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Bellona

Any broken rule sub-systems?

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My table top group is pretty new to the whole FFG Star Wars system, and I'm curious to hear if there are any pit-falls which we can avoid. In particular: what about the rule sub-systems introduced in all those career sourcebooks?

For example, I've read a few different threads about a campaign where apparently a player proved that the general crafting rules in Special Modifications are broken. Admittedly, the GM was relatively new to the system and probably did let the player get away with more than he should have, but it sounded like the point still stands.

I know that there are lightsabre crafting rules in Endless Vigil and armour crafting rules in Keeping the Peace, but lack the system familiarity/mastery to evaluate them properly. How much room is there for abuse by power-mad munchkins, and are there any needed fixes?

What about new stuff introduced in the era books (DoR, RotSep, CotR), or the compilation sourcebooks (Allies and Adversaries, and - when it comes on sale - Gadgets and Gear)?

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My opinion... the supplements introduce a lot of new gear that (to me) seems much more powerful than the basic gear. As a GM new to this system, I let my players buy whatever they wanted if they made the Negotiation or Streetwise roll based on the rarity. Now that I'm more comfortable with the game system and with telling off-the-cuff stories in the Star Wars universe, I approach that differently. If there is some special equipment in a supplement that someone really wants, then I plan a way to incorporate it into the story, either as a reward or as a chance to flesh out a location by having them meet people and make connections as they try to track down a place to get it.

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It’s possible to be overly good, but the important thing to consider that the tables are just supplemental materials and can be used, adjusted and rejected

 

1) does it actually make sense for the character to actually make crafting checks? I for one encourge backgrounds to be an integral part of character. If there are no gunsmiths in party? Then someone has to learn to be one. That in itself can be a compelling plot hook in its own right and stops just anyone gathering dum droids together and cranking out a workshop.

 

2) time. Items take time to correct. If you’re players aren’t constantly seeking scores or on the clock, then you need to find ways to introduce points of tension/motivation to keep them moving to job to job, even in a sandbox, opportunity is fleeting.

 

on the flip side though, the system rewards extracurricular activities other then being cool. Tobin Stryder is a gunsmith is who’s father ran a speeder garage that served as a front for a bounty hunter armoury. This tied his background into being familiar with guns, speeders and worked out how to repair and construct starships later on as a duty reward for Endor. He only follows two rules, he doesn’t craft terror weapons and he will hunt down anyone who misused the arms he gave to them.

 

that and I don’t stick concussive on everything. I don’t wanna hand out action denial to everyone.

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Crafting: If you give tens of thousands of credits and unlimited time to the players, they will craft the best stuff and make it even better. Even if you limit those, there are a couple options you can use advantages on that can break the crafting system.

The option to gain a boost on your next crafting check that only costs 1 advantage, I limit taking that option to once per check.

The option to gain a "schematic" that reduces the difficulty of crafting that specific template, down to a difficulty of simple (-), I allow each character that crafts to create one and only one schematic per item template.

 

In the core books, a lot of people consider the combination of the Jury Rigged talent being applied to the activation cost of Auto-Fire on weapons to be overpowered, so some create houserules to limit that. Either they limit the amount of times you can activate Auto-fire by having each subsequent activation cost 1 more advantage, or they limit the amount of times you can activate it to be equal to your character's Brawn characteristic.

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8 hours ago, Bellona said:

My table top group is pretty new to the whole FFG Star Wars system, and I'm curious to hear if there are any pit-falls which we can avoid.

I don't have any complaints about the particular sub-systems, mostly because I've only used a few, and I'm pretty fast and loose with those rules anyway.  In general though I will say it's far too easy for somebody to be a one-trick pony.  I like to encourage the players to spread their XP around a bit, and I encourage this by making sure to shuffle what they have to do...sometimes the Diplomat has to provide cover fire because the Heavy has to manually open the stuck doors because the Tech failed to hack them...

Plus, there's nothing more ridiculous than a Brawn 5, Melee 5 Wookiee who can't handle a Fear check...

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On ‎8‎/‎17‎/‎2019 at 2:22 AM, Bellona said:

know that there are lightsabre crafting rules in Endless Vigil

There's actually 3 different methods of lightsaber crafting. One in the FaD Core book, one in the GM kit, and one in EV. They all provide a different method of build with the difficulty and required skills varying to accommodate but what's being built and the abilities of the player character doing the build. 

The EV option is only the "techie" version, with limited style options and bonuses applicable based on the crafting success. If you aren't playing a Tech you can use one of the other methods and select from all other lightsaber types and build the type you want specifically. Indeed there's some types f saber that can't be truly crafted using the EV method, forcing you to use one of the other two if that's what you want.

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As far as the various sub-systems go, the one I'd say to most watch out for is the crafting rules.  They can be abused by a player dedicated to doing so and willing to take advantage of GM leniency.  The crafting rules as envisioned by FFG are to build one-off "custom" gear, not to mass-produce high-end gear or even to replicate specific pieces of gear that you might find in various splats for a fraction of the cost.

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The crafting rules work fine so long as you impose reasonable time limits. Players have an obligation to interact with the campaign as it's presented to them. "I'm going to drop out of society for 12 months and hand-build a corvette or whatever," shouldn't be a serious conversation when you're dealing with Obligations in Edge of the Empire or Duty in Age of Rebellion.

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For me I've found and modified, Stip-paks, Soak, First-Aid, and I've "standardized" my own crafting rules.

So yeah.  Some things seem 'broken' to me.

I've also had to nail down the hyperspace travel rules so that they are (at least in my campaign) consistent.

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22 hours ago, Mark Caliber said:

For me I've found and modified, Stip-paks, Soak, First-Aid, and I've "standardized" my own crafting rules.

I guess by those parameters...yeah, I've dispensed with Stimpacks (custom rules about wounds, crits, etc), space combat as written, Move, crafting, Obligation (pointless past chargen), Duty (never used), Morality (stupid bean-counting mechanic), money and item rarity and all that garbage (what is this, a video game?), and probably a lot more I've forgotten about.

I really just love using the narrative dice, but I find all the micro-management stuff detrimental to telling a good story.  But some people like to track iron spikes and arrows in their quiver, so... YMMV.

 

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1 hour ago, whafrog said:

I guess by those parameters...yeah, I've dispensed with Stimpacks (custom rules about wounds, crits, etc), space combat as written, Move, crafting, Obligation (pointless past chargen), Duty (never used), Morality (stupid bean-counting mechanic), money and item rarity and all that garbage (what is this, a video game?), and probably a lot more I've forgotten about.

I really just love using the narrative dice, but I find all the micro-management stuff detrimental to telling a good story.  But some people like to track iron spikes and arrows in their quiver, so... YMMV.

 

I forgot about some of those when responding. Yeah I only ask for obligation so I can use it as a plothook as needed. Never used Duty. Threw out Morality and Conflict and go by feel.

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Posted (edited)

I don’t know, duty works fine to me provided the group is role playing a team of semi-professional military group, with duty representing their feild of expertises. E.g. the general, the admiral, the sapper, the flying Ace, the cracking nerd and so fourth. I’ve never had any problems in its implications.

 

ditto obligations. I mainly use it as an interactive “threat and complications” tracker. I don’t see it used to throw in direct complications often, but it’s a reflection of a complicated society that might crop up at any moment, unless the group make an effort to mitigate the attention, which keeps the focus on the players to take charge of their direction. Given my group has had a single campaign lasting 4/5 years and Obligation has pretty much served as a player resource to remind them what the ongoing background noise is.

 

just my musings.

Edited by LordBritish
Tidying up

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, LordBritish said:

I don’t know, duty works fine to me provided the group is role playing a team of semi-professional military group, with duty representing their feild of expertises. E.g. the general, the admiral, the sapper, the flying Ace, the cracking nerd and so fourth. I’ve never had any problems in its implications.

ditto obligations. I mainly use it as an interactive “threat and complications” tracker. I don’t see it used to throw in direct complications often, but it’s a reflection of a complicated society that might crop up at any moment, unless the group make an effort to mitigate the attention, which keeps the focus on the players to take charge of their direction. Given my group has had a single campaign lasting 4/5 years and Obligation has pretty much served as a player resource to remind them what the ongoing background noise is.

Once I understood the point of Obligation/Duty/Morality, I never had a problem with them. They're behavior modification tools for the players and opportunities for the GM to introduce challenges in the story that directly affect the player characters. They're useful as GM story hooks and as motivations for players to have their characters actually do something. If you take them away, you're taking away a level of PC investment. 

From what I've seen, GMs who cling to tight plots - typically people who come from D&D or other pre-scripted games - struggle with them because they require the GM to improvise away from their sets of encounters. Instead of players reacting to the GM, those mechanics require the GM to react more to players than what's traditionally expected. It's definitely asking a lot more of GMs' mental capabilities when they're sitting at the table. I've learned to plot games in broad strokes and other tricks to be efficient. 

It was definitely an... interesting... choice for FFG to take a very popular franchise and give it a narrative bent. Previously, I associated narrative games with the indie fringe. But now that I comprehend how they function, I've started playing more narrative games, like FATE. I've also seen narrative mechanics creep into traditional-style games, like the D&D clone, 13th Age.

Edited by Concise Locket

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, Concise Locket said:

If you take them away, you're taking away a level of PC investment.

Maybe in your world.  But all these can be creatively replaced with something more effective, streamlined, and less of a straight-jacket.  My issues with them are not about intent, but implementation.

Edited by whafrog

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So a question I have for the OP is how do you define broken?

1) Is there subsystems that are easily exploitable that causes the character to be niticeably stronger than the other character?

Or

2) Is there a subsystem that does not work as intended or otherwise too confusing that most GMs disregard it?

Based on the recent comments, a lot of people are interpreting it as #2.

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39 minutes ago, whafrog said:

Maybe in your world.  But all these can be creatively replaced with something more effective, streamlined, and less of a straight-jacket.  My issues with them are not about intent, but implementation.

You don't get a more streamlined mechanic than "roll dice, GM-fiat story complication/story perk happens" and one person's straight-jacket is another person's guide-post. I've never played nor seen an RPG that didn't have clearly delineated boundaries of play. 

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I personally think that both Duty and Obligation can be handled pretty easily with the Favour rules from Shadow of the Beanstalk.

A smuggler could be a member of the Hutt cartel and thus get the benefits (and drawbacks) therein. Whereas someone part of the Rebel Alliance would be able to call in completely different Favours…but still might have to owe a Hutt a Favour if they can do something the Alliance can't.

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1 minute ago, kaosoe said:

So a question I have for the OP is how do you define broken?

1) Is there subsystems that are easily exploitable that causes the character to be niticeably stronger than the other character?

Or

2) Is there a subsystem that does not work as intended or otherwise too confusing that most GMs disregard it?

Based on the recent comments, a lot of people are interpreting it as #2.

The reality is "neither." The subsystems are all straightforward but GMs don't seem comfortable exercising their referee powers against rules-lawyer players unless the text gives them explicit permission to do so.

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6 minutes ago, c__beck said:

I personally think that both Duty and Obligation can be handled pretty easily with the Favour rules from Shadow of the Beanstalk.

A smuggler could be a member of the Hutt cartel and thus get the benefits (and drawbacks) therein. Whereas someone part of the Rebel Alliance would be able to call in completely different Favours…but still might have to owe a Hutt a Favour if they can do something the Alliance can't.

While GMs roll dice the same way (roll 2d10, check the chart, compare totals) Edge and AoR are two different games with two different narrative intents. Edge characters are trying to claw their way out of a bad spot (see Solo) whereas AoR characters are soldiers who are rewarded for doing a good job by getting better equipment (see Rogue One).

I've allowed my players to pull Careers and Specializations from the different game lines for our games and it's been interesting to see an Edge character's Obligation ("I need to deal with this bounty hunter!") conflict with an AoR character's Duty ("I need to recruit more soldiers into the Rebellion!").

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3 minutes ago, Concise Locket said:

While GMs roll dice the same way (roll 2d10, check the chart, compare totals) Edge and AoR are two different games with two different narrative intents. Edge characters are trying to claw their way out of a bad spot (see Solo) whereas AoR characters are soldiers who are rewarded for doing a good job by getting better equipment (see Rogue One).

I've allowed my players to pull Careers and Specializations from the different game lines for our games and it's been interesting to see an Edge character's Obligation ("I need to deal with this bounty hunter!") conflict with an AoR character's Duty ("I need to recruit more soldiers into the Rebellion!").

And? That doesn't change the fact that I would prefer to use Favours then either Duty or Obligation.

I am well aware of the differences between each game line and what Duty/Obligation/Morality represent. I just think they are clunky and the advice given on how to use them are not clear enough for me. Favours are a lot more "solid" to me. If a player owes a Big Favour to Black Sun I know exactly what that means. What does a 28-point Obligation to Black Sun mean? Nothing, really, unless the dice say so? That…doesn't work for me.

I can let that favour sit there on the player's sheet until I, the GM, deem it best for the story without the dice having to tell me to do so. Heck, any one of my players can suggest when a Favour gets called in.

As for Duty, being a member of the Alliance allows the player to, once per session, flip a Destiny Point (Story Point in Genesys parlance) to call in a small or normal Favour from someone in the Alliance, and the GM can do the same, calling in a Favour from the PC. That sounds like a good Duty replacement.

At the end of the day, it doesn't have to be different mechanics to have a different feel.

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36 minutes ago, kaosoe said:

So a question I have for the OP is how do you define broken?

1) Is there subsystems that are easily exploitable that causes the character to be niticeably stronger than the other character?

Or

2) Is there a subsystem that does not work as intended or otherwise too confusing that most GMs disregard it?

Based on the recent comments, a lot of people are interpreting it as #2.

I am more interested in type 1 answers - I think that our tabletop GM is worried about the players getting their hands on non-core rulebooks and then being able to exploit the h*** out of some sub-system because there's a loophole with which he's not familiar. (Like endless crafting checks, from the look of some early replies and other threads which I've seen.)

And I know from personal experience that it's no fun to be in a game where a player has gone all munchkin/power-gamer with every last option (never mind the fact that they don't even fit together flavour-wise!) and left the rest of us in his dust. The "Great, shall I hold your cape while you one-shot the demon lord's avatar?" kind of thing. (Translated to the GFFA, of course!)

Which is not to say that type 2 answers aren't interesting to read as well. Our tabletop group are system noobs to FFG SW, so it's good to hear where there could be simple rules confusion (and possible streamlining fixes of one sort or the other).

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