unbalanced races

Cubicle 7 // 2018
easl
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Sep 06, 2019 7:04 pm

Sat Nov 16, 2019 5:49 pm

Iltherion wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 11:13 am
Why would it be less enjoyable for other players? I would think it would be a good roleplaying opportunity.
I mostly agree. In my many years of playing and GMing, I've never had the case where two players wanted to play the exact same "archetype". So the hypothetical situation of (for example) the human archer player complaining that the elf archer player is unfarily advantaged just never happens. Never. In the vast, vast majority of groups I've GM'd, the wizard, warrior, thief or other is perfectly happy to have a kick butt elven archer or halfling slinger along. That extra +10 doesn't hurt them, it hurts the bad guys.

My experience is, players complain when various classes or archetypes are unbalanced in a way that one 'archetype' makes another superfluous. So, just making up a fake example, if the thief's abilities make them a better archer than the archer, that's when the archer player complains. That's why magic-users are often the focus of "OMG it's OP'd" debates - because they often gain abilities that make them better at core abilities that other archetypes are supposed to personify. Would your thief rather have high stealth and climbing skills...or be able to fly in, invisible? Many games don't balance wizard-types well. But that's something of an aside.

In any event, I don't really see the issue of elf attributes in WFRP4 as a major one that's actually going to crop up in games. Having said that, if a group wants to drop some of those +10s for balance, I don't think that's going to really impact the game much either.
Hteph
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Sun Nov 17, 2019 12:12 am

Bha, as other has commented, this has little to do with the stats or rules, WFRP4 has its problems here and there, but this isn't one of them (IMO). It is a perception fostered by the D&D fixation on levels, EL, ECL,HD etc etc. The difference between a Beggar and a Knight is bigger socially, resource-wise and in combat.
It is too for a player to see two numbers differing but what they actually should focus on is what happens around the game table and there the GM has the responsibility and opportunity to show the real differences, and what's matter.
Yes the Knight will probably be instrumental in slaying the Demon, but is seriously jackshit in finding the underground cult summoning it. Everyone just scrape and smile when he asks stuff, in disguise or not. The beggar instead can listen and weedle out not only the location that other beggars avoid but also who goes there and what has come floating from there lately ... and made some coin on the way.
The racism and prejudice non-humans meet everyday should drive the min-maxers to tears, and have the roleplayers thrive, otherwise you doing it wrong.
And when you need info from the Dwarfs, good luck have the Wood-elf try that..
macd21
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Sun Nov 17, 2019 11:01 am

sx dwarf wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 11:08 am
habdankm +1.

You're right on spot. Elves are unbalanced. Resiliencee, Fate, Endeavour and Social stigma aren't enough to square things out. RAW, the elves are a race for munchkins players.

The best way to deal with them is to keep them as for a NPC race or to tweak their facials bonus to make them more playables and enjoyables for others players.
This really isn’t true.
habdankm
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Mon Dec 02, 2019 1:43 pm

I'm not sure if I have a fixation on levels and stats etc. as I've been GM for diceless Cthulhu stories just next to Bolt Action tabletop war games. I like both of those gameplay types, but when we choose a system it's like a common agreement within the team, what we expect from the game.
Sorry, but I'm not buying that GM is the one to solve system bad design, by cheating and not letting dwarf perform tasks in the forest, as elf should do this. Do you suggest to fail his tests for tracking without throwing any dice, just because it's so super obvious that elfs are from woods? Rules (stats and skills) in RPG are exactly to describe differences between characters. If my character has a skill/stats, then he can use it, no matter if he is elf or dwarf and he is in the woods or in mine.
In my case, we played many so-called "warbands tales", where permadeath was common and nobody cares about injuries. It was just one more guy in an Imperial army who get killed. In this type of game, it doesn't matter if you start as a rat catcher or an outlaw or a beggar. All of them are just "troopers". That's why elf vs human is a bit o headache. High elf stats means he will survive battle when others probably not. It's not a big deal for the team that will just have casualties. It's rather a pain in the a.. for GM to define opponents in such a way that the story can carry on.
Now, I was just looking for any hints on how to balance the game when we use rules as they are meant to be used. In such a game, more or less balanced stats are used by team members to dedicate tasks to all characters more or less equally. This is exactly what the team is "optimizing" when they approach "hard times" with "difficult decisions".
Btw. My short conclusion is, that trying to modify stats is just a moving problem from one to another area. That's why we've decided to remove elfs and dwarfs as a playable character again in 4ed as we did in 1th. No hard feelings.
easl
Posts: 16
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Mon Dec 02, 2019 7:02 pm

habdankm wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 1:43 pm
That's why elf vs human is a bit o headache. High elf stats means he will survive battle when others probably not.
Did you actually experience this in gameplay, or are you looking at the stats and assuming it will be true? Just curious. I think what some of the others are saying is that they have not experienced "elf survives, everyone else dies" results in actual game play. Either because the combat encounters typically aren't that deadly, or because the NPC gang that kills the others first then wipes the elf because of numerical advantage, or because the ability of humans to spend more fate, fortune, resilience, and resolve fixes this exact problem by allowing them rerolls, removal of conditions, etc. which function as 'saves' sufficient to balance the problem of getting hit more often.

I guess if you have a lot of combat per gaming session, then fortune and resolve wouldn't compare well to a +10% skill difference. But for 10-20 rounds of combat per session? The humans should be fine. They'll average 1-2 more "bad defensive failures" over that time compared to a similarly built elf...and have the fortune and resilience to deal with it.
Braddoc
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Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:08 pm

An Elf falls as easely as a human when they get a bolt to the chest..it,s really falls to the dice..
macd21
Posts: 46
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Tue Dec 03, 2019 5:28 am

habdankm wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 1:43 pm
I'm not sure if I have a fixation on levels and stats etc. as I've been GM for diceless Cthulhu stories just next to Bolt Action tabletop war games. I like both of those gameplay types, but when we choose a system it's like a common agreement within the team, what we expect from the game.
Sorry, but I'm not buying that GM is the one to solve system bad design, by cheating and not letting dwarf perform tasks in the forest, as elf should do this. Do you suggest to fail his tests for tracking without throwing any dice, just because it's so super obvious that elfs are from woods? Rules (stats and skills) in RPG are exactly to describe differences between characters. If my character has a skill/stats, then he can use it, no matter if he is elf or dwarf and he is in the woods or in mine.
In my case, we played many so-called "warbands tales", where permadeath was common and nobody cares about injuries. It was just one more guy in an Imperial army who get killed. In this type of game, it doesn't matter if you start as a rat catcher or an outlaw or a beggar. All of them are just "troopers". That's why elf vs human is a bit o headache. High elf stats means he will survive battle when others probably not. It's not a big deal for the team that will just have casualties. It's rather a pain in the a.. for GM to define opponents in such a way that the story can carry on.
Now, I was just looking for any hints on how to balance the game when we use rules as they are meant to be used. In such a game, more or less balanced stats are used by team members to dedicate tasks to all characters more or less equally. This is exactly what the team is "optimizing" when they approach "hard times" with "difficult decisions".
Btw. My short conclusion is, that trying to modify stats is just a moving problem from one to another area. That's why we've decided to remove elfs and dwarfs as a playable character again in 4ed as we did in 1th. No hard feelings.
I think you’re massively overestimating the power of elves vs humans.

In any given session, you only make so many tests, of which a certain percentage will be actually important. The number of such tests that an elf will succeed where a human won’t is tiny - and then the human can spend a fortune point, where the elf probably won’t.

It’s really not a problem.
habdankm
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Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:16 pm

Maybe, you guys are right about how really big is a difference, but I have a feeling that the combination of rules for Advantage and elf high Initiative and slightly higher skills (many) is a combo and it's not just +10%. But maybe it's specific for us as eals already guessed that we do like deadly encounters when the team barely makes it.
I'll try to update this topic when I collect some observations using dummy elf stats instead of one of PC.
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Orin J.
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Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:51 pm

habdankm wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:16 pm
I'll try to update this topic when I collect some observations using dummy elf stats instead of one of PC.
are the PCs not enough of a dummy for you?
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Hyarion
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Wed Dec 04, 2019 7:07 am

I think this is one situation where 'Mathhammer' and real table experience may yield different results, and would also encourage you to try it out in a game.
I hold the glaive of Law against the Earth.
habdankm
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Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:04 am

Hyarion: So far it's not Mathhammer, but just some time spent on throwing dices. And maybe, I (GM) use Advantage rules wrong, but I have always the same scenario during battle. Elf is using high Initiative to charge and get bonuses. He usually scores better, as he has an advantage. Then hard time hits everybody else except elf which is on a killing frenzy. Then he helps others and dies as the last one. Maybe I should start another thread, but Advantage rules gives a lot, or I use them incorrectly. And as long as Inititative is more or less similar it's not so repeatable.
Orin J.: dummy elf - I mean, during normal session (not when I write scenario and balance enemies) - where all PCs are humans I will apply one of best warrior player rolls to elf dummy character and secretly I'll mark result. Than I'll see if they match. Still Initiative will be lower, but this can be overcome by lowering oponents Initiative.
FasterThanJesus
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Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:10 am

Advantage is a bit much IMO. The optional rule to limit to I should have been mandatory. But, as Elves have a high I anyway, it's still pretty high. Personally I think halfing the bonus (after imposing the I limit) would be better.
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Hyarion
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Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:18 am

My group has been using Initiative as 1d10+Initiative Bonus (rather than 1d10+ full initiative) even since back when we were using 2e. You may find that helpful.
I hold the glaive of Law against the Earth.
habdankm
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Wed Dec 04, 2019 12:02 pm

FasterThanJesus: Could you explain a bit? What optional rules do you mean? My flow is:
1) I + 1d10 to decide order -> this one always win elf or beasts
2) charge is +1 adv, which gives elf compared to humans already +20%. That's why elf can easily win versus the first weakling.
3) after first kill elf have high Adv (usually +5 or more). I don't recall any rules about Adv limits - can you point to something?
It's not happening to only humans team, as they sometimes can charge, sometimes not. It's not like +20% by default in the first round to score more just after the first hit.
Hyarion: how often you have equall results between many characters on Initiative calculated like this?
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Hyarion
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Wed Dec 04, 2019 12:44 pm

Rarely, but when it does happen, then the character with the higher total I wins the tie.

Regarding your question to FasterThanJesus, how much tactics do you give your enemies? Why should the weaklings be the ones in charge range of the Elf instead of the leaders?
I hold the glaive of Law against the Earth.
habdankm
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Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:33 pm

Nobody has a tattoo on his forehead, so many times players don't know who's the leader. During the first round usually, players get a clear picture, but it's "too late". Even with proper reconnaissance and ambush, it happens rarely, that players (for example our super elf ;-) can easily choose the "right" target in hand to hand combat. Statistically (there is usually just a few stronger enemies) weaklings die first ;-)
Regarding tactics - I'm trying to look at the "intelligence" of the enemy when I think about their strategy. For stupid enemies (beasts, greens etc.), there is no tactic - just a bunch of spears. After a few kills usually "formation" (aka. random placement) breaks and it's the end of a story. But when we talk about a smart enemy, then I put a lot of effort, to make the life of players as hard as possible. So naturally, the leader is protected and has second, there is a line of shields and crossbows from behind etc. Btw. we don't use magic like fireballs at all. Magic is "mystical", happens rarely and then it's so powerful that the sword won't do.
easl
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Wed Dec 04, 2019 2:14 pm

habdankm wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 12:02 pm
1) I + 1d10 to decide order -> this one always win elf or beasts
It sounds from this like you're doing a "human [fast-warrior] vs. elf [same fast-warrior career] using same build-out" comparison. The reason this doesn't apply to real-game experience is that that almost never happens. There aren't (just picking an example) two duellists in the same party with points distributed exactly the same except one is an elf and the other is a human. In a real game, a starting duellist is likely to put one of their highest rolls or more build points into initiative, and then add to it with their advancements. A starting wizard is unlikely to assign their highest rolls or build points to initiative, and then cannot add to it with advancements. Thus in a mixed party where not every elf is a fast-warrior type and not every fast-warrior PC is an elf, it's simply not the case that the elf will go ahead of the other PCs every time. And it doesn't apply to to real game scenarios vs. npc opponents because they're not always going to be fast-warrior max-init builds. Sometimes, that human Wizard is going to go before the elf Bounty Hunter for the same reasons I've described above.
Hyarion: how often you have equall results between many characters on Initiative calculated like this?
If you're doing the comparison I've described above, I don't think that's very valid way to justify the conclusion that elf PCs are overpowered playing a tabletop campaign. It's way too focused on who does better in head-to-head, similar weapon, minimal tactic and positioning combat, when campaign success involves many many other factors. Having said that, when PC1 has an initiative score of 60 and PC2 has an initiative score of 50, PC1 will win initiative about 60% of the time. It's highly unlikely PC1 would go first in each combat of a single session, if the session has more than 2-3 combats.
FasterThanJesus
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Wed Dec 04, 2019 3:33 pm

habdankm wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 12:02 pm
FasterThanJesus: Could you explain a bit? What optional rules do you mean? My flow is:
1) I + 1d10 to decide order -> this one always win elf or beasts
2) charge is +1 adv, which gives elf compared to humans already +20%. That's why elf can easily win versus the first weakling.
3) after first kill elf have high Adv (usually +5 or more). I don't recall any rules about Adv limits - can you point to something?
It's not happening to only humans team, as they sometimes can charge, sometimes not. It's not like +20% by default in the first round to score more just after the first hit.
Hyarion: how often you have equall results between many characters on Initiative calculated like this?
It's the "Limiting Advantage" option. Page 164 in the rulebook.

It suggests capping advantage at Initiative Bonus or having a fixed cap.
easl
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Wed Dec 04, 2019 8:38 pm

easl wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 2:14 pm
Having said that, when PC1 has an initiative score of 60 and PC2 has an initiative score of 50, PC1 will win initiative about 60% of the time. It's highly unlikely PC1 would go first in each combat of a single session, if the session has more than 2-3 combats.
D'oh! Big goof. I was running out the door and did a combat check calculation rather than initiative. Yet, I think this still has some relevance. The elf with a 60% chance to hit vs. the human with a 50% chance can't count on winning 3-4 attack exchanges in a row; not even 2 in a row is all that likely.
habdankm
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Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:24 am

easl:
Even if you will put human highest roll to I it will not match elf lowest roll.
From p. 156: • Each character rolls 1d10 and adds it to their Initiative. This means if PC1 has 60, and PC2 has 50, PC2 can match PC1 only when PC2 will throw 10 and PC1 will throw 0, which is exactly 1%. Basically in this case elf will always attack first and rise chances for killing frenzy because of Adv (but, thanks FasterThanJesus - we will use these optional rules, but I wasn't aware of it).
I know how my team plays. Before the game I'm trying to mimic their strategy, to see if it is possible to win over the enemy. So it's not dueling. I just use their PC sheets and roll few times (maybe it's not few, but still ;-).
So far I wasn't talking about the success of the campaign. I'm concerned about the balance of the gameplay between players, not characters. In our team, everybody is "warrior". No matter if he is "rat catcher", "artist" or even "herbalist". All guys are "troopers", which have to face the enemy in first-line during army march. It might be just a recon unit or securing squad which close tail the of the army. Sometimes, they just stand next to hundreds and story carry on.
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