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Aluminium Falcon

Strain and "Combat"

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Via her Politico character's "Scathing Tirade" talent, my girlfreind talked a group of Stormtroopers to death...

I will never stop teasing her about that. :D

 

 

Strain defeating minions and rivals really opened my eyes to the narrative potential of this game.

 

Does anyone have any examples of that sort of victory (or defeat) I can steal... er, um... APPRECIATE?

 

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I don't, but I do place some limitations on it, the most obvious one is, can they hear you?  Not likely in the middle of a gun fight.

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I always laugh at the Scathing Tirade talent, but it does make for some creative narration. If my player ever deals a killing blow with it, I usually throw some narrative aspect on to it so it doesn't sound like the person just talked the enemy to death.

 

For example, my group was in a firefight at an Imperial checkpoint in Mos Eisley. The politico used Scathing Tirade and dealt a killing blow to the minion group. I said that his heckling distracted the stormtroopers and they wandered infront of an oncoming speeder.

 

Another time, the politico used Scathing Tirade to bring the damage on a group of stormtroopers to 5, killing one minion. I said that the stormtroopers were distracted once again and one of them happened to loose track of his line of fire, shooting one of his own in the back.

 

Whenever I play, anytime a player kills an enemy, I try not to say things like "You deal 7 damage, his armor absorbs 2, but he still goes down." I represent every number with a bit of narration. "Your shot pierces through his laminate armor and smoke pours out of the hole as the trooper falls down limply." If they deal some strain with the Scathing Tirade talent, I might say something like, "The stormtrooper is distracted by your relentless shouting and torques his ankle violently as he takes a bad step." It's all about layering on a detailed visual to disguise the monotony that a hit point system can sometimes generate.

Edited by Tyrotron

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I don't, but I do place some limitations on it, the most obvious one is, can they hear you?  Not likely in the middle of a gun fight.

Sure they can, it's Short range only. Just pile on some setback dice for background noise and roll the dice. :)

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Someone once posted that their group used Scathing Tirade to force Mara Jade to drop her lightsaber by telling her that her outfit didn't match. I prefer to think she was just so overcome by rage and disbelief over the comment that she accidentally dropped it.

 

But yeah, I wouldn't always have Strain defeat (especially from Scathing Tirade) translate into death for minion groups. They might just run away or give up. That said, a player's tirade might distract the stormtrooper long enough for another party member to shoot him dead.

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Dealing enough strain to "kill" doesn't mean they actually die. They could be incapacitated, surrender, retreat, or whatever needs to happen to take them out of the situation.

Correct. In fact the rules say that explicitly and it is that exact rule I wanted to explore (apologies for not being clear on that).

Mechanically, it was as much a win as gunning them all down.

 

In my particular anecdote, hearing wasn't an issue as the Slicer had gotten the Politico comm access and she was broadcast right into their helmets.  When they were defeated by taking only strain, I ruled that the whole situation had become sufficently annoying/confusing for the troopers that the squad leader ordered the them to go to radio silence (from the troopers' POV the comms were compromised from a narrative standpoint I ruled that calling for backup was not a sufficent defeat to represent what had occured...  at least here) and fall back (I also ruled that they would eventually raise an alert in person, but much time was bought). As Stormtroopers are "faceless goons", one can easily imagine that those specific troopers were stil out there as part of another encounter.

 

This does inspire me to create two "stand out Stormtroopers" based on Henchmen 21 and 24 from "The Venture Bros.".  No altered stats or abilities, except a sort of inverse take on strain as wounds (that is to say, wounds as strain) so that even gunned down, they are still out there gripiing about how much getting hit with a blaster sucks.

Edited by Aluminium Falcon

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My first character tried to use Scathing Tirade as his only method of attack. It seemed like it would be a decent way to be somewhat helpful in combat. Give out some black dice and do a few points of damage to someone. The problem was that my dice never behaved. I rolled nothing but successes. I couldn't get advantages to pile on the damage onto a single bad guy. I wish there was a mechanic for trading successes into advantages or vice versa. Perhaps a talent that lets you do that for social skills.

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My first character tried to use Scathing Tirade as his only method of attack. It seemed like it would be a decent way to be somewhat helpful in combat. Give out some black dice and do a few points of damage to someone. The problem was that my dice never behaved. I rolled nothing but successes. I couldn't get advantages to pile on the damage onto a single bad guy. I wish there was a mechanic for trading successes into advantages or vice versa. Perhaps a talent that lets you do that for social skills.

To get it to work really well you have to focus on Willpower and raise the heck out of Coercion, then get at least a couple ranks of Smooth Talker from a spec that has it and pick Coercion for that.  You put that all together and you can get good results consistently from it,  That set up lets you double dip Successes and Advantages on a single target.

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I wish there was a mechanic for trading successes into advantages or vice versa. Perhaps a talent that lets you do that for social skills.

 

Kind of glad there isn't.  I can't imagine how long it would take some people in my group to figure out the optimum conversion.  Anyway, the Talents that reduce setback or downgrade difficulty effectively do the same thing.

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My first character tried to use Scathing Tirade as his only method of attack. It seemed like it would be a decent way to be somewhat helpful in combat. Give out some black dice and do a few points of damage to someone. The problem was that my dice never behaved. I rolled nothing but successes. I couldn't get advantages to pile on the damage onto a single bad guy. I wish there was a mechanic for trading successes into advantages or vice versa. Perhaps a talent that lets you do that for social skills.

To get it to work really well you have to focus on Willpower and raise the heck out of Coercion, then get at least a couple ranks of Smooth Talker from a spec that has it and pick Coercion for that.  You put that all together and you can get good results consistently from it,  That set up lets you double dip Successes and Advantages on a single target.

 

 

I don't understand. I'm away from my book, so I can't look up the full description of Smooth Talker, but the short description on the talent trees is for spending Triumphs for extra Successes. That doesn't get you any more Advantages.

 

By the time that character retired I was at 3 Willpower, 5 Coercion, and Force Power Influence with the Control upgrade. I was working towards a second Force Rating and Sense Emotions. I also found out that you cannot double dip Influence w/ Control and Overwhelm Emotions, which feels like a design flaw to me.

 

A common roll for me would be 5 successes and a white pip on the force die. My dice hate rolling advantages. Which means that I could hit all both of the enemies in front of me but could only deal two strain to one of them. Sure, if I waded into combat I could hit most of the enemies for a point and give them all black dice, but being in short range of a bunch of enemies is very dangerous for an unarmed Politico.

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No, but Scathing Tirade isn't a unique Action, it tells you to make a Coercion check.  Looking at Coercion, a Success equals a Strain on a target, for every two additional Successes on a Coercion check you can inflict another Strain.  Smooth Talker allows you to flip Triumphs into a greater and greater number of Successes depending the ranks of it you have purchased.  So it makes your Coercion checks more effective.  Since Scathing Tirade isn't a unique Action and it tells you that you are making a Coercion check, combining a Smooth Talker enhanced Coercion check, with Scathing Tirade lets you maximize Strain inflicted via both Successes and Advantages.  A high Skill rank in Coercion and a high Willpower means a large pool of Yellow dice which raises the likelihood of Triumphs, so more Successes and more Strain inflicted.

Edited by 2P51

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No, but Scathing Tirade isn't a unique Action, it tells you to make a Coercion check.  Looking at Coercion, a Success equals a Strain on a target, for every two additional Successes on a Coercion check you can inflict another Strain.  Smooth Talker allows you to flip Triumphs into a greater and greater number of Successes depending the ranks of it you have purchased.  So it makes your Coercion checks more effective.  Since Scathing Tirade isn't a unique Action and it tells you that you are making a Coercion check, combining a Smooth Talker enhanced Coercion check, with Scathing Tirade lets you maximize Strain inflicted via both Successes and Advantages.  A high Skill rank in Coercion and a high Willpower means a large pool of Yellow dice which raises the likelihood of Triumphs, so more Successes and more Strain inflicted.

I would disagree. Scathing Tirade is very much a unique action (you can't get the same effect from Coercion without the talent) and it differs from normal Coercion in that it has a fixed Difficulty (rather than a check opposed by Discipline).

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it's not that i think "scathing tirade" as written kills. i understand that this is not the case. (actually, that it doesn't have to be the case. it could be if you play it raw.)

 

i still have a problem imagining any reasonable scenario where anyone would be "defeated" by nasty words only.

 

could anyone give examples? star wars relevance for bonus points.

 

i don't think it is implemented very well as a combat skill. and that's what it is as written... a combat skill. i can imagine it being used outside of combat. it could even "defeat" someone outside of combat. (you'd need to tweak the rules for that i guess).

 

but when used as a combat skill i think the idea of the tirade only debuffing enemies is much more reasonable. you can weaken them, but you have to defeat them with other means. this also fits better with the politico being more of a support character.

 

"improved scathing tirade" should be the default power, with improving talents adding more setback dice or other effects. the worst thing that can happen is when a player uses scything tirade as a default "attack". this would result in a joke character talking smack through every fight. scating tirades should be rare. if they are not, they become boring fast.

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the worst thing that can happen is when a player uses scything tirade as a default "attack". this would result in a joke character talking smack through every fight. scating tirades should be rare. if they are not, they become boring fast.

Yeah, I've seen those action movies with Chris Tucker in them... :wacko:

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No, but Scathing Tirade isn't a unique Action, it tells you to make a Coercion check.  Looking at Coercion, a Success equals a Strain on a target, for every two additional Successes on a Coercion check you can inflict another Strain.  Smooth Talker allows you to flip Triumphs into a greater and greater number of Successes depending the ranks of it you have purchased.  So it makes your Coercion checks more effective.  Since Scathing Tirade isn't a unique Action and it tells you that you are making a Coercion check, combining a Smooth Talker enhanced Coercion check, with Scathing Tirade lets you maximize Strain inflicted via both Successes and Advantages.  A high Skill rank in Coercion and a high Willpower means a large pool of Yellow dice which raises the likelihood of Triumphs, so more Successes and more Strain inflicted.

I would disagree. Scathing Tirade is very much a unique action (you can't get the same effect from Coercion without the talent) and it differs from normal Coercion in that it has a fixed Difficulty (rather than a check opposed by Discipline).

 

Scathing Tirade says make a Coercion check.  It is not a unique Action.  It is a Talent that buffs an Action/existing skill check.

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No, but Scathing Tirade isn't a unique Action, it tells you to make a Coercion check.  Looking at Coercion, a Success equals a Strain on a target, for every two additional Successes on a Coercion check you can inflict another Strain.  Smooth Talker allows you to flip Triumphs into a greater and greater number of Successes depending the ranks of it you have purchased.  So it makes your Coercion checks more effective.  Since Scathing Tirade isn't a unique Action and it tells you that you are making a Coercion check, combining a Smooth Talker enhanced Coercion check, with Scathing Tirade lets you maximize Strain inflicted via both Successes and Advantages.  A high Skill rank in Coercion and a high Willpower means a large pool of Yellow dice which raises the likelihood of Triumphs, so more Successes and more Strain inflicted.

I would disagree. Scathing Tirade is very much a unique action (you can't get the same effect from Coercion without the talent) and it differs from normal Coercion in that it has a fixed Difficulty (rather than a check opposed by Discipline).

 

Scathing Tirade says make a Coercion check.  It is not a unique Action.  It is a Talent that buffs an Action/existing skill check.

 

In my view, anything that requires a Talent or other ability to get a certain use out of a skill is a unique action. For example, not everyone with Mechanics can do what Bad Motivator allows, nor can just anyone with Resilience do a damaging bellow like an Ithorian.

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Semantics.  The point being there are rules for what can be done with a Coercion check and there is nothing in Scathing Tirade that says you ignore the aspects of a Coercion check when using Scathing Tirade, therefore there is nothing RAW that says what I propose can't be done.

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Semantics.  The point being there are rules for what can be done with a Coercion check and there is nothing in Scathing Tirade that says you ignore the aspects of a Coercion check when using Scathing Tirade, therefore there is nothing RAW that says what I propose can't be done.

Do you allow other double dips as well? For example, can a character with Field Commander and Inspiring Rhetoric use both together since they both use Leadership? Can a character roll Discipline to resist Fear and also activate Hard headed with the same roll? I tend to think that any specialized use of a skill - such as from the mentioned talents - overwrites the basic use of the skill as described in the skills section.

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it's not that i think "scathing tirade" as written kills. i understand that this is not the case. (actually, that it doesn't have to be the case. it could be if you play it raw.)

 

i still have a problem imagining any reasonable scenario where anyone would be "defeated" by nasty words only.

 

could anyone give examples? star wars relevance for bonus points.

 

i don't think it is implemented very well as a combat skill. and that's what it is as written... a combat skill. i can imagine it being used outside of combat. it could even "defeat" someone outside of combat. (you'd need to tweak the rules for that i guess).

 

but when used as a combat skill i think the idea of the tirade only debuffing enemies is much more reasonable. you can weaken them, but you have to defeat them with other means. this also fits better with the politico being more of a support character.

 

"improved scathing tirade" should be the default power, with improving talents adding more setback dice or other effects. the worst thing that can happen is when a player uses scything tirade as a default "attack". this would result in a joke character talking smack through every fight. scating tirades should be rare. if they are not, they become boring fast.

 

The way we played Tirade the one time it killed was a bit of revisionist history. The last blaster shot that hit the enemy had actually killed him and he was on his last legs. The Tirade was just enough for him to give up the fight.

 

I don't know if talking had ever been used to "defeat" someone in star wars. Everyone is so prone to violence in those movies. Heck, even Obi Wan would rather cut off arms instead of talking. But for a film example that is fitting for this conversation, how about Dirty Harry's "Do you feel lucky" scene? The punk has been hurt and is going for his shotgun. Harry gives his speech, which if you ask me could be a Tirade. The punk gives up instead of fighting. To me, that's an example of strain damage "killing" a minion.

 

I'll agree with your assessment, that Tirade is written as a combat skill. A handful of points of strain damage doesn't really mean anything to most NPCs. Minions and Rivals just see it as a couple extra points of damage, no big whoop. Nemesis actually use strain for things, but by the time you do enough strain damage with Tirade to do anything meaningful the fight's already over. The setback die is useful, but in my experiences it isn't as powerful as I think the designers thought it would be. The threat of gaining a setback die has never stopped me from doing anything.

 

Honestly, I feel that strain damage is best against the PCs. Sure, there are ways to recover it in combat and between fights. The trick is to force them to manage the strain resource. If you keep PC strain low then they will think twice before buying extra maneuvers or dodging or other fun stuff. NPCs don't worry about that.

 

I too feel that Tirade needs something. I don't feel like it's getting the desired effect. I wish it was more debuffing effects instead of strain damage. As written, it does feel like a combat power intended to give Politicos a way to fight back with their words. It just isn't very effective at doing something very meaningful in the combat.

 

As someone who played a Tirade character, it didn't get boring for me. It was fun (and sometimes frustrating) to come up with new things to yell at the bad guys. It kept me more involved in the game than if I was just shooting. I had to use more strategy to stay alive and affect the bad guys. Where as everyone shooting is on autopilot, only aiming and shooting, which sounds boring to me.

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But for a film example that is fitting for this conversation, how about Dirty Harry's "Do you feel lucky" scene? The punk has been hurt and is going for his shotgun. Harry gives his speech, which if you ask me could be a Tirade. The punk gives up instead of fighting. To me, that's an example of strain damage "killing" a minion.

 

This.

 

If anything, it shows how much the crunch (numbers) in the system are simply a foundation for the narrative. When the dice are rolled for a scathing tirade, and mathmatically it "kills" a minion, it's obvious that the minion wasn't killed by the frothing spittle of the one carrying out the tirade. Rather, they give up, surrender, retreat, or are otherwise removed from the fight.

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Semantics.  The point being there are rules for what can be done with a Coercion check and there is nothing in Scathing Tirade that says you ignore the aspects of a Coercion check when using Scathing Tirade, therefore there is nothing RAW that says what I propose can't be done.

Do you allow other double dips as well? For example, can a character with Field Commander and Inspiring Rhetoric use both together since they both use Leadership? Can a character roll Discipline to resist Fear and also activate Hard headed with the same roll? I tend to think that any specialized use of a skill - such as from the mentioned talents - overwrites the basic use of the skill as described in the skills section.

 

No because they are separate effects.  The example with Scathing Tirade is the same as using Frenzied Attack in conjunction with Stunning Blow on a melee attack.  The talents are modifying the skill check for the same objective, Field Commander and Inspiring Rhetoric are not accomplishing the same objective.  Scathing Tirade is simply adding utility to a Coercion check in exact same way Stunning Blow adds a utility to a melee check.

 

Bad Motivator isn't looking to repair a piece of equipment.  That's not its intent nor its effect.  Scathing Tirade is being used to inflict Strain, that is the intent and use of Coercion.

Edited by 2P51

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how about Dirty Harry's "Do you feel lucky" scene? The punk has been hurt and is going for his shotgun. Harry gives his speech, which if you ask me could be a Tirade. The punk gives up instead of fighting. To me, that's an example of strain damage "killing" a minion.

 

Honestly, I feel that strain damage is best against the PCs.

 

As someone who played a Tirade character, it didn't get boring for me. It was fun (and sometimes frustrating) to come up with new things to yell at the bad guys.

 

that's a good example. but i think it also strenghtens my argument that these kinds of actions should be rare. because most of the time harry shoots people. (actually, i don't know the dirty harry movies that well, so i could be wrong about this. :))

 

i could also argue that it was just a successful intimidation roll on harry's part, but i won't. ;)

 

i agree that it is a talent best used against the pcs.

 

if i may ask, how often did you use it? in every fight? if that, how often did your group fight?

 

i think players should never be frustrated when using his abilities. if they are, there's something wrong with the ability i question. wouldn't you agree?

 

i think a solution for me would be to make scathing tirade more powerful (more strain damage?), but limit it to once/session, like some other talents.

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