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Enno

King of Clubs


Joined: 11 Jun 2009
Posts: 2623
Location: Ulm, Germany

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep, not all go down quickly, some stay even longer then expected.

As i said, designing an encounter is part experience, part combat rating (see Deluxe rules), and a big chunk of gut feeling.

Extras are meant to fall fast, Wild Cards stay a while longer.

You can have your climatic battle, but you have to do more then in other games. SW was designed for miniature gaming on a battlemap, so play with the obstacles, the scenery, with tricks, tests of will etc.

And most importantly give them comparable number of opponents.

One dragon against 5 PCs has a definitive disadvantage because simply doesn't have enough actions per round. Give him at least 2-3 extras per hero or another 2-3 wild cards, and the encounter becomes a whole different matter. Then the chances to act as often, and for getting a Joker or exploding dice becomes more even.

Bennies are not everything. Usually the GMs NPCs are on a slight disadvantage here, because they get only 2 of them. The benny per player doesn't really count since the GM doesn't get new ones for playing out hindrances. So his pool is limited and has to last for a whole evening.

So, what else can we do? The heavy handed way would be numeric superiority and giving them edges like Hardy, Tough as Nails, Elan, Succor etc. But thats not very elegant, and in my book ... lame. A better way is to have a better and more flexible strategy. As a GM you know all the flaws of your players, every advantage of the situation. Use them! Show your players how team play really works, if it fits the character of the scene. And yes, even NPCs try to heal themselves or flee, it they are not completely dumb or chaotic.
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Hub

Deuce


Joined: 15 Jan 2012
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

True Enno, I also found this houserule by Clint Back

Bottomless Bennies
Great for those instances where a bad roll (or a good one) could make an encounter end much too quick

In this variant, the GM does not keep track of his bennies at all and essentially has an unlimited number...but with a catch. When the GM spends a benny for NPCs to the detriment of the players, the PC suffering the effects of the benny is awarded one for free.

Example: The mutant Nazi overlord fires at a PC and fails miserably. The GM may spend any number of bennies as normal; however the PC being shot at is awarded a benny each time this is done.

This also applies to soaking wounds. If a PC deals a wound to an enemy wildcard and the GM uses a benny to soak it, the PC receives a free benny.


That helps out the NPCs a bit more, and it also empowers the players as well.

As I said elsewhere, I don't really mind the long drawn out fights, it's the big bad evil guy going down in one or two rounds I wanted to address. I think Bottom Less Bennies does that nicely. I'll probably only use it for select bad guys though
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Enno

King of Clubs


Joined: 11 Jun 2009
Posts: 2623
Location: Ulm, Germany

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clints rule is a nice one, if ... you like a very pulpy game.

Hard settings like Hellfrost live by their limits, which in this case is the limit of bennies for the Bad Guys. Remember that Bennies are used for Unshaken (without rolls), Soak rolls, certain edges (where they may be shared in the group) etc etc.

My players, for instance, count my use of GM bennies for the big bads and plan their tactics accordingly. They act differently as long there are NPC bennies for soaks and unshaken on the table. And it is a kind of relieve when they managed to reduce an ancient dragon to 0 bennies, more then really hurting it.

This rule takes the delicate bennie flow on the fritz.

All honors to Clint, but some of his optional rules are not very well-conceived IMO.
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Hub

Deuce


Joined: 15 Jan 2012
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Enno wrote:
Clints rule is a nice one, if ... you like a very pulpy game.

Hard settings like Hellfrost live by their limits, which in this case is the limit of bennies for the Bad Guys. Remember that Bennies are used for Unshaken (without rolls), Soak rolls, certain edges (where they may be shared in the group) etc etc.

My players, for instance, count my use of GM bennies for the big bads and plan their tactics accordingly. They act differently as long there are NPC bennies for soaks and unshaken on the table. And it is a kind of relieve when they managed to reduce an ancient dragon to 0 bennies, more then really hurting it.

This rule takes the delicate bennie flow on the fritz.

All honors to Clint, but some of his optional rules are not very well-conceived IMO.

I've tweaked it so that the bottomless bennies can only be used on Wild Cards, and only after they've used the default 2 bennies as per the rules (though Wild Cards cannot now access the general pool of GM bennies). This should restrict the possibility of benny spamming a bit
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Hub

Deuce


Joined: 15 Jan 2012
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a wealth of background in Hellfrost, what with black ice, the gods, locations, unique monsters etc. The setting is fantastic, but is there a Hellfrost primer or something I can give to the players to read up on?

Thanks
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Enno

King of Clubs


Joined: 11 Jun 2009
Posts: 2623
Location: Ulm, Germany

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your little tweak doesn't change much, because ∞ = ∞ + 2. It only changes the PCs "access" to these extra bennies, as long as the NPC has his original pair. The delay is only cosmetic...

Counterproposal: There are two alternative uses for bennies in use, that gives your player some edge, but preserves the rigour of a setting.

First there is Wiggys Rune Benny rule. Especially options 2 and 3 may be for you.

Second there are the Fate chips from Deadlands Reloaded.
You put 20 white, 10 red and 5 blue poker chips (4:2:1) into your pot, where everybody draws from. White chips are function like the bennies you know. Red chips could be used like a White chip or add +1d6 to any of your current total (may explode). It could even eliminate a critical failure on a skill roll. Disadvantage: The GM draws a chip when you use it in red mode, none in white mode. A Blue chip works like a Red chip, but the GM doesn't get a draw.

I prefer the Rune bennies. We added 24 Rune chips to our pot of 48 Hellfrost chips, where EVERYBODY draws from. These runes give both sides more tactical options, and a chance of failure is still possible.
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Enno

King of Clubs


Joined: 11 Jun 2009
Posts: 2623
Location: Ulm, Germany

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hub wrote:
There's a wealth of background in Hellfrost, what with black ice, the gods, locations, unique monsters etc. The setting is fantastic, but is there a Hellfrost primer or something I can give to the players to read up on?

Thanks


For a first glimpse give them the Preview.

That's a good pitch and introduction for new players.

The PHB is the Players Handbook for a reason. Everything therein could be considered player knowledge.

The Region Guides, the Expansion and Gazetteer add to that, but for the beginning you don't really need that.

We simply started with the PHB, the Vermin Lord adventure, a few freebies and the map into Hellfrost. For an intro it is enough.

Today each of my players get a shortened compilation of the texts from the guides and the Gazetteer, with some details from other book if needed. So they know how their culture ticks, and what is going on in their homeland. Especially the obvious Rules of the Realm and the notes about their gods is presented right at the front.

The rest is game experience, which is best gained by playing. For me, thats the main attraction of an open setting.
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Hub

Deuce


Joined: 15 Jan 2012
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Enno, that preview is almost perfect
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Dracones

No Cards!


Joined: 06 Mar 2013
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hub wrote:

As I said elsewhere, I don't really mind the long drawn out fights, it's the big bad evil guy going down in one or two rounds I wanted to address.


I wouldn't worry about addressing this. Trying to address it is just going to frustrate you because you're working against the game mechanics. Just accept that any big bad might go down in a couple rounds and instead of focusing your energy on trying to craft fights that don't roll that way, just relax, create interesting scenarios/situations and let the mechanics decide which encounters are big deals or not.

The game can be weak when it comes to solo big bads. But the game does loads of minions, chase scenes, mass battles, dramatic tasks and social conflicts absurdly well. And things like adventure cards and exploding dice can turn any situation on it's head. So just roll with those and you'll find the game a breeze and the players will have a blast.
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Hub

Deuce


Joined: 15 Jan 2012
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Enno wrote:
Your little tweak doesn't change much, because ∞ = ∞ + 2. It only changes the PCs "access" to these extra bennies, as long as the NPC has his original pair. The delay is only cosmetic...

Counterproposal: There are two alternative uses for bennies in use, that gives your player some edge, but preserves the rigour of a setting.

First there is Wiggys Rune Benny rule. Especially options 2 and 3 may be for you.

So options 2 and 3 are basically bennies with a +2 to the Vigour soak roll?
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quigs

Deuce


Joined: 21 Nov 2008
Posts: 123

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have to be careful with Bennies as a GM. The rule of thumb that I always use is to never use Bennies to make the player's actions less likely to succeed, and only use Bennies to make the NPC/Monster's action more likely to succeed.

So generally I don't use Bennies to soak wounds on the bad guys unless it's an important Wild Card or will totally screw up the rest of the encounter.

I do like to use Bennies to auto-unshake troublesome monsters and reroll important powerful attacks however.
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Hub

Deuce


Joined: 15 Jan 2012
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dracones wrote:
Hub wrote:

As I said elsewhere, I don't really mind the long drawn out fights, it's the big bad evil guy going down in one or two rounds I wanted to address.


I wouldn't worry about addressing this. Trying to address it is just going to frustrate you because you're working against the game mechanics. Just accept that any big bad might go down in a couple rounds and instead of focusing your energy on trying to craft fights that don't roll that way, just relax, create interesting scenarios/situations and let the mechanics decide which encounters are big deals or not.

The game can be weak when it comes to solo big bads. But the game does loads of minions, chase scenes, mass battles, dramatic tasks and social conflicts absurdly well. And things like adventure cards and exploding dice can turn any situation on it's head. So just roll with those and you'll find the game a breeze and the players will have a blast.

I'll very probably play the game RAW first few times. If I find the BBEG being a non threat, then I might implement a variation of Clint's house rule.

I know I can throw lots of minions at the party, and I shall, but that can't be the case every time. And of course it doesn't have to be the end of adventure bad guy they encounter - they may encounter a giant or something on the valley path half way through the adventure.

I just need some sort of fail safe to fall back on. Even if it's something as simple as 'Ignore one would per fight but award the party an extra xp at the end'. Or when the bad guy takes a wound, you can opt to drop his Toughness by 1 point instead, and do this a number of times per fight equal to his Vigour dice type divided by 2. Something, anything that makes half sense
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Enno

King of Clubs


Joined: 11 Jun 2009
Posts: 2623
Location: Ulm, Germany

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hub wrote:
So options 2 and 3 are basically bennies with a +2 to the Vigour soak roll?


I meant the Semi-heroic and Heroic options in these optional rules.

They work like normal bennies, on a trail roll (before or after depending on the option), or you get the non-trait benefits.

These rules assume that you use Heroic bennies ONLY! I use a different rule, where i mix the Rune bennies with double the number of normal bennies. We tried all options and developed this variant so my players don't rely too much on their special bonusses.
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Hub

Deuce


Joined: 15 Jan 2012
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've simplified the rule

Whenever the GM runs out of Bennies, he can continue spending them for any of his Wild Cards. However, whichever pc is the target of that spent benny, that pc gets one benny for free

I'll probably just go with that at first, see how it goes
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Hub

Deuce


Joined: 15 Jan 2012
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok so I've read the Hellfrost Player's Guide, and I've printed out an enlarged map of Rassilon. I'm going to run my first SW game this Tuesday night.

I'm quite comfortable with the SW rules, but as far as Hellfrost is concerned, where should I start the party, what should I run, and any other advice would be appreciated.

Thanks
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