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New GM looking at combat balance

 
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Iron Knight
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 8:58 pm    Post subject: New GM looking at combat balance Reply with quote

I've followed SW for a while but I am looking to GM it for the first time soon (in a fantasy setting). In looking at creating NPCs I've noticed I can get my defensive abilities up pretty high easily. Even without enhancement (shields), parry seems to keep up with fighting and on average, equally skilled warriors don't hit each other all that often (25%- 41.7%). Add in shields and this drops off even more (+1; 0% - 33.3%, +2; 0% - 25%). Do one on one duels take a long time in SW? Do warriors just slug it out until getting stunned, then possibly recovering again and repeating the cycle, until failing to recover and getting wounded? What I am missing?
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UmbraLux
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tactics matter...a lot! Add in Wild Attack and the balance shifts to the offense. You've got Aim for ranged attacks as well. And both melee and ranged have some edges which will help. Count the second die for Wild Cards, the relatively low target for ranged attacks, and the fact that ties almost always go to the actor...in general offense has an advantage. Smile
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SavageGamerGirl
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also keep in mind that characters don't have a bank of hit points to whittle away. They'll probably be getting hit a lot less, but those hits that do connect will matter more. Even one wound at a -1 penalty can be surprisingly detrimental.
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Jounichi
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unless you specifically want your players to face an experienced foe or wild card their skills probably shouldn't exceed a d6, and I don't recommend giving them a shield any bigger than a buckler.
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Iron Knight
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do see ways with edges and tactics to shift things, but two green warriors sure seem to take a while too role out. Shields are a staple of fantasy, I know my players will want to use them and arm there allies with them, and setting wise it seems to be appropriate to arm some troops with shields. Should I just knock down shield bonuses?

Also, would you have any recommendations for a starting fantasy themed adventure module?
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Jounichi
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a section, starting on page 144 of SWD:EE, that discusses issues such as balance and "combat ratings."

You don't want to overthink things, but if you share with us a little more about your ideas for the setting (and how many players you'll have at the table) we can give you some more advice.
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Iron Knight
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

~6 players, campaign based off of pathfinder's Kingmaker campaign. Players set out to build a kingdom in a perilous frontier. Other than that, the setting is fairly generic fantasy.
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 4:48 am    Post subject: Re: New GM looking at combat balance Reply with quote

Iron Knight wrote:
Do one on one duels take a long time in SW? Do warriors just slug it out until getting stunned, then possibly recovering again and repeating the cycle, until failing to recover and getting wounded? What I am missing?

Wild Attack. If one character starts using Wild Attack, they gain a huge advantage over their opponent. Their opponent can then level the odds by using Wild Attack as well. If both characters are using Wild Attack, they have an effective +4 to hit (i.e., +2 Fighting and -2 Parry) and inflict +2 damage. A duel between two evenly-matched Wild Cards will typically last 3-4 rounds.

However it's worth noting that one-on-one duels aren't the most exciting fights in Savage Worlds. Group vs group works much better, and group fights are also much faster to resolve than D&D. When converting the D&D adventure path, I'd recommend trying to avoid solo foes if you're trying to challenge the players - give the BBEGs minions when possible.
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farik
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 8:11 am    Post subject: Re: New GM looking at combat balance Reply with quote

Zadmar wrote:
Iron Knight wrote:
Do one on one duels take a long time in SW? Do warriors just slug it out until getting stunned, then possibly recovering again and repeating the cycle, until failing to recover and getting wounded? What I am missing?

Wild Attack. If one character starts using Wild Attack, they gain a huge advantage over their opponent. Their opponent can then level the odds by using Wild Attack as well. If both characters are using Wild Attack, they have an effective +4 to hit (i.e., +2 Fighting and -2 Parry) and inflict +2 damage. A duel between two evenly-matched Wild Cards will typically last 3-4 rounds.

However it's worth noting that one-on-one duels aren't the most exciting fights in Savage Worlds. Group vs group works much better, and group fights are also much faster to resolve than D&D. When converting the D&D adventure path, I'd recommend trying to avoid solo foes if you're trying to challenge the players - give the BBEGs minions when possible.


This is really good advice unlike other games in SW if you want to make a fight exciting instead of adding another wildcard bad guy just add 4 more "extra" soldiers. Use things like gang up bonus to exceed a person's parry. The fight is still challenging but the players get the satisfaction of mowing through their enemies.

The speed of SW combat is why we use it for Starship Troopers. No other system allows me to throw dozens of bad guys at a party of 5 heroes and not only provide a tactical challenge but still be resolved relatively quickly.
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Jounichi
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iron Knight wrote:
~6 players, campaign based off of pathfinder's Kingmaker campaign. Players set out to build a kingdom in a perilous frontier. Other than that, the setting is fairly generic fantasy.

How many allies do you intend to give your players, and how many enemies do you intend to have them face?

Those questions are somewhat rhetorical. You only need about 2 NPC extras to challenge a Player Wild Card. Outfit them with whatever you think it appropriate, but also keep in mind that Savage Worlds isn't inherently balanced. There are no levels and hit points, and sometimes there will be fights your players just can't be expected to win.

I suggest starting your players out with some one-shots to get them familiar with the system and rules before starting a full campaign, especially if you plan on running a custom setting.
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Clint
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 11:01 am    Post subject: Re: New GM looking at combat balance Reply with quote

Iron Knight wrote:
I've followed SW for a while but I am looking to GM it for the first time soon (in a fantasy setting). In looking at creating NPCs I've noticed I can get my defensive abilities up pretty high easily. Even without enhancement (shields), parry seems to keep up with fighting and on average, equally skilled warriors don't hit each other all that often (25%- 41.7%). Add in shields and this drops off even more (+1; 0% - 33.3%, +2; 0% - 25%). Do one on one duels take a long time in SW? Do warriors just slug it out until getting stunned, then possibly recovering again and repeating the cycle, until failing to recover and getting wounded? What I am missing?


Sounds like those odds are for Extras not Wild Cards. An Extra should be less capable than an equivalent Wild Card that's the point. Now, in multiples, Extras become more dangerous.

A Wild Card typically has around 50% or better chance of hitting an equally skilled foe without using any tactical options (48% at the lowest to 62.5% at the highest).

Shields sound great, but the character has to be able to carry it without a Load Limit penalty or they're worse off overall.

A really good warrior with a d8 Str can carry 40 lbs. without penalty. Give him a longsword for best damage and even a Small shield and he's at 16 lbs. He can't wear chain or plate at that point at 25 lbs. without the penalty, so he's stuck with Leather armor at best and sacrificing Toughness for Parry.

Now as GM, you can fudge Load Limits, but they definitely need to be kept in mind for balancing opposition when designing them. Ignoring it inherently makes foes more powerful as it would with any rule.
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GruffaloCrumble
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iron Knight wrote:
~6 players, campaign based off of pathfinder's Kingmaker campaign. Players set out to build a kingdom in a perilous frontier. Other than that, the setting is fairly generic fantasy.


If memory serves, you spend most of The Stolen Lands (book 1 in the Kingmaker AP) fighting bandits, kobolds and mites. These all fall into the mook category and the players should not have too much trouble defeating them, even in numbers. Characters like the Stag Lord should provide a greater challenge, but don't send him into battle alone or the PCs will mob him. Make sure he has a goon squad to back him up.

Please post again if you run Kingmaker. I love converting the Pathfinder modules to Savage Worlds and would be interested to hear how your group gets on. Very Happy
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Iron Knight
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually I am going to convert a campaign that we took a break from about 6 months ago. We are in book 3/4 (and seemingly desperately trying to get to 5 early) as my players have made some interesting choices, some of them being a little more dark side on many aspects of rulership. Pathfinder is getting a little to slow and difficult to keep up with there way of doing things, and I no longer want to deal with the late game issues that come up with kingmaker and kingmaker's big bads. There are too many books and too many areas of exploitation.
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wort
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 6:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iron Knight wrote:
Actually I am going to convert a campaign that we took a break from about 6 months ago. We are in book 3/4 (and seemingly desperately trying to get to 5 early) as my players have made some interesting choices, some of them being a little more dark side on many aspects of rulership. Pathfinder is getting a little to slow and difficult to keep up with there way of doing things, and I no longer want to deal with the late game issues that come up with kingmaker and kingmaker's big bads. There are too many books and too many areas of exploitation.


Sorry to sound so negative but I would strongly advise against converting a running campaign to SW with old (and dear) characters.

If you want to do this start with new characters. It might get dissapointing for your players otherwise. They will expect their converted characters to be exactly like the old ones. But their characters will be different.

Think about it.

W.
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