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Re: [gwmg] - Damn20 [or 'd20 Arm Twisting']

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  • Stephen Patterson
    ... Oh well... Must be pretty desperate gamers. I generally have the wait and see attitude. ... That s pretty easy for you to say; you re the GM. Players
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 1, 2002
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      Fred wrote:

      They're not two different groups.  All of the same people who sign up for the
      other games asked to join the DnD game.
      Oh well...
      Must be pretty desperate gamers.  I generally have the 'wait and see' attitude.
      The PC's in my game just had their butts handed to them by a hive-mind of
      rats.  They overestimated their ability to deal with them and got cocky.
      That's pretty easy for you to say; you're the GM.  Players don't have the advantage of knowing before hand what to expect.  And even if they did, could they have changed the possible outcome?  How likely is your "average" Medieaval citizen going to comprehend the idea of a "Hive Mind" in the first place?  How could the characters [not the players] be expected to be mentally equipped with such an (relatively) advanced concept?

      Even if you ~ignore~ the above - what about the following?:

      What are the NPC's doing about this problem?  What previous groups attempted to resolve the 'hive mind' issue?
      What about guards, the local Nobility, and tax collectors?  Which citizens are concerned?  Is the (whatever) Church going to be involved?  (a few well placed complaints from the congregation might make the church leaders very suspiscious...)

      As a Mayor or higher echelon Civil Servant, I'd be privately *very* concerned about the sophistication, and apparent cunning of how these rats are engaging in their activities - and, therefore, would be more than willing to offer as much information to the 'new recruits'.

      Do you see what I'm getting at?
      It's not ~just~ the characters who exist in a void, with everyone wandering around aimlessly.

       They also failed to ask around the neighborhood, and learn what the locals thought about the rats.
      Why wouldn't all the characters have had a chance to have lived either in, or around the town in question?  Why the "agenda" of dropping them "cold" into this sort of adventure without making them feel 'part' of the world they live in?

      Why the "discrimination" because they're classed as a 'player character'?

      That has to do with lethality.  GURPS has a great deal of lethality because it's virtually impossible to scale the challenges with the abilities of the
      player characters, because their abilities are so wildly variable.
      >>> Er, virtually impossible? No, rather quite simple I've found....
      >>>All that means is that you err on the side of less lethal encounters.
      Ditto.
      If you make an adventure for, say, 4 100-point characters, then what should
      the difficulty of a trap disarm attempt be for this group?
      You're assuming that every GM has an interest in using the "DnD" mold, in the first place.  I realise, of course, your example, above, is just one facet of your GMing preferences, but still.  I could argue that a failed Savour-Faire roll can get one killed, just as easily as a botched trap.  Or a failed Diplomacy roll [eg. negotiations with Stalins' Interior Minister].  Or a failed Surgery roll [eg.: to remove a bullet from some wounded Mafia Don].

      It just all depends.

      Assuming at least one of the PC's has the skill in question, then the adventure should "match" the player characters; not the characters "forced to fit into" the adventure.  Perhaps my GMing philosophy differs from yours.  Incidently, this is one of the hardest parts of devising a gurps scenario (or any adventure, regardless of the mechanics); matching a good set of characters, with the proper skills (and/or spells) and then meshing the whole bunch into a good story AND challenging them without getting the characters "obviously" killed.

      I use 3 criteria to assess the "what" in my games:

      1) how critical the survivability means for the continuation of the game or scenario;
      2) play balance vs expected survivability of the character(s), and;
      3) enjoyment for the players.  This usually entails the 'risk' vs 'reward' side issue, as well.

      As for the "difficulty" issue, I follow a few guidelines:

      a)  Contests of skills should have each NPC about 1 or 2 points below the individual PC (in question).

      b)  Use the PC & NPC's Jobs table.  Most NPC thieves have a skill of 13+, since they would not qualify, otherwise, for their job classification.  Inexperienced or Mundane NPC's will, of course, have a weaker skill (and get paid less).

      c)  Major villians are usually set at 150 pts., for 100 pc's [or 50 points above the highest point valued PC in a mixed party].

      d)  Apply difficulty rolls for the PC's like that of an Onion; each layer, as they progress get somewhat harder.  Use skill 10-12 at the start, depending on circumstances, and resources that NPC's had available.  Traps may be set by underlings (or main protagists who weren't using the proper equipment or working in good conditions).  As they progress deeper towards their goal, enemy resources may be applied more 'strategically', and situations may become gradually tougher.  Major goals or rewards should be defended at skill 16+, if the player character has a matching - or better- counter-skill (and uses it at the right place and time). [the LUCK advantage can work very well as a last ditch effort against high skill NPC's or their  efforts to impose obstacles - in this respect, too].

      e)  Use the 'set traps' skill for the highest qualified NPC, based around your average 70 point NPC.  If the NPC leader is a rogue, or assassin based on around 100 points, then use their 'set traps' skill (if higher).  Using the NPC job chart [on pg. 115], the listing says 'any 4 skills 13+' or '2 skills 16+', for thieves.

      Reverse engineer the PC creation process, and you get your "average" IQ 10 thief, spending {8} character pts to get the skill at '13';
      the same thief can get skill '16' for {14} character points.  So, therefore, {28} CP's nets you your 4 skills @ 13 -OR- 2 skills @ 16.

      NPC's who have ~no~ set traps skill, use the rules for hirelings: ie. make a reaction roll for the NPC leader attempting to barter services, for setting the price, modified by the size of the town or city the NPC resides in, and then compare the success roll vs the 2 NPC's engaging in the trade.  You could just arbitrarily "wave the stupid DM's wand", but I prefer to be on a solid design perspective.  Leader types will probably need a couple levels of Wealth to finance their aspirations, and pay for hirelings.  Ambition doesn't happen for free (unless it's illegal).

      How about the defense scores of creatures they'll fight?
      Fantasy folk includes Orcs and Minotaurs.  Both Orcs and Minotaurs use the same rules as PC's...
      I use GURPS: Bestiary, if I really feel like including "monsters".
      You can't really say.  In any given group of 100-point characters, the best
      trap-disarming skill could be 12, or it could be 22.
      Then use the design procedures listed above.  Specialization can be gained in disarming a certian kind of trap at a +5 to their skill roll {as has been mentioned already), or a certian variety of trap: eg. shifting stonework traps, or outdoor snares and pits.
      Let's say that you want to create a good "big boss" for an end scene.  He
      should have a nearly impenetrable defense, but not much in the way of offense
      - that's how the combat lasts long enough for him to taunt the PCs.  What should his defense score be?
      Ahem.  Your "agenda" is to create an inpenetrable defence, while ignoring both the NPC point value, and his financial resources in assigning this estimate.  Since a DEX 14 combatant has an average dodge of 7 [excluding block or parry skills], please note the following:

      Armor will encumber the wearer - so his defense roll will probably be less.  The highest armor rating [for TL 3] is PD 4/DR 7.
      Dodge will probably be reduced by 2 due to encumberance, so his defence roll will probably be '9' total [5 + (4 PD)].

      If you make it 8, with DR 6 he could be meat on the table for someone who's combat-optimized, defense with DR 12
      DR for the best enchanted armor is:  +5 DR (costs 200,000) gold pieces. +5 PD (costs 500,000) gold pieces.

      Is he rich enough to afford it?  Even Filthy Rich NPC's {spending 50 cp's to attain that level of wealth} only have 100,000 gold pieces in starting wealth, and this is insufficient wealth to aquire what you present for your "boss".  Therefore, this boss can not have such benefits - and still be classed as a 150 point NPC.  More like 200-300 points.

      But in which case, he shouldn't be faced by 100 point PC's, should he?

      but if they don't do that, a 12 could be lethally impenetrable.
      Not for me, he won't be.  You're assuming a "frontal assault" type of atack for my PC's.

      I could always bribe a servant to poison your precious big shot, or have a thief kill him, when he slept (ie. no armor).  Or hire a hooker to "drug" or "intoxicate" him.  Or look for the boss' enemies, and cook up a multi-pronged ambush.

      So, unless your boss is "hiding", wearing armor 24 hours a day - abstains from booze, sex, carousing or socializing [in general], and has aquired NO enemies during his rise to power - then he ~might~ be able to thwart *my* attempts to get him killed.  So, ya, technically - he might have a "temporarily" high defense score, but then again - your boss is neither omniscient nor omnipotent.

      One of the themes of my current DnD game is, "Which is more important, your
      life or the freedom of your thoughts?"  That is, would you rather suffer a
      threat of death, or a threat of mind-control?
      Having an ideological "gun pointed at my head", from day one -  ain't my idea of ~good~ gaming.  If I made a mistake which CAUSED the threat of a Mind Control situation to arrise, is one thing; to have the occurance "spontaniously" act out, with no regard to what the players did (or do) is simply poor gaming, in general.

      Sorry.

    • Fred
      ... That s easy for you to say; you weren t there. They knew that the rats had the ability to cast Blindness spells when they went into the second encounter
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 1, 2002
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        --- Stephen Patterson <stevep@...> wrote:
        >
        >
        > Fred wrote:
        >
        > > They're not two different groups. All of the same people who sign up for
        > the
        > > other games asked to join the DnD game.
        >
        > Oh well...
        > Must be pretty desperate gamers. I generally have the 'wait and see'
        > attitude.
        >
        > > The PC's in my game just had their butts handed to them by a hive-mind of
        > > rats. They overestimated their ability to deal with them and got cocky.
        >
        > That's pretty easy for you to say; you're the GM.

        That's easy for you to say; you weren't there.

        They knew that the rats had the ability to cast Blindness spells when they
        went into the second encounter with them, and failed to take any precautions.

        Players don't have the
        > advantage of knowing before hand
        > what to expect. And even if they did, could they have changed the possible
        > outcome?

        Absolutely. They could have run when they encountered the rats a second time.

        How likely is your
        > "average" Medieaval citizen going to comprehend the idea of a "Hive Mind" in
        > the first place?

        They're not average medieval citizens. They're elite fantasy citizens.


        How could the
        > characters [not the players] be expected to be mentally equipped with such
        > an (relatively) advanced concept?

        By oberserving their behavior. As a matter of fact, by the second encounter,
        they HAD gotten the idea that there was an intelligence guiding the rats.

        > Even if you ~ignore~ the above - what about the following?:
        >
        > What are the NPC's doing about this problem? What previous groups attempted
        > to resolve the 'hive mind' issue?

        A group of ratcatchers and a squad of the city guard have already been
        dispatched to the area, and have not come back.

        > What about guards, the local Nobility, and tax collectors?

        Guards and tax collectors don't go into this neighborhood on a regular basis.

        Which citizens
        > are concerned?

        There is a demon cultist nearby who is allied with the rats. The other locals
        are kept around by the rats as 1> future food source and 2> camouflage.

        Is the (whatever)
        > Church going to be involved?

        They already have. They have hired the PC's, among others.

        (a few well placed complaints from the
        > congregation might make the church
        > leaders very suspiscious...)

        The people in this neighborhood aren't what you would call "pious". They
        rarely go to church, and when they do they don't carry any weight there.

        > As a Mayor or higher echelon Civil Servant, I'd be privately *very*
        > concerned about the sophistication, and
        > apparent cunning of how these rats are engaging in their activities - and,
        > therefore, would be more than
        > willing to offer as much information to the 'new recruits'.

        So far the powers that be don't know about it. The surviving PC's have told
        them, though, and local spellcasters are massing in force; the PC's, with
        magic replenished, are going back in to keep the rats off their feet while the
        good guys muster their forces.

        > Do you see what I'm getting at?

        Absolutely. You think I'm an idiot, but you're wrong.

        > It's not ~just~ the characters who exist in a void, with everyone wandering
        > around aimlessly.

        Precisely. If you had been at the game, you wouldn't be making these
        criticisms.

        > > They also failed to ask around the neighborhood, and learn what the
        > locals thought about the rats.
        >
        > Why wouldn't all the characters have had a chance to have lived either in,
        > or around the town in question?

        No, by definition they came from another city. The backgrounds were set
        before they joined up.

        > Why the "agenda" of dropping them "cold" into this sort of adventure without
        > making them feel 'part' of the
        > world they live in?

        You don't MAKE someone feel like a part of the world, it's something that
        happens as a result of interacting with the world.

        > Why the "discrimination" because they're classed as a 'player character'?

        There is none.

        > > If you make an adventure for, say, 4 100-point characters, then what
        > should
        > > the difficulty of a trap disarm attempt be for this group?
        >
        > You're assuming that every GM has an interest in using the "DnD" mold, in
        > the first place. I realise, of
        > course, your example, above, is just one facet of your GMing preferences,
        > but still. I could argue that a
        > failed Savour-Faire roll can get one killed, just as easily as a botched
        > trap. Or a failed Diplomacy roll
        > [eg. negotiations with Stalins' Interior Minister]. Or a failed Surgery
        > roll [eg.: to remove a bullet from
        > some wounded Mafia Don].
        >
        > It just all depends.

        That's right... you either have to engineer the party or the adventure to
        match their skills, more or less. You don't have to do that AS MUCH in DnD.
        You still have to do it, but it requires a lot less knowledge of exactly what
        the PC's are capable of.

        > Assuming at least one of the PC's has the skill in question, then the
        > adventure should "match" the player
        > characters; not the characters "forced to fit into" the adventure.

        I don't force my players to fit the adventure. I also don't tailor the
        adventure to the PC's, except in the broadest sense, that is, taking their
        level into account.

        Perhaps
        > my GMing philosophy differs from
        > yours.

        Probably not as much as you believe.

        Incidently, this is one of the hardest parts of devising a gurps
        > scenario (or any adventure,
        > regardless of the mechanics); matching a good set of characters, with the
        > proper skills (and/or spells) and
        > then meshing the whole bunch into a good story AND challenging them without
        > getting the characters "obviously"
        > killed.

        Which is one of the advantages of 3eDnD. You don't have to match all the
        challenges to individual skills; you can set the combat challenges at a
        particular difficulty level, roughly measured by "challenge rating". Then all
        you have to worry about is the non-combat challenges; with the skill caps in
        DnD, those are pretty easy to assume, as well. No skill is likely to be more
        than level+5, and at the absolute highest level+10.

        This is why you rarely see published adventures for GURPS that have the
        challenges laid out; it's not worth the effort, becuase you have to tailor the
        adventure closer to the PC's.



        =====
        - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
        God WAS my copilot, but we crashed in the mountains and I had to eat him to survive.

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