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MrDodger

Charming Stormtroopers, and the art of saying "No."

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Yea, they`re are pretty much blaster fodder, expendable minions and stupid henchmen based on a classic trope... However, some people see them as elite super soldiers.

Would the takeaway here be to play them how they're written in the rules, not as how you want to house rule them, and you won't have issues? Or, just rewrite their stats from the ground up so that, individually, they're a Social Combat challenge?

 

There seems to be both a wanting of cake and a desire to eat it in this thread. Which makes me think there isn't a satisfactory answer to give to the OP.

 

 

I don't think people are wanting their cake and eating it too. The problem is that it's hard to reconcile what Stormtroopers are. They are the cannon fodder yes. But the source material told us time and time again that they were the Empire's elite. From the moment Obi Wan made his initial comment about them to the Emperor himself and his comments we've always had to reconcile the elite forces of the setting being nothing more than easy to mow down cannon fodder.

The two are not easily reconciled. So while on the one hand they fall easily it is, to certain degrees, hard to imagine that the Empires elite is going to easily fall prey to a pretty face, a wink, and a smile. That's like expecting a Navy SEAL to be easily distracted and ignore his duty because someone tried to cozy up to him. Using your elite troops as cannon fodder is going to create rule situations like this in which their status does not always measure up to their stats and the expectations placed on them because of their status. 

 

 

I honestly don't get why people are using Stormtroopers as cannon-fodder in the first place.

I keep them for "harder" encounters, and not for cannon-fodder.

There's plenty of other imperial trash to throw at the players if the Imps need to be involved.

To me, Stormtroopers are not the tip of the spear, the elite of the elite, but they are definately better class than the regular riff-raff that makes up the military.

It's kinda like the russian spetsnaz; it's an umbrella term that envelops all special forces. So in general you get many different levels of "elite" in there. So to me Stormtroopers are basically "spetsnaz" of the Star Wars world. They are generally better trained and better motivated than a normal soldier, but there are elite units within the Stormtrooper core that are even better than stormtroopers.

So I don't use them as cannon fodder.

I use them as group-bosses or heavy hitters in general. And if the characters get good enough to consider stormtroopers "easy", I'll be putting those special units in their way when need be.

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I don't think anyone understand the Stormtrooper/Imperial Army distinction.

 

I just got the Imperial Handbook - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1452145288?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00

 

It's a Legends book, but 2015 and with a Disney stamp - so I consider it more "official" then something Legends from 1980.

 

It does have the Imperial Army and the Stormtrooper Corps in it as distinct organizations.  

 

The Imperial Army section has uniforms for Vehicle crew for heavy armor and armored cavalry.  The formation and deployment section makes it clear that there are imperial army troopers.  There is a picture showing an Imperial Assault Regiment in action.   What do the line troopers wear?  STORMTROOPER ARMOR!

 

I'm really coming to the conclusion in my head canon that that all Stormtroopers wear stormtrooper armor, but not everyone in stormtrooper armor are Stormtroopers.  If both Stormtroopers and Imperial Army wear stormtrooper armor, it would certainly explain the confusion.  And allow people to perhaps charm some, but not others.

I tend to look at it as the Imperial Army is equivalent to the US Army, and the Stormtroopers are equivalent to the US Marine Corp (the Wehrmacht would probably be a better comparison, but I'm not as familiar with it).  Hell, the first time we ever see stormtroopers is during a boarding action.

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I honestly don't get why people are using Stormtroopers as cannon-fodder in the first place.

Because they aren't particularly threatening to the films' protagonists. If they were, it would violate the Rule of Cool.

 

They're obviously better trained and equipped than your average Star Wars soldier; they have scary armor and big rifles. And they (fairly easily) defeated the Rebel troops on Leia's ship in the opening sequence to Episode IV. But Luke, Han and Leia killed a whole bunch of them during the Death Star escape sequence.

 

Even the progenitor stormtroopers, the clone troopers, seemed to struggle against a robot army whose sole battlefield tactic was to march in a line.

 

If stormtroopers aren't cannon fodder in a Star Wars RPG, the game is saying that the PCs are incompetent compared to the film protagonists. And that's pretty lame. See "Elminster" and "Forgotten Realms."

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One of my players once Deception-ed a garrison of Stormtroopers into believing that he was a representative of an Outer Rim arms company who wanted to invest in the garrison. He passed all the rolls despite there being 2 reds on every check due to their ranks in Discipline! Then, on another occasion, he duped a corrupt factory owner into thinking that he was an Imperial (ruining my plans for a combat encounter) then lightsaber-ing my BBEG in one turn!

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I honestly don't get why people are using Stormtroopers as cannon-fodder in the first place.

Because they aren't particularly threatening to the films' protagonists. If they were, it would violate the Rule of Cool.

 

They're obviously better trained and equipped than your average Star Wars soldier; they have scary armor and big rifles. And they (fairly easily) defeated the Rebel troops on Leia's ship in the opening sequence to Episode IV. But Luke, Han and Leia killed a whole bunch of them during the Death Star escape sequence.

 

...while constantly running away from them. We know the stormtroopers aren't a threat because they're mooks and the heroes are the protagonists, but the characters don't. That's pretty hard to emulate in a RPG, unfortunately.

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I don't think anyone understand the Stormtrooper/Imperial Army distinction.

 

I just got the Imperial Handbook - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1452145288?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00

 

It's a Legends book, but 2015 and with a Disney stamp - so I consider it more "official" then something Legends from 1980.

 

It does have the Imperial Army and the Stormtrooper Corps in it as distinct organizations.  

 

The Imperial Army section has uniforms for Vehicle crew for heavy armor and armored cavalry.  The formation and deployment section makes it clear that there are imperial army troopers.  There is a picture showing an Imperial Assault Regiment in action.   What do the line troopers wear?  STORMTROOPER ARMOR!

 

I'm really coming to the conclusion in my head canon that that all Stormtroopers wear stormtrooper armor, but not everyone in stormtrooper armor are Stormtroopers.  If both Stormtroopers and Imperial Army wear stormtrooper armor, it would certainly explain the confusion.  And allow people to perhaps charm some, but not others.

My understanding is the Imperial guard occasionally do missions in Stormtroper Armor to keep their skills up. 

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ok, I have skimmed through the posts, so i may repeat something here, that someone else has already said...sorry. But more to the OP by Dodger. 

 

Unfortunately in your OP you were a little too vague for me in just saying your PCs are trying to get past some Stormies. Get past them to where? That has more to do with the question than if can they charm them. If they are just going about their daily routine (Stormies) and doing some random checks for IDs and stuff, then sure I would let my PCs try to charm them. "I know officer I should always have my blaster permit with me but I left on my ship by mistake...you know how those customers inspectors want to see all your data files, I just forgot to put it back in my wallet, I will go get it right now, it won't happen again"

 

Now if they are trying to get into a secure area, NO. I am the type of GM that is ok with saying No sometimes. I realize this is a narrative...yes...and system, but sometimes no is the only course of action that is reasonable. "I am going to charm my way past the past the security guards and get into the secure military base"  No. You can try, but it will not succeed, no matter what you roll. Having spent most of my life as an active duty military member, this would never work to try to get onto a base. when you forget your ID at home, you either have to go get back and get it, or if you left at work, then left base, and are now trying to get back on, some installations have special buildings right outside the gate where you can go process through. They check you out pretty good, and have a photo on file of you, and other information you have to fill out, then they double check that info. They also contact your First Sergeant, and if this happens too much, you can get in to some trouble. Usually you just have someone you work with get your ID card from your locker/computer CAC reader/wherever and bring it to you though. One time, I had left my ID at my computer, left base, and when I tried to go through that building, I did not know my First Sergeant's name, as he had just a got a new one, and they would not issue me a temp pass, even though i knew my old Shirt's name, and was in full uniform and had other ID on me like US issued drivers License and my European issued Drivers License. I had to get one my Airmen to bring me my ID card. I owed him lunch for that! 

 

For me, I would never let my PC's charm/deceive/coerce or do anything similar to get into a secure facility. But most of my players are either military or work for the Government in some fashion, so they understand this as well. Now if the group can forge some documents and get the right attire, sure I would let them try to deceive their way through. 

 

So for me, the question is not really can you charm Stormtroopers; of course you can, they are people, but what situations would allow you a chance of success at charming bad guys. Can you charm them into breaking their orders? No. Can you charm a Hutt into giving you a portion of their underworld empire? Or instead charm a Hutt into giving you a few extra days to repay them before they break your knee caps? Which one seems more likely to be realistic and work? 

 

I feel it is ok to say "No" when appropriate. "I'm going to shoot that guy at long range!", Um, your gun can only shot at short range dude...so no. I'm going to go Charm Papa Palpy and do this thing... No. 

I try to keep a touch of realism, plausibility, and sensibility in my games. I don't get to worked up over real world physics and real world combat stuff, but I don't let the characters have free reign over stuff just because they are the characters. On the same token, what they can do, I can too with the NPCs as well. And no matter what I rolled on a Charm check, they would never just giver their ship to an NPC, nor would I force them, even if I rolled 15 Success, 24 Advantages, and 32 Triumphs on them. Some things just don't work. And yes, I have had players try to "charm or other social skill" NPCs out of their vehicles/ships. I just let them know, if they can do it, they may (means WILL) meet an NPC that can do that to them. 

Well, everyone, have a great day. I'm off to Walmart to Charm some customers out their cars in the parking lot. If that does not work, I will see if I charm some workers into letting me buy some of the new toys and merchandise before the 4th. (that could work though, if the bribe was good enough!)  :lol:

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If the PC is trying to Charm an off-duty Trooper at the cantina, opposing with Cool is fine.

 

If the PC is trying to Charm an on-duty Trooper into disobeying his orders, oppose with Discipline.

 

The chart of what-opposes-what is suggestion.  Go with what's most appropriate for the situation.

 

I really do like what Lorne said here. I would also add in some huge modifies for the fear of disobeying orders though depending on the situation. In my above example, a patrol Stormie doing some random ID checks and stuff, you don't have your weapons permit on you for that DL-18...His threat of disciplinary action is not too high if you have the DL-18 and no permit, so he can give you a verbal warning, as he will not get into trouble as he gave out a reasonable punishment and did his job effectively. Now you don't have your permit for those Thermal Detonators and Rotary cannon, he can get into a lot more trouble, so his modifiers are going to be larger to the roll. His threat of disciplinary action is increased from his superiors uping his attention to detail (skill). Trying to get onto a military complex, if he gets caught letting unauthorized people on here, their threat is huge; Stockade, court martial, prison, demotion..death in some cases! I would add in some huge modifiers to his roll to show that he is unwilling to break his orders just because someone is cute or charming because his threat of punishment of disobeying is huge. So I would let the baddies threat/fear of disobedience have an effect on the dice pool accordingly. For me, trying to charm to get on to a military complex, I would easily give them about 4-5 Upgrades to their skill check, and force the player to flip a Destiny Point as per the Impossible Skill rules, as in my opinion that is what it has become. 

 

I would not have getting through a gate check at a military complex/base just a  random encounter. I would try to make ti a culmination of a series of events. I would have them get the outfits, get stolen identities, and forged data work. Most of the adventure would lead to this point. It would be a prime opportunity for some great role playing by the the players and by me, and some awesome rolls that should let them see the amount of effort/money they put into doing their research and work. It should be the time to hopefully see at least one Triumph, and minimize the threat of any Despairs showing up! 

Edited by R2builder

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I honestly don't get why people are using Stormtroopers as cannon-fodder in the first place.

Because they aren't particularly threatening to the films' protagonists. If they were, it would violate the Rule of Cool.

 

They're obviously better trained and equipped than your average Star Wars soldier; they have scary armor and big rifles. And they (fairly easily) defeated the Rebel troops on Leia's ship in the opening sequence to Episode IV. But Luke, Han and Leia killed a whole bunch of them during the Death Star escape sequence.

 

...while constantly running away from them. We know the stormtroopers aren't a threat because they're mooks and the heroes are the protagonists, but the characters don't. That's pretty hard to emulate in a RPG, unfortunately.

 

What's hard to emulate? That the heroes don't know that they're the protagonists in their own story? Every player knows that their characters are the ensemble heroes (or at least the protagonists) of the game they're playing in. And if they're in a Star Wars game, they're not going to be one-upped by stormtroopers.

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