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Mark Caliber

Perks for finding the finely tuned kyber crystal?

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Think it's all been said already, but I feel the need to reiterate that Lightsabers in general, and crystals specifically, don't really need any additional benefits (although there's aways room for more types of lightsaber crystal!). The rules put forward are a nice compromise between fairness and power, with heaps of options for customisation and personalisation, at least as far as I'm concerned. If you want to give some special additional award for a moment as epic and iconic as a hero forging their first Lightsaber, I would recommend a useful but temporary benefit like a few boost dice from heroic inspiration, hands-on guidance, or ancient manuals to start them on what will probably be a campaign-spanning journey of upgrading, modifying and perfecting their signature weapon.

I also strongly caution *against* destroying or otherwise permanently confiscating precious items like lightsabers, holocrons or even the trusty blaster they started the game with if it's valuable to them without a really good, story-driven reason to do so. A hero's weapon, be it a Jedi's Lightsaber or a Scoundrel's signature blaster, is as integral and as iconic to a character as their style, their code and their deeds. Hell, the Jedi don't name their sabers because from their point of view, it would be like naming their hand, and naming your hand is just weird. If a saber has to go for the story to proceed, make the crystal and enough shards of the hilt recoverable to build a successor weapon, if your hero's signature DL-44 is confiscated or stolen, give them a chance to track it down, or have it show up in an unexpected place once they're back on their feet (Don't forget that the Seek power can turn a prized weapon into a homing beacon, a perfect opportunity for a dramatic scene, like duelling an Inquisitor armed with the hero's masterwork Lightsaber in order to wrest it back!). Taking precious things in the name of "realism" in a fantasy space opera is a @#$% move, returning a player's personal Excalibur when the time is right demonstrates that you appreciate its value and is an opportunity for roleplaying a scene as epic as the moment they first forged the weapon they just went through hell to reclaim.

I won't pretend that this is anything other than my opinion, but stealing/breaking/ruining your player's signature items out of expedience or entirely inapropriate and undramatic "realism", is just lazy and/or malicious GM'ing in my book.

Edited by Azraiel

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I agree with that, but I also think some of the lightsaber modification options are completely broken, and none of them are really necessary to turn a Jedi into a strong combatant.

 

The clearest example is the Dantari crystal.  You get to recover 2 strain by spending one Force point rolled from a lightsaber attack.  Well, if you're an Ataru, Makashi or Niman fighter with a decent FR, you'll be rolling several force dice every time you attack with your saber.  You can easily recover 6 strain per turn if you have FR 4 or 5, which is two free parries/reflects.  In a lot of fights, especially one on one lightsaber combat, that's as good as having infinite parries.  If your parry/reflect ranks are also high, no one will be able to touch you.  This works especially well with Saber Throw, which also gives you a Force dice roll every time you use it.

Edited by DaverWattra

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The clearest example is the Dantari crystal.

The Dantari Crystal in my party hasn't broken the game yet despite the owner being an FR4 Consular, though I do consider it to be *very* borderline OP. I can only think of one crystal published so far that I would simply not allow, and that's Ghostfire. It's not only cheeze, it's *anticlimactic* cheese. The worst kind of cheese.

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3 hours ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

Well, if you've got a PC with Force Rating 4 and a talent that lets them add their Force dice to Lightsaber combat checks, then you've got a whole different problem in terms of game balance that has nothing to do with a Dantari crystal.

What?  How so?  That could be as simple as a Niman user who took the Sage tree.

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6 hours ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

Well, if you've got a PC with Force Rating 4 and a talent that lets them add their Force dice to Lightsaber combat checks, then you've got a whole different problem in terms of game balance that has nothing to do with a Dantari crystal.

The talents are actually pretty balanced, *if* the character uses an unmodified lightsaber.

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20 hours ago, DaverWattra said:

The clearest example is the Dantari crystal.  You get to recover 2 strain by spending one Force point rolled from a lightsaber attack.  Well, if you're an Ataru, Makashi or Niman fighter with a decent FR, you'll be rolling several force dice every time you attack with your saber. 

Actually, every Saber Spec but Shi-Cho has one of those abilities, which makes the Dantari Crystal very good, but let's break down who's gonna want it.

Ataru stands out, because this guys chews up strain like nobody's business. So it's tempting, but Hawk Bat Swoop already generates Advantage, so the crystal really just doubles his strain recovery.  Still good, but it's not really adding a new ability.  It doesn't bolster his strengths, but it does help cover up his weakness.

Makashi could use it more often than anyone, because he's the only guy rolling Force Pips that he sometimes can't use, with Makashi Finish.  If he doesn't hit and crit, those pips are useless, so he could use the crystal a lot.  But dang, he already recovers strain like nobody else I can think of.  3 ranks of Grit in the tree, Duelist's Training helping to generate advantage, and Intense Presence allows him to flip a Destiny point to recover Strain whenever he wants.  And then there's Makashi Flourish.  I consider this to be the Makashi Ultimate Technique, even better than Makashi Finish.  It's not even an attack, so things like Adversary don't count.  It's just, "We've been fighting a while, and we're both pretty winded.  Boom, I recover, and you fall to the ground exhausted."  Makashi Finish is also very expensive, at 120 XP to reach it.  So, yeah, a Makashi Duelist with a Dantari Crystal could duel forever, but he can almost do that anyway.

Soresu Defender, with Strategic Form, is... not great.  Strategic Form is a great talent, but it's not an attack, so you're probably not going to use it constantly.  When you do use it, it's great, because you're about to get hit with a lot of attacks, so you need all the Strain you can get.  For my money, though, I would probably invest in something like the Lorrdian Gemstone, for the defensive upgrades.

The Shien Expert is a good one.  With both Saber Throw and Disruptive Strike, he has a lot of opportunity to roll those Force Dice.  If he's facing a lot of enemies, recovering Strain to power his Reflect might be a better idea than imposing automatic failures on the guy he just attacked.  With armor and a decent Brawn, he may be able to negate the damage entirely, so keeping his strain high is critical, especially if he can slap those blaster bolts right back at his enemies.  Very solid choice for a Dantari Crystal.

A Niman Disciple, with Move Closer, might be the best guy for the job, though you might have to feel out your GM to see how he feels about this cheese.  Okay, so you use Draw Closer, and hit with a success.  Each pip could deal an extra point of damage, or recover 2 Strain.  Both good choices, depending on circumstances.  On the other hand, if you fail, those pips could turn that failure into a success.  In most cases, I would spend as many pips as necessary to hit... unless I had Force Assault, which lets me make a Move Force power action as a maneuver after failing a Lightsaber check.  Even cheesier would be to attack at Short Range, instead of Engaged, spend the pips on Strain recovery, which means you don't Draw your opponent closer, so you fail even if you had rolled net successes, so you can still trigger Force Assault (as a GM, no, I would not allow this.  I would rule that a Failure is not quite the same as a Miss, which FA calls for).  But wait! There's more!  The Dantari Crystal description calls out combat checks, not lightsaber checks.  Which means, as written, that if I miss with my lightsaber check, I can recover Strain, then use Force Assault, and use some of the pips to recover more strain.  And since the Niman Disciple has the Force Rating talent (and pairs well with Seer), I'm rolling a heck of a lot of Force Pips.

So... yeah, I think in the hands of a Niman Disciple the Dantari crystal might be overpowered.  Pretty easy to put the kibosh on some of that, by saying you can only use it once per round.

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Also Hunter, Executioner and Enhance have ways to add Force Dice to combat checks.

 

So for Hunter the Lightsaber is in your off hand and not being used for the attack, instead your just making a Ranged Light check.

Executioner is not able to spend Advantage on Strain Recovery, so arguably they have the most to gain from a Dantari crystal.

Punching/kicking someone while holding a Lightsaber in your other hand with Enhance sounds cheesy. But it's a non-lethal way of ending a confrontation so fits rather well with certain character archetypes fighting the good fight.

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Originally I *really* didn't like force talents that added force dice to your Lightsaber checks, but I've mellowed on that front. They're nice talents, but there are plenty of ways to become effective with any weapon, Lightsabers included. My Guardian is (unsurprisingly) a tech-head, as was my old Saga Edition Jedi that I loosely modelled him on, and so he ended up with the Gadgeteer tree, which includes a rank of Deadly Accuracy. As a result, despite having no force-backed offensive abilities, he's probably the most intractable combatant in the party, and uses the fewest force abilities to do so.

Edited by Azraiel

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9 hours ago, Azraiel said:

Originally I *really* didn't like force talents that added force dice to your Lightsaber checks, but I've mellowed on that front. They're nice talents, but there are plenty of ways to become effective with any weapon, Lightsabers included. 

 

This is very true.   Ranks in True Aim, Deadly Accuracy, Lethal Blows...there's a lot you can do with a humble blaster for the same amount of XP it would take to get a high FR and a high-end lightsaber talent, and that's without taking autofire into account.  I'd say the abilities that let you add FR for an effect are nice centerpieces of their respective trees.

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The really messed-up OP talent, at high XP levels at least, is the Hunter talent that adds Force dice to your Ranged (Heavy) rolls.  You get to choose success or advantage for each Force point you roll (!) and it can be combined with a jury-rigged autofire weapon that hits once for every advantage you roll (!!).  As long as you keep advancing into new Force specs, there is no upper limit to the amount of damage the character could do.

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22 hours ago, The Grand Falloon said:

Actually, every Saber Spec but Shi-Cho has one of those abilities, which makes the Dantari Crystal very good, but let's break down who's gonna want it.

Ataru stands out, because this guys chews up strain like nobody's business. So it's tempting, but Hawk Bat Swoop already generates Advantage, so the crystal really just doubles his strain recovery.  Still good, but it's not really adding a new ability.  It doesn't bolster his strengths, but it does help cover up his weakness.

Makashi could use it more often than anyone, because he's the only guy rolling Force Pips that he sometimes can't use, with Makashi Finish.  If he doesn't hit and crit, those pips are useless, so he could use the crystal a lot.  But dang, he already recovers strain like nobody else I can think of.  3 ranks of Grit in the tree, Duelist's Training helping to generate advantage, and Intense Presence allows him to flip a Destiny point to recover Strain whenever he wants.  And then there's Makashi Flourish.  I consider this to be the Makashi Ultimate Technique, even better than Makashi Finish.  It's not even an attack, so things like Adversary don't count.  It's just, "We've been fighting a while, and we're both pretty winded.  Boom, I recover, and you fall to the ground exhausted."  Makashi Finish is also very expensive, at 120 XP to reach it.  So, yeah, a Makashi Duelist with a Dantari Crystal could duel forever, but he can almost do that anyway.

Soresu Defender, with Strategic Form, is... not great.  Strategic Form is a great talent, but it's not an attack, so you're probably not going to use it constantly.  When you do use it, it's great, because you're about to get hit with a lot of attacks, so you need all the Strain you can get.  For my money, though, I would probably invest in something like the Lorrdian Gemstone, for the defensive upgrades.

The Shien Expert is a good one.  With both Saber Throw and Disruptive Strike, he has a lot of opportunity to roll those Force Dice.  If he's facing a lot of enemies, recovering Strain to power his Reflect might be a better idea than imposing automatic failures on the guy he just attacked.  With armor and a decent Brawn, he may be able to negate the damage entirely, so keeping his strain high is critical, especially if he can slap those blaster bolts right back at his enemies.  Very solid choice for a Dantari Crystal.

A Niman Disciple, with Move Closer, might be the best guy for the job, though you might have to feel out your GM to see how he feels about this cheese.  Okay, so you use Draw Closer, and hit with a success.  Each pip could deal an extra point of damage, or recover 2 Strain.  Both good choices, depending on circumstances.  On the other hand, if you fail, those pips could turn that failure into a success.  In most cases, I would spend as many pips as necessary to hit... unless I had Force Assault, which lets me make a Move Force power action as a maneuver after failing a Lightsaber check.  Even cheesier would be to attack at Short Range, instead of Engaged, spend the pips on Strain recovery, which means you don't Draw your opponent closer, so you fail even if you had rolled net successes, so you can still trigger Force Assault (as a GM, no, I would not allow this.  I would rule that a Failure is not quite the same as a Miss, which FA calls for).  But wait! There's more!  The Dantari Crystal description calls out combat checks, not lightsaber checks.  Which means, as written, that if I miss with my lightsaber check, I can recover Strain, then use Force Assault, and use some of the pips to recover more strain.  And since the Niman Disciple has the Force Rating talent (and pairs well with Seer), I'm rolling a heck of a lot of Force Pips.

So... yeah, I think in the hands of a Niman Disciple the Dantari crystal might be overpowered.  Pretty easy to put the kibosh on some of that, by saying you can only use it once per round.

 

Going strictly by RAW (which doesn't mean much in a narrative system I know, but humor me a moment ;)) I'm not sure you can use a Dantari crystal with Lightsaber free talents.  I say that because the Dantari crystal specifies "When making a Force power check as part of a combat check...."  The lightsaber tree talents aren't specified as being Force powers (i.e. Enhance, Influence, Move, etc) so I'm not sure they technically qualify.

From a game balance perspective, I pretty much share your assessment on it not really being overpowered if interpeted that way, though I WOULD argue that the Ataru user doubling their strain back is not insignificant.  On the other hand, it also limits their damage output compared to other crystals (Krayt pearls, anyone?) so it's not the end of the world.

I'm 50/50 on the issue, though I think when it came up in our game we limited it to Force Powers.

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21 hours ago, DaverWattra said:

The really messed-up OP talent, at high XP levels at least, is the Hunter talent that adds Force dice to your Ranged (Heavy) rolls.  You get to choose success or advantage for each Force point you roll (!) and it can be combined with a jury-rigged autofire weapon that hits once for every advantage you roll (!!).  As long as you keep advancing into new Force specs, there is no upper limit to the amount of damage the character could do.

I missed this one, sorry!

I think the main cheese of that combo comes from the cheese of Autofire (especially jury-rigged) than anything else.  For me, I usually reccomend that people houlerule autofire in some way, before a player cottons on and starts using to it clear entire rooms that were meant to be a challenge for the whole party.

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