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karn987

Players vs NPCS, challenge issues

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I've been running a DH game for almost half a year now and I keep running into a slight issue. Well it may not even be an issue, but more of a preference.

 

Difficult fights for my players... I'm having a hard time getting them to work without the need to tweak slight game mechanics. For example, I got one player who's luck is ungodly, he manages to pull of huge chains of Righteous fury that quickly spire out of controll and insta kill a tough beast or a strong person.

Another of their favorite tactics is the use of that minor psychic power that gives the psycher fear rating, he often overbleeds atleast once and 70% of enemies in the game have no chance against it. They fail and often times flee because of it.

 

Basically Im looking for other peoples experience and advice considering this, I'm not having much luck trying to puzzle it out myself. I want them to have powerful enemies, but not over-powered ones. Ones that will be challenging to them and not easily brushed aside. I by no means have an issue with how the players are playing, they are having fun and doing a great job. But I just need some input on making harder encounters and dealing with things such as a Dual Shot from someone wielding 2 hack shotguns.

 

So please, whatever you got that's constructive ;D

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nah whats will they do against enemies who uses cover, frenzon and surpression fire, ambush? this can make common goons deadly, and it is always good to let overconfident players get beaten a little, by a inferior foe.
cover makes them hard to kill
numbers counter the few godly fury rolls
frenzon= fearless
surpression fire makes acolytes take wp-20 test or get pinned
ambush in first round there can be alot of trouble against those 5 autoguns (+30 for attacking unaware opponent, +20 for aim,+ 20 full auto) thats the cap at +60bs thats alot of hits with those full auto

well there could be a heretic sergent planning and ordering them around, who could even escape or retreat as soon as the PCs begin to turn the battle to there favor(its a lesson it might not be intended to kill them)

and note that some npcs might try to disable to lucky pc (he who must be a very skilled fighter, since he kill the greatest of foes in one shot)

and demonhosts can always be creative with catch projectile and other fun abilities, or sprint away block pursuit with a few goons and using regenrate, to undue all damage and force the pc to expose there flanks in order to prevent the demonhost from doing it all again.

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I'd really just add my support to Sarius. There's not a lot you can do about a lucky player, but the last thing you need to do is sweat about it. If they start relying on being lucky, they'll get over-confident. And sooner or later their luck will run out.

Careful tactics by an opponent will even any odds. Cover and suppressive fire are good basic tactics for anyone, and tend to get ignored by players who are over-confident (why bother hiding if it'll disrupt my line of fire, and why waste ammo on suppressive fire that'll never do any damage). Anything requiring your characters to pass WP rolls will probably hurt them - in all likelihood especially your toughest fighters, who tend not to sink XP into it.

There may be that there are specific tactics that will improve the odds against this party just because of their preferred combat styles. If they're getting complacent, the chances are they've fallen into a rut tactically. Parties often specialise in engaging opponents at medium range, where pistols won't be too heavily penalised and close combat fighters have a chance to close with the enemy. Consider constructing a fight that forces them to engage at long range (where short-range weapons, melee combat specialists, grenades, and some psychic powers cannot easily be deployed) or at extremely close range (where ranged weapons will diminish in effectiveness and it becomes harder to use psychic powers - lots of things get tougher once you're engaged in melee combat). Spend some time thinking about what the party's weaknesses are and how they could be exploited.

I'd let them 'get away with it' for a while, with a series of encounters they can breeze through with their normal tactics, encouraging a sense of complacency. Then hit them hard with an opponent using tactics that will really pick out their weaknesses, yet which on the face of it looks inferior. That should hopefully teach them a little humility.

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If the players' nemesis hears that his boys keep running in fear, what will he do? He'll get mercs doped up on drugs that don't run in fear, or use arco flagellants, or servitors. He'll get snipers to take 'em down from a distance. If big badasses get blasted, how about 100 little guys? How about ridiculously slippery and clever assassins and bounty hunters, or enemies that use vehicles? Remember, if you want your pc's to feel like it's a challenge and put the wind up them a little, it's okay to give them a battle that they'll lose, or one that they can't possibly win, as long as you give them an out (being captured, escaping, chewing off their own leg etc)

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Ambushes are great - especially done by 2 good snipers. With the expanded rules of extra d10 for damage with accurate weapons they're even better than full auto. Plus, most parties (at least in my experience) tend to specialize in close combat (melee or gun).

Another thing - non-combat ambushes. Last game I ran 'Leave no stone unturned' - there is a scene, when one of the opponents lures the PCs into a trap. They went there, suspecting the trap,but expecting a bunch of gun-wielding enemies. Instead, there was a bomb planted on the outside of the hull. 2 fate points later they were safe ;)

And sometimes it's good when a fight is easy - let the PCs feel their power! I seem to have a different ailment though - I usually roll very well for NPCs (last game: countless 0X rolls!), so have to cheat to avoid stupid wipes (if you pardon my mmo lingo ;) )

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Besides better tactics and abilities, think about having reserves offscreen for important battles you want the players to remember as a tough fight. If they get very lucky, or have better equipment than you had planned on, hello reserves. An access vent in the ceiling behind them pops open, followed by a photon flash grenade. As they turn to face it, a side door opens with the reinforcements. And if the psyker happens to be in point blank range, so be it....

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Lots of good ideas here. Only really clever thing I can think of to add is to place your players in settings that change some of the rules of engagement. In the void, in zero G, in zero pressure, under water, in a chem-warehouse full of explosive gas (any mechanical, chemical or powered weapon risks setting of explosions in the face of the user). In a marketplace full of civilians (if your characters care about civilians it's really tricky. If they don't they will anyhow have to kill a lot of people to be sure). In a crippled spaceship with weakened walls that will break open at the slightest sneeze. Inside the Bastion Serpentis, engaging another Inquisitors acolytes. In their hotel rooms while sleeping/having sex/taking a shower. On a planet that was exterminated three years ago (don't give them access to any meaningful supplies, run a war of attrition with cheap troops and/or guerilla tactics and grin when they run out of ammo for their pimped boltguns). Have their inquisitor instruct them to capture the genestealer alive and unhurt. Drop them in a swamp (swimming in carapace armour with an autocannon is really tricky). Have them go under cover as guardsmen and use basic infantry gear. Snipers were already mentioned, but I love them (a simple hunting rifle with manstopper rounds from half a kilometer away is nasty, look at the last part of Full Metal Jacket for inspiration). Challenge them with a timer that counts down the number of turns awailable until detonation. Have them escort and defend someone (preferrably a small child or a crippled elder). Tell them not to hurt the undercover agent when they storm the chaos cults base (give a vague description of her looks, and don't let the agent know she is on the players team. Best case: have them ask people for ID before killing them). Have limitless numbers of very easy to beat enemies that the characters must wade through, moving and fighting.

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I should mention:

deviate from the norm.

If your pc's are good in a short ranged firefight, put them in a long range firefight, or up against opponents with flamethrowers, or snipers, or ninjas with stealth and melee capabilities. Play to their weaknesses rather than their strengths.

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Another piece of advice, if the psyker keeps spamming Fearful Aura then you'll just have to punish the rest of them. It turns him into a fear rating 2 for everyone who looks upon him, so that also means seeing him from the corner of your eyes. Normally you don't need to be so harsh but let them mark out on the battle map where they are exactly and if you think their line of vision crosses the psyker...BAM...fear test! Just observe 180 degrees of vision from their front.

 

Nasty? Yes. But you gota curb those spammers somewhere.

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Another way to make them restrain themselves is to enforce consequences to the blood letting.

Their enemies manipulates local law enforcement to attack them. Do the acolytes blast through these servants of the emperor as usual or try and disable them out or even just escape. The enforcers are innocent and If they kill them they will be on the other side of the law and hunted.

The gang members they have just killed are part of a larger more powerful organisation who sends cyber enhanced assassins or a veritable army of jaded thugs after them.

The cult they have just massacred were performing an invocation ritual. Their deaths have completed it. Oh dear.

 

Generally it should be possible to lead your players by the nose. Give them what they expect and twist the scenario just enough so that they cannot rely on their usual tactics. As Mellon said: Firefights in explosive refineries. Combat in heavy mist over great heights. Combat at high speed. In total darkness. etc

 

Also the Zombie archetype is your friend. Fearless hordes. Play them so that any headshots straight out kill, nothing else does, just slows them down (and is funny). Limit the ammo lying around. Watch it run out and then they have to get creative. Always another Zombie when ones falls. Maybe bites are deadly maybe not... Make them afraid..

 

 

 

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 Also, don't forget that the Fear psychic power affects friends as well ... they will need to make Wp tests too (with some bonus if given advance warning by the psyker, I reckon) so if the psyker spams it too freely, sooner or later his mates will run away too or react poorly to him :)

 

 

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Sarius said:


ambush in first round there can be alot of trouble against those 5 autoguns (+30 for attacking unaware opponent, +20 for aim,+ 20 full auto) thats the cap at +60bs thats alot of hits with those full auto

 

Just a small correction, you can't aim and make a full auto at the same time, so the total bonus would only be +50, but that is still a big help if only got 30 in Ballistic Skill.

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If they are less than 45m away thats short range and back to the +60.

And i wondered if you could use the IH command update, devoted followers to give them an even higher bonus to BS.

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A lot of talented GMs here with good ideas.  My 2 cents.  Give them hit and run attacks.  Not every combat has to be fought to the death.  Have them toss a few flashbombs or grenades to open up the combat.  Hallucinogenic gas, pit traps, a rabid dog, anything that gives a twist.

I had my guys go against some tiny creatures that spit acid in close combat that did d3 damage to armor or flesh.  After a while all those 6AP carapace boys were walking around in steaming piles of ap1 gear.  And they were extra hard to hit because they counted as tiny creatures.

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karn987 said:

Difficult fights for my players... I'm having a hard time getting them to work without the need to tweak slight game mechanics. For example, I got one player who's luck is ungodly, he manages to pull of huge chains of Righteous fury that quickly spire out of controll and insta kill a tough beast or a strong person.

 

Change out their dice. That seems suspect. If the odds are in the billions, for what he's rolling, he either has loaded dice, is not rolling in front of you, or will never, ever win the lottery or survive by sheer luck, having used it all up making RPG rolls.

My money is on one of the first two. I use a dice tower now for all rolls. The dice *must* go through the tower for it to count. It got rid of the cheaters pretty quickly.

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TheFlatline said:

 

karn987 said:

Change out their dice. That seems suspect. If the odds are in the billions, for what he's rolling, he either has loaded dice, is not rolling in front of you, or will never, ever win the lottery or survive by sheer luck, having used it all up making RPG rolls.

My money is on one of the first two. I use a dice tower now for all rolls. The dice *must* go through the tower for it to count. It got rid of the cheaters pretty quickly.

 

 

My thoughts exactly.

Make all rolls "at the table" and "read by the GM"

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karn987 said:

 

I've been running a DH game for almost half a year now and I keep running into a slight issue. Well it may not even be an issue, but more of a preference.

 

Difficult fights for my players... I'm having a hard time getting them to work without the need to tweak slight game mechanics. For example, I got one player who's luck is ungodly, he manages to pull of huge chains of Righteous fury that quickly spire out of controll and insta kill a tough beast or a strong person.

Another of their favorite tactics is the use of that minor psychic power that gives the psycher fear rating, he often overbleeds atleast once and 70% of enemies in the game have no chance against it. They fail and often times flee because of it.

 

Basically Im looking for other peoples experience and advice considering this, I'm not having much luck trying to puzzle it out myself. I want them to have powerful enemies, but not over-powered ones. Ones that will be challenging to them and not easily brushed aside. I by no means have an issue with how the players are playing, they are having fun and doing a great job. But I just need some input on making harder encounters and dealing with things such as a Dual Shot from someone wielding 2 hack shotguns.

 

So please, whatever you got that's constructive ;D

 

 

 

As for the righeous fury guy, send in enemies that you cant simply fight with weapons but rather with wits. Like a powerful psyker that uses telepathy or divination with casual ease that either takes control of the players actions and toy with him or easily dodges most attacks he tries to do  because the psyker can see into the future.

The psyker with fear rating? Hmm, how about sending them against enemies that dont suffer from fear at all? "From Beyond" can be a VERY nice trait for NPC enemies to have. demonio.gif

 

Either that or you can roleplay your enemies to be "smart" instead of acting like dumb stormtroopers that run headfirst against the player characters. Even normal humans can be a difficult threat to handle if they simply plan and ambushes the PC's. And if you concider the people that the Ordo Hereticus tries to hunt they can basically act as terrorists, striking in places where they're least expected to show up. Try to catch the PC's off-guard!

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