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Many rpgs have some sort of rule for when a character readies for something to happen, like some enemy to appear through a doorway, and then take an action before that enemy. As far as I understant it, Edge of the Empire has no such rule.

How do you guys handle this in your games? :)

 

-E. 

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I know, but let's say there is a fight and one character says he'll cover a door way, and fire at anyone coming through it before they have a chance to fire back. How would you handle this? 

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4 minutes ago, Ilderfant said:

I know, but let's say there is a fight and one character says he'll cover a door way, and fire at anyone coming through it before they have a chance to fire back. How would you handle this? 

Unless whoever was coming through the door was on the lookout for an ambush, free attack by the PC.

If the one coming through the door was cautious of an ambush, initiative as normal.

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1 hour ago, Ilderfant said:

I know, but let's say there is a fight and one character says he'll cover a door way, and fire at anyone coming through it before they have a chance to fire back. How would you handle this? 

Off the top of my head: the Aim maneuver, and a Destiny Point to establish that from your location you can cover the door and target an NPC even though the GM described him as being in the other room. There's no need to interrupt the turn mechanic for this, it happens mostly on the narrative level.

 

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I add difficulty dice to the Vigilance check of those being ambushed, in your example the NPCS. The NPC will typically arrive at the end of a round, so they roll Initiative at the top then they the fight, if there is an NPC slot at the top then they go first, if it's a PC then the PC on "over watch" has a chance to act first.

 

The other way to do it is ask the PC for an opposed Vigilance vs Cool check when the NPCS arrive, with appropriate Boost and Setback depending on the situation. If the PC wins then they can immediately take their action for the round and shoot.

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1 hour ago, Ilderfant said:

I know, but let's say there is a fight and one character says he'll cover a door way, and fire at anyone coming through it before they have a chance to fire back. How would you handle this? 

This is where GMs and PCs both have to let go of crunchy table top mini simulator linear thinking.  Things essentially are supposed to happen near simultaneously in combat rounds.  An order of who acts has to be in place to manage the combat, but it shouldn't be viewed as a linear chronological record of what order things transpired in. 

This requires both GMs and PCs to not try and pull meta game silliness.  For instance as a GM if I intend to bring troops in through a door a PC is covering, even if it isn't my turn to move them, that's what I intended for them to do.  If you have the higher initiative and said you were going to engage whoever came through that door, then you would go and fire on your turn whatever it is.

If I had the better initiative then obviously the troops come in before you set up and can act.  I shouldn't be taking advantage of a lower initiative score against your higher result to skip you and prevent you from acting, just because it wasn't my turn so I didn't move them and gave myself tactical advantage by doing that.  

So even if a second wave comes in, if their initiative score was lower the PC would simply engage them always as they enter the room.  If the PCs score sucks then they aren't paying attention.

So if the PC has a initiative slot higher than whomever the GM has coming through the door then they fire before those coming into the room can react.  If they don't, the attackers got past them because they weren't paying attention.

It has to be based off initiative score.  There can't be a 'overwatch' because honestly that's essentially a Signature Ability level capability.  What if my guys coming in the room have a higher initiative than your whole party?  The opposite is also true, having a lousy initiative score shouldn't shield you from consequence just because you're a slow poke.

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It doesn't have to be an ambush for an overwatch situation to be triggered. Two groups begin out of range of each other's weapons. The PCs have the initiative (let's say all of them, hypothetically) and declare that they will shoot at the enemy, from the protection of the cover they have, as soon as the enemy closes. Per RAW, however, during the PCs' init slots there are no enemies that can be shot because they are too far away. If we go by RAW, the PCs can surrender the initiative and then the NPCs get to move and shoot first. Which defeats the point of being ready to shoot the instant an enemy comes into range, and puts the lie to everything happening "simultaneously". The FFG RAW makes no provisions for "interrupts", or triggered (readied) actions. As the OP pointed out, most other RPGs, including d20 Saga SWRPG, have mechanisms for handling overwatch. Without interrupts there is no simultaneity. It's the classic "I go You go" of a simple board game. Being able to say which PCs acts in which PC init slot doesn't resolve the problem.

In games that I GM, and in the games I am playing in, we have house rules permitting readied actions.

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7 hours ago, 2P51 said:

This is where GMs and PCs both have to let go of crunchy table top mini simulator linear thinking.  Things essentially are supposed to happen near simultaneously in combat rounds.  An order of who acts has to be in place to manage the combat, but it shouldn't be viewed as a linear chronological record of what order things transpired in. 

This requires both GMs and PCs to not try and pull meta game silliness.  For instance as a GM if I intend to bring troops in through a door a PC is covering, even if it isn't my turn to move them, that's what I intended for them to do.  If you have the higher initiative and said you were going to engage whoever came through that door, then you would go and fire on your turn whatever it is.

If I had the better initiative then obviously the troops come in before you set up and can act.  I shouldn't be taking advantage of a lower initiative score against your higher result to skip you and prevent you from acting, just because it wasn't my turn so I didn't move them and gave myself tactical advantage by doing that.  

So even if a second wave comes in, if their initiative score was lower the PC would simply engage them always as they enter the room.  If the PCs score sucks then they aren't paying attention.

So if the PC has a initiative slot higher than whomever the GM has coming through the door then they fire before those coming into the room can react.  If they don't, the attackers got past them because they weren't paying attention.

It has to be based off initiative score.  There can't be a 'overwatch' because honestly that's essentially a Signature Ability level capability.  What if my guys coming in the room have a higher initiative than your whole party?  The opposite is also true, having a lousy initiative score shouldn't shield you from consequence just because you're a slow poke.

Or they noticed the pc and acted before the pc could react. Maybe they heard them through the door. Maybe the saw through a window who knows. 

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9 hours ago, Ilderfant said:

I know, but let's say there is a fight and one character says he'll cover a door way, and fire at anyone coming through it before they have a chance to fire back. How would you handle this? 

There is a skill called Vigilance that doesn't get much use. I bet there's a way to use it to handle this....

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Yeah, I feel like a lot of replies are very much focused on the idea that this intent is declared before combat begins - an ambush. My understanding is that this isn't the case. Combat is ongoing, but a player wants, on their turn, to set a condition and a reaction to that condition:

  • Those stormtroopers called for reinforcements! I want to eyeball the doorway and pull the trigger as soon as they come in. (Stormtroopers enter line of sight -> attack by PC)
  • I think those pirates are going to leave their cover and advance on us, so I'm going to fire as soon as they're in the open. (Pirates start their Maneuver and leave cover -> attack by PC)
  • Dark Troopers! Really? Well, I'll stay at the back of the group and draw a stim pack.... as soon as one of my friends takes a heavy hit, I'm sticking it in them! (Friend is hit -> apply stimpack)

Something like that. I'm not sure what the mechanics would be to cover that situation. IIRC, in DnD, you can set a condition and a response to that condition, but acting on it uses your reaction for the round (turn?). Since this game doesn't really use reactions (they're rare, and they're phrased as out-of-turn incidentals activated on a trigger), I don't really know how to balance such a thing. Perhaps it uses their action, and can only be an action (so no "I want to take my whole turn in response to a thing"), and any checks suffer Setback dice due to it being an off-the-cuff reaction? Perhaps you have to take strain to do it, especially if it's just something like "inject stimpack"? Maybe require a Destiny Point (especially as this can be very deadly in the hands of clever players)?

For once, I don't agree with the pirate. It's a strange feeling. But, - and it may be a matter of taste -, I enjoy gaming the initiative system, and so does everyone I play with... I think. I also think it's the intent of the system, since using PC/NPC slots vs. assigned slots very clearly opens the door to picking an advantageous order. Besides, the argument that "things should happen simultaneously", justifying shooting at people that haven't "yet" gone through a door or what-have-you, ignores a few things: first, that isn't the only use for overwatch, and it wouldn't work for the other two things I suggested (the stimpack thing wouldn't work at all and the GM would have to know the troopers were advancing ahead of time, in the first example, and either allow a cover free shot or reveal they weren't moving... plus, it removes the fun of forcing the opposing force to adjust their tactic based on it suddenly being clear advancing is dangerous); second, the round clearly isn't simultaneous. Many uses of Advantage and Threat imply some sort of order-of-operations narrative - an attack has X consequence, positive or negative, that affects checks later down the line in a narrative fashion - and arguing that you can attack people that will move on their turn because they "already have" in narrative implies that casualties shouldn't be removed until the end of the round. Killed those stormtroopers? They still get to act, because you didn't really kill them before they could do anything significant! Etc.

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I didn't say simultaneously, I said, and so do the rules, near simultaneously.  Someone being dead before they can act should be covered by common sense, also mentioned in the rules.

The difference between my approach and saying there is a Ready or an Overwatch option is putting an official name to it.  If I intend to bring troops in through a door some PC with a higher initiative score is watching I just say there are troops coming in that door on the PCs turn in the round and the PC can fire on them.  I don't wait for my turn to actually move the troops.  That's the linear 1 to 2 to 3 chronological thinking people need to get out of.  I intend for the troops to come in the door, PC Bob said he is watching the door and his initiative score is higher I just say troops are coming in the door when his turn comes up.  Easy peezy, no rule needed.

If the troops coming in the door have a higher initiative score, then they moved and reacted before the pokey PC did and they'd already be in the room.

I don't honestly see the difference other than some have GMs that are apparently playing games with the initiative order to use a low initiative score to their advantage to avoid the PCs having an opportunity to shoot at them.  That's table top mini tactical simulator thinking.

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No matter the system this kind of situation requires the GM to cooperate with the players wishes. The player is saying "I want NPCS to come through that door" and the GM needs to decide whether to oblige;

Perhaps no one uses that door, perhaps a single NPC uses it, perhaps 30 Stormtroopers come through in 3 waves and arrest everyone... the PC has no control over that, ever.

So here is my suggestion, when the PC makes the declaration ask for an immediate competitive Cool vs Vigilance check from them and the NPCS. You can assign difficulty/Setback/Boost at this point based on specifics. If the PC wins then the NPC's are placed in the entry at the beginning of the next round (or start of whichever round is appropriate) but don't act until it's their turn in Initiative. If the NPC's win the competitive check then they enter on their initiative and act immediately.

 

The point to get across is that just because a Player wants to do something doesn't mean their PC is actually capable. Pc isn't Player and all that. If they want a PC who is good at an ambush then they better put xp into Cool.

 

For your other examples there are different options than a held action. The pirates example could be use of Advantage on another PC's roll to "force the target to loose the benefit of a previous Manoeuvre." The Stim pack is simply resolved using the variable initiative system... just act later in the round or early in the next, after the bad things have happened.

 

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8 hours ago, Richardbuxton said:

If they want a PC who is good at an ambush then they better put xp into Cool.

For your other examples there are different options than a held action. The pirates example could be use of Advantage on another PC's roll to "force the target to loose the benefit of a previous Manoeuvre."

Having an awesome Cool or using advantages to negate a maneuver does not fix the issue. Using the example of the PC side waiting for an enemy that is out of range to come to them, the RAW does not provide a means by which the PCs can shoot before the enemy does. The PCs can force the enemy to not move, which just leaves a stalemate with the enemy still out of range. The RAW does not permit the narratively simple and frequently seen in canon "the instant they come within range I shoot". The only choice the RAW permits is to either surrender initiative (and attack) to the other side, or require the PCs to themselves move within range (thus giving up any cover and/or aiming bonuses they may have had). The initiative system, due to lacking an interrupt mechanism in the rules (an example of rules-lite not being beneficial), fails narratively.

The simplest solution is for GMs to add in an interrupt mechanism. Doing so does not change the RAW, it extends it to cover special circumstances. Those that like to hype how flexible the rules-lite approach is should be cheering such a fix, rather than saying that the GMs should stick to what little the RAW covers and if its not explicitly mentioned by the RAW then you can't do it. Such literal, rules-lawyering does a great disservice to the game system and to the role and duties of a GM to arbitrate the game system to fit their narrative and allow players the freedom to be creative.

Edited by ShadoWarrior

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For that situation of approaching forces with the first to shoot being left out of cover there are far better solutions that enhance the narrative much more than simply "I pull the trigger the moment their close enough". Is it realistic that the NPCS wouldn't be shooting at the same time they advance?

First option is flip a DP, introduce something interesting into the scene to slow them down. Difficult terrain requires double the manoeuvres to cross, if if you just burst an oil pipe and those minions have to take 2 Manoeuvres to get close enough then they are not shooting. Alternatively a cloud of steam that restricts vision to Short or medium range. Perhaps the NPC's are actually on a conveyor belt and it suddenly starts moving them towards you, you get to shoot now.

Another option is flipping a DP to allow you to get closer but still have cover when you get there; tables to flip, Doorways to stand in, trees, boxes, a speeder.

The next possibly is that your character is actually prepared for this, Sniper Shot would be perfect for this situation, or a gun with decent range.

A fourth option is to fall back, you know the distances, you can meta game it, move back just enough to prevent them reaching firing range.

Finaly,make a story, if these guys where Minions I'd probably just let you at it, but there's no way a Rival or Nemesis is that dumb to just walk into a firestorm, their going to be looking for alternative ways.

Edited by Richardbuxton

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45 minutes ago, 2P51 said:

Sorry, having a range issue once combat starts is a consequence of equipment decisions, not a problem with initiative.

Sorry, Mister Pirate, initiative isn't the issue, per se (unless someone says that the problem can be solved by initiative, which it can't), nor is it an issue with equipment. Shifting blame to the players for a shortcoming in the rules doesn't solve anything. Nor does making excuses for deliberate "holes" in the rules.

At least Mister Buxton offers some reasonable alternatives that can be used under certain conditions. Doesn't truly fix the underlying problem, but his suggestions are a decent band-aid and workaround. The "I flip a DP" solution as a fix for shortcomings in the game mechanics is almost always an option.

Oh, and as a final comment to Richard: it's precisely minions charging at PCs that trigger such situations as I was using as an example. You're correct that smarter adversaries wouldn't do that. But players won't always be faced with smart opponents. Quite often they're faced with foolish/stupid foes that will do a human-wave assault right into fire (like we see stormtroopers do in canon). In the opening scene aboard the Tantive IV in ANH, the Imps only succeeded because the Rebels were even worse shots than the bucketheads are. Smart attackers would have fired grenades at the Rebels or flooded the corridor with gas. But that's not very dramatic, and doesn't convey the sense of a desperate, doomed last stand that Lucas was going for.

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PCs can't be expected to carry vehicle-scale guns on their backs. They're already carrying the longest-ranged weapons they can carry per RAW. And using the terrain may be a conscious decision, but being forced by the rules to make dumb choices to get around the rules is your solution? Next excuse?

Edited by ShadoWarrior

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Sure, I'll bite. I see 4 general situations a little open mindedness can solve. As 2P51 said, this relies on keeping "near simultaneous" in mind. 

1. Blast 'em when they come through the door! Narratively, the door opens and the NPCs storm in, presumably blasting away. While they do that, the PCs return fire. Mechanically, NPC turn, then PC turn. Logically, due to the length of time a round covers and that an attack is the sum total of the actor's efforts to deal damage in that time, it's entirely possible the enemy dealt damage before the return fire had any meaningful effect. Additionally, if this is happenning mid-combat and the enemy isn't a nemisis the NPC's entire turn will be opening the door and moving in to the room (allowing the person with the "readied" action to go after them and attack before the enemy fires).

2. Blast 'em when they get in range! This is extremely similar to the above and works mostly the same, the enemy fires while they advance and the PC returns fire. Each side would have a chance to damage the other before either side was defeated.

3. When they move out of cover, lay it on! This one is a little different and the only mechanical difference for waiting is whether a setback die is in the pool (sometimes). The person waiting in this case either gets faked out and fires early or blasts when the enemy is in the open. In the first case the PC takes the turn before the enemy, in the latter the PC acts after the enemy. In either case the enemy's dice pool is unaffected (and if the enemy is behind "total cover" or out of range, see the previous).

4. If you get hit I'll be there! This case is simply a PC turn order issue. The only time it'd be relevant would be if the enemy had the first and last initiative slots (making the PC unable to stim before the enemy could act again). In this situation I'd have the enemies do something unrelated on the 1st slot of the following round, allowing the "readying" PC to stim before any more attacks happen. If the enemy did act twice to attack, then narratively it was simply bad/brutal set of shots or caught in crossfire or whatever.

TL;DR: The point of readying is to kill the enemy before they have the chance to return fire. With a single roll being the sum of several attacks and structured rounds being as long as they are it is hard to imagine a case where an enemy wouldn't have a chance to attack while the "readying" PC is atttacking them. 

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16 minutes ago, Hinklemar said:

2. Blast 'em when they get in range! This is extremely similar to the above and works mostly the same, the enemy fires while they advance and the PC returns fire. Each side would have a chance to damage the other before either side was defeated.

The problem with this is that the enemy gets to inflict damage on the PCs first, despite the PCs having initiative. That first attack might be enough to shift who wins the battle. Again, it's an I GO U GO problem. If combat is supposed to be "near simultaneous", then the effects of combat, such as battle damage and critical wounds should all be applied simultaneously at the end of a turn. But that's not how the FFG RAW works. Who shoots (and hits) first has an advantage, especially if crits result. The advantage that going first in init is destroyed if you can't use the advantage to hurt your foes first (or prevent them from hurting you).

In the real world, staying in cover and waiting for the enemy to come to you, exposed to your fire, is the ideal situation. If the tactical environment is such that the enemy has absolutely no choice but to charge at you in the open (or else not attack you at all), then it's just plain stupid that the game rules would negate the defender's advantage by having the enemy shoot first without consequence. Just as it's assumed that the enemy would be firing while charging, the defenders would also be firing at the attackers as they charge. (Not only does the game not have interrupts, it also lacks a defined rule for suppressive fire, although that could be represented by a GM applying one or more setbacks to anyone receiving suppressive fire.) Ergo, the defenders, having "won" initiative, should get to make their attack rolls before the enemy does, even though the enemy is the one moving.

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But you don't have to forego firing first. As has been pointed out multiple times, that's exactly what Destiny Points are for. They let you translate this situation into a concrete mechanical benefit.

The solution is right there. Why not use it?

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19 minutes ago, Stan Fresh said:

But you don't have to forego firing first. As has been pointed out multiple times, that's exactly what Destiny Points are for. They let you translate this situation into a concrete mechanical benefit.

The solution is right there. Why not use it?

You've a point.

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