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  • Hares666
    started a topic Creating a Boss Fight

    Creating a Boss Fight

    Hello fellow Internet people, I am once again in a bit of a predicament.

    I am interested in introducing a BSD Big Bad Wolf as a half way antagonist in the story, she is a high ranking, highly dangerous Ahroun. She has been already mentioned but has not appear in the chronicle so nobody know how powerful she is, it is bound to be a nasty surprise.

    My plan is (and we all know how they survive contact with the players) to have another pack of Garous bait her and then hold her in place until my players get what they need to run away with the price. So she should be able to scare away a Rank 2 Ahroun and hold her place against a pack of 4 rank 2 Garous even if this only happens offscreen.

    Knowing my players, and their totem (Fenris), instead of running they might jump into the freight and try to kill her. At first I thought that if it comes to that I could give her several turns per round to: mechanically try to reduce a bit the action economy difference and narratively to paint her like a mad and twisted force of destruction. But even if I do that I don't know if it will be enough to defend herself from 6-8 Garous.

    My expected outcome is that they disengage either by noticing the fight is not winnable or by me ringing the alarm. So she should survive to hunt them another day and some of the good guys should stay conscious to retreat with their packmates bodies. One can wish.

    The last time I used a sole BSD as an enemy I gave him a set of gifts that I though would allow him to more or less pose a threat to the pack and he lasted 2 rounds, although is true that he incapacitated one of my players.

    The first obvious solution to me is to give her some Spirit mooks that slow down and annoy the players, but I still don't know if that is a good idea.

    I know this isn't DnD and things like CR and combat balance don't make strict sense and I know that WoD Combat is deadly and swingy but in case the fight happens I want it to feel epic and that a high rank Garou is not a thing to underestimate by a whole pack, even 2.

    I felt this would be a common scenario but I couldn't find anything on "Boss fights" other than using a big spirit with tons of essence and powerful powers If anyone has any piece of advise or has run this can of fight please give me a hand.


    Thanks!

  • werewolf43
    replied
    Fine main boss is Malefaxus for example - ancient bane, try to get the scenario, it was official adventure divided in three parts, as I remember every turn it spawned one kallus and quickly it spammed them on battelfield.

    My advises if you'd like to create single boss:
    1) Make him smart and cunning.
    2) He have to be prepared for players and know their adventages.
    3) He have to be first in initiative.
    4) Concentrate on the weakest character and try to kill him with everything boss got - after all he'll lose but make him memorable by letting him kill a player character in bloody combat.
    5) If he'll kill a player character move to next.
    6) Mock the players and behave like you have anything under control.
    7) Use weak sidekicks as distraction and front line - don't allow players to atack the boss before they will spend first turn on slaying them, describe sidekicks as bad moth.....rs and real danger but the pack should tear them apart in seconds - but remember it's a turn when they have to kill the sidekicks and your main boss can act unharmed.
    8) Silver. I don't suggets to use it but at the end you can.

    Leave a comment:


  • Hares666
    replied
    Ok, I guess I have too ingrained the idea of a boss fight from video games, I will try to think around the and try to come up with other scenarios and see if I get something better. In case I don't I will probably go with some king of fetish that will force the pack to fight in a different way other than Crinos her apart.

    This leaves me with a related question, thematically this means that a veteran high rank Garou can be killed by a group of mere rank 1 pups, I didn't get the impression that this was intended from reading the core book, any thoughts?

    Leave a comment:


  • TheVarulfen
    replied
    Single Boss fights are hard to pull of, true. But in order to make someone really stand out you sometimes want to du it anyways.
    Werewolf is especially difficult because everyone has extra-actions. Now, the thread discusses several solutions.
    First of: no single bosses, because the system doesn't support this. Ok, but I want a cool Bossfight!
    Second: Make the boss have several extra actions or have him attack for each turn a player makes. But there is no explanation as to why the boss has these powers. It's just the mechanics changed a bit, but without it having a reason in-game.
    Third: Make the boss have a really powerful protection the players have to overcome in the course of the chronicle. Sure, it will feel bad at first. It's not easy to make players feeling good about the enemy having "plot armor". But when I, as a singular villain, would face my enemies, I'd always make sure I'm well protected. It's basic survival, really. The players should be able to discern how the enemy was protected and thus work against it for the future encounters. Normally, this is a pretty good motivation.

    Leave a comment:


  • False Epiphany
    replied
    Action economy is another advantage that a party of PCs enjoys over a single boss.

    PCs get as many turns to act during a round as there are PCs, but a boss only gets one turn per round. This is also a meaningful problem in D&D, where enough PCs can overwhelm a single elite opponent no matter how many hit points they have. You can penalize PCs' rolls or find ways to make them lose/waste their actions, but that's rarely fun for players during a climactic fight. You can add minions, or have the party go up against a smaller number of elite foes, but that changes the dynamic of the fight.

    I had an old GM who solved that problem by giving bosses extra actions. Depending on how challenging he wanted the boss to be, they either got to take two turns' worth of actions during their turn, or they had special abilities that let them interrupt the actions of PCs. An especially challenging variation, which he never implemented, was to let a boss get one turn for every PC in the party.

    Be warned that altering the economy of actions in an opponent's favor is far and away more powerful than simply giving them extra Health levels. But I've seen it make for some pretty epic fights.

    Leave a comment:


  • Trategos_Sol
    replied
    For situations like these, rather than trying to plothammer a good idea (and erase player agency), I think a better approach is come up with a couple of great options that the players will determine. In other words, stack the deck so that no matter the outcome, your satisfied plot-wise.

    Example:

    Option 1. You create a badass BSD that the players fight and can't beat. Now you have a cool, scary recurring villain. If they are really outclassed by her, maybe she kills one of the pack members, then tells the group she is going to kill their families and/or sept and/or mentor(s) first before offing them as punishment for standing against her, just to rub their defeat in their face. Raises the stakes.

    Option 2. The pack defeats her, but she somehow lives. Maybe now she has a major hate-on forcing her to get involved in some really messed-up Pentex experimental gene therapy to try and get an edge, or she gathers a group of anurana to create a pack bent on revenge, or she consorts with a powerful bane to convince it to attack their Caern.

    Option 3. They kill her. What they don't realize is that she wanted to die, as part of a powerful ritual to summon an avatar of the Wyrm into her desicated corpse in order to accelerate the onset of the Apocalypse. "Now that I think about it, it was strange that this rank 4/5/6 attacked us by itself..." Gulp* now we have to face our brothers and sisters and explain how we seriously messed up. How are we gonna clean this up?!?
    Last edited by Trategos_Sol; 06-23-2018, 07:50 PM. Reason: Edit: grammar/clarification

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  • Black Fox
    replied
    The Storyteller system mechanics does not lend itself well to Boss Fights. It's not D&D or a video game where you simply stack it so high with hit points that the fight will last a long time. The system emphasizes offense rather than defense, and much depends on the dice rolls. Simply have an encounter between equals can end in the destruction of either party. And the sheer number of attacks by a group of PCs against one villain, puts the advantage towards the larger group.

    There are ways to stack the deck in favor of an opponent, but they all have their drawbacks as well.

    First, you can increase the number of Health Levels. But a single lucky attack can wipe out a lot of levels. It is also more appropriate for large sized monsters (like Thunderwyrms) than a Black Spiral Dancer who is supposed to be the same size as other Garou. You mentioned spirits with lots of Essence being use as boss fights. There is a reason for that as Essence serves as Health Levels for spirits. I've also noticed that spirits with huge number of Essence can exhaust the players as they whittle through it and the combat becomes an grind that is not fun. So there are practical limits to this strategy.

    Second, you can make sure they have lots of Soak Dice (Stamina plus armor plus whatever extra powers) against aggravated damage. However. while this can keep them in the fight, it can also prevent the PCs from doing any damage to their opponent throughout the combat. They'll do more damage to the PCs every round, and given enough time will head towards a TPK. This may be what you want (and force the PCs to flee before it happens), but players are not dumb. Instead of creating an IC situation where the PCs fear the bad guy, you may create an OOC situation where the players feel you are screwing them over by simply giving the bad guy plot immunity since this is not a normal BSD, but something very special.. You should make it clear why the bad guy has so much soak dice - she has some obvious special Wyrm fetish (which the PCs somehow can't steal or destroy), or she is blessed by some kind of Incarna, or has some other strange and unusual condition.

    Third, you can give her some mooks. But players aren't dumb and can probably eliminate them quickly if there is only a few, and there is no guarantee the extra rounds of survival due to other minions will mean the BSD herself will perform any better. Or you give her too many, and the players get overwhelmed before they can really go against your opponent. That could go along your lines, but it is not necessarily the case they will think this specific BSD is so tough as much as the entire encounter was tough, and she was simply one opponent among many (even if she was obviously the strongest).

    Fourth, another option is to approach the battle through different means and utilize things different from physical. I know an ST who once ruled a particular horror of the Wyrm was so terrible that Garou PCs were affected by something like the Delerium and had to compare against the Delerium chart to not cower in fear/run away. We had the chance to roll our Wits + Occult (difficulty 9) to add additional successes to our WP rating to see if we could stay to fight. That was fun and made sense for the one opponent. But I don't see another Garou - even a BSD - provoking that. But perhaps you can use that as inspiration to think of other ways the PCs would come into the encounter with less power - some kind of WP is needed to enter combat, or that they lose half their Rage, or that they lose their pack totem benefits for some reason. Anything that can be justified due to some strange and unusual situation which takes out a lot of their ammunition in combat.

    However, I think the game's mechanics is designed in such a way that it is very hard to pull off what you want. Any time you have combat, the dice can roll any way. A big bad foe can be killed quickly. Or things turn suddenly against the PCs and one or more of them get killed. There is no problem in crafting a difficult encounter. It is that you have a specific outcome in mind (the BSD lives and clearly overpowers the PCs, but not killing them), and very seldom is that specific outcome going to happen because of the dice rolls.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ambrosia
    replied
    Yeah, a single enemy as a Boss is seriously hard to pull off in Werewolf, simply because of how much of a set of meatgrinders a Garou pack is.

    In orde to get a boss fight, you either have to use

    1) A HUGE BOSS ENEMY that is literally powerful enough to cause devastation to a whole area (And is a good climax to a combat-endgame Chronicle)

    2) LOTS of enemies - we are talking Pack vs. Pack or First Teams vs. Pack here, or a powerful enemy with a lot of minions, going for a more 'epic' boss battle.

    3) An enemy that cannot be beaten through violence. Simply because beating up the enemy will not "Make The Problem Go Away" in the first place, or because the enemy's death is literally an actual *loss* - mind-controlled friends, a doomsday item that will trigger if that enemy dies, or the knowledge inside said enemy's head being a crucial key to avoiding a disaster. They can't share what they know if they are dead - but they will fight you. And you can't beat them into a pulp and risk killing them through blind force. Trickery is required.

    4) Or simply the overall problem actually not being something you can beat up in the first place - and the 'boss' in this becoming more of a hardcore problem that needs solving from different angles and with lots of cooperation. The Problem To Solve or Catastrophe To Avoid becomes the figurative 'boss'. This especially is very very in-theme with an underlying tragedy that is well-described in the books: Many wolves still needing to realize that in order to save the world, simply using escalating levels of violence is not often the answer - instead it might actually be accelerating the whole downward spiral.
    Last edited by Ambrosia; 06-22-2018, 06:01 AM.

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  • Lachdanan
    replied
    Hello,

    I don't think that making an NPC protected by the Plot is a good idea, let the dices fall.

    If you would like to make her nearly untouchable, use the normal rules & give her the Preternatural Awerness (SG , Level 4 Gift).

    My oppinion the Garou are not tailored for bossfighting. A pack could attack at least 15 times in the first turn, what can make every single enemy into pulp in 3 secs.
    The Garou's smallest operation unit is the Pack. The BSD stick at least as together as the Gaian.

    An other point: I don't know your players, but I saw many BSD antiheroes fall from a single silver bullet...

    Leave a comment:


  • Hares666
    replied
    Originally posted by TheVarulfen View Post
    Depending on the BSD she could have Bane minions.
    Another faction could join the fight (Pentex, or whatever you think works) and scare the pack off.
    She holds a powerful fetish to disable the PCs Charms (maybe make spending Gnosis or Rage impossible). This could include finding a way to counter that fetish or figure out how to disable it in future. (If they don't join the fight, the other pack could still tell them about it.)

    Don't just make her strong. She needs to have some sort of allies, or anything really, that keeps her alive that is not directly combat related. Make it powerful enough so the villain will remain a threat for at least a time into the chronicle. Make the PCs work out how to disable the protection step by step.
    (The fetish could hold a special spirit that could be identified. By knowing what kind of spirit is bound into it, the PCs could figure out the pact it made with the BSD and how they could manipulate the BSD into breaking the pact and thus disabling the fetish. This would also mean they would have to face the BSD at least once or twice more to identify the source of her protection and the spirit.)

    The fetish idea is nice and figuring out what it is and how it works actually ties pretty well into the theme of the main villain (a mage).

    Leave a comment:


  • TheVarulfen
    replied
    Depending on the BSD she could have Bane minions.
    Another faction could join the fight (Pentex, or whatever you think works) and scare the pack off.
    She holds a powerful fetish to disable the PCs Charms (maybe make spending Gnosis or Rage impossible). This could include finding a way to counter that fetish or figure out how to disable it in future. (If they don't join the fight, the other pack could still tell them about it.)

    Don't just make her strong. She needs to have some sort of allies, or anything really, that keeps her alive that is not directly combat related. Make it powerful enough so the villain will remain a threat for at least a time into the chronicle. Make the PCs work out how to disable the protection step by step.
    (The fetish could hold a special spirit that could be identified. By knowing what kind of spirit is bound into it, the PCs could figure out the pact it made with the BSD and how they could manipulate the BSD into breaking the pact and thus disabling the fetish. This would also mean they would have to face the BSD at least once or twice more to identify the source of her protection and the spirit.)

    Leave a comment:

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