Combat example

Cubicle 7 // 2018
Jolly Roger
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Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:21 pm

I have come to similar examples of fighting in 4e and promptly changed to Zweihander. Only ran a few sessions there but I was glad to see that combat was undesirable and deadly, and because of these reasons, when it happened it was super tense and everyone was paying total attention to it.
makrellen
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Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:01 am

OldPlayer wrote:
Sun Dec 22, 2019 9:27 am
Monster stats in the rule book do leave a lot to work on for the GM. I really don't see it as a problem however. It's part of the job.
Bumping the stats of a minotaur isn't hard. Finding new monster ideas isn't hard. Adjusting an encounter to the strength of your party isn't hard. You get the hang of it.

If your players enjoy power play then you need to answer in kind. Though D&D is better suited to power play by far.
But D&D doesn't have the WFRP amazingly colorful background !

Agree groups where players have a different idea about what they want their char to be/do can be an issue when it comes to fights.
But if a peddlar or a spy, even experienced ones, choose to follow a homicidal Pit fighter dwarf and high level mage into a fight... Well they better have a lot of fate points or be good at hidding :D
It's a more realistic world/system than D&D type of games.

At 5500 XP char with fighter/mage careers should be fighting chaos warriors and demons close to the chaos waste :twisted:
I wholeheartedly disagree.

Is it hard? No - not if you know what you are doing. But most GM´s won´t know because of the interlinked mechanisms in the game. Characteristics, skills and traits are all very dependent on the opposition they face (how hard it will be to gain advantage which is a main driver for most traits) so to be able to balance monsters you really need to know exactly how all of them work together.

And the major problem is that C7 completely left that part out. Instead of a whole sub-chapter on how to balance monsters vs low level/mid level/high level PC´s they just stated "add skills as necessary".

That´s why the monster section in the book is such a poor example of rpg writing - the writers ran out of time and just dumped some monsters from earlier editions in there with similar stats and sprinkled some traits on top. And then never did any proper testing of how they matched up.
OldPlayer
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Well you wholeheartedly disagree then proceed to completly agree with what I wrote.

The bestiary sucks - No doubt
We agree it needs a lot of GM work, both on the profiles and abilities mechanics that frankly make little sense.
May be it’s a hinder to people new to rpg. You are right.
Wecseem to also agree that it is not hard for a relatively experienced or reactive GM to balance it out.

”add skills as necessary” it’s exactly what you needed to do in previous editions. In 1st ed a dwarf fighter with good equipment, enough E and support from a half decent wizard could solo a major demon with barely a scratch... He would wade through scores of standard beastmen to the point where you actually didn’t bother to roll ! Took to long.

Look at the published 4e adventured to get some indications on customising monsters. Give them skill points mutations and even talents if you want/need. It’s not D&D with standardised monsters. We have Chaos in Wfrp, chaos means anything could happen :twisted:

If that dwarf in the exemple above was never at risk from that minotaur then the opponent was just not strong enough. And the GM has to do better next time if the idea is that this was a key fight that was supposed to be ”climatic”

As the GM you do what you want :lol:

And Let’s face it, the game mechanics and setting is more suited out of the box for low or medium experienced PCs than for power play. I like power play but then D&D is much better at that.
OldPlayer
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Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of complaints about 4e, but needing to tweak/rewrite monsters is not one of them.
makrellen
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OldPlayer wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 3:40 am
”add skills as necessary” it’s exactly what you needed to do in previous editions. In 1st ed a dwarf fighter with good equipment, enough E and support from a half decent wizard could solo a major demon with barely a scratch... He would wade through scores of standard beastmen to the point where you actually didn’t bother to roll ! Took to long.

Look at the published 4e adventured to get some indications on customising monsters. Give them skill points mutations and even talents if you want/need. It’s not D&D with standardised monsters. We have Chaos in Wfrp, chaos means anything could happen :twisted:
I agree that 1st ed had it´s own problems with balance once your players got past a Toughness of 5 (although personally I have never seen a dwarf player be able to withstand scores of beastmen). But those were a thing of the past in 2nd and 3rd edition. The Slaugther margin in 2nd ed was (in my experience) fairly accurate - I have never had to adjust beastiary levels beyond the brute/sneak/chief options. But that work seemingly went out the window in 4th ed.

But I think you and I disagree on a more fundamental level - for me being able to secure that beasts feel like a challenge is a big part of WFRP. Even with players that have reached higher XP levels. I don´t consider that power play at all - it´s just another way of presenting a dangerous world even if your character is no longer a rookie. And I absolutely think that the game should offer that out of the box.
OldPlayer
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I had a dwarf with 8E, with +1extra AP magic armor and shield even an out of the box major demon needed to crit to arm him !

I think we actually agree for the most part. it should be included, unfortunatly it’s not and without extra work on the GM side the monsters do not work. Feels that they have ”random” levels of difficulty and are poorly designed.

I just decided not to care and in the end i do what I want. May be I am a bit extreme, most often my mobs have no profile, i just roll dices pretending and set the scores so my players, or at least one of them, marginaly escape death in important fights... just don’t tell them about it :lol:
mormegil
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My players are about 2000xp without any remaining Fate or Res points and even standard skeletons are a challenge when they are 2 to 1.

It would be easier to understand problems with actual game examples. In my campaign, now 5 months old, the most challenging part is advantage, but my players love it cause this is what gives them the edge over the monsters in most battles.
OldPlayer
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With 5500 XP a Dwarf pit fighter if he wants to go to lvl 4 to get furious assault the key talent, picks up dual wield, ambidextrous, robust,and then focuses on his melee skill should be quite formidable. Melee skill could be around 90% without magical items. Toughness may be 60+. May be if goes hard on robust, uses shield instead of dual wield and goes tank he could soak with shield and leather/mail smthg like 14 + dmg with 2 robust talents ? If the GM doesn't care about Enc then with plate/mail/leather/biggest shield he can soak 20dmg or even more by bumping E and with maxed out robust +6 (may be he has to stay lvl3 and no Furious Assault I didn't do the calculation).

A beast of a thing either full dmg mode or tank mode or a bit of both (like the exemple in the opening post)

Or just abuse WS and go to insane melee lvl. 100+ is no problem at all with 5500XP. Of course you don't get the cool talents at lvl4 (or even3).
As a GM I would disuade that !
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Arnizipal
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makrellen wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 4:35 am
I agree that 1st ed had it´s own problems with balance once your players got past a Toughness of 5 (although personally I have never seen a dwarf player be able to withstand scores of beastmen). But those were a thing of the past in 2nd and 3rd edition. The Slaugther margin in 2nd ed was (in my experience) fairly accurate - I have never had to adjust beastiary levels beyond the brute/sneak/chief options. But that work seemingly went out the window in 4th ed.
Just taking my first steps GM'ing 4th edition after having GM'ed 1st and 2nd for almost two decades.
I'm running Doing the Rounds with the sample characters.
First session went alright. One-on-one non-lethal combat during the riot and later bar brawl went well pretty well.

We just had our second session last Saturday and I was a bit disappointed by the troll.
I even upped its Weapon Skill to 55 (which was spur-of-the-moment decision since I was rolling awfully bad for it). One a "one versus many" scale big monsters are really hurt by the fact that they can only attack once. They're easily mobbed by dedicated effort.
The Slayer and the Soldier pretty much took the troll to half health in four rounds. The troll never got a shot in, but did manage to nearly kill the wizard due to a freak critical I rolled when defending.

I was thinking of making the Stomp attack Large enemies get versus smaller opponents to be a free action. That way I'll at least double the chance to break through (some of) the party's built-up Advantage.
I do miss those "career" options for monsters.
The big baddies can't really make use of their size difference.


I was thinking of running If Looks Could Kill later on, but I probably will have to rejuvinate that Beast of the Ortschlamm a bit :lol:
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Orin J.
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yeah, the WS is king in 4th so the penalty larger foes take to hit is crippling. it doesn't matter too much how you an multiply damage when you're generally gonna deal 0 damage to begin with. i wonder if that's why they pushed the balancing off onto the GMs, it's horribly complex sorting out how a monster needs to be depending on the group you're playing...
OldPlayer
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Big monsters are difficult, push to hard on their WS and the multiplier means quick death if you start hitting your PCs when they are beginners or semi beginners. To low WS and they are a joke. We ran if looks could kill, the beast managed 1 blow on a ranger type with 4 soak and it meant 1 fate point.

1attack is not very satisfying either. I let him and the troll attack twice... Could use the dual wielding rules for like bite/claw attack combo but with low WS it wont do the poor beast much good.

GM work yes
CapnZapp
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The developers of 4th Edition are amateurs.

They have completely missed that when you take a fairly balanced core (2E) and then just up the numbers, you end up with an unbalanced mess. That is, in 4E it is all to common that an offensive stat completely overshadows a defensive stat. This goes for combat but non-combat skills too.

You can't just allow characters to reach insane levels in single skills. Not when you also change the system to use directly opposed rolls! If you quickly raise your Charm skill to 90% while regular people are still in their 30's you will routinely win opposed rolls by 6 SLs (including bonus SLs from talents), meaning you have the persuasion of Count Dracula, completely shortchanging any social interaction.

The system just. Does. Not. Work.

It should have been obvious that any balance relies on offense AND defense being raised in a controlled fashion, in concert. WFRP4 is like if the developers of D&D forgot that high-level monsters need high Armor Class (or Wisdom Saves in the case of diplomacy).

The usual arguments does not hold water:
- "but you CAN increase your Cool Skill just as easily as your Charm skill". Are you sure you want to have a game where essentially everything becomes rocket tag?
- "if you focus on only one skill, you suffer elsewhere". Have you heard of party tactics? Any minmaxer knows that increasing your offense is well worth having a low defense, especially if another team member is there to cover for you.

Just to comment that the issue discussed here, monsters being given utterly inadequate weapon skills, is not an isolated weakness of the system.
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Arnizipal
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Yeah, I'm aware of the issues the system has.
I think it's an interesting concept to allow people to remain in the same career basically forever by having no maximum level to skills and stats, but any skill over 60 becomes quite hard to counter by your average opponent.
That being said, with criticals as disabling as they are (outright death is fairly rare but amputations seem a lot more common), I would have thought most PC's would have to be retired before they can become real powerhouses.
I'm a bit surprised the party you GM has managed to gather 5500 XP and not suffer some horrible casualties along the way :lol:

I started my party out with the characters from the starter set, which all have 2200 XP and the odd rare skill (like Ranged Weapon - Sling for the the Halfling Thief), high level career (Officer), or rare weapons (two pistols).
Since I hand out about 100 XP per session on average, and we play about once per month, this is the equivalent of a party that's been adventuring for about two years. And this is without any permanent injuries, which I would imagine is quite rare.

I like Warhammer Roleplay, and the adventures and background for this edition are very good, so I'm trying to make it work.
I'll see how our game next month goes (it has a muntant ambush where the party is outnumbered) and maybe I'll come up with some houserules from there.
CapnZapp
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When my campaign draws to a close, the "houserule" my friend will use (handing over the GM baton) is called "going back to 2nd edition".

Two years ago, we were quite done with 2E. In retrospect, unfortunately, 2E comes across as a highly-polished wonder of balance and quality.

All 4E needed to do was to fix the most glaring weaknesses of 2E. About the only success in that regard is the less-restrictive careers system (if I listen to my players, I am not convinced myself), and even that only in isolation - once you take the issue currently discussed into account, not placing hard limits on skill scores is a mistake...

But that is a discussion for another thread.
OldPlayer
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- "if you focus on only one skill, you suffer elsewhere". Have you heard of party tactics? Any minmaxer knows that increasing your offense is well worth having a low defense, especially if another team member is there to cover for you.

Well that is mostly wrong happily. It goes with the ”min/maxing” thing and roleplaying. If your char has put everything to get 90 in charm he is likely to suck at many other things. In a varied environment he will ”pay for” his irresistible charm from time to time. And sometimes the party will help but sometimes it will not...

Regarding combat mechanics if you limit advantage, do your opponent stats carefully and rework some of the bonus/malus that are out of wack it is playable at low/mid XP levels. High level min / max is likely broken from what I see by dwarf warriors and elf mages mostly. No surprise there. But even humans with high XP. Some combos and party synergies make some PCs to strong.
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Orin J.
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OldPlayer wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:44 pm
- "if you focus on only one skill, you suffer elsewhere". Have you heard of party tactics? Any minmaxer knows that increasing your offense is well worth having a low defense, especially if another team member is there to cover for you.

Well that is mostly wrong happily. It goes with the ”min/maxing” thing and roleplaying. If your char has put everything to get 90 in charm he is likely to suck at many other things. In a varied environment he will ”pay for” his irresistible charm from time to time. And sometimes the party will help but sometimes it will not...

Regarding combat mechanics if you limit advantage, do your opponent stats carefully and rework some of the bonus/malus that are out of wack it is playable at low/mid XP levels. High level min / max is likely broken from what I see by dwarf warriors and elf mages mostly. No surprise there. But even humans with high XP. Some combos and party synergies make some PCs to strong.
due to the way 4th works, increasing your offense ALSO increases your defense as well as making you have an effective more chances to attack.
OldPlayer
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Yes and that’s fine off and def together, no probs with that, we are not playing world of warcraft here. I was answering Zapp’s definitly neg comments.

And ofc maxing combat will leave you very bad as a detective or thief or social type of PC and you can’t always rely on friends talking for you or solving your problems for you in non violent ways. Just saying. Since we talked min/max in other things than combat... Depends on what kindof RPlaying you do.

But let’s be positive for once, let’s say you go for a guard or pit fighter carreer you can be quite versatile if you don’t min/max on WS and melee. Gossip, intuition, perception, intimidate, lore etc.... It’s quite good. You are not pigeonholed into one role with a fighter type. Same with religious type. Same with rogue type and scholar by the way.
Graak
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OldPlayer wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 3:40 am


”add skills as necessary” it’s exactly what you needed to do in previous editions. In 1st ed a dwarf fighter with good equipment, enough E and support from a half decent wizard could solo a major demon with barely a scratch... He would wade through scores of standard beastmen to the point where you actually didn’t bother to roll ! Took to long.

Look at the published 4e adventured to get some indications on customising monsters. Give them skill points mutations and even talents if you want/need. It’s not D&D with standardised monsters. We have Chaos in Wfrp, chaos means anything could happen :twisted:
I've played 2nd edition for 10 years and never felt the urge to tweek anything from bestiary or adventures. Exception could be leaders and boss monsters.

They simply work fine. If you need a stronger opposition you just add a 'gor or upgrade one of them to a bigger-horns category.

A system that dumps the responsability to fix monster stats for every encounter to make it work is not a well designed system, that's simple as that IMO.
CapnZapp wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:40 am
When my campaign draws to a close, the "houserule" my friend will use (handing over the GM baton) is called "going back to 2nd edition".

Two years ago, we were quite done with 2E. In retrospect, unfortunately, 2E comes across as a highly-polished wonder of balance and quality.

All 4E needed to do was to fix the most glaring weaknesses of 2E. About the only success in that regard is the less-restrictive careers system (if I listen to my players, I am not convinced myself), and even that only in isolation - once you take the issue currently discussed into account, not placing hard limits on skill scores is a mistake...

But that is a discussion for another thread.
Capn, I really can't express how much I appreciate your suffering journey into 4th edition and your detailed, rationale analysis.
From day 1 it smelled bad to me, since I knew about opposed tests + cumulative advantage bonus I quickly realized the system was not “statistically stable” as it snowballs beyond any attempt to control it or forecasting its outcomes (or in case of high skilled characters any attempt to create balanced encounters without having to rewrite the whole monster section!). But you really did the math for it and demonstrated in the details HOW BAD it is. And that is only the core rule of 4th. All the other little ones are, if possible, even worse by how amateurish they seem to be.
Thank you.

Having said that, I’d love to know if you plan to houserule 2nd edition and what those changes are (beyond your well-known and well-appreciated HRs on Swift Attack). But this is for another topic I suppose.
OldPlayer
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Well it’s the same in 4e as in 1or 2e really. Basic beastmen work the way they are, as do Greenskins etc... Boss and leaders (and big monsters with low WS that you may need to boost depending on your party) you need to work on and tbh that is part of the fun as a GM

Then in your opinion 4e combat and rules somehow suck, well fine but then you proceed to ask how to house rule 2e... Well ?? Same with 4e a few rules to limit advantage and reduce some of the modifier and it runs.

Critics always keep mentioning how high WS is everything (high skill on all tests), and it’s mostly true. But if your warrior types have 90+ then you just need to make sure the chaos warrior also has 90+ or that he fights alone against a group of lesser foes. 90/100 whatever, it’s just numbers, don’t stay stuck in 1e/2e where 65WS was quite good... And some skills do give quite a lot of tactical options in fights like withdrawing, stealing advantage, seting up a more powerfull attack, riposting etc... Fun.

Somewhat uncontrolable 4e IS fun. Control, the 1E unvulnerable naked dwarf, does get boring....

And another thing. 4e is still relatively new. The more you play a system the better you get at it hopefully
Graak
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OldPlayer wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 6:22 am
Well it’s the same in 4e as in 1or 2e really. Basic beastmen work the way they are, as do Greenskins etc... Boss and leaders (and big monsters with low WS that you may need to boost depending on your party) you need to work on and tbh that is part of the fun as a GM
It's not fun if I need to re-work C7's work. A Bestiary should offer ready-to-play stuff with "Slaughter margins" to guide them on how to build encounter. Tweaking stats should be the exception not the rule.
OldPlayer wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 6:22 am
Then in your opinion 4e combat and rules somehow suck, well fine but then you proceed to ask how to house rule 2e... Well ?? Same with 4e a few rules to limit advantage and reduce some of the modifier and it runs.
Actually the contrary: we have a player here (the author of this and many other topics) who found 4th edition unplayable for numerous technical issues EVEN if he houserules and fine-tuned it to obtain a desiderable product.

Regarding my request of 2nd edition I think you got me wrong. I consider 2nd edition to work fine RAW, it becomes smoother and very good with an old CAPNZAPP's HR to swift attack that he created after a long and detailed analysis on how 2nd edition combat runs and its strong and weak points (lost with Strike to Stun forums I'm afraid). That HR improved my fun with 2nd edition and practically solved whiff-factor and boring combat; most important his analysis totally sold me on the fact that he's fully capable to understand game-design to a good level. HENCE, I'm curious if there is anything new he plans to add to 2nd edition to get it possibly even better.
OldPlayer wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 6:22 am
Somewhat uncontrolable 4e IS fun.
Statistics variability is one thing. (example: the flat distribution you obtain from single roll of dN dice. N doesn't matter).
What 4th edition provides intead is a crazy statistically-unstable mechanic that (thanks to opposed rolls and cumulative advantage) can be described as a ball that rests upon a hill: as soon as it goes one side it will snowball (the same happens when you start with a lot of advantage or a better stat than your opponent). Controlling a dynamic like a ball on the top ho the hill is pure madness, there is no control, it's the definition of unstable equilibrium in mathematic/physics.
Constantly trying to rebalance monster stats to steering the wheel of chaos is not the easy fix for this statistically unstable premise 4th edition gives us. And that's not a mechanics premise I would build a RPG upon to be fair.

My 2 pennies.
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