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Donovan Morningfire

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About Donovan Morningfire

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    Looking for a saint? Look elsewhere.
  • Birthday August 12

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  1. As far as the various sub-systems go, the one I'd say to most watch out for is the crafting rules. They can be abused by a player dedicated to doing so and willing to take advantage of GM leniency. The crafting rules as envisioned by FFG are to build one-off "custom" gear, not to mass-produce high-end gear or even to replicate specific pieces of gear that you might find in various splats for a fraction of the cost.
  2. So here's something else to bear in mind regarding linguistic disparities. The games (and by extension, the rules for them) were written by people who speak English (the American version of it anyway) in a country where English is the primary language spoken for a market that is predominately English-speaking. It's not inherently intentional on their part, but the various authors (both professional and freelance) are writing this stuff from the perspective that the person reading it is also someone that speaks English as their native language and doesn't have to rely on self-translation. A good friend of mine works as a freelance translator (and used to work for Sega way back in the day), translating Japanese text (book and video game) to English, and during one job he was hired for, ran into an issue with something in Japanese wouldn't translate quite right (due largely to cultural as well as linguistic differences between the two languages) into English, and when he inquired about how to proceed, was largely told by the client to just get reasonably close, as the product in question was only being sold to English-speaking markets as what boiled down to a quick cash-grab effort and that they really didn't care if the product sold all that well in the US. I would imagine it's similar (though not quite as callous) with the writers of the various Star Wars Books, their focus is on writing product for English-speaking audiences, and that customers who don't speak fluent English are a secondary market that they themselves aren't concerned with. I strongly doubt Keith Kappel or Sterling Hershey spend any time wondering "how would this sound to someone that doesn't speak fluent English?" when doing their work for FFG. With regards to the use of "object," they also figured that the readers were smart enough to grok that we see the Force being used to lift and hurl droids, who themselves don't qualify as objects in the literal sense (they can move and have self-autonomy) that they didn't need to spell out that the Move can affect droids, living creatures, and inanimate objects. Seeing as how word count is very often a major concern for RPG books, they probably thought it was fine to use one word instead of several, and that readers would be savvy enough to not take that one word far too literally. So if you're not from a part of the world where English is the principle language, then I hate to say it, but you're part of the secondary audience for these books. It's similar to some Japanese-centric fighting games (Dragon Ball FighterZ for instance) where the rollback net code outside of Japan is trash because the game's publisher is more focused on Japanese players and folks outside of Japan that play the game are secondary; the Super Smash Bros games have had similar issues, to the point where playing online can be an out-and-out chore simply due to the substantial frame delay, as Nintendo is more focused on the satisfaction of the Japanese player base than international ones; granted with SSB the online play is more of a secondary feature than the primary feature of the game, but it's still a matter of if you're not in Japan, then playing online diminishes the fun of the game.
  3. Wow, this is a tough one, as there's just so many, not only from the movies but from the larger franchise. I agree with others that Luke's final act on Crait in TLJ was about as perfect as you could get. He played Kylo like a finely-tuned violin, and without actually being there was able to instill hope in a galaxy by affirming and embracing the "legend" that was Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight. The fight in Snoke's throne room was also pretty solid, showing that while capable, Rey isn't quite on Kylo's level as a combatant as he's able to do much better against the guards than she was, and that really the only reason she ultimately defeated Kylo in TFA was that Kylo was emotionally unbalanced (reeling from the murder of his own father) and heavily injured by the time she claimed the Skywalker lightsaber (another cool moment from the film) and engaged him in a running battle that largely consisted of her fighting intelligently and doing what she could to keep away and further tire out an opponent who was far more proficient with a lightsaber than she was. The lightsaber duel between Luke and Vader in ESB is another one, with their rematch and seeing just how much things have changed between the two; at Bespin it's clear that Luke is the inferior duelist while Vader is vastly superior, while by Endor the two are on rough equal footing in terms of skill and emotional mastery, with Luke no longer being afraid or as brash as he was at Bespin. While I do have my criticisms of TPM, the final lightsaber duel in Theed is a work of art, especially once it comes down to Maul vs. Obi-Wan. I've got a clip I ripped from YouTube that is just the entire fight sequence from its start in the hanger to it's conclusion with Obi-Wan rushing to the fallen Qui-Gon's side, and was something I've watched numerous times and don't really ever get bored of seeing. From AotC (another film I have criticisms of), seeing Yoda walk into the Geonosis hanger and largely take Dooku to school. To quote a buddy of mine when we saw it in the theater, "HE'S GOT A BEATSTICK! THE GAVE THE MUPPET A *expletive deleted* BEATSTICK!" Ewan McGregor's performance as Obi-Wan was also enjoyable, as you can see him channeling bits of Sir Alec's performance, only being a much younger man who's not been humbled by the tragedies we know are yet to come, still has much to learn, and has hope that things will turn out alright in the end. From the RotS, it'd have to be the lightsaber duel between Obi-Wan and Anakin. I think it's one of the longest fight sequences captured on film, and sadly there's too many close-ins that you can't really appreciate the work that both actors put into the fight, especially as neither of them are professional stunt men (Ray Park is, thus why his Maul was such a ferociously capable fighter). It was cool to see Yoda and Darth Sidious square off, but it didn't have the same level of oomph that the Mustafar duel had. You can largely see on Obi-Wan's face that he's not trying to win such as he's just trying to survive long enough to find some way of eluding Anakin so that he can get back to Padme's ship and leave, and you can see that Anakin has just completely surrendered himself to his anger and allowing years and years' worth of lingering resentment towards the Jedi to consume him. Rebels had some great moments, such as Kanan letting everybody in on the secret in Spark of Rebellion, to the introduction of the Grand Inquisitor, to his and Kanan's final match in the bowels of Tarkin's Star Destroyer. Seeing Vader just utterly dominate not only the Specters but also Phoenix Squadron was itself a great moment, establishing to newer audiences just why Vader was so feared by those opposing the Empire. Solo, for being a fun popcorn movie at its heart (which is perfectly fine) also had a few really great moments, such as the first time Han and Chewie take the controls of the Falcon, and then Han winning the ship "fair and square" at the very end. From Rogue One, the introduction of Donnie Yen's character. I'd been aware of the actor and just how capable of a martial artist he is for some time, so it was great to seem him get a badass introduction worthy of the man in Star Wars, as well as a pretty badass final scene as well. The Thrawn Trilogy introduced us to a calculating and generally smart villain in the form of Grand Admiral Thrawn, who could take minimal resources and make it work to his advantage. He also wasn't infallible (something that later authors and a large number of EU fanatics missed), just very clever as well as being canny enough to know when to cut his losses and pull out rather than fight to the bitter end. Rebels did pretty good in capturing the character, giving him a cold yet palpable sense of menace while also showing that he wasn't obsessed with winning every time, and that the heroes had to really think outside the box in order to defeat him; even the greatest of tactical minds couldn't anticipate Force-wielding monsters out of legend showing up at just the right moment to crash his plans. Again from the EU, the novel Scoundrels, when we see how all the various elements of the plan come together, especially Han's little side ruse that only gets revealed at the end and impresses Boba Fett with not only pulling that particular side gambit off but doing so right under the bounty hunter's nose. There's probably a lot others. but I think the above is enough for now.
  4. So here's the thing. There's never been a "species rarity" in any of the Star Wars RPGs, official or fan made. Because let's be honest here, if looking at the movies, than anything that's not Human is pretty darn rare, with only a small handful of species showing up as more than just background scenery, who are only there to try and impress upon audiences that the GFFA is something of a cosmopolitan setting in spite of all the major movers and shakers being various flavors of Human. Ahsoka Tano in Clone Wars and Hera Syndulla in Rebels are aliens, but are so human-looking that it's a distinction without that much of a difference, and really only done because their respective shows were animated, thus not requiring time and money spent on actor makeup. As beloved by the fandom as he is, Chewbacca is ultimately a sidekick/companion character that for much of the franchise is attached at the hip to Han, and outside of Solo is the only Wookiee we see in the films. If you really must have some sort of "species rarity," then as micheldebruyn noted is it going to vary based on what part of the galaxy you're in. Although a good ad hoc determination would be "if it's in one of the three core rulebooks, then the species is fairly common, but if it's only found in a splat book, then it's much rarer."
  5. Because the writers likely figured people were smart enough to not take the word "object" to literally mean "an inanimate thing that can't move or act under it's own influence" and that it should instead mean "thing that is targeted by move, be it living, mobile, or otherwise." I've met and conversed at length with a few of those writers either at GenCon or GamerNationCon, and they're all very bright and creative people. And sadly, it's often a trend of bright and creative people to overlook that more pedestrian brains might have too narrow a view to grasp what it is they as the creators are looking to convey. Plus, RPGs in general tend to draw in folks that are above the average intelligence level, so they likely figured that between not being overly pedantic about the usage of the word "object" and thus taking it's usage too literally along with the films themselves showing the Force being used to move/hurl not only inanimate things but also droids and especially living people, it'd be pretty clear that Move was meant to be able to be used to replicate things like the Force thrust/push/slam that we see performed in various media. It's not much different than the inanity of a few years back where a small contingent of folks were hung up on the impression that the Pierce quality allowed the attacker to automatically inflict wounds equal to the weapon's Pierce rating on a successful hit vs. the actual intent of Pierce simply reducing the target's Soak Value for that attack.
  6. Being "vague" as it were also leaves FFG for when the franchise does something completely largely unexpected, and thus not requiring them to scramble to update rules to cover whatever entirely unexpected new element crops up. An old example of the lack of flexibility causing an issue was back when Attack of the Clones was released, WotC had (at Lucasfilm's behest) published a new core rulebook for their d20 version of Star Wars RPG, with JD Wiker and crew taking the opportunity to update the rules while they were at it. However, even though they got a very early "rough draft" screening of the film, one thing that caught them (and audiences) unawares was the moment was able to block and then reflect Dooku's Force lightning with his bare hands. As things were written, neither of the Jedi classes (or Jedi Master prestige class) could let a PC replicate such a feat. This required WotC to have to publish an update/errata that allowed PCs to use the Jedi class feature to deflect/reflect ranged attacks (especially Force lightning) bare-handed. With FFG not being to strict on what is and isn't viable, the rules are able to accommodate situations like you noted, of Ezra and Kanan using their lightsabers to deflect vehicle-scale weaponry, which in terms of damage output would take them out with a single shot. Personally, I treat those situations as the TIEs shooting at the Ghost, but with Kanan and/or Ezra providing the Ghost with additional defense, but either of the two choices is viable.
  7. The talent itself is written so that it's at the GM's discretion, as is the case with a number of things in this system. You may not care for this "loosey goosey" approach to the rules, but FFG would rather give GMs the leeway to interpret things to their own personal tastes rather than straightjacket them with a bunch of inflexible rules that tries (and often fails) to cover ever conceivable scenario, much like D&D 3.X does.
  8. That one is in Disciples of Harmony. It's a pretty interesting power, since at it's base level you can either spend a FP and suffer 1 strain to inflict 1 strain on all engaged creatures, or spend a FP and recover 1 strain (neither can be activated multiple times at the base level) all as part of making a skill check. There are upgrades that let you exclude a certain number of allies, grant yourself Advantage/Success/Triumph or inflict Threat/Failure/Despair to adversaries within range. It does jive pretty well with the Force Monk concept, but it's not essential by any means. Though as someone that's played a Soresu Defender with Ebb/Flow, the ability to quickly recover strain while making attacks (or using Defensive Circle) is pretty nifty, and it probably wouldn't hurt your Steel Hand Adept given the strain you'd be burning on using Parry each round.
  9. It's a Consular spec found in Disciples of Harmony, and is a pretty good match for your concept, as it'll bolster your Force abilities, though it won't add anything regarding scholarly-type stuff. It does fit with the notion of a monk that is detached from worldly concerns. Sadly, you've got to take the rather lackluster Force Protection talent in order to get to the spec's Force Rating talent. From what you're saying, Force Adherent is a pretty good fit for your concept, as it gives you both schoarly-type stuff as well as a few more defensive combat tricks. You might be losing out a bit on Force Rating, since Force Adherent isn't a Force user spec (in spite of the name) With regards to Force powers, one to consider looking at is Endure, which apart from being able to tell the rest of the group that you ain't got time to bleed can help make you a good deal tougher in a fight. You probably won't need a huge investment in Foresee (basic power, control upgrades boost your results and give you defense 2 for the initial round), which helps cut down a bit on the XP sink that Force powers can become.
  10. It's by design. Per OggDude's release note, he felt that section was getting too cluttered, so it got compacted down.
  11. I agree that it's never an excuse for crappy/antagonistic behavior, especially if that behavior constitutes harassment of the other players, directly or indirectly. About the only instance of "that's what my character would do" that to me at least is acceptable is the character undertaking a major self-sacrificial action. Because let's be honest here, when the chips are truly down and push comes to shove, most people aren't going to have it in them to step up and make the big sacrifice play that's going to very likely result in going to an early grave by way of a closed casket funeral. To say nothing of many players (myself included) getting very attached to their characters, especially if they've been paying that character for several months or even years. Pulling an Obi-Wan or Tony Stark moment and letting that beloved character exit play permanently can be a big deal; Gandalf doesn't count because while he did make the sacrifice play against the Balrog, he also got to come back even more powerful than he'd been previously (if you're big on the lore, then you know it was less "came back stronger" and more "came back with fewer restrictions on his power" given what Gandalf and the rest of the Wizards actually were).
  12. That first part is often the crux of the problem with evil PCs in any campaign or setting, is that far more often than not, the players in question go more for the "chaotic stupid" or "chaotic *****hat" with the weak explanation/excuse of "that's what my character would do!" That last sentence regarding group disagreements is also true, but by the same token if one of the evil (or even "good") characters does some action that seriously upsets or offends other players, that's not exactly kosher. Folks in an RPG group are all there to have fun, but that doesn't mean that one person's fun has to come before the expense of others of the group. For instance, the subject of child abuse is a very delicate one for folks, especially those who have survived it and sense gotten out of those horrid situations. So the player of an evil PC who casually terrifies a child before maiming them "just because" or "it's what my character would do!" shouldn't get carte blanche, and the player who survived a physically abusive childhood shouldn't be told "don't bring your personal hang-ups into the game!" on the basis of character/player separation. It's a tight rope, and one best navigated by having an open discussion during the session zero of what sort of "evil" behaviors are and aren't tolerated in the group, as each group is going to have their own tolerances for what is and isn't acceptable. Some groups might be A-Okay with senseless and/or accidental homicides of innocent bystanders, but if you hurt a cute defenseless animal, the other players will go all John Wick on you.
  13. My own experiences have been pretty similar when it comes to having "evil" characters in an RPG group, as 9 times out of 10 the person doing so is just doing it for the excuse of being a jerk, diving headfirst into Saturday morning cartoon villainy. Generally, about the only type of evil PC that can work is the intelligent (or at least intelligently played) "noble demon," who is indeed evil but is generally more pragmatic about their evilness and doesn't go out of their way to antagonize the other PCs or announce to the world that they're EVIL! by doing despicable things just for the sake doing something despicable. I have seen a Star Wars game where a Dark Jedi (specifically not a Sith, since this was during WEG's early 2nd edition days) that was able to work with a group of generally noble-minded Rebel PCs, working on the precept of "the enemy of my enemy is an ally," having some degree of beef with Vader and the Emperor that never really got delved into in the campaign (which only lasted a single college semester). The character was ruthlessly pragmatic (she earned her status as a dark sider and then some) but was able to work with the group and even take orders from the group's leader without giving him too much guff, and without doing anything that was too unsettling to the rest of the group's morals. But that was the exception, and the group of us (despite being young college kids) were fairly mature about it. Gal did love her Telekinetic Kill, even more so than her lightsaber.
  14. It's meant to cover up to the Siege of Mandalore, which took place just prior to the events of Revenge of the Sith. And there is information out there that fills in some of what occurs between Episodes 6 and 7. Chuck Wendig's Aftermath series is one such resource, along with other novels either pertaining to or leading up to the events of TFA and TLJ. Folks may not like those books, but they are out there and do fill in some of the blank spaces in much the same way that the early Expanded Universe filled in the numerous blank spaces between Episodes 4 and 6.
  15. FFG published Nexus of Power and Dawn of Rebellion, both of which mentioned elements of Star Wars: Rebels before that series had ended. To say nothing of Collapse of the Republic coming out and covering a bit of post-Order 66 even though Season 7 of Clone Wars has yet to be released. So really not that big of a hurdle, or at least one FFG has no problem simply stepping around.
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