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BarbeChenue

I don't always post overpowered combos, but when I do...

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One of my players opened a can of worms (or whoopass, depending on which side of the GM screen you stand...):

 

I was showing the new Gambler talent tree from Fly Casual (only its outline, we don't have the book yet) to the gambling Twi'Lek PC of the party. I thought it would be a fitting addition to the concept. But the player who really listened was the 1000xp Gadgeteer/Assassin/Heavy/Gunner/Sharpshooter using the (in)famous Jury Rigged/Autofire combo.

 

There is a talent series called Double or Nothing. It has an Improved and Supreme version in the Gambler tree.

 

In exchange for upgrading the difficulty of a check once, you get to double all net advantages (basic talent) and net successes (Improved) after the Threats and Failures have canceled the positive results. It seems to only affect positive dice, from the summary. There is also the Supreme level, which doubles both Despairs and Triumphs (fair enough).

 

On a True Aim'ing / Burly / Jury Rigged / Autofire / (Heavy Hitter when Triumph), with a dice pool of eight yellow dice +2 Advantages (Superior/Bantha Eye attachements), the number of advantages generated on all but the most ludicrous levels of Adversary/Defense is bound to reach stratospheric levels of damage. Increasing both net damage bonus on each shot + doubling the number of shots basically multiplies the total damage generated by the already over-the-top Jury Rigged / Autofire combo.

 

On a test roll, assuming we're not mistaken about the rules, on a fictional test enemy with Adversary 2, Ranged Defense 2, we easily got 28 damage per hit, on 15 hits, for a total of 420...

 

Without the Double or Nothing talent chain, it's 154 damage. We're talking almost triple damage here folks, on the same (admittedly high) dice pool.

 

Here's an inspirational video summarizing the kind of character this creates:

 

 

I just wanted to warn you about this combo (and see if it's legit?). I haven't decided on whether to allow this combo or not, but I sure wanted to have other people's impression.

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See...that is the thing about narrative games.

 

If you don't use common sense and a desire for good narrative it all breaks down.  They are intended and require players to care about the narrative universe.  ANY narrative game will break down if the players simply look for nasty combos.

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See...that is the thing about narrative games.

 

If you don't use common sense and a desire for good narrative it all breaks down.  They are intended and require players to care about the narrative universe.  ANY narrative game will break down if the players simply look for nasty combos.

This is totally not true. It happens in this game because it is a sort of "narrative meets D&D" game, and as always, the D&D part (endless talents, special moves, powers stc.) breaks. Because it is impossible to add this amount of PC special powers to any game (very much the D&D style) and keep it nice and quiet. Don't make me start with names, but out there, there are plenty of rpgs which do not break due to character growth, mainly because they keep this aspect of the game simpler.

When I was a teenager, I liked rpgs to see my character grow and become powerful. Nowadays, this is totally secondary for me, now I like rpgs to sit on a table and tell a story.

Edited by Yepesnopes

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As a GM, my first thought is that My Nemesis would be super powerful. 2 Adversary, HA. At that level of Exp my Combat Nem is going to run with a min of four Adversary, as well as some defensive talents (dodge, side step). 

Or perhaps you give the guy stealth out the Wazoo. First round *poof* the Nem is invisible, suspended from the ceiling, and Drawing a nasty Disruptor rifle that complements his 5 levels of Lethal Blows. 

If the player(s) wants to actually build something like this and use it, I don't stop short of escalation. If the Player(s) have fun, build clever and creatively powerful, but narrative based characters, the foes stay similar, deviously and strangely powerful, but narrative based

Edited by taegins

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Luckily most people will never realize this as most people do not try to build a Codzilla. I can do something like this with just about any game I've ever played if I put my mind to it. I don't generally worry too much as something this focused usually means there are cracks elsewhere, and as a GM I can take someone down if I so choose since NPCs do not have to play by the same rules as PCs.

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Luckily most people will never realize this as most people do not try to build a Codzilla. I can do something like this with just about any game I've ever played if I put my mind to it. I don't generally worry too much as something this focused usually means there are cracks elsewhere, and as a GM I can take someone down if I so choose since NPCs do not have to play by the same rules as PCs.

If I could "like" this post more than once, I would.

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The max attribute and skill is 6 ranks. Explain to me where the 8 dice pool comes from?

 

Some of that must come from True Aim (mercenary soldier tree) that allow 2 combat check upgrades when you aim.

 

Apparently that's also on the Sharpshooter tree - so he's using 4 ranks of that talent, which allows 4 upgrades on combat checks when using the True Aim maneuver.

 

When I'm the GM this kind of PC has an unfortunate accident near a faulty airlock and the issue is resolved.

Edited by blaked

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So the player likes to make combat PCs - why not indulge them?  

 

Generally this is to the detriment of the rest of the party. The GM is given the following sorts of no-win options:

 

1) start an arms race - the NPCs are given equivalent talents/missile tubes/e-webs in which case the PCs similarly are shredded

2) reduce the number of combat scenes, which generally tends to irritate the killbot PC player because he/she feels useless out of their massacre-fest element

3) devolve the campaign into a nonsensical shooting gallery where the PC mows down all adversaries 

 

As the GM, or another player in the group, I simply don't enjoy this style of min-maxing, as I feel the GM is required to cater to this PC.

 

I do my very best to try to not tell people they are playing 'wrong'.  If they are enjoying their games, I say play on.  At the same time, it IS a role playing game, and unless the entire party is put together in this anime style (consider the Youtube link provided by the OP) I'm not sure how the entire group enjoys this style.  Suffice it to say I have a pet peeve for this sort of min-maxing, not just in this game, but in all games (Pathinfinder, Saga Edition, whatever).

Edited by blaked

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@Yepesnopes - You are right, it is a generalization and it does fall closer to the middle of the narrative / simulationist continuum.  Most narrative games are less concerned with what the players can do than why they are doing it.  That viewpoint lends itself to blind spots and a belief that the player will fit the character to the story and the game.  In most games of this style (FATE, oWOD, nWOD, and others) you can easily break the system if you put your mind to it.

 

I guess it basically assumes a convenant between the players and the narrative to use a shared idea of common sense.  Most games such as D&D, some Palladium, Rolemaster, etc assume that the players will be playing a long time and that they may wish to incrementally improve.  Narrative games tend to have smaller tiers of skills, talents, etc that are more easily abused.  Games that have more flexibility also can fall into this category (looking at later RIFTS products).

 

In short, you are correct and character growth is not the concern.  It is the mindset of the player to use the rule set to an extreme and disregard a sense of balance that can keep a narrative game sane or not.  Of course, if all the players want to have a seriously epic game this may not even be an issue.  It is just a common thread I have seen amongst narrative games.

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So the player likes to make combat PCs - why not indulge them?  

 

Generally this is to the detriment of the rest of the party. The GM is given the following sorts of no-win options:

 

1) start an arms race - the NPCs are given equivalent talents/missile tubes/e-webs in which case the PCs similarly are shredded

2) reduce the number of combat scenes, which generally tends to irritate the killbot PC player because he/she feels useless out of their massacre-fest element

3) devolve the campaign into a nonsensical shooting gallery where the PC mows down all adversaries 

 

As the GM, or another player in the group, I simply don't enjoy this style of min-maxing, as I feel the GM is required to cater to this PC.

 

I do my very best to try to not tell people they are playing 'wrong'.  If they are enjoying their games, I say play on.  At the same time, it IS a role playing game, and unless the entire party is put together in this anime style (consider the Youtube link provided by the OP) I'm not sure how the entire group enjoys this style.  Suffice it to say I have a pet peeve for this sort of min-maxing, not just in this game, but in all games (Pathinfinder, Saga Edition, whatever).

 

 

You can also temper this concern with targeted NPC villains to each individual PC.

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So the player likes to make combat PCs - why not indulge them?  

 

Generally this is to the detriment of the rest of the party. The GM is given the following sorts of no-win options:

 

1) start an arms race - the NPCs are given equivalent talents/missile tubes/e-webs in which case the PCs similarly are shredded

2) reduce the number of combat scenes, which generally tends to irritate the killbot PC player because he/she feels useless out of their massacre-fest element

3) devolve the campaign into a nonsensical shooting gallery where the PC mows down all adversaries 

 

As the GM, or another player in the group, I simply don't enjoy this style of min-maxing, as I feel the GM is required to cater to this PC.

 

I do my very best to try to not tell people they are playing 'wrong'.  If they are enjoying their games, I say play on.  At the same time, it IS a role playing game, and unless the entire party is put together in this anime style (consider the Youtube link provided by the OP) I'm not sure how the entire group enjoys this style.  Suffice it to say I have a pet peeve for this sort of min-maxing, not just in this game, but in all games (Pathinfinder, Saga Edition, whatever).

 

 

 

I hear ya and I agree it can get out of hand quickly.  I think this is something that needs to be talked about out of the game, I've had an easier time with that than what could be construed as punishment by said Tank player.  I'm of the mind that if they spend their XP on it, they have fun doing that, and I should give it to them - but like you said, not to the detriment of the rest of the group.  However, that's something easily discovered outside scheduled play time I hope.  If you're not having fun, it's worth talking about.

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So the player likes to make combat PCs - why not indulge them?  

 

Generally this is to the detriment of the rest of the party. The GM is given the following sorts of no-win options:

 

1) start an arms race - the NPCs are given equivalent talents/missile tubes/e-webs in which case the PCs similarly are shredded

2) reduce the number of combat scenes, which generally tends to irritate the killbot PC player because he/she feels useless out of their massacre-fest element

3) devolve the campaign into a nonsensical shooting gallery where the PC mows down all adversaries 

 

As the GM, or another player in the group, I simply don't enjoy this style of min-maxing, as I feel the GM is required to cater to this PC.

 

I do my very best to try to not tell people they are playing 'wrong'.  If they are enjoying their games, I say play on.  At the same time, it IS a role playing game, and unless the entire party is put together in this anime style (consider the Youtube link provided by the OP) I'm not sure how the entire group enjoys this style.  Suffice it to say I have a pet peeve for this sort of min-maxing, not just in this game, but in all games (Pathinfinder, Saga Edition, whatever).

 

 

So isolate this particular PC.  Force him to hold off literally hundreds of minions at a strategic choke point.  Give him an opportunity to be the badass from the video above.  Make sure the rest of the party has to press on and everyone knows that if he doesn't hold the line, the entire party will be overwhelmed.  This doesn't have to happen all the time, but enough to demonstrate his badassity.

 

When you get to 1000xp, things have to start to get Galactic in scale.  He's not facing an Agent, he's facing Darth Vader.  If he beats Vader, then he has to meet the Emperor.  Liberal use of black dice and upgrades are warranted.  After all, he has to be facing people who are as advanced and focused as he is.

 

Also, cinematically, most fights like this break out into two parts -- the main fight (Jedi vs Sith) and the supporting fight (Naboo vs Droids).  He's the "main fight" and the rest of the party are the supporting fight.

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As a "Min/Max" player, I can empathize with the PC for wanting to UBERMAX their PC.  I can also say w/ experience that in some situations that your Min/max PC will be useless when it comes to certain social situations.  Whether you play a well rounded or min/max isnt a right or wrong issue, it is what the person wants to create in that universe (D&D, Star Wars, etc.)  That person has to live w/ the consequences of their choice.  It is up to the GM to know what the PCs are capable of so that the game play can be enjoyable for all.

 

I do NOT envy the GM in this universe, and I have told my GM, that I would NEVER run a game, because my brain would explode from all of the narration and nuance that goes into this game.  I need to have some kind of structure.

 

I do hope however that whoever makes a max/min PC like the OP described that if an adversary comes out that is something INSANE that it doesnt mop the floor w/ that other PCs that are not equipped to handle such insanity.  That would make the whole gaming experience not fun at all.

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The max attribute and skill is 6 ranks. Explain to me where the 8 dice pool comes from?

 

The use of cybernetics could also increase an attribute to 7 (skills max out at 5 ranks without cyberware, I believe).

 

I'm surprised this PC doesn't also have the force sensitive exile tree - by using the control upgrade, he/she can use the force to upgrade that combat check ( p 280)

Edited by blaked

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I'm sorry if I wasn't entirely clear in my original post: I'm not all that happy to have to adjudicate this new balance problem. And contrary to what others have said, you don't *need* 1000xp to go crazy with it. At 250xp, this could be pulled of.

I have been pretty cool to my players since the start, and I have had no problem with either their wealth or their overall power level, even at 1000xp. But the problems are always in the details, such as this one.

What do I do? Allow or not? I mean, I was never really comfortable with Autofire+Jury Rigged to begin with, but this didn't bother my players. I'm not Ok with the power discrepancy this creates between players. It creates a rocket tag situation and, like someone else said, an arms race.

Though it is a pretty cool combo on paper, this is going to get old quickly. I can't pump up Soak / WT / Adversary for just one player. This will only worsen the problem. It trivializes personal scale combat or escalates it out of hand.

And it could have happened at 250xp. The other players at 1000xp pose no balance problem.

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I'm sorry if I wasn't entirely clear in my original post: I'm not all that happy to have to adjudicate this new balance problem. And contrary to what others have said, you don't *need* 1000xp to go crazy with it. At 250xp, this could be pulled of.

I have been pretty cool to my players since the start, and I have had no problem with either their wealth or their overall power level, even at 1000xp. But the problems are always in the details, such as this one.

What do I do? Allow or not? I mean, I was never really comfortable with Autofire+Jury Rigged to begin with, but this didn't bother my players. I'm not Ok with the power discrepancy this creates between players. It creates a rocket tag situation and, like someone else said, an arms race.

Though it is a pretty cool combo on paper, this is going to get old quickly. I can't pump up Soak / WT / Adversary for just one player. This will only worsen the problem. It trivializes personal scale combat or escalates it out of hand.

And it could have happened at 250xp. The other players at 1000xp pose no balance problem.

 

You need to sit down and discuss what your players are looking for in a game.  Make sure that you are on board with the concept and then go with it.  Some players crave a high action, over the top level of realism.  Others want that small and personal game.  You can't easily do both so try and manage everyone's expectations.

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As a "Min/Max" player, I can empathize with the PC for wanting to UBERMAX their PC.  I can also say w/ experience that in some situations that your Min/max PC will be useless when it comes to certain social situations.  Whether you play a well rounded or min/max isnt a right or wrong issue, it is what the person wants to create in that universe (D&D, Star Wars, etc.)  That person has to live w/ the consequences of their choice.  It is up to the GM to know what the PCs are capable of so that the game play can be enjoyable for all.

 

I do NOT envy the GM in this universe, and I have told my GM, that I would NEVER run a game, because my brain would explode from all of the narration and nuance that goes into this game.  I need to have some kind of structure.

 

I do hope however that whoever makes a max/min PC like the OP described that if an adversary comes out that is something INSANE that it doesnt mop the floor w/ that other PCs that are not equipped to handle such insanity.  That would make the whole gaming experience not fun at all.

I understand the want to have a great character, and am not in any way trying to critique you personally.

But this sort of outlook can, in a general and not-being-applied-to-you sense, be really frustrating to see as a GM. Min/max ing IS a right wrong thing if it goes beyond your GM's ability to believably deal with it. Players have a responsibility to the game and more importantly the group just as much as the GM does.  If I, as a player, noticed I was causing the GM issues with my play style, or inhibiting other players from having fun, its really important that I then stop acting/building in the manner that I am, even if that means specifically building a less min/maxed character than I am used to or would ideally play. this is why I warn my players before a game starts that 1- everyone else at the table matters equally and even my (as the GM) fun and enjoyment needs to be taken into account, and 2- i am not opposed to kill characters specifically because thier play is hurting group dynamic. If another player complains to me, talks to the person at fault, and nothing changes. that Character will die the next session (usually in a fun/epic way instead of a 'you fell and tripped of a cliff' way)

Edited by taegins

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I'm sorry if I wasn't entirely clear in my original post: I'm not all that happy to have to adjudicate this new balance problem. And contrary to what others have said, you don't *need* 1000xp to go crazy with it. At 250xp, this could be pulled of.

I have been pretty cool to my players since the start, and I have had no problem with either their wealth or their overall power level, even at 1000xp. But the problems are always in the details, such as this one.

What do I do? Allow or not? I mean, I was never really comfortable with Autofire+Jury Rigged to begin with, but this didn't bother my players. I'm not Ok with the power discrepancy this creates between players. It creates a rocket tag situation and, like someone else said, an arms race.

Though it is a pretty cool combo on paper, this is going to get old quickly. I can't pump up Soak / WT / Adversary for just one player. This will only worsen the problem. It trivializes personal scale combat or escalates it out of hand.

And it could have happened at 250xp. The other players at 1000xp pose no balance problem.

 

It boils down to a lack of agency.  Both on the part of the player and also on the part of the GM.  This character build/concept is robbing the GM of agency by disrupting combat balance to the point of trivializing any encounter that wouldn't curbstomp the rest of the party.  The GM is robbing the player of agency by disallowing this (legal) combination.

 

Frankly, from my perspective, I'd simply disallow the jury rigged/autofire combo and see how that balances out.  It should serve to mitigate the majority of what you see as the problem.  If it still continues to be an issue, perhaps set an upper boundary of auto-fire.  Perhaps it could be the number of hard points on the weapon, half the base damage (rounded down) of the weapon, the number of skill ranks of the player, or the number of successes rolled (since there's always at least one success rolled, it can always activate on a successful attack at least once).

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