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Bladehate

Question(s): Mid/Late Game Combat

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Greetings EotE Beta boards.  Having just recently bought and run the beginners box for my group, I promptly ran to my PC and ordered a copy of the Beta rules to tide us over until the book proper launches later this spring.

However, I have a few questions/concerns that perhaps you can help me with.

1.)  The difficulty for attack rolls is based on range (plus minor modifiers for cover/defense).  This worked fine in Escape from Mos Shuuta, but how will this scale into the mid and late game as players enhance their weapon skills?  Am I missing something, or will the mid and endgame battles be insanely swift and largely determined by who wins initiative?  As it stands right now, it seems heavily tilited in that direction…

2.)  Pierce:  This quality might as well just be a +1/+2 to damage.  So long as its pierce value is this low, and it ignores all soak (not just armor soak), its effectively just a bonus to damage.  To make it distinct, perhaps change pierce so that it could be used to strip Defense from the target (if it has any), rather then negate soak?

3.)  While I do love the speed of resolution brought about by so few rolls, I am curious if the scaling aspects have been considered.  Brawn being the most obvious example.  A Wookie/Trandoshan/Droid with maxed Brawn at character generation and wearing armor is all but blaster pistol immune.  This gets even more extreme when cybernetics, Enduring talents, Gadgeteer soak enhancements and armor mods are all added in.  Has anyone else given any thought to just how effectively a "tank" build can soak up damage?  Once you hit soak 8+ it just keeps getting better and better.

4.)  With the disparity between a "tank" character and a regular character being very dramatic in terms of soak and wound threshold, is the mid and late game combat going to be dominated by high initiative damage dealers and untouchable tanks?

What are your thoughts on this?  Are my concerns unfounded, or have I just missed something?

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Bladehate said:

Greetings EotE Beta boards.  Having just recently bought and run the beginners box for my group, I promptly ran to my PC and ordered a copy of the Beta rules to tide us over until the book proper launches later this spring.

However, I have a few questions/concerns that perhaps you can help me with.

1.)  The difficulty for attack rolls is based on range (plus minor modifiers for cover/defense).  This worked fine in Escape from Mos Shuuta, but how will this scale into the mid and late game as players enhance their weapon skills?  Am I missing something, or will the mid and endgame battles be insanely swift and largely determined by who wins initiative?  As it stands right now, it seems heavily tilited in that direction…

2.)  Pierce:  This quality might as well just be a +1/+2 to damage.  So long as its pierce value is this low, and it ignores all soak (not just armor soak), its effectively just a bonus to damage.  To make it distinct, perhaps change pierce so that it could be used to strip Defense from the target (if it has any), rather then negate soak?

3.)  While I do love the speed of resolution brought about by so few rolls, I am curious if the scaling aspects have been considered.  Brawn being the most obvious example.  A Wookie/Trandoshan/Droid with maxed Brawn at character generation and wearing armor is all but blaster pistol immune.  This gets even more extreme when cybernetics, Enduring talents, Gadgeteer soak enhancements and armor mods are all added in.  Has anyone else given any thought to just how effectively a "tank" build can soak up damage?  Once you hit soak 8+ it just keeps getting better and better.

4.)  With the disparity between a "tank" character and a regular character being very dramatic in terms of soak and wound threshold, is the mid and late game combat going to be dominated by high initiative damage dealers and untouchable tanks?

What are your thoughts on this?  Are my concerns unfounded, or have I just missed something?

1. The lack of a "level" or "CL" system does away with most "late game" concerns, and really displaces the very concept of "mid/late game." This, the fact that you can make NPCs however you fancy, and the Adversary talent all make combat extremely modular. 

 

2. The ability to negate Setback dice is much more powerful than +1 damage. And Pierce is slightly less than +1 damage, since if a target's Soak value is exceeded by your Pierce rating, the extra Pierce is wasted.

 

3. Kind of answered by your last question :) Pierce is a great thing to throw at these players. Also: punch 'em in the dump stats. These characters who have high Wound Thresholds and high Soak will also tend to have exceptionally low Strain Thresholds. Throw fear effects, Pierce+stun, Scathing Tirade, and even the Pressure Point talent at these players. You'll drop them in no time.

 

4. More of the same. This game is so much about skills and narrative/cinematic action. The crazy durable character will be a good combatant, but the less durable character will likely have some skills that will allow him to bypass combat altogether, or stay at long range and take his enemies down with sniping, or whatever. If all your game sessions consist of combat encounters, IMO you're not doing things quite right :/

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Mid or late game are concepts, and not unique to level based games…in this case it refers to when PCs are reaching 4-5 skill level in their favored combat skills, along with damage/accuracy talents/gear that increase their damage threshold.  In other words, their skills progress…my concern is that they are still rolling against a static difficulty based on range, with a few setback dice for Defense/cover.  Likewise, their options for reducing enemy accuracy are very limited. 

Its the same with the Soak stat.  Although weapon damage can be affected by talents and mods, most weapons will still have an upper limit.  And it will be a rare NPC dealing more then 10 damage + successes.  So once a tank oriented character reaches that 7-9 or more threshold, they become ever more difficult to damage, especially compared to the rest of the group they are in.

It feels as though some kind of Dodge skill (not the talent) is missing, but it seems like a mechanic they have chosen not to use.

And to be clear, I realize perfectly that there are many ways to handle my players.  I'm not particularly worried about being able to kill or challenge them. 

However, we play in a group where everyone wants to be able to contribute in combat, and what I am seeing right now is that the combat oriented players will be far ahead in terms of survivability and damage.  So far ahead in fact that I will probably have to recommend my players go with a combat oriented career as they all enjoy being a part of combat and having a meaningful impact on it.  They can take secondary specializations to fill out the group's non-combat needs. 

On top of that, the tank will have a durability that requires a repeating blaster to threaten, which I find to be a problem in a game that seems to encourage small scale skirmishes and running battles with lots of blaster pistols. 

The most extreme damage sponge I can think of would be a droid Hired Gun Marauder with capped Brawn.  At character creation wearing padded armor he's rocking soak 8.  That makes him all but immune to blaster pistols, and even rifles will do minimal damage.  As he progresses, he can gain additional Enduring ranks (+2 in Marauder), Superior Armor quality for another +1 soak.  At very high experience levels and credit incomes, he can add Gadgeteer for another soak (or body guard), and cap out his brawn at 6.  Finally he can add cybernetics to boost his brawn another point to 7.  Final soak value around 14, although more is possible I would consider it a decent softcap as the xp expenditure would be fairly severe with minimal returns.  A wookie, trandoshan or any other species that capped brawn is only a point behind that.

In the meantime, the rest of the group is unlikely to have progressed much beyond 5-7 soak.

Anything that seriously threatens the tank will leave the rest of the party a red smear.  The tank will be all but immune to minions, and only the "big bad" is likely to have much impact.  I find that to be problematic, but perhaps thats just me.

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Actually I left that one off, since I wasn't sure it stacked with Heavy Battle Armor…which would already add 4 setback dice to an attacker (2 defense + 1 jury rigged +1 armor master talent).  Adding 2 more dice from a personal shield generator seems nice though…for the tank…

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