Combat Encounter Building

Talk about Green Ronin's A Song of Ice and Fire RPG, based on George R.R. Martin's best-selling fantasy series. Winter is here!

Combat Encounter Building

Postby Arcturus » Tue Mar 31, 2009 4:41 am

Is there mention in the book of how many or how tough foes I should be throwing at the PCs to constitute a challenging or easy battle?

I imagine throwing 4 tertiary NPCs at 4 PCs is going to prove fairly easy. Since animals don't have armour they're likely to go down fairly quickly too so groups of them should be fine. How about the Others, giants or primary NPCs?

Basically, I'm worried about killing off everyone before we get into the flow of things, or making things so easy as to boring. Does anyone have any advice on getting the balance right?
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Postby Siroh » Tue Mar 31, 2009 5:17 am

I don't have any practical experience with this yet, but I would try doubling the PCs number on a first encounter, and every group of tertiary PCs encountered should probably have a secondary PC leader unless the scene isn't that important to the overall plot.

Remember also that armor is armor. Two tertiary PCs without armor might be difficult but doable for the Lady in Waiting to dispatch herself using improvised weapons, but two mercenaries in full armor are too much.

With the fantastical you'll just have to figure that out as you go. Test them against one Other first, and then threaten them with an entire squad when you want them to choose the better part of valor.

The last thing to remember, which applies in any role-playing game, is that how the adversaries act is often more dangerous than their numbers, armament or special abilities.

Back alley thugs can simply make a frontal assault, or they can try to guide the characters to a prepared ambush, another smart tactic is that the thugs can make extensive use of range attackers while their own melee fighters keep the PCs' strong fighters at bay (utilizing defensive options instead of offensive ones), or knockout poison gas. It depends on the resources of the main adversary, but almost anything is possible when dealing with people.

Even "dumb" animals rarely act stupidly. A shadowcat should circle the party before trying to go for one of the easy targets, (most often while hidden beyond sight), which you can rationalize as it smelling the most fear from one of the non-combatants, not smelling of oil and metal, whatever. Also, it'd try to drag the person off from the group, it wouldn't assault a lone person in the middle of the group.
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Postby Arcturus » Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:46 am

Thanks for the advice Siroh, guess I'll just have to test things out as the game progresses.
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Postby Talassa » Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:18 am

Arcturus wrote:Thanks for the advice Siroh, guess I'll just have to test things out as the game progresses.


and that's how it was done in the old ways, old school style! and it was fun!
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Postby Irontruth » Wed Apr 01, 2009 9:53 am

Other's are pretty strong. They go first, have a high attack, high defense and almost as good armor as plate. Their base damage isn't that high, but against most characters they're going to get 4 degrees of success and they ignore 4 armor rating (they also reduce your armor by 1 every time they hit by 2 degrees or more). Ie. against the annoited knight archetype, the Other is going to hit every round for 16, but his full plate is only going to stop 6 of it.

Send an other against a group of 3-5 starting characters and you'll probably have at least one dead party member (or burning destiny to survive), possibly more depending on how combat focused they are.
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