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bberry77

PC Environment Interaction Guidelines?

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Newbie GM here.  What sort of guidelines do you recommend for letting the PCs "create" their environment.  For example, in the Stormtrooper scene in the Beginner Game: Escape from Mos Shuuta:

 

The PCs have a map of Mos Shuuta and are told where two groups of three stormtrooper minions are located relative to their position (they are also informed that confronting the troopers could be risky)... and the chase begins.

 

After rolling for initiative, the troopers end up with the first slot and do quite a bit of damage to one of the PCs.  On the PCs turn they decide to "notice" an unattended landspeeder which they hop into and make their get away.  I was just sort of winging it at that point and had the troopers get of a few shots before the PCs decided to knock over a water tower (on the map) which spooked some nearby Dewbacks and sent them stampeding towards the troopers allowing the PCs to just barely make it to their destination.

 

For the landspeeder - I let them spend a light side point to introduce it.  For the Dewbacks, I just allowed it.

 

Does anyone have suggestions on dealing with PCs fabricating their surroundings?  Should I put more work into a strict descriptive setting, or is it ok to let them go with their ideas?  Was I way off in my approach mentioned above?

Edited by bberry77

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I think what you did was very appropriate, though I might have required them to flip Destiny for the dewbacks as well.

 

I don't think you need to be super strict in the way of describing literally anything. If you're in a ship hanger in a spaceport, you shouldn't need Destiny to make things appear that logically have a high chance of being there - unloaded crates (cover), refueling equipment (explodes if hit), service droids (could be ordered to disrupt the enemy), etc. But things that merely plausibly could be there and provide a scene-changing advantage, like a land speeder, that's a Destiny point right there.

 

I try to generally describe the big-picture stuff of the area - the boundaries of the room or whatever, applicable cover, entrances and exits, things that block line of sight, and if the PCs think up something else, I'd evaluate how big an advantage it would be for them if it were there. If it's a big advantage, it's Destiny but if it's a small or situational one, I wouldn't add a Destiny surcharge.

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Great - thanks for the input!  

 

As a follow up question, how might I have spent a dark side point in my example?  This is something I have yet to try as I find myself rooting for the PCs in any given scene.  However, I would appreciate some insight on how to spend dark side points in a narrative situation.

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several uses for dark side points come to mind: 1) Use a dark side point to make part of the herd get in the way of the PCs either slowing them down or damaging their craft 2) use a dark side point to damage their speeder from the impact with the water tower possibly disabeling it (that is if they hit the water tower to bring it down)3)Have them drive past an imperial sniper perched on a nearby roof. 4) have the owner of the speeder see them and join the fight or create a bounty on them.

most of these could be done without useing a dark side point, however, since they were not part of the original plan one could be used as a method of keeping the pool flowing.

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If I were to spend a dark side point to cause them to crash... could I first allow the PC driving to make a Piloting check of average difficulty?  If they fail, they crash - perhaps suffering 1 wound per PC on a failed Resilience check (also average difficulty).  Would that be appropriate for a dark side point?

 

If this IS an appropriate expenditure of the dark side point, would the following narration cover this?

 

GM:  Flip a destiny point: dark to light.

 

GM:  "You swerve to avoid a stack of crates, but blaster fire from your pursuers catches your stabilizers - sending you off course, directly towards the base of a communication tower"

 

Now, if they crash with a bunch of Advantage or Triumph, maybe I skip the wounds.  However, if they roll more than two threat or a Despair, I have them each roll for Resiliency: failed check is one wound per PC who fails the roll.

 

Is this too intense for spending destiny points?

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What I would do if the PCs were fleeing in a land speeder they stole, while being shot at.

 

GM: Make a Pilot: Planetary at Hard Difficulty with X number of Setbacks (from going 0 to 60 and dodging crates). I spend a Destiny Point to change 1 Difficulty into a Challenge.

 

*roll - assumes failure and/or leftover Threat*

 

GM: [as you said above - with success + Threat meaning they crash through something and take damage but keep going in the speeder; failure + Threat means crash the speeder and it's wrecked and take damage; success + Advantage = they get away scot free; failure + Advantage = speeder crashes but nobody is injured]

 

Also I think 1 wound isn't a big deal, unless it ignores Soak. Even then it's really not that much. 

Edited by Kshatriya

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I think that is an appropriate use of a dark side point. when useing destiny point to change th stroy line you are starting an arc not completing it. understanding this it is understandable to give the pcs a piloting check. similarly when they flipped the destiny point to have a speeder unlocked that was a good use of a destiny point. That is where it ends though if you had decided that the speeder wouldnt start you could hav required a mechanics check. you could have said it was out of fuel or that it was a junker and that is why it was left unlocked in the gettho. or it could be Temo the Hutts personall speeder or belong to his best assain. they intorduced storyline but it is still upto you to decide where that takes them.

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Kshatriya, you took the words right out of my typing fingers while I was posting a response....

 

Good topic, and a very interesting question.  I'd never considered using a dark side point to initiate a GM-induced case of bad luck, but rather thought it was our prerogative to introduce challenges and scenarios like the water tower.

I have only been using dark side points to upgrade difficulties in a narrative sense to try and "steer" my players from using a method that would seriously disable the plot, --oh, they are crafty ones!-- because (and please please correct me if I'm mistaken) other than via talents and on the fear table, dark side points seem to be the only way to bring in the red dice and get me a despair when I'd like that option.

However, I have made it a point to lie in my proverbial bed once it is made.  If a player asks, "Hey, is there a [insert crafty solution] nearby?" and I say yes, then I make it a point to honor my answer.

Case in point:  A bounty hunter had cornered my players at a Toydarian market, and was implementing his flame thrower.  One player asked, "Is there anything flammable around?  Like, is someone selling hats or clothing of some sort from a merchant stand within arms reach?"  I know how this player loves stuff like this, and was sure that he would come up with something interesting, so I said, sure, there's a Toydarian selling scarves.  He knocked the stand in the way, engulfing it in flames and providing smoke & cover for them to escape.

Now, should I have made them use a destiny point?  I'm not sure.  In Iron Kingdoms, there is a special maneuver where you use your environment in such a way, and it requires the use of what they call a "Hero Point".  I tend to follow the "rule of cool", where if it makes for an exciting story to tell later ("Hey, remember the time when...."), then I allow it.  That's what makes gaming fun.  It's the movie you saw that no one will ever understand if they weren't there.

 

In retrospect, however, I probably should've had him make some kind of easy or average athletics check, using threats & advantages to juice up the encounter.

 

In response to your question, I would have perhaps upgraded the previous roll (maybe piloting?) to give some red, risking a despair, which would make them crash.  Perhaps extra threats via some setback & difficulty die would have provided enough of a risk to require a piloting roll to avoid the tower.

My two cents.  Nice thread.
 

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I love it when my players interact with the environment. If they introduce elements I didn't describe that should reasonably be present I just go with it. If they want to introduce something that is unusual then they can flip a destiny chip.

I also let them spend advantage and triumphs to do things with the environment. In one case they brought down the ceiling of a cantina on a bunch of thugs by firing their blasters into it. I was not expecting that one, but it worked well.

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Very good topic here, I've run a few sessions but hearing little tidbits like this really helps me to get in the mindset and understand the best ways to get the PC's involved.

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