This is a thread for discussing questions and answers submitted in the FFG Developer Answered Questions thread.
Full disclosure: I have some vested interest in this as these are all situations which I have ruled on as a GM in a game with Bellona, and my rulings disagreed with two of these answers.
As for my disputation of the dev answer, I’ll start by saying I don’t have a lot of confidence in this particular answerer, as I don’t know his qualifications in this area and we have previously received baffling answers from “official” sources. Previously, however, we were receiving answers from actual authors and devs who could give answers that sounded much more authoritative. Perhaps this guy is an author or dev, but there’s nothing that specifically indicates that.
I agree with the ruling on stacking Parry/Reflect with Circle of Shelter and would rule that way, although I don’t particularly like it. But that seems to be RAW.
The second answer, Nobody’s Fool, is where I beg to differ, and I think he’s making a serious error here.
The character may take the Scathing Tirade action, making an Average Coercion check. For each Success, one enemy within short range suffers one strain. The character can also spend Advantage; for every Advantage spent, one target already affected suffers 1 Additional Strain.
The difficulty of any Charm, Coercion, or Deception checks attempted against the character is upgraded once for each rank of Nobody’s Fool.
The key here is the “attempted against” line. Scathing Tirade is a flat difficulty, it isn’t targeted against anyone in particular, or “attempted against,” much like the Droideka’s Fire Sweep ability, which ignores Adversary, Defense, and talents like Dodge or Side Step. The question of upgrading with Nobody’s Fool then becomes does the acting character have to announce that he isn’t targeting the character with Nobody’s Fool? If he doesn’t and MUST upgrade it, does he have to apply the first success against that target even if he wanted to apply it against an easier target (and more, does it make sense for that one character’s talent to apply to all allied characters)? I believe the simplest reading is the correct one, in this case.
For the third question, Scathing Tirade over comms, I believe the rules are actually somewhat irrelevant to the talent, although I feel their spirit backs me up. Narrative interpretation and convenience are important to keep in mind, and both narratively and realistically, a “Scathing Tirade” can very well be carried out over comms.
My rules case:
The “Short” restriction basically means to me that you have to be able to hear the person easily. When you are in Short range of someone, you can communicate fairly easily, as you can over comms. It must have that restriction, or the talent would be ridiculous, but I think the overly-simplified nature of it is unfortunate.
If you must absolutely be in-person within a ten-yard range, then what about holograms? Can you use Scathing Tirade by hologram? If you can use Scathing Tirade by hologram, then why not some other communications device within ten yards? Do you have to be visible? Then can Scathing Tirade be used in the dark, or when the other people close their eyes, even if you’re in range? Or if you absolutely must be in person, what’s the difference between a hologram and being there in the flesh?
So that’s why I rule it the way I rule it, and why I believe it fits with the RAI, even if the letter of the talent would restrict it.
I felt a particular need to dispute these latter two rulings because I believe they are severely flawed and should not be presented without a countering perspective.
I think threatening someone is more than just a monologue over comms. Personal aura, meta communication is all in that too.
Even though the rule simply states short range, I’d allow for example a hologram (like Palpatine talking to the Neimodians). Flaming someone on a comm sounds wierd.
Or maybe I’d allow it, but if the other party has control over the situation (they can turn off comm, or the projector) I’d make it an opposed check anyway. If the attacker fails, they just off the speaker
Does it? I imagine people working in customer service would disagree. But I think it’s rather narratively appropriate and serves an interesting purpose. Imagine a slicer getting into the Imperial Army’s comms and berating them constantly, or someone haranguing intruders over a speaker system (I’m reminded loosely of the Clone Wars Adventure featuring Bultar Swan infiltrating an “impenetrable” fortress).
But making it an opposed check means you’re taking it out of the realm of a flat check, which changes the nature of the action.
However, you have a point about the ability to just turn it off. I think could best be represented by an upgrade or some Setback, but if the targets do have the narrative freedom to just turn off whatever comm whenever, I would simply allow the characters to do so and automatically fail the check.
That’s why I’d make it an opposed check. To see if they have the spirit to do that or just listening and contemplating what it says. If the character can just say they turn it off, everyone will turn it off so you might as well say they can’t do it over the comm.
I’d only make it opposed from flat check, when the targeted party has control over the situation (which is probably only some comm thing). If they can’t do anything against it (no acces to the intercom for example) it stays flat no matter what.
Well, it depends: Can they turn it off? What if they can, but there’s a reason they won’t? To draw a real-world comparison, if your boss calls you and is chewing you out for something, do you just hang up on him?
The circumstances in-game in which a Scathing Tirade would be attempted under circumstances where the targeted characters have the ability to simply tune out the acting character are very rare.
That makes some sense, but then perhaps it shouldn’t be a Scathing Tirade and some other check would make more sense in the situation. Scathing Tirade realistically accomplishes nothing in the manner of Coercion, Negotiation, etc. and is simply haranguing other characters. If someone calls just to harangue you and you have nothing keeping you on the line, you’d just hang up. That’s why I said what I said about just turning off the comm.
But on the question of the logical extrapolation I used to support my point, why would it work over a hologram, but not over comms? Can Scathing Tirade work on someone who is blind, or are the blind immune?
That’s totally fair question, it shouldn’t matter. I’m gonna think this over again
I am on the phone with customers, sales managers and project managers all the time and there IS a difference if you get patronized face to face or over the phone. So if you would accept it to be used over the comlink I would add one or two set backs.
And of course it is very important who the person is.