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Venkalth

Rule question for cumbersome and unwieldy

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Hey!

I have a question concerning the Cumbersome and Unwieldy item qualities:

Both qualities are passive which is defined as being always on. Also it is stated that for each point of Brawn/Agility the character is deficient, "he must increase the difficulty of all checks made while using the weapon by one". This last part is a bit confusing, tbh. It is clear to me that if a character with Brawn 2 uses a melee weapon with Cumbersome 3 in combat, the difficulty would increase from Average to Hard, because the character lacks one point of Brawn.

But: it says in the rules as cited above, that the difficulty of all checks while using the weapon should be increased. So does this mean that if the character with Brawn 2 from above with his Cumbersome 3 weapon is in combat and has this weapon drawn, that if he makes for instance an Astrogation check (which is neither a combat check nor directly related to the weapon), that the difficulty for this check would also be increased, because he still has this weapon in his hand (assuming that no maneuver is spent to put it away)? In the end it says all checks, so....

I can understand that the weight from such a weapon could put stress to a character which is not used to it, so this could of course increase the difficulty of other checks as well. But I'm not quite sure, if I'm reading this correctly.

So, what do you guys think? Increase difficulty for all checks or only combat checks?

Thanks in advance for your input!

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I'd call that valid on a case-by-case basis. If they have the weapon drawn and are performing a check that would require the use of their hands otherwise—such as plugging in an astrogation course—I could see upgrading that check as well. My reasoning would be that, since the weapon is too cumbersome for them to begin with, it's making secondary tasks difficult, too.

But I'd probably let it slide for a social check. Maybe ding them with a Setback die, since it's hard to coerce someone when you can barely hold up the weapon you're using to threaten them.

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Hey, thanks for the replies!

I also think that it could be applied in some cases which would somehow be influenced by the weapon being used (as stated above using hands or other appropriate checks).

Meanwhile a related question came to my mind: some of my players would like to use a melee weapon and a shield - the shield obviously to increase their defense. In combat they just want to use the melee weapon, so no two-weapon-combat-check would apply, because they don't want to attack with the shield, but just hold it in their off-hand. So imagine the following:

A character with Brawn 2 spends two maneuvers to draw a melee weapon (main hand) and a shield (off-hand) with e.g. Cumbersome 3 and Defensive 2.  Let's say everything is fine with Encumbrance. By wielding the shield in the off-hand, the passive item quality (which is RaW "always on and require no activation") Defensive 2 grants the charater and increased melee defense by 2 - no objection from my side so far. But still the character would normally be lacking one point of Brawn to properly wield the shield...

Now the character would like to attack an opponent, but only with his melee weapon! The difficulty of the melee check would, according to the rules, not be increased, because the character is a) only attacking with one weapon and b) not using his shield - and the text of Cumbersome states that the character must be using the weapon. And by "using" I am talking about taking an action to attack with it, for example, but not just holding it.

That, on the other hand, does not make any sense to me. If a weak character would just hold the shield and not attack with it, there would be (RaW) no increased difficulty for the melee attack, but the character would still gain the Defensive bonus, despite being officially not able to wield the shield in his off-hand properly.

Is that possible? What are you thinking about this kind of example`? Again, thanks in advance!

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8 minutes ago, Venkalth said:

Hey, thanks for the replies!

I also think that it could be applied in some cases which would somehow be influenced by the weapon being used (as stated above using hands or other appropriate checks).

Meanwhile a related question came to my mind: some of my players would like to use a melee weapon and a shield - the shield obviously to increase their defense. In combat they just want to use the melee weapon, so no two-weapon-combat-check would apply, because they don't want to attack with the shield, but just hold it in their off-hand. So imagine the following:

A character with Brawn 2 spends two maneuvers to draw a melee weapon (main hand) and a shield (off-hand) with e.g. Cumbersome 3 and Defensive 2.  Let's say everything is fine with Encumbrance. By wielding the shield in the off-hand, the passive item quality (which is RaW "always on and require no activation") Defensive 2 grants the charater and increased melee defense by 2 - no objection from my side so far. But still the character would normally be lacking one point of Brawn to properly wield the shield...

Now the character would like to attack an opponent, but only with his melee weapon! The difficulty of the melee check would, according to the rules, not be increased, because the character is a) only attacking with one weapon and b) not using his shield - and the text of Cumbersome states that the character must be using the weapon. And by "using" I am talking about taking an action to attack with it, for example, but not just holding it.

That, on the other hand, does not make any sense to me. If a weak character would just hold the shield and not attack with it, there would be (RaW) no increased difficulty for the melee attack, but the character would still gain the Defensive bonus, despite being officially not able to wield the shield in his off-hand properly.

Is that possible? What are you thinking about this kind of example`? Again, thanks in advance!

Yeah, I hadn't thought about that scenario (good one) but I'd say that if a shield has Cumbersome then it would apply when attacking with a different item.  Don't know if that's RAW but it's what I'd rule at the table.

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I suddenly got the image of an Ewok running forward with a shield as tall as he is and slamming it into the ground in front of him and then attacking from behind it with his spear.  There are ways to make the unusual cases work but most of the time (and i know there are people on the forum who disagree with me) you make a GM call and just forget about RAW.

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2 hours ago, Varlie said:

I suddenly got the image of an Ewok running forward with a shield as tall as he is and slamming it into the ground in front of him and then attacking from behind it with his spear.  There are ways to make the unusual cases work but most of the time (and i know there are people on the forum who disagree with me) you make a GM call and just forget about RAW.

"THIS IS ENDOR!'

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10 hours ago, Darzil said:

I think I'd rule that if you are gaining Defensive from the shield, then you are using it.

I'd agree. Most text for shields state you can use it and wield another one-handed item together but you actively defend with a shield.

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Yeah, I agree on all points: The character has to wield the shield in his (off-)hand to gain Defensive in combination with a melee weapon, but my thoughts are mainly about how the effect of Cumbersome from the shield would affect an attack with the melee weapon - even if the character is not attacking with the shield.

So my suggestion (combined from the two questions above) would be: If a character with lacking points in Brawn / Agility is wielding an object with Cumbersome / Unwieldy, the difficulty of actions which are directly influenced by wielding this object can be increased.
That would include e.g. Athletics checks as well as a melee attack, where a shield is not "actively" used but still drawn.
I think that would be a fair rule for my players. Thanks, all!

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39 minutes ago, HappyDaze said:

Keep in mind that there is also a space duffel bag with Cumbersome 2. Would Brawn 1 characters with such a bag only be penalized when swinging the bag as a weapon?

According to our logic, if the item is "wielded" (which is in case of that bag that it is just equipped) and the character attempts to do something that could be influenced by the weight / bulkiness  of the bag (Athletics, Coordination or other reasonable checks), an increased difficulty would be appropriate. So: No, not only when swinging the bag. What do you think?

Maybe it would be better to rewrite the suggestion with focus on objects being equipped instead of wielded...

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It would be interesting to get dev feedback.  Thinking about it more and given the shield and duffel bag examples I'm inclined to think that the attribute has to do something in the game.  In the case of shields they can be used to attack right (the Sith Shield can but it isn't cumbersome or unwieldy)? So maybe it applies only physical checks or maybe even all checks (it's distracting mentally for Intellect, Cunning, Willpower, Presence checks).

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Hey,

I did some research and found this thread in the EotE section with developer answered questions. Buried in the qualities part, there is a link to an answer from 2014 to a closely related question for Cumbersome by FuriousGreg:

Quote

In the description it states: "For each point of Brawn the character is deficient, he must increase the difficulty of all checks made while using the weapon by one"

1) Does this mean only when the character is firing the weapon or at all times they are carrying the weapon? How is this supposed to work with the Spacer's Duffle or Military Backpack (***.2) neither being a weapon? What is the definition of "using" in this context?

2) Does the cumbersome quality stack and how would you deal with a character who wants to wear both a Backpack (C2) and a Duffle bag (C2), and use a Heavy Blaster Rifle (C3)? What if they had an additional HBR as a back up as well?

and the answer (interesting parts have been made bold by me) by Sam Stewart states:

Quote

"Using" is deliberately left up to interpretation of the GM and players, but in general should be "when one is actively utilizing the item or weapon for its intended purpose." So cumbersome would matter on a weapon when you're fighting with that weapon, not when it's in a scabbard or slung over your shoulder. Therefore, it would only increase the difficulty of combat checks. Otherwise, the weapon's weight and size is simply represented by encumbrance. Likewise, one would be "using" a backpack or duffle bag when they have it slung over their shoulder or on their back helping them carry things. So with these items, it would apply the increased difficulty to all checks made while the duffel or the backpack is on one's back. 

As to Cumbersome "stacking," the penalties can stack, but the cumbersome ratings themselves do not. Let's say in your example that the character had a Brawn of 2. In that case, they would suffer no penalties for carrying the backpack or the duffle, but they would increase the difficulty of checks made to use the heavy blaster rifle once. (If he had another HRB slung over his back, he would be carrying it, and not using it, so the Cumbersome rating would not apply). However, if our character had a Brawn of 1, things get a lot more unpleasant for him. In this case, he would increase the difficulty of all checks once for carrying the backpack and once for the duffle (making an Easy Athletics check suddenly Hard!). In addition, any checks made to use the HRB would see their difficulty increase four times (once for the backpack, once for the duffle, and twice for the heavy blaster rifle). 

 

So, here's my interpretation to our question:

1) If a character is wielding a shield (= having it equipped, not necessarily fighting with it) to gain the Defensive quality, the character is "actively utilizing" it for its intended purpose. 

2) By "actively utilizing" the shield and having not enough Brawn (or Agility for Unwieldy), the difficulty of all checks increases, even if the character is not fighting with it.

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On 2/15/2019 at 11:29 PM, Venkalth said:

So, here's my interpretation to our question:

1) If a character is wielding a shield (= having it equipped, not necessarily fighting with it) to gain the Defensive quality, the character is "actively utilizing" it for its intended purpose. 

2) By "actively utilizing" the shield and having not enough Brawn (or Agility for Unwieldy), the difficulty of all checks increases, even if the character is not fighting with it.

To be a bit pedantic (and drive the point home), he would increase the difficulty of all appropriate checks while utilizing the shield. I wouldn't impose penalties on, say, a Knowledge (Xenology) check to figure out the weakness of the rancor he's facing off against, or even to something like a Resilience check to resist the overpowering stench of the beast. However it would certainly make any Coordination or Athletics checks to evade or escape from the creature more difficult, as well as making it harder to swing that melee weapon he has in his other hand. So some common sense is needed when interpreting "all checks", as others have mentioned.

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