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mcv

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  1. This is absolutely what I'd do in a more sandboxy campaign, but when there's a specific adventure to run, like Beyond The Rim, then ending up in the wrong system is likely to derail the adventure too much. Of course you could also expand the scope of BTR and turn it into a much bigger campaign, but that's not what I'm doing right now.
  2. In the end, I'm not sure success or failure really matters all that much in Beyond The Rim. Kind of a shame, since boosting your die pool is a significant (and cool) part of the action in the first part, which I thought was a brilliant idea. But ultimately, the roll is bloody hard to make, and Yiyar is probably going to fail it too. Meanwhile, the Empire, which is supposed to show up late, has a much faster ship and is going to get there first no matter what you do. And while the adventure has some notes about what to do if the Yiyars get there first, it's really written on the assumption that the players get there first. So while it's important and exciting for the players to believe that roll matters, I don't think it really does. You're going to fudge and improvise everything on Cholganna anyway. Do it the way that works best for you and the dynamics of the game, and that's something the roll isn't going to have a lot of impact on. But make that roll exciting anyway. Astrogation deserves some love. In most games, it's by far the most boring skill there is, and FFG tried to make it cool, and that's a worthy effort. It just doesn't really work out very well in this particular case. But the idea is sound. I'm probably going to expand on this principle in my own adventures.
  3. I haven't ran much yet; just the Beginner's Game and the first session of Beyond the Rim. But in the Beginner Game, with two players, when they encountered the stormtroopers, the combat character went down quickly, and the other character quickly injected her with a stimpak (of however you apply those) and ran away, with stormtroopers in pursuit. He ran across the rope bridge into the shanty town, hid in a house until the stormtroopers ran past, and then quickly ran back across the bridge and cut the rope, taking one squad of stormtroopers out of the equation without firing a shot. It felt very Star Wars.
  4. Are your adventures all about combat? With so much invested in Range Heavy and Mechanics, can he do anything else? Yes, it's powerful. But in the movies, the opposition also tends to go down with a single shot. But the stories aren't just about shooting. Also, where does that 4th yellow die come from? With Ranged Heavy 3, shouldn't there be only 3 yellow dice? On the modification rules, while I love the idea, I also think that every mod should come with penalties, quirks or side effects, especially if you roll any threats or despair. There's a good reason why these weapons don't roll out of the factory like that; they become less reliable and require a lot more maintenance. A good customized weapon should be more powerful than standard, but it should also be quirky. Like the Millennium Falcon (the archetype of heavily modified equipment in the movies -- they're constantly fixing it and when it's flying, it regularly malfunctions).
  5. Have them bump into some scholarly academic type in the pub who is wanting to go looking for the wreck because of historical precedence but needs the players for protection. He can hire them if you want to reward them more. He can be the Knowledge guy and he might have some assistants for other skill checks that might be needed. Maybe he has a Mich Dundee-esque guide already, but just needs some guns. Working for two different patrons simultaneously on the same job sounds like a bit more complication than I want to inflict on them for a first adventure. That kind of conflict of interest could be very interesting later on, though.
  6. I've already had them meet an explorer during the first session; I noticed they weren't finding enough clues and might be on the verge of getting frustrated, so in Tasha's Tap Bar I had them encounter an explorer who knew quite a bit about the outer rim, and gave them 2 blue dice for their astrogation roll. He lost his family at Alderaan, is somewhat depressed and seems somewhat worryingly non-risk adverse. He'd be willing to come along, but at what price? He thinks they're going to hunt Nexu, so he probably wants payment up front rather than merely a share of the profits. Had he known they had a credible lead on the Sa Nalaor, he'd be more willing to work for them for a share of the profits, but the PCs are reasonably discreet about it, using Nexu hunting as their cover. I was thinking about 1000 Cr up front, which is more than they have. Though considering the PCs get 10,000 Cr for the job, that might be a bit low. Thanks for the page number on droids. Unfortunately, those prices are way too high for my PCs' meager starting funds. And it also suggests 1000 Cr for the explorer is too little. Maybe they need to take on some debt? I was also thinking of having Reom give them a guard. Both to help them, and indeed keep an eye on his investment. Maybe that is easier to add to the group. Though any guard of Reom is unlikely to have astrogation, piloting and survival. An extra gun won't hurt in such a small group of course, but I'm counting on the Trandoshan hired gun to take care of most of the party's violence needs (though she won't kill; she scores points with the Scorekeeper by leaving her opponents in combat alive, which is great for recurring villains of course). Then again, with an Int of 3 and enough blue dice, maybe the astrogation rolls for the detour aren't too hard without training? They already got 2 blue dice, and at the end of the last session, they were wondering if they should go back to Reom to try to get more info out of the pod. 4 blue dice should give them quite some edge.
  7. I'm running Beyond the Rim for a group of only two players. Due to the small group, they're lacking some important skills, like, oh, Astrogation (which is pretty important to travel to an unknown planet), Pilot (space), Survival, stuff like that. I've got two options to remedy this: maybe they could hire a reliable explorer to add these skills, or possibly they could buy an Astromech droid. Problem is: I have no idea what would be a good price to hire someone, or how much a droid costs. Are there any guidelines for that anywhere? Does anyone have any good suggestions? They already went looking for an astrogation chip to put in IT-3PO once he arrives (no idea whether IT-3PO would approve), but again, I have no idea how much that would cost. Any suggestions? [edit: astrogation CHIP, not ship]
  8. On backgrounds, I also prefer players to do that together during the first session (or zeroth, if you like). This way, they can bounce ideas off each other, correct each other when someone goes overboard, and work on some relationships between the characters. You get a lot more cohesion that way. Hopefully. An interesting game to take a look at is Diaspora, a hard-SF RPG that makes it official that the first session is about creating first the cluster of worlds together, and then the characters. You probably get a lot more buy-in that way, though I haven't tried it yet.
  9. Page 39 of Beyond the Rim explains the two different routes, their difficulty, and how to mitigate the difficulty. Option 1 takes 48 + 24 hours, option 2 takes 55 hours (with a class 1 hyperdrive, so it's probably double that with an un-modded ship). Each threat adds 4 hours. On the first leg of option 1, 2 threats means that the second leg is harder, despair means they end up in an asteroid field and take 5 system strain, and must succeed on a hard piloting check to get out of the asteroid field. On the second leg or option 2, 2 threats means 5 strain and sensors damaged; hard mechanics check needed to fix them. Despair gets them too close to the atmosphere and a hard piloting check to avoid damage. That's it, actually. I thought it also discussed the effects of Advantage results, but it doesn't. I love the detail, and it's a great source of inspiration on how to handle astrogation in general, but it doesn't mention failure at all as far as I can tell. The rolebook does, but is more vague. Page 104: Success means you get there without incident. More successes can mean either faster travel time, or faster calculation. Advantage usually reduces travel time, but can also be used to find attractive places to stop, refuel, etc. Triumph means greatly reduced travel time, super fast calculation, or a totally new route. Threat decreases accuracy or increases travel time, or missing relevant details. Despair similar but worse, or something really awful like exiting in front of an asteroid. Nothing about failure. Page 246-247, "Interstellar Travel", discusses difficulty and factors influencing it, but no dice results. Is there some place I missed?
  10. Make the combat about something other than doing damage until the opposition is dead. Have special goals during combat, use special tricks, entangle people, have them fight on difficult ground, have the tank hold off the opposition while the others accomplish the real goal for which they're there. Of course also do damage. The tanks should get the enjoy his invulnerability. Just also show him situations where that invulnerability won't help him. If you fall in a pit wearing heavy armor, you're still in a pit.
  11. A new Jedi is always cool (as long as you don't overdo it). The jedi is probably dead (with all jedi having been hunted to extinction) or in hiding and impossible to find, but he can still be a cool source of adventure hooks or other twists. Jedi tend to be involved in all sorts of things at the same time, so there's all sorts of places where he can end up on the trail if this jedi, and discover more about his jedi in play. On the whole, with situations like this, it's important to figure out what the player really wants, and hive him that. Too often, I've seen (or been) the GM criticize someone character idea, background or name, which lead to the player losing interest, or being less immersed in the game. You need to have your players on board. Nothing in the game is more important than that, because without players, you don't have a game. Compromise. But also, turn their lame cliche ego-trip into something unique and cool and full of adventure. "Yes and..." For the original poster and anyone else looking for ideas on how to set up a campaign: here's my views on that: Don't plan everything out. If the game is any good, the players will derail anything you plan. Be flexible. Learn to improvise (it's not that hard). Listen to your players. To what they want, but more importantly, to what they think. Throw random stuff at them without yourself knowing what it means, and listen to them speculate. They'll have much better ideas than you. Write them down. Take notes of everything they say. Everything that they ever mentioned that you can make relevant in the game, is win. Start simple. Don't start with a campaign, start with an adventure. Look at how Order of the Stick started out as a simple dungeon crawl with some jokes, and later grew increasingly epic. Start with a simple published adventure. Beyond the Rim is excellent for this (though rather big already), or take the Beginner Game + Long Arm of the Hutt (though I haven't read that yet), throw some extra random ideas in, and let the players derail it. Once they derail it or invent some extra meaning behind something, you've basically got your campaign. If you start with a short adventure, ideally, when you get to the climax of the adventure, you'll have developed some idea of where the campaign might be going. Work that into the climax. It could be as simple as a note or some cargo aboard the ship they steal, or the objective turns out not to be what it's supposed to be. Maybe it's something different, or something took it, or their target becomes their new patron or something. Twist the ending. Don't railroad. Adventures or linear published campaigns are for railroads, but if you want to have your own sprawling campaign, learn to let go. Let your players do your work for you. Go where they want to go. Take their ideas and make them awesome. Embrace the unexpected. Prepare. Yes, this sounds like it goes against everything above, but even in a freeform sprawling campaign, you still need to fill your session. Once they're off the track, make sure you always have some ideas ready, some encounters prepared, etc. If they don't go where you expected or prepared for, loot the coolest bits that you did prepare, and reuse them in the new direction. Replace your stormtroopers with droids, your Gamorreans with nercenaries or thugs, turn the McGuffin into something else, and run with it. After a while, you should have a reasonable collection of prepared and semi-prepared encounters, as well as a good list of player-provided plot ideas. This toolbox will grow. Consult them regularly, and weed them out and expand on them. If you need more structure, read Never Unprepared by Phil Vecchione.
  12. I know there are many interesting (and some less interesting) ways to interpret failure. What surprises me is that an adventure that spells all the other possible results out in such detail, and in other places does an excellent job of describing the different choices you can make s a GM and what their consequences are, completely neglect to mention this rather obvious case. It's almost as if FFG doesn't consider it possible to fail an Astrogation roll. But with all the extra difficulty and choices and lots of skill rolls that can provide bonuses to this Astrogation check, it's bizarre that they left out one of the most obvious, interesting and dramatic results. Both in the adventure, and in the basic rulebook. Not a word. I just don't understand how they managed to overlook this. I'm still flabbergasted.
  13. I haven't finished reading all of Beyond the Rim yet, but one thing that stood out right away were the detailed rules for Astrogation. I thought this was great. Often in SF games, Astrogation is a totally boring skill. Either you get there or you don't. It's not interesting to put points in the skill. Here however, all the rules for choosing which route you take, and detailed effects of success and partial success, seem to make it interesting and relevant. It's one of the many things that determines whether you get there before or after the opposition (though I couldn't find how much time the opposition uses for the jump). But there was one big hole: what happens if they fail the roll? This is incredibly relevant, because the route they choose determines the difficulty. They can take a bigger chance of failure in exchange for a shorter trip (if the roll succeeds). So failure should be pretty serious. But it doesn't say what happens. Maybe it's explained in the rulebook? No, no details on failure either. Now I understand that in many adventures, the effect of (partial) success and failure often need to be winged by the GM. Often rolling may not even be interesting at all. But here, the stakes are clear, and there's a lot of details specifying the effect of all the different possible results, except for failure. That's a pretty big and glaring hole. Are there any errata for this? Will there be any?
  14. Doc, the Weasel said: Have you actually played the game? I know that there are problems with the system from a theoretical perspective, but in practice it works just fine. I have played the game, but not often enough for this problem to become obvious during play. And it's not a problem that's likely to show up immediately anyway. You don't use opposed checks all the time, most opponents for these checks are likely to be somewhat average, etc. However, once you get enough opposed checks with PCs of varying ability against opponents with varying ability, any player with some sense for probabilities will notice that something funny is going on. Some people on this forum have suggested using opposed checks in combat, and I think that's a really interesting idea, but it's not going to work well with the current rules for opposed checks. Doc, the Weasel said: I still don't know why people who don't like the game post in these forums. It's like hanging around outside your ex-girlfriend's house, and throwing rocks at her window. What do you expect to happen? I agree. I haven't seen that for some time in this thread, fortunately. Though I haven't checked all threads recently.
  15. Spivo said: Two things...: 1) This game rewards "Jack of all trade" characters, few game does this. But I've found that the players who play characters that can do some of everything, are the ones who has the most fun. Mainly because they can do stuff on their own. They can go down to the habor, talk to the Habor-Master (social check), discover that the grain might be hidden at Gildforts warehouse, go down there and from a hidden position (stealth) observe what is happening there (observation), know that something is not right (intuition/folklore), and then overcome the solo guard, to obtain evidence (combat). The characters who overspecialize in my group, can't really do much solo, as they'll to often run into problems. But according to Bindlespin, they have to specialize in order to have a chance at those opposed tests. I'm still not sure which it is. High attributes get doubly rewarded by opposed tests, while low attributes get doubly punished. Personally, I'd rather just fix the system, so it gets more linear and predictable. Spivo said: 2) 3 vs. 4 strength is not just 1/3rd better, it's 2/3rd better (3 strength costs 6 points, 4 costs 10). So stats scale quite steep. 4 vs. 5 is "just" 50% better, but being 50% stronger than someone else is quite a LOT! It's you benchpressing 80 kg, while he does 120 kg! And for the 2 agility dwarf, vs. 3 agility guard, you're compeeting against someone who's twice as good as you. That's not relevant. (Also not true; there's no reason at all to assume that it's cost rather than score that determines how good you really are.) The real problem is that opponent's true ability is irrelevant in opposed checks. The difficulty is determined by his ability relative to yours! Your ability is represented by the difficulty, and that's just wrong. It's double. When we're both roughly equally good, I should have a reasonable chance of success and failure, whether we both have a score of 3 or 5.
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