[SR] Too much MD defense?

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Legendary Teeth
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[SR] Too much MD defense?

#1 Postby Legendary Teeth » Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:38 pm

I think one of the biggest problems with the original Rifts was that they spent a LOT of time and effort on SDC rules and equipment when it was all completely garbage and no one would ever use it. Savage Rifts was a great chance to fix that and I thought it had, but I think my group broke that in my own campaign.

From what I understand the ideal case is that you have one or two MD characters with a bunch of other standard chartered running around. Then for a standard fight you may have one or two guys with big guns to challenge the cyborg or glitter boy, but you can still throw in a bunch of CS grunts and what not that can harm the rest of the party. Sounds great to me. The problem is that my group is a RPA pilot, a dragon hatchling, and a mystic and technowizard with access to mega magic.

So, while I can definitely contrive situations on occasion that make it difficult or impossible to use the power armor, dragon form, or magic, most random fights in the wilderness may as well not include anyone with a non-MD weapon. And that sucks, because there a lot of cool ones.

I'd like to come up with some kind of fix that let's me use most of the weapons in the book without invalidating their choices. The simplest is just to say everything in the Rifts source book does MD, but then there's no point to MD and MD armor unless I start throwing SD stuff at them from other source books (which is basically classic Rifts).

Is that reasonable? Is there something more creative I can do? Or something interesting I can give the players in return since I am effectively nerfing them? I'd love to hear the community's perspective on this.

Mad Paladin
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Re: [SR] Too much MD defense?

#2 Postby Mad Paladin » Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:08 pm

I'm not sure about that "ideal case," since that group you have sounds a lot like mine (GB, Dragon, CK, Burster). I think the possibility that all PCs may have access to MD armor is the reason almost all high-tech and supernatural melee weapons do MD. Even the CS grunts have MD vibro-weapons and grenades. In my game, the GB got really worried when the brodkil that survived his initial bombardment tried to dogpile him...

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Re: [SR] Too much MD defense?

#3 Postby Legendary Teeth » Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:22 pm

Yeah, there are ways to make them care, but I don't want to make every fight be a special case. I don't think most of them will survive into melee range, and even still most of the party can fly anyway. Also, if standard personal ranged weapons can't hurt the party I am just wasting everyone's time by including people that have them, and that is basically all your standard human infantry. Cutting all of them out is less interesting than being able to include them.

Fighting a group of CS infantry is good flavour, I want it to be fun too.

Brickulos
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Re: [SR] Too much MD defense?

#4 Postby Brickulos » Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:35 pm

Grenades are your friend, plus every fifth trooper should be carrying a firebreather, rocket launcher or plasma injector.

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Re: [SR] Too much MD defense?

#5 Postby Freemage » Tue Apr 25, 2017 1:18 am

Brickulos wrote:Grenades are your friend, plus every fifth trooper should be carrying a firebreather, rocket launcher or plasma injector.


This. For MD threats, have the grunts make use of tactics. If one of them is the designated MDGuy, then the others can do group rolls on Tests and Tricks to do a set-up for MDGuy. The plasma ejector becomes a lot scarier if you're already Shaken, and he's got Marksman to help get the Raise.

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Re: [SR] Too much MD defense?

#6 Postby ValhallaGH » Tue Apr 25, 2017 6:47 am

The Game Master's Guide has almost an entire page on this topic (page 56), under the heading Mega Damage Encounters.
It’s supposed to be a pretty cool thing for certain characters to ignore most infantry weapons. At the same time, they shouldn’t expect to face no threats. This is why every squad of soldiers or organized group of opponents should have one or two heavy weapons—something that does Mega Damage—for the purpose of dealing with MDC armor.

It goes on to talk about some of the design decisions of the various Mega Damage weapons, including that the man-portable ones aren't great.
Vehicles with mounted weapons, rocket launchers, a crew served weapon (vehicular laser, mini rail gun, etc.), using some of the Size +1 (or larger) creatures to haul around a vehicular missile launcher, powerful casters with onslaught, and so forth.
Also, heavy melee weapons (vibro swords, chain swords, and the various hammers) can really even things up.
Yes, grenades suck. But Acing damage lets them be cool every now and then. When the dragon dives on a frag grenade to save the TW (between greater armor castings) and takes 74 damage (and the 7 wounds that deals to a very tough Hatchling), everyone remembers that grenades are kind of mean.

A CS force may lay down a suppressive barrage of grenades and automatic fire, while the dog boys circle around and flank with a grenade barrage and their vibro claws. (Dog Boys are devoted allies, have a strong melee combat bias, and are disposable second-class citizens all at the same time. Which is horrible, but makes this kind of tactic perfect for them and the C.S. army.)
A mystical force can spam entangle, confusion, stun, and slumber while their "big gun" prepares to hit hard. And don't be afraid to use dispel from time to time. :twisted:
Tough critters with a melee bias, such as Brodkil and Gargoyles, focus on getting close and then jumping into melee with a powerful Mega Damage melee weapon, AP Grenade, or a MAE-3 Maysie stolen from a Super Trooper armor. 8)
Psionic forces can just use puppet to turn the heavy hitters against the group. Ideally, they snag a glitter boy or robot jock, because the last command can be "climb out of your armor and come here so I can shake your hand".
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Legendary Teeth
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Re: [SR] Too much MD defense?

#7 Postby Legendary Teeth » Tue Apr 25, 2017 6:49 am

There are certainly ways to threaten the players. My problem is more that the book comes with a large selection of weapons, which seem thematically appropriate to use, but if I do have a cs grunt fire his normal laser rifle at any of my players they are just wasting everyone's time. That is neither fast nor furious nor fun.

I would like to bring the normal weapons into play on a regular basis. Otherwise it's just like classic Rifts all over again with a bunch of rules and gear designed for SDC play that may as well not have been written for all the mechanical effect they can have. I want the cool Rifts fluff.

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Re: [SR] Too much MD defense?

#8 Postby ValhallaGH » Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:09 am

Oh!
Yeah, for those situations I'll often narrate "and these six guys shoot Marcus, before realizing their laser rifles are useless against him. They start looking around nervously." Because Marcus is a SPC super in a group with a Dragon, Robot Armor, and a Crazy that is incorporeal (seemingly) half the time. The TW makes good use of staying back, staying behind tougher allies, and the rare use of an improvised stalwart walls power.

Remember, your players are basically playing super heroes (Gundam pilot; giant, magical, bullet-proof dragon; spell-caster; magical inventor more prepared than Batman) in a world that knows such things exist but hasn't caught up with them completely.
Unless you want to take away their fun, you'll have to resign yourself to a lot of "this cool option is useless against the players". Thankfully, there are a lot of other characters in the world, including friends, allies, and civilians they are trying to / have already rescued, allowing you to use the cool laser rifles to harm those folks.

:evilbat:
If / When you do something with Vanguard casters, have them drop greater smite on the dead boy rifles, and grin evilly when the players cockily ignore the barrage of (magically enhanced) laser fire.


Good luck!
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DMbobby
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Re: [SR] Too much MD defense?

#9 Postby DMbobby » Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:30 am

As noted before, grenades are your friend, but more so that you think with your casters. Something to remember is the Disruption rules in the Deluxe book. Once the caster's armor spells are beyond the initial duration hit them with a grenade or other MDC weapon. If they suffer damage they have to make an opposed arcane skill roll versus the damage taken, which if it was more than their armor should be a pretty high number and if they fail all they maintained spells go down. There's also the fact that if a caster is Shaken which could be from Tests of Will or Tricks they need to make a Smarts check to not drop their spells. This is just a TN4 but it's a Smarts check so that character that stacked up +4 to their arcane skill isn't getting that bonus. Once the spells are down all those normal weapons can open up on the casters and chew them to bits before they get a chance to throw their spells back up.
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Re: [SR] Too much MD defense?

#10 Postby ValhallaGH » Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:56 am

Note that a character has to actually suffer damage to worry about Disruption rolls. Merely being hit isn't enough, the damage must at least cause a Shaken result (that isn't negated with a Benny).
Once that happens, the powers are coming down! Having to roll Spellcasting (-1 for armor and -1 for deflection) against 18 is very unlikely.
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Re: [SR] Too much MD defense?

#11 Postby SenahBirdR » Tue Apr 25, 2017 9:48 am

A few thoughts to keep in mind.

The CS while often times portrayed as bumbling buffoons since they are the big military bad guys, should sometimes use smart tactics. Once the CS officers see that even the apparently squishy unarmored guys are a mega damage threat the present forces cannot deal with, have them start up a tactical retreat. Have the threat not necessarily be what ground MD weapon they posses, but the possibility they escape to call in heavy weaponry to deal with the heavy threat. The PCs are sort of a rag tag band of vigilantes with a dash of legitimacy by way of the Tomorrow Legion. The CS is a fully functional government and military. Remember that no stealth is possible with a Robot, so CS sentries should see them coming from a big distance and be willing to retreat if there is no reasonable chance of winning a battle. Possibly with the MacGuffin and forcing a running battle to retrieve it. This will force your PCs to have to use an approach they don't dominate in, or to force threats to escalate to meet them. It shouldn't be every time. Personally I have found it fun to have a session where the enemy groups talk big and then get slaughtered by the GB pilot, burster, flamewing hatchling, and mind melter.

Another thought is to remember to have plenty of non-combat obstacles and trials. These could serve to provide reasons why the enemy is bringing bigger threats. Or to provide opportunities for someone squishy to be at risk the PCs must keep alive. The group you have is definitely combat heavy and should feel the pinch of their gaps in other areas, or at least forcing them to shore up those gaps.

Lastly, these PCs have chosen to play things with heavy combat capability. That means they are looking for those sorts of threats. In the same way if the group was a bunch of people with noncombat skills, it is reasonable to craft the campaign in that direction. The group can be pushed away from "small time" work. Not everyone will want a Robot and a Dragon move all over their town for protection. Collateral damage could be a problem for a big group designed for big problems.

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Re: [SR] Too much MD defense?

#12 Postby Radecliffe » Tue Apr 25, 2017 1:27 pm

Allowing for the slaughter of the odd Dead Boy squad can also be a handy plot point too. As the group is high-fiving each other over their victory have them roll notice to see if they hear the reinforcement squad of SAMAS armor on final approach. :evil:

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Re: [SR] Too much MD defense?

#13 Postby Legendary Teeth » Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:38 pm

If I made all Rifts weapons MD I could achieve the same effect by having them fight the occasional group of people with more primative weapons, and then still get access to the cool rifts guns.

I think just due to the potential damage vs toughness of the RPA and Dragon they could still be functionally immune to small arms fire (barring a lot of explosions). I think taking shots that don't beat their toughness but theoretically could is more interesting and fun for them than being regularly faced with weapons that just do nothing.

Even then maybe it's too much damage. The casters could definitely be hit. Perhaps non MD Rifts weapons do half damage to MDC, and other older weapons do nothing at all. That would at least give the players some power back for their mdc choices.

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Re: [SR] Too much MD defense?

#14 Postby pkitty » Tue Apr 25, 2017 4:49 pm

One house rule that might be worth implementing is a way to let armies of mooks have a chance against M.D.C. foes. That way, no one feels completely invulnerable when facing an army of underequipped foes. Please bear in mind this is off the top of my head:

Concentrated Fire

While M.D.C. is proof against any reasonable amount of small-arms fire, enough of any attack can penetrate heavy armor if it's concentrated in the same spot at the same time. A minimum of 10 attackers must coordinate their attack, acting on the same Initiative card and firing or striking at the same spot (a Called Shot at -2 to hit); roll once for the entire group. If successful, the attack does its normal damage, but as Mega-Damage. Adding many more attackers will increase this damage: +1 for 20 attackers, +2 for 30 attackers, +3 for 40 attackers, and so on.

(This rule is simplest with a mix of identical mooks. For a varied group, the GM should eyeball a fair "average skill" and/or "average damage.)
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Re: [SR] Too much MD defense?

#15 Postby Legendary Teeth » Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:50 pm

That's a very interesting idea. The numbers and bonuses might need to be played with a bit to see how it works out, but it let's you use the fun weapons, and makes it even easier to manage a large collection of mooks.

Could also combine it with a half damage rule as well so an individual might try with desperation to pierce MD armor but the person inside could fairly confidently shurg it off. Though at that point you could also just narrate it and not do any rolls.

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Re: [SR] Too much MD defense?

#16 Postby salcor » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:26 pm

I think solid tactics on the side of the CS guys would do the deal. With the identified group the CS would most likely fall back to a defensive position call for heavy back up (SAMAS, enforcers, and spider skull walkers) and then focus on the threats they could deal with. So the heavy troops targeting the one magic user to knock down their defenses then the basic troopers hit them after the defenses are down. You could also equip the CS with CV-212 laser rifles the can do MD with increased ammo expenditure.

Also should suppressive fire work again individuals in powered armor? I mean no amount of M-4s will Penetrator a T-80 MBT. Don't forget that the CS has their own Mind melter and burster that work for them, they are just not that common.

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Re: [SR] Too much MD defense?

#17 Postby ValhallaGH » Wed Apr 26, 2017 6:03 am

salcor wrote:Also should suppressive fire work again individuals in powered armor? I mean no amount of M-4s will Penetrator a T-80 MBT. Don't forget that the CS has their own Mind melter and burster that work for them, they are just not that common.

Only if the weapon is Mega Damage. Which limits you to grenade launchers, rail guns, and TW weapons. :lol:
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Re: [SR] Too much MD defense?

#18 Postby salcor » Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:21 am

Nice. I guess one option could be to would be to give the C-12 heavy laser rifle the same ability as the cv-212 (expend 10 shots to do Mega-Damage)

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Re: [SR] Too much MD defense?

#19 Postby ValhallaGH » Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:58 am

If the goal is to make all the "standard" laser rifles able to kill M.D.C. targets then giving the JA-11 special ability to do Mega Damage to all lasers isn't a bad idea. But it seems to miss the point of M.D.C. Armor, which is to be able to ignore threats below a certain level. It also means that the GM is going to have to have the NPCs spend a round changing e-clips every two or three combat rounds.

Personally, I'd save that kind of ability for the Post 105 arsenal. C-20, C-30, C-40, and C-50, reducing all their magazines by a factor of ten, and making most of them incapable of automatic fire while dealing Mega Damage, though 3RB is still on the table for two attacks. :lol:
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