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jimjams79

Lightsabers vs Minion groups

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I think i'm missing something when it comes to Lightsaber interactions with Minion groups.

 

Specifically Breach 1(Pierce 10) . If a player hits a minion group of 3 with 4 SOAK and 5 Wounds and inflicts 14 damage, how does the damage disseminate among the group?

 

Please help.

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Grouped minions are essentially one character when it comes to book keeping.

 

So, the saber would buypass the 4 Soak and inflict 14 damage across the group one at a time removing a minion and rolling the damage over to the next. In this case eliminating 2 minions and leaving the third wounded.

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Also keep in mind that one roll of the dice pool is not necessarily one swing of the saber. Defeating 3 minions in one swing could mean that your character waded into a group of thugs and the melee suddenly erupted into storm of blue light. When the whirlwind of blades had ended, only 2 remained. One with no hand.

Edited by kaosoe

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Yes, a lightsaber is going to rip through a minion group like they were made with tissue paper, as even a basic unmodified lightsaber (Damage 6, Crit 2, Breach 1), is going to get you at least one defeated minion per successful attack.  And as the PC boosts the damage and/or lowers the crit rating, they're only going to get more proficient at shredding a minion group.

 

For instance, I've got a Shii-Cho Knight pre-gen for a con module I've been working on, with a modified lightsaber (Damage 8, Crit 1, Breach 1) as well as the Multiple Opponents talent, and in combat tests pretty much any minion group he attacks gets decimated, since the Breach quality means the armor gets bypassed and a single advantage is enough to trigger a crit and thus dispose of an additional minion; if a minion group didn't have at least four members in it, those minions didn't make it to the next round.

 

kaosoe's got a good point as well, about how in this system one combat check does not equate to being one singular swing of the lightsaber, or even pull of a blaster's trigger.  Given that combat rounds in this system roughly default to a minute or so (can be longer, can be less), a combat check instead covers several 'attacks' that your PC is making during the round.  Granted, there's nothing stopping you from describing a combat check as a singular attack, such as an expert marksman taking out their target with a single precision shot as opposed to the scoundrel with a heavy blaster pistol simply filling the air with blaster fire in the hopes of hitting their mark.

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Yeah awesome, I did have it slightly off. This will make it easier to manage during fights. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I keep my encounters challenging now that four of my Group now wield Lightsabers?

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  • Don't worry too much about challenging as much as the story. Put the number that feels right for the encounter and situation, if the players murder their way through... so what? Wasn't that kinda the plan anyway? Only a few encounter per adventure should be a real challenge, the rest are there more to set the tone.

With minion groups, especially ones that will start an encounter in sabering range, add an additional minion or two to the group as an ablative layer. They're there to get cut down while leaving enough behind to still do damage.

Restrict movement. Sabers generally are still melee weapons, so you need to get to melee range to use it. Glob grenades, spray sticks, nets, fear effects, fields of liquid magma... all things that can make a character harder to approach.

Again: Fear effects. Some characters have an aura that require a fear check to approach, others (like inquisitors) are just plain scary to face at all and require a fear check just upon realizing you're facing one. Use that fear check to apply encounter-spanning penalties on the players.

Squad up. The squad rules in the AoR GM kit allow you to attach minions to rivals and nemesis. One of the big features of this is when the squad takes a hit, instead of taking damage normally, the squad leader can opt to remove a single minion and consider the hit resolved. So your saber swinger comes in, makes a swing at damage 13 w Breach... and removes one WT5 minion and that's it....

Strain damage: Stun weapons, brawl attacks, scathing tirades, all attack the Strain threshold instead of the wounds. Since force users and saber wielders need strain to activate a lot of powers and talents..... yeah, hit em there. Reflect is only good if you have the strain to reflect.

Edited by Ghostofman

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Yeah awesome, I did have it slightly off. This will make it easier to manage during fights. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I keep my encounters challenging now that four of my Group now wield Lightsabers?

 

Some random ideas:

Give them challenges that can't be solved with a lightsaber.   "You're in a toxic atmosphere, that is combustible.  Igniting your sabers would cause serious explosions where you are! Blasters too!"   Now they have to find ways to win without using their glowsticks of death.

 

Send multiple minion groups against them, with ranged weapons.   There is a lot to be said, for squishy minions in large numbers.  They can do a lot of damage.  And even just a few hits is enough to drop most PCs, thus making combat a threat all the time.

 

Environmental hazards that slow them down as they try and rush in to squish the minions.   "The troopers have taken position on the other side of a chasm.  You can try and jump across, or find some other way around, oh, and all the while, they're shooting at you."

 

Hit them in their dump stat.  Whatever traits they are weakest in.  Hit them there.  

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Lets not forget the Model 77 Air Rifle with Pierce 4 and 6 stun damage that cuts through minions like a knife through butter and has long range. Breach is really wasted on minions any weapon that has pierce above 2 is pretty much equally effective as a lightsaber for cutting through minions. Its even worse now with a mod that can add autofire...

 

Honestly I get tired of these omg Lightsabers are massacring minions please make it stop threads when pretty much any weapon in the hands of PC's can do this especially blaster rifles. Lightsabers vrs minions is nowhere near as bad as Heavy Blaster Rifle + Autofire + jury rig which is even easier to get in game oh and won't really attract bad guys who also use lightabers and the force.

 

The fact is minions are entirely designed in star wars to die en mass thats why they exist and are not entirely meant to be a threat to the party, except in cases where large numbers of them walk around together...

Edited by Decorus

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Lets not forget the Model 77 Air Rifle with Pierce 4 and 6 stun damage that cuts through minions like a knife through butter and has long range. Breach is really wasted on minions any weapon that has pierce above 2 is pretty much equally effective as a lightsaber for cutting through minions. Its even worse now with a mod that can add autofire...

 

Honestly I get tired of these omg Lightsabers are massacring minions please make it stop threads when pretty much any weapon in the hands of PC's can do this especially blaster rifles. Lightsabers vrs minions is nowhere near as bad as Heavy Blaster Rifle + Autofire + jury rig which is even easier to get in game oh and won't really attract bad guys who also use lightabers and the force.

 

The fact is minions are entirely designed in star wars to die en mass thats why they exist and are not entirely meant to be a threat to the party, except in cases where large numbers of them walk around together...

My issue isn't with the Lightsaber, or even Auto-fire it's more to do with my ability to balance encounters so that they are fun.

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Lets not forget the Model 77 Air Rifle with Pierce 4 and 6 stun damage that cuts through minions like a knife through butter and has long range. Breach is really wasted on minions any weapon that has pierce above 2 is pretty much equally effective as a lightsaber for cutting through minions. Its even worse now with a mod that can add autofire...

 

Honestly I get tired of these omg Lightsabers are massacring minions please make it stop threads when pretty much any weapon in the hands of PC's can do this especially blaster rifles. Lightsabers vrs minions is nowhere near as bad as Heavy Blaster Rifle + Autofire + jury rig which is even easier to get in game oh and won't really attract bad guys who also use lightabers and the force.

 

The fact is minions are entirely designed in star wars to die en mass thats why they exist and are not entirely meant to be a threat to the party, except in cases where large numbers of them walk around together...

My issue isn't with the Lightsaber, or even Auto-fire it's more to do with my ability to balance encounters so that they are fun.

 

 

Like I said before, give them things to do in the scene that are dramatic, but don't involve direct application of a glowstick of death.   Maybe have a group of civilians that are in danger, and they have to do something (not lightsabery) to save them.  Make it dramatic and cinematic.  

 

Maybe the fight is on a pair of docked ships/air speeders, and they're fighting on the surface of the ship.  High winds, unsure footing, lots of setback dice on any attack actions.   (Think the fight at the end of Star Trek: Into Darkness for an example).   

 

Stuff like that.  

 

If you are simply worried about the "they cut through everything in 1-2 rounds", then start tossing setback dice, and/or increasing the difficulty of the attacks.  Make them fight Rivals from time to time, who could have Adversary ranks.    Basically, Soak is just not an issue for lightsabers (due to Breach 1), so you need to be stacking setback dice and increasing difficulty pools, if you want to actually make their attacks difficult.    Give targets Defense and Cover, give them Adversary ranks, flip those Dark Side Destiny Points to upgrade checks on their attacks.    That's how you can directly make it harder for them to kill things.  But I still suggest, you focus on making the encounters about more than just a team deathmatch.  Give them objectives and challenges that you simply can't resolve with a saber, and see what they do.

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Lets not forget the Model 77 Air Rifle with Pierce 4 and 6 stun damage that cuts through minions like a knife through butter and has long range. Breach is really wasted on minions any weapon that has pierce above 2 is pretty much equally effective as a lightsaber for cutting through minions. Its even worse now with a mod that can add autofire...

 

Honestly I get tired of these omg Lightsabers are massacring minions please make it stop threads when pretty much any weapon in the hands of PC's can do this especially blaster rifles. Lightsabers vrs minions is nowhere near as bad as Heavy Blaster Rifle + Autofire + jury rig which is even easier to get in game oh and won't really attract bad guys who also use lightabers and the force.

 

The fact is minions are entirely designed in star wars to die en mass thats why they exist and are not entirely meant to be a threat to the party, except in cases where large numbers of them walk around together...

My issue isn't with the Lightsaber, or even Auto-fire it's more to do with my ability to balance encounters so that they are fun.

 

 

The first step is accepting that the pc's will slaughter minions.

The second step is to stop the arms race escalation of trying to balance the encounters.

The Third step is to make combat less about killing people and more about objectives.

 

The best way to achieve fun in an encounter is to sit down with the players and ask them what they want out of the game.

It gets pretty boring if all you do is hack your way through minions all the time.

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There is always the fact that lightsabers brings the Darths.  If they whip them out every fight, you are going to get 12 mile long visitor to the system real quick.  All encounters need that decision.  Do I use a lightsaber and up my publicity?  I would also give them conflict when there are other solutions than mdks..   I know I'm not directly answering your question but I think combat encounters will be more challenging when they decide to not use the super weapons.

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  • Don't worry too much about challenging as much as the story. Put the number that feels right for the encounter and situation, if the players murder their way through... so what? Wasn't that kinda the plan anyway? Only a few encounter per adventure should be a real challenge, the rest are there more to set the tone.
  • With minion groups, especially ones that will start an encounter in sabering range, add an additional minion or two to the group as an ablative layer. They're there to get cut down while leaving enough behind to still do damage.
  • Restrict movement. Sabers generally are still melee weapons, so you need to get to melee range to use it. Glob grenades, spray sticks, nets, fear effects, fields of liquid magma... all things that can make a character harder to approach.
  • Again: Fear effects. Some characters have an aura that require a fear check to approach, others (like inquisitors) are just plain scary to face at all and require a fear check just upon realizing you're facing one. Use that fear check to apply encounter-spanning penalties on the players.
  • Squad up. The squad rules in the AoR GM kit allow you to attach minions to rivals and nemesis. One of the big features of this is when the squad takes a hit, instead of taking damage normally, the squad leader can opt to remove a single minion and consider the hit resolved. So your saber swinger comes in, makes a swing at damage 13 w Breach... and removes one WT5 minion and that's it....
  • Strain damage: Stun weapons, brawl attacks, scathing tirades, all attack the Strain threshold instead of the wounds. Since force users and saber wielders need strain to activate a lot of powers and talents..... yeah, hit em there. Reflect is only good if you have the strain to reflect.

 

 

All of the above gets my thumbs up.

 

Attaching a few expendable mooks to an officer/specialist.inquisitor/etc is a great way to ensure they live long enough to have an impact on the encounter. But also don't forget that minions are there to make the PC's look good. Regardless of the game being played, a lot of storytellers seem to fall into the trap of thinking that every fight has to be a lethal challenge in order to be satisfying. There should be challenges, of course, but sometimes the most fun or appropriate way for a fight to go down is for the PC's to tear through their foes with style. Bonus points if a panicked officer screams something like "They cannot be stopped!" into their commlinks before they succumb.

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We jokingly refer to my jedi as 'the minion mop up squad' but she's far less effective vs rivals. Minions are there to slow down characters and to get the occasional lucky strike in.

We've had our collective heads handed to us by a storm trooper sgt and two groups of storm troopers. They slowed us down and kept us away fro the sgt who did all the damage.

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