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KungFuFerret

Force powers against minion groups

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So I'm pretty sure that this has been asked before, but I don't have time to go thread diving, so I thought I'd just ask.

So, when using Force powers against minion groups, regarding how many pips you have to spend, or upgrades you have to activate, do we still consider them one target?    I mean, every other aspect of combat considers them one target, for mechanical purposes, and as far as I'm concerned, the same should apply to Force powers, but I can't recall it being stated. 

So, for example, when using Move to push a minion group away from the PC, they wouldn't need to trigger enough Magnitude upgrades to target say, all 4 minions right?  Because mechanically they are one, so the base power's single target aspect should be sufficient right?   As well as things like Misdirect or Influence yes?   This seems the most fair reading of the rules, but I know plenty of people would try and say you have to buy up for each individual being.


So what is the general consensus on this?  

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1 hour ago, KungFuFerret said:

So what is the general consensus on this?  

"Whatever answer works best for you and your group."

In all seriousness, you'll probably get as many different answers as there are active posters in this subforum.

My own thought is to generally go with what's simplest, and that being to treat a minion group as a single target (even if you're not making a combat check) and get on with playing the game.  About the only exception I might make is using Move to pick up a minion group, and even then as the GM I'd just bump the group's Silhouette up by 1 (so a minion group of stormtroopers would be treated as a Silhouette 2 target for purposes of lifting) but that's about it.

Similar to a discussion I've had with a number of folks regarding 7th Sea 2nd edition and its brute squads, minion groups aren't meant to be a serious threat to the PCs, and are generally speed bumps to slow the PCs down on their way to being awesome.  Granted, the combat system in this game is intended to make the PCs sweat a bit during fights, while the Heroes in 7S2e should really only be worried when a Villain enters the mix.

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1 minute ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

My own thought is to generally go with what's simplest, and that being to treat a minion group as a single target (even if you're not making a combat check) and get on with playing the game.  About the only exception I might make is using Move to pick up a minion group, and even then as the GM I'd just bump the group's Silhouette up by 1 (so a minion group of stormtroopers would be treated as a Silhouette 2 target for purposes of lifting) but that's about it.

And that's the kind of situation I'm asking about.  Because I keep trying to play a PC that resolves conflicts as non-violently as possible.  And things like picking up the minion group and "persuading" them to stop trying to fight, or yoinking all of their guns with the Move upgrade, are primary ways to accomplish this.  However to be able to pull this off, with what is supposed to be considered a "pushover" threat, can be either relatively easy (if we're considering them as one target), or incredibly difficult (if each one is an individual target, and thus requiring way more upgrades and pips than a starting PC could manage).  

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If you're not the GM, bring the issue up with them, and discuss until you reach a happy medium.

Or, if you're the GM, discuss with the players until you've reached a happy medium.

As more time goes on, it becomes clearer and clearer to my view that FFG designed their Force rules to not be rigid and dogmatic but instead to have a certain degree of flexibility so that groups could find the path that worked for them.  Some groups prefer that the Force indeed be a powerful ally, and that yoinking the blasters out of the hands of a single group of minions doesn't require any magnitude upgrades, while other groups would prefer a tighter rein on a Force user's power and treat the minions in a group as individuals, thus necessitating magnitude upgrades.

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Personally, I'd count members of a minion squad individually. It just seems odd that you could disarm a whole stormtrooper squad, but not pick up all their blasters from the floor when there's no squad present.

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As there's nothing in the RAW that indicates a minion group is treated as a single target in other cases than COMBAT, I do so. Meaning, anything that is a direct attack (Force-push, Force lightning, Harm, etc.) treats the group as a single target (though potentially with a higher SIL). Everything that's NOT a direct attack (Influence, Misdirect, etc.) treats every single member of the group individually.

I think, that's what we see in the movies  - while a whole group of Stormtroopers can be hurled through a hallway with a Force push, there's never more than three mind-tricked at once.

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2 hours ago, Sunrider said:

As there's nothing in the RAW that indicates a minion group is treated as a single target in other cases than COMBAT, I do so. Meaning, anything that is a direct attack (Force-push, Force lightning, Harm, etc.) treats the group as a single target (though potentially with a higher SIL). Everything that's NOT a direct attack (Influence, Misdirect, etc.) treats every single member of the group individually.

I think, that's what we see in the movies  - while a whole group of Stormtroopers can be hurled through a hallway with a Force push, there's never more than three mind-tricked at once.

if you are treating the individual portions of the minion group as separate targets, do you then adjust any relevant die pool to reflect affecting the individual rather than group. IE. strip the upgrades for having multiple members?

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2 hours ago, TrystramK said:

IE. strip the upgrades for having multiple members?

Yup. It's rather easy to influence a single Stormtrooper, but if there are five of them, you have to get them all to believe you. Same with Misdirect: you can easily put an illusion into the mind of one weak person, but you have to do so with all other bystanders - or find a different solution.

And yes, mindtricking, etc. gets a lot harder that way. ;)

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3 minutes ago, Sunrider said:

Yup. It's rather easy to influence a single Stormtrooper, but if there are five of them, you have to get them all to believe you. Same with Misdirect: you can easily put an illusion into the mind of one weak person, but you have to do so with all other bystanders - or find a different solution.

And yes, mindtricking, etc. gets a lot harder that way. ;)

Well given this, 1 stormtrooper would have a discipline of 3g,  and a stormtrooper squad of 3 would have 2y1g.   If you do it so each individual must be targeted by influence,  and you do the influence check with magnitude upgrades to hit all 3 targets (since they are now treated individually),  the contested roll (if you were even going to bother for a minion group, which typically don't get a contested roll) would be 3 g for all 3 vs 2y1g if you treated them as one target (following standard rules on attacking multiple targets with force checks).  That is unless you'd make them do opposing checks verses all 3 individually and then buy the magnitude upgrade for the force portion of the roll. OR if you make them take individual actions for all 3, then what's the purpose of the magnitude upgrade?

See how this gets a little more complicated, at least if you start treating minion groups inconsistently for targeting?  I guess I'm just saying be careful about treating the same "unit" or classification of enemy differently in different scenarios.

Personally I don't use "minion" groups except in mass combat situations for this very reason.  I just scale enemies to appropriate "power" and purpose for the encounter.

 

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37 minutes ago, TrystramK said:

the contested roll

Why? That's only for nemesis' and rivals.  It's an opposed roll - the 3g become 3p. Magnitude upgrade for 3 targets, so it's one roll for all. BUT: You need the force pips to activate the necessary upgrades.

Minion groups can be anything above 2, so treating them as one target can get out of hand rather quickly. Would be a bit too easy to just make 50 troopers look the other way, while the group marches into a Star Destroyer to place some Detonite ... ;)

 

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2 minutes ago, Sunrider said:

Why? That's only for nemesis' and rivals.  It's an opposed roll - the 3g become 3p. Magnitude upgrade for 3 targets, so it's one roll for all. BUT: You need the force pips to activate the necessary upgrades.

Minion groups can be anything above 2, so treating them as one target can get out of hand rather quickly. Would be a bit too easy to just make 50 troopers look the other way, while the group marches into a Star Destroyer to place some Detonite ... ;)

 

your point about contested rolls was exactly mine.  Minions do not get opposed checks per the book, but if you were to grant them one,  your method would result in a less challenging roll over all.    

To the "...50 stormtrooper..." comment,  that pretty much puts things on a much larger scale and probably would invoke the mass combat rules in Forged In Battle.   That said I doubt 50 npcs would be able to be in range of the Force user simultaneously to be mind tricked without some serious upgrades and lucky rolls.  

 

Also having a 50 + "group" of stormtroopers gets kinda silly. You are telling me  you wouldn't break them up into smaller "squads?"

 

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Five 10 men groups. Anything smaller and my PCs would not even consider it a nuisance.

Don't need mass combat for that - 'mass combat' to me is a battle on a truly military scale, involving at least a hundred combatants on both sides. Everything smaller is a skirmish and minions are easily mowed down.

But OK, I'm talking about PCs above the 1000 XP bar here (though they mowed through Stormtroopers even at lower levels ...).

53 minutes ago, TrystramK said:

your method would result in a less challenging roll over all.    

3 p vs. 2r1p is not that much less challenging. Red die just implore the possibility of Despair and a slightly hightened chance of failure. Given that they need to roll up more FP, I think that's more or less the same.

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2 hours ago, TrystramK said:

 

Also having a 50 + "group" of stormtroopers gets kinda silly. You are telling me  you wouldn't break them up into smaller "squads?"

 

5 squads would be 5 targets. And long range would be fine to spread them out. 

Personally I am fine with a force user pulling away the weapons of all 50 troopers if he can generate enought force pips for long range and 5 targets to effect those 5 squads. It would be consistent with canon. But if you consider each squad just one target you would only 4 force pips with move ... though you need anyway just 5 to throw them literally away ... so move has some problems anyway.

With influence you would need 5 pips. So we would see here consistent results when compared to move. 

I get how someone would like to limit force powers to individuals, but it is hard to recreate those bigger effects without considering minion groups and squads single targets. The main issue imho are force powers which grant you 4 upgraded in range or power for a single pip and thus a major pain in the GMs neck already once players reach a force rating of 3. With FR4 you can expect players to force throw star destroyers. 

 

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26 minutes ago, DaverWattra said:

Ten groups of five is a lot more lethal than five groups of ten. Double the initiative slots makes a big difference.

True. But squads of 10 are a standard unit and squads can deal with autofire while 10 groups of 5 minions will ... get easily decimated to 10 groups of 2 minions in two actions. Furthermore such minion groups are left with a pool of PA. :)
And I am not saying that 10 groups or even 12 groups is the wrong approach, but you don't want to deal with all this bookkeeping. Sometimes that TIE-Squadron is just one giant minion group for convenience, etc :) (did btw still blow up in a single action pc ;-))

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I've used 8-man squads of stormtroopers several times. Lets them lose a few guys without dropping in effectiveness, and it cuts down on initiative slots and actions to keep things moving. The fact that stormtroopers typically operate in 8-man squads is a bonus.

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18 hours ago, Sunrider said:

3 p vs. 2r1p is not that much less challenging. Red die just implore the possibility of Despair and a slightly hightened chance of failure. Given that they need to roll up more FP, I think that's more or less the same.

2R1p as you stated gives a heightened chance of failure including Despairs, which imply something going really wrong narratively.   This potentially introduces greater challenge to encounter depending on the roll, whereas the 3p roll you will max out at only failures and threats, providing potential for some challenge, but no where near dynamic a challenge as the potential for Despairs.

Minion groups are not supposed to be a "challenge" especially at that level of play. They are meant to be filler at best,  the cannon fodder that your villain doesn't expect to survive, but just wants to use to potentially weaken your pcs before they catch up with the villain.  

Given your statement that you need 10 member minion groups to "challenge" your PCs,  which means they have a crazy high pool to attack.  How did you scale gear acquisition?  I'm just asking because you are making the pc's out to be somewhat invulnerable to anything less than such massive minion groups.  Also, what other tools in your toolbox  do you use?

 

17 hours ago, SEApocalypse said:

 

5 squads would be 5 targets. And long range would be fine to spread them out. 

Personally I am fine with a force user pulling away the weapons of all 50 troopers if he can generate enought force pips for long range and 5 targets to effect those 5 squads. It would be consistent with canon. But if you consider each squad just one target you would only 4 force pips with move ... though you need anyway just 5 to throw them literally away ... so move has some problems anyway.

With influence you would need 5 pips. So we would see here consistent results when compared to move. 

I get how someone would like to limit force powers to individuals, but it is hard to recreate those bigger effects without considering minion groups and squads single targets. The main issue imho are force powers which grant you 4 upgraded in range or power for a single pip and thus a major pain in the GMs neck already once players reach a force rating of 3. With FR4 you can expect players to force throw star destroyers. 

 

 

I'm okay with a force user doing that as well.  but in the case of the 50 stormtroopers strong minion group, wouldn't it be better to impose magnitude (silhouette upgrades) to achieve this?

I'm good with less effort to influence huge minion groups as well.  

I'm not starring at the book at the moment, but I don't think a player at FR4 would have the pips to boost range to planetary level to reach up to the star destroyer AND upgrade magnitude enough to cover the silhouette of the star destroyer :P.   Regardless, I don't know that a player who is adverse to using both sides of the force will be able to get consistently high rolls of pips with only 4 force die.  Absol just made some great charts detailing these chances.

 

17 hours ago, SEApocalypse said:

True. But squads of 10 are a standard unit and squads can deal with autofire while 10 groups of 5 minions will ... get easily decimated to 10 groups of 2 minions in two actions. Furthermore such minion groups are left with a pool of PA. :)
And I am not saying that 10 groups or even 12 groups is the wrong approach, but you don't want to deal with all this bookkeeping. Sometimes that TIE-Squadron is just one giant minion group for convenience, etc :) (did btw still blow up in a single action pc ;-))

Depends on the point of the encounter.  If the goal of the encounter is to avoid fighting them, sure a massive minion group might make sense. It would also make sense if the PCs have a mass way to attack them (like a planetary scale weapon).  I don't know if you are having them fight through the entire group is good for the PCs without breaking the groups up smaller. 

 

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