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New Player Questions, help requested


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#1 Archadian

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 12:40 PM

Hello,

 

I just picked up the Core Rulebook, read most of it, and am excited to start a group. However, I have a couple of questions about the function of certain game mechanics that I'd like a little clarification on before I start a group.

 

1. Strain can be recovered after an encounter. The book also suggests that strain can go away with relaxation or rest. However, PCs cannot simply "rest" after every encounter and recover strain, correct? If that's the case, it seems like (other than by sleep) the only way to reliably recover strain is by fighting. Isn't this counter intuitive? My character cannot just take a seat for five minutes and recover strain, but my character can recover strain by engaging in a 60 second, high intensity gun fight? Is there a reason for the game to function this way?

 

2. Starship combat against a ship wtih silhouette 4 or lower. When attacking a starship with silhouette 4 or lower, the defending ship decides which direction you're attacking from. Am I understanding this correctly? Is there a reason why PCs in a light freighter wouldn't just adjust their shields to the aft and leave them that way? Every time an enemy attacks the ship, the group just decides that the attack is coming from the aft? Mechanically and thematically, I'm having a hard time with this one. How does a frieghter that is attempting to flee from a pair of pursuing ships get to suddenly turn to face them so their attacks hit the fore shield, then realign and continue to flee their pursuit? What if those two ships are on either side of the frieghter, mechanically can the PCs decide that both attacks coming from both flanking ships hit the same shield? Am I understanding this correctly?

 

3. Vigilance vs. Cool. So vigilance is used when characters aren't prepared for combat, cool is used when they are prepared. So essentially a character who has put a ton of points into vigilance is really good at reacting when they aren't aware of combat beforehand, but that same character would react more slowly if they were actually prepared for the fight? (assuming they didn't level cool). Again, I'm having a hard time with this thematically. Could that character simply always pretend that they are unaware of combat to always roll vigilance?

 

"Okay Jim, watch that door and shoot any stormtroopers that come through."

 

"Na, man. I'll be quicker if I stare at this wall and they take me by surprise."

 

 

By the way, I think this game looks awesome. These are just some mechanically and thematic implements that I anticipating being difficult to explain to new PCs that I need some clarity on.

 

Thanks for your answers!

 

-Arch



#2 RobertLoblaw

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 12:54 PM

I don't have an answer for you but I did like your questions and I loved the bottom example.

Edited by RobertLoblaw, 23 July 2014 - 12:55 PM.


#3 awayputurwpn

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 01:02 PM

Welcome to the forums!
 

1. Strain can be recovered after an encounter. The book also suggests that strain can go away with relaxation or rest. However, PCs cannot simply "rest" after every encounter and recover strain, correct? If that's the case, it seems like (other than by sleep) the only way to reliably recover strain is by fighting. Isn't this counter intuitive? My character cannot just take a seat for five minutes and recover strain, but my character can recover strain by engaging in a 60 second, high intensity gun fight? Is there a reason for the game to function this way?

In the "Recovering from Strain" section, it mentions that taking a moment to catch your breath, eating a good meal, or relaxing with friends are all ways you might recover from strain. Strain is used during encounters, combat or non-combat, to reflect the stress (physical and/or mental) of the situation. Outside of stressful or non-relaxing situations, it should be relatively easy to recover strain.
 

2. Starship combat against a ship wtih silhouette 4 or lower. When attacking a starship with silhouette 4 or lower, the defending ship decides which direction you're attacking from. Am I understanding this correctly? Is there a reason why PCs in a light freighter wouldn't just adjust their shields to the aft and leave them that way? Every time an enemy attacks the ship, the group just decides that the attack is coming from the aft? Mechanically and thematically, I'm having a hard time with this one. How does a frieghter that is attempting to flee from a pair of pursuing ships get to suddenly turn to face them so their attacks hit the fore shield, then realign and continue to flee their pursuit? What if those two ships are on either side of the frieghter, mechanically can the PCs decide that both attacks coming from both flanking ships hit the same shield? Am I understanding this correctly?

First, the Gain the Advantage action (do a search on the forums for more than you'll ever want to read about it!) is a way that attacking ships can override this rule and attack an undefended zone.
Second, remember that combat round can last up to about a minute and represent lots of movement and defensive maneuvering. Attacking head-on? Shields front. Running? Shields aft. Dogfighting? Juke around and try to position yourself well. Blanks on setback dice might indicate that a ship was able to out-maneuver you and strike an unshielded area on your hull.
EDIT: Third, sometimes the situation might call for the GM to hand-wave the rules away and explain that the heroes' ship is, indeed, being targeted in an unshielded zone (especially in a chase or a "trench run" situation). This sort of thing should be rare and handled up front so the players understand the situation going in, possibly before they adjust their shields.
 

3. Vigilance vs. Cool. So vigilance is used when characters aren't prepared for combat, cool is used when they are prepared. So essentially a character who has put a ton of points into vigilance is really good at reacting when they aren't aware of combat beforehand, but that same character would react more slowly if they were actually prepared for the fight? (assuming they didn't level cool). Again, I'm having a hard time with this thematically. Could that character simply always pretend that they are unaware of combat to always roll vigilance?
 
"Okay Jim, watch that door and shoot any stormtroopers that come through."
 
"Na, man. I'll be quicker if I stare at this wall and they take me by surprise."

 

This is something that should be handled by the pre-encounter narrative, and the GM should be sensitive to the PC's skills but also giving them a challenge. Sometimes you've gotta roll your bum skills.

If you're setting up an ambush, you can't "pretend" to not be aware. So the character staring at the wall is probably only going to be giving himself setbacks to his Cool check :)

But there are so many ways around bad initiative pools. The dynamic initiative system might allow for ambushing PCs to hide before rolling initiative, and plan to keep their heads down until the last initiative slots. Then the more combat-oriented PCs would take the first PC slots and lay down some damage. 

And there are times where you might be well within your rights to call for EITHER a Cool or Vigilance check, depending on how the players perceive their characters situation. Within reason, of course :) not "I'm staring at a wall covering my ears and humming the Imperial March."

 

Bottom line, it's all very situational. 


Edited by awayputurwpn, 23 July 2014 - 01:06 PM.

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#4 progressions

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 01:18 PM

1. Recovering strain

 

Recovering strain after an encounter by resting (beyond the Cool/Presence recovery) would be at the discretion of the GM.

 

If your party is on the run from the law, hiding out, and having to watch their back at every moment, the GM might determine that you're not able to rest and recover strain.

 

If you're not being actively pursued, or you've found a safehouse, or you're in your ship traveling several hours to another planet, then most likely you'd be able to rest and recover strain that way.

 

2. Shield direction

 

As mentioned, Gain the Advantage can allow the attack to choose which direction they attack. Also, narrative factors can determine which shield direction is being attacked as well.

 

3. Cool vs Vigilance

 

No, you can't "pretend" to be unaware. At least I wouldn't allow that.

 

If you want your Cool to be better than your Vigilance, there is a way to make that happen (by spending XP on it).


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#5 whafrog

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 01:21 PM

1. I'll preface by saying that not everyone agrees with my take on this :)  Strain doesn't heal/recover between encounters.  You get one shot after each encounter to recover some strain.  This is just a mechanic to prevent instant-full-recovery.  The reason to limit strain recovery by encounter is that presumably you'll be gaining more strain in each encounter.  But if by chance you took no strain in a new encounter, maybe the recovery roll reflects something that happened that you feel good about, and it relieved your mental stress; or maybe something bad happened and it triggered greater determination...however you want to narrate that is up to you.  Besides, there are often plenty of opportunities within the encounter itself to recover strain.

 

If the PCs are chilling for a few hours, or achieve some kind of milestone in a journey, I'll hand-wave the Strain back to zero, I have no problem with that.  But if they just finished a tense negotiation with a Hutt, and then walked down the street to go get a drink at the nearest bar and get into a brawl there, the strain from the first encounter will still be around IMHO.

 

2. No real comment other than to second what awayputurwpn said, plus there is no real positioning in this game.  They did include the shield directions and fire arcs, so my hope is that's in prep for a future more tactical way to do starship combat.

 

3. In your example that would still be Vigilance, because the PC doesn't know whether or when the stormtroopers might arrive.  Cool would be if he could see the stormtroopers and is waiting for them to get in range...but his Cool isn't high enough and he gives himself away by shooting too early, or sneezing at just the wrong moment...


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#6 khaine1969

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 01:02 AM

Cool is used in ambushes and surprise attacks because it represents your ability to sit still and wait for the opportune moment to start blazing or spring the trap. Vigilance is your awareness of the surroundings and ability to react at the drop of a hat.

If your the ambusher and are twitchy and undisciplined ( low cool) you might jump the gun and give your target time to react. If your the ambushee and are unobservant and undisciplined (low vigilance) then you react slower to what's going on.

 

T


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