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Encounter difficulty: How have you seen groups fare in the DLSS Demo?


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#1 Emirikol

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 09:44 AM

SPOILERS FOR DAY LATE, SHILLING SHORT DEMO
  
I'm lazily coming up with some combat encounter difficulty concepts and I figure the DLSS demo has been the most tested of all encounters.  There are 3 beginner characters with an optional 4th.
Roadwarden, Envoy, Trollslayer, Grey Wizard

* Birgitta and the trollslayer are WS trained.  No one is trained in Ballistic.  The envoy is trained in BS-ing, but not ballistic ;)
  
The opponents are: 1 Gor (Threat 3), 3 Ungor Henchmen (Threat 2 + 2 henchmen raises this by maybe 1 more)
 
What makes this easier: * Rutger Abend distracts the Gor * Blunderbuss  ***The opponents are beastmen and the player characters have the chance to get the jump on them if they succeed in an opposed Stealth/Observation check.

What makes this harder: *Distracting merchant * Distracting Warhorn * Rutger might die round 4  ** If they didn't kill all of the beastmen and they make it to the Rally step.
 
RALLY STEP=========================================================================
 
The opponents are: 1 Wargor (Threat 4), 3 Ungor Henchmen (Threat 2 + 2 henchmen raises this by maybe 1 more)
 
What makes this easier: * PCs may have bought 2 rounds if they stopped warhorn earlier
What makes this harder:  * Distracting merchant * Possible leftover beastmen from prior attack.
 
RALLY STEP============================================================================
 
Combat resumes for one more round, but rain makes observation and ballistic difficult.  Beastmen flee.

 

 

 

 



#2 Emirikol

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 10:02 AM

So, here's my evaluation to help GMs plan encounters:

 

Independent of each other, I am rating them based on "difficulty" using the same words as the core rules (easy, average, hard, etc).  This doesn't modify the purple dice.  I calculate that a Rank 1 character is equal to a TL 3 monster or a group of 3 TL1 henchmen.

 

If there are all 4 characters in the group:

 

The first encounter is what I would consider:  Easy (>75% chance of success)

 

The second encounter is: Average (50% chance of success).   

 

 

 

These encounters would be increased in difficulty one step if:

* There were only 3 characters in the group

* One ungor was not a henchman in each encounter

 

 

These encounters would be DECREASED in difficulty one step if:

* Rutger Abend was statted up as a Townsfolk and could take actions

* Each ironbreaker or swordmaster in the group or character has Reckless Cleave (or equivalent)

* A character was wearing metal armour (increasing soak)

* Characters are Rank 2 (would require an additional single TL3 and group of henchmen to balance this)

* Characters are Rank 3 (would require about 2.5x additional equivalent to balance)

* Rank 2+ spellcaster would require an additional group of henchmen

 

So, for a RANK 2 group of the same characters, the first encounter would look like this:

2 Gor, 2 groups of henchmen, +1 group of henchmen (rank 2+ spellcaster)

 

A RANK 3 group:

3 Gor, 3 groups of henchmen, +1 group of henchmen (rank 2 spellcaster), each henchmen group would have an additional creature.  The gor would have an additional advantage.

 

As the NUMBER of opponents matters typically more than strength, I would go with only a few extra creatures, but toughen up the current ones.

 

If your group mows through monsters (e.g. using great weapons with high-damage actions), then add additional henchmen groups or monster armour instead.

 

jh


Edited by Emirikol, 13 May 2014 - 10:03 AM.


#3 r_b_bergstrom

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 02:20 PM

It's been a long time since I ran Day Late and a Shilling Short, and I'm not sure I didn't fiddle with it in some way that invalidates this feedback, but:

 

I felt it was a cakewalk, and wrapped up way too soon. I think all the henchmen died in the first round, and the gor followed at the top of the second. There was no chance of the combat lasting the required rounds for the rally step to happen while they were still fighting. Which then made the merchant's lunacy about the carriage rather hard to swallow. I think only one or two PCs were wounded, and none significantly.

 

So, here's my evaluation to help GMs plan encounters:

 

...*snip*...

 

* Characters are Rank 2 (would require an additional single TL3 and group of henchmen to balance this)

* Characters are Rank 3 (would require about 2.5x additional equivalent to balance)

* Rank 2+ spellcaster would require an additional group of henchmen

 

Those bullet points are the only part of your math / opinions that I have any doubts about.  I'll agree a starting character is a Threat 3. As characters level up, their ability to kill increases much faster than their ability to survive.

 

I definitely don't think a Rank 2 group can handle twice as many bad guys as a Rank 1 group, unless the extra baddies are all of the weakest caliber or all just using Support actions in the first round. I'd focus your math on increasing the Threat and action-cards of the enemies, not simply adding more bodies (mainly because each body gets to make an attack).

 

Most PCs only gain about 2 or 3 wounds on the way to 3rd Rank, so unless their careers include Ironbroken or the GM has handed out abnormally large amounts of cash/armour, they should still be pretty squishy. Going from Wound Threshold 12 to Wound Threshold 15 certainly doesn't mean you can survive twice as many attacks. Some of the dedicated fighter careers may see a big improvement by the 2nd or 3rd Rank if they've focused on wounds / soak / active defenses, but the thieves/priests/wizards/coachmen/etc won't. The munchkins will be basically maxed out at character creation, and not have much room to grow better at defense/survivability over time.  That core dynamic doesn't change significantly till at least Epic rank, if ever.

 

There are a couple 3rd Rank spells that jump up dramatically in power (mostly Flamestorm, as discussed elsewhere) but in general, most 1st and 2nd- rank spells are no better than the melee and ranged attacks available to all 1st-rank characters, but with the additional hassle and risk of channeling and miscast. So I wouldn't say wizards come into their own until at least Rank 3.

 

 

 

As the NUMBER of opponents matters typically more than strength, I would go with only a few extra creatures, but toughen up the current ones.

 

Amen. I would apply that advice liberally and at all levels of play. Rank 2 shouldn't face extra monsters, just a better dice pool or soak.



#4 valvorik

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 03:10 PM

My test group did fine when we played in ages ago.

 

Note, the sample characters for DLSS are better than a normal Rank 1 starting PC.  You can't build that Roadwarden with normal starting points etc.  I assume that is to make them a bit more robust and show the system better for novices.

 

Yes - Numbers are very important going both ways.  The great GM section session reports of Enemy Within from Goteborg show that in the most recent report - epic baddie can't stand up to large group of PC's.  If you want a baddie to get off its iconic 2-3 actions to show its stuff and not be a "pfht", you better put a layer of red-shirts in front of it!



#5 r_b_bergstrom

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 04:13 PM

A few sessions back, I had a fight with a bunch of mutants including one named Mutant with "Monstrous" upgrade sheet, useful mutations, talents socketed into his monster group sheet, solid attack actions, etc, and a illegally-high wound threshold of 38! There were 8 henchmen (two groups of 4) in the front of the room to slow them down.

 

It played out something like this:

  • PC#1 rolls better initiative than the monsters.
  • PC#2 uses reaction that lets him move his initiative slot to the top of the order.
  • PC#1 and PC#2 now both take a bunch of fatigue crossing the room, ignore the henchmen and attack the monstrous mutant, scoring lots of damage and using up all his active defenses and much of his A/C/E.
  • Monstrous mutant declares an attack on PC#1.
  • That attack is interrupted by PC#2 using Warning shot. Monstrous Mutant takes more damage, and adds extra black die to his declared attack because of boon line on warning shot.
  • Resolve Monstrous Mutant's attack against PC#1, who parries and dodges. Monster scores a good stack of boons, but net zero successes due to just dumb luck.
  • PC#1 follows up with Riposte. Monstrous Mutant dies.
  • GM grumbles something about how the Monstrous sheet included an ability to attack a second time per turn by using a manoeuvre, but the rules aren't clear whether or not he can still use it because he was killed in the middle of his own turn. GM decides to be good and not cheesily attack post-mortem.
  • PC#3 and PC#4 handle the henchmen.
  • Single remaining henchman hits one of them, then jumps out the window in mad attempt to escape.
  • End of round 1.

It was silly, but kinda awesome.


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#6 Carcosa

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 05:22 PM

Reads.........

LOLS!!!

 

Sounds about like most of our encounters. This is one example where actually going to the tabletop may have prevented such a thing from happening.



#7 Emirikol

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 09:34 PM

Great story  :)

 

Our rank 3 priest of Sigmar is cleaning house, meanwhile our Fop (2nd time around the career), Knight (ex pistolier), and thief (ex gambler) have not advanced much.

 

RB I agree on the numbers.  PCs generally don't advance in WT enough, mostly just damage per round.  A couple interrupts/reactions seem to be the major advantage.

 

Enemy Threat seems to come down to how much soak it has, but our sigmarite has been chewing through that like a rattler through flip-flops. Now it seems initiative is HUGE.   

 

I'm going to keep messing with the math as I'm figuring out a way to get it into my "Adventure Generator" excel program (because I'm avoiding real thought lately)  ;)

 

jh



#8 r_b_bergstrom

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 06:10 PM

I suppose whether or not you let players take the same actions and talents as each other has a huge impact on this as well. PCs doubling-up on the best actions could really send party power level through the roof, unless they've already got very different character niches staked out.



#9 Carcosa

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 06:16 PM

Our ref does not allow it, he does not even allow 2 toons to have the same career at the same time. :)


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#10 Emirikol

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 05:05 PM

Here is some of the math that I got started.  I also did some ACTUAL threat level equivalencies:

 

https://dl.dropboxus...nsters 1.0.xlsx

 

I think the best way to test is with two assumptions:

* # attackers = # defenders (including total groups of henchmen)

* initiative is simultaneous

 

jh






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