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Episode 1921: Hop, Ship, and Bump


A running commentary criticising other people's failures to roll the dice well is always good for a laugh. Just keep it light, and full of in-jokes and callbacks to previous hilarious arguments.

A splendid time is guaranteed for all!

Commentary by Keybounce (who has not seen the movie)

PIEs get initiative: Check. Attack with explosives: Both miss, and hit the ground close enough to clear the covers that were covering the engine, and yet do no structural damage.

And that piloting roll... We've seen what the idea of applying game mechanics to normal operations is like, how even a 1 in 400 chance of failure is still way too high. Here, a takeoff is just uneven. It's like two (or four, now that I think of the size of the ship) engines, applying different levels of thrust. (What, no computer controlled balancing? We have that today on consumer quad/octo-copters.) And, "Bounce"?

"Bounce"? And the thing is not crashing? Isn't that what a bounce is? Kangaroo hopping? "Skkkkrrraaape"? This pile of bolts should be dropping parts onto the sand, and having malfunctions for the rest of the movie campaign.

And the classic Hollywood trope: "Everyone lean this way!". Even Rey's strained look as she tries to put her weight into something that is computer controlled and not an actual mechanical linkage of force to control surface. Oh, yeah. Control surfaces. Think airplanes. Older airplanes, your control stick links to the surfaces that affect flight - wings, rudders, ailerons, etc. You adjust their shape/angle/etc to adjust airflow to control destination.

But again - Space Ship. Designed to work with no air. Landing craft. Designed to be able to work in a gravity field. Something that big, without obvious and very, very large wings, doing a vertical takeoff, is not going to be relying on adjustable control surfaces. You've got something that is generating thrust and it has rear and bottom jets - bottom for lifting off the ground, rear for forward thrust, sides for turning. None of these images make any sense, except for the hopping/scrapping if one of the bottom lifting jets is dead.

And if that's the case, it's not getting into the air, or it wouldn't be scraping so badly that it has wrecked whatever was on the ground there - probably the weak engine jet.

Well, the good news. It will take another four turns for the PIEs to turn around and fire again (maybe three if they get airborne and are easier to target), so they might have the time to deal with the takeoff. But it sure looks like Finn didn't kill any. Of course, the minus to hit from the unpredictable movement of the Falcon probably "helped" with that :-)

Commentary by memnarch (who has not seen the movie)

Heh, you can try and act as cool as you want, but when the dice decide otherwise, there's not a lot you can do. Some TTRPG systems have built in ways to counteract the will of the dice though; Dungeons & Dragons 5E has the Advantage/Disadvantage system, and Mutants & Masterminds has its Hero Point system to name a few a few of the ways. For other games, figuring out your personal dice customs might be the only salvation you have.

On the plus side, the ship is still in one piece even with a roll that bad, so there's time to level out the ship and flee the scene posthaste. Four additional rounds of time in fact. I doubt that leaning would do anything, but if the GM is feeling generous, maybe Corey can have BB-8 plug into a control panel and partially control the ship to level it out long enough for Pete to switch dice. That would be much more reasonable than an armless robot putting a helmet on. The auxiliary controls are probably even still there after 30 plus years!

I am slightly confused by the need to keep sand out of the engines however. Unless there's an extra air-intake-based set of engines for atmospheric propulsion only, there really shouldn't be any exposed moving components that could be damaged by sand. And clearly sand build-up isn't an issue just by itself, or there would be more tarpaulins to cover all the equipment greebles around the perimeter of the Falcon. At the very least, there should have been a cover over the cockpit glass-equivalent to prevent it from being sandblasted into uselessness.


GM: The PIEs close for another strafing run. <roll> <roll>
[SFX]: vreeeeooooowww...
[SFX]: Pow! Pow!
[SFX]: Kaboom!
GM: The explosions blow off the tarpaulins you used to keep sand out of the engines.
Rey: Let’s get this pile of junk airborne.
GM: Piloting roll.
[SFX]: vreeeeooooowww...
Rey: Uh oh... 3.
BB-8: Good thing you’re not Fatigued.
GM: The Falcon lurches awkwardly into the air. <roll>
[SFX]: bounce!
BB-8: Should I don my helmet made of boiling lava?
GM: It kangaroo hops and the starboard hull scrapes the ground, throwing up clouds of sand.
Rey: Hmmm...
[SFX]: Skkkkrrraaappe...!!
BB-8: Would it help if I lean to port?
Rey: It might!!

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Published: Sunday, 22 November, 2020; 01:11:02 PST.
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