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"Only fools look for fair fights..."


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#1 NGnear

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 07:33 PM

... a direct quote from one of my players... :)

 

So, I'm currently running the Operation Shadowpoint add-on for the AoR Beginner's Game, having started there a half-dozen sessions ago.  My players have played through the majority of the suggested adventure seeds, and are ready for the final showdown.  They have, however, thrown me a bit of a curveball in terms of derailing the plans for the final showdown.  Context (with spoilers) under the Spoiler link:

 

Spoiler

 

Anyway, to my question:  My players have a knack of using their heads to throw major wrenches into planned encounters way before they happen - the last encounter of Whisper Base lasted long enough for the Ace character to roll an AT-ST gunnery attack check on an unarmoured personnel-scale target due to their foresight (or complete blind luck, depending on how you look at it).

 

In this case, they've prevented the Moff from turning up with anything resembling heavy weaponry, turning the climactic fight for survival into something much more closely matched, even accounting for their hero status. 

 

Do any other GMs have any advice here?  I'm tempted to push things through with the Moff's forces significantly reduced, as their actions have had a major effect, even at the cost of reducing the drama.  To hand-wave around their critical thinking seems like a bit of a cheat.



#2 evileeyore

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 09:09 PM

Do any other GMs have any advice here?  I'm tempted to push things through with the Moff's forces significantly reduced, as their actions have had a major effect, even at the cost of reducing the drama.  To hand-wave around their critical thinking seems like a bit of a cheat.

Is there any real reason Moff Dardano isn't "plugged in" to what the Imperials are up to on th eplanet? IE, he should know that an alert has issued heightening security and patrol presences time "almost coincidentally" for his planned strike.

Also his scout failed to return. So he should know his plans have been leaked to the interlopers.

He should either hold back and alter his plans to strike from a different area (and with a different dispostion of forces) or press immediately and strike before the local Imperial forces are completely aware.

It's also possible the Moff has influence within the local forces and arrange for an "open landing" window or to get covert clearance. I'm presuming he is not the local Authority and his presence is at best semi-legal (I haven't read the mission).
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#3 Joker Two

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 11:41 PM

Do any other GMs have any advice here?  I'm tempted to push things through with the Moff's forces significantly reduced, as their actions have had a major effect, even at the cost of reducing the drama.  To hand-wave around their critical thinking seems like a bit of a cheat.

 

I fail to see at all how this will reduce the drama.  Instead of being confronted by an arrogant and collected Moff commanding overwhelming force, they will instead be dragged into a three-way free-for-all against both the bewildered local Imperial troops and the by-now enraged Moff, either or both of which might be manipulated by enterprising and creative players like the ones you describe!

 

They have already dramatically altered the campaign's "ending" from what the established material, since one way or another the local garrison will be alerted to someone's interference.  The opportunities for misdirection, agitation, and general PC shenanigans are greatly expanded, since they've all but ensured there will be at least some disagreement and mistrust between the garrison and the Moff, if not open conflict.  The players will just have to think on their feet, which will ratchet the intensity up another level or two!


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#4 awayputurwpn

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 12:11 AM

Couldn't the Moff get wind of such difficulties and work his way around them? Surely he would be able to respond to changing situations appropriately and still throw something challenging at the PCs. Like a plan B. He might have something of a devious nature up sleeves.

#5 KJDavid

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 05:53 AM

Your PCs have worked hard over several sessions to set up this 'derailing'. In no particular order they:

  • Have been circumspect about their activities on the planet (e.g. - the aforementioned misdirection).
  • Captured an enemy scout and succeeded in interrogating him.
  • Came up with a really good, practical idea that plays off the Empire's own practices and pulled in a Triumph with advantages in service of it. 

Basically, your PCs deserve to win indirectly in this way. If you have Dardano do what he would do anyway in spite of all their hard work, success, and good planning, then why were you even making them roll dice? If you negate all their hard work simply to stay true to the 'adventure', then, in the future, why should they bother to be careful, creative, or smart?

 

Ignore your GM instincts to make things harder on them for no good reason. Ignore the printed adventure. Play to what your players have done, they'll be happier for it, and you'll have a more enjoyable game.


Edited by KJDavid, 01 September 2014 - 05:54 AM.

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#6 knasserII

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 07:38 AM

"Better playing with a lion's whelp, than with an old one dying."

Or to put it another way, you think an arrogant and powerful Moff is dangerous, wait until you see a desperate one about to lose everything.

Cleverness like this has to be rewarded. I don't actually the know the original plot but it sounds like it would be a desperate fight for survival against overwhelming odds. Change that. Send the Moff or much of his forces crashing down onto the planet, make it spectacular. Now the PCs are in the middle of a terrible much more evenly matched battle. And they get to see why a Moff is actually a Moff - you don't get to that position by scratching your bum. Play him smart, deadly and on the backfoot. Make the game about capturing / killing him, not just surviving. Players will LOVE your version of "The Most Dangerous Game" where they're hunting down a vicious and deadly opponent and his surviving troops (some regulars, some elites).

There's still lots to lose if they mess up, but now there's much to gain, too. Roll with it - the game is no longer survival, it's can they WIN! This is their chance to triumph, but it wont be easy. All too easy for him to get away or still pull some deadly stunts and cost the lives of those they care about. Make it hard, vicious and give them their chance at his throat.
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#7 awayputurwpn

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 09:17 AM

Note also that, at the end of the adventure, there is a last-ditch effort written into the adventure. Moff Dardano flies a souped-up TIE Bomber with a custom bomb to wipe out Whisper Base. So...perhaps the PCs have simply stepped up this eventuality! 


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#8 whafrog

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 11:17 AM

I agree with KJDavid, the players deserve their reward.  Don't spring any unusual surprises on them, but perhaps the scout doesn't know everything...make that some minor shift.

 

In any case, don't bring the Moff himself.  The Moff will now be desperate, maybe he contacts the PCs later and offers money, power, whatever it takes.  If that fails, he comes in with all available force, maybe convinces the other Imperial base that this was a Rebel listening post all along...  Of course, the PCs should have a chance to get wind of such plans...


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#9 KJDavid

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 11:51 AM

Listen to awayputurwpn. Have the Imperial garrison forces seize Dardano's freighter. He escapes in his converted TIE Bomber feeling he has no choice but to deal with this embarrassment himself immediately.


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#10 FuriousGreg

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 01:22 PM

Whatever you do never penalize your Players for coming up with good plans to out smart their opponents. If they've turned this encounter into something more manageable then they should reap the rewards of their success.

This doesn't mean you can't beef up the encounter a bit to keep it interesting but make sure they see their success otherwise your Players will feel like it doesn't matter what they do because the end result will still be the same and the'll loose interest in doing anything at all.


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#11 evileeyore

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 02:26 PM

Listen to awayputurwpn. Have the Imperial garrison forces seize Dardano's freighter. He escapes in his converted TIE Bomber feeling he has no choice but to deal with this embarrassment himself immediately.

Keeping in mind I haven't read the adventure yet...

That's probably exactly how I'd do it. Give your Pilot character enough time to get in the air and try an intercept while the other characters are organizing an executing an "abandon building" plan just in case.

#12 Dupre Vanhaus

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 05:00 PM

I rarely run adventures as written or prepared.  99 times out of 100, if I spend 100 hours on a large story arc, by the time we get to the end of it, it looks NOTHING like what I had planned other than overall plot...  in 98 out of those 99, the story turns out to be better than what I had.  The players will find ways to make it much richer.  I've learned to instead detail a few key NPCs, grab a few minion groups/ships, and build together a few smaller arcs that fit into a larger arc, and go with it... at times, minor characters in the game become major NPCs...  it adds a consistent feel to the game that way.

 

An experienced GM will flow with whatever happens and can often find ways to "hide" the fact that things weren't planned exactly that way. Most of the time, my players can't tell I've "winged" a good part of the adventure.  If the players do something that you don't expect, take 5 minutes as a break to set things up, think about the situation, and then go with it.  Just make notes for your reference.  Then reshape your story to fit what really happened and make it better.  In my current Edge of the Empire game, the arc has been modified several times, but in the end, it won't matter because it will be EXACTLY where the story needs to be... my players are writing it...  I'm just guiding them and filling in the gaps.  

 

My point is, like someone else said... don't penalize the players... instead think of how things would have changed and roll with it.  The players won by out of the box thinking... congratulate and reward them!  Remember as a GM, it is not a YOU vs THEM thing...  


Edited by Dupre Vanhaus, 01 September 2014 - 05:02 PM.

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Rebellion: X(4), E(4), Y(2), A(2), B(2), Z-95 (3), HWK (3), GR-75(1), CR-90(1)

Empire: TIE/F(4), TIE/A(1), TIE/I(2), TIE/B(3), TIE/D(3), TIE/P(4), Firespray(1)

RPGs: Edge of the Empire, Age of Rebellion, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica


#13 Yaccarus

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 06:32 PM

All things considered, the only thing the PCs control is their character's creativity. Creativity should be rewarded.


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#14 NGnear

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 06:40 PM

Thanks for the responses, sorry, it's been a busy couple of days.

 

Good to know my gut feeling is in line with a lot of what people are saying - that the players have achieved something and their efforts should be rewarded.

 

First up, I will point out that I'm doing my best not to have the "official" (non-Moff) Imperials know about the base - the Players have done an excellent job of redirection to keep their attention away from themselves, and I don't see a consistent way of having the official Imperials be involved with the battle and leave the base alone afterwards.

 

The actions they've managed to pull will give them a break - no AT-AT from the Moff as his freighter is intercepted.  His remaining forces, troops on foot who will deploy from a few light freighters.  I'll keep the TIE Bomber as an end-of-encounter climax with potential for the Moff to survive for an on-foot showdown as the he behaves like a cornered dog... :-)


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