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Running The Enemy Within (classic version) - I may need to nerf my players.


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#1 Croaker13

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 05:02 AM

 

A bit of background:  I've just started GM'ing the old Enemy Within campaign, and we are about half way through Mistaken Identity. We've previously played through Eye for an Eye, so the PC's have 4 xp each (I've got three players - a Wizard Apprentice, a Troll Slayer and an Agent).

 

I'm seriously considering "nerfing" the PC's and making my players redo their characters, with 5 less creation points.

Does anyone have any experience with this sort of thing? Will it make the PC's unplayable?

How about running the classic Enemy Within in 3rd Ed.?

 

I've got two reasons for doing this:

 

First: They are way more powerful than 1st Ed. characters would be at this point. During the first encounter, the wizard didn't even have time to cast a spell because the troll slayer and agent managed to finish off the mutants (one regular and three henchmen - the wounded ones) in two rounds. I know that it isn't supposed to be a hard fight, but still….

I realize that I could just beef up the encounters, but then I'd have to do this for the rest of the campaign, which would be a ton of work, and might change the tone of the campaign quite a lot.  

The same goes for social encounters I suspect…

 

Secondly: I'm worried that they will run out of things to do with their XP. It's a really long campaign, especially if I want to run a few extra adventures ("With a little help from my friends" comes to mind), and I really want to give them 1 XP for each session, to keep a sense of progression.



#2 Kartigan

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 05:55 AM

You are of course, free to do whatever you want.  And it should also be noted that I have zero experience with the original Enemy Within as well.  However, I would advise against making them re-create their characters with 5 fewer creation points.

If I were you I would just adjust the combat encounters upward.  For instance if that fight had featured 4 mutants instead of 1 and 3 henchmen it might have been tougher (though I'm sure they could've easily handled it).  Yes this may be a bit of work, but I believe the solution would be better than nerfing their starting characters.  If you do that their characters may be just as out of control after a few sessions as when you started.  Plus, even if they all did have 5 fewer starting xp, they would have still absolutely destroyed any encounter that weak (I doubt 1 mutant and 3 mutant henchmen could live through the first round of almost any group of PCs, unless they were all completely social oriented with no combat).  

One thing to bear in mind, you have a very combat oriented group there.  Troll Slayer and Wizard are excellent combatants, and when I had an Agent in my game he wasn't a slouch in combat either.



#3 Necrozius

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 06:47 AM

Yikes.

Definitely don't nerf the players. That probably won't go very well.

Even though you seem reluctant to do it, I recommend that you scale up the encounters.

If you have Hero's Call, use the "heroic" templates to make key NPCs more potent.

If that isn't the case, then do this sort of thing:

Make the stakes higher by giving the enemy NPCs some good Action Cards.

Give them more Agression / Cunning / Expertise dice.

Or, more simply, create a pool of general A/C/E dice for each encounter that all of your bad buys can draw from.

In the end, though, the important thing is that the players are having fun.

If they happen to breeze through that big encounter, but were cheering the whole time and it looked like they enjoyed themselves… who cares, eh? You've succeeded as a GM!

 

 



#4 Croaker13

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 08:09 AM

 

Just reread my post, and I realize that it might make me seem a bit lazy. That's really not true (I swear avergonzado_alegre).

I'm mainly concerned about Massive Power Creep ™.

I believe that TEW takes about 50, three hour sessions to complete (give or take), and if I already  have to fudge the system and/or use "heroic" templates now, I'm seriously dreading the future (I'm already using a few additional "good" actions for the NPC's).

Come to think about it, I may have to reduce XP to 1/2 or 3/4 per session no matter what…

 

I'm confident that I'll be able to convince my players that It's a necessary change (using cake), but I'm not totally sure about the effect. 



#5 Necrozius

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 08:29 AM

Yeah altering a pre-written adventure to be appropriate to power level can be a problem without some serious book-keeping.

I would also up the basic difficulty of most in-game tests by an additional Challenge die. If they're so powerful, then I'm sure that they can take it.

Also: use those Chaos Stars!

Don't go by the default and make them into Banes.

I typically add a conditional effect in just about EVERY scene that's appropriate. Whether in a scene that's Social (someone trips over a noble woman's dress or the dwarf FARTS loudly), or exploring (someone steps on a diseased rat which bites back - make a disease 2 check), or combat (your hero stumbles! Add 3 recharge tokens to that Action Card!).



#6 k7e9

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 05:50 PM

Hi,

I started playing through the (old) enemy within campaign and before that my players had about 10 XP. I did no nerfing and now we're almost done with Power Behind the Throne and there's been no issue with the players beeing to tough. I have added a few extra bad guys here and there throughout the adventures but for the most part I've just converted it on the fly.

They have been in serious troubble several times (and some have even died), so I do not think you need to worry. :) As I said, add a few extra bad guys in the fights here and there and you'll be good to go.



#7 Croaker13

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 07:31 PM

k7e9 said:

 

Hi,

I started playing through the (old) enemy within campaign and before that my players had about 10 XP. I did no nerfing and now we're almost done with Power Behind the Throne and there's been no issue with the players beeing to tough. I have added a few extra bad guys here and there throughout the adventures but for the most part I've just converted it on the fly.

They have been in serious troubble several times (and some have even died), so I do not think you need to worry. :) As I said, add a few extra bad guys in the fights here and there and you'll be good to go.

 

 

That's good to hear.

My PCs had a reasonably rough time in Eye for an Eye, but that scenario has Gors and a Wargor (the daemon never materialized), and that's not something they'll encounter for a while, so I was getting a bit worried.

 

How much XP have your have your players got by now, k7e9?

How do you convert daemons?

I've noticed  that 1st Ed daemons have a lot more wounds (relatively) than their 3rd Ed counterparts. I'm especially thinking about the daemon under Bögenhafen and the daemonette in Castle Wittgenstein.

 

-Cheers 

 



#8 LordoftheMilk

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 10:48 PM

I also like to play very long campaigns, and so go with the following xp rules:

 

1 xp per session if at least 1 episode was completed

+ 1 xp per session to tbest roleplayer

+1 xp for exceptional achievements

 

Advancements cost 1 xp per current rank of the character.

 

The rank of a character is the number of advances/10.

 

Voilà!

 

 



#9 AM_Odin

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 11:02 PM

I had an excellent time playing the original Enemy Within and am now in the process of GM'ing the new Enemy Within. I have to say I completely agree with Necrozius on nerfing the players (but reading through this forum I suspect we have a similar GM'ing style). As for the orginal TEW I recall the monsters are rather weak to begin with around Death on the Reik (can't recall much combat in Bogenhafen). I would go for upping the monsters and use some trackers for the big showdown in Wittgenstein. See this thread I started for a lot of good ideas on big fights: http://www.fantasyfl...cid=46&efidt=. 

As for player advancement, I wouldn't worry about it too much (but that is my play style). I give 2 xp at the end of every gaming session, making most of my players on or around rank 3 now (and we are still in the docks of Averheim :). As a group we have had two evaluations of this system but most of the players rather like it. It gives them a chance to develop a character they want and doesn't punish them if they want some changes later on in the story. Challenge dice and misfortune dice keep most everyone on their toes, and my are these heroes interesting characters. For me a plus is that I didn't just buy a lot of boxes full of tokens and rules, but almost everything gets used (I just hate supplements everyone has read, but no one has ever played with). 

To wrap up, character development (XP's) is a system to give your players something to plan towards while playing. But for the real roleplaying it's all narrative. Now I shall clear the floor for the people who disagree with that one ;)



#10 k7e9

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 05:19 AM

Croaker13 said:

That's good to hear.

My PCs had a reasonably rough time in Eye for an Eye, but that scenario has Gors and a Wargor (the daemon never materialized), and that's not something they'll encounter for a while, so I was getting a bit worried.

There are some beastmen that you can encounter in the woods during Death on the Reik, and also the goblins that you can encounter while searching for Etelka (the witch) can be quite challenging.

Sometimes I simply beef up the number of enemies encountered to give the players a challenge.

Croaker13 said:

How much XP have your have your players got by now, k7e9?

They have a bit over 50 XP, but that does not cause any real troubble (i.e. the players are not too powerful).

Croaker13 said:

How do you convert daemons?

I've noticed  that 1st Ed daemons have a lot more wounds (relatively) than their 3rd Ed counterparts. I'm especially thinking about the daemon under Bögenhafen and the daemonette in Castle Wittgenstein.

Used a daemon creature card from WFRP3ed and simply powered them up using the (great) nemisis sheets (they are called that right?) from Hero's call, that way deamons gets more wounds and grow more powerful. This can also be done for any "boss" creatures throughout the adventures and is easy to adapt to your groups relative power.

It's easy to convert and modify encounter difficulty on the fly during the adventures. So far, it has worked very well in my group, and they started the campaign with more XP than your group did. I don't see any need for you to start over.



#11 Chamo

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 02:32 AM

I wouldn't say the players need any nerfing. I ran the campaign with 4 players with 3rd ed rules (although we started with new characters in the beginning) and had no problems with the balance as it is.

If I remember correctly, there's a nice adventure hook for the Apprentice Wizard at the beginning of Death on Reik. If the Apprentice is just about to reach 10 xp, that would be a great hook to send him to the wizard (the one who tells more about Ethelka) "to complete his apprenticeship". So you may want to plan for that.



#12 thePREdiger

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 06:43 PM

just beaf up your NPCs, but not too much - long lasting encounters tire many players (at least mine get bored)

For the main encounters I play the "named" NPCs like player characters (using all kind of actions appropriate for their career).

This makes it more challenging



#13 Croaker13

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 03:39 AM

Chamo said:

If I remember correctly, there's a nice adventure hook for the Apprentice Wizard at the beginning of Death on Reik. If the Apprentice is just about to reach 10 xp, that would be a great hook to send him to the wizard (the one who tells more about Ethelka) "to complete his apprenticeship". So you may want to plan for that.

I actually do have a wizard in the party (we did random career draw, so it's a total coincidence), and I'm planning to do just that.

 

It's good to hear that other GM's haven't had problems. I guess I'll just go ahead with the normal system. I'll reevaluate after Bögenhafen. 



#14 Croaker13

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 10:15 PM

 

Just a short follow-up. To summarize; I shouldn’t have worried as much.

 

This weekend we got to the end of “Mistaken Identity” and began “Shadows over Bögenhafen”.

 

In the end I didn’t nerf the players, except that I removed a few choice actions from game (like reckless cleave and immobilizing shot). I also bought Omens of War – complete with severe injuries desconfiado

While the party is still very powerful in combat, in the final fight with the bounty hunter and his tugs, two of the characters came within two wounds of dying and the dwarf troll slayer lost an eye (hurray for severe injuries).

The end result was that, while no one actually died, my players had a serious taste of their own mortality, which has tempered their recklessness quite a bit. All in all a positive outcome.

 

Also, my players have found out that they, as a party, have some serious deficiencies, especially in “sneaky” (and to a lesser degree social) situations. It will be loads of fun watching them try to break unnoticed into various mansions in Bögenhafen, and then try to talk their way out of it when they get caught sonreir






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