Battle help

Discuss our dark fantasy adventure tabletop roleplaying game based on BioWare's computer game, Dragon Age Origins.

Battle help

Postby ReaperX5 » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:18 pm

So I am the GM in my group and We've gotten into the first battle in the campaign and I had them fight a pair of giant spiders. But on the adversaries section, all it said the attack roll for their bite was +6.

I thought that means its the standard attack roll of 3d6+6, but that means they hit almost everytime and wipe everyone out.

So Am I missing something here or was I right all along and my players are just squishy? :cry:
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Re: Battle help

Postby Pelios » Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:24 pm

Hello there and welcome to the Dragon Age RPG GM world. Let's take a look at the Giant Spider Monster.

The +6 is coming from its Dex Score of 4, and it has a Focus in Bite. As you should know the attack of Bite will use the dex score, and the Bite focus to make it a plus 6. This is similar to a character that plays a rogue with 4 dex, and a focus in bows, they will also have an extra +6 to their attack roll as well.

Also there is a thing called DM/GM Fiat. This is a term used to describe the ability for a GM to be able to "fudge" die rolls, or monster ability scores. Ex. If your players are having too tough of a time with these monsters, perhaps think about making the Bite attack only have the Dex bonus of +4, and leave out the bite focus all together. Another way of fixing the problem is to make it so that if one monster dies, the other may run away. This can be achieved by rolling a Willpower (Courage) check for the monster, setting the TN at 10 + the number of players you have.

In the end, the DARPG is said (even in the books) to be a very hard tabletop game, and it is suggested that you warn your players that they will most likely die.

I hope I managed to help you at least somewhat. Have fun!
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Re: Battle help

Postby ReaperX5 » Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:04 pm

Thank you so much, I'll keep that in mind during the next session.
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Re: Battle help

Postby Saisei » Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:49 am

Keep in mind aswell that if its a single giant spider then the party will get bonuses. If there are 3 players attacking it they all get +3 for outnumbering it.

As well as that remember you can take a major action to add +2 to defence, or a minor action to add +1.

I think the average on 3D6 is between 7 and 12, then +6, means the average will 13 to 18. The average player defence will be 12 or so, so if the players take the necessary defensive precautions they should be able to get through the fight.
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Re: Battle help

Postby Elfie » Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:37 am

Actually the Average on 3D6 is 10.5 (so 10 or 11). Putting the average Giant Spider attack roll at 16 or 17. As you said, that's a pretty solid hit against most level 1 characters, but as others have said, the players can take specific actions to boost their attack or defense as the situation requires.

Two giant spiders might have been a bit much for level 1 characters though. The starting adventure from the Set 1 GM's guide puts the group against a single giant spider as the second-to-last fight. With only 1 enemy, the PCs would have many more tactical advantages, like attack bonuses for surrounding the enemy, or even more likely, the benefit of only one of them being hit by the spider every turn, letting the others wail on it and/or heal the person who's getting attacked.

Everything everyone else said is valid though. As a GM, you're welcome to adjust stats or fudge rolls as is appropriate for your group. Hope that helps!
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Re: Battle help

Postby Saisei » Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:08 am

10.5 is between 7 and 12! :P

But yeah, I knew someone would correct me lol
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Re: Battle help

Postby Argamae » Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:20 am

I am new to DA and are about to start an introductory adventure soon. I, too, have my doubts about certain details of the combat system. But, honestly, is the advice to just simply "fudge it if it don't work out for you" any viable solution in the long run? I don't think so. I wouldn't want to play a game system where I need to fudge dice rolls on a constant basis in order for the player characters not to die. That sounds ridiculous to me. :-?
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Re: Battle help

Postby Elfie » Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:28 am

You really don't need to fudge the system for combat to work properly. There's nothing inherently wrong with it as-is, but if you as the GM have accidentally made a combat harder than you intended to because you're not familiar with how to balance the system, then fudging the rolls is probably good short-term fix. The long-term fix should be to get better at making balanced combats :)

I believe the Set 2 GM's guide has some good tips on doing this.
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Re: Battle help

Postby MacGrein » Wed Jul 25, 2012 11:47 am

Elfie wrote the best.

Enemies stronger than PCs > Ignore their Attack Bonuses.
Enemies weaker than PCs > Bring in a supply squad of more enemies from somewhere! or add in a demon possessing someone, who knows.
PC about to die > fudge the attack roll of the "slayer" enemy to 1, 1, 1 and describe a "Critical Failure", where the monster hits another target, an ally of itself...
PC's Health lesser than the damage about to receive > down the health to 1 and make the player feel his death is knocking his shoulders!

To keep the dark tone of the setting, always put a NPC together, only to kill it sometime, when the battle is in it's higher! Talk about tension and drama, and death, as well.
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Re: Battle help

Postby ProfWizard » Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:44 pm

Keep in mind that the system is setup to have rolls be successful more often than not (a side effect of the bell curve generated by rolling 3d6 instead of 1d20). It's one of the reasons that the system uses armor as damage reduction, so monster can hit often and players can still be protected.
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Re: Battle help

Postby Zapp » Sat Jul 28, 2012 7:56 am

ReaperX5 wrote:So I am the GM in my group and We've gotten into the first battle in the campaign and I had them fight a pair of giant spiders. But on the adversaries section, all it said the attack roll for their bite was +6.

I thought that means its the standard attack roll of 3d6+6, but that means they hit almost everytime and wipe everyone out.

So Am I missing something here or was I right all along and my players are just squishy? :cry:

A giant spider is a very respectable foe for a level 1 Dragon Age character. In fact, each spider is almost exactly the equal to a fully armed and armoured Warrior PC: they both have comparable hit points (Health), armour, and damage potential (the spider's 2d6+3 equals a warrior's broadsword or similar).

You didn't say how many players there were. But if you have fewer than four players, I can completely understand if they lost the fight. Even a party of five players could easily lose a party member before killing two Giant Spiders - especially if the players are new to fantasy roleplaying.


Yes, it is a quirk of this game that most attacks hit easily. Read more on that subject here: viewtopic.php?f=33&t=10851
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Re: Battle help

Postby Etarnon » Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:24 pm

It seems to me that the combat system is not really at fault, but the Knowing what the combat system is, and how and why it works needs more work for every GM playing.

2 Giant Spiders is a very, very tough challenge. This game does not play like D&D where a party could beat that. the numbers and basic premise and assumptions behind combat are a lot different.

I suggest taking copies of the character sheets and do some practice combats as GM to see what each characters strength and weakness is.

And set 2 does give a lot of aid in learning the how / what / why of combat.
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