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Attack on a Wyrm Hive + Complications. Any advice on how to structure?

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  • Attack on a Wyrm Hive + Complications. Any advice on how to structure?

    Next week, after a very long arc, the PC's are going to join in what is widely accepted as a suicidal strike on a fallen caern turned Wyrm Hive to rescue a captive Gaian Garou.

    There's a lot of politics behind it all, but in short the Silver Fang Wyrmfoe has decided to go all in so as to force her Grand Elder out of his Harano and end the deteriorating situation the sept has been dealing with this past decade. It's meant to be tragic and the culmination of a lot of despair. A powerful Fianna pack has pulled out, saying they won't take part in a suicide strike, leaving the GE Silver Fang pack, a powerful GW pack, and a cliath Silver Fang pack to take part in the strike.

    The PC's, due to an oath and the alpha's martyr complex, has agreed to take part.

    Now, I'm going to have the Wyrmfoe reach out to the Get, and make a wild offer: as long as the SF grand elder lives, they will merely help in the fight. But if he falls, they can have the sept. As such, they're sending in three strong packs.

    So, in short: that's 7 packs taking part, with some 35 garou total in the strike. 1 Elder, 4 athros, a dozen adren, and the rest fosterns and cliaths.

    • There's a SF abomination organizing the wyrm forces. He's setting this all up as an ambush for the attack, using the captive Gaian Garou as bait.
    So - how do you guys think I should structure this strike so as to make it both fluid, fun, and authentic? I want to fit it all into two 4 hour sessions, and not spend hours just rolling die.

    The Wyrm Hive is in downtown Chicago, located under a nightclub called the Cataclysm.


    Loss. This has been very evident over the course of this arc, and the PC's are expecting this to be a doomed foray that they'll have to carefully extract themselves from when everything becomes obviously lost. They know there's a very, very high chance of a TPK, and are all right with that. As such, I don't have to structure this for a win. It just needs to be really exciting and dangerous and tragic.

    My thoughts:
    • To not get bogged down in die rolls, we'll rp/narrate the first part of the attack, and detracted 1d2 from the PC's health, rage, and WP to reflect the initial battle with fomori and minor bane spirits. Since some of the bad guys have guns with silver ammo, I'll also roll a 1d4 for each PC, and on a 1 give that PC 1d4+2 silver agg damage. Not enough to kill, obv, but enough to really hurt.
    • The first level beneath the church will be another 1d2 or 1d4 from the PC's health, rage, and WP. More narrated combat, and perhaps the Garou packs here split up to hunt down through the maze in an attempt to get to the main bad guy?
    • The Gaian Garou will call in the help of the spirits, including perhaps a giant dragon ally the PC's saw earlier in the arc.
    What do you guys think?
    • What would be some neat ideas to throw at the PCs?
    • Any advice on running large scale combats?
    • How would an Abomination prepare for this attack with its vampire allies?
    • What would the SF wyrmfoe, knowing it was am ambush, do to counter? Other than throw the Get in there first?
    Any feedback is much appreciated!

  • #2
    Big set pieces like this are hard to run in any RPG, and I think the the Storyteller system is particularly bad at that. Here are my general recommendations.

    Originally posted by pwtucker View Post
    Any advice on running large scale combats?
    1) Keep the dice rolls to a minimum outside the PCs. For the NPC packs and their battles with the BSDs, you may want to keep it to a simple 1d10 die roll for each pack that determines the final results. You don't need to make the die roll equal chances. If you think the bad guys have more than an even chance, make the odds more in their favor. Or if you want specific outcomes, then don't even roll the dice.

    2) You may want the success of the PCs to impact those dice rolls. If so, give bonus or penalties to them based on the outcome of the PCs. That way the PCs can see how their efforts are aiding or hurting the chances of overall mission success.

    Originally posted by pwtucker View Post
    How would an Abomination prepare for this attack with its vampire allies?
    The big problem is that they are very vulnerable in the daytime. They'll be lethargic and disadvantaged. If the Garou understand this, they could plan accordingly. Do the Garou or PCs know this? If so, allow them to use that to their advantage. If not, consider allowing them to learn in order to help out the attack. In contrast, the Abomination should understand the disadvantage and try to offset it. Go deep underground where the sun should not be able to reach, and ally with certain Banes that might block things the Garou might do - like make deals with sun spirits and take them down below.

    Originally posted by pwtucker View Post
    What would the SF wyrmfoe, knowing it was am ambush, do to counter? Other than throw the Get in there first?
    There are two general tactical ways to handle ambushes.

    The first is to send some poor bastard up front to spring the ambush, and then have everyone else attack the enemy once they are flushed out. If you go that route, then you might have a good seen where one Garou or a pack volunteer to take point. Rather than making the Get of Fenris look like saps by sending them off to an ambush by their leader, that pack of Get might volunteer to take point in order to allow the other Garou a better chance at defeating the enemy. It becomes heroism and a chance to gain renown should they survive. You might be able to run a brief scene and generate drama and pathos as the Garou debate who goes first, knowing full well the price. Maybe the PCs want to volunteer too, in which case you run a brief challenge (maybe it's just a staredown of pack leader versus pack leader) to determine the outcome.

    The second is to avoid it entirely by finding another way in. That isn't always possible, but it's your option as the ST. Maybe you even run a scene with the PCs to see if they have the chance to find this other, less defended entrance. If they do and alert the NPC Garou, it's a big win.

    Originally posted by pwtucker View Post
    Any feedback is much appreciated!
    One thing you might consider is to break apart the raid into several stages. Maybe the first stage requires the packs to split up so each accomplishes something important. Since the PCs are only in one part of it, you don't need to actually detail the other parts. You just need a basic description and to determine the rolls of varied success/failure.

    With 7 packs, you need 7 initial objectives. One might simply be crowd control/Veil protection that gives the other packs cover for their missions. Another could be to enter the sewers around Cataclysm and clear out any foes in order to block escape and allow a means for the Garou to get out. A third might be entering the Penumbra in order to deal with any hostile spirits. Fourth might be to launch a diversionary attack against the nightclub's other interests or front gate so their defenders waste time and effort. Fifth could be taking out the nightclub's power, telecommunications access, etc. so they can't call for reinforcement. Sixth could be sneaking in through some other means to serve as an ambush or reinforcements. Seventh could be the actual front attack that sets off the main mission. You know what kind of things that could be done. And if you only come up with 4 or six, then maybe you could leave it to the PCs to determine if there is another mission they could do, or if they want to help out at one of the more dangerous missions. Or maybe you only need six because the Grand Elder's pack coordinates that first stage and only enters once every other pack has done their thing. Then the packs can join together.

    Then after each one is done, then the Garou are lead deeper into the underground or wherever and you run the battle as you think best. But that first "split mission" could lead to a lot of tension as you see what packs succeed, fail, or come at a high price before moving on.

    I believe in stealing as much as you can, and I think you can use the plan scene from The Dirty Dozen for good inspiration.

    Rhyming completely optional.

    Combined with the disastrous attack of the Colonial Marines in Aliens, and you probably can steal a good bit for what you want

    The final raid against Lo Pan in Big Trouble in Little China is probably also something that could be relevant since it involves a mass attack against supernatural foes to rescue someone in a stronghold underneath a front organization's building.

    I would divide up the subsequent actions into easier bits where the Garou pierce subsequent layers of defense. You may want to allow the ability of the Garou to bypass certain layers - again based on success of the PCs. The PCs should not be responsible for all the cool things - but they should be allowed a chance to shine and influence the raid for good or bad. In order to distinguish between each layer, you may want it to be a theme of some kind, or grouped according to antagonists - human security, then ghouls, then spirits, then vampires, then the BSDs or whatever.

    And don't forget if this is a corrupted caern, then the Hive has a BSD caern spirit and lots of spirit allies in the Hive's bawn!

    It's up to you if you want actual success to be possible, or just different states of failure.


    • #3
      Break the battle into smaller pieces. The PC are the stars everyone else are background. I have never run a major battle that went anywhere near how I planned.


      • #4
        Just an update and a huge vote of thanks - ran the first half of this in the last session, and it went great. The Wyrmfoe used Black Fox's suggestions of the different tasks, and it came across as professional and confidence inducing. The PC's were sent to execute the diversionary attack, which made them feel important. By the end of the session they'd made it into the hive proper as part of the main attack, and everybody's having fun. Thanks!