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P-47 Thunderbolt

Always Get My Mark OP?

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1 hour ago, HappyDaze said:

Heavily narrative abilities, signature abilities included, are a huge part of why I no longer play this set of games.

Yet you come to the forums to post negative comments?

 

Clearly you've broken up, but you're still in love.  Come on back.  We're having fun over here!

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23 minutes ago, BrickSteelhead said:

Yet you come to the forums to post negative comments?

 

Clearly you've broken up, but you're still in love.  Come on back.  We're having fun over here!

If you pay attention, I post positive comments too.

Mandalorian and Rise of Skywalker lured me back for a bit, but now that they are done, I'm rapidly losing interest again.

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I don't think those abilities will kill the game if your group is a half decent one. Just say: "Okay, group, lets find a cool and convincing story how you got to this person and do some skill checks to tell me the cirumstances you are in the moment you get the person." and everything is nice. The game clearly states that the narrative aspects have to be accepted by the GM. If the group is not able to create a convincing and/or cool story you can tell them so. And to be honest? A lot of people don't like win buttons but might like the idea to skip the whole "lets plan in detail how to get this person" to jump right into action.

Also if the players realise they are skipping the fun part by using the signature abilities, most will only use it if they get the feeling planning and finding the target is no fun right now.

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Couple of thought....

Iirc, this ability can not be used on Nemesis level NPCs.  Pretty sure its right in the text, but my son has my copy right now so I can't check.  And its an upgrade to include above low level NPC.  The only thing you get from the base ability is snagging some average wanted type.  That sounds like the start of a session, not a goal to me.  If your group enjoys snagging 2000 credit bail jumpers, then I guess this would be rather problematic.  But by the time they have this skill I'm wagering that isn't the case.

Second, as said, there is a narrative to be worked out with the GM.  Sure, the GM can hand wave it if they want to.  However, I feel the idea here is that the PCs have to set out a reasonable plan, that in other circumstances would require a lot of dice rolling, e.g. diplomacy, streetwise, coercion, etc.  Maybe some of that rolling would be pretty difficult, maybe not.  But if the plan itself is sound, and the only "what if" is if the dice would cooperate, then the skill allows you to avoid rolling all the dice.  Plan, needed.  Ability to implement plan, needed.  So if the plan calls for Darth Vader to appear and Force Choke someone then pretty likely the plan fails.  Dice, not needed.  Its not a get-out-of-jail-free card, but a method, in my mind, to move the story along much faster towards the real action.

 

 

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23 hours ago, P-47 Thunderbolt said:

You can upgrade to Nemesis.

Ah, so I see.  Even so, to succeed on the Nemesis, in custody, would be 5 or 6 difficulty dice.  If it was a problem, I might house rule that In Custody is plus one difficulty die per level of NPC, so +3 for Nemesis, not +1.

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You upgrade the difficulty by 1 for Rival and by 2 for Nemesis, resulting in a pool of RPP or RRP.

If you upgrade to start with the target in custody, that puts it to RRR for a Nemesis. I can certainly see changing that to 3 for a Nemesis and 2 for a Rival, making it RRRR for a Nemesis.

It doesn't fix some of the conceptual issues I have with the ability, but at least it makes it difficult to succeed. That said, it may be fine the way it is, considering that to start with a Nemesis in custody would require passing an RRR check, which has about a 1/4 chance of generating a Despair.

Upon further reflection and with the defenses put up for it by others, I think I'm fine with the ability as written, with the caveat that it's not something that would work for every group.

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11 hours ago, RickInVA said:

Ah, so I see.  Even so, to succeed on the Nemesis, in custody, would be 5 or 6 difficulty dice.  If it was a problem, I might house rule that In Custody is plus one difficulty die per level of NPC, so +3 for Nemesis, not +1.

All the sig ability does is change the story from get the target to deliver the target. It just changes where the episode starts. Allows the player to say i don't want to chase this week. I want to do a escort quest instead. 

 

So as a gm you just have a plan for either option. 

Edited by Daeglan

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That and as specified; if it's absolutely unworkable or unthematic, the GM can simply rule that a signature ability can't work under a given context. Though of course the signature ability definitely should work more often then not; after all it's effectively used as a mechanism to either get hold of the intended target or collect someone who can provide information and sometimes, we want to shake up the planning stage and start with the takedown. We will figure out the landing once we got past the opening credits.

Plus in captivity can have a flexible definition. Might've got cuffs on the person and detained, but all his friends are starting to show up which can result in the movie turning away from detective movies and more the Raid (Police ambushed in a gang run office block.) or Judge Dredd. Just as long as the understanding is that you have to work for some people. Capturing the Big Nemesis of the campaign or an Inquisitor *just* because you know they exist isn't gonna cut it, this is the kinda talent you take if you can't be bothered with Captain Phasma for today and just want her to lower the shields before shoving her down a garbage shute. 

That being said, one thing that helps greatly in my experience is to simply ask the players what their plan is for a given session. My group regularly update our GM with what we intend to do next when a session closes just so he has time to prepare additional notes for the future, or what a general plan is for this session. While the PC's will likely never have the same information the GM does, a bit of direction helps avoid those major upsets when the table is completely flipped.

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1 hour ago, LordBritish said:

That and as specified; if it's absolutely unworkable or unthematic, the GM can simply rule that a signature ability can't work under a given context. Though of course the signature ability definitely should work more often then not; after all it's effectively used as a mechanism to either get hold of the intended target or collect someone who can provide information and sometimes, we want to shake up the planning stage and start with the takedown. We will figure out the landing once we got past the opening credits.

Plus in captivity can have a flexible definition. Might've got cuffs on the person and detained, but all his friends are starting to show up which can result in the movie turning away from detective movies and more the Raid (Police ambushed in a gang run office block.) or Judge Dredd. Just as long as the understanding is that you have to work for some people. Capturing the Big Nemesis of the campaign or an Inquisitor *just* because you know they exist isn't gonna cut it, this is the kinda talent you take if you can't be bothered with Captain Phasma for today and just want her to lower the shields before shoving her down a garbage shute. 

That being said, one thing that helps greatly in my experience is to simply ask the players what their plan is for a given session. My group regularly update our GM with what we intend to do next when a session closes just so he has time to prepare additional notes for the future, or what a general plan is for this session. While the PC's will likely never have the same information the GM does, a bit of direction helps avoid those major upsets when the table is completely flipped.

Wait...you mean we should talk to the GM? Thats crazy talk...lol

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56 minutes ago, Stethemessiah said:

Wih my player head on, I honestly can't see the appeal in usong it. It's like skipping a level on a video game, surely you're playing it to play it, and want to enjoy everything that's available.

It allows you the player to shift the focus of a session to change up what you do.

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Or maybe you want to track down one of the gang's henchmen for interrogation without necessarily going through the whole progress of rolling streetwise checks and preforming a takedown. It's assumed that the individual is so used to doing this that just bringing people in isn't that big a deal.

It's a similar deal to the informant talent in all honesty; it's basically being able to generate a new avenue of investigation without the RP necessarily becoming more complicated.

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I like the suggestion from P-47 Thunderbolt to upgrade the difficulty, but not based on Minion, Rival or Nemesis.  Upgrade by the danger involved to capture the person, a Nemesis info peddler shouldn't be hard to get than a rival Imperial officer who is on a star destroyer.  As the GM you can set modify the upgrades based on how dangerous it is to get the person, so think story wise how hard would it be to capture them.  Also you can add setback dice, and you can get creative with reasons for set back dice, there is not limit to the number of setback dice you can assign (that I know of).  If it is an Imperial officer on a star destroyer, maybe 10 setback dice. Getting a ship, getting ship codes, getting disguised, and the Officer has a personal security team.  And Upgrade the difficulty multiple times, upgrade the dangers from getting a ship, Dangers from getting a code, Danger from his Security team.  

If they fail on the roll then you can say what point they failed at and put them in to trouble at that point to carry on the mission.  If they succeed you can then pick the scenario on what they need to do to get out once the cuffs are on.  

The only one I don't like but haven't had anyone take is Diplomatic solution, it turns a combat encounter to a social encounter.  My only dislike of that one is that a lot of players really enjoy combat and if it gets removed it upsets the players who want it.  Again you can adjust the difficulty and add set backs based on the scene to help prevent it from going off.  

If they want a power that you do not like talk to your players about it, let them know you concerns and how it impacts the group.  See if you can work to modify it or limit it uses, and possibly give them an EXP discount on it, if they agree to modify it so it works for your game.   Or you can take the approach at the beginning of your campaign and say that you don't allow the Signature abilities, due to how powerful they are.  Even though some are fine other player may be hurt if they can't by theirs but others can. 

In my campaign everyone likes to buy the modify dice roll from the Scoundrel Unmatched Fortune.  I met with my player and we talked about it and made a deal for him to no buy the upgrade to effect negative dice since it is used to remove Despair, which I love to spend to help the story.  He was ok with it once he understood why I didn't like that part of the ability.  

I hope these suggestions help and you are able to get your game back to where is is enjoyable for you.  

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Personally, I like the option for Signature Abilities, I think that they can be fun (especially ones like The Bigger They Are... ...The Harder They Fall, Unmatched Courage, etc.) but I can certainly see an argument for disallowing them. If they became too much of an issue, I would certainly consider working something out with the players along that line, but I think we'll just work it out.

Side note, from what I've seen, it looks like the AoR Signature Abilities seem to be less OP. What is your take on that?

Also, from looking at some of the Signature Abilities again, Unmatched Courage combined with "To the Death" from the Death Watch Commando tree (+50 +10*Strain suffered up to Willpower to incoming and outgoing crits. vs. a certain character) makes for an awesome last stand (or almost last), and ...The Harder They Fall would be perfect for Clones since it can be triggered off of Knowledge (Warfare) and affects droids.

Edited by P-47 Thunderbolt
Screwed up the description of "To the Death" :P

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In my opinion this Signature Ability can be easily fixed by changing one word in the description. If you change "known" to "unknown" then the narrative becomes an "extra" encounter/adventure vs. most likely disrupting the GM's plans (especially when it comes to Rivals or Nemesis level NPC's). This way the narrative goes: "You know that wanted poster you saw back at the spaceport? You're pretty sure he just got out of that speeder across the street/ducked into that alley/is sitting at a table across the cantina, etc". 

Most bounty hunters, especially if they aren't on an active hunt, likely make it a habit to know the local bounties of the planet they are on. Therefore, the narrative of this change is very plausible and much easier on the GM (just have a pool of potential targets prepared ahead of time).

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52 minutes ago, bitbyter said:

In my opinion this Signature Ability can be easily fixed by changing one word in the description. If you change "known" to "unknown" then the narrative becomes an "extra" encounter/adventure vs. most likely disrupting the GM's plans (especially when it comes to Rivals or Nemesis level NPC's). This way the narrative goes: "You know that wanted poster you saw back at the spaceport? You're pretty sure he just got out of that speeder across the street/ducked into that alley/is sitting at a table across the cantina, etc". 

Most bounty hunters, especially if they aren't on an active hunt, likely make it a habit to know the local bounties of the planet they are on. Therefore, the narrative of this change is very plausible and much easier on the GM (just have a pool of potential targets prepared ahead of time).

Doesn't that turn the entire Signature Ability into "Spend 2 Destiny Points: gain a little bit of extra cash"?

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I'm not sure anyone has mentioned but you could make the "mark" part very specific.  The "mark" HAS to be someone with a bounty on their head.  It can't just be this random person that I happen to be looking for at the moment.  That might solve most of the issue and severely limit its use outside of a bounty hunter-specific campaign.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, micheldebruyn said:

Doesn't that turn the entire Signature Ability into "Spend 2 Destiny Points: gain a little bit of extra cash"?

It does but:

  1. That is why bounty hunting is a profession after all and bounty rewards are not insignificant if the target is difficult.
  2. I think it fits better with the image of a very skilled hunter. At this point they are a highly skilled professional and shouldn't have to struggle to regularly bring in marks.
  3. To make it more narratively flexible you could remove the word "known" and change "character" to "GM". That way it could either be some random mark or it could be someone important to the adventure/campaign.
  4. It doesn't narratively interfere with the GM/Campaigns plans but still allows for the original intent of the ability (known NPC becoming a Mark) if they GM so wishes.
  5. It avoids the GM having to say "no" or weasel their way out of not being prepared for the ability being used that session.

"Once per game session, the GM may choose a minion NPC on the..."

Also, nothing in the ability implies that the PC has to follow through with spending the Destiny Points and going after the Mark. Basically the PC says "I'm using Always Find My Mark to see if there are any active bounties near-by".  GM "Yes, you've found info that indicates Bargos Pilth wanted for robbery, assault & weapon possession, has a bounty of 5000 credits on his head and is on planet". PC "Ok, I'm going to pass, we're to busy for that to be worthwhile."

Next session the PC's are still on the same planet but new info for a bounty worth 15,000 credits comes to the hunter's attention.

Edited by bitbyter

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Posted (edited)

Another alternative that only requires minor modification of the ability is to only allow the ability to be used at the end of the session and the triggered encounter only occurs at the beginning of the next session. This gives the GM time to plan but can still potentially mess with things depending on the NPC choice. I think my personal re-write would be:

"Once per game session at the end of the session, the character may choose to have located a minion NPC (GM's choice) on the same planet to be their mark. Spend 2 Destiny Points, and make a HARD Streetwise check. If they succeed, the character tracks down their mark; a new encounter begins at the start of the next session just as the character reaches the mark's location. The exact nature of the encounter, as well as the circumstances under which it takes place, are up to the GM."

Edited by bitbyter

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, bitbyter said:

Another alternative that only requires minor modification of the ability is to only allow the ability to be used at the end of the session and the triggered encounter only occurs at the beginning of the next session. This gives the GM time to plan but can still potentially mess with things depending on the NPC choice. I think my personal re-write would be:

"Once per game session at the end of the session, the character may choose to have located a minion NPC (GM's choice) on the same planet to be their mark. Spend 2 Destiny Points, and make a HARD Streetwise check. If they succeed, the character tracks down their mark; a new encounter begins at the start of the next session just as the character reaches the mark's location. The exact nature of the encounter, as well as the circumstances under which it takes place, are up to the GM."

That may have some applicability issues, but that's actually a pretty clever fix.

(I figured I should clarify, I'm specifically referring to the "at the end of the session" part)

Edited by P-47 Thunderbolt
Clarification

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1 minute ago, P-47 Thunderbolt said:

That may have some applicability issues, but that's actually a pretty clever fix.

Yes, it requires those 2 Destiny Points to be available at the end of the current session but I don't think it is to limiting.

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Posted (edited)

Final personal re-write:

"Once per game session, the character may choose to have located a minion NPC on the same planet to be their mark. Spend 2 Destiny Points, and make a HARD Streetwise check. If they succeed, the character tracks down their mark and at the start of the next session, a new encounter begins just as the character reaches the mark's location. Who the mark is, the exact nature of the encounter, and the circumstances under which it takes place, are up to the GM."

Edited by bitbyter

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1 hour ago, bitbyter said:

Final personal re-write:

"Once per game session, the character may choose to have located a minion NPC on the same planet to be their mark. Spend 2 Destiny Points, and make a HARD Streetwise check. If they succeed, the character tracks down their mark; a new encounter begins at the start of the next session just as the character reaches the mark's location. Who the mark is, the exact nature of the encounter, and the circumstances under which it takes place, are up to the GM."

At this point you're no longer tracking down your actual mark that the player is interested in, but some random NPC. Why would somebody use this ability?

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Posted (edited)
39 minutes ago, micheldebruyn said:

At this point you're no longer tracking down your actual mark that the player is interested in, but some random NPC. Why would somebody use this ability?

The PC's are low on cash, the current adventure isn't combat focused and the BH player wants some action, the player wants to make the current adventure more complicated and fun? Plenty of reasons.

Also, nothing in this rewrite precludes the player from asking if the mark can be a known NPC, it just doesn't require it to be so and the GM might even decide it is narratively a great idea.

With the RAW ability, as a player, I'd never feel comfortable using it. I feel it is just rude to purposely/intentionally throw a wrench into the work the GM has put into creating the adventure and NPC's for the group. Unintentional wrenches and PC actions/plans are one thing but to have an ability that specifically sabotages the GM's planned plot/narrative or creates more work to maintain it as intended is just bad in my opinion.

How about this?

"Once per game session, the character may choose to have located a minion NPC on the same planet to be their mark. Spend 2 Destiny Points, and make a HARD Streetwise check. If they succeed, the character tracks down their mark; a new encounter begins at the start of the next session just as the character reaches the mark's location. The exact nature of the encounter, and the circumstances under which it takes place, are up to the GM. Who the mark is (a known or unknown NPC ) may be discussed between the PC and GM before the next session."

So when the player uses the ability the GM should ask "Do you have a particular mark in mind?" and they discuss from there.

Edited by bitbyter

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