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Absol197

Rules Vagaries; a Discussion!

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Good [morning/afternoon/evening/night], everyone!

As I’ve become more and more accustomed to this system, I’ve come up with a few questions about how others might rule in certain fringe situations, or how people feel about certain slight variations to the rules as given. So, to the end of satisfying my curiosity, I’ve started this thread to share my questions, get your thoughts, and allow others the opportunity to share their questions as well.

Please note that this is not strictly a Rules-as-Written (“RAW”) thread – we can most certainly discuss RAW, but please do not make it the focus. The focus should be on how you would rule in a game you were running for whatever reason.

So questions!

1) Many talents remove Setback dice from one or two different kinds of skills. I was wondering how people feel these should interact should there be an overlap. For instance: a character has Convincing Demeanor 3 (removes 3 Setback from Deception and Skulduggery checks) and Plausible Deniability 2 (removes 2 Setback from Coercion and Deception). Does this character remove 3 Setbacks or 5 from Deception checks? Basically the question is can a character stack the effects of two talents, or can they only apply one at a time?

2) In a related vein, Force abilities! In many situations, you will end up rolling Force dice along with a regular skill check. Most of the talents, powers, or other abilities that call for this have the unusual description that indicates you, “…may add [Force Dice] no greater than [your] Force Rating to the check.” That seems an odd way to phrase it, so my questions are: can you apply multiple Force abilities that apply to that kind of skill check to one check? For instance, creating a free-roaming illusion with Misdirect requires a successful Deception vs. Vigilance check and the spending of a Force Point. Could you use the Social Grace upgrade of the Influence power to spend some of your Force Points adding Successes and Advantages to your Deception check until it succeeds, and then use the remainder to fuel your Misdirect? If you can, do you denote which Force Dice will be allocated to Influence and which will be allocated to Misdirect, or simply roll them all and decide which power the Force Points will be spent on individually?

3) Parry and Reflect – these talents represent spending mental effort to increase your defensive abilities to prevent physical injury to your body in some way. Current thought is that they can be activated only once per attack. Would it be too powerful to allow multiple activations on one attack? Leaving aside potential abuses from the Supreme versions of these talents for a moment, strain is a very vital resource, and it’s much harder to raise one’s strain threshold than it is one’s wound threshold. Would putting in “extra” effort against an attack in a very desperate situation be too unreasonable? Sure, that one attack is negated, but the extra strain spent gets you much closer to incapacitation than before. Additionally, would you consider allowing a character to activate Improved Parry or Reflect against a failed attack that generated 3 Threat or a Despair? Still costing them the 3 strain to activate the base ability, of course, but to allow the counter attack?

Those were my initial questions for now. I’m sure I’ll come up with additional ones later; please, let’s have a thoughtful and fun discussion!

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1) They both apply, so in your example it would remove 5 Setback.

2) You roll your effective Force Rating (actual Force Rating reduced for any committed Force dice) only once, but you can split generated Force points between the power and any relevant talent(s).

3) No. Just no. Multiple activations of the same ability do not stack.

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New player/game master here who has thought on some of these as well.

 

1: I think it would really depend on how you want to run it.  You could make them not stack, but if you do I would suggest it be for a solid in-game reason where something like "Plausible Deniability" doesn't exist for a given situation or having a Convincing Demeanor doesn't help.  Simply put, if you don't allow them to stack, and don't make them situational, they're wasted XP that are just preventing players from reaching a talent they actually want.  I think limiting them would allow you to make some challenges more difficult but you can always handwaive them to be more difficult anyway.

 

2: The use of "may" is just a qualifier to indicate that you don't have to use all your force die on a single force check, indeed you could use no force die if you really wanted to!

 

3: The "Rule of Cool" reigns supreme.  If you think a player spending all their remaining strain to pull off some awesome maneuver at the risk of passing out seems like an epic thing to do, then I would say go ahead and do that.  But otherwise "parry" represents a specific action...you can't double-triple-secret-backhand parry a single attack, you can only parry it once, to the best of your ability.  So I would say the RAW/RAI is that you can only do it once.  But don't let that stop you from having fun.

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Hello there, new game master too, and sorry to still keep it a bit RAW due to still few experience with actual play

 

1) Well removing 5 setback imply to have 5 setbacks on roll to beging with, as this will very rarely happens, i don't see much of an issue here.
 

2) in this case, i would certainly put a limit on power type, i won't accept to cumul two actives powers effect, now if one of the power is passive (providing force bonus to specific skill check) it should be fine, especialy when the amount of force point will quicly become an issue.
The point here is than a character shouldn't be allowed to associate power to add more than force rating dices to a roll.

 

3)it's more tendencious here, the parry and reflect are like sacrificing some strain to save wounds, better ranks improving the ratio.
The goal behind this one usage limitation is to avoid making strain a second wound bar, doing so is risky as it could push characters to keep strains to save wound rather than use it for maneuver or other active power, so slowing down combat (tank effect) and making them less cinematic.
Additionaly, there's way to recover strain during combat (heal/harm), the fact than you can go past reflect/parry by sending big enough damage could be a necessity in some situation.
To finish, this could come to situation where a senior jedi knight could reflect a victory class destroyer quadritube turbo laser blast, and it doesn't seems fair.
For the improved version, there's i think a real issue about this talent, opponent need a successfull hit with 3 threat or a despair... this is very rare and anyway probably overkill (opponents lost his weapon, so you can kill it...). usefullness is very poor when considering costs. Your proposal won't change this status.

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My take

 

#1) Those talents would absolutely stack, so the PC could remove 5 setback dice from Deception checks.

 

#2) This was answered by the Devs (Sam Stewart I believe) in that you cannot use your Force dice for multiple effects in the same action/roll.  So in the case of something like Overwhelm Emotions, if your PC also has the Influence social skill Control upgrade to add Force dice to certain social skill rolls, you'd have to pick one or the other.  Or for the example you gave, if you used the Misdirect power to create an illusion, you couldn't spend any left over Force points on the Influence social skill Control upgrade, especially as activating a Force power (successful or not) is an action, and each Force power requires its own separate action.  So no, you don't get to trigger two Force powers in the same action.

 

#3) Parry and Reflect can only be activated once per hit.  If you're attacked by someone capable of inflicting multiple hits (such as an Inquisitor with a double-bladed lightsaber) and they score two hits, you could activate Parry twice, reducing the name of each separate hit; thus if the Inquisitor hits you twice for 7 damage on each hit, you could suffer 6 strain to activate your Parry 2 to reduce the damage down to 3 damage per hit.  You could NOT activate Parry more than once against a single hit.  And as the PCs advance and pick up more ranks in Parry and Reflect, they are going to get a much greater return on investment for the 3 strain spent to activate the talent.  Unless you're allowing PCs with Dodge, Defensive Stance and/or Side Step to also burn extra strain to gain phantom ranks, allowing a PC with Parry and Reflect to do so is just a downright bad idea.

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#2) This was answered by the Devs (Sam Stewart I believe) in that you cannot use your Force dice for multiple effects in the same action/roll.  So in the case of something like Overwhelm Emotions, if your PC also has the Influence social skill Control upgrade to add Force dice to certain social skill rolls, you'd have to pick one or the other.  Or for the example you gave, if you used the Misdirect power to create an illusion, you couldn't spend any left over Force points on the Influence social skill Control upgrade, especially as activating a Force power (successful or not) is an action, and each Force power requires its own separate action.  So no, you don't get to trigger two Force powers in the same action.

DM could you link to this  Dev answer. I want to make sure the specifics.

I know you are correct that you cannot activate more than one FP at a time because each activation requires and Action and you cannot assign Force Points rolled to multiple Powers, but just to clarify you can have more FPs active at a time if you had previously activated a FP and are Maintaining it by allocating a FD. For example if you have a Force Rating of 2 you can be maintaining Sense/Control (Commit a FD to Upgrade attacks...) with one FD, and use your second FD to activate another Force Power. You can Also gain the benefit of more than one power like Sense/Control (upgrade) and say Suppress/Duration or Enhance/Control as long as you don't activate then in the same round.

Edited by FuriousGreg

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1/ yes they stack , similar to natural blade master and the natural brawler(I think, I'm away from book but the two natural talents that allow a reroll on melee in them) , if you have both this allows you to reroll brawl and lightsaber each once per session and melee twice. This was confirmed by a dev on the order66 podcast, so I'd say the same here you aren't stacking the same source twice. (IE if both talents give the same ability that provides you the ability to reduce setback).

2/ In most cases activating a force power is an action or occasionally it may be maneuver, either way during this action or maneuver you are not able to use another thing that takes an action or a maneuver to do.So activating multiple force powers simultaneously is not possible at the same time in this way, so the answer is no (I believe there are talents that allow you to trigger another force power as a result of certain circumstances but even then your uncommitted force die are available for use again)

3/ the ability to stack Parry attempts on the same hit is definitely a no-no in my book, imagine someone who has maxed out both armorer and soresu defender start with brawn 4 and put both dedication into brawn, wearing custom built soak 3 superior Cortosis heavy battle armor (not unreasonable given the xp) then this person can parry even lightsaber dmg up to and including 17 with just the cost of 1 strain. This is just 2 specs , imagine stacking more ranks of parry and reflect. Now imagine if you gave an improvement as you suggest on top of this. I've not even figured in a rank of enduring on top of this or strain recovery into the equation yet.

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#2) This was answered by the Devs (Sam Stewart I believe) in that you cannot use your Force dice for multiple effects in the same action/roll.  So in the case of something like Overwhelm Emotions, if your PC also has the Influence social skill Control upgrade to add Force dice to certain social skill rolls, you'd have to pick one or the other.  Or for the example you gave, if you used the Misdirect power to create an illusion, you couldn't spend any left over Force points on the Influence social skill Control upgrade, especially as activating a Force power (successful or not) is an action, and each Force power requires its own separate action.  So no, you don't get to trigger two Force powers in the same action.

DM could you link to this  Dev answer. I want to make sure the specifics.

I know you are correct that you cannot activate more than one FP at a time because each activation requires and Action and you cannot assign Force Points rolled to multiple Powers, but just to clarify you can have more FPs active at a time if you had previously activated a FP and are Maintaining it by allocating a FD. For example if you have a Force Rating of 2 you can be maintaining Sense/Control (Commit a FD to Upgrade attacks...) with one FD, and use your second FD to activate another Force Power. You can Also gain the benefit of more than one power like Sense/Control (upgrade) and say Suppress/Duration or Enhance/Control as long as you don't activate then in the same round.

 

I think it was an early episode of the revamped Order 66 podcast.

 

Like you said, one can't activate multiple Force powers/effects in the same round.  But for things like committed Force dice, you're fine; so it's possible to have a Force die committed to Sense for the defense upgrade (activated before the fight starts), a Force die committed to Enhance to increase your Brawn (activated on round 1), and then roll whatever Force dice you've got left to use Enhance to boost your Brawl attack (with the attack made on round 2).

 

So you can have multiple Force effects going, you just can't have them pull double-duty in the same action.

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1: They stack.

 

2: There are some things that need clarification to help answer this:

  • Most Basic Force Powers just ask for a Power Check, thats not so important in this instance, but it is an action so other actions cant be performed at the same time
  • Some force powers/talents are worded such that "As an action make an _____ action and roll your force dice as part of the check, spend pips to do X" (Draw Closer, Terrify, Saber Throw, the DisciplinevDiscipline Control upgrade for Influence)
  • Finally some Talents/Force Powers are worded like this "When making an _____ check you may add up to your force rating to the check, spend pips to gain X" (eg: Enhance basic power, Influence Control Upgrade in the OP, Intuitive Strike, Intuitive Shot, Dantari Crystal etc)

 So the first 2 options are each Actions, and as such none of those can stack, you cant do 2 of them at the same time. The third option is not limited in the same way, multiple of those can stack with each other so long as all requirements are met for each source. These third category of ways to use your Force Rating also stack with the first 2, simply providing you with more options of ways to spend your Force Pips.

 

as an entier example lets suppose we have a Dark Side Aggressor who has invested a decent amount of XP, they have: Terrify, Improved Terrify, Force Rating 2, Willpower 3, Coercion 3 and Influence with the Control Upgrade to add FD to social checks:

A Terrify Action: 3eP+2eD+2eF 1 success, 1 threat, 1 Triumph, 2 Dark Side

p-s-s.pngp--.pngp-tr.pngd-f-f.pngd-th.pngf-ds.pngf-ds.png
 
With that roll the character has Disoriented 1 target, using the Triumph to extend the duration of the effect before spending Force Pips. But in this case the character would like to affect 1 more target, so spends one of the Force Pips to add a success via the Influence power. Then they decide to Immobilise those 2 targets so spends the second Force Pip on the Terrify talents option. The threat could be Strain, but a better choice would be that the Aggressor had to move out of cover to get the desired effect, exposing themselves to forthcoming attacks.
 
 
3: Parry/Reflect are once per Hit incidentals, definitely not multiple per hit.

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1) Many talents remove Setback dice from one or two different kinds of skills. I was wondering how people feel these should interact should there be an overlap. For instance: a character has Convincing Demeanor 3 (removes 3 Setback from Deception and Skulduggery checks) and Plausible Deniability 2 (removes 2 Setback from Coercion and Deception). Does this character remove 3 Setbacks or 5 from Deception checks? Basically the question is can a character stack the effects of two talents, or can they only apply one at a time?

 

Yes, we have a droid that can remove 7 Setbacks from a Deception check.

 

She can get away with some truly preposterous lies:

 

Katie: 'At ease,  troops. I, your commanding officer, order you to go back to base.'

 

Stormtroopers:  'But... sir... You appear to be a droid.  An anatomically correct, female model at that.'

 

Katie: 'Troops, there are very good reasons why I, your commanding officer, am wearing the disguise of a female protocol droid. Which I will tell you when you get back to base.'

 

Stormtroopers: 'Aye-aye, sir! Um, ma'am. Er, droid, whatever.'

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2) In a related vein, Force abilities! In many situations, you will end up rolling Force dice along with a regular skill check. Most of the talents, powers, or other abilities that call for this have the unusual description that indicates you, “…may add [Force Dice] no greater than [your] Force Rating to the check.” That seems an odd way to phrase it, so my questions are: can you apply multiple Force abilities that apply to that kind of skill check to one check? For instance, creating a free-roaming illusion with Misdirect requires a successful Deception vs. Vigilance check and the spending of a Force Point. Could you use the Social Grace upgrade of the Influence power to spend some of your Force Points adding Successes and Advantages to your Deception check until it succeeds, and then use the remainder to fuel your Misdirect? If you can, do you denote which Force Dice will be allocated to Influence and which will be allocated to Misdirect, or simply roll them all and decide which power the Force Points will be spent on individually?

 

Our House Rules cap Force dice by limiting Specs, so I allow them to be split.  

 

I don't know by RAW, though. And don't care! :)

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1) Many talents remove Setback dice from one or two different kinds of skills. I was wondering how people feel these should interact should there be an overlap. For instance: a character has Convincing Demeanor 3 (removes 3 Setback from Deception and Skulduggery checks) and Plausible Deniability 2 (removes 2 Setback from Coercion and Deception). Does this character remove 3 Setbacks or 5 from Deception checks? Basically the question is can a character stack the effects of two talents, or can they only apply one at a time?

 

Yes, we have a droid that can remove 7 Setbacks from a Deception check.

 

She can get away with some truly preposterous lies:

 

Katie: 'At ease,  troops. I, your commanding officer, order you to go back to base.'

 

Stormtroopers:  'But... sir... You appear to be a droid.  An anatomically correct, female model at that.'

 

Katie: 'Troops, there are very good reasons why I, your commanding officer, am wearing the disguise of a female protocol droid. Which I will tell you when you get back to base.'

 

Stormtroopers: 'Aye-aye, sir! Um, ma'am. Er, droid, whatever.'

 

Not sure I'd rule that whopper warranted setback dice so much as a substantial difficulty upgrade. There really should be a considerable possibility for Despair involved. :D

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Then Squad Skill Ranks might be more appropriate when applying difficulty in such scenarios.

 

It would be of little concern to bluff a single Stormtrooper, who may have Willpower 2/Discipline 1, resulting in 1 Difficulty and 1 Challenge die (RP) to the die pool.

 

But I would opine that if a squad of 5 Stormtroopers would have a total of Agility 2/Ranged (Heavy) 4 and thus roll YYGG when attacking, then it stands to reason that that same squad would have a total of Willpower 2/Discipline 4 for a total of 2 Challenge and 2 Difficulty die (RRPP) to the die pool when being deceived as a group.

 

Then add Setback to that for all the other implausibilities surrounding the deception attempt.

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I tend to assign difficulties depending on the circumstances. Stormtroopers are defined in our game as being rather unimaginative and gullible, so it shouldn't be that hard, assuming you're a human male. As we have defined that there are no non-human or female officers in the Empire in our games, females or non-humans will take situational black dice trying to pass as Imperial officers.  

 

 

Not sure I'd rule that whopper warranted setback dice so much as a substantial difficulty upgrade. There really should be a considerable possibility for Despair involved. :D

 

The Despair comes from me using a DS flip to upgrade.  The books make it clear you shouldn't casually upgrade without a Talent or DS flip or something similar.

 

For instance:

 

Trying to hoodwink imperial troops into believing you are their officer: Deception check.of X Difficulty,

 

Trying to hoodwink the same troops when you're a Chiss or Mirialan: X Difficulty plus 3 black dice

 

Trying to hoodwink the same troops when you're a wookie: X Difficulty plus 5 black dice

 

Trying to hoodwink the same troops when you're a naked, anatomically-correct female waitress-bot spray-painted bright gold: X Difficulty plus 7/8 black dice

 

The task at hand (hoodwinking dim-witted goons) determines the difficulty and yes, if it was a Rival I'd take a look at his Willpower and Discipline and any appropriate Talents like Nobody's Fool.  Other factors are purely situational, like your race, your gender, your clothes, the readiness of the troops (if they'd been previously warned there was droid impersonating an Imperial officer, for instance.

 

 

I've always played it as your tool for situational modifiers is black dice; NOT purple or red dice. Which is why these Talents that remove black dice can be useful in situations that depend on these factors.

 

What other situations might warrant that many black dice? Maybe:

 

Trying to join 'the Resistance' (when you're in a stormtrooper costume, or you're Kylo Ren...)

 

Trying to convince the doorman at a Life Day celebration that you're a friend of the family (when you're a trandoshan wearing wookiee pelts...)

 

Trying to convince the leader of the Neutron Pixies that you're ideal to join her dance troupe at 'Jailbirds' or 'Club Climax' (when you're a Hutt or astromech droid...)

Edited by Maelora

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Yes, we have a droid that can remove 7 Setbacks from a Deception check.

 

 

I'm curious what the recipe that got your droid to 7 Black-Be-Gone talents is? 

 

(Not that I don't believe you - I just want to see if I can build one for myself someday down the road)

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Yes, we have a droid that can remove 7 Setbacks from a Deception check.

 

 

I'm curious what the recipe that got your droid to 7 Black-Be-Gone talents is? 

 

(Not that I don't believe you - I just want to see if I can build one for myself someday down the road)

 

 

She's a Diplomat career character with Agitator and Advocate specs; 5 ranks of 'Plausible Deniability' and 2 ranks of 'Convincing Demeanour' . 

 

These specs dovetail nicely; she's also got 4 ranks of 'Nobody's Fool' should anyone try to hoodwink her.

Edited by Maelora

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Sorry I haven’t been contributing as much as I’d liked; some responses:

Sunseeker:

I would quibble about your interpretation of question 3: you may not be able to “double-triple-secret-backhand parry one attack, but a combat check is not a single attack, it represents the entirety of the attacking character’s attempts to hurt the target, which presumably would include multiple attacks. So activating Parry would represent putting a tremendous effort into making sure you block each and every one of those attacks to the best of your ability, rather than extra-blocking a single attack.

But as you rightly say, it’s whatever works best for your group! :)

Donovan Morningfire:

1) This would generally be how I would GM it as well – mostly because it allows for greater and more hilarious hijinks (see Marcy’s posts :) ), but also because of the effect of potentially punishing players for required XP expenditures that others have mentioned;

2) As mentioned, this isn’t supposed to be strictly a “RAW” conversation, my question was more, “Would you consider this as something reasonable for a character to attempt?” Clearly, from a RAW perspective, you are correct: when attempting to use Misdirect to create an illusion, you are spending an action to, “…make a Deception vs. Vigilance check combined with a Misdirect power check,” which leaves no room for an Influence power check.

My thoughts are, while technically they are mutually exclusive, would it be too potent to allow someone to combine both Misdirect and Influence in this case? Basically, giving up some of the strength of your illusion for a greater chance at succeeding? And if you as GM would allow it, would you require specific Force Dice to be applied to specific powers, or just allow the Force Points to be allocated as the player desired? So with Force Rating 3 would they have to say, “I’m putting 2 Force Dice towards Misdirect and the last towards Influence.” Or would they just roll and say, “I got 3 Force points, I’m spending one to activate Misdirect, one to increase the Strength, and the last to add a success so I actually succeed.”

3) Once again, I’m well aware of the RAW. Would you allow for narrative reasons, even if only in limited circumstances, multiple activations against the same hit? You do say it’s a bad idea; why? Strain recovery is not easy – if you’re spending all your advantage on strain recovery you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage against opponents who aren’t, and if you need multiple Parry/Reflect activations against most hits in a combat, you’re not going to keep pace with your own expenditures.

Syrath:

1) Technically, by RAW, the “Natural X” talents are one reroll per session per talent, so a Natural Blademaster can reroll EITHER a Lightsaber check OR a Melee check in the session, but not both :) . So in your example, someone with both Natural Blademaster and Natural Brawler would get two rerolls per session: both could be Melee, but if they were the character could not reroll either a Lightsaber or Brawl check.

However, having said that, that’s an interesting thing to add to this discussion! Would it be too potent to allow the “Natural” talents to be used to reroll once check of both skills?

2) Once again, I’m well aware of the RAW, if you’re saying that that’s the adjudication you feel most comfortable with, why?

3) I did say leaving aside Supreme Parry/Reflect for a moment in my original post, didn’t I :) ? But your point is valid: at the extremes it could become very problematic. Would a compromise where the talents can only be activated multiple times per hit in narratively important battles be sufficient? How about a restriction indicating that the Supreme versions only apply to the first activation on a hit?

Marcy:

2) Hmm, that's very good to know! :)

I’ve noticed no one’s really commented on activating Improved Parry/Reflect on a failed combat check. Any thoughts?

Also, I’ve remembered the one of the other things I was wanting to discuss:

4) Several talents, like Smooth Talker and Knowledge Specialization, allow you to spend Triumphs on specific kinds of skill checks to add a number of Successes equal to your ranks. The RAW interpretation is that you pick one skill when you get your first rank, and all subsequent ranks apply to that skill as well. My question: would you consider allowing someone to split their ranks in these skills across multiple applicable skills? Perhaps someone might have Knowledge Specialization (Lore) 2 and Knowledge Specialization (Xenology) 2, for example?

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The big problem with multiple Parry/Reflect activations is that it will undercut one of the primary design conceits of the system, which is combat is dangerous.

 

While it may not seem a big deal when a PC only has a couple of ranks in either talent, but as they start racking up four or more ranks, the ability to spend a couple extra strain for "phantom" ranks cuts significantly into the threat level that combat in general is meant to pose to the PCs.

 

I can't speak for everyone, but most combats I've run and played in in this system rarely last more than 3 or 4 rounds, and not often is the PC with the lightsaber dogpiled on.  So once you've got a PC with four or more ranks in Reflect, it literally becomes no big deal to the PC to spend a extra point or two of strain to pretty much ignore most ranged attacks.  I've got a Shii-Cho Knight (homebrewed version that swaps out two Parry talents with two Reflect talents) and combined with his progression into Niman Disciple, even under RAW he can use Reflect to cut the damage from most ranged attacks into nothing; bad guys using anything less than rifles or carbines need a lot of successes to have a chance of inflicting damage if I opt to use Reflect, and even those attacks with rifles or carbines are only going to do miniscule amounts damage.

 

Plus, maybe you're running your games a different way, but strain is ridiculously easy to recover, simply just by spending a couple advantages from a combat check.  I've run plenty of Jedi-types, both in campaigns and in playtest sessions, and so long as the PC keeps an eye on their strain threshold, they rarely need to worry about exceeding it, especially if they've been good little Jedi and hit the upper tiers of being a LS Paragon, giving them a further boost to strain threshold.  And in the fact that Willpower and Discipline are often going to be prized investments for a Force user, and recovering strain after combat isn't that big a deal either, with a really good roll on 3 Willpower and 2 Discipline letting the PC recoup 5 to 6 strain.

 

Don't fret that in the early going Parry and Reflect aren't super-useful, or that they don't let the PC entirely stop the damage from an attack.  They will get there as the PC invests XP in their talent trees and buys more ranks.  That Shii-Cho Knight I mentioned above?  I did a 1000 XP version, and with Parry 5, Reflect 5, and Soak of 6, there wasn't a whole lot that could chip away at his 19 Wound Threshold or 19 Strain Threshold fast enough to that much of a threat.  Dude solo'd a Captive Rancor (EotE corebook) and didn't even go past the halfway point on either his Wound or Strain Threshold; allowing any PC of that caliber to simply "burn" some extra strain to stop more damage is going to seriously skew with the general balance of your combat encounters, as you'd have to ramp up the threats in order to challenge those specific PCs with Parry and/or Reflect while in turn making the combats far more dangerous for those PCs without said talents.

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The big problem with multiple Parry/Reflect activations is that it will undercut one of the primary design conceits of the system, which is combat is dangerous.

 

While it may not seem a big deal when a PC only has a couple of ranks in either talent, but as they start racking up four or more ranks, the ability to spend a couple extra strain for "phantom" ranks cuts significantly into the threat level that combat in general is meant to pose to the PCs.

 

I can't speak for everyone, but most combats I've run and played in in this system rarely last more than 3 or 4 rounds, and not often is the PC with the lightsaber dogpiled on.  So once you've got a PC with four or more ranks in Reflect, it literally becomes no big deal to the PC to spend a extra point or two of strain to pretty much ignore most ranged attacks.  I've got a Shii-Cho Knight (homebrewed version that swaps out two Parry talents with two Reflect talents) and combined with his progression into Niman Disciple, even under RAW he can use Reflect to cut the damage from most ranged attacks into nothing; bad guys using anything less than rifles or carbines need a lot of successes to have a chance of inflicting damage if I opt to use Reflect, and even those attacks with rifles or carbines are only going to do miniscule amounts damage.

 

Plus, maybe you're running your games a different way, but strain is ridiculously easy to recover, simply just by spending a couple advantages from a combat check.  I've run plenty of Jedi-types, both in campaigns and in playtest sessions, and so long as the PC keeps an eye on their strain threshold, they rarely need to worry about exceeding it, especially if they've been good little Jedi and hit the upper tiers of being a LS Paragon, giving them a further boost to strain threshold.  And in the fact that Willpower and Discipline are often going to be prized investments for a Force user, and recovering strain after combat isn't that big a deal either, with a really good roll on 3 Willpower and 2 Discipline letting the PC recoup 5 to 6 strain.

 

Don't fret that in the early going Parry and Reflect aren't super-useful, or that they don't let the PC entirely stop the damage from an attack.  They will get there as the PC invests XP in their talent trees and buys more ranks.  That Shii-Cho Knight I mentioned above?  I did a 1000 XP version, and with Parry 5, Reflect 5, and Soak of 6, there wasn't a whole lot that could chip away at his 19 Wound Threshold or 19 Strain Threshold fast enough to that much of a threat.  Dude solo'd a Captive Rancor (EotE corebook) and didn't even go past the halfway point on either his Wound or Strain Threshold; allowing any PC of that caliber to simply "burn" some extra strain to stop more damage is going to seriously skew with the general balance of your combat encounters, as you'd have to ramp up the threats in order to challenge those specific PCs with Parry and/or Reflect while in turn making the combats far more dangerous for those PCs without said talents.

Do you allow multiple Parry/Reflect if the target has the talent and is also within Engaged range of an ally with Circle of Shelter? By multiple, I mean once from the target and once from the ally.

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4) Several talents, like Smooth Talker and Knowledge Specialization, allow you to spend Triumphs on specific kinds of skill checks to add a number of Successes equal to your ranks. The RAW interpretation is that you pick one skill when you get your first rank, and all subsequent ranks apply to that skill as well. My question: would you consider allowing someone to split their ranks in these skills across multiple applicable skills? Perhaps someone might have Knowledge Specialization (Lore) 2 and Knowledge Specialization (Xenology) 2, for example?

 

We've only used a single pick up to now, but I don't see why you couldn't split it with multiple Talents.  

 

That doesn't seem overpowered, it just makes the character more of a generalist than specialist.

 

As for lightsabers, Donovan sums it up better than I could!

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Then I will have to take your word on Parry and Reflect. Narratively I can't see a problem with it, but since in the game I’m running my low-XP characters have only just gotten sabers and only one of them has a saber spec I've not seen it in action. And in the game I'll be playing in, my character is both an ideological and pathological pacifist, so it's unlikely to come up there, either.

Edited by Absol197

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Oh yes, and I've remembered the final thing I was wanting to discuss:

5) How far can one go with assisting a group member? Now, on this one I'm bit shakier on the RAW, but as I believe it works, you can only apply talents when you're the primary actor (i.e. the person making the roll), not when assisting.

Could a group of three people work together: the one with the high characteristic contribute that; the one with the high skill rank contribute that; and the one with the useful talent make the roll and contribute the talent? This is likely not RAW, but for a group working together (assuming it makes sense in the situation for them to do so), would you permit this?

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Then I will have to take your word on Parry and Reflect. Narratively I can't see a problem with it, but since in the game in running my low-XP characters have only just gotten sabers and only one of them has a saber spec so I've not seen it in action, and in the game I'll be playing in my character is both an ideological and pathological pacifist, so it's unlikely to come up there, either.

Trust me, once that PC starts racking up the Parry and Reflect ranks, it will make quite the difference.  I've got a Soresu Defender/Protector PC that's quite formidable defense-wise when he breaks out the lightsaber, and the four ranks of Reflect he's got goes a long way towards keeping him safe, with the player generally earning enough advantage on his combat checks to keep his strain threshold from getting too out of hand.

 

Start adding in talents that boost strain recovery, such as Second Wind (Shii-Cho Knight gets two ranks), Rapid Recovery, or Balance (even more useful once the PC starts boosting their Force Rating), and the strain cost of using even just the regular instance of Parry and Reflect becomes minimal.

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