Republic Commandos

April 27th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

As I have stated before, I have become disgusted with Boba Fett from the Star Wars universe.  Not only was he not worth the adoration that tons of fans (including myself, for a time) lavished upon him, but that adoration got milked far beyond what it was worth.  Boba Fett was expanded out into an entire race, the Mandalorians, all of whom have similar body armor and are badass.

Oh, but that’s not enough.  Not only are we going to have all of these guys sitting out there somewhere, but we’re going to take it a step further and clone his ass.  Okay, so technically they’re cloning Jango Fett, and Boba is just one of the clones trained differently than the rest, but thinking out of character, Jango is just Boba with dual pistols.  And still lame.

And now there’s millions of them.  And I love them. I play through Republic Commando game on Steam probably once every six months.  I’ve read almost all of Karen Traviss’s novels.  And they are great because (and not in spite of) the fact that they only barely touch the movies and Lucas’s horribly written characters.  I don’t have anything against Hayden Christiansen, but Anakin Skywalker in pretty much any form needs to be shot out of a cannon and into a suitably dense nearby surface so as to splatter.  We’re talking gruesome rorshach drawings, here.

(Speaking of Rorschach, anyone that likes cheesy action should be watching Jackie Earle Haley in Human Target.  It’s on Hulu.  But I digress.)

So instead, there is an entertaining FPS with some good vocal work, and a surprisingly fun (if a bit repetitive) music soundtrack, and nice action.  And a set of novels that go into some interesting battle psychology with the contrast of teenage boys that also happen to be hard-as-nails snake-eating Special Ops badasses.  (Someone out there needs to do a psychological compare and contrast between these guys, the kids from Battle Royale, and Hit-Girl from Kick-Ass.  I would do it, but I’m lazy.)

So, Republic Commandos are everything that Boba Fett should have been, but wasn’t.  And they’ve been on my mind lately, so I will share with you further evidence that I have Nerd-cred: how to run a Republic Commandos role-playing game using the White Wolf World of Darkness rule set.  Who saw that coming?

First: a complaint.  TOO MANY SHORT STORIES IN THE W.O.D. RULEBOOK.  Any time I get lost looking for the gorram table of contents, there’s a problem.  Seriously, if I want to read stories, I will pick up a freaking novel or short story anthology!  You know what I want and expect from a rulebook?  A book.  Of Rules.

That having been said, I really like the W.O.D. rules.  There’s a simplicity there that is great for roleplaying, because it leaves plenty of room for stories.  And that is also great for roll-playing, because simple = faster combat, and faster combat = more dead enemies, which = more XP, which = PC’s that are harder, better, faster and stronger, and capable of…More Combat!

I enjoy both styles, and participate in 2 groups a week, one of each.  Both ran through the Wizards of the Coast published adventure “Thunderspire Labyrinth.”  One  group almost wiped several times (this is before I started playing with them).  The other, well, as D.M. I had to dynamite a bridge just to slow them down after they found a back door, took out the Boss and completed the main objective within the first two encounters of a dungeon.  I had to beef up most of the mobs and completely redesign one of the later levels to make it at all challenging.  I might go into more detail in a later post, but for now, I think you get the idea.

First step: Rules conversion.  The W.O.D. rules can function pretty much as stated, there just isn’t enough there for militarist combat.  Enter: The Armory.  Any power-gamer that’s playing a vanilla mortal and doesn’t want to use the bunch of different merits for hand to hand combat and wants his guns, dammit, suddenly perks up and pays attention.  Ooooh, guns.  Ooooh, gunplay merits!  Likey likey.  And it converts over really well.  Examples, you say?  Fine, here we go.

From W.O.D Armory:            
Type Damage Ranges Capacity Strength Size Cost
H&K MP5 2 30/60/120 30+1 2(2/3/3) 2/L ••••
Barrett M107 5 (8 again)* 300/600/1200 10+1 3 4 •••••
Grenade Launcher 3(L)** 75/150/300 1 3 3 ••••
             
Star Wars Conversion:            
Type Damage Ranges Capacity Strength Size Cost
DC-17m ICWS Blaster 2 30/60/120 90 2(2/3/3) 2/L ••••
DC-17m ICWS Sniper Attachment 5 (8 again)* 300/600/1200 10+1 3 4 •••••
DC-17m ICWS Anti-Armor 3(L)** 75/150/300 1 3 3 ••••

*Armor Piercing 6
**Knockdown, Armor Piercing 4

The only significant change is the ammo capacity for the Blaster, and that is actually cosmetic.  The H&K MP5 is capable (depending on the published variant) of a semi-automatic, 2 or 3 round burst, or fully automatic.  In the spirit of Star Wars and the eternally visible blaster shot spread, the DC-17m ICWS (Blaster) does not have a semi-auto setting, it starts at a semi-automatic 3-round burst and goes to auto from there.  This means that the accuracy and damage will be the same as the MP5, and still have plenty of blaster bolts flying around the field in true Star Wars fashion.

Image from Star Wars RPG: Galaxy at War, which is a fine publication, but too complicated for my tastes.  Jedi and the Force always, always, over-complicate things through no fault of those fine game designers.  If you’re willing to deal with the extra math, by all means, buy that book, because God knows George Lucas needs the money.

Sigh.

From there, it’s easy!  I adapt armor and a few other cool peices of equipment from the novels to WOD stats, pick a couple of battles from Wookipedia, and BAM! I’m just about ready to go.  I just need to convert over Mobs, and that’s easy.  Take the SWAT Officer example from the W.O.D. book, ignore the pistol, and call him a basic Separatist Robot.  Upgrade a bit with more HP and armor, and you have a Super Battle Droid.  It just goes on from there.

Adapt environments that are directly ripped off from any video game, and simply change the decription of the environment.  Dry out mud from a jungle, add canyon walls, and you’ve got Geonosis. Need an Urban Environment?  Play a round of Left for Dead, take notes.  Describe downed hovercraft instead of cars.

Oh man, I totally want to finish out the 4E Adventure I’m running for my Saturday Night crew, and hook them on this.  Oh, I also need to reformat some of the Armory merits, like the Spetnatz Knife-fighting becomes Mandolorian Guantlet Vibroblade tactics.  Change some proper nouns and its done.