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DeadAussieGamer

Gauging challenge & difficulty

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Hi there, 
I'm fairly new to TTB. I'm looking at designing encounters and such to balance out my game. I am curious if there is a formula or equation that is used to determine an appropriate challenge? 
I understand the difference between each of the classifications
Peons / Minions / Enforcerers/ Henchmen / Tyrants 

But I'm wondering what is the strength value of each category is compared to each other. 
Something like 1 Minion = 5 peons. 5 Minions = 1 Enforcer.

From there What fated should be able to handle
Starting out a fated should be on even playing fields with a minion
After 3 games they should even out with an enforcer....etc

If someone knows what this is it'd really help us out. 
Thank you in advanced.

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Sorry, its not easy to be that clear cut.

You can potentially start with a fated that is close combat focused who is capable of dispatching enforcer and henchmen level characters, and you could complete the destiny of a fated that would struggle to fight off a peon. (But the close combat character could be in trouble if he is caught in a  gun fight)

So its really hard to say what is a hard encounter without knowing your players. The best advice I can offer is remember death of an opponent is not always the aim in a fight, so whilst you are trying to work out what your fated are cap[able off give the attackers different aims, such as just trying to steal from them, or the aim of just giving them a beating.  

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19 hours ago, Adran said:

The best advice I can offer is remember death of an opponent is not always the aim in a fight, so whilst you are trying to work out what your fated are cap[able off give the attackers different aims, such as just trying to steal from them, or the aim of just giving them a beating.  

I like this advice. One of the things I LOVE about malifaux is that winning isn't about killing your opponents force (necessarily), it's about the objectives. I'm gonna try and keep this in mind when I'm doing my planning.

Often times when I'm feeling out the combat effectiveness of a group, I plan my encounters with the possibility of reinforcements. Start with what you think might be an even challenge for the group. If the NPCs start going down too easy, surprise! there was another squad in the next room, a wandering patrol heard the skirmish, one of the peons calls for his "big brother", or the noise awakens a beastie that was sleeping nearby, etc.

This works well for "dungeon crawls". In fact the next session I have planned is basically the Fated clearing a house of zombies. If the first room they clear proves not enough of a challenge, I'll pepper in a few bigger baddies in the next room. The whole session is for me to  get a feel for the strength of the group.

If the NPCs are wrecking the players, you can have reinforcements show up for the Fated. Or maybe a roar echoes through the sewers, the baddies stop, look at eachother, and flee. What is the sound? Maybe the players would be wise in their battered state to leave the mystery for another day. (I'm suddenly imagining Obiwan Kenobi scaring off the tusken raiders in A New Hope.) I've had villians laugh at the vanquished players and spit on them claiming they were too pathetic to bother killing. I've had sections of floor collapse taking a brutal threat out of reach of the party, saving them at the last minute.

All that said, I'm kinda dissappointed that this game doesn't have a "challenge rating" system like 3rd ed d&d or Pathfinder. I kinda expected a company that is used to balancing wargame units with a point system to have SOMETHING in place for their RPG, at least as a starting point for encounter planning.

 

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You know, this isn't the first time this has come up on this forum and it isn't the first time the answer has amounted to "figure it out. Good luck". So since Wyrd can't give us any better guidance maybe if we put our heads together we can work out a rough CR system.

What do ya think of this for starters?

Average the defenses of the fated.  Lets say it's 3.

Add 6 or 7 (the average of card values in the fate deck)

If that number is equal to the average (AV) of the attacks on the foes being faced, theoretically the foes will land attacks 50% of the time.

The same could be done in reverse with the attack skills of the fated and the defense of the NPCs.

Increasing the average values of the NPCs makes a harder encounter and decreasing it makes an easier encounter.

I recognize that this doesn't take plenty of other factors into account (like damage tracks or comparitive numbers of activations/AP), but it's a starting concept. I'd love it if we could brainstorm this together.

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On 1/9/2019 at 10:37 PM, ezramantis said:

All that said, I'm kinda dissappointed that this game doesn't have a "challenge rating" system like 3rd ed d&d or Pathfinder. I kinda expected a company that is used to balancing wargame units with a point system to have SOMETHING in place for their RPG, at least as a starting point for encounter planning.

What's the challenge rating on a merchant you have to convince to do something without starting a gunfight?  The difficulty of the encounter won't anything to do with the combat stats.

On 1/9/2019 at 11:43 PM, ezramantis said:

What do ya think of this for starters?

Average the defenses of the fated.  Lets say it's 3.

Add 6 or 7 (the average of card values in the fate deck)

If that number is equal to the average (AV) of the attacks on the foes being faced, theoretically the foes will land attacks 50% of the time.

The same could be done in reverse with the attack skills of the fated and the defense of the NPCs.

Increasing the average values of the NPCs makes a harder encounter and decreasing it makes an easier encounter.

Through the Breach and some other roleplaying games have these success or failure based reward mechanics which mean that the average values for an encounter really don't mean anything useful.

Put a Master level NPC and a Peon level NPC in an encounter, that averages out two Enforcers.  An encounter with two enforcers IS NOT the same as an encounter with a peon and a master.  It averages out to the Peon probably constantly missing or being hit, and the Master level character constantly hitting and the players struggling to get their target numbers.

If you have a wide mix of character types among your players, you run into the same problem if you just average their stats together.

You'd be better off just looking at maximum and minimum values, to double check that the challenges will be either feasible or worth bothering with.

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