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HELP! Humanitarian Aid....

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Pollution

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« on: (10:30:17/11-05-13) »
Okay, normally this isn't too complicated, running a Missions game.  however, my group is on Humanitarian Aid, and I just finished reading the story front to back.  There seems to be a GLARING omission in the fight with the Shedim.

HOW MANY???  Scene 5 doesn't actually say how many enemies....  Okay...  So I look back over the story synopsis...  It says a DOZENS!!

WTF???  That can't be right...can it?  My players have wiped the floor with EVERY other story in this book, but 12 Force 6 Shedim???  All at once???  followed by the good Doctor?!?!?!  nuh uh.

from the Synopsis:

Quote
 e island is dark and shrouded in ever-present fog. A low
humming noise catches the teamís attention and leads them into
a clearing. In the clearing are several items of note: a set of snowmaking
machines, a dozen people loading said machines with rats
and their e uvia, and the mostly intact crates of vaccine from the
clinic. As soon as the runners move toward the vaccine or the goresoaked
snow machines, the shedim in the clearing attack.

I look at the text in Scene 5 and it says nothing about numbers.....

Look, I've got a Phys.Ad with killing hands, a Mage, a Gunslinger Adept and a Technomancer.....  The first 2 can take these buggers out one or two at a time, but A DOZEN?!?!?! followed by a fight with a MASTER Shedim????  Seriously?

These guys will WRECK my team.  can't be right...can it?  And there's a background count of FOUR?!?!?  With the doctor immune?  jeebus.
« Last Edit: (10:32:09/11-05-13) by Pollution »

Michael Chandra

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« Reply #1 on: (11:01:40/11-05-13) »
We played without Immunity to Normal Weapons, which was a mistake from our side (SR5 description should include Immunity to Normal Weapons since this is what Possession gives them), and took a rough guideline of 2 Shedim per player, since Missions are balanced on 6 players and a dozen vs six means 2 per 1.

At 9 Shedim vs 5 players, and a sudden "okay, you're nearby spying but now you roll Sneaking, someone fails so combat starts" bombshell, we took a bit of damage, especially the Mage. Auslander had 2 Shedim with him, with Immunity he clearly should be by himself, and even then our mage overcasting was part of how we got to kick his ass. Note that his Spell Defense should have applied here and ruined the aim of the AoE spell, but it was overcast at a level where that simply would have meant "Auslander, his minions AND several players take damage."

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BALANCING TRICKS

1: You got a party of 4, so I'd give them a tough fight and throw 8 Shedim at them. If they're smart, they get first strike and that means they can do significant damage in advance. If they're dumb, whelp... Their fault, and they'll live. Probably.
Note that Immunity to Normal Weapons will hurt like hell here. You might want to consider using just the dig team at 6 Shedim.

2: Give serious consideration to halving the Shedim their Edge. Seriously. SRM04-08 admitted Auslander is too tough by halving his Edge. Since SR5 has halved Spirit Edge, it seems no more than fair to apply the same to Shedim. It's bad enough that each Shedim has their own Edge Pool, adding 6 Edge per Shedim to the mix makes it a disaster and results in really high Push-The-Limit results.

3: Environmental Modifiers. If you declare the light to be Dim and the Fog to be Moderate, that's -3 and -3. The light -3 gets boosted to -6 by Shedim power. Ultrasound lets you ignore the -6 and shifts the fog -3 one level up to -1. Thermographic Vision shifts both up 1 row to -1 and -3, so you face a -3.

Note that the Shedim do NOT have this. So while your own attacks will face -3 from the fog+darkness, the Shedim face a -6 from the fog+darkness. This should be a nice balancing factor in the battle, you'll have a hard time hitting (especially Auslander) but the enemy will have an even worse penalty. Not to mention that the normal Shedim charge into melee, so at that point they take a -3 vs ranged attacks.

This -6  (or -3 for Thermographic Vision) also applies to Spellcasting, so Auslander won't be able to score a lot of damage.

4: Overcasting. Auslander should NEVER overcast. He knows full well his Regeneration won't restore Drain damage, so overcasting Toxic Wave is a really bad choice for him. If he goes unconscious while only 1 person remains standing, he dies. So he wouldn't do this.

5: John. If you only have 4 players and they have a hard time in the first battle, consider letting John not get knocked out. If he melees Auslander, that gives the ranged attackers a better chance to hit the doc.

6: Make sure the players remember to play smart. Get them paranoid. Make sure they take precautions, use defensive tricks. They can let a Spirit, summoned before entering the background count, use Concealment on them, or hide between the trees even after the first battle is over, paranoid as one might be that more might be coming. At that point, Auslander might not notice them and they got a shot at doing a LOT of damage even if both sides Edge the roll.

Auslander has 8 Magic, so his Immunity to Normal Weapons is massive. Against an APDS-loaded Ares Alpha he rolls 8+16-6=18 dice and gets (16-6)/2=5 autohits, so on average he knocks off 11 damage. So 1 net hit would translate to perhaps 1 damage. If you use a Remington 950, we're talking 16 dice + 4 autohits for an average reduction of 9.33 vs 12+NH damage, so he'll take a few points. A snipershot, on the other hand, will easily knock off half his health even if he edges and so does the attacker.
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Kincaid

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« Reply #2 on: (11:13:27/11-05-13) »
Humanitarian Aid is already (in)famous for being brutal, it's definitely not a "Welcome to Shadowrun" type of run.  The exact number of Shedim will probably come down to how much magic you have in your group, but like Michael said, a 2:1 ratio is probably a good starting point.  Hope the players are smart and give them a chance to roll Magic Theory to remember that when there are Shedim, there's probably a Master Shedim nearby (so they don't blow all their resources in the first phase of the fight).
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Michael Chandra

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« Reply #3 on: (11:16:02/11-05-13) »
"No, let's not attack them, let's wait for the boss to show up."
"Okay guys, roll Sneaking, this has taken long enough."

-___-

Seriously, we could have taken out half of the first group with a Force 6 Ball Lightning and a sniper barrage before the first Combat Turn even started. But noooo, someone wanted to wait. (Here's hoping my girlfriend doesn't read this post.)
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Efe

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« Reply #4 on: (06:21:10/11-06-13) »
(Here's hoping my girlfriend doesn't read this post.)

You still wanted a back-up GM? :)

In my defense: Shedim don't make themselves. So scouting for their maker makes perfect sense. And I have a perfect tool for that, a spy-drone. So next time, wait for the drone to get results before running onto the island. So you know you are not being ambushed by a shedimmaster who could very well be hidden behind the trees.




Michael Chandra

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« Reply #5 on: (06:27:58/11-06-13) »
Hey, I had 15 Sneaking dice. -_- That's more than your drone. It was the mage that got us noticed.
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Pollution

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« Reply #6 on: (10:50:36/11-06-13) »
I hadn't noticed that 5th Edition removed physical immunity from spirits.

That makes me feel much better. 

Michael Chandra

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« Reply #7 on: (11:00:01/11-06-13) »
It didn't. Spirits still have Immunity to Normal Weapons when Materialized, and the Shedim are supposed to have it as well. It's not listed because Possession isn't available in SR5 yet, and Possession grants them that Immunity, but they are still supposed to have Immunity in SR5, both Shedim and Spirits.

The damage-increase makes it easier to actually injure them, while Immunity's boost makes it so that they take less damage when injured.
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Pollution

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« Reply #8 on: (11:23:24/11-06-13) »
Ah...right....

Well....bugger.

haha, I guess I'll just have to play it carefully.  I'm not the kind of GM who shy's away from letting players get killed, but at the same time, i want to make this a fair fight.  They could use a real challenge, no question, but I'm going to have to carefully go over the suggestions above to try and find a balance between "You got hit, you die" and "You got hit, take 4 Physical".  I don't think ANY of my players have even been hurt passed 2 levels yet.  I'd LIKE them to have to work for it for once, but at the same time, I don't want to erase them from the playing field in 1 turn.  hehe.

Thanks for the help.

ImaginalDisc

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« Reply #9 on: (11:31:26/11-06-13) »
Hey, I had 15 Sneaking dice. -_- That's more than your drone. It was the mage that got us noticed.

Ah, post-game player mutual recriminations.

Mmm, delicious. :)

ZeConster

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« Reply #10 on: (12:14:35/11-06-13) »
In my defense, no one had warned me we might end up having to do sneaking tests (or I would've made the spirit use Concealment), and the GM only did a single roll and said "they all see through your 4 hits on Improved Invisibility". That's what I get for trying to avoid abusing scenario knowledge, I suppose.

Crunch

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« Reply #11 on: (12:24:15/11-06-13) »
Does invisibility effect astral perception?

Dr. Meatgrinder

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« Reply #12 on: (13:41:20/11-06-13) »
No, neither Invisibility nor Concealment affects Assensing.  Only putting things between viewer and target (breaking LOS the old-fashioned way) works in astral space, or maybe something that creates enough of a background count to nerf the viewer's Assensing dice pool.

You might make the case that Invisibility combined with Masking could work, but you have the problems of whether Masking can mask the spell and whether Masking can make an aura vanish entirely instead of just disguising it.
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Michael Chandra

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« Reply #13 on: (18:21:25/11-06-13) »
There was a rating 4 Background count and we were inbetween trees. Plus they used Perception, since they weren't actively looking for us with Astral Perception but simply using a passive perception test.
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Crunch

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« Reply #14 on: (18:35:48/11-06-13) »
I thought in 5E spirits only had astral perception?