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Old 03-17-2010, 04:27 PM   #21
Nymdok
 
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Default Re: [DF] Sample Encounters

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Originally Posted by Kuroshima View Post
Not only you're using Mystic Knights, but they're both using Returning weapon! How is it working? I must say that I though it was a hole that Imbuement Skills ought to fill. I hope you're finding it worthy.
Its working out ok, (We finished Lest Darkness Rise this morning at 4am....Wyf-dok was amazingly agrivated). The range penalties are doing a good job of keeping them in check as they dont yet have the points to buy up the ranged weapon skills.

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Old 03-17-2010, 10:48 PM   #22
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Default Re: [DF] Sample Encounters

I'd like to express my gratitude for this thread. I found planning and trying to balance the encounters in DF challenging for the same reasons as the OP. I'm glad that so many people have contributed strong encounters. Please keep it up.

I do have one question, is there a general rule that some of you use when choosing adversaries?

I'm GMing three 300 point characters and worry about how to keep things balanced. So far the most I've sent at them are two armoured swordsmen from DF2. These presented a few difficulties, but the players are also inexperienced and the second round of defeating the armour went much quicker than the first.

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Old 03-18-2010, 01:28 AM   #23
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Default Re: [DF] Sample Encounters

As a rough guideline, I use "Party CP / 200 = desired D20 EL". Normally this works out (based on my converted monsters). If my players were more of the tactician sort, I would up the EL by 2 or 3.

E.g. four characters are about 300 CP, one is about 275 CP; Party CP is 1475 CP; so EL 7 to 8 are a kind of challenge to the party; EL 9 to 10 get really difficult.
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Old 03-18-2010, 07:50 AM   #24
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Default Re: [DF] Sample Encounters

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I do have one question, is there a general rule that some of you use when choosing adversaries?
WARNING! LONG POST OF ME BANGING ON ABOUT ENCOUNTER BALANCE

I wish I could give you a set answer, but due to the multiplicity of possibilities in charachter builds, there simply isnt one.

I can offer you this though as sort of a 'quick and dirty' encouter balance checklist.

DR
1. Try to give them a DR that suits the Average Dmg output of your party. Figure this damage out by using the expectation value of your group.

2. Try not to give your enemies more DR than the weakest member of your party can penetrate. No one likes feeling useless in combat especially because they take as long as they do. Increasing the Active Defenses of your Adversaries is a good way to keep DR low.

Example: In the last adventure, I kept the DR 4 and below for enemies due to a martial artist and thief/scout in the party only being able to do about 5 dmg (1d+2).

DMG:
1. Let the Damage Output be built on avg party DR. The ability of your opponents to deal out dmage to your party helps create tension and increases the value of clerics.
2. Make sure that the Damage Output has the ability to penetrate the Heaviest DR in the Group, when in doubt, this statement overrides statement 1.

There are many ways to deal with this. Damage that ignores DR (Buringin touch spells for example), Armor divisors (Bodkin Tip arrows), and a skill that is high enough to target chinks in armor are just a few ways to help adjust this as are resistances.

Example: In the last adventure, the party's dr avg was around 3, with the martial artist runing around 4 (Leather plus 2 levels of DR). I kept the avg damge of the attacks around 2d(Expected DMG 7) with some as high as 3d and some as low as 1d. The 3d attacks made them scream for the cleric, the 1d attack madem them glad they bought armor :)

Attack SKills:
1. Set your attack skills to a point that your bad guys can Deceptive attack defenses to a reasonable level. Again, let party averages be your guide, not the final arbiter.
2. For members of the party with lower Defenses, use the attack skills for Rapid Strikes.

Example: Starting out some of the group had active defenses (Large Shield and 18 Shield skills) around 15. To get this down, attack skills in the 20's were the order of the day. THis allowed them to bypass some defenses on the tanks and let them deal with the Martial artists INSANE dodge of 12 by assigning multiple attacks for them.

Active Defenses:
1. Set the active defenses of monsters at a level that will challenge the party and force them to use Deceptive attacks to get though reliably. Again, the party's avg Attack is a good jumping off point.


Multiplicity of Enemies:
How many enemies for an encounter is dependent on their strength. In your head it may be easier to treat it as one monster with several attacks. Keep in mind that due to the nature of Block/Parry/Dodge, it gets tougher for parties to fend off more than 2 enemies each or individual enemies with multiple attacks. Remember the more they must roll against defenses, the less liekly it is they will make ALL of them due to the nature of probability and the normally steep drop between Parry/Block and Dodge.

Interplay of Attributes:
To hit someone and cause damage, an attack must succeed, a defense must fail and DR must be penetrated. These are multiplied values in probablility. The number of times it happens is Additive in probability.

So if the monsters odds of beating the parties defenses is 25% (Say Attack 18 vs AD 14 DAed to 14 v 12), the odds of beating the DR is 50% (Say 2d vs DR 7) then the odds of an individual monster hitting an individual opponent is only 12%. If there are 8 of them attackiing however it becomes very likely that SOMEONE in the party will take SOME damage every round!

To that end, I actually stary out by thinking about how often I want my monsters to hit the party, How often I want my party to hit the monsters and what those numbers should then be to get that. These numbers can be as low as 15% or as high as 60% depending on what your trying to achieve.

Example: I want my party to hew fodder enemies as a confidence builder/fatigue builder before a final boss fight. 60% will let them rack up damge and slay enemies with abandon. The fodder, will be high in number but reasonably weak.

Avg Party Skill = 16
Avg Party DMG = 2d (7 points)

So I can set the opponents values for defense and DR to any combination that will yield 60% probability.

I can Have AD 9 (65%) or AD 10 (54%) with Zero DR (100% penetration) or I can Have AD of 5 or 6 (94% and 90%) versus DR 7 or 6 bricks (58% or 72% penetration) or any combination inbetween!

On the other side, I can of course set the Skills and DMG low enough that it wont hit with regularity, but the MULTIPLICITY will be enough to at least be a minor threat :)

So when looking at Probablilites look at Attack and Damage together and look at Active Defesne and DR together. Also look at each of those together wither multiplicity of enemies.

What the PArty Will Do:

You'll find alot of people that will recomend 'playing the encounter out in your head' or imaginging how the party will act and react. THis can be helpful and being a 'good shepard' (I know my flock and my flock knows me) will help you somewhat. But as My party amazes and astounds me on a regular basis it hasnt helped me as much as I would like. Your mileage may vary. :)

Wow this has turned into a long post and I dont mean to bang on, but this was one of the most challengeing parts of GURPS for me to get down. THe truth all told, I still dont have as firm a grasp on it as I would like, but I try to at least share what Ive learned :)

Nymdok

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Old 03-18-2010, 08:29 AM   #25
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Default Re: [DF] Sample Encounters

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Yes. Pathfinder #1 and #2: almost all monsters.
Work on Pathfinder #3 is about to begin.
Oooh! Well, do you by chance have them posted on the Internet anywhere (I mean, other than the one in this thread, obviously) and are you planning on continuing the project into later volumes of PF? :)

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WARNING! LONG POST OF ME BANGING ON ABOUT ENCOUNTER BALANCE

<snipped good stuff>
Wow Nymdok, thanks. This was something I too was wondering about and struggling with. Your advice is going to go a long way toward making my life easier. I really appreciate this. :)
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Old 03-18-2010, 08:55 AM   #26
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Default Re: [DF] Sample Encounters

As an add-on to Nymdok's post -

One way to adjust things is by environmental modifiers, rather than directly modifying the opposition (or the PCs! occasionally stealing or dissolving/rusting/disintegrating/turning to butter the PCs equipment reminds them what the point of Signature Gear and Shatterproof and such things are, but doing it every day is bad.)

If the floor is slippery and people without the correct Terrain Adaptation perk or Perfect Balance are at -4 to attack and -2 to defend (and the monsters fly, or have the correct traits, or are clinging to the ceiling, or whatever) then the PCs attack skills and defenses are penalized, while the monsters are not. Therefore the monsters don't need to be as tough.

Lighting penalties or smoke/fog, low ceilings, wading through water (when the monsters are Amphibious), flimsey rope bridges, narrow ledges over pits of lava, etc etc etc...

Not only do these make the encounter different and pretty cool and dramatic, they ALSO mean you don't need as hard hitting monsters :D

It's also possible for parts of the map to give BONUSES to monsters. The Protect Animals spells is an excellent example - it gives DR bonuses and DB to animals and not to people - but "defiled ground" that enhances Excommunicated demons and undead (and half-demon PCs...) would be another option. Adding a whole encounter area like this just "buffs" the monsters until the PCs can disable the effect (mellee characters struggling to hold off the monsters until the wizard or cleric can cast Dispel Magic or exorcise the curse is very dramatic) where as smaller areas within the encounter area give mobile PCs and players who like tactical maneuvering the chance to try to manipulate battlefield conditions until the monsters no longer get the bonuses.

You can switch things around and have features that penalize monsters but not PCs, or give bonuses to PCs and not monsters (allowing bigger scarrier monsters that you otherwise wouldn't like to use).

And then there's "stuff that penalizes EVERYONE" or "Stuff that benefits EVERYONE" - bonfires burn goblins just as much as PCs, and shed light that works well for either group.



The nice thing about including terrain features like this is that those traits (advantages, spells) that seemed sort of "non combat" and "fluffy" can start to really matter. This makes the players that picked them feel good about their character and choices.

The fun thing about low ceilings is that it makes traits that normally seem a little disadvantageous (being short frex) cool :D
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Old 03-18-2010, 09:56 AM   #27
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Default Re: [DF] Sample Encounters

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Wow Nymdok, thanks. This was something I too was wondering about and struggling with. Your advice is going to go a long way toward making my life easier. I really appreciate this. :)
Use it in good health and good gaming! There are SOOO many other things that will merit your consideration in encounter design, but having these guildines to 'jump off' from should help get you on the path. :)

Things not touched on in that post that will require your further review and examination are Combat Longevity, FP as Ammunition, Resistances to Advantages and Spells, and as Bruno points out, Environmental Considerations.

Quote:
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One way to adjust things is by environmental modifiers....

If the floor is slippery ... Lighting penalties or smoke/fog, low ceilings, wading through water (when the monsters are Amphibious), flimsey rope bridges, narrow ledges over pits of lava, etc etc etc...

Not only do these make the encounter different and pretty cool and dramatic, they ALSO mean you don't need as hard hitting monsters :D

It's also possible for parts of the map to give BONUSES to monsters...

You can switch things around and have features that penalize monsters but not PCs, or give bonuses to PCs and not monsters (allowing bigger scarrier monsters that you otherwise wouldn't like to use).

And then there's "stuff that penalizes EVERYONE" or "Stuff that benefits EVERYONE" - bonfires burn goblins just as much as PCs, and shed light that works well for either group.

The nice thing about including terrain features like this is that those traits (advantages, spells) that seemed sort of "non combat" and "fluffy" can start to really matter. This makes the players that picked them feel good about their character and choices.

The fun thing about low ceilings is that it makes traits that normally seem a little disadvantageous (being short frex) cool :D
Brilliant Examples Bruno!

I especially agree with the idea of making Players who took advantages feel like they are getting thier money's worth (or even a bargain!). It makes the players feel that their charachters are 'Special' and if not for them and the abilities they bought, the party would be in worse shape.

Nymdok
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Old 03-18-2010, 12:10 PM   #28
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Default Re: [DF] Sample Encounters

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Oooh! Well, do you by chance have them posted on the Internet anywhere (I mean, other than the one in this thread, obviously) and are you planning on continuing the project into later volumes of PF? :)
Sorry, no files on the net, but I will send you my documents as PDFs if you PM'ed me your e-mail address - but beware the German translations inbetween!

Yes, as long as my party is interested in playing GURPS Pathfinder I will continue. At our current speed this amounts to one volume per eight months.
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Old 03-18-2010, 12:46 PM   #29
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Default Re: [DF] Sample Encounters

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Sorry, no files on the net, but I will send you my documents as PDFs if you PM'ed me your e-mail address - but beware the German translations inbetween!

Yes, as long as my party is interested in playing GURPS Pathfinder I will continue. At our current speed this amounts to one volume per eight months.
Sent.

Let's see... *does the calculations in his head* ...so that's about four years to finish up the first adventure path. Well if you guys start up Crimson Throne at some point I'd be even more interested in hearing about that! ^_^
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Old 03-18-2010, 12:51 PM   #30
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Default Re: [DF] Sample Encounters

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Sent.

Let's see... *does the calculations in his head* ...so that's about four years to finish up the first adventure path. Well if you guys start up Crimson Throne at some point I'd be even more interested in hearing about that! ^_^
We had talks about a parallel group, lately... :-)
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