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Author Topic: NPC Attacks and Special Characters  (Read 590 times)
Sageavatar
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« on: September 02, 2012, 02:54:19 PM »

Hey all,

I've been doing some thinking on combat  and how special characters relate to standard ones. In many systems they don't make a large enough distinction between the monsters tat come in packs to be threatening and the monster that comes by it'self and nearly kills the party. Of course FC makes this distinction rather easily. Special characters are, at least in theory, meant to be a solo or a solo + supports encounters.

As we all know, more often than not, solo monsters usually get eaten alive by the party. This is because there is one target for the party and 4-6 for the solo monster. The solo monster has restriction on his attacks and even with this superior stats, he will quickly fall to the party's frenzied attacks.

So, given the situation I have several questions. I certainly may have missed something and would appreciate you kind enlightenment.

1) When we consider Special NPC solo monster/rouge characters and are adding attacks - are NPCs allowed to use more than one natural attack per half action? For instance generic demon has a claw, gore, and bite attack. During his action does he make 3 separate attacks?

2) Is there a better way to give SNPC's more lasting power without inflating their stats? I can think of using abilities that paralyze members of the party to reduce damage out put, or adding plot qualities to an encounter that make the party focus on avoiding moving traps, other supporting monsters, etc.

3) When we consider NPC armor / damage reduction, where is the sweet spot? If an NPC has too little they die extremely fast. On the other hand, too much and NPC can become prohibitive to kill. Any advice?

Thank you for considering my questions. I'm about to start GM'ing my first FC campaign here next week  Grin

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spinningdice
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« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2012, 03:08:31 PM »

1) not be default, though options available to characters are usually available to monsters (i.e. feats) & notably the Frenzy NPC quality can quickly boost the number of attacks the npc is making.
2) Grades of Tough are the "quick fix"(though that's more for upping standard npcs, I'd recommend most Special NPC's be backed up with a squad or more of standard npcs.
3) It varies, depending on your party makeup, skilled archers can near ignore armour anyway, on the other hand a party of non-combat optimised characters can get stuck being barely able to do anything against armoured characters (though once used to the system there are ways around it, but new players may just hit a wall).
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Deral
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« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2012, 03:49:50 PM »

1) When we consider Special NPC solo monster/rouge characters and are adding attacks - are NPCs allowed to use more than one natural attack per half action? For instance generic demon has a claw, gore, and bite attack. During his action does he make 3 separate attacks?
While he can't do so with a Half Action, he can make a Flurry attack as a Full Action and swing once with all three. Other qualities like Frenzy and Swift Attack will help fill in this gap, as well.

2) Is there a better way to give SNPC's more lasting power without inflating their stats? I can think of using abilities that paralyze members of the party to reduce damage out put, or adding plot qualities to an encounter that make the party focus on avoiding moving traps, other supporting monsters, etc.
Do you just mean general survivability? Any Class abilities that boost a PC's ability to take damage do the same for NPCs, high grades of Uncanny Dodge, Last Stand, Lifeline, and Take Heart are some of the more powerful ones that aren't nearly as potent on NPCs as they are on PCs.

3) When we consider NPC armor / damage reduction, where is the sweet spot? If an NPC has too little they die extremely fast. On the other hand, too much and NPC can become prohibitive to kill. Any advice?

This one is based on the party, really, if they're throwing around a lot of AP and Damage, things can get touchy no matter what you do. I would say, if you want players to really see AP have an effect, shoot for DR 4 (after the early levels), that way AP 2 has a visible effect and AP 4 is particularly nice.

But really, with Standard Characters, don't worry about them dying too fast, they're supposed to. With Special Characters, you'll have more time to judge one way or the other how they're going to work in combat with the party.
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Bill Whitmore
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« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2012, 04:35:58 PM »

1) When we consider Special NPC solo monster/rouge characters and are adding attacks - are NPCs allowed to use more than one natural attack per half action? For instance generic demon has a claw, gore, and bite attack. During his action does he make 3 separate attacks?
Looks like the others have this covered.  Flurry is a Full Round and gives 1 attack from each Natural Weapon.

Frenzy can add attacks equal to number of opponents up to the number of extraordinary and natural attacks +2 they have.
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2) Is there a better way to give SNPC's more lasting power without inflating their stats? I can think of using abilities that paralyze members of the party to reduce damage out put, or adding plot qualities to an encounter that make the party focus on avoiding moving traps, other supporting monsters, etc.
For the reasons you state, single Special NPCs don't tend to last very long unless specifically built for the purpose.  This means high Defense, Resilience, DR, Tough, Health, Athletics (to not be grappled) and usually NPC Qualities as well.

But all of those would fall under inflating stats.

I'll second the standard squad back up.  Also, you can add more enemies using the Action Dice and the Reinforcements rules on page 368.  This is usually a lot more plausible if there are already NPCs of the type present.
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3) When we consider NPC armor / damage reduction, where is the sweet spot? If an NPC has too little they die extremely fast. On the other hand, too much and NPC can become prohibitive to kill. Any advice?

You can use the normal armors as a guide.

Standard armor DR ranges from 0 (partial padded) to 7 (moderate Articulated Plate with heavy fittings).  With materials and special abilities, you can push that up to around 10.  Looking at the sample NPCs given, this is the range used in existing monsters.

As examples from the upper DR ranges:
   DR 6
      Stone Golem
      Sea Dragon
   DR 7
      Fire Dragon
   DR 8
      Avenging Angel
      Rakshasha
      Kaiju Tyrannosaurus Rex
   DR 9
      Lich Royal Dragon
   DR 10
      Tarasque

Bear in mind, if the NPC wears armor, it can stack with their natural DR.
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« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2012, 05:08:25 PM »

I'm going to 3rd the having squads of standards to help back up the boss.

Another option, depending on what you're having them fight, is slightly weaker specials in groups. Like you have the big bad boss, and his two bodyguards, both of whom are also special. This doesn't have the whole party picking on just one guy, though in this case you have to watch out how much vitality you give the bad guys or it makes the battles last forever.
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« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2012, 06:04:53 PM »

I'm going to 3rd the having squads of standards to help back up the boss.

Another option, depending on what you're having them fight, is slightly weaker specials in groups. Like you have the big bad boss, and his two bodyguards, both of whom are also special. This doesn't have the whole party picking on just one guy, though in this case you have to watch out how much vitality you give the bad guys or it makes the battles last forever.

4th on squads

2nd on watching the Health situation.
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« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2012, 06:29:57 PM »

As a note, depending on your game feel, don't think that specials have to be that special, I've used the same stat-line for "squad captains" quite a few times (i.e. a team of standard npcs with the same stats elevated to special for the squad leader), not for every mob, but it's become my default setup.
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« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2012, 06:38:52 PM »

As a note, depending on your game feel, don't think that specials have to be that special, I've used the same stat-line for "squad captains" quite a few times (i.e. a team of standard npcs with the same stats elevated to special for the squad leader), not for every mob, but it's become my default setup.

I've also done this.  The orc raiding party is standard except for the guy calling the shots or in one game, the standard bearer (who needed the health to get away and cause trouble).
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« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2012, 09:19:49 PM »

Tough also helps, especially of you have crit-monkeys in your party.
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« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2012, 01:01:22 AM »

If you have problems with Special NPCs dying too fast because your players saved enough action dice and have multiple attacks and just so many possibilities to inflict critical hits: use monstrous defense. It doesn't look like much, but it's one of the best NPC qualities for short term survivability. With 1 grade, many attacks and weapons will not be able to crit you. With 2 grades, most of them. I wouldn't go further than 2, because it's certainly going to frustrate PCs who have especially increased their threat range beyond 19-20. That plus tough and/or DR and you have one big hard-to-kill badass out there. I don't recommend this for humanoid NPCs, but for big scary monsters, like demons and such, I make liberal use of it.
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Krensky
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« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2012, 01:57:20 AM »

Oh, and for those NPCs you want to keep around because they're, you know, important to your schemes? Story Critical.

It doesn't make them last longer in a fight, but it means they can survive the consequences
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« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2012, 02:50:20 PM »

Thanks everyone.

I really appreciate the assistance. I've been working day in and out getting my campaign ready for play this Friday. I've put several of your pieces of advice into play. Hopefully all will go well.
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