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Rationalinsanity

Regarding Boss Diffculty in the pre-made adventures (spoilers!)

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So I'm going to start running my group through the adventures in the core book, GM Kit and Forgotten Gods but I'm a little bit worried about the final bosses of each part (the Daemonhost, Herald of Nurgle, and the Daemon Prince). My group has a few hundred exp from an intro session but their abilities and gear are basically baseline for character gen (though I gave them higher base stats because there are only 3 of them as of now).

 

Now the core book adventure says it is balanced for a group of new characters, and for the most part I agree with this, the investigations and combat encounters look quite doable if the PCs are smart about things (and don't botch their rolls horribly). Then I read the Daemonhost profile.

 

My biggest issues aren't its firepower (half of that will likely be directed at the Heretek and his minions) but his Toughness/Armor and the Fear rating. Fear 2 is pretty likely to screw up most PCs, -10 Willpower checks for starting characters are not guaranteed to not take multiple players out of the fight. The damage resistance is an even bigger concern, how is a starting group whose nastiest weapons are a longlas and a warhammer supposed to get through 14 points of DR, half of which can't be penetrated? I've been running the battle in my head and I can't see groups with common weapons and limited low level psyhic powers burning through 33 wounds with that much defense.

 

Now I like to challenge my PCs and I'm not afraid to off a few, this is suppose to be a deadly system after all. But I also don't like chucking them into unavoidable encounters that I can't see them winning (Dark Pursuits involves the Daemonhost getting loose, there is no way to prevent it short of re-writing parts) simply because the mechanics make it close to impossible for them.

 

The Herald and the Prince are even more worrying, as they have allies and the PCs may or not have assistance of their own, and don't have a third party taking shots at them. The Prince is a bit less of a problem, if the PCs realize they can kill the cult leader and break the skull to banish it. But the same issue applies, how to damage these things if I don't start handing out Bolters and Melta guns (I want to avoid giving them bigger toys until they have advanced further in the story)?

 

A lasgun (a perfectly respectable weapon for a starting character) does 13 damage on a 10, or 15(pen 2) on overload if you get a 10 on the roll (which also triggers RF, but Daemons all have From Beyond and will shake those off). On Suvfaeras that does a paltry 3 wounds and that sort of rolling is hardly a sure thing.

 

Now of course there is always the chance that the PCs have to flee from the Daemonhost and get back up, but that isn't really an option for the later two boss fights. Basically I don't want to throw my players into fights they don't have a prayer of avoiding and very little chance of winning.

 

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You're the GM so your options are limitless. Here's some:

 

-Create some NPCs that are willing to help the PCs... for a price

-Allow the PCs to acquire one-use weapons like a melta-bomb, or a one-use rocket launcher (or make up whatever)

-Give the PC's a chance to get a surprise round on the daemonhost if they can outsmart it

-Simply weaken the daemonhost

-After the players do x damage to the daemonhost, it gives a villainous exposition speech and flees so they can fight it later

-Allow the players to gain knowledge of one or more of the Daemon's true names, weakening it by x wounds the more names they know.

-Let the other NPC's weaken the daemonhost in battle (but don't let the NPCs kill it...)

-Let the Daemonhost kill the players if it can. This is grim-darkness after all.

Edited by Utherix

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When I ran the ending.

 

The demonhost was killed by a combination of two factors.  First, they hit it with krak grenades while it was docile.  This concussed it and turned it into a balloon.  They also had a bunch of involute cadre with them.  Somnius Halbrel was supposed to turn up and do stuff, but he arrived too late.  They had. after killed the psykers and the mercs, run over the demonhost with a baggage tractor.  

 

My feeling is give them help.  Hope they don't use flame weapons or krak grenades.  It is a complicated ballet to run with three different groups.  

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My players drafted some of the wandering pilgrims and some PDF personnel on the spaceport to help in the fight with the Daemonhost. They acted as meatshields so the players could land some hits with a LongLas (A really scary weapon to single big boss encounters, doing a whopping 8-35 damage if hit with enough DoS). In the middle of the fight Halbrel appeared and started his binding ritual. One of my players got the good idea to shoot at the magic tome he was reciting from. I decided that the tome, being a powerful artifact, was indestructible, but it was flung out of Halbrels hands. The daemonhost from then on raced to get his claws on the book, because he wanted to destroy it. That gave the players time to target the daemonhost and Halbrel, who fought over the book, and take them both out. Halbrel survived because he is Touched by the Fate.

After the fight, more players got LongLas, because it is just so friggin good.

 

For the Herald of Nurgle, they realized pretty quickly, that they would be going up against some pretty powerfull foes and got help (the Sororitas Canoness from the core rule book). It held of the Herald for long enough that the players could shoot it to shreds with their LongLas. Because the Herald was not able to kill the Canoness it could only either move or make an attack. Therefore he couldn't even get out of the fight to kill some random mook and get the full range of options in the next fight, but was stuck in there.

 

In regards to both fights: Sanctified ammo would reduce the damage absorption of all three endbosses by an significant amount. And they are a finite ressource. Once they are shot, they are gone.

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Early on in my campaign when one of my NPC rogue psykers rolled two 90+s on their perils and turned into a Herald I gave enough hints for my players to go for the walls of the building they were in before running and knocking it over, then calling in an airstrike on the position. Typical computer game boss stuff, basically! A few weapon drops and some stage effects that can stun the boss can go a long way.

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You're the GM so your options are limitless. Here's some:

 

-Create some NPCs that are willing to help the PCs... for a price

-Allow the PCs to acquire one-use weapons like a melta-bomb, or a one-use rocket launcher (or make up whatever)

-Give the PC's a chance to get a surprise round on the daemonhost if they can outsmart it

-Simply weaken the daemonhost

-After the players do x damage to the daemonhost, it gives a villainous exposition speech and flees so they can fight it later

-Allow the players to gain knowledge of one or more of the Daemon's true names, weakening it by x wounds the more names they know.

-Let the other NPC's weaken the daemonhost in battle (but don't let the NPCs kill it...)

-Let the Daemonhost kill the players if it can. This is grim-darkness after all.

-Have the inquisitor spring in at the last moment

-Do what I did when I saw the boss and run them through a couple of other adventures first. 

Edited by Joeker

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-Have the inquisitor spring in at the last moment

-Do what I did when I saw the boss and run them through a couple of other adventures first.

- Show the players how awesome your DMNPC Inquisitor is in a deus ex machina moment where he saves the day

- Grind levels on easy quests before taking on the BBEG

These are bad ideas.

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My party had a squad of six Arbitrators with them. They had found the Daemonhost in the dead drop before the pickup, and were there when the psykers were killed.

 

The party leader passes his Fear check. He then passes the opposed Command check with the Daemonhost, keeping everyone in line, and unafraid.

 

Next, the party leader/psyker tries to buff himself with some power or other. Psychic phenomenon. Boom, all his pals get Frenzied. Uh-oh.

 

Then, the Arbitrators, now doing an additional 1 damage with their shock mauls due to +10 Strength, increasing their chances of doing damage by 50% (They previously needed to roll 9 or 10 to any damage at all), and therefore increasing their chances of Stunning the Daemon by 50%.

 

Well, they charged in, their Frenzy helping. They then Stunlocked it, and slowly beat the utter **** out of it.

 

Brilliant.

Edited by bluntpencil2001

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-Have the inquisitor spring in at the last moment

-Do what I did when I saw the boss and run them through a couple of other adventures first.

- Show the players how awesome your DMNPC Inquisitor is in a deus ex machina moment where he saves the day

- Grind levels on easy quests before taking on the BBEG

These are bad ideas.

 

Deus ex machina is not my first choice, but it beats a TPK and I would only use it after a PC went down.

Took my players through two minor adventures and Seeds of Heresy (neither of which was easy, limbs have been lost) which got them the feel for the game and better equipment.  

 

How are these bad Ideas?

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If I'm not mistaken, a Daemon can't be stunned.

You're mistaken. ;)

 

The Daemonhost is immune to Fear, Pinning, and Insanity Points due to From Beyond.

 

It is immune to diseases, poisons, and toxic effects, and doesn't need to breathe, due to Undying.

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Deus ex machina is not my first choice, but it beats a TPK and I would only use it after a PC went down.

Took my players through two minor adventures and Seeds of Heresy (neither of which was easy, limbs have been lost) which got them the feel for the game and better equipment.  

 

How are these bad Ideas?

 

If the worst thing you can think of a daemon doing do a human is killing them you need to go work out your imagination. By all means, deus ex machina away a TPK, but do it in a way that doesn't totally show up your players.

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I must admit I've been concerned about this too. I'm preparing to run my first ever RP session, GMing three other complete RP noobs.

I've preped the boss fight such that the demon starts with greatly decreased stats, but for every wrong turn or bad decision the PCs make in the tunnels on the way to the fight, the boss has more time to regenerate and gets some of its stats back. I like the ideas noted above though, especially the one-shot weapons and name calling! I'll do some re-planning I think...hint that maybe the Arbites PC might want to ask his comrades at the spaceport for help...

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Generally you'll find that one solo enemy which is limited to one action will be slaughtered by the party, unless the soak is literally too high for them to damage it. If you play by RAW, bosses without support are generally a joke. Never mind springing a daemon host on a fresh party and having them just gun it down in a showdown is very much underplaying the nefarious cunning a possessed admech should display. If you're going for that approach, I advise ditching the daemonhost bit and making him just a techpriest gone heretic. Not everything has to be DAEMONS! DAEMONS! right off the bat.

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The Daemonhost is immune to Fear, Pinning, and Insanity Points due to From Beyond.

 

 

I thought it had the "Stuff of Nighmare" trait, but it ain't the case, so indeed.

 

****, stunlock that as*hole then.

 

 

Huh, did Daemons take a nerf from 1st Edition? I seem to remember all but the weakest of them having Stuff of Nightmares.

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The Daemonhost is immune to Fear, Pinning, and Insanity Points due to From Beyond.

 

 

I thought it had the "Stuff of Nighmare" trait, but it ain't the case, so indeed.

 

****, stunlock that as*hole then.

 

 

Huh, did Daemons take a nerf from 1st Edition? I seem to remember all but the weakest of them having Stuff of Nightmares.

 

 

It is the case. At least in this scenario.

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You may add some environmental hazards like discarded gas tanks, cracking pipes (burning sludge or acid), or unstable ceiling that the players may exploits against the boss.

 

Concerning the names to weaken the boss mentioned previously, I'll give a warning. If it is used in the core scenario, it's must also works in the Forgotten Gods. Since it's the same daemon.

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I realized that this encounter had the potential to wipe the party when i was reading the adventure before GMing it. Since my party had only three people i reversed a bit the order things happen in the encounter and make my inquisitor implant tracking devices on the players at the begining of the adventure, if he ever needed to find they quick.

 

First right after the players discovered the Deamonhost they decided to contact the Inquisitor via Vox and asked for reinforcements. The Inquisitor ordered them to follow the Deamonhost in order to make sure they didn't lose his track. That allow me to make the players slowly progress thru the access tunnels and the Inquisitor cut the ground between them.

 

I also started the encounter by launching the heretek´s party upon them ( they actually stumbled upon each other) and started fighting, the deamonhost joined mid fight and started by attacking the Heretek party. My ideia was for them to maybe kill the heretek and hold the deamon host long enough for the Inquisitor to arrive. I also made sure that as soon as they started fighting the inquisitor began to communicate via micro bead that he was getting close to them. This way they realized they had to just hold for a few moments and survive.

 

However things never go as planned. The players managed to kill the heretek (i decided that he survived by burning his fate point, and later was taken by one of his minions to safety), and i thought "ok, now they are going to try to defend themselfs until the inquisitor arrive, just holding the deamonhost back. However they players managed to get a few very luck shots with psyker powers and a sniper rifle and did slain the deamon host right after the inquisitor arrived. One of them however lost and arm and had to burn a fate point to survive a killing blow.

 

The Deamon Prince at the end of Forgotten Gods seems an inbalanced opponent. Looking at his threat a group of 3 players would need to have about 10k+ experience each to be a balanced encounter. I am still debating what to do with it. I think it can crush my players if they make a mistake during the fight with him, or at least make someone burn a fate point. I have been debating about making the encounter harder, with smaller deamons coming in and involving their Inquisitor and his personal cadre in the fight somehow.

 

I also dislike the ideia of the acolytes facing a Deamon Prince and beating it because of the repercursions of that. Deamon Princes are enemies that can scare an Inquisitor, they should make mice meat of the acolytes alone.

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Ah, on Desolation of the Dead my players were very wounded at the end of the adventure and they simply decided to ask for outside support and bombarded the place where the end battle was going to take place. They lost a bunch of influence for that, but saved their own skins and completed the mission (somewhat).

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I realized that this encounter had the potential to wipe the party when i was reading the adventure before GMing it. Since my party had only three people i reversed a bit the order things happen in the encounter and make my inquisitor implant tracking devices on the players at the begining of the adventure, if he ever needed to find they quick.

 

First right after the players discovered the Deamonhost they decided to contact the Inquisitor via Vox and asked for reinforcements. The Inquisitor ordered them to follow the Deamonhost in order to make sure they didn't lose his track. That allow me to make the players slowly progress thru the access tunnels and the Inquisitor cut the ground between them.

 

I also started the encounter by launching the heretek´s party upon them ( they actually stumbled upon each other) and started fighting, the deamonhost joined mid fight and started by attacking the Heretek party. My ideia was for them to maybe kill the heretek and hold the deamon host long enough for the Inquisitor to arrive. I also made sure that as soon as they started fighting the inquisitor began to communicate via micro bead that he was getting close to them. This way they realized they had to just hold for a few moments and survive.

 

However things never go as planned. The players managed to kill the heretek (i decided that he survived by burning his fate point, and later was taken by one of his minions to safety), and i thought "ok, now they are going to try to defend themselfs until the inquisitor arrive, just holding the deamonhost back. However they players managed to get a few very luck shots with psyker powers and a sniper rifle and did slain the deamon host right after the inquisitor arrived. One of them however lost and arm and had to burn a fate point to survive a killing blow.

 

The Deamon Prince at the end of Forgotten Gods seems an inbalanced opponent. Looking at his threat a group of 3 players would need to have about 10k+ experience each to be a balanced encounter. I am still debating what to do with it. I think it can crush my players if they make a mistake during the fight with him, or at least make someone burn a fate point. I have been debating about making the encounter harder, with smaller deamons coming in and involving their Inquisitor and his personal cadre in the fight somehow.

 

I also dislike the ideia of the acolytes facing a Deamon Prince and beating it because of the repercursions of that. Deamon Princes are enemies that can scare an Inquisitor, they should make mice meat of the acolytes alone.

 

I think the important choice is for the party to go after Carolus, if you kill him and break his artifact the Daemon is banished instantly. If they try to fight the Prince head on, they are probably cooked.

Edited by Rationalinsanity

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If you pre-read your adventures or pre-plan them.... then

 

You can opt to create "opportunities" within a given scene (i.e. battle)

 

The environment should make your players think not just be window dressing

 

Luckily for 40k a lot of the places a PCs gets to go are dangerous from Factories to Battlefields.

Think of it the way a video game designer scripts in some method of attack and final defeat of a foe

 

Now unlike a video game - your imagination is limitless; just be aware you need to give off cues that are part of the scene but don't scream obvious...

 

EXAMPLE (Call of Cthulhu)

 

Ran and adventure where PCs eventually met with "a" Dark Young of Shub Niggurath - albiet one that was premature so to speak... Anyways, the PCs were at a cabin/lodge when this occured - eventually they let the fire in the fireplace along with some oil consume the cabin - all the while luring / baiting the Dark Young - cause it to crach through ght cabin and subsequently causing the cabin to collaspe upon it and... burning it - resulting in a fire that the PCs did not stick around to see to embers...

 

Hope this helps

 

Stay GAMING

Morbid

Edited by MorbidDon

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