Abusing signature abilities like 'I Always Get My Mark'

Continuing the discussion from Bounty tokens in Mandalorian:

How would a PC abuse this, @ExpandingUniverse ? Yes, this signature ability seems plot-breaking, but then a lot of them do. OK, maybe if they buy Takedown and get to begin the encounter with the mark in custody—and skip the entire combat scene?! How do you deal with this, GMs? OK, to get a nemesis that way the check would be 5D Formidable but by this point in progression a BH might be able to do that. Would you upgrade the check for each rank of Adversary the nemesis has, for instance?

2 Likes

I run my Campaign with Signature Abilities excluded. Talents like “Always Get My Mark” are a detriment to both a GM and player alike.

As a GM, it means your players can jump over a tonne of prepwork that you have likely done and perhap split your plot right in two. Imagine spending hours prepping a challenging but fun story arc for your players only to have it thrown out the window, to me this talent is a slap in the face to a GM, unless of course your into that and play a super loosey-goosey game.

As a player, it might feel awesome for a second. But imagine what the players are also missing out on. Sure they got their mark, they succeeded, woo-hoo! But wherein is the true satisfaction and reward from that? What challenge did they overcome? What adversity? Where was the thrill of the hunt? It’s not there. Imagine this scenario: You’re a nice dude, so you give your friend a cake you worked hard to prepare. They look at it, thank you, and then teleport it into their stomach without eating and tasting it.

“WTF BRO!”

What a waste! Sure, it got the job done, but you cut out the middle part which is the BEST part!

People like cake… let them eat the god damn cake!

4 Likes

“…may choose a known minion NPC…”
Key word being minion. There’s no tracking down the big bad that easy. At best they can find unnamed guard #56, and there’s no guarantee the big bad and unnamed guard #56 are in the same spot, or that unnamed guard #56 isn’t at a trap set by the big bad, who left atmosphere hours ago!

Edit: didn’t notice the increase effect parts of the talent.
Yeah, as a GM, I just straight up wouldn’t allow take-down. That’s a push this button to win the game talent.
As for the knowing where they are, even nemesis’, that’s not hard to work around, especially if you know your player has that talent. Spend less time prepping detective work for them, and more time prepping the diabolical death maze/fortress they have to pass through the get aforementioned mark

1 Like

@Cloudy Don’t you think your players’ use of their talents and abilities tells you, as GM, how they want to play? Like, if they use “Always Get My Mark” on purpose, then it’s probably because they don’t want the thrill of the hunt.

I always think it’s weird when someone gives someone a gift and then gets mad that the person likes that gift in a way the giver doesn’t want them to like it. Sure makes it seem like less of a gift to me.

1 Like

Actually, no. It’s UPGRADE, not INCREASE, so you’re looking at RRP, not PPPPP.

This topic came up before on the old forum, so I’ll post that topic here.
One of the “fixes” we discussed was for each “upgrade to do X” we upgrade an additional time for a rival and two additional times for a nemesis. So if you’ve got the full tree (Average base difficulty) and you try to start with a nemesis in custody, you’re looking at 5 upgrades, for a difficulty of RRRP, which is about a 30% chance of a Despair.

An important thing to note is that the GM has veto power over some uses of powers like this, and it doesn’t have to be used to find the actual quarry.
For example, the PCs need forged documents to complete their job, and they need to find a forger. Well, the lead they have is a pretty thin one, so the PC pulls out Always Get My Mark and upgrades it twice for a Rival in custody (which doesn’t have to mean handcuffed on the floor). Now, instead of going on a wild goose chase, they’re able to skip that side story and get on to the main event.

Here’s the original topic.

1 Like

Sure, they might want to do that.

For instance, if there was a get rich quick button in real life, many people would push it without a thought. However, next to none of them will feel accomplished or successful in their life despite the massive inflation of their wealth.

It’s those who work hard and put in the time who have true satisfaction about what they have achieved. I dont see many people not feeling more accomplished by actually doing the work than skipping it.

Though some might use it as investment capital to start the business they’ve always dreamed of, and so use it to become truly accomplished and successful. ^_^
Something like that makes me wonder what the money comes from. Does it suddenly poof into existence, thus devaluing the currency? Does it take 2 bucks from everyone’s wallet? And how much is it?

It reminds me of what I think was a Twilight Zone episode, where a woman in desperate financial trouble was given a button that she could press to become rich, but if she pressed it someone she didn’t know would die. Eventually, she presses it and then the man comes to take back the button. She asks him what he’s going to do with it, and he says “don’t worry, I’ll give it to someone you don’t know.”

I got side-tracked. Again. Basically what I’m trying to say is that it isn’t necessarily a bad thing in all situations, it depends on the circumstances. And it doesn’t have to be the ultimate target, but merely one step on the way to catching the ultimate target.

3 Likes

Um. Dude. The role your players want you to take as GM is to teach them life lessons about appreciating hard work? Your job is to save them from themselves during their fun/hobby/play-pretend-game time?

:flushed:

This is a gaming table dynamic I have only seen when I GM for children.

Maybe you play with children?

FWIW: My SWRPG players pick abilities/talents/gear they like and want to use and I let them use them because that’s how we have fun.

The GM’s responsibility is to ensure that everyone has fun. Including himself.
Even if it’s fun for that one player to skip the session the GM’s been preparing, it is likely not fun for the GM and may not be fun for the other players. So to a certain extent, yes. A GM sometimes has to save his players from themselves.
And he wasn’t talking about teaching life lessons, merely drawing an analogy.

1 Like

Good point @P-47Thunderbolt. If I had a player with this talent, I would tell him to expect me to only approve use of this talent when it would not skip cool or necessary story points already prepared for them. Best time to propose would be near the end of a session, when they still have the required Destiny points, followed immediately by the skill roll. If successful, at start of next session after rolling the new destiny pool, the required # destiny points are immediately flipped to dark so that they still feel the impact of the use-- and to give the GM the opportunity to introduce troublesome complications (that they’ve had the time to think about) by flipping some back.

3 Likes

Interesting response :thinking: I’ll ignore the passive aggressiveness that came out of left field.

Clearly we have different opinions, and that’s OK! For me and my players, we’ve decided to omit the signature abilities for the reasons and conclusions above, and thankfully my players agreed wholeheartedly when I brought it up.

But, you enjoy them? Have at it! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes::+1:

Oh and thanks @P-47Thunderbolt

1 Like

It takes 2 bucks from everyone’s wallet :rofl::wink:

1 Like

OKAY SO! Been thinking more about how I’d handle a talent like take-down, and the always get my mark as a whole. I think my initial reaction of “hard nope” was a little overzealous. That’s, like, bottom of a talent tree. If they’ve invested the XP, they deserve a little bad-assery. Besides, it’s very situational. If the job isn’t “get that person, and bring them back” the GM has ample justification to just veto the use, as described in the talent.

Firstly, this game, moreso than others, is a collaborative story telling game, and as such, I’d expect buy in from my players, especially the one with this talent. Like, between games, I’d appreciate the player getting a hold of me to tell me they’re planning to use it soon.

“Hey. The way the story is progressing, it’s looking like we might be going after the big bad. I’m planning on using take-down within the next session or two.”

That’ll give me plenty of time to get something interesting set up.

Secondly, the base ability states that “a new encounter begins as the character reaches the mark’s location.” Take-down does not specify where you start with the mark in custody. So the party starts with the big bad in custody. In the middle of the big bad’s fortress. The session is getting out with everyone alive. And with no leg work done on the way in.

So without the talent, it goes

  1. detective work to find the big bad
  2. plan the attack
  3. execute the attack, disabling defences on the way in
  4. capture the big bad
  5. get out, having a relatively easy time, having spread chaos on the way in

With the talent

  1. do just enough detective work to satisfy talent requirements
  2. successfully make the check
  3. scene smash cuts to the big bad’s office, them in cuffs, party surrounded by bodies
  4. get out, with all facility defences intact.

So while they can just skip a bunch of stuff, it’s really just one fewer steps, and it can still be encouraged to do some leg work ahead of time. If I had this talent, and I knew the big bad was on the same planet, I’d still try to poison the guards food, sabatoge the power grid, or any number of things to make getting out easier before skipping the getting in part.

6 Likes

Some thoughts from a player perspective. If I was a Bounty Hunter player, I’d probably want Always get my mark for the narrative flair.

I’d probably use it primarily when we’re between adventures, to do some normal bounty hunting and not have to bog down the downtime with a lot of rolls and stuff. Like when my current technician character builds a droid, and constructing and prgramming is resolved with two dice rolls but the character spent is like 100 hours of work. And then I roll a negotiation check, sell it and get a little profit.

If I was a Bounty hunter “doing my job” easily turns into a mini-adventure, and a zelous bounty hunter might high-jack every downtime between adventures for chasing down marks and making money. Always get my mark solves that issue. You roll to get your mark, the GM rules it takes you a week (or whatever time frame fits) and then I’d probably make a few aditional dice rolls and collect the bounty.

If I wanted to use it during an adventure, to track down a big bad of the adventure, I’d try to give the GM fair warning and I would not push it if the GM said no.

From a GM perspecive, if one of my players had this (or any narrative ability that could screw with my plans) I’d try to prepare for it. I mean if I have a big bad they’re going after I can have a backup plan in place in case they use the ability. Also, I’d make the player read page 40 of No Disintegrations and understand that the ability won’t work on all NPCs, making sure the player knows that before spending all the XP.

1 Like

I see your problem and I agree, I wouldn’t let them use it if I prepared something for the journey. However on the GM side, you can always think about different story structures. I know, it’s a common plot, to work your way to the BBEG then take him down. In this case, sure spoils the fun for everyone.
But what if you journey doesn’t end with the guy you are looking for?

Last session, my player looks for his father because his mother was killed and the father disappeared with the murderer (little noir). The father revealed himself early in the investigation, just to explain not everything is what they think it is. Of course, I made them work for it, but if they track it down with the talent, nothing is lost because it’s just not the end of the story.
I think the GMs and players both need to be on the same page using talents like this, also it is totally understandable, if you don’t like these kind of surprises or favor less flexible playstyle to ban them outright.
Guess I just wanted to add that it’s not necessary bad, but I admit it goes against a popular (but not only!) trope.

2 Likes

thank you for all replies - I’ve been ninja’d… yep. A player can forgo all the legwork to find ‘Their Mark’… I saw a post about how to alleviate the problem… the mark is in a club (innocent bystanders that can get hit with a stray shot), the mark is in their base (armed minions), the mark is just taking off in their ship (minion’s allies are in Z-95s). I can’t remember who posted it originally on the FFG fourms but it made me ‘Re-Like’ the sig ability and not see it as plot breaking… I have half a dozen BH plots ready for when the players are strapped for credits.

1 Like

This idea is pretty good, I like that one :+1:

1 Like

Long before No Disintergartions came out, that’s how my 6 yr old nephew pronounced it… so it stuck :smiley: , I used the Bounty Hunter Code book. It has a great section on Galactic, Imperial, Industrial, Sector & Planetary Bounties and the payout…also mentions that Homing Beacons use the radiation from the hull/shields and are nearly ‘…undetectable…’

If you can get hold of it it’s worth the payout if you have a BH PC… there’s advice from how to bag an acquisition from a moving vehicle to the annual dues for each Guild… another way to empty your BH player pockets… NICE

3 Likes