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bidimus
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Monster balance question...

Wed 19 Sep 2018, 20:27

Heya, late pledger here (like yesterday) and I spent last night reading through the player and GM material.  I am so excited to dig into running some sessions.  There is so much more here than I had expected.  I jumped on board because I became a huge fan boy when I discovered Coriolis and now I must have all the things. lol

I tend to play with small groups, even lone wolf games from time to time as my core group is my family.  Other games have a combat rating system that can be used to scale encounters but FL doesn't quite fit that model.  To make things more challenging, it's also more lethal than many other fantasy games.  What is the best metric in FL to scale encounters to the party size?  I'm sure I'll eventually get a feel for it but mean time I'm trying to avoid an undeserved party wipe.
 
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Fenhorn
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Re: Monster balance question...

Wed 19 Sep 2018, 21:01

The GM's Guide has some good words about this (p11 Opposition) although that mostly works to balance humanoid opponents, not monsters. Monsters are tough to balance, but I usually go with that the players usually defeat a monster if they match its strength. The number of players is very important though, so even if the players match the monsters strength, they will usually defeat it if they outnumber it. So if I want a a more challenging fight I, besides adding more of them, I go with the the multiple initiative card rule (GM's Guide p75 More Challenging Monsters).
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pellejones
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Re: Monster balance question...

Wed 19 Sep 2018, 23:30

I can give you an example from our first fight in the game. I am the Gm. The party of 3 players, one dwarf minstrel, a half-elf sorcerer and a hafling rouge. They ran into 5 Urhur Orcs. The party had a total of 10 willpower, so 5 Uhur orcs seemed like an OK fight. After a few rounds, the players were almost out of willpower, the halfling had one arm chopped off, two of the orcs were broken by STRENGTH damage and the other three had been persuaded to drop everything and flee (due to the might of the minstrels voice). All in all, the party survived - but the halfling almost died. 

This was a party where only the rouge had a weapon and two levels in melee and the minstrel had one level in melee (fighting with his hands).

The Urhur Orcs had scimitars, studded leather armor and large shields. Meaning they had +2 when they would parry with the shield, and an armor value of 3! So they were hard to HIT and hard to Damage!

So... the "one humanoid advisary / willpower" can be missleading of course.
 
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bidimus
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Re: Monster balance question...

Thu 20 Sep 2018, 08:27

Thanks guys.  This helps a lot and gives me something to think about, especially the game play example.  I get the feeling I'd be best off to error on the side of caution till I get the feel for it.  Especially with a lone wolf.
 
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Eldhierta
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Re: Monster balance question...

Thu 20 Sep 2018, 10:04

I can give you an example from our first fight in the game. I am the Gm. The party of 3 players, one dwarf minstrel, a half-elf sorcerer and a hafling rouge. They ran into 5 Urhur Orcs. The party had a total of 10 willpower, so 5 Uhur orcs seemed like an OK fight. After a few rounds, the players were almost out of willpower, the halfling had one arm chopped off, two of the orcs were broken by STRENGTH damage and the other three had been persuaded to drop everything and flee (due to the might of the minstrels voice). All in all, the party survived - but the halfling almost died. 

This was a party where only the rouge had a weapon and two levels in melee and the minstrel had one level in melee (fighting with his hands).

The Urhur Orcs had scimitars, studded leather armor and large shields. Meaning they had +2 when they would parry with the shield, and an armor value of 3! So they were hard to HIT and hard to Damage!

So... the "one humanoid advisary / willpower" can be missleading of course.
Why would unarmed, fledgling adventurers go toe to toe with a larger group of armed Urhur orcs? Sounds to me like they're nurturing a deathwish :D Combat in FbL (as in M:Y0) is fast and lethal. It is often better to flee to fight another day, especially if the odds are against you, than to stand and fight. This is a grim-dark fantasy survival RPG, not D&D where everyone and their mother is a demi-god. In my... ehm... not so humble opinion :)
 
LupNi
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Re: Monster balance question...

Thu 20 Sep 2018, 18:15

Why would unarmed, fledgling adventurers go toe to toe with a larger group of armed Urhur orcs? Sounds to me like they're nurturing a deathwish :D Combat in FbL (as in M:Y0) is fast and lethal. It is often better to flee to fight another day, especially if the odds are against you, than to stand and fight. This is a grim-dark fantasy survival RPG, not D&D where everyone and their mother is a demi-god. In my... ehm... not so humble opinion :)
Exactly! The way I'm going to run it will adhere to the OSR philosophy: There is no such thing as encounter balance, and if you choose to fight a fight without having carefully weighted your chances you're probably going to get killed.
On the other hand, it also means that the GM is responsible for clearly showing the PCs how powerful their opponents are. I might even go as far as showing them all the NPC's stats. Also, avoiding combat and/or running away should be perfectly valid options.
 
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King_Kull
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Re: Monster balance question...

Fri 21 Sep 2018, 07:42

As players are players it could be a good idea to show them the enemy stats. Have been a long time WFRP GM and I always wondered about the deathwish of my players... Seems FbL is even deadlier.
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pellejones
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Re: Monster balance question...

Sun 23 Sep 2018, 10:26

I can give you an example from our first fight in the game. I am the Gm. The party of 3 players, one dwarf minstrel, a half-elf sorcerer and a hafling rouge. They ran into 5 Urhur Orcs. The party had a total of 10 willpower, so 5 Uhur orcs seemed like an OK fight. After a few rounds, the players were almost out of willpower, the halfling had one arm chopped off, two of the orcs were broken by STRENGTH damage and the other three had been persuaded to drop everything and flee (due to the might of the minstrels voice). All in all, the party survived - but the halfling almost died. 

This was a party where only the rouge had a weapon and two levels in melee and the minstrel had one level in melee (fighting with his hands).

The Urhur Orcs had scimitars, studded leather armor and large shields. Meaning they had +2 when they would parry with the shield, and an armor value of 3! So they were hard to HIT and hard to Damage!

So... the "one humanoid advisary / willpower" can be missleading of course.
Why would unarmed, fledgling adventurers go toe to toe with a larger group of armed Urhur orcs? Sounds to me like they're nurturing a deathwish :D Combat in FbL (as in M:Y0) is fast and lethal. It is often better to flee to fight another day, especially if the odds are against you, than to stand and fight. This is a grim-dark fantasy survival RPG, not D&D where everyone and their mother is a demi-god. In my... ehm... not so humble opinion :)
They failed in hiding and decided to stay for a fight :) they have all played MYZ so they know the danger :)

I always roll dice open and I always tell them the stats like "He has a strength of 5, he has a +2 shield, a rapier with 2 damage and an armour of 3" so they know what they are getting into :) They made their choice 
 
Rasmus
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Re: Monster balance question...

Tue 25 Sep 2018, 09:41

The number of players is very important though, so even if the players match the monsters strength, they will usually defeat it if they outnumber it. So if I want a a more challenging fight I, besides adding more of them, I go with the the multiple initiative card rule (GM's Guide p75 More Challenging Monsters).
Good input. I definitely have to use the multiple initiative card rule, since I play with a very large group (6-8 players each session). Any rule of thumb regarding this? I was thinking one initiative card per 3-4 players, rounding up. So 2 cards for 4-5 players and possibly 3 cards for 7-8 players. The first monster will set player expectations and the atmosphere of the game, so I can't let it be steamrolled (unless players get extremely lucky with dice or have a brilliant plan).
 
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Rymdhamster
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Re: Monster balance question...

Tue 25 Sep 2018, 14:20

I was thinking one initiative card per 3-4 players, rounding up. So 2 cards for 4-5 players and possibly 3 cards for 7-8 players.
I'd do more. An extra card for every 2-3 players. We've only met and fought one monster so far in game, so it might depend on what you meet. We we're five players and I think it got 3 initiative cards, and I think we might have survuved even one more card.
One extra per player might be a bit much, though =D

Edit: Oh, actually take this with a big grain of salt! I just rememberd that we actually play with a rather significant house rule where we don't actually get fewer dice just because we take misery. We play the same way that monster do, that we always get our full number of dice. From that respect, your count would probably be much more appropriate!

Sorry =)

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