Friday, April 1, 2016

The Most Dangerous Hunk Of Junk In The Galaxy

Back in the end of the 90s, Wizards of the Coast used their sweet Magic the Gathering cash to buy the Star Wars RPG license after it was lost by the now-bankrupt West End Games, and used their Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition mechanics to create the Star Wars Roleplaying Game. It was a product with some rather bad ideas that are somewhat thread-worthy. Then they made Star Wars Saga Edition, a revised version that incorporates some of their new ideas from their upcoming Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition mechanics. As it turns out, this was certainly not a "best of both worlds" situation, but that's a story for another time.

As part of their revisions from previous versions of the RPG, WotC's designers attempted to streamline the system by making it function more like personal combat, removing things such as facing, firing arcs, shield quadrants and skill checks to turn in battle. They also allowed ships to use either the higher of the ship's defenses or one based on the pilot's level (which is not a bad idea since it makes it harder for your ship to be shot out from under you when you're a high-level character facing high-level challenges). Vehicles functioned on the same character size scale system where a humanoid might be Medium (or Small if it was a Jawa or something) while vehicles tended to start at Large and work their way up through the size categories.





Colossal (frigate)

Colossal (cruiser)

Colossal (station)

not a moon

Size categories provided a scaling penalty to the target's Reflex defense for being bigger targets as well as Initiative and Pilot checks since it's much harder to drift race in a space station. (Ok, I lied: The penalty to Reflex and skill checks caps out at -10 for Colossal and up, meaning it's exactly as easy to drift race in the Millennium Falcon as it is in the Death Star)

While your player characters use six ability scores (Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma), vehicles only use three.

-Strength: Representing your vehicle's general toughness and power
-Dexterity: Representing maneuverability
-Intelligence: Representing your ship's computer systems, including the targeting computer
(There's also Constitution, which most ships don't have on account of them not being alive)

Past that, ships have different speeds depending on whether they're on the character scale (where battlefield grid squares are maybe 2 meters across) or the starship scale (where squares are dozens if not hundreds of meters across), and starships have their own methods of area control in the form of using tractor beams to grapple other ships or starfighters using the Dogfight ability to ensnare a passing fighter and chase each other around trying to maneuver into place for a clear shot. In contrast to the previous edition where shields were a sort of secondary bank of hit points that were depleted by damage, shields in Saga Edition function as Damage Reduction, reducing all damage by an amount equal to the shield rating (SR)- exceed the shield rating and not only do you do damage to the hull (assuming you can breach the hull's damage reduction) but the shield rating drops by 5, allowing you to whittle down shields with volleys of fire while the enemy tries to restore it. Other than that they tried to streamline the mechanics so that it character options functioned just as well on a ship as they did on land- a soldier's skill with heavy weapons transferred over to attacks with ship guns, while a noble's ability to inspire allies to fight on could be used over the communications system and a scoundrel's skill with computers could be used to scan for enemies or keep energy flowing to the shields.

Now, in a Star Wars RPG about the biggest and most expensive thing a character is likely to own and repeatedly sink money into is probably a starship, so it should come as no surprise that the makers of one of the more fiddly RPG systems came up with Starships of the Galaxy, a sourcebook full of buying, flying and upgrading your ship until you've got the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy right at your fingertips.

The basic concept behind starship modifications is Emplacement Points (EP), which represent the space and power requirements of any particular subsystem. EP cost doesn't scale with the size of the ship, but neither does the amount of EP a ship has- most systems require proportional amounts of space on a starship, though some systems require ships of a certain size just because of basic power and space concerns- you're not going to fit medical bay into a starfighter, and the sheer mass of a space station means that there's no engine system in the galaxy powerful enough to propel it as fast as a starfighter. On the other hand, cost scales up to represent the sheer amount of crap you have to buy to reupholster your Star Destroyer, with a cost modifier based on the size of the ship:

Huge: x1
Gargantuan: x2
Colossal: x5
Colossal (frigate): x50
Colossal (cruiser): x500
Colossal (station): x5000

While finding more money is hard, finding more emplacement points is even harder. You can stuff more systems into your ship than your EP can support, but doing so 1) increases the costs, 2) increases the difficulty of installing the system (making it more likely that you'll lose both time and money when you fail the check) and 3)makes it so that your overstressed systems have a tendency to destroy themselves at the worst possible time, taking other ship systems with them.

If you want to get more EP, the cheapest method is to take advantage of the fact that every factory model ship comes with at least one spare point floating around for you to tweak your ship, and ships made by the Corellian Engineering Corporation (CEC, makers of ships including the Millennium Falcon) comes with at least 5 free EP (unless otherwise specified), with their YT-series (including the Millennium Falcon, a YT-1300) having 10 spare points. Nice. Past that and you can have a starship designer add some points to your ship, but it caps at around 3 points and it's going to get expensive (5,000 credits for the first, 15,000 for the second, and 25,000 for the third, which are all multiplied by your cost modifier) and difficult to install without wasting your time and money (DC 25 for the first, which already requires a specialist, and it goes up by 5 each time you go further into the same upgrade path).

When you're all out of bonus EP, the only way to get more is to start taking shit out. Maybe you downgrade or remove some of your weapons to use the space for better engines and solve your problems by fleeing. Maybe you use your cargo-holds to store generators and secure your new computer system. Maybe you remove your escape pods to free up some room for some sweet guns and resolve to go down with the ship (removing escape pods on a civilian ship is illegal, incredibly obvious to the space cops, and will get you fined and/or your ship impounded and your pilot's license revoked).

So let's get started.

This is the YT-2400, ship from the same people who brought you the Millennium Falcon (a YT-1300), one of the workhorse space trucks of the galaxy. As a CEC member of the YT-family, it's got 10 emplacement points for us to play with (and continues the tradition of putting the entire ship to your left), so let's get some upgrades going.

1 EP is enough to upgrade us from an x2 Hyperdrive to an x1 Hyperdrive to let us go places twice as fast. We can also spend 1 EP to upgrade our navicomputer to an advanced one.

(Trivia time! Remember how in Episode IV Han Solo mentions that the Falcon will "make .5 past lightspeed" when Luke exclaims "what a piece of junk!"? The various Star Wars RPGs have used that comment to establish hyperdrive classes where the class basically demonstrates how fast you can go through hyperspace. So a Class 1 hyperdrive is the gold standard (and usually found on military ships), while a Class 2 hyperdrive is the civilian model and takes 2x as long to go through hyperspace, a Class 3 takes 3x as long, etc. The Millenium Falcon thus has a Class 0.5 hyperdrive and only takes half the amount of time to get anywhere. Should we wish to invest some effort, we can boost our x1 hyperdrive to an x.75 or even an x0.5 hyperdrive, though the latter is kind of a hanger queen and will require a fair amount of special maintenance each month to avoid issues)

2 EP will upgrade our sublight drive by 2 squares to get us to the best in our class, while 1 EP can buy Combat Thrusters to help us turn on a dime. 2 to 4 EP gets us better maneuvering jets to help boost our ship's Dexterity by 2 to 6 (which takes us from 20 to 24 Dexterity, which is pretty nice).

1 EP is enough to upgrade us from SR 30 to SR 55, the top of the line shields for a ship in our class, while 2 more means our shields regenerate even faster.

Unfortunately, we're already at 12 EP of our 10 free EP! We saved a bunch of EP by just upgrading our shields, engines and hyperdrive, but if we want more space (and we don't want the space cops up in our business over the escape pods) we're going to have to toss some of our cargo space. The way this works is that you can exchange your cost modifier in tons of cargo for 1 EP. Well, we've got 150 tons of cargo space and a cost modifier of 5, so let's dump 50 tons for that 10 more points (well, 8 after we settle our account)!

1 to 3 points will give us a sensor enhancement computer that upgrades our ship's Intelligence by 2 to 6, letting us have a computer with an Intelligence of 20.

5 points left. Let's spend 1 point on a droid repair team, 1 on a medical bed for patching up after a fight, 1 point on slave circuits to reduce the crew size needed to fly this thing (and also let us buy the ability to remotely pilot it), 1 point on a hypertransceiver for long-distance communication, and 1 point on smuggler's compartment to hide our illegal junk (or ourselves) from the space cops.

All-in-all, we've upgraded ourselves a nice little ship for our characters to tool around on. Let's call it the Minmaximum Falcon. But it feels like I'm forgetting something... Hmm...

Oh! That's right,


Basic rundown of weaponry (in the game, at least) is that blaster cannons are basically upscaled versions of the kinds of weapons your characters carry with them (with docking guns being actual character weapons instead of starship ones), while lasers are a bit more expensive but are better focused for better range (a 25% boost to range in Saga Edition), and turbolasers are the biggest and baddest of capital ship weapons that pack a huge punch and huge range (quintuple the range of blasters, quadruple the range of lasers). Proton torpedoes are your stock miniature nuclear explosive warheads (as carried by starfighters like the X-wing), with less space required in the ship and a lower ammo capacity compared to concussion missiles (as carried by the Falcon), which can also have larger yields. Ion weapons disable systems rather than destroy ships, tractor beams let you grab other ships, and gravity well generators prevent ships from going into hyperspace.

Looking at our existing weapon we've got a 5d10x2 laser cannon, which is probably a medium laser cannon with the "double" enhancement that increases the cost without increasing the EP cost. For only a point or two more we could upgrade it to a 6d10x2 quad laser (like the Falcon) or a 7d10x2 quad heavy laser. Not bad, but for two more points on top of that (and a quintupling of the cost) we could upgrade it to a 9d10x2 advanced quad heavy laser, being not entirely unlike a small turbolaser. Turbolasers, like all capital ship weapons, have the (1) footnote in the table, which indicates that it can only be mounted on "Colossal starships or larger".

Hey, wait a minute... we're a Colossal starship! Fuck laser cannons, we're going turbo!

Ripping out our double laser cannon only gives us one point back, and rolling back 5 points of EP we spent earlier puts us at 6. You know, we still have 100 tons of cargo space left... let's dump 50 more and get another 10 points.

1 heavy turbolaser, please! 7d10x5 damage for all our little friends!

Well, that's 10 points down, 6 left... according to the rules cannon enhancements can't be used on turbolasers, so let's spend an EP to upgrade to QUAD TURBOLASERS! The rules description for a fire-linked weapon implies that it's a substitute for dual or quad cannons (an X-wing has 4 fire-linked lasers, but they can also be fired individually), but is there any rule that says we can't fire-link our quad heavy turbolasers? Given that there are heavy turbolasers on capital ships with more than 9d10x5 damage, I should certainly think we can. We'll call this little number THE GUN, because lowercase letters are too small to contain its majesty.

That puts us down to 3 points left, so fuck it, let's dump the rest of our cargo and get even more guns! Our ship will hold nothing but death and maniacal laughter!

At this point you might look at those numbers and say... "hmm... we spent 20,000 credits on a heavy turbolaser, quintupled the cost to turn it into a quad cannon and then quadrupled that cost to fire-link them. Then we bought another one.... how are we planning on paying for this?"

To which I'd respond "that is a very good question..."

"...I have no fucking clue."

Unlike the D&D game this was based on, the Star Wars RPG has no real rules as to how many credits any particular player character or group is supposed to have at any given level. There's an ability possessed by the Noble class that gives you 5k per noble level every time you level (so you can have about 1.05 million credits assuming you take it at first level and take 20 levels of noble), but money just doesn't show up all that much in the movies outside of being the vague force used to motivate Han Solo (and the people aboard Queen Admidala's ship in Episode 1). There just isn't a whole lot of cash flying around since starships are about the only major expense that player characters will have after the first few levels (unlike the treadmill of +X swords and armor in D&D). Even the designers don't have much of a clue- the Dawn of Defiance level 1 to 20 campaign released for free by WotC just has money stop showing up after about level 15 when a mission handler gives the party 10,000 credits as more of a business expense so they can buy new clothes and bribe people as part of an infiltration mission.

Now, WotC also released a book called Scum & Villainy (probably my personal favorite of the entire product line), and among the many things that in the book was a job generator so the GM could figure out what sort of capers you could throw at your crew of scoundrels. Jobs ranged from things like simple scams and theft to rescues to smuggling to violent crimes like assassination, or shipjacking. Jobs would have a Challenge Level (CL) that determined how difficult they were, and paid out based on the product of the CL and the type of job. An espionage job might only pay 250 x CL credits, while smuggling could bring in 1000 x CL credits and assassination could bring in 2000 x CL credits. Hijacking/Shipjacking generates 10,000 x CL credits for the cargo/ship and Abductions are 3d6x1000 x CL for the ransom, but the PCs only keep 20% after everyone else gets a cut. If you want to afford the good stuff, you're going to make a lot of Kessel Runs.

Of course, if you don't want to incrementally increase your income, you can always try to multiply it. Gambling is a great way to make money- provided you win. In Saga Edition, gambling is a Wisdom check which can be modified by the Gambler talent which gives +2 to gambling checks for each instance of the talent that you take, and gambling works one of three different ways.

The first is gambler vs. gambler, where the parties involve make checks and the winner gets some percentage of the stakes- either it's a draw if the difference between the checks is 0 to 4, 1/2 the stake if the difference is 5 to 9, or all of it if the gambler wins by 10 or more.

The second is gambler vs. house, where your raw check result determines how much you win or lose.

<5: Lose entire stake
5-9: Lose 1/2 of stake
10-14: Break even
15-19: Win stake x2
20-24: Win stake x5
25+: Win stake x10

The third is pure chance, where you roll a d20 and see what happens

1-15: Lose entire stake
16: Lose 1/2 of stake
17: Break even
18: Win stake x2
19: Win stake x5
20: Win stake x10

Now, obviously pure chance is a great way to lose all your money, and gambling against others isn't too much better since it depends on what they're willing to wager, but playing against the house is a possibility. All you have to do is get a check result of +9 or higher and you basically can't lose. Getting a decent Wisdom score, a species that provides a boost to Wisdom, and then taking the Gambler talent a couple of times could get you there. If you can get to +14 or more then you'll always walk away with more money than you went in with. 9 to 11 levels of scoundrel and/or a prestige class that offers the Fortune talent tree could give you the talent pool you need to be the number one gambler in the galaxy. Of course, investing all your abilities into gambling means you are good at gambling and basically nothing else.

In the previous edition of the game Gambling was a skill check, not an ability check, and while it had a higher threshold for winning (15-19 to break even, 20+ to start winning money), it was far easier to boost your skill check: A character with a similar level of wisdom and the investment of one or two feats could hit a +19 on Gamble checks at around the same level, but still have the class features to do other things (not that they were necessarily good class features).

Now, Scum & Villainy also introduces some other rules for the more ethically-challenged characters, and one of them is cheating. When you gamble you can choose to cheat and use your Deception skill in place of your Wisdom check, but other players have a chance to roll a Perception check and catch you, and if you're playing against the house you also have to beat the DC for the house's security (DC 15 for common locations, 25 for good locations, 35 for the top of the line casinos). But the thing is that while boosting your ability check is hard, boosting your skill check is incredibly easy. Having a combination of a good charisma score (say +3 or +4) a few levels under your belt (+2 to +5), skill training (+5) and skill focus (+5) in Deception means you can get into the 14 or higher bracket easily with ease and thus always walk out of a basic casino with twice as much money as you went in with, while getting up to the point where you can reliably challenge a DC 25 security system means you're always walking out with 10x your stake, and if you can hit DC 35 reliably you're going to be rolling in the money forever. Scum & Villainy also introduces the Charlatan prestige class, which provides a fair amount of support for Deception-based characters including the ability to reroll bad checks, and also provides access to the Fortune talent tree if you want to boost your gambling abilities the legitimate way. (Interestingly enough, if you've got the Wisdom to be a good gambler and the Charisma to be a good cheat you've also got the ability scores to make yourself into a good Force user and perhaps boost your skill usage that way.)

When confronted with a character who can walk into any casino in the galaxy and come out with more money 100% of the time, the advice the designers gave to troubled GMs was to have the casinos start tracking and blacklisting those characters to keep them away from the tables (much like some expert blackjack players in real life). Of course, funny thing about the Deception skill is that not only can you use it to cheat at card games, but also for things like telling lies, forging documents and creating disguises. And funny thing about Scum & Villainy is that not only does it give you the Charlatan prestige class, but it also introduces the Clawdite, a playable species of shapeshifters.

They don't actually look like this

So, how much money can a Saga Edition character acquire?  Again, no idea.

Now how about we grab our unreasonably affordable guns and go hunting! Hmm...


Meh, but I guess it's a start.

The Kuat Drive Yards Imperial Star Destroyer is the backbone of the Imperial Navy, with a large enough supply of guns, TIE fighters and ground forces to stomp out dissidents no matter where they may live. At Challenge Level 20 it's something for high-level heroes with a fair amount of fleet support like a couple of capital ships or at least a wing or two of starfighters.

We're four dipshits in a hot rod light freighter with way too many turbolasers. We're also level 13.

Dipshit One is our pilot, Captain Zoom, skilled at piloting and taking levels in the Ace Pilot prestige class. Maybe a member of the Duros, a species of talented pilots, and assisted by our astromech co-pilot, who will do nothing else of interest in this story aside from provide aid.

Dipshit Two is our mechanic, Ensign Gadget, currently tending to the ship's sensor array to provide valuable information to the others using a combination of Mechanics and Use Computer skills. Not actually that important, but there to fill out the crew.

Dipshit Three is our ship commander, Admiral Levi a Pau'an member of the nobility who had a distinguished career as a Naval Officer and now serves as the admiral of a light freighter with three underlings and a few droids because why wouldn't they need an admiral?

Dipshit Four is our gunner, General Mayhem, a soldier of fortune who specializes in heavy weapons, only to discover latent Force ability that led the soldier to be trained a Jedi and only recently became a Jedi Master! General Mayhem's species doesn't really matter that much, so our Jedi might actually be a boring old human.

We pop out of hyperspace at some distance away from the destroyer (and to be honest, probably the bulk of the fleet) and roll initiative. Admiral Levi leaps into action with some words of advice, firing up Inspire Confidence and Born Leader, granting all allies aboard the ship a +1 morale bonus to attacks and skills, and a +1 insight bonus to attacks until the end of the encounter. As a Pau'an he increases the bonuses by +1 each to +2 and +2. Thus inspired, General Mayhem heroically takes a nap, activating his Jedi Master ability Serenity to put himself in a meditative trance.

Captain Zoom then meanders the YT-2400 over to the destroyer.

At this point you might be wondering "is the Imperial Fleet just going to let you wander on up to their warship without any immediate retaliation?"

Well, yeah. There's a couple of ways to do this:

Option 1: Fly Casual. It's literally a use for the Pilot skill as listed in Scum & Villainy; make a Pilot check in place of a Deception check to fly around and act like you belong there, hoping no one notices. Should the destroyer be parked in an area where a heavily-armed civilian vessel has no business hanging out (say, a war zone) then it might be a better idea to try a different approach.

Option 2: Get Sneaky. There is a Stealth skill, and pilots can use their own skill at Stealth to sneak their ship around. Normally this requires some sort of concealment like cloud cover or debris, but Scum & Villainy has some starship enhancements of its own, including a coat of sensor-baffling paint (0 EP because it's just paint), which reduces your ship's sensor profile and lets you sneak around in open space provided you don't floor it or get within eyeball range (which is pretty damn close). Our pilot also can invest in talents that better allow sneaking both in and out of starships.

Option 3: Use the Force. There are several different Force abilities that can be used to conceal, cloak, or move the ship in order to close the gap, but doing this will interfere with General Mayhem's power nap.

We don't actually need to get all that close, just within a kilometer or so. If we can get really close that's all the better since we can enter its blindspot, but it's not exactly necessary.

Then, we begin.

Admiral Levi singles out the ship with Fleet Tactics and Combined Fire, explaining to the rest of the crew that they should "concentrate all fire on that Super Star Destroyer."

Gadget mans the sensors, sending targeting information to General Mayhem.

General Mayhem exits the trance and readies an attack with THE GUN, and then it's all on Captain Zoom.

Now, funny thing about light freighters is that they're Colossal, a size of ship that has the unique option to mount something called a Combat Thruster, which I mentioned back when we were kitting out the Minmaximum Falcon , but I neglected to give too much information on what it actually does outside of improving maneuverability. Specifically, it makes a Colossal light freighter count as a Gargantuan starfighter for the purposes of being attacked by the big guns of enemy capital ships (which take a -20 penalty to hit targets smaller than Colossal) and for the purposes of something Starships of the Galaxy introduced: Starship Maneuvers.

Starship Maneuvers are a series of special abilities that are not unlike Force powers in the game in that you spend a feat (Starship Tactics) to acquire a handful of special maneuvers, attacks, and other abilities chosen from a list, usable once battle unless you roll a natural 20 to activate them. Both Captain Zoom and General Mayhem have Starship Tactics, and each have maneuvers appropriate to the pilot and gunner respectively.

The ability Captain Zoom uses is a maneuver called "Skim the Surface", which lets you pick a capital ship that's a frigate or larger, fly up to twice your ship's speed, enter its space and make a single attack that bypasses shields. If we have any gunners aboard who ready an attack for when we activate this maneuver, they will also bypass shields on their attack. Now, remember what General Mayhem did?

Since Captain Zoom has a Vehicle Focus with space transports, we don't need to roll and can instead elect to just treat it as though a 10 was rolled, giving us a check result of around 30 or so and letting us make the attack with a -2 penalty to hit but ignoring the shields.

Having dived beneath the destroyer's shield, General Mayhem fires.

The way the Jedi Master's Serenity ability works is that once you exit the trance the next Use the Force roll or attack roll you make is an automatic natural 20, which means that an attack you make is an automatic critical hit. In D&D critical hits functioned as "roll damage again and add it to your existing damage" or +100%, while in Saga Edition they function as a straight multiplier of your existing damage. Thus things in D&D that doubled your damage (or tripled it or whatever) are added together, but in Saga Edition they multiply together. THE GUN does 11d10x5 by itself, so a critical hit would double that to a 10x multiplier- but General Mayhem has the Triple Critical feat which makes critical hits do triple damage and gives us a 15x multiplier.

Heroic characters add half their level to damage with their weapons, and Starships of the Galaxy helpfully reminds us that all damage increases go inside the multiplier. So we're doing (11d10+6)x15, with maybe another 2 damage from soldier specialization and 1 from being point blank. Not bad, but then we get into the other way of increasing damage - weapon die stacking.

See, there's a bunch of various abilities out that increase your damage by increasing the number of dice you roll provided you do something like aim at the target or fire from point blank range or use autofire. They're ways to increase the amount of damage you do without increasing the number of attacks, plus rolling a bucket of dice is hilarious, no? One of those is the Devastating Hit gunner maneuver, which lets you do up to three extra dice of damage to a target if you equal or exceed its defenses, which we did. Another comes from Admiral Levi's Fleet Tactics ability, which lets him designate a ship and grant all allied gunners an additional die of damage with their attacks.

Levi used one other ability: Combined Fire, which keys off of the battery mechanic. We didn't just by one copy of the THE GUN, we got two, and that was because that if you have two or more ship weapons you can link them up into a battery. The extra weapons don't roll extra attacks, they just aid the first weapon by giving it an attack bonus, but the game represents the additional firepower offered by the support guns by increasing your damage by one die for every 3 points that your attack exceeds the target's Reflex defense as the combined volley burrows into your enemy's defenses. Combined Fire lets every battery targeting a specific vessel increase damage by one die for every 2 points over instead.

So how well did we do? We rolled a critical hit, and then had a bunch of other bonuses from Levi, the ship, and Mayhem's own weapon skill.

20 + 13 BAB + 5 Int (targeting computer) + 1 Point Blank Shot + 2 Morale +2 Insight +4 Aid +1 Weapon Focus +1 equipment +1 Circumstance -2 Maneuver = 48, 20 points more than the Reflex defense, so an extra 10d10 damage.

Adding that to the extra 3 die from Devastating Hit and 1 die from Fleet Tactics gives us a grand total of (25d10+9)x15, for an average of just under 2200 damage, ignoring shields.

The Star Destroyer is instantly vaporized.

But a CL 20 ship is only at the "hard" end of the challenge spectrum for a bunch of level 13 heroes... can we do better?

Behold the Executor, Vader's flagship, the "Super Star Destroyer" (or Executor-class Star Dreadnought if you're a pedantic nerd) of movie fame and all-around shitkicker with enough guns to go up against a mid-sized fleet all by itself.

Salient information: 3000 hp, 400 SR, hundreds of guns, a mountain of munitions and supplies, a few hundred thousand of the Empire's finest, dozens of starfighters, enough ground forces to subjugate a continent, and a Challenge Level of 40 indicating that we should probably be a pack of very high-level heroes traveling with most of the Rebel fleet.

Now, all we have to do to take it down is increase our damage output by 50%... but we have no more EP for weapons!

Enter Dipshit Five.

Dipshit Five is a Protocol Droid, WD-40, whose years of service has made the droid quite adept at keeping things running smoothly. Before Admiral Levi has a chance to speak, WD-40 takes to the comms and uses the Coordinate talent to remind everyone to work together. Since WD-40 is also a leader of droids, even the R2 units in the cockpit and manning the counterpart to THE GUN will listen. Then, instead of using Fleet Tactics, Admiral Levi uses a mastery of tactical knowledge to aid the General Mayhem's attack, with similar aid from Gadget and the R2s.

The key here is the battery rules. D&D has long had a history of attack options like Power Attack, which lets you take a penalty to hit in exchange for extra damage. In other words, it's a trade between accuracy and damage. But with batteries extra accuracy becomes extra damage with no downsides or risk of failure whatsoever, and Combined Fire increases that damage by 50%. Every 2 points of accuracy is an extra 5.5 points of damage, multiplied by 15 through the critical hit. The Coordinate talent adds 1 to the Aid Another bonus per instance of the talent, WD-40 took it 5 times and turns the +2 bonus of Aid Another into a +7. And we just used it 3 times. Each of our buddies also has the Coordinated Barrage feat to let aided allies add even more dice of damage on a successful attack (three extra dice, in this case). Furthermore, the boost to aid another means that Captain Zoom's astromech copilot's bonus went up, which means that the penalty to attacks from the maneuver went down and General Mayhem is even more accurate. And WD-40 can still feed General Mayhem information to boost the attack.

Starting damage: (11 base + 3 maneuver + 3 Coordinated Barrage)d10=(17d10+9)

Attack roll: 20 + 13 BAB + 5 Int (targeting computer) + 1 Point Blank Shot + 2 Morale +2 Insight +21 Aid +1 Weapon Focus +1 equipment +1 Circumstance -1 Maneuver +2 Feed Information= 68, 40 over the target and thus 20 extra dice of damage

End result? (37d10+9)x15 damage, or a little under 3200 average damage in one shot, ignoring shields.

Exit Executor, stage down.

In Starships of the Galaxy Colossal ships such as light freighter occupy a unique mechanical space in that they're the only ship both capable of mounting capital ship weapons for maximum firepower while also using Combat Thrusters to qualify as fighters for the purpose of defenses and maneuvers, making them the beautiful intersection in the Venn Diagram of offense, defense and utility. You might think think that it's ridiculous that something could be that powerful, and you'd be exactly right.

Errata for the book quickly changed the footnote on the weapon table from "Colossal or larger starships only" to "Colossal (frigate) or larger starships only", which also matches the note in Core Rulebook for the range table on vehicle weapons. The Minmaximum Falcon's existence isn't a design error, but a typographical one.

But that's ok, we can do better.

Behold, the most dangerous ship in the galaxy:

The Action VI Transport, the space equivalent of a box van (well, a really big box van in the Colossal (frigate) category). It's a stock bulk freighter, absurdly common and comes with 3 free emplacement points as a gift to you from the CEC. Which isn't really that much, but it's a start. Back when we were creating the Minmaximum Falcon we could score 1 EP per cost modifier in tons of cargo, converting our 150 tons of space into 30 extra EP for a total of 40 EP to create our cool ship.

Unfortunately for us, a Colossal (frigate) ship has a cost modifier of 50, ten times that of a light frighter.

Fortunately for us, the Action VI Transport's cargo capacity was grandfathered in from the West End Games d6 Star Wars RPG: 90,000 tons.

Which means that if we went absolutely bananas and dumped our cargo hold we'd have 1800 emplacement points. THE GUN costs a mere 13 EP (and almost half a million credits, but who's counting?).

What do you do with that much space? Well, most systems don't actually scale all that much- after you put in a good hyperdrive or Holonet transceiver it's not as though you need to put in another one unless you want to have a back-up available (admittedly not a bad idea in the case of hyperdrives, and frequently found in many ships). If you want to use up EP after the first dozen or two you spend on system enhancements you'll need to take enhancements that can be stacked in bulk. The obvious one would be guns. THE GUN itself takes up 13 EP, and one can be supported by up to five others as part of a battery. Each of those five aiding weapons can benefit from the Coordinate talent, turning what would be a +10 bonus to hit from 5 assists to hit to a terrifying +35. Batteries can aid other batteries, providing a +2 bonus per each of the six guns in the battery, which presumably can benefit from Coordinate as well (up to +42 per battery, in theory). While a battery for THE GUN will set you back 78 EP and 2.4 million, there's nothing that says that your aiding batteries have to be the same thing, so you could stock up on light blaster batteries for 6 EP and 7200 apiece (which is about as much as it takes to buy a box of blaster rifles for your crew). Downside to this is that if you want to use WD-40's coordination abilities on all of them you're going to have to stick to the living. Droids in Saga Edition don't think the same way as living creatures do, and while that means they can't be mind-tricked or driven into a panic by a Jedi it also means that they don't normally benefit from the morale-boosting effects of the Noble class, including the Coordinate talent. There are abilities like the "Leader of Droids" feat that can bypass this immunity, but it would take a serious investment to affect more than a half-dozen or so droids. So fill your halls with meatbags.

Investing in the needs of meatbags is the other major way to burn up your points. 1 EP gives enough chairs and benches for your cost modifier in people to ride aboard your ship, while 10 EP will upgrade them to actual cabins, and 1 EP will buy you 1/5 of the modifier in medical beds and 1/50 of the modifier in bacta tanks for healing. If you do the math and cancel the modifiers then when you trade cargo for passengers the ratio is 1 ton of cargo for a chair or 10 tons for a bunk (fair enough since you're comparing mass and volume without talking density). You can stack this as many times as you want- sinking your entire cargo into seating means you could hold a football stadium worth of people, or rival the MGM Grand when it comes to rooms. Said rooms will be shitty steerage quality, but you can spend 1 EP and a varying amount of cash to upgrade the accommodations to something like "comfortable home" or "floating pleasure palace". Aside from providing the opportunity to roll around in opulence, upgrading to the best possible rooms (and paying the 10% monthly maintenance fee to keep it stocked with silk sheets and champagne) boosts the quality of your crew because life is just that awesome- a boost comparable to serving under a legendary naval officer like Admiral Levi. The two bonuses stack, so if you've got an admiral rolling around in a flying luxury resort then even your average navy recruit can duel with the aces. Of course if you don't actually give a shit about crew quality you can always spend 2 to 4 EP to turn that passenger space into prisons- even really luxurious prisons if mixed messages are your preferred form of rehabilitation. Or spend 2 EP per instance to install cyrogenic chambers for that old-fashion method of preservation and travel for 1/5 your modifier in critters. Upsides include emergency medical preservation and lower instances of jailbreak, downsides include the occasional ancient evil awakening from its slumber in the middle of a long-derelict hulk.

But maybe you want to indulge in the cheapest method of absolutely devouring your EP: hanger space. 8 EP will get you 1/50 of your cost modifier in starship slots, where huge take 1, gargantuan take 5 and colossal takes 20. Quintuple the EP cost and you can even hide the hanger from enemy eyes (and make it far more complicated to launch from). You don't even need to go all-out on this to have fun: just buy an old Action VI bulk freighter, dump 200 EP worth of storage space and give every member of your party of bounty hunters an X-wing while enjoying your remaining 80,000 tons of cargo capacity.

do it do it do it do it

It's not even unprecedented either:

This is the Wild Karrde, heavily-modified flagship of the pun-loving smuggler Talon Karrde and preexisting excuse for this entire write-up

But if you do want to go all-out on this and sink your cargo space into weaponry for your bulk freighter, just how badass can you be?

This is the Eclipse, because it's not the Star Wars Expanded Universe if you don't have something bigger and badder than the films. This one's claim to fame is being the Emperor's flagship (well, at least the clone of the Emperor and...) and also packing this little number:

See, there's nothing the EU loves more than giving the Empire doomsday devices and the Eclipse is no different, packing a superlaser that's "merely" two-thirds the power of one of the eight tributary beams that converged into the first Death Star's superlaser, which is still enough to crack the crust of a planet and render it inhabitable or utterly obliterate a capital ship in one shot. Starships of the Galaxy gives the stats for this ship:

8d10x50 is about 2200 average damage, which, if you haven't noticed, is less damage than one of THE GUN's critical hits. Of course, THE GUN doesn't nearly as much damage on a regular hit, but that's just as well since there's one other piece of errata I learned about while writing this:

“When using a vehicle weapon, you cannot apply any effect that causes an automatic natural 20 or automatic critical hit (such as spending a Destiny Point or using the Jedi Master’s serenity class feature), unless a rule specifies that it can be used with vehicle weapons.”

Downside: General Mayhem can't use the Jedi Master's ability to order natural 20s. Upside: General Mayhem can still be a regular (elite) soldier and sink more resources into skills with THE GUN, including the ability to score critical hits on a roll of 19 or 20.

If you can't guarantee quality, guarantee volume and quality of that volume. A mere 72,000 credits and 60 EP will buy you 10 light blaster batteries for a nice additional +420 to hit, +210d10 damage once WD-40 gets through with them. Even a natural 2 (the lowest possible roll without an automatic miss) means we're doing somewhere in the vicinity of 250d10x5 damage- 6875 average damage. That's triple the damage of the superlaser and enough to pop the Eclipse in one hit even with its shields up. And when 10% of the time this attack is a triple critical hit, well...

The ability to desolate a planet is insignificant next to the power of five dipshits in a flying lunchbox.

Who needs a fleet?

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