Thursday, December 16, 2010

Episode 67: Instinctive Attack and Instinctive Defense

I’m DarthGM, and this is the 67th installment of Fragments from the Rim.

Force Points; unless you’re a Force User, odds are you only have a few options for how you spend these resources.  You’re either going to be adding to an attack roll, or to a skill check.  Don’t get me wrong, getting another 1 to 6 points on your roll can make the difference between success and failure, but those dang Force Users get so many neat things to spend their Force Points on.  Isn’t it about time for the mundane to get some love too?

Well, in the Unknown Regions, on page 27, you get two new feats that let anyone spend their Force points to do more than just improving a die roll by a few points.

With Instinctive Defense, you can spend a Force Point as a Free action to increase all your defenses by 2 until the start of your next turn.  That ain’t bad; if you know you’re going to be the subject of a lot of attacks in the next turn, that extra 2 points can really save your bacon.

Generally, if you really tank an attack roll you know that a Force point won’t help you get the number you need to hit your opponent. With Instinctive Attack, you get to really beef up your benefit from spending a Force Point on an attack roll and turn a clear miss into a successful attack.  With this feat, when you spend a Force Point while making an attack, you can reroll the attack and take the better result.  You even apply the results of the die from the Force Point to the better result!  You can use it on any roll, and since you can decide to spend a Force Point after you roll the attack, you can use it even on a roll of “1”.

There’s one drawback to these feats; well...two, really.  The first is that you have to be a living creature to take these feats.  Sorry droids, you just don’t have the right instincts in your computerized body of yours.  The second is that Instictive Attack isn’t a Bonus Feat for any class, and Instinctive Defense is only a Bonus Feat…for Jedi.

...damn Force-Users…*sigh*  Ah well, they’re still very worthy choices for your Character.

That’s all for this week.  If you have any questions, send them along to  Until next time, 20 side up, 1 side down.

Originally aired on the Order 66 Podcast Episode 122 "M4C-GUV3R".

Episode 66: Order 66

Somewhere out there is the text for Episodes 64 and 65; where they got off to I don't know...maybe I'll be able to update them later...

I’m DarthGM, and this is the 66th installment of Fragments from the Rim.  This week we’re talking about Order 66.

With one order, Chancellor Palpatine triggered an event that replaced a corrupt democratic government with a tyrannical dictatorship.  Almost overnight  the benign Jedi Knights who had served the Republic as peacekeepers were wiped out, replaced by faceless Stormtroopers and an aire of racial superiority from the human leaders of the Empire.

Anyone listening to this podcast knows that Order 66 represented a dynamic shift in the Star Wars universe.  It’s a sharp break from what had occurred before, and what the universe was now destined to be.  It’s not the only such event in the Star Wars Universe, there are others.  The destruction of the Death Stars, the Death of Emperor Palpatine, the capture of Darth Revan, the ascension of Darth Krayt; the movies, shows, and EU are filled with focal points and key events that cause a dramatic change in the galaxy.

There’s another Order 66 to talk about that’s caused a dynamic shift, at least to me.  I’ve been gaming in this universe for quite some time now, since the 2nd Edition of the West End Games edition of the RPG.  I’ll be honest; I’ve run some damn good games over the years.  I’ve also run some pretty bad ones.  It wasn’t until I ran into GM Chris on the old WotC Gleemax boards that I discovered the Order 66 podcast.  For 121 episodes I’ve had my conceptions about game balance, good storytelling, and good Gamemastering challenged and turned upside down.  I’ve found that since this event, my stories are better, my encounters are more epic, and my games are move fun.

I would have to say that the biggest change to my style is my hesitation to mess with “Uncle George’s Sandbox”.  I never wanted to introduce something to my games that would enable the characters to alter established canon.  My games would skirt the edge of movie storylines and novels, but never intervene.  Never intersect.  All that has changed.  GM Chris and GM Dave have called an Order 66 of their own on my hang-ups and gaming hesitations and opened my eyes to how much fun this galaxy has to offer.  To stop saying “no” to PCs, (unless they’re violating the rule of DBAD).  To let the PCs fail, because earning a defeat can be more rewarding than being handed a victory.  And to remember that it might be George’s sandbox, but he’s not going to kick me out of it if I play how I want to play.

Fellow Gamemasters; don’t be afraid to toss established canon out the airlock.  Let the PCs fail.  Say “Yes, but what if we do this instead” to your PCs.  And if your PCs kill General Grevious before the Battle of Utapau, or rescue Han Solo before he’s delivered to Jabba, let it happen.  You don’t know the power of dynamic change until it’s presented to you.  It can be an incredible experience if you let it happen.

That’s all for this week.  Thank you GM Dave, GM Chris, TG, and you Gamer Nation for letting Fragments from the Rim entertain you for 66 crunch-and-fluff-filled installments.  We hope to continue to enhance your gaming experience for another 66 episodes.  Until episode 67; 20 side up, one side down.

Originally aired on Order 66 Podcast Episode 121 "Paging Doctor Awesome"

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Episode 63: Assured Attack

I’m DarthGM, and this is segment number 63 of Fragments from the Rim.

Damage; admit it, you love it.  You love dealing it.  You love seeing how many extra dice you can get for a damage roll.  You love seeing the highest possible value come up on the dice you roll for damage.  You love the sound your cupped hands make as you shake those many-sided polyhedrons, like some demented, nerdy maraca player.  You love the sight of all those dice bouncing as they are unleashed upon the table.

What you don’t like is when one of "dem bones" comes up as a 1.  Or even a 2, depending on the die.  You see that rogue polyhedron sitting there, it’s taunting you.  Laughing at you. Woe is me! If only there were some way I could remove that offensive die from my total!  Well, you can.  With the Assured Attack feat.

Found on Page 28 of the Rebellion Era Campaign guide, this worthy feat states “Whenever you deal damage to a target with an attack and you roll multiple dice, you can reroll the lowest damage die but must keep its second result, even if it’s worse.”  This feat has no pre-requisites.  It has no limitations.  It can be used any time you make an attack.  It can be used on the ground.  It can be used in space.  It can be used with single target weapons, area attacks, or vehicle weapons.  It can be used multiple times in a round.  It’s a Bonus feat for Jedi and Soldiers.  Just about the only thing you can’t use this with is Force Powers, and it’ll even work with some of those (I’m looking at you, Lightsaber Form Powers…).  So any time you roll horrifically on damage rolls, you can try to reroll that lowest die and hope to get something a little bit better.  Or a lot better, if you turn that 1 to an 8 or a 10.

Let’s face it, there aren’t too many attacks out there where you only roll one die for damage.  This feat can really help bump up the average damage for your character.

We’ve come to the end of another episode, Gamer Nation.  Until next time; 20 side up, 1 side down.

Originally broadcast on the Order 66 Podcast Episode 117 "The Vanguard's Meat"

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Episode 62: Comrades in Arms and Focused Targeting

Get in line, rookies!  I’m Darth GM and I will be your instructor for episode 62 of Fragments From the Rim.

I’m about to start up a new bi-weekly campaign set in the Clone Wars era, and two of the PCs are playing Clone Troopers.  They both just happened to pick the same talent at level one.  It’s from the Clone Wars Campaign Guide, and can be found in the Soldier Talents section on page 26.  The talent they chose is Comrades in Arms; "When you are within 3 squares of an ally, you get a +1 circumstance bonus on all melee and ranged attack rolls."  Not bad, especially when one thinks about the game.  More often than not, the clone troopers will be within three squares of at least one ally in combat, most likely  each other.  It’s not a kick-ass “Oh my god, I have to take this” talent, but it does gateway to some other useful talents, and if carried through to a logical conclusion this talent can work nicely with several others.

The next talent up the “chain” is Focused Targeting, which states “when you damage a target with a melee or ranged attack, all allies within 3 squares gain a +2 bonus on damage rolls against the target until the beginning of your next turn”.  Now, I’m going to make an assumption that the ally needs to be within three squares of you, not the target.  This is nice because if these two guys have this talent, if they keep shooting the same target, they’re giving each other the +2 bonus damage, and mow through targets faster.

If the campaign makes it to level 8, I can see these characters looking into the Republic Commando Tree for the Elite Trooper Class, also in the Clone Wars Campaign Guide.  With Shoulder to Shoulder, they gain bonus hit points equal to their Heroic Level at the beginning of each turn if they’re adjacent to an ally.  With Strength in Numbers, their Damage Reduction is increased by +2 if they’re within 10 squares of an ally.

Finally, all these talents mix in very well with the Brute Squad Talent Tree from the Legacy Era Campaign Guide.  Now, that Talent Tree is more fitting for melee fighters, and doesn’t offer much for ranged attackers, but if you and a fellow PC are building melee fighters, and looking at talents from the Brute Squad Talent tree, take a look into the Trooper Talent tree for Soldiers as well.  Get some cross-era synergy going and really whallop that BBEG.

At Ease, Gamer Nation.  Until next time; 20-side up, 1-side down.

Originally aired on the Order 66 Podcast, Episode 116 "Gnomes in Advance"