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ddbrown30

How to have truly "unbeatable" enemies?

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Posted (edited)

I'm having a bit of trouble reconciling what I know of Star Wars with how the rules work and it's led me to this thread's question. Let me start with a specific example. We'll use Palpatine from the new book since there happens to be a picture that we can all easily use as reference. https://imgur.com/a/9spnGYA

I'm going to ignore the Reflect ability for a moment, as it's something that only applies to lightsaber wielders and therefore messes with the point of this discussion a bit. With that said, if you look at the rest of Palpatine's stats and abilities, there's not much there to stop a mid-level party with fairly average gear from killing him in 1 or 2 rounds.

With Adversary 4, at medium range, you're looking at 3 Red dice + 1 setback for his defense. You could add another purple with a destiny point if you wanted, but that's not going to last forever, so let's skip it. A PC with rank 3 Ranged (easily achievable by even noob players) with 5 Agility is rolling 3 Yellow + 2 Green. Add +1 boost for aiming. I'll skip destiny point upgrades here too, for the sake of simplicity. Let's say the PC has a gun with accurate 1 and damage 7. That's another boost die.

The average number of successes here is a bit for than 2, giving us average damage of around 9. With Palpatine's soak, that gives him a lifespan of only about 3-4 hits and this is with roughly average stats and equipment. Sure, a couple of PCs are likely to drop during the fight, but so what?

Am I missing something here? How are we supposed to make enemies that are actually unbeatable, or at least so difficult that a low-mid level party will have no chance?

Edited by ddbrown30

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Posted (edited)

There is an old rule of ancient D&D that says if you give it stats players will try to kill it. One way to have those NPCs be unbeatable is to make them narrative devices and keep them out of situations where the players can attack them. I was unhappy when they published that book because they made some of the heaviest NPCs into a defined form that players could then strategize to beat.

Edited by Archlyte

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This is less in the stats than the setup and encounter space.  If they party actually gets to the point where they are alone in the room with Palpatine, that's a problem that every Nemesis in the game has, never mind their specific stats.  D&D has "Legendary Actions" for creatures like dragons, plus the hit point attrition rate is so slow you can adapt if the party is having too easy a time of it.  But that option just doesn't exist for this game.

I will note that a maxed out Force Choke can hold quite a few individuals immobile for a time for simple cost of an FR Commit, allowing the Nemesis to deal with the PCs one at a time.  I haven't seen the stats in the book, but there's no reason not to max out whatever you want/need so he can deal with PCs piecemeal.

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3 minutes ago, Archlyte said:

I was unhappy when they published that book because they made some of the heaviest NPCs into a defined form that players could then strategize to beat.

Yeah, it was a cash-grab now that all the career books are done.  Not that I blame them, they need all the topics they can get to keep the game alive.  But the book is just a guideline anyway, I would never be beholden to it for the stats of these NPCs.

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12 minutes ago, ddbrown30 said:

Am I missing something here? How are we supposed to make enemies that are actually unbeatable, or at least so difficult that a low-mid level party will have no chance?

It kinda depends, but also formulate narratives. 

Palpy, indeed most baddies, are pretty beatable, but how often do you get the chance?

Think about the films, how often do the players actually get a chance to face down the BBEG of that grade? Once? Twice?

Part of the trick to keeping an NPC alive is not putting the players in a situation to defeat them in the first place.

Look at Vader.

EP IV: Leia sees Vader a lot, but never in a position to fight him. They all see him at one point, but close the blast door to "remove him from the encounter." And then he's "defeated" at Yavin.

EP V: They see him on Cloud City, in a position to be fought a little, but also backed up by Boba and a Platoon of troopers... so victory would be fleeting. Once Han was disarmed there wasn't much left. Luke faces him one-on-one later, but that whole encounter was built to give Vader the advantage and ability to escape if needed.

EP VI: Emperor's Throne room, where his defeat is intentionally an option.

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The simple fact is that any Villain can be unbeatable one-on-one but not so much when a whole party attacks as one, with decent tactics.  So part of the job as GM for keeping the Big Baddy alive is to make sure he has enough distraction troops around him to keep the team from focusing wholly on him.

There is a reason why you only see Dooku vs Obi-Wan and Anakin, or Palpatine vs Yoda.  As soon as you have multiple people attacking one, no matter how big and bad, he's going down - in games.  Books and Movies have writer's visions that will allow it and GMs can user Destiny Points to do the same thing.  Even the Jedi fell when the Clones turned on them because of 1) Surprise and 2) Outnumbered.

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The stats and Allies and Adversaries definitely stay with the "realistic" approach they've established elsewhere - the biggest bads in the galaxy can be killed by many groups in a round or two.  The only exceptions I've seen to this are entries in the books of creatures such as Rancor or the Sando sea creature on Naboo where they have really really high Soak and really really high wound thresholds and will probably down most opponents with one hit.

So in my game I've decided to abandon the "realistic" approach.  Darth Vader has a Wound Threshold in the 40s and Cortosis backing his high Soak.  High Reflect/Parry.  And even then when my group faces him (again) they'll probably take him down in one round, I might get 2. 

Making unbeatable enemies isn't this system's thing.  Combat is meant to be quick.  But if you want them to last longer stray from the realistic stats and just give them higher than expected WT/ST and use the "extra action" rule (where the nemesis gets another action at the end of the round) and load up on Adversary.  There's also the options (Imperial Valor, squad rules in the Age GM kit,. etc) that allow minions to take shots instead of a Nemesis.

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25 minutes ago, Jedi Ronin said:

The stats and Allies and Adversaries definitely stay with the "realistic" approach they've established elsewhere - the biggest bads in the galaxy can be killed by many groups in a round or two.  The only exceptions I've seen to this are entries in the books of creatures such as Rancor or the Sando sea creature on Naboo where they have really really high Soak and really really high wound thresholds and will probably down most opponents with one hit.

So in my game I've decided to abandon the "realistic" approach.  Darth Vader has a Wound Threshold in the 40s and Cortosis backing his high Soak.  High Reflect/Parry.  And even then when my group faces him (again) they'll probably take him down in one round, I might get 2. 

Making unbeatable enemies isn't this system's thing.  Combat is meant to be quick.  But if you want them to last longer stray from the realistic stats and just give them higher than expected WT/ST and use the "extra action" rule (where the nemesis gets another action at the end of the round) and load up on Adversary.  There's also the options (Imperial Valor, squad rules in the Age GM kit,. etc) that allow minions to take shots instead of a Nemesis.

 

A character with Agility 3 and a combat skill of 2 has roughly a 1-in-3 (32%) to hit Darth Vader with a Difficulty 2 hit (after accounting for Adversary 4).  That's without Boosts or Setbacks, but generally twelve such shooters can expect to land four hits on the Sith Lord each turn if they do nothing else. That's a minimum of 10 Damage per shot with an unmodified blaster rifle, so he can either take 3 wounds or use Reflect and suffer 3 strain per hit. That means he can take at least 14 such hits without going down (8 to Wounds and 6 to strain), so that's more than 3 turns of combat assuming Vader isn't reducing their numbers or recovering any strain (and he's probably doing a bit of both). That's pretty good against what are relatively competent troops. Unfortunately, PCs tend to be able to do far more damage. The modding rules and talents allow for rifle shots that exceed 20 Damage in one shot, and Auto-fire is another way to quickly take down even the baddest of the bad. And Sith Lord help Vader if his opponent uses a vehicle-mounted planetary-scale weapon against him, as even a light blaster cannon will drop him in a single hit.

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I think this is another thing that ties into the progression in this game. For a long time no one knew how tough Palapatine was and they have a progression system that seems to me to be ripe for over-awarding XP. 

Maybe now that it's known how tough the toughest NPCs are a viable tactic would be to not rush to allow the players to get to that power level. My guess is that many many groups have overshot these setting Heavies a long time back. 

Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. Just because you can get to 8 in something doesn't mean it should be used.

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Posted (edited)

High charactristics, soak, and most importantly ranks in durable. Nemesis's need to have at least 5 ranks to not get KO'ed in one shot by everyones favorite crit build.

And if the enemy is a force user dont be afraid to pull Kylo Ren and throw back the 20 dmg laser bolt that the sniper just chucked at them.

Edited by Samuel Richard

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41 minutes ago, HappyDaze said:

 

A character with Agility 3 and a combat skill of 2 has roughly a 1-in-3 (32%) to hit Darth Vader with a Difficulty 2 hit (after accounting for Adversary 4).  That's without Boosts or Setbacks, but generally twelve such shooters can expect to land four hits on the Sith Lord each turn if they do nothing else. That's a minimum of 10 Damage per shot with an unmodified blaster rifle, so he can either take 3 wounds or use Reflect and suffer 3 strain per hit. That means he can take at least 14 such hits without going down (8 to Wounds and 6 to strain), so that's more than 3 turns of combat assuming Vader isn't reducing their numbers or recovering any strain (and he's probably doing a bit of both). That's pretty good against what are relatively competent troops. Unfortunately, PCs tend to be able to do far more damage. The modding rules and talents allow for rifle shots that exceed 20 Damage in one shot, and Auto-fire is another way to quickly take down even the baddest of the bad. And Sith Lord help Vader if his opponent uses a vehicle-mounted planetary-scale weapon against him, as even a light blaster cannon will drop him in a single hit.

I do think Vader could take a pretty new group of PCs but with a group of fairly or marginally experienced PCs he'll last 2 or 3 rounds and probably take one or two with him.  In my group which is high XP (1200) he'd get taken out the first round, probably soloed by one PC and potentially solo'd by another (using Vader from AA).

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17 minutes ago, Jedi Ronin said:

I do think Vader could take a pretty new group of PCs but with a group of fairly or marginally experienced PCs he'll last 2 or 3 rounds and probably take one or two with him.  In my group which is high XP (1200) he'd get taken out the first round, probably soloed by one PC and potentially solo'd by another (using Vader from AA).

Yeah, character growth in offense vastly outpaces defensive growth and is a problem with the system. There are a few defensive options that are really powerful, but they're not all that common and don't show up on NPCs often enough.

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One way to make enemies unbeatable, especially iconic enemies, can be summed up in three words.  Never.  Fight.  Fair.
That doesn't mean you have to cheat your dice rolls, it means stack the odds in favor of your iconic.  Fight in an area or in terrain that favors them, have lots of back up and 'bodyguards' for them, or both.  Yeah, Jabba could probably be taken down by a good strike team of PC's, but hes always surrounded by guards, thugs and mooks.  A group trying to take down Jabba is going to have to grind through some serious numbers before they get to Jabba.

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I'm behind all the people saying to stack the encounter in the Big Bad's favor, instead of just boosting the Big Bad's stats. In a fair fight, these heavy hitting major villains are still beatable, just like everyone else in the galaxy. No one is truly beatable, no matter how amazing they may be. But when are you ever going to get a fair, straight-forward fight against a Big Bad like Sidious? Typically, if you want to fight Sidious, you'd have to slog your way through all of the Imperial palace, with hundreds of Stormtroopers of various ranks and dozens of Red Guards, at the very least. And if you do finally, eventually make it to Sidious, he may have Vader standing at his back. Or you might just run into a decoy, with the real Sidious actually being off-planet. If you want a seemingly "unbeatable" villain, just make sure your players are never in a position to actually defeat them. Deplete the party's resources, throw them against overwhelming odds, make sure they're never actually in a position to fight against your Big Bad. Do everything in your power to make sure the players can't just walk up and start hacking away at the bad guy in a fair, straight-forward fight unless you want that bad guy to die. 

I'm actually currently working on setting up a few recurring "unbeatable" villains for my current Clone Wars campaign. So far, the party has run into a Separatist "Red Baron"-esque character thrice, and know he's a major threat, but they've never been in the position to actually fight him. The first time, the party was infiltrating a Separatist base (Think Obi-Wan's espionage in Episodes II and III when he spies on the Separatist council). The party was heavily, heavily out numbered, and revealing their position would have been certain death. So rather than try and fight the Red Baron and other Separatist leaders, the party listened in on the conversation and simply gathered intel before sneaking back out. The second time, half the party was busy competing in a Podrace, leaving only half the party to chase after the Red Baron, whom they'd discovered doing business with the Hutts in charge of the races. He used the intervention of a handful of Gamorrean Guards to slip away from the encounter and escape aboard a ship. Finally, the players were following up on a lead, only to get caught up in the Malevolence fiasco. The players were present for the first firing of the Malevolence's ion cannon, as it took out three Republic cruisers and the party's freighter. The Red Baron was flying through the debris field, cleaning up all the escape pods, and the players had to find a way to get their freighter operational again and escape before the Red Baron reached them and blew their ship into oblivion. When the players finally got the ship up and running, the only systems operational were the engines and internal computers, with none of the shielding or weapons at full charge due to the ion blast. This forced the party to retreat, rather than stay and fight.

I've also included General Grievous in my game. The players absolutely had the option to stand and try to fight Grievous, but beforehand I'd spent most of the session depleting the party's resources. They were all injured, with one of them having lost a leg just prior to Grievous' appearance. They had no stim-packs available to them, or any other healing options. So, rather than the Grievous encounter being a fight to the death, it instead played out quite similar to the Killer Croc battle from Arkham Asylum. The party had to flee back to their ship, doing anything and everything they could to slow down the metal monstrosity chasing after them in the narrow corridors. 

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Posted (edited)

Palpatine would mop the floor with pc's he has a lightsaber and know how to use it very well. Then there's force lightening. He's also completely ruthless, he'd force choke one of the PC's while using his body as cover from blaster fire or something like that. The party would have to get past his guards as well as what ever other security was around him. He can see into the future. He employs body doubles. He has unlimited funds, he owns 25,000 Star Destroyers. Legions at his command, etc.

Edited by Eoen

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Also when they fight is key.  If the group is fresh and in great shape they are going to be able to handle big baddies.  If you wait until after the group has been involved in a big fight and are trying to recover then your big baddie just got a lot better.  I don't know the page, but I know there is a rule of your adversery can go twice in the round if he is by himself.  That adds alot more power to your big villain.  (please correct me if that is not an offical rule, but I know I have seen it some where.)

 

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4 minutes ago, damnkid3 said:

Also when they fight is key.  If the group is fresh and in great shape they are going to be able to handle big baddies.  If you wait until after the group has been involved in a big fight and are trying to recover then your big baddie just got a lot better.  I don't know the page, but I know there is a rule of your adversery can go twice in the round if he is by himself.  That adds alot more power to your big villain.  (please correct me if that is not an offical rule, but I know I have seen it some where.)

 

It's in FAD about inquisitors. But I'll use it for any big bad.

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10 hours ago, Eoen said:

Palpatine would mop the floor with pc's he has a lightsaber and know how to use it very well. Then there's force lightening. He's also completely ruthless, he'd force choke one of the PC's while using his body as cover from blaster fire or something like that. The party would have to get past his guards as well as what ever other security was around him. He can see into the future. He employs body doubles. He has unlimited funds, he owns 25,000 Star Destroyers. Legions at his command, etc.

Yeah and somehow the self-importance and ego needs of PCs can be amazing. I have run games where I clearly communicated to the players that they are big heroes and in those games I would often overlook gaffes and tactical errors in order to maintain that feel. I also have run games where the players have to earn every bit of cool and are not any more important than your average NPC unless they pull off genuine achievements under their own power.

But if the PCs are allowed to contend with the setting's biggest enemies as equals you have just fundamentally changed the setting. It's a way to go, but the cost is too high to me because it means that you lose the mystique of the biggest villains and organizations of the setting as established as they become boss fight fodder. 

If PCs can get a pokemon style fight against Palpatine on his own somehow, then a lot of the things that happened to establish the setting continuity as it is known make little sense. Again I understand that this is a choice, much like how in the old days my D&D group would fight the gods from the Deities and Demigods book, but it's not without consequence to the continuity of the setting in that campaign.

If the Emperor has to fear you that much, then the whole of his military and mystical abilities will be diverted to fight this PC party, and what effect will that have on the operations of the Imperial forces in the galaxy? Also how are you going to challenge that group if they are able to infiltrate any number of guards and defenses. It's likely the mechanical strength of the guardians will now start to exceed the strength of their master, and thus possibly require the BBEG himself go up in mechanical power and get a buff. I believe this is referred to as Power Creep. At some point moderation and reasonably powered characters are left far behind. 

In ESB and RotJ we got to see Vader and Luke doing some cool things with the Force and with lightsabers, but that was not enough, and the EU Luke and Vader began doing increasingly more vulgar uses of power to satiate the appetite of the power creep of authors and the nerds who started turning the star wars characters into Olympian gods. The candy for breakfast lunch and dinner model seems to all too often result in the PCs riding a constant gusher of high-XP awards to a situation where a challenge that makes sense in the movies is so far beneath them as to be ridiculous, and even a waste of time. Oh it's just two Inquisitors and a company of Royal Guards? How pedestrian.

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3 hours ago, Archlyte said:

Yeah and somehow the self-importance and ego needs of PCs can be amazing. I have run games where I clearly communicated to the players that they are big heroes and in those games I would often overlook gaffes and tactical errors in order to maintain that feel. I also have run games where the players have to earn every bit of cool and are not any more important than your average NPC unless they pull off genuine achievements under their own power.

But if the PCs are allowed to contend with the setting's biggest enemies as equals you have just fundamentally changed the setting. It's a way to go, but the cost is too high to me because it means that you lose the mystique of the biggest villains and organizations of the setting as established as they become boss fight fodder. 

If PCs can get a pokemon style fight against Palpatine on his own somehow, then a lot of the things that happened to establish the setting continuity as it is known make little sense. Again I understand that this is a choice, much like how in the old days my D&D group would fight the gods from the Deities and Demigods book, but it's not without consequence to the continuity of the setting in that campaign.

If the Emperor has to fear you that much, then the whole of his military and mystical abilities will be diverted to fight this PC party, and what effect will that have on the operations of the Imperial forces in the galaxy? Also how are you going to challenge that group if they are able to infiltrate any number of guards and defenses. It's likely the mechanical strength of the guardians will now start to exceed the strength of their master, and thus possibly require the BBEG himself go up in mechanical power and get a buff. I believe this is referred to as Power Creep. At some point moderation and reasonably powered characters are left far behind. 

In ESB and RotJ we got to see Vader and Luke doing some cool things with the Force and with lightsabers, but that was not enough, and the EU Luke and Vader began doing increasingly more vulgar uses of power to satiate the appetite of the power creep of authors and the nerds who started turning the star wars characters into Olympian gods. The candy for breakfast lunch and dinner model seems to all too often result in the PCs riding a constant gusher of high-XP awards to a situation where a challenge that makes sense in the movies is so far beneath them as to be ridiculous, and even a waste of time. Oh it's just two Inquisitors and a company of Royal Guards? How pedestrian.

And these are questions every GM should ask and have clear answers to before the campaign starts.  If they plan on a long campaign then PCs are going to get enough XP to contend with the big entities.  I think you've really brought up the kinds of questions that need to be asked and how there's trade-offs and things you have to balance against each other - you can't have it all. 

Do you want a high fantasy space opera feel to it?  If you also want the big bads to be untouchable then you probably want to keep away from high XP or just narratively always keep the big bads out of play directly - they stay behind the scenes making things happen or come up with other big bads (like Inquisitors, bounty hunters, imperial spec ops, etc) for the PCs to confront who work for the real big bads (Vader, Sidious, etc).

I don't mind high flying games where the PCs can do amazing things and the canon is not held sacrosanct.  I do hold back some big bads until it's right narratively to confront the PCs but the PCs will get their shot.  It's liberating in a way to realize that the PCs can mow through pretty much anything but to just make it fun and dangerous here and there.  A GM can also enforce the setting by what happens outside of the PCs sphere - like Imperial actions conquering or devastating other systems, other rebels being captured or killed, Darth Vader killer their Mentor etc.

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If somehow the players have gotten past the practically infinite resources of the Emperor, the ace up your sleeve is always that haunting cackle, followed by:

"Everything is proceeding as i have foreseen..."

Then you do whatever you want.

 

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Having run many game systems as well as being on the other side of the table, keep in mind these legendary characters have things going for them the PC do not, and in many forms. These factors place them in positions to survive, succeed and see through potential threats to their well being and anything they have their hands or sight on. When you as a GM run one of these established characters, you have full access to every meta-game factor in existence, players may also, but their PCs, no, not at all and not even close. This one thing can trump anything the players may think their PCs should know and could use to their advantage to throw at a potential legendary character. As a GM use this in game, but use it ORGANICALLY. First I'll cover some of the edges and factors these established legendary characters have over any PC, their Cate Blanchett card from 22 jump street. 

1- Adversary - They have the adversary talent which is used for combat checks targeting them, never seems enough though does it? Then as a GM you're not trying hard enough. You need to Sith up and grow an extra pair, I suggest Sith alchemy, very useful for that. Having the Adversary talent is more than just upgrading the dice of the pool as the talent provides. As an Adversary these folks have earned a solid advantage in combat and if you as a GM don't know how to be a ruthless Adversary when running one of these legendary characters, you really shouldn't use them, you are failing these legendary characters' ruthlessness level. Now not every Adversary is a Dark Lord of the Sith or a Jedi Master, but that doesn't mean you need to play them weakly or foolishly. If for existence a group of players were to try to pull one over on a lesser, but still legendary character like Bossk or IG-88. I would rip them up as a GM because I've done my research ahead of time, I've gone and read from multiple resources of what these individuals do in situations where they may be at a disadvantage. So, if you don't know the Adversary yourself like you know yourself, then pick someone else to use.

2-Bones - These legendary characters should or know how to throw a lot of bad bones the PCs way, some may even be false bones, beni-bones. Bones can be like leaving multiple false trails for any potential person(s) seeking to find them or track their previous whereabouts. Drawing PCs in to traps by baiting them, putting false bounties on themselves to see who comes looking for them so they can clear out the pipes of their enemies, setting the PCs up to be arrested or discredited, hiring slicers to drain their credits, placing liens on their ship through legal legitimate channels. Oh the mind can wander here... Beni-bones are another fun twist; the legendary character provides the PCs with a job, gear, etc all to then confront the PCs in some manner to do X. If the players PCs are trying to eliminate the legendary character permanently, the legendary character is going to do the same thing, otherwise why are they even legendary characters. I recall a group I ran that had been trying to eliminate an opponent who found out via leaked or stolen video footage that a yakuza boss would be visiting the local archology in the mid-great lake sector in our cyber-punk game. The PC used drones to race up under the yakuza's auto transit group and detonate the whole parade of vehicles. The yakuza boss had found out via the same video leak from another hacker who worked for them in the region (and why player never think their target doesn't have a "guy, girl, droid, alien or A.I." for that is beyond me?). So afterwards, the yakuza put hits out on the PC group, tagged two dead, put one in the hospital and one escaped. Well the PC in the hospital had explosive chocolates and flowers delivered from the surviving PC (NOT) and the surviving PC was sent a life insurance check from a policy that one of the other eliminated characters had (again NOT!). Well the check was saturated in poison and nano-tech. the nano-tech destroyed the PCs ability to fight the poison and the poison did its work. Are they adversaries or just an opposing team? 

3-Contingency - All legendary characters have contingencies for a variety of threats, hazards and risks. In real life if you have a very dangerous allergy you might carry an epinephrine pen, a contingency item. These legendary characters have years of experience in dealing with keeping themselves alive and have X, Y and Z to keep them that way. Most cars have a jack and a spare tire, homes should have smoke and CO2 detectors.  Get with the program for your Adversaries. Force users, especially the Emperor and Darth Vader make a lot of use of foreseeing the future and setting up contingencies to avert threats before they ever happen, unless they want to toy with their foes...Clones anyone?

4-Dangerous - These folks are very dangerous, if you're not using FEAR checks and using them properly then again you have failed as a GM. These established characters know how to eliminate enemies, be it in combat, financially, legally, politically, standing, etc. Think of them as being the best coach, actor or actress, fastest A.I., what have you for their personal danger level in how they typically operate. Even if they are good and not evil, they still have an edge at being an adversary and should represent it properly, Senator Organa knew how to work the things behind the scenes and got things done that were positive and effective. Don't play him like a dumb schmuck, play him as a classy politico who knows how to threaten someone in the most subtle overtones, while still completely flattering the others present at a negotiation table. 

5-Extensions - These legendary characters are extensions of the whole universe and are there to tell a story, if you need to have them become a fallen enemy or friend so be it, but don't eliminate them frivolously. If by chance that happens, have it be a false impersonator or droid. The Star Trek Discovery shorts have a really awesome Harry Mudd short, just epic! Again, perhaps an enemy knew she was being tracked and had a droid constructed to pose as her, or someone has been trying to steal the identity or use the identity to accomplish a task and the PC's just happened to encounter that person. In many game systems when a main character is eliminated, they recommend a mysterious death or a stand in, ala Padme'. Then there is science and the force and well it's a long time ago and far far away...

6-Force - The Force allows GMs a lot of leeway to prune as needed. Make sure your players understand that as some point combat may become narrative, I typically wait till all the destiny pool is all Dark Side face-up and also have done it when the pool is all Light Side face-up. All H3LL breaks loose and I offer an out for the players and if they choose to stay they know things will not be PC friendly. As the opposite, the enemy's check engine light has come on and they depart rapidly, using a contingency to leave the players in the dust. Player's may be upset, but make sure to have a suitable circumstance in mind before you close the curtain on the scene. The PC's might be called elsewhere, their allies may suffer a major setback and the only way to maintain balance is to assist them right now. Overwhelming forces threaten to kill all the players PCs with little risk to the enemy. 

7-Goals - Just the players and their PCs have Goals, so to do these legendary characters and you the GM. Within the game goals are what drive the PC's and NPCs to do this and that. There are many whys and hows, needs and timings. Keep these in mind when you want to portray these adversaries. Goals have risks and rewards and may require many things to accomplish, the NPCs will have an idea of what is needed, even though you as a GM may not then and there, so don't fret when have a goal in mind for one of these characters and don't know right away, during the game a situation may present itself that fits a requirement of a goal.

Now onto my meta-game stuff

Players from both side of the table may know what character X can do, and may look at a stat line and say what gives. Nothing is stopping you as the GM from changing something to better fit the campaign at had, especially if the change is very flavorful for the character in question. As I mentioned a PC has no knowledge of the what a player has knowledge of. As a rule make sure the expectation is that what a player and a PC know are two separate things. I can't tell you how many games I've been part of where that wasn't said at the beginning and everyone around the table has a different view on it months or years into a campaign, whatever the game. A good thing to present players with is common knowledge, and to come up with scale and sample of what different knowledge levels entail. In  campaign in a game that uses knowledge skills, a PC without any ranks in say Education is not versed in anything complicated or in-depth. But they still should have some common knowledge as a foundation. 

So when players have their PC start using meta-game info in an established universe, because well for whatever reason, things can break down and ruin the events going on at the table organically. So when a player says Bobba Fett never used an X, Y or Z, you can tell them, thats great that you know that Johnnie, but your Snivian Nerf Herder doesn't know that, even though they went to bar tending school on prima-donna IV and fought in the clone wars. They never met this bounty hunter and have only heard rumors about this legendary character who can squeeze coal and make diamonds. Right, Bobba Fett is a dangerous guy, I think we can all agree to that, but some group of hot headed players think their PCs are all that and a cup of blue milk.

So, when Bobba Fett sabotages their ship ahead of time forcing them in to the escape pods at a seconds notice or face (blue milk) utter destruction, while they are chasing him off planet. Their ship equipped with an over-sized tractor beam and bristling with weapons making them feel like they have the upper hand on old bucket head, presses the blue button on his fore-arm computer, causing their ship they have invested well over 200k in credits on to come apart right around them, leaving no time to grab more than whats on their back. They jump in their escape pods, which have been sliced to flood with  poison or sleeping gas or just vent vacuum into the pod once ejected from their former destroyed ship. Did I mention the slicing disabled the navi-controls as well... Those pods fly right over to where ever Mr. B Fett wanted them to go... Oh, the two shiny new Super Star Destroyers that just jumped into orbit. Or full speed in to the moons surface, wait who installed a separate over-booster to provide extra speed to get away during the need to escape a foe if the ship was destroyed, player B? Well you had 2 rounds to figure something out, but now its just 1. So just because Bobba Fett has a silly string dispenser as an add-on doesn't mean he doesn't have one.  But typically, I may apply upgrades or set the scene to one more advantageous for a foe of the players. Or I may increase the difficulty of checks against Bobba Fett, then use the upgrades provided by the Adversary talent to upgrade those, say if he did his homework and programmed his battle computer to enhance his defenses with prediction algorithms on all the PCs attack methods and team work styles he might get one or two difficulty increases to the initial pool, and once set the difficulty pool die count never decreases, they can be upgraded which may increase the difficulty pool size.

 

Downgrades never reduce the number in the pool of dice just the die type, Proficiency down to Ability dice and Challenge dice back down to Difficulty dice. but the total number of dice between the two mated die types never gets lower.  So the worst pool  YYG and RRPP could get is GGG and PPPP respectively. Honestly I look at the Adversary talent and think increasing the difficulty first then upgrading for combat checks would be better, or add in something called Superior Adversary          (or Legendary Adversary)  # with the # being the number of difficulty increases for any check against a character who has that talent. Not many things would need it. 

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Sorry if this has already been said, but what I usually do for my EotE campaign is set it up to make the BBEG always have a pack of grunts with him to serve as distractions/bullet sponges.

Next on their list is a huge buster-sword wielding corporate sector enforcer who is going to be traveling with his group of minions and maybe an adversary or two. My group can put out a lot of damage, so spreading their focus will ensure the fight lasts linger and feels more cinematic than just making a gun line and all focusing fire on him as he advances. I use this trick a lot since its an EotE campaign and most of their BBEG's are not going to be honorable enough to face them in single combat, so they'd just about always bring a group of hired thugs with them.

I also love using mechanics to discourage them from just grinding it out at times. First fight against this BBEG was on a ship and minion reinforcements were coming in at the end of each round, so they were forced to retreat with what they stole rather than just grinding it out. One of them got greedy (like we all expected him to. He was a bit of a murderhobo before this) and wanted the guy's sword. He stayed behind and ended up having to be rescued after losing his arm and being knocked unconscious. They fled and he got his arm replaced (he was a droid) but it still taught a valuable lesson about not always treating the boss as fight to win, but a fight to survive. I like this just so that my players know that sometimes retreat is an option and that it's not like a video game where the arena is set and you can't leave until you win or you have to win in order to progress the game. Hiding is a legit strategy that people in the universe do, and they are free to try it as well.

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