[5E SW] Breaking Down Technology

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Re: [5E SW] Breaking Down Technology

Postby enderxenocide0 » Wed Oct 26, 2016 7:48 pm

I don't mean to suggest that all shields work that way, but it's a common enough trope that some shields would likely work that way. The concept of "shielding" in general can apply to a number of different scenarios that are each represented differently in D&D. Armor is an AC calculation, while a physical or magical shield increases your AC, while regenerating health directly affects HP, while selective damage immunities are racial or monster traits. One size does not fit all.
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Re: [5E SW] Breaking Down Technology

Postby enderxenocide0 » Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:14 pm

Returning to the discussion on grenades and similar explosives, I was looking through 5E spells and found this mechanic in the Ice Knife spell from the Elemental Evil Player's Companion:

Elemental Evil Player's Companion wrote:You create a shard of ice and fling it at one creature within range. Make a ranged spell attack against the target. On a hit, the target takes 1d10 piercing damage. Hit or miss, the shard then explodes. The target and each creature within 5 feet of the point where the ice exploded must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or take 2d6 cold damage.

This explicitly requires an attack roll within the spell's range for initial damage against a single target, and then says that even on a miss the target and nearby creatures make a saving throw for additional damage. Things like range, burst radius, and save for none/half are all adjustable in design. I feel less wary about using this as a method for ranged explosives now that I notice there's an official printing of such an analogous rule. Thoughts?

ADDENDUM: For that matter, the Catapult spell from the same supplement reads:

Elemental Evil Player's Companion wrote:Choose one object weighing 1 to 5 pounds within range that isn’t being worn or carried. The object flies in a straight line up to 90 feet in a direction you choose before falling to the ground, stopping early if it impacts against a solid surface. If the object would strike a creature, that creature must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, the object strikes the target and stops moving. In either case, both the object and the creature or solid surface take 3d8 bludgeoning damage.

This strikes me as a way to represent a rocket launcher, since it is an object that (usually) travels in a straight line before striking a target. I'm not including launchers with electronic guidance systems or anything of that nature. Like, don't expect this to cover the FGM-148 Javelin.
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Re: [5E SW] Breaking Down Technology

Postby enderxenocide0 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:52 pm

Here's my current draft of explosives:

EXPLOSIVES
All explosives use the same basic rules with alterations for special explosives. As an action, make a ranged weapon attack against a target. On a hit, the target takes an initial amount of damage and the explosive then detonates. The target and each creature within the blast radius must make a saving throw, taking a secondary amount of damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Grenades. On a miss, the grenade explodes in the same space as the target, but does not deal initial damage.

Rockets. On a miss, the missile flies in a straight line to the extent of its long range before exploding, detonating early if it impacts against a solid surface. Compare your attack roll against each creature along the line, in order, until one hits or the missile reaches the end of its range.
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Re: [5E SW] Breaking Down Technology

Postby Grumpkin » Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:14 pm

What kind of impact damage are you thinking? A grenade wouldn't do much honestly...a rocket...maybe.
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Re: [5E SW] Breaking Down Technology

Postby enderxenocide0 » Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:23 pm

Grumpkin wrote:What kind of impact damage are you thinking? A grenade wouldn't do much honestly...a rocket...maybe.

Grenades would probably be easily obtainable in a game, but still an expendable resource, so I'd probably stat them using Ice Knife (1st level spell slot) damage: 1d10 initial hit damage, 2d6 area damage (but Dex for half instead of none). Rockets... relatively similar initial damage (maybe bump it to 1d12) and double the area damage to 4d6?
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Re: [5E SW] Breaking Down Technology

Postby Grumpkin » Thu Jul 20, 2017 10:33 pm

So your thought is, like the ice knife, if a grenade hits...the explosion triggers on the target some concussion on top of the explosion?

Like I said, I see being hit with a rocket hurting even without an explosion...less so with a thrown grenade. I mean it is a metal baseball...which would hurt, but negligible.
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Re: [5E SW] Breaking Down Technology

Postby enderxenocide0 » Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:49 am

Grumpkin wrote:So your thought is, like the ice knife, if a grenade hits...the explosion triggers on the target some concussion on top of the explosion?

Like I said, I see being hit with a rocket hurting even without an explosion...less so with a thrown grenade. I mean it is a metal baseball...which would hurt, but negligible.

It's not so much being hit with the object itself as it is that the center of the explosion is simply where the effects are more pronounced and deadliest. It's harder to evade the shrapnel, heat, and overpressure at the epicenter.
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Re: [5E SW] Breaking Down Technology

Postby Grumpkin » Fri Jul 21, 2017 2:17 am

Are you looking for 5e precedent as a basis (spells or effects) or are you making it up with reference points (i.e. Scaling the rockets from ice knife in your example)?
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Re: [5E SW] Breaking Down Technology

Postby Grumpkin » Fri Jul 21, 2017 2:17 am

Are you looking for 5e precedent as a basis (spells or effects) or are you making it up with reference points (i.e. Scaling the rockets from ice knife in your example)?
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Re: [5E SW] Breaking Down Technology

Postby enderxenocide0 » Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:42 pm

Grumpkin wrote:Are you looking for 5e precedent as a basis (spells or effects) or are you making it up with reference points (i.e. Scaling the rockets from ice knife in your example)?

I'm not sure I see the difference between those two.
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Re: [5E SW] Breaking Down Technology

Postby Grumpkin » Fri Jul 21, 2017 5:41 pm

Option A : precedent
Ice knife spell = greanade

Option B: Taking an existing idea and changing it
Take ice knife idea and add a few dice = grenade

The reason I ask, if you are thinking option A work is already done, grenades are spell scrolls. More expensive then ammo, but obtainable. If you want option B,then why limit yourself?

I often think the same when moddin for 5e. Do I just take a thing and change its name add flair, or do I use a mechanic as basis and make it how effective I want it to be.
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Re: [5E SW] Breaking Down Technology

Postby enderxenocide0 » Fri Jul 21, 2017 7:35 pm

Grumpkin wrote:Option A : precedent
Ice knife spell = greanade

Option B: Taking an existing idea and changing it
Take ice knife idea and add a few dice = grenade

The reason I ask, if you are thinking option A work is already done, grenades are spell scrolls. More expensive then ammo, but obtainable. If you want option B,then why limit yourself?

I often think the same when moddin for 5e. Do I just take a thing and change its name add flair, or do I use a mechanic as basis and make it how effective I want it to be.

Then... both? If there's a readily-available mechanic for something I need or want, then I have no problem refluffing it. As the main posts explain, I'm trying to change as little as possible in 5E while making tweaks and modifications when Star Wars simply doesn't fit as-is. If I must change something, I will. In this particular instance, the simplest of grenades works using mechanics as described in Ice Knife, while a rocket operates off a combination of Catapult and Ice Knife because I think those mechanics mesh better together to represent a missile.
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Re: [5E SW] Breaking Down Technology

Postby enderxenocide0 » Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:49 pm

Regarding vehicle operation, I've been thinking about how proficiency should work. After a discussion with AvonRekaes about proficiencies changing during Wild Shape and Possession, I wrote up this general rule for vehicle operation:

"When using a vehicle, you retain all of your skill and saving throw proficiencies, in addition to gaining those of the vehicle. If the vehicle has the same proficiency as you and the bonus in its stat block is higher than yours, use the vehicle's bonus instead of yours."

That mirrors Wild Shape / Shapechange / Possession and similar abilities in 5E. That's all well and good, but there's an issue with this that I think should be addressed:

In 5E, there exist vehicle proficiencies. You can be proficient in the use of land vehicles and seafaring vehicles at the moment, but I saw no reason not to extend this to air vehicles and/or space vehicles. In using the above rule, though, vehicle proficiency becomes useless. In normal 5E rules, it pretty much says you get to add your proficiency bonus to an ability check for a vehicle if you have proficiency. That's pretty simple. But when I stat vehicles like monsters, with their own default ability check bonuses... it gets tricky. I'm not sure what the best way to resolve this is. I think they should be statted like monsters. An experimental starfighter with some stealth technology should probably have its own Stealth bonus and not rely solely on the pilot. But where's the benefit to the pilot being proficient in the vehicle? Do I remove such a proficiency (as it only appeared in the Soldier background and general tool proficiency selection anyway)? Or do I modify the rule to only allow someone with that vehicle's proficiency to use their own proficiency bonus if it's higher than the vehicle's?

EDIT: Alternatively, this rule simply doesn't work for vehicles and I have to think of another way to write it.
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Re: [5E SW] Breaking Down Technology

Postby Grumpkin » Sat Jul 29, 2017 4:01 am

Maybe it could be as simple as adding your proficiency to the monsters ability check and it saving throws and maybe, weapon attack rolls. You being skilled at operating the beast can get the most out of it.

It will likely already have proficiencies with saves and skill checks, to some degree...as a monster. This just makes it a little better but doesn't make anything OP.
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Re: [5E SW] Breaking Down Technology

Postby Grumpkin » Sat Jul 29, 2017 4:03 am

Also you don't need to monkey with wildshape. Monkey...wildshape...see what I did there?
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Re: [5E SW] Breaking Down Technology

Postby enderxenocide0 » Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:55 pm

Grumpkin wrote:Maybe it could be as simple as adding your proficiency to the monsters ability check and it saving throws and maybe, weapon attack rolls. You being skilled at operating the beast can get the most out of it.

It will likely already have proficiencies with saves and skill checks, to some degree...as a monster. This just makes it a little better but doesn't make anything OP.

A simple solution, but the flaw in it is that it would throw off bounded accuracy. If you're piloting a decent ship, it could already have a +4 proficiency. If you add your proficiency, that might be ANOTHER +4 at mid-levels on top of, say a +3 stat. That's +11 to the roll. But some monsters essentially have Expertise in certain skills. And what if you're a pilot that took expertise in the appropriate vehicles? That'd be +19. That's problematic. It's not just "oh, he's really good at piloting, so he deserves to have a high roll". That kind of bonus is imbalanced when a normal level 20 player with a 20 stat and expertise in the skill still only has a +17. I'd say the Wild Shape way treats it properly, but the math is a bit fiddly, which I'd prefer to avoid. See, the ship's physical stats are important; they're limitations on what the ship can do. You might be the most agile pilot, but flying a slow clunker doesn't let you do much. Still, you're better at it than a novice. So your proficiency + the ship's ability mod works out just like Wild Shape. A compromise might be to say this:

"When using a vehicle, you retain all of your skill and saving throw proficiencies, in addition to gaining those of the vehicle. If you are proficient with the vehicle, you can use your proficiency bonus with a vehicle's roll instead of the vehicle's proficiency bonus."

ADDENDUM: That, essentially, says the same thing as before, just to be clear. It just words it a bit more succinctly. The downside is having to figure out the proficiency bonus if you don't already know it. Honestly, I feel it's something that would be nice to appear in a stat block. I guess that's not too hard to just tack on next to the CR. Does that do enough in cases of expertise?
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Re: [5E SW] Breaking Down Technology

Postby Grumpkin » Sat Jul 29, 2017 4:49 pm

The issue with wild shape is the pilot behind it. If I essentially become a vehicle, I can be charmed, frightened or some such. Unless the monster is immune to that like psychic or poison. Also, as a soldier I'm proficient in constitution, now my tie fighter is too?? I dunno.

i agree proficiencies can get high as described in your example. Personally Its not an issue. Here's why: ships are powerful. This power is relative. A ship could vanquish a person with less effort then Another ship. Ships deal higher damage and likely will have higher save D.C.'s when they perform actions/cast spells. Tractor beams, torpedos etc. higher abilities and saves make more Sense for scale.

For ships that are clunkier, add that in their abilities. "Poor controls: this ship has disadvantage on dexterity ability checks." Or "poor design: this ship has has disadvantage on constitution saves". This feels in line with the game design to me.

Edit: maybe your way is just a simple and elegant way to handle it...regardless of a few instances it doesn't.
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Re: [5E SW] Breaking Down Technology

Postby enderxenocide0 » Sun Jul 30, 2017 9:22 pm

Grumpkin wrote:The issue with wild shape is the pilot behind it. If I essentially become a vehicle, I can be charmed, frightened or some such. Unless the monster is immune to that like psychic or poison. Also, as a soldier I'm proficient in constitution, now my tie fighter is too?? I dunno.

Nowhere in my rule up above does it say anything about the resistances or immunities of a vehicle. All it discusses is proficiencies. Now, in your example, you mentioned the ship gaining proficiency in Constitution saving throws. My justification is twofold: first, that's how possession works in 5E and, second, saving throws don't really denote something specific. Think about it. What is a saving throw? All the PHB has to say about it is "A saving throw—also called a save—represents an attempt to resist a spell, a trap, a poison, a disease, or a similar threat." It really doesn't say how. I don't personally have much problem with the ship gaining the pilot's saving throw proficiencies as something indicative of the pilot simply knowing how to handle the ship best to resist effects.

THAT SAID. It does make me question mental saving throws as my previous discussions talked about shipboard computers essentially being what defines the mental stats of a vehicle. In such a circumstance, it would be really odd for the ship to be using the pilot's save... but I'm not sure. It might be worth investigating treating vehicles like summoned creatures and tacking on some small rules to give the pilot an edge.

i agree proficiencies can get high as described in your example. Personally Its not an issue. Here's why: ships are powerful. This power is relative. A ship could vanquish a person with less effort then Another ship. Ships deal higher damage and likely will have higher save D.C.'s when they perform actions/cast spells. Tractor beams, torpedos etc. higher abilities and saves make more Sense for scale.

For ships that are clunkier, add that in their abilities. "Poor controls: this ship has disadvantage on dexterity ability checks." Or "poor design: this ship has has disadvantage on constitution saves". This feels in line with the game design to me.

Edit: maybe your way is just a simple and elegant way to handle it...regardless of a few instances it doesn't.

If you take a look back at my general vehicle discussion, I mention how scale shouldn't be an issue any more than a regular fighter taking on a Tarrasque would be. Even the statted Demon Lords from Out of the Abyss use bounded accuracy. 5E uses the philosophy that hp and damage increase with CR/scale, but the DCs don't change drastically.
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Re: [5E SW] Breaking Down Technology

Postby Grumpkin » Sun Jul 30, 2017 10:24 pm

With D.C. I was thinking more like a ship having a 40 str and a tractor beam would likely need to be stronger to grab it...or some such.
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Re: [5E SW] Breaking Down Technology

Postby Grumpkin » Sun Jul 30, 2017 10:26 pm

Your point about mental saves...

Could be a nice spot for a droid PC? Maybe droids pilots/engineers can use proficiency in place of ship
Mental prof if better as well.

Droids can link into the computer and defeat viruses or affect sensors, etc.
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Re: [5E SW] Breaking Down Technology

Postby AvonRekaes » Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:00 pm

Hello all, I'm taking Ender up on his invitation to join the discussion!

I think vehicles-as-monsters is an interesting design choice. But giving proficiencies to an inanimate object makes me question what those proficiencies fundamentally mean. How good is a vehicle at Acrobatics? About as good as its engineering allows it to be. Can an ace pilot make an X-Wing bank a turn with more agility than it's specs? No. Does an ace pilot have a better chance as pushing the X-Wing to its absolute mechanical limits and perform the maneuver at top possible efficiency? Yes.

So an X-Wing has, say, a static +8 to Acrobatics. If you are an ace pilot that is proficient in X-wings, you cannot possibly push that bonus higher than +8, because of the physical limitations of the machine you are in. What you do get, though, is advantage on any skill check the X-Wing is proficient in, because you are so good at getting the best you can out of the device's operating limitations.

Does this mean that a high level ace pilot with a +12 in Acrobatics has a worse check in an X-Wing? Yes, because how well the pilot can do a cartwheel as no bearing on how well he can do an aileron roll in a spacecraft.
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Re: [5E SW] Breaking Down Technology

Postby enderxenocide0 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:29 pm

Hm. That's an interesting possibility. While I tend to agree (from an engineer's standpoint) that the pilot can't push the ship past its design specs, allow me to play Devil's Advocate for a moment.

The rule stems from Wild Shape. With the druid's ability, you physically become a beast of your choice and assume its physical stats. At this point, I'd like to make the argument that its "physical stats" are the animal's design specs. Any beast is equally limited by its physical form as a vehicle is. Bones can only withstand so much pressure, joints have limited flexibility, and muscles can stretch only to a given extent. Training can improve these over time, much like one can modify or reinforce a vehicle. Yet a druid may use the rule to supersede the beast's design by utilizing his proficiency bonus as opposed to the beast if and only if they both possess the same proficiency. Take the Ape, for instance. It is proficient in Athletics, which gives it a total Athletics check of +5 (+2 from prof, +3 from STR). A druid with an 8 STR and +3 proficiency bonus (total Athletics of +2 in normal form) that is proficient in Athletics would have a +6 Athletics check in Ape form (+3 from prof, +3 from STR). Why? The Ape can't be pushed past its physical limits, right? And it's not. The physical attributes (STR, DEX, and CON) don't change, only the skill proficiencies. I argue that the skill proficiencies indicate how well-trained the monster (or player) is at utilizing the attributes to the best of its abilities. An ape is primal, but naturally athletic because it has evolved to use its athleticism in day-to-day life. The druid, with proficiency in athletics, has figured out how to get even more out of STR because of his training. He's limited by his own STR score, but in the ape's body, he can excel.

Now, applying that to a vehicle, the ability scores represent the physical limitations of the vehicle, from a structural standpoint. So what, exactly, do the skill proficiencies represent? Vehicles don't train, nor have they evolved a certain way. Really, unless controlled by an AI or a pilot, they don't do anything. We can't, then, say that a skill proficiency represents how well-trained it is in utilizing its own abilities. Here's what I'd say. Vehicles with proficiencies were certainly built to be better at those skills than other vehicles. The Eta-2 Actis Interceptor is going to be proficient in Acrobatics because it's made for maneuverability. But just as any monster in the Monster Manual is a snapshot of the average version of that monster, so too is a vehicle's stats only representative of the average pilot behind the wheel of said vehicle. It pretty much says "if you're using this vehicle, it's got some work done to it to make sure it can do X, Y, and Z with regularity, but a pilot that knows what he's doing can use it more effectively".
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Re: [5E SW] Breaking Down Technology

Postby AvonRekaes » Thu Aug 03, 2017 2:43 pm

I think the wild shape interpretation is interesting, but I would disagree with it in one fundamental way: It's magic. Magic doesn't have to care about the physical limitations of an animal. A very experienced druid may be capable of just magically creating the body of a more athletic or perceptive wolf than a normal real wolf. A demonic/ghostly possessing entity may be able, with the force of its magical possession, to endow its host with supernatural agility or charisma.

But a machine is just a machine, you know? A regular pilot couldn't possibly do any of that to a machine without a supernatural, reality-bending power like magic. (Perhaps there might be some special rule for Force-sensitive pilots?)

But, if you still disagree, I can see the "specs of an average pilot" explanation. I just think it's a little non-intuitive, and if you were writing a sourcebook about it, I would probably include that explanation explicitly in the rules for vehicles.
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Re: [5E SW] Breaking Down Technology

Postby Grumpkin » Thu Aug 03, 2017 5:42 pm

AvonRekaes wrote:So an X-Wing has, say, a static +8 to Acrobatics. If you are an ace pilot that is proficient in X-wings, you cannot possibly push that bonus higher than +8, because of the physical limitations of the machine you are in. What you do get, though, is advantage on any skill check the X-Wing is proficient in, because you are so good at getting the best you can


I like that. It's an elegant solution, albeit a powerful one.
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Re: [5E SW] Breaking Down Technology

Postby Grumpkin » Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:28 pm

Alternatively you could just state that vehicles have proficiencies as listed in the ship description. You need to be proficient in the vehicle to use the proficiency it has, if any.

No adding your own.
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