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HappyDaze

Twisted Words (Talent from Desperate Allies)

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Twisted Words

Activation: Active (Incidental, Out of Turn)

Ranked: No

Trees: Advocate

When a social check against the character generates [two Threat] or [one Despair], the character may suffer 1 strain as an incidental to inflict a number of strain equal to his ranks in Coercion on the character who made the check.

 

OK, so does using this Talent "spend" the Threat/Despair when activated, or is it something extra that can be added on top of whatever unfortunate things the Threat/Despair are already generating? If the former, then it appears very weak until Coercion is at 3+ ranks. If the latter, then this is a nice talent.

Edited by HappyDaze

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Going by most other talents and effects, I'd say the Threat/Despair are spent to activate the effect.

 

And since odds are that Coercion's one of the skills that's going to be increased for a PC that wants to get mileage out of the talent, I think it's fine as is; getting to Coercion 3 is only a couple adventures' worth of XP.

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With that take, with the talent and Coercion 3 you take 1 Strain to inflict 3 Strain. Without the talent and with no ranks of Coercion, those same two Threat could inflict 2 Strain. That seems like a very poor talent. Even with Coercion up to 5, you've invested significant XP to do three extra Strain over what anybody could accomplish without spending any XP.

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With that take, with the talent and Coercion 3 you take 1 Strain to inflict 3 Strain. Without the talent and with no ranks of Coercion, those same two Threat could inflict 2 Strain. That seems like a very poor talent. Even with Coercion up to 5, you've invested significant XP to do three extra Strain over what anybody could accomplish without spending any XP.

Except that Coercion can be used independently of this talent, both for regular skill checks and other talents like Scathing Tirade. It's not like you're expending 75 XP to increase Coercion to rank 5 solely for use with this talent. If you have a high Coercion skill (as an Advocate probably would) this talent provides a nice bonus for use against NPCs.

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True enough. I still think it's underwhelming as a Talent purchase until you have Coercion > 3, by maybe that's intentional. anyway, I did send this in for an official answer, and I'll update this thread when I get the answer (likely a wait with Sam gone for another week).

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True enough. I still think it's underwhelming as a Talent purchase until you have Coercion > 3, by maybe that's intentional. anyway, I did send this in for an official answer, and I'll update this thread when I get the answer (likely a wait with Sam gone for another week).

Well, if it works without having to spend those Threat/Despair, then the talent almost becomes almost too good for a social heavy character, as Nobody's Fool isn't that hard to come by for Diplomats (Advocate has two ranks that are easy to acquire) which makes upgrading the difficulty of Coercion checks a cinch, and ups the odds of getting either the 2 Threat or the Despair result.  And since Rivals take strain as wounds, even a few points of strain can be handy in taking an enemy out of the equation that much faster.

 

It may not be an award-winning talent, but it's also on the third row, which is where you'll find talents that are good but are not game-changers, which tend to hang out on the 4th and 5th rows of a spec.

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I've read these Talents as not actually spending the Threat or Despair unless it specifically says they do.

I read these types of Talents as "triggering" when the Threat or Despair is generated.

 

But I'd say this would make for a great Dev question.

Yeah. I can see it going either way, and that's why I sent it in for an official answer. I still like seeing the views various others have taken on it though, so there's no need to kill the thread or anything.

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Back in the Force and Destiny Beta, the Improved Parry and Improved Reflect talents initially had similar wording to Twisted Words, in that the talent "triggered" when the opponent generates 3 Threat or a Despair result when the PC is using Parry/Reflect respectively, with no mention of having to actually spend those Threat/Despair and thus leaving them open to be used elsewhere.  That got changed fairly quickly in the Beta updates (the very first one as it so happens), making it clear the Threat/Despair had to be spent in order to trigger the talent's effects.

 

As for Desperate Allies, based upon when Squadron 66 did our playtesting, the book probably wasn't quite as high a priority for FFG as Force and Destiny (the core rulebook that many folks had been anticipating since it was teased back in 2012) was, so this book likely didn't get as through of an editing job.

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My opinion - if it spends the threat/despair, then it's pretty weaksauce.

 

I think a better (and certainly clearer) version would be something like: When spending threat/despair to inflict strain on a another character making a social check against you, as an incidental you may suffer 1 strain to inflict additional strain on the character making the check equal to your ranks in coercion. 

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There are no other instances in the game that I can think of where die results come up and trigger an effect in addition to being spendable elsewhere. I think folks are grasping at straws here, trying to make a talent stronger than it already is (which, as Dono points out, in concert with other talents, it becomes potentially quite powerful indeed).

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The change to Improved Reflect is a good datapoint (as well as Improved Parry).
Counterstrike (in the F&D beta and also in the same tree as Improved Reflect) has similar language but it was not changed in an errata.
Maybe it was an oversight. Maybe not.
I wonder what the core says? (I get mine tomorrow).

And I don't think this is grasping at straws. The wording is not clear.
But I suspect that it's correct that any threat or despair have to be spent in order for some effect to "use" them.
But the devs have introduced new mechanical concepts like this before.

Edited by Jedi Ronin

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Someone point out a single talent where an effect is generatated based on the number of Advantage, Triumphs, Threat, or Despair where that effect does not consume those points rolled.

 

If you can, you may have precidence for your interpretation of the wording, and I advise asking a Dev for clarity.  But I can't think of one in 3 years worth of books.

 

Talents, especially 1st-3rd tier, are not meant to be game-breaking or exceptional.  2 Threat for Coercion Ranks in strain damage to the acting character is just fine for a reactionary 15xp talent that can be used infinitely and is based on a skill the N/PC is likely to want to put high ranks into anyway.

Edited by DarthGM

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Another benefit of the Talent is that it squarely puts the control in the Player's hands.

 

GM's letting the players interpret (spend/use) threat and/or despair may be somewhat of a "default" but it's not done by rule so it may be an incorrect assumption at a particular gaming table that a Player can just use the threat generated by an NPC against their PC as the GM may reserve that for themselves in all or most cases.

 

This Talent gives the player this option even if the GM typically doesn't allow PCs to interpret NPC dice pools.

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I think, in general, people are missing the point of this Talent. Sure, you can use Coercion on your own turn to cause Strain to an opponent. But this talent allows you to spend the Threats generated by someone else's roll that targets your character on their turn to cause them Strain. In other words, you don't have to perform an action or maneuver to accomplish this.

 

That's the big deal with this talent.

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I think, in general, people are missing the point of this Talent. Sure, you can use Coercion on your own turn to cause Strain to an opponent. But this talent allows you to spend the Threats generated by someone else's roll that targets your character on their turn to cause them Strain. In other words, you don't have to perform an action or maneuver to accomplish this.

 

That's the big deal with this talent.

 

If the normal table rule is that PCs get to interpret (with GM having the final say) NPC dice pools then the PCs are already able to do that.

Certainly, this Talent lets the PC have the trump card as to how it's spent (even if the above rule isn't the table normal, and assuming no other PC at the table has a similarly operating Talent) but the general dynamic of players choosing how NPC dice pool results are spent may not be a new element.

 

So, at a given table it may very well be that such a dynamic is a big deal, while at others it may not be (as it appears to be with the games HappyDaze plays in).

 

EDIT Thinking about it some more - at a table where the PCs typically get to spend NPC threat/despair and if this Talent didn't spend the threat/despair the PC could activate the Talent and then spend the threat/despair to cause even more Strain.

So, with a Coersion of say 4, and 2 threat that's 6 Strain, or 3 threat thats 7 Strain, or 4 threat (activate the Talent twice?) that's 12 Strain.

Seems like a lot of Strain loss.  Though the GM could easily curtail this by insisting on spending the threat (again, assuming in this scenario that the Talent doesn't spend it) but that's still double duty on the the same threat/despair.

Edited by Jedi Ronin

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If the normal table rule is that PCs get to interpret (with GM having the final say) NPC dice pools then the PCs are already able to do that.

Certainly, this Talent lets the PC have the trump card as to how it's spent (even if the above rule isn't the table normal, and assuming no other PC at the table has a similarly operating Talent) but the general dynamic of players choosing how NPC dice pool results are spent may not be a new element.

 

So, at a given table it may very well be that such a dynamic is a big deal, while at others it may not be (as it appears to be with the games HappyDaze plays in).

 

EDIT Thinking about it some more - at a table where the PCs typically get to spend NPC threat/despair and if this Talent didn't spend the threat/despair the PC could activate the Talent and then spend the threat/despair to cause even more Strain.

So, with a Coersion of say 4, and 2 threat that's 6 Strain, or 3 threat thats 7 Strain, or 4 threat (activate the Talent twice?) that's 12 Strain.

Seems like a lot of Strain loss.  Though the GM could easily curtail this by insisting on spending the threat (again, assuming in this scenario that the Talent doesn't spend it) but that's still double duty on the the same threat/despair.

 

I understand that you're talking about table rules, but the default state of the game doesn't have PC's spending Threats and Despairs for NPCs. From page 205 of the Edge of the Empire Core Rule Book:

 

 

By default, the GM determines how Threat.png and Despair.png are spent, although in some cases (such as checks made by NPCs), he may give the players the option to spend these instead.

 

A game has to be designed to work within the confines of its own rules. If the default assumption is that the GM is (usually) spending Threats and Despairs for NPCs (except when he opts not to), then this talent is one that allows the players more narrative control. House or table rules made outside of the default assumptions of the game may make talents weaker than intended, of course, and in this case playing with the assumption that PCs always spend Threats and Despairs for NPCs will do just that.

Edited by Simon Retold

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Ok so RAW in that case:

By default, the GM determines how Threat.png and Despair.png are spent...

PLUS

When a social check against the character generates [two Threat] or [one Despair], the character may suffer 1 strain as an incidental to inflict a number of strain equal to his ranks in Coercion on the character who made the check.

MEANS

The player does not get to spend the threat/despair.

There is nothing specific in the talent description that beats out the general rule ("By default, the GM determines...") so even if the player wanted to spend them, the player couldn't. The RAI may be different, but the RAW is clear, right? Especially since there is nothing in the talent description that mentions anyone spending anything.

If the player has to spend the threat/despair, I don't think this talent is worth it at all - because of the opportunity cost, more than anything else. That 15 XP could be going to a buncha places. Also, if the threat is spent by the player, then it is a net advantage of 1 strain with Coercion at 4, and a net advantage of 2 strain with a Coercion at 5. This assumes the threat would have been spent by GM to inflict strain.

Edited by dfn

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Simon Retold,

I mostly agree with you.

And you are correct that the default is that the GM will spend threat/despair but the rules do explicitly include the PCs doing it (at GM discression).

I guess my minor point is that the rules (optionally) open up the possibilty of a PC spending an NPCs threat/despair and that this *may* be the normal at a given table.  And I agree the game is designed with the default rules in mind - and the devs may have seen this space (PCs spending threat/despair) as a great area to expand in to (and I like it).  And in this particular case the Talent offers an effect that happens to be the same as a common usage of spending threat, while other Talents that explicitly empower players to spend NPC threat/despair (like Counterstrike, Imroved Reflect/Parry, etc) have more unique effects.

 

But I agree completely that the PC gets more narrative control with this Talent - even if PCs can spend threat/despair as a table norm - as they can determine how the threat/despair are spent outside of GM discretion (unless something really weird is going on in the scenario).

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Ok so RAW in that case:

By default, the GM determines how Threat.png and Despair.png are spent...

PLUS

When a social check against the character generates [two Threat] or [one Despair], the character may suffer 1 strain as an incidental to inflict a number of strain equal to his ranks in Coercion on the character who made the check.

MEANS

The player does not get to spend the threat/despair.

There is nothing specific in the talent description that beats out the general rule ("By default, the GM determines...") so even if the player wanted to spend them, the player couldn't. The RAI may be different, but the RAW is clear, right? Especially since there is nothing in the talent description that mentions anyone spending anything.

If the player has to spend the threat/despair, I don't think this talent is worth it at all - because of the opportunity cost, more than anything else. That 15 XP could be going to a buncha places. Also, if the threat is spent by the player, then it is a net advantage of 1 strain with Coercion at 4, and a net advantage of 2 strain with a Coercion at 5. This assumes the threat would have been spent by GM to inflict strain.

 

 

Maybe, but typically specific rules override general rules.

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As a GM, I hardly ever inflict Strain on my NPCs due to rolling Threats. Most of the time, they get Setback Dice or Narrative challenges instead, largely because most of the NPCs facing the PCs don't even have Strain in the first place. (I know... some people will say, "Well, in they don't have Strain, inflict Wound instead!", but I find that a silly option for something like Coercion.) So allowing the player to gain a little narrative control by inflicting Strain when a Nemesis rolls a couple Threats is an added bonus for them.

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