Question on NPC Dice Pools

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« on: <10-28-13/0827:45> »
Okay, so here's the thing.

I have 4 players. 
Mage with 75 Karma (ty GenCon and Man of the People actions)
Street Sam with about 30
Technomancer with about 30
Gunslinger Adept with about 30.

I'm running into 2 problems.

1.  The Dice pools listed in the book, i.e. Automatics 12 for example.  Is that a 12 skill or a pool of 12?
     in Carbon Copy, I did a little math and the only way that the "Big Bad" would only have 12 is if he had an Automatics of a 3.  Is that right????  Seems kinda low for an NPC who has enough cyber to have a 9 agility.

2.  If the skills ARE pools (i.e. 12, not 12+9 in the above example) then what about the armor?  If Highspeed has an armor of 21, and a body of 8 does that mean he has 15 armor and 8 body for 21 total?  I tend to think it's 21+8 for his soak rolls.

3.  EVERY fight my players get into is starting to go about the same.  Grenade --> Mop up.  It seems to me that it should take a BIT longer, or be a BIT tougher.  If the dice pools in Sprawls wild are Skill listed + Attr, then that makes it tougher (dodges with 21, not 12 when hit with 9 hits from an Ares Alpha).

My main concern is challenge.  TR is great and all, but if a TR of 3 can take out the BIG BAD in one or two rounds, then how the heck is adding an extra 6 goons going to really matter?  (if it doesn't say what a TR does to an encounter in the mission, I tend to assume it's TR x #Players / 2 (so for TR3, 4 players I do 3x4/2 = +6 goons). 

Yes, the players should be able to win.  I'm a big proponent of let the players have FUN, and win, and get cool gear/karma/skills/powers in this game.  But at the same time, if on day one they wipe out 6 goons in 1.5 rounds, they need a bigger challenge.  I'd do it as 12+9 as above JUST to keep the difficulty on "normal".

Michael Chandra

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« Reply #1 on: <10-28-13/0849:46> »
When it says Dicepools, rather than just skills, assume that is Dicepools. When it says Armor, I'd assume that is his Armor. He has FBA, that's 18, they accidentally left out his Dermal Plating for 3 more. So he has 8+21, yes.

As for his mere Automatics 3, the description on where the character comes from helps explain why it's not that well. You'll note that his goons do have decent skill levels.

Keep in mind dodging is not a Gymnastics dicepool in SR5, they simply roll Reaction+Intuition unless they take an Interrupt action. So the goons are at a mere 7 dodge dice and the big bad is at 11.

To fight grenades, you want to use a few possible tools. First of, spread out the enemies, and make sure the players can't easily throw a grenade at the 'right' spot due to cover or whatever. Second, if the players made too much a fuss, the enemy will know who they are and likely will employ some rating 3 area jammers to protect themselves from wireless grenades, if that's their usual M.O. Plus if they use grenades here, well then we all know someone is going to die and it ain't the runners or their enemies... That will get the message through loud and clear that this is NOT a smart tactic to use.
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« Reply #2 on: <10-28-13/0859:08> »
I had a similar question re: NPC pools in Firing Line.

The format in Firing Line is very different than the format in Splintered States; it would be great if they could pick a single format and stick to it.  I'm fairly confident I ran 3/4 of the Dragonsong CMP with the GM rolling "dice pool" as skill and adding attribute on top of that.  (Yeah, it was tough).  Given the nature of Highspeed, an automatics of 3 actually makes a little sense.  His dicepool of 12 does not take his smartlink into account, so he's rolling 14 dice, which is respectable.

Highspeed's soak rolls suffer from a cutting and pasting error from the 4th edition stats to the 5th edition stats..  His armor is 15, his helmet adds 3, his dermal plating another 3 (this doesn't show up under his 5th ed. stats, but check his 4th), and his body is 8.  If your PCs are super sneaky, he might not be wearing his helmet when they engage, but otherwise I'd just add up those numbers as appropriate.

You can't dodge a grenade, so even that won't work.  There are various threads out there theorizing how to avoid the dreaded semi-auto grenade burst of doom (soak 36P!), so your NPCs might adopt some of those tactics.  Noise also makes use of the wireless link tricky.  Plus, grenades aren't very subtle, so give them jobs in which the Johnson asks them to keep a low profile (or give them Public Awareness and/or Notoriety).

Table rating is gone in 5th edition.  Generally, the best way to challenge a solid group of players is to have the NPCs use smarter tactics (within reason--gangers hopped up on Jazz aren't rolling Small Unit Tactics anytime soon).  Good use of superior cover, suppressive fire, and surprise can go a long way towards evening things out.

EDIT: Michael beat me to the punch!
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