Combat Commonality Curiosity

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Combat Commonality Curiosity

Post  ZamuelNow on Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:39 pm

This is a poll of sorts without having preset voting options. With the way combat goes in this game, I'm curious about what's the norm. I think ease and difficulty may hinge on some patterns. What's the usual team size? What's the usual enemy combat arrangement when it comes to solos versus multi-battles? What are the most and least common player combat roles?
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Re: Combat Commonality Curiosity

Post  Crystalite on Thu Jan 16, 2014 8:09 pm

I don't see a whole lot of "Crowd Control" builds (Builds that focus on making the enemies do what you want instead of what the GM wants.) This tactic is, I think, somewhat underrated.
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Re: Combat Commonality Curiosity

Post  Xel Unknown on Thu Jan 16, 2014 8:11 pm

Combat always falls up into one of two types "Cakewalk" or "OMGSOUNFAIR"... Fun in the combat is a side effect that might or might not happen regardless of the type of fight.
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Re: Combat Commonality Curiosity

Post  Zarhon on Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:57 pm

Most teams seem to be 4-6 PCs, depending on campaign.

Usually, they have a least one person with "healing salve" and/or "miracle", sometimes both. Healers are sort of uncommon - everybody likes to do big damage and impressive combos, and focus on self-defense, unless their character is explicitly the healer/support type.

Tanks are generally 'ineffective' until they get high level and proper equipment, and ALWAYS need a healer (unless they can self-heal or self-revive) - there's just not enough pips, turns, or non-clunky abilities to keep themselves and their protected targets alive for more than a  turn or two.

The first few turns are almost always either:

a) Spent gathering pips to get an early "big move". This is usually self-defense stuff, support stuff, etc.
b) Immediately spent for a combo (such as turn1 conjuration weapons), or to prepare for one (e.g. applying save ends conditions), or a simple pip booster attack.

The above pattern is usually disrupted on turn1 or turn2, when monsters start dealing damage. If the damage is huge, it can force everyone to go defensive, and stalls out the battle / combos, unless they have a reliable defender or abilities to let them do their opening big moves safely.

After everyone spends their big moves, they either build up to it again, or turn to cheaper moves for the rest of the fight, or go defensive.

The monsters tend to *always* do huge damage - unless it's a minion, an average of 10 damage is a usual minimum of damage per enemy, multiplied for each turn they have, and/or doubled if it's a solo or 'boss' type enemy. It's generally impossible to out-heal the damage they do, meaning every fight is a war of attrition in the monster's favor.

This means that most of the fights depend on how much hp the monster has. Huge amounts of hp are pretty much required for everything, as the main tactic almost everyone uses is "nuke from the start". 50-100 damage on turns 1 / 2 are not uncommon, unless the openers get delayed.

This also means that any group without a flexible healer (pip booster heals, or very cheap heals, or items - stuff like crescendo is powerful, but if you're at 0 pips, your allies get to wait two turns for any healing) is generally at a huge disadvantage in every fight and cannot win unless they 'burst' the enemy before it can do anything, or disable them completely.

Being knocked comatose is a rarity in general - usually happens only on a strong move against a very low HP player, or by an unlucky crit from the boss, or if the party is fighting a very difficult battle (and/or losing). KO's are more common, and their severity depends on:

a) Available healers. If there isn't anyone with ally-healing abilities, or the healer itself is KO'd, the fight is very likely to devolve into a TPK as nobody is able to fix the KO's.

b) Amount of pips when KO'd. The difference between using a 10-point ability, then getting KO'd, and getting KO'd with 10 pips is STAGGERING, wasting several turns (through pip booster inactivity and holding back, as well as the time spent gathering pips) and a player's only advantage in a fight - their starting 4 pips. It is arguably the worst case scenario. Losing as little as 4 pips from a KO can put a player in a position where they become a burden to the party - getting KO'd due to low hp, requiring healing from the healers, and not doing anything significant due to lack of pips, and unable to defend themselves without items or traits.

c) General status of the party. If everyone else is healthy, it's a slap on the wrist. If everyone else is bloodied or struggling, the rest are bound to follow.

Most combat roles are picked either for:
a) Fitting the character - Usually leads to combat picks that are ineffectual or impractical for the above 'standard', with some exceptions.
b) "Fun" factor - almost exclusively combos and big, impressive abilities, or sometimes game-breakers.
c) Team balance - When the party has no healer and you're the last guy making a character, it's usually common courtesy to be the healer, even if it doesn't fit the character. This also applies for AOE vs single target moves, defensive moves, nukes. Generally, players avoid picking the same abilities between each other if they can, or refrain from using similar tactics as each other (e.g. two summoners, two necromancers, two healers, two tanks...).
d) "Level 0" philosophy - Pick a combination of abilities that are decently powered without items. These are rare, and usually get completely changed after a level or two, when items and traits become an option.
e) "Level 10" philosophy - Pick a combination that is ineffectual at level 0, but becomes incredibly strong after a few levels / traits / items. This can lead to some annoyances if the leveling is slow.
Enemy arrangements are usually:

1) Solo monster. If it's got a single turn, it's attacks are usually "halve the party's hp", or "KO player", or "status effects that are incredibly annoying". If it's got more than one turn per round, it's the same as single-turn one, only save-ends users get shafted, and the healers can't keep up.

2) Duos, trios, etc. They act like solos with multiple turns. Usually have either too low hp to survive the early nukes and die super easy, too much (in which case the party struggles or is challenged), or juuust enough to survive the first turn nukes then die on the next, depending on focus.

3) Haven't seen almost any use of "minions". They're far too easy to kill with anything, and are sort of annoying to work with (too many turns and stuff to manage for the DM). Damage is either pretty big (forcing killing), or pathetic (next to no damage, especially if people have resist).

Overall, the fights primarily depend on how the DM sees the party, whether he cares to challenge them, and how good they are at assigning HP / damage to them, plus any extra mechanics they add to the monsters. If the party is "OP", they'll probably be forced to beef up the HP and make attacks that make them hurt (or multiple turns), purely to challenge them properly. This can go out of hand if they overdo it (either out of lack of experience or choice), which most DMs tend to do. It becomes a further problem if they don't then 'balance' the fight while it's still going on.
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Re: Combat Commonality Curiosity

Post  Copper Rose on Sat Jan 18, 2014 7:04 pm

*starts reading Zarhon's post, but loses interest a short way down and scrolls to bottom to hit the home button**and scrolls**and scrolls**and scrolls*

...maaaaaaaybe you should put that stuff in a spoiler? Just a suggestion.
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Re: Combat Commonality Curiosity

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