We’re using the Fate Core game system with a few adjustments and adaptations. Compared to many other game systems, Fate is more oriented toward story and narrative than mechanical complexity. Players have more control of the story than in most other games.
A free online version of Fate can be found at here. You can pay what you like for a PDF of Fate Core or purchase a printed copy here. To play the game, it would be helpful to at least read over chapter 1 (The Basics).
Below is a summary of the Fate character generation process, with adaptations for the Star Wars setting.
Rather than numerical attributes, characters in Fate have aspects. An aspect is a statement about something that makes the character dramatic, interesting, and awesome: “Strong As A Bantha,” or “Never Misses An Opportunity To Avoid A Fair Fight.”
During play, you can spend fate points to invoke an aspect to give bonuses to skill rolls or declare story details. On the other hand, the GM can compel an aspect, making your life more complicated and paying you a fate point.
A good aspect answers the question, “what would I want to see in a story about this character?” You might want to read this guide to creating good aspects. A well thought out aspect is double edged—it can lead you into trouble and it can help get you out of it. Here are some examples.
The first aspect to decide on is your high concept. This sums up your character—who you are and what you do. At this point we are interested in the big picture. There will lots of opportunity later to flesh out the details.
Here are some high concept examples:
- Relentless Bounty Hunter
- Easygoing Governor of New Thulm
- Idealistic Jedi Apprentice
- Sentientology Researcher Who Doesn’t Know She Is Force Sensitive
- Sector Ranger Who’s Seen It All
- Disillusioned Former Jedi
- Streetwise Thief From The Undercity Of Coruscant
- Rich Kid On His First Adventure
- Assassin With A Conscience
There are thousands of intelligent species—Bothan, Droid, Duros, Gran, Human, Mon Cal, Rodian, Sullustan, Trandoshan, Twi’lek, Wookiee, etc. Pick any that appear in the Star Wars movies. Make up your own or use one from the Star Wars extended universe (check with the GM). Some possible PC species are briefly discussed here.
Come up with an aspect that describes a physical, psychological, cultural, or historical fact about your species or homeworld that you think is most important to your character’s story. This is your species aspect.
- Humans Are Citizens Of The Galaxy
- Ewoks Are Masters Of Adapting Primitive Technology
- Protocol Droids Are Proficient In Eight Million Forms Of Communication
- Duros Travel Far And Wide
- Selkath Are Highly Civilized Amphibians
- Wookiees Are Big, Furry, Fierce, And Loyal
- Bothans Collect And Trade Information
There is no reason why two characters of the same species must have the same species aspect. For example, one Twi’lek might have Twi’leks Divert Conflict Rather Than Confront It while another might have Everyone Thinks Twi’leks Are Sexy. Your species aspect (like other aspects) is a statement about what is important to the story.
Many species will have no abilities that need to be reflected mechanically beyond a species aspect, but in other cases you may wish to consider one or more species-based stunts (below).
Droid Player Characters
You can choose to be a droid by choosing that as your species. Your aspect should also describe your function (protocol droid, battle droid, etc.). Droids don’t need to eat, drink, or breathe (they do generally need to do the equivalent of sleeping). They are immune to disease and most poison. These advantages are assumed to balance out with the tendency in galactic society to view droids as second class citizens at best.
Unlike other droids, PC droids are assumed to be immune to control by a restraining bolt. If you wish, such vulnerability can be incorporated into an aspect.
Can I be a Jedi?
Sure. Just include that in your high concept. You could also be part of some other Force tradition, or simply state the character is Force sensitive but untrained. Don’t create a character who is fully committed to the dark side, but you can have an aspect noting that you have some relationship to it. More information on developing a Force-using character here.
Name your character. Try to make it sound Star Wars-y. Most species will also need a gender.
Character development involves setting up some PC backstory in collaboration with other players. During this “session zero” period, you are welcome to invent places (planets, cities, starports), and people (friends, enemies, family members) relevant to your character. Just check with the GM to make sure your inventions are consistent with the game world.
In standard Fate Core, this proceeds through specific phases involving describing an adventure and then involving two other PCs in that adventure. We’ll use that general idea, with a few adjustments. After that, you should have enough sense of the character to begin to choose the rest of your aspects.
Now that you have your character’s high concept and backstory worked out, you get three more aspects: one trouble aspect and three character aspects.
You will need one aspect that describes a primary source of your character’s dramatic complications. The Star Wars universe is full of trouble, so it’s easy to identify some sort of external difficulty in your life, such as having a sister who gets herself into situations you feel bound to help her with. You can also make your trouble aspect some sort of inner struggle or bad habit, such as not knowing when to keep your mouth shut. Your trouble aspect is a hook for the GM to complicate the character’s life. It can be to your advantage to come up with a trouble aspect that will come up often in the game, because when that happens you get fate points.
- Wanted In 10 Systems For Crimes I Swear I Did Not Commit
- What Gambling Problem?
- Too Old For This Shit
- Forgot To Bring That Thing I Was Supposed To Bring
- I Like Nice Guys But I Keep Falling For Bad Boys
- Not Doing So Well With The Anger Management Thing
- In Debt To My Eyeballs
- Wonders If The Dark Side Is Just Misunderstood
- That Sweet Deal With The Red Sun Consortium Went Bad And Now They Want Me Dead
- I Didn’t Know She Was A Lord Of The Sith When I Married Her
- Mother, Can’t You Just Leave Me Alone?
Based on your backstory, figure out three additional aspects that help further flesh out this person.
Examples of character aspects:
- Initiate of the Moko-Tai Sisterhood
- Makes Your Average Wookiee Look Small
- Person Of Quality
- Always Has A Plan
- Proud Veteran Of The Inner Reach War
- Quick Of Wit, Sharp Of Tongue
- Hardened Criminal
- Mako Fey And I Are Blood Brothers
- Shoots First
- This Is Not Worth My Life
- Xekto SMASH!
One or more of your character aspects can describe an item. This could be a customized weapon, a vehicle, an impressive piece of bling (which can be used for aspect invocations in social situations), a droid companion, or other item. Two or more PCs can share a large item aspect, such as a starship. If so, they are making it an important part of their common story.
- My Fathers’s Vibrosword
- Big Scary Looking Blaster Rifle
- CV-34, My Trusty Astromech Droid
- BAN-7 Firehawk Starfighter
- Customized Swoop Bike
- Unimpeachably Excellent Clothing
- Wisecracking Alien Artifact Of Unknown Origin and Function
- The Exploration Vessel “Wanderer”
More information on items at these links:
Skills define what your character is good at. Choose ten skills from the list below in a pyramid of proficiency levels, like so:
- One Great (+4) skill
- Two Good (+3) skills
- Three Fair (+2) skills
- Four Average (+1) skills
Use the standard Fate Core skill list with the following revisions:
- Rename Burglary as Security
- Rename Crafts as Engineering
- Rename Drive as Pilot
- Rename Lore as Knowledge
- Add Medic
This gives us the following skills:
Notes On Skills
The Fate Core rules provide guidelines for each standard skill. Here are some additional notes.
- Use this skill to construct and repair damaged equipment and droids. Equivalent to Crafts in Fate Core; the same rules generally apply.
- Refers to practical and scholarly knowledge of galactic history, geography, politics, archaeology, xenology, etc. Use Knowledge to speak an obscure language, identify the model and capabilities of a particular starfighter, or remember a detail of galactic history. You can create a Knowledge stunt for any particular field of knowledge to give a +2 for all related skill rolls.
- New skill. Use Medic to provide first aid, identify and cure diseases and poisons, and use medical equipment such as bacta tanks to assist in healing wounds. The difficulty of Medic rolls will be affected by how familiar you are with the physiology of the species you are treating. Medic relates to the four basic Fate actions as follows:
- Overcome: Physical consequences such as combat wounds, as well as diseases and poisons, can be overcome through Medic
- Create Advantage: Medic could be called upon to create an advantage by applying drugs or medical equipment. For example, with access to the right medicines you could create a Faked His Own Death aspect
- Attack: Medic is not generally used to attack
- Defend: Medic is not generally used to defend
- If your character conception is that of a species that is big and strong, then invest in the Physique skill if you want that to be part of the mechanics of the game.
- Equivalent to Drive in Fate Core. Includes ground, air, and space vehicles.
- Fate doesn’t track money in detail because accountancy is a boring thing in a roleplaying game. Buying stuff is instead addressed more abstractly via the Resources skill. Generally, we’ll think of succeeding with style on a Resources roll as delivering what you want fast, good, and cheap. A roll less than that provides fewer of those qualities, so a regular success or tie might deliver two of them, a failure by 1 or 2 delivers one of them, and a failure by 3 means what you want is simply not available for you to purchase.
- Equivalent to Burglary in Fate Core. Security includes bypassing locks, slicing opposing computer systems, devising electronic security systems, constructing mechanical traps, etc.
- Shoot covers use of blasters, slugthrowers, and other ranged weapons.
- Will is used to resist Force influence.
Stunts give you extra abilities. A stunt is:
- A bonus that applies in particular circumstances
- A new use for a skill
- An exception to the game rules
Stunts can be related to one of your skills, something special about your species, some piece of equipment, a droid, or a way to use the Force. You get three free stunts that you can use for anything you want. You can have one or two extra stunts by reducing your refresh (how many fate points you start each game session with). Once per session, you can spend a fate point for a single use of a stunt you could buy but don’t currently have.
Many stunts are based on skills. Some setting-appropriate examples are provided below. The Fate Core skill list provides quite a few more (along with guidelines for developing your own) and many of the stunts on this extensive list would also be appropriate.
You may not have more stunts based on a skill than you have ranks in that skill.
- Agent (Contacts)
- Choose one government you are affiliated with. Gain +2 when defending against legal entanglements with that government.
- Angle the Deflector Shields (Engineering)
- Gain +2 to Create Advantage rolls using deflector shields. Boosts and invocations can be used for defense only.
- Appraise (Knowledge)
- You’re familiar with the value of things, either in terms of currencies such as Republic Credits or their resource exchange value in the other parts of the galaxy. Gain a +2 bonus to overcome and create an advantage actions related to an item’s value.
- Bacta Specialist (Medic)
- With access to a bacta tank (which has the aspect Big, Heavy, Expensive To Buy and Maintain), you can reduce someone else’s physical consequence by one level of severity (severe to moderate, moderate to mild, mild to nothing at all) by succeeding on a Medic roll with a difficulty of Fair (+2) for a mild consequence, Good (+3) for moderate, or Great (+4) for severe. One success per consequence. This cannot be combined with Force healing.
- Bigger Than You (Physique)
- Once per scene, use Physique instead of Provoke to make a mental attack when using your size to intimidate a target.
- Crazy Ivan (Pilot)
- Once per session, while piloting a vehicle, perform some extreme maneuver such as flying between the closely spaced struts of a space station. If you succeed in a skill roll and spend a fate point, you can choose to either escape all pursuit (ending your participation in the scene) or gain two free boosts (three if you succeed with style).
- Decisive (Will)
- Once per scene, choose to act immediately instead of waiting for your regular turn.
- Droid Specialist (Engineering)
- Add +2 to all Engineering rolls on droids.
- Dirty Fighting (Fight)
- Use Fight instead of Deception to create an advantage related to feinting or misdirection in combat.
- Double Pistols (Shoot)
- Normally, using two pistols at the same time is just a cool stylistic variation. With this stunt, you get one free boost per scene when attacking with two pistols.
- Fly Casual (Pilot)
- Use Pilot instead of Deception while trying to be sneaky with a vehicle.
- Force Resistant (Will)
- Gain +2 when resisting attempts to affect your mind with the Force.
- Form Up On Me (Pilot)
- Gain or grant an additional +2 when combining skills while flying in formation with at least one other starship.
- Membership Benefits (Contacts)
- You belong to an organization. Gain +2 to your Contacts skill with other members of that organization.
- Navigator (Pilot)
- You have an intuitive feel for the mathematics of hyperspace travel. Gain +2 to rolls related to plotting hyperspace jumps and navigating through hyperspace.
- Not As Bad As It Looks (Medic)
- Once per session you can reduce someone else’s physical consequence by one level of severity (severe to moderate, moderate to mild, mild to nothing at all) by succeeding on a Medic roll with a difficulty of Fair (+ 2) for a mild consequence, Good (+3) for moderate, or Great (+4) for severe. Only one success per consequence.
- Precise Fighter (Fight)
- In close combat, you are a master of rapid attacks that evade an enemy’s guard and strike at vulnerabilities. Gain +2 to create an advantage when fighting with a weapon that could reasonably be described as elegant and quick, such as a dueling sword or lightsaber.
- Prosthetics Specialist (Medic)
- Gain +2 to assist in recovery from a physical consequence involving the removal of a body part.
- Second Wind (Athletics)
- Once per scene, spend a fate point to clear one stress box.
- Sensor Analyst (Investigate)
- Gain +2 when making Investigate rolls using sensor equipment on vehicles, bases, etc..
- Shootist (Shoot)
- You are calm, tactical, and precise in gunfights. Gain +2 to create an advantage when fighting with a pistol.
- Speciality (Knowledge)
- Identify one field of study, such as Republic History, Outer Rim Geography, Sentientology, Zoology, or Mandalorian Poetry. Gain +2 for rolls related to this field.
- Sponsored Resources (Resources)
- You have a powerful patron who will sometimes let you borrow money and goods. When you take this stunt, select an entity or organization of great wealth to be your sponsor. Once per scenario, you gain +4 to your Resources skill for a single roll as long as success will somehow benefit the agenda of your sponsor.
- Starship Engineer (Engineering)
- Add +2 to Engineering rolls when repairing or upgrading a starship.
- That Thing’s About To Fail (Engineering)
- Once per session, spend a fate point to declare that some important function of a device, NPC droid, or vehicle is malfunctioning. “Yup. You can tell by the engine sound. That swoop bike has a bad secondary power coupling. It’s coming down. Get out of the way!” (Normally, you can spend a fate point to declare a story detail, but being able to declare that something important is broken would usually be going too far. With this stunt, the GM won’t prevent you from making that kind of declaration.)
- This Will Ease the Pain (Medic)
- Make a Fair (+2) Medicine roll to allow a character to ignore a Mild Consequence for a scene if it makes sense that this consequence could be alleviated with medication.
- Throw Credits At It (Resources)
- Use your Resources skill to recover from a consequence, provided the consequence is something that can be resolved by monetary expense.
- Unhindered (Athletics)
- Gain an extra boost when you succeed with style on a physical defense roll as long as you are not wearing armor or otherwise encumbered.
- Wrestler (Physique)
- Use Physique to gain an advantage and place an appropriate aspect on an enemy (e.g., Grappled) as long as it makes sense that you could do so (an Ewok is not going to be able to grapple a Rancor). You can then make attacks with Physique until the aspect is removed. The target may defend with Physique, Fight, or Athletics.
- Zero-G Specialist (Athletics)
- You never experience increased difficulty related to zero or micro gravity.
A stunt can be used to represent special abilities possessed by your particular species.
- Acute Hearing
- When making Notice checks, gain +2 if hearing matters.
- Aquatic Species
- In the right environment, the character can live and swim in water.
- Extra Limbs
- Members of this species have one or more extra functional appendages, such as arms, tentacles, a prehensile tail, or a mane of living hair. While for many species having extra limbs will need no mechanical effect other than the ability to invoke their species aspect for a bonus from time to time, for others it makes sense to model one or more advantages using stunts. When taking this stunt, pick an advantage from the list below:
- Once per scene, get an extra action at the end of the turn
- Gain +2 to Athletic rolls for balance and climbing
- Strike one additional adjacent target with a single roll without having to split the result
- Gain +2 to create a Grappled aspect on an opponent
You can invest in this stunt multiple times if you wish for extra advantages.
- Extreme Environment
- Pick an environment that would quickly harm most species (vacuum, high radiation, intense heat, etc.) You can survive both in mainline environments and in this other environment.
- Flying Species
- In the right environment, the character can fly. This means that you gain +1 zone of free movement or can ignore a scene aspect that would hinder your movement from one zone to the next if it could be overcome by flying.
- Force Resistant
- There are several varieties of species-based Force resistance. This version provides +2 to defense against Force mental influence.
- Heat Sense
- Gain +2 to offset Notice penalties that do not specifically block heat sense.
- Shapeshifting Species
- Change your physical appearance to look like another person within the same mass and general form (a humanoid can’t transform into a bantha, for example). Use Deceive to actually act like the individual you are impersonating.
- Gain +2 to all Athletics checks to fit through small openings.
- Thick Skinned
- Gain +2 to defend against natural and low tech weapons.
Equipment and Droid Stunts
Force users can have stunts tied to the Force.
Refresh is how many fate points you begin each session of play with.
- Three stunts = refresh 3
- Four stunts = refresh 2
- Five stunts = refresh 1
Stress and Consequences
Determine how much of a beating your character can take. This is rated in terms of physical stress boxes and mental stress boxes. You also have three consequence boxes: one mild, one moderate, and one severe.
- Physical stress
- You get 2 physical stress boxes by default. Average or Fair Physique = 3 boxes; Good or Great Physique = 4 boxes; Superb Physique = 4 boxes and an additional mild physical consequence slot.
- Mental stress
- You get 2 mental stress boxes by default. Average or Fair Will = 3 boxes; Good or Great Will = 4 boxes; Superb Will = 4 boxes and an additional mild mental consequence slot.
- Choose high concept, name, and gender
- Choose species aspect
- Choose trouble aspect
- Choose three additional character aspects. One or more of these can be item aspects (a droid, a piece of equipment, or a vehicle)
- Choose your skills: one Great (+4), two Good (+3), three Fair (+2), four Average (+1)
- Choose your stunts. You get three automatically. Reduce refresh by one to get an additional stunt or by two to get two additional stunts
- Determine refresh, which is 3 unless you took extra stunts
- Determine physical and mental stress boxes and consequence slots
- You’re done! If you couldn’t decide on a few things, that’s OK. Fill them in during play