I'm afraid, valued readers, that today is going to be a diatribe day. The last couple of game sessions I've played in have conspired to make me a bit whiney and so today I am going to share that with you. But fear not, for I will not simply whine about what I don't like, but I will also posit some suggestions as well. Not a ton of crunch this week, but I'll see what I can whip up next week, if you're feeling the need to get rulesy!
My first axe to grind is with the Star Wars: Saga Edition rules. I love the freedom of multiclassing in the system! Love it! Want to take a couple of levels of soldier to pick up armor talents? Sure! Take a level or two of noble to get some contacts, or some money to sling around? No problem. Want to make a Jedi who specializes in healing? Well, better multiclass, or just sit tight until level 7 and take the talent to use your Use The Force skill in place of Treat Injury. Really?! Jedi don't know First Aid?! Perhaps it is just the game I play in and the characters I choose to play, but in SW:SE, I find that more and more I feel less like the multiclassing rules give me more flexibility, and more like they make me jump through a ton of hoops.
So, I'm fabricating a new house-rule for the next time I run a SW:SE game: No class skills. Nobles already have an edge in the skill department with the highest number of trained skills starting out. No need to further expand the divide by giving them access to the most skills of any one class. Sure they have crappy combat stats, but between their unique talents, awesome bonus feat selection, and very different flavor, I don't think opening up skills to all classes really hurts the Noble. People will still be jumping into Noble for all sorts of things, even if they don't need to for access to the class skill list.
Let's stick with SW:SE for Axe#2: Use The Force as a skill.
The more I think about this, the more I just hate the idea. With UTF in SW:SE, you have a unique mechanic a skill that makes attack rolls. In SW:SE, defenses scale linearly with level. As do attack bonuses for most classes. Even the worst Base Attack Bonus progressions end at +15 at level 20. The base skill bonus for level 20? 10. If you're trained, it's 15 + Atttribute modifiers. If you take Skill Focus, it's 20 + Attribute modifier. At level 20, an enemies basic defense, before attribute modifiers is 30. That means that a Force User who doesn't take Skill Focus: UTF has to roll a 15 or higher (assuming roughly equivalent attribute modifiers, give or take since defense gets a bonus from class), that's a pretty rough roll to succeed on an attack. Especially when the Jedi who spent no feats on Lightsaber combat has a 20 + Attribute modifier attack, meaning that assuming roughly equivalent attributes, the Jedi with the lightsaber is about 25% more likely to hit.... The other way that this approach suffers is in early game. If a Jedi focuses heavily on Force use, you can pick up Skill Focus: UTF as a starting bonus feat and have 10 + Attribute modifier chance to hit at level 1 (assuming you play a human). Or level 3 if you aren't a human. Most classes have 1 or 0 + Attribute modifier attack rolls. This means that the low level Force wizard can't miss while the rest of the party only hits half the time or less. In my opinion, this needs to be leveled out some, instead of skewing toward low-level play as much as it does.
To resolve this, I am going to implement a house rule separating the UTF skill from other skills. For non-attack Force powers, the UTF skill will remain as is. You will be able to roll a skill check and take Skill Focus, or other feats as desired. When you make a Force attack, however, no skill modifiers will be used. Instead, the character will use BAB + Charisma modifier. This will bring hit percentages into line with other characters, without diminishing the effectiveness of non-attack powers, which seem to be pretty well balanced currently with the DCs given.
Star Wars: Saga Edition is a pretty fun game. With these tweaks, I think my next Saga game will be even more enjoyable. Unfortunately, it took me longer to rant about than expected, so I'm going to save my D&D 4th Edition rant for another time and sign off here. Next week, more crunch, less crying... I think.