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Ender07

Looting Bodies

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So I have a question...my PC's are always looting everyone they kill to obtain better weapons/armor and it's gotten to the point where their items are a bit too good for where they are in the storyline.

 

I was wondering if anyone can think of a way to either deter them from looting every time, or to make it harder so they can't magically pickup a stormtroopers blaster rifle and instantly have a gun that is tons better than a holdout blaster.

Since we just finished Escape Mos Shuuta from the EotE BG and are starting The Long Arm of the Hutt, I figured I could have an explosion occur in a sealed cargobay that they set their weapons in after they boarded the Krayt Fang...or does anyone have any other good ideas?

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Stormtrooper blasters are identifiable, so using them is going to draw a lot more attention.  You can even add Obligation for these kinds of things.  But the most important thing IMHO is to keep the clock ticking.  The clock doesn't stop because the party dealt with the immediate threat and the encounter is over.  If the PCs are a little bruised from the fight, make it clear that reinforcements, maybe bigger than what they just dealt with, are on the way.  Basically, don't let them sit still.

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I feel like Deus Ex Machina is not the greatest way to handle the situation. Although it sometimes makes sense, it will give the players the impression that they are following railroads and aren't actually free. 

You do have some narrative tools at your disposal as a GM, though. 

 

1. Some gear is associated with certain groups, or is maybe even restricted or illegal. For example. the E-11 blaster carbine, while common, is still mostly associated with the Stormtrooper Corps, and people would be advised against wavering this gun around if they want to avoid questioning. Same thing can be said for military restricted equipment. Your group's hired gun looted the heavy repeating blaster used by some imperial troops in the last adventure? Good luck going to town with that. The most extreme example would be the stormtrooper laminate armor, which screams theft if someone else is wearing it (and downright illegal, impersonating a soldier, probably killing one to get the armor, etc.).  

2. Do not let your players loot something in the first place if you don't want them to. Maybe the weapons or armors were damaged during the fight, maybe they're only usable by the npcs they just killed (for example, Stormtroopers usually carry a thermal detonator, but you need a personal password to activate it, which prevents the aforementioned looting). You can also don't give them enough time to loot the bodies. Maybe more enemies are coming their way, or maybe they don't want people to see them on the scene of a crime (murder is still not great for most citizens of the Galactic Empire, and usually kinda illegal). The best advice though is: if a weapon or other piece of gear is too advanced for your players to get, maybe you shouldn't include it. Because your players will find a way to get it, and sometimes it's gonna be logical. Why not take a better weapon if you have the chance? And if you just take it away from them arbitrarily, this will assuredly cause frustrations to grow, which is not healthy in a roleplaying group.    

The best rule of thumb, I think, would be to show them reasons not to IG, instead of saying "you can't". But in your particular case, is a blaster rifle really so bad? One of my players started with one without a problem, another started with a vibro-axe. It's a pretty standard weapon without mods, and it has disadvantages on its own. Yes it does more damage than a holdout blaster (honestly what doesn't?), but the holdout blaster is easily concealed and more socially acceptable than a blaster rifle hanging from your shoulder screaming you're a shady mercenary or bounty hunter. 

Edited by Necrovoker

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Yes, but it's not as detailed or specific as many people would like (for Obligation).  As a GM, you'll have to come up with your own system if you want to have the party incur Obligation for looting (at what rate, what gains/costs are involved, etc.).

 

As for keeping players from looting everything that's not nailed down, there are a few main ways to go about that:

 

* Urgency

* Identifiability

* Capacity

 

Players under a tight deadline aren't going to have time to strip the laminate armor off of all the Stormtroopers that they shoot.  They may be able to quickly pick up a gun or grab a few grenades, but taking a full suit of armor off of someone simply isn't something that can happen in under a minute.  Scale that up to a squad and you get a situation where the party is spending 10 to 15 minutes on an unsecured battlefield stripping the dead -- more than enough time for more Stormtroopers to show up (or other, bigger baddies).

 

Additionally, all standard-issue Imperial equipment is going to have a very distinctive look.  If the party is going to be using it, they're very quickly going to be noticed as having military-issue gear.  If they don't have very convincing credentials explaining why they have it, it's a recipe for a fight everywhere that there's an Imperial presence or Imperial sympathizers.  If they're looting to sell, then the poor return on the equipment from fences due to it being readily identified as Imperial is going to be another deterrent.

 

Finally, and this is a big one, check the carrying capacity of even the biggest and strongest characters.  The max encumbrance I've been able to get up to is the low 20s.  After carrying a basic combat loadout, a character with minimum equipment and maximum capacity is only going to be able to carry 10-15 encumbrance worth of "stuff".  The encumbrance level of a single blaster rifle is 4, as is carried laminate armor.  That means a PC can carry up a combined 4 rifles and sets of armor (5, probably at most).  Unless they're fighting very infrequently, they'll hit their load limit very quickly.  Especially if they have specialized gear that they need to carry or are going to get the Macguffin that has an encumbrance of 15 itself.

 

These are the reasons that I've used (and have had used by GMs on my characters) to limit looting in games I run.

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Here’s another thought — in the Core Rule Book, there is a weapon attachment called “Gene Lock”. If you use that, then only the person who has had their genetic material input into the lock would be able to use the device. If someone else tries to use it, that doesn’t work.

In extreme cases, the gene locked device can actually blow up the moment someone else tries to activate it. That would be really bad news if they were trying to use someone else’s Thermal Detonator.

A gene lock attachment is the sort of thing that shouldn’t be able to be disabled or removed once installed, at least not until the device is unlocked by the proper owner.

The first couple of times, feel free to give the players some warning that a gene lock is attached to a device, so that they can throw it away in time to avoid being blown up. After that, then they take their chances any time they pick up a weapon or armor that used to belong to someone else.

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Along with what the others have said think on:

 

ENCUMBRANCE

 

A lot of GMs hand wave Encumbrance because they think it's too fiddly or inconvenient to keep track of but it is a built in balance mechanism that is very useful in situations like this. If the PCs want to lug all this stuff around fine but don't make it easy for them.

Edited by FuriousGreg

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Ubiquitous use of expensive options such as Gene-Lock should not be common place.  Standard issue battlefield/military equipment, on purpose, doesn't have any kind of security like that.  Tanks, Hummvees and the like don't have keys, they just have an on button.  The reason is, on the battlefield, any soldier, at any time, might be pressed into service to pick up a weapon or drive a vehicle.  They may not be trained on it or as proficient with it as they could be, but in combat, necessity trumps safety.

 

Now, for special-issue 'top secret' or advanced weapons, gene lock to your heart's content.  However, a standard Stormtrooper rifle should be able to be used by just about anyone.

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Lots of good suggestions above.

 

Finally, and this is a big one, check the carrying capacity of even the biggest and strongest characters.  The max encumbrance I've been able to get up to is the low 20s.  After carrying a basic combat loadout, a character with minimum equipment and maximum capacity is only going to be able to carry 10-15 encumbrance worth of "stuff".  The encumbrance level of a single blaster rifle is 4, as is carried laminate armor. 

 

I would take this a bit further. If someone scoops up 4 blaster rifles without some sort of duffel bag on his back, he's going to have a very hard time even pulling the trigger on his own blaster pistol. The RAW version of the duffel bag (Spacer's Bag IIRC) has penalties to drag it about if I recall correctly, so that isn't an easy solution. Make them be specific of how they are going to be carrying around all of this gear and still be able to respond to the next threat. My grandfather told me a story of walking around France for a while with a Stradivarius violin in his backpack. He ended up tossing it in a ditch even though it probably weighed less then a pound.

 

If you have a large firefight planned for the end of an adventure, ensure you have something ready to move the PCs along so they can't just hang out afterwards, pull up the landspeeder, load up everything, etc. For example, if there is a Stormtrooper fight at the end, follow it up with incoming TIE bombers, a full company of Stormtroopers responding in the distance, etc. If they end up losing more then they looted (a vehicle, damage to their ship) due to hanging around too long, they won't be attempting it as much. They were able to pick up 4 new blaster rifles and strip one Stormtrooper of highly illegal laminate armor, but their transport needs to repair 10 points of hull trauma (5,000 credits) and replace its double medium laser cannon (14,000 credits). Not a good trade.

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Ubiquitous use of expensive options such as Gene-Lock should not be common place. 

 

I agree.

 

New attachment: GPS Locator. Credits: 100, Hard Points: 0, Modification Option: Tampering with the locator destroys the weapon's power converter making it useless. Comes standard on all Imperial blasters.

Edited by Sturn

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Ubiquitous use of expensive options such as Gene-Lock should not be common place.  Standard issue battlefield/military equipment, on purpose, doesn't have any kind of security like that.  Tanks, Hummvees and the like don't have keys, they just have an on button.  The reason is, on the battlefield, any soldier, at any time, might be pressed into service to pick up a weapon or drive a vehicle.  They may not be trained on it or as proficient with it as they could be, but in combat, necessity trumps safety.

 

Now, for special-issue 'top secret' or advanced weapons, gene lock to your heart's content.  However, a standard Stormtrooper rifle should be able to be used by just about anyone.

Umm, I am pretty sure all the Humvees they had in my unit had keys. Sorry but you are 100% wrong there. Even when I was in Iraq they had keys. 

Edited by fatedtodie

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Ubiquitous use of expensive options such as Gene-Lock should not be common place.  Standard issue battlefield/military equipment, on purpose, doesn't have any kind of security like that.  Tanks, Hummvees and the like don't have keys, they just have an on button.  The reason is, on the battlefield, any soldier, at any time, might be pressed into service to pick up a weapon or drive a vehicle.  They may not be trained on it or as proficient with it as they could be, but in combat, necessity trumps safety.

 

Now, for special-issue 'top secret' or advanced weapons, gene lock to your heart's content.  However, a standard Stormtrooper rifle should be able to be used by just about anyone.

Umm, I am pretty sure all the Humvees they had in my unit had keys. Sorry but you are 100% wrong there. Even when I was in Iraq they had keys. 

 

 

I can't speak to what they have today, I can only speak to what they had when I was in (1996-1998).  In our units, everything was pushbutton on.  'course, we had a lot of junk leftover from Gulf 1 and even some stuff from 'nam, so it might have been upgraded in the years since.

Edited by Braendig

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Ubiquitous use of expensive options such as Gene-Lock should not be common place.  Standard issue battlefield/military equipment, on purpose, doesn't have any kind of security like that.  Tanks, Hummvees and the like don't have keys, they just have an on button.  The reason is, on the battlefield, any soldier, at any time, might be pressed into service to pick up a weapon or drive a vehicle.  They may not be trained on it or as proficient with it as they could be, but in combat, necessity trumps safety.

 

Now, for special-issue 'top secret' or advanced weapons, gene lock to your heart's content.  However, a standard Stormtrooper rifle should be able to be used by just about anyone.

Umm, I am pretty sure all the Humvees they had in my unit had keys. Sorry but you are 100% wrong there. Even when I was in Iraq they had keys. 

 

 

I can't speak to what they have today, I can only speak to what they had when I was in (1996-1998).  In our units, everything was pushbutton on.  'course, we had a lot of junk leftover from Gulf 1 and even some stuff from 'nam, so it might have been upgraded in the years since.

 

I guess the irony here is that your comment and mine showed that the military learned the lesson of not doing this. Which means it is very likely in a crazy tyranny it is likely they were super paranoid too, which could mean they lock things, and use gene locks because they don't trust even their own units.

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When it comes to certain opponents, I like...

 

Spend 1 Despair or 3 Threat too insert more into the encounter.

 

So Stormtroopers? More. Cops? More. and so on.

 

D&D unintentionally established a bad trope of the encounter being limited to whatever was in that room of the dungeon when the encounter started. Ditch this line of thinking. Think of the movies. There's always more thugs, stormtroopers, cops until you kill every single one on the entire planet.

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Since I only have the BG and expansion I don't have any literature on Obligation yet...I assume that's in the full EotE CRB?

 

Yes, in the character creation section.  Obligation is taken at character creation, and can be increased or reduced based on player actions throughout the game.

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Another thing you might consider doing is just talking to your players, out of character.

 

Say, "Hey gang, I know it makes sense in games like D&D to loot everybody and take their gear, but Star Wars is going for a slightly different feel. Most of the time, a minion you kill is just going to have a generic blaster, it's not necessarily going to be any better than what you've got.

 

"In the future we're going to start keeping closer track of your encumbrance, so it feels a little more cinematic and fast-paced, where it gets awkward to try to carry around a bunch of looted blaster rifles just so you can possibly sell them later."

 

Sure, it happens in the movies that people will pick up a fallen enemy's weapon and use it, but usually it's for a narrative reason rather than just "this looks like it might be +1 compared to mine!"

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I agree that searching kills doesn't feel very Star Wars.  But the gene lock and similar methods aren't really backed by the movies.

 

ANH - Dressing up as Stormtroopers and using their weapons for combat.

 

RoJ - The vehicles on Endor weren't very protected either.  Heck, an Ewok stole a speeder bike!

 

I would support more of the time pressure, encumbrance, and social restrictions of the stolen gear.  Also, heavily reduce the reward for selling said gear.  Once they realize there's no benefit, they'll find another way to make their credits and upgrades.

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Here's another aspect overlooked - once they start throwing mods into their weapons, they'll be less likely to abandon that gun for a generic blaster.

 

As long as the GM isn't also making the newbie mistake we've all made at some point: Pay full price for looted items that are obviously hot.

 

 

 

Another thought I had was just close your eyes and imagine what the character looks like and have people react appropriately.

 

In my last session the players showed up in a kinda of "Space Aspen CO" at a guys hotel suite unannounced. All they need to to is ask him a couple questions.

 

He opens the door and sees....

A Tech with planet-specific tourist garb.

A Huge wookiee with nothing but a bowcaster and a pair of aviator sunglasses.

A Trando with a big honking rifle.

A Faleen in full battle armor with a rifle and a heavy pistol.

A Gand with a heavy pistol and medkit trying OT look unassuming.

 

Since he's the kind of guy with enemies... He screams, slams the door, and runs off.

 

 

So if the players are walking around in mis-matched stormtrooper armor parts and carrying 4 blaster rifles over their shoulders, have everyone act like it.

Edited by Ghostofman

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I Have A Couple Of Points Here. They Will Be Spread Out ThrouGh Multiple Posts As My Phone Keeps deleting It When I Try ToDo It On One.

1. If You Are Concerned About The Weapons They Have, Baddies Can Spend 2 Triumphs And Destroy One.

2. If You Don't Like Them Looting, Booby Trap A Few Of The Bodies. They'll Stop.

3. Give Them Rp Reasons To Want To Keep What They Have. Have A Kid Or Reporter Ask "Is That The Weapon You Killed ___ With?" Or Ask To Have Holos Taken With Their Ship, Or Holding Their Rifle Or EVen Wearing Their Hats. Your Characters With Xp Should Be Making A Name For Themselves Use That To Your Advantage. Let Them Be Looked Up To, And Then People Say "Aww" When They Aren't Using Their Signature Weapons.

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4) Give It A Name. Put A Story Behind Their Gear. Is It Just A Vibroax, Or Is It The Personal Weapon Of The Fearsome Redpelt The Wookie Pirate, Whom The Group Had Been Fighting For MontHs, Before Finally Tracking Him Down To His Lair. Slogging Through Water And Men They Made Their Way To The Fearsome Beast, And There Did Battle With Him On A Done Of Lava, Gyzers Shooting And The Ground Crumbling Beneath TheiR Feet, Before The Beast Finally Went Down. Or The Old General, Whom The PCs Track Down To Aid In Their Cause, Now Blind And Infirm. He Allows Them To Stay At His House, And Hears The Families Sound Of His.dead Son In One If The PCs. A Cantankerous Old Man With Much Fire In Him, Yet Near Death And Bitter At Himself For His Failing Body, Still With Much Pride. Near The End, He Asks To See His Son One Last Time.He Touches The PCs Face, And Begins To Cry, Then Pulls The PC Close To Him, Weeping Freely, Asking His Son To Forgive Him. Acting As If The PC Was His Son As They Turn To Go, He Gives The PC His Old Blasters. The Character Won't Give Those Away.

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5) If Its Too Powerful For Your PCs To Have Them, Then Why Do Your Enemies? Players Take Where We Should Be Equipment Wise From The Encounters. If Its Too Powerful For Your PCs, Them It Should Be Too Powerful For Their Enemies. If You Don't Want Them To.Have It, Don't Use It Against Them

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miishelle, not to be rude but are you 100% sure there's absolutely no way to turn off the capitalizing on your phone?

 

What model of phone is it? I can't help but think there must be *some* way. It looks to me like you've got interesting things to say, but if it's more than a sentence or so I just have a really hard time parsing it.

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