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How do I make npc resources a real thing?
First of all, I don't have any experience outside of d20s besides some one-shots so this is coming out of my experience GMing d&d derivatives. I'm also not very experienced as a GM.

My main problem is: npc resoures are NOT real. They don't matter, because the npcs don't need to win, they just need to drain resources. This means an npc with the same amount of resources as a player will always have an edge, because they are always willing to spend all their resources.

It's coming up in my campaign a "war" of sorts where the players are going to fight and kill wizards, entire schools of them, with a grand objective in the end which is not relevant to my problem. The problem is because NPC resources are not real, if every wizard just uses magic missile or any other save for half spell with their highest slot on every turn the players will lose, 100% of time. It's not a matter of power, it's just sheer numbers, the players and their assisting npcs just don't have the hit points to make it, and even if they do it doesn't feel right. Everyone on the players side has to fight saving resources for the next fight, but the npcs are always blowing all their load in that one fight, because npcs only exist for that fight.

Picture unrelated.
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>>87496631
Let me get this straight. You’re concerned with the verisimilitude of whether or not enemies are spending all their resources under the assumption that, win or lose, they simply cease to exist when the combat is over?
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>>87496631
>npc resoures are NOT real. They don't matter, because the npcs don't need to win, they just need to drain resources. This means an npc with the same amount of resources as a player will always have an edge, because they are always willing to spend all their resources.
Your thinking like a game dev this is a problem dont treat it like a stage in video game treat it as well a encouter with characters not NPCs
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>>87496665
Yes, that is pretty much it.
I don't want players to feel like I'm pulling punches on them, but I also know that if I don't, with the inherent correlation of npcs and their resources they just can't win and even if they do it would still feel like an incredible unfair fight resources-wise.
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>>87496631
The dungeon has 20 goblins. No matter what, the dungeon has 20 goblins. If the PCs ambush a 2 goblin patrol outside the dungeon, then the dungeon has 18 goblins. If they then find a way to lure 4 goblins out and kill them. Then the dungeon has 14 goblins. If they then drive a pack of wolves into the dungeon and the wolves eat 5 goblins before they are killed off, then the dungeon has 9 goblins.

The enemy resources are their numbers. Make killing people matter.
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>>87496631
ban Goodberry
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>>87496699
You didn't actuallly read their post and this had nothing to do with what they were asking about.
That said, it was good, so carry on.
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>>87496631
You don't have to play every single enemy at maximum efficiency you fucking sperg.
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>>87496679
Entire organizations get resources, not individual NPCs. Those factor in more than just combat - you can have the Wizard Mafia, for example, spend some of their resources to send people after PC's allies (which PCs either have to defend now or deal with consequences). Said resources could also be used to attain said organization's goals, which PCs can also thwart. Essentially it's a war of attrition between PCs and enemy organizations, one said organisations would bail out of if it proves too costly (and so giving the victory to PCs).
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>>87496631
My brother in Christ, -you- control the NPCs. They're your fucking NPCs.

Literally just ask yourself
>Has this NPC used any of their spells or abilities today already?
>Does the NPC expect to face further combat today, and therefore will they save their spells?
If the answer to both of these is "no" and you can't justify them not firing everything they have - JUST DOWNSTAT YOUR NPCs. Limit what they have access to. All of this is entirely your choice and your responsibility.
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>>87496631
>This means an npc with the same amount of resources as a player will always have an edge, because they are always willing to spend all their resources
If both the players and the NPCs are threatened with death as an outcome of the encounter, then both should be willing to spend all their resources. I'm not sure I see the problem.
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>>87496749
Retard is talking about game-mechanic resources like spell slots, not narrative ones.
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>>87496766
In fairness OPs post was stupid as shit and he clearly has a paper bag full of moldy oatmeal for brains.
The morons that didn't even read it are the only redeeming thing in the thread.
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>>87496631
>How do I make npc resources a real thing?
You don't. They're abstracted for NPCs in good systems for a variety of reasons, not the least of which wasting your time managing checkboxes will invariably distract you from delivering meaningful role-playing opportunities.

The NPC sorcerer can cast BURNING BOLT as many times as you want. They don't have a full spell repertoire and that's okay.
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>>87496796
You don't think it's cool to have mind games where the party knows the enemy spellcaster's spell slots, and the party keeps account of what the enemy has remaining?
It should induce the party to engage in some fun planning, no?
Eg you have mostly fire spells and a weak ice spell; you shoot the enemy with cold magic, enemy casts an elemental resistance spell that makes it resistant to cold, now you can safely shoot him with fire because he used up his elemental resistance spell. Something like that, I don't even know if DnD spells works like that.

I don't play DnD not because of the usual reasons, but because I like really braindead simple mechanics in my games but when reading OOTS it always felt to me like that's something that makes Vancian system worth it.
If the players don't know the enemy's resources to begin with, I guess there's less of a point to it, because no specific enough plans can be made.
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You have thought yourself into a corner somehow OP. You are overthinking things.
If they're fighting "schools" of Wizards then have them specialize and be thematic rather than worry about spell slots.
Being that they are Wizards don't simply have them fight to the death. Have them run, conserve their last spell slots for Dimension Doors and Misty Steps.

Don't worry about not exhausting themselves and let your players solve the issues.
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>>87496894
No.
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>>87496894
>You don't think it's cool to have mind games where the party knows the enemy spellcaster's spell slots
No, I'm generally not for metagaming.

>reading OOTS it always felt to me like that's something that makes Vancian system worth i
OOTS is fapfiction. It's like an endless joke about the potential of tabletop role-playing if only none of the players had real agency.
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>>87497133
>No, I'm generally not for metagaming.
It doesn't have to be metagaming.
"Go defeat that evil spellcaster! Here's our info on his spell slots, [...]"
Ability scores wouldn't be known directly by people living in the game world, but surely spell slots can.
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>>87497155
Please read what you wrote.
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>>87497192
I think you're trying to say your definition of metagaming is different from mine?
Metagaming, as I understand the term, means using knowledge that wouldn't be accessible in-universe. Spell slots aren't like that, casters are obviously consciously aware of their spell slots.
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>>87497192
No. Everything I wrote was solid fucking gold.
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>>87497210
Stop hijacking my post, dickhole. You aren't even using the correct definition of metagaming for what I was saying.
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>>87496679
If verisimilitude is a real concern, then enemies should not be acting like they cease to exist after every combat. They should be approaching these encounters from the same perspective as the players, with a need to conserve resources for what happens next.
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>>87496631
Does the school realise it's all or nothing? If you've already established that as fact, this won't help, but otherwise literally do pull your punches. The wizards underestimate the PCs, or they are prideful fucks who "can kill those scoundrels with less effort than you, Richard the red sorcerer!" so they don't burn their resources like there won't be another encounter. Only when the shit really starts hitting the fan do they go all out, but that's also what your PCs will have saved their resources for.
Just ramp up the rate at which the wizoowds burn their resources.

And if the wizards do know it's all or nothing, literally why wouldn't they fight like there's no tomorrow? Because your players will lose? Give them a way to break up the fight, make a tactical retreat and come back with better preparation:
"Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing"
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>>87496631
>the npcs don't need to win, they just need to drain resources
This mindset is your problem. Most NPCs should want to win (or at least to *live*), not just die to drain the PCs resources (that’s what makes mindless undead and golems so dangerous; they don’t care about their own survival).
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>>87496631
For the deer, the fight with the leopard is one of life and death. For the leopard, it’s a fight for a meal.

Which is to say, if you genuinely expect the players to face enemies of their same level on a regular basis, you should expect them to die in short order. You have noticed the exact problem why lions don’t hunt down crocodiles for diner, or any other animal they cannot consistently kill.

If you don’t want to pull punches, allow your players to stake the odds towards them in other manners beyond mortal kombat (ambushes for starters), otherwise your starting premise of single digit players vs two orders of magnitude more people of similar level will result in the party dying.
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>>87496631
>because npcs only exist for that fight.
This is a bad way to think about it. Don't think of them as NPCs in a video game who's only purpose is to fight the main characters and then perish. You've turned yourself into a shitty version of a jrpg combat simulator.
Contextualize the npcs. if they're just pointless mooks don't have that encounter its a waste of everyone's time.
Make a random table of resources they have, roll on that.
Make a random table of previous encounters the npc group has had and subtract those resources so its not magically 100% effectiveness all the time even though there's a war on.
Make contextualized and useful environments the players can use instead of having to grind through a bunch of mooks to get to the next story encounter.
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>>87499259
Bruh. Sometimes mooks are just mooks. A way to raise stakes and control pacing. Shit sometimes mooks are just going to exist because I think this combinations of enemies would make a badass fight. Not everything needs to be pregnant with meaning.
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>>87499316
>A way to raise stakes and control pacing.
Your gameplay style is lame.
>Not everything needs to be pregnant with meaning.
Not everything has to be a grind. Make the environment, let the players navigate it.
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>>87499353
Cool story, bro. While your players fall asleep as you explain the rabid graveyard dog's tragic backstory for 15 minutes, mine will be over here staking dryads to their own trees with cold iron spikes and burning them to death.
To each their own.
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>>87499441
I feel bad for your players, assuming you have any.
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>>87499485
(You)
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>>87496631
You just described why wizard fights are always turbocancer in Baldur's Gate and its sequel.
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>>87496631
>if every wizard just uses magic missile or any other save for half spell with their highest slot on every turn the players will lose, 100% of time

Maybe your players shouldn't fight an army of wizards out in the open like a line battle, then?

Maybe "every single one of these wizards can blast us with magic missile and fireball" is something your players should be considering???
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>>87496631
>How do I make npc resources a real thing?
Have them use the back half of their resources to escape unless they're fanatical.
Reduce this to the absolute last of their resources if they're casters who can save a teleport or similar.
In a harsher environment, smart NPCs may be more conservative with their HP; they're not going to risk much if they still need to survive in outright damaging weather after a fight.
Allow the party to track fleeing enemies if it's reasonable and engage them again with resources gone.
Since you're worrying about this a bit more than "they're mooks and fuck off at the end of combat" let's go a little deeper.
You can also roll for a group of enemies to see what resources they use before reaching the party or after fleeing.
Keep it simple, if they roll high they use very little or even none, if they roll low they use a lot - let's say potentially half. On "a little" they are missing some arrows and low level abilities/spell slots/points/whatever. On a max roll of "a lot" they're missing half of their slots of every level and half of their 1/day abilities.
Modify it by ambient conditions and relevant powers of the enemy by shifting the maximum up or down a little.
In bad conditions they potentially use more than half and always a little. If they are significantly more powerful than local enemies - an ogre with a hobgoblin squad in an area of predominantly cute woodland critters - they use minimal or no resources.
With enemies that outright don't need to worry about travelling or ambient dangers, like a dragon its lair or a teleporting wizard squad, they don't lose any resources. Except the teleport and maybe something they used to scry the party in the case of the wizard squad.
They refresh their resources overnight for relevant abilities, or at enemy camps for truly finite resources such as arrows. Decide for yourself how many groups an enemy camp can refresh and how it's supplied and what happens if the supplies are ambushed.
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>>87499663
>Reduce this to the absolute last of their resources if they're casters who can save a teleport or similar.
to be clear, this only applies if the casters are winning - or at least not dying
if they start losing they should fuck off much sooner, potentially dragging their fightier dudes with them

vary all of this and the rest in my previous post with respect to the specific enemies and how much they actually matter
Elite Goblin Death Squad is not the same as Goblin Conscript With Knife #2955686
Additionally, have them use tactics that imply they're not trying to be suicidal, unless they're something like Goblin Martyr Squad
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>>87496631
Stop ocerthibf8 for



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