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Seam

Help with narrative system

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I had a discussion with my players lately.

For example: I roll an advantage in a fire fight, and I choose to take a boost next round, so I say (in short): "I climb up the near stairs and shoot at the enemy from above.", thus getting the boost. I think, thats what is ment with narrative system, right?

But what if I roll another advantage next round. One can only run up the stairs so many times...

Another example: The player is in melee with the enemy, and he rolls an advantage. He says (in short): "I shove the enemy, he falls, and is prone the next round."

I know, it is all subject to the GM's dissicion, but what is your take on those situations? Do you try to narrate EVERY advantage or disadvantage? Do you allow the outcome of an advantage be a VERY significant one (as in the last example, the enemy being prone)?

Thanks!

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I try to narrate them, but there can be quite a variety of narrations.

So yeah, first one might be that they shoot from above, second might be that they have driven the enemy into the open, making the next person's shot easier.

Try to get them similar to those in the examples tables. So prone is a three threat result, and a Knockdown quality attack needs two advantage result. So I'd say three advantage would be the absolute minimum result to cause a knockdown, probably I'd require a triumph.

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For your Advantages example, here are some ideas. As you say, you can only run up so many stairs, but you can keep building on that for descriptions. Each round, assume you get the two Advantages you need to give yourself a Boost die on the next round. (Or one Advantage, if you're going in the last PC slot of one round and the first PC slot of the next round.)

  • First round: You clamber up the stairs, getting an elevated position and firing down at the thugs on the factory floor.
  • Second round: From your elevated position, you blast at the laboring droids, scattering them and unbalancing your foes.
  • Third round: You reach the catwalk at the top of the stairs, giving you an even better vantage point.
  • Fourth round: You start shooting down light fixtures, hanging chains, and ceiling-mounted equipment, forcing your enemies to keep moving in the open.
  • Fifth round: You leap from the catwalk onto a moving conveyor belt, allowing it to carry you to a better vantage point.

Et cetera. Basically, if you're not using your Maneuver each round to aim or take cover, you should assuming you're moving, even if you're just doing so inside one relative range band.

As for your melee example, it's important to note that you do require two Advantages (or a Triumph) to trigger Knockdown. I'm AFB right now, so I'm not 100% sure if you can always assume Knockdown is an option with Melee checks, like it is with Brawl checks. And being prone isn't so significant; it just adds a Boost die to anyone trying to hit you with Melee/Brawl, and adds a Setback die if you're trying to hit somebody with Melee/Brawl. (Reversed if you're using Ranged weapons.) People get knocked prone and jump back up from prone frequently in pretty much every Star Wars source.

It's good as a GM to try to narrate everything your players roll, since it makes their accomplishments that much more significant. But as a GM, I also give power to the players to narrate their own Advantages if they'd like—and Threats, too, if they have a fair idea for them.

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Thanks!

My problem is, that my players always never narrate anything, and it always goes like this: "Advantages? Okay, I'll take a boost." I think, I have to be stricter with myself and I must narrate much more. Maybe they follow suit...

Thanks again, much appreciated!

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My group (where i am player and GM from time to time) is also not on the narrative side. But don't try to narrate all of the stuff they do just because they don't - except you are really into it.

In Combat situations offer them some narrative ideas when you have them, accept and alter the possible narrative "outbursts" of them and just roll with the remaining as simple as possible. It's for fun - no one should expect from you all of the narrating when you don't feel comfortable comming up with a cool solution on every roll.

Concentrate on descriptions of NPCs and locations if the group isn't into narrating every roll - for my group it is enough to give the "Movie-Feeling" before they go more into "gaming-mode" in action scenes.

You can try to poke them with a stick from time to time in less action heavy scenes to think of a narrative way describing their roll  - you should see how far you can go while all are still enjoing the game, maybe they will start to narrate more, maybe not - just have fun.

Edited by Malashim

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This is my perspective.

The FFG dice are used to produce narrative results.  There are a variety of results that can be derived from the dice and you don't have a simple binary "Hit/Miss" result.

As for having a narrative explanation for each advantage and triumph, my group(s) don't.  If a player is using their advantages and converting them to another player, we just mechanically do that quickly so as to keep the pace of the game going quickly.  Occasionally one of the players comes up with a narrative result, but usually it's just passing black and blue dice to the next contestant.

So using dice results for a narrative or story result is going to largely depend on your players & GMs creativity.

My favorite example was from a fight, where the PC's needed to capture a combatant, who was guarded by a bunch of mooks.  The combatant was fleeing the battle and the mooks were providing very effective cover.

One PC took a parting shot at the boss and rolled a failure and 3 advantages.  The player recommended that one of the stray bolts hit the deck plating, throwing a shard at the boss and clipping the boss in the leg to knock him down.  GM liked it so well, that we went with that result.

And that missed shot allowed the PC's to eventually capture the boss.  Otherwise he would have gotten away.

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While I think narratively explaining the mechanics of the boost/setback die is ok occasionally, you don't have to do it all the time. that can really bog down a session when you spend 30 additional seconds per action to explain why boost/setback dice are getting passed around.

If you have a quick explanation go for it, but otherwise just pass the boost and move on.

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2 hours ago, Seam said:

Thanks!

My problem is, that my players always never narrate anything, and it always goes like this: "Advantages? Okay, I'll take a boost." I think, I have to be stricter with myself and I must narrate much more. Maybe they follow suit...

Thanks again, much appreciated!

Yeah the beauty of the dice in this game is that they make it so that you can feel a little more comfortable describing things. I actually wont accept the use of the Advantage or Triumph until they explain the narrative, I won't use disconnected symbols as Boosts/Setbacks. But you can be more accommodating than me and just try to get them to picture the scene and add some cool detail to justify the boon to them or disadvantageous condition for the bad guys. 

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3 hours ago, Seam said:

My problem is, that my players always never narrate anything, and it always goes like this: "Advantages? Okay, I'll take a boost." I think, I have to be stricter with myself and I must narrate much more. Maybe they follow suit...

I wouldn't be stricter, honestly.  Advantages in ones and twos are a dime a dozen, and there's no point bogging the game down with micro-managing every little narrative moment.  You'll get exhausted, the players can't think of something brilliant every roll, and the game will grind to a halt, defeating the whole purpose of the cinematic narrative.  Save it for the 3+ situations, or Triumph/Despair.  If somebody has an idea by all means don't stop them, but if they can't think of something off the top of their head in 5 seconds for those 2 advantages, let it slide.  I also default to Strain management for the 1s and 2s, unless something comes to mind.

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10 hours ago, BadMotivator said:

While I think narratively explaining the mechanics of the boost/setback die is ok occasionally, you don't have to do it all the time. that can really bog down a session when you spend 30 additional seconds per action to explain why boost/setback dice are getting passed around.

If you have a quick explanation go for it, but otherwise just pass the boost and move on.

Out of curiosity how many players do you have on average and what is your run time for session? Is it a lot of players and a short session?

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I have from three to five players, depending on work schedule. We play about once a month (every three weeks if we are lucky) for four to five hours (friday nights).

Thank you all so much for your advice. I really appreciate it.

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1 hour ago, BadMotivator said:

We have 4-6 players and typically 5-6 hour sessions.

Ok thanks. I was wondering if this was like 9-11 people in a 2-3 hour game or something. I think there is an ebb and flow of when description is better off long and elaborate and when it should be fast and quick.

I hate bog, I really do. But I think that pacing is so often messed up by so many other worse perpetrators than more elaborate Description by Players that for me at least I would rather they err there than to waste time doing things like: inane and exhaustive prep, building better mousetraps, engaging in dialogue over plainly apparent things (I see you entered the ship by the loading ramp), metagame debates, etc. 

Also I think that passing a boost without any explanation is something that I feel is best left rare. Whereas to also agree with you having a five minute explanation of how you are providing a boost to a companion while they make buttered toast is annoying. 

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Another thing that is encouraged, and within the remit of the GM, is to reward good narration.

So yes, they can pass that boost. But if they describe what their PC is doing narratively, in character, with voices! you can easily throw another boost at them, or remove a setback, or make it an upgrade or some other reward (give mutliple players boosts due to their actions, stagger a NPC etc).

This will encourage narration. Now you don't have to do it every time, and can ease off once the narration becomes second nature.

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