I'm a long-time fan of Star Wars and its RPGs, and I was very excited to see FF finally announcing their new system :).
After playing RPGs for nearly a decade, I've discovered what type of gameplay aspects I like in my RPGs. Star Wars Saga Edition got really close to these aspects I find really important in RPGs, and I would like to know from the folks playtesting Edge of the Empire if the new system adresses these characteristics I find so relevant.
As I understand, the new system and editorial choices have some aspects in common with FF's Warhammer franchise. I do not know much about the latest Warhammer RPG (that would be its 3rd edition, right?) but from what I hear, Edge of the Empire has a similar system. The editorial choices about the line remind of FF's Warhammer 40k products. Instead of all encompassing system in a big core book, different aspects of the setting are gradually woven into a coherent game system. So, this new book focuses on the fringe elements of Star Wars in a very specific time period of the setting (and arguably, the most classic and iconic). Later books will focus on other archetypes and eventually, with all three of them, players will be able to choose a more varied pool of archetypes and stories. I understand the strengths of such design, but that also means players (and stories) about soldiers, pilots and/or jedis must wait a little longer to be told. And though this choice gives interesting depth to the chosen aspects of the setting, meshing them together may become somewhat harder. Perhaps it's important to state that even though I have great admiration and interest for Warhammer 40k and would love to play an RPG set on this setting, the game system currently in the hands of FF is what makes me balk from playing it - I'm really not a fan of it's playstyle and design choices…
So, with this said, I want to show you what aspects I find important in RPGs - with the full understading that these are merely my personal opinion and are not universal - and ask of the current playtests if Edge of the Empire may be an interesting system for me :).
Overall, I would summarize my opinion thusly: I favor RPGs with strategic, varied, balanced, fast, simple but yet deep gameplay elements that focuses in making sure the mechanics work well while providing ease of GMing and creative and narrative freedom for all players involved.
This may look contraditory to some of you, but from the Star Wars RPGs that I knew, I would count Saga Edition as the best to fulfill these criteria. Further, perhaps even more inflamatory, if I brought "D&D" into this discussion, of all the editions I played (2nd, 3rd and 4th), I would say 4th is the best one to fulfill such tenets. I realize some (or many) of you may disagree with these statements, but these will help you understand my point of view. These are not intended to "flame" this topic in any way, nor would I try to defend these systems as "objectly better" - I have played enough RPGs to understand that the "best" system is the one your gaming group finds best - and not what some guy is claiming to be in the internets…
So, that being said, these are the aspects I'm more interested in collecting feedback!
1. Lethality level
This aspect touches my preferences of realism and narrative freedom. To me, nothing is worse to a narrative than a RPG with a high lethality level. I do not "adjust" dice results and outcomes, I do not use a GM screen and I do not "adjust" the situation to "help" or "hinder" my players when I think narratively appropriate. That means I need the system to have a somewhat predicatble lethality level, otherwise, I'll keep having campaigns with "revolving door characters". To me, death must haunt players characters only after bad decisions and judgments on their parts or after an incredibly rare string of bad luck. Smart players should be able to avoid it in most of the time - the proability of death only gets higher when situation starts stacking against them - and even then, these players should be able to reverse the odds or at least be able to escape from the situation. So how is lethality in Edge of the Empire? Do player characters die with a single blaster shot? Does a lightsaber hit decapitates or maims anyone it strikes? Does healing takes a long time? Is piloting starships a death-sentence or are starships and pilots of similar "power levels" able to have a balanced battle? May a random die roll kill a character in full health in a "regular battle"?
2. Cinematic vs. Realism
Overall, I emphasize narrative and cinematic logic over hard realism. I still base my Gming decisions in reality and reasonbale guesses, but always thinking about the narrative aspect of the game. To my mind, hard realism negates a lot of traditional stories. In a book, comic or movie, the author always has full control of the characters and the enviroment. It is he or she who decides who lives and who dies, who gets to shine, what abilities hero and villains have and so on. In a game-like enviroment such as traditional RPGs, these decisions does not rest solely on the GM (unless you fudge everything to your liking - which I don't do). This aspect ties to a lot of the other points I like here, but I need a careful explanation. First, hard realism is fine for some narratives - I wouldn't like a Call of Cthullhu game, for example, that wasn't "realistic hard". But for the "usual" narratives we are used in movies and books, hard realism coded into the rules tend to impossibilitate or difficultate generating similar stories. If every battle is "80% lethal", Lord of the Rings would probably by a much shorter story (and then Frodo dies at the hands of the troll…). Luke, Han and Leia would probably have died in one of their many battles. Roland would not have reached the Dark Tower. Even fiction classifies as "realistic" or "gritty" would look very different - the stories of Conan tend to be very gritty, but amazingly, Conan is always alive at the end of the day. To emulate that protagonist protection in a game is very hard (unless the GM fudges). Even A Song of Ice and Fire would look very different if at any and every battle everything was decided at the whims of the dice. Eddard would be a lucy bastard to survive until he did - the other hundreds of battles he battled would probably have killed him much sooner in his life. With realism hard coded in the rules, survival depends less on the players' (and characters') ability and much more on simple luck. That does not mean I want "anime style" gameplay or, to use a closer example, that everything is cranked past 11 like in Force Unleashed. This, just like gritty hard rules, is just as valid style of narrative, but not the ones usual to us - and, more important, not usual to Star Wars.
So how cinematic is Edge of the Empire? Can Luke hop into the gun of the Millenium Falcon and easily shoot a few Tie Fighters piloted by the best of the Empire's pilots? Can Han shoot the tentacle of the Saarlac to save Lando while battle rages all around him? Can Anakin, Padme and Obi-Wan survive being chained to a pillar in the arena on Geonosis? Can Delta Squad infiltrate an Acclamator-ship infested with trandoshans and survive? How probable is each of these things happening? Unlikely? Common place? Somewhere in between? Are heroes able to battle for most of the day or do they need long periods of rest to "lick their wounds"?
3. Simple Strategic and Tactical Depth
This is a harder aspect to communicate. Perhaps the hardest. As I have said, I prefer a game system with strategic and tactical depth, but with simple and fast mechanics. That means that a system too simple and too generic does not please me, even though it can be simple and fast. In the other hand, a system with lots of detailed options and strategic depth may be interesting, but it may not be simple and fast, and this will put me off. Attaining that balance between these two extremes is the hard part. For example, the products of the Warhammer 40k RPG are products that interest because of their setting - but their rules, in my view, fall into the latter category (besides not "checking" in a lot of the other four points I explicitate here). When my players wade into a battle, I want them to have different options and abilities. I want each player to feel his character is unique, with exclusive abilities. I also want these abilities to be simple to use and understand, even though using them well may require tactical expertise. I don't want them (or me) going through books to understand the effects of an ability, power or similar. I want combat to have a lot of options and tactical layers, but I also want it to be fast and intuitive. I also want the players to feel that they have a varied array of options for developing their character, always maintaining it true to the narrative archetype they created. But I also don't want them to be overwhelmed by options and rules. In the GM side of things, I want adventures to be easy to construct and gauge. I want to be able to easily gauge the power level between my group and a group of adversaries, be them on a land battle, a starship dogfight, or a tense debate in the galactice senate. I want to easily construct balanced NPCs that function the way I intend them to function. I don't want to be obligated to remember hundreds of differents subsystems to run the game. If I pick a published adventure, I should be able to run it without constantly refering to the book.
So, even though I understand these may be a bit too general, how do you think Edge of the Empire fare in this regard? Is it easy to create a PC, or does it takes several hours to go through the mechanics alone? Is it easy for the GM to generate an NPC in the spot, or is this another "hours-long" process? Do PCs of different "classes" have different abilities? What about PCs of the same "class", can they be very different from each other? Can two bounty hunters diverge as much as Boba Fett diverges from Bossk? Is starship combat an entire differnt way of making battle? What about vehicle battles? Can I easily integrate starships and land vehicles in a battle? What about characters, land vehicles and starships in the same battle? Can the GM easily gauge the difficult of a task and make a balance decision about it? Is there a good rule for creating an "encounter" or is everything left to "GM experience" to gauge and define? Do battles and encounters feel varied or are they static?
An aspect that ties into a lot of the ones - specially narrative freedom. RPGs, by merging storytelling processes with game elements always walk a fine line in this point. Some RPGs opt not to regard balance in a mechanical, gamistic perspective and let the full-weight of the setting and the narrative decide the power level between different characters. Others, try to balance the mechanics just as well as a more traditional game would. I'm a firm believer that balancing mechanics is a "must" for most narratives and stories for RPGs, and that this actually frees narrative space and lessen the burden in the GM. Tha means that, to me, its importante that every player, no matter the archetype, always feel that he can contribute to the game, both to the story and to the challenges the GM may be throwing in the group. If certain aspects of the mechanics are revealed to be better than the others, either players feel the need to have those aspects to be relevant or are "penalized" for not having them. Of the RPGs I played, D&D 4th edition is the best one in this regard. Saga manages to be reasonably balanced as well (glaring unbalances excepted), but needs actual tinkering with the mechanics to achieve a higher degree of balance between archetypes. Perfect balance is a myth - and games that near that goal tend to be too homogeneous between the aspects being balanced to actually provied the variety and customizability needed by an RPG. However, I think it is important to attempt a tight balance between mechanics while maintaining variability - a hard achievement indeed, but one of the inherent difficulties of designing a strong RPG, in my opinion. I'm aware that discussing balance in Star Wars is a heated topic. There are a lot of players, for example, that preach that Force-User and Jedi should be inherently superior to other archetypes, since that's how they're usually portrayed. While I accept that opinion as a valid one, I'm of a different mind. Since authors can decide how relevant a force-user can be to his story and such imbalance would not be beneficial to the game aspect of an RPG (in my mind), I prefer character archetypes to be balanced. There will always be a narrative imbalance, no matter how much the mechanical aspect of the rules are close to "balanced", I don't agree that further differentiating these archetypes by coding different power levels in the rules is needed. And last, but not least, it is harder to a GM to manually balance a set of unbalanced rules than to unbalance one that is balanced.
That being said, what would you say about balance in the Edge of the Empire? Are Force-Users balanced with the non Force-Users? Is there unbalance between the different "classes/talents/trees"? Is every archetype presented in the book able to contribute to most scenes? Can everyone help in a starship battle? Can everyone help in a debate in the senate? Can everyone provide signigicant help in combat? Is there a need for a determined archetype to be present in the group for the to be able to take on the challenges in the game?
5. Narrative freedom
A point that touches all of the above. If the game aspects of the system are balanced, fun and interesting, the GM usually has much more freedom to weave the narrative he or she wants. He knows what kind of elements are challenging to the party. He knows everybody will be able to contribute in most of the scenes. He knows the system will run without coming to a grinding halt because of some obscure rule that needs to be looked up. He can concoct whatever flies his fancies and the system will work with him, not against him. And one easy way to kill all this is by codifying narrative elements in the rules. This is seen today as "focusing on the narrative", but in reality, all it does is mechanize the story aspects of the game. It may even foster and enrich some kinds and types of stories - but most of the times, this comes at the expense of other stories and narratives. By nature, some elements of an RPG are codified into rules for many reason - one of the most important being that if there were no rules, there would be very difficult to have a game. Traditionally, RPGs tend to focus on codifying combat - one aspect that can be hard to represent otherwise. By its nature, some layer of further codification is needed to make the system work as a "simulator". Some systems go far in this direction, trying to codify everything possible. The thing is, codification is necessary for any RPG - but creating mechanics for something also sets boundaries for that aspect. For that reason, I tend to prefer game systems that leave characters feelings, psychological aspects and narrative decisions up to the players and the GM. If there are no rules for such, the group is free to emphasize whatever they like about those things. I agree that some gaming groups may focus better in the psychological aspects of their characters and in the narrative if there are rules to serve as guidelines - and some of those rules are even sure to make some stories much better, but more often than not, these same rules will also difficultate other narratives.
Unfortunately, from what I have seen about Edge of the Empire, some of these "narrative codifications" are already built into the game. Groups have an obligation, that seems to work as focus for the narrative of tha particular group. Every group has its own starship at the beginning of the game - another thing that locks the all stories into "every group always start with a starship". And of course, one should mention the editorial decisions - Edge of the Empire focuses only on the fringe. Every other type of Star Wars story must wait for their appropriate "books" to come out. Again, I understand this decision has its merits, but in many ways, it's like "locking" narratives to certain books, instead of merely locking archetypes.
To make a D&D comparison, some players may be bummed to have to wait for a future supplement to provide him with the feats, powers or abilities he wants for his archetype - but this line of design substitutes that by something that could be analogue in D&D to: "This book only features non-casters and focuses exclusively in the stories of such characters. If you want to play as a cleric, you have to wait for the 'cleric and divine book game'. Later, we'll also release the 'wizard and arcane book game'. Then you mays, perhaps, try and mesh these all together…"
This is also one of the reasons I have not yet tried Deathwatch. I would love to DM a Warhammer 40k where the players are space-marines of a certain chapter. But the book forces the Deathwatch narrative to the game. I understand one can adapt the system to create a narrative of battle-brothers in the same chapter, but that is exactly what I said before - right from the start, the system is working against me rather than helping me tell the story I want to tell. Things are further worsened by that setting because there are no female space-marines. I'm not saying 40k should have female SMs, but if I want to create a niche for my female players, the suggested options - like creating Adeptus Sororitas or an Inquisitor should be meshed more easily with an space-marine squad. Again, if I want my female friends to game, I have to work to make a Battle-Sister or an Inquisitor balanced against an Space-Marine - I'm wrestling with the system yet again to tell the narrative I want.
But I haven't read Edge of the Empire, and so, do not know how focuses are these aspects of the game. What do you say about the narrative freedom of the game? Can players create a good variety of archetypes with this book? Can the GM create a good variety of NPCs to his campaign? Can all the players of the game create the story they want or do the mechanics favor some kinds of stories in detriment of others?
I realize this is a long post so I would like to thank anyone with enough patience and interest to make a full read.
I'm looking forward for the responses! :D
Best of gaming to you all!
Are you threatning me master jedi?
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I’m gonna do my best here, Man, but you put in a ton of stuff and it’s late here so I am getting tired.
1. Lethality level
So how is lethality in Edge of the Empire? I would say relatively low, but not impossible.
Do player characters die with a single blaster shot? I suppose it “could” happen, but the odds would be exceptionally rare. It is much easier to one hit stun someone then it is to one hit kill them. I suppose a sadistic GM could then lay a whoopin on the stunned character, but what would be the point.
Does a lightsaber hit decapitates or maims anyone it strikes?
Lightsabers are deadly, Not instant kill/maim, but they have a lot more potential to “one hit screw” then a pistol does, less then a vibro-axe. I assume the “less then a vibro-axe is to represent that the person using it isn’t a trained lightsaber combatant.
Does healing takes a long time? Not at all, but it depends on the medical equipment/personnel available. A doctor with a stim pack will heal you quicker then nature. However the point of the game is to “get on with it”, so while you may have wounds, they are tolerable as far as the debuffs they place on you.
Is piloting starships a death-sentence or are starships and pilots of similar "power levels" able to have a balanced battle? A lot of this is on the GM and his narration,. Tie fighters are a dime a dozen, like the movies the tactics of them are numbers. To be honest in the few games I have run (and a ton of demos), starship combat hasn’t really come up. I prefer the action where the whole team can get involved, so I tend to keep in on the ground. In my GM style I would treat tie fighters like storm troopers with the base ones being minions, the “wing leader” having a bit more oomph, and a capt having even more, etc…
May a random die roll kill a character in full health in a "regular battle"? That is near impossible. The players have access to destiny points- they can act as “get out of jail free cards” if the player is on the ball.
2. Cinematic vs. Realism
So how cinematic is Edge of the Empire? This really depends on the GM, but for the most part --- VERY.
Can Luke hop into the gun of the Millenium Falcon and easily shoot a few Tie Fighters piloted by the best of the Empire's pilots? The “best” might give him a hard time, especially unskilled, however the other 11 in the squadron should be “do-able”. The extra armor/ oomph of the Falcon should more then even that match-up. That said, if someone were skilled in the weapons, I wouldn’t have the Doctor steal their chair.
Can Han shoot the tentacle of the Saarlac to save Lando while battle rages all around him? For sure, but it depends on the dice roll. The dice provide a lot of the story around what is happening. Not that they tell the story, but say a player hits a “boon”, well whatever he was doing when the roll came up could get an extra kicker to it (the player or gm can tell this part of the story/what the kicker is).
Can Anakin, Padme and Obi-Wan survive being chained to a pillar in the arena on Geonosis? Depending on the GM/story, absolutely, though I have no stats to base the critters off of. At their respective levels, I don’t see it being an issue, just a challenge.
Can Delta Squad infiltrate an Acclamator-ship infested with trandoshans and survive? See above, but almost everything is possible.
How probable is each of these things happening? (Unlikely? Common place? Somewhere in between?) You’re the storyteller, you tell us.
Are heroes able to battle for most of the day or do they need long periods of rest to "lick their wounds"?
The game runs and feels like star wars, the downtime isn’t vast. Its more about getting to the happenings (story).
3. Simple Strategic and Tactical Depth
Not even going to use your questions here. The game leaves a lot of this up to the GM and the imagination of the players. As far as needing minis and hexed out mats, etc…. not at all. You give a lot of this up for the “story telling” ability.
The situations can and do change a lot, and it isn’t only the GM that runs the story. For instance a player can take one of those aforementioned “dice boons” and say, I run up 5 feet and dive behind the computer desk, giving me cover. Mind you, when the GM described the scene there was no computer desk there.
Another thing, A destiny point can be spent, by the players, to say things like “good thing we remembered the extra clips for the guns”, and as long as the GM doesn’t find it game breaking, then “Whoot, you find some clips in the glove box”.
The destiny points, and the dice boons make it more cinematic then tactical.
That said, there are no “player” jedis, so common sense has a place as well.
That being said, what would you say about balance in the Edge of the Empire? Player character classes are well balanced. There is no useless class, and the classes have enough variety to not step on each others toes too much.
There are varying levels of bad guys presented in the book. Minions are kinda like goblins- 5 to one, etc… I kinda hit this up on the star fighter question. Now that said, the PCs never get all uber with the defense. They get better as they progress, but then never get to a point where they can completely ignore the squad of minion storm troopers.
Are Force-Users balanced with the non Force-Users?
In this book there is relatively little “force” use. That which is there is presented in a way to make it more like another “option” for the force sensitive character. They don’t unbalance your class skills. So where a non-force user would just take a class talent, a force user could take their class talent or a force talent, neither being superior to the other.
Is there unbalance between the different "classes/talents/trees"?
Not that I have seen, yet. That said, don’t compare apples to oranges. A hired gun, is better with pistols then a Doctor (who doesn’t even get the skill). A doctor can take the skill on his own dime, or just remain unskilled. The Doctor could still shot at people and hit them, though the probability of him doing any “good” damage is rather low.
Is every archetype presented in the book able to contribute to most scenes? Absolutely, each brings a different dynamic to the game, while not standing on each other. For the most part this depends on the players you have. A dominant player, is going to have an easier time with getting his “will” across, then a quiet, reserved one.
Can everyone help in a starship battle? Maybe not the best question, but yes. A doctor could use the cannons, unskilled, and still “help”, however he is unlikely to do real damage to an advanced bad-guy.
Can everyone help in a debate in the senate? Depends on your senate, most everyone is fringe – they don’t care about the senate. The senate wont allow them all access, but to the point, yes, anyone can contribute to anything, even if they are not particularly skilled in it, they just roll less dice with a lower probability of success. Everyone gets a puncher’s chance though.
Can everyone provide signigicant help in combat? Depends on your group. I have seen two different groups do it two different ways. I have seen everyone grab a gun and start shooting, old west style, and I have seen support characters act more like support characters. Neither was more effective then the other, however, I would suggest that your stronger players take on the support characters because they tend to be more vocal about their ideas, and thus contribute more in non-combat ways.
Is there a need for a determined archetype to be present in the group for the to be able to take on the challenges in the game? Not at all. There are many ways to accomplish the same objective. For instance, a squad of storm troopers, you could fight them, you could stealth around them, you could talk your way trough them, etc… the point is getting by them.
5. Narrative freedom
To make a D&D comparison, some players may be bummed to have to wait for a future supplement to provide him with the feats, powers or abilities he wants for his archetype –
All archetypes are presented, however they may be in a different light. The medic is there, the rogue is there, the fighters are there, and minor mages are there. The archtypes are appropriate for the setting. To steal your D&D references, there are no drow in Dragonlance. Almost anything can be built though: want to fluff your hired gun into a more military minded person, done. Etc..
Edge of the Empire will help you tell a story in the outer rims, with some snippets into other areas, however if you’re just looking for all galaxy access, that won’t be officially available until you get all three books. I imagine a lot of the empire stuff is going to be in the rebellion book. There are some here, what you would run into in the outer rims, but not enough to tell a full out empire campaign. If anything I tend to think the outer rims have a bit more GM freedom as anything and everything can be found out there. You don’t’ have to worry too much about the rebellion/empire, so you get a bit more lateral that route. If you have star wars purists, the canon doesn’t really touch on the outer rims too much so you’re not going to get them all hot and bothered.
You don’t have stats for every alien you could come across, but a lot can be found on these boards, but not “official”. Good enough for fudging NPCs though.
What do you say about the narrative freedom of the game? To the extent of what the game is said to cover, I would call it all access, but like I said, you’re not going to get Halo outta Gears of War, no matter how hard you try.
Can players create a good variety of archetypes with this book? Yes
Can the GM create a good variety of NPCs to his campaign? Yes
Can all the players of the game create the story they want or do the mechanics favor some kinds of stories in detriment of others? The game encourages the players to help create the story. Makes it fun for the GM too, keeps her on her toes.
What it boils down to, if you’re a GM that is good on his feet, is able to throw out little nuances when the dice roll specific signs, (“hacking the computer takes longer then expected”, “you not only get the code you were after, but a bonus code as well”) You will do fine with this game. If your players can come up with reasonable, inventive ways to “add” to the story, then even better.
Per the dice mechanic, it is possible to fail at a skill roll (hacking), and still have good things come of it. GM:“You didn’t get the floor plans you were after, however you did get the security codes for this floor and can lock out the troopers from that hanger to “talk” to you”. :Player: “I lock the door, and move the shelve in front of it to delay them that much longer” GM never said anything about a shelf, but so be it. That kinda stuff.
Just keep the story flowing.
I'm gonna do my best here, Man, but you put in a ton of stuff and it's late here so I am getting tired
Hahaha, fair enough, I'm glad someone read it all! ^^
I see you can post another ton by yourself sir :). Right now, I'm in just a tight timetable as you, so bed calls. But I'll certainly read and comment further later - perhaps a couple days from now, but from my anxiety to read your thougths, I would probably guess I will be here at the wee hours posting another ton! :D
Best of gaming to you pal :).
Are you threatning me master jedi?
Oh, another point about characters and party… its a good idea to do the party character creation together with all your players. It will take a bit longer to do, but the players can all intertwine their backgrounds, making the ship and obligations that much more imperative to the party as a whole. Also this way things don't get overlooked.
For instance, say you have a player that wants to be a droid. It would be a big boon for another player to make a mechanic- as droids need those skills to heal (repair). This may not work out too well if the players are making separate characters in a vacuum. Also, if no one is going to make a mechanic, perhaps the droid character reconsiders the options and goes with something that flows better with the party.
Note: There is no requirement to have a healer in the party, but they sure make things a lot easier.
Hahaha, read it :).
I must admit this is the first piece of info on Edge of the Empire to get me a bit excited about the game :D.
There's plenty I do not like: my players and I don't like "mechanics for narrative interference" like the ones you described about Destiny Points. We think they take away immersion from the game, and reminds that the narrative is a constructed game-like enviroment. However, you make a good advertisement on all the other points of the game :). By the way you describe it, it seem simple, elegant and easy to run - a very big plus. Even though combat may not exactly be a very tactical affair, it seems fast and cinematic, which fits the setting (and my playstyle preferences) very well!
If this is not too expensive to my wallet, I may give this new Star Wars RPG a try :).
Thank you very much $hamrock, for your patience and for your help! :D
Best of gaming to you pal :).
Are you threatning me master jedi?
There's plenty I do not like: my players and I don't like "mechanics for narrative interference" like the ones you described about Destiny Points. We think they take away immersion from the game, and reminds that the narrative is a constructed game-like enviroment.
I kinda started with that theory as well, not for the same reasoning you have, but I don't always like player hands in the GM cookie jar.
Remember when Han, Leia, and Chewie, got attacked by the mynocks inside the space worm? Had that been player characters, the game would have ended there. No way to breath to make the repairs, no way to move the ship, and the worm was swallowing. What are the odds that broke characters would spend what small amount of cash they had on re-breathers when they needed basics? Hell when they are paying off a crime lord, or some other entity? They are not good! So, this use of the destiny points heals that wound. It isn't the best, but it feels "right" with Star Wars. If I were running All Flesh Must Be Eaten (zombie survival), where survival isn't guaranteed, I wouldn't use them at all.
In a similar ordeal, cover is a god send, as you recall me nothing that PC defenses never get all that "high". Player without cover going against 12 stormtrooper buffed by a Sgt. would be in a world of hurt. Again, better to let the players "add" to the story, and get on with it. Otherwise you're gonna be scraping them off the ground.
1) You, the GM and players, need destiny points to flow. When the players use them they pass to the GM, and the GM uses them and passes them back to the players. I, personally, encourage my players to use their little hearts out, just so I can get them back.
2) The GM always has final say in what goes. If you don't want the rebreathers there, they are not there, but if they are not there, what the hell are your characters gonna do? (Let em be there and get back to the action)
I understand the reality bit, but it's star wars. Keep gravity, and all that, but… when you're taking orders from a talking 3 ton worm, well who really gives a crap where your extra clip came from?
The cheapest way to get the book currently, is the brick and mortar store. There is a thread with some that have them in stock on this board. I suggest getting it and giving it a shot, if you don't like it… well, it's a collectors item that says "star Wars". By the time you have played it a few times the "Brick and Mortar" stores will have all sold out. That means ebay is the only way to get it, and I would guesstimate that saying you would see a 400% return wouldn't be out of the question. Heck, you can still get them for 30, and ebay has them in the 100s. I almost promise you, at least, that return. I wouldn't wait too long though, or you're gonna be paying that 400%. If you wait for the official release, you're gonna pay more for the book (hard cover, full art, etc…) and you're basically gonna get the same book you got with the Beta (we are getting updates). Good luck to you.
Mmmm, a lot to reply :).
First, I don't mind "player hands on the GM cookie jar". At least, not so much :). And depending on the game, I'm all for it. For the traditional RPG experience however, I prefer a more… traditional way of playing thins :D.
But that has nothing to do with that, whatever my preferences, mechanics such as the one you describe (which is very close to what I have experienced in FATE) break immersion. Or at least, tend strongly for that fact.
In the example you quoted from the movies. In a more traditional experience, the players are thinking "What can I do here?". And of course, they'll look for stats and character sheets. But they will also be approaching the question from the point of view of their characters: "What equipment exists in the cargo hold? What tools does a stock YT-1300 freighter comes with? How can I frighten a mynock?". Narrative mechanics such as the one described just give them another mechanical aspect to think with - and one with heavy interference in the narrative "In what way can I change the story so that my character is safe?".
And that question is thinking from outside the character's mind. The "narrative" in such games is "less" "This is a story I am seeing from this character's eyes" and "more" "This is a story I'm building with my players and GM". Which is fine, but gets away from the immersive aspects of RPGs.
Its not a concern about realism (as I said, I prefer cinematic myself), its a concern about immersion. About acting like your character would in a given situation rather than letting mechanics guide his actions or the narrative. This is not a "better" or "worse" way to play, but is one me and players find less immersive.
And by the way, that scene in Empire Strikes Back could have gone into a variety of ways, even without the rebreathers (wich I must say, all my players would have ;P). For example, maybe R2-D2 could go out and atempt the repairs (I know, an astromech vs. Mynocks, tense :)). Maybe the repais could all been done from inside the ship or the players could "push" the systems a little further to get out, damage and all. And as I recall, the scene didn't envolve a lot of "outside repair", not even "mynock shooting". 3PO sees the creatures, Han goes out, shoot a few, remarks about the soil and then shoots the ground :). They didn't have time to repair it - thus, choosing Bespin as their destination.
Maybe the story would have ended there (and to be fair, perhaps putting your players into a giant space worm wasn't such a hot idea after all ;P), or maybe it wouldn't, and a clever player (and clever GM) would find ways to keep the narrative going. Whithout a player having to step out of it to say "You know what we need here? A rebreather!".
Your advice about the book would also be super-hot, if not for one detail, I live in Brazil, and brick-and-mortar stores here are a dying breed - and never were common at any rate. Even if I could find one of the rare stores that sell RPGs (and I am luck to live in a city with one such store), it would be even rarer to find one that brings material in foreign languages. I play all my RPGs in english exactly because its easier to find material on Amazon and the web than it is to find in these stores.
So, in many ways, if a book doesn't exist in Amazon (which is one of the few reliable international stores I can rely on actually managing to get the product to my home), it effectively doesn't exist to me :P. I have tried other stores (and EBay), but things rarely work out ok. Importing here in Brazil is just… a mess.
Even then, your advice is still somewhat tempting - even accounting for all the chaos and uncertainties of importing here in my country. But to me, it would be a much riskier plan than to an american, who would be really foolish not to follow your plan :).
So… I'll have to wait for the book to be finished, even I wanted it right now. And if I like what I read in web reviews, I'll pay what's equivalent to 1/3 of the minimum wages here in my country to buy it from Amazon. Perhaps more. And hope it arrives without any further woories from my part :P. And there's always the risk I'll not like the system :P.
Sometimes, being a brazilian gamer can seriously suck…
Are you threatning me master jedi?
Wow, your English is great! I wouldn't have had a clue had you not said anything.
I have heard of the issues with Brazil and importing stuff. Ebay is full of sellers that refuse to send stuff that direction for a number of reasons, but the main one is "the package never gets to the buyer". If there is something I can do to help, let me know. I have no problem being a middle man, as long as the above is noted.
You're correct on the mynocks being the issue. They, the mynocks, were eating the ship's electrical systems, so they had to go out and shoot them off. The question remains, what are they gonna do? R2 was with Luke, so that left 3PO as the only one that didn't need to breath. Even if they got over 3POs programming against harming life, including the mynocks, what is to stop the mynocks from just eating 3POs electric systems too? Nothing inside the ship is gonna help with that.
Anyway, we see eye to eye on it, but its the point, more so then not.
The players start with, at most, 1000 credits. a small pistol runs 400-500 depending on what you get. Armor, tools, etc… even the ones that double their starting cash, have a very hard time making ends meet. Thus, like car insurance, some things that are not everyday needs, tend to take a back seat… re-breathers.
Anyway, in my games it has been working out without breaking immersion. The players love it, when it works out for them. :)
Be well, Brother. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.
Ha, ha, ha, thank you! :D
I'm a bit out of practice in my english skills, there's a lot to improve, really :P.
You're right, R2 wasn't on that scene :). Harder for the heroes! :D
Thank you for your offer to help ;). I think I'll just lurk around these boards, and try to remain updated about this new game :). Eventually, if I manage to save some money, I may give the system a try! :D
Thank you again $hamrock for all your advice and input! It was all very helpful! :)
Are you threatning me master jedi?
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