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daddystabz

Advice on ramping up the difficulty

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I am running a local face-to-face game of Star Wars FFG and have characters in the party from Edge of the Empire and Force & Destiny.  We are several adventures into the campaign currently and the PC's are becoming quite powerful.  One PC in particular is creating some difficulties for me as GM.  I am running all the published adventures so far.  In the campaign we have thus far played through Escape From Mos Shuuta, The Long Arm of the Hutt, Mountaintop Rescue, and are almost done with Lure of the Lost.  We will be jumping next into Crates of Krayts.  So far what I've been doing to address the large size of the group and their growing power level is to use more minion groups in coordination with each other and more rivals working as individuals equal in number or just slightly more in number than the PC's.  It is a large PC group, 8 characters total.  This approach is still not working well.  The minion groups have a bit of trouble being effective against them and the rivals are not doing enough damage as well.  Many of the characters have a bit of armor at this point and the 3 force sensitives now have lightsabers.  I have warned them about over-usage of the lightsabers potentially leading to getting into more imperial entanglements but the lightsabers are sooooo powerful.  6 base damage and the ability to automatically ignore 10 pts of soak on an NPC is just brutal to my bad guys.  

 

The fore-mentioned one player that is giving me the most issues is a force-sensitive Warrior spec.  He cuts through enemies like mad.  He has put a ton into Brawn and uses the force power Enhance liberally.  This makes him able to have a 7 soak score while enhanced, meaning most bag guys cannot even dent him unless I constantly use destiny points.  In addition, since his brawn is so high he does devastating damage to the bad guys, dishing out 15 + damage regularly with his base 6 damage lightsaber that ignores 10 pts of soak on a hit.  The Warrior build is so powerful because brawn is what it relies on to do damage with a lightsaber and it is also that stat that determines how much damage you can absorb.  This is too good imo.  Mix with this the fact that he also has some armor he wears and dual wields (a lightsaber and a different melee weapon that uses the same skill/stat), oftentimes getting more than 1 hit, 1 on one target and a 2nd hit to a different target, and you can see my conundrum here.  

 

What do you all suggest I do to alleviate these issues and make the game more of a challenge for the group?

Edited by daddystabz

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First, if you're only concerned with combat difficulty, more minion groups, with more minions per group is a good start. But don't be afraid to use a nemesis here or there, too.

Nemeses do not abide by PC rules when coming up with them, so go wild, see what works and what doesn't and just adjust on the fly. There is also the notion of using an NPC Inquisitor (rules in FaD core book).

Further, don't forget to use maneuvers. Even a minion can aim. Use Aim and Guarded Stance, etc to dish out or mitigate damage. Use armor and items. And don't be afraid to take their toys away. Aim for weapons to disarm or destroy a Lightsaber. It's a frelling Lightsaber, by its very nature it will attract unwanted hate from enemies. Use threats and despairs. Use destiny points.

That being said, you want to hurt a combat menace? Social encounters. Hell, even a well played Scathing Tirade from an enemy officer can help. How's that Warrior's strain threshold look? Pretty mediocre?

Don't be vindictive, don't be mean, but a good punch to the dump stat (social, knowledge, or starship related checks) or a fun chase will bring the enjoyment back.

Edit: Lastly, no more empty promises. You said there would be hell to pay for using the glowsticks, so bring it on. Throw some real weight around. The main stars of your game are the players, but its still your world. If the Empire sends ISB or Inquisitors, or BoSS or Darth Vader, or a battallion of bounty hunters, then they have to deal with it.

Edited by Comrade Cosmonaut

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First, if you're only concerned with combat difficulty, more minion groups, with more minions per group is a good start. But don't be afraid to use a nemesis here or there, too.

Nemeses do not abide by PC rules when coming up with them, so go wild, see what works and what doesn't and just adjust on the fly. There is also the notion of using an NPC Inquisitor (rules in FaD core book).

And there's no rule saying that the Inquisitor can't have the Fated Duel ability to lock him down while that rest of the party is busy with the some minions and a rival 

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First, if you're only concerned with combat difficulty, more minion groups, with more minions per group is a good start. But don't be afraid to use a nemesis here or there, too.

Nemeses do not abide by PC rules when coming up with them, so go wild, see what works and what doesn't and just adjust on the fly. There is also the notion of using an NPC Inquisitor (rules in FaD core book).

And there's no rule saying that the Inquisitor can't have the Fated Duel ability to lock him down while that rest of the party is busy with the some minions and a rival

That is a very good idea that I have never really considered.

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My favorite thing to do with powerful groups is put them in situations where their gear does little for them. My favorite was when they crashed on a planet thag uad a strange magnetic field and their energy based items didn't work.

My second favorite tactic is them getting ambushed by various nemesis from time to time and get stunned and lose all their gear. They have had their bank accounts robbed, ships stolen, bases taken from them. Players have been kidnapped, droids have had their memory wiped. Tons to do.

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Missile tubes can always be an option and don't forget that stun damage can be very effective against force users... I suggest the following from our good friend hk-47. Also don't forget to use morality against your jedi folks taking hostages for example is a good way to curb their actions.

Edited by Tassedar

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How is stun effective against force users? He has a 7 soak when using Enhance.  You soak against stun damage like normal damage.

 

Uhm … äh …planetary scale blaster with stun settings? Reflect this jedi scum …

 

Though in general force specs are using a lot of strain to reflect, parry, dodge, etc … so usually I would assume that you need less strain damage than wounds to send force user with a lightsaber to the ground.

 

 

Personally I prefer weapons used with gunnery and jetpacks. Missiles tubes for example. 

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How is stun effective against force users? He has a 7 soak when using Enhance.  You soak against stun damage like normal damage.

Even an unmodified blaster carbine (or rifle) has a base damage of 9. Since it takes a minimum of one success to connect, that's a minimum of 3 Wounds (or Strain if it's set on Stun) getting through Soak. If he uses Reflect, then it's 3 Strain instead. Sure, it'll take several shots to take him out, but he's hardly invulnerable to normal weaponry.

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To get to 15 damage are you adding their brawny to damage?

Whilst physical melee weapons do (damage as +X) light sabres don't (damage as X) obviously you then add success on top.

If your player is regularly rolling 9 successes then you need to make the dice rolls harder, adversary talent and defensive along with other setback dice are great ways to make rolls harder.

I've given rivals a strain level before and let them have the dodge talent to help make a fight last longer.

Edited by Cynthorus

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The OP's post seemed mostly concerned with combat balance, so I'll concentrate my advice on that.

 

1. Do not - DO NOT - use minions. Every hit on a minion group diminishes its effectiveness. Use rivals and nemeses - they can take several hits and still be just as effective. They also can't have talents, and with a group that size (I know all about this, I GM for a group of 7) you're going to need those talents in order to challenge your players.

 

2. Gear your NPCs properly. 3 Brawn and padded armour gives them 5 soak easily. Equip them with blaster rifles and carbines, not pistols. Give every single one of them a military belt pouch from Dangerous Covenants; it has Rariry 0 and costs 10 credits, there's no conceivable reason that they shouldn't have one. Then stick two stimpacks in the pouch. An incidental to draw, a manoeuvre to inject, and they still have an action to attack with.

 

3. Give your NPCs some talents. Deadly Accuracy lets a character be dangerous even with a small wepaon. Things like Soft Spot, Walk the Walk, Anatomy Lesson and the like lets you flip a Destiny Point for added damage. This is especially useful since you can choose to flip when targeting the high-soak PCs and not flip when shooting at the squishier ones. Then there are the defensive talents like Adversary, Dodge, Side Step and Defensive Stance. Learn to love them. Armour Master and its evolution talents are also great.

 

4. Set the stage. Have the fight occur in darkness, mist, smoke and possibly during an earthquake, all of which gives lots of setback dice. Then equip your NPCs with hunter goggles, electronic optical sights and the Outdoorsman and Brace talents that all remove setback dice for environmental conditions. Your PCs didn't take any of these talents? Prepare to see a lot of black dice in their pools.

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There is a air rifle that has 4 Pierce 6 stun damage also think gas bombs as well don't be afraid to make your own weapons. Also if you want deadly weapons there are many out there I have a heavy blaster rifle that has auto fire and does 13 damage Pierce 1 and I can guarantee my character can kill your best jedi with one roll.

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......... He has put a ton into Brawn and uses the force power Enhance liberally.  This makes him able to have a 7 soak score while enhanced, meaning most bag guys cannot even dent him unless I constantly use destiny points.  In addition, since his brawn is so high he does devastating damage to the bad guys, dishing out 15 + damage regularly with his base 6 damage lightsaber that ignores 10 pts of soak on a hit?......

 

Dealing fifteen damage is possible, but doing so regularly?  That's bizarrely high.  With an enhanced brawn of (I'm guessing) five, a lightsaber skill of three, and a base damage of six, the chances of doing sixteen damage that are less than eight thousandths of one percent.

 

I'm guessing you're letting him add his brawn to damage for lightsabers, which is not how it's supposed to work.  Lightsabers have an unmodified base damage, like ranged weapons.  This is different from melee weapons, where you add your brawn to their damage (as indicated by an addition sign next to the damage.)

 

 

On the other hand, if you've been doing everything correct, make him go get you a lotto ticket.  Because his luck is insane.

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Where can I find the description for the Fated Duel talent please? Is it in the new Guardian book?

 

Equipment-wise I am trying to locate where Electronic Optical Sights are.

Edited by daddystabz

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Even with 5 yellows on the roll you will only ever get 10 success (assuming that the negative dice wipe) add this to base damage of 6 , I know that its possible to roll that but the chance is 1 in 6 to power of 5 multiplied by 8 to the power of 2. So its a 1 in 64 chance of blanking 2 purple die, so roughly 1 roll in half a million will get 16 DMG from 5 yellow vs 2 purple , and without boost die this is maximum damage you can get. You are definitely doing something wrong, for example adding brawn or is it that you are adding the 10 breach to the roll. Either way both are wrong

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Even with 5 yellows on the roll you will only ever get 10 success (assuming that the negative dice wipe) add this to base damage of 6 , I know that its possible to roll that but the chance is 1 in 6 to power of 5 multiplied by 8 to the power of 2. So its a 1 in 64 chance of blanking 2 purple die, so roughly 1 roll in half a million will get 16 DMG from 5 yellow vs 2 purple , and without boost die this is maximum damage you can get. You are definitely doing something wrong, for example adding brawn or is it that you are adding the 10 breach to the roll. Either way both are wrong

Don't see where he said that the Lightsaber was a 6 damage version.

Could be a 10 damage version.

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It's from the original post

In addition, since his brawn is so high he does devastating damage to the bad guys, dishing out 15 + damage regularly with his base 6 damage lightsaber that ignores 10 pts of soak on a hit.

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Yesh 8 players there's your first problem. Most table tops are built around a 4 player party, the further you get beyond that the harder it is to challenge your players because the number of actions they get starts to get absurd and the amount of skill range they cover leads little that at least one player wont be good at. Personally I'm running 6 and even that can be challenging at times so next time you might just say no to a few people, it sucks but if you include this many players there just aren't a lot of fixes that said lets see what we can do for now.

-First and foremost you need to solve that number of players issue, so even with premades you need to add more enemies, NPC minion groups are great for this in that they're expendable and a group of 6 has 5 skill and can do so pretty scary rolls.

-Next you want to add opportunities for the party to split up, maybe they get multiple leads and id suggest talking to your party out of game to encourage them to do this if they're not biting and simply say it makes them more manageable for you as a GM if they try and play along with this occasionally.

Consider using destiny points to do this or maybe have some minions hit a blast door cutting off the melee from the ranged or the bad guy runs while the minion groups cover their retreat. Have the bad guy call for reinforcements.

-Make them fight in small corridors or confined space which means not all of them can be shooting at once without risk of hitting their allies, etc.

-Also remember a nemesis gets a normal turn and then another turn at the end of each round, this is a rule often overlooked but makes nemesis's a lot more deadly.

-Consider using weapons with blast to hit multiple players at once. Grenades are pretty common for a storm trooper be they frags for war or stun for crowds.

-Use the environment to your advantage perhaps crowds of panicked citizens are running about trying to avoid gunfire, that's sure to increase difficulty or add setback to avoid shooting them and possibly even make terrain rough while enemies not so concerned with their safety don't suffer those setbacks.

-This said that many armed individuals some swinging lightsabers is going to bring some massive attention, we're talking military response as that's basically a moderately sized mercenary band. Armored vehicles, storm troopers with fully automatic weapons maybe even vehicular response all likely led by an inquisitor. Don't be vindictive but let them realize that they're always potentially outnumbered and need to go about things carefully, while walking around with 8 heavily armed and armoured individuals is a giant kill me sign. Not to mention that many people is intimidating even to people they don't want to intimidate i.e. Shop owners flipping the closed sign, people avoiding talking to them; etc if they look like a kill squad.

I'll try and think up more but this is what I had off the top of my head, best of luck.

Edited by Dark Bunny Lord

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Agreed my group has to sometimes leave weapons at home cause if you saw 4 heavy blasters rifles walking around town people tend to avoid you. That said my character usually has to not wear armor in public places or wear armor of a different quality than my main armor. Also making sure my lightsaber is in a concealed holster like a wizards pouch so you can't just see it.

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Even with 5 yellows on the roll you will only ever get 10 success (assuming that the negative dice wipe) add this to base damage of 6 , I know that its possible to roll that but the chance is 1 in 6 to power of 5 multiplied by 8 to the power of 2. So its a 1 in 64 chance of blanking 2 purple die, so roughly 1 roll in half a million will get 16 DMG from 5 yellow vs 2 purple , and without boost die this is maximum damage you can get. You are definitely doing something wrong, for example adding brawn or is it that you are adding the 10 breach to the roll. Either way both are wrong

Don't see where he said that the Lightsaber was a 6 damage version.

Could be a 10 damage version.

 

It is a base 6 dmg lightsaber.

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Yeah highest damage output on a Saber comes from the atraue career where you add linked quality to Saber attacks. A person with 3 or 4 force rating can down almost anything which is why gms need to find ways to keep players from just going Gung ho with use of force. your players need to also have morality points thrown at them if they are wanton to use violence for every problem. Same for obligation start throwing criminal and bounties on them and throw people of the same or greater caliber at them as well.

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Yeah highest damage output on a Saber comes from the atraue career where you add linked quality to Saber attacks. A person with 3 or 4 force rating can down almost anything which is why gms need to find ways to keep players from just going Gung ho with use of force. your players need to also have morality points thrown at them if they are wanton to use violence for every problem. Same for obligation start throwing criminal and bounties on them and throw people of the same or greater caliber at them as well.

 

To be fair, a nemesis can just sacrifice a minion for each hit and be totally fine. Hurray for squadron and squad rules. And a autofire blaster rifle can deal similar amounts of damage for similar amounts of advantages. And a swoop ganger on his swoop bike might out damage both of them with his quad-blaster cannons and micro-torpedo tubes. 

 

Against groups of rivals sarlacc sweep might actually do even better than saber swarm. Though I guess using the saber swarm maneuver together with sarlacc sweep becomes downright devastating against enemy groups. 

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