Jump to content
Powermind

This game seems a bit light on defensive options? [SPOILERS]

Recommended Posts

I seem to have a small problem when it comes to making adversaries last in a fight. If you have a NPC who is not combat oriented, there is very little they can do to affect the their own chances of survival in a fight. You either need to have talents (Dodge/Sidestep) or some sort of very good armor to make it difficult for a properly combat-trained PC to  dispatch them with ease.

Specific example: Don't want to spoil more than needed, but for example in one of the last fights in "The Jewel of Yavin", one NPC is supposed to fight until they reach about 13 wounds. The problem is that this easily happends in the first two seconds of the fight since they have no armor, little cover and no useful defensive abilities (there is Adversary, but that is nowhere near enough). And they won't be able to escape any time soon without a miracle happening.

This also affects the PCs of course. Those not trained in combat have very little chance except taking cover and trying to stay out of harm's way.

Does anyone have any tips for making it easier to defend? For example an "evasive action" for character fights? I have other problems with evasive action but that might be a start?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The absolute best way to deal with this is the Squad/Squadron rules from the AoR GM screen. Other methods depend on the character, Adversary helps more than you would think, so does making sure the npc can stay at Long range.

Then there’s other factors so there should not always be the opportunity to initiate combat, for example crowded streets should deter the party from fighting. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Combat in this game is designed to be quick and generally very dangerous, both to PCs and NPCS as you noted.  One of the complaints of WotC's various d20 versions was that combats could drag on as each side tried to burn through the ever-increasing quantities of hit points they had; Saga Edition at least developed a neat workaround via the condition track, though that too spawned problems with "condition track killer" builds.

Frankly, the best thing an NPC that's not a combat expert can do to survive a fight is to simply get out of there as soon as possible, even if it means stealing the first NPC initiative slot to do so.  While I don't think it's not really directly specified, you do pretty much need line of sight in order to attack someone, and if the NPC is out of sight, then the PCs can't attack them.

Squad rules as Richardbuxton mentioned are one solution, but a generally simpler one is just have a Rival or two that's nearby with a special quality that lets them effectively take the shot on the important NPCs behalf, or give the important NPC a special ability that lets them direct a successful attack to instead affect someone on his side instead so long as the new target is within short range.

Or simplest of all, stock them up on ranks of Adversary.  While the intent of the talent is to make NPCs with the talent into tougher challenges, there's nothing saying you as the GM can't use it to reflect an NPC whose got very good survival instincts and knows the best times to duck to avoid getting blasted, or just has a very well-developed blend of self-preservation instincts and innate cowardice that lets them avoid danger ("Are you sure it's a trap?" "I always think everything's a trap, it's why I'm still alive.")  Between Adversary ranks and cover (both regular and superior cover) as well as not sticking around any longer than they need to, that should help keep your wimpy but important NPCs alive.

There's also the matter of giving the PCs more dangerous opposition that if not dealt with will hurt them badly.  I had one group back in the early days of EotE learn this lesson the hard way, ignoring a pair of stormtroopers (Rivals equipped with heavy blaster rifles) in favor of focusing on an Imperial officer they had a grudge against; the Imp survived the PC's attacks (thanks in part to a special ability that allowed him to direct a successful hit to an Stormtrooper minion within short range), and then the PCs got torn up by the two autofire-using Rivals to the point they wound up fleeing after two of the party (including one of the heavy hitters) got dropped outright and the rest were dangerously close to their wound thresholds.  It brought to light that stormtroopers were no longer the disposable low-threat cannon fodder that they'd been in previous RPGs, and that sometimes it's better to focus on the lackeys first before taking on the major baddie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanx for the replies, some good things to think about. We've never played the WotC editions, but we are used to the old WEG stuff where you could usually "full dodge" your way out of the action. :) I guess that's why I feel there should be an easy way to make yourself get harder to hit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, Powermind said:

but we are used to the old WEG stuff where you could usually "full dodge" your way out of the action. :) I guess that's why I feel there should be an easy way to make yourself get harder to hit.

Thing to consider is that including any sort of "full dodge" action in this game is going to cause the combats to draw out.  I saw this with WEG as well, with more than a few PCs just doing "full dodges" and simply being nothing more than an extra target for the bad guys to shoot at and often drawing out the combat to be much longer than it needed to be.  And to be frank, I find it incredibly lazy as it results in a timid player having their character pretty much be divorced from the encounter as a whole.

Plus, it's boring for those PCs who aren't good at combat to simply waste their turns each round declaring "I do a full dodge" round after round.  By not including such a thing, it forces the players of those characters to get creative in how they can contribute to a combat encounter beyond doing assists and seeking out cover.

Granted, a part of that also falls upon the GM to allow the players to get creative and find unusual or unorthodox ways that a non-combat PC can contribute using skills that normally don't have a combat slant to them.  If you as the GM are only allowing PCs to employ combat skills during a combat encounter, and per-emptively shut down any efforts by players to find or employ solutions that don't require a combat check, then that's on you.

Unless you've got a completely unimaginative group of players, once you start encouraging them to think outside of the realm of combat skills to find ways to deal with bad guys in an encounter, and to employ the skills they are good at, they'll quickly come around and start devising their own methods of using their skills in various ways during a combat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a sort of "full dodge" action available to Force-using characters: the Protect power, which lets you trade your action for a pretty hefty shield against attacks.  In fact, I let my PCs narrate Protect as taking an all-out defense stance if they want to think of it that way.  Makes more sense to me in lightsaber combat especially than using the Force to block attacks with your hand every time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, DaverWattra said:

There is a sort of "full dodge" action available to Force-using characters: the Protect power, which lets you trade your action for a pretty hefty shield against attacks.  In fact, I let my PCs narrate Protect as taking an all-out defense stance if they want to think of it that way.  Makes more sense to me in lightsaber combat especially than using the Force to block attacks with your hand every time.

That would be more accurately covered by the Sense upgrade that allows you to upgrade the difficulty of an opponent’s attack. Narratively, Protect is more like what Yoda did in absorbing Force Lightening with his hands, or Mace blocking it with his lightsaber, or Vader stopping Han’s blaster bolt in the palm of his hand. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/22/2018 at 5:25 AM, Powermind said:

I seem to have a small problem when it comes to making adversaries last in a fight. If you have a NPC who is not combat oriented, there is very little they can do to affect the their own chances of survival in a fight. You either need to have talents (Dodge/Sidestep) or some sort of very good armor to make it difficult for a properly combat-trained PC to  dispatch them with ease.

Does anyone have any tips for making it easier to defend? For example an "evasive action" for character fights? I have other problems with evasive action but that might be a start?

Good question!  I think the most obvious example that comes to mind is the Imperial Officer.  Dressed in officer clothes, he goes down like almost nothing.  The PC's always target the officer, anyways.  Squad Rules is almost a must. 

Browsing through the character descriptions, officers usually get something like Tactical Direction, Overwhelming Fire, Field Commander, etc... All the fellow Troopers getting free maneuvers (to aim) or free actions every round can help a lot.  It also helps to add a 'second' officer to the mix.  Have both of them bark out orders and give all the troopers double-boons. 

Another option is to not make the officer (or, easy target npc) available to target.  He is behind a barrier giving orders, not on the front line. He'll last longer if he isn't a target on the battlefield.  Lastly, when all his minions are gone, then have him surrender.  It puts the PC's to the test, morally. Plus, its fun to berate & insult the PC's as they keep him along. The officers, after all, are more lawful-evil, not lawful-stupid (to use an old D&D saying).  Why would they throw themselves into danger so easily?  He has an estate back on Coruscant to look after.  Looking forward to retirement some day, he is. 

The problem with adding on ranks of Adversary is that when you look in the books, people like Rebel Commanders get Adversary 2, so throwing it around all willy-nilly seems to be against the spirit of the game.  

 

 

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.


×
×
  • Create New...