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Donovan Morningfire

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Everything posted by Donovan Morningfire

  1. Donovan Morningfire

    Handling starting Gear when the Players start Imprisoned

    I agree with the others, that so long as your players know up-front that the campaign is starting them off in prison, then having them not be in possession of any gear beyond their prison uniforms is perfectly fine. After all, they can properly "gear up" once they've either made their escape or do so while in the midst of making that escape. Of course, if they've only been recently imprisoned, you could always let them choose their starting gear as normal, and then re-acquire it during their prison break. While the Empire as a larger entity doesn't place much stock on the rights and well-being of the individual, it's not going to let possible usable resources go to waste either, especially the resources that your typical galactic adventurer is likely to have, so their gear would likely be put through a processing procedure to sift out what's valuable enough to be seized by the Empire with everything else being disposed of. And while said process may not be the height of efficiency, it does put a bit of a time limit on the PCs to bust out and get back their stuff before it's too late.
  2. Donovan Morningfire

    Some doubts on Lightsaber Mods

    Frankly, the whole thing with training emitters would be easier if Dave Filoni hadn't made the bone-headed decision to say that synthetic kyber crystals weren't a thing in the new canon. Ignoring that ill-advised statement of his makes the whole affair a great deal simpler.
  3. Donovan Morningfire

    Imperial Navy Core Rulebook?

    The 501st also benefits from having been around for a couple decades and being much more in the public eye, with the public understanding that these people aren't espousing the rhetoric of the Empire, and aren't going around pretending that they're a bunch of space nazis. If they started up now, in today's climate, it's likely they might not be nearly as well received. Back when they started, George Lucas wasn't that fussed so long as they weren't trying to make money off the Star Wars IP (a guideline both the 501st and Rebel Legion are very strict about adhering to), where as Disney tends to be a lot more protective of its IP and thus might not turn such a blind eye to a fan organization, even if it is a lot of free advertising. Now it's been a while since the Satanic Panic of the 80's, but RPGs still have a stigma attached to them even as they've become more mainstream thanks to a number of celebrities "coming out" as RPG gamers. And with news media being a lot more interested in the sizzle than in actual news content (note the sheer increase in click-bait article titles and heavy bias in reporting in general on both sides of the political fence), all it takes is a bit of scandal to cause a serious headache. The hobby is probably lucky that White Wolf's blunder (trivializing the murder of human beings who simply had a different outlook than the government of that region of the world) was squashed and dealt with as quickly as it was. Do I like that this is the current state of affairs? Nope, and on that point at least 2P51 and I see eye to eye.
  4. Donovan Morningfire

    Some doubts on Lightsaber Mods

    I priced the Katharcite based on it's properties when compared to other lightsaber crystals, which all have the Breach 1 property and thus cost several thousands of credits. I don't have the full listing, but pretty sure the vast majority of non-lightsaber weapons that have Breach 1 are military-grade hardware that's not nearly as easy to hide as a lightsaber. Frankly, any GM that lets a player snag a Breach 1 weapon for the paltry sum of credits that a training emitter costs to acquire (much less build as per Endless Vigil) deserves all the headaches they get. As a GM, I'd say that the process of installing a kyber crystal (kathracite or whatever) into a training emitter devalues that crystal to such a point that without it being in the training emitter, said crystal is worthless as a focusing crystal for a lightsaber, likely due to how it's been cut and sheared down to fight inside the training emitter itself. It'd be akin to taking the bulb from a typical commercial flashlight and thinking you can stick it into a full-size floor lamp and it'll work just the same as a standard size lightbulb.
  5. Donovan Morningfire

    New Book Alert: Allies and Adversaries

    I agree with Mr. Kappel. My own F&D group is hovering around 700 earned XP, and not a single one of those characters feels overpowered in the slightest. If anything, Knight Level (i.e. 150XP) is when a lot of characters begin to hit their stride and can competently do the stuff they're supposed to be good at. My only complaint with the rules for Knight Level PCs as they're written is that PCs not getting a lightsaber get a whole mess of credits that can be spent to buy all sorts of wonderful high-end toys that PCs that started out at the normal XP level would count themselves fortunate to ever see. That said, I think were part of the problem with AoR and EotE characters is similar to an issue I saw with WEG D6 characters, in that after a while, the player can't seem to find things to spend their XP on because they've already bought all the things that apply to their original character concept that makes them super-effective at dealing with challenges that fall within their wheelhouse. To my view, that's more an issue with the player putting a self-imposed limit on their character's advancement simply because they can't or won't look outside the original concept for new things for the character to learn, and not an issue with the system in and of itself.
  6. Donovan Morningfire

    Imperial Navy Core Rulebook?

    As I said, consider the political climate. White Wolf got dissolved as a company because of a (frankly tactless) implication that a horrific real-world event was just a ploy by elder vampires to distract the masses, all in a misguided effort to be "edgy." James Gunn got booted from working on GotG 3 by Disney corporate mandate because an alt-right troll dug up a bunch of tasteless joke tweets from over a decade ago, tweets that James Gunn himself had apologized for years prior and admitted they were in bad taste. Rian Johnson did a purge of his twitter history "just in case" so as to avoid the same fate should one of his prior tweets be taken in the wrong light. It's not as bad as the "Satanic Panic" of the 80's that surrounded D&D, but with things like fascism, neo-fascism, and white nationalism being far more prevalent topics in today's news, and neither is it something that Lucasfilm and Disney (much less FFG) can really ignore, especially in a society where an accusation of a thing means you're automatically guilty in the court of public opinion. Yeah, it sucks, but it is the current state of affairs, and something that companies need to be aware of lest they also get convicted of wrong-doing in the court of public opinion. Tommy Lee Jones said in best in Men in Black: "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky animals and you know it!"
  7. Donovan Morningfire

    Some doubts on Lightsaber Mods

    You'd be amazed how often he does just that to serve his own arguments. As you said, the training emitter isn't just the crystal, but additional parts to make it extra-safe for trainees. That said, I have considered lowering the Kathracite crystal's base damage to 5 and losing either one of the damage mods or the Vicious mod, to better account for it being "weak" in comparison to most other kyber crystals. This would put it a point behind the default versions of the various lightsabers using the standard Ilum crystal for base damage, but again it's intended as a "starter" crystal until the GM feels comfortable allowing the PCs to get something with a bit more bite.
  8. Donovan Morningfire

    adventure books

    Nothing's been announced in terms of more adventure books. The last official statement regarding upcoming releases from last year was that FFG was going to focus on doing era books akin to Dawn of Rebellion and Rise of the Separatists. Doesn't mean that adventure books are entirely off the table, but they don't seem as likely, especially as RPG adventures tend not to sell nearly as well as other supplements.
  9. Donovan Morningfire

    Rise of the Separtist's release date?

    Re: White Wolf I tend to agree with the sentiment that they were always a little full of themselves, though the most recent incarnation takes the cake. There was after all a reason why their World of Darkness setting was also known as World of Over-Bearing Angst (amidst far less polite names), though at least back in the 90's they weren't being nearly as insensitive as the Swedish Wannabe Edgelords of the most recent iteration were in their efforts to be "edgy." Then again, this was the same company that back in the mid-90's published a Street Fighter RPG (based upon the SFII material) that in spite of the clunky mechanics has an oddly quirky charm provided one embraces the kung fu action theater feel and overall cheesy fun of the setting. A friend of mine recently ran a one-shot of said game, making a few mechanical tweaks borrowed from Vampire 5th edition, and once we got a handle on the fight mechanics it was actually quite a lot of fun, with hopes of going from one-shot to episodic campaign series. So there was at least a brief period of time where White Wolf wasn't too full of themselves.
  10. Donovan Morningfire

    Some doubts on Lightsaber Mods

    So here's the write-up on the Kathracite and Synthetic Focusing Lens attachments that I mentioned a few days ago: Kathracite Crystal Base Modifiers: Installing this crystal changes a lightsaber's base damage to 6 and critical rating to 2, and the lightsaber gains the Breach 1 and Sunder qualities. If the crystal is ever removed, the lightsaber loses these qualities and reverts to its previous base damage and critical rating. Modifications: 2 Damage +1 Mods, 1 Item Quality (Vicious +1) Mods. Hard Points Required: 2 Cost: 6,000 credits Rarity: 9 (R) So with kathracite, the Legends lore says it was often used in training lightsabers due to its status as the weakest (and most commonly occurring) variety of Adegan crystals, but it's also still a kyber crystal which means to me that its baseline performance isn't going to be horrible. It's got some decent mod options in spite of only having three of them, but at Damage 8, Crit 2, and Vicious 1 it's still a very respectable weapon in a fight. And it's a bit less daunting than some of the other crystals for those GMs that don't mind handing out proper lightsaber crystals after the first or second adventure. Synthetic Focusing Lens Base Modifiers: Installing this attachment changes a lightsaber's base damage to 6 and critical rating to 3, and the lightsaber gains the Pierce 1 quality. If this attachment is ever removed, the lightsaber loses these qualities and reverts to its previous base damage and critical rating. If the lightsaber with this attachment is destroyed, the attachment is lost with no chance of recovery. Modifications: 1 Damage +1 Mods, 1 decrease critical by 1 (minimum of 1) Mod, 2 Item Quality (Pierce +1), Mods, 1 Item Quality (Vicious +1) Mods. Hard Points Required: 2 Cost: 700 credits* Rarity: 6 (R) *requires an Average (dd) Mechanics check and 350 credits to build This spun off the notion of the Tapani lightfoil, which again is Legends. Even though the notion of purely synethic kyber crystals has been debunked in the new canon, I still liked the idea of lightsaber focusing crystal that wasn't naturally occurring, especially for those lightsabers made or used by folks that weren't Force-sensitive. It's also something a F&D character can begin play with, giving those PCs who want to focus on lightsaber usage a respectable weapon as opposed to the mediocre Ancient Sword or the stun-only training lightsaber.
  11. Donovan Morningfire

    New Book Alert: Allies and Adversaries

    So given the freelancers involved in writing this book (Sterling Hershey, Keith Kappel, and GM Phil/DarthGM), I'm not convinced that this is going to be nearly as much of a "reprint old stats" collection that some posters are claiming it to be. If it really was just "reprint a bunch of old stat blocks and with a bit of new material," would they really need to hire three separate folks just to write the thing? Are there likely to be reprints of old Adversary stat blocks? Sure, but unlike a true "compilation" book (such as FFG's Career Compendium splat for WFRP2e to close out that line and make way for their WFRP3e, which was almost entirely just reprinted material in terms of WFRP careers) I think this is going to have a lot more new material than some are expecting. While we're not likely to see a plethora of such, we're bound to get new species (even if its just suggestions on how to construct a species from an Adversary stat block), new weapons/armor/gear, and new vehicles. A new Force power (or more) isn't entirely off the table, but I don't see it as being all that likely.
  12. Donovan Morningfire

    New Book Alert: Allies and Adversaries

    I don't think we're going to see a true "second edition" that makes the sort of grand, sweeping changes that Genesys did with regards to careers and acquiring talents, or dropping the entire Force system and replacing it with Genesys' magic system. Given the system as written for the most part works, I certainly don't see them making the kind of drastic changes that occur with edition changes in D&D. I suspect we might at some point see a "revised edition" not unlike WotC doing their Revised Core Rules (though this did make some pretty major changes when compared to the Original Core Rules) or WEG doing their 2nd edition Revised & Expanded books. Probably update some of the older spec trees, especially for EotE given how much more of a handle they've got on the system and what does and doesn't work, as well as address various talents that either underperform or perform too well. Maybe a tweak to Force powers given what we're seeing in the new canon about how advancing in ability isn't quite as much of a chore as the original films made it out to be. Vehicle rules would be a prime candidate for updating, though I've heard from a few places that even the Genesys version (while an improvement) still has some quirks. And of course, actually incorporate all the errata and clarifications that they've posted, as well as various other updates to address the various rules questions they've answered but haven't made it into the errata. And while not everything from the original line would work perfectly seamlessly with this conceptual revised edition, I'd figure the majority of it would, albeit with a bit of modification (vehicle stat blocks being the major one), thus avoiding the need to purchase everything all over again and for folks that did buy the splats for the original edition to still get a lot of value out of them.
  13. Donovan Morningfire

    Imperial Navy Core Rulebook?

    Good point. A lot of the major and well-known imagery of the Empire (and by extension the First Order) does draw very heavily from Nazi Germany, to the point that it's the exceptions that stand out more. And with the political culture being what it currently is, I doubt FFG (or even Lucasfilm for that matter) want to publish a book that even on the surface appears to encourage the players to be those sorts of characters. Considering what happened to White Wolf in the wake of some missteps made in supplements for their Vampire: Masquerade 5th edition (and that being a game that's already "edgy" in terms of subject material, what with the focus on playing vampires as actual monsters of the night rather than the tragic romantic figures of Anne Rice and Twilight fame/infamy). That said, I do think having a supplement for AoR, or more likely a multi-line book like Dawn of Rebellion, Rise of the Separatists, and the recent Allies and Adversaries isn't a bad idea, as it's a place where FFG can go into more detail about how the Galactic Empire, both in terms of the military and the general populace operate, and even include a chapter with tips on running an all-Imperials campaign and avoiding the many pitfalls that result in a great many of those campaigns doing a crash and burn due to inter-party in-fighting caused by the generally cutthroat nature of the Imperial command structure.
  14. Donovan Morningfire

    Investigate

    Well, in those sorts of cases, it could be that the failed check is instead "you succeed but with a heavy cost." I've found that sort of approach for skill checks where under most RPGs success means moving the plot forward, that having a failed check simply mean that while you were able to complete the task and thus move the story forward, things didn't go smooth and there's some measure of consequence. I guess in effect, it's switching the outcome of the roll form "did you do the thing?" to "you can do the thing, but can you avoid the drawbacks of doing the thing?"
  15. Donovan Morningfire

    Investigate

    To borrow a concept from FFG's Legend of the Five Rings, there's no specific "Investigate" skill because there's multiple methods of conducting an investigation. Yes, Perception is useful for looking for actual physical clues at the scene, but skills such as Computers (online investigating) and Streetwise (asking around for what details you can glean from the general populace in the area) can also be applied. Skulduggery and Knowledge (Education) could be used to analyze/reconstruct how a particular crime was committed. And then you've got the various social skills for obtaining relevant information from whatever witnesses you're speaking with. So really, an investigation is more of a scene with a the players doing more than just a single "welp, roll this specific skill and we're done!" sort of thing. If anything, it should be a skill challenge (a concept that's discussed in pretty good detail on the Dice Pool podcast) with each of the players finding ways to contribute to the success of the investigation.
  16. Donovan Morningfire

    Imperial Navy Core Rulebook?

    Well, we now have official confirmation from FFG that Rogo727's proclamation that the line was done and over as of Rise of the Separatists is complete hogwash. https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2019/1/10/allies-and-adversaries/
  17. Donovan Morningfire

    Some doubts on Lightsaber Mods

    I wrote up several other crystals that I posted on my blog a ways back: http://jedimorningfire.blogspot.com/2015/12/merry-xmas-and-some-lightsaber-crystal.html I've done a couple others, such as a kathracite crystal and a synthetic focusing lens, both intended to provide a "low end entry point" for PCs that want a full lightsaber as opposed to the training emitter but the GM doesn't want to hand out crystals that can be modded into kill sticks. I'll post those up later, but neither of them are anything spectacular (which makes sense as they're both beginner options).
  18. If you're entirely new to the system, then I'd suggest reading the core rulebook until after you've run the Beginner Box adventure. Frankly, the corebook doesn't do as well a job of explaining the rules as it should, while the Beginner Box adventure and rulebook are much more friendly to new GMs in helping them get a handle on the fundamental rules. As kaosoe said, there are differences between how things like stimpacks and critical injuries are handled between the two, though in truth you can quite easily stick with the Beginner Box versions to keep things simple on your end as the GM. Campaign I'm in that just kicked off last night, the GM (an experienced one) is sticking with the Beginner Box versions of crits and stimpacks for just that reason, as a couple of our players are fairly new to the system.
  19. Donovan Morningfire

    Noob questions

    For difficulty, I'd suggest checking out Episode 13 of The Dice Pool Podcast and Episode 117: Technical Difficulties of the Order 66 podcast. Both of these go into a great deal of detail about setting up difficulties for FFG's narrative dice system, which in and of itself doesn't necessarily matter how much XP a character has. Besides, how much XP a character has isn't always the best guideline for how to arrange difficulties, since it matters more where the XP is spent. Two characters with 150 earned XP each could have wildly varying capabilities all depending on where that XP was spent. In fact can be a trap that's all too easy to all into if you start assigning difficulties based not on how difficult the task at hand is but instead at how proficient the character making the check is. My advice and the advice of those two podcasts on that front is DON'T go that route.
  20. Donovan Morningfire

    Noob questions

    It's listed in the GM section (don't have my book on hand to give you an exact page reference), but the suggested XP award per session is actually 15 to 20XP. Since you're giving out less than half of that, then yes character progression is going to very slow for your players. Personally, I use the following method to determine how much XP to hand out after each session: Showed up to play and was actively involved? 5XP (the baseline) Each hour spent actually playing the game? +5XP per hour Played to your character's Motivation in a meaningful way? +5XP to each eligible player. Role-Played exceptionally well (this one should only be handed out on a very irregular basis)? +5XP to that player Successfully Achieved Important Adventure Goals/Objectives? +5XP for most goals, +10XP for really important (or campaign critical) goals. On average, I hand out about 20 to 25XP per each individual session, and anywhere from 30 to 40XP at the end of an adventure (which for me usually averages about three sessions). It's certainly a faster pace of advancement than what the book suggests, but then I feel that starting PCs are a bit on the fragile side and thus don't mind letting them earn their spurs at a quicker rate than what the default XP awards would permit.
  21. Donovan Morningfire

    I Have you now

    This is similar to the problem that WEG's d6 Star Wars had, where the system was designed around the notion that after a couple dozen sessions, the campaign would end and the players would generate new characters for the next campaign. It very quickly broke down when the same group played the same characters once a week for several years, an observation that Bill Slavicsek made note of in his book detailing the early history of the Star Wars RPG based upon his own experiences from running a SWd6 campaign for several of his colleagues during his time at Wizards of the Coast, and eventually reaching a point where he had to toss out all the pre-made stats and material (as well as much of the default difficulty guidelines) just due to how incredibly powerful his PCs had gotten. I seem to recall overhearing Sam Stewart say at a GamerNationCon (could have been the last one) about how when they were devising their Star Wars system, they never really intended for it to be able to handle player-characters on the level of power of the likes of Yoda, Mace Windu, or Palpatine, which at over 3000 earned XP per PC means you've got a group that could probably thrash the entirety of the Jedi High Council. Granted, D&D 3.X and Pathfinder have a similar issue, becoming increasingly problematic for GMs once the PCs hit the mid-teens in terms of levels, but that's due more to the math behind the game starting to break down after 10th level than the sheer power of the player-characters (though D&D has long suffered from the "Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards" trope for a very good reason). WotC's Star Wars Saga Edition wasn't immune to this, since its math was based upon the same d20 system that D&D 3.X and Pathfinder used, and got increasingly clunky for GMs to run once the PCs started getting into the high-teens in terms of character levels.
  22. Donovan Morningfire

    Rise of the Separtist's release date?

    Well, there's one "gloom and doom!" yokel over in the AoR that's predicting FFG is going to completely kill the line (no support, no reprints, no anything) once Rise of the Separatists is released, and would probably cite the "constant delays" in getting this book to shelves as FFG trying to string along the customer base. I agree it stinks that the book's still not out (I'm cautiously optimistic for end of January), but by the same token I'd still remain skeptical of Amazon. With the exception of WotC and Paizo, their release dates for RPG products seems more like it's determined by throwing darts at a calendar than any sort of reliable data sources.
  23. Donovan Morningfire

    Chris Witt's Forgotten adventure advice

    Fair Warning, bit of Spoiler Talk for those that have not either played the module in question or not listened to the Order 66 live play of it - - - - I think the main concern with a five hour time limit is the need to keep the players moving and avoiding them getting caught up in "analysis paralysis." Which given they're playing characters that don't remember anything about themselves, is something that is very likely to happen. One possible method to help speed things up is to include symptoms of their impending demise, such as random bleeding from eyes/nose/ears, along with Resilience checks (no upgrades, low difficulty at first, but increasing as you get closer to the 5 hour mark). That may help get them in gear, especially if they find out early on that they're dying from something and that there is a possible cure. You could cut out the whole bit with Garbolla and the assault on his casino, and find some other way to get the PCs a ship and off to the final encounter. That would probably help speed things up a fair bit.
  24. Donovan Morningfire

    Desperate Allies

    Well, while the stuff on bases is pretty meh in my opinion, there's still material that makes the book worth getting. For instance, the specs themselves are pretty solid for any campaign that's going to center on social encounters, with the Advocate and Analyst being my personal faves, as both have talents that work well outside of social encounters to help support the other party members. Oddly enough, a fair bit of the gear is stuff that would be viable for a Spy-based character (why some of it wound up here instead in Cyphers & Masks is anyone's guess). So I wouldn't say the book's a hard pass, just that the rules for bases by themselves aren't worth the price. But, there's enough other stuff (including some helpful advice on running social-heavy encounters) that makes the book worth picking up.
  25. Donovan Morningfire

    Desperate Allies

    I guess the major question is how vital is this base going to be to your campaign? To be honest, I found the base rules in Desperate Allies to be a little underwhelming, but then the majority of my campaigns don't tend to focus on a single central recurring location; mostly the PCs' "home" is the group's starship and not really have a permanent port of call that they call home. With an AoR campaign, having a base (beyond the option for the extra 1000 credits from the core book) means that you're going to have the players' actions mostly take place within a single system rather than the sort of galaxy-hopping adventures we see in the films; it's similar to the first season of Rebels where the majority of the action takes place on Lothal. The rules for bases themselves (as opposed to the EotE homefront/store rules in Far Horizons) don't really provide the PCs any benefit, and to be frank most of the upgrades just feel like they're adding another thing for the PCs to spend their hard-earned credits on, or exist as an option for when they increase their Contribution Rank but don't have any firm thoughts on what sort of bennie for the group to receive.
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