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kereo

Question regarding talents like 'Counteroffer'

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So, I've been going over the talent list, and some things seem a little... odd or redundant to me and some players. One good example is the talent 'Counteroffer'.

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counteroffer
Tier: 2
Activation: Active (Action)
Ranked: No
Once per session, your character may use this talent to choose one non-nemesis adversary within medium range and make an opposed Negotiation versus Discipline check. If successful, the target becomes staggered until the end of their next turn. At your GM’s discretion, you may spend [TRIUMPH] on this check to have the adversary become an ally until the end of the encounter. However, the duration of this may be shortened or extended depending on whether your GM feels your offer is appealing to the adversary and whether your character follows through on their offer!

Really cool idea. Especially if you have a charming character that likes to talk his way out of things. But... shouldn't you just be able to do this without the talent? But, due to this talents existence you'll have to say 'No, sorry, you can't do that without the talent'. Same thing with a talent in SW. It allows you to knock people prone by spending a Triumph. But... shouldn't a Triumph just allow you to do that anyway? A Triumph is some sort of fortuitous event. I'd say an enemy falling prone falls under that category.

Perhaps we're thinking too much about this. But I'd like to hear what others have to say on the matter.

 

-Kereo

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FWIW, I agree with you: This system is prone to making things into talents that should by all rights be options for everybody. That said, I've seen folks bring this sort of thing up in regard to Star Wars, and there seem to be two camps: 1) Without the talent, you can't even try. That preserves the utility of the talent and encourages a player to take it. 2) You can still try without the talent, but it should be a lot harder. Like, Counteroffer: Maybe you can make such a check in the middle of combat, but it requires a Story Point spend. I don't know what to tell you about Knockdown; it's a dumb talent, and  you should be able to knock someone prone for a Triumph at any time.

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58 minutes ago, kereo said:

So, I've been going over the talent list, and some things seem a little... odd or redundant to me and some players. One good example is the talent 'Counteroffer'.

Really cool idea. Especially if you have a charming character that likes to talk his way out of things. But... shouldn't you just be able to do this without the talent? But, due to this talents existence you'll have to say 'No, sorry, you can't do that without the talent'. Same thing with a talent in SW. It allows you to knock people prone by spending a Triumph. But... shouldn't a Triumph just allow you to do that anyway? A Triumph is some sort of fortuitous event. I'd say an enemy falling prone falls under that category.

Perhaps we're thinking too much about this. But I'd like to hear what others have to say on the matter.

 

-Kereo

In structured encounters, I'm almost always forcing social checks to be done using the rules on CRB 123, which allow you to cause strain.  So a social character could try to negotiate with a "If you don't shoot us, we'll pay you double what you're already getting", and I'd give them boost dice (based on the motivation rules).  If this strains the NPC out, or brings their strain to some pre-decided threshold, then that NPC takes the offer or something else narratively appropriate. 

Counter Offer (Scathing Tirade, etc) gives the social character more options.

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Talents like these don't stop players from Buying Someone Off if they don't have the talent; they create the opportunity to do it more often. Or when the GM hasn't given context clues that the person may be bribable. 

Talents are expansion on character options. Some talents are exclusive, but generally try to look at them as "Something More" that PC can do because of their innate qualities or training. Not as a limiter because they didn't select the talent.

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I'm of the opinion that the talent is a powerful version of what you can already do in roleplay. As GM, I would rule that a player could make an offer to an NPC, and if that NPC is already leaning toward switching sides, the PC's offer might sway him. But the talent offers a PC the chance to do it to just about any NPC (at the GM's discretion, of course), not just one that's already feeling like he's in a bad situation.

Under normal circumstances, for instance, a player shouldn't be able to sway the enemy's most trusted and loyal lieutenant. But with Counteroffer, they might be able to get him to lower his gun and show them where the safe that holds the McGuffin can be found.

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I mean you can still aim, even if you don't have the talents that provide an added benefit to aiming. You can still climb a wall, even if you don't have any parkour talents. You can still bribe someone, even if you don't have this talent. What the talents do is make you very good at that sort of thing.

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It has it's place. I'm not sure I'd ever let a player stagger a target with a successful Negotiation check without this talent. Make them hesitate and apply Setback dice, sure. Maybe I'd let them stagger a target with a Triumph on a success, but get them to swap sides mid-fight without there being a plot reason to do so? No way.

That's the other thing about this talent; you can use it on any non-Nemesis, any time. Dude-who-has-no-reason-to-change-sides, your GM might allow it.

And that's the key part...

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At your GM’s discretion, you may spend [TRIUMPH] on this check to have the adversary become an ally until the end of the encounter.

Your GM is giving you zero assurances that you can get your opponent to change sides, even with a Triumph. That's still the GMs call on a case by case basis. But making your opponent lose their next action, once per session? As a Tier 2 talent? That can be clutch.

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