Against my better judgment, I’ve joined an ongoing Amber campaign. I don’t have time for another game, and yet here I signed on for one. It’s been a while since I’d played Amber, and the player list was a who’s-who of “awesome local gamers I haven’t played with in a while.”

I’ve recycled an old character concept, though his stats are markedly different. I’m really not one of those people who feel that stats and character concept have to go so closely in hand. Other people disagree.

So far the game has been fine. The fascinating social commentary is seeing the sorts of characters some people choose. Even though they are trying new things, they still feel intrinsically the same as their usual characters.

In other gaming news, we haven’t played much D&D lately. Due to schedule conflicts and, most recently, the GM having the plague, we haven’t played in several weeks. I’d be very sad if the game ended, but the future still looks rocky.

As for the games I’m running, they’ve been chugging along.

Shadowrun has been good, though there have been some plot reveals earlier than anticipated. I kicked things off at a big level and it’s hard to steer it away from there. It’s a common problem for me.

In the Scion game everyone’s upgraded to Demigods, and I’m having trouble providing challenges now. Bizarrely, the rules are no help at all. Some of the players have shot straight to the highest Legend they can have as Demigods, and have powers and Epic Attributes to match. Since this is beer and pretzels, the sessions are pretty combat heavy. There seems to be nothing in the book that could kill them. There are some gods that would reach a stalemate, but nothing I’ve found can outright put them at risk for their lives.

This all assumes, of course, that I don’t drop the big guns of Avatar/Ultimate Attribute. The scope of what they can do is nebulously defined and would probably result in a TPK.

Last session I re-skinned Susano-o for another god, and discovered that the great warrior Susano-o had only a handful of dots in Epic Dexterity, so there was no chance in hell that he could hit any of the PCs. Not even the non-combat oriented ones. For those familiar with the system: The non-combatants have Dodge DVs of 30+. The combat monkeys have Dodge DVs of 50-60+.

The other challenge I find is that there can be vast disparities in power level between PCs in combat. If I make a threat that can get past the 60 dodge DV, that means that any weaker PC that gets in his way will have 30 net successes rain down on his head. Unless they have a monster soak to match that, that kills them right off the bat. Which is a similar problem that we faced in Exalted.

I have a huge post brewing about Exalted. I’ll have to come back to that when I’m not hip deep in NaNo.

I’ll give DemiGod a few more sessions before I throw up my hands in despair, running something else instead. But holy crap, this is discouraging. How can they not design a game with the anticipation of having someone focus on combat ability?

4 thoughts on “

  1. colomon

    Heh, reminds me of my M&M problem: we got into battle with a bunch of power-suited minions and I discovered I could only hit them about 20% of the time, but when I did, the knockback distance was measured in miles. I’m starting to suspect the real secret is that all rule systems are broken, and the trick is finding a play style that hides the cracks…

  2. admin Post author

    I had a similar experience with M&M with regards to weird power level problems. It’s pretty useless to pair Kung Fu Master with, say, Superman Lite. Because the sort of threats that Superman Lite can deal with are way out of the league of Kung Fu Master.

    I agree that all systems contain some level of flaw. But more valuable would be for the game to have a way of addressing the basics of running the system. If they provide threats for PCs to deal with, I would like for them to be threats that provide a challenge. =P

  3. scarywhitegirl

    We did make it up to Demigod in Willm’s game, and I don’t remember it being a total cakewalk. However, none of us were uber combat focused, either, as it was a very different sort of game. Oddly, I think White Wolf games in general break down when you let a bunch of combat monkeys loose on them. (Even Exalted was pretty broken down, though it was on the flip side of the coin in the B&P game.) It’s a function of them being “storyteller” games, and wanting to be about stories… yet still having combat as a part of the game. Like I say about demolitions–if they players can have it, they will use it.

  4. admin Post author

    One thing that came up talking to Tristan about the power level in Scion was that he fudged stats in Exalted to make it more of a challenge.

    I haven’t had any weird problems with nWoD, though if I ran it through the B&P wringer that might change.

    Really, I think that if they devote that much space to combat rules, they should have the game set up to handle that.

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