Gain the Advantage

With the current Edge of the Empire Beta rules as written, the Piloting skill feels a little underwhelming and disappointing. It is given me Despair. The skill is intrinsically tied to the game, not only by having a Career Specialization with the same name, but also in the core idea that most Star Wars campaigns will have some degree of starship travel.

I would like to alter the rules to better emphasize and encourage investment into the two Pilot skills. There are only a few different ways listed in the Edge of the Empire Beta that call upon a Pilot skill check; navigating hazardous terrain, chase scenes, and the Gain the Advantage action. In a firefight involving medium sized vehicles and starships without copious debris littering the field, though, the skill level of the Pilot is made entirely irrelevant.

I think that a good place to look to change the situation to the better is the Gain the Advantage action, which tries to narratively represent the fast-paced, back and forth jockeying of high speed starship and vehicular combat. The action has good potential and can be tweaked a bit to better emulate the kind of game I want to play.

Gain the Advantage currently suffers from two major problems:

  1. The current prerequisites of using this action prevent light freighter pilots from ever using it.  The rationale here seems to be grounded in some sort of sense of realism and simulation, but I don’t really care about that. I’m playing a game of make-believe with laser swords, afterall. What I do care about is that most Crew will be flying light freighters, and thus this action becomes worthless to the player characters. So, I am now opening the restrictions on the action, but giving stiff penalties for trying this against a faster vehicle than your own.
  2. It’s not really a great tactical option for snubfighters either. In almost every situation, over the course of two rounds it is tactically better to attack twice rather than Gain the Advantage and then attack once. Thus, this needs to be a Maneuver, not an Action, in order to have it worth using for smaller vessels. This would also give starfighter pilots a more interesting tactical decision as they can now attack and then choose between Gain the Advantage and a different maneuver, such as Evasive Action. Furthermore, pilots in very clumsy vehicles (or very clumsy pilots) can opt to use the automatic, but lesser benefits of Stay on Target.

Here is the result:

Gain The Advantage (CSR)

Pilot Only Maneuver
Requirement: Speed 1+
Target one starship or vehicle in Close range and make an opposed Piloting check against the starship or vehicle’s pilot.
Upgrade the check for each point of Speed your starship or vehicle is travelling faster than the target, and downgrade the check for each point of Speed your starship or vehicle is travelling slower than the target. Add Boost or Setback die as normally determined by the starship or vehicle’s Handling rating.
On a successful check, combat checks from your starship or vehicle against the target are upgraded and you may choose the defense zone targeted.

About C. Steven Ross

C. Steven Ross is the founder of Triumph & Despair. View all posts by C. Steven Ross

8 responses to “Gain the Advantage

  • Locksathy Fayde

    Nice twist!
    I will give it a try on my next game in 2 weeks.

  • Brian

    I’m definitely going to make this switch. The RAW version felt clunky in-play, and I agree with your assessment of the problem with snubfighters (where the pilot will also be shooting).

  • wowskyguy

    I Liked your point. Instinctively I will think the same. The question is a little more complicated when you put several different silhouettes.
    So we have:
    Pilot skill
    Speed difference
    Silhouette difference
    Maneuverability
    I think silhouette difference should be a factor, because a Yt-1300 might get to speed 4 or 5, but its size makes acceleration slower then a size 3 ship.
    In your case lets assume a Yt (speed 3) wants to gain adv on a Tie (speed 5).
    Dice pool:
    Yt Pilot skill 1 green, 2 yellow
    Downgraded to 3 green (speed difference)
    Yt maneuver 1 black
    TIE Pilot skill 3 purple
    TIE maneuver 3 black

    That’s a tough check for only 1 upgrade on the next combat checks. Maybe a upgrade by every 2 success / or 1 advantage ?

    Cheers

  • HorusZA

    I’ve had the same problem with the existing “Gain Advantage” rule. My solution is a little more complex than yours, but I thought I’d share it anyways:

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1aCo9WoSsZs1tOEa45_sEGI5BtyfPt_lAhPfgohc_d_I/edit?usp=sharing

  • Archon007

    I like the idea here but not the rule as written because I prefer the player to make the skill checks. So I would downgrade the difficulty if the player’s vehicle is faster and upgrade the difficulty if the player’s vehicle is slower.

    Player A (2 ability/1 skill – spd 4) vs NPC (2 ability/1 skill – spd 3) the player is in a faster vehicle by 1 so the difficulty would be downgraded to 3 difficulty dice, instead of 2 difficulty & 1 challenge.

    Player A (2 ability/1 skill – spd 3) vs NPC (2 ability/0 skill – spd 5) the player is in a slower vehicle by 2, so the difficulty would be upgraded by 2 to 2 challenge dice instead of 2 difficulty dice.

  • Mr. Blue

    Sorry to necro an old post, but while researching around for other people’s ideas for EotE space combat, I came across this page. I really agreed with wanting to make GtA a maneuver, but I also wanted a few other minor revisions to bring pilot skill and handling more into the open – without too many added complications.

    I posted my revisions here, if you are still interested in this topic:

    http://blog.cobaltkobold.com/2015/01/star-wars-space-combat-house-rules-and.html

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