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Simplified Adversaries

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Simplified Adversaries

Assigning characteristics and skill ranks to adversaries can sometimes be time-consuming. In the Cypher system, adversaries are defined by a single target number that PCs must roll to succeed at any skill check against that adversary. That target number is then modified when the adversary has some special ability or weakness. This approach makes NPC creation very quick and focused(I find it cuts the process in about half), and minimizes bookkeeping.

For a typical adversary, you only need to record a small amount of information: the adversary's difficulty pool, its soak, and its wounds. You can give the adversary gear, which I recommend keeping to a minimum. You can also include "modifications," circumstances under which the adversary's difficulty pool changes.

An example statblock for a simple adversary:

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The two purple dice next to the merchant's name indicate his difficulty pool -- this is the difficulty PCs roll against for any tasks relating to the merchant. Invert it (change purples to greens and reds to yellows), and you have the pool the merchant rolls for any of his skill checks. Modifications indicate the merchant's difficulty pool for merchanty things -- the merchant is an average human overall, but is quite skilled at tasks related to his profession.

More complex adversaries also make for easier bookkeeping. This is the Blitzer (adapted directly from Numenera):

image.thumb.png.13302a44dfc3e494ac2b364e684c3666.png

Rather than having to track six characteristics and as many skills, you just worry about the one difficulty/skill pool. If you expect the Blitzer to be around for more than one scene, you can include additional Modifications as you see fit, and there's nothing wrong with changing the difficulty pool on the fly for certain tasks when it makes sense (if, for some reason, the Blitzer had to make a Computers check, it probably wouldn't make sense to roll ◆◆).

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A couple more converted adversaries, this time a Nemesis and a Minion:

Enthraller (Nemesis) ⬢⬢

Soak: 4

Wounds: 12 Strain: 20

Attack: Damage 5, Crit 4; see Combat

Modifications: Perception and detecting falsehoods ⬢⬢◆◆◆

Combat: An enthraller usually relies on dominated minions to make physical attacks on its behalf. An enthraller can make a psychic attack on a creature within short range as an action. On a failed Discipline roll, the target acts as the enthraller mentally commands on its next action. If the same target is affected by this dominating attack a second time within a minute, the enthraller’s mental control lasts until the enthraller’s concentration is broken.

Alternatively, as its action, an enthraller can emit a psychic burst that can target up to three creatures in short range. Each victim makes a Discipline roll; on a failure, they suffer 4 points of damage, ignoring Soak, and are unable to take actions on their subsequent turn and grant ■■ to any attack rolls against them. The enthraller’s attack is a form of mental feeding. If it brings a PC above their Wound Threshold, the enthraller regains 4 points of health.

Interaction:  An enthraller can communicate telepathically with characters within short range. It tries to mentally dominate whoever it runs across and will negotiate only with characters who are strong enough to harm it. Even if an enthraller makes a deal, it eventually reneges if it senses any advantage for doing so because it implicitly believes that other creatures are cattle.

 

Goblin (Minion) ◆◆

Soak: 2

Wounds: 3

Attack: Damage 4, Crit 2; see Combat

Modifications:  Tasks related to perception, stealth, and setting traps ◆◆◆

Combat: Goblins attack from the shadows with ambushes and hit-and-run tactics. In the first round of a successful ambush, goblins attack as ◆◆ creatures and deal 2 additional points of damage, and they attempt to draw larger prey into traps they’ve previously set. They often flee in the face of real danger.

Interaction: Goblins are lying tricksters but can be cowed into cooperating for short periods.

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This is a nice idea. It reminds me a little of the way the user Plarfem did adversaries in his pre-Genesys fantasy conversion of SWRPG. He basically had something akin to 4E D&D roles like artillery, skirmishers, bruisers, etc, that used the same simplified stats, then you would add 1 fluff type special ability or tweak  based on race or monster type. I've co=opted it on occasion in Genesys when making up encounters on the fly, it makes things fairly easy to run without dumbing it down too much.

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8 hours ago, Myrrik said:

I like the simplified Stat block - Does make things much easier.

 

Just curious - On the Conversion of the Blitzer above, how did you come up with the numbers? The Soak and Damage etc.

I sort of just eyeballed it. Here's the Cypher statblock for reference. Soak in Genesys is usually a few points higher than in Cypher, whereas Wounds are usually a little lower than Cypher's HP ratings. I don't think there should be a hard-and-fast rule for converting, since Cypher NPCs have a much wider variance in armor/hp/damage (as well as to-hit target numbers, which Genesys usually doesn't modify at all) than Genesys adversaries do.

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I always liked Heroquest 2 for that. Monsters just had a list of what abilities/Powers were important and a "Difficulty" rating for the Challenge to the players. Made converting monsters from other settings really easy.

Its the only part of Genesys i'm having trouble with, is coming up with a Bestiary for my setting. Its not always easy to look at a monster and translate it over to another system and make it statistically workable.

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15 minutes ago, Myrrik said:

I always liked Heroquest 2 for that. Monsters just had a list of what abilities/Powers were important and a "Difficulty" rating for the Challenge to the players. Made converting monsters from other settings really easy.

Its the only part of Genesys i'm having trouble with, is coming up with a Bestiary for my setting. Its not always easy to look at a monster and translate it over to another system and make it statistically workable.

 

shameless plug -- https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/283340-monstercreature-spreadsheet/

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This is an excellent idea. I'll probably expand into this as it's similar to my go-to solution which has been use a Challenge and two Difficulty for mostly all NPC-acting checks.  

(My idea being that an NPC skilled in a thing typically has 3 in that Characteristic, and at least 1 Rank in the skill.)

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