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enemy: "zombie horde"

 
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Red Mercy
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 11:24 pm    Post subject: enemy: "zombie horde" Reply with quote

I finally got to try out one of my undead crypt crawl adventures last weekend. Went pretty well, but I had a little difficulty managing my zombies. See, individually they're a bit weak for my players. The solution was to add a lot more, thereby giving them gang-up bonuses, etc. However, even though Savage Worlds does allow for lots of enemies at once, I felt like too many was still bogging things down a bit. So I began to wonder if I could condense several zombies into one single monster (see subject line). This would effectively increase some of their stats, i.e., a higher fighting die since there's more of them. This would also allow for good visuals, letting me describe approaching hordes of wheezing, groping corpses as the players encountered them, while at the same time allowing for descriptions of my players cutting swaths through them every time they do damage. Of course, the question I started asking was how would shaken work? And how to deal with the horde "weakening" as they were damaged -- which translates to heroes cutting down members of the horde. I've considered maybe giving the horde wound levels. These represent diminishing numbers in the horde's ranks, and the wound modifiers reflect the weakened power of the horde. Perhaps the shaken state is the result of a large number of the horde being laid down, and on a recovery, those individual zombies rise again. Or maybe the horde should be immune to shaken and can only be wounded by a raise? Perhaps my take on shaken in this case doesn't even necessitate wound levels. Any thoughts?
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Red Mercy
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

...the more I think about it, the more I think that shaken just wouldn't work here. Even if a bunch of zombies were cut down, there would still undoubtedly be some left capable of attacking.
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SlasherEpoch
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey!

SWARMS.
Use SWARMS. The SWARM MONSTER.

It does exactly what you're looking for!!!

An Enormous Zombie Horde (LBT) splits into two Medium Bursts when Wounded. They can make a Smarts roll to pull back together. A Medium Burst Template splits into two Small Burst Templates, or can make a Smarts roll to pull back together.

These Swarms are unique in that they do not require area effect attacks to "wound." A single hero can cut a swath through the horde, lay down a hail or arrows, clear a path with wild spells. However, they make up for it with their tenacity, rolling to reform as a free action.

How's that?
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Red Mercy
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had considered that, actually, but initially dismissed it because of how they do damage. Looking closer at the entry, though, maybe that *would* work after all, since a particularly large group would be able to hit everything in their area. That, plus the splitting mechanic would solve the problem of applying the horde's ability to attack multiple opponents at once. I'll definitely have to consider this some more. Thanks!
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islan
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought about using Swarm for bigger-than-rodent size creatures, and it just doesn't seem to work to me. The automatic damage seems to assume that the creatures are crawling all over the characters.

Even with the Swarm template you'd still have the problem with Shaken results. I would go with your original idea of using Wounds to represent diminishing zombies: Shaken just means the group is falling over itself for a while.
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DeMyztikX
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zombies in large hordes do hit everything that gets taken into their masses. Every modern survival horror movie with zombies that I've seen (granted, not a lot) show this. A single zombie can be run away from, beatten back, etc. however as a group they take down everything. Of course, that's modern survival horror.
For fantasy I would avoid that, since that would make for dead heroes. Along the idea of making them higher stats, what about just adding a +1 to the fighting roll per zombie in the group. Each wound inflicted reduces this by one of course. Damage could be done in a similar way. This makes one zombie fairly weak but when in groups they can do damage and depending on how big of a group, they could kill anything, but in small groups are quite fightable. Maybe every +2 or so just increase it a die type.
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Red Mercy
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yeah, that sounds pretty good. Plus, that way, it might make it possible for the group to "split" off. Simply remove the modifier.
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jalinde
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The camera pans overhead, and we catch a glimpse of the hero being dragged down under a sea of rotting hands. They reach towards the lens, panic on their face and-- Cut back to the survivors.

Sounds like automatic damage to me. Shaken might also just mean you've managed to break one in half and the rest stumble over it. Fling one into the next few and they stagger back. Easy to keep track of means more better funner, in my book.
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Red Mercy
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I guess it depends how you view it. I did think about that. On the other hand, I'm also envisioning a hero in a clearing in a ring of zombies, valiantly swinging a sword taking down as many as he can before they get to him. I don't know.
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BluSponge
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is an interesting prospect. One I've played around with in my own Aros campaign. There is a goblin-like humanoid that made sense to have attack in swarms. But I think the auto-damage and the weapon immunities cause some problems.

Might it not be better then to come up with a new classification? Call them Gangs, Mobs, Hordes, whatever. These would be intelligent "swarms" of larger creatures (say size -1 through +1). They would be more dangerous than a typical swarm, but more easy to take down. Also, this way, you could build the gang up bonuses directly into their stats so you wouldn't have to calculate it each round.

Anyone like that idea?

Tom
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DeMyztikX
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With a gang what happens if you damage with a raise? Does the whole thing get killed off or does it have multiple wounds, if so, is it only 3? Because then it's one huge hit could still kill a mob of 20 people/monsters.

What I proposed is actually just a modifier of what's in the book. They aren't restricted by the +4 max to hit by the gang up bonus (or maybe they are, or maybe just a higher max, really it depends on what you're going for) and also gain a bonus to damage (depending on what they are and how tough the heroes are). The major change is that they need not all be in contact with the target, since they're acting as a whole cohesive unit. I think that's keeping it pretty simple.
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SlasherEpoch
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DeMyztikX wrote:
With a gang what happens if you damage with a raise? Does the whole thing get killed off or does it have multiple wounds, if so, is it only 3? Because then it's one huge hit could still kill a mob of 20 people/monsters.


I think that's the idea! I don't know if you've seen much news coverage of, say, riots, but once tear gas/riot police set in, the groups break up pretty quickly. If you have a Swarm that's a "Panicked Mob," then it's possible that firing into the crowd could disperse it as quickly as a fireball with enough damage. Afterall, nobody wants to die.
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Red Mercy
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Both those ideas sound promising. I'll have to consider it. As far as the wound levels, I guess depending on the GM's take, it could be feasible that a single blow could decimate the entire group, depending how "comic-booky" you wanted it to be. Imagine Klonan the Warrior shearing through hordes of monsters like they were wheat before a scythe, drenched in blood as foe after foe falls before his blade... of course, if one got into specifics, especially in regard to round time, that might not be a possibility. Or is that micro-managing?
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BluSponge
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DeMyztikX wrote:
With a gang what happens if you damage with a raise? Does the whole thing get killed off or does it have multiple wounds, if so, is it only 3? Because then it's one huge hit could still kill a mob of 20 people/monsters.


I think there are a variety of factors, and that's why I believe it needs a new classification. If we are talking about a group of peasants or a Deadlands lynch mob, then yes the whole thing would probably split with just a wound, ala a standard swarm. OTOH (and bare with me), lets say you a fighting a mass of assassins or tougher, more coordinated opponents? Yes, I suppose you could run these guys as normal, but if there are enough of them, why not have some sort of swarm template for them?

I agree that amping up the gang up for them would be good. I also think you could tweak the damage done to be better than a d4. 7th Sea had a threat rating for their brute squad that added directly into the mechanics. So that a Threat 2 brute squad rolled 2 additional dice for all actions and damage. I think something similar (but more in line with the SW mechanics) would work well here.

Tom
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