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How do Monsters crit?


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#1 ElCommi

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 08:05 AM

I was playing with a rat swarm the other day and it had the diseased attacks.
"On a successful hit, PC must pass a 3d check or suffer from a disease".

But - I noticed that none of the swarm abilities (excepting maybe one) had a crit line on it. That led me to think that only a comet would trigger a crit if its not on the card - which would by and large make that special rule fairly pointless.

I then began to think that maybe monsters should have an inherent crit rating similar to PC weapons ; but after a quick look through the ToA/Rulebook was unable to see it.

 



#2 k7e9

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 01:24 PM

Monsters have no inherent crit rating.

 

But criticals can come from a variety of sources. Most often criticals are achieved :

  • by success or boon lines on their action cards 
  • by rolling a comet on an expertise die
  • due to inflicting wounds above the characters wound threshold.

Less often crits can come from:

  • equipment, such as if you as a GM decide to give your "boss monster" a specific weapon then they get that weapons damage, critical rating and other special rules associated with the weapon.

Creatures with few or no actions that cause criticals are probably "weak" monsters which are unable to inflict such serious wounds that criticals represent. I'd like to see the rat swarm that pulls of a severed sword arm in an attack. Instead they inflict diseases.

 

All in all, I think it's a design choice from FFG. It means that different sorts of creatures have different flavours. Some are good at inflicting a lot of regular wounds, others might focus on criticals, they might spread disease or cause stress/fatigue (and resulting insanities), still others might focus on inflicting negative condition cards on the PCs or good condition cards on their allies. The great thing about WFRP is that there are several ways to harm the PCs and critical wounds are just of many ways to criple the characters. This opens up for more varied encounters.

 

In the end, it's up to the GM to tailor the encounters. As a GM you could swich out a few of the suggested actions that are associated with a creature type to other actions that fit your vision of the encounter. For example, I switched out some of the regular beastmen actions to create a group of "nurgle beastemen". So I gave them some actions that focus on inflict diseases. Turned out to be a much more memorable encounter than it might have been if it was regular beastmen.


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#3 ElCommi

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 08:51 AM

I largely mix & match monster abilities - especially for "boss" monsters.
Generlly, I'm not overly fussed with the amount of crits monsters can do - damage across the board can be quite high and the threat of a crit is always there.

What really threw me off though was the Swarms.
Rat Swarms have the ability "Filthy Vermin: When a rat swarm inflicts a critical wound, target must pass a 3d disease check of become infected".

But rat swarms can't (well, almost) crit. Literally, none of the swarm abilities allows for a crit, and the swarm has 1 expertise dice. So one chance at a comet.
Which effectively renders the ability moot. If a target is passed out and taking crits - odds are they'll be dead in 1 turn anyway so the disease effect is rather pointless.


Thematically, introducing the swarm was fantastic - the party were terrified. (Taalite priest tried to cast entangle on the swarm but realised the Ironbreaker would have passed out from the fatigue next turn if he did - or rather was expressly told not to by the ironbreaker!)
But the filthy vermin ability seemed utterly pointless based on the cards - so I figured there must be an alternative way  for the swarm to crit.



#4 k7e9

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 09:58 AM

Thematically, introducing the swarm was fantastic - the party were terrified. (Taalite priest tried to cast entangle on the swarm but realised the Ironbreaker would have passed out from the fatigue next turn if he did - or rather was expressly told not to by the ironbreaker!)
But the filthy vermin ability seemed utterly pointless based on the cards - so I figured there must be an alternative way  for the swarm to crit.

 

I don't think there is an alternative way. But disease might well kill a character in long term.

At least in my group the players feel that getting diseases is worse than getting a critical (at least if you only have a few criticals).


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#5 valvorik

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 10:07 AM

First, the original query is about crits being unlikely from a swarm (which makes sense to me actually) and that making disease unlikely but the quote is a "successful hit" - hit not crit, so swarms can inflict disease without crits.

 

And yes to disease generally being nastier than most crits.  Disease tends to stick around longer.



#6 ElCommi

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 04:55 AM

First, the original query is about crits being unlikely from a swarm (which makes sense to me actually) and that making disease unlikely but the quote is a "successful hit" - hit not crit, so swarms can inflict disease without crits.

 

And yes to disease generally being nastier than most crits.  Disease tends to stick around longer.

I'm afraid not. I'm looking at the Creature Guide right now, page 48:
"Rat swarms sometimes carry diseases. If you are playing with disease rules, each time a rat swarm inflicts a critical wound, the target must pass a Hard (3d) Resilience check to avoid contracting the disease."

Unless it's been errata'd.. (Off to check that now)


*edit*
Page 12 of the errata/FAQ lists the same conditions as well. Critical Wound is the qualifier.

Whislt I agree that swarms should be unlikely to crit - unless you mix up their abilties the special rule is practically worthless.


Edited by ElCommi, 20 August 2014 - 05:00 AM.


#7 GMmL

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 02:12 PM

away from books and cards...do swarms have an expertise die in A/C/E that you can throw in?


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#8 ElCommi

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 03:12 AM

Yes. Though not many, and only 1 in expertise. It's 6/3/1 I think. (Though would need to check at home)



#9 r_b_bergstrom

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 09:26 AM

Rat swarms have access to "Dangerous When Countered", which inflicts a Crit with 2 hammers (and has a recharge of 2). That's actually a pretty reliable way to inflict a Crit. For most dice pools, the odds of getting a second success symbol are higher than the odds of getting both a single success and the two boons you'd need to get a crit via a solid CR:2 weapon. 

 

Also, the description of the "Contact" keyword for disease cards mentions that the GM can just choose a specific disease for the NPC or monster to be infected with. If the PCs are engaged with that monster they have to take a Disease 1 check. If they are in actual physical contact with the Contact-infected monster (such as if it bites them) they must take a Disease 2 check. Give the swarm "Flea Buboes" if you really want to inconvenience the party, or "The Plague" if you're looking for high lethality.

 

A word of caution, though, diseases are real killers in this system. Even the weakest disease can potentially turn fatal in just a few days if the dice are cruel. With two bad die rolls and the worst-case symptom card draws, it's entirely possible for a Tou 3 character to die the morning after the rat swarm encounter. The odds on such a quick disease death are low, but non-zero.


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#10 ElCommi

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 02:13 PM

Hmm. I hadn't noticed Dangerous When Cornered was 2 Hammers. (Thought it was Boons).

However, the contact rules I wasn't even aware of. That makes it much more deadly.

If I am right,
Being in contact would indicate a Disease 1 check. Then bitten (successful wound) would be disease 2 - then a crit would be Disease 3?

If so, that's a lot more as I'd expect. I suspect I'll need to brush up on the disease rules again before the next game.



#11 valvorik

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 02:27 PM

Oops, re it being "critical" not just wound, my apologies, was away from books when I answered.


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#12 r_b_bergstrom

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 10:47 AM

Hmm. I hadn't noticed Dangerous When Cornered was 2 Hammers. (Thought it was Boons).
 

 

 

Yep. 2 Hammers = Hit for +1 Crit, and a free manoeuver for the swarm.  It's not bad.

 

 

However, the contact rules I wasn't even aware of. That makes it much more deadly.

If I am right,
Being in contact would indicate a Disease 1 check. Then bitten (successful wound) would be disease 2 - then a crit would be Disease 3?

If so, that's a lot more as I'd expect. I suspect I'll need to brush up on the disease rules again before the next game.

 

The contact check happens after the encounter. It's a single check (per PC) against either 2 purple (bitten at least once, or otherwise narrated to be in direct physical contact) or 1 purple (merely engaged with the swarm at some point during the encounter). You only do this if the GM has chosen a Disease with the Contact trait for the swarm, and if so the swarm should be suffering from the disease effects as well.

 

Flea Buboes is a good choice. It's thematic for rats, and has the Contact trait. It's more annoying than lethal, so the "TPK-by-disease" risk is low. It also has zero impact on the swarm's stats with either of the two effects on the card (Chaos Star = +1 Party Tension,  and Symptom effect eliminates a Socket on the Party Card) so you don't have to worry about it making the fight too easy, either. It'll make for memorable gaming.


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#13 ElCommi

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 02:06 PM

That sounds useful!

I originally wasn't too worried about making it too difficult with a Taalite priest and a 2nd rank physician in the party. We're running herbalism rules - and the physician can make poultices and the like.

But after a recent encounter with some Orcs, and the (un)timely death of our resident priest and the very near death of the Physician (We ended the game, with the Ironbreaker standing with less than half HP and a lot of Fatigue surrounded by dead Orcs.. The Taalite dead, the physician unconscious with 2 crits and a pre-existing missing limb. They don't know what to expect for the next session) - I have a feeling that the journey to Black Fire Pass isn't as smooth as they'd hoped!






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