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Mandurang

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  1. Here's a great one that I use time and again in those situations: Personal interest vs. the greater good. One of your player characters' good friends is in debt, and the Hutt he owes to chooses to make of him an example, imprisoning him in carbonite only to await a gruesome execution shortly thereafter (sound familiar, right?). Only your players can save him. At the same time, however, the Empire has obtained a droid whose encrypted memory banks hold the location and schematics of a Rebel base, and Imperial agents are transporting it to the headquarters of the Imperial punitive fleet, where the data can be decoded and then an assault on the Rebel base mounted. Your players are tasked with intercepting the Imperial agents and stealing back or destroying the droid pronto. What will your players' characters do? Will they have to choose between their friend and the Rebel cause? Will there be time to do both, and if so, what immoral shortcuts will they have to employ? Do they kill the Hutt and his entourage of innocent thugs? Do they blow the undefended passenger transport which the Imperial agent and the droid are on out of the sky, destroying the plans but killing innocent passengers? Perhaps the Rebel High Command entrusts them with a sum of money to bribe the agent. Do they steal the credits to pay back their friend's debt? And so on and so forth. Also, as a last piece of advice, trip them up whenever you can and force them to make morality decisions, but reward them for embracing their inner conflict to do the right thing (whatever that is, only their characters know). Perhaps their roguish friend knows a way to sneak into the Imperial base to steal the droid. Perhaps the Hutt, pleased with the sum they give him, provides a false encryption key that will give the wrong information to the Imperials. Perhaps they can slice the data themselves and change the location of the Rebel base to the Hutt's home planet, so that the Imperial punitive fleet arrives there instead, and they can then save their friend in the confusion of the battle as the Hutts defend themselves from what they think is an Imperial attack on their territory. They will end up with some conflict, but the reward for that will be having accomplished what they set out to do. In other words, if, from your players' perspectives, the ends must justify the means, have them achieve those ends.
  2. For a decent example of a "good" character with moral shades of grey, look no further than Mace Windu - he was willing, in fact viewed it as a necessity, to circumvent any kind of justice system or due process and kill Sidious himself in order to prevent the re-emergence of the Sith. Even Anakin tells him "It's not the Jedi way!" Now while I'm all too aware that the prequels are flawed in many ways, this kind of thing is perfect for the campaign you want to be a part of. Having a moral system that's inflexible is a recipe for amazing storytelling. Does the Force say you can't take a life because you risk the Dark Side? Perfect. I throw my players into situations where the easy thing to do would be to kill someone, and watch them wrestle with the consequences, or find ways around it. That's how great stories are made, in the purest Aristotelian sense of tragedy and pathos. White Wolf games of old (and perhaps still, I wouldn't know) had this down to a T, which was part of what made them so great. The cost of power, the descending spiral of lost humanity, all that good stuff. It wasn't about the powers and the spells; it was about what you had to sacrifice to get them. Now in your case, if there were no penalty for stepping out of line, your character could do it whenever he wanted. But since there is a penalty (conflict and morality and all that), there is a cost associated with doing morally dubious things, which means you now have to make a decision every time you get the itch. And that's what a real story is all about: Decisions. If you knew exactly how your character would behave in every situation, you'd be playing a dice rolling game. Now, however, you are playing a character in a drama, and only you know how it's going to end. Do not view it as a missed opportunity; it's the opposite. It's the perfect opportunity for you to create great stories for your character. TL;DR the struggle is real.
  3. I have just had another idea - what if Improved Reflect was rebalanced around range, with redirecting to more distant targets costing more Threat? So a target in medium range would cost 3 Threat, exactly how the talent is written now. The important difference being that you can redirect fire to short range targets for 2 Threat, which means you can activate the talent against nearby opponents even if you can't get the 3 Threat the talent calls for now. However, it also means Nemesis-level enemies can still be relatively safe from "cheap" reflected fire because they can stay out of the fray, making it harder for you to reach them. Hitting a Nemesis who hasn't engaged you in close range is still hard. You could even cap the talent at medium range if you don't want to have amazingly lucky Jedi redirecting fire to long range targets. The concept makes a lot of narrative and dramatic sense in my head, any thoughts?
  4. This looks pretty good, but even with a strain cost, this move seems really good for a single maneuver. Especially since it keys off an characteristic that a Shien user is already going to have in spades. Some tweaks I would consider. Either.. Make it once per encounter (Based on the strength of other talents in the game, even that might be too good.) Have it cost an action. Being able to dish out hurt and still deflect bolts for no additional rolling sounds too good. Make it cost another resource as well, such as a destiny point, Have Agility or Willpower be the capstone. or.... Make it ranked rather than a one-and-done talent purchase.But I admit I prefer the talent as is, so my suggestions err on the side of caution. In short, your talent is a must have, which is a good indicator of a red flag. Good ideas, all. If we're balancing this theoretical talent, I'd lean more towards making it cost an action, as an ultra-defensive tactic against ranged attacks, that could also enable you to use Supreme Reflect later on, thus providing at least some synergy with both of your advanced deflection skills in the spirit of Shien.
  5. Thanks for explaining. I find I didn't make myself clear, I apologize - I realized which upgrade you meant but I thought that at least 2 committed Force Dice (to generate 2 Threat) would be necessary to make it worth it at all, hence why I mentioned 2 Force Rating, not as a hard requirement but more as a practical one. At any rate, it's a really nice use of the power, and great that it works for you. I even pitched it, but my player was a little wary of trying to explain his use of reflect through misdirection - he just wanted a more "standard" flavor since it's something every Jedi can do since they begin training. And then again there remains the real problem of having to invest more XP to make the talent even usable. @usgrandprix, those are some good house rules. I was considering tinkering with a more granular approach to Parry and Reflect myself, so that it's cheaper and you could activate it more times per round in order to involve things like Force Rating (like you did, which I really like) and possibly ranks in Lightsaber. But I realize all these ideas are solidly in house rule territoriy, since they complicate things and they may not be for everyone, therefore I made this post just to address a problem I identified with the rules as the are written and a possible (simple) solution: sprinkle a few ranged defense rating talents among the trees (which I called Deflection Training in my posts above). All the same I like your ideas a lot. You don't think the initial use of Reflect should also involve some strain? Using your Reflect, you can deflect bolts (without redirecting them) pretty easily. Adding 2 Failures to a roll (which you can do with only 1 Reflect talent) makes it quite easy to not get hit at all. Maybe 1-2 strain to activate Reflect wouldn't be too out of the question. Also I'm not sure I get why Reflect should add Threat if you have nothing to use that Threat for immediately after (like Improved Reflect, the Threat cost for which you did away with). It could unbalance things very quickly at higher ranks of Reflect, as you could generate a few Failures to prevent the roll from hitting, and then a ton of Threat to cause other inconveniences to your enemies. @kaosoe, I like the added nuance, the only problem that presents itself is that the player must then know what kind of enemy they are facing, which can quickly break narrative immersion: "this guy is a Nemesis, let's use up our dailies!". I like to keep things as vague as possible to keep my players guessing. Obviously how hard it is to hit an enemy by way of difficulty and challenge dice kind of gives up the game, but still. --- While I think there is a far easier solution to the problem that I've already outlined (sprinkle in some ranged defense talents to represent Jedi deflection training and skill in channeling the Force to that end), I'm also tinkering with a defensive stance-like talent that adds automatic Threat to all incoming attacks in the Shien Talent tree, like so: Lightsaber Barrier Once per round, may perform the Lightsaber Barrier maneuver. For the next round, when targeted by a ranged attack, may suffer an amount of strain and add an equal amount of Threat to that attack. Strain suffered cannot exceed Cunning.
  6. Thanks for the reminder, I mentioned in my post above that that was how my player got his one use of the talent in all our sessions (after having used up several). At the end of the day, using a Destiny Point only marginally increases your chances of getting the required results, even if you upgraded every single incoming roll for a talent that doesn't (and therefore shouldn't, I feel) require a destiny point to activate in the first place. Hmm, and it doesn't seem counterintuitive to you that to use Improved Reflect (i.e. to reflect blaster bolts) you have to fill the room with smoke, turn off the lights, and take cover (and even wear armor of all things)... But to use Improved Parry you don't need to do any of those things? The Shien tree alone (that is, the deflection specialist tree) contains two talents to add setback dice and upgrade difficulty of all incoming melee attack rolls - but for ranged rolls, not a thing. It's a little jarring both mechanically and narratively from where I'm standing. Not chasing any Despair dragons, it simply is the most consistent method of getting the required dice results for activating the talent. Getting 3 Threat occurs quite rarely to begin with, absent additional methods to upgrade difficulty, not to mention 3 uncanceled Threat - now that is a real dragon. Unless, of course, you want to invest lots of XP elsewhere in order to upgrade the difficulty of incoming rolls (like the few methods I suggested above), in which case there is no real use to the talent before you have invested this additional XP. Either way, it's a problem.
  7. Hm, I don't think it's over-reacting - I have a player who built a Jedi to use Shien, thinking it would be cool and impressive, and he can't Reflect any shots at all unless he can spend another 50-100 xp to gain ways to upgrade the incoming roll's difficulty, or do counter-intuitive things to deflection like taking cover. But even so, how often do you see a roll of 2-3 difficulty/challenge dice (and 3 is a stretch, you'd have to upgrade an incoming attack's difficulty 3 times to get 3 negative dice for an NPC combat roll!) generate 3 uncanceled Threat? In our sessions so far, he got a grand total of 1 Despair he could use all the times he was attacked, and that because of the use of a destiny point. I think the main problem causing Improved Parry and Improved Reflect to be on unequal footing is the multitude of ways you can increase your melee defense in response to an attack as opposed to the very few ways you have to increase your ranged defense. Even the Shien talent tree has 2-3 ways to increase your melee defense, as opposed to ranged defense - the thing it's supposed to be good at. All trees, like Soresu for another eaxmple, suffer from the same problem. Would a few ranks in Deflection Training or Sixth Sense spread among the specializations be so outrageous? It's what Jedi do, after all. Having a talent available in some specializations to provide a few ranks in deflection training would hardly be unbalancing. There is even a potential mechanism for adding Threat to an incoming roll right there in the Shien tree - just have Disruptive Strike add Failure or Threat per pip spent! Which wouldn't solve most problems with Improved Reflect, but hey, at least it's low-hanging fruit because it's right there, 2 rows down. As far as Misdirect goes, that is a good use of it, but it presents some problems when I think about it. One is mechanical - you need to spend 45 XP to obtain the power and commit at least 2 force dice, meaning you have to obtain +1 Force rating from somewhere, to even make it worth your while, which still leaves the Improved Reflect talent an investment with no real immediate return (i.e. you need to spend lots more XP to make any real use out of it). The second problem is a narrative one. Making their opponents not being able to see them doesn't seem to be what Jedi do to reflect blaster bolts. Rather it's a product of training (like every baby Jedi does with the training remote) and foresight through the use of the Force. It's practically the first thing Obi-Wan teaches Luke, to sense and block incoming ranged attacks, and while he doesn't get the hang of it until later, he doesn't seem to have any talent in Misdirection when he does it, or am I wrong with all of this?
  8. I realize this may be a little too late in hte development phase to have any meaning, but I just wanted to see if anyone has ecountered this problem in their sessions: My players just can't get enough Threat against opponents to use Improved Reflect using the rules as written. It's basically dependent upon Despair coming up in the dice, and very often it's quite hard to upgrade difficulty against ranged attacks in the first place so that you have a chance to get Despair to begin with. You basically have to invest a ton of XP elsewhere, either in Sense or in another specialization's tree in order to effectively use Improved Reflect, and often only after using additional strain as well. Not to mention that using Dodge and Side Step for that purpose kind of defeats their narrative purpose, I feel. You can't both be dodging attacks and redirecting them, can you? I think making Deflection Training (giving your lightsaber ranks in Deflection) a possibility in the spirit of Defensive Training would very much help here. Especially in those Jedi specializations that deal narratively with being good at deflecting blaster fire. For example, that first row Defensive Training rank in Shien Expert should be Deflection Training. Perhaps another one in Soresu or the second Defensive Training in Niman. Or, at a stretch make Sixth Sense available to more Jedi combat specializations. There is a distinct lack of ranged defense in all the specialization trees, and that's what a lot of Jedi are good at! The same problem doesn't come up with Improved Parry, however, because there's just so many ways to improve melee defense spread out through the trees. Even taking a maneuver to use guarded stance helps in that regard. Anyone have any thoughts?
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