Encounter Building by XP Budget for Saga Edition! (And 3.5)

The_Gneech

Explorer
Bugs Squashed! (I hope...) 9/25/08

Okay, the document now has two sets of values, one for Saga Edition and one for D&D/d20. Take a look and let me know what you think!

Bugs Found! 9/24/08
Some important discrepancies have been found and are being discussed on the official Star Wars Saga Edition boards. I recommend holding off on using this system for SWSE until I can get that hashed out. Meanwhile, it should continue to work for Dungeons and Dragons 3.x.

Important Revision 9/20/08!

Thanks to the feedback on the official Star Wars Saga Edition boards, I have a much better writeup, particularly of the starship encounter guidelines. These have been brought into line with the recommendations presented in Starships of the Galaxy and should provide much better results than the initial writeup. I have also corrected a few typos and math errors, hopefully without introducing any more. I recommend replacing your previous version with the revised version. Thanks, all!

One of the few places where 4E is actually superior to Saga Edition is in the encounter-building system. However, since the "XP Budget" system of 4E is not directly translatable to Saga Edition, I've written up a conversion! (With thanks to Wulf Ratbane for inspiration.)

Sword and Sorcery Saga, by John "The Gneech" Robey

This system makes determining appropriate encounters in Saga Edition a breeze, instead of the enormous headache it was before; as an added bonus, it also works for Dungeons and Dragons 3.x. Can't figure out the difference between CL, CR, and EL? Trying to figure out if that encounter built for four 3rd level characters will be too tough or too easy for your actual party of six 2nd level characters? Does the idea of trying to figure out the appropriate XP award for 4 ogres, 2 bugbears, and 10 orcs give you the shakes? Then fear not! Using the "Encounter Building by XP Budget," you can answer all of those questions quickly while you actually build the encounter, making it easy to customize on the fly.

(For the record, an encounter built for four 3rd level characters [900 XP] should be about on par with an encouter built for six 2nd level characters. Also, the XP award for 4 ogres, 2 bugbears, and 10 orcs should be 1,575 for each member of a 4 character party, or 1,050 for each member of a 6 character party. Math-illiterate that I am, I just calculated all that in about 45 seconds with no spreadsheet of any kind.)

It's pretty spiffy! Check it out and let me know what you think. :)

-The Gneech :cool:
 
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The_Gneech

Explorer
Cool, let me know how it goes. :)

One item that should be included (and will on the next update): no single item you buy with your encounter budget should be higher than +3 CL of your highest character. So if you have a party of 4th level characters, the highest single challenge they face should be CL 7.

There are a couple of math errors in the examples that will be fixed as well, hopefully this weekend. But the actual system numbers should all be correct.

-The Gneech :cool:
 

RodneyThompson

First Post
So how has it played out for you, in practice? I've been doing something very similar for my own personal games as sort of an experiment, and I'm always interested in seeing how it works practically for you.
 


The_Gneech

Explorer
Between Dragon*Con and party absences, I haven't had the chance to try it at the table yet. I'm going to start next week as we roll into the Battle of Brindol in our Red Hand of Doom game and see how it works there.

-The Gneech :cool:
 



The_Gneech

Explorer
Okay, hopefully the bugs are squashed! :) The system has been overhauled to have separate numbers for Saga Edition and D&D/d20, with some input from Rodney Thompson.

-The Gneech :cool:
 

Wulf Ratbane

Adventurer
Okay, hopefully the bugs are squashed! :) The system has been overhauled to have separate numbers for Saga Edition and D&D/d20, with some input from Rodney Thompson.

-The Gneech :cool:

Can you explain why you added a d20 section, how/why it differs, and how it differs from Pathfinder?
 

The_Gneech

Explorer
Can you explain why you added a d20 section, how/why it differs, and how it differs from Pathfinder?

The only real difference between the Saga and the d20 is the underlying math. The d20 section is designed to replicate the "13 encounters per level" model of 3.x, while the Saga numbers are based on the "(total foe levels)/3 = party CL" model.

The main way it differs from Pathfinder is the numbers. Conceptually it's the same idea (and as I mention in the document, it was inspired by the one you wrote up).

Edit: I should add, my original writeup worked perfectly well for d20/D&D but didn't work properly for Saga Edition because I didn't realize how fundamentally different the expected experiences were. A CL 20 encounter in SWSE is only worth 4,000 XP, as opposed to the 64,920 XP it's worth in D&D. Thus, for each level you gain in SWSE, the next level take noticeably longer to get to, as opposed to D&D's "13 and ding!" model.

-The Gneech :cool:
 
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Wulf Ratbane

Adventurer
The only real difference between the Saga and the d20 is the underlying math. The d20 section is designed to replicate the "13 encounters per level" model of 3.x, while the Saga numbers are based on the "(total foe levels)/3 = party CL" model.

The main way it differs from Pathfinder is the numbers. Conceptually it's the same idea (and as I mention in the document, it was inspired by the one you wrote up).

Ok.

Well just so you know, you probably don't want to use 13, use 40/3. (That's 13.333333-- the actual number the 3e designers used).

But you're still going to get hinky numbers out of the encounter builder if for any given CR, the XP value of CR+2 is not (CRx2).

By hinky I mean: it's not going to duplicate the expectations of 3.5e-- ie, twice as many creatures = EL+2.

Again, no value judgment on whether or not that's "correct" or not, but if you want to be able to build encounters that match up to 3.5e expectations, you'll need to work out your numbers.

I suspect you know this, of course, and you have some alternative goal in mind.
 

The_Gneech

Explorer
Hmm ... y'know, I think you may have pointed me at a flaw in my methodology. (Yes, another one! This is why I say I'm math-illiterate.) Looking at my numbers, I think I may have done my figuring based on total XP at a given level, instead of just the XP to get from one level to the next. 0.o

Whoops. :eek:

Time for yet another quick fix!

-The Gneech :cool:
 

The_Gneech

Explorer
Yup -- that was it. A pretty serious goof, actually. :blush:

However, 'tis fixed now. An interesting wrinkle is that the Saga Edition numbers are exactly double the d20 numbers, which I was totally not expecting. :lol:

Thanks for the feedback! I'll freely admit I'm not much of a numbers guy, although I do my best.

-The Gneech :cool:
 

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