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A challenge to the Week 1 update- making a plug for opposed checks as the standard in combat

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cetiken said:

 I quite like the speed of standard difficulties and encourage keeping them for that reason alone. 

 

I'd rather sacrifice a bit of speed to have combat that both better emulates the source material and is a bit more exciting.  Also, given the relatively straightforward nature of the dice system, I don't really think it would slow game play significantly. 

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Chrislee66 said:

I'd rather sacrifice a bit of speed to have combat that both better emulates the source material and is a bit more exciting.  Also, given the relatively straightforward nature of the dice system, I don't really think it would slow game play significantly. 
Have you actually played the game?  If you have and don't like static attack difficulty + modifiers then house rule opposed checks in.  If you haven't then at least try the pudding before you try to make it better.

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Callidon said:

 

Have you actually played the game?  If you have and don't like static attack difficulty + modifiers then house rule opposed checks in.  If you haven't then at least try the pudding before you try to make it better.

 

 

 

 

I have, actually.  I've run the sample scenario and then a couple of regular sessions that are set within the broader context of the Saga game that I normally run.  And in each of those games, while I'm quite taken with the rules on the whole, I was struck by how silly, nonsensical, and divorced from the theme of Star Wars this one mechanic is.  

 

In response to a potential house ruling, I'll do that if and when an average difficulty for melee attacks becomes an actual rule upon release of the finished product.  Until then I'm going to continue to lobby for systemic changes that I feel make the game into something that I will most and enjoy and is most evocative of Star Wars, at least to me.  And to me, dramatic melee combat is one of the central elements of Star Wars conflict.  The current rules as written don't provide that.

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Chrislee66 said:

I have, actually.  I've run the sample scenario and then a couple of regular sessions that are set within the broader context of the Saga game that I normally run.  And in each of those games, while I'm quite taken with the rules on the whole, I was struck by how silly, nonsensical, and divorced from the theme of Star Wars this one mechanic is.  

 

In response to a potential house ruling, I'll do that if and when an average difficulty for melee attacks becomes an actual rule upon release of the finished product.  Until then I'm going to continue to lobby for systemic changes that I feel make the game into something that I will most and enjoy and is most evocative of Star Wars, at least to me.  And to me, dramatic melee combat is one of the central elements of Star Wars conflict.  The current rules as written don't provide that.

Fair enough.  I guess it's just a difference of opinion.  I'll stop jumping up and down clacking my two purple dice together then happy.gif.

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I still think that the opposed check should be included as an optional rule in a side bar. It doesn't take up much room and I think that the solution of using ranged opposed works pretty well, except - perhaps - against large groups of minions, but even then it can work pretty well I think. Although I shall test it.

 

And how do we treat range on top of the difficulty based on the skill/characteristic?

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You could leave the standard difficulties in as minimum difficulties, but then allow an opposed roll if the opposed roll would be more advantageous.  That would also keep characters that are less combat oriented from being too vulnerable in combat.

Another thing to consider would be adjusting the difficulty for using certain weapons.  Like in the d6 system, lightsabers were more difficult to use than other melee weapons. 

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MrBaldwin said:

Another thing to consider would be adjusting the difficulty for using certain weapons.  Like in the d6 system, lightsabers were more difficult to use than other melee weapons.

I agree, at least without the proper skill. Up the difficulty one, and violá 3 difficulty dice. Of course, to make it interesting you could upgrade a difficulty die to a challenge die if using a lightsaber without the proper training (ie at least 1 rank in the Lighsaber skill). Although what other weapons and rules should then be implemented, or should it be a lightsaber-only rule? If so, then I'm not sure there's any point.

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Jegergryte said:

And how do we treat range on top of the difficulty based on the skill/characteristic?

THIS. 

This question illustrates the problem of going to opposed checks for combat.  gui%C3%B1o.gif  This kind of change would require a core re-write to the entire foundational mechanic that was used to flesh out range rules, as well as offensive and defensive character talents.

All those things were built under the assumption of static difficulties for attacks.  [shrug]

It's those talents and circumstantials that increase/decrease the difficulty of the attack, or use boost/setback dice to make you harder to hit/make it easier to hit someone.

I'm all for this discussion.  happy.gif  It's a good discussion to have!  But we need to realize that changing the base static difficulties to opposed checks (even as an "optional" rule) will seriously upset the balance of talents as they are written right now.  Just sayin'. 

It would also lead to the Saga-Edition flaw of a supreme "stat pad" (as has been said).  Agility would quickly become the uber-stat, outshadowing the others.  It's used to make all ranged attack rolls, and to avoid getting hit.  (In Saga-Edition, Dexterity was the prime stat for nearly any build, save a meatwall/vibroaxe.  Even the noble characters would have it as #2 on their list.)

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FFG_Sam Stewart said:

Hi Millandson,

A small note about space combat, the better pilot should be able to Gain the Advantage (an Action), and Evasive Manuevers (a Maneuver). On his next turn, he gains all the benefits of being harder to hit via Evasive Manuevers, and none of the penalties (due to Gain the Advantage). Thus, the more accomplished pilot is harder to hit, and has an easier time hitting his opponent. 

Ahh, I'd not thought of that… cheers Sam, that pretty much fixes that!

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My  group's been operating under the premise that the opposed rolls only apply to melee combat, whether armed and unarmed, while ranged combat is governed by the preexisting difficulties and other factors like cover.  It's worked wonderfully thus far.  

 

 

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I agree that we don't want a system that leads to characters all having a high agility, but I think this current system will lead to people all designing their characters around certain other themes.  For instance, will everybody be a Bodyguard/Assassin to make sure they get those defensive talents?  For that matter, does upgrading the difficulty of a ranged combat check at close range actually make a difference?  Also, many of the defensive talents rely on maneuvers, so what happens when you fail initiative?  The game is going to seem like a slap-stick comedy if characters are always being taken out on the first round of combat, only to get up at the end, dust themselves of and shoot up a stim, then keep on going. 

What if the game switched from static difficulties to opposed rolls, got rid of some of the defensive talents, and replaced them with talents that are offensive in nature, such as providing more boost die to attack rolls?  I think that the game would be more exciting if people were spending advantage and maneuvers on things that are offensive rather than defensive.  I realize that any change would be pretty extensive, but maybe that's what the game needs.  And to keep Agility from at the top of everyone's list, maybe Cunning could be used to avoid ranged attacks?  And the current static difficulties could remain as minimums.

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deanruel said:

This game already has that problem.  Agility and Brawn are the only stats that have real mechanical importance.  Everything other stat has almost no rules covering their use.

Really?  I guess I haven't encountered that from my players so far.  (And Willpower also has a major "real mechanical importance", as Strain goes up and down so much…) 

Yeah, the pilots and the gunslingers want Agility - but one of my players with his Colonist/Politico build maxed out Cunning and Willpower.  We even had the discussion, where he was debating whether to up his Agility.  I was, like, "why?  you've already told me your guy will be unlikely to even HAVE a weapon."  He replied, "Well, it helps keep me from getting hit…"  When I told him that it didn't, this big grin spread across his face and he didn't look back.  The party mechanic made Intelligence her best characteristic.  [shrug]

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Ok, I'm pretty much come to terms with the static difficulties for ranged combat attacks.  It makes sense, although I would like the difficulties to be 1 higher at each range band.  Even at short range, I'd think that hitting a target that's moving would be an Average check.  As it is, the average person with no weapons training would have little problem hitting a moving target at that distance.

Melee on the other hand should be opposed.  At the risk of being "that guy", I think I have some experience that's fairly relevant to Star Wars.  For the past 9 years, I've been practicing Kendo (which is what OT lightsaber combat is based on) and it is definitely easier to hit people that are less skilled, and very difficult to hit people that are more skilled.  Also, I think it's not because the better practitioners have the right talents.  For example, my career is "Accountant" and my specialization is "Auditor".  I doubt the "defensive stance" and "improved defensive stance" talents would fall into the talent tree for "Auditor"

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MrBaldwin said:

Melee on the other hand should be opposed.  At the risk of being "that guy", I think I have some experience that's fairly relevant to Star Wars.  For the past 9 years, I've been practicing Kendo (which is what OT lightsaber combat is based on) and it is definitely easier to hit people that are less skilled, and very difficult to hit people that are more skilled.  Also, I think it's not because the better practitioners have the right talents.  For example, my career is "Accountant" and my specialization is "Auditor".  I doubt the "defensive stance" and "improved defensive stance" talents would fall into the talent tree for "Auditor"

Kendo, if I recall correctly, is a dueling sport.  If you have to players engaged in a duel, including a lightsaber duel, I don't see why it wouldn't be appropriate to use the opponent's skill as an opposed roll.  An example of this in the trilogy would be Vader's duel with Obi-wan in ANH.  It could even be appropriate to use competitive checks in some similar situation.  To borrow from your Kendo analogy, two individuals are constantly trying to strike the other while predicting the others moves.  Whoever does it best, gets a strike.  The GM should be allowed to make a call when either of these situations are appropriate.  

However, in a general combat, with multiple acting parties, the system becomes a bit more confused.  The defender may not be able to apply his skill to all his attackers, some of which he may not be aware of or he may not have been attacked by before.  And unless he's "on the defensive", i.e. defensive stance, he wouldn't be prepared for the attack.  Static difficulty represents that the opponent's skill in this situation is not more important as a factor to hit him as is simply his size, and the amount of motion involved (all aggregated as "average" to hit).  I'm not familiar with many forms from Kendo (or any other styles of fencing) that frequently deal with multiple attackers.  Aikido does though… 

Further, opposed rolls lead to some awkward wtf moments, at least from what I remember in d6 system that used an opposed system.  Alec, wielding a vibrosword, wants to attack Brac, wielding a blaster pistol.  Sooo…. does A roll against B's melee skill… even though he's not using a melee weapon?

I'd say the potential frequency with which these head-scratcher moments could come up outwieghs the value of being realistic and using opposed rolls.

How about a middle ground?  If a player wielding a melee weapon with 3 or 4 ranks in a melee (or unarmed and had 3 or 4 ranks in brawl) uses "Guarded stance", he grants an additional setback die (total of two) to melee attacks targeting him.  Upgrade to 5 ranks brawl/melee and the un/armed character grants 2 additional (total of 3) setback dice to melee affects targeting him.  This represents the targets skill when he is actively trying to defend himself, but not as a default rule.

Or add a brawling/melee action that allows an un/armed player to upgrade incoming attacks a number of times equal his respective skill rank until the end of his next turn.  We can call the action "Come and get it".  Think of all the threats and despairs you could generate.  We could include an effect that allows the defender to use his CR in threats or a despair to inflict a critical injury on the attacker.

Seriously, though, I'm just spitballin' here to see if there's some other way to appropriately situationally use the defenders skill when he's actively stated that he's using it to defend himself.  See anything you like?

 

-WJL

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For cases where one person is using a pistol and being attacked by a sword, the standard difficulty could still apply.  The same could be true for any case where someone doesn't have a melee skill.  Then there would be a reason to dual wield a pistol and a vibrosword, for a more active defense in case someone gets close for some swashbuckling.

You're right that Kendo doesn't address dealing with multiple attackers, but this is supposed to be cinematic.  I don't think it would break the system to allow someone to use their melee skill to oppose attacks from multiple attackers.  Besides, the mob would probably be providing each other with boost die from ganging up and aiding each other, which could represent the defender not being able to keep up with all the incoming swings.  If you need an example from the movies of one person skillfully defending against two, just think of Maul versus Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan.  If all Obi-wan and Qui-Gon needed to overcome was an average difficulty with 2-4 setback dice, I don't think the fight would have lasted as long or been as epic.

Another general rule could be that you can't oppose the lightsaber skill with melee, or melee with brawling.  There could be exceptions, such as cortosis weapons or special martial arts.  However, it would capture the idea that a vibrosword isn't going to parry a lightsaber, and a fist isn't going to parry a vibrosword.

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 Everything you said is totally reasonable.  I disagree with minor points, but not enough to point-by-point it.  I totally understand and respect your opinion.  The source of my opposition to the idea comes not in ideological incompatibilities, but from the following statement, with evidence from both of us:

"You don't feel it would break the game, I don't feel its important enough to include in the Fringe corebook."

I agree with you, in regards to the first part of the statement: it would not break the game, as you have described.  But I feel the second part is more important: There does exist an economy of content and a consistency of rules that must be considered when creating the corebook.  You're ideas are great, and should be house-ruled in to your game(s), but don't necessarily need to be thrust into everyone's game. 

The intent of [most of] my original counter proposals were designed to either

  • Narratively handle your examples using existing mechanics (opposed/competitive rolls), or
  • Make simple changes to existing mechanic to accommodate what you were looking for (Skill based tweak to "defensive stance" maneuver).

The "come and get it" action is definitely more of a house rule, or material for a supplement, than a corebook action.

 

TL; DR version: I get your point, but disagree for reason other than your point's veracity

 

-WJL

 

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And my concerns are a few things.  First, this system will need to handle Jedi at some point.  As it is set up now, it seems as though the only way that will happen is if Jedi are given access to abilities that make them much harder to hit, that other non-Jedi or non-Force Sensitive characters won't have.  For instance, are Jedi going to have abilities that impose buckets of setback dice when someone attacks them?  I want to know how the system is going to handle those epic lightsaber duels, and I want to know why my space pirate can't get engaged in similar vibro-sword duels.  Sure, there's all those options with advantage and talents, but the advantage-based setback and defense dice are available to anyone, and the defensive stance talents are available to two specializations.  Further, setback dice aren't likely to make much of a difference anyways (1 in 3 chance of making an attack less successful), and for every advantage option that allows you to impose setback dice, there's one that allows you to add boost dice, so I see it as a bit of a wash.

As far as houseruling goes, yeah that works great in my games.  But I will want to play as a player at some point, and I have never encountered a GM in my life that was open to house rules from players. 

As far as consistency and economy of rules, other systems have had similiar systems with no problem.  Savage Worlds uses a static difficulty for ranged combat, but then a stat derived from melee skill for melee combat.  Also, I expect this book to be $60, and so I see no reason why they can't fit in these rules, even if it is just an optional sidebar (in which case they could make a suggestion for opposed checks for ranged combat too, like a Firefight skill based on Cunning).  If the book suggests it to the GM, that would save players some of the trouble of making a futile pitch for certain house rules.

In short, opposed rolls for melee are thematically appropriate, would fit within the system with little trouble, and would make a lot of people happy without ruffling any feathers.  Just imagine if opposed rolls for melee were already in the book when you first picked it up.  Would you have said, "Yikes, this system has issues!" or would you have continued reading without a second thought? 

Besides, as it is it seems as though most people are going to opt to spend advantage on setback dice for their opponents.  If opposed rolls were used and it wasn't so easy to be hit, people might try to counter an opponents setback die by choosing a boost die with their advantage, and vice versa, simulating more diverse tactics and fighting styles, which would be great for a narrative game!

I am not trying to be argumentative, I am recommending all of this out of a sincere interest in making this game as good as possible.  I bought every single Star Wars book made by Wizards of the Coast, and several of the West End Games books.  I feel very strongly about this because this system is so close to being the Star Wars system I've been waiting for, and yet so far away.  

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Calm yourself, my friend.

I'm actually with you here.  I can see some of the reasoning for removing the opposed rolls from combat, but I really don't see the long term benefit from ignoring the idea completely.

At the very least, they should exist as optional alternate rules for resolving melee combat.  Melee combat should feel distinctly different from ranged combat, and the opposed rolls make that happen.

I don't necessarily find the static difficulty to be detrimental to the overall fun of the system, it's just comparitively dull and forgettable, feeling like a hand-waved solution instead of an inspired game mechanic.

However, if the reason for the change was to provide future trained Jedi with the sole benefit of opposed rolls in order to set them appart from the rank and file combatants of the galaxy, then I approve.

 

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I'm glad to discover that one year discussion.

 

1) D6 was all about opposed check : dex-melee or dex-shot vs dex-parry or dex-dodge, all about skill.

2) D20 had a flat defense + mouvement (full defense, defensive stance, ie.), but it was a personal defense, 10 flat modified by rank, dex, talents and range.

3) in FFG's star wars EOTE, you have the "10 flat" (2 dices), talents, range, but nothing about character rank and characteristics.

 

I agree Flat defense is faster and this rpg is really fast.... but then Mon Mothma defends herself as well as, let's say for a noble type, princess leia. No defense talent, 2dices... and defense maneuvers if she has initiative. That's not cinematic. Leia defends herself, not mothma.

 

I really like opposed mechanics but I'm afraid it might break the damage balance (1 per success).

 

PERSONALIZED ACTIVE DEFENSE HOUSERULE 1 : take strain points tu add setback dice up to your defensive passive characteristic (ie BRAWN or AGI in melee, CUNNING or AGI in range). Defense may be efficient but exhaustive... What do you think ?

 

PERSONALIZED PASSIVE DEFENSE HOUSERULE 2 : to keep the RAW spirit, juste add 1 black dice per character rank in the appropriated combat skill ? or per 50xp to have some kind of ranking ?

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