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rafaelsmoreno

Initiative - is it me or this rule sucks?

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By passing a Stealth vs. Perception/Vigilance roll, I say the ambushing party is entitled to the free round to attack, as well as a Boost die to their combat for attacking someone who totally isn't expecting it (in addition to any Boost dice from Quick Strike ranks). This kind of mechanic is implied in the description of the Forsee power in AoR, IMO.

AFTER this suprise round, initiative is rolled with the ambushing party using Cool to determine their initiative, and the ambushed party using Vigilance.

Exceptions to this rule-of-thumb are abound in my game based on who's aware of who, but generally speaking I feel a free action and a Boost die is a fair way to represent an ambush. It's brutal, but that's why getting the jump on one's opponent is one of the utlimate tactical victories.

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I had an ambush happen last night. My players got a little grumbly when my Stormtroopers rocked their vigilance rolls, but I feel like I did it right. I gave them all an upgrade to their cool checks because of a well planned ambush (a boost or two may have been more appropriate) but the Stormtroopers still rolled some of the best rolls they could have. They tried to tell me that if they're acting first, then they have no targets, since the players hadn't acted to spring their ambush yet, but I didn't agree. I told them they sniffed out the ambush, and when the players vaulted over to attack, the Stormtroopers got the first shots off. My players were disappointed, but any failed roll is a disappointment.

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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.

 

I disagree that they are necessary to fill different needs, especially Cool vs Discipline, and I also disagree with your definitions on those subjects as well. Seems like the devs wanted to make a mechanical distinction between Obi-Wan and Han's reactions to life-or-death situations and I just don't think that's good enough justification for a separate mechanic.

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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: . .

Omg... I have no idea what all that is... But from my perspective, some guy talks, lots of banging and explosions, some dramatic music and, finally, a squealing pig with more banging.

(don't worry, I'll get someone here to help me but this horrible combination of sounds made milk come out of my nose so I had to comment)

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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.

I disagree that they are necessary to fill different needs, especially Cool vs Discipline, and I also disagree with your definitions on those subjects as well. Seems like the devs wanted to make a mechanical distinction between Obi-Wan and Han's reactions to life-or-death situations and I just don't think that's good enough justification for a separate mechanic.
Nonetheless, there have been many examples now of how other players make distinctions between "the similar skills." Regardless of whether one disagrees that they are necessary, many players are fine rolling with them and have given solid examples of how they make the distinctions. And there are also obviously groups that don't miss having one or more of those skills at the table. Best to agree to disagree at this point, I feel, because otherwise we just keep repeating ourselves (I indict myself on this matter too...). Edited by awayputurwpn

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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: . .

Omg... I have no idea what all that is... But from my perspective, some guy talks, lots of banging and explosions, some dramatic music and, finally, a squealing pig with more banging.

(don't worry, I'll get someone here to help me but this horrible combination of sounds made milk come out of my nose so I had to comment)

 

 

Oh, the youth of today. Okay, your homework assignment for this weekend is to go track down a copy of Robocop. Not the crappy 2014 remake, not the woeful inadequate Robocop 2 and 3, but the original, awesome eighties action movie version:

 

 

And then once you've done that, come back here and give the class your report.

 

(For extra credit, get the original Total Recall at the same time. You're welcome.)

Edited by Desslok

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If I were running a game, I'd probably use Cool as follows:

 

Cool: if you're setting an ambush, or readying yourself to perform some sudden action while interacting with someone (draw down, run for the exit, whatever), you'd roll Cool opposed by your opponent's Vigilance (rather than against a Simple check--this is really where I dislike the rules on Initiative; this check should often be opposed, but there isn't really anything in the book to give you an idea of how that should be done). Failed rolls would represent your having given yourself away somehow--maybe you've too obviously moved your hand toward your gun, or turned your feet to ready yourself to sprint--and your opponent reacts to your "tell" and goes before you. The difficult part of adjudicating this would actually be filling in the table since you're not rolling for two groups...perhaps have the standard Cool/Vigilance vs. Simple check for both sides, and any opponents who are higher up in the initiative merely represent those that have been tipped off?

 

It seems odd to me that the game is largely built around a single person assembling a single pool of dice for nearly all situations, yet Initiative is determined by both sides rolling unopposed pools that they are compared to one another.

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Some people are better under pressure than they are when they are prepared. Think about it, if you've just set an ambush and are waiting for the enemy, and you KNOW you're about to be in a firefight, some people will get anxious and screw it up. They're not COOL enough to sit and wait for a highly violent confrontation, where they know people are going to die and they may be one of them.

Take that same jumpy individual, take away their knowledge of the soon to be violent conflict and they will react swiftly when it's time to save their own hide.

The rule makes perfect sense. Some folks just don't like it.

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My problem with this is that none of the Specializations for the two main fighter careers (Bounty Hunter and Hired Gun) have Cool as a career skill.  These guys are trained killers, and especially the Assassin should be able to go boldly into battle and take initiative well.  I get the narrative bit of using Cool, but it seems like someone didn't think the careers through, then.

 

Your thoughts?  Should the combat classes be good at getting initiative when they start a fight?

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Well most of this thread is moot anyway ;)

 

As GM's you will all run things so that they meet the #1 requirement of an RPG.  Everyone has fun. 

 

So that means you will tweak as needed to fit your groups unique style.  And every group has one. 

 

In my opinion, and it is just an opinion, a lot of people when playing role playing games wind up applying 'proper word definitions' or what they consider proper based on where they live, to terms that the game designers have redefined.  Once I tossed aside my 'preconceptions' and actually read the definitions for the characteristics and skills as they are written in the book, I understood the choices they made for the rules as written.   While I may have opinions and ideas of how I would have done it differently, I understand and can use the rules as intended. 

 

Another thing that also changes things is that the initiative system is not like other initiative systems.   In most games, initiative defines a specific action order for each specific character.  But in EotE it does not.  Instead it defines a group of slots for each side but lets each group decide in play who uses and when they use each slot.  On round one I could go first and then in round 2 decide to go last if the slots were there.  A unique approach that adds a dynamic quality to the game. 

 

Also I wanted to make sure no one thought I was being deliberately contrary.   While my current gaming group is a more or less closed/private group,  I am working up to running an open store game (Some of my gaming friends also own a FLGS).  Which is the reason I keep going back to Rules as Written and being able to find solutions within the system with no house rules.    Not because I am against house rules, but because I don't want them to creep in during a Demo or Store game with a beginning player(s) who are just learning. 

 

So if I appear to be being stubborn or intractable please don't take it as personal.  It isn't meant as such.  Our goals in the discussion may just be different. 

Edited by SSand

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My problem with this is that none of the Specializations for the two main fighter careers (Bounty Hunter and Hired Gun) have Cool as a career skill.  These guys are trained killers, and especially the Assassin should be able to go boldly into battle and take initiative well.  I get the narrative bit of using Cool, but it seems like someone didn't think the careers through, then.

 

Your thoughts?  Should the combat classes be good at getting initiative when they start a fight?

This is precisely why I allow for a "surprise round", so to speak. Bounty Hunters and Hired Guns may not have easy access to Cool, but Bounty Hunters can get stuff like Stealth ranks and Stalker ranks easily enough and Hired Gun's aren't typically all that subtle about their art and artifice besides.

Giving ambushers a free action before initiative is rolled AND a Boost die to combat checks against unaware opponents makes getting ambushed the LAST thing anyone wants to happen to them -- hence taking ranks in things like Perception and Vigilance. Cool, then, becomes an afterthought for would-be ambushers in comparison to Stealth. As it should be, says I.

In any case, I find this conversation fascinating. So many answers, and none of them particularly right or particularly wrong. Personally, I think I might show my players this thread, have a discussion, and try different things in different situations and see how we like it. :)

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My problem with this is that none of the Specializations for the two main fighter careers (Bounty Hunter and Hired Gun) have Cool as a career skill.  These guys are trained killers, and especially the Assassin should be able to go boldly into battle and take initiative well.  I get the narrative bit of using Cool, but it seems like someone didn't think the careers through, then.

 

Your thoughts?  Should the combat classes be good at getting initiative when they start a fight?

I think it's sort of ludicrous that the Assassin doesn't get the "win at shooting first in an ambush" skill. I THINK AOR's Soldier/Sharpshooter gets it though.

 

 

Some people are better under pressure than they are when they are prepared. Think about it, if you've just set an ambush and are waiting for the enemy, and you KNOW you're about to be in a firefight, some people will get anxious and screw it up. They're not COOL enough to sit and wait for a highly violent confrontation, where they know people are going to die and they may be one of them.

 

Well, I think my perspective on "why this isn't different enough from Discipline to need to be separate" is well-logged at this point :P

Edited by Kshatriya

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In any case, I find this conversation fascinating. So many answers, and none of them particularly right or particularly wrong. Personally, I think I might show my players this thread, have a discussion, and try different things in different situations and see how we like it. :)

 

 

The argument of Cool Vs Vigilance comes up every game with my players. Every game I explain to them the difference. I think they understand the difference but they still had doubts.

 

I actually did show them this thread. I hope it does clear things up. Both sides have really good points.

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The argument of Cool Vs Vigilance comes up every game with my players. Every game I explain to them the difference. I think they understand the difference but they still had doubts.

 

I actually did show them this thread. I hope it does clear things up. Both sides have really good points.

 

Every game? That would just get tedious to me.

I'd just set up a rule. "If I want Cool I will ask for Cool, if I want Vigilance, I'll ask for it, if I'll accept either, I will call for either."

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In any case, I find this conversation fascinating. So many answers, and none of them particularly right or particularly wrong. Personally, I think I might show my players this thread, have a discussion, and try different things in different situations and see how we like it. :)

 

 

The argument of Cool Vs Vigilance comes up every game with my players. Every game I explain to them the difference. I think they understand the difference but they still had doubts.

 

I actually did show them this thread. I hope it does clear things up. Both sides have really good points.

 

 

At a certain point "because I'm the GM and I say so, now roll so we can start killing people" is allowed.

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In any case, I find this conversation fascinating. So many answers, and none of them particularly right or particularly wrong. Personally, I think I might show my players this thread, have a discussion, and try different things in different situations and see how we like it. :)

 

 

The argument of Cool Vs Vigilance comes up every game with my players. Every game I explain to them the difference. I think they understand the difference but they still had doubts.

 

I actually did show them this thread. I hope it does clear things up. Both sides have really good points.

 

 

At a certain point "because I'm the GM and I say so, now roll so we can start killing people" is allowed.

 

 

I ended up losing my own cool last game and said something like this, only not in the tongue-in-cheek way you put it.

 

I should mention that I didn't threaten them, I'm not that petty :P

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In any case, I find this conversation fascinating. So many answers, and none of them particularly right or particularly wrong. Personally, I think I might show my players this thread, have a discussion, and try different things in different situations and see how we like it. :)

 

 

The argument of Cool Vs Vigilance comes up every game with my players. Every game I explain to them the difference. I think they understand the difference but they still had doubts.

 

I actually did show them this thread. I hope it does clear things up. Both sides have really good points.

 

 

At a certain point "because I'm the GM and I say so, now roll so we can start killing people" is allowed.

 

 

I ended up losing my own cool last game and said something like this, only not in the tongue-in-cheek way you put it.

 

I should mention that I didn't threaten them, I'm not that petty :P

 

Gaming can get like that sometimes. I lost my cool last session when I found out that some people weren't keeping track of their XP, and one guy was rebuying talents he already had because he prefered not to print out his talent trees in lieu of "doing it in his head". I told him LAST JULY when the game started that he should probably just print out his talent trees to reduce book-keeping and confusion, so when I'm proven right at a point where the man has 780 XP to account for it can get pretty frustrating.

As a GM I'm used to caring more about book-keeping and the nuances of the rules than my players typically do, though. This is nothing new, and the right solution presented itself after I had smoked a bowl (sue me) and cleared my head; ASK THE PLAYERS FOR HELP. As a result, this weekend I can look forward to a particular player passing out talent tree sheets, vehicle sheets, and neat little "NPC sheets" he created for keeping track of NPCs as they're encountered.

GMs have a lot of responsibilities, and I think the respect we get for taking on those responsibilities gets to our heads on occaison, causing us to fail to mention when we feel stressed or over-worked. If you're a GM, keep in mind that YOU DESERVE TO HAVE FUN TOO, so asking for help isn't out-of-bounds. You'll be surpised how amenable most players are to lending a hand!

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We had this topic come up when someone's vigilance was higher than cool and they thought they were being penalized for being prepared. My GM told him that, if he wanted to go in unprepared, he should holster his weapon, put away the things he took out for the fight and walk in backwards. While he might get the better roll if he wasn't, he was certainly a lot better off being prepared. I don't know if that works all the time but it seems to have put an end to that discussion.

Plus, unless you're alone, you're just rolling to create a slot in the list. The group's going to allocate which PC goes where and what each player rolled isn't important. Even if you roll high, you might go last based on what you can do vs. what's needed up front.

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My report will have to wait approximately 17 months. Both movies are rated R...

 

Okay then - I'm holding you to that. Come back here after 1.5 birthdays and we'll talk.

 

This is precisely why I allow for a "surprise round", so to speak. Bounty Hunters and Hired Guns may not have easy access to Cool, but Bounty Hunters can get stuff like Stealth ranks and Stalker ranks easily enough and Hired Gun's aren't typically all that subtle about their art and artifice besides.

 

You know, we've never actually come out and said such at our table, but that's pretty much what we've been doing all along - well, without the Blue Die (which I might include in the future).

 

I lost my cool last session when I found out that some people weren't keeping track of their XP, and one guy was rebuying talents he already had because he prefered not to print out his talent trees in lieu of "doing it in his head". I told him LAST JULY when the game started that he should probably just print out his talent trees to reduce book-keeping and confusion, so when I'm proven right at a point where the man has 780 XP to account for it can get pretty frustrating.

 

Wow, keeping track of 50% of your sheet in your head? That's insane! At the very least, I need my printout in front of me so I know what everything does, what talents remove blacks and so on. But then I'm big on order and orginization in my game. My teeth start to itch when I get behind in my Adventure Log a week or so.

 

(Also, for the record, I would make a TERRIBLE gamemaster while baked. I've not tried, but it's all about know thyself :) )

Edited by Desslok

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We had this topic come up when someone's vigilance was higher than cool and they thought they were being penalized for being prepared. My GM told him that, if he wanted to go in unprepared, he should holster his weapon, put away the things he took out for the fight and walk in backwards. While he might get the better roll if he wasn't, he was certainly a lot better off being prepared. I don't know if that works all the time but it seems to have put an end to that discussion.

Plus, unless you're alone, you're just rolling to create a slot in the list. The group's going to allocate which PC goes where and what each player rolled isn't important. Even if you roll high, you might go last based on what you can do vs. what's needed up front.

 

I am going to print this out and frame it. Thank you, PrettyHaley.

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Plus, unless you're alone, you're just rolling to create a slot in the list. The group's going to allocate which PC goes where and what each player rolled isn't important. Even if you roll high, you might go last based on what you can do vs. what's needed up front.

This is ultimately what I said the next day when I thought back on it. Once I reminded them they are setting up slots, they backed off.

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Wow, keeping track of 50% of your sheet in your head? That's insane! At the very least, I need my printout in front of me so I know what everything does, what talents remove blacks and so on. But then I'm big on order and orginization in my game. My teeth start to itch when I get behind in my Adventure Log a week or so.

 

(Also, for the record, I would make a TERRIBLE gamemaster while baked. I've not tried, but it's all about know thyself :) )

 

Maybe I'm the odd one out here, but when I'm in a game I generally know my sheet very well and have a pretty good idea about what is on other player sheets to boot.

Tracking gear is it's own beast. I dont know for sure if I have one stimpack left or two (Zero? Well ****). But knowing my talents is just how I roll (this thread needs more puns).

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Knowing your talents is one thing, but knowing which talents you bought on the tree in which order is another thing entirely. It's really easy to keep track of -- all you need to do is print out your talent trees and check off what you have -- but when you're "doing it in your head" it gets more difficult. (You'll have no idea how close you are to Dedication, for instance.)

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