GSA Repost: Star Wars Saga Edition: Force Tank

Originally published 06 August 2012

Ever since the days of Star Wars: Galaxies, I’ve been fascinated with the concept of the “Force Tank”. Back in the early days of the now dead Star Wars sandbox game, everyone ran around in what was known as “90% Comp Armor”. This was by far the best armor in the game, making you nearly invincible. It also meant everyone looked the same and felt stupid.

So, when I unlocked Jedi and discovered the abilities that allowed you to use the Force as your armor, I loved it. I could be a Jedi and not wear stupid looking armor. It’s been too many years and with that game long gone and dead, I can’t remember the actual skills (NGE killed them), but there were some that allowed you to cast a shield and armor around you.  It only lasted a short time, but it gave good protection.

When I got into Star Wars: Saga Edition, I started thinking about ways to make this type of Jedi Tank. Recently, in a game run by Agent 66, I got the chance to try it. And it’s awesome. My character is a Caamasi Pacifist, follower of the Adepts of Tyia. So he doesn’t like to hurt people and it’s his sworn oath to help others. He does it by sucking up damage so others are safe.

I’m going to break down the components of being a Force Tank that are key to any build, and then expand on those that make the Caamasi pacifist so good at it.

 

Damage Reduction 10

Force Talent- SWSE Core Rule Book, pg 62

This Force talent is the key to being a good absorber of damage.  Being able to reduce all damage you take by 10pts can often reduce damage to nothing, or just a few points. This ability has single handedly saved my character from death on numerous occasions.

It’s not without it’s drawbacks. It lasts 10 rounds, costs a force point to activate and takes a standard action. So to be effective, you have to essentially give up your first round of actions. And those pesky Sith and their lightsabers will just ignore it.

 

Draw Fire

Soldier Talent- Core Rulebook, pg 101

The yin to the yang of DR10 is Draw Fire. A tank needs to do two things: suck up damage and prevent others from taking damage. This ability allows you to make a Persuasion check, as a swift action, against the Will Def of all enemies. If you are successful, they can not attack anyone within 6 squares of you, except you. There’s no restrictions on them needing to understand you or have an Intelligence of 3 and it’s not even marked as Mind Affecting. If you can beat their Will, your allies are safe from harm for a round.

For this tank build, it seems a little overpowered. But when you balance it out with the fact that you are going to get attacked by everyone it seems a bit more reasonable. If you’re not specced for it, you’re going to get creamed.

The biggest drawback to this talent for a tank is that it requires a Persuasion Check. It’s a soldier ability and soldiers can’t train in Persuasion. Neither can Jedi. So most meat shields won’t have a high enough persuasion check to hold everyone’s attention.

 

Force Shield

Force Power- Force Unleashed Campaign Guide- pg 86

There are a lot of useful Force Powers for a Force Tank, which we’ll cover briefly later, but this ability is the core one. While you have DR10 already, many attacks do more than that amount of damage. Especially at higher levels. As mentioned earlier, you are also vulnerable to abilities that ignore DR, such as lightsabers. But nothing ignores Shield Rating (SR).

With Force Shield, you produce a shield of telekinetic protection around your character. It works the same as a starship shield, reducing damage first before applying to DR and then HP.  With a really good roll and a force point, you can get SR25. And it’s a reaction so you can decide to use it when you need it.

The nice thing about Force Shield is it can be maintained round to round. It takes a standard action to do so, but you don’t need to make a new Use the Force check. If you get a really high SR, this is worth doing. SR of 20 or 25 will often be high enough to completely negate damage on its own, and if the damage doesn’t exceed your SR, then it doesn’t get weaker.

 

Caamasi Noble Tank

My character, Jasem, is a Caamasi follower of Tyia and took Noble his first level. That means his hit points suck. BUT he rocks as a tank. Why, you ask? Training in Persuasion and the ability to reroll and keep the better result. These two aspects of Nobles and Caamasi mean almost no one can resist his Draw Fire. Then, using the Force abilities, he can reduce damage to almost nothing. So even though his HP is much lower than an equivalent Soldier tank, he’s taking 2-3 points of damage each time, instead of everything.

 

Other Powers to Consider

Saga Edition is full of a whole host of other abilities and Force powers to consider. Here are a few to consider:

Force Powers

  • Energy Resistance- Similar to DR10 and Force Shield. Only works against Energy damage, but unlike SR, doesn’t deplete. Also can be maintained with only a swift action and no Force Point.
  • Negate Energy– Very useful against those Sith lightsabers. Also allows you to spend a Force Point and heal the damage you should have taken, which can be life saving.
  • Rebuke– Only useful against other Force Powers, but can help you resist things like Move Object that might try and move you away from your allies, negating the affects of Draw Fire.
  • Intercept– Useful against ranged attacks. Also valuable because it prevents the attack from landing, which can be great for those attacks that have secondary effects.

Talents

  • Harm’s Way- Not as versatile as Draw Fire, Harm’s Way only affects one ally adjacent to you. But, it doesn’t require a Persuasion check.
  • Equilibrium– At the cost of a Force Point, you can return to the top of the condition track. Very useful. Especially when combined with the next one.
  • Channel Vitality- Drop down the condition track and gain a free Force point. Do this once to bring yourself to -1, use the free FP. Do it again next round to drop you to -2 and then use the FP to activate Equilibrium to return to full. Time intensive, but can save those precious Force Points.
  • Channel Energy– Being a tank, you might spend a lot of your standard actions doing non-combat stuff. Moving twice to stay near allies, maintaining Force shield, etc. With this talent, you can use Negate Energy and then trigger a Force Power. Great way to simulate a telekinetic weakness, like Corran Horn’s, too; just allow yourself to only use telekinetic force powers after using this talent. Great RP. Or branch out and make it a Mind power weakness.

I hope that helps fellow gamers. I was going to share Jasem’s current build and planned direction, but this article is to long already. But I think you’ll have the tools to make your own kick-ass Force Tanks. Keep the adventure going.

 

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