OOC discussion of ongoing play
Tue Apr 11, 2017 10:20 am
In this game, the players take on the roles of an Imperial Moff or Admiral, and his or her most senior advisors/officers, in the period immediately after the death of Emperor Palpatine at Endor. The players will initially have control over a small Imperial 'fleet' comprised of an Imperial II
-class star destroyer, an Interdictor
-class cruiser, and a Gladiator II
-class star destroyer, plus several squadrons of TIE/INs and TIE/SAs, an assortment of shuttles of various types, and all of the stormtroopers and walkers the ships normally carry. Their first task will be to seize control of one (or more) worlds and establish a base of power.
The game is about empire-building. Players will be free to control and expand their rump Empire as they see fit, fending off threats from other rival Imperial factions and the nascent New Republic. Most of the game functions at an operational scale, with play taking place at the tactical (personal) scale only when necessary to resolve small-scale issues (for example, social interactions that do not involve mass audiences). Therefore some class specializations that focus on small scale actions (medics are one example) aren't appropriate for this type of play. Skills and talents that can affect groups will be of most value. A player could create a bodyguard character, but then that would force me as the GM to be constantly throwing assassination attempts at the major characters, which I think would grow tiresome rather quickly. On the other hand, if a player wished to create a starfighter ace, that character could be a squadron or wing commander (a lá Baron Soontir Fel or Wedge Antilles). Players will be permitted to have more than one character, if they so desire. This is to allow players to have characters able to be involved in any given scene. But players cannot have more than one character in a Major Role
. Any secondary characters must be in 'minor' roles. For example, the aforementioned squadron leader would be a minor role.
I am currently developing the economics (empire-building) rules for the game. I'm adapting Paizo's Kingdom-Building rules for Pathfinder
to FFG's Star Wars RPG. A lot of those rules obviously must be reworked, both for a radically different setting, and to handle things on a much larger scale. While game play takes place narratively, and time passes in minutes or hours or days based on the narrative, faction-level activities (taxation, construction, etc.) occur monthly.
Tue Apr 11, 2017 2:45 pm
Character creation will be via AoR or EotE careers, as best fits the player's concept and desired role. Characters built to occupy major roles will start with 10 points of Duty or Obligation (or split between them) spendable during basic character creation for XP, plus 150 earned experience. No careers from FaD or FS characters are permitted for any of the major roles, except for High Inquisitor. Any career may be chosen for a minor role, and characters built for minor roles will begin with 50 earned experience.
Morality only applies if the character is FS.
In addition to the House Rules that I use for all of my regular FFG SWRPG games, this game will also have its own specific set of supplemental house rules, since FFG's rules were never intended for a game like this one. The mechanics of the large-scale economics system will be a part of those supplemental house rules.
Wed Apr 12, 2017 5:16 pm
This intrigues me, if enough people want to do this I might be able to make time to join.
Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:16 pm
Cool. I'll see what I can do about that. I can't advertise at FFG until I've finished fleshing out more of the empire-building rules.
Based on my experience with Far Orbit, many (most?) of the players looking looking for games there have a very short attention span and if this game isn't ready to run, with the GM able to answer every question immediately, people will up and vanish. Heck, Far Orbit was being actively played and the two new players couldn't be bothered to stick around while the two "older" players got their downtime resolved.
In the interim, I'd appreciate any thoughts that you might have.
One current stumbling block is what credit value to set the BP at. I've been leaning towards 1 million credits, but I've also considered a number as low as 50,000. A low number provides for nice granularity when paying for relatively inexpensive things, and when PCs convert personal wealth to BPs. But then I may have to scale how many BPs are generated since the economy needs to produce a lot of credits (or, rather, the BP equivalent of it).
The next "stumbling block" after that is devising the "Improvements Table". The Pathfinder one is completely inappropriate to a high-tech space setting, so I have to make one from scratch. The problem? There's no guidance in FFG's SWRPG, nor in any prior SWRPG, for the costs of structures. What does a landing bay (like on Tatooine in ANH) cost? Or something much larger, like the Theed starport in AotC? What does a frigate-capable shipyard like the one at StarForge shadowport cost to build? Or an orbital yard capable of building a single cruiser or SD? How about an asteroid mine? An apartment tower? And on and on.
Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:49 pm
Perhaps you should have different tear BP wood, brick, metal, carbon fiber or another designation. Also don't forget about trade. A rough estimate for the cost of commercial buildings should be about ten times income generated.
Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:57 pm
The cost of commercial (retail) buildings is easy. The cost of factories is much more complicated, as the income they create is indirect. Also, does a Boeing aircraft assembly hangar generate a revenue comparable to what a Ford assembly plant of the same square footage yields, and do they cost similar amounts to construct? I know for fact that an Intel fab is horrendously expensive on a per square foot basis. Ditto a NASA assembly facility.
Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:57 am
Perhaps you should do a real estate look up or a business assert evaluation of a few companies to get an idea. you would be surprised what is available online. Just look up their assets and divide that by their revenue. This is their asset turnover ratio. There are other ratios used in stock which could also provide a starting point.
Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:09 am
Good suggestion, thanks. This may also apply to such things as naval shipyards and aluminum mines and metal refineries.
Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:16 pm
Just to give you something to chew on, here's a preliminary list of buildable improvements:
Academy [Economy +2, Loyalty +2; limit 1 per city]
> University [Economy +3, Loyalty +3; limit 1 per city]
Arena [Stability +4; limit 1 per city]
Asteroid Mine [Economy +1, Stability +1, Unrest +1]
Bank [Economy +4]
Barracks [Unrest -1]
> Garrison [Loyalty +2, Stability +2, Unrest –2; limit 1 per city]
Black Market [Economy +2, Stability +1, Unrest +1; limit 1 per city]
Brewery [Loyalty +1, Stability +1]
Cantina [Economy +1, Loyalty +1]
Central Bank [Economy +3, Loyalty +3, Stability +1; limit 1 per planet]
Core Tap 
Entertainment District [Economy +1, Loyalty +2, Unrest +1]
Factory [Economy +1, Stability +1]
Foreign Quarter [Economy +3, Stability –1; limit 1 per city]
Government Center [Economy +1, Loyalty –1, Stability +1; limit 1 per city]
Hospital [Loyalty +1, Stability +2]
Inn [Economy +1, Loyalty +1]
Jail [Loyalty +2, Stability +2, Unrest –2]
> Prison [limit 1 per city]
Luxury Store [Economy +1]
Military Academy [Loyalty +2, Stability +1; limit 1 per planet]
Museum [Economy +1, Loyalty +1]
Mansion [Stability +1]
> Noble Villa [Economy +1, Loyalty +1, Stability +1]
Orbital Shipyard (1 slip) 
Orphanage [Stability +1, Unrest –1]
Park [Loyalty +1, Unrest –1]
Planetary Defense Ion Cannon [limit 1 per city] (1,000,000 credits)
Planetary Defense Turbolaser [limit 1 per city] (10,000,000 credits)
Planetary Shield Generator [limit 1 per city] (460,000 credits)
Planetary Shield [limit 1 per planet] (6,000,000 credits)
Power Plant 
Residential Tower 
> Arcology 
Shop [Economy +1, Stability +1]
> Market [Economy +2, Stability +2; limit 1 per city]
Starport, Limited-services [Economy +1, Stability +1; limit 1 per city]
> Starport, Standard class [Economy +4; limit 1 per city]
Starport, Stellar class [limit 1 per planet]
Starport, Imperial class [limit 1 per system]
Theater [Economy +2, Stability +2]
Water Plant [Stability +1]
> Recycling Center [Loyalty +1, Stability +2; limit 1 per city]
Most of the items have no credit cost yet (and none have an equivalent BP cost ), and some have no benefit assigned to them yet. I haven't decided whether I'm going to limit the size of cities. In the real world, and in SW canon terms, there aren't any limits. But for game purposes I might decide to either impose a size limit, or some penalty as cities grow large. Mostly to keep players from having just one very large city on each planet. Purely arbitrary. Pathfinder takes care of this by having players manage settlements, with population centers occupying hexes of land (cities grow by expanding into adjacent hexes), and each hex being broken down into lots, which in turn is what you build improvements on (until you run out of lots, in which case you have to clear another hex). Pathfinder also requires you to deal with terrain and clearance thereof. I have no desire to inflict city-building and city management on players, and would prefer to keep things on a planetary scale.
Entries with a ">" to the left indicate an upgrade of the entry directly above them. Such improvements may be built directly, or by upgrading an existing lower-grade improvement.
Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:48 pm
Hi Shadow, this sounds intriguing enough for me to have created an account, so you have my attention. i have read through all your HR pages and its an interesting setup you have. Im not a DnD or Pathfinder player, so i have no idea of any changes you have made, it seems simple yet complex enough at the same time.
Initially my thoughts go to a few things. First off with the monthly events phase do you see that as your chance to insert adventures, while other time throughout the month being devoted to PC's describing an overall direction or goal they are playing to then having a couple of rolls to suit?
How would you like to balance the time when individuals are spread apart, PBP obviously suits that rather well, but one players small event may take a couple of RL weeks to resolve while anthers is over in a day or 2.
Looking through your list of building improvements i'm seeing vast differences in scale (an Inn, the Entertainment District and the Orbital Shipyard). Perhaps deciding on a scale and sticking closer to it for everything would simplify the BP economy. Choosing between "we control systems" (where a single shop is insignificant) and "we control a town/city". Having less of the "shop" scale businesses and treating everything as bigger scales will keep everything closer in scale so the ratios are simplified. Otherwise go the other way and keep everything small scale, but then the story is limited to a single planet and potentially a single region of that planet.
For a "major" pc i'm drawn to the Quartermaster specialisation, Minister of Industry would fit very well. Focusing on Negotiation with a side helping of Leadership. Knowledge would also be important to this character, their understanding of the Outer Rim and its inhabitants would lead to better understanding of the resources available and whats required to make the most of those resources.
Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:30 pm
RichardBuxton wrote:Hi Shadow, this sounds intriguing enough for me to have created an account, so you have my attention.
Hi Richard! Welcome to the board, and thanks for your interest!
RichardBuxton wrote:Initially my thoughts go to a few things. First off with the monthly events phase do you see that as your chance to insert adventures, while other time throughout the month being devoted to PC's describing an overall direction or goal they are playing to then having a couple of rolls to suit?
The monthly events thing is just bookkeeping for the empire. Ideally, I'd be inserting adventures whenever appropriate. It's not intended to be a "turn-based" game, but a narrative one. Just on a very large scale. PC skill checks (in contrast to empire-level "attribute" checks, such as Economy) would be made whenever they're needed, not just at monthly increments.
Having said that, the calling of some Edicts may involve/trigger adventures, as can obviously happen with some Events. But even an event-triggered adventure, such as raiders, won't necessarily happen right at month's end/start. I'd prefer things not be that predictable.
RichardBuxton wrote:How would you like to balance the time when individuals are spread apart, PBP obviously suits that rather well, but one player's small event may take a couple of RL weeks to resolve while another's is over in a day or 2.
Some activities might even take months to resolve. To answer your question it really all depends on what the thing is that's being handled. Some things do not require a character's full-time attention. Some might, but perhaps not for an extended period of time. Anything that impacts another characters actions (or potential actions) will have to be synchronized. Not doing so leads to retcons, and in my experience retcons should be avoided. Players aren't any more fond of them than GMs are, and IMO it's a sign of bad GMing.
RichardBuxton wrote:Looking through your list of building improvements i'm seeing vast differences in scale (an Inn, the Entertainment District and the Orbital Shipyard). Perhaps deciding on a scale and sticking closer to it for everything would simplify the BP economy. Choosing between "we control systems" (where a single shop is insignificant) and "we control a town/city". Having less of the "shop" scale businesses and treating everything as bigger scales will keep everything closer in scale so the ratios are simplified. Otherwise go the other way and keep everything small scale, but then the story is limited to a single planet and potentially a single region of that planet.
The shipyard isn't an entire yard, it would be better called an "orbital ship construction slip". Your point on the Inn is valid. By "Inn" I was actually thinking of a hotel tower, with a capacity of thousands of patrons, but renaming the item may not address your concern. Control is at a system scale, but the economy is at a city-district scale of granularity. If the smallest scale was an entire system, or even an entire city, then the cost of starships (even 150 MCr ISDs) would be trivial. And the cost of building/replacing starships should not be trivial. I'm open to suggestions and opinions. None of this is set in stone. The game's rules are still under construction (pardon the pun).
RichardBuxton wrote:For a "major" pc i'm drawn to the Quartermaster specialisation, Minister of Industry would fit very well. Focusing on Negotiation with a side helping of Leadership. Knowledge would also be important to this character, their understanding of the Outer Rim and its inhabitants would lead to better understanding of the resources available and whats required to make the most of those resources.
You seem to have a good grasp of how to build a character to be effective at this scale.
Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:45 pm
another idea that just hit me was trying to adapt the Mass Combat rules to some of these checks to run the "Empire". I could see each month being a Phase, with success etc determining overall performance, while the ancillary effects on the dice having impact on events and the such. Obviously its more work to do that, rather than directly porting the Pathfinder system, but with specialisations such as Strategist it would play to that characters specific strengths in leading or advising the leader.
It may not work at all due to the differences between combat and government, but it is a fairly robust system that already fits in the FFG dice mechanic.
Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:58 pm
For large-scale battles I was already intending to use the FFG Mass Combat rules. But at the game start, space battles can be handled using the normal RPG rules, since you have such few warships (although you have Mass Combat-worthy hordes of TIEs). Ground battles will require the Mass Combat rules, because your faction has several legions of stormtroopers aboard those three ships.
Feel free to work up something using Mass Combat as a basis for running government, if you're bored and want to lend a hand. I certainly won't turn down help! The Pathfinder system just uses a d20 check against a target DC. I'd much rather have something that could use the characters' skills as a basis.
Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:19 pm
I was thinking along the lines of a difficulty based on the size of opposing empires, whilst the size of the PC's empire contributes to the Ability Dice. Things like Unrest and events contribute further negative effects, whilst PC's successful actions contribute to the positive side of the dice pool.
As an example a fledgling empire may provide a 2 dice Ability pool. The direct opposition to that empire are still limited, there are not that many enemies yet, so and Average difficulty for Stability check. The Warlord/Leader then upgrades the Stability Check a number of times equal to their leadership. The Difficulty dice may be upgraded if an opposing Empire's Leader is directly working against the PC's.
Threat of conflict (from an event) from a neighbouring System could add a setback, another setback could come from an Unrest of 4. Perhaps a couple of PC's successfully negotiated a trade deal with a mining company to exchange protection from pirates for a supply of minerals, this contributes a Boost. Another couple of PC's have laid the groundwork for destabilising the nearby hostile system, this also provides a boost.
Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:42 pm
Although another method could see the size of the empire determine the difficulty of the Stability check. Then the Ability dice are determined by the size and strength of the government. This way its totally internal, Bigger Empires are harder to run, and require bigger governments... but a bigger government requires more resources just to keep itself running thus reducing the satisfaction of the populace.
It becomes a balancing act of not having a government thats too big of a burden while still being able to keep the Empire functioning.
Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:49 pm
Stability Check Difficulty List:
Trivial, Difficulty 1. A potion of a single planet, a country. Population in the Tens of Millions. eg Mos Eisley, a sector of Nar Shaddaa, A colony on a frontier world, a Tribe of natives, a single city on Corellia
Insignificant, Difficulty 2. An entire small system with only 1 inhabitable Planet. Population in the Hundreds of Millions. eg the Tattooine system, Hoth system or Yavin system
Moderate, Difficulty 3. A Large System of Planets with many inhabitable worlds or a number of small systems close together, Population in the Tens to Hundreds of Billions. eg the Corellian System, Nal Hutta
Vast, Difficulty 4. An entire sector of the Galaxy, Population in the Tens to Hundreds of Trillions. eg the Corellian Sector, Corporate Sector or Hutt Space.
Overwhelming, Difficulty 5. Multiple sectors of the Galaxy, Population in the Quadrillions. The entire Outer Rim
Galactic, Difficulty 6. The Majority of the Galaxy, eg The Republic or Galactic Empire
Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:58 pm
Government size chart:
Trivial, 1 Ability.
Insignificant, 2 Ability.
Moderate, 3 Ability.
Vast, 4 Ability.
Immense, 5 Ability.
Galactic, 6 Ability.
I cant think clearly of examples of these, it may come to me later.
Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:53 am
RichardBuxton wrote:I was thinking along the lines of a difficulty based on the size of opposing empires, whilst the size of the PC's empire contributes to the Ability Dice. Things like Unrest and events contribute further negative effects, whilst PC's successful actions contribute to the positive side of the dice pool.
I really like your ideas on how to assign pool based on size, per your third and fourth posts. And it's logical that keeping the empire stable should increase in difficulty as it increases in size.
RichardBuxton wrote:The Warlord/Leader then upgrades the Stability Check a number of times equal to their leadership. The Difficulty dice may be upgraded if an opposing Empire's Leader is directly working against the PC's.
The empire's Stability attribute should be the major factor in Stability checks. Using the empire's size for purples makes sense, but we need something to set the number of greens. That something needs to be the Stability attribute.
Leadership ranks, BTW, already factors into Stability, by virtue of increasing the bonus of whichever leaders are adding to Stability. I've elected to use ranks in the Command talent to upgrade the positive Stability pool. Command requires a more focused (and expensive) investment on the part of the player, essentially directing their character design towards ruling in contrast to how easy ot is for anyone else to acquire ranks in teh Leadership skill. Unrest will be upgrading the difficulty (see below).
RichardBuxton wrote:Threat of conflict (from an event) from a neighboring System could add a setback, another setback could come from an Unrest of 4. Perhaps a couple of PC's successfully negotiated a trade deal with a mining company to exchange protection from pirates for a supply of minerals, this contributes a Boost. Another couple of PC's have laid the groundwork for destabilizing the nearby hostile system, this also provides a boost.
In Pathfinder, you start losing territory (hexes, which are 12 miles from corner to corner) at 11+ Unrest. At 20+ the kingdom collapses. So the effect of Unrest on Stability needs to be severe. I think that upgrading the difficulty by 1 per Unrest is appropriate. That makes any unrest, even a small amount, dangerous. The New Order always treated unrest as being dangerous and dealt with it harshly.
I've added a post dealing with Stability checks here
Sat Apr 22, 2017 9:21 am
For Stability (as well as Loyalty and Economy), I still need to come up with a (rough) guide for interpreting check results (extra successes, advantages, triumphs, failures, threats, despair).
For Loyalty, what generates difficulty dice? What upgrades the negative and positive pools? For the positive Loyalty, I'm torn between military forces (troops and/or star destroyers) providing upgrades or providing boost dice.
For Economics, Pathfinder uses the simple method of taking the score, dividing it by 3 (rounded down) and that's what your tax income is in BP. Economy is Pathfinder is based on the constructed buildings. Per SW canon, the Empire is supposed to tax all its citizens, although AFAIK we've never been told what those tax rates are. So using the canon foundation, the game's economic system should focus on taxation of population (taxation of labor), and I suppose structures and trade might add bonuses (the former representing taxation of service corporations, the latter taxation of goods sold).
If 50% of the population of Centares (half a billion people) are capable of working, and are unskilled laborers (for the sake of this example, using the lowest wage class per Far Horizons page 93) and taxed at a mere 10% (which is highly unlikely), that would be 500*0.1*0.5 billion = 25 billion credits in taxes per month. A staggering amount, and that figure is low. This presents a huge (no pun intended) problem in that this scale of money is vastly more than what the costs for even star destroyers are (a mere 150 million, assuming the infrastructure was already in place to build them). And this is without even adding in commercial taxation.
Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:57 pm
I'm relocating the start of the game to the Minos cluster, and I'm rolling back the start position. The "rogue" Imperial squadron arrives in the cluster, fleeing the New Republic. The cluster is in a backwater portion of the Outer Rim, of very little interest to anyone. A perfect place to gather strength away from anyone's attention. The cluster is not smack on a major hyperspace route, unlike Centares, and not in the Mid Rim.
I may or many not have some of the ships damaged, and I will be reducing the number of carried TIEs significantly to reflect a rearguard action and sacrifice to allow the capital ships to escape the Rebels. At the game's start the PCs will not control a system. You get to pick your target(s) from the worlds of the cluster, and make your presence and will known however you wish. It's a slower start, strategically, but narratively far more interesting.
Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:48 pm
I really like the way those turned out.
Now I think I need a bit of an overview of an Empire. It may be somewhere that I'm missing, but I'll ask anyway. What are all the statistics an Empire has, what are its units of measurement? What range does each measurement cover?
A method of converting Duty Rank into Empire Improvements probably needs fleshing out too, I can see that being a major way we improve the entire thing, other than using the CP.
Are we playing with the usual 9k/Lightsaber rules for our main characters? What about the sidekicks, do they get any extra cash?
Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:30 pm
I assume you chose the Command talent over Leadership because there are more than 5 ranks of it? 10 as far as I can tell, across 5 different specs.
Tue Apr 25, 2017 2:36 pm
RichardBuxton wrote:I really like the way those turned out.
The Stability rules? Thanks. You gave me the direction I needed. Now I just need similar help for Loyalty and Economics. See below...
RichardBuxton wrote:Now I think I need a bit of an overview of an Empire. It may be somewhere that I'm missing, but I'll ask anyway. What are all the statistics an Empire has, what are its units of measurement? What range does each measurement cover?
Economics, Loyalty, and Stability are the three key empire attributes. These are the ones that PCs affect directly. The other attributes are: Size (number of controlled systems), Unrest, Consumption (based on population), and Treasury (measured in Build Points, BP, not credits). I haven't yet set the "value" of a BP. I have a major quandary with economics, because in Pathfinder it's based solely on buildings, while in Star Wars it needs to be based on taxing population. Which presents a problem of scale. If your planet only has a few million, then the math works out reasonable. But when populations get to the hundreds of millions, and worse still, billions, then the tax income becomes obscene. When the tax income from population (ignoring taxing corps and trade for the moment), the income is in the billions — per month. At those levels, even a star destroyer's 150 megacredit cost becomes ... trivial.
RichardBuxton wrote:A method of converting Duty Rank into Empire Improvements probably needs fleshing out too, I can see that being a major way we improve the entire thing, other than using the CP.
What is CP? And you're right that we'll need a Duty to Improvements conversion or some sort.
RichardBuxton wrote:Are we playing with the usual 9k/Lightsaber rules for our main characters?
Can't say, since I don't know what that is.
RichardBuxton wrote:What about the sidekicks, do they get any extra cash?
Yep, but only if they aren't Imperial military. Imperial military has their needs met. If the Empire doesn't supply it, you don't need it.
RichardBuxton wrote:I assume you chose the Command talent over Leadership because there are more than 5 ranks of it? 10 as far as I can tell, across 5 different specs.
Actually, I didn't know there was that many available ranks of it. In one of my earlier posts I mentioned my reasoning. Simply put, Leadership is already factored into the empire attributes, and getting ranks of Command is harder (more expensive in XP) than Leadership skill.
Tue Apr 25, 2017 4:21 pm
CP=Construction Points =BP = Build Points. It's me not going back to check the earlier posts for the correct term and just using what I thought it was, which was wrong :p
The FaD core book introduced the idea of "knight level" starting characters, basically characters starting with some adventuring under their belts. They gain 150xp as well as the choice between a Lightsaber and 9000cr. Since you had given the main pc's 150xp I was wondering if this was a "knight level" game. I don't care either way, more credits is more stuff but I suspect credits could be accessible here.
For the Economics thing perhaps each "city" has the same value as a single building in Pathfinder. Set a maximum number of "cities" for each planet when they are made (small planet = low limit). Upgrades can increase the city rating. I don't know what the range would be, 0 (nomadic population of tribals up to 10? 100? (Coruscant). I don't know the expected range for a Pathfinder Kingdom, do you?
Tue Apr 25, 2017 4:36 pm
Most of the cities in Pathfinder are not directly statted with the Kingdom Rules. In Pathfinder, a hex for building your city and farmland and herdland in, that has a limited number of spaces to build in, is like several square miles IIRC. You can add more hexes to grow your kingdom.
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