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In Defense of Templates
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Wajeb Deb Kaadeb

Joined: 07 Apr 2017
Posts: 1156

PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2018 4:01 pm    Post subject: In Defense of Templates Reply with quote

Me & Templates

When I first bought the game, way, way back when--actually, it was a long time ago... Very Happy I saw the templates in the back of the first edition book, and I immediately didn't like them. I've always been a GM that approves of player customization when possible. I immediately found (not easy to find) section of the first edition rules that allowed customization even on attributes.

Me as GM & Templates

This feeling stayed with me for a long time. I ran many campaigns and a very long campaign this way. But, as GM, I also went from completely ignoring Templates to seeing them as a good example of a particular character type. I saw them as "easy NPCs", and the templates became a tool for me to create quickie characters when I needed them.

When the supplemental book came out, Heroes & Rogues, I wasn't that excited about it. I bought it anyway. I mean, it was a D6 Star Wars supplement--I bought the entire game line, whether I needed the item or not! It's STAR WARS, baby! Razz

But, I never used the book. Even for NPCs. It still sits, with my other D6 Star Wars stuff, unread. Unused.

Eureka! Templates!

One day, I finally got it. Templates! Templates are good! Templates are a GM's friend! Templates are quite useful!

One of the main reasons that I was initially turned off to Templates was that I felt that they homogenized characters. They made them all the same. If two players wanted to play a Smuggler, for example, then they'd have the exact same attributes--and that's the same as the sample character in the First Edition rulebook, Roark Garnet!

Sure, they'd have different skills, but their stats were the same.

But, after gaining a lot of experience with the game--coming to really know it--I realized that allowing players to customize their characters ended up, usually, with players maxing out their character's STR and DEX.

Why? Because this is a wham-bam-shoot-em-up Space Opera game. This is Flash Gordon and laser guns and big mean bad guys and big heroes that save the day.

Star Wars movies have A LOT of action in them. Any smart player would try to increase the odds that his character survives by boosting combat skills: STR governs defense, DEX governs attack.

Eureka Moment.

I was flipping through one of the Alien supplements, and I saw that Wookiees had a maximum STR rating of 6D. Then, I thought of the Wookiee PCs I have had in my games have always had 6D.

Why? Because the players obviously wanted to play the strongest Wookiee possible.

Then, I thought of the Wookiee Template in the First Edition core rulebook. It shows a Wookiee of STR 5D.

It was then that I realized the value of Templates.

My First Use of Templates

My next game, I decided to allow only the use of Templates from the back of the First Edition rulebook, and it was LIBERATING!

Players still had customization input with the allocation of their skill dice. I allowed some customization of attributes if a player really desired and pushed for the change. But, I kept a handle on it. If the same template was being used by two different players, then I was more likely to allow one or both to fiddle a bit with their stats--to make them individuals.

It's so easy to start a game and say, "here are your choices for characters--which do you want to play?"

It makes character creation a lot faster.


You can ensure that there is diversity and individualism among the PCs by using Templates. If, for some reason, you think that there are several players wanting to play Wookiees, for example, then create the Templates yourself. If you've got three players interested, then make three different Templates--each with a different specialty in terms of attributes--and allow the players to pick. One Wook might have the highest 6D STR but a lower DEX than the other two. Another Wook might have the reverse. A third Wook might have the highest Technical or Mechanical skill and have a STR and DEX that is in the middle of the other two. One has STR 6D. One has STR 5D. And one has STR 5D+1.


Rememer this is Space Opera. The heroes are BIG DAMN HEROES. So, remember that when creating/allowing Templates.

Templates will allow the GM more control over his game. If the GM knows that a major part of the upcoming adventure involves space combat, then he can ensure that the available Templates each have strong Mechanical attributes. In this way, he can still keep the upcoming space combat a secret--still a surprise for the players--and ensure that the PC party will be equipped to experience that action in the game.

Templates allow the GM to control the power level of his game, too.

Give the players a choice of templates and let them customize skills. That solves the players need for indivduality, and the Templates become a tool that the GM uses to enhance his game.
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Joined: 16 Dec 2017
Posts: 291

PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2018 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always used templates and allowed the players to a certain degree change both some skills and the attributes.

I love your breakdown
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Arbiter-General (Moderator)

Joined: 04 Jan 2004
Posts: 4192

PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2018 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, Heroes and Rogues has come in useful a few times. On two separate occasions I had people in the house and we wound up deciding on having an impromptu RPG night with a one-off adventure. I just asked what kind of character they wanted to play, printed off corresponding templates, filled in a few skills for them. Did a quick once-over on the rules and away we went.

So glad I didn't have to do the characters all from scratch.
Before we take any of this too seriously, just remember that in the middle episode a little rubber puppet moves a spaceship with his mind.
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Joined: 16 Dec 2017
Posts: 291

PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2018 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is how I do it usually

I like to change the templates slightly, using them not as average but a "typical"
I also allow the removal of pip, form the attributes and adding pip or D ( if removed enough pip).
This includes allowing for XD to the force skills as well.
To me this represent somewhat the differences between TIE Pilot A and TIE Pilot B
(exampte here are the attributes for the TIE Pilot template)

Dexterity 3D+1 (Changed to 3D)

Perception 3D

Knowledge 2D+1 (Changed to 2D)

Strength 3D

Mechanical 4D

Technical 2D+1 (Changed to 2D)

+1D to allocate to attributes

Here I freed up 3x +1 pip for a full +1D to attributes and can place these as I please.
I can not lower the attribute D, but it can be raised with as many pi or D as has been relocated.

I allow this before allocating the 7D skill dice
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Supreme Chancellor (Site Admin)

Joined: 14 Apr 2008
Posts: 4099
Location: Columbus, OHIO, USA, Earth, The Solar System, The Milky Way Galaxy

PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2018 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love templates for all the reasons already stated.
"Would you trade that necklace for a glimpse into your future? ...What do you know of kyber crystals?"
"The Force moves darkly near a creature that’s about to kill... I'm gonna follow Jyn. Her path is clear."

"Tell that to Kanjiklub."
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Sovereign Protector
Sovereign Protector

Joined: 17 Jul 2005
Posts: 11409
Location: Reynoldsburg, Columbus, ohio.

PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since i've been playing/running SWd6, i've loved using templates. Even without attribute mods, you can get very different pcs just based on starting gear/skill allocation.
It's Not who you kill, but how they die!
You cannot dodge it if you do not know it is coming, and you cannot hit it if you do not know its there.
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