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Aramur

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Everything posted by Aramur

  1. In sessions, we've hit some a kind of difficult spot with regards to our character's development. Basically, we are getting more and more sessions where the GM has difficulty in creating a set of challenges that is appropriate for all the characters because of the increasing skill gaps between them. When we were just starting the campaign the differences seemed less pronounced. When combat started, everyone had a decent contribution to make. When there was a social encounter, everyone could join in, when there was space combat, most felt that had something to do. As XP levels rose, characters become more specialized and differences become more pronounced. What was an fairly easy task for a specialized character was often a difficult task for a non-specialized character and what was challenging to a specialized character was next to impossible for a non-specialized character. Non-specialized characters who tried to contribute often formed more of a liability. Unless the GM went out of his way to create an encounter with specific things to do for each of the character, you often had one or two characters who were basically 'sitting out an encounter'. We are now at 400-500 XP, and I see a tendency back towards more generalization again as most are hitting their peaks on their areas of speciality. Does anyone else experience this widening gap between the different characters that seem to put increasing demands on the GM to plug them? The system, with its specific talent trees and increasing costs to switch between trees seems designed to provide characters a narrow focus and thus specialization. But in effect many encounters now creating a sense of being useless in a portion of the players.
  2. None of the players in our group uses their advantage to inflicts critical hits anymore. A few did it initially, but the effects were not only underwhelming but also introduced additional bookkeeping duties for the GM which slowed down the pace of the action and were often forgotten. In our groups' opinion many of the critical hits on the critical table are only relevant for the PCs, who might be bothered by them for several encounters. Nobody really cares if the difficulty of all Presence and Willpower checks of some rival is made harder in the few brief rounds he has to live, etc. Also, we found that non-combat optimized characters rarely score critical hits. because if they do hit, they rarely generate enough additional advantage. Conversely, if the combat-optimized characters often inflict so much damage that a critical hit becomes superflous: the target is already dead from damage most of the time. Players much prefer to use their advantage to give a boost die to someone else or doing something cool with their advantage. Note that none of our players are optimized for crits. I can imagine if you manage to get a real high bonus to criticals, it might get interesting to use vs. Nemeses. Are you experiences similar? Do criticals get used often or not in your group? I'm wondering because so much rules are devoted to criticals, and the handbook even says its the primary use of advantage for combat checks.....
  3. GM 1: Well, standing up normally is one maneuver, grabbing one grenade is one extra maneuver costing you two strain. Grabbing and throwing more normally isn't possible in the given timeframe. Do you want to take the 2 strain to stand up and lob the one grenade? Maybe if you roll a Triumph, I'll allow you to grab and lob one additional grenade. If you roll a despair though, your haste might accidentally cause you to lob a grenade at your friends. Player: Ok, I'm cool with that. I'll take the 2 strain and hope I'll get a Triumph. If it doesn't work I'll probably suffer some hits on the Stormtroopers' turn, but I can think I can take it. GM 2: You are down and unconscious. Player: How, what? I've weathered fire like this before with my Soak of 7, are these special Stormtroopers, they didn't even roll to hit, what's different? Oh, you just didn't want me to lob three grenades and arbitrarily punished me for wanting to do so. Gee, thanks man. If you don't want me to do something just tell me next time. ______ My preference is the first option.
  4. Power level is rather hard to judge for SW in my experience. If players go for breadth instead of specializing, then you can have a lot of XP in the characters without actually being worried about an appropriate power level. You'll see most balance issues with combat, since other challenges are much easier to adjust on the fly by the GM and have less serious consequences if things go badly. But yeah, if nobody in the party can actually fly a speeder worth a **** (nonskilled Agility 2 or lower) an encounter that involves the players being involved in a speeder chase is probably wasted regardless how many XP the players have amongst each other. As far as I can see, power level rises fairly fast from 100-350 XP awarded and then tapers off sharply because it will become more about having options rather than being extremely good at something. For 350 total XP you can be extremely good at your chosen field.
  5. To go back on topic, I'm interested in what other groups have as popular/often used skills, and which are rarely (if ever) used? Or, even more importantly, which skills tend to be narratively interesting when used and which narratively trivial? We use Astrogation often multiple times a session, but since there is often no time pressure the use is narratively trivial. A GM might ask you to make a Charm roll each time you approach a bartender with a friendly smile, but if you are not actually trying to get anything special done, the skill check also seems narratively trivial.
  6. Well, sure, but the rules still restrict what you can do, even if the narrative doesn't. Many rules simple don't make any sense if you have a minute worth of actions. Quickdraw talent? Narratively useless. You could easily draw a dozen or more weapons inside of a minute. Dropping to prone and standing up again. I don't know about you, but a typical person should be easily able to manage 10 of those paired maneuvers in a minute. Doing this will result in the GM needing to find convoluted narrative reasons to make the way the rules handle the game to fit the narrative. It is just much easier, narratively speaking, to assume you'll get of only a single shot in that time unless you weapons is capable of autofire. And hence assume that rounds run much faster than a minute. GM: "You take the grenade and while moving from cover to cover and avoiding crossfire and lob it towards the Stormtroopers" Player A: "No I don't, I'll take the risk of getting caught by a shot and use the extra time to lob three more grenades. That is what my character would do. Death or glory!" GM: "????" Player B: "I wan't to move closer to the airlock as fast as possible, before it closes. I skip using cover entirely. That should save me some time to also get out my vibroknive and stab the closest Stormtrooper after having thrown the grenade, right?" GM: "????" Player C: "You said the Stormtroopers had their weapons holstered just now, and they haven't had their turn yet, how can they be setting up a crossfire already?" GM: "????"
  7. It does, but the game rules are the common ground that players and GM start from. For example: narratively speaking, in earlier sessions everybody in our group was happy when a single advantage on a attack roll was used to cause an opponent to trip and fall. But once we read the Knockdown talent on the Marauder tree, it became clear that the game intended making someone fall was much harder. It seemed to require not only a successful attack, but also a Triumph *and* a special talent to knock someone down. Mechanics very clearly suggested that using it like we did was not appropriate. The mechanics did not force that interpretation on us, but it made a very clear suggestion how it was 'supposed to work'. We could simple ignore that of course and run with it as we did. But doing so would make the Marauder talent obsolete and would penalize a player for choosing it. This would in turn meani we would probably house-rule that talent. Similarly, one could argue that 'size matters not' and throw a big object over medium range even if just possessing the basic 'Move' force power. A GM can allow this where narratively appropriate, but game rules suggest that you really can't and shouldn't.
  8. I agree that this system is less meant to take up the majority of the play time, and that is a reason that we are actually playing it: combat is more of an option, and less of a neccessity! But once combat starts, I'd prefer it to be more cinematic and a major part of that is simply have more time to go into the ebb and the flow of combat. If your buddies already shot down the big bad once your turn comes around and you haven't even spent a maneuver to draw your gun from your holster, then yeah, it feels kinda anti-climatic. Game mechanics clearly suggest (visible in the way ammo, two-weapon fighting, aiming etc. is handled) that one roll = one shot/swing/grenade throw.
  9. Mostly I'm a player. I'm a stand-in GM and played 8 out of 10 sessions, GMed 2 out of 10. As an experienced GM in other games, I know a lot of tricks to extend dramatic tension in combat, but for less experienced GMs who sort of take the system 'as is', I was wondering what the experiences are. Because in my experience it actually takes quite a bit of effort to create a tension-filled combat. Less experienced GMs just take a couple of seemingly appropriate adversaries and run with that. And with 1-2 hits capable of incapacitating both PCs and Rivals/Nemeses in combat you actively have to spend effort to prevent combat from turning into walkovers.
  10. There was this Master Slicer protected by an Assassin Droid: initiative rolls along, we get the drop on him. A good barrage from our shooting guy and a good stab from a Force Pike and the droid is down in 1 round. If it had gotten the drop on us, it might have simply blasted us out of existence with its missile tube or also deciding the combat basically in one round. In both cases the odds not to hit each other were fairly low and the amount of damage compared to soak/wounds high. Combat can be over without warning, but more importantly, without much room for dramatic tension.
  11. I guess it depends on how you play it. Sometimes the GM doesn't know if the players are planning to deceive or not. In fact, players may accept the mission from the Hutt crime lord when speaking with him and later when discussing it privately desire its a better course of action to backstab him. There is no social roll the Hutt can make to prevent such a deception. They might have intended to agree but after coming across a better offer later might change their mind. Many deceptions don't even require social interaction, so no rolls there. Lying is a very small subset of deception and smart PCs that are bad at lying but great at deception tend to know when to keep their mouth shut. If you want to Coerce someone, you can threaten him with cutting of one of his fingers if he doesn't agree. Maybe you fail that initial roll and he doesn't believe you will. But after his first finger drops on the ground and you tell him next time it will be a second finger, most sane NPCs don't care much about the Coercion roll of the one cutting off his fingers. A hostile person pointing a gun at you doesn't need a lot of social skill to coerce you to follow a certain action. That is true for real life and also true for Star Wars. I remember a situation where we were in some pirate station negotiating for some parts to repair the Hyperdrive. A failed roll later the merchant asked for a price way too high. The PC simply grabbed the part, brandished his weapon and dropped the amounts of credits he though appropriate into the merchant's hands and said: that's all I'm paying, we both know its a fair price. Negotiation through force: an offer he couldn't refuse. Of course, you can regulate such issues to lower the difficulty, add boost dice or similar things to a skill roll to make sure it will succeed. But basically that comes down to the same thing: you don't need the roll. And for a narrative game it should be like that. If a proper narrative reasons comes up for something to work, it will.
  12. I think you have a good point about how I view combat. However, with a lot of the book devoted to weapons and armor and a lot of talents explicitely combat-focused, one would expect more of a focus on combat Additionally, when I'm thinking of Star Wars movie combat scenes as well, the heroes seem to have quite some time in exchanging fire or engaging in duels. Not, poof, poof, its over after the first exchanges of fire. I don't know how you would want to replicate a light-saber duel like in the movies. I more or less believe the system will cause such fights to be over really, really fast, perhaps 3 rounds at best. A better balance between damage / wounds, especially for the heroes or nemesis type characters would serve to draw out combat more and create more opportunity for dramatic scenes IMO.
  13. There is already the issue that many of the current 'target sets' have sufficient to disable many of the PCs in 1-2 hits as well. Two hits from a Stormtrooper minion will take down the Bothan Brawn 1 Explorer(Driver) with Armored Clothing or the Mon Calamari Pilot with little trouble. Stimpacks don't really work during combat for adversaries, healing 5 wounds for an Action doesn't help if next turn you'll simply receive 10 damage from a PC attack. Combats are very all our nothing: a serious threat to the players can cause the battle to be decided in 1-2 rounds in favor of the adversaries. In combat I tend to look for dramatic tension as well, there needs to be a build-up of sorts. Just a few die rolls and people dropping left or right and combat being over in moments doesn't really do that.
  14. Of course. Soak of most rivals/nemesis type characters in Edge of the Empire book is between 2 and 5, Wounds between 12 and 20 roughtly speaking. Add a little bit of pierce to the inflicted damage, and it takes about two hits to disable one.
  15. All skills are created equal. At least as far as the amount of XP it costs to raise their rank. However, they aren't equal in the amount of use they see and the way they. After 10 sessions of play, we have roughly the following situation in terms of average use: Multiple times every session Astrogation Computers Cool/Vigilance Mechanics Melee Perception Piloting: Space Ranged: Heavy Ranged: Light Once per session Athletics Coercion Coordination Charm Medicine Negotiation Piloting: Planetary Stealth Skullduggery Once every few sessions Brawl Discipline Gunnery Knowledge: Core Worlds Knowledge: Outer Rim Knowledge: Underworld Never used Leadership Knowledge: Lore Resilience Streetwise Survival Xenology One of the big difference I see is between GM-initiated skills and player-initiated skills. Many skills have a big player choice in when they apply. A player can choose to resolve many issues by shooting their guns: their choice (not always the best choice, but their choice nonetheless). But its much harder to actively use Skullduggery: it needs a proper situation while skills that have much broader application (like Computers and Mechanics) are much more likely to have opportunities for active use. On the extreme end, you have a skill like Survival: it will rarely if ever see a player actively requesting to use it. Same goes for Discipline. They are reactive skills, and players are mostly if not wholly dependent on their GM to see play. Social skills are a weird bunch in the mix, because you can Charm, Intimidate and Deceive without actually needing to make a skill check. Again, they are mostly dependent on the GM, if he requires the situation to have a check. Also, some skills might see use, but when their use isn't narratively important, it feels less relevant. Astrogation might see use nearly every session, but more because the rules said you need a check to jump to hyperspace. There is rarely a moment where people go: wow, we are really happy we have a skilled Astrogator in the party because it has not been used at critical junctures yet. This tends to see players less interested in investing ranks in some of these skills. They are simply not good value for the XP spent. I'm wondering about the situation in other groups: what skill see a lot of use, and what skills are rarely used? Do players respond to this by investing mostly XP in the often used skills?
  16. After we have played 10 sessions or so, I'm a bit worried about the combat dynamics. Combats tend not to last long with our group, but, more importantly, combats are often missing real moments of suspense. I believe this is mainly due to the large amounts of damage put out in comparison to the wounds PCs and NPCs can suffer. At 150 XP + starting XP, some of the groups characters can easily put out 12-16 damage in a turn. This amount of damage will take down most adversaries after one hit and a few (mostly nemesis-level) NPCs might need two hits to disable. Additionally, attacks rarely miss (for combat focused PCs). PCs (especially non-combat focused ones) suffer from the same issue: they tend to go down in 1 or maybe 2 hits (depending who's shooting). This tends to make combat really fast and really unpredictable, often being decided in the first round. I also tends to devaluate minions. With only 5 or so damage needed to disable one, it is often more efficient to focus on the stronger opponents when given a choice, although they sometimes play a good role in absorbing fire from the non-combat focused PCs. Do others have this experience as well? Is it intentional?
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