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A few questions for a first time EotE GM


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#1 Broc27

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 10:14 AM

Hello there!

 

I am GM for this game for the first time next week (never played it either, I've been a GM for a WEG game for years) and I wanted to ask a few questions here before my first game. 

 

1. PC death in this game: I have a reputation for being a ruthless GM and some new players just joined in in this new campaign because they heard about this and wanted to try playing a game with me. We used to play D6 SW and PC death came often in my game; combat was rare but was very dangerous. However PC death seems much harder to achieve in EotE unless you incapacitate the whole party; I don't want to house rule the game right away (I want to play a few sessions by the book first), but do you find your players being reckless because of the rules? What I liked in my D6 games is that the players tried everything before direct confrontation. Now with stimpacks, hit points and critical injuries unlikely to lead to death I feel this will be harder to achieve, am I right? I understand the idea of getting the "Star Wars feel" by having combat being frequent and fun but my PCs are more the thinking type, taking a long time to plan encounters and resolve situations instead of having their characters draw blasters and kill their opponents. Also I find that the real possibility of death kept them invested in their characters more.

2. Streetwise vs knowledge (underworld): How different do you think these skills are? For example in my first sessions I plan the PCs to have to find possible traitors of their employer; I'd like them to find who to talk to (discretely) in order to determine who in the ranks of their criminal organisation may be planning to sell their employer out. Both skills seem suited for this task, but streetwise seems more adapted to this? How would you play this out?

3. The "opposite" of streetwise: in a future session I'd like the PCs to be asked to attend a fancy dinner in the high spheres of society to gain some information. Since their characters are ill suited for this kind of task (this is EotE) which skill would permit them to blend in? I mean they'd have to understand the etiquette of a dinner like this, discern who is important and who is not, dress appropriately, speak appropriately etc. I thought about having them use their Education skill, would that be right? What I feel I'd need though is the opposite of Streetwise, but for the "high spheres" of society.

Thanks for taking the time! I am thrilled to try these new rules; we still had a lot of fun with D6 Star Wars but I feel trying something fresh like EotE will make playing feel like new again! That and the quality of FFG work on its books really impressed me :-)

P.S. English is my second language, please excuse the poor quality of my writing!

 



#2 2P51

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 10:23 AM

1.  Death scales up as you advance and actually advanced characters are in far more danger.  When you start adding opponents with ranks of Lethal Blows and weapons with Vicious the bonuses to crit rolls pile up.  Plus an advanced character can suffer more hits but will as a result tend to pile up more than a single crit, whereas beginning characters tend to be incapacitated more quickly and not run the risk of multiple crits.

 

2.  Streetwise is a social skill, knowing how to carry yourself, speak in shady circles, who typically can be found to find information.  Knowledge(Underworld) is an analyst who pours through reams of information to learn the details of local gangs and figures. The Streetwise player has the social skills to put the information to work practically.  They're complimentary but not synonymous.

 

3.  In your example I'd go with Charm or Deception for the social skills, I'd use Knowledge(Inner/Outer/whatever) for the information to avoid social missteps in an unfamiliar environment.  So Charm/Deception for directly interacting, Knowledge for knowing when to keep your mouth shut or who to interact with and how.


Edited by 2P51, 03 August 2014 - 11:09 AM.

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#3 Ghostofman

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 10:51 AM

1) nope! Having to sit the fight out isn't fun. But if you do decide to house rule be careful, the current damage system assumes the players won't get killed unless the gm is planning to do so.

2) The look similar, but are not. Know: Underworld just allows you to learn things about the underworld. Who runs what racket, who's in lockup, which gang works with which smuggling operation, the like. So in the case of your question, this is the skill you want. But it won't put you in contact with them, or get you an in with their operation.

Streetwise allows you to collect info or gain access to resources that can, but don't have to be, part of the underworld. So while streetwise can hook you up with a good spice dealer, it can also hook you up with the latest local skuttlebutt, a budding alliance cell, an underground Hutt porn ring, or whatever, be they part of an actual criminal organization, or free operators.

3)Education works, knowledge: core words works too. As for the opposite of streetwise, that's usually negotiation, but in the context you present I'd consider charm more appropriate.
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#4 progressions

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 02:09 PM

One thing that's common in this system is for multiple skills to apply to a given check. They might just represent different ways of attempting the same outcome.

 

Here's how I might play this:

 

So a Streetwise check might represent the characters actually going out on the street, hitting the bars, seedy chop shops, and criminal hangouts, talking directly to people and getting answers that way.

 

Underworld might represent a more cerebral approach--digging through bank records of known criminal front organizations, cross-referencing details about who was seen with whom in what situation, and making use of the PCs's own memory and historic knowledge of the underworld.

 

They could both arrive at the outcome, but do it through different paths.

 

Likewise with Charm, Deception and Education as different ways to impress at a fancy party.

 

With Charm, your character sweet-talks and flirts with people to such a degree that (if he succeeds) they consider him the life of the party and don't ever question who he is or why he's there. You might grant a Setback if the PC isn't dressed for the party, or a Boost if they're able to find just the right clothes to fit in.

 

Deception might involve passing himself off as someone specific who has a reason to be at the party, and represent how well he makes that case to the people he speaks to.

 

Education could represent the PC doing research about the setting of the party, or about the special occasion or the people who are attending. If he knows all the details of the host's family and their business, he might find a crowd at the party where he fits in and makes a good impression.

 

The circumstances could be different in each case, and the difficulty of the check can depend completely on how they're attempting it and what the situation is.


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#5 R2builder

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 04:42 AM

This is kind of funny...I was just typing up an email to my group about some of these very things. I will share it with you:
"Ok, just some quick thoughts and clarifications for everyone. This still being new to me, I do get confused at times, and get the different systems intertwined!! So here are a couple of clarifications that I have seen this group and my past group get a little confused with.

Critical hits: if you can earn enough triumph or advantage to inflict more than one crit, you only roll once on the crit chart for that one hit. For each crit you archived beyond the first, you add +10 to the crit D100 roll. Crit hits are cumalitive, so if you rolled enough for "2 crits" you would roll D100+10. If the NPC gets crited by another player, it is now D100+20 and so on.

When wound or strain threshold is exceeded, the character passes out and is incapacitated, but is not dead. The character will continue to track damage up to twice the wound threshold. When wound threshold is exceeded it automatically triggers a critical hit.
RAW in the the ECRB does not say what happens after twice the Wound Treshold is reached. (I will rule that you no longer track damage, but each successful hit is another crit.)

Character death. There has been much confusion about this one. RAW: The only time in the book that charter death is mentioned is in the crit chart. %151+ character dies."

Stim packs healing gets less each time you use one. 5,4,3,2,1...can no longer help out that 24 hour period.

Far be it from me to judge, but it seems that you want to achieve character death. If that is what you want to do is then download OggDudes char gen and just build 900 XP baddies and there you go. I have been in those High Death rate games before, and I know for us, investment in a character was the last thing we had.

So pretty much the only way a character can die RAW, is if the GM sets out to kill them. Now I am not saying a stupid player/character is immortal. I feel a player can choose to die easier than a GM can make them die. If you have one on one combat, if the PC gets knocked out, it wouldn't be hard to put him out of his misery.

I do reward stupid things with harsh realities. In my last group I ran Beyond the Rim module. As 99% of the group was exploring the Sa Nalor wreck, one character decided he should sneak on board the NPC crews ship and try to steal it. I gave home plenty of opportunities to leave, and he heard a few people talking, and went into that room and opens fire. It was a pretty brutal encounter, and one he did live through, but was incapaticed. Before this happened, the PCs and NPCs worked out an agreement to share the find. Stopping a very potential combat encounter. After this, the NPCs drug the unconscious player before the group. They demanded all salvage rights, all profits, everything from this find in exchange for the would be assassin/starship thief. The group said no, the NPCs capped him. Dead character. The player was kind of mad at me, because he thought he would just face a couple of minions, not a few Rivals. But, oh well...

I do find that most of the players I had are not reckless. I won't kill a character just becuase I made my NPCs to hard. And most of the times I feel I have to do the "forced combat" with my groups just so I can roll some dice and have a little fun too.

Good luck with your game.

By the way, your English is better than most of us on here... :)

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#6 Naglareph

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 05:52 AM

I have nothing more to add to the informations given by all the others before me.

I'll just add a small thing concerning High Class Society, I have used a custom skill, which acts a something more than the others.

 

I created the Etiquette skill, it acts as such the player undertstands the nuances of proper behaviour during dinners or other meetings of different events. In many cases, knowing how to broach a topic is as important as the discussion itself, and a person with poor etiquette will never have an opportunity to make herself heard because she dosen't know when or how to interject.

This skill is used during meetings, haggling, seduction, dancing, diner etiquette, and all forms of diplomacy (and not romantic seduction for example).

 

It would be graded as such :

 

  1. A novice that knows when to shut up.
  2. Has been to a couple black tie events.
  3. the character knows it's way around silverware.
  4. A member of a royal family would consider you as charming.
  5. The character could stop wars at dinner -- Or start them.

 

It's the readaptation of the VTM skill of the same name. Many of my players are players/GM of that game, and so am I.

 

And I repeat it, it's a skill only made for Diplomacy and nothing else!


Edited by Naglareph, 04 August 2014 - 05:54 AM.

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#7 Broc27

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 05:01 PM

Thanks a lot to all for your answers!!

 

1. Yes, I do plan to kill PCs but no, I don't want it to be "planned" (important nuance here). I want combat to be dangerous. Right now the rules make the party almost invincible, and with the rules written as is even if I wanted badly to kill a PC but stick to the rules I would have a very hard time doing it without going really out of my way to do it. In my actual D6 game PC death kind of happens once in a while because the rules make combat dangerous and that's what I want to replicate here. I will probably house rule something to the effect of Two Crits = death, I still have to think about it.

 

2. Thanks for making the difference between knowledge (underworld) and streetwise to me. 

 

3. Naglareph, the "Etiquette" skill is clearly what I was looking for (a presence skill I guess?). I know that using Education, Charm and Deception might work but it is not like using the equivalent of streetwise. Streetwise fills that role for dealing with the underworld; a character good in streetwise will manage to not look or feel "out of place" when dealing with criminals and such. It could still use charm, deception and knowledge skills to achieve this but FFG created streetwise for a reason. So when dealing with "high class society" I feel the equivalent is needed and Etiquette is a very good idea!



#8 R2builder

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 05:51 PM

Wow, two crits = death!? Your whole party can be gone in 60 seconds. Crits in this game happen a lot, but are not like the "Crits of D20" in Edge crits represent a good lasting blow to the character. Most weapons need about 4 or 5 advantage to crit, with weapon mods and talents it can drop to one or two advantages.

You seem really eager to kill a/the PC(s). That is your prerogative, for me I've never understood the need or want to murder the characters. To each their own I guess.

Good luck with your game.
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#9 progressions

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 06:02 PM

Keep in mind that your players might find it a bit of a waste to be expected to invest XP in a custom Etiquette skill unless they were reasonably going to be involved in a lot of high society events over a big period of your campaign, especially when the existing social skills work extremely well for their specific purposes.

 

I certainly wouldn't appreciate being unable to use the Charm or Deception that I'd already purchased (given that the existing social skills cover most uses really well) but being forced to use a custom Etiquette skill for a one-time event.

 

But if that's your campaign's thing, go for it.


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#10 Desslok

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 07:08 PM

1. Yes, I do plan to kill PCs but no, I don't want it to be "planned" (important nuance here). I want combat to be dangerous. Right now the rules make the party almost invincible, and with the rules written as is even if I wanted badly to kill a PC but stick to the rules I would have a very hard time doing it without going really out of my way to do it. In my actual D6 game PC death kind of happens once in a while because the rules make combat dangerous and that's what I want to replicate here. I will probably house rule something to the effect of Two Crits = death, I still have to think about it.

 

Egads, man! 2 critical equals a kill? You better be playing Paranoia style, with 5 more PC clones in the wings just waiting for Friend Computer to deploy them! I'm damn lucky to get out of a scrap with minions without a couple of critical.

 

The game is tough to die in because it's emulating the source material, where players are expected (and encouraged) to get into a laser whip duel with a rival on a spinning platform of spikes over a yawning abyss. I seem to have a sense of dejavu about this sentence, but being reckless and batshit crazy is the bread and butter of the Star Wars (and the Saturday Morning Serials that Star Wars is a homage to) genre.

 

If that's your style of play - deadly - then more power to you, but understand that the engine doesn't really emulate that. That said, there's nothing saying that GM common sense cant override the rules. If you feel that the player should well and truly be dead from that direct hit from a TIE Fighter blast, then just make it so. Ignore what the game engine says and go with your GM gut.

 

 

 


3. The "opposite" of streetwise: in a future session I'd like the PCs to be asked to attend a fancy dinner in the high spheres of society to gain some information. Since their characters are ill suited for this kind of task (this is EotE) which skill would permit them to blend in? I mean they'd have to understand the etiquette of a dinner like this, discern who is important and who is not, dress appropriately, speak appropriately etc. I thought about having them use their Education skill, would that be right? What I feel I'd need though is the opposite of Streetwise, but for the "high spheres" of society.

 

Instead of creating a new skill, I'd just justify the one of the old ones based on the setting. If you're at a Courscant dinner, call it Core Worlds. If you're at a Bespin fashion show, call it Outer Rim Worlds and call it good.

 

Let me direct you to page 237 and a long list of non-starship skills that the game encourages you to use during starship combat. Consider the Athletics skill, a skill that has NOTHING to do with flying a ship - however, a player can use to repair hull by going "My character rips up some deck plating and holds it over the hole in the hull! Someone come here and weld this in place!"

 

Having dinner with a crime lord? How about streetwise to know what fork the scum and villainy like use. Xenology to know how Hutts are suppose to eat? Underworld to draw upon knowledge of how this guy throws his parties? Stealth to cover up the fact that you're just eating with your knife? With Education, perhaps the character attended Mrs Stinson's School for Young Girls? Deception to make it sound convincing - "Oh, the manner in the core has changed since you were there last! It's all the rage these days. Eating with that fork is SO last season. Clearly you backwater rubes don't keep up!"

 

The core book pretty much says: If you can justify it, you can use it.


Edited by Desslok, 05 August 2014 - 07:23 PM.

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#11 Castlecruncher

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 07:35 PM

The threat of missing limbs gets the PCs scared of Crits pretty quick, as do other permanent effects. If you wish to make death easier, you could simply say that every so-and-so Wounds beyond their Threshhold will cause a Crit; maybe every two, if you feel serious about it, or saying that after double over their Wound Threshhold each single Wound is a Crit, or is just death (i.e. 12 Thresh, after 24 Wounds they take another Crit per Wound/death at that point).

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#12 Broc27

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 10:25 PM

Ok, thanks again for all of your responses.

 

1. Yeah, I understand that some people don't agree with my idea of PC death probability but I think FFG made the rules, as some of you said, to make sure PCs don't die unless plot or the GM requires it for some reason. That doesn't suit me and my players and a compromise would have been better for us. By the way I am not a crazy GM, I've been playing a D6 Star Wars game with the same friends since 1995 and death has always been a relatively frequent occurence, making my games more challenging than the norm and forcing players to think things through and get very creative to avoid combat or make sure they have the upper hand when conflit arises. Friends of friends who heard (positive) things about my game over the years have recently joined us to try EotE, so I must be doing something right.

We created their characters yesterday and plan to play our first session soon. I will try the rules "as is" first and if the game feels too easy for them and combat non-threatening I will house rule but I take note of what was said here; two crits = death may be extreme, I will wait and see how the system works in practice before changing anything.

2. I understand that creating a whole new "Etiquette" skill only for a few scenes or sessions may be a bit much, I will think this through.

Thanks again for the feedback!






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