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<     Episode 1908: Souk; a Coupla Fragged Sadistics; XP: Quite Atrocious     >

Episode 1908: Souk; a Coupla Fragged Sadistics; XP: Quite Atrocious


Player characters are, fairly naturally, always the ones to be involved in fights. What if this isn't always the case?

The heroes are walking down a street or sitting in a tavern, minding their own business, when a fight breaks out in front of them. They don't know any of the people involved. A crowd gathers, drawing the heroes closer. What do they do?

You can give a blow-by-blow description of the fight like it's an actual encounter, and describe the two different sides. Maybe make one clearly the attacking party and the other a victim. Or perhaps it's a mutual disagreement that escalated. Perhaps someone is trying to flee from something and got caught.

Do the heroes get involved? Do they determinedly stay uninvolved, or try to slink away? What if one of them gets hit by a stray blow or a thrown bottle or something?

Don't restrict fights to be things that happen to PCs. They live in a world inhabited by thousands of other people, and some of them are going to get into fights too. Spice up life by having a few of these fights occur right in front of the PCs.

Commentary by memnarch (who has not seen the movie)

Looks like Rey isn't nearly as optimized for close combat as Chirrut was. I wonder what Pete has in mind for min-maxing this time that would have a combat skill like that so low? Maybe it's a trade-off of needing to acquire tools first in order to get power later. Sure, it could be a little rough at the start, but the payoff would be much greater in the long run.

Challenge Rating 2 doesn't sound like a lot, but then, I don't think we know enough to judge at the moment, like what the PCs' levels are. Going by D&D, that would be a challenge for a group of 4 characters at level 2, but not necessarily a deadly one. And that's assuming it's not something much lower. So it's hard to tell if Pete got some lucky rolls to end the fight so quickly, or perhaps he's hiding some min-maxing to avoid sharing with the opposing players. Knowing Pete, I bet it's the second one.

And now I'm not quite sure how the party will end up getting together. Maybe now is when the First Order squad attacks and Finn has to ask for help from Rey and BB-8? Otherwise there's not much reason for the group to form beyond the meta-reason of "get the player group together". That's a good a reason as any for the players to group up, but that wouldn't apply to the movie itself.

Commentary by Keybounce (who has not seen the movie)

Well, last time I thought Rey was getting the upper hand. And this time, yep. Done. "Challenge Rating 2".

"Challenge Rating". This is an interesting concept. The idea is that you can take the total combat power of a creature—their attacks, their defense, their specials, etc.—and come up with a single number that can be compared to anyone else's single number. This is an inherently flawed concept. Yes, it works generally well for typical combat builds. But only for the typicals.

Glass Cannons - or in the worst case, Eggshells with energy sledgehammers (some of the small fighters in the Starfleet Battles universe, or some 10-ton mechs with lots of offense and no armor to speak of1) might be really easy to take out if you get the first hit in, and absolute monsters if they hit you first. Even without that, Milo (Harry Potter and the Natural 20) had trouble with low-ranked challenge creatures because his build was the support character, not the finishing-off character. He was battlefield control, to keep things down to where the "kill one every 2 rounds" guy was not overwhelmed and could take things one by one.

The idea that a single number can represent everything in a person's combat potential just does not match the reality of player characters and their highly imbalanced builds.

Beyond that, we see someone's last will and temperment in panel 2. Or, maybe a martial arts demonstration.

[1] Seriously, a 10-ton mech against another 10-ton mech. Not against a 40-ton. Same weight class. You get into the whole "who shoots first" issue. I haven't looked at something like a 40-ton all-offense mech, because at 40 tons you're supposed to have something that can survive a battle instead of being destroyed by the other team.

Side note: Once you actually turn MechWarrior into a realistic time-based heat dissipation, instead of those magical heat sinks, all of the FASA designs overheat badly. One of my favorite games for the Amiga was exactly this; sadly, the game developer stopped all development at some point, and the code is forever gone.


Finn: I race over to help!
GM: It’ll take you two rounds to close.
Rey: I kick that one again. 20! Yes!
[SFX]: Boot!
GM: He’s out.
Rey: Smack this one with my staff. 15!
[SFX]: Smack!
Rey: And a follow-up strike... 8?
[SFX]: Thwack!
GM: <roll> He collapses and doesn't get up.
[SFX]: crumple
Finn: Whoa! I stop short. Looks like she doesn’t need my help. I observe casually.
Rey: I uncover BB-8.
BB-8: What’d I miss?
Rey: Experience for two thugs.
BB-8: Aww... dang.
Rey: Eh, they couldn't have been higher than Challenge Rating 2 anyway.

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Published: Thursday, 22 October, 2020; 02:11:19 PDT.
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