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Topics - Niarra

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1
Site Information and News / Fund Raising- Feedback Requested
« on: 03/11/18, 12:50:38 PM »
All right, fellow BC.org denizens! I need help from you in planning the next fund raiser for the site, in the form of your suggestions.

For those who may not have been around for the previous fund raisers, or for those who'd like to review the previous models in order to provide the feedback I'm about to request, here are links to the previous three times I've run this:

Show the Love - February fund raiser
Summer Support - June fund raiser
Giving Thanks - November fund raiser

As I always ask in those posts: Why This Fundraiser? The answer, as always, is: This website is a home for a great community, and many of us frequent it daily. It is a home that further provides all sorts of wonderful amenities, beyond just that of a community forum - such as the PM system we all use to stay in touch, the HoloNet wiki, the Strongholds listing, the GuildNet features, and the Chatroom we use both for our RP events and for socializing.

Now let's be honest. Most of us check this site every day, right? Often even on days when we might not be able to get into the game itself. Often at the same time as we're in the game. Often when we don't even have any burning desire to be in the game at all, but we still want to keep up with our community, or share that funny link in the shoutbox, or catch up with our PMs.

At the end of the day, for this RP community of ours, in a lot of ways this site is just as important a vehicle as the game itself. And yet while we'll drop money for our subscriptions, it's always more of a challenge to get us to drop a few dollars for the site. That's human nature (and the status-quo of the internet world); free stuff feels awesome and it takes no thought at all to consume, while it takes a lot more thought to remember that it had to come from somewhere - and more importantly that we shouldn't take it for granted. If we can find the pocket change to impulse-gobble up CM items we've been craving when they go on direct sale then we should also be able to find it for a seasonal fund-raiser - so let's dissect the psychological turkey and find out what the innards of motivation are!

So here's the help I need, and I hope you all can provide it!

I need to know what sort of prize incentive would get you - yes, you personally - to make a donation during the next fund raiser!

Past fund raisers showed that we only really succeeded when we got a couple sizable donations from one or two members, and then a small handful of smaller donations. The trouble with that mix is if you take the sizable donations out, what's left doesn't take the effort very far. Fund raisers work best when the small donations all add up, which means you need more people willing to part with $5 or $10.

So what would make you part with those $5? To sacrifice one coffee for the month to the SWTOR gods in order to put fuel in the community tank?

Past fund raisers offered in-game credits, rare in-game CM items, lovely in-game decorations, and the ability to pick-and-choose which mix of all those prizes you would like. But at the end of the day, this just didn't seem to light the fire of excitement under too many people.

I would love to hear ideas from you all on what you think would make good prizes. Not just good prizes, but what you know you would honestly be willing to put down a few bucks for a chance at winning. No idea is too crazy! (Well, some ideas will be, but we won't know until we hear them!) Maybe we get other members of the community to help in providing less tangible prizes by contributing their creativity - though keep in mind that if half the community is donating time instead of money, we end up right back where we started!
  • Is the allure of in-game wealth still the best prize? Credits galore!
  • Are pricey CM items genuinely sufficient lure for you?
  • Is there some particularly rare crafted item you'd love someone to make for you?
  • Maybe you have a dream of your perfect RP event, but you really need someone to decorate a Corsucant or DK stage for you for the day?
  • Maybe you would kill for someone to run a one-shot adventure to a theme of your choosing one evening that you can bring sadly under-used Character X to?
  • What other things could a crazy Space!RPer want?? Tell us!

Let's hear all the ideas!  :whee: :cake:

In the meantime, if you happen to have a spare $5 for what's left of March while the next fund-raiser effort gets cooked up, don't forget to stop by the donations page and donate!

2
Back in February I hosted a fund-raising raffle for this site, and did so again in June with a couple other generous members of the community helping with prize donations. The June fundraiser should have raised us enough funds to cover the site's costs through the autumn. But now the autumn is well and truly here, and the next fund-raiser which I had planned to organize is definitely past due! I am here now to rectify that.

:halo:  Giving Thanks  :halo:
A Fundraising Effort and Raffle for BC.org

For this raffle, I'm trying something different! First thing to know is that I'm going to host a winter raffle in January that will be more similar to the previous two raffles, in which there will be a large variety of prizes including in-game credits, in-game items, as well as a newly added category of Cartel Market items purchased to order. But considering some of November has already passed, and that folks in November may already be saving up for Christmas shopping, this Giving Thanks raffle is organized differently, and designed to make small increment donations really count!

But first, the basics, for those who may not have participated in the previous raffles...

Why This Fundraiser? This website is a home for a great community, and many of us frequent it daily. It is a home that further provides all sorts of wonderful amenities, beyond just that of a community forum - such as the HoloNet wiki, the Strongholds listing, the GuildNet features, and the Chatroom we use both for our RP events and for socializing. With the server merge, now more than ever this place is a home for the community. The month of November is Thanksgiving month for our U.S. based folks (and it wasn't so long ago in October when it was Thanksgiving for our Canadian folks), so it seems like an opportune time for people to give thanks, and maybe get some prizes for doing so!

Goal of the Fundraiser: To raise as many donation funds for the site as we can in what remains of the month of November! Those funds roll over into subsequent months, so we can potentially help the site for additional months to come. This fundraising effort will take the form of a raffle, in which anyone who donates to the site in November is entered for a chance to win in-game prizes, which will be enumerated below.

The fundraiser is 100% organized and funded by me, and though I have permission from the site admins to hold these raffles it's important that no one take this to mean that I am speaking on their behalf, or that they are pressuring the community to donate. The admins have funded and maintained this site for us through dry spells and good spells, and never put the burden on the community in any way. This is just an opportunity for us to reward that generosity by sharing the load!

How it Works: Below I will outline how the raffle works. It's a little different from the previous two times, so be sure to read all the way through!

 :lightside: Raffle entries will be accepted only in increments of $5. One $5 donation to the site gets you one raffle entry. Make your donations through the site's donation page.

 :lightside: The max number of entries that will count toward the raffle is TWO. If you are feeling generous you can certainly donate more than $10, but no matter how much you donate in $ you will receive only two entries into the raffle. The idea here is to try to encourage more people to participate by making small donations more evenly weighted in terms of your winning chances. This is different from the previous raffles, and as an experiment it may backfire, but it doesn't hurt to give it a try!

 :lightside: There will be five winning draws. If you have two entries in the raffle, it is possible for you to win two draws. The five winners will be assigned a winning order based on the draw (first winner drawn is first, second winner drawn is second, and so forth), and will get to pick prizes from the pool based on that priority order.

 :lightside: If you have already made donations in the month of November, I am automatically going to count those as entries in the raffle (up to the maximum of two entries). Unexpected reward for your generosity! :)

 :lightside: Participants would need to pick the option, when donating, for their name to be publicly shown. This is entirely so that I, as a normal site user, can have access to see how many entries into the raffle people will be getting.

 :lightside: The window for donations starts right now (and retroactively includes any donations already made in November), and will end on Tuesday November 28th.

 :lightside: One Wednesday 11/29 at 7:30 PM PST I will be in the BC.org chat room to do the prize drawing in real time. (Need to do it on the 29th rather than the 30th as I will be out of town on the 30th.) Each person will be assigned numbers equal in quantity to the number of their entries, and then I'll use the /roll function to see what numbers win! For example: If the contest gets a total of 20 entries, and you are entitled to two of them, you might be assigned numbers 11 and 12, and if either of those are the result on a /roll 1d20 then you win! (You don't have to be present in the chat room in order to win; I'll post the winners on the forums too of course.)

Prizes: This part is a little different form previous fundraisers too. While the previous two fundraisers offered a wide variety of prize items, this time, with the more limited time window and the smaller-increment experiment, I am offering up only stronghold decorations. Given that we are a RP community and have a lot of avid decorators, my hope is that this will actually be a decent incentive!

All of the below decorations are ones I had hoarded up for giving to RP guilds. They are all drops from Flashpoints, Operations, and open world play. None are from the Cartel Market, and as such they can only be donated to guilds by physically donating the actual copy of the deco (with the sole exception of the Planetary Displays). They range in rarity, so if you aren't familiar with any of them by name I recommend checking the in game UI or TOR Decorating.

Below is the list of decos that will be offered, and the number of copies of each. If there is more than one copy of a deco being offered it is not a lot deal; the number just indicates how many of that deco are available to choose from.

Each of the winners will get to choose 5 individual decorations from this list - so that's 1 deco for each $1 you've donated!

1   Ancient Burial Urn   
1   Armor Stand Zakuul Knight   
2   Bazaar Lantern   
1   Canister of Isotope-9   
1   Center-Mounted Monitor Display   
1   Computer Desk (Republic)   
1   Dark Datacron (Strength)   
1   Decorative Gear Arrangement   
1   Dreadful Altar   
1   Dreadful Throne   
1   Factory Welding Droid   
2   Flag: Dangerous Hutt   
1   Framed Skytrooper Chassis Remains   
2   Holo Sign: Hovering Rishi Dancer   
2   Holocron of Fear   
2   Hypergate Irregularity   
1   Incomplete Skytrooper Chassis   
1   Krayt Dragon Skull   
1   Large Field Generator   
1   Left-Mounted Monitor Display   
1   Light Datacron (Presence)   
3   Light Datacron (Strength)   
3   Mine Cart (Asteroid Rocks)   
2   Mine Cart (Baradium)   
1   Multi-state Mainframe Terminal   
1   Orbital Power Monitor   
1   Planetary Display: Alderaan   
1   Planetary Display: Belsavis   
1   Planetary Display: Hoth   
1   Planetary Display: Nar Shaddaa   
4   Power Condenser Tube   
2   Rakata Energy Pylon   
1   Rakata Herald Statue   
1   Replica Sacrificial Sphere   
1   Science Station (Field)   
1   Selkath Solar Sculpture   
2   Shady Merchant's Banner   
1   Shattered Sith Artifact   
2   Star Fortress Stasis Bunk   
2   Statue of Cowled Man   
1   Storm Carrier Rocket   
1   Stormcaller Tank   
1   Wall-Mounted Power Converter   
1   Yavin Temple Chandelier   
1   Zakuulan Chair   
1   Zakuulan Computer Console Type  A   
1   Zakuulan Computer Console Type B    
1   Zakuulan Hanging Monitor Array   
1   Zakuulan Medical Bed   
1   Zakuulan Meta Computation Machine   
1   Zakuulan Shield and Force Pikes   
2   Zakuulan Standing Floor Lamp   
2   Zakuulan Tech Wall Panel   


:halo:  Giving Thanks  :halo:

So this time, with the cap on donations, it's especially true that every little bit counts! Throw in your $5 before November 28th and help out our home! Now more than ever, as we are swallowed up by Harbinger, we need to support our home!




3
I'm writing up this post primarily as a reference tool for the community group who will be trying to run Operations shortly, but my hope is that it might be helpful to anyone who might be new to MMO raiding and interested in learning more, whether or not you're part of the group we'll be running.

I'm going to note some common terms that you'll hear during MMO raiding content, particularly when a raid leader is explaining a fight in voice chat, or calling things out during a fight itself. Some of these might be very familiar to some players, but it's never wise to assume! So here goes:

Adds - This refers to enemies that might might spawn and join a fight sometime after the fight is first initiated. They are "additions" to the fight at a later time, hence "adds." The term is most commonly used to talk about weaker enemies that appear during a fight against a boss-level enemy that may have scripted phases to their tactics. Often a fight might have several waves of adds, spawning into the battle at different times/phases. Instructions for party members to 'focus on defeating adds' generally means that players in the DPS role should stop attacking the boss and instead target all adds until these weaker enemies are defeated. Sometimes adds must be taken out in a specific order, or moved to specific areas of the battlefield. There are all sorts of instructions that might come about in the effort to defeat or manage adds.

Rotation - Although it is possible for most class types/roles to have a rotation, primarily this is relevant to characters in the DPS role. A 'rotation' refers to executing a character's abilities in a specific sequence so as to maximize damage output. Depending on the complexity of any given class, a rotation might be short (maybe 8-12 sequenced abilities), or very long and including multiple insertions of an ability, or sequencing variations, depending on the random-chance triggers of things like critical chance or gear set bonuses. Although a heavy focus on understanding, memorizing, and executing a rotation generally only comes into play at higher level game difficulties and raiding efforts, it doesn't hurt for any DPS player to spend some time learning their abilities and looking at which abilities gain bonuses from being executed before or after other specific abilities. A simple Google search on your class + 'DPS rotation' will likely point the curious player to many resources.

Cooldowns - Although in a general sense, 'cooldown' refers to the period of time it takes any ability to recharge before it can be used again, usually when referred to in the plural as 'cooldowns' the term is being used to describe a class's powerful defensive abilities, most of which come with significant cooldown times of 1+ minutes. Learning when to "pop your cooldowns" is about reading the situation in a battle to determine if you need to give yourself an extra boost of protection at any given moment. Players who are very comfortable with reading battles and managing their abilities may incorporate these into their rotations (and tanks in particular need to learn to use these very well), while others will simply hold them in reserve for emergencies, or for when their party's healer or raid leader might call out for party members to use them because they are seeing danger signs. Offensive powers (such as boosts to critical chance) can also be referred to as "cooldowns" but these are rarely called out by others in a raiding context, as it is assumed that players will be incorporating offense boosts into their rotation as a matter of course.

LOS - This is an abbreviation of Line Of Sight. It can be used in its more straight-forward sense to talk about whether or not an avatar has line of sight on an enemy in order to execute an attack (the game itself will give you a flash-message telling you when your line of sight on an enemy is being blocked by other avatars/enemies or by the environment). 'LOS' can also be used as a verb or command, when discussing executing a tactic that involves a character attacking an enemy (thereby getting the enemy to focus attacks on them) and then positioning themselves behind a piece of environmental geometry in order to force the enemies to chase them; this tactic is often used to move enemies into a more favorable position for the rest of the party. When used in this fashion you might hear a tank say, "I'm going to LOS that group behind this corner. Everyone wait here while I bring them over."

Pull - This term is used to describe the act of deliberately grabbing enemy attention and engaging enemy NPCs in combat, either by attacking them directly or by entering the enemy's attack radius. You 'pull' an enemy or a group of enemies by engaging with them, which usually results in enemies moving over to you (hence the choice of the word 'pull' for to describe this). You will often hear a raid leader give a tank permission to "pull when ready," which means clearing them to begin the fight. You might also hear someone say "I'm going to pull this group over to the left," which is both a game-specific and literal use of the term. Or, in keeping with the above explanation of LOS, you might hear a tank explain they are going to "LOS pull this group to spot X." And of course, you might hear a warning along the lines of, "Walk close along the right wall to make sure you don't unintentionally pull that group over by the left door."

CC - This is an abbreviation of Crowd Control, and refers to specific abilities that allow a player to stun or immobilize an enemy. These are referred to as 'crowd control' abilities because they can temporarily eliminate an enemy from a fight, thereby minimizing the number of active enemies and allowing a party to maintain better control over the 'crowd.' If a player is instructed to "CC that droid on the far right" they are being asked to use their stun ability on said target. Note that some players have short-duration stuns (abilities that might immobilize an enemy for something like 4 seconds), and though these might technically fall under the same umbrella, generally speaking when referring to CC you are only talking about abilities that can stun/immobilize for long durations such as 1 minute. It's also important to note that almost all CC abilities can be broken if the target takes damage, so when your party chooses to employ Crowd Control on a group of enemies it is very important that players do not damage the stunned enemy; being careful about targeting your AOE abilities (or foregoing AOE abilities altogether) when there is a Crowd Controlled enemy around can be crucial.

Stun breaker - All classes in SWTOR have an ability that allows them to break the effects of a stun or immobilization effect being used against them. These abilities generally have a long cool down, and should be used strategically. If a raid leader warns about a particular mechanic for which you should (or should not) use your 'stun breaker,' this what they're talking about.

Cast Bar / Channeled Abilities - Both players and NPCs have some abilities that might take 1-3 seconds to execute, as opposed to instantly triggering. These abilities, usually called 'channeled abilities,' have a visual indicator to them within the user interface of the game, represented by a "castbar" that appears and shows a meter marking the progress of the cast/channel. By adjusting your User Interface in SWTOR, you can turn on and move both your own castbar (player castbar) as well as the castbars for your target, and your focus target. In a raid, it can often be very important for players to pay attention to an enemy's castbars, so making sure that these are activated in your User Interface and placed in a position that is easy for you to see is a good idea.

Interrupt - All classes in SWTOR have an ability that allows them to interrupt an enemy's cast of a channeled ability. (This is often described in the tooltip as "interrupts the target's current action.") Some classes have an interrupt ability that works at range, while others will need to be within melee range to use theirs. It will often fall on a player in the tank role to interrupt key enemy abilities, but this is a responsibility that can frequently go to a DPS player as well. Sometimes interrupting an enemy ability can be crucial to success, and mean instant death of a player if the interrupt is missed. Many Operations or FP bosses have a "boss immunity" that prevents interrupts, so use of interrupts depends on the specific fight's mechanics.

Focus Target - SWTOR allows commands that will designate your selected target as your 'focus target' - doing so will pop up your target's portrait&health bars in an area of the screen that you can choose by activating and moving the 'Focus Target' panel in your Interface Editor. This portrait of your focus target will always remain visible on your screen even if you are actively targeting and attacking a different enemy, allowing you to monitor what your focused target is doing at all times. It is often advisable to mark an enemy boss as your focus target, so that even while you are attacking adds you can still see if the boss is casting a particular ability, or monitor their health. It also gives you a means of quickly re-targeting back on the boss when you need to, by simply clicking that focus target portrait. To set the key command you want to use to designate a target as your focus target, go into Preferences > Key Bindings > Targeting and determine your command for 'Set Focus Target.'

Telegraphs - Many powerful enemy abilities affect wide areas of the battlefield. Players are often given advance warning that such an attack is going to be executed by virtue of symbols that appear on the ground - circles or bars or auras of varying colors and patterns. These indicators are called 'telegraphs,' because they are telegraphing where an attack is going to hit. Telegraphs might appear several seconds in advance of an ability being triggered, or they might give only the briefest second/sliver of warning; the amount of time a telegraph lasts before the attack is actually triggered depends on the difficulty of the fight and the size/radius of the attack. A raid leader may often explain a fight by telling you about telegraphs to look out for (usually describing them by shape and color), and they might also call out telegraphs to be conscious of during a fight itself. It's a general rule of thumb that when the game gives you a telegraph warning, it's usually doing so because you are supposed to move out of the indicated area before the attack triggers, or stay out of it for the duration of an area effect. If you've ever heard people talking about the importance of not "standing in stupid" they are talking about the importance of getting out of a telegraphed danger area promptly, rather than staying put to keep attacking at the expense of taking massive damage when the enemy attack you were warned about finally goes off.

Threat - SWTOR, like most MMOs, has built into it a mechanic by which enemies are drawn to attack certain player characters over others. That is the most simple way to describe the mechanism of 'threat.' You can think of 'threat' as the amount of enemy interest a player is generating. In traditional MMO roles, it is the job of a character in the role of a tank to try to maintain the highest threat level in their party, to keep enemies focused on attacking them rather than the DPS or healers. Tanking classes have both passive and active abilities that increase the threat they generate, and it is the tank's job to learn to use these effectively to help manage a battlefield. But doing damage and healing allies also generates threat; DPS will generate threat on the target you are currently attacking, and healing will generate threat on all enemies in the area. This means that a DPS will usually only draw the attention of an enemy they are attacking (which is often the boss, who should otherwise be focused on a tank), whereas healers might generate threat on the entire room at once (something that frequently puts healers in peril when adds first spawn into a fight). Although SWTOR uses the term 'threat' in its ability tooltips, some players might use the alternate term 'aggro' to mean exactly the same thing.

Threat dump - All DPS and healer classes should have an ability that, when triggered, instantly lowers the amount of threat they are generating against all enemies. It is important to identify and familiarize yourself with this ability for your class. Knowing when to use it is something that will come with experience, but failing all else your raid leader or tank may call out for a DPS character to use their 'threat/aggro dump' at any given time - often because, as a tank, they can see when the boss whose attention they are trying to hold has now turned its attention to you instead. As a healer you are going to need to learn when to use a threat dump on your own, but generally speaking if you find you are being swarmed by adds it's a good time to use your threat dump!

"Let the tank build threat" - You might hear your read leader call for this tactic when explaining an upcoming fight to you. Generally this refers to an opening tactic that calls for the party to hold back and let a tanking character engage a boss by themselves for a few seconds. During that time a tank may be executing a specific sequence of high-threat abilities in order to really make sure they've got the boss's attention locked in, before the DPS get in there and start generating threat caused by their damaging attacks.

Cleave - This term is used to refer to any variety of boss attacks that might affect a wide area in front of the boss, and will damage any character within that area. A cleave attack may be targeted on a single character (usually the tank, or whomever is holding threat) which means it isn't technically an AOE attack, but it will still do damage to anyone within the cleave telegraph. For this reason you will often see that a common tanking tactic is for a tank to turn the boss away from the rest of the party (resulting in the rest of the party standing at the boss's back while the tank is alone at their front). As a general rule of thumb it's better for DPS and healers to stay behind the boss whenever possible, but sometimes the mechanics of a fight require too much movement to maintain that positioning. At minimum, it's important to know if the boss has any cleave attacks of which you should be aware, so that you know how critical it may or may not be to be mindful of that positioning.

Target markers and kill order - During a fight, your raid leader might use game tools in order to place target markers on enemies - colored symbols that will float above a NPC's head to make them easier to spot and to target. This might be used to indicate which targets need to be CCed, or even just to call out specific targets of interest. It might also be used to designate a 'kill order' - a priority order in which enemies need to be focused and taken down by the DPS in a group. For example, your raid leader might mark three out of four enemies with a Fire, Target, and Star symbol, and tell you to kill enemies in that order.

Kill Weak to Strong - SWTOR classifies enemies as Normal (no special outline/symbol on their portraits), Strong (silver outline/symbol), Elite (gold outline/symbol), Champion (mixed gold & silver star symbol), and then Bosses. When you are confronted with a group of multiple enemies to take out in a group content/raiding situation, it is advisable to always (unless the mechanics of a fight require otherwise) kill enemies from weakest to strongest. In other words, start by taking down the Normals, then move to Strongs, then to Elites, and etc. The primary reason for this is to quickly reduce the amount of damage the enemies can put out; Normals have less HP and will die quicker, but while they are up they are still putting out damage that is often focused wildly all over the party, and this puts strain on your healers. In the time it would take you to kill one Elite you can kill 2-4 Normals, so it is better to remove the potential damage output of 2-4 enemies in that same time frame than it is to remove the output of just one. (Note that the counterbalance to this DPS perspective is the tank's role, in which the tank will generally engage the strongest enemy on the battlefield and hold their attention thereby allowing the DPS free rein to mop up all the weaker enemies.) 

Raid-wide damage - When an enemy has an attack that will deal damage to everyone in the party at the same time, this is called raid-wide damage. Raid-wide damage often does not take range or LOS into account, meaning that it won't matter how far away you are from the boss or whether or not you are hiding behind something. Raid-wide damage can be some of the most difficult mechanics for a healer to contend with, so it is often going to be called out as something to be particularly wary of. Often a fight will call on a party to successfully execute interrupts or other mechanics in order to specifically avoid a raid-wide damage attack.

DOT - This abbreviation stands for "Damage Over Time" and refers to the effect an attack might place on a target in which smaller increments of periodic damage are dealt to the target over a set period of time, lasting after the attack is initially executed. Both PCs and NPCs can have attacks that inflict DOTs. These lingering effects can sometimes be removed by a healer with a special "cleanse" ability, but sometimes there is nothing that can be done and you just have to hope for the best!

Buffs / Debuffs - Hopefully everyone is familiar with what buffs and debuffs are! But if not, here's some brief definitions found in any variety of MMO glossaries out there. Buff: Temporary boost to character attribute or combat ability. Debuff: The opposite of a buff, an offensive spell cast on enemies that weakens an attribute or combat ability. These are indicated as icons over your character portrait/health bar, with tooltips that explain what their effects are when you hover over them. I mention this only to lead into the next couple items below:

Stacks - This term is used to discuss buffs and debuffs that can be applied multiple times on the same target. If the effects of the buff/debuff are cumulative or additive in nature, then they can be called "stacking" buffs/debuffs. The number of times - or "stacks" - that a buff/debuff has been applied is indicated by a number on the buff/debuff icon. Stacking debuffs can be particularly crucial for players to be aware of, because a fight's mechanics might hinge on them. For example: a certain number of stacks on a debuff could trigger instant death, or a tank may need to switch places with their co-tank once they've been hit with a particular number of stacks on a debuff, or a healer may need to know to cleanse a particular debuff from a party member when it's reached a certain number of stacks.

"Stack up" or "Stack on" - These phrases generally have nothing to do with stacking buffs or debuffs, which is why they are being called out here for clarification. When the party is instructed to "stack up" it means that the players should all reposition themselves in order to be standing closely together, usually to avoid damage or to bring the whole party into proximity to allow your healers to hit everyone with AOE healing abilities at the same time. The party may also be called to specifically "stack on the tank" or "stack on the healer," meaning to reposition themselves around the player thus called out - again usually to avoid specific types of damage or to enable group heals.

Raid buffs - Many SWTOR classes have an ability that grants a temporary party-wide (or raid-wide, depending on the tooltip wording) buff. These are potent abilities that generally have a long cooldown, and as such might only be used once during a fight (or twice, if it's a particularly long boss fight). As a general rule of thumb it's a good idea to only use these abilities when your raid leader calls for it. Because most raid buffs specifically increase damage output, raid buffs are often used during a phase in a boss fight where the party might be required to reduce a boss's health by a certain percentage within a limited window of time.

Resource-starved - If a player is "resource-starved" it means that the resource their class uses in order trigger their abilities has been depleted or is close to being so. This might be Force power, or energy cells, or ammunition (or it might work in "reverse" and be a generation of heat which, once maxed, prevents you from triggering more abilities). Learning how to manage your resource, either by using abilities that regenerate it or measuring out your high-consumption abilities to allow your normal regeneration rate to catch up, is part of the process of learning how to most efficiently play your class. This will come with time! Most commonly, concerns around being resource-starved will relate to those players in the healer's role, who may find themselves pressed to the resource breaking point in tough fights, and for whom being resource-starved might mean the death of the party.

Enrage / enrage timer / hard vs soft enrage - Many bosses in Operations have a built in mechanic called Enrage. A boss might be set to "enrage" after a specific amount of time has passed from when the fight was first initiated (for example, maybe 5 or 10 minutes into a fight). That is the enrage timer. When a boss becomes "enraged" they generally acquire a reddish sheen to their avatar and will begin dealing out massively increased amounts of damage. Usually when a boss enrages that means the party is going to be wiped out in very short order, since the enrage exists to indicate to the party that you took too long to beat the encounter, and that successfully passing the fight will mean trying again and being more efficient next time. (Yes, sometimes it's possible to survive a a boss enrage by the skin of your teeth, but generally speaking this mechanic exists to force a party wipe and a retry.) The enrage described so far is what is sometimes called a "hard enrage" - something deliberately designed to kill the party off. A "soft enrage" can be any mechanic wherein a boss suddenly acquires a significant boost to their damage output, either because you failed a mechanic that resulted in giving the boss this new buff, or because you killed enemies in the incorrect order and thus triggered an enemy's extra rage upon seeing their allies fall. So basically: a "hard enrage" is a mechanic meant to end a fight as indication that you just took too damn long, while a "soft enrage" is a mechanic meant to indicate you took a wrong turn and make the fight much harder for you but isn't necessarily a guaranteed failure.



There are probably tons more terms I could put in here, but I think this is more than enough to get started with.   :wtf:  :nuu:

If anyone has any suggestions for terms to be added, or any questions about terms you've heard that you've never understood, please post with a reply here and I'll try to make updates!

4
The Trading Floor / WTB Completed Bounty Contracts
« on: 07/22/17, 12:15:08 PM »
A few years back, I set out to grind all of the BBA event achievements. Between that and pursuing enough bounty contract tokens to buy a bunch of armor, mounts, decos, and multiple drink server probes, I ran so many bounty hunting missions that just the thought of running more makes me feel nauseous.  :nuu:

But in the event there are folks out there who still need/want to grind BBA reputation and are in need of credits or goodies, I'd like to offer to pay you for your intestinal fortitude!

 :lightside: I will pay 150,000 credits per every Completed Bounty Contract folks are willing to trade.
 :lightside: For folks dealing with a credit cap, I'd be happy to send you the payment in chunks of up to 300k as credit attachments to in-game mails, so that your mailbox can essentially serve as a 30-day bank that holds your credits outside of escrow. (And if you need to send it back to me so that I can mail it to you again to refresh the 30- day counter, I'm more than happy to.)
 :lightside: Alternatively, I could buy an item for you off the GTN equal to the number of credits owed, for those bigger ticket items that would cost more than 350k credit-capped folks could have at one time to spend.

At the moment there's no cap to how many contracts I'm looking to buy, though if by some miracle so many start coming in that I see an end in sight I'll update the thread to that effect.

If you're interested and have some contracts to sell, reply here or drop me a PM and we can arrange a time to make the trades! I know the event comes and goes (it's not even up at the time I'm making this post, but I wanted to draft it before I forgot; I will bump it when the event comes back around), but until such time as I make a post here indicating I don't need more contracts you can assume I'm still looking for more! 

5
Events and Occasions / Port of Call: And the Winner Is...!
« on: 07/14/17, 07:34:31 PM »
Event: Port of Call: And the Winner Is...!
a.k.a. Second in the Port of Call series of events
When: Saturday, July 22nd at 6:30 PM server time, with event milestones scheduled to last until 10:30 PM server time.
Where: In-game, in a Republic side guild flagship stronghold, name of Phalanx Station
Requirements: There are no IC requirements, and no rules sets needed. The event can ICly be cross-faction, but with the location being a Republic side guild SH you will unfortunately need to have a Pub side alt version of an Imp character if you want to attend. Wish it weren't so, but them's the game limitations...
Hosts: Myself and @Dassalya are the hosts, with some NPC contributions from friendly faces. We will keep an eye on Republicooc for anyone calling for invites, but please note that the stronghold will be publicly listed on the Flagship directory on Republic Fleet (as Phalanx Station), and the directory may be the easiest way to get there on your own time (since the hosts will have a lot of RP interactions duties as part of the event and may miss chat requests for an invite).

Attention all fans of the Frogdogs, and Huttball in general! For this night, and this night only, legendary Frogdog superstar Cirisp "Crispy" Pellaeon will be visiting the station and signing autographs in the Acid Pit cantina! If you've ever wanted to rub shoulders with your Huttball hero, this is the night! We all remember that notoriously fatal match where Pellaeon earned his nickname by running through the flame jets not once but twice to win the 'Dogs the championship! Come and gawk at Crispy's burn scars, get your free Scarlet Smashers (one drink per customer), and prepare yourself for participation in a contest that might win you one of Crispy Pellaeon's own uniforms, personally autographed for you on the chestguard plate!

See the bottom of the post for the events of the evening!

Port of Call
Another night of scum, mild villainy, Huttball, blood sport, bargain shopping, drinking, socializing, bounty hunting, war story swapping, and still pretending to be above board...

Setting: (Same as the last time!)

Independent operators braving the hyperlanes on "delivery" runs through all those sectors along the Treaty line know very well how lawless such stars can be. At the edges of Republic and Imperial power, finding safe harbor to refuel, trade, make connections, or just buy a decent drink can be difficult to manage. But those enterprising freelancers who usually find themselves operating more deeply on the Republic side of the line have been hearing, for the last few years, about Phalanx Station - a good port of call for those who want to stay under the radar, but not find themselves running afoul of the Hutts or the authorities. 

Located in the Mytaranor sector, a few systems deep into Republic space, Phalanx Station has developed a reputation as a solid port, adequately defended against pirates, and generally provisioned well enough to meet a spacer's restocking needs. The station's Republic roots go beyond just its physical location, if rumors are to be believed; it's said Phalanx Station was founded by a group of Republic commandos who turned their backs on the Republic during Saresh's rule, and mercenary and bounty hunting types especially have been spreading the word that old war hands looking for a place to lay down their heads and their kit while they forge a new life out of uniform should head to Phalanx. Imperials, on the other hand, are advised to watch their backs, but not even these rumors or the station's location can fully stop independent operators who like to keep friends on both sides of the Treaty line; all savvy spacers know that strategically irrelevant border systems don't get a lot of bureaucratic attention, and that an Imperial-minded visitor is likely to be able to conduct their business on Phalanx just fine so long as they don't go waving the flag.

But despite the station's reputation as a stable haven where the owners are known to enforce some rule of law, those who make it their business to know what the galactic underworld is up to have heard rumors of their own - rumors that behind Phalanx Station's gruff ex-military owners there might be shadowy figures with their hands on the pulse - and finances - of the station's operations. The most consistent of these rumors implicate the Exchange as the station's shadow operators, and more than a few smugglers can confirm that on visits to Phalanx they've brokered jobs to move everything from food stuffs to luxury items to weapons. The only prohibited merchandise on the station seems to be slaves (and many have speculated as to why, given the Exchange's history otherwise).

But despite this supposed Exchange presence on the station, everyone seems to agree there's considerably more security to be found aboard Phalanx than one might expect in Hutt space these days. And in the aftermath of Zakuul's withdrawal, a stable port of call is a welcome thing indeed for the weary freelancer looking for a patch job on their ship, their blasters, or even their limbs.

Phalanx Station is known to boast the following amenities:
  • A bustling bazaar, including some of the liveliest auctions to be found in this or any neighboring sector
  • The greasiest and most fortifying foodstuffs a hungry spacer could ask for, served up on the promenade
  • Public HoloNet terminal and kiosk access
  • The Acid Pit cantina, where Huttball fans can watch the match broadcasts while pounding their toxic sludge of choice
  • A flophouse and storage facilities for the itinerant blaster-for-hire or disillusioned veteran
  • A BBA chapterhouse, for delivery of acquisitions and stocking up on the latest in seeker droid technologies
  • A medical clinic, known for its modest fees and modest services (but sometimes modest is all you need to stave off the Void)
  • Rumors speak to an exclusive gambling circuit that is attracting some high roller attention, although supposedly participation is by invitation only
  • The Proving Grounds. Arguably the station's main attraction, where some of the most exciting prize fights in the quadrant can be found. Whether you're looking to see man, droid, or beast in action, you're likely to find a good match to wager on here.


Events of the Event that may prove Eventful:

Folks are welcome to wander around the station and strike up their RP wherever they'd like! No one is obligated to move with the timeline of the events, they are just there for those who find the subjects intriguing.

Rubbing Shoulders and Pounding Drinks: From 6:30 to 7:30 server time, while people trickle in, most activity will be centered in the market bazaar and the promenade food court. Socialize, grab some drinks, and prepare for shady dealings, Huttball, and bloodsport to come later... (i.e., this is an early hour for those who just want to free form RP for a while before the events get started)

Shopping for Bargains and Bidding Wars: From 7:30 to 8:30 server time, an auction will be held in the bazaar. Anyone wanting to peruse the bazaar for bargain items before the auction starts is free to do so, as it's open all hours. But if you're looking to be surprised by unique, questionable, shady, or exciting deals, come see what the galaxy's treasure hunters have brought to Phalanx for auction, and be ready to bid! (Bids are IC.)

Huttball Heroes! A Night in the Cantina with "Crispy" Pellaeon: From 8:30 to 9:30 server time, stop by the Acid Pit cantina to watch replays of the most famous Huttball matches and get a chance to actually meet legendary Frogdog superstar Cirisp "Crispy" Pellaeon. Those brave enough to get a taste of what it might be like to carry an actual Huttball (with all the risk that implies) and show their grit in a friendly contest may - if you win! - walk away with one of Crispy Pellaeon's very own Frogdog uniforms, with a personalized autograph on the chestplate just for you.

Bets and Blood: From 9:30 to 10:30 server time, stop by the Proving Grounds arena to watch men, beasts, and machines battle for your entertainment. The Creature Keeper and the Iron Ghost will be pitting their teams against each other once again, but this time the Proving Grounds is also open to dueling applicants! Have a friend who lost a bet and needs to face you in the ring? Have a rival with whom you want to settle a dispute in an honorable way? Tonight's the night!!! Just remember: no fatalities allowed!!

OOC Rules for participating in the Proving Grounds: We're allotting time for two player duels at this evening's event. We're just providing the stage, all the rest is up to you. If you want to duel, please sign up with your dueling partner (meaning we're not going to match you up, work it out with a buddy first), and just let us know what system you plan to use so we can get a sense of how long it will take. System/rules are totally up to you; this can be just RP, or rolls, or whatever you like, just make sure you and your partner have agreed on the rules set ahead of time and are ready to go! Sign up by commenting in this thread. (The next Port of Call event will be focused on the Proving Grounds and we'll have more structured dueling rules, but for this one we're just opening it up for anyone who wants to come and play in the ring in their own way and under their own initiative.)

6
Events and Occasions / Port of Call
« on: 06/14/17, 05:55:44 PM »
Event: Port of Call
Where: In-game, in a Republic side guild flagship stronghold, name of Phalanx Station
When: Saturday, June 24th at 7:30 PM server time, with event milestones scheduled to last until 10:30 PM server time.
Requirements: There are no IC requirements, and no rules sets needed. The event can ICly be cross-faction, but with the location being a Republic side guild SH you will unfortunately need to have a Pub side alt version of an Imp character if you want to attend. Wish it weren't so, but them's the game limitations...
Hosts: Myself and @Dassalya are the hosts, with some NPC contributions from friendly faces. We will keep an eye on Republicooc for anyone calling for invites, but please note that the stronghold will be publicly listed on the Flagship directory on Republic Fleet (as Phalanx Station), and the directory may be the easiest way to get there on your own time (since the hosts will have a lot of RP interactions duties as part of the event and may miss chat requests for an invite).

Port of Call
A night of scum, mild villainy, blood sport, bargain shopping, drinking, socializing, bounty hunting, war story swapping, and still pretending to be above board...

Setting:

Independent operators braving the hyperlanes on "delivery" runs through all those sectors along the Treaty line know very well how lawless such stars can be. At the edges of Republic and Imperial power, finding safe harbor to refuel, trade, make connections, or just buy a decent drink can be difficult to manage. But those enterprising freelancers who usually find themselves operating more deeply on the Republic side of the line have been hearing, for the last few years, about Phalanx Station - a good port of call for those who want to stay under the radar, but not find themselves running afoul of the Hutts or the authorities. 

Located in the Mytaranor sector, a few systems deep into Republic space, Phalanx Station has developed a reputation as a solid port, adequately defended against pirates, and generally provisioned well enough to meet a spacer's restocking needs. The station's Republic roots go beyond just its physical location, if rumors are to be believed; it's said Phalanx Station was founded by a group of Republic commandos who turned their backs on the Republic during Saresh's rule, and mercenary and bounty hunting types especially have been spreading the word that old war hands looking for a place to lay down their heads and their kit while they forge a new life out of uniform should head to Phalanx. Imperials, on the other hand, are advised to watch their backs, but not even these rumors or the station's location can fully stop independent operators who like to keep friends on both sides of the Treaty line; all savvy spacers know that strategically irrelevant border systems don't get a lot of bureaucratic attention, and that an Imperial-minded visitor is likely to be able to conduct their business on Phalanx just fine so long as they don't go waving the flag.

But despite the station's reputation as a stable haven where the owners are known to enforce some rule of law, those who make it their business to know what the galactic underworld is up to have heard rumors of their own - rumors that behind Phalanx Station's gruff ex-military owners there might be shadowy figures with their hands on the pulse - and finances - of the station's operations. The most consistent of these rumors implicate the Exchange as the station's shadow operators, and more than a few smugglers can confirm that on visits to Phalanx they've brokered jobs to move everything from food stuffs to luxury items to weapons. The only prohibited merchandise on the station seems to be slaves (and many have speculated as to why, given the Exchange's history otherwise).

But despite this supposed Exchange presence on the station, everyone seems to agree there's considerably more security to be found aboard Phalanx than one might expect in Hutt space these days. And in the aftermath of Zakuul's withdrawal, a stable port of call is a welcome thing indeed for the weary freelancer looking for a patch job on their ship, their blasters, or even their limbs.

Phalanx Station is known to boast the following amenities:
  • A bustling bazaar, including some of the liveliest auctions to be found in this or any neighboring sector
  • The greasiest and most fortifying foodstuffs a hungry spacer could ask for, served up on the promenade
  • Public HoloNet terminal and kiosk access
  • The Acid Pit cantina, where Huttball fans can watch the match broadcasts while pounding their toxic sludge of choice
  • A flophouse and storage facilities for the itinerant blaster-for-hire or disillusioned veteran
  • A BBA chapterhouse, for delivery of acquisitions and stocking up on the latest in seeker droid technologies
  • A medical clinic, known for its modest fees and modest services (but sometimes modest is all you need to stave off the Void)
  • Rumors speak to an exclusive gambling circuit that is attracting some high roller attention, although supposedly participation is by invitation only
  • The Proving Grounds. Arguably the station's main attraction, where some of the most exciting prize fights in the quadrant can be found. Whether you're looking to see man, droid, or beast in action, you're likely to find a good match to wager on here.


Events of the Event that may prove Eventful:

Rubbing Shoulders and Pounding Drinks: From 7:30 to 8:30 server time, while people trickle in, most activity will be centered in the Acid Pit cantina and the promenade food court. Socialize, grab some drinks, and prepare for shady dealings and bloodsport to come later...

Shopping for Bargains and Bidding Wars: From 8:30 to 9:30 server time, an auction will be held in the bazaar. Anyone wanting to peruse the bazaar for bargain items before the auction starts is free to do so, as it's open all hours. But if you're looking to be surprised by unique, questionable, shady, or exciting deals, come see what the galaxy's treasure hunters have brought to Phalanx for auction, and be ready to bid! (Bids are IC.)

Bets and Blood: From 9:30 to 10:30 server time, stop by the Proving Grounds arena to watch men, beasts, and machines battle for your entertainment. The queasy should fortify their stomachs. Combatants in Proving Grounds matches have rules of conduct to follow, and there's honor to be gained and upheld, but while killing blows are frowned on so is pulling punches. If you're not willing to shed some blood to prove your mettle, don't step into the ring. (For this event, player characters are just here to spectate, not participate, but who knows what future events might bring.) Betting is encouraged!

Folks are welcome to wander around the station and strike up their RP wherever they'd like! No one is obligated to move with the timeline of the events, they are just there for those who find the subjects intriguing.

No signs ups necessary, just show up when and as you wish! But if you do think you'll be coming feel free to drop a reply here if you can, as headcount estimates are useful for logistics planning.

7
As part of revving the engine on the Operations group some community members will be participating in come August, I thought we could try for a couple nights of group content, and Uprisings are a good place to start. However, these don't need to be limited to just folks who will be participating in that Operations group - sign ups are open to all, and anyone who'd like to come along is welcome! Please just keep in mind the following:

1. This will happen on Republic side.

2. We will be doing these Uprisings in Story mode, so gear is not going to be hugely important, but at minimum try to make sure you are in the level 65 mods you can buy from the vendor.

3. Be sure you are of the correct level and account status to be able to access Uprisings before you sign up. 

4. We will be making an effort to sort groups into a traditional 1 Tank, 1 Healer, 2 DPS structure. So when you sign up, please be sure to include the role you want to fill.

5. We will be discussing mechanics and working to adhere to them. Uprisings are easy enough in Story Mode that this probably isn't going to make or break us, but it is a good place to learn, and some of the mechanics are clear enough that they're good for cutting your teeth on.

6. Depending on the sign ups, we may need to run only one group/Uprising at a time, while some people wait for the next run. Try to be patient! You can always run some Heroics with your fellow bench sitters until your Uprising run is ready. :)

8
Back in February, I hosted a fund-raising raffle for this site, BC.org, our community's virtual home. We were able to raise four months' worth of funding for the site, which means that starting next month in June the site could use more funds. So it's time for another raffle!

  :cheer:Summer Support  :cheer:
A Fundraising Effort & Raffle for BC.org

This time around, the prizes are going to work a little differently! Thanks to the generosity of @Nicohlas and @Imazi, between the three of us we've been able to put together a really nice pool of prizes, and you'll see how the rewards will work at the bottom of the rules, below. (Though all expressions of generosity from our community are appreciated, right now we don't need any additional prize donations; the best thing folks could do at this point is to donate funds to the site, since that's the point of the exercise!  :grin:)

Why This Fundraiser? This website is a home for a great community, and many of us frequent it daily. It is a home that further provides all sorts of wonderful amenities, beyond just that of a community forum - such as the HoloNet wiki, the Strongholds listing, the GuildNet features, and the Chatroom we use both for our RP events and for socializing. Now is an opportunity to do something to support it, and maybe get some prizes for doing so! It also appears that the site's domain renewal may be coming up this June, so that's even more reason to lend our support this summer!

Goal of the Fundraiser: To raise as many donation funds for the site as we can in the month of June! Those funds roll over into subsequent months, so we can help the site out for many months to come. This fundraising effort will take the form of a raffle, in which anyone who donates to the site in June is entered for a chance to win in-game prizes, which will be enumerated below.

The first iteration of this fundraiser was 100% organized and funded by me, and this time it's organized by me and supported by Nicohlas and Imazi with their donations. In other words, it's all just community member initiative, and though I got permission from the site admins to hold these raffles it's important that no one take this to mean that I am speaking on their behalf, or that they are pressuring the community to donate. The admins have funded and maintained this site for us through dry spells and good spells, and never put the burden on the community in any way. This is just an opportunity for us to reward that generosity by sharing the load!


How it Works: Below I will outline how the raffle works. If people have questions not covered here, I'll update this section as they get answered.

 :lightside: The raffle will look at donations in the pre-set increments that can be found on the Donations page, using the last six: $5, $10, $15, $20, $25, $50.

 :lightside: Any donation that hits any of the above-listed increments will count as an entry into the raffle. Meaning: if you donate $5, you get one entry. If you donate $15, you get three entries. If you donate $50, you get six entries. Multiple donations can go toward this total, but they will be summed up and then broken down by these increments to determine ultimate raffle entries (i.e., you could donate $5 on 6/3 and $10 on 6/20, together that would count as the $15 increment and three total entries).

 :lightside: Participants would need to pick the option, when donating, for their name to be publicly shown. This is entirely so that I, as a normal site user, can have access to see how many entries into the raffle people will be getting. It's not meant to cause anyone to feel uncomfortable that they're donating more or less than other people. At the end of the day, we are all donating for the same reason: because we love the site. Those who, for any reason life circumstances might be throwing at them in June, can only donate $5 don't love the site any less than those who can donate $50. In fundraising, every little bit helps!

 :lightside: On Friday 6/30 at 7:30 PM Server Time I will be in the BC.org chat room to do the prize drawing in real time. Each person will be assigned numbers equal in quantity to the number of their entries, and then I'll use the /roll function to see what numbers win! For example: If the contest gets a total of 40 entries, and you are entitled to three of them, you might be assigned numbers 11, 12, and 13, and if any of those are the result on a /roll 1d40 then you win! (You don't have to be present in the chat room in order to win; I'll post the winners on the forums too of course.)

 :lightside: The window for donations will start on June 1st, and end on June 29th.


Prizes: The part everyone ultimately cares about!  :grin: This is working differently from last time, so take a moment to read through the below.

A total of SIX WINNERS will be drawn / rolled for (six winning draws, which may or may not be six individual people). Each winner will get to take their pick of prizes according to one of the below prize selection options. The order in which winners are drawn will determine the order in which they get to pick; the next winner in the winning order will be sent an updated prize list to pick from via PM, with the prizes chosen by the previous winners removed from the listing.

Winners can choose one of four prize selection options:
1 Prize from the Aurek list
2 Prizes from the Besh list
1 Prize from the Besh list and 2 Prizes from the Cresh list
3 Prizes from the Cresh List


AUREK Prizes                                                     BESH Prizes                                              CRESH Prizes
Tythian Lightsaber Pike                                         Rangehunter Blaster Pistol                           White& Dark Orange Dye 
20 Million Credits                                                  Descendant's Heirloom Dualsaber                 Dark Red & Pale Red Dye
I-O8 Operator Requisition                                     Thexan's Lightsaber                                     D5-2D Astromech Droid
Commemorative Statue of Satele Shan (Deco)        Merciless Raider's Vibrosword                       BL-N3 Power Droid
Technolith Matrix Tuning                                       GR-4 ST Blaster                                          Iokath Circuit Panel (Deco)
Server Character Slot Unlock                                 White and Medium Gray Dye Module             Iokath Circuit Panel (Deco)
Arctic Gundark                                                     Deep Red and White Dye Module                  Revanite Camp Bed (Deco)
Imperial Devastator                                              Vectron Predator                                         Revanite Camp Bed (Deco)
Primary Black Dye Module                                     Vectron Predator                                         Temple Chair (Ornate)
Festive Weapon Tuning                                          Yavin Tree Plot (Deco)                                Temple Chair (Ornate)
                                                                           Yavin Tree Plot (Deco)                                Selkath Chair (Deco)
                                                                           Revanite Camp Fire (Deco)                          Selkath Chair (Deco)
                                                                           Revanite Camp Fire (Deco)                          Emote: Excited Child
                                                                           Jedi Small Council Table (Deco)                    Emote: Excited Child
                                                                           Jedi Small Council Table (Deco)                    Emote: OMG
                                                                           Sith Temple Long Table (Deco)                     Armored Diplomat Set
                                                                           Sith Temple Long Table (Deco)
                                                                           Revanite Altar (Deco)
                                                                           Revanite Altar (Deco)
                                                                           Electroblade Rack (Deco)
                                                                           Jolee Bindo's Armor Set   

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  :cheer:Summer Support  :cheer:

9
Holocrons and Info Nodes / Serenity's Gambit
« on: 04/27/17, 04:20:11 PM »
((This is the result of coming up with a "clever" idea for your character that can't actually be resolved without the assistance of a Game Master to play the Senate off of what you are so certain is your plucky creativity. And then you look around and realize you've left your character languishing in custody for months and that if you ever hope to get them out you're going to need to buckle down and RP with yourself like crazy. So while story posts were not something I ever thought I'd be doing, here I am, relying on the only method possible (short of a total hand wave) to work myself out of this hole of my own making. As usual, I have to have footnotes... or header notes... a.k.a. excuses, apologies, and credits:

1. This is a long, horrifically self-indulgent, rambling narrative with lots of dialogue and introspection. If you are easily bored, you should bolt for the exit now.

2. Much of this refers to and revisits events that happened in this story thread written by Custodum members around the Eternal Fleet's attack on Coruscant. This story post itself takes place months later... somewhere vaguely before the current Iokath storyline, which is a timey-wimey handwave I need to do because suddenly Jedi are back on Iokath with no clear explanation, so...

3. Special thanks to @Orell for contributing the dialogue for his characters, and for brainstorming politics with me.

4. Special thanks also to @Wymarc who laid out Telline's plans for me, and explained the political fate the Custodum could expect. Everything I allude to here about charges and results thereof is based on Wymarc's direction provided back in January.))



Serenity's Gambit

1.

The room in which Senator Rhybak had arranged for her to be held in custody was more comfortable than most prisoners of the Republic could expect, and though the special arrangement troubled Niarra’s conscience, she recognized it was in its own way part of the political theater in which they were engaging, and thus had its place.

So she accepted it, and appreciated it for what it was, and made sure, in her daily periods of contemplation before and after meditation, that she kept in her mind the fact that not all could be so fortunate in their incarceration, and that such considerations and experiences should be remembered when working to improve the plights of others.

But for all its relative comfort as a space of confinement, the room still lacked windows, and Niarra couldn’t help but feel that absence keenly.

First on Caamas, then on Tython, and finally on Talravin – all the places she had in her life considered home had embraced harmony with the surrounding natural environments. Trees, water, wind, all were as vital to her sense of rightness and well-being as the intricacies of negotiation around a gilt table were familiar. And in the last six years, she’d had considerably more nature than negotiating tables, so the change felt even more jarring. Even when she was summoned to appear before committees or judges or senators at the Rotunda, she was transported via secure airspeeder, from one hangar directly to another. She would have enjoyed a touch of even Coruscant air, though it seemed that would have to wait.

But perhaps, after three months now, the wait was coming to an end.

She received very little in the way of news vid feeds, generally only when Senator Rhybak or one of her old friends from diplomatic service visited and brought with them the latest updates on the Senate’s deliberations. Those visits had been cut dramatically in the last week, which would have been indication enough that something was brewing, even without Alyonna’s latest hint that matters were coming to a head and a final decision.

In the Force, during her meditations, she knew it as well. A moment of change was coming.




2.

A chime from the comms panel roused Niarra from her meditation. She had only just begun to drop into it, and so it wasn’t a difficult transition to bring herself back into the moment, and the cool grayness of her room.

Representative Dreikan of Zeltros is here to see you,” the guard at the other end of the  comms link announced.

Niarra smiled to herself, but didn’t hasten to reach the comms panel for a reply; she knew from experience that the guards wouldn’t wait for one, or for permission to escort someone in. She was afforded many leniencies in this unique incarceration, but such social niceties weren’t one of them. A minute’s warning was all that was generally afforded, in the interest of decency she supposed.

Although of course, if anyone wouldn’t mind eschewing modesty concerns, it would be Dreikan. She’d learned long ago, when Master Falla had first taken her on as a Padawan, that not even Jedi training – and certainly not a career in the theatrics of politics – could change a Zeltron’s perspective on matters of skin and propriety.

Niarra was waiting politely at the center of the room for her visitor, and as expected she felt immediately both overdressed and underdressed the moment he walked in. Too much material and not enough color, in the simple garments she’d been given to wear while in custody – both things she knew Dreikan saw as serious wardrobe deficiencies, which he called out every time he visited, and which he made an effort to compensate for with his own attire.

Today, Dreikan had paid enough deference to the mores of the Senate to be sure that he wore trousers, tunic, and coat, but all items were artistically peppered with geometric cut-outs that revealed patches of dark rose skin, and the fabrics, though restrained only to a rich shade of indigo that matched his hair, practically shimmered with the sheen of water-silk woven into them. They particularly shone in his trailing sleeve now, as he made wide, sweeping gestures with his arm to accompany his words to the guard who was escorting him in.

“The honorable Representative Dreikan,” he was saying, in the same melodious voice with which he often persuaded – or outright seduced – many an opponent at a negotiating table. “Technically it’s actually the honorable, decorated, and luminous Representative Dreikan, but that’s just an official Zeltron thing, and I let it be cut short for Senate business. Very dull, I know, but less of a mouthful, certainly.”

He winked at the guard who seemed, as they too often did, a little dazed. It didn’t take sensitivity in the Force to detect that the guard was in the grip of conflict between personal instincts that told him to be annoyed, and the effects of pheromones that told him something quite different. Niarra had seen it plenty of times. Jedi discipline, and familiarity, helped to keep the mind clear, but even so, when a Zeltron was in a deliberately playful mood it could take some work for even a Jedi to shake that haze.

“Uh... yessir... honorable... Representative...”

The guard saluted, and beat a hasty retreat. Dreikan watched the man go until the doors slid closed behind him, and then he chuckled, turning to Niarra with a smirk.

“I think I chose the wrong career,” he said. “ I could have made a killing as a thief, talking my way past security. Or maybe a Hutt operative, breaking agents out of prison. I’ll have to have a word with some people about Senate Guard training. Strong bodies need to come with strong minds. Well, at least in guards on duty. Not necessarily when at parties. But I’m sure that’s something a Jedi knows plenty about. Weak minds, that is. Not parties, unfortunately, though it would probably do you all some good. Don’t I get a hug?”

“No,” Niarra said calmly, but with a fond smile, wondering whether it would be safe for whatever sector they were in at the time of the meeting to introduce Dreikan to Taelios someday. “I make it a policy not to enable or reward shameless opportunists and manipulators.”

“Ah, Niarra,” Dreikan said with a theatrical sigh, letting the arms he’d held outstretched fall, in a flutter of silken sleeves. “Always so boring. You really aren’t ever going to change, are you? No matter how much I try.”

“One cannot always control the change one effects. It ripples out from our actions, taking on a shape and momentum of its own. You have certainly changed me, but the course is not yours to dictate.”

“Philosophy before refreshment?” Dreikan said with a groan. “You’re relentless.”    

He made his way over to the modest couch without waiting to be invited, and collapsed into it with a faintly perfumed rush of air as the many layers of his coat settled. But for all its apparent artlessness, Niarra knew him too well not to recognize how carefully executed even this move was; arm on the couch back just so, leg at a precise angle, head tilted to maximum effect. He’d always been an artist at presentation, even more so than most Zeltrons. She’d learned that the hard way, the first time they’d faced each other on opposite sides of a treaty negotiation.

It was one of the few negotiations in which Niarra knew she had been decisively outmaneuvered, and the fact that even the delegation she had been representing left the negotiation thinking they’d gotten a fair deal was only further testimony to the totality of Neru Dreikan’s victory. Almost the moment the parties had left the table he’d invited her to tea and wine, and they’d established a friendship before the day was out. An odd friendship, to many an outsider’s perspective. But there was much of her old Master in Dreikan, and Niarra had long ago learned that being open to friendship in unexpected places was a good thing. Every friendship was a learning experience. Every lesson enriched life, and brought wisdom.

“I don’t have much in the way of refreshment to offer,” Niarra said, taking a seat beside him, though on the far end of the couch. Sitting too close was always an invitation to physical contact that Dreikan didn’t seem fully able to control. Sometimes there was mischievous intent behind a wandering arm or knee, and sometimes it was genuine affection, but just as often she knew it for a subconscious expression of intimacy on his part. When he trusted, when he cared, he wanted to touch. She took it for the gesture of true friendship that it was – but that didn’t mean she was going to encourage it.

“Yes, incarceration does limit the beverage selection, I’m sure,” he said. “Though given how loudly Senator Farteen still complains about the luxuries Senator Rhybak has arranged for you, one would think you had a full cantina in here.”

“He remains adamant in his position, then,” Niarra said, unsurprised.

“He remains adamantly more tightly wound and compacted than a core slug’s anal tract, if that’s what you mean.”

“Neru,” Niarra said, with light admonishment.

“Ahhh.” He wagged a graceful finger at her. “I told you to stop it. Neru’s not even officially part of my name anymore. Even Senate records show it correctly as just Dreikan. Clean, simple, aesthetically unitary. It’s all the rage on Zeltros now, you know. And if Senate records got accurately sorted, you can certainly sort your Jedi Master brain. Being more advanced and disciplined and all that.”

“I shall do my best to remember,” she said, with a small smile that she knew he would interpret correctly as her version of sarcasm. “So tell me, how are you enjoying your time as a Representative?”

“More relaxing than being a Senator, that’s for sure. Half the work, twice the shoulder-rubbing. I should have demoted myself ages ago.”

“I would hardly call being offered your choice of positions a demotion, no matter what title you ultimately chose to assume.”

“The budgeting office would agree with you, to their dismay,” he said, grinning broadly, tossing his head a little to move a lock of soft hair out of his eyes. “They’ve been griping about my getting paid more than the Senator I’m serving. Though I’m sure they haven’t told her that.”

Niarra smiled back, and employed a few seconds of a litany recitation in her mind – always a good stabilizing tool when the waft of heady pheromones became too strong, as it sometimes did when Dreikan was feeling too exuberant.

And he was definitely in a very good mood today, which almost certainly meant he had come with news he deemed to be positive. That he was taking his time building up to it was an indulgence she was happy to allow him. After all, if there was one thing she had plenty of, in this windowless room, it was time.

He swept one soft-soled boot onto the sparse refreshment table and proceeded to recount for her many humorous anecdotes of recent affairs within the Zeltron delegation, lingering in particular on an account of a formal dinner with an Ithorian ambassador and the governing council of an Ithorian herdship, who were trying to purchase holo technologies from a state-owned Zeltron company.

“And you know,” he remarked thoughtfully, drawing toward his conclusion, “I do think he propositioned me. Out one of side of his mouth, at least.”

“Indeed?” Niarra replied, carefully serene, refusing to rise to his bait with an expression of shock or disapproval. “You should be honored. Ithorians are not exactly known for their cross-species promiscuity.”

“So I’ve heard. Aren’t you going to ask me if I had a good time?”

“Dreikan, if you’d actually taken him up on the offer, I’d have heard about it in great detail already, regardless of my preference.”

He laughed. “True. All part of my effort to make sure you get to live the good parts of life vicariously. Not as healthy as the real thing, mind you, but better than nothing. But you’re right, of course. I’m afraid Ithorian cuisine doesn’t agree with me. Would have been diplomatically disastrous to engage in ground-breaking sexual escapades that might end in the unfortunate exchange of gasses, or worse. Sometimes when Ithorians get too excited, their vocal vibrations just bleed right into my head and make me nauseous. Not a good combination of factors, all things considered.”

“Perhaps not,” she conceded, with a light laugh.

And as if the whole purpose of his visit so far had been just to elicit that laugh, Dreikan immediately smiled, and his languid sprawl on the couch took on a subtly different air. More relaxed, more genuine.

“How are you doing in here?” he asked her then. “I know you’ll say you’re fine. But even a Jedi must have limits to their patience. The walls here must be getting to you.”

“Naturally that is so,” she admitted. “But as much could be said of any small space in which one is confined for the execution of a difficult task. An office or a lab. Even a cell. So long as the work remains important, one endures with as much equanimity as one can.”

Dreikan gave her a somewhat incredulous look, but only nodded his understanding, as one who had spent plenty of time locked into drab rooms himself for the good of a negotiation or diplomatic summit.

Niarra had more than half expected a witty reply, though, and with a pang realized it was because that’s what she knew Derrad would have given her. Her brother had never lived the sort of life where tedious work in a confined space factored into the equation, and he would likely never develop a tolerance for it. The only confined space she suspected he would ever feel comfortable with was the cockpit of a starfighter.

She missed him. It wasn’t the first time this realization had come to her, in these past solitary months. But it was one whose implications she had yet to fully weigh and sort. Since her brother had come into her life, she had recognized the need to carefully define and maintain the lines that must exist between them. The years since Zakuul’s invasion had been difficult, however, and they had both lost contact with their other allies and friends, leaving them with only each other to turn to.

In the time she’d had to reflect here, in this detainment, she’d admitted to herself that she’d come to rely on Derrad for more than just the material support he was so eager to offer her and her efforts on Talravin. For more, even, than the bonds of friendship she’d told herself were at the core of the relationship they were building. Family was complicated and potentially tricky territory for a Jedi, and not even the experience of her rank could fully immunize her to it.   

“I’ve brought something for you,” Dreikan said, breaking into her thoughts. He reached into the folds of his many-layered coat and withdrew a small holocommunicator. He placed it on the table in front of them, and with a subtle flick of his wrists knocked the hems of his long sleeves back a bit, in a fidget Niarra recognized as a sign of getting down to business. One of his very few tells.

Niarra had both suspicions and hopes about what he might be preparing to show her, but she merely folded her hands in her lap and waited patiently rather than ask questions. Much could be read of what people didn’t wish to say, when you let them frame their own presentations. Dreikan was an old friend and she trusted him, but she also knew he could, for all his experience and practiced political cynicism, have a tendency to want to inject into a situation positivity that wasn’t always warranted. Especially where friends were concerned.

“I’m assuming,” Dreikan began, giving her a knowing smirk as he punched up a two dimensional holo screen projection, “that this is a Duros you remember?”

Niarra studied the image of Jyff, the lanky RNN cameraman who had shadowed her through the Senate Rotunda during the attack, sitting at a desk beside a well-coiffed news anchor. Even with the image frozen, the sense of awkwardness he exuded was almost palpable, as though he could not get comfortable arranging all of his limbs behind the desk.

A sense of something finally falling into place settled in Niarra’s mind, and she felt the Force move through her, quiet and calm. Here was confirmation of what had guided her on the day of the attack. Now to see what it had ultimately been guiding her towards.

“I did a little digging. Harmless pillow talk, you know,” Dreikan said, waving one hand idly. “Turns out your young friend here put together quite the elaborate news piece, but he was refusing to give the network permission to air his footage unless they aired the whole thing unedited, just as he made it. Sounds like he was afraid it might be chopped up and framed with duplicitous intent. Imagine!”

Niarra was reminded that she had already underestimated Jyff once, and now, realizing that she’d done so again, she allowed herself a few moments of silence in which to sit with that thought and internalize it as a reminder in humility.

“It would appear,” Dreikan went on, “that they were delaying to try to assess whether or not Madon would follow in Saresh’s footsteps in how he responds to messaging that might run counter to his agenda. But finally I think it just got too juicy for them to resist.” He gave her a coy grin. “You still know how to put on a show when it suits you, I’ll say that much, Jedi veneer not withstanding. Being out of the game hasn’t dulled your instincts.”

“Awareness of appearances and staged execution are not the same thing,” she countered.

“Remember who you’re talking to,” he said, with a light snort. “We both know how thin the dividing line there is.”

“Thin, perhaps, but still significant, as all questions of motive are.”

“My dear, I’m more than happy to cede you the moral high ground, never fear. But there are a few moments in here that are quite frankly inspired, and you must let me pay my compliments.”

Niarra merely shook her head with a small, silent smile, knowing that any further response on her part would just encourage him to greater hyperbole. Clearly taking her silence as a victory, Dreikan gave her a dazzling grin and finally clicked the playback on his holocom.

The news anchor began by introducing the upcoming piece with as much drama as possible, making a great deal of how footage of what had transpired inside the Senate during the Eternal Fleet’s bombardment of Coruscant had been difficult to come by, before now. Jyff continued to look uncomfortable while his counterpart set things up, and when she tried to get him to talk about his own experiences on the scene and why he felt it remained important to show this footage now, even months later, all he managed to say, in an almost sullen tone, was, “Because it happened.”

Dreikan snickered. Niarra merely attempted to clear her mind, ready to try to view the footage as her political adversaries would.

When Jyff’s footage began to roll, it showed many scenes to which Niarra had not been witness. It would seem he had been ideally positioned inside a Senate sub-committee meeting when the bombardment began, and so he had managed to capture the story from the beginning, tracking the confusion, the understanding as it dawned, and then the chaos and panic and pain. He had edited it skillfully, telling a contiguous story out of broken moments. By the time the evolving footage landed Jyff and his camera in the commissary ring with fires breaking out around them, there was little doubt as to how dire the occupants of the Senate tower had deemed their fate to be.

It was an odd experience to see herself enter the footage, to hear her name and rank identified by the reporter as she paused to ask Jyff to confirm it. Niarra was no stranger to public appearances or to being the focus of attention in tense situations, but very rarely had she found herself in a position to watch playback of those events.

And almost immediately she realized that considering only how her political adversaries would perceive this was wrong thinking, strategically. She had hoped that Jyff’s footage would sway the minds of the Senators and Chancellors that needed to be swayed, but now she realized the public battle was a much more important one in the long run – and Jyff had woven his story together in such a way that he might have given her the greatest gift of support of the many she had received so far, one that might serve her purposes better even than the political leverage and positioning of friendly Senators and Representatives and Ambassadors.

He was making the Jedi real, in a way they too often were not, to the common Republic citizen. Reports of wars and battlefields far away, dry statistics on negotiations, speculation on the intricacies of an ancient but still very much mysterious order... these might tell people what Jedi did, but it didn’t show them what they were.

Niarra did her best to step outside of herself and watch, as a stranger would, while Jedi Master Reymark moved through the crumbling Senate. Acts of healing were always difficult to capture; that this most significant of deeds did not play well to the camera was a sadness, but a truth in the battle of appearances. But Jyff had carefully focused on faces, on words of gratitude or of fear, and Niarra realized that what had sometimes felt like a camera focused relentlessly on her had actually been taking in many other details, with a very sensitive eye.

When the footage showed them entering the darkened Convocation Chamber, and Jyff had filmed the words she’d spoken to explain why she would not stay there to help, the news anchor paused the footage to attempt to engage Jyff in dialogue. Did he think this was the right choice? How had it felt to hear the cries of trapped and possibly dying people in the dark, and not stop to assist?

“Your young friend stumbles a bit here,” Dreikan interjected, speaking over Jyff’s painfully awkward replies. He then put a hand on Niarra’s knee and gave her a warm smile. “But don’t worry. A certain Representative from Zeltros is scheduled to appear on this show tonight, and he’ll be giving a personal account of his time in the Chamber, and I suspect he’ll speak quite eloquently in defence of your decision.”

Niarra turned her gaze to him. She remained calm and confident in the choices she’d made that day, but there was no denying it caused a moment of regret and sadness to think that there’d been a friend out there in the darkness, whom she had left behind. Personal attachment, and its pains.

“I am sorry I could not do more, Neru,” she murmured. “I did not know you were there.” 

“Nonsense. A Zeltron delegation trapped together in a confined space in the darkness with no immediate hope of being evacuated? Many would consider that an opportunity.”

“Only those whose expectations are limited by prejudice.”

He laughed and squeezed her knee before withdrawing his hand. “Oh really? You might not know us as well as you think you do.”

Niarra smiled and shook her head a little – as much to help clear out the pheromone haze as in denial of his cheerful self-deprecation.

Dreikan just gestured toward the holocom, where the footage was resuming. “Here’s where it starts to get interesting, of course.”

Niarra frowned a little at his choice of words, but said nothing. Tragedy and pain were often “interesting” in retrospect, but she only hoped that not all people were as jaded as her politically-minded acquaintances. The galaxy had seen so much terrible war for the last four decades that some degree of weary cynicism was to be expected, but without feeling or hope there could be no healing.

Their journey through the Convocation Chamber was mostly captured in shadow and darkness, making it difficult to discern what was really happening. And that, she thought, with a tiny, wry quirk to her lips, was often the way of all things; tasks that took the greatest effort to achieve went unnoticed. In a way, that was one of the core lessons a Jedi needed to learn. The Force was a powerful tool, and its use could be outwardly dramatic, but it was the struggle that happened inside the mind and heart of the Fore-user that ultimately determined the consequences. Invisible, silent, but at the core of everything.

But once the footage showed them reaching the upper levels, where the roof and walls of the dome had been torn away, not even Niarra could deny its impact. She had seen it firsthand, but now, at a remove from the urgency of the moment, she could let the sadness of the sight sink in. The Coruscant skyline, burning and broken. Ships falling in death spirals made silent by distance. The rubble of a building that had long symbolized the order and promise of an ancient Republic. The red rain of orbital bombardment.

She remembered very well how long and painful the reconstruction efforts had been after the Sacking. She could only imagine how difficult it must be out there, right now. Her trips between this room and the Senate were by enclosed airspeeder, and she’d had no sight so far of how things might look on the ground. No doubt it was grim. She only hoped that the Republic was pulling together in the effort to rebuild.

As the footage showed her approaching the pile of rubble under which Senator Rhybak and Princess Keyis had been trapped, the news anchor couldn’t seem to resist talking over it, beginning to pelt Jyff with questions about whether or not he’d suspected they’d find survivors here, what he’d thought of their journey so far, and how he’d felt watching the rescue. She seemed undeterred by his laconic replies. Dreikan, on the other hand, obviously found the young Duros’s refusal to play along highly entertaining.

“And here’s where another Jedi arrives, isn’t that right?” the anchor said, commenting on the obvious. Jyff just grunted.

On the small screen projection in front of her, Niarra watched Dassalya enter the scene, joining her in removing the rubble. She frowned, immediately realizing the potential implications for Knight Nasadee, even before the news anchor continued speaking.

“Now, we haven’t been able to identify this Jedi, and if I’m not mistaken you’ve said you never caught her name. There’s some speculation the two Jedi might be blood related, given that they’re both Mirialan, and have similar markings.”

“Doesn’t matter,” Jyff muttered. “Not important.”

“I think I’m going to hire him as my publicity spokesman,” Dreikan said cheerfully.

“You reported that you didn’t see this Jedi again, after this rescue. Other survivors also report having been assisted by her, but it seems no one actually saw her leave the Senate. There would appear to have been quite a few Jedi who showed up on the scene, but somehow managed to retreat and disappear after the attack without being detained. How do you think they arranged this?”

“Doesn’t matter,” Jyff reiterated, blinking his large red eyes slowly.

“Well,” the anchor laughed uncomfortably, “I think there are a few Senators who disagree with you. There’s some speculation other Jedi held an escape route open for them. We’ll also have some footage of Jedi fighting alongside unidentified soldiers at the Great Door of the Senate after this piece, caught from a balcony at 500 Republica.”

“It’s dramatic,” Dreikan interjected, waving a hand idly. “Skytroopers flying about and lightsabers flashing. But too far away to make out any faces. Looks like all the other Jedi managed to avoid being identified, except for yourself and Master Telline, who just begged to be made examples of. Masochists that you are.”

On the projected screen, Niarra watched herself and Dassalya cast the last piece of rubble into the chasm behind them, and then Dassalya was healing Princess Keyis, and Senator Rhybak was speaking. Niarra noticed that Jyff had focused more on the Senator than the Princess; whether he’d done so out of courtesy for the wounded or out of interest in the politician she didn’t know, but she was glad for both.

“You know,” Dreikan said, studying Senator Rhybak’s miniature image, “her markings are really quite striking. I’ve always thought it would be delightfully sensual to snuggle down with a partner of a furred species. Don’t suppose you could convince her not to shoot me if I were to pay her a social visit? I get the feeling she’s the type of ex-soldier who still stashes a rifle in her desk drawer.”

“I suspect you’re quite right.”

“About which part?” he asked, grinning.

Niarra merely shook her head with a faint smile.

As Jyff’s footage followed her and Sergeant Phaestas after leaving the others behind, Niarra began to realize that from this point on Jyff seemed to have edited out very little. The news anchor felt compelled to talk over many minutes showing them picking their way through the rubble of the Senate’s highest levels. Given how skillfully and sharply edited the rest of the footage had been, Niarra couldn’t help but wonder why he’d allowed it to linger here for so long. To let the extent of the damage truly sink in, in this most prestigious of the Senate’s halls? To build tension?

When they came across the first patrol of skytroopers, the news anchor finally fell totally silent, letting the footage play itself out.

Niarra could feel the weight of Dreikan’s stare, as he repeatedly glanced at her during the combat footage. Finally, over the faint sounds of the skytroopers being crushed against the wall by her manipulation of the Force, she turned to look at him, eyebrows raised in silent question.    

He shook his head, an atypically somber expression on his face. “Just being reminded what you are, is all. Easy to forget, after all these years arguing politics at tables. We don’t often get footage like this out of warzones. But...” he trailed off, and lifted a finger to his lips with a small smile, indicating silence and nodding toward the projection.

“I’m fine, ma’am,” the miniature Phaestas was saying, while she tended to his arm. “We should keep going.”

Then Niarra watched herself catch in her palm the blaster bolt that would have burned through the sergeant’s head, and she gently closed that hand now, rubbing at the scarring there with her fingertips. The months of confinement had allowed her ample time to perform a deep Force healing, and she was confident that the tendon and nerve damage had been repaired, but scarring was natural and almost always remained. Besides, it would serve as a good reminder that there were still many techniques she could stand to improve on.

The news anchor paused the footage and actually wound it back to replay the moment, and then began asking Jyff questions.

Dreikan turned to her, his expression once again unusually somber.

“You hear a lot of stories,” he said, “but not many people get to see them. I think you might have won your freedom with just this shot, you know.”

Niarra said nothing. She couldn’t deny this was an image that played well, but the irony of course was that while Jyff’s presence on that day had not compelled her to act any differently than she would have done without him there, she had nonetheless at all moments been very conscious of it, and made sure to present accordingly... at all moments except this one, when she’d acted solely on instinct, to protect. And if this was truly the moment that most swayed minds, then that was perhaps fitting, and she saw it as the will of the Force, that things would shift for the better only when one set the self aside.

“We have profile pieces on Senator Alyonna Rhybak and on Sergeant Hyram Phaestas coming up after this segment,” the news anchor said, having resumed speaking over the subsequent footage of their continued progress through the upper levels, and more combat with skytroopers. “But let’s talk a little bit about the damage we’re seeing here, and the current status of the repairs to the Senate complex. You’ve gone back to film some of the repair work, isn’t that right?”

Niarra turned from the recording to look at Dreikan instead. “How are the repairs going?”

“Slowly. There have been a few of us who’ve been trying to get motions passed to limit repair work to the Convocation Chamber only, and divert all other funding to repairing civil infrastructure in Galactic City.”

“A few?”

“A few hundred,” he said, sighing. “Enough to make a statement, and to stall some repair crews, but not enough to succeed in the long run. Madon wants a shiny, solid, fully domed and erect Senate Rotunda to symbolize how robust his leadership is.”

Niarra did not smile. Dreikan sometimes couldn’t help himself where innuendo was concerned, but they both knew he was likely speaking to a core truth. Political showmanship of the kind was common, particularly in new or embattled leaders, and Madon’s position now had elements of both. With Zakuul’s boot finally lifted, some types of leaders would be very concerned indeed about appearing strong, no matter the cost.

“That is unfortunate,” she said quietly. “I believe this a moment where substance is needed more than show.”

“Says the woman who let herself be arrested for show,” Dreikan replied, with a half-grin.

Niarra ducked her head in acknowledgment, giving him a half-smile in return. “I will shoulder the truth of my hypocrisies. Although I do hope to achieve a substantive result by it.”

“Mm. You may yet succeed. Probably more than Madon will. This,” he said, gesturing back to the footage, which was now showing her efforts to clear the turbolift shaft of the Supreme Chancellor’s tower, “is the only visual record that’s emerged where Madon is seen during the attack at all, and even this is just an empty tower and an escaping lift car. He didn’t get any good publicity shots out of the tragedy at all, poor fellow.” There was a grim sort of glee in Dreikan’s voice, as he smirked at the footage. “His predecessor was much better at playing to the cameras.”

As Jyff’s footage played on, Niarra watched herself surrender her lightsaber to Alyonna. She weighed the words they’d both managed to craft for the moment, and was satisfied. Then she was able to see the exchange Jyff had captured after she had been escorted out, between Alyonna and Senator Farteen.

“You’re jumping to defend rogue agents who’ve decided to come and go as they please, when they please, even in the halls of the Senate itself!”

Niarra frowned, recognizing immediately an argument that might indeed gain some political traction, particularly with Senators who had felt shackled and powerless under Zakuul’s restrictions. The autonomy of the Jedi Order, and how that could rightfully be defined under Republic law, had often been a complicated question, especially so in times of war. It was, in many ways, a question at the heart of everything she was trying to achieve, and also at the heart of what Master Telline was contending with.

Dreikan noticed her frown. “He’s a loud one,” he said, suddenly quite somber.

“He hasn’t been present at any of my hearings. Would I be correct in assuming that’s because he’s conducting separate hearings of his own where my testimony is not welcome?”

“Of course,” Dreikan said with a sigh. “He’s been meeting some resistance, but not enough. The good news is, this footage is likely to have an effect. His speeches were powerful when he could set his own stage, but his hot hair coming directly on the heels of all the rest of it like this,” he waved toward the holo projection, “gives it a context that makes him look petty.”

“I presume he has released a statement since this first aired?”

“Yes, but he’s not the only one. Watch.”

While they’d been talking, Jyff’s footage had shown many shots of the work she’d done healing wounded after the attack, and finally concluded as she’d been led to confinement in the security center. She had, in fact, been so exhausted at the time that she could not even recall seeing him around in those final moments.

Then the news anchor announced that attempts to reach figures in the Senate for comment on Jyff’s footage had yielded some results, and proceeded to play several clips. Some of the speeches were encouraging, while others were delivered with a vitriol that proved Saresh’s former followers were still carrying her views forward even in her absence. But on the whole, Niarra felt she could see the general mood beginning to change in a way that might benefit the work she and Telline were trying to accomplish.

The last two commentary clips were from familiar faces.

Princess Shaantil Keyis sat behind a desk in what appeared to be her embassy office, and spoke with the calm earnestness of a former a Jedi – a past role that the news anchor was quick to point out to the audience. “Erini has not and will not forget the sacrifices of the Jedi Order. Even before my world's entry into the Republic, the Jedi sacrificed much for us all, and a Republic without the Jedi is not the Republic I was proud to serve.”

The final clip was, unsurprisingly, of Senator Rhybak, speaking at what appeared to be a press conference of some sort, standing before the Great Door of the Senate on which battle damage could still be seen. “Since the Zakuul Empire's invasion, six long years ago, the Republic entered a dark time. Our worlds were attacked, our shipyards destroyed, our military devastated. All who defended the Republic lost many, many friends, the Jedi included.

“They should have been honored as noble warriors, heroes for all that they did. But between the horrors of the Zakuul war, former Chancellor Saresh and her vendetta, and our own disappointment that the Jedi could not manage the impossible, we pushed the Jedi Order away, and they did exactly what we said we wanted.

“No more. The Custodum enclave came when we did not ask for it, but when we needed it most. No one could count the lives their heroism saved, on the surface of Coruscant or above it. It will be a great honor to welcome the Jedi back to where they belong, the soul of the Republic.”


It was a good speech, but Niarra couldn’t help but sigh. She closed her eyes for a moment, and let herself feel the guilt and regret that came from once more confronting the reality that she was playing a political game that would, as one of its strategies, cast her small deeds in a heroic light, when it was the much greater heroism of beings who had given their lives in unseen places that had worked the most good.

That was perhaps one of the darkest tragedies of war, behind of course the suffering and death itself: that the most significant of deeds and sacrifices almost always went unrecorded and unacknowledged, while politicians took the credit.

Suddenly she felt the warmth of Dreikan’s hand settling over hers, where they were folded in her lap. She did not open her eyes, and he did not speak. For all his flamboyant excesses, he had always also had a sensitive instinct. Niarra allowed herself a few moments of silence, accepting his warmth, and acknowledging the truth of her feelings – and then she drew in a deep breath, and let them go. Almost as soon as she opened her eyes, Dreikan pulled his hand back.

“Have Master Telline’s hearings concluded?” she asked then, turning her mind back to business.

“Yes. I’m surprised you haven’t heard word of it yet.”

“Senator Rhybak and I decided that cutting back on our number of visits would provide less ammunition to those who might attempt to undermine her arguments with accusations of bias.”

Dreikan chuckled. “Well, it hasn’t worked. Farteen hasn’t been the only one accusing her of bias, among various other unflattering things. But you needn’t worry. I think she’s going to come out of this smelling of Chandrilan roses anyway. Her war record is getting her a fair amount of publicity, especially now that people are realizing we’re not going to be held to Zakuul’s armament restrictions anymore. One star-struck young reporter even called her the Liberator of Feldinar yesterday. I think he was angling for an interview. Or maybe he’s also got fur fantasies.”

Niarra was pleased for Alyonna, but saddened by what his words implied about the public’s mindset. Perhaps it had been too much to hope that the people would turn their thoughts immediately toward the promise of peace and the need to rebuild, after Zakuul’s shadow passed. But fear and grief too often turned societies to violence, and the Republic had endured so much defeat for so many years that the desire to simply strike back, at anything, could be dangerous indeed...

“Here, another present,” Dreikan said then, and fished a datapad out of a hidden pocket in the shimmering folds of his coat. He handed it to her with a wink. “I’ll take a nap while you read it, shall I? I have a hunch Senate records are not exactly on your prison approved reading list, so I’m sure I’ll have to take it with me when I go.”

“Thank you, Neru.”    

Dreikan,” he said, in an aggrieved tone. “Honestly, Niarra! Have a care for my vanity.”

Niarra just shook her head with a faint smile, and then powered on the datapad. While she read, Dreikan made good on his words; he let his head fall back on the couch, closed his eyes, and within moments appeared to be sound asleep. Given the carefully calculated angle of his lifted jaw and the sprawl of his arms, an observer could certainly have been forgiven for thinking he was only faking it as an excuse to strike a pose. But Niarra had the benefit of having seen him in action during the Great War, where he’d traveled to plenty of his trade negotiations on the same transports as the soldiers whose kit he was hoping to improve, and from whom he had learned the vital trick of sleeping anywhere, on demand, at any time that a respite between battles allowed.

As she dug into the files he had brought for her, it became obvious he hadn’t just slapped together a haphazard collection of the latest news. This was a comprehensive, chronological record of all the proceedings in which Master Telline had been a part, complete with still images, audio files, and annotations. Dreikan was gifted at many things, but meticulous record keeping wasn’t one of them, and Niarra was touched by this evidence that he had been taking the current political landscape around the Jedi very seriously. She hoped it was for more than just friendship’s sake.

There was too much information to read it thoroughly, but even a superficial scan told her much, and toward the end the results of all Telline’s efforts were laid out.

Once it had been made clear that official charges were going to be leveled against the Custodum, she and Telline had talked about trying to draw a line of distinction between the Custodum and the Jedi Order as a whole; if one must assume a burden for the other to be given a chance to recover, then that was a sacrifice all Jedi were trained to understand. And it would seem, for better or for worse, that Master Telline had succeeded.

After all hearings were concluded, the Senate committee entrusted with investigating the charges that still lingered from Saresh’s crusade had ultimately sustained the charges against the Custodum of theft of military equipment, unlawful trespass on military installations, mutiny, aiding and abetting mutiny, and unlawful salvage. Almost all of those charges revolved around the Custodian’s Watch itself, including her crew and complement of stolen starfighters, and it appeared the ultimate fate of the vessel might still be in question. Although at the least it had not yet been confiscated – no doubt due to the enormous amount of public exposure the ship and its crew had received in playing an instrumental role in the defense of Coruscant.

But while the charges had been upheld, it was a testament to Telline’s skill, and to the work of Senator Rhybak and their other allies, that no one would be facing actual prosecution for them. A deal had been struck to waive all prosecution in exchange for direct Senate oversight of Custodum affairs, and a special committee was to be convened for that purpose. It was not clear to what level of granularity that oversight would go, but it appeared that Telline had managed to negotiate a fair amount of safeguards even so. And most crucial of all, the more grievous charges of treason – of which there had been multiple counts – had been dropped entirely.

Niarra sighed. It wasn’t ideal for the Custodum, and it would certainly have some impact on the Order as a whole, but this too would eventually pass; the political realm was always changing. It would not be the first time the Jedi Order and the Senate of the Galactic Republic had been obligated to redefine the details of their relationship, and it would undoubtedly not be the last. What was important was that an accord had been reached, and that while the Custodum assumed the burden of proving to the Senate that the Jedi remained cooperative with the Republic, the rest of their shattered Order would have the freedom and peace in which to rebuild.

Or at least, it would if Niarra could do her part as well as Telline had. Telline had spoken for the Custodum, in defense of specific actions, at the level of law and its execution. But Niarra had always hoped to speak to something more nebulous, but just as crucial: to the spirit and soul of the Order, and to its relationship with the Republic. The game Telline had played with the Senate was one of political appeasement, but they all knew that the damage Saresh and her government had done to the Order went far beyond that. It was about what people believed the Jedi to be. And perhaps, just as important, what the Jedi believed themselves to be. And someone had to be willing to stand before the Republic and speak to that.

When Niarra finally set the datapad down, the chrono in its upper corner told her she’d been reading for over an hour. She looked up at Dreikan, who seemed not to have moved a single muscle, and smiled. “I believe your visiting window is likely over, my friend.”

He snapped his head up almost immediately, indigo hair swinging into eyes which would have passed for clear and alert if his first words hadn’t been a slurred, “I move that we table the motion until after dinner!”

“Does that deflection still work? I would have assumed your detractors had caught onto it by now.”

“Eh?” He straightened in his seat, pushing his hair back and then carefully rearranging the silken fabric of his voluminous coat sleeves. “Ah. Yes. Well, everyone loves to eat. It’s where all the truly important deals are brokered, you know.”

“Thank you for this,” she said, returning the datapad to him. “Can you tell me when I am next expected to speak before the Judicial Department?”

Dreikan took his time with the finishing touches on sleeve adjustments, tugging minutely at hems – a noticeable delay. Then he looked up at her, his expression one of perfectly innocent confusion, and said, “The Judicial Department?”

Niarra met his unblinking gaze, and with that she understood. Sharing news footage and Senate records that could be accessed via public request was one thing, but forewarning her about upcoming sensitive proceedings was quite another. They had known each other a long time, however, and his message was perfectly clear. 

Her next appearance, when it came, would not be before the Judicial Department alone. Something larger was almost certainly being planned, and almost certainly soon; they would not want to allow too much time to pass for Jyff’s released footage to generate momentum and public opinion of its own.

“Yes, the Judicial Department. But forgive me, I shouldn’t have asked.”

“No you shouldn’t have. You know better, Master Jedi. Now! I should certainly be getting along to other business.” He rose from the couch, pocketing his small holoprojector and adjusting his coat. “Do you suppose the guard hasn’t returned to evict me because he’s afraid my charms might drive him to something rash?”

“Given the many possible interpretations of that question, that may be so,” she replied, walking with him the few steps to the locked turbolift entrance. “Although I do like to think I have been a well behaved prisoner and thus earned a little consideration from my keepers.”

“Or perhaps you turned his mind with those nefarious powers of yours, yes?”

“Honorable Representative, if providing details about my next hearing is prohibited, then surely coaching me to prepare for accusations I might expect is even worse.”

“Yes, well. At the risk of compromising myself, I shall coach you on at least one thing.” He placed his hands on her shoulders, looking down at her. “You must,” he said earnestly, “do something about your outfit.”

“I am not afforded the luxury of choosing my own wardrobe in these circumstances, I’m afraid,” she said, with a soft laugh. “I am not concerned. Dignity aside, there is also an advantage to presenting oneself as humbled.”

Dreikan grimaced, picking at the sleeve of her plain overshirt. “There is such a thing as taking it too far. You run the risk of presenting yourself as humiliated, not just humbled.”

“Most of the galaxy spends their lives in clothes little different than these. It is not humiliation.”

He rolled his yes. “What makes it even worse is that I know you believe that. But you also know better. I’ve seen your usual wardrobe, don’t forget.” He brushed her shoulders off, grimacing again, and finally dropped his hands. “I’ll take care of it. It’s only because you haven’t bothered to ask, you know. Even criminal suspects are permitted to appear for their trials dressed at their best, and you haven’t even been formally accused of anything. And don’t think that that hasn’t come up in debate more than a few times as well.”

“Your concern is appreciated, but unnecessary. Do not worry for me, Neru. I am where I need to be.”

He lifted one rose-skinned finger and tapped her lightly in the center of her forehead. “Call me by that gauche, discarded name one more time and I will see you dressed in the Frogdog mascot outfit, see if I won’t.”

“If you feel it would gain me an advantage with Frogdog fans in key positions, I might consider it,” she said calmly.

“Hm. You’ve gotten sassier over the years.”

“It is... my brother’s influence, perhaps.”

“Magically appearing brothers is a story you still owe me, but for a later time. When you’ve been released, and we can chat over a meal, like civilized beings.”

“I look forward to it. Be well, Dreikan.”

“I always am.”

He smiled suggestively at her as he tapped the request into the key panel to summon a guard, and Niarra was positive that he deliberately hit her with a pheromone burst, despite the continued assertion of all Zeltrons she knew that they couldn’t do so consciously. After the guard arrived and escorted him out, leaving her alone in the room once more, she drew a deep breath to clear her head... and suddenly the desire to want to be outside, in fresh air, smelling trees and sky, was almost overwhelming.

Niarra closed her eyes, and rather than pretend the desire didn’t exist she allowed herself to feel it for a while. To acknowledge that she missed Talravin, and all that she had built there. The waterfalls, the wind. The archives she worked to maintain and expand, the artifacts she was safeguarding for study. And perhaps most of all, she admitted to herself with a smile, the varactyls. The hatchlings would have grown so much, these past months. She would have given a great deal for their company now, snuffling and hooting and gnawed boots and all.

She lingered with the thought until its bittersweetness lost its edge, and then she let her breath go slowly and released it.

What was to come, would come. She could not think too far ahead.

The star does not think of the elements it will become when its burning time is done, she reminded herself, reciting the words of the old text in her mind, as she returned to the meditations Dreikan’s arrival had interrupted.

Be as the star, in the moment of its shining, moment by moment.

Be the light.

Simply be.
 

10
In my PVE incarnation in SWTOR, I'm an officer for a small PVE guild that currently (like many PVE guilds) has been feeling the lack of enthusiasm (and the bleeding of members) that the dearth of new PVE content has caused.

But on a couple recent occasions, my guildmaster and I have found ourselves helping out folks who wanted to see an Uprising or two, but who didn't otherwise have a friendly group to do them with. The experience reminded us that even when we can't be progression raiding ourselves, sometimes it's just really nice to be able to help others see some of the game's content. It's old hat to us, but there are plenty of people who've never had the opportunity to see a lot of what the game's group content has to offer.

We talked it over and decided we'd both be willing to put together a team of "new raiders" and just have fun working through the group content with new folks. And so, I am here to pitch this idea to our BC RP community, to gauge interest!


The Goal

To give folks who have never had chance to see the game's Operations (and maybe some of the harder Flashpoints) an opportunity to experience this group content. This would be a learning experience, not "being carried" through the content.

The idea is to get as many totally new folks involved as possible, with a minimum sprinkling of experienced raiders in key roles to help teach. If you've already seen all the content and would just like to offer to help, please mention as much when you respond. Depending on the level of interest and participation, more experienced players may be moved into a "reserve" pool so that the new folks get first priority.

The way I'm currently envisioning this, we would put together an 8 man team of folks who are interested in going the long haul. We would like, if at all possible, to keep the same group more or less intact as we progress through the content. In this respect, the group would become its own "progression raiding" group, as if we were back in the vanilla days of the game and tackling each new Ops in normal/story mode as it was released.

This means that if you're interested, while you are of course not obligated to stick to the group until the end, you might have more fun if you do - there's a sense of accomplishment that comes from knowing that you and your group stuck it through and downed all those bosses, even if it takes months.


The Road Map

I thought it might be most fun to approach this from a story perspective. The game has its own timeline of events, and the Operations all fall into it. This thread on the official forums has a great post (the second one down) wherein someone has outlined the timeline of the full game, slotting each Flashpoint and Ops from level 50 onward into its place.

The plan for this project would be to do all of the Operations, in the order as they are shown on that timeline. Depending on how people respond to some questions I'll pose later in this post, we may or may not also include the Flashpoints in the road map - but if we do, it would only be those Flashpoints that can not be run with a solo story mode. (That means the Ilum FPs and the SoR FPs would not be included, but stuff like the Kaon and Czerka ones would be.)


Considerations

Another wipe! As I mentioned earlier, the goal here is to teach folks the Operations, and to have a new batch of players learn and execute the mechanics. If you're new to raiding and group content, you should be prepared for failure. A lot of it. That's par for the course, and part of the fun! (Or at least, it's part of what will make it feel so rewarding when you do succeed.) But it's important to set your expectations accordingly, and to know that if you embark on this journey you're doing so as much for the agony of the learning experience as to see new content. 

Move left! Left, left! No, your other left! To really teach and execute group content well, particularly if you're looking at "progression raiding," communication is key. It is much, much easier to give instructions in voice chat, not to mention faster. Therefore one of the requirements for this project would be for all folks to have voice chat; we would create a custom Discord server for our group to join. It would not be required for you to speak, if you don't wish to; we've had guildies in the past who choose to keep voice chat on audio only, and that's fine. But there's often a lot of information that needs to be conveyed to learn the mechanics of a raid, and often successfully getting through a fight requires that you be able to hear your raid leader calling out instructions or warnings in real time.

Same bat time, same bat channel? Even if we were to miraculously clear one Operation per night (we won't), you're still looking at a lot of nights. Factor in multiple attempts at the same Operation and this becomes a long journey. That means that people should be prepared to be at this for many, many weeks. We'll poll participants to find a time and day that works best for everyone. Depending on people's level of enthusiasm and availability, this might be one night a week, or one night every other week. But it will certainly be recurring.

So many numbers... what do they all mean? Gear. Yes, gear matters. No one needs to worry about having Galactic Command levels to do this, but when we begin (starting with the Eternity Vault Operation), everyone would need to be geared in at minimum the level 65 mods (rating 210) that you can buy from the Fleet vendor, and be sporting the correct stats for your Discipline. We will help folks determine what those are, if you need guidance, as part of the learning process. But you have to be willing to take that gearing step.

So, with all of the above being said, a few things to consider carefully if you think you'd be interested in joining such a group:
  • Be prepared to die a lot! If you know that you're not the personality type who can embrace the cost of a learning experience cheerfully (or the repair bill), this might not be the group for you.
  • If you are simply not comfortable getting into a voice chat channel, not even on just audio only, this might not be the group for you.
  • Be prepared to dedicate weekly time to the project. Generally speaking this would be about two hours per scheduled night. 
  • Be willing to endure a little bit of gearing and numbers talk. It won't be overwhelming, but it does matter.

 :lightside:

Interested?

If you think you might be interested in participating in this project, please post here and let me know! Please take the time to answer the following questions:

1. What faction would you prefer to do this with?
2. What role would you prefer to do this with? (Tank, Healer, or DPS.)
3. Do you have the character flexibility to do this with a second-choice role if needed, and if so, which?
4. What's your level of experience with Operations?
  • Total Newb (I've never seen the inside of an Operation.)
  • Semi-Newb (I've poked my head in once or twice, but still mostly a Newb.)
  • Rookie (I've been in there enough to know my head from my ass, but I could still use a lot of guidance.)
  • Captain (Hey, I sort of remember this boss fight! Yeah, that's right, I shouldn't have jumped in that lava. It's coming back to me now.)
  • Big Boss (I've been through all of the game's Operations on story mode and some of them on hard mode too, and actually mostly remember them.)
5. Are you interested in sticking it out for the full progression (all of those Ops in timeline order!), or mostly just peeking in on something here and there?
6. Would you want to include Flashpoints in the plan, or just Operations?

 :lightside:

I'll give it a couple weeks to gather replies, and then see what we've got to work with. The faction we choose to go with will ultimately depend entirely on majority rule, with apologies to anyone who may not have characters on both factions. Similarly, not everyone may get their first choice of role, because - as with any raiding group - sometimes people have to be flexible for the needs of the group.

Priority will be given to people with less experience, but if you're an experienced PVE player and willing to sit in reserve it would be appreciated. Let me know in a reply!

11
Events and Occasions / Tournament Gold - A Gambling Event
« on: 03/11/17, 04:46:12 PM »
Event: Tournament Gold
When: Saturday, April 1st, 6:00 PM Server Time
Where: In-game, personal Coruscant stronghold: The Oracle's Den. In-game listed as Sun Oracle’s Chamber of Truth.
Open to: Both factions


Word has filtered out, through underworld rumor circuits and in the parlors of the gilded and powerful, that one of those rare moments of opportunity has arisen, one that the professional, profligate, or even just the recreational (but monied) gambler cannot pass up: a high stakes tournament, open to the influential and the notorious, in which both fortunes and reputations can be made.

The Oracle’s Den, a high class resort on the neutral Mid Rim world of Andros, is hosting a Tournament of Games, in which contestants can test their luck and their skill, all while rubbing shoulders with the glitterati, of course.

The Tournament is open to all comers, of all stripes – provided you can meet the steep ante to buy your seat at the table.

The rules are simple:

1. Pay your ante.
2. Check your weapons at the door.
3. Initiating violence immediately disqualifies you, and all your bets are forfeit.
4. Cheating immediately disqualifies you, and all your bets are forfeit.

Honored guests from both the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire are welcome, and all guests are reminded that The Oracle’s Den prides itself on being a neutral haven where relations and commerce can be normalized, and goodwill engendered. Lively political discourse is encouraged, but violence (and detection of espionage equipment) will be dealt with severely.

Formal dress (or venue-appropriate cutting edge fashion statement dress) is required.

So if you’re willing to play for the big stakes, roll with the risks, and make a name for yourself as one favored by fortune, come buy your seat at the table!


OOC Breakdown:

This is a cross-faction event. Being a Coruscant SH, Imperial players will have to pay the smuggling fee, but I should hope that’s paltry enough that it won’t prevent people! The SH may be publicly listed off and on (as I cycle characters for RP purposes), but the primary method of getting people into the SH will be invites. I will be running two accounts and will try to have a character online for each faction at all times, but I would really appreciate the help of anyone willing to hold silver keys and throw out invites as well.

Please note that paying the ante to enter the tournament is an IC conceit only; no one is OOCly required to pay in order to participate. But in the spirit of good RP, please do consider that your character will ICly have needed to scrape together a sizable ante.

You do not have to participate in the tournament in order to attend. If you want to just show up and observe and engage in social RP, please feel free to do so. If you do want to participate in the tournament, please see the below Tournament Participation guide below.

If you are not going to participate in the tournament, you do not need to create a character sheet. But as you will see in the Gambling Rules, if you do plan to participate in a Game of Skill or in the Final Showdown game of Sabacc, then you will need to make a character sheet using the Under 100 system. Again, please see the below Tournament Participation guide.

The various milestones of the event will be scheduled on a real world timer, so please keep this in mind when considering your participation. The event clock will not be stopped to wait for tardy arrivals.
 
6:00 PM – 6:30 PM Server Time: Arrival and mingling
6:30 PM – 7:00 PM Server Time: Game of Chance – Dicing
7:00 PM – 7:30 PM Server Time: Socialize
7:30 PM – 8:00 PM Server Time: Games of Skill – Dejarik and Pazaak
8:00 PM – 8:30 PM Server time: Socialize
8:30 PM – However-long-it-takes-to-finish-the game: Final Showdown – Sabacc

Players participating in the games should meet down in the Lounge (where the gambling tables are) at the appropriate time. In between games, and if you are not participating in the games, you are welcome to wander the SH. ICly, all of the establishment’s rooms (including those normally reserved for private gatherings only) will be open to everyone for the duration of the event.


Tournament Participation:

There are a lot of logistics to juggle in order to make this playable (within a reasonable amount of time), so the tournament itself needs to be broken down and managed fairly carefully. If you want to participate, you need to make a post on this thread that answers the following questions:

1. The name of the character you will participate in the Tournament with.
2. The faction of said character.
3. Which game(s) you wish to participate in: Chance, Skill, or the Final Showdown. (You can participate in just one, two, or all three.)
4. If you want to participate in the Dicing game only, no character sheet is required. If you want to participate in either or both of Skill and Final Showdown, you will need to make a character sheet using the Under 100 system, and you will need to include that character sheet in your posted reply.
5. If you are including your character sheet, you will need to also include your Gambling skill score. To determine this score, read the Games of Skill section of the Gambling Rules post.

Because I have to be able to organize playing pools and juggle hosting and monitoring between factions, I must plead that you please try to get this info to me as soon as possible. It’s much easier to remove people from a participation table than it is to try to add more participants at the last minute, so if you’d like to participate but are iffy on your schedule please submit as if you plan to be there, and just let me know as soon as possible if it turns out you can’t make it.

Also please note, because this is the first time using these Gambling Rules, in order to educate and successfully execute a first-time gambling event the optional Cheating Rules of this system are not going to be permitted for any of the games. (Depending on how this goes, I may host a more narrow-focus event in future in which players buckle down for a cheating-rife night of serious Sabacc.)

Participating in the Chance (Dicing) game:
  • As stated, you do not need to make a character sheet to participate in the Dicing portion of the tournament. Just be sure you’re at the SH by 6:30 PM Server Time and ready to go!
  • There will be two game brackets for Dicing: one Republic, and one Imperial.
  • Participants will be invited to an Ops group and one game will be played per faction, following the Games of Chance rules as described in the Gambling Rules post. There will be one winner per faction.
  • Finally, the two faction winners will play off in one final and furious best-two-out-of-three high stakes game. The GM will be repeating the rolls in the /say channel for the opposite faction to see results.

Participating in the Skill (Dejarik or Pazaak) game:
  • As stated, you do need to make a character sheet to participate in the Skill portion of the tournament, including calculating your Gambling skill. Be sure you’re at the SH by 7:30 PM Server time and ready to go!
  • The number of games that will take place will be determined by the number of participants. Games of Skill are two player games only, and will take place only between two players of the same faction.
  • Depending on the number of sign-ups and how the tables can be crunched (keeping time in mind), winners of individual games may (at the GM’s discretion, gauging event progress) play off against other winners (potentially cross-faction) until a final over-all champion is determined.
  • If your character has their heart set on Dejarik or Pazaak specifically let me know in your post when you sign up; if I can color it accordingly I will, but there are no guarantees.

Participating in the Final Showdown (Sabacc) game: While you do not need to have participated in the Chance or Skill games in order to participate in the Final Showdown game of Sabacc, I encourage that you do, just to get prior exposure to the system before some more complex gameplay starts.
  • If you want to participate in this Sabacc portion of the tournament, you do need to make a character sheet, including calculating your Gambling skill.
  • The Final Showdown/Sabacc game is a Mixed game, so please read that section in the Gambling Rules post.
  • There will be only one game. It will be cross faction (the logistical challenges of this are why there will be only one game).
  • Participants will be invited to an Ops group per faction. Rolls will take place in the Ops group channel, and the GM’s host/announcer character will announce in /say which players will be moving on to the elimination rolls after reviewing the rolls in both Ops groups. Likewise, the ultimate results of the elimination rolls will also be announced in /say after both factions’ rolls are compared.
  • Once the game has been narrowed down to the final two participants, if they are cross-faction the GM will repeat all rolls in /say. If they are same-faction, gameplay will be observed in the Ops channel without the need for repeating announcements.

Considerations: If you are participating in the tournament, you are of course absolutely invited to present your characters’ actions at the table with all the RP color you would like. However, please keep in mind that the gambling rolls will not wait for your color; the GM will be calling for rolls to keep the game moving and you are requested to roll as promptly as possible, in consideration of everyone’s time. Any color you’d like to add before, in between, or after your rolls is more than welcome, just please make an effort to keep the rolls comin’ without too much delay!

People who are not participating in the tournament can still join the Ops channel to watch the rolls, but you are requested to leave all chatter (both IC and OOC) out of the Ops channel so that it can stay clean and easy to read for roll results.


Winner’s Rewards: Each portion of the tournament will offer IC rewards that I as the GM will meet with their OOC equivalent.

Dicing: The ultimate winner of the Dicing tournament will be awarded 500,000 credits, to be provided via in-game mail after the event is done. If you win and are not a subscriber, you will need to tell me so via PM after the event, and I will mail it to your character in-game in two separate mail items of 250k each, which you can then collect when your credit inventory allows.

Dejarik/Pazaak: The winner of each two-man game will be awarded 250,000 credits, to be provided via in-game mail after the event is done. If we are able to go into play-offs in this category, only the final winner of all the play-offs will receive an additional reward of 500,000 to be provided via in-game mail. (See Dicing above for how to handle this if you are not a subscriber.)

Sabacc: The winner of the Final Showdown game of Sabacc will be awarded 1,000,000 credits, to be provided via in-game mail after the event is done. (See Dicing above for how to handle this if you are not a subscriber; in this case the prize will be broken into four separate mails.)

12
Worldbuilding and Community / Under 100 - Gambling Rules
« on: 03/04/17, 10:15:53 PM »
To answer the "why" question right off the bat: Yes, I am about to host a Gambling Tournament RP event in-game.  :whee: And so:

Under 100 – Gambling System

This module for the Under 100 system provides rules for gambling, intended for use in adventures where gambling will feature prominently.

To understand how these rules will work you need to know the basics of the Under 100 system – just reading up through the ‘Skill Group Allocations’ category of that post would be enough functional knowledge to get started.

These gambling rules can run the gamut of very simple (for games of chance for which the GM has chosen to prohibit cheating) to more complex (for games where some skill is involved and the GM has allowed cheating).

These rules are not attempting to approximate real play for SW games that may already be carefully detailed (such as Sabacc). Rather, they are intended to be adaptable and applicable to almost any type of gambling the players or the GM may want to use, and so are an abstraction to simulate win & loss, with the detail/color being provided by the RP.

There are three sets of rules, one each for three particular game types: games of Chance, Skill, and Mixed (wherein Mixed includes elements of both chance and skill). The specific examples for each category are Dice, Dejarik, and Sabacc respectively. But the idea here is that if people would like to color their game differently (to say it’s World-X Chess/Bones/Tiles/etc.), they’d just need to determine which category their game fits into and use those rules.

For games of Chance and Mixed games, I am also including rules for how to cheat. Because let’s face it... cheating is an intrinsic part of space opera gambling.  :evil: However, cheating does immediately make managing the gameplay significantly more complicated, so a GM can choose to prohibit cheating for ease if that’s desired.


Games of Chance (example: Dice)

A game of chance is played using a simple roll-off and elimination mechanic, with all participants rolling each round. In keeping with the Under 100 system, lower rolls are better.   

The usual Chance/Dice game is comprised of sets of throws that consecutively winnow out losers. One player must be eliminated in each round. There is no maximum number of players, and minimum number of players is just two. (For two player games, only the Final Round rules below apply.)

The below example shows number of rounds/sets assuming six players. (The actual number of rounds will be decided by how many are required to achieve full elimination at the rate of one player per round.)

Rounds 1 through 4
Step 1: All players roll.
Step 2: The two players with the highest rolls then engage in a one v. one roll-off, and the player with the higher number of that roll off is eliminated from the game.

Round 5, Final Round – Two Players:
This round is a best two out of three tosses, to determine the ultimate winner of the game. As always, the lower roll wins the toss. 


Games of Skill (example: Dejarik)

There are many types of intelligence and experience that go into making someone good at games of skill. Someone can be an expert tactician, expert bluffer, or just have a lot of practice with the game. Maybe they’re a card counter or a techie who can calculate the probabilities behind the random generation field in Sabacc, or maybe they’re a grizzled battle commander who understands the psychology behind an opponent’s moves in Dejarik.

To best try to capture this mix of possibilities and allow players to feel like their characters can be good at a game of skill (even if they otherwise built their character’s Under 100 stats to gear them primarily for combat), the following steps are applied to determine a special Gambling skill threshold.

Note: Games of Skill cannot incorporate cheating.

Determining a Gambling Threshold for Games of Skill:

Step 1: A player chooses three skills from the below list. All three of their choices must be Skill Groups that their character possesses as part of their 9 Skill Groups.
  • Perception
  • Social
  • Technical
  • Underworld
  • Historian
  • The player’s highest combat skill from: Melee Agile, Melee Brawn, Force, or Ranged. (This is meant to account for tactical knowledge from a player’s combat experience. Only one of these four skills can be chosen.)
Step 2: An average is taken of the three thresholds from the Skill Groups selected in Step 1. That average becomes a player’s Gambling threshold.
  • Example: Fan Bolo, a canny smuggler, chooses to apply his Social (70), Underworld (40), and Ranged (60) skills, resulting in a Gambling threshold of 57 (which is an average of the three). Fan Bolo will proceed to roll against this threshold of 57 for each check required throughout the game.
Ideally, determining a Gambling threshold is done prior to the adventure, when characters submit their character sheet to the GM.


Playing a Game of Skill (Games of Skill are limited to only 2 players):
  • A game of skill lasts six rounds, with a final round seven finisher if needed. (This is set at six to keep a game moving along in real time, but IC time can be as much of an abstraction as players & GM wish.)
  • For the first three rounds, the two players roll opposed Gambling skill checks. As with all opposed checks in Under 100, if one player fails to roll under their own threshold they automatically fail, and in this case lose the round. If both players make their checks, the player with the lower roll wins. If both players fail their checks, the round is a stalemate.
  • The player who won best two of three in the first three rounds goes into the second three rounds with a bonus of 20 to their Gambling checks for the remainder of the game. (e.g., someone who starts with a Gambling threshold of 60 would have that increased to 80.) If there was a stalemate among the first three rounds, no one gets a bonus and the rest of the game proceeds with unaltered Gambling thresholds.
  • At the end of all six rounds, whichever player has more won rounds wins the game. If there is a tie on number of won rounds, a seventh round tie-breaker is rolled.


Mixed Games – Skill & Chance (example: Sabacc)

Mixed games borrow rules elements from both the Skill and Chance game rules, with some slight adjustments. The elements that go into a Mixed game are:

•   Mixed Games require that players determine a Gambling threshold, using the rules as described in the Games of Skill section above.
•   Mixed Games can incorporate more than two players, just as games of Chance do.
•   Mixed Games can incorporate Cheating rules.
•   Mixed Games are elimination games, like games of Chance. The number of rounds will be determined by the number of players, with a rate of elimination of one player per round.

Gameplay for a Mixed Game includes the following basic steps:

Step 1: Players determine their Gambling threshold. (Ideally this is done prior to the adventure, when characters submit their character sheet to the GM.)

Step 2: All of the Cheating steps (as outlined in the Cheating section below) take place, if cheating has been permitted. Included in these steps will be the announcement of each player’s adjusted Gambling threshold. If cheating has not been permitted, then this step is skipped entirely. 

Step 3: Gameplay rounds proceed as per the games of Chance rules, with each round resulting in one player’s elimination (at minimum), and the final round determining the ultimate winner. However, in a Mixed game, the elimination mechanic is a little different, following these steps:
  • When all players roll each round, any player whose roll fails to meet their skill threshold (i.e., does not fall under it) moves to the elimination rolls for that round.
  • Once doing elimination rolls, any player who fails to meet their skill threshold is immediately eliminated. This means that multiple players may be eliminated in one round.
  • Of players participating in elimination rolls who do meet their threshold, the player with the highest roll is eliminated, and all other participants are returned to the game for the next round.
*
*
Cheating Rules (in Games of Chance and Mixed Games only):

If a GM has chosen to allow cheating, there are additional steps and rules imposed on gameplay that are designed to maintain illusion and immersion, and functionally make cheaters as undetectable as possible (as good cheaters would be).

When cheating is allowed, the steps that are taken at the beginning of a game determine what each player's Gambling threshold is going to be. How this skill is determined varies depending on whether or not the game is Mixed or Chance, and is outlined in the Cheat rules below.

Only two specific skills can be used to cheat: Gadgetry, and the Force. Gadgetry in this case represents whatever clever devices or slight of hand skills people have developed to help them manipulate dice or cards, and the Force represents influencing how the dice might fall or the cards might change.

Cheating is always an opposed check being made against the other players. Every participant in a game has a chance to catch that you are cheating, so cheating is riskier the more players are involved.

To meet the needs of both transparency and secrecy that are difficult to juggle when everyone needs to be rolling off in the same chat window, all players need to participate in the cheat rolls, but not everyone is required to cheat. Whether or not they choose to cheat is something a player will whisper to the GM, and the GM will use the rolls that everyone made publicly to determine success or failure.

Cheat rolls happen at the very beginning of a game, prior to any of the actual Gambling rolls. A number of steps are involved in this Set Up phase. Below is an outline of those steps, and the effects they will have. (Side note: Some of the calculations here might sound a bit tricky, but they are all on the GM so players don’t need to fret too much.  :lol: A handy Excel spreadsheet should make tracking this much easier on GMs.)

Game Set Up for Cheating-Permitted Games:
 
Step 1: The GM determines how many rounds are going to be involved (see the rules for games of Chance), and announces this to the players. 

Step 2: GM announces the Cheat Phase. There is a period of time in which players who wish to cheat whisper their intention to the GM. A player who chooses to cheat cannot also choose to participate in the Luck Phase (see Step 3).

Step 3: GM announces the Luck Phase. There is a period of time in which players can choose whether or not to use one or both of their Heroic Moment points to increase their luck for the extent of the game. A player who wishes to do so whispers their intention to the GM. Luck cannot be detected (see Step 5) and does not count as cheating.

Step 4: All players (whether you are cheating or not) roll a cheat roll – either Gadgetry or Force. As normal with Under 100, only rolls that fall below a PC’s skill threshold count as successful for those players who are attempting to cheat.

Step 5: All players roll a cheat-detection roll – either Perception or Force (player discretion for skill choice). As normal with Under 100, only rolls that fall below a PC’s skill threshold count as successful.

Step 6: All players roll a revelation round roll that includes as its range the number of rounds the GM announced in Step 1. (e.g., if the game will have 5 rounds, all players do /roll 1-5)

Step 7: The GM looks at the cheat rolls made by the players who whispered their intention to cheat. The cheat-detection rolls of all players are compared against the cheat rolls; anyone who rolled a lower detection roll than a cheat roll is able to successfully detect the cheating. This can result in a variety of successes and failures if more than one player is attempting to cheat. For example: Cheater 1 rolled a 30 on their cheat roll and Cheater 2 rolled a 50 on their cheat roll. Player 5 (who is not cheating) rolled a 40 on their cheat-detection roll, and that means they successfully notice that Cheater 2 is cheating, but do not notice that Cheater 1 is.

Step 8: The GM publicly announces what the Gambling thresholds are for each player. The threshold is determined by the following:
  • In games of Chance, all players start with a default Gambling threshold of 70. In Mixed games, players start with their Gambling threshold as determined in the games of Skill rules.
  • For every Heroic Moment point a player chose to invest during the Luck Phase, their threshold is increased by 10, to a potential maximum of 90 for games of Chance and potential 100+ in Mixed games.
  • Every player who chose to cheat and successfully rolled beneath their Gadgetry or Force threshold to do so (Step 4) can have their Gambling threshold increased by either 10 or 20; if their Gadgetry/Force roll fell in the upper half of their threshold it is increased by 10, and if it fell in the lower half of their threshold it is increased by 20.
    • Example: Player 1 with a Gadgetry threshold of 60 rolls 52 on their cheat roll, and that gives them a bonus of 10. Player 2, also with a Gadegtry threshold of 60, rolls 25 on their cheat roll, and that gives them a bonus of 20. (Rolls are rounded down to determine how they straddle the half-way mark of a threshold.)
  • Note: The idea behind how all of the above works is to make it so that players cannot distinguish in advance whether or not another player’s improved Gambling threshold is resulting from cheating or luck; only a successful revelation (Steps 6 & 7) can tell a player that.
Step 9: Players who succeed at a cheat-detection roll have their revelation about the cheating on the round determined by their roll in Step 5. Realization may dawn even after the cheating player has been eliminated. No one will know in advance whether or not they are going to detect a cheater; the GM will whisper their revelation to them as the revelation round comes up. After that, it’s entirely up to the player how they wish to react to their revelation.   


Heroic Moment Points in Gambling:

Heroic Moment points can have a unique usage in gambling, separate from the normal four uses for a HM point (as described in the core rules post.

Heroic Moment points can only be used in gambling when a GM has chosen to allow the Cheating rules in a game. In this scenario, HM points come into play during Step 3 of the game Set Up for cheat-permitted games: the Luck Phase.

When HM points are used in this fashion there is a special refresh mechanic that comes into play (normally HM points are only refreshed at GM discretion if an adventure goes longer than anticipated). This refresh mechanic is:
•   If a player uses one or more HM points during the Luck Phase, one Heroic Moment point is refreshed for a player every time they are the final winner of a game (the whole game, not a single round within a game). Only one HM point can be refreshed in this fashion, even if the player invested both of their HM points during the Luck Phase.

13
Latest Rules Update: 5/4/17

I am finally adding rules to the Under 100 system for Starship adventure scenarios! I’m making this a separate forum topic in order to keep things tidy, but you will need some familiarity with the core Under 100 system in order to use these rules.

I will admit up front that I’m taking a lot of inspiration from how SAGA Edition handled starship combat, because I feel that system put a lot of thought into giving all character types a role to play, and because it happens to translate well into what is already established for Under 100. (And it also seems to fit to what I’ve already seen folks wanting to do organically, when playing with Under 100 in past events in starship combat scenarios.)
 
As with the core Under 100 system, I will likely be refining and revising this after play testing, and appreciate any player feedback (both before and after play testing)! My hope is that the starship system will prove the same as the core Under 100 system has, in that it will be easier to understand in the gameplay than it may seem to be in the reading.  :nerd:


Starship Stats

Starships have a block of four stats:

Hit Points (HP): Ships have a HP rating just as characters do. Although the number may be small, this is obviously not meant to be comparable in scale to player character HP. Rather, it is intended to keep combat moving quickly. As a general rule, damage capable of reducing a ship’s HP can only be inflicted by other vehicles with comparable weaponry (although as always GM discretion applies).

PCs attempting to inflict damage on targeted ship’s systems with PC-scale weaponry or abilities might impact ship functions but will not reduce ship HP. For example: someone slicing off the barrel of a starfighter’s cannons with a lightsaber might impact the ship’s ability to shoot, but it won’t do significant structural damage to the ship itself. 

Shield Rating (SR): Most starships will come equipped with shields, of varying strength. The SR value is a buffer against damage; incoming damage will reduce the SR value first, before any damage is applied directly to a ship’s HP. Examples of SR by ship type:
  • A single-man starfighter will generally have a SR of 1 or 2. 
  • A transport or medium sized ship (of which the SWTOR player ships such as the Defender or the Fury are an example) will generally have a SR of 2 or 3.   
  • A capital ship might have a SR as high as their HP rating. 

Maneuverability Rating (MR): A ship’s MR is represented by increments of 5. These are applied as penalties to a pilot’s use of Vehicles, to represent how a ship’s size or quality might make it less maneuverable. This MR penalty is applied by decreasing the pilot’s Vehicles threshold while piloting that ship. (Example: A pilot with a Vehicles threshold of 75 flying a ship with a MR penalty of 5 now operates with a Vehicles threshold of 70 so long as they are piloting that ship.) Examples of MR by ship type:
  • A starfighter with a MR of 0 is considered highly maneuverable and therefore inflicts no penalties.
  • A transport or medium sized ship (of which the SWTOR player ships such as the Defender or the Fury are an example) with a MR of 5 is still quite maneuverable, but not on par with a single-man starfighter. 
  • A capital ship with a MR of 20 is generally speaking not going to be capable of executing precision maneuvers.

Weapons Rating (WR): A ship’s WR represents the number of damage points they will inflict on a successful hit. All damage is applied to a ship’s Shield Rating first, and any damage over the SR is applied to a ship’s HP.

Starship Stat Block Examples:
Spoiler: show

Flashfire or Sting Scout,  Starfighter
HP: 3
SR: 1
MR: 0
WR: 2

Starguard or Rycer Strike Fighter, Starfighter
HP: 3
SR: 2
MR: 0
WR: 1

Small-to-Medium Size Transports or Corvettes (Examples: Defender, Fury, Thunderclap, XS Freighter)
HP: 4
SR: 3
MR: 5
WR: 1

Large Civilian Freighter or Transport (Examples: Wanderer-class and Gage-class transports)
HP: 6
SR: 4
MR: 10
WR: 1

Large Corvettes and Destroyers (Examples: Thranta-class corvette and Terminus-class destroyer)
HP: 8
SR: 4
MR: 10
WR: 2

Capital Ship (Examples: Valor-class cruiser and Harrower-class dreadnought):
HP: 10
SR: 8
MR: 20
WR: 4
Special: By default, capital ships can only target ships that are transport size and larger (in other words, they cannot target single starfighters). Only if a capital ship has been approved by the GM to come equipped with point defense cannons.


Players as Crew

When playing a scenario in which the PCs are members of a ship’s crew, the core Under 100 system can be used with very little altered (and it still relies entirely on the normal skill group use mechanic). This means that all characters, whether playing as a starfighter pilot or serving as a member of a ship's crew, will need to make a character sheet using the Under 100 system.

It is up to a GM to determine when they feel a ship becomes large enough to qualify as a ship that would need crew. For example, the Millenium Falcon or any of the class ships in SWTOR could be treated as a ship that would require crew, so that a pilot would need someone in the “gunner” role in order to fire weapons (and large transports or capital ships always require crew). On the other hand, we also know that we’ve seen some representations of these ships in SW literature in which the pilot has direct access to weapons. If the GM decides to allow a Millenium Falcon or Defender/Fury style ship to be operated by a single person, that player will use the Player as Starfighter Pilot rules section below this one.

If a PC is simply aboard ship, but not taking any actions that pertain to the functions/use of the ship itself, then they use their 9 Skill Groups as normal, to take whatever actions within the ship that they wish.

If a PC is taking actions pertaining the functions/use of the ship itself (i.e., if they are serving as part of the ship’s crew), the below five skills apply. Any skills not listed here do not play a role in the functions of a ship.

In all cases, players should make a roll against their skill threshold as normal, to determine success or failure of their action.

Vehicles – PCs use this skill as part of a ship’s crew to:
  • Pilot the ship
    • All creative or daredevil feats of piloting fall under Vehicles. Ultimately any special effects or results of fancy flying (outside of the three specific actions described below) are up to the GM; this is meant to allow for creativity and flexibility in story telling while still incorporating a chance at failure to keep things surprising and risky. Imagination (and GM ruling) is the limit!
    • Evasive Maneuvering: In ships of transport and starfighter size, a pilot can devote their action to evasive maneuvering. A success negates the effects of the next successful attack against the pilot's ship.
    • Flying Interference: Any ship (of any size) can attempt to provide cover to allied ships with tactical re-positioning. A success means the pilot's ship will take all of the damage inflicted by the next successful attack against the target they are protecting, in that target's stead.
    • Line Up The Shot: The pilot of any ship requiring crew (excluding capital ships) can attempt to maneuver their vessel into ideal firing position for their gunners, whether this is a fly-by, a trench run, or just getting the best angle for your cannons. A success increases the Ranged threshold of a ship's gunners by 20 for their next attack.

Technical – PCs use this skill as part of a ship’s crew to:
  • Operate and manage sensors
    • Using sensors can reveal useful story data provided by the GM
    • Using sensors to help triangulate targets can increase the Ranged threshold by 20 for a gunner's next attack
  • Operate and manage shields
    • Restoring or cycling shields can restore 1 point of lost SR to the ship
  • Operate and manage engineering functions
    • Working techie magic in engineering can increase the Vehicles threshold by 10 for a pilot's next check
  • Effect repairs on ship systems
    • Two successful checks are required to effect repairs (cumulative, not necessarily successive), resulting in restoring 1 point of lost HP to the ship. Can only be done twice to the same ship during an adventure.

Ranged – PCs use this skill as part of a ship’s crew to:
  • Operate ship’s primary weapons
    • Any successful attack with primary/cannon weapons deals damage equal to the ship's WR to the targeted enemy vessel.
  • Acquire a Missile Lock
    • Attempting to acquire a missile lock is an Opposed Check against the pilot or crew of the target ship. If the character attempting the missile lock is successful, they deal 1 point of damage to the target which bypasses shields (damage is dealt directly to the target ship's HP regardless of its current functioning SR).
      • Missile lock vs. a starfighter: attacker's Ranged check vs. defender's Vehicles check
      • Missile lock vs. a crewed ship: attacker's Ranged check vs. defender's Technical check to scramble the lock

Social – PCs use this skill as part of a ship’s crew to:
  • Motivate and command a crew
    • Successful uses of Social to inspire or organize crew will result in increasing the skill threshold of all party members by 20 for that round. (This is not cumulative with any other threshold boosts from other crew members.)
  • Attempt normal uses of the Social skill against NPC ships’ crews via comms

Force – PCs use this skill as part of a ship’s crew to:
  • Anticipate enemy action or avoid incoming perils
    • A player who uses their turn to ‘predict’ dangers in the Force can communicate warnings to their crew that will result in increasing the skill threshold of all members by 20 for that round. (This is not cumulative with any other threshold boosts from other crew members.)
  • Operate ship’s weapons (substituting for Ranged skill), rolling against their Force skill threshold lowered by 20
  • Use the Force for piloting (substituting for Vehicles skill), rolling against their Force skill threshold lowered by 30
  • Use the Force Enhancement special action to boost any other skill


Players as Starfighter Pilot

The most obvious example of PCs as solo pilots is a PC flying a starfighter. In this case, to best represent the spirit of SW starfighting, and to allow for the idea that operation of a starfighter’s weapons is intrinsic to being a starfighter pilot, PCs use the Vehicles skill to roll for all piloting and weapons checks when piloting a starfighter.  (PCs who are relying on the Force skill instead of Vehicles function differently; see the Force section below.)

The breakdown of how a character uses skills to pilot a starfighter is as follows:

Vehicles
  • Pilot the ship
    • All creative or daredevil feats of piloting fall under Vehicles. Ultimately any special effects or results of fancy flying (outside of the two specific actions described below) are up to the GM; this is meant to allow for creativity and flexibility in story telling while still incorporating a chance at failure to keep things surprising and risky. Imagination (and GM ruling) is the limit!
    • Evasive Maneuvering: A starfighter pilot can devote their action to evasive maneuvering. A success negates the effects of the next successful attack against the pilot's ship.
    • Flying Interference: A starfighter pilot can attempt to provide cover to allied ships with tactical re-positioning. A success means the pilot's ship will take all of the damage inflicted by the next successful attack against the target they are protecting, in that target's stead.
  • Operate starfighter weapons
    • Any successful attack with primary/cannon weapons deals damage equal to the ship's WR to the targeted enemy vessel.
  • Acquire a Missile Lock
    • Attempting to acquire a missile lock is an Opposed Check against the pilot or crew of the target ship. If the character attempting the missile lock is successful, they deal 1 point of damage to the target which bypasses shields (damage is dealt directly to the target ship's HP regardless of its current functioning SR).
      • Missile lock vs. a starfighter: attacker's Vehicles check vs. defender's Vehicles check
      • Missile lock vs. a crewed ship: attacker's Vehicles check vs. defender's Technical check to scramble the lock


Technical
  • Operate and manage sensors
    • Using sensors can reveal useful story data provided by the GM
    • Using sensors to help triangulate targets can increase the Ranged threshold by 20 for a gunner's next attack
  • Operate and manage shields
    • Restoring or cycling shields can restore 1 point of lost SR to the ship
  • Operate and manage engineering functions
    • Working techie magic in engineering can increase the Vehicles threshold by 10 for a pilot's next check
  • Effect repairs on ship systems
    • Two successful checks are required to effect repairs (cumulative, not necessarily successive), resulting in restoring 1 point of lost HP to the ship. Can only be done twice to the same ship during an adventure.

Force
  • Operate ship’s weapons, rolling against their Force skill threshold lowered by 20
  • Use the Force for piloting, rolling against their Force skill threshold lowered by 30
  • Use the Force Enhancement special action to boost any other skill

... aaaand that's it!

I welcome any feedback! I'm planning an upcoming event in which I know starship combat might (depending on the choices players make) come into it, so I figured I ought to get the system up.

14
This website is a home for a great community, and I know that many of us frequent it daily. It is a home that further provides all sorts of wonderful amenities, beyond just that of a community forum - such as the HoloNet wiki, the Strongholds listing, the GuildNet features, and the Chatroom we use both for our RP events and for socializing. I would like to try to do something to support it.

My PVE guild recently had great success with a site fundraising initiative that my GM came up with, and I would like to try to replicate that success here. So I am hosting a contest for the month of February, the month with that oft-reviled lovers' holiday in it (from which I am drawing inspiration for the contest name). I'm hoping BC.org denizens can take this opportunity to...


:aww:Show The Love :aww:
A Fundraising Effort & Raffle for BC.org


Goal: To raise as many donation funds for the site as we can in the month of February! Those funds roll over into subsequent months, so maybe we can help the site out for many months to come.

This fundraising effort will take the form of a raffle, in which anyone who donates to the site in February is entered for a chance to win in-game prizes, which will be enumerated below. It's 100% organized and funded by me, and though I got permission from the site admins to do so it's important that no one take this to mean that I am speaking on their behalf, or that they are pressuring the community to donate. The admins have funded and maintained this site for us through dry spells and good spells, and never put the burden on the community in any way. I'd just like to reward that generosity by sharing the load!


How it Works: Below I will try to outline how it works. If people have questions not covered here, I'll update this section as they get answered.

 :lightside: The contest will look at donations in the pre-set increments that can be found on the Donations page, using the last six: $5, $10, $15, $20, $25, $50.

 :lightside: Any donation that hits any of the above-listed increments will count as an entry into the raffle. Meaning: if you donate $5, you get one entry. If you donate $15, you get three entries. If you donate $50, you get six entries. Multiple donations can go toward this total, but they will be summed up and then broken down by these increments to determine ultimate raffle entries (i.e., you could donate $5 on 2/3 and $10 on 2/20, together that would count as the $15 increment and three total entries).

 :lightside: Participants would need to pick the option, when donating, for their name to be publicly shown. This is entirely so that I, as a normal site user, can have access to see how many entries into the raffle people will be getting. It's not meant to cause anyone to feel uncomfortable that they're donating more or less than other people. At the end of the day, we are all donating for the same reason: because we love the site. Those who, for any reason life circumstances might be throwing at them in February, can only donate $5 don't love the site any less than those who can donate $50. In fundraising, every little bit helps!

 :lightside: On Tuesday 2/28 at 7:30 PM Server Time I will be in the BC.org chat room to do the prize drawing in real time. Each person will be assigned numbers equal in quantity to the number of their entries, and then I'll use the /roll function to see what numbers win! For example: If the contest gets a total of 40 entries, and you are entitled to three of them, you might be assigned numbers 11, 12, and 13, and if any of those are the result on a /roll 1d40 then you win! (You don't have to be present in the chat room in order to win; I'll post the winners on the forums too of course.)

 :lightside: The window for donations will start on February 1st, and end on February 27th.


Prizes: The part everyone ultimately cares about!  :grin:

Grand Prize: 30 Million In-Game Credits
Second Prize: First pick choice of the below-listed prize items.
Third Prize: Second pick choice of the below-listed prize items.

Satele Shan's Sparring Lightsaber
Satele Shan's Dualsaber
Thexan's Lightsaber
Bastila Shan's Armor Set
Atris's Armor Set
Juhani's Armor Set
Nathema Sithspawn Mount
Ragebound Monolith Mount

:aww:Show The Love :aww:

I hope people will participate! If anyone has any questions please ask, and if anyone spots a flaw in any of the contest's structuring logic please speak up. I'll post any updates to the contest in this thread.

15
In pursuit of my Strongholds obsession, I've now made my stretch goal of hitting 250,000 personal prestige.  :whee: (Hooray for unhealthy fixation!  :omg:)

Along the way that obviously meant acquiring a lot of decorations (which also meant a heckuva lot of reputation, PVP, Flashpoint, and Operations grinding, among other more prosaic things like more frivolously spent millions than bears thinking about). Having put myself through that grinder I have a very clear idea of how much time it took - and I know that's something we, as people who also have to contend with the Real World, don't always have a lot of.

That made me think I might be able to do something to spare other people that grind, at least as far as guilds are concerned.

So, while I know we have quite a few SH aficionados who are likely already donating to their guilds left and right, I thought I might as well put out the offer as well, because it never hurts to have more people who can spread the shinies around! :cake: I am throwing open the doors to my hoard, and can offer an alt to temporarily guild-join to donate/purchase-for-guild any of the decorations I'm about to outline below.

Update as of 7/3/17:

The previous iteration of this post went on to break things down into categories and had screenshots and lists of what is available. I've since decided to go ahead and share my decorations spreadsheet/database on Google sheets, both to streamline communicating which decos I have the ability to donate, and to make the resource available to anyone who might find it useful in their own Strongholds pursuits. >>>>>>> Here it is! <<<<<<<

The data in the sheet is protected, but on the tool bar you should see a filter option (an icon that looks like a funnel) which will allow you to create a filtered view of the spreadsheet.

Those of you who already know how to use filters in a spreadsheet know what to do to fully unlock the power of this spreadsheet. Have at it!

For those who aren't familiar with filters, here's a YouTube video that tells you the basics. You can start at 4:42, and end at 6:30, and you'll have the foundation of what you need. While filtering on just one category is already plenty helpful, where you'll really be able to make the sheet work the most magic is in filtering on multiple categories at once to zoom in on a specific type of data you're looking for. In the sections below, I will suggest specific filter combinations to help you view things.

Note to remember: After you have completed a search on particular filters/parameters, and you are ready to try to filter in a different way for a new search, it's important to reset all of your filtered columns. To do that, check for all the columns where the icon indicates a filter is active, click on the filter, and then click on the Select All option to make sure all data has been restored. Now you're back at square one and can start a new filtering exercise!

And remember, if you ever need to look up what one of the decos in the list is, you can check TOR Decorating as a reference for pics. 

The Spreadsheet Column that Matters for Donations

For the purpose of determining which decos I can offer to donate to a guild, the column that denotes this is the one labeled "Guild Donation Price." There are five value types you will see in this column: 
               Credits Cost (the various number values)
               N/A
               N/A - BoL
               N/A - BoP
               Physical Donation
Credits Cost - For any deco with a number value in this column, that number represents the cost in credits to purchase a copy of the deco for the guild. Multiple copies of the same deco may be purchased, and the credit cost will apply in full for each copy.
Physical Donation - This means that a deco must be physically in your inventory (not consumed and added to your personal decorations UI), and then dragged and dropped into your guild bank in order for a copy to be donated to your guild. You will need as many physical copies of the deco as you want donated.
N/A, N/A - BoL, N/A - BoP - Decos with any of these values cannot be donated to a guild at all, in any form. Some of these are obviously bugs which I will be calling out on the official forums, but for the time being there's nothing we can do to change this reality.


 :lightside:What I Can Help Donate to Your Guild

Filter the "Niarra Unlocked" column to Yes only, and the "Guild Donation Price" column to the number values and Physical Donations only. Once you've done that, you will now be looking at a list of everything I can help to donate to your guild.

Keep in mind that if a decoration can be purchased from Felusia Stato or from one of the Fabrication droids (you can see that specified in the "Source" column), then you do not need my help for this at all, since you yourself can purchase those decos from the relevant vendor and drop them into your guild bank at need. The same goes for decos that are direct purchase from the Cartel Market and can only be donated via Physical Donation.


 :lightside:Cartel Pack, Cartel Market, Event, Special Vendor, or Anniversary Decos

I have all of the Cartel Market items in the game, so if it exists and it is not bugged so as to prevent donation, I can donate it for you. Some items are bugged, but the vast majority will all have a credit cost donation price. Play around with the filters on the spreadsheet to find what you need.

A few decos that are accessible through unique vendors (such as the Collector's Edition vendor) or from previous Anniversary events can also be donated with a credit cost, and the spreadsheet will show you which those are as well.


 :lightside:Reputation Faction Items

These are the decos you can buy from the special event vendors (such as the Gree, BBA, Makeb, Rishi, etc.) with event currencies, fabrication kits, or credits, and purchase is gated behind reputation requirements. For some reason (again I suspect oversight, because there's no logic to it) some of these can be guild donated and some of them cannot. Again, the spreadsheet will show this. To view all decos acquired from Reputation vendors, filter on the "Source Type" column for Reputation.

I have the necessary reputation level for all of the game factions, to cover all of the decorations that can be acquired from them. (If you are using the sheet for your own purposes and wish to see what reputation level you need to shoot for, you can find that data over in Column K: "Reputation Pre-Requisite.") Some reputation vendor items can be donated to a guild with a credit cost, and some can by donated via physical donation - in either case, I can help you. But some of these do fall under the N/A categories and I'm afraid none of us can do anything at the moment to get those into any of our guilds.


 :lightside:Flashpoint, Operations, and Eternal Championship Trophies

All trophies can be donated to a guild via credit cost. To see what I can help to donate for your guild, just filter the "Niarra Unlocked" column to Yes, the "Guild Donation Price" column to all the number values only, and the "Source Type" column to include E.C. - Achievements, Flashpoint - Achievements, and Operation - Achievements.


 :lightside:Operations Drops

Operations drops are funny. It's about a 50/50 split on those that can be donated via a credit cost donation purchase, and those which can be donated only via drag & drop physical donation. Ultimately all Operations drops decos can be donated via one of these two methods, but if it's the physical donation method then we are all in the same boat of just needing to acquire it via an ops run or the GTN and giving it to our guild.

But if it's a deco with a credit cost purchase option, then I can help! To find which those are, filter the "Niarra Unlocked" column to Yes, the "Guild Donation Price" column to all the number values only, and the "Source Type" column to Operations.

Note that Flashpoint drops can never be donated with a credit cost; all of these are strictly physical donations only, so you'll need to grind those FPs or search the GTN for them.


:lightside:Achievements

Unfortunately, most of the decos that are awarded for achievements cannot be donated to a guild. (This is particularly a shame with all of the lovely PVP artwork.) To see the small handful that I can help to donate, filter the "Niarra Unlocked" column to Yes, the "Guild Donation Price" column to all the number values only, and the "Source Type" column to PVE - Achievements.


:lightside: Mounts and Pets

Trying to list these out would be a project and a feat well beyond my patience. Suffice it to say that I have an embarrassingly rather obscene amount of mounts and pets, including many of the rare ones (particularly most beasties). Not all are Collections unlocked so I can't provide a definitive list (meaning it will depend on the character I’m donating with), but if there's one in particular you're looking for please ask and I'll check if it's feasible.


If You Want Any of This Donated to Your Guild: What to Do

If you've seen anything here that you'd like me to donate to your guild, please either list it out in a response on this topic, or send me a PM with that info. You'll need to include the name of the deco(s) and the quantity (number of copies you'd like donated). Using the spreadsheet, you should also be able to calculate the cost in either credits or the prefab kits needed to buy them from the Reputation vendors.

Once you have a list made up we'll organize a time when I could be in-game with a designated alt for you to throw me a temporary guild invite, do the credits trade and/or prefab trade, and then I'll be able to make all of the donations.

Here's to hoping my sick madness can actually benefit someone!  :lol:

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