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Emirikol

Difficulty once you're at 3 yellow

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We just played out a battle with the following:

2 Greatswords (advanced soldiers with sigmar's hammer action)

4 soldiers

6 ruffians

2 Advanced specialist NPCs

 

PCs

Rank 3 fop (6 fellowship)

Rank 3 Knight Griffon

Rank 3 Sigmar priest

Rank 3 thief, gambler

 

They had no player characters drop in combat.  The Fop was able to multiple influence the ruffians and one advanced specialist. The others were obliterated by the PCs.

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When PC's got that good in my game, I was - among other things - always using main foes with modifiers on them of "add challenge die to all actions targeting" and/or situational mods doing the same.

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That's a good idea.  I was just running some stats on those situations.  Typically, I have a 2 balck defense on most baddies, but I may bump to 2 bk plus a purple.  That brings success down to 70% against the big baddies.  They'll still be running 89-91% (the equivalent of having to get a 3 or better for those of us who think in d20 terms).  It also declines the number of crits and big line damage inflicted on the bosses as well.

 

jh

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That's a good idea.  I was just running some stats on those situations.  Typically, I have a 2 balck defense on most baddies, but I may bump to 2 bk plus a purple.  That brings success down to 70% against the big baddies.  They'll still be running 89-91% (the equivalent of having to get a 3 or better for those of us who think in d20 terms).  It also declines the number of crits and big line damage inflicted on the bosses as well.

 

jh

 

How do you give most baddies 2 def? Do they all have shields?

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I simply created a "Potent" modifier - plus Challenge die - to apply to things at times.

 

Also gave foes advance and improved defence actions at times.

 

Fights in snow storms, mist, bad lighting, high winds also created modifiers for various PC's and forms of attacks.

Edited by valvorik

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You guys know best, but it seems to me like as you progress, you do want things to become slightly easier. As a player, if I'm having as much trouble in combat at rank 3 as I am at rank 1, that doesn't mean it's "scaled well", it means there is absolutely no reward.

 

Especially in WFRP where it's not easy staying alive and reaching rank 3, once you do, you sort of expect the reward of having an easier time in encounters, otherwise it feels as if you're being ripped off. 

 

It annoyed me to no end that as I progressed and got better, there was always something kicking me back down. Either the rain in Stormdorf, the effects of Morrslieb in Liber Mutatis, or the effects of Morrslieb in Edge of Night. Just when I was finally ok, and could cast spells unimpeded, WARPSTONE !!! Dum dum duuuuum.

 

Come on, seriously? That's just shoddy writing/gm-ing. Give me difficulties in social situations, since I've got a mostly combat oriented character, not in freaking combat. Do you also add 1 purple and 2 blacks on top of normal difficulties to all Fellowship checks for your party's face, regardless of what he's talking to?

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You guys know best, but it seems to me like as you progress, you do want things to become slightly easier. As a player, if I'm having as much trouble in combat at rank 3 as I am at rank 1, that doesn't mean it's "scaled well", it means there is absolutely no reward.

 

Especially in WFRP where it's not easy staying alive and reaching rank 3, once you do, you sort of expect the reward of having an easier time in encounters, otherwise it feels as if you're being ripped off. 

 

I agree with you in part. It should be much easier if you take on similar foes as you did at rank 1. But when you're at rank 3 you're able to take on much more dangerous foes, which would up the difficulty.  And to my mind it is not that strange that adventurers would go on more dangerous quests as they become better.

 

For example, my players would not want to continue hunting bandits as they progressed, they would want higher risk and rewards, going after mutant cults, demons, dragons and so on instead. That way the difficulty increases, but I would not scale any random bandits to the PCs level just so that they can  keep beeing challenging in combat.

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You guys know best, but it seems to me like as you progress, you do want things to become slightly easier. As a player, if I'm having as much trouble in combat at rank 3 as I am at rank 1, that doesn't mean it's "scaled well", it means there is absolutely no reward.

 

Especially in WFRP where it's not easy staying alive and reaching rank 3, once you do, you sort of expect the reward of having an easier time in encounters, otherwise it feels as if you're being ripped off. 

 

It annoyed me to no end that as I progressed and got better, there was always something kicking me back down. Either the rain in Stormdorf, the effects of Morrslieb in Liber Mutatis, or the effects of Morrslieb in Edge of Night. Just when I was finally ok, and could cast spells unimpeded, WARPSTONE !!! Dum dum duuuuum.

 

Come on, seriously? That's just shoddy writing/gm-ing. Give me difficulties in social situations, since I've got a mostly combat oriented character, not in freaking combat. Do you also add 1 purple and 2 blacks on top of normal difficulties to all Fellowship checks for your party's face, regardless of what he's talking to?

 

I hear D20 talking there :)

 

It's all about finding a balance and listening to the table. There are few things less frustrating than a player telling you they aren't challenged or watching them take out an hour of prep with one swing of the axe. Sure that's satisfying for the player the first few times but then they've done it. Many stats as written are not set for long-term play. I believe players should definitely be rewarded for surviving in a non-heroic game, but at one point or another you simply have to adjust the blocks to fine tune the challenge or players get bored.

 

I think one of the GM 101 mantras is "if there's little-to-no chance of failure then don't roll the dice."

Edited by GMmL
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That's a good idea.  I was just running some stats on those situations.  Typically, I have a 2 balck defense on most baddies, but I may bump to 2 bk plus a purple.  That brings success down to 70% against the big baddies.  They'll still be running 89-91% (the equivalent of having to get a 3 or better for those of us who think in d20 terms).  It also declines the number of crits and big line damage inflicted on the bosses as well.

 

jh

 

How do you give most baddies 2 def? Do they all have shields?

 

 

A/C/E die as bonus defense is my general approach on top of whatever is listed on their stat block and an active defense (they are NOT already calculated in).  It's already so easy to hit normally that it's practically a waste of time to bother rolling (and my game time is too limited to bore away my life with meaningless checks).  I like keeping it in the 70% range to keep up the illusion that the dice actually matter ;)

 

 

 

 

It annoyed me to no end that as I progressed and got better, there was always something kicking me back down. Either the rain in Stormdorf, the effects of Morrslieb in Liber Mutatis, or the effects of Morrslieb in Edge of Night. Just when I was finally ok, and could cast spells unimpeded, WARPSTONE !!! Dum dum duuuuum.

Come on, seriously? That's just shoddy writing/gm-ing. Give me difficulties in social situations, since I've got a mostly combat oriented character, not in freaking combat. Do you also add 1 purple and 2 blacks on top of normal difficulties to all Fellowship checks for your party's face, regardless of what he's talking to?

 

 

No, not that, but when success approaches 96%, I'm not going to bother having them roll the dice.  As PCs start at 85% success and increase 5% with each additional white die, there's no challenge to this game (or any game) unless the GM presents appropriate challenges.  I don't have time to waste dic7ing around with a Rank 4 character combat with snotlings.

 

I can appreciate that a player will not want to think that the peasants and ruffians have scaled up with him, but again, it's my job as a GM to throw challenges at the PCs, not let them sit there and twerp-off while pushing the win-button.  Plus, this isn't D&D.   Characters in WFRP should NEVER be as tough as a Dragon just because they killed a bunch of goblins and took their stuff (in my Warhammer World).  They should have MORE OPTIONS, not just be a big, fat bully on the street who can knock-off town guards on a whim and give them wedgies like in d20.  

 

In relation to video gaming, I recall KOTOR, where the Sand people babies leveled up with the PC.  20th level?  So are the Tuscan Raider babies.  What's the point of leveling up?  This is the example you're talking about and I didn't appreciate that either..so it doesn't happen in my games.  I need to have appropriate challenges though.  That's good GMing.  Entitling a player to bully peasants and pick lock every door with his nose-hairs b/c he leveled up is not good GMing.

 

 

 

 

jh

Edited by Emirikol
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My PCs complain about combat - they are around rank4. Combats get pointless with "normal" NPCs, since they become a time sink with bloated dicepools just to come to the inevitable conclusion of utter defeat of the NPCs. 

 

On the other hand - i can't scale every common ruffian to epic proportion just to have the satisfaction to land 1 hit.

Normal combat looks like this in our group:

 

Archer uses "Shoot now, ask questions later" at initiative, followed by "Me First"-Reaction (if he isnt 1st ini anyway) using Rapid Shot. This normally a sure death for at least 2 NPCs.

Edited by thePREdiger

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The characters at my table have recently crossed into Rank 4  Epic territory. They still seem plenty fragile to me. Sure, they've won every fight I've ever thrown at them, but they pick up a lot of Crits in the process.

 

Last session, they lead off with to "Me First" and "Warning Shot", then replied to the first attack with "Riposte" and something else that triggers when you take a crit. Basically, the monsters "won" initiative, but the PCs got four attacks before the second monster could go. Despite all that, one PC ended the fight at 2 normal wounds away from the KO+autoCrit that would kill him, and another took 10 wounds and 3 crits.

 

Most of our fights go something like that. I've KO'd the Knight and the Trollslayer more times than I can count, but always one of the less foolhardy characters survives to patch them up. Then they spend a couple days tip-toe-ing around to avoid battle until the Resilience checks (and blessings if they can buy them from a local Temple) finally solve the crits.  It works.

 

I do have one house-rule in play that might be contributing to their squishiness. I allow PCs to spend their one mandatory Wound advance on any threshold they want: Wounds, Shame, or Corruption. As a result, two of the PCs are 1 or 2 wounds shy of what they'd otherwise have available.

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I do have one house-rule in play that might be contributing to their squishiness. I allow PCs to spend their one mandatory Wound advance on any threshold they want: Wounds, Shame, or Corruption. As a result, two of the PCs are 1 or 2 wounds shy of what they'd otherwise have available.

 

That's a good houserule. I think I'll use it in my group. :)

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It is also extremely dependent on the PC's.

In our regular game my Wardancer, Mortelis, is now sitting at 35 xp and is thus tier 4.

We're using the wonderful advanced careers that were recently published with a slight change to the Bladesinger career (as the Career ability as written s OP)

I am regularly throwing out defence pools of 1 purple (Improved Dodge) and 11 black (various active defences including Shadows Coil with a decent stance rating).

In a recent climactic battle scene he had a defence pool of 10 black with "NO" active defences operating (thanks in part to a conservative Vipers Dance (I think) and a load of Ritual Dances on recharge).

 

He got the killing blow in on the big bad and was promptly taken down to 3 crits (on a 3 Toughness) and 0 wounds by the aforementioned baddies dying blow.

 

Even higher level PC's are still relatively squishy against the correct opponent. It all depends on what KIND of character they are.

 

The Ironbreaker NEVER has this problem though :D

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I do have one house-rule in play that might be contributing to their squishiness. I allow PCs to spend their one mandatory Wound advance on any threshold they want: Wounds, Shame, or Corruption. As a result, two of the PCs are 1 or 2 wounds shy of what they'd otherwise have available.

 

That's a good houserule. I think I'll use it in my group. :)

 

 

Mine is that we don't use fortune characteristic dice, so those advances can be spent on anything.

 

jh

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Re "as you progress something kicks you back down"

 

Part of what I like about WFRP is that instead of +10 and -10 is zero (whoo hooo, look at my bonus on attacks with d20 roll, oh crap look at the number I have to roll to hit), you get a "broadening distribution of good and bad".  When the challenge and misfortune dice zero out those multiple comets and successes really kick ass!!!!  But even then, 2 chaos stars, ouchie.

 

This is the benefit of difficulty being "dice" not "target numbers" and of the "2-axis/not all cancelled" approach of success/failure - boon/bane - chaos star.

 

Similarly foes get the same benefits as they become more poweful of being "really effective" - issue is mainly keeping them on stage long enough to show it (need hordes of cannon fodder to take one for their master etc.)

 

I found at high levels rather than "stalemating" the way I ran it PC's were ferociously good at taking things down but still got handed crits and corruption and such.  You are never "superhuman" in that you can take anything and keep going. 

 

Utlimately one reason I cut it off and restarted was that being both "really effective" and dealing with "really effective foes" was making it like a nuclear war - not a stalemate but tipping so far one way or other less interesting after a while.

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Utlimately one reason I cut it off and restarted was that being both "really effective" and dealing with "really effective foes" was making it like a nuclear war - not a stalemate but tipping so far one way or other less interesting after a while.

A cut off point is eventually smart. I plan on running my current group up through 4 or so with smaller modules and then start them over for Enemy Within.

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This begs a question:

Do we really need any 4th or 5th rank careers?

 

Optionally: It may be fun to start a character at an intermediate or advanced career, but with at beginner stats/WSTA scores.

 

jh

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I didn't find things getting out of hand needing to be cut off till well after 5th.  That was when it got very "nuclear".

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This begs a question:

Do we really need any 4th or 5th rank careers?

 

Optionally: It may be fun to start a character at an intermediate or advanced career, but with at beginner stats/WSTA scores.

 

jh

You know, outside of a few rank 4 or 5 spells there's really not much happening after 3, is there?

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We're at rank 4 (or perhaps 5, the players keep count themselves, whilst I try to manage the adventure) and I find that the characters are about as good as they'll get. No more action cards needed (the sorceress might need a few, but since she's so often been something else and is one of the druids she's not really a combat-type anyway). Talents are often still good but there hasen't been any new with a serious game impact for a while. Wounds has actually become the premier choice since being hit is a constant even though all or almost all serious effects are avoided due to one character being a supreme defender (advance block, bodyguard, improved guarded position et.c.) and all the rest has got at least one good improved defense. 

 

So is much happening? Not really, or at least it's slower now at rank 4. But since this is end-of-the-line for us, that's fine. The things is that this is exactly what we have liked about the game mechanics, rapid character advancement. In most rpgs we've played, you're not getting anywhere with your characters in game terms. Here, in wfrp, character development (in role-playing terms) has to be forced in order to match character advancement (in game-mechanical terms).

 

And really, to get to rank 4 you need to spend more than half a year of regular sessions and staying alive, so haven't the characters/players earned the right to shine!? (yes, you might say, but they have peaked and so where did the fun go? well, start over if you feel that way, since I can't really see where to go on after rank 4 or so)

Edited by herrquisling

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Honestly, it just seems like the enemies the PCs faced just weren't properly designed to be a significant obstacle.

 

Consider that at Rank 4, the PCs' foes should generally be whole armies and/or Greater Daemons.

 

A small group of essentially normal humans, therefore, won't be much of a challenge for Rank 3 PCs, without some significant modification to them.

 

Generally, at rank 3, the PCs would be delving into the dark depths of the Empire, rooting out and facing significant threats like Vampires, Lesser Daemons, groups of Trolls, Giants, etc.

 

If you want humans to be a challenge, you need way more, or you need to tweak the humans.  Make sure to give NPC humans (especially bosses) their own Action cards, ones ranked up properly.  They should have extra Training dice. IF need be, actually make the NPCs using the rules for PCs.  4 rank 3 PCs vs 2 rank 3 NPCs and some extra minions, should be a decent battle.

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I just saw this: D&D starts at about a 50% hit chance.

 

D%26D%20attackbonuses.jpg

 

So I made this:

wfrp3%20hit%20chance%20graph.jpg

Edited by Emirikol

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@Emirikol: I think your percentage at Rank 1 might be off a little. In my experience, nearly every character with either Weapon Skill or Ballistic Skill trained at character creation also has at least a 4 in the corresponding trait. A character that actually does start with a hit chance below 70% probably won't ever end up with more than a single rank of any combat skill (if any) because it just won't be available to the careers they're interested in (these are the agitators, scribes, and courtiers who try to avoid combat whenever possible). YMMV, but that's what it looks like from where I'm standing.

Edited by r_b_bergstrom

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Agreed.  I used a 3blue, 1 green example.

 

i should do a graph for non WS characters.

 

We don't allow Characteristic White Fortune bonus dice in our game (it is a wild-card advance instead), but it makes for a constant improvement in those single areas for Strength or Agility outside of training.

 

jh

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I think it's easy to forget that this game is not designed around a binary pass/fail mechanic. Sure, you have a 70% chance of getting at least one net success. For most actions, that's giving you baseline damage. On the flip side, your enemy NPCs will have around the same 70% chance of success on their actions, meaning that the players need to actively outperforming the NPCs, lest they die by simple attrition. That means that doing better than the enemies (who outnumber them) requires multiple successes and boons, not just a flat success.

 

The NPCs have several factors that balance them out against players. The first, as implied above, is their sheer numbers. You're going to have only 3-6 players versus an entire world out to kill them. One lucky blow (rolling a sigmar's comet) will land a critical wound on the player and one unlucky roll of a chaos star can introduce the player to a world of hurt. Consider using henchmen rules for more powerful creatures (each player faces a group of wargors equal in number to the players!)

 

You have the A/C/E pool, which, as someone else on the forums suggested, should be spent VERY aggressively, and following up with a rally step as soon as you've dried up the pool (in order to make this more organic, consider having reinforcements show up or some people retreat or the environment change once you've run out of A/C/E dice. Make your players start to fear that point when the A/C/E dice run out and the rally step refreshes them. Your players don't get refreshing A/C/E pools and the rally step is a bit of a wash in terms of benefit to them.

 

You also have creature actions, which can be brutal, as well as the creature party cards that allow socketed talents. Both of those serve to make the creatures much deadlier. Feel free to copy down some of the powerful player action cards and have NPCs use them. The same goes for talents. Remember, these are creatures. It's okay for them to min-maxed with actions and talents! Consider this the part where you as a GM get to make up your own uber action combos.

 

Finally, bring down the players with other threats. Start introducing more fear rolls, more disease rolls, more corruption rolls.  Have their difficulty be upped significantly. I think one blog mentioned that the rules in the player's guide imply that fatigue and stress shouldn't really be able to be removed outside of encounter mode, so make use of that! Have your players always be fighting on every front.

 

Finally, you really DON'T want to have players avoid rolling, as that prevents them from rolling chaos stars. I see in your house rules, Jay, that you allow those to be cancelled out. I'd strongly recommend against that, as it eliminates one of the most important balances to player success rates. If you're struggling for things to use chaos stars and banes for, particularly in conjunction with success, I'd suggest checking out the list below of "GM Moves" from Dungeon World. That game uses a mechanic in which the player rolls 2d6, and can generate an unequivocal success, a partial success, or a total failure. A GM can use his moves in response to partial successes or failures. These moves can be "soft" (i.e. the player has a chance to react to them and prevent them) or "hard" (i.e. the player is going to suffer the consequences immediately). Here's the list of moves:

 

  • Use a monster, danger, or location move (give a free maneuver or even action to an NPC)
  • Reveal an unwelcome truth (uh oh, the monster's blade is poisoned; wait, is this cultist my sponsor's son?)
  • Show signs of an approaching threat (Is that the town guard I hear approaching?)
  • Deal damage (suffer a critical wound/regular wound/fatigue/stress/disease roll/corruption roll)
  • Use up their resources (Your sword is now stuck in the monster/your quiver of arrows fell in the brush)
  • Turn their move back on them (The monster uses your awesome action next turn)
  • Separate them (The player is forced to maneuver somewhere inconvenient)
  • Give an opportunity that fits a class’ abilities (have them roll for some kind of thing they notice based on their knowledge/expertise)
  • Show a downside to their class, race, or equipment (ooh, looks like they're targeting the stat you're weak in/the fiction demands of your career are coming up)
  • Offer an opportunity, with or without cost (The Black Troll is almost down, but it's gone into a complete rage and is dangerous to approach)
  • Put someone in a spot (roll to avoid something bad happening!)
  • Tell them the requirements or consequences and ask (if you want this attack to happen, you're going to be hurt trying to do it)

Try some of those out and see if you don't start enjoying chaos stars more.

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