Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Skywalken

"Power Creep": Game balancing in high xp campaigns.

Recommended Posts

Howdy ya'll. This is less a "Help! Help!" post, and more of a suggested discussion thread.

 

I've been running a campaign since September, weekly, for roughly 6 hours a session. We are relatively efficient (compared to some campaigns I've been in), so people have been getting the recommended XP totals per session (15-20). I also use the popular 'bonus xp for posting character/adventure logs on Obsidian Portal' option that has propagated around the net.

 

Well, now at the end of the year, the characters are potent. The Outlaw-Tech/Mechanic can fix and mod almost anything, the Pilot is one with his Hwk-290, the Gunslinger has branched into a Performer, the Jedi Pathfinder is fiddling around with new Force Powers, and the Mercenary Soldier keeps being a dependable combat guy.

 

Then there's the Assassin/Gadgeteer, who has done little else with XP than sink it into combat skills. And I mean exclusively. Anything he points his gun at will die. He one-shot killed the Master Bountyhunter Nemesis from the Adversary Deck, while said Nemesis held a important NPC hostage in front of him as cover. This isn't bad, because, hey, the player made a super deadly bounty hunter. Nothing wrong with that.

 

The problem is that now, any combat encounter's balancing is tricky. Challenging the combat character results in insta-death for other players. And throwing the Assassin into non-combat challenges results in a overly surly or bored player. 

 

So what are ways you other GM's handle those times your players are larger than life, but you still want to keep things interesting?

 

There's making enemies super durable (adding ranks of Durable, adding more and more ranks of Adversary), but I'm sure there are other ways to keep players on their toes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I ran into the same problem.  What I did was vary up the weapons that players faced against.  I also intentionally made things harder by perma adding in a red die or two.  I threw them curve balls....  like the planet were blasters and "vibro" weapons wouldn't work......

 

Then, it still got to the point where they were to powerful and had to hard reset the group and then limit the xp to 5 per session, no matter what they did.  Make them really work for their xp and how they want to spend it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most gadgeteers lose a lot of power if they don't get their gadgets.

Depending on your story time. ...

Jedi can sunder his favored weapon without much problem.

The HWK 290 can be set upon by the Empire. Interdictor yanks it out of hyperspace and the 12 TIEs, three customs corvettes, and Lancer frigate combine to disable the ship, by a boarding party with inexhaustible stormtroopers hucking concussion grenades. Trial and and them to prison or have them rescued, but remove equipment.

It's only a short term fix until he regains his stuff.

A different approach would be to get him to go off alone, and then allow him to fail other than combat rolls like Perception and the like.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The onus isn't just on you, the GM. The player has some responsibility, too. Over-specializing in one area and then getting surly when faced with a broader situation isn't conducive to great RP or fun at the table in general. Some of the best moments my group and I have had are when people excel with a bit of luck and creativity in areas they're not specialized in. Several in the group are over 1,000 XP and things are still challenging and fun because the players are just as invested in roleplay as they are in rollplay. 

Edited by verdantsf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The player needs to be aware as well that he isn't the special snowflake of the group and sure while he might be the deadliest thing to ever walk the galaxy his skill set can't handle many other things.

 

 I suggest the Squad rules from the Age of Rebellion GM Kit to add a bit of challenge to combat that doesn't make it totally out of hand for the rest of the party.  It will also serve as a great way to get your guys to spend advantages and threats as you can use them to break up squads.  Your nemesis can also spend triumphs to have his squad shoot as a minion group.

 

I've played with the house rule that the Squad leader can give up his action as well so that he can have his squad shoot.  It makes sense to me but I've been in an argument or two over it since it isn't RAW.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the idea of environmental restrictions on the kind of gear favored by the combat characters.  An atmosphere heavy in oxygen and hydrogen would not be a place where a heavy blaster rifle should be used.  Similarly, a crystalline world might react... poorly should a character activate a vibro weapon.

 

This can add some diversity to the combat encounters and allow some checks against the rampant power wielded by high-XP combat focused characters.

 

Another solution I'd suggest is "solo" missions for the combat characters.  If they're awesome and devastating in combat, but anything that challenges them disintegrates the rest of the party, separate them.  This can provide a challenge to them and allow the balance of the party to be challenged in other ways elsewhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Send a marauder (avoiding the lethal critical talents)/gunner/commando nemesis with adversary 3 against him, has sky high soak, a huge wound threshold, and is effectively immune to critical hits but vulnerable to strain (an average strain threshold)... but don't make him an *Uber* damage dealer yes he has a heavy blaster rifle as a back up weapon but he's a melee guy who can beat the tar out of your assassin, or at least hold up to whatever your assassin can dish out, his job is to keep the assassin occupied while the rest of the party mops up his minnions/rival backup and then once the party dog piles him they can do enough damage to make him flee... oh and he has 1 thermal detonator on him in ca series your assassin tries to go the strain route, he'd survive the termal det but the assassin would be down for the count if they both got tagged by the thermal detonator. Basically if your assassin is the irresistible force, this guy is the immovable object.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One possibility is to tell the players that it's not fun any more for you. Session planing is getting tedious and you want to try something else. Your happy to run games for the group. But if they want to make 1 trick ponies and then try to use that 1 trick to solve every problem then the campaigns are going to loose interest quickly.

If they insist on not Role Playing then splitting the party happens all the time in the movies and should happen in games. It lets you tailor challenges to individuals and the players will get to shine a lot more often.Give them multiple objectives to achieve all at the same time. If 1 doesn't get accomplished it won't stop them, but will cause complications.

I bet the Mechanic player is bored as hell when a Silhouette 3 Force Lightning spitting Genetically Engineered Tyrannosaurus drops down from the hanger ceiling and his pistol can't even bypass its soak! But if there is a land speeder in pieces in the hanger that the group need to escape in before orbital bombardment then there is more fun to be had. The Combat Monkeys get to fight hard while the Pathfinder uses the Force to try and protect a frantic Mechanic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...