[NE] Pre-game worries

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HaraldKlak
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[NE] Pre-game worries

#1 Postby HaraldKlak » Thu Nov 20, 2008 7:11 pm

Hi,
I'm setting up a game of Necessary Evil and have a lot of concerns about the impact of different power combos, my players might choose.
While playing Rippers I experienced several spells that was utterly game breaking, such as Telekinesis and the Mind Control spell (which I dont remember the name of).

Do those of you who have run or played Necessary Evil have any advice on powers/power combos that will tip the balance?

For example I thought, at first glance, that a villain with Speed (supersonic) combined with invisibility and/or awareness (with danger sense), will be virtually impossible to hit with mundane attacks. I would loath to have to use a mindcontroller or a bunch of grenades in any encounter, so I would prefer to take my precautions in advance.

I don't mind restricting or nerfing powers if it helps balance the game and make room for more variation.
If you have any input it would be much appreciated.

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#2 Postby WickedRoland » Thu Nov 20, 2008 7:41 pm

You wouldnt need grenades. Any attack with a template would do and most don't give them an agility roll to get out of the way(depending on the trappings).

The one power I liked the least in my games was Super Sorcery. Players tend to spend way too much time trying to decide their action as they have all the powers at their fingertips. It gets even worse when they cast a spell and gain a power. Next turn do nothing with the power, drop it and have to decide on what new power they want.
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#3 Postby HaraldKlak » Thu Nov 20, 2008 7:52 pm

WickedRoland wrote: It gets even worse when they cast a spell and gain a power. Next turn do nothing with the power, drop it and have to decide on what new power they want.


That sound that like the sort of thing, that causes random backlashes. :wink:

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#4 Postby Control » Fri Nov 21, 2008 1:32 am

I had characters who combined super speed with invisibility or danger sense in my NE campaign and they were seldom hit. It can be frustrating when what you planned as a difficult combat is done in two or three rounds with none of the PC's wounded. The player with mind control took over drones with ease which is also some thing to keep in mind.

At legendary one character had an extra action (repeatable), two fisted, and a couple of HeroKiller pistols giving him four HW attacks a round! He was also super fast and invisible so he was very hard to hit. The psychic had mind control and mind reading with contacts and a large bonus to persuasion. Between those two they cleaned up pretty well.

But all told it was pretty fun letting the players build their villains up to where they could take out the V'sori troops and officers with out breaking a sweat. My players were pretty good about remembering that while they could handle several times their own number in attackers they would be overwhelmed or nuked from orbit eventually. So they used the hit and run tactics the setting calls for.

I'd be more concerned with making sure that all of your Villains have a HW attack and Heavy Armor. But if you are worried about those combined defense bonuses causing target numbers of 12 - 16 (yes I saw them that high with cover mods) just rule that danger sense, invisibility, & super speed don't stack.
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#5 Postby Lysander » Fri Nov 21, 2008 8:58 pm

Once you get the idea of how well your players are working as individuals and as a team, you should be able to adjust the settings against them with more and/or tougher villains than what's presented.

Extra Toughness, the great equalizer...?
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#6 Postby Tavis » Sat Nov 22, 2008 2:53 am

Just remember that the V'Sori aren't stupid.

They have scientists working on Anti-Supers stuff.

If they find that they're constantly facing invisible enemies, then their troops will start to sport goggles that let them see outside of the visible spectrum, or even something to simple as carrying a paint sprayer ("Aha! You might be invisible, but the paint I have sprayed on you is easy to see, Human!")

Psionic Shields giving a +2 or +4 to resist mind control (or just psionically shielded Drones) are also a possibility to help neutralise Mind controllers.

Bothered with Super Speed - how about an Oil Slick, or Some Ice, or if you want to be more Hi-Tech about it an "Anti-Friction Ray" - do you really want to be moving at supersonic speeds when you might suddenly hit something that you have no traction on?


Of course, you wouldn't want the V'Sori to put these guys everywhere - they have a lot of resources, but they're not THAT well off for resources.

But it doesn't mean that they can't spring traps for the Villains. And ensure that the troops springing the trap have the tools to take their enemies down.

It's meant to be a Comic Book Style setting - the main characters are meant to have an easy time of it when dealing with basic mooks. But when the 'brains' of the opposing side are set against them, then they have to start using their brains (super or otherwise) to get around things.

And don't forget that you can hit the heroes in other ways that just combat. Even if no-one has taken a dependent or a sidekick you can still use their actions against them.

If they're doing "too well" in wading through all of the enemies you put in front of them then their black market contacts might dry up "Sorry man - no can do ... you're too hot to deal with right now - the V'sori are searching you out and I don't want to be involved ..."

Use the comic books for inspiration - some of the best moments (for me) in comic books are where it doesn't matter what super powers a hero has - it's other things about their character that are being tested - some might even argue that comic books are Modern-Day morality tales with the super heroes being as 'above the normal man' as the Knights and Princesses and Priests were in Mummers Tales.

Remember its not WHAT a character can do that should define them, more HOW and WHY they do what they do.

That's just what I think though.
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#7 Postby Wendigo1870 » Sun Nov 23, 2008 8:58 am

There've been a lot of threads on these 'worries'. Have they all disappeared? Everyone forgot to add a poll? :wink:

Indeed, most of what is said above is true: Some PC's are almost impossible to hit - invisible speedsters, ... - , others are extremely versatile - Sorcerers, gadgeteers, ... - , some can unleash enormous amounts of damage - multi-action attacks with high damage templates,... -, and others just ruin your game session - mind read/control, ... -!

So what you need to do is be smart, think like a tactical chessplayer - like a V'Sori warlord. What would/can I use to oppose these threats?
Against hard-to-hit's, use AoE weapons, collateral damage, carpet-bombing, ...
Against Versatiles, hit them at their current weaknesses - they can't possibly cover everything all at once.
High damage-dealers: way too many PP's in their attacks instead of defense: take them out asap, and the forces you have left aren't swept away that easily by the other Supers.
Mind-controllers: the V'Sori are a psychic race themselves. They of all opponents should be familiar with this sort of trickery. There's probably a large range of mind-blockers and the like available to them. They maintain an air of secrecy, so most underlings don't know important info they can reveal through mindreading. Even better - they distribute false info amongst their own units, causing mindreaders to absorb incorrect info which will lead them into a trap!

And remember this; the best weapons against your Villains are Villains themselves! (Ab)use their hindrances, let the V'Sori know of them and exploit these weaknesses. And other Villains are ideal enemies; tailor a competing Cell (or renegade Cell) with Villains which have powers that are ideal to oppose your PC's Villains.

And remember these golden rule for a GM:
"There are no rules.
Cheat anyway."
:)

Hope that helps!
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#8 Postby Noshrok Grimskull » Sun Nov 23, 2008 2:37 pm

And don't forget your arsenal:
Foam-throwers, mega-tasers, nullifier guns, fusion grenades... the works. With a bit of planning you don't even have to come up with new exotic equipment. Just use what's in the book creatively.
Nullify the Brick, foam the Speedster, taser the Sorcerer and blow up the Mind Controller... or somesuch. ;)

And if all that doesn't work: Fly with it!
In my NE game, I'm going high-powered FUN all the way. My group of 4 Villains (and now 3 Sidekicks via the Adventure Deck) can (and HAVE) cut their way through 30+ foes while only taking minimal damage. But that's how I like it, too. I just pile up the opposition and let them hammer their way through.

(But then, my game is over-the-top anyway... The villains are currently looting the high-security complex of a rich excentric, taking a special interest in his museum - where they found the hat of Abraham Lincoln, the belt of Batman, a silver-black Walther P38 gun with stock and silencer locked in a stasis field (which they left behind...), a blue helmet with a mirrored visor, a fedora hat and a whip, parts of the Roswell UFO, and a whole slew of other historical, quasi-historical and cartoon / comic items...)
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#9 Postby Tavis » Sun Nov 23, 2008 2:59 pm

Noshrok Grimskull wrote:a silver-black Walther P38 gun with stock and silencer locked in a stasis field (which they left behind...)


Tell me you had Megatron statted just in case they didn't spot that one and let him out...
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#10 Postby Noshrok Grimskull » Sun Nov 23, 2008 4:52 pm

Actually the raid took place right at the end of the session, so I just threw out some ideas and had them throw some back at me. The actual looting will take place next session, so the players have some time to think about what they might find there and throw me even more ideas at the start of next session...

So no, I didn't have stats for Megatron just then, but I'll have them for next time, just in case...

And they didn't spot this one...
They also didn't get the helmet of Cobra Commander (nor the fact that their arms dealer wears black and red and has silver power gloves and a silver head/mask and is a Scot who goes by the name of James McCullen XXIV).

I love throwing side-jokes.

The museum also held a badly damaged red-and-blue truck, an equally damaged (non-related) silver-and-black 1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, the charred remains of a red-and-gold exo-armor, the sword Balmung, a golden orb with steel handles that looks kinda like this:
Image
and a few other things.

Even deeper into the underground complex (the team hacked into the computer system and pulled up some schematics) is also a level with something called "The Cage" where they house "The Metaltron"...

Oh, and the guy this whole complex belongs to is Henry van Statten. ;)

Yep, totally over the top, but this is my game. :cool:
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#11 Postby Tuesday » Sun Nov 23, 2008 6:23 pm

Noshrok: That's awesome. That is, in fact, more awesome than most things I've done to my PCs.

My personal favourite moment so far is having the a couple of the PCs rounded up with a pile of civilians, surrounded by drone and Fin guards and having a V'Sori doing his best SS Colonel impression interrogating the goup and demanding that they give up "vat zey know about ze Omega zells vithin zis city, or you vill all be hexecuted".

The PCs knew they were outmatched, knew they were in deep trouble, and were trying to figure out if they could pass for human and escape execution, or maybe even just pop out their powers, kill the colonel, and escape in the confusion once he came to them.

So, the Colonel takes the first human, slaps him a few times, asks questions, gets no useful answers, and shoots him in the head.

He grabs the second human and repeats the process. The PCs are getting close to panic, the more combat-capable one shuffles himself in front of the group so he'll be picked first, and then the colonel grabs the third human in line.

"You haf seen the futility of opposition. Vat do you haf to tell us of ze Omega traitors?" <slap>
"Please don't do that."
"You vill no protest zat you know nossing? You vill simply ask zat I stop?"
"Yes. Please don't do that any more. Please let me and all these other people go right now."
<Colonel laughs> "Und VHY should ve do that?"
"Because you'll make me angry."
<colonel laughs again> "Oh? And ve should care about your anger because..."
"You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."

Two of the three PCs grabbed the third and hit the dirt, immediately, at that point.

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#12 Postby HaraldKlak » Sun Nov 23, 2008 6:34 pm

Thanks for all the input :)

I really like the thought about using a lot of different devices to pose a challange to the characters powers. Of course there is some in the book, but it seem like a nice chance to be creative.

And also I think the "parallel lives" scenario seem like a good way of letting them realise just how annoying their powers can be. I have letting them play their (more) evil counterparts in the parallel universe before pitting them against themselves.

Oh, and I definately needs to have a Megatron in my game!

On another note: I think that the main plot i NE seems to lack a bit of investigation. The plot line seems to be very much A>B>C... and always connected by Dr. D telling the characters what to do, and who to talk to.
I really would like the main plot to evolve due to the characters actions. The easy part is to hide some of the information, such as the locations, so the players have to investigate/gather contacts themselves. But I think it is difficult sometimes when the adventures is connected by eg. "Save the presidents daughter" -> "She reveals the locations of Hydras Base" -> "the teleporter found there gets you to atlantis". A lot of this is necessary to keep important parts of Dr. D's plans hidden from the players, but it is a bit too much.
Can you give me some ideas on how to introduce the main plots (and the side adventures for that matter) in a different way?

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#13 Postby Noshrok Grimskull » Sun Nov 23, 2008 7:27 pm

Get creative.

No, really. This might sound obvious and a bit stupid, but that all it takes.
Take the above-mentioned museum raid in my game. This thing came about from a very different angle.
It all started with Doc D. giving the PCs a mission. They had to go and grab an Enigma-like machine from a floating V'sori weapons factory.
(Shameless plug: This adventure hook can also be found in the NE issue of Shark Bytes.)
I threw the team a curve-ball and had a bunch of black-clad mercenary types show up and grab that thing right from under the team nose before retreating and trying to sink the ship.
Needless to say, the team didn't take that kind of defeat too well and tried to find out who those guys in black fatigues were. Eventually they succeeded and found that those are most likely the black-ops units of Geocomtex, the company owned by Van Statten.
So they had one of the villains apply for a job to do a little spy-work and then made the big break, discovering the museum in the process...

Working around with the plot points might take a bit more work, but I'll have to get back to you on that as it's past 1 a.m. here and I'm tired. :1icon_sleep:

@ Tuesday: Nice one. I might use that one, too.
I also love "guest appearances, as you can see by the arms dealer above. I also like to use the real names of (lesser known) comic book heroes and villains like Lisa Morel or Daniel Ketch for NPCs. I even use the names of people connected to the comic book business for NPCs.
For example, there's this recurring NPC who is a UPS driver (or so it seems) and apparently Doc D.'s personal pick-up and delivery guy if stuff has to get to or away from the team. His name is Martin Goodman. (Look at the first one provided. Somehow linking directly doesn't work...)
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#14 Postby steelbrok » Wed Nov 26, 2008 11:01 am

A thought crossed my mind for dealing with the NE Sorcery power. I haven’t play tested it or anything, I was just looking for a way to make the sorcery power quicker to use. The fact that it nicely fits a homebrew I’m doing is a bonus of course.

Each level of Sorcery still costs 3 NE power points. Each level allows the use of one SWEX power point per round for the spells in the SWEX books.

Some sort of edge like Soul Drain would probably still be useful to allow Sorcerers to push themselves beyond safe limits.

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#15 Postby Clint » Wed Nov 26, 2008 11:09 am

steelbrok wrote:Each level of Sorcery still costs 3 NE power points. Each level allows the use of one SWEX power point per round for the spells in the SWEX books.


Careful. These powers are not designed to be inter-used at all, and that does not just mean that NE powers are more powerful than core powers. For instance, the core version of Healing is actually better than the NE version.
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