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Does Utility Belt (talent) do anything?


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#1 cetiken

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 12:30 AM

 It seems to me that the 15 point outlaw tech talent Utility Belt doesn't do anything unless your GM is a jerk. It lets you spend a destiny point to get the right (non weapon) tool for the job.  My understanding is that that that is a default use of destiny points. 

Perhaps the talent should only cost strain?

 

 

 



#2 Cyril

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 08:33 AM

While it is similar to the default use of spending a Destiny Point for Luck and Deus Ex Machina. But Utility Belt is a lot more powerful in the fact that the GM cannot say "no" to it.

The GM still has to agree to the character's request if he's just spending a Destiny Point. If he's invested in the talent, he's got some amount of carte blanche to take the narrative by the horns and put the heroes in a good position for success.



#3 cetiken

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 11:19 AM

So its only useful if your GM is a ****? Not ideal IMO.



#4 Donovan Morningfire

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 11:45 AM

cetiken said:

So its only useful if your GM is a ****? Not ideal IMO.

Maybe not such much "GM is a ****" but rather "GM doesn't buy your justification for why you have Equipment X in your back pocket."  Certain utility items (an emergency medpac, tool kit, breath masks, glow rods) are probably all well and good, but more specialized gear (regular medpac, full tool kit, com jammer, hand scanner, crash survival kit, fusion lantern) would be well within the GM's veto power as they're fairly unusual to be "just carrying around."  Some GM's are simply more lenient than others, and this talent is a form of insurance that if your character relies on having access to a certain piece of equipment, they'll have that piece of equipment.

As Cyril noted, Utility Belt takes away that veto power, so your techie character could spend a Destiny Point and declare they have a full tool kit on their person, even if the GM might have otherwise said that characters have had their major equipment removed as part of the adventure, such as being taken prisoner by the Empire and thrown into the brig.  Although the other players may not want to ask just where exactly you were keeping such things ;)


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#5 Cyril

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 12:23 PM

Donovan Morningfire said:

cetiken said:

 

So its only useful if your GM is a ****? Not ideal IMO.

 

 

Maybe not such much "GM is a ****" but rather "GM doesn't buy your justification for why you have Equipment X in your back pocket."  Certain utility items (an emergency medpac, tool kit, breath masks, glow rods) are probably all well and good, but more specialized gear (regular medpac, full tool kit, com jammer, hand scanner, crash survival kit, fusion lantern) would be well within the GM's veto power as they're fairly unusual to be "just carrying around."  Some GM's are simply more lenient than others, and this talent is a form of insurance that if your character relies on having access to a certain piece of equipment, they'll have that piece of equipment.

As Cyril noted, Utility Belt takes away that veto power, so your techie character could spend a Destiny Point and declare they have a full tool kit on their person, even if the GM might have otherwise said that characters have had their major equipment removed as part of the adventure, such as being taken prisoner by the Empire and thrown into the brig.  Although the other players may not want to ask just where exactly you were keeping such things ;)

Exactly.

"Crap! I rolled a Despair on my attack roll."

"You're blaster runs out of ammo."

"And I'm out of extra reloads. I'm going to spend a Destiny Point and pull another one out using Utility Belt."



#6 GM Chris

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 01:59 PM

Cyril said:

 

 

Exactly.

"Crap! I rolled a Despair on my attack roll."

"You're blaster runs out of ammo."

"And I'm out of extra reloads. I'm going to spend a Destiny Point and pull another one out using Utility Belt."

I don't know, guys.  That scenario sounds EXACTLY like a narrative declaration.  [shrug]  You'd use a DP to have that extra reload when you didn't purchase one.

I'm struggling to see the value of this talent as well…


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#7 Donovan Morningfire

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 02:33 PM

GM Chris said:

I don't know, guys.  That scenario sounds EXACTLY like a narrative declaration.  [shrug]  You'd use a DP to have that extra reload when you didn't purchase one.

I'm struggling to see the value of this talent as well…

Maybe it does need some refinement.  Right now, the restrictions of Rarity 3 or lower and no restricted goods does put a bit of a damper on things as far as what you could do.

Then again, for your specific case Chris, it might be that as a GM, you're willing to roll with just about anything a player suggests as long as it's cool and makes even the slightest modicum of sense to the situation.  If you're used to running your games that way, then as written, Utility Belt isn't much use.

Other GM's may not be so quick to let players "do as they will" or require something more than "sounds cool and shaky explanation."  Again, it's not because the GM has failed the D.B.A.D. rule, but rather they're more hesitant about letting the PCs have something that they don't think the players have provided a truly adequate explanation for, particularly if the party has a lot of Light Side Destiny Points to call upon.  At least with this talent, those GMs can take some comfort in the fact that the PC has paid a valuable resource (XP) to gain this particular ability to pull whatever item they want out of their hindquarters.

And let's be honest, there are some truly douchey GM's out there, otherwise the Order 66 podcast would never have aired a "When Good Games Go Bad" segment, featuring such things as cortosis-weave doors that can't have their locks picked no matter how well you roll.

Ultimately, I think this talent's value really does come down to what sort of a GM you are or are playing under.  Playing under a fairly magnanimous GM like GM Chris, this talent really isn't worth it.  Under a very tight-fisted GM, it could well be worth the player's weight in gold.


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#8 Cyril

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 06:28 PM

GM Chris said:

Cyril said:

 

 

 

Exactly.

"Crap! I rolled a Despair on my attack roll."

"You're blaster runs out of ammo."

"And I'm out of extra reloads. I'm going to spend a Destiny Point and pull another one out using Utility Belt."

 

 

I don't know, guys.  That scenario sounds EXACTLY like a narrative declaration.  [shrug]  You'd use a DP to have that extra reload when you didn't purchase one.

I'm struggling to see the value of this talent as well…

See, to me that's a prime example of gaming the system, especially if the player never made any attempt to purchase a set of extra reloads "just in case." I don't know that I'd let it fly to have them say "Man, good thing I always have a spare reload on me. Here's a Destiny Point." Maybe once, if the situation warrants it. But you're ignoring talents like Utility Belt and even Spare Clip when you do so. And there's some pretty cool things you can pull out of your ass that are less than 3 rarity. Hand scanners, climbing gear, a tent, an honest to god medpac when you've got a badly wounded buddy.

*shrug*

Just my thoughts on it. I can totally see it being overhauled a little bit to be of some more use (or at least moved earlier up the respective talent trees), but I still think there's some worth in there. Besides, how frelling cool would it be to pull a Death Stick out of your back pocket to convince the security guard to "knock off for a few minutes," for the cost of a Destiny Point?



#9 cetiken

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 08:36 PM

I think that the solution to a DM who is a jerk is to not play in his games. Life is too short to endure unfun GMs. What I do NOT need or want is a mechanic to one-up the GM after he has reasonably denied a request as in the taken prisoner example. 



#10 Sorthlador

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 08:14 AM

I've read everything you guys have said here and my final thought is this. 

 

It's not useful enough for me to ever take it unless the tree forces me to. DP cover enough situations that it would be rare for me to use it. UNLESS I'm a horder and I want to pull out EVERYTHING from my utility belt…but thats a very very specific kind of character. 

 

Also decided to not play with a certain GM often meanings leaving a whole group of friends over what equipment you may or may not have with you. Not always easy. 


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#11 LethalDose

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 09:49 AM

I had the same concern when I saw the "Utility Belt" talent, and decided I needed to be a little more explicit when allowing destiny points.

Unless I'm mistaken, the examples provided in the text of the beta for items produced via are all rarity 1 ("rebreathers", which I assume are identical to breath masks, and stimpacks; both on page 24).  While the situation hasn't come up, as my players are still learning to "think outside the inventory box" with destiny points, I think I will be limiting them to rarity 1 items whenever, and rarity 2 items if their environment would provide a clear narrative reason for what they need, e.g. they could use a destiny point to find an equipped surgical suite in an old medical ward (equivalent to a full-on medpac, rarity 2), but not in the Dathomir outback.

Further, I don't see any problem in increasing the rarity of an item to represent having just the right thing that you need, e.g. use a destiny point to find a rarity 1 datapad vs use a destiny point in an old slicer shop to find a datapad loaded with anti-ICE and security bypass software (Rarity 2)

Now, the Utility Belt makes you feel a lil bit more like Batman (as it should); unconditionally, you are able to have exactly what you need, and even better than what the destiny point would have gotten you.

The seems like a clean solution to me.  The rules (or how you interpret them) just need a little nudge toward explicit structure structure.  And I get why the publishers/devs are resistant to be explicit about it given the nature of the game.

Or maybe these rules interpretation "make me a **** GM".  In which case, sucks to be my players.

 

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#12 GM Chris

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 10:00 AM

LethalDose said:

Or maybe these rules interpretation "make me a **** GM".  In which case, sucks to be my players.


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#13 cetiken

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 03:29 PM

LethalDose said:

Or maybe these rules interpretation "make me a **** GM".  In which case, sucks to be my players.

I'm just glad that I'm not one of them.


Regardless, I don't think that using rarity is a good guide. It would seem to slow down gameplay and foster more tableskeeking than inventive problem solving to me.



#14 Donovan Morningfire

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 11:37 PM

LethalDose brings up an interesting point.

Speaking from the vantage point of someone that's been involved in writing for RPGs (albeit in a limited capacity), it could very well have been that in the initial drafts, spending a Destiny Point to have some piece of equipment was limited to Rarity 1 items, or "things you'd generally expect to have on hand."  In that light, the Utility Belt talent becomes a great deal more useful, because instead of being limited to Rarity 1 stuff (such as comlinks, breath masks, an emergency medpac, tents, space suits), said talent now expands your options, so long as it's appropriate to the situation.

Now, if in later revisions that Rarity 1 restriction when just spending a Destiny Point was removed, then it's quite likely that the Utility Belt talent was overlooked.  We saw that plenty enough with Saga Edition with a chart saying one thing and the actual game entry saying something slightly to vastly different.

So either there's a restriction on spending Destiny Points for items that got omitted (also a likely possibility), or Utility Belt simply needs to be tweaked to make it less situational and more generally useful.  Perhaps make it a "once per scene" effect that doesn't cost a Destiny Point, but otherwise works as written.


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#15 cetiken

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 12:40 AM

 1/scene would be good.  I'd also be willing to pay up to four strain (on par with a Doctor's Stimm boost) for the effect.



#16 Callidon

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 05:13 AM

I agree that removing the destiny point requirement would be helpful in shining up Utility Belt as a talent.

But in terms of what I would consider for use of a Destiny Point versus a Utility Belt activation from a flavor or style point of view:

Here's a clear cut toss of a Destiny Point to save the day.  And what I would allow (not the quantity mind you) for a Utility Belt activation.  One furthers the plot, and the other is like "where the heck did you get THAT?"


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#17 CharlieBananas

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 09:24 PM

The only thing I have not seen mentioned here is that Utility belt is an incidental action, so you have the item and it's in hand ready to use without wasting a maneuver (would you have use a maneuver to ready equipment created with a DP?), not sure if that is worth 25 or 15 xp mind.



#18 syrath

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 11:54 AM

Utility belt specifically mentions undocumented/small but essential tool with less than 4 rarity and if a weapon has to be limited ammo. (At the moment just stun grenades then)


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