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[NEC] Disproportion between offence and defence.
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Sidney
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 3:28 am    Post subject: [NEC] Disproportion between offence and defence. Reply with quote

We've been running Nec Evil for quite a while now (running the Plot Point campaign) and there's something I'm struggling to come to terms with about the system.

We acquired quite a bit of experience with SW in the last year - and it's working great. We've been doing modern pulp action, high fantasy, victorian horror, sword and sorcery, I'm in the process of writing a post-apocalyptic zombie survival adventure and it's really all great.

Then comes Necessary Evil. It's probably the first thing we started playing (we love the concept) but something about it eludes us.

I'll get to the point - the power system is pretty much fantastic, but it (and the setting) seem to be massively imbalanced toward offence. What we're experiencing is that building "durable" heroes is nigh impossible when your standard opposition is shooting 3 round bursts at 2d10 AP4 with the Marksman edge. And that's the baseline Fin. It gets worse when you start having vehicles and V'sori elites in the mix.

My first character was a Hulk type. We started out at 20 PP (which isn't too shabby I would guess) and it was immediately obvious that even lowering my offensive output to levels that had nothing to do with the inspiration (I was closer to Hellboy than Hulk in the end) getting solid defence was nigh impossible. I admit I wasted points on Hardy (coming from other SW experiences, it looked insanely amazing) which doesn't really do anything when you're hit for 2d10 or 2d10+1d6 or 3d8 etc.
I was smart enough not to take Heavy Armor (my two collegues, an Iron Man mockup and a Spawn mockup, did and it basically did nothing for them as more or less everything in the setting is or can be an Heavy Weapon - but we would be amazing bank robbers), and I avoided armor completely - most energy weapons are AP 4, which makes the investment in Toughness more desireable. Toughness however is horribly expensive, and almost my entire budged went into a Toughness 14 Hardy guy who understandably would take multiple wounds each turn nonetheless. Hardy ultimately felt somewhat pointless because for a pretty small investment you can get a character that melees you for 1d12+2+1d8+2+3d6 (that's like 8 points) and well, that's gonna score more than 18, I promise you. But I've been dropped several times by blasters alone - thank god for the Heroes Never Die rule.

As I was saying, one collegue plays an Iron Man type (armored dude), fairly optimized character that ultimately did better than me surviving because while his reliance on Armor instead of Toughness made him vulnerable to AP weapons, he actually had 3 points of Deflection which mitigate far more damage.
The other guy (Spawn-like) is a Toughness 8 Heavy Armor sponge that goes down every night (literally) but thankfully has regeneration.

When my character ultimately died (I had the Terminal Illness hindrance) I returned with a new concept - maxed Speed, Deflection, Parry, Melee attack with a vibro sword. I had cracked the system - people needed an 18 to hit me with guns, and my parry was something like 20. Plus I could move 350 squares per round - yes, I was durable (granades were a pain, but I managed). I retired the character because it was clear that in order to challenge me the DM would have needed to crush the rest of the group.


So now I'm once again in with a brawler type. But that aside, the problem we seem to have is that while we're having fun... we don't feel we're playing a superhero game.
What one would imagine playing a superhero game (at least me) is a lot of back and forth, comic-book scenes, with people being thrown through walls and coming back for more, and characters flying and headbutting helicopters. Maybe it's just us, but it sort of feels like we're playing sci fi Wild West where people runs for cover and takes pot shots, and combats are solved in half a minute, as people fundamentally get crippled as soon as someone is hit.
And I understand the game feeling like that about the Fin and V'sori - they're the skrulls/alien invaders that come and show us that superheroes aren't the ultimate gods of the universe, and strike fear even in the hearts of the caped crusaders. But the most problematic (conceptually) element is the superheroes themselves. We had one game where a player used a card to invoke help from contacts. Turned out Doc Destruction sent us an helper called Brimstone. Ok, he wasn't a particularly powerful super, but his contribution was approaching the field (with a fairly lengthy and epic description of his apparition) only to see an extra Fin turn around and butcher him with a blaster barrage, then move back into cover (we still laugh at that moment, it was amazing fun, but it felt a bit "wrong").
A few nights ago we met this apparently almost omnipotent (spoilers here) atlantean wizard. I say apparently because our Spawn won initiative and disintegrated him in two shots. Good luck soaking a 31 damage hit, granps.


So the question in short is... are we doing something wrong? Is the game supposed to work like this? Because it sort of feels like we're playing The Matrix more than The Avengers right now - the Fin are the agents, the supers are the buffed up humans, and guns reign supreme. We had Neo, but I had to bench him because he stuck out as a sore thumb.
Is there any sensible way to improve character durability? Does it makes sense to do so? Do you have experience with the system achieving that kind of action one would expect from a comic-book inspired adventure? I'm looking for advice.

And one thing, I'm asking specifically about Necessary Evil. I'm fully aware we can make 50 PP supers with the Super Hero Companion and play in a different world with real-world guns and get that kind of action (even if, even there, I can't see how to reconcile the maths of the costs of defensive options vs offensive options - in fact, offense is so cheap that the more points you get, the more you make defending against it impossible). But I want to try and understand Necessary Evil better, because there's a chance we may be "doing it wrong" and a part of the problem is I'm trying to play Hulk or Flash while I should play Batman or Black Panther.
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I mentioned in this thread, the main problem I found was when the number of damage dice increased, as it resulted in a large number of "lucky" one-shot kills. You might want to consider placing a cap on the number of dice that can ace.

Another option would be to use one of the house rules floating around on these forums, such as Extras not acing their damage rolls, or Extras not being able to cause more than one wound per hit. But you'll still have Wild Card going down fast.

For a serious brick, you could use the Vigor exploit (check out my robot cat for an example), but that's pretty cheesy - and fortunately it's been addressed in SWD.
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Boldfist
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greetings!

Capping damage/Aces is certainly one way to overcoming this "problem". But dealing directly with NE I think it's a paradigm shift. You are thinking of playing as the Hulk and Flash. But in NE it's more like playing as the X-men being hunted by Sentinels in the Days of Future Past stories. Standing toe-to-toe with the opposition won't work. You need to use hit & run/gorilla tactics. They are an overwhelming force and the only hope the anti-heroes have is finding a weakness (see the Plot Points).

In order to play as the Hulk/Flash you would need to modify NE or play a homebrew. They would have lots more Power Points and Setting Rules. NE is not designed to play that type of campaign although the SPC certainly has those options.

As for your Neo character (speedster) the SPC has fixed the Deflection + Parry + Speed Powers you are referring to. They no longer stack.
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Sidney
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Boldfist wrote:
Greetings!

Capping damage/Aces is certainly one way to overcoming this "problem". But dealing directly with NE I think it's a paradigm shift. You are thinking of playing as the Hulk and Flash. But in NE it's more like playing as the X-men being hunted by Sentinels in the Days of Future Past stories. Standing toe-to-toe with the opposition won't work. You need to use hit & run/gorilla tactics. They are an overwhelming force and the only hope the anti-heroes have is finding a weakness (see the Plot Points).

In order to play as the Hulk/Flash you would need to modify NE or play a homebrew. They would have lots more Power Points and Setting Rules. NE is not designed to play that type of campaign although the SPC certainly has those options.

As for your Neo character (speedster) the SPC has fixed the Deflection + Parry + Speed Powers you are referring to. They no longer stack.


Yeah that's exactly the kind of answer I was looking for - I somewhat felt we were looking for the wrong "mood". Blame it on obvious factors, but maybe we went a bit too much "Avengers Assemble!" and not enough X-men.

What I probably failed to convey in my original post is that well, comic-book superhero fantasies are generally made of larger than life heroes and villains that always come back for more and go over fighting for hundreds of pages. They can suffer through things that would kill armies. I'm not just talking Hulk or Wolverine - even heroes whose stick isn't necessarily resiliance (like Spiderman or Psylocke) can take beatings that challenge even the most charitable suspension of disbelief.

So we came into Nec Evil thinking "Savage Worlds, with tougher heroes". Instead it feels like stuff dies a LOT faster in Nec Evil, and once again, the biggest concern isn't for our villains (heroes never die, it's not like you lose anything if you go down) but for the actual opposition.

The story pitted us against a psychic v'sori who was meant to be some sort of recurring villain. I won initiative, rushed in, butchered him before he could act. Our "Spawn" will either die as soon as someone shoots him or kill anything he shoots at. We're at about 25 or 30 PP now, and for half his budget he's shooting 4d6 of damage thrice per turn at 1d12+4 shooting skill.
I think the entire issue for us is that we were expecting fights to be more drawn out, with back and forths, and overdramatized displays of power, while everything literally lasts one turn. It's a brutally deadly setting, for us and our opposition, and one clear consequence (at least for me) is that it really feels like a fantastic blend of The Matrix, Visitors and a sprinkle of Macross, but it doesn't feel like an evil take on The Avengers, which would have been my initial expectation.
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Rohan
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sidney...try this one on for size... Playlog, WWII Supers vs other Supers. This fight was Brutal.

Pinnacle Forum - Battle of Felcamp
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Boldfist wrote:
In order to play as the Hulk/Flash you would need to modify NE or play a homebrew. They would have lots more Power Points and Setting Rules.

I think it's important to distinguish between recreating Hulk from the comics, and creating a Hulk style character. The former is probably outside the scope of NE, but the latter should be easily achievable with Gimmick (gets angry), Growth and Super Attribute (Strength and Vigor).

However as Sidney pointed out, fights in NE tend to be very fast and brutal. This is due to the way damage scales against toughness, but if you want fights where the big guys slug it out, it shouldn't require more than one or two simple setting rules.

How about using this rule from my Supernaturalis setting:

Soaking
Spend a benny and make a Vigor roll. If all wounds are eliminated, you also remove Shaken status.
On a failure, nothing happens. On a success, you eliminate one wound. On a raise, you eliminate two wounds, or (if you received more than two wounds) all but one wound. Two raises eliminate all wounds.
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Sidney
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rohan wrote:
Sidney...try this one on for size... Playlog, WWII Supers vs other Supers. This fight was Brutal.

Pinnacle Forum - Battle of Felcamp


As a side note... are you the guys who made "Horror at Pine Ridge"?

I run that for my friends last week. We had a lot of fun with it.
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Sidney
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zadmar wrote:

How about using this rule from my Supernaturalis setting:

Soaking
Spend a benny and make a Vigor roll. If all wounds are eliminated, you also remove Shaken status.
On a failure, nothing happens. On a success, you eliminate one wound. On a raise, you eliminate two wounds, or (if you received more than two wounds) all but one wound. Two raises eliminate all wounds.


Sounds very interesting.


Quick question for Clint: if it's true that the SPC does some balancing work on powers, would it be wise to use that instead of the Nec Evil SWEX manual to build our heroes?
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Rohan
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sidney wrote:
Rohan wrote:
Sidney...try this one on for size... Playlog, WWII Supers vs other Supers. This fight was Brutal.

Pinnacle Forum - Battle of Felcamp


As a side note... are you the guys who made "Horror at Pine Ridge"?

I run that for my friends last week. We had a lot of fun with it.


Sidenote noted....yes, we are. As a matter of fact, the guy that wrote that is the Dave B. that ran that supers game I linked to Very Happy

I'll let him know you liked it!
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Sidney
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rohan wrote:


I'll let him know you liked it!


We did Very Happy .

I had to improvise a game as our B&B DM was extra tired so I bought the adventure (impulse buy) on RPGNow at 10 in the morning and played the game around 14.30.

Due to the time, I had to improvise characters for the players, so I ended up with an Horror game set in 1975 where a group of rangers was leading a small gang of student hippies and a retired colonel (looking for their friend/his daughter) and a small gang of tough as nails bikers looking for their friend (who were camping with said "daughter").

The highlights were the colonel dying to Innocent Bystander during a panic reaction in one of the "apparitions" and the 35ish years old "Doc" character that was accompaning the students (their "drug dealer", I gave him Arcane Background - Weird Science...).

LOTS of fun.
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Boldfist
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sidney wrote:
Yeah that's exactly the kind of answer I was looking for - I somewhat felt we were looking for the wrong "mood". Blame it on obvious factors, but maybe we went a bit too much "Avengers Assemble!" and not enough X-men.


I have stats for the current Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes I use for my kids. They are between 60 and 120 Power Points. The X-men stats I use range from 15 to 40. So there is a big difference in powers in my games. NE is definitely on the lower end of the spectrum.

Sidney wrote:
The story pitted us against a psychic v'sori who was meant to be some sort of recurring villain. I won initiative, rushed in, butchered him before he could act.


Hmmm... is your GM using his Bennies to soak damage? Most of the V'Sori (and other NPCs) have at least a d8 or d10 Vigor. They could Soak at least one or two of those Wounds and still have a chance to act. Also, as the GM I would normally have the V'Sori "big bad" on Hold at the beginning of combat to avoid this very thing. Smile

Sidney wrote:
I think the entire issue for us is that we were expecting fights to be more drawn out, with back and forths, and overdramatized displays of power, while everything literally lasts one turn. It's a brutally deadly setting, for us and our opposition, and one clear consequence (at least for me) is that it really feels like a fantastic blend of The Matrix, Visitors and a sprinkle of Macross, but it doesn't feel like an evil take on The Avengers, which would have been my initial expectation.


As you are not the GM, I won't offer the things you could do to help with that. But you may want to point the GM to these boards and we could offer him some advice on making combat a bit more dynamic? A few added Powers and/or Edges could certainly tailor his NPCs to your group. I have run the NE Plot Points twice and can certainly understand your frustration. A little advice to the GM couldn't hurt.

Another question: Are you using the rules for Knockback? That can really help the combat last a little longer and feel more like a comic book combat. Especially if there is a lot of terrain to interact with during the fight.

And I LOVE your comparison to The Matrix, Visitors and a sprinkle of Macross! Smile
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sidney wrote:
Rohan wrote:


I'll let him know you liked it!


We did Very Happy .

I had to improvise a game as our B&B DM was extra tired so I bought the adventure (impulse buy) on RPGNow at 10 in the morning and played the game around 14.30.

Due to the time, I had to improvise characters for the players, so I ended up with an Horror game set in 1975 where a group of rangers was leading a small gang of student hippies and a retired colonel (looking for their friend/his daughter) and a small gang of tough as nails bikers looking for their friend (who were camping with said "daughter").

The highlights were the colonel dying to Innocent Bystander during a panic reaction in one of the "apparitions" and the 35ish years old "Doc" character that was accompaning the students (their "drug dealer", I gave him Arcane Background - Weird Science...).

LOTS of fun.


Oh dear god...you dropped that group into Pine Ridge Horror?

I'd have paid money to see that!
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Sidney
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Boldfist wrote:

I have stats for the current Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes I use for my kids. They are between 60 and 120 Power Points. The X-men stats I use range from 15 to 40. So there is a big difference in powers in my games. NE is definitely on the lower end of the spectrum.


I figured as much. I would put some "cap" on how much attack powers you can stack (cause 20 points in melee attack... yeah), but it makes sense that way.



Quote:
Hmmm... is your GM using his Bennies to soak damage? Most of the V'Sori (and other NPCs) have at least a d8 or d10 Vigor. They could Soak at least one or two of those Wounds and still have a chance to act. Also, as the GM I would normally have the V'Sori "big bad" on Hold at the beginning of combat to avoid this very thing. Smile


He is, however the problem is that our "big hitters" tend to roll so many dice that very often soaking isn't an option. Once again, I think the atlantean superwizard (who had deflection up, for 6 points) was hit twice in the head by the Spawn guy (rolled 2 10s with his 3d12+4 plus wild die attack roll) and one of the hits scored 2 six in the first 5d6+6 (4d6 for his ranged attack power, plus raise) damage roll. It was something like 24 and 40 damage before mitigation, and even with something like 14 toughness, that's... not gonna happen.
The DM managed to save the baddie, but at a -3 penality for wounds he was more or less done at that time.

Quote:

As you are not the GM, I won't offer the things you could do to help with that. But you may want to point the GM to these boards and we could offer him some advice on making combat a bit more dynamic? A few added Powers and/or Edges could certainly tailor his NPCs to your group. I have run the NE Plot Points twice and can certainly understand your frustration. A little advice to the GM couldn't hurt.


I'll try to get him to post here, I think he will appreciate the support.

Quote:
Another question: Are you using the rules for Knockback? That can really help the combat last a little longer and feel more like a comic book combat. Especially if there is a lot of terrain to interact with during the fight.


We used to, but the only really "strong" character we had (mine) died fairly soon due to Terminal Illness ("This is a supercool hindrance! Imagine the roleplay implications! Besides, what are the odds the DM draws just THAT card tonight?" >>> I lasted like 4 games Razz ). Everyone else is ranged/psychic, and my speedester was not superstrong. Now I'm back with a "strong" character (d12+4), so we'll use them again, but I'll be honest, I attacked once the other night - the ranged combat usually is over before I close in.

Quote:
And I LOVE your comparison to The Matrix, Visitors and a sprinkle of Macross! Smile


Thanks Very Happy .
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Boldfist wrote:
Hmmm... is your GM using his Bennies to soak damage? Most of the V'Sori (and other NPCs) have at least a d8 or d10 Vigor. They could Soak at least one or two of those Wounds and still have a chance to act.

That's a Toughness of 6-7. When I ran NE, I mistakenly thought you could make as many Soak rolls as you liked and stack them - even then, the V'Sori rarely survived one round (even spending my own bennies along with theirs, the brick and his duplicate tore through everything). Here's my robot cat again, who is far from maxed on the damage front:

Construct, Super-Attribute (Vigor d12+6), Super-Skill (Fighting d12+4), Shapechanger (lion), Melee Attack

Pounce and Wild Attack gives him two attacks with a Fighting roll of d12+10, each inflicting d12+2d6+6 damage (or d12+3d6+6 with the almost-guaranteed raise). Against most opponents he might as well aim for the head every time, increasing the damage on a raise to d12+3d6+10 per attack.

If he hits a V'Sori, it's going down.

Actually this also reminds me of another house rule I suggested in the past:

When rolling damage, the dice only ace if you don't inflict enough to cause a wound. If the dice do ace, you cannot cause more than one wound.

Probably wouldn't save a V'Sori against the robot cat, but it would at least allow two bricks to smack each around for a while.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess you haven't got the V'sori with Mind Control? Seems to be very easy to turn the big pcs against the team. Also, Immunity (kinetic) works incredibly well for a brick type that wants to shrug off bullets, particle beams, gauss rifles, punches, kicks, and large objects being thrown at him. Clint ruled it halves the damage done vs immunity.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zadmar wrote:
Construct, Super-Attribute (Vigor d12+6), Super-Skill (Fighting d12+4), Shapechanger (lion), Melee Attack

Pounce and Wild Attack gives him two attacks with a Fighting roll of d12+10, each inflicting d12+2d6+6 damage (or d12+3d6+6 with the almost-guaranteed raise). Against most opponents he might as well aim for the head every time, increasing the damage on a raise to d12+3d6+10 per attack.


Hey Zadmar!

Interesting character to be sure. But like most focused Super characters he's really a one trick pony. Yes, he gets two attacks (Improved Frenzy) that will most likely hit a head shot every time but he's so very vulnerable in all of his other areas. It would cost all 20 starting Power Points for the powers above. So focusing on damage taking/dealing limits you in a lot of other areas.

As yynderjohn points out, the V'Sori have Mind Control. The Lion has a Smarts of d6 (unless your character's Smarts is higher). Easily controlled. But I do like the Pounce Ability matched with Attack, Melee. Definitely a good example of the huge amount of damage a Super can do!
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:27 pm    Post subject: Re: [NEC] Disproportion between offence and defence. Reply with quote

I'm not going to try to quote all the points, so sorry if I miss something...

First off, the big one, yeah, the bad guys took out nearly all of the Earth's superheroes, they are supposed to be a scary and dangerous opponent. The villains are a resistance cell in occupied territory; sure, with a twist, but that's still the essence of it.

Fin rifles do 3d6 not 2d10 damage (though the averages are close). Plus, they are the "special forces" of the alien invaders; they aren't the "baseline" enemy, those are drones.

It costs triple the shots for blasters to do Heavy Weapon damage; that means even the Fins have at best five 3RBs they can fire before they run out of ammo. Majority of the reports I've heard, not running this rule makes the difference in the usefulness of Heavy Armor or not.

Making the Hulk at 20 PPs and you don't get the modern Legendary Rank Hulk, you get the original gray guy who hid from soldiers with submachineguns (not even the later gray one). If the group does want more powerful characters off the bat, I'd suggest the total power rule from the SPC.

The example of a "small investment" in damage has a character with a d12+2 Strength, a vibro-sword (costing twice starting money), and 3 levels of Attack, Melee costing 6 PPs. But for the same "cost," a character could have that d12+2 in Vigor and for 6 points in Armor have +9 Armor. That's an 18 Toughness, and the guarantee to Soak at least one wound barring a critical failure. Additionally, if that character spends 1/5 the cost of the vibro-sword, they could have Ablative armor which would automatically "soak" the first two wounds the character took (while they still use the higher armor value).

That seems pretty darn comparative for the same point cost and less money. The Soaking is important to note too, as a damage roll is a single roll, but it faces two "defenses," Toughness and Soaking.

And finally... <highlight for spoilers>

Quote:
I have no idea who this "almost omnipotent" Atlantean wizard is. There are some Atlantean super-sorcerers who might be encountered, but no one who might be considered more than a Seasoned Rank character.


Hope that helps or clarifies.
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yynderjohn wrote:
I guess you haven't got the V'sori with Mind Control?

I actually mentioned that in the thread where robot cat comes from: "unless you keep Mind Controlling them or something, and that gets old really fast".

The point here is that the players want to play tough bricks that can take hits. If the only way for them to survive is through mind control, then that's rather sidestepping the issue. It's also not very fun for the player if you keep rendering their build worthless - it feels like you're punishing them for building an effective character.

yynderjohn wrote:
Also, Immunity (kinetic) works incredibly well for a brick type that wants to shrug off bullets, particle beams, gauss rifles, punches, kicks, and large objects being thrown at him. Clint ruled it halves the damage done vs immunity.

Actually he explicitly stated that you can't have Immunity against kinetic attacks.

Boldfist wrote:
Interesting character to be sure. But like most focused Super characters he's really a one trick pony. Yes, he gets two attacks (Improved Frenzy) that will most likely hit a head shot every time but he's so very vulnerable in all of his other areas. It would cost all 20 starting Power Points for the powers above. So focusing on damage taking/dealing limits you in a lot of other areas.

Only 7 PP go into damage dealing, the other 13 PP are purely for surviving damage - Construct and Super Attribute (Vigor) to exploit a loophole in the Incapacitation rules (which has since been addressed in SWD).

The "brick" in my group was actually a mad scientist with d12 Smarts, who had replaced his entire body with nanobots and had a range of nasty powers (including the ability to split into two via Duplication). He had d12+8 in Fighting and used two vibroswords, and cleaved through enemies at about the same speed as the robot cat. But even with 13* points of armour, he still got one-shotted by Extras on one more than one occasion. It's not difficult to get a decent damage output, but when someone is inflicting a lot of damage on you your options are more limited.

* Only 9 vs energy, but he always got one-shot from physical attacks
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Sidney
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:42 am    Post subject: Re: [NEC] Disproportion between offence and defence. Reply with quote

Clint wrote:
First off, the big one, yeah, the bad guys took out nearly all of the Earth's superheroes, they are supposed to be a scary and dangerous opponent. The villains are a resistance cell in occupied territory; sure, with a twist, but that's still the essence of it.


I think this is the biggest element for us - we came in expecting Avengers, while it's X-men, which is probably better for my tastes, so I don't complain.
I'd argue that I would still prefer the system to feel a bit "slower" during combat but it's still SW and if you make it rigid and predictable you sort of kill its soul, so I understand why it works this way.

I think it more or less boils down to this: superhero games are power fantasies. Necessary Evil is certainly empowering, but at the same time it's one of the deadliest and most oppressive settings I've played in, and that was sort of a curveball for us. The theme is superheroes, but the atmosphere (and I understand this is subjective) is more sci-fi/cyberpunk oriented, at least for us, and once again reminds me a lot of the Matrix and Visitors. Not that I'm complaining Very Happy .



Quote:
Fin rifles do 3d6 not 2d10 damage (though the averages are close). Plus, they are the "special forces" of the alien invaders; they aren't the "baseline" enemy, those are drones.


I'm not the DM, but recently fins have started using 2d10 weapons instead of 3d6. I don't exclude it's an houserule he applied - we did run in a fairly disasterous (for the party) night when early in the story we had to free some hostages from a police station and we discovered fins were Marksman... 4d6 exploding damage made short work of most of us, and we would have probably been captured was it not for my speedster Very Happy .

We did meet a few drones in the first stages of the story, but either things ramped up lately or the DM decided to upgrade the opposition because it's been a while since our last.
It does make sense meeting special forces tho - after all, we're superheroes, and (in the story) we've been the proverbial PITA for quite a while now. And I really don't have a problem with it - yes it may be "weird" to have a superhero group face a sci-fi supersoldier squad more or less in equal terms, because there's very few frames of reference, but that makes it a "good weird" because Nec Evil is its own thing.

Quote:
It costs triple the shots for blasters to do Heavy Weapon damage; that means even the Fins have at best five 3RBs they can fire before they run out of ammo. Majority of the reports I've heard, not running this rule makes the difference in the usefulness of Heavy Armor or not.


I think this aspect is probably strongly tied to each gaming group. We stopped keeping track of it fairly soon because our combats very rarely last long enough for it to matter. But we have a Mind Controlling vampire and a Kinetic-immune brute (former impossible to hit speedster) that sensibly reduce the effectiveness of blaster barrages.
Once again, I'm not the DM, so I don't really know if what he's doing is what he's supposed to do, but Heavy Armor feels more like a (necessary) flavour element (it single handledly justifies V'sori supremacy over normal humans and the role of supers who have the power compared to "mortals") than a mechanic. All we do is Heavy (as we all have attack powers or vibro weapons), and most of what is done to us is too. If I were to "min-max", I wouldn't waste points on it, so to say. But that's not far from what Heavy Armor is in most of our SW games - it's basically a "can't fight this" trigger, once you're supposed to fight that target, it's just not there. I always thought that's how it's meant to work.

Quote:
Making the Hulk at 20 PPs and you don't get the modern Legendary Rank Hulk, you get the original gray guy who hid from soldiers with submachineguns (not even the later gray one). If the group does want more powerful characters off the bat, I'd suggest the total power rule from the SPC.


I think the Hulk example is just a case of me being a bad player and going against setting mood and consistency to run my power fantasy and play one of my favourite supers.
The moment I step back and think about what would playing the green Hulk mean, it's clear it can work for a one shot, not a running game.

Quote:
The example of a "small investment" in damage has a character with a d12+2 Strength, a vibro-sword (costing twice starting money), and 3 levels of Attack, Melee costing 6 PPs. But for the same "cost," a character could have that d12+2 in Vigor and for 6 points in Armor have +9 Armor. That's an 18 Toughness, and the guarantee to Soak at least one wound barring a critical failure. Additionally, if that character spends 1/5 the cost of the vibro-sword, they could have Ablative armor which would automatically "soak" the first two wounds the character took (while they still use the higher armor value).


Interesting. My perplexity on Armor is generally that weapons tend to have pretty much fantastic AP values (4 is very common, and that sort of halves a 6 point investment in it, it's why I went for Toughness for my "Hulk", it's more expensive but ended up being more cost efficient) and also on the fact that considering how most thing we face are ranged, and many of them Marksman, bypassing non-super armor has not been a big issue so far.
My Hulk/Hellboy did wear a kevlar vest, tho. He wasn't a fool.

But really, I'm not here to say the game doesn't work - it would be patently stupid and factually wrong. I may have my pet peeve in feeling like the game gives me a lot more options to be offensively spectacular than it does to build an hulkish bullet sponge, but that's not a "problem" of the game, it's just my own.
What we actually feel is a problem is the staying power of relevant antagonists. That's the only major dissonance, because sometimes Fin extras feel tougher/more dangerous than V'sori/super Wild Cards.
To say that the fight against the atlantean sorceror was anticlimatic would be conservative. And that's what triggered our "maybe we're doing it wrong" signal, because the game does work in every other instance, and this really didn't feel like "working as intended".

Quote:
That seems pretty darn comparative for the same point cost and less money. The Soaking is important to note too, as a damage roll is a single roll, but it faces two "defenses," Toughness and Soaking.


I think what this ultimately leads to is sitting down and creating one hero who spends 20 points in offence and one who spends 20 points of defence and seeing what are the odds of the first downing the second and how fast. If it's somewhat balanced, then they're comparative, but I think it's immediately clear that such comparison is completely divorced from actual play.

To me it boiled down to seeing I had invested some 14 points in Super Toughness and Hardy and got to 15 Toughness (incidentally, were I to go with armor, I would have had 18, so 14 considering Fin AP) and was facing Marksman that would hit me with a 2 on a d10 and score a raise 50% of the time. That's 3.5d6 against Toughness 15. Was I frail? No, but I was wounded fairly easily (at least considering the point investment) and next to me I had a Spawn-type who had Toughness 9 (investing almost nothing in it) and shoot 3 times per turn for 4d6 at d12+3. He was spectacularly more useful.

Now I remade my speedster character (he was a shadow based speedster now turned shadow armor brute to avoid frustrating the DM) and he's more balanced between offence and defence, and I've picked Absorbtion as my defensive power (with the trick that lets you increase Str when you soak wounds with it, now THAT'S Hulk-like Very Happy ) and I really don't complain. He's less powerful than the speedster, but he's decently durable and offensively efficient, and fun to play. Case in point - it's really hard to build Nec Evil characters that are not fun to play. Almost every night someone goes "hopefully I'll die so I get to try something else" Very Happy .


Quote:
And finally... <highlight for spoilers>


I'll just say we were sent somewhere damp to recover a metallic band of exceptional symbolic importance in European cultures.
The DM introduced the guy as some sort of "superboss" and well, it didn't really work out that way Razz .



Quote:
Hope that helps or clarifies.


It certainly does. Once again I think this is just a case of adjusting expectations rather than actual balance issues, but I wish we could help our DM somehow because I feel he's slightly frustrated by the pace of combat which doesn't really allow him to flesh out his NPCs as he probably would like to. I think what frustrates him is that we're (legitimately) more challenged by a party of 6 Fin extras than by the suped up V'sori commandant that leads them, but I feel that's just how SW works. Strength in numbers.
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Dracones
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Joined: 26 Aug 2011
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think one of the quirks with SW is that the core raise mechanic is static 4, which becomes less and less meaningful as you throw bigger and more dice into the damage pool. This can create a lot of "shot did nothing" vs "1 shot kill" with not a lot in between if you start throwing down a lot of dice. Also more dice = more raises which can make the situation worse and also sometimes make things feel too random.

I really wonder if this aspect of the game wouldn't work better if the idea of scale or power scale were brought into it that kept the numbers down. Ex/

Pixie bow - 2d6 scale 1
Pistol - 2d6 scale 2
Blaster pistol - 2d6 scale 3
Blaster rifle - 2d8 scale 3
Starship laser - 2d6 scale 20
Sharship torpedo - 2d8 scale 20

And basically just throw out the heavy armor concept. You'd need some sort of rule for how scales can impact other scales. A WW2 tank might be scale 3 or 4 where a pistol won't hurt it, but a blaster might. Also combining explosives or weapon power might not increase damage so much as the scale. 6 sticks of dynamite might be a 2d6 scale 4 weapon.

In a supers game the hulk would simply have a high scale toughness and strength. He operates on a level of throwing around tanks and would be annoyed by small arms fire.
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