A 56-year-old centurion walks into a bar...

Lemnoc

Mongoose
I know it sounds like a dirty joke, but really it’s a continuation of this thread:

http://forum.mongoosepublishing.com/viewtopic.php?f=79&t=48633&start=30

DamonJynx said:
I use the following in my games for NPC's:

Combat Skills
Leaders within 10% either way of the most skilled PC and HP by location
Mooks the same, but for the lowest skilled PC to a cap of around 60-70% and general HP

Other skills as required are generally base skill +30 to 50%.

When the PC's reach levels nearing the seasoned, veteran, master and hero tiers I'll add another 10 or 20% to keep the 'villians' up there. Obviously that will be for named, special NPC's not sword fodder mooks.

And that answer is really intelligent and encouraging and helpful (and appreciated, thank you!). But not, I think, entirely satisfactory.

It seems to me culling from PC stats to find worthy adversaries is inherently inflationary and not entirely realistic, nor even impartial to outcomes. It doesn't seem fair to just take my PCs, fiddle around with their numbers, then toss the resulting opponent at them in a random encounter.

When seasoned PCs walk into a bar, it is very likely they’re the toughest guys in the room. Deservedly so, and I want to honor that. So why is it PCs, three years into a campaign, now are casually bumping into NPCs way beyond anything they ever might’ve ever met three years ago, NPCs of uncommon expertise? Did everybody just get better?

My mercenary band--when they started out--had a DI who was best in the brigade. Everyone feared him. That is why he was command leader. But my merry band of mercs has moved on and are now heroes of the first rank. They're heroes beyond their original cohort. They’d never be afraid of the old DI today. But who was that guy, what were his stats?

We have, for example, very detailed information about what sorts of training and experience a Roman Legionary would experience at various ages and enlistments, very regular... but what does that look like in RQ stats?

If my merry band of legendary warriors has moved beyond seeing their old DI as a challenge--the toughest rascal they'd ever met, starting out--then maybe they need to move beyond petty encounters and ascend the stairs of the throne, so to speak. And that would be good to know.

In short, I’d like a series of statblocks that tells me this so-&-so is a fearsome character in RQ terms. If my PCs still mop the floor with him, that’s telling me they’re ready for new challenges.

I dunno; just thinking aloud. Not a complaint: Encouraging a sourcebook!
 

DamonJynx

Mongoose
My guys haven't gone beyond seasoned yet. The 'boosts' I mentioned before weren't for everyday encounters - the mooks, those they meet on a daily basis, town guards, militia, regular folk like merchants and peasants will rarely, if ever, have skills above 70% unless it is something they are considered an expert in: Lore (Farming) for example. Most combat oriented types will be lucky to have a combat style over 70%. Those that scale with the PC's will be major NPC's who pose a serious threat to them.

I should have made that clearer in my OP.
 

Mixster

Mongoose
I'm in complete agreement with the OP "Level-Scaling", as I call it, is a thing I've always found incredibly silly.

However, a GM could tailor the story to match the players. What is a challenge when starting out, such as a backdoor mugging, is not necessarily a challenge when you're a seasoned warrior, in those cases fighting the champion of the arena might be more of a challenge.
 

PhilHibbs

Mongoose
Mixster said:
I'm in complete agreement with the OP "Level-Scaling", as I call it, is a thing I've always found incredibly silly.

However, a GM could tailor the story to match the players. What is a challenge when starting out, such as a backdoor mugging, is not necessarily a challenge when you're a seasoned warrior, in those cases fighting the champion of the arena might be more of a challenge.

The players should naturally want to seek out greater challenges - my lot killed a dragon, but it was a young one and it wasn't trying to kill them. They caught it off guard. When their core skills are 20% higher, I won't be so generous.
 

ThatGuy

Mongoose
Don't forget- the beauty of the system is that even a heroic Merc, can step out into a back alley mugging- and a few bad rolls will leave him without his sword arm.

Scaling- adventure wise- is always good, but the system can always surprise you with a good dose of realism when you are not expecting it.
 

Mixster

Mongoose
ThatGuy said:
Don't forget- the beauty of the system is that even a heroic Merc, can step out into a back alley mugging- and a few bad rolls will leave him without his sword arm.

Totally, especially if there are 4 or 5 guys on him. But then that is a pretty big challenge. Like taking 4 or 5 guys on would be.
 
The original thread was based on the question "In a level based game I know how to provide a suitable challenge for my players, how do I do it in RQ/Legend", so it seems a bit unfair to criticise the answers for providing a mechanism to scale opponents based on the skill of the PC's.

This is separate as to whether encounters should be scaled to "fit" the abilities of PC's - whether by skill, level or any other game mechanic. And the answer to that will depend a lot on the style of game you are running and your overall philosophy.

Generally "Being an adventurer" will increase your "adventurer related" skills much faster than not being an adventurer - so if Alf and Bill are evenly matched in a bar-room brawl on day 1 of the campaign, Alf goes off being an Adventurer and Bill stays at home then 5 (campaign) years later, Alf ought to easily beat Bill. Whether Bill should be evenly matched with Charlie, a new character on day 1 of his career, or "5 years better" is another question.

More pertinent might be, Why are Alf and Bill fighting again 5 years into the campaign? Is it because Alf wants to show how much he has improved over 5 years - in this case he should be significantly better. Is it because Alf and Bill are bitter rivals who are destined to keep fighting each other throughout the campaign - In this case they should still be fairly evenly matched (or there is a way for Bill to escape and then rapidly improve up to Alf's level again) or the rivalry becomes a damp squib. Is it because tonight's session is a bar-room brawl, and we want (a) a challenging fight - (evenly matched), (b) an easy victory for the PC's to show them as tough guys (PC's better than NPC's) or (c) players beaten up and/or arrested for brawling - NPC's should be better than PC's without being ridiculously overpowering.

Some NPC's in the Campaign World will obviously start way above the power level of the average starting PC. If you try and take on Harrek the Berserk / Cragspider / Elric / Conan / Faffhrd & The Grey Mouser on day 1 of the campaign you aren't likely to make it to day 2. Again it is a matter of campaign taste whether you are likely to fare any better against them on day 3650. (one argument says "anything an NPC can do, the PC's can do too, so obviously the PC's can become as powerful, or more powerful than signature characters". An alternative argument is "If anyone can go off adventuring for a few years and then take on these signature characters, how come they are still around for the PC's to take on...")
 
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