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Old 08-06-2014, 04:11 PM   #21
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Default Re: The lair of Igghagh, an epic Dungeon Fantasy encounter

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You have to have a reasonable tolerance for TPKs, however. This isn't unique to GURPS, it's pretty much fundamental to a challenging fight that it's one the PCs will occasionally lose, but GURPS combat is typically quite swingy (any system with low hit probabilities and low numbers of hits required to drop someone will have high randomness) so it's hard to design for a fight that reasonably consistently leaves the PCs bloodied but victorious.
I generally run high octane action, which means most PCs have luck and ways of spending points on stuff like successes or flesh wounds. The net result is a surprisingly TPK-resistant game, where challenge becomes obvious not through the death of the PCs, but the absolute depletion of their resources, damage to beloved NPCs, and many uses of Luck. I have managed to off a single PC in the last 4 GURPS campaigns I ran (a sniper hit one of the PCs in the vitals, knocked him to negative HP and he failed his survival check, which activated his Dramatic Death perk). Everyone else has survived, despite pushing hard for some deaths (especially in my supposedly tragically-themed Chambara game)

DF has similar TPK-resilience, though in the form of magic and resurrection spells.

My experience with GURPS is that it's better at threatening people with death than it actually is at dealing it out (witness the fact that when people actually run NPCs using the full "roll for death" rules, they swiftly become these very long, very bloody affairs of beating NPCs to smears on the pavement to make sure they stay down, goddammit)
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Old 08-06-2014, 05:15 PM   #22
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Default Re: The lair of Igghagh, an epic Dungeon Fantasy encounter

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My experience with GURPS is that it's better at threatening people with death than it actually is at dealing it out
Actually, what this means is that you rarely get kills other than a TPK -- whoever holds the field at the end of the fight can recover and treat their casualties, so you mostly only get PC deaths if the PCs failed to hold the field. However, someone important getting randomly critted off the field in turn 1 can still transform a theoretically challenging fight into a cakewalk or a possible TPK.

Burning xp for successes does cut down on the swinginess, simply by the fact it winds up requiring more 'hits' to put someone down (where we'll call something that forces the victim to spend xp a 'hit').
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Old 08-07-2014, 01:10 AM   #23
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Default Re: The lair of Igghagh, an epic Dungeon Fantasy encounter

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Actually, what this means is that you rarely get kills other than a TPK -- whoever holds the field at the end of the fight can recover and treat their casualties, so you mostly only get PC deaths if the PCs failed to hold the field. However, someone important getting randomly critted off the field in turn 1 can still transform a theoretically challenging fight into a cakewalk or a possible TPK.

Burning xp for successes does cut down on the swinginess, simply by the fact it winds up requiring more 'hits' to put someone down (where we'll call something that forces the victim to spend xp a 'hit').
Agreed. And moreover, I've noticed that GURPS naturally leans towards the mean because of its bell-curve, and has quite a few tricks that skews things towards that mean, or slightly below, especially luck and spending for successes. And since that spending for successes is one-sided (as in, NPCs generally don't do it), it means the heroes are far more likely to come out ahead than their character sheets might indicate.

Of course, I run pretty high point totals. And, for whatever reason, my players are far more willing to retreat than tales of the average party leads me to believe. So when things start to turn south, my PCs will often turtle up and retreat, taking their wounded with them. But I often run "no-win" scenarios, where I throw over-powered opponents at my players, not (always) because I'm a jerk, but because that's what would happen. If you screw up your stealth checks in the middle of the Evil Warlords Fortress and he sicks his elites on you, then you're going to get swarmed by high powered people. My PCs have realized this and will often retreat when they see they're outmatched (but the fact that they don't always and sometimes win these encounters anyway is how I know that TPKs are rarer than people think, and that sending something ridiculously dangerous at the PCs may well be best practice).

If you run lower point total games and your players are less aware of the concept of retreat, and you include less measures meant to keep the PCs alive, I don't know, perhaps there will be more PC death (though I once ran a 50 point total horror game that was pretty explicitly about murdering the PCs, and it even turned into a PVP death-match by the end, and two PCs still walked away from that)
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Old 08-07-2014, 06:25 AM   #24
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I expect that they will take turns gAzing at it until they all turn immune to the terror, since it won't act until attacked. Then the saint will ask God to negate the injury tolerance (diffuse) so it takes full damage (and they can deal obscene amounts of damage) from attacks.
The 'diffuse' part is the first bit which puzzles me. A huge mound with a hundred tentacles seems to fit 'homogenous' but not really 'diffuse', at least according to the description in Basic. You might say it is so huge that its body molecules are only as vulnerable as a swarm of flies when attacked by SM0 humans, I suppose (though it seems a stretch). Or is it a being of pure energy?

The next bit that seems odd is that the cleric could invoke a prayer effect to remove that status by divine fiat. If you have enough 'buying power' with God to transform the whole nature of a vast Eldritch Being to a different nature entirely, why not just have God unmake him or slay him? Maybe that's because I am not au fait with DF.
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Old 08-08-2014, 06:44 AM   #25
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Default Re: The lair of Igghagh, an epic Dungeon Fantasy encounter

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The 'diffuse' part is the first bit which puzzles me. A huge mound with a hundred tentacles seems to fit 'homogenous' but not really 'diffuse', at least according to the description in Basic. You might say it is so huge that its body molecules are only as vulnerable as a swarm of flies when attacked by SM0 humans, I suppose (though it seems a stretch). Or is it a being of pure energy?
The IC description doesn't matter. It is what the game mechanics say it is: very hard to seriously injure, except with cones, area attacks, and explosions.

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The next bit that seems odd is that the cleric could invoke a prayer effect to remove that status by divine fiat. If you have enough 'buying power' with God to transform the whole nature of a vast Eldritch Being to a different nature entirely, why not just have God unmake him or slay him? Maybe that's because I am not au fait with DF.
Because DF, as a genre, favors powers that enable awesome fight scenes over powers that circumvent them.
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Old 08-08-2014, 06:59 AM   #26
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Default Re: The lair of Igghagh, an epic Dungeon Fantasy encounter

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The 'diffuse' part is the first bit which puzzles me. A huge mound with a hundred tentacles seems to fit 'homogenous' but not really 'diffuse', at least according to the description in Basic. You might say it is so huge that its body molecules are only as vulnerable as a swarm of flies when attacked by SM0 humans, I suppose (though it seems a stretch). Or is it a being of pure energy?

The next bit that seems odd is that the cleric could invoke a prayer effect to remove that status by divine fiat. If you have enough 'buying power' with God to transform the whole nature of a vast Eldritch Being to a different nature entirely, why not just have God unmake him or slay him? Maybe that's because I am not au fait with DF.
Think of it as a pile of biological nanites, that's why it's Diffuse. Also, on how comes that the gods can "solidify" it enough to downgrade it to homogeneous, well, that's not going to be easy, but with a high enough reaction roll (excellent or better) on Divine Favor, that ought to work.
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Old 08-09-2014, 12:35 PM   #27
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Think of it as a pile of biological nanites, that's why it's Diffuse.
Nice. I like it. And indeed terrifying. Might borrow an aspect of that idea myself :)
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Old 08-09-2014, 12:37 PM   #28
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Default Re: The lair of Igghagh, an epic Dungeon Fantasy encounter

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The IC description doesn't matter. It is what the game mechanics say it is: very hard to seriously injure, except with cones, area attacks, and explosions.
Because DF, as a genre, favors powers that enable awesome fight scenes over powers that circumvent them.
I can't really dig that kind of prioritisation of metagame design over something that makes sense. My group demands things that make sense (in a game world context) AND provides awesome fight scenes :)
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Old 08-09-2014, 12:41 PM   #29
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Default Re: The lair of Igghagh, an epic Dungeon Fantasy encounter

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Also, on how comes that the gods can "solidify" it enough to downgrade it to homogeneous, well, that's not going to be easy, but with a high enough reaction roll (excellent or better) on Divine Favor, that ought to work.
I think I would narrate this to myself as the saint's God forcing the Eldritch pseudopod monster to coalesce into this plane of existence more fully, cutting off its 'ethereal' aspect. Once it is forced to manifest fully, then it becomes (more) vulnerable. But hey, that's just me!
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Old 08-31-2014, 03:33 PM   #30
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Default Re: The lair of Igghagh, an epic Dungeon Fantasy encounter

First day of combat after action report

So, they reach the lair at the end of the dungeon, and the martial artist goes first to scout. She sees it sleeping (they had already heard it's heartbeat), and is affected by Terror Beyond the Stars. She has Mental Strength-27, and so fails the fright check at -20, but then spends her only wildcard point to succeed instead. She comes back, and they all go forward to gaze into the monstrosity. Thanks to how I run Bless*, and to the Aristocrat's Tactician points (I let him have them, as he meets the prerequisites thanks to his Born War Leader), who said "none of my men will flinch at the sight of that thing!", they make it without gaining any permanent disadvantages. So, knowing that they have time to prepare, they all burn through their power items to gain the bigests buffs they can (Shield 10 on two delvers, Shield 6 on the other two), and then they all Wait while the saint prays for Aura of Mortality. He then makes a gesture, and they go all on on it. The Assassin/Martial Artist goes first, and activates Serenity, rolling a 10 for DX and basic Speed, that coupled with the Shield Spell, give her enough dodge to go toe to toe with Igghagh, and dodge it's attacks on a 16-, despite the penalties. The Scout/Mystic Knight/Wizard starts dropping arrows on it like a machine gun but only inflicts 2 HP per attack. (The aura has not yet negated the Injury Tolerance: Diffuse). The Mystic Knight/Aristocrat is next to it shockwaving for big damage too. In one turn, they do enough damage for Igghagh to start using it's Psychic Scream. They burn through their last blesses and tactician points to avoid stuns on the most critical party members, and the rest recover on the next turn. The problem is that they only kill 7 of the 8 sea elves, and so Igghagh eats one and heals to almost full. We leave it there, as it's getting late, and will finish next week.

*Bless costs 20 per level, and each point gives you a "destiny point" as per GURPS Power-Ups 5: Impulse Buys


Clifhanger photos

Big Yellow Bowl of Doom->Igghagh
Blue Caps->Oddifiers
Black Caps->Neuroids
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