Goon Numbers Too Low

mica
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Goon Numbers Too Low

Postby mica » Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:05 am

Any other GM's finding the goon numbers far too low in the printed scenarios?
Generally for a standard scene it states 2 goons per character (or 3 gospog).
One player is playing the cartel assassin - with two glocks they can fairly easily take out 8 edeinos in a single round which effectively ends the combat as the first action before either the goons or even other players get to act.
While the GM primer says standard scenes should not be overly threatening and that they should not be bolstered, having characters miss out or arguing over limiting a player's actions so they can get a turn seems counter fun. Surely there should be plenty of goons for everybody to wail on and feel awesome. Chuck in 5-6 edeinos as they have no possibility so as often as not miss when they attack or a pack of velociraptors that follow the T-rex around like hyenas following a cheetah. Make players use their possibilities because if they don't they have no need to play their cosm cards. Not playing cosm cards because they don't need the possibilities seems to me to be losing something in the setting. If they have a choice between losing their only weapon just to go from 3 to 5 possibilities they are never, ever going to lose their gun. If however they have little ammo, have run out of possibilities and face a T-rex and 15 velociraptors in a dramatic scene - yeah, 2 possibilities is now looking tempting.

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Wotan
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Re: Goon Numbers Too Low

Postby Wotan » Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:47 am

mica wrote:Any other GM's finding the goon numbers far too low in the printed scenarios?
Generally for a standard scene it states 2 goons per character (or 3 gospog).
One player is playing the cartel assassin - with two glocks they can fairly easily take out 8 edeinos in a single round which effectively ends the combat as the first action before either the goons or even other players get to act.

That doesn't sound right. The Cartel Assassin is a high Dex character with good kit, but they shouldn't be able to Multi-target 8 opponents & get a good success, without either a bit of luck, or spending resources.
With respect, are you sure that the numbers are all being calculated correctly?

The Assassin has a Firearms of 15. The edeinos in the Core have dodge 10 or melee/unarmed 11 (if they're being shot at in melee range)
Lets assume they're at range. So your PC is at +5 result points before taking modifiers into account or rolling.
Multi-targeting 8 opponents is a -14 penalty. This is mitigated by 1 because of the character's Laser sights. Because he's dual wielding Glocks he can Short Burst for another +2.
Together, these put the attack on -6 Result points before the roll. This is assuming there are no other modifiers in play (range, cover, etc.)

The Glocks base damage is 13, Edeinos Toughness is 10, so the character needs to be getting a Good Success on their attack (& then roll 2+ on the BD) to one shot an Edeinos.

This means the character needs a +11 bonus off their dice roll, requiring a Dice Total of 36+. That shouldn't be a regular event.
What am I missing?
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Sunrunner
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Re: Goon Numbers Too Low

Postby Sunrunner » Fri Aug 17, 2018 8:29 am

Yeah some one is either rolling their asses off or the numbers are being flubbed. Dont get me wrong the Cartel Assassin is a fairly well optimized ranged combatant. But yeah the numbers dont add up. Being -6 means you need a 19 on the D20 just to get even. You need a 36 on your D20 to be at good success levels. That is either extreme luck with an exploding 10/20 or a possibility got spent to make it possible and even then the odds say it should not happen often. Also as mentioned that is with no Range or other penalties getting involved the numbers only get worse.

Ohh and as a side note is he using his silencers on the glocks? Casue silencers lower the damage of the weapon by 2, that means silenced glocks are damage 11, this is worth noting as it skews what he needs on his bonus dice for a kill up pretty significantly. If hes going loud with no silencers then his fusillade of what will sound like full auto fire should draw alot of attention if the situation warrants it.

Its also worth noting that he used 24 rounds out of the 30 in his 2 glocks and has to reload cause hes got 3 rounds left in each at this point.

This should not be a consistently reoccurring event. It should be a once in a while or with drama cards and possibilities being spent event. Now he should be able to drop 3 or 4 of them in an action pretty consistently with no resources spent as he his a very well built combatant.

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Kuildeous
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Re: Goon Numbers Too Low

Postby Kuildeous » Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:16 am

For the record, spending a Possibility will get you 36+ on the die roll about 13% of the time. In case you want some reference. If the character has Situational Awareness, he can spend a card to boost that on the first turn.

There are ways to bump the numbers though. As the Storm Knights accumulate in power, they're going to need tougher opposition. But just like in any RPG, if you scale the combats too high up, you run the risk of challenging the toughest PC while slaughtering everyone else. You just have to be careful. Ping them here and there and find out what sticks. Don't be shy about ratcheting up the difficulty; cards and Possibilities make Storm Knights tougher than they look on paper. But if you ratchet the difficulty up too much, plan an exit strategy so you can let them eke out a victory (or to limp away).

The obvious technique would be to increase the numbers. I do this a lot for the goons, especially Nile shocktroopers. Edeinos and Church Police tend to not need the help as much, but sometimes they do. Simply increasing the Toughness can make a difference. Increasing their defenses can work, but keep in mind that if you increase melee/unarmed, that makes them more effective in attacking, and you might not be interested in doing that; your goal may be more to let the villains last longer but not shred the hell out of the Storm Knights. Increasing Dodge is often beneficial for them.

Another number you can increase is how many show up. You have to be careful not to make it comical. My group gets a good chuckle about the time they were holed up in Cyberpapacy and had to mow through a couple dozen Church Police to get out. It was a mook situation that admittedly got out of hand, but it did make them feel like big damn heroes. But you may not want to dump 20 goons on them at once. Bring in a group at a time. Maybe at first there are 8 goons. In round 2, 6 more show up. Then 6 more show up in round 3. Terrain is important here. If they're fighting in an open field, it's going to be difficult to explain how these guys just showed up without the Storm Knights seeing them. Inside a complex, guys can come around from corners all the time.

Throw in a taunter or a trickster. Even mooks can do interaction attacks. This one clever guy among a throng of the nameless keeps his cool enough to trick the PC. If the PC is so committed to combat, he might not be great at shrugging off taunts. Slap him with a Stymie or maybe even a Vulnerable. Of course, this depends on the villains going first, but if you have a group showing up in round 2 and acting, then this can be done.

And cover is a thing. Not enough people think of using cover. The mooks are in a warehouse? Hide behind crates. Jungle? Trees. Alley? Dumpster. And so on. Again, initiative can play a factor here, but you can narratively allow the villains to take position behind cover when combat starts. You just have to be fair and let the players do it too if they want.
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fougerec
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Re: Goon Numbers Too Low

Postby fougerec » Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:27 pm

I just adjust numbers when I feel like our Elvish Archer needs to burn some possibilities. Against Shocktroopers with their low Dodge and Toughness he only needs a success (damage 13 vs. Toughness 8) and he's mowed down 10 at a time before. The player though is pretty good about when to spend resources and when to share the spotlight with others and that's a big part of it. Everyone is there to have fun and part of that is maybe not going for full out awesome and let someone else have a chance.

It does mean though that I can throw 30 or more minions at the group and the players don't freak :)

JohnBiles
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Re: Goon Numbers Too Low

Postby JohnBiles » Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:27 am

It's very much an art. The party I'm running has a person who virtually always hits but often can't actually take things out, the person who struggles to hit but trashes things when they hit, and the PC who is middle-of-the-road with both.

Their ability to fight things varies a lot by the situation. (Also, 2 of the 3 PCs are super-vulnerable to Interaction attacks).

Sunrunner
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Re: Goon Numbers Too Low

Postby Sunrunner » Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:19 pm

Also keep in mind the players are supposed to win. You job is just to make them work for it by coming up with clever ideas and spend some resources along the road.

mica
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Re: Goon Numbers Too Low

Postby mica » Mon Aug 20, 2018 4:41 am

Sorry, typo, only 5 edeinos/round (for a -8 penalty).

There are numerous ways of calculating it a simple one is:
5 targets (-8)
Short range (-0)
Short burst (+2) (full clip from both glocks)
Vital blow head -4 (+4 damage, 13 > 17 - a standard hit is now a kill shot vs edeinos)
Total modifier -10
Edeinos dodge 10
Character Fire Combat 17 (+5 adds, 30 xp)

Needs result of +3 to kill 5 edeinos. This equates to a roll of 16 or a 6 or more plus a possibility.

My point is that unless there are lots of encounters between opportunities to replenish ammo, standard combats based on the going rate of goons per character are going to be over before they have started, leaving some of the characters twiddling their thumbs. This is not a good thing.

I am not advocating making them tougher and completely agree that the characters are supposed to win. I'm merely pointing out that when using goons at the suggested rate the capability of certain characters allows them to routinely end combat in the first round, often before the villains have had opportunity to act.

Sunrunner
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Re: Goon Numbers Too Low

Postby Sunrunner » Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:31 am

well Killing 5 vs 8 is a big difference. Also a hard 16 on a D20 is not something that will not consistently be rolled. Now if hes spending a possibility that attack becomes very likely but hes now committed a limited resource, and honestly if hes gonna spend all his possibilities on the goon squads he wont have any left for the boss fight or people are burning up cosm cards to keep him fueled up and giving you toys to play with. Also group dynamics are a thing now cause how man players you got? If its a 3 player group then yeah hes cleaning the entire encounter, if you got 5 there should be some left as you are generally getting at least 2 per player. Additionally is he upsetting the other players doing this, some people build non combat characters and dont really care what the combat monster is up to. If he is upsetting the other players maybe talk to him about toning it down a little. Because if you just inflate the encounters to 5 goons per player so the other players have some goons after he has gone they will still notice hes killing vastly more enemies then they are and possibly still be upset. Also the players act as one group and get to decide what order they go in, prompt other people to go 1st, some times you will have a very assertive player just take control of the party because they overwhelm the other players personally. If this is happening sometimes you as the GM need to try and talk to the player offline after the game with none of the other players around.

mica
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Re: Goon Numbers Too Low

Postby mica » Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:08 am

An Act is rarely more then 3 scenes and again rarely more than 5 combat encounters. It is hardly wasting possibilities to end a combat before the villains have acted.

I'm leaning towards being a little more draconian on range, cover and combat option stacking but also upping the numbers to some degree, probably by adding some 'sergeants' to the mix (2.5 per character plus a sergeant per 2 characters - round down). With a little more scene setting, if super murder-hobo can only target a couple they can only kill a couple and spread the action out a bit more evenly.


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