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I am GMing a game for the first time and we are 2 sessions in. We are playing D6 star wars, and its tending to be comic, which is great. There are 5 players, which manageable but quite busy. They are all completely new to table top RPG.

In my experience most games go better if the party keeps together, everyone gets more 'screen time' and plot advances faster. However I don't want to outright say "stay together" because its a very role play orientated game and normally the reasons they split up make sense.

In order to tempt, but not force, them to spend more time as a group I am thinking of introducing a house-rule, confidence. This would be:

When the entire party is in one location, (can see or hear each other directly) they gain confidence from the group presence. While they feel the effects of confidence they gain a pip in all abilities including force skills.

(A pip in D6 is a small increase in ability)

This seems like a satisfactory explanation for why things might be easier together and it's probably not a game breaking advantage. It is ment to act a carrot to encourage them to stay together wherever it seems plausible. I am worried, however, that there might be some achilles heel that I can't see due to my inexperience. I would be very grateful for input from more experienced GMs.

So, have I missed something important?

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It sounds like you're giving them the benefit of the combined actions rules without actually using the combined action rules (SWRPG2eRE page 82). Your proposed system not only lets them sidestep the combined actions rules, but allows them to stack with the combined action rules, allowing each character to grant +2 to the roll instead of the usual +1.

Normally, when combining actions, one character needs to be the leader and roll a command (or Perception) check to combine skills—at the normal -1D if participating in addition to commanding. They roll against a difficulty, and if they succeed on their command roll, the person with the highest skill gets to roll with a +1 per assisting character.

Your proposed idea completely short-circuits that subsystem…which isn't necessarily a bad thing, SWRPG is full of what I consider unnecessary dice rolling.

To answer your question

So, have I missed something important?

I would say “yes, you have.” You're giving them the benefits of combining actions without the drawbacks, most notably the chance to fail the command skill roll, and not specifying if they have to give up their action in a combat turn to do so.

If you want to keep the party together, I think it would be better to point out this rule that they can use, and just tell them to not split the party—as Greenstone Walker suggested.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh yes... (now I feel dumb). Your right, what I'm suggesting basically already exists. So I suppose it would be better to encourage using what already there. Perhaps I will throw out the command roll though, like you said, there does already seem to be enough rolls involved. \$\endgroup\$ – Jekowl Mar 30 '15 at 18:52
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My advice is to go ahead and say "don't split up." Explain that if they split up then that means times when some of the players are sitting around the table doing nothing.

It might make sense character-wise to split the party, but sometimes you have to do things that not character-wise to be player-wise. Not splitting the party is one of those things.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ this depends a lot on your group, but i would say go ahead and say. "don't split the party" as a metagame consideration. jumping through hoops to justify keeping the party together is kind of par for the course in almost every game I have played. I do not think a pip (and it has been a while since I played Star Wars) would have been enough of a bonus to keep me with a party if it was not for the fact that in pretty much every game I have played we kept the party together as a matter of course. \$\endgroup\$ – jperkins Mar 30 '15 at 4:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jperkins Did you intend to post that as an answer? It sounds like an answer to the question, but you've posted it as a comment on another answer instead. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 30 '15 at 6:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Greenstone Walker This doesn't seem to answer the question 'have I missed something important?'. It instead answers the question the OP specifically is not asking 'Should I outright tell them to "Stay together"', because he said he didn't want to do that. \$\endgroup\$ – HighlandRat Mar 30 '15 at 13:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HighlandRat, in this case I believe that 'However I don't want to outright say "stay together"…' is not the best way to deal with this situation. Sometimes a better answer to a question is to challenge the requirements the question has placed on desired answers. \$\endgroup\$ – Greenstone Walker Mar 30 '15 at 21:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's fine, I'm just providing feedback that you can use or choose to ignore. But in it's current form I don't think this answer is helpful and won't be voting for it. \$\endgroup\$ – HighlandRat Mar 30 '15 at 22:04
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I see some that may be problematic:

  1. This is a PC only bonus
  2. This has an unclear result when PC's are taken out by enemy fire
  3. entire group is nebulous in many cases.

In turn...

PC Only Bonus

The only rules that differ for NPCs vs PC's in d6 Star Wars are character generation. This breaks that model. If you apply it to NPC's, it simply remains balanced when facing whole squads...

Which isn't of need a bad thing, but it's just going to add one more thing to think about in combat.

If you don't apply it to NPC's, you're starting down the "super special snowflake" mode.

Enemy Fire...

Is the whole group bonus still in effect when a PC is stunned out of action? Or KO'd? or Mortally wounded? If Joe's PC dies in scene 3, is the group ineligible for the bonus in scene 4?

While treating it as loss of morale for the rest of the adventure isn't of need a bad thing, it's a potential unintended consequence.

Entire Group is Nebulous

What constitutes the entire group? Everyone who started the adventure? Everyone who started the campaign? Everyone who started the session?

What about when Fred's character is recovering from a mortal wound, and the group presses on anyway, with Fred's blessing?

Bottom Line

I don't see it as broken, as much as not clearly defined. And that can lead to problems.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The "entire group" is only nebulous if you disregard the very basic and common sense reading of "every character that is currently controlled by a player" (as in right now). It's a meta-boon for the players first and foremost, which they get when they don't split the party. \$\endgroup\$ – MrLemon Mar 29 '15 at 20:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, you have given me some points to think about. I am going to leave this open till tomorrow before I accept. \$\endgroup\$ – Jekowl Mar 29 '15 at 21:25

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