ELITE PRAETORIAN GUARD
* has notes below for further details
SPECIES - Human (?)
GENDER - Male (?)
HEIGHT - Varies
MOVE - 10
Brawling Parry 6D+2
Melee Combat 6D
(S)Melee Combat (*Weapon of choice) 8D+2
Melee Parry 6D
First Aid 5D
CREDITS - N/A (Access to First Order resources)
Elite Praetorian Guard Armor (+2D Physical, +2D Energy, -1D Dexterity, can parry lightsabers and other energy melee weapons), *Personal Weapon (pick one, see below)
*Weapons: See Game Notes for weapon details
Bilari Electro-Chain Whip (Vibro-Sword & Stun-Whip)
Double-Headed Vibro-Arbir Blade (Double-Headed Vibro-Blade Staff/Pair of Vibro-Blades)
The Elite Praetorian Guard was a force of eight human warriors who were tasked with the protection of Supreme Leader Snoke, the leader of the First Order. Following the tradition of the Emperor's Royal Guard, the personal bodyguards of Emperor Sheev Palpatine, the Praetorian Guards wore red robes and armor. They specialized in various martial arts, including Teräs Käsi, and carried various high-tech melee weapons.
Following Snoke's assassination at the hands of Kylo Ren, the Praetorians attempted to avenge his death. They fought very well, and, for a brief moment, almost overwhelmed Ren and Rey but were ultimately killed by the duo. After their destruction, Ren succeeded Snoke as Supreme Leader of the First Order.
As the First Order mirrored many of the dark traditions of the Galactic Empire, the Elite Praetorian Guard originated from the Emperor's Royal Guard, personal bodyguards of Galactic Emperor Sheev Palpatine. The Praetorian Guard was an elite force of eight human warriors who protected the First Order's leader, Supreme Leader Snoke. They flanked the Supreme Leader in his throne room, and held in Snoke's Mega-class Star Dreadnought, the Supremacy. Aside from their obvious origin from the Emperor's Royal Guard, they also were derived to some extent from the Atrisian Emperor's royal guards, in particular how each of them operated in pairs. Three of the guards were known as the First, Third and Seventh Guards, respectively.
The guards were holding court as usual in Snoke's throne room when the Supreme Leader summoned his apprentice Kylo Ren, whom he proceeded to berate for his losses on Starkiller Base. When Kylo responded aggressively to the taunting, the guards quickly assumed combat-ready stances but stood down at Snoke's gesture. When Snoke was assassinated by Ren, the Praetorian Guards immediately sprung into action to avenge the death of their leader. Ren and Rey, who were present for the assassination, engaged all eight of the guards in a short yet intense fight. The guards were at first evenly matched against the two Force-wielders, with their weapons being resistant to their foe's lightsabers and managed to score a wound apiece on them. However, they were ultimately no match for the two and fell one by one, with the last guard being killed when Ren ignited Rey's lightsaber, which she had thrown to him, through his faceplate, killing him instantly. Ren then assumed the title of Supreme Leader.
Equipment and Training
The Elite Praetorian Guards were clad in ornate crimson armor, robes and plastoid helmet. Nine plates of armor protected each Praetorian's arm and shoulder. They were merciless, persistent, and specialized in melee combat. The Praetorian Guards boasted an arsenal of melee weapons that were high-tech versions of unpowered analogs found in primitive societies across the galaxy, such as long vibro-voulges, vibro-bisentos with an electro-plasma energy filament running along the blade's edge—flailing Bilari electro-chain whips, and heavy double-bladed vibro-arbir blades that could also be separated into dagger-like single-bladed weapons to adjust to any battle scenario. The precise, sweeping movements of their martial arts fighting style struck fear into the hearts of foes.
Although the Praetorians' weapons and gauntlets—which could resist lightsaber attacks—as well as their training enabled them to hold their own against both Ren and Rey for a time, the guards were ultimately defeated by the Force-sensitive pair.
Praetorian Guard Armor not only incorporated materials that were resistant to the energy attacks, but also had conductive wiring built into the armor plates that, when powered, could produce a magnetic field that further improved this, making the armor quite resistant to attacks from blasters or glancing blows from a lightsaber (though direct stab could still penetrate the shell). This field caused excurciating pain to the Praetorians wearing the armor, though this was considered part of their training and every day life after they began their service as Praetorian Guards. The pain may have helped sharpen their focus to remain alert for potential attacks and assassination attempts upon the Supreme Leader when standing guard in Snoke's throne room.
*Brawling VS Martial Arts
The Praetorian Guard were said to be trained in various forms, including Teras Kasi, Echani, Bakuuni Hand, and Nar Kon Jii Blind Alley (pronunciation may be wrong). These were not listed in the skills for various reasons, namely that there has always been debate of how Martial Arts should be used in the Star Wars D6 system. If GMs/players wish to use these skills with the Praetorian Guard, reduce the Guard's Brawling skill by -1D, and add these Martial Arts as either Skill Specializations (if going by the book) or as Advanced Skills (if Martial Arts as Specializations seems too powerful, as it usually does).
Teras Kasi has rules in the D6 system, such as the Shadows of the Empire Sourcebook.
Echani has canon and legends information, as well as rules converted from D20 to D6, though the art was not developed and named until after Star Wars had moved from the D6 system to D20. The simple version is using the skill in place of Stamina, or otherwise making the user more durable.
Bakuuni Hand was a Jedi martial art where a Jedi used the Force to reinforce their hand, forearms and feet, and could deliver blows that could smash rocks. While the Praetorian Guard are not Force users, they could still learn this martial art to be aware of what it can do, and be more able to fight against it if a Force user ever appeared using the skill. An non-Force alternative would also be to reinforce their hands, forearms and feet the old-fashioned way, with endurance training that strengthens their skin, muscles and bones. If such a skill is applied, it would be an Advanced skill, and could increase the damage a character could do with the parts of the body they have enhanced, though such training would take months, even years, to perfect.
The last martial art, Nar Kon Juu Blind Alley, as of this moment I have no available information of this skill. If I were to "guess", I;d say it involved dirty fighting, which would work well with the other martial arts here, and for the role of the Praetorian Guard as bodyguards to their Supreme Leader. Such a skill would probably involve misdirection and feinting of some kind.
Each of the Praetorian Guard's melee weapons is paired with an ultrasonic generator that created a high-frequency vibrating edge for greater striking and cutting power. They each also had an electro-plasma filament that produced a small blade that could parry a lightsaber. Each weapon requires 4 power cells installed in their hilt.
-Vibro-Voulge: Effectively a polearm weapon, a pole or staff with a blade on the end of it, and similar to a glaive in design. This would give the user more reach than most other melee weapons. Vibro-Voulge, Str+2D, reach +1 meter, +1D to parry melee weapons.
-Vibro-Bisento: Also a polearm and functionally similar to the Vibro-Voulge in some ways. The key difference is, where the Voulge has a longer reach to keep the enemy at a distance, the bisento has a longer, heavier blade for striking power. A bisento may usually be meant for a mix of dueling or fencing with a reach greater than a typical sword but under that of a polearm, but in this weapon's case, made of futuristic metal alloys and materials, this weapon's blade is meant for cutting power more like a axe. Vibro-Bisento, Str+3D.
-Bilari Electro-Chain Whip: A rapier-like vibro-sword and electro-whip rolled into one. The weapon started in sword form and could be used to duel and fence like a sword, though had little cutting ability and would be used more for stabbing or parrying other weapons like lightsabers. The user could snap the weapon into a whip-like form, causing the sword blade to separate into flexible links, greatly extending the weapon's reach, as well as giving the user greater ability to wrap and bind an enemy's weapon during combat. Vibro-Sword, Str+2D. Electro-Whip, 5D Stun.
-Double-Headed Vibro-Arbir Blade: A double-headed vibro-blade staff that could split apart into a pair of duel-wielded vibro-daggers. The staff would give the user some reach while twirling and spinning the weapon to deliver multiple strikes or keeping enemies back for fear of being hit by the blades. The separated vibro-daggers allowed the user to engage enemies in closer range, where the staff would be almost useless in striking them (though could still be used to parry). Vibro-Blade Staff, Str+1D+2, reach +1 meter. Separated Vibro-Blades, Str+2D.
GAME DESIGN NOTES:
For the most part, I based the Snoke's Praetorian Guard off the Emperor Palpatine's Imperial Royal Guard. The differences are, where the Royal Guard could be expected to perform other duties for the Emperor on occasion that took them away from the throne room, Snoke's Praetorian Guard seem trained, equipped, and overall set up to always be present in Snoke's throne room for his personal protection, and never leave his side. With that in mind, any skills that aided in their roles as bodyguards either stayed the same or were improved. Any skills that detracted from this were reduced or removed. Also, any skills fitting their background are laft the same, enhanced, or added in if they were not there to begin with. For example, their Stamnia skill is improved due to the nature of their armor and the pain it causes them. Their Attributes are also shifted around from that of the Royal Guard as Mechanical and Technical are less important when devoted to the role of a bodyguard, but enhanced Perception would be much more important.
Behind The Scenes
"The Emperor's guards were very formal, and you always got the sense that they could fight, but they didn't. They looked like they were more ceremonial, and you never really saw them in action. The Praetorians, my brief to Michael Kaplan was that those guys have to be more like samurai. They have to be built to move, and you have to believe that they could step forward and engage if they have to. They have to seem dangerous."
Rian Johnson, the writer and director of The Last Jedi, wanted the Praetorian Guards to be built to move, to seem dangerous, more like samurai; in contrast to the Emperor's Royal Guards, which looked very formal and ceremonial. The Praetorian Guards' costume was designed by Michael Kaplan in parallel to Johnson's vision. The guards were named after the real-life Praetorian Guard whose members served as personal bodyguards to the Roman emperors.
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