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Stan Fresh

After Padawan and Knight in Rise of the Separatists, what other Jedi specs could we get?

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18 hours ago, AnomalousAuthor said:

Not to be terribly contrary, but we only see the first two rows of these new spec trees. It’s entirely possible that the talent you seek is in one of the unrevealed rows. Not saying it is, but it is possible.

I don’t mind needing to pick up the form trees from F&D to accomplish this either. Cross specializing is somewhat encouraged in this system. 10 extra XP to realize your character concept isn’t that steep of a tax, especially if you’re building a Jedi. That’s gonna take a bunch of XP to fully realize anyway.

I think that's the rub for me personally. I don't really like the idea of having to dump hundreds of XP just to recognize a character concept for a Force-user when everyone else can do it almost immediately. Personally I would rather have sabers and Force powers and such balanced with everything else from 0xp onwads rather than inflated behind a huge XP tax!

 

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21 minutes ago, TyrisFlare said:

 

I think that's the rub for me personally. I don't really like the idea of having to dump hundreds of XP just to recognize a character concept for a Force-user when everyone else can do it almost immediately. Personally I would rather have sabers and Force powers and such balanced with everything else from 0xp onwads rather than inflated behind a huge XP tax!

 

I dont think that is possible. Every orher version that tried ended up being broken.

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20 hours ago, AnomalousAuthor said:

Cross specializing is somewhat encouraged in this system.

Per conversations with and comments by Jay Little and Sam Stewart, cross-spec'ing is very much an intentional thing.  Very if (if really any) specs have been written with the intent of being full-on one stop shopping in terms of acquiring things.

As a side point, going by the lore most Jedi weren't specialists in any of the Forms, but rather tended to fall into the realm of "general practitioner."  Which in Legends tended to mean Shii-Cho or especially Niman, with the latter being taken up as it required far less study for basic proficiency and thus left the student free for other pursuits apart from combat.  So the Padawan (and even the Knight) spec not having some kind of Form-related ability to represent dedicated focus on a particular Form does make sense, as many Jedi of that era didn't focus on mastering any of the Forms; characters like Obi-Wan (Form III), Anakin (Form V), Yoda (Form IV), Kit Fisto (Form I), and Mace Windu (Form VII) are the exceptions within the Order, and if built as PCs (much as how Keith Kappel had done for Yoda, Kit, and Windu a few years back), they'd be built by purchasing the spec for the Form they wanted to master.

Yes, Outcast gets a talent that lets them ape their choice of Forms II through VI, but without dedicated study (i.e. selecting the specialization for that Form) they're not going to learn the more advanced techniques of that Form, and narratively their bladework is bound to be more on the sloppy side.  In the first season of the non-canon Clone Wars animated series (the one by Genndy Tartakovsky), Dooku even remarks on how unrefined Asajj Ventress' bladework is during her "audition" in the fighting pit (after previously praising her abilities as an assassin and infiltrator).

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1 hour ago, Daeglan said:

I dont think that is possible. Every orher version that tried ended up being broken.

Just about every Star Wars system that's tried to have full-blown Jedi available from the start has run into problems, usually with the Jedi character hogging the spotlight.  WotC tried to work around it by making lightsabers far weaker than we see on film (at least at the outset in the OCR/RCR), but Force powers (especially in Saga Edition) were ridiculously powerful.  WEG was guilty as well, though in most instances it usually did take a while for the Jedi PCs to reach the point where they broke the system.

I guess I would also question what TyrisFlare considers a "fully realized concept" with regards to non-Jedi characters, given that even using Knight/Heroic Level rules to create advanced characters, all that does is push the characters from any of the lines from "just getting their feet wet" to "reasonably capable in most situations."  TF's going on about how Jedi PCs are so weak and underpowered reminds me of the rants that ancient forum troll EricB/AluminumWolf would make about how F&D had better make Jedi PCs be god-tier characters right away unlike how FFG had handled his beloved Spees Mahreens.

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1 hour ago, Daeglan said:

I dont think that is possible. Every orher version that tried ended up being broken.

I wouldn't mind seeing pre-made packages for 50, 100, 150 XP that bundle abilities together outside of talent trees and work more like NPC abiliites do. It might lack some of the fine-tuning available right now, but it would make it easier to make high-end characters.

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You can do full Jedi and normies in the same party,  you just have to design the system around it. Look at Marvel Heroic,  various Powered by the Apocalypse games like for example Masks, or the Smallville RPG.

Power level is mainly an issue when the system is designed with the exercise of this power as its focus. 

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Posted (edited)
37 minutes ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

I guess I would also question what TyrisFlare considers a "fully realized concept" with regards to non-Jedi characters, given that even using Knight/Heroic Level rules to create advanced characters, all that does is push the characters from any of the lines from "just getting their feet wet" to "reasonably capable in most situations."  TF's going on about how Jedi PCs are so weak and underpowered reminds me of the rants that ancient forum troll EricB/AluminumWolf would make about how F&D had better make Jedi PCs be god-tier characters right away unlike how FFG had handled his beloved Spees Mahreens.

That is...not at all what I am saying. I never said Jedi PCs are weak or underpowered? I just don't like the idea of having huge XP taxes on lots of features that seem integral to a character.

Compare this to Genesys: at 0xp a wizard can still shoot off fire spells, and they are not at all overpowered. Meanwhile this system encourages massive "shopping around" syndrome to hop between specs grabbing lots of juicy 5 and 10xp stacking talents.

Edited by TyrisFlare

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7 minutes ago, TyrisFlare said:

That is...not at all what I am saying. I never said Jedi PCs are weak or underpowered? I just don't like the idea of having huge XP taxes on lots of features that seem integral to a character.

Compare this to Genesys: at 0xp a wizard can still shoot off fire spells, and they are not at all overpowered. Meanwhile this system encourages massive "shopping around" syndrome to hop between specs grabbing lots of juicy 5 and 10xp stacking talents.

The reason for that is thematic, mores o than anything else. Genesis went the rout it did because it's generic in nature, as such they couldn't really do specific specializations. Star Wars, however, is filled with various archetypes, which are ideal for specializations.

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12 minutes ago, TyrisFlare said:

That is...not at all what I am saying. I never said Jedi PCs are weak or underpowered? I just don't like the idea of having huge XP taxes on lots of features that seem integral to a character.

Compare this to Genesys: at 0xp a wizard can still shoot off fire spells, and they are not at all overpowered. Meanwhile this system encourages massive "shopping around" syndrome to hop between specs grabbing lots of juicy 5 and 10xp stacking talents.

This system does have an issue where starting XP characters can feel like half-baked versions of their archetype, I'll grant you that. There's a reason a lot of the games I've played in have sprinkled an extra 25-50 XP on top of starting characters, because that's often where you have enough talents to start feeling like who your character is supposed to be.

Part of that also, though, is calibrating expectations to the system. Arguably, a starting Soldier/Sharpshooter with 4 Agility and 2 ranks in Ranged (Heavy) is already a fine sniper who can pull off shots that an untrained shooter would find quite difficult or impossible. Likewise, a starting Jedi/Padawan with 3 Brawn, 1 rank in Lightsaber, and a rank of Parry is already well beyond what your average untrained person can do with a Lightsaber. Put them in a sparring match together and the Padawan isn't going to have much trouble handling the one who just walked in off the street and picked up a lightsaber.

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20 minutes ago, TyrisFlare said:

That is...not at all what I am saying. I never said Jedi PCs are weak or underpowered? I just don't like the idea of having huge XP taxes on lots of features that seem integral to a character.

Compare this to Genesys: at 0xp a wizard can still shoot off fire spells, and they are not at all overpowered. Meanwhile this system encourages massive "shopping around" syndrome to hop between specs grabbing lots of juicy 5 and 10xp stacking talents.

Even in genesys you spend xp to get there. no starting PC has 0 XPThey all have somewhere areound 100 xp to start. So I am not sure what you are trying to get at. I would say that Obiwant in Episode on is around 150XP. and Probably 200 to 250 XP by the end.

And as Tramp said Star wars is more Archetype based than Genesys. Which because of its generic nature cant really do trees. They werent going to make you build trees for each setting you wanted to play. So they went the pyramid route.  

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, TyrisFlare said:

 

I think that's the rub for me personally. I don't really like the idea of having to dump hundreds of XP just to recognize a character concept for a Force-user when everyone else can do it almost immediately. Personally I would rather have sabers and Force powers and such balanced with everything else from 0xp onwads rather than inflated behind a huge XP tax!

 

I get where you are coming from, but hundreds of XP more than non-force users? That seems a bit hyperbolic to me. Even the normies are going to want to branch out to other specs, not just the Jedi types. It’s just part of the game design. 

If you don’t like the trees, that’s cool. You don’t need to use them, but you’ll need to price talents according to their power level and not based on where they fall on trees, because that’ll definitely lead to balance issues. Sometimes a talent that would be 25 xp on one tree may be 15 or 10 on another just because of the circuitous route that you’ve gotta follow to get to it.

As a thought experiment, I’d be curious if you’d really be saving that much XP by reorganizing the various SWRPG talents into tiers ala Genesys or if its tiering of talents and pyramid structure/rules would lead to a similar xp total.

Also, for me at least, the path to becoming a Jedi, gaining a lightsaber and force powers is part of the fun. Just giving me those from the get go would kinda ruin that. And, you’re still a perfectly servicable character before you earn your lightsaber and start buying into force powers.

Edit: Just to add, but nothing is stopping anyone from starting a game with 300* extra xp per character and building that type of character. That’s a perfectly legit way to play.

* Just an arbitrary number for discussions sake. You can definitely do it for less.

Edited by AnomalousAuthor

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1 hour ago, AnomalousAuthor said:

I get where you are coming from, but hundreds of XP more than non-force users? That seems a bit hyperbolic to me. Even the normies are going to want to branch out to other specs, not just the Jedi types. It’s just part of the game design. 

If you don’t like the trees, that’s cool. You don’t need to use them, but you’ll need to price talents according to their power level and not based on where they fall on trees, because that’ll definitely lead to balance issues. Sometimes a talent that would be 25 xp on one tree may be 15 or 10 on another just because of the circuitous route that you’ve gotta follow to get to it.

As a thought experiment, I’d be curious if you’d really be saving that much XP by reorganizing the various SWRPG talents into tiers ala Genesys or if its tiering of talents and pyramid structure/rules would lead to a similar xp total.

Also, for me at least, the path to becoming a Jedi, gaining a lightsaber and force powers is part of the fun. Just giving me those from the get go would kinda ruin that. And, you’re still a perfectly servicable character before you earn your lightsaber and start buying into force powers.

Edit: Just to add, but nothing is stopping anyone from starting a game with 300* extra xp per character and building that type of character. That’s a perfectly legit way to play.

* Just an arbitrary number for discussions sake. You can definitely do it for less.

I'm not articulating a few things well so I will post some examples later when I have more time. 😀

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To TyrisFlare's disgruntlement...

One thing that I think that needs to be clarified is at what point is a particular concept considered to be "fully realized."  Myself, I don't see most concepts being "fully realized" until the character has earned 150XP (aka are at Knight/Heroic Level), as that's enough XP to have at least two ranks in at least three or four the key skills the concept relies upon and at least a half-dozen talents from their starting spec.  Force users might take a bit more due to needing Force powers, but as others have shown, it's possible to build TPM!Kenobi using the rules for Knight Level, and it might even be even easier to do so now thanks to the existence of the Jedi career and Padawan spec.

On this similar vein, and the reason I made the comparison to ErikB's demented rantings, is that part of TF's view is skewed by what we see the heroes of the films and media accomplish.  I'd posit that even Ahsoka Tano at the start of The Clone Wars when she shows up as Anakin's shiny new apprentice is probably around Knight Level in terms of her XP, having her starting 100XP from her species and the 150XP from being Knight Level, while Anakin and most certainly Obi-Wan have much more XP.

I've built a fair number of Knight Level PCs that were in the theme of "novice Jedi students" and found that the 150XP (and assumption of having Mentor as their starting group resource) goes a long way towards making a solid character that is reasonably competent in most of the points that such a concept would need, those being at least two ranks in Lightsaber, the basic powers for Enhance and Move, the base power and defensive control upgrade for Sense, at lease one rank each in Athletics, Discipline, and Knowledge (Lore), and at least one rank in Parry and Reflect (assuming the spec used offers both of them), resulting in a fairly well-realized concept of a skilled Jedi apprentice.

Which brings me to another thing that I feel Tyris of overlooking, namely that the various Form Technique talents are "required" for any Jedi PC that doesn't want to have Brawn 3.  One, Brawn 3 doesn't mean the character is a hulking mass of muscle; Bruce Lee was incredibly strong and resilient in contrast to his rather slim frame, so it's quite likely that a number of Jedi that we see in the films and other media have an above-average Brawn score.  But, even with Brawn of just 2, that doesn't mean the would-be Jedi is going to suck at using a lightsaber in combat.  Enough folks with a mind for that sort of thing have done statistical breakdowns of the math behind the dice, and generally speaking you're better off rolling more green dice than yellow dice in terms of succeeding with advantage on your combat checks.  And it's very easy for a starting Jedi/Padawan with no XP beyond what their species provides to start with two ranks in Lightsaber, and with a Brawn of 2 they'd be rolling 2 yellows, which is still pretty respectable against most opposition that you're likely to engage in your first adventure.  And unless the GM is super-stingy with XP awards, that first adventure should award you enough XP to buy a third rank in Lightsaber, giving you a solid dice pool of 2Y1G, which again is going to see you through most fights without much issue, and fits for a "general practitioner" mold that the Jedi career's specs (thus far) fall into.  If you really want your PC to focus and specialize in a given Form, then pay the XP to purchase that particular specialization, not only to get the corresponding Form Technique talent but also to learn the various specialized tricks that the Form offers.  And this is aside from the fact that having an above-average Brawn helps a Jedi character out by providing more soak at the onset and an additional point to their wound threshold, both of which are handy to have in the early going.

Now, onto the (frankly unfair) comparison of the Force mechanics to how Genesys handles magic-users.  It's akin to comparing eating an apple with eating a slice of watermelon; yes they're both fruits, but they're also very different types of fruits.  From the earliest days of EotE, it's been stated by the designers that their intent was to mimic Luke's progression in learning about the Force, with him not displaying many of what is assumed to be standard Jedi abilities until near the end of his hero's journey in RotJ.  Heck, he struggled with the basic Move power in ESB, an ability that most Jedi-type PCs in this system would have mastered at the very start of their careers.  Now, this was before TFA came out and it was demonstrated that actual training was less important than the belief that a Force user could do a thing ("I don't believe it!" "That is why you fail."), and it remains to be seen if FFG will revisit how Force powers are learned/developed either in a future supplement or in a possible revised/second edition.

With Genesys however, the magic system was largely meant to be much more free-form and that the PCs did all the necessary study/learning before the campaign started, not unlike how in D&D and related systems a wizard (or cleric or druid or warlock or bard) has already learned the fundamentals necessary to their class by 1st level.  So again, a very different approach than Star Wars' "learn as you go."

Plus, I suspect part of why FFG made it more expensive to become a capable Force user was that each of the prior RPGs, from WEG's d6 up through WotC's Saga Edition, suffered from the Force user PCs stealing the show once they reached a certain degree of competency at Force usage, with Saga Edition probably being the worst offender due to how the skill system interacted with NPC defense scores, especially at the lower end of the spectrum.

As I said, it's entirely possible that FFG may revisit how the Force works in their game.  I've been playing around with a hybrid of the existing Force powers and the Genesys skill-based system with elements of WEG's approach (namely having three Force skills).  So far, the early drafts have some promise, but there's a lot of fine-tuning needed before I even think of moving to full playtesting.  But I assure anyone still reading at this point that a Force user won't be easily accomplishing major feats of Force usage right away, and while it might be cost-saving in terms of XP compared to buying into multiple Force power trees, it's not going to be totally inexpensive to become a master of the Force either.

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13 hours ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

 Now, this was before TFA came out and it was demonstrated that actual training was less important than the belief that a Force user could do a thing ("I don't believe it!" "That is why you fail."), and it remains to be seen if FFG will revisit how Force powers are learned/developed either in a future supplement or in a possible revised/second edition.

 

Sorry to go off topic..... 

But that is a interesting insight into how the movies depict Force use.   

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4 hours ago, samuraisolomon said:

Sorry to go off topic..... 

But that is a interesting insight into how the movies depict Force use.   

well, the originals, the prequels, and the sequels each show Force usage (or at least the learning part) in different ways.

Luke in the OT needed a lot of instruction, given that he struggled with Move's basic power in the first act of ESB, and by midway of the second act could reliably lift and stack multiple objects (most of which I'd contend were silhouette 0) simply after training with Yoda for an unspecified amount of time.

In the prequels, needing to be trained was a big deal, and possibly what Lucas intended given his direct involvement in the films, with Anakin's being able to do various sorts of things without any sort of training, formal or otherwise, being seen as a big deal.

And in the sequels, with Rey she's able to accomplish a number of Force-related feats without too much difficulty for what (on screen) appears to be little explanation, leaving it to the viewer to fill in the blanks.  Granted, supplemental materials have kind of done that (she grew up hearing all sorts of stories about Luke's exploits, that during Kylo's mind probe when she turned back on him she got what amounted to a crash-course in Force usage), but we never see her actually train.  And in that light, it can be seen as Rey simply thinking, "Okay, this is a thing that supposed to be possible, so let's do it!" and she does, with TFA's end scene of her lifting all those rocks being a fairly consistently referenced example of this.  And at the very end, we have an unnamed stable boy, who like Rey has probably only ever heard stories about the Jedi, very casually use Move to call his broom to his hand.

From Star Wars Rebels, Ezra Bridger seems to be a bridge between how the OT and ST handle learning to use the Force, with him having troubling learning how to do whatever it was Kanan was trying to teach him in a given episode before suddenly doing it on a much larger scale later that episode, and often relies upon him truly believing that he can do the thing; as Kanan said, Ezra 'learns' best when he's in do-or-die situations.  Contrast to Kanan, who isn't so much learning new Force abilities as he is calling up stuff he learned during his tutelage (the fifth episode of season one is a prime example of this), though even he gets in on the "you can do it if you believe you can do it" action with regards to overcoming his blindness in Season 3.

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Posted (edited)

I think that it’s worth noting that Rey was on Il...er, I mean Starkiller Base when she really started demonstrating her strong force affinity. That may have had some effect on her ability to do so without training. Regardless if Starkiller Base is Illum or not, I’d imagine that being on a planet chock full of kyber crystals could have had some influence on her powers and development. Not to mention that she already had visions of Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Vader, so the force, or those within it, had already taken some notice of her. 

Really, all I’m saying is that Rey may be more of an outlier as far as force development is concerned. She may have very well been the beneficiary of her unique circumstances rather than the norm. 

Edited by AnomalousAuthor

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I feel like there is a general assumption that what I am talking about is making Force-users more powerful, but that isn't actually the case. In a lot of ways I want to make them less powerful overall, but more functional at the beginning. This is also why I have had another thread about using attachments without mods to lower the game's damage output. Now that the game has given us Allies and Adversaries, I think that is a good guideline as to how powerful characters are actually supposed to be (along the same lines that PCs are meant to be balanced against the traditional Bestiary in D&D or Pathfinder). Outside of very specific games, I don't think PCs should ever be the equal of Yoda or Palpatine, for example.

Free-form talents may let you easily pick up your saber style of choice and focus on one characteristic, but it becomes almost impossible to stack high ranks of Parry/Reflect/Toughness etc. You really, really have to pay for that extra damage reduction and WT. Compare that to normal where you can pretty cheaply dip into several specs to snag a bunch of ranks in all of this stuff (a colossus who dips into a few other specs can survive a thermal detonator to the face). I don't think a single major lore character in Allies and Adversaries has more than 20 WP, and most of the uber Jedi have 4-5 ranks in Reflect/Parry tops.

As far as Force powers go, restructuring them to work without giant XP dumps is also not necessarily about power. I would rather have Move just be weaker in terms of damage (no dumping a 30 damage vehicle on people's heads early in the game) but actually be usable, even at a weak level, because these kinds of things are what make someone feel like a Jedi even if it isn't a huge game impact. Having a low-XP character be able to telekinesis a toolbox across the room or jump an extra 5 meters or even fire off a 5 damage Force Lightning is hardly game-breaking. The key is pulling back on the scaling, which the vanilla game is actually pretty bad about. It encourages people to dump tons of XP into one power and become one-trick ponies rather than holistic characters.

 

 

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I think a lot of these power & scaling issues arise because of the zero-to-hero progression FFG went with. That's not how an RPG must work. It's perfectly possible to design games that make it a joy to play characters possessing a wide spread of in-universe competence (or lack of it) all in the same party without making any of them mechanically overshadowing the others.

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1 hour ago, Stan Fresh said:

I think a lot of these power & scaling issues arise because of the zero-to-hero progression FFG went with. That's not how an RPG must work. It's perfectly possible to design games that make it a joy to play characters possessing a wide spread of in-universe competence (or lack of it) all in the same party without making any of them mechanically overshadowing the others.

I don't see them. What I do see is a lot of expectations being different than the game design actually gives you.

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1 minute ago, Daeglan said:

I don't see them. What I do see is a lot of expectations being different than the game design actually gives you.

All those illustrations of of lightsaber-wielding, Force-using badass characters in the core book do build certain expectations.

As does including "former Jedi living as a hermit" as the very first suggested character concept in the character creation section. That's Obi-Wan right there, and he was certainly no slouch.

 

 

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1 minute ago, Stan Fresh said:

All those illustrations of of lightsaber-wielding, Force-using badass characters in the core book do build certain expectations.

As does including "former Jedi living as a hermit" as the very first suggested character concept in the character creation section. That's Obi-Wan right there, and he was certainly no slouch.

 

 

Sure. I never said they were slouch. But I think people expect to play Obi-Wan in the Prequels. And that is not where your character starts. 

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