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RandolphCarter24

knives under-powered?

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I ran an Age of Rebellion session in which the PCs snuck up to some Imperials and tried to dispatch them with their vibroknives. But they ran into a lot of difficulty since the knives barely did any damage; many hits didn't make it past the soak value. Using their blasters, with the engaged penalty, almost seemed a better bet. Do knives seem under-powered to anyone else? I understand they're much less powerful than blasters, and it would be hard to cut through heavy clothing. Even with the pierce quality there's still little effect. Is it meant to be reliant on crits? Has anyone tried a house rule letting players ignore soak if they do a "called shot" to the neck?

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I did the "called shot" option once and immediately regretted it. 

Talents, attachments, mods, and more ranks can boost knives. But otherwise I think the comment of "Don't bring a knife to a gun fight" stands strong. 

Consider Deadly Accuracy, Lethal Blows, Frenzied Attack, Feral Strength can all help with the damage. Also I think a PC that is making a melee attack against an engaged character equipped with a ranged weapon gains a Boost to their attack. 

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I've given big boost dice if the character successfully sneaks up behind somebody and attacks from behind.  If they are right behind somebody with a knife and the target has no idea they're there, I'd throw them at least two, and maybe three blues.  

Edited by Split Light

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Here's the thing.  In a regular fight in this system, a knife isn't a very dangerous weapon, even a vibroknife which benefits from Pierce 1 and a lower crit rating.

Of course, a vibroknife becomes a very deadly weapon in the hands of someone that's extensively trained in their usage, primarily via talents such as the ones that Lukey84 noted.

I would be extremely hesitant to allow any sort of "called shot" effect that lets a PC bypass the target's soak bonus from armor or soak in general, as the PCs are going to very quickly make that their "go to" option with any sort of attacks any time that they can.

Now, if you want to do the instant stealthy takedowns that you see in videogames and stealth-based video games, especially if the target is a random mook (i.e. a minion), then the best way to do that is not with a combat skill check, but instead with an opposed Stealth vs. victim's Perception; if the Stealther wins, then they get to narrate out the victim is taken out.

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7 hours ago, rogue_09 said:

Donovan's method is how I run it. I accept Skullduggery as well—sort of in line with the Palm Stunner. For a knife, it's really only good for dropping a minion, but minions exist to be easily dispatched.

The Palm Stunner is a great reference. Also the Garrotte from the new Cyphers and Masks book. Or let the player make a Stealth check and while they're equipped with the Vibro-Knife and succesful they can simply dispatch the target. I'll check the Cyphers and Masks book later tonight to see if it has anything about using the Stealth skill like this. 

Update: It does not.

Edited by Lukey84
Checked C&M

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19 hours ago, RandolphCarter24 said:

Is it meant to be reliant on crits?

Yes.

While Rivals will still pose a little effort, vs. minions that low Crit is the thing. 

Consider a Vibroknife in the hands of a Brawn 3 character vs. a Stormtrooper. Make an Attack resulting in 1 success, 2 Advantage. At resulting Damage 5, with Pierce 2, you'd do enough to inflict a wound or two, allow you to use the 2 Advantage to Crit. Boom, Minion is removed from play.

 

Now pair that up with an Encounter scenario:

19 hours ago, RandolphCarter24 said:

I ran an Age of Rebellion session in which the PCs snuck up to some Imperials and tried to dispatch them with their vibroknives.

Ok. So My players, Steve and Suzie, are sneaking around Scarif planting explosives for a big diversion. Up through the trees they see a pair of Stormtroopers. They want to sneak up and take them out all quiet like. Since they haven't done anything that would cause these troopers to be aware of a Rebel presence, this is going to be more of a skill challenge than a combat scenario. So I structure it as such. The troopers are at short range from Suzie and Steve, and to each other. They are not grouped up because they aren't actively working together, they are just kinda walking around looking for anything obviously suspicious. So I say first Steve and Suize need to make a  Stealth Check vs. the individual troopers Vigilance to move into engaged range without being detected. They both succeed and are now each engaged to a Stormtrooper. 

Now they need to attack. Steve goes first, generating 2 Success, 3 Threat and 1 Triumph. He gets enough to Crit with his vibro-knife, and does, removing the trooper from play. The GM says the three threat alert the other trooper "What the?" and has the Trooper and Suzie enter structured time to see if she can move fast enough. The trooper uses vigilance for his initiative, Suzie can use either Cool or Vigilance. Since she's armed, up close, and ready to strike, Suzie asks if she can have a boost on her initiative, which the GM allows. Suzie gets to go first. She makes her attack netting 3 Success, 2 advantage, and crits that Stormtrooper as well.  

 

Boom, encounter complete, Steve and Suzie can continue planting explosives undetected.

Edited by Ghostofman

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23 hours ago, Mark Caliber said:

balloon-people with parents, a wife, and 2.4 kids . . . :(

They might even be just weeks away from retirement.

They chose to be stormtroopers. I chose to liberate the people. They . . . interfered with my choice, and now they don't get to chose anything.

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What about just having it be similar to other games, where their defense doesn't factor into the attack roll?   If we're talking about minions, then sure, the "Make a stealth check, and they just die" rule seems fine, though it precludes taking out multiple people with a damage roll, which is a possible outcome for an attack on a minion group.   And there is precedent in movies/tv/everything else, of some sneaky bada$$ getting the jump on 2-3 guards in a cluster, and taking them all out in a stealthy succession.  Or multiple at once, ala Assassin's Creed double wrist blade kills, or Deus Ex's combo takedowns.   

Plus, the "make stealth, they die" doesn't help when dealing with sneak attacks on Rivals/Nemesisesssess (i hate trying to pluralize that word :P

How about just doing the Stealth vs Perception check, and if you succeed, the first attack on that target (or group if it's minions) will only be positive dice?    That way there would be no way for any results to be negated, which is kind of the point of a sneak attack/attack of opportunity.  You still might not kill them, in fact with a Rival/Nemesis, it should be a guarantee, but you are far more likely to roll a lot of successes, which could still get through their soak.    This would also allow for the possibility, on a REALLY good attack, on a minion group, to drop more than just one with the check.   Unless you rule the "Make Stealth, They Die" rule applies to the entire minion group.

That doesn't seem to unbalanced to me, as the difficulty of the Stealth check (and any possible boost die moving forward on the attack check), would still potentially prevent the sneak attack in the first place.

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2 minutes ago, RandolphCarter24 said:

I thought it was Nemesi.

BTW, I love the direction this thread has taken...and also appreciate KungFuFerret's suggestion. That may work. 

Nope:

Quote
Dictionary
 
 
nem·e·sis
ˈneməsəs/
noun
plural noun: nemeses
  1. the inescapable agent of someone's or something's downfall.
    "the balance beam was the team's nemesis, as two gymnasts fell from the apparatus"
    synonyms: archrival, adversary, foe, opponent, arch enemy
    "they were beaten in the final by their nemesis"
    • a long-standing rival; an archenemy.
      "will Harry Potter finally defeat his nemesis, Voldemort?"
    • a downfall caused by an inescapable agent.
      "one risks nemesis by uttering such words"
      synonyms: downfall, undoing, ruin, ruination, destruction, Waterloo
      "this could be the bank's nemesis"

 

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30 minutes ago, HappyDaze said:

Saw Gerrera would be proud. 

Nah, Saw Gerrera would assume it's some Imperial trick to infiltrate his cave with spies, and sick the hentai tentacle monster on you.  Because Borgollet always knows!!   :P  Personally I think he just gets off on tentacle pron, and that's why he keeps that thing around.

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1 hour ago, KungFuFerret said:

Plus, the "make stealth, they die" doesn't help when dealing with sneak attacks on Rivals/Nemesisesssess (i hate trying to pluralize that word :P

That's the thing, you sneak attack a Minion, they drop to the floor, unconscious or dead. A Rival, they move slightly at the wrong time and go down in pain shouting. A Nemesis, they turn around to you and grin . . .

Edited by Darzil

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1 hour ago, Darzil said:

That's the thing, you sneak attack a Minion, they drop to the floor, unconscious or dead. A Rival, they move slightly at the wrong time and go down in pain shouting. A Nemesis, they turn around to you and grin . . .

There are plenty of examples in storytelling of Rivals, even Nemesis being attacked by surprise, usually by the Hero.  So it's not without precedent for the Big Bad to at least get seriously hurt, if not outright killed by a sneak attack.    Of course, in this system, it's very easy to say they don't actually DIE until they roll the Death Critical Injury result.  If it applies to players I don't see why it wouldn't apply to a Big Bad.   You can have them be horribly scarred, and come back with a lust for vengence on the players.

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36 minutes ago, KungFuFerret said:

There are plenty of examples in storytelling of Rivals, even Nemesis being attacked by surprise, usually by the Hero.  So it's not without precedent for the Big Bad to at least get seriously hurt, if not outright killed by a sneak attack.    Of course, in this system, it's very easy to say they don't actually DIE until they roll the Death Critical Injury result.  If it applies to players I don't see why it wouldn't apply to a Big Bad.   You can have them be horribly scarred, and come back with a lust for vengence on the players.

Han Solo and Snoke both die to surprise hits. Sure, it's from the lightsaber of a weepy man-baby, but a Real Man (TM) should be able to do it with a knife (or even a spoon...).

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7 minutes ago, HappyDaze said:

Han Solo and Snoke both die to surprise hits. Sure, it's from the lightsaber of a weepy man-baby, but a Real Man (TM) should be able to do it with a knife (or even a spoon...).

In both cases it's also easy to interpret it as hot NPC on NPC action.

 

Not saying getting an "easy" kill via sneak-attack takedown is out of the cards, just that as a cinematic system and setting, if someone is important enough to be a rival or nemesis, he's probably also important enough to not go down like a punk.

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40 minutes ago, Ghostofman said:

In both cases it's also easy to interpret it as hot NPC on NPC action.

Not saying getting an "easy" kill via sneak-attack takedown is out of the cards, just that as a cinematic system and setting, if someone is important enough to be a rival or nemesis, he's probably also important enough to not go down like a punk.

Well, both Han and Snoke's deaths were outside of standard structured combat, so the GM could very easily handwave it as them being the equivalent of "helpless" and thus any critical injury either resulted in an instant death result or the crit roll got a substantial bonus, or that any ranks of Adversary they might have are ignored when Kylo makes his Lightsaber combat check.

Plus, I could see Kylo Ren having at least a few ranks of Lethal Blows along with a Crit Rating of 1 and multiple ranks of Vicious on his lightsaber, allowing him to very easily rack up a high bonus to his crit rolls, enough to make "target dies" an almost certain thing.

Edited by Donovan Morningfire

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