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Morbieus

Ongoing Sense

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One or two actions to activate both ongoing effects of sense?  In my group we've been doing it as two, though one would be so much more useful, heh.

Edited by Morbieus

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I'd say it's 2 actions. While I do see the argument that they're pretty close and could both be activated at once, I think it's not the intended way for it to be used. If it were, I'd imagine the upgrade line might be altered a bit so that you could choose either upgrading your attack or upgrading incoming attacks for the first, second (triggers twice in a round) and third (upgrade twice instead of once) would be the same, with the forth being that when committing, you can also commit an additional to activate both upgrading aspects of the power. Then it would be more like Move for instance, where you can take magnitude upgrades to increase what you can affect in a single action - then use the rest of the upgrades to use the various aspects of move, like disarm an enemy, flip a switch, and maybe move a crate to use as cover.

 

Otherwise you could kind of argue that committing a die to upgrade your attacks is also similar to using enhance to upgrade your agility, so then why not spend a single action to do both? But you know that that wasn't the intent.

 

But, I mean, if you know a fight might be coming, you can just commit the dice ahead of time, or depending on how you use the force outside of combat - keep one or both of the commit upgrades active any time you head out to do things.

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I would go with one action.

 

The rule's are pretty specific on page 278 about each force power, unless otherwise stated, requiring one action to activate. Considering Force Dice are resources when being committed for an ongoing effect (page 279), if you have them to commit, you should be able to activate all your ongoing effects for that one power.

 

On another note, after re-reading the power description and their upgrade options, I'm wondering about how all these ongoing effects and upgrades work together:

 

Originally, considering someone who has taken the full left-hand side of the Sense Force Power and committed two Force Dice, I figured they would get to upgrade their defense by two, against two attacks, and upgrade their attack by one for one attack...

 

However, if you read the upgrade descriptions outside the context of the power tree, one can be lead to believe that committing one Force Die either gives you the ability to upgrade your defense by two against two attacks, or upgrade your attack by one. If you commit two Force Dice to activate both ongoing effects you would get to upgrade your defense by two against two attacks, and upgrade your attack by two, and, if you can somehow swing another attack, that also would be upgraded by two.

 

Is this the way everyone has already interpreted this, or did the Sense Force Power just get a tad more impressive?

Edited by JediHamlet

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Is there a consensus on how long you can keep an ongoing sense power "up"? The text seems to suggest "indefinitely, unless there's a good reason why it wouldn't make sense" but my GM is pretty adamant that it can only be kept up "for a while" before you start taking strain.

 

Which essentially means that I just never use it (partially because the rest of the group would be upset it I started every fight with "I do nothing this turn", and partially as a protest because the ruling really annoys me. :P)

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Is there a consensus on how long you can keep an ongoing sense power "up"? The text seems to suggest "indefinitely, unless there's a good reason why it wouldn't make sense" but my GM is pretty adamant that it can only be kept up "for a while" before you start taking strain.

 

Which essentially means that I just never use it (partially because the rest of the group would be upset it I started every fight with "I do nothing this turn", and partially as a protest because the ruling really annoys me. :P)

 

I don't think you'd be taking strain, but otherwise I agree with your GM here.

The left hand column is short term precognition, right?  I think you'd lose concentration, constantly paying attention to both the present and half a second from now.  And if you were able to keep concentration, you'd still be pretty weird to be around.

"Turkey on rye."

"John would you like a- wait, how'd you know?..."

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It is specifically called out in the committing Force dice rules that a GM may have a character suffer strain after sustained use of a Force power.  This is probably to account for all the times we see Jedi look exhausted after using the Force in the films.  It is a rule that I enforce in my games.  From my perspective it mitigates abuse.

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It is specifically called out in the committing Force dice rules that a GM may have a character suffer strain after sustained use of a Force power.  This is probably to account for all the times we see Jedi look exhausted after using the Force in the films.  It is a rule that I enforce in my games.  From my perspective it mitigates abuse.

 

Good to know.  Ta!

Edited by Col. Orange

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I'd say two actions to activate the ongoing defensive and ongoing offensive force powers. Why? Because they're two different powers, or variants of the same power. Otherwise - if its all one action - I could activate those two, and if I had a third force die I could roll that to read thoughts and read emotions, all as one action. I'm not game with that. I separate the force powers internally somewhat, at least Sense as its the only one the force sensitive in my group uses at any level (I don't think she's used Move more than once since acquiring it).

 

It is basically 4 sense powers in there. It's the basic sense emotions for 1 force point, then you have sense thoughts for 1 force point, and then its the two ongoing effects, each requiring a committed die. These are, in my games (RAW, RAI or house-rule... whatever) required to be activated separately. It makes more sense, to me at least. The reasoning between the separation of two first came after some discussion on these or the d20radio boards - not so much discussion and gathering information - and it does not look like an upgrade, but a distinctly different activation of the power than the base power. So that reasoning leads me to believe that the two different ongoing effects are separate activations also. It just makes sense. Of course, that takes away two action every round from the Force user - which in EotE is quite much. In light of that I can understand someone wanting and ruling it to require only one activation, but I'll wait and see until F&D comes out to speculate much further upon the force rules.

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I'd say two actions to activate the ongoing defensive and ongoing offensive force powers. Why? Because they're two different powers, or variants of the same power. Otherwise - if its all one action - I could activate those two, and if I had a third force die I could roll that to read thoughts and read emotions, all as one action. I'm not game with that. I separate the force powers internally somewhat, at least Sense as its the only one the force sensitive in my group uses at any level (I don't think she's used Move more than once since acquiring it).

 

I get where you're arguing from - they're different effects (well, the force die commitment ones seem very much related while "read that guy's mind" seems very different, but I get you) - but, mechanically at least, they look like Control upgrades, rather than individual powers.  After all, when you buy other upgrades for other powers, you're not upgrading individual effects of that power, you're buying the ability to upgrade them all.

Edited by Col. Orange

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It is specifically called out in the committing Force dice rules that a GM may have a character suffer strain after sustained use of a Force power.  This is probably to account for all the times we see Jedi look exhausted after using the Force in the films.  It is a rule that I enforce in my games.  From my perspective it mitigates abuse.

 

Actually, if I know what you're referring to, it specifically calls out the option to commit a force die to keep something like Move going for longer than just the player's action. The book mentions the infliction of strain for keeping larger (silhouette 2 or higher) objects up during combat, or out of combat - can be used when keeping an object up for longer than a few minutes, with the option of just doing a second Movie check instead of just automatic strain.

 

It's not meant to apply to things like Sense or Enhance's on-goings, which automatically takes its toll on characters by draining their pool of force die. If you don't like that, you could always houserule it, but it would probably be more entertaining and interesting if you just tied in to it narratively, where the characters' constant and active use of the force - even if it's not something flashy - can draw the attention of the empire.

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it would probably be more entertaining and interesting if you just tied in to it narratively, where the characters' constant and active use of the force - even if it's not something flashy - can draw the attention of the empire.

 

Looks like Becky is turning John in for the reward.

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I get where you're arguing from - they're different effects (well, the force die commitment ones seem very much related while "read that guy's mind" seems very different, but I get you) - but, mechanically at least, they look like Control upgrades, rather than individual powers.  After all, when you buy other upgrades for other powers, you're not upgrading individual effects of that power, you're buying the ability to upgrade them all.

Valid point. I won't argue it, and I'd be willing to reconsider it if my player thought the price too steep - which she probably will once she gets the control upgrade for offensive stuff. Two actions basically means two rounds of doing little of consequence - at least little that will feel consequential.

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Valid point. I won't argue it, and I'd be willing to reconsider it if my player thought the price too steep - which she probably will once she gets the control upgrade for offensive stuff. Two actions basically means two rounds of doing little of consequence - at least little that will feel consequential.

 

Good point.  Her team'll be pissed if she's just sat there thinking while they're getting shot at.

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I've always considered it to be two separate actions to activate both the defensive and offensive control upgrades for Sense.

 

Part of that reasoning would be that even though both effects are under the Sense power, they're two separate effects.  There's also the fact that the offensive upgrade is equivalent to getting two free ranks in any combat skill, which is particularly handy if your Force-user doesn't have many (or any) ranks in a given skill?  Need an expert gunner on the ship's laser cannon; easy as pie for this character to go from just rolling raw Agility to rolling at a couple of Proficiency dice.

 

At Force Rating 1, it's a tough decision to make: Do I let my character be awesome at attacking, or awesome at avoiding attacks?  At Force Rating 2, unless you really need a Force Die to use a different power, activating both effects is almost a given... unless the PC is pressed for time, and needs to make every action count.  Which goes along with the general notion that a large part of this game is resource management (at least according to a conversation I had with Jay Little at last year's GenCon), be that resource in the form of Wound Threshold, Strain Threshold, Destiny Pool, or actions your PC takes.

 

I've had a similar (and friendly) discussion with GM Chris a long while back about a remark he made about allowing his wife's PC to switch out the defensive and offensive Control Upgrade each turn without spending a her Action that round to do so, with the only limit being that she could only make the switch once that turn, and had to stick with whichever one she chose until her next turn.  The end result was that he agreed that the RAW was on my side, while I agreed that as the GM of the game he had the right to ditch the RAW to make sure that his players had fun (while having the decorum to leave the "GM's girlfriend/wife" remarks entirely out of the conversation).

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Hmmm...

 

We run Sense's Ongoing effect quite different then you all and it seems fine. We run it just like Dodge as long as a Force die is available to use. Same thing will happen when I can use it to upgrade my attack.

 

Why would I spend 20 XP to use an action and lose a Force Die when I can get the same effect for 5 XP the loss of 1 strain and no loss of an action? Heck, Side Step is even better against range and can be acquired for 5 XP as well.

 

Man, you guys are mean to your Force users.

 

BBEG targets Gand.

GM asks if I want to commit.

Gand commits.

GM upgrades difficulty.

On Gand's turn he has no FD left due to being FR 1.

Edited by Dex Vulen

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Dex Vulen,

It's pretty clear in the rule that unless it specifies otherwise, activating a Force Power constitutes an Action (capital A), and thus the decision to commit a Force Die to a power has to be done on the player's turn.

 

Yes, Dodge is nice, but it's not readily available to every character.  There's also the matter that Dodge can be used multiple times per round (as long as the player is willing to spend the Strain).  Side Step and Defensive Stance may only work against one type of attack, but the effects of those talents apply throughout the entire round, in addition to having a comparatively low Strain cost, with Side Step almost being a bargain given the prevalence of ranged attacks vs. melee attacks in this setting.

 

The defensive Control Upgrade for Sense has no Strain cost, isn't limited to select specializations (beyond needing Force Rating 1, which is something that probably won't be an issue once Force & Destiny is released), and can be buffed up pretty inexpensively (10 XP for a free extra use, another 10 XP to upgrade the difficulty twice).  Combine those with other defensive talents, and you've got a PC that can be tough to hit.

 

As for your game, if the GM wants to house rule the ability to operate differently, that's his call and his right as the GM.  Just don't forgot that it's a house rule and doesn't play with the general RAW that activating a Force Power is the character's Action for that turn.  So if Gand in your example didn't spend his Action on his last turn to commit a Force Die to activate the defensive Control Upgrade, then Gand is SOL when the BBEG targets him.

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Keeping track of how long you've kept the ability up or whatever doesn't, imho, add anything to the game and seems to be require unnecessary amounts of book keeping (and is described vaguely enough in the book that it could mean practically anything).

 

I debate suggesting a compromise to my GM. Maybe something like "Despair results toggle off ongoing Force effects" (meaning you'd need to spend an Action to regain the effect). There are a few situations where an always-up Sense effect would be quite powerful, ie. ambushes in seemingly peaceful locales during a part of the plot where your PC isn't paranoid enough to go "I  think I'll activate Sense now", but honestly that's exactly the kind of situation Sense should be good for.

 

Alternatively, you could have a talent that lets a Force Exile activate an ongoing effect as a free action at the start of combat. Perhaps at the cost of a destiny point. (Brazenly stolen from Iron Kingdoms).

 

I don't know.

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That was the discussion I had with our GM.  Sense's ongoing effect, Spidy Senses if you will, seemed weak if you had to spend an action to activate it. At the cost of 30 XP (FSE 10 + Sense's base 10 + Sense Ongoing 10) he thought it fair to bring it closer to Dodge / Side Step.

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I don't think it's weak for an Action - its continuous for as long as you keep the die committed. Dodge requires strain per rank per attack - so it can easily become a draining ability, while side-step and defensive stance requires one manoeuvre each round to keep up, in addition to the strain cost per rank per round. One Action and no strain cost to have the upgrade for as long as you want isn't weak, it's pretty good and balanced as far as I'm concerned.

 

The cost would also be 40 not 30, FSE is always the second (or third or fourth, etc) specialisation so it will at minimum cost you 20 XP. But those 40 XP also give you access to a lot more than just that upgrade power, so the equation is really flawed when presented that way. You gain access to new talents with the specialisation, not just a force rating, and the sense base power helps in social encounters and lets you sense emotions and living beings (arguably useful to ignore concealment in some cases), so there's that. All in all I think the cost is pretty decent considering the rewards and options that it supplies the character with.

 

As for the question about one or two Actions to activate those power upgrades. At a very minimum its one and I can see the reasoning for two as Dono presents it.

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That's it exactly, that the Sense Control Upgrades last until you decide you don't need them anymore and choose to cease committing that Force die.  That's part of why the cost is there, and a balance aspect in keeping Force-users from being overly dominant compared to the mundanes.

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Stepping away from the mechanics and game play for a moment and looking at the films, the impression i have is that Sense's ongoing defensive effect is up most of the time for Jedi. They often get attacked while unarmed, and managed to draw and activate their lightsaber between the attack initiating their offensive action (swinging a lightsaber, or firing a blaster) in time to block the attack. Now, in a rounds based game, this doesn't quite work, but I feel like requiring an Action to commit a die is a little excessive, both because it appears to work in contrast to what we see in the films, and because it feels a bit punitive to remove that action at the start of each encounter.

 

Personally, I'd split the difference and change it to requiring a Maneuver to commit a die--if you want to commit more than one, it will require another Maneuver. This way, at least, you could have some interaction between Sense and Foresee (grant a free pre-combat Maneuver to your party).

 

That said, I also think it's reasonable to commit the die to defense whenever danger may be about. Meaning you'd just need to spend an Action for the offensive commit. The only problem I see with this approach is ensuring that there is some cost to players who do this. Suffering Strain is one way, but that feels a little much, and is fairly vague as to when that should kick in and for how often. Is it stressful to concentrate like that for 10 minutes? 30? An hour? half a day? Once you decide the stress has built up enough to suffer Strain, how often should it come up again? At the same interval? Every minute thereafter? What's the stop a character from dropping the commit when that time comes and then recommitting again a moment later? Do you then start measuring up-time vs. downtime ratios? Unless the character is very Force-focused, and has other powers, the times where they will want to use a power immediately, outside of initiative, but can't because they have a die committed will be super-rare. For someone like the character I'm building, who may want to be bale to use Move without a moment's hesitation to prevent someone or something from falling, or employ the dice to an unexpected Charm or Athletics check, that may be an inconvenience, but I can't imagine too many such circumstances arising where taking a moment to regain my potential would really mean anything.

 

As an aside, if you have a Force die committed, do you still roll your Force dice with enhanced skill checks? That is, if I have FR 1 and commit a die to Sense, then roll a Charm check with the upgrade to Influence that adds my FR to the skill pool, do I get to roll the Force die or not? What about for the similar Overwhelm Emotions talent?

As an aside to the aside, if you have both the Control Upgrade to Influence and Overwhelm Emotions, do you get to roll 2x your FR when making those Charm, Coercion and Deception checks?

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Stepping away from the mechanics and game play for a moment and looking at the films, the impression i have is that Sense's ongoing defensive effect is up most of the time for Jedi. They often get attacked while unarmed, and managed to draw and activate their lightsaber between the attack initiating their offensive action (swinging a lightsaber, or firing a blaster) in time to block the attack. Now, in a rounds based game, this doesn't quite work, but I feel like requiring an Action to commit a die is a little excessive, both because it appears to work in contrast to what we see in the films, and because it feels a bit punitive to remove that action at the start of each encounter.

 

Personally, I'd split the difference and change it to requiring a Maneuver to commit a die--if you want to commit more than one, it will require another Maneuver. This way, at least, you could have some interaction between Sense and Foresee (grant a free pre-combat Maneuver to your party).

 

That said, I also think it's reasonable to commit the die to defense whenever danger may be about. Meaning you'd just need to spend an Action for the offensive commit. The only problem I see with this approach is ensuring that there is some cost to players who do this. Suffering Strain is one way, but that feels a little much, and is fairly vague as to when that should kick in and for how often. Is it stressful to concentrate like that for 10 minutes? 30? An hour? half a day? Once you decide the stress has built up enough to suffer Strain, how often should it come up again? At the same interval? Every minute thereafter? What's the stop a character from dropping the commit when that time comes and then recommitting again a moment later? Do you then start measuring up-time vs. downtime ratios? Unless the character is very Force-focused, and has other powers, the times where they will want to use a power immediately, outside of initiative, but can't because they have a die committed will be super-rare. For someone like the character I'm building, who may want to be bale to use Move without a moment's hesitation to prevent someone or something from falling, or employ the dice to an unexpected Charm or Athletics check, that may be an inconvenience, but I can't imagine too many such circumstances arising where taking a moment to regain my potential would really mean anything.

 

As an aside, if you have a Force die committed, do you still roll your Force dice with enhanced skill checks? That is, if I have FR 1 and commit a die to Sense, then roll a Charm check with the upgrade to Influence that adds my FR to the skill pool, do I get to roll the Force die or not? What about for the similar Overwhelm Emotions talent?

As an aside to the aside, if you have both the Control Upgrade to Influence and Overwhelm Emotions, do you get to roll 2x your FR when making those Charm, Coercion and Deception checks?

 

 

Egh. Dropping it to a maneuver might be a decent way of doing it. Forces players with a single die, or at least players who only want to dedicate a single die at a time to Sense, to constantly spend 2 strain and use their second maneuver to switch it over. Thinking in the short term, actions do make more sense, since there's really only, what, 4 ways to commit force dice? But long term, if a player is caught off guard, or draws enemy fire due to trying to focus all their force dice into pulling off a power - let's say trying to use Influence to trick a guard, but it fails horribly - then if they've got a force rating of 5, and they typically commit all of them when preparing for battles, should they be stuck using only a couple of their commit powers? It makes more sense for them to suffer strain trying to mentally affix all of their force potentially in such a short time while trying to fight back.

 

But suffering strain just to commit force dice for extended periods really isn't really necessary. The idea of committing force die is that you're draining your pool of resources as it is to pull off these powers. Upside to this is they can freely drop and re-commit as they please out of combat (Defense is up, drop it to try and convince an NPC to do something, throw it back up before leaving) and that they get some flat bonuses; downside is that now they've got to manage resources if they want to flip a die off to try and pull off a much stronger power. But strain, can be taken when doing action-based powers for extended periods - Move for instance, since those powers are generally intended to get something done quickly, and not for making a Force user the tractor beam of a space ship.

 

And for the last thing, no. You roll only the force die you don't have committed. Committed die have to be un-committed first, but there's nothing stopping you from just switching it back on after you use a power.

 

The Overwhelm and Influence power combination is a little trickier. But I'm going to say no for double up on the force dice, since you're using your dice for one thing that is part of the normal check. But, you could probably use the talent, the normal check, and the power into one roll if you don't commit to one thing.

 

So basically, you'd have your check (we'll say Coercion), and (we'll say you have a Force Rating of 2) you add the talent and use one force die for Overwhelm Emotions, and then use your other force die for Influence. Well you get your normal check results, and then any white results for Influence gets added as success/advantage (black is ignored), and then any black results add successes or white adds failure for Overwhelm Emotions (due to the nature of Coercion). You're probably better off just taking your chances with only Influence, but that doesn't mean you can't still use Overwhelm Emotions at the same time if you really wanted to.

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I've house ruled it as a maneuver as well... it seems to work well, it engages the strain mechanic (which I love) without punishing the characters, and it stays true to the canon (as I see it). That's a win all around... at my table, at least. YMMV

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