New Player Guide
Following is a New Player Guide written by TPO Naria, and edited/compiled by TPO Juro. (Special thanks to TPO Risi for making it so pretty and easy to peruse!)
I've broken it down into its component parts, if TPO Naria continues to add new posts, I will add new tabs to this page.
Anyone who wants to add more information, a description, etc. here is welcome to.
Hopefully before long this will end up linked to the main page/put in an area near the beginning of chargen.
New Player Guide 1: Feats and You
In the Saga System, there are three things that help define your character. These are your Feats, your Class, and your Talents. These three things all interact in various ways to shape how your sheet builds your character. I will break the discussion up into three parts, explaining how these work together, and try to help some confusion that has reached me new players are having. I start with Feats, as these are the resource that one generally has the most of.
Every Feat fits into a niche. Some feats, like Skill Focus or Weapon Focus, give you bonuses to things you might do. Some change how things work, like the Martial Arts feats giving bonuses to unarmed combat, or the Weapon Finesse feat letting you use dexterity instead of strength for melee. Others, many others, in fact, give you something special. These include Force Sensitive, Force Training, and Ship Owner.
When you pick your feats, you need to consider them in how they fit for your character. For example, if you are a sniper type combat character, then Skill Focus: Stealth and Sport Hunter might be better to take then Melee Defense or Martial Arts. In this example, the Skill Focus lets you hide better, and the Sport Hunter gives you a set of bonuses with sporting weapons(which are going to be the non-military grade sniper weapons).The other two will be giving you and advantage in melee, but..a sniper should never be in melee, right?
At the same time, some Feats, while they do not have these as requirements, have skills that it falls under the "it is a good idea to take these" category. For example, if you take the Ship Owner feat, you should likely have Pilot, Computer Use, and Mechanics trained. Pilot because that is how you fly the ship, Computer Use because that handles astrogation. Mechanics because: you are the owner, so you should be able to do basic maintenance on your ship. A captain who cannot do those is going to look mighty odd.
Finally, some feats are a lot more then just something on your sheet. The biggest of these is Force Sensitive. Force Sensitive is a requirement for many things, such as all the Force Talents and being trained in Use the Force. However, to make use of those, you need a lot of things. First, you want higher then average Wisdom and Charisma, because Use the Force is based off of Charisma, and Force Training uses your Wisdom to determine how many Force Powers you get. So, those should be AT LEAST 12. Then comes the IC situation during this time. If you are Force Sensitive, you are in one of two situations: you are legally registered and chipped with the Empire(and your movements, etc monitored as much as the Empire can), or you are a fugitive(whether you ICly know you are or not..if you are discovered as being Force Sensitive, expect time in Justicar Custody and interrogation by the Inquisition at the LEAST). If you are a legal Force Sensitive, then you need to consider if you are part of the Imperial Justicars or not. If you are a fugitive, you need to consider if you are a knowing force sensitive(HINT: if you have the Force Training feat or any Force Talent..you know you are Force Sensitive) or unknown. If you know you are Force Sensitive, then you need to establish why you are not registered, and what your cover is(and, likely, should be trained in skills like Deception).
So, don't take your feats in a vacuum. They are often pre-requisites for many talents, and so they form the foundation of what your character can do.
New Player Guide 2: You got Class!
Class is the second layer of your character. Every class fits in the Universe in its own way, and they help define your place in the setting. The sorts of abilities you are going to have are often determined by your combination of classes. Let us take a look at each of the classes.
Soldier: Military trained or just a hired thug who is really good at fighting. Soldiers talents focus on armor, weapons, and other military pursuits. They are tough, and at first level come with a suite of weapon and armor proficiency feats. Multiclassing into Soldier you are not getting many fancy feats, but, instead, are likely going to be grabbing armor, as most classes give you one or more of the weapon feats. A Soldier is not necessarily military, but they ARE people who are built for combat. Soldier comes with a fast progression Base Attack Bonus to reflect this. If you are taking soldier as a first level character, you are someone who has trained for combat, either growing up around a military family, or on a world or in a situation where combat is a defining factor of your upbringing.
Jedi: A very much swiss-army-knife in terms of what it does. They have +1 to all defenses, and their talents and feats cover combat, diplomacy, stealth, and puts a heavy focus on the Lightsaber. If you take at first level, you get Force Sensitive and Proficiency in Lightsabers and Simple weapons. At first level represents the monastic training of a Jedi Youngling. Multi-classing into Jedi, you will want to have Force Sensitivity or Weapon Proficiency Lightsaber already, and take the other as part of the class. You will also want to have Use the Force trained, so you can make use of more of your talents, as many of them require Use the Force checks. This does not necessarily represent actual training by a Jedi. It could be you were trained by a Justicar who had learned bits and pieces of how the Jedi were trained. Maybe you were trained by a Jensaarai, or found scrolls of the pre-Bane but Post-Exar Kun Sith, and figured things out from there. Maybe you heard stories of the Jedi and figured things out through trying to duplicate their feats.
Noble: Power, prestige, wealth, those all go together. Nobles wield these like weapons. They know people, they have access to resources or their family connections and history. You could be child from a wealthy family as much as the child of a Duke or Baron. It is not all about the landed nobility that we would think by the name. Fencing is a combat talent tree in the class, and plays to the Noble's big attribute of Charisma. At first level, you were weaned in privileged, and lived a blessed life. Or maybe, as the Noble also has the MOST starting skills, you had a childhood where you were protected, and left to study as you chose. Multiclassing into Noble is going to give you Linguist.
Scoundrel: Smugglers, thieves, tricksters. Where the noble shapes and dances in the rules of society, the Scoundrel defies those rules. Criminals could be how they are seen, but they are also the best covert operators for things like slicing, they are technicians and backstabbers. If you start as a Scoundrel at first level, you are street smart and self-reliant. If you multiclass into Scoundrel, you are likely going to be taking Point Blank Shot from their feats, which is the very foundation of most ranged combat feats. Many a Captain is going to have at least one level of Scoundrel for the Spacer talents.
Scout: Rugged individuals, hunters, snipers and experts in wilderness survival and camouflage. The Scout is a varied class. It has talents dealing with the wilderness, but also hyperspace, and camouflage. It is a good complement for MANY classes. In fact, I firmly believe any character can benefit from a level in Scout, so useful are the talents. A Soldier might want something from the Survivor or Camouflage tree, a Scoundrel from the Awareness or Espionage talents, etc, etc. A 1st Level Scout is someone who comes from a place where they have to rely on natural skills and training. Multiclassing into Scout, Shake it Off is the feat one would most likely be taking from their list, followed by their proficiency in Blaster Rifles(note: only Scout and Soldier start with Proficiency in Blaster Rifles, and only Jedi do not start with pistols.) Scout is also one of the most varied classes in origins. Maybe you were a moisture farmer on Tatooine before its greening, maybe you were a recon troopers in the Grand Army of the Republic, or maybe you come from a world like Kashyyk. There is no telling, and a Scout can come from any walks of life.
Multiclassing: When you multi-class, you are expanding the tool kit. It is important that you focus what you are doing. So, if you start as a Scoundrel who is a smuggler and spacer, and expand into Scout, you are going to want to take talents from Hyperspace Explorer or Camouflage. A Jedi who takes levels of Noble is likely going to take diplomatic based talents from the Noble trees, while a Jedi who takes Soldier levels might be looking at armor or weapon specialist talents(or even Brawler). When you take a class, always look at what it gives to your build, and how it fits, as each class is your tool kit.
New Player Guide 3: Talent Show!
The final building block of a character are your talents. What you can take is determined by your classes, and these are a very limited pool, far fewer then Feats. You get a talent every off class level. While you COULD take a level and a talent from every class in your first 5 levels, that would be very weakening, as those would be talents with no focus. When you build your character you need to look at how the Talents you choose from your classes work together. In some cases, you will be picking talents for synergy with others. In other cases, you will be taking them to give you extra abilities. I am not going to explain how every single talent interacts. There are just too many for that. However, I can explain how to look for those synergies, both direct and indirect.
First, talents often allow you to substitute one thing for another. For Force Sensitives, there are talents that let you substitute Use the Force for other skills. If you are a Force User trained in Use the Force, these are great to take. However, another great talent that works well with these is Noble Fencing Style, because it allows you to use your Charisma for your attack rolls. If you are using Use the Force for a lot of things, chances are you have a high Charisma(because Use the Force is based off of Charisma!).
Second, there are talents that focus on boosting one thing or another. If you are taking the Martial Arts Feats, then some levels of Brawler talents are good to take because, first, if your character is serious about the Martial Arts, it is the root for the Martial Arts Master Prestige class, but also that it benefits unarmed combat greatly.
Finally, there are Talents that do special things. Nobles have a lot of these in their Lineage tree, as an example. Wealth, for example, gives a steady stream of income when you level, or Connections lets you get illegal equipment far easier then normal. In Scoundrel, there is the Slicer talent tree which gives all sorts of tools beyond just boosting your Use Computer. While these include some substitutions, it also includes talents like Electronic Sabotage which lets you lock down computers.
Ultimately, picking Talents is where you have to be careful on your choices. Do you focus yourself in one area, or do you give yourself one or two secondary focuses. You should really never have more then three focuses, with one primary focus. Otherwise, you will be mediocre in a bunch of things, but excel in nothing. As you pick things, look at how those talents work with each other and your feats. While unfocused characters can be interesting to play, they are not a challenge for everyone, as they will always fall in the shadow of those who can do one thing good.
Of course, ultimately, just remember: your sheet is not your character. I can have two characters with identical sheets, and they will be completely different in how they are played. So, have fun, give your character some personality, and go with what works for them. Thank you for reading this!
New Player Guide 4: Follow-Up
Dawn of Defiance is rather unusual of a MU* in that player actions determine many things. One thing that makes this possible is that not everything occurs in +events. Sometimes, when go to do follow-up, you might get a scene that happens, sometimes the GM(regardless if it is a PrP or a staff run plot) will just ask for rolls and tell you what you got from them. However, follow-up and Legwork is still important, regardless of how it is done. It has been my experience that many players, though, are not used to this style of things, and so, I thought a helpful little post would be in order.
Legwork is very important here. There have been several events in the IC history of the MU*, including many of the events that lead up to Order 66 as it played out on here, that were spawned, not by staff, but as a result of player legwork. In fact, the fall of Sarapin came about entirely due to hand full of CIS players executing very well done legwork. Legwork falls primarily into two categories: Information and Preparation.
Information Legwork is just what it sounds like. Something happened, and you are trying to find more information about it. Maybe there was a research project that suffered a security leak, and you are investigating that leak. Maybe a friend ICly got killed, and you are trying to find out what happened. Maybe you just heard an interesting rumor and you are investigating it to find the truth. Either way, these are important because, first, this is how you get into a plot line if you weren't there. Sometimes a GM puts stuff out for players to research, and when they don't, the stuff continues until it either reaches critical mass or until someone actually does do the legwork. As a player, if something catches your attention, you positively should put in a legwork +request on a staff plot, or shoot an mail on a Player-run Plot(PrP) to the GM. Worst they can say is 'You get no other information' while the best is you get some key bit of info to act on.
Preparation legwork is stuff for when you have information, have a plan, but need to start implementing it. This might be trying to get toxic gas snuck onto a space-station, or placing defensive mines. It could just be getting specialized equipment you need. Either way, it is about actually doing something. This is less common, and is often hand-waved to be done at the start of an scene, but, especially for staff plots or things with LARGE impact, either on the plot itself, or on the MU*, it is good to, if you are doing preparations, shoot off a +request(for staff plots or big, world changing plans) or a mail to the person running the plot (for PrPs).
How do you do legwork? Well..it depends on on if it is staff plot or a PrP. For Staff related stuff, you do +request Legwork:(something identifying where it is coming from)=(Your legwork request). For PrP's you do it with the mail system, with the same title, and the same information in the body. Now, what goes into the legwork request portion? Simple: Just a restatement of the plot-line it is involved with, what you are looking into or doing, and how you are going about doing it. Simple, right?
A couple things to remember: for PrP's, staff generally do not have all the information that the GM does. It is almost always better to go through the GM then to go through +request for a PrP. If you do a +request for legwork on a PrP, it can be taken by the GM as a statement that one or more players do not trust them to do their job without staff intervention. For Staff run plots(or stuff you think is going to have major impact on the game as a whole), you should always do a +request, as the staff will be wanting to keep track of everything with their plots, and having a paper trail for big events is always good.
So, the take away from this for new players to the MU*: Follow-up! Do legwork! Really, everyone likes it(it also is a subtle way of saying that you liked the plot, and are interested in it and want to do more with it then just show up for a plot. Follow-up legwork is actually a great form of positive feedback, and everyone likes to hear people liked their stuff.)
New Player Guide 5: Scenes
Not assuming people are not used to being in scenes, but here, there is a tendency for scenes to get absolutely huge (I have seen events here where they split it into 2 or more parts because they had 40+ players for it!). Not everyone has experience with large scenes, or even small scenes that are trying to be kept moving. So..here is some help for everyone.
Know what you are going to do. Sure, what your action is might change based on what is going on. But, always know what you are going to do ahead of time, even if that means having multiple plans of action. Generally, a GM will answer questions via page so that they can keep the scene moving.
If you have a question for the GM, be specific. Asking questions like "Who has armor?" or "Which guy has the Blaster Cannon?" are good because they are seeking specific information, and the GM does not have to think beyond what they are having to do to run the scene. "Who is the biggest threat?" is an example of a bad question. First, it is vague. Biggest threat to who? the party or your character specifically? Second, it is subjective..what I consider the biggest threat might not be what you consider the biggest threat. I might consider the guy with the Blaster cannon the biggest threat, but you might consider the guy with the vibroblade the bigger threat. And, frankly, in a scene, the GM is having to juggle a lot in his or her head already. Being specific just makes their job easier.
Pre-pose as much as possible. You know what you are going to do, so you can start writing the pose beyond the stuff relating to success or failure. As people pose, you can adapt your pre-written pose to them. It is not really fair to the GM or the other players if they have to wait 5-20 minutes for someone to pose. Anything you can do to speed this up is just nicer to the other people you are cooperating with to tell the story.
Remember: everyone wants to have fun, too. You will not get the spotlight and starring role in every scene. Everyone wants to have that Star Warsy moment like Luke and Leia swinging across the trench in the First Death Star, or Lando and Nien-nub flying through the heart of the Death Star II or similar awesomely heroic moments. Help facilitate others being awesome. This is why the Aid Another option exists. It is always an option, so feel free to use it.
Be polite OOCly. This is common sense, of course, but I have heard people say that common sense is a super power nowadays. If you have a limited time left before you have to go? Let people know ahead of time. GMs will work with you.(I know..I have had to pose out of scenes due to having to get to work RL). If you have a problem with a GM ruling? Talk to them about it after the scene, and do so politely. Seriously: arguing in the middle of an event just slows things down, and you want to keep the scene moving. Don't hold things up. Scenes can go a long time. I have seen scenes peter out because of people falling asleep at the keyboard, in fact. So, let's keep the scene moving.
Don't sweat the small stuff, and don't take stuff in the scene personally. First, this is a game. The only way to win is if everyone has fun, and only you can make yourself have fun. Will GMs sometimes play fast and loose with the rules to keep things moving? Sure. Don't worry about it. Will someone do something ICly nasty to your character? It will happen. It is part of the game, and what they did is not as important as how you react both ICly and OOCly to it. Be a cool person OOCly to things. Be flexible, and remember: just because their character is out to get your character ICly does not mean their player is out to get your player OOCly. Just keep the scene moving. Everything can be addressed OOCly after the scene.
All in all, if you can follow these principles, you will have a greater chance of a fun experience on the MU*, and getting the most out of the scenes you participate in. And you will make the GM's job easier, as well as help out the other players. So..go out there and have fun, folks!
New Player Guide 6: Plots
Dawn of Defiance is moved by plots. While staff do run plots, many of the plots here are run by players, just like you. While there are help files for the formal side of a plot (the +requests for approval, submitting logs, etc), there is, of course, more to plots then that. Let's see about helping new players trying their hand at their first plotlines.
What type of plot is it? While there are many different plots, here they fall into two basic kinds: Social and Combat. Social plots are things like parties, senate committee meetings, or war council meetings. Basically, anything where combat is not intended to happen. Combat plots is a really loose term. Basically, a combat plot is any plot where potential harm to the PC is possible. Of course, combat plots are further subdivided into Tactical, where the +map is used, and Cinematic, where +map is not used. Tactical are slower to run, as it takes time for characters to move on the map, but is less ambiguous. Tactical scenes also involve knowing where everyone is, and are as much about the system as they are the character actions. Cinematic is faster to run, and involves a lot of hand waving on the move actions, simply because it is harder to keep track of where everyone is exactly. These scenes are closest to what you would see in the movies, and have the advantage that the GM can go 'don't say no, set a difficulty.'
How many players do you want? Setting limits to your abilities is important. If you cannot handle a large group, either due to RL time constraints, or just that it is hard for you to keep track of all that, then you should set those limits when you make the +events post. After all, you don't want to have to have a practical limit of 5 players, and then have 30 show up.
Who is it for? Most of the time, a plot is going to focus on a set group. Are you running it for the Justicars? Imperial Navy? Jedi Remnant? some criminal group or ship crew? When you write the +event, say so. Make sure you have a clear idea of who the plot is for, as that will help players know if they want to participate or, in some cases, even if they can participate.
Will you allow NPCs? Sometimes players want to participate in a plot but, for whatever reason, they cannot bring their character there. Maybe you need bodies to fill slots because not enough people showed up to the plot. Deciding on if you will allow NPCs is an important step in a plot, and you should think about it. The simple way to allow NPCs is to let someone use their character sheet, and just use a different persona. Many character sheets are for characters that are not that different from a standard character of that type. Most slicers are going to have similar sheets. Most soldiers are going to have similar sheets, etc, etc. That is easy, and less head-ache for you as the GM.
How long do you expect the plot to run? Is it going to be just one scene? Or is it going to be multiple scenes? Do you expect a scene to run 3 hours, or are you crazy and going to try and run it 6? How much lee-way do you have for it to run longer then planned(because scenes ALWAYS do)?
What are the rewards? You really want this spelled out in the +request for the scene if you have rewards planned. Sometimes, of course, something happens that could get something you did not plan as a reward available, so you will be making sure you put that in your log submission.
How are you sending your log? I use dropbox, myself. Some people use googledocs, and others use the MU*'s wiki. Use whatever method is most comfortable for you. Staff are flexible, in my experience.
For combat plots: How intense is the opposition planned? Are you going to throw crack troops at them that could kill them? Are you going to be throwing token resistance because that is what the plot needs to move it forward? Does what you are throwing at them make sense for where they are? Infiltrating an Imperial High Security Prison is not going to be just run of the mill cannon fodder troops. There are going to be some elites in there. However, hitting an abandoned supply depot is more likely to run into other scavengers or animals then elite troops. One trap people fall into is scaling the opposition to the characters. While this is one way, it means that one PC could turn what for the party involved would be a challenging mission into a death trap, as there are some PCs on the grid who, if you look up Combat Monster in the IC Dictionary, it is their picture. The fairest way to go is actually just pick what the opposition should be, and keep it like that. If you have to add something in to challenge a specific PC, then you might want to ask: how will that effect the risk for the other PCs? Can I make sure the challenge will target ONLY that PC?
What are the ripples from this? Nothing occurs in a vacuum. A plot is going to effects outside its immediate outcome. What are those effects going to be? Will they be a resource to do further plots? Do you want to handle them or do you want to leave that up to someone else to take it and run with?
Finally, and this is always important: Be polite. Keep the plot moving. If you don't know a rule for something, just make a ruling and move on. If you find out you got it wrong? let the players know, and just say that IC situation made it work different then normal. Most players are not going to get angry at you for making a ruling to keep things moving if you kept it fair for everyone,and were polite about it. You are doing a plot that could have some significant potential for an organization? Talk to people in charge of that org about it. They will appreciate the heads up, and, it shows respect to them. Besides which, they might have some suggestions to help improve it. (Remember: heads of an organization want to see their org get a cool storyline, and they are usually veteran players on the MU*, who might know more about things then you do. Or, if they are not your org, they might know if something would make more or less sense for the org then you. Being polite makes them more inclined to give you good and helpful advice.)
So, if you want to go run a plot? Go! Have fun, make sure everyone else has fun!