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Star Wars (FFG) for Everyone

Star Wars (FFG) for Everyone

If you pay any attention to the boards beyond whatever games you're involved with, you may have seen one of my posts regarding the Star Wars RPG from Fantasy Flight Games (FFG). Its a fantastic system, but different than other roleplaying games you might be accustomed to playing.

For weeks, I have been reading, preparing, and planning to run one or more games here on the Weave. But what I've learned through personal research and private discussions with other individuals with an interest in the game is a lack of presence. Some would suggest that the game is difficult to learn, and even more difficult to run as a message board game. Others find a lack of other people willing to run or teach the game as a barrier to pick it up. I personally find the need to use symbols associated with the game as an obstacle to achieve better communicate with the language of the system.

All of these are valid issues that could benefit the community if addressed, and I am doing what I can to get to these matters personally. But I cannot do it alone. (Or I could do most, but it will take an awful long time.) I have already requested for the symbols to be implemented as emojis for the site, for which I trust Rodrigo and the able staff will get to in due time. In the meantime, I am working to create a special game forum where new players can learn the basics of the game, and come together to exchange advice and ideas on how to run the system on a message board. Ultimately, I am looking to increase interest and awareness of this fantastic system so that gamers interested in using this particular system can consider more than just a small handful of players and GMs who may occasionally start a game here on the Weave. And, of course, the more interest shown for this particular game system, the more resources, support, and attention we can receive from the admins.

So to begin the discussion, I'd like to invite people to share their interest and experience about the game. What kind of games would you want to play in? Would you like to run as a GM? What do you like about it? And if there's any questions about the game system, setting, or even just curious about what my personal plans are, please feel free to ask.

Well I started the inure the interest thread so I guess I will start.

I have no experience besides reading through the core books a friend of mine had at their place, but with their schedule and their current game group I can't join them.

I always want to try any Star Wars system out there . My first game was a D20 Star Wars game and I've been a Star Wars fan my whole life so I want to see if I like this system.

Kinds of games I'm interested in: firefly meets Indiana jones is the best way to describe it. Trying to get by and searching for artifacts /technology all while getting in the way of some evil superpower. It works in any era too!

Gming : probably not right now but eventually yes.

What do I like about it: it is Star Wars and it's more narrative focused so that can be fun,

Questions: does the balancing of force vs non force characters feel like it keeps both from feeling cool in the string. I know being outshines by Jedi happened with previous systems, but I hope it doesn't take away from being a Jedi. When will you be recruiting :P.

I don't even own the books. I don't want to invest however-many-dollars into a setting that I've never tried, especially considering that there seems to be a whole core book for each era. That being said, I do enjoy the Star Wars universe and I've heard a couple of FFG games that sound interesting. What can you do for me, the interested but poor player, who wants a chance to try the system without spending my money?

I have the Beginner's Box for the first set, and the only thing I can suggest, based on my own very limited play experience, is that players post narrative, then rolls, then put their interpretations in spoilers so the next post - presumably a GM post - can post the narrative conclusively. It's a quick back and forth in-person but not so much in pbp.

The first thing I want to recommend is to download this. Its the original preview adventure that was released a few years ago for the Free RPG Day event. The first dozen pages, however, gives you a quick primer on the basic fundamentals of how the game works. And it includes a full adventure, along with some pregen characters, to get you going. Its at least as good as the beginner box sets (and in some ways, I dare say, better), and its free!

Originally Posted by Havok13 View Post
does the balancing of force vs non force characters feel like it keeps both from feeling cool in the string. I know being outshines by Jedi happened with previous systems, but I hope it doesn't take away from being a Jedi. When will you be recruiting :P.
To answer the first part of that question, I think it does. I don't have the last core book (Force & Destiny) yet, which deals specifically with the Jedi and Force-users in general. But from what I have read so far, ALL characters appear to be pretty balanced. Reason being? Its a narrative game, which means its focused more on the storytelling than munchkin aspects. The game does not center itself around combat, and you do not need to defeat every adversary you come across with a physical beatdown. In fact, most of your major adversaries which are classified as Nemesis will often live to fight another day.

Outside the mechanics of the game, the default setting for the game takes place between Episodes IV and V, shortly after the destruction of the first Death Star. This is a time when the Empire has successfully executed most of the Jedi in existence, and continues to hunt down and exterminate any existing Jedi and those who have the potential to become one. The Jedi, for the most part, are almost non-existent in the galaxy... unless your GM wants to play it differently.

Which brings me to another point: the three different branches of the game are NOT precisely categorized as different settings or eras. They are themes on the same setting of the same era. They can be played independently, or mixed together in any way you see fit. Edge of the Empire deals with the shadier Outer Rim regions where smugglers and underworld crime lords rule the trade worlds through fear and manipulation on the fringes of the Empire's grasp. Age of Rebellion has to do with the militaristic campaign where pockets of resistance slowly amass their forces to wage a war against the overwhelming numbers and power of the Emperor. And Force and Destiny introduces the remnants of the Old Republic, the last of the Jedi who fight to restore balance to the Force from the Sith Lords of the Empire who have upset the natural order. A campaign that uses all three books would be like... well, the original trilogy (IV thru VI), which is precisely where the standard game's timeline is set.

Originally Posted by BWS2K View Post
I have the Beginner's Box for the first set, and the only thing I can suggest, based on my own very limited play experience, is that players post narrative, then rolls, then put their interpretations in spoilers so the next post - presumably a GM post - can post the narrative conclusively. It's a quick back and forth in-person but not so much in pbp.
I have been thinking on this a while, and had a discussion with a friend over how I thought it should be handled. I am just going to copy and paste it here since it is a little lengthy and still applies.

Player takes an action, rolls only ability and proficiency dice plus any confirmed positive dice, such as a boost die gained from a previous action or activated talent. Post.

GM makes the other half of the dice pool for negative dice, plus any additional dice for unaccounted modifiers. GM finds results of the dice pool and determines the outcome, including available options for player character choices if available. This would eliminate a lot of the back and forth determining all the factors to build a dice pool and keep things moving forward.

My main concern is how much time is spent in that moment, describing and narrating every instance, discovering every nuance, and exploring all possible outcomes. At the table, we can all that ground in a minute. But on the message boards, it could take days to discuss, to communicate our intent, and interpret the final outcome. In PbP, things must always move forward. Not only that, but also they must look ahead.

Let's say your character is taking a shot at a group of stormtroopers. He is trying to buy his friends time to get on board his ship. You describe his action, showing that he is controlling his breathing as he takes the shot, indicating you want to use the aim maneuver to add a boost die. You roll the appropriate dice for his skill and ability. The post is submitted and you can now see he has rolled well for his skill, but you do not know the final outcome. You don't retro the post to show the aftermath because we don't know yet.

Now I (the GM) come in and determine the rest of the dice pool. This is added at the end of your post, which accomplishes two things. First, I can see the results of the full dice pool before I post the next game message. Everything moves forward. Second, it acknowledges that I have read and responded to your original post and that a follow up is forthcoming. You know that the game will commence soon.

So let's say the result of your character shooting at the enemy was successful but with mixed results. On one hand, you managed to take down one of the stormtroopers and had a two advantages to use. You have a few options available to your character, but there is also a despair symbol showing. I decide that your blaster is out of ammo after that last shot making it useless until you recharge it or get an extra clip.

Since you have a decision to make with your advantages, you follow up with a quick post describing how your character swears never to buy cheap arms from that low-life rodian in Lothar. You warn your comrades that your gun is out, and remind them the access code to get into the ship. This gives the next character that attempts a computer check to unlock the control pad a boost die to his check.

In my opinion, posting in the manner helps improvisation which is a key element in this kind of game. Story. Action. Tension. We're not trying to map out a novella. We should be enjoying the ride.

Wait, there's two dice pools rolled for every action? That... Wow, that's a sloooooow method of resolution.

From my reading there is one pool but there are positive dice and negative dice and the negative dice represent the difficulty of the task.

One dice pool. Positive and negative. Also, skill and difficulty. Or proficiency and challenge. All of these are factors which combine all mitigating factors and circumstances to produce a single outcome. The problem in PbP, however, is not deciphering the outcome or rolling "two dice pools". It is building the dice pool itself.

A player will not likely know all of the negative factors involved in a given action. That is the GM's job. The player may state his intent in one post, wait for the GM to reply and explain which dice are needed to add to the dice pool, and then finally the player posts his character's action which includes the agreed upon dice pool. Now with the result of the dice pool known, both player and GM can discuss the outcome of the dice roll...

No. That, my friend, would be slow.

What I suggest can be accomplished in three posts. Player shows his intent and initiates the dice pool. GM completes the dice pool and then posts the outcome of the intended action based on the result of the dice rolled. Finally, the player can then respond to the outcome with his character's reaction which advances the story, plot, and/or turn.

Keep in mind the game was designed based on improv storytelling methods. Always move the story forward. " Yes, and..." Or even "Yes, but..."

I've played this game for a few years now so perhaps I can add a penny or two.

@havok The balancing between force sensitive characters and non-FS is pretty well done. Force powers are vague in terms of applicability, but precise in potency. What I mean by that is that you don't get like force push and force pull. You get move. And move is used how you want narratively, but how much and how fast and how far and all that requires training (re: xp). So, in order to get better at force powers, the character has to neglect other things like skills and talents. But talents help your force powers and skills are sometimes used for some extensions of force powers. Basically, the characters are no longer powerhouses. They're people that try to find their niche, like any other character and it takes time to build their powers. There is no Jedi Order training them from the age of 4 to be vizier-knights. They're figuring it out on their own.

@Raveled - Your issue is not different than many players new to a system. I don't think it can stop you from playing though. It's up to the ST to be the guide in that case. Tons of groups out there play games that only the ST has the books for. It's a little harder online because you can't post word for word, but the GM can interpret. And as Jacob posted, the first few levels of the game are publicly available.

Concerning the setting: The setting is much more "down-to-earth", if you will. It's based on the original movies, so the amount of backflipping ninja lightsaber skills is minimal in most games due to the lower power level. BUt narratively, there is space for those kinds of descriptions. And Mechanically, you can get to that point as well. I play in a long term campaign with characters who have reached Force rating 6 (incredibly high in game), with a droid who has managed to upgrade himself to the point of rolling 7 and 8 proficiency dice on his attacks (basically broken), with a hutt on the level of Jabba in terms of ability and influence. And yet, the way the dice work, those characters can still miss and mess up occasionally, which adds some drama. The game can scale for prequel and KoToR levels should it come to that. But it definitely feels most comfortable in the original trilogy in terms of aesthetic and the presentation of those power levels.

In terms of execution of the game - I think what you're describing Jacob is a pretty solid solution to an oft encountered issue. The one thing I've really noticed over a PbP vs. a TT is that the GM has to be completely aware of the skillsets of the characters in order to facilitate the execution and use of talents, especially passive talents that remove setbacks and all that. But you're still going to get issues with a talent like Just Kidding that maybe the character wants to use, but maybe not. The best, best, best solution to playing this game PbP is to use the PbP for the action and then to set up a chat through hangouts or something to discuss mechanical aspects of a roll as needed. But should that not be an option for whatever reason, then the format you're suggesting is a smart and streamlined solution (with the addition of a small OOC roll thread for any kinks).

After doing more reading I do see how the dice rolling part can be a bit cumbersome for the GM on a forum. A rolls and mechanics thread may make it easier to follow the thread too instead of 3 posts per "turn" (if I'm correctly using that in the way the game wants it to be used) you post your intentions, get the dice pool from the GM, and then Roll and natrate post in the main thread. Same idea, more elegant and say to follow story thread.

This does lead to destiny point usage questions since it is all from a shared pool with the upgrading difficulty of the other side's actions and all.

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