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Krodarklorr

How Do You Deal With Battle Meditation?

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Greetings,

 

I'm moving along in my FoD campaign, even after having hiccups trying to figure out how to pose decent challenges to my players. However, I've run into another speedbumb. One of my players has Battle Meditation decently leveled up, and keeps it up as often as he can. This typically means that the entire party (as long as their within long range) have +2 Successes on literally anything they do. Because of this, and a tad bit of luck, my PC was able to, twice in a row, succeed in Deception checks against a group of Stormtroopers. The dice pool consisted of 4 Red and a purple because of how ridiculous the deception was, and he had a measly 2 Green. He didn't even use Destiny Points, he just rolled. Now granted, as I said, he had some luck. But 2 Successes to every roll is ridiculous. Is there something I'm missing from this power? Or something I can do to lessen the effect of this? If so, what do you guys do in your campaigns?

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Your force user needs to be generating 4 force points to activate the power, extra success, and range upgrades; 5 force points if he or she needs to activate the Magnitude upgrades because the number of party members is larger than his/her Presence. It also means that she or he has put about 100xp into this power. SoI would err on the side of encouraging a cool story and not to make your 3/4 Force Rating character feel like has wasted abilities and XP. That being said, here are some ideas:

 

1) If he or she is up to Force Rating 4/5 (to consistently be getting 4 or 5 force pips). You might want to think about having a force sensitive nemesis, like an Inquisitor. Keeping the Peace has the force power Suppress, which can target add failures to your force user and make it really hard to activate force powers. Maybe your force nemesis is really practiced in this power (makes sense if their job is to hunt other force sensitives. 

 

2) If your force user is activating this on each of their turns then they are not taking any other actions. If that is the case I would target them with other NPCs. After getting hit with blaster fire, it seems totally fair to force them to make difficult Discipline checks to maintain the effects of Battle Meditation. If the NPCs generated advantage, add setbacks to the Discipline check.

 

3) Add setback to the affected party members' checks.

 

I'm sure others will come up with some idea, but that's what I thought of.

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Well, I don't have it in front of me, but doesn't Battle Meditation give bonuses "in battle"?  And then a trick on stormtroopers seems appropriate. (It was a different system, but I dug a bunch of enemies out of cover with a thrown beer can and yelling "grenade" at the same time)  But if you are talking about lying your way past a guard post with no combat, Battle Meditation wouldn't apply.

Edited by Edgookin

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Well, I don't have it in front of me, but doesn't Battle Meditation give bonuses "in battle"?  And then a trick on stormtroopers seems appropriate. (It was a different system, but I dug a bunch of enemies out of cover with a thrown beer can and yelling "grenade" at the same time)  But if you are talking about lying your way past a guard post with no combat, Battle Meditation wouldn't apply.

 

Well, reading over the base power, it would seem that it is implied that it can only be used on combat, since it references end of turn and encounter. That would make sense, but there's nothing definitive saying it can't be used otherwise, especially if the PC is just keeping it going via committing dice all session.

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F&D Page 282, Break out box at the top.

 

If a player chooses to commit force dice and keep them committed over extended periods (multi encounters or even into other sessions), the GM can stop the player from recovering strain at the end of each encounter. This remains in effected until the player uncommits all dice and leaves them uncommitted until the beginning of the next encounter.

 

Not an insta-fix, but eventually, between Threat, extra maneuvers, and combat, his Strain will Cap out and then the hilarity will ensue... He'll be KOed. Unless the players can successfully use medicine to recover his strain (only a once per encounter thing itself), he's probably unconscious until the end of the next encounter. Possibly longer if the dice aren't cooperative.

 

On a related note. Don't forget to track encumbrance. A character's unconscious body has an Enc of 5+the character's brawn. Also remember that encumbrance reducing gear only works for the character wearing it, and that armor only gets the -3 on the wearer. So to drag an unconscious person around you'll have to add up the Enc of their meat, as well as the enc of all their gear, armor clothing, ect. All of it. So yes, that 2 Brawn, Enc 7 Person could easily have a carry weight of well over 14 Enc.

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Thrawn literally employed ysalamiri for this exact reason.  He knew of Palpatine's ability to employ Battle Meditation to control the Imperial fleet and he wanted C'baoth to do the same for him.  But he needed C'baoth as a pawn so he prevented the clone Jedi master from using Force abilities against him with ysalamiri.

 

As a game element, this only works if it's being employed by a tactically-minded nemesis who has good reason to use it (like Thrawn did).  Throwing it in there just to trip up your player is heavy-handed and cheap.  It can present a fun challenge to get around, and it's more directly powerful than suppress.

 

edit: links for references

Edited by dpick28

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Pretty sure it's combat only, so for social rolls, you don't really have to worry about it, at least outside of combat.   

 

As to the problem of having someone having 2 auto suxx on all combat checks...well yeah, it's a powerful ability, that he put a lot of points into to be good at.  Would you try and nerf the guy who put a lot of points into Move, because he was...you know...effectively MOVING things with the power?   What about the crazy good Ace Pilot, will you have an issue when he is being crazy good at piloting because he invested in it?

 

You shouldn't be at least.   Let them enjoy the things they've put hard earned XP into, but just work around it.   If the fights are starting to become cakewalks, have a second wave show up of much tougher enemies.  Enemies that all have Adversary 1-2 for example, or higher.  GIve them lots of defensive stuff, stack up negative dice on the players to make it harder.  Because honestly, if the player is using Battle Meditation this often, they are basically an upgraded group, who have surpassed your current level of challenge.  So you need to increase the difficulty to give them a challenge.  Which is a natural thing as players level up.   Make them be a group that is known to be a powerful threat, so the Empire sends their elite trooper squadrons after them, perhaps deploying a specific batallion of elite troopers, with a colored history, with the specific task of "destroy this rebellion cell, they are a thorn in my side."    Make them all have a higher base level defense and other stats, that would add more dice.   This will give the players the slight thrill of "we're so badass, the emperor sent an entire badass batallion after us!"   coupled with the fear of "oh ****! we're so badass the emperor sent an entire badass batallion after us!'

 

The key to countering high player dice pools....is more negative dice.  Upgrading them is good sure, but more actual negative dice is really key (in my opinion).   More dice means more chances for failures to result, which will likely negate the auto 2 suxx they've got going on.    

 

Now don't be a jerk about it.  I mean, they are the heroes, they are supposed to do awesome things, but let them know, that the stakes have been raised a bit, they are not fighting the same faceless mooks they were before.  Their actions have drawn the attention of more powerful threats, and they are coming for them.   I would be surprised if your players aren't at least slightly excited by this escalation of stakes, due to their actions.   

 

Personally, if my GM told me "Ok guys, you've been thwarting the plans of the Empire so well lately, they've stopped just tossing mooks at you.  They're sending a serious threat to remove you."  I would be giddy with antici.....................pation!

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I've never liked the name "Battle Meditation," for the very reason illuminated here: it makes people think it's a combat thing.

At it's most basic, Battle Meditation is just linking together the minds of a bunch of people working towards the same goal so that they can work together so much better than they could acting separately.

Sure, that's very useful in combat, but think of how amazing a concert would be if the entire orchestra was linked together and could share their skill and feeling with each other in perfect harmony? Or a diplomatic team who doesn't need to step to the side to have whispered conversations discussing the merits of offers broached, but always knows how the entire group feels and can pass each other thoughts and suggestions without any outward sign?

Battle Meditation should be called something like "Mental Network," because that's what it actually does.

Now, as to "deal" with it: the character is either going to be rolling every round, meaning the strength of the effect will be fluctuating (and he can't make any other checks, like combat checks or social rolls),or else he's committing 3 Force Dice, meaning he won't be as awesome at other stuff as he is normally.

Others touched on the strain thing: if he's keeping the ability active all the time he shouldn't be recovering strain after each encounter, and eventually should start taking strain due to the continuous concentration necessary.

However, I'm going to focus on the narrative aspects: a group of people who are constantly in perfect sync, finishing each other's sentences, moving as a group and doing things without consulting each other that are always right, people are gonna get uneasy around them quickly. I'd add some Setbacks to social checks due to their synchronization being so unnerving. Also, people would easily get suspicious about there being some sort of Force shenaniganry going on around a group acting like that, which means not only are they drawing unwanted attention to themselves, but some people will simply choose not to deal with them because of the potential heat it could bring.

Also, if they're so used to relying on their minds being linked and are using it for 80-90% of what they do, throw some Setbacks on checks made without Meditation on. They're so used to being in sync that without that crutch they start making stupid mistakes. That means that the group is basically reliant on that one character being at a greatly reduced Force Rating at all times. And if he gets knocked out, then the rest of them start running into each other and fouling up the others' actions.

But as said above, if the player spent the XP on it, let him use it. Just change up your encounters to take it into account.

Edited by Absol197

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Well, I don't have it in front of me, but doesn't Battle Meditation give bonuses "in battle"?  And then a trick on stormtroopers seems appropriate. (It was a different system, but I dug a bunch of enemies out of cover with a thrown beer can and yelling "grenade" at the same time)  But if you are talking about lying your way past a guard post with no combat, Battle Meditation wouldn't apply.

 

Well, reading over the base power, it would seem that it is implied that it can only be used on combat, since it references end of turn and encounter. That would make sense, but there's nothing definitive saying it can't be used otherwise, especially if the PC is just keeping it going via committing dice all session.

 

Strain him to kingdom come. I'm pretty sure there is a sidebar in one of the CrB about different penalties that you should apply to them if they just keep them committed.

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I AFB right now, only have the PDF from BeggingForXP.com (thanks at this point) which is mostly accurate.

Tthe discreption for Battle Mediation base skill here is:

 

"The Force user directs allies in BATTLE, making them more effective as a coordinatet unit.

The user may spend FP to add one automatic succsess to all checks made by a number of engaged friendly targets up to his presence before the end of his next turn [...]"

 

The words "in battle" and "before the end of his next turn" implifies, that it is to use when in a combat situations (since these are the only turn based encounters)

 

 

So not for sneaking through the night or climbing on trees on a vacation trip or solving mathematically problems in a class room.

 

 

But otherwise while in battle everything is ok as long as he rolls enough FP and has enough FR to keep it activatet.

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I AFB right now, only have the PDF from BeggingForXP.com (thanks at this point) which is mostly accurate.

Tthe discreption for Battle Mediation base skill here is:

 

"The Force user directs allies in BATTLE, making them more effective as a coordinatet unit.

The user may spend FP to add one automatic succsess to all checks made by a number of engaged friendly targets up to his presence before the end of his next turn [...]"

 

The words "in battle" and "before the end of his next turn" implifies, that it is to use when in a combat situations (since these are the only turn based encounters)

 

 

So not for sneaking through the night or climbing on trees on a vacation trip or solving mathematically problems in a class room.

 

 

But otherwise while in battle everything is ok as long as he rolls enough FP and has enough FR to keep it activatet.

 

That's what makes me think it might only apply in structured encounters. Especially because there are other abilities and talents in the game that apply to certain checks, or add Blue dice to certain checks, ext. Why bother getting those for, say, Mechanics checks if Battle Meditation is obviously better?

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I AFB right now, only have the PDF from BeggingForXP.com (thanks at this point) which is mostly accurate.

Tthe discreption for Battle Mediation base skill here is:

 

"The Force user directs allies in BATTLE, making them more effective as a coordinatet unit.

The user may spend FP to add one automatic succsess to all checks made by a number of engaged friendly targets up to his presence before the end of his next turn [...]"

 

The words "in battle" and "before the end of his next turn" implifies, that it is to use when in a combat situations (since these are the only turn based encounters)

 

 

So not for sneaking through the night or climbing on trees on a vacation trip or solving mathematically problems in a class room.

 

 

But otherwise while in battle everything is ok as long as he rolls enough FP and has enough FR to keep it activatet.

 

That's what makes me think it might only apply in structured encounters. Especially because there are other abilities and talents in the game that apply to certain checks, or add Blue dice to certain checks, ext. Why bother getting those for, say, Mechanics checks if Battle Meditation is obviously better?

 

 

I think it's pretty simple, the idea of an ongoing, permanent (assuming you commit the force die) auto success bonus to any check you can think of is simply too overpowered to consider.   If it applies to any check, then why wouldn't you always take it.   Limiting it to BATTLE, makes it a significantly powerful ability, without completely breaking the game balance.   

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I AFB right now, only have the PDF from BeggingForXP.com (thanks at this point) which is mostly accurate.

Tthe discreption for Battle Mediation base skill here is:

 

"The Force user directs allies in BATTLE, making them more effective as a coordinatet unit.

The user may spend FP to add one automatic succsess to all checks made by a number of engaged friendly targets up to his presence before the end of his next turn [...]"

 

The words "in battle" and "before the end of his next turn" implifies, that it is to use when in a combat situations (since these are the only turn based encounters)

 

 

So not for sneaking through the night or climbing on trees on a vacation trip or solving mathematically problems in a class room.

 

 

But otherwise while in battle everything is ok as long as he rolls enough FP and has enough FR to keep it activatet.

 

That's what makes me think it might only apply in structured encounters. Especially because there are other abilities and talents in the game that apply to certain checks, or add Blue dice to certain checks, ext. Why bother getting those for, say, Mechanics checks if Battle Meditation is obviously better?

 

 

I think it's pretty simple, the idea of an ongoing, permanent (assuming you commit the force die) auto success bonus to any check you can think of is simply too overpowered to consider.   If it applies to any check, then why wouldn't you always take it.   Limiting it to BATTLE, makes it a significantly powerful ability, without completely breaking the game balance.   

 

 

That's exactly my thoughts about it as well. But can't find a definitive answer as to if, mechanically, it only applies to combat. Sure, the description implies it, but I don't wanna seem like a jerk GM for ruling it combat only without evidence to prove my point.

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That's exactly my thoughts about it as well. But can't find a definitive answer as to if, mechanically, it only applies to combat. Sure, the description implies it, but I don't wanna seem like a jerk GM for ruling it combat only without evidence to prove my point.

 

 

I don't have my F&D core with me, but what does the description actually say?  Does it say "combat checks"?  or "during a combat encounter"?  Because I can see it being used for things like athletics, or piloting checks, or any other check directly being used to survive/win a combat scenario.  So I don't think it can only be used on "combat skills", if it makes sense for the combat scenario, I'm fine with expanding a bit.   But personally, as the GM at my table, I would draw the line at using it in a purely social situation.  

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That's exactly my thoughts about it as well. But can't find a definitive answer as to if, mechanically, it only applies to combat. Sure, the description implies it, but I don't wanna seem like a jerk GM for ruling it combat only without evidence to prove my point.

 

 

I don't have my F&D core with me, but what does the description actually say?  Does it say "combat checks"?  or "during a combat encounter"?  Because I can see it being used for things like athletics, or piloting checks, or any other check directly being used to survive/win a combat scenario.  So I don't think it can only be used on "combat skills", if it makes sense for the combat scenario, I'm fine with expanding a bit.   But personally, as the GM at my table, I would draw the line at using it in a purely social situation.  

 

 

I believe it states (the base power) that you choose a friendly target within Engaged range to add a success to all checks made until the start of your next turn. (Of course, this is amplified by upgrades, and you can increase range and also commit the dice) So, again, it's implied that it's for use in structured encounters, but I could see the argument otherwise.

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That's exactly my thoughts about it as well. But can't find a definitive answer as to if, mechanically, it only applies to combat. Sure, the description implies it, but I don't wanna seem like a jerk GM for ruling it combat only without evidence to prove my point.

 

 

I don't have my F&D core with me, but what does the description actually say?  Does it say "combat checks"?  or "during a combat encounter"?  Because I can see it being used for things like athletics, or piloting checks, or any other check directly being used to survive/win a combat scenario.  So I don't think it can only be used on "combat skills", if it makes sense for the combat scenario, I'm fine with expanding a bit.   But personally, as the GM at my table, I would draw the line at using it in a purely social situation.  

 

 

I believe it states (the base power) that you choose a friendly target within Engaged range to add a success to all checks made until the start of your next turn. (Of course, this is amplified by upgrades, and you can increase range and also commit the dice) So, again, it's implied that it's for use in structured encounters, but I could see the argument otherwise.

 

 

Well, as the GM, I have final say, so I'm not too worried about it.  At my table, it's combat scenes only,  or at the very least, physically active scenes.  Coordinated athletics checks to try and escape some obstacle for example, that's fine.   The book calls it BATTLE meditation, and the artwork depiction of it shows some people trapped in an arena fight.  So I think the precedent for it being combat scenes/action scenes is there.  Again though, at my table, what I say goes. :D  So I don't really care if I'm contradicting the RAW.   

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The words "in battle" and "before the end of his next turn" implifies, that it is to use when in a combat situations (since these are the only turn based encounters)

 

Here's the thing, though: Combat is not the only use of structured time. There are other turn-based encounters that the party might find themselves in. For instance, the in-depth slicing encounter rules in Special Modifications use structured time, and Desperate Allies talks about social encounters, which can also use structured time. See, for example, the Advocate's Discredit talent, which is "Once per encounter" and allows you to upgrade the difficulty of the target's social checks "until the end of the encounter" (the Analyst and Propagandist have similar once per encounter social talents). If the GM just considers the rules text under "Basic Power," then a player could conceivably use Battle Meditation to help a group of slicers or a negotiation team coordinate more effectively. Imagine the advantage a negotiation team has if some small "tell" one member notices from the other side can be instantly communicated to every member of the team to be leveraged without giving any outside indication.

 

This is not to say you would allow Battle Meditation to aid any check at any time; it's only really advantageous when multiple actors are coordinating under significant time pressure. If it's only one person acting, then there's no additional input to benefit from, and if time isn't a factor, then the group can coordinate through normal means and there aren't split-second openings that can only be used with the kind of instantaneous coordination Battle Meditation provides.

 

On the other hand, a GM could also place emphasis on the "in battle" language in the power table and the general flavor from the source material (I can't think of an instance in the EU where Battle Meditation or a power that functioned similarly was used for something other than fighting) and limit it to combat only. It depends on how flexible you want the power to be, and whether non-combat encounters bear any importance in your game.

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The words "in battle" and "before the end of his next turn" implifies, that it is to use when in a combat situations (since these are the only turn based encounters)

 

Here's the thing, though: Combat is not the only use of structured time. There are other turn-based encounters that the party might find themselves in. For instance, the in-depth slicing encounter rules in Special Modifications use structured time, and Desperate Allies talks about social encounters, which can also use structured time. See, for example, the Advocate's Discredit talent, which is "Once per encounter" and allows you to upgrade the difficulty of the target's social checks "until the end of the encounter" (the Analyst and Propagandist have similar once per encounter social talents). If the GM just considers the rules text under "Basic Power," then a player could conceivably use Battle Meditation to help a group of slicers or a negotiation team coordinate more effectively. Imagine the advantage a negotiation team has if some small "tell" one member notices from the other side can be instantly communicated to every member of the team to be leveraged without giving any outside indication.

 

This is not to say you would allow Battle Meditation to aid any check at any time; it's only really advantageous when multiple actors are coordinating under significant time pressure. If it's only one person acting, then there's no additional input to benefit from, and if time isn't a factor, then the group can coordinate through normal means and there aren't split-second openings that can only be used with the kind of instantaneous coordination Battle Meditation provides.

 

On the other hand, a GM could also place emphasis on the "in battle" language in the power table and the general flavor from the source material (I can't think of an instance in the EU where Battle Meditation or a power that functioned similarly was used for something other than fighting) and limit it to combat only. It depends on how flexible you want the power to be, and whether non-combat encounters bear any importance in your game.

 

 

Well, it is interesting that there are non-combat encounters. Unfortunately I don't think they have much bearing in my game. anything the players do to negotiate won't be in structured time.

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The power's verbiage was likely left open to allow it's use in other encounters where it would be appropriate for Battle Meditation, but not be part of an Initiative based encounter, or extend through several. 

 

For example, a Mass Combat situation would in essence be several combat and non-combat encounter strung potentially back to back and modified/adjusted/guided/whatever by those Mass Combat Checks.

 

In such a situation, a character that invested heavily in Battle Meditation would be extremely beneficial and want to keep that power up, especially if he rolled well.

 

Using the rule on Page 282 would allow that to happen, while still limiting his abilities. He'd have to be very careful on the encounter to encounter basis as he'll strain out super easy (which is probably why examples of super Battle Meditation are usually just a guy sitting around well away from the actual fight doing nothing at all except Meditating.

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However, I'm going to focus on the narrative aspects: a group of people who are constantly in perfect sync, finishing each other's sentences, moving as a group and doing things without consulting each other that are always right, people are gonna get uneasy around them quickly. I'd add some Setbacks to social checks due to their synchronization being so unnerving. Also, people would easily get suspicious about there being some sort of Force shenaniganry going on around a group acting like that, which means not only are they drawing unwanted attention to themselves, but some people will simply choose not to deal with them because of the potential heat it could bring.

Also, if they're so used to relying on their minds being linked and are using it for 80-90% of what they do, throw some Setbacks on checks made without Meditation on. They're so used to being in sync that without that crutch they start making stupid mistakes. That means that the group is basically reliant on that one character being at a greatly reduced Force Rating at all times. And if he gets knocked out, then the rest of them start running into each other and fouling up the others' actions.

I hadn't considered the 'Uncanny Valley' aspect of it. Very cool!

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However, I'm going to focus on the narrative aspects: a group of people who are constantly in perfect sync, finishing each other's sentences, moving as a group and doing things without consulting each other that are always right, people are gonna get uneasy around them quickly. I'd add some Setbacks to social checks due to their synchronization being so unnerving. Also, people would easily get suspicious about there being some sort of Force shenaniganry going on around a group acting like that, which means not only are they drawing unwanted attention to themselves, but some people will simply choose not to deal with them because of the potential heat it could bring.

Also, if they're so used to relying on their minds being linked and are using it for 80-90% of what they do, throw some Setbacks on checks made without Meditation on. They're so used to being in sync that without that crutch they start making stupid mistakes. That means that the group is basically reliant on that one character being at a greatly reduced Force Rating at all times. And if he gets knocked out, then the rest of them start running into each other and fouling up the others' actions.

I hadn't considered the 'Uncanny Valley' aspect of it. Very cool!
"Narrative beings are we, not these crude mechanics!"

--Jedi Game Master Yoda

Yes, I sigged myself. So sue me!

Edited by Absol197

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Hence the sigging :) !

But to be serious, as funny as it might be, Jedi Game Master Yoda is right: lots (in fact, most) mechanically powerful abilities or gear have very detrimental narrative downsides. Giant guns are great on the battlefield, but will send people in you vicinity running and screaming, get the authorities called on you more often then you'd probably like, and aren't usually seen as acceptable accessories at formal events.

Things like Battle Meditation are also powerful, meaning you have to find the narrative reasons why it has to be "left on the ship" a lot, as it were. I think those downsides are fairly obvious, but as I believe I've made abundantly clear in my tenure here, I don't always think in the same way as most people.

Edited by Absol197

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