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Eck314

Reflect and Parry - My idea to beef them up

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I'm having trouble crafting this post so I'll just be brief. I'm thinking of beefing this talent up for a one-shot opponent in my Edge of the Empire game. Instead of reducing damage by Ranks+2 for 3 strain (kind of pointless for a rival with only 1 rank), I was thinking it would reduce the number of to-hit successes by Ranks+2 for 3 strain. This will allow these talents to be more of an all or nothing.

 

I saw another older thread here: https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/189277-reflect-and-parry/ talking about how some people also thought it was a little bit weak. Some suggestions wanted to introduce an active roll as that in-between step, but I agree that would bog things down too much. 

 

Thoughts?

- Eck

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I’d be inclined to do it as an out-of-turn incidental, three strain to activate, then add one [Fail] to the attackers dice pool per rank of Parry (Melee/Brawn attack) or Reflect (ranged attack). Can be activated multiple times per attack, spending three Strain each time.

So, if you’re Luke and you activate this talent multiple times on the same attack, you could actually potentially parry one of Darth Vader’s strikes. But then you wouldn’t have any strain left the next round to do anything. ;)

And if you’re Obi-Wan, you might have multiple ranks of Parry or Reflect, so you could activate this talent fewer times and still parry Darth Vader’s attack, while keeping enough strain to be able to do something more during the next round.

Hmm. I’m liking this idea, at least so far.

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The only threat (for lack of a better term) I see here is players then wanting to repeat this version of Parry and Reflect later, when using characters who have something in the area of 5 - 7 ranks.

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I've been considering something similar, but instead of automatic success reduction, additional Setback dice. This would be part of a Guarded Stance Maneuver (which already applies a Setback Die to melee attacks).

 

As for how many Setback allowed, I'm still not sure... I originally thought of one per rank of Parry (or Reflect), but as waywardgm has mentioned, it could get very crazy down the line. I have also considered adding a number of SB dice equal to Force Rating (minus committed die, if any), but that would restrict the benefit (of Parry, anyway) to Force wielders.

 

As for Strain, again unsure. Considering 1 point of Strain per Setback Die added. But as I'm thinking of the requirement of using Guarded Stance, this is already tying up a Maneuver, which may cost 2 Strain anyway if the character wants two maneuvers and an Action in that turn...

 

Another reason for Setback Dice instead of auto-fails is the possible generation of Threat as well as Failure, which allows more use of Improved Parry and Improved Reflect Talents.

 

Still pondering on this, so no definite answer. But maybe this suggestion may give inspiration...

Edited by MDR101

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Honestly, if it's for an NPC, just give them a couple extra ranks to beef up the effects.  So for this Rival, instead of only 1 rank of Parry/Reflect, give them 3 or 4 ranks so that while they are still taking wound damage (as Rivals generally lack a strain threshold), they are getting some degree of damage negation out of the talent.

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DM & K22 are on the right path. For NPCs there really is no reason to make up special rules when just adding a couple of Soak or extra levels of Parry/Reflect will do the same thing. You can also give them a higher Wound and Strain threshold or, if all else fails, cheat your NPC a few Wound/Strain points to keep them up an extra turn or two (I don't recommend doing this often or Players will catch on but once and a while is okay). Whats important is to make an opponent that is a challenge for the Players, every major battle needs to feel dangerous or they get boring.

Edited by FuriousGreg

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Give him more ranks. Or, as an alternative, you can give him a strain threshold. The rules clearly state that important Rival NPCs can have a separate strain threshold; using their wound threshold for everything is mostly a matter of simplifying the GM's bookkeeping.

Very true.

 

Giving this Rival a strain threshold of half their wound threshold (presuming said wound threshold isn't in the 20's) would provide enough strain for the NPC to get away with using Parry/Reflect at least twice, maybe more if he's willing to spend advantage on his combat checks to recoup spent strain.

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I've been considering something similar, but instead of automatic success reduction, additional Setback dice. This would be part of a Guarded Stance Maneuver (which already applies a Setback Die to melee attacks).

That’s another idea, but normally setback are something that would be rolled at the same time as the primary dice — and if the opponent knows how many setback they’d have to roll, they might not choose to attack. Moreover, this increases the risk of the “Fistful of Dice” problem.

And if the talent can be activated multiple times, by spending the amount of strain required for each activation, how do you model doing that enough times to make the attack miss, without having to roll way too many dice at a time, or to roll them repeatedly until you get enough accumulated failures/threats?

Mechanically, it’s a lot easier to just add automatic [Fail] symbols for each rank of Parry or Reflect, or to leave the talents as-is and make them simple damage reduction.

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I know it would be more powerful with more ranks. It makes a well trained Jedi nigh unhittable as long as he has strain to spend. It fits my idea for how awesome I think they should be.

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I've been considering something similar, but instead of automatic success reduction, additional Setback dice. This would be part of a Guarded Stance Maneuver (which already applies a Setback Die to melee attacks).

That’s another idea, but normally setback are something that would be rolled at the same time as the primary dice — and if the opponent knows how many setback they’d have to roll, they might not choose to attack. Moreover, this increases the risk of the “Fistful of Dice” problem.

And if the talent can be activated multiple times, by spending the amount of strain required for each activation, how do you model doing that enough times to make the attack miss, without having to roll way too many dice at a time, or to roll them repeatedly until you get enough accumulated failures/threats?

Mechanically, it’s a lot easier to just add automatic [Fail] symbols for each rank of Parry or Reflect, or to leave the talents as-is and make them simple damage reduction.

 

 

Sorry, should have stated that my thinking is for the Setback Dice to be in addition to the normal damage reduction quality of the Talents. So if the character decides to take a Guarded Stance Maneuver, additional Setback Dice are added to an attacker's pool (once), and if they hit, the Talent can be then activated as normal for the damage reduction (multiple times if necessary).

 

Certainly understand you're concern with the 'Fistful of Dice' problem, which is why I'm thinking Force Rating as opposed to Talent Ranks as that tends to increase far slower and is a constant (melee attack, how many ranks do I have in Parry? Hmm being shot at now, how many ranks do I have in Reflect..just no..).

 

I have only really just started pondering on this, so just a rough idea really...

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The impression I've gotten through play and immersion in the rule book was that Parry and Reflect are fairly balanced... If both parties are wearing Cortosis. That is to say, those talents seem to have been balanced and playtested with end game play in mind.

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I know it would be more powerful with more ranks. It makes a well trained Jedi nigh unhittable as long as he has strain to spend. It fits my idea for how awesome I think they should be.

"Unhittable" is a bit of a stretch, though. Sure, you can get multiple ranks in Parry and Reflect if you spend enough XP on several specializations, but by the time a PC has that much XP then their opponents should also be sufficiently dangerous to pose a challenge. Even a regular blaster pistol can pose a threat to a Jedi with 7-8 ranks in Reflect when you add a few attachments, talents like Anatomy Lesson or Soft Spot and perhaps also a dash of Deadly Accuracy.

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This is a hit point system, so wearing down hit points is how the system is balanced rather than all-or-nothing hit = death style game. That's why Parry/Reflect don't make you harder to hit but instead reduce damage.

It also ties in with the design precept that combat in this system is dangerous (though not deadly), and that the PCs shouldn't be too eager to get into a fight.  A simple squad of stormtroopers (minion group of 4) can be a serious threat even to a Knight Level PC, where in prior Star Wars RPGs (especially the d20 ones) a squad of stormtroopers were quickly relegated to inconsequential canon fodder that had no chance to hurt the PCs barring an incredibly lucky roll, and could be taken down with relative impunity by the PCs.

 

It's also the design intent that Parry and Reflect won't cause a fight to drag out unnecessarily, as per conversations I had with some of the designers at GenCon 2014, with the goal being that having Parry and Reflect would buy most PCs an extra round(maybe two) in a fight at the lower end of the spectrum, but not prolong combats to ridiculous lengths at the higher end of the spectrum.

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Just give rivals a higher wound threshold by an amount that suits the encounter and their ability to give a challenge. Or just let them use the ability without accounting for the strain as they will probably be down soon enough anyways.

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This is a hit point system, so wearing down hit points is how the system is balanced rather than all-or-nothing hit = death style game. That's why Parry/Reflect don't make you harder to hit but instead reduce damage.

Indeed.  It helps not to think of wounds as actual wounds, but instead to think of them like "vitality points" from the early d20 games.  In my view, they represent being worn down by attacks that you barely manage to dodge, rather than taking a hit full to the chest from a blaster.

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Agreed, Wound Threshold is actually more like Ablative Plot Armor.

True injuries come from Critical Hits.

I guess the key part of the problem comes down to how to simulate or emulate what we see in the movies, versus how the RPG is balanced for numerical purposes.

As far as lightsaber duels go, Desslok's thread going through the major duels we see in the movies shows that most of them only lasted about three rounds on average.  While the general default for structured/combat time is to have one round equal about a minute, there's nothing stopping a GM from having a round in a lightsaber duel last several minutes instead, especially if GM and player are on board with the notion that each combat check actually represents multiple exchanges of lightsaber blows.

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Agreed, Wound Threshold is actually more like Ablative Plot Armor.

True injuries come from Critical Hits.

I guess the key part of the problem comes down to how to simulate or emulate what we see in the movies, versus how the RPG is balanced for numerical purposes.

As far as lightsaber duels go, Desslok's thread going through the major duels we see in the movies shows that most of them only lasted about three rounds on average.  While the general default for structured/combat time is to have one round equal about a minute, there's nothing stopping a GM from having a round in a lightsaber duel last several minutes instead, especially if GM and player are on board with the notion that each combat check actually represents multiple exchanges of lightsaber blows.

 

 

Do you have a link to this thread?  I haven't been able to find it with the forum search function.

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While the general default for structured/combat time is to have one round equal about a minute, there's nothing stopping a GM from having a round in a lightsaber duel last several minutes instead, especially if GM and player are on board with the notion that each combat check actually represents multiple exchanges of lightsaber blows.

My issue here is that this is at least one level beyond my ability to narrate (at least, at this point), and thus breaks my willing suspension of disbelief.

I need more help than the RAW gives me for turning a binary “reflect/no reflect” action with a lightsaber that takes a fraction of a second, into a sequence of such binary actions which ends up turning the power into a simple damage reduction as opposed to preventing the attack altogether.

In the movies, TV shows, cartoons, comic books, etc…, Lightsabers in particular are an extremely visual item, and the actions with them are likewise extremely memorable. Those individual actions tend to be very short.

Because of the inherently quick, short, and violent actions that are naturally associated with lightsabers, it’s really hard for me to mentally make that leap to narrating a whole paragraph of leaps and swooshes and flourishes and reflects and parries and dodges and all the other “actions” that might be the effective result of a single throw of the dice.

I’m getting to the point where I can narrate a whole barrage of blaster bolts, some of which hit and some of which don’t, all of which would be the result of a single throw of the dice. But it’s a lot harder for me to do that with lightsabers.

At this point, I’ve got two alternatives:

1. I can modify the rules so that the combat is more tactical in nature, and therefore a successful lightsaber “reflect” action needs to be a binary event — either it reflects the whole blast or it doesn’t, because the current damage reduction rules don’t work in a more tactical style of combat.

2. I can get more support from the developers and the community to help give me better examples of the kind of narrative that I should be telling, so that I don’t feel the need to make those kinds of changes to the rules.

Frankly, I’d prefer to get more support from the developers on this topic. But other than offering the occasional quick answer to a simple question, I don’t see that happening.

If they were to come out with a “Revised and Expanded” edition of the rules, and they specifically addressed issues like this, then that would do it. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s likely.

That leaves the community to pick up the slack, if #2 is going to materialize. Otherwise, I don’t currently see any alternative than to go with #1.

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One very key element to remember is that every singe character is Dodging, Parrying ect all the time to the best of their ability. That is represented by defence and the base difficulty of the attack roll. The talents are there to reward those who actually practice these things, to give them measurable results from being better than anyone else.

 

So a missed attack roll can be narrated that the defender managed to keep their guard up as the attacker laid a flurry of blows.

 

A success is that the defender parried a series of blows, but finally the attacker go through a couple of glancing blows to singe the skin.

 

A success with Parry activated could be that the attacker laid down a series of complex sweeps of their blade, it zipped through the air continually meeting their opponents defences. The defenders impressive focus on their assailant allowed them to deflect more than others would have managed, but even still the blade came close to taking off the defenders arm more than once. a bead of sweat dripping down their brow the defender prepares to retaliate. 

 

I do definitely agree that its a challenge to do round after round, but there are climactic moments where it can really raise the tension of the moment.

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Or you can think of the roll as representing one attack where the character really pushes it to the limit.  There's back and forth, sabers clash, they eye each other warily for a moment, and then the character makes his move (roll).  Or: Sabers clash, they lock their blades together and strain for several seconds (like in every Star Wars movie)... and then the character makes his move! (Roll.)

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