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[2E] Ephemeral Beings - Too low Corpus?

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  • [2E] Ephemeral Beings - Too low Corpus?

    Today I run Mage session about players confronting the King in Yellow, avatar of Goetic Abyssal Realm of Carcosa. Being it's avatar, it has max Rank of 5 - that means max Resistance is 15. Adding 5 from human-like Size and we have Corpus 20. My players in first turn get to do him 18 Aggravated damage - in the end they killed it just by one turn attacks.

    I know rules are made to let PCs to beat those things, but when comparing beings maxed stats to normal characters 7 Health box - it does not seems as low compared to using it on five experienced characters.

    I probably missed something - Could you point me to Ephemeral Beings rules that made those god-like beings more resistant?


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  • #2
    Here's an idea: Abyssals don't have to follow all the rules we are familiar with, even if we use Ephemeral stats for them. Consider borrowing the Dread Powers of the Idigam or bluebook Horrors. For example, the Colossus Dread Power of the Idigam gives General Armor equal to Resistance and 8 Again on melee attacks (Banes bypass this Armor). The King In Yellow doesn't have to be huge to borrow this power. Consider using custom Numina as well, such Amechra's Awful Presence.

    Also, do you remember the Fae Aspects of Gentry and hobgoblins in 1ED? You could do something similar and call them Abyssal Aspects to further customize your antagonist. Like, "those who have seen the King In Yellow's play or read its plot suffer a X penalty to rolls for contesting its mind affecting powers".

    Abyssals are supposed to be crazy, so go crazy too. Last tip: you can give melee weapons and Armor with ratings somehow based on Rank as free benefits that do not take up Numina slots. You could also temporarily boost those Weapons and Armor with Essence and/or Willpower points.
    Last edited by GibberingEloquence; 07-02-2016, 06:01 PM.


    Let Him Speak.

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    • #3
      This is the advice I gave Darinas the other day: if you have a big boss encounter, don't run it mechanically, run it thematically. Instead of asking how the mechanics handle it, ask how your narrative should handle it. What is the purpose of the encounter in the story? What should determine the outcome? What needs to happen before that? Storytellers are allowed to cheat, so just because the characters can toss enough aggravated to kill a character doesn't mean he's really dead.

      Determine some non-mechanical standard for your battles, like a number of turns or the resolution of a plot. I've had encounters where I've pre-determined a number of "good hits" my players need to make on an enemy. Once they do that, I just have the last one be the downing blow, then let them coup-de-grâce or capture the opponent, unless I decide it dies outright. Other times I have some sort of plot development going on which is resolved while they have a back and fourth with the villain. For instance, I plan to end the plot of my Dragon campaign with a bomb being dropped on the city while they fight a Deep One, and while 3 experienced Oroboroi with military backup can take down a Deep One, it's more about them actually resolving what's going on than going through the Deep One's 45 points of HP.

      Another really popular technique, which is mechanically supported and is even used heavily in modules, is to not allow them to defeat the big-bad through conventional means: make some specific thing the Occultists / Non-combat-characters have to do while the combat-oriented ones just smack him around. The last campaign I finished, the bad guy (who was basically a renegade Roman general) used some sort of blood bathing ritual to put a stone into his body which made him invincible, right before the battle, and we found out at the beginning of the battle that we needed to dip a sword in the blood he'd used in order to cut him. The battle ended with our army showing up after a few turns and basically holding him down and repeatedly whacking him with swords and maces as we took him somewhere else to do a few experiments before cutting the stone out of him. It wasn't about damage, because he was invincible, it was about overpowering him and utilizing information.

      This method is extremely useful for horror situations where the characters have been otherwise unable to fight the villain effectively. Look at Nightmare on Hill Manor for an example, where the evil ghost causing the haunting is pretty much impervious to the characters, but is killed instantly by a counter-ritual.

      With the King in Yellow, I suggest you think about his powers, which involve being outside of space and time and influencing people by embedding himself in their minds. Don't have it be a simple act of tossing lightning bolts at him, have it be some crazy chase across several planes where they're trying to undo whatever you've decided he is.

      Edit: Also, remember that the King is clever, they shouldn't be able to face him head-on, because he's expressly good at working from the shadows and avoiding direct confrontation. The real challenge shouldn't be getting through his health, it should be getting the chance to attack an otherwise weak opponent.
      Last edited by RockstarRaccoon; 07-02-2016, 08:56 PM.


      Dragon Rekindled: The Oroboroi Chronicles.
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      • #4
        Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
        I probably missed something - Could you point me to Ephemeral Beings rules that made those god-like beings more resistant?
        You may have better luck if you put the entity in any context other than multiple attackers throwing a collective truckload of aggravated damage at it.


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        • #5
          Seriously, I want to know how your players got 18 agg successes against someone I assume is supposed to be at least a story antagonist in one turn.I very rarely want math, but here it is.


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          • #6
            I was suspecting King will not last longer than 3 turns with them, but not to be blast in one turn casting...

            Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
            Seriously, I want to know how your players got 18 agg successes against someone I assume is supposed to be at least a story antagonist in one turn.I very rarely want math, but here it is.
            We have cabal of Adepts and Masters of Arcana - each of six PCs can cast Aggraveted damage with Arcanum 4 spell with Reach, giving on start Arcanum dots in damage ( base Potency ). That means 6x4 Aggravated damage - two characters miss cast, so we only got 18 ( 2 Masters took -2 to roll to have even 5 Agg damage done ). As it's direct damage, it just pass through it.

            Not to mention they have with them group of Choir of Hashmalim members NPCs with them - 4 casters of Supernal Fire as Praxis...
            Last edited by wyrdhamster; 07-03-2016, 03:44 AM.


            My stuff for Realms of Pugmire, Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E, MtC 2E & BtP
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            • #7
              As to general problem with killing King in Yellow in this part of story - I do not have problem with that. He was only Royal Avatar of this entity that he represents ( Rank 6 ) - it's like killing one of Lunas bodies. Probably painful to god, irritating to him - but not big deal in the end. Especially as ego boost of 'gods slayers' lead them straight to the Carcosa Abyssal Realm itself... <Evil ST grin>

              Nonetheless, I want to make proper fight in Carcosa itself - King will be prepared on PCs on his home turf, locking them in his Abyssal Astral Realm.

              To easier maybe the rest of discussion, here are basic stats of Kings of Yellow Royal Avatar:

              Name: King in Yellow / Hastur
              Type: Abyssal Goetia
              Rank: 5 ( Avatar of Rank 6 entity )

              Power: 15
              Finesses: 11
              Resistance: 13

              Influances: Madness 5
              Manifestations: 5 to choose, thought about Posses
              Numina: 11 to choose



              My stuff for Realms of Pugmire, Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E, MtC 2E & BtP
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              • #8
                RockstarRaccoon I like your advice - but it won't work in Mage. At certin level, PCs just can literally kill anything by thinking about it - all Arcana have 4th dot spell that let you make Aggravated damage to target. With "Arcanum dots Potency as damage" we look here on 4-5 Agg damage per turn, without sweating of character.

                @GibberingEloquence good spot on's - but they do not work with concept of King in Yellow as entity. Colossal seems as much more appropriate to Dagon- like being, and would make fighting it impossible ( Resistance 13 Armor would mean that non of my PCs cabal and NPC could make damage to being ). Aweful Presence maybe interesting to use, but not solving our 'one shot problem'. Mundane equipment don't sound to work with Avatar of Madness beings concept.
                Last edited by wyrdhamster; 07-03-2016, 03:58 AM.


                My stuff for Realms of Pugmire, Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E, MtC 2E & BtP
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                • #9
                  Don't expect Mage to play nice with combat scenarios lasting more than 1-2 turns. It's pretty badly balanced for it.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
                    I was suspecting King will not last longer than 3 turns with them, but not to be blast in one turn casting...



                    We have cabal of Adepts and Masters of Arcana - each of six PCs can cast Aggraveted damage with Arcanum 4 spell with Reach, giving on start Arcanum dots in damage ( base Potency ). That means 6x4 Aggravated damage - two characters miss cast, so we only got 18 ( 2 Masters took -2 to roll to have even 5 Agg damage done ). As it's direct damage, it just pass through it.

                    Not to mention they have with them group of http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/main-category/main-forum/the-new-world-of-darkness/mage-the-awakening/915818-2e-fan-choir-of-hashmallim"]Choir of Hashmalim[/URL] members NPCs with them - 4 casters of Supernal Fire as Praxis...
                    Wait, they *reached* against the Avatar of a Godlike *Abyssal* entity? I'd have those attacks do nothing or even bolster it.

                    Invoking Abyssal energies (via Paradox risk) against an Abyssal should be a logical no no.

                    EDIT: or was this baseline casting?
                    Last edited by Vent0; 07-03-2016, 09:41 AM.


                    Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
                    Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

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                    • #11
                      They got Free Reach, probably. It's a chronicle with Gnosis 6 PC(s) with multiple Arcana at 4 and probably some at 5.
                      Honestly, in your stead, I would start wrapping up the story for these particular characters and would restart at lower levels, or I would switch to non-standard plot challenges that don't get exploded by one salvo of Master spells. Or I would homerule certain things, like adding Withstand to damage and require certain levels of Potency to achieve stronger narrative effects.

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                      • #12
                        Wait, it's Rank 6 and you gave it health boxes?


                        Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
                          Wait, it's Rank 6 and you gave it health boxes?
                          No, it's a Royal Avatar of the Rank 6 entity. Royal Avatars are Rank 5, which is the maximum Rank where entities can be properly represented with stats instead of being plot devices.

                          RockstarRaccoon hit the nail on the head. I'm writing an Abyssal Aspect based on their advice right now and will post it soon.


                          Let Him Speak.

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                          • #14
                            Ah, gotcha, misunderstood.


                            Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

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                            • #15
                              Other option to curb this specific issue: Numina/Dread Powers/whatever that
                              - Allow the veing to roll Rank/Potency against incoming damage, either to downgrade or negate.
                              - Aggravated (or any?) Damage sends the being into Totally-Not-Twilight for at least one round. This prevents multiple actors from piling damage up in a single round.

                              If I were structuring this like a video game battle, I'd has more suggestions (but later - on my phone ATM).


                              Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
                              Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

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