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Players Min-Maxed beyond Belief

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So, I had initially though this game was impossible to min-max, and yet, now, as I stand looking on the ruined bodies of a Malisaurus Rex, multiple Mature Nephilim, and pretty much every other hard hitter in the rules, I have to admit that I don't know what to do to actually challenge my players.

Two of my players are very OP in combat--the other two are decent, but not broken, they're just pretty good.

My main problem is that they seem to enjoy combat more than other types of situations, so the campaign has become very combat focused.  That being said, when I create combat encounters regardless of what it is, they can take it down in a round of comba, unless it's swarms of little guys, but then it's just a grind to get through them as they knock them down.

While I normally would just make other types of encounters, they get frustrated if they can't bring their weapons to bear and quickly get disillusioned.  Plus, it's hard to say 'you can't use your gun here' when they've literally mowed down multiple Peace-Keepers and a battalion of Guild Guard XD

I've had them run into a master level character once or twice-but that was frustrating for the two non-min-maxed characters since they had a very hard time doing anything.

 

I may have just painted myself into a wall on this one--but what do people think?

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I'd add defensive triggers and abilities to the enemies. Negatives to attack flips, damaging auras, or something like "when this character is damaged the attacking model gains Slow".

You could also throw some Jack Daw-style tech from the skirmish game in there. Something like reducing damage on all attacks to 1. That way they're still chipping away at them, but the enemies simply can't be taken out in 1 round. 

Another idea would be to have little guys swarm the characters whilst the big guys threaten them. A Teddy might be no problem for your players, but what about when Wicked Dolls jump out of all the cupboards and latch onto the Fated?

With Neverborn, Ressers, and pneumatic limbs all existing in this world, you could also bring defeated enemies back even stronger. What if they destroy someone utterly, and the next time they see him he's been turned into a mechanical Spider-Thing with snapping claws (a la Howard Langton)? 

Finally, try throwing some environmental effects in there, or otherwise make the combat more about accomplishing an objective than killing bad guys. Maybe that Teddy is just there to slow them down while the Widow Weaver escapes out a window? What if the min/maxed characters have to fight him and the Wicked Dolls, but the others can chase the Widow Weaver across the rooftops? What if the roles are reversed, and now the min/maxed Fated can only use their attacks when they do well enough in the chase to catch up? 

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Make situations where incrdible combat prowess works to there disadvantage.
You could throw in some gamin (or anything with dangerous demise abilities) in close proximity to some weak hostages the group need to save.

Take something with demise(eternal) or some such from 3e - and give some alternative way they have to kill it/inprison it.

Slow stacks to paralyze, so (if I remember correctly) november accolytes? or summon some ice gamin (Do they have slow demise? if not invent somethign with slow demise and summon a bunch of them to surround them)

Or failing that just hundreds of invisible teleporting ninja's!

 

But also remember if your players went OP on purpose it may just be because they want to kick ass. Discuss it with them and see what they actually wanted?

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Your players are not a bunch of wusses: they want to be challenged. In fair fight they obliterate entire regiments of Governor's Finest? Fight dirty. Here are some ideas:

Obstacles and difficult terrain that work to their disadvantage, i.e.:
- shaft/vent/tunnel/corridor so narrow it limits their attacks, movement and positioning, but does not affect their opponents (snake/centipede-likes, gelatinous blobs, incorporeals);
- stacks of unstable rubble/luggage/heavy, hard objects, they have to climb on to get into attack position;
- unstable surfaces in general (boats, roof of train wagon on full-speed);
- burning tower and enemies immune to burning, make the Fated rescue art museum located there while fending off attacks of fire gamins, pyre golems.
- sniper alley with well-hidden marksmen;
- collapsing warehouse with Peacekeeper on a roof; here's a catch - they're inside. They have limited opportunity to strike a blow, and have to avoid brick shower; to add more cruelty, let's say their mission was stealing porcelain heirloom vase from the warehouse.
- obscured vision, i.e. aquatic enemy performing hit annd run attacks from murky water, fighting in darkness against enemy who does not rely on eyesight;

Sabotage:

- poisoned food;

- damaged weapons/equipment;

- scared/killed horses;

- destroyed/corrupted grimoires;

- kidnapping of helpful FM characters;
- generally, apply to them tonnes of conditions;

Traps:

- boobytraps;

- minefields;

- attack them when they sleep;

Do not make killing baddies a goal.

On 6/21/2020 at 9:37 PM, diki said:

Make situations where incrdible combat prowess works to there disadvantage.
You could throw in some gamin (or anything with dangerous demise abilities) in close proximity to some weak hostages the group need to save.

This.
 

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On 6/22/2020 at 6:05 AM, Picasso said:

Guys stop giving him ideas. 

No, no, trust me: you need to suffer in order to experience joy.😜

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On 6/30/2020 at 9:26 PM, Pikciwok said:

No, no, trust me: you need to suffer in order to experience joy.😜

Look we are just trying to help the “good” people of Malifaux rise up against the Guild. 

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1 hour ago, Picasso said:

Look we are just trying to help the “good” people of Malifaux rise up against the Guild. 

That's great and noble endeavour, I wish you a hard-earned success. 

One of the worst of my experiences as a Fatemaster/MG was being unable to provide my players with a worthy challenge. I think your Fatemaster suffers because of that, too.

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2 hours ago, Pikciwok said:

That's great and noble endeavour, I wish you a hard-earned success. 

One of the worst of my experiences as a Fatemaster/MG was being unable to provide my players with a worthy challenge. I think your Fatemaster suffers because of that, too.

As a Fatemaster I think it is the one flaw in this game that comes from it NOT being a combat driven game. Combat tends to be easy or hard but no in between. Our group isn’t as good at ongoing challenges. Without giving our Fatemaster any ideas a dramatic time where one of the group was picking a lock, one was trying to protect the lock picker, one was returning fire, and another was Fighting off the close combat dogs. We wouldn’t be able to play off of each other and would have to carry our own part of the encounter.  This is also the problem with large groups (4+) in RPGs, each character is good at something and it makes it hard to figure out how to challenge them. 

We’ve had close calls. Real close.   

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Ok I redact all my previous statements. I just Killed a Master level Character like it was nothing. WOW! I’m an awful person. Awful.

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16 minutes ago, Picasso said:

Ok I redact all my previous statements. I just Killed a Master level Character like it was nothing. WOW! I’m an awful person. Awful.

how did you do it

 

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9 hours ago, Picasso said:

Combat tends to be easy or hard but no in between.

This is a side effect of static TNs as the only resolution system.  Using opposed flips will greatly abate that.

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Re-boot your campaign and let your characters start out with some different characters, let the old group live on as the boogeymen of Malifaux.

There really is nothing more terrifying to meet, than the monster you've min-maxed yourself.

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11 hours ago, fire5tone said:

how did you do it

 

@Fire5tone I am playing a maxed Gunfighter that has 3 ranks in Wastrel, James O’Mally Because of talents his initiative bonus is an 8. I always cheat in so that I can use finger on the trigger to its most effective. I havea free 1AP range attack from maxing gunfighter as well. The first thing I did was discard a card to look at the top three cards of the Fate deck. The red J was in there. I set the red J up so it would be the damage flip. The character also has crit strike and there were two rams in the duel. Oh my pistol is an Edict that I won gambling. I call it “Ace of Crows”

the master level character took an explosion before dramatic time started. Our dabbler/spy reverse pickpocketed a dynamite stick into his pocket when he caught two of our group setting up warding glyphs in the area. 
 

last night was a great session that was really combat heavy but it was fun. The group has two combat heavy characters both also do minor support with take the hit and card up the sleeve. OH and finger on the trigger. Then we have two characters that really do all the social stuff. The group is really balanced. We struggle when the rolls get reversed. 

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8 hours ago, Regelridderen said:

Re-boot your campaign and let your characters start out with some different characters, let the old group live on as the boogeymen of Malifaux.

There really is nothing more terrifying to meet, than the monster you've min-maxed yourself.

This would disband our group. No question. We are all really invested in our characters. REALLY INVESTED. Unhealthy like. 

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55 minutes ago, Picasso said:

This would disband our group. No question. We are all really invested in our characters. REALLY INVESTED. Unhealthy like. 

Well, boo-hoo-hoo.

Maybe you ought to invest a little more in your game master than your characters ;)

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2 hours ago, Picasso said:

This would disband our group. No question. We are all really invested in our characters. REALLY INVESTED. Unhealthy like. 

Well, the Fatemaster has rights to enjoy a game too. You can't ignore the concerns. Talk about it as a group of mutually respecting persons.

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Tyrant-level characters, anyone?

Seriously, Fatemaster has to design combat encounters to give advantages to his characters and disadvantages to the Fated. I see no other way to make a challenging combat encounter in this situation.

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1 hour ago, Pikciwok said:

Tyrant-level characters, anyone?

Seriously, Fatemaster has to design combat encounters to give advantages to his characters and disadvantages to the Fated. I see no other way to make a challenging combat encounter in this situation.

He did this last night in our second encounter. Swarmed by Freikorps of all kinds hitting week NPCs and splashing damage onto us while we were trapped in a derailed train car. Many pigs died because of this. We lost Cookie Monster last night. I don’t think we are over it. That pig earned its keep week after week. 

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I would like to enter exhibit B into evidence if the court will allow. The original poster is in one of the sessions that I run as a fated character, that can’t stop jumping out of windows. That group is about 3 or 4 steps behind the defendant group in question. As I’m starting to run into similar problems I went back to the Core book and realized neither he nor I have been using Fate Points to the fullest! I ask the court IF these Fated are so min/maxed then WHY haven’t the NPCs been ending conditions using Fate Points? (I totally forgot this was a thing and was stuck using them only to activate abilities or grant extra AP.) There are a few master and henchman level NPCs that would be alive today if they used a fate point to cancel useless limb or the slow condition! I ask this court to dismiss all accusations against these Fated as they are neither Min nor maxed and are just leveling up like monsters.

 

In all seriousness I think this is the component we’ve been struggling with and should fix somethings going forward. I also feel like a total hack for forgetting how to use these points to their fullest. 

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Another easy way to get rid of annoying players as long as the group is small is increas the frequency of playing. With 4 players that means 20 destiny steps. If i understood correctly you are already 13 down that road. 10 + 3 meaning only 7 steps left. That's something you can just wait for.

And on the topic of the noncombat characters having no fun if the encounters are tailored to the 2 op chars: Isn't that the idea? The combat chars suddenly have to pay attention to what they are doing as the other 2 of their group might get killed in the cross fire if they don't think really hard when and how to shoot things.

For me the fun thing about FMing TTB is that it is like Shadowrun in a different setting. So if they pissed of the Guild in a hard enough way, they will bring in the spezialists aka a Group of enemies that are tailored to your fated chars and smart about it. Going for the weak ones first. Debuffing the OPs so hard they don't know what hit them. Possibly with Spells and Immutos that are not in the book if the dabbler is elsewise blocking everything thrown at them. And I advise against opposing checks with FM chars and also against swarming the fated as that means the fate deck runs out of cards very fast, refreshing the hand of the fated.

On top of that, either make the group split up or keep them occupied somewhere else. EG let one of the OPs fall into a trap that he can't get out alone meanwhile the others have to dodge sniperfire and keep something/one very fragile alive and kicking. All while this person doesn't like the fated to much and tries to get away from them as it doesn't recognize them as less threatening than what is hunting it. Preferably with a timelimit like the traphole being filled with petrol and possibly at some point ignited as no character can survive 6 to 8 stacks burning that are being refreshed every round. That probably won't kill them if they are smart, but make them work around each other and minimize the impact of the OP fighters.

In short: have their decisions have consequences that challenge them. In the above example either abandon your team mate and killing him that way or loose the target of your contract.

And if the Masters are to weak for your fated just use 15 or 16 instead of 14 and increase armor by one or two and have them loose one condition per turn. How that works in the rules? Doesn't matter. They are bloody masters after all. If their stats don't fit their story YOU want them to have just change the stats to fit.

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