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NarenZade

Resilience and Kazvaks

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It sounds like you are wrestling with 2 issues at odds with one another. It sounds like you are concerned that the game is less lethal, but also that NPCs are too concerned with combat victory.

 

I'll first address the issue of lethality. I would argue that the game is just as lethal in NPC vs PC interactions as it ever has been. How many NPC kills have their been? I know of gaius (wrong place, wrong time, could very easily happen in today's climate), and Ajax (the GM torpedo scenario). To my knowledge, the vast majority of deaths are caused in PVP. Over time, players have become less inclined to play characters that are likely to be pvp killed and less likely to kill others. This makes sense, and is the emergent order that arises over time. It also has nothing to do with NPC competitiveness.

 

Your second point is an interesting one. As an NPC, I would say my goal is RARELY anything but kill/loot unless it is very obvious... Like if I'm playing a merchant or a farmer or something. More goals would be a huge help, and a general idea of "it is okay to simply let the PCs cross the bridge if they are willing to pay a copper" or whatever would be a healthy change. And if NPCs had goals that they could celebrate beyond the outcome of a fight, this would make a huge difference. But a huge % of encounters are combat encounters, and it's hard to imagine fundamentally changing that to the point where fun isn't sacrificed.

 

I try to do that by writing plots where NPCs can be intertwined in a bigger story, as opposed to just being orcs who ate the baby.. But I know it's hard to have meat like that in every single encounter. I dunno.

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Although this thread had derailed a little, James your opinion on npcs needing more instruction is completely valid. Coming from a relatively new player, I have to say that while most encounters are simple enough to grasp, more direction could be a little nice. With that being said,an equal change involving PCs should happen as well : i.e PCs should be more careful with the actions that they take. very often a very well thought out plot is completely foiled by a party that simply ignores chance for compromise and instead just murders all npcs on sight.and that's no fun for anyone.

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On the flip-side, not to ruffle feathers, but I recall a very deadly bagman + darkness worshipper battle last game. NPCs won and it wasn't comprised of 7 weaponmasters or master mages. The encounter used 3 bagmen and a few NPCs with low stats who had 10 power and could cast 'Dispel'.

 

People later complained that it was too powerful.

 

Personally, I think we need something like that every once in a while. We need players to fear monsters. That was a perfect example of "you're all held up in a building, how unfortunate". Three bagmen against a town are not that scary. 3 bagmen with worshippers who can cast dispel IS scary. It's all how you use your NPCs.

 

 

TL;DR - I think the NPC encounters are fine. The one time they 'won' people complained.

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On the flip-side, not to ruffle feathers, but I recall a very deadly bagman + darkness worshipper battle last game. NPCs won and it wasn't comprised of 7 weaponmasters or master mages. The encounter used 3 bagmen and a few NPCs with low stats who had 10 power and could cast 'Dispel'.

 

People later complained that it was too powerful.

 

Personally, I think we need something like that every once in a while. We need players to fear monsters. That was a perfect example of "you're all held up in a building, how unfortunate". Three bagmen against a town are not that scary. 3 bagmen with worshippers who can cast dispel IS scary. It's all how you use your NPCs.

 

 

TL;DR - I think the NPC encounters are fine. The one time they 'won' people complained.

 

We were Dark Fae rather than Darkness worshippers (Boggarts casting Dispel). But otherwise, yeah.

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On the flip-side, not to ruffle feathers, but I recall a very deadly bagman + darkness worshipper battle last game. NPCs won and it wasn't comprised of 7 weaponmasters or master mages. The encounter used 3 bagmen and a few NPCs with low stats who had 10 power and could cast 'Dispel'.

 

Is this the new baseline for a "not that tough"? Just 3 monsters with a whole lot of monstrous body, Poison DR, and at-will fear spells on every attack? Oh, and a few supporting casters that can blast away every defensive and offensive spell the PC's have? Yeah, that's no big deal.

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Is this the new baseline for a "not that tough"? Just 3 monsters with a whole lot of monstrous body, Poison DR, and at-will fear spells on every attack? Oh, and a few supporting casters that can blast away every defensive and offensive spell the PC's have? Yeah, that's no big deal.

 

I'm in agreement with Bob here. Bagmen are a force to recon with on their own. Throw in dispel and abomination/shadowskin and you have a pretty mean mixup here. Besides secret weapon masters, it's hard to think of something more challenging.

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A few NPCs with the ability to throw 2 Dispels each. That's a third of a an average party's (6 PCs) total defensive power for the game day. Just those casters. Monstrous creatures with a DR tossing and swinging 4th level spells at will and with no cap.

 

Think about that in terms of resources. PCs have about 10 plots/encounters to engage with on a shift if you are talking averages here.

 

That's a HUGE encounter. This is an issue with NPCs choosing their own stats when a GM and the Lead NPC have failed to give instruction or communicate intent. We as NPCs tend to reach for the nuclear option in lieu of other goals or directives. It's not the fault of NPC's individually, at least not mostly. It's simply not an NPC's job to keep track of what's been sent out, to manage flow, or to plan where the highs and lows for combat will fall.

 

This attitude is kind of pervasive. Without reaching for Dispels and AoRs NPCs might not feel they have a chance. It's kind of tunnel vision.

 

The result is that game balance has to shift, defensives get buffed, and then items begin to feel more and more necessary. Mostly I think of this as a cultural and GM management issue.

 

That and no one wants to be among the first to start losing items to looting. It makes for bad feelings among some players. (Not poking any single player here.)

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As the GM who sent that out, it was meant to be a huge encounter. It was far and away the most difficult encounter of the night, but it was extremely avoidable.

 

-The PCs had over twenty minutes to disrupt the ritual that would bring on the tidal wave of Fae. (The PCs were made aware that this ritual would open a Fae portal and that shit would get bad.)

 

-The PCs weren't able to do it.

 

-Thus, this plot attacked the town.

 

-The town wasn't prepared for an attack and got rolled.

 

-In the end the PCs were able to wrap it up and that was that.

 

 

It does rest on me as the GM to inform my NPCs that when given all of the options between their spells. That throwing all twenty of your power into five 'Dispel' is not my intention when giving you stats. I have learned from this experience.

 

But, again, this is by no means a 'super encounter' meant to destroy the town or ruin anyone's time. If we're going to sit here and say that 3 Bagmen, 3 Boggarts and 3 Fiends is too much for the town to handle then that's crazy. We've all been in game where logistics clears out as undead NPCs and does work. The NPCs were extremely prepared in the way they chose to use their power and abilities. The PCs were not prepared at all. It was a perfect storm of circumstances.

 

 

Also, this thread is off topic.

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I don't normally let me temper get the better of me when it comes to this game and I feel like I did a pretty good job at game of keeping it in check. How about everyone choose a different example before I start throwing out points that get everyone just as pissed off as I am. This situation is not a good example of how the game is run and should not be used in anyway as a basis to judge KoN. The encounter got out of hand for a shit ton of reasons and only a couple of them were the NPCs fault.

 

Like I said, PLEASE, pick something else to discuss.

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tumblr_lletfpqeuE1qcyj84.jpg

 

Look Scott! I got you a picture of a Shih Tzu dressed as an Ewok. Don't murder anyone please. smile.gif

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Scott. You did handle the situation well. If you weren't there it would have been a bad time.

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Yes, perfect storm, sucked for Olov but was great fun for Chris. It was harder than the nips on a blind lesbian in a fish market, I don't want every encounter to be that, but cause/effect happened. As one of the pc's involved, I enjoyed it.

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Looks like I ruffled some feathers.

 

 

So think of it this way: we can send a half dozen wraiths to town with a wraith lord and not blink an eye, but send a few boggarts and 3 bagmen against the entire town and suddenly it's a riot.

 

Or, I dunno, the night where I counted 12 (yes, twelve) weapon masters sent out the same night like it was some kind of running joke. 7 of them in a single encounter with elven steel and abomination and shadowskin....

 

I also recall fighting (as HALF our party as GoST + an Ambrose) fighting wraiths with strength and an elven steel sword while being rained on with endless spellburst devastations on top of there being a mummy lord. Oh, and we were also a good few miles from town and went into the fight at the end of the night with almost no power at all.

 

So yeah, don't talk to me about 'hard fights'.

 

The point is: NPCs still have potential to cause damage to PCs. We need to adapt to those kinds of fights or learn from them as far as game balance goes; not complain when it gets used. IMO, that was a town-fight. It was perfectly acceptable. One player with Mind Blank and AntiMagic Aura could've wiped out that entire encounter SOLO. I also know for a fact there were people in that town that could've done so. If you don't believe me, send 3 bagmen and some boggarts at me on my shift and I'll prove it using less than 10 power.

 

/endrant

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Yeah, I know I'm riling people up, but it strikes a nerve. People were fully capable of handling that encounter and there have been many more ridiculous fights than that in my time that went by without so much as a word spoken about it.

 

I feel like a cranky old man. :|

 

EDIT: if there is other drama surrounding that encounter that I'm not aware of, take my statements from a purely stat/game-mechanic viewpoint as I'm comparing to other encounters in the past; not specific NPCs or what occurred during that encounter that might be a touchy subject.

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The point is: NPCs still have potential to cause damage to PCs. We need to adapt to those kinds of fights or learn from them as far as game balance goes; not complain when it gets used. IMO, that was a town-fight. It was perfectly acceptable. One player with Mind Blank and AntiMagic Aura could've wiped out that entire encounter SOLO. I also know for a fact there were people in that town that could've done so. If you don't believe me, send 3 bagmen and some boggarts at me on my shift and I'll prove it using less than 10 power.

 

Dren DID win a prize for taking on a challenge set by Giovanni to PLAY with bagmen. :)

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I object... no one told us that fae ritual was going to open a portal. NO ONE. Bryan and I debated whether or not it was just a hag taking a shit... we had NO. CLUE.

 

And we disrupted the ritual twice in that twenty minutes. They just kept going, and I couldn't kill 'em.

 

/facts

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This encounter has already been discussed thoroughly. Lessons have been learned and taken away. No need to rehash it.

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