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DaverWattra

Let's share mechanics ideas for cool encounters

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I never play official FFG adventures, but I love to mine them for ideas.  My favorite thing to find in adventure books is new encounter mechanics--think of the racing system in Jewel of Yavin, that's the best example.  I love springing new encounters on my PCs that don't just involve combat or ordinary skill checks.  Occasionally I also have an idea of my own for a somewhat new and different mechanic for an encounter.

It occurs to me that other GMs might have some ideas that I could make use of.  So this thread is a clearinghouse for ideas about new or variant rules for cool encounters.

To give you an idea of what I have in mind, here's one I've used:

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TESTIMONY

One of my PCs was called to the stand in a trial prosecuting the villain from the previous adventure.  We handled this sort of like a social combat encounter between the bad guy's attorney and the PC, but instead of trying to knock down each other's strain, the goal was to impress the jury.

So we treated it as a race to 10 total successes.  Each question (from the lawyer) or answer (from the PC) was an "attack."  Questions used Charm or Negotiate, or Deception if they were leading questions intended to mislead the jury.  Answers used Charm if truthful, Deception if untruthful.  The opponent's Discipline was used for difficulty.

Spending an advantage together with one of your own successes could be used to reduce the enemy's success total by 1, giving a defensive answer.  Triumphs could be spent on things like tripping up the opponent, "staggering" him and keeping him from "attacking" for a turn.  We liked this variation on the ordinary social combat rules.

Another idea I've toyed with is using the chase rules in a social encounter, with social skill checks replacing the Pilot/Athletics rolls.  Haven't thought of what sort of in-game situation would work best for that mechanic, though.

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What alternative mechanics have you used in your games?  And/or, what are some you've thought up but haven't used?  Basically, I'm looking for cool ideas that provide alternatives to skill checks or combat as ways of driving encounters.

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While I haven't done it, I've had an idea for a special Vergence that, in addition to its bonus die effect, has the odd result of making all Force powers used within planetary scale. 

The encounter idea was that some kind of ship (probably a wing of TIEs or something) is attacking, and the character(s) need to use their boosted Force powers to defend some target against the ships.  The power I most had in mind was Protect (to shield the target), and possibly Unleash and Move to attack back against the attackers.  Most likely it would be an "outlast" encounter, where the cavalry is incoming but the player(s) need to fend off the assault for a certain number of rounds. 

I thought it would be a fun way for personal-scale characters to have a tense fight against vehicle scale opponents.  A way to do some of the crazy stuff we see in media like the Force Unleashed, and yet have a reason why it doesn't happen more often (it's location specific, guys!  Seriously, I can only do it here!)

Edited by Absol197

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I implemented what I call a Doom Track, mostly from playing board games with my friends.   Basically, for really dramatic scenes, where things are changing, I don't like the "you have 3 turns until X happens, you will then have 5 turns until Y happens" etc etc kind of rules.  They break my concentration when I'm tracking which turn it is, and I think it doesn't keep with the narrative feel of the game.

So, hence the Doom Track.  Now, the premise is simple, take one of the red die, and if it rolls Despair, move the Doom Track to the next stage, this represents things getting more intense/nasty.   The example I used in play, was where my PC's were on a ship in orbit over a planet, and the ship was breaking up.  They were going to crash, and had to try and escape.   There were things they were trying to do, on top of "GTFO", but that was the eventual final goal.   I had several regions of the ship in various stages of disarray, as different challenges for them to deal with.   Zero G from loss of power made it where random objects were floating around as obstacles, so they had to make skill checks to avoid, it was dark because no power (except emergency lights), so a setback on any coordination/athletics/perception checks, you get the idea.

But, as the Doom Track advanced, I made things worse.  Each stage of the Doom Track represented the ship getting further along it's crash trajectory.  Doom Track 2, the ship started to hit atmosphere, causing a LOT of heat, so now there was a -1 strain every turn, due to the increasing temperature in the ship.  Doom 3, the ship itself started to tumble as it hit atmo, causing even more thrown objects, and increasing the difficulty to move, etc etc.   Doom 5, they hit the ground.

Now, the main reason that I hate the "track every turn" system for this kind of thing, is due to the very nature of the material these games are inspired by....movies.
Movies hardly ever get time right.  "Ok!  We've got 5 minutes before this thing blows!!"   *movies runs for an actual 10-15 minutes before the "5" minutes are up*   "She's going to be dead in 30 seconds!! Hurry up with that syringe of MacGuffin Juice!"  *3 minutes of screen time* , etc etc.   

So, since the movies can't be arsed to actually time their scenes to fit their timeframe, I don't feel any compulsion to do it either.    Like the movies, the time will progress, as it is needed for maximum narrative effect.    So, the Doom Track  :D   

I found it worked really well to ramp up the tension for my players, as they knew things were getting worse, but they were Heroes, so they kept going.    

Now, don't actually increase the difficulty of the roll.  If it's a 2 die difficulty, keep it that way, just have one of the die be red.   And this doesn't cost a Destiny Point, it's just something you do as GM, because YOU run the table and can do that.

If you don't want to have every check have a Red die in it, even for really dangerous/dramatic situations, then just roll it separately from their dice pool, and move it then.

But I really enjoyed the mechanic, and found it kept everything running nice and smooth, and still felt like a dramatic, narrative system to make things worse.

I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to fiddle around with new systems to spice up their game.

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19 hours ago, KungFuFerret said:

So, hence the Doom Track.  Now, the premise is simple, take one of the red die, and if it rolls Despair, move the Doom Track to the next stage, this represents things getting more intense/nasty. 

This is awesome!

To clarify, do you roll a red die every turn for this, or do you have the Doom Track advance when a PC rolls a Despair on one of their skill checks?

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12 minutes ago, DaverWattra said:

This is awesome!

To clarify, do you roll a red die every turn for this, or do you have the Doom Track advance when a PC rolls a Despair on one of their skill checks?

When I used it I had them roll the Doom Die on every roll they did.  I basically just upgraded one of their dice for every check.  I didn't ADD a die, just upgraded.   After doing that, and considering, I think it might be fairer to just roll one separately, but do it on every check they do.  That way their dice pool is normal, and can be upgraded as normal with Destiny Points, without it confusing the results of the Doom Track.     Because a few times when I did upgrade something, and they had 2 reds on the table, they were like "ok so, is that the Doom Despair, or just a regular Despair?"  and I had to think, losing track. 

  But yeah, the whole point of using the Doom Track system, was so I wouldn't have to worry about turns at all :D    If you want to do it once per turn instead, that's probably not a bad idea.  It would lessen the number of times it's likely to trigger and advance, but seeing as my guys ended up hitting Doom 5 and crashing, that might not be a bad idea :D  

Edited by KungFuFerret

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I was setting up for a rescue mission one time where one of the PCs contacts was captured. For a couple of sessions before they got the news any time they tried to contact him I would roll a red die. If it landed on a dispair then the bad guys would discover the PCs trying to reach him. After only a couple attempts with no response they gave up. A dispair was never hit unfortunately. Made me sad. Lol

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Just had a cool new idea for a mechanic to handle scenes in which characters are stalking each other, like this scene from Heat or this one from Enter the Dragon.

Each round, each character in the scene makes a Vigilance or Perception check, with difficulty set by the opponent's Stealth skill.  Treat this as a competitive check; if both characters succeed, the one with the most successes may make an attack, then the other character may attack back.  If only one succeeds, only that character may attack that round.  Abilities that give a bonus against an enemy who hasn't attacked in a given encounter will always apply to the character who attacks first.

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On 26/03/2018 at 11:19 PM, DaverWattra said:

Just had a cool new idea for a mechanic to handle scenes in which characters are stalking each other, like this scene from Heat or this one from Enter the Dragon.

Each round, each character in the scene makes a Vigilance or Perception check, with difficulty set by the opponent's Stealth skill.  Treat this as a competitive check; if both characters succeed, the one with the most successes may make an attack, then the other character may attack back.  If only one succeeds, only that character may attack that round.  Abilities that give a bonus against an enemy who hasn't attacked in a given encounter will always apply to the character who attacks first.

I love this idea. It conjours the image of combatants stalking eachother in a house of mirrors... I'm going to have to use it. Thanks.

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On 3/26/2018 at 5:19 PM, DaverWattra said:

Just had a cool new idea for a mechanic to handle scenes in which characters are stalking each other, like this scene from Heat or this one from Enter the Dragon.

Each round, each character in the scene makes a Vigilance or Perception check, with difficulty set by the opponent's Stealth skill.  Treat this as a competitive check; if both characters succeed, the one with the most successes may make an attack, then the other character may attack back.  If only one succeeds, only that character may attack that round.  Abilities that give a bonus against an enemy who hasn't attacked in a given encounter will always apply to the character who attacks first.

Did you mean to link a paper/speech on "Rethinking Russia's Nuclear Strategy &c.?"

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