Total Party Wipe

Badger3d
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Total Party Wipe

Postby Badger3d » Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:04 am

So we had our first party wipe and I’m feeling bad wondering what I could have done differently to have given them at least a chance.
We were playing the Day one adventure in the Cyber Papacy. Harlequin with the power dagger, and Camila with the Godmeeter, both uninjured but out of possibilities were facing the Host on the train. They needed to survive 6 rounds before the train got to the storm and the Host disconnected, they didn’t survive 2 rounds the Host hit each of them once and they died, without even touching the Host or causing it to spend a possibility. They were completely out classed in this encounter, maybe if they had some possibilities and the Host had none, they might have survived a couple more turns but I doubt it.
What do you do when the party is facing a unwinable situation? If your playing a campaign how would you handle a total party wipe? They all said they enjoyed the game most of which was running from one enemy or anouther but I felt they were disappointed especially with each being killed in one hit.
I’m really afraid to run the day one Pan Pacific adventure, wiping the party isn’t fun.

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Count Thalim
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Re: Total Party Wipe

Postby Count Thalim » Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:43 am

With the PP adventure it is probably best to be up front with the players that this is one that has a very low survival probability. Similar to the Orrosh one.

In some ways they are easier to have TPKs in as they are horror realms of one variety or another and no one getting out alive fits their settings.
With CP it is a lot harsher to lose everyone as that isn't the style of the setting. (Though losing a couple of people is perfectly in keeping).

One offs I'm willing to have TPKs in. Campaigns... I've never suffered it thankfully. A few deaths here and there are fine and if done properly can be great moments of drama.
I would probably twist things if possible to keep the characters alive, though compromised in some way. Captured by the bad guys and thrown in prison or left for dead at the bottom of the waterfall without their equipment.
The bad guys would 'win' and the mission would be failed, throw in some consequences for the overarching plot possibly. But the characters would be alive to fight another day.

As I mentioned I've never had to actually do such an event (and hope not to) but that would be my game plan.
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TorgHacker
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Re: Total Party Wipe

Postby TorgHacker » Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:47 am

Badger3d wrote:So we had our first party wipe and I’m feeling bad wondering what I could have done differently to have given them at least a chance.
We were playing the Day one adventure in the Cyber Papacy. Harlequin with the power dagger, and Camila with the Godmeeter, both uninjured but out of possibilities were facing the Host on the train. They needed to survive 6 rounds before the train got to the storm and the Host disconnected, they didn’t survive 2 rounds the Host hit each of them once and they died, without even touching the Host or causing it to spend a possibility. They were completely out classed in this encounter, maybe if they had some possibilities and the Host had none, they might have survived a couple more turns but I doubt it.
What do you do when the party is facing a unwinable situation? If your playing a campaign how would you handle a total party wipe? They all said they enjoyed the game most of which was running from one enemy or anouther but I felt they were disappointed especially with each being killed in one hit.
I’m really afraid to run the day one Pan Pacific adventure, wiping the party isn’t fun.


Were you only playing with two Storm Knights? The adventures are intended for the six characters included.

Additionally (though possibly related if they did in fact, only have two Storm Knights)...did they have any Cosm cards?
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Kuildeous
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Re: Total Party Wipe

Postby Kuildeous » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:08 am

I didn't catch that it's just two players. Toning down the opposition would be required there. Maybe have the Host break away much sooner than 6 rounds. Maybe even after the first Storm Knight is killed, giving the second one a sigh of relief as the reality storm saved her. Or knock a few numbers off of the Host's stats.

But I think an expectation that Day One stories are filled with survival against all odds and also massacres. The story you tell might not necessarily be of the former, especially with Pan Pacifica.

As Deanna said, cosm cards could've helped them gain more Possibilities. And when you have only two players, I suggest letting them each draw two cards. It's easier to farm Possibilities with more cards, which is why larger groups are having an easier time than smaller groups—and I don't just mean by looking at enemy count. Not only would your two players have more variety in cosm cards, but there would've been more cosm cards played.

And the Mandatory Upgrade card can be played on villains too. I question its use on the Host since it's sentient, but it's also very much Tech 26, so why wouldn't it shut down during an inopportune upgrade?
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Badger3d
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Re: Total Party Wipe

Postby Badger3d » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:58 am

TorgHacker wrote:Were you only playing with two Storm Knights? The adventures are intended for the six characters included.

Additionally (though possibly related if they did in fact, only have two Storm Knights)...did they have any Cosm cards?


yes it was just 2 Storm Knight I only have a small group.
they did have Cosm cards and had previously asked about playing them, I forget the names, one might have been "Mandatory Upgrade " read "a tech 26 item disintegrates for possibilities", thought it was talking about a players items not their enemies, I offered 3 possibilities for the Godmeeter and 1 for the dagger, those were the only tech 26 items they had, the other Cosm card was a something like more police show up for possibilities. My group rarely ever plays a Cosm card they are generally too worried about the bad effects of them. Could they play one when hit to have a possibility for soaking the damage? How can I make the Cosm cards more appealing for them to play? maybe give them 2 of their choice? Am I being too harsh in there effects?
Even with possibilities and a full party the Hosts high toughness seemed well beyond all but a very lucky shot. Also I was very lucky with both my attacks rolling 20+ each time and causing 4 wounds each, the drama deck and dice had been going very bad for them all night.

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TorgHacker
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Re: Total Party Wipe

Postby TorgHacker » Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:22 am

Badger3d wrote:
TorgHacker wrote:Were you only playing with two Storm Knights? The adventures are intended for the six characters included.

Additionally (though possibly related if they did in fact, only have two Storm Knights)...did they have any Cosm cards?


yes it was just 2 Storm Knight I only have a small group.



That, above all else, is the problem. The game is balanced for 4-5 players, and the Day One adventures, as mentioned, are designed for all six characters to be in play.

The Destiny deck is a critical part of the game, and the way Dramatic combats work is that the Storm Knights are up against a really nasty opponent and they are certainly at a disadvantage at the start of the combat. However, as the rounds go, they get more cards in their hands, and players gather more cards, and eventually get a nicely sized pool and then swap cards to set up a finishing blow.

However, without 4-5 players, you:

1) don't have a large selection of cards in pools to choose from.

2) the players weren't able to cycle through as many cards in earlier scenes to get a better selection in their hand at the start of the Dramatic scene.

3) getting more cards through Approved Actions is more difficult because players have to either do multi-actions or not attack...and with only two players there goes half of your combat ability for that round.

4) have less targets to spread the hurt around.

We have some advice for running fewer or more players than 4-5, but even then two is pushing it. You really need to either substantially decrease the threat, or add some 'red shirts' to the mix.


they did have Cosm cards and had previously asked about playing them, I forget the names, one might have been "Mandatory Upgrade " read "a tech 26 item disintegrates for possibilities", thought it was talking about a players items not their enemies, I offered 3 possibilities for the Godmeeter and 1 for the dagger, those were the only tech 26 items they had, the other Cosm card was a something like more police show up for possibilities. My group rarely ever plays a Cosm card they are generally too worried about the bad effects of them. Could they play one when hit to have a possibility for soaking the damage? How can I make the Cosm cards more appealing for them to play? maybe give them 2 of their choice? Am I being too harsh in there effects?



Well, you can do anything you want as the GM. :)

That said, Cosm cards _are_ for getting Possibilities. The economy assumes that they'll run out, and they'll have to play at least a card or two to get more. But again, with only two you have less choice and also less potential Possibilities to give to the PCs. But not playing Cosm cards is effectively fighting with one hand behind your back.


Even with possibilities and a full party the Hosts high toughness seemed well beyond all but a very lucky shot. Also I was very lucky with both my attacks rolling 20+ each time and causing 4 wounds each, the drama deck and dice had been going very bad for them all night.


There's no doubt that the Host are tough. They are. Which is why there's only one of them to fight 6 Storm Knights. :-)

But it's not a lucky shot that's required. It's a shot...with a Possibility + Hero + Drama that usually ends them. Which is stuff that normal full parties can set up without much effort...they'll take their licks in but one or two players should be able to put that combo together.
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Kuildeous
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Re: Total Party Wipe

Postby Kuildeous » Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:45 am

I think giving them 2 cosm cards each will help out. That's the same number as a typical 4-player group. Technically a little less since Attuned will cycle faster in a 4-player game. Don't let them draw and discard what they don't want, though. Some of those cards are mandatory, but giving them four (or six if you're feeling spunky) gives them a pretty good spread.

The card economy is also important. With two players, I'd let them start with one card in their pools. Situational Awareness makes it even better. Or maybe just have them put two cards into their pool after doing an action. That way, when they start round 2, there should be 4 cards in pools, which equates a 4-player group. The downside would be that their hands are empty after round 2, so consider increasing the hand size as well.

Someone mentioned having a neutral pool that any player can pull from. After the heroes' turn, just flip a Destiny card randomly into the pool. Or maybe even before the heroes' turn to give them more flexibility. You could use this pool to reward approved actions. When someone succeeds at an approved action, the player draws a card and puts a random card into the neutral pool.

That's the good thing about the Day One adventures. They let you tweak the campaign based on your group size and style so that when you begin the campaign proper, you should have a pretty good process in place.

Oh, another possibility with just one or two players is to eschew the pool entirely and let players play from their hands. Some perks and cards rely on the pool though, so they will be noticeably weaker or useless.
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TorgHacker
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Re: Total Party Wipe

Postby TorgHacker » Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:53 am

Kuildeous wrote:I think giving them 2 cosm cards each will help out. That's the same number as a typical 4-player group. Technically a little less since Attuned will cycle faster in a 4-player game. Don't let them draw and discard what they don't want, though. Some of those cards are mandatory, but giving them four (or six if you're feeling spunky) gives them a pretty good spread.

The card economy is also important. With two players, I'd let them start with one card in their pools. Situational Awareness makes it even better. Or maybe just have them put two cards into their pool after doing an action. That way, when they start round 2, there should be 4 cards in pools, which equates a 4-player group. The downside would be that their hands are empty after round 2, so consider increasing the hand size as well.

Someone mentioned having a neutral pool that any player can pull from. After the heroes' turn, just flip a Destiny card randomly into the pool. Or maybe even before the heroes' turn to give them more flexibility. You could use this pool to reward approved actions. When someone succeeds at an approved action, the player draws a card and puts a random card into the neutral pool.

That's the good thing about the Day One adventures. They let you tweak the campaign based on your group size and style so that when you begin the campaign proper, you should have a pretty good process in place.

Oh, another possibility with just one or two players is to eschew the pool entirely and let players play from their hands. Some perks and cards rely on the pool though, so they will be noticeably weaker or useless.


Unofficially (mainly because Darrell doesn't advocate this but I think it's valid) keeping the card count at a minimum 4 cosm cards for the group, plus around 15 or so Destiny cards is a good idea.

You don't want to limit the Cosm cards in larger groups though because each player only gets one. But the Destiny hand size basically would be:

2 Players: 6
3 Players: 5
4-5 Players: 4
6-7 Players: 3

At 8 players you really should be running two groups. :-)
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Badger3d
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Re: Total Party Wipe

Postby Badger3d » Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:42 am

Thank you everyone for your advice, I've been hoping to get some other people to join our group but so far no luck.
Until then I'm thinking 6 destiny and 2 Cosm cards each with 2 destiny card played to pool and 2 cards rewarded for an action.
probably cut the bosses possibilities and wounds in half.
either that or each player play 2 characters which might overly complicate things.
Its hard to for me to judge if I'm making things too easy or too difficult its a delicate balance, trying the Nile Empire next, thinking that will be more forgiving and gives even more destiny cards.

TorgHacker wrote:But it's not a lucky shot that's required. It's a shot...with a Possibility + Hero + Drama that usually ends them.


I understand a shot with a Possibility + Destiny cards, also thinking I need to remind everyone of the Critical Moment option, but not sure what your referring to as Hero + Drama?

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TorgHacker
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Re: Total Party Wipe

Postby TorgHacker » Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:45 am

Badger3d wrote:Thank you everyone for your advice, I've been hoping to get some other people to join our group but so far no luck.
Until then I'm thinking 6 destiny and 2 Cosm cards each with 2 destiny card played to pool and 2 cards rewarded for an action.
probably cut the bosses possibilities and wounds in half.
either that or each player play 2 characters which might overly complicate things.
Its hard to for me to judge if I'm making things too easy or too difficult its a delicate balance, trying the Nile Empire next, thinking that will be more forgiving and gives even more destiny cards.

TorgHacker wrote:But it's not a lucky shot that's required. It's a shot...with a Possibility + Hero + Drama that usually ends them.


I understand a shot with a Possibility + Destiny cards, also thinking I need to remind everyone of the Critical Moment option, but not sure what your referring to as Hero + Drama?


A Hero and Drama card. That's two additional Possibilities.
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