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Edge of the Empire Beta Update: Week 4


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#1 FFG_Sam Stewart

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 04:58 AM

Hello Testers,

Week 4's update is up, and as you can see, there's quite a bit to review. Enjoy!

As usual, please use this thread to post reactions and feedback about this update.



#2 Donovan Morningfire

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 05:24 AM

Initial Reaction: Holy Freaking XP Cost Hike Batman!

Non-career skills and added specializations just got extremely expensive, though the max of three specializations has apprently been removed.  So you can have all the specializations you want, but you're gonna pay through the nose for them, especially if they're not part of your career.

I'm kinda sad to see the "three spec max" and the "permanent/non-perm" talent distinction go by the wayside, though the later change does make tracking which talents were purchased a lot easier, and the three spec max is gone, then so too is the need for permanent talents.

2nd sentence in Side Step needs to be corrected, as it currently cites "melee attacks" while the first part cites "ranged attacks."

Stalker talent is now a great deal more useful, as is the Blast quality.  Stun setting got a slight nerf in that it has limited range much like did in the d20 games.  Lightsaber as officilally lost Defensive and retained Breach.

Quite a few clarifications on combat, such as withdrawing from Engaged and whether you need to track Wounds in excess of your Wound Threshold.


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#3 DailyRich

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 05:52 AM

 THANK YOU for re-naming the Resilience Talent.  That was driving us batty.



#4 Sarone

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 06:16 AM

Donovan Morningfire said:

Initial Reaction: Holy Freaking XP Cost Hike Batman!

Non-career skills and added specializations just got extremely expensive, though the max of three specializations has apprently been removed.  So you can have all the specializations you want, but you're gonna pay through the nose for them, especially if they're not part of your career.

I'm kinda sad to see the "three spec max" and the "permanent/non-perm" talent distinction go by the wayside, though the later change does make tracking which talents were purchased a lot easier, and the three spec max is gone, then so too is the need for permanent talents.

2nd sentence in Side Step needs to be corrected, as it currently cites "melee attacks" while the first part cites "ranged attacks."

Stalker talent is now a great deal more useful, as is the Blast quality.  Stun setting got a slight nerf in that it has limited range much like did in the d20 games.  Lightsaber as officilally lost Defensive and retained Breach.

Quite a few clarifications on combat, such as withdrawing from Engaged and whether you need to track Wounds in excess of your Wound Threshold.

 

Maybe, but this makes sense.  Taking Luke Skywalker for example, it means he might have spent most his initial time in between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back trying to be a better Rebel Leader/Fighter Pilot and spens a little bit on training with his lightsaber and force abilities.  Then Hoth occurs, where he realizes he needs to get more intune with his abilities.  Unfortunately, Vader interrupts his training, which causes him to realize how far he really needs to go.

As for my reaction, it's good.  It'll be interesting when I run it (hopefully) this weekend for my group.  And the costs make sense and should encourage people who are planning on going into non-career skills to just go ahead and get the career.  At least that's my take on it.

What do you think?



#5 usgrandprix

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 06:31 AM

I like the changes to specializations. The high cost of non-career specs makes a lot of sense to me and getting rid of the max number of specs is an elegant solution to a lot of little issues, particularly regarding permanent/non-permanent talents. And at the new costs it's good you never lose anything you bought. That gets rid of some meta build incentives too. Force sensitive exile just got more expensive for having its powers lessened. I'm not really comfortable with going any farther on that.

I think there's enough precident to make stun short range. It has big implications in my campaign as my PCs now need to get in close to take their bounties alive. Should be fun in my session this weekend where they need to bring in a live Wampa for a crime boss's fighting pit.

Good improvement to blast. It mimics a grenade better. Is three advantage too costly? Maybe 2?

A little clarification on engaged, but I'm still a little unclear about it as it relates to Blast. If three Stormtroopers are firing from behind a speeder bike and I hit one with a grenade does Blast effect the other two? Seems like the answer should be yes, but they are not engaged. They are at short range from each other.

Getting rid of "improved" for ranks instead is a good idea. Much more simple.

I'm glad they said something about droids and integrated equipment. I've had a feeling about how droids are handled that I can't quite put my finger on. On one hand I feel like droids should have their own modification rules like equipment and ships, but on the other hand I like how playing a droid character doesn't take a bunch of special rules.  Still seems like there should be a little more to droids in these regards:

-PC should select movement style at generation. Walking, tracked, or hover. Or maybe just groud or hover. Seems like hover should have one disadvantage to balance its advantages.

-PC should be able to select size at generation. Within a reasonable range.

Beyond that there are other things but I think these two are important.

 

 



#6 Callidon

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 07:10 AM

I like the simplification of advancement.  The idea of permanent vs. in-tree talents was cool, but the extra layer of accounting left something to be desired.  The increased XP cost will hopefully curtail some of the potential for homogenization in more advanced characters that you can develop in other granular-advancement games where everyone starts out unique and grows together over time.  And I like that some broader character concepts are simpler to pull off now, for a bit more XP.  Regardless of how it plays out in the next few weeks, I like things becoming more simple.  Kudos there.

It is nice to see droids getting a bit of attention…hoping there is more tweaking of the clanky-ones coming down the pike

The change to Blast is fine.  I think I just have my own personal hangup with that special quality.  So I'll either get over it or houserule it later on.

The change to Autofire makes it more of a feature of a weapon instead of a condition, so that's nice.


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#7 LethalDose

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 07:45 AM

Changing the XP cost of Specs to get progressively more expensive: Good.  We now have basically unlimited progression

Changing the XP cost of out-of-career Skills: Bad.  Given the cost of picking up extra specs and lack of limitations on spec count, Players are going to change specs just to get access to skills at reduced costs.  Previous minor price on out-of-career skills was exactly where the cost needed to be.

Blast: Weapon quality can now be used on a miss.  Really like this.

Auto-fire: …  Don't see how this is even a change.  The quality is too cheap to activate and is going to kill (not incapacitate, but KILL!) lots of PCs.  This can be fixed by adding on adv to its cost.

Cover provides ranged defense: Nice change, really like it!  However, it makes clarification on how the same types of defense stack with themselves, and if and how "Increases ranged defense" differs from "provides ranged defense"


Yay various talent clarifications and tweaks.
 

Can you please make sure to remove red for previous weeks' changes on the weapon table?  Many of these are now "old news".  But thank you for fixing the lightsaber qualities.

 

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#8 Donovan Morningfire

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 08:06 AM

LethalDose said:

However, it makes clarification on how the same types of defense stack with themselves, and if and how "Increases ranged defense" differs from "provides ranged defense"

Maybe it was just me, but I thought the "increases" vs. "provides" was already pretty clear prior to any of the weekly updates.

If a talent or ability provides ranged defense, and you already have a ranged defense, then you don't get any benefit.  So if your armor provides Ranged Defense of 1, and you gain some benefit that also provides Ranged Defense 1, there's no change since they provide the same effect.

But if a talent or ablity increases ranged defense (like Deflection and taking cover do), then it'd stack with any existing ranged defense you'd have, or simply provide a point of ranged defense if it was 0 to start with.

Again, could just be how I read the provides/increases differentiation.


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#9 Doc, the Weasel

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 08:08 AM

usgrandprix said:

A little clarification on engaged, but I'm still a little unclear about it as it relates to Blast. If three Stormtroopers are firing from behind a speeder bike and I hit one with a grenade does Blast effect the other two? Seems like the answer should be yes, but they are not engaged. They are at short range from each other.

If they are taking cover behind the bike, they should be considered to be engaged with it (and with each other). It might not be the case were the cover something larger, but you'd have to judge that case by case.


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#10 LethalDose

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 08:12 AM

 There's one very important change that was made here:  

Defensive stance talent now applies difficulty upgrades instead of setback dice.  

This change is great because it uses the upgrade rules in a way consistent with what ynnen (lead dev) has stated on these forums about the source of ability activation and valuation. Quoted in its entirety:

ynnen said:


Design-wise, there is another important factor in determining the relative value between any two options presented: where the addition or subtraction of value comes from.

Do the players have direct control over it? Is it subject strictly to GM fiat? Is control purely luck-based due to previous die rolls and results?

As such, a player-empowered resource is evaluated differently than a luck-powered or GM-powered resource.

Now, admittedly, I may be reading into this too much, since it discusses the evaluation of mechanics based on their source, not their appropriateness of their implementation based on their source.  But the implication of this statement seems to be that adding boost/setback dice is more intended for the realm of environment (a la "GM fiat") and luck (based on advantages) and upgrades (to skill and difficulty) are more intended for the players to activate, representing their ability to actively make tasks more complex (in the case of upgrading difficulty) or better cope with tasks (in the case of upgrading ability).  the Boost and setback seem to be better suited for passive enviromental and other peripheral conditions that improve or hinder a character's ability.  This position is well supported in the book (See boost and setback die descriptions on pg 10, and the sidebar on pg 17).  In fact the only part of the description that explicitly doesn't support this is half a line in the boost die description "… as well as advantages actions taken by the characters".

I would love to see more player-activated options (Aim, guarded stance, assist your pal, and even defense) have their mechanism changed away from providing/removing setback & boost dice, and toward upgrading/downgrading mechanics.

Also, if people feel I'm full of **** in regards to the addition of boost dice being superior to upgrading, you should see this as a "buff" to the mechanisms changed.

 

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#11 blittlepage

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 08:13 AM

Blast has been fixed for me. It is an elegant solution to make it workable on a miss.

Also on the elegant solution list is getting rid of the non-permanent abilities and talents. It think this extends the long term playability of characters—especially with the high cost of additional specializations.

Droids incorporating equipment is a great idea and, serendipitously, matches that portentous illustration.

It feels like a lot was solved with this week's update and I cannot wait to read the responses.



#12 LethalDose

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 08:25 AM

Donovan Morningfire said:

 

 

Maybe it was just me, but I thought the "increases" vs. "provides" was already pretty clear prior to any of the weekly updates.

If a talent or ability provides ranged defense, and you already have a ranged defense, then you don't get any benefit.  So if your armor provides Ranged Defense of 1, and you gain some benefit that also provides Ranged Defense 1, there's no change since they provide the same effect.

But if a talent or ablity increases ranged defense (like Deflection and taking cover do), then it'd stack with any existing ranged defense you'd have, or simply provide a point of ranged defense if it was 0 to start with.

Again, could just be how I read the provides/increases differentiation.

No, I think you're reading it perfectly.  The source of confusion I would say primarily stems from the statement on page 134 that states "Multiple sources of defense do not stack."  without any clarification regarding other sources that increase the defense ratings and do stack impove the defense, even though they are separate sources.   I've seen this come up at least once (there's a thread about it), but I think its popped up in the combat forum a few times.

Again, it can be a short little sentence explaining this.  

Also, I think PDSs should explicitly say they provide "ranged defense", instead of implitly stating in the description "only works against ranged attacks".  Its not a major point, just a pet peeve.

 

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#13 EldritchFire

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 08:44 AM

 I think that 3A for blast is perfect. If you get only 2A, you should spend that for a setback die for the target, or a boost die on the next ally to attack your target (per normal 2A cost on pg133). I think that auto fire still needs work. I think you should get an accuracy bonus at short range, or the the ability to do multiple "hits." I'll have to think on it and get back in another thread.

The new droid special ability is cool, because it brings home the idea that they are good at what they do, and they do it well.

Increase in XP costs across the board are interesting, since now your XP doesn't go that far for skills. However, talents still cost the same, no matter how many skill ranks or specs you have, so the meat-and-potatoes (so to speak) remain the same. As for removing the "improved" versions of some talents, good! Ranked or non-ranked is good, ranked, non-ranked, and semi-ranked was a bit wonky.

I think we need more thrown weapons besides just the net/bola. Melee customization/modifications are also needed, since some of the current melee weapons have hard points, but nothing to put on them. Speaking of hard points and thrown weapons, thrown weapons need to not be limited ammo 1, or else it's prohibitively expensive to customize them. This also applies to grenades. Either that or a price break for limited ammo 1 items.

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 09:25 AM

LethalDose said:

Auto-fire: …  Don't see how this is even a change.  The quality is too cheap to activate and is going to kill (not incapacitate, but KILL!) lots of PCs.  This can be fixed by adding on adv to its cost.

The automatic fire rules were brokenly overpowered in the 40k RPGs until Black Crusade? came out. To the point where standing still hosing things down with dakka was the best option for most characters.



#15 LethalDose

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 09:48 AM

AluminiumWolf said:

 

The automatic fire rules were brokenly overpowered in the 40k RPGs until Black Crusade? came out. To the point where standing still hosing things down with dakka was the best option for most characters.

I don't understand what this means nor how WH40K BC is relevant.  I have not played this game and therefore I am not familiar with any of its mechanics, including rules for automatic weapons.  Most of your other posts on this forum consist of "This game is $#!t", so I can only assume this is a complaint.  

The problems I've seen with the autofire mechanic and logic behind my impressions can be read at the end the week 3 update thread.

 

-WJL


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#16 Donovan Morningfire

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 10:24 AM

EldritchFire said:

 I think that 3A for blast is perfect. If you get only 2A, you should spend that for a setback die for the target, or a boost die on the next ally to attack your target (per normal 2A cost on pg133). I think that auto fire still needs work. I think you should get an accuracy bonus at short range, or the the ability to do multiple "hits." I'll have to think on it and get back in another thread.

I think we need more thrown weapons besides just the net/bola. Melee customization/modifications are also needed, since some of the current melee weapons have hard points, but nothing to put on them. Speaking of hard points and thrown weapons, thrown weapons need to not be limited ammo 1, or else it's prohibitively expensive to customize them. This also applies to grenades. Either that or a price break for limited ammo 1 items.

Regarding Blast, it still only requires 2A if you hit, it's just now you can still get something out of a miss if you have enough Advantage, including being able to deal at least some damage to the initial target.

I agree that a few more options for thrown weapons would be nice, namely throwing knives, but I still think they should be Limited Ammo 1.  Most of these weapons are "fire and forget," especially grenades, and in a lot of cases are going to be secondary weapons rather than a primary means of attack.  In most movies, the person that attacks exclusively with throwing knives has a lot of specialized training to make the most of what is a sub-par ranged weapon (at least when compared to most firearms) rather than having spent time and resources making "deluxe" throwing knives (unless you have a lot of free time and a whole lot of money to spend on something that you're literally going to throw away).


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Posted 25 September 2012 - 11:46 AM

LethalDose said:

Most of your other posts on this forum consist of "This game is $#!t"

I obviously think I am asking the difficult questions that need to be answered before it becomes too late to do anything about them, but I can see how opinions differ.



#18 Donovan Morningfire

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 11:47 AM

Thinking some more on the changes to XP costs for extra specializations and non-career skills.

Perhaps for specializations, change the wording so that if you buy a non-career spec, you just have to pay an extra 10XP?  It'd be a lot easier to calculate and has the added bonus not screwing over a player that, for the sake of their character concept, wants to branch out into a non-career specialization prior to taking another career specialization.

For example, a Hired Gun that started with Marauder might want to venture into Assassin to expand their range of melee talents after a brief tour in Bodyguard to beef up their staying power.  Under the current system, they're being penalized if they go Bodyguard to Assassin (10 XP for Bodyguard then 30 XP for Assassin) instead of Assassin then Bodyguard then Assassin (20 XP for Assassin then 15 XP for Bodyguard).  Just making a flat 10 XP still makes branching out of one's main career, but doesn't excessively punish a player that has chosen not to plot out their character's advancement well in advance. So for the Hired Gun example, it'd cost 35 XP to pick up Assassin and Bodyguard no matter what order they did it in.

As for the skill costs, I don't agree with this at all, as it severely penalizes those characters who elect to start in careers or with specializations that don't offer combat skills.  While it makes sense that a Colonist or Tech Specialist would have a tougher time of learning how to better use a blaster pistol (i.e. buying ranks in the Ranged (light) skill) than would say a Gadgeteer Bounty Hunter, Scoundrel Smuggler, or Hired Gun, having to pay double the usual cost is a bit too punitive.  I think the flat cost of an extra 5 XP per rank worked just fine, and this change tried to fix something that honestly wasn't broken.


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#19 Donovan Morningfire

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 11:52 AM

AluminiumWolf said:

I obviously think I am asking the difficult questions that need to be answered before it becomes too late to do anything about them, but I can see how opinions differ.

Frankly, a lot of your posts come across as having more whine than a Skywalker Family Reunion.  So while LethalDose was less than polite, he's got a very valid point.

As it's probably not obvious to someone that hasn't bothered to read the Beta book, this is a very different game than the WH40K line.  So what complements or complaints you have about those games have little to no bearing to this game.  It's akin to complaining about why combat in a FATE game is so different than a D&D4e game; they're two very different beasts, and a logical fallacy to assume they're going to be even remotely similar.


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#20 Bren_Waynero

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 12:16 PM

Regarding Specialization costs, perhaps rather than the cost for new specializations being based on the "total" specializations, each type, career or non-career,  could be based on how many of that type you would now possess.  So your 2nd career would always cost 10 (5 x 2nd spec) and 3rd would be 15 (5 x 3rd spec).  Your non-career specs would also scale based only on themselves… 1st for 10 (10 x 1st), 2nd for 20, 3rd for 30, etc.  That way it wouldn't matter what order you pick up your specializations in.  You could jump back and forth between your limited career choices and the multitude of non-career options.  Just an idea.


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