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Difficulty of Parrying a Blaster Bolt
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Naaman
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:

And I'm not saying diameter is the determining factor, merely that it is a factor, along with several others (see my previous three points).


No, that's what garhkal is saying. Your arguments make sense, but are essentially tangential.

CRMcNeill wrote:
So, your argument is that, because the blast from a Death Star is wider than that of a blaster rifle, it is... less... intense? Every sci-fi genre that uses wider-barreled weaponry as scale increases (Bolo, Hammer's Slammers, etc) does so to justify packing more power into an energy beam, not less. I fail to see why Star Wars would be any different.


No. My argument is that a larger diameter is not necessarily a component of a more powerful beam/laser, ergo if diameter is the basis on which lightsaber deflection is disallowed, why can't a starship's blasts be deflected since they are not any wider than a lightsaber's beam?

(And the shots that are confirmed to be from the main guns in the "hell of a pilot" scene are, in fact, thinner than a lightsaber's beam).
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naaman wrote:
And the shots that are confirmed to be from the main guns in the "hell of a pilot" scene are, in fact, thinner than a lightsaber's beam.

But then we start getting into the continuity disconnect of showing those exact same lasers ripping through TIE Fighters and blowing them up, yet with far less effect on the bodies of stormtroopers: arguably the energy equivalent of getting hit by a high-powered rifle.

And yes, it could be argued that the resistance posed by stormtroopers in armor wasn't sufficient to disrupt the beam, allowing them to simply punch straight through. But if that's the case, then why didn't the beams cause explosions when they hit the ground (fired at a downward angle) after punching through the stormtroopers?

You have argued elsewhere that the targeting systems on starfighters should not be able to specifically target character-scale targets on the ground, and that the only way to do so would be for starfighters to be equipped with a smaller-scale weapon that's specifically designed to engage small, hard-to-hit targets.

That's exactly what the belly blaster on Poe's X-Wing (and presumably the others as well) is. Three uses off the top of my head:
    1) Anti-missile defense.
    2) Dock Gun, defending the ship when it's prepping for takeoff.
    3) Precision Close Air Support, using enhanced optics and the turret mount of the gun to snipe enemy troops, especially when there are friendlies mixed in with them.

If the belly gun is roughly equivalent to an E-WEB (which I picture as the SWU equivalent of a .50 cal.), then the hits on the stormtroopers make a lot more sense: powerful enough to punch through, but with no blast effect worth speaking of.

That's a way better explanation for the action seen on-screen, and it fits well with the established rule-set I have up to this point. You may do as you wish in your campaign, but I am not going to throw everything out and start over all because of a blink-and-you-miss-it scene from The Force Awakens.
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Naaman
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, I most certainly agree.

I take the position that in general, shooting anti-starship weapons at characters should not be "allowed" (in the same way as you describe by applying modifiers that make it reasonably unlikely). And I hold fast to my position that air-to-ground attack craft are equipped with appropriately scaled weapons (regardless of how much damage they cause: the fire control/targeting system being the primary element in determining the weapon's "scale") for the types of targets it is intended to engage.

I also consider the scene in TFA to be absolutely absurd for all the reasons you mention.

But like I was saying earlier: there is some intellectual inconsistency when we say "the films show it, so that's all the reason we need" and then we say "the beam to 'too thick' to be deflected by a lightsaber" (or some other anti-Jedi-PC reasoning for why Jedi can't do something even though the films don't explicitly define the limits of what a Jedi can deflect, but the reasoning used is contradicted by what is shown on-screen).

I will happily overrule the films for the sake of 1) fun, 2) verisimilitude within the campaign setting and 3) fixing inconsistencies that are created by conflicts within the canon SWU (such as "do you remember your real mother?" etc).
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A point of order: I'm not arguing that a beam "is too thick to parry with a lightsaber"; I'm arguing that the beam width makes it more difficult to parry with a lightsaber, and I think that is a crucial distinction. My thinking is that, as energy blasts increase in power (of which size is a factor), they become harder and harder to block. This requires the Jedi in question to position his saber with the utmost precision and skill in order to successfully do so, thus requiring a greater and greater degree of skill on the part of the Jedi to succeed at doing so.

As an aside, you didn't reply to my earlier compromise suggestion: only applying the Scale modifier if the Jedi is actively trying to control the bolt on a successful parry.

As to the rest, I would say the most important aspect of incorporating the new films (and indeed much of the EU) is suspension of disbelief. So long as you can successfully find a way to explain what is seen on screen (or in whatever media) as plausible, then the verisimilitude of the SWU is maintained. Violate that verisimilitude, and everything falls apart. IMO, that is part of the failing of the new canon; Disney et al took the assumption of the fan's suspension of disbelief for granted.
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Naaman
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
A point of order: I'm not arguing that a beam "is too thick to parry with a lightsaber"; I'm arguing that the beam width makes it more difficult to parry with a lightsaber, and I think that is a crucial distinction. My thinking is that, as energy blasts increase in power (of which size is a factor), they become harder and harder to block. This requires the Jedi in question to position his saber with the utmost precision and skill in order to successfully do so, thus requiring a greater and greater degree of skill on the part of the Jedi to succeed at doing so.

As an aside, you didn't reply to my earlier compromise suggestion: only applying the Scale modifier if the Jedi is actively trying to control the bolt on a successful parry.

As to the rest, I would say the most important aspect of incorporating the new films (and indeed much of the EU) is suspension of disbelief. So long as you can successfully find a way to explain what is seen on screen (or in whatever media) as plausible, then the verisimilitude of the SWU is maintained. Violate that verisimilitude, and everything falls apart. IMO, that is part of the failing of the new canon; Disney et al took the assumption of the fan's suspension of disbelief for granted.


Yes. I rather think that a thicker beam would be much, much easier to parry (hence my soccer ball analogy), but probably harder to redirect (if the blade work isn't perfect, it can still brush the beam off target easily enough, by my thinking). Even still: if the wider beam is easier to parry, can the Jedi do it with sufficient precision to cast it far enough away that any relevant blast radius would also miss? If not, he will still take "splash" damage (which would be WAY less lethal than a direct hit and hence the scale modifier only applying to actual attack/parry roll, but being discounted when determining after effects).

As for your compromise, I think it's good (you seem to require that a Jedi declare that he wishes to redirect before even attempting the parry). I tend to think of it differently: after the parry is made, the Jedi can decide whether to redirect (this would be my interpretation of RAW). However, I feel that a Jedi should only be able to redirect if his parry roll is a certain amount over the attack roll to begin with, so if the Jedi rolls a decently high parry roll, then he can decide to redirect (this is how I account for certain characters not getting their blaster fire sent back their way, such as Jango Fett even though he was shooting at Obi-Wan, who is unquestionably a "heroic" character in Episode 2... heck, not even Mace Windu redirected any of Jango's fire): his attack rolls are high enough that Obi-Wan can only manage to not get hit. My compromise for the Jedi is that redirecting is a free action, since it will only happen on spectacular successes or against mooks who are cannon fodder anyway (but all that is tangential to my original issue/question, so don't take it as any kind of rebuttal... I'm just going with the flow of the conversation at this point).
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naaman wrote:
I rather think that a thicker beam would be much, much easier to parry (hence my soccer ball analogy), but probably harder to redirect (if the blade work isn't perfect, it can still brush the beam off target easily enough, by my thinking).

That's assuming that blaster bolts behave like soccer balls. Without knowing the exact physics of blaster bolts and lightsabers, there's no way to speak with certainty as to how they behave. It could just as easily be that a lightsaber can parry character-scale blaster bolts near effortlessly because they are the same width or narrower, and as the diameter of the bolt increases, it becomes more and more difficult to position the blade so as to deflect all of it. I admit I'm coming at it in reverse - applying a rule, then looking for an explanation that supports it - but so what? It's not like either one of us can ever prove our version is right, but mine does at least have the virtue of meshing with an existing rule (Scale system).

Quote:
As for your compromise, I think it's good (you seem to require that a Jedi declare that he wishes to redirect before even attempting the parry).

That's because of the miss factor. As weapon scales increase, the more likely it becomes that the beam won't actually hit the Jedi, and will instead hit somewhere near him. If a beam is going to hit the ground 10 meters away, the Jedi will have to actually move closer to the point of impact to have a chance at parrying it. That sort of move requires intent.

Quote:
However, I feel that a Jedi should only be able to redirect if his parry roll is a certain amount over the attack roll to begin with, so if the Jedi rolls a decently high parry roll, then he can decide to redirect (this is how I account for certain characters not getting their blaster fire sent back their way, such as Jango Fett even though he was shooting at Obi-Wan, who is unquestionably a "heroic" character in Episode 2... heck, not even Mace Windu redirected any of Jango's fire): his attack rolls are high enough that Obi-Wan can only manage to not get hit. My compromise for the Jedi is that redirecting is a free action, since it will only happen on spectacular successes or against mooks who are cannon fodder anyway (but all that is tangential to my original issue/question, so don't take it as any kind of rebuttal... I'm just going with the flow of the conversation at this point).

I agree with your general premise; that was part of why my Barrage Rule included the caveat that a Jedi could only try reflect back 1 bolt for every 3 points by which he beat the shooter's Blaster roll.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm giving this a bump because Whill's recent discussion of shields got me thinking about something. Naaman has suggested elsewhere that lightsaber defense against blasters must be a superior form of defense to dodging, else Jedi characters wouldn't use it. I've been looking for ways to apply this.

What I'm thinking is, what if we treat Lightsabers parrying blaster bolts like a Shield?

Earlier in this topic, I've described in detail why I think blaster deflection shouldn't be a Blaster vs. Lightsaber roll, but against a set Difficulty, with the reasoning being that a blaster bolt will obey the same laws of physics regardless of how accurately it is fired, and should instead be based on the number of shots the Jedi must defend against, and from how many different directions. However, I was never sure what I wanted to use a base Difficulty.

The RAW for Shields, however, has just what I'm looking for. So, what I'm thinking is this:
    1). If a Jedi/Sith has Lightsaber Combat up, they may make a single blaster deflection roll every round as though it were a Full Reaction.

    2). The Base Difficulty for this roll will be modified based on the number of Fire Arcs from which the Jedi/Sith must defend themselves:
      One Arc: Easy
      Two Adjoining Arcs: Moderate
      Two Opposing Arcs (Front/Rear or Left/Right): Difficult
      Three Arcs: Difficult
      Four Arcs: Very Difficult

      Alternately, the Jedi/Sith must make a separate Easy Difficulty roll for each arc, with appropriate MAPs applied.
    3). The Base Difficulty is modified by
      -Any Coordination bonuses that may be applied from massed fire (or 50% of the Coordination bonus if the attackers are uncoordinated)
      -Any Auto-Fire Bonuses from Repeater Weaponry.
    These bonuses will be compounded by Fire Arc.

    4). Much as with shields, certain weapons will be listed as unaffected by Lightsaber, such as flamethrowers, gas weapons, cone-effect energy weapons and some canister-type firearms (shotguns).

    5). For purposes of targeting, the Jedi/Sith will be considered a standard (not Dodging) target, and attackers will roll the appropriate Ranged Weapon skill against whatever range bracket they are firing from.

    EDIT: 6). On a successful roll, the Jedi/Sith blocks all incoming eligible attacks (i.e. those which can be deflected by lightsabers. On a failed roll, the Jedi/Sith is hit one time, plus one for every 5 points by which his Deflection roll failed.

I'm tired, and I've had a long day, so I'm sure I'm missing something, but I'm just gonna put this out there and see what I catch...
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Darklighter79
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2019 6:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:

What I'm thinking is, what if we treat Lightsabers parrying blaster bolts like a Shield?


From the certain point of view...

Scene from AotC:
1) Jango did not use auto-fire wapon against Coleman.
2) It's hard to believe that Coleman could not beat easy test from one arc.

I think the total difficulty should include:
1) Number of shots
2) Number of arcs

Genosis carnage showed the best tactic againt the Jedi is to surround and shot as much as possible.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2019 6:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I plan on including that (see my previous Barrage rule idea), but I wanted to get the idea written down first.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2019 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
I'm giving this a bump because Whill's recent discussion of shields got me thinking about something. Naaman has suggested elsewhere that lightsaber defense against blasters must be a superior form of defense to dodging, else Jedi characters wouldn't use it. I've been looking for ways to apply this.

What I'm thinking is, what if we treat Lightsabers parrying blaster bolts like a Shield?

Earlier in this topic, I've described in detail why I think blaster deflection shouldn't be a Blaster vs. Lightsaber roll, but against a set Difficulty, with the reasoning being that a blaster bolt will obey the same laws of physics regardless of how accurately it is fired, and should instead be based on the number of shots the Jedi must defend against, and from how many different directions. However, I was never sure what I wanted to use a base Difficulty.


I like this angle. Though i'd say if he wants to use it as a "shield" in this manner, that's all he's doing, kind of like a full dodge..

The RAW for Shields, however, has just what I'm looking for. So, what I'm thinking is this:[list]1). If a Jedi/Sith has Lightsaber Combat up, they may make a single blaster deflection roll every round as though it were a Full Reaction.

CRMcNeill wrote:

2). The Base Difficulty for this roll will be modified based on the number of Fire Arcs from which the Jedi/Sith must defend themselves:
    One Arc: Easy
    Two Adjoining Arcs: Moderate
    Two Opposing Arcs (Front/Rear or Left/Right): Difficult
    Three Arcs: Difficult
    Four Arcs: Very Difficult


My issue there, is i can't realistically see them blocking both their front AND back arcs like this.. Everyone we saw in the movies just focused on their front, or front sides, but got overwhelmed when they were surrounded...

CRMcNeill wrote:

Alternately, the Jedi/Sith must make a separate Easy Difficulty roll for each arc, with appropriate MAPs applied.3). The Base Difficulty is modified by
    -Any Coordination bonuses that may be applied from massed fire (or 50% of the Coordination bonus if the attackers are uncoordinated)
    -Any Auto-Fire Bonuses from Repeater Weaponry.
These bonuses will be compounded by Fire Arc.


I'd say this may be the way to do it.. Each arc they wish to put their LS combat up in, is its own action.

CRMcNeill wrote:

4). Much as with shields, certain weapons will be listed as unaffected by Lightsaber, such as flamethrowers, gas weapons, cone-effect energy weapons and some canister-type firearms (shotguns).

5). For purposes of targeting, the Jedi/Sith will be considered a standard (not Dodging) target, and attackers will roll the appropriate Ranged Weapon skill against whatever range bracket they are firing from.


Agreed!
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2019 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What about if you stack a -1D penalty to the character's skill in addition to the increased difficulty.

One Arc: Easy
Two Adjoining Arcs: Moderate; -1D
Two Opposing Arcs (Front/Rear or Left/Right): Difficult; -1D
Three Arcs: Difficult; -2D
Four Arcs: Very Difficult; -3D

In addition, with these penalties, it means that a Jedi defending against blasters on 4 arcs will also be taking that -3D penalty to his attacks as well.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2019 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:
I like this angle. Though i'd say if he wants to use it as a "shield" in this manner, that's all he's doing, kind of like a full dodge..

That's fair, so long as it preserves the Jedi's ability to make a normal Move while doing so (we see multiple instances of Jedi deflecting blaster bolts while on the move)

The RAW for Shields, however, has just what I'm looking for. So, what I'm thinking is this:[list]1). If a Jedi/Sith has Lightsaber Combat up, they may make a single blaster deflection roll every round as though it were a Full Reaction.

Quote:
My issue there, is i can't realistically see them blocking both their front AND back arcs like this.. Everyone we saw in the movies just focused on their front, or front sides, but got overwhelmed when they were surrounded...

That's why I wanted to make it increasingly difficult based on the number of arcs being attacked. This allows for more powerful Jedi to put up a more potent defense, including being attacked from multiple directions. I could see pushing up the Difficulties more, such as having Three Arcs at Very Difficult and Four Arcs at Heroic.

Quote:
CRMcNeill wrote:
Alternately, the Jedi/Sith must make a separate Easy Difficulty roll for each arc, with appropriate MAPs applied.

I'd say this may be the way to do it.. Each arc they wish to put their LS combat up in, is its own action.

I'm on the fence still. I like the idea of it being tied to a single roll (like Shields), as reducing the number of rolls in a combat round is always a good thing. On the other hand, having a separate skill roll for each arc may be useful insofar as knowing where the Jedi's defenses were the weakest for the purposes of inflicting damage...
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2019 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Raven Redstar wrote:
What about if you stack a -1D penalty to the character's skill in addition to the increased difficulty.

One Arc: Easy
Two Adjoining Arcs: Moderate; -1D
Two Opposing Arcs (Front/Rear or Left/Right): Difficult; -1D
Three Arcs: Difficult; -2D
Four Arcs: Very Difficult; -3D

In addition, with these penalties, it means that a Jedi defending against blasters on 4 arcs will also be taking that -3D penalty to his attacks as well.

I'm hesitant to impose a double penalty (increased Difficulty and skill penalties) from defending multiple arcs. It should be one or the other, IMO. There something to be said for going with dice penalties only, though, effectively treating the defense of each Arc as a different action for MAP penalties, along the lines of:
    One Arc: -0D
    Two Adjoining Arcs: -1D
    Two Opposing Arcs (Front/Rear or Left/Right): -2D
    Three Arcs: -3D
    Four Arcs: -4D
It would make it simpler to insert my Barrage fire rule if the penalty is dice based, with a Base Difficulty for parrying blaster bolts at Easy...
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2019 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
garhkal wrote:
I like this angle. Though i'd say if he wants to use it as a "shield" in this manner, that's all he's doing, kind of like a full dodge..

That's fair, so long as it preserves the Jedi's ability to make a normal Move while doing so (we see multiple instances of Jedi deflecting blaster bolts while on the move)


That i can agree with..


CRMcNeill wrote:

That's why I wanted to make it increasingly difficult based on the number of arcs being attacked. This allows for more powerful Jedi to put up a more potent defense, including being attacked from multiple directions. I could see pushing up the Difficulties more, such as having Three Arcs at Very Difficult and Four Arcs at Heroic.


That's more like it. So the chart would be
Moderate - one arc (in front)
Difficult - 2 arcs (front and one side)
Very Difficult - 3 arcs (front and both sides)
Heroic - All 4 arcs (front, sides and rear)..
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2019 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:
My issue there, is i can't realistically see them blocking both their front AND back arcs like this.. Everyone we saw in the movies just focused on their front, or front sides, but got overwhelmed when they were surrounded...


It depends on how you define your terms. A character can move/turn about/rotate at the hips, etc. while simply pivoting in place. Unless there are at least three shots which will all land at the exact same instant, then it should be possible to avoid/deflect as many as the character's roll will permit. (Any two shots that would hit the Jedi could, theoretically be deflected by the same swipe of the lightsaber, even if they are on schedule to impact simultaneously, provided the Jedi can position himself correctly in time--the higher the Jedi's sense skill, the more "notice" he has to prepare, etc...). Anything that cannot be blocked/deflected can simply be avoided by ducking, twisting, side-stepping, etc. (Yes, I realize that some GMs may consider this a "dodge," but there is precedent for Jedi sensing an attack and just ducking under it--see Obi-Wan in the opening fight in TPM.... if we are being logically consistent, the best argument would be to add sense to dodge instead of to lightsaber in a case like this).
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