Most of the SW characters are human. This is due to the Emporer being very anti-alien. So while human is the standard, it is by no means the only option. I think everything is close enough to human that you can add whatever in with a hand wave.

One of the races that is far enough from the human base line that it deserves a mention are droids. “Why do we need to talk about droids?” I hear you ask. “Aren’t they basically AIs?” Well, yes and no. On the surface they are, but Mr. Taylor’s AIs have a lot more freedom, are treated as equals if not superiors on occasion, and can swap chassis. In the SW universe, droids have a much shorter leash. I want to say that once upon a time, there was a big up rising of AIs, so they got shut down hard a long time ago. But that may be cross contamination of lore from the Warhammer 40k universe.

If you’re playing a droid, you probably should have a ‘master’ who has responsibility for you and can, in general, give you orders. Of course, we see a lot of general disobedience in our robotic examples, so maybe that’s me just reading too deep into it.

But yeah, mechanics wise? They’re AIs. You might just play them a bit differently.

I was going to stat up wookies, but, looking at the stat blocks I have as a sample, I think you could use the stat block for Rillas. 100%, with no change. Wookies can’t speak Basic, but I’m okay with that being the -2 penalty to Negotiation. The can get thier message across just fine.

“All crews to your Fighters”

A big part of Star Wars are the space dogfights. There are no AIs running ships in SW, but that’s fine. A crew could be performing the same functions as an AI. Mechanically, space fights are no different. Story wise, it’s the party/crew manning weapons and controls. There also appear to be no fighters in the SM universe. Makes sense with the AI, but does not sync with SW. (Man, those 2 abbrev. are going to get confusing. A better not add Star Trek or Star Gate into this article. ST, SM, SW, SG, that all rolls together…)

So fighters will be a thing, because they have to be. The closest PM has to a fighter is the AG Gladius-class Fighter, which has a cost of 1/2R. This is a bargain, as I calculate it’s price to be at least an R6, maybe an R9.

So, talking about PM, there isn’t a lot of details for making ships from scratch. After poking around, it looks like a ship’s Defense is 5+ the ships AI rating. But that was not explicitly said in the space combat section (at least, in my copy of the PDF). There is also a explanation of Damage Reduction for ships, but there aren’t any ships with DR listed. Hopefully this will be fixed in Hardcover.

Anyway, I’ve stated up a few useful ships. They are probably way pricey, but as far as I can tell, this is what they would be if you were building them yourself. I left out AIs, as those are very pricey as well as not being on the level with SW battles. I recommend using the Pilot’s Space Vehicle Skill as replacement for the AI value. Remind players that if they’re out in a ship and it explodes, their character is dead.

  • Millennium Falcon (Because that is what Star Wars is to some people)
    • Cost: R23
    • Passengers: 10
    • AI Rating: – (Use Pilot’s Space Vessel Skill)
    • Class: X6
    • Hull Points: 7
    • Defense: 5 (Or 5+Pilot’s Space Vessel Skill), +10 Shield v. Beam, +2 v. Missile
    • Damage: 1d6 Anti-Personal, 4d6 STS Beam, 4d6 STS Missile
    • Pre-installed Systems: Milspec Annie Plant, Civilian Ship’s Locker, Basic Teraport, Light Anti-Personal Weapons, Light Armor, Light Point Defense, Heavy Shield, Medium STS Beam, Medium STS Missile,
  • TIE-Fighter (Classic Bad Guy Vessel)
    • Cost: R9
    • Passengers: 1
    • AI Rating: – (Use Pilot’s Space Vessel Skill)
    • Class: Y4
    • Hull Points: 1
    • Defense: 5 (Or 5+Pilot’s Space Vessel Skill), +5 Shield v. Beam
    • Damage: 4d6 STS Beam
    • Pre-installed Systems: Civilian Annie Plant, Light Shield, Medium STS Beam
  • X-Wing (Classic Good Guy Vessel)
    • Cost: R10
    • Passengers: 1, Plus space for an Astromech Droid
    • AI Rating: – (Use Pilot’s Space Vessel Skill)
    • Class: Y4
    • Hull Points: 1
    • Defense: 5 (Or 5+Pilot’s Space Vessel Skill), +5 Shield v. Beam
    • Damage: 2d6 STS Beam, 2d6 STS Missile
    • Pre-installed Systems: Civilian Annie Plant, Light Shield, Light STS Beam, Light STS Missile, Basic Teraport

So there are some basic ships. I tried to recreate them as faithfully as I could. Both fighters will die if scratched by a weapon. SW seems to use a lot of beam weapons. It’s interesting that there isn’t anything for ship speed, so the Falcon just looks heavier armed than the others. Actually, at that price its a “Expensive” ship, but for it’s size class, it’s really impressive. Everything else of it’s size is likely to be either Budget or Affordable. So while the Falcon is easily out classed by ships of it’s same price, it blows smaller things out of the water.

I substituted Teraport for Hyperdrive, as that’s what we have in PM.

The idea of a Teraporting Death Star is really cool scary.

Vehicles

While speeders aren’t anything new, Star Wars has some awesome craft in the form of it’s imperial walkers. So I’m going to take a stab at making them. There is no rules for easily making vehicles. (Can I haz splatbook??) so we’ll be stabbing in the dark. Looking at this, it looks like the ships I made earlier should be vehicles. Oh, well, not fixing it.

  • All Terrain Armored Transport (AT-AT Walker)
    • Cost: 20
    • Skill: Ground
    • Passengers: 40, crew of 3
    • Enclosed: Yes
    • Hull: 1
    • Weapon Slots: 3
    • Carries 5 speeder bikes in cargo hold, has an impressive sensor system.
  • All Terrain Scout Transport (AT-ST Walkers)
    • Cost: 5
    • Skill: Ground
    • Crew: 2, with 1 passenger if you really get close
    • Enclosed: Yes
    • Damage Reduction: 2
    • Weapon Slots: 3

Equipment

Star Wars doesn’t have much more in the way of equipment. There’s some small things used once or twice, but, really, we all know what you’re doing in this section.

  • Lightsaber (Exotic Melee)
    • Damage: Melee +2d6, ignore 8 DR
    • Grips: 2
    • License: Restricted
    • Cost: 12
    • Notes: Double-Tap: Rolling a Straight to hit gives you a second attack on the same target.
  • Restraining Bolt (Cuffs and Stuff, Unlikely to be in a Civie Locker, Likely to be in a Milspec locker)
    • Cost: 4
    • Special Rules: When attached to a droid, reroutes control circuits and makes the droid compliant to instructions and disables some droid systems.

(Lightsaber building break down: +1 Heavy Melee (as you never see it wielded in combat with just 1 hand.), +10 Breacher, +1 Double-Tap) As afar as I can tell, Melee weapons don’t need a recharge.

I don’t know how to build the deflect option into the lightsaber. Or rather, I’m not sure how to price it. I’d give it some shield and a note that says that if a beam weapon fails to pass the defense, the shot can be redirected. Or something. I dunno.

Skilled in the ways of the Force

The Force gets used in a bunch of different ways. A lot of them are story based, so it’s up to GCs to make it interesting. But I think making two force skills is the best way about it.

  • Active Force
    • The Force can be used to effect the physical world. With the power of the Force, you can do some telekenetic stuff. Size matters not, but believing something is possible is the first step. You’re probably not going to be throwing Star Destroyers around, but small objects are easy.
    • Specialties
      • Force Push
        • You raise your hand and psychically shove the target. The better a success, the further and harder you shove the fool. Try to aim for things like ledges or whirling meat grinders.
      • Force Move
        • The basic telekinesis effect. A good party trick, but also good for calling a weapon from across the room to your hand.
      • Force Jump
        • Kind of like a Force Push, but on yourself and up or over. Tap into the force to make a mighty leap.
  • Passive Force
    • The force can also be used to interact with the minds of others. From sensing thoughts to controlling thoughts, to even seeing glimpses of the future, Jedi who are patient can be even more powerful than the flashy active ones.
    • Specialties
      • Read Mind
        • Like the Empathy skill, but with magic. Doesn’t work against droids. Can also be used to find other mids. Useful when you’d really like to know if there is a squad of mooks on the far side of this door. Again, doesn’t work on droids. Or shielded minds.
      • Portent
        • You’re trying to see the future. Or at least, get a grasp of what’s important. Roll high enough and the GC gets to improv a vision. (Warning: improved visions tend to be very misleading. Put you GC on the spot at your own peril…) Even if you don’t get a vision, you can get vague hints that this person, place, thing, etc. is important and should be protected or brought along. Or that you need to get to Place quickly. Good tool for GCs
      • Mind Trick
        • The other reason people want to play jedi. Roll a Passive Force Check opposed with the Target’s Willpower (Tenacity). If you succeed, you can convince the target of a simple phrase or concept. Rolling really well can totally mess with the GCs encouter. Try not to do that or fell his wrath.

So that’s the write up of the force skills. There maybe a few things worth adding in, but that looks like the absolute basics. As you can tell, I was not confident enough to put hard numbers or damage to the abilities. You can probably use the force for things like enhancing your throwing or piloting a star craft or pretty much anything. I leave all that up to the table to deal with. I don’t want to make force wielding a superpower.

It’s really hard to make this conversion without breaking the game. Hard line to walk, but I’m doing what I can.

A selection of Foes from Star Wars

I figured I ought to include a handful of mooks and monsters in here, to let GCs start going right away. I still haven’t had the chance to play (although I’ve been sounding out players) so these numbers are experimental and/or made up on the spot.

  • Mooks
    • Sand Raiders (4-6 per squad)
      • Attack: 3d6+3
      • Damage: 1d6+2
      • Defense: 13
      • Reduction: 0
      • Health: 4 per unit
      • Special: Camouflaged for desert terrain. Hard to spot, know the deserts of Tatooine well.
    • Storm Troopers (6-10 per squad)
      • Attack: 3d6+7
      • Damage: 2d6+3
      • Defense: 18
      • Reduction: 4
      • Health: 6 per unit
      • Special: None
    • Battle Droids (12-20 per squad)
      • Attack: 3d6+3
      • Damage: 1d6+2
      • Defense: 12
      • Reduction: 0
      • Health: 2 per unit
      • Special: In contact with command center, normally ship. Will deactivate if command center is destroyed. Are in constant communication with command center.
  • Monsters
    • Rancor
      • Attack: 3d6+4
      • Damage: 3d6
      • Defense: 18
      • Reduction: 2
      • Health: 40
      • Special: Ablative Meat doesn’t get a chance to live.
    • Droideka
      • Attack: 3d6+6
      • Damage: 2d6+3
      • Defense: 14
      • Reduction: 4
      • Health: 20
      • Special: Light Shield for +5 v Beam Attacks.

Conclusion

I think that’s it for my Star Wars Conversion. There’s a lot of nuts and bolts you may have to sand and polish, but this should get you in the ball park. I got to take a deeper look into vehicles and vessels, which was probably useful for my understanding of the game. I don’t know if I’d ever actually use this for running a Star Wars game, but I know I could.

Please let me know if I’m missing anything crucial (aka, a stat block you desperately need) and tell me if you use these ramblings for an actual game!

Cheers!

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