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Gift Troubleshooting (Need Help!)

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  • Gift Troubleshooting (Need Help!)

    I have recently begun to gear up for a W20 campaign, and one of my players is going to be making a Black Furies. Reading their Gifts, I stumbled upon Coup de Grace, which reads like it should be a powerful Gift, but it feels like it would be a complete dud in actual gameplay? Let me see if I can explain my issues.

    System: The Fury spends a Willpower point and rolls Perception + Brawl against a difficulty of Stamina + Athletics. The NEXT attack's damage is doubled.

    My issue here is that a difficulty of Stamina + Athletics, in Werewolf, is almost sure to shove the difficulty to 9 and 10s very, very often, especially in hard encounters where enemies are supposed to be sturdy to withstand a whole pack. Since the player cannot Willpower to power Gifts, this seems to mean that the Fury has to stop a full turn doing nothing, to toll Perception + Brawl at high difficulties and if she fails, she wasted a whole turn. This is maybe the biggest Fury damage booster and I can see her failing at it constantly and getting frustrated.

    I feel like Gifts like these do not fulfill their purpose of class fantasy, of letting a Black Fury player feel empowered in the battlefield. Might of Thor, for example, allows you to roll against a set, reasonable difficulty. The Fenris boosts their Strength, which is great but it is not as good as Coup de Grace, but lasts longer, meaning the player doesn't have to constantly stop fighting to roll a Gift so they MAYBE can fullfill the warrior role next turn.

    I know this is a lot of talking just to say 'Whats up with Coup de Grace, I don't like it' but I wanted to hear your opinions on it.


    Don't follow me, I'm lost too!

  • #2
    Damn that sounds horrible, considering that many high level antagonists or enemies would have a large pool of Stamina and Athletics, meaning the difficulties would be very high as you say. I can see this Gift however being good against low trained or generally mid-tier enemies with low Athletics or Stamina; but still, the DC is pretty troubling. I'd recommend just letting you set the DC at a variable or a flat 8 for it to be variable.


    Jade Kingdom Warrior

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    • #3
      The idea that everything is going to have Stamina + Athletics that high doesn't actually bear out of it you look at the sample antagonists. Your ST might throw you at a lot of really tough opponents, but that's not necessarily the Gift's fault.

      There are enemies this Gift will wreck, and others it will be a hail mary to try it on. But there's lots of Gifts like that.

      It's also worth remembering that since it uses Willpower, it's still compatible with Rage (unlike, say, a Fang Dagger with has the same basic effect).

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
        The idea that everything is going to have Stamina + Athletics that high doesn't actually bear out of it you look at the sample antagonists. Your ST might throw you at a lot of really tough opponents, but that's not necessarily the Gift's fault.
        I dont know if I agree with you.

        Werewolf is a game about desperate struggles and overwhelming odds. I would argue that the ST throwing really tough opponents at you (mind you, description-wise most garou would be in the vicinity of Athletics 3) is kind of the point, and I do believe Gift design should aim to be less of a random rollercoaster that can turn a key tool into an unwieldy source of frustration.

        I just fail to see how it can be fun to have one of your best aces in the hole be something that can be removed from your arsenal because you are facing a warrior fomori and not a Mage. These surprises are seldom fun in a game I think!


        Don't follow me, I'm lost too!

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        • #5
          Most warrior fomori are a difficulty 7 roll for the Gift. There is one sample stat block between W20 core and BotW20 that's above that: original Gorehounds (who are at an impressive diff 9 against the Gift, but they're supposed to be Jason/Michael Myers/etc. style slashers who don't go down easily). Though I don't know what mages have to do with it... they're more than capable of getting high Stamina (they need it for enduring long rituals) and Athletics.

          And the ST should be offering a variety of challenges; not letting one Rank 3 Gift be a win-button against everything. The Wyrm esp. goes for quantity over quality. Pentex can pump out dozens of fomori with middling stats for every Garou born. The way the system works, getting outnumbered 5-to-1 by mediocre threats is actually far more deadly than taking on one big bad with those odds in your favor. And the Wyrm is designed to be that sort of foe where getting flooded with mooks is a serious concern. Desperate odds for the Garou don't mean every fight is going to be a pack of equal ranked BSDs, a Thunderwyrm, or a Nexus Crawler.

          I have a lot of issue with WtA's Gift design. A lot of Gifts aren't even a roller coaster, they're either always shit or always awesome; and the ranking of them is all over the place. When Gifts are automatic vs. rolled, when they cost power points and when they don't, and what difficulties they deal in are all wildly inconsistent. But Gifts are also really cheap. You can easily buy dozens of them so you have the right one for the job instead of trying to use one for everything. And you never have to buy one if you don't like the mechanics. You're not playing VtM where you have to buy powers in sequence.

          Coup de Grace isn't described as some ultimate combat Gift. The book doesn't say it's your awesome ace-in-the-hole. It lets you study an opponent and do extra damage on your next attack if the study roll works. You know what's a great time to study your opponent? Before initiative gets rolls. Black Fury Ragabash that want to ambush an enemy and try to get a one-hit-kill are going to find this a lot more useful than an Ahroun trying to use it during the chaos of a melee. There's no time-limit on the Gift. You don't have to use it within a turn. You can stalk a target you used it on for a mile before attacking and it still provides bonus damage. Even then, you can still burn a Rage and use it for your normal action, and then attack with your Rage action rather than prep it for next turn.

          So, ultimately, I don't get the complaint. It might not be the Gift you thought it to be, but it's a Gift some concepts are going to want to use a lot, it's relatively potent, but also somewhat unreliable. You seem to be bringing a lot of preconceptions about what the Gift is supposed to be that I have no idea where they come from.

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          • #6
            No problem we can agree to disagree!


            Don't follow me, I'm lost too!

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            • #7
              If you want extra damage that is more reliable, something like Dim Mak from Mage: the Ascension might work better. That level 1 Entropy effect adds one die of damage per success. Mages roll up to their Arete in dice on magical effects and can blow a Willpower to add another success.

              Werewolf gifts seem a lot like D&D spells to me--there are many and in few cases do they appear to have been balance-tested in a large number of gameplay situations with competing options at the same level.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                There's no time-limit on the Gift. You don't have to use it within a turn. You can stalk a target you used it on for a mile before attacking and it still provides bonus damage. Even then, you can still burn a Rage and use it for your normal action, and then attack with your Rage action rather than prep it for next turn.
                I agree that this is a very interesting, and powerful, feature of this Gift. In essence, it seemingly allows you to stack Gifts, because this is not the only Gift that, once activated, takes effect on one's next attack (Spur Claws is another, and at Rank 1 to boot).

                I played a Black Fury Ahroun three or four years back, and let me tell you, once I had both Coup and Wind Claws, it practically felt like cheating whenever I had the opportunity to use it--which, admittedly, requires that you be able to hold off on attacking for a turn--easy enough when you're about to ambush someone; less easy if you're just thrust into combat from one moment to the next. Notably, another packmate had a fang dagger, and our ST very politely told us to go pound sand when we asked whether using the fang dagger with Coup would result in quadruple damage. YMMV, I guess!


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                • #9
                  Without any definite answers about stacking, I tend to say x2 + x2 = x3 for this sort of thing as a compromise (not one without precedent in the ST family of games either).

                  But yeah, any time you can start to layer Gifts/Fetishes (even if you don't run into STs saying no to getting the same benefit twice), things tend to get bigger than the some of the parts.

                  Of course, there's things like "do things that lower Perception difficulties" apply to Gift activation. Unless your ST does a flat no, studying your opponent is certainly something that logically would benefit from Heightened Senses if you weren't talking about a Gift.

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