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Dejon

GM Advice On Running Game With Characters from F&D and EotE

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On 10/22/2019 at 10:07 PM, kmanweiss said:

A single minion group isn't much of a challenge for established characters.  But for new characters it's often VERY dangerous.  Unless I'm screwing something up, I find minion groups tend to win a lot of initiative slots until players really start putting some effort into cool/vigilance.  This makes them even more deadly for early characters.

It helps being careful about letting minions have Cool and Vigilance as group skills. Stormtroopers generally don't, but if you wan't throw in some hardened stormtrooper veterans, just adding those skills to their list bumps them up considerably.

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On ‎10‎/‎28‎/‎2019 at 6:22 AM, ExpandingUniverse said:

Also at the start, FUN OVER RULES.... if something comes up, just roll or make a judgement for that occasion, THEN check after the game for next session ;)

^This^.

I've seen far too many games get bogged down over some variation of "well the rules say..."

The GM should make an ad hoc decision, keep things moving, and then after the session revisit the situation, either on their own or with the group and see if they want to stick to the ad hoc ruling or come up with some other solution.

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Finally managed to get all of the players in the same place, at the same time. Something that came up while playing TFA is rolling for initiative. In one ambush-type encounter the Strus Clan gangsters (aka the bad guys) roll using Vigilance and the PCs roll using Cool. If we just focus on the gangsters, they have a Vigilance(Will) of 2 and a Cool(Pr) of 1. It appears that the gangsters are actually better off being surprised (better initiative roll). We went with it, but it didn't feel right. How do you guys handle this?

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I handle it as per RAW, but it is definitely something that has been bugging me. Something I've experimented with, but never put into practice consistently is adding Boost/Setback to Initiative check depending on the circumstances.

For example, the gangsters are celebrating capturing their targets, when all of a sudden, the prisoners jump them from behind. I might add 2 Setback on their initiative for being surprised.

Another way to think about it is that if you are trying to get the jump on someone, but they spot you, they might be quicker on the draw than you were since you were expecting to get the drop on them and weren't prepared for them to spot you.

That would be a narrative example of an instance where Vigilance beat out Cool.

So someone who has a low Cool/high Vigilance might be the type who struggles with nerves and will choke at the wrong moment, but when they are surprised, they spring into action almost on instinct.

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We talked about using setback dice as well but couldn't agree on how many would be enough (e.g. 1 for slight surprise, 2 for surprise and 3 for total surprise). I like your analogy, but is still feels like something is missing. 

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22 minutes ago, Dejon said:

We talked about using setback dice as well but couldn't agree on how many would be enough (e.g. 1 for slight surprise, 2 for surprise and 3 for total surprise). I like your analogy, but is still feels like something is missing. 

Yeah, it really does. Not sure how it could be changed without screwing something up, though. In my opinion, best thing to do is use Setback, narrate, and grit your teeth.

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I have not tried this but after playing through Pathfinder 2e, I thought about using it's inititative check based off of appropriate skills.  The general initiative in PF2e is just off of Perception, but if your character is trying to sneak up on someone, you use Stealth as your initiative skill. If you are in middle of negotiations that aren't going well and launch a surprise attack,  you use Bluff as the initiative.

I don't know if it would make a major difference, I personally haven't had much issue with initiative in this game but it could be an option.

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The way I handle ambushes is, I don't enter Structured Gameplay (so, I don't have anyone roll for Initiative) until the ambush has been either spotted or sprung.

What this looks like in play is:

1. We're in Narrative Gameplay, people just say what they do and it happens. You roll when a roll-worthy action comes up.

2. PCs are walking along, and they walk into the area of the ambush. Either the Ambushers make a Stealth roll vs. highest PC Vigilance (or a Group Perception check, if they're all actively on the look out), or you can have the/a PC roll Perception/Vigilance vs. NPC Stealth. I like to have the PCs roll.

3.A. IF PCs detect the ambush, we roll Initiative. Ambushers Cool, PCs Vigilance. Proceed in Structured Play as normal.

3.B. IF PCs don't detect the ambush, we're still in Narrative Play, and therefore the first NPC Action(s) happen in Narrative Play. Form pool(s) as normal, as needed, and resolve them as normal. 

3.B. continued, ONLY THEN, after the Action(s) taken in Narrative Play have been resolved, do we enter Structured Play, and resolve Initiative as normal, and proceed as normal.

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It works well. The game was designed to work exactly in this way.

It's a tactic that cuts both ways, the Players can use this tactic, or they can have this tactic used on them.

Sometimes they see it coming, some times they don't.

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