Game Breakers

Discuss Mongoose RPGs here, such as the OGL rulebooks, Jeremiah, Armageddon 2089 and Macho Women with Guns
Supplement Four
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3855
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:28 am

Game Breakers

Postby Supplement Four » Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:58 pm

As I learn the Conan RPG, there seems to me to be a lot of not-well-thought-out combat options that appear in the core rulebook and in the support books as well.

For new Conan GMs, such as myself, I thought it would be good idea to have a thread where veteran GMs can list dangerous options of which new GMs should be weary.

So, please, if there's a rule in the game that you think has the potential to be a game breaker, list it here for the newbie GMs to consider.

I'll start with a few I've identified.





To The Hilt combat maneuver (2E Core Rulebook): This seems overpowered and ill-thought out to me on two counts. First, it doesn't take into account the damage of having a sword stuck in a body. Under the vanilla healing rules, a character could recover from this unbelieveably fast, requiring the healing rules to be house-ruled for this maneuver.

Second, the maneuver is too easy to use. It requires STR 13 or better and the Power Attack feat. A successful hit will get you +2 damage and most likely have your weapon stuck inside your opponent.





Explosive Power feat (Player's Guide): Even Vincent, the author of this feat, thinks its too powerful and dosen't allow it in his game. If you meet the requirements, it provides an automatic critical hit. I think this could probably be tweaked so that it provides more likely critical hits rather than automatic crtical hits.





Ballance skill use in combat (Player's Guide): If used as written, I think this makes the Ballance skill too powerful. Players will ramp up Ballance and use it for combat rather than for what the skill was intended. Even Vincent, the author of this use of Ballance, says that he doesn't use it in his game as written. He requires that a character using Ballance in this way also have a fencing or similar feat that focuses on delectate swordplay. I think if you go with Vincent's alternate reasoning, it's a good use of the skill. Otherwise, I think it has game breaking potential.





What about you veteran Conan GMs? Any other dangerous feats, combat maneuvers, or skill uses that we new GMs need to be aware of?

If so, we're all ears.
strategos14
Stoat
Posts: 88
Joined: Wed Jul 14, 2010 6:25 am

Postby strategos14 » Fri Jul 23, 2010 7:46 pm

i totally agree with what you have up there. i've personally seen explosive power get way out or hand. we had an Aquilonian fencer that did the balance thing but only in one-on-one combat. the to the hilt thing is crazy. i real swordsman wouldn't even WANT to do that to somebody. like you said, a sword getting stuck is bad and they get stuck worse if there is no blood groove down the blade. you only need to penetrate a few inches at most to kill a man. that's why they had stoppers on lances. cus a horse could put a lance through a man. i dude with a 13 strength? i doubt it.

i know there are a couple other maneuvers that seem a bit heavy. like riposte for one

also, the improved feint feat gets crazy with a mid level thief that has his bluff jacked up. it's a powerful feat for him especially combined with the fact that for some strange reason npc thieves (or npcs of any class) never seem to take the feat. EVER. some may have a bluff (maybe) but that's it. and none seem to have ranks in sense motive to combat against it. there's a 7th level thief i'm GMing now who is insane lethal with a sword. he's mainly in cities and such and so usually is fighting these other thieves or soldiers not totally (or at all) geared up for war. he slays folks at whim basically
my cats name is conan
User avatar
Clovenhoof
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1216
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 10:32 am
Location: Germania Res Publica Foederalis

Postby Clovenhoof » Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:29 pm

re To The Hilt: I think this maneuver it not particularly well written, but I never regarded it as a game breaker. It's not exactly desirable to have your weapon stuck in an enemy.

The worst game breaker in the core book is actually, imo, Two-Handed Fighting in general, and the Bardiche (and Greatsword) in particular. They are so absurdly uber-powerful (especially in 1E, and a tiny bit less so in 2E) that, from a purely power-gaming standpoint, it would be sheer folly not to use them. With any fighting character that's not totally gimped, Massive Damage on every hit is virtually guaranteed.
In my group we have not a houserule but a "Gentlemen's Agreement" to use no weapon bigger than a War Sword / D12 or 2D6.

Then there are some feats / rules from splat books that may be fine by themselves, but allow gamebreaking synergies when combined with other splat books. For example, combine True Professional (which allows you to raise Craft skills as high as you like, not capped at level+3) with the Body Painting stuff from the Pict book, and voilà, +20 attack/damage from war paint.
Again, in my group we don't use any splatbook material, because its mostly broken... either too weak / too expensive and useless, or gamebreaking; but hardly ever the proper balance.
Have I got a surprise for you. Come closer, I'll show you what it is.
Strom
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1493
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2004 4:17 am
Location: Michigama
Contact:

Re: Game Breakers

Postby Strom » Sun Jul 25, 2010 12:48 am

Supplement Four wrote: To The Hilt combat maneuver (2E Core Rulebook): This seems overpowered and ill-thought out to me on two counts. First, it doesn't take into account the damage of having a sword stuck in a body. Under the vanilla healing rules, a character could recover from this unbelieveably fast, requiring the healing rules to be house-ruled for this maneuver.
I don't have any problem - let alone a game breaker issue - with this combat maneuver. As Clovenhoof posted - you lose your weapon and depending on when you do the maneuver that may be an issue. Plus, it's a reason to use your secondary weapon - instead of just carrying it around. Also, it is one of the combat maneuver's that emulate the combat moves Conan did in the stories, like in Hour of the Dragon if my memory serves me. As for the healing consideration, that is applicable in many instances and realism is often the victim of playability (especially if the playability emulates the heroics of Conan)
“Crom and his devils!”
Supplement Four
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3855
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:28 am

Postby Supplement Four » Sun Jul 25, 2010 1:42 am

Clovenhoof wrote:re To The Hilt: I think this maneuver it not particularly well written, but I never regarded it as a game breaker. It's not exactly desirable to have your weapon stuck in an enemy.
You lose your weapon. I understand that's "fair" compensation for the other guy having a sword stuck in him.

My problem with To The Hilt is the healing rules.

Let's say you're successful using To The Hilt on a Cimmerian Barbarian. He takes off his hit points. He yanks the sword out and flips it on the ground, taking off some more hit points. But, he's still got 10 hit points left, and he proceeds to beat the heck out of you until you're dead. You never hit him again.

Now, in just two days sleep, the character completely heals. He's in 100% condition.

What?! :shock:

The guy just had a sword stuck INSIDE him. So stuck in him that it took a DC 10 STR check to pull it out. That's not like picking up a rag laying on the ground--that's a bit of a tug. The sword must be stuck on something...bones maybe? :lol:

Now, the dude has that kind of wound and is 100% healed in TWO FREAKIN' DAYS!!

It just blows my believeablity. I know the characters are supposed to be heroes, but, sheesh.

That's why I think it's a game breaker--because it requires a HUGE SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF, or it requires some House Ruled Healing Rules.

You could use the Slowly Healing Wound rule from the Warrior's Companion. That would work, and you wouldn't have to make up new House Rules for Healing.

But....

That still leaves you with a game breaking situation because now, with the Slowly Healing Wound rule, the To The Hilt maneuver becomes TOO POWERFUL. You use it, and you pretty much screw the victim for a long time (if you don't kill him in the fight).

So, I'm still of the opionion that To The Hilt needs some work.
Spectator
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 874
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2006 4:02 am
Location: Tallahassee, Florida

Postby Spectator » Sun Jul 25, 2010 9:11 am

Clovenhoof wrote:re To The Hilt: ...

Then there are some feats / rules from splat books that may be fine by themselves, but allow gamebreaking synergies when combined with other splat books. For example, combine True Professional (which allows you to raise Craft skills as high as you like, not capped at level+3) with the Body Painting stuff from the Pict book, and voilà, +20 attack/damage from war paint.
Again, in my group we don't use any splatbook material, because its mostly broken... either too weak / too expensive and useless, or
gamebreaking; but hardly ever the proper balance.
C-hoof, this reminded me of one of my threads here:
http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/phpBB ... ight=paint

This shows how some Pictish dude with some good artschool can whoop anyone's butt!
User avatar
Clovenhoof
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1216
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 10:32 am
Location: Germania Res Publica Foederalis

Postby Clovenhoof » Sun Jul 25, 2010 11:12 am

Yes, that's the thread I was referring to.

@S4: I'd say you're mixing up some terminology here. You're having a problem with Suspension of Disbelief concerning the healing rules. You might say that this maneuver -- or rather its consequences -- is an "immersion breaker".

"Game Breaker" normally defines an ability (feat, maneuver, spell etc.) that destroys the balance of the game. So if "To The Hilt" was an absolute surefire way to kill everything, and the player would use it all the time with super effectiveness, then it would be a game breaker.
The way it is, it just causes some problems with "realism". Again, I have to say that this is not what Conan is about. The system _intends_ for a half-dead character to be up and running after three days rest.

Again, and I have to stress this is not intended as personal offense, you might be happier with a different, more simulationist system. Conan D20 is not a simulation of real life.
Have I got a surprise for you. Come closer, I'll show you what it is.
Supplement Four
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3855
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:28 am

Postby Supplement Four » Sun Jul 25, 2010 3:19 pm

Clovenhoof wrote:@S4: I'd say you're mixing up some terminology here.
I am, and I'm not. True, "Game Breaker" usually refers to mechanically making the game unplayable--but many times that unplayability is due to the players not accepting the outcomes of the mechanics.

Which is exactly the problem I have with To The Hilt and it's lack of healing consequences in the game.


So if "To The Hilt" was an absolute surefire way to kill everything, and the player would use it all the time with super effectiveness, then it would be a game breaker.
If the healing rules are tweaked to accept this maneuver, then, as I state in the bottom of my post above, it would be a "super effective" game breaker.

Again, and I have to stress this is not intended as personal offense, you might be happier with a different, more simulationist system. Conan D20 is not a simulation of real life.
Ah...you were the one who always brings that up. I had forgotten who. See, I disagree with you. I think Conan d20 can be quite a viable simulation of heroic life during the Hyborian Age.
DooMJake
Weasel
Posts: 28
Joined: Sat Apr 25, 2009 12:44 pm

Postby DooMJake » Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:22 pm

I dont see it as gamebreaking or overpowered. It only works on unarmored opponents. They would die fast anyway.
User avatar
Lord High Munchkin
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1292
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 11:12 am
Location: Vancouver, where the rainbow ends/Oxford, occasionally, in an ivory tower

Postby Lord High Munchkin » Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:29 pm

Spectator wrote:This shows how some Pictish dude with some good artschool can whoop anyone's butt!
I went to Artschool (actually several) and it's all true... I can whoop butt.
The desire for a "definitive, ultimate answer" is, in fact, classified by modern psychiatric medicine as a mental illness.
User avatar
Jotenbjorn
Mongoose
Posts: 173
Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2005 6:48 am
Location: Tempe, AZ

Postby Jotenbjorn » Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:23 am

The biggest game breaker is crushing grip. When that feat's used the fight is over.
Looking for a game in Tempe, Az. E6 Conan ftw!

http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/hyborian-steel - Still looking for players!
User avatar
Clovenhoof
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1216
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 10:32 am
Location: Germania Res Publica Foederalis

Postby Clovenhoof » Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:44 am

It's powerful, yes, but it comes at a price. 2 feats prereq (Improved Unarmed Strike, Improved Grapple), BAB 8+, and you need to grapple in order to use it, which makes you a sitting duck to everyone else. Awesome in one-on-one fights, too risky in larger battles if you ask me.
Have I got a surprise for you. Come closer, I'll show you what it is.
rabindranath72
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 781
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2004 2:48 pm
Contact:

Postby rabindranath72 » Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:56 am

Well, the problem is that "To the Hilt" IS simulationist, since it describes an actual grave wound, which under the abstract hit point system could be equated to depletion of hit points or even death.
--------------------------------------------------
Williams and Holland law:
"Everything can be demonstrated by statistical methods if you have enough data"
Vambelte
Stoat
Posts: 85
Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 5:33 pm
Location: Brasil

Postby Vambelte » Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:41 pm

I agree with Jotenbjorn (complicated name btw :p) about Crushing Grip. That feat I really cut off, on the first change to the game I ever made. Explosive power attack is so ridiculous that I've never considered using it.
Fighting power attack since 2005
User avatar
Clovenhoof
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1216
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 10:32 am
Location: Germania Res Publica Foederalis

Postby Clovenhoof » Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:58 pm

Well, maybe the amount of ability damage dealt is too uber. Tbh I never saw it in action. Once I planned to take it with my Barb, but then the GM totally threw the grappling rules overboard, so I went a different route.

Maybe nerf it to: reduce chosen ability by 2 on a failed Fort save.
Have I got a surprise for you. Come closer, I'll show you what it is.
Supplement Four
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3855
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:28 am

Postby Supplement Four » Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:38 pm

rabindranath72 wrote:Well, the problem is that "To the Hilt" IS simulationist, since it describes an actual grave wound, which under the abstract hit point system could be equated to depletion of hit points or even death.
Exactly. Mixin' apples and oranges.
User avatar
Jotenbjorn
Mongoose
Posts: 173
Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2005 6:48 am
Location: Tempe, AZ

Postby Jotenbjorn » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:20 am

Clovenhoof wrote:Well, maybe the amount of ability damage dealt is too uber. Tbh I never saw it in action. Once I planned to take it with my Barb, but then the GM totally threw the grappling rules overboard, so I went a different route.

Maybe nerf it to: reduce chosen ability by 2 on a failed Fort save.
2 points seems about right, as is it's a total game breaker. If you're using that feat on an opponent without improved grapple you initially gain a 4 point bonus that he doesn't get. If you have brawl you do 1d6+str mod to their strength, potentially 10 points of strength or more! You now have a 9 point advantage and the fight is over. It's the equivalent of getting a save or die attack for the cost of only 4 feats. That's a deal and a half, if you're a fighter you 6 feats left at level 8 to take feats for fights against multiple opponents.
Looking for a game in Tempe, Az. E6 Conan ftw!

http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/hyborian-steel - Still looking for players!
strategos14
Stoat
Posts: 88
Joined: Wed Jul 14, 2010 6:25 am

Postby strategos14 » Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:51 pm

to the hilt and improvised attack are two maneuvers that i simply will not allow to be used. to the hilt doesn't make sense for all the reasons stated and if a character wants to pick up a chair or a plate in his off-hand and use it to attack, he can do so using the actual rules. i understand the reasoning behind creating these maneuvers but not enough to use them. also the lock weapons maneuver kind of goes against the optional parrying rule that says if attack equals the defense then the damage is dealt to the weapon or shield used to parry
my cats name is conan
Supplement Four
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3855
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:28 am

Postby Supplement Four » Thu Aug 05, 2010 7:44 pm

strategos14 wrote:and if a character wants to pick up a chair or a plate in his off-hand and use it to attack, he can do so using the actual rules.
Not saying I support the Improved Attack maneuver--I haven't studied it enough yet. But, the difference in this maneuver and the regular rules is that the maneuvers allows the second weapon as a free attack.

So, it's a bit better than what the usual two-weapon rules allow.
also the lock weapons maneuver kind of goes against the optional parrying rule that says if attack equals the defense then the damage is dealt to the weapon or shield used to parry
I've thought about this as well, and I have questions.

Since an attack throw that equals the target number is still a success, does the attacker roll damage regularly and do the weapon break/lock weapons effect?

I would say that there's three possible outcomes from an attack roll that exactly equals a parry.

1. Damage is done normally.

2. Use the Optional Weapon Breakage rule.

3. Use the Lock Weapons combat maneuver.



The question is: How is it decided which effect is used?

I think the attacker should decide since he really has the advantage in this situation. When attack throw = Parry total, attacker decides which of the three options to proceed.





EDIT: Alternatively, we can let fate decice. Remove the normal damage option. If the attack throw is even, then use the Weapon Breakage rule. If the attack throw is odd, then allow the Lock Weapons combat maneuver.

That might be quicker and throw some unexpected excitement into combat.
strategos14
Stoat
Posts: 88
Joined: Wed Jul 14, 2010 6:25 am

Postby strategos14 » Fri Aug 06, 2010 7:31 pm

i was thinking of letting the attacker decide which to use between lock weapon or weapon damage. although letting fate decide would be cool i think and represent the randomness of combat a little more.
the improvised attack thing actually makes it easier to pick up a plate, use it to attack, next round drop it, pick up a mug and use it to attack then it would be to actually attack with a dagger in your off hand that you don't need to pick up or drop. because with the maneuver, these off hand attacks with random stuff are all done at your highest base attack and somehow allows you to pick things up with a free action and no AofO's. don't make sense to me. so i Xed it lol. along with the to the hilt thing.
on a side not, i also decided that the permanent damage chart will be used anytime a guy is brought to negative hit points. that and slightly longer heal times. i don't want to stop characters from being bold but i also don't want them to willingly always let there guys go to negatives because they have fate points or their buddies have a decent heal check. they should hesitate before being nearly killed i think
my cats name is conan

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 16 guests