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Atticus Havelock

Musings on the Advisor

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Over the course of the past week, I have found my interests piqued by the Force & Destiny specialization known as the Advisor.  In order to better understand the spec, I listened to Order 66 podcast episode 110, which covered the ins and outs of the Advisor.  It was a thought provoking discussion, as the Order 66 podcast usually is.  However, there were some points I felt they missed and so I am compelled to post my opinions to this esteemed forum.

 

First off, I fully understand the perception that the specialization seems better suited to the Consular class, as that was my initial impression too.  After delving into the spec a bit, I begin to see why it fits where it does.  The GM’s on Order 66 characterized the class as being a Silver Tongue and an In the Know character.  Being In the Know is exactly why it fits the Mystic class.  This is the core essence of the Mystic and it largely achieves this moniker by being able to interact well with people, who often possess knowledge the Advisor wants.

 

To this end, there are three core Force Powers that best suit the Advisor.  The Order 66 GM’s hit on the obvious two, which are Influence and Ebb/Flow, but missed the other, which (in my opinion) is Sense.  Specifically the Control upgrade that allows the user to read a target’s surface thoughts.  When an Advisor is providing counsel on a trade negotiation or a peace treaty, being able to read the surface thoughts of the other side’s representatives would be a HUGE advantage to his side’s position.  Obviously, this vastly increases his value as an Advisor.

 

The left hand column of the Sense power also provides him with some aptitude in combat, in which the Advisor is severely lacking and adds to his all-around flexibility as a player character.

 

When it comes to cross-specialization, there was one omitted by the GM’s and that I feel is eminently suitable to the Advisor.  That is the Force-Sensitive Exile.  While it might seem as though the principle benefit of the spec is neutered (that being the free rank in Force Rating), the spec still has a lot of benefit to the Advisor.  

 

Insight gives you Discipline as a class skill, which is useful for social defense and Influence’s “mind trick.”  Force-Sensitive Exile offers two ranks of Uncanny Reactions and Senses.  Uncanny Senses fits with the Advisors theme of In the Know, by virtue of their ability to more keenly perceive the world around them.  Uncanny Vigilance is the same and acts as a support talent for group initiative.  Since the Advisor has both Perception and Vigilance as class skills, there is good synergy here.

 

There is similar synergy with Convincing Demeanor and Streetwise, both of which augment the Advisor’s class skills of Deception and Streetwise.  Sense Danger and Touch of Fate are great all-around support talents that, with the Advisor’s Sense Advantage talent, round out the boosting trilogy.

 

Then, of course, there is the center of the talent tree, which is the treasure at the end of the rainbow.  Another rank of Sense Emotions to boost the Advisor’s focus on social interaction, plus Overwhelm Emotions, which can be boosted by the Advisor’s Knowledge is Power talent.  This makes the Advisor an absolute beast in social combat (moreso than they already are).

 

In the accompanying column, you have another means of stress recovery with Balance, which can also be boosted by Knowledge is Power.  Then you get Intense Focus, arguably one of the best talents in the game.  With Balance and Contingency Plan (from the Advisor, natch), you have plenty of ways to recover huge swaths of strain.  Even more if you also count Ebb/Flow.

 

With Sixth Sense and Superior Reflexes at the bottom of the tree, you also get more survivability in combat to add in with Sense.

 

When it comes to races that are particularly well-suited to the Advisor, the Order 66 missed a really good one, which is the Pantiran.  3 in Presence, but 1 in Willpower might at first glance seem poorly suited for the Advisor, which wants a good Willpower stat.  However, the Pantorans get 110 starting experience, which, by trading on Morality for 10 more experience, means that your three most importants stats (Cunning, Willpower, and Presence) can start with 3’s in two and 4 in the other.

 

Plus, the Pantoran has a strain threshold of 11 plus Willpower, making it better than average.  And Pantorans get a free rank in Negotiation or Cool, both of which are key to the Advisor.

 

So that’s my analysis of the Advisor and my argument for why my Pantoran Advisor/Force-Sensitive Exile is gonna be badass.  Lol.  But if you like this class and want to know what the **** I’m rambling about, check out Order 66 episode 110 - Forceful Advice.  It’s a good one!

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This has always seemed like a bit of an underwhelming spec to me.  The only talents on the tree that really look enticing are Contingency Plan and Natural Charmer.  And I guess Knowledge is Power is good at medium-low levels if you put a lot of points into Knowledge: Lore.  Aside from these it's a lot of talents that really don't accomplish anything you couldn't do just as well or better by ranking up your social skills.

On 3/26/2018 at 3:24 AM, Atticus Havelock said:

In the accompanying column, you have another means of stress recovery with Balance, which can also be boosted by Knowledge is Power.

The thing about Balance is, it used to be great before Disciples of Harmony... but it's strictly inferior to Ebb/Flow.  (Unless your GM rules that Ebb/Flow only works in structured encounters, which is the house rule my group uses.)

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The thing about Knowledge is Power is that it allows you to use your ranks in Lore in place of your CURRENT Force rating for one roll.  So you can commit your entire Force rating of 5 or higher to Force powers or talents, and then still make the occasional Force power check using Knowledge is Power.

Survival of the Fittest works the same way.

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4 hours ago, Vek Baustrade said:

Bear in mind Sense Emotions is not a ranked talent. You only get it once. 

Aside from that, I think you're pretty spot on. Either Exile or Emergent synergizes well with Mystic.

Well now, I’ll be.  I don’t usually play Force users, so this totally escaped me.  Spot on.  Thanks!

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2 hours ago, DaverWattra said:

This has always seemed like a bit of an underwhelming spec to me.  The only talents on the tree that really look enticing are Contingency Plan and Natural Charmer.  And I guess Knowledge is Power is good at medium-low levels if you put a lot of points into Knowledge: Lore.  Aside from these it's a lot of talents that really don't accomplish anything you couldn't do just as well or better by ranking up your social skills.

The thing about Balance is, it used to be great before Disciples of Harmony... but it's strictly inferior to Ebb/Flow.  (Unless your GM rules that Ebb/Flow only works in structured encounters, which is the house rule my group uses.)

I just recently picked up Disciples of Harmony and have yet to give Ebb/Flow a good look yet.  I’ll keep that in mind.  On the surface, it did look pretty good.  Enough so that I planned to buy it up in addition to Sense.  I liked the whole Yes/No upgrade in particular.

The Advisor scratches a lot of itches for me.  I like social characters and this one gives me the best spread of class skills to which I’m usually drawn.  And I do like the talents, in so much as they are useful at our games.

Know Somebody (and Black Market Contacts) can typically be used in our games to generate contacts or to purchase information.  And any of the talents that remove setback dice are useful because we tend to add black dice in lieu of bumping up difficulties.  I’m sure most people just wished those talents added advantage dice (I know I do), but they don’t so we work hard at our table to ensure their utility.  That means almost all skill checks have some kind of setback to them.

Nobody’s Fool is great for social defense, which we do utilize in our games.  I like the Smooth Talker talent, but it is a poor substitute for the better social talents like Congenial and Intimidating.  I’m waiting for a corresponding talent for Deception to make its appearance.

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Generally yes.  The difference between the two that I see is that the talent Sense Emotions is a passive ability that requires no specific action; however, it requires you to interact with the target over time, hence the benefit being applied to a social check of some sort.

The Sense power, on the other hand, requires an action, meaning you have to stop and concentrate.  You don't need to actually interact with the target, but you also can't interact with the target while using it; it takes your action while you focus your senses.  So it'll give you a boost on your next check, possibly more, but it may trigger some alarm bells if you stop and close your eyes for a minute before responding to everything that's said.

Edited by Absol197

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19 minutes ago, Absol197 said:

Generally yes.  The difference between the two that I see is that the talent Sense Emotions is a passive ability that requires no specific action; however, it requires you to interact with the target over time, hence the benefit being applied to a social check of some sort.

The Sense power, on the other hand, requires an action, meaning you have to stop and concentrate.  You don't need to actually interact with the target, but you also can't interact with the target while using it; it takes your action while you focus your senses.  So it'll give you a boost on your next check, possibly more, but it may trigger some alarm bells if you stop and close your eyes for a minute before responding to everything that's said.

Makes sense.  Perfect for the Advisor who is kinda standing off to the side, sort of unnoticed, eyes closed as he listens to others talk, and then interjects at the appropriate moment.

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2 hours ago, Absol197 said:

The thing about Knowledge is Power is that it allows you to use your ranks in Lore in place of your CURRENT Force rating for one roll.  So you can commit your entire Force rating of 5 or higher to Force powers or talents, and then still make the occasional Force power check using Knowledge is Power.

Survival of the Fittest works the same way.

Nice, that never occurred to me! These talents are much better than I thought.

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On 3/27/2018 at 9:43 PM, Absol197 said:

The thing about Knowledge is Power is that it allows you to use your ranks in Lore in place of your CURRENT Force rating for one roll.  So you can commit your entire Force rating of 5 or higher to Force powers or talents, and then still make the occasional Force power check using Knowledge is Power.

Survival of the Fittest works the same way.

I didn't think you could do this?

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It's worded in a confusing fashion.  Basically, these talents replace the number of dice you would roll on a Force power check with a number of dice equal to your ranks in a skill.  So if I have a Force rating of 8 (geebus, what kind of campaign is this?!) and no committed effects, the talents are worthless.  But if I've committed one die to Sense for defense, and three more to get my Brawn to 6, and another three to the bottom tier Seek control, I'm only rolling 1 Force die normally.  So I can use Knowledge is Power to replace my 1 Force die with 5 (which is my Lore rank).

 

EDIT:  Here's another way to look at it - these talents indicate you use your ranks in the skill as your Force rating "on one check."  The talents only apply when you're rolling a Force power check.  What Force rating do you use when making a check?  You use your Current Force rating, not your Total Force rating.

So, by definition, the talent is replacing your current Force rating with your ranks in the associated skill for one check per session. 

Edited by Absol197

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6 hours ago, GranSolo said:

Quick question: Could you learn Project/Unleash if you have Lore 3 and Knowledge is Power?

I'd rule no on that, as the requirement for Protect/Unleash is based off your total Force Rating, while Knowledge is Power only temporarily increases your current Force Rating for a single check. 

If the player flipped a Destiny Point, I might let someone with Lore 3 and KiP use the base power of Protect/Unleash the turn they activate KiP, but I wouldn't let them actually start purchasing into the tree until their total Force Rating hits 3.

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6 hours ago, GranSolo said:

Quick question: Could you learn Project/Unleash if you have Lore 3 and Knowledge is Power?

No, because Force rating requirements on powers use you full Force rating as the metric.  Also, Knowledge is Power doesn't actually increase your Force rating, it only changes the number of dice you roll on one single check.  If you have Force rating 1, Lore 3, and Knowledge is Power, you can use KiP to roll 3 Force dice to activate a power, but even though you rolled 3 dice you still only have a Force rating of 1.  If that power has something that's measured off of Force rating (such as the ability of the Alter power to create a corrosive atmosphere), it would still only use your actual Force rating of 1.

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