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Balancing Encounters


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#1 LordDD337

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 02:49 PM

Hi all.

 

A question has come up after i was runing my game earlier today.

 

i was using a mission i created using the space hulk mission generator and i rolled for chaos to show up.  So i thought of adding in chaos terminators to the encounter site.

 

Now those terminators were tough opponents and the question of game balance came up.

 

So fellow GMs how do i go about balancing encounters for a group of around 2 - 5 rank 1 marines?

 

The encounter for the terminators was far too powerful them so i need some help balancing out the encounters from hence forth for the rest of the sessions.



#2 Calgor Grim

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 05:40 PM

With great difficulty.

 

Honestly I am trying to put something together to even start with balancing and it's just such a nightmare which you can only really do via trial and error. However in general I have noticed that at lower levels, players are fine with a number of troops and a very small number of elites acting as Master level encounters in many context. A single Chaos Terminator might be ok plus a few footsoldiers. What complicates matters is that the gear and specialty each player takes can make some enemies harder than others so there's no hard and fast rule.

 

But yes, treat your Terminators as Master level so use them sparingly (maybe 1-2 with a few random lessers) until your characters hit perhaps around rank 3/4 and have enough renown to go for bigger guns. This is just an estimation though


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#3 Harpazo

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 09:54 PM

If you're unsure about the strength of a given opponent, then introduce him as a standalone encounter to see how he'll interact with everyone in your Kill-Team. That's how old-school video games used to do it and it's fantastic. That way everyone gets a taste of the new enemy/encounter without being overwhelmed, then you can adjust accordingly for more balance later on.



#4 LordDD337

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 01:17 PM

Good ideas comming from here.

Thanks again my friends.



#5 Lord Master Igneus

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 06:23 AM

I've been running playtests with my players, yesterday I threw a horde of m60 Bloodletters at 2 assault marines and a devastator, luckily one of the assault marines was a Black Templar and fared very well against them. I also threw some Berserkers at them and luckily my Black Templar hated them and also had scourge of heretics. They weren't much of a problem for them, my players are at respected renown and had access to a good variety of weapons, both assault marines had power swords, and the Devastator had a Heavy Bolter, which is absolutely... devastating against hordes, and a plasma gun.

 

I'm beginning to realize its all about the kill-teams composition. I'd definitely suggest taking a look at each member's chapter and their solo/squad mode abilities to help you better understand where they excel or don't. It'll help you determine how to balance out encounters and also challenge them a bit. You don't want to throw orks at a team with a crimson fist in it,  daemons at a team with a black templar, or tyranids at a team with a Tyrannic war veteran in it. But every once in a while would be okay.



#6 [S]ir[B]ardiel

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 01:10 AM

Had my batibsm of fire as a DW-DM last friday night

First combat, I threw against my 5-marines party 2 m40 scum horde and a m40 heavy weapons horde

round 2: rolled for damage with HW: 2d10+4 for water-cooled heavy stubber, +2d10 for magnitude. three times 10 causing 45 damage to 4 marines, almost TPK.

I rolled no righteous fury.

Had to lower the damage output leaving each marine with 3~6 wounds.

What if I scored multiple hits? D:>

 

They took cover almost immediately, giving up badassery.

 

note to self:

no righteous fury for hordes

no full automatic weaponry to magnitude > 20 hordes

 

 

The second encounter was against a m50 scum horde - which was annihilated - and 2 genestealers hid among them

round 1: apothecary -21 wounds, assault marine managed to parry and almost killed the genestealer

round 2: devastator torn in half the apothecary's foe and the party took care of the wounded genestealer

 

every time we get so close D:


Edited by [S]ir[B]ardiel, 29 April 2014 - 01:22 AM.


#7 ak-73

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 01:26 AM

Hordes should not have RF in general. Only NPCs with Touched By The Fates get that normally.

 

You shouldn't create a horde with heavy stubbers either. That's like having a 100 guys set-up with machine guns! Instead have a scum horde with a few individual, non-horde stubbers within.

 

Alex


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#8 Kshatriya

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 07:02 AM

I'm beginning to realize its all about the kill-teams composition. I'd definitely suggest taking a look at each member's chapter and their solo/squad mode abilities to help you better understand where they excel or don't. It'll help you determine how to balance out encounters and also challenge them a bit. You don't want to throw orks at a team with a crimson fist in it,  daemons at a team with a black templar, or tyranids at a team with a Tyrannic war veteran in it. But every once in a while would be okay.

I agree with you on BTs but I don't think Fists and Tyrannic War Veterans are near as OP against their foes of choice. Sure, they're better-than-the-average-marine, but the BT Solo Mode is in a league of its own.



#9 Avdnm

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 07:44 AM

If I give a heavy weapon to an individual in hordes, I use them only for one ranged attack(they still get the horde bonus though, as the heavy weapon isn't the only one shooting at the targeted marine), normally attacking the most dangerous Marine(Devastor or Scriptor) or the most exposed one. The rest of the KT gets normal ranged attacks.

If the KT wants to take out the individual with the heavy weapon, they have to explicitly announce that, otherwise i'll go with a random dice(pair/impair) to check whether they hit em or not, when they attack the horde. If the individual is killed, the weapon can be picked up by someone else in the horde, but as most hordes don't have quick draw it'll take them a round.

As my KT deals quite quick with hordes most of the time(particularly when they have a heavy weapon), the heavy weapon mostly gets fired only once.


Edited by Avdnm, 29 April 2014 - 07:46 AM.


#10 [S]ir[B]ardiel

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 08:30 PM

Hordes should not have RF in general. Only NPCs with Touched By The Fates get that normally.

 

You shouldn't create a horde with heavy stubbers either. That's like having a 100 guys set-up with machine guns! Instead have a scum horde with a few individual, non-horde stubbers within.

 

Alex

I'm running Final Sanction adventure and m20 heavy stubbers hordes do exist

I described them as a bunch of guys carrying ammos and giving cohordinates while 2-3 machine gun nests kept firing.

m40 was too much, I'm planning m20 next time :3

 

Oh, and I allowed the Assault Marine to personally disable the machineguns, breaking the horde


Edited by [S]ir[B]ardiel, 29 April 2014 - 08:32 PM.


#11 Lord Master Igneus

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 10:04 AM

 

I'm beginning to realize its all about the kill-teams composition. I'd definitely suggest taking a look at each member's chapter and their solo/squad mode abilities to help you better understand where they excel or don't. It'll help you determine how to balance out encounters and also challenge them a bit. You don't want to throw orks at a team with a crimson fist in it,  daemons at a team with a black templar, or tyranids at a team with a Tyrannic war veteran in it. But every once in a while would be okay.

I agree with you on BTs but I don't think Fists and Tyrannic War Veterans are near as OP against their foes of choice. Sure, they're better-than-the-average-marine, but the BT Solo Mode is in a league of its own.

 

 

That is true enough, the advances a BT can get off the bat just make them more OP against heretics, mine has Scourge of Heretics and Hatred (Servants of Chaos) and he gets +20 to any rolls against those guys, its incredibly useful!

 

On another note how do you go about pitting your players against Orks? Since that is our next mission, there will be a few friendly hordes helping out but right now I'm throwing some pretty large hordes at my players, luckily most regular orks don't have the best melee weapons and Unnatural Strength, so the hordes shouldn't do too much damage to my players in their power armor. And they will miss with their range attacks nearly all the time.

 

They'll be defending and will have ample cover to help them out.



#12 Kshatriya

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 10:14 AM

To me the fun part about DW is facing down truly astronomical amounts of damage and still ticking after. Great cover and high miss chance is not going to keep the players on edge about their survivability. If you make orks pretty incompetent at combat it's generally going to be a boring experience for the players fighting them and for you as GM running them.

 

My suggestion is to have a few "named solos" equal to the KT's number - probably Nobs or even Meganobs, or add in a Weirdboy if you want. Run the plain old Hordes as limitless (as in, they rejuvenate all damage done to them at the turn end, so reducing their Mag does help by limiting the shots they can take and bonus damage but does not get the battle closer to resolution since the hordes will not be destroyed conventionally). Force the players to leave their cover to kill the horde leadership and feel free to reduce Horde mag whenever, say, a Meganob dies as a group of orks breaks and runs since their commander got killed. When all the named solos are dead, all remaining orks break and run, leaderless.

 

Oh and don't waste time rolling for NPC vs NPC combats - i.e. allied hordes vs enemy hordes. Those volleys should be determined by fiat based on the needs of the battle/plot, i.e. in some places they can turn back the rush, but let IG forces be overwhelmed so the players have to make the choice between holding their area or reinforcing the IG's position. If they don't reinforce, have enemies coming at them from multiple sides.



#13 Lord Master Igneus

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 02:22 PM

To me the fun part about DW is facing down truly astronomical amounts of damage and still ticking after. Great cover and high miss chance is not going to keep the players on edge about their survivability. If you make orks pretty incompetent at combat it's generally going to be a boring experience for the players fighting them and for you as GM running them.

 

My suggestion is to have a few "named solos" equal to the KT's number - probably Nobs or even Meganobs, or add in a Weirdboy if you want. Run the plain old Hordes as limitless (as in, they rejuvenate all damage done to them at the turn end, so reducing their Mag does help by limiting the shots they can take and bonus damage but does not get the battle closer to resolution since the hordes will not be destroyed conventionally). Force the players to leave their cover to kill the horde leadership and feel free to reduce Horde mag whenever, say, a Meganob dies as a group of orks breaks and runs since their commander got killed. When all the named solos are dead, all remaining orks break and run, leaderless.

 

Oh and don't waste time rolling for NPC vs NPC combats - i.e. allied hordes vs enemy hordes. Those volleys should be determined by fiat based on the needs of the battle/plot, i.e. in some places they can turn back the rush, but let IG forces be overwhelmed so the players have to make the choice between holding their area or reinforcing the IG's position. If they don't reinforce, have enemies coming at them from multiple sides.

 

Yeah we're almost done with the mission, maybe, at the very least there is one more wave to show up after reinforcements, we did lose one of our squad, but we weren't too upset because he was going insane very quickly, he got blown up by artillery basically and he was in the middle of a horde.

 

But there are going to be 7 nobs by the last wave, and the map is pretty large and they have just started getting into combat, one is at half health (I'm using regular nobs and mega nobs, I have the entries in the Rogue Trader bestiary that I am using), and the others are close to my players. But they will probably be a challenge for the two assault marines, a Black Templar and Carcharodon, the latter is also frenzied. I'm pretty sure the Mega Nobs will give them trouble, one is on the map and 3 more and a Kaptin are coming in the next wave too.

 

Next mission will be Noise Marines, a lot less hordes too, one of my players, the one who died, told me he isn't a big fan of fighting hordes. I think I'm going to be pitting my players against enemies who are more challenging one on one soon. I've already made missions involving Eldar Exarchs (using Rogue Trader entries from Koronus Bestiary), Noise Marines, Berserkers, and a big battle with tyranids.

 

I'm going to draw up a mission with Necrons, and another Tau encounter, I think Fire Warrior and Necron Warrior hordes are the most threatening compared to others, since they have good armor and ranged firepower. We've only taken 3 wounds over the course of 2 missions and I plan to change that.

 

Its definitely a learning process though.


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