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Instant Death?


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#1 HappyDaze

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 10:22 PM

How would you, as a player or GM, be with having a house rule that has instant death be the result of damage that exceeds twice a character's Wound Threshold?


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#2 Jshock

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 11:35 PM

I wouldn't be OK with it, either way. As a player I wouldn't like it because it ultimately hurts PCs more than it hurts NPCs; PCs get hurt more often than individual NPCs do. As a GM, it's completely unnecessary; NPCs die for plot (though if a PC really wanted to die at wound threshold, I wouldn't stop them either).


Edited by Jshock, 27 November 2013 - 11:36 PM.


#3 Donovan Morningfire

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 03:20 AM

As a player I wouldn't be okay with it, since there's always the chance of getting struck by a vehicle-scale weapon, and those things would mean insta-gibs for a PC under this rule.  The fact that getting hit with such a weapon under the current rules pretty much means "you're out of the fight" is already harsh enough, seeing as how it takes a dedicated character build to get a Wound Threshold over 20, and even then that doesn't project you much from vehicle-scale weapons, which tend to start at around 30 damage (character-scale equivalent) and go up from there.

 

And for less burly PCs (of which there are bound to be many in an EotE game), one or two good shots with a high damage weapon (like a heavy blaster rifle, a bowcaster, either repeating blaster rifle, a disruptor weapon, or a lightsaber) could also lead to insta-PC death, particularly as the means to avoid getting hit are generally out-paced by the attack dice pools.  Upgrading the difficulty only takes you so far when the attacker is rolling three or more Proficiency dice.

 

And it's not really needed for NPCs anyway, since the GM can decide if "exceeds Wound Threshold" means "knocked unconscious" or "barely awake but badly mauled" (think Loki after his run-in with the Hulk in Avengers) or "is now an ex-NPC, having gone and joined the bleedin' choir invisible."

 

Now if you do want to ratchet up the nastiness of the critical injury that results from taking more Wounds than your Wound Threshold permits, you could instead add a +10 bonus to the percentile roll on the injury chart, based upon a certain increment.  If you really do want a "blood and gore" feel to your campaign, then it'd be +10 to the roll for every point that the damage total exceeded their Wound Threshold, which means that a particularly nasty hit with one of the weapons I mentioned above would almost ensure the PC's death since any critical injury roll above 150 is a "he's dead Jim" result. 
For less outright carnage, every increment of 5 damage that goes past the PC's Wound Threshold would equal a +10 bonus on the critical injury check; still likely to result in a nastier critical injury than the PC might have otherwise gotten, but less chance of a PC being gibbed.


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#4 HappyDaze

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 03:37 AM

For less outright carnage, every increment of 5 damage that goes past the PC's Wound Threshold would equal a +10 bonus on the critical injury check; still likely to result in a nastier critical injury than the PC might have otherwise gotten, but less chance of a PC being gibbed.

 

If I used such a system, I would probably go with +10 per (target's Brawn) over WT rather than +10 per 5 over WT. Or, instead of Brawn, perhaps Resilience, or even greater of Brawn or Resilience.


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#5 Shakespearian_Soldier

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 03:44 AM

Similar to the opinions stated above, I wouldn't enact such a rule in my own game. Unlucky rolls happen - and sods law says that they do at a time when a death would not be epic or memorable - so you're bound to get some players who will loathe the including of an instant-death rule.

 

Combat is deadly enough, in my opinion, though not so much that it's something the players never want to indulge in. Adding another round into the clip of GM deadlies might make them feel less comfortable, though (again, in my opinion).


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#6 HappyDaze

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 03:53 AM

I'm not considering this for my own game. I have another GM that's talking about it, and I didn't like the sound of it either.

 

I will note that, in my game, my players don't generally fear going down to anyone without a few levels of Vicious on their weapon, or one that has demonstrated having Deadly Blows. They know that even if they go down, there's little that stimpacks and the PC Doctor can't fix until the critical result is very high.


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#7 Shakespearian_Soldier

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 04:02 AM

Ah, my bad.

 

I'll admit that having a PC Doctor does help to alleviate some group concerns regarding combat. At least until it's the DOCTOR that's in need of medical aid...


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#8 Jegergryte

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 04:12 AM

Always crit the doctor... The fear in my players' faces when they realise she's the target ... :ph34r: but what can I do, she's using a disruptor rifle!
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#9 Shakespearian_Soldier

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 05:08 AM

LMAO!


"Beg for your life. No, doing so won't save you - but it will make your death more amusing to watch."
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#10 Col. Orange

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 05:27 AM

I can't entirely relate to the problem, as it stands.  Since play began, my bounty hunter has been in the following situations:

  • Disarmed, surrounded by twenty guys while facing a Hutt who's cousin she'd killed
  • Sniped at by a Defel with a disrupter rifle (at night, in a jungle, with the support of a pirate crew), while hunting someone on the galaxy's "most wanted" list
  • Stuck in a shadowport where two of the three factions in control have been hunting her (one group were force sensitive assassins)
  • At a party for a Gran gangster legitimate business man, who's daughter we were there to kidnap rescue kidnap (opinions vary (ours and hers)); once again weaponless (we're about to get into a similar situation at a party for an Imperial Moff, except we're there to blackmail him (despite having no evidence))

At no point have I ever thought she's getting out alive.  Part of this is because I don't trust the dice.  Part of this is because, although he plays fair, our GM genuinely seems to be trying to kill us.

 

 

Star Wars is a heroic setting. Edge of the Empire is the scummiest, "life is cheap" fringe of that setting, I'll grant you, but players acting fearlessly (recklessly?) isn't the worst problem you could have.  If they're acting complacent, on the other hand, perhaps it's time to ramp up the difficulty?  Odds they can't beat (except by fleeing).  Double-crosses and betrayals.  Assassins or legitimate bounty hunter teams.  Fearsome creatures.  Chaps with the power to make their lives miserable.  Chaps who can make it hard for them to make a living.  Chaps who threaten what (or who) they care about.

 

(I'm also surprised your players don't take crits seriously.  Our droid marauder was blind for three sessions!)


Edited by Col. Orange, 28 November 2013 - 05:42 AM.

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#11 HappyDaze

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 05:41 AM


(I'm also surprised your players don't take crits seriously.  Our droid marauder was blind for three sessions!)

We had a character get blinded last session. The doctor was able to deal with it after the battle. One attempt to treat it is allowed per week, so if she had failed it might have been a problem. As it was, it was almost meaningless (the character was incapacitated by the attack that caused the critical, and by the time the character was back under WT, the critical had been treated).


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#12 HappyDaze

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 05:46 AM


Star Wars is a heroic setting. Edge of the Empire is the scummiest, "life is cheap" fringe of that setting, I'll grant you, but players not fearing death isn't the worst problem you could have.  If they're acting complacent, perhaps it's time to ramp up the difficulty?  Odds they can't beat (except by fleeing).  Double-crosses and betrayals.  Assassins or legitimate bounty hunter teams.  Fearsome creatures.  Chaps with the power to make their lives miserable.  Chaps who can make it hard for them to make a living.  Chaps who threaten what (or who) they care about.

Ramping up the difficulty will just cause a few of them to go on a homicidal bender. The game makes it very easy for PCs to be total badasses. When you have players that realize this and don't care about playing with a moral code that would make Boba Fett proud, things can get ugly fast. It's then a big balancing act to deal with it fairly (and trying the 'rocks fall' crap doesn't cut it, cause well... if Boba Fett makes it alone while living like a cold ass psycho, so can a team of six such characters working together).


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#13 Col. Orange

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 05:59 AM

Ramping up the difficulty will just cause a few of them to go on a homicidal bender. The game makes it very easy for PCs to be total badasses. When you have players that realize this and don't care about playing with a moral code that would make Boba Fett proud, things can get ugly fast. It's then a big balancing act to deal with it fairly (and trying the 'rocks fall' crap doesn't cut it, cause well... if Boba Fett makes it alone while living like a cold ass psycho, so can a team of six such characters working together).

 

Ouch.  Not sure your original fix would work either then (the badasses are the most likely to survive such measures).

 

Is it the (low) lethality of the system or your player's behavior that's the root of the problem?


Edited by Col. Orange, 28 November 2013 - 06:01 AM.

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#14 HappyDaze

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 06:01 AM

Player behavior. Definitely. However, the low lethality does make it easier for them.

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#15 Col. Orange

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 06:44 AM

Damn.  That is the worst problem to have.

I can think of three routes you could take.

 

The first is diplomacy manipulation.  Talk to each, alone.  Find out what each likes about Star Wars (the setting, not the game).  Build your stories around the things they enjoyed.  If they don't get the message, have them encounter friendly NPCs who got into similar situations and got out through being cool, rather than carrying a big gun (and have profited because of it).

 

The second is a dose of reality.  Edge of the Empire is the grimiest, least hopeful of the three games.  Yeah, the game allows you to play badasses.  But there are bigger badasses out there.  Always.

If they make trouble for a lot of little guys, the middle men will lose profits.  Then they'll take an interest.  They won't play fair, they won't play nice, they'll come with a dozen mooks and demand payment and service from the guys who rocked the boat.  When the middle men get massacred, the big guys will start being inconvenienced.  Which is when Boba and company smell a paycheck.

They've made badasses?  You make some badasses.  (Or copy their sheets, change sexes and hair colour, add 50xp and make them rivals.)

If they don't play fair, you don't have to either.

 

The third - and I can't believe I'm even suggesting this - is honesty.  Tell them they're acting like assholes bullies or psychopaths and that it's impacting on your fun.  They're your friends, they will understand.

 

 

My two favourite RPG books ever are John Wick's Play Dirty and R. Talsorian's Listen Up You Primative Screwheads!!!! for Cyberpunk 2020 (though I've used the advice in every game I've ever run).  Both have advice on dealing with these kind of problems (though, as Mr Wick himself warns, you may not want to use all of these tricks).


Edited by Col. Orange, 28 November 2013 - 06:50 AM.

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#16 Shadai

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 07:07 AM

I've had this happen to me before, but it was in a different system.

 

Player attitude can be the hardest to correct diplomatically, and usually the only way to do so is pretty messy.

 

For me, it was in a nameless D&D game a long, long time ago.  It hit me when I had the players surrounded by (damn near) a garrison of troops wielding crossbows, all locked, loaded and pointed at the players, and the commander telling them to surrender.  Did they surrender?  I'll give you a sample of the dialogue:

 

Me: The commander calls for your surrender

Player 1: Not likely

Player 2: That's a lot of bows, maybe we should consider

Player 1: Nah, they only do a d8 if they hit

Player 3: And I have raise dead!

Player 1: Draw sword and attack!

Me: Really?

 

Afterwards I felt pretty bad, and frankly pissed off they were so cavalier in this game.  It's called Roleplaying, and I can tell you that no matter how much of a badass I think I am (and I am) if a bunch of bad guys have me surrounded by crossbows I'm not going to suddenly think there's a chance I could live through that.

 

Talking to them sometimes helps, but sometimes it doesn't.  Depends on the player.  Othertimes, a more visceral demonstration is necessary.

 

In the previous case when I started a new campaign I've always been of the opinion that Raise Dead doesn't work like that.  I've removed it from the world or had it raise people up as undead zombies.

 

But sometimes a player beatdown or TPK is actually sometimes called for.  I don't like handing out TPKs, and lord knows I've handed out a few on accident or as the result of bad player decisions.  Sometimes however, it is the only cure.  I can count on my hand the number of times I've purposely handed out a TPK or at the very least gone after one player with intent.  But I've found nothing sobers up a group to how deadly this can be by one or more of their own falling.  

 

Don't necessarily be afraid of killing characters in this system.  It does a wonderful job of making off the shelf "level 1" characters actually be able to hang well with other characters that have lots of experience.  In this system if a character died I would probably allow the player to roll up a new character with 1/2 of the experience of the previous character, so they don't fall to far behind (usual rules of xp apply).

 

For your answer Happy, I think perhaps a slight modification to the healing rules may be necessary.  Going after the healer is always good practice, as it is harder to heal yourself of serious critical injuries then to heal others.  But a simple modification of, lets say you can't use that heal check to heal critical injuries until you get to a place where you actually have med supplies (like a med bay).  Med kits to me is standard first aid.  They'll do fine for cuts and scrapes, but if you lose an arm, its not going to help you. 

 

Or perhaps a lowering wound system.  Each critical hit "band" is about 45 to 50 points.  So if a character has a critical hit rolled by a 88 on him, a med check would lower it a "band" meaning first aid has helped, but couldn't completely solve the problem.  At least until you get him to a actual Med Bay.  So that 88 would be reduced by 50, and be a 38.  So instead of being Compromised, he'd have a Stinger for the rest of the game until he gets proper medical attention.  Again, first aid can and should only do so much.


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#17 Bren Mastigar

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 08:56 AM

Sometimes the old ways are the best ways...

http://rpg.drivethru...rimtooths-Traps

My GM has always said "If you see me reach for my copy of Grimtooth's Traps, yes I am trying to kill you." The traps in that series are truly nasty and are designed to inflict, at the very least, grevious bodily harm. Most of them are outright lethal if you don't detect/roll to avoid.

Fortunately, we've never pissed him off to that extent. :)

#18 ErikB

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 10:22 AM

It hit me when I had the players surrounded by (damn near) a garrison of troops wielding crossbows, all locked, loaded and pointed at the players, and the commander telling them to surrender.  Did they surrender?


Frankly, it is good GMing practice to assume that no combat focused PC will ever willingly surrender. Use a different trope.
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#19 whafrog

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 11:29 AM

One of the things I like about this game is there is no (or minimal chance of) insta-death, and more importantly, no death-clock-countdown.  If you really want to get rid of a PC (not something I think I've ever done), then deal with it narratively and coup-de-grace them when they're unconscious.



#20 Maelora

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 11:38 AM

I've probably said this before HD, but I think the problem is not the rules, but the players.

 

EoE or not, playing 'murder hobos'  doesn't feel like SW to me.  EoE is 'Firefly' or 'Outlaw Josey Wales' for me, not 'Devil's Rejects'. 

 

Nor do I see Fett as a 'cold psycho'.  He's ruthless, sure, when he's bringing in an acquisition, but I've never seen him portrayed as merely gunning down bystanders for fun.


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