DaverWattra

Fix to keep Balance useful in the age of Ebb/Flow?

38 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

The Balance talent used to be the bee's knees.  It allowed strain-strapped Force users to roll their Force dice when they recovered strain at the end of a scenario.  The XP price was steep--20 or 25 points in every tree where it appears, unless I'm remembering wrong.

Then came Disciples of Harmony, in which the devs seem to have resolved to alter the strain economy for Force users so that they aren't always running so low on strain.  A noble goal, but the way they fixed it seems to have made Balance obsolete.

For 20 points (basic power + first Strength upgrade), the Flow application of Ebb/Flow allows a character to recover strain equal to the Force points generated from their FR, every time they make a skill roll.  Obviously this applies to checks to recover strain, so 20 points of Ebb/Flow gives you the exact same ability as Balance--plus lots of other strain-recovering and strain-inflicting abilities.

How to fix this situation?  Some options:

--Just accept that Balance is an obsolete talent which is now strictly inferior to a Force power.  GMs should probably offer established PCs the option to respec and switch out Balance for Ebb/Flow.  This will weaken some existing specs that had Balance as a major selling point (I'm thinking of Force-Sensitive Emergent and Sage).

--Stipulate that Ebb/Flow can only be used during combat or structured play.  This would also prevent PCs from making gratuitous skill checks to recover strain, and it would prevent the strain economy from becoming potentially *too* easy.  But it also seems a bit artificial.

--Don't allow PCs to take that Strength upgrade, or stipulate that it only applies to Ebb and not Flow.  This is already true for many of the other upgrades.

Thoughts?  Can you think of any better fixes that haven't occurred to me?

Edited by DaverWattra

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In the case of sage the balance talent is a gateway to one of the signature abilities. In that respect the Sage would be best to buy balance and not Ebb/flow if they want the signature ability.

But that's just an edge case. Perhaps you could double the Strain Recovery from Balance, but high FR pc's will be a bit over powered by that. 

I think what I would do is leave Sage as it is, but in Force Sensitive Emergant replace the Balance talent with the Iron Soul talent from Ascetic. It performs a very similar function, it just has a harsher price to pay but with a bigger return.

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Keep in mind that investing in Ebb/Flow is not always what a player will want to do. Force powers can get expensive, especially if the player really wants to invest in other powers, like Influence or Suppress or whatever. Balance still does its job, even if Flow is technically better.

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Posted (edited)

26 minutes ago, Blackbird888 said:

Force powers can get expensive, especially if the player really wants to invest in other powers, like Influence or Suppress or whatever

But the 20 points of Ebb/Flow needed to reproduce the effects of Balance is cheaper than Balance, and you gain several other useful abilities--even if you stop there and never spend another point on Ebb/Flow.  So replacing Balance with E/F can't possibly get in the way of investing in other powers.

3 hours ago, Richardbuxton said:

In the case of sage the balance talent is a gateway to one of the signature abilities. In that respect the Sage would be best to buy balance and not Ebb/flow if they want the signature ability.

But that's just an edge case. Perhaps you could double the Strain Recovery from Balance, but high FR pc's will be a bit over powered by that. 

I think what I would do is leave Sage as it is, but in Force Sensitive Emergant replace the Balance talent with the Iron Soul talent from Ascetic. It performs a very similar function, it just has a harsher price to pay but with a bigger return.

Yeah, I didn't think of house ruling the talent trees to get rid of Balance.  Iron Soul would be a good replacement.  I guess I have a bit of an emotional investment in Balance as a talent--I've always thought it was a well-designed and well-balanced (no pun intended) mechanic.  And until now it was a mainstay of my game.

Edited by DaverWattra

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Another thing to remember is that you can't use Ebb/Flow if you are rolling Force dice for something else in combat, like an Unleash check, the Brawl part of Enhance, or Hawk-Bat Swoop. You are never prevented from using Balance at the end of an encounter.

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4 hours ago, biggreen10 said:

Another thing to remember is that you can't use Ebb/Flow if you are rolling Force dice for something else in combat, like an Unleash check, the Brawl part of Enhance, or Hawk-Bat Swoop. You are never prevented from using Balance at the end of an encounter.

I think there might be a misunderstanding... I'm talking about applying Flow to the Discipline/Cool check used to recover strain at the end of an encounter.  You can perform this use of Flow any time you could use Balance.  So there is no possible situation where Flow would not provide the same benefits as Balance.

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On the surface it looks overpowered to me. I personally do not like it taking only FR1 to reach. 

I play legends mostly and the only characters that have this sort of power have an extremely powerful connection. 

That said I've not used it enough to know for sure but I'm fairly confident there is a reason for it doing similar stuff to balance past the "no choice" function of the power. 

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Posted (edited)

easy solution:

Since ebb/flow is writen as to be used with every active action skill check just don't allow it for the two special checks "Initative" and "strain recovery at the end of the encounter"

In my opinion it is only logical that those are no skills the character really "take". The first is just to see how fast they are to adapt to the battle situation, and the second is only to see if they are able to catch a breath between scenes.

 

If I'm not mistaken they said in order66 that the ebb/flow was mainly written with structed encounters in mind... so just put a STOP Sign in front of the characters to not overuse this power... over hit them hard with conflict if they use the force for every step they take... or let them be addictive to it (could be very funny once you use a scenario where the force left them (ysalamiries for example)

Edited by Nightone

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6 hours ago, Nightone said:

If I'm not mistaken they said in order66 that the ebb/flow was mainly written with structed encounters in mind... so just put a STOP Sign in front of the characters to not overuse this power...

Yeah, they did say that during the FAQ.  So it sounds like you're in favor of my second option, that Ebb/Flow can only be used in structured encounters?  That's the option I'm tending toward myself.

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yep most likely,

to use in battle and social encounters or when ever the don't try to meta the game (like "I jump 3 times on the spot with flow and regain strain each time" - NO Sir) and never for the passivs initative, fear or strain regain at encounter end.

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36 minutes ago, DaverWattra said:

Yeah using Flow with a fear check seems absurd.

Or imagine using Ebb that way.  Vader intimidates you with his Fearsome talent, but the force ebbs around him inflicting strain.  

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13 hours ago, Nightone said:

to use in battle and social encounters or when ever the don't try to meta the game (like "I jump 3 times on the spot with flow and regain strain each time" - NO Sir) and never for the passivs initative, fear or strain regain at encounter end.

LOL! 

I'll give it to you if you actually get up from the table and jump up and down for three minutes while everyone else does their turns.

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OK, so I'm tending toward the following "clarification" of the rules (treating the rules as a living document like the US Constitution):

Ebb/Flow may be used only on skill checks performed as an action in structured gameplay (including combat checks), or in other situations at the discretion of the GM.

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Posted (edited)

2 minutes ago, DaverWattra said:

OK, so I'm tending toward the following "clarification" of the rules (treating the rules as a living document like the US Constitution):

Ebb/Flow may be used only on skill checks performed as an action in structured gameplay (including combat checks), or in other situations at the discretion of the GM.

I like the "as an action" part.  That limits it to rolls you initiate on your turn.  As distinguished from maneuvers (which usually don't need rolls), resistance rolls for fear, etc.  Also eliminates initiative and recovery rolls, as they are not an action.

Edited by Edgookin
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The one application that I think would be harmless to use on any old roll is the "ask a yes/no question" Control upgrade.

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Not sure how Ebb/Flow ruins Balance since I can always spend advantage to regain strain on any roll I make. Might as well remove that too since obviously being able to spend advantage to recover strain makes balance worthless.

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3 hours ago, Decorus said:

Not sure how Ebb/Flow ruins Balance since I can always spend advantage to regain strain on any roll I make. Might as well remove that too since obviously being able to spend advantage to recover strain makes balance worthless.

Spending advantage on strain doesn't give you the exact same ability as Balance.  It gives you a different strain-recovering ability.

Also, I believe you're allowed to recover strain on rolls in combat, but it isn't automatic that you can recover strain on skill rolls outside of combat.   That's left to GM discretion, as I understand the RAW.

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5 hours ago, DaverWattra said:

Spending advantage on strain doesn't give you the exact same ability as Balance.  It gives you a different strain-recovering ability.

Also, I believe you're allowed to recover strain on rolls in combat, but it isn't automatic that you can recover strain on skill rolls outside of combat.   That's left to GM discretion, as I understand the RAW.

Yes GM discretion, otherwise the Extra recovery check wouldn't be nessacary.

Devs once clarified that it is possible as long as the player can bring up a good narrative reason about why he now recovers some strain (which can be rather hard for some players)

Also it would be the most borring alternative to handle advantages in out of battle situations.

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So I'm not seeing the problem with Ebb/Flow and how it renders balance useless since you can already spend advantage to regain strain.

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19 hours ago, Decorus said:

So I'm not seeing the problem with Ebb/Flow and how it renders balance useless since you can already spend advantage to regain strain.

Here's how it works:

--When you make a Discipline or Cool check to recover strain at the end of an encounter, Balance lets you add Force dice equal to your FR to the check.  You recover one strain for every FP generation.

--When you make ANY check (including a Discipline or Cool check to recover strain at the end of an encounter) Flow lets you add Force dice equal to your FR to the check.  You recover one strain for every FP generation.

--So Flow allows you to use the exact same effect as Balance, in addition to its other effects

--Because you can't add Force dice to a check more than once, Balance's effects can't be combined with Flow's

--So there is never a situation where Flow would not provide the same benefits as Balance, plus many more

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So where is the problem?

I'm not seeing it.

I can spend advantage on any check to regain strain so why is it that balance is not immediately rendered useless by that?

Does Ebb/Flow cost less then Balance?  (Nope)

Are there other force powers in the game that prevent the use of Ebb/Flow on checks. (Yes)

Are there other effects by Ebb/Flow that prevent its use to regain strain? (Yes)

Isn't there a talent that costs less then balance that allows you to recover all your strain at the end of an encounter? (Yes)

 

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Posted (edited)

I can't tell if we're understanding each other?

Which of the following things are you saying?

(1) Balance is not strictly inferior to Ebb/Flow

(2) Balance is strictly inferior to Ebb/Flow, but that's not a problem

3 hours ago, Decorus said:

Does Ebb/Flow cost less then Balance?  (Nope)

To get the same effect as Balance (plus the ability to regain strain in other situations), you need 20 points of Ebb/Flow upgrades.  Force-Sensitive Exile is the only tree where Balance costs less than that (15 points).  In two trees (Ataru Striker and Sage), Balance costs 25 points.  So unless you are a Force-Sensitive Exile, Ebb/Flow does cost less than Balance.

3 hours ago, Decorus said:

I can spend advantage on any check to regain strain so why is it that balance is not immediately rendered useless by that?

Because Balance's effect can be combined with the advantage-spending ability to recover even more strain.  So there are many situations in which you would want to use both mechanics.  On the other hand, the rules don't allow you to use Balance together with Ebb/Flow--you must choose one, and choosing Ebb/Flow is never worse than choosing Balance.

3 hours ago, Decorus said:

Are there other force powers in the game that prevent the use of Ebb/Flow on checks. (Yes)

Are you thinking of Suppress?  If you listen to the Order 66 podcast on Disciples of Harmony, the developer they interview says that Suppress does not inhibit Ebb/Flow.

3 hours ago, Decorus said:

Are there other effects by Ebb/Flow that prevent its use to regain strain? (Yes)

But those other uses of Ebb/Flow would also prevent using Balance to regain strain (since you can only add Force dice to a given skill roll once).

3 hours ago, Decorus said:

Isn't there a talent that costs less then balance that allows you to recover all your strain at the end of an encounter? (Yes)

But unlike Ebb/Flow, Iron Soul requires you to (a) carry encumbrance 2 or less, (b) invest in the Ascetic specialization.  So there are many reasons why you might want Balance over Iron Soul: You might want to carry heavy items around, or you might not want to spend points unlocking and getting through the Ascetic tree.

None of these reasons apply to Ebb/Flow, which does not need to be unlocked like a talent tree and does not place limits on your encumbrance.

Edited by DaverWattra
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Does every tree contain balance?

No

Can I spend advantage on strain when ever I want?

Yes

Balance is useless then, because you can't just buy it and basic skills do more to recover strain then it.

Your arguement fails at this point.

Ebb/Flow is negated by any force power and talent that requires you to spend force pips to do anything.

Draw Closer does not work with Ebb/Flow.

Influence does not work with Ebb/Flow. (Its also better then ebb/flow)

Ebb/Flow does not work when you need to commit force dice which several powers and talents Require.

For a vast majority of situations there is just better talents and force powers which render ebb/flow useless.

 

 

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