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 Post subject: Designing Combat Encounters and Monster Making
PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 7:05 pm 
Shelled Plebeian

Joined: Tue May 30, 2017 11:46 pm
Posts: 2
Hello everyone!

So I'm GMing my first OVA campaign and I'm struggling a bit with designing encounters, specifically with making viable enemies. So, when making a few characters and looking at character sheets, it seems like the average TV for PC in an action-type game is somewhere between 16 - 20.

So, the table on page 124 to suit a party of four would look like so:

Easy 16 - 20
Moderate 32 - 40
Challenging 48 - 60
Dead Even 64 - 80
Unlikely Victory 80 - 100
Nigh Impossible 96 - 120

NOTE: Sorry that this is super flawed as there are some large TV gaps in this. This just for general range.

For the first encounter, I wanted the players to encounter a zombie raid on the village that they are staying at.

For Undead Swarm stats I have,

HP 20 END 20
Roll 4 Dx 3
Def 3

TV 1 ??? - I put "???" here because I wasn't sure if this is the correct TV. This is my math:

20 below HP (Since base is 40) = -2
20 below END (Since base is 40) = -2
Roll 4 = +2
Dx 3 = +2
Def 3 = +1

Now, if I threw in a boss with 23 TV, it seems as if I would need at least nine more Undead Swarms to make this fight moderate. This feels a bit wrong to me. I would love to hear what everyone's thoughts and also some ways that you came up with encounters. Also, please let me know if I did anything wrong in this post. Thank you so much!

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 Post subject: Re: Designing Combat Encounters and Monster Making
PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 5:01 pm 
Shelled Plebeian

Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:51 am
Posts: 3
Let me start by saying good luck on gaming your first OVA campaign. The TV system can be hard to wrap your mind around initially. I struggled with it for a bit, too, at the beginning. Sadly, there is no exact science to balancing everything, the book even telling you as much.

Your chart about what numbers to use looks right. The thing that I found (with my group anyways) is that 2 enemies adding up to a 20 is stronger than a single enemy at 20. This is why you should be adjusting as you learn your pcs and things. It's like the pirate code, "more like guidlines."

As for the Undead Swarm, as you have them, it should be (I believe) a TV of 6. Here is the break down;

HP and Endurance have no stat modifying them (like tough or vigorous), so no adjustment there (I will get to the 20 health and endurance in a minute)
The attack roll is 4, so that is a +4 to the TV
Damage is 3x, so that is another +3
Dodge is 3, so that is another +3.
No extra stuff like armour or magic, so that gives us a base TV of 10 (4+3+3=10).
Since you want this creature to be a side character, and not a main challenge, we can change his type to a secondary (talks about NPC types on page 123). This lowers his health and endurance to a 20 base. This also lowers the TV by 4 (essentially, same thing you had by -2 for health and -2 for endurance).
Bringing final TV down to 6. (10-4=6)

You had the same idea about the health and endurance just subtracting 4 from the TV, and it for all intent purposes was correct and works just fine. The reason I seperated the steps of the health and NPC type, is that I find it is great to be able to change it around on the fly if needed without restating everything. For instance, you could first have your group encounter a hard fight with 4 zombie swarms using the heroic health for them (4x10=40), then once they learn what they are up against, start using them as secondaries, or even extras (extras have a TV of 1). Like in the zombie movies, that first zombie is always the hardest it seems. This also lets you adjust other things too. I have one of my PCs in a rivalry with Natsuki this way. Just converted her to a secondary, as it isn't a main part of the story (His company beat her company out of a contracting bid with a goverment to clear out Godzilla from Monster Island. Long story).

To try to give the TL;DR version of what I said, the biggest thing wrong about the TV you calculated was the Dodge, Damage, and Attack is based on the total before perks and flaws, not the modifier. It's modifier for anything adding/subtracting from Health, Endurance, or Armour. Then half rank of anything that might help, such as Healer or Magic.

As far as how I build encounters, I try to mix it up. A few different types of creatures helps. I avoid having only 1 enemy, no matter how strong he is, unless I really give him a lot of boss abilities that give him extra actions and health. The key is try to give every player something to do. So the idea of having a TV 23 boss, with his two undead swarms would be a cool fight for a moderate (23+6+6=35 TV). I also try to avoid having more than twice as many enemies as my group. So for 4 players, I try not to use more than 8 guys. Unless they are extras. Also, I try to avoid just using all attack as simple damage dealers. Give some of them special properties. For extras and some secondaries this is fine, but by giving them perks and flaws, it makes the fight seem less like a slug-fest. Coming off of D&D, this was hard for me to adjusts to. So your zombie swarm might have their attacks have low penetration since it is just fingernails not really able to cut through armour (I am thinking a campaign that actually would see some pcs with armour.), but accurate, as they are swarming the group. This makes them seem different than a pack of zombie dogs, let's say, that use the same stats, but they attack using an attack that has stunning (they bite and don't let go) and activation (they snarl and howl before they charge.) None of these change the TV, as I haven't changed the stats, just modified the attack is all. In fact, I might have 5 or 6 guys in a fight that all use the same stats, but I just give them different attacks. Or I just swap their defense and attack rolls. So i might say the zombie dogs have a 4 Dodge roll, and 3 Attack roll. But above all, be flexible. Nothing wrong with suddenly converting that boss over to a secondary, or having a few more reinforcments show up if the PCs start getting slaughtered or slaughter everthing. I do that a lot.

Sorry for the long post. Hope it helps, and happy gaming.

Oh, also unless you let your PCs heal before the battles and stuff, then assume that for every 10 health and endurance they lost, they have around 1 less TV for themselves. Learned that one the hard way. RIP my PCs that campaign.

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 Post subject: Re: Designing Combat Encounters and Monster Making
PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:41 pm 
Dangerously Sane
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Joined: Sun Jun 27, 2004 4:32 pm
Posts: 1233
Location: Nowhere-land
Thanks for the lengthy post, Slash. That's some very good advice!

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