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How much is too much?


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#1
Frostglaive

Frostglaive

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I got a oneshot I'm GMing this Saturday for W&G. Tier 4, a mix between an investigation and combat focus. Players have made their characters, I have the scenes set up.... I just need to determine how many enemies/which ones I should use in each relevant encounter.

The players' characters are all pretty darn strong. And I told them I was going to make this a harder one than our previous oneshot. To the point where I expect a PC or 2 to die.

The problem I'm having is, how much is too much? I don't know what is a good amount of enemies to fight to where it's a challenge, but not unwinnable. But I also don't want to make things too easy either.

How do you find that right balance of enemies per encounter?
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When life tries to knock you down, fight back and fight dirty. Aim for the throat and kick it while it's down.


#2
Mazer Rackham

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How much is Too Much?

 

The short answer is: You'll get the feel for it.

 

The long answer is: When your players are getting frustrated or worse - bored.

 

The problem is, you've warned them that a PC could die.  Now you have you have to live up to it....! ;) 

 

I regret I am lacking in the knowledge of what kinds of opponents W&G can bring to bear.  I am sure others can chime in later.  The best way to make encounters difficult if you don't know how much is too much, is to change the perception by the players of what the danger actually is.  The hive scum?  No problem to a Tier 4 squad.  Now put that squad on a rickety bridge, with the gangers plinking at the support ropes, with more on the way and a huge sludge maggot lunging up from the radioactive goo below!

 

Really all they have to do is run.  Not challenging.  Except now they have 30 seconds to do it in!  In that case, three gangers may be too much...because killing them all is boring or dumb, or the players feel like they're hitting too many obstacles...but that's ok, perhaps a ganger gets excited and slips to his death...do you get what I mean?

 

It's a bit hard to explain - it's all experience.

 

I would suggest to make the mission circumstances the toughest enemy and then you can get a feel for how much is too much for your players by escalating the combats steadily.  This will allow you to do two things:

  1. Watching how easily the mooks go down or the players hurdle the fences you've set (then you can throw more at them at any time and;
  2. Keep the pace up.  The real tension will come not from the badcensored.gif  enemies you hurl, but the problems they create.

Think of yourself as the AI Director from Left 4 Dead, except you don't hate the players.  You just have to make them feel that you do. ;)

 

Does that help...?  You can say no, I won't hold it against you. thumbsup.gif

 

MR.


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#3
Frostglaive

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That actually helps a lot. And gives me a few more little ideas to add to this oneshot to make it more exciting/intense.


EDIT: Didn't wanna double post with this.

I think I was more focused on the strength of the enemies as is and not necessarily what they would also be doing in addition to fighting. So your input definitely helped me to consider that as well.

I got a much better idea now on what I want to happen, and how much I want to throw at these guys now. Still gonna be a lot of feeling it out, especially since this is only the 2nd time I've GM'd. But I think I'll get it.

Thank you!

Edited by Frostglaive, 05 November 2019 - 06:28 PM.

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When life tries to knock you down, fight back and fight dirty. Aim for the throat and kick it while it's down.


#4
Mazer Rackham

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No problem, glad it was helpful!

 

Good luck with it!

 

MR.


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#5
battle captain corpus

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Some of this advice will also fall into "general GM'ing advice" but here goes....

 

I've GM'd a fair amount over the years and have made most mistakes you can make (killed a whole party once for literally dumb reasons it feels now!) and the main thing is to ensure your PC's are having all of the fun. Keep it tense, keep the thrill up and the chance of death/harm very real. PC's will die...its inevitable obviously but should maybe only come down to luck of the draw and bad luck/planning.

 

Theres nothing wrong with throwing them in the deep end....hell Deathwatch has a horde mode for marines to fight against! But just make sure they can swim and touch the bottom of the deep end if needs be. ;)

 

BCC


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#6
Indefragable

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One of my personal crusades about modern gaming (of all forms, whether video, tabletop, rpg, etc...) is that there is a lack of a Retreat option.

 

That might sound cowardly, especially in a 40k setting, but history is full of military forces of all sizes that bit off a bit more than they could chew for one reason or another and had to make the decision around dieing on a hill or getting out of dodge....gracefully or otherwise. Some of my favorite experiences in any sort of game situation have been trying to escape something.

 

Thought my RPG experience is limited, especially with W&G, I would just throw out the concept of having certain rooms of the dungeon (or equivalent) where there are endless waves that will easily kill off the players. You warned them....will they have the smarts to tiptoe around those rooms or extract themselves and seal the door shut behind them? Or die gloriously yet vainly?


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