Creative combat objectives (other than "kill 'em all") - Page 6
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  1. #51
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    There was a classic Star Fleet Battles scenario called "Surprise Reversed" where a fleet that was being prepared for a surprise attack got jumped by a lone ship, while most of the ships were "inactive" IE. not ready for combat, with minimal defenses. So each round there was the tension between sticking around to inflict damage and fleeing before too many activated and it got overwhelmed.
    That was a very, very good combat scenario. I played it often.


    You're Not As You Are (Or Maybe They Ain't): You're engaged in combat, don't remember why or when it started. Don't know your position or where you are. All you know is that it's dark, it smells strange, there are weird noises in the background, it's very cold, and you are outnumbered by dangerous opponents. As the combat proceeds the characters begin to have flashes of memory that suggest they may be fighting under some type of "magical, or altered memory influence."

    During the combat, your opponents keep seeming to gesture wildly, and yell at you in a language you don't seem to understand but vaguely recognize. What are they trying to tell you, and what is your real situation?

    If you cease fighting will they cut you down, or try some unexpected tactic, and why?

    Are they trying to kill you, capture you, liberate you, or something else? For that matter are they as they appear? And how will you know?

    Objective: Find out the truth, then live through it.



    Three Monsters and a Littler Party: You are walking through a dungeon when you hear terrible noises like huge packs of wild animals fighting and then there is a rumble and the floor collapses and half the party falls into a cavern in which three monsters are engaged in a life or death struggle. There is a great deal of debris and those in the cavern see no immediate exit. Those above can't see clearly what's going on below for the dust generated by the collapse and the fight. They have their own problems as they are trying to find secure areas above so they won't drop below.

    Any one of the three monsters could potential kill one or more of the members of your party. All three monsters are vicious and unpredictable, and the fight is savage and chaotic. If the party members stand still they'll be overrun by the fight. If they run or scatter they might draw the attention of one or more monster, or may trigger the monsters to band together temporarily. What do you do?

    Objective: Figure out your best course of action, then live through the situation.
    Last edited by Jack7; Friday, 4th June, 2010 at 09:56 AM.

  2. #52
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    must....
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  3. #53
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    While I like the idea of combat with objectives other than defeat all, I find the very idea of such set-piece battles to be "railroady" in the tradition where an adventure is a series of interconnected fights. I'm not saying this cannot be done right, just that the GM must be prepared to be "cheated" of his nicely set-up by ingenious players.

  4. #54
    Quote Originally Posted by Rechan View Post
    Any suggestions how to increase the difficulty of these situations? For instance, I'm reading through these, and I know from experience that something (either by design, or the way you're running it/your PCs react), it becomes a cakewalk.

    What should you do in the event that it becomes a cake walk?

    Alternatively, what do you do if it becomes impossible for the players, for whatever reason? (Dice, bad planning, etc)?
    I ran a minion heavy game, to keep it interesting I made a little sub mechanic. I used zombie mini's (from the board game). If you did 10 or more damage the minion was killed, less than 10 damage I replaced the mini with a red headed mini and on the next hit it was dead (used a sharpy to red head them). It worked great, made the minions more of a challenge, but still minion-y.

  5. #55
    I don't have the time to follow the format but I ran this a few years ago. It was a modified last stand.


    Fortify
    Setup: PC's are in the woods, evading raiding parties of orcs. They come across an old house, find it to be abandoned, then spot an orc scout outside. The scout takes off to warn his raiding party, which the PC's knows outnumbers them

    Objective: the house offers a good place to defend themselves, since they can't keep running all night. Inside they found some tools and lumber, as if someone were preparing to fix up the old place. I gave the Players like 10 minutes to determine what fortifications they wanted to make. They boarded up the windows and barricaded the doors, all of which I had guessed and had made some rulings for. They placed their archer in the upper window to snipe, and made slits in the entrances to stab through. But they also weakened the floor under the stairs, effectively making it so a well placed blow to a column could collapse the stairs into the basement below.

    The fight went very well. The PC's positioned themselves at entry points so they could fight the orcs back, the sniper worked his magic. The enemy leader through torches inside the building, so the PC's had to worry about those too. As the fight broke into the house the PC's ran up the stairs to a more defensible position, with the rogue hiding downstairds. When the orcs rushed the stairs the rogue hit the column, collapsed the stairs, and climbed his way up to the second floor. that pretty much sealed the deal.

  6. #56
    Quote Originally Posted by Starfox View Post
    While I like the idea of combat with objectives other than defeat all, I find the very idea of such set-piece battles to be "railroady" in the tradition where an adventure is a series of interconnected fights. I'm not saying this cannot be done right, just that the GM must be prepared to be "cheated" of his nicely set-up by ingenious players.
    thats a good point. The steps it might take to meet the starting conditions for the combat scenario could be railroady.

    Though the ideas here should inspire a DM to think of combat conflicts that aren't just kill'em all.

    Hold them Off
    A situation has come up where a mass of enemies are approaching the party.
    there happens to be a choke-point (canyons, caverns or dungeon) that the party could hold them off.

    Setup: party needs a reason to hold them off. Perhaps a slower NPC needs more time to get farther away (to an escape portal/ride/chute). When presented with the information that where the party needs to escape to runs through this chokepoint, and that they need to buy time, they should come up with the idea to hold them off. They'll also want some insurance, so supply them with a portcullis or collapsible ceiling that when they themselves need to retreat, they can do so.

  7. #57
    Quote Originally Posted by Starfox View Post
    While I like the idea of combat with objectives other than defeat all, I find the very idea of such set-piece battles to be "railroady" in the tradition where an adventure is a series of interconnected fights. I'm not saying this cannot be done right, just that the GM must be prepared to be "cheated" of his nicely set-up by ingenious players.
    I'm of the same mindset. My first impulse on reading the title of the thread was to think of tools which would either (a) empower the players to pursue non-killing goals and/or (b) give the GM flexibility in responding to those goals.

    For starters, there are the old stand-bys: Monster reaction mechanics (so that all monstrous encounters don't default to "they're trying to kill you!"), morale rules (so that every encounter doesn't boil down to genocide), a and a functional chase system (so that disengaging from combat by either PCs or NPCs is a viable option).

    With just these systems in place plus an understanding of how to design wave-based encounters I can duplicate everything in the OP on-the-fly.

    But you could certainly go further than that by fundamentally changing the paradigm of combat so that it becomes conflict resolution instead of task resolution.

    IOW, D&D combat has always been a task resolution system: The rules determine whether or not you kill the monster.

    Change it up: When you deplete a monster's hit points you haven't automatically killed them; you've simply reached the point where the player can now determine the outcome of the encounter. Does the monster die? Run away? Surrender? Convert? Go flying off the cliff and disappear into the abyss?

    Having done that, however, you can now open combat even more using pg. 42: Hit point depletion doesn't have to be limited to stuff that deals physical damage. All kinds of skills could be employed in creative ways to further your goals.

  8. #58
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    Ok ,I cant find the thread where I found this AWESOME idea so I hope the person will step forward so I can give him the xp he deserves.

    I ran the Ninjas in a house in a tornado fight for my epic 4th group on our big New Years day game as the last encounter and it was awesome.

    The ninjas(female wererat ninjas if you please!) were bouncing around the flying furniture which was smashing around and turning to dangerous splinters the room was spinning and the pcs were being thrown around.

    They loved it,I loved it ,it was a BLAST!

    Just do yourself a favor and give the ninjas group hp like I did as following the damage around would have been a huge pain(I started killing off the ninjas at like 70% damage)

  9. #59

    Slowing to a Halt

    Slowing to a Halt

    Objective: Every round the party must make a check to take an action. The check increases in difficulty every round. Failure means a party member can take no action and is confused or debilitated in some way.

    Setup: The partys memory is failing due to a bad guys evil power or object which must be deactivated. Every round make a wisdom check or be unable to act due to confusion, fascination, or daze effect..The party must eliminate the bad guy or activate the object before no one remembers why they are there or what they are doing.

    In Play: Be sure to not make the check to difficult in the beginning. If the fight drags on beyond what was intended the increasing difficulty of the check can quickly get out of hand. Have a contingency plan in place to keep the game going if no one can make the check... if you dont want a total party kill.

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