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  • Encounter building 101

    Hello Guys and Gals, new here on the forums. Trying to build my first one shot to introduce some friends to Fantasy Age , And I want to know if there are some guidelines for building an encounter ...there will be to player characters only and I am not sure what I can use as foes in the encounter I want to make in challenging but not so challenging that they barely make it out alive.

    are there guidelines to follow for such information ? kind of like difficulty class in that other game?

    any help would be so appreciated...

    P.S. this will also be my first time actually running a game.

    Thanks

  • #2
    Re: Encounter building 101

    There are no official guidelines as far as I know but there is the Threat statistic that should give you an idea on how powerful a creature is.
    Frequently in AGE's adventures the encounters are presented as "X monsters per player character". If you are all beginners, I would suggest 1 or 1.5 enemies of the appropriate threat per player character.

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    • #3
      Re: Encounter building 101

      Encounter writing is done with a little bit of math and a lot of gut feelings.

      AGE does not seem intended to be a system with a perfect balance for PCs vs Adversaries. It is much more likely that an encounter is all about tactics, what gear you brought to the encounter with you, creative problem solving, clever talent selections, or any number of factors.

      Numbers donít swing so much as games with d20s so more values on the dice can be counted on, making it easier to ballpark what the heroes can handle. The 3d6s have a bell curve of possible results, so looking at a PCs modifiers can tell you how well they can handle an Adversary or Hazard.

      If a PC can hit an enemyís Defense by rolling a 9 on the dice, you can feel assured that the Pc will hit that enemy almost every roll.
      If you enjoy the AGE system you might enjoy our podcast, The Adventure Game Engine Interest Series (The AGEIS)! Formerly known as the Wonders of Thedas, we talk about all iterations of the AGE system from Dragon Age to the Expanse! We do actual plays as well as discussion episodes where we take listener questions, feature fan creations, and share news about the AGE systems! Step through the portals to see the many worlds they hide!

      You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter, listen to us on Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, and other places you get podcasts! You can contact us through our social media, Soundcloud, or by emailing us at ageipodcast@gmail.com !

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      • #4
        Re: Encounter building 101

        Annoyingly, there IS a pretty good, and substantial, section on Encounter Design for AGE... in the Dragon AGE core book (pages 219 to 225). I didn't see an equivalent on a fast skim of the Modern AGE PDF , nor had it made it across in to the Fantasy AGE Basic or Companion books. Hopefully one of the future Fantasy AGE books will revise that material for Fantasy AGE.

        Cheers,

        Nick

        PS: IIRC Correctly the AGE Encounter stuff in the Core DA book was originally in the GMs Guide in Set 2 Two, which is still available in PDF from Green Ronin, and probably in print in the 2nd hand marker. SO it is possible to get hold of without getting the full DA corebook.

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        • #5
          Re: Encounter building 101

          Originally posted by NickMiddleton View Post
          Annoyingly, there IS a pretty good, and substantial, section on Encounter Design for AGE... in the Dragon AGE core book (pages 219 to 225). I didn't see an equivalent on a fast skim of the Modern AGE PDF , nor had it made it across in to the Fantasy AGE Basic or Companion books. Hopefully one of the future Fantasy AGE books will revise that material for Fantasy AGE.

          Cheers,

          Nick

          PS: IIRC Correctly the AGE Encounter stuff in the Core DA book was originally in the GMs Guide in Set 2 Two, which is still available in PDF from Green Ronin, and probably in print in the 2nd hand marker. SO it is possible to get hold of without getting the full DA corebook.
          Gosh, thanks for that tip. I had never read that part of DA before, as am running FAGE und BRAGE. I have now read that encounter advice, and it was a revelation! There are some solid proposals, and they are not all about combat encounters.

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          • #6
            Re: Encounter building 101

            Fantasy Age will be getting anothe volume in the future. The guide will focus on campaign building, and there just might be a chapter about encounter building. Jack Norris mentions it as a slight teaser in our podcast, and he wrote a blog post about it on the Green Ronin site!

            Iíd keep your eyes open for that, and that chapter in Dragon Age is worth checking out if you can!
            If you enjoy the AGE system you might enjoy our podcast, The Adventure Game Engine Interest Series (The AGEIS)! Formerly known as the Wonders of Thedas, we talk about all iterations of the AGE system from Dragon Age to the Expanse! We do actual plays as well as discussion episodes where we take listener questions, feature fan creations, and share news about the AGE systems! Step through the portals to see the many worlds they hide!

            You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter, listen to us on Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, and other places you get podcasts! You can contact us through our social media, Soundcloud, or by emailing us at ageipodcast@gmail.com !

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Encounter building 101

              You may appreciate that we talk about encounter building on episode 13 of our podcast! Itís a Dragon Age podcast but the tools are mostly the same!

              We also talk about adversary building on episode 42!
              If you enjoy the AGE system you might enjoy our podcast, The Adventure Game Engine Interest Series (The AGEIS)! Formerly known as the Wonders of Thedas, we talk about all iterations of the AGE system from Dragon Age to the Expanse! We do actual plays as well as discussion episodes where we take listener questions, feature fan creations, and share news about the AGE systems! Step through the portals to see the many worlds they hide!

              You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter, listen to us on Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, and other places you get podcasts! You can contact us through our social media, Soundcloud, or by emailing us at ageipodcast@gmail.com !

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Encounter building 101

                The key thing is, FAGE is like 90% of games out there, it doesn't include encounter rules beyond 'this is a challenge for PCs of roughly this power'. However, we can still apply some general rules:

                -Many small enemies hit harder than one big enemy of the same 'value'. This is basic action economy stuff, and why 'boss encounters' will tend to either be an easy victory or a crushing defeat without giving the boss mooks or additional actions.
                -Terrain affects all. Smart use of terrain will turn the tables. In general smarter combatants should hit above their 'level' by using smart use of cover and sight lines, as well as potentially making it harder for the party's melee fighters to reach them.
                -Tactics are just as important. Not only does geeking the mage first take down the party's only source of reliable multi-target attacks but clever tactics can also allow you to create terrain.
                -Variety increases difficulty. 15 Demon Soldiers is an easier fight than five Demon Soldiers, two Mages, and a couple of Knights who use Skirmish to push squishies towards the Demon Soldiers.

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                • #9
                  Re: Encounter building 101

                  Originally posted by AnonymousWizard View Post
                  The key thing is, FAGE is like 90% of games out there, it doesn't include encounter rules beyond 'this is a challenge for PCs of roughly this power'.
                  But the thing is: Dragon Age indeed HAS more encounter rules. The section in the DAGE corebook mentioned above, for example, contains a rule that would have helped several times in my FAGE campaign, namely, how to beef up a single opponent of the adventurers if that encounter is expected to be memorable.

                  In an ideal world, this DAGE section should be part of every AGE game out there.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Encounter building 101

                    Originally posted by AnonymousWizard View Post
                    -Many small enemies hit harder than one big enemy of the same 'value'. This is basic action economy stuff, and why 'boss encounters' will tend to either be an easy victory or a crushing defeat without giving the boss mooks or additional actions.
                    They can potentially, but the nature of AR makes a horde more of a nuisance than an actual threat. It all depends on the base damage.

                    1d6: very little threat to anyone
                    2d6: decent threat to rogues, less so to mages, and will rarely penetrate warriors without stunts
                    3d6: the only real threat

                    I know some D-AGE adversaries have multiple attacks, but I can't recall if the same is true for F-AGE.

                    Personally, I found AGE's sweet spot to be party vs party: roughly equal numbers and power level. Like you say, an overly strong boss gets focused on and either wipes the party or goes down quickly. Adding mooks adds some extra threat, but dissipates once you cut the head off. Conversely, a horde just doesn't penetrate defenses. The former is quick ant anticlimactic, the latter is drawn out and potentially boring.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Encounter building 101

                      Originally posted by shonuff View Post
                      They can potentially, but the nature of AR makes a horde more of a nuisance than an actual threat. It all depends on the base damage.

                      1d6: very little threat to anyone
                      2d6: decent threat to rogues, less so to mages, and will rarely penetrate warriors without stunts
                      3d6: the only real threat

                      I know some D-AGE adversaries have multiple attacks, but I can't recall if the same is true for F-AGE.

                      Personally, I found AGE's sweet spot to be party vs party: roughly equal numbers and power level. Like you say, an overly strong boss gets focused on and either wipes the party or goes down quickly. Adding mooks adds some extra threat, but dissipates once you cut the head off. Conversely, a horde just doesn't penetrate defenses. The former is quick ant anticlimactic, the latter is drawn out and potentially boring.
                      True, although I have to admit I was thinking in terms of my next game, which restricts and changes stuff for an iron age feel (the only ranged weapons are longbows and thrown weapons, armour heavier than mail doesn't exist in any significant easy, most 3d6 weapons are rare or signify coming from the Northern Clans, and an all around drop in hp to compensate). Note that a 2d6 attack will on average deal Strength(/Perception) damage to an opponent with Heavy Mail, therefore it becomes viable to attack Warriors with your one handed swords and hammers again, if not quite as good.

                      But my point was in terms of action economy. In generally more people=more actions=more ability to deal damage, cast spells, and generally harm the enemy side. This is why fights against one enemy can be a bad idea, a decent group can either dish out damage faster than the enemy, or more likely have their Mage(s) user nondamaging works to immobilise it while the warriors bag it's helpless head in. But throw say twice the party's number of monsters able to harm abs take a hit at them and you'll find that the party comes out worse for wear just because the enemy got to do stuff, and as such was that much more likely to get a couple of Pierce Armour stunts past the party.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Encounter building 101

                        Originally posted by AnonymousWizard View Post
                        True, although I have to admit I was thinking in terms of my next game, which restricts and changes stuff for an iron age feel (the only ranged weapons are longbows and thrown weapons, armour heavier than mail doesn't exist in any significant easy, most 3d6 weapons are rare or signify coming from the Northern Clans, and an all around drop in hp to compensate). Note that a 2d6 attack will on average deal Strength(/Perception) damage to an opponent with Heavy Mail, therefore it becomes viable to attack Warriors with your one handed swords and hammers again, if not quite as good.
                        Changing the technology level would definitely change balancing. I'd be concerned about the overall class balancing. Rogues would be pretty much a wash - their Pierce Armor reduction would be less useful, but their effective damage would be up. Mages would take a more significant hit - while their armor spells would be more effective, penetrating spells would be less valuable. It'd be interesting to see how that'd play out.

                        Regardless, as every table plays differently I try to ignore house rules and modifications in general advice, because OP's setting may be different from yours or mine.

                        But my point was in terms of action economy. In generally more people=more actions=more ability to deal damage, cast spells, and generally harm the enemy side. This is why fights against one enemy can be a bad idea, a decent group can either dish out damage faster than the enemy, or more likely have their Mage(s) user nondamaging works to immobilise it while the warriors bag it's helpless head in. But throw say twice the party's number of monsters able to harm abs take a hit at them and you'll find that the party comes out worse for wear just because the enemy got to do stuff, and as such was that much more likely to get a couple of Pierce Armour stunts past the party.
                        Agreed that more mobs are more dangerous in terms of chances to hit, proc stunts, etc. However, if you're keeping relative adversary level consistent, I would say that more isn't necessarily more dangerous. 2x party in mooks would have a ton of chances to hit and proc Pierce Armor/Mighty Blow, which would make them more capable of piercing defenses. However, their accuracy is much lower, so they tend to miss more. And with solo bosses, even with a handful of mooks, they tend to get burned down too quickly.

                        From my experience, and yours very might well differ, I find that AGE encounters approach a bell curve. The more power is consolidated or dispersed, the less challenging the encounter -- although I would agree that 2x party mooks are typically more challenging than 1 super boss. I've found that the most challenging encounters have been with about the number and power level of the PCs.

                        Then again, my table generally has 4-6 PCs, so I have a wide array from which to choose. With 2-4, I could see the balance of power shifting.

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