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the mercenary

Help with handling an optimizer please

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My suggestion for the next time you GM: Don't allow any attachments or modifications on equipment (or only allow some hand-picked ones that have cool flavorful effects but don't power up the PCs' combat ability, things like under-barrel grappling hooks).

Also apply one of the following house rules to all weapons with linked/autofire and all two-weapon attacks:

(1) Extra hits cost 3 advantage, not 2

(2) Successes only add damage to the first hit, not to extra hits

This will reduce the lethality of combat and make it easier to balance encounters.

As to what to do in your current game, that's tough.  Give your Rivals and Nemeses lots of powerful defensive talents like Sixth Sense, Stimpack Specialization, Enduring and Coordination Dodge, that's my first thought.

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On 11/29/2018 at 11:23 PM, 2P51 said:

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.

I can verify that this works wonders for those "shoot first" groups. I've got a team that has two roleplayers, one casual, and one munchkin, and theres constant head-butting over combat (the munchkin obviously always wants to fight regardless of how stupid or pointless it would be). So, while trying to get a prisoner off of Wobani, they were faced with a tense stand off with Imperial troops after managing to bluff and paperwork their way to the planet. Out numbered, out gunned, and with no defensive positions, the Munchkin Murder Bot decides to attack the two Stormtrooper squads, Four Death Troopers, and Imperial Officer. This resulted in two members of the party going down almost instantly, the murder bot taking heavy damage, and their ship almost being blown up once they scrambled fighters to pursue them.

They escaped, but just barely, and so they've had to spend a lot of credits healing party members, repairing their ship, and now they have an Imperial Bounty marked at 20,000 credits each for assaulting an Imperial instillation, so they are gonna have to lick their wounds and reevaluate how they want to proceed.

Don't be afraid to drag them through whatever **** you see fit. Show them the error of their ways, and either they'll start to rethink their strategy or they'll go down in a blaze of glory and story will be over. If they wonder why you are doing this, just flat tell them that they picked a bad fight. You don't HAVE to make every encounter winnable through combat (it sounds like you aren't and they're doing it anyway, but they may have it in their heads that there is always a way to shoot their way out. Prove them wrong.)

If you end up with a TPK, don' worry. They'll learn their lesson.

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59 minutes ago, evo454 said:

If you end up with a TPK, don' worry. They'll learn their lesson.

Remember too that, in this system, TPK really means Total Party Knockdown. The chances of a PC Kill are almost as remote in this game as in an episode of Ben 10. Miraculously, the bad guys seldom finish off PCs even when it makes perfect sense for them to apply the coup de grâce.

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Tangent:  I'd love to see their character sheets.  Think ya could put them up on dropbox or suchlike so we can take a gander?

On-Topic:  I wouldn't suggest trying to use mechanics to resolve a table problem.  That never works out.  I would suggest telling them that you aren't having fun, that you want to have fun too and that y'all need to come to an agreement about what is going to change so that everyone (including yourself) gets to have fun.  This is a game.  Something we do for fun.  If you aren't having fun, well ... stop doing it.

Edited by Sunrunner
Removed unnecessary comment.

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On 12/3/2018 at 8:01 PM, Sunrunner said:

On-Topic:  I wouldn't suggest trying to use mechanics to resolve a table problem.  That never works out.  I would suggest telling them that you aren't having fun, that you want to have fun too and that y'all need to come to an agreement about what is going to change so that everyone (including yourself) gets to have fun.  This is a game.  Something we do for fun.  If you aren't having fun, well ... stop doing it.

This has always worked the best for me.  Trying to teach players a lesson through abusing their characters is rarely fun for anyone, and you're right, the reason everyone sits down to play is to have fun. 

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11 minutes ago, themensch said:

I dunno, TPK isn't always fun for everyone, or maybe anyone to be honest. 

I've had a group that actually loved TPKs. They were the best D&D 3.5 optimizers I've ever played with and they hated for the GM to pull any punches. They never went down easy, but they enjoyed being beaten in CR-appropriate encounters.

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6 minutes ago, HappyDaze said:

I've had a group that actually loved TPKs. They were the best D&D 3.5 optimizers I've ever played with and they hated for the GM to pull any punches. They never went down easy, but they enjoyed being beaten in CR-appropriate encounters.

Fair point!  Games like Mothership also excel at this - and more power to groups that set that precedent and play to it. 

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7 hours ago, themensch said:

I was about to call out that Star Wars doesn't do the TPK but then Rogue One.... 

I think the Imps making Han and the group surrender on the Endor moon is a TPK. Or Vader arresting them in Ep5. It's not the end, it's an opportunity. 

As someone stated before, you don't have to kill them unless it's a 150+ crit.

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In regards to TPKs and the generally killing of characters, I refer to this gem from game designer John Wick (the guy behind the creation of Legend of the Five Rings and 7th Seas)...

"Of all the horrible things I can do to your character, killing them is the least horrible.  What's worse is having your hero captured, languishing in prison day after day with no hope of escape, or made to suffer indignities that are mental, physical, spiritual, or some combination of the three.  If anything, having the your villains just kill the heroes is the heroes getting off light, and ultimately doesn't make for a very good story in an RPG."

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My backup plan if (as seemed very possible) the fight that my PCs started with the Pykes ended in a party defeat, was screenwipe to waking up in chains on Kessel, to screenwipe to 8 years later and the events of Solo.

(Essentially very similar to the screenwipe between Corellia and the next scene in Solo)

Edited by Darzil

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11 hours ago, Rimsen said:

I think the Imps making Han and the group surrender on the Endor moon is a TPK. Or Vader arresting them in Ep5. It's not the end, it's an opportunity. 

As someone stated before, you don't have to kill them unless it's a 150+ crit.

I can see that point of view, mechanically - but in my mind, that is plot sauce, extra spicy.  Unless the PCs are actually dead, then they are not dead, but I presume this semantic varies from player to player, table to table. 

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6 hours ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

In regards to TPKs and the generally killing of characters, I refer to this gem from game designer John Wick (the guy behind the creation of Legend of the Five Rings and 7th Seas)...

"Of all the horrible things I can do to your character, killing them is the least horrible.  What's worse is having your hero captured, languishing in prison day after day with no hope of escape, or made to suffer indignities that are mental, physical, spiritual, or some combination of the three.  If anything, having the your villains just kill the heroes is the heroes getting off light, and ultimately doesn't make for a very good story in an RPG."

Is that from Play Dirty?  I need to reread that, and this serves as a good reminder. 

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12 minutes ago, themensch said:

Is that from Play Dirty?  I need to reread that, and this serves as a good reminder. 

I think it was from his Facebook feed at some point.  A condensed version of it shows up in the 7th Sea 2e core rulebook about why it's so incredibly difficult for a Hero to be killed in that game as opposed to many other RPGs that are far "grittier" in terms of PC mortality.

But yeah, for the GMing folks that haven't read it, Play Dirty is definitely worth a read.  You may not agree with everything Mr. Wick puts forth, but there's plenty of stuff to consider when running your games.

Edited by Donovan Morningfire

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1 hour ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

I think it was from his Facebook feed at some point.  A condensed version of it shows up in the 7th Sea 2e core rulebook about why it's so incredibly difficult for a Hero to be killed in that game as opposed to many other RPGs that are far "grittier" in terms of PC mortality.

But yeah, for the GMing folks that haven't read it, Play Dirty is definitely worth a read.  You may not agree with everything Mr. Wick puts forth, but there's plenty of stuff to consider when running your games.

Could you ellaborate on this "Play Dirty"? You got me interested.

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10 minutes ago, Rimsen said:

Could you ellaborate on this "Play Dirty"? You got me interested.

It's one of those books on GMing style: http://johnwickpresents.com/product/play-dirty/

I've not seen the 15th anniversary edition though, I only read the original.  Originally I took away from it mostly "build the stories and challenges from PC backgrounds instead of ramming your story down their throats" but I feel like it's time for a re-read to pick up on some of the more subtle bits in the art of GMing. 

 

edit: I had no idea how maligned this book has been.  Of course every GM does it a little differently, and I'm always interested in adding things to my tool chest, even if they only get used once in a blue moon. 

Edited by themensch

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On 12/7/2018 at 12:36 AM, the mercenary said:

 

I really need to watch those movies at some point.

You really do. The movies are both amazing and honestly, they manage to break a few action movie trends that made it really easy to watch. (Plus who doesn't love Keanu Reeves?)

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So as I mentioned in another topic, this game has been cancelled. We're going to figure out if we want to start a new Star Wars campaign, or switch to Genesys and go with a different setting and genre. I've had cyberpunk suggested, as well as something like Cowboy Bebop. So I might end up creating an entire setting from square one. 

 

I explained what my objections were and why. Luckily the guys I game with seem to have gotten the Newbie Thrillz out of their systems pretty quick. We'll see. I could be wrong, it's happened once or twice before.

 

I *may* end up posting links to what I come up with for the setting over in the Genesys section of this site for feedback and ideas/suggestions. We'll see. We might end up continuing with Star Wars, I don't know yet.

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I’ve gotta say, I really don’t understand how optimization works in this system.  It’s never come up in our games and I’m beginning to suspect it’s because our players really don’t care to tweek out their weapons.  Most of our players rarely have more than one attachment and typically don’t mod it much.

So is it gear that’s the issue?  Or is there some combination of talents that put characters over the edge?  I know that auto-fire has been criticized in the past, along with Jury Rigged, but that’s pretty much it.

All of our players are experienced shooters in real life, so we would never consider “dual-wielding” even if it is mechanically better.  So is that the problem?

I feel for the OP.  I haven’t had those kinda problems since gaming in high school.

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