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Yepesnopes

Action Cards balance

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Hello,

I would appreciate some comments / criticism on the following.

I am trying to bring some balance to some action cards (the other option would be banning some of them from the game).

Acrobatic Strike C: Disarming an opponent was very easy with this card as compared to the Disarm action card.

Reckless Cleave A & C, Troll Feller Strike A & C and Giant Feller Strike A & C: Probably the most powerfull melee action cards in the game. The "bug" I find this cards have is due to the fact that they rely on depriving the PC from using Active Defences, but we all know that Soak is what matters not active defences. In my opinion any highly armoured character (knights, Ironbreakers, Chaos Warriors…) is an abuse to these cards, hence the modifications I have done. (I DON'T use traits as a restriction in my games).

Thunderous blow A & C: I just added up a bit of difficulty to this card. Specially because I also house rule that a character inflicting a critical wound may decide (before turning the wound card face up) to, instead of the critical wound card effect, inflict a number of wounds equal to half the critical severity raiting rounded up. This last house rule was made mainly for the PCs, so they have some incentive to spend boons and comets for critical wounds.

Archer's Paradox C: Improved its effects so it is more appealing for PCs as compared to Accurate Shot and Sniper Shot

Bullsesye A & C: Slightly improved to make it more appealing for PCs

Immobilising Shot A & C: I think most of use will agree that this card just needed to be nerfed from the very begining

Inescapable Death A & C: I allow this NPC action card to my PCs as an Epic Black Poder action card. I am trying to hook PCs into black powder weapons instead of Long bow.

Rapid Fire A & C: The card was fine, but it needed to be modified since I have introduced a house rule where no character can spend more than 1 fatigue per round to gain extra manoeuvres, hence limiting to a maximum of 3 the amount of manouevres a character can perform each round. Unless he has the Swift trait, or he obtains extra manoeuvres through boons like with the melee strike and ranged shot action cards.

Thanks for your time and comments

Yepes

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I'll take a look.

 

Do you have a standard "average" that we should be comparing against?

 

 

jh

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Thanks Emirikol.

May be the word balance is a bit misleading. I am not sure that I am trying to balance those cards towards others in particular. I am trying to do something more like what FFG did in the old days, when FFG cared about their game. In those days they created erratas, where for instance, they corrected cards for being "too powerful", like Double Strike or Rapid Fire (one can still find the links on the forums).

Double Strike and Rapid Fire were deemed "too powerful" and they were nerfed. I don't know why did decided to stop there and they did not retinked Reckless Cleave, Troll Feller Strike for instance.

May be they considered that the pay off for both Reckless Cleave and Troll Feller Strike where the deprivation of Active Defences… wrong!

A full plate armoured character with Reckless Cleave does not need anything else; but Troll Feller Strike is even worse because if you are wielding a weapon with the fast quality you can use Troll Feller Strike every turn without even suffering its penalty since it will recharge at the end of your turn and voila! you can use your active defences.

I think I put a too high penalty on these cards due to armour, I may have to lower it and rise to 3 or 4 the recharge time of Troll Feller Strike.

 

Cheers,

Yepes

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In my game Troll feller strike is reserved for troll slayers characters. Since they can't wear armour, and as you said armour is most important in combat, in my opinion this card is OK. It works well with the reckless character "kill or die trying".

All the other cards you mentionned, I have made them "advanced" cards, for rank > 3.

I think the ALL the actions cards should have more pre-requisites : for example rank, Weapon skill level, ect. Also for the support cards "Fear me!", "who's next"… When I read on the "elucidate" card "You utilize your superior education…", and it's available to a beginner's character with Education 0, I wonder what the play-testers were thinking. A bit lazy in my opinion.

It is important in a RPG that character have a evolution, "I have lived through those adventures and now I am tougher". If most techniques are available to a beginner character, there is no more evolution. If you nerf all the too powerful cards, they won't desequilibrate the game at rank 1 or 2, but what action will be there for them at rank 3+? Think of the spells.

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khaali said:

In my game Troll feller strike is reserved for troll slayers characters. Since they can't wear armour, and as you said armour is most important in combat, in my opinion this card is OK. It works well with the reckless character "kill or die trying".

I don't use traits as restrictions, but if you take a look to what I have done to Resckless Cleave, Troll Feller Strike and Giant Strike, you will see that I have make them more difficult to use to characters wearing armour, while Slayers won't have any penalty.

khaali said:

All the other cards you mentionned, I have made them "advanced" cards, for rank > 3.

I think the ALL the actions cards should have more pre-requisites : for example rank, Weapon skill level, ect. Also for the support cards "Fear me!", "who's next"… When I read on the "elucidate" card "You utilize your superior education…", and it's available to a beginner's character with Education 0, I wonder what the play-testers were thinking. A bit lazy in my opinion.

It is important in a RPG that character have a evolution, "I have lived through those adventures and now I am tougher". If most techniques are available to a beginner character, there is no more evolution. If you nerf all the too powerful cards, they won't desequilibrate the game at rank 1 or 2, but what action will be there for them at rank 3+? Think of the spells.

I agree totally with you, my players also :P

Indeed, the game has been poorly tested, but ok, we are not going to start a complain now, not that FFG will do anything.

And then there is the "PC evolution" thing. On one hand you have the spellcasters, that have to go through 5 ranks in order to have the most poweful action cards; on the other hand you have "the rest of PCs" which at rank 1 can already have the most poweful action cards. It is indeed a strange decision from the developers of the game. What ever, I will like to see your by rank listed action cards, it my help me.

 

Cheers,

Yepes

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I would love to have a ranked system for the cards!!!! This would also help my players choosing…now when they get 1xp they sit with 100 cards thinking…this is good, but this might be better….

 

mex

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OK. Here are my selection of advanced cards, from the books I have (Adventurer's toolkit, SoF, WoM, LoP). I have 2 criterias for selection:

- The raw power of the card,

OR

- the RP description.

Acrobatic strike, coordonated strike, counter blow, double strike, duelist's strike, hostile redirection, reckless cleave, riposte, patron's champion, thunderous blow, shield slam, ***** in the armour, extreme shot, immobilising shot, rapid fire, sniper shot, trick shot, twin pistols, berzerker rage, bodyguard, challenge, combat focus, fear me, fell for the moment, my life for yours, obsfucate, perfect gift, skeleton in the closet, steely gaze, style and grace, we must work together!, who's next, improved block / parry / dodge / guarded position, twist the knife, compose yourself, bolster.

 

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I have re-upload the Immobilisng shot A & C action card, I just forgot to add the difficulty with Strange Eons.

@ khaali: By advanced, do you mean rank 2?

 

Cheers,

Yepes

 

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Yepesnopes said:

 

@ khaali: By advanced, do you mean rank 2?

If you keep the canonical progression (10 sessions = +1 rank), I'd rather choose Rank 3 for "advanced stuff" (actions, careers…).

 

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I use traits. I believe it makes those certian characters, NPC or PC, more unique. I also have limits to Action Cards based on how many are actually avaible. One person will only have Acrobatic Strike. I do have a players vault and have added those Ac cards to the mix. Meaning two people could have Mighty Blow but not three. It makes for a more diversed group. I have never had a problem of not having enough Action Cards. There seems enogh choices during advancement that yo are not short on Action Cards.

Of course my group only has 4 players and we haven't really had an abuse problem with the cards or "meta gaming".

 

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Simple dissection of the problem is this way (IMHO):

 

  • WFRP 1e, 2e, 3e has a LOW wound threshhold compared to D&D, for example.  This means that combats are SHORT.  It is essentially a gun-fight between two cowboys.  This problem is inherent to ALL editions.
  • 1e, 2e both had a LOW hit percentage. Combats could take a lot longer, but once you got hit, you still dropped very quickly.
  • 3e has a HIGH hit percentage AND it has accellerated damage potential, thus combats take 3 rounds (they got rid of the endless frustration by players saying they'd never hit)
  • It was just assumed that because it took a little time to put dice rolls together, that a 1-4 round combat is preferable to a 10-16 round combat.  Well, now that we've all gotten good at the dice rolls, sometimes we long for longer combats.

There are three ways to lengthen combat:

  1. Increase everyone's soak
  2. Increase the to-hit difficulty
  3. Increase the number of combatants

I like the diversity of cards and that they aren't all completely balanced, but some of the cards get a little too much outside the standard-deviation of what I would consider normal.  This is bound to happen and probably a good thing so that the players can discover some new things once in a while ;)

..and we GMs have the responsibility to nerf whatever comes up in the game that is broken.  I've done this with all games I've ever played.  Not even D&D is exempt from this.

 

It is frustrating that WFRP has been pushed to the backwater, but we've got to just suck it up and move on :)

 

 

 

jh

 

 

..

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Emirikol said:

There are three ways to lengthen combat:

Increase the to-hit difficulty

 

I agree with your analysis. I have already limited the maximum attribute at 4 when creating a character (as many people here so it seems), and also suppressed the free +1 in careers attributes.

Of course, I also nerf the Monsters / PNJs (it is easy, -1 to relevent attributes)

I am seriously pondering about changing the basic difficulty in combat from 1 challenge to 2 challenge dices.

Those modifications are easy to do because they don't modify the game balance; since you do it for the PCs and the ennemies; and you don't need to change anything else (cards, rules…)

 

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Heya 

I was acturally considering doing a very large overhaul…make a action card tree: some cards might require spezialised in twohanded weapon, another card etc. thus giving everybody something to strive for, not only mages and priests.

A lot of work ahead!!!

 

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I'm of the camp that as long as abilities aren't severely outside the range, I"m not too upset.  As I recall, D&D 4e brought on a mathamatician to balance everything perfectly.  That was just another thing that didn't work out for that particular game system.  Fortunately for indy game companies, and unfortunately for people who 'used' to be D&D fans, it made the game kind a little too predictable and it lost much of its allure.

That said though, I hate to remove any special actions from the game or put in a bunch of work.  What could be done though is to look at the numerical balance through comparison with another "standard"  action.

Also consider how many rounds of combat you're expecting and with how many opponents.  Greater opponent numbers weaken single-massive-hit-slow-recharge cards, but there is no way to weaken the action below;

Problem action are ones that can be used every round or every other round with guaranteed +1 criticals (such as those with double eagles).

That's why I think simply increasing the recharge time is much more valuable than changing any other aspect of an action.

 

jh

 

 

..

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Mexorlon said:

Heya 

I was acturally considering doing a very large overhaul…make a action card tree: some cards might require spezialised in twohanded weapon, another card etc. thus giving everybody something to strive for, not only mages and priests.

A lot of work ahead!!!

 

I completly agree with you, this is exactly what needs to be done. An it's a lot of work indeed.

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I've been GMing a rank 2 group into its rank 4. These PCs have a ton of action cards.

While I agree that some combat cards are definitely powerful, I haven't felt the need to nerf anything. There are enough powerful cards for every PC to have one, and a powerful card used by an unskilled character isn't this powerful at all! You need the successes, comets and boons to deliver the awesomeness.

As PCs become more powerful, the challenge of encounters must also go up. That's all. If your PCs beat up a tribe of goblins fairly easily (which also means you are playing the goblins stupid), then it is a show of their experience and grit! But when you become a hero, you need to achieve heroic feats to make a story out of it.

 

My two cents.

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Jericho said:

While I agree that some combat cards are definitely powerful, I haven't felt the need to nerf anything. There are enough powerful cards for every PC to have one, and a powerful card used by an unskilled character isn't this powerful at all! You need the successes, comets and boons to deliver the awesomeness.

As I understand from your post, are you restricting the amount of action cards? 1 copy max? two copies? or so?

 

Cheers,

Yepes

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I've actually noticed that players all take the same Talents.  Whatever the one is that lets you count eagles towards your initiative is owned by 3 of the PCs!

 

 

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I have taken Immobilizing Shot and Reckless Cleave out of the game.

For Rapid Fire, I have frequently invoked a Chaos Star rolled on the 2nd+ shots to mean "oh oh, you strained your bow there - Damaged condition!".  I have mulled the fact that historically, to fire a bow rapidly archers would plant arrows into the ground in front of them (at least that is what I have read in historical fiction books by authors who researched that issue) - which in game would mean "prepare maneouvre" prerequisite to use and "stand in the same place you prepared" to do it (you can't run around at same time!), and of course be somewhere you can do that not standing on a stone floor etc.

On a vaguely related point, I find the "foe in close range can close" effect on basic Ranged Attack and Rapid Fire often irrelevant and would like to replace it with something, particularly on the latter where it's one bane and so if inapplicable that one bane does nothing.

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I have several rules in our house rules, that deal with points in this thread. Link in my signature.

Reading the challenge die: Chaos star = [Chaos star + 1 Challenge] The chaos star can also have a variety of effects decided by the GM. Each chaos star adds/removes an extra recharge token to the card you used.

Base combat difficulty: All checks vs. targets defense start at average (2d) difficulty instead of easy (1d).

Fortune points: Spending one fortune point allows you to do one of the following:

  • Add one fortune die to the dice pool.
  • Reroll a dice pool when using a healing potion.
  • Remove a recharge token from any recharging defensive action card or talent card.

    Armor penalties: Medium armor adds one misfortune die to all athletics, coordination and stealth checks. Heavy armor adds two misfortune dice to these checks. (encumbrance: 1-3, 4-6, 7+; light, medium, heavy). Medium armor adds one extra fatigue for the first extra movement maneuver. Heavy armor adds one extra fatigue for each extra movement maneuver. You always have a free movement maneuver, and even if you take another (not movement) maneuver, you still won't pay extra for the first movement maneuver. This means it only takes effect if you take 2+ movement maneuvers. Disengage and getting up from prone do not cost extra.

    Opposed checks rebalancing: To find the difficulty of an opposed check you add the opponent’s relevant characteristic and skill, divide by two and round up.  (Char + skill)/2 – round up. Add misfortune for skill as normal.

    Defensive fighting: You can sacrifice dice from your attack dice pool to fight defensively. If you remove a characteristics die from your pool, you may add 1 misfortune die to all attacks until your next turn. Removing a expertise die lets you add a challenge die. If you remove a characteristics die, an expertise die and a fortune die, you may also remove a recharge token from a defensive card.

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.....

Base combat difficulty: All checks vs. targets defense start at average (2d) difficulty instead of easy (1d).

 

We just playtested this rule (Im in Gallows group), and IMO it is too harsh a solution - since it just makes it very difficult for characters which are not optimized for combat ei. a '5' stat and max ranks in attack skill ... IMO a big part of the problem with combat being "too easy" and certain actioncards being overpowered (generally teh ones which allow you to do add your S or DR twice! - or sometimes perhaps the ones adding bonus damage based on rechargetokens - then they generally have a long buildup time, so Im more forgiving of those...)

 

Personally I would prefer a softer approach:

 

* make it cost +1 xp to go from 3 to 4 in stat ...and again +1 xp to go from 4 to 5 ...and from 5 to 6.

* All checks vs. Target Defence starts at +1 black die

* give +1 black die effect to the first defensive card played each round PCs only... (to make it bit more harsh to not have any to play)

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I still disagree. I don't think it's too harsh. When you look at statistics, adding one challenge die just doesn't change the chances for boons/successes that much.

If we balance the system to feel "fair" or easy enough for players with only one skill die in their pool, it will break down once players get three skill dice and skill mastery.

Here's the math for the following dice pool [2Blue+2Red+1Yellow+2Black]

One challenge die:
Chance for at least 2 boon: 22,4%
Chance for 1 success: 65,7%
Chance for at least 3 successes: 24,0%

Two challenge dice:
Chance for at least 2 boon: 18,2%
Chance for 1 success: 47,1%
Chance for at least 3 successes: 18,7%

Three challenge dice:
Chance for at least 2 boon: 14,7%%
Chance for 1 success: 31,6%%
Chance for at least 3 successes: 14,7%


That's what I want... to hit the success rate the most.


Now lets try with a more experienced character: [2Blue+3Red+3Yellow+1White+2Black]

One challenge die:
Chance for at least 2 boon: 45,9%
Chance for 1 success: 88,5%
Chance for at least 3 successes: 59,5%

Two challenge dice:
Chance for at least 2 boon: 39,4%
Chance for 1 success: 76,6%
Chance for at least 3 successes: 44,2%

Three challenge dice:
Chance for at least 2 boon: 33,7%
Chance for 1 success: 62,8%
Chance for at least 3 successes: 31,3%

Edited by Gallows

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I pretty much fudge the line being debated. I use the standard approach but with more advanced PCs, I start putting a Potent Foe modifier on some creatures or NPCs, as found for some daemons, in which all actions targeting them add a challenge die including basic attacks. Better foes also have improved or advanced dodge and or parry etc, so sometimes the attack roll is vs 3 challenge dice. They may also have minions who do guarded position for their boss or just act as temporary soak etc.

So I do not change rules, but yup do not have Rank 4 PCs rolling vs 1 challenge die to attack a major foe.

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mark_of_slaanesh_by_vulgotha-d49uts4.png

I made all applicable active defenses constant to avoid trivial recharge tracking (IMHO) as well as make the miss chance 6-10% higher. It is also a lot easier on the GM in not having to track for monsters either.    No advanced versions - just skill specializations as they were meant to be.  Its a very similar effect.  Seems to favor the players though and that does not please the pleasure god...
 
jh

Edited by Emirikol

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Regardless of teh exact mechanics Im definately pro prolonging life of "bosses" in my experience its rate to see characters opt for anything fancy aside from smashing with teh biggest attack they got - its a shame there is so little reason to really use the fancy actions imposing conditions ... I guess part of the reason just is that most conditions just are more of a slight nuisance than really that has an impact so when the alternative is one (or two)-hit one-kill actions then its a lot of action cards we just dont see in use ....

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