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Threat levels


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#1 Storhamster

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 04:56 AM

What threat level do you usually use in your adventures?

Do you send wave after wave of pure death at your acolytes to provide them with the kick of almost-death? Do you send mobs of peasants after them to make them feel superior? Do you use the classic strong Boss and weaker minions?

Just asking because the level of threat affect the feel of the adventure a great deal. I think this is one of those things that easily end up being too cliché. There is always an epic boss at the end, and you will face his right hand (literally in case of some heretics) just before you encounter the boss.

I have begun experimenting with social bosses instead of combat-oriented ones.

Meaning that the boss will usually try to convert or corrupt the acolytes rather than outright kill them. I have found that this lead to very interesting dilemmas for some characters when they have their loyalty tested by a "better" offer. Great for character development

Sometimes I do not use bosses at all but let the threat be more general, only solvable by using their inquisitors influence to send the guard to mop up. In this case the acolytes do not attack the threat themselves, rather they uncover it and report back.

Though every group needs a good killing spree sometimes to feel badass.

What are the communitys views on this matter?



#2 Evilscary

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 05:30 AM

Personally I don't (or try not to) run DH like D&D.

I don't have 'bosses' and 'minions' in a computer-game sense. I run my games as true to life as I can, so if the players attack a crimelord's stronghold without prior preparation they are likely to die as they encounter the elite of the crimelord's organisation. I don't send 'waves' of badguys unless such a wave is suitable to the encounter the players are facing.

I try and set up social or investigation encounters just as much as combat ones. Although the game I ran just the other night DID involve a massive battle with the PCs and a group of Skitarii going up against a fallen noble, his house guard and a Tzeentchian sorceror, it was appropriate as the it was the culmination of a long investigation and the party knew what they were walking into.

I don't set enemies at 'threat levels' for the party; if they pick on a tripple-hard bastard they are likely to get killed, and if they attack a puny weakling they are likely to walk away without a scratch. Not every character they meet is balanced for their level, as i believe it stops them from gunning every NPC down, confident they can survive.

I hope this has made sense.



#3 FFG Ross Watson

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 05:48 AM

 There is a chapter on this subject in the upcoming Creatures Anathema. I think you will find a lot of useful stuff there relating to everything you're talking about here. :)



#4 Rashid ad Din Sinan

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 06:06 AM

Really hate the term 'threat level' as it tries to codify the game waaaay to much as well as be some type of benchmark for exp's.  This is one of the things I like about DH & HARP where exp is goal based and not individual acheivement, i.e. who killed what and how for example.  Basically gamers are almost always much more devious that designers and creative about character creation/rule abuse that such levels are low.  It also means that there are other options for exp other than combat.

I do agree that a string of 'finding the guy in the big hat in the big chair in the big room, killing him and taking his stuff' adventures can grow tiresome.  While I would say that having long term goals for the characters and party in general makes the game more enjoyable, they all do not have to be this.

As such let the party do what it wants and see what happens.  I am a great fan of handing out lots of rope to players to hang themselves with.  It doesn't mean that I am 'out to get them', but instead give them options and hold them accountable for stupid decisions.  And on the flip side not every encounter needs to be challenging or life threatening.  At some point the characters should be better than some of the other grunts and should skate through some encounters.

So in the end ignore everyting resembling a preconceived 'threat level' as they are generally a misleading concept and stifles creativity.



#5 Nuttunen

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 06:43 AM

Mmm treated Treath level more like a Treath to the local populus, common good etc. etc. Since prety much anything can be shot to frigging hell and back also catapulted to the nearest moon if it comes down to close combat.



#6 Storhamster

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 08:03 AM

Seems like people really don't like the term "threat level".

Of course the acolytes should be able to control how much hell they bring down upon themselves. The reason why I brought this up is because I believe that combat plays a large role in DH, few moments are as exiting as when the acolytes face down the senoir heretic after a long investigation (or maybe I'm just a warmonger ).

It is very intersting to read other people's view's on this matter.

How do you plan eventual encounters? I usually just create the NPCs and main setting and usually the acolytes will interact with them, violently or not. This makes the adventure much more open and less like rail-roading the group from event to event, they create their own events together with the NPCs.



#7 Rashid ad Din Sinan

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 08:38 AM

Storhamster said:

Of course the acolytes should be able to control how much hell they bring down upon themselves. The reason why I brought this up is because I believe that combat plays a large role in DH, few moments are as exiting as when the acolytes face down the senoir heretic after a long investigation (or maybe I'm just a warmonger ).

Combat is a large thematic part.  However you don't have to read far into the healing rules to realize heavy combat orientated scenarios will be short ones. 



#8 segara82

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 10:02 AM

Well, the threat levels in the rulebook are quite fitting, i would say. try to avoid the usual 'many lows, few bosses' stereotype, but sometimes it can't be avoided. right now my group is on it's way to Kulth (IG vs Orks), where of course the average level will be a bit higher. After all, you either die fast or learn fast.

 

Oh, the highest threat my group encountered so far: Malleus Terminus. the group's Psyker rolled a 97 on the PotW and became a full-grown unbound demon host. only through sheer luck (and a failed psy-test for the 'finishing spell') they managed to kill it.


Courage is the mastery of fear - not the absence of fear


#9 Headhanger

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 08:47 PM

FFG Ross Watson said:

 There is a chapter on this subject in the upcoming Creatures Anathema. I think you will find a lot of useful stuff there relating to everything you're talking about here. :)

Emperor damn you! Damn you!

Do you realise that I was already awaiting this book with a fair amount anticipation? Now my paws are sweating and I can barely sit still.

Look what you've done!



#10 Fideru

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 12:03 PM

I do how hard the acolytes make it. For example, if they try to fight a whole Space Marines chapter, they're dead. I generally allow my acolytes to make most of the decisions on how hard it will be. But, for set encounters, I try, really try to make them balanced so that it could go either way (Some are harder/easier based on decisions done by Acolytes, OR by just what the encounter is for. I've got to say, Luddite posted some GREAT ideas for how to make an encounter).

Although, I must say, a few missions they play (combat-orientated), have threat levels, and generally very high. I am currently running of different version of the Twilight mission in Purge the Unclean, and it's been very deadly. Only one person had to burn a fate point, but another is dead, by striking a pact. Although, he nearly wiped the party. Thankfully Agamorr stepped in before another of his turns (which would've been 5 fate points burnt).






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