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#1 GM Stark

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 08:47 AM

-title quote: Obi Wan Kenobi

Apparently not.  -Anakin Skywalker

 

 

 

It's something we probably would rather not discuss.  Probably the one thing that, were we droids, we would not mind wiping from memory.  Those of us who have GMed for a long time have certainly made many mistakes.  For the benefit of new GMs, let's share some of the past decisions we've made that we really regret.  

 

Allowing too many modifications/alterations or whatever, based on back story.  

OK, here's an incident I referred to in another thread.  I was the first to GM d20 Star Wars for my group.  During character creation, one player asked if his Force Adept could have as his simple weapon, a staff that collapses into a compact canister, inspired by the Rangers' Minbari fighting pikes in Babylon 5.  It wasn't much of a change.  It basically allowed him to have a melee weapon (and not a powerful one at that) that was more highly concealable than its standard version.  So far, I have no regrets about allowing it.  

 

What happened next, I have no excuse for.  Another player, who had a Jedi Guardian, wanted to take this modification a step (OK, a few steps) farther.  He decided to base his character on the Minbari warrior caste. Here is where I lost all sense of reason.  First I let him select a double bladed instead of standard beginning lightsaber.  Then, I let him convince me to allow a mod for a red blade that did more damage (which took on his word, but realized it was from a d6 unofficial sourcebook).  Finally, and probably the worst, I let him add a fighting pike mod where the saber had solid sleeves that extended out from the handle, making it a solid staff instead. (essentially giving it a non-lethal setting)  

 

Now you might think that adding a damage bonus is worse than letting him change it into a less powerful weapon, but the real negative in doing this was the impact it had on the group.  At the very least, I should have asked Player 1 if he minded Player 2 utilizing an aspect of his idea.  What ended up happening was that Player 1, whose idea stemmed from adding a certain flavor to his character, had his idea one-upped by Player 2, who already had a huge advantage in combat to begin with.  

 

In retrospect, what a dumb move.  At the time, I just didn't want to say "no."  And I didn't have to exactly say "no" but perhaps I should have said "not yet."  Oh, and as for the back story part, Player 2 had read many of the B5 books, and relayed various cultural reasons why the "Minbari" Jedi would have red lightsabers.  In retrospect, it appears that this back story was reverse engineered to justify a bonus.  

 

I am happy to report that both players still get along, and I am still asked to GM the games.

 

We live and learn.  

 

OK, your turn.  Let's make this a safe space to help new GMs learn from our mistakes.  (I have plenty more to share in time)  

 

 



#2 Rookhelm

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 12:17 PM

I'm a novice GM, so i only have one, less dramatic, story.

 

We finished up Escape from Mos Shuuta, and followed up with Long Arm of the Hutt.  At the beginning of the adventure, the players discovered a tracking beacon on the ship somewhere.

 

They soon discvoered it was on the outside of the ship.  One of our players was a Droid, so he rightfully pointed out he didn't need a suit to go to the outside of the ship.  I was not prepared for this, so what could have been an interesting scene involving various coordination checks and knowledge checks as he climbed around on the outside of the ship, ended up being a mediocre, "okay, you're on the outside of the ship, now roll for Mechanics to remove it".  Success.

 

Furthermore, since I wasn't prepared for them to remove the tracker, I still had them tracked to Ryloth as per the adventure text without any changes.

 

In hindsight, I could have done things differently, it was just completely unexpected.



#3 Blue Dog

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 02:35 PM

I'm a novice GM, so i only have one, less dramatic, story.

 

We finished up Escape from Mos Shuuta, and followed up with Long Arm of the Hutt.  At the beginning of the adventure, the players discovered a tracking beacon on the ship somewhere.

 

They soon discvoered it was on the outside of the ship.  One of our players was a Droid, so he rightfully pointed out he didn't need a suit to go to the outside of the ship.  I was not prepared for this, so what could have been an interesting scene involving various coordination checks and knowledge checks as he climbed around on the outside of the ship, ended up being a mediocre, "okay, you're on the outside of the ship, now roll for Mechanics to remove it".  Success.

 

Furthermore, since I wasn't prepared for them to remove the tracker, I still had them tracked to Ryloth as per the adventure text without any changes.

 

In hindsight, I could have done things differently, it was just completely unexpected.

 

Uh wow, I had to double check at first to make sure I hadn't posted here and then forgotten. I had the *exact same thing* happen to me. My players figured out the tracking device was outside and wanted to stop and take it off in a spacewalk. I didn't let them and we had a long and convoluted arguement that the only planet nearby was in a direct line of site and it would 'ping' itself whenever it came out of hyperspace so the bounty hunters would still know where they were going, blah blah blah.

 

I wouldn't beat yourself up over it, nowadays if my players wanted to go for a spacewalk while the ship was in hyperspace I'd let say sure, go nuts.

 

I also wanted to let my players get some new gear since they hadn't gotten anything since the geonosian blasters in long arm of the hutt, but I foolishly let one of them buy a flechette pistol from an unofficial gear list. Looking at it afterwards I realized it has bonuses a mile wide, blast 6 and all sorts of stuff. The PC is also a drug-addicted lunatic so this won't end well, but I think it'll still be funny. The plus side is it only has 8 shots and I'm going to make it a highly advanced prototype, where making new rounds is incredibly difficult without machining your own parts.



#4 Split Light

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 03:52 PM

While I can't think of any specific incidents at the moment, I know my past has been checkered with little snafoos.  The vast majority probably boil down to me wanting to keep a player happy, so not saying no when I should  This ultimately results in more unhappiness when I either have to take whatever it is away, or explain it to the other players.


Edited by Split Light, 26 August 2013 - 03:53 PM.


#5 windupmonkey

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 05:35 PM

It's been my experience as a GM that PCs will *always* find a way to stuff up at least one of your carefully-made plans in each session. The attitude I've always had is that if the PCs are having fun, then just roll with it.


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#6 GM Stark

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 06:03 PM

Thanks for sharing those.  I have more to offer, such as...

 

The awkward moment when you realize your players just captured a Victory Class Destroyer.

 

This was back in d6 version, but the GM errors carry over exactly.  As has been said, I wanted to keep the players happy, and they wanted to attempt it.  It's been a while, but I think they (or their allies) had managed to knock out the weapons on one section, and I made the docking attempt too easy.  Then, because I didn't want the game to be "too lethal", I only threw small groups of security forces, a few at time, instead of the all out defenses they should have faced. I had established that the captain was rather cowardly, so when they reached the bridge, he pretty much surrendered.  

 

Overall, I managed to recover.  That had been the end of the night, otherwise, I might have thrown in more challenges, like the engineers sabotaging the ship, or setting a self destruct.  Now, the campaign was pretty much a Rebel Privateer angle anyway, I just never planned on them scoring a catch that big.   



#7 LibrariaNPC

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 07:36 PM

I think I have more of these than I'd like to admit.

 

But I think the best related one was during a Star Wars d20 campaign. It was the second game, the party was just getting comfortable with each other and what they had to work with, and were spending a bit of time on the ground to take care of business and to get some supplies for their lemon of a YT-1300.

 

The pilot of the group, a Corellian, asked if there was a way to find out the other ships that were docked; I assumed that it was due to them being followed, so I allowed them to slice into the system to learn about all the ships nearby. I provided a small list of ships, and he wanted the group to go with him to check out a YT-2400 that was a few landing pads over.

 

As soon as he saw the ship, he looked to the Given of the party and said "Crack it." What I didn't realize until that point was the intention; they didn't want to see the competition, but they wanted to steal a new ship. . .starting with the heavily modified ship of one of my recurring villains. Even when the villain came by due to the silent alarm on the ship, the party was easily able to subdue him due to the stun mechanic of the game.

 

So at level 2, the party got their hands on a ship of a psuedo-Emperor's Hand, overrode the AI, and were very difficult to handle in ship combat.

 

What did I learn? Do not trust a Corellian pilot when he asks about other ships that are docked.

 

 

Of course, this is just the big messup and doesn't include the stuff I just "allowed" to happen, whether because it was amusing, funny, fitting, or something I overlooked, like the Given of the party getting a Barloz freighter and turning it into an automated droid-and-explosive factory, the ex-Stormtrooper getting Mandalorian Armor to imitate Boba Fett, or the Force Adept-turned-Jedi Guardian getting his hands amputated and replaced with specialized cybernetics that had specialized lightsaber crystals installed to create lightsaber claws.


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#8 fjw70

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 08:35 PM

My worst one was when I first started DMing 4e D&D the party was facing a black dragon. This was one of the earlier poorly designed solo monsters. The dragon cast darkness around himself so the PC couldn't see him. In 4e in that situation anyone targeting the dragon would be considered blinded and get a -5 penalty to hit on melee and ranged attacks. I mistakenly applied the penalty to area attacks also and with a couple controllers in the party that significantly increased the time the battle took.

The next time we played I admitted my mistake and gave each PC an extra action point for that session.

#9 Rookhelm

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 07:16 AM

or the Force Adept-turned-Jedi Guardian getting his hands amputated and replaced with specialized cybernetics that had specialized lightsaber crystals installed to create lightsaber claws.

 

 

Good lord, lol



#10 rogue_09

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 09:15 AM

I ran a brief game of Star Wars Saga Edition d20, mostly just for kicks and to learn how to GM in general. Initially, I just had two players with a third character they could control if wanted. I had a hard time wrapping my head around combat creation and making a balanced fight, especially with only three PCs.

First session was fine. Brief fist fight with an uppity Twi'lek and his cronies which led to them getting arrested and staging a jailbreak with a mysterious Duros who started giving them work.

Because they handled combat just fine the first session, I decided to beef it up a bit for the second. All I did was add one more level 1 Thug and replaced one NPC with one slightly higher level. First combat encounter, second round: TPK. They went down almost instantly.

As it was an "unofficial" game, we just retconned the TPK and kept playing. I never really *got* the d20 system. Building encounters was such a hassle that it wasn't fun for me. That's why I'm excited for this system. Everything makes perfect sense. I'm starting a six player game this weekend.

#11 kaosoe

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 10:31 AM

I've had a lot of bad instances in my GMing career, some of my earliest ones were mainly because I didn't completely understand the rules of the system I was using. That's mainly the reason why I am now a huge rules lawyer, so I don't make those mistakes again.

 

Besides those times, I remember in one case, I was running a d20 WoW game (all my room mates played WoW so it was something they were familiar with). The conclusion of the adventure had the heroes going to the bottom of the Maelstrom to the "Temple of Sacrifice". The players hacked and slashed their way through the entire temple and defeated the Big Bad. In order to stop the calamity that was beset upon the helpless folks of Azeroth, the PCs had to sacrifice one of their own.

 

My wife (who was just my girlfriend at the time), decided to be the sacrifice, but she was not happy and it is still a sore subject with her. I have since learned the valuable lessons of not purposely killing off a character.

 

I chalk it off as being a young and dumb GM.


Edited by kaosoe, 27 August 2013 - 10:32 AM.

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#12 Voice

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 11:07 AM

I think I have more of these than I'd like to admit.

 

But I think the best related one was during a Star Wars d20 campaign. It was the second game, the party was just getting comfortable with each other and what they had to work with, and were spending a bit of time on the ground to take care of business and to get some supplies for their lemon of a YT-1300.

 

The pilot of the group, a Corellian, asked if there was a way to find out the other ships that were docked; I assumed that it was due to them being followed, so I allowed them to slice into the system to learn about all the ships nearby. I provided a small list of ships, and he wanted the group to go with him to check out a YT-2400 that was a few landing pads over.

 

As soon as he saw the ship, he looked to the Given of the party and said "Crack it." What I didn't realize until that point was the intention; they didn't want to see the competition, but they wanted to steal a new ship. . .starting with the heavily modified ship of one of my recurring villains. Even when the villain came by due to the silent alarm on the ship, the party was easily able to subdue him due to the stun mechanic of the game.

 

So at level 2, the party got their hands on a ship of a psuedo-Emperor's Hand, overrode the AI, and were very difficult to handle in ship combat.

 

The Saga game I'm playing in has almost the same scenario going on, though we're 6th level.  We have a *very* sweet ride at this point, but once I realized just *how* choice this ship was, I talked with the GM after the session, and we came to a realization.

 

Given:

  1. We're wanted by the Empire, dead.  (Alive is *probably* acceptable as well, but that would just be a short-term inconvenience for the Empire.)
  2. The ship is freaking awesome, and we could probably handle 2-3 full squadrons of TIE fighters being thrown at us.
  3. The ship is virtually unique, and will stand out like a sore thumb anywhere we go.
  4. The Empire will want the ship back.

We have, in our possession, a solid platinum, Stygium crystal studded, time bomb.  It probably won't take more than a session or two for the rest of the party to realize that keeping the ship would be the biggest mistake we could *ever* make.  Heck, the thing has an Imperial HoloNet transceiver, so it's not like they'll have trouble finding us once we hit a system with HoloNet access.

 

My plans include convincing the group to find a *very* 'discrete' buyer, perhaps a collector with few scruples, and do an even swap on the ship for something like a stock YT-1300 so we can blend in with the crowd a bit.


Edited by Voice, 27 August 2013 - 11:08 AM.

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#13 kmanweiss

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 12:43 PM

Playing the beginner game of EOTE, my players ended up convincing themselves that they'd have to eventually ditch the stolen ship they had.  And since someone had offerred them a pretty nice reward for taking out the Hutt, they decided that the best option they had was to simply crash the stolen ship directly into the Hutt's palace.

 

Since they were all familiar with the layout, they knew where to point the ship to have the most likely chance of killing him.  They dropped a couple people off, then the pilot made a very difficult piloting check and took an escape pod to safety.

 

The adventure allows the Hutt to be killed with a pointy chandalier....so I figured a YT1300 would have a similar effect.

 

Best part was since the entire adventure happens over just a few days, most people would have just assumed Trex suffered a mechanical failure and crashed into the palace.  The only people that knew any different were all at the palace.  So the players got off free and clear without ever having to go back to the palace.



#14 Rookhelm

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 12:21 PM

Playing the beginner game of EOTE, my players ended up convincing themselves that they'd have to eventually ditch the stolen ship they had.  And since someone had offerred them a pretty nice reward for taking out the Hutt, they decided that the best option they had was to simply crash the stolen ship directly into the Hutt's palace.

 

Since they were all familiar with the layout, they knew where to point the ship to have the most likely chance of killing him.  They dropped a couple people off, then the pilot made a very difficult piloting check and took an escape pod to safety.

 

The adventure allows the Hutt to be killed with a pointy chandalier....so I figured a YT1300 would have a similar effect.

 

Best part was since the entire adventure happens over just a few days, most people would have just assumed Trex suffered a mechanical failure and crashed into the palace.  The only people that knew any different were all at the palace.  So the players got off free and clear without ever having to go back to the palace.

 

 

Man, I REALLY wish my players think of this when we finish Long Arm of the Hutt

 

 

Edit: Crap...the adenture basically forces them onto the Lucky Venture or whatever that other ship is called, unless they really start thinking outside the box.


Edited by Rookhelm, 28 August 2013 - 12:22 PM.


#15 LibrariaNPC

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 03:29 PM

 

or the Force Adept-turned-Jedi Guardian getting his hands amputated and replaced with specialized cybernetics that had specialized lightsaber crystals installed to create lightsaber claws.

 

 

Good lord, lol

 

Not going to lie, most of that list came from the same campaign. We all knew it was going down soon and the semester was about to end (this was during my college days; when the semester ended, the campaign had a 50/50 chance between croaking or being frozen in carbonite), so I decided to really let them have a blast.

 

The lightsaber claws did not see proper use; they were installed and I believe activated one as a test. We sadly did not have a chance to get into combat afterward to really see how crazy of a weapon they would be. But, considering how many odd lightsaber weapons there are (double-bladed "saberstaff," dual-phase, pike, shoto, crossguard, tonfa, etc), I couldn't really argue the logic behind the design.

 

It was hilarious, though, even if the campaign would have imploded within a few sessions has we continued it.

 

 

I think I have more of these than I'd like to admit.

 

But I think the best related one was during a Star Wars d20 campaign. It was the second game, the party was just getting comfortable with each other and what they had to work with, and were spending a bit of time on the ground to take care of business and to get some supplies for their lemon of a YT-1300.

 

The pilot of the group, a Corellian, asked if there was a way to find out the other ships that were docked; I assumed that it was due to them being followed, so I allowed them to slice into the system to learn about all the ships nearby. I provided a small list of ships, and he wanted the group to go with him to check out a YT-2400 that was a few landing pads over.

 

As soon as he saw the ship, he looked to the Given of the party and said "Crack it." What I didn't realize until that point was the intention; they didn't want to see the competition, but they wanted to steal a new ship. . .starting with the heavily modified ship of one of my recurring villains. Even when the villain came by due to the silent alarm on the ship, the party was easily able to subdue him due to the stun mechanic of the game.

 

So at level 2, the party got their hands on a ship of a psuedo-Emperor's Hand, overrode the AI, and were very difficult to handle in ship combat.

 

The Saga game I'm playing in has almost the same scenario going on, though we're 6th level.  We have a *very* sweet ride at this point, but once I realized just *how* choice this ship was, I talked with the GM after the session, and we came to a realization.

 

Given:

  1. We're wanted by the Empire, dead.  (Alive is *probably* acceptable as well, but that would just be a short-term inconvenience for the Empire.)
  2. The ship is freaking awesome, and we could probably handle 2-3 full squadrons of TIE fighters being thrown at us.
  3. The ship is virtually unique, and will stand out like a sore thumb anywhere we go.
  4. The Empire will want the ship back.

We have, in our possession, a solid platinum, Stygium crystal studded, time bomb.  It probably won't take more than a session or two for the rest of the party to realize that keeping the ship would be the biggest mistake we could *ever* make.  Heck, the thing has an Imperial HoloNet transceiver, so it's not like they'll have trouble finding us once we hit a system with HoloNet access.

 

My plans include convincing the group to find a *very* 'discrete' buyer, perhaps a collector with few scruples, and do an even swap on the ship for something like a stock YT-1300 so we can blend in with the crowd a bit.

 

 

That sounds about right, and I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who had to deal with this. Most players make tech their final answer in Star Wars, and it does get rather frustrating. Good luck with convincing the party to do that!


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#16 kmanweiss

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 03:36 PM

That's the thing....they went in the Lucky Venture and during the hyperspace trip they were working out a plan of attack.  Before they got back to Tat, they came up with this idea, so they paid the siblings to take them back to get their ship, and then return again to pick them up outisde of the city after they crashed the ship.



#17 LibrariaNPC

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 04:28 PM

After reading a few of the others (and the reminder about players making tech the final answer), here's one of the random mistakes/player screwups that lead to the end of my running Star Wars in College (and not run the game for years to come).

 

I was running a game of Star Wars d20 in college for the summer with a few friends. This was about two years after the ship-stealing, lightsaber-handed, Rebels-turned-Imperial-turned-freelance game. I stated that the game would take place on a single planet FAR in the Outer Rim, just about in the Unknown part of space. The planet had a very small Imperial presence, a space station for trade, and ships were under strict control.

 

The planet had a few "relics" of an old civilization that could be weaponized by the Empire, and the Empire wanted to ensure that they never left their hands.

 

The party, consisting of an Ubese Scout (played by the former Corellian pilot), a Zeltron Scoundrel, a human Tech Specialist (played by the droid-and-explosive-factory Given), and a Furghal (can't remember the class), were tasked with hauling materials from the planet to the station (ship lacked a hyperdrive), working with locals to get more materials for sale, doing "odd jobs" around town, and helping with the basics of exploring the fringes of an island where all of these relics were being found. They decided that they could make money off of smuggling things to the station, got some Imperial heat, and used the environment to knock out two hyperdrive capable ships into the island.

 

Well, after that happened, they decided (without warning) to borrow their boss's hauler ship and try to recover these ships so they can get off the planet. . .TPK. The zone they decided to explore was geared for level 10~ish characters. We had level 3's, no frontline fighter. You can do the math to see how badly that would go.

My lesson: if I want to keep people on a planet, don't offer a ship or even a CHANCE at a hyperdrive. . .

 

 

Another d20 fiasco (with a new group, post-college) involved running a game at the tail end of the Clone Wars. I allowed the Scoundrel to make Computer Use rolls to make "tweaks" to the security system to the ship he was "given" by the Republic to transport Jedi Padawans and their entourage (i.e. Clones) to a few locations. Said tweaks were remote door access and a protocol to lock the ships controls if a certain code was not placed every X amount of time (I was thankfully wise enough to shoot down his protocol for the ship to fly into the nearest sun should the code not be entered).

When he saw the clones open fire on the Padawans after the jump to lightspeed, and witnessed just how deadly they all were, he locked all of the doors and threatened to open the doors and space them. The group couldn't beat his rolls for Computer Use, and therefore couldn't overcome what he had done.

 

Let's just say party dynamics were worse than my easy-going attitude during this game.

 

 

The final Star Wars game I ran went back to the d6 system.

Long story short: the group worked with the Rebellion to steal a (mostly functional) Marauder Corvette, and were told that it was up to them to find a crew, get it stocked, get the ships, and be ready to strike with the rest of the fleet when ordered. This timeline was Pre-Hoth Post-Yavin.

 

The amount of work this group needed to do, especially with the players being as they were, was insane and probably the worst idea I could have given them. I should have made them all smugglers. . .

By the by, the party: a "human" engineer (a Miraluka Jedi Padawan that survived the Purge who hid the lack of eyes with big goggles), a 16 year old noble from the Tapani Sector getting this rebellion on, a former Twi'lekk slave/dancer turned bodyguard, a Herglic Gambler, and a Human ex-Imperial Officer. The group added an Iktotchi Pilot at a later time (who refused to do anything outside of his ship, a SoruSuub Cutlass-9).

 

Those are more of the various mistakes I made in Star Wars. Hopefully someone gets a laugh out of these!


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#18 GM Stark

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 05:51 PM

 

Those are more of the various mistakes I made in Star Wars. Hopefully someone gets a laugh out of these!

 

I'm not laughing, so much as chuckling at the familiarity.


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#19 LibrariaNPC

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 06:57 PM

 

 

Those are more of the various mistakes I made in Star Wars. Hopefully someone gets a laugh out of these!

 

I'm not laughing, so much as chuckling at the familiarity.

 

 

Glad you enjoyed. If I get my EotE game going (even a one-shot), I'm sure I'll make a hilarious mistake somewhere.


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#20 Voice

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 07:17 PM

Another d20 fiasco (with a new group, post-college) involved running a game at the tail end of the Clone Wars. I allowed the Scoundrel to make Computer Use rolls to make "tweaks" to the security system to the ship he was "given" by the Republic to transport Jedi Padawans and their entourage (i.e. Clones) to a few locations. Said tweaks were remote door access and a protocol to lock the ships controls if a certain code was not placed every X amount of time (I was thankfully wise enough to shoot down his protocol for the ship to fly into the nearest sun should the code not be entered).

When he saw the clones open fire on the Padawans after the jump to lightspeed, and witnessed just how deadly they all were, he locked all of the doors and threatened to open the doors and space them. The group couldn't beat his rolls for Computer Use, and therefore couldn't overcome what he had done.

 

Don't be silly.  The clones would handle that with the judicious use of explosives applied to the cockpit door.  If he vented the ship to space at that point, *he'd* be dead, too.  (And the clones would be tethered in place, with oxygen masks under their helmets, so *they'd* be fine for a few minutes at least.)


Edited by Voice, 28 August 2013 - 07:17 PM.





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