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[2E] Bosses and Multiple Actions

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  • [2E] Bosses and Multiple Actions

    I prepare confrontation with Royal Avatar of Abyssal Astral being called King in Yellow – but I have game design dilemma. I want to give it Numina to ‘copy’ itself in Willpower number of clones. And here is problem – Should copies be able to make their own actions? Practically, should boss could have multiple actions in one turn ( as copies can use powers of original )?

    Pros are obvious – greater threat for PCs, each ‘copy’ works as copy and not just Health bag of original, Royal Avatar looks like epic badass etc. Cons are that CoD games in 2E are designed to not use powers that let multiple actions in one turn – even Time Arcanum cannot do things like second attacks in one turn. So letting Boss to really use multiple actions is a cheating against players from game design.

    Question is it logical? We talk here about NPC Rank 5 avatar of Rank 6+ beings - ‘god in flesh’, so to speak. Let discussion begin.


    My stuff for Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E, MtC 2E & BtP
    LGBT+ through Ages
    LGBT+ in CoD games

  • #2
    I always figured they were designed that way because it can severely unbalance play for a player. The storyteller has always been able to gain multiple attacks this by simply adding more NPCs to a confrontation, which is basically what you are doing. It doesn't even sound like the 'boss' is making multiple attacks, they're just sort of calling in reinforcements. I imagine a time mage could do something similar, summoning a past or future self, at the very least a mage or other supernatural could force a bystander to join their side. That said, I don't know how your game is going, so I'd look at the players character sheets and decide from there. Would they survive two rounds of x number of Kings in Yellow? Or is just one going to be hard enough?

    Thematically it might make sense, providing the Rank 6+ being is invested enough in the situation to warrant sending multiple avatars, or at least allowing one avatar to have the power to replicate itself.

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    • #3
      I think multiples might be called for just because you were worried about the King being one-shotted.


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

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      • #4
        That depends on your goal for the ability. On the one hand, Retainer / familar Swarms are a very real thing. Ask any Spirit mage or Invictus as to their "action economy." On the other hand, the Unchained have a multiple-form ability that deliberately focuses on mental shinanigans and not attacks or damage boosts.

        So, what's the purpose of the ability, and what are you trying to acomplish for the fight? What's the "story" behind this Numina? What kind of story is it telling?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by MCN View Post
          So, what's the purpose of the ability, and what are you trying to acomplish for the fight? What's the "story" behind this Numina? What kind of story is it telling?
          Making Royal Avatar really nasty problem for PCs? We run previously confrontation with being without this kind safe guard and it was just *poof* for players and NPCs. My aim is to challenge PCs.


          My stuff for Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E, MtC 2E & BtP
          LGBT+ through Ages
          LGBT+ in CoD games

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          • #6
            I'd say go with multiple copies. You can control the pacing better. If they are blowing up foes, you can always say those were just copies. If they start running on empty or are in danger, then the next target they blow up was finally the "real" one, congratulations.


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

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            • #7
              While this cycle of articles is meant for DnD, a lot of things talked about in them are universal. http://theangrygm.com/the-dd-boss-fight-part-1/
              For multiple copies, remember that difference for a Mage between 1 target and 5 targets is one Reach.

              Anyway, here is an alternative - embrace the fact that they can one shot the boss. Let them one shot it. Again. And again. And again. AND AGAIN. Instead of making goal of the fight "empty the Royal Avatar's healthbox", do something different:

              Figure up a number of "Conditions" that affect the scene, and tie solving the encounter with resolving all of them. As long as at least one Condition is up? Royal Avatar will get ressurected with full HP. Each time he respawns, he interrupts the turn order and drops a nasty effect on the party; they basically have to manage keeping him dead, negating stuff he drops on them, and working towards achieving their Win Condition (solving all of the "Royal Conditions" or whatever we are gonna to all them). If you want to spice it up, each time they destroy a Royal Pillar/Condition/Whatever, shake up battlefield a little, shifting the scene - for example, after resolving first condition, Avatar respawns...as 4 clones! And until you destroy 2nd pillar, he will always respawn with one more clone! But after you do that, he is back to being a singular target...but, I don't know, air turns into goo and will remain it until you destroy the pillar...and so on.

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              • #8
                And then there's the One-Winged Angel approach. Just when you think you've defeated the Big Bad, you behold his bigger and badder true form.

                Or since the King in Yellow is known for provoking madness, perhaps he traps each of the characters in a mental reality where they have to fight him individually, though it's not really the actual King in Yellow but their own fear and regret. Once the characters overcome or succumb to their mental opponents, then the real battle begins.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by WHW View Post
                  While this cycle of articles is meant for DnD, a lot of things talked about in them are universal. http://theangrygm.com/the-dd-boss-fight-part-1/
                  For multiple copies, remember that difference for a Mage between 1 target and 5 targets is one Reach.
                  And you even more convinced me to use 'copies' - article points out that one being with one action economy is boring. Copies that are easier to destroy, but makes use of beings powers are much better for the fight scene.

                  I will probably add One-Winged Angel twist to the more 'primodrial' nature of being if PCs will be too much confident after being first one. I still wants to try make Arrow PC shine as it's players probably last session with team.
                  Last edited by wyrdhamster; 09-03-2016, 02:27 AM.


                  My stuff for Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E, MtC 2E & BtP
                  LGBT+ through Ages
                  LGBT+ in CoD games

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                  • #10
                    Ehhhh.... that's boring. If all you want is to make them last longer, just increase the health and give Durability / Armor rating. Yes, even against spells - Rank already subtracts from spellcasting dice pools. Its trivial to make a Numina or ability that subtracts more, or that provokes a Clash of Wills, ala Shielding spells. If the PCs are going physical, its trivial to have spirits with enough Defense / Durability to shrug off huge amounts of damage.

                    Making multiple copies won't make the fight "more epic" when its trivial to use a single Reach to target five at once. Or to just twist the spell into an area-of-effect spell that only targets ephemeral beings. And done. Your entire gimick has failed its purpose.

                    Frankly, I honestly think you're going about this the wrong way - Mages have superior firepower and defenses when it comes to direct fights against non-mages. They're going trivial beat up anything like that. So, you should approach this fight from an Awakened perspective. Give it suitable Armor to reduce incoming damage from the PCs, give it shielding affects, make the PCs seek out weaknesses and divine new ways of approaching the fight. Engaging in an arms race with the PCs and the players is just going to end in tears. RPG arms races never end well. So, instead of trying to be direct, force the players to actually act like mages and do the whole Mental thing. Make it so that the spirit doesn't die from all the agg, and let it come back, so the players are forced to find something akin to a liche philactory.

                    In that thread you linked, Arcane Arts mentioned something I think is rather relevant.
                    Originally posted by ArcaneArts
                    I don't care how badass your statted enemy is, if it's got stats, is going against a group of Adepts and Masters, and does nothing to tilt things in their favor, they are going to be torn apart every time. If the circumstances they are fighting in could be mistaken for a white room test, they're going to be torn apart. You have to challenge them sideways.

                    You never, ever fight on a level playing field. You always have something up your sleeve. You always play unfairly against the PC's. They' should, after all, be playing unfairly against your NPC's, trying to wring every advantage they can against them.
                    You're trying to make this into a "fair fight" in D&D style. By doing so, you're giving players all the advantages to choose the field. This isn't a problem of the stats. Its a problem of how you're using the stats.
                    Last edited by MCN; 09-03-2016, 07:58 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Oh, thing about boss design in video games and certain rpg games (like DnD) - bossess are often bosses because they have something that breaks standard rules at their disposal. In video games, it's often being immune to instant kills and status effects; in turn based games, it isn't uncommon to see a single boss enemy to have multiple turns during a round (not necessarily one after another).
                      The trick is that video games and DnD "trained you" and estabilished expectations that they are allowed to do stuff like this (though within limits; for example, combining two broken abilities that are fun challenge on their own is often a bad thing) . In your case, *some* of your players, ahum ahum, might be annoyed that you "cheat"; if you want to avoid that, just state it earlier that you decided that "boss encounters" will break certain rules in order to make them unique and fun.

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                      • #12
                        Just runned a fight - and it was so refreshing! I could seriously destroy most PCs, but partner were feeling sick and did not wanting to overusing it on players. They too seemed positively challenged. Used Copies mechanics, even where for one turn before they took our duplicates.

                        Originally posted by MCN View Post
                        Ehhhh.... that's boring. If all you want is to make them last longer, just increase the health and give Durability / Armor rating.
                        Copies were fun as they let me to target all party of 6 PCs and 4 PCs with Blast (Madness) without breaking rules. It seemed... 'realistic'.

                        Originally posted by MCN View Post
                        Making multiple copies won't make the fight "more epic" when its trivial to use a single Reach to target five at once. Or to just twist the spell into an area-of-effect spell that only targets ephemeral beings. And done. Your entire gimick has failed its purpose.
                        Reach effect was crucial here - most my Masters and Double Adepts PCs needed to balanced Mana, as each Reach meant next 2-3 Paradox Dices - it was never a problem for them before on their level. If they get higher Reach to target 10 copies at once, they need more Mana to mitigate Paradox. going more and more lower on survability in combat. It made 10 high-level mages to almost deplete they whole Mana reserves ( like they were left with literal 1 or 2 points ) and going over to unconsciousness with damage. It was glorious!

                        Originally posted by MCN View Post
                        Yes, even against spells - Rank already subtracts from spellcasting dice pools.
                        WHERE did you found this? I read all Ephemeral Entities rules and do not remember anything like that.

                        Originally posted by MCN View Post
                        Its trivial to make a Numina or ability that subtracts more, or that provokes a Clash of Wills, ala Shielding spells. If the PCs are going physical, its trivial to have spirits with enough Defense / Durability to shrug off huge amounts of damage.
                        WHW linked article point to this one - making one big HP / Health pile of boss is boring. Making him copy itself, to guess how is and how is not original - or at least making players to risk more on Paradox field - is much more interesting solution.

                        The is Colossal Dread Power that makes boss untouchable ( Defense equal to Resistant , so 10-15 for high Rank beings ), but it's not fun to making thing impossible to defeat for players. Crux is to making it more challenging than typical beings but still makes thing beatable for players.
                        Last edited by wyrdhamster; 09-03-2016, 05:16 PM.


                        My stuff for Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E, MtC 2E & BtP
                        LGBT+ through Ages
                        LGBT+ in CoD games

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                        • #13
                          In regards to just the original question, have you considered using attacks that hit everyone opposing the Avatar? Multiple targets with one action and all that?

                          In regards to action economy, I suppose allowing for copies that actually do get actions is not a terribly bad option for creating the oppressiveness of the character, but my personal tastes leans more towards a menagerie of baddies, each that inflict their own various brands of badness, sniping in and chipping away at the players while the big bad continues to apply constant pressure.

                          I mean, sure, it works as is, but I want to paint a picture here, not using what you're using, but try and imagine with me for a second. Imagine the boss, the impossible mouth and his junkyard tendrils coolly rippling the seven colors as they float around in the vague approximation of a cloak, standing atop the black altar. It's hard, I know, because the spacial wards haven't completely broken down, so portals spinning like colossal vanity mirrors holding up the clouds make a clear shot extremely unlikely from the base. The mouth has hit you all with his acid green lightning, and while you managed to avoid the worst, you can tell that hammer is coming again. You need to rush him, but his ghastly cohorts have taken positions at the tiers, and they're not going to let you. The thick grey man stands center with his revolver held in a fanning position, each bullet an F-5 surprise to knock you clear back to the stop light. You might reach him if you charged him, but then that fucking spider-hyena thing will fling it's poison barbs at you, slowly eating you from the inside. Go after the hyena, and you'll get slammed into the building by the grey man's loaded tornadoes. It doesn't help that you keep forgetting why you're there, because your brainwashed roommate is singing the song that takes you back, makes you think you're safe and secure in your mother's womb, and you have no clue where she's at. On top of that, the spear woman is coming, and all of you are still healing your limbs from the last time she partied with you.

                          You can feel the charge building-none of them are going to matter if the mouth just smites you again and again.On top of that, you're running out of time-the professor's tortured voice is crying to the moon, and the city's sinking with every verse into fire and leering faces. You've got to decide who you're gonna prioritize and fast, if you're gonna break through and stop the ritual.

                          See? Multiple targets, each with their own unique flavor and a distinct way they inhibit you from your goal, all while the boss punishes you all, all while the setting breaks apart and becomes hard to navigate.

                          Tell me you don't want to know how the players are gonna get through this, particularly since that doesn't even speak to the invisible problems.

                          A fight has multiple angles, and those angles are places to be evocative, to color a scene and make it worse through variety.

                          So if you want multiple actions, make it so people don't regret it-or rather, do, but don't bore them with "Oh, the King in Yellow attacks you. Again."


                          Sean K.I.W./Kelly R.A. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Sean, Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
                          The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
                          Male/neutral pronouns accepted, female pronouns enjoyed.

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