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#1 Lord Dynel

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 06:42 AM

My group was looking over the Beta and errata and have some questions I couldn't find answers to.  Between a spotty search function and a someitmes slow loading forum, I couldn't find answers to them.  But my apologies if they've been answered already.

 

1) Auto-Fire - The errata states that it takes two Advantage to activate.  The Beginner's Box says one Advantage.  I've ruled that the errata is correct.  Would that be a safe assumption?

2) Backpacks and Utility Belts - A curious player wondered if all he carried was a Heavy Blaster Rifle (ENC 6) and Padded Armor (ENC 2) could have that total reduced by carrying a Backpack (ENC -3, or an increase of 3 to ENC Threshold).  The logical part of my head would say "no," but there aren't any rules to support that.  I would think an empty backpack does nothing to help you carry a big gun and armor, but I could be missing the forest for the trees on this one.  GM-fiat could win the day here.

 

I thought I had more, but I can't think of them at the moment.  Thanks in advance for any assistance.



#2 LethalDose

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 07:15 AM

Lord Dynel said:

My group was looking over the Beta and errata and have some questions I couldn't find answers to.  Between a spotty search function and a someitmes slow loading forum, I couldn't find answers to them.  But my apologies if they've been answered already.

 

1) Auto-Fire - The errata states that it takes two Advantage to activate.  The Beginner's Box says one Advantage.  I've ruled that the errata is correct.  Would that be a safe assumption?

2) Backpacks and Utility Belts - A curious player wondered if all he carried was a Heavy Blaster Rifle (ENC 6) and Padded Armor (ENC 2) could have that total reduced by carrying a Backpack (ENC -3, or an increase of 3 to ENC Threshold).  The logical part of my head would say "no," but there aren't any rules to support that.  I would think an empty backpack does nothing to help you carry a big gun and armor, but I could be missing the forest for the trees on this one.  GM-fiat could win the day here.

 

I thought I had more, but I can't think of them at the moment.  Thanks in advance for any assistance.

Autofire

Yeah, 2 adv to activate Autofire is correct.  That was a very long discussion in the Beta forum, and the designers only relented in the very last Beta update.  Since theres a lag between submitting material to the publishers and the product arriving on shelves, I'm not suprised the beginner's box has the old "1 adv to activate AF" rule.

Backpacks and Utility Belts

You're right, there's no rule and it's technically legal.  Narratively, you can explain it way as the backpack being some kind of ergonomic harness that improves armor usability, but this is treading very close to weapon slings & harnesses (weapon attachments).  You can just accept it as a glitch/exploit in the rules, or you can houserule that the Backpacks and utility belts can only be used to reduce the encumberance of hand-held items (worn armor doesn't count, though I think there may be rules for increasing the Enc score of carried armor, too.) that are Enc 3 or 1 or less (Rifle doesn't count), respectively.  If you're the GM, though, you really do have the power to rule one way or the other.  Just be fair and consistent.

There's also no rules about the # of backpacks/utility belts you can wear.  I mentioned that on the beta forums and got dismissed out-of-hand because clearly my players were just trying to break the game and no simple rule change could possible stop them from misbehaving. So, be careful about what kind of responses you get here.

-WJL


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#3 Kallabecca

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 07:58 AM

Lord Dynel said:

2) Backpacks and Utility Belts - A curious player wondered if all he carried was a Heavy Blaster Rifle (ENC 6) and Padded Armor (ENC 2) could have that total reduced by carrying a Backpack (ENC -3, or an increase of 3 to ENC Threshold).  The logical part of my head would say "no," but there aren't any rules to support that.  I would think an empty backpack does nothing to help you carry a big gun and armor, but I could be missing the forest for the trees on this one.  GM-fiat could win the day here.

Go with the logical part… a backpack should only reduce the ENC of items that are inside it. Else it is just an empty sack. It shouldn't increase your ENC threshold either, since, again, it should only reduce the ENC of items in it. It doesn't make you stronger to carry more outside of the pack, heheh.



#4 gribble

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:32 AM

LethalDose said:

 

worn armor doesn't count, though I think there may be rules for increasing the Enc score of carried armor, too

 

 

It's actually the opposite. The encumbrance values in the table are for carried armour - as per one of the updates:

 

Reduce the encumbrance value of all armor by 3 when worn.
 
In terms of backpacks and utility belts, I'd agree that I'd only reduce the encumbrance of things that you can actually put in either, and I'd impose a sensible limit on the number that can be worn/used (usually 1 of each, but I'd probably allow a maximum of 2 belts in a crossed bandolier style, plus 1 around the waist, and maybe two backpacks worn front & back). Of course, those carrying more than one provide "despair/disadvantage bait" as they get snagged on things, possibly even torn or lost.

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#5 Kallabecca

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:54 AM

LethalDose said:

Backpacks and Utility Belts

You're right, there's no rule and it's technically legal.  Narratively, you can explain it way as the backpack being some kind of ergonomic harness that improves armor usability, but this is treading very close to weapon slings & harnesses (weapon attachments).  You can just accept it as a glitch/exploit in the rules, or you can houserule that the Backpacks and utility belts can only be used to reduce the encumberance of hand-held items (worn armor doesn't count, though I think there may be rules for increasing the Enc score of carried armor, too.) that are Enc 3 or 1 or less (Rifle doesn't count), respectively.  If you're the GM, though, you really do have the power to rule one way or the other.  Just be fair and consistent.

There's also no rules about the # of backpacks/utility belts you can wear.  I mentioned that on the beta forums and got dismissed out-of-hand because clearly my players were just trying to break the game and no simple rule change could possible stop them from misbehaving. So, be careful about what kind of responses you get here.

-WJL

What "simple" rule change is there? It might look funny, but you can wear more than one belt at a time, and I've seen people carrying more than one backpack at a time (granted, these are modern school backpacks and not something larger like a camping backpack). You can toss extra utility belts into a backpack, or just drape them off your shoulders. Looks odd, but would work.

I could see the book offering a suggestion, but a hard limit isn't really needed. Just a bit of common sense on the players and GMs part, heheh. It's not like we're playing Everquest or World of Warcraft with those bags :)



#6 LethalDose

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 09:25 AM

gribble said:

 

LethalDose said:

 

worn armor doesn't count, though I think there may be rules for increasing the Enc score of carried armor, too

 

 

It's actually the opposite. The encumbrance values in the table are for carried armour - as per one of the updates:

 

Reduce the encumbrance value of all armor by 3 when worn.
 
In terms of backpacks and utility belts, I'd agree that I'd only reduce the encumbrance of things that you can actually put in either, and I'd impose a sensible limit on the number that can be worn/used (usually 1 of each, but I'd probably allow a maximum of 2 belts in a crossed bandolier style, plus 1 around the waist, and maybe two backpacks worn front & back). Of course, those carrying more than one provide "despair/disadvantage bait" as they get snagged on things, possibly even torn or lost.

 

 

@gribble

Thanks, I thought there was someting like this.  This would actually help the character described by the OP

 

@Kallabecca

I think the book should provide, at least, a suggestion, exactly to avoid/address these kinds of situations.  I completely get your concern about hard limits and that reason should rule the day, but the discussion can slow the game down needlessly.  I think it best to simply have explicit in the rules.

/shrug it's just opinion.

The posts I referenced are here, and start at post 37.  Bizzarely, my next post adressed autofire damage with a 1 adv activation cost.

 

-WJL


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#7 Donovan Morningfire

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 10:31 AM

Lord Dynel said:

1) Auto-Fire - The errata states that it takes two Advantage to activate.  The Beginner's Box says one Advantage.  I've ruled that the errata is correct.  Would that be a safe assumption?

2) Backpacks and Utility Belts - A curious player wondered if all he carried was a Heavy Blaster Rifle (ENC 6) and Padded Armor (ENC 2) could have that total reduced by carrying a Backpack (ENC -3, or an increase of 3 to ENC Threshold).  The logical part of my head would say "no," but there aren't any rules to support that.  I would think an empty backpack does nothing to help you carry a big gun and armor, but I could be missing the forest for the trees on this one.  GM-fiat could win the day here.

On Auto-fire, that was one of several changes made to the Beta that didn't make it into the Beginner Box.  The changes to Burst and several melee weapons (notably vibro-weapons) also didn't make into the BegBox.  So until the actual book gets released, I'd say go with the Weekly Updates in any case there's a conflict like that.

Backpacks and Utlility Belts are, I believe, left deliberatly nebulous beyond their mechanical effect.  Also, doing so allows FFG to conserve space for additional items rather than re-listing several items that all generally do the same thing.  With just a backpack and a utility belt though, FFG has left space for players and GMs to adapt those two items as they see fit for their character concepts.

Case in point: For the guy that played an astromech (using the regular Droid PC rules with only 1 mechanical change and 2 self-imposed roleplaying changes), he described the backpack he purchased as being 'extra storage space' common to all R2-series astromechs.

So for the example you gave, the 'backpack' could be described as a rifle scabbard that better redistributes the weight of the heavy blaster rifle when it's not in use.

Or, it could be part and parcel of something like a tool kit or a medpac/medical kit.  The Techie and Doctor PCs in the Friday Skype game have done exactly that, using the backpack as a "container" for their respective kits.

A Utility Belt also doesn't strictly have to be a belt either.  It could be that low-slung holster rig that Han Solo carries his heavy blaster pistol in, or a bandolier to carry grenades and extra reloads.  It could even be a utility vest, with various pockets for small items; not as efficient as using a 'backpack' but it helps disperse the weight of item kits a bit.


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#8 Kallabecca

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 10:38 AM

LethalDose said:

LethalDose said:

@Kallabecca

I think the book should provide, at least, a suggestion, exactly to avoid/address these kinds of situations.  I completely get your concern about hard limits and that reason should rule the day, but the discussion can slow the game down needlessly.  I think it best to simply have explicit in the rules.

/shrug it's just opinion.

Heh. Some rulebooks include this, but not all…

"Rule 0: Regardless of what this book says, GM has final say"



#9 Droma

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 11:17 AM

The system is already pretty abstract so I'm more incline to go by the book when it comes to backpacks/utility belts. They increase your total encumbrance and that counts for everything including held weapons and armor. I don't really see a need to add pointless minutia and book keeping to a very narrative system like this. If your players try to abuse it then step in and apply common sense but otherwise just leave it abstract otherwise you may as well start making up rules for ammunition and a million other minor things.



#10 LethalDose

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 11:22 AM

Kallabecca said:

Heh. Some rulebooks include this, but not all…

"Rule 0: Regardless of what this book says, GM has final say"

Yeah, I get that.  I don't think anyone here would disagree that Rule 0 is the most import tool in the GM's Box.  But in that vein, I feel like GM'ing, especially with Rule 0, should be like improv: 

"it's all about saying YES!"  

It's about creativity.  So it irks me to have to use it to say "No". I think rules it's the job of the rules to set the limits, and job of the GM to break them when appropriate.

DM makes a fine point above, and is an excellent use of Rule 0 to simply say "YES, that's storage space, not an actual backpack".  Cool. We have used the rules in a creative way, everyone at the table smiles, all is well.  However, If the player buys 5 more, or uses said to hold a heavy repeater thats twice as long as the droid is high, then we have a problem that could have been avoided.  The GM has has to say "No" and only has Rule 0 to rely on.

I also really hope we can all be adults and see this as potentially differing points of view, and avoid reductio ad absurdum arguments about "LD isn't happy unless the game is perfect."  Which is just that: absurd.

-WJL

 


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#11 Lord Dynel

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 02:04 PM

Well, I'm definitely going to Rule 0 these containers.  I understand where DM is coming from, and his creativity and loose interpretation is a great thing.  Considering it's already a question even before our first "official" campaign game (we've only done demo games up to this point) usually means, to me, I should come up with a ruling on it as to avoid any questions that come up later.  Whether it means I'm mired in minutiae or not, I guess depends on personal interpretation.  Some might think it's a ruling that isn't necessary, while others might think that if it's decided on now then it avoids issues later.  I'm of both minds, truthfully, but the "better safe than sorry" side of my brain usually wins these fights.  complice



#12 Doc, the Weasel

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 06:22 AM

As someone familiar with Jay's work on WFRP, he definitely assumes that GMs and players use common sense first and rules second. If you approach his games expecting the rules alone to model reality perfectly, you will find things missing or that don't make any sense because he assumes the answer is obvious. 

His games work best if you look at a problem from a common sense/story-based perspective, and then apply the rules toward that. It's different that what many are used to, especially after the d20 trend of the last decade and a half to make sure there is a rule for everything. 


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#13 Sturn

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 08:00 AM

Lord Dynel said:

2) Backpacks and Utility Belts - A curious player wondered if all he carried was a Heavy Blaster Rifle (ENC 6) and Padded Armor (ENC 2) could have that total reduced by carrying a Backpack (ENC -3, or an increase of 3 to ENC Threshold). The logical part of my head would say "no," but there aren't any rules to support that. I would think an empty backpack does nothing to help you carry a big gun and armor, but I could be missing the forest for the trees on this one. GM-fiat could win the day here.

I guess I'm looking at the rules slightly differently. May way of looking at it is the Backpack or Utility Belt is not reducing encumbrance of items. It's raising how much you can carry without penalty by increasing your Encumbrance Threshold (Beta pg. 104). So, your PC has an Encumbrance Threshold of 8 (Brawn plus 5).  He can run around with the Heavy Blaster Rifle and Padded Armor just fine (total Encumbrance of 8). It would be beneficial to have a Backpack or Utility Belt since he is at his max without penalty already. With a Backpack he has an Encumbrance Threshold of 11, so can cram 3 points of extra gear in there without suffering any penalty.

LethalDose said:

There's also no rules about the # of backpacks/utility belts you can wear.  I mentioned that on the beta forums and got dismissed out-of-hand because clearly my players were just trying to break the game and no simple rule change could possible stop them from misbehaving. So, be careful about what kind of responses you get here.

I agree it should probably be stated you can't have 2 Backpacks or 2 Utility Belts. I've already created an Ammo Belt (imagine Chewbacca's) that is a third choice - it acts as a Utility Belt but only if carrying Extra Ammo.



#14 LethalDose

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 10:14 AM

 

Doc, the Weasel said:

 

As someone familiar with Jay's work on WFRP, he definitely assumes that GMs and players use common sense first and rules second. If you approach his games expecting the rules alone to model reality perfectly, you will find things missing or that don't make any sense because he assumes the answer is obvious. 

His games work best if you look at a problem from a common sense/story-based perspective, and then apply the rules toward that. It's different that what many are used to, especially after the d20 trend of the last decade and a half to make sure there is a rule for everything. 

 

 

So, bolded stuff, don't need that.  see prior reductio ad absurdum comment.

On rule clarity & volume, WotC's tack  was towards one end of a spectrum, where Jay's l towards the other, and different people (GM's & players) simply have different preferences on where along this spectrum the ideal point or range is.  I prefer them towards Jay's end, but think there's still room for improvement.  And sometimes that means moving towards WotC's end.  If the question is 'more rules v less rules', I don't think there should (or even can) be a universal answer.  It's been my experience as a GM that clear rules make for transparent rules, which means you notice the rules less during game play, allowing more focus on the narrative.  Some transparency is improved by adding rules, sometimes it can be improved by removing them.

This is simply a situation where, IMO, the game would be improved by adding 2 sentences to a 448 pg book to avoid conflicts between the 'common sense' between parties at the table, as demonstrated within this thread by the quotes from Sturn & Kallabecca, below.

-WJL

Kallabecca said:

 

It might look funny, but you can wear more than one belt at a time, and I've seen people carrying more than one backpack at a time (granted, these are modern school backpacks and not something larger like a camping backpack). You can toss extra utility belts into a backpack, or just drape them off your shoulders. Looks odd, but would work.

 

 

 

Sturn said:

 

I agree it should probably be stated you can't have 2 Backpacks or 2 Utility Belts. I've already created an Ammo Belt (imagine Chewbacca's) that is a third choice - it acts as a Utility Belt but only if carrying Extra Ammo.

 

 


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#15 Kallabecca

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:31 PM

LethalDose said:

 

So, bolded stuff, don't need that.  see prior reductio ad absurdum comment.

 

 

That wasn't reductio ad absurdum since it was a near statement of fact about WotC… :)



#16 Vonpenguin

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:55 PM

Now one thing to remember is that encumbrance isn't just weight but also how hard something is to carry. A ladder has more encumbrance than something of an equal weight but a more compact size. A backpack is increaseing your encumbrance threshold not because you're stronger but because you don't have to juggle so many items. In this case your backpack would have a nifty loop to attach your rifle to so that you don't have to carry it and so it doesn't knock into anything.

 

In that same regard, multiple backpacks should decrease your encumbrance since wearing them improperly would get in your way more than it would help.



#17 Donovan Morningfire

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 02:19 PM

LethalDose said:

This is simply a situation where, IMO, the game would be improved by adding 2 sentences to a 448 pg book to avoid conflicts between the 'common sense' between parties at the table, as demonstrated within this thread by the quotes from Sturn & Kallabecca, below.

Unsurprisingly, I disagree.

Maybe I've been playing a few too many indy and indy-flavor games of late, games that put the power back into the GM's hands rather than forceing a plethora of rules on both player and GM, granting the freedom to apply "common sense" is a better approach than having a spelled-out rule telling you "well, your common sense should tell you this."

That said, perhaps those two items could have a slightly expanded explanation (if it's not too late to add such a thing), that "backpacks" and "utility belts" are just loose descriptors, and that said items can be used to represent various other means of storing/carrying gear, much like the handful of examples I gave above, within reason.

Someone carrying three "utility belts" (an ammo bandolier across the chest and pair of Old West style gun belts with holsters) isn't that improbable, and personally I think it's a bit on the cool side, particularly if the character is a gunslinger packing twin blaster pistols.  Mechanically, it'd just be simpler to buy a backpack (cheaper too) and be done with it, but I at least think it's a cool visual, and the GM should work with the player to accomodate that concept.

I think Doc, the Weasel has the right idea, and that a GM should be able to allow simple "common sense" inform their decision of what is and isn't kosher without needing to be told as much.  Someone trying to wear four backpacks (as in actual backpacks) is absurd, and I'd be surprised if a GM didn't put the kibosh on something like that.  But an actual backpack and a belt-rig for a tool kit (both "backpacks" in game terms) is a good deal more reasonable.

Then again, maybe I'm placing more faith in the many GMs out there than others might, but I figure the vast majority of GMs really don't need as much hand-holding rules-wise as D&D 3rd Edition generally assumed was needed (granted, it wasn't as bad as Rolemaster got at points, since I never saw a chart for blowing your nose in an official WotC product).  Maybe it was the result of hearing too many horror stories of power-mad Dictator!DMs and allegedly "spineless" DMs that couldn't keep their players in check from 1st and 2nd edition that caused WotC to take the approach they did with 3rd edition and trying to codify every little thing, and if anything only serving to re-inforce the "DM vs. Players" mentality that's been the bane of many a promsing campaign.  But that's not really the point of this topic and kind of a moot point anyway since nobody here was involved in 3rd edition's development.


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#18 Sturn

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 03:04 PM

Let's please don't start another war in yet another thread. It's spreading like the plague. Keep discussing without snide comments please.



#19 Lord Dynel

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 03:43 PM

Well, as a follow-up (for those who care sonreir) I think I'm going to turn 180° on my last thoughts.  DM's and Sturn's points have weighed in my mind for the past day or so, and have made me come around.  I like the simplicity and the not over-thinking of the rules.  I don't want to add to much minutiae to the game by having it to worry about what's in a backpack and what's not.  And the creative interpretation of such containers is exactly what I like about the system, and I feel that my house rule was going to be antithesis to that.  So, after some deliberation, I've decided to play it as-is.  I just think it's in a better spirit of the rules to not be overly concerned with little things like this.  If it's abused, then I'll reconsider my thoughts on it.  



#20 mouthymerc

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 08:40 PM

The problem with common sense is that it isn't so common. With so many people coming from D20 or D&D specifically, they are used to practically everything being laid out for them. And it is a shame that some find it either impossible or even difficult to break away from such literal games where many, I would say too many, aspects are codified. They become lost when told to think on it themselves. Personally I don't think a couple of sentences are needed because I hope that common sense would prevail. On the other hand, a couple of sentences wouldn't hurt or take up much space, or at least a reminder that the game is more narrative driven and not so exact.


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