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Are these Minions or Rivals ...?

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I'm pretty much with @Stan Fresh on this one, as there's no need, and more importantly, nothing gained, to play coy about who's what.

I will however add that if your players feel the need to ask, you've failed in your description of the opposition.

"Five guards by the gate" would almost certainly be minions, while "a burly guy with a leather jacket, a mohawk and expensive looking blaster carbine" is quite likely a rival/nemesis (this distinction is less important).

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On ‎12‎/‎18‎/‎2018 at 4:44 PM, whafrog said:

What movies are you watching?  In the OT they are always running from stormtroopers, who are minions.  In the PT, only the Jedi hold their own against minions, and even they got their butts handed to them on Geonosis.  They beat great odds, not by slaughtering countless waves of minions, but by avoiding them and finding another way.

Indeed, but on the same front their problem is never with individual stormtroopers, just that there are "too many of them". Thus they are much more capable then stormtroopers but aren't more capable then *all of them*.

Deathstar for example exhibited the stormtroopers more as a hazard then an actual threat. They manage to gun some down, but there is always more, despite this it's only really the stormtroopers that suffer any injuries, the heroes leave the entire thing physically unharmed despite the great odds. Vader did want Leia to leave thus they might have well been only pressuring them rather then aiming to outright kill them once the plan has filtered down.
On Bespin it is Vader that captures them, when Lando turns they have a running gun battle with imperial forces. 
Jabba's palace is a gigantic melee on fairly open ground and elements of Endor are pretty combat intensive; the latter is the only time that we see a main character seriously wounded by stormtroopers in the OT
Episode 1, the Jedi frequently fought their way through great odds. even Padme lead the fighting in some scenes and a kid blew up a station. Heroic characters were strongly favoured.
Episode 2, there was a fair splash of rivals and nemesis type characters bogged the Jedi down, and a lot of the Jedi that died down in that pit were likely not named characters. NPC's of an unnotably dispotion that joined in. An entire tuskan village, didn't mean that the minions didn't sometimes get the better of the PC's however, the factory scene broke them down quite nicely.
Episode 3, There was a lot of minons in that movie. one would argue that most Jedi were minion's compared to the emperor.

Episode 7: Rey and Finn had quite high body counts of stormtroopers and unexceptional mooks, the latter never missed a single blaster shot the entire movie (5 shots, 5 hits.). Han and Chewie cut through stormtroopers, the main threats usually came from environmental hazards and scenes.
E8: As hopeless as Finn was that movie; he was somehow more capable then storm troopers. Though now that I really think about it, there weren't very many action scenes in that movie, most of it was drifting in space or spent on wild chases, minons didn't feature very much at all.

Yes, they aren't hosing down the minions all the time  like some groups and are fairly poorly equip to do so most of the time (Han and Leia only use pistols that in this system, could probably only reliably drop one or two of them at a time, if that, Luke is frequently absent, it's only really Chewie who has the meaty brawl, bowslinger and mechanics.) but despite these odds they are clearly more capable then the faceless stormtroopers they face; just the fact that there are always more of them tends to be the problem. It's a very meta thing in that they are more capable "because they are the heroes", otherwise they would have been shot and burnt alive like Luke's family. Or those countless guys on Hoth/Endor. Yes, sometimes they out manvoured them; but even that required some meta currency; Luke having time to secure a line to swing across a void was one such thing where just one stray shot would have been it.

So I believe I did watch the same movies, minions featured quite heavily in most of them, aside from episode 8 which almost had none featured.

On ‎12‎/‎18‎/‎2018 at 5:08 PM, 2P51 said:

I agree, but there needs to be some effort in the form of Actions for the "looking" and the "learning", it shouldn't be a default for the PCs.  A group of Stormtroopers might intend to look like a walking death stick collectively because their intention is to deter trouble in the starport.  The flip side the trio of Rival Bounty Hunters may want to dress down in order to blend and not be perceived as a threat so they can close distance. 

The expectation by the PCs to automatically know who the Minions are quickly morphs into 'Well, then who are the Rivals and Nemeses?"  It allows too much meta optimization on the part of the PCs.  Specific characters can be built to specific threats and at the beginning of every combat they know exactly how to overcome an encounter with more or less zero effort.  It's not role playing, and honestly it isn't much of a tactical simulation either, it's more like comparing the quality of 2 RNGs at that point. 

No one is saying PCs shouldn't be allowed to determine or assess the relative threat level of targets, we are saying it shouldn't be a default setting with no effort.  One is playing the character in a RPG and using their skills to overcome challenges and unlock pertinent information.  The other is setting up minis on a 4x8 table for a tactical simulator where everyone knows what everyone has by simply looking.

This is the essence of my point.  

 

To me it kind of depends on how the situation developed and largely depends on the players having good sportsmanship (hahahah) to not try and just win, because if the players are only trying to win and aren't trying to create interesting situations, then no amount of preparation can stop them from doing what they do best. If it's just a straight battle I find it no particular problem to just let the heroes blow some steam and make it fairly obvious who the major players are if they aren't attempting to hide, likewise if they put some research into those people. Or sometimes give them a bubble wrap group so that they can't just "focus down the lone bad guy" but rather "focus down the bad guy and his hench group." If they all decide to shoot the nemesis out of "meta knowledge," it will retreat; it's how my group wiped one time as they were unwilling to consider finishing off the stormtrooper squads to almost exclusively target the inquisitor; he just simply backed all the way off and the PC's didn't change target until a couple of their number had fallen to 3 groups of depleted stormtroopers. By that point, it was too late. It was fun. XD

Fair play though, I completely agree that sometimes it's worth keeping that information back, especially if it isn't a conflict they have started or the antagonist has made special efforts to be hidden amongst the rank and file. One thing I hadn't considered was the solo minion; because I don't think I've seen any for at least a couple of years now. Always squaded they are.

 

On ‎12‎/‎18‎/‎2018 at 7:05 PM, themensch said:

This is really what this is all about, isn't it?  Some people don't like it, some people do.  It is the consummate roleplayer that plays their character at odds with the meta knowledge they as a player know, in my opinion.  I personally don't like or encourage the practice of using meta knowledge in character, but I also like to remove the mechanics more and more from the ongoing narrative and only use them to codify what I describe or what is described to me.  That said, I definitely consider meta knowledge on either side of the screen, but I do my best to not act on it despite knowing it will outright harm my character.  As a GM, knowing I have to provide a challenge means I do utilize this more of course, but behind the curtain so to speak.

"Tell me what you're going to do, we'll worry about rules after that."

 


It depends on the situation. I love being duped as a character but I absolutely loath being duped as a player, which a bit of meta knowledge could have elvated.

I felt I had one situation like that in one of the last couple of sessions I played in and to this day I harbour considerable resentment for wasting "a whole month of my time that I could have been telling a decent story with anyone else around this table.", where the character and player openly lied about their agenda that ultimately put my character in a situation that I was unlikely to survive for some "backstory" reasons, which I am sure I only survived because the GM had the nemesis duel me rather then set all their minions on me at once which would have destroyed me which gave me some time for the rescue ship to turn up, which wasn't helped in that I had to contend with his character at the same time. I almost crushed my dice to powder because I was so furious. I am not usually a petty person, but I resented that story arc so much that I ended up feeling incredibly angry every time I reflect on that arc about the sheer number of resources I lost (my fully modified ship, the ultimate objective of our quest) only to have it wasted on a character who had no intention on turning on his obviously evil overlord and almost lost a character I had developed for 4 years because of it, all because he had deceived me as the player.


As a character however I will frequently play into deceptions that I as a player know about. Such as engaging on some heist that only really has selfish benefits to one PC, being fooled by an NPC or having things unfold in the way that I and he didn't quite expect. Likewise I will sometime deceive other characters in character, but generally as a meta thing I use that device to further our goals; sometimes the long con requires lying to your friends and a crafty wink over the table, only to turn it all on the nemesis when the time is right. I spent one session pretending that I was a Mandalorian warrior, deceiving the other characters and NPC's at a major royal function we were at to get close to my targets. The players knew what I was doing broadly, but their characters didn't and there was no way to communicate it. They just had to trust in me a little to come through with the goods and usually I will.


Difference between the two scenes is that one closed off entirely and never gave anything away to players and would never dulge the overall motivation, while I tend to use some meta knowledge to ensure that things are still cool; I just have to lie as my character sometimes to reach that satisfactory conclusion where the cowl is thrown off. Way I see it, I am largely character at the table but there are some points where it's better to take a step back and give a bit of a wink; after all there is something inherently satisfying in easing everyone's worries just a bit to make for a satisfying scene. To me a bit of metagaming is inevitable and welcomed, as long as it's for the forfillment of the game. Not the "I read this book so I know it's stats", which isn't desirable. Kinda like how Captain Jack Sparrow is a loathsome character in session that is almost universally despised by everyone he meets; yet the audience by large love his hairbrained schemes. This is the kind of example where a bit of meta gaming is useful.

Likewise with minions vs rivals. Once the first round of combat has passed it's very apparent to me who is a rival (capable of acting independently) and who is a minion (individuals who aren't the major players in a scene.) I guess given we are used to dealing with groups of minions I forget that they can be ran solo sometimes. Personally I can go either way; but a little meta doesn't hurt if it makes running the sessions smoother. Again, depends on the situation; is the rivals obvious, or not?

Edited by LordBritish

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45 minutes ago, LordBritish said:

 Personally I can go either way; but a little meta doesn't hurt if it makes running the sessions smoother.

I mean if I can play a character who doesn't know the future even though I, the player have seen it (in the form of the movies), it kind of feels insulting when a GM thinks they need to withhold something as trivial as rival/minion from me because I might metagame. Should the players respond by hiding their character sheets from the GM and not tell them which talents they're using?

 

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Revisiting this to add my two cents:

The group that I play with is very story oriented as opposed to mechanics focused. We don't worry about minion/rival classification and I just handle those stats behind the screen. The way we judge the encounters is based on how much description a character gets or how obviously higher ranking someone is. I don't have to tell my team "The bigger troopers in the black armor carrying HMG's are rivals" because I can simply say, "The officer is flanked on either side by imposing troopers in shining black armor, each standing a good foot taller than the standard Storm Troopers around them. Their heavy blaster rifles sit ready in their hands, helmet visors fixed on you as you approach."

This tells them that there is an officer that is obviously of high rank with two Death Troopers on either side and some regular storm troopers for flavor. Some minions, two Rivals, and a Nemesis.

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