Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
rafaelsmoreno

Initiative - is it me or this rule sucks?

Recommended Posts

The reason it is Cool is because if you know you are going to fight then it's about not giving the game away.

 

Think of every western you've seen where there is an ambush. The hero looks around, and catches those shifty eyes, the shaky hand, and that one bead of sweat and they know there is trouble. 

 

Many gamers tend to see characters as perfectly logical machines that are only limited by their attributes. Using Cool is an acknowledgement of the human factor. Discipline is a great skill for keeping your head together, but the skill that determines whether you can appear calm to others is Cool.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The reason it is Cool is because if you know you are going to fight then it's about not giving the game away.

 

Think of every western you've seen where there is an ambush. The hero looks around, and catches those shifty eyes, the shaky hand, and that one bead of sweat and they know there is trouble. 

 

Many gamers tend to see characters as perfectly logical machines that are only limited by their attributes. Using Cool is an acknowledgement of the human factor. Discipline is a great skill for keeping your head together, but the skill that determines whether you can appear calm to others is Cool.

Then it's still odd that Cool - which is based on how you appear - might matter for a concealed sniper more than Discipline.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The skill used in ANY situation -- Initiative, Perception, or otherwise -- may very well be dependant on the way a scene is framed. The rules are there as a guideline and wellspring for ideas, not as a straight jacket. As long as the GM can provide a moderate level of consistency and compound that with reasonable explanations for their rulings, all sorts of things can work.

To pluck an example from the RAW, check out the two different nexu encoutners in the "Beyond the Rim" module. The first encounter involves a standard nexu attacking the party as they explore a jungle planet, which entails checking the nexu's Stealth against party's Perception. The second encounter invovles a group of cyborg nexu attacking the party in the darkened recesses of a long-lost shipwreck, which entails checking the nexu's stealth against the group's Vigilance.

In other words, while exploring a jungle looking for something Perception is called for.

When investigating a dark, creepy shipwreck Vigilance is called for.

Of course the case can be made to use Perception OR Vigilance in both of these incidents, but that's just it; there's no right answer, here. That said, using Vigilance in a situation when Perception is usually used can help frame a tense scene where characters are trying to keep their senses focused on recognizing an unseen, unknown danger.

Edited by JonahHex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

The reason it is Cool is because if you know you are going to fight then it's about not giving the game away.

 

Think of every western you've seen where there is an ambush. The hero looks around, and catches those shifty eyes, the shaky hand, and that one bead of sweat and they know there is trouble. 

 

Many gamers tend to see characters as perfectly logical machines that are only limited by their attributes. Using Cool is an acknowledgement of the human factor. Discipline is a great skill for keeping your head together, but the skill that determines whether you can appear calm to others is Cool.

Then it's still odd that Cool - which is based on how you appear - might matter for a concealed sniper more than Discipline.

 

Not quite correct. Cool isn't based on how you look. It's based on Presence or what I like to call your "milkshake" characteristic. Presence is not just how you look, it's how you carry yourself—your confidence. Narratively, it's what keeps your itchy trigger finger from firing too early before you have "the shot" and alerting the enemy that there is an ambush and letting them get the jump on you.

 

An ambush is as much about psychology as it is about reflexes and so the designers picked a social stat and skill for it. Well-roundedness is what separates the masterminds from the thugs and this game system reinforces that notion.

Edited by Deve Sunstriker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

The reason it is Cool is because if you know you are going to fight then it's about not giving the game away.

 

Think of every western you've seen where there is an ambush. The hero looks around, and catches those shifty eyes, the shaky hand, and that one bead of sweat and they know there is trouble. 

 

Many gamers tend to see characters as perfectly logical machines that are only limited by their attributes. Using Cool is an acknowledgement of the human factor. Discipline is a great skill for keeping your head together, but the skill that determines whether you can appear calm to others is Cool.

Then it's still odd that Cool - which is based on how you appear - might matter for a concealed sniper more than Discipline.

 

Not quite correct. Cool isn't based on how you look. It's based on Presence or what I like to call your "milkshake" characteristic. Presence is not just how you look, it's how you carry yourself—your confidence. Narratively, it's what keeps your itchy trigger finger from firing too early before you have "the shot" and alerting the enemy that there is an ambush and letting them get the jump on you.

 

An ambush is as much about psychology as it is about reflexes and so the designers picked a social stat and skill for it. Well-roundedness is what separates the masterminds from the thugs and this game system reinforces that notion.

 

I'm not sure I see a good divide between Cool and Discipline in this case.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I had this same discussion with my GM.  Heck, I even went as far as to 'argue' that Discipline could be used for initiative in an ambush situation.

 

--snip--

 

And as a GM, if the player had a reasonable chain of logic, I'd have no problem with it.  ;)

 

I look at rules as a semi-solid guideline to promote high adventure.   If the player presents a reasonable reason (in-game) to try something or substitute something and it isn't too far out there I am usually willing. 

 

Of course it does set a precedent that I will happily use against them later  :ph34r:

 

 

Oh he knew what I was getting at, and didn't disagree with me.  He just didn't want to mess with the RAW to much.  In his experience as a GM for many years, is that once you open the 'box' it is just to much of a mess to tape it all back up again.  I sided with him, not because I agreed on the RAW, but because I trusted his judgement.

 

So, now Gand has a lot of fun with trying to find other ways to use Cool since he has invested in it.  It has also made me consider using Dedication to raise Presence from 1 to 2.  We will see though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The skill used in ANY situation -- Initiative, Perception, or otherwise -- may very well be dependant on the way a scene is framed. The rules are there as a guideline and wellspring for ideas, not as a straight jacket. As long as the GM can provide a moderate level of consistency and compound that with reasonable explanations for their rulings, all sorts of things can work.

To pluck an example from the RAW, check out the two different nexu encoutners in the "Beyond the Rim" module. The first encounter involves a standard nexu attacking the party as they explore a jungle planet, which entails checking the nexu's Stealth against party's Perception. The second encounter invovles a group of cyborg nexu attacking the party in the darkened recesses of a long-lost shipwreck, which entails checking the nexu's stealth against the group's Vigilance.

In other words, while exploring a jungle looking for something Perception is called for.

When investigating a dark, creepy shipwreck Vigilance is called for.

Of course the case can be made to use Perception OR Vigilance in both of these incidents, but that's just it; there's no right answer, here. That said, using Vigilance in a situation when Perception is usually used can help frame a tense scene where characters are trying to keep their senses focused on recognizing an unseen, unknown danger.

 

"Of course the case can be made to use Perception OR Vigilance in both of these incidents, but that's just it; there's no right answer, here."

 

And that sums up the situation and also defines what I like about the system.  Flexibility and Multiple Options.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

 

The reason it is Cool is because if you know you are going to fight then it's about not giving the game away.

 

Think of every western you've seen where there is an ambush. The hero looks around, and catches those shifty eyes, the shaky hand, and that one bead of sweat and they know there is trouble. 

 

Many gamers tend to see characters as perfectly logical machines that are only limited by their attributes. Using Cool is an acknowledgement of the human factor. Discipline is a great skill for keeping your head together, but the skill that determines whether you can appear calm to others is Cool.

Then it's still odd that Cool - which is based on how you appear - might matter for a concealed sniper more than Discipline.

 

Not quite correct. Cool isn't based on how you look. It's based on Presence or what I like to call your "milkshake" characteristic. Presence is not just how you look, it's how you carry yourself—your confidence. Narratively, it's what keeps your itchy trigger finger from firing too early before you have "the shot" and alerting the enemy that there is an ambush and letting them get the jump on you.

 

An ambush is as much about psychology as it is about reflexes and so the designers picked a social stat and skill for it. Well-roundedness is what separates the masterminds from the thugs and this game system reinforces that notion.

 

I'm not sure I see a good divide between Cool and Discipline in this case.

 

 

I side with HD on this.

 

I think personal experience and our perceptions of what Cool and Discipline mean to us is where some of us differ in our opinions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I side with HD on this.

 

I think personal experience and our perceptions of what Cool and Discipline mean to us is where some of us differ in our opinions.

 

 

Key point.

 

I had some real issues with parts of the rules until I went back and actually read how EotE defines things.   Especially Characteristics and Skills.  Several of them use what I would have called secondary definitions.  Once I adjusted my interpretation to match theirs it all made sense. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Technically you use Cool if you are not surprised and aware the issue is coming and Vigilance skill when combat begins unexpectedly or is a surprise. 

 

 

I would see Perception or Discipline as a better skill for the former - looking for the precise way to shoot or having the fortitude to stake it out. Once again why I do not care for skills that do several radically different things, versus doing one thing or a couple of related things.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

My question is: Am I missing anything? Does this rule really suck? How do you guys deal with initiative? Any hints? 

 

 

I have no problem the way that it works now. Cool is all about the poker face, about keeping your head when you know you're about to throw down. Cool is - ah! Cool is this:

 

 

Tuco has the worst cool of the bunch (just check his reaction to dry firing his gun), while Angel Eyes and Blondie are much more evenly matched. Blondie just gets an extra blue die for unloading Tuco's gun the night before.

 

While I don't necessarily agree that the mechanics needed to be split into two like this, I see what they were trying to simulate with it, the steel-handed gunfighter versus an "Oh crap! I'm surrounded!" fight. It's very cinematic this way.

Edited by Desslok

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Desslok. I like the way you can build deeper characters with a two skill initiative system.

Han Solo definitely shows Cool when talking to Greedo in the cantina while slowly pulling his gun. Greedo rolls poorly on his Vigilance check to see what Han is up to.

(Or maybe they both rolled Cool, since Greedo is attempting to "ambush" Han, but Greedo's Cool stinks.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Technically you use Cool if you are not surprised and aware the issue is coming and Vigilance skill when combat begins unexpectedly or is a surprise. 

 

 

I would see Perception or Discipline as a better skill for the former - looking for the precise way to shoot or having the fortitude to stake it out. Once again why I do not care for skills that do several radically different things, versus doing one thing or a couple of related things.

 

 

The problem is that you are using common definitions to skew how you are interpreting the terms. 

 

The designation of using Cool is not based on common usage, but on specific definitions created in EotE. 

 

Initiative does not set how you act or if you act.  It merely determines action order slots. So they linked the Initiative roll to Cool or Vigilance.

 

Whether you are surprised or not is a completely different issue.  Hence the use of Perception to determine whether you are or not.   But a Perception roll does not determine how you handle the information.

 

Discipline does not determine surprise or how quickly you will act when you see the danger.  Instead, it determines if you are able to stay on a task regardless of any chaos that may be happening around you. 

 

Cool is a measure on how well you react to known or expected events, adjusting plans on the fly in the face of multiple issues. 

Vigilance is a measure on how well you react to the unexpected event, multi-tasking in the face of multiple unexpected threats.

Discipline is the ability to stay focused on a single task amid chaos.

Perception is the ability to notice things. 

 

All fill different needs and slots.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, it took me a while to come up with a good Hero surprised in a gunfight example - but I think this sums it up nicely:

 

 

Putting aside that an ED-209 is not exactly a stealth machine (we'll give allow ED the element of surprise because it's a dramatic cinematic entrance) Murphy is still reeling from Directive IV messing with his head, allowing ED to get the upper hand. The whole fight - and the subsequent asskicking he gets from the cops moments later in the OCP parking garage - Murphy is constantly reacting instead of acting. Not once in that fight does he have control of the theater of battle.

 

Well, until ED rolls a despair and falls down the stairs. . .

Edited by Desslok

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Desslok. I like the way you can build deeper characters with a two skill initiative system.

Han Solo definitely shows Cool when talking to Greedo in the cantina while slowly pulling his gun. Greedo rolls poorly on his Vigilance check to see what Han is up to.

(Or maybe they both rolled Cool, since Greedo is attempting to "ambush" Han, but Greedo's Cool stinks.)

Yeah, I'd say it's Cool vs. Cool. They both knew what was up, but Greedo was a little too cocky. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my game Vigilance can always be used for initiative. Cool is an option that can be used when going into a fight you've prepared to have (ambush, duel, starfighter engagement following a briefing, etc.). I don't see this as making Vigilance > Cool since Vigilance gets much less use than Cool outside of initiative.

 

I think making Cool an optional alternative to Vigilance is probably the best approach in this situation. Our group has also had the weird situation where we really don't want to be prepared for a fight. Which is odd, at best, and can get really awkward when people are practically fighting eachother to look the other way when one guy in the group draws his gun. :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually while we are on the subject of cool, I wanted to talk about ambushes and my house rule regarding them.

 

Be forewarned, it adds a mechanic, so if you are dice-lite this might not appeal to you.

 

So I get how the mechanics work so far. Cool is sort of that tense western standoff. Who will draw and fire first? Cool vs cool to find out who reacts to the tension first! I'll always opt for cool checks when the characters have, say, been discussing with the

Vigilance definitely makes sense when it's a typical "roll for initiative scenario". When two parties are rounding a corner, or one group sort of stumbles on another, or isn't really given time to prepare, vigilance is rolled.

 

However, ambushes should be handled differently, I think. Here's why: I think RAW makes it far too easy for the ambushed party not only react, but often react faster than the people doing the ambushing!

 

Here's how I do ambushes:

I make it an opposed vigilance check against a the ambushing party's stealth. If the check succeeds, the ambush is noticed in time for the party being ambushed to react. If it's not, the ambushing party gets a free turn prior to the normal initiative rolls.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's how I do ambushes:

I make it an opposed vigilance check against a the ambushing party's stealth. If the check succeeds, the ambush is noticed in time for the party being ambushed to react. If it's not, the ambushing party gets a free turn prior to the normal initiative rolls.

Not sure this is necessary. I could see it working in certain situations, but for this system, I would contend that it's better to leave the initiative it as it is. If I could repeat a sentence from earlier: just because you haven't made a combat check, doesn't mean you haven't taken a shot yet. A flubbed Cool roll could mean you clean missed on your opening "shot."  And now your enemy with the higher Vigilance roll has seen you and can game-mechanically "act" before you get to "act." You have, in essence, given him the upper hand. 

 

However, an opposed Vigilance/Stealth (or Perception/Stealth, situation-depending) is an excellent way to avoid an ambush altogether. IMO, especially in this system, combat avoidance should be a generally accessible option for the PCs. So that sets it up wonderfully, where the PCs can now counter-ambush.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's how I do ambushes:

I make it an opposed vigilance check against a the ambushing party's stealth. If the check succeeds, the ambush is noticed in time for the party being ambushed to react. If it's not, the ambushing party gets a free turn prior to the normal initiative rolls.

 

I like this in general, but as combat rounds aren't fixed units of time this could mean that the ambushed aren't reacting for quite some time.

 

Perhaps the Stealth vs. Vigilance roll replaces initiative entirely, instead of the normal roll?

Maybe Slots occuring after the last ambusher recieve two Setback dice in the first round only, to represent confusion?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...