How to respond to overwhelming firepower

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Spwack

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How to respond to overwhelming firepower
« on: November 03, 2016, 09:29:22 AM »
The gist is this: Battlebabe, Ice Cold, Perfect Instincts, +3 cool, +2 sharp, Not To Be F*cked With, 2-armor and an AP shotgun. A murder-machine if I've ever seen one, capable of chewing through nearly any size of gang with regular +5 bonuses, and actively looking for goals that can be achieved with overwhelming firepower. What can I do to threaten her without wiping out the rest of the players?

Re: How to respond to overwhelming firepower
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2016, 10:17:28 AM »

Some ideas, feel free to steal ruthlessly:
  • Threaten her with things that can't be solved with overwhelming firepower.
  • Lean on your PC-NPC-PC triangles so that if she kills someone, one of the other players will be pissed.
  • If she's acting like a murder-machine, have the NPCs treat her like a murder-machine.
  • Find the NPCs she likes and have them act slightly against her (like "borrowing" some of her stuff or something) so that if she solves the problem with violence, she's ruining her own friendships.
  • When she kills the gang-leader, have his young daughter appear and start crying so the Battlebabe feels like a monster, and maybe now she has a kid to look after if she feels responsible.


Real example from my AP: Steel City game, the Faceless has pretty much the same problem as your Battlebabe in that he's ridiculously overkill.
The Faceless was threatening the Hardholder's mechanic to get her to fix his car, he hit the roll on a 7-9 so she ran off to find the hardholder (if he hadn't failed, someone else would have reported what he did). The Hardholder needless to say wasn't pleased, so she's leaning on him to not do anything like that again. He even went to apologise to the mechanic in the last session because of this peer pressure.


A key thing to remember is that not all threats are of the violent kind, a threat is just something that has the potential to interfere with the player's goals. There's a fantastic thread here where there's an honest discussion of how a puppy can be a threat to a player simply by being adorable. I encourage you to give it a read.


If you're hankering for the violent kind of threat, just have the enemies she's facing be smart. Maybe they have a sniper, never getting in range of her shotgun and forcing her on a tense chase through the ruins, trying to keep her head down while keeping track of the danger (yeah, she'll almost definitely win, but the players always win because they're just that badass). If she's slaughtered a local gang, have some of the remnants spring nasty surprises, like dropping a grenade right on top of her in the middle of the hold (it's easy to inflict damage if you don't care about surviving). Remember all this time that Not To Be Fucked With only works for a full on pitched battle, scuffles in alleyways don't count.


Hope this helped; it's a common problem that's hard to solve while still being a fan of the players' characters, but it is manageable given a few of these useful tools.

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Spwack

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Re: How to respond to overwhelming firepower
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2016, 11:34:36 AM »
I love the narrow chases and traps. I think I'll make the next gang very guerrilla-tactical and annoying, so when she finds the entire gang, all with guns pointed at her, bloodied and bruised, it'll be a relief to be able to just go aggro and murder everyone, it'll make for great TV. Thanks! And thanks for the link!   

Re: How to respond to overwhelming firepower
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2016, 01:39:24 PM »
Great response, above!

The key is, in my opinion, to balance these things:

1. "Be a fan of the characters."

Celebrate the character's "badass" nature. People are afraid. People are impressed. People are in awe.

Give her bad guys to shoot and dominate.

This can also generate problems, though: if she's acknowledged as the most badass around, what authority is she now assumed to have?

Do people expect her to solve their problems? To settles her disputes? Who needs her protection? Who is terrified of her and overreacts?

2. "Look for where they're weak."

The player has chosen to establish her as a total badass in combat. That's not in question anymore.

This means their battlefield has shifted: the physical threats are now easy. The real challenge, now, is the other stuff.

* What interpersonal or moral problems is the character facing? When her best friend lies to her, what does she do? When that family she cares about runs out of water, what does she do? When she's blamed for destruction or death she had nothing to do with, how does she react?

* Because of her combat prowess, what do the NPCs think of her? She's useful? She's scary, and must be removed? Slandered?

* When food, fuel, or money runs out, what does she do? What if the only other people who have those things are defenseless? Will she take advantage of her firepower? If so, what will be the consequences for those people?

* What technological problems exist to challenge her? Are the potato pods malfunctioning, and how can she convince Bram to help her fix them?

* What maelstrom/psychic stuff is going on? Does the maelstrom decide that she is now its champion and must sacrifice her life to bring about some grand future? When she finds out, how does she react?

If other PCs are in danger because of her bulletproof nature, play that up. She's responsible for them falling into danger! How does everyone feel about that?

A sidenote:

As pointed out above, NTBFW only applies in an actual battle. (Although that's decidedly quite vague; work with the player to reach an understanding of what this means as you play.)

If I remember correctly, the Battlebabe should have a great deal of trouble with "Seize by Force", due to a low Hard. Is this not coming into play?

Perhaps try to tempt the character into Single Combat, as well.

Re: How to respond to overwhelming firepower
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2016, 08:20:23 PM »
I'm entirely in agreement with others regarding non-combat situations, and on playing up the consequences of murdering people. Those are all very applicable to any especially dangerous character.

However, I don't think there's been enough emphasis on the weaknesses a Battlebabe has specifically. Because, unless the Battlebabe has gone to some serious effort to get up Hard, the Battlebabe shouldn't actually be unstoppable in a straight fight, especially if other PCs are involved. You can't really Go Aggro once the shooting starts, and Ice Cold doesn't apply to anything else.

An Ice Cold Battlebabe is great at murdering people who get in their way, but not so great at pitched battles, since those are generally either Seize By Force or Single Combat if you're fighting them straight up. NOT TO BE FUCKED WITH helps out here, but not enough vs. well armed gangs any larger than Small. And Perfect Instincts is great if you have time to use it, it's less great vs. situations that just happen and you weren't expecting. A Battlebabe with the listed stats should be the baddest motherfucker around when they have control of the situation, when they've prepped, planned, and gotten the drop on foes. They're much less in their element when the situation suddenly becomes untenable. They're still the kings of acting under fire, and can probably get out of said situation, but it's unlikely to feel like a win when they do.

For example, in your description, you refer to getting to Go Aggro on someone when they currently have a gun pointed at you, and after there's already been shooting, and that's not really how that's supposed to work most times. Going Aggro is what you do before the guns come out, or at least before they're fired. If there's already been shooting, that's usually the wrong move to use for an actual confrontation. This makes confrontations where the Battlebabe isn't in control notably more dangerous for them.

And, going back to NOT TO BE FUCKED WITH for a moment, since it only applies in battle, I'm pretty sure it never applies when Going Aggro (on the giving or receiving end). That's not a battle move, after all. It also certainly wouldn't apply to getting shot by a sniper while going about your daily business. And a sniper with AP ammo is a very likely circumstance if someone thinks the Battlebabe is gonna be a problem for them, since a straight fight is clearly counter-indicated. Now, a Battlebabe might well act under fire and avoid a sniper...but that goes back to the 'surviving rather than winning' thing I mentioned earlier about situations the Battlebabe isn't in control of.

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Spwack

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Re: How to respond to overwhelming firepower
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2016, 09:32:00 PM »
Just a few correction, Ice Cold includes "When you make a battle move that calls you to roll+hard, you can roll+cool instead", which means SBF and single combat are still a cakewalk. Gangs, including NTBFW can be used for Go Aggro and every other battle move. With when that second one applies, we ruled as a group it doesn't work if it's from surprise or in too narrow an area to maneuver.

Definitely making her murder innocent bystanders for resources though! And having previously close allies start lying. Next 6- is going to be a jammed gun. Who's going to be fixing that? Thanks for all your help!

Re: How to respond to overwhelming firepower
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2016, 09:41:14 PM »
Just a few correction, Ice Cold includes "When you make a battle move that calls you to roll+hard, you can roll+cool instead", which means SBF and single combat are still a cakewalk.

This is not true of the final version of the 2E rules. It's Go Aggro only now, just like it was in 1E.

Gangs, including NTBFW can be used for Go Aggro and every other battle move. With when that second one applies, we ruled as a group it doesn't work if it's from surprise or in too narrow an area to maneuver.

Go Aggro isn't a battle move, and unlike gangs (which can absolutely be used for Go Aggro), NTBFW specifies 'in battle'. Still, if that's what you've agreed on, sticking with it is a solid call.

Definitely making her murder innocent bystanders for resources though! And having previously close allies start lying. Next 6- is going to be a jammed gun. Who's going to be fixing that? Thanks for all your help!

No problem.

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Spwack

  • 138
Re: How to respond to overwhelming firepower
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2016, 01:22:07 AM »
"When you have a gang, you can sucker someone, go aggro on them, or make a battle move using your gang as a weapon."

Didn't know about the changes to Ice Cold though! That is a pretty strong nerf though, a real shame. Oh well.

Re: How to respond to overwhelming firepower
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2016, 02:26:49 AM »
"When you have a gang, you can sucker someone, go aggro on them, or make a battle move using your gang as a weapon."

Absolutely! You can totally do that if you have a gang. NTBFW is not precisely a gang however, and has additional restrictions.

In fact, to quote the entire text of NTBFW (emphasis mine): "in battle, you count as a small gang, with harm and armor according to your gear."

So it's separate from, and more limited in some ways, than actually having a gang. Which seems fair enough given that it doesn't come with all the baggage and externalization of power that gangs do.

Didn't know about the changes to Ice Cold though! That is a pretty strong nerf though, a real shame. Oh well.

I dunno, I think having no Move allow for the complete replacement of either Cold or Hard is probably a good call. Which is the way it works in the final version (several moves replace Cool for act under fire and one or two battle moves, but none replace it for more than a few).

Re: How to respond to overwhelming firepower
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2016, 04:02:48 AM »
Didn't know about the changes to Ice Cold though! That is a pretty strong nerf though, a real shame. Oh well.

Have you played 1st edition? This dynamic is, IMO, one of the best things about the Battlebabe. Seriously, '+3 to all your fighting moves' is not going to make a character's life nearly as interesting as '+3 to all your fighting moves except when you're actually, like, fighting.'

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Spwack

  • 138
Re: How to respond to overwhelming firepower
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2016, 10:03:10 AM »
Looking at the moves again, the chaotic free-for-all is also a +cool battle move. Hm. I might discuss with the Battlebabe about Seize and Defending moves going back to +hard, which does actually make sense. Any idea why Ice Cold was buffed like that?

Re: How to respond to overwhelming firepower
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2016, 11:49:50 AM »
Any idea why Ice Cold was buffed like that?

Probably a playtest idea that didn't survive testing.