Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Korvanus

Item Balance

Recommended Posts

Hello All,

 My friends and I are about to start up a campaign (character creation on saturday) and I can't help but feel a little uneasy about it. You see we are a group of gammers that has played most RPG's under the sun, but there is a stong optimizer inside us all. I was looking through the melee weapons today and see several weapons are out of balance. The Spear for example. It seems like the ultimate weapon. The Rapier is better than the dagger in every way (if memory serves). While this does exist in D&D, a lot of weapons find validation with certain feats, classes, or powers.

Armor is another oddity. There is no penalty for wearing armor, not even plate. So one could run, jump, backflip and balance just as easy in a suit of full platemail as in cloth? Why not add a tower shield to the equation, no penalty. Another problem this causes is there is no reason (as of right now) to not wear the highest soak armor you can get your hands on (money permitting). So if the player (and I have one) wants to wear lighter armor because that is the type of character he like, he is penalized for it? The other thing I am confused about is that armor gives defense, which to me represents avoiding getting hit, yet it also grants soak which prevents damage from being done. Isn't avoiding getting hit encompassed by your active defenses? How does wearing Robes make you more dodgey then being naked?

Anyone else run into this problem? My group are roleplayers, but we have a little optimizer in us, so I just can't see how we will get past this as is.

Thanks,

Korvanus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WFRP3e places responsibility on the group playing the game to make the choices that fit their play style and most of all it aims at having simple rules. The intent of the rules is to allow the GM discretion to place modifiers on checks based on these factors as fits the situation. Lacking that, it's up to each group to complicate the rules as they see fit instead, if they'd rather avoid the GM having discretion in these matters.

Light armor is supposed to be less protective than heavy armor. It's just how it is, people didn't wear light armor because they thought it was cool, most who could afford it went with heavier armors that provided better protection. The GM might be inclined to make the encumbrance of armor a factor in adding fatigue after several turns of fighting. This might provide some penalties to the heavy armor wearers and incentives to the light armor wearers. I've found it unnecessary in my play group to make definitive rulings on the matter, but it might help with yours.

Armor was both to prevent damage as well as to absorb damage. Plate would deflect slash attacks due to it's smooth metal surfaces. Mail would prevent piercing attacks from going through, as well as slashing damage. These are all factors that are taken into account in the defense portion of the armor. If the guy attacking is good enough, it won't make a difference, unless he's unlucky.

A robe provides defense, because as the description for it states it cloaks the body and can fool the attacker by concealing the exact position of limbs and help in concealing the movement intentions of the wearer. It's no different than using a cape to conceal your movements or foil the attacker thrusts. One defense die is no great boon.

A spear has its drawbacks, it's large (6ft - 18ft depending on make), not easily concealed, and can be inappropriate in certain circumstances. A man wearing a sword in its scabard would walk into an inn or palace without raising much suspicion, less so with a dagger, a spear on the other hand might cause some heads to turn. A spear is an effective weapon and very common throughout the ages, why should its stats be diminished when the main drawbacks to it were due to convenience and social norms? A spear is also an infantry weapon and most likely associated with the lower classes, this should affect perceptions of the characters appropriately.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lexicanum said:

WFRP3e places responsibility on the group playing the game to make the choices that fit their play style and most of all it aims at having simple rules. The intent of the rules is to allow the GM discretion to place modifiers on checks based on these factors as fits the situation. Lacking that, it's up to each group to complicate the rules as they see fit instead, if they'd rather avoid the GM having discretion in these matters.

This!

Difficulty modifiers are up to the GM according to each situations circumstances and everything can (and is encouraged to at some level) be modified.

So if your group thinks that Spears are too good you could add a "When used to parry: breaks if the opponent rolls a Chaos star (or 2 boons)" or something similar. And if a guy in plate mail tries to do backflips off a cliff the GM should assign a higher difficulty than for the guy in no armor.

I realize this may not suit every group but it keeps the rules fairly short and simple.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lexicanum pretty much hit everything on the head.

Some things are 'balanced' by roleplaying. As mentioned, a spear is rather long and awkward. Fighting in sewers, or cramped spaces, might give extra challenge dice for fighting with a spear or other large weapon, for example. It also is not something NPCs will be particular happy for you to be toting around in their shop/home/etc. For example, should you be going to a well-to-do party. It might be acceptable to wear a rapier, but probably wont be to carry around a spear.

Armor is mostly balanced by encumbrance. Heavier armors weigh a lot. You need to enforce *all* items of encumbrance, such as backpacks, bedrolls, etc. Once you do that, you'll notice that only strength 4/5 people can carry around plate armor and still have enough left to carry their supplies too. And, similar to weapons, certain armors will be more conspicous. A man in leather is a common enough sight in most places. Someone wearing platemail will stand out like a sore thumb, and probably a good target for theives (as obviously the owner has money). Lastly, the GM can easily impose misfortune dice for performing agility actions while wearing heavier armors. It's totally the perogative of the GM to assign misfortune dice for tasks as they like.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i completely agrees with you Korvanus, really the system is quite weak in the items area and i dare to say, also in the movement area. Right now, as you, i am researching as many other systems i get my hands into, to try to patch whits areas, for them being not so much unbalanced.

For answering to the other posters that says that the GM should rule the things out, using common sense or logic, it is already quite difficult to do all the neccesary things for keeping the pace of the game, without the need to reinvent the rules at each step of the gameplay. i love the game, but as it is, it needs some revamping of some areas, for being more accurate, and more balanced.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Korv: There are always a couple areas in every game that I've felt the need to balance.  In WFRP3 the things you mentioned made it into my house rulebook and for such a complex game, there are surprisingly few problems.

Re: spears - make sure you check the errata (or players guide) - make the  unreliable factor higher if need be

Here are a couple more that I use:

Armor
Poor: Metal armor grants 1 purple to swimming and coordination checks.
Average: Metal armor grants 2 black dice to swimming and coordination checks.
Superior (white): 50% encumbrance; metal grants 1 black die to swimming and coordination checks. May grant 1 fortune die to some social checks.
Heavy armor (chainmail or heavier): cannot dodge/improved dodge unless it is superior quality.

Shield Quality
Poor: No Block or Improved Block
Superior (white): 50% encumbrance

Weapons
Weapon Quality (melee)
Poor: No Parry or Improved Parry; 1 black to attack roll
Superior: grants fortune die to attack.

Ammunition Quality (cost is per bunch)
Poor: Black die to attack
Superior (white): gains pierce1; always expended.

 

Re: Thunderous blow and reckless cleave: I house rule that you can't have both of these recharging at the same time (major broken-ness otherwise)..and I'm thinking of removing both of them or lowering the bonus damage to something reasonable..otherwise you're looking at too-takishness of a character. It might be a good one to make rank-based for the bonus damage..I dunno..my party is rogues right now so it doesn't matter (grey wiz, ranald priest and a commoner).

Re: Ironbreaker: give breastplate and chain with pierce 1 instead of plate..otherwise simply ridiculous

Re: swordmaster: just make it advanced and save yourself a major headache

Does that solve most of your problems, or are there more that you are seeing?

 

jh
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

borithan said:

Still not sure making the spear have a tendency to explode was the best way to fix it.

LOL.  You just gave me an idea for a new item!  On a related note, breakable spears I think was a very good balancing fix.

:)

jh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

borithan said:

Still not sure making the spear have a tendency to explode was the best way to fix it.

 

As I recall from my experiences from medival fighting (which I practiced for a short while) a useful tequnique to counter spear fighters was to break their spears with a hard kick. This was done through parrying the spear thrust by slapping haft downwards with the sword so that the the spear tip hit the ground and then giving it a kick right above the steel tip, the spear and would turn into a quite unbalanced staff instead (which might be used as a weapon, but at least the sharp steel tip was gone) it is also a relatively easy trick to perform if you practice it. From what I have heard it is also possible to give the spear a good chop with a sword to break it (if you have a sharp sword that is, which we had not when we were practicing). More flimsy spears also run the risk of breaking when thrust  hard into something like a shield (which may be represented by poor quality spear that only need one chaos star to break).

As I see it this is what the unreliable rating represent, the risk that your opponent might break your spear or that it might break during use (therefore spearmen often had daggers/short swords as a back up weapon if I recall correctly). So I'd say that the spear became more "true" to reality if you wish, as it is a fearsome, cheap to manifacture and  dangerous weapon but with a risk of breaking (especially when facing skilled opponents that have improved defence cards).

The risk is relatively small, as you need two chaos stars to trigger the unreliable trait and since you only roll one challenge die most of the time, so it should be quite safe. Also, it is only blackpowder weapons that actually explode and cause wounds, other unreliable weapons (such as the spear) does not, they simply break and are unusable until repaired.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, I misunderstood the Unreliable trait... didn't realise the wounding effect only applied to black powder weapons. I had no problem with the spear being flimsier than other weapons, just the (now I realise mistaken) idea that it would then wound the character was a bit odd.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

dosan said:

i completely agrees with you Korvanus, really the system is quite weak in the items area and i dare to say, also in the movement area. Right now, as you, i am researching as many other systems i get my hands into, to try to patch whits areas, for them being not so much unbalanced.

 

Not weak, abstract. There's a difference. As an abstract combat system, it works fine. If you're wanting to track squares, do backflips and combat tricks, etc, it's not an ideal system.

What you call weak is an intentional design decision, not an oversight on the game's part. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Doc, the Weasel said:

 

Really, the fix was raising the CR from 2 to 3. 

Fast hand weapon equivalent for cheaper than a hand weapon was bad. CR 2 is what put it over the top.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Two words

GM Discretion

A very powerful tool to have. Playing WFRP is very different to other fantasy rpg's. The game itself is not about min-maxing it is about a quality rolpelaying experience.

Gamers that read the mechanics inside and out to try to gain some advantage do not fare well in this game as that is not the way it is designed. There is a real balance to the classes and kit alike. 

I spent many years games mastering Rolemaster and then moved over to D20. Both games had a very kit orientated feel to them and towards the end of these games it began to feel like we were playing warcraft or something.

The rule of thumb here I guess is that your players need to understand that this is a rolpeplaying game. Characters are built for flavour and enjoyment not just who hits the hardest. My players have had some difficulty adjusting but are now starting to get it. In WFRP the pen is indeed mightier than the sword (unless you encounter a Daemon of Khorne).

Armour may not make too much difference but any player who is playing a stealthy character and wants to wear plate mail should have severe situational modifiers applied. You should also be asking the player questions like "really?"

My apologies for the rant

DK

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dumas Korrigon said:

Two words

GM Discretion

A very powerful tool to have. Playing WFRP is very different to other fantasy rpg's. The game itself is not about min-maxing it is about a quality rolpelaying experience.

Gamers that read the mechanics inside and out to try to gain some advantage do not fare well in this game as that is not the way it is designed. There is a real balance to the classes and kit alike. 

I spent many years games mastering Rolemaster and then moved over to D20. Both games had a very kit orientated feel to them and towards the end of these games it began to feel like we were playing warcraft or something.

The rule of thumb here I guess is that your players need to understand that this is a rolpeplaying game. Characters are built for flavour and enjoyment not just who hits the hardest. My players have had some difficulty adjusting but are now starting to get it. In WFRP the pen is indeed mightier than the sword (unless you encounter a Daemon of Khorne).

Armour may not make too much difference but any player who is playing a stealthy character and wants to wear plate mail should have severe situational modifiers applied. You should also be asking the player questions like "really?"

My apologies for the rant

DK

 

p.s  and who really wants their character to fight with a spear!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

chrull said:

Sadly there seems to be alot of Power Gaming going on around the globe.

Keep up the roleplaying and leave the min-max to boardgaming and the digital world.

Am I the only person who doesn't see min-maxing and roleplaying as mutually exclusive? A min-maxed character can have a great deal of depth, while a poorly optimized character can be very shallow and one-dimentional.

The numbers are irrelevant to whether a character is roleplayed well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seems that you have had more positive experiences with power gamers than me. Glad for you.

The power gamers I have encountered (PCs and GMs) have not put the effort into giving the adventure and the world depth, richness and life at all.

It has always come down to gibbering about rules not being perfectly followed or complaining about that stats, weapons or spells being much better than the power player has in possession. Number crunching have overshadowed the actual acting (roleplaying) and the power gamer have tried to max out and kill the final boss/obstacle before anyone else or beat everybody around the table in stats, loot or fame.

If the megalomani have been the character's personality, I would have been thrilled. But it seldom is so. And I played in alot of different enviroments (age, personalities and countries).

The group I am running at the moment in WFRP, is really good at having a good time and not going for the ultimate combo or such things. And they do put on a good show for me and for each other.

They actually shun people that are power gamers and usually those people are not welcomed into the group.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

chrull said:

Seems that you have had more positive experiences with power gamers than me. Glad for you.

The power gamers I have encountered (PCs and GMs) have not put the effort into giving the adventure and the world depth, richness and life at all.

What you are talking about are bad roleplayers. They may also min-max, but that's something else.

At least, I think there should be a distinction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Doc, the Weasel said:

chrull said:

 

Seems that you have had more positive experiences with power gamers than me. Glad for you.

The power gamers I have encountered (PCs and GMs) have not put the effort into giving the adventure and the world depth, richness and life at all.

 

 

What you are talking about are bad roleplayers. They may also min-max, but that's something else.

At least, I think there should be a distinction.

 

I do hope your are right about your distinction. I'm very sceptical, but I do hope you are right.

Ek An Dok Un Gand. Or Baraz. (Khazalid)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 In my time, I have met poor roleplayers who min-maxed, good roleplayers who min-maxed, bad roleplayers who never min-maxed, and good roleplayers who never min-maxed.

But I must say, that amongst the good roleplayers, the majority didn't try to min-max, and amongst the poor roleplayers the majority tried to min-max at every chance they got.

Amongst the poor roleplayers, the majority wanted to argue rules, while playing, and the majority of good roleplayers discussed rule issues after the session had ended.

 

This does not mean that poor roleplayers min-max, or that good roleplayers wont min-max, but my experience tells me someone who starts out by min-maxing, will almost certainly also turn out to be a poor roleplayer, while one who doesn't care about min-maxing, will often prove to be a good roleplayer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Doc, the Weasel said:

 

Am I the only person who doesn't see min-maxing and roleplaying as mutually exclusive? A min-maxed character can have a great deal of depth, while a poorly optimized character can be very shallow and one-dimentional.

The numbers are irrelevant to whether a character is roleplayed well.

No, I agree with you. We have a min-maxed character in our group, but that doesn't prevent the player from adding to the fun and roleplaying really well. But it depends a lot on the person, I've met (and played with) many min-maxers who almost only play to "level up".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My two cents...

As long as the game is generally (Its diifcult all the time) fun for everyone I cant see any problem with min-max.

I know a player that I would consider a min-max'er but he does make a serious attempt to roleplay his character, part of the fun for this player is the 'build' of his character and making it as optimal as possible.

With regards to spears.....

I like the spear breaking rule, seems fun :)

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...