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bradknowles

Parry and Reflect mechanics are broken — let’s fix them

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TedMaul,

Truthfully, I think the Strain costs are fine where they are for both talents, and I've already suggested lowering the required Threat to 2 in my own thread, which met with some pretty negative responses telling me that Improved Parry/Reflect were just fine as is.

 

So not so much "missed" or "disliked" but more "didn't have anything to really say on the matter."

Edited by Donovan Morningfire

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When I started my thread on revising the various 'saber specs, one of the things I was angling for was to cut down on the number of times that Parry showed up.

 

Why not remove Reflect as a Talent and build all the Reflect (Improved), Reposte and Counterattack Talents off a Parry Talent? Mechanically there is no difference between Parry and Reflect its all the other Talents that play off them.

 

That should free up 1-2 boxes here and there.

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When I started my thread on revising the various 'saber specs, one of the things I was angling for was to cut down on the number of times that Parry showed up.

 

Why not remove Reflect as a Talent and build all the Reflect (Improved), Reposte and Counterattack Talents off a Parry Talent? Mechanically there is no difference between Parry and Reflect its all the other Talents that play off them.

 

That should free up 1-2 boxes here and there.

 

 

Well, Reflect is a Force Talent where Parry isn't, so wou would have to deal with that.

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When I started my thread on revising the various 'saber specs, one of the things I was angling for was to cut down on the number of times that Parry showed up.

 

Why not remove Reflect as a Talent and build all the Reflect (Improved), Reposte and Counterattack Talents off a Parry Talent? Mechanically there is no difference between Parry and Reflect its all the other Talents that play off them.

 

That should free up 1-2 boxes here and there.

 

Well, Reflect is a Force Talent where Parry isn't, so wou would have to deal with that.

That's pretty easy to spec:

Reflect: Force talent. You may now use your Parry incidental to reduce damage from range and gunnery attacks

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Question! Any canon material (apart the Star Wars in 100 scenes book) that talks about lightsaber forms?

 

Thanks!

If you mean the films, zero.  I can't speak to TCW series, as I stopped watching partway into the second series.  But I think the fact that the various Wookieepedia articles about the Forms are all labeled "Legends" is a pretty good indication that TCW didn't specify them either.

 

But as I noted in a different thread, the creators are generally more interested in telling an entertaining story than fleshing out background details like that.  And where calling out styles and techniques works for HK chop-sockey movies and the Inigo/Westley duel in Princess Bride (even if both actors were Flynning the entire time), it's generally out of place in other media, including Star Wars, odd though it may seem.

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Thanks Donovan! I hope that they release some good material like that :)

 

By the way, I really suggest to you to watch CW. At the beginning I was also skeptic (unrelenting XD) with the TV show, but I like it. Give it a second chance ;)

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Thanks Donovan! I hope that they release some good material like that :)

 

By the way, I really suggest to you to watch CW. At the beginning I was also skeptic (unrelenting XD) with the TV show, but I like it. Give it a second chance ;)

I did try it, but I just really hated the character of Ahsoka (both pre- and post-time skip versions) and that it was the "Obi-Wan and Anakin" show.  The nail in the coffin was dragging out Darth Maul (which frankly felt more like a stunt to grab ratings than anything else), who had served his purpose back in TPM and should have been left dead.

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If I remember correctly, the new "Star Wars : Rebels" animated series is considered canon, like "The Clone Wars" and the movies. So the Lightsaber Forms are now considered canon... maybe not in there EU versions, but are now canon.

Take a look here!

The inquisitor refers to Form III.... dunno if it's Soresu, but it's a LS Form.

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The nail in the coffin was dragging out Darth Maul (which frankly felt more like a stunt to grab ratings than anything else), who had served his purpose back in TPM and should have been left dead.

Ditto. Punk died. Shoulda stayed dead.

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The nail in the coffin was dragging out Darth Maul (which frankly felt more like a stunt to grab ratings than anything else), who had served his purpose back in TPM and should have been left dead.

Ditto. Punk died. Shoulda stayed dead.

 

I thought that before they did it.  But they did it well, and managed to get a lot of good story out of him.

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I thought that before they did it.  But they did it well, and managed to get a lot of good story out of him.

We'll just have to disagree on "good story". Though I did like the scenes between Ventress and Obi.

Some of my favorite stuff in that cartoon.

Edited by evileeyore

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I thought the whole Maul/Mandalorian thing was really well done, at least the voice acting was...impressive...most impressive.

 

Actually here's what I got most out of it:  they really used it to put Obi-wan through the ringer and have him come out the other side more grounded and settled firmly into a light-side master.  The set of tales were in large part about Obi-wan's evolution.  There was an additional side benefit of exploring other themes...Mandalorian society, the criminal underworld, etc, and one which Filoni highlighted:  that even Maul had some compassion in the end, but Palpatine did not...one of the points was to set up a contrast between evils and let the viewer know where the absolute evil was.

 

It's easy to cry "marketing stunt" in the same way some people around here say the same thing about the triple product line...but in both cases the situation is more complex.

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If I remember correctly, the new "Star Wars : Rebels" animated series is considered canon, like "The Clone Wars" and the movies. So the Lightsaber Forms are now considered canon... maybe not in there EU versions, but are now canon.

Take a look here!

The inquisitor refers to Form III.... dunno if it's Soresu, but it's a LS Form.

Star Wars Rebels is part of the canon, so if a character in that show refers to Form III, then I guess that part of it at least is canon,  Though the scene in question is really more the Inquisitor trying to get under Kanan's skin and break the guy's focus by revealing that he knows Kanan's various secrets, and by extension so does the Empire.

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I thought the whole Maul/Mandalorian thing was really well done, at least the voice acting was...impressive...most impressive.

The voice acting throughout the entire show was impressive. Indeed, the cartoon managed to turn me around on Jar Jar, whom I used to hate almost as much as midi-chlorians.

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Our group has come up with some changes to the Reflect and Parry talents. We didn’t really dig it as written for fun factor and mechanical reasons and for just plain how true to the source it was. The main problems:
 
1. It does not really reflect hits. Cover, prone, defense, shields, armor defense, adversary, many talents, spending destiny, etc. all can completely block all hits. This iconic lightsaber ability should join that group.
 
2. Reflect is too restrictive to use. Strain is a precious resource. Asking a character to spend 3 to use it when they already spent XP to get the talent and it only works on 3 damage if they have a lightsaber ignited in hand and only if they are hit by a certain kind of ranged attack is a bit much. You can really only use this talent a few times before you would go unconscious. Luke was mastering it quickly. Younglings can do it. It should be more effective for the high price. No big deal to completely block hits for a few rounds like in the movies.
 
3. Three threat or a despair to use improved reflect on a hit makes the activation of this ability depend on many factors that are not representative of the character’s lightsaber mastery. It does not make sense that you can improved reflect better behind cover, prone, and/or with armor on. And what if the GM wants to spend that threat he rolled on something else? Does he have to let the character determine what it is used on?
 
4. In a few ways improved reflect and deflect are too powerful and easy to abuse so we limited them.
 
5. Crits, not damage, often determine outcomes and unlike cover, prone, defense, shields, armor defense, adversary, many talents, spending destiny, etc. Reflect and Parry offer little to help against crits.
 
There are a few others but this is what we came up with:
 
Reflect
When the character suffers a successful attack check from a Ranged (Light), Ranged (Heavy), or Gunnery combat check, if the character is wielding an activated lightsaber, he may take the Reflect incidental and suffer one strain to apply one failure or one threat to the pool results. The amount of strain he may suffer to do this is equal to 2 plus ranks in Reflect.

 

Example: Suffer 3 strain and apply two failures and a threat.
 
Reflect (Improved)
When the character uses the Reflect incidental on a Ranged (Light), Ranged (Heavy), or Gunnery combat check, the character may automatically hit one Minion within medium range once or spend one strain to automatically hit one Rival within medium range once or spend four strain to automatically hit one Nemesis within medium range once. Damage from this is base weapon damage +1 of the initial ranged attack.
 
The ranged attack’s hit must be one that is able to be reflected and redirected (generally only blaster weapons fall into this category, anything else is subject to GM oversight). This talent may not be used if the original attack incapacitates the character.
 
Once a character activates this talent he may not do so again until after his next turn.

Reflect (Supreme)
If the character did not make a Combat Check or Force Power Check during his previous turn, he suffers 2 fewer stain (minimum of 1 strain suffered) when taking the Reflect incidental.

Edit: Added Force Power Check to this to slightly weaken going defensive and using only Force powers from range.
 
Parry
When the character suffers a hit from a Brawl, Melee, or Lightsaber combat check, if the character is wielding an activated lightsaber or melee weapon, he may take the Parry incidental and suffer one strain to apply one failure or one threat to the pool results. The amount of strain he may suffer to do this is equal to 2 plus ranks in Parry.
 
Parry (Improved)
When the character uses the Parry incidental on a Brawl, Melee, or Lightsaber combat check, the character may suffer one strain to automatically upgrade his next Lightsaber combat check before the end of his next turn against that attacker once.
 
Once a character activates this talent he may not do so again until after his next turn.
 
Parry (Supreme)
If the character did not make a Combat Check or Force Power Check during his previous turn, he suffers 2 fewer stain (minimum of 1 strain suffered) when taking the Parry incidental.

Edit: Added Force Power Check to this to slightly weaken using only Force powers in LS/engaged duels.
 
Anyway, I just wanted to share our beta experiences and put it up for discussion since the developers are still finalizing the game. My main concern is how fun this is to use and how much it really matches the source material. I absolutely want to hear considered responses. Also, I really enjoy the game so kudos to all making it better.

Edited by usgrandprix

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I can't say I like any of those proposed changes usgrandprix, and here's why:

 

Reflect - I think that you and your group are ultimately getting hung up on the name rather than the function of the talent.  Per your revision, said talent is actually pretty useless, since under most circumstances it simply drops the damage by 1, particularly if one goes by the general guideline that a character only gets a single Out-of-Turn Incidental action in response to a triggering event (in this case, being hit with a ranged attack).

 

Parry - same issue with Reflect as above, but made even worse since it drags back the original issue with lightsabers in that the first hit will quite often decide the winner, which was a MAJOR issue with those weapons prior to the FaD Beta release.

 

Improved Reflect - having this be an "automatic" counter on the part of the defender makes this talent too good.  While I'm still not 100% convinced that the Despair/3 Threat model is the best, at least it's something to cut down on the PCs using this option all the time.  Also there's the issue of restricting it to just Minions or Rivals.  Pretty sure Cad Bane counts as a Nemesis, and TCW has shown the Jedi heroes reflecting blaster fire back at him.

 

Improved Parry - similar issue, and steps upon the Counterstrike talent.  I can speak from first-hand experience that the RAW version of Improved Parry is not an assured thing, having had a PC of mine square off against an Inquisitor, and only getting to use Improved Parry once in the four combat rounds that the duel lasted, with him rolling against 2 challenge/red. 1 difficultly/purple, and 1 setback/black on each of his attacks.  And against a major villain, sometimes that occasional "free shot" from Improved Parry (which the target can themselves use Parry against BTW) is the best chance a PC can have of actually landing a hit.  Besides, how many PCs that have Parry are honestly going to ignore taking ranks in the Lightsaber skill?

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Reflect - I think that you and your group are ultimately getting hung up on the name rather than the function of the talent.  Per your revision, said talent is actually pretty useless, since under most circumstances it simply drops the damage by 1, particularly if one goes by the general guideline that a character only gets a single Out-of-Turn Incidental action in response to a triggering event (in this case, being hit with a ranged attack).

 

Thanks for the reply. I think it's better because if you cancel a success in a pool that hits by one success you negate the entire hit.

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Thanks for the reply. I think it's better because if you cancel a success in a pool that hits by one success you negate the entire hit.

In my experience, very few shots are barely successes like this. But then a "shot" in the terms of this game is actually the cumulative effect of potentially multiple blasts over a minute-scale period of time.

So, with the narrative aspect to combat, I think you need to get away from thinking about reflecting or negating an entire "hit", because it may be just one roll but it is almost never actually just one blast.

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Reflect - I think that you and your group are ultimately getting hung up on the name rather than the function of the talent.  Per your revision, said talent is actually pretty useless, since under most circumstances it simply drops the damage by 1, particularly if one goes by the general guideline that a character only gets a single Out-of-Turn Incidental action in response to a triggering event (in this case, being hit with a ranged attack).

 

Actually I think Reflect should be called Deflect. I do understand what they are aiming at with the Reflect talent and that's the main one I'm concerned about. I think you did not follow what I wrote which is probably my fault so I reworded the original post. You can basically add a failure to the pool results for each strain you spend up to 2+ranks in Reflect. Adding results to a dice pool is an existing mechanic and simple. No LS roll and no new "soak before soak" rule needed.

 

Also, I'm not familiar with a limit on incidentals other than the "GM may veto excessive numbers" rule. Is this RAW or from some FAQ or podcast? As far as I'm concerned the strain cost is the prohibitive factor in using Reflect anyway.

 

And I'm actually more cool with Improved Reflect but I think it could use some toning down and I think the mechanics are a bit contradictory as threat and despair come from a lot of factors.

 

Parry - same issue with Reflect as above, but made even worse since it drags back the original issue with lightsabers in that the first hit will quite often decide the winner, which was a MAJOR issue with those weapons prior to the FaD Beta release.

 
But that first hit will be less common under my proposal. I think most LS duels end at the first hit, no? Taking off an arm tends to adjust your attitude. I think 3, 4, 5 hits from an LS and still fighting is gonzo. Make hits less common and bring back vicious. Fear a LS duel and feel accomplishment when you win.
 

Improved Reflect - having this be an "automatic" counter on the part of the defender makes this talent too good.  While I'm still not 100% convinced that the Despair/3 Threat model is the best, at least it's something to cut down on the PCs using this option all the time.  Also there's the issue of restricting it to just Minions or Rivals.  Pretty sure Cad Bane counts as a Nemesis, and TCW has shown the Jedi heroes reflecting blaster fire back at him.

 
Not really automatic. The attack has to hit and then the target has to use strain to activate Reflect and then they have to spend strain to activate Improved Reflect. Most characters will think twice about spamming it as that precious strain goes down. I totally agree with you on the Nemesis so I changed it a bit to cost 4 additional strain to hit a Nemesis. Also note I propose it can only be used once between turns and the damage is base + 1.
 

Improved Parry - similar issue, and steps upon the Counterstrike talent.  I can speak from first-hand experience that the RAW version of Improved Parry is not an assured thing, having had a PC of mine square off against an Inquisitor, and only getting to use Improved Parry once in the four combat rounds that the duel lasted, with him rolling against 2 challenge/red. 1 difficultly/purple, and 1 setback/black on each of his attacks.  And against a major villain, sometimes that occasional "free shot" from Improved Parry (which the target can themselves use Parry against BTW) is the best chance a PC can have of actually landing a hit.  Besides, how many PCs that have Parry are honestly going to ignore taking ranks in the Lightsaber skill?

 
Cool. I'll definitely defer to your experience there and that's the precise discussion I like on this board so you are swaying me but maybe I can also try to make my point more clear:
 
1. When Improved Parry wasn't working I'll bet you wanted to give the Inquisitor more setback or challenge dice to increase your chances of using Improved Parry on the Inquisitor. Just one way to get that is teammates spending advantage to apply to the Inquisitor's attacks. But how does that represent your skill with the LS?
 
2. Just how many LS hits were there in this combat? Most LS duels should be over after the first hit. I'd rather see a duel like in the movies with a lot of blocks and then a hit leads to death, dismemberment, or fleeing. In my proposal for Parry lots of blocks happen but a higher LS rank will require more strain to defend against and in the end there will be no way to block the deciding blow if you did not flee.
 
Also, RAW in an LS duel with a superior opponent it's absolutely a good tactic to take guarded stance twice (two defense), not attack against a lot of ugly dice (so no strain from two maneuvers and not exposing yourself to strain from rolling against Adversary 3 and all those other ugly dice), pile on setback from teammates, use defense like Misdirect>Control if you have it to apply threat, and hit with Supreme Parry only.
 
And finally these changes make room to bring back the 1-2 Vicious the base LS should have.
 
As an aside I intentionally proposed these changes to not disrupt the current talent trees too much but if I had my way Reflect etc. would be a function of Force Rating and committing Force Dice. Why? I like how in duels there are not a lot of uses of powers and committing Force Dice takes powers out of the duel or limits their effect, just like in the movies. This system has a wishy washy power resistance system and no rebuke so powers are the way to go over a LS-especially a gimped one with weak reflect and defect capabilities. An Inquisitor going twice per round should probably just use Influence>Strength on an engaged target. That has the potential to do 12-24 unblocked strain per round. But that is a major digression.
 
 

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In my experience, very few shots are barely successes like this.

I’ve GMed about 130 hours of the game since EotE and I have the impression the most common success is by one. That has changed as the characters get higher skills of course. And my PCs are not all that combat focused.

But even if the success is by three I’m proposing adding failures up to ranks in Reflect+2, each failure added costing one strain.

But then a "shot" in the terms of this game is actually the cumulative effect of potentially multiple blasts over a minute-scale period of time.

So, with the narrative aspect to combat, I think you need to get away from thinking about reflecting or negating an entire "hit", because it may be just one roll but it is almost never actually just one blast.

I’ve seen this time scale comment tossed around but I’m really not sure how it applies to the discussion of LS defense mechanics and here’s why:

1. The book uses the term “hit.” I intentionally use that term to be consistent. Important when writing rules.

2. There are a lot of defensive options since EotE. And the abstraction of a round length/number of shots/etc. has been the same since EotE. Yet none of those defenses necessitated a new “soak before soak” rule so why should Reflect?

So if a few setback and a few upgrades to a challenge die from whatever defensive source (let’s say, guarded stance, spent advantage, and a few ranks of Adversary) can turn a successful check into a failure then every one of those 1, 2, 5, 10 shots missed.

So then the discussion becomes is LS defense as good as these other sources of defense. There will be a lot of valid opinions on that and mine is it’s not only as good, but it’s better.

3. It’s hard to believe a character that suffers a successful combat check is hit 2, 4, 6 times. I don’t see that being true to the source.

4. Here’s an example that might bring it home a little better: Say a given combat check with light blaster pistol is a success. The character uses Reflect and ends up taking no damage—a real possibility RAW. It’s also possible if nothing changed in this check but the fact that the weapon was a heavy blaster pistol that the character would take damage. This is because the heavy blaster fired more times? To take it to the extreme what if the weapon has the limited ammo or slow firing (like a sniper rifle) qualities. What happened there? More hits?

I think Reflect etc. should be digital. Partial damage does not make sense given the precedents for defense and the clear line between soak and making a combat check harder. There are too many existing rules to fiddle by adding this new “soak before soak” mechanic. I think they came up with this because of the complications with autofire, linked, and secondary weapon hits but my proposal addresses this.

And I’d rather the argument be about how effective Reflect and Deflect are. The movies show very effective. I think better than Side Step as a baseline to go by for so much strain in cost.

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And against a major villain, sometimes that occasional "free shot" from Improved Parry (which the target can themselves use Parry against BTW) is the best chance a PC can have of actually landing a hit.

I don't think you can Parry a hit from Improved Parry. Parry requires a hit from a combat check.

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And against a major villain, sometimes that occasional "free shot" from Improved Parry (which the target can themselves use Parry against BTW) is the best chance a PC can have of actually landing a hit.

I don't think you can Parry a hit from Improved Parry. Parry requires a hit from a combat check.

 

According to Sam Stewart you can, as he had a FaD playtest session where a PC and an Inquisitor used Improved Parry five times total in the course of a single round.

 

Also, if you read the talents, Improved Parry indicates the damage is dealt as a hit against the target, and Parry triggers on a successful hit.  So per RAW, you can use Parry against a hit caused by Improved Parry.

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