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Starting novice players vs Orc minions just too easy

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  • Starting novice players vs Orc minions just too easy

    Yesterday I had a session with 3 players with starting novice characters, the first fight against 6 orcs was just too easy, the orcs did not even hit one time. Do I have to treat all monster as wilds cards?
    What is your experience so far with the bestiary?

  • #2
    This is not uncommon in Savage Worlds. Because only 1 die is used sometimes the rolls just are not there.

    But at other times you will find the same group could kill one of the PCs before they even get a chance to roll. There has been a lot of comment on this before for Savage Worlds in general being so much more dangerous. This leads the players into a false confidence that could get them killed.

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    • #3
      I'd probably assume that orcs do a lot of Wild Attacking which will make them *much* more deadly. Extras are designed to get dealt with relatively quickly, though.

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      • #4
        Everything is stack into the favor of Wild Cards for good reason. That being said, I do suggest a large group like that to have at least one leader or champion who is a wild card.

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        • #5
          with 6 to 3, the orcs should have attempted to stack the decks a little by ganging up for a gang up bonus, wild attacking, etc. don't forget that even the extra's aren't stupid. they aren't generally going to fight fair, unless they have no other choice.

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          • #6
            Six orc Extras against three player Wild Cards (even Novice ones) probably IS going to be an easy fight. It's essentially 2 Extras per player, which is typically half what the group should be able to handle. I would have probably made it 3 per player and/or given them one Wild Card leader. Also, as others have pointed out, orcs likely fight dirty, so Tests, Gang Up, and Wild Attacks can be expected.

            I should note that small groups of enemies aren't always a bad thing. Combat doesn't only need to have the goal of "kill everything on screen." Sometimes you'll just want to pester the players, particularly if they're in the middle of a Dramatic Task or something.

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            • #7
              I always use SW for short stories, we all know how deadly it can be but with the release of pathfinder I wanted to try it for a campaign (usually use dnd 5e for that). I used most of the tricks, gang up and wild attack and I only put 6 orcs by reflex, in dnd it would have been a hard fight for 1st levels.

              I still find it hard to balance encounter in SW

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              • #8
                Originally posted by ACIDX69 View Post
                I still find it hard to balance encounter in SW
                Generally speaking, a "fair fight" for a fresh-faced Novice Wild Card (no Advances yet) would be 3-4 average Extras (average meaning most, if not all, Traits are d6) or one equally fresh-faced Novice WC. The actual number of Extras you'll put on the table (whether 3 or 4 per player) needs to be "felt out" based on their character's general combat capability.

                Every GM has their own method for scaling threats, but the one that I find works is, for every two Advances a character has, either:
                • increase the number of Extras by 1,
                • increase a Trait by one step for every Extra in the group,
                • give the Extras one Edge,
                • give all Extras in the group one item of better gear.
                So a Seasoned character (four Advances) would provide Extras with any two of the above improvements. You might increase the number of mooks he faces to 5-6... or 4-5, but they all increase Fighting to d8 (which in turn improves Parry by 1). Or, keep the threat at 3-4, but in addition to a d8 Fighting, they all have long swords instead of short sword /daggers.

                One of the benefits of this approach is that if a party consists of characters at different degrees of Advancement, it's fine because you tailor each group of Extras separately based on their individual number of Advances. Of course, if you want easier or harder encounters, simply adjust things as needed.

                Adding a Wild Card foe
                You can add or increase the number of Wild Cards for three "points" of improvement. Again, the flexibility of this method allows you to pull those points from wherever you want. You might use one point from three different groups, or take all three from one group. Whatever best serves the type of encounter you want to provide.

                As I mentioned above, I think a fair fight for your three Novices would have been 3 orcs per player, with one Wild Card leader. Using the proposed method, we can examine the encounter as following:
                • The suggestion of 3-4 Extras per player (3) is placed solidly at 3 per player (or 2 if some characters are particularly weak), which "frees up" roughly 3 points.
                • Those 3 points then go toward adding a Wild Card orc to the encounter.
                Once you get a feel for how your players perform, you can adjust things accordingly.

                Hope this helps.
                Last edited by Deskepticon; 11-23-2021, 12:22 PM.

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                • #9
                  The rank of the character is not nearly as important as their combat focus.

                  I would say to figure out the expected combat potential of a character take their skill die type and the number of combat or power edges they have into account.

                  For example a Veteran with d6 fighting and focused on the Face role, would get eaten alive by the encounter that a Novice brute with d10 fighting and 3 combat edges would ignore.



                  Perhaps what savage worlds needs is a quick encounter calculator. Give the PCs a rating of something like:
                  Combat Skill Die + Combat edges + Power Edge
                  Divide this number by 3 for extras.

                  Bad guys could be rated the same way. I think Zadmar's combat simulator was an effective way back when I was new for comparing battles. But I do not know if he updated it to SWADE.

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                  • Deskepticon
                    Deskepticon commented
                    Editing a comment
                    It's true that combat effectiveness is important, but that becomes less relevant with larger parties. Tests and various Social Edges have huge synergistic effect in combat when the fighter can exploit the weaknesses created. Use Rabble-Rouser on a group of Extras and the fighter's Sweep becomes so much more potent.

                    Focusing only on combat skills/Edges to balance threats is going to yield unreliable results. I'm not saying it's not important (I point it out in my previous post), but at best it only justifies a small nudge, whether that's an increase or a decrease in threat level.
                    Last edited by Deskepticon; 11-24-2021, 12:35 AM.

                • #10
                  You also need to take the players into account. A group new to SW, or RPGs more generally, usually won’t be as effective.

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                  • #11
                    Well... Savage Worlds is wild. On the Hollow's Last Hope I saw the boss don't give any trouble and a simple wolf almost killed non-wounded PC with just one bite (he took 3 wounds and failed to soak it).

                    On the other hand, this very same party (novice, zero advancement) fought a Wild Card Hill Giant and defeat him in just one round: the wizard cast entagle and get a raise, since a bounded character allows the Drop the fighter used multi-action to make three wild attacks. Now, if you think on D&D/PF perspective, a 1st-level party (or even a 3rd-level) can't win a fight against a Hill Giant.

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                    • #12
                      Originally posted by aleguarita View Post
                      Well... Savage Worlds is wild. On the Hollow's Last Hope I saw the boss don't give any trouble and a simple wolf almost killed non-wounded PC with just one bite (he took 3 wounds and failed to soak it).

                      On the other hand, this very same party (novice, zero advancement) fought a Wild Card Hill Giant and defeat him in just one round: the wizard cast entagle and get a raise, since a bounded character allows the Drop the fighter used multi-action to make three wild attacks. Now, if you think on D&D/PF perspective, a 1st-level party (or even a 3rd-level) can't win a fight against a Hill Giant.
                      This is very true. I ran Hope and Kobold King's Crown at the same time, by far the most lethal encounter was 2 medium spider swarms and a giant spider, and the giant spider could have spent the whole time drinking tea. the swarms kept acing damage rolls to a ridiculous degree.

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