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Issumar2380

I Have you now

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With Darth Vader's ability in his stats "I have you now" that allows Vader to spend an Advantage to add +20 to critical hit or injury roll, is that able to be used multiple times if you have enough advantage to spend?

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13 hours ago, Issumar2380 said:

With Darth Vader's ability in his stats "I have you now" that allows Vader to spend an Advantage to add +20 to critical hit or injury roll, is that able to be used multiple times if you have enough advantage to spend?

It doesn't specify either way, so I guess ultimately it'd be up to the GM.

Personally, I'd lean towards it only being once per roll, otherwise there's a very real chance that Vader could one-hit kill a PC with a lightsaber strike.  And seeing as how FFG went out of their way to make actual character death very difficult to accomplish, it just feels off that they'd introduce an ability that allows the GM to gank PCs that easily.

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4 hours ago, Vader is Love said:

I guess you could activate it more than once. It's a major improvement for critting, yes, but in my opinion the only really good talent in this lukewarm vader profile. 

I think you're grossly underselling the fact that he's got 6 Force dice to back up his powers, as well as more ranks in Parry and Reflect (along with the Improved versions of both) than most PCs will see unless they double-down on LS Form specs (and thus sacrifice chances to bolster their Force Rating).  There's also the fact that just seeing him is a fear check against three red dice, which gives very high odds that you're going to have PCs who aren't operating at full capacity simply due to the results of a failed fear check (if the PC doesn't out and out wind up fleeing due to multiple Despairs on that failed check), which isn't helped by his 4 ranks of Adversary.

Having just played in a session last night where our group of moderately experienced F&D characters (about 500XP total) had to square off against DoR!Vader, I'd say he's plenty brutal as is and very effective in combat, having utterly demolished the Makashi Duelist in a one-on-one fight.  That he can tank pretty much anything short of a full-modded lightsaber (and even then he can absorb a lot of it thanks to his Parry ranks) very much gives him an "unrelenting monster" vibe that's very much in character for the Dark Lord of the Sith.  And given he's using a fully-modded Ilum crystal in his lightsaber and has a dice pool of five yellows to attack, he also doesn't need a whole mess of flashy talents to do his business.

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13 hours ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

I think you're grossly underselling the fact that he's got 6 Force dice to back up his powers, as well as more ranks in Parry and Reflect (along with the Improved versions of both) than most PCs will see unless they double-down on LS Form specs (and thus sacrifice chances to bolster their Force Rating).  There's also the fact that just seeing him is a fear check against three red dice, which gives very high odds that you're going to have PCs who aren't operating at full capacity simply due to the results of a failed fear check (if the PC doesn't out and out wind up fleeing due to multiple Despairs on that failed check), which isn't helped by his 4 ranks of Adversary.

Having just played in a session last night where our group of moderately experienced F&D characters (about 500XP total) had to square off against DoR!Vader, I'd say he's plenty brutal as is and very effective in combat, having utterly demolished the Makashi Duelist in a one-on-one fight.  That he can tank pretty much anything short of a full-modded lightsaber (and even then he can absorb a lot of it thanks to his Parry ranks) very much gives him an "unrelenting monster" vibe that's very much in character for the Dark Lord of the Sith.  And given he's using a fully-modded Ilum crystal in his lightsaber and has a dice pool of five yellows to attack, he also doesn't need a whole mess of flashy talents to do his business.

Thing is, the characters in my group are all way higher than 500 xp, very well equipped and could end this vader really quick. In my adjusted profile he has eight force dies and improved reflect/parry 8. It's okay I guess, when an Inquisitor can have rank 5. I admit, that in your scenario your points are entirely valid. And thanks for mentioning the fear check, I almost forgot them. 

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3 hours ago, Vader is Love said:

Thing is, the characters in my group are all way higher than 500 xp, very well equipped and could end this vader really quick. In my adjusted profile he has eight force dies and improved reflect/parry 8. It's okay I guess, when an Inquisitor can have rank 5. I admit, that in your scenario your points are entirely valid. And thanks for mentioning the fear check, I almost forgot them. 

That's the point you're missing, is that the Vader profile isn't meant to taken a party of Jedi Masters (or characters of equivalent XP) because Vader himself isn't actually that powerful to begin with.

For example, pitting Vader against the Jedi Council builds (Yoda, Mace Windu, Kit Fisto, and a couple others I don't recall) that Keith Kappel did for a Force & Destiny one-shot would result in a decimated Vader, as they were all built around 1800 to 2000 XP and loaded with talents and Force powers.

From all that we've seen, Vader generally fights smart, and stacks the encounter in his favor whenever he can.  You instead seem content to just treat him as the sort of mindless brute that Maul was in TPM.  The only time he engages multiple foes is when they're the equivalent of minion groups, such as his corridor massacre at the end of Rogue One.  Even against Ahsoka (who is younger, has less training, and not nearly as powerful in the Force) in their fight at the end of Season 2 of Rebels, he doesn't come out completely unscathed, while she frankly only survives that encounter due to time-travel shenanigans on Ezra's part.

Plus, there's the need to account for Luke (who probably has about 1000 to 1200 XP at the absolute most) was able to fight and actually defeat Vader during their second fight any time he went on the offensive, especially so when Luke briefly embraced his anger and outright thrashed Vader.

There's an older Legends story that takes place shortly after the events of RotS, where about a dozen or so Jedi survivors of Order 66 pretty much lay a trap for Vader, ranging  mix of Knights to Padawans.  And while Vader does take a good number of them down (especially the Padawans), in the end his armored backside is saved by the timely arrival of Coruscant Guard Troopers who gun down the remaining Jedi, one of whom was about to deal Vader a death blow.

Is Vader powerful?  Yes.  Is Vader an invincible force that cannot be harmed except through GM-mandated plot power?  Nope.  And his state block captures that perfectly.

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22 hours ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

That's the point you're missing, is that the Vader profile isn't meant to taken a party of Jedi Masters (or characters of equivalent XP) because Vader himself isn't actually that powerful to begin with.

or example, pitting Vader against the Jedi Council builds (Yoda, Mace Windu, Kit Fisto, and a couple others I don't recall) that Keith Kappel did for a Force & Destiny one-shot would result in a decimated Vader, as they were all built around 1800 to 2000 XP and loaded with talents and Force powers.

There's an older Legends story that takes place shortly after the events of RotS, where about a dozen or so Jedi survivors of Order 66 pretty much lay a trap for Vader, ranging  mix of Knights to Padawans.  And while Vader does take a good number of them down (especially the Padawans), in the end his armored backside is saved by the timely arrival of Coruscant Guard Troopers who gun down the remaining Jedi, one of whom was about to deal Vader a death blow.

He still struggles with his new identity and his suit, that short after RotS. I know the comic and I think, for the limitations he faced at that time, his powers are great. You seem to miss, that after this incident, he had two decades to improve his abilities and powers. At his height he probably could take every old master quite easily.

 

22 hours ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

From all that we've seen, Vader generally fights smart, and stacks the encounter in his favor whenever he can.  You instead seem content to just treat him as the sort of mindless brute that Maul was in TPM.  The only time he engages multiple foes is when they're the equivalent of minion groups, such as his corridor massacre at the end of Rogue One.  Even against Ahsoka (who is younger, has less training, and not nearly as powerful in the Force) in their fight at the end of Season 2 of Rebels, he doesn't come out completely unscathed, while she frankly only survives that encounter due to time-travel shenanigans on Ezra's part.

 

So Reflect and Parry rank 5 / FR 6 are totally fine. Reflect and Parry rank 8 / FR8 = mindless brute. Wow, ok. I am actually a fan of Vader (who would have thought that?) because he's just not a mindless brute.

And when you bring up the comics, then you have to admit, that there are enough sources of him fighting against all kind of enemies, last but not least the Sith-Lords Book, which showed the peak of kinda everything, maybe only scecond to the highly questionable scene of Starkiller bringing a star destroyer down. In the end, the respective author defines more or less how mighty a character is in his creation.

You're right with Ahsoka, though, but well, it would have been a bit boring, with him killing her in a single strike. Maybe it was just "GM-mandated plot power", which protected Ahsoka lmao. (I will use that phrase from now on, to bug my GMs.)

 

22 hours ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

Plus, there's the need to account for Luke (who probably has about 1000 to 1200 XP at the absolute most) was able to fight and actually defeat Vader during their second fight any time he went on the offensive, especially so when Luke briefly embraced his anger and outright thrashed Vader.

Luke was meant to defeat Vader. And besides the emperor the only individual, who could do this at that time.

22 hours ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

Is Vader powerful?  Yes.  Is Vader an invincible force that cannot be harmed except through GM-mandated plot power?  Nope.  And his state block captures that perfectly.

I never wanted him to be an invincible force, lol, I just want you to understand, that he shoudn't be killed right away with one or two hits from a player character. And even my vastly improved Vader was overpowered more or less fast, but he delivered a fight, not forgotten easily. And that's what matters I guess.

 

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So how much earned XP do your PCs have and how much gear have they acquired at this point in your campaign?

There's a writer for the d20 Radio blog named Chris Hunt, who has written up a lot of NPCs that he uses in his campaign for posting on the blog... in which the PCs have well over a thousand XP each and the best gear that credits can buy, will high-end fully-modded attachments.  So the NPCs, even Rivals, that are "minor challenges" to those PCs are going to run roughshod over the vast majority of PCs, given that the general trend is most campaigns tend to wrap up well before the players hit the 1000 earned XP mark, especially for EotE and AoR campaigns.

The design team is generally aware of this, that most PCs aren't going to be rolling in the several hundreds of XP or have GMs that are going to let them have whatever ultra-high-end gear the players' hearts desire.  So in giving Vader stats (a decision I generally disagree with, but that's neither here nor there) they had to keep in mind that they needed Vader to be a challenge but not so intense that his showing is the equivalent of "rocks fall, everyone dies" with very little chance of being able to do anything other than die messily as he strides into the room.

Fun factoid: Vader makes a cameo appearance in the "Rescue at Glare Peak" module that FFG published for Rebellion Day a few years back.  He's got zero stats, with the module saying that if the PCs don't hustle and get out of the Imperial compound, they run into Vader, and he pretty much demolishes one PC with each action every round with the PCs having zero ability to affect Vader; their attacks pretty much fail, or he's able to block/parry/deflect the attacks with contemptuous ease.  He is literally "rocks fall, everyone dies" made manifest in that module.

Now, said module is pretty much written as a one-shot with pregen characters, so no big loss if the pregens all snuff it since the players really won't have any investment in those pregens, especially since it's essentially a convention module.  However, if Vader shows up as a major baddie in an ongoing campaign, I'd be very surprised if the players didn't unanimously walk out if the GM just had Vader show up as a horrifically overpowered combat monster (or just didn't have stats at all) that the PCs have zero chance of defeating unless they've got ridiculous amounts of XP under their belts and equally ridiculous quality of gear on their backs and/or hips, resulting in a party wipe that takes out the characters they've become invested in, killing said characters on what amounts to GM whimsy.

For my experience with dealing with Vader as he was written, the GM did forewarn us that this was the final session of the campaign, and that all bets were off.  And even still, we were able to give Vader a challenge, with just enough of a glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, we could actually defeat him without everyone dying.  Sadly, one Despair result later and that plan went down the tubes, though in the end we'd managed to get him perilously close to his strain threshold, inflict just under half his wound threshold, and stick him with a few crits (including one to make his checks just a bit harder and another to give us a much-needed light side point in the Destiny Pool).

But if you've got players whose characters have well over a thousand XP and have all the best gear in the game, then you're going to be totally on your own for coming up with challenging NPCs/encounters, because your group are well outside the norm for vast majority of players and GMs, and FFG writes their books to sell to as broad a market as possible.

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Sorry for the late answer!

On 12/24/2018 at 3:06 AM, Donovan Morningfire said:

So how much earned XP do your PCs have and how much gear have they acquired at this point in your campaign?

There's a writer for the d20 Radio blog named Chris Hunt, who has written up a lot of NPCs that he uses in his campaign for posting on the blog... in which the PCs have well over a thousand XP each and the best gear that credits can buy, will high-end fully-modded attachments.  So the NPCs, even Rivals, that are "minor challenges" to those PCs are going to run roughshod over the vast majority of PCs, given that the general trend is most campaigns tend to wrap up well before the players hit the 1000 earned XP mark, especially for EotE and AoR campaigns.

Most earned XP were about 3,600 for a melee fighter. 9 Talent trees and fully modded high-end gear. It's the most played character in our group and has been in several campaigns under different GMs.

The remaining challenges in a fight consist mostly of vehicle weapons. Of course there are not a lot of fights anymore, though.

(Btw I just looked up Chris Hunt's stuff and he's made some really cool stuff, thanks.)

On 12/24/2018 at 3:06 AM, Donovan Morningfire said:

The design team is generally aware of this, that most PCs aren't going to be rolling in the several hundreds of XP or have GMs that are going to let them have whatever ultra-high-end gear the players' hearts desire.  So in giving Vader stats (a decision I generally disagree with, but that's neither here nor there) they had to keep in mind that they needed Vader to be a challenge but not so intense that his showing is the equivalent of "rocks fall, everyone dies" with very little chance of being able to do anything other than die messily as he strides into the room.

Fun factoid: Vader makes a cameo appearance in the "Rescue at Glare Peak" module that FFG published for Rebellion Day a few years back.  He's got zero stats, with the module saying that if the PCs don't hustle and get out of the Imperial compound, they run into Vader, and he pretty much demolishes one PC with each action every round with the PCs having zero ability to affect Vader; their attacks pretty much fail, or he's able to block/parry/deflect the attacks with contemptuous ease.  He is literally "rocks fall, everyone dies" made manifest in that module.

Now, said module is pretty much written as a one-shot with pregen characters, so no big loss if the pregens all snuff it since the players really won't have any investment in those pregens, especially since it's essentially a convention module.  However, if Vader shows up as a major baddie in an ongoing campaign, I'd be very surprised if the players didn't unanimously walk out if the GM just had Vader show up as a horrifically overpowered combat monster (or just didn't have stats at all) that the PCs have zero chance of defeating unless they've got ridiculous amounts of XP under their belts and equally ridiculous quality of gear on their backs and/or hips, resulting in a party wipe that takes out the characters they've become invested in, killing said characters on what amounts to GM whimsy.

You are probably right, that in the end the devs had to choose some stats, as they wanted him statted. I fully agree, that this would not have been neccessary (for Vader or other important characters). I actually knew about "Rescue at Glare Peak" and thought it really wasn't a comprehensible decision going from this to the profile in DoR.

But nonetheless I admit I like to introduce some kind of "combat monsters" to my players, but always to show something new and with leaving a way out. The huge rancor with cortosis reinforced armor built by a crazy inquisitor scientist can't be taken down with a lightsaber, but easily with Bind. The other way round, our 15-Soak-Marauder can be confronted by an Elite-Soldier armed with the "They bigger they are..."-Signature Abiltity from Forged in Battle, who will deal a lot of damage, but will also die as fast. Encounters like this are very, very rare of course, but it keeps even high-ep-chars vigilant while conquering the galaxy. But until now, no player character has ever died in one of my sessions (at least not through an NPC).

On 12/24/2018 at 3:06 AM, Donovan Morningfire said:

For my experience with dealing with Vader as he was written, the GM did forewarn us that this was the final session of the campaign, and that all bets were off.  And even still, we were able to give Vader a challenge, with just enough of a glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, we could actually defeat him without everyone dying.  Sadly, one Despair result later and that plan went down the tubes, though in the end we'd managed to get him perilously close to his strain threshold, inflict just under half his wound threshold, and stick him with a few crits (including one to make his checks just a bit harder and another to give us a much-needed light side point in the Destiny Pool). 

Sounds like an awesomely cinematic battle, though. Did your characters die?

On 12/24/2018 at 3:06 AM, Donovan Morningfire said:

But if you've got players whose characters have well over a thousand XP and have all the best gear in the game, then you're going to be totally on your own for coming up with challenging NPCs/encounters, because your group are well outside the norm for vast majority of players and GMs, and FFG writes their books to sell to as broad a market as possible. 

You sum it up very well. I guess, I was kinda disappointed with the Vader profile in DoR, because I could't really make use of it. But yeah, I changed it until it fitted and everything was fine lol.

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Christ, 3600 earned EXP?! I'm pretty sure the devs for this game never even intended for PCs to finish 2 complete talent trees, let alone 9. I'm not surprised that the book-Vader wasn't much of a challenge for someone who could arm-wrestle a Rancor with one finger... Still, your campaign sounds awesome. I'm glad you were able to modify Vader enough to still provide a bit of a challenge!

 

Also, consider your cortosis-armored Rancor stolen for my own table. I suspect my party will be smart and run the heck away, especially considering they won't even have 200 earned EXP by the time they could encounter it...

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3 hours ago, Silim said:

Christ, 3600 earned EXP?! I'm pretty sure the devs for this game never even intended for PCs to finish 2 complete talent trees, let alone 9. I'm not surprised that the book-Vader wasn't much of a challenge...

This is similar to the problem that WEG's d6 Star Wars had, where the system was designed around the notion that after a couple dozen sessions, the campaign would end and the players would generate new characters for the next campaign.

It very quickly broke down when the same group played the same characters once a week for several years, an observation that Bill Slavicsek made note of in his book detailing the early history of the Star Wars RPG based upon his own experiences from running a SWd6 campaign for several of his colleagues during his time at Wizards of the Coast, and eventually reaching a point where he had to toss out all the pre-made stats and material (as well as much of the default difficulty guidelines) just due to how incredibly powerful his PCs had gotten.

I seem to recall overhearing Sam Stewart say at a GamerNationCon (could have been the last one) about how when they were devising their Star Wars system, they never really intended for it to be able to handle player-characters on the level of power of the likes of Yoda, Mace Windu, or Palpatine, which at over 3000 earned XP per PC means you've got a group that could probably thrash the entirety of the Jedi High Council.

Granted, D&D 3.X and Pathfinder have a similar issue, becoming increasingly problematic for GMs once the PCs hit the mid-teens in terms of levels, but that's due more to the math behind the game starting to break down after 10th level than the sheer power of the player-characters (though D&D has long suffered from the "Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards" trope for a very good reason).  WotC's Star Wars Saga Edition wasn't immune to this, since its math was based upon the same d20 system that D&D 3.X and Pathfinder used, and got increasingly clunky for GMs to run once the PCs started getting into the high-teens in terms of character levels.

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My personal take is that fans have a fetishistic tendency to overestimate and inflate iconic character's abilities. Add in the gamer tendency to maximize power-crunch and enough experience to build Jedi Masters in-their-own-right and perspective is lost.  What do we actually see Vader do in the movies?

  • He takes down a corridor filled with rebel troopers.
  • He force chokes some dudes. 
  • He fights Obi-Wan Kenobi in a lightsaber duel on the Death Star, but Kenobi lets him win.
  • He force chokes some dudes.
  • He leads the raid on Echo Base and some snow troopers die while flanking him.
  • He force chokes some more dudes.
  • He fights Luke Skywalker (a Padawan) in the Cloud City and wins handily.
  • He force chokes some more dudes.
  • He fights Luke Skywalker (a greenhorn Jedi Knight) in the Throne Room and loses.
  • He chokes out due to respirator removal.

Yes, Vader is big and scary. Yes, Vader is "The Dragon." But nothing in the movie canon suggests he can take down a group of Jedi Masters single handedly.

I would build Luke in RoTJ with FR 3, Lightsaber-4, Improved Parry-4, Improved Reflect-4, and unmatched destiny. He's a "Jedi Knight," but not really a master, and he should have lost when stacked up against Vader pound for pound. He made liberal use of destiny points and drew on his hate to take Vader down before realizing that was not the Jedi way.

Now, if we include Rebels, we do see Vader:

  • Take on Ezra and Kannan at one time. Basically, a Padawan close to knight-level ability and a newbie padawan.
  • Fight eventually overwhelm Asokha. Grown up Asokha is formidable and basically a full-fledged Jedi Knight in-her-own-right.

Again, we see nothing to suggest Vader should be able to take down a group of Jedi Masters or even a group of fully-trained Jedi Knights. In other words, there is no evidence he should be able to take down a group of player characters who have risen to become full-fledged Jedi Knights (or Masters) in their own right.

Nor do we ever see Vader put himself in a position where he would be forced to fight such a group. He does not engage if he doesn't have the advantage. His biggest strength is that he's smart and picks his battles. He seeks to control the ground, ensure numerical advantage (at least qualitatively-speaking), and to maintain the initiative.

Honestly, if Vader is in a slug-fest with 3+ Jedi all at once on neutral ground with no backup the game-master has made a serious error and, I will say it, is doing it wrong. Our group has three Jedi around the book-Ahsoka's level and I would never let that happen. I'd make sure that no more than 1-2 could engage him at once, I'd engineer the space to have elements he could use to his advantage, and he'd have some sort of back-up on hand or ticking-clock or objective in play to complicate the issue.

They have gone up against him once and their goal was a fighting withdrawal. One of them put up an impressive fight and held him long-enough to make it a "win" in their book, but that character has three full trees, was built for saber fighting, and the player was extremely creative and had hot dice. Our groups compact is, when a character gets to that point they become iconic in their own right and are rebuilt akin to the iconic's in the book. Aside from tweaks, what growth do they need?

If a character has 3600-experience and 9 trees (just wow) they have outgrown the intended parameters the system was designed around and deserve to give Vader a single-handed beat down. There comes a point where linear character growth turns you into a god among gods and we have left the realm of mere mortals. It becomes the stuff of comic books and videogames. Oh, look, its Starkiller! More power to you! But, at the same time you can't have unlimited linear growth without, at some point, breaking the system and exceeding reasonable interpretations of the source material.

Edited by Vondy

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