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Old 05-21-2014, 01:29 AM   #1
Anthony
 
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Default One-shotting in DF

Just a curiosity question: how much damage do you feel comfortable with your creatures doing? Is it acceptable to drop the weaker party members to zero HP with a single hit? How about death checks? How many? Is it okay to go from full HP to -HPx5? Likewise, how badly is it reasonable to hurt the tougher party members with one hit?

This mostly comes up when dealing with foes whose shtick is being big and strong, rather than exceptionally skilled, such as giant monsters, because their low hit probability means they aren't meaningful threats unless they do truckloads of damage. Looking in DF2 at the monster list, the most damaging attacks are a 5d+5 crushing attack and a 3d+6 cutting attack, both of which might force a death check for a relatively flimsy character, but it's easy to wind up with concept monsters that are doing a lot more than that. So, are you okay with something like a ST 40 iron golem with a sword (damage 7d+1 cut)? A ST 60 dragon with brawling and cutting strikers (damage 7d+13 cut? A 30' stone colossus with ST 100 and a SM+4 greatsword (damage 11d+12 cut)?
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Old 05-21-2014, 05:07 AM   #2
mlangsdorf
 
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Default Re: One-shotting in DF

In my experience with DF, you have a range of survivability from the wizards (DR 3-5, HP 10, HT 11-13) to the knights (DR 7+, HP 15+, HT 14+) to the super optimized knight-barbarians (DR 15+, HP 30+, HT 14+).

That 5d+5 crushing attack will put the wizard straight into a death check on a slightly decent roll, maybe make the knight roll for a major wound that won't possibly stun him, and barely dent the knight-barbarians armor. And all three of these characters can potentially be in the same party.

I have some qualms about really powerful cutting or impaling attacks, but really powerful piercing and crushing attacks are a constant feature of my games. Not on ambush monsters or things with insane mobility, but relatively static foes that the PCs can position themselves to deal with. If the knight lets the Super Tyrant Lizard get into position to attack the wizard, that's his fault and the PCs should be prepared to have their characters die.

So for your specific questions: yes to the ST40 Iron Golem and 30' stone colossus. Maybe for the ST60 dragon, depending on the mobility.
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Old 05-21-2014, 10:04 AM   #3
Kromm
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Default Re: One-shotting in DF

I'm fine with it. The fantasy campaign I ran for years was a big part of what inspired me to write DF. There, I absolutely did hurl one-shot-kill monsters at the party. There was one standard mook species that did 5d+5 (sometimes crushing, sometimes cutting). I used it freely against a group that included both a hulking barbarian with double-digit DR all over his body, HP 37, and so much HT, Fit, Hard to Kill, Hard to Subdue, etc. that his HT rolls were always against 18 . . . and a scrawny artificer who wore leather armor on much of his body, and had HP 11 and HT 11.

My players understood the risks, and took pains to screen the artificer from attack – so he could hang back and shoot his amazing crossbow – while hurling the barbarian in the monsters' faces. The other heroes took their places in the formation as fitness allowed. What's key is that some PCs' spotlight area was high-stakes melee with high-threat monsters, others' was high-mobility skirmishing with swarms of small monsters, still others' was ranged combat, and a few chose to be investigators or inventors or magic-users instead of warriors. And just as I expected the players of warriors to quietly cede the spotlight to the cerebral PCs when they were investigating or gadgeteering or translating old scrolls, I expected the players of squishy characters to maneuver out of harm's way and fight defensively when the front-line PCs were tanking the one-shot kill monsters.

That's the kind of thinking that went into DF. It isn't about every PC being useful in every encounter or scene, but about every PC having a role to play in every session. Staying alive to play that role depends on reining in impetuousness . . . the unspoken agreement being that if the squishies take reasonable precautions, I won't have one-shot-kill monsters do end runs around the tanks just to kill them, but if the squishies charge into harm's way, all bets are off.
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Old 05-21-2014, 10:27 AM   #4
Nymdok
 
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Default Re: One-shotting in DF

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
Just a curiosity question: how much damage do you feel comfortable with your creatures doing? Is it acceptable to drop the weaker party members to zero HP with a single hit? How about death checks? How many? Is it okay to go from full HP to -HPx5? Likewise, how badly is it reasonable to hurt the tougher party members with one hit?

This mostly comes up when dealing with foes whose shtick is being big and strong, rather than exceptionally skilled, such as giant monsters, because their low hit probability means they aren't meaningful threats unless they do truckloads of damage. Looking in DF2 at the monster list, the most damaging attacks are a 5d+5 crushing attack and a 3d+6 cutting attack, both of which might force a death check for a relatively flimsy character, but it's easy to wind up with concept monsters that are doing a lot more than that. So, are you okay with something like a ST 40 iron golem with a sword (damage 7d+1 cut)? A ST 60 dragon with brawling and cutting strikers (damage 7d+13 cut? A 30' stone colossus with ST 100 and a SM+4 greatsword (damage 11d+12 cut)?
As you said, the 2 biggest counters to high damage are high AD/ Low hit probabitily and HighDR. AFTER THE FACT, readily accessible healing plays a big part as well.

I normally set the number based on the party average, that way the guy with the High DR or High AD can step in and do the things he built that guy to do.

Weaker here is an odd term. Remember those other players spent their points on something. They may not have spent them on combat skills/Ads but they spent them on something. Sometimes players may have to be creative in their combat contributions.

That said, is it legit to drop party members to 0 HP in a single hit? Yes. If it makes you feel any better the variance in the dice and the chaos of combat do a pretty good job of ensuring that something like that will happen anyway. Temper this with knowledge of availability of healing though.

To take them to HP-5 in one hit? Thats something that I would shy away from unless Resurection was on tap.

How much should you hurt the stonger party members? Well thats why I recommend doing it to the party average. The guys who paid more for HP, HTK, DR, etc get their chance to shine in combat. Thats what they signed up for and you approved in chargen. HOPEFULLY, the combat strong chars match up against the combat strong challenges and let the non-combat intensive PCs clean up mooks or take helper/buff/nag roles.

As always, be aware that Boss fights are by defninition kind of 'swingy', so dont be suprised when the monster crits and rolls freakish damage.

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Old 05-21-2014, 12:14 PM   #5
Gnome
 
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Default Re: One-shotting in DF

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
. . . the unspoken agreement being that if the squishies take reasonable precautions, I won't have one-shot-kill monsters do end runs around the tanks just to kill them
I've found this to be really important. GURPS makes it pretty easy to maneuver around the battlefield--there aren't "opportunity attacks" like D&D3.5, and the only reasons not to charge past the knight to get to cleric are a) the knight will turn around and stab you in the back and b) it's just more fun if monsters allow fighters to "engage" them in battle and stay engaged. If monsters ignore the fun factor and have enough DR/HP to take a few free whacks from the knight, then bad things can happen to the squishies no matter how hard the party tries to "stay in formation"...
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:18 PM   #6
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Default Re: One-shotting in DF

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Originally Posted by Gnome View Post
I've found this to be really important. GURPS makes it pretty easy to maneuver around the battlefield--there aren't "opportunity attacks" like D&D3.5, and the only reasons not to charge past the knight to get to cleric are a) the knight will turn around and stab you in the back and b) it's just more fun if monsters allow fighters to "engage" them in battle and stay engaged.
Actually, for giant monsters, the big reason not to charge past the knight is because it's easier and more effective to overrun (B392) the knight -- not only do you get past the knight, you get a free slam attempt.
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:30 PM   #7
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Default Re: One-shotting in DF

Why not have massive damage attacks? Some creatures are just plain deadly.

In my pick-up DF game, I have a swashbuckler who wears no armor. Eventually she's going to get nailed by something nasty, and it's going to kill her. But I also have a barbarian who is just plain tough. He can take multiple blows from big-nasties and come back for more. The swashbuckler deals more damage per second, is harder to hit, etc., but relies on active defenses rather than armor and innate toughness.

I also have a thief and a wizard, both of whom could easily be taken out by something that the barbarian could exchange blows with for several turns. That just makes party tactics, luck, etc., matter more. And it makes it more fun. DF, to me at least, should involve some character death now and then. If it doesn't, then it cheapens the experience considerably.
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:34 PM   #8
Gnome
 
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Default Re: One-shotting in DF

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Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
Actually, for giant monsters, the big reason not to charge past the knight is because it's easier and more effective to overrun (B392) the knight -- not only do you get past the knight, you get a free slam attempt.
I've never understood that rule. The book says "treat it as a slam," but does that mean it's a free slam, meaning the giant monster didn't have to use an Attack or Move and Attack maneuver? The book also says the small figure has a "chance to get out of the way." Does that mean it can only Dodge, or can it Parry or Block as well as usual for a slam?

Also, I've found slams in my games to be terribly ineffective--after all, even if you succeed, you may still take more damage than the target! A smart monster might just opt to go around the knight anyway...
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:57 PM   #9
Anthony
 
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Default Re: One-shotting in DF

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Originally Posted by Gnome View Post
I've never understood that rule.
I'm pretty sure the intent is a free slam, but it may be a holdover from previous rule editions, I think you could do a passive slam (move into someone's hex, and they either get out of the way or they get hit) in 3e.
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Also, I've found slams in my games to be terribly ineffective--after all, even if you succeed, you may still take more damage than the target! A smart monster might just opt to go around the knight anyway...
Slam damage is relative to hit points; when the giant monster has twice the hit points of the knight, he also does twice as much damage as he takes.
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Old 05-21-2014, 01:17 PM   #10
Gnome
 
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Default Re: One-shotting in DF

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Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
I'm pretty sure the intent is a free slam, but it may be a holdover from previous rule editions, I think you could do a passive slam (move into someone's hex, and they either get out of the way or they get hit) in 3e.
That makes sense. I'm just not sure how the "getting out of the way" is supposed to work.
Quote:
Slam damage is relative to hit points; when the giant monster has twice the hit points of the knight, he also does twice as much damage as he takes.
Yeah, but you still roll dice, subtract DR, etc. I've many times seen the larger creature take more damage and even get knocked over when slamming the smaller creature. In general, I would prefer an entirely different ruleset for slams, but I haven't come up with a good house rule yet...
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