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Desslok

Lets talk Bad Motivator!

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So lets talk about Bad Motivator. For those away from book, here's the talent:
 

Once a session, make a <><><> check and cause one targeted device to fail.

 

Like any talent (or really anything in this game) common sense rules over the wording of in the book, and that the GM can say no at any time.

 

That said, what do you guys consider a device? Is a droid a device? Would a droid with Nemesis be vulnerable to Motivator? Could a Technician make a bridge fail? "Oh, look - there's a structural design flaw where it acts like a wing during high winds!"

 

What interesting things have you caused to fail? What things have you vetoed?

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Minor droids sure.

Bridges sure. But the GM decides on the outcome in both cases.

The bridge might no longer close or open, for instance.

The best use of the talent was when our mechanic used it to stop a moving elevator the party was on in order to escape an ambush waiting for them in the hangar bay.

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Ah, 'Skippy the Droid', we never knew ye... (Actually, maybe it's not all bad that Disnae nuked the EU...) 

 

As to Bad Motivator? We use it a lot on enemy guns.  And once on a Hutt hoversled, just as he was crossing a particularly large extractor fan. 

 

(And he was our employer at the time. So we didn't even get paid :( Still totally worth it. )

 

 

Oh, and Desslok? I'm really liking this mini-series. Please keep it up.  It's great to see how other people actually play the game and use the various elements in it.  

Edited by Maelora

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It could be anything honestly since it's all subject to GM approval.  I think even a Nemesis could be affected, since fail doesn't need to mean blow up.  I could see it having a significant impact of some kind on even a Nemesis droid if even maybe for only a single round.  Maybe Ensnare or Concussive to simulate the Nemesis re-booting or something.

Edited by 2P51

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I was originally going to suggest 'commom sense' applies, but.... *Let Teacher Mode Commence* even the description needs clarification on page 132...

 

Dictionary Definition of Device - A thing made or adapted for a particular purpose, especially a piece of mechanical or electronic equipment:

 

Underlined coz common sense dictates this is what it actually means ....

 

OR.. for those more pedandic players (who I've overheard at a gaming club arguing a point - meta/power gamers, seriously, talk about an**ly retentive players)

 

A bomb or other explosive weapon

 

A plan, method, or trick with a particular aim

 

A drawing or design:

 

A form of words intended to produce a particular effect in speech or a literary work:

 

SO.... really ANY mechanical or electronic device ie. single component of a larger unit - shield generators on a starship, the powercell of a blaster pistol, the magnetic coil of a magnetic coil...the motivator of a driod, the memory unit of a protocol driod so it cannot translate, the missile bay of a Firespray, the sensors of a Star Destroyer... like I said, common sense

 

BUT let the failure propel the story forward as well or that it adds a plot element later on

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I should also add that this one feels very 'Star Wars-y' (whatever that means).

 

For a sci-fi setting, technology is pretty clunky and prone to failure.  No I-phones or 'nanobots'.  No sissy little Star Trek phasers or Beam Me Up Scotty.  Tech is usually repaired and scavenged; even the best ship in the galaxy looks like 'a hunk of junk'.  A droid implodes under the weight of its own inadequacy.  The holonet has the speeds of 1989 dial-up and is clogged up with cute pictures of nexu.

 

Think the Empire is any better, just because it looks cleaner and shinier? With TIE fighters that explode if a pilot sneezes or a bug hits the windshield? A Death Star that blows up when a lax technician drops a bag of spanners down the 'shoot me here to blow me up' port?

 

If you use tech in the Star Wars universe, you'd better expect it to go 'Bad Motivator' on you sooner or later...   Ask Boba Fett, who managed to get himself killed by a blind guy because his jetpack had all the reliability of a clapped-out Lada...

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Yeah, it occurred to me after I shut the computer off for the night that "Um, duh - of course it probably works on droids." Eh, that was just me being tired. :)

 

With the caveat that I've not actually played with the talent yet, it makes sense that using it against Named Droids with Nemesis that you would upgrade the roll.

 

And once on a Hutt hoversled, just as he was crossing a particularly large extractor fan.

 

Okay, that's messed up. And fun! (makes notes for the future)

 

(Also, yeah, I guess it is a mini-series, isn't it. Mind you, an accidental one :)  )

Edited by Desslok

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I had a character in my game with bad motivator.  At first it worked OK, with him disabling guns, then a skiff's repulsor drive.  Then he started to go big, and tried to argue that an enemy freighter was a "targeted device".  I toned it down to allow him a "component fail" critical hit effect.  I think we may have further limited it that the Technician had to be able to see/scan what was being a bad motivator target.

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I just picked up Bad Motivator and so haven't had a chance to use it yet, but one of the first things that came to my mind was PC prisoner type situations. Whether it's noticing a critical flaw in the cell's force field/door, having the engines of the prisoner transport fail, or just having something suitably explosive/flammable go up while being escorted on foot, throwing out lots of smoke and confusion, there are plenty of ways this talent can be used to proactively get yourself out of captivity rather than waiting for the GM to send rescue or otherwise give you an opening.

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I just picked up Bad Motivator and so haven't had a chance to use it yet, but one of the first things that came to my mind was PC prisoner type situations. Whether it's noticing a critical flaw in the cell's force field/door, having the engines of the prisoner transport fail, or just having something suitably explosive/flammable go up while being escorted on foot, throwing out lots of smoke and confusion, there are plenty of ways this talent can be used to proactively get yourself out of captivity rather than waiting for the GM to send rescue or otherwise give you an opening.

I think the myriad of predicaments PCs will find themselves in will present a range of better ways to use this Talent as opposed to a simple attack against a droid.  There are plenty of weapons that can take care of a persnickety droid so using it to crash the power grid in a city instead sounds like a lot more fun.....

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I doubt I'd allow a power like this at all... the ability to simply reach out and force something to fail "for raisins" is contrived to say the least.

 

Least ironic username ever.

Anywho, our tech used it to shutdown a particularly nasty Trandoshan slaver's personal deflector shield. Caught the GM by surprise as he forgot he even had the talent. The GM wasn't even mad that it made his end boss significantly easier to take out, but it's definitely on his radar now. It's a fun talent and that's really the point of the game isn't it? To have fun and tell great stories?

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I doubt I'd allow a power like this at all... the ability to simply reach out and force something to fail "for raisins" is contrived to say the least.

 

Least ironic username ever.

Anywho, our tech used it to shutdown a particularly nasty Trandoshan slaver's personal deflector shield. Caught the GM by surprise as he forgot he even had the talent. The GM wasn't even mad that it made his end boss significantly easier to take out, but it's definitely on his radar now. It's a fun talent and that's really the point of the game isn't it? To have fun and tell great stories?

 

Fun?!  Get out!!!! Now!!!!

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I doubt I'd allow a power like this at all... the ability to simply reach out and force something to fail "for raisins" is contrived to say the least.

 

Least ironic username ever.

Anywho, our tech used it to shutdown a particularly nasty Trandoshan slaver's personal deflector shield. Caught the GM by surprise as he forgot he even had the talent. The GM wasn't even mad that it made his end boss significantly easier to take out, but it's definitely on his radar now. It's a fun talent and that's really the point of the game isn't it? To have fun and tell great stories?

 

 

So a GM uses this Talent against a player and... what?  Why did the player's device fail?  Does the GM get to retroactively decide that a PC forgot to charge the batter or do maintenance or didn't notice it break when they fell over last session? 

 

As a player, would you consider that "fun" or a "great story"? 

 

Because I wouldn't consider it fun, but I would consider it contrived.

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So a GM uses this Talent against a player and... what?  Why did the player's device fail?  Does the GM get to retroactively decide that a PC forgot to charge the batter or do maintenance or didn't notice it break when they fell over last session? 

 

As a player, would you consider that "fun" or a "great story"? 

 

Because I wouldn't consider it fun, but I would consider it contrived.

 

On the contrary, there are plenty of stories where a piece of equipment failing at an inopportune time makes for a great scene. Think about all the times when the Millenium Falcon's hyperdrive failed in The Empire Strikes Back, forcing a high speed chase through an asteroid field instead of a trivial Astrogation check, or required Lando to keep the ship in one piece long enough for R2 to repair it. Heck, even when it comes to personal weapons, the improvised weapon rules are there for a reason. There's nothing that says a device targeted by Bad Motivator is irreparably damaged; it might just require a quick field strip and fix that can be done easily--when you aren't being shot at.

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I doubt I'd allow a power like this at all... the ability to simply reach out and force something to fail "for raisins" is contrived to say the least.

 

Least ironic username ever.

Anywho, our tech used it to shutdown a particularly nasty Trandoshan slaver's personal deflector shield. Caught the GM by surprise as he forgot he even had the talent. The GM wasn't even mad that it made his end boss significantly easier to take out, but it's definitely on his radar now. It's a fun talent and that's really the point of the game isn't it? To have fun and tell great stories?

 

 

So a GM uses this Talent against a player and... what?  Why did the player's device fail?  Does the GM get to retroactively decide that a PC forgot to charge the batter or do maintenance or didn't notice it break when they fell over last session? 

 

As a player, would you consider that "fun" or a "great story"? 

 

Because I wouldn't consider it fun, but I would consider it contrived.

 

 

It's in the game and is a fair thing for anyone to use on anyone else at any time. If I'm such a poor sport that I'd get mad at my GM for building a mad scientist NPC who can use their cybernetic brain or whatever to send an EM pulse that shorts out my blaster, I probably shouldn't be playing. In fact, and I may be in the minority on this, but if I were to get targeted by something like this, I'd embrace it as another puzzle to work out, because I don't build characters to be one-trick ponies. And if I did get mad, I'd get quite a talking to by the rest of my group, because, again, it's just a game.

And make no mistake, there should be some sort of narrative explaining how you're doing it, not just, BINK it happens, but if you can come up with a reason for it (see above mad scientist), I see no reason not to allow it. Don't forget, pretty much everything fun and exciting that happens in the Star Wars universe is a case of our heroes failing forward.

But we clearly have a different definition of fun. 

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So a GM uses this Talent against a player and... what?  Why did the player's device fail?  Does the GM get to retroactively decide that a PC forgot to charge the batter or do maintenance or didn't notice it break when they fell over last session? 

 

As a player, would you consider that "fun" or a "great story"? 

 

Because I wouldn't consider it fun, but I would consider it contrived.

 

On the contrary, there are plenty of stories where a piece of equipment failing at an inopportune time makes for a great scene. Think about all the times when the Millenium Falcon's hyperdrive failed in The Empire Strikes Back, forcing a high speed chase through an asteroid field instead of a trivial Astrogation check, or required Lando to keep the ship in one piece long enough for R2 to repair it. Heck, even when it comes to personal weapons, the improvised weapon rules are there for a reason. There's nothing that says a device targeted by Bad Motivator is irreparably damaged; it might just require a quick field strip and fix that can be done easily--when you aren't being shot at.

 

 

1)  In a novel, movie, etc, those moments need to be handled very carefully, or they just come across as entirely too "convenient".

2)  An RPG is not, precisely, the same thing as a novel, movie, etc.

 

It's in the game and is a fair thing for anyone to use on anyone else at any time. If I'm such a poor sport that I'd get mad at my GM for building a mad scientist NPC who can use their cybernetic brain or whatever to send an EM pulse that shorts out my blaster, I probably shouldn't be playing. In fact, and I may be in the minority on this, but if I were to get targeted by something like this, I'd embrace it as another puzzle to work out, because I don't build characters to be one-trick ponies. And if I did get mad, I'd get quite a talking to by the rest of my group, because, again, it's just a game.

And make no mistake, there should be some sort of narrative explaining how you're doing it, not just, BINK it happens, but if you can come up with a reason for it (see above mad scientist), I see no reason not to allow it. Don't forget, pretty much everything fun and exciting that happens in the Star Wars universe is a case of our heroes failing forward.

But we clearly have a different definition of fun.

 

Watching characters in fiction "fail forward" gets old quicker than not.  Watching it happen to your own PC gets old even faster.

 

Who said anything about "getting mad"?  :huh:

 

No group I have ever gamed with -- including the group that lasted almost 20 years, who would go multiple sessions without combat, and through entire social interactions not rolling dice once and engaged entirely in roleplaying, who were very much into character and story and intrigue and social interplay between PCs/NPCs -- would ever have accepted as "kosher" a power/talent/skill that amounts to "your stuff failed because I said so".

 

 

EDIT:  that said, I answered the question of "when would you allow this" with "I wouldn't", and I'm going to let it go at that, at this point. 

Edited by MaxKilljoy

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1)  In a novel, movie, etc, those moments need to be handled very carefully, or they just come across as entirely too "convenient". 

 

 

 

2)  An RPG is not, precisely, the same thing as a novel, movie, etc.

True, but if the plot device (pun intended) serves to make things more interesting, most audiences are willing to suspend disbelief over the "convenience factor" so long as it isn't abused. From the player's side, this is a once per session ability, requires a Hard skill check, and the GM has to approve the choice of target. It's not an automatic success, and the GM is well within their rights to say "No, you can't keep making the life support system spontaneously fail." From the GM's side, no one is advocating for this to be a regular thing, but it's an interesting way to push the players to mix things up in the same way that they will occasionally throw a droid in the way of the Force-sensitive who's been leaning heavily on Influence.

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I would say that a ship is too much, but a specific system on a ship is reasonable. I like Edgookin's idea of limiting it to systems that the Mechanic can see/scan, though I would also give it to a player if they can think of a way evidence of a system malfunction could be seen from outside, as in "See that shearing effect on their shields? They're overloading their generators, and it's not going to last."

 

I might allow a player to use it to take a silhouette 2 vehicle like a speeder bike or an airspeeder off line, but a walker or a starfighter would be too much.

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