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Author Topic: RP System: Under 100 - Starship Rules  (Read 2052 times)

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Offline Niarra

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RP System: Under 100 - Starship Rules
« on: 03/04/17, 05:19:37 PM »
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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.
« Last Edit: 05/05/17, 09:26:30 AM by Niarra »
Niarra Reymark, Jedi Master and Diplomat // Derrad Reymark, Starfighter Ace and Softie // Jheva, Padawan and Pattern Reader // Yatei, Jedi Knight // Zelek Arr, Corn Grower
Sivala, Sith Academy Overseer // Rannayel, Sith Lord and Museum Curator
Erran Veshkgalaar, Mandalorian Accountant // Caustrin Neyvor, Dangerous Puppeteer // Ariza Fey, Psycho and Pyro // Kettur Vaen, Semi-Spook

Offline Niarra

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Re: RP System: Under 100 - Starship Rules
« Reply #1 on: 05/05/17, 02:32:37 AM »
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Player Tips

If you are going to participate as a player in a starship combat adventure using this module of the Under 100 system, the first thing you will need to do is create a character sheet using the core rules of the system. You will be using these character stats to determine what skills your character can apply in starship combat.

Your character concept (and the character sheet you've put together to best fit that concept) should guide you in determining what role you think your character would be mostly likely to play in whatever space adventure scenario is being put before you. Are you a space jock, piloting your own starfighter? A techie, manning the signal jammers and angling the deflector shields? A gunner, swiveling around in the bubble turret of your party's scrappy transport? An admiral, commanding from the bridge of a capital ship?

Although there are a variety of actions available to a character in a space battle, and someone with the relevant skills could switch from one role to another depending on circumstances, generally speaking most characters are going to be able to find a part to play in one of four chief roles: a pilot, a gunner, a tech, a commander.

In the post above that details the Starship Rules, you will see that actions are already broken out into reference tables/blocks based on the Skill being used. Each of those can be kept for player reference, as a sort of "cheat sheet" for your role, to get an idea of the most obvious actions you can take in a fight. (Just be sure you are taking your references from the correct category of Player as Crew or Player as Starfighter Pilot, since some applications of a skill may be different between them.)

As a PILOT you will be looking for actions related to the Vehicles skill.

As a GUNNER you will be looking for actions related to the Ranged skill.

As a TECH you will be looking for actions related to the Technical skill.

As a COMMANDER you will be looking for actions related to the Social and Force skills.

Just remember that you can always take an action from any category (you're not limited to just one), provided you can roll for the skill. And of course the heart and soul of any RPG is always creativity, so don't hesitate to suggest an application of a skill that may not be explicitly listed in the rules, if you feel it makes sense; it's ultimately up to the GM to decide if they feel it can be worked in a way that doesn't disrupt or unbalance other rules or gameplay.
Niarra Reymark, Jedi Master and Diplomat // Derrad Reymark, Starfighter Ace and Softie // Jheva, Padawan and Pattern Reader // Yatei, Jedi Knight // Zelek Arr, Corn Grower
Sivala, Sith Academy Overseer // Rannayel, Sith Lord and Museum Curator
Erran Veshkgalaar, Mandalorian Accountant // Caustrin Neyvor, Dangerous Puppeteer // Ariza Fey, Psycho and Pyro // Kettur Vaen, Semi-Spook

Offline TrickyNick87

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Re: RP System: Under 100 - Starship Rules
« Reply #2 on: 05/07/17, 10:43:35 AM »
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After Action Review

Event: Battle of Iokath: Corridor Skirmish

Here are my thoughts on how this system worked for our Iokath space RP event, including things I think worked well that I'd like to see again and items that could be considered for improvement.

Things to Sustain

* Participation of Experienced Players. In this event, both Imperial faction players were entirely new to the roll system, but all Republic players seemed to have some experience with the system or a similar roll system. Having participants familiar with the system was tremendously beneficial to the newer members, their guidance and patience made for a more enjoyable experience.

While I'm on this subject, I want to point out how essential it is that prospective GMs strongly encourage event participants to study the system mechanics prior to an event. There is A LOT of information to process, but even an elementary understanding of the rules will make the event run more smoothly and be more enjoyable for all members.

* Real-Time Event Updates in a Forum Post. As the GM for the event, this became a bit of work but I didn't know any other way to do it. As the battle progressed, I updated the event post after each turn to reflect the impact of each players roll (damage to ships, boosts to skill thresholds, etc.). I was heavily dependent on this method for accurately monitoring event progress. Admittedly, editing BBC code on a forum thread was not optimal, I'm not sure how much benefit the event participants got out of it but I relied on it heavily as GM. Niarra mentioned she recorded event progress differently and I'd be interested to hear how she does that. One of the things I liked about event progress monitoring for this event was that all participants had a real time display of event stats easily available to them.

* Allow Players to Color the Impact of Their Rolls. As Niarra suggested above, it is up to the GM whether they will provide the color after a players roll or allow the player to do that. Personally, I found it took a load off me as a first-time event GM to allow players the opportunity to describe the impact of their rolls. I'm also fond of allowing RPers the opportunity to address that issue themselves as it might be important to the development of their own characters. And omg, some people, like @Mei , can be just so unimaginably creative with their color. :)

Things to Improve

* Modify Event Status Charts. I relied heavily on my character sheet and starship stats charts during the event. I'd like to explore ideas to consolidate this information is a presentable, preferably single chart for GM and participant use.

* Notification of Event Dates. This was a failure on my part. As a rule, I try to inform community and guild members of planned events no less than seven calendar days before its planned start date. For this event, I think I gave four days notice. In the future, I need to ensure I give adequate notice for people to plan and prepare for event.

Something else I think I may do for future events is establish and enforce an event sign-up cut-off date. I don't want to find myself updating character sheets and starship statistics in the final hour before an event start-time.

* Event Scenario Details. It took about the first thirty minutes of this three hour event before we finally settled into a good pace. I realize that was my fault. In the future, I need to provide participants with more specific information beforehand about the event scenario and the known order of battle of all teams involved in an event. I also considered developing a graphic like I did for fun in the Iokath RP - Space RP thread to help players visualize what the layout of the battlefield and arrangement of friendly and enemy forces looks like.

* "Color-Only" Rolls. It may be meritable to allow all players to take the first round of the event to simply describe what their character/ship is doing. This will allow for some free, mostly unrestrained and creative RP to set the stage before the battle. The Iokath event was very "PvPish" but that doesn't mean we have to force attendees straight into combat on their first turn. Maybe dedicate the first round just for one individual color post by players in order of their Influence placement.

* Addressing Starship Distance. There was confusion at the start of the event over whether or not players were immediately in range of one another and if combat rolls would have any effect. As I type this, I realize that is simply something I should have address as GM as part of environment shaping (Niarra was with me for hours before the event began and probably said like forty times: "The GM shapes the environment..." It took me about 1/4th into the match before I was like: "Oh... I shape the environment... :P ).

* Establish Skill Threshold Restrictions. As was commented during the event, skill group allocations like Savant and Specialist seemingly gave players an overly good chance of success with certain abilities. It may be worth looking into restricting allocation selection to certain groups or establishing new ones for space RP.

* Clearly Define Win/Lose Conditions. Another oversight on my part for the event. I should have clearly stated the Imperial objective of the match to get the transport to the corridor and the Republic advantage to prevent that. I did actually do this, but towards the end of the event in order to wrap it up, which was unfair to participants who weren't told beforehand. I'll definitely be sure to be more transparent about this in the future.

I'm also inclined to say that, for space RP, establishing "Deathmatch" objectives is very bland and not really much fun for RP (e.g., defeat all enemy team ships). I like the idea of establishing more specific, creative objectives for teams to work towards.

* Reserve Forces, RPing NPCs, and Event Latecomers. It was mentioned mid-game that one player could abandon one team for another in order to balance it out. I think it should be established in event details prior to the start date what specific reserve forces can be pulled into the event mid-game. Also, I don't think it's necessary for teams to be evenly stacked prior to an event if the creation of NPC units is arranged beforehand to fill any gaps.

Offline Mei

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Re: RP System: Under 100 - Starship Rules
« Reply #3 on: 05/07/17, 11:23:17 AM »
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* Real-Time Event Updates in a Forum Post. As the GM for the event, this became a bit of work but I didn't know any other way to do it. As the battle progressed, I updated the event post after each turn to reflect the impact of each players roll (damage to ships, boosts to skill thresholds, etc.). I was heavily dependent on this method for accurately monitoring event progress. Admittedly, editing BBC code on a forum thread was not optimal, I'm not sure how much benefit the event participants got out of it but I relied on it heavily as GM. Niarra mentioned she recorded event progress differently and I'd be interested to hear how she does that. One of the things I liked about event progress monitoring for this event was that all participants had a real time display of event stats easily available to them.

YES!!!! This was my LIFE LINE for the event. Being so new to this style, it was my life support LOL Helped me to visual the scene, plan my moves and add my color. I can't thank you enough for keeping the event thread updated!!  :aww:

Quote
* "Color-Only" Rolls. It may be meritable to allow all players to take the first round of the event to simply describe what their character/ship is doing. This will allow for some free, mostly unrestrained and creative RP to set the stage before the battle. The Iokath event was very "PvPish" but that doesn't mean we have to force attendees straight into combat on their first turn. Maybe dedicate the first round just for one individual color post by players in order of their Influence placement.

I will second this! A first, starter post would be very beneficial in helping to shape the visualization of the environment.

Quote
* Establish Skill Threshold Restrictions. As was commented during the event, skill group allocations like Savant and Specialist seemingly gave players an overly good chance of success with certain abilities. It may be worth looking into restricting allocation selection to certain groups or establishing new ones for space RP.

I can agree with this too. For me, my space battle guy IS one of my in-game RPers, so I didn't actually create a specific skill sheet for space combat. Perhaps, there would be some sort of altered form of the character sheet specific to space combat? I don't know, I'm just throwing that out there.
Sometimes I get creative: Story Collection || Artwork Collection




Offline Sebrik

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Re: RP System: Under 100 - Starship Rules
« Reply #4 on: 05/07/17, 11:25:40 AM »
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I have some issues with this system that force me to shy away from any event that uses it.


My first issue is no defensive rolls.  Getting automatically hit makes no sense to me during PvP.  As I understood last night, you said one could devote their turn to an evade, to negate damage of the next attack.  But how does that work when someone before you attacks you?  The advantage goes to whoever is first in the turn order.  Player 1 attacks Player 2, Player 2 expects to be able to defend himself.



Ship stats - I highly disagree with the chosen stats you've given ships and how shields work.  Last night, Turari was in a Scout and opened fire from range at a Starfighter.  She used her normal guns, no missiles.  How is it that a salvo from a Scout takes out a Starfighter's shields in one hit?

I disagree with scouts having a higher weapon rating than stsrfighters too.  Starfighters are designed for dogfighting and balance between maneuverability, defense, and offense.  Scouts are designed to be fast.  The only advantage they should have over a Starfighter is speed and maneuverability.  The ship is smaller and less armed, so I struggle to see why it would have a higher weapons rating than a ship designed for fighting.  For example, the Flashfire scout is equipped with two laser cannons.  The Quell FT-2 Strikefighter is equipped with two TWIN laser cannons.  Twice as many cannons.  The S-12 Blackbolt (scout) has 2 laser cannons.  FT-6 Pike (strikefighter) has 4 laser cannons.  S-13 Sting (scout) has 2 laser cannons.  FT-6 Rycer has quad laser cannons.  It's a commom theme.
« Last Edit: 05/07/17, 11:44:38 AM by Sebrik »

Offline Dassalya

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Re: RP System: Under 100 - Starship Rules
« Reply #5 on: 05/07/17, 02:37:36 PM »
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While I was initially worried about the balance of things, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself nodding along with it by the end. Despite having two savants on the Republic side of things, creative thinking on the Imperial side and few good rolls kept things bopping until the end. The race to take out that transport was just that—a race. So, while I don't have much to add, my final two cents are that it is, in my opinion, more balanced than first meets the eye. Also, it's nice and light and quick—something events sometimes desperately need.
Republic: Brinla Ruun|Dassalya Nasadee|Mihzarwi Taan|Nulaa Ulair|Tamminick Nasadee|Doz Jalth
Imperial: Adeliey Innesaud|Sadhara Zinn|Vedriat Azaera

Offline Niarra

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Re: RP System: Under 100 - Starship Rules
« Reply #6 on: 05/07/17, 10:31:14 PM »
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@Nicohlas, I appreciate hearing your thoughts on how the system worked for your event. Play testing and feedback is the best way to refine things.

A lot of your thoughts were about game mastering style and event logistics rather than the rules, but as you know I really love talking game master shop so I'll babble about those too.  :lol:

* Participation of Experienced Players. In this event, both Imperial faction players were entirely new to the roll system, but all Republic players seemed to have some experience with the system or a similar roll system. Having participants familiar with the system was tremendously beneficial to the newer members, their guidance and patience made for a more enjoyable experience.

While I'm on this subject, I want to point out how essential it is that prospective GMs strongly encourage event participants to study the system mechanics prior to an event. There is A LOT of information to process, but even an elementary understanding of the rules will make the event run more smoothly and be more enjoyable for all members.

No doubt, having players with experience with a system on hand makes a huge difference. (And as you said, even a single-pass read of a rules system can offer a good grounding.) Every time I've been part of a tabletop RPG where players new to RPGs were being brought in, the only experiments that succeeded were when the new folks had experienced people to observe. Every time it was a group of all new players, the results were not that positive.

* Real-Time Event Updates in a Forum Post. As the GM for the event, this became a bit of work but I didn't know any other way to do it. As the battle progressed, I updated the event post after each turn to reflect the impact of each players roll (damage to ships, boosts to skill thresholds, etc.). I was heavily dependent on this method for accurately monitoring event progress. Admittedly, editing BBC code on a forum thread was not optimal, I'm not sure how much benefit the event participants got out of it but I relied on it heavily as GM. Niarra mentioned she recorded event progress differently and I'd be interested to hear how she does that. One of the things I liked about event progress monitoring for this event was that all participants had a real time display of event stats easily available to them.

I was very impressed by the work you put into keeping the event post updated. GMing a structured event takes plenty of concentration and multi-tasking by default, without adding another piece! But I made use of your updated post just as much as everyone else, and as you know you were catching number things I was goofing on, so you certainly had that part buttoned up.

As for how I normally do it, my solution is more low-tech. I come from a history of tabletop RPG GMing so I'm very used to working with paper and pen and notes, and moving miniatures around on a mat, where you can see exactly where each player and NPC is standing at all times. How I have so far translated all of that into online GMing is that I keep track of things on scratch paper on my desk (I usually have everyone's character sheets and story notes printed out to write on), and in combat scenarios I try to post the HP status of all parties (both PC and NPC) in the chat room at the time that their status changes. (Of course sometimes I screw up or forget, but that's where your players help you out; if they notice that you didn't update something where they could see it, they'll usually ask.) Not perfect, certainly, and your post-keeping was inspiring, so I may start looking at alternative methods myself!

* Allow Players to Color the Impact of Their Rolls. As Niarra suggested above, it is up to the GM whether they will provide the color after a players roll or allow the player to do that. Personally, I found it took a load off me as a first-time event GM to allow players the opportunity to describe the impact of their rolls. I'm also fond of allowing RPers the opportunity to address that issue themselves as it might be important to the development of their own characters. And omg, some people, like @Mei , can be just so unimaginably creative with their color. :)

This is definitely one of those things that is all about style and preference. This came up in the Under 100 thread, with Karmic making some interesting suggestions that prompted some good discussion (those posts were dated 4/17) and led to me changing the wording in the rules post. Every GM is going to have their preference, and on top of that every event will feel and play a little bit differently depending on which players are attending. The GM is usually going to be the person setting the tone and the example, and sometimes the same GM might shoot for a different tone from event to event, depending on what the event is about and what it requires. Player composition will make a difference too, of course, because everyone brings different styles to the table.

I do think it's worth noting, though, that an event that is mostly a "PVP" thing will definitely work a little differently from one that is more "PVE." (Thinking of it in those in-game terms still translates well, I think.) In a PVP scenario, I imagine it's common that actions and how they are taken are determined entirely by one player, and responses are determined entirely by the other player - so having the GM steer things a little less in that sort of scenario makes sense.

But when it's players versus the world, the players may dictate their own actions but the world doesn't exist on its own - it only exists if the GM (who is taking the place of the game engine, all of its mechanics, and all of its NPCs) is steering it. This is why I personally tend to prefer letting the player describe their intentions, and how their player executes their action, and then leaving the description of how the world reacts to that action to the GM. (Because you have no idea what the GM might be trying to do; maybe they want to help you out by deliberately flubbing a NPC tactic, or they know they need to set up the next part of the story by having that NPC successfully run away, or they know that establishing a NPC's personality will be important to the story and they need to be sure the NPC reacts stoically/snivelingly to your action and thus need to be able to provide that color in the description of the results.)

That being said, it still really just comes down to style, the purpose and structure of the event, and the GM's aims. I recently had the pleasure of playing in one of Iaera's one-off Jedi Missions and she presented me with a style that I felt worked very well in-game; it had no rules, and allowed the players a lot of freedom in determining action results. In the hands of an event runner as experienced as Iaera obviously is, with the style she was using, it worked very well; I will be taking pointers from the experience. I've yet to see anyone attempt to run a chat room event without a rules set, though; if anyone has participated in such an experiment, I'd love to hear how it went!

Something else I think I may do for future events is establish and enforce an event sign-up cut-off date. I don't want to find myself updating character sheets and starship statistics in the final hour before an event start-time.

Yeah, unfortunately sometimes that does just need to happen. I know that's not always the most friendly or accommodating, especially because we all have busy lives and sometimes we just don't know for sure, until the last minute, whether or not we'll be able to make it to an event or not. But unlike with free-form social RP events, a game mastered event with a rules set usually means that the game master was doing a fair amount of world-building and number-crunching ahead of time in order to balance encounters, and sometimes last minute additions can throw a wrench into the math.

In this case, it just happened that the initial plan was for me to run multiple ships at once for the Republic side, so simply dropping one of my planned ships off the roster to allow a player to take its place worked out OK. But had the situation been different, that could certainly have been game-breaking to juggle.

* "Color-Only" Rolls. It may be meritable to allow all players to take the first round of the event to simply describe what their character/ship is doing. This will allow for some free, mostly unrestrained and creative RP to set the stage before the battle. The Iokath event was very "PvPish" but that doesn't mean we have to force attendees straight into combat on their first turn. Maybe dedicate the first round just for one individual color post by players in order of their Influence placement.

I think it would be great if other event organizers could pitch in with suggestions on how they do this (and to get player feedback as well).

Naturally I can only speak to how I generally like to set things up:

Usually I'm doing "PVE" story events, so it's almost never the case that players are jumping into combat right away. Regardless of the planned story or structure, however, I always like to allow some time at the beginning for the players to just RP with each other for a bit. Sometimes that's in the briefing room, or aboard a ship heading to their destination, or anywhere else that makes sense for the start of the story. That gives players a chance to telegraph to the other players who their character is, and what they're there for. It also helps to establish the tone of the adventure and the party dynamic.

In the event where jumping into combat is going to happen almost right away, I think your idea that players get a first "round" to just provide color is a good one. I'd go so far as to suggest that you don't need to go into rounds at all until a period of intro color/RP is done. When you as the GM feel enough time has been allotted to get people ramped up, you can just announce, through RP or otherwise, that the call to combat has come in, and just let people know when moving into the combat turns phase has begun.

Just my two cents!

* Addressing Starship Distance. There was confusion at the start of the event over whether or not players were immediately in range of one another and if combat rolls would have any effect. As I type this, I realize that is simply something I should have address as GM as part of environment shaping (Niarra was with me for hours before the event began and probably said like forty times: "The GM shapes the environment..." It took me about 1/4th into the match before I was like: "Oh... I shape the environment... :P ).

This is a unique consideration with starship adventures specifically, because conversely, in ground combat, 9 times out of 10 in Star Wars the range is irrelevant; ranges are almost always going to be face-to-face lightsaber ranges. Starships, on the other hand, obviously operate on a huge canvas. My little starship module for Under 100 doesn't take range or movement into account in the rules at all, because once you go that far down the rabbit hole you are looking at a lot of logistics and rules management. My thinking was that movement and distance and ranges would be totally abstracted and easily covered by people's RP color... and yes, by the GM's guidance.  :lol:

* Clearly Define Win/Lose Conditions. I'm also inclined to say that, for space RP, establishing "Deathmatch" objectives is very bland and not really much fun for RP (e.g., defeat all enemy team ships). I like the idea of establishing more specific, creative objectives for teams to work towards.

This was my first experience using these rules in an event as well (so everyone gets major, major thanks from me for being guinea pigs), so I didn't have clear ideas of how it might best be leveraged beforehand either. But watching how the event unfolded, I am firmly with you, Nic, on this idea. I also came away thinking that objective-based missions would probably work best, specifically because it gives more fodder for the actual RP portion of a RP event. Objectives inspire people to be creative in the actions they choose to take, and can create a sense of drama and urgency that is about more than just kill counts.

I think "kill all enemies in your way" would still work perfectly well for a story event where it's the players versus the GM's NPCs only (like maybe players need to escape through a blockade or whatever), because then it's just heroes versus nameless battledroid/whatever fodder or versus villains who deserve their comeuppance anyway. But ultimately if it's players versus players then "kill all enemies in your way" means half of the players attending your event end the day feeling like they got their teeth kicked in (which is fun for some of us, but also something we can queue up for warzones or GSF to experience when we want to  :grin:). That's not to say that that can't make for good RP, because of course it still can. But at minimum it might not make for as many dynamic or nuanced story opportunities as, say, an escort mission, or a sabotage mission, or a scouting mission, etc.

* Reserve Forces, RPing NPCs, and Event Latecomers. It was mentioned mid-game that one player could abandon one team for another in order to balance it out. I think it should be established in event details prior to the start date what specific reserve forces can be pulled into the event mid-game. Also, I don't think it's necessary for teams to be evenly stacked prior to an event if the creation of NPC units is arranged beforehand to fill any gaps.

This is another scenario that is most likely only going to come up if you are looking at a more "PVP" style event, because if it's more "PVE" then the game master can at any time bring in any reserves they need or want (and likewise deus ex machina away any enemies who need to be made to disappear if it becomes obvious that things are not balancing appropriately). Establishing combat balance is one of the chief pieces of prep work a GM has to do for any adventure, which is why getting character stats well in advance can be so important. If a GM knows that they are going to have a couple of unstoppable lightsaber-wielding Sith juggernauts with amazing stats showing up on the player side, they can then make sure to prepare NPCs who can meet that power toe-to-toe with comparable stats, as needed when the story requires it.

But even in a more "PVP" style event, my suggestion (and again this is my opinion alone, and I think it would be awesome if others had contributions for the discussion too) would be just that the event organizer still has the power to bring in reserves however they need, whether or not it was established prior. Although establishing it prior certainly doesn't hurt! Having a roster of NPC reserve units pre-identified would be a great tool in any GM's tool box, and visibility to the players ahead of time is nice too. That's a lot of extra work, but if you are a passionate demon for details, more power to you.  :grin:

* Establish Skill Threshold Restrictions. As was commented during the event, skill group allocations like Savant and Specialist seemingly gave players an overly good chance of success with certain abilities. It may be worth looking into restricting allocation selection to certain groups or establishing new ones for space RP.

I'm actually going to reply to this one in a separate post, because I really hope to engage some dialogue from the players on it too, and I want to give it some dedicated space. More replies incoming!
Niarra Reymark, Jedi Master and Diplomat // Derrad Reymark, Starfighter Ace and Softie // Jheva, Padawan and Pattern Reader // Yatei, Jedi Knight // Zelek Arr, Corn Grower
Sivala, Sith Academy Overseer // Rannayel, Sith Lord and Museum Curator
Erran Veshkgalaar, Mandalorian Accountant // Caustrin Neyvor, Dangerous Puppeteer // Ariza Fey, Psycho and Pyro // Kettur Vaen, Semi-Spook

Offline Niarra

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Re: RP System: Under 100 - Starship Rules
« Reply #7 on: 05/08/17, 12:33:06 AM »
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Starting this post by quoting the relevant bits from posts by Nic, Mei, and Dass, because my reply will touch on all of them.

* Establish Skill Threshold Restrictions. As was commented during the event, skill group allocations like Savant and Specialist seemingly gave players an overly good chance of success with certain abilities. It may be worth looking into restricting allocation selection to certain groups or establishing new ones for space RP.

I can agree with this too. For me, my space battle guy IS one of my in-game RPers, so I didn't actually create a specific skill sheet for space combat. Perhaps, there would be some sort of altered form of the character sheet specific to space combat? I don't know, I'm just throwing that out there.

While I was initially worried about the balance of things, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself nodding along with it by the end. Despite having two savants on the Republic side of things, creative thinking on the Imperial side and few good rolls kept things bopping until the end. The race to take out that transport was just that—a race. So, while I don't have much to add, my final two cents are that it is, in my opinion, more balanced than first meets the eye. Also, it's nice and light and quick—something events sometimes desperately need.

(I would love to hear input from @LVT too, because they are great with the numbers and I know they brought this up during the event.)

This sort of feedback is critical. Other feedback like it led me to refining lots of the skills and allocation arrays of the core system. I'm open to considering unique changes that might need to be made specific to the space combat system, but first I want to play Devil's Advocate because I find that can often help to distill a discussion down to its most relevant points. My Devil's Advocate position would be this:

It could be argued that the Savant array in the hands of a starfighter pilot engaged in a space battle is no more or less powerful/unbalanced than the Savant array in the hands of a lightsaber-wielder (or Force-wielder) engaged in ground combat. A score of 90 or 100 in a skill means you are almost always going to succeed, and if that skill is combat-related, and you are in combat, then you are almost always going to succeed. If near-guaranteed success is unbalanced in one type of combat, it could be argued that it is unbalanced in all types of combat, and therefore the Savant and Specialist arrays ought to be removed entirely.

In the event that you are looking at a battle where all participants have a near-guaranteed success rate on combat skills, then as the system currently stands all that ultimately means is that people are going to be whittled down faster, because there will be almost no missed/failed attacks. Arguably, given how long chat room events go, that's not even necessarily a bad thing.

What that scenario does also create, however, is a lack of the "possibility of failure" that often works to create good drama and story. If looked at as a strict numbers trade-off (setting aside enjoyment factor), it might therefore be argued that eliminating high-powered arrays in order to ensure possibility of failure comes directly at the cost of longer event time.

So, that's the core Devil's Advocate argument I would present. My own feelings at the moment happen to jive with some of it, but I'll elaborate more, and look forward to any discussion that might help me refine things.

I feel that the Savant and Specialist arrays do not cause any problems, in either space combat or ground combat, provided the GM has the opportunity to know what they're dealing with in advance in order to tailor the opposition accordingly.

The way I see it, if a player has looked at the system and made their character a Savant in a specific area, it's because the character concept they want to play is one who is exceptional at a particular skill. If they happen to be specialized at a skill/area that is being highlighted in any given event, well, then it's just that player's turn to shine. (If they happen to never sign up with that character for any events other than the ones in which they specialize, then that's just their prerogative. I am likely to think that they are missing out on the opportunities and fun to be had in letting your player feel out of their depth sometimes, but it's not for me to dictate what fantasies people want to engage in. Or maybe they just have a very large stable of characters they want to play with and only bring certain characters out occasionally, when an event feels particularly well suited.)

I feel that it is my job as the GM of a rules-oriented event to balance the NPCs against the players. If the players are giving me three Savants, then I am either going to create a couple Savant NPCs to oppose them (if the goal of a combat is to make an even fight), or a couple normal-powered NPC bosses with just an exceptionally large hit point pool to make them last, or maybe instead I will create a swarm of less-powered NPCs to oppose them so that the heroes are being whittled down by bee-stings as the fight progresses.

Now, on the other hand, if you're looking at an event that is more PVP themed, then yes I do agree that the Savant and Specialist arrays become a much more unbalancing factor. But I'm not necessarily convinced (yet) that eliminating those arrays as options is the answer, but I really appreciate the opportunity to discuss and hear more arguments. 

For one thing, that could create the annoyance of players having to create multiple character sheet variations for the same character, depending on the event (or even depending on the scenario within the same event if a story moves from ground to air), and I can't imagine that's going to make people too happy either (in addition to causing logistical headache for the GM).

I think part of this question is about an intersection between two approaches: a RP approach, and a game-balance approach. If it becomes a question of which aspect gets more weight, then for online RP I personally am likely give the greater weight to the RP, entirely because we do not have a comprehensive system of rules like you would in a pen and paper RPG (where the rules books are hundreds of pages long), nor do we have a game engine and myriad abilities coded to specific numbers. If someone wants to be bring a character with a Vehicles threshold of 70 to a space battle (because maybe what they're really a badass at is lightsabers), it shouldn't come as a surprise to them that someone else's hotshot space ace might be coming to the space battle with a Vehicles threshold of 90. Both characters are totally valid as characters, and it's the RP is that needs to fill the gap.

That's just one approach, though, and not necessarily the best one. But I do think, as stated, that it only becomes a more troublesome issue when you're looking at player versus player, as opposed to player versus GM-created-world. And this actually leads really well into Sebrik's feedback:

I have some issues with this system that force me to shy away from any event that uses it.


My first issue is no defensive rolls.  Getting automatically hit makes no sense to me during PvP.  As I understood last night, you said one could devote their turn to an evade, to negate damage of the next attack.  But how does that work when someone before you attacks you?  The advantage goes to whoever is first in the turn order.  Player 1 attacks Player 2, Player 2 expects to be able to defend himself.

So, in the core rules post for the system, I presented opposed checks in player versus player scenarios as an optional rules set only, to be used at GM discretion; as a default, there are no opposed checks at all in combat.

I openly admit that in the guidance I was giving Nicohlas for this event (which was also the first play test of the starship rules module) I did not propose using the optional opposed checks rules.

The reason for this is the same reason that the core system does not incorporate opposed checks for normal combat, which, as stated in the core rules post, is: "Almost all combat in the Under 100 system is executed by the player making a single unopposed check to determine the success or failure of their attempted combat action. This is designed to keep combat moving swiftly. As with all other skills, combat rolls are meant to represent a character's own proficiency; if they are a very good sharpshooter, they are simply more frequently going to land their shots."

I bolded the bit that is most relevant to the why. A chat room event can sometimes take forever. Between the time people take to craft the writing around their character's actions, the time everyone else has to wait in order for them to do that, and the fact that in turn-based RP you have to wait (as opposed to just continuing to chatter socially at your whim no matter if the person at the other end of the table is taking their time), what you end up with is that combat resolution can take hours all on its own even in the best of circumstances.

When the enemy you are attacking has the option to make an opposing roll that might negate your attack, then you are going to end up seeing attacks fail 50% (to take just the straight median possibility) of the time. What that instantly means is that you have now tacked on 50% more time to the duration of the event, because it is going to take 50% longer to actually whittle that enemy down to defeat.

In looking at the system, my hope was that the balancing factor to removing opposed checks would be that they are removed for everyone, PC and NPC alike. So while a PC isn't going to be able to oppose a NPC's attack, neither will the NPC be able to do so. And since the majority of NPCs in the system are Mooks and Champions who are likely to have significantly lower combat stats than the player characters, that means that in actuality, even without the option for opposed checks, the entire system is still weighted heavily in the player characters' favor.

Now, coming back specifically to player versus player, I do acknowledge that this might not always feel as epic as we'd like it to feel. That is why I did include opposed checks as an optional rule for pvp scenarios, but again if someone needs to be blamed for how last night's event went then the blame goes to me, for not advocating with Nic for using that optional rules set. 

As it stands, the event Nic hosted took almost three hours, for the resolution of one single space battle with a total of five participants making unopposed rolls. And PVP or not, I think incorporating opposed checks would have guaranteed it went much longer than that.

However, length of time is obviously just my concern, coming at it primarily from a GM perspective, and why I built the rules the way I did. I fully acknowledge that everyone goes into an event with different concerns and perspectives, and wanting to get different experiences out of it. So probably what would ultimately be most fair would be for an event organizer to announce in their event thread whether or not they intend to be using opposed checks for PVP or not, to then let people choose whether or not they want to engage with an event under those conditions.

But how does that work when someone before you attacks you?  The advantage goes to whoever is first in the turn order.

Quoting this bit again because I think it can be carved out as a separate feedback item for discussion.

Fundamentally, you're right: advantage goes to whoever is first in the turn order. In a system with no opposed checks, that is indisputable. Who gets that advantage, in that case, depends entirely on the random chance of the initiative order roll.

Currently, there is no way to give you an improved chance at doing better on your initiative roll; it's fully random. It is in fact the only fully random rolling element in the Under 100 system, and that's because I specifically did not like the random nature of "straight" rolls in which you just had a 50/50 chance of succeeding no matter how good your character was supposed to be at something. But when it came to determining initiative, I didn't want to encumber the system with a whole skill group devoted to nothing but initiative, because fewer numbers to juggle is better.

I'm definitely open to suggestions about how initiative checks could be made less random without bogging the system down with more skills.

Tying it to a skill group at all adds more complications anyway, because the skill thresholds are meant to determine success/failure, but you don't fail at an initiative check, which is just meant to rank people in a numerical order.

I'd be totally up for adding an additional use of Heroic Moment points, though: using a HM point during the initiative rolling phase to grant you 1st place initiative, maybe? (Although then you run into possible complications if more than one person wants to do that at the same time.)

Anyone have thoughts?

(Sebrik also had some great feedback on starship stats which I want to get into in a separate post, to really chew on it properly.)
Niarra Reymark, Jedi Master and Diplomat // Derrad Reymark, Starfighter Ace and Softie // Jheva, Padawan and Pattern Reader // Yatei, Jedi Knight // Zelek Arr, Corn Grower
Sivala, Sith Academy Overseer // Rannayel, Sith Lord and Museum Curator
Erran Veshkgalaar, Mandalorian Accountant // Caustrin Neyvor, Dangerous Puppeteer // Ariza Fey, Psycho and Pyro // Kettur Vaen, Semi-Spook

Offline Niarra

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Re: RP System: Under 100 - Starship Rules
« Reply #8 on: 05/08/17, 12:48:44 AM »
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Ship stats - I highly disagree with the chosen stats you've given ships and how shields work.  Last night, Turari was in a Scout and opened fire from range at a Starfighter.  She used her normal guns, no missiles.  How is it that a salvo from a Scout takes out a Starfighter's shields in one hit?

I disagree with scouts having a higher weapon rating than stsrfighters too.  Starfighters are designed for dogfighting and balance between maneuverability, defense, and offense.  Scouts are designed to be fast.  The only advantage they should have over a Starfighter is speed and maneuverability.  The ship is smaller and less armed, so I struggle to see why it would have a higher weapons rating than a ship designed for fighting.  For example, the Flashfire scout is equipped with two laser cannons.  The Quell FT-2 Strikefighter is equipped with two TWIN laser cannons.  Twice as many cannons.  The S-12 Blackbolt (scout) has 2 laser cannons.  FT-6 Pike (strikefighter) has 4 laser cannons.  S-13 Sting (scout) has 2 laser cannons.  FT-6 Rycer has quad laser cannons.  It's a commom theme.

Great feedback, and refining ship stat blocks is totally something I expected to need to do after seeing the results of a couple play tests. Best I can do is explain why the first pass at stat blocks looked the way they did.

The core considerations that went into the stat blocks were:

1. HP and SR values needed to be fairly low, in the interest of time. As such they were obviously abstract, representative concepts, and not to be considered on a player scale (since a player character might also have 4 HP, but is obviously not as hardy as a starship).

2. With HP and SR values fairly low, the WR values needed to be kept to the same scale.

3. What do these ships look/function like in SWTOR and in the SW "reality"? 

In the case of the first pass stat block for the Flashfire/Sting scout, I freely admit I based the stats for both it and for the Starguard/Rycer example on option three from the above considerations - on what we see in SWTOR, and more specifically in GSF which is the only place they have in-game numbers associated with them.

In GSF, the Flashfire/Sting packs the biggest DPS punch of any ship class outside of Gunships. At the same time, a strike fighter like a Starguard/Rycer has more survivability than a scout. When looking at what is ultimately a pretty simplistic stat block, that "trade off" between the two ships looks like this:

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

They are almost the same ship except that the Flashfire/Sting does 2 points of damage compared to the Starguard/Rycer's 1, and the Starguard/Rycer has 2 shield points compared the Flashire/Sting's 1.

So I guess the question of how to refine these stats, if refinement is needed, is whether or not the Flashfire/Sting ought to be given stats that reflect the SWTOR/GSF reality or not. That's a very fair question. Undoubtedly I gravitated that way because I am a GSF fan, but that doesn't mean it works best in a chat room event.

What do people think? Should the scout have their WR reduced so that it does not hit harder than the strike fighter?

And if a reduction in WR for the scout feels warranted, would it actually be better to just eliminate a separate stat block for scout vs strike entirely and simply make one universal "starfighter" stat block, and just leave it to players to color that ship as being whatever ship they want it to be?

Does anyone have any other suggestions for the stat blocks for any of the other starship types?

Niarra Reymark, Jedi Master and Diplomat // Derrad Reymark, Starfighter Ace and Softie // Jheva, Padawan and Pattern Reader // Yatei, Jedi Knight // Zelek Arr, Corn Grower
Sivala, Sith Academy Overseer // Rannayel, Sith Lord and Museum Curator
Erran Veshkgalaar, Mandalorian Accountant // Caustrin Neyvor, Dangerous Puppeteer // Ariza Fey, Psycho and Pyro // Kettur Vaen, Semi-Spook

Offline Iaera

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Re: RP System: Under 100 - Starship Rules
« Reply #9 on: 05/08/17, 07:31:39 AM »
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I would argue against taking GSF too literally. I love GSF, but in adapting its mechanics to another system's mechanics, you get kind of a "copy of a copy" problem.

I would suggest thinking of scouts as A-wings and strike fighters as X-wings and statting them accordingly. A-wings are fast and manoeuvrable, but lightly armed and not particularly rugged. X-wings are more of a multi-role starfighter good at most everything but not particularly specialised, though very well armed.

I recommend refactoring manoeuvrability ratings to account for both bonuses and penalties; manoeuvrable ships get a positive MR, while sluggish ships get a negative MR. This way, you could, for example give scouts a +5, strike fighters a flat 0, and larger ships -5, -10, etc. Meanwhile, strike fighters benefit from higher shields/hp/whatever, and higher WR (because they have proton torpedoes and such).

If having a bonus doesn't work, then just refactor MR with scouts serving as the baseline at 0, and strike fighters going down to -5, and so on.

Basically, strike fighters need to be heavier, tougher, and better armed, and the only way to give something to scouts in return is to give them better MR.

With all that said, a starship system like this is pretty commendable! They are notoriously difficult things to get right, and I've only played a couple of RPG systems with passable starship rules. One of those is FFG Star Wars, incidentally, and I might at some point talk about how that system does it. I ran a very, very stripped down version for that Argent Squadron mission awhile back, and while that had a few issues that was mostly due to trying to get the dice mechanics right.
« Last Edit: 05/08/17, 04:08:40 PM by Iaera »
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Iaera Farworlder - Jedi Master, lightsaber instructor, Jedi Custodum
Sibyl-ko Tanaji - ex-punk, fighter pilot, Argent Squadron
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Offline Iaera

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Re: RP System: Under 100 - Starship Rules
« Reply #10 on: 05/08/17, 07:47:12 AM »
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While I'm at it, another (slightly more radical) suggestion to consider:

Refactor HP and SR entirely. Roll the existing concept of SR into HP so that HP represents a ship's general durability and do away with the damage mitigation mechanic. A heavily-shielded, toughly-built ship just has a larger HP pool than a flimsier ship; simple.

Then, replace SR with a slightly-differently-named Defense Rating. DR then serves as an abstract amalgamation of all manner of defenses, including shields, evasive capabilities, jammers, and so on. It functions similarly to MR in that it would apply a penalty to skill rolls, except it affects incoming attacks' skill rolls. This could provide a further point of differentiation between scouts and strike fighters, for example, by giving scouts less HP but more DR -- thus, a strike fighter is tougher and can take more hits, but a scout is harder to hit.

Just an idea to ponder!
"For over a thousand generations the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic." - Obi-Wan Kenobi

Fiat justitia ruat cælum

Iaera Farworlder - Jedi Master, lightsaber instructor, Jedi Custodum
Sibyl-ko Tanaji - ex-punk, fighter pilot, Argent Squadron
also many alts i never play ༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ

Offline Niarra

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Re: RP System: Under 100 - Starship Rules
« Reply #11 on: 05/08/17, 04:30:04 PM »
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I would argue against taking GSF too literally. I love GSF, but in adapting its mechanics to another system's mechanics, you get kind of a "copy of a copy" problem.

I would suggest thinking of scouts as A-wings as strike fighters as X-wings and statting them accordingly. A-wings are fast and manoeuvrable, but lightly armed and not particularly rugged. X-wings are more of a multi-role starfighter good at most everything but not particularly specialised, though very well armed.

I recommend refactoring manoeuvrability ratings to account for both bonuses and penalties; manoeuvrable ships get a positive MR, while sluggish ships get a negative MR. This way, you could, for example give scouts a +5, strike fighters a flat 0, and larger ships -5, -10, etc. Meanwhile, strike fighters benefit from higher shields/hp/whatever, and higher WR (because they have proton torpedoes and such).

If having a bonus doesn't work, then just refactor MR with scouts serving as the baseline at 0, and strike fighters going down to -5, and so on.

Thank you for the feedback. Taken in conjunction with the other feedback, I am definitely leaning toward a solution in this vein, and in fact I think it might also address the concerns other people were having about the Savant and Specialist allocation arrays being overpowered (I still don't feel that's much of an issue, but player perception is always important).

I'm liking the idea of neutralizing the scout WR weapon advantage in favor of a MR advantage. Rather than make that a bonus I would lean toward making only penalties all down the line, with the scout's "thing" being that it has a MR of 0 as you suggested, and then start inflicting MR penalty ratings on every ship above it, while increasing a HP/SR stat here or there. 

In shifting into a more defined scale of that kind I'm thinking to increase the MR to higher numbers across the board. So give strikes a MR of 10, medium transports a MR of 15, large transports and corvettes/destroyers a MR of 20, and capital ships a MR of 30.  In a way that's maybe even more representative of how they are seen cinematically (since you certainly don't see Star Destroyers doing donuts).

The additional effect increasing the MRs could have would be to force the Vehicles threshold down for pilots controlling those ships, which returns a chance for failure even to Savants and Specialists. The exception, then, would be just the scout, which at that point would allow a pilot to take full advantage of their Vehicles prowess but only if they assume the risk of flying the ship with the least amount of HP and SR.

My first inclination is to leave WRs as they are for all the ship blocks except for scout (which would be reduced to 1 as mentioned), entirely for gameplay balancing (and having nothing to do with abstract concepts of the ships). That would be so that HP/SR don't need to be increased too dramatically along the scale, still in the interest of avoiding 6-hour long combat sessions.

So maybe stats that looks something like this (with the altered stats bolded)?

Spoiler: show

Flashfire or Sting Scout, Starfighter
Crew Capable: No
HP: 3
SR: 1
MR: 0
WR: 1

Starguard or Rycer Strike Fighter, Starfighter
Crew Capable: No
HP: 3
SR: 3
MR: 10
WR: 1

Small-to-Medium Size Transports or Corvettes (Examples: Defender, Fury, Thunderclap, XS Freighter)
Crew Capable: Yes
HP: 4
SR: 3
MR: 15
WR: 1

Large Civilian Freighter or Transport (Examples: Wanderer-class and Gage-class transports)
Crew Capable: Yes
HP: 6
SR: 4
MR: 20
WR: 1

Large Corvettes and Destroyers (Examples: Thranta-class corvette and Terminus-class destroyer)
Crew Capable: Yes
HP: 8
SR: 4
MR: 20
WR: 2

Capital Ship (Examples: Valor-class cruiser and Harrower-class dreadnought)
Crew Capable: Yes
HP: 10
SR: 8
MR: 30
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 can they target starfighter-sized craft.


Thoughts?

While I'm at it, another (slightly more radical) suggestion to consider:

Refactor HP and SR entirely. Roll the existing concept of SR into HP so that HP represents a ship's general durability and do away with the damage mitigation mechanic. A heavily-shielded, toughly-built ship just has a larger HP pool than a flimsier ship; simple.

Then, replace SR with a slightly-differently-named Defense Rating. DR then serves as an abstract amalgamation of all manner of defenses, including shields, evasive capabilities, jammers, and so on. It functions similarly to MR in that it would apply a penalty to skill rolls, except it affects incoming attacks' skill rolls. This could provide a further point of differentiation between scouts and strike fighters, for example, by giving scouts less HP but more DR -- thus, a strike fighter is tougher and can take more hits, but a scout is harder to hit.

Just an idea to ponder!

That's a very interesting idea, but I would hesitate for a couple reasons, which I will outline.

Specifically for chatroom and/or in-game RP using a rules set, I really want to avoid needing to impose penalties or grant bonuses in general (although obviously these starship rules showcase a couple exceptions), but I definitely hesitate to impose penalties on an opposing player. If that makes sense? (I am sneaking in this post in the middle of the work day so I may not be terribly articulate, heh.) That just adds one more layer of number juggling and rules comprehension to the mess, with players going, "Wait, is that penalty to me, or to them? And how do I calculate that, then? And who tells me what?" As opposed to just knowing in advance that your Vehicles threshold is adjusted to X because of your ship and then that's it.

So while I agree that a more abstract DR that might further differentiate ship types is a neat idea, I'm not sure if it wouldn't bog down a lightweight system a little too much. That being said, I'm sure it could be refined down to something workable, but here's the second reason I would still hesitate:

The reason I wanted a Shield Rating was specifically to give players who aren't pilots more opportunities to do things in space combat when they are crew aboard ship. In this case, using their Technical skill to recharge shields and help their ship. I would have no issue abstracting the concept of SR to include other elements, but calling it "shields" seemed the most straightforward since talk of ship shields is common in SW media.

Even in just the first test play (Nic's event) we saw a player choosing to use Technical to restore shields as an action they preferred to take in support of the objective, and that 1 restored SR point was ultimately what allowed the Imperials to escape and achieve victory in the mission. I want to preserve the opportunity for players who aren't necessarily starship aces to feel like they can contribute significantly to their ship's survival in that way, especially if they're serving as crew aboard a larger ship. 
« Last Edit: 05/08/17, 04:34:46 PM by Niarra »
Niarra Reymark, Jedi Master and Diplomat // Derrad Reymark, Starfighter Ace and Softie // Jheva, Padawan and Pattern Reader // Yatei, Jedi Knight // Zelek Arr, Corn Grower
Sivala, Sith Academy Overseer // Rannayel, Sith Lord and Museum Curator
Erran Veshkgalaar, Mandalorian Accountant // Caustrin Neyvor, Dangerous Puppeteer // Ariza Fey, Psycho and Pyro // Kettur Vaen, Semi-Spook

Offline LVT

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Re: RP System: Under 100 - Starship Rules
« Reply #12 on: 05/08/17, 06:49:10 PM »
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Watch this space for a post coming soon to a theater near you.
Turari (29, Major, jr. grade CEDF)     Silivia Fenir (21, Freighter Captain)
Lashila Sellara (25, Grey Sith)         Harkasone Milan (29, Philanthropist)
Reill Farr(31, Silent Mandalorian)     Mystenin Felsa (26, 'Green' Jedi)
Touko Saizar(19, Turari's underling) Temple Guard #124(35, Pro Spook)
                                                    Freya Merril (?, ???)

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Re: RP System: Under 100 - Starship Rules
« Reply #13 on: 05/09/17, 01:49:40 PM »
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( @Niarra, @Nicohlas, @Sebrik)

Okay, a few thoughts right off the bat. I think the system is good in general. There's no better system available to RPers here, and I think Niarra's done a great job. On the general subject of skill arrays:

To get to the heart of the argument of skill arrays lets going to abstract the arrays of what they actually are, to how they're intended to be used. Specifically let's abstract by intended balance. We should achieve two groups:

Standard
Diverse
Baseline
Median
----------------
Savant
Specialist

Now I'm not talking about specific probabilities on which array is the numerically best one, more of how the each group intends to show it's strengths and weaknesses. Group one I would pick if I think my character is a normal person who is average. Someone who mostly expects to succeed but can fail if pushed hard enough. These are implied to be balanced at a character level. Each session I play, the balance of probabilities that Hark will fail the things he's bad at and succeed in the things he's good at will approach the expected value (give or take a chatbeast).

Group two uses a completely different philosophy of balance. It doesn't look at the character, it looks at the campaign. It says for any one campaign, a character may succeed all roles in one session, and then fail pretty much every roll the next. This says the more sessions you play in a campaign, the closer to statistical balance you achieve (as these encourage the players to look at ways to twist the situation in new and beneficial ways to them, the GM can always make next campaign mission with the same character a ground mission, bringing the balance back forcefully over the period of a campaign).

TL;DR Group one approaches expected balance as each session approaches infinity. Group two approaches expected balance as a campaign approaches infinity. Group one will probably give you the most total successful rolls over a long campaign more than two. Group two will blow out one in a small campaign. There are two conflicting designs here, and I can't see you ever achieving perfect parity between the groups. Hence why I suggested GM's being able to 'ban' array groups for certain events. This means that the chance to succeed will do the balancing for you.

The other option I considered is to just do away with 'success' rolls in pvp environments. What does success even mean? Who cares what it means? To quote an old story "You never need to outrun a bear, you only need to outrun your friend". Success doesn't have to be measured by objective skill at a profession, but relative skill. You could be the worst TIE pilot in the academy, but as long as the guy your jousting is worse than you, who cares. Just make pure opposed rolls, and then assign weights to the rolls. I may be creeping into EOTE more than SAGA or whatever the base of this system was, but let's consider a system where the GM assigns "weight" based on the situation:

Seb and I joust in scouts. In a head to head with even stats, the roll is unaltered.
Seb has been dueling Saresh in her shuttle. I close into Saresh as her wingman and give her an assist. Saresh gains a "weight" of -10 to her roll.
Seb ambushes me from behind an asteroid. He's on my tail and gets his first salvo off before I can respond. "Weight" of -20 to him in the opposed check.
Seb ambushes me from behind an asteroid, but I had triggered afterburners in my action. Seb gains a "weight" of -20 and I gain a "weight" of -10 since I'm moving out of range quickly.

A simple chart with weights of very general actions could form a base, and an inventive GM could extend that to any situation. Edge of the Empire is built around this system. It works. In this way, each opposed roll is unique to the exact situation. I suppose you can add a general "success threshold" to this, like any roll above 70 in an asteroid field is a failure. This can further influence the rolls based on terrain or circumstance.

Initiative was brought up, and then defended as a necessary evil. Why use it if that's the case? All you need is a start of a turn and an end of a turn. Have everyone describe their action and then execute them at the same time. There was a turn based strategy game that did something similar, as have some table top games. Any conflicting can be then sorted by an opposed or the fact that they simply both may succeed or fail regardless that they're opposed. X-Wing's rules on the subject: http://xwing-miniatures.wikia.com/wiki/Simultaneous_Attack_Rule

Example: Red Squadron Veteran (pilot skill "4") attacks Omega Squadron Pilot (pilot skill "4"). From this attack, Omega Squadron Pilot is dealt Damage cards equal to its hull value. Omega Squadron Pilot will be destroyed, but since it has the same pilot skill as Red Squadron Veteran, it first has the opportunity to perform its attack. After Omega Squadron Pilot resolves this opportunity to attack, it is destroyed and removed from the play area.

So why bother with initiative in the first place? It's pretty RNG, and if you MUST have a system like it, why not "weight" it off 'Character Skill' in the type of situation going on. Or better yet, just agree on a preassigned order based on skill or positioning?


Now that I'm done with the system, specifically for space combat:

I'd like to see weapon types and ranges. Keep it simple, like EOTE; Scouts have range short, and their guns do damage 2. Ships with lower hull shields may be threatened, but larger ships may not be as a whole. Strike fighters have medium range, and their guns do 3 damage, but they move slower and have less of a "weight" when opposing someone firing on them. Capital ships have laser cannons and turbolasers, of which they can only use one per firing round. Turbolasers are long and do 3 damage but give fighters a -20 to dodge. Laser cannons do 2 and are short. All players have to do is keep an idea of their relative distance to everyone else in circular bands. Most players do this naturally anyway, I think. I think it's best to abstain from putting hard numbers on range though.

To tie into the above suggestion, split larger ships into hard points like Empire at War. Make them generic per class of ship for simplicity, skirting around lore. IE every frigate has engines, hull, comms, shield gens, and bridge. The majority of the hp may be in hull, and scouts may struggle be able to destroy the frigate outright, but they may be able to blind it by taking out comms.


My thoughts :D (One more point and post coming soon when I have the time)
« Last Edit: 05/09/17, 02:27:16 PM by LVT »
Turari (29, Major, jr. grade CEDF)     Silivia Fenir (21, Freighter Captain)
Lashila Sellara (25, Grey Sith)         Harkasone Milan (29, Philanthropist)
Reill Farr(31, Silent Mandalorian)     Mystenin Felsa (26, 'Green' Jedi)
Touko Saizar(19, Turari's underling) Temple Guard #124(35, Pro Spook)
                                                    Freya Merril (?, ???)

Offline Niarra

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Re: RP System: Under 100 - Starship Rules
« Reply #14 on: 05/09/17, 02:14:11 PM »
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@LVT, your feedback is great. This is why back and forth discussion with players makes all the difference in improving a system.

Right now this is just a quick reply to let you know I have a bunch to say and you've given me stuff to ponder... but darn work will hold me prisoner at least for another couple hours.  :rage: I'll be replying later this afternoon! 
Niarra Reymark, Jedi Master and Diplomat // Derrad Reymark, Starfighter Ace and Softie // Jheva, Padawan and Pattern Reader // Yatei, Jedi Knight // Zelek Arr, Corn Grower
Sivala, Sith Academy Overseer // Rannayel, Sith Lord and Museum Curator
Erran Veshkgalaar, Mandalorian Accountant // Caustrin Neyvor, Dangerous Puppeteer // Ariza Fey, Psycho and Pyro // Kettur Vaen, Semi-Spook