Most OP combos? (Unleash your inner power gamer!)

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Re: Most OP combos? (Unleash your inner power gamer!)

Postby Wotan » Mon Jul 23, 2018 5:01 pm

Fuzzy, I seem to end up picking apart some of your posts, I promise it's nothing personal. :)

Fuzzy wrote:
The hard part though is those situations where one Min/Max-er dominates the rest of the group to the point that you have to design and run encounters specifically to deal with that character. I ran into this with a MinMaxed Barbarian in my 3e D&D days.

Yep, exactly... For example, go through the God Box adventure... there's fairly little that really challenges the second character above. So that puts the GM in an awkward position of artificially changing up scenarios just to make other players feel more relevant and/or go after the character with the design build. It's a level of GM intervention that feels decidedly inorganic, but can become necessary.

Given the range of PCs which a Torg group could create, IMO it would be a big ask for scenario writers to come up with adventures which don't need any tailoring on the GM's part. TBH I view it as part of the job of GMing. Either that or the GM says "I've got this published adventure that I want to run through as written, but it's most suited to these kinds of characters. Come up with something appropriate." *shrug*

Take the second character, for example... A Nile Brute. It's pretty much the same as the Eidonos Brute (a basic archetype). Except, well, just better. Drop Brute and Outsider (not likely to test for defeat often), and add 4 points of melee, a better weapon (+4 damage), better armor, a decent tech axiom, a better social axiom, 2 points of strength, and ki powers - which are solid). Replace Brute with Force Field (which is pretty much just better). It's no more vulnerable than the Eodonos Brute would be (though it will have some power limitations). Yes, this won't be true in Pan Pacifica, but it creates a situation where months of game play are dominated by a single character.

Having previously said that I've been able to see a weak side to any min-maxed PC my players have come up with, I have to admit that Force Field is perhaps the one Perk which does seem a bit overpowered to me.
It's contradictory outside NE but doesn't involve any rolls itself, so it never risks causing a contradiction (except on surges.) Given that it does stop working during contradiction it probably should give more extra wound levels than Hard to Kill, but 3 might be a bit much. Maybe 2 extra wounds would have been more balanced, or have it vary based on the character's Toughness, so that it's still useful for helping squishy characters survive but doesn't make NE "bricks", who buy it, as overpowered. Dunno. *shrug*

This is one of my problems with the Nile Empire - with the exception of psionics and things like computer use/hacking, any build that works well elsewhere can be topped by a Nile Empire build. And while it's true that a GM can always tap a power limitation, the dynamic in the game becomes very binary... in most situations, the character dominates certain activities (like combat). But every once in a while, that team member is neutralized and the entire group is at risk of a TPK.

If a GM is planning on tapping a limitation then they should probably be considering that while writing (balancing) the encounter in question.
I'm not sure it would be as binary as you say either; are your builds really that much more effective than a similar PC from a different realm, to the extent that the other character isn't going to get a chance to shine too? (this is partly (largely?) a GM encounter balancing issue.)
Also, the list of weaknesses I gave for your mage hands build give potential for a scale of effectiveness for that character (e.g. there would be varying levels of nerf, on the character's effectiveness, depending on whether they're being hit in the Limitations or faced with a P-rated Taunt/trick specialist, or both.)

Having said that, we haven't really had this problem. We have a very experienced group of players, so they tend to specialize (by agreement before characters are selected), so they share the spotlight well. We did limit ourselves to one Nile hero just to avoid the insanity, however.

I think that's a great way to handle things. :)

As a general comment building from this, I think it's probably impossible to write unexploitable mechanics which don't also lead to bland, mechanically samey, characters (e.g. all grunts have basically the same stats, but with different skins.)
The act of creating a ruleset which has a wide range of interesting, differentiated powers also pretty much guarantees that some powers (or combinations of powers) will be more mechanically optimal than others.
Not exploiting that, to the detriment of other participants' enjoyment, ultimately has to be a social contract issue between those participants, be it the players showing self restraint, the GM wincing and saying "nice build but nope because..." or the table as a whole having an adult conversation about each others proposed builds, and any negative implications they might have for telling fun co-operative stories.
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Re: Most OP combos? (Unleash your inner power gamer!)

Postby JohnK » Mon Jul 23, 2018 5:11 pm

Hullo, TorgHacker,

TorgHacker wrote:
JohnK wrote:What's your solution?

I'm not sure I can really say, because I've never really run into that problem since 3e.

I wish I could say that I've never had the problem come up. Never thought about it too much when I was running TORG in the original, but players today tend to be different. It's their ability to read all the rulebooks and supplements on-line that is part of the problem, I suspect. And the fact that some players just *are* min/max-ers.

TorgHacker wrote:For Torg Eternity, because interaction attacks exist, and two key off of two possible 'dump stats' for combat Min/Maxers, and the consequences of those can be significant, I think it's relatively self correcting, as long as you're willing to take the gloves off. Which can be difficult for some of us old folks GMs who are used to fudging things, especially at low level, because the rules really didn't account for the evolving way of play where people actually get attached to their character.

I think you hit the solution on the head with the hammer, therefore scattering the precipitate all over the place. :) The key is the so-called "dump stats", which aren't really in the game. No attribute in Torg Eternity is a dump stat because of the reduced number of attributes to begin with, a change that I really liked for its obvious benefits to begin with.

As for the bit about the old folks GMs, yep, you're right in that regard. The key with GMing, I have found, over the decades has been to adapt to some game changes and stay resolute when it comes to others. It also seems that the etiquette of gaming has changed as well, but that's another subject for another day. :)
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Re: Most OP combos? (Unleash your inner power gamer!)

Postby Atama » Mon Jul 23, 2018 5:40 pm

My caveman is dumb and naive (I play his personality that way) with 5s in Mind and Charisma. I actually designed him with the idea that having him easily tricked and goaded into doing stupid things would be fun. I look forward to playing those situations out. I could see something like a Player’s Call from a Taunt or Trick getting him to accidentally hit an ally.

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your POV) we never run into clever enemies so my weaknesses haven’t been exploited yet. They mostly cause problems in social (non-combat) interactions. Which again are fun as heck to play out.

Then again our entire group totally stinks at Charisma, I think we have two 5s, a 6, and a 7. Nobody has adds in Taunt. A gang of militant insult comics could probably destroy us.
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Re: Most OP combos? (Unleash your inner power gamer!)

Postby Fuzzy » Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:05 pm

"A gang of militant insult comics could probably destroy us"

ROFL. Oh, that would be an awesome encounter.

A gang of Nile villains called the Death Jesters. They all generally weak and pathetic, but all have super skill taunt (22 or so) and Gloater.

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Re: Most OP combos? (Unleash your inner power gamer!)

Postby Fuzzy » Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:30 pm

Fuzzy, I seem to end up picking apart some of your posts, I promise it's nothing personal.

Quite the contrary, it gives me a lot of perspective. Also, I pick up rules mistakes we make in our house game.

I should note - the "OP Combos" in Torg are only very mildly unbalanced. It's not like the DND3e days where players would compete to generate the most damage in a Nova round. There's nothing truly game breaking in TORG by any means, and I generally love unbalanced characters (heroes are no fun without weaknesses, both the Pulp kind and otherwise). I just don't like extremely binary characters...

See the Stun Girl / Lockdown example... viewtopic.php?f=28&t=2837&start=20

Sure, she absolutely has weaknesses (especially disconnection), but in 70% of combats, she basically ends the threat by herself, and relegates the other storm knights to adding up hit point damage wounds. In 30% of combats she's nearly useless (though she can get other spells and perks as she advances).

Generally, on every game night - though not in every scene - each character should have a chance to shine. Some more than others in different acts, but never too lopsided.

BTW, as a (semi-reformed) power gamer, my ideal game has plenty of options, and while some are clearly worse (i.e. some perks are pretty useless), none of them are clearly better in all situations, so that eventually I just pick a character concept based on what I want to play and optimize it appropriately. it is HARD to design a game like this without making it bland (witness D&D4e, which I despised the moment it hit shelves). TorgE is the best I've ever seen.

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Re: Most OP combos? (Unleash your inner power gamer!)

Postby Gargoyle » Tue Jul 24, 2018 6:08 am

Fuzzy wrote:"A gang of militant insult comics could probably destroy us"

ROFL. Oh, that would be an awesome encounter.

A gang of Nile villains called the Death Jesters. They all generally weak and pathetic, but all have super skill taunt (22 or so) and Gloater.

I might steal this. Every now and then something silly works well. Have to sharpen my improv skills and find a bunch of bad jokes to roast Storm Knights with.
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