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Aramur

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Everything posted by Aramur

  1. Yes I agree. I try to do this as much as possible. I just noticed more 'gaps' in common tasks that I'm used to from other games. More of a challenge for the game master to put together encounters that have a satisfying role for most characters. Our party has five people, two high Agility characters, both pilots, technicians, gunnery people. The other three are more Brawn or Willpower focused, with some melee, some force powers and some social stuff etc. into the mix. But no piloting, mechanical or gunnery skills to speak of and a range of 1 and 2's in the relevant abilities. In the typical roles available in space travel (and combat in particular): they (to say it bluntly) suck. With regards to social skills, there are differences, but they are small, so everyone participates. With close-quarters combat, the pilot/mechanic is a liability. A couple of stray shots from some minions that would only put perhaps just a scratch on the high-soak and defense melee people would put him down. Sometimes, when the skills and situation synergize, you have great play. But some of the more standard situations (and you see them in some published modules as well) the required mix of skills is not offered. At the start of play, the differences were there and small enough that one could stand in our take over from another PC, but as XP and skills grew and PCs become more specialized, the challenges we tackled become larger, the PCs could not longer stand in for each other. "No more, I'll hold them off for a couple of seconds while you use the stimpack on your buddy", no more "I'll just take the wheel of the speeder in this city chase while you try and patch the damage." Social encounters still feel like a group effort with everybody can pitch in, even though with varying degrees of success, but some other challenges.... nope. I have not had an effect this pronounced with some other RPGs that I have played. We are trying to 'fix' the issue by acquiring a broader set of skills, but the game mechanics seem to tell us that investing XP into non-class skills and abilities with 1's or 2's is a waste of precious resources and the way to go is to hyper-specialize.
  2. It is a valid way too look at it. It is just not the way my Trandoshan Marauder would look at it. And he definitely isn't taking anyone to court. There are more efficient ways to handle such matters. But yeah, if the mechanic sells his service as a lottery ticket, then that is what you would be buying. Can be simply part of the price negotiation. But getting an actual quote might enable you to gauge the risk better. If the tech is going to mod a 5,000 credit attachment, it serves to be more careful when negotiating prices.
  3. When searching for opposed skill check, this thread came up first: In it you indeed explain how you handle social rolls, which seems to closely mirror my approach.
  4. Yes, if you consider the dice as leading the narrative instead of a tool to assist the narrative, then your position is sound and valid. I see game mechanics more as a tool to enhance narration rather then it actually creating the narration, but I your interpretation is a sensible one. For me, I could run the same story with the same characters in different game systems, and they outcomes should not differ too much because of the mechanics used. In your case, results would be likely much more different. I honestly didn't imagine there were people who rolled social checks first and then played the encounter, but it is a valid interpretation of the rules and the way you handle fear checks makes total sense from that angle. I hope you understand that from my style of play, it feels odd. In combat we play like: PC: 'I try to dive between the creature's legs, come up behind him and slash him with my vibroaxe" GM: The mechanics of that action is to roll X and use resource Y. PC: Rolls. Success with 2 advantage. GM: "You dive between its legs, come up on the other side and" (what do you want to do with your advantage..) "hit it driving it towards your friends so they have a better angle for their shots". So it start with narration, the narration determines if there is a challenge point that requires a roll and the mechanics are consulted. The outcome of the mechanics are used in further narration.
  5. In your game charming, deception and coercion is determined by rolls only? Wow, then you have a really odd game. In my game most of these things happen because of role-play, not because of roll-play. But I don't think your game works like that. I think most of your narrative is determined by what PCs and NPCs say, and not what roll they make. And you probably only initiate rolls on important decision points. Because now you sound like you roll for Charm or Coercion before the actual conversation, and then tell your PCs how to respond. I believe you start the conversation first and let any rolls flow from how the narrative develops and have those roles inform rather than determine how the narrative continues. And please do not misrepresent my position by saying such things as 'you have removed social skills from the game', just because I let opposed skill rolls initiated by NPCs inform and not dictate the narrative. Such qualifications don't help clarify your point (which is a valid one).
  6. I think you are now misreprenting my position, By a lot. 1. Actively using social skills is exactly as it is in your game (you try to Coerce the NPC). 2. Passively using social skills (the NPC tries to Coerce you) is slightly changed for some skills in comparison to your use: you are less restricted in your options. As I said, most players enjoy the added freedom and no one has even complained about 'making their social skills and talent useless'. The only disagreement about social issues I have ever received is when a more mechanically minded player just tells me 'I coerce the NPC'. Im such case I always ask for context and actual role-play. Because you know, context matters. If the Hutt crime boss threatens to blow up the PCs ship, the Coercion roll tends to add nothing to the situation but confusion. If the Hutt fails his roll, what should the PC do? The roll to Coerce has nothing to do with if the Hutt really makes good on his threat. Merely if he can use the threat in an effective way to leverage his position. If the PCs have been double-crossed by an NPC three times and you add three setback dice to his fourth Deception roll, are the PCs forced to go along with him again wjem they fail the opposed roll in your game? Or are you artificially increasing the difficulty of the roll (thereby deciding for you players what they should and shouldn't believe). I simply let the NPC make the roll, and merely say 'he sounds convincing, maybe this time he really means it', or 'you sounds like he is trying to play you again' and then have them make the decision. That is informing the narrative and not forcing the narrative.
  7. Oh, the dice do, but they don't force the narrative, the inform it. And that is a big (and for me crucial) difference. The dice inform a player that X is really intimidating, that Y is really convincing or that Z appear truthfull. But the players choose what to do with it narratively. In my game they just receive more freedom than a typical game I guess when I see the responses.
  8. It is completely up to them. There is no penalty. The penalty (as far as I'm concerned) is just a mechanical representation for characters who act the same as if they don't fear it. I tend to not penalize characters for them playing like they have a certain emotion, them playing like it is penalty (or bonus if you look at it narratively) enough. What I see is people trying to flee, not being the first one to get eaten by it, trying to appear dead, hiding behind the toughest of them, doing a lot of cursing, swearing and sweating.
  9. Well, that is I guess that is a large difference between our playstyles. As said, for me the mechanics follow the narrative as for as social encounters are concerned. And this is largely because of my basic principle that GMs never instruct players how their character should think, feel or react. That is the power of RP for me, the freedom to make your character's choices. I have played in games by starting GMs who kinda railroaded players in the sense of: "Ah, you fail your Discipline roll: now your character will investigate room X because he just can't resist the temptation." That is understandable, but not fun to me. The dice (for me) never determine how a PC feels, they just inform the PC. The influence power is perfectly fine to me. It functions a bit like 'magic', but normal social interaction should not have such 'magic' effects. If the sultry NPC makes a Charm check, then I inform the PC how convincing she appears, but it is up to the PC to make the decision what to do with that. Perhaps the PC has taken a vow of abstinence, perhaps he is prejudiced against the seducers person's race or sex. A failed roll to resist Charm simply doesn't make a straight person gay or vice versa unless the players wants to. However, I will explain to them that the Charmer appears really convincing and attractive to them. And you know, most players relish the freedom to make their own informed choices and their characters tend to react appropriately. I feel no to 'force' players to have their characters to make certain choices in a cooperative narrative game. If they don't want to have sex with some seductress, that's perfectly fine, they just can't deny that she appears really charming: because that is what the dice inform everyone of. If we were ever to play together I believe you wouldn't immediately notice any difference between how I play social encounters and you probably play them, unless some issue came up that was really central to your character. I would then allow you to make the choice that fits your character best, and you would probably ask me to change my character's response to something that fit the dice best. Or you would have the Mouse Droid make a Impossible Charm check to get it to seduce the Wookie to have sex with it with its sultry beeps of seduction (and, with the right skills, mouse droid could probably still succeed, but I guess you would never create such a situation or ask for such a roll in the first place to prevent having to play out what the dice tell you)
  10. You do not allow characters with odd quirks in your campaign? I honestly think C3PO's responses in some of the Star Wars films are totally unsuitable to what is happening, but they are perfectly in-character for the droid. He would 'tell someone the odds' at an inappropriate time. That is fine. He just has to face the consequences. Same with a character that wants to pet a hungry Rancor: they tend not to live long. The player would be invited back of course, unless he complains that his characters keep being eating by Rancors. ?
  11. I have never had any issues with game balance. I don't know what that has got to do with it. I can see your point though, that if players count on social encounters being composed primarily of rolling (and mechanics) and not using the narrative as much, that they could feel 'cheated'. Do the dice inform the narrative, or does the narrative call for use of dice? I'm more leaning towards the latter interpretation. But what would you do with the example of the Hutt threatening to blow up the character's ship, and a character making the opposed check? Do you tell the player something like: "you are not coerced and refuse the Hutt's orders. He signals his underlings to set of the explosives."? Or do you have them make the check, and then decide if they want to be coerced, with only the people making the check having the option of not going along with it, and forcing the rest to abide by the rolled outcome? If the players fail to see through an enemy's Deception (by doing an opposed check), at my games, they can still choose not to trust someone. Failing the opposed roll just means they can't see any indication that the person is deceiving them. I'm not telling the players how they should play their characters: that is up to them. How do you feel about PC vs PC social checks?
  12. You are playing with characters that don't wet themselves in such cases? You need the players to roll a check for that? In most cases I see characters that do fear such an encounter, but in some rare cases they don't. A naive character going 'ooooh, Rancor, so cute, never seen one, can I pet it?' Is a perfectly allowable response. And the player should have the freedom to make that response, and not have the GM tell him 'you are not allowed to say or think that because the dice indicate you fear it'.
  13. I think the GM (or by extension, the checks he requires you to make) should never dictate how characters should feel, think and what choices the character makes. That should always be the sole province of the player. I do not understand why everyone makes an exception to this principle for the emotion of fear. I have never seen love checks, friendship checks, trust checks, excitement checks, hate checks etc. Perhaps its the same things as alignment in classic D&D: you are alignment X, so your character should do Y. This always felt like nonsense to me. Your character decides to do Y, so his alignment is X, was always my philosophy. If you see the fear check as an external force acting upon the players and its just a mechanical thing (the setback die takes care of the whole fear thing for example), then I can certainly imagine you using it. If you force the player to make a choice or change his emotions about something, that's a no-go area as far as I'm concerned.
  14. I beg to differ. I never use fear checks and the characters are afraid plenty of times. Fear is useful, it makes a character think twice about taking stupid risks. As far as I am concerned, the GM has the responsibility to make the story so immersive that he doesn't need rolls to force players to have their characters act and feel in a certain way. I would consider it heavy-handed GMing to do otherwise. That is how I feel about fear checks. Yes, I also never roll coercion checks against characters in that way. I find it completely unneccessary (and detrimental). I have the narrative take care of it. If the Hutt crime lord says he has explosives installed in their ship and will blow their ship up if they don't do the mission for him, the players will choose if they will let themselves be coerced or not by that. If the character has a background story of him never giving in to Hutts again, then it might trigger a beautiful in-character dilemma. If you are a DM which does require players to roll in such a situation, what would you have them do with a success? Can they still choose to be coerced because they fear losing their ship or should they be forced to play not being coerced and then lose their ship, just because they happened to have a high discipline skill? I find GMs mostly use rolls to dictate what characters should feel as a kind of hack. Situations where they aren't able to sketch the narrative in such a way that the players will choose to have their characters act fearful, coerced or charmed. I may sometimes use such rolls to inform the players' characters, like 'The Hutt sounds like he is not bluffing about the explosives' but never to dictate their thoughts and emotions. They are the masters of their own fate. Are your player's characters never afraid of dying, never afraid of looking badly to their peers, never afraid having their reputation tarnished, never afraid of their stuff and their credits being taken, never afraid of their loved ones being hurt, never afraid of their characters goals being opposed, never afraid of the people they owe coming to collect?
  15. What would you do if you went to the garage IRL to get new hubcaps installed on your car and you had to pay for parts up front and then the car comes back without hubcaps and the mechanic telling you 'sorry man, didn't work out this time' and then ask you for the rest of the money for the job? You would likely be livid and demanding your money back. And what would you do if the hubcaps fell off after your first trip after looking good initially? Would you shrug and say 'ah well, it was always a risk?' Getting something installed is not a lottery as far as the customer is concerned, even though it might be so mechanically. Characters don't care about the mechanics of the game. If one of my characters wants to get something installed, and the mechanic tells him he is basically buying a lottery ticket while also cannot inform him of the odds, then I would go tell them to **** off. The seller should make a reasonable price depending on how much effort and parts he (as the expert) estimates are needed to produce a success. That is what I'm paying for. Not some lottery ticket.
  16. Now that I think about it, perhaps I adressed the wrong issue. I believe I have issue with a more fundamental aspect of Fear checks: they have the GM dictate to the players how their characters should feel. In my view the thoughts and feelings of characters are always determined by the player, never by the GM. How often do you as a GM dictate how a character should feel? I think fear checks break the implicit agreement that players control the emotions of their characters. If the player choose to have their character to be afraid of darkness, closed spaces, wide spaces, heights etc., it should be there choice. For a supplementary question: do you allow players to have their characters act afraid even if they made their fear check? Can they choose to be afraid of something even if they dice say they are not?
  17. That is exactly my point. A door allows many options for many characters with a variety of skills to solve them. That is why a door is a useful obstacle. However, doors are not a common obstacle in Star Wars games. Piloting a ship from A to B. Overcoming hostile ships in space. Trying to uncover certain files in a database. Shooting your way past a stormtrooper squad. Those are common obstacles. And many of these obstacles allow only specific skills to come into play. Which again, is not usually an issue at the lower XP levels, but becomes more of a pronounced issue at higher XP levels. At least, that is what I experienced. We didn't choose for this to happen. And GMs have to actively work around this aspect of the game to avoid 'sitting out'. I'm not saying you should stay on the sidelines or that you are forced to. I'm not saying there are no solutions. Merely saying that the system, through its mechanics, informs you that staying at the side is your most effective role at such times.
  18. I'm remembering someone in another threat mentioning something about comparisons and apples and oranges.... Obivously, anything that will actually hurt player's is a no-go in a game. But yes, my preference is to have the players be actually deceived when they are being deceived, the players feeling intimidated when they are being coerced, the merchant actually driving a hard bargain when they are negotiating. To me it is much more than just rolling a die and then informing what people should feel. The dice-rolling should only occur when you are at a point that you are at a crossroads, narratively speaking. Like with fear, I find that is really hard to let players have their characters act as if they are being deceived when the ploy is really transparant but you just gave the NPC a high Deception skill and rolled well. But that is getting off-topic, I asked how you handle fear, and your answer is: "I just roll dice and then explain the players how their characters should feel"?
  19. We do both. The dedicated mechanic has too much things to do, and not always enough time. Additionally, he is not always motivated to put in his effort for all the other characters. One GM in our group once tried to have NPCs roll for checks, but quickly found that none of the characters would not pay anything for botched work (which makes a lot of narrative sense). If I want a grenade launcher installed, I'm not paying for someone 'attempting' to do it. Maybe as a player, I can understand that, but my character certainly won't! How would a character ever know if he tried his best or even used proper equipment? Otherwise my non-mechanic character would also open a modding shop, fail all the rolls and still rake in the cash. Give me this amount of credits, but I cannot garantuee any results sir. That wouldn't make any sense. It would be like blasters that aren't garantueed to actually shoot and have the seller ask full credits. High skill NPCs make more profit, because they lose less on botched attempts. Low-skill NPCs might simply refuse some jobs as being 'too difficult' or ask way too much credits to compensate for their failure (which also tends to turn customers away).
  20. I always found mechanical fear in role-playing games an odd thing, especially because it is often disconnected from actual fear. That emotion the players actually feel and have their characters react accordingly to. I find (players) and their characters often fear things because they are dangerous, unpredictable, have dire consequences or the GM simply has created an effective spooky atmosphere. They rarely fear something because someone asks them they fail a fear check. I do not need to ask the players to roll a fear check when some dread dark Jedi appears of which they have heard terrible rumors for some time. The fact alone is enough to make the players scramble and have their faces turn white. Conversely, when something the players don't actually fear something (because it is not a threat when looking at it from a narrative or game-mechanics) it is really hard to have them act that way. That is why I find a fear mechanic rather misplaced and ultimately very unsatisfying. The rules sometimes say 'you fear this' while it doesn't make any narrative sense to do so. If I am a GM, as a consequence, I never have players make fear checks. I find it nonsense. But as a player I have suggested GMs who do use it, to make it an actual choice after failing a fear check: either you give in to the fear, and take the penalty the GM has decided, or you decide to overcome your fear, taking X strain damage (depending on how badly you failed the check) instead. I found this to be a much more interesting use of the mechanic, who gives players more narrative options how to handle mechanical fear. Actual fear still beats check-induced-fear by a huge margin though. How do you handle fear checks? And do you find your failed fear checks generate actual fear?
  21. Well, then how about: the Star Wars game lends it ways to throw more oranges the characters way than apples. Getting through a door is a common occurence in fantasy RP just as flying a spaceship from A to B is a common occurrence in Star Wars. I find that in fantasy games, common challenges are better suited to be tackled be a wider variety of character abilities, while in Star Wars, the set of abilities matching a common problem is much narrower. And yeah, the Ocean 11 example is what I meant! The GM has to put in a lot more effort to not simply put in a door, but actually thinking of way more complicated and time-constrained 'challenges' to offer a variety of characters to be able to contribute significantly. I have GM's complaining about it. That it is quite a challenge to come up with challenges that keeps everyone involved and still build a sensible story around it.
  22. Oh, we definitely do that. But I sense the feeling of 'oh, its a space battle again, I must really make a big effort to add a one lousy boost die to the pilot's or gunners checks' is slowly starting to set in as the skill gaps widen and widen. What the mechanics tell players is that their character's contributions are often minor at best. You can of course narrate against the mechanics to alleviate some of this, but it sometimes feel you are 'fighting the system'. I was wondering if people share the same experiences. As players we are looking at ways for our characters to become less-specialized, but with the XP costs of extra specializations, the difficulty in raising attributes and costs of cross-class skills, the game is again telling us (by its mechanics) that we really should not do that. That is a *waste* of a rare resource: XP.
  23. I agree, this is a good way to do it. But, there is this teeny tiny problem: you wan't to challenge the players as well. You can see in combat, as many skill checks stay the same difficulty regardless of the strength of the opponent. But in practice what I see is combat types accumulating ever more soak, defense, attack rolls and damage output. To the point that either if it is dangerous for the non-combat characters is a cakewalk for the combat characters and that if it is challenging for the combat characters, it lethal for the non-combat characters. The players realize everyone wants to participate, but for the characters it would make sense to say: hey mr. Pilot/Mechanic and ms. Diplomat, there is going to be a fight, so please stay back and sit this one out, you are only going to be in the way of the real professionals and die quickly. A pod-race in-game is cool, but for half the characters it would not make any sense in participating. If it is a challenge for the pilot character to win, it will be impossible for them and they will likely crash and burn on the fourth section or something.
  24. What I sort of wanted to say is: at the beginning of a game, I see the players have their characters do more, participate more. Most of them have their characters join in deceiving, coercing, negotiating, fighting, hacking, trying to fly etc. As the game progresses, the mechanics of the game are telling the players more and more: just don't to try these things, we have someone that can do it so much better, that your attempts might actually hinder the goal. They players might not want to do this, but the dice are telling them that their brilliant ideas and initiatives are better left to other characters. The coercing guy will take care of the coercion, the pilot guy will do the piloting, the hacker guy will do the hacking etc. It is as if the game tells the players not to be too creative with their characters and follow their given roles, which I think is unfortunate. Perhaps this is because of the way we approach it. In a typical fantasy dungeon the thief might try to pick the lock, the fighter might try to break down the door, the wizard might try to open it magically or teleport past it. But each of the characters get to apply their particular skillset to solve the same problem. In Star Wars, piloting is piloting, and the Marauder is not able to put his skill set into action to contribute to the task of flying from A to B nor is the Politician. UNLESS: the GM specifically thinks up creative ways for those characters to contribute to this piloting thing. But as I said, in the default situations, many characters get to 'sit out' more and more in such situations. I would prefer the skills to operate in such a way as to present multiple pathways to solve recurring problems, but in Star Wars, the mechanics seem to indicate that there are a limited number of pathways to solve common issues. Perhaps this is also the result of an SF type world itself being 'specialized' in the sense that it is difficult to imagine how a high brawn and skilll with an axe can contribute to say, piloting.
  25. It is the job, but it is the job of the rules to help him as much as possible. His job is already the hardest of everyone. He now also need to figure out a way to fit every character mechanically into the story. Because story-wise it is not a problem for the characters to help out. But if the mechanics tell them: 'no, sorry, you can't deceive that guy, only character X can do that', then they won't. I'm not saying specialization is bad, merely comparing they way is handles it to other systems. Say in a d20 system, the 1-20 score has a pretty big impact mechanically. It says to players: well, he might have +8 to hit, and you only +4, but as both of you get to add 1-20 to your roll, the fact that he is 'twice as good' in something doesn't mean you can't contribute meaningfully. In Star Wars the mechanical gaps between characters feels much bigger at 400-500 XP than they were with a typical d20 system.
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