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Author Topic: EL Calculations in Classic Spycraft  (Read 2683 times)
Manic Man
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« on: March 18, 2014, 12:05:39 PM »

Hi.  I am putting the final touches on a Classic Spycraft serial of my own making, my first time ever doing so.  And by first time, I mean first time ever writing my own module and first time ever playing Spycraft, so please bear with my noob questions.  The one thing that still confounds me as I am "statting up" the NPC's is trying to figure out their effective Challenge Rating (CR).  The serial is designed for two 10th-level characters, so I am figuring that Encounter Levels (EL's) of 8 or 9 would be "equal" to the two characters' effective party level. I am using Table 9.16 on p. 264 of the Classic Spycraft Espionage Handbook as my primary guide.

Am I correct to assume that a scene where the PC's encounter a single squad of minions with a CR of 7 is the same as an EL of 7?  And then if I add another threat with a CR of 5 that this now constitutes a scene with an EL of 8?  If so, then based on my reading of this table, a squad of three 4th-level minions (standard NPC's by definition on p. 265 under the subsection "NPC Statistics") would have an EL of 7.  Combining them with a 5th level henchman (a special NPC) would result in an EL of 8.

However, when looking at the "Sample Threats" in the Control section of the Handbook starting on p. 248 and ending on p. 261, my assumptions seem like they might be wrong.  Specifically, the example of the "Royal Colonial" minions on p. 258 indicates that a squad of seven (7) of these 7th-level minions would have a CR of 6.  I would have thought that this Royal Colonial squad would have an EL of 13 based on my reading of Table 9.16?  Am I correct to assume the difference has something to do with the standard vs. special NPC quality?  If so, how much of a discount does this quality have in CR calculation?  Is there a formula for calculating minion squad CR's somewhere?

Table 9.16 is a terrific aid and all of the related discussion and examples within Chapter 9 are something I consider to be a huge help for a novice Control, and a critical must-have for any core book of a RPG game system.  I hope a similar section will be provided in the upcoming Spycraft 3 core materials.  I'm stating the obvious, but RPG's are nothing without willing and enthusiastic GMs.  The easier it is for novice GM's to take the plunge, the more likely it will be for the game to gain traction and expand its player base.  And I hope that answers to my questions in this post can help inform the analogous section in the upcoming Spycraft 3 rules Smiley  Thanks for any and all assistance.
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Manic Man
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« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2014, 12:38:38 PM »

OK, so I missed the box entitled "Threat Challenge Ratings" on p. 244 of the Classic Spycraft Espionage Handbook, in particular the 2nd paragraph:

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"Under nearly all circumstances, masterminds, henchmen, and foils have a challenge rating equal to their agent level (i.e. the sum of their class levels).  Minions, on the other hand, have a challenge rating equal to their agent level, minus 1 (minimum 1)."

On the same page, but further up under the sub header "Minion Level (1-18; 1 MP per Level):", there is the following statement:

Quote
"Minions must be at least two levels lower than the mastermind or henchman they serve. Minions should generally be of the same level as the agents they encounter. One or two challenges with minions of a higher level is acceptable; more than that will overwhelm the team. Minions should never be more than two levels higher than the agent team, as they would devastate the team."

So my question is now whether the last sentence in the first paragraph that I quoted above implies that minions (plural) when encountered in the recommended squad size equal a CR of Agent Level - 1.  So that would mean a squad of 5th level minions has a CR of 4.  That would seem to be how CRs for minions squads in the examples are calculated.  I just want to confirm that I am reading this correctly.

Also, if a 6th level henchman is encountered with a squad of 5th level minions (CR 4), the effective EL is 7 per Table 9.12 on p. 265, right?  But that mix seems to break the rule stated in the 2nd quote above that minions must be at least two levels lower than the henchman they serve.  Which means the henchman should be 7th level or the minions should be 4th level (effective CR 3), which requires some interpolation on table 9.12, yes?
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Crafty_Pat
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« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2014, 10:31:55 PM »

So my question is now whether the last sentence in the first paragraph that I quoted above implies that minions (plural) when encountered in the recommended squad size equal a CR of Agent Level - 1.  So that would mean a squad of 5th level minions has a CR of 4.  That would seem to be how CRs for minions squads in the examples are calculated.  I just want to confirm that I am reading this correctly.

Yes, that's correct.

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Also, if a 6th level henchman is encountered with a squad of 5th level minions (CR 4), the effective EL is 7 per Table 9.12 on p. 265, right?  But that mix seems to break the rule stated in the 2nd quote above that minions must be at least two levels lower than the henchman they serve.  Which means the henchman should be 7th level or the minions should be 4th level (effective CR 3), which requires some interpolation on table 9.12, yes?

Yes, that table is of course meant as a rough guideline. Personally, and in retrospect, I'd eliminate the "minions must always be 2 levels lower" rule and keep it strictly as a guideline, then stick to everything else. You should be fine. Classic Spycraft is wildly forgiving. Smiley

Quote
Table 9.16 is a terrific aid and all of the related discussion and examples within Chapter 9 are something I consider to be a huge help for a novice Control, and a critical must-have for any core book of a RPG game system.  I hope a similar section will be provided in the upcoming Spycraft 3 core materials.  I'm stating the obvious, but RPG's are nothing without willing and enthusiastic GMs.  The easier it is for novice GM's to take the plunge, the more likely it will be for the game to gain traction and expand its player base.  And I hope that answers to my questions in this post can help inform the analogous section in the upcoming Spycraft 3 rules Smiley  Thanks for any and all assistance.

Thanks! We strive to include all the guidance we would want ourselves - and we have pretty high standards. Wink

Rest assured that Spycraft Third will not disappoint in this regard.
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Manic Man
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« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2014, 08:25:19 AM »

Thank you for taking time out from working on new projects to answer these questions Pat!  Can't wait to see Third Edition!
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