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Yepesnopes

Soak & Pierce

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I don't think LethalDose's interpretation of Pierce is correct or intended.

But I think it should be.

Currently, I think the strongest combat build in the game is a max brawn build.  Particularly HG-Marauder Droid building into the BH-Gadgeteer for absolute maximum survivability and shockingly high killing power.  At character creation (with Padded Armor), the build would have 8 soak…which makes you all but immune to blaster pistols.  It only gets more extreme as you add armor and especially talents, boosting the final soak up to around 13-14 fairly quickly.  On top of that, the max brawn build gives you ridiculous melee damage and lets you sling a light or even heavy repeater blaster as though it were a blaster rifle.  Thus its also one of the highest damage builds.

Pierce would be a direct counter to that sort of build, making it less attractive or necessary to build that way for a combat character.

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Bladehate said:

I don't think LethalDose's interpretation of Pierce is correct or intended.

But I think it should be.

Currently, I think the strongest combat build in the game is a max brawn build.  Particularly HG-Marauder Droid building into the BH-Gadgeteer for absolute maximum survivability and shockingly high killing power.  At character creation (with Padded Armor), the build would have 8 soak…which makes you all but immune to blaster pistols.  It only gets more extreme as you add armor and especially talents, boosting the final soak up to around 13-14 fairly quickly.  On top of that, the max brawn build gives you ridiculous melee damage and lets you sling a light or even heavy repeater blaster as though it were a blaster rifle.  Thus its also one of the highest damage builds.

Pierce would be a direct counter to that sort of build, making it less attractive or necessary to build that way for a combat character.

Thanks for the input and taking a more PC-centric view (i.e. the PC's soak value) compared to my more NPC centric tack.  Again, I'm not trying to convince anyone that what I proposed above is the correct interpretation.  Just looking at the rule from a different perspective.  You didn't say I was, but those little facts tend to get lost in these threads.

I'd also like to point out that no character is really "immune" to damage from.  The values for weapon damage presented in tables 5-5 and 5-6 are base damage values.  The number of uncanceled successes rolled on each attack are added to these values, so even a hold out blaster (Dam 5) can still cause wound damage to a target with Soak of 8 or 9 if there were enough successes on the roll.  It's just less likely that damage gets trhough.  Still, though, really good points.

I'm curious how frequently players and GMs have come across the situation where weapons fire is getting fully negated by soak, despite pierce (again, this is the only instance in which the difference in the interpretation really matters).  I feel like in my games, it hasn't happened that frequently, and it's for that reason that I don't think this interpretation makes Pierce "a hell of a lot more powerful" as DM stated, below.

As always, sane and rational feedback are appreciated, and thanks to the OP again for starting the post.

-WJL

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It happens when you have a power gamer GM who sits and makes characters for fun, to ensure that combat balance is maintained.

I always make at least three or four sample characters whenever I play a new system, to test the extremes.  It very quickly became clear to me, that as the system is now Brawn/Soak is the single most powerful combat statistic in the game by a wide margin for players.

I am not mathematically inclined, but I have a reasonable instinct for numbers, and Brawn/Soak is a statistic that becomes more effective as its value increases.  Although you are right that no one is completely immune from a really, REALLY lucky shot, damage in this system is still fairly static.  Even at the extreme edge of competence, a weapon will rarely do +5 more then its listed damage.  This means that edging your soak value higher will make you all but invulnerable to an ever widening range of damage sources.  Even if the hit is particularly good, the amount actually getting through is limited and could possibly be considered trivial.

At lower soak values, this isn't obvious.  At soak 3-6, most weapon hits are still serious, and a blaster rifle is a real danger.  At soak value 8-10, the heavy blaster pistol  becomes a paper cut, and the blaster rifle far less intimidating.  This is a concern, as I believe these to be two of the most common mook weapons you're likely to see.  At 11-15, heavy blaster rifles and even light repeaters become far less dangerous. 

In essence, this means that a character stacking Soak and Brawn can wade through minions with almost no fear of serious injury.  Enemies armed with weapons that will leave the rest of his party a crispy ruin will bounce off of him.  If the GM upgrades to compensate, the remaining PCs will become even more trivialized during combat encounters as the tank is the only one with even a chance of surviving on a battlefield litttered with repeating blasters, vehicle weaponry, missiles and other heavy weaponry.

On top of that, it makes increasing your Wound Threshold even more valuable.  Purchasing a talent that gives +2 WT is no longer a small upgrade, but a whole additional hit that you can take.  The difference is fairly dramatic, when you compare the Soak stacker to any other combat build, at least in my opinion.  In MMOs I saw the concept first coined as Effective Health.  And that's what stacking soak does:  Dramatically increases your effective health.

A few numbers of what's theoretically possible:

Starting character (Droid, Marauder):  Soak 8 (other species would have soak 7, still very strong).  At this level, a starting character is all but immune to blaster pistols, and if we assume a blaster rifle will do between 10-13 damage on average, he will be taking 2-5 damage per hit.  While that's significant, compared to his soak 3-5 team mates the difference is huge.

200ish XP, mostly spent on Marauder talents:  2 more ranks of Enduring (+2 soak), Dedication to get Brawn 6.  At this point, the soak value rises to 11.  Possibly more if better armor is acquired, or Cybernetics is used to bring Brawn to 7.  At soak 11, the blaster rifle becomes a paper cut.  With cybernetics and modded armor, the character is at Soak 13, trivializing the blaster rifle almost completely and making the Light Repeater much less of a threat.  At this point, the character is essentially mook-proof, especially compared to his team mates whose soak values have not moved much from their original point.  The tank will also have a large Wound Threshold, made even larger by his Soak value.

At around 400 xp, the character has branched into Bounty Hunter for Gadgeteer goodies.  Further increasing the soak and defense on his armor.  In Heavy Battle Armor, he has a soak value of 14 with a Defense Value of 2.  If he sticks a personal shield generator on that, its Defense 4.  This is just insult to injury though, as he's already a walking tank for all intents and purposes.  At extreme amounts of XP, he could raise his total soak to 15 with another Enduring point from Bodyguard and purchase things like Dodge.

Now, this is only a problem because of two things:  1.)  Weapon damage does not scale overmuch.  PCs will see an increase in damage, but mooks and NPCs for the most part won't.  2.)  The rest of the PC group will NOT have such a dramatic increase in survivability.  The difference is simply too large, in my opinion.

I already posted about this on the beta forums in the mechanics section, but no one really seemed to respond or care.

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Bladehate said:

I always make at least three or four sample characters whenever I play a new system, to test the extremes.  It very quickly became clear to me, that as the system is now Brawn/Soak is the single most powerful combat statistic in the game by a wide margin for players.

Warhammer 3 had exactly the same issue. Soak and Toughness beign by far the most important concepts for a character survivability. There is nothing much that can be done, it is inherent to the system. I am not saying it is bad, just a consequence.

From my warhammer 3 experience I already decided some changes

1) The Enduring talent is not going to be ranked in my games. You can only gain a one time +1 soak boost through the talent.

2) I will also not rise soak through the cybernetic arms and legs +1 brawn bonus. In the same way the +1 brawn granted by armour attachment does not rise your soak.

3) I will keep the beta book table for weapos stats, only taking the revised stats for the vibro weapons.

 

With all this measures I hope it is going to be a hard time for my players if they want to solve everything with gun fire.

 

Cheers,

Yepes

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@Bladehate

Again, I appreciate your input.  From what you're saying it sounds like most of your concern is derived from system theorycraft.  I'm not trying to discredit or de-value the practice (Maker knows I've used plenty of simulation data to inform/support arguments on these forums), but if you want to raise the spectre this MMO theory-crafting  then you have to also acknowledge that it absolutely falls to pieces and can become totally irrelevant in many situations because of very simple circumstances.  Basically, It can inform decision making in a variety of scenarios, but it not nearly as useful as experience gained "where the rubber hits the road" and theory is put into practice.  So while the input is valuable, it does not directly address the question:

In the games that you have run or played in, how frequently is incoming damage completely negated by soak?  

IMO, fundamentally, the frequency of this occuring during play (i.e. real player experience) is more important than the theoretical possibilities (i.e. theory-crafted builds).

-WJL

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gribble said:

DM - I agree that increasing the minimum damage of a wepaon could be problematic for some weapons - probably another argument (on top of RAW) against this alternate interpretation.

Thanks.

To answer LethalDose's question/challenge of "how often do you see damage being totaly negated by Soak Value?", I actually saw this occur in a couple sessions, with a Trandoshan Marauder that pretty much absorbed all the damage that was being dealt out to him in a couple of fights (and this was before the weapon damage values were dropped), and the only time he actually took any damage during that adventure was against stormtroopers using blaster rifles.  So in that instance, a high Pierce value would have resulted in a lot more damage being dealt to him, particularly if it was 'auto-damage' as LD's alternate take on Pierce was put into play.  I've also playtested a Droid NPC build that was intended to be a tank, and Pierce dealing auto-damage would have negated a lot of the tension of a combat encounter featuring this particularly droid, since the PCs would only need to "chip away" at it's Wound Threshold instead of being freaked out the way most people are when faced with something akin to a Terminator.

To clarify my earlier "hell of a lot more powerful," I consider anything that lets you automatically deal damage regardless of how tough a character's defenses are to be quite powerful, especially given that EotE characters don't have the huge reserves of hit points that Saga Edition or D&D characters can obtain.  And again, it's a matter of perspective.  Pierce 1 or 2 equating to 1 or 2 points of "auto-damage" isn't much,  Pierce 4 or 5 equating to an equal amount of auto-damage is quite a bit more.  From how LethalDose explains it, Breach would pretty much mean you're taking auto-damage equal to your Soak Value (granted, even under the commonly accepted interpretation of how Pierce/Breach works, Breach is pretty **** potent).    It would also make low-damage weapons like a vibro-knife (Brawn+1 and Pierce 2 as of the last update) that much deadlier, since even in the hands of a character with a Brawn of 2, that means 2 points of auto-damage with a successful hit, even against foes with a Soak Value of 5 or better.

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LethalDose said:

In the games that you have run or played in, how frequently is incoming damage completely negated by soak?  

I can confirm that the droid build and a max brawn wookie are both capable of negating all or most of incoming damage from blaster pistols and even heavy blaster pistols.  A rifle is required to put a dent into them, a fact that will disappear within a few more play sessions as talents catch up.

So far I have only played the beginner adventure with my players, along with about half of Long Arm of the Hutt, but the tank build has proven to be essentially immune to the most common sidearms in the galaxy.  In a military campaign that might not be so much of a factor, but for a campaign involving smugglers, fringers and outcasts its very significant.

I might even make a Pierce "setting" similar to stun.  Where you can trade 1 damage for pierce 2, even on blaster pistols.  Its not canon.  Its not something I particularly want to do.  But then, I don't think its canon that people shrug off blaster bolts to the chest either…

I have already told my players that for the Beta, this doesn't matter.  They are welcome to break the system or take advantage of my theorycrafting as they like.  The expectation is for us to push the game mechanics as far as we can, in whatever way we can.  But once release rolls around, characters will need to be remade anyway and I've already warned them that if the issue remains the same, a tank build wont be allowed for our campaign of smugglers and outcasts. 

Adopting some or all of Yepesnopes changes is an option, if it becomes a problem down the line.  As is a Pierce setting for blasters.

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I'm not trying to start a fight, I'm just addressing comments.

Donovan Morningfire said:

To answer LethalDose's question/challenge of "how often do you see damage being totaly negated by Soak Value?", I actually saw this occur in a couple sessions, with a Trandoshan Marauder that pretty much absorbed all the damage that was being dealt out to him in a couple of fights (and this was before the weapon damage values were dropped), and the only time he actually took any damage during that adventure was against stormtroopers using blaster rifles.  So in that instance, a high Pierce value would have resulted in a lot more damage being dealt to him, particularly if it was 'auto-damage' as LD's alternate take on Pierce was put into play.  I've also playtested a Droid NPC build that was intended to be a tank, and Pierce dealing auto-damage would have negated a lot of the tension of a combat encounter featuring this particularly droid, since the PCs would only need to "chip away" at it's Wound Threshold instead of being freaked out the way most people are when faced with something akin to a Terminator.

What I posted above was in no way a challenge at all, it was only a question, and I believe a pretty important one.  During the beta/pre-release period, there have been a lot critiques on the game mechanics from posters who have never played through a session.  Beyond that, as I said, theory crafting can generate some pretty incredible results that simply don't match what is seen in practical play.

With two posters responding, It looks like big soak value builds are starting to be an issue, even before the full release. I acknowledge that.

I do have a question about the Droid: If you are worried about Pierce weapons  "negat[ing] a lot of the tension of a combat encounter featuring this particularly droid", why not give the Cortosis quality.  Since you're aiming for a difficult to kill NPC, the cortosis quality fits anyway, and allows him to ignore any Pierce thats being tossat him anyway.

 

Donovan Morningfire said:

To clarify my earlier "hell of a lot more powerful," I consider anything that lets you automatically deal damage regardless of how tough a character's defenses are to be quite powerful, especially given that EotE characters don't have the huge reserves of hit points that Saga Edition or D&D characters can obtain.  And again, it's a matter of perspective.  Pierce 1 or 2 equating to 1 or 2 points of "auto-damage" isn't much,  Pierce 4 or 5 equating to an equal amount of auto-damage is quite a bit more.  From how LethalDose explains it, Breach would pretty much mean you're taking auto-damage equal to your Soak Value (granted, even under the commonly accepted interpretation of how Pierce/Breach works, Breach is pretty **** potent).    It would also make low-damage weapons like a vibro-knife (Brawn+1 and Pierce 2 as of the last update) that much deadlier, since even in the hands of a character with a Brawn of 2, that means 2 points of auto-damage with a successful hit, even against foes with a Soak Value of 5 or better.

So, full passage was quoted so any context wouldn't lost, but I don't think there is any relevant context for the bolded section [Emphasis mine, for clarity].  Not trying to put words in mouths, but it sounds to me like you don't have a problem with either interpretation so long as Pierce is only rank 1 or 2.  Now, I may be missing something, but as it currently stands, I don't believe the RAW allow for Pierce to exceed rank 2 anyway.  A quick rundown of weapons with Pierce in the RAW is provided below:

  • HRB & LRB are the only blaster weapons that have the Pierce quality on the stock weapon.  There are no attachments that directly or indirectly (via mods) allow the Pierce values of these weapons to be increased.
  • The BR, HBR, & Bowcaster do not have Pierce on stock models, but may gain Pierce from attachments indirectly; Augmented spin barrels attachments can mod Pierce +2, and the Bowcaster Accelerator Enhancement can mod +1 Pierce.
  • The LBP, BP, & HBP do not have Pierce on stock models, but may gain Pierce indirectly from the Blaster Actuating Module modded +2 Pierce
  • The Forcepike & Vibro weapon family all have Pierce 2.  Currently, no attatchments exist for these.

Currently, there is no way in the RAW for Pierce to exceed 2.  So, I can't see a reason to discuss the situation with Pierce of 4 or 5, because that's  double (or more) than anything that can currently exist in the game.  We may see an increase in Pierce on the vibroweapons when we see melee attachments included, but maybe thats where the melee weapons are superior to ranged weapons in the game: better pierce values.

On the concern about a vibro-knife "that much deadlier" in the hands of a character with Brawn 2, I don't see how this is still very deadly at all.  This character could inflict 3 damage/hit as a base (Brawn +1), plus successes rolled.  Melee is a brawn skill, so already, this character isn't going to be a very effective melee combatant because they aren't hitting all that often, unless they sunk a bunch XP points to buy up their melee skill.  Already, we're talking about a corner case (low brawn and high melee ranks).  A minion with 5 wound and a soak of 3 or higher is still going to take 3 hits to defeat from this attack.  Thats just not that deadly.

Extending this arguement to the breach weapons: Lightsabers, Thermal Detonators, and Missile[ Tube]s, yeah, in most cases, the breach is already ignoring the soak entirely, and in the cases where it's not, its only a few wound damage difference.  

Lets see, what else got said up there.  I agree with Bladehate saying that Beta is when the players should TRY to break the game, and if high soak PC tanks are causing trouble, I think the there needs to be a counter.  Oh, and again I acknowledge that there are two posters that have practically seen this as an issue during gameplay.  That's not overwhelming evidence that its an issue or a common occurence, but may just be the beginning.

-WJL

 

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In so far as adding or increasing the Pierce rating of a ranged weapon, there's the Bowcaster Accelerator Enhancement with a Modification to add one rank of Pierce (granted Bowcasters don't start with a Pierce rating), the Augmented Spin Barrel (adds Pierce +2 as a modification option), and the Blaster Actuating Module (again adds Pierce +2 as a modification).  So Pierce isn't limited to the repeating blasters, it just requires an outlay of credits plus time and Mechanics checks to have pistols or regular rifles that have Pierce 2.  Currently there's no melee attachements/modifications to add/increase a Pierce Rating, so Force Pikes and Vibro-weapons are (for the time being) limited to Pierce 2.

So while there is currently no RAW means to go beyond Pierce 2 for a weapon (each of the attachments listed above has text restricting it to a certain category of weapon), that doesn't mean such options won't appear down the line, either in the form of new attachement/modification optionsor even as talents.

To allude to something mentioned in the thread about attacking with two weapons, trying to argue that Pierce should deal "auto damage" instead of simply reducing the target's Soak Value does have the feel of trying to twist the rules to say something they really don't.  I think gribble had it right when he said the part about "ignoring" a target's Soak just means you reduce how much damage the Soak Value absorbs from that one attack.

LethalDose,
To answer your specific remarks, I prefer to leave "impenetrable" armors as a means of last resort rather than a go-to option.  With how you're suggesting Pierce to work, it makes the Cortosis quality far too tempting for a GM, particularly a novice one, to slap onto all his bad guys so that they might last a bit longer against the vibro-ax wielding Wookiee, when it should be something only rarely encountered.  Not saying that will happen, but I've heard enough "games gone bad" tales revolving around GMs running SWd20 slapping cortosis everyplace to keep Jedi PCs from carving up bad guys with their lightsabers that I won't just dismiss it out of hand either.

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Donovan Morningfire said:

With how you're suggesting Pierce to work,

I think you're saying "how I'm suggesting Pierce [does/is suppose] to work."

Please go back and read my posts.

I have said over

And over

And over

And over

AND OVER!

I'm not trying to convince anyone that this is how it does or is supposed to work.

I also don't think this is how it was intended to work.

Just an alternative interpretation of what was written about pierce.

 

-WJL

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One of the reasons I try to break the system, is to ensure that combat for my group is balanced.  Since everyone in my group enjoys combat and wants to participate in it, its important that everyone can contribute.  If I only had one or two combatants in my group of five, I might not have noticed or cared.  Indeed, with that kind of spread combat is likely to be a very minor part of the campaign.  In such an event its perfectly acceptable to have a more tactical combat design where the group overcomes the major hazard (such as a weapons emplacement) able to threaten the combat character, and then let's the BH/HG do the cleanup.

That is not the case, in the majority of the campaigns I run with my current group.  While my players never draw blasters as a first response, once the gunplay begins they all want to take part.

In a game with static difficulties for hitting a target, with a few situational modifiers, Soak is the only real defensive attribute that players can take advantage of…and it gets really good mostly at the highest levels.  That means you either go all in, or just leave it at 2-3 and pray you never get hit.  If you go all in, you're a monster, plain and simple.  At the lower soak levels, reducing incoming damage by 1 point is not such a terribly big deal.  When you're getting hit for 7-8 damage, one more or less won't break the game for you.  While certainly desirable, other options appear viable with soak. 

When you're pushing your soak close to a weapon's average damage that changes.  When you're taking 1-3 points of damage per shot, every point of Soak suddenly reduces the damage you take by 30%, or more.  At that point, Soak > all other attributes in the game, for a combat character.

As a GM, the fact that some of the characters can obtain near immunity to a large selection of weaponry causes me concern.  I can certainly create tension in my characters through all manner of fight designs…from fighting in the middle of a bantha stampede to repelling boarders in a zero-g environment.  But when the base mechanics allow near-invulnerability just having a regular ol' blaster duel loses a lot of its tension…

I hope the issue gets addressed by the release, because I would prefer not to have to create houserules to cover this, or forbid high brawn/soak builds.  But I can already see the writing on the wall, and its not pretty.

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Donovan Morningfire said:

So while there is currently no RAW means to go beyond Pierce 2 for a weapon (each of the attachments listed above has text restricting it to a certain category of weapon), that doesn't mean such options won't appear down the line, either in the form of new attachement/modification optionsor even as talents.

Lethaldose also said that, and now that I check back the beta book, I see it is true (unless you keep the original weapon table, then you can get pierce 3).

Whatever, if the designers wanted to keep Pierce caped at 2, then I say it again, Pierce is a useless quality, it would have been better to keep things simplier by just adding damage directly, i.e. Pierce 2 = +2 damage.

The only moment where Pierce 2 is not equal to +2 damage is when the opponent has total soak = 1. How many characters have total soak 1?

Ah yes, and cortosis…

 

Cheers,

Yepes

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Yepesnopes said:

 

Whatever, if the designers wanted to keep Pierce caped at 2, then I say it again, Pierce is a useless quality, it would have been better to keep things simplier by just adding damage directly, i.e. Pierce 2 = +2 damage.

The only moment where Pierce 2 is not equal to +2 damage is when the opponent has total soak = 1. How many characters have total soak 1?

 

 

Given that this isn't D&D, I'm perfectly okay with Pierce not being "always awesome, all the time" as player characters in a Star Wars game should not be defined exclusively by their equipment.  I think Saga Edition had the right idea when Rodney Thompson stated on an Order 66 podcast that "the character's abilities are more important than the gear they're carrying."  EotE seems to be incorporating that design philosophy as well, given that the weapons listed are all generic, such as "blaster pistol" or "blaster carbine" instead of rattling out a bunch of different blaster pistols or blaster carbines (and with the EU, there's a lot of them) that have few if any mechanical differences.

The number of times that you'll be facing an opponent in combat with a Soak Value of 1 is pretty darn low, given most combat-ready NPCs have at least Soak 2 from just their Brawn, if not Soak 3 from Brawn 2 + heavy clothing.

The only weapon across the Star Wars franchise that routinely gets special treatment are lightsabers, which are a combination of weapon, badge of office, and symbol of belief.  And the game rules already make lightsabers pretty darn awesome (maybe a little too awesome for some folks).  You don't see Han or Chewie fussing about what weapons they're packing, or even on the lookout for better and more powerful versions of their usual weapons.  Han's got his heavy blaster pistol, Chewie's usually got a bowcaster, and Leia's packing a light blaster pistol.  Luke's the only character to trade weapons, going from blaster pistol to lightsaber, but that's more a reflection of his evolution from farmboy-turned-rebel to Jedi Knight as part of his character arc.

And as was explained above, Pierce is the designer's way of letting weapons described as pretty nasty (vibro-weapons and repeating blasters) have a means to reflect how damaging they can be without having them dish out even more damage, giving players and GMs alike an option to cut through high Soak Values without making the game even more dangerous than it arleady is for characters with a low Soak and/or Wound Threshold, but also not so potent as to make having a high Soak Value completely useless.

TL,DR = Pierce isn't supposed to be super-awesome. It provides a slight edge against armored foes (generally negating armor) while not making such weapons too lethal against non-armored foes.

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Donovan, I am a bit confuse, sorry to bother yet one more time.

I thought Pierce was useless, and I argued that it would have been beter for the sake of simplicity to leave it out of the game. Then someone pointed out that you can rise it above 2 by using weaponattachments. But then, a more careful read of weapons attachement shows that you cannot rise Pierce above 2 for any weapon.

First you say 

Donovan Morningfire said:

 

The number of times that you'll be facing an opponent in combat with a Soak Value of 1 is pretty darn low, given most combat-ready NPCs have at least Soak 2 from just their Brawn, if not Soak 3 from Brawn 2 + heavy clothing.

but afterwars you say

 

Donovan Morningfire said:

And as was explained above, Pierce is the designer's way of letting weapons described as pretty nasty (vibro-weapons and repeating blasters) have a means to reflect how damaging they can be without having them dish out even more damage, giving players and GMs alike an option to cut through high Soak Values without making the game even more dangerous than it arleady is for characters with a low Soak and/or Wound Threshold, but also not so potent as to make having a high Soak Value completely useless.

Can someone tell me please then, why and how Pierce 1 and Pierce 2 is different from +1 damage and +2 damage respectively if you have Total Soak > 1

 

Cheers,

Yepes

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There is a bit in Nights Black Agents
 
 
about incorporating gun porn (which I, at least, really enjoy) without slowing things down too much that I think might be worth looking at:-
 
>>>Technothriller Monologue
Prereq: Shooting 8+
 
Rules aren’t the only way to create an
atmosphere of gun grease and cordite.
Adopt this rule if you want to keep
the combat rules simple while giving
your resident gun bunnies a taste of the
fetishistic combat detail they crave.
Once per fight, a player with a Shooting
rating of 8 or more can gain a 3-point
refresh in that ability by uttering a brief
narrative description of his or her actions
redolent with Clancy-esque detail:
 
?? -“The rubber recoil pad of my
Saiga SWAT shotgun bounces
against my body armor as I come
through the door blasting!”
 
??- “I sit at the bunker, waiting, scope
trained on the doorway, my M4A1
kitted out with all the custom
blessings the SOPMOD can bestow.”
 
-?? “As I fire one of its trademark
bursts from the HK UMP, I take
a deadened, existential solace
from the soulless blankness
of its polymer casing.”
 
At the Director’s discretion, a
technothriller monologue may provide a
4-point refresh when it is so impenetrably
jargon-filled that other players recoil in
awe at the utterer’s ballistic enthusiasm.
In the deployment of technothriller
monologue, advance preparation is no
vice. Players should feel free to script
out suitably purple utterances, perhaps
on index cards.<<<

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Yepesnopes, no one here can provide you the answer you crave.  If you're a GM, I recommend you implement rules so that you're satisfied with the weapon quality.  If the designers catch this thread, hopefully they'll address the issue prior to the book's release.  Probably not, but then hopefully it'll be addressed in a future errata, book reprint, or second edition.  I agree with you that pierce could stand to be looked at or reworded.  Me, I'm gunna suggest my GM use LethalDose's rather elegant alternate and viable interpretation, but each GM to their own.  Harping on the subject and confronting other forum members will just get the thread shutdown, rather than observed by anyone other than a moderator.  If other GMs feel that this is an issue in their game, they'll alter the rules as they desire, rather than allow rules trivialities to ruin a story.

The same goes for soak to damage ratio in general.  Nothing will stop a player from creating a soak monster.  Too bad that character won't be very good at much else other than combat for awhile.  Hope he doesn't get aboard a spaceship that can be blown out of the stars anytime soon.  A player will always lose an escalation war against a GM, particularly if that player is brazen.  Simply put, there's no limit to the number of boost dice an attack roll can attain against you.

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Yepesnopes said:

 

Can someone tell me please then, why and how Pierce 1 and Pierce 2 is different from +1 damage and +2 damage respectively if you have Total Soak > 1

 

 

Under the 'traditional' interpretation, there is very very little difference.

Under the 'alternative' interpretation, Pierce lets some damage go through in the case that none would go through on a hit otherwise, unless the target has protection with the Cortosis quality.

But really, shaddai is right, nobody posting here is an EotE designer, so nobody here can tell you how the designers intended Pierce X to be different than damage +X.  If someone is claiming to know what the designer's "true intent" actually was, then they either have inside information from having discussed the intent with a designer, read a designer's stated intent somewhere (in which case it would be nice for them to provide a citation), or they are simply overreaching what can be inferred from the information at hand.

-WJL

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Donovan Morningfire said:

To allude to something mentioned in the thread about attacking with two weapons, trying to argue that Pierce should deal "auto damage" instead of simply reducing the target's Soak Value does have the feel of trying to twist the rules to say something they really don't.  I think gribble had it right when he said the part about "ignoring" a target's Soak just means you reduce how much damage the Soak Value absorbs from that one attack.

I just re-read this, and I want to be sure two things are clear:

First, I'm not "trying to argue that Pierce should deal 'auto damage'", I AM saying that it could be intepreted this way, though I really hate the term 'auto-damage' because that seems to imply damage on a miss as well.

Second, could you be explicit about which rules you think "have the feel of trying to twist the rules to say something they really don't" under this interpretation?  I have NOT done an exhaustive search of the beta text, but the only text I have found describing the rules governing Pierce is in it's description on page 107, which states

"An attack made with this weapon ignores one point of soak for each rank of Pierce."

I really feel that the interpretation could easily go either way, without any twisting.  Actually, the statement is so brief, there's almost no room for twisting to begin with.  It all comes down to how you interpret the word "ignore" in the sentence, and without any other information, I think both the traditional and alternative interpretations are equally valid.

 

Now had it actually said that Pierce reduces soak, instead of ignores soak. then you'd be right and we wouldn't even be having this conversation to begin with.

But it doesn't say that.  

 

However, if it does say that somewhere else in the book, please let me know so I can read it and correct this if I'm wrong.  And, as always, do whatever feels right and works best at your table.  

-WJL

PS well, crap.  I thought this posted hours ago, but came home to find it still up on the desktop.  Oh well.

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shaddai said:

A player will always lose an escalation war against a GM, particularly if that player is brazen.  Simply put, there's no limit to the number of boost dice an attack roll can attain against you.

 

 

 

This isn't very helpful.  Of course its possible to houserule flaws, kill powergaming players and do basic GM stuff.  This is a bit like stating the obvious, no offense intended.

Stacking soak is a problem.  The degree to which it is a problem depends entirely on your campaign and your players.

But no, stacking soak does not make a player useless in all other ways.  Oh sure, you might not have quite so many yellow dice as other players, but the cap is the same for skills which allows a competitive number of green dice for everyone.  The difference between rolling 1-2 yellows and 3-4 greens veruss 2-3 yellows and 3-2 greens is fairly marginal.  Especially if it allows you to take blaster bolts to the chest like a Star Wars version of the Man of Steel…

 

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@shaddai and @ lethaldose: Thanks for the replies, at some point reading some of the post I had the impression I was really missing something.

It looks like we will have to wait to the release of the EotE core book, or more probably to the future core books to see if the designers have a purpouse for having Pierce in the game. 

Cheers,

Yepes

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Yepesnopes said:

@shaddai and @ lethaldose: Thanks for the replies, at some point reading some of the post I had the impression I was really missing something.

It looks like we will have to wait to the release of the EotE core book, or more probably to the future core books to see if the designers have a purpouse for having Pierce in the game. 

Cheers,

Yepes

Yeah, hopefully there will be a combat example that describes/discusses how Pierce works when soak > damage + pierce.  I'm not going to hold my breath for an explicit clarification of the mechanic since this whole converstation has come after the book has been sent to the printers.

-WJL

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I still have a hard time being intimidated by anything up to a fifteen soak.  It's not a house rule to have a squad of six stormtroopers assist one another on a single target, yielding their commander possibly over five boost dice (only two advantage per trooper) on his next attack, and stripping all defence from a single target for the round.  You need to have impressive soak in order to stand against in-system and normal tactics such as this.

If you have over 15 soak, you have enough xp that you'll be facing disruptor rifles and enemy Force Users on a not-so-irregular basis, and you better be bringing far more than soak to the table.  I'm not talking a mere two yellows in your discipline score, cuz a serious fear effect will have your soak tank fleeing from, or cowering in battle before it even begins.  Three Gamorean henchmen with vibro axes will ruin any tank's day, as they sunder his armor into sweet oblivion.  The bottom line: you may have 16 soak, but I guarantee your companions don't, let's see how well you get along in intergalactic society after I blast them instead.  I know, I'm playing a Trandoshan tank in our group, and the enemies don't *have* to shoot me.  If I started with anything above a 6 soak, I'd have basically specialized myself into near uselessness.

All this, and not a single house rule, I just don't feel it's a game changer.  The real dilemma you should test is putting your players up against a similar soak level, and see how they handle it.

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shaddai said:

I still have a hard time being intimidated by anything up to a fifteen soak.  It's not a house rule to have a squad of six stormtroopers assist one another on a single target, yielding their commander possibly over five boost dice (only two advantage per trooper) on his next attack, and stripping all defence from a single target for the round.  You need to have impressive soak in order to stand against in-system and normal tactics such as this.

If you have over 15 soak, you have enough xp that you'll be facing disruptor rifles and enemy Force Users on a not-so-irregular basis, and you better be bringing far more than soak to the table.  I'm not talking a mere two yellows in your discipline score, cuz a serious fear effect will have your soak tank fleeing from, or cowering in battle before it even begins.  Three Gamorean henchmen with vibro axes will ruin any tank's day, as they sunder his armor into sweet oblivion.  The bottom line: you may have 16 soak, but I guarantee your companions don't, let's see how well you get along in intergalactic society after I blast them instead.  I know, I'm playing a Trandoshan tank in our group, and the enemies don't *have* to shoot me.  If I started with anything above a 6 soak, I'd have basically specialized myself into near uselessness.

All this, and not a single house rule, I just don't feel it's a game changer.  The real dilemma you should test is putting your players up against a similar soak level, and see how they handle it.

 

And at that point the PCs will be rocking Disruptor weapons of their own, as well.

 

I personally don't see an issue with high soak characters, only because in RotJ, Luke gets shot for absolutely minimal damage (just his hand) and Leia takes a shot from a blaster rifle and only gets grazed.

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shaddai said:

.  If I started with anything above a 6 soak, I'd have basically specialized myself into near uselessness.

 

 

 

 

First off, let me just say I appreciate feedback from others that don't conider soak stacking a problem.  While I agree that there are ways in game to overcome soak, they border on GM fiat.  In other words, a character dies because that was the GM's decision.  While I am a big fan of having NPCs using tactics and behaving as they logically should, in this case its just using game mechanics to do the Star Wars equivalent of having a character sniped or blown up by an explosive charge.  I'm not a GM who believes this is the proper way to deal with particularly successful characters nor do I have "troublesome" players who habitually attempt to abuse the system.

I also appreciate Jon Ds point of view, that taking lots of fire and emerging relatively unscathed is in keeping with the Heroic theme of EotE.

But I do think that there are two problems with soak stacking.

The first is world consistency.  Stacking soak allows you to marginalize or eliminate damage from a wide selection of weaponry.  This is an intentionally broad and narrative system, so some inconsistencies are to be expected.  But I still find it counter to immersion that a Hired Gun with enough ranks in Enduring and Brawn can ignore blaster pistols, even when he's only wearing boxers.  By contrast, a low brawn character wearing Mandalorian armor falls over the instant that same blaster pistol is fired at him.

If this system had more of the Soak value relying on armor, and less on Brawn and Talents I might not have a problem with it.  Especially since Pierce would be a perfect way to counter that armor, without completely destroying lower armor/lower soak characters in the process.  This approach would be consistent with the world as well.  Heavy Battle Armor is countered by heavy weaponry.

The second reason is group dynamics, something that I've already touched on and Shaddai also mentions.  The tank's team mates have nowhere near his durability, and there's no way to force an enemy to fire on the tank.  Ironically, Shaddai sees this as a sort of solution to the problem whereas I feel its the opposite.  When the combat performance gap is so wide between different builds, I do think its an issue.  Both as a GM and as a player.  Of course, the GM can use existing game mechanics to ensure the tanker dies, but that begs the question:  If its so darned effective why dont the storm troopers just do that to the rest of the group as well?  And that…to me…is the crux of the problem:  Anything that can threaten the tank just flattens the rest of the team.

The group dynamic is also why I pulled out the quote I did.  There are many ways to build a character, but maxing a single attribute at character creation does not specialize your character into uselessness in every other area.  It certainly does specialize you, but it does not cripple you or prevent you from developing your character to be competitive with your team mates.  Some skills may mature at a slower rate, but when players make their characters priorities vary widely depending on what they are playing anyway.  A Trandoshan BH/HG is by definition one of the group's prime combatants.  Its not expected that he also be the smooth talking face man or the moodily talented jizz-wailing musician.  Capping Brawn at character creation and focusing on maximizing soak makes him an extremely effective combatant though.

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