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edwardavern

Force Powers Out of Combat

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Hi all

Just a very quick survey - I know this has been discussed on the forums before but I couldn't find the thread.

RAW, Force Powers take an action, which is fine, but I'm curious how people deal with this out of structured play?  Specifically, how do you deal with the potential for players simply re-attempting the check until they get a Light Side Force Point?  Since the check only takes 1 action, and players can disregard Dark Side Points as they wish, there's actually nothing RAW preventing them from doing this.  (I know that any player who actually did this would be a right bastard, and none of my players is like that, but I would like to have some ruling to justify it rather than just saying "because...because don't do it", which is what I've been doing so far, pretty much.)

Thanks in advance.

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depends on the power used:

e.g. sense or seek powers out of combit needs to trance, so it will take at least 15-20 minutes before retry.

Heal: each try until used is one to five minutes of time.

Same goes for move.

If they try again and again, time will pass by and Stormtroopers, security guards, curious passenger will come by and stop any further attemp.  If they have enought time on hands, I set them a limit of try before theire minds are exhausted (like when luke tried to move the x-wing on dagobah)

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You don't need anything other than you're the GM and the word no. They don't like it, doors right behind em. RPGs require people to accept some basic concepts and one of them is we don't just roll until we get a win or there's no reason to roll. If someone doesn't get that then the there is no reason for them at the table. That kind of mentality will constantly be pulling the rules lawyering ****, and I'd just put my foot down and tell em knock it off or get out. I don't need to refer to a RAW to tell a pain in the *** to get bent.

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55 minutes ago, 2P51 said:

You don't need anything other than you're the GM and the word no. They don't like it, doors right behind em. RPGs require people to accept some basic concepts and one of them is we don't just roll until we get a win or there's no reason to roll. If someone doesn't get that then the there is no reason for them at the table. That kind of mentality will constantly be pulling the rules lawyering ****, and I'd just put my foot down and tell em knock it off or get out. I don't need to refer to a RAW to tell a pain in the *** to get bent.

1

So, I understand that, and none of my players is that kind of person.  But I don't like to use GM fiat without having a good narrative reason for it.  That's just my personal preference.  I would prefer there to be a good, logical reason as to why something is the case.  Otherwise I'm telling a player than something he can do once a minute for an entire encounter is something he can only try once in a six-hour period for no real reason.

Internal inconsistencies in any medium are a personal bugbear of mine, I'll admit.

 

54 minutes ago, Hinklemar said:

 

Have never tried to search this forum for similar threads, just did it for this one a while ago:

https://www.reddit.com/r/swrpg/comments/6up3zq/handling_repeated_force_checks/

 

Thanks, this is very helpful.  And it pretty much confirms what I was leaning towards, which is that rolling is pointless in these circumstances, and instead I should just narrate the success.

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I haven't read the reddits, but I would probably just let them succeed.  If they said something like "I spend the rest of the day moving these giant Sil4 boulders around to form a defensive ring", I'd have them roll once and that would be the template for the day....plus I'd probably drain them of all Strain.

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There is a good reason and I said so, because we don't just roll the dice till we get the result we want. That's the same for every game. There isn't a reason to roll the dice at that point. It's the same for every game.

You aren't arguing a position with a player in front of the Supreme Court. You are the Supreme Court, you make decisions. You're the final arbiter and players either accept that or they don't.

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5 hours ago, edwardavern said:

Hi all

Just a very quick survey - I know this has been discussed on the forums before but I couldn't find the thread.

RAW, Force Powers take an action, which is fine, but I'm curious how people deal with this out of structured play?  Specifically, how do you deal with the potential for players simply re-attempting the check until they get a Light Side Force Point?  Since the check only takes 1 action, and players can disregard Dark Side Points as they wish, there's actually nothing RAW preventing them from doing this.  (I know that any player who actually did this would be a right bastard, and none of my players is like that, but I would like to have some ruling to justify it rather than just saying "because...because don't do it", which is what I've been doing so far, pretty much.)

Thanks in advance.

The real question is why are you having them roll in the first place? Unless failure adds something to the story just let them succeed. As they can take their time. The reason you roll n combat is because failing is an option and can have interesting consequences and choices.

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I have a couple of different things I do. 

First, for "causal" uses of the Force, where the character isn't really trying to do anything impressive, just using it for convenience in their everyday life (i.e. using Move to draw the remote to you on the couch, or Sense to feel the emotions of the guy in the other car to know whether to give them a break or honk really loud), nothing that is narratively important, I allow them to auto-generate a number of Force points of their color equal to the average for all their Force dice.

Since the average for both Light and Dark is 8 pips over 12 sides, that comes out to 2/3 a Force point per Force rating.  So if your Force rating is 1, no attempt at using the Force is casual, it always involves a significant amount of effort and concentration.  But with FR 2, you can generate an auto-Force point whenever, suitable for the basic power of most powers.  If you're rushed, threatened, you want to generate more than the average, or the consequences for failure are high, you still have to roll.  But it cuts down on a lot of superfluous rolls for those tiny, mostly narrative actions that have no consequence.

For things like the main subject of this thread, it depends on the circumstances and power in use.  For something like the aforementioned trying to move the boulders into position, if the character has enough time I would simply allow it to auto-succeed.  Or, more likely, I'd let it auto-succeed, but make the character roll a Discipline check with a Difficulty equal to the number of Force points needed to move the boulders in the first place.  Threat would inflict strain, failure would mean that they just don't have the spiritual strength to move them all in time.

For sensory powers, especially Foresee or Seek, I usually limit it to one check.  If they want to check again, they need to wait until circumstances have changed.  Basically, the current "configuration" of the Force is not conducive to you seeing the future now.  Wait until it changes and you can try again, but multiple attempts are just throwing yourself against a wall.

That's how I do it, at least :) .

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3 hours ago, whafrog said:

I haven't read the reddits, but I would probably just let them succeed.  If they said something like "I spend the rest of the day moving these giant Sil4 boulders around to form a defensive ring", I'd have them roll once and that would be the template for the day....plus I'd probably drain them of all Strain.

 

8 minutes ago, Daeglan said:

The real question is why are you having them roll in the first place? Unless failure adds something to the story just let them succeed. As they can take their time. The reason you roll n combat is because failing is an option and can have interesting consequences and choices.

Yeah, this is definitely where I've ended up.  Thanks guys.

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I would say that the simple thing is to impose a limit because you're making a movie. Each set is meant to be a scene where the character is doing something, even the downtime is a training montage and as such I adopt the one check, one roll policy in regards to downtime activities; unless you have a very long time I wouldn't allow someone to attempt to seek a target indefinitely; if they succeed they seek the target, if they don't? The force is clouded and won't offer further insight for the immediate future.

Why? The force is a fickle entity that doesn't always provide results, heck, fans rage at the suggestion of quantifying the force with midacholorians, so the vaguely mystical "the force is clouded" should be more then a satisfactory answer that doesn't need much explaination. Keep in mind for certain things, like tracking down an associate not in immediate danger it might be fine to let it auto succeed sometimes, but most of the time I would make them bet on that roll; if they fail then they need to change some conditions/grow more experienced/get some hard information before they may attempt again. Otherwise Kylo would have attempted to seek Luke over and over until he succeeded.

On more mundane tasks? Well they might have deadlines, characters have lives too to live and even if they are completely independant, not doing any jobs and deciding to tinker up... Well eventurally one of their obligations should approch them. Generally it's bad story design to give the players a large amount of free time without any immediate way to push and enforcing this by obligation related factors, even something simple as paying rent for each day they are working at this task, might compel them to put down the toys and get to work on the net payday. More likely then not however the players will have a regular scheduled of activities which means they only have so much time to complete time consuming tasks. Crafting is one such example that specifies that the person must spend a number of hours on an activity to get a result. Spending 8 hours might not seem a lot, but if they are spending a lot of time planet side doing jobs, then they will rarely have the free time to spend more then that.

I would consider most other forms of "downtime activity" to consume a similar length of time, the hours spent is time assembling tools, working on something, taking a break to catch up with the talk of the day (because funnily enough characters too have social lives) and so much more. Each roll represents a full length task being carried out from draft to completion. Gathering info and using force powers in leisurely manner should be the same; within this frame of time, the character did this and this was the result. Moving onto the next scene....

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My players and I just use the "Let it Ride" rule from Burning Wheel. A roll sticks until something significant changes. This prevents players from rolling until they succeed, and they know I can't make them roll until they fail.

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8 hours ago, edwardavern said:

RAW, Force Powers take an action, which is fine, but I'm curious how people deal with this out of structured play?  Specifically, how do you deal with the potential for players simply re-attempting the check until they get a Light Side Force Point?  Since the check only takes 1 action, and players can disregard Dark Side Points as they wish, there's actually nothing RAW preventing them from doing this.  (I know that any player who actually did this would be a right bastard,

I don't know why they would be a bastard, since they can do the exact same thing in structured play too.   The fact that it isn't a combat situation seems irrelevant to me.   

I mean look at Qui-Gon in PM.  He tries to Mind Trick Watto, and when it doesn't work...he tries again right after.   I don't see why a player can't do the same thing.

Now the fact that they can try multiple times doesn't mean that time stops.  Sure it's not a structured, turn based situation, but like in that scene with Qui-Gon,  Watto notices he keeps "waving his hand around like that."  Which could draw suspicion to the player if they fail multiple times.  

"Um...why do you keep holding out your arm and staring at that swoop bike, with a clenched face like you are holding in a fart?  You've done it like 4 times now, are you having a stroke?"  NPC gets concerned "Hey!  Someone call a medic!  I think this guy is having a seizure or something!"  Suddenly everyone is paying very close attention to the weirdo, and now he has to deal with that ramification.

You seem to be worried about the misconception of "no consequences" for this type of Force use.  But that's not how it works, there are plenty of ways for there to be ramifications for their repeated attempts, it just doesn't necessarily involve a blaster bolt to the face.

 

Edited by KungFuFerret

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There's a reason why concepts like "Take 20" were introduced in various forms in various games: if a PC has all the time in the world to do something and can repeat the task until it works then you don't roll - it just gets done. This will apply to most uses of force powers where there isn't any particular pressure to pull off the use *this time, right now*; the only time that roll are still necessary is if it's using up some other limited resource (like Heal counting toward recoveries) that will run out even if time isn't an issue.

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I go with one roll, either the force is with you or not. Makes using the darkside more tempting. Unless something changes like upping a force rating or getting force upgrades live with it a try to make it part of the story. 

My 2cents.

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43 minutes ago, Garran said:

There's a reason why concepts like "Take 20" were introduced in various forms in various games: if a PC has all the time in the world to do something and can repeat the task until it works then you don't roll - it just gets done. This will apply to most uses of force powers where there isn't any particular pressure to pull off the use *this time, right now*; the only time that roll are still necessary is if it's using up some other limited resource (like Heal counting toward recoveries) that will run out even if time isn't an issue.

Except the quintessential example of this is from Empire Strikes Back, where Luke fails to lift the X-Wing from the bog.   That scene is the epitome of a "take 20" type of handwave a GM might do, but the possibility of failure had significant ramifications.   There wasn't any need to do it, and theoretically he could've kept trying over and over, but dramatically it was more fitting to see him try and fail.

If it's something inconsequential like "I want to use Move to pull my flashlight from my workstation to my hand, just for flavor text" ok fine.  But if it's something that could have consequences, it should still be rolled.

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10 hours ago, 2P51 said:

You don't need anything other than you're the GM and the word no. They don't like it, doors right behind em. RPGs require people to accept some basic concepts and one of them is we don't just roll until we get a win or there's no reason to roll. 

Or maybe you don't know, but basically the whole RPG genre is based around the idea that you roll dice until you win. You don't stop rolling dice in combat after you screwed up your first roll (unless you are Greedo). You keep trying, you keep rolling. The thing is that each roll needs to have consequences, RP is all about choice and consequences. Usually consequences in structured time are the same as outside. A missed opportunity.

Speaking of missed opportunity: Constantly trying and failing can be a great source of frustration. Frustration leads to anger…

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1 hour ago, KungFuFerret said:

Except the quintessential example of this is from Empire Strikes Back, where Luke fails to lift the X-Wing from the bog.   That scene is the epitome of a "take 20" type of handwave a GM might do, but the possibility of failure had significant ramifications.   There wasn't any need to do it, and theoretically he could've kept trying over and over, but dramatically it was more fitting to see him try and fail.

If it's something inconsequential like "I want to use Move to pull my flashlight from my workstation to my hand, just for flavor text" ok fine.  But if it's something that could have consequences, it should still be rolled.

I see that as a more he did not have the skill and force points to pull it off on a silhouette 3 object. You can have all the time in the world but if you are rolling 1 force die and and only have one strength upgrade....

Edited by Daeglan

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15 minutes ago, Daeglan said:

I see that as a more he did not have the skill and force points to pull it off on a silhouette 3 object. You can have all the time in the world but if you are rolling 1 force die and and only have one strength upgrade....

Yoda seemed to think he could pull it off.  That was the whole point of that scene.  He COULD do it, but his own insecurity and inhibitions held him back. 
"I don't believe it!"
"That...is why you failed."

 

  If you want to translate it into mechanics,  Luke had recently unlocked Force Rating 2, but wasn't aware of it, but Yoda knew it.  And so he tried to get him to flex his Force muscles.  But the player kept rolling blanks, or dark side pips, and after a roll or two, just gave up from frustration, despite the fact that he had the potential to pull it off.

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19 minutes ago, KungFuFerret said:

Yoda seemed to think he could pull it off.  That was the whole point of that scene.  He COULD do it, but his own insecurity and inhibitions held him back. 
"I don't believe it!"
"That...is why you failed."

 

  If you want to translate it into mechanics,  Luke had recently unlocked Force Rating 2, but wasn't aware of it, but Yoda knew it.  And so he tried to get him to flex his Force muscles.  But the player kept rolling blanks, or dark side pips, and after a roll or two, just gave up from frustration, despite the fact that he had the potential to pull it off.

That is one way to interpret it. But not the only way.

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16 hours ago, LordBritish said:

I would say that the simple thing is to impose a limit because you're making a movie.

So, I don't really want to get into this too heavily...but no, I'm not.  I'm running a game.  And while I want that game to evoke a sense of the movies, and draw on the lore and themes and flavours of the movie, I am not making a movie, or telling a story, or whatever.  For me, there is a very concrete difference between those two experiences.

 

14 hours ago, Baraqiel42 said:

My players and I just use the "Let it Ride" rule from Burning Wheel. A roll sticks until something significant changes. This prevents players from rolling until they succeed, and they know I can't make them roll until they fail.

 

I've not played Burning Wheel, but that is a very interesting concept.  I will have to go away and investigate more thoroughly.  Thanks.

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