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So, a little bit about Soulbound...

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HappyDaze:

--- Quote from: KingCheops on September 22, 2021, 01:36:29 PM ---Ah okay.

What did you find was very deadly for the group in the starter adventure?  I note you mentioned no War Priest or other healer.  Can we get a description of what did them in?  Shaman magic and/or troll vomit/smash?

--- End quote ---
Drizzleshroom can cast spells with 8d6 and +2 Focus (he can increase the result of one die by 2 or 2 dice by 1 each). With Arcane Bolt, that's a nasty hit. He also can, once per encounter, cast a spell as a free action (on top of actions from his 2 Mettle) and he can also use a free action to give one ally another action--which is really nasty on a dankhold troggoth. Drizzleshroom also has a high awareness making it almost impossible to hide from him. Casting Mystic Shield on both himself and the troggoth in turn 3 (when they emerge into the encounter) made both of them a fair bit harder to hit. Oh, and Drizzleshroom could also Unbind spells considerably better than the PC could cast them (for comparison, the PC battlemage was casting at 6d6 with +1 Focus).

The dankhold troggoth has really high Defense, resistance to magic, and a 24 toughness (unless Drizzleshroom is not present for the final encounter, but he had previously escaped, so...) plus it regenerates 4 toughness per turn. Even though it only has armour 2 (which is still pretty good), it's a very hard target to take down. When it attacks, it grabs with 10d6 and +2 Focus (as before) and a really high Melee meaning it hits most targets on 2s. It was often hitting for 7-8 damage at a time, and then the target is grabbed (Restrained condition) which then means the troggoth can spend another action (it has 2 Mettle and gets an extra action from Drizzleshroom too) to squeeze for an automatic, armour-ignoring 5 points of damage. Characters attacked by the troggoth went from perfectly fine to Mortally Wounded very quickly.

Prior encounters were tough too. There was one with Squigs doing Boing! Smash! which is a living cannonball attack that was 5d6 (needing 5s to hit most of my PCs) and a damage of 2 + Successes...but with this attack the final damage was doubled (before armour). This means that even 2 successes was an 8-pt hit, which, even accounting for armour, took characters to Mortally Wounded in 2-3 hits.

Before that there's a shitty encounter that is all about special case rules. No, really. The rules for the encounter use Deadly Hazard terrain but in a way that is non-standard. Why the hell they choose to use bespoke rules for a special case in an introductory module is beyond me, but if the PCs didn't know exactly how to game the encounter they would have died. I ran this one with full transparency for them and helped them to understand the weird-ass mechanics. As it was, they came up with a system that only barely let them survive it (but would have totally had a cascade failure if any one of them went down). Again, this could have been much easier with a priest spamming area heals every turn.

Even in the beginning, the Tzaangors that bring the ship down were tough, but part of that is that 1/3 of my group was totally useless in ranged combat (the Witch Elf) and another was only modestly able to contribute.

KingCheops:
thanks for the detailed break down HappyDaze!

HappyDaze:

--- Quote from: KingCheops on September 22, 2021, 03:00:15 PM ---thanks for the detailed break down HappyDaze!

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Much as with some versions of D&D, party composition can make a huge difference. Some characters have abilities that synergize really well with certain other characters (a high Mind character with Tactician is great with a powerful ranged attacker in the group, somewhat less so with a melee attacker buddy, and much less useful if the others rely on spells and/or miracles for their damage output). Healing spam seems almost mandatory to survive the big fights (but would probably make the lesser battles into time-wasting pillow fights).

I'll note that our Celestial College Battlemage did have a spell that could restore Toughness, but it was way less than what the miracles could do, and he even hurt himself miscasting it once.

HappyDaze:
I've been looking over Champions of Death, where you play a Binding of undead in service to the cause of Death under Nagash, for the last few days. It's kinda cool that this game has an option for playing monsters (Ghouls, Soulblight Vampires, Wights, Nighthaunts, and Ossiarch Bonereapers) that still work neatly within the rules given and don't show any major power creep. I'm not sure I want to run these as protagonists, but they can also be used to create a "Legion of Doom" to oppose a Binding of Order-allied heroes.

Orphan81:
Sounds thematically similar to Exalted in the sense of 'Chosen by the gods, imbued with their power, high powered fantasy ass kicking'.

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