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High level game issues

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At high level XP play the system has issues with Damage/soak balance and Success/Failure balance.

 

If despair/triumph cancel each other that should balance out Somewhat.

 

 

One of the main issues with combat success/failure is that not everyone has access to the defensive talents. Another issue is that the use of the defensive talents is costly in strain. The first issue can be handled by allowing people to have access to a number of levels of defensive skills from a base pool open to everyone. It's very hard to create a character that is defensively unbalanced, so this won't likely be an issue. You can however restrict the total number of levels you can reach. Giving access to the defensive skills can solve one part the success/failure balance issue. The next is the insane strain you'd have to pay to use a high level of defensive talents. It's easy to simply pay only half the strain.

 

It takes 10 upgrades getting from 2 purple dice to 6 red dice. 6 red dice vs 6 yellow dice has a propability around 50% for success, so the dice themselves are very well balanced. This makes it a lot easier to work with and balance the system, than for instance WFRP3.

 

So if you had 5 levels of melee defense, 5 levels of ranged defense and 5 levels of dodge, then you'd be able to upgrade attacks by 10 levels. It would cost 10 strain for one attack and of course dodge being more expensive as it only works for a single attack.

 

So it's not hard to balance this out, it's just that getting many levels of defensive skills is hard. If everyone has access to 2 levels of each from a base pool and you could never upgrade the difficulty by more than 10 levels, then it could work out. If for instance you have bought 2 levels of dodge from the base pool and then advance in a tree that has dodge, you have the option of ticking the dodge in the tree for free (without getting an extra level) or purchase it and get an extra level.

 

Perhaps adding two or more levels of soak to the base pool of talents would be alright too.

 

Then it's just a matter of setting the price for these base talents. You also have to take into account the price of the base skill versus the individual prices of the talents in various trees.

There is more to game balance than characters. You need to look at what you provide in the way of environmental factors. Cover, concealement. alternative methods of winning encounters. throwing non combat encounters. etc.  I have not seen the balance issue discussed here in the high level play I have played. But then my GM throws varied encounters and makes a point to make thinking your way out of encounters including the combat ones important.

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The balance issues are in the system, but they may not come up depending on your style of play and what skills/talents players select for their characters. But if one or two characters prefer combat intensive play and to focus on those skills it becomes a problem.

 

If all characters are combat related, then the issue is not so big, since they will all be able to attack and defend fairly well.

 

If however it's a mixed group with one or two combat intensive characters, and some without access to defenses, then it can become a real issue.

 

I just like for the system to have a balance built in no matter what my players buy in terms of skills and talents. Lacking attacking power is not really an issue, but characters facing certain death in each and every combat encounter by the very first hit is just not fun.

 

I just want defence to scale better with offence and allow non combat characters acces to some degree of defense.

 

I know you have different kinds of challenges in a session, but this is in relation to the specific challenge of combat. Just because you can do other things besides combat doesn't remove the ballance issues that can as a result of the system occur.

Edited by Gallows

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It's also worth remembering that everyone involved in the combat can spend Advantage and Triumph to shape the battlefield. Need some cover? Spend 1 Advantage to "notice a single important point in the ongoing conflict". A place to hide or move unseen? A Triumph or 3-4 Advantage could create a storm drain/trench/riverbed that runs from your location to someplace you'd rather be. One of your opponents rolled some Threat? Have one of his shots hit a fire extinguisher, creating a fog cloud that adds 3 setback dice to all shots passing through it.

 

My point is, anyone who spends all their Triumphs upgrading checks or critting and all their Advantage adding boost or setback dice are really imposing severe limits on themselves.

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It's also worth remembering that everyone involved in the combat can spend Advantage and Triumph to shape the battlefield. Need some cover? Spend 1 Advantage to "notice a single important point in the ongoing conflict". A place to hide or move unseen? A Triumph or 3-4 Advantage could create a storm drain/trench/riverbed that runs from your location to someplace you'd rather be. One of your opponents rolled some Threat? Have one of his shots hit a fire extinguisher, creating a fog cloud that adds 3 setback dice to all shots passing through it.

 

My point is, anyone who spends all their Triumphs upgrading checks or critting and all their Advantage adding boost or setback dice are really imposing severe limits on themselves.

 

+1

 

Such great advice here, I really must reinforce these kinds of things when we play our sessions!

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It's also worth remembering that everyone involved in the combat can spend Advantage and Triumph to shape the battlefield. Need some cover? Spend 1 Advantage to "notice a single important point in the ongoing conflict". A place to hide or move unseen? A Triumph or 3-4 Advantage could create a storm drain/trench/riverbed that runs from your location to someplace you'd rather be. One of your opponents rolled some Threat? Have one of his shots hit a fire extinguisher, creating a fog cloud that adds 3 setback dice to all shots passing through it.

 

My point is, anyone who spends all their Triumphs upgrading checks or critting and all their Advantage adding boost or setback dice are really imposing severe limits on themselves.

 

Yep it can be used that way and we do. That's one of the lovely concepts of the system, that the dice can inspire creativity even in combat. When getting shot however only raw dice rolling will save or kill you.

 

I just looked through all updated trees and if every character as a base has access to two ranks of Defensive Stance, Dodge, Enduring and Side Step, most characters can achieve 6+ defensive upgrades at higher levels with little need to dabble in other class trees.

 

Let's say a non combat character is getting shot at medium range, while being behind heavy cover, by a marksman (5 agility, 4 skill, aiming twice). He uses defensive talents to upgrade the difficulty of the attack six times. Before the defensive upgrading the shooters chance of hitting the target is 88% and 59% chance of 3+ successes. If the gunman has a modified blaster and some good damage talents he will most likely one shot the character if he hits. After the defensive upgrade however the chance of hitting is 58%. The chance of 3+ successes is only 25%. There's a fair chance he'll avoid getting hit and if he does he may still have a chance to fight another round.

 

Lets say the defender was a decked out combat character who has 10 total ranks of defensive upgrades and he's defending against the same attack, putting all his defense into upgrading the difficulty. The gunmans chance of hitting will drop to 34% with 11% chance of 3+ successes. It would cost hit 10 strain for that defense however, which is a bit over the top. I'd go with a limit of max 3 strain. The defender would then most likely use 6 strain for the above defense (since he's most likely using both side step and dodge).

 

The dice have a perfect balance and if a group creates a balanced party, then it's easy to balance out.

 

WFRP3 is completely broken defensively, but that's not the case with EotE. Players have to spend XP on defensive skills however, even if they're not combat characters or they will die fast.As a GM you have to make the players aware of this. Neglect your defensive talents and you're asking for death.

 

Used the Following dice pools for the calculations

Ability   1 Proficiency 4 Difficulty   2  Challenge 0       Boost   2 Setback   2      

 

Ability   1 Proficiency 4 Difficulty   0 Challenge 4       Boost   2 Setback   2

 

Ability   1 Proficiency 4 Difficulty   0 Challenge 6       Boost   2 Setback   2

Edited by Gallows

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Has no one considered the use of a Riot Shield from Far Horizons for non-combat characters?  2 melee defense and 2 ranged defense at the cost of one arm (so they can't dual-wield pistols -- for shame!).  They can still plink back with a pistol and significantly less likely to just poof from a stray shot -- doubly so if the GM will allow them to take cover as well.  This would change the defensive pool against most enemies from 2 purple to 2 purple and 3 black, radically altering the odds.  Combine it with armored clothing or some other defense granting armor and it would go to 4 black.  Yes, soak would still be low, but it's much better to avoid getting hit than trying to buff soak when it's a fool's errand anyway.

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Has no one considered the use of a Riot Shield from Far Horizons for non-combat characters?  2 melee defense and 2 ranged defense at the cost of one arm (so they can't dual-wield pistols -- for shame!).  They can still plink back with a pistol and significantly less likely to just poof from a stray shot -- doubly so if the GM will allow them to take cover as well.  This would change the defensive pool against most enemies from 2 purple to 2 purple and 3 black, radically altering the odds.  Combine it with armored clothing or some other defense granting armor and it would go to 4 black.  Yes, soak would still be low, but it's much better to avoid getting hit than trying to buff soak when it's a fool's errand anyway.

 

There is one issue with that, There is nothing radical about adding 2 black to the pool at all.

 

The marksman I mentioned earlier (5 agility, 4 skill, aiming twice) shoots at someone at medium range behing heavy cover (2 setback).

 

Without the riot shield the gunman has 88% chance of hitting. With the riot shield the chance of hitting is still 80%

 

That is if you allow the shield to stack with the cover.

 

The shield is still a nice addition to defense, when combined with talents.

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Combat-focused characters are going to chew through non-combat focused characters like a hot knife through butter.  However, Rival/Nemesis-level characters (of which your marksman must be) should be focusing on the true threats.  Minions and minion groups are still a deadly threat to non-combat focused characters at any XP level.  The setbacks from a shield, armor and cover serve to mitigate that significantly better than cover alone.  No social, technical or knowledge-based character should be expected to face off against Boba-Fett, but they should at least be able to stand up to a squad of Stormtroopers.  A Riot Shield grants them the ability to do that.

Edited by Braendig

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It's not just about hitting the target character, it's about damaging them. Every setback die adds the possiblity of failure - effectively subtracting 1 from the damage dealt - and Threat, which reduces the chance of a Critical Injury or a weapon effect triggering.

 

Not to mention that the players in the group have to take responsibility for each other's characters. If there are high-soak "tanks" in the group they need to be out front and centre where they present tempting targets to the NPCs (and with a little cooperation from the GM - let the baddest NPCs shoot at the heavies, not the fragile non-combat specs) while the not-so-tough PCs hang back, stay behind cover and don't draw too much heat. If you as a player have a character that wields a modified disruptor in each hand but has 3 soak and a WT of 12, you have no business complaining when you get shot at a lot.

 

In my campaign I try to mix it up with the NPCs my players fight. I usually bring a mix of some rivals and some minions, with the intention that the combat-specced PCs can deal with the rivals while the squishier PCs have it out with the minions (in small groups, not a 6-man stormtrooper squad). Granted, it often turns out that the combat monsters mow through the minions first to get them out of the way, leaving the squishies to deal with the tougher rivals, but that's not my problem. The players need to divide the tasks appropriately between themselves, I can't (and won't) micromanage their combat encounters for them.

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Not to mention that the players in the group have to take responsibility for each other's characters. If there are high-soak "tanks" in the group they need to be out front and centre where they present tempting targets to the NPCs (and with a little cooperation from the GM - let the baddest NPCs shoot at the heavies, not the fragile non-combat specs) while the not-so-tough PCs hang back, stay behind cover and don't draw too much heat. If you as a player have a character that wields a modified disruptor in each hand but has 3 soak and a WT of 12, you have no business complaining when you get shot at a lot.

I certainly do that with my Wookiee Marauder, but I also do that with my Droid Technician. My droid tends to come out and “unintentionally” make himself a target, thus drawing the attention of the people shooting at us, and allowing the other PCs to do things like shoot their blasters out of their hands:

Uh, excuse me — Mr. Boba Fett, Sir? Is that really you, sir? I’ve heard a lot about … <ZAP> …

My next character is a force-using Mystic Advisor/Seer, and I don’t think that she’s going to be nearly so likely to come out and voluntarily make herself a target….

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You can allow canceling of Triumph & Despair that's the easiest fx.

I think what I would be inclined to do is to allow a second Despair to cancel a Triumph, or a second Triumph to cancel a Despair. At least that should reduce the complexity somewhat, without completely getting canceling out all Triumph/Despair possibilities.

IMO, you still want that combination of both Triumph and Despair to happen, you just want to take the extras out of the equation until you get down to the last two.

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I don't understand the need/want to cancel extra Triumphs. If you get three Triumphs, then you can crit at +20. A high level PC/baddie can easily knock that back to a minimum of 1 on the chart. (take one Starin) Same pretty much goes for despairs. I have a solid group of 4 players all aournd 650 total XP, and I have had no trouble keeping the game interesting or challenging enough for them. But my players are not building that one guy to have one stat at 6 and the rest 2's. Min maxing/munchkinism isn't a problem with game mechanics, that is a problem with player mechanics.

As to the classes not being balanced in the way defensive talents, why is a slicer facing with a squad of stromtoopers/Goons? A good technician is just that, a good technician, he is not meant to be in combat. If a GM is forcing combat encounters for non combat players, I fail to see how that is the fault of the FFG system. Saying that "non-combat classes" can't survive the first shot in an encounter and blaming the system for that is pretty naive. Why are the non combat guys in there and getting shot anyway? They should be behind total cover. If a technician wants to be better at combat, they buy into a spec that can do that. I for one love the fact that a non combat class does not just magically gain Attack/defense bonuses like in class based systems (RCR/Saga). Stephan Hawking is no match for Arnold Schwarzenegger in combat, and that is the way it should be. And The Arnold type character can't find the "any" key on a keyboard. Perhaps soldiers and Mercs should get inherent bonuses to Intellegance and Presence becuase those other classes outshine them, and we need to make them more balanced? Sorry, I don't agree. Non combat classes are exactly that. Just like most combat classes can't do anything else but combat. I don't make my Technician go into heavy unfair fights, and I don't make my Bounty Hunter/Hired Gun to all the slicing and repair work. It is fun to take them outside their comfort zone every now and again, but doing that all the time is just plain wrong. My BH/HG is a combat machine and a minion mower. I love to throw groups of minions at him, while the Technician is off slicing or working on some old forklift droid to make smash into other minions or trying to download that sensitive Macguffin Software for Mr. Xenoguy.

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Overall the game has a great balance. I've only made a few house rules that were needed like the completely broken Pressure Point.

Other than that, i've made a simple defensive house rule.

That'ts all our group needed and that's rare. WFRP in comparison has no balance and we had to do lots, so high rank play didn't break down completely.

The most important and genious component of EotE balance is the perfectly balanced dice. If you take and equal number og positive and negative dice across the different dice, the chance of success is very close to 50%

Beautiful and very intuitive system.

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I don't understand the need/want to cancel extra Triumphs. If you get three Triumphs, then you can crit at +20. A high level PC/baddie can easily knock that back to a minimum of 1 on the chart. (take one Starin) Same pretty much goes for despairs. I have a solid group of 4 players all aournd 650 total XP, and I have had no trouble keeping the game interesting or challenging enough for them. But my players are not building that one guy to have one stat at 6 and the rest 2's. Min maxing/munchkinism isn't a problem with game mechanics, that is a problem with player mechanics.

As to the classes not being balanced in the way defensive talents, why is a slicer facing with a squad of stromtoopers/Goons? A good technician is just that, a good technician, he is not meant to be in combat. If a GM is forcing combat encounters for non combat players, I fail to see how that is the fault of the FFG system. Saying that "non-combat classes" can't survive the first shot in an encounter and blaming the system for that is pretty naive. Why are the non combat guys in there and getting shot anyway? They should be behind total cover. If a technician wants to be better at combat, they buy into a spec that can do that. I for one love the fact that a non combat class does not just magically gain Attack/defense bonuses like in class based systems (RCR/Saga). Stephan Hawking is no match for Arnold Schwarzenegger in combat, and that is the way it should be. And The Arnold type character can't find the "any" key on a keyboard. Perhaps soldiers and Mercs should get inherent bonuses to Intellegance and Presence becuase those other classes outshine them, and we need to make them more balanced? Sorry, I don't agree. Non combat classes are exactly that. Just like most combat classes can't do anything else but combat. I don't make my Technician go into heavy unfair fights, and I don't make my Bounty Hunter/Hired Gun to all the slicing and repair work. It is fun to take them outside their comfort zone every now and again, but doing that all the time is just plain wrong. My BH/HG is a combat machine and a minion mower. I love to throw groups of minions at him, while the Technician is off slicing or working on some old forklift droid to make smash into other minions or trying to download that sensitive Macguffin Software for Mr. Xenoguy.

You are worried by triumphs for critting when some weapons can get a vicious 4? You know the fix for that with your big bad guy is using squads as armor. for your major villains. 

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I thought I would come at this from another angle, why not pull a game of thrones and start killing people off? Sometimes you need to face terror and an actual penalty so that any future games have an actual sense of danger or threat. Why do dice rolls even matter when they are guaranteed to come out of the fight alive?  I know there are people that just don't want to give up their character but this cheapens the whole game IMO.

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It's hard to kill someone in EotE, if you stay within the rules and don't give NPCs +50 on crits.

 

Defence works well enough, it's just a bit too hard to use for players.

 

And an awesome nemesis with advesary 4 isn't all that intimidating when the players get higher level. For advesary I simply add a red die for each point.

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It's hard to kill someone in EotE, if you stay within the rules and don't give NPCs +50 on crits.

 

Defence works well enough, it's just a bit too hard to use for players.

 

And an awesome nemesis with advesary 4 isn't all that intimidating when the players get higher level. For advesary I simply add a red die for each point.

Can always shoot someone out an airlock, or disable multiple crew members with assasin darts. I mean there is so much stuff I can think of off the cuff to randomly make an encounter very difficult. Maybe the room is suddenly filling up with gas...oh shoot now no-one can use blasters. If they get past that just keep pounding them untill something gives, the way crits are made up its actually very easy to do if you are playing for it, just dont let them rest. Im not saying kill all your players but if you have gone like 20+ sessions without someone dying, I think it is time for someone to face that reality.

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I have a suggestion but maybe is too late to apply it for your actual game, but you can implement it in future campaigns.

 

Based on your game lenght, try to look for a minimal justification for players PC's improvements, not just the "you have enough XP".

 

My player's main char have 2.430 XP, with 2 skills at 5, 4 at 4 and the rest between 0 and 3. This is a game that started on the year 1999.

 

When my players gets enough XP I don't let it just pick the talent or the rank level s/he wants. I told him/her that he must look for something to justify this or/and also let time pass to justify the he achieves the 3rd rank on skill meaning that he is training during that time period.

 

Of course that if your game is based on a "not so much sessions" campaign, you would like to just earn and buy things. But remember that ranks 3 and further means that you are among the best of the galaxy, and after that, thinks about how many time has passed inside the game. 1 week? 1 month?

 

As I said, this doesn't fix so much your actual problem, but maybe this will help you in future sessions :D

 

Also I have to add that Daeglan explanations are pretty good. Again, as said before, don't forget Armors, defensive talents and stances, shields, enviroment and other facts.

 

About Triumph/Despair fact, if the table samples aren't enough or are too repetitive (your players are so lucky too XD), use them to introduce new facts and scenarios that bring some extra emotion and awesome scenes to your game.

 

Hope that I helped mate and welcome :)

Yeah, I am NOT a fan of having to audition for your own XP expenditures.  If you're not willing to let them spend the XP wherever the game says it's legal to do so, then don't give them the XP in the first place, but once you do, that's their resource, not yours as a Game Official.  Nothing makes players angrier than saving their precious XP (and it should be precious, but I'll get to that later) and salivating over a pick or whatever and then being told by the Game Official that they can't have it because....Didn't Suit GM's Fancy.

And that's exactly what it all boils down to when you're asking Players to audition for their own XP spending.  The ostensible reason that "spending your XP this way or that doesn't make sense" is code for "you've become so powerful I'm uncomfortable with the character" or "I'm paranoid about you becoming so powerful I won't be able to challenge you."  That's a GM problem that shouldn't be solved by hobbling the Player.  If the Game Official can't accept Player Power Increase, then step aside for someone who can, but don't muck about with how the Player chooses to eat their cookies.

Now, what you can control above reproach is how much XP you hand out.  It's been my experience that most GM's - myself included - hand out too much XP, sometimes way too much.  The problem is exacerbated somewhat in a game like EotE where you're encouraged to keep the PC's "hungry" so giving them stuff in lieu of XP is tougher. 10-15 XP a game is about right for weekly games, maybe 20-25 for bi-weekly games.  Keep to that number and you can plan ahead for when they do get to be Uber.

But let them decide what to spend their XP on.

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Well, we only use this rules with players that like it XDD

 

So, there is players that just apply the common rules, but other ones that like and agree with this way of distribute XP, no problems there in our games ;)

 

Differents points of view mate, but thanks for your suggestions :)

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Well, my party just popped 1000xp earned (yes that is over a year of weekly 6 hour sessions).  Still not seeing any major issues balance wise.

 

Yes the combat characters are really good at what they do (and have picked up secondary specs, like our assassin droid / mechanic).  But so is the pilot/slicer and the scout/ninja and the talky character that can buy your speeder off you and then sell it back to you for a profit.

 

But it is all good and cinematic fun.

 

I suppose I am lucky in that my players have stopped going "up" and are going "wide" in their characters abilities.

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Well, my party just popped 1000xp earned (yes that is over a year of weekly 6 hour sessions).  Still not seeing any major issues balance wise.

 

Yes the combat characters are really good at what they do (and have picked up secondary specs, like our assassin droid / mechanic).  But so is the pilot/slicer and the scout/ninja and the talky character that can buy your speeder off you and then sell it back to you for a profit.

 

But it is all good and cinematic fun.

 

I suppose I am lucky in that my players have stopped going "up" and are going "wide" in their characters abilities.

 

If you have a doctor in your group, then try have him get pressure point and abuse it. That aside I agree that the system was created with the built in balance of the dice themselves being balanced to perfection. They just made defensive talents a bit too hard to get enough ranks of and a bit too expensive to use. Other than that, the game has a great balance, apart from the insane pressure point exploit.

 

I'm not thinking balance as in the PCs getting too powerful. It's for both sides. Offense progress at a greater rate than defense, or rather defense starts out at a lower level than offense.

 

If you have three in a stat/skill and two in the other, you have three dice with two of those upgraded. Defense/difficulty at medium range will be 2 purple none upgraded. That's a fairly average starting combat character. WIth all other things considered (aiming/cover etc.) I think having the base ability to upgrade the difficulty twice by spending strain would be a good baseline.

Edited by Gallows

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