Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
aljovin

Adjusting challenge to "experienced" PC

Recommended Posts

What I like about EotE, is the level-less approach, however it's also the part that is causing me the most grief.

I'm having a hard time figuring out how to adjust the encounter to thePC, especially once they've earned 300 xps.

This must have been addressed at some point here, but I couldn't find it.

How do you adjust an encounter to the PCs? I'm trying to adapt the "Beyond the RIM" adventure to my group (4 PCs), where only one is combat-oriented.

Advices?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well these are kinda adapted from my WEG experience...

Add another purple die now and then...

Upgrade opponents (larger minion groups, More adversary talents, nemesis havehigher strain and more abilities) even imperial guards have to do combat rotations with conventional units to keep their edge.

Revise opponents to make them nastier. Give stormtroopers armor upgrades they would logically have, rekit salvagers with more useful gear

Improved tactics (think about each encounter, make sure the opponents leverage every advantage possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you trying to make the encounters tougher? You mentioned that only one of your four PCs is combat-oriented.

 

To make encounters tougher, Ghostofman has great suggestions.

  • add Adversary ranks to NPCs
  • add more waves of minions: take the minions planned for the encounter, and have another identical group arrive as reinforcements. Keep adding minion groups as needed.
  • increase the environmental difficulties of your encounters--rainstorms, windstorms, sandstorms, on tops of mountains, in the jungle with trees hit by lighting and falling, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am right there too, running Beyond the Rim for my 5-player 300+XP group.  

 

So far, I've buffed the adversaries with Adversary 2 for minions and 3 for rivals.  I've upgraded ships, beasts, and npcs' stats and skills across the board, willy-nilly it seems.  I've added some hired muscle that I've walked down 2 hired gun and big game hunter talent trees, who will use gravbelts and custom jetpacks to rain death down upon my heroes.  

 

They're on the planet now and the environment will be a huge factor since they did zero prep for wilderness exploration....

 

So yeah, will this be adequate?  Too much?  Page 305 in the core book touches on this but I too am having a little difficulty quickly producing challenging npcs.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Back in the Saga days, I would always be sure to include an encounter every once in a while that would have been somewhat challenging in the past, but is considerably easier now. It's no fun when your enemies continuously get stronger at the same rate you do. That was one of the biggest problems with Bethesda's Oblivion. Be sure to throw in more difficult encounters using more minions and stronger rivals, but remember to leave some weaker enemies around for your players to refer to when comparing strength.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reading this got me wondering, has anyone just created a character using the normal rules and then used that character as an npc?

 

No added adversary or increasing minions just add a PC-like character to the mix and see how they cope?

 

Edit: Reread the original question.

Edited by copperbell

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reading this got me wondering, has anyone just created a character using the normal rules and then used that character as an npc?

 

No added adversary or increasing minions just add a PC-like character to the mix and see how they cope?

 

Yes, and I found that the added bookkeeping was tedious, especially if the character has a great deal of Strain-using talents. It can be done, but it slowed down play, so I don't recommend it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Groups of 6+ minions have excellent dice pools for their group skills, likely as high as (or higher than) rivals and some nemeses. I'm not sure how they are not threatening if armed with blaster carbines or larger weapons. Beyond the Rim gave us 5-man minion groups on speeder bikes with light repeating blasters. Those will threaten just about anyone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually it occurs to me that we did have a chase scene while running the first part of BtR and my buffed baddies from the book still weren't a match.    5 buffed minions and a buffed nemesis trying to steal a droid... yeah they barely got out alive before station security showed up.  My heros..not a scratch.  

 

But back to the original point, I have 5 players in my group that are all 300+XP characters and they manage to wipe up in any sort of balanced fight I throw them in because they're clever.  They more or less wiped up 2 8-minion groups of storm troopers, each led by a sergeant.  I think the mechanic was stunned, that's about it.  

 

So after that, I opted to make the minions a little tougher rather than increase their numbers too much.   Perhaps the answer it a little bit of both, I'll find out in a couple weeks.  I'm trying to balance it just right so it doesn't feel like a punishment because they are clever.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually it occurs to me that we did have a chase scene while running the first part of BtR and my buffed baddies from the book still weren't a match.    5 buffed minions and a buffed nemesis trying to steal a droid... yeah they barely got out alive before station security showed up.  My heros..not a scratch.  

 

But back to the original point, I have 5 players in my group that are all 300+XP characters and they manage to wipe up in any sort of balanced fight I throw them in because they're clever.  They more or less wiped up 2 8-minion groups of storm troopers, each led by a sergeant.  I think the mechanic was stunned, that's about it.  

 

So after that, I opted to make the minions a little tougher rather than increase their numbers too much.   Perhaps the answer it a little bit of both, I'll find out in a couple weeks.  I'm trying to balance it just right so it doesn't feel like a punishment because they are clever.  

 

16 Minions and 2 Sergeants died without any damage inflicted to the PCs? I mean wow. That's what 2 groups firing 5 Green 2 Yellow on an attack roll plus the Sergeant? I'm guessing lots of grenades/auto-fire since otherwise they shouldn't really be able to eliminate more than one minion per round without it. I would probably be exercising liberal use of Destiny Points to ensure the squads live long enough to at least hurt someone in a combat role, I mean 18 Stormtroopers are **** threatening in universe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

16 Minions and 2 Sergeants died without any damage inflicted to the PCs? I mean wow. That's what 2 groups firing 5 Green 2 Yellow on an attack roll plus the Sergeant? I'm guessing lots of grenades/auto-fire since otherwise they shouldn't really be able to eliminate more than one minion per round without it. I would probably be exercising liberal use of Destiny Points to ensure the squads live long enough to at least hurt someone in a combat role, I mean 18 Stormtroopers are **** threatening in universe.

 

Right?  They're clever, they use the environment to their advantage, without fail.  Of course the stormtroopers were trying to take them alive.  

 

I've actually mischaracterized this encounter due to failure to caffeinate my memory.   The group was divided in 2, so 3 of my players (a battle droid, an ewok pilot, and a human tech) took out 8 stormtroopers and a sergeant.  The remaining 2 players were indeed captured, but only because they weren't present for the session and I needed a story-based answer for that.  I have no doubt the wookiee would have shredded them if dice actually hit the table.  And that's what it really comes down to - dice pools don't mean squat if you habitually roll like crap.  It's almost my schtick.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This game is really funny about this. My characters all have over 300 xp, and they handily beat a group of pirates, so I had a second group of pirates holding up in their generator room. Two minion groups of 4, both armed with blaster rifles.

 

My group is made up of a Wookie with a modified vibro-axe, an assassin droid with modified vibro-rapier, explorer with a blaster rifle, technician with blaster rifle and doctor with heavy blaster pistol. They got *trounced* by these two minion groups. They weren't even particularly tough! But hitting for 10+ each time with the increased dice pool was brutal.

 

The wookie went down after using up all his strain to finish off one minion group, the assassin droid went down from wounds, the explorer went down from wounds trying to finish off the second minion group, the technician nearly died defusing a bomb they had left in the station and the medic saved the day by Triumphing a medical check on an NPC technician, who weakly raised his blaster and finished off the last minion.

 

I almost ended up with a TPK with *two* minion groups.

 

For combat, giving anything blaster rifles and the least proficiency in them, along with a rival with a frag grenade, and watch any group have the fight of their lives.

 

Someone else mentioned rolling like crap - the running joke around the table is that I roll like Qui-Gon from the phantom menace. GM'ing is the only time I roll well, but this session especially I was on fire. Triumph's all over the place.

Edited by Blue Dog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Someone else mentioned rolling like crap - the running joke around the table is that I roll like Qui-Gon from the phantom menace. GM'ing is the only time I roll well, but this session especially I was on fire. Triumph's all over the place.

 

That was me - although I'm certainly not the first.  It's not just this game, although the dice are seemingly more forgiving since the odds are slightly more in my favor.  Given what I've read in this thread, I'll keep on with adding minions and reevaluate buffing them.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

balancing my encounters is just starting to become tricky, but in a slightly different way. 2 of my players are heavy combat, 2 are more utility. to a degree my combat monsters are determining the challenge level which isn't completely fair to the 2 utility players. I find myself directing combat in an odd way that I'm not 100% happy with, but it's mostly with ideas like the ones listed here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

balancing my encounters is just starting to become tricky, but in a slightly different way. 2 of my players are heavy combat, 2 are more utility. to a degree my combat monsters are determining the challenge level which isn't completely fair to the 2 utility players. I find myself directing combat in an odd way that I'm not 100% happy with, but it's mostly with ideas like the ones listed here.

 

You could try and create encounters that rely a bit on whatever they're good at to provide some support. So having a blast door open that constantly lets enemies in needs to be closed and locked, or some disable sentry turrets that can be re-programmed and activated. Or maybe create scenarios to keep players moving; doors need to be opened, information gathered, or people quickly interrogated while the fighters stall for time. Other than that, I can only think of the basic ideas presented in the thread already - but since those are giving you trouble, maybe try and focus on what HappyDaze suggests and just increase minion numbers in a group. You get big powerful groups that the fighters get to just keep pounding on, they probably won't switch attentions to the weaker players (even if the weaker players are firing on them) - so that keeps the weaker players from just getting knocked out, and since it doesn't add adversary, it doesn't make taking shots on them that difficult for players with not much for their ranged weapon rolls. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

balancing my encounters is just starting to become tricky, but in a slightly different way. 2 of my players are heavy combat, 2 are more utility. to a degree my combat monsters are determining the challenge level which isn't completely fair to the 2 utility players. I find myself directing combat in an odd way that I'm not 100% happy with, but it's mostly with ideas like the ones listed here.

The trick is to encourage everyone to multi task.  It's not fair for the tech guys to whine an encounter is hard if they show up to a gunfight with slide rules.  Flip it around on the Joe Gun guys and when the group can't hack their way in to the vault make it apparent that a third set of hands with some tech skills would have made the difference.  That's the way to balance the game in general.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great thread, gang!  This is a similar post to something I put on another thread, but it fits better, here.

I have been adding Adversary 1 to rivals and 3 to nemeses, and I agree that adversary 1 on minions (even if you're rolling a group) can be tedious.  I also question the theatrical validity of that approach.  However, I may step up to 2 or 3 for rivals and 4 or 5 for nemeses.  My players are equally crafty, and they have a doctor who is absolutely brilliant.

I will be adding stim packs to the encounters, too.  That'll slow them down.

HappyDaze :

I have been upgrading the characters and filling out sheets for NPC's, and even though I seem to have a decent system, --a big sheet for the team nemesis, a four-tile sheet for three rivals and one for the minions, putting checkboxes in my Evernote document for everyone's wounds & strain-- I am very curious….

What's your system for generating and upgrading your NPC's?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

HappyDaze :

I have been upgrading the characters and filling out sheets for NPC's, and even though I seem to have a decent system, --a big sheet for the team nemesis, a four-tile sheet for three rivals and one for the minions, putting checkboxes in my Evernote document for everyone's wounds & strain-- I am very curious….

What's your system for generating and upgrading your NPC's?

For opponents, I usually find a write-up in the book that I want to use as a base. I might (has only happened twice) adjust Characteristics up. Then I adjust Skills as I feel appropriate. Sometimes I'll add a few Talents (including Adversary, but so far not above rank 3). Equipment usually gets a major overhaul. When I'm done, I can fit pretty much everything on a 3"x5" card.

 

I have also made up Pseudo-Player Characters (P-PCs) using the PC creation rules. These are recurring (usually allied) NPCs, which are often under the control of a player when the PCs split up and I still want a player to be active in a scene when his/her character is not present.

Edited by HappyDaze

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Decision fork them. No matter how awesome a PC is in an area, they can still do only so much at one time. If there are 4 PC's and 7 problems, than 3 at best go attended for awhile.

 

BBEG is escaping while droids are wiping the flight logs back to the hidden base, all the while someone's friend is in a room that's having the atmosphere being sucked out of it. That tends to split the party focus and then the question becomes 'can 1 or two of the PC"s solo the BBEG?' Or do they let him go so cover the slicer who has to work both rushed and under fire (ah, setback dice aplenty). It's hard to make 1 thing (be it an opponent or task) that is so daunting for the entire group. Because either the group powers through it by focused effort...or it becomes an impassable road block. 

 

If you keep the encounters busy while not being overloaded (ie, 50 minons) you can throw some exceptional opponents in fewer numbers and harder tasks due to circumstances and the group can still feel stretched thin. And if/when they blow those challenges out of the water, either they get to feel like kings of the world (which is great!) or they get to feel solid about the choices they made and accept the things they didn't do instead (hopefully). 

 

If you own Beyond the Rim, the end sequence is a good example of this. There is a timeline and just a TON of things the players can be doing. And while none of them are 'stupid hard' they are time consuming and hard enough.

 

Actually, I find throwing in some easy tasks helps the situation. If something is 3+ dice in difficulty, the average characters (The 2-3 stat or 2 stat with moderate training) are leery to do it. BUt if it's an average task, the bounty hunter with his 2 intellect and 1 mechanics might go try to reroute power to the ion turret while the Technician does the core task of getting the engine online. 

 

Players will do things outside their character's prime skill set and may even spend some XP in places they wouldn't have normally. This feeds into the cycle as that means they aren't 'rushing to the end' on their prime skill set and encourage them to take new risks at lower difficulties. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...