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About whafrog

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  1. whafrog

    Sprucing up the combat encounters

    Isn't sprucing up combat encounters more about settings (hangars, catwalks, speeding trains) than mechanical details of the minions? I mean, there are plenty of archetypes for whatever you want, just reskin them to wear a bucket and you're done.
  2. whafrog

    How to make a simple premise interesting

    As Varlie said you can turn it into a treasure hunt. The danger is it becomes a "job". Everything should service the larger plot. If the treasure hunt introduces important locations, and/or has the PCs meet important NPCs (allies or adversaries), and involves at least one chase/shootout/diplomatically tense moment, then you've done your job. Really, the session shouldn't be about "repairs". It should be about "we have to get off the planet, but we can't until we...do X". Personally I prefer to either make repairs part of some urgent scene ("the Imperials are performing search patterns, it's only a matter of time until they find you"), or hand-wave them entirely ("two weeks go by, giving you lots of time to do repairs. Make a single Mechanics roll to see how much you get done in that time"). Probably the single most important thing you can do to make any session feel like a Star Wars session is to add a clock or some other pressure point to make sure the PCs understand the urgency of the situation. Even something as simple as "Homer can't do his deliveries if his truck isn't working, and he'll lose his job" can be enough. Maybe the boss is a real jerk, just waiting for an excuse to fire Homer (or decommission him). If there is no hurry, if there is nothing at stake, there is no need to role-play. It's fine to have the occasional planning session without too much at stake, but most sessions should require the PCs to act swiftly, and it's even better if they have to make uncomfortable decisions
  3. whafrog

    Help with handling an optimizer please

    You're assuming lethality. There is no situation where the GM can't do whatever he wants, the skill is in preserving the illusion that the players have options. That's slightly overstated, but not by much. It's actually really hard to kill a PC in this game, but you can pretty easily stun them or wound them into unconciousness, and they wake up on their way to Kessel. (Prison breakouts are great fun, and there's a really good adventure for the Traveller system, easily adapted.) If their equipment is a problem, you can always break it, take it, and make it difficult to recreate. I may be reading too much between the lines, but I think you suffer from an overdeveloped sense of fairness You don't have to try to give them a fight that gives them a chance of success, and you don't have to justify how many reinforcements arrive. You could easily have a 3 session arc where they are constantly overwhelmed, where crit after crit just piles on, where they are driven from hole to hole (because surely everyone they've met hates them by now and will turn them in) and finally end up in a box canyon with no way out. They are murder hobos pure and simple, and there is no way a civilization would let that stand. You don't have to go to Inquisitors, you don't have to stick with the books at all. "Those" stormtroopers were normal, "these here" are a new bunch, with a new type of armour and better tactics, and their guns have Pierce. You owe nobody an explanation for how you tweak NPCs. You don't have to allow that to work. I mean personally I'd have killed these PCs off a long time ago and set some new ground rules, but...if you must play with them, you don't have the play the NPCs as wimps to their bullying. Some people will realized that these jokers are going to kill them no matter what, so they will just deny them the satisfaction of cooperating. And even if the PCs try to assure them "just tell us what we want and we'll let you go", the NPC doesn't have to believe them. And at this point they must have made so many enemies and a name for themselves, nobody is going to expect a rational deal. Also, keep in mind, social skills aren't "mind trick", and neither is a gun. That's too bad, it's a great game if played properly, but you also have to GM with intent. It's not your fault the players are doing what they do, but you have kind of let them get away with it so far...but you can easily learn how to wean them off that kind of behaviour. Still, it does sound like time for a reset, tell them "I'm just not having fun doing this, we need to change" and see what they say.
  4. whafrog

    Simplifying space combat rules?

    I like how they were handled in the D20 version: kind of like extra Soak, but if you exceeded a certain threshold their Soak would go down, rinse repeat until they were gone. Then you could spend actions or energy to buff them back up again. Not sure what scale would work for this game, for star fighters it might be good to start at Soak = Armour + Handling or something, and damage exceeding 3 or 4 drops them by 1.
  5. whafrog

    Simplifying space combat rules?

    I ended up barely using it, it's both tedious and overly lethal as written. It's still fun to have some space events, however, if you make sure to do a couple things. First, all space combat can be treated like chases. The PCs should have a goal, like "get to the hyperspace coordinates" or "hit atmo and hide amongst the clouds" and they should be trying to do this within a few turns. There should be terrain of some kind so that piloting roll is required to make progress from point A to B. Second, beef up your PCs if they're all in starfighters. You can add NPC "wingmen" who don't take actions, but provide +1 damage per shot and hull points to boot. Or just double the hull points your PC's ships have. Third, skip all those extra tactical maneuvers and actions, they are tedious and ineffectual and make little sense. Also, skip the Speed stat, it's all about the Handling. So let's say you decide that the PCs need 2-3 successful piloting rolls to get from A to B while flying through the debris of an old battle field. They have to find the McGuffin, or scan the secret enemy base, or whatever, which requires a turn or two of "tractoring" or computers to scan, etc. Then they have to bug out, which will require at least 2 turns to get clear of the debris. Like any chase they need to make a piloting roll to make progress (though of course you can shift this up by allowing other skills, say Computers to scan for a better way through, etc). If they get caught by the enemy, they might have a turn of combat, but they have to decide whether to shoot back or keep flying. If they shoot back they're in a dogfight and make no progress. If they turn and run they might make progress, but the enemy has a chance to keep up. In this situation, given that all the other tactical stuff is removed, I'd allow Triumphs (or significant Advantages, say 4 or more) on a "progress" roll to allow a shot as well. A double-Triumph might give them an extra "progress" leap. This makes it much simpler, you just roll your narrative dice and work with those results rather than micromanaging evasions and speeds, etc. Then you apply those results like any normal combat or chase situation. If you get advantages you can apply boosts to yourself or your friends, or setbacks or even strain/hull damage to the enemy. One other thing I added was a house rule called "Never tell me the odds". The initiating pilot decides the difficulty of the next progress roll, including upgrades, and any following pilots have to roll against that as well (or they simply fall way behind). However, failure is lethal, causing strain, hull damage, etc. A great pilot who is desperate can surely lose a few TIEs among the asteroid fields...
  6. whafrog

    Our GM has no Hope!

    True...I stopped playing the Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game after the Hobbit movies came out, they sucked so hard they sucked all my joy away. I've only recently picked it up again (but only using stuff from LotR).
  7. whafrog

    Our GM has no Hope!

    Never understood the prequel hate, it's the reason we're all here and we have everything that followed. Otherwise this board would be just a bunch of old dusty farts running boring games where every Jedi has to be like Luke, and every criminal ties back to Jabba. But I don't care much about the movies anyway, the animated stuff is where it's all been since TCW first came out. You can tell a decent story and coherent story if you're not limited to 2 hours. I think Rebels, as a whole, tells the best story so far in the Star Wars universe, though the TCW mini-arcs are right up there. Even Resistance, which has the whiniest protagonist in SW history, has its merits with the backdrops and other visuals. If Disney was wise, they'd finish E9 and never do another movie. High production TV proved itself as far back as Battlestar Galactica, and even more now with Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, etc. Hopefully this new Mandalorian series will be worth it, my hope is for darker and grittier. If not...well, like the OP's GM I might lose my taste for absorbing new Star Wars media too, but there are still innumerable stories I can happily set during the Clone Wars and before so I can't see tossing it all away.
  8. I think that's a bit contradictory. Of course you don't need "rules" to deal with this, but even saying something like "you might have a couple contacts left in the Black Sun, but if any other criminal element finds out, it makes any interactions with them more difficult" is a bit vague, not really actionable in-game. You probably need some idea what you plan to do with it mechanically--extra setback? difficulty upgrades?--but you certainly don't have be that specific with the player.
  9. Are you sure? I mean, he was pretty specific, and even wanted his "backstory" to give him access to a powerful NPC. To me that smells like "I want an ace up my sleeve just in case". Nobody comes up with something like that without expecting to get something out of it. So that in turn requires significant Obligation, or some other important story mechanic that can bite both ways. It would probably be useful to hash out just how important this backstory is to the PC. If it's just information, and it's not going to have any impact going forward, then his past should carry no mechanical weight. He has no contacts, and nobody who meets him will care or believe that the Black Sun was part of his past. But I have to say it's like a cherry bomb that turns out to be a dud: it could have been interesting, but now it's worse for not delivering. He might as well have been a janitor in some nameless monad on Coruscant for all the interest it provides.
  10. whafrog

    Can PC action cause Conflict?

    This is why I think the Conflict mechanic blows, it doesn't really handle any stories other than a very narrow read of what is tolerable according to FFG. I'd say just hanging out with the other PCs puts the Togruta PC in a precarious position Morality-wise, but depending on how they handle things they may not go "over the cliff" to the dark side. A good example might be Kanan Jarrus prior to the Rebels show, being a thief, smuggler, and dealing regularly with the darker underbelly of society. But he didn't fully give in, and clawed his way back over the course of the show. You can always skip Conflict and just peg Morality directly, using the story to guide their level. The only constant source of Conflict is the flipping of dark pips to light, but the Strain and DP cost are already plenty of a deterrent, especially if you hand out Strain like candy (which is my default for 2 or less Threat, unless I have a specific use for it). Everything else should be story-based. She's probably sitting in the low 30s, and any act like murder will push her over the edge, while a major "risk of death" selfless sacrifice could her up a dozen points or so. Personally I treat Morality like critical hits that need to be "healed" by story-based acts of selflessness. This means you can't tiddily-wink your way to paragon. There are quite a few threads in the Force and Destiny forum about how poor the FFG mechanic is and what to replace it with, might be worth reviewing before you get too far down the Conflict path... Edit, example thread: https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/219626-morality-sucks/?tab=comments#comment-2210663
  11. Everything. The published adventures are great idea-mines for your own adventures, and often provide good insight into how some of the mechanics are supposed to work, or how to adapt them to new situations. But otherwise...the only one I've really run close to "as-is" is Beyond the Rim, and only Act 2, and even that got completely revised. Read them, absorb them, and then do something else. Besides ditching the straight-jacket, it's way more satisfying in the end.
  12. whafrog

    Dealing with Arrest

    Is that really your problem? If the PCs want to murder their way out, it's on them, and they truly become outlaws. The only thing on the GM is making it clear what the consequences are, and maybe that will convince the PCs to switch their weapons to Stun. And if they do get arrested, it's time for a prison breakout...