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ErikModi

Speaks Binary Question

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A player of mine had a question about the Speaks Binary talent, and few others I recall cropping up as we've looked at it a few times.

First, does the character have to take any kind of action to "direct" the droids the talent refers to, granting them the Boost dice?  What constitutes "commanding" the droids in question?

And the biggie, the one the character asked today:  does Speaks Binary apply to combat checks?  Nothing says it doesn't, but nothing says specifically that it does, and it could get rather out of hand with some marginally-capable droid soldiers with mediocre skills, nevertheless getting four or five Boost dice per firing action (depending on if Advantages have been rolled that have also given boosts).  Add in the advanced abilities to allow the player to grant them his skill ranks once per session, and things could get really nuts.

So. . . thoughts?

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I think command droids (at least simple ones as remotes) is incidental, but it might be considered a maneuver. That is (if I recall correctly) explained in Special Modifications.

In this case that you're mentioning, I would consider this a maneuver per command. For example, changing target: a group of minions in a balcony to a group of minions at the entrance of a building. At rank 1, this talent might be considered better than a regular assist, and later is a great boost, at the expense of maneuvers.  

The paradox is that the better the droid is dealing with targets, the faster it will require additional commands

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On ‎9‎/‎2‎/‎2018 at 4:50 PM, ErikModi said:

And the biggie, the one the character asked today:  does Speaks Binary apply to combat checks?  Nothing says it doesn't, but nothing says specifically that it does, and it could get rather out of hand with some marginally-capable droid soldiers with mediocre skills, nevertheless getting four or five Boost dice per firing action (depending on if Advantages have been rolled that have also given boosts).  Add in the advanced abilities to allow the player to grant them his skill ranks once per session, and things could get really nuts.

I'd say no, as it applies to you commanding the droids to shoot something, not the droids ability to interpret that command; though you could apply Advantage/Triumphs generated by the Leadership check you made (which Speaks Binary would apply to) to boost/upgrade the combat check made by said droids.

Not quite the same, but probably close enough to keep the player happy.

 

Additionally, if you're talking Droid soldiers I'd look at the squads and squadrons rules in the AoR GM kit. Something like the Mission Specialist option might benefit from Speaks Binary when talking about droid troops...

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On 9/3/2018 at 1:07 AM, 2P51 said:

Giving commands is an Action.

EoE p. 200

It's a good Talent in those cases, 4 or 5 ranks would be a pretty step investment in xp, I see no issue.

Commands don't have to be long and involved to qualify for Speaks Binary,  no? Yelling KILL THEM ALL doesn't take an action.

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4 hours ago, Stan Fresh said:

Commands don't have to be long and involved to qualify for Speaks Binary,  no? Yelling KILL THEM ALL doesn't take an action.

Maybe that doesn't take up an action. However...

When I first have to think about it, convert it without outside help, and them yell "01001011010010010100110001001100001000000101010001001000010001010100110100100000010000010100110001001100" at the droids... I might take an hour. Or two.

?

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On 9/4/2018 at 1:12 PM, Ghostofman said:

I'd say no, as it applies to you commanding the droids to shoot something, not the droids ability to interpret that command; though you could apply Advantage/Triumphs generated by the Leadership check you made (which Speaks Binary would apply to) to boost/upgrade the combat check made by said droids.

Not quite the same, but probably close enough to keep the player happy.

So, not sure what you're getting at here.  Are you saying the Boost Dice from Speaks Binary apply to the character's check to Command the droids?  Because that's not how it's written, it says the character grants a Boost Die per rank to actions he commands the droids to perform.  So, yes, if it does work on attacks, if he commands them to attack a target, they get a Boost Die per rank to checks to attack that target.  Just like if he commanded a team of Astromechs to fix that hyperdrive, they'd get a Boost Die per rank on their Mechanics check to do so.

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5 minutes ago, ErikModi said:

So, not sure what you're getting at here.  Are you saying the Boost Dice from Speaks Binary apply to the character's check to Command the droids?  Because that's not how it's written, it says the character grants a Boost Die per rank to actions he commands the droids to perform.  So, yes, if it does work on attacks, if he commands them to attack a target, they get a Boost Die per rank to checks to attack that target.  Just like if he commanded a team of Astromechs to fix that hyperdrive, they'd get a Boost Die per rank on their Mechanics check to do so.

I stand corrected. What I get for not looking up the talent and just going off memory.

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1 minute ago, Ghostofman said:

I stand corrected. What I get for not looking up the talent and just going off memory.

Ah, thank you.  I was confused as if the the abbreviated description was completely different from the actual one, until I looked up the actual one and wondered what was going on.  Sorry about that.

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6 hours ago, ErikModi said:

So, not sure what you're getting at here.  Are you saying the Boost Dice from Speaks Binary apply to the character's check to Command the droids?  Because that's not how it's written, it says the character grants a Boost Die per rank to actions he commands the droids to perform.  So, yes, if it does work on attacks, if he commands them to attack a target, they get a Boost Die per rank to checks to attack that target.  Just like if he commanded a team of Astromechs to fix that hyperdrive, they'd get a Boost Die per rank on their Mechanics check to do so.

It is for what they do.  If you have a concern with the relative power level, you can tell your PC, if they want the droids to get the stack of Boost dice every round, then they need to use their Action to give them commands every round.  That's fair since it is pretty powerful.  They don't have to give commands every round imo though.  They could do that the first round, give them the Boost dice, and then on subsequent rounds do their own thing while the droids fight minus the stack of Boost dice.  Honestly someone with that many ranks of Speaks Binary should be ok with that, they built their guns with legs and they're called droids....

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Yeah, that's how I'm thinking I'll handle it.  The player in question is also the team medic, so it's going to very much be a choice between giving Boosts to his droids or healing party members in fights, so that seems a good trade-off.

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4 hours ago, 2P51 said:

It is for what they do.  If you have a concern with the relative power level, you can tell your PC, if they want the droids to get the stack of Boost dice every round, then they need to use their Action to give them commands every round.  That's fair since it is pretty powerful.  They don't have to give commands every round imo though.  They could do that the first round, give them the Boost dice, and then on subsequent rounds do their own thing while the droids fight minus the stack of Boost dice.  Honestly someone with that many ranks of Speaks Binary should be ok with that, they built their guns with legs and they're called droids....

The other balancing factor is the credits cost of droids. NPC droids don't have the same safety gap as PC droids. When they go down, the GM can rule them destroyed. This can start to eat up a lot of credits, especially in a game that otherwise is pretty minimal about upkeep costs. Even an Antiquated Battle Droid (the now-classic B1) costs 6,500 credits to replace. A Minion group of 4 B1s costs more than any lightsaber crystal and is far more vulnerable to being lost in battle. If you have bottomless pockets, this doesn't matter much, but I have yet to see such a game.

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53 minutes ago, Stan Fresh said:

Would you make other player characters forego their action for telling someone "shoot them", "get to the thing", "fix it"?

 

For communication purposes, no.  For granting actual bonuses to an action, as a wise woman once said, "abso-fraggin-lutely."

There's a world of difference between "fix the doohicky" and "stabilize the plasma flow and ground the charge capacitor before removing the shunt turner and replacing the flux inverter with the flow overloader and you'll need a thirty-two milimeter antihex head to unfasten everything."

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26 minutes ago, ErikModi said:

For communication purposes, no.  For granting actual bonuses to an action, as a wise woman once said, "abso-fraggin-lutely."

There's a world of difference between "fix the doohicky" and "stabilize the plasma flow and ground the charge capacitor before removing the shunt turner and replacing the flux inverter with the flow overloader and you'll need a thirty-two milimeter antihex head to unfasten everything."

But the talent doesn't require the latter kind of explanation.

 

 

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9 minutes ago, ErikModi said:

Apparently it does, if the rules define "Giving Commands" as taking an action.

They don't, though.

"with a series of orders" is part of the rules text.

Where is the series of orders in "stop them"? In "climb up there"?

 

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, Stan Fresh said:

They don't, though.

"with a series of orders" is part of the rules text.

Where is the series of orders in "stop them"? In "climb up there"?

 

 

 

 

That is insufficient coordination to justify between one and five boost dice, as well as using the character's skill in place of the commanded droids' skills with more advanced versions of the talent.

Adding bonuses to checks costs something.  And don't say "the XP is a cost," because many other talents or other abilities that provide bonuses either do so in limited circumstances or require you to do something to get the bonus, such as spending an action or maneuver or other "combat resource."

So Speaks Binary taking an action makes perfect sense, and keeps it from being game-breakingly powerful, which is what my concern was when I posted this question.

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2 minutes ago, Stan Fresh said:

Now you're just embarrassing yourself.

 

First, you don't need to be insulting.

Second, someone helpfully supplied a rule and page which states giving orders requires an action.  All you have offered in response "no it doesn't."  If you can cite a page number that states an exception to "giving orders is an action," go right ahead.

Speaks Binary says "any tasks he directs a non-player droid to perform."  And as mentioned, page 200 of Edge of Empire states "instructing allies with a series of orders" is an action.  Seems pretty open and shut.

It's not only there in the rules, but I have explained why it makes sense to me, both from a game-balance perspective and the perspective of a simple "shoot the thing!" not being sufficient direction to justify a bonus.  You have yet to defend your position with. . . well, anything at all, really.

I'd love to hear a clear counter-argument for this, really I would.  If you have one, by all means, let us hear it.

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