C is for Characteristics

4105bd4d5c854fd89537b249e6bbcc19When designing a deadly, challenging B is for Beast or N is for Nemesis, it is often helpful for the Galaxy Master to begin by envisioning what extreme Characteristics their creation should have. These types of superlative enemies should always have an array of talents, tricks, weapons, and defenses that present a challenge to the players that have broken the rules, gone beyond the envelope of “fairness”. Most importantly, these additions make this creature into something totally awesome. The techniques described in this post are in large part an extension of the design of the major enemies in Fane of the Sith Lords, such as The Emperor, Mara Jade, and the Four-headed Hyper-evolved Dianoga.

Under the FFG Star Wars RPG, a typical creation made in this manner will have one of four options for their brutal base Characteristics:

  1. one characteristic at 7
  2. two characteristics at 6
  3. four characteristics at 5
  4. a mix of the above

In addition, every frustrating enemy must always have one or two Characteristics at a lowly 1. Your creature should have an unfair advantage, a true challenge to be overcome, but also a distinct weakness that can be exploited by clever and persistent players. The fun in using these horrorific creations is not in punishing the other players or reveling in your own ability to “win”; satisfaction is instead found in seeing the players pull out a glorious victory in the face of certain doom.

At this stage, a Galaxy Master should also begin imagining the fiction that informs and supports the Characteristics. What makes your creature’s abilities so extreme? Is it cybernetic, Sith-touched, genetically modified, from another universe, incredibly ancient, or something else?

Lastly, make sure to enforce your narrative with real bite by applying concrete, definable new abilities and weaknesses to reflect your creature’s Characteristics. An enemy with Willpower 7 is just one that rolls a lot of dice, but a foe that can drain the life force of living creatures is an opponent that will never be forgotten. An array of special abilities and weaknesses has been provided below to help inspire your own designs. It is recommended that a truly frightful enemy be provided with a minimum of 3 such abilities.

1-2 Low Brawn: the creature is weak or frail
3-4 Low Agility: the creature is slow or clumsy.
5 Low Intellect: the creature is dumb or primitive.
6 Low Cunning: the creature is predictable or short-sighted.
7-8 Low Willpower: the creature is weak-willed or addicted to a substance.
9-0 Low Presence: the creature is ugly or has made many enemies.


01-02 Powerful Melee or Brawl attack. Increase base damage by 5 Wounds.
03-04 Powerful Melee or Brawl attack. Add 1-3 Qualities such as Knockdown, Disorient, or Sunder.
05-07 Humongous. Double Wound Threshold value.
08-10 Impossible Defenses. Triple Soak value.
11-13 Hyper-Accelerated Healing. Spend Threat generated by a Crew Member or Advantage generated by the creature to immediately recover 5 Wounds.
14-15 Acidic Blood. Each time the creature is dealt Wound damage, each other creature at Engaged Range with it suffers Burn 3 (base damage equal to Brawn).
16-17 Powerful Ranged attack. Increase base damage by 5 Wounds.
18-19 Powerful Ranged attack. Add 1-3 Qualities such as Auto-fire, Blast, or Guided.
20-21 Fast Movement. Does not spend Strain to make its second Maneuver for the round and has an alternate mode of transportation such as flying or burrowing.
22-24 Multi-armed. The creature can manipulate multiple objects at once and its held weapons gain the Linked quality with a rating equal to its number of arms -1.
25-27 Supreme Agility. Add 2 Threat to all enemies’ attacks against the creature.
28-30 Counterattack. Spend 2 Threat generated by a Crew Member on a Melee or Brawl check to immediately make a Melee or Brawl attack against that Crew Member.
31-33 Advanced Technology, Auto-lasers. Spend 2 Threat generated by a Crew Member on a Ranged attack to immediately make a Ranged attack against that Crew member.
34-36 Advanced Technology, Teleportation. The creature can instantly travel to any location in sight as a Maneuver.
37-39 Advanced Technology, Invisibility. All checks made against the creature have their difficulty upgraded twice, except Perception and Vigilance which are upgraded three times.
40-42 Advanced Technology, weapon. One or more weapons gains 5 Boost on combat checks.
43-45 Supreme Deduction. The creature has advanced insights into Crew’s weaknesses, granting 3 Boost to all checks against them.
46-48 Plans Within Plans. The creature has multiple contingencies; spawning additional traps, defenses, and escape plans made up on the fly for each Threat generated by the Crew.
49-51 Increase its Adversary talent value by 2.
52-53 Hostages. The creature holds important hostages and cannot be directly confronted until they are freed.
54-55 Doppelgänger. The creature can change its appearance as an Incidental action to mimic any humanoid creature previously touched.
56-58 Shapeshifter. The creature can change its form as an Incidental action into a featureless liquid.
59-61 Vulgar Display of Power. Induce or upgrade a Fear check due to the presence of some horrific, grisly display (throne of bones, skull staff, bathes in blood, etc.).
52-64 Enhanced Senses. The creature can see in alternate light spectrums and hear in sonic frequencies outside of the normal Humanoid hearing, granting 5 ranks and 5 Boost to Perception and Vigilance checks.
65-67 Force Lightning. Roll Force (min. 3) and deal 1 Wound to 1 creature within by Short Range. For each Dark Side Point generated beyond the first, increase all of those numerical values by 1.
68-70 Force Move. Roll Force (min. 3) and move 1 creature or object of up to Silhouette 1 by 1 Range Band. For each Dark Side Point generated beyond the first, increase all of those numerical values by 1.
71-73 Force Life Drain. Roll Force (min. 3) and deal 1 Strain to 1 creature within by Short Range. For each Strain dealt, recover 1 Wound. For each Dark Side Point generated beyond the first, increase only one of those numerical values by 1.
74-76 Force Deflection. Use 3 Threat generated by a Crew Member’s attack to immediately make the same attack directed at a target of your choice, with a number of Boost dice equal to your Force Rating.
77-79 Strong in the Force. Increase Force Rating by 2. Usable only if the creature has another Force power.
80-82 Unshakable. Double Strain Threshold value.
83-85 Minions. Spend Threat generated by the Crew Members to summon or spawn Minion allies, such as Stormtroopers, floating robotic drone arms, or self-reproducing myconids.
86-88 Treachery. Use 3 Threat generated by the Crew Members, even if the creature is off-screen, to turn a trusted ally against the Crew.
89-91 Elite Guard. The creature always has a cadre of 3-5 powerful Rival-level bodyguards that direct damage away from the creature or apply penalties to attacks against the creature.
92-94 Corrupting Aura. Crew Members standing near the creature have their sanity or morality threatened; dealing automatic Strain damage or flipping Destiny Points.
95-97 Force Influence. Roll Force (min. 3) and make 1 creature within by Short Range believe a blatant lie for 1 non-combat scene or 1 round of combat. For each Dark Side Point generated beyond the first, increase all of those numerical values by 1.
98-00 Turn to the Dark Side. Make a Crew Member at Engaged Range roll a Discipline check with a number of Difficulty dice equal to your Force Rating (min. 3). On a failure, the Crew Member is turned to the Dark Side and becomes a permanent Nemesis.



About C. Steven Ross

C. Steven Ross is the founder of Triumph & Despair. View all posts by C. Steven Ross

2 responses to “C is for Characteristics

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: