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Battle Scenario 4

Poll Results (voting in this poll has ended)
Acid Lake
0% 0 votes
Creeping Destruction
25% 1 vote
Boom Ball
25% 1 vote
The Swarm
50% 2 votes
TOTAL 100% 4 votes
Battle Scenario 4 – August 3, 2010 12:07 PM (edited 8/3/10 8:07 AM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
I finally got to run the Death Clock fight last night for my players, and it went so well one of the players named it "best D&D fight they have even been in". That means the stakes are higher than ever this week. Here are two new ideas my demented brain has came up with:

Boom Ball - I'm taking my inspiration from American Gladiators on this one. The basic idea here is each team starts out on their own end of a rectangular playing field. In the player's "home base" section will be a basket full of balls in the player's color and a hoop in the enemy's color. The middle of the field will be a number of different paths to get into the enemy territory; a long but safe route, an average length route with some risk, a shortest route with a lot of risk. When a player can successfully get one of their balls into the hoop in the enemy's territory, collars being worn by the opposing team will go off, dealing damage to everyone on the enemy team.

The swarm - Players face off against an enemy team in an open, multi-tiered arena. Scattered throughout the arena are 4 or 5 hive generators. Once per turn, each hive generators will spit out a neutral, low level minion. Each hive will produce a different type of minion. Players will be able to go to a hive generator and push a button on there to claim the hive for their team. This will stop the production of that swarm generator for a few rounds, and also make the minions generated by that hive not harm the team that has claimed their hive.

Re: Battle Scenario 4 – August 4, 2010 2:03 PM (edited 8/4/10 10:03 AM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
This is a bit surprising because this is the first time the idea that came off the top of my head for the week beat out the idea I was pondering for quite some time. But, anyway, it looks like The Swarm is going to be the winner here. The idea seems to be pretty fleshed out already, I guess what I need now are just balancing ideas.

The party consists of 5 level 5 players. How many swarm generators should there be? I want the fight to feel like the players can somewhat ignore the swarm for a while, but without paying any attention to it would make the fight overwhelming for them. Keep in mind that the enemy team will have to deal with the swarm as well. So what's a good number of hives here? 5? 6?

In terms of the mechanics of the hive generators, each hive will generate one level 1, 2, or 3 minion at the top of each round. In their unclaimed state, the minions will go after the PC/NPC to them (not other minions). Each hive will have a button that can be pressed that will stop swarm production for ...3(?) rounds. During those rounds, the minions that were produced by the claimed hive will only attack the enemy team, or minions from hives currently claimed by the enemy team.

I suppose it would make the fight more interesting to make the hives that produce lower level minions to be easy to get to, and hives that produce the higher level ones be difficult to claim. Should that difficulty come from just challenging terrain (need to climb, go slow over rough terrain, need to squeeze through cracks, etc...) or should there also be potentially damaging traps that can get in the way?

Re: Battle Scenario 4 – August 4, 2010 3:23 PM (edited 8/4/10 11:23 AM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
Well, I think a good lesson here is that fight that Brian ran for us when we gamed at Elena's place - he was spawning three guys per turn and it was definitely a problem for us to keep up with killing them, we probably only succeeded because James' character had an At-Will AOE ability and could kill two in one shot. That being said, those minions were only attacking our side, so if they attack both sides it would even out a bit more.

I like the terrain idea too - why not have the terrain have a basic ground level with canals running in it. The layer underneath could be filled with water and you could swim into a canal and appear in another one. Maybe you need to do so because of big walls and such? Obviously lots of options here. Then I would have three minion spawners - one under water that summons something amphibious, one on land that summons a fairly standard dude, and one up high that summons fliers. Maybe do two on land and have four total. I might also have the level be kind of random, rather than tied to one specific spawning device.

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I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Battle Scenario 4 – August 4, 2010 3:43 PM (edited 8/4/10 11:43 AM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
Good points to consider. I missed out on that fight at Elena's place. So it was three minions per turn against 3 or 4 players? My fight is going to have 5 players. Also, do you know if the minions Brian was producing were at a comparable or high level than the player's level? Because the minions I'd be spawning would be much lower level and would be fairly easy to hit even with very low rolls. Another thing to consider is that a strategy to employ could be to purposely not kill some minions, let a single swarm pump out two or three of them, and then take over the hive. The fight ends when the other team is dead, not when all the minions are dispatched. I suppose I shouldn't make there be any more than 5 hives though, so that in a worst case scenario, you could have all 5 players shut down one hive each on the same round to totally stop the flow if needed.

I had also considered the land/sea/air approach, but there are a few problem with the water. For one, I'm still in the western/desert campaign setting where water is a really scarce resource. I've been purposely avoiding any kind of aquatic elements to my fights because of that. I could justify using the corrupted water that's undrinkable, but that water would be poisonous to the players and I'm not sure if added difficulties to this fight would be good. And secondly, the problem with water minions are that they're just too easy to ignore all together. Unless I design the fight so that you absolutely have to get in the water for some reason, it would be difficult to come up with an incentive for the players or enemies to get in the water with the water minions.

Re: Battle Scenario 4 – August 4, 2010 4:09 PM (edited 8/4/10 12:09 PM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
I recall the enemies in Brian's game being fairly tough to hit, so I'm guessing they were on level with the players.

The basic setup of his encounter was a Zelda/Metroid boss fight - there was a giant plant eyeball up on the ceiling with a protective field generated by three stalks. We had to destroy the stalks in order to bring down the field and attack the eye. While doing this, we were swarmed by minions. I think they were being produced at a rate of two or three per turn, but maybe someone else remembers for certain.

I see what you mean about the water, I would ditch it then. It always seems like a better idea than it ends up being.

I do worry that if you're pumping out such easy minions they're not really going to impact the fight other than being mobile terrain. What level is the party at now? I would probably have all the spawned minions be one level lower than the party, personally.

_________________________________________________
I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Battle Scenario 4 – August 4, 2010 5:52 PM (edited 8/4/10 1:52 PM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
IIRC, even level 1 minions typically have +6 to hit. The squishies of the party only have 16AC, so that's a 50/50 shot at hitting before you take into account the swarm aspect giving flanking bonuses. Also, once you get control of the lowest level minions, they may go against other low level minions, which would still be very effective.

I guess the key to this fight is going to be getting an actual swarm of bad guys on the field that are threatening enough, but at the same time not totally deadly if you ignore them for a few rounds. My personal opinion on this would be to err on the side of having more minions that are possibly less threatening rather than having less minions that are more threatening. I'm picturing the fight as being a balance between letting the minion pools grow large enough to be usable, but not so large they get out of control and then claiming the hives before the enemy team does. To me, having more hives/minions on the field is what's going to make that interesting.

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