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ErikModi

Speaks Binary Question

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1 minute ago, ErikModi said:

Except that's not how any other talents that grant "unique" incidentals, maneuvers, or actions work, to my knowledge.

Speaks Binary doesn't grant a unique Action. It offers a passive bonus as a rider when you complete the general "give orders" Action and the subjects of that Action are NPC droids.

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51 minutes ago, ErikModi said:

Except that's not how any other talents that grant "unique" incidentals, maneuvers, or actions work, to my knowledge.

I disagree, most are like that.  Inspiring Rhetoric and Scathing Tirade provide a unique outcome Action that becomes a Maneuver with the Supreme version.  Full Throttle is an Action with Improved making it a Maneuver.  Over Charge to Improved adds the ability to perform a second Action.  Most of these format Talents get better and lower the cost from Action to Maneuver typically.

In fact why would I waste the xp on Supreme at all?  If Speaks Binary is an Incidental I can perform multiple Incidentals every turn.  By that logic path I can give 4 separate labor droids the separate command to attack one target.  Each armed with a beefy vibro weapon, which you can easily mod to have Accuracy, lower crit and vicious.  Each one has been gifted a stack of Boost dice from my multiple ranks of Speaks Binary, each can aim once, each has a rank of Accuracy, so they get 6 or 7 Boost dice along with their 3 Greens and modded weapons.  That will be GGGBBBBBB vs difficulty x 4 and I have spent zero Strain, Zero Maneuvers, and Zero Actions to do that.  I can do it every round. 

What is so great about being able to supplement my Skill ranks on one of them once in an encounter? For the cost of a Maneuver? That would make the Supreme version a complete waste of xp imo.   Not only wold it suck it actually goes completely upstream against the bulk of the Talents formatted like this.

Edited by 2P51

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Inspiring Rhetoric and Scathing Tirade are actions, with set skill and difficulty.

But I agree with you that incidental might be to OP. BTW, Is there a limit on how many Incidental a PC can take in a single round? I'm not sure.

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1 minute ago, 2P51 said:

I disagree, most are like that.  Inspiring Rhetoric and Scathing Tirade provide a unique outcome Action that becomes a Maneuver with the Supreme version.  Full Throttle is an Action with Improved making it a Maneuver.  Over Charge to Improved adds the ability to perform a second Action.  Most of these format Talents get better and lower the cost from Action to Maneuver typically. 

But those also specifically state that the X action becomes a maneuver, usually by adding a Strain cost or something similar.  Supreme Speaks Binary just gives the Speaks Binary maneuver at improved effect, indicating it's more powerful than Speaks Binary (basic) and thus requiring an additional cost.  What I mean by "no talent works that way" is that no Talent I'm aware of that grants a specific incidental/maneuver/action and then downgrades it doesn't call out in the Basic version that it is its own specific incidental/maneuver/action.

5 minutes ago, 2P51 said:

In fact why would I waste the xp on Supreme at all?  If Speaks Binary is an Incidental I can perform multiple Incidentals every turn.  By that logic path I can give 4 separate labor droids the separate command to attack one target.  Each armed with a beefy vibro weapon, which you can easily mod to have Accuracy, lower crit and vicious.  Each one has been gifted a stack of Boost dice from my multiple ranks of Speaks Binary, each can aim once, each has a rank of Accuracy, so they get 6 or 7 Boost dice along with their 3 Greens and modded weapons.  That will be GGGBBBBBB vs difficulty x 4 and I have spent zero Strain, Zero Maneuvers, and Zero Actions to do that.  I can do it every round.  What is so great about being able to supplement my Skill ranks on one of them once in an encounter?  That would make the Supreme version a complete waste of xp imo.   

The fact that Supreme Speaks Binary specifically allows multiple targets indicates to me that Speaks Binary (basic) can only be used on one target, and only once per round.  The rules say there's no "hard" limit on how many incidentals one may do during a turn, but the GM is free to set limits based on how realistic it seems to be that you could do that many things.  Moreover, aren't there other instances of incidentals that can only be performed once per turn?  I can't think of any off the top of my head, but I'm sure I've seen a few.

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7 minutes ago, ErikModi said:

But those also specifically state that the X action becomes a maneuver, usually by adding a Strain cost or something similar.  Supreme Speaks Binary just gives the Speaks Binary maneuver at improved effect, indicating it's more powerful than Speaks Binary (basic) and thus requiring an additional cost.  What I mean by "no talent works that way" is that no Talent I'm aware of that grants a specific incidental/maneuver/action and then downgrades it doesn't call out in the Basic version that it is its own specific incidental/maneuver/action.

The fact that Supreme Speaks Binary specifically allows multiple targets indicates to me that Speaks Binary (basic) can only be used on one target, and only once per round.  The rules say there's no "hard" limit on how many incidentals one may do during a turn, but the GM is free to set limits based on how realistic it seems to be that you could do that many things.  Moreover, aren't there other instances of incidentals that can only be performed once per turn?  I can't think of any off the top of my head, but I'm sure I've seen a few.

First as I've already pointed out there are numerous Talents that don't tell you it's an Action.  Solid Repairs doesn't tell you it's a Mechanics check, you have to look that up in skills to know to use Mechanics.  It also doesn't tell you that repairing something is a skill check, and therefore an Action.  You have to look that up as well.

In addition this completely ignores the fact that giving commands to allies is specifically listed as an Action in the section on the rules for Actions.  Most Talents don't use the word Action unless they are providing a new unique Action, like Scathing Tirade and Inspiring Rhetoric, both of which's base Skill does not allow for their use in that manner unless you have the Talent.

Being able to perform 1 Maneuver, which takes one of my Maneuvers and only adds my skill to one check once per encounter when compared to being able to stack multiple activations of the base Talent as an Incidental is an awful Talent.

Frenzied Attack is an active Incidental, but it specifically tells you it's used when you are performing a combat check (which again, you don't know a check is an Action unless you've read that section).

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However, as also pointed out, "speaking" is an incidental.  So is "Speaks Binary" issuing a command, or speaking?  Arguments can be made for either, and it's just not clear at all which is the intent.  Once you look at Supreme Speaks Binary, it seems the intent for Speaks Binary (basic) is not that it's its own action.  But honestly, I just have no clue at this point and am tempted to ban the frelling thing from my table on principle.

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On 9/7/2018 at 6:08 PM, 2P51 said:

All Simple Difficulty checks are Actions with no dice.  Like say for instance, ordering droids you made to do something.....

Not exactly. A simple check is different from just succeeding at something. You could still roll complete blanks for example, failure is still possible.

Telling a droid "Shoot that guy" requires no roll and is an incidental, but no bonuses. Telling a droid "shoot that guy, he's got a weakness in his armor at the joints. Maintain a suppressive fire while XG-9 flanks his position to take him out!". That would give the droid boost dice, and require an action.

Speaks Binary would definitely be way broken without being an action.

Edited by BadMotivator

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4 hours ago, Rithuan said:

Inspiring Rhetoric and Scathing Tirade are actions, with set skill and difficulty.

But I agree with you that incidental might be to OP. BTW, Is there a limit on how many Incidental a PC can take in a single round? I'm not sure.

Other than the GM Veto, there isn't a limit. I think most RPGs work this way too. They deliberately do not limit the number of free actions/incidentals/minor actions that a PC can do purely because its not something you should have a hard limit on. It should be dictated by the situation.

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8 minutes ago, BadMotivator said:

Not exactly. A simple check is different from just succeeding at something. You could still roll complete blanks for example, failure is still possible.

Telling a droid "Shoot that guy" requires no roll and is an incidental, but no bonuses. Telling a droid "shoot that guy, he's got a weakness in his armor at the joints. Maintain a suppressive fire while XG-9 flanks his position to take him out!". That would give the droid boost dice, and require an action.

Speaks Binary would definitely be way broken without being an action.

Only one action? You're basically telling the droid: "01110011 01101000 01101111 01101111 01110100 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100001 01110100 00100000 01100111 01110101 01111001 00101100 00100000 01101000 01100101 00100111 01110011 00100000 01100111 01101111 01110100 00100000 01100001 00100000 01110111 01100101 01100001 01101011 01101110 01100101 01110011 01110011 00100000 01101001 01101110 00100000 01101000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01100001 01110010 01101101 01101111 01110010 00100000 01100001 01110100 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01101010 01101111 01101001 01101110 01110100 01110011 00101110 00100000 01001101 01100001 01101001 01101110 01110100 01100001 01101001 01101110 00100000 01100001 00100000 01110011 01110101 01110000 01110000 01110010 01100101 01110011 01110011 01101001 01110110 01100101 00100000 01100110 01101001 01110010 01100101 00100000 01110111 01101000 01101001 01101100 01100101 00100000 01011000 01000111 00101101 00111001 00100000 01100110 01101100 01100001 01101110 01101011 01110011 00100000 01101000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01110000 01101111 01110011 01101001 01110100 01101001 01101111 01101110 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01110100 01100001 01101011 01100101 00100000 01101000 01101001 01101101 00100000 01101111 01110101 01110100 00100001"

?

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I re-read the Remote section (page 53 of Special Modification), and I recall that bit, all wrong:

  • Remotes possess rudimentary intelligence (for a simple task). Function as less intelligent and unsophisticated droids
  • A PC can control one (with the correct set up as slicing gear or linked data pad) as a maneuver.
  • A complex command might require an action, and computer check.
  • At GM discretion, might require more than an action to a program.

So, yeah. I was completely wrong. 

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49 minutes ago, BadMotivator said:

Not exactly. A simple check is different from just succeeding at something. You could still roll complete blanks for example, failure is still possible.

Telling a droid "Shoot that guy" requires no roll and is an incidental, but no bonuses. Telling a droid "shoot that guy, he's got a weakness in his armor at the joints. Maintain a suppressive fire while XG-9 flanks his position to take him out!". That would give the droid boost dice, and require an action.

Speaks Binary would definitely be way broken without being an action.

Quote

Simple Tasks (-)

A simple task is something so basic and routine that the outcome is rarely in doubt. Success is assumed for the majority of simple tasks. If failure is virtually impossible, the task should not even require a check—the GM may simply state the proposed action succeeds.

 

Edited by 2P51

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While agree that giving orders takes an Action,  I cannot agree that an Action spent giving orders only applies those orders to a single individual. A quarterback doesn't need to spend a distinct Action on each player to get them all to make the play. 

Edited by HappyDaze

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I would rule that giving NPC droids a complex command would usually require a maneuver. This would be both in line with two other instances in the rules where giving complex orders requires a maneuver:

  • Savage Spirits, p. 69, animal companion rules: A PC can spend a maneuver to direct an animal he has bonded with via the Animal Bond talent. The bonded animal then gets to perform an action and a maneuver. If the PC does not spend a maneuver to command the animal, it won't contribute to the encounter during that round.
  • AoR GM Screen, p. 27, squadron rules: a PC can spend a maneuver to perform a Leadership check to form a squadron with a minion NPC group or to direct the squadron to form a specific formation.
Edited by FeBommel

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3 hours ago, FeBommel said:

I would rule that giving NPC droids a complex command would usually require a maneuver. This would be both in line with two other instances in the rules where giving complex orders requires a maneuver:

  • Savage Spirits, p. 69, animal companion rules: A PC can spend a maneuver to direct an animal he has bonded with via the Animal Bond talent. The bonded animal then gets to perform an action and a maneuver. If the PC does not spend a maneuver to command the animal, it won't contribute to the encounter during that round.
  • AoR GM Screen, p. 27, squadron rules: a PC can spend a maneuver to perform a Leadership check to form a squadron with a minion NPC group or to direct the squadron to form a specific formation.

Actually, one might debate such orders you mention as other instances are not so complex. In the example of a squadron, the leader only has to yell "Form up on me, attack pattern delta!" Just saying that would also qualify as an incidental, but the rules actually make this a maneuver, because it also has actual rules effects associated with them.

In that way, Speaks Binary should also (at least) be a maneuver like you say. But as @ErikModi said, why would Supreme Speaks Binary turn the use of Speaks Binary a maneuver, as such implying it would have been an action all along?

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The simple solution is to make basic Speaks Binary an Action and the Supreme Speaks Binary becomes a Maneuver.

That way Supreme Speaks Binary is actually a heck of an upgrade since you could then theoretically direct 2 minion groups of droids per turn, and still have an action if you took strain. Which you could use to Speak Binary again! Just as an action.

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20 hours ago, Xcapobl said:

Actually, one might debate such orders you mention as other instances are not so complex. In the example of a squadron, the leader only has to yell "Form up on me, attack pattern delta!" Just saying that would also qualify as an incidental, but the rules actually make this a maneuver, because it also has actual rules effects associated with them.

In that way, Speaks Binary should also (at least) be a maneuver like you say. But as @ErikModi said, why would Supreme Speaks Binary turn the use of Speaks Binary a maneuver, as such implying it would have been an action all along?

I'm afraid that I'm interpreting the Supreme Speaks Binary talent quite differently. In my opinion, the talent does not downgrade the regular Speaks Binary talent to a maneuver, but grants a new special maneuver, (Supreme) Speaks Binary, that is not in any way related to the regular Speaks Binary talent (apart from the name). If a character uses the special maneuver Speaks Binary (which a character can only use if they have the Supreme Speaks Binary talent), non-minion droids may use the character's rank in one skill for their skill checks until the beginning of the next turn. The number of droids who may profiteer from this maneuver is equal to the ranks in the regular Speaks binary Talent. This special maneuver then may or may not be a valid order to activate the effects of the regular Speaks Binary talent (depending on the GM and the situation). The supreme talent does not influence the regular talent in any way (apart from being a potential option to activate the regular talent), but the number of ranks in the regular talent influence the effects of the Supreme talent.

Here is the full text of the talent:

Quote

Speaks Binary (Supreme), Special Modifications, p. 35:

Activation: Active (Maneuver)

Ranked: No

Once per encounter, the character may perform the Speaks Binary maneuver, choosing one skill. Until the beginning of his next turn, a number of Non-Player Character, non-minion droids up to his ranks in Speaks Binary may use the character's ranks in the chosen skill (rather than their own ranks in that skill).

Of course,  my interpretation of the talent's text may be wrong, but I don't see any mentions that the Supreme talent downgrades the use of the regular talent to a maneuver.

 

Edit: Of course, complicated orders may take an action, but shorter orders should be in the realms of a maneuver. For example, telling a group of minion B1 batttle droids to move into a standard line-battle formation and to start shooting at that scary guy with a lightsaber in medium distance, shouldn't take an action. Telling them to perform a complicated flanking movement could take an action (The actual command won't take more than a few seconds but choosing the right commands and thinking about potential other options may take more time) and may even be grounds for a skill check like for example Leadership or Knowledge (Warfare).

Edited by FeBommel

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I agree. . . which means we're still stuck trying to decide exactly what "direct a droid" entails, action-wise.  Equally valid rules portions have been cited for incidental, maneuver, and action.

Edited by ErikModi

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On 9/10/2018 at 1:07 AM, 2P51 said:

What is so great about being able to supplement my Skill ranks on one of them once in an encounter? For the cost of a Maneuver? That would make the Supreme version a complete waste of xp imo.   Not only wold it suck it actually goes completely upstream against the bulk of the Talents formatted like this.

The great thing about it is that the droids don't need to have that skill for themselves.

Imagine your Droid-Tech PC onboard a diplomatic corvette, hiding in a meeting room with several protocol droids [rivals] while pirates are busy boarding the vessel. Your character knows that there are emergency side-arms hidden in some of the chairs (In case a discussion turns violent), but they won't be much use to your character as they would have to stand alone against a pillaging party of pirates. Arming the droids won't help your PC, because protocol droids have no combat programming (Agility 1, Ranged [Light] 0). With Supreme Speaks Binary, your character can grant these non-combat protocol droids ranks in Ranged (Light) and suddenly your PC is not alone, but at the head of a small battle group of deadly droids!

It allows you to use droids in situations they would be useless with only their regular programming. With this talent, tracker droids can repair your starship, assassin droids won't behave totally out-of-place at a high-society social gathering, astromech droids can suddenly fight back enemy boarding parties and protocol droids can fly a starfighter squadron.

Of course, that only works for a short time (until your character's next turn), but that means that the NPC droids can profiteer from the talent for up to two turns (as long as everyone takes the right initiative slot). Sure, the talent won't be useful every session, but it costs only 15 XP as well. There can be found a lot of other talents in the 15 XP range that are even more situational and more niche, so Supreme Speaks Binary is totally in line with most other talents.

 

32 minutes ago, ErikModi said:

I agree. . . which means we're still stuck trying to decide exactly what "direct a droid" entails, action-wise.  Equally valid rules portions have been cited for incidental, maneuver, and action.

I think it very much depends on the command, the situation and the droid in question.

Minion Remotes appear to be semi-autonomous drones that usually need direct supervision and even need to be operated directly by someone else for complex tasks. Commanding remotes to perform an otherwise quite simple tasks may even cost an action, as the PC has to monitor the remote very closely.

Nemesis Assassin droids on the other hand appear to be very intelligent - ordering them to perform very complicated tasks may only take an incidental as long as the task is in the realms of their regular programming as the droid will perform the task autonomous and won't need more than a few short words to understand the intentions of even a very complex command (Whether the droid then decides to perform the task or not is another question, as many of these independent droids don't take well to being ordered around...)

A maneuver sounds fine as the base line cost of a command. It can be changed in both directions if necessary (it can be downgraded to an incidental and upgraded to an action, depending on the circumstances). Furthermore, it would be in line with the squadron rules and the animal companion rules.

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I am ErikMod's player with the question about Speaks Binary.

I agree that the ability needs to be balanced and the two main interpretations for how to balance it is either to have affect only one droid per turn as an incidental or have it affect all droids as a standard action.  The problem with using Speaks Binary as an incidental is that I feel like that should be another stage between that and a once per encounter Supreme Speaks Binary ability to affect all of my droids, such as if I wanted to spend a standard action each turn directing my droids.  However, the problem with having Speaks Binary as a standard action is that it would make Supreme Speaks Binary useless.

Supreme Speaks Binary seems extremely situational outside of combat where I would want my droid to be taking actions that other than assisting me that I couldn't do myself.  Inside of combat, it's mostly useful if I have more skill ranks in the weapon that they are using than they do (which I do not), so the only area it would shine would be to allow me to use Speaks Binary on multiple droids.  So having the ability to use Speaks Binary on multiple droids as a standard action would not only make Supreme Speaks Binary useless to me, but it would be better than it because I could use it every turn and I wouldn't have a per rank limit on how many droids could be affected by it.  So this suggests to me either Speaks Binary was intended only as an incidental to affect one droid per turn or that they need to rework Supreme speaks to make it more useful or that in order to make it useful I need to invest in a bunch of skill ranks in an alternative weapon type for the main purpose of sharing it with my droids once per encounter.  Practically speaking, more than one droid should should be able to benefit from hearing the same command, but that's the way it balances out. 

One thought I had would be to simply allow me to have the option of using Speaks binary as either an incidental or as a standard action depending upon how many droids I wanted to affect up to my ranks in Speaks Binary.  

The other issue I thought of was that my droids go on their own initiative.  If I had to take a standard action in the initiative order before they went each round, then that would get a little clunky, but keeping it as an out of turn incidental would make it run smoothly.

Edited by Soyeong

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On 9/10/2018 at 2:21 PM, FeBommel said:

I would rule that giving NPC droids a complex command would usually require a maneuver. This would be both in line with two other instances in the rules where giving complex orders requires a maneuver:

  • Savage Spirits, p. 69, animal companion rules: A PC can spend a maneuver to direct an animal he has bonded with via the Animal Bond talent. The bonded animal then gets to perform an action and a maneuver. If the PC does not spend a maneuver to command the animal, it won't contribute to the encounter during that round.
  • AoR GM Screen, p. 27, squadron rules: a PC can spend a maneuver to perform a Leadership check to form a squadron with a minion NPC group or to direct the squadron to form a specific formation.

I think this may be the best answer we're going to get.  Thank you.

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Posted (edited)
On 9/7/2018 at 2:34 PM, HappyDaze said:

The Talents that boost others often last for more than one turn, sometimes a duration based on ranks of Presence. Likewise, they effect multiple targets based on Presence or Leadership. I agree that an action should be necessary to grant the bonus to the droids, but:

  • What Difficulty would you set for the Leadership(?) check?
  • How many droids (or minion groups of droids) could the character apply Speaks Binary to with a single use of this check?
  • How long would the bonus last?

I know that there are no fixed answers for this; I'm just trying to see how you would rule it.

1)  It would depend on the complexity of the task, droid is trained in the skill, environmentals, and time.

2)  Talent in the box says when directing NPC droids, Chapter says when the players directs a non-player droid to perform.  In this case, I would say it would depend on the leadership check as explained above.  So it would be one droid/minion group of droids unless the check is extremely successful.

3)  Just for  the current time length, whether it is for a round or a scene.

 

On 9/9/2018 at 7:07 PM, 2P51 said:

I disagree, most are like that.  Inspiring Rhetoric and Scathing Tirade provide a unique outcome Action that becomes a Maneuver with the Supreme version.  Full Throttle is an Action with Improved making it a Maneuver.  Over Charge to Improved adds the ability to perform a second Action.  Most of these format Talents get better and lower the cost from Action to Maneuver typically.

In fact why would I waste the xp on Supreme at all?  If Speaks Binary is an Incidental I can perform multiple Incidentals every turn.  By that logic path I can give 4 separate labor droids the separate command to attack one target.  Each armed with a beefy vibro weapon, which you can easily mod to have Accuracy, lower crit and vicious.  Each one has been gifted a stack of Boost dice from my multiple ranks of Speaks Binary, each can aim once, each has a rank of Accuracy, so they get 6 or 7 Boost dice along with their 3 Greens and modded weapons.  That will be GGGBBBBBB vs difficulty x 4 and I have spent zero Strain, Zero Maneuvers, and Zero Actions to do that.  I can do it every round. 

What is so great about being able to supplement my Skill ranks on one of them once in an encounter? For the cost of a Maneuver? That would make the Supreme version a complete waste of xp imo.   Not only wold it suck it actually goes completely upstream against the bulk of the Talents formatted like this.

I don't think you realize how useful the talent is.  As is, the talent can deal with three other droids for a Maneuver.  When additional ranks  of Speaks Binary are added, it can deal with additional droids, on top of which you also add the boost from Speaks Binary.

Second, you are replacing the skill ranks the droids have with your own.  If there was a combat skill that you had and the droids did not, for example, you would be giving them your ranks in said skill.  Likewise, Mechanics skill for a PC would usually be higher than the droids.  Giving a non-minion NPC droid a boost there will make repairs go b a whole lot faster.

One thing I noticed that was mentioned was the Separatist Commander.  Has anyone checked hat out and consider the implications there?

Edited by Sarone

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