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Very basic question on wounds

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We played through the beginner episodes and I feel like I'm doing something wrong (I'm the GM).  We are getting ready to start a new campaign now and I want to make sure I'm handling wounds right.

My players have soak values around 3 and wound threshold around 12.  When they are facing off against multiple enemies that have weapons that do damage 9 or so, it seems quite possible that they are going to be "dead" within one or two shots.  Is this how things are meant to be?  There are only 2 PCs, so a few lucky shots and they are both laying on the ground bleeding.  

My understanding of combat is that the NPC would roll their Ranged(Light) for instance (Ygg) and add any successes to 9.  So if they roll 2 successes, they are doing 11 damage - soak for a total of 8.  This means my PC went from 12 to 4 in one shot.  A second shot will finish them off, right?

Not sure how to handle this.

Any advice?

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That is all correct. It is a pretty lethal system. Of course they're not "dead" unless they get a crit. Exceeding the dead value, just incapacitated, but yes. Doing the "jail break" scene after they get flattened is only really interesting once. 

With just 2 PCs it is incumbent on you to give them proper challenges that won't drop them quite so easily. And non-combat options to complete their goals.

There can be non-Imperial security personnel that are less well equipped. You can change the stats/weapons and armor of the minions (and not use Groups) - just say it's a different kind of Stormy, etc.

But yes, the lethality is something you must be aware of and learn how to manage.

And remind them of their ability to use Destiny to change major narrative/setting characteristics. This can help them escape when they realize they're over-matched.

Edited by emsquared

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A little note on your post. It seems your probably counting wounds down, the system is really designed and written with the intention that a fully fit and healthy pc is on 0 wounds. They go down when the exceed their threshold, which if you count backwards means at -1 rather than 0. It's a little thing but can create confusion later on especially if half the group does it one way and the other half the other way.

My advice? Enforce the recommended system and rules judgment will be easier.

 

as to your situation a Damage 9 weapon is potent, probably best to only have a single NPC (or minion group) in an encounter with that kind of weapon.

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The combat in this system is designed to be quite dangerous to the PCs, a notable change from a lot of other RPGs.

Bear in mind that exceeding your wound threshold only means the PC is unconscious, and that it takes a specific critical injury result (over a 140 in the core rules) to actually kill a PC.  So in the example given, the PC would drop from that second shot, but they'd only be unconscious until they were healed of enough wounds to put them back under their wound threshold; a stimpack and a Medicine check to recover wounds will do the job pretty well in most instances.

This means that the PCs, especially in the early going, will need to fight smarter than their opponents, doing things like grabbing cover and generally trying to avoid being caught at short range.

As Richardbuxton noted, a Damage 9 weapon is a pretty big deal.  I remember an instance posted by Garret (aka Barefoottourguide) of the old Threat Detected podcast, and his surprise at how dangerous a minion group of 4 stormtroopers could be in this system as opposed to the minimal degree of threat that 4 stormtroopers were in Saga Edition, which he was very much used to.  I agree with his suggestion that unless you really want to scare your players, you're probably better off not equipping your adversaries with blaster rifles/carbines, and if they do come standard with such weapons (like stormtroopers), keep them in very small minion groups (3 at most, though 2 might be a better number) so that they're not rolling as many proficiency dice as they would be with a larger minion group.

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3 hours ago, ghatt said:

While it's easy to knock a PC out, it's much harder to actually kill them in this system. Usually takes several critical injuries and getting unlucky with the crit roll.

Accept for assassins and other murderous people with ranks in lethal blows and weapons with a high viscous rating. It is surprisingly easy to kill someone with 5 ranks for in the talent and vicious 5 on the weapon, but that is explicitly build to murder people. :)

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5 hours ago, ghatt said:

While it's easy to knock a PC out, it's much harder to actually kill them in this system. Usually takes several critical injuries and getting unlucky with the crit roll.

Or getting smacked with a weapon that's got either a very low Crit Rating, several ranks of Vicious, or worse yet has both (such as disruptor rifles or a lightsaber with a fully-modded Krayt Dragon Pearl).

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Here is a definition that may help you from Sam Stewart. Hope it helps ;)

Sam Stewart:

Conceptually, the dice system fits our vision of combat, because we see Critical Injuries as proper injuries, and wounds more as wear, tear, minor cuts, bruises, sore muscles, grazes, and minor burns. Basically, wounds are being battered, but Critical Injuries are the actual injuries that can put you on your back. 

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18 hours ago, DaverWattra said:

Pop a stimpack. At low levels, you should probably do that immediately whenever you take wounds.

I should add: an important trick as GM is to make sure beginning PCs never have more than one tough fight in any day of game time.  That way they can be fresh and ready to use stimpacks at maximum effectiveness every time they're in a tough fight.  That's very important to keeping your PCs alive.

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If you only have two PCs, you may consider letting them get their hands on additional party NPCs that are generated using player rules to help them out.  It's important to keep these NPCs from becoming a GMPC (Aka "your" character) so allow the players to decide how these NPCs act in combat, and maybe have them gain XP at a lower rate than the PCs.

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