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Everything posted by KRKappel

  1. Quite the opposite. Force-wielding characters tend to last a lot longer before feeling over-powered, just because Force powers provide additional XP sinks, and Force Rating provides a power limiter. They tend to feel "in the sweet spot" longer than AOR or Edge characters. But a lot of this has to do with how you GM, and how much your players are trying to min-max, and how big you're willing to let your minion groups get, or how many ranks of adversary you're willing to give your rivals and nemesis characters.
  2. So like you said, you can't jump while within an immediate gravitational body, this is how interdictors work, too. So the hyperspace lanes are protected areas guarenteed free of gravitational disturbances. If you look in any core rulebook, you can see the galactic map with the major hyperlanes. So sure, you can take an unexplored hyperspace route. But as Han Solo said, Traveling through hyperspace ain't like dusting crops, boy! Without precise calculations we could fly right through a star or bounce too close to a supernova and that'd end your trip real quick, wouldn't it? So most people stick to the safety of the hyperlanes and BoSS approved routes. But also, remember space is big. So long as the pilot knows the general vector of the lane relative to the system, they're probably good. If they've jumped in within the past few days, It's probably the same vector they had initially. Most of space is empty, after all.
  3. To be fair, Jabba would certainly care about who is invading his turf. Also, consider that planets without much in the way of smuggler defenses and customs assets, well, there just isn't likely to be much demand or money to be made for smugglers on those runs. If basically anyone can do it, anyone will. For instance, music piracy (a form of digital smuggling) was easy enough that we ALL became "pirates" for a bit. If something is too easy to do, the credits won't be there. That's the balancing factor.
  4. This is the speed approach. It CAN work. But that is assuming a lot of things for this approach to work: 1.) You assume there are not orbital customs assets, be it a patrol vessel, flight of starfighters, or a full-blown Star Destroyer. If there are orbital assets, consider that A.) Flying "below" radar won't help. The orbital assets can track you just fine in most cases. B.) You, in a freighter, might not be able to fly faster than the fighters. The orbital assets are going to know which directions the hyperlanes are cleared, so their forces WILL be relatively nearby where people drop out of hyperspace, for the most part. C.) While you land and make the exchange, if you're in the open, orbital assets can find your ship. You need a pre-arranged concealed location, like a cave big enough for a freighter, which requires its own fancy flying to get into. This might not always be the case on certain types of planets (water worlds, endless dune deserts, etc) 2.) Even if there are not orbital assets, trying a speed runs means you WILL be detected by ground-based sensors or satellites when you come out of hyperspace, and once it is clear you are ignoring hails and making a run for wilderness or whatever, they're going to scramble alert airspeeders or fighters, and send them on an intercept course before you can get below. There's a good chance they can spot you before you get to concealment. 3.) Your cargo might not lend itself to such rough flying. Living cargo or other fragile items stand a good chance of injury or otherwise being ruined if you're making crazy full throttle checks and such (great way to spend negative dice results). 4.) Whoever you are meeting might not be in place yet. The idea of rushing down there with no confirmation, only to have to wait and wait while customs is searching for you overhead is not ideal. 5.) Even if they didn't scramble orbital assets when you went down, they'll sure have them in place defending the hyperlane for when you come back up, complete with an interdictor if they have one. The speedy approach is unlikely to work both going in and coming out of a drop. Planetary forces are going to react. Busier systems that deal with lots of smugglers just have these assets in place permanently. In summary, the speedy approach is probably best just for leaving, assuming you snuck or bribed your way in. And it's best on worlds that have limited anti-smuggler/customs assets. Obviously, if they have next to no assets, you can probably just land or offer traffic control a small bribe to "not see you". If it's a big busy world like Coruscant, you're going to need a different plan, probably. There's no way you're just doing a speed rush through their orbital traffic lanes and not getting torn up. Places like that require a more sneaky or bribery based approach.
  5. I mean, correct me if I'm wrong here, I'm probably a lot newer to the IP than many of you, but I just assumed it was it's own fantasy setting, not unlike the many D&D settings or Middle Earth. England and Europe, to my knowledge, don't really come up in those games, even though they were clearly inspired by those cultures. L5R merely borrows from a handful of Asian cultures in the same way (and not just Japan, as there are clear influences from Mongolia, China, etc). L5R still has kami, sure, and D&D still has gods. There is no location in L5R that later becomes Tokyo. I hear you, but I don't see it as needing some complicated explanation. It's just it's own fantasy setting entirely. There was not a historical Emperor Hantei Dynastic line (in fact, the word means something entirely different in terms of real Japanese emperor's). There's nothing about the L5R setting I'm aware of that is meant to lead anyone to believe it is somehow supposed to represent a historical Japan. If anything, the map of Rokugan has a lot more in common with China.
  6. KRKappel

    Knights of Fate questions

    Glad you enjoyed some of my contributions to the book!
  7. Hobgoblyn, what are your favorite fictional works in the L5R setting? You seem to have a lot of passion for the setting, so I'm curious what works you'd hold up as IP standards. Regarding the verisimilitude of Japanese language within these stories, I'd love to give my perspective as someone who does a lot of freelance work for FFG (I've mostly worked on Star Wars and Genesys, but check out my first foray into L5R in the newly released Emerald Lands). First, the folks working on the L5R fiction aren't "hacks". Full stop. I've read quite a bit of it, and the writing is excellent. Regarding your specific issues with the use of the Japanese language as "hacky", I'd point you to Junot Diaz, all around awful human being, but also a Pulitzer prize winning author who combines Spanish and English on the page, does the things you're upset about all the time. I can tell you I'm not as good or as successful as Junot Diaz, but there are only a handful of writers who are. And they aren't exactly doing work for hire at an RPG company (most of them are writing original literary novels on the side, while pursuing careers in academia, journalism or television/film). In this particular excerpt of his, he only uses a handful of Spanish words. Just enough for verisimilitude. Anything not within the common vernacular among most American readers, he translates immediately after. So basically, if its good enough for the Pulitzer prize, it's good enough for me, in terms of writing quality. Warning, foul language and sexual content within the story excerpt. https://www.cnn.com/2012/09/18/living/this-is-how-you-lose-her-excerpt-junot-diaz/index.html Anyway, I guess the point is, hey, I'm doing my best. Writing is hard. It's okay if a piece of work isn't everyone's cup of tea. It's okay to criticize the work for how it uses the Japanese language (or whatever else you don't like), especially if it is empirically wrong. But throwing in a few "hai's" is pretty much the industry standard for this sort of thing. No writer, or publisher, wants to take readers out of a story because there is a lengthy foreign language excerpt they might not understand. If it is there, it's going to have to be explained immediately after, or be obvious in context to a majority of readers. Requiring foreign language study for an Intellectual Property is only going to serve to limit the audience for said IP. Further, anyone in FFG's position is going to want to get the best writers their budget can get them. In my experience, editors are interested in three things. 1.) How good is their prose? 2.) Do they hit their deadlines? 3.) Are they easy to work with? There are surprisingly few folks out there who can manage all three and are affordable for an RPG publisher's budget. If you have some fluency in Japanese, that's awesome! You should consider keeping an eye on the careers page of this website, and waiting for a call for copy editors or playtesters, so you can lend your linguistic and IP knowledge toward making the products better.
  8. I think when you're trying to talk about "how smuggling works", there's a lot to talk about. That's a pretty broad topic. But at it's core, smuggling is transporting cargo from one place to another illegally. This might get done for a variety of reasons: 1.) The cargo is contraband in the drop off area. Banned materials won't usually be allowed past customs check-points without special permits. 2.) The cargo is subject to heavy tariffs or import taxes, which the receiving party would like to avoid. These items would be allowed through customs, but they'd normally be subjected to the aforementioned tariffs or taxes. 3.) The planet/city/system is blockaded, and no goods of any kind are being allowed in or out. Siege tactics like this are in common use by the Empire to force cooperation, soften military targets, or secure locations while trying to capture high value targets. The goods smuggled past blockades are often perfectly legal goods, like fresh water, medical supplies, power packs, etc, desperately needed by locals to survive. Note that it also might be the reverse, where getting a specific thing OFF of a world past local customs or a blockade is the problem. So basically, depending on which situation it is, local authorities might use a customs space station, a customs agent at landing pads and such, and likely some kind of customs traffic control with fighters to detect ships trying to land in the wilderness to make shady deals instead of going through the customs process. Customs might be operated by the Empire or a local agency. So as far as how smuggling adventures should generally run. It probably looks something like this: Step 1: Getting the job: Someone has to hire the PCs to move something. Enterprising PCs might just load up with a cargo they think will be easy to move and keep all the profit for themselves. Step 2: Acquiring the cargo: The PCs have to get the cargo and load it onto their ship. Step 3: Getting the cargo off world: If the planet they are on has customs agents to get past, the PCs will have to scout, plan, and execute a way to get past without detecting of the goods. This might take many forms, such as disguising the goods as something else, hiding the goods from inspectors, or just dodging the inspectors altogether and sneaking or running out of the system. Step 4: Hyperspace: Generally the most laid back part of this. But pirates and checkpoints can exist. Interdictors, or even large asteroids towed into hyperspace lanes can force ships from hyperspace early, subjecting them to attacks or surprise inspections. Step 5: Getting the cargo planetside: PCs now need to scout, plan, and execute a way past customs on the delivery location. This can again take many different forms. Step 6: Cargo delivery: PCs need to meet up with the recipients of the cargo and transfer them the goods. This might include taking payment from them. Step 7: Loose ends: PCs might have to bring a payment back to the job originator, which might be hard currency, goods in trade, passengers, etc. So really, there is enough there where, if some of the steps are very simple, you can handle it all in one session, or as part of a larger adventure, or just make a smuggling run an entire multi-session adventure on its own. Hope that helps!
  9. KRKappel

    Poe Dameron, Master Strategist?

    The bombers also have hyperdrives, they don't need to literally fly back to the capital ships and land. They can hit the first rendezvous and land then.
  10. I mean, there are a ton you COULD do. http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Force-based_organizations
  11. KRKappel

    Poe Dameron, Master Strategist?

    She was also part of the Rebellion with Leia (in the Leia, Princess of Alderaan book). Agitator might work for her some.
  12. KRKappel

    Poe Dameron, Master Strategist?

    No, his primary objective was to delay the dreadnought and collect intelligence while the evacuation finished. There was a plan in place to destroy the dreadnought had it arrived earlier (in the event they needed to buy much more time). Because they didn't need the time, leia called for Poe to move back (as she should have), and proceed with the full evacuation. Then Poe went off script. As for Admiral Holdo's non-military appearance. A few things. 1.) This is the Resistance or para-military. It is NOT a formal military officially representing any government. That's why you have discipline issues with people like Poe, and why plenty of people aren't in proper uniform. I would imagine most of the people "in uniform" are just wearing their New Republic military uniforms, as many of them have that background. 2.) If you look at the books, Holdo is a civilian with a senator background. 3.) For all we know, purple is her natural hair color. It's Star Wars. There are lizard people and head tail people. A person with purple hair seems a very minor situation, relatively speaking.
  13. KRKappel

    Poe Dameron, Master Strategist?

    Let me put it this way. Imagine you're leading a SEAL team. Your mission is to free and evacuate a POW camp. Toward the end of the evacuation, as refugees load into the backs of trucks, enemy reinforcements are spotted along a nearby service road. They happen to have a tank and jeeps with mounted guns. If you don't do anything, they'll wipe through the refugees. So, you and your team deploy to distract the convoy of armored vehicles from making it to the refugees, likely by firing at their flanks, and forcing them to stop rolling and try and smoke you out. During this skirmish, you manage to actually damage the tank. Decision time, you can engage in a direct frontal assault on the damaged tank, knowing there's no way some or most of you don't get cut down by the soldiers in jeeps with mounted guns, or you can stay on mission, fall back, and ensure the convoy gets where it's going. It's really not a difficult decision at all. The tank doesn't matter. It's not part of the mission. It's what's known as a target of opportunity at that stage. You never (unless countermanded by a superior officer) let a target of opportunity take precedence or endanger success of your primary objective. In this case, it isn't even a judgment call, as Leia specifically tells him to fall back. It was a bad choice. And that's the downside to being in a rebel or paramilitary unit, is guys like Poe are going to go off script and blow operations without seeing the bigger picture. The big ship doesn't matter. The First Order probably has dozens. Even if they just have five, the evacuation mission only has one bombing unit. The big ship isn't impeding their mission objectives, and the primary mission is to evacuate. Live to fight another day. When you're fighting on the smaller side of asymmetrical warfare, you do not make trades and fight a war of attrition, because you'll lose. You do not let engagements drag on, you launch a surprise attack, and it either works or it doesn't, and you bug out. If you stay, you suffer losses, and over time, you lose. You don't make a big stand like that until the benefit outweighs the loss. Let's look at the same sort of engagement from the perspective of the Battle of Hoth. Rebel Ion Cannon disables two Imperial Star Destroyers. There are two X-Wings escorting a shuttle. The shields are down on those ISDs. The X-Wings COULD run up on them and proton torpedo the bridges. It's a valid target of opportunity. But their mission is to escort the transports. Now, imagine Wedge decided hey, screw that, let's take out these ISDs, even if we lose a few fighters from the other ISD rebooting before we can kill it, taking out even one is a huge win for us. Do the rebels then have Red group or Gold group to make a run on the second Death Star a few months later? Are there enough fighters to send down that shaft to get a kill shot? Does Lando even take the gig flying solo (puns!) instead of as a leader of Gold group? So yeah, I absolutely stand by the idea that this was a poor choice by Poe (to say nothing of the fact that it really wasn't Poe's call. Leia was on site and gave the order). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Target_of_opportunity
  14. KRKappel

    Poe Dameron, Master Strategist?

    There are some measures of intelligence (typically as viewed by those programming game AI designed to beat masters at Go and Chess and the like), that rate intelligence as preserving the maximum number of options for the maximum amount of time. By wiping out the bomber fleet, Poe took a whole lot of choices out of Organa's hands. And while, yes, the trade in credits and personnel is vastly in favor of the Resistance, the value of those bombers was possibly greater than the value of that ship to the First Order as a representation of their total assets. That said, when you are the guerrilla force in asymmetrical warfare, you value trained people over material by a large factor. Most guerrilla doctrine emphasizes resupplying from the enemy. So it's not even the bombers so much as it is the pilots and crew. The resistance likely doesn't have years to retrain new personnel from scratch. The conflict is going to be over before fresh recruits can make an impact. So, in my view (as a former Naval Intelligence Specialist), no, sacrificing the bombers when you could have escaped without doing so wasn't worth the cost to the Resistance. They might have hit a First Order shipyard at a later date and caused 100 fold the damage. They might have been able to deploy and hide behind asteroids, and launch surprise attacks on the fleet, which has its shields down to divert power to engines. Most of the Resistance might have escaped TLJ relatively unscathed if Holdo had those bombers. Instead, there is a small group of what? a few dozen from the evacuation by the movie's end? Granted, if the Empire had that ship while chasing the Resistance, they likely could have wiped it out easily (range didn't seem to be an issue for the big gun). So ultimately, she would have had to send Poe to do the same thing at some point. But again, preserving that choice until later would have been better.
  15. You might also specifically call out the use of a staff for casting (if I'm remembering ewoks correctly). The shaman example we have seems very attached to a ceremonial staff, or perhaps just mention the staff for sanctifying purposes? IDK. I still love these, though!
  16. KRKappel

    Is it time to start a new game?

    In addition to the great suggestions here, you could also do a time-skip in game of a few months, and let the players all reclaim all their XP, reduce their characters back to starting level, and re-spend all their XP from scratch. That way you sort of get the best of both worlds.
  17. KRKappel

    How Corrupt Was Your Republic?

    I love this thread! I'd encourage you all to pick up the Clone Wars sourcebook when it comes out (which I worked on), especially considering this paragraph in the latest article: Rise of the Separatists looks in-depth at the origins and organization of the biggest players in the Clone Wars, from the Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems to the Jedi Order and the secretive Sith. Game Masters will benefit from a deep dive into the political structures of the Republic, from the past and present factions of the Senate, to the committees and bureaucracies that oversee Republic policy. A cast of political aides and NPC profiles for prominent figures like Padmé Amidala allows GMs to craft their own intrigues and double-crosses involving threats of corruption, sedition, militarism, or secession.
  18. KRKappel

    Rise of the Separatists Era Book

    TL;DR: Almost zero. So in that Jedi Council epic play adventure I did, the Jedi Council were player characters, and really the whole thing was an experiment to see what happens to PCs when they hit 2,000 XP or so, and does the game break and just stop working. (I had seen a lot of complaints/assumptions that this would be the case on the forums, and wanted to find out for myself). So I went all out just as an experiment to see if combats could still be challenging, etc. (Turns out this game scales up incredibly well at the 2000 XP range for F&D, though the high end number is certainly less for AOR and EOTE). So, with that in mind, each one of those PCs was like, a 15 page document to list all the various Force powers and talents in most of the character sheet generation things that would make them actually usable at the table to a PC. Now, if I turned in a 2,000 word NPC stat block (which would be like 3 pages long in a print book), they'd laugh me out of the industry. Design philosophy for NPC building vs PC building is really very, very different. So when I worked on the iconic NPCs (they mentioned Padme in this article, and showed Kenobi and Dooku in a previous one), I'm building them in as streamlined a fashion as possible, so a GM doesn't bog down play trying to figure out which attack to use, or which talents can help them in a given situation. If we tried to give an Iconic NPC every talent we see them possibly use in the Clone Wars cartoon, or even the film, the stat blocks would be unusably long, and there would be long pauses in gameplay as they consulted sheets, potentially leading to some analysis paralysis. PCs have the advantage of only needing to be familiar with one profile, so by design most RPGs allow them to become more complex over the life of a campaign. Players only have to learn one new ability every or every other session or so. Players who want to keep track of less can buy passive talents and skill ranks instead, allowing a level of customization to how complex their stat block gets, and how much they need to track at the table. GM's have to juggle a lot more than one stat block, so I try to keep them as simplified as possible. I also have the advantage in NPC creation of being able to add special qualities, which can often take the place of multiple talents, or otherwise power an NPC up within their core strategy for accomplishing things significantly (though sometimes these just add a cool flavor that marks the character as unmistakably them). Beyond the needs of the table, also remember it's a print book. So there's this tug of war sort of element between spending word counts on NPC profiles, and spending word counts on other content. So for that purpose alone, I tend to aim for streamlining a profile as much as possible, while still staying as true to the character as possible. There's a balance there that you need to achieve in working for print. So yeah, for me, the entire process started from scratch again, because really, the design goals were so far apart.
  19. KRKappel

    Rise of the Separatists Era Book

    Indeed! I'm fairly certain most of the conversation on the forums regarding my work in the book will focus on attributes and skill ranks chosen for iconic NPCs (because basically everyone on the internet is going to have a different idea of what those should look like, depending on their interpretation of the character and how much XP their home game is at). But I'm really proud of my work in this book. The Clone Wars is one of my favorite eras for Star Wars stories, and I did my best to give GMs and players a lot of hooks and frameworks for dealing with the bureaucracy of the Old Republic and making it interesting (or at least hopefully understandable). This is probably my favorite book I've worked on to date for FFG. So I really really really can't wait for it to come out.
  20. KRKappel

    Rise of the Separatists Era Book

    New article up! https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2018/11/27/worlds-at-war/
  21. KRKappel

    Kessel Run time!

    So, in Sun of Fortune, I did a modular encounter in the back for the Corellian Shuffle, which sort of outlines ONE way of handling smuggling runs like that. Other products might have a different approach or a better one (maybe in Fly Casual?) But that should give you a few places to look for inspiration.
  22. KRKappel

    Android: Official Genesys System

    So, as a guy who runs a lot of Star Wars/Genesys at cons and such, I can say that I rarely lug a Core book with me. A few character sheets, a deck or two or adversary cards, and a GM screen with the crit tables on them (and dice), and I'm good to go. Adversary cards are so, so amazing as a product. Strongly prefer them to flipping through a book.
  23. KRKappel

    How long does Star Wars RPG campaign last for?

    There are four ways to ensure your PCs remain challenged in combat play regardless of their XP level. 1.) Increase minion group sizes. In large enough numbers, stormtroopers are still a threat to high-level PCs, and the dice pool won't shrink too much if a few die. If combat is too easy, just add two more minions to each group, and repeat as necessary until you find the balance you want. 2.) Adversary rating on important NPCs. Don't be afraid of adding whatever level adversary you need. Don't forget to add reflect or parry and use as needed. 3.) Squad Rules. From the AOR GM Kit, the squad and squadron rules allow an NPC to die to negate all damage dealt to the squad leader. This can keep them alive those first few rounds while PCs use their once per encounter or session abilities. 4.) Good GMing. Find ways to separate the party, so BBEG can face the PCs one on one instead of 4 or 6 on one. Finally, if you know you're going to run a longer campaign, definitely reduce the XP per session from the start to mitigate the issue. D20 aside, I think most games assume youll play once or twice a month for a year and then start a new campaign. IF you know you're going to do a long-running campaign with the same PCs, it's best to adjust XP rewards accordingly.
  24. KRKappel

    Travel RPG - or Krayts on a plane!

    I run for kids aged 4-12 as often as I possibly can. A summary of tips and rules for adjusting the game: 1.) Listen to the kids' plan. Don't help them, don't suggest to them. Just let them tell the story they want to tell, and roll with it. It will keep you on your toes as a GM, but you definitely don't want to have an adversarial GM/player relationship when you're running for kids. Reward their creativity and make sure all the kids get a chance to voice their ideas. 2.) abstractify a few additional elements to avoid any getting bogged down. The things I tend to abstractify most often? I get rid of hitpoints, and instead just eyeball it and suggest people are able to shrug off damage, they are hurt, or they are eliminated. I don't bother tracking the wounds with any real closely. I also just have initiative always let a PC slot go first, and then just alternate between PCs and NPCs instead of actually rolling and making a slot sheet. 3.) Bring a legal pad and pencil to draw crude living maps. Kids don't need much in the way of visuals, because their imaginations can do a lot of the work, especially when they're on the younger end of the scale, but giving them something visual to latch onto often helps. 4.) Don't be afraid to be a little silly, and describe things in excruciating detail, particularly when you're describing the results of a player's check, for good or ill. Making a funny voice or describing something gross in detail is likely to be the most memorable part of the game for kids. Don't be afraid to ham it up. As the kids get older, into the 9-12 age range (particularly, but not limited to boys), gruesome details of lightsaber chops and oozing aliens and blasted enemies seem to be what they want the most time spent on. Also, once you set the tone, don't be afraid to occasionally ask them to describe it in detail. They LOVE the opportunity to describe something gross in detail, and once they know its okay, they'll relish each opportunity to do so, which also takes a lot of the mental load off you as a GM. 5.) I tend to only run 30-60 minute sessions for young kids (because its at conventions where we want to cycle as many groups of kids through as possible). But basically, any standard star wars themes should work just fine. Those movies are built for kids, after all. The only real consideration I've made that way, is that instead of introducing spice/drugs, whenever I have smugglers, they're usually smuggling bootleg video games, or music banned by the empire, and what have you. 6.) You might consider letting htem create their character backgrounds as part of the experience while on the plane. Letting them develop a shared history together for their PCs is probably just as fun for them as actually playing. Just handle creating all the mechanical bits first, and let them work out background, motivation, and obligation/morality/duty when you start the game. Anyway, good luck! I've never tried running on a plane before, the physical mechanics of how the seats are arranged make it seem tricky if you have more than 2 players. But enjoy! Gaming with younger players is some of the most fun I've had running FFG Star Wars!
  25. KRKappel

    Squads shooting for non-shooty PCs

    As the guy who wrote said squad and squadron rules for the AOR GM Kit, the basic mechanical trade off is trading offense for defense. The squad gives up that attack dice pool (in turns where the leader doesn't generate a triumph) in exchange for shielding a PC or key NPC. It also provides some minor bonuses with the formations. So, if you reverse the rule, and have the squad always attack and the PC only attack on a Triumph, understand that you are negating the main balancing factor between squadded up minions and minions in their own minion group. Narratively speaking, you might have a hypothetical Raptor Squad, with 10 minions and 4 PCs. The PC in question might squad up with only two minions, and the PCs might have the remaining 8 split into two fire-teams of four, mechanically speaking. This minimizes how much offense you give up for the added defense. Despite this, collectively, they are still all "Raptor Squad" in the narrative sense, despite not all being "squadded up" mechanically. Use allied minions strategically. She can still order plenty of them around as an allied minion group, treated like any other allied NPC. Those taking advantage of the squad and squadron rules should specifically be ones added for defensive purposes, or to exploit some of the formation bonuses.