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ErikModi

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  1. Eh, sort of. I'm the GM for my group, and I'm a bit of a canon Nazi, making sure everything slots in effortlessly to the existing canon, just "offscreen," which did occasionally annoy my players (for instance, one game I ran that started shortly after Return of the Jedi and went through the Thrawn Trilogy, then picked up after a time skip for the New Jedi Order) one of the characters was a Force-Sensitive Verpine, and I flat-out told him he wouldn't meet Luke Skywalker until after at least the first part of Dark Force Rising, since Luke meets a Verpine early in that book and states he's never encountered the species before. So, when I started up another Star Wars game, I decided to do something different. Take all the Legends continuity up until the New Jedi Order, gloss over bits I didn't care for, then run the timeline up a thousand years. In the interim, the GFFA fell in a delayed reaction to the carnage of the "Vong Wars" as they're known in-universe, and the Imperial Remnant and Jedi Order stepped in to try and prevent the galaxy from falling into a dark age, with the result that there's now a Second Galactic Empire, supported by a new Jedi Order, keeping and enforcing the peace all over the galaxy. Lots of other stuff cropping up from elements from my personal campaigns earlier, but that's largely the gist of it. Mostly, it's an excuse for me to throw everything from every era of Star Wars into one big melting pot. Jedi have a Clone Army, the Empire has walkers and Star Destroyers and Super Star Destroyers and stormtroopers, Mandalorians are running about, and so on and so forth.
  2. There's a few things to keep in mind. First, hyperspace travel in Star Wars is rarely strictly Point A to Point B (even though that's what we see in the films). Expanded universe materials makes a big deal out of "hyperspace lanes," and you need to chart a course using those routes or else bad things can happen. This is related to how hyperspace travel in Star Wars works: objects in realspace cast "mass shadows" in hyperspace, and hitting a "mass shadow" in hyperspace is just like hitting the actual object, except at a zillion times the speed of light. Basically, you just stop being engineering and biology and start being physics. Because of this, hyperdrives have safety mechanisms that prevent them from being activated while within a gravity well* (gravity mostly being generated by large amounts of matter) and that pops them out of hyperspace when they encounter a gravity well, but these systems are far from foolproof: even getting yanked out by the safety as you approach a mass shadow can heavily damage or destroy a ship**. So, hyperspace lanes are well-charted routes "clear" of anything that might cast a mass shadow in hyperspace that might pose a threat to a ship in realspace.*** Staying within those lanes is safer, and charting new routes is very difficult and dangerous work (seriously, there people who do that for a living in the Star Wars universe, and it's I gather a highly-paid and specialized profession, not something to try with the Star Wars equivalent of a GED). What all this means is your smuggling route isn't likely to be a simple Coruscant to Tatooine hop, over in minutes or even hours. You might need to go from Coruscant to Corellia, from there to Panolomin, to Gamor, to Naboo and finally to Tatooine. At each stop, your ship may be subject to customs inquiry and search (especially under the Empire). Even a perfectly legitimate cargo going from Coruscant to Tatooine might have to pass through a system where said cargo is controlled, restricted, or illegal, and you'd better have the permits that say you're legally transporting it through this system with no intent to offload it there. That's also how piracy in Star Wars mostly works: You can't ambush a ship in hyperspace and most pirates can't afford Interdictors (or even the poor-man's equivalents, like towing massive asteroids) so you stake out good, juicy transit points near major trade routes and wait for a ship with a nice, lucrative cargo to pop out so you can board them and steal stuff. Of course, that's also where the customs ships hang out, too, to make sure all cargo going through said transit point is legal. So, at any given transit point, smugglers and legitmate shippers alike might have to worry about customs and pirates, pirates might have to worry about their smuggler and legitimate cargo targets and customs ships that will try and stop them, and customs ships might have to worry about inspecting smugglers and legitimate haulers and driving off pirates. Second, you have to actually land on the planet you're delivering the cargo to. If you go through a regular spaceport, there's certainly going to be customs checks to make sure nothing illegal is being smuggled in, and that's where things like Han's hidden compartments come in handy, or other ways to get the customs officials off the illegal cargo (bribing is always an option, but the whole point of smuggling is to make money, and bribes can quickly get expensive). You can just land somewhere else on the planet, but most civilized planets would probably have laws against putting down anywhere except a designated spaceport without a really good reason (like an official declaration of emergency from the ship in question) and the tracking equipment to quickly find anyone who puts down somewhere they're not supposed to. Think about airplanes in real life: even a tiny little puddle jumper plane has to take off and land at designated airports (even if they're dinky little airports) and file an official flight plan. Just landing on a street or the middle of an empty field is a BIG no-no. Ideally, a smuggler will attract zero attention doing their job. No one but the person they're delivering illicit cargo to or picking it up from will ever know they were carrying anything other than official sanctioned, perfectly normal goods. In fact, I think a lot of smugglers do carry perfectly legal cargo in addition to their illegal goods, getting a little bit of extra money from a legal cargo run and having legitimate, properly-documented goods to show off to any inspectors who care to look (after all, it's a pretty big plot point in Heir to the Empire when Wedge encounters what appears to be a completely empty freighter. . . a freighter should never be completely empty). How, exactly, they keep their hidden cargo hidden until the time comes to exchange it for fat stacks of cash has been covered by some of the other posters, and that for me would be the most fun. . . if you have a group of clever players, see what they come up with for a smuggling scheme, and see if there are any holes in it you can exploit to get them caught. Because smuggling is risky, there should always be a risk of getting caught, and then they need to figure out how to get out of the trouble they're now in. If you haven't, watch Firefly. Some great examples for what day-to-day life might be for this kind of a crew (though the crew of Serenity are more straight-up thieves, pirates, etc., they do engage in some "honest smuggling" every so often). * Yes, I know new Canon shows us the U-Wing in Rogue One, and arguably the Millenium Falcon in The Force Awakens, do exactly that. My contention was always that the safety was hard-wired and could not be removed, overwritten, or otherwise fiddled with, because my players would be just dumb enough to try (and still almost did, leading to me having to declare that it was flat-out impossible to tamper with that safety). New canon, the safety may be less tamper-proof, but it's still done only rarely, allowing the U-Wing to hyperspace away while still in Jedda's gravity well. I don't think the Falcon actually was in hyperspace and Starkiller Base's gravity well at the same time, but I freely admit that's Your Mileage May Vary. ** Happened to Talon Karrde in a story he tells in Dark Force Rising. Emergency jump caused a ship he was on at the start of his smuggling career to nearly hit a mass shadow in hyperspace, which heavily damaged the ship and blew the main hyperdrive, forcing them to limp to civilization on the backup hyperdrive. ** And yes, real space is 99.99999999etc.% completely empty. This is one of those cases where Star Wars logic does not resemble our Earth logic.
  3. Well, and the thing about FFG's narrative system is you can headbutt, knockdown, parry, and pin to your heart's content. . . narratively. Give an enemy setback dice on their next roll? You headbutted them and knocked them off balance. Giving an ally boost dice on their next attack? You pinned the enemy to give them that clear shot. Enemy missed their lightsaber attack on you? In a shower of sparks, you batted the glowing plasma aside with your vibroblade, keeping the contact brief enough it's still functional, though you'll probably want to give it a thorough servicing the first chance you get. The Talents just let you do it as an actual combat maneuver.
  4. My main issue with Saga, much as I loved it, was that it quickly became clear that if there wasn't a specific Feat or Talent that let you do something, and it wasn't a thing you could normally do by the core rules, you could not do that thing. Like, there's a feat that lets you smack someone in melee combat with your gun. Okay, that's cool. Except that only those who have that feat can smack someone with their gun in melee, no one else can. Not even "they can do it, but badly," no, they can't do it at all. If there's a talent that lets you throw sand in someone's eyes, only someone with that talent (and thus, of specific classes that have access to the talent tree that talent appears in) can ever throw sand in someone's eyes. And they can do this whenever and wherever they want. . . the deserts of Tatooine, the plains of Naboo, the meticulously polished corridors of a Star Destroyer, the vacuum of space. . . Everything became so delineated through the rules, through additional feats and talents and such that it became increasingly difficult, and in some cases impossible, to build a character that wasn't highly specialized in one specific class (or closely grouped classes and prestige classes). And with the way defenses and attack bonuses scaled, multiclassing could be very, very painful. Another very annoying thing is how multiple attacks work. Huge penalties, especially if you're not going two-weapons route, significant investment to get rid of those penalties (especially if you're not going two-weapons*), and requiring you to not move to use them. Made them much, much better in the hands of ranged characters, which is odd since Jedi are typically the multiattacking fools of the Star Wars universe. It's still a good system, fairly easy to understand, fairly quick to play, easy to calibrate enemies to various player groups, how they've built their characters (how powerful/minmaxed they are on average), and so on. But my group played Saga for years, and dropped it like a hot potato once I got the funding to buy into the FFG line, and we're a lot happier with it. It's a lot more flexible out of the box, and once you get the system, you can tweak some minor things without worrying about breaking it completely. * With two-weapons, you can eventually buy down the penalties to almost nothing just by getting the various two-weapon feats. For Double and Triple Attack, you need to invest in talents to buy off those penalties, and you need basically a whole Prestige Class worth of levels spent on just those talents to buy off the penalties completely, meaning you can Triple Attack. . . and that's about it. Just bugs me. Especially when (and know saying "real life" costs me cred in this argument) in real life, using two weapons is far more inefficient and impractical than just getting faster with one weapon. And great, now I'm having House Rule ideas for a game I don't even play anymore, so thanks (grumble grumble harrumph).
  5. ErikModi

    Poe Dameron, Master Strategist?

    Haven't read the thread, so forgive me if these points have been raised: The time and cost of replacing the bombers and their crews is irrelevant, since at the moment, the Resistance has zero capability to replace any lost materiel. Their only chance at this point in time is to escape the First Order with as much as they can, to start up a true Resistance/Rebellion and eventually defeat them. Leia knows firsthand how difficult it was for the Rebel Alliance to get going, get built, get ships and guns and people willing to fly them and shoot them. Every loss the Resistance takes is effectively irreplaceable at this moment. Before this film, the Resistance was getting their equipment under-the-table from the New Republic, and according to the opening crawl, the New Republic effectively no longer exists. At the time of Poe's attack, Leia had no reason to believe the Dreadnought was any threat to them once they entered hyperspace. Yes, we know the First Order could track them, and the Dreadnought arriving behind them five minutes later would have ended the movie immediately, but they didn't know that. Poe insisting "we can't let it get away" is him comically missing the point: the Dreadnought isn't trying to "get away," the Resistance is. And the Dreadnought very nearly fired its big, honkin space guns at the Resistance fleet before it was destroyed. If that bomber had been a few seconds later, if it had been destroyed along with the others, the Resistance fleet would have burned then and there. If Poe and his squad had pulled back when Leia ordered them to, they might have all made it out before the Dreadnought could fire on them. The calculations for replacing personnel and materiel only work if both sides have relatively equal ability to replace losses. Clearly, the First Order has vastly superior construction and recruiting programs, considering the massive (granted, not remotely competent, even by Star Wars standards, but massive) military they have to work with. No one expected the First Order to be such a threat, or Leia's Resistance would have been far better equipped. The New Republic certainly didn't expect them to have a weapon like Starkiller Base. And Starkiller may have only gotten off one shot, but what a shot it was. Broke the back of the New Republic, and it's pretty clearly shown that the First Order retreated from Starkiller in good order, letting them capitalize on their gains quickly. The Resistance simply can't afford to waste lives and ships on targets that aren't of absolutely critical importance, which the Dreadnought was not. The difference between losing the bomber wing against the Dreadnought and, say, losing almost everything at the Battle of Scarif is that Scarif earned them intel on the Death Star, which eventually allowed them to defeat it. The Rebellion simply couldn't afford to let the Empire have that weapon unchallenged, and even then, most of the Alliance leadership was against committing to that battle. The First Order almost certainly has more Dreadnoughts, it's not a target whose presence or absence will win or lose the entire war.
  6. I wouldn't characterize myself on "the reasonable side." I'm trying, I really am, but I freely admit that I love the movie, and it's really hard to be reasonable when someone takes something you love and trashes it with misinformed, shortsighted, and just plain "not-what-I-personally-wanted-to-see" rantings. On that point, I empathize wholeheartedly with longtime Star Wars fans who hate the sequel films and especially The Last Jedi. Honestly, with all sincerity, it really sucks that you feel these filmmakers are destroying everything you ever loved about Star Wars. And you are absolutely entitled to feel that way. Just because I like the "affectionate deconstruction" of Star Wars that TLJ was doesn't mean everyone does, or should. If the movie had ended with bad-part-of-Legends-inspired Luke snapping his fingers and imploding all the First Order's walkers and spaceships, I would feel offended and annoyed and probably be ranting that the film "ruined Star Wars" myself. But it didn't, and I loved what they did with the film. I'm passionate about my love of Star Wars and my love of TLJ, and yeah, I'm certainly a bit over-aggressive in dismissing arguments against I feel don't have any real value, because I personally can't comprehend how someone has that takeaway. And while intellectually I support taking in information about the film and deciding not to see it, emotionally I'm a bit hurt that someone wouldn't at least make the attempt to try and understand the film before hating on it. But when someone who hasn't even tried to understand the film before hating on it starts hating on other people who did take the time to try and understand the film and liked it. . . yeah, I can't sit still for that. So I'm sorry if people disagree with my assertions. I'm sorry if people feel I offended them. These are just my opinions, and I've argued why I hold them to the best of my ability. If you're not convinced, great. Good for you. You have your opinion and I have no right to tell you it's wrong. And if I do jump down your throat, just yank me out, give me a good shake, and say "Bad Erik," and I'll try and do better.
  7. I was actually expecting someone to bring up a rebuttal of this type the first time I posted my opinion. That's a strawman argument. Everyone has been injured, you can state for fairly certain that being injured is not fun (excepting some edge cases that really aren't appropriate for discussion on a PG forum). So really, you're only positing degrees of injury. You've probably slammed your shin hard into a coffee table, trailer hitch, or something at some point, and you know how much that hurts, how much that minor injury causes pain and temporary debilitation, so it's not really a stretch at all to imagine how having your leg blown off would create a more painful and debilitating injury. You've still experienced injury, if not to the same degree as someone else. So it is with art. A passing glance at a painting might give you an idea of what it is and what it's trying to convey, but looking at it for an hour, soaking in every single detail and how each contributes to its whole provides a whole different insight. Both are qualified to discuss the real and perceived merits and flaws of the painting, though the one with the longer study obviously has more to talk about. Compare that to someone who read a description of the painting that simply said "it's orange." What can this third person contribute to the discussion besides the presence or absence of orangosity? Reading reviews and listening to other people talk is not experiencing the art for yourself. Even, I daresay, watching a YouTube video with carefully chosen clips talked over by a narrator is not experiencing the art for yourself. It's the difference between reading the Cliff Notes to a book and actually reading the book. The Cliff Notes can tell you what the themes, motivations, characters, and plot points are, but they can't point out all the tiny, subtle ways in which those things may be reinforced, which some readers will pick up on and others will not, which may grant a whole separate and unique takeaway tailored to each individual reader and colored by their experiences and outlook. It can't give you those little flashes of insight and brilliance you when experiencing the work for yourself that elevates "I like this" to "I freaking LOVE this!"
  8. You know, when making the first Dune movie, they realized that there are a LOT of points of commonality between Dune and Star Wars, and they actually considered suing George Lucas for plagarism. And George Lucas actually considered (or actually did, I forget) sue Battlestar Galactica (original) for ripping him off. They're defense basically consisted of "we might have stolen from George, but George stole from EVERYONE," and Lucas had to admit they had a point. Stealing from one person is plagarism. Stealing from everyone is research.
  9. That's actually a really good point. Though I would argue that hearing someone say "it's just a Pocahontas ripoff" or "Dances With Smurfs" is still insufficient to truly intelligently debate the particulars of that argument. All one could really say is "according to this review" and "based on what so-and-so-told me" to hit the salient points, it's still not quite the same as experiencing the narrative yourself and deciding how closely the points of commonality lie. And that's wholly separate from the debate of whether or not "story X has this many plot elements in common with story Y" is inherently a bad thing. You can craft an intelligent argument in that fashion, but it's a lot more difficult in my experience.
  10. Not precisely. My position is, it's perfectly okay to decide you're not interested in seeing something based on the conversation around it, and even to raise specific things you've heard that lead to that decision. Beyond that, I believe, there's just nothing meaningful to contribute to the discussion without having seen it yourself. My problem -- and this is what cropped up in the other locked thread people are referring to -- is when people bring in second, third, fourth, and fifth-hand opinions, and restate them as facts for why the movie is objectively bad. Bringing overblown, grown-legs-in-retelling statements that just really don't have anything to do with valid complaints about the film. Like "I'm not a fan of Luke's character arc." That's a valid complaint, though not one I share. But going from that to "Luke's a completely depowered utter coward who makes everything worse" is gross hyperbole that doesn't accurately reflect the intent or content of the film. It makes it impossible to discuss Luke's character arc, love it or hate it, in any meaningful way because the starting point is from someone who didn't even make an attempt to try and understand it. That's what annoys me, and that's what I meant by "abdicate your right to whine." You can't discuss the salient points if you aren't aware of what they are, only what you've been told they are. I fully support people's ability to decide for themselves whether or not to experience a piece of art for themselves. I even support bringing up the reasons they made that decision in the conversation about that art, whether they're open to having their minds changed on that decision or not. Heck, you can even go so far as to say "I haven't seen it (yet), but I've heard this happens, and if that's true that's awesome/horrible." What I'm rallying against is, without even having experienced that art for yourself, claiming that the reasons you made that decision apply equally to all human beings on the planet, and thus that any human being who made a different decision is deficient.
  11. I'm sorry, I'm really not seeing the point of disconnect here. I'm agreeing with you. . . you can make a decision whether or not to see a movie for yourself based on what others are saying about, and you're agreeing with me that this decision is yours and doesn't impact anyone else's decision whether or not to see it or whether or not to enjoy it, so I'm honestly not certain where the disagreement is coming in.
  12. Well, that's exactly what I'm talking about. You know your friends' tastes, you know what they do and don't like about movies, so you can make decisions based on if you're interested in the film or not based on their opinions. You still form your own opinion after having seen it yourself, though. And everybody does that all the time every day. Taking in information about a film or show or book or whatever and deciding if you're interested in experiencing it for yourself. That's not the problem. What annoys me is people regurgitating other people's opinions as facts. First, opinions are not facts. They are opinions. Second, retelling someone else's opinion means it is now colored by your own opinion about what they said. A great example of this pertains to this very movie: a lot of people have quoted Mark Hamill as saying he fundamentally disagreed with Luke's arc in this film, and even told Rian Johnson point-blank to his face that "I disagree with every decision you're making in this film." So many people quote this as "fact" that Mark Hamill himself hates the film, therefore it is objectively bad. Never mind that Mark Hamill has cleared up his quotes many times, stating that he likes the final product of the film, and considers it "one of the greats." You can also see, as EGA points out, Mark Hamill pouring everything he's got into his performance as Luke, which he may not have done if he hated everything about it. But people who don't like the film want their opinions propped up, so they take Mark Hamill's comments to mean he hates it, too. But you don't need your opinion propped up, it's yours and no one can take it away from you. Even if your opinion is "every source I respect says this is horrible and I have no interest in it," that opinion is perfectly valid and no one gets to tell you it's not. But you then also don't get to explain to people who have seen the film and do like it why their opinion is wrong.
  13. Yeah, no. What I'm saying is, while taking reviews and word of mouth and deciding that a particular piece of art is of no interest to you (and probably almost as old as art itself, I picture two Neanderthals talking about a brand new cave painting and one saying "eh, I stick mammoths with spears every day, I'll pass"), once you've made that decision, you really can't contribute to the conversation beyond that. Talking about what you've read or seen or heard that makes you uninterested, and if you're open to your opinion being changed, hearing responses to that, is one thing. Citing criticisms second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth hand as indisputable "facts" for why a given work of art is objectively bad is quite another. You really can't have an informed opinion about things you yourself have not experienced. And just to short-circuit this, your analogies are flawed. School shootings are bad, that's all there is to it, but what should be done is a much more complex and nuanced discussion than "all guns bad" "hands off my guns" that everyone wants to seem to boil it down to, and this is not the right place to discuss it. As for smoking. . . well, yes, even if you don't smoke, you've experienced cigarette smoke for yourself, by smelling it on others, and can make the informed decision whether or not that smell is appealing to you. Moreover, neither of those arguments have anything at all to do with art. Shooting innocent people is objectively bad, that's all there is to it. Art, however, is subjective, and opinions on art are a subjective of a subjective. Art, quite simply, cannot be objectively good or bad. Even technically. . . techniques can be used deliberately poorly to create a specific impression in the audience, and an audience can forgive poorly-executed technique if the result still speaks to them on some level. And of course, I may have made a poor word choice when I said "abdicate your right to whine." You can speak your mind about anything you like. But Freedom of Speech comes with the corollary of "Freedom To Not Listen." If you choose not to make your opinion informed, you really shouldn't expect anyone to care what it is.
  14. Thank you. Before getting to the edit, I was going to repost my "if you haven't even seen the film, you abdicate your right to whine about it" argument from the other thread.
  15. Agreed. I think he's right, and I thought it myself and saw others noting the same thing when TLJ came out in theaters. . . Empire was considered a vastly inferior sequel when it was released, and RotJ was considered a return to form. It wasn't until the trilogy was complete and people could watch it backwards and forwards on home video that Empire came to be regarded as the best film in the franchise. And I think a lot of the same issues apply to TLJ, and it won't surprise me at all if, in five or ten years, people look on TLJ much more fondly. It's kind of sad, though, that out of a forty-minute video, at least fifteen of it is him not talking about the movie, but talking about people talking about the movie, and not in a good way. You can't just talk about the film, you have to talk about all the dren around the film.
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