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  • So, first werewolf fight and... questions?

    I ran my first fight with/versus a werewolf for my PbP efforts. It ended up within acceptable story parameters, but triggered some thought.

    Background: this is set in the dark ages between an experienced wolf-blooded (PC1) currently swinging a minor artifact that means he does +6L damage (vs. normal sword +3L), using a large shield with chain armor. The mission, a courier affair known to be dangerous, is ambushed by a pack of wolves and a Predator King in Urshul form who promptly shreds the courier-ee. PC2 takes the message and runs off with it like a good plot-follower. PC1 lost his horse to the wolves and gets to do what he wants to do anyway: fight for his life solo!

    1. PC1 interrupts an effort to eat the courier. I used the guy on page 187 of The Pure as a template, plus some Living Weapons(Claws) to be mean. WW shifts to Dalu to make insulting comments since PC1 isn't suffering much from lunacy, anyway.
    2. PC1 loses init badly and gets jumped, taking net 1B after armor. Large shield+chain is net +2 Defense and 3/1 armor. Not bad!
    3. PC1, wielding nasty McPlotBlade, delivers 10L and almost wraps WW--stunning him nicely.
    4. I permit a reroll of initiative, which seems appropriate and is *really important* as it turns out.
    5. PC1 wins the reroll and delivers another shot taking WW to 6A.
    6. He has 7 health left, and promptly shifts to Gauru to waste this guy (and heal all lethal damage), spending a WP to end Stun and act at -3. Doing... 1B, even after nixing skill for defense.
    7. Several rounds of PC1 rolling 1 succ (7L damage), WW making unconsciousness checks and spending WP to resolve Stun later, PC1 has taken a called shot to the leg for -3L, WW is at 8A and 2WP and missed his grapple bite attempt.
    8. PC1 goes all-out and plants him (13A), ending with a handful of WP, himself, and -3L damage. We special-effects destroy his shield, for kicks.

    So, several observations:
    Within the confines of the action, everyone passed environmental concerns, making this nearly a white room affair....
    There clearly was no RAW grounds to toss in an init reroll, however I can do math and if PC1 didn't achieve Agg before he went Gauru, it would be 15 minutes or so of fighting before the WW collapsed into another form and he could be dealt with.
    Shields+armor is really good assuming you have OK defensive stats (3-4 minimum). In this case the Stun penalty really did him in. The WW was throwing a chance die on attacks. Even if not stunned, however, the armor would have eaten any normal roll of 3d down to the 1B minimum.
    +6L is eye-wateringly painful. I think I'll use the optional trick of adding 2x damage to the attack roll or something. Plot sword has a limited-use lifespan, but I need to keep it under control....
    Making the grapple attack would have kinda changed things. Alot. Likely would have controlled weapon and then... chewing. Even with armor.
    There is effectively no way other than massive damage to deal with a Gauru werewolf. Even called shots don't offer much: limb tilts are healed next round, and knockdown just means he gets up and attacks at -2. Stun is most useful, especially if you could--for example--hit the WW for Stamina damage each round reliably until Kuruth wears off.
    There are specific story reasons why Mr. WW was alone.... I'm aware that in his pack they'd be playing make-a-wish with PC1 right now.

    Comments? Tell me what I've done horribly wrong?

    --Khanwulf

  • #2
    Werewolves don' get stunned in Gauru and they don't feel pain.
    The werewolf didn't use combat gifts.
    A Pure forest werewolf in gauru can most likely have about 5-6 defense which means that even with an experiencd character in human form you will likely have 7 dice to attack 7-6= chance die you know.
    The same werewolf offensively can easily have from 6-8 attack die in urshul and will most likely grapple you with fangs and shred you, also he can cause a free tilt with his first successful attack.
    The PC 1 shouldn't take bashing after armor the /n part of the armor is for balistic damage only. He should easily take 1 lethal damage and a tilt, probably losing his awesome plotsword.
    The PC 1 should have like 6-2 = 4 defense from armor penalty, he shouldn't hold shield and sword together since weapons above 2 damage rating are 2 handed, but this is a plotsword so a 6 defense remains from +2 plotshield?

    Well plotstuff may indeed change dramatically the flow of a story and make things for players too easy, on the other hand if you don't use them you can lose players too often.
    There is and the luck factor too .

    Comment


    • #3
      Just a few things.

      PC1 is a wolf-blooded, right? They're immune to Lunacy. Unsure if 'isn't suffering much from Lunacy' means they didn't have a bad roll or you factored in immunity.

      I was curious about the stunning. But there seems to be a discrepancy in the Werewolf book. Werewolf says you need to do the target's Size in damage, but Chronicles says you need to make a Called Shot to the head and do their Size in damage. Mage and Promethean go the Werewolf way so I'd go with that too.

      As you noted, changing initiative mid-fight was a big determinator. The Pure effectively lost two turns.

      Also from p169, 'A werewolf in Gauru form does not suffer wound penalties or need to roll to remain conscious, nor does he bleed out.'

      Incidentally, and this is just preference, but all the forms have nice abilities to use, and Urshul's allows you to inflict Leg Wrack or Arm Wrack or Knocked Down once per scene when you inflict damage. If you find shields and weapons are hard to overcome, using this to disable them is a good tactic. Otherwise just Knocked Down or Leg Wrack can really change how things play out.

      Another thing is you didn't invoke Gifts. Not all are useful in combat but some can be game-changers. Obviously they wouldn't translate over from the Pure, though. I'm unsure if the Merit, Living Weapon came into play, but it grants a bit of armor piercing. And when converting the character over, did you keep his Defense the same, or add his Athletics to it? One of second edition's changes adds Athletics to Defense.

      Still, sounds like it went well for the game. I imagine there's going to be a hunt after the artifact, that thing is indeed powerful.
      Last edited by nofather; 11-14-2017, 05:30 PM.

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      • #4
        Normal swords are like a -4 to init, shields further penalize in accordance to their size, and Gauru gets like a +4 to Init when using natural weaponry. How the hell did he won initiative afterwards?

        Comment


        • #5
          Malus Large shields are -4 to init. Using a sword or anything else with <= -4 adds another -1. Normal swords are -3 to init but long swords get +1 init to base, net -2, which is what we have here for a cavalry weapon.

          I actually did miss the +3 init to teeth and claws in Gauru. Looking at the notes, that still left WW failing by 1 point after a mediocre roll. PC1 has excellent init (merely ok after penalties) and rolled a 10.

          nofather
          Frankly if I hadn't made the reroll call, and he rolled that 10, he would have ended up as lunch or a very extended fight--which is sub-optimal planning for a long campaign. PC1 is a veteran of a previous chronicle and we have lots of mean, psychological horror to throw at him and his semi-optimized combat abilities (for a human). The night is dark, and long.

          By my calculus the WW lost a regeneration tick, since he was able to shift reflexively at Harmony 3. Actions came at -3 dice thanks to shuffing off the Stun tilt(s). I combed three books on Stun, and was not able to find anything that prevented a werewolf in Gauru from being stunned except for it being more difficult thanks to +2 size. Hitting the head reduces Size by 1 for determining Stun, and that's all.

          Thanks: I missed the "immune to unconscious checks" bit as well, but the WW made all his rolls with flying colors, so no biggie.

          WW attempted a leg attack but was unable to do enough damage to inflict it. He mostly stuck with claw attacks to take advantage of the Living Weapon armor penetration, except for an attempted grapple that missed. Landing the grapple would have turned things, as well. Living Weapon would have been handy if WW could have rolled more than one success to hit; as it was, he needed to called-shot the leg and avoid the armor.

          I needed a Predator King WW quickly, so just picked one out of the book that had combat stats in the range needed. He turned out to be great at intimidating humans, but have zero combat gifts! Oh well--next time. I did recalculate his Defense; that was a big boost. Living Weapon essentially substituted for a few 1e merits that were removed (such as Brawling Dodge).

          WW also went to Gauru and stayed there, as it was clear the regeneration was essential. If he would have lasted another round or two he'd have had to go into Kuruth or retreat, change forms and come back later. As it is, there's his pack out there, somewhere....

          Both PC1 and PC2 are wolf-blooded and thus did not suffer lunacy. They've not spent much time around werewolves, yet, so did get breaking point rolls based on supernatural exposure/violence.

          Story Letter
          Ballistic armor reduces firearms (and, presumably, arrows/javlins), however per Hurt Locker p.140 "A successful attack always inflicts at least one bashing damage to an armored mortal target." Thus, despite chain soaking up the 1+2L claw ... Aha. That armor penetration comes in handy! Good: he should be down lethal more, instead of the later 3L overwriting bashing. A fixable problem.

          Thanks! That's why we're having this conversation.

          Defense is -2 from chain armor, and +3 from large shield size used defensively. Long sword is 1-handed, and plotsword is 3L(+3L from plotness). Greatsword has very different stats (4L, -5 init, 9-again, etc.).

          Given that the objective was not, actually, to gratuitously murder PC1, things worked out OK for the story. (Ending with more lethal is even more OK.) It looks like the major bearing points remain: init reroll, a lucky roll for that init reroll, the relative lack of useful combat gifts, +3L damage on the sword.



          Overall this seems to illustrate why the werewolves in Forsaken by Rome don't just go toe-to-toe with legionaries: a few guys passing Lunacy and you quickly have multiple opponents wrapping your health each round, while that armor+shield is a pain to deal with! Further note: every self-respecting medieval werewolf should take Living Weapons.

          --Khanwulf


          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Khanwulf View Post
            Overall this seems to illustrate why the werewolves in Forsaken by Rome don't just go toe-to-toe with legionaries: a few guys passing Lunacy and you quickly have multiple opponents wrapping your health each round, while that armor+shield is a pain to deal with! Further note: every self-respecting medieval werewolf should take Living Weapons.

            --Khanwulf
            Well, with legions. An individual soldier would likely count as a 'lesser enemy,' and be dealt with Down and Dirty.

            Don't forget Gifts. They tried not to fill the core with damage-dealing Gifts but Shaping has uses against those who rely on weapons or armor. Aside from Urshul inflicting Arm Wrack (you don't need to make a called shot to the arm, mind, you just need to hit them), Shield-Breaker gives more Armor Piercing and Entropy's Toll destroys objects.

            It's also nice to scatter fetishes and talens around the game.

            Upon being hit by a powerful sword like your artifact, my character's first thought would be to take it from the wielder. He wasn't in a Dark Era but he encountered enough people with silver bullets to decide to either take the guns out of the equation or somehow render them unusable (usually with Unmake).
            Last edited by nofather; 11-15-2017, 01:17 PM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by nofather View Post

              Well, with legions. An individual soldier would likely count as a 'lesser enemy,' and be dealt with Down and Dirty.

              Don't forget Gifts. They tried not to fill the core with damage-dealing Gifts but Shaping has uses against those who rely on weapons or armor. Aside from Urshul inflicting Arm Wrack (you don't need to make a called shot to the arm, mind, you just need to hit them), Shield-Breaker gives more Armor Piercing and Entropy's Toll destroys objects.

              It's also nice to scatter fetishes and talens around the game.

              Upon being hit by a powerful sword like your artifact, my character's first thought would be to take it from the wielder. He wasn't in a Dark Era but he encountered enough people with silver bullets to decide to either take the guns out of the equation or somehow render them unusable (usually with Unmake).
              Yes, the point being that a group of foes could do even more damage, quickly, than a single skilled opponent would. And be given enough time (several rounds) to accomplish that possibly without suffering any deaths, thanks to the protective measures.

              Next time I'll custom-up the antagonist. And there will be a next time, of course. The pack will go looking for Mr. Unfortunatepants, and there will be spirits around someplace that saw the throw-down. My challenge will be coming up with viable reasons for PC1 not to get summarily smeared for crossing such predators. And they'll come prepared, mentally and physically, unlike this guy who reacted too slowly to come to grips with the exact source of the pain (i.e. grapple it away).

              He was riding too high after wasting the courier, and that's why werewolves die young when alone (and, yes, out of his territory).

              --Khanwulf

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Khanwulf View Post

                Yes, the point being that a group of foes could do even more damage, quickly, than a single skilled opponent would. And be given enough time (several rounds) to accomplish that possibly without suffering any deaths, thanks to the protective measures.

                Next time I'll custom-up the antagonist. And there will be a next time, of course. The pack will go looking for Mr. Unfortunatepants, and there will be spirits around someplace that saw the throw-down. My challenge will be coming up with viable reasons for PC1 not to get summarily smeared for crossing such predators. And they'll come prepared, mentally and physically, unlike this guy who reacted too slowly to come to grips with the exact source of the pain (i.e. grapple it away).

                He was riding too high after wasting the courier, and that's why werewolves die young when alone (and, yes, out of his territory).

                --Khanwulf

                Also have in mind the hunting mood of the game, add a good dose of horror and voila !

                Comment


                • #9
                  If you have a +6 weapon and get to attack twice in a row, you're going to take most things down. The advantage of Gauru is being able to heal all lethal damage, ideally before it wraps around. They can reflexively change forms (with an essence, or as you said, at certain harmony levels) which means, after the first +6, initiative roll or not, any wise uratha would've reflexively changed before the next turn even started. They don't need to wait for their turn on initiative.

                  So, a few questions. No gifts? Savagery (+Purity to Damage from Gauru), Shaping gift to ignore Glory in armor, Rage gift to resist Glory in damage, Evasion gift to flat out make an attack miss you, etc. A skilled swordsman in full armor against a baby werewolf with no gifts will probably win.

                  I assume Living Weapon was at the lowest rank? As opposed to the rank where it ignores all mundane armor.

                  But the most important question is why no grapple? Werewolves can initiate a grapple reflexively after a successful attack in most forms, Gauru and Urshul included, and that's a huge advantage. If ww attacked first, got even 1 successful hit against a guy who is clearly more comfortable swinging his giant glowing sword than scrapping up close, then he should have initiated a grapple and the PC would've lost his first turn. Then it becomes straight contested strength+brawl checks and I assume the werewolf has the advantage, and his first move should be to take control of the weapon and drop it to the floor. Considering gauru lowers defense (prevents skill from being calculated, even against other werewolves) the likelyhood of getting that 1 hit so that you can initiate a grapple is high and makes all the defense.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Amravanti View Post
                    If you have a +6 weapon and get to attack twice in a row, you're going to take most things down. The advantage of Gauru is being able to heal all lethal damage, ideally before it wraps around. They can reflexively change forms (with an essence, or as you said, at certain harmony levels) which means, after the first +6, initiative roll or not, any wise uratha would've reflexively changed before the next turn even started. They don't need to wait for their turn on initiative.

                    So, a few questions. No gifts? Savagery (+Purity to Damage from Gauru), Shaping gift to ignore Glory in armor, Rage gift to resist Glory in damage, Evasion gift to flat out make an attack miss you, etc. A skilled swordsman in full armor against a baby werewolf with no gifts will probably win.

                    I assume Living Weapon was at the lowest rank? As opposed to the rank where it ignores all mundane armor.

                    But the most important question is why no grapple? Werewolves can initiate a grapple reflexively after a successful attack in most forms, Gauru and Urshul included, and that's a huge advantage. If ww attacked first, got even 1 successful hit against a guy who is clearly more comfortable swinging his giant glowing sword than scrapping up close, then he should have initiated a grapple and the PC would've lost his first turn. Then it becomes straight contested strength+brawl checks and I assume the werewolf has the advantage, and his first move should be to take control of the weapon and drop it to the floor. Considering gauru lowers defense (prevents skill from being calculated, even against other werewolves) the likelyhood of getting that 1 hit so that you can initiate a grapple is high and makes all the defense.
                    I literally have been murderating everything in grapples forever with a scrawny Ithaeur.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Malus View Post
                      I literally have been murderating everything in grapples forever with a scrawny Ithaeur.
                      Same here, one of my players is playing an Rahu and he suplex everything and deals 20+ damage.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I usually went straight to Aggravated, my character wasn't much of a brawler but despite failing a surprising number of Gift rolls I always got a bunch of Successes in combat.

                        https://gfycat.com/IdealUnsteadyBigmouthbass

                        Last edited by nofather; Yesterday, 01:49 PM. Reason: Grah the forum needs better video support.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Amravanti View Post
                          If you have a +6 weapon and get to attack twice in a row, you're going to take most things down.
                          Amen. If you get two attacks in a row you will mess up most things. (I.e. surprise.) It doesn't work so well on vampires with resilience or other forms of on-call armor, however....

                          As an aside, while I--and everyone else on this thread--have rightfully made much of the extra +3L, it's mechanically similar (not exact, but similar) to 3-4 points of Vigor and spending blood each round for the additional weapon bonus dice. In other words, for a mortal wolf-blooded rubbing shoulders with scary monsters he's much out of line, if at all. Of course, if he transitions to a splat, or hits plot resolution point, the toy goes away. Until then? It's Christmastime!

                          [Someone else will roll through these forums seeking to understand how to ST CofD, and get scared if things like this are not teased out explicitly. You'll have to determine, yourself, how to balance versus challenges, and then break rules like initiative....]

                          Originally posted by Amravanti View Post
                          The advantage of Gauru is being able to heal all lethal damage, ideally before it wraps around. They can reflexively change forms (with an essence, or as you said, at certain harmony levels) which means, after the first +6, initiative roll or not, any wise uratha would've reflexively changed before the next turn even started. They don't need to wait for their turn on initiative.
                          Right, which is why I'm double-checking myself with this thread: that there is basically no means to deal with a werewolf in Gauru (irregardless of Kuruth) unless you can dogpile him and wrap the health bar with lethal.

                          That's... ok--done on purpose by the splat. It just reduces the story utility of them as antagonists vs. non-wolves unless you either have a strong enough social reason for the werewolves not to disassemble, well, anyone they don't like, and/or a way of putting PCs back together again. At the same time, informed PCs (which reduces the horror quota, sadly) could research around the problem, gather allies and hopefully avoid bloodletting.

                          WW are dangerous. Check.

                          Originally posted by Amravanti View Post
                          So, a few questions. No gifts? Savagery (+Purity to Damage from Gauru), Shaping gift to ignore Glory in armor, Rage gift to resist Glory in damage, Evasion gift to flat out make an attack miss you, etc. A skilled swordsman in full armor against a baby werewolf with no gifts will probably win.

                          I assume Living Weapon was at the lowest rank? As opposed to the rank where it ignores all mundane armor.
                          No, no combat gifts--just merits. An oversight on my part when I quickly grabbed the template wolf. Likewise I wanted to give him armor penetration but not ignore armor--which is after all the only way a wolf-blooded PC has of avoiding a quick death. As said above in responses, next time such opponents will need to be adapted more specifically and prepared.

                          Originally posted by Amravanti View Post
                          But the most important question is why no grapple? Werewolves can initiate a grapple reflexively after a successful attack in most forms, Gauru and Urshul included, and that's a huge advantage. If ww attacked first, got even 1 successful hit against a guy who is clearly more comfortable swinging his giant glowing sword than scrapping up close, then he should have initiated a grapple and the PC would've lost his first turn. Then it becomes straight contested strength+brawl checks and I assume the werewolf has the advantage, and his first move should be to take control of the weapon and drop it to the floor. Considering gauru lowers defense (prevents skill from being calculated, even against other werewolves) the likelyhood of getting that 1 hit so that you can initiate a grapple is high and makes all the defense.
                          I caught that Urshul get a free grapple, but not Gauru. Eyes skipped that. I assume that the normally contested grapple roll is reduced to attack - defense, and no separate defensive STR+Brawl is rolled to defend against the grapple alone?

                          So yes, that would have helped. The attempted grapple WW did try, missed.

                          Having run some further action with vamps (and frenzy), I'm getting the distinct impression that CofD is intended to quickly go to grappling, with dramatic in-your-face struggling.

                          --Khanwulf

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by nofather View Post
                            I usually went straight to Aggravated, my character wasn't much of a brawler but despite failing a surprising number of Gift rolls I always got a bunch of Successes in combat.

                            https://gfycat.com/IdealUnsteadyBigmouthbass

                            Since we're on this topic I have several related questions:

                            1. Exceptional success is supposed to award a positive condition (such as Inspired or Steadfast). Does this apply as well to exceptional success in combat rolls?

                            2. When grappling do both combatants retain their full Defense? The Hold move removes ALL defense, for both of you, and you're not using Defense to resist a grapple... but otherwise?

                            3. Are there any inherent penalties to attacking someone locked in a grapple with another character? I'd adjudicate that the Take Cover grapple move enables using the opponent as cover versus melee attacks. There could be some automatic concealment penalty at work I've not found yet, however.

                            4. How have you handled location-targeting during a grapple. Obviously if a huge gauru grabs a soldier he's not going to want to bite his armor--better that unarmored head or neck. Shield won't matter as a defensive item when you're rolling opposed Str+Brawl, however.

                            Thanks for your patience, folks.

                            --Khanwulf

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              1) Exceptional Successes award conditions, either to the one who succeeded or to those witnessing or suffering the action.

                              2) Yes, they're tumbling around, knocking shit over, etc.

                              3) Beyond the possibility to attack someone while obviating defense entirely? Two characters grappling the same target act in teamwork.

                              4) Called shots are a thing.

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