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KungFuFerret

Reactionary Combat Styles - Using Despair/Threat

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Ok so, I was curious about a few things.  I don't have access to my books atm, so I thought I would ask the forums.

 

1. How many specializations (and names of them), work off of a style of using Despair and Threat that someone generates when attacking you?  (ie: They attack you, generate a Despair, you can now activate some talent)

 

2. How effective are they in actual play?

 

 

I've been juggling around a few character ideas, and I liked the thought of being a "counter-attack" style fighter.   But I wasn't sure how practical/effective that style of combat would be.    This isn't 100% an FAD question, as some EotE or AoR specs could likely fit this bill, but it seemed that I noticed it in multiple FAD specs, and don't recall seeing it when browsing the other 2 game lines.

 

So anyone have a comprehensive list of this?  And any personal experience using the specs?  How good are they?   'Cause it seemed if you bought, say, Sense and upgraded it to give you 2 attack upgrades per round (basically Adversary 2), coupled with other defensive factors, the likelihood of you making any attacks generate that much negative results is pretty good.

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I'm AFB, but I believe Improved Parry/Reflect work off 3 Threat or Despair, meaning you can redirect an attack right back at the sender.

 

Right, but what I'm asking is "How effective is a combat strategy designed around capitalizing on talents that work that way?"    Not just Imp Parry/Reflect, but other talents that do the same thing.  I'm pretty sure one of the Guardian styles focuses on this type of combat strategy, utilizing negative results from incoming attacks to do an action.  Was curious if there were other similar styles that focus on this concept, and how effective they are.

 

Basically "Is it viable to play like this, or should I just get a style that helps me hack and slash directly"

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I believe Shien fits the bill, as it's clearly been designed as the counter-attack form, being the only one with the Counterstrike talent that allows you to upgrade your next Lightsaber attack against the attacker that generated threat or despair against you. It also has Supreme Reflect, just in case you're only facing blaster-wielding opponents.

 

A point of consideration is that Supreme Reflect and Counterstrike are on separate lines in the tree, likely due to game balance purposes (if they were on the same line, that line would be the 'why would I bother taking anything else' line). Notably, Shien Technique is on the Reflect line, while Dedication is on the Counterstrike line, so if you're planning to play a dedicated counter-attacker, you'll have to buy up both lines.

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The Soresu Defender is pretty much all about the "counterattack" style of combat, since it has both Improved Parry and Improved Reflect, along with Defensive Circle to allow you to boost up your defense to increase the odds of getting those 3 threat.  Add the Sense power with its ability to upgrade your opponent's difficulty, and you've got even more chances of getting the bonk talents to trigger.  Yes, you're going to be taking some damage each time, at least until you've seriously beefed up your ranks in Parry and Reflect; there's a reason I consider Niman Disciple to be a very useful spec for any PC wanting to fit into the Jedi mold, and 3 ranks a piece in Parry and Reflect (plus 2 ranks in Defensive Training) is a large part of it.  Combine Soresu Defender and Niman Disciple and you've got a crazy number of ranks in Parry and Reflect, allowing you to tank incredibly well... or at least as long as your strain holds out.

 

I'm playing a Shii-Cho Knight with Improved Parry, two ranks of Defensive Training, and armored clothing (GM goes with the initial dev ruling they'd stack for melee defense 3), and one of the players ran some test combats with various PCs to help him get a better feel for the system prior to running his first session with a group of highly experienced PCs.  Combined with a fairly tricked-out lightsaber and the Sense power, he got a fair number of hits in against various opponents just from Improved Parry.  So it's a viable tactic, but you do need to plan your character build around it to maximize the effectiveness.

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The Soresu Defender is pretty much all about the "counterattack" style of combat, since it has both Improved Parry and Improved Reflect, along with Defensive Circle to allow you to boost up your defense to increase the odds of getting those 3 threat.  Add the Sense power with its ability to upgrade your opponent's difficulty, and you've got even more chances of getting the bonk talents to trigger.  Yes, you're going to be taking some damage each time, at least until you've seriously beefed up your ranks in Parry and Reflect; there's a reason I consider Niman Disciple to be a very useful spec for any PC wanting to fit into the Jedi mold, and 3 ranks a piece in Parry and Reflect (plus 2 ranks in Defensive Training) is a large part of it.  Combine Soresu Defender and Niman Disciple and you've got a crazy number of ranks in Parry and Reflect, allowing you to tank incredibly well... or at least as long as your strain holds out.

 

I'm playing a Shii-Cho Knight with Improved Parry, two ranks of Defensive Training, and armored clothing (GM goes with the initial dev ruling they'd stack for melee defense 3), and one of the players ran some test combats with various PCs to help him get a better feel for the system prior to running his first session with a group of highly experienced PCs.  Combined with a fairly tricked-out lightsaber and the Sense power, he got a fair number of hits in against various opponents just from Improved Parry.  So it's a viable tactic, but you do need to plan your character build around it to maximize the effectiveness.

 

Cool.  As to the "take some damage each hit" thing, I'm not really worried about it.  I figure, if you are playing a character who is pure offensive anyway, you're still getting hit no matter what, because you aren't doing anything to make their attack harder.  At least with the defensive style, you are either negating it entirely (through upgrading the difficulty so much the roll fails), or at the very least mitigating it.   

 

And the thing about burning strain, eh, again, if you're playing offensive character, you're likely doing the same thing,  but using them to trigger your attack talents, so that doesn't seem to be anything different in the grand scheme, I'm just burning my strain for defensive stuff, instead of offensive, but on top of making myself harder to hit, I have the option of also inflicting damage on top of that.  Seems like a good trade to me  :D

 

Soresu + Niman, k, I'll toss that idea around and see if I can come up with a concept I like.  Thanks.

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I mention the strain drain simply because if you're a PC that's openly brandishing a lightsaber, you tend to draw a lot of attention from the bad guys, usually of the violent kind.

 

I've had a few GMs decide that in lieu of a more pressing target (like a frothing-at-the-mouth Wookiee or a merc with a BFG), the guy with the lightsaber becomes the top choice for being blasted, and as a result have seen my strain (and to some extent wounds) very quickly climb to be uncomfortably close to my character's thresholds.

 

Me personally, I accept it as part-and-parcel of being a Jedi-type with a lightsaber, but there some types of gamers that don't take being "picked on" so well.

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I mention the strain drain simply because if you're a PC that's openly brandishing a lightsaber, you tend to draw a lot of attention from the bad guys, usually of the violent kind.

 

I've had a few GMs decide that in lieu of a more pressing target (like a frothing-at-the-mouth Wookiee or a merc with a BFG), the guy with the lightsaber becomes the top choice for being blasted, and as a result have seen my strain (and to some extent wounds) very quickly climb to be uncomfortably close to my character's thresholds.

 

Me personally, I accept it as part-and-parcel of being a Jedi-type with a lightsaber, but there some types of gamers that don't take being "picked on" so well.

 

 

Yeah, but to me, if I'm building what is essentially a "tank" concept, I'm likely playing a character who wants to be attacked, instead of his allies.  And considering the most likely career you would be, is Guardian, that is exactly how they are, thematically, and mechanically.  Since they have several talents that let them draw agro/damage away from allies.   So I would expect to be the big target, if I was building this type character.  :D  I mean, if I'm not getting attacked, how can I use these cool tricks?    But yeah I see what you're saying.   I was just curious if anyone had done some research on the various specs that have this mindset, but also used them in play, to see how effective it would actually be.   'Cause as you know, there is a big difference between "Looks good on paper", and "actually works out well in play".

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Back when doing playtesting for Keeping the Peace, one of our test characters was a Lannik Guardian/Soresu Defender, and the guy was pretty amazing at making it near-impossible for the bad guys to reliably score hits on the other PCs, and attacks on him tended to either miss with a couple advantage, or hit with enough threat to trigger the bonk talents (he had both of them).

 

Though if you really want to up your tanking prowess, another good spec to grab is Protector, since that gives you not only another rank of Parry and Reflect but also the Circle of Defense talent, enabling you to use Parry and Reflect to directly aid any engaged allies, which in turn gives you more chances to make use those bonk talents.

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If you're playing with a force-sensitive character, which seems to be the case, I would recommend pairing these talents with the sense force power. It's a lot easier to rack up disadvantage, and the despair is now added into it.

 

Just my two cents.

 

 

Edit: In case someone is AFB at the moment, the left side of the sense power allows one to commit a force die. Doing so effectively gives your PC adversary, as the first attack against you a round has it's attack pool upgraded.

Edited by Chxckmate

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If you're playing with a force-sensitive character, which seems to be the case, I would recommend pairing these talents with the sense force power. It's a lot easier to rack up disadvantage, and the despair is now added into it.

 

Just my two cents.

 

 

Edit: In case someone is AFB at the moment, the left side of the sense power allows one to commit a force die. Doing so effectively gives your PC adversary, as the first attack against you a round has it's attack pool upgraded.

 

Oh trust me, Sense is most definitely in the mix for the build.  I just remember looking at the Sense upgrade, and stuff like Dodge/Sidestep/Defensive Stance and thought "Wow, if you stacked a lot of these up at once, you'd have a crazy hard roll to hit you.  I wonder what would be the best way to capitalize on this fact, with some reactionary combat build"   And then i was curious, aside from the Guardian ones that I already knew a bit about, if there were som eother builds that did the same thing.  Maybe something in Edge or Age for example.    Mostly just thought it would be a really fun experiment for a concept, but I wasn't sure how practical it was in execution.   :)

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If you're playing with a force-sensitive character, which seems to be the case, I would recommend pairing these talents with the sense force power. It's a lot easier to rack up disadvantage, and the despair is now added into it.

 

Just my two cents.

 

 

Edit: In case someone is AFB at the moment, the left side of the sense power allows one to commit a force die. Doing so effectively gives your PC adversary, as the first attack against you a round has it's attack pool upgraded.

 

Oh trust me, Sense is most definitely in the mix for the build.  I just remember looking at the Sense upgrade, and stuff like Dodge/Sidestep/Defensive Stance and thought "Wow, if you stacked a lot of these up at once, you'd have a crazy hard roll to hit you.  I wonder what would be the best way to capitalize on this fact, with some reactionary combat build"   And then i was curious, aside from the Guardian ones that I already knew a bit about, if there were som eother builds that did the same thing.  Maybe something in Edge or Age for example.    Mostly just thought it would be a really fun experiment for a concept, but I wasn't sure how practical it was in execution.   :)

 

I was playing an Ataru Striker in a campaign, having Sense and one rank in Dodge.

 

The glaring weakness there was that while I could potentially upgrade an opponent's difficulty three times, I was burning strain to do it, on top of the strain for using Parry or Reflect, which could add up quickly if I was being attacked by more than one enemy each round.  In a one-on-one battle, it wasn't much of an issue, since it amounted to roughly 4 strain spent every turn, and could easily spend advantage to recoup my strain.  But against three or more opponents, the strain costs added up fast if I tried to use Dodge and Parry/Reflect against all those attacks.  Of course, having a 'saber with a Dantari crystal and the Hawk-Bat Swoop power helped mitigate the strain costs, provided I was able to roll 2 LS pips (one for the talent, the other to spend to recoup some strain per the crystal's effects).

 

Side Step and Defensive Stance have the benefit of lasting until your next turn, making them handy if facing a lot of attacks of a given type, but require you to cough up a maneuver in advance.  A Shien Expert with Side Step, Sense, and Supreme Reflect is going to have a veritable field day when dealing with ranged attackers.

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Misdirect force power has an ongoing effect that automatically generates 1 threat per committed force die on any attack on you. Sounds like exactly what you want as well as it would effectively lower the cost by each committed force die.

 

Oooh, yeah that would be a nice addition to Sense once the PC got Force Rating 2, and could commit a die to each effect.  Hmmm......*steeples fingers*  yessss....yeeeeessss.

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Misdirect force power has an ongoing effect that automatically generates 1 threat per committed force die on any attack on you. Sounds like exactly what you want as well as it would effectively lower the cost by each committed force die.

True, but also bear in mind that any advantage the attacker generates on their combat check would go towards cancelling those automatic threat, just the same as the automatic advantages from Superior or the Bantha Eye lasersight (Dangerous Covenants I think) would get cancelled by any threat the attacker generates.

 

Still, it does help in those instances where a less-than capable opponent is the one attacking, since they don't need to generate quite as many threat on their difficulty dice as you'd normally need them to do.

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Misdirect force power has an ongoing effect that automatically generates 1 threat per committed force die on any attack on you. Sounds like exactly what you want as well as it would effectively lower the cost by each committed force die.

True, but also bear in mind that any advantage the attacker generates on their combat check would go towards cancelling those automatic threat, just the same as the automatic advantages from Superior or the Bantha Eye lasersight (Dangerous Covenants I think) would get cancelled by any threat the attacker generates.

 

Still, it does help in those instances where a less-than capable opponent is the one attacking, since they don't need to generate quite as many threat on their difficulty dice as you'd normally need them to do.

 

 

Sure it get's canceled like normal, but considering how often my 2 players have had complete washes of suxx/fail or threat/advantage, having that little edge could tip things in the parties favor.    Or tip it from only 2 threat to 3, which then means I can trigger one of those bonk talents as you so wonderfully call them :D  Sure it's not an I Win Button, but it certainly doesn't hurt.

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Improved Parry and Improved Reflect only work on a success with a despair or 3 threat.  That's a pretty narrow subset of rolls.  Improving your defenses by adding setbacks or upgrading combat checks against you will increase the chance of threats and despair, but also reduces the odds of the enemy hitting and triggering your talents.  So you may be spending strain quickly, but not making quick progress toward victory.

 

Improved Parry and Improved Reflect are fun, but I doubt they constitute an effective strategy for winning combats.  It may be effective when combined with a strategy focused on out-enduring your opponent through inflicting strain.  Since you can inflict strain on attacks that miss and generate threat, if you are generating strain on your actions and counterattacks you have a better chance of winning.  Using the Stun damage crystal from Keepers of the Peace, a training saber, or a Brawl weapon; you can inflict strain with Improved Parry and attacks.  Obviously against adversaries that lack a strain threshold, it doesn't matter if your splitting your efforts between wounds and strain.

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Improved Parry and Improved Reflect only work on a success with a despair or 3 threat.  That's a pretty narrow subset of rolls.  Improving your defenses by adding setbacks or upgrading combat checks against you will increase the chance of threats and despair, but also reduces the odds of the enemy hitting and triggering your talents.  So you may be spending strain quickly, but not making quick progress toward victory.

 

Improved Parry and Improved Reflect are fun, but I doubt they constitute an effective strategy for winning combats.  It may be effective when combined with a strategy focused on out-enduring your opponent through inflicting strain.  Since you can inflict strain on attacks that miss and generate threat, if you are generating strain on your actions and counterattacks you have a better chance of winning.  Using the Stun damage crystal from Keepers of the Peace, a training saber, or a Brawl weapon; you can inflict strain with Improved Parry and attacks.  Obviously against adversaries that lack a strain threshold, it doesn't matter if your splitting your efforts between wounds and strain.

 

True, but I was more thinking about when fighting Rivals or Nemesises...Nemesi...Nemesosans...whatever!

 

I am curious though, how many of them would be passive states like Sense that you could trigger, allowing you to do something like, using Scathing Tirade while you are on auto-defense mode so to speak.  Straining out your opponent with biting remarks, wearing down their resolve to fight, all the while still protecting yourself, and getting the occasional bonk in when the attack fails miserably, or just generates a lot of negative results.

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I am curious though, how many of them would be passive states like Sense that you could trigger, allowing you to do something like, using Scathing Tirade while you are on auto-defense mode so to speak.  Straining out your opponent with biting remarks, wearing down their resolve to fight, all the while still protecting yourself, and getting the occasional bonk in when the attack fails miserably, or just generates a lot of negative results.

 

 

Many passive effects rely on Defense, so it's hard to know what you can do until we get the promised clarification on how those abilities stack.

 

Oddly unless you are facing multiple opponents, Scathing Tirade will probably not benefit you to a greater extent than doing the "perform a skill check" action with something likely to generate excess advantages with which to recover your own strain.  Though I suspect your GM would take issue with you hopping up and down with Enhanced Athletics checks in the middle of a lightsaber duel, even if it is reminiscent of some of the battles of the prequels.

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I am curious though, how many of them would be passive states like Sense that you could trigger, allowing you to do something like, using Scathing Tirade while you are on auto-defense mode so to speak.  Straining out your opponent with biting remarks, wearing down their resolve to fight, all the while still protecting yourself, and getting the occasional bonk in when the attack fails miserably, or just generates a lot of negative results.

 

 

Many passive effects rely on Defense, so it's hard to know what you can do until we get the promised clarification on how those abilities stack.

 

Oddly unless you are facing multiple opponents, Scathing Tirade will probably not benefit you to a greater extent than doing the "perform a skill check" action with something likely to generate excess advantages with which to recover your own strain.  Though I suspect your GM would take issue with you hopping up and down with Enhanced Athletics checks in the middle of a lightsaber duel, even if it is reminiscent of some of the battles of the prequels.

 

 

Well what I mostly was trying to replicate was how Luke and Vader really had more of a social battle while in the middle of their lightsaber duel in Return, or how Obi-Wan kept going off on Anakin in Revenge, tearing him down emotionally.   While all of the saber waving was going on, there was a significantly intense argument going on.  Hence my idea of having as many "for the encounter"  type powers active or "can be triggered as an incidental/maneuver" type things, allowing you to do something else, while your twirling your glow stick of death.

 

As to having issues with me using Athletics checks in a duel, I don't see why my GM would have an issue with that.  It's perfectly reasonable to disengage with a combatant and then relocate with a check like that.   Heck there are talents specifically designed to allow that very thing.  So I'm not sure why this would be  a problem?  Can you elaborate on your statement a bit?

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If you are intentionally using your action to generate an easy check in order to recover strain, it may strike some as gaming the system particularly if it avoids making opposed checks or checks upgraded by the Adversary talent.  Others might argue that the "recover strain" option only applies to combat checks (Lightsaber, Brawl, Melee, or Ranged), instead of checks made "in combat" as indicated by the title of table 6-2.  The example of an Easy Athletics check with the Enhance power can generate a lot more of Advantages than your typical combat check.

 

If you want to have the "social battle" against a single opponent, using Coercion as described in the Skills chapter instead of Scathing Tirade may work better for you.  In those rules additional strain keys off of successes (albeit at a marginal rate), so you should be able to use advantages to recover strain and draw out the battle.  However Scathing Tirade is a check against a fixed difficulty, while a regular Coercion check is opposed frequently making it more difficult.

Edited by Moribund

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