High attribute bonuses for old-school Star Wars: The RPG

Since the last post I’ve been thinking more about having little in-game bonuses available to characters that have an attribute at 4D or higher. The reasoning being that at that point, they have so many dice invested in that one stat that one or more other attributes are going to suck at least a little to compensate (in WEG Star Wars, all characters start with 18D to distribute among the six attributes). Also, 4D is about the level where an attribute goes from “okay, pretty good” to “wow, impressive”, and it would be nice to have some way to recognize that in the game.

Here’s what I have so far: for each attribute, a choice of two (or, for Technical, three) things that the character can do once per session if they have the relevant attribute at 4D or higher.

DEXTERITY – (1) a shot or blow that seemed to miss (by the dice rolls) actually hit, but the target didn’t notice right away, or (2) a shot or blow that should have hit you (by the dice rolls) actually missed, but your adversary thinks it hit, giving you the option of seeming indestructible or playing possum.

KNOWLEDGE – (1) discern an important clue or one of your adversary’s secrets, or (2) spend a preparation point to have brought along something useful. (No good if everyone gets preparation points – if I did it this way, this would be the only way to get preparation points.)

MECHANICAL – (1) fancy maneuvering puts you either farther ahead, or farther behind, than anyone expected, or (2) fancy shooting gets you an unexpected critical hit against an enemy ship or vehicle.

PERCEPTION – (1) talk somebody into something they wouldn’t otherwise do, or (2) talk somebody out of something they wouldn’t otherwise part with. Single target only, but it can be a person of influence. Doesn’t work on targets with equal or higher Perception. There are limits – the Dark Jedi isn’t going to let you out of your cell, but one of his henchmen might take a bribe to smuggle something small and seemingly innocuous in or out on your behalf.

STRENGTH – (1) perform an impressive feat of strength, or (2) shrug off one hit that would otherwise have caused damage.

TECHNICAL – (1) have a useful gadget along, (2) repair basic functionality to something that otherwise seemed beyond fixing, or (3) crack a lock or code.

A case could be made that since the game already has Force points, these high attribute bonuses aren’t necessary. I think they might be cool to play with, though. None of them seem game-breakingly powerful, and each one comes at the cost of having roughly 1D of suck distributed across the remaining attributes. I’ve always loved lopsided characters that are awesome at some things and complete butt at others, and this system would probably push players toward using such characters.

Relevant: Mike Taylor‘s son Dan plays a D&D wizard – named ‘Dandalf’, natch – with a naturally-rolled Intelligence of 18 and Wisdom of 3. The combination of fearsome intellect hitched to a completely feckless worldview has been a hoot in play. And it ports over to the real world; Mike and Dan now refer to smart, irresponsible people as 18-3s. As is often the case, what is often disastrous in the real world – and therefore tragic – is also calamitous in the gameworld – and therefore awesome. As I concluded in a previous post, what would be wise for the PCs to do is often the opposite of what would be fun for the PCs to do. But that’s okay. I don’t roll so I can play a smart, responsible person. I have to ‘run’ that character the other 165 hours each week.

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