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Silidus

Does anyone use opposed checks for combat?

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So I have been playing around with the system lately, and thinking about the use of Opposed checks for resolving some of the mechanical systems that don't make much sense.  For example, consider a narrow hallway, packed with storm troopers at one end (minion group 3, blaster rifles), and our heroes, hunkering down at medium range.

Now, any sensical view of this situation is going to see that running straight down the corridor into incoming fire is going to be a really good way to get killed, however mechanically, a hero can use 2 movement actions to close the range from medium to engaged, followed by an attack.

My thoughts here are that if a character can perceptibly be prevented from doing something, this should be represented as an opposed check.  In this case, the stormtroopers can oppose the movement, making the PC perform an Athletics vs Ranged (Heavy) check.  Failure would result in not moving the range band, Threat results in taking glancing shots (stress), while a despair would result in taking the base damage of the weapon as a direct hit.  This can be used to properly represent being 'pinned down' in a firefight, either unwilling, or unable to move to change the range. (Bonus, also makes athletics and brawn a little more attractive to range focused combat characters).

Taking it a step further, PC is engaged with a trooper.  Ideally the trooper would like to take a step back from engaged to short range, and then use his blaster without penalty.  However, the PC (who is locked in combat with the trooper), can choose to oppose the movement, forcing the trooper to pass an Athletics vs Athletics check.  Failure to do so means the trooper was unable to dis-engage (or PC moved with him as he tried to back up), and is forced to use his blaster with the extra difficulty penalty.

As far as I can determine, this is more or less in the spirit of opposed checks, so not sure if this counts as an actual house rule, but so far it has seemed to work well.  The only thing is to apply it when it makes sense, not necessarily every time (ie if the troopers have not yet taken a turn in the first example, then they are presumably not actively firing or aiming down the corridor, so opposing the movement in the first round would not be possible).

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1 hour ago, Silidus said:

So I have been playing around with the system lately, and thinking about the use of Opposed checks for resolving some of the mechanical systems that don't make much sense.  For example, consider a narrow hallway, packed with storm troopers at one end (minion group 3, blaster rifles), and our heroes, hunkering down at medium range.

Now, any sensical view of this situation is going to see that running straight down the corridor into incoming fire is going to be a really good way to get killed, however mechanically, a hero can use 2 movement actions to close the range from medium to engaged, followed by an attack.

My thoughts here are that if a character can perceptibly be prevented from doing something, this should be represented as an opposed check.  In this case, the stormtroopers can oppose the movement, making the PC perform an Athletics vs Ranged (Heavy) check.  Failure would result in not moving the range band, Threat results in taking glancing shots (stress), while a despair would result in taking the base damage of the weapon as a direct hit.  This can be used to properly represent being 'pinned down' in a firefight, either unwilling, or unable to move to change the range. (Bonus, also makes athletics and brawn a little more attractive to range focused combat characters).

Taking it a step further, PC is engaged with a trooper.  Ideally the trooper would like to take a step back from engaged to short range, and then use his blaster without penalty.  However, the PC (who is locked in combat with the trooper), can choose to oppose the movement, forcing the trooper to pass an Athletics vs Athletics check.  Failure to do so means the trooper was unable to dis-engage (or PC moved with him as he tried to back up), and is forced to use his blaster with the extra difficulty penalty.

As far as I can determine, this is more or less in the spirit of opposed checks, so not sure if this counts as an actual house rule, but so far it has seemed to work well.  The only thing is to apply it when it makes sense, not necessarily every time (ie if the troopers have not yet taken a turn in the first example, then they are presumably not actively firing or aiming down the corridor, so opposing the movement in the first round would not be possible).

Just be careful... there are rules for how many, and what kind of actions that Minions, Rivals and Nemesis can take... and they are there for a reason.

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11 minutes ago, Bishop69 said:

Just be careful... there are rules for how many, and what kind of actions that Minions, Rivals and Nemesis can take... and they are there for a reason.

Any specific concern?

 

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I'd let things be determined by initiative and the rules regarding setting Difficulty. 

If I'm the PC who spent a ton on my Cool and Vigilance so I can be 'Joe Super Human Reaction' time/Mr. Win initiative, and maybe rolling a Triumph for pre encounter Maneuvers consistently, all of which now doesn't get me poo because my Athletics sux I'd be pissed.  However, that doesn't mean rolling initiative has to be a static thing either, and I routinely use initiative rolls with Difficulty for resolving ambush scenarios.  This may not be a hidden ambush, but it's certainly a tactical pickle, so assigning a Difficulty to the PCs roll for charging headlong into the jaws of death is acceptable, and/or giving the bad folk Boosts.

That's initiative, dealing with actually covering the ground, at some point the bad guys have to actually shoot someone to stop them.  That doesn't mean though it's all just a standard roll.  PC dummy wants to stroll willingly into the funnel of death I'm ok making that an Easy or even Simple roll for the troopers, and adding a Boost or two along with aim, since it's harder to miss than hit.  This can all be communicated to the players meta game as a mechanical application of just how looney charging down a corridor into fire is in reality, and how it will sting mechanically in the game.

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10 minutes ago, 2P51 said:

I'd let things be determined by initiative and the rules regarding setting Difficulty. 

If I'm the PC who spent a ton on my Cool and Vigilance so I can be 'Joe Super Human Reaction' time/Mr. Win initiative, and maybe rolling a Triumph for pre encounter Maneuvers consistently, all of which now doesn't get me poo because my Athletics sux I'd be pissed.  However, that doesn't mean rolling initiative has to be a static thing either, and I routinely use initiative rolls with Difficulty for resolving ambush scenarios.  This may not be a hidden ambush, but it's certainly a tactical pickle, so assigning a Difficulty to the PCs roll for charging headlong into the jaws of death is acceptable, and/or giving the bad folk Boosts.

That's initiative, dealing with actually covering the ground, at some point the bad guys have to actually shoot someone to stop them.  That doesn't mean though it's all just a standard roll.  PC dummy wants to stroll willingly into the funnel of death I'm ok making that an Easy or even Simple roll for the troopers, and adding a Boost or two along with aim, since it's harder to miss than hit.  This can all be communicated to the players meta game as a mechanical application of just how looney charging down a corridor into fire is in reality, and how it will sting mechanically in the game.

 

I sort of have an issue as a GM when setting difficulty for players for various tasks.  For the most part, difficulty seems to reflect how much I, as the GM, want them to succeed.  I mean, I know the probability of succeeding with whatever their current skill level is, and I am going to choose a difficulty likely based more on that, than the actual difficulty.

For example, I may want the player to succeed, cause its awesome.... in which case if its a low skill level PC, I will say its simple.  However 2 sessions later, it may be attempted by another PC who has 5 brawn and 2 athletics, to whom I will then say its Difficulty.

Using competitive skill checks does 2 things, first it keeps me honest and consistent, since its always based on the skill of the NPC (note that they are not firing, so only a despair is going to actually result in damage) and its the same every time.  And secondly it allows the PCs to have some gauge on the difficulty before they consider the action.  Rather than wasting time asking me, they can determine for themselves the risk/reward (no red dice? whats the worst that could happen), and they can do so while working out their turn in their head.


Not sure where you are seeing 'wining the initiative gets me poo'.  Unless there is a narrative reason to allow the opposed check, then there isn't one.  If anything winning the initiative for the party reverses the situation, PCs can determine who wants to move without being shot (pre combat manuvers + first PC initiative), and can also take the opportunity to pin down the stormtrooper (long range rifle etc preventing troopers from moving into medium range).

Edited by Silidus

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3 hours ago, Silidus said:

I sort of have an issue as a GM when setting difficulty for players for various tasks.  For the most part, difficulty seems to reflect how much I, as the GM, want them to succeed.  I mean, I know the probability of succeeding with whatever their current skill level is, and I am going to choose a difficulty likely based more on that, than the actual difficulty.

Interesting. I set difficulty based on how difficult the task should be, considering the situation. A locked door in a pub is not nearly going to be as difficult as in an Imperial base or a secret assassin guild's hidden base.

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13 hours ago, GroggyGolem said:

Interesting. I set difficulty based on how difficult the task should be, considering the situation. A locked door in a pub is not nearly going to be as difficult as in an Imperial base or a secret assassin guild's hidden base.

Yeah, but its pretty difficult to dis-regard your own bias.

Maybe the issue is with the concept of difficulty.  Difficulty is based of a certain point of view, a master locksmith may look at a standard door lock on a home and say 'that's simple',  but you or I may look at the 2 dollar combination lock on a gym locker and say 'thats difficult, but not impossible'.

The issue I have is that without something to ground your point of view, difficulty ends up being based on the player, and their skills, which are constantly increasing.  So what may have been a 'difficult' lock at the start of the campaign, ends up being an 'easy' lock by the end.

To combat this, I usually try to base things around competitive checks when i can, since that way a standard action against a fit but untrained human works out to be a medium difficulty check, and working against a trained opponent adds appropriate setback die.

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1 hour ago, Silidus said:

Yeah, but its pretty difficult to dis-regard your own bias.

Maybe the issue is with the concept of difficulty.  Difficulty is based of a certain point of view, a master locksmith may look at a standard door lock on a home and say 'that's simple',  but you or I may look at the 2 dollar combination lock on a gym locker and say 'thats difficult, but not impossible'.

You already have your point of view this way. 6 dice represents being one of the best in the galaxy. Even the impossible has a reasonable chance. 
5 dice represents someone who has a reasonable chance at being successful on formidable challenging tasks, etc

Your base are the dice themselves. If your player can make those checks should be part of your adventure design, not in form of determining how difficult those checks are, but against what kind of opposition they are supposed to go up against. If they are only skilled averagely in lockpicking and stealth, they most likely should not plan to break-in and sneak into that secret imperial base, because those check will most likely fail based on the world building. But you as GM should build your adventure in away that they don't have to either. 

At the other hand if your group consists of world class infiltrators and thieves … time to get into that assassin den and steal their secret plans, etc … this is one of the reasons why the FFG adventures seem to come off so colorless, because the base assumption there is mostly average skills in everything and giving you content which suits this expectation, while not even considering that players might be prodigies of their career and approach things quite differently. 

 

Or in other words: Try to balance the difficulty of the checks already when thinking about the content you want present to your players, so that you don't have to consider skaling the difficulty of checks up or down afterwards. Your base for the checks becomes than basically a lot more objective and related to the general gameworld instead of focused on individual perspective. 

Or in other words, that gym locker lock stays an average check or even easy, depending on the quality of the lock, no matter if an master locksmith or an teenage boy tries to pick it, simply because how those locks compare to other locks in the world. 

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2 hours ago, SEApocalypse said:

Or in other words: Try to balance the difficulty of the checks already when thinking about the content you want present to your players, so that you don't have to consider skaling the difficulty of checks up or down afterwards. Your base for the checks becomes than basically a lot more objective and related to the general gameworld instead of focused on individual perspective. 

Ok, but the what is the baseline for something like 'throwing' an opponent, or as presented in the original case, disengaging from hand to hand combat against an opponent.

Most of this is based of @GroggyGolems example of a lock.  Which is fine, since we can establish a pretty clear set of difficulties based on a fixed perspective (ie gym lock to ISB security door).  But when working with something a little more variable, such as disengaging from hand to hand, its more difficult to put a fixed value one it.  Is it difficult?  Against a human, maybe.. what about a Wookie?  What about a special forces vet?

In these cases I usually look to a reasonable skill to help out, since there is the potential for catastrophic failure (despair), and a variable chance of success.  Now statistically this should be an opposed check, so that when combatants are of approximately equal skill, the result should favor success, with some threat (suffered strain).

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26 minutes ago, Silidus said:

Ok, but the what is the baseline for something like 'throwing' an opponent, or as presented in the original case, disengaging from hand to hand combat against an opponent.

Most of this is based of @GroggyGolems example of a lock.  Which is fine, since we can establish a pretty clear set of difficulties based on a fixed perspective (ie gym lock to ISB security door).  But when working with something a little more variable, such as disengaging from hand to hand, its more difficult to put a fixed value one it.  Is it difficult?  Against a human, maybe.. what about a Wookie?  What about a special forces vet?

In these cases I usually look to a reasonable skill to help out, since there is the potential for catastrophic failure (despair), and a variable chance of success.  Now statistically this should be an opposed check, so that when combatants are of approximately equal skill, the result should favor success, with some threat (suffered strain).

Throwing an opponent is a triumph, they're not quite as rare when you start gaining ranks in the skills and back it up with attribute. There are some things in the stuff you spend threats and advantages on that helps you stay in engaged, for instance if they get two threat, you can take a free maneuver. Then it's down to how you narrate it, so rather than successfully pulling back, they just open up a very short distance that is quickly covered and they're back in face punching range. You're also free to add new things you can spend threats and advantages on, the things in the book are just suggestions. Although usually you should steer clear of letting it perfectly duplicate a talent, because then it makes said talent redundant.

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2 hours ago, Silidus said:

Ok, but the what is the baseline for something like 'throwing' an opponent, or as presented in the original case, disengaging from hand to hand combat against an opponent.

3 advantages on your combat check and spending one maneuver. No extra check required. That is already covered in the CRB. Take a look at the tables with suggestions for spending advantages and threads in combat. 

 

edit: And btw most talents ARE covered in the official suggestion tables for spending advantages and threads, but they are costed higher than talents and come with the necessity to come up with ideas how you achieve the game effect. From creating environmental effects by shooting the lights out, to cover fire to add setbacks to the next enemy attack, etc … . It all should require narrative storytelling to gain GM approval. The tables are not hard rules, but suggestions. 

Edited by SEApocalypse

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On 2018-01-18 at 7:42 PM, Silidus said:

That doesn't sound so bad.. its usually the bottom that is the dangerous part.

Starvation and Dehydration is also dangerous! 

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On 2018-01-19 at 8:59 AM, GroggyGolem said:

That's an interesting point of view. I don't base difficulty on the skill level of players. That helps me ground it I think.

I do, but I don't.  A pub lock is a pub lock, and it has no bearing on the skill of the players.  But if the pub is actually the secret headquarters of the local gang, then it might be tougher to get past.  And the only reason the PCs might find themselves up against this tougher lock is if I think they're ready for that session arc.  So, I disagree with this:

On 2018-01-19 at 7:44 AM, Silidus said:

Yeah, but its pretty difficult to dis-regard your own bias.

Not really.  The difficulty should be based on story reasons which, imho, should be scaled to wherever the PCs are now.

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I would sometimes allow my PCs to do an opposed Coordination/Athletics check vs Enemy's attaching check (mainly melee or brawl), if the situation is appropriate and the player is able to sell it to me :)

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On 1/18/2018 at 11:42 AM, Silidus said:

That doesn't sound so bad.. its usually the bottom that is the dangerous part.

Without a bottom you'd eventually die of starvation or asphyxiation or a similar slow death.  The quick death offered by the bottom would be more humane

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Back to the original topic...

I like the idea.  This game doesn't really have any "opportunity attacks," which I like for the most part.  On the other hand, there are times when it would kinda make sense, like the ones you listed.  I might tweak it up a little bit, maybe with flipping a Destiny Point for the "interrupt."

  Also, you want to be clear on what happens if the opposed check is successful.  Does the charging (or retreating) character get hit? Are they just unable to make the maneuver?  Do they get to choose?  Makashi Mike may choose not to make the maneuver. He steps out, but immediately jumps back to cover as blaster fire explodes around him.  Shien Shemp, on the other hand, will laugh with glee as he slaps aside the blaster bolts.

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Thinking about this: Would be spending advantages or a triumph not be the exact thing which should allow a player to get his opposed check in the first place? 
Like going in with someone into a engaged ranked melee battle and spending a triumph on your own attack to not crit your target, but instead covering all escape routes and this getting your opposed check to prevent an disengage maneuver?

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I really like your thinking on this OP, sounds great actually. The way the game uses maneuvers and actions sometimes makes for silly explanations. Out off curiosity, how do you deal with the line of site thing as far as players ducking behind cover etc.?

 

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Also I experimented with making combat checks Opposed Rolls but the game isn't built to handle that as I recall from my testing. It confused the results because of threat vs. advantage, and the nullifying effect of Failures and Despair was too powerful. The success rate was abysmally low and it made the game play like a soccer match. 

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If you want your attack and counter attack in a single roll, opposed rolls are not the way to go, but instead a competitive check should be a good base, which is basically like opposed checks work mostly in different systems anyway. 

For the line of sight thing: Cover is cover, taking a maneuver and adding defense depending on the quality of cover. Yous still peak out shoot, get back to cover, etc … that is why you spend a maneuver for it. You don't get out of line of sight with cover. 
If you want to move out of sight, you are naturally not able to shoot either. This might be still advantageous if you want to make a medicine check for example anyway and it can force opponents to spend a maneuver to flank you or chase you to get line of sight for their ranged attacks again … or they just throw a grenade. Either way, imho LOS != taking cover in this system. Furthermore getting out of line of sight is harder than it sounds, because the round are long, smaller movements within a turn are to be expeded even without spending a maneuver and when you spend maneuvers to move you can cover rather larger distances without trouble as well. On top are there force powers, talents and gear that all can make you even more mobile. So relying on line of sight for defense not a safe bet anyway. 

 

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On 1/22/2018 at 12:46 AM, The Grand Falloon said:

Back to the original topic...

I like the idea.  This game doesn't really have any "opportunity attacks," which I like for the most part.  On the other hand, there are times when it would kinda make sense, like the ones you listed.  I might tweak it up a little bit, maybe with flipping a Destiny Point for the "interrupt."

  Also, you want to be clear on what happens if the opposed check is successful.  Does the charging (or retreating) character get hit? Are they just unable to make the maneuver?  Do they get to choose?  Makashi Mike may choose not to make the maneuver. He steps out, but immediately jumps back to cover as blaster fire explodes around him.  Shien Shemp, on the other hand, will laugh with glee as he slaps aside the blaster bolts.

The way I handle it is that a failure means they were unable to perform the maneuver, or unable to gain the ground (ie opponent moved with them, or blaster fire forced them to retreat to cover).  Advantage and Threat are spent normally (stress), and Despair means the character that attempted the move takes the base damage of the opponents weapon (opportunity).

This makes actual 'attacks back' fairly rare, and allows for some variation in the result (success with despair, moved in but took a blaster bolt), failure with successes (back behind cover in time to make a snappy remark about "that was a bad idea", stress regained), etc.
 

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