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Episode 1840: Poor Poe's Pause Pose

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Time loops are great plot devices. They do tend to work best in literature and film, where a single author controls what happens on each iteration of the loop, but you can even adapt it to a roleplaying game, setting up the loop as a puzzle that the players need to figure out in order to escape. Causality may take a back seat whenever time travel is involved in a roleplaying game, but you can afford to play loose with that in a setting that allows these sorts of time shenanigans in the first place.

Time loops are great plot devices. They do tend to work best in literature and film, where a single author controls what happens on each iteration of the loop, but you can also adapt it to a roleplaying game, setting up the loop as a puzzle that the players need to figure out in order to escape. Causality may take a back seat whenever time travel is involved in a roleplaying game, but you can afford to play loose with that in a setting that allows these sorts of time shenanigans in the first place.

Time loops are great plot devices. They do tend to work best in literature and film, where a single author controls what happens on each iteration of the loop, but you can also adapt it to a roleplaying game, setting up the loop as a puzzle that the players need to figure out in order to escape. Causality may take a back seat whenever time travel is involved in a roleplaying game, but you're allowed to play loose with that in a setting that allows these sorts of time shenanigans in the first place.

Commentary by Keybounce (who has not seen the movie)

LMAO.

One issue with PvP and a lot of gamers is the inherent desire "to win". It doesn't matter if it's logical or not; avoiding a loss dominates the thinking and planning and playing. Here, Corey is unwilling to lose. He's even unwilling to pretend to lose. When he's told that the only thing he can do is relive the same split-second over and over, he immediately switches to claiming that what he was doing during that split second was exactly what he would need to do to figure out a way to get out of that split second.

I wish I could say that I have never seen this type of behavior in players. I wish I could say that this was extremely uncommon behavior, or even rare behavior. Unfortunately, all I can say is that it is not a super common or very common behavior. It is less common than lands, but more common than all of the four-of-a-kind play set expected cards.

Now, let's talk about overpowered abilities. If I were to put this into D&D terms, think of this as someone casting a level 7 spell against you when you are barely able to cast level 2 spells.

If my memory is correct, Wish is a level 9 spell, Time Stop is a level 8 spell, and Force Cage is way up there somewhere. We're talking at least that level/approximately that level of power here. In comparison, at best a blaster would compare to Lightning Bolt, and since it's actually smaller and arguably less powerful, it becomes little more than an improved Magic Missile.

That the CR of this challenge is so inherently inappropriate should obviously imply that he will level up at least twice when he finishes. Or, you know, die, because Sally has shown that she is perfectly willing to kill the other players. And so, only the droid gets away, and the parallel to Episode IV is almost perfect.

Hold on. Poe is being played by Jim. If Jim's character dies, that makes a perfect parallel to Episode IV.

Commentary by memnarch (who has not seen the movie)

Force Stasis? Wow. That's a really strong Force ability. Time manipulation is a decent ability when it's just things like Haste or Slow. And when those two facets of the ability are ramped up to high levels, you can practically teleport or start emulating speedsters like The Flash from the DC universe. And that's not even getting into really silly applications where you can start predicting the future by living through it and then rewinding back like Dr. Strange in the Avengers, or duplicating yourself by sending yourself backward (or forward) in time like in Bender's Big Score! I'd rank Kylo at about in the low/middle for time controllers though. Low to mid end contains the majority of roleplaying characters in various games where time manipulation tends to be balanced with other abilities rather than characters in stories. Characters in stories have the benefit of a single author, who is capable of rewriting their stories as needed for the character if events need changing. It's hard to be accurately precognitive in a tabletop game when your own actions haven't happened in events the GM might not have worked out yet.

That said, this is another "Uhhh.... something's up" moment for me. Linear fighters, quadratic wizards is a trope for a reason, but I never got the sense that the Jedi or Sith were exceptionally OP to this extent in the other games the GM ran for this campaign. Even when considering the inherent bonus that being able to block incoming shots has when everyone is using blasters. I'm wondering if the GM looked over the character sheets everyone had before the game started. Pete tends to get away with a lot, but he was always about working with the rest of the players even when trying to show off in front of them. Back around The Silence of the Clones, Pete had a similar issue with the party not supporting everyone where he played Vizzini in the previous campaign, and he was completely left dead for the rest of that game.

Hmm. Something I just realized before finishing this text up; the second panel there is pretty close to the last panel here. The laser sword is out and Kylo's head are angled about the same. Minor continuity blip or a sign that Kylo rewound time a bit before Poe's attack was resolved?

Transcript

Poe: 13!
[SFX]: Pow!
Kylo Ren: Force Stasis! 17!
[SFX]: ksrkzkzzzk!
GM: Poe and the blaster bolt are trapped in a microloop of suspended time.
{indeed, the blaster bolt is trapped mid-air in a sizzling loop of ionisation, while Poe is effectively paralysed}
Poe: Neat!
[SFX]: kzzk...
GM: You can’t say or do anything but experience the same split-second over and over.
Poe: Awesome!
[SFX]: kzzk...
Poe: I think about how to escape.
GM: You can’t. The same thought you had as you fired your blaster goes through your mind over and over.
[SFX]: kzzk...
Poe: Luckily I was already thinking about how to escape a stasis loop!


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Published: Sunday, 17 May, 2020; 03:11:14 PDT.
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