Using combined actions to adjust combat difficulty

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Kuildeous
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Using combined actions to adjust combat difficulty

Postby Kuildeous » Tue Nov 28, 2017 4:00 pm

So I had my suspicions, but I like seeing numbers, so I did some quick simulations. It occurred to me that GMs have a means to artificially and mostly invisibly adjust the difficult of mook fights.

TL;DR version: If you want to make the fights easier on the Storm Knights, have the mooks attack 4 at a time. To make them even easier, have the mooks attack in larger numbers, especially just shy of the next bonus (e.g., 5, 9, 13, etc.). If the Storm Knights are having an easy time, have each villain attack separately.

I ran some simulations to see the difference many-on-one will have when attacking Storm Knights. Torg is a game of endless possibilities (ha!), and I couldn't possibly simulate all of the scenarios, so I focused on two variables, the number of mooks and the relative defense of the Storm Knight. For reference, here are the numbers I used to map out my scenarios:
Villain's attack skill: 9.
Storm Knight defense: 10 for a low value and 15 for a high value.
Coordination bonus: +0 for one mook attack and +3 for four mooks attacking.
Villain damage: 12. This number seems fairly common for melee mooks though the Church Police will be rougher.
Storm Knight toughness: 10. This is typical for more cerebral Storm Knights with some armor. Dragon Warriors and Electric Samurai will likely be much higher.
Number of trials: 50,000 for each test. I wanted to go more, but I didn't want to take too much time per scenario.

The results with these numbers are:
4 villains vs. low defense: 48% chance of doing just shock, 15% chance of doing a wound, 5% chance of doing 2 wounds, and 1% chance of doing 3 wounds.
4 villains vs. high defense: 24% chance of doing just shock, 4% chance of doing a wound, 1% chance of doing 2 wounds.
1 villain vs. low defense: 35% chance of doing just shock, 7% chance of doing a wound, 2% chance of doing 2 wounds.
1 villain vs. high defense: 12% chance of doing shock, 1% chance of doing a wound.

By using binomial probabilities, the last two scenarios can be translated as:
4 individual villain rolls vs. low defense: 82% chance of at least one villain inflicting shock, 25% chance of at least one villain inflicting 1 wound, 6% chance of at least one villain inflicting 2 wounds, 1% chance of at least one villain inflicting 3 wounds.
4 individual villain rolls vs. high defense: 40% chance of at least one villain inflicting shock, 4% chance of at least one villain inflicting 1 wound, 1% chance of at least one villain inflicting 2 wounds.

What's important to note about that part is that 25% chance of someone inflicting 1 wound covers just one villain getting that lucky hit and all four getting lucky. I did not drill down far enough to determine the average number of wounds you can expect to see.

The most efficient use of multi-action is to have 4 villains. That gets you +3. Five villains also get +3, so there's no point in including a fifth one. Higher numbers just get ludicrously inefficient.

In conclusion, adjust how you roll for your villains if you want to give the players a greater challenge or want to let them catch their breath. You can even split the tactics between PCs of different skill. Roll four guys separately against someone with a high defense, but roll them all together when attacking someone with low defense. That way, both characters are threatened but not too unfairly.

And if you really want to lower your chances of killing someone, have a dozen villains attack. Hope you don't explode a bunch. After all, when dice are involved, anything is possible.
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RamblingScribe
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Re: Using combined actions to adjust combat difficulty

Postby RamblingScribe » Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:01 pm

I've been assuming that this was the case, but it's nice to have numbers to see how things stack up. Honestly, my preference would be that the two methods line up a bit more closely, but I tend to think of planning based on the idea that extras gang up and are therefore weaker. It's like that law of inverse effectiveness of ninjas. I like to have squads of four or six mooks per hero, and call it good. Then the heroes get to be big damn heroes. Sometimes I give them squads of soldier allies, but require that they act in squads when possible. Again, their general ineffectiveness makes the heroes look good!

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Kuildeous
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Re: Using combined actions to adjust combat difficulty

Postby Kuildeous » Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:52 pm

My group hasn't been worrying about shock damage too much. I may consider doing some individual attacks to improve the chance of shock damage. But of course, I don't want to overwhelm them with wounds. There may be some fine-tuning to do. Maybe I'll have mooks attack two at a time.

And, well, time is also a factor. Rolling out 24 individual attacks is tedious. That's the main reason for combined actions. I'm thinking maybe I can make the mooks a bit more capable but roll 4 at a time to mitigate the increase. Damage is still a concern but manageable. Interestingly enough, when the villains get down to a handful, then switching to individual rolls can make them seem more desperate.
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Gargoyle
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Re: Using combined actions to adjust combat difficulty

Postby Gargoyle » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:39 pm

Kuildeous wrote:My group hasn't been worrying about shock damage too much. I may consider doing some individual attacks to improve the chance of shock damage. But of course, I don't want to overwhelm them with wounds. There may be some fine-tuning to do. Maybe I'll have mooks attack two at a time.

And, well, time is also a factor. Rolling out 24 individual attacks is tedious. That's the main reason for combined actions. I'm thinking maybe I can make the mooks a bit more capable but roll 4 at a time to mitigate the increase. Damage is still a concern but manageable. Interestingly enough, when the villains get down to a handful, then switching to individual rolls can make them seem more desperate.


My limited experience playing and GM'ing gave me the impression that you don't usually take that much Shock; wounds seem to be the threatening factor for downing a SK. Curious if others are seeing that. If so the game may be running a little on the deadly side.
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Etan Krel
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Re: Using combined actions to adjust combat difficulty

Postby Etan Krel » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:53 pm

As a GM, I saw my entire players group falling due to Shock facing the edeinos stormer in LL day one. They are not so good at melee combat.

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Re: Using combined actions to adjust combat difficulty

Postby ZorValachan » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:36 pm

I've had more PCs almost taken out by shock than wounds. All the barely hits and little damage are 1 to 2 shock, which players see as a waste to spend a possibility to soak. Until they are at close to their shock limit. They will immediately go for a wound soak.

They are 7 players, and we're running around with 8 possibilities last Act. Next Act will be a new adventure, starting from scratch and with my new card spread. That might change things.
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Kuildeous
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Re: Using combined actions to adjust combat difficulty

Postby Kuildeous » Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:29 pm

Gargoyle wrote:My limited experience playing and GM'ing gave me the impression that you don't usually take that much Shock; wounds seem to be the threatening factor for downing a SK. Curious if others are seeing that. If so the game may be running a little on the deadly side.


My experience matches yours as well. I've run the Day One adventures and about a dozen convention demos using the archetypes. Some people fell unconscious, but Wounds were a bigger threat. Sometimes I feel like there should be more than 2 Shock as an option, but I'll continue with RAW for now. Maybe if I roll mooks individually I can dish out a little more Shock. After all, if four combine their efforts, they still only do 2 Shock. Meanwhile if at least two of the four hit individually, then that at least doubles the Shock.

Actually I wonder about a house rule that is similar to oTorg. For each additional villain that attacks, the damage increases by 1 Shock. This also makes five combatants a valid option since a fifth attacker does nothing otherwise. But the problem with that is that you get +3 to hit and could do six Shock with that one hit. But maybe that isn't really a problem?
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Re: Using combined actions to adjust combat difficulty

Postby Gargoyle » Fri Dec 01, 2017 6:41 am

So maybe it's fine since not everyone is seeing that, and maybe it's a combination of variables, certain type of SK's vs certain types of foes. Just something to keep an eye on I guess. Would rather see them get captured now and then instead of dead.
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