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 Post subject: Re: To Slip the Surly Bonds of Earth
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 1:16 pm 

Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 11:41 am
Posts: 484
Location: Fort Wayne, IN
deviknyte wrote:
I'm with John on this. Josh and Matt that kind of offensive thinking is what leads to people feeling like they have to optimize and that arms race. I'm surprised to hear that from you guys. You have to adjust to the party that is in front of you.


Devin, you should not be surprised to hear that from me given that it is the same thing I have said all along. Story drives everything. I am merely advocating that NPC tactics reflect the story. If you are facing bloodthirsty shammies, it is what they would do (and again, depending on NPC motivation, that may not be an encounter that anyone dies, even in a TPK).

I am unaware of any mod that has 8 Shamanic casters pulling a Diminish Senses on an entire party as an opening salvo. The most I recall is a fight with 2-3 of them. More importantly, has there been a plethora of TPKs due to Diminish Senses that I am unaware of?

As to adjusting to the party in front of you, I am working on an article regarding that.

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 Post subject: Re: To Slip the Surly Bonds of Earth
PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 2:04 pm 

Joined: Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:03 pm
Posts: 184
I dispute that there is strategy in point-and-pox spellcasting. They roll some dice, usually weighted nicely in their favor, at my Fortitude and than I'm out of the fight 'til someone 'gets around to it.'
This is the same suicide-strike tactics that sometimes plagued 3.X. An enemy caster has zero reason to act like it exists outside it's encounter, so it's got just as many reasons not to be as big a hindrance as possible. I generally don't kill for it's own sake, but the shaman who sprays around crap like that is the shaman who arrives in the cauldron with their lungs bashed out through their spine.

Err, sorry. Didn't mean to be so vitriolic. And it's unfair to categorize the locals that way. There is a little, but it's fair (balancing priorities is part of the fun), and it could be far more.
The problem is the basic Caster Conundrum. Them who cause the problems also get to be the solutions. I'm 1.6, I've got a 21 Fort, I should be doing ok...? No, not really.

Part of it is surely systems mastery -is a 21 Fort 'acceptable' for 1.5-1.9 combats? I don't actually know. I took my +2 Defenses bump, should I have torpedoed my mental stats to try to put a spike in my defenses? My to-hit is 19.5 -three ranks, 3d10. Should I have taken my skill increases sooner? I hit a low 20's Avoidance pretty regularly. Seems to be ok, though I can forget Disarming and Guarded Attack is more of a problem then a solution. These are surely things with which I struggle.

Actually, let's look at that. If my Gladiator decides to Guarded Attack I lose a d10 and pick up 4 to my defenses. This could be a good counter-action to getting blinded, but the problem is timing. I never know when I'm being targeted. I know when the Shaman will be casting, but not at whom. It might be the one I'm banging on, but it might also be a buddy who's waiting for his other friend to step away so he can hex me without a penalty. And very importantly, I'm not contributing anything while I'm turtled up. My chances to score a hit have gone from "average roll" to "on a Crit," and he's still one decent roll from taking me out for a while.

Maybe there should be a Defensive Dodge mechanic? Eat like 4 ticks, 4 recovery to go into GA retroactively (but before the roll total is announced)?

I'm also at a disadvantage -the classic disadvantage, really. He can leave my threatened area at will, and I'm always catching up. And has been said, it's Save-or-Suck. I really dislike how Crits tend to work out -very long odds, and Standard enemies who have more than one wound make the idea fairly moot.

That's the core of it all, right? As a melee basher I have to get in range, and smack my target around. The Shaman just has to hit my Fortitude once, and I'm done. It's being generous mechanically that I'm not caught in the d20 quagmire of just locating my target before I even try the -6 to hit. I've been there; I don't care how "realistic" it is -it's misery.

And it's only going to more broken. As the tiers climb the cannons will evolve past Glass and into Glassteel, and the Martial type will be even less likely to correct that save-or-suck problem without help. And then there's Ward of Shielding. Wow. :shock:

Edit 2: found my book! Oh. Guarded Attack only affects my Avoidance. Well, nevermind! :lol:


Last edited by ZCaslar on Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: To Slip the Surly Bonds of Earth
PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:08 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:06 am
Posts: 1779
Location: Portland OR
So I ran the mod for our local players and as Zac said there was one true caster (a Nierite) who had other things he wanted to do besides being the parties pet "thread unraveller."

While I generally agree with Matt that story drives the game ... and that combat should be driven by the choices that bad guys would logically make there are exceptions. I don't think many of us have bad guys slit the throats of vanquished PCs despite the fact that keeping a PC down is obviously good tactics and many villians should be ruthless enough to do so.

Similarly (to me) 6 villians spamming blindness sucks as an encounter. I generally liked this mod and how it was written but not how this encounter was designed. When I ran it I had three of the bad guys cast blindness in the opening salvo and worked to keep the two hardest hitting PCs intermittently blinded throughout the fight.

Given Zac's post above even this "soft balling" was a rough and sometimes frustrating fight for the PCs.

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Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


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 Post subject: Re: To Slip the Surly Bonds of Earth
PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:51 pm 

Joined: Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:03 pm
Posts: 184
It's also who gets caught.
Josh, sir Val'Sungha, Harvester of the Iowa, you know I build for character over efficiency. I have a baseline "must not be a drag on the team" expectation, but after that I'm the one who sees the new Claw Fighting feats in Ssthregore and thinks, "hey that could work!"

No it couldn't.
It doesn't.
It never does.

Ain't a thing changed in that regard. :oops:
I'm a Dark-Kin! I have Wings and Horns and Natural Armor! It's badass! :twisted:
It's also 95% friggin' useless. :lol:

I really appreciate that Eric targets based on threat instead of likely hood of success, because that rarely makes me the biggest problem. And I Challenge stuff all the time, too!
(love me some Challenge! 8-) )
However when it's "there's enough Blind for everyone," I'm hosed. I know everybody gets their time in the deep fat fryer, but how does it look to turn the whole experience into a county fair (terrible metaphor)? I'm easy to lock down and keep down, I didn't roll a Caster, and I come with no direct countermeasures.

That said, lest there be any confusion, I did enjoy the mod. I almost always do. I think if I had to name an Arcanis mod I didn't like, I probably couldn't. I even liked Living Nishampur, and for 100% of the classes I like the entire idea was "kick you when you're down, should have been a Wizard."
Arcanis mods are like se- lasagna. I've had some that wasn't great, but I've never had anything that was truly bad.
There are very few bad stories in gaming. There are however plenty of bad mechanics, and that's a thing really critical to our odd hybrid of interactive drama and challenges.


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