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New Book Alert: Allies and Adversaries

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This is so cool! My kids and their friends are going to love to have official stats for all these big names and to fight alongside or against them in their RPG games! :)

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8 minutes ago, Endersai said:

Except the issue is - the appeal of Star Wars is that it was basically people, ordinary people, doing extra ordinary things. Forget the whole "Chosen One" nonsense - Han, Lando, Jyn, whomever - your PCs could be your campaign's version of them, as you didn't so much interact with the movie as have your own "movie" in the Star Wars universe. Only, when they brought these stats out, the stat lines were all 5/4/4/4/3/3 which is so far outside the reach of players even with several hundred XP invested going for nothing but Dedication-offering talents. 

So basically, the statted NPCs in Dawn of Rebellion segregated the line between IP characters and player characters in a way that said the latter would rarely, if ever, be able to call the former a true peer. It was disappointing, and not quite a core promise broken but certainly a change in tone from a company whose position was that these sorts of stat blocks are a distraction and unnecessary as the PCs are the big heroes. 

And on reflection, I feel like the best use of a book containing adversaries and allies would have been for FFG to create unique adversaries and allies based on the existing rules (rather than setting a minimum number of 5s and 4s in heroic statblocks) and present them with sample scenes or adventures to introduce and run them in. I don't mean, per the page shown on the FFG site, a generic barabel bounty hunter but a named barabel who can be integrated into campaigns. The adversary decks in effect do this for generics - they're a quick reference guide for social and martial combat encounters. But adding their own lore to their game (and confusing overzealous Wookiepedians about the canonicity of these characters!) by giving you a set of, say, a named Rebel and Imperial ace who are long term adversaries and rivals and whose rivalry can be inserted to your Age of Rebellion game as a plot point? That would be more useful than knowing the stats of people who died at Scarif in the years before my campaign takes place. 

 

Well, based upon what I interpreted from this article is that they're doing a little bit of both. They're providing stats for iconic characters that some groups want, as well as a plethora of original named and generic NPC adversaries. If all we were getting was a book of iconic characters, then I could see a problem. However, that's not what we're getting. 

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8 minutes ago, Endersai said:

And on reflection, I feel like the best use of a book containing adversaries and allies would have been for FFG to create unique adversaries and allies based on the existing rules (rather than setting a minimum number of 5s and 4s in heroic statblocks) and present them with sample scenes or adventures to introduce and run them in.

The best use I see for this book is taking its published stats for Darth Vader, Boba Fett, blah, blah, blah and re-skinning them for your own adversaries to challenge high level player characters.

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23 minutes ago, Endersai said:

(rather than setting a minimum number of 5s and 4s in heroic statblocks)

Have they ever given an established character a characteristic of 6? It seems like 5 is the highest they will go.

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16 minutes ago, Tramp Graphics said:

Well, based upon what I interpreted from this article is that they're doing a little bit of both. They're providing stats for iconic characters that some groups want, as well as a plethora of original named and generic NPC adversaries. If all we were getting was a book of iconic characters, then I could see a problem. However, that's not what we're getting. 

I saw generic NPCs and named PCs - so basically, Adversary Decks + Dawn of Rebellion/Rise of the Separatist stat blocks collated in one source. But on re-reading you could be right. 

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8 minutes ago, Endersai said:

I saw generic NPCs and named PCs - so basically, Adversary Decks + Dawn of Rebellion/Rise of the Separatist stat blocks collated in one source. But on re-reading you could be right. 

Even then, that works. Also remember that the Adversary decks also included both generic and "named" original NPCs. 

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51 minutes ago, Endersai said:

Except the issue is - the appeal of Star Wars is that it was basically people, ordinary people, doing extra ordinary things. Forget the whole "Chosen One" nonsense - Han, Lando, Jyn, whomever - your PCs could be your campaign's version of them, as you didn't so much interact with the movie as have your own "movie" in the Star Wars universe. Only, when they brought these stats out, the stat lines were all 5/4/4/4/3/3 which is so far outside the reach of players even with several hundred XP invested going for nothing but Dedication-offering talents. 

So basically, the statted NPCs in Dawn of Rebellion segregated the line between IP characters and player characters in a way that said the latter would rarely, if ever, be able to call the former a true peer. It was disappointing, and not quite a core promise broken but certainly a change in tone from a company whose position was that these sorts of stat blocks are a distraction and unnecessary as the PCs are the big heroes. 

And on reflection, I feel like the best use of a book containing adversaries and allies would have been for FFG to create unique adversaries and allies based on the existing rules (rather than setting a minimum number of 5s and 4s in heroic statblocks) and present them with sample scenes or adventures to introduce and run them in. I don't mean, per the page shown on the FFG site, a generic barabel bounty hunter but a named barabel who can be integrated into campaigns. The adversary decks in effect do this for generics - they're a quick reference guide for social and martial combat encounters. But adding their own lore to their game (and confusing overzealous Wookiepedians about the canonicity of these characters!) by giving you a set of, say, a named Rebel and Imperial ace who are long term adversaries and rivals and whose rivalry can be inserted to your Age of Rebellion game as a plot point? That would be more useful than knowing the stats of people who died at Scarif in the years before my campaign takes place. 

 

The challenge you have with making any game based on an existing IP.

Camp I: Major characters from the IP need to be so powerful that if the players meet them, the players can't kill them to avoid a paradox or incompatibility with later IP products.

Camp II: The Players are heroes of the same caliber as the Major Characters from the IP. As such IP characters merely need to be a power level that allows them to be able do what they do in the IP. They need not be the best in the universe at it, just capable. If your players are the kind to kill a major character just to see what happens, either never let them meet, or deal with the fallout.

 

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2 hours ago, HappyDaze said:

I wonder how many more books they can come up with that have largely recycled stuff and only a relatively small chunk of new material. Perhaps next we'll get a starships book that gives us a dozen or so new ships along with all of the ones we already have...

I love the collectible quality of FFG's books but I also love easy reference. The fact that FFG illustrates literally nothing under par makes for a deadly combination. This is the first supplement I'll jump to pre-order, second in speed only to a ship or weapon index. Man, would that be great.

No idea if there's money in these as a product, to be fair. But I personally love 'em.

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34 minutes ago, wilsch said:

I love the collectible quality of FFG's books but I also love easy reference. The fact that FFG illustrates literally nothing under par makes for a deadly combination. This is the first supplement I'll jump to pre-order, second in speed only to a ship or weapon index. Man, would that be great.

No idea if there's money in these as a product, to be fair. But I personally love 'em.

I think it's a common enough complaint that they warrant some attention - although I'm surprised they started with NPCs.  Even when I have the crew over to play at my house, like kriff if I'm going to haul all my books downstairs and then we all spend hours pouring over them instead of playing.  Sure it's possible and possibly unnecessary but really, there's a lot of cool stuff spread out among 29" (I just measured) of books.  If I could hand a gear book to players, or even better, have them purchase a copy, everyone wins. 

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21 minutes ago, themensch said:

I think it's a common enough complaint that they warrant some attention - although I'm surprised they started with NPCs.  Even when I have the crew over to play at my house, like kriff if I'm going to haul all my books downstairs and then we all spend hours pouring over them instead of playing.  Sure it's possible and possibly unnecessary but really, there's a lot of cool stuff spread out among 29" (I just measured) of books.  If I could hand a gear book to players, or even better, have them purchase a copy, everyone wins. 

For what it’s worth, I bring the books from the computer room to the living room when the groups I run play.

Even though we very rarely go to the books for reference.

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3 hours ago, Tramp Graphics said:

Even then, that works. Also remember that the Adversary decks also included both generic and "named" original NPCs. 

I am having a senior's moment - they did? Who were the named? 

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5 hours ago, Endersai said:

They used to talk about the lack of stats as a positive, as a strength of the game - it just distracts PCs into trying to kill famous characters, they're never fully accurate etc. 

That was my first thought.  They've gone all the way from explaining why they didn't do it to doing an entire book of it.  

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16 minutes ago, Tramp Graphics said:

I don't know all of them but, if I remember correctly, Teemo the Hutt is one of them. 

I thought Teemo was in one of the Edge supplements, and there's a generic Hutt crime lord in the cards. I'll have a look when I get home - I don't distrust you or anything, I use the cards often and am doing that annoying "wait, do they? Don't they?" loop in my head right now. 

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6 hours ago, Ghostofman said:

I dunno... NPCs are nice, but not that nice, especially when collected from all the other books, making sizable portions reprinted info.

I'll probably get it for completion, but I'm sad we've finally reached this point.

I'll get it for completion but I'm hoping that it introduces a whole bunch of new PC species (e.g. jawa, gamorean, cathar, miraluka, ...) that would make it actually useful.  Because I really wouldn't use a book of npc's.

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2 hours ago, themensch said:

I think it's a common enough complaint that they warrant some attention - although I'm surprised they started with NPCs.  Even when I have the crew over to play at my house, like kriff if I'm going to haul all my books downstairs and then we all spend hours pouring over them instead of playing.  Sure it's possible and possibly unnecessary but really, there's a lot of cool stuff spread out among 29" (I just measured) of books.  If I could hand a gear book to players, or even better, have them purchase a copy, everyone wins. 

Good question. Could be a few reasons. Maybe FFG has a data point or strong enough hunch that NPCs are less of a draw for players than ships, let alone gear, to purchase career books — and will siphon off fewer sales. Or NPCs could be easier to prioritize as essential, whereas ships and particularly gear leaves editors buried in a pile of candidates. Or, heck, FFG wants to get this kind of product right so they start with something that'll pay for itself but also pay off with lessons they can learn for the volume they think players will really want to have in years to come.

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Appropriate filler book. Tough to do much with any era storywise until this year is over. You've got content coming out for Clone Wars, post Clone Wars, early post OT and late post or rather new triology. Given how close to the chest they played their cards on the test with the R1stuff, this seems like a an easy option.

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