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DocIII

Acolytes and power level

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 @ Requete

I once read that the test of another man's intelligence is how much he agrees with you.   By that standard on this topic you're a freakin' genius.

I agree with your entire above post, however I would like to specifically expand on the point quoted below.

@ All

Requete said:

 

The whole idea of "enemy powercreep" or "where are all the orcs?" syndrome (you only see wuss monsters at Level Wuss, and then you only see extreme monsters at Level Extreme) has always bothered me. It's one of those things where you can "see the sound boom in the shot"... i.e. where the virtual world is exposed as purely fictional and you lose the appeal of exploring and interacting with it.

 

 

100% agreement.  

I have always had a problem with this "The GM should balance the power of the enemies to the power of the PCs" trope that many GMs and players have adopted.  I find it to be a load of crap. 

NPCs, whether allies, enemies or bystanders should be of a power level that makes sense for who they are and where they fit into the setting. 

If a bunch of rank 1 PCs are trying to infiltrate a planetary governor's place, the guards ahould be appropriately competent/powerful to be the guards at that palace, and furthermore should be exactly as powerful as they would be if the PCs were rank 5.  The result being that this task is easier for the Rank 5 guys.

Altering the power level of the enemies to always match up with that of the PCs is artificial and doesn't make narative sense.  If rank 1 players are stupid enough to jump a carnifex or an Astartes Chapter Master instead of running like hell then they deserve to get mulched.  The only time this sort of thing is the GM's fault is if the GM forces the PCs into a situation way over their heads with no way out.

On the other hand Acolytes are generally sent on missions by a superior.  If their superior regularly sends them on missions way over their competence level, then he either 1) has more faith in them then they deserve, 2) wants the mission to fail, or 3) considers them expendable. (or 4, as has come up at least once in my campaign, simply doesn't have anyone else he can spare for that particular task)

This stays in control and sanity by the GM asking this question whenever stating up an NPC: "does this make sense for who this NPC is and what he's doing?"

For example: The PCs piss off someone who has a lot of money, so he sends a hitman after them.  Hitmen cost money.  Rich guys get that way by not wasting their money.  So its unlikely that on the first try the rich guy will shell out for the necessary bribes to have aomeone with the authority to do so thaw out an Eversor to send after them.  Instead, he's going to hire local talent who's prices are more reasonable, but is competent (or at least believed to be the guy hiring) to do the job.  Likely result, a hitman who is fairly dangerous, but not ridiculously so. 

Is this b/c the GM is trying to "balance the power level of the encounter" ?  No, its because he's doing what makes sense for the setting and story.

Example 2:  From my campaign - 1 character has gotten in way over his head w/ some mysterious and dangerous people.  (He chose to get involved with them when they said they could get him out of his troubles when he was arrested for impersonating an imperial arbitrator...long story) These mysterious folk order Nihilus Eisen (the PC) to assassinate an important Navigator who was visiting on planet.  They gave him a four day window to do the job and no further instruction other than if necessary the planetary governor (who the navi was on planet to see) was acceptable collateral damage.   

At this point Eisen's player had several options. He could refuse the job and face the consequences (implied the people sending him would kill him), he could go to the other acolytes and come clean and ask for help, he could sneak around assess the target and try to come up with a plan.  Instead he went in half-cocked and got captured.  While being interrrogated he escaped, fought his way through the navigator's guards and finished the job.  However, in order to do so, he had to fight approximately 40 troops better armed and more skilled than himself (well at least at the beginning, he stole gear off the first few so came close to equal) including 5 power-armored troops, and face the navigator herself.

Now in stating/figuring numbers and organization for the Navi's security force I just went with what I felt was the appropriate power level for the troops guarding a fairly senior/important member of a navigator house. (which is why their stats ended up mostly better than his)  The character got himself into a situation way over his head and I wasn't going to downgrade it for the sake of "balancing encounter power level".  That would be like making the Secret Service a bunch of blind bumbling idiots just because the folks folks making an assassination attempt  happened to be 12 year olds with slingshots.

Given the dire circumstances, by normal probability and looking at the numbers, Eisen should have been in dead,dead, dead burn a fate point to wake up crippled in a cell territory.  Due to judicious use of Fate Points (he had 4, used them all), a daemonic pact for survival that makes him much tougher than he has any right to be, knowing how to take cover, and most significantly raw stinking luck (with all eyes on the dice for six hours or so of gameplay in heavy combat he rolled 20 or less on approx. 5 out of every 6 rolls) he not only survived but was victorious. 

If the power-level of the opposition had been downgraded to to reflect that he was only high rank 2/ low rank 3 at the time this would not have been nearly the nail-biting, edge of the seat insanity that it was. 

The point being, the power level of the opposition should be based on what makes sense given the situation.  Not how powerful the PCs are.  If the PCs think that a situation is too dangerous/ememies too strong to handle then they should look for alternatives.  If the PCs are unwilling to be aware enough of their surroundings to attempt to evaluate the danger level of things around them, then they've asked for whatever they get.

If it makes sense for the badguys to have a meltagun, give them a meltagun, don't hold off because the PC's are not yet "high enough level" to deal with being shot at by one.

As the PCs get more powerful should the missions they are assigned be more challenging? Sure.  But that should be a function of their bosses recognizing their competence and that they can be used for more important/complicated situations, not a result of "encounter balance"

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Initially PC's are supposed to be red shirts in this game. They are working for the Inquisition as expendable resources. Only once they've proven themselves to the Inquisitor should they really be considered valuable assets with access to better equipment.

As far as I can see in the rules though, as soon as you get the money to buy any gun in the game you can. You're just not allowed to use it proficiently until your career opens it up to you. In some ways it does make sense for a guardsman to get earlier training to use a bolter than it would for a cleric or adept to learn the same skill.

Also it's left open that if you have the opportunity to learn a skill outside your progression or at a later rank by petitioning your GM for an elite advance. It's a simple process by which you explain how it is that you could come to learn the skill sooner and state how much xp you're willing to spend to learn it early.  If the GM agrees, you're good to go. If they do not agree, they might counter-offer with something else.

There is a lot of freedom in the game if players and GM's are open to allowing for it.

As far as sticking to the same weapons in novels and books. Both Laspistols and Autopistols are reliable. They are less prone to malfunction and ammunition is quite affordable. This is the main reason why these weapons remain popular. When bolt rounds cost as much as they do, they are not going to be too popular unless you're getting your ammo paid for by the Inquisition. It all comes down to staying within your means.

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LeBlanc13 said:

Initially PC's are supposed to be red shirts in this game. They are working for the Inquisition as expendable resources. Only once they've proven themselves to the Inquisitor should they really be considered valuable assets with access to better equipment.

 

What do you mean "initially"? Servants of the Inquisition, including the Inquisitors themselves, are always expendable resources... it's just a matter of how expendable.

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Dezmond said:

Arbentur said:

 

That being said I'm sure by now you must have taken what you see as a hum-drum drab 40k universe in Dark Heresy characters and made your own rules for Space Marines which I am interested in seeing if you do have them.

 

 

Christ no. I don't have time for that - theres an internet forum people are WRONG on!

--

That said, I think I might look at something like Rune

http://www.atlas-games.com/rune/index.php

or Agon:-

http://www.agon-rpg.com/

The idea being that players compete against each other to see whose Marine can slay the most foes. The challenge is to better your peers, rather than directly in overcoming the enviroment. The enviroment will be overcome - the question is who overcame the most of it. This sits rather nicely with the Deathwatch idea - all the Marines are working togeather, but each wishes to win glory for themselves and their own chapter.

(Agon has an interesting thing whereby every time your hero is defeated you gain Fate - the idea of the game is to score as many points as possible before your fate catches up with you).

If one insists on keeping the d100 mechanic, epic scores act as a bump to the opposition like in Heroquest. So 350 becomes 50w3. So a foe with strength 250 (50w2) loses one success level on the roll. So a critical success  becomes a normal success and a normal success becomes a fail. So if both roll 40, the Marine passes and the opponent fails.

Ideally, I'd like to keep things abstract, so one can imagine the action how you prefer (and I can have my enormous swords and clouds of enemies being throw around with each swing and others can... Not), but that might get in the way of publishing books of ever large guns and swords and sheilds. Which would be an important cornerstone of the project.

 

I enjoyed the Rune video game, good stuff, but honestly while Amber is *gasp* diceless it still has it's stats and a very open ended way of designing signiture weapons.  While as written it's all about the struggle for the throne, it would be very easy to substitute the concept of each player being part of a Deathwatch squad and doing exactly what you say: keeping things abstract while still allowing for a competative game where each one tries to out do the other by playing up their particular twist of being better in their particular stat or combination of them...and giving epic proportions of adventure and specifically crafting out that one particular enemy/enemies that may in the end best you.  It's not left to chance but to how to live out the best ending.

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N0-1_H3r3 said:

LeBlanc13 said:

Initially PC's are supposed to be red shirts in this game. They are working for the Inquisition as expendable resources. Only once they've proven themselves to the Inquisitor should they really be considered valuable assets with access to better equipment.

 

What do you mean "initially"? Servants of the Inquisition, including the Inquisitors themselves, are always expendable resources... it's just a matter of how expendable.

Nice.

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