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Old 05-24-2009, 09:48 PM   #1
Dahgda
 
Join Date: May 2009
Default Newbie Needing Help!!

Okay, I am sort of new to GURPS (I played about 15 years ago, but as a player, now the GM), and I need some help:

1) How do I balance things so what I throw at a party is neither too much nor too little for them? Is there a point value calculation or something?

2) Is there an easy way to make cannon fodder types, other than to make like 100 templates, then just customize a few pieces each time?

I am sure I am going to have more questions as I go, am working up a Supers campaign with some dark Illuminati background.

Thanks in advance for any help!
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Old 05-24-2009, 09:59 PM   #2
aesir23
 
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Default Re: Newbie Needing Help!!

Don't bother making character sheets for NPCs, especially not for cannon fodder.

Just write down what you need to know, Stats (especially HT and Will), combat skills, defenses, DR, etc.... I usually assume that cannon fodder has straight 10s, and maybe a 12 in their primary weapon skill. I may decide that one of them has a 14 skill and another one has a 12 ST just to mix things up, FREX.

If their job is to get beat up by the heroes, than you don't need to know if they are Greedy, Lecherous, or good at Chess.
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Old 05-24-2009, 09:59 PM   #3
LynGrey
 
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Default Re: Newbie Needing Help!!

My general play is.. make up the bad guys that keep showing up pretty much 75% up.

Everything of fodder, make it up on the spot... ie Skills 11-13 Stats 11-13.. thats what i do. Oh you did.. 12 damage.. .. umm yeah he yelps in pain and starts to pullback form the fight.
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Old 05-24-2009, 11:47 PM   #4
David Johansen
 
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Default Re: Newbie Needing Help!!

One important thing to keep in mind when designing scenarios: numbers kill.

A two-bit punk can kill Batman with a 9mm pistol and a lucky roll. Well, at least if we take the narrative truth of Batman as a superb athlete and detective instead of building him on 10000 points like Superman and model things like plot immunity as powers.

It's generally not a good idea to overwhelm the PCs with a big wave of cannon fodder without providing tactical bottle-necks to exploit.

If you want to look at points as a balancing tool, keep in mind that the average person is actually 600 points. That's what straight ten attributes are actually worth. So that 25 point character who's fighting your 150 point PC is really more like a 625 point character fighting a 750 point PC. But even then you really have to look at how many points are spent on combat abilities and a loaded AK-47 trumps a great many of those without spending points at all.

On the other hand this is GURPS not D&D and if they don't know when to cut bait and run they deserve to die.
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Old 05-25-2009, 12:16 AM   #5
RyanW
 
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Default Re: Newbie Needing Help!!

The important things for combat balance are (in a no doubt incomplete and very roughly ordered list):
  • Numbers
  • Combat skills and defenses
  • HT
  • DR
  • Damage
  • HP
There's also the enemy's mentality to take into account. If every fight is against True Believers that fight to the last man, combat is going to be much more costly.

Points are pretty much meaningless for the comparison. A 150 point college professor is no match for a 25 point high-school dropout who spent his limited points on Guns (Pistol), Streetwise, and Intimidation.
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Old 05-25-2009, 12:18 AM   #6
Maz
 
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Default Re: Newbie Needing Help!!

First off, forget point cost. This has no meaning when calculating cobat-effeciency. You can have a 600 pts chracter who can't beat a vicious cat or a 25 pts NPC with a gun-skill of 15.


To balance things, both between PC's (especially in a supers game) and between NPC's and PC's you have to look at Damage & DR and Primary attack skill & Active defenses (primarily Dodge).

If a PC has a skill of 12 and does 4d damage, he doesn't have much chance against NPC's with a defense of 12 and DR:15.
On the other hand, if the PC has DR:40, then the NPC's need Armour Divisor or really high damage to be any kin of thread to him, no matter their own skill and defenses.


In any combat there should be at least one NPC able to pierce the strongest PC's DR on a decent hit.

---

Secondly to make fodder, I highly recomend using the fodder rules, making random mooks fall down and be out of action, if taking any damage at all. And only track HP of the important NPC's. This makes combat, especialyl super-combat, much more enjoyable and action packed. You can the neasily send 20 mooks against a pair of heroes and it's not even difficult for you to keep track of them.
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Old 05-25-2009, 10:25 AM   #7
Anaraxes
 
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Default Re: Newbie Needing Help!!

You could consider just the points in combat abilities, ignoring social advantages and so on. But that more or less boils down to something like RyanW's list anyway.

Tactics and actions matter. On the down side, this means the players have to learn some skill in the game to ensure that their characters fight better. On the bright side, this means that their decisions actually have an effect, and it doesn't turn into a "lumberjack exercise" to go through the motions and see who falls first. On the down side, this makes it harder for the GM to look at raw stats and guess who's going to win, since the tactics aren't on the character sheet. On the bright side, the GM can fudge the results more easily by playing smarter or dumber, without actually changing the die rolls, and can reflect the intelligence and capability of different opponents in play by having them act smarter or dumber.
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Old 05-25-2009, 10:35 AM   #8
kure
 
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Default Re: Newbie Needing Help!!

Quote:
1) How do I balance things so what I throw at a party is neither too much nor too little for them? Is there a point value calculation or something?
I do use two approaches.
One is to use strong but stupid enemies.
It can be almost indestrctible but slow and passive mummy,
or powerfull Boss of Mafia who underestimates some poor street folks...

This type enemy can take lots of damage (you have to take out lot of hirelings to get in to Boss)
and PCs have chance to back of.

Second approach is opposite, weak but smart and fast.
This enemy will make ambushes, will track PCs homes, attack them by suprise.
But overal weakness let PC survive and may be wounded escape.

Quote:
2) Is there an easy way to make cannon fodder types, other than to make like 100 templates, then just customize a few pieces each time?
Gurps have interesting feature. You can have negative HP and keep fighting.
This is really odd for cannon fodder.

Standart zero point Joe can be taken out by 6damage blow by loose HT roll, with some luck this Joe can keep fighting after 56 damage...

To avoid such variability I really suggest use Fragile (BS.136) disadvantage

When balancing NPC do not forget to evaluate also non combat skills and abbilities.
Single mind reading weakling can do lot of trouble to your hevy armed group...
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Old 05-25-2009, 10:38 AM   #9
Brevitt
 
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Default Re: Newbie Needing Help!!

These are things I worried on too when I started with Gurps now I tend to keep bad guys on their feet until the pc's start to look really worried then either have them retreat or die depending on the situation.
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Old 05-25-2009, 11:50 AM   #10
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Default Re: Newbie Needing Help!!

Wait... are you using 4th or 3rd edition?
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