I will try to be brief here, those questions are based on my experience trying to create characters with my players on an upcoming campaign.
I know that the topic is pretty broad, but I prefer to make a single post with multiple questions than a handful of single question posts, I hope this isn’t a problem.
When creating a Mentat character, fore knowledge is listed as one possible talent, but the talent itself is not listed in the talent list, so I have no clue on how to apply this talent.
With the same player, he read the description for the sapho juice and neither me nor he understood how this asset would be applied during the game, as in how it would affect tge gameplay.
My players are going to focus on assassination, specially with the use of drugs and poisoned weapons, and I don’t know to deal with the poisoned trait/poison damage, specially with the discipline skill. This is more specifically applied to dart guns and the Gom Jabbar, and other poisoned blades.
Since this campaign will be my first time ever working with the traits mechanics and damage to skills related to skills, I’m completely lost here, and I’d be really grateful for any help.
This one was an error in the printing, the latest PDF updates this to ‘Calculated Prediction’ which is in the Talent list.
A level 0 Sapho asset is more of a descriptive tool. There isn’t much that would require your mentat to use it to accomplish a task and it doesn’t give a mechanical benefit.
As it improves to a higher quality level then it can be used to reduce the difficulty on almost any mental calculation task the mentat wants to do.
Of course it also has the ‘Addictive’ trait, so if they are constantly chugging it for the bonus then their enemies may find a way to exploit that…
With Drugs and Poisons there has been some debate as to how to apply them. Is a poisoned blade 1 asset or 2? (blade and poison)
In combat they are simply an asset which can be used to increase the damage of an attack based on asset quality or reduce a difficulty. Having the assets separate means you can split it between these. A blade with poison may reduce the difficulty (Poison only takes a scratch to harm) and the blade could increase the damage. But then you are using up 2 asset slots.
From a narrative viewpoint you could also say that they take out their opponents silently and so there is less chance of alarms being raised.
The more interesting way of using them (In my opinion) is in an espionage conflict.
There are a couple of ways to do this, your players may go for the full espionage conflict and have to manipulate the poison asset through a House’s security to position it in the targets food.
Alternatively they could use it before a Skirmish conflict to remove an asset from their target. Say ‘House Guards’ or ‘Guard Dogs’. That makes their subsequent (more traditional) attack on their target so much easier. Personally I would also allow them to weaken a target beforehand and reduce their stats (pushing the rules slightly, but that is me all over)
For the Gom Jabbar I would personally switch out of mechanical mode and into an almost purely narrative stance here. It is described in the novel as the ‘high handed enemy’ used exclusively by Bene Gesserit Proctors. This is something very rare and only used in specific circumstances. The conflict here is the BG character getting the Bene Gesserit to entrust her with a dose and then the party manoeuvring her into the position where she is administering the test. After all of that the actual final scene is literally the character deciding whether the person is Human (very subjective after all) and making it a personal decision for the Player as to whether they essentially execute the target or not.
After all if the target is Human do they go against the Bene Gesserit and kill them anyway? There could be a lot of tension in that scene.
One final point on assets.
While a lot of Quality 0 assets seem fairly weak, you can spend 2 momentum to improve a newly created asset by 1 quality level (pg 191, could be clearer in the momentum section).
I allow my players to use this on their current assets as well so any quality 0 asset can be made quality 1 for a scene with the use of momentum.
Incidentally thanks for the questions. It has made me think a bit more about the many ways to use poison.
Like I said, my players decided to go full on assassinations, so poison will be something ubiquitous, and since many assets (crysknife, maula gun, dartgun, and so on) say the have poison or can be used alongside poison, it really made me thing on how am I going to apply thosr substances, specially since Discipline is the skill related to deal with poison and drugs.
I think I’ll make the poison a contest on Discipline, of the opponent loses, they will have their skill stats lowered by the poison until they seek treatment. What do you think?
One thing that has been a wee bit nebulous to me is when to create a trait vs when to create an asset. As the good Count mentioned, you could view both poison and a knife as assets which would require two asset slots. What if the knife was given the trait poisonous? Would that be a possible way to model that?
I guess it would be the correct approach in this system, but I’m pretty terrible at handling traits, since I’ve never had to use stem before, so besides lowering the complication value, i don’t know how to translate it into gameplay, specially as something less abstract than a “trait”
The thing to remember is that traits, assets, complications are all basically the same thing in terms of the rules. What differentiates them is how they can narratively apply. A trait is attached to something where an asset can be passed around. But possession of either does the same thing.
So its fine to layer up all manner of things together as long as they apply narrativly. If you introduce a trait/asset of poison, it is up to you what it might be attached to. You might have it on a blade, in a vial of anywhere else. If the blade is an asset that doesn’t matter, its still just the vehicle for the poison.
While it does allow you to double up the utility of the knife - you can attack with it any poison your target at much the same time - it does mean that if you don’t want to poison your target you’ll have to find something else.
The poison and knife would still be two assets, but two assets that move together. I should add there isn’t a limit to the amount of assets your character can have, just how many they start with.