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Ways the rules could be better

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I like most of house rules posted on forums. Long time ago we had a list with a few of house rules but now, I'll try to preserve the essence as so much as I can.

 

After a pair of messages with Sam asking about "concept" instead mechanics, I will try to do it.

 

As I said, scale and canon until now would be the only patches, but I'm always open to new and good ones :D

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Considering the types of stories Star Wars is made up of and how those stories are told and built. No. I have no issues with the rules. This system does in more ways than any earlier edition/version enable us to tell Star Wars stories as far as I'm concerned.

 

Of course the understanding of that will differ, but given the premisses and some of the rather thin plot lines and obvious plot holes in the films, that's part and parcel in my opinion.

 

Sure it doesn't fit into more conventional "realistic" ideals and premisses a lot of other rpgs have tried to cultivate, but that's fine with me. It's a galaxy where space ships behave like aeroplanes, there's sound in space and stuff like that. It's wonderful and fantastic, not very realistic. To me that's (become) essential to the story telling and playing of Star Wars games. The rules does indeed work perfectly (or nigh on) for just that.

kaosoe, Daeglan, Maelora and 2 others like this

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I don't have any major problems, after ditching most of the mechanics of Obligation/Duty/Morality and keeping them mostly as narrative. They seem a hold-over from the WHFRP3 system and the book-keeping is too fiddly for the games I want to run.

 

If I was building the system from the ground-up, I'd fold Astrogation into Computers.  I'd make Athletics/Coordination into one skill you could use with two attributes (Brawn and Agility) depending on what you were doing. I'd do the same with Streetwise/Knowledge Underworld, Cool/Discipline, Perception/Vigilance.

 

The major rules thing is Soak, as people have said. It makes no sense for someone to have 8+ Soak while naked. I know this is supposed to be cinematic, but someone being shot or stabbed should take some damage, no matter how tough they are. "I keep stabbing or shooting him, but he just rolls over and goes back to sleep!"  

 

Occasionally I've had to rule that Soak, armour etc only applies during combat; outside of combat, narrative decides who lives and dies.  I've used this mostly for blowing up ships and vehicles (especially for those hurled by Move to Extreme range) but I'd also use it where someone has a gun to your head or knife to your throat.  In these cases, I don't care how much Soak you have, if someone has a gun to your head and pulls the trigger, you're dead.

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I'm not really one for house rules but I do feel like adopting the rule that "at least one point of damage gets past soak on a successful hit" might not be a bad idea.

Maybe if Damage is within 3 points of Soak you suffer 1 Strain (i.e. your armour may have saved you, but you get bruised).

Upon reflection I think I like both of these, to wit:

On a successful hit that ends up completely soaked, 1 wound or 1 strain will be applied (PCs choice).

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I think soak should be a more expensive resource to increase. It's quite easy to make a soak monster that can turn around and be quite formidable offensively.

I think high soak values, especially in a character like the marauder, turns the play into something comparable to an mmo - you have one single tank char which is designated to take ALL of the damage while everyone else does his best to keep him alive or deal out high amounts of damage. Once he falls, you have a guaranteed TPK - so make it clear to the player that everything depends on him staying alive and provoking the enemy and go for encounters that allow this player to do so...the net result will be some nice or harsh group dynamics and everyone anxious about each and every die roll. Just make sure you have some good roleplaying consequences if you don't want to let the group die on a bad day and rather have them feel what it means to lie unconscious at the feet of their enemies...

Edited by Derwisch77

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Then you should walk away from RPGs. As they are where MMOs come from and the idea of tanking etc. comes from RPGs. That idea is an old one. Fighters to the front so the mage can be artillery and the priest does the healing. Not the other way around.

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I seriously don't like the MMO thing either.

 

Yes, to some degree you'll always have your protected types take the hits and the 'squishier' ones stay back, but I hate the whole MMO thing forcing characters to be a 'tank' or 'DPS' or whatever. Most people had enough of that in D&D 4E, which was one of the worst versions of an RPG ever. In fact, one thing the new D&D system does well is that you can build your 'fighter' as a lightly-armoured archer or have a mage wearing heavy armour.

 

It really doesn't feel 'Star Wars-y' either. Even in AoR, where the squad members are realistically specialised, I've made sure everyone has a wider range of skills.  Yes, the Commando is a beast in combat, but also serves as party healer.  Our Commander is comfortable leading on the ground or in the air and general support. Our pilot is happy toting a rifle into a ground fight when necessary. The mechanic has Force powers for when the demolitions don't cut it. Only the Diplomat is really specialised, and even then she covers the whole 'Face' role as well as some leadership and trading/procurement. And as for EoE, even less reason for them to march in lockstep.

 

This game is supposed to be more than combat-only, and if a GM isn't testing the players in several areas, they're not really doing it right.  Even combat characters should be encouraged to branch out and be tested in other things.

Edited by Maelora
N4n0 likes this

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Then you should walk away from RPGs. As they are where MMOs come from and the idea of tanking etc. comes from RPGs. That idea is an old one. Fighters to the front so the mage can be artillery and the priest does the healing. Not the other way around.

I know where MMOs derived their concepts from.  It doesn't change the fact that rpgs as a whole have evolved past Mr Gygax's original mass combat inspired rules.  Only MMOs went further down this rabbit hole and to my mind, that wasn't a good thing.

 

 

As I said, I won't allow my table game to become an MMO.  I will switch systems first.

knasserII likes this

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Occasionally I've had to rule that Soak, armour etc only applies during combat; outside of combat, narrative decides who lives and dies.  I've used this mostly for blowing up ships and vehicles (especially for those hurled by Move to Extreme range) but I'd also use it where someone has a gun to your head or knife to your throat.  In these cases, I don't care how much Soak you have, if someone has a gun to your head and pulls the trigger, you're dead.

 

I maybe talking non-sense here, but this is "mechanically" handled in some system using the coup de grace mechanic. If a target is eligible for a coup de grace then the attack always hit and do a bazzilion of damage to ensure killing. In the end, it does not make a difference, is just a piece of useless culture.

 

Then you should walk away from RPGs. As they are where MMOs come from and the idea of tanking etc. comes from RPGs. That idea is an old one. Fighters to the front so the mage can be artillery and the priest does the healing. Not the other way around.

 

I think the problem here is how the combat has to be "dumbed" for it to work. On the old ages a knight in armor, with a magic shield, could keep a single beast entertained in order to give the wizard time to prepare his spell. In a blaster fight, would be kinda silly to have a dude standing there eating blaster while the rest of the crew take cover behind him and the enemies does not try to flank him. This is not star wars. (unless the guy is a jedi)

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I'll switch systems before I let my table game become an MMO in any way shape or form.

Maybe you should rather switch players instead of system if that happens. In the 25 years I have been playing RPGs, I have not come across a single one which could not be meta-played to turn MMO hackfest style. I've run into this same trap with my group right now and decided to split the group into two because the alternative would have been to kick the power gamers out. Personaly I think "Team Rambo"(the new hackfest group) will lose a lot of that great 'Star Wars-y' feel "Team Gandhi"(the guys in for the mood) will experience, but the system as is lends to both styles enough that both groups might enjoy it.

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Soak is nothing more than mechanic like hit points to represent the ebb and flow of combat and is not a representation of actually being hit. Characters are not standing there shrugging off blaster bolts unless you want to describe it as such. A character with a high soak can be described as either really tough or really agile or really lucky at absorbing or avoiding direct damage. And at the end of the day I can meta-game better than any player as my bag of tricks goes way deeper than his.

Edited by mouthymerc

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I think many people use the Obligation rule only when beginning a session and lowering Strain if the role ends up badly.

However, I think the other aspect of it is way more important. High obligation? The authorities will not touch you with a 10-foot pole better get in bed with the crime lord this time... Low obligation? "The black market is closed today! *whispers* at least for snitches..."

The other mechanic is just an extra insentive to have players lower it...

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I never thought there was an issue with Soak until my group had a Marader. Now that his soak is in the 9-10 range, it's crazy. I understand what the design intention probably was, gotta make the melee guy survivable so that he can actually see melee, but when you add Soak talents to a spec where the character has a high brawn it just gets crazy with a high Soak and WT. I only hope he doesn't get cortosis armor any time soon...

 

Looking back at it now, I'm somewhat surprised that the base Soak wasn't just a flat 2 for all characters, not tied to Brawn. Or tie base Soak to base Brawn before any ability increases, even increases at character generation. That way all Wookies would have a base 3 Soak, all Humans would have a 2 Soak, and all Duros would have a 1 Soak. That way it wouldn't matter if a Wookie had a 5 Brawn, they still only have 3 Soak while out of armor. That is until talents raise that Soak.

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I never thought there was an issue with Soak until my group had a Marader. Now that his soak is in the 9-10 range, it's crazy. I understand what the design intention probably was, gotta make the melee guy survivable so that he can actually see melee, but when you add Soak talents to a spec where the character has a high brawn it just gets crazy with a high Soak and WT. I only hope he doesn't get cortosis armor any time soon...

 

Looking back at it now, I'm somewhat surprised that the base Soak wasn't just a flat 2 for all characters, not tied to Brawn. Or tie base Soak to base Brawn before any ability increases, even increases at character generation. That way all Wookies would have a base 3 Soak, all Humans would have a 2 Soak, and all Duros would have a 1 Soak. That way it wouldn't matter if a Wookie had a 5 Brawn, they still only have 3 Soak while out of armor. That is until talents raise that Soak.

 

If Soak is broken for your Marauder, you need a better class of opponent.  Have NPCs attack him at a distance with Heavy Blaster Rifle.  Sure, he'll soak its base damage, but any extra successes will hurt him.  Or upgrade it to a Heavy Repeating Blaster with 15 base damage.  Make sure you're upgrading your NPC weapons just like your PCs upgrade theirs, for extra accuracy and damage, particularly.  Put him against melee NPCs with as much soak as he has.  Hit him with weapons and abilities that do Strain damage.

 

I've had to rethink my position on a lot of these things, myself, in order to make the game feel dangerous again.

Tear44 likes this

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Maybe you should rather switch players instead of system if that happens.

Some systems are also inherenly geared to being "MMOey" (4e D&D I'm looking at you). I can run 4e and not have it become an MMO, but then I also had a good small group that didn't want to let the MMO mindset of it take over.

Other groups might more easily fall into the MMO roles nonsense 4e is founded on.

 

 

Or tie base Soak to base Brawn before any ability increases, even increases at character generation. That way all Wookies would have a base 3 Soak, all Humans would have a 2 Soak, and all Duros would have a 1 Soak. That way it wouldn't matter if a Wookie had a 5 Brawn, they still only have 3 Soak while out of armor. That is until talents raise that Soak.

I like this.

 

 

I've had to rethink my position on a lot of these things, myself, in order to make the game feel dangerous again.

So you're solution is to create that will gun the whole party down just to get at the one guy specced to handle it?

Brilliant!

Edited by evileeyore

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I never thought there was an issue with Soak until my group had a Marader. Now that his soak is in the 9-10 range, it's crazy. I understand what the design intention probably was, gotta make the melee guy survivable so that he can actually see melee, but when you add Soak talents to a spec where the character has a high brawn it just gets crazy with a high Soak and WT. I only hope he doesn't get cortosis armor any time soon...

 

Looking back at it now, I'm somewhat surprised that the base Soak wasn't just a flat 2 for all characters, not tied to Brawn. Or tie base Soak to base Brawn before any ability increases, even increases at character generation. That way all Wookies would have a base 3 Soak, all Humans would have a 2 Soak, and all Duros would have a 1 Soak. That way it wouldn't matter if a Wookie had a 5 Brawn, they still only have 3 Soak while out of armor. That is until talents raise that Soak.

 

If Soak is broken for your Marauder, you need a better class of opponent.  Have NPCs attack him at a distance with Heavy Blaster Rifle.  Sure, he'll soak its base damage, but any extra successes will hurt him.  Or upgrade it to a Heavy Repeating Blaster with 15 base damage.  Make sure you're upgrading your NPC weapons just like your PCs upgrade theirs, for extra accuracy and damage, particularly.  Put him against melee NPCs with as much soak as he has.  Hit him with weapons and abilities that do Strain damage.

 

I've had to rethink my position on a lot of these things, myself, in order to make the game feel dangerous again.

 

I think the part you are missing is that, sure you can construct your encounters to deal with the high soak character, but that usually means all the other characters are even worse off, or encounters begin to feel contrived as they frequently just happen to circumvent the high soak of the marauder.

Jamwes likes this

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Things that in my opinion need an overhaul are:

The dice.

The 'positive' dice are better than the 'negative' ones, which often enough means who goes first wins, literally. Especially against/with high-class opponents.

If the symbols and their amount would be equal it would diffuse the situation IMO.

Space combat.

Yes, we had a few threads about that, and i thin we all can agree that it needs some work. It is not broken, but offense is so much stronger than defense (again) that it can be over very quickly.

Especially in the (paper) starfighters.

Edited by segara82

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Things that in my opinion need an overhaul are:

The dice.

The 'positive' dice are better than the 'negative' ones, which often enough means who goes first wins, literally. Especially against/with high-class opponents.

If the symbols and their amount would be equal it would diffuse the situation IMO.

Space combat.

Yes, we had a few threads about that, and i thin we all can agree that it needs some work. It is not broken, but offense is so much stronger than defense (again) that it can be over very quickly.

Especially in the (paper) starfighters.

That is intentional. It is supposed to make players feel heroic. :)

As to the space combat it is about the player skills. Look at the talents that make you harder to hit.

Tear44 likes this

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I know, but there are points when you as a GM need to throw in Nemesis opponents, and especially the combat oriented ones can turn anything not a Soak 9-11 Marauder into minced meat if they go first. Especially if autofire is in play.

That is why i usually try to not build fights into my campaign.

And most maneuvres that make it harder to hit you require you to take action first. No setbacks/difficulty increase if your opponent goes first.

That goes both for ground and space combat.

Edited by segara82

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Remember to use the List from Order 66 podcast. One of the items is go long. As in have things at long range. 

Also remember to play Nemisis smart. They are going to target the guy tearing apart their minions. 

Tear44 likes this

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I think we misunderstand each other.

I mean that when experienced PCs meet Nemesis level enemies and a fight starts the one who goes first often instagibs the other one. Especially when (not if) modded guns (and autofire) are in play, even at long or extreme range.

From the top of my head i can't think of one talent that gives you Defense or setbacks to your enemy without you using an action/meneuvre.

Yes, Force user can get one rank and other classes pimp their armour but that requires access to the Force or wearing THAT armour.

The imbalance between the positive and negative dice makes offence so much stronger than defence.

I do want my player to do heroic things, but getting gunned downed because your defence can't get even with your enemies offence makes no heroic tale. IMO if the die were equal that would migitate the difference between offence and defence somewhat and therefore allow the PCs to do more awesome stuff.

Edited by segara82

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