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Natsymir

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  1. Like
    Natsymir got a reaction from TheJokerOfSocal in NPC Creation   
    I don't analyze power levels to the point where I'd ever actually count and compare XP, but I do tailor my NPCs to be interesting encounters for the PCs. This often means that, in areas where the PCs are clearly very strong, the NPCs often have to be, too, whereas in areas where the PCs aren't that great, I try not to make the NPCs too superior.

    For example, one PC in my group has very high soak. I quickly discovered that in many fights, this made him nearly impervious to damage. This became especially apparent during a prison stint, where all his opponents had were makeshift weapons fashioned from toothbrushes and the like. So if I want a particular combat encounter for this PC to be challenging, I need to make sure that the enemies can damage him. For this purpose, I've constructed 'elite' minions with very high Brawn scores, good weapons and/or talents like Feral Strength, and rivals with good weapons like heavy blaster rifles, piercing close combat weapons or upgraded pistols.

    On the other hand, none of the PCs have good Presence. So when they recently had to try and talk their way out of being drowned in a chocolate fountain by a hedonistic Hutt, I elected not to use the extremely overpowered Hutt profile from the Edge of the Empire Core Book, but rather used the more balanced stats for the Hutt from Jewel of Yavin, which was still a formidable challenge for my PCs.
    For characters allied to the PCs, I try to make sure that they don't commonly overshadow the PCs in any of the areas that it's apparent that the players wanted their character to be the best at. So for example, I introduced an NPC with all-round stats that can help the mechanic PC out a bit, but is nowhere near her level when it comes to Mechanics - on the other hand, the same NPC is the best in the gang at Charm and Computers, but that's fine for none of the PCs ever bought a single rank in those skills. This rule is not absolute - there's an old Duros con artist that's by far superior to the PC con artist in that particular area, but she's a minor character that doesn't stick around. And the PC con artist has a very diverse build.

    The allied NPCs often have Talents and Abilities that the players appreciate as they help them too. For example, the shady Twi'lek Porimer is much more socially savvy than the PCs, so he got a custom ability that reflects that, yet allows the players to make the roll, should they so desire: " Wingman 1: When Porimer assists on a Charm or Negotiation check, add 1 extra boost die. "

    I occasionally run big combats with the PCs and several allied NPCs against a large group of foes. Therefore, I make sure to streamline the NPCs so that their rules aren't too complicated. They do get talents, but mainly easy-to-remember ones that doesn't demand a lot of micromanagement. Things that just removes setback dice are rare, for example, whereas direct boosts to damage or soak are much more easily handled. However, I might give an NPC a more complicated talent if it really feels important to their concept.

    I never ever give NPCs reroll abilities, like all the 'Natural <something>' talents. They are time-consuming, rather unnecessary and occasionally frustrating for the players, and would be rather overpowered as well as their common limit is once per session, and extremely few NPCs ever roll a particular skill check (outside of combat) more than once per session, thus making that limitation meaningless.

    I like to give enemies abilities that cost destiny points to use, because the players always feel better about something bad happening to their characters if I flip a destiny point at the same time. The Executioner's talent Deathblow is a great example of this, as it adds damage at the cost of a destiny point. I once had a horde of enemy droids that could self-destruct and hurt anyone engaged with them, but each time they chose to self-destruct, it flipped a destiny point from dark to light.

     
  2. Like
    Natsymir got a reaction from GM_loke in When and where is your campaign set?   
    When is it set: My campaign is set at a somewhat vague point in time, a few years before A New Hope. I wanted to keep it a bit vague so I could, if necessary, take some liberties with the wide-ranging scope of the story while trying not to contradict canon. (I don't really care about canon, I'll break it without hesitation if I feel it serves the story better, but for now I see it as an interesting challenge to fit my story within it if I can).

    What inspired it: It's mainly inspired by lots of browsing of all the nice Star Wars lore on Wookiepedia, but there's a bit of Babylon 5 (especially the vorlons and shadows) and Mass Effect (especially the interesting planet design and dark humor) in it as well. My university studies in islam, jainism and buddhism may have influenced how I portray the Jedi and other force traditions. I'm probably subconsciously influenced by all the high drama and nuanced villains from a lot of manga and anime, too.

    Summary in one sentence: The player characters are force-sensitive adventurers who, after encountering the fallen jedi master Ilum on the forgotten planet Tython, are now on the run from both her and the Empire, but will be forced to take desperate action as Ilum's twisted desire to destroy the Sith makes her more and more dangerous for the galaxy.

    Why it is unusual or unique: The campaign has a complicated and consequence-heavy "fish tank" structure*.  Ilum and her followers, as well as various imperial factions and other random groups are all the time doing things in the background, while the PCs are just trying to avoid capture, deal with the fallout from their latest defeat, and thwarth Ilum and the Empire in whatever desperate ways they can. This means that the campaign essentially have two major groups of villains (Ilum and the Empire) that are also mortal enemies to each other, and a challenge for me as a GM is to make sure that the PC's can't just sit the whole thing out and let Ilum and the Empire destroy each other. As time progresses in the game, no matter what side plot the PCs occupy themselves with,  Ilum and the Empire will advance their different agendas (the machinations of these villains are sometimes shown through short cutscenes, too), which functionally sets a clock on the game. So the PCs must be goaded into action against one faction or the other, and eventually led to a climactic confrontation with at least one of them (preferably more), but I have plenty of tools to work with there.


    *A Fish Tank, in RPG theory, is a character-driven story structure where drama is generated through ambitions and relations between characters. Good examples of this structure are a lot of HBO dramas like Deadwood and Game of Thrones. In a fish tank, the actions taken by one actor (for example, the player characters in an RPG) naturally generates a counter-action from other actors, which drives the story forward.
  3. Like
    Natsymir reacted to panpolyqueergeek in The art of adding setback dice to crafting and modding checks   
    Someone "borrowed" the hydrospanner from the workshop to fix the refresher, and didn't return it. You eventually find it after checking all the usual spots and asking around, but that took extra time and now you're a bit grumpy about it (1 setback).
  4. Like
    Natsymir reacted to LordBritish in The art of adding setback dice to crafting and modding checks   
    Some more simple setback avenues
    1) This is the first time a character has created an item of this type. (Unfamiliarity should add some setback dice depending on the complexity of the action. A guy who crafts guns for example mightn't be immediately familiar with armour, cybernetics or gene therapy.)
    2) Cramped vessel quality. If a vessel is over it's passenger capacity/has unfamiliar crew, I would probably add at least one setback that escalates for every X amount of extra persons. This can be handled by being mindful of the passanger capacity
    3) Any lingering wounds? 1 setback dice.
    4) Having certain crits may have a lasting impact on the dice pool. I wouldn't usually go aboard with this one.
    5) Excessive damage to work place? Setback.
    6) Lots of unfamilar faces and incessant questioning? Probably a couple. I would only save those for NPC's that by default, are very annoying.

    I mean I could be at it all day about what would generate setback. Just usually I would make any avenues of setback generated fairly obvious things that can either be addressed or tolerated, rather then sprung on the player.
  5. Like
    Natsymir got a reaction from Richardbuxton in The art of adding setback dice to crafting and modding checks   
    The rules for crafting and modding tends to frustrate me a bit, which gives me a bit of bad conscience  as one of the players has really invested in his character being good at that. Of course, I want him to feel that his character can build really awesome stuff, but sometimes the rules make it a bit too easy.

    One problem is that crafting and modding, unlike almost every other aspect of the rules system, makes it sooo hard for the GM to give setback dice, while PCs can easily accumulate ridiculous amounts of boost dice for those checks - meaning they never roll threats, further ensuring that the GM never has an excuse to add setback dice or upgrade difficulties. Whether you agree with me or not that crafting feels to easy sometimes (that's not the topic of this thread), I'd like some advice on how to motivate more setback dice and/or difficulty upgrades in checks to build or modify equipment and attachments while the PC is still working in the comfortable environment of a workshop (on a ship). So basically, hit me with any idea you can come up with! Here are some that I have, but I need more:
    The lighting is bad somehow. The character making the check has unhealed wounds or crits. Someone in the ship has been rearranging stuff in the workshop. Someone in the ship is making noise or otherwise causing distractions. Hyperspace turbulence O_O The parts that the character bought are sub-par somehow. The workshop has gotten too cramped (this could be used as a time-sink, if nothing else - after a couple of projects, you need to spend a few hours cleaning the workshop or you get setback dice) The character has made many crafting/modding checks in succession during the ongoing downtime, and needs to roll Discipline if she wants to maintain her focus (i.e, not get setback dice. Also good because the Discipline skill can sometimes feel a bit lackluster if you're not a Force user).

     
  6. Thanks
    Natsymir got a reaction from Absol197 in The art of adding setback dice to crafting and modding checks   
    The rules for crafting and modding tends to frustrate me a bit, which gives me a bit of bad conscience  as one of the players has really invested in his character being good at that. Of course, I want him to feel that his character can build really awesome stuff, but sometimes the rules make it a bit too easy.

    One problem is that crafting and modding, unlike almost every other aspect of the rules system, makes it sooo hard for the GM to give setback dice, while PCs can easily accumulate ridiculous amounts of boost dice for those checks - meaning they never roll threats, further ensuring that the GM never has an excuse to add setback dice or upgrade difficulties. Whether you agree with me or not that crafting feels to easy sometimes (that's not the topic of this thread), I'd like some advice on how to motivate more setback dice and/or difficulty upgrades in checks to build or modify equipment and attachments while the PC is still working in the comfortable environment of a workshop (on a ship). So basically, hit me with any idea you can come up with! Here are some that I have, but I need more:
    The lighting is bad somehow. The character making the check has unhealed wounds or crits. Someone in the ship has been rearranging stuff in the workshop. Someone in the ship is making noise or otherwise causing distractions. Hyperspace turbulence O_O The parts that the character bought are sub-par somehow. The workshop has gotten too cramped (this could be used as a time-sink, if nothing else - after a couple of projects, you need to spend a few hours cleaning the workshop or you get setback dice) The character has made many crafting/modding checks in succession during the ongoing downtime, and needs to roll Discipline if she wants to maintain her focus (i.e, not get setback dice. Also good because the Discipline skill can sometimes feel a bit lackluster if you're not a Force user).

     
  7. Like
    Natsymir got a reaction from Vestij Jai Galaar in Player Disputes on First Game   
    Player agency is a very complicated issue, with a long history in RPG theory circles. The overwhelming consensus is that, like many in this thread have said, player agency is very important, meaning - be very cautious about forcing player characters to do things against the player's will.

    Unfortunately, Star Wars, while having many innovative mechanics, is a bit old school when it comes to social skill checks, in that it lacks a good mechanic for how social skills relate to player agency. The problem is excarbated by the fact that social skills are valued as much as other powers in Star Wars, so if we do -not- allow social skills against player characters at all, we hurt the balance in the system.

    There are several ways to approach this, that you as a GM might consider. Several of these can be combined:

    - Social skills can never be rolled against player characters. The drawback with this is that social skills become almost worthless for NPCs.

    - Social skills can be rolled against player characters, but only if the player is okay with it.
    - Some systems, like the swedish game Eon, have clever opt-out mechanics. in Eon, if your character is targeted by a successful social check, you can refuse to accept the result, but the character who used the social check against you get to choose consequenses that happen to your character instead (for example, your character's core motivations might be changed for a time). This means that players have the comfort of being able to never be forced to do something, yet always considers carefully if they couldn't accept the result after all, for the story's sake. Star Wars doesn't have many such consequenses to play with, but strain or setback dice to future rolls could work.

    - Social skill checks are modified by how strongly the targeted character is opposed to what the check is intended to accomplish. I use this all the time; if an NPC is vehemently opposed to being talked into whatever, for example, I give the PCs several setback dice in trying to convince him.

    - Some types of social skill checks are rolled more often than others. Negotiation about the price of something, for example, never gets too personal, whereas someone trying to seduce a character using the Charm skill often might.


    In swedish RPG circles there's a slogan that I'd roughly translate to "be brave and vulnerable". It means that you should try to go outside your comfort zone every now and then, and expose your character to adversity, humiliation, and dramatic change when it serves the story or gives other player characters a moment to shine.




     
  8. Like
    Natsymir got a reaction from GM_loke in Player Disputes on First Game   
    Player agency is a very complicated issue, with a long history in RPG theory circles. The overwhelming consensus is that, like many in this thread have said, player agency is very important, meaning - be very cautious about forcing player characters to do things against the player's will.

    Unfortunately, Star Wars, while having many innovative mechanics, is a bit old school when it comes to social skill checks, in that it lacks a good mechanic for how social skills relate to player agency. The problem is excarbated by the fact that social skills are valued as much as other powers in Star Wars, so if we do -not- allow social skills against player characters at all, we hurt the balance in the system.

    There are several ways to approach this, that you as a GM might consider. Several of these can be combined:

    - Social skills can never be rolled against player characters. The drawback with this is that social skills become almost worthless for NPCs.

    - Social skills can be rolled against player characters, but only if the player is okay with it.
    - Some systems, like the swedish game Eon, have clever opt-out mechanics. in Eon, if your character is targeted by a successful social check, you can refuse to accept the result, but the character who used the social check against you get to choose consequenses that happen to your character instead (for example, your character's core motivations might be changed for a time). This means that players have the comfort of being able to never be forced to do something, yet always considers carefully if they couldn't accept the result after all, for the story's sake. Star Wars doesn't have many such consequenses to play with, but strain or setback dice to future rolls could work.

    - Social skill checks are modified by how strongly the targeted character is opposed to what the check is intended to accomplish. I use this all the time; if an NPC is vehemently opposed to being talked into whatever, for example, I give the PCs several setback dice in trying to convince him.

    - Some types of social skill checks are rolled more often than others. Negotiation about the price of something, for example, never gets too personal, whereas someone trying to seduce a character using the Charm skill often might.


    In swedish RPG circles there's a slogan that I'd roughly translate to "be brave and vulnerable". It means that you should try to go outside your comfort zone every now and then, and expose your character to adversity, humiliation, and dramatic change when it serves the story or gives other player characters a moment to shine.




     
  9. Like
    Natsymir reacted to hikari_dourden in Morality for Antiheroic/Villainous PCs   
    Anger and violence pay their toll. If he is already Morality 0... well, I know this is off topic and I am only answering your reply, but I think I know how to contribute with an idea to help you to make his Morality 0 something scary: be a voice in his head, the voice of his own and enormous ego tyrannizing him, a voice that tells him how soft are their friends, that they don't have the commitment to do certain things, that they are ungrateful for all the things he has done. How is that they cannot see his good intentions? How is that they don't see that all those thugs deserved to be slaughtered? And why this child he has saved looks at him so terrified? Ungrateful brat...
    Throw him a battery of really nasty thoughts he has to control, and tempt him with a reward for following this voice. In fact, this happens in real life when our own levels of stress, anger and anxiety floods and a bombardment of thoughts begin to attack and we grab our head trying to shut them up.
    Remember Anakin squeezing Padme's throat, accusing her of treason. She was her loved one, and she was pregnant. But something in his head told him "she betrayed you, she deserves a punishment..."
    Again, I write this only with the intention to help to make this Morality 0 feel more dark and dense.
     
     
  10. Like
    Natsymir got a reaction from penpenpen in NPC Creation   
    I don't analyze power levels to the point where I'd ever actually count and compare XP, but I do tailor my NPCs to be interesting encounters for the PCs. This often means that, in areas where the PCs are clearly very strong, the NPCs often have to be, too, whereas in areas where the PCs aren't that great, I try not to make the NPCs too superior.

    For example, one PC in my group has very high soak. I quickly discovered that in many fights, this made him nearly impervious to damage. This became especially apparent during a prison stint, where all his opponents had were makeshift weapons fashioned from toothbrushes and the like. So if I want a particular combat encounter for this PC to be challenging, I need to make sure that the enemies can damage him. For this purpose, I've constructed 'elite' minions with very high Brawn scores, good weapons and/or talents like Feral Strength, and rivals with good weapons like heavy blaster rifles, piercing close combat weapons or upgraded pistols.

    On the other hand, none of the PCs have good Presence. So when they recently had to try and talk their way out of being drowned in a chocolate fountain by a hedonistic Hutt, I elected not to use the extremely overpowered Hutt profile from the Edge of the Empire Core Book, but rather used the more balanced stats for the Hutt from Jewel of Yavin, which was still a formidable challenge for my PCs.
    For characters allied to the PCs, I try to make sure that they don't commonly overshadow the PCs in any of the areas that it's apparent that the players wanted their character to be the best at. So for example, I introduced an NPC with all-round stats that can help the mechanic PC out a bit, but is nowhere near her level when it comes to Mechanics - on the other hand, the same NPC is the best in the gang at Charm and Computers, but that's fine for none of the PCs ever bought a single rank in those skills. This rule is not absolute - there's an old Duros con artist that's by far superior to the PC con artist in that particular area, but she's a minor character that doesn't stick around. And the PC con artist has a very diverse build.

    The allied NPCs often have Talents and Abilities that the players appreciate as they help them too. For example, the shady Twi'lek Porimer is much more socially savvy than the PCs, so he got a custom ability that reflects that, yet allows the players to make the roll, should they so desire: " Wingman 1: When Porimer assists on a Charm or Negotiation check, add 1 extra boost die. "

    I occasionally run big combats with the PCs and several allied NPCs against a large group of foes. Therefore, I make sure to streamline the NPCs so that their rules aren't too complicated. They do get talents, but mainly easy-to-remember ones that doesn't demand a lot of micromanagement. Things that just removes setback dice are rare, for example, whereas direct boosts to damage or soak are much more easily handled. However, I might give an NPC a more complicated talent if it really feels important to their concept.

    I never ever give NPCs reroll abilities, like all the 'Natural <something>' talents. They are time-consuming, rather unnecessary and occasionally frustrating for the players, and would be rather overpowered as well as their common limit is once per session, and extremely few NPCs ever roll a particular skill check (outside of combat) more than once per session, thus making that limitation meaningless.

    I like to give enemies abilities that cost destiny points to use, because the players always feel better about something bad happening to their characters if I flip a destiny point at the same time. The Executioner's talent Deathblow is a great example of this, as it adds damage at the cost of a destiny point. I once had a horde of enemy droids that could self-destruct and hurt anyone engaged with them, but each time they chose to self-destruct, it flipped a destiny point from dark to light.

     
  11. Like
    Natsymir reacted to LordBritish in Force Entity (Spoiler: My Players)   
    What about a force senstive Hutt spirit? The only thing greedier then a Hutt; is a vindictive spirit that has been around for centuries. 
  12. Like
    Natsymir reacted to KungFuFerret in Force Entity (Spoiler: My Players)   
    Whatever you want it to be really.   My personal preference usually goes to "evil sith force ghost", because I just like those, but that's personal preference, and nothing more.

     
     
    Again, whatever you want, and this really depends on what you choose for the above question of what is it.  A sith ghost would likely have a different agenda than some dark force animal or other naturally occurring vergence.    

    If you are going for something that is/was sentient, I'd probably stick with some of the more classic agendas, of either an angry spirit who was betrayed/abandoned/etc and now seeks to lash out at any that remind it of what it once was/had.   If it's a Sith spirit, you can add the extra layer of it's hatred for the Jedi, and any Light siders, thus why it tries to lure them to it to kill them.   

     
     
    Sure why not?  All of those sound like good things for it to do, and allow for some fun scenes.   If it's in a deep, dark lair, you can have it ambush them with beings that hit and run from the shadows, moving through range bands to attack, and then back out in ways that the party might have difficulty following.  Small holes that only sleek, Sil 0 animals could move through, but easy for them to slash out with a claw, cause a few wounds, and then vanish for an ambush again later.    

    Use of dark side powers to cloud their minds, make them see illusory terrain, and walk into traps,  make them relive their worst memories to slowly wear down their strain threshold with fear and anxiety (btw, you should definitely have the party make a Fear check for this kind of stuff).  

    All of that would be good, and fitting.  You sound like you've got a good list of options already, you just really need to choose one and run with it.
  13. Like
    Natsymir got a reaction from penpenpen in Player Disputes on First Game   
    Player agency is a very complicated issue, with a long history in RPG theory circles. The overwhelming consensus is that, like many in this thread have said, player agency is very important, meaning - be very cautious about forcing player characters to do things against the player's will.

    Unfortunately, Star Wars, while having many innovative mechanics, is a bit old school when it comes to social skill checks, in that it lacks a good mechanic for how social skills relate to player agency. The problem is excarbated by the fact that social skills are valued as much as other powers in Star Wars, so if we do -not- allow social skills against player characters at all, we hurt the balance in the system.

    There are several ways to approach this, that you as a GM might consider. Several of these can be combined:

    - Social skills can never be rolled against player characters. The drawback with this is that social skills become almost worthless for NPCs.

    - Social skills can be rolled against player characters, but only if the player is okay with it.
    - Some systems, like the swedish game Eon, have clever opt-out mechanics. in Eon, if your character is targeted by a successful social check, you can refuse to accept the result, but the character who used the social check against you get to choose consequenses that happen to your character instead (for example, your character's core motivations might be changed for a time). This means that players have the comfort of being able to never be forced to do something, yet always considers carefully if they couldn't accept the result after all, for the story's sake. Star Wars doesn't have many such consequenses to play with, but strain or setback dice to future rolls could work.

    - Social skill checks are modified by how strongly the targeted character is opposed to what the check is intended to accomplish. I use this all the time; if an NPC is vehemently opposed to being talked into whatever, for example, I give the PCs several setback dice in trying to convince him.

    - Some types of social skill checks are rolled more often than others. Negotiation about the price of something, for example, never gets too personal, whereas someone trying to seduce a character using the Charm skill often might.


    In swedish RPG circles there's a slogan that I'd roughly translate to "be brave and vulnerable". It means that you should try to go outside your comfort zone every now and then, and expose your character to adversity, humiliation, and dramatic change when it serves the story or gives other player characters a moment to shine.




     
  14. Like
    Natsymir got a reaction from penpenpen in Knowledge - Core Worlds vs Knowledge Outer Rim   
    I often use Knowledge (Core Worlds) partially as a skill about being cultured, which is something I otherwise find a bit missing in the rules system. If someone wants to know things about dresscodes, fine dining, expensive or otherwise 'fine' goods, or even gravball teams, it's a Core Worlds check.
  15. Like
    Natsymir got a reaction from kaosoe in Playing a Female as a male   
    I always modulate my voice when I portray different characters. Women especially - then I soften my voice, to a degree depending on the character's personality.  It feels so extremely natural for me to do it, I don't even realize I'm doing it most of the time. It seems to me like most guys I've ever played with here in Sweden (and that's a looot of people) do the same, however,  most groups I've played with are probably quite far to the theatrical side of things.

    To each his own, of course. But if anyone wants an example, you can hear me do it a lot in this english-speaking actual play podcast (at 45:50, for example), of the upcoming swedish game Neotech. (I'm the GM). In this example, I portray an AI who has a very sweet female voice.

     
  16. Like
    Natsymir got a reaction from SirSaiCo in Playing a Female as a male   
    I always modulate my voice when I portray different characters. Women especially - then I soften my voice, to a degree depending on the character's personality.  It feels so extremely natural for me to do it, I don't even realize I'm doing it most of the time. It seems to me like most guys I've ever played with here in Sweden (and that's a looot of people) do the same, however,  most groups I've played with are probably quite far to the theatrical side of things.

    To each his own, of course. But if anyone wants an example, you can hear me do it a lot in this english-speaking actual play podcast (at 45:50, for example), of the upcoming swedish game Neotech. (I'm the GM). In this example, I portray an AI who has a very sweet female voice.

     
  17. Like
    Natsymir got a reaction from AceSolo5 in Cities with Unique Environments   
    I love Nar Shaddaa, and made an effort to employ it to the fullest in my campaign, and really do it justice. I made it unique by playing up how seedy, chaotic and shabby it is, to a level where some might think that it's too rauncy for Star Wars (obviously, I don't). I used all my experience of having lived in a shabby yet gargantuan city in one of China's poorest provinces to color the descriptions with chaos and bisarre random background events. 

    On my campaign wiki, I give all planets a slightly tongue-in-cheeck list of potential hazards and dangers, to serve as inspiration for stuff that may happen there. The list for Nar Shaddaa goes like this:
     
    I also prepared a list of fitting names for dive bars, shabby cantinas, casinos, strip clubs etc, because I knew I was gonna need it. Names I've used thus far includes Swallow, The Crazy Couch, The Corellian Cabaret, The Explorer's Club, The Dive.

    Some of the many other things I've done to create the feeling of a gritty ecumenopolis:
    - Many combat encounters have an automatic setback dice on all initiative and ranged checks to represent the chaos of fleeing bystanders, moving speeders, smoke, debris, etc.
    - All checks to navigate or drive around on Nar Shaddaa gets a setback dice due to the sheer chaos.
    - Many combats in the lower levels gets setback dice due to darkness.
    - Due to the hyper-urban environment, there's always, always cover available in combat.  Some cover, like street stalls, might easily be blown up by a couple of advantages though.
    -- There's also almost always bystanders that'll react to the combat. In some cases, the Hutts' security guards might not be far away.
    - I make a lot of use of the advantage/threat-table for Urban Encounters and the similar table from the modular encounters in Lords of Nal Hutta.
    - I always describe briefly what happens in the background when the PCs does something, for example by letting bystanders react in some way.
    -- I also emphasize the 'rythm' of the city in this way; the bystanders behave differently depending on the hour. If the PCs take a train in the late hours of the night, for example, the background NPCs seem tired and worn after long nights of working or partying, if it's in the prime hours of the night the streets are bustling with clubgoers, entertainment workers and tourists, etc. In the early morning, the city is rather sleepy as Nar Shaddaa is all about nightlife and decadence. For the most part, of course, I portray this cycle as relative, and not connected to the actual day/night-cycle, as the days and nights on Nar Shaddaa are bizarrely long, but in the decadent Hutt Shardal's party-crazed court, I implied that they'd been partying for the whole 30+ hours long night.
    --- Various shady characters approaches the PCs in various ways. The would-be-jedi who just look too goody two-shoes seem to be a magnet for beggar children, the ominous-yet-handsome zabrak gets solicited by prostitutes, the shady trandoshan gets deals on off-brand chronometers and cheap drugs, etc.

    - I emphasize that the city is very vertical by letting despairs and triumps lead to people tumbling down to lower levels. That's how one PC got stuck trying to survive in a bizarre underworld of collapsed megastructures, bioluminescent plants and techno-primitive marauding gangs for two whole sessions.
    -- I also encourage player to use the verticality by giving a boost dice to checks to climb, run or jump, as Nar Shaddaa has somewhat low gravity.
    --- That underworld, the Darklands, is very thematically interesting, as it emphasizes that Nar Shaddaa, like other ecumenopolises in Star Wars, is ancient beyond our imagination. I try to fill the Undercity and especially the Darklands with hints of that antiquity, portraying it as a weird, almost unearthly, place where withered buildings from ages long past have crumbled together to create bizarre cave rooms and gargantuan dark spaces, mazes of overgrown structures, ancient cabling, crumbling refueling spires, broken concrete and the rusty remains of vehicles that only an archaeologist could recognize.
     
    - I use chase scenes. They're a pure delight to run in a derelict urban environment as there's just soo many cool things you can throw in. For example, the trandoshan crook in my group tried to swindle a Hutt who ran a huge, rundown and mazelike apartment complex similar to the old Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong. It became an awesome chase scene, where the trandoshan first had to find his way out of the mansion, then escape across the rooftops, followed by a horde of the Hutt's dug henchmen. He jumped between balconies, and tried to get rid of the dugs by cutting down a rope bridge - unfortunately, he fell too, but landed in a scrap heap and hitchhiked with another Hutt who drove a garbage collecting speeder. He got off where another player character was, but the swindled Hutt then appeared with three lavishly decorated speeder buses, and the chase continued as a vehicle chase. This chase eventually ended when one of the buses blocked a narrow ally, and transformed into a combat encounter. But the PCs managed to escape in their landspeeder when a bunch of Gamorrean freelance police intervened.

    - If I can, I end sessions when a PC is falling from a great height. This is the best of all cliffhangers. In my city's RPG theory discussion group, it's become a running gag to start a session with "You're falling. What do you do?", as it's actually a great way so start an RPG session, immediately unleashing a flood of creativity from the player(s).

    This last quote is kinda long. It's how I chose to describe Nar Shaddaa on my wiki. It's my own take on the wookiepedia article, so to speak, but I think it might give some more ideas about how to describe a shabby urban environment:
     






     
  18. Like
    Natsymir got a reaction from DanteRotterdam in What do you still miss or want (species, spacecraft, classes...)   
    Given how much Herglics have figured in the game books, it's kinda bizarre that there's still no rules for them.

     
  19. Thanks
    Natsymir got a reaction from SavageBob in Player Disputes on First Game   
    Player agency is a very complicated issue, with a long history in RPG theory circles. The overwhelming consensus is that, like many in this thread have said, player agency is very important, meaning - be very cautious about forcing player characters to do things against the player's will.

    Unfortunately, Star Wars, while having many innovative mechanics, is a bit old school when it comes to social skill checks, in that it lacks a good mechanic for how social skills relate to player agency. The problem is excarbated by the fact that social skills are valued as much as other powers in Star Wars, so if we do -not- allow social skills against player characters at all, we hurt the balance in the system.

    There are several ways to approach this, that you as a GM might consider. Several of these can be combined:

    - Social skills can never be rolled against player characters. The drawback with this is that social skills become almost worthless for NPCs.

    - Social skills can be rolled against player characters, but only if the player is okay with it.
    - Some systems, like the swedish game Eon, have clever opt-out mechanics. in Eon, if your character is targeted by a successful social check, you can refuse to accept the result, but the character who used the social check against you get to choose consequenses that happen to your character instead (for example, your character's core motivations might be changed for a time). This means that players have the comfort of being able to never be forced to do something, yet always considers carefully if they couldn't accept the result after all, for the story's sake. Star Wars doesn't have many such consequenses to play with, but strain or setback dice to future rolls could work.

    - Social skill checks are modified by how strongly the targeted character is opposed to what the check is intended to accomplish. I use this all the time; if an NPC is vehemently opposed to being talked into whatever, for example, I give the PCs several setback dice in trying to convince him.

    - Some types of social skill checks are rolled more often than others. Negotiation about the price of something, for example, never gets too personal, whereas someone trying to seduce a character using the Charm skill often might.


    In swedish RPG circles there's a slogan that I'd roughly translate to "be brave and vulnerable". It means that you should try to go outside your comfort zone every now and then, and expose your character to adversity, humiliation, and dramatic change when it serves the story or gives other player characters a moment to shine.




     
  20. Like
    Natsymir got a reaction from penpenpen in The viability of getting by with a One attribute?   
    Seeing as a 1 in a characteristic can easily be compensated for by ranks in skills, I don't see the problem at all.

    Plus, droids basically seem designed to have several dump stats. The scaling of the xp cost for buying characteristics for PCs strongly encourages droid PCs to excel in some characteristics and be utterly awful in others; if you want a solid base statline of all 2s and a couple of 3s and perhaps a 4, droids are a very suboptimal choice.

    For example, with starting XP + 10 Xp for obligation, a Human can have the statline 3, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2 (0 XP left), or 4, 3, 2, 2, 2, 2 (20 XP left).

    Droids in general have inferior characteristic scores compared to other species. A beginner droid can't even afford 3, 3, 3, 2, 2, 2, not to mention the awesome 1, 2, 4, 4, 2, 2 that Neimoidians can have. But it can have 4, 4, 1, 1, 1, 1, with the 4s being any characteristics they desire. That's pretty cool, make it two very different characteristics like Brawn and Presence and it could be really fun to play. They could also do 5, 2, 2, 1, 1, 1., if one wants to be even more hyper-focused.

     
  21. Like
    Natsymir got a reaction from Vergence in Cities with Unique Environments   
    I love Nar Shaddaa, and made an effort to employ it to the fullest in my campaign, and really do it justice. I made it unique by playing up how seedy, chaotic and shabby it is, to a level where some might think that it's too rauncy for Star Wars (obviously, I don't). I used all my experience of having lived in a shabby yet gargantuan city in one of China's poorest provinces to color the descriptions with chaos and bisarre random background events. 

    On my campaign wiki, I give all planets a slightly tongue-in-cheeck list of potential hazards and dangers, to serve as inspiration for stuff that may happen there. The list for Nar Shaddaa goes like this:
     
    I also prepared a list of fitting names for dive bars, shabby cantinas, casinos, strip clubs etc, because I knew I was gonna need it. Names I've used thus far includes Swallow, The Crazy Couch, The Corellian Cabaret, The Explorer's Club, The Dive.

    Some of the many other things I've done to create the feeling of a gritty ecumenopolis:
    - Many combat encounters have an automatic setback dice on all initiative and ranged checks to represent the chaos of fleeing bystanders, moving speeders, smoke, debris, etc.
    - All checks to navigate or drive around on Nar Shaddaa gets a setback dice due to the sheer chaos.
    - Many combats in the lower levels gets setback dice due to darkness.
    - Due to the hyper-urban environment, there's always, always cover available in combat.  Some cover, like street stalls, might easily be blown up by a couple of advantages though.
    -- There's also almost always bystanders that'll react to the combat. In some cases, the Hutts' security guards might not be far away.
    - I make a lot of use of the advantage/threat-table for Urban Encounters and the similar table from the modular encounters in Lords of Nal Hutta.
    - I always describe briefly what happens in the background when the PCs does something, for example by letting bystanders react in some way.
    -- I also emphasize the 'rythm' of the city in this way; the bystanders behave differently depending on the hour. If the PCs take a train in the late hours of the night, for example, the background NPCs seem tired and worn after long nights of working or partying, if it's in the prime hours of the night the streets are bustling with clubgoers, entertainment workers and tourists, etc. In the early morning, the city is rather sleepy as Nar Shaddaa is all about nightlife and decadence. For the most part, of course, I portray this cycle as relative, and not connected to the actual day/night-cycle, as the days and nights on Nar Shaddaa are bizarrely long, but in the decadent Hutt Shardal's party-crazed court, I implied that they'd been partying for the whole 30+ hours long night.
    --- Various shady characters approaches the PCs in various ways. The would-be-jedi who just look too goody two-shoes seem to be a magnet for beggar children, the ominous-yet-handsome zabrak gets solicited by prostitutes, the shady trandoshan gets deals on off-brand chronometers and cheap drugs, etc.

    - I emphasize that the city is very vertical by letting despairs and triumps lead to people tumbling down to lower levels. That's how one PC got stuck trying to survive in a bizarre underworld of collapsed megastructures, bioluminescent plants and techno-primitive marauding gangs for two whole sessions.
    -- I also encourage player to use the verticality by giving a boost dice to checks to climb, run or jump, as Nar Shaddaa has somewhat low gravity.
    --- That underworld, the Darklands, is very thematically interesting, as it emphasizes that Nar Shaddaa, like other ecumenopolises in Star Wars, is ancient beyond our imagination. I try to fill the Undercity and especially the Darklands with hints of that antiquity, portraying it as a weird, almost unearthly, place where withered buildings from ages long past have crumbled together to create bizarre cave rooms and gargantuan dark spaces, mazes of overgrown structures, ancient cabling, crumbling refueling spires, broken concrete and the rusty remains of vehicles that only an archaeologist could recognize.
     
    - I use chase scenes. They're a pure delight to run in a derelict urban environment as there's just soo many cool things you can throw in. For example, the trandoshan crook in my group tried to swindle a Hutt who ran a huge, rundown and mazelike apartment complex similar to the old Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong. It became an awesome chase scene, where the trandoshan first had to find his way out of the mansion, then escape across the rooftops, followed by a horde of the Hutt's dug henchmen. He jumped between balconies, and tried to get rid of the dugs by cutting down a rope bridge - unfortunately, he fell too, but landed in a scrap heap and hitchhiked with another Hutt who drove a garbage collecting speeder. He got off where another player character was, but the swindled Hutt then appeared with three lavishly decorated speeder buses, and the chase continued as a vehicle chase. This chase eventually ended when one of the buses blocked a narrow ally, and transformed into a combat encounter. But the PCs managed to escape in their landspeeder when a bunch of Gamorrean freelance police intervened.

    - If I can, I end sessions when a PC is falling from a great height. This is the best of all cliffhangers. In my city's RPG theory discussion group, it's become a running gag to start a session with "You're falling. What do you do?", as it's actually a great way so start an RPG session, immediately unleashing a flood of creativity from the player(s).

    This last quote is kinda long. It's how I chose to describe Nar Shaddaa on my wiki. It's my own take on the wookiepedia article, so to speak, but I think it might give some more ideas about how to describe a shabby urban environment:
     






     
  22. Like
    Natsymir got a reaction from GroggyGolem in Order 66 Podcast - Questions for the Devs - Dawn of Rebellion   
    I would like to know:

    Why don't you use characteristics scores of 6 when you design NPCs? A 6 in a characteristic is relatively easy for player characters to aquire, so why doesn't NPCs ever seem to attain this value?
  23. Like
    Natsymir got a reaction from Random Bystander in Order 66 Podcast - Questions for the Devs - Dawn of Rebellion   
    I would like to know:

    Why don't you use characteristics scores of 6 when you design NPCs? A 6 in a characteristic is relatively easy for player characters to aquire, so why doesn't NPCs ever seem to attain this value?
  24. Thanks
    Natsymir got a reaction from themensch in Order 66 Podcast - Questions for the Devs - Dawn of Rebellion   
    I would like to know:

    Why don't you use characteristics scores of 6 when you design NPCs? A 6 in a characteristic is relatively easy for player characters to aquire, so why doesn't NPCs ever seem to attain this value?
  25. Like
    Natsymir reacted to jayc007 in Universal Spec: Core Worlder   
    I think you should do a split down the middle.  You have a topside core worlder and an underworld core worlder. The topside would have more... pleasant, socialite type skills and talents whereas the underworlder would be more rough and tumble... like grit and toughened and driving and coersion.
    Either that or a socialite noble tree and an underworlder tree.
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