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Lightsaber Forms
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Kytross
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:03 pm    Post subject: Lightsaber Forms Reply with quote

Has anyone ever attempted to make the various lightsaber forms specializations under the Lightsaber skill? Every time I see someone working up a lightsaber combat thing it has to do with the force. I was looking at it the other way, that your lightsaber form is a specialization under the lightsaber skill. Like any other skill, once you hit a point where you no longer want to spend CPs to advance it, you specialize.

Here's some ideas:

Form 1 - you specialize in defense rolls against melee attacks

Form 2 - you specialize in offensive melee attacks

Form 3 - you specialize in deflecting blaster bolts

Form 4 - Not sure, I think increasing your move while using lightsaber makes sense but I haven't come up with anything I like. Maybe a boost to Jump?

That's just a start. What do you guys think?
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check this out...

In short, my theory was that Form I was the basic Lightsaber Skill, while Forms II through VII were Advanced Skills that stacked with Lightsaber as a prerequisite. Each Advanced Skill had a bonus equal to its skill level in a particular kind of combat (offense, defense, melee, etc.)
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You also have
this thread

Then this thread touched on it.
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Naaman
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the specialization route, personally.

However, I tend to favor a more complex system than what you've proposed. It is somewhat like the martial arts rules in RoE, but... better, IMHO.

FWIW, I have revisited this issue yet again, but have not posted anything yet (may never).
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Kytross
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I reread these threads and done some other reading I think I'm ready to rewrite my take on this.

I'm moving away from forms, per se. I think the forms are guidelines for what to train in to make a good combat style. If you want to be better at using telekinesis with your lightsaber, practice in telekinesis. I'm moving to a reinforcement of the rules, because I think the rules as written handles things fairly well.

First, you can specialize in the skill Lightsaber. Here are the specializations I've come up with:
- Melee offense
- Melee defense
- Ranged defense
- 2 sabers
- Double bladed
- Saber pole arm (Saber staff? A stick with a light blade on the end of it)

Second, your lightsaber combat power works as normal. Sense adds to your lightsaber skill, control adds to damage. It counts as keeping two powers up. Redirecting blaster bolts is a second action inside a round.

Third, movement counts as an action if it's more than your normal half speed. Dodging, jumping, enhance attribute, all require their normal skill roles with Multiple Action Penalties (MAPs).

Fourth, using force powers uses normal MAPs. Including telekinesis.
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naaman wrote:
I like the specialization route, personally.

However, I tend to favor a more complex system than what you've proposed. It is somewhat like the martial arts rules in RoE, but... better, IMHO.

FWIW, I have revisited this issue yet again, but have not posted anything yet (may never).


With how cheep specializations are to raise, i'd rather keep LS forms (and m.arts) as advanced skills..
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Kytross
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:

With how cheep specializations are to raise, i'd rather keep LS forms (and m.arts) as advanced skills..


But some of them aren't really advanced skills.

Form 1 is for melee combat against opponents without lightsabers. Form 2 is for fighting someone else with a lightsaber. Form 3 is for fighting against blasters. You can do all of these things with the Lightsaber skill. These are specialized uses of the Lightsaber skill.

An argument can be made for considering Form 4 and 6 as advanced skills, but they aren't really single skills so much as a combination of skills. Form 4 uses enhanced attribute in combat. Form 6 uses telekinesis in combat. You practice those skills and raise them up so you minimize MAPs.

I have no idea how to even classify form 5. It's a combination of all the other forms. Interesting from a story perspective, definitely something we would see in real life, similar in some ways to the philosophy behind Jeet Kune Do, but in terms of gameplay it means raising all your skills up so you can use whatever you need without worrying about MAPs.

Form 7? Good luck. It's poorly defined. "It's the best!" Great. Thanks for telling me that. "It's close to the dark side!" Cool! Sounds awesome. How do I work out a mechanic for that? "It has a flurry of attacks!" Okay, so what is that? Multiple attacks in one round? Enhance attribute so I can avoid a few MAPs? Already got that with form 4. Concentration? Only works if you use one other skill in a combat round, so it can't be that.

I could see it being used in a way to simulate a darkside point. When you have a darkside point your force skills are 1D higher per point. We could rule it as something like Combat Sense. You call upon the darkside for ten rounds. For ten rounds you have a Dark Side Point, and at the end of those ten rounds you have to make a heroic willpower roll or you keep the DSP. Maybe you can do it multiple times, and for each use of the power it ups the difficulty of the willpower roll. And if you finish combat before the power is up you can use concentration to help you make the willpower roll, or reduce the difficulty of the roll for each round spent meditating, or something.

That's actually an interesting new force power. Call it Vaapad. Make it a very easy control roll to use the power, it is easy to call upon the darkside. A heroic roll not to keep the DSP. While using the force power Vaapad a Jedi is often tempted to do selfish things. A GM may make you roll willpower repeatedly to resist the call of the darkside. If you commit any selfish actsa while using Vaapad you keep the DSPs you summoned.

What do you guys think?
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The original concept behind the seven forms came from a magazine article - titled Fightsaber - that differentiated Forms I through VII as different philosophies of the Force expressed through Lightsaber technique. Those Forms were subsequently bastardized and mutilated to make video game fluff.

In the link I posted above, the descriptions for Forms I through VI were copied verbatim from the Fightsaber article, and are, IMO, the clearest expression of the original intent of the Seven Forms. Since the article was written with the input of an actual sword fighter, I give it far more credence than the subsequent information added by KOTOR.

Form VII was somewhat contradictory, in that it was supposedly under development by Mace Windu and a select few other masters, while simultaneously being available in a “corrupt” form for use by Darth Maul. To deal with the contradiction, I split it into two forms: the “standard” Juyo and the “enhanced” Vaapad.

The multi-saber and multi-blade lightsaber variants were ultimately less about fighting styles and philosophies than they were about adapting a non-standard weapon to existing forms.
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kytross wrote:
garhkal wrote:

With how cheep specializations are to raise, i'd rather keep LS forms (and m.arts) as advanced skills..


But some of them aren't really advanced skills.

Form 1 is for melee combat against opponents without lightsabers. Form 2 is for fighting someone else with a lightsaber. Form 3 is for fighting against blasters. You can do all of these things with the Lightsaber skill. These are specialized uses of the Lightsaber skill.

That they do, augment the normal/BASE LS skill. But doesn't (A) Medicine augment first aid?
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Kytross
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:

That they do, augment the normal/BASE LS skill. But doesn't (A) Medicine augment first aid?


(A) Medicine allows you to perform complicated surgery and use a bacta tank. First Aid can't do either of those things. You're not going to do a heart transplant with First Aid.

You can do melee combat with the Lightsaber skill. Specializing in melee combat allows you to roll your specialization skill when doing melee combat. That specialization doesn't help you at all when deflecting blaster bolts.

Am I making myself clear? I am tired and may be communicating poorly.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Advanced Skills more closely resemble how the skill progression would work in real life, though. Under the original Form system, all learners were required to start at Form I, which taught the basics, and then branched out into one of the other forms from that basis of knowledge and experience. Specializations, on the other hand, are available with no pre-training at all. In fact, it is possible to have a skill specialization without having [i]any[/] dice in the base skill. It is, IMO, a much more realistic system when you require PCs to start with the basics and build up from there.
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Kytross
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
Advanced Skills more closely resemble how the skill progression would work in real life, though. Under the original Form system, all learners were required to start at Form I, which taught the basics, and then branched out into one of the other forms from that basis of knowledge and experience. Specializations, on the other hand, are available with no pre-training at all. In fact, it is possible to have a skill specialization without having [i]any[/] dice in the base skill. It is, IMO, a much more realistic system when you require PCs to start with the basics and build up from there.


I agree with everything you said there, except the first sentence. The concept I'm building here has them start with the basics and build from there.

Yes, you can specialize in a skill without improving the skill. Bearing in mind 2 points: that specializations always do less than the skill, and if you improve a skill the specialization does not improve, most people do not take specializations until they are happy with the level of the parent skill.

Specifically, if we make a specialization of melee combat under Lightsaber, that specialization cannot be used for deflecting blaster bolts. They will have to use their Lightsaber skill to roll to deflect blaster bolts. If we make a specialization of defense, that specialization can't be used for offense.

After reading everything I found on lightsaber forms over the last few days, by the way thanks for your insight CRMcNeill it was helpful, I am doubling down on not directly translating forms into specific skills. Forms are schools of combat. Each form incorporates a variety of skills and focuses in on specializations within the skill Lightsaber. They start with the basic skills: Lightsaber, Climb/Jump, Dodge, Run, Control, Sense, and Alter. They improve skills from there. Specific skill combinations are taught to them by masters to create forms.

To be clear, I would not have the term "Lightsaber Form" be part of a skill, specialization, nor advanced skill. I think we are chasing the wrong mechanic to turn forms into specific skills.

Let's talk about what this looks like.

CRMcNeill's postulate is that Form 1 is the lightsaber skill itself. I can agree with that. In that case we don't need to do any work to figure out the mechanics of Form 1. Form 1 is a combination of 1 skill, Lightsaber, and 1 force power, Lightsaber combat. A person specializing in Form 1 is going to be putting their character points into Lightsaber, Control, and Sense.

Form 2 is a focus on dueling. We make a lightsaber specialization called melee combat. Someone focusing on Form 2 is putting points into Lightsaber, then specializing in Lightsaber: Melee combat. They are also putting character points into Control and Sense to boost Lightsaber combat. Form 2 isn't that different than Form 1, it simply focuses on the melee aspects of the lightsaber. Someone focusing on Form 2 is never going to be as good as Form 1 at deflecting blaster bolts, but will be very good at dueling.

Form 3 is a focus on deflecting blaster bolts. Again, they put CPs into Lightsaber until they're happy with the skill then the specialize in defense. A form 3 practitioner may focus on Sense and Control so they can redirect the blaster bolts better. Or they may focus on the specialization so they can deflect more blaster bolts in a single round. Again, they're going to be better at defense than Form 1, but worse at offense. Form 3 users are going to be the best of any form at deflecting blaster bolts.

Form 4 is a focus on moving during combat. They are going to use enhance Attribute a lot in combat. Enhance Attribute is the power that allows force jumps and force speed. They're going to be focusing on bringing up Control so they can beat that moderate roll (11-15) for Enhance Attribute every few rounds. The better the roll the more amazing their jumps, twirls and speed with the force. They are also going to be improving Climb/Jump, Run and Dodge. By putting more points in Control and movement skills, they are going to put less CPs into Lightsaber and Sense than a form 1 practitioner.

Form 5 is a general form. It tries to combine every other form. They're going to be spreading their CPs around to all 7 skills I listed at the beginning. Jack of all trades, master of none.

Form 6 is going to improve Alter to use telekinesis in their fights. They'll be putting points into Lightsaber, Control, Sense and Alter. Their skills will never be as high in pure lightsaber combat as form 1, but they will be able to bring telekinesis into the fight. They're going to need a high Alter skill to use telekinesis with all the MAPs from lightsaber and lightsaber combat.

Form 7 needs to be defined properly. The one skill they are definitely going to need to improve is Willpower to resist the call of the darkside.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your descriptions of the Forms are good until you get to 5. Per Fightsaber, Form V was a more offense-oriented development of Form III, specializing in redirecting blaster bolts back at the shooter, and a lesser focus on attacking in general.

Form VI was the attempt at a generalized form that ended up too watered down because it tried to incorporate too much.

Form VII was actually a successful balanced form, but at the cost of a much more aggressive mindset that made the practitioner more vulnerable to the Dark Side.

As far as Advanced Skills vs. Specializations, it's important to remember that having an area of focus (melee combat, attack, defense, etc.) did not preclude the form from being used for those other situations; it just wouldn't be as good at it as another Form would. A Form II adept, for example, could still use Form II to parry blaster bolts, but wouldn't be as good at it as would Form III, whereas Form III would be at a disadvantage in melee combat, while Form II would be fully in its element.
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cheshire
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kytross wrote:
CRMcNeill wrote:
Advanced Skills more closely resemble how the skill progression would work in real life, though.


I agree with everything you said there, except the first sentence. The concept I'm building here has them start with the basics and build from there.

*snip*

After reading everything I found on lightsaber forms over the last few days, by the way thanks for your insight CRMcNeill it was helpful, I am doubling down on not directly translating forms into specific skills. Forms are schools of combat. Each form incorporates a variety of skills and focuses in on specializations within the skill Lightsaber.

*snip*


It's kind of a funny thing that we bring this to real life. Melee weapons training when it comes to specific forms is pretty heavily nuanced. I started practicing historical swordsmanship almost 13 years ago, and I've got a fair grasp of how certain schools differed from each other, most notably in the Italian tradition of the 15th and 16th Centuries.

Let me tell you, it is insanely difficult to try to represent different schools in D6 mechanics, and there's not a lot that's going to capture it well without doing violence either to the system, or to an understanding of how different schools operated.

That being said, I think there's something to the notion of specializations rather than advanced skills. In an advanced skill, you start at 1D for a competence in that area. With a specialization you're able to lean more on the collateral learning from your base skill. With swordwork it's not that different from the specialization. True, if you move from one school to another, you're going to have to retrain a lot of someone's bad habits (that were good habits in a different school), but it's not like they're starting off at 1D all over again. There's a fair bit of the person leaning on their collateral learning from the other discipline.

Though I think there is one major question that has to be addressed before deciding definitively which way to go in your game, and that is the matter of CP cost vs. character competence.

When I've messed around with advanced skills and lightsabers, I've found that after a certain point, a CP cost was so great that it would not have made sense for the person to have even started the advanced skill in the first place. With so much CP investment, they could have just dumped it all into advancing the prerequisite skill and had more benefit. Though I think we've all learned from the Martial Arts specialization that the opposite can also be true. When the benefits far outstrip the light CP cost, it allows for characters to get very powerful quickly.

If anyone was so motivated, they could run up a spreadsheet of different levels of CP cost against the bonuses that can be achieved as an advanced skill and specialization vs. the base skill advancement. It might give us an indication of which would be most balanced.
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Naaman
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:
Naaman wrote:
I like the specialization route, personally.

However, I tend to favor a more complex system than what you've proposed. It is somewhat like the martial arts rules in RoE, but... better, IMHO.

FWIW, I have revisited this issue yet again, but have not posted anything yet (may never).


With how cheep specializations are to raise, i'd rather keep LS forms (and m.arts) as advanced skills..


I actually did them as separate regular skills. Advanced skills (especially for combat skills) is just too clunky and violates the "spirit" of the advanced skill rules.

By making them advanced skills, they do absolutely nothing on their own: they always stack with the base skill because whenever you would "attack with your lightsaber (lightsaber skill), the advanced skill stacks with it (like when you roll first aid, but also have (A) medicine). However, unlike with (A) medicine, where there are certain things that first aid cannot do (like administer bacta treatment), you would never roll an advanced combat skill without also rolling the base skill, because both skills always apply if one of them does. In other words, I feel that an (A) skill needs to be a stand-alone skill that provides a benefit NOT available when simply stacking on the base skill.

The way I wrote it, Soresu, Ataru, etc, are all base skills that have very specific effects with pros and cons to choosing one or the other.
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