So I challenge you all. Try and answer the following questions which have stumped myself and others (and have largely been ignored by the game developers).
I'll take a whack at these. Mind you the answers are based both upon the rules as written where possible but also my 25+ years RPG experience as both player and GM, the latter especially in dealing with rules lawyers that enjoy twisting the wording of things to their benefit.
Although after reading, it could be they've been overlooked as the devs may feel they have more important things to answer/address/work on than some of the hair-splitting a few of these questions. That and Rodney largely admitted that neither he nor Gary have the time to answer every single rules question that crops up.
That or they just assume common sense will let one arrive at the correct answer, which sadly these days is so rare it might as well qualify as a super power
1) How do you handle things like Elusive Target and firing into melee when you are using autofire and area attacks? Do you take the appropriate penalties?
: I’d say no, as the intent of the talent would indicate that you are specifically trying to hit only the person with Elusive Target. Grenades and autofire weapons don’t discriminate between friend and foe
2) When a person with the martial arts feats and the Crush feat gets someone in a grapple, do they deal their improved unarmed damage? What about the Sneak Attack talent? Does the "crusher" get his sneak attack damage to his unarmed attack since the "crushee" is considered flat-footed?
: Don’t see why not. Part of martial arts isn’t just hitting harder, but also knowing where
to hit. And as the feat says “unarmed damage” and the Martial Arts talents boost your “unarmed damage,” that seems like a no-brainer. Sneak Attack applies when your target is flat-footed, so if you’ve got them Pinned, then enjoy the bonus damage, as you've got the poor sap right where you want them.
3) Can you stun multiple targets with an autofire attack?
: That assumes you can use autofire and stun from the same weapon at the same time, which I don’t think is possible, given they are two distinct modes of firing the weapon in question. It’d be like firing a buckshot round and a gel round from the same barrel of a single-barrel shotgun with one trigger pull.
4) What exactly qualifies an "unpalatable suggestion" as referred to in Mind Trick? If a squad of stormtroopers is shooting at you, can you mind trick the leader into thinking you are an ally? Would his squad question him? Will it work against enemies who are active against you?
: That’s almost pure GM decision territory, and probably should be handled on a case-by-case basis rather than making any kind of blanket decision. Remember, it doesn’t matter how clever you as the GM think you are, you’re players will always
find a way to surprise you.
5) Do the system components a droid begins play with count against its carrying capacity? The rules seem to indicate that all components weight the droid down, but the existing droid stat blocks have several droids that should be encumbered if that were the case, but they don't have any penalties to show for it. Does this mean that default components don't weigh against the droid, but system components added after its creation will?
: My take would be anything bought at character creation using the custom droid rules would be labeled as part of your “default components” and not be counted against your encumbrance. Stuff added afterwards, or added to a stock droid model, would be counted against your encumbrance, as those are “after market” parts, much the same that adding enhanced widgets to your starship takes up X number of emplacement points.
Also, if I buy a group of B1 battle droids (or any other droid for that matter), can I get them without their guns in order to save money? Does getting them without their carbines effect the license in any way? Do their guns come with ammo upon purchase? Heck, do the droids even come with the carbines or is that only shown in the stat block of what they are typically fitted with (and are actually supposed to be a separate purchase altogether)?
: Given these are purpose-built as combat droids, the blaster carbines come with the droid, and trying to buy them without could fall under the heading of “special order,” which means there may not be much of a discount on the price tag. And again, these are combat
droids, so the legality wouldn’t change regardless of whether they have the stock blaster carbine or not.
6) Currently there are almost no rules for mounted combat whatsoever. We only have the little bit under the Ride skill to go off of. How do you fight with a mount exactly?
: Read the Ride skill :p
: Beyond what’s in the Ride skill, there’s not much else. Unless your mount had combat abilities, I’d just treat it as a vehicle, maybe providing a favorable circumstance bonus to attack rolls if you’re fighting somebody that’s on foot. Most of what the mounted combat type feats from the RCR covered looks to have been rolled into the Ride skill. Also, considering how infrequently non-vehicle mounted combat comes up (only once in all six movies, and even then only briefly as part of a chase sequence), it may be something that will get fleshed out more in a later book, much as it was for the RCR (which also had little beyond the Ride skill).
Does your mount's movement count against you for the turn? Can I, for example, have the mount take the run action (a full round action for the mount) while I reload my gun (a move action), switch it to stun (swift action), and then shoot at the target pursuing me (a standard action)?
: Unless your mount is sentient in its own right, I’d say no, as you’d have to spend your move action to guide it to where you want to go. You’d still have the swift and attack action if your mount only took a single move action. Having spoken at some length with professional horse jockeys (a friend of mine owns a ranch for raising race horses), you’d need to devote your full attention to guiding your mount when it’s going at a full gallop, so if the mount’s using a full-round action to run, you’d need to spend a full-round action to guide it.
What happens if my mount charges? Do I suffer the penalties? Do I get the bonuses?
: Yep on both. You're still barreling forward, and as part of your attention is directed to guiding your mount, that's attention you aren't spending on defense.
Can I attack in the same turn that my mount attacks? Do I need to make a Ride check to do so?
: Nothing in the rules about, but I’d call for a swift action on your part to make a DC 20 Ride check for both you and the mount to attack. And that assumes a mount that’s trained for combat, which not all of them will be. Maybe this is something we’ll see fleshed out more in Threats of the Galaxy?
How do you handle the grappling/tripping rules while mounted?
: Pretty much same as standard rules, as there’s nothing to suggest otherwise.
This seems like a huge gap in the rules as we clearly see tons of mounted combat examples in the movies (Obi vs Grievous
, Luke and his tauntaun vs the Wampa, the Kaminoan patrols on their Aiwhas, or the Mustafaren workers on their lava fleas) and other cannon (Yoda on his kybuck vs confederate droids
or the Dathomiri witches on their rancors).
: Not so much a huge gap, as the only actual combats that took place amidst the examples you listed were Obi vs. Grievous (part of a chase sequence) and Yoda on his kybuck (which he used primarily as a means of transport to get to the action a lot faster than his stubby little legs could carry him). And given limited room to work with in the book, mounted combat easily falls into the “cover it in a future release” category, much like various starship designs and NPC builds got pushed into their own sourcebooks.
Also, is using the mount as cover a reaction made against an attack? The text doesn't specifically say so.
: Despite the “react instantly” part, the fact that is says you can’t attack suggests it’s a standard action, especially as it doesn’t say you can do that in response to a specific action, which is what a reaction typically is.
7) When reprogramming new talents into a droid, do they have to be a member of the class that has the talent first? Or can I have a 1st-level Droid Soldier with bounty hunter talents?
: Nope, as in order to get those talents, you’d need the unlisted pre-req of having one or more levels of the Bounty Hunter PrC. Same holds true for any other talent; if you don’t have levels in a class that provides said talent, you don’t qualify for it.
Are there any other possible limitations that droid reprogramming has that we should know about? It looks as though it may break the game as written.
: Like I said regarding re-programming, unless you have the necessary class levels to qualify for a talent, you don’t get it, same with feats. Skills don’t have that restriction, although it is spelled out that a “factory pre-set” skill can’t be changed; maybe the Probe Droid had an unassigned skill that it then got re-programmed to Use Computer
8 ) If I make an area attack on a droideka, or a starship scale area attack on an enemy ship, what happens if I miss?
: A both times. Going from most d20 games, any modifiers to the damage total are applied before it gets applied to damage reduction (which is effectively what shields are in this game).
Also, if I roll a natural 1 on my area effect attack roll, do I deal half damage (if I still beat Defense 10), or do I deal no damage since I "automatically missed?"
: No damage, since a 1 is an “auto miss” and you have to hit at least Defense 10 in order, which since it was an “auto miss,” you didn’t, as you didn’t hit anything.
9) What player in his right mind would make a starfighter with the LIGHT FIGHTER template when he can just use the INTERCEPTOR template, remove the 6-square speed sublight engines, replace them with 5-square speed sublight engines, resulting in a ship that is equal or better in every single way and is cheaper to boot?
: Player, probably none. But remember that section isn’t just for players, it’s also for the GM. And if a GM needs a quick junk fighter to throw at his players but doesn’t want to use an established design, then the Light Fighter template is right up his ally.
10) There are no rules text for Gungan energy balls! Are they thrown weapons or simple weapons for purposes of range? Do you add your strength modifier to damage with them? Can you load them into the grenade launcher? Do they only effect droids? How long does it take to pull them out to throw? How long does it take to load them into the atlatl and cesta?
: Yes there are, on page 127 to be precise. Footnote 3 spells out exactly how energy balls are treated for range depending on how they are being hurled. And since it’s typically a muscle-powered throwing weapon, I’d say yes you add your Strength modifier, but probably not a smart idea to “hot-load” them into a grenade launcher, as they seem rather fragile, not to mention they aren’t specifically labeled as grenades. If a player wants to try it, let them, but if they roll a 1… well, scratch one grenade launcher.
11) Could you please clarify how Focused Fire (from Starships fo the Galaxy) is supposed to work? When it says a single system fires, does it mean a single weapon? Or a single weapon battery? Does it take the -5 penalty common with autofire attacks? If it fires a battery, does it still get the bonus to attacks or damage as batteries typically do?
: Going by the description, single system, which includes any assisting gunners, but it can’t use any other weapon systems. And since it’s not an autofire attack, there’s no -5 penalty, and I would say it doesn’t get the battery bonus, although that’s based on my reading of “normal damage” being the damage code listed next to the weapon, with the battery stuff being, well frankly being "bonus damage."
12) How long to energy cells last? Do things like a holo-recorder or glowrod need them? Presumably, these have differing operating times with one energy cell. Especially with Melee Weapons - ranged weapons have this stipulation on usage, so therefore why not melee weapons ... ?
: As long as the plot needs them to. Especially for melee weapons, given that anyone but a Jedi going into melee is at a severe disadvantage (the Wookiee only gets nasty if he survives long enough to get into melee) in light of the prevalence of blasters in the galaxy. I’d generally label that under the category of “character upkeep” myself.
13) Does Point Blank Shot apply to area effect weapons such as flamethrowers and grenades?
: Flamethrowers I’d say no as they don’t have range categories so much as a set range. But as grenades do have range categories, sure. Pretty much, if there’s range increments involved, Point Blank Shot would be applicable.
14) Are we really to believe that an unlit lightsaber is a Medium weapon for the purposes of concealing it with the Stealth skill?
: Nope, only when being actively wielded. In fact, going by the text for the concealed holster (SECR pg140), a deactivated single-blade lightsaber would be at least Tiny, as it’s specifically called out as being able to fit in an ankle/boot/wrist holster, which is says that only “Tiny weapons and single-bladed lightsabers can be carried” in them.
What about other weapons? The size penalties don't seem to make sense in most of their cases either. Should we be using a different scale than that on the weapon's chart to determine the penalties, such as the sizes presented to us in the falling object chart in the gamemastering chapter? I refuse to believe that my blaster pistol is the same size as an ewok.
: You’re being too literal, so stop combing the desert. Unlearn what you have learned, you must
The size category listed next to the weapon is more a reflection of size you have to be to properly wield the weapon one-handed, as per Weapon Sizes on page 120. If anything, I’d use the chart on pg151 as a guideline for just how big the weapon in question truly is. Going back up to the lightsaber question above, using the “Statistics for Objects” chart, that would but a deactivated single-blade lightsaber at Diminutive and a double-blade probably at Tiny.
15) Can I use the lightsaber form talents with other weapons? Unlike other feats and talents, a great many of the forms don't specifically say you need a lightsaber to use them.
: Maybe I'm just being a smartass, but given that these are LIGHTSABER
forms, and the talent tree intro text says “anyone using a lightsaber may use one of these forms,” I’d say that you’d need an activated lightsaber in hand to get the benefits of those talents. To do otherwise is to expose yourself to the cheese side of gaming. And I’m not talking the good, high quality cheese, I’m talking the microwaved Velveeta imitation cheese.