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TranquiloUno

Tactics by players, for players, against players

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12 hours ago, massey said:

High strength characters with lots of movement are fun.  Grab an opponent and then perform a move-through on something that doesn’t get out of the way, like the front end of a bulldozer.  Of course you angle it so that only he impacts the object, while you go over it.  OCV penalties don’t hurt as much that way.

 

Characters with high strength and Tunneling can have fun pretending to be the monster from Tremors.  Grab somebody who sucks in hand to hand and down they go.  If you can fill in the hole behind you, it’s a super awesome Entangle too.

 

In 5th edition D&D they specifically forbade that tactic with Earth Elementals and Blue Dragons and the like because of how powerful an effect it is.

 

If you're being semi-realistic about the weight even at 6 meters down with dirt (not stone) you're looking at having 36 tons of earth on top of you.  That's dead in a hurry for anyone without substantial super strength.  Plus you can't breathe, can't see, can't move, etc.

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If you're being semi-realistic about the weight even at 6 meters down with dirt (not stone) you're looking at having 36 tons of earth on top of you.  That's dead in a hurry for anyone without substantial super strength.  Plus you can't breathe, can't see, can't move, etc.

 

Yeah its a thing to be careful with who you use it on, but on robots, etc great move.

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I always presumed that superpowers confer a certain amount of protection.  In real life, unprotected flight would be very dangerous.  You really shouldn't be able to survive flight at high distances or speeds without appropriate life support.  But in the game, that's not really a factor.  Likewise, Tunneling would be presumed to bring along an air bubble, and for the tunnel to not fall in and crush you, and that applies to whoever you're carrying as well.  I'd play it that yanking a dude underground, even if you fill in the hole behind him, would effectively create a roughly 1 hex-wide stable hole for you to leave him in.  Yeah, he's gonna be hurting for air in ten minutes or so, but he's not going to be taking damage in combat time.

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Aaron Allston had an article in Adventurer's Club that talked about this.  He even gave examples using villains from The Great Supervillain Contest.  Ex.  Place a field of Darkness and have an ally with IR vision teleport in and cause havoc.  OR a speedster (spd) and his shrinking and invisible GF (spd 4) .  She holds on to his neck and when he does a move through she targets the same person.  And if he gets knocked out, she can grab him (str 10 and 20 flight) and pull him out of battle.  And of course a ranged entangle guy hitting a target and everyone taking a shot at him.  

 

One way to get players to use tactics is to use an enemy team who are weaker than yours, but use tactics.  And have them trounce our players.  

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2 hours ago, Mr. R said:

 

One way to get players to use tactics is to use an enemy team who are weaker than yours, but use tactics.  And have them trounce our players.  

 

 

How have you done this in your games? Or how has your GM done this to you as a player?

 

Any specific examples from actual play?

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I tried it with having some allies demonstrate some tactics while fighting superior opponents, but the campaign went on long term (still) hiatus.  But some were coming around to the idea.  

 

 

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19 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

Yeah its a thing to be careful with who you use it on, but on robots, etc great move.

 

Tactically and thematically - great move.  But, I was thinking more in terms of game balance.

 

If you allow the grab & tunnel combo you're effectively giving that character a massive barrier/entangle/darkness ability that is on par with Extra-Dimensional Movement Usable as an Attack.

 

The lever I normally use at my tables for such abilities is:  Are you OK with the villains doing this to your characters?

 

That normally dissuades the over-the-top powers.

 

 

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It's not a tactic against players, but for players...

I had a mentalist with mental illusions.  When co-players were down stun, she would mentally illusion them into thinking she healed them or aided their recovery.  It wasn't much, but it was useful.

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In terms of tactics against players, mixing and matching can be highly effective--instead of "3-6 agents per PC" or "1 supervillain per PC" or "1 mastervillain alone vs whole team", try 2 agents per PC, plus 1 villain per 2 PCs, plus a less powerful master villain.  Now they are going to struggle with prioritizing targets, and you can make things worse by giving the agents and villains effective attacks that can take down the various PCs.  

OR you can have 3-4 villains who are bit more powerful than the PCs take on a 5-6 hero team.  That's likely to be a hard fight!  Not impossible to win, just a hard fight.  

The old Viper 5 Team concept could be very effective against a PC group, too.  

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On 5/1/2019 at 10:37 AM, Toxxus said:

The lever I normally use at my tables for such abilities is:  Are you OK with the villains doing this to your characters?

 

I've done this as well.  In a lot of cases, the players say they're okay with it... until the villains actually do it.  Then, the players are suddenly not so keen on it.  (My favorite tactical example of this is the "extra shot when he's down" to take advantage of causing 2x STUN to an unconscious person.  The PCs in my game do it *ALL THE FRICKING TIME*.  But heaven forbid the bad guys do it to one of them!)

 

BTW, I do the reverse as well -- before giving a villain a particular power or use his powers in a creative and potentially abusive way, I ask myself if I'd be okay with the players doing the same.  In most cases, I've decided not to allow myself to do it in the first place.

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On 4/24/2019 at 6:53 PM, TranquiloUno said:

Have you run (or played!) fights where the team has to use their surroundings\tools?

What were the scenarios for them?

What sort of surroundings\environmental\tools tactics did you (or your players) come up with in them?

 

My favorite example of this was when the heroes were fighting Dot, formerly of CLOWN but I moved him to the Foxbat Five and semi-heavily rewrote him.  Among his powers, Dot opens portals, similar to Spider-man's foe Spot, to attack through, grab things through, and (in this particular instance) spy through.

 

One of the heroes noticed one of Dot's spy-holes, so he grabbed a fire extinguisher, stuck the nozzle at the spy-hole, and started spraying Dot in the eye.  I ruled it an impromptu Flash attack, NND (defense is goggles / solid eye covering).  And then when Dot opened a larger hole to attack through, the hero bashed him in the head with the extinguisher.

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Regarding using agents against the heroes, for speed and ease of play I use mass combat rules where I group agents into one meta-character, though I also tend to give one or two agents from each group distinctive personalities or actions so they're not all just faceless mooks.  For instance, a more vocal agent might trash-talk the heroes, or do something crazy or stupid (rush ahead of his teammates, etc.).  The funny thing is, the heroes sometimes decide to concentrate their attacks on that hapless agent, rather than taking on bigger threats.

 

A recent example of this was an adventure I ran when a powerful vampire had a cadre of lesser vampires, mostly college students or gangbangers she had bitten.  Compared to the PC heroes, none of those lesser vampires were very powerful, so I was mainly grouping them together.  Except for one... Vampire Elvis.  This was a would-be Elvis impersonator the Countess had turned into a minion, and for fun I modified lyrics to some Elvis songs and sang them when he took his actions.  Several of the PCs decided to ignore more pressing threats to concentrate attacks on Vampire Elvis just to shut him up. 

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7 hours ago, BoloOfEarth said:

 

My favorite example of this was when the heroes were fighting Dot, formerly of CLOWN but I moved him to the Foxbat Five and semi-heavily rewrote him.  Among his powers, Dot opens portals, similar to Spider-man's foe Spot, to attack through, grab things through, and (in this particular instance) spy through.

 

One of the heroes noticed one of Dot's spy-holes, so he grabbed a fire extinguisher, stuck the nozzle at the spy-hole, and started spraying Dot in the eye.  I ruled it an impromptu Flash attack, NND (defense is goggles / solid eye covering).  And then when Dot opened a larger hole to attack through, the hero bashed him in the head with the extinguisher.

 

Nice! That's what I'm talkin' about! :)

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 I used to play in Dr. Bob Simpson's Champions campaign, with a top group of players.  as I have said before I was a long time war gamer, so tactics tend to be fairly important to me.  In Bob's campaign, it was really bad to be captured.  One of his former PC's became an  NPC minion and slave to a magical mega-villainess.  I had been reading a lot of gun magazines back then and one of the regular columnists had come up with a "color coded system of instantly evaluating one's surroundings. We adapted that to our superhero team so we could pass info quickly over the radio or the mental link. 

 

Situation________Examples

Green                 Relaxed,At home, indoors, at work, in your secret ID   

Yellow                Alert, In costume,  On the streets,t, on patrol

Orange               Cautious, Sketchy neighborhood,  approaching  the Villain's hideout, Something suspicious is seen.

Red                     Combat, Threatened, Guys in ski masks pull out weapons, Super villains in costume show up. Shots fired.

We added a couple of additional categories .  for if things went south.

Purple                We are leaving, orderly retreat.  drop what you are doing and retrieve fallen comrades and leave.

Black                 Lethal Force necessary. Kill or be killed, save the hostage from being eaten by a monster. save the Earth.

 

 Also, when the group inducted a new member in the team, we strongly suggested that they pick up the Team package deal.  Which was Martial arts, First Aid, coordination roll, and  Communications.  To justify the training rolls, we actually games out exercises at a local Fire Department training area, much to the amusement of the firemen, but we would practice pair specific combat maneuvers and  also ordered retreats, with the flyers picking up the slow pokes and the unconscious, and our teleporter  getting everyone out in the shortest amount of time.  However, because the training was a common and scheduled thing, the Villains once attempted to ambush us there, and it didn't go well for them. (This is where my character had to face a grand jury for manslaughter< but was acquitted). We had other skin of our teeth escape, but I am happy to say that we were never captured.

Now the game was run in a comic book store, in the middle of the Irpon age, where we could just grab a comic off the shelf as research or justification, so the campaign was of it's time, but man Bob ran a good game, and the situations forced us into  very tight teamwork.  Great players, too.

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