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Fighting Really Big Enemies

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  • Fighting Really Big Enemies

    I'm currently trying to wrap my head around how to handle combat when you are dealing with an enemy that's so large it constitutes multiple range bands. Take Juggernaut for example. Juggernaut is so huge as to have a fortress built upon its shoulder blades. Even if the characters fighting Juggernaut are all piloting warstriders, there's still multiple range bands between someone carving bits of its shoulder and someone hacking their way into its thigh. Part of the assumptions of the normal combat rules seems to be that your limbs and your vitals are reasonably close together so that you can parry or dodge any attack headed for your vitals, but what about a character trying to chop one of Juggernaut's legs off? His arms are literal miles away and legs aren't exactly interchangeable.

    Even if the giant creature is much smaller than Juggernaut, the problem of how to handle this in an appropriate manner remains. If the party is fighting a giant crab the size of a football field, it's back is still at least a range band away from its front. How does it parry an attack back there with its claws? If you decide it can't, how do you handle it turning around to retaliate?

    Then there's the question of how to handle "close combat attacks". Juggernaut has arms that can reach out hundreds of yards, but that same distance for a bow is long range. If Juggernaut can attack you with a fist slam, are you engaged with him and need to disengage to move away? How about to move closer so you can stab the corpse creature with your toothpick of a grand daiklave?

    These are just the initial questions I can come up with right now and I'm sure players, with their infinite ability to do that one thing you haven't prepared for, will find other odd situations. While I can make calls on the fly about such things, I prefer to have a coherent model in mind, especially when I'm trying to flesh this stuff out.

    Anyone have ideas on this?



    Masters of the Industrial Elements
    Upon the Rock of Tradition: The Memorial Exalted
    Ghosts: A Revision (2nd Edition)
    The Underworld (3rd Edition)
    ​From The Crucible: Crafting As A Struggle

  • #2
    Combat against a massive opponent is more akin to fighting a modern battleship than an individual. If you CAN just smash through the deck and wreck the engines beneath, great. But if you can’t, you have range bands of territory to traverse, and places where you can really deal damage. The adventure Is getting from point A to point B with trained soldiers in the way.

    If Juggernaut even notices you, it may have natural defenses capable of repelling you; it may just rely on being too tough to kill while it goes about its destructive business; or it may just roll over in hopes of crushing the fleas on its back. All of those present different challenges to an ambitious giant-killer.


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    • #3
      I'd say that getting the drop on a large creature sounds like an Ambush.

      After that... they just turn around dude.

      Pretty much everything else needs to be taken on a case by case basis.


      Hi, I'm JohnDoe244. My posts represent my opinions, not facts.

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      • #4
        I wouldn't even model something like Juggernaut as a combatant. It's moving scenery, generating environmental hazards. Or it would be, at my table.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
          After that... they just turn around dude.
          So Juggernaut goes from legs south to legs north in the space of a single combat round? I'm not trying to be dismissive, but that approach causes problems of verisimilitude. Big things take time to turn around, even if they are capable of great speeds. The planet is probably one of the best examples, as it takes 24 hours for it to turn all the way around, yet it travels at over 900 miles an hour at the equator. That's simultaneously really fast and really slow.

          Finding a way to take advantage of the difficulty of turning to face multiple opponents is a real-world tactic that should be available to players in their game, but for that to be a real option the players need consistent rules to leverage.

          Pretty much everything else needs to be taken on a case by case basis.
          How many giant creatures are there in Exalted lore? I can think of quite a few - huge elemental dragons, half-mile wide hecatonkhires, living mountains, fae-spawned flying whales - and that's just what I can think of without cracking a book. When you are fighting a 60 ft long headless badger, knowing how to handle a creature with two range bands between its front and back ends seems useful, especially when only one end has ectoplasmic tentacles for swallowing you whole.



          Masters of the Industrial Elements
          Upon the Rock of Tradition: The Memorial Exalted
          Ghosts: A Revision (2nd Edition)
          The Underworld (3rd Edition)
          ​From The Crucible: Crafting As A Struggle

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          • #6
            Sure but a bipedal giant creature can turn faster than a quadrupeds. A giant squid-like monstrosity probably doesn't need to turn. Nor does a mile high volcano monster.

            Case by case.

            On turning speeds, how much damage can your mansized combatant do to a Juggernaut in six seconds? I'd wager it's a negligible amount. So why not extend combat rounds to represent something like a hour long hacking session? During your combat roll, Juggernaut sloughs you off and ponderously turns round to fight you?

            How you handle the supermassive is going to depend on the roll you want them to fill in the story. I am not going to want the PCs to beat Juggernaut by stabbing it with a daiklave. I'd run it as scenery, as the PCs fight Abyssals and undead. But if I did want them to face down Juggernaut in a straight fight, I'd use completely different rules.


            Hi, I'm JohnDoe244. My posts represent my opinions, not facts.

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            • #7
              Have you checked on the write-up for Macihara as a reference point?


              I have approximate knowledge of many things.
              Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                Have you checked on the write-up for Macihara as a reference point?
                Which book is that in?



                Masters of the Industrial Elements
                Upon the Rock of Tradition: The Memorial Exalted
                Ghosts: A Revision (2nd Edition)
                The Underworld (3rd Edition)
                ​From The Crucible: Crafting As A Struggle

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                • #9
                  My advice? Go in through the ear canal and destroy the brain. Giant zombies still need their giant brains, IIRC.


                  Exalted Whose Name is Carved in Leaves of Jade

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Cheshire Cat View Post
                    I wouldn't even model something like Juggernaut as a combatant. It's moving scenery, generating environmental hazards. Or it would be, at my table.
                    More game systems need more rules for Active Environments.


                    Disclaimer: I'll huff, grump, and defend my position, but if you're having fun I'll never say you're doing it wrong.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Kyman201 View Post

                      More game systems need more rules for Active Environments.

                      Agreed. But at least Exalted already has rules for Environmental Hazards, and for Feats of Destruction or whatever they're called again, so it's not really that much of a leap to give the scenery a movement pool to Rush, or oppose Disengages, to figure out who gets hit with the hazards even if everyone keeps moving.

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                      • #12
                        "Fighting Juggernaut" is literally the example in the corebook for fights that would be handled, at least in part, by custom Gambits rather than normal attacks and defenses.

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                        • #13
                          Hundred Devil's Night Parade has a pair of critters that'd be useful for this kinda thing. There's Mahicara the Volcanic Earthwalker (Like Isator mentioned) for "how do you actually fight something that big?" and the Forlorn Manor for when the thing you're fighting is the actual environment you're in.

                          There's also things like the Fang Blossom, Mata Yadh, Grelidaka, and a handful of others that have to be dealt with in unusual ways.


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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Mizu View Post
                            My advice? Go in through the ear canal and destroy the brain. Giant zombies still need their giant brains, IIRC.
                            Ear canals don't lead to the brain, they go to the throat.

                            "Okay, it was a tight fit, all of that wax stank something fierce and got everywhere, and the drum was unpleasantly spongy to cleave through, but I'm finally reaching the ennait a minute, why is this leading dooooooowwwww-{kersplash}{acidic dissolution bubbling}"


                            I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                            Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Blackwell View Post
                              "Fighting Juggernaut" is literally the example in the corebook for fights that would be handled, at least in part, by custom Gambits rather than normal attacks and defenses.
                              Gambits take Initiative, so some of the fight will require making withering attacks upon Juggernaut, dodging attacks from Juggernaut, and will likely involve maneuvering around Juggernaut.



                              Masters of the Industrial Elements
                              Upon the Rock of Tradition: The Memorial Exalted
                              Ghosts: A Revision (2nd Edition)
                              The Underworld (3rd Edition)
                              ​From The Crucible: Crafting As A Struggle

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