First session - thoughts and a few questions

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gribble
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First session - thoughts and a few questions

Played our first session of the Starter Kit last night.

System was a little more cumbersome and scenes took a lot longer to resolve than expected, but overall we enjoyed it and are looking to give it another whirl now we're more familiar with the system and character stats/abilities.

Things often slowed down on players turns because they had to calculate the dice pool every time, and then work out the effect, plus other results based on min or max dice. I suppose this will improve with more play time, but keen to hear any advice on speeding this up.

Players also often forgot mods (bonuses or penalties), even though I wrote them on sticky notes I put in front of them. Again, keen to hear other tips for helping GM/players remember these.

We found that players thought it was better to focus on attacking and overcoming rather than "waste" one of their few precious turns boosting/hindering/defending, or in the case of Bunker/Unity - changing modes or creating minions (after all, if an opponent is dead there is no need to hinder or defend against them). Is this accurate and what have you done to address the balance? Are boost/hinder/defend very much "sometimes" actions?

So, some questions:

1) Is it correct that d4 minions are defeated/removed simply by the act of attacking? There is no way for an attack to miss/fail that I could see, and even a single point of damage will result in the minion being defeated (if they succeed on their damage save, they step down from d4 and are defeated anyway)? I suppose technically there could be a penalty on the attack meaning that 0 or less damage is dealt... in that case does the attack "fail" and the minion survive?

2) Some abilities state they can attack "multiple" opponents. How exactly do these work, or are they purely down to GM/player interpretation and negotiation?

3) The players felt that while the system mostly did a good job in for the action scenes, the fact that every thing is a "scene" - even a montage - and could impact the tracker for future scenes didn't leave a lot of space for the kind of "roleplaying downtime" (i.e. characters sitting around planning, or discussing) that you get in other RPGs. Partly I guess this is genre emulation, partly down to the intro scenario (which doens't have much room for breathing space)... but have others found the same thing and what (if anything) did you do to improve it?

Thanks all!

TakeWalker
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From what I've seen of others playing the game, new players definitely undervalue boosts and hinders. I think, in the opening scenes of the starter kit, there's room to just punch everything, but if they ever run up against villains who can boost and hinder against them, they might want to change their tune...

Powerhound_2000
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Quote:

1) Is it correct that d4 minions are defeated/removed simply by the act of attacking? There is no way for an attack to miss/fail that I could see, and even a single point of damage will result in the minion being defeated (if they succeed on their damage save, they step down from d4 and are defeated anyway)? I suppose technically there could be a penalty on the attack meaning that 0 or less damage is dealt... in that case does the attack "fail" and the minion survive?

Based off rules listed in the Starter Kit those would be removed since there isn’t any die pool below a d4.  It’s been noted by Christopher they have updated this for Core Rulebook that they still get a roll to try to stay around.  So with the new rule in mind basically the minion would just stick around with their d4 if they manage to survive

 

Quote:

2) Some abilities state they can attack "multiple" opponents. How exactly do these work, or are they purely down to GM/player interpretation and negotiation?

This would be negotiable between the GM and player  

 


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rickjonzz
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As for the third question (how does it work outside of fight scenes), I think part of it is the nature of the first two issues. You have a little establishing shot, and then it's rushing from emergency to emergency with a constantly ticking clock. In parts 3-5, you've got a little breathing room and can do some "okay, you're all in the Freedom Jet, heading for X, what do you want to do before you get there?" Then in part 6, you've got to plan how you're going to get to the final boss fight, which gives more opportunities. 

gribble
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Powerhound_2000 wrote:
Based off rules listed in the Starter Kit those would be removed since there isn’t any die pool below a d4.  It’s been noted by Christopher they have updated this for Core Rulebook that they still get a roll to try to stay around.  So with the new rule in mind basically the minion would just stick around with their d4 if they manage to survive

Thanks, but I'm not sure if I like this change. Given the limited number of actions each hero has in a scene, I kind of liked that d4 minions basically just burn an action to remove. If they have a chance to stay around, I could see that being pretty annoying for the PCs. Especially because with 4 damage they'd have a 25% of sticking around, with 3 a 50% chance and with 2 a 75% chance. A single point of damage would be meaningless.

Powerhound_2000 wrote:
This would be negotiable between the GM and player

Thanks, that is kind of what I assumed, but it does make the power level of these types of abilities very dependent on GM fiat!

degausser
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I’ve been running a group through the starter kit and the first thing our Unity and Wraith player do EVERY SCENE is to create a ‘Unity Boost Bot” and a perminant boost respectively.  Sacrificing a turn to get a perminant +2-3 to almost everything is really good.

MindWanderer
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Given the limited number of abilities and the lack of clear differences between enemies and environments at the beginning of a scene, there is generally an optimal opening for every character, and if they can create a persistent boost they should definitely do so.  The only exception is if there's something else they're uniquely qualified to do (a particular type of Overcome, for instance).


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Rupert
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You should listen / watch some of the episodes of the two games that were livestreamed - they give some good ideas of how the game flows including addressing some of the OPs questions.

Specifically, from the livestreams you can see how the scene tracker only needs to come out if there is a fight or an environment issue that has a time dependent element - plenty of game time in the livestream sessions was freeform with no scene tracker.

degausser
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MindWanderer wrote:

Given the limited number of abilities and the lack of clear differences between enemies and environments at the beginning of a scene, there is generally an optimal opening for every character, and if they can create a persistent boost they should definitely do so.  The only exception is if there's something else they're uniquely qualified to do (a particular type of Overcome, for instance).

Or if there is an issue that is super time sensitive.  Some minor and major twists need to be completed before the next time the environment/villain goes.  And if you are the last person to go before the environment/villain. . .

aramis
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My players discovered that, with 4+ players, it's better to have one or two generate those bonuses than attack alone when dealing with lieutenants and higher.

For overcomes, it's always better to have a bonus before than a complication after...


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gribble
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Thanks for the feedback everyone. I can see how bonuses in particular can be very valuable, especially when persistent. Hopefully as the players get more familiar with the system we'll see them use other actions more frequently.

Will definitely have to find time to check out the podcasts, despite my general aversion to that format... :)

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In my own sessions I tend to group enemies together. For issue 1 I had three of the bots “guarding” the motherbot at any given moment and five scrambling out to attack. If they wanted to group attack them I had the ability to at least split that attack into two choices as a result. Either the motherbot group or assault group.

Sniper bots were set high on different buildings so I allowed two “groups” of those that they could swing at. Play with that a bit. That’s how I have been trying to regulate that. I’ve got three in my group who look for things like that fairly quickly. That’s how I do it, but if there’s one thing I’ve taken away from the creators is that they allow you freedom to do what you feel is best.