FFG Star Wars: Uncivil Unrest
These are the first draft of houserules. Wherever possible I’ll be trying to keep them in the spirit of the by-the-book rules and I mostly intend them as a codification of the sorts of rule flexibility a good GM would allow in the first place. That said they do add some important new options and, to the extent they change the balance, I want to open up new viable strategies in combat besides the all-out alpha strike, which is what the rules-as-written tend to encourage.
Most shots in combat are fired to suppress an enemy location, not at a particular exposed target. With blasters (which have very high lethality and produce a small explosion when they strike) this tendency is even stronger than when mere slugthrowers were the norm in galactic warfare.
Before rolling, a character may declare that they are shooting to suppress rather than to hit. Difficulty is determined as normal, but up to 2 setback dice, from any source, can be removed (in addition to any removed by talents or equipment). After the dice are rolled, any “hit” results are converted into “advantage” results (this means that any failures are superfluous unless a triumph comes up). A triumph still counts as a “hit”, making it possible (but very unlikely) for suppressive fire to wound a target. In addition to converting the hit symbols to advantage, the shooter automatically adds one advantage to the result. This is then subject to the following modificaations:
-If the weapon was shot using the “autofire” quality, add three more automatic advantage to the pool, and an additional enemy can have setbacks etc. applied to him.
-If the weapon has the “blast” quality, add one more automatic advantage and any number of enemies within short range can have setbacks etc. applied to them.
-If the weapon has a base damage of 10 or higher, add one automatic advantage to the pool. If it is a planetary scale weapon, add three instead.
The advantage generated by suppressive fire can be spent as if it were a normal ranged attack, to apply setback dice to the target(s), force them to drop weapons, negate cover, increase the shooter/allies’ defense, etc., but not to activate the ‘blast’ or ‘guided’ qualities in order to deal damage.
Charges and Morale
Most soldiers and inexperienced combatants do not react well to the pressures of an intense battle. As shown by the example of the stormtroopers during the infiltration of the Death Star, even trained elites can be overwhelmed by the shock of a reckless charge by a single motivated enemy. Battles are about morale and holding ground as much or more than bodies. Thus, while those charging into melee might find themselves facing a disciplined opponent who can back up and shoot, if they get lucky they can break the enemy’s ranks entirely.
Whenever a side in a battle takes losses of 25% or more, the character closest to the casualty that dropped the force below 25% must make a difficulty 3 “fear” check with his/her/their discipline skill, upgraded by circumstances or the opponent they are facing as usual. If the check fails, then the next-closest ally has to make a fear check as well, going on and on until someone passes a fear check and stops the domino effect, or the entire enemy group has been affected by fear. Each additional 25% losses forces another fear check in the same way, increasing to difficulty 4 at 50% and difficulty 5 at 75%.If the character making the fear check is not directly exposed to the danger (usually due to piloting a vehicle while allies on foot are being cut down), they use the cool skill instead of discipline and are never forced to retreat regardless of the results of the check.
In addition, every time a character is “charged” by an opponent, they must make a difficulty 2 fear check. “Charging” is defined as moving into engaged and then making an attack (including a ranged attack).
Rivals or minion groups that get 3+ threats or a despair on their fear check will always retreat, surrender, or lose consciousness from fright; in any case they have no more will to fight for the remainder of the encounter and can be removed from the battlefield. To save time, if less than 3 threats come up, rivals and minion groups will almost always just take strain (i.e. extra damage). Player characters are not exempt from either of these sources of fear although the worst they can suffer is being staggered, as per the core rulebook.
Finally, when making a melee attack against a squad, the cost of forcing squad members out of formation is decreased by one advantage; this means a single melee charger can quickly scatter an entire squad.
Shooting in melee
If a character is engaged at the start of their turn, they count as being engaged until the end of their turn for the purpose of shooting difficulty, even if they moved away to short or medium range. Tactically, this means that teams using “gunnery” weapons will never be able to shoot once a determined enemy closes the distance to engaged and keeps chasing them. This should encourage combined arms tactics between close-range, medium-range and long/extreme range optimized combatants.
Squads and weaponry
It will often be the case that a squad contains a heavier weapon than that which the leader carries, particularly in the case of pistol-carrying Imperial Army officers or rebellious princesses. In addition to being able to have this weapon fire as a triumph result, the squad leader can also choose to have a squad member make an attack with their weapon, with the squad leader (but NOT other minions in the squad) assisting, as an action.
Light vehicles, ramming, and melee attacks
Light vehicles applicability to violence is exemplified by the phenomenon of the swoop gang. Aside from mounted weapons, the sheer velocity of these open-topped hot rods makes them a deadly force, as does a jetpack.
A light vehicle can attempt to ram a pedestrian by making a piloting check opposed by the target’s coordination skill. Likewise, the user of a light vehicle can try to “gain the advantage” against an enemy on foot, with the standard difficulty (since pedestrians have a vehicle scale speed of 0, this will usually be quite easy); the pedestrian can try to “gain the advantage” back, with a coordination check in place of piloting, but this will be difficult – except, perhaps, when facing down a huge, lumbering vehicle like an AT-AT.
A vehicle colliding with a pedestrian suffers a minor collision, and the pedestrian takes an automatic critical hit. Furthermore, when a vehicle rider makes a melee attack (regardless of the target), their base damage is increased by their current speed (so a swoop biker at speed 2 swinging a vibrosword would add +2 damage).
Player characters and social skills
A character’s motivation, obligation, and (if applicable) morality or duty have consequences in structured gameplay in addition to being roleplaying tools; in short, player characters can be targeted with social checks and “forced” to take a particular course of action, within reason, at least for a short period of time.
In order to properly affect a PC (except through coercion via physical intimidation, of course), an NPC must have knowledge of that character’s motivation or an obligation of 10 points or larger (or a morality). This can either be handled narratively through the plot, or a well-connected npc with cause an make a “behind the scenes” knowledge roll, with the difficulty set by the character’s streetwise or skulduggery skill (whichever is higher). On a success, they know enough to persuade, trick, or coerce a PC. If they get a triumph on this check, they know multiple pieces of information or information about multiple characters. PCs can also do the same, although most NPCs don’t require any special knowledge to be vulnerable to social checks.
If combat is currently ongoing, any social checks (including coercion) suffer two or more setback dice depending on the intensity of the fighting. During noncombat scenes, PCs are more or less affected as if they were NPCs, and can earn extra xp or destiny point flips for properly roleplaying the effects of being charmed, coerced, bribed, etc.
Slicers (both in person and off the battlefield) can be a major boon or bane to ground troops as well as combat vehicles. If in medium range or closer, a character with slicing gear may make a difficulty 2 computers check against an enemy: IF the check succeeds, any net successes (NOT all successes as with suppressive fire) are converted into advantage, which then may be spent as if it were an attack to assign setbacks, negate cover or environmental penalties, etc. Furthermore, an electronic warfare action can spend three advantage to temporarily disable a piece of enemy equipment as if it was an attack that hit and dealt damage. Unlike shooting, electronic warfare does not necessarily reveal the slicer’s position to the enemy. Note that under normal circumstances, this action cannot inflict strain on droids or cyborgs.