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OrangeJedi

Want to scale up an encounter, but how?

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My players have been doing well slaughtering anything they fight. They now have 2 lightsabers, and a heavy blaster pistol (that seems to crit almost half the time), so basically anything they find dies pretty quickly.

 

I have an encounter coming up that, when I wrote it, only involved 2 Phase II Dark Troopers. They're statted with a WT of 16, and a soak of 8, from the AoR core rulebook. The rulebook also gives them a missile tube (damage 20, breach 1, etc). Basically, a badass rival.

 

Here's the problem: 2 hits from a saber and one goes down. Then, the remaining one gets off the shot, incaps one of my guys, but then the other goes down right after (assuming the sabers hit, and I have no reason to think they won't). If I don't go after the sabers, then they will end the encounter quickly.

 

Let's assume for a second (because it's my choice) that the only DT to shoot immediately fires on the 2 glowstick guys - That could immediately end the encounter, because the DL-44 will only get 2-3 damage through max per hit, and the DT will just obliterate him. Another problem, because I'm not trying to get my players killed.

 

What's the best way to balance this encounter so that it doesn't end in 1.5 rounds?

 

I currently have my P2DT's using heavy blaster rifles, so instead of 20 damage with breach and extreme range, they're at 10 damage, autofire, and long range. This basically ensures that none of my players gets one-shotted - maybe knocked out by both shooting, but then the glowbats are in range.

 

I'm considering giving them back the missile tubes, but then there's the above problem. ++Offense

I've also considered giving them Cortosis armor, to negate the lightsaber's breach. +Defense, no added offense.

Instead of Cortosis, I'm considering adding 1 or 2 more troopers. +Offense, no added defense.

 

I'm more inclined to add cortosis or missile tubes, to show my players that they need to upgrade their armor eventually.

 

What would you do? Maybe even something I haven't thought of?

 

Group:

Slicer (Blaster Pistol)

Scoundrel (Heavy Blaster Pistol)

Shien Expert (Saber)

Aggressor (Saber)

Sharpshooter* (Blaster Rifle)

Infiltrator* (Holdout blaster, vibroknife)

*not always there, and may not be there for this encounter

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More targets than they have attacks. Spread out over distances to force melee PCs to have to cover ground. Things like glop grenades to use Ensnare to restrict movement. Jetpacks really complicate life for melee focused PCs. If you just let them close and engage with single targets you're never going to challenge them.

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More targets than they have attacks. Spread out over distances to force melee PCs to have to cover ground. Things like glop grenades to use Ensnare to restrict movement. Jetpacks really complicate life for melee focused PCs. If you just let them close and engage with single targets you're never going to challenge them.

 

Okay, so they're in a cargo hold (with a dozen T-47 airspeeders in it). I could put the droids up on a second level, firing down. One of the PCs could force leap, but the other would have to run up there. The ranged PCs would still have to find cover and get in range.

 

4 droids with H. Blaster Rifles, or should I give them missile tubes too and just make this a really difficult fight?

 

One of my players will likely try to climb into one of the snowspeeders.... I could let him fire it up, turn it around, and shoot the droids... I think he'd enjoy that. I don't have stats for a T-47 yet, what could I use to fake it?

 

Good news is, if they are defeated, the alliance is on their way and will likely bail them out of serious trouble.

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Missiles and vehicle weapon fire in a cargo hold should have really bad consequences for uncancelled Threats and Despairs, really bad.

Look for weapons with Ensnare and Knockdown. A Triumph on a Bola Launcher is a hideous result for a lightsaber/force wielder.

Edited by 2P51

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Missiles and vehicle weapon fire in a cargo hold should have really bad consequences for uncancelled Threats and Despairs, really bad.

 

"Be careful what you shoot at.  Most things in here don't react too well to bullets."

 

Stun and Knockdown weapons would really give the players a headache, and anything Cortosis would nullify the 'saber wielders.  Picture your cocky Aggressor and Shien rushing into combat, only to have their 'sabers fizzle out on contact with a Refined Cortosis staff....

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Missiles and vehicle weapon fire in a cargo hold should have really bad consequences for uncancelled Threats and Despairs, really bad.

 

"Be careful what you shoot at.  Most things in here don't react too well to bullets."

 

Stun and Knockdown weapons would really give the players a headache, and anything Cortosis would nullify the 'saber wielders.  Picture your cocky Aggressor and Shien rushing into combat, only to have their 'sabers fizzle out on contact with a Refined Cortosis staff....

 

They just got the sabers and haven't had a chance to use them yet, so I think I'll let them kill some stuff with them before I start using cortosis. Make it like the Empire now knows who these people are and what they're capable of, and comes better prepared.

 

I've decided I'll probably use the second weapon listed, a plasma shell assault cannon. It doesn't have blast, only does 10 damage (breach 1), still uses their gunnery skill, and is only long range. With some test rolls (2y2g, vs 3p3b for the long range/inaccurate/cover/random reason to get a setback), they're still doing 13-14 easy, and hitting more often than not. That won't kill what they shoot at once but will make them very very careful.

 

Is there a rule about droids being unable to wield melee weapons? I thought that was the case, but I'm probably making it up... or thinking of some video games. The droid in Whisper Base uses a mop as a weapon...

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Do you have the AoR GM kit?
Try adding a rival attached to a 10-man squad of stormtroopers. The Saber-swingers will literally have to hack their way through the stormtroopers to get tot he Rival. And squaddies are removed by hit, not by damage, so even an attack with 10 success will only remove 1 guy...
 
 

Is there a rule about droids being unable to wield melee weapons? I thought that was the case, but I'm probably making it up... or thinking of some video games. The droid in Whisper Base uses a mop as a weapon...

Yes, you are making that up.


Funny, it seems with droids and lightsabers people just love to make stuff up.....

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One word — Minions.

They are meant to be slaughtered by the handful. Bigger minion groups have higher skills and are more deadly to PCs when attacking them. Minion groups of five or six or more members can be quite deadly, and if you make them even bigger then they can take some losses without any loss of effectiveness.

More Minion groups than there are PCs, that gives everyone a target (or three) to worry about.

The weaker PCs would get smaller Minion groups thrown at them, which would be a challenge for them to deal with even if the stronger PCs could easily nuke ‘em.

Meanwhile, the stronger PCs get larger minion groups thrown at them, plus the Rivals, and have the Rivals use the Squad Rules, so the minions become a “meat shield” that has to be chewed through before the PCs can even start to attack the Rivals.

And if some of the PCs are super-dangerous compared to everyone else, then they get whole dogpiles of enemies thrown at them. Even the strongest PC has to wilt at some point.

And if the PCs are plowing through the enemy too quickly, you can always have more minion groups and more Rivals show up, to balance things out. Or, maybe the enemy makes a “strategic retreat”, so that they can re-group at a place where they can get more reinforcements.

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Have them fight opponents who can use the environment to their advantage. Maybe a team of Selonians turn off the lights and attack in the darkness, or Quarrens drag them underwater and try to drown them.

 

Give an opponent a weapon with Burn and let it do continuing damage.

Have a bad guy with Scathing Tirade broadcast insults at the heroes to sap their strain until they can find the broadcast room.

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I would try to have anything you do make some logical sense. Does it really make sense that they would have cortissis armor?

 

I would go with what has been suggested, some extra enemies. Perhaps giving them some Dodge or other defense like tactics to make it  less likely they are hit. 

If I were going to give them some type of additional protection like Cortossis Armour, I would instead (without really sound reasoning) give them personal shields. Those can protect against light sabers as well. 

 

Down grade from the missle tubes, But upgrade the ranged skill a level.

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Terrain, Minions, Squad Rules, Dynamic Environments, pretty much everything people have listed already. Spice up your encounters, give your npc's terrain to take cover and straight up -hide- in. As for combating those with sabers, if they're whipping out their glowsticks of death to fight every Tom, **** and Harry. They should be drowning in Imperials, as the Empire's main goals is to hunt the Jedi to extinction. So if everytime the boy's in white show up, they pull out the lightsaber, the boys in white should -never- stop showing up, the Empire has a pretty much inexhaustible supply of troops, your PC's only have so many wounds, it sounds like they need a hard lesson in when -not- to use a lightsaber.

 

Listen to Episode 63 of the Order 66 podcast to get a little more insight into lightsabers and everything involved with running and fighting those with the special lazer swords. Mobility is key, give your rivals some strain to take those second maneuvers to get a little distance, even if the PC follows, you are draining their strain which means less parry and reflect.

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I just ran the encounter, and I feel like it was incredibly successful.

 

The players are on the Perlemian Haul, and one of the modular pods was a large hangar bay with a dozen T-47 Airspeeders. In another pod was a team of Rebel Special Forces and SpecOps agents, among which were our Sharpshooter and Spy players (easy way to get them into tonight's adventure, since they weren't here when they boarded).

 

The NPC rebels in those teams offered to sweep the ship and clear it of imperials after they captured the ship. The players didn't investigate the other pods (including the hangar) until after they wrested control of the vessel. Upon entering the hangar, the Warrior/Aggressor ignited his saber to light up the room a little (it was dark). He saw a body, and then the Shien Expert found an illumination control and turned on the lights - they found the dead bodies of the entire SpecOps and Special Forces teams, giant holes burned in their chests. Start combat.

 

I had the hangar pretty large, with 3 levels - lower level contained some cargo boxes and the airspeeders. On the walkway of the second level (across the hangar, long range) was a Phase II dark trooper (I described it as looking similar to a stormtrooper, instead of telling them exactly what it was). This is all they saw at first, so some ran to the stairs on the left of the room, while the shien expert ran into the middle to take cover behind the speeders before force-leaping up to the trooper. Once he got to the middle, a perception check revealed another trooper on the third level walkway, on the west/left side of the room. A failed perception check (harder because he wasn't looking that way) did not alert him to the existence of a third trooper, mirroring the second, on the third level, behind the sentinel.

 

During the combat, the troopers used the Plasma Shell Assault Cannons they come with, and managed to miss their targets more often than not, thanks to plenty of setback dice for cover/inaccurate. Eventually I took out 3 of the 6 players before they finally took down the last trooper.

 

Overall, I think the difficulty of the combat was right where I wanted it - but it may have been too hard had the sharpshooter and spy not been there. The sharpshooter was the only one that could get through soak other than a lightsaber, so without him it would have taken another full round. He and the spy were actually the first two to go down, and had they not been there to get shot at, it would have been up to the slicer to take out the droid, and he doesn't have enough damage.

 

The one time our Sentinel force-leapt to a droid and it didn't die right away, his next turn he jetpacked away into the middle of the room, out of engaged range. Those glowsticks hurt.

 

As expected, the very first thing my slicer tried to do was jump into a speeder. I made him wait until the third round before it was ready to go, and by then he had jumped out, having found a terminal to use. He then got back into it, and piloted it up to the third level and tried to ram the last droid - the Warrior narrowly dodged getting run over himself, while the droid survived, being much tougher than a human.

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Sounds like a great encounter, and sounds like your players had fun. Having 3 out of 6 go down is great, giving the scene an air of intensity and desperation, but not -actually- being that close to a party wipe. Good job!

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I agree with everyone who recommended minions, a "squad" of a Rival surrounded by minions, and of using terrain complications like moving parts or things in the area which can be affected by the combat and make it more treacherous.

 

Also keep in mind your Rival(s) or Nemesis(es) don't need to appear in the first Initiative round or two anyway. You can introduce them after the heroes have had to fight a wave or two of minions first! That's the point of having bad guys protect themselves with minions in the first place :)

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So, I've got a new problem (which I expected, but hadn't actually planned for).

 

My slicer ("MASTER slicer" as he likes to point out, now that he bought that talent) wants to reprogram one of these Dark Troopers for the party's use.

 

Should I let him? If I don't, how do I break the news to him in a way that makes sense? That thing is easily more powerful than any of the players.

 

Also, as an aside, how much would you say that the Plasma Shell Assault Cannon is worth? They will try to sell it on the black market, because money, but it's a custom weapon that doesn't have a price.

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I don't think it's necessary to mince words or make sense to a PC other than, because that is game breaking and the answer is no.

 

The cannon, pick a number you're comfortable with and make it hard to sell.  Buying a clearly stolen niche Imperial weapon is more of a favor to the seller than a boon for the buyer imo.

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If your player absolutely insists on rolling the dice, just let him. An experimental Imperial supersoldier-droid, that should set the difficulty right at Impossible - that means he'd have to flip a Destiny point just for the privilege of trying, which again means he can't use another one to upgrade his check. Then assign him something like 5 Challenge dice, and throw in 6-8 setback dice to reflect the tamper-proof interface the Imperial techs were smart enough to build in. And let him know ahead of time (or not...) that a Despair or 5 Threats means the droid wakes up and goes on a killing spree, starting with him.

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