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Modiphius > Robert E. Howards CONAN roleplaying game
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Characters to powerful

posted Jan 30, 2018 14:21:21 by ScottKunian
Is anyone else having an issue where the PCs are so much more powerful that they rip through BBGs in a single round of combat? I'm both a player and a GM and I have this issue on both sides of the screen. As an example my barbarian killed Kutallu in a single activation. What are folks doing to challenge the PCs?

Thanks
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14 replies
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abrahamlin27 said Jan 30, 2018 21:00:39
Your post doesn't give much info to work with, so if some of this seems obvious and reads as patronizing, I apologize.

How did you spend your Doom? Did Kutallu defend at all? Did you utilize cover?
Also... How?? :-D
In D&D it's easy to make a BGG that can hang with a party of heroes; you can just increase AC or HP to make it challenging. The same can't be said for games like this, or Shadowrun, or Savage Worlds.
There's a thing in Savage Worlds that might be true here also: You can't have a super villain, one versus all battle. In order to make a boss fight challenging, you need to back the boss up with a party of his/her own.

Maybe Minions aren't worth throwing at them anymore, make everything at least Toughened. If your group is running riot on everything you throw at them, maybe increase the armor first to make 5 damage +Stress a little harder to do.
Another thing you could do is use complications to raise difficulty (in FFG's Star Wars RPG, Advarsaries have a trait that just ups the difficulty, just because). A big guy swings a club at your hero and hits, so you spend some Doom to give the hero a bruised condition. It doesn't count as a Stress, but increases difficulty by 1 until it's looked at or combat ends.

Lastly, to borrow from Cyberpunk: Whatever the players use against you, do the same thing to them. Players have talents to reroll dice, get bonus dice, and discount or replace stuff. Give your bad guys the same talents.

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I just ran Vultures of Shem this past Sunday with five other players. It was our first game, and I spent most of my time explaining the options the PCs had, so I didn't spend a lot of time behind the screen. One thing I noted for next time was to use Doom a lot more than I was (I was just using it for extra d20's). I also didn't use Mob or Squad rules and plan to next time since I can focus more on being the GM.
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Dislikes_Elves said Jan 30, 2018 21:17:31
To OP: Generally, yes. E.g. when my players turned their attention on the powerful acheronian sorcerer Thumocris ("The Ghost of Thunder River"), they killed him in one round. And I had about 40 Doom to spend, still no chance. BBGs tend to go down rather easily (same with the BBG in "Vultures of Shem" and the lizard in "The Red Pit"). Mobs and squads tend to be more challenging - last adventure "Caves of the Dero", it wasn't the thing from the pond that dealt wounds to the PCs but squads of Deros.

Also, there's a high discrepancy in power with the PCs I play with. Those built with combat in mind easily get 4 to 5 successes and deal huge amounts of damage whereas the PCs that are not as optimized struggle to play a meaningful role. Increasing the difficulty of rolls via complications ("Your next attack/parry has an increased difficulty") or as in the caves of the Dero (penalties for darkness and for weapons longer than reach 1) really made a difference. So I don't shy away from dealing a wound to a PC when I can. Though of course, the mroe we play, the more powerful the PCs get and the ways they can ignore wounds augment.

All in all, yes, combat focused PCs can be very powerful and only get more powerful. When I compare it to the rules of Star Trek Adentures, the power level of Conan is even more obvious.
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ScottKunian said Jan 31, 2018 12:48:10
@abrahamlin27
Yes Kutallu did indeed attempt a defend with 0 success, his parry is only a 9.

One example. Barbarian with a battle axe, consistently rolling at least 4d20 for 1 momentum to generate plenty of more momentum, rolls 7CD with the ability to reroll 4 of them with no mercy, spend 1 momentum to make vicious 2. Results easily produce 15-17 damage which almost always results in a wound, intense on battle axe causes a 2nd wound, and 2 momentum for killing strike causes the 3rd. Spend one momentum for another offhand attack with a 2nd battle axe and poof 5-6 wounds. The group I play in and the group I run for have no issues keeping the momentum pool around 5.

@dislikes Elves
Thanks, I am going to start using a lot more minions to bloody them more and suggest my GM do the same.
[Last edited Jan 31, 2018 13:13:49]
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Dislikes_Elves said Feb 02, 2018 08:48:19
One other thing: my most common doom spend is for going first, especially for mobs and squads. Once they hit use doom for piercing and extra damage to make sure at least one wound is dealt. Going first is also essential when a PC (after a complication e.g.) dropped his weapon(I don't allow unarmed parry) or went prone.
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abrahamlin27 said Feb 02, 2018 19:38:28
Wow. Hope my barbarian never realizes that. :-D
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ChrisFougere said Feb 02, 2018 19:55:46
I find that planning encounters for Conan is far different from planning them for something like D&D. I have five PCs, two of whom are very combat focused. Reach 3 weapons with Adaptable Combatant makes it tough to hit them in melee and they can drop Toughened Opponents in one hit (Intense weapons). I need to account for that "alpha strike" where the two of them can dispatch four toughened opponents before the bad guys even get to go.
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Dislikes_Elves said Feb 03, 2018 22:10:15
That's exactly why going first is my number one doom spend. If I don't go first the NPCs get halved in the first round.
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rrcautela007 said Feb 04, 2018 00:35:50
Thats funny and sad @ the same time.
[Last edited Feb 04, 2018 00:36:09]
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ChrisFougere said Feb 04, 2018 03:29:38
That's exactly why going first is my number one doom spend. If I don't go first the NPCs get halved in the first round.


I can't afford the doom. My players are absolutely loathe to buy dice with Doom and with Reach 3 + Adaptable Combatant weapons I'm not exactly generating it steadily either. So I usually include a number of "buffer" opponents for any real meaningful fight.
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Dislikes_Elves said Feb 04, 2018 08:36:21
That's tough. Luckily my PCs tend to roll complications with bought d20 and are avid reactionists, parrying and riposting quite often. Maybe introduce NPCs with their own doom pool.
But I also ran dry of doom on some occasions. Still, if Not for going first what do you use doom for? Because dealing them a wound early on should make them more prone to buy d20s. Or MaYbe breaking guard as a doom spend is a possibilty.
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ChrisFougere said Feb 04, 2018 14:39:13
That's tough. Luckily my PCs tend to roll complications with bought d20 and are avid reactionists, parrying and riposting quite often. Maybe introduce NPCs with their own doom pool.
But I also ran dry of doom on some occasions. Still, if Not for going first what do you use doom for? Because dealing them a wound early on should make them more prone to buy d20s. Or MaYbe breaking guard as a doom spend is a possibilty.


I use Doom to buy dice for the NPCs (the only way to score hits on a Reach 3 Adaptable Combatant), pierce armor, disarm, break guard, swift actions etc. Going first is way down on the list of things worth spending doom for.
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Dislikes_Elves said Feb 04, 2018 23:26:20
I see. But consider using it for going first with mobs or better squads. It only costs 1 doom to let a mob/squad go first and as long as there are minions left in the group (and once the PCs go, their number diminishes quickly), they're almost like free d20. And with extra successes, you can still buy piercing, disarm, break guard etc.
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ChrisFougere said Feb 05, 2018 01:19:19
It's not efficient. I'm not generating extra successes unless I design the encounter specifically to hamper the poleaxe/adaptable combatant combo. Which I do if it makes narrative sense to do so. Minions with an attack of 11 or so that need to score 3-4 successes to even touch the warrior(s) (which is then parried via Deflection) means dead minions and I've wasted a Doom for them to go first to accomplish nothing.
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Dislikes_Elves said Feb 05, 2018 10:37:50
Ok, you'll have figured out the way how to best handle your group.

But I still don't get why it is so inefficient in your case: Take a squad with one toughened and three minions. You can do all what you said you normally do (buy extra d20 for the toughend) and for just one doom more you get to roll three more d20s. And outfitting those with spears should be no problem at all. Or can you effectively only throw Nemesis type characters at those players?

Anyway, I understand that it's hard. Maybe going the route with mental attacks with some otherworldy foes against those melee monsters?
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