Combat issues

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Kuildeous
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Re: Combat issues

Postby Kuildeous » Sun Oct 01, 2017 11:31 pm

The priests are pretty easy to kill, though. I could see scaling them down, but I wouldn't scale them too much. They're already Very Vulnerable, so it doesn't take much to multi-target drop a bunch.

But when the lurks are swarming over the Storm Knights, the idea may not be apparent.

In any case, I think we're all in agreement that this encounter as written is really hairy for three Storm Knights. Some leeway must be given.
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jhosmer1
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Re: Combat issues

Postby jhosmer1 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:19 am

I don't know... my groups seem to be having a pretty easy time of winning (though I could be making my combats too easy using just the mobs in the Core Rulebook)... however, every combat seems to be creating interesting narratives, so we're all pretty happy with that.

YMMV

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Re: Combat issues

Postby Kuildeous » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:30 am

jhosmer1 wrote:I don't know... my groups seem to be having a pretty easy time of winning (though I could be making my combats too easy using just the mobs in the Core Rulebook)... however, every combat seems to be creating interesting narratives, so we're all pretty happy with that.

YMMV


Even with the many-on-one rules, I find that mobs provide speed bumps and some resource drains on the PCs. They mostly do shock, and if they roll high enough to go beyond, I rarely see more than 2 Wounds applied (and that's rare). Of course, dynamite dice can still smite the snot out of a Storm Knight, so mobs should never be underestimated. But I'm not surprised if mobs get routinely defeated. That's really what they're there for.

It's mobs on top of bosses that things can get pretty hairy, especially if one of the bosses can do a group taunt before the mobs attack.

But if your small group is having an easy time with the villains, then it sounds like you're scaling them appropriately. Got any advice?
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Re: Combat issues

Postby jhosmer1 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:57 am

Wish I could say I had a perfect formula, but it's mostly using the critters in the back of the Core Rules book. For Mooks, it's either 2 per Storm Knight or 3 per Storm Knight, depending on how tough I want the fight to be.

Considering that the one time I set them against a Dragon, the Nile Empire Pulp Heroine befriended it (truly heroic roll on Persuasion), I don't know if my fights are balanced due to stats or just how I play the fights.

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Re: Combat issues

Postby Doomweber » Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:32 am

So here's my take on the combat issue. My group is going through the Day One LL adventure. In most of the combats, it's Leena or Isabel finishing off the T-Rex or Mosasaur. But really, if you studied it, it was the paloebotanist who was the most important combat person. With his trick skill alone, he was constantly putting conditions on the multi wound opponents, and removing mooks from the combat. In the final combat, he took out half the edienos with a hover board and a volleyball. So, I think the combat system still runs toward the "Storm knights can do anything given enough time" side of the scale, but I can see how a few bad rounds can take out a group (especially a three man group).

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Gargoyle
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Re: Combat issues

Postby Gargoyle » Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:47 am

I think the problem with smaller groups is mostly one of action economy. If you're one or two people down, you don't have enough actions to do everything you need to do. Sure you've got multi-attacks and multi-actions, but it's still not enough because Storm Knights are expected to do more each round than say, a D&D character. A "typical" Torg combat includes:

- killing off mooks, typically with multi-attacks, but not always.
- Putting statuses on threats
- Attacking major threats (single targets)
- Miscellaneous actions like fishing for cards with approved actions, driving a vehicle, buffing, helping each other, looking for some sort of advantage, etc.

That's four "pillars of action" that you can't really effectively every round do with less than four Storm Knights, and even with four it's a strain as sometimes actions fail or whatever. It's not lack of possibilities or cards or balancing the encounter properly as much as it is that there is too much going on for them to handle. Remember the Quick perk? It got taken out because it was too good, it was too good because it granted another action in exchange for a possibility. Actions are worth more than possibilities.

Giving a smaller party a larger hand is a nod from oTorg that can help, but it doesn't address the problem of action economy (at least not directly or in a big way, sure sometimes they'll get a seize initiative and used to keep a flurry...but not often).

The problem is they need to be able to do more each turn. I dislike playing GM characters or having players play more than one character. But other methods might work, like giving them some NPCs (that they like) to lead, and even directly control might be appropriate. "Hold off those gospog for us!"

But those scenarios aren't always appropriate and could be felt as contrived. And reducing opposition is a hassle when running a published scenario and just isn't satisfying sometimes.
Perhaps a more direct approach is needed. For three players, maybe also reduce the mult-target and multi-action penalty by one. Or for groups with only two players, maybe also just straight up give them an additional action every round as if they had a flurry. Combine this approach with giving them more NPC allies for the big fights and maybe they can do what they need to do. I suspect solo players are going to have it rough regardless; the game could just sort of break down if the GM isn't careful and clever, but I'm sure some can get it to work; maybe they also recover from wounds more rapidly and get more possibilities.

I sort of like the idea of buffing the players like this rather than depending on tuning the opposition down. It's sort of like a solo comic instead of a team comic book, you focus on one or two characters and they seem to do more. Just rambling, I'm not sure what my group's size is going to be yet; I suspect some days it will be smaller though or larger than normal even and I'm thinking about how to handle it, so it's an interesting topic to me. But I guess my thinking is that buffing them isn't going to make things too easy...I can always throw more at them.
Last edited by Gargoyle on Tue Oct 03, 2017 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Kuildeous
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Re: Combat issues

Postby Kuildeous » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:16 am

Gargoyle wrote:That's four "pillars of action" that you can't really effectively every round do with less than four Storm Knights, and even with four it's a strain as sometimes actions fail or whatever.


Gargoyle is right on all this, but I just wanted to emphasize the penalties of failure. In a group of six, failure is merely an inconvenience. Oops, I failed, but the next player will get him. With three players, every failure is disastrous. It sets up an expectation that every action should succeed, so Possibilities and cards get spent more often.

And as we have already discussed elsewhere, sometimes boosting a bad roll is almost as useless as a failed roll except that now you spent a Possibility to do only one or two Shock. One might argue that it is strictly worse than failing.

I like the idea of buffing the players rather than bringing down the opposition, but I would worry about players being used to a certain way and then taking it away should the group grow to five or six players. Of course, if you undoubtedly will never grow or are running a convention demo, you could get away with this idea more.
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Re: Combat issues

Postby Gargoyle » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:23 am

Kuildeous wrote:
Gargoyle wrote:That's four "pillars of action" that you can't really effectively every round do with less than four Storm Knights, and even with four it's a strain as sometimes actions fail or whatever.


Gargoyle is right on all this, but I just wanted to emphasize the penalties of failure. In a group of six, failure is merely an inconvenience. Oops, I failed, but the next player will get him. With three players, every failure is disastrous. It sets up an expectation that every action should succeed, so Possibilities and cards get spent more often.

And as we have already discussed elsewhere, sometimes boosting a bad roll is almost as useless as a failed roll except that now you spent a Possibility to do only one or two Shock. One might argue that it is strictly worse than failing.

I like the idea of buffing the players rather than bringing down the opposition, but I would worry about players being used to a certain way and then taking it away should the group grow to five or six players. Of course, if you undoubtedly will never grow or are running a convention demo, you could get away with this idea more.


Yep, and failures will happen. Alpha clearance SK's don't have a lot of skill adds or perks to help. Anyone can fail on a 1 and and with disconnects it can be like losing a character for a number of rounds. And that's a good point about low rolls, it's very tempting to spend a possibility when you roll low, but it's often a bad play.

My old Torg group changed in size a lot, usually it was about five, but we would get up to eight sometimes, and they never had trouble with hand sizes changing. Other proposed changes might cause more confusion or disappointment though, definitely something to consider; they shouldn't feel weaker if someone else joins the group.
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Re: Combat issues

Postby Rocketeer » Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:42 am

Gargoyle wrote:I think the problem with smaller groups is mostly one of action economy. If you're one or two people down, you don't have enough actions to do everything you need to do. Sure you've got multi-attacks and multi-actions, but it's still not enough because Storm Knights are expected to do more each round than say, a D&D character. A "typical" Torg combat includes:

- killing off mooks, typically with multi-attacks, but not always.
- Putting statuses on threats
- Attacking major threats (single targets)
- Miscellaneous actions like fishing for cards with approved actions, driving a vehicle, buffing, helping each other, looking for some sort of advantage, etc.

That's four "pillars of action" that you can't really effectively every round do with less than four Storm Knights, and even with four it's a strain as sometimes actions fail or whatever.

That’s an excellent point and gets to the heart of the problem. We’ve played through five Acts of the Day One adventures, sometimes with 3 PCs and sometimes with 4 PCs. There just seemed to be a major difference in the feel of the game with 4 PCs, everything just seemed to click and go more smoothly, whereas with 3 PCs, there always seemed to be points in the game where the Players themselves were literally stymied.

Gargoyle wrote:Giving a smaller party a larger hand is a nod from oTorg that can help, but it doesn't address the problem of action economy (at least not directly or in a big way, sure sometimes they'll get a seize initiative and used to keep a flurry...but not often).

Along with a larger hand size, a smaller group might need a way to get cards into their Pools faster. The Natural Leader and Situational Awareness perks would help, but I wouldn’t want to force players to take perks only for play balance.

Gargoyle wrote:Perhaps a more direct approach is needed. For three players, maybe also reduce the mult-target and multi-action penalty by one.

Or maybe use the modifiers from the Combined Actions chart, applied as increases to the DN. This would be similar to the One-On-Many modifiers from OTorg.

Gargoyle wrote:I sort of like the idea of buffing the players like this rather than depending on tuning the opposition down.

If the group is consistently going to have 3 players or less, I’ve been considering just giving the PCs a few extra points for Attributes and Skills, an additional Perk, or maybe just some starting Experience Points.

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Re: Combat issues

Postby Kuildeous » Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:18 am

I've not seen enough three-player groups to make a proper comparison, but I can believe that the dynamic feels different than at four.

Perhaps with fewer than four players, players can put two cards into their pools after every action?

Or if that sounds too powerful, temper it with any of these restrictions:
* Increase applies only in Dramatic scenes.
* Increase applies only on the first action.
* Increase can only be used when attempting (or succeeding at) an approved action.
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