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Everything posted by Vondy

  1. No, he's not supporting cast. But, he's not presented as a professional combatant, either. He's a smuggler who carries a sidearm for (occassionally preemptive) self-defense. Repeat after me: "only a damned fool brings a sidearm to a gunfight when a longarm is available." A sidearm is a weapon with a specific application. Its a defensive weapon you carry for close-quarters personal protection. It is more easily concealed, can be worn in a broader array of circumstances, and is lighter and less cumbersome. Its can be there when you have no advanced warning that a combat is upon you. At the same time, sidearms are less powerful weapons in terms of range, penetration, and associated wound factors. Hands down. There is no contest. Its not even remotely open for debate. There is a simple and indisputable reason mainline infantry soldiers are carrying long-guns and not sidearms: firepower. Its the same reason special forces and and SWAT teams about to enter CQB opt for long-guns or sub-machineguns as their primary weapons: firepower. A sidearm is not an offensive weapon. If you walk into a firefight with a sidearm against long-guns without heavy-handed plot-immunity or lots and lots of genre-enforcing talents, you're dead. To that end, the system gives you some talent-paths to sidearm superiority: the Gunslinger spec in Fly Casual is one. The signature ability Unmatched Destruction from No Disintegrations is another. Here is a two tree path to total sidearm destruction: Bounty Hunter (Career) with Assassin (Spec) and Gunslinger (Spec) plus Unmatched Destruction (SA). Enjoy.
  2. I know its not considered the power spec for lightsaber monkeys, but Niman Disciple covers it. Narratively, Move Closer and Force Assault can facilitate "The Full Vader" from Rogue One. A dollop of The Force is My Ally from another tree for flexibility and viola! And, based on what we see in the movies, Vader really doesn't need a super-high Force rating. Vader has been fetishized and mythologized by fans into an invincible dark god, but his primary force using opposition is OT Luke Skywalker. Prior to Vader's death, Luke was was a greenhorn Jedi. The throne room scene was likely his Jedi trials. He really wasn't that powerful. And, in A New Hope, Obi-Wan let Vader kill him because destiny had to play itself out. Killing Vader himself would not have redeemed Anakin and brought down the Empire. It had to be Luke because "love conquers all." We don't know how that would have played out otherwise. What if Obi-Wan had been less wise? He might have won! An Old Republic Jedi Knight with Lightsaber-4, Force Rating-4, three trees, and some decent force powers should be able to give movie Vader a run for his money. Killing minion groups of rebel soldiers on screen looks Totally Awesome! (TM), but... I have a player with a padawan survivor in my game with Force Rating-2, lightsaber-2, the full shadow tree, and half of the shien tree who eats minion groups of stormtroopers for breakfast. In our last game she took down seven stormtroopers and was barely grazed by blaster fire, all without intermixing move. All she used was force leap and sense for defense. There's very little Luke from Return of the Jedi could do that she can't at this point. I'd build Vader with four trees: Aggressor, Shii-Cho, Niman, and one to flavor for taste. He's scary, but he's not all that fan-**** has made him out to be. IMO. Of course.
  3. When your three Jedi survivors composing an "impossible missions force" type-cell for the Rebellion engage a company sized scout battalion of Imperial troops. And... one of them force-leaps on top of an AT-ST to cut their way in, but another one slices through a leg with their lightsaber at the same time, sending it careening sideways with a BOOM into the middle of a platoon of stormtroopers. This leaves the Jedi who had been on top of the AT-ST to land in the middle of the stormtroopers screaming foul-mouthed explicatives and looking for egress. Meanwhile, the third Jedi grins and charges into the afray sending a head flying and howling "helmet's away!" These are full-on real Jedi who are now into their third talent tree with fairly robust powers and lightsaber skills. They manage to survive despite themselves. The force is with them, but very few Rebel soliders are because, quite frankly, (those three) "Jedi are freaking nutjobs!"
  4. Answer: "You have the wrong address." You are asking a bunch of strangers on a message board what one of your players intended when they called you a "troll." We can't answer that question. They can. Ask them. Once you have that information and share it we can offer meaningless and irrelevant opinions about whether you should be offended or not.
  5. The word most gamers are looking for is "verisimilitude." We want the game to feel authentic or truthy enough to suspend disbelief and get into the story. Even if there are plot-speed drives, a panapoly of colorful aliens, mystical zen mind powers, and laser swords. The rest of the setting and gaming experience needs to be sufficiently rationalized for the story to feel plausible despite its impossible / unrealistic elements. I don't object to people using the word "realistic," however, because I know what they are trying to say and am not given to unecessary pedantry. And, because words like verisimilitude can cause one to be perceived as hoity-toity and elitist.
  6. Here is the thing: I'm a GM who follows the "rule of cool." I know the rules as written fairly well and run without any house rules, but I'm willing to bend the letter of the law for a good story or to keep things moving along, and sometimes I do miss something. Yes, rules matter, but they aren't perfect and are intended to facilitate rather than impede everyone's fun. That said, you don't sound like much of a rules lawyer to me. Here is the number one rule: do not interrupt play to argue rules, especially minor ones. Unless it is a major rule with significant character-story stakes attached to it right then and there, wait until the session is over and then discuss it with your GM. You'll note I didn't say argue with your GM. Discuss it with them. Diplomacy is key. Not just in gaming, but in life. They may react strongly and come off like a "dictator" because you are interrupting, arguing, and publically correcting them mid-game. And, that can be, even if you are 100% right about the rules as written, quite rude. It may turn out that you and your GM have different play styles and irreconcilable differences. Or, you may discover that they are open to you helping them learn the rules out of game. I agree with the suggestion that, if you know the rules well enough to quote them without stopping the game to look stuff up, you can offer yourself up as a resource. I've been the rules reference at a table. Just remember: you are offering to help the GM during the game and are not there to police them or second guess them. When I'm running a game I have zero objections to a player saying "hey, doesn't that rule work like...?" I do, however, have little patience for players who make it feel like we're in a power-struggle or a constant game of one-upsmanship. Or who simply do stuff that throws off the flow of the game. That is tiresome and results in a player not being long for my table. Its not whether you are right and they are wrong. Its whether or not you effectively communicate in a way that builds bridges and brings results. Here is a method that might help: LERI. Ergo: Listening, Empathy, Rapport, Influence. If you want to communicate with the game master you have to talk to them. You need to listen to them in order to understand their position / viewpoint so that you can build a rapport with them through which to influence how the game runs. If you approach them as a friend and seek to reach a mutual understanding that works for both of you as opposed to walking in like adversary you have a much higher chance that they will be willing to listen to you, too. You see, that's the reason that rules lawyers are upopular: they are adversarial. Everything is a legal case that has to be argued and won. Its about winners, losers, and control. Outside of the courts, in the real world, that isn't how most things work. Especially when its just a hobby people are sitting down to socialize over and have some fun with. Negotiate, compromise, and have fun.
  7. When it comes to Legends my philosophy is "smoke 'em if you've got 'em." If there's something you like, use it. If there's something you don't like, don't. Others will do the same.
  8. If your group is funny: Hogan's Heroes. A plucky team of Rebel prisoners who routinely break out of the Imperial military stockade to carry about rebel operations right under the Empire's noses. The Imperial Army Commander and senior-most seargeant are, of course, affably unwitting accomplices.
  9. I won't argue that its now canon, but for my games, Stormtroopers will remain marines, heavy infantry, and special operations. I like having non-stormtrooper soldiers out there.
  10. Which means their own commentary on the force is subjective to their past-life experience and interpretations. Older, wiser, more bound-up perhaps, but even more literally representative "spirit guides" on Yoda's own journey. I'm not convinced one could not reasonably interpret this in a psychoanaltic context as being about Yoda's evolution of understanding the force rather than a definitive commentary on the force itself.
  11. As metaphorical manifestations of the Force they must still be interpreted, leaving the viewer plenty of room to frame these episodes for themselves. One could interperet these manifestations as those that appeared to Yoda as a part of his "spirit quest" and presume another Jedi or force user may have experienced different manifestations. Ergo, this was not a commentary on the nature of the Force, but of how Yoda himself perceived the Force. It was what Yoda needed to realize there was more to the force than what Jedi dogma had attempted to reduce it to. This was at a time when he was realizing the Jedi themselves, through smug surety in their own dualistic understanding of the Force, had opened the door for all of the evil that was unfolding around them. And that was true, from a certain point of view. This followed on the heels of the tawdry moral failure of the Order surrounding Ahsoka Tano and her decision to leave the Order because they weren't living up to their own presumptive righteousness. He was beginning to question whether they were really as wise and infallible as they assumed they were Now, I found the metaphysics of these episodes a bit wonky, but as an psychoanalystic study of you Yoda's evolving perceptions of the force it was a neat piece of work. If you take it in that vein it doesn't introduce any problems whatsoever.
  12. So many options: assassinating Imperial officials without sanction, kidnapping-torturing-killing suspected but not confirmed collaborators, raids or bombings of Imperial targets with excessive collateral damage, leaking sensitive information to Imperial intelligence. You could put a clock on the hunt with the latter. What if they must be stopped before they hand the mcguffin secrets over to the empire. All might be sufficient to end up with a "rebel bounty" on their heads. And twists: they were framed by an Imperial mole in the Alliance leadership who feared they were too close to uncovering their identity. Or, they learned something a corrupt senior rebel officer didn't want them to know. Using rebel resources to conduct hijackings / piracy raides, a liaison with a senior imperial figure, or their own off-book extremist actions (like the aforementioned unsanctioned kill list). And moral quandaries: mayhaps the Rebel leadership itself wants this team dead as a part of a cover up. For instance, mayhaps on occassion,the rebel leadership does something they ordinarily denounce and classify as extremist and this was the team they used for those operations. Only the last job they carried out went sideways and could potentially implicate the leadership and sow dissention in the ranks. Branding them traitors and hunting them down throws suspicion somewhere else. Or, maybe it was one dirty job over the line and they threatened to blow the lid off the thing. They must be silenced!
  13. My concern is that there a numerous talents (and force powers) that upgrade the difficulty of incoming attacks or add setback dice to the attacker's pool. In addition, there are adversary dice for difficult opponents. In that sense, abstractly speaking, the dice pool includes the "opposed roll" in the form of negative dice. My gut tells me, without serious rebalancing work, this would introduce both an un-fun ratio of failure to success as well as far more threats and despairs than would be desireable.
  14. The fluff text introducing the Armorer indicates they can imbue armor they work on with the Force and the Artisan has a talent "Imbue Item." Those are the two I remember off the top of my head. I'm not a rules maven. There may be others. Clearly alchemy is one way to imbue an item with the force, but not the only way. This is, of course, all said without taking Random Bystander's cogent observation into account. Proposing that, since the alchemy text mentions creating holocrons there are no other methods, is a logical fallacy. Its called "drawing a negative conclusion from an affirmative premise." This logical fallacy, which I've nicknamed "explicitism," is very common in gaming circles, especially among rules warriors. Or, so my anecdotal experience tells me. As always, the plural of anecdote isn't data, but after 39 years of this hobby I have a lot of anecdotes. In my opinion, its reasonable to draw the implicit conclusion, both from canon and a broader reading of the rules, that there are other unstated means of making a holocon. Gamemaster's should, therefore, feel free, to lay that out for non-alchemist players who wish to accomplish that.
  15. Now all they have to do is make him a double agent and adapt him to the big screen.
  16. That would likely be true of many mystics, but another motivation would be "to live in harmony with the living force." Indeed, a mystic is "a person who seeks by contemplation and self-surrender to obtain unity with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute, or who believes in the spiritual apprehension of truths that are beyond the intellect." As such, a great many mystics might have very little interest in "power" as understood by dark siders, or consider the dark side a dangerous, disruptive, distraction from their goal of being "one with the force." After all, a dark-sider seeks to dominate and gain power by bending the force to their will, which is anything but a contemplative self-surrender allowing one to become "one with the force." Many mystics might choose to focus on "soft-power" applications of the force like foresee, seek, sense, and prophecy.
  17. i did enjoy the exploration of the Star Wars underworld and would welcome well done movies that explored it further. But, there is another part of the Star Wars universe that is largely untouched: Imperial Society. Insiders. Not out on the fringes, not in the underworld, not at rebel outposts, etc. Not on a dirty dystopian backwater. There is room for a great Star Wars espionage thriller to unfold among the rich and powerful and the Imperial muckety-mucks. And, it could easily cross-over with the Black Sun or more Crimson Dawn. Exploring that Nexus could be interesting, as well. Introducing Prince Xixor as a principal villian with some Palpy / Vader / Maul support could work, for instance.
  18. I wouldn't even begin to try to extrapolate economic or logistical "facts" from the film. The writers clearly didn't put much thought into to it and the scant data points we were given don't provide anything close to a complete picture and weren't necessarily consistent with one another. Maybe they were, but we don't have enough information to determine that, either. We are the blind man fondling the elephant and left wondering "what is this?" Based on the film, we only have a very general conceptual framework to work with any any internally coherent / reasonably considered theory you want apply at your gaming table will suit.
  19. Thanks. In terms of end-points and final scenes (e.g. "the denoument") I usually have a basic idea of where the high-level plot will go and a few ideas for memorable scenes, but I don't get too specific with the details because how we get there is often a whiplash inducing rollercoaster ride that lays wreck to all but the most general of plans. One of my players (and very dear friends) has been gaming with me for twenty-six years now, so he's on to most of my secrets. He once observed, "We're the ball in your giant ping-pong ball machine, aren't we?" He pretty much nailed it.
  20. That's what a large supply of rainbow colored hair chalk is for.
  21. Of course, you also have different kinds of tanks. You have your main battle tank, your armored recovery vehicle, your armored fighting vehicle, your armored personnel carrier, your armored bridge layer, your flame-thrower tank, your tracked anti-aircraft gun, your amphibeous tank, as well as specially equipped tanks for sweeping or laying mines. I would propse, just as you can kit out a real world warfighting tank for different applications, so too you can kit out a tough-armored warrior in roleplaying games for different applications. Ergo, different kinds of "tanks." A war over balkanized pedantic nomenclature overlooks the fact that there are variations on the general theme. This is sometimes referred to as not being able to see the forrest due to an intensive focus on a single tree.
  22. Gaming is a cooperative group experience that has an implicit social contract embedded in it. For that contract to remain healthy you have to communicate, communicate, communicate. Not just gamemaster to player communication, but player to player communication. A session zero in which the group sets their expectations for the characters, game, and participant conduct is an excellent start for communication. Most players I've encountered have understood from the outset that undermining, let alone attacking, other player's characters violates the social contract and ruins the fun. The only exception would be if it had been discussed and agreed upon prior to play. I have found most friction can be dealt with by hashing things out after a session, or if things get heated by taking a break mid-session and saying "alright folks, let's talk this out." Often a screw-up wasn't intentional or a product of bad faith. In those cases, communication and a little gentle counseling usually sorts it out. However, there are oppositional players out there who are "bad actors" and enjoy being a disruptive presence in a game. Those people I show the door. Life is too short.
  23. Others have addressed the issue of transponder codes, false registrations, etc. I will simply say its a big galaxy, even the Empire can't be everywhere at once, and most law enforcement will be local, planetary, or at most sector-wide. Insofar as the sale happens 1) away from a major Imperial world, and 2) in a different system / sector you will probably be able to find an unscrupulous buyer. If you have dealt with the transponder and registry issues, then you should also be able to demand a fair price. As a result, unless the wronged party is so furious that they hire bounty-hunters it would be easy for a stolen ship to disappear and never be seen again. On the other hand, players who do this a lot should feel some heat for stealing ships every so often (not all the time). That can make for a great plot hook: Finding an unexpected cargo in the hold of a crappy stolen freighter that clearly belongs to some very unsavory and scary people. Alternatively, finding the cargo was humanitarian supplies like medicines or food for some impoverished suffering world. Ending up with a stow-away with some dangerous people in hot pursuit (presuming the players won't space them). Stealing the luxury ship of a wealthy noble with some highly placed imperial or criminal contacts who wants to punish them. Have the ISB take notice of them because they unwittingly sold the ship to rebel operatives and assume they are also rebels or use them to find said rebels at a future sale. By that token, unwittingly stealing a ship being used by an undercover ISB unit or... an Inquisitor.
  24. One of the best antidotes for breaking out of a "slog" or a infusing some life into a boring session comes from the hard-boiled pulps: Ergo, if you plot is flagging or you find yourself stuck, do something dramatic, shake things up, and give the players something they must react to right them and there. Insofar as its not too crazy you can always retcon a rationale or do something down the road that will make it appear more sensible. Your players will often rationalize it for you themselves. My players often rave about my intricate plots and brilliant twists, but the truth is I'm usually running games by the seat of my pants, retconning my plots along with the players reactions, and inserting unplanned crazy-rumped-shenangigans to keep things interesting. "Oh, I see you've copped to my master plan you clever players, you!" Those stories he wishes were better were the ones starring iconic hardboiled private eye Phillip Marlowe and are regarded as classics of the genre and were highly regarded and beloved in their day. Many of the sessions I wish had been better, and in which I made a radical (only semi-logical) course corrections mid-stream in, are among those my players find most memorable. I've found this to go hand in hand with "have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand." Keep doublng-down on your players and ramping up the stakes and problems until the final denoumant / big boss brawl / epic showdown / final dance fight / lovers quarrel ala Mr. and Mrs. Smith, etc. Just make sure there really is light at the end of that long dark tunnel.
  25. Prima Faci this sounds like a neat idea, but game-masters often just leave the entire scenario enigmatic and provide very little useful description. In real life we are observers in our situations. We pick up snippets and cues. We keep track of time and patterns. We put things together. As a result, a game-master going to take this stance they are going to have to provide hints and tidbits that the players can put things together with. If the GM has an idea about how the characters are to escape, the players need some reasonable clues to figure it out with. Or, if the GM is going to sit back and wait for them to ask questions and build their own plan, he needs to have some useful answers. Far too often there is no information or a sneering "why would I tell you that?" look on the GMs face. I write this as someone who has been in exasperating and disheartening sessions with otherwise good GMs who failed miserably and made this kind of situation extremely unfun. What could go wrong, right? Before starting a fight and breaking out of a cell on a star destroyer it might be good to have some idea of where to go and how to get off once you've done it...
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