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Hordeoverseer

Players never...die?

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I've seen players die in successful blazes of glory, and I've seen players die in combat due to being outclassed or out gunned.  All of them have been memorable in some way or another.

Players WON'T randomly die from pointless things unless they do something extremely foolish, like running around with several untreated Critical Injuries.  But I hardly think that we should even consider removing the threat of death unless the players want it.  I mean, if the players want their dudes to die for some reason, that's great, and can lead to great cinematic moments.  But, that shouldn't be the only thing that can cause people to die.  For example, I once had a barbarian kill a Fiend-Binder because he no longer thought that he was in control of his own soul, since he sold it to a contract devil right in front of them.  He cut him down in one hit, and no one saw it coming.  It was awesome.  Alternatively, I had a krogan vanguard in my Mass Effect game biotic charge a reaper thresher maw and detonate a makeshift explosion that killed it, and him, in the process and saved their whole crew.

Similarly, in the movies, some guys die in blazes of glory, or because they want to, like Obi-Wan and Vader.  But some don't.  Jango Fett, Mace Windu, and Qui-Gon Jinn all die by being outclassed or outgunned.  They died.  Should they have survived just because their "PC" doesn't want them to?  I think not.

 

I'm all for this post. There needs to be a balanced for both, sudden deaths and no-deaths are both enemies that can cheapen the narrative depending how it's implemented. Sudden deaths for either PCs or NPCs can certainly throw things in a loop of the story, while that's how things go, can certainly wash a session down the drain and dampen the enjoyment of the session. It really depends on the person or/and the game. In the 40k universe, I think it's awesome that I can die at any time and it really keeps me on my toes at any moment. In other games though, the focus isn't on sudden death and when it does happen, does feel like the fun ended there.

 

You can't have combat be friendly and toothless either. It's a saving grace on the narrative for sure, but to some players and GMs, it'll feel like a slog eventually. Some combats are meant to be road bumps, and sure, nobody wants to be killed by a road bump. I'm sure nobody wants to walk away laughing that they took on a legion of storm troopers and it was a complete joke of an encounter too. "I'll eventually win or survive, regardless of what I do" is not something I want players to think. Risk and daredevilry is encouraged and awesome, but abuse isn't. Setting a fuel depot on fire and running out (or trying to) in a blaze of glory is awesome, but setting a fuel depot on fire and staying in it (because you'll survive anyway) as an "I win" button on the encounter isn't. It's a fine line even I can't define.

 

But that may be beside the point on fudge and not fudging. Being a pin cushion is still silly regardless of that. I understand that you are rendered unconscious once you are rendered to zero health, which is a saving grace...but my argument with the system is that if it requires someone to actually walk up to you when you're down and blast you several times. Then, you might die. Unless you roll off and land in a fire/lava pit, even that's unlikely to happen in an active fire fight.

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Capture all the way. I would come up with some plot hook where the enemy thought they new something important, so kept them around to torture. Hell, maybe they DO know this secret and don't realize it, allowing me to utilize a lost plot thread from earlier in the campaign.

What was in that cargo we jettisoned over Tattooine? Why does the Empire want it so badly? Who found it, and what will we have to do to get it back? Once the party makes good their escape, they will have to see if that old tracking device is still functioning.

The Empire turned Han Solo over to Jabba after all.

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Capture all the way. I would come up with some plot hook where the enemy thought they new something important, so kept them around to torture. Hell, maybe they DO know this secret and don't realize it, allowing me to utilize a lost plot thread from earlier in the campaign.

What was in that cargo we jettisoned over Tattooine? Why does the Empire want it so badly? Who found it, and what will we have to do to get it back? Once the party makes good their escape, they will have to see if that old tracking device is still functioning.

The Empire turned Han Solo over to Jabba after all.

 

Good point.  That is a great idea to work in the Obligations of the party into the consequences of the capture.  You can use results based upon the situation, the victor's goals (a la FATE), and Obligations too.

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In the Beginner Box, in the first scenario, it states that if the PCs are incapacitated during the Gamorean fight, they simply find themselves waking up on the street, having been beaten to a pulp.

 

 

Which is a dumb outcome, imo...the gamorreans were obviously pursuing them for Teemo.  Which is partly why I asked.  Other than death or capture, any other ideas for when PCs are all rendered unconcious and you (as the GM) don't want them to die?

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What would you do if all your PCs (or maybe you're only playing with two PCs) were incapacited at the same time

Honestly, the most successful way I have seen is to use a system like Heroquest that lets you explicitly set the stakes of the combat.

So at the start of the encounter, you say something like 'the evil assassins wish to kill the princess you are protecting. If the PCs win the fight they don't, if the PCs lose they do.' And note that killing PCs can't be a stake set. If assassins come after the PCs themselves, the stakes would be 'if the PCs win, they escape with no problems. If they lose, they escape after taking wounds and leaving behind their heavy equipment.

And this is why having a system that is supposed to have character death and then fudging it out (the current default for most games) doesn't work very well. You need special systems and setups to run a low death game properly.

Edited by ErikB

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Also, promises of certain death or assured survival NEVER cheapen the narrative. That's an illusion fostered by some game types that is hard to give up for some people, myself included at one point in time. RPGs are merely one form of narrative, and one of the only types where people feel the need for random death consequences. They are neither wrong nor right, just different in the way they want to tell the story.

Me, I prefer to punish by introducing hardship and challenge when failure looms. My narrative is in no way, shape, or form "cheapened" by the knowledge that death is rare. I will put my GM skills up against anyone who says otherwise. :P

Sure, in WFRP I promise merciless death, and no holds barred grim dark die rolling, but that's part of the tone I set when I run that game. Death in WFRP serves a specific purpose, and that's to highlight how merciless the life of an adventurer would have actually been in darker times. Ok, cool.

Star Wars is not that type of narrative. It can be sure, and you aren't wrong if that's what your group wants. However, the strength of the narrative can be measured and tested on so many different levels. Vader could have just killed Leia but he blew up her home planet instead!

I just want to reiterate and emphasize that the promise of survival NEVER cheapens the narrative.

Edited by Mark It Zero

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Most tabletop roleplaying games have a "beyond this line lurks death" mechanic.  It's fine.  I find it fun most of the time, and I wouldn't complain if EotE had it built in.  However, FFG has designed a "beware ye who cross yonder threshold...bad things may occur" mechanic.  It's up to the group to decide if that mechanic is a conveyor belt to an abattoir, a mere bump in the road to fame and fortune, or something else.

 

I look at the mechanics of EotE as a way to resolve a conflict.  Depending upon the situation that conflict may be to the death, or to the pain, or...until mystic space condors descend from the heavens and carry our stalwart heroes back to Space Rivendell®.  I think trying to have a boiler plate deadliness ALL the time can be boring on both sides.  Either players don't even pay attention in combat to their wounds and such because...pfff...just roll it off after combat mate.  OR players spend all their time wollowing in the mechanics of recovery and damage per round and minimizing risk so that my NPCs don't undo all of their careful power gaming.  I'm not saying that either method is right.  I just like that you can take it both ways with EotE as written.

 

So,  I set up conditions on a fighting encounter.  EotE is a narative game so relying on every single fight to get down to last-team-standing before moving on isn't playing to the strength of the system.  Sure, some fights are going to end up that way....two groups enter, one group leaves.  It works in the situations that are set up that way.  But getting creative with setpiece encounter design and setting clear countdowns, objectives, conditions, etc that will end a combat uses the EotE mechanics more in the spirit of their design (entirely imo of course).

 

There is a degree of metagame trust that the GM and players have to have with one another to really take this rules system out on the salt flats and bury the speedometer.

 

It can be as simple as "alright everyone, Say Uncle rule is currently in effect."  Which to my group of players (accross multiple games) means that we are going to slug it out until someone taps out.  If no one taps out we're going to take this to the death.  Of course anyone that has suffered under my GM'ery knows that tapping out can be worse than dying.  And they also know that if they come up with something ballsy or creative they might get me to tap out.  Then again, I've had players happily go down swinging against difficult odds trying to save as much/many of themselves as they could before permanently fading to black.  This game supports all of that...it's more flexible than a <potentially offensive comparison redacted>

 

But the point is that EotE supports giving clear options beyond "take away all my hitpoints before I take away all your hitpoints...engaaaage!"  There does not have to be a post-fiasco "oh you guys totally didn't really die" GM fiat festival involved.  There are other ways of getting out of a scrap than "full autofire" and this game lends itself well toward encounters run that way...as well as "if you drop consider yourselves dead as a bloody doornail"

I guess maybe I like having my cake and eating it too, so I choose to see what I like in EotE.  Still, I think both camps have what they want if communication is clear and flowing between the GM and the PCs (as it is assumed to be).

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No death in EotE is awesome.  It provides you with more options for narratives.

There is death.  It's rare and relatively hard to achieve, but it can happen.

 

If the entire party is wiped out, it just gives you more narrative options.  Are they captured and left to rot in a jail?  Are they tortured for information?  Is the walking carpet sold into slavery?  Can they escape?  Can someone rescue them?  Can they start a prison riot?  If you really want death to matter, then the goons that reduced them to 0 health decide to finish it by blasting them all in the head instead of dragging their smelly/heavy bodies through whatever hellish environment they find themselves in.  That might be a paperwork nightmare for stormtroopers, but I'm guessing a hutt thug could care less.

 

As for being captured and the story line left unfinished...why is this a problem?  You have a couple options.

 

A. Take a short break and devise an escape adventure that you run by the seat of your pants.

 

B. Have the players meet with their captor and take on extra obligation for their freedom.

 

C. Explain that the players are SOL for the time being and roll up some new characters that are recruited by or working for the same organization.  They were hired to complete the mission that the last group failed.  Maybe these new chaps can find and free the old gang and then your players have a stable of characters to choose from for each adventure.  Maybe the new group completes the mission and discovers where the old group is being held and you could create a whole extra adventure around the idea of saving them.

 

D. Do something else!  Ok, sorry guys, you sucked it up and I don't know how to continue, gonna need a day or two to figure this out.  Lets play Escape from the Death Star, Epic Duels, or Hoth Ice Planet (or maybe some other board game that doesn't suck as much as those lol)

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Similarly, in the movies, some guys die in blazes of glory, or because they want to, like Obi-Wan and Vader.  But some don't.  Jango Fett, Mace Windu, and Qui-Gon Jinn all die by being outclassed or outgunned.  They died.  Should they have survived just because their "PC" doesn't want them to?  I think not.

 

Don't forget Boba Fett. Oh, man ... Boba Fett.

 

If anything, this game is genius for being the first honest attempt to simulate what happened to him.

 

You must have missed where the GM spent a Destiny Point to ensure that his Nemisis didn't die and could return later to harass the PCs (because Boba Fett didn't die in the movies when he fell into the Sarlacc.)

 

Actually he did die in the movies. It was the EU that revived him.

 

And, since the EU is established canon, he didn't die.  Gotta love EU haterz :P

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Similarly, in the movies, some guys die in blazes of glory, or because they want to, like Obi-Wan and Vader.  But some don't.  Jango Fett, Mace Windu, and Qui-Gon Jinn all die by being outclassed or outgunned.  They died.  Should they have survived just because their "PC" doesn't want them to?  I think not.

 

Don't forget Boba Fett. Oh, man ... Boba Fett.

 

If anything, this game is genius for being the first honest attempt to simulate what happened to him.

You must have missed where the GM spent a Destiny Point to ensure that his Nemisis didn't die and could return later to harass the PCs (because Boba Fett didn't die in the movies when he fell into the Sarlacc.)

Actually he did die in the movies. It was the EU that revived him.

And, since the EU is established canon, he didn't die.  Gotta love EU haterz :P
I think that the new movies are set to freely invalidate anything post-RotJ. Whether or not Boba Fett survives the Sarlacc remains to be seen.

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Similarly, in the movies, some guys die in blazes of glory, or because they want to, like Obi-Wan and Vader.  But some don't.  Jango Fett, Mace Windu, and Qui-Gon Jinn all die by being outclassed or outgunned.  They died.  Should they have survived just because their "PC" doesn't want them to?  I think not.

 

Don't forget Boba Fett. Oh, man ... Boba Fett.

 

If anything, this game is genius for being the first honest attempt to simulate what happened to him.

 

You must have missed where the GM spent a Destiny Point to ensure that his Nemisis didn't die and could return later to harass the PCs (because Boba Fett didn't die in the movies when he fell into the Sarlacc.)

 

Actually he did die in the movies. It was the EU that revived him.

 

And, since the EU is established canon, he didn't die.  Gotta love EU haterz :P

 

 

There are different levels of "canon" for the Star Wars continuum.  Not to mention the changes after Disney sets up their movie series.  I suspect many of the formerly canon EU media will be nullified soon.

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Boba Fett surviving isn't, like, the worst thing the new movies could do. There is really no reason the dude couldn't get out of the pit before being digested over a thousand years. And I don't think him not being dead makes much of an impact on Themes or whatnot.

I also kinda like the clones of the Emperor. I'd be pretty happy if the new movies had him make a comeback, Sauron/Voldemort style. It is the kind of thing Dark Lords do.

Edited by ErikB

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Man, killing players is easy.

 

You just tell them that they are standing in the park on a nice sunny day when all of a sudden that rumored third Death Star turns out to be real as it sits in orbit above. They see a big green light begin to appear in a circle of the surface of the station. Then say to them “Roll for initiative!!!” :D

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See, I apply the Critical Hits rules only when death isn't a certainty - if you keel over and your allies are dragging you away whilst stormtroopers take pot-shots at you, then the occasional hit or glancing blow might not mean imminent demise; if, however, someone walks up to you where you lie, and hacks away at you with a vibrosword, or stabs you in the face with a lightsaber... rolling just seems to strain plausibility.

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I feel like I'm one of the only people that doesn't think that the new movies are going to decanonize EU stuff :'(.  So many Star Wars fans have no faith!  

The Star Trek movies were sooo gooood.  Have faith, brothers and sisters!

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...and he has shown that he doesn't care much about the EU.

 

For example, Barriss Offee.  Hard to resolve the MedStar books and her death during Order 66 given the events of SW:TCW Season 5.

 

I am still trying to determine how "lethal" to make my campaign, so I am enjoying this topic.  There are lots of diverse opinions on the matter.

Edited by Madcap

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You can get your soak up to a max of around 16.

 

You can get your max damage with a heavy blaster pistol up to around 28 (including pierce) if you spend a destiny point for 6 of the damage.

 

That's still +12 damage for a heavy blaster pistol, so combat will remain very lethal.

 

Also you can fairly easily get your defense to around 8 with a deflector shield, armor mastery, jury rigged and cover. On top of that you can also upgrade the attact four times fairly easily. So missing will still occour at high level.

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Well Lucas did write he original story treatment for the next trilogy and he has shown that he doesn't care much about the EU.

Yea, but doesn't everyone hate Lucas's opinions on everything anyways?  I can never figure out if people despise Lucas or love him.  I don't rightly care that he doesn't like EU.  The movies are great, but they are greater in what they began and created.  The Expanded Universe.  Which includes Edge of the Empire itself.  Without the EU, the Star Wars movies would be nothing more than a great movie series, rather than a legacy.

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No one "prefers" to kill players. If you are running a linear campaign (you must go here now, then here, then here) then you kind of can't kill them. You gave them no choice. If you give them 3 or more ways ot go each scene, then you can have some "worse" choices. Talk these up a bit. "It looks like a no win situation, which you can avoid in these ways...." If they still go through it, you've made it their problem then.

 

The sample mission in the book, with the flowchart ending in success or failure is great. Out of the first box, there's one more scene to get it right and not whiff the whole mission. There's one or two encounters later that lead to mission failure as well. That simple flowchart is very instructive. Making the players feell like the mission can really be over is more important than letting them know you'll kill them. If you gave them three paths, they pick the social one, and proceed to do atrocious things socially, then stick to your guns, fold up the screen, and tell them how the mission failed, the troops entered the base, timmy didn't get his medicine, the theif got away and be prepared for that to transition into next session. "Now things are worse...."

 

What does this have to do with character death? Your lethality won't matter when what's more important is whether they fought long enough to complete the battle's goals.

 

If they know you'll let them botch the mission, then go ahead and keep lethality out. No one will miss it.

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In response to the original post:   As I read it, critical hits are cumulative and stay until healed, which depending on severity could be difficult. Depending on the rank of the enemy, talents, gear etc. they could be very likely.  While they each only modify future rolls by +10, if they are not treated they can add up.  As previously stated, a variety of other options are available to further increase the results on the table.  For me it seems unlikely that a character will die from a single critical, but multiple injuries will eventually take anyone down.

 

For the sake of mathematical cheese, if you had a character who had acquired 6 or so ranks of lethal blows using a disruptor/vibroaxe well.. killing people would be something they are very good at.

 

 

As far a what makes a comfortable level of lethality, that would depend entirely on the group playing the game and what they find acceptible.

 

As ar as cannon goes... *shrug* FFg is using the EU stuff, Lucas has shown a disregard for it, disney owns the IP now, bleugh...  There are alot of SW stories out there, but I've never heard of an organization claiming official executive ownership of it.  In relation to this game, use what works discard the rest.  Most importantly: have fun. That's what gaming is all about.  The only way you can "do it wrong" in my opinion at least is to not have fun.

 

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Last session we had two encounters.

 

The first encounter was bypassed completely, because the players were smart and then approached with stealth and screwed the villains over completely. The villains ended up running for their speeder only to see it had been disabled before they were eaten by a giant critter.

 

The second encounter had a some diplomacy that broke down, because the rodian opened fire. After three rounds of combat the twi'lek managed to open up negoatiations again by producing a fake black sun medallion, she had created for the meeting. The encounter ended with the bad guys leaving the place peacefully.

 

Fun encounters, but anything but straight up fighting.

 

But I like that combat is deadly and if a PC dies, so be it. I just don't like pointless deaths, but a good death is part of the story. I think I see EotE as a bit more dark and sinister :-)

Edited by Gallows

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