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the mercenary

Help with handling an optimizer please

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The group that I GM is a few friends of mine. None of them have gamed before. One of them, my roommate, has a lot of time on his hands. So he's had plenty of time to read the books and find the optimal combination of weapons, armor, talents, weapon and armor attachments, and mods. And he's optimizing everyone else in the group, too. Which means that if there's combat (and there's almost ALWAYS combat, much to my dismay), they walk through the baddies with no problems. *MAYBE* one of them takes a hit that they mostly shrug off. IF there's a rival or nemesis present, AND I can get them to cover long enough to survive the first barrage of blaster bolts. Any fight that's a challenge is likely to be a TPK. 

 

I don't want to discourage a bunch of newbies, but I don't think I have the patience to ride out this phase (which I think almost every noob goes through). I want a collaborative story, not an all-or-nothing, flawless-victory-or-death smashfest. 

 

I would like to find whoever created the attachment that allows a rifle to be fired like a pistol, as well as the "Paired weapons" mod/attachment, and the dual weapons rules, and kick them in a very sensitive place. I have two characters that only need to roll one Advantage to trigger the second weapon. And they get a minimum of 2 boost dice, if they aim it's even worse. Setback aren't even a thing, since Custom Grip and other mods, talents, etc, exist. And none of them have the hunter goggles yet....On *average*, these two are each inflicting 23 damage every time they act. That's four Stormtroopers out of five, downed in a single action. 

 

And none of the characters even have 100 XP yet. So it's not like they're using the higher talents from 3 different specializations. It's THREE FRIGGIN ATTACHMENTS. 

 

Someone else has probably dealt with this kind of thing in this system before. I don't have years of experience GMing this, so I don't know how to....react?.....to it like I would for other game systems. If I break the attachments or take them away somehow, they'll just rush right out and buy new ones. If suddenly they're "not available, anywhere, at any price", it basically looks like I'm just screwing with them. *I* am suddenly the bad guy, instead of the optimization that's killing the game for me.

 

Next time I start a campaign (if ever), I'm removing or nerfing most of the attachments and mods. This is insane. Games are supposed to be fun. It's not fun to know that challenges are either going to be jokingly easy, or wipe the group out. And I can't even try to target their weaknesses, because if they fail a social skill check and an NPC won't cooperate, they'll just torture and/or kill the NPC or someone they care about.

 

Yes, I realize it was my fault for allowing attachments with a low Rarity and not knowing exactly what they could do or how they could be gamed. My bad. I'll make sure I don't repeat that mistake next time. If there is a next time. Ever. I stopped GMing for a lot of years because I burned out. Not on creating stories and NPC's. Players. I believe players are what burns out the majority of GMs.

 

I think I'm going to prematurely end this campaign, and then let the guy that optimizes be the GM. I'm not really interested in doing it any more.

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My usual advice is "don't game with munchkins"; but since these are friends of yours, that complicates things. 

Question:  where is this campaign taking place that a bunch of people are walking around carrying two rifles each and they aren't being hounded by local security at every turn?

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2 minutes ago, Vorzakk said:

My usual advice is "don't game with munchkins"; but since these are friends of yours, that complicates things. 

Question:  where is this campaign taking place that a bunch of people are walking around carrying two rifles each and they aren't being hounded by local security at every turn?

 

Centares, generally. There were a few adventures off-planet (like when they decided to become pirates), but they're back on Centares for a while, allegedly as part of Saw's partisans and causing trouble for the Empire but realistically just doing whatever will net them credits and give them an opportunity to shoot, stab, or blow someone up. And only one of them is using two rifles (which generally hang out in the trunk of the speeder, unless they think combat is about to happen), both of which have the attachment that allows them to be used like a pistol and use Ranged: Light. The other is using pistols. 

 

I've thought about the "local po-po not happy about all your ordnance" angle. And I know how that ends: they kill local po-po until the Empire shows up. And then they kill them too. And then armored vehicles show up, and they run. Either they get away, wash, rinse, repeat, or they get chased and/or found, and the Empire throws enough force at them to finally kill them. Not fun for anyone. It may come to that, just to try to teach a lesson, but will they grasp the lesson and do things differently next time? *sigh* I have my doubts. 

 

 

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I know that it won't necessarily help, but you're not alone in finding that the combat balance of this game can be tricky. There's a fine line between a cakewalk and a death march. In general, any fight that doesn't result in the PCs being captured or (very rarely) killed can usually be brushed off with a few stimpacks. Whether this is a feature or a bug really depends upon your point of view. If you come from a background of resource management RPGs, this can certainly be frustrating for the GM and even disappointing for the players (as the challenge is simply not there).

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36 minutes ago, HappyDaze said:

I know that it won't necessarily help, but you're not alone in finding that the combat balance of this game can be tricky. There's a fine line between a cakewalk and a death march. In general, any fight that doesn't result in the PCs being captured or (very rarely) killed can usually be brushed off with a few stimpacks. Whether this is a feature or a bug really depends upon your point of view. If you come from a background of resource management RPGs, this can certainly be frustrating for the GM and even disappointing for the players (as the challenge is simply not there).

 

You really hit the nail there. I started avoiding creating situations that would or could result in combat because what's the point? These characters are just going to wipe the floor with the enemies in the first round, before the enemies even get a chance to act. A Stormtrooper sergeant *might* survive long enough to get  a shot off. Maybe. If he's got a full squad of Stormtroopers with him. If I throw in enough baddies to make certain that SOMEONE gets to act, it'll be a massacre of the characters. And it won't make sense within the context of the story. 

____________________________

I've had ideas that I think are fun and interesting for this campaign. One of the NPC's who came with them from the partisans has said she used to be a university student, and now she's a guerrilla. She's shown (once, briefly, and none of the players really paid attention to it) that she has Force abilities. I was thinking of having her display these abilities a few more times, which gets both the Empire and certain rebel agents interested, and leads to an appearance by Ahsoka Tano (the optimizer loves Ahsoka, so much so that he's playing a teen female Togruta). There's also an NPC that I had an idea for who's not what they appear, and associating with them could have massive effects on the group, since the NPC in question is an ISB agent. Then there's the thing they were actually *supposed to* do, which is wage a guerrilla campaign against the Empire. There are numerous facilities that could be targeted, I was thinking some sneaky-sneaky and planting bombs or otherwise sabotaging, and later on getting a tip about some Y-wing bombers, which would be very useful against, say, a refinery, just sitting around in an old Republic base that was pretty much forgotten. A slow ratcheting-up of the Empire's presence and activities in response to character actions, including deployment of the 501st. A final battle, either when the Empire discovers the partisan base or the characters have finally done enough damage to cause the Empire to stop playing around and go all-out. Minion partisan recruits to help the PC's on tougher targets, who could be trained and turned into hardened partisans (thru investment of character XP).

 

And right now, I don't want to do any of it. I want to throw the entire thing in the bin and let the other guy take over GMing completely.

 

I introduced a couple minion recruits; the players promptly disregarded their names and called them Meat-1 and Meat-2. When one of them was killed by a lucky shot in a fight, they picked up his body for later looting and only THEN did he 'get a name'. Not his actual name, no. His name was now Robert Paulson. *facepalm* I'm not giving them any more recruits. And I think the current partisan NPC's are going to just simply abandon them and return to Saw. 

 

I like playing this game and games using this system, but I don't think I want to GM it ever again. 

Edited by the mercenary

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Sounds like you just want very different things from your RPGs than your players do.  Have you considered looking for a different group of players?  Sites like Roll20 make it easier than ever; regardless of where you reside.  

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I was writing this:

Since it's tabletop and they're friends, consider a heart-to-heart about what kind of game is important to you as GM.

And then I read what you wrote about the recruits and looting.

Yeah . . . have a sit-down, but this particular group ain't gonna change.

29 minutes ago, the mercenary said:

games using this system, but I don't think I want to GM it ever again

RAW breaks easily, but it's the players. I've teased attachments and mods to my table a few times, we're 27 sessions along, and they're still focused on being cool Star Wars characters making an awesome story. Bide your time and see if you can find the right group.

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25 minutes ago, Vorzakk said:

Sounds like you just want very different things from your RPGs than your players do.  Have you considered looking for a different group of players?  Sites like Roll20 make it easier than ever; regardless of where you reside.  

Don't hate the players, hate the game. This system totally sucks for certain types of play because it's designed for a certain style of "narrative play" and breaks down quickly outside of those bounds. It's often much easier to ditch the system/game and find one that better suits the players (including GM) than to do the reverse.

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24 minutes ago, HappyDaze said:

It's often much easier to ditch the system/game and find one that better suits the players (including GM) than to do the reverse.

I don't disagree, but a couple of other things which the mercenary has mentioned (Meat 1 and Meat 2 among others) just gives me a hunch that the divide goes deeper than the system.  

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I would first out introduce rule 0: As a GM it is well within your right to exclude the use of supplemental material from other books if you aren't ready to deal with it. Just because the material exists out there, the GM is under no obligation to use all of it. For example, t

 

The second thing to do would be to have a session zero and discuss expectations with them; you want to run a more story derived event, they are clearly are very much the A-team in that people don't really matter "because they are NPC's." Tell them that you are trying to create an immersive star wars experience; which they themselves are part of this world that will respond to them, and it is difficult to continue creating an immersive world when the NPC's they pick up are treated like lootboxes. Explain the pitch and the expectations you have and ask them, in return what they want from your campaign and get on the same wavelength. Always have session zeroes and set that expectation; I can't think of a campaign that can't be made better just by talking things out.

Thirdly; introduce situations where they can't just shoot things. Maybe Saw wants the players to pick up some equipment from a crime lord, which requires a group of people to leave weapons at the door. Or maybe there are information heists that the squad can't give away their interest; have some cops knock on vacant van with the gunner and *dramatically escalate the situation* if he just decides to shoot them. Use these requirements to spilt up so that they are running multiple jobs per session and their combined overwhelming capabties can be mitigated; mainly by giving them challenges that have to be solved using other skills. Can't hack a data bank properly with an axe after all! Gahahahha!

That and if they are just that strong, throw more noteworthy adversary's, give them situations that they must spilt up to cover more time. Put some helicopter Inquistors in to dramatically increase the risk factor and so fourth. If they want to be the big bad PC's blowing up stuff and being epic heroes, give them some epic adversaries that force them to keep moving.

Edited by LordBritish

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Did you make your players roll the mechanic checks for all the mods? Installing the attachments is easy and often don't need a check but the mods do. 

Also Every time a player during a combat roll a despair or 3 desavantages, make them damage one step their precious rifles and Make the enemy sunder their weapons. 

Also maybe use this simple rule for PC creation, the base book + 1 supplement book of their career. This will maintain your munchkin player. 

Hope it helps.

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Thanks for the replies everyone. I'll try to address points that I haven't already covered.

 

Mechanics: The attachments don't require it, and for the mods of said attachments, there's another guy playing an Outlaw Tech with Int 4 and several ranks in Mechanics. They waited to do the mods until they had someone that could do them. He now has 3 ranks in Mechanics after spending some XP on it.

 

New group: I'm in a game using this system with a different group. I started GMing Star Wars because one of my friends asked me to teach him how to play D&D. At first I figured it was going to be a one time thing, once his vacation was over and he went home we wouldn't play again. The two original players enjoyed it so much that they wanted to play again the next day, and the day after.... I guess you could say it started out as a favor for a friend and just kept going. I'm not interested in getting in to another group with a bunch of random weirdos off Roll20 or something. I'd rather stop GMing. That will fix the problem and give me some of my free time back, since I won't be coming up with NPC's, ideas for adventures, setting info, etc.

 

Different system: I offered several options when we first started; this was what they chose. I think Shadowrun or Twilight: 2013 would have been much better choices, but this is what they went with. I *really* don't feel like teaching either of those systems to people that are still pretty new. Especially now.

 

@LordBritish, your first paragraph cut off. But I get what you're saying. Problem is, all that stuff is already in the game. I can't really take it back now. If I'd known how game-breaking some of these attachments could be, I'd have canked attachments and mods for weapons and armor right from the start. But I didn't. You can bet your backside that if I ever bump my head and am willing to GM this game again, those are getting the axe.

 

Session zero: it's a bit late for that. I've tried to give them things to do (being part of the partisans). I've tried having the NPC partisan nudge them in a direction that would result in accomplishing what they're here to do, such as recon of possible targets, getting the various supplies and contact they'll need to mount an insurgency, that kind of thing. The end result was: Let's see if this black marketeer or Black Sun guy have any jobs that involve stealing from the Empire.

 

Situations where they can't just shoot: Tried it. They shot. Or stabbed. Or threatened. If they fail a charm or negotiation roll, they stick a blaster is someone's ear or hold a grenade between their legs. Or threaten their family. The only time they've shown a willingness to do something that was supposed to be geared toward something other than combat was stealing from a warehouse. Even then, the optimizer was hoping to be able to shoot someone at some point.

 

Tougher opponents: I have two issues with that. One, any adversary that presents a challenge is probably going to be tough enough to wipe them out. Two, we've been playing for only a couple months. If I step up to Inquisitors (whose appearance at this point wouldn't make sense in the story) now, where do I go from there? Emperor's Hands? Three sessions later, only Vader himself would pose a threat. Opposition should grow in power over time, not bring out the Sith Lords after 15 sessions. The characters actually ran away from an AT-ST, since they didn't have any weapons that could hurt it. But putting them up against armored vehicles is going to get old real fast. And they're going to look for anti-vehicle weapons. And then use them on personnel. Oh and they're most assuredly *NOT* epic heroes. Last session, they took a prisoner, and to encourage him to talk the Togruta stabbed him a little bit. When they were searching the area, I used a dark side destiny point to have him bleed out rather than get tortured for the next couple weeks. Not because I have any sort of sensitivity to them torturing the guy, I just didn't want to deal with it and he'd already told them what he knew. To make sure he was dead, the Togruta shoved a knife thru his ear and into his brain.

 

In Shadowrun, this would be unprofessional but wouldn't raise many eyebrows. In various post-apocalyptic games I've played, it would be a perfectly reasonable course of action. And from a certain point of view, it *is* a reasonable course of action. But when taken together with things like threatening a black marketeer because he won't give them a discount that they think they earned for killing some Trandoshans that were in his shop "looking for" the Tech character....or taking "trophies" from their fallen enemies....plotting the death of any NPC that displeases them in the slightest.....

 

Well, to me that's not Star Wars. Not even the Space Scumbags version. That's Godfather in the Mad Max setting.

 

Oh, and for motivation and some kind of goals, I got something of substance from one of the three. He wants to restore the family heirloom Mandalorian armor that his druggie mother sold pieces off of to fund her habit, and rejoin Mandalorian society. He thinks the armor will be necessary in order to not get laughed off the planet. Ok, I can work with this. The other two? Simple survival, by hiding from his clan (the previously mentioned Trandoshans) for one, and mayhem and destruction for the other.

 

Ugh.

 

I appreciate everyone's attempts at help. The more I think about this, the more I just want to bin the whole thing. 

 

I've seen this sort of thing from noobs quite a bit. The novelty of being able to do whatever is sort of intoxicating, and they run wild with it for a while. Usually they eventually work it out of their system after a while. I don't have the patience any more to put up with the period of running wild though.

 

Thanks again guys. I needed to vent. 

 

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6 hours ago, the mercenary said:

I would like to find whoever created the attachment that allows a rifle to be fired like a pistol, as well as the "Paired weapons" mod/attachment, and the dual weapons rules, and kick them in a very sensitive place. I have two characters that only need to roll one Advantage to trigger the second weapon. And they get a minimum of 2 boost dice, if they aim it's even worse. Setback aren't even a thing, since Custom Grip and other mods, talents, etc, exist. And none of them have the hunter goggles yet....On *average*, these two are each inflicting 23 damage every time they act. That's four Stormtroopers out of five, downed in a single action. 

 

And none of the characters even have 100 XP yet. So it's not like they're using the higher talents from 3 different specializations. It's THREE FRIGGIN ATTACHMENTS. 

So to be clear: the player has a pair of Blaster Rifles, each with Pistol Grip, Paired Weapons, and Custom Grip on them? 

Because in that situation, the extra setback added by Pistol Grip is canceled by Custom Grip, meaning Custom Grip won't cancel any further setback. What other means are they using to remove setback? The talents that do so usually are very specific and don't apply to every source of setback (e.g. Brace) or require an investment of a maneuver and/or strain to generate (e.g. Precise Aim). Most gear and attachments that remove setback are also usually limited to certain sources of setback. 

As for the damage, might you be forgetting that soak is applied to each individual hit? So a TWF hit that does 23 damage would only deal 13 wounds to a squad of Stormtroopers due to their 5 Soak being applied twice. Which would only down two troopers rather than four. Multi hit attacks are crazy strong as is, even without forgetting to apply soak to each hit.

Another thing you could consider for 'mr double rifles' is to enforce the encumbrance limit when they pull out said rifles. Then they'll either have to beef themselves up, or at least invest in carrying capacity, if they want to use them without penalty. 

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@DarthHammer, I'll give credit where it's due, that player is really good about making sure his character isn't over encumbered. He's made sure to get equipment that increases his threshold. And he'll leave things in the speeder or back at their hideout so he's not carrying too much.

 

Yah, I might be forgetting that soak applies to each hit. It wouldn't matter much in the grand scheme of things, since they'll just crit that other trooper away (generally, since they almost always roll lot of advantage) instead of killing him with damage. But it's something to keep in mind. Thank you.

 

I can't tell you exactly what attachments they have. I don't hand out setback like candy, so I can't tell you they have X attachment which cancels out Y or provides Z bonus. If there's a reason to add setback, like darkness or smoke, I do. If they open a door to the office in a warehouse and see six goons inside, I give setback to whoever is behind the person in the door, since they're trying to shoot past their buddy.

 

Maybe I'm doing something wrong. Gods I hope so. I'd hate to think that it's actually this easy to break the game. I'd much rather have it be something I misunderstood or failed to take into account.

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19 minutes ago, the mercenary said:

I can't tell you exactly what attachments they have. I don't hand out setback like candy, so I can't tell you they have X attachment which cancels out Y or provides Z bonus. If there's a reason to add setback, like darkness or smoke, I do. If they open a door to the office in a warehouse and see six goons inside, I give setback to whoever is behind the person in the door, since they're trying to shoot past their buddy.

Well there's you're problem. In general, and especially if you've got a munchkin in your party, you need to make sure you're as familiar with what your players have as they are. Just as a player without a complete understanding of what their character has/can do will miss things and make mistakes, so too will a GM that lacks that same understanding of what their players are capable of. And if you've got a powergamer you  can bet they're going to exploit any misunderstanding or vagueness on your part to the fullest. It takes effort to keep them from bending the rules, and the first part of that effort is making sure you've read and gotten acquainted with whatever items/skills/etc that they're using to optimize their character.

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Reinforcements. Most of the time a controlling authority will call reinforcements when they're  being beaten, and fire overmatch is their goal.

Go ahead and win. The Empire routinely takes prisoners. Teaches them the lesson of humility and simultaneously you unburden them of bothersome items.

You've got players that default to stand and fight, or constantly start fights and don't think/plan/weigh options first, whip their asses.

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How do they have the credits for buying so much things? If they are combat characters how can they buy mods/gear with 5-6 rarity on backwater planets, when it is clearly incresing the difficulty for Streetwise and Negotiation?

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2 hours ago, the mercenary said:

One, any adversary that presents a challenge is probably going to be tough enough to wipe them out.

You're assuming lethality.  There is no situation where the GM can't do whatever he wants, the skill is in preserving the illusion that the players have options.  That's slightly overstated, but not by much.  It's actually really hard to kill a PC in this game, but you can pretty easily stun them or wound them into unconciousness, and they wake up on their way to Kessel.  (Prison breakouts are great fun, and there's a really good adventure for the Traveller system, easily adapted.)  If their equipment is a problem, you can always break it, take it, and make it difficult to recreate.

I may be reading too much between the lines, but I think you suffer from an overdeveloped sense of fairness  :)  You don't have to try to give them a fight that gives them a chance of success, and you don't have to justify how many reinforcements arrive.  You could easily have a 3 session arc where they are constantly overwhelmed, where crit after crit just piles on, where they are driven from hole to hole (because surely everyone they've met hates them by now and will turn them in) and finally end up in a box canyon with no way out.  They are murder hobos pure and simple, and there is no way a civilization would let that stand.

2 hours ago, the mercenary said:

If I step up to Inquisitors (whose appearance at this point wouldn't make sense in the story) now, where do I go from there?

You don't have to go to Inquisitors, you don't have to stick with the books at all.  "Those" stormtroopers were normal, "these here" are a new bunch, with a new type of armour and better tactics, and their guns have Pierce.  You owe nobody an explanation for how you tweak NPCs.

2 hours ago, the mercenary said:

If they fail a charm or negotiation roll, they stick a blaster is someone's ear or hold a grenade between their legs. Or threaten their family.

You don't have to allow that to work.  I mean personally I'd have killed these PCs off a long time ago and set some new ground rules, but...if you must play with them, you don't have the play the NPCs as wimps to their bullying.  Some people will realized that these jokers are going to kill them no matter what, so they will just deny them the satisfaction of cooperating.  And even if the PCs try to assure them "just tell us what we want and we'll let you go", the NPC doesn't have to believe them.  And at this point they must have made so many enemies and a name for themselves, nobody is going to expect a rational deal.  Also, keep in mind, social skills aren't "mind trick", and neither is a gun.

2 hours ago, the mercenary said:

The more I think about this, the more I just want to bin the whole thing

That's too bad, it's a great game if played properly, but you also have to GM with intent.  It's not your fault the players are doing what they do, but you have kind of let them get away with it so far...but you can easily learn how to wean them off that kind of behaviour.  Still, it does sound like time for a reset, tell them "I'm just not having fun doing this, we need to change" and see what they say.

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Look at the street fight in Jedha.  Sure Saw's guys did well and got their crystals but what happened?  The Imperials hit the Oh **** button and the next thing your know multiple squads are rolling up with a scout walker in tow and they start mopping the floor.

All optimized PCs are doing at my table is raising their priority in targeting by opponents.  Mr. power gamer is the machine gun nest and sure as **** he's catching grenades.

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I’m with Whafrog & 2P51 on this!

Yes as a GM we shouldn’t aim for & generally don’t actually want a TPK buuuuut.... There comes a time when the group needs a kicking just to teach them that they really, truly are not invincible!

You don’t even have to kill any of them... have them captured, have the Empire confiscate everything they’ve got then have them try & escape off some god forsaken backwater prison world with nothing but sticks,rocks & their wits (if they have any) to help them!

1 hour ago, whafrog said:

You could easily have a 3 session arc where they are constantly overwhelmed, where crit after crit just piles on, where they are driven from hole to hole (because surely everyone they've met hates them by now and will turn them in) and finally end up in a box canyon with no way out.  They are murder hobos pure and simple, and there is no way a civilization would let that stand.

This I love... in fact I’m gonna use it on my players & they’re certainly not murder hoboes so they don’t even deserve it 😮

It just sounds like a lot of fun (yes, for me mainly) & Major Sankar Kels’ Rancor Squad of the 83rd Legion are just the badass group of Stormtroopers to do it 👍

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My advice on combat, for what it is worth, is DO hand out setback like candy. Or more accurately, always try to have combat somewhere interesting, where there are threats or issues that add setback or upgrade difficulty. Never have a fight in and open plane with good visibility. Have it on a rickety bridge (1 setback) over a huge ravine (1 upgrade) in a strong wind (1 setback) or whatever. These affect both PCs and NPCs, and means combat is a bit less lethal, less one sided, and benefits characters who invest in setback removers.

remember that you don’t die in this game from running out of wounds (except by gm decision for NPCs), but just by really high crits (which is hard to achieve until they have a few). You are just out of the fight.

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Sounds like the main problem is expectations.

As others have said, sit down with all the players in a "session zero" and hash out what you and each of the players expects from the game.

If Shadowrun was one of the possible game options, then it sounds like this group isn't interested in the primary themes of Star Wars, those being heroic deeds and grand narratives, and instead on being self-serving mercenaries with no interests beyond their own well-being.  So it might be they came in thinking the game was going to be one thing, while the OP wanted something different.

And if that's not the sort of game you want to GM for, let them know that you're not having fun with the way things are going.  It might just be best to drop this campaign and perhaps try again, only this time with everybody on the same page regarding expectations as what sort of game the next campaign will be.

Also, if this their first go at FFG Star Wars?  If they've come in from much more hard-coded systems like D&D/Pathfinder or Shadowrun, then the fact that FFG wrote this game to give players and GMs more flexibility in how rules are interpreted might be a problem.  Some players have gotten so into the mindset of trying to exploit the rules in games like D&D/Pathfinder or Shadowrun that they extend that same mindset to games that don't require heavy-duty optimizing in order to be a successful build; I've seen a few folks of that mindset try to min-max their characters in Fate Accelerated Edition, which is about as rules-light as you can get with there still being coherent rules.

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Quote

 

@LordBritish, your first paragraph cut off. But I get what you're saying. Problem is, all that stuff is already in the game. I can't really take it back now. If I'd known how game-breaking some of these attachments could be, I'd have canked attachments and mods for weapons and armor right from the start. But I didn't. You can bet your backside that if I ever bump my head and am willing to GM this game again, those are getting the axe. 

 

Session zero: it's a bit late for that. I've tried to give them things to do (being part of the partisans). I've tried having the NPC partisan nudge them in a direction that would result in accomplishing what they're here to do, such as recon of possible targets, getting the various supplies and contact they'll need to mount an insurgency, that kind of thing. The end result was: Let's see if this black marketeer or Black Sun guy have any jobs that involve stealing from the Empire.

 

Situations where they can't just shoot: Tried it. They shot. Or stabbed. Or threatened. If they fail a charm or negotiation roll, they stick a blaster is someone's ear or hold a grenade between their legs. Or threaten their family. The only time they've shown a willingness to do something that was supposed to be geared toward something other than combat was stealing from a warehouse. Even then, the optimizer was hoping to be able to shoot someone at some point.

 

Tougher opponents: I have two issues with that. One, any adversary that presents a challenge is probably going to be tough enough to wipe them out. Two, we've been playing for only a couple months. If I step up to Inquisitors (whose appearance at this point wouldn't make sense in the story) now, where do I go from there? Emperor's Hands? Three sessions later, only Vader himself would pose a threat. Opposition should grow in power over time, not bring out the Sith Lords after 15 sessions. The characters actually ran away from an AT-ST, since they didn't have any weapons that could hurt it. But putting them up against armored vehicles is going to get old real fast. And they're going to look for anti-vehicle weapons. And then use them on personnel. Oh and they're most assuredly *NOT* epic heroes. Last session, they took a prisoner, and to encourage him to talk the Togruta stabbed him a little bit. When they were searching the area, I used a dark side destiny point to have him bleed out rather than get tortured for the next couple weeks. Not because I have any sort of sensitivity to them torturing the guy, I just didn't want to deal with it and he'd already told them what he knew. To make sure he was dead, the Togruta shoved a knife thru his ear and into his brain. 

 

In Shadowrun, this would be unprofessional but wouldn't raise many eyebrows. In various post-apocalyptic games I've played, it would be a perfectly reasonable course of action. And from a certain point of view, it *is* a reasonable course of action. But when taken together with things like threatening a black marketeer because he won't give them a discount that they think they earned for killing some Trandoshans that were in his shop "looking for" the Tech character....or taking "trophies" from their fallen enemies....plotting the death of any NPC that displeases them in the slightest.....

@the mercenary

Well the situation to all that is quite simple. Take back control, stop the sessions, and have a session zero detailing expectations going forward and have that conversation, and say "Look guys, respectfully I am going to have to talk things over about this game because I'm not having any fun running sessions for you guys. I want to discuss things with you guys so we can run a more plot driven, then a mechanical driven game where you proceed to play GTA online. In order to do this I am retroactively limiting equipment to only what is in the core book(s) so that I can manage things better at my end until I am more experienced with this system, and I will start presenting situations where combat isn't the only thing going on. Otherwise I am going to end up threatening a party wipe every session.". If you haven't had an "expectation setting session", have one now and set those expectations now. Otherwise, as was well put:


 

Quote

Also, if this their first go at FFG Star Wars?  If they've come in from much more hard-coded systems like D&D/Pathfinder or Shadowrun, then the fact that FFG wrote this game to give players and GMs more flexibility in how rules are interpreted might be a problem.  Some players have gotten so into the mindset of trying to exploit the rules in games like D&D/Pathfinder or Shadowrun that they extend that same mindset to games that don't require heavy-duty optimizing in order to be a successful build; I've seen a few folks of that mindset try to min-max their characters in Fate Accelerated Edition, which is about as rules-light as you can get with there still being coherent rules.



One book I recommend reading on this is the Jewel of Yavin adventure; which as a whole presents a heist situation in a interesting light. Sure the entire "racing" event thing might seem axhillary and a bit forced, but all in all it's the best combat light adventure Fantasy Flight Games has. Trying to go all gun ho for the prize will only result in a healthy dose of obligation (which you should be using for any seedy campaign, as obligation can be an effective consequence for reckless gaming.)

Respectfully, you are the GM and your enjoyment of the game is just as important as the gamers around the table and they need to be made aware of that; if their previous environment was those games you described then you need to communicate this effectively over to the people you are playing with and get some understanding with them. Just as said, the thematic experience is dependant on the players buying into it and thus far; it sounds like you need all the interventions I initially prescribed.

Edited by LordBritish

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So if you're not enjoying the game, that's worth talking about out of the game.  If you are, and I mean all of you, then it's easy enough to cater to what they want.  It sounds like you're not, and no amount of house rules are going to change that.  I'd advise having a talk with the players and figure out what they want, and tell them what you want.  If you can agree, then you can move forward.

If you all are in fact having fun and I've misread this, then there are some simple ways to handle this:

  • If there's a player that likes to mow things down, by all means give them lots of minions to plow through! 
  • Not all problems can be solved at the end of a blaster, though.   
  • It's not at all unfair to:
    • use the Rarity rules and Negotiation checks to acquire new weapons and mods.
    • upgrade checks and have gear get damaged or lost with 3 Threat or a Despair. 
      • It only takes 1 Threat to run out of ammunition.
    • have consequences to actions.
    • equip some adversaries with the same kits as the optimizer PCs - let them do the work for you!
  • Using the Bodyguard talent can keep your Nemeses alive longer - but a smart Nemesis doesn't just hang around where they can get shot.
  • Damage enough Imperial Assets and an Inquisitor will show up and Sunder the kriff out of their fancy toys.
  • Most bad guys will focus on the biggest threat, so if the rest of the group aren't bloodthirsty killers, you can avoid a TPK.

The problems you describe are not at all uncommon, in this system or any other, and it's not anyone's fault you've ended up here.  There are literally dozens of threads on these forums alone with similar questions, so it's probably not worth scrubbing your entire campaign over a few minor issues.  A good GM facilitates a good time but is not the sole source of the good time - everyone has to contribute.  If you all can get to that point first, the rest will hopefully flow.

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