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Yepesnopes

Soak & Pierce

96 posts in this topic

While I understand your concern about Brawn/Soak stacking being exploitable; from my experience with the game so far there are plenty of in-rules ways to combat it.

That pin-headed meatwall will die long before they reach broken levels because it does not have the skills to back up the brute strength. As their companions die around them, more and more attacks will be directed at Meatwall the Trando/Droid/whatever and they will die. With all of those points pushed into Brawn, Will is going to be deficient and they will become succeptible to Strain attacks (read Stun Setting).

The management of Strain Threshold can be even sketchier than WT in some cases, since players burn ST by choice.  Threat/Despair results causing little bits of Strain damage, Strain depletion for abilities that have a strain payment component, and all of a sudden the players can be stunned with relative ease.

In the case of your Brawny Droid there are societal restrictions in the SWU to take care of it not mention tangible ones. Tanglible fixes being restraining bolts and ion based weapons that are designed to incapacitate droids quickly. Societal fixes being that the galaxy just had to deal with the Separatist Droid armies and there are references in the fiction to the manufacture of battle droids being restricted (possibly abolished) by Imperial edict. IG-88 and 4-LOM being the only 2 combat droids in the Rebellion era that I can recall off the top of my head and I don't think 4-LOM is technically a battle droid, his chasis looks more like a protocol to me anyways. A player droid in EOTE would be pretty much bait for a stealthy jawa with an Ion blaster or restraining bolt/caller.

If the GM cannot cope I think it is a failure of imagination and inattentiveness to the full scope of the rules. I haven't done a comprehnsive read of the beta rules, just the ones available in Beginner box, and it seems like a managable issue. I had a table of players with a cumulative RPG experience of about 60 years who created their own characters using the beta rules and even with a few botched rulings in their favor and I still had to be careful of a total party kill. Shaddai is one of my players and his Trando is formidable but he still got tagged with 2 criticlal wounds by the time they were able to get out of Mos Shutta. 

On the other issue brought up in this thread:

In the Beginner box rulebook, Breach is stated as effecting the armor of vehicles and starships. I also take that to mean the 1breach =10 soak negation conversion, that is being bandied about is also in the context of vehicle/starship. Ships/vehicles have deeper pools of threshold than players or npcs so that makes sense. They should clean the wording up so that rules lawyers don't start exploiting crap like that. Pierce works fine to my mind. It will become more relevant as the players progress.

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Bladehate said:

 

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.

 

 

I understand that the designers wanted to create a game of smuggler PCs and the like, instead of a Wh40K space marine game, but I fully agree that the system should rely more on armour to rise soak.

Luckily, this is something that can be easily house ruled by limiting the soak comming from sources like the trait enduring and by redesigning and creating armours.

Bladehate said:

 

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.

 

 

Since I come from Warhammer 3, I can say with confidence that high soak is a "problem" when only 1 PC has high soak (the ironbreaker in warhammer 3).

Typically as a GM you have two possibilities

a) You ignore the tank. You play the game normaly knowing that there is one PC that cannot be challenged by combat. Luckily this is a rpg and there are many in-game challenges, not only combat.

b) You challenge the tank by using certaing tactics /enemies as has been pointed in this thread. Nevertheless, my experience has shown me that this is a very dangerous option. What challenges the "tank" in combat typically will potentially oblitarate the rest of the party,  meaning that combats focus fully on the tank, and if he fails the combat will end in a TPK.

 

Cheers,

Yepes

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nullunit said:

That pin-headed meatwall will die long before they reach broken levels because it does not have the skills to back up the brute strength. As their companions die around them, more and more attacks will be directed at Meatwall the Trando/Droid/whatever and they will die. With all of those points pushed into Brawn, Will is going to be deficient and they will become succeptible to Strain attacks (read Stun Setting).

The management of Strain Threshold can be even sketchier than WT in some cases, since players burn ST by choice.  Threat/Despair results causing little bits of Strain damage, Strain depletion for abilities that have a strain payment component, and all of a sudden the players can be stunned with relative ease.

You made a lot of good points above, but I think this part doesn't hold up well.  

First, stun damage from blasters set to stun is subject to reduction by soak (Beta text, p107, Stun Damage), so targets with crazy amounts of brawn/soak aren't going to be particularly more vulnerable to stun damage vs normal physical damage.

However, I do understand that you are intending to aim to deplete a smaller resource pool, which brings me to the second point:  we've seen a pretty major practical problem with strain in that is feels unlimited since the RAW allow players to spend a single adv to regain 1 pt of strain.  While the intent seems to be that strain is a currency to throttle action economy, the recovery of strain is so cheap and the adv so [obscenely] plentiful, strain damage is really not much of a threat.  This is somewhat mitigated at our by house-ruling that it costs 2 adv to recover 1 strain.

It may be appropriate for the GM to take every advantage possible to use NPC abilities and threat/despair to inflict strain, but remember that strain can only be caused by threat on the character's roll; There is not an option to use adv to inflict strain on a target.  As a GM, I've find this system's 'reactive' nature somewhat frustrating.  

-WJL

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nullunit said:

 

In the case of your Brawny Droid there are societal restrictions in the SWU to take care of it not mention tangible ones. Tanglible fixes being restraining bolts and ion based weapons that are designed to incapacitate droids quickly. Societal fixes being that the galaxy just had to deal with the Separatist Droid armies and there are references in the fiction to the manufacture of battle droids being restricted (possibly abolished) by Imperial edict. IG-88 and 4-LOM being the only 2 combat droids in the Rebellion era that I can recall off the top of my head and I don't think 4-LOM is technically a battle droid, his chasis looks more like a protocol to me anyways. A player droid in EOTE would be pretty much bait for a stealthy jawa with an Ion blaster or restraining bolt/caller.

If the GM cannot cope I think it is a failure of imagination and inattentiveness to the full scope of the rules. I haven't done a comprehnsive read of the beta rules, just the ones available in Beginner box, and it seems like a managable issue. I had a table of players with a cumulative RPG experience of about 60 years who created their own characters using the beta rules and even with a few botched rulings in their favor and I still had to be careful of a total party kill. Shaddai is one of my players and his Trando is formidable but he still got tagged with 2 criticlal wounds by the time they were able to get out of Mos Shutta. 

 

 

I will say it again, I have plenty of experience.  And I am not saying I cannot "cope".  What I have been saying…again…is that there is an issue with stacked soak.

Now, to address your points:  PC droids are not inherently slaves or servants.  And this is the "Edge" of the Empire, so all kinds of things can exist here.  IG-88 itself was a part of the posse of bounty hunters hired by Darth Vader himself.  I am also fairly certain that an assassin droid (aka a PC droid) would be an exception to the Mos Eisler cantina "no droids" rule…I highly doubt that bartender would toss IG-88 out if it decided to show up for business…

Also, your argument that there are RP counters to stacked soak is a strawman.  It is misleading.  The point is not that a combat character is weak outside of combat…the point is that one type of combat build is significantly stronger then any other.  And in fact, so much stronger that he invalidates a considerable amount of what would otherwise be valid design encounters:  IE a blaster duel (with pistols) in a bar, as a deal goes sour.  Something that should occur far more often then a full-scale, tactical assault in a smuggler oriented campaign.

Also, Shaddai himself admitted that he is not stacking soak.  As I stated earlier, soak in the 3-6 range is not broken.  It requires a higher value before that occurs.

By comparison, my group is essentially a bunch of combat machines since I wanted to A.)  Test the new system while its still in Beta.  B.)  Ensure that when the blaster bolts started to fly, everyone could chip in.  Every single one of them (save the Smuggler pilot who is the only one to dual wield) is either Bounty Hunter or Hired Gun as their primary focus.  With these kinds of characters, it becomes very obvious very quickly which builds perform best.  The droid and the wookie stacking soak are monsters compared to the rest.

Clearly, you and Shaddai have not encountered this problem, and consider it a trivial issue to the point where you are borderline insulting with veiled references to "experienced GMs" and "coping".  To which I can only respond that I've shown numbers, I've given testimony from Escape from Mos Shuuta + Long Arm of the Hutt that those combat encounters as presented are trivial for a soak stacker. 

You counter with strawman arguments about RP and social restrictions, and GM fiat options that can TPK an entire party if used to "counter" the soak stacker. 

Clearly, we do not see eye to eye on this issue.

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LethalDose, I did happen to locate something today in the Beginner Game.  It refers to pierce as reducing soak.  Page 22 of the EotE Adventure Book under the Stormtrooper vibroknife.  Not a big deal, especially if the release of the main book still has the "ignore" term.  Guess we'll just have to wait and see what's published.

Leechman speaks wisdom.

In regard to soak concerns, I suppose it's an individual's view on GMing, becuase in my opinion, anytime a character dies, it's always up to the GM.  It's a little odd to me that a judge might feel more distanced from --or less responsible for-- any such ruling anytime a PC expires.

A PC with 6 Presence will be equally "unbalanced" in social situations.  The tanks are good at combat, the bookworms are good at data collection, the frontmen are good at public relations.  Failure in any of these fields can be equally deadly.  Since this is a very story driven game, to feel that such rulings are specifically fiat, well, that's just something I find amusing.  The whole game is fiat.  Triumphs and Despairs demand fiat everytime they're rolled.  I think you're equally fiating --is that a word?-- if you don't have your NPCs perform as they're capable.  As a side note, you'd be implementing a fiat if you added a pierce1 setting on your weapons.  If adding such a mechanic helps you tell your story, then you should totally do it!  I'm just saying, I have yet to see the need myself.  I'm glad you brought up the concern though, as it's certainly made me consider how this situation can be dealt with should I encounter it as a player (or GM) in the future.

The simple fact that the designers have you creating stuff to fix their rules is still a success in my eyes, especially since you find that it's something worthy of fixing, and not just scrapping the entire system.  Hooray for innovation!

The man with Brawn will have a great chance at surviving the sniper shot, it's what he does.  The guy with Presence will have a great chance at convincing those troopers --with a Star Destroyer in orbit-- that, "these aren't the droids you're looking for."  Both encounters can easily lead to a TPK.  Both require a specialist to have a decent chance of success.

The brawny guy can dip into computers, the slicer can dip into soak.  They're both still equal in my eyes.

Heh, I know my fellow players would all be upset with me as the tank if they all died, yet I remained.  "How come when you do your job well, the rest of us die, but when I talk well, I save us all?"  In this regard, tanking and melee are lacking compared to all other skills.

As I said, if you toss a similar NPC as your juggernaut player at the party, and end up with a TPK several times over, then you might have something of a concern from me.  As is, GM created Nemeses have access to all the same options as PCs, and more.  Another tell-tale sign: did every single one of your players want to immediately reroll Brawn-Droid?  Everyone in my group pretty much wants to dip into Gadgeteer just for Deadly Accuracy.  To me, that's a tell-tale sign that something's amiss.

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Leechman said:

If the RAW don't give you an option, why not just change them to suit your needs?

Problem Solved.

Leechman said:

If the RAW don't give you an option, why not just change them to suit your needs?

Problem Solved.

And indeed, that is what will likely happen if this goes live as it is.

By far the easiest way to deal with it is just to ask my players not to cap Brawn, and not to stack soak.  Which, since my guys are all mature, is likely what will happen when release rolls around.  The system functions fine as is with a moderate soak value, where no one has a definitively higher soak value then the rest of the group. 

After last game session fighting Angu Drombs men on Ryloth, the difference in performance was so acute that even the two soak stackers will most likely re-roll or at least re-adjust the stats on their characters for next game session, without my even requesting it.  The players themselves recognized that this was just too problematic to stand.

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Bladehate said:

I highly doubt that bartender would toss IG-88 out if it decided to show up for business…

No, he'd just radio the local stormtrooper garrison.

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shaddai said:

  Since this is a very story driven game, to feel that such rulings are specifically fiat, well, that's just something I find amusing.  The whole game is fiat.  

 

 

 

This is a fairly interesting point, bordering on the philosophical.

I disagree with it because of several factors.  The first is that I don't allow the face guy to "smooth talk" someone into killing themself or doing something that is obviously against their best interest or bordering on the suicidal.  By the same token, I don't allow the Computer guy to hack the Galactic Bank and solve the group's money problems forever.  Even if they have Presence 6 and whatever skills and talents they need to mechanically back them up.

By comparison, max brawn let's a guy take a shot to the bare chest from a blaster…

Also, because combat is usually far more roll-intensive then social or skill challenges, there are more chances for things to go disastrously wrong.  Its part of why combat is fun for my group, and such a prevalent part of many RPGs.  My group still recalls the time when one of the gang fumbled not once…but twice in a row in Dark Heresy.  That would not have been a problem except he was wielding an Eviscerator…a massive fusion of greatsword and chainsaw which has as one of its consequences a self-strike on fumble as the wielder loses control of his weapons.  He survived the first strike, but lost a leg and very nearly died due to the second fumble.

That was not GM fiat.  That was just luck.

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shaddai said:

Bladehate said:

 

I highly doubt that bartender would toss IG-88 out if it decided to show up for business…

 

 

No, he'd just radio the local stormtrooper garrison.

Versus a licensed, quite possibly lethal bounty hunter with legitimate business?  On Tatooine which only sees Imperial interference due to special circumstances or at the behest of powerful people?

I gotta say, I think just removing the droid as a playable species would be a better option. 

Many droids are the equivalent of second class citizens, but some are not.  The playes are by definition in the latter category. 

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If you'd go so far as to implement a pierce setting on all weapons, as a suggestion, you may just want to treat soak like the other derived stats, and not allow it to increase with Brawn after character generation.

I almost crave a soak above 10, cuz our combats have just been brutal, PCs routinely receive 11 to 12 damage a hit, and this is just the beginner box.  You need a soak of 10 just to last 8 combat rounds, and that's the tough PCs.  So I guess we're running into the opposite experience, and finding this game quite deadly.  Yes, a naked brawn 6 could take a blaster to the chest, but I've rarely found the dice to be so lenient.  Thankfully, most NPCs immediately drop to crits, cuz that's usually the only way we've been lucky enough to survive.

Depending on the source, WEG which established a lot of EU info (which also supplies outdated info on IG-88 btw, so grain-of-salt time), has an Imperial garrison stationed on Tatooine after the events of Yavin 4.  I think they state there's something like an Imperial Prefect or Moff present with about 20 stormtroopers.  Worst.  Assignment.  Ever.  Clearly there's an Imperial presence of some kind at Mos Shuuta.

Not that I want to side track, but IG-88 is almost the epitome of why there's such a hatred for droids to begin with.  He's a direct holdover from the Clone Wars, where there was legion of his kind supplied by the InterGalactic Banking Clan.  Unless he was present at the blessing of Jabba, flags would raise, just as they did when Obi whipped out his lightsaber.  It is extraordinarily rare to have an independant droid, it's kinda like having an independant toaster, but the PCs are certainly in this category, it still doesn't free them from scrutiny or animosity.  Former RPG editions didn't include droid PCs to begin with for this very reason, they would later incorporate them as playable character options provided the GM approved.  This Beta even states that the Imperial penalty for an operating Class Four war/assassin droid is death.  The Fringe is absolutely the only place for their kind, provided the Empire doesn't discover them.  Sight is certainly the only reason for Stormtroopers to open fire on such apparent droids.  Clones and droids don't play well with each other.  Luckily our Class Four is utilizing an Astromech chassis.

Heh, it'd be cool of them to list chassis with related Brawn rating ranges rather than having to derive them from the droid NPC section.

Brawn 1 - 2  - Astromech, Battle, Gonk, Medical, Mouse, Protocol

Brawn 3 - BX Commando

Brawn 4 - Droideka, Dark Trooper Mk I, Assassin

Brawn 5 - Super Battle Droid, Binary Load Lifter, Dark Trooper Mk II

Brawn 6 - Dark Trooper Mk III

Something like that or something. :-/

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Refusing to move to the back of the bus is certainly the sort of thing a PC droid could get up to.

I would also suggest Droidsploitation movies, and possibly Dj4ng0 UnRestraining Bolted.

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While I can see this being somewhat of an issue for soak-focused characters, I don't think it needs to be addressed with any special measures. Combat is random enough that even the most focused characters can have a bad day. Would you increase the difficulty for actions for skill focused character, Computers or some Presence based skill, beyond the norm? Sure maybe once in awhile you might to emphasize their favored attribute and to show off something beyond the norm, but not regularly. While a GM can create a go-around for the high soak character, let him play his strength.

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I almost say run with Merc's philosophy only to the extreme, just cuz I'm interested in seeing how the mechanics play out.  Allow your droid player a chance to upgrade to a new chassis, a Basilisk War Droid, or Dwarf Spider Droid, or even a Droid Starfighter, and give them vehicle levels of soak into the twenties with armor levels.

Another solution, if soak is an issue, is you may want to have Enduring worded like the strain based talent Resolve, meaning every instance of the word "strain" is replaced with "wound(s)."

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mouthymerc said:

While I can see this being somewhat of an issue for soak-focused characters, I don't think it needs to be addressed with any special measures. Combat is random enough that even the most focused characters can have a bad day. Would you increase the difficulty for actions for skill focused character, Computers or some Presence based skill, beyond the norm? Sure maybe once in awhile you might to emphasize their favored attribute and to show off something beyond the norm, but not regularly. While a GM can create a go-around for the high soak character, let him play his strength.

For the most part this is fine, but with the high soak character gets to "Play their strength" in every combat.  For some tables, they feel that's too much.  In reference to your computer and presence examples, you don't need to increase these task difficulties because typically they don't come up as often as combat, and rely on a greater variety of skills, while combat is much more common and relies on a far more homogeneous skill & attribute set (one of the major shortcoming of this system, IMO).

-WJL

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While I agree that combats are more common than other actions in rpgs, the narrative nature of this game means that, at least for me, there is more opportunity for other solutions rather than the blaster. I've had players completely avoid a combat encounter through the use of one or more other skills. And there is no reason yhose other skill focused characters can't be using their abilities in combat too if the opportunity presents itself. Just think of the of the high Presence twi'lek convincing the stormtroopers to focus on the trandoshian soak tank and leaving him alone. :-)

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Leechman said:

If the RAW don't give you an option, why not just change them to suit your needs?

Problem Solved.

It's preferable to have RAW that work well, instead of relying on a large set of house rules and patches.  

While "Just change [the rules] to suit your own needs." is a valid solution, it's really one that is best used sparingly because it leads to inconsistency and frustration at tables and massive confusion when players sit down to play for the first time at a table, whether or not they played somehwere else before.

I mean, its the very reason we have standardized, published systems of rules in the first place: To be sure, a priori, that everyone is speaking the same language and is clear on how conflict is resolved.  Making rule changes is a neccesary evil, but it subverts the original purpose of the systems to begin with.

-WJL

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mouthymerc said:

While I agree that combats are more common than other actions in rpgs, the narrative nature of this game means that, at least for me, there is more opportunity for other solutions rather than the blaster. I've had players completely avoid a combat encounter through the use of one or more other skills. And there is no reason yhose other skill focused characters can't be using their abilities in combat too if the opportunity presents itself. Just think of the of the high Presence twi'lek convincing the stormtroopers to focus on the trandoshian soak tank and leaving him alone. :-)

Okay, first off, I'm getting really tired of this "narrative-system panacea" philosophy.  It's a load of Bantha pudu.  At best, it's just hand-waving to dismiss what could be valid arguments against how this game system performs.  This kind of behavior is sadly typical when a product is released and uses a buzz word, like "narrative game" or "random effects model" or "superfood" or "ergonomic design", and people use it to defend POV about said product when it has nothing to do with the buzzword they don't understand.  Now, there are places where this system's performance must be viewed in the light of narrative game, but this isn't one of them.  Again, the fact that this is a "narative game" has absolutely nothing to do with how Soak is balanced.  

So let's just stop that $h!t right here and actually have an intelligent conversation about soak values and the characters who love them.

Its not appropriate to compare the use of combat skills to non-combat skills to justify the balance of soak (and, therefore, how a soak-centric designed character causes problems), either.  To use your words, you "agree that combats are more common than other actions in rpgs".  I omitted the part re: narrative design because, as I pointed out above, I find it completely irrelevant.  I would to further amend this statement slightly to put a point what we're talking about and build a foundation. I would say:

"Actions that require combat skill checks are more frequently taken than actions that do not require combat skill checks"

The combat skills are:

  • Brawl
  • Melee
  • Ranged - Light)
  • Ranged - Heavy
  • Gunnery

Skills that are "not combat skills" are everything else.  I am intentionally avoiding use of the terms "non-combat skill" and "non-combat check" because I feel these terms imply those skills cannot be used in combat.  They absolutely can be used in combat, but they are not "combat skills" as defined by the desingers.   I'm simply using the terminology the designers provided in the beta text.

The combat skills have been defined by designers for various reasons, one of which the fact that the combat skills use a slightly different set of rules for action resolution than other skills use.  Soak is involved in the resolution of every* successful combat made, even if only insofar as it is stated that soak does not affect damage from an attack.

(*while soak may not be used in every successful combat skill check, the exceptions are so rare that they do not merit consideration.)

So, coming back around to the point, Soak needs to be evaluated in terms of combat skill use, and completely separate from the use of "not combat skills", because:

  1. There is no equivalent "soak" mechanic for skills that aren't combat skills.  Computers being hacked don't have "code hardness" that ignores skill successes, NPCs being persuaded don't have "ego resistance" that negate rolled successes, so how can you invoke other skills to support any argument, for or against, soak performance?  You can't!
  2. Beyond #1 above, I want to reiterate what stated above in that soak (via combat skills) and other skills are resolved using different rules.
  3. You mention encounter resolution above.  If an encounter can be resolved using either combat or some other non-combat method, the combat method will almost invariably involve a larger number of skill checks and dice rolls compared to the non-combat method.  In fact I would posit this is the very reason we can agree that combat skill checks are more frequent than non-combat skill checks.  This means that character that is designed to have high soak is more frequently an issue than a character designed with high skill values.
  4. The two character designs being compared are achieved through very different means.  The skill character you are describing is primarily built by expenditure of XP to improve skill ranks, where the soak character is built using primarily gear.  Obviously there is equipment than can be purchased for skill monkeys and talents to be bought for tanks, but they represent a minority of the build.
  5. In combat, most players typically want to participate, and individual characters are not typically built in a way that their participation somehow reduces the groups overall effectiveness in combat.  However, resolution of encounters via "not combat skills" are built in ways in which individual characters' participation may result in the group failing (e.g. trying to sneak somewhere, or convince a bureaucrat to release some information).  Further, its a lot easier to choose to not involve a character in a non-combat resolution than it is to choose not involve a character in a combat resolution. So again, Soak and combat skills are different creatures than other skills, and not comparible.
  6. Soak doesn't really advance an encounter.  It's not something a character is really "successful" at, but skills do advance encounters.

Anyway, I'm getting tired of listing reasons, so I'm just going to say it again: The fact that you can bypass some encounters with skill checks is totally immaterial to how problematic soak-oriented characters can be.

And I never said that I think soak-oriented characters were particularly problematic, but some individuals have pointed out that they are/may be.

-WJL

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@BladeHate

Just to be very clear I am not questioning your experience/ability level as a GM or trying to be insulting. Nor am I teaming up with Shaddai to try and prove you wrong or something. To me, from the tenor of your arguments it felt like you were not coping well with combat centric builds and I was trying to give a different point of view. if you internalize dthat into an attack, that was not my intention, apologies. 

The strength of a Soak centric build is obvious. That said I still think that Soak can be handled in system without GM Fiat, deus ex machina or any other mucking about. I tried to give you counterpoints that are either in the rules or within the logical structures of the Star Wars universe during the Rebellion era, which the EOTE is taking place. Also as I point out Strain damage, thouhg subject to Soak in the same way as combat damage, is a way to deal with a Soaky character. The benefits of using strain for abilities and attrition of strain through various mechanics make it more vulnerable.

The system and the setting together determine the rules of the world and in the rebellion era combat droids were not common and restricted to the point of persecution. Wuher at the cantina would most definately not bar entry to IG-88 but the Imperial precence would be alerted, Heater or Jabba, unless they had enlisted his services, would be extremely interested in his precence since IG could just as easily be there for them as for any other reason. If you pull just from canonical sources combat droids are rare. When adding the EU it broadens a bit but there are still restrictions. This is not FIAT and this IS a ROLE PLAYING game. to dismiss GM rulings as fiat is a very narrow viewpoiint that I do not share.

The whole experience of pen+paper RPG is an emergent story between the players and the GM. During that story, which we are experiencing and creating as we play. There are points at which the rules break down and the GM is there to prop them up. In 24 years (yikes!) of playing RPGs that is one of my favorite parts of the experience. Without these spontaneous bits we might as well be playing computer games, board games or even just reading a book.

 

My goal has been to see if the system allows and even ecourages active roleplaying, so our experiences with the system are fairly divergent. I played a lot of the Wizards Star Wars products and I always felt the system got in the way because everything was so combat oriented. The best SWRPG experience I had up until this point was using the FATE system which is almost entirely bereft of combat mechanics and really lets narrative interplay between characters and GM shine. So far EOTE has just enough combat mechanics and the skills give support to the roleplaying elements without distracting the players.

For frame of reference, at my table Shaddai's Trando is the toughest combatant. The rest of my table consists of a spice addicted Doctor, an Astromech pilot/mechanic who can shoot pretty well, a smooth talking Twilek scoundrel and soon a scout build with an Indiana Jones flavor. The characters were built with certain RP goals not just with the intent to bust the system.

Just my take on it.

MTMFFBWY - null

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I really wanted to be sure and acknowledge this:

shaddai said:

LethalDose, I did happen to locate something today in the Beginner Game.  It refers to pierce as reducing soak.  Page 22 of the EotE Adventure Book under the Stormtrooper vibroknife.  Not a big deal, especially if the release of the main book still has the "ignore" term.  Guess we'll just have to wait and see what's published.

I'm'a have to go check that out.  It lends a lot more support to the traditional interpretation.

 

shaddai said:

Another tell-tale sign: did every single one of your players want to immediately reroll Brawn-Droid?  Everyone in my group pretty much wants to dip into Gadgeteer just for Deadly Accuracy.  To me, that's a tell-tale sign that something's amiss.

This is a great way to test if something is poorly balanced*.  I originally saw this in a 3.5 DMG on creating new spells:  "If a spellis so good that you can't imagine a caster not wanting it all the time, it's either too powerful or too low in level." (p35).  Extending this to game design in general, if theres a piece of gear, or attribute, or talent that you cannot a player not always wanting, then it is probably too powerful.  So if everyone wanted to re-roll the Brawn Droid, then yeah, its probably too powerful.

*I tend to define "poorly balanced" the same way that USSCJ Potter defined "obscenity" in 1964: "I know it when I see it".

-WJL

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LethalDose said:

Okay, first off, I'm getting really tired of this "narrative-system panacea" philosophy.  It's a load of Bantha pudu.  At best, it's just hand-waving to dismiss what could be valid arguments against how this game system performs.  This kind of behavior is sadly typical when a product is released and uses a buzz word, like "narrative game" or "random effects model" or "superfood" or "ergonomic design", and people use it to defend POV about said product when it has nothing to do with the buzzword they don't understand.  Now, there are places where this system's performance must be viewed in the light of narrative game, but this isn't one of them.  Again, the fact that this is a "narative game" has absolutely nothing to do with how Soak is balanced.  

God!

I must have posted something like this in the warhammer 3 forums long ago! I am going to copy this and post it in those forums the next time some one says warhammer 3 is a narrative rpg.

As for the soak thing, I am pretty sure most of us will end up house ruling things, especially when we will play long term campaigns with characters gathering  high amounts of experience. May be some of you would like to read what people posted regarding high soak characters in the warhammer 3 forums, if you are interested just type "Ironbreaker" in the search engine.

 

Cheers,

Yepes

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Lethaldose said:

First, stun damage from blasters set to stun is subject to reduction by soak (Beta text, p107, Stun Damage), so targets with crazy amounts of brawn/soak aren't going to be particularly more vulnerable to stun damage vs normal physical damage.

I am aware that strain damage is reduced by Soak in the same way as normal combat damage but the player is actively depleting ST and hence are more vulnerable to strain damage.

For example; an attack that only gets 2 points of stun damage through to a players ST, that is already depleted to say 6 or so (which is a pretty common occurence at my table) puts them at about 3 (approximately) successful attacks until they are incapped. If they are careful it will be more difficult but still very dangerous.

I am basing my thoughts here around the threat level of the characters/encounters in Escape from Mos Shutta and Long Arm of the Hutt which I am in the midst of running. A full fledged home campaign has the potential to be signifigantly more lethal. Escape and Long Arm feels like they were definitely made with the pre-made characters in mind and the adventure is balnced as such, I think.

Lethaldose said:

However, I do understand that you are intending to aim to deplete a smaller resource pool, which brings me to the second point:  we've seen a pretty major practical problem with strain in that is feels unlimited since the RAW allow players to spend a single adv to regain 1 pt of strain.  While the intent seems to be that strain is a currency to throttle action economy, the recovery of strain is so cheap and the adv so [obscenely] plentiful, strain damage is really not much of a threat.  This is somewhat mitigated at our by house-ruling that it costs 2 adv to recover 1 strain.

One Threat or Despair equals one point of strain damage to the active player in the same way that Advantage and Triumph gain it back to the active player so there is a balance there. At that point dice luck, such as it is, reigns supreme.

Compound those sources of attrition with player expending strain for the activation of abilites, 2 strain expended to perform an additional maneuver (1/turn), 2 strain damage for the first critical wound and the ST is depleted relatively quickly. The strain pool is definitely not infinite.

Lethaldose said:

It may be appropriate for the GM to take every advantage possible to use NPC abilities and threat/despair to inflict strain, but remember that strain can only be caused by threat on the character's roll; There is not an option to use adv to inflict strain on a target.  As a GM, I've find this system's 'reactive' nature somewhat frustrating.

Players and NPCs are effected in the same way by Threat/Despair and Advantage/Triumph so again, a point of balance. Players get the benefit of using their strain pool for abilites etc. Non-Nemesis NPC don't have a strain threshold so I would guess they cannot elect to spend a resource they do not have.

I know what you mean about the reactive footing that the GM is on, I commented about the it to my players, it is kind of a bummer. I try not to let that stifle my creativity in dealing with encounters. So far we are all having fun so finger crossed that FFG has a decent editorial staff onboard to clear up some of these vagaries.

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Hit a nerve? it's all good. Personally the fact that this system is more narratively driven is a big plus. Even if you miss you can contribute to the combat. There are options other than blasting away with a blaster, which makes characters not focused on combat able to contribute in one form or another in different ways. I mention this because if players are having trouble dealing with or feeling envious of the soak build character, maybe they should look at other ways of shining themselves.

For the most part I think it is a non-issue. As I stated earlier I don't see much of an issue with those that focus on soak. Let them if that is the build they want. Let them be the tank. Not everyone is going to want to do that. And as a GM you shouldn't try to skew the encounters to account for them, either. The random nature of combat means even the hardiest of characters can go down. If it isn't as often as other characters so what? He built his character to be a tank so he should enjoy the benefits.

Just a side note. Both skilled characters and soak-build characters are built using xp. A majority of the soak build comes from investing in Brawn and talents like Enduring or Armor Master which uses up much of your xp. Armor only gives 2 or 3 points max in and of itself right now. So soaks in the teens will be because a player has invested xp as most of those soak talents are in the 2nd or 3rd tier of their talent trees (subject to change obviously).

 

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@nullunit

I do want to be clear that the reason that I feel strain is a fairly unlimited resource is almost entirely due to the fact that the cost to refresh strain is 1 adv/Strain.  The relatively low strain cost of the voluntary causes of strain are part of it, but far far from the main cause.

In that vein, I think the experience you've had at your table is very different from the experiences we have at ours.  Because strain is so easy to refresh, and adv are so commonly rolled with these dice, there is simply no attrition.  Even when they are using the combat options that cause strain, their thresholds (ranging from 9 -14) are always much higher than any total amount of strain the characters have at any given time.  Any time my players have strain, they've removed it with adv within one or two rounds.

Now, we did not play with obligation rules, which may be a major cause of the thresholds being far above the total strain, but only in a few cases would it have mattered.

So, you can say "look, they're balanced", but in reality, at least at our table, that simply doesn't matter because of how the threats and advantages get spent.

Actually, I'd argue that they really are unbalanced, because the dice are inherently unbalanced, e.g boost dice on average produce twice as many advantages/roll than do setback dice.  I also believe its "typical" for the number of ability/proficiency dice to exceed the number of difficulty/challenge dice.  The system is inherently geared to toward genereating Adv > threat.

-WJL

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mouthymerc said:

Hit a nerve? it's all good. Personally the fact that this system is more narratively driven is a big plus. Even if you miss you can contribute to the combat. There are options other than blasting away with a blaster, which makes characters not focused on combat able to contribute in one form or another in different ways. I mention this because if players are having trouble dealing with or feeling envious of the soak build character, maybe they should look at other ways of shining themselves.

Yes, it hit a nerve, because its a f***ing stupid and irrelevant comment that keeps getting repeated on these forums in places where it is equally f***ing stupid and irrelevant.  

I'm glad you like the narrative system.  There is nothing wrong with the fact that you like the narrative system. I like the narrative system. 

That doesn't change the fact that it doesn't have a godd@mn thing to do with the discussion.  

 

 

mouthymerc said:

For the most part I think it is a non-issue. As I stated earlier I don't see much of an issue with those that focus on soak. Let them if that is the build they want. Let them be the tank. Not everyone is going to want to do that. And as a GM you shouldn't try to skew the encounters to account for them, either. The random nature of combat means even the hardiest of characters can go down. If it isn't as often as other characters so what? He built his character to be a tank so he should enjoy the benefits.

I don't disagree with you, in fact I went out of my way in that post to say so:

 

LethalDose said:

And I never said that I think soak-oriented characters were particularly problematic, but some individuals have pointed out that they are/may be.

-WJL

It's your opinion that soak is fine.  That's cool.  I think I feel the same way about it.

However, it also has nothing to do with my posted response.   Your opinion is fine, but everything you used to try to support that opinion was crap.  

 

 

 

mouthymerc said:

Just a side note. Both skilled characters and soak-build characters are built using xp. A majority of the soak build comes from investing in Brawn and talents like Enduring or Armor Master which uses up much of your xp. Armor only gives 2 or 3 points max in and of itself right now. So soaks in the teens will be because a player has invested xp as most of those soak talents are in the 2nd or 3rd tier of their talent trees (subject to change obviously).

Congratulations.  You managed to successfully rebutt one of the six reasons I provided to show that your entire argument of "Soak is fine 'cause skill monkeys" is completely irrelevant.

-WJL

 

 

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