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Thread: Gamemastering problem

  1. #1
    OPA Belta
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    Gamemastering problem

    For decades now I have been gamemastering rpgs, but the current state auf my FAGE campaign presented I problem I never faced before.

    I tried to demonstrate to the players what danger their characters were marching into by giving hints that a small army of opponents waited in that direction.

    They didn't care. They marched on.

    I gave them more hints to the sheer number of opponents (sevel hundreds). They still didn't care, quite secure in their perceived knowledge that FAGE characters are unbeatable by opponents of literally any number.

    So, the confrontation ensued. I didn't know how to handle it. The opposing army suggested the Mass Battle System, the group of characters suggested a normal combat encounter.

    So I tried a normal combat encounter. And the characters won. Four of them, against 300 foes. Easily. (Naturally, I didn't roll for every opponent; I made a representative roll for each ten of them. All - ALL - of these rolls failed against min-maxed FAGE 9th level characters.)

    There were of course severe mistakes made in gamemastering, but never before had I experienced players not being interested in any PLAUSIBLE way of things, so accustomed they have become to the basic invincibility of 9th level FAGE characters.

    I know. I shouldn't have used rules (any rules) in that situation.

    On the other hand, if the rules represented real danger to adventurers a little bit better, that would have helped the players to simply flee or evade an army. But they insisted on fighting. I could have said there were 3.000 fighters, and they still would have insisted to fight them.

    By the way: there was also a spell-using encounter against the foes' three mages. This was done by normal rules and was an easy win for the characters because it is so easy to resist even the most experienced mage: the spellpower system. With "outcome" as in Blue Rose, the power and experience of the opposing mages would have been a real thing, but not with spellpower.
    Last edited by rulandor; 02-06-2019 at 09:16 AM.

  2. #2
    OPA Belta Kythkyn's Avatar
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    Re: Gamemastering problem

    I was going to go through and make individual comments, but I think you're doing something woefully wrong. In a smaller skirmish, even, the PCs shouldn't be able to just wade through combat, much less against 300. Like, was this a Shaw Brothers style encounter, where the PCs fought one NPC at a time? (Also, don't make one roll per ten enemies, because that's not how the game's set up.)

    F-AGE levels more laterally than most games, so sure, the PCs have a tonne of hitpoints by 9th level, but they are far from invincible. And even rolling for half the enemies, you're still generating more stunt points than the PCs could hope to, just based on the amount of rolling you'd have done, so you can reduce their armour, do extra damage, and skirmish them all over the place, just to name a few things.

  3. #3
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    Re: Gamemastering problem

    Iím away from my books, but arenít there bonuses to flanking/outnumbering?

  4. #4
    OPA Belta vincegetorix's Avatar
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    Re: Gamemastering problem

    The FAGE companion would suggest the use of the Mob rules in this case. For the case of 300 foes, lets say 5 Huge Mobs (60) brigands. It would have given your enemies more staying power and more damage and a fun little stunt to target more than one character for 1+ SP.

    EDIT: One of those Mobs could even be an Heroic or Elite mob! Or have a mob of mages or archers!
    Last edited by vincegetorix; 02-06-2019 at 02:20 PM.

  5. #5
    OPA Belta Kot the Protector's Avatar
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    Re: Gamemastering problem

    Honestly if they wanted to take on an entire army, I might even run the army as a hazard, delivering an unclmfortable amount of damage (maybe 6d6 to each PC surrounded by troops) each round unless the heroes can damage it enough.
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  6. #6
    OPA Belta Doctor Atomic's Avatar
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    Re: Gamemastering problem

    What kind of magic toys does the party have on hand?

    The group is my campaign is level 7, and I am hitting them with monsters who have total attack scores of +4 to +6 to +8 (for the leaders) so I can hit the mark. How high has your group built up their DEF? My group ranges from a low of 13 for one of the mages to 17 or 18 for the fighter with a shield.

    If you have an army or huge mob, give some of them long spears or pikes so they can attack from second rank behind the shield wall.

    Even orcs have shaman, use "storm callers" who can use the Lightning arcana for some juicy penetrating damage.

    Give the leaders and sergeants higher DEX so the rogue loses their extra damage trick when attacking them.

  7. #7
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    Re: Gamemastering problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Atomic View Post
    What kind of magic toys does the party have on hand?

    The group is my campaign is level 7, and I am hitting them with monsters who have total attack scores of +4 to +6 to +8 (for the leaders) so I can hit the mark. How high has your group built up their DEF? My group ranges from a low of 13 for one of the mages to 17 or 18 for the fighter with a shield.

    If you have an army or huge mob, give some of them long spears or pikes so they can attack from second rank behind the shield wall.

    Even orcs have shaman, use "storm callers" who can use the Lightning arcana for some juicy penetrating damage.

    Give the leaders and sergeants higher DEX so the rogue loses their extra damage trick when attacking them.
    Well, the rogue and the two mage hunters have Def of more than 15. They early got the scent of the importance of Dex and Wil and have those at 3, 4 or 5 each (at level 9). They resist any and all magic used against them.

    @shonuff: I didn't find any flanking rules (although there might be something buried in some talent), but there is a superiority in numbers bonus of up to +2 in character based combat and up to +3 in Mass Battles.

  8. #8
    OPA Belta Doctor Atomic's Avatar
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    Re: Gamemastering problem

    You need to increase the spell power of your attackers, as the players gain levels the monsters need to be improved too. Don't forget that in canonical FAGE having the spell arcana INT focus adds +2 penalty to the TN to resist a spell. If your players have 5 WILL then some of your bad guy casters should too, with the arcana focus I just mentioned that would boost the TN to 17.

  9. #9
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    Re: Gamemastering problem

    I'm concerned about your statement "easily"; while there is a bit of a heroic feel to some of the characters (one of my players rolled max willpower to start at level 1 and raised it immediately next chance) the party is still not able to easily disable a group of foes that are similarly leveled. I assume if all if your army was relatively weak?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kythkyn View Post
    Also, don't make one roll per ten enemies, because that's not how the game's set up
    This is important, I think this hurt you - adjudicating a situation off the cuff like that can be difficult. Giving them their rolls would have added stunts, this could have been super long-form play though. But I would have made sure that any currently attacking foe was rolling their own dice.

    Additionally: I would have had the players roll against a formidable or imposing TN to avoid being overwhelmed and captured every turn. Modeling this as a real group of 300 surrounding and crushing against a group of 4/5 they would quickly be unable to swing and lose dexterity and swamped by bodies.

    @rulandor: You have the page/book for that superiority in numbers? That would also have gone good here.

    As others noted, with an army of 300 some of them would be more advanced, both in elite squads and leaders/sgts/chiefs. In the next encounter like that call a smoke break before hand and model out your army on a sheet of paper noting which ones need to be beefed up.

    Question: What TL foes do your characters usually fight? Do they toe-to-toe a group of Dire adversaries easily?

  10. #10
    OPA Belta Kot the Protector's Avatar
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    Re: Gamemastering problem

    On page 101 of the Fantasy Age Basic Rulebook is the Attack Modifiers table, including bonuses/penalties from +3 to -3.

    The list of circumstances for modifying attack rolls here is certainly not exhaustive, but should give an idea of how you can adjudicate the modifiers.
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