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About sarg01

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  1. That's far more workable, in my opinion. FaD has far and away the best mechanical support for a story where the fall is the point. Granted, specifying an ending before the adventure is played is a bit meta-ish for my taste, but who knows ... maybe they'll change their minds part way through because they don't feel their chars would fall in that scenario after all. So the easiest way to make something like this happen is to constantly give them challenges that would be much easier if they just landed "perfect" force dice rolls. You want to bait them into tapping that dark side. I have a campaign going where the Seeker just can't stop using dark side with Seek to follow people around, because that's just so much easier than the party following clues and investigating. It's not meant as inimical or hostile at all: When describing the results I bill it as "frustrated" or "zealous" in my descriptions - make it sound all very reasonable and natural. She's not a "bad" person, she's just committed, righteous and passionate about success!
  2. There's no "letting" to it, unless you're willing to substantially re-write the rules, overrule your players or just delete all dark side talents - and any dark side element of force powers from the trees. If a player takes Heal/Harm, they get conflict every single time they use Harm (even if they fuel it with light-side points). If they're actively trying to turn dark, they'll pop destiny on every force power until they're out of points. Or they'll use talents that have built-in conflict. What you can do is threaten to take over their char as an NPC when Morality hits 0 ... but that's very heavy handed when they've outright told you they want to be darksiders before you started. If you also have light-siders in the party, you'll probably have to relax some of the rules for giving Conflict for group actions. Yes, the light-siders should endeavor to keep the darkos on a bit of a leash, but unless you allow unrestricted player-vs-player combat, they can't really stop them if the darkside folks refuse to cooperate. That'd be how it's handled ICly, with the Jedi expected to intervene to defend innocents ... but most tabletop groups don't last long if you encourage open combat between the group members.
  3. What timeframe is this in? Also, do they actually want to be Sith or do they only care about using the dark side? In "modern" times (around the movie era) there's only two Sith, after all - and all the known spots are taken unless you're playing after Return of the Jedi. Which might not be terrible - you could have some of the campaign be about raiding Palpatine/Vader's secret stash of knowledge and artifacts. If you're playing in the Old Republic period, and there is a Sith Empire, then it's easy enough to just have other Sith resent, plot against them for their Jedi origins. Once the Empire isn't looking, they may well attack. More generally, GMing a group of Sith, I'd try to set things up so that they can't just start killing/terrorizing things at will. Here's this annoying NPC that they can't kill because he has a crucial skill they don't. Put big sections of the campaign in civilization, so if they start murderizing people they find out their contacts don't trust them, or the locals setup a posse to go bag them. Or hire bounty hunters.
  4. The base power is 4 wounds with Intellect 4. If you upgrade: The right side Control (20 XP): +4 strain recovery Either Strength upgrade (35 XP away from the right side Control): +1 wound AND +1 strain recovered per pip (after the first) Both Strength upgrades (15 additional XP): +2 wounds AND +2 strain recovered per pip (after the first) Bottom-Left Control (50 XP): Add Medicine ranks to wounds and strain recovered (regardless of any pip other than the first)
  5. If by "dip", you mean the biggest crafting bang for the lowest XP cost, I'd say Cyber Tech's "Eye for Detail" at 15 xp in (plus the specialization cost of course). Trouble is, the tree doesn't really have anything beyond that for crafting. Shipwright has "Eye for Detail" at just 25 xp in, and has a lot more in the tree for crafting purposes. Scientist is a little bit deeper dip: 70 xp gets you two ranks of "Inventor" and "Tinkerer", and the dedication's only 50 xp away. If by "dip" you mean you actually want to use the full tree, I'm a big fan of Gambler. "Double or Nothing" and its Supreme variant are astonishingly good for crafting. Sentinel/Artisan and Mystic/Alchemist both are very solid for force-sensitive crafting. Artisan with the Manipulate force power is really, really good. An FR 2 Artisan/Gambler with Manipulate could probably expect a minimum of 6 advantage or 2 triumphs, and possibly a lot more with a decent roll.
  6. I run a near-sandbox campaign and you don't get completely past this. Sometimes the players talk themselves down a route that you're sitting there as GM going "that would never, ever work" (in which case you just point this out) but the real danger is "that's almost certain to fail" ... because it lulls you into letting them proceed until they're invested in a course of action, only to have them predictably fail the high difficulty roll. If that's happening a lot, no one will be having much fun. IMO, fun is your number one priority. In each segment of the campaign, I write in "bail-out" NPCs for each major aspect of gameplay: failed combat, overmatched combat, researching information, legal trouble. Some bail-out NPCs can serve multiple roles. These NPCs are normally on the periphery of the plot and only intervene if the party is just stuck - in the ideal run, they'd never be more than flavor. Failed combat - this is the NPC or group that stages a breakout/rescue of the PCs. They don't even necessarily need to care about the PCs ... maybe they're breaking out the guy in the next cell over. If you introduced the guy in the next cell over getting captured earlier in the campaign, or planted the rumor that the group was upset because Next Cell Guy was captured, it feels a lot less like "Hand of the GM" and a lot more like "Sweet, this is exactly what he/she planned us to do! Wow, he/she's good!" Of course, they certainly can care about the PCs. Their employer or their contacts don't want them talking. They have some item someone needs. Or it's a legitimate straight-up rescue - think Yoda arriving at the end of Attack of the Clones when Obi-Wan and Anakin are laying on the floor about to be slaughtered by Dooku. Overmatched combat - Could be the same as above, but I tend to prefer this be a merc or contact who will assist the PCs. Sometimes for a price. Researching - In urban environments, this is super easy - there's any number of experts wandering around. Pretty easy to introduce casually in another setting - drinking at the cantina or some such, getting into a loud argument with their colleagues over some new theory. Legal trouble - This is who cleans up after the PCs if they leave a legal mess. Or, worst case, this is who gets them out of town. Could be actual legal help. More likely someone who pays off officials and/or deletes traces. This one should usually have a cost attached, even if (especially if) it's not in credits. Great way to introduce a non-sandbox quest into a sandbox campaign, by the way. And any of these NPCs make great overheard/found on the holonet/word on the street rumor targets for advantages PCs get on various social, slicing or streetwise checks.
  7. You'll find that happens a lot. When we get in one of these 'stalls', I try to remind the group that's this is a good opportunity to make use of Knowledge, Streetwise, Computers and social skills. Just listing the skills out often gets players to go "oh yeah, I have contacts I can hit up for leads" or "that information's probably in a computer bank somewhere".
  8. Some Force Powers synergize with 'normal' careers. Manipulate is fantastic for any mechanically inclined character. You already mentioned Influence with any social check. MrTInce pointed out Enhance for several physical checks. Misdirect clearly helps anyone sneak up on/past something. Though I should note, this is more as a replacement for Stealth than supplementing stealth. Though it does work on allies, so a stealthy force user could bring people with them through a checkpoint. Heal can benefit directly from Medicine ranks, and depending on your GM ruling may well operate outside the usual limits on Medicine checks for crit injury treatment. Imbue (increase characteristics) and Battle Meditation (add automatic success to all checks) help with everything. Ebb/Flow is crazy useful as well. The left side of the Sense tree is great for anyone who gets targeted by an attack. For just about 325 post-chargen XP, a Sage or Seer can add 3 force dice to: Athletics, Brawl, Charm, Coercion, Coordination, Deception, Leadership, Mechanics, Negotiation, Piloting - Planetary, Piloting - Space, Resilience and Initiative checks.
  9. I do like Artisan as an entry career - you get some nice ship repair bonuses up top, and once you make it down to the lower left of the tree, you get some serious crafting boosts. If you're a Sith and you're happy to take conflict, it's hard to go wrong with Harm, especially if your Intellect is high for your Mechanics checks. Drains life (ignoring soak) from your enemies, and gives it to you (as strain or wounds). Oh, and it doesn't count as a combat check (Supreme Reflect from Shien, hint hint). You can even raise the dead - assuming you're willing to kill something as the price.
  10. I wouldn't consider adding penalties for being "untrained". There's already an in-built penalty: you have no yellow dice. If a task is hard, it should be Hard, Daunting or Formidable - 3, 4, or 5 purples as applicable. If it's made worse by complicating factors (shaky ground, lack of proper tools, in low-light, in freezing cold, etc) that's when setback dice are called for. Not having the right tools may well be a consequence of not having training (as per Varlie's Jiffy Lube example) - but that setback should be overcome if you do in fact have the tools (or the talent that allows you to remove setbacks for not having tools).
  11. Thematically, it's unusual, but there are a couple possibilities. 1 - you could be apprenticed to a secret lightsider - Sure, passion leads to anger and anger leads to hate and all that ... but if you direct your passion at opposing an organization (i.e. the Republic) it's quite possible to be empathic and have regard for individuals. The light side justification is this: The Republic is hopelessly, unfixably corrupt. There's no clear prospect of it ever getting significantly better, as the corruption spans thousands of Senators, judges and bureaucrats. Even if someone were to wipe out the entire lot, the planets would just elect/appoint the same class of political elites to replace them. The Sith Empire is clearly evil ... but that evil is driven by a relative handful of incredibly powerful individuals. If you could gain enough power to become one of these individuals, and protect yourself against the competition, there's a real prospect of you alone controlling the fate of billions. If your master can maintain their light-side affiliation, they'll be the most benevolent ruler for those billions the galaxy has known! Whether or not their new apprentice may concur is an open question, but a lightsider could justify not killing them as 1) murder is dark side and 2) it's a good cover and 3) maybe she/he can turn their apprentice with the right situation. 2 - you can be quite low rank - Yes, you have to have gotten through the Academy, and that'd be hard without direct force powers or saber proficiency, but not necessarily impossible. Your class could have been filled with bumblers, fools and the overconfident. Ending up as the sole survivor of a class is a fantastic way to become Sith. Slicing in particular could be useful, as droids are immune to mind-affecting powers, and I can certainly see some wannabe Sith alpha striding into a room and telling your character it's time to put you down ... only to get blasted in the back from a droid. Traps are also a potential justification for success. Once through training, you're apprenticed to a Sith. If that Sith is low-ranking enough, they'll have other low-ranking rivals, and you just might not be enough of a concern for anyone other than your master's immediate rivals to worry about.
  12. I'm not sure we're talking about the same range of characters. I'm not referring to characters with three trees, a couple force powers and maybe a signature ability. Of course those characters can afford 10 points for Ranged - Light rank 1. I'm talking about characters 5-10 sessions out of character generation. If you're looking at 100 or 200 points of post-chargen XP, 30 points to buy into a tree (which by itself gains you nothing but the opportunity to spend further XP) represents between 15 - 30% of their entire character. As for the rest of your point, you actually nailed it with your question: Otherwise, why have different careers? The system having careers is precisely what I'm arguing encourages min-max behavior. I've house-ruled a lot of that out at my table as I find the concept of 'career' non-sensical as a straight-jacket. People change careers all the time in RL. Luke goes from Colonist to Ace to Jedi in the movies, and I can't think of anyone who'd argue it's the farmer part that controls his destiny, just because it was first.
  13. There's an explicit mechanical cost for doing these things that you don't otherwise encounter. It's never an equal exchange. Can you buy non-career skills? Of course you can, they're just more expensive (i.e. the system prefers that you don't). You can buy other trees, but there's not only an extra cost, that cost stacks for your character's entire life. To make matters worse, the ultimate 'flexibility' boxes are generally at the bottom of the trees: Force Rating, Dedication. This is a mechanical punishment for not sticking with a tree, the delay in improving your attributes / force. Speaking of hampering well-rounded characters, you can't buy up from Cunning 2 to Cunning 3 without blowing your once/tree Dedication. How is that not encouraging you to spend the dedication on things you're actually good at and use frequently (at least up to the cap) instead of rounding out the character? Is it less restrictive than D&D or Pathfinder? Sure. If we're talking about 500+ XP characters, fine. If we're talking about a 200 XP character, the trees scream for one-sided characters (again, a few trees are exceptions), and make anything else painful.
  14. Might be pulling the trigger a bit quick there, LB! Nothing the original post presented seems all that min-maxish to me. FFG talent trees encourage the "when you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail" approach. The system itself doesn't (untrained with 3 agi still has a good shot at shooting someone at Medium range), but the talent trees very much do. It's actually worse for EotE / AoR careers than FaD, because the entire career often has a particular bend "Technician", "Soldier", "Diplomat" and the game clearly encourages you to stick to your career. FaD careers are better, but you're not getting lightsaber as a career skill without buying into a nearly pure combat tree. This character is probably Sentinel/Artisan, since there's only 3 FaD trees that give Mechanics as a career skill, and the other two are combat trees (Armorer and Starfighter Ace). If you're Sentinel/Artisan, you have no weapon career skills. You have Computers (x2), Mechanics, Stealth, Skulduggery, Deception, Astrogation, Core Worlds and Education. And when you look at the tree, it's mechanics, computers, technology. Plus a few strain thresholds, the Force rating and dedication boxes. Ignore crits to Intellect/Cunning. Imbue Item and Comprehend Technology are the only things that actively contribute to combat, and both require Force rating to make useful. Without having enough XP to buy into another tree, you're shoe-horned. Now you could maybe argue that with those starting skill choices you should have bought some agility to use Stealth and Skulduggery ... but isn't that min-maxing a little? It doesn't fit my character concept, but it's efficient to build that way! And the same thing is true for most single tree builds. Some trees straddle two different things (the face trees often do), but the piloting, medicine, tech and combat trees are all pretty min-max. Is a guy who has 5 intellect, 4 ranks of Mechanics and a tech tree to be more min-maxed than someone with 5 agility, 4 ranks of Ranged - Heavy and a combat tree?
  15. It depends on what system I'm running. I rarely have a Paranoia session where I can't get at least one of the PC's through a six-pack. Shadowrun's a dark environment, too, so I've had I think 4 dead PCs, though I don't run it all that often, so I can't give you a good count. I've never had someone die in FFG Star Wars. Had once close call where I laid out all the warning signs. It was the introduction of the BBEG for a campaign, who was intended to be the reason the PCs were out there trying to gain abilities in order to beat her. Approaching Imperial force 10 times the size of the party, cloaked NPC commanding the group, riding on a speeder, before whipping out a lightsaber and telling her troops to hang back so she can handle the PCs personally. Made them roll a fear check. They were on the edge of a light forest, had speeders, and their ship was in a clearing only about a minute behind them. And then one of the PCs goes Hawkbat on her. I ask something along the lines of, "You really want to leap into melee range? There's 50 of them, you're all on speeders, you've got some tree cover from their blasters, and a fantastic shot at getting away?" only to be told "Yes." The other PCs called the ship in, so it worked out OK after the PC spent a session in bacta.
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