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bsan89

How long does Star Wars RPG campaign last for?

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Quick question. I been running a home brew campaign for a few months now.
We meet about twice a week.
I usually always reward player 5exp at the end of every session and few more exp during game for good rp, etc.

I'm wondering, how long does a campaign last for before my players become too powerful? 

They are starting to get to the point they got pretty decent gear and fulfill most of their talent tree. 

Did I give out too much exp during my campaign?
Personally, I'm only halfway done through my story.

Thanks!

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9 minutes ago, bsan89 said:

Quick question. I been running a home brew campaign for a few months now.
We meet about twice a week.
I usually always reward player 5exp at the end of every session and few more exp during game for good rp, etc.

I'm wondering, how long does a campaign last for before my players become too powerful? 

They are starting to get to the point they got pretty decent gear and fulfill most of their talent tree. 

Did I give out too much exp during my campaign?
Personally, I'm only halfway done through my story.

Thanks!

You're likely to give out too little at that pace rather than too much. My GM gives us between 5 to 15 XP per session, mostly 10. We have been playing for over a year, coming close to two, usually a meeting per week and sometimes two meetings per week. Stormtroopers can still be scary, throw enough of them at us and we go down. Nemesis are still scary, especially if they have a lightsaber or force powers. Rivals are a bit meh, but then they were always kind of meh.

 

This setting makes it pretty **** hard to avoid getting hit, and the minion rules means that decently equipped minions (like stormtroopers) will always pose some threat to the party. Since damage reduction is also not very common it leads to the PC's still going down to focused fire even at higher XP levels. Might take a bit more time if they have picked talent trees with lots of toughened, but you can still burn through their HP pool pretty quickly.

 

You might want to look at their earnings instead. Equipment makes a lot more of a difference than XP in this game, unless they're Force sensitive characters in which case XP is what's needed for the force stuff which is a huge drain on skills and talents. If the equipment is the problem and you feel like they have too much cash, then try to hurt their gear in fights. Crits can heal on their own if given enough time, equipment won't repair itself without dosh.

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In this game, the trick to longevity is encouraging the players to go for breadth.  Cap their attributes at 5, cap their skills at 4, encourage them to start other talent trees.  If you do that you'll easily be able to play well past 1000XP.

Edit:  I should mention that there are several ways to "encourage" them to branch out, one of which is to scramble who gets to do what.  Sometimes the slicer is busy and somebody else has to step in and get the computers running; sometimes the tough guy has to hold the blast doors open while the diplomat covers everyone's retreat.  The quickest way to boredom is for everybody to only do the things they are good at.  And if the players see that they had better be good at more than one thing, they will naturally want to branch out.

Edited by whafrog

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This is an excellent question that seems to vary from group to group.  Since players can spend XP in different ways, it makes a hard & fast rule difficult to predict for every group.  If one player hyper-specializes in combat, for example, while the others branch out into different fields, it makes the GM's job more challenging to provide appropriate challenges in encounters, and when it's not "blaster time" said combat master will likely fall flat. 

I haven't issued and Characteristic or Skill caps, but I do like to "hit them in the dump stat" on occasion to encourage a more rounded development.  I generally weigh time at the table versus time between sessions before I award XP - if we don't get to play often, I like to award a little extra XP to have PCs advance a little faster - it keeps the interest going and doesn't feel like a grind for them.  Were we fortunate enough to maintain the schedule you mention, I'd do it exactly how you are. 

My statements are made with the caveat that we usually switch up after PCs reach about 500xp for whatever reason, and that my play has been with a single group of friends so it speaks more to our play style than the system's limitations. 

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8 minutes ago, Vorzakk said:

I actually let everyone start with a second spec for free.  Nobody wants to turn down a freebie, so everyone starts with twice as many talents to potentially spend XP on.  

As do I, and I give others for free so long as they have at least a couple rank 4 talents from the previous one.  I find the surcharge kind of silly, but it's for GMs whose players want to take ten specs and load up on a bunch of cheap Grit.

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There really is no "upper" XP limit where characters are "too powerful". In a campaign I'm in right now, on these boards, I play a Jedi Guardian with over 1850 XP. Granted, I converted him from WEG D6, but still. Even with that XP level, it's still a challenge for him. As others have mentioned, the trick is to spread the XP around. My character, Korath, currently has five different Specs, only one of which  (Soresu Defender) is from his chosen career. I'm planning on adding a sixth spec to him, Ship's Captain, as soon as I get the 60 XP needed to purchase it. 

On top of that, @KRKappel, one of the writers of this game, once ran a Jedi Council campaign, where, as the "title" of the campaign suggests, all of the players played members of the Jedi Council. Each character was in excess of 2000 XP. Yoda was built at over 2100 XP. 

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I've been using the general guideline of about 5XP per hour of play time (doesn't include breaks and/or gossip time). We often play once a week for 3-4 hours so this comes out to 15-20 XP per session. I got this from the good folks at Order 66. I think it works pretty well. 

I agree that the PCs will get pretty powerful at 500 XP I think but as mentioned it will depend on their build.  I think I started feeling the pressure around 350 or so in my last campaign. 

Once they get to this point, you just have to adjust. Challenge them in their weak areas (hit the damage dealers with some social stuff etc); Try to split up the group when you can; Use more and stronger opponents; Think about using squad and squadron rules that protect your BBEGs. Increase the threat and impact of the plot. If you were dealing with a planetary body, think about going to the sector level. 

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I was a little rushed for my initial post, so I just want to add another thought here:

The game is still fun at 1,000 earned XP and beyond. The problem becomes one of scale: when the PCs are that powerful, what's required to challenge them tends to alter the pace of what's worked up to that point. Combat, as an example, becomes much shorter as the PCs either turn their adversary into a grease spot on the floor, or their adversary does the same to them.

For example, in this three-year campaign, we're coming up on the end. Everyone is over 1,200 earned XP—there are three Jedi Knights, a Force sensitive sniper who is considered the galaxy's most precise markswomen, and a slicer who has a reputation as one of the masters to the point where Hutts are willing to wine and dine him in exchange for his services.

To meet that level of competence, the Big Bad of the campaign is a centuries-old cyborg with a droid swarm at his command and access to forgotten technology. The other level-appropriate option was an entire Imperial fleet, and some days, I think I could have hit them with both and they could find a way to win. If we kept the game going, I'd probably be statting out Abeloth as their enemy by the end.

The thing is, I'm totally cool with this result. It's exactly what I wanted: the story of four (now five) strangers brought together by the Force, discover their capacity for heroism, and eventually face down a galactic-scale threat. But if you want something a little more down-to-Earth, you might consider your campaign wrapping up around 750 earned XP instead. Your PCs will still be frightfully confident, but their adventures will probably culminate in overthrowing a multi-system polity rather than a fight for the fate of the galaxy.

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I think given the frequency of your game the 5 xp per session is a good base. Also I have seen some people not give XP every session but only when a story milestone or arc finishes. 

Also making new characters and doing something new is an option. Like Tim Kask says, at 10th level we retired our characters and didn't go into clinical depression when they died or were done. 

I end campaigns at about 600 XP because past that it gets wonky. 

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On 10/18/2018 at 11:01 PM, bsan89 said:

Did I give out too much exp during my campaign?
Personally, I'm only halfway done through my story.

Five? Dear god, that's WAY too low!

We've had 2 games now that hit over a thousand points and we ran out of story more than we ran out of room to grow and a couple of shorter games that  topped out about 600-800 points before we moved on. The characters really don't feel like fully fleshed out and fun until you get to about 150-200 points. So yeah, 5 points every two weeks isn't nearly enough - we average about 20 points (give or take).

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Just now, Desslok said:

Five? Dear god, that's WAY too low!

We've had 2 games now that hit over a thousand points and we ran out of story more than we ran out of room to grow and a couple of shorter games that  topped out about 600-800 points before we moved on. The characters really don't feel like fully fleshed out and fun until you get to about 150-200 points. So yeah, 5 points every two weeks isn't nearly enough - we average about 20 points (give or take).

Yeah but they play 8 sessions a month

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On 10/18/2018 at 11:01 PM, bsan89 said:

I'm wondering, how long does a campaign last for before my players become too powerful? 

They are starting to get to the point they got pretty decent gear and fulfill most of their talent tree. 

Did I give out too much exp during my campaign?
Personally, I'm only halfway done through my story.

500 or 600 earned xp is sufficient.  You have to pace yourself, and this is true in any RPG that has this kind of escalation of power. If you have an endpoint in mind, it's probably better to award xp on the basis of milestones instead of hours played, otherwise the PC's run the risk of out-leveling the content if they spend a lot of time debating and dawdling.

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Hmmmm.

Our group STARTED at the 500 exp level and the PC's are hovering at about 1,000 exp.  As the GM, I'm beginning to feel comfortable with the PC's ability to stay vertical in a fight but the blasted buggers got jumped this week and the ten or so mooks nearly took the whole team down.  (Face palm).  They were supposed to cut through that opposition like a lightsaber through melted butter!  (But I digress).

Yes this is the same group that almost tore through a battalion of Stormtroopers just a couple of weeks back . . . :blink:

But to the OP's original question.  These campaigns will go as far as you want them to.   My group meets weekly and I am awarding about 20 exp per week and will likely continue to do so for another year.  At that rate most of the PC's should have about 2,000 Exp.  But that's fine, because I want to be able to ramp up the threat level that the PC's will be facing and they will need to be that much better.

It is also my opinion that you are not giving out too much EXP.

I do have one thought on EXP and how it is designed to work with FFG Star Wars.  I believe that most FFG campaigns are designed to run for a short time and that character progression is designed to be rather rapid.  I get the feeling that the average run time for this game is less than a year.

So if you do want to run a game that is designed to run for several years, then it would make sense to dole out fewer Exp per session, but 5 Exp may be too low (unless your players are happy with their current characters and/or they don't know any better).

There is joy to be derived for the players from character progression and too slow a pace can lead to frustration.  My first FFG campaign was with a group that met very infrequently and we were only awarded 5 exp per session.  We all had starting characters with no starting boost and getting any advancement was painfully slow and tedious.

By comparison let me refer to GURPS.  (Yes I still consider GURPS to be the benchmark of good RPG's so bear with me).  In a good GURPS session a player can expect to received 3-5 exp per session which translates to about 15 - 25 exp in FFG Star Wars.  (And yes it becomes an interesting intellectual exercise to divide your FFG character by 5 and compare those capabilities to an equivalent GURPS character.  Yep, a starting FFG character is the equivalent to a basic average non adventurer in GURPS.  My group starting at about 500 Exp is the equivalent to a 100 pt beginning less experienced Adventurer and at 1,200 exp that translates to a 250 [YES I rounded up] very capable and experienced adventurer).  I also considered the GURPS progression to be fairly slow, but it was also enough that progress was apparent.  And my longest running RPG campaign was GURPS which ran for 10 years.  In that time some of the characters accumulated as much as 1,500 exp (or 7,500 exp in FFG math).

So YES, those really experienced characters can do some really cool things.

And that reminds me of a conundrum that I have with D&D/Pathfinder.  (Yes I recently participated in one of those too).  So the general consensus is that you can't play a post level 20 Exp PC in those games because . . . reasons.  But if you check out the level 20 abilities that's when your character gets their best abilities.  So I'm supposed to level up to level 20 but as soon as that level 20 chime dings, I can't use any of the level 20 abilities?  I mean really!  That's when I get to start flexing the really awesome abilities!

And the Star Wars FFG game has some really awesome talents that can be combined.  As a GM I think it's important to let the PC's go out and be given the opportunity to do some awesome stuff.

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19 hours ago, Mark Caliber said:

Cap at 500?  My group BEGAN at 500!

No, no, ho, NO!  500 is too little.

:)Ok so here is my rationale for this. Normal people are minions as are most normal creatures that aren't big or especially daunting. That means that the average PCs can handle a group of normal armsbearers (minions) fairly handily. Stormtroopers are minions for example and they are plenty tough enough to round up townsfolk and execute or imprison them. So PCs would logically run into a lot of minions and the occasional Rival. A Nemesis character is generally tougher and therefore more rare and is suggested to have story significance.

Starting characters can handle minions without too much danger unless they were bundled in large numbers or have some extra special toughness or attacks. 

But if you start playing the zero sum game of Progression in a Tuned Enemy environment, you get the usual 1=1 3=3 100=100 1000=1000 type situations. The characters became more powerful but so did the enemies so it's a wash. The only thing that happened was that normal people (minions) became insects along the way. That may not be any kind of concern for you if you are basically wanting Star Wars Marvel Superheroes type characters, but if you want character to have some resemblance to people then they can't be gods. 

I'm just saying there are different ways to play this game, it depends on what you want for the final product. 

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46 minutes ago, Archlyte said:

:)Ok so here is my rationale for this. Normal people are minions as are most normal creatures that aren't big or especially daunting. That means that the average PCs can handle a group of normal armsbearers (minions) fairly handily. Stormtroopers are minions for example and they are plenty tough enough to round up townsfolk and execute or imprison them. So PCs would logically run into a lot of minions and the occasional Rival. A Nemesis character is generally tougher and therefore more rare and is suggested to have story significance.

Starting characters can handle minions without too much danger unless they were bundled in large numbers or have some extra special toughness or attacks. 

But if you start playing the zero sum game of Progression in a Tuned Enemy environment, you get the usual 1=1 3=3 100=100 1000=1000 type situations. The characters became more powerful but so did the enemies so it's a wash. The only thing that happened was that normal people (minions) became insects along the way. That may not be any kind of concern for you if you are basically wanting Star Wars Marvel Superheroes type characters, but if you want character to have some resemblance to people then they can't be gods. 

I'm just saying there are different ways to play this game, it depends on what you want for the final product. 

A four-man demi-squad of Stormtroopers with blaster rifles can still hurt a 500 XP character. Make that a full eight-man squad and they're a menace. Add in leaders (stormtrooper sergeants, imperial officers) and things get even worse. If you want to pull out the big guns, there are always elite stormtroopers (and Inquisitors too). There's not a character that can be built that can't be threatened.

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One of the cool things about this game is that no matter how much xp your character has they should still worry about getting shot.

Yeah, you can stack gear and talents in a way to make you really hard to kill.  But someone holding a blaster on you is still to respected.

 

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1 hour ago, Eoen said:

 But someone holding a blaster on you is still to respected.

 

Only if it's planetary scale. You can build characters into Soak monsters with Soak 12+. At that level, most hand weapons are not too scary.

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36 minutes ago, HappyDaze said:

Only if it's planetary scale. You can build characters into Soak monsters with Soak 12+. At that level, most hand weapons are not too scary.

That's what T7 ion disruptors are for... nothing says armor piercing like breach 2.  The GM can always outgun players if they desire to.

Edited by Eoen

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18 hours ago, HappyDaze said:

A four-man demi-squad of Stormtroopers with blaster rifles can still hurt a 500 XP character. Make that a full eight-man squad and they're a menace. Add in leaders (stormtrooper sergeants, imperial officers) and things get even worse. If you want to pull out the big guns, there are always elite stormtroopers (and Inquisitors too). There's not a character that can be built that can't be threatened.

Yeah but starting characters are just fine in this game, there is no reason to run toward He-Man and the Masters of the Universe if it's not your thing. The characters are "glass cannons" in this game which means you don't get gobs of hit points, but what you do get is characters that kill clumps of Minions and individual Rivals pretty easily.  

Edited by Archlyte

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There are four ways to ensure your PCs remain challenged in combat play regardless of their XP level. 

1.) Increase minion group sizes. In large enough numbers, stormtroopers are still a threat to high-level PCs, and the dice pool won't shrink too much if a few die. If combat is too easy, just add two more minions to each group, and repeat as necessary until you find the balance you want. 

2.) Adversary rating on important NPCs. Don't be afraid of adding whatever level adversary you need. Don't forget to add reflect or parry and use as needed. 

3.) Squad Rules. From the AOR GM Kit, the squad and squadron rules allow an NPC to die to negate all damage dealt to the squad leader. This can keep them alive those first few rounds while PCs use their once per encounter or session abilities. 

4.) Good GMing. Find ways to separate the party, so BBEG can face the PCs one on one instead of 4 or 6 on one. 

Finally, if you know you're going to run a longer campaign, definitely reduce the XP per session from the start to mitigate the issue. D20 aside, I think most games assume youll play once or twice a month for a year and then start a new campaign. IF you know you're going to do a long-running campaign with the same PCs, it's best to adjust XP rewards accordingly. 

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