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FFG_Sam Stewart

Beta Update 5

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Not that I support the derision, but this is a valid question:  Why should modifying a lightsaber at all be easier for a jedi with no mechanical skills than modifying an aggressor w/ ancient sword, or enforcer w/brass knuckles, etc.

 

As for modifying the crystal, sure, your argument holds, but there is no deep spiritual connection with an extended hilt.  Why should mods on that attachment be easier to perform than mods on a filed sight?

 

 

I didn't notice before that the -2 Difficulty bonus would apply to all attachments.  I read that initially as just for the crystal attachment.

 

Good catch, and I agree; the benefit should only apply to the crystal, not the purely mechanical aspects of the hilt.

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If a player wants to make a unique character, why is that bad thing?

It's not. It's then insisting that because the character is "unique"* that it get special status rules.

* Just like every other Force User...

 

The most powerful aspect of the basic lightsaber is its unmodded Crit 2 rating (which can me modded to 1).

The most powerful Quality is Breach.

The Quality that says "Oh hi, this weapon may as well do [iNSERT TARGET'S SOAK VALUE ≤ 10] extra damage"

 

For a character concept - especially if pursuing the lightsaber form specializations - that's combat oriented this is an important aspect and the basic lightsaber has a little catch-up to do in that regard.[/size]

Considering it already does up to 10 more damage than most other melee weapons? No catchup needed.

The only other Breach weapons are either munitions (Thermal Det), anti-vehicular (Missile Tube), and/or so negatively modified as to be nigh unusable by many characters (Cumbersome 3+, Inaccurate).

The Lightsaber is a power gamers wet dream. Making it easier to mod by those whom aren't giving up combat abilities makes it more so.

NOTE: I'm not for making it easier in any way. I'm also all for "Saber weilders have to mod their own weapon".

Edited by evileeyore

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Yeah, I agree that the "personal lightsaber" reduction to the Mechanics check as well as the adding Force dice to the check should both be strictly limited to modifying the 'saber crystal, with the other attachment type (such as the curved hilt or extended hilt) just being a standard Mechanics check at the usual Hard difficulty to add the single modification they offer, since that part is purely mechanical.

 

If nothing else, that's how I'll be handling it in my personal games.

 

As for "justification" on why tweaking a 'saber crystal should get a special exemption from the rules, it doesn't take a whole lot of effort to do even a little research in the EU (which FFG has never been shy about mining) for examples of Jedi using the Force to "attune" the crystal of their personal lightsaber.  As Awayputyrwpn noted, a lightsaber is a vastly different item in terms of personal significance than a blaster pistol.  Han may have tweaked his own heavy blaster pistol, but a lot of that was simply after-market parts and for him, it was still "just a weapon."  But then this discussion's already been had in the Game Mechanics forums, and the detractors of the update are going to fuss and whine no matter anyone says on the topic.

 

According to a Twitter response I got from Sam after remarking on how the changes to lightsaber modifications were interesting, their own internal playtesting of such revisions has gone quite well.

 

So in a similar vein, I'm guessing that they also feel that Parry and Reflect are working just fine based on those internal playtests as well, and if it's only a vocal minority that's calling for them to be revised then odds are they're not going to be.  I'd still like to see Shii-Cho Knight be revised to make room for at least a couple of Reflect talents (even if that means they become weaker at Parry), but if it comes down to it, I'll simply use a house-ruled version of the spec for my games.

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I'd still like to see Shii-Cho Knight be revised to make room for at least a couple of Reflect talents (even if that means they become weaker at Parry), but if it comes down to it, I'll simply use a house-ruled version of the spec for my games.

Yes please...2 Parry and 2 Reflect talents would make so much sense for a Shii-Cho tree. 

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However, there are several factors that (at least to me) justify this.

(Specialized use for a particular character type.  Jedi typically only really care about one item enough to modify it.  It's their iconic item.  But isn't Han's blaster just as iconic?  In some ways yes, but Han also modified the Falcon.  Other character types interested in modifying equipment will make much more broad use of Mechanics - weapons, armor, vehicles, etc.

 

...

 

The basic lightsaber needs to be modded to catch up in a lot of respects to be on par with other powerful weapons.  The most powerful aspect of the basic lightsaber is its unmodded Crit 2 rating (which can me modded to 1).  That's certainly very nice but it's 3 less damage than a blaster rifles/carbines and 1 less than a heavy blaster pistol, the vibro-ax starts with the same damage and Crit but also has Pierce 2 and Vicious 3 (though the basic lightsaber does have Breach 1).  For a character concept - especially if pursuing the lightsaber form specializations - that's combat oriented this is an important aspect and the basic lightsaber has a little catch-up to do in that regard.

 

 

Two quibbles. 

 

1.  I think it was mostly Lando and Chewie that modified the falcon.   :)

 

2. I think that a lightsaber, even the most basic non-training variety, is a lot more powerful than you are giving it credit for.  any successful attack with a saber is going to deal 7 damage, minimum, not counting rare mitigating factors like cortosis or parry.  That's a massive leap forward over any other melee weapon. It's also not reliant on a stat, which means that it has fewer barriers to entry.

 

take for example,  character with a vibro sword, and another identical one with a saber, fighting a storm trooper Sgt.

 

Lets say these character both have brawn 3, and 4 ranks of saber/melee.  Both will have an 80% chance to hit, with an average success of about 2 successes.  The trooper Sgt. has soak 5 and 15 wounds.  so the saber wielder does an average of 9 damage, while the vibro sword wielder deals 3brawn+2weapon+2 success-(5soak-2 pierce) = 4 damage.  Same xp, same skill level, same characteristics.  Sabers are very good on their own.

 

and with the falling avalance talent, they easily compete with the marauder's feral strength upgrades.  Add in that the saber is easier to modify and that starts to look pretty imbalanced.

 

All that has existed for 2 years in some form, and that's the universe of starwars, sabers are better.  But to claim that sabers aren't leaps and bounds better than normal melee weapons is a little ingregious, and I'm not sure how many systemic advantages people need to make sabers that much better.

 

Other characters do not build their rifles or ships from the ground up. Jedi do with their lightsabers. So they getting reduced difficulty in modifying the object they created makes sense.

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Other characters do not build their rifles from the ground up. jedi do with their lightsabers. Do they getting reduced difficulty in modifying the object they created makes sense.

 

I can take or leave the -2 diff on non-crystal mods since those weren't really broken to begin with, but this raises a salient point -- this mechanically supports the fluff of a jedi building his own saber from scratch, each incredibly unique and personal.  Since both these updates are gated by the GM on a narrative basis, it actually adds more to the game by leaving it in.  A GM can explictly forbid it if he so chooses, not just in some generic "Rule 0" way.

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Not that I support the derision, but this is a valid question:  Why should modifying a lightsaber at all be easier for a jedi with no mechanical skills than modifying an aggressor w/ ancient sword, or enforcer w/brass knuckles, etc.

 

 

Couple of reasons:

  • the jedi has special instructions that cannot generally be purchased or easily extrapolated. Perhaps I would lower the difficulty of modding a blaster if you had the manufactures hand written notes on the original engineering drawings. you cannot make a lightsaber without narrative help. being forcey sensitive isn't enough.
  • lightsaber crystals are alive in the force. lightsaber crystals aren't lifeless electronic/mechanical components, you have to romance them a bit. the cannon suggests that even if you find a crystal, it still may not work well for you. heck, the padawans in TCW cartoon couldn't even find a crystal in a cave full of them unless the crystal wanted to go home with them. its a bit extreme, but thats the story we have to work with. you cannot find a lightsaber crystal without narrative help.

Jedi are super heroes in a world of normals. They will kick your butt in leap frog, beer pong, and chopping firewood. Force and Destiny is an entire game for these superheroes. Mixing and matching with the other game lines isn't mandatory rules-wise. That being said, their skill sets are generally limited and their xp requirements enormous. Besides the glow stick that essentially requires narrarot/gm fiat to even own, they won't likely overshadow xp equivalent normals. At least normals can buy or steal all of their cool gear. Lighting your saber is likely to cause you no end of narrative trouble after the fact.

 

Aki

 

ps: Parking your starship or speeder bike on all the bad guys is a valid combat strategy that is much more devastating than a lightsaber. So is making your own explosives, poisoning everyone, and hiring 20 wookie marauders to wail on your enemies. life in the star wars universe isn't about fairness and mathmatical damage equivalencies.

Edited by Aki

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Some people were complaining very loudly about how it didn't fit with the EU's idea that "only a Jedi can fiddle with their own weapons".

I'm guessing that you don't agree with the EU in this regard... though I'd also add that part of the point of Episode III is that, with appropriate training, numbers, tactics, timing and flat-out luck, normals can massacre said superheroes. ;) Edited by Chortles

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Other characters do not build their rifles from the ground up. jedi do with their lightsabers. Do they getting reduced difficulty in modifying the object they created makes sense.

The only instance I could see of said reduced Difficulty being applied to something other than lightsabers would be a Wookiee with a personally-constructed bowcaster, given the cultural reverence (at least in the EU) that said weapon had for the Wookiees, with building a bowcaster being something of a rite of passage (amongst several it seems) for the species.

 

Otherwise, unless it's as you said the PC has built that specific weapon from the ground up, it's not anywhere near as "personal" as a lightsaber is to a would-be Jedi.

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Some people were complaining very loudly about how it didn't fit with the EU's idea that "only a Jedi can fiddle with their own weapons".

I'm guessing that you don't agree with the EU in this regard... though I'd also add that part of the point of Episode III is that, with appropriate training, numbers, tactics, timing and flat-out luck, normals can massacre said superheroes. ;)

 

Actually, it's not much different than his whining and kavitching over how Duelist's Training originally applied a setback die when engaged with multiple opponents, and got bad enough that an FFG mod locked the thread.  He was awfully quick to sing the designers' praises when he got what he wanted, but his remarks aptly demonstrate just how two-faced he is when the designers make a change he doesn't want, despite the fact that numerous folks, and not just on these forums, haven suggesting a multitude of ways to address what they saw was a concern.

 

I wasn't crazy about the setback die being dropped from Duelist's Training, but I shrugged it off figuring they had good reason for the change, and moved on.  After 2+ years of consistently solid products, FFG has more than earned the benefit of the doubt as far as I'm concerned where the Beta process is concerned, and I came into this system a complete skeptic.

 

Of course, given he's admitted to playing a version of the game that bears more similarity to GURPS than to what FFG has published, it's anyone's guess as to why he'd even care what changes the designers make.

Edited by Donovan Morningfire

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However, there are several factors that (at least to me) justify this.

(Specialized use for a particular character type.  Jedi typically only really care about one item enough to modify it.  It's their iconic item.  But isn't Han's blaster just as iconic?  In some ways yes, but Han also modified the Falcon.  Other character types interested in modifying equipment will make much more broad use of Mechanics - weapons, armor, vehicles, etc.

 

...

 

The basic lightsaber needs to be modded to catch up in a lot of respects to be on par with other powerful weapons.  The most powerful aspect of the basic lightsaber is its unmodded Crit 2 rating (which can me modded to 1).  That's certainly very nice but it's 3 less damage than a blaster rifles/carbines and 1 less than a heavy blaster pistol, the vibro-ax starts with the same damage and Crit but also has Pierce 2 and Vicious 3 (though the basic lightsaber does have Breach 1).  For a character concept - especially if pursuing the lightsaber form specializations - that's combat oriented this is an important aspect and the basic lightsaber has a little catch-up to do in that regard.

 

 

Two quibbles. 

 

1.  I think it was mostly Lando and Chewie that modified the falcon.   :)

 

2. I think that a lightsaber, even the most basic non-training variety, is a lot more powerful than you are giving it credit for.  any successful attack with a saber is going to deal 7 damage, minimum, not counting rare mitigating factors like cortosis or parry.  That's a massive leap forward over any other melee weapon. It's also not reliant on a stat, which means that it has fewer barriers to entry.

 

take for example,  character with a vibro sword, and another identical one with a saber, fighting a storm trooper Sgt.

 

Lets say these character both have brawn 3, and 4 ranks of saber/melee.  Both will have an 80% chance to hit, with an average success of about 2 successes.  The trooper Sgt. has soak 5 and 15 wounds.  so the saber wielder does an average of 9 damage, while the vibro sword wielder deals 3brawn+2weapon+2 success-(5soak-2 pierce) = 4 damage.  Same xp, same skill level, same characteristics.  Sabers are very good on their own.

 

and with the falling avalance talent, they easily compete with the marauder's feral strength upgrades.  Add in that the saber is easier to modify and that starts to look pretty imbalanced.

 

All that has existed for 2 years in some form, and that's the universe of starwars, sabers are better.  But to claim that sabers aren't leaps and bounds better than normal melee weapons is a little ingregious, and I'm not sure how many systemic advantages people need to make sabers that much better.

 

 

Yeah, I quickly reviewed Breach and skimmed (and forgot about) the part about bypassing 10 soak.  The Vibro-ax is a great melee weapon (small quibble - it's +3 damage, not +2 as in your example) but I'd agree that Breach 1 is better than Vicious 3. So, yes a basic lightsaber is the best "standard" melee weapon.  (Mark this on your calendar - someone admitted being wrong on the internet).

 

But it's also extremely expensive and rare.  Which is some balancing factor mechanics wise but not much - as a Jedi character really needs a standard lightsaber to meet the basic character requirements so GMs are going to give these characters the standard lightsaber at some point.  It would be interesting to see a comparison of two "Knight Level" characters - say a Shii-cho Knight (with the standard lightsaber and the ability to do some mods) vs a Maurader who took the cash.

 

I'd like to see a Jedi able to construct and modify their own lightsaber.  But don't think it should be done in an unbalancing way compared to other character types.  I think the devs have this as a goal and are very likely taking the other books into account.

So, in the end, if they keep this rule and don't expand it to characters generally I'd say it's because they've tested it and it's balanced out.

 

If running a game I wouldn't have a problem letting all characters designate a piece of Signature Gear they could mod with an easier difficulty.

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Other characters do not build their rifles from the ground up.

I'm sure that some gun nuts *do* build their weapons from scratch. It certainly happens in real life, and there's no reason why it can't happen in Star Wars too.

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Other characters do not build their rifles from the ground up.

I'm sure that some gun nuts *do* build their weapons from scratch. It certainly happens in real life, and there's no reason why it can't happen in Star Wars too.
I'd say more "from bare parts" than from scratch, but that would go the same for lightsabers I'd say... but in the context of a tabletop RPG, you can at least buy pre-assembled weapons which are also more readily otherwise "acquired".

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It's so interesting how differently everyone views this game. The arguements about balance are fascinating to me, because -- with the exception of playing Pathfinder/DnD -- balance has never been a considering factor. My group and I started out with Call of Cthulhu six years ago, which is notorious for how unbalanced the PC/NPC dynamic is. My group would get mowed down by almost every adversary they came against, which was fine, because I provided them with other non-combat challenges that they excelled at.

Lightsabers are crazy powerful. In the movies and the EU, if a lightsaber touches you, you die. At the very least you lose a limb. A PC with a lightsaber is going to be strong. Likewise, Jedi are ridiculously powerful. They completely overwhelm 99.9% of all opponents they face. Why should a Stormtrooper Sgt. be able to survive a strike from a lightsaber? It is an infinitely sharp blade. The lightsaber should outright kill him if the PC lands their blow. Sure, it's unbalanced, but so is the real world. And Star Wars, really.

These arguments about the crit number and effectiveness of the Breach Quality and whether a lightsaber is too strong when compared to other melee weapons sems so bizarre. Yes, it's stupid powerful compared to a vibrosword. It should be. I feel like mitigating its strength would take away from the analogue to the movies.

The way I see it, Force-users are significantly more powerful than non-Force-users. That's what we see in canon sources, and it doesn't seem like a terrible thing to me. If snything, I love how unbalanced Force-users can be sometimes in this game. It feels like Star Wars and keeps my players on their toes.

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I am not too wild about the Morality change. Starting out fully dark or fully light kind of defeats the point of a narrative role-playing game. The obtainment of either should be a journey for the character giving purpose or further motivation for the player adventuring in the first place. Instead of being codified in the rule set, something like this should have been best left to house ruling, imho.

While you might be right about starting fully light, the previus rule for starting "almost dark" was pointless, because of the way morality is biased towards falling to darkness.

 

Starting as a dark side adept, on the other hand, is a perfectly resonable character concept.. If you want to play a redemption arc, spending the first session slaughtering children to fall first is disruptive to your concept and to the game.

 

 

Yeah, maybe.  It just seems to me that the SW movies support a rise, fall and redemption motif.  I am not saying you could do otherwise in your personal games it just seems to me that the default 'setting' should encourage what the SW movies have themselves set up as a groundwork.  In the end, play it how you want to.  I am just disappointed that the core suggests that what I believe should be a standard approach (and what the designers seemed to agree with in its initial offering) is now an optional one, i.e. a house ruled option.  There.  That is all.

 

I dont see the "Rise and fall" as a houserule because of this change- rather, the default option is 50 morality (which you can rise and fall from just fine) and extra stuff, which you can give up to start your story "in media rez," either on the cusp of Light (I would prefer this being one episode away, but FFG seems to want to have the options mirror) or shrouded in Darkness.

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Otherwise, unless it's as you said the PC has built that specific weapon from the ground up, it's not anywhere near as "personal" as a lightsaber is to a would-be Jedi.

So you'ld be okay with my Outlaw Tech getting the reduction when he's modding his personal equipment (all of which he actually has the skill to build)?

 

 

Of course, given he's admitted to playing a version of the game that bears more similarity to GURPS than to what FFG has published, it's anyone's guess as to why he'd even care what changes the designers make.

No matter how often you say this it'll always be a lie.

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I want to be clear, i support the decisions in the update.  I'm not arguing that any of the updated rules should be reduced or changed, exactly.

 

But to give force using characters this benefit of -2 difficulty, with no draw back and no give for non-force using characters is bad design, in that it is favoring force users over non-force users.

 

From a mechanical view if a scoundrel that builds their own pistol and doesn't get the same -2 difficulty at modifying for familiarity as a jedi gets with their own saber, then that is unfair, because you are rewarding the jedi player with a mechanical benefit for an inequitably assigned narrative reason. 

 

And in the interest of compatible game design and reasonable comparable choices across the 3 cores, that's frustrating to me.

 

Now, if one of the benefits of the 6 light saber specializations was this -2 difficulty (possibly replacing a career skill or being wrapped into the style talents, both options of which have their flaws), that would be better, since that has a very strong connection, and it allows other, future supplements to utilize a similar familiarity bonus.

 

Or if the familiarity bonus was applied to 1 scratch built item for any and all characters as a "signature" item, that would also be very acceptable.  

 

It's not the rule that is distasteful, it's the application, it's the lack of cost and favortism and power creep that builds slowly, from one option to the next.  

 

Again, to be crystal clear, I like the idea of -2 difficulty on a single, familiar, personal item.  But that shouldn't be a force user only rule, it should be an any character rule, so that everyone can benefit from the same narrative juice.

 

Something that people have been saying around here for a long time... what was it...paraphrasing, "If you want to go play awesome jedi that are good at everything, go play SAGA.  It caters to that mentality.  if you want a grittier game where force users aren't automatically the best, this is more your speed."  This is one, admittedly small, artificial inflation that pushes force users one more over non-force users.

 

Also, to be clear, it's impact is fairly minimal.  This single thing won't break a game.  but a thousand mile journey begins with a  single step.

 

Is there a mechanical reason not to give this same benefit to the outlaw tech?

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Thebearisdriving,

The main problem with that argument is that aside from building a lightsaber, there are no officially published rules that explicitly deal with building a weapon or other item from scratch.

 

Thus, be default, every other weapon is purchased "off the rack" and thus without the high degree of personalization that building a lightsaber carries.  The Beta Update says that it's also entirely up to the GM if the player's lightsaber counts as being a "personal weapon," so it's not like all 'saber-wielders automatically get to benefit from that difficulty reduction; Luke in ANH and ESB sure as hell wouldn't, and Mara Jade wouldn't either.  Leia for a while in the post-RotJ EU wouldn't, as Luke had built a lightsaber for her to use as a training tool.

 

And who knows, when FFG gets around to releasing the Technician or Engineer splatbook, maybe said book will include rules for building weapons and gear from the ground, at which point the "personal weapon" rules for reducing the difficulty would be applied.  I could certainly see an Outlaw Tech or even a Gadgeteer or Scientist using a custom-built weapon that they assembled from the ground up and getting the reduced difficulty.

 

But in the mean time, if you want to adopt a house rule that a PC who went through the process of building their own heavy blaster pistol would also get the -2 reduction in difficulty, that's your call to make.  Just don't be surprised if your players are all clamoring that they've "personally built" their weapons and make use of that difficultly reduction to modify the hell out any attachments purchased.

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 there are no officially published rules that explicitly deal with building a weapon or other item from scratch.

 

 

Donovan,

 

There are NO rules for scratch building a weapon, unless I missed that part in the beta... Do you have a page number?

 

And we're not talking about house rules.  I mean, thank you for your permission, because I was a little worried about that, but what I'm talking about is making sure that all character types are treated fairly.

 

So far, i haven't heard a good reason from anyone other than "jedi special" which is a pretty sad argument for why this is a force user only rule.

 

EDIT: ah, page 125, nestled in a side bar.

 

So these rules couldn't reasonably apply to a knife or pistol?  The rules, "find materials, make a check determined by GM based on rarity" is not transplant able to a pistol, or padded armor?  That seems like a thin argument seeing as how a light saber is much more complex a device than a pistol.

 

I suppose at this point I've said my piece, and as I said, it's not a big deal, hardly game breaking.  But "special journey" is a dangerous reasoning for desiging rules, as it can quickly sideline the muggles, and then we are left with a game of uber-mensch, after a sort.  And that isn't what I thought the fFg system was about.

Edited by Thebearisdriving

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You mean aside from the significant volume of EU lore about how building a lightsaber is a critical part of a Jedi's training and education that those opposed to the change are willfully ignoring?

 

But, as you've pretty much ignored what I've had to say on this topic in the past, and with zero indication you're going to change that behavior, not much point in saying much, is there?  Much as with Duelist's Training, FFG's had their say via this week's Beta Update on the matter.  It might change with next week's update, or it might not.

Edited by Donovan Morningfire

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