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Algetzz

Combat for Noncombatants

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So I am running a group through the Chronicles of the Gatekeeper adventure, and while the majority of the group is Force sensitive, I have a spattering of non-Force users, including one Outlaw Tech who seems to have no interest in doing any fighting. While she is incredibly valuable to the group prior to when the shooting starts, she does not have a whole lot to do during a combat encounter. What are some interesting ways that she can use her non-combat skills in a combat setting, or at the very least how can she spend her actions and maneuvers in a way that will contribute to her allies struggle?

I have a similar situation with a PC who is an Adviser armed with a lightsaber for self defense, but it less inclined to go out of her way to strike down opponents. 

Thoughts?

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3 minutes ago, HappyDaze said:

The players need to understand that Star Wars is an inherently violent setting. It's the responsibility of the player to find a way for his/her character to contribute, not yours as a GM.

A couple of the characters are new to the system, and as  GM and a player I enjoy trying to come up with clever ways of using the various skills in the game, perhaps in ways that are not obvious. Think of it as a fun little cognitive exercise. I am just trying to make the game more fun for all my players.

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7 minutes ago, Algetzz said:

A couple of the characters are new to the system, and as  GM and a player I enjoy trying to come up with clever ways of using the various skills in the game, perhaps in ways that are not obvious. Think of it as a fun little cognitive exercise. I am just trying to make the game more fun for all my players.

I am trying to invoke the spirit of the Skill Monkey, in order to get the most out of what this system has to offer.

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5 minutes ago, HappyDaze said:

The players need to understand that Star Wars is an inherently violent setting. It's the responsibility of the player to find a way for his/her character to contribute, not yours as a GM.

The GM kinda leads the game, so it is kinda his job to try to help with ideas.  Really, all the players should be offering up ideas.  But yes, at the end of the day, if you're making a non-combat character, you should have some sort of plan about what you do when a fight breaks out.  It may be "I ain't much with a blaster, but I grab one off a fallen stormtrooper, take cover, and start taking what potshots I can"  That's fine.  In fact, by using the Aim maneuver (twice in a round even!), pretty much anyone can be a moderate shot.  You can also Aid Another, feeding him ammo, calling out targets of opportunity and so forth, which gives him a Boost Die.

When a firefight breaks out in the streets, the Outlaw Tech might take cover behind a speeder, only to realize, "Wait... this is a lowered, '65 SpaceChevy Impala!  I can hotwire one of these in my sleep!"  A couple Mechanics checks later, and he's playing La Cucaracha on the horn and revving the engine, saying, "Let's blow this pop-stand!"

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37 minutes ago, Edgehawk said:

I'm new to the game, but a traditional role for non-combatants is that of healer: Medicine, Stimpack Spec.

"...trying to make the game more fun..."

Running around with stimpacks probably won't satisfy this. Perhaps she would be more engaged crafting her own unique weapon, or maybe grenades which produce custom effects?

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3 minutes ago, Edgehawk said:

"...trying to make the game more fun..."

Running around with stimpacks probably won't satisfy this. Perhaps she would be more engaged crafting her own unique weapon, or maybe grenades which produce custom effects?

Listen to the Order 66. Trust me. They go over this in some detail. :)

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1 hour ago, The Grand Falloon said:

When a firefight breaks out in the streets, the Outlaw Tech might take cover behind a speeder, only to realize, "Wait... this is a lowered, '65 SpaceChevy Impala!  I can hotwire one of these in my sleep!"  A couple Mechanics checks later, and he's playing La Cucaracha on the horn and revving the engine, saying, "Let's blow this pop-stand!"

If any PC in any game I run pulls off this scenario, then as far as I'm concerned they've just won Star Wars :D

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Just a few suggestions off the top of my head:

Deception: Toss an emtpy tin can or something at the enemy while yelling "fire in the hole!". On a success, and for every 2 successes beyond the first, one enemy bolts out of cover before realizing his mistake.

Coercion: Lay down a withering hail of blaster fire, forcing the enemy to duck. Add one setback die to a single enemy on a successful check, add one setback die for every 3 successes beyond the first. 2 advantage gets to include a second enemy, another 2 advantage a third enemy, and so on.

Leadership: Order some nearby droids to cross the enemy's field of fire, making your allies harder to hit.

Mechanics: Spend an advantage from a previous check to "notice an important detail on the battlefield", such as a pressurized coolant pipe, exposed wiring or similar. Use Mechanics to flood the area with obscuring vapour or electrify some enemies for a bit of strain.

Survival: Same principle as above, only works in a wilderness setting. Toss a hive or angry insects at the enemy, have spore pods rupture in their faces, and so on.

Perception: Act as a spotter for another character. Add some boost dice and/or upgrades to their next combat check as you call out target information. Or, you get it wrong and adds setback dice or difficulty upgrades.

Computers: Take control of lights, automated doors, gravity, overload power outlets near NPCS, and so on.

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There is plenty to do in combat beyond just shooting , outlaw techs should be good at mechanics, so give them something to do while everyone is fighting. Sometimes it's the GMs role to keep everyone engaged, although you don't always have to pander to their strengths all the time. 

Examples - the enemy has called a lockdown and you have to open the blast doors before more enemies arrive, 

You have to get through a group of enemies but you have some behind you, rather than fight on two fronts you have to use something to put a barrier on one side, .... Crane something behind you to block them off..... Shut down an energy bridge to stop the opponent getting to you on that side.... Did they role a despair,  well the enemy on this side just had Vader (or equivalent turn up) and now you want to be on the other side.... A get away vehicle is there, and someone needs to hotwire it while the rest of the group hold off..... To steal a previous idea from an earlier post, send messages to that bank of binary load lifters to start moving around the battlefield to cause a bit of chaos.... These are just some of the ideas that are more obvious. Others that are less obvious could include ..... Having the player grab some fallen enemy weapons and do some temporary but dangerous adjustments to them that mean they will definitely not last to the end of the encounter but could provide a temp jury rigged effect, like having standard carbines with 1 less crit rating, but if the player using it rolls a couple of threat the weapon explodes on its last shot, although you have to be careful you don't step into existing talent's abilities or signature abilities, but if you do your players should understand that it was ad hoc and not necessarily repeatable. 

Similarly you should also allow combat characters to have their moments in social encounters as there are as many ways to shoe horn ideas in as there are players , and then some.

Edited by syrath

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Check out the Order 66 episode on Knowledge skills too. 

 

I allow characters to make a knowledge check to gain some kind of leg up in the encounter. Perhaps they know of a weakness of that CEC ship, or that this NPC species is easy to bribe. Success on the check lets them upgrade another characters check against that target, or introduce a fact as though a DP/Triumph was spent.

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A few ideas, they could start slicing a blast door to cut off enemies from each other or the rest of the group. Maybe use observation to call out targets (assist). Carry around stim packs to keep others in the fight, tip over tables or shelves to create cover, etc. a lot of it just depends on the scene the combat is taking place but if you want to come up with ideas as the GM when you're plotting out the fights pre-game just jot down a few ideas about how the environment can be interacted with.

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Combat Disassembly:  Make  a Melee Mechanics check to inflict damage using inverted repair rules.

Combat Slicing: Use slicing rules to hack droids, vehicles, and other machines for fun and profit. You can be amazed at what you can do with selective control over lights. power conduits and environmental controls.

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Any Tech could be using Mechanics or Computers skills to hack on equipment in the area, maybe taking over a freight loading arm and using that to hit people, or opening an emergency repair hatch in the floor so that some bad guys fall in, or operating drones by remote control, or taking over droids, or hacking the computer systems to close the blast doors so that the reinforcements can’t come in, and so on.

A Technician is really only limited by their imagination as to what they could be doing with their Mechanics and Computers skills (or other Knowledge skills).  They just have to be given some hints of where they could go.

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8 hours ago, Krieger22 said:

Just a few suggestions off the top of my head:

Deception: Toss an emtpy tin can or something at the enemy while yelling "fire in the hole!". On a success, and for every 2 successes beyond the first, one enemy bolts out of cover before realizing his mistake.

Coercion: Lay down a withering hail of blaster fire, forcing the enemy to duck. Add one setback die to a single enemy on a successful check, add one setback die for every 3 successes beyond the first. 2 advantage gets to include a second enemy, another 2 advantage a third enemy, and so on.

Leadership: Order some nearby droids to cross the enemy's field of fire, making your allies harder to hit.

Mechanics: Spend an advantage from a previous check to "notice an important detail on the battlefield", such as a pressurized coolant pipe, exposed wiring or similar. Use Mechanics to flood the area with obscuring vapour or electrify some enemies for a bit of strain.

Survival: Same principle as above, only works in a wilderness setting. Toss a hive or angry insects at the enemy, have spore pods rupture in their faces, and so on.

Perception: Act as a spotter for another character. Add some boost dice and/or upgrades to their next combat check as you call out target information. Or, you get it wrong and adds setback dice or difficulty upgrades.

Computers: Take control of lights, automated doors, gravity, overload power outlets near NPCS, and so on.

"FIRE IN THE HOLE!" Haha love it! Great comment.

4 hours ago, Decorus said:

Combat Disassembly:  Make  a Melee Mechanics check to inflict damage using inverted repair rules.

Combat Slicing: Use slicing rules to hack droids, vehicles, and other machines for fun and profit. You can be amazed at what you can do with selective control over lights. power conduits and environmental controls.

I like where you are going with these, but I feel like it can get dangerously close to breaking the game. Perhaps if I hike the difficulty enough. Thanks for the response!

11 hours ago, The Grand Falloon said:

The GM kinda leads the game, so it is kinda his job to try to help with ideas.  Really, all the players should be offering up ideas.  But yes, at the end of the day, if you're making a non-combat character, you should have some sort of plan about what you do when a fight breaks out.  It may be "I ain't much with a blaster, but I grab one off a fallen stormtrooper, take cover, and start taking what potshots I can"  That's fine.  In fact, by using the Aim maneuver (twice in a round even!), pretty much anyone can be a moderate shot.  You can also Aid Another, feeding him ammo, calling out targets of opportunity and so forth, which gives him a Boost Die.

When a firefight breaks out in the streets, the Outlaw Tech might take cover behind a speeder, only to realize, "Wait... this is a lowered, '65 SpaceChevy Impala!  I can hotwire one of these in my sleep!"  A couple Mechanics checks later, and he's playing La Cucaracha on the horn and revving the engine, saying, "Let's blow this pop-stand!"

Appreciate your understanding and insight. I think we are on the same page.

Oh and your scenario is awesome, thanks for the input!

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12 hours ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

If any PC in any game I run pulls off this scenario, then as far as I'm concerned they've just won Star Wars :D

You would like my players.  Barricaded in a church, they fought off a horde of zombies using mostly potluck casserole and Jell-O.  Bodily fluids feature heavily as a distraction measure.  One mad scientist had a gun that was really just a can full of angry undead bees and a nozzle, so he would bang on the can with a wrench and point the nozzle at his enemies.  When debating whether to kill the noncombatants in the goblin lair or let them go, my wife pointed out they would be much more valuable as slaves.  Most recently, her smuggler made some excellent seduction rolls on a crime boss, and they left in his hover-limo.  We're supposed to have a one-on-one session to figure out the results.  The catch? She's playing a Wookiee, and the crime boss is a Falleen.  Not sure where we're finding those costumes.

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Outlaw Techs are not peace, love, n joy characters. Inventor, Jury Rigged, Tinkerer, are about making weapons more efficient and effective. Crafting allows for droid fabrication which could mean a robo K9 companion.  There could be single roll combat resolutions using that rule where the OT can select whatever skill they like and describe how it's used. The majority  of the time if there's  always a convenient terminal to be hacked that's too much fiat/meta gaming I think. Its called Star Wars, not Star App Developer.

 

 

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One rusty credstick from my side - please remember that demolition checks are based on mechanics. So varies of booby traps, covering the retreat (or fake retreat to leave good trapped position) or preparing the battlefield beforehand (trapping possible sniper locatons, etc) can be performed with devastating effect. Having some flying/crawling minion droids (or slising existing ones) to delivery prepared charges to desired positions also work fine.

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Hmm, you might have a non-issue here. Have you spoken with this player about this and he voiced his boredom in combat? He might have made a non-combat character because he finds combat not interesting and he doesn't want to engage with it. When he made his character probably thought "This character is useless in combat, but that is ok, because I get so much fun being great at X outside of it"

As others pointed out, anyone with a  decent gun and using aim maneuvers will contribute to combat. Not like a combat focused character, but he will kill some minions here and there. I have done so myself with similar characters. Giving a stimpack to another character can be a very important thing to do also, that could even decide the fate of the battle.

The concept that everyone has to pull their weight in combat is a D&D one. In this game combat is not the end of all. It's just one way to deal with problems. As you said yourself, this character already contributes greatly outside of combat. Don't you think is a bit unfair that he also has to get the spotlight in combat too? Are you equally concerned about combat focused characters outside of combat? They might be contributing much less than this character. In my experience I have made some combat focused characters, and sometimes I got a bit bored because I wasn't contributing much outside of it. But it was compensated by shining when a combat started. 

 

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5 hours ago, blackyce said:

The concept that everyone has to pull their weight in combat is a D&D one. In this game combat is not the end of all. It's just one way to deal with problems.

This is a very good point.  When the fight breaks out, "We'll hold these guys off!  You get the [droids/hobbits/your ass] to [Alderaan/Rivendell/Mars]!"

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