Tuesday, December 15, 2015

FFG Star Wars systemic thoughts

Here are some thoughts on the FFG Star Wars RPG system, based on actual play.

Never tell me the odds! In fact, I have no idea how to easily calculate them. I'm sure it can be done but it's not instinctive math for me.

This is good and bad.

The good is that you have a lot more, "Just try it!" moments. Will it work? Maybe. Is two green dice and a yellow vs. a purple and a black die a good enough shot of success? No idea. Roll and we'll see. It certainly drove a lot of very directed play.

The bad is that you have no idea if something is supposed to be reasonable or not. Did I fail despite the odds, or fail because what I tried is totally unlikely to succeed? There is a line between "heroic risk taking" and "betting success on dice" and it's easy to go over to the latter.

It's fun rolling, but it's also novel, and we'll see if it's still fun when the novelty runs out.

False Hope I have to say I was disappointed with the number of times the blue bonus die didn't pan out with anything. Four in six it does something positive, but when we needed it, it mostly did nothing. Sigh. Same with the black die - we granted one to someone when we really needed bad stuff to happen to him. The GM rolled a blank. It was like, well, too bad I wasted that. Some of that is just complaining that things didn't go well, but as a game design issue, it did feel kind of lame that our ability to shift the odds in our favor really wasn't mattering very much.

I can't think of an advantage. A few times we had, say, a fairly trivial action come up with one success and two threats. Uh, okay, they are what? Play slows a little for a few moments. Or failure with some huge stack of advantage (I got a failure and four advantage once), say, and we all need to figure out how to work that. It's fun when the rolls really matter, but it means the more trivial "all we need to know is pass/fail" rolls that were still of consequence were more complex. I bet we smooth over and brush over a lot of that in the future.

Chargen vs. In Play

I was pretty excited because it seemed like "XP" for Chargen and "XP" earned in play are one and the same. They are, except stats bought up in play don't feed into secondary traits. If your Wounds are 10 + Brawn, getting Brawn 3 at Chargen is worth 13 Wounds, but if you then buy a Brawn 4, you stay at 13. Hmm. You can buy talents that up Wounds, for example, but it's not tied to play.

I dislike that specific kind of chargen vs. in play splits. Bah. Just making it work the same way all the time is easier on everyone involved, don't people realize this?


I'm intrigued by the Career & Specialty approach. Especially since you can have multiple specialties and cross-career specialties. It's just weird trying to fit the guy I want to play in my head into the path that lets me do that the best. I have some cool character ideas that flow from careers, but they aren't actually guys I'd want to commit to running. I may yet change my mind and do so, but mostly I've been flipping around two different rulebooks trying to find the guy that has the stuff I see myself wanting my guy to be.

So as usual I'm trying to shoehorn myself into a career. At least in fantasy games I just want to be a fighter or a monk.

You never know. But it's down to picking where I want to end up, and finding out which career leads there.

1 comment:

  1. Here I am again three months behind on the blog, but maybe I have something relevant to your game. I listen to actual play podcasts and I like the ones that try a lot of different systems so I have heard two groups try out FFG Star Wars and they both came to the same conclusions about "I can't think of an advantage." Both groups decided simple checks that don't have significant impact to the story do not merit advantage/threat. Ignore those results that do not play into their second house rule. The second rule they both came up with was that N advantage/threat get converted to 1 success/failure. One group used N=3, the other N=4, but the gist was it wasn't fun having no successes and 5 advantage. "How can I get such a good outcome and NOT succeed? Forget it, that's enough of an advantage to make me successful." Plus then you can have things like 1 success, 1 failure, and 3 threat...well that's simple, you failed buddy. Otherwise neutral rolls are common, and boring.


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