Jump to content



Photo

Benefits of a high PC-kill rate


  • Please log in to reply
10 replies to this topic

#1 Eradico Pravus

Eradico Pravus

    Member

  • Members
  • 244 posts

Posted 19 January 2013 - 08:06 AM

Hi all,

In playing WFRP, 3rd for just over a year now (average 2-2.5 sessions per month) I've played the following:

Human scout (retired due to starting a new campaign)

Sigmarite priest (received a coma during combat, hidden by party in a tomb, then lost forever after TPK)

Human navigator (severly wounded in combat then subsequently died when team-mate rolled multiple chaos stars in a healing attempt)

Human dockhand (killed by swamp-zombies)

Dwarf ratcatcher (current character)

Some observations from my frequent character turnover:

1. Using the "roll three/pick one" style of chargen really got me out of my "I always play the Ranger" mentality. High turnover reduces this mindset even more.

2. I've been exposed to trying various types of characters which has been an interesting experience. The character I min/maxed and made the most combat-oriented, the Sigmarite priest, ended up being the least interesting. I thought the dockhand would not be that great a character but I ended up really enjoying him and probably lament his loss the most (poor Jurgen!). 

3. My GM requires players have a backup character ready and so that means I already am familiar with a given character-type's advantages and disadvantages before bringing them into play. While using the dockhand I was already thinking how neat the ratcatcher would be. Now playing the ratcatcher I love him. My current backup is a human knight. The dynamics of our party will change immensely and it will be fun to roleplay when the degenerate, clan-less dwarf with rat-fur cloak and questionable body habits is replaced with an arrogant, wealthy, upper-crust knight of the realm! The expectation of using my "next" character helps ameliorate the loss of my current character.

4. Answering the "10 Questions" for characters really helps me to establish motivations, background, and quirks and helps facilitate roleplaying. Doing this at least five times has forced me to look at/become familiar with a lot of the Empire fluff, thus making me a better "in game" roleplayer.

Finally let me say my GM (Emirikol) is fun, fair, and firm and does not go (especially) out of his way to kill the PCs. We players do enough stupid things to put ourselves in harm's way. :) So he pretty much lets the dice speak for themselves in that regard. Please note I have not intentionally tried to lose a character although I probably play in a "heroic" fashion that may be foolhardy in the Warhammer world. So although I still get that sense of loss and disappointment when I lose a character it isn't nearly as crippling in-game or out of game as when I've lost a character that I've played for years. 

Have others had a similar experience?

 



#2 Emirikol

Emirikol

    ~Ĉiam subskribi antaŭ-nup kun Fimir

  • Members
  • 5,111 posts

Posted 19 January 2013 - 01:13 PM

EP,

I'm currently playing a wizard in a pathfinder group.  Man, I wish to heck that the encoutners would be challenging enough to allow me the option to kill a character off. It's not that I have a death wish for my character, but I can assure you that the feeling of being in a D&D world is much different from being in the much and sh// of a warhammer world where we need fear beyond our wound threshholds.  I also welcome the chance to play a different character once in a while.  

That said, as I recall from our most recent gaming session, we discussed being at the end of The Dying of the Light without the characters that began it.  It makes me wonder about long campaigns such as The Thousand Thrones, The Doomstones or The Enemy Within.   Normally a GM needs to consider his basic rules of replacement (how much xp, how much wealth), but I think we'll have to take harder looks at the longer campaigns and perhaps have this discussion with the other players.  I know our Halfling player was not keen on having to make a new character for his own reasons.

 

jh



#3 DevoutBadger

DevoutBadger

    Member

  • Members
  • 57 posts

Posted 19 January 2013 - 09:47 PM

Doesn't lack of an ongoing storyline or sense of progression bother people?



#4 Boehm

Boehm

    Member

  • Members
  • 361 posts

Posted 20 January 2013 - 01:44 AM

Im still wondering how come you guys find this system so leathal … In our group we have yet to have a single PC death … though its been close a few times. Compared to wfrp2 this edition definately seems to be less leathal due to no chance of rolling open ended - instant death crits, and the damage being much more incremental … 

That aside my view of leathal systems is:

- Knowing that you are at real risk gives more edge and excitement to dangerous situations and enhances success 'wow - we actually surveved that'

- Actual high leathality IMO is NOT good …since it breaks the continuation of the story as well as the character development and the bonds and relationships to other players and PCs. IMO if you wanna keep things fresh, allow a player to temporarily retire his character and make another one - who knows maybe the wizard returns after having passed his exam or read those books etc?? This way you can keep the character around as a semi-PCNPC. This can also work pretty great even when shifting to a new story with new characters (perhaps 10 years later) - keeping some of your old high rank PCs around as colourful NPCs with all they quirks can be quite fun when your GM (evilly) interprets your former characters personalities - who knows perhaps that drunken mean spirited slayer you walk into, going into the inn, is infact your former character who was always mean spirited and looking for a fight?? :D



#5 Yepesnopes

Yepesnopes

    Member

  • Members
  • 1,443 posts

Posted 20 January 2013 - 03:36 AM

Boehm said:

Im still wondering how come you guys find this system so leathal … In our group we have yet to have a single PC death … though its been close a few times. Compared to wfrp2 this edition definately seems to be less leathal due to no chance of rolling open ended - instant death crits, and the damage being much more incremental … 

I believe the divesity of experiences here arieses due to the losseness of the system and because we have a crapy Creature Guide.

I have made a creature guide for my games where many NPCs carry weapons instead of taking tha DR as it is given by the card, and they have action cards like Double Strike, Reckless Cleave and Rapid fire. Lethality in my games is high, really high. I can imagine that on other tables that is not the case, because it all dependes too much on the choosing of the action cards.

As an example, try facing your group of adventurers against a group of Skaven composed by (for example) a few clan rat, a storm Vermin leading them, and one or two rat ogres. Rat ogres with action cards like Cheap shot and Boneripper suck (and it is ridiculous in my opinion). Just give the rat ogres cards like Double Strike and Two Cuts (to represnet the rat ogres fighting with their two claws), Berzerker Slash and Throw to the Wall (to represent their more brutal combat style); similarly, give the Storm Vermin cards like Thunderous Blow and you will see the diference, huge!

So, for me is no wonder that the lethality of the game varies so much from table to table. If you stick to the raw creature guide, and your bad guys have only the one or two suggested action cards, if you leave your large monsters (like trolls and giants) with the ridiculous amount of wounds suggested by the game, then I foresee that lethality is going to be low. On the other hand, some nicely placed action cards, and adventurers will sweet blood even to defeat Orcs and goblins.

You can see it as an adventage of the game, since it allows each group to easely set the leathality to their taste (although it took me a lot of work to create my own creature guide).


The Book of the Asur - High Elf fan supplement

The Dark Side - Witches, Warlocks, Dark Magic and more

Secrets of the Anvil - Advanced Dwarf careers and runes

Dice statistics calculator for SW EotE


#6 Emirikol

Emirikol

    ~Ĉiam subskribi antaŭ-nup kun Fimir

  • Members
  • 5,111 posts

Posted 20 January 2013 - 03:50 AM

DevoutBadger said:

 

Doesn't lack of an ongoing storyline or sense of progression bother people?

 

 

Doesn't lack of an ongoing storyline or sense of progression bother people?

Yes, sometimes it does.  That's just tough crap.  It's like being stuck with the same character though (to consider the opposite end)[details at the end.]

In reality we have both ongoing storylines (the plot), plus I don't penalize characters for death so there is no loss of progression.  Then we have the added bonus in that players get the chance to try out multiple ongoing storylines with multiple progressions.  Afterall, all campaigns come to an end and all players eventually have to begin anew. True, unless you're in Valvorik's campaign - I think 88th advance with the same characters  :)

When there is no character death, the term 'grim and gritty' becomes a joke and we ask ourselves, "Whats the point of having a combat if all you're doing is pushing the win-button like some MMO?" Let's face it, you cannot compete with MMOs in terms of how to do the win-button right.

Conan campaigns the same way.  Can you imagine playing Call of Cthulhu and not having insanity really being an issue?  Can you imagine if Frodo, Sam and the Fellowship of the ring just hitched a ride with the Eagles and caught a ride all the way there with a buffet table at every stop and dropping rocks on Sauron's orcs from the air?

I actually feel sorry for groups where you're stuck playing the same character (but cliche') each week and although there are a hundred careers, you get to try one.  Then when your GM burns out because every week quickly starts feeling exactly like the week before, you look at the game system to blame because you never get to try out new options and you never get to try out new storylines.  I can understand the allure of "progression", but feels like a myth.  It's not like if you switch characters that you didn't earn progression as a player for your new character.

I've had GMs force me to play the same character for an entire campaign by penalizing severely if you ever wanted to switch.  Ok, so this would matter if the player's story actually mattered like in The Days of Our Lives ~the RPG, but it's not.  

It seems once a player gets over taking it personally that a bunch of statistics on a paper with a fictional storyline need to be re-tooled into a new arrangement, they seem to be able to handle higher turnover in a mature way..that, and it also emphasises that not every problem should be solved with a gun..unless you really like re-tooling fictional storylines.  Our biggest turnover is typically new players who come to us from computer gaming or worse, D&D, where the games have been designed so that it's so hard to die as to be a laughable game of Candyland.

 

 

jh



#7 Emirikol

Emirikol

    ~Ĉiam subskribi antaŭ-nup kun Fimir

  • Members
  • 5,111 posts

Posted 20 January 2013 - 04:11 AM

Yepesnopes said:

 

I have made a creature guide for my games where many NPCs carry weapons instead of taking tha DR as it is given by the card, and they have action cards like Double Strike, Reckless Cleave and Rapid fire. Lethality in my games is high, really high. I can imagine that on other tables that is not the case, because it all dependes too much on the choosing of the action cards.

 

I've done the same by simply increasing the ACE dice.  Sometimes I take a look at other action's to improve the creatures, but I use them more as "effects."  For example, I had our recent undead + necromancer encounter include an undead pig with knock-down+immobilize.  Wow, that got dangerous in a hurry.  Thankfully, I had our new player play one of the hired guards for the Theater Group that teh PCs were traveling with.  First night for this guy and his face get's eaten by an undead pig (I believe it was either a severe or permanent injury)..and he realized that the goal of the zombies wasn't to fight, but to delay/distract the PCs and scatter the townsfolks so the bad guys could kidnap a person from the group.   

The reality though still comes down to the fact that not only are there special actions that you can add to combat, but the fact that you can eliminate characters with insanity, disease, and corruption/mutation (we won't even talk "Shame" which in my game, means banishment).  I think it helps encourage players to make more well-rounded characters.  THIS is one of the major strengths of the game.  It doesn't just pay lip-service to conditions-just-causing-wounds like all other games, but it goes the Cthulhu-route where there are fates worse than death and REWARDS more than x.p. and gold.

There is a diversity of tales beyond combats and it's integral to the game system.

jh



#8 No:12

No:12

    Member

  • Members
  • 137 posts

Posted 20 January 2013 - 05:39 AM

Hi,

I would second Yepesnopes thoughts on the creature guide (I see it as literally a "guide", a statblock to be developed), and Emirikols point about the variety of sources of gametime wear on PCs.

If i feel that a creature/npc should have training in a skill, they get it. The expertise dice are in addition to that. I just cant imagine an experienced soldier or orc would not have trained weapon skill. This means they will more consistently achieve some of the more special results from action cards. An orc using reckless cleave with a choppa suddenly becomes quite lethal…   as a result I run generally small combats.

As far as the effect on the story, my group does prefer it when there is at least one or two pcs providing some continuation link with the overarcing storyline. Interestingly recently it has been the characters that have died early that have often provided the most memorable moments. I guess both styles of character have their strengths, its gonna be down to finding out what balance every group enjoys most. With us its a mix of long term characters surrounded by the explosive nature of live fast die young characters…



#9 Eradico Pravus

Eradico Pravus

    Member

  • Members
  • 244 posts

Posted 20 January 2013 - 07:47 PM

Nice points all around. And yep, Badger and Boehm, I readily concede there are also disadvantages to a high kill-rate. I was simply listing benefits that I've encountered in my experience as a player, the biggest is that like Emirikol I've been in campaigns that became dull once the PCs became uber-powerful.

I thought of another one!

5. You get really fast and efficient at CharGen.  :)

 

 



#10 Boehm

Boehm

    Member

  • Members
  • 361 posts

Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:29 PM

Eradico Pravus said:

Nice points all around. And yep, Badger and Boehm, I readily concede there are also disadvantages to a high kill-rate. I was simply listing benefits that I've encountered in my experience as a player, the biggest is that like Emirikol I've been in campaigns that became dull once the PCs became uber-powerful.

I thought of another one!

5. You get really fast and efficient at CharGen.  :)

That it can get dull when PCs become too powerful I completely agree with … in those cases restarting the campaign with new low xp characters can definately be an advantage.

When talking about character continuation - In one of the groups I play in we restarted a campaign with a new GM - but then let 2 characters continue into the new campaign, making up a short story of what had happened in the last 5 years in between the campaigns … this worked great since there were a detailed background story and contacts already established for a couple of key characters.



#11 Eradico Pravus

Eradico Pravus

    Member

  • Members
  • 244 posts

Posted 21 January 2013 - 12:17 PM

Boehm said:

When talking about character continuation - In one of the groups I play in we restarted a campaign with a new GM - but then let 2 characters continue into the new campaign, making up a short story of what had happened in the last 5 years in between the campaigns … this worked great since there were a detailed background story and contacts already established for a couple of key characters.

Great idea and something that we should incorporate into our game. I especially like the part about developing contacts between characters.

We had to do something like this all the time in CoC: "In case I'm lost exploring beneath the pyramids I'll send a detailed letter to my distant cousin who happens to be a professor of archeology back in Arkham." :)

 






© 2013 Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc. Fantasy Flight Games and the FFG logo are ® of Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc.  All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Contact | User Support | Rules Questions | Help | RSS