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Kirium

Need help handling strong player.

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Posted (edited)

Hi everyone, first time posting on the forums with a question!

I am currently GMing for a Knight lvl group of around 600+ EXP and over 24 game sessions, however I have found myself in a situasion where balancing encounters are darn near impossible.
In the party do I have a trigger happy sniper that has min-maxed his talents and skills perfectly to become a one-shot killing beast (Assassin + Sharpshooter tree).
He runs around the sessions doing over 20-30 dmg with +70 Vicous crits due to talents, dices and modifed weapons. Needles to say he is one-shoting everything. Including bosses like inquisitors WITH Reflect power. Even Boba Fett was almost killed when I brought him into the game. 
The reason he can do this specificly is because of all the talents like "Deadly Accuracy", "Precise Aim", "Targeted Blow", "Lethal BLows", etc stacking. So he spends every action/manouver he have simply flipping destiny points and suffering strain to deal tons of dmg. Oh and he never gets any threats or Despair since his dice pool is just out of this world. (Aka 5 Agility, 5 Ranged Heavy, 4 Accruate on weapon, Pierce etc.)
But since the rest of the party are nowhere near that strenght do I find myself having balancing problems.  Hence the following questions:

1. Can "sniper elite" do these many active talants at once? Also the narrative aspect of wiping "legions" of Strormtroopers with just a sniper seems a bit... far fetches? - "My lord... is that..... legal???"

2. How can I balance the game better with this in mind? 

3. Is there a cap on how much strain you can recover with advantages during combat? Because if we tie in this with the whole dicepool problem of the sniper he never runs out of strain to keep doing his shenanigans.

Edited by Kirium

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On 4/24/2020 at 7:06 PM, Kirium said:

3. Is there a cap on how much strain you can recover with advantages during combat? Because if we tie in this with the whole dicepool problem of the sniper he never runs out of strain to keep doing his shenanigans.

In AoR/EotE, it is not noted that you can only select it once. However, in FaD it is noted that that option can only be selected once.

You mention that he never gets any Despair. Are you aware that Triumph doesn't cancel out Despair? It is possible to have both Triumph and Despair on the same check.

One way to handle this is to give them a taste of their own medicine. I'll bet they haven't stacked durability and defense bonus all that much if they are so hyperfocused on one-shotting things. I don't know what style of campaign you're playing, but perhaps a bounty hunter or elite sniper is assigned to hunt them down. If they get hit for 20-30 damage with a +70 crit, 1, it takes them out of combat for a while. 2, they may rethink their life. 3, they may die. I am not generally a proponent of just killing off characters, but if it is really that out of hand (meaning relative to the other PCs), it may be the best solution. The pros of this (especially if you stack stealth abilities and bonuses, concealment, darkness, equipment, etc.) is that it becomes a game of cat-and-mouse. The other PCs will be trying to draw the sniper out, the PC sniper will be trying to avoid getting one-shotted himself, it adds tension to the game, and it may give the player a cautionary tale about, "if you can do it, the GM can too." Remember, it is as much a game of seeing the opponent as it is a game of actually shooting them.
Here's a fun sniper rifle if you're looking for something to hit them with: Modded Verpine Heavy Shatter Rifle (Gunnery; 16; 2; Accurate 2, Knockdown, Pierce 6, Superior, Telescopic Optical Sight, Laser Sight, Multi-Optic Sight). Stack gear like Tracker's Goggles on the sniper, then introduce environmental conditions to provide concealment, put the encounter at Extreme range, give the sniper a holographic ghillie suit and a blind and add some good cover. Defense can only go up to four, but I can see an argument for saying that you subtract the PC's abilities and such before capping, not after.

A better way to handle this may be to simply talk to them and explain your issue. Hopefully they'll be reasonable and you can see about retiring or re-building the character.

To dampen their ability to slaughter minion groups, use the squad rules (RotS, AoR GM kit). Basically, they give a Rival or Nemesis a squad of minions that don't get an attack unless the character rolls really well, but they take hits for their boss and 1 hit=1 kill, no matter the damage. You can't take out multiple ones in a single hit.

Another way is to spam many small minion groups. They'll get many more attacks, even if they have smaller pools, but they'll be very hard for the sniper to kill (does the sniper use Auto-Fire by any chance? If not, DON'T mention it to them. It'll get worse).

If you put the character in situations where their chosen focus is pretty much useless, it may give the other players a time to shine and may make them rethink their hyperfocused approach.

Using the force: If the character has a low Discipline, use Misdirect to convince them they're seeing something that isn't there or to be completely unable to see the opponent. They can't shoot what doesn't exist.

 

These are my thoughts on the matter. Sorry for the rambling word salad. I hope it's helpful, but it's too disorganized for me to try to edit it.

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This was posted this a few years ago and I struggled across it.  It will make things more difficult on the weaker combat members of the group but it can help a major nemesis survive in the fight a bit longer.  He added a new talent for NPCs only, like adversary...

Tenacious (upgrade the number of advantages needed to score a critical hit against the target a number of times equal to his ranks in Tenacious and may reduce a critical injury result he suffers by 10 per rank of Tenacious)

Also create scenarios where he doesn't have the room or the line of site to bring in the big guns.  It won't work on all scenarios but the point is to pull it on major bosses.  He gets to wipe out the entire base full of minions while the others run into face the boss in smaller venues.

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Posted (edited)

I am 100% against give him a taste of his own medicine thing.

My recommendation as a GM, shift the focus of your sessions away from combat! There are so many fun things to do in a RPG but combat.

 

When combat is necessary, or you are in the mod for some shooting, design the combat encounter so that the players have to do something different than killing everything to be succesful.

This is the way...

Edited by Yepesnopes

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2 hours ago, P-47 Thunderbolt said:

In AoR/EotE, it is not noted that you can only select it once. However, in FaD it is noted that that option can only be selected once.

You mention that he never gets any Despair. Are you aware that Triumph doesn't cancel out Despair? It is possible to have both Triumph and Despair on the same check.

One way to handle this is to give them a taste of their own medicine. I'll bet they haven't stacked durability and defense bonus all that much if they are so hyperfocused on one-shotting things. I don't know what style of campaign you're playing, but perhaps a bounty hunter or elite sniper is assigned to hunt them down. If they get hit for 20-30 damage with a +70 crit, 1, it takes them out of combat for a while. 2, they may rethink their life. 3, they may die. I am not generally a proponent of just killing off characters, but if it is really that out of hand (meaning relative to the other PCs), it may be the best solution. The pros of this (especially if you stack stealth abilities and bonuses, concealment, darkness, equipment, etc.) is that it becomes a game of cat-and-mouse. The other PCs will be trying to draw the sniper out, the PC sniper will be trying to avoid getting one-shotted himself, it adds tension to the game, and it may give the player a cautionary tale about, "if you can do it, the GM can too." Remember, it is as much a game of seeing the opponent as it is a game of actually shooting them.
Here's a fun sniper rifle if you're looking for something to hit them with: Modded Verpine Heavy Shatter Rifle (Gunnery; 16; 2; Accurate 2, Knockdown, Pierce 6, Superior, Telescopic Optical Sight, Laser Sight, Multi-Optic Sight). Stack gear like Tracker's Goggles on the sniper, then introduce environmental conditions to provide concealment, put the encounter at Extreme range, give the sniper a holographic ghillie suit and a blind and add some good cover. Defense can only go up to four, but I can see an argument for saying that you subtract the PC's abilities and such before capping, not after.

 

I was accually not aware  that a Triumph dosen't cancel out a Dispair. I had my suspicions but never really played on it. Thanks for the info!

And I might just try to use the sniper. Maybe less to kill the player but to give our dear "sniper elite" a challange and his own "nemesis" of some sort. This way maybe I can redirect his focus from enemies the rest of the group would be better suited to handle. In other words give the players some time to shine.

 

2 hours ago, P-47 Thunderbolt said:

A better way to handle this may be to simply talk to them and explain your issue. Hopefully they'll be reasonable and you can see about retiring or re-building the character.

To dampen their ability to slaughter minion groups, use the squad rules (RotS, AoR GM kit). Basically, they give a Rival or Nemesis a squad of minions that don't get an attack unless the character rolls really well, but they take hits for their boss and 1 hit=1 kill, no matter the damage. You can't take out multiple ones in a single hit.

I use squads alot but have not tested to use Rivals in them due to it risking becoming to much for the rest of the PC's to handle. But I do believe I mentioned above how I was inspired to handle that ^^.

 

3 hours ago, P-47 Thunderbolt said:

Using the force: If the character has a low Discipline, use Misdirect to convince them they're seeing something that isn't there or to be completely unable to see the opponent. They can't shoot what doesn't exist.

Luckely is he EXTREMLY low Disciplined. Using the force from Inquisitors that are hunting the Force Sensetive in the group have proven quite effektive. However his respons is to just shoot immideatly when he sees them in hopes of killing them before they can do things. Luckely do I predict this and last session did I added another inquisitor that charged from stealth. Hopefully this will put some fear in him ^^'.

Thanks for the reply!

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2 hours ago, Yepesnopes said:

I am 100% against give him a taste of his own medicine thing.

My recommendation as a GM, shift the focus of your sessions away from combat! There are so many fun things to do in a RPG but combat.

 

When combat is necessary, or you are in the mod for some shooting, design the combat encounter so that the players have to do something different than killing everything to be succesful.

This is the way...

Well I try to create these moments where he is not the center of attention. Example when the group is negotiating something. Unfortunately when things turn out sour does it ussely become the classical "well anyway, I started blasting" moment where he forces an argument upon others one way or another.  It does not happen often since the rest of the group can handle out of combat scenarios, but just having "that feeling" of knowing he will kill everyone in the room if they don't agree just ticks me off sometime. 
Whats even worse is that this is beffiting of his character so I can't really blamme him for it. The player is a good friend and an excelent RPer, but his character is just so narrowminded and triggerhappy it's frustrating. Imagine an: extremly Weakminded and Shorttemperd Saw Gerrera, with a narrow vision of how to do things in order to liberate the people of the galaxy (Welp, kinda just sounds like Saw now that I type...) BUT give him the shooting skills of Deadshot from DC Comics and you have my dear Sniper, aka my best friend IRL. ^^'

Also to continue the topic of making sure to do more things outside of combat, the rest of the group look to the sniper for solutions both in and out of game. Most likely due to his character having ties with the Rebel Alliance and because of his prior RPG experience. This has given him a leader role where he is in command of a growing Alliance in the Outer Rim. My only concern is how far he will go before conquering the Galaxy...

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4 hours ago, Kirium said:

Well I try to create these moments where he is not the center of attention. Example when the group is negotiating something. Unfortunately when things turn out sour does it ussely become the classical "well anyway, I started blasting" moment where he forces an argument upon others one way or another.  It does not happen often since the rest of the group can handle out of combat scenarios, but just having "that feeling" of knowing he will kill everyone in the room if they don't agree just ticks me off sometime. 
Whats even worse is that this is beffiting of his character so I can't really blamme him for it. The player is a good friend and an excelent RPer, but his character is just so narrowminded and triggerhappy it's frustrating. Imagine an: extremly Weakminded and Shorttemperd Saw Gerrera, with a narrow vision of how to do things in order to liberate the people of the galaxy (Welp, kinda just sounds like Saw now that I type...) BUT give him the shooting skills of Deadshot from DC Comics and you have my dear Sniper, aka my best friend IRL. ^^'

Also to continue the topic of making sure to do more things outside of combat, the rest of the group look to the sniper for solutions both in and out of game. Most likely due to his character having ties with the Rebel Alliance and because of his prior RPG experience. This has given him a leader role where he is in command of a growing Alliance in the Outer Rim. My only concern is how far he will go before conquering the Galaxy...

First of all, you or your player are doing nothing wrong. The combat specializations are designed to make combat monsters once you buy lot of their talents.

Still The best way to deal with a murder hobbo character who abuse his skills is to show him he is not the only killing machine in the universe. Also threaten the rest of the group. if being beaten don't make him mature a bit, maybe the other characters would care more about their life and talk him up the next time he would want to anger the wrong person.  

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Nothing wrong with building a character to be really good at something.  Always let a player do what his character was made to do!   And, yes, trying to out-sniper him is a losing strategy.  Sure, he takes out people easily, but thanks to the system, HE can be taken out easily as well.  He does not have outrageous soak or wounds so he's vulnerable. 600+ xp is a lot, but many people play to over 1,000.  He's going to get better at what he does. 

Still, last I checked, a sniper rifle is quite long and there's probably lots of places the laws does not allow it to be taken.  Battlefields?  Yes.  Hunting areas?  Yes.  Cities & Spaceports?  NO, not usually.  At the least, he'd have to get a license for it to carry it around legally.  ….and there's nothing like a paper trail!  

I imagine he'd become quite famous after taking out some big-time people, right?  Assassinations? He might acquire some influential enemies.  The "other" portions of his life might become quite difficult when people put the squeeze on him.  Banks freeze his accounts.  Ship can't land anywhere.  Huge bounty.   Inability to use public transportation.  Some businesses won't serve him.  A slicer sets him up. Friends or family get kidnapped, etc...  

In addition, his "mode of operation" might become well-known.  A sniper always takes that, high, advantageous spot.  Bad guys would come to learn his tendencies.  Set explosives on that rooftop, lay a trap, ambush, etc...  

I'd also think he'd become a VERY desirable "hire".  Who wouldn't want to employ him to take out a politician, enemy, or diplomat?  He probably one of the best in the galaxy.  He can make a lot of credits and a lot of enemies. Someone could even "hire" him just so they can set him up.  

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Also, if he work with the rebellion, having a trigger happy killer may work right in the Empire propaganda of saying the Rebels are just murderers and terrorists. Often civil war are won in public opinion has much as battlefields.

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Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, Kirium said:

Imagine an: extremly Weakminded and Shorttemperd Saw Gerrera

Fear checks can be a great friend, and you should use them liberally.  If he has weak Discipline and Willpower, then he should be afraid all the time.  He's the Wookiee that runs from the mouse droid.  I regularly call for Fear checks...you can do this for any "new" scenario, even if it's just "you've never been to this planet before, so you don't know which plants cause a rash".  The net effect with my player's PCs is they are pretty well-rounded.

The other term for this is "hit 'em in the dump stat".  Arrange things so he has to take action outside his comfort zone, like using that high agility to string a rope across a ravine.  Or use swarms of small creatures that are effectively immune to being sniped...wasps at close range, hordes of carnivorous lemmings at long range.

Clearly he thought some aspects of the game were "useless", so he built accordingly.  But as a GM you can easily, especially in this game, make every skill and ability testable.  Ramp up the tests on things like Resilience, Athletics, Vigilance or anything else he sucks at.

But before all that, I'd have a talk with the player.  There is nothing wrong with just saying what the problem is and how it's making your life harder.  At best he'll respond positively and maybe ask to re-adjust his character, or better yet, find a way to sacrifice the PC in a super heroic way and start with someone new.  At worst he'll act like you, the GM, exist only to be his amusement slave, in which case you'll know exactly what kind of person he is.  Personally I wouldn't tolerate that, and after an honest and open warning I'd make sure his character becomes one with the Force...or just tell him he's no longer welcome.  But that's rather drastic...most people respond positively when given a chance.

Edited by whafrog

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One other option could be encounters that generate problems by killing the enemy.  My personal favorite was when an enemy sneaked on board the PC's ship and waited in the cockpit for them to show up.  Holding an armed thermal detonator.  If they kill him, they almost guaranteed to destroy their cockpit, making escape impossible.

A similar situation could be a foe with a suicide vest and hostages.  An enemy that must be captured in order to learn critical information.  An enemy that if killed, causes huge legal problems (corporate head, politician, etc).  A friend who is either mind-controlled or under the influence of drugs.  Many challenges that could be met with violence, but violence could make the problem worse.

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Some thoughts off the top of my head;

Put him in situations where his long-range is a hindrance; cramped hallways, ship corridors etc...

Add penalties via Smoke, moving terrain etc...

Make use of Concussion weapons for stagger, Stun to add extra strain that bypasses armor, Ensare to keep him from moving.

Introduce an exceptionally attractive NPC to seduce him and steal his stuff. Or hilarious NPCs (Jawas steal **** ALL the time!).

Counter-Sniper with a Disarm talent, can;t fight if he doesn't have his gun!

Use minions as shields! There was an adapted rule I saw somewhere that if you put minions in front of a bad guy they have to kill all the minions before they can hit the Nemesis etc...

Someone shooting with a vehicle weapon from behind an armored turret...penetration only carries you so far.

GIANT MAGNETS, take his gun away....

But if you REALLY want to get mean...his overkill starts killing innocent bystanders...if he's a decent role-player he'll start re-thinking his choices the first time he looks down on a childs dead body with a blaster hole HE put in it...

...similar but less shattering; shots take out delicate and important machinery, especially now that you know Despairs don't go away...8)

"Oh well good news is your target is dead; bad news is your shot passed entirely through his body and ruptured a fuel tank that exploded and took out your escape craft..."

Also make his excess damage start costing him money, and/or additions to any existing Bounty or starting a Bounty in him...especially if the damage is to HIS side...assuming he has a side and not just a smuggler/fringer type...

There are plenty of ways to get creative in limiting his opportunities for overkill...8)

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On 4/29/2020 at 5:02 PM, Kirium said:

... And I might just try to use the sniper. Maybe less to kill the player but to give our dear "sniper elite" a challange and his own "nemesis" of some sort. This way maybe I can redirect his focus from enemies the rest of the group would be better suited to handle. In other words give the players some time to shine. ...

If you haven’t seen it, “Enemy at the Gates” was a German vs Russian sniper movie that might give you some good ideas for this.

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Also random have passerbyes shout "I VILL BREAK YOU!" then vanish...

...or a Bounty Hunter taking Potshots in various areas then fading away...make sure he is constantly without sleep just to up the paranoia!

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Talk to him is the best approach, I had to have this talk with an autofire sharpshooter.  I warned him to deal with your character I will have to make the bad guys strong, and if you not there the rest of the party won't be a now to handle them.

Besides talking, one thing I did is send the group to a planet that outlawed ranged weapons, so he had to pick up melee or risk getting him and his group arrested. 

Break or steal his gun, but with all those talents it will slow him down versus stop him.

Lots of in game possibilities,  but talk to him and the group.  Maybe this style is bothering the rest of the group as well. If the group agrees then his play style may not work for the group.

Good luck that can be a difficult conversation.

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