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GrandMasterOberon

How Easy Is It to Start and Play at High Level?

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I understand that in F&D you don't start as a Jedi. You start as an untrained character, just exploring their newfound abilities. How does the game handle starting at a higher amount of xp? I've heard that it takes around 600 xp to feel like a prequels/old republic jedi knight. Are there any major problems with creating and playing characters with that much xp?

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The only issue is you're starting with a giant pile of skills, talents, and Force powers to parse through. As long as players are diligent so they don't miss out on all their cool stuff, go nuts!

Knight level/Heroic level play suggests starting with 150 earned XP on top of starting. You can build a pretty potent character with that. 600 wouldn't necessarily be required.

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, GrandMasterOberon said:

I understand that in F&D you don't start as a Jedi. You start as an untrained character, just exploring their newfound abilities. How does the game handle starting at a higher amount of xp? I've heard that it takes around 600 xp to feel like a prequels/old republic jedi knight. Are there any major problems with creating and playing characters with that much xp?

If you have access to both Rise of the Separatists and Collapse of the Republic (era books which straddle all three main lines [FaD, AoR, EotE]), then you can find the Jedi career and its four specializations (Padawan, Knight, Master, and General) for FaD characters. The Knight and General trees require FR 2 to open, and Master requires FR 3. RotSep also has the Force-sensitive Outcast universal specialization (which works well for characters like Asajj Ventress).

There is an optional rule, "Short Path to Power" (CotR p. 17) to allow a starting character to spend 30 starting (character creation) XP to buy FR +1 in order to start the game with either the Knight or General tree (just choosing the Jedi career, like any FaD career, gives FR 1). This optional rule can only be used for the Jedi career. (Most players prefer to use that XP to increase characteristics instead, as the starting XP is the only type of XP that can be used for direct increases of characteristics.) Many GMs consider it to be extremely cheesy to use Short Path to Power to begin as Knight, then double back to open the Padawan tree for its easy route to FR +1.

Currently, the Jedi career has only four specializations (and no sign of more to come from FFG as far as I know). As a GM, I would consider letting a Jedi character choose one Form tree (Shien, Soresu, etc.) from another FaD career plus one more tree from that same career in order to round out the Jedi career to six trees. I might even consider jettisoning the General tree from the Jedi career in favour of a third tree from the same FaD career, as the General is an odd fit for many non-CW era Jedi (or the General could be considered as a universal tree exclusive to Force-sensitive characters). This suggestion is mainly aimed at Prequel and Old Republic Jedi characters (or possibly future Legacy era characters from Legends).

Edited by Bellona
Added one more sentence at the end.

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9 hours ago, GrandMasterOberon said:

I understand that in F&D you don't start as a Jedi. You start as an untrained character, just exploring their newfound abilities. How does the game handle starting at a higher amount of xp? I've heard that it takes around 600 xp to feel like a prequels/old republic jedi knight. Are there any major problems with creating and playing characters with that much xp?

It largely depends on how experienced you are with the system.

The "to feel like a Jedi" is more in reference to having Force powers fleshed out. I am currently playing a character at about 200 EXP, one with ~1000 EXP, and one with 15-20 EXP. As long as you have a good understanding of the system and a good grip of your character and the rules associated with them, 600 E/XP is a fine starting point. I tend to start my games at Heroic level, which is a bonus 150 XP past CharGen, but that's without Force powers. Making that 200 with 50 earmarked for Force powers seems like a good compromise if the party is a bunch of Force wielders. If you've got regs scattered in there, then they should also get that boost, possibly earmarked for a second spec or just left up to them to decide.

What you lose out on starting at high levels of XP is the narrative build up to that level and the narratively guided advancement choices. Starting with high XP can lend itself towards min-maxing if the players aren't judicious.

It doesn't really get broken until way further down the line unless your players are minmaxers, in which case you're screwed, but would still be screwed at lower levels of XP.

(EXP is Earned XP, to make sure there's no confusion)

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1 hour ago, P-47 Thunderbolt said:

200 with 50 earmarked for Force powers seems like a good compromise if the party is a bunch of Force wielders

I want to echo this sentiment. You may want to impose a cap of how much they can spend on what (depending on their careers and specialization choices) but yeah, as long as they're fine to manage a character with the number of talents they will undoubtedly accrue, go for it. 

10 hours ago, GrandMasterOberon said:

Are there any major problems with creating and playing characters with that much xp?

Obviously, you may need to scale the campaign accordingly for this. As such, doing the beginners story in the GM kit may not be appropriate for 600xp players. Aside from that, I can't see any problems.

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4 hours ago, SufficientlyAdvancedMoronics said:

Obviously, you may need to scale the campaign accordingly for this. As such, doing the beginners story in the GM kit may not be appropriate for 600xp players. Aside from that, I can't see any problems.

One of the things I really like about this system is how easily groups of minions and the adversary talent scale up.

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If they are experienced play i wouldn't worry about starting them at a higher number.  But my advice would be to start then at knight but given them more exp per session to build their character.  It will allow them to build based on the story versus picking the best at 600 exp.  Also they will have a better grasp of their powers versus learning all at once.

My game my characters are around 1400 exp and they have between 10-14 pages between spec trees and force powers.  So it can easily become hard to keep track of all your talents and powers.

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17 hours ago, GrandMasterOberon said:

Are there any major problems with creating and playing characters with that much xp?

A lot of ppl consider 600 XP to be end of campaign territory/where campaigns just kind of naturally end. So... think about that when you think about what you're getting into.

Why do they tend to end around then?

Mainly I think because it can become a lot more work for the GM to challenge the PCs at higher XP levels, frankly. At 600 XP, you're getting into the realm of having to rely on narrative devices to put PCs out of their comfort zones (which means more work planning sessions, in my experience) a lot more, and having to use system mastery to get around their considerable strengths (again, more/more difficult session prep), and custom statted NPCs (yet again, more prep) because nothing in the books can stand for long with a group of 600-earned XP characters, in my experience...

So, yea, the main problems you're looking at in doing this is creating a lot more, and more difficult, work for yourself as GM. Right off the bat.

How well do you know the system? The less you know it, as GM, the lower XP level you should have them start at. First game? Start at zero.

I'm gonna be the old fogey here, and recommend you start low and just award XP more liberally (base recommendation is 5XP per IRL hour play, so do that plus 10 or 15 or something? or heck double it if you have short 2-3 hr sessions?), until they get to where you want them to be.

At least then you can grow with the system, a little. Grow with your PCs. Let them have an actual, played/"lived" story before you get to the point where you all feel like you're kings of the world. It'll feel better when you get there, in my opinion.

600 XP is fun to play, but usually a headache to GM. Particularly if your Players tend to build PCs that specialize, and therefore (rightfully?) rely on being in a group to be effective across a wide range of things. Y'know? You're just looking at 5 dice (YYYGG+?) being thrown at any type of challenge you put in front of them.

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@GrandMasterOberon

@Bellona and @P-47 Thunderbolt are players in a pbp I'm running where I started the initial players at 900 earned xp and award 5 xp a week if they make 1 in character post that week.

@Bellona is correct that most (including myself) GMs thinks it cheesy to start in knight and wrap around to padawan.  A new to the game player asked for help building a character and I suggested jedi:knight/padawan survivor/niman-disciple... the new to game player wanted to switch out padawan survivor (universal  spec) for padawan and I didn't make them switch to padawan as the starting spec.  That was a mistake on my part.  The build was second best in everything at the beginning of the game, second highest force rating, 2nd best lightsaber duelist, 2nd best jedi marksman, a few players dropped out a few more joined and he ended up with the highest force rating.  But with an efficiently built PC (without cheese) I think it takes about 1000 earned xp to achieve broad competence equivalent to the level obiwan or Anakin in episode 2.  You can have an interesting character who is competent in narrow areas with significantly less xp.

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19 hours ago, emsquared said:

A lot of ppl consider 600 XP to be end of campaign territory/where campaigns just kind of naturally end. So... think about that when you think about what you're getting into.

Why do they tend to end around then?

Mainly I think because it can become a lot more work for the GM to challenge the PCs at higher XP levels, frankly. At 600 XP, you're getting into the realm of having to rely on narrative devices to put PCs out of their comfort zones (which means more work planning sessions, in my experience) a lot more, and having to use system mastery to get around their considerable strengths (again, more/more difficult session prep), and custom statted NPCs (yet again, more prep) because nothing in the books can stand for long with a group of 600-earned XP characters, in my experience...

So, yea, the main problems you're looking at in doing this is creating a lot more, and more difficult, work for yourself as GM. Right off the bat.

How well do you know the system? The less you know it, as GM, the lower XP level you should have them start at. First game? Start at zero.

I'm gonna be the old fogey here, and recommend you start low and just award XP more liberally (base recommendation is 5XP per IRL hour play, so do that plus 10 or 15 or something? or heck double it if you have short 2-3 hr sessions?), until they get to where you want them to be.

At least then you can grow with the system, a little. Grow with your PCs. Let them have an actual, played/"lived" story before you get to the point where you all feel like you're kings of the world. It'll feel better when you get there, in my opinion.

600 XP is fun to play, but usually a headache to GM. Particularly if your Players tend to build PCs that specialize, and therefore (rightfully?) rely on being in a group to be effective across a wide range of things. Y'know? You're just looking at 5 dice (YYYGG+?) being thrown at any type of challenge you put in front of them.

the trick to challenging  600 plus xp characters is things like putting more  minions in minion groups so they stay  more dangerous longer.  using squads to make your BBEG stay up longer. It might be worth talking to @KRKappelwhat he did to challenge his 1000 xp Jedi Masters game. 

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1 minute ago, rogue_09 said:

I have seven players all at about 700 earned XP. They still panic when a couple groups of Stormies round the corner.

they are just bigger groups of stormies now right?

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1 minute ago, Daeglan said:

they are just bigger groups of stormies now right?

Depends. If it's the whole crew facing off, then I feel comfortable stacking 6 or more minions into a group. If the PCs get split up, and someone runs afoul of a patrol all alone, even 2 or 3 can be lethal if they land a hit or two.

I do have to balance large encounters to handle 'Last One Standing'. One player has the tree almost maxed out.

All that to say is I've never felt like the PCs are so overpowered that I can't challenge them even with only minions. The system scales very well in that respect.

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2 minutes ago, rogue_09 said:

Depends. If it's the whole crew facing off, then I feel comfortable stacking 6 or more minions into a group. If the PCs get split up, and someone runs afoul of a patrol all alone, even 2 or 3 can be lethal if they land a hit or two.

I do have to balance large encounters to handle 'Last One Standing'. One player has the tree almost maxed out.

All that to say is I've never felt like the PCs are so overpowered that I can't challenge them even with only minions. The system scales very well in that respect.

But then I am guessing every so often you do through in extra stuff to validate the last one standing players purchase. He should get to be bad *** every so often.  But then I am guessing they have something they are not good at that you can throw at them...

 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Daeglan said:

the trick to challenging  600 plus xp characters is things like putting more  minions in minion groups so they stay  more dangerous longer.

That's certainly a trick (the most basic one available) that a GM can and should use. But if it's the only one in your toolbox... I'm sorry but that's a boring af game.

If you're not using narrative restrictions to create more diverse and nuanced and mentally challenging scenarios, then you're just playing dice-rocket tag. Boring.

If you're not using specialized attacks/effects like Stun, Ensnare, Disorient, etc. and lots of creature abilities to create and exploit different weaknesses besides Defense/Soak? Boring.

If you're not custom statting Nemeses, Minions are gonna be the biggest badasses in your game. lol, boring AF!

But, yes, Minion Groups are a thing. Just not at all every-thing. And definitely not for high XP play.

Edited by emsquared

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3 hours ago, emsquared said:

That's certainly a trick (the most basic one available) that a GM can and should use. But if it's the only one in your toolbox... I'm sorry but that's a boring af game.

If you're not using narrative restrictions to create more diverse and nuanced and mentally challenging scenarios, then you're just playing dice-rocket tag. Boring.

If you're not using specialized attacks/effects like Stun, Ensnare, Disorient, etc. and lots of creature abilities to create and exploit different weaknesses besides Defense/Soak? Boring.

If you're not custom statting Nemeses, Minions are gonna be the biggest badasses in your game. lol, boring AF!

But, yes, Minion Groups are a thing. Just not at all every-thing. And definitely not for high XP play.

I said things like. As in that is one example.

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11 hours ago, Daeglan said:

But then I am guessing every so often you do through in extra stuff to validate the last one standing players purchase. He should get to be bad *** every so often.  But then I am guessing they have something they are not good at that you can throw at them...

Any major encounter has enough minions and extra rivals to account for LOS. Now if she happens to fail the Resilience check, things get very interesting indeed.

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On 6/16/2020 at 12:30 PM, Daeglan said:

the trick to challenging  600 plus xp characters is things like putting more  minions in minion groups so they stay  more dangerous longer.  using squads to make your BBEG stay up longer. It might be worth talking to @KRKappelwhat he did to challenge his 1000 xp Jedi Masters game. 

They were 2000 XP Jedi Masters! And yeah, the trick is ranks of adversary, blocking lightsabers with parry and high strain, and creating a situation where they can't dogpile on Vader or a Dooku type villain. When those tough characters are only taking on one or two PCs in an encounter? They are very difficult. 

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13 hours ago, KRKappel said:

They were 2000 XP Jedi Masters! And yeah, the trick is ranks of adversary, blocking lightsabers with parry and high strain, and creating a situation where they can't dogpile on Vader or a Dooku type villain. When those tough characters are only taking on one or two PCs in an encounter? They are very difficult. 

Keith I bet you could do a great article about tips and tricks for running a high xp characters. 

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