Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
ardoyle

How do you handle Signature Abilities?

Recommended Posts

You can find the signature abilities available on Beggingforxp.com with the specialization trees. As many others in this thread, I have never seen a player buy one in three years so I dont think they are necessary to have.

Edited by vilainn6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually had Unmactched Expertise attached to my Marshal tree. But most of my XP went into Hotshot and Gunslinger, which were way more awesome than the sig abi itself. So I had it attached for about half a year until I finally bought the base ability. Didn't start buying ionto upgrades after another half a year.

 

They are certainly neat, but since they work only once per session (except some with upgrades) cost 2 Destiny to activate at start and are a XP-Grave if you want to make them really powerfulm, they are unappealing to most players. They are for the High-Level players, who are still uncertain in which their character will go after he got all spec trees he ever wanted for his character concept.

 

My Character has redeemed his name with CorSec now and is retired from being played by me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My players are awesome every session and none of them have signature abilities.

Yeah, we don't even worry about it. By the time they feel like they have enough xp to add another set of talents, I direct them towards the other talent trees or the force powers. Not to say that they aren't cool, but it definitely feels like another grab for money. I've already got three core books, and I thought that was plenty generous of me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After 3 years of playing (1 year as this character) I just bought my first Sig Ability (Unmatched Fortune from Fly Casual), which I think is the first in our entire play group.

 

I'm really looking forward to using it to making my cool scenes even better.

 

I am a little cautious about SA's in general, because they are 30 XP to start, and only once per session.  Many of them are also very specific circumstances.  If I had to change anything about them it would be to lower the cost of entry, either 20 XP for the SA, or only requiring one Node to gain access, like all other talents.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My players are awesome every session and none of them have signature abilities.

 

"The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board, eleven, eleven, eleven and... "

 

"Oh, I see. And most amps go up to ten?"

 

"Exactly."

 

"Does that mean it's louder? Is it any louder?"

 

"Well, it's one louder, isn't it? It's not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You're on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where?" 

 

"I don't know."

 

"Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?"

 

"Put it up to eleven."

 

"Eleven. Exactly. One louder."

 

"Why don't you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?"

 

[pause] "These go to eleven."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's certainly a part of it.

 

And as a GM I really wouldn't want all my players to have a Last Man Standing in their bag of tricks. One I can deal with (and hell, I might script in a good moment for the player to use it), but five? That's a terrible idea.

I think that's addressed in the OP, however. Quoted below, emphasis mine.

 

 

What I've taken to doing is allowing any PC to attach one Signature Ability to any tree, regardless of career, as long as the tree has thematic ties to the ability.  Each PC may take only one, and once an ability is taken, it is unavailable to other PCs (I think it makes each ability a little more special and Signature).

 

I was considering a similar approach, but for now I'm sticking with RAW with the exception of "if there isn't one for your career yet, we'll talk." As I mentioned, this currently only includes the bounty hunter in my group. 

I think for a new campaign, I may want to consider the "can only be taken once" limitation. I'm near the point of having 2 players with "Unmatched Fortune." 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

My players are awesome every session and none of them have signature abilities.

 

"The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board, eleven, eleven, eleven and... "

 

"Oh, I see. And most amps go up to ten?"

 

"Exactly."

 

"Does that mean it's louder? Is it any louder?"

 

"Well, it's one louder, isn't it? It's not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You're on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where?" 

 

"I don't know."

 

"Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?"

 

"Put it up to eleven."

 

"Eleven. Exactly. One louder."

 

"Why don't you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?"

 

[pause] "These go to eleven."

 

Completely off topic, but did you know that the IMDb page for "This is Spinal Tap" gives a rating of up to 11 stars instead of the usual 10? I laughed hard the first time I noticed. :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First is that to provide a complete catalog for the group, you'd need to have the cash for 6 books at 30 dollars each, and double or triple that if you're including the multiple game lines.  That's 180.00, 360.00, or 540.00 dollars, respectively.  Not a small amount of money. 

 

If the cost is the biggest factor, then why is all of the cost requirement being put on one person? Presumably your group consists of multiple people.. a GM and several players. Also presumably, these people are not all working off of a single income. I state these because there is the possibility this is a single family that games together... in which case you are totally right. However, the majority of gaming groups will be 5+ people with maybe 1 or two couples included. If players purchase the splat books for their respective careers if they want to use the signature abilities for their career this means each household income is generally only going to need 30-60 bucks to cover 1 or 2 career books.

 

Yes, a GM is likely to want to have complete access to all sources. But if money is a hurdle then you need to find other ways of approaching the problem. It's only natural that FFG wants to put out numerous supplementary products, it's kind of the whole profit model of any gaming company. Just look at D&D, Pathfinder, Shadowrun. Almost every one of those includes some class/archetype specific books with additional material for those types of characters. It's not like FFG is the first to do this. If I wanted to pick up all of the available products for Pathfinder, even just those with character creation specific elements, I doubt I would be spending any less... and would surmise that I'd likely be spending quite a bit more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, I'm going to ignore the price point issue on this and instead focus on the mechanics issue.

 

As this is an incomplete product line in terms of the career books I knew going into it that some concessions would have to be made some where on the subject of sig abilities.

 

Going into the campaign, I decided "if you don't have a signature ability printed yet, and you want one, you can take one that is thematically appropriate and attach it to an appropriate tree."  For example, a warrior starfighter ace could take "This One is Mine," call it "I'm on the Leader" and we can all move on.  The mystic advisor who is the face of the party could take "Diplomatic Solution" if he wanted it.  The "Jedi Ninja" could take "Last One Standing," change the roll to stealth... etc... But the Starfighter ace couldn't take any of the other two, etc...  All of this is subject to GM approval.  

 

Now, no one actually took me up on that yet, and we are starting to get the career books, so the Guardians are now exempt from this.  If a guardian had taken something from a different book, for this character ONLY he would have the following choice to make.  He could keep what he bought under the "grandfather clause" BUT he couldn't take the ones from Keeping the Peace, or get his expenditure of XP refunded so he could buy one from the guardian book.  If a guardian wanted to buy one now, he'd have to buy one from his own book.

 

Honestly, the sig abilities seem like a lot of fun, but at least from my point of view, that 30 XP buy in can go a lot further somewhere else.  The one character I am playing that I am even seriously considering one for is a TIE Fighter Hotshot turned Squadron Leader, and I can almost attach "This one is Mine" to Hotshot... but then I go, "gee, I could really use the pilot tree... or some more ranks in gunnery... or leadership that I have to buy out of career since I got a promotion..." or half a dozen other things that are more useful than getting to face tank a fighter in a tin can with laser cannons.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find it helpful to make it a table rule that says if a player does not own the splatbook with the signature move they want, they can't take the signature ability.

 

I usually get a response, "I don't have money right now", or some kind of noncommittal statement with regards to participation of my game, "I don't know if I can make it every week" etc.  Then I try to very politely explain that it's not fair to me, the GM, to foot everyone's financial coverage into the hobby.

 

If I have already purchased the book they want to use, they are welcome to use it, in which case I find that it's a self-correcting situation.

 

I'll try to explain at character creation, "I have these career books which detail these specializations and signature moves, and you can use them, but if what you're interested in is not in my library, then I'm afraid I simply don't have what you're after.  This other option that I do have sounds like it might still meet the kind of character you're describing".

 

Basically I've just found it beneficial to clear the air up front, preferably as early as possible, like chargen, and then set an appropriate expectation for the players.

Edited by CrunchyDemon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of my players has maxed out Unmatched Fortune, and it is ridiculous. He can affect his friends' rolls with it, and he can rotate three of their positive dice when he does so. In this last session, they were attacked by an Emperor's Hand. My Melee Monster Killbot who has 7 Brawn rolled to attack, and my player with Unmatched Fortune used his Sig Ability. After the negative dice were cancelled, this was the final result of that roll:

535057_10201322965753628_779047104045111

 

 

Signature Abilities are some CRAZY powerful ****.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of my players has maxed out Unmatched Fortune, and it is ridiculous. He can affect his friends' rolls with it, and he can rotate three of their positive dice when he does so. In this last session, they were attacked by an Emperor's Hand. My Melee Monster Killbot who has 7 Brawn rolled to attack, and my player with Unmatched Fortune used his Sig Ability. After the negative dice were cancelled, this was the final result of that roll:

535057_10201322965753628_779047104045111

 

 

Signature Abilities are some CRAZY powerful ****.

And they should be. How much XP did it take him to get there? How many destiny points did it take them to activate the ability?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And they should be. How much XP did it take him to get there? How many destiny points did it take them to activate the ability?

More as an intellectual exercise, here's an XP breakdown:

 

Unmatched Fortune has Nodes on the Left and Right column.

Assuming straight lines (which all except Gunslinger have) 150 XP to get the prereq Talents to gain access.

30 XP for Unmatched Fortune

40 XP for all 4 10 XP upgrades

60 XP for all 4 15 XP upgrades

 

Total of 280 XP for maxed Unmatched Fortune.

 

And if they player is truly maxed out, it only costs 1 Destiny Point.

 

And to add to Daeglan's post, all for a once per Session use.

As a GM you can counter this easily, by throwing in a second Emperor's Hand in the same session.

Untrue, in this case.  There are 2 Frequency upgrades, so it becomes 3 times per session.

 

Maxed out, Unmatched Fortune becomes:

"Three times per session as an incidental, the character may spend 1 Destiny point to change the face of 3 positive or negative dice in the character's (or a willing ally within Medium range) dice pool to another face adjacent to it."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure why "not all the books are out yet" and "you have to buy a separate book for each one" are really valid complaints for an ongoing product line.

 

If FFG closed up shop on the RPG right now and no more books were ever made or sold, yeah, that'd really suck that only 7 out of 18 careers had Signature Abilities...but its an ongoing product line. To the best of our knowledge, we're gonna get 6 career splats for each of the 3 game lines, every character will have access to signature abilities. Complaining that they're not all out right now would be like complaining that the Sequel Trilogy is false advertising because there's only one movie in it.

 

As for the 'purchases required', well, that's ever so slightly more valid of a complaint. But at the end of the day, FFG is a business. They exist to produce and sell products and make money. To complain that they're selling you a career splat is to complain that they sold you an RPG line to begin with. And as has been posted above, there are multiple ways to mitigate that cost. Spread purchases out over the group, make players buy their own career splats, focus solely on one game line for a campaign, use beggingforxp's talent tree references, etc.

 

As for their overpowered-ness; that's kinda the point. This is an incredibly cinematic gaming system, and SigAbs are the pinnacle of cinematic awesomeness. They have a self-limiting function of a limit of uses per session, massive XP expenditures to get to them,and Destiny Point usage to activate them. And the GM is still the sole arbiter of what gets to fly at the table or not. If someone tries to do something too extreme, or is hogging too much of the spotlight from all the other players, the GM can shut it down. And really, the point of a tabletop RPG is to tell fun stories with friends. Sometimes that means letting one player have a dedicated spotlight for a couple minutes. The other players can get their turn in the light later that session, or the next game night.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't read the whole thread, but just my two bits.

 

Our group has been a mix of players, some had the Signature Abilities available, others didn't.  It didn't make a huge difference.  Those without it just spent there points elsewhere and were still awesome.

 

I do feel the signature abilities have the potential to be a little overpowered, some worse then others.  None of them are gamebreakingly so however, and the fun narrative they can add to a potential scenario make them worth most of the pain they may cause. 

 

I do understand the pain of buying the books.  I'm now fortunately at a point in my life where I can afford to buy them all, but I've been in that position of having to carefully prioritize and pick which few I wanted.  It's unfortunately  just a reality of gaming.  Books are really expensive.  I'd say don't let it bug you to much.  None of the signature abilities are so awesomely awesome that you must have the books.

Edited by Split Light

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The nature of most game systems involves power creeping. It's actually within check for the most part in FFG compared to D&D or pathfinder.

 

Splat books will always have things that are better then in the base books to encourage players to buy those books.

 

This is the way of the world as publishers think they need this incentive to make us buy the books.

 

There are batant examples of this everywhere gadgeteer came out first so no superior armor mastery, jedi armorer comes from a thin splat book so it has this very overpowered talent.

 

Don't even get me started on gambler.

 

The Signature abilities are powerful but not game breaking. You just have to realize sometimes all of the minions are going to die. In fact make sure you give the player a time to shine with it. But still have rivals and nemesis to challenge the rest of the group or maybe reinforcements later on in a wave battle kind of setup.

 

I'd much rather try and write an adventure with half the party having known signature abilities then dealing with a wizard who can prepare half the spells in D&D.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The standing rule at my table is that if you have an Ace Specialization you can attach an Ace SA to it. If you have a Technician Specialization you can attach a Technician SA to it. And so on. You do not have to be an Ace or Technician Career, just have one of the specs from it.

 

That said, no one at my table has ever purchased a Signature Ability, so its been kinda moot. We do have a LOT of players buying specs from multiple careers tho.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...