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Avoiding Dice Rolling Exercise

 
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SpaceMonkey
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:45 am    Post subject: Avoiding Dice Rolling Exercise Reply with quote

First of all, please don't take this as an attack on the system. I enjoy the book immensely, but this is the first opportunity I've had to run a game and I was wondering if people could tell me if I'm missing something. I genuinely am looking for advice on improving our experience.

We had our first game last night. The campaign is set in the Marvel Universe, but my two players do have their own original heroes. We're starting at 25 points but we're also using the Experience Point rules too.

The plot went thus: The Raft prison facility had lost power and they were trying to help SHIELD get things back under control. They had to get in and turn the power back on first of all. But on arrival at the main junction box they were met with Rhino who was trying to destroy said box.

We began combat, but quickly abandoned the constant rolling for Priority as it became quite tedious. So, with combat now underway, it kinda deteriorated into "You roll to hit, I roll to dodge, you roll damage, I roll soak. Now I roll to hit, you roll damage..." etc. There didn't seem to be much variation and tactics involved apart from the odd Called Shot to invoke an extra +10 Result damage.

The second fight later in the game was with the Living Laser. His tactics were more interesting (Blast them, then teleport away. They find him, so he creates a light illusion making 4 versions of hiimself... which is the real one! Dun dun duuuuun!) but the players once again just rolled basic to hit, rolled basic damage, rolled basic dodge and rolled basic soak. They did look quite bored by the end of it, sadly. I really want them to come back and carry on playing, but I'm not sure if it will happen.

I've just re-written there Heroes just to see how I would have made them, and by simply putting the Variable enhancement into their attacks, I've opened up about 10 different attack options.

Yet, without a simple purchase of Variable, everything seems quite stale.

Am I missing something? How do your games play out by comparison? What am I doing wrong?? Sad

Is there a way to temporarily boost your Defence? There don't appear to be any combat options such as sacrificing your action to Dodge, or Tripping people up (I ended up using the Knock Back rules to get people to change range or knock them down, but they just got back up and carried on blasting the following round).

Any and all advice is greatly appreciated, as I don't want to give up on this game... I have many plots I want to use!! Very Happy
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BASHMAN
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Happy to help. In my own games, we roll Priority at the top of the first page, and then just recycle it each page.

You can get a lot of variety in combat by using Called Shots and the Benefit / Hindrance chart. These can do more than just extra damage. You can use them to trip people up, temporarily blind them, etc. So a character incapable of harming the Rhino could still shove a bucket on top of his head, and have some impact on the combat.

I'd advise checking out the rules for Wrestling and other sort of combat stunts. You can improve your defense; get cover and people need to make a called shot to hit you. A brick like the Rhino could tear a door off the wall and use it as a shield. He could pick up one person and use them as a weapon to beat another. There are a lot of things that can be done here.

If the Rhino is charging, a Hero may try to bait him into ramming into a power dynamo and electrocuting himself. There are ways to "win" beyond simply wittling somebody down to Zero Hits. Heroes fighting a giant robot once defeated it by breaking open a control panel on the back and using Computers/Hacking to make it power down.

Part of the issue may also be that you are pitting two heroes against one villain. With multiple targets and bystanders around, this makes tactics much more important and powers beyond doing damage become more important. For instance if there are innocent bystanders endangered while the combat is going on, the Heroes may need to concentrate on this. You can also have some other important thing they need to pay attention to during the combat, like the controls to a bomb rigged to explode, etc. where time is of the essence. If there are environmental hazards nearby, like a pit of moulten steel, these are also things they'll have to worry about that might add excitement to the combat.

Having multiple Villains or a Villain with help from Minions can also make an otherwise boring "take turns hitting each other in a small room" type of combat into a much more tactical situation. This might encourage the Heroes to use the Team-Up rules to overcome the odds against their enemies; and these things can be very creative.

In the combat, there might have been an announcement that some SHIELD agents were under attack as prisoners began escaping their cells; the Heroes would have to make a tough choice to help the Agents or stay to double-team the Rhino, etc.

Finally, you should definitely reward creative thinking in play. Give the guy who sticks a bucket on the Rhino's head a Hero Point for his ingenuity (remember that's also worth 0.2 XP).

Also did the characters have any powers beyond attacks? Like some sort of webs, smoke bombs, or anything like that?

Lastly, have the players read the rules? Are they aware of the options they have with Called Shots, Team-Up Actions, and the like?
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SpaceMonkey
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm going to print off your reply, Bashman, cos it's made of pure awesome!

Thanks for taking the time out to give me all these tips. As I'm still learning the system I'm having trouble taking it all in. The basic rules are easy to remember, but there's a lot of "extra bits".

I could perhaps do with making myself a quick reference/reminder sheet with all the combat options to both help me and show my players.

Thanks again!
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BASHMAN
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's one more tip, that is advice I'd give to any GM running any system. Instead of asking players what action they want to take from some finite list, ask them to describe what they want to do. Then as at the GM / Narrator, etc. you tell them what they should roll to do that.

So instead of just looking at their sheet and seeing an attack power listed and hitting the "attack button" you have them describe how they leap into the air and plant a drop-kick on the bad-guy's chin; or they tell you they want to sweep the leg and trip him. You tell them what they roll to make it happen, and you roll any contested dice if need be.

This is especially useful in game systems that have "moves" that people do in combat because instead of the player looking at the list of moves and their effects, etc. they can just get immersed in the story instead.
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MrJupiter
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BASHMAN wrote:
Here's one more tip, that is advice I'd give to any GM running any system. Instead of asking players what action they want to take from some finite list, ask them to describe what they want to do. Then as at the GM / Narrator, etc. you tell them what they should roll to do that.

So instead of just looking at their sheet and seeing an attack power listed and hitting the "attack button" you have them describe how they leap into the air and plant a drop-kick on the bad-guy's chin; or they tell you they want to sweep the leg and trip him. You tell them what they roll to make it happen, and you roll any contested dice if need be.

This is especially useful in game systems that have "moves" that people do in combat because instead of the player looking at the list of moves and their effects, etc. they can just get immersed in the story instead.

Great replies! Its easy to forget about the Zany Actions, Called Shoot options, and various Wrestling moves.
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fairytalejedi
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also, remind players not to treat the "panels" as just another word for rounds/turns. Comic book artists don't draw the same action every panel. That would be boring. So try to do something different in every panel, just like in an exciting comic. Every action doesn't have to be an "optimal" action for the game to be fun.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fairytalejedi wrote:
Also, remind players not to treat the "panels" as just another word for rounds/turns. Comic book artists don't draw the same action every panel. That would be boring. So try to do something different in every panel, just like in an exciting comic. Every action doesn't have to be an "optimal" action for the game to be fun.


QFT (man I don't think I've used that one in a long time).

Builds don't need to be "optimal" either; they just need to be how you describe them. Just because you "have the points" you don't need to boost a guy's soak up to x8, when x5 is closer to what you described. When a player makes a character with really over-the-top things like that, I always use descriptors to see if that's what they need, or if they'r just trying to build against "power creep".

For instance, someone built a character with x6 Soak when he was just described as being "normal strength but really tough". I asked: "tough enough to have tank rounds bounce off him?" He said "no". "Tough enough to shrug off a machinegun?" He said "no". How about a shotgun? He said yes to that. We dropped his soak down to x4, because it was more fitting for the character's described abilities.

As a Narrator, I never build my villains to be "optimal". I always ever build them to be capable of what they're supposed to be capable of. Just because a character "can" do more damage, doesn't mean they should...
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SpaceMonkey
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thats the tricky part for me. I build all my villains to match the their respective Marvel descriptions and power levels as best I can, but my players (one in particular) can get a bit power-gamey.

As an example, one of my players chose Super Running, but also wanted a car that could fly. I'm fine with that, but my power-gamey mate couldn't understand why he would want to do that when he could simply buy Flight as a power himself. He often builds toons on any RPG we play to be optimal rather than fit their background and play-style... Sad
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Supertodd
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BASHMAN wrote:
For instance, someone built a character with x6 Soak when he was just described as being "normal strength but really tough". I asked: "tough enough to have tank rounds bounce off him?" He said "no". "Tough enough to shrug off a machinegun?" He said "no". How about a shotgun? He said yes to that. We dropped his soak down to x4, because it was more fitting for the character's described abilities.


Is there a chart or something that shows the relative values of Soak as mentioned above? That would be very helpful.
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MrJupiter
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2014 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with building characters that are adequately statted to match the vision set out for them. Very few of my super-strong archetypes are Brawn 5 most have levels of 3 or 4 in that attribute.

What can Hero-Man lift...
- a large, Caddilac? Brawn 3
- a loaded charter bus, F22 Raptor, or M1 Abrams battletank? Brawn 4
- something bigger? Brawn 5

How about a fully loaded Saturn V rocket with fuel? Brawn ?? (seriously, this thing is 3,100 tons!)
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Baelor
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is a list of weights of some common objects and creatures and the RAW Brawn levels required to lift them [Some approximation has been done for simplification]:

Common Weights of Objects [Approximate]


40 lbs. Brawn 1 Oil drum [empty], sapling, full trashcan
100 lbs. Postal dropbox
200 lbs. Manhole cover, lioness, small tree
400 lbs. Brawn 2 Large Black Bear, small motorcycle
500 lbs. Dumpster [empty], piano, oil drum [full of liquid], tiger
800 lbs. Harley Davidson motorcycle, grizzly bear, lg. crocodile
1000 lb. Telephone pole, polar bear
1 ton Camper trailer [small], large tree
1.5 tons Ford Taurus, 3 ft. cube of cement
2 tons Brawn 3 Dodge Caravan, rhinoceros,
3 tons Block of stone [roughly 1.5 m cube], jersey barrier
3 tons Cadillac Escalade, Dumpster [full]
5 tons Lear jet, subway car, elephant, stretch limo
Large metal cargo container [empty]
8 tons School bus
12 tons Brawn 4 fighter jet, semi, subway car
24 tons APC, humpback whale, WW2 Panzer tank
50 tons large metal cargo container [full], Bulldozer
70 tons Abrams tank
100 tons Brawn 5 767, cargo jet, locomotive engine
200 tons 747, fishing trawler
400 tons drilling rig
800 tons small bridge

Alas the posting system plays havoc with the formatting.
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bigsteveuk
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Bashman,

I know you are a busy guy, but is there any chance you or someone could post a fight or two that incorporate some of the elements you have mentioned?

To demonstrate some interesting use of called shots and the benefit / hindrance bonuses.

Cheers,

Steve
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BASHMAN
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Supertodd wrote:
BASHMAN wrote:
For instance, someone built a character with x6 Soak when he was just described as being "normal strength but really tough". I asked: "tough enough to have tank rounds bounce off him?" He said "no". "Tough enough to shrug off a machinegun?" He said "no". How about a shotgun? He said yes to that. We dropped his soak down to x4, because it was more fitting for the character's described abilities.


Is there a chart or something that shows the relative values of Soak as mentioned above? That would be very helpful.


The easiest thing is to just look at the weapons chart and the vehicles. Look at how much damage that weapon does. A soak with the same multiplier will soak the full damage over 50% of the time. A soak 1 multiplier higher will soak the full damage even more likely.

So a pistol that does x2 damage, someone with a x2 soak can withstand that about half the time (it's not that they're immune to bullets perse, but that they take a flesh wound, etc.). A person with x3 soak is much more likely to withstand it, and a person with a x4 is almost immune to it.

Likewise, looking at the weapons table, an SMG does x4 damage. A guy with x4 Soak can take a hit from that 50% of the time; while a person with a x5, x6, x7 etc. is more likely to be able to shrug it off.
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MrJupiter
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks BASHMAN. That's a super simple way to measure a character's toughness!
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