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venkelos

Dealing With "Adversary"

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Is there a good way to "deal" with this NPC Talent? I understand that it is rather to make some bad guys BA, even against several PCs together, but if you were going to do something "awesome", like the 1-on-1 duel between Luke and Vader, HOW does Luke ever win?

 

Luke might be reasonably capable of having Agi 3 + Ltsbr 4 in his battle at RotJ, while I can see Vader easily being Brn 5 + Ltsbr 4 + Adversary 3 (this assumes that Adversary caps, or it would be higher). If I let a player be Luke, and I controlled DV, the base pools, as this book allows, might be Luke (Abl/Prf/Prf/Prf/Diff/Chal/Chal), while Vader would be (Abl/Prf/Prf/Prf/Prf/Diff/Diff). In this scenario, Vader should have little challenge, but I don't know what all might offset this. Is there a good way to offset Adversary's boosts? Is Luke really likely to have something Vader won't also have, limiting its usefulness? Even two evenly matched foes might have a somewhat one-sided fight. Boba Fett would not find Han Solo a tough fight maybe, either. What do PCs do to fight against Adversary, so that, when the time to win DOES come, they can?

 

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The player can spend a Destiny Point to help offset it a little bit, but only a little bit.

 

The player could also try to find a way to defeat the bad guy that does not involve making direct combat checks against him. Luke didn't kill the Rancor by hitting it, after all; he used his smarts and the environment to do it.

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Luke vs Vader in ROTJ was epic because Luke shouldn't have won.

 

Vader is stronger in the force, has more combat skills, and overall much more experience.  Vader should have kicked his butt.  Even if Luke was throwing DPs around like candy and the GM was giving him boost dice (or setback dice to Vader as hesitation in killing his kid).

 

Keep in mind that early on in the fight, Vader was just toying with Luke.  He wasn't trying to kill him, just pester him.  Get him ticked off enough and he'll turn to the dark side.  So Vader was pulling his punches while Luke wasn't.  During an attack, Luke rolled **** good despite the odds.  Lots of success, lots of advantages.  Suddenly Luke deals a massive strike that causes a critical hit and Vader is now playing defense hindered by the critical damage.  A few more lucky rolls and suddenly Vader is down and missing a hand.

 

99 times out of 100 that fight would have been totally different, but a series of lucky rolls by Luke while Vader was pulling his punches resulted in the outcome we saw.

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Luke vs Vader in ROTJ was epic because Luke shouldn't have won.

 

Vader is stronger in the force, has more combat skills, and overall much more experience.  Vader should have kicked his butt.  Even if Luke was throwing DPs around like candy and the GM was giving him boost dice (or setback dice to Vader as hesitation in killing his kid).

 

Keep in mind that early on in the fight, Vader was just toying with Luke.  He wasn't trying to kill him, just pester him.  Get him ticked off enough and he'll turn to the dark side.  So Vader was pulling his punches while Luke wasn't.  During an attack, Luke rolled **** good despite the odds.  Lots of success, lots of advantages.  Suddenly Luke deals a massive strike that causes a critical hit and Vader is now playing defense hindered by the critical damage.  A few more lucky rolls and suddenly Vader is down and missing a hand.

 

99 times out of 100 that fight would have been totally different, but a series of lucky rolls by Luke while Vader was pulling his punches resulted in the outcome we saw.

 

The GM also gave him a bonus because he was able to leverage in his Motivation after Vader taunted him. 

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I don't think Adversary is the anvil-to-the-head that you fear @venkelos.  Most NPCs don't stack up a ton of defensive talents like dodge, sidestep, etc...so Adversary becomes sort of the generic store-brand catch-all for NPC defense.

 

For nemeses, yeah it's a marked improvement because they do have all the juicy talents that PCs are packing around as well.  Normally it'll go something like the "fight" between Luke and Vader on Bespin.  As far as the "how did Luke win" thing, I always thought that Luke got the upper hand (puns!) in RotJ due to other stuff going on internally with both Skywalkers, and likely some meddling by Palpatine.

Edited by Callidon

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I think Luke won because he did finally, albeit briefly, give in to his hate. It made him powerful, just as the Emperor said it would. Only then did he have the strength to defeat Vader.

 

That's how I interpret the scene as well, and I think that Luke defeating Vader at the price of only narrowly escaping a fall to the Dark Side is a bit more dramatically meaningful than Luke defeating Vader through luck. (I do think that Vader was holding back up to the point where Luke charges him, though.)

Edited by Mr. Flibble

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It's a movie. Noy everything is going to translate perfectly. One could say that Luke's player used Destiny points to good effect and had an extraordinary amount of advantages that he also used. Between bumping up his rolls and knocking down Vaders he was able to pull off the extraordinary.

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Heh, yeah, the movies don't translate very well across the board. How often do the stormtroopers in the films hit a main character with a blaster bolt? Once? How often do Han, Luke or Leia have to use a stimpack in the middle of combat?

 

Yeah, I mean, I think we all accept that at face value. It's still fun to theorize though. :)

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A character like Vader, I would probably have developed as a full blown PC with XP.

 

I feel the adversary talent is to slap onto things to beef them up... or to quickly flesh out some kind of baddie. NPCs of this level of importance I would physically make as a full blown character making them more complex to run, but it should be the most epic moment of a multi-session campaign anyway.

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I tend to think of Adversary as a means of balancing a party against a given nemesis. I tend to assign an adversary number similar to the ammount of PC's that would be engaging the nemesis.  It would not be a direct 1 for 1, especially in larger groups.

 

In the instance given above, I would NOT have given Darth Vader (DV) any ranks in adversary, as it was a 1 on 1.  Also, if you account for the implications of the mechanics we have seen regarding Force use, and that from a narrative standpoint Luke, as a Player Character, would have completed 2 campagins, and be at the climax of his third, he would likely have a sizeable pool of XP invested in character advancement which would give them both a very interesting array of Force dice both invested and active.  There was also mention in the FSE section of the book that utilizing Dark Side Points will have specific mechanical effects we are unaware of.

 

If, after threatening Leia, Luke's character figured he would be willing to utilize the dark side points generated by his [?] Jedi type attack rolls (demonstrated by his much more agressive attack style and probably not just a straight Lightsaber roll in any event) then during the ensuing rounds of the conflict Luke would have been able to draw on a much deeper pool of resources than Vader was at the time.  A few rounds of sustained "damage" (I believe the book describes wound threshold as being the point at which you "become" wounded, the number being the ammount of near misses/bumps bruises you can take before a "solid" hit takes you down) then when Luke disarms :ph34r: DV, that would be the "critical" that ended the fight bringing DV to 0 WT.

 

We then get some interesting character dialogue and ... some sort of torture mechanic from the emperor and well we all know what happens.

 

But that's just how I would read that specific scene.

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Players use dodge, side step, defensive stance and guarded stance, body guard - they do exactly the same as the advesary talent, but players need to use strain and maneuvers, while advesary is just a constant, to make it easier on the GM. It works just fine :-)

Without advesary and the defensive talents you simply never miss when you get more advanced dice pools. The advesary talent and those defensive talents are an absolute must to balance hit rate and deadliness of the game as players rank up.

Edited by Gallows

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Hi people! 

 

Hello mouthymerc :D Maybe the idea I put on the other post where we was talking about Adversary could help venkelos.

 

Here it goes (reposting me XD):

 

Adversary talent is a really interesting option. When you add this to a NPC it becomes harder to take down. In my opinon this is the usual archienemy that appears at the begining of a really LOOONG campaign that advances with the PC's. That one that you as a GM don't want that be killed by "lucky shoots". Adversary only upgrades difficult to hit, not combat skills from NPC so, it will not harm the PC's, just give you enought time to build an awesome battle.

 

I suggest to consider the possibility to downgrade the Advesary talent on campaign. Here how I will use Adversary talent.

 

Act 1.

PC (low-skilled) vs NPC (Adversary 3): The PC must run from the encounter or use a very clever strategy to survive.

 

Act 2.

PC (mid-skilled) + Other friendly PC's or NPC's (same or above skill level) vs NPC (with a few skill improves) and probably with Adversary 2: NPC will probably still win or will be forced to retire due to the heroes teamfight.

 

Act 3. The Final Battle (Entering Duel of Fates OST XD)

PC (high-skilled) and maybe other friendly PC's/NPC's vs NPC (with fully upgraded skills) and maybe with Adversary 1 or even 0. This Act probably will be the final act that kills the NPC or even let it join the group after the redemption.

 

Post-act. New adversaries will appear following the same rules and adapting the game challenge. Also the old NPC enemy will become a friendly redeemed NPC without Adversary talent.

 

Cold be cool  :D

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I tend to think of Adversary as a means of balancing a party against a given nemesis. 

 

This.  You have no idea how many times I've worked on a 'precious monster'* only to have it mowed-down before getting its first turn.

 

 

(*expression courtesy of Knights of the Dinner Table)

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I tend to think of Adversary as a means of balancing a party against a given nemesis. 

 

This.  You have no idea how many times I've worked on a 'precious monster'* only to have it mowed-down before getting its first turn.

 

 

(*expression courtesy of Knights of the Dinner Table)

 

This game still isn't  completely immune to it. I was running the Free RPG Day adventure at my FLGS and we got to the final encounter. The game gives the bad guy adversary 1 (or 2?) and two actions per round (once on his initiative, once at the end of the round). ...his initiative is 0 successes, 1 advantage. He goes last. By the time he goes he's down to half health and taken 3 critical injuries. His turn results in complete failure. Next round, first turn... PC rolls 3 Triumph on their attack and I decide to put him out of his misery.

 

Of course, that's still not as bad as a Barbarian in Pathfinder with a x4 crit weapon. That nat 20 means whatever target they hit is dead.

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Vader's 5 presence was nerfed by his Charm 0... 5 greens... and Luke has Willpower 3+, with a couple dice in supporting skills. Vader's taunt generated a bunch of threat (5+), a despair, and 0 net successes (Luke didn't turn, after all)... so luke takes a blue for hiself, a blue for next acting ally, a black for Vader, a black for next acting enemy, and uses the despair to put the emperor out of the action for a while - to amused to interfere. 

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This game still isn't  completely immune to it.

 

I would think that a game where PCs carry grenades and blaster rifles would be especially vulnerable to it.  Really, if your "elevator pitch" starts like, "In this game, the player characters are armed with big freaking guns..." you really don't have to finish that sentence -- I know how it ends: smoldering ruins.  Unless your Big Bad is Darth Freaking Vader, don't just have him standing there at the end of the hall like a pile of coal in a ballroom -- make him bust through a nearby wall like the Kool-Aid man and attack immediately so he can at least do something before getting focused-fired to negative trillion hit points.

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This game still isn't  completely immune to it.

 

I would think that a game where PCs carry grenades and blaster rifles would be especially vulnerable to it.  Really, if your "elevator pitch" starts like, "In this game, the player characters are armed with big freaking guns..." you really don't have to finish that sentence -- I know how it ends: smoldering ruins.  Unless your Big Bad is Darth Freaking Vader, don't just have him standing there at the end of the hall like a pile of coal in a ballroom -- make him bust through a nearby wall like the Kool-Aid man and attack immediately so he can at least do something before getting focused-fired to negative trillion hit points.

 

 

All too true, although I think there are other means of making a nemesis challenging beyond plot protection. ;)

 

I believe that Most of the nemesis presented in the book are along the lines of a Black Sun Vigo, Hutt Crim Boss, and Imperial Moff, (I'm not going Jedi, for very good reasons).  None of these people get where they are in a vacuum.  bodyguards, defensive emplacements, heck an Imperial Star Destroyer, none of these guys is silly enough to take the PC's on in a "4vs1" (party size may vary) or to even attempt to fight "fair".  the final battle should be climactic, meaningful, immersive, and tough as $#!7.

 

Minion waves.  Little groups of reinforcements that for some reason, keep geting in the way of the PC's bullets.  Adversary just adds to this.

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What I'm reading here makes sense. It's just that I wasn't sure if Adversary was more to protect the baddie from a GROUP of PCs, and would get suspended in specific instances (say the big 1-on-1 duel), or if there was some other good way to surpass it. Certainly, it's usually a game for a group to play, and mono-a-mono sword duels don't happen quite so often, but the mechanic that would make ArchNPC happily persistent against the group would mostly off the single player, if they were unfortunate enough to meet.

 

Yeah, there are also numerous ways beyond Adversary to pad out an NPC, but I saw it in the book, and was uncertain how it is usually handled when the whole group isn't present. I like how it might go a long way toward letting one player fight the foe, who will survive, giving the rest of the group needed time to finish some other objective (disarming a bomb, hacking a computer, stopping a fleeing party with a hostage), and STILL have time to get back and help their comrade, who will be happy to see them, this foe being THEIR (the group's) foe for some time. Just got a bit unhealthy looking when you have to do it alone, and it seemed like you couldn't.

 

Does Adversary cap? In my practice rolls of Ethan (my PC someday) vs. Forsaken Jedi, I had it at 3, and I pray it stops there, but BIG NPC's (Vader and the Emperor, maybe Boba Fett or Xizor for those without the Force) would likely have even more of what makes Adversary work, being even more imposing, intimidating, and what have you. The book conveniently doesn't include any named NPCs (such as the above), so I don't know if 3 is the max, or just enough (though it certainly is enough).

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Technically you (as the GM) could set it as high as you want, but I wouldn't go too far above 3-5, maybe?  Just remember that these are Upgrades to checks against this character, so @ 3, a shot with a blaster rifle goes from PPP to RRR, which is terrifying.  5 would make the same shot RRRR, which is a fully upgraded Formidable difficulty task.

 

As far as named NPC's go, I doubt we will see many of them.  Frankly someone like Vader functions in the realm of plot device and therefore doesn't really need stats.

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It's also worth remembering that the section on bulding nemeses in the GM screen pack suggested giving big villains an extra initiative slot at the end of each round, allowing them to act twice. Combine this with Adversary 3, and your archvillain should at least make them sweat for a round or two.

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Adversary worked great for me, I still had Trex as their (upgraded) rival/nemesis and it was their third encounter. The last time my PC's met him, he lost an arm (and now had a cybernetic one).

 

So this time around, he had a soak of 8 and a WT of 20 and a strain of 18, plus 8 droids (2 minion groups). The PC's managed to turn the tables on him by recruiting some pirates they ran into, and Trex was in the middle of escaping by turning the gravity back on and forcing a cargo elevator to go down, carrying the PC's away from him.

 

Trex is grinning, at the top of the elevator shaft about to escape, when literally the last player in the initiative round got a triumph on a stun grenade, triggering its critical. It blew threw Trex's last strain and he bounced against a wall, unconcious.

 

So now my group has a trussed up Trex in an abandoned asteroid mining station, and I'm terrified at what they're going to do to him. They tend to lose focus sometimes, so I'm hoping they leave him locked up somewhere and Trex's slicer friends can free him, or they put him in the prisoner tube on the Krayt Fang, forgetting it's Trex's ship originally and he has a way to escape it.

 

But yeah, adversary certainly made it quite the battle for the PC's, but in the end they won via grenades and lots of blaster fire.

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To me the Adversary talent is a quick and easy way to beef up an enemy. Now, if I was introducing a campaign villain I would make that villain like any other player character spending exp to purchase abilities, skills, and talents.

So, if you spend the time to make and flesh out your villain/nemesis then you really don't need the adversary talent. If you just grab NPC bounty hunter and say "this NPC is a boss named Black death". Then you want to add the adversary talent.

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