The Spirit of Ahsoka Tano
Guest Writer Bryan Young Brings Ahsoka Tano Closer to Your RPG
“You’re a Jedi, too? Pleased to meet you…”
Ours is the age of a gaming rennaissance. The internet is littered with stories of great new games, and there are all manner of gaming styles and experiences. So if you're like us, your interest in games set in the Star Wars universe owes largely to your appreciation of the Star Wars saga as it has played out in the movies, in novels, in comics, and on television. Going one step further, your interest in Star Wars®: Force and Destiny and the other Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars roleplaying games likely owes toward your desire to experience the fullness of action and drama within the Star Wars universe. After all, roleplaying games are unmatched in their immersive qualities.
Today, guest writer Bryan Young explores that connection between the Star Wars universe that exists in film and print and your experiences in FFG's Star Wars roleplaying games. A huge fan of tabletop games, RPGs, board games, card games, and all things Star Wars, Bryan is a regular columnist for StarWars.com and a frequent contributor to Star Wars Insider. You can follow him on Twitter @swankmotron or listen to him on the Full of Sith podcast.
NOTE: This article contains mild spoilers for Star Wars Rebels Seasons One and Two.
Bryan Young on Recreating the Star Wars Universe at Your Table
I’m an avid gamer and have been my whole life, as far back as I can remember. When I was seven years old, Star Wars was my first roleplaying game. It helped me relive all of the excitement and adventure of my favorite movies. I was working to stop the oppression of the Sith with a band of friends, brothers and sisters in arms against the Empire, sometimes literally with my brothers and sister. I’m honored that Fantasy Flight Games has invited me into this space to help pass on some of my passion for gaming.
One of my favorite things to do in the world of Star Wars is to recreate the feel of the things I love in the universe. With the era of the roleplaying game set during the dark times of the evil Galactic Empire, the possibilities are close to endless with what you can fit into your game, but I always loved taking the spirit of my favorite characters and seeing how I could work them in.
After watching the Season Two Finale of Star Wars Rebels, I couldn’t help but think of what a character like Ahsoka Tano might be like in the game.
Lady Tano, Fulcrum of the Rebellion
For those who don’t know, in the era of Rebellion, Ahsoka Tano is a former Jedi who acts as point of contact within the rebel organization for operationally isolated cells. During all of that, she’s still dealing with the fact that her old master, Anakin Skywalker, may very well be the Sith Lord Darth Vader. For the first season of Star Wars Rebels, she was known only as Fulcrum, the contact giving the rebel crew of the Ghost the missions they would embark on in order to best help the rebellion.
In Season Two, she occasionally accompanied the crew of the Ghost on some of their missions, always keeping her suspicions of Anakin Skywalker and her investigation in that direction at the back of her mind. She was useful in fending off enemies that were too challenging for the heroes, namely the Inquisitors tasked by Palpatine and Vader to hunt down the remaining Force users in the galaxy that couldn’t be bent to their will.
There are a number of ways a character like this could be useful in a game, either as a player character or a non-player character controlled by the Game Master.
- For the Game Master, having a Force-wielding Clone Wars veteran as a contact for the rebellion offers many fascinating gaming opportunities and a way to help guide the characters using lore familiar to fans of all the Star Wars movies.
- For a character, working with the rebellion or as a smuggler or scoundrel in the underworld is a much more difficult choice with the added tension of being a former Jedi, still on the run from the lapdogs of the Sith. The roleplaying possibilities for a character in that kind of situation are limitless.
How Would You Create a Character Like Ahsoka?
How would you craft such a character in the game? Obviously, you’d want to start with the character creation from the Force and Destiny Core Rulebook. For the sake of argument, we’ll assume that the rest of the party would be coming from the Rebellion, to more closely match a character like Ahsoka Tano. If you wanted to go full-Ahsoka, the Togruta species has their stats listed in that very book. The pack hunting special ability of the Togruta seems uniquely suited to an Ahsoka sort of character, too, though any species would work as well with a backstory similar to Ahsoka’s for the purposes of the game.
There are a few ways you could handle the career and specializations for a character like Ahsoka.
- If I were playing a character like Ahsoka, I might choose the Guardian: Peacekeeper role to make the character a strong guide and natural leader for the rest of the party. It plays well off of Ahsoka’s role as Fulcrum as well.
- On the other hand, you might be more interested in focusing on the part of Ahsoka’s backstory where she was on her own and left to fend for herself in the galaxy. The Seeker: Ataru Striker career path, with its focus on agility and saber combat, would make a much more formidable fighting character. If you left the command and leadership up to roleplaying ability, that would make this path a natural choice.
- A third, totally valid argument could be made for the Sentinel: Shien Expert path. Characters like Ahsoka had to rely on their cunning as well as their skills with a lightsaber to survive. This skill tree would give her the street smarts to survive in such a cutthroat galaxy, while at the same time bolstering her abilities with a lightsaber.
As for Force powers, Ahsoka has used things similar to what you’d see in the “Foresee,” “Protect/Unleash,” and “Sense” trees. You can tweak one for your character how you see fit. Maybe your version of an NPC like Ashoka uses “Battle Meditation” to help the group fight when she’s with them. Or maybe she’s a healer. As Shmi Skywalker said, “It’s up to you. The choice is yours alone.”
Rounding Things Out
The Force and Destiny rules set offers a few more options to personalize your character and bend her a little more toward Ahsoka. The first option is the rules for “Knight-Level Play.” This offers players an additional 150XP to play with after their initial character creation is completed.
This allows a player to have an edge in ability that the rest of the team might not have, and really force them into the leadership role. After all, these are characters that were Padawans during the great Jedi purge; they’ve seen a lot more of the evil in the galaxy than your average new recruit.
Knight-Level Play also affords players access to at least a basic lightsaber, which cements their role and backstory and gives Game Masters the opportunity to include more difficult adversaries in the campaign.
I know that if I were running the game, it would take very little convincing for me to let a character take a basic lightsaber as well as a shoto blade, as Ahsoka does. In my view, it’s important for Game Masters to offer a little leeway to make players enjoy the flavor of the game, and if edging their character that much closer to the Ahsoka they saw on the television show gets them there, it’s worth it for the quality of the game.
In Rebels, Ahsoka carries with her a Jedi Holocron of Anakin Skywalker’s teachings in lightsaber combat. Kanan carries one with a message and teachings from Master Obi-Wan Kenobi. The rules offer one holocron to the group of players; it would be wise for the Game Master to let it tie into the deep background of this Ahsoka-like character.
How Would You Use a Character Like Ahsoka?
Sometimes, it can be difficult to balance a player character like this in an ongoing game, but there are plenty of ways to make it work for you and your group.
This might be the perfect sort of character for a player who has to drift in and out of the game. In Star Wars Rebels, Ahsoka acts as the Gandalf character to the crew of the Ghost, coming and going as she sees fit, as she is dealing with other larger machinations. As a Game Master, this could be the best way to handle that friend who wants to play, but can’t commit to every game. This way, you can fill them in on what their character was doing in the downtime, and they can roleplay those secrets with the other players to powerful effect.
On the other hand, as an non-player character controlled by the Game Master, a character like Ahsoka can be a powerful tool for the feel of a game. They can also fulfill the role of “Mentor” and help other lower level characters on the Jedi path with their training, just as Ahsoka has done on Rebels with Kanan and Ezra. She can also be used as a “get out of peril free card,” but you’d want to use that only in the most dire of circumstances and to craft the best game and shared story experience you can.
She could also be a perfect “Fulcrum” sort of character for an Edge of the Empire™ game. In Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath, it’s mentioned that Wedge Antilles himself was recruited to the Rebellion by Fulcrum. Perhaps she’s the sort of NPC your scoundrels and smugglers need to pull them into the conflict on the side of good.
However you decide to use a character like Ahsoka, she can add an impossibly fun dynamic to an already great game. She might be just the thing you need to help engage players that might be entering the game based solely on their excitement for Star Wars Rebels. And with characters as popular as Ahsoka, it would be easy to see why.
Explore All That the Galaxy Has to Offer
Will you include a character like Ahsoka Tano in your Star Wars roleplaying campaign? Will you draw your inspiration from another of the protagonists from Star Wars Rebels? Or will you find your inspiration elsewhere? The possibilities are endless, and they're ready for immediate exploration. Your ticket to these adventures—the Star Wars: Force and Destiny Core Rulebook—is available now at retailers and online through our webstore.