I played my first game of John Carter with some friends and wanted to check on a few things that came up during the game, talent balancing, and clarify some things that appeared in the Dotar Sojat supplemental book. Sorry for the number of questions.
In the one-off I did, the players used the default Red Martian Envoy, Green Martian scout, and Red Martian Duelist. The Red Martian Envoy seemed to cause the most issues due to her focus on social combat.
- When Monsters get afflictions, they don’t have any penalty on their stats, right?
1a. Monsters still get Afflictions when at least 5 stress is inflicted, right?
1b. A Monster has 7 stress and 5 have already been inflicted. If 4 damage is dealt, does it do 3 Afflictions? In that 1 for filling up the Stress Meter (2 damage), 1 in excess of Stress Meter (1 damage), and another 1 in excess of Stress meter; or does it just do 1 Affliction for filling up the Stress Meter?
- When a White Ape uses Dramatic Return to come back, does it have any stress?
- When a Radium Rifle (Fearsome) is fired at a Synthetic Man (Immune to Fear), it will still do normal damage but the Fear generated through an effect is prevented, right? (In other words, an attack with the Fearsome quality and a Fear attack are two different things.)
3a. If an attack is typed with Fear, such as a Thark trying to intimidate an enemy swordsman in combat, if the swordsman defends with Might+Passion, the damage has to go on the Fear track even though Might is typed to the Injury track?
3b. On the Banth’s Terrifying Roar, it does 3d6 Fear damage. If I role an Effect, it gives an extra damage on the Fear track, right?
3c. If a character attacks with their fists and no talents come into play (so no Sharp/Fearsome/Psychic qualities), does an Effect do anything, or does it just sort of fizzle as there are no qualities for it to take advantage of.
3d. Somewhat related, one of my players dumped a lot of momentum and threat into rolling many combat dice to take down a Banth. However, due to a fluke of bad luck, of the 6 combat dice he rolled, he got a one, a four, and four threes, doing only 1 point of stress. Are there any sort of house rules to get rid of the ‘dead zone’ of 3 and 4 on combat dice? I was thinking having 1,2,3,4 each only do 1 damage, with 5/6 doing damage+effect.
- The default Red Martian Envoy gets a bodyguard as one of her allies. Does that mean she should always have a minion following her around? Or something else?
- How should I handle social attacks against Minions? The Envoy tried to convince a pirate queen and her minions to let them go in peace, and used Momentum to dispatch 3 additional minions. It felt a bit odd for the pirates to run away/let them go as the feared pirate queen was in combat with her minions.
- When the Envoy was making the social attack against the Minions, I defaulted to using a difficulty of 1 on both sides as that was the default in the book for attacking and defending. Upon reflection, since what the Envoy was trying to do was more complex than a simple sword thrust, would it have been better to give the Envoy a higher difficulty even though it was a ‘Conflict Action’ just like a sword thrust?
- What is the point of the ‘Bend to the Lash’ talent on the Corrupt Jed NPC? If one of the Jed’s followers disobeys him, he can do 4d6 Fear damage. It seems like its only use is to try and wipe out the Jed’s followers and minions if they think about helping the players, but that just leaves the Jed more vulnerable to the players to gang up on him.
- The ‘Speak from the Heart’ talent seems like it should cost more than 2 ranks. In addition to letting the character always use Passion (1 rank) and getting an extra combat die (1 rank), it lets the attack do 2 confusion damage on an effect (free?). The extra combat die and extra effect damage, especially when combined with the ‘Symbol of your Royal House’ item, made the envoy better at taking down the Pirate Queen than the Duelist due to the number of combat dice rolled by the Envoy, and the Pirate Queen not having great Attributes/Talents to defend against social attacks with.
8a. The starting equipment the Envoy gets, ‘Symbol of Your Royal House’ only works in social attacks, right? Or does it also do Psychic damage if the Envoy walks up to an enemy and hits them with it? How does it’s ability to generate Confusion damage on effect work with the 2 confusion generated by ‘Speak from the Heart’?
- On the description for Passionate Orator, it says you can reroll any failed die in attempt to convince someone. However, other talents that let you reroll die indicate only one die is rerolled, such as ‘Wealth of Knowledge’. Is Passionate Orator just poorly worded?
- Is there any real difference balance-wise between rolling an extra combat die and rerolling a failed combat die? Each die roll has the same chance to give a result, and it would seem rolling an extra combat die is better as your best possible result is improved. However, Calculated Shot combines changing an attribute in addition to rolling an extra combat die; yet Mighty Thews requires the player to spend a momentum to reroll a failed die. Why the difference?
10a. Any other advice on building/balancing talents?
- Stupid question. Is the Green Martian talent ‘Four Armed for War’ something a player has to choose to be active? The Green Martian Scout in my party never used ‘Four Armed for War’ because it was inferior to the rifle talent the character had.
- I want to create a scene similar to the one in The Gods of Mars where Carter basically shuts down when he sees Phaidor attempt to kill Dejah Thoris - presumably some form of Confusion and Fear damage. How would I go about doing that under the rules? Threat can be spent to create dangers, but those require the player to make an attribute check first and a fixed level based on the amount of threat spent.
- In the Dotar Sojat supplemental book, I just want to confirm that Systems+Cunning is the default used for an attacking ship. The way the book was worded suggested that this was what is used in fringe cases, like shooting at an obstruction, and active combat would be addressed later.
- In the section talking about ‘Backup Crew’ (ie if the players are busy repairing the ship and piloting it, the crew can take over firing the guns), the ‘Backup Crew’ quality of 4-6 is separate from the Crew attribute, right? In other words, ‘Backup Crew’ might best be thought of as the quality of the officers who step in when players are elsewhere.
- In the section about building your own ships, it says that Main Guns must be 2 combat dice higher than secondary guns. However, in the narrative walkthrough on building a ship, it says that 4 points was spend on guns, giving the ship 2 2d6 guns. However, the ‘ship card’ adjacent to it only says ‘Main guns doing 2d6 damage’. Is the ‘ship card’ missing the second set of guns? Also, how is the ship able to have 2 sets of guns doing the same damage? The rules seem to suggest it would have to be Main Guns doing 3d6 and the Secondary doing 1d6.
15a. This also plays into the Cruiser on pg104 that has 3/2 for main/secondary.
- When a ship suceeds on its attribute test to attack, does it get the default 1d6 as stated in the main rules, or 2d6 as suggested on pg 90? (pg 90 says standard ship guns do 2d6 damage). Or, does it get 0 bonus dice?
16a. If the cruiser attacks with its main guns, does it roll 3 combat dice, 4, or 5?
- If I choose the Research operation variant (-1 combat die) on a ship and put no weapons on it, should it try and attack a ship, would it roll 0 combat dice?
Also, any idea when the Jeddak of Jeddaks supplemental book is coming out? I recently ordered the Dotar Sojat book and must have just missed the release of the Prince of Helium.
Thanks so much for your help!