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Are followers too strong?

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  • Are followers too strong?

    I have a player who created a cult leader character built to make the fullest use possible out of the Followers Birthright. He created a character with 5 Leadership and 5 Presence bolstered by various specialties in other skills, got a couple of leadership knacks and the Lover knack that makes enemies not attack him, then he invested everything else he had into creating followers, one bodyguard with 4 dots and several one-dot followers covering non-combat tasks. The problem now is that the latest session he was almost constantly rolling 10 dice (often with Scale) for every conceivable roll because even though I had him specify quite narrowly what each follower could or could not be used for he created his followers strategically enough to have them cover a lot of varying tasks. Granted this was just one session so far with mostly investigation, social scenes and a very short combat, but I worry for the future about his ability to use the rules as written to just constantly roll Leadership + Presence and brute force his way through everything and often outshining the other player characters, even in domains their characters were designed for.

    Am I doing something wrong or is this how it's supposed to be?

  • #2
    This is not wrong by the rules, but it’s annoying as hell.

    I would use Leadership + Follower rating as a dice pool instead of Attribute + Leadership (as it’s the highest always). Just say it’s unbalancing the game and getting annoying to the other players. Give him the chance to change the character as he prefer, as he was following the rules (except the golden rule of fun).

    You can also force him away from his followers thru plot devices, “Fate is forcing him to become a hero by himself”.


    The proper answer to “Hello There” is, obviously, “General Kenobi”.
    Fists of Flux - Inspired and Powered Martial Arts for Talents
    https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product.../Fists-of-Flux

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Mateus Luz View Post
      This is not wrong by the rules, but it’s annoying as hell.

      I would use Leadership + Follower rating as a dice pool instead of Attribute + Leadership (as it’s the highest always). Just say it’s unbalancing the game and getting annoying to the other players. Give him the chance to change the character as he prefer, as he was following the rules (except the golden rule of fun).

      You can also force him away from his followers thru plot devices, “Fate is forcing him to become a hero by himself”.
      I will have to talk to him about it, that's for sure. It won't be a fun talk but he is a quite reasonable person fortunately.

      I was thinking as well to have him use follower rating + Attribute (or Leadership, because skills are more fun). This will still make his character powerful but not to the degree of making the other players obsolete.

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      • #4
        Storypath is designed to have the characters rolling 6-7+ dice every roll. So, rolling 10 dice on pretty much every roll is not abnormal. How is he gaining scale on those rolls? That's where a lot of the big successes are going to come from.

        As an SG, I would recognize the character's strengths and let the player use them often. HOWEVER, he does have weaknesses. The main one is that without his followers, he's most likely quite a bit weaker than the rest of the PCs. So, you have some options. Separating the PC from its followers is one obvious play. Another one is to garble the communication between the PC and the followers. An NPC with a trickery theme would work well for that. Finally, each of the followers should have some kind of weakness which can be exploited. I'd start looking for those and poking at them from time to time.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Florin View Post
          How is he gaining scale on those rolls?
          There's a follower quality called terrible that gives them scale. It's dope.

          Also, the player should have to use more than Presence + Leadership - follower rolls use Your Attribute + Leadership so investigation rolls probably use [Mental Attribute] + Leadership, and that bodyguard should be using Strength or Dexterity + Leadership, which probably isn't crazy lower, but it should mitigate Single Attribute Dependency.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ZipDrive View Post

            There's a follower quality called terrible that gives them scale. It's dope.
            Also, turning followers into a mob can do that. There is also a Leader Knack that can bestow Scale to followers, one level for each success on a knack skill up to a limit of the leader's Legend rating. Is it strange that I see Followers as a powerful feature of the game? It hasn't crossed my player's mind to combine these things yet, possibly because even he would consider it gamebreaking and against the rules.

            Originally posted by ZipDrive View Post
            Also, the player should have to use more than Presence + Leadership - follower rolls use Your Attribute + Leadership so investigation rolls probably use [Mental Attribute] + Leadership, and that bodyguard should be using Strength or Dexterity + Leadership, which probably isn't crazy lower, but it should mitigate Single Attribute Dependency.
            I can see the case for Mental Attributes also being used, but I'm having a hard time seeing how the leader's own Physical Attributes must come into the equation, unless they personally partake in whatever activity is going on as well. I suppose a case could be made for the leadership principle of you as a leader being willing to go through what you demand of others, so that is why I could demand of a leader character to also get physical with his followers and levy some kind of condition representing disgruntled morale if he doesn't. But then again, this makes less sense due to his followers being religious fanatics in a sect he is the leader of. I wish the rules were more explicit and clear on this with some examples.

            But if the followers are scattered geographically and the leader must send orders remotely, then it makes no sense using anything but Mental or Social Attributes.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Florin View Post
              Storypath is designed to have the characters rolling 6-7+ dice every roll. So, rolling 10 dice on pretty much every roll is not abnormal.
              Are you talking about Scion specifically or Storypath in general? Because Trinity for example gives fewer dots to characters. Also, I do not agree to there being 6-7+ dice to EVERY roll, but definitely those skills the characters have invested in. The problem is that this character currently rolls 10 dice on far more skills than any other character does.
              Last edited by Aristarkos; 03-03-2020, 03:32 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Aristarkos View Post

                Are you talking about Scion specifically or Storypath in general? Because Trinity for example gives fewer dots to characters. Also, I do not agree to there being 6-7+ dice to EVERY roll, but definitely those skills the characters have invested in. The problem is that this character currently rolls 10 dice on far more skills than any other character does.
                After a few games I am quite sure that all the players will roll 8 dice most of time. I don’t know in Scion, probably they are more dependable on dice most of time, but in Trinity you roll 7-8 dice and gain 2 or 3 enhancements all the time.

                On Trinity, the strategy on character building is not much skills and attributes but more edges, probably in Scion the focus must be in the Knacks, Name and purviews. 1 enhancement = 3 dice basically, as long you roll at least 1 success.


                The proper answer to “Hello There” is, obviously, “General Kenobi”.
                Fists of Flux - Inspired and Powered Martial Arts for Talents
                https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product.../Fists-of-Flux

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Aristarkos View Post

                  Are you talking about Scion specifically or Storypath in general? Because Trinity for example gives fewer dots to characters. Also, I do not agree to there being 6-7+ dice to EVERY roll, but definitely those skills the characters have invested in. The problem is that this character currently rolls 10 dice on far more skills than any other character does.
                  I haven't run Scion yet, but I am running Aeon, and it's very easy for people to have 6+ dice on a roll. Remember, the player is telling you how they are trying to accomplish something. So they'll often choose the method giving them the most dice.

                  What's probably causing you trouble is the scale. That's usually +2 enhancement, which as Mateus notes, is the equivalent of rolling 6 extra dice. It also means the character is basically getting at least 3 successes every roll and averages 5 successes.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Aristarkos View Post

                    I will have to talk to him about it, that's for sure. It won't be a fun talk but he is a quite reasonable person fortunately.

                    I was thinking as well to have him use follower rating + Attribute (or Leadership, because skills are more fun). This will still make his character powerful but not to the degree of making the other players obsolete.
                    That would be my suggestion, yes. Having a frank talk about group roles and places to shine is always a good idea.

                    Admittedly, I should've thought of the possibility of someone daisy-chaining the various Leader Knacks and Follower tags - but in fairness to me, any system will probably break if you over-specialize. My general suggestion for combat would be to neutralize his Followers with enemy mobs; that way, the player's still contributing and doing stuff but it gives the other players a chance to shine. If the enemies of the Band know that That One Guy rolls up with his entire crew, or just one super-crew bodyguard, they're going to roll up with their entire crew too. Long-term, you can throw challenges and kinks into the relationship via Fatebinding and the Cult Birthright; Sanctity of Birthrights means you can't really take those Follower dots away from them, but you can engage the player with the maintenance of such in terms of interpersonal relationships, and have them work to resolve Fatebinding Conditions. Also, any time you resolve a Condition you add to the Tension pool...


                    Neall Raemonn Price
                    Beleaguered Scion Developer

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