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Episode 2000: Blaster from the Past


Equipment can be of differing quality. Many games just abstract that a sword is a sword is a sword, and it doesn't matter which one you use - they'll all do the same job and are treated identically in terms of the game mechanics (special or magical weapons aside). It doesn't matter if you buy your sword from a rustic village smithy who normally makes horseshoes and ploughshares, or a master blade crafter with 20 years of experience. They'll work the same way and do the same damage and be just as likely to break or not.

Some games do include an explicit equipment quality mechanic, most often applied to weapons. Weapons may come in a handful of different quality levels, with minor differences in handling, damage, durability, and so on, often with relatively large differences in price.*

If your current rule set doesn't include this, you could add it in. You don't even need an explicit game mechanical system for it. You can just declare that some particular weapon is so well balanced that it has +1 on combat rolls, or is so sharp that it has +1 on damage, or is so shoddy that every time it's used to hit someone it has a 5% chance of shattering, or whatever.

You can add this to other equipment as well. A rope might be unusually strong. Lockpicks may be especially cunningly crafted and give a bonus. A wagon might have a weak axle. A horse may be slightly faster than normal. And so on.

If you take a little effort to customise pieces of equipment, you create depth and realism, for very little mechanical cost. And maybe your players will start paying attention to the quality of items they purchase, and seek out items that are less shoddy, or crafted by a master, leading to enhanced roleplaying opportunities.

* As an aside, the large difference in price is because it's usually good to have a money sink in a game. When warriors are inexperienced and poor, you want them to be able to afford an entry-level sword - and nothing more. When they've slain a few dragons and recovered their hoards and are wealthy, you want them to spend 20 or 50 or even 100+ times as much for a slightly better sword, as a way to stop them accumulating too much money. Typical game economics wouldn't work nearly as well if the slightly better sword only cost twice as much.

Commentary by memnarch (who has not seen the movie)

Heh, quote reversals are pretty cool; I hope there's some in the movie as well.

That blaster looks rather silly and surprisingly clean for the Star Wars universe. Han Solo's blaster also was rather silly with the gigantic scope on top, but it doesn't have an over-sized chamber and comparatively tiny hand-grip working against it. Rey's new blaster, especially in panel 2, makes me think of a modular weapon that can have different components attached to it for barrel, grip, etc., but is intended to normally be a rifle or something much larger.

Yanni's comment here is making me quite suspicious of him. Messing with Finn is one thing (as he's an unknown person at the moment), but Rey should be known to be in the clear. Teasing your kid now and then is understandable to me, but this does not seem the time or place for it. So why be circumspect about his suspicions?

Commentary by Keybounce (who has not seen the movie)

[Keybounce's comments will appear here when received.]


{Yanni goes outside to join Rey and BB-8}
Yanni: Have you got a laser sword?
Rey: No. They’re hokey ancient weapons.
Yanni: Well, we can pick one up for you in this bar.
Yanni: Meanwhile, have a blaster. I hope you appreciate this.
Rey: Why?
Yanni: This is a quality blaster - the last of my stock from when I stole the identity of Pablo, who owned a pawnshop in Bilbousa Bazaar.
Yanni: I had to trade away his entire business to get them. If he’d appreciated the importance of good weapons more, he’d still be in business.
Yanni: And alive.
Yanni: He did have some nice hats though.
BB-8: {sotto voce} Can’t imagine you in a hat...
Yanni: Keep an eye out. You never know when you might need to shoot a traitor.
Yanni: Whoever that might be...

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Published: Tuesday, 25 May, 2021; 02:11:09 PDT.
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