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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 5:52 am 
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I am making my first attempt at running a Swarm. The set up is that the Dwellers will be on a boat traveling down a narrow but very tempestuous river surrounded by icy plains when an Ice Skwee Swarm will rise up out of the waters and attack. My base stats for the Swarm is as follows:

Quote:
Number of Ice Skwee: 10
Health of Each: 3 Runes
Essence Rune Bag: 30
Destiny: 5

ACTIVE POWERS (3)

PASSIVE POWERS (3)
Unencumbered Dodge: PF +1 vs. Physical
Keen Aptitude (Unencumbered Dodge)
Fae-Kin: If you have no armor or weapons you gain a +1 Focus

BONUS PASSIVE POWERS
Resistance to Impeded x 5
Resistance to Blindness x 5
Resistance to Degeneration x 5
Resistance to Possession x 5
Resistance to Vulnerable x 5

ESSENCE
9 Physical
12 Mental
9 Spiritual




Now, some questions.

First, I am counting the whole Swarm as a level 3 creature in terms of choosing Powers on the Power Boards, based off of the fact that each Skwee has 3 Health. Correct?

For Initiative, does the Swarm count as one combatant? So, it would go: Swarm, Dweller 1, Dweller 2, etc.., then Swarm again at the top of the new round?

Since the Skwee have a Size of 2 and a Move of 4, I was more or less going to separate them into five pairs. This would make things much easier on Roll20 since I could then have five tokens that fit perfectly into the hexes. That's how it would look, mechanically, on Roll20. It would be somewhat of an abstraction, however, since in the actual game, the whole Swarm would be zipping around constantly within the confines of their occupied Hexes. Thus, a single particular Skwee couldn't be targeted and I wouldn't have to worry about keeping track of which Skwee was specifically hit for damage, etc. Is this plausible?

Now, assuming the above is true, with a since Move Action (1 Rune) I'd be actually moving one of the pair tokens to the desired location. This would represent actually ONE of the Skwee moving there. It doesn't actually matter which, since I will keep them ALL adjacent. Does this make sense?

Sorry for the vagueness.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:02 pm 
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dafelsheim wrote:
I am making my first attempt at running a Swarm. The set up is that the Dwellers will be on a boat traveling down a narrow but very tempestuous river surrounded by icy plains when an Ice Skwee Swarm will rise up out of the waters and attack. My base stats for the Swarm is as follows:

Quote:
Number of Ice Skwee: 10
Health of Each: 3 Runes
Essence Rune Bag: 30
Destiny: 5

ACTIVE POWERS (3)

PASSIVE POWERS (3)
Unencumbered Dodge: PF +1 vs. Physical
Keen Aptitude (Unencumbered Dodge)
Fae-Kin: If you have no armor or weapons you gain a +1 Focus

BONUS PASSIVE POWERS
Resistance to Impeded x 5
Resistance to Blindness x 5
Resistance to Degeneration x 5
Resistance to Possession x 5
Resistance to Vulnerable x 5

ESSENCE
9 Physical
12 Mental
9 Spiritual




Now, some questions.

First, I am counting the whole Swarm as a level 3 creature in terms of choosing Powers on the Power Boards, based off of the fact that each Skwee has 3 Health. Correct?


Nope the swarm should be considered as an approximate level 40 (30 essence = 30 levels, 5 Destiny = 10 Destiny). It is a weak level 40 since it doesn't have as many actives and passives.

dafelsheim wrote:
For Initiative, does the Swarm count as one combatant? So, it would go: Swarm, Dweller 1, Dweller 2, etc.., then Swarm again at the top of the new round?


This is entirely up to you. I would suggest giving the swarm more than 1 initiative tile. Try it out, if you don't like it, try 1 initiative tile.

dafelsheim wrote:
Since the Skwee have a Size of 2 and a Move of 4, I was more or less going to separate them into five pairs. This would make things much easier on Roll20 since I could then have five tokens that fit perfectly into the hexes. That's how it would look, mechanically, on Roll20. It would be somewhat of an abstraction, however, since in the actual game, the whole Swarm would be zipping around constantly within the confines of their occupied Hexes. Thus, a single particular Skwee couldn't be targeted and I wouldn't have to worry about keeping track of which Skwee was specifically hit for damage, etc. Is this plausible?


Think of it as an abstraction: as many tentacles of a much larger beast. Once all tentacles are killed, the beast dies. It's natural to try and think of them as separate entities, but that defeats the purpose of a swarm. Or think of them as a cloud of hundreds of locusts. Each hit would kill dozens. You can try to even evade the player's question as to how many there are. If the chaos of combat they count "about a dozen".

The point of a swarm is to have them indivisible, one big cloud that can take any shape. But if roll20 plays better with smaller groups, you can go ahead and do that. The moment you break up the swarm some logical questions may arise:
- How do you move them? (see below)
- If you use too many of the runes from Destiny on 1 subgroup, how do you rationalize that this small subgroup can do so much while the others stand around far away doing nothing this turn?

dafelsheim wrote:
Now, assuming the above is true, with a since Move Action (1 Rune) I'd be actually moving one of the pair tokens to the desired location. This would represent actually ONE of the Skwee moving there. It doesn't actually matter which, since I will keep them ALL adjacent. Does this make sense?

Sorry for the vagueness.


Again think one creature with many tentacles. When you move, you should probably move all of them. But I know you were thinking of making some mini-swarms from the bigger swarm. If you want to keep the logic similar to combat (1 attack originates from 1 swarm member somewhere) then you could say 1 move = 1 swarm group.

These are great questions and I think I will add them to the errata! :)

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 1:25 pm 
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Hm. This does leave me pondering about a few things still.

When it comes to the Swarm members using Powers or being affected by others' Powers, would I more or less just choose ANY of the Hexes occupied by the Swarm as the origination point (if using a Power) or the point being targeted (if being affected by a Power?)

What if a Dweller was using an Active Power that would normally single out a specific target without the Power doing damage or inflicting Conditions? For example, Knockback, penalties to Wyrds, reductions in PF/DF, etc.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:15 am 
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So, this is me rezzing a thread. Tonight I'm making my REAL first attempt at running a Swarm (after putting my Skee Swarm on hold before) using a Swarm of slightly modified (smaller!) Gargangjolp. I reread the Swarm rules in LotA and I can't believe I missed a huge key note about how to treat Knockback!

I've decided to modify that rule a little. The party NPC I play has a the Passive that knocks back an opponent hit by his returning spear. That coupled with his ability to do Mental damage and the Ricochet Technique and Piercer Meta would just be unfair against the Swarm. The house rule I made is that to be considered "dead," a Swarm member must be knocked back a number of hexes equal to or greater than each individual's base Move rate. Basically, this gives them until the end of the round to "skitter/slinky" back into place.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:51 pm 
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This is specifically a question for you again, Andrew. You said:

andrew wrote:
Nope the swarm should be considered as an approximate level 40 (30 essence = 30 levels, 5 Destiny = 10 Destiny). It is a weak level 40 since it doesn't have as many actives and passives.


I'm assuming this means for things like Degeneration damage and the like. So, how does does one decide how many Active and Passive Powers the Swarm actually gets? I'm assuming it's not based on the overall Essence, since you said it would be weaker than standard for its level.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 8:48 am 
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In a swarm, you'll have a rough idea of the Essence you'd like each member to have. In the book example it's 3, so you get 3 powers, 1 assigned to each Trait. At a minimum, you want 3 powers, from there you scale as needed based on the denizens you create. Too many actives won't be an issue, but too many passives can make the swarm OP. I think you need to fine tune based on the players you're looking to challenge.

To take a step back, the swarm rules are there to minimize the management of a group of creatures, so I usually only stick to 3 actives and 3 passives. Too many, and you'll find yourself diminishing the purpose of what the swarm rules were created for.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:22 pm 
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andrew wrote:
In a swarm, you'll have a rough idea of the Essence you'd like each member to have. In the book example it's 3, so you get 3 powers, 1 assigned to each Trait. At a minimum, you want 3 powers, from there you scale as needed based on the denizens you create. Too many actives won't be an issue, but too many passives can make the swarm OP. I think you need to fine tune based on the players you're looking to challenge.

To take a step back, the swarm rules are there to minimize the management of a group of creatures, so I usually only stick to 3 actives and 3 passives. Too many, and you'll find yourself diminishing the purpose of what the swarm rules were created for.


I was actually going for 3 and 3 too. Thank you so much!


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 7:33 pm 
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So, yet another question about Swarms for you, Andrew. Not me again!

The Swarm I'm making has the Blood Drinker Passive and Rage Powers. I'll be keeping track of the Swarm with a Denizen Mat using the 3-track damage path since I've decided the Denizens will each have 3 Essence. The simplest way to manage this weird setup would be to treat the Swarm as one single creature (keeping in theme with the description) as far as Conditions and the like go. Whenever the number of individual Swarm members on the field is below half the original number of members, I am going to consider ALL members Bloodied. I think this simplification is pretty much the only way to handle the situation without over-complicating the book keeping and calculations of things. We don't keep track of Swarm members as unique individuals except when calling one out as the source of a Power and the Swarm has one communal Essence, so trying to apply Bloodied by RAW would be impossible.

In working out how Blood Drinker would be used, however, I think I might have created some sort of weird monstrous encounter that the RAW system wasn't made to handle. Did I break the game?

My Swarm is made up of 12 individuals. So, during Upkeep, provided there are at least TWO individuals still alive - just alive, not even conscious - the Swarm would Heal +6. Every member of the Swarm would be Bloodied if less than 6 existed and they would literally always be adjacent to each other because it's a Swarm. According to Swarm rules, Healing is treated as the presentation/regeneration/resurrection of one Swarm member for every Heal +X, where X = the 'hit points' of each individual Swarm member. So, for my Swarm of 12 with 3 life each, Heal +6 would bring two individuals back into the combat.

So, 2 individuals during Upkeep becomes 4 immediately. 3 would become 5, and 5 would become 7.

At that point, the Swarm would no longer be Bloodied. However, they would stilll Heal +2 during every Upkeep. And here's the kicker... The automatic Recover +1.

This seems like a infinite mob of fairy weak Denizens. Normal tactics for such a situation would be to utilize Spells with the Area Meta, Attacks with Multi, or maybe Auras. However, since the Swarm is treated as a single unit, none of those Metas would be any use. So the only way to do enough damage in a single round to actually bring down the Swarm down to 1 or 0 members would be Amplifies. And heavy use of Spiritual damage.

That wouldn't be too bad since the Swarm's base combat statistics are pretty unintimidating.

Until you look at Rage. A Swarm that starts at 12 that ends up at 2 with Rage would effectively have.. at least 30 Runes in Death or below.....

Did I break the game?


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2019 12:01 pm 
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Naw, don't worry, I love fielding questions from passionate players. :) I've just been busy with the tax-man lately, otherwise I love seeing all of the questions and answers on the forum.

So lets unpack that in a few answers:

dafelsheim wrote:
So, yet another question about Swarms for you, Andrew. Not me again!

The Swarm I'm making has the Blood Drinker Passive and Rage Powers. I'll be keeping track of the Swarm with a Denizen Mat using the 3-track damage path since I've decided the Denizens will each have 3 Essence. The simplest way to manage this weird setup would be to treat the Swarm as one single creature (keeping in theme with the description) as far as Conditions and the like go. Whenever the number of individual Swarm members on the field is below half the original number of members, I am going to consider ALL members Bloodied. I think this simplification is pretty much the only way to handle the situation without over-complicating the book keeping and calculations of things. We don't keep track of Swarm members as unique individuals except when calling one out as the source of a Power and the Swarm has one communal Essence, so trying to apply Bloodied by RAW would be impossible.

In working out how Blood Drinker would be used, however, I think I might have created some sort of weird monstrous encounter that the RAW system wasn't made to handle. Did I break the game?

My Swarm is made up of 12 individuals. So, during Upkeep, provided there are at least TWO individuals still alive - just alive, not even conscious - the Swarm would Heal +6. Every member of the Swarm would be Bloodied if less than 6 existed and they would literally always be adjacent to each other because it's a Swarm. According to Swarm rules, Healing is treated as the presentation/regeneration/resurrection of one Swarm member for every Heal +X, where X = the 'hit points' of each individual Swarm member. So, for my Swarm of 12 with 3 life each, Heal +6 would bring two individuals back into the combat.

So, 2 individuals during Upkeep becomes 4 immediately. 3 would become 5, and 5 would become 7.


I'm with you so far, 12 individuals with 3 Essence each, so the overall Essence bag is 36 runes.

dafelsheim wrote:
At that point, the Swarm would no longer be Bloodied. However, they would stilll Heal +2 during every Upkeep. And here's the kicker... The automatic Recover +1.


Depends how the white 3 hp track works out. If the damage puts your rune in Death, then yes, you're regaining 1 rune. If the rune is in Wounds then you have a mismatch where the Recover wouldn't kick in. The Heal would bring the rune to Essence (still netting you 1 new rune).

dafelsheim wrote:
This seems like a infinite mob of fairy weak Denizens. Normal tactics for such a situation would be to utilize Spells with the Area Meta, Attacks with Multi, or maybe Auras. However, since the Swarm is treated as a single unit, none of those Metas would be any use. So the only way to do enough damage in a single round to actually bring down the Swarm down to 1 or 0 members would be Amplifies. And heavy use of Spiritual damage.


I don't know about infinite, but it would have decent regen. Spiritual damage obviously puts a stop to that. Multi, Area and Auras do work (see last bullet point in the swarm rules) and are incredibly effective. Of course you house-rule any and all of that.

dafelsheim wrote:
That wouldn't be too bad since the Swarm's base combat statistics are pretty unintimidating.

Until you look at Rage. A Swarm that starts at 12 that ends up at 2 with Rage would effectively have.. at least 30 Runes in Death or below.....

Did I break the game?


Rage is a serious "DANGER: watch out" power when used with a swarm. I should add some rules for that in the errata. You may want to water it down a touch so you don't one-hit-kill someone. Also the PF is insane with massive Essence. How did you handle it at your game table?

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2019 10:42 am 
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andrew wrote:
Depends how the white 3 hp track works out. If the damage puts your rune in Death, then yes, you're regaining 1 rune. If the rune is in Wounds then you have a mismatch where the Recover wouldn't kick in. The Heal would bring the rune to Essence (still netting you 1 new rune).


True.

andrew wrote:
I don't know about infinite, but it would have decent regen. Spiritual damage obviously puts a stop to that. Multi, Area and Auras do work (see last bullet point in the swarm rules) and are incredibly effective. Of course you house-rule any and all of that.


THAT makes a huge difference. I thought it only applied to Mental damage! HUGE difference.


andrew wrote:
Rage is a serious "DANGER: watch out" power when used with a swarm. I should add some rules for that in the errata. You may want to water it down a touch so you don't one-hit-kill someone. Also the PF is insane with massive Essence. How did you handle it at your game table?


I actually haven't run it yet. I'll definitely let you know!


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