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Old 10-24-2009, 02:21 PM   #1
knarf
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Default [GURPS Prime Directive] ST 100 or Help me balance this encounter!

I'm planning a "bug hunt" style one-shot to run at a convention.The PCs will be equipped with Light Combat Armor (DR 40 at TL 12) and Phaser Rifles.

I'm afraid the PCs will go right to the highest setting on the weapon (Disintegrate-2, doing 6d(3) burn damage) on full auto (RoF 5) for an average damage of 105, max damage 180. While this does consume quite a bit of ammo, (about 1/5 of the weapon's standard charge) it can end any typical combat encounter quickly and defuse any potential fear.

My current solution is to give the monsters ST 100, which not only gives them enough HP to survive one of these shots and keep on ticking, but also gives them 11d thrust damage, enough to penetrate DR 40 on average, while the max damage (66) probably won't kill a tough space marine/Prime. And the knockback alone is enough to make things interesting.

However, anything with ST 100 would have to be huge. The stats for a triceratops in GURPS Fantasy only give it ST 50 with a weight of 13,000 pounds. I'm sure someone with a head for the math could figure out the mass and approximate SM of such a creature.

I know that well-chosen armor can make huge HP not as necessary. DR 30 (reduced to 10 thanks to the armor piercing nature of the attack) and ST 75 seems a good rough compromise, since it could still come up with an appropriate swing damage value. But we're still talking about a massive creature.

Any tips, guys?
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Old 10-24-2009, 02:28 PM   #2
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: [GURPS Prime Directive] ST 100 or Help me balance this encounter!

There are two other approaches. One is numbers. If three monsters are in arms reach it won't matter that the one you shoot is dead. The other two are gonna gitcha. The other is stealth. If you are up against wall crawling chameleon creatures or something, they can get the jump on you before you can pull the trigger. It helps if local conditions impair visibility.
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Old 10-24-2009, 03:32 PM   #3
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Default Re: [GURPS Prime Directive] ST 100 or Help me balance this encounter!

1. If your monster has an inhuman physiology, you could give it Injury Tolerance: Homogeneous [40] which can justify 8[cube root of weight] = HP[Round Up] (Basic p.558), which would give Weight 1896lbs = HP 100.

2. Boost HT, throw in High Pain Threshold and Hard to Subdue, and maybe Berserk, and the monsters will stay alive and active down to -5XHP. So you only need 18HP to keep fighting after one average hit, 31HP to keep fighting after one maximum hit.
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Old 10-24-2009, 03:41 PM   #4
Anaraxes
 
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Default Re: [GURPS Prime Directive] ST 100 or Help me balance this encounter!

The Horta was highly resistant to phaser fire, even at the maximum setting. I seem to recall the changelings from DS-9 had some resistance as well. It wouldn't be without precedent to make your monster tougher versus phasers.

I understand that 4e rules define ST as "excess strength" beyond that needed to carry yourself around. It's not necessarily true that large creatures must have huge ST. They may have huge HP, but you can split ST and HP. Large creatures can have huge ST, if you like.

You don't have to be large to have higher ST. Better leverage and other mechanical improvements as well as better muscles could be invoked to justify more ST for a smaller creature, particularly when you have the luxury of making them aliens. (Chimps have much stronger arms than humans when pulling; bonobo's legs are about twice as powerful.)

In the workaround category, there's always the ever-popular "take away their phasers". David Gerrold once described the problem of the transporter for a writer as being solved in two ways: either the aliens were so advanced, the transporter didn't work, or else they were so primitive that they'd hit the crew over the head and take away their communicators. It's in keeping with Trek to simply invoke some unobtanium in the atmosphere or on the planet that keeps phasers from working. Cheesy, but it's a Trek game. Or create a story that deprives them of their phasers -- they didn't have so many to start, or they used up the power packs driving off hordes of aliens before the Big Bad, or they need to conserve them for some other purpose (like heating rocks to keep themselves warm).

Last edited by Anaraxes; 10-24-2009 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 10-24-2009, 03:45 PM   #5
David L Pulver
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Default Re: [GURPS Prime Directive] ST 100 or Help me balance this encounter!

Quote:
Originally Posted by knarf View Post
I'm planning a "bug hunt" style one-shot to run at a convention.The PCs will be equipped with Light Combat Armor (DR 40 at TL 12) and Phaser Rifles.

I'm afraid the PCs will go right to the highest setting on the weapon (Disintegrate-2, doing 6d(3) burn damage) on full auto (RoF 5) for an average damage of 105, max damage 180. While this does consume quite a bit of ammo, (about 1/5 of the weapon's standard charge) it can end any typical combat encounter quickly and defuse any potential fear.

My current solution is to give the monsters ST 100, which not only gives them enough HP to survive one of these shots and keep on ticking, but also gives them 11d thrust damage, enough to penetrate DR 40 on average, while the max damage (66) probably won't kill a tough space marine/Prime. And the knockback alone is enough to make things interesting.

However, anything with ST 100 would have to be huge.

Any tips, guys?
1) Well, it doesn't have to be HUGE, it just has to be MASSIVE. Very high density...

2) In STAR FLEET the words "silicon based metabolism" (or whatever) are your friend. In original series episode DEVIL IN THE DARK, the Horta, a living silicon-based critter, was only wounded by multiple phaser II hits, for example. Appropriate technobabble can also apply to creatures.

3) The hide of the creature could incorporate various energy-dampening or ablative materials.

4) Lots an Lots. In ALIENS, any full burst of fire from a Marine pulse rifle would take down a single alien, but multiple aliens were still scary due to their stealth and great numbers.
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Old 10-24-2009, 03:48 PM   #6
knarf
 
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Default Re: [GURPS Prime Directive] ST 100 or Help me balance this encounter!

Quote:
Originally Posted by NineDaysDead View Post
1. If your monster has an inhuman physiology, you could give it Injury Tolerance: Homogeneous [40] which can justify 8[cube root of weight] = HP[Round Up] (Basic p.558), which would give Weight 1896lbs = HP 100.

2. Boost HT, throw in High Pain Threshold and Hard to Subdue, and maybe Berserk, and the monsters will stay alive and active down to -5XHP. So you only need 18HP to keep fighting after one average hit, 31HP to keep fighting after one maximum hit.
I was thinking of going Homogenous for the damage modifiers, but there's no benefit against burn damage. Now I have another reason to go Homogenous! Thanks!

I was planning on giving them HT 20 or so, in order to counter stun effects.
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Old 10-24-2009, 04:11 PM   #7
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Default Re: [GURPS Prime Directive] ST 100 or Help me balance this encounter!

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Originally Posted by knarf View Post
I was thinking of going Homogenous for the damage modifiers, but there's no benefit against burn damage. Now I have another reason to go Homogenous! Thanks!

I was planning on giving them HT 20 or so, in order to counter stun effects.
OMG! 100 HP and HT 20? That means the PC will have to deal 600 points of damage to stop this thing, because it will pass its death checks.

I'd go with numerous and/or hard-to-hit over unstoppable, myself.

Edit: To give some scale, this thing would have a fair chance of surviving a tactical nuclear blast at a distance of about 20 yards.
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Last edited by RyanW; 10-24-2009 at 04:21 PM.
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Old 10-24-2009, 04:43 PM   #8
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Default Re: [GURPS Prime Directive] ST 100 or Help me balance this encounter!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaraxes View Post
[snip] In the workaround category, there's always the ever-popular "take away their phasers". [snip] It's in keeping with Trek to simply invoke some unobtanium in the atmosphere or on the planet that keeps phasers from working. Cheesy, but it's a Trek game. Or create a story that deprives them of their phasers -- they didn't have so many to start, or they used up the power packs driving off hordes of aliens before the Big Bad, or they need to conserve them for some other purpose (like heating rocks to keep themselves warm).
That's what I'd do. Trek is very rarely about how these guys deal with problems while cozied up in their TL 12^ comfort zone. A big monster is normally like a fly to them; their job is to deal with the socio-political conflicts of starfaring civilizatons and rips in the fabric of time and space itself.

Or more viscerally: Which would you think was more exciting to watch, James T. Kirk blasting some gargantuan beast twice instead of once to kill it, or wrestling a normal tiger (okay, a green tiger) with his bare hands?
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Old 10-24-2009, 04:55 PM   #9
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Default Re: [GURPS Prime Directive] ST 100 or Help me balance this encounter!

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Originally Posted by RyanW View Post
OMG! 100 HP and HT 20? That means the PC will have to deal 600 points of damage to stop this thing, because it will pass its death checks.

I'd go with numerous and/or hard-to-hit over unstoppable, myself.

Edit: To give some scale, this thing would have a fair chance of surviving a tactical nuclear blast at a distance of about 20 yards.
Fair point. HT 12-15 with Hard to Subdue levels to take it to 18-20 so it has a fair chance against phaser stuns (a full auto stun burst would create a -10 penalty to resist).
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Old 10-24-2009, 05:07 PM   #10
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Default Re: [GURPS Prime Directive] ST 100 or Help me balance this encounter!

You could give them the equivelent of Fragile: Explosive. This gives the science officer something to do..

Red shirt over the communicator, "captain, I've found something."

Captain says, "Did you find the life form?"

"Yes captain I'm observing it now and..oh no.. its coming! No. NOoO!"

(sounds of phaser fire)

(HUGE EXPLOSION IN THE DISTANCE)

Science officer looking at tricorder, "captain, scans indicate an antimatter explosion 50 meters north by northwest."

The doctor, "where was Jenson?"

Science officer, "50 meters north by northwest..."

(LATER)

Beast approaches party.

Captain reaches for weapon.

Science officer puts his hand on the captain's, "captain. I wouldn't.. I'm picking up traces of antimatter in this things system..."

"Meaning...?"

THe doctor, "dammit, captain, you blast that thing you'll doom us all!"
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