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 Post subject: Nightbane Regeneration
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:28 am
  

D-Bee

Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:32 pm
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I am wanting to start a Nightbane game. In reading the book, which I think is great, I noticed how many SDC/HP that Nightbane characters can regenerate per round. It seems really high to me. I want my players to feel vulnerable and with this level of regeneration I honestly don’t see them worried about any harm coming their way. That said, before I go changing things with the possibility of messing the game up, I wanted to check with you all who have more experience than me in running a Nightbane game. Have you all found that the high Nightbane regeneration makes them too tough?


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Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 4:51 pm
  

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Monk

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Comment: The Munchkin Fairy
Graymouser65 wrote:
I am wanting to start a Nightbane game. In reading the book, which I think is great, I noticed how many SDC/HP that Nightbane characters can regenerate per round. It seems really high to me. I want my players to feel vulnerable and with this level of regeneration I honestly don’t see them worried about any harm coming their way. That said, before I go changing things with the possibility of messing the game up, I wanted to check with you all who have more experience than me in running a Nightbane game. Have you all found that the high Nightbane regeneration makes them too tough?


It's Not really a problem, Regeneration is high, but damage output per round is much higher. Just one hit from a regular hound weilding a darkblade does 6d6 or 7d6, or an average of 20+ damage a hit, and each round has roughly 4 attacks per hound, multiple hounds per Nightbane as they generally roll in high numbers, AND the Darkblades completely ignore armor, AND they don't feel pain so they can just simultaniously attack for garenteed unavoidable hits.

and then you have doppleganger agents and human cultists with assult rifles dishing out another 4d6*5 damage 4x per round, so about 50-70 damage a hit on that end.

Basically if you actually go through and crunch numbers, on average the Nightbane are very powerful but are up against highly organized enemies with highly effective and leathal weapons, such as the Nightbane are routinely the underdogs and in grave danger, forcing them to rely on hit and run tactics because they frankly have no chance in a stand up fight. 10 HP/round is nothing in Nightbane, it just means you can heal up after the fight is over quickly, but will not even come close to giving you staying power in a real fight. If anything the problem is if you actually stick to the randomly rolled tables for Morphus forms as the rules say, there's a very slight chance a PC gets a tanky build but a much larger chance they can't last more than one round in a fight. and even the tankiest builds fall to automatic gunfire very, very quickly.

Fearing that the players are too powerful is not something a Nightbane GM has to worry about. a much bigger challange is setting up challanges so they are not hopelessly outclassed whenever they try to do something. Nightbane is very much an underdog's game, and unless you have an overwhelming advantage in surprise and firepower, you're best bet is to just run whenever the G-men show up.

Mostly, either the players have to win a fight within the first round, or they lose it within two. It is not a game where fights drag out. Mostly whoever gets the surprise round wins by default.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 12:03 am
  

D-Bee

Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:32 pm
Posts: 7
Ahh ... this is a little disheartening. Seems as though the problem is the opposite as what I anticipated. Even without using the simultaneous attack option (one of the few Palladium rules that I don’t like, I never use it in games as an intentional combat option I only allow it when the initiative rolls between the two opponents are exactly the same number) the Nightbane PCs seem like they will be significantly weaker than I anticipated. I wasn’t planning on following a traditional Nightbane campaign as suggested in the book, but I think I may have to rethink my options and campaign idea. Thanks very much for taking the time to respond and provide such helpful info.


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Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 12:27 am
  

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Monk

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Comment: The Munchkin Fairy
A lot is down to the randomness of Morphus tables: it's very easy to wind up with a morphus with no signifciant combat traits beyond the baseline stat boosts, although some are actually pretty tough. But even with the most tanky traits, Nightbane is by design a dangerous setting where players are forced into Gurrila fighting by default beacuse any head on attacks are suicide.

_________________
Sometimes, you're like a beacon of light in the darkness, giving me some hope for humankind. ~ Killer Cyborg

You can have something done good, fast and cheap. If you want it done good and fast, it's not going to be cheap. If you want it done fast and cheap it won't be good. If you want something done good and cheap it won't be done fast. ~ Dark Brandon


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Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2020 3:00 pm
  

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Knight

Joined: Sun Dec 27, 2015 1:13 pm
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Graymouser65 wrote:
I am wanting to start a Nightbane game. In reading the book, which I think is great, I noticed how many SDC/HP that Nightbane characters can regenerate per round. It seems really high to me. I want my players to feel vulnerable

Rifts World Book 5 has "U-rounds" which prevent supernatural bio-regeneration of the damage until they're pulled out. Could be interesting if Spook Squad or Nightlords developed tech like this.

Graymouser65 wrote:
and with this level of regeneration I honestly don’t see them worried about any harm coming their way.

If they can run off and hide, sure. But a lot of attackers can manage to do 11+ damage per melee round, meaning nightbane CAN be whittled down, and will be in trouble if they can't disengage from combat for a regeneration period.

You might also invent a house rule like charge 1 PPE per 10 damage healed and have it shut off when they run out of PPE. This would still make them fast healers, but not indefinitely.

Nekira Sudacne wrote:
Darkblades completely ignore armor,

I realize you probably derive that from pg 162's Damage ("can cut through all known materials, including steel, like butter") and Weapons ("cuts through anything)" sections, combined with 161's intro ("able to pierce, cut and slash open any surface and material" .. "cut the tanks open like sardine cans") but I didn't get the impression you would just ignore armor.

It's obviously more than the base damage itself, Nightbane 204 also has 3D6 from a Halberd / Sabre Halberd / Hippe / Voulge (and also Flamberge/Goupillon Flail on next page) so they don't stand out in that respect.

Part of the problem is you want to draw a distinction to normal attacks, and normal attacks can already pierce tanks (yes, you can punch open a tank in Palladium rules).

I think I'd just borrow the APS Metal rules (HU247) for tanks and hard metal objects in general:
    1) no damage from normal weapons bullets
    2) AP/explosives and Ext/SH strength do 1/2 damage if rolling below 1-18, full damage on 18+

For soft metals (ie so body armor could actually suffer dents from normal weapons) I'd use the APS Ice (pg 246) rules:
    1) no damage on a roll of 1-14
    2) 1/2 damage on 15+

In this case I'd have the attacker do a separate dice roll from the roll to actually hit body armor, because 15+ is already enough to surpass the 'covers the flesh' AR.

"anything" is likely wrong (it's doubtful these can just cut through a rune weapon, for example) and is probably meant to represent "all known materials" (rune weapons aren't known)

"cuts" also likely just represents "can cut" meaning you still need to deplete the SDC of the armor as normal to get to HP underneath it.

Pg 111 of the Heroes Unlimited Game Master Guide elaborates further:
    Note: In Nightbane, Darkblades can cut through any ordinary material with ease.

Unfortunately we don't know exactly what "with ease" means, since "like butter" isn't actually defined, crunch-wise. We are however, given some "better than this" idea for minimum requirements in the following notes on 111:
    This is probably too unbalancing for a Heroes Unlimited campaign, so it is up to the G.M.'s discretion to include, modify or exclude this characteristic.

    One alternative is to make these magical blades strike any material at -3 its normal Armor Rating
    ..
    will cut any characters with the power of Invulnerability, but do only half damage.
    Intangible characters will feel an icy chill from teh cutting blade and suffer 1D6 damage, although no blood is drawn!

This "alternative" is obviously a "modify" suggestion. It is neither "include" (full power) or "exclude" (no benefit at all).

So the way Darkblades NORMALLY operate is BETTER than this. We just don't know HOW MUCH better.

At minimum, I would say something like they do full damage (not half) to invulnerable characters (like usual magic weapons) and 2D6 damage to Intangible ones (should they bleed?).

As for AR, at least -4 to the normal Armor Rating, I guess?

This really only makes sense for NATURAL armor rating in my opinion though. Same with Armor-Piercing bullets... those are mentioned (aka Teflon/KTW) on page 211 of Nightbane but not actually statted.

The only place to find rules for AP/Teflon/KTW rounds if page 108 of Dead Reign, where it gets a damage bonus and lowers AR of armored targets.

That STILL doesn't make sense to me: normal AR should be about COVERAGE (how hard to hit a gap) not how hard it is to penetrate. The "difficulty of penetrating, not gap-finding" is also seen in CEF:Earth walls... BLEH

Of course part of the problem is that the AR of a lot of suits seems to be a combination of BOTH. You have full suits providing more AR than half-suits made of the same material (AR as coverage) and you have full suits (same coverage) of different materials applying different DR.

What I would do instead is give suits of armor their own natural AR. It could be pretty low, like maybe AR 5 for the weakest (leathers) and maybe higher for others. So attacks that hit have a chance of not damaging armor at all (a roll of 5, as a roll of 1-4 is already a miss). Then a separate non-natural AR based on coverage. Then you would roll separately for both concepts.

- - -

HU111 mentions couple things I couldn't find in Nightbane which could help answer this:
    indestructible and remain razor sharp forever

Pg 35 of Nightbane (just like HU's major power) has the optional "danger of breaking" rules. It is possible the descriptions of darkblades were written with these in mind.

Triple the maximum (18) of 3D6 is 54. So normal halberds would have a 30% chance of breaking any time you did 55+ damage. Even well-built ones (quintuple the max) would risk breaking on 90 damage. The language there is a bit weird ("exceeds more than" sounds like 2 more than triple, but we're given a 1D8 "more than 24" example)

Hounds have PS ranging from 17 to 32, so they can range from 4D6+2 (max 26) to 1D6x10+17 (max 77) on a power punch. Adding the 18 max for their Darkspears brings that up to a 44-95 damage. The ones who are 4th level get a +4 from HTH assassin making that 48/99. If they managed a natural 20, that doubles to 96/108.

So they can clearly get into that range where they could risk breaking even well-made (master-smith) halberds. So their being indestructible is a HUGE benefit to opening up tanks.

It's barely benefit to low-PS hounds though... even when power-punching it only benefits them if they get a natural 20.

To remedy this (and of course to torture our Nightbane protagonists) we could use the GMG's other rules. I figure why not put them on the table, since they included Hounds? Pg 51 "Rampage" gives new attack options beyond the traditional power punch. Hounds DO have emotions so it seems appropriate to let them use these rules.

They take 4 actions though, double the 2 attacks/melee that hounds start with (1 to start, +1 for HTH assassin, +1 extra for being a Hound). Pg 65 of Nightbane mentions PLAYER characters start off with two (what HTH give at 1st are a bonus to that) but NPCs only get ONE plus HTH, (one attack fewer than players) which is inadequate for this.

There would be three approaches to solve that:
    1) let power attacks borrow up to 1 attack from the next melee round, like how dodges work in RUE)

    2) give "atypical NPCs" the same 2 for living that PCs get (pg 65 after all only says "A typical non-player character", so non-typical NPCs aren't actually defined)

    3) have Hounds attend college (or a special trade school) per HU2p48 to learn a new scholastic skill. This will take 10-16 hours per week (combined instruction and homework) for 3 semesters (~18 months) but at the end they get Boxing for +1 attack. Boxing isn't available as a secondary skill, so the option of kidnapping a Rogue Scholar from RUE-Earth to teach them at a faster rate won't work.

    4) assume that Nightlords have psychics with the super-psi power "Mind Bond" (Between 114) who know Boxing, and who bond with hounds to temporary impart them with +1 attack boxing bonus. Mind Bond doesn't impart ATTRIBUTE bonuses, but this is not an attribute bonus. This could 3rd level (see Between 113) members of the Psychic PCC (NB69) or the new Mind Master PCC (Between 119, can select 2 master instead of 3 sensitive at 1st level) The latter is few, we're told this is "comparatively tiny" since Nightlords mostly were just wiping them out early on.

    5) make Hounds into Minor Psychics via the Tartarus Library (WB4p53 result 81-90) choosing Mimic Skills (Powers Unlimited 91) as one of your 4 lesser powers, and then siphon off a boxer

    6) allow 2nd-level Priest of Night (pg 178, physical: any) as their 5th level spell (pg 177) to select "Instill Knowledge" (Rifts WB16 pg 137) and have it be standard for them to learn boxing (to complment their HTH basic, WP knife and PS/PP bonuses) so that they can instill boxing abilities into hounds before sending the hounds into combat

    7) alternatively (to avoid putting priests at risk) make "Talismans of Instill Knowledge" and hand them out to other minions who can start out knowing Boxing (Doppleganger, Night Prince, Namtar Hollowmen, non-priest Night Cultist) and have THEM buff the hounds. You might even get a Preserver Activist (pg 198) or Corrupted Police (p 199) to do this so long as you had a Hound Master use his illusionary to disguise the pack. IK is a touch-spell so you'd want to have the shells look like humans in body armor so that the hard feeling of the Hounds armor wouldn't tip them off to something is off (Preeverts and Cops don't actually know about Hounds AFAIK but can be recruited to help attack enemies of the Nightlords so long as the minions leading them seem human)

Anyway, once you got that 4 attack cost down, with Power Attacks (HUGMG54) on the table, what you want is the "Two-Handed Super Power Punch" on 57.

This weirdly does a fixed base 2D6x10 for those who have supernatural PS regardless of what the number is, so the only thing place the PS number makes a difference is the damage bonus you add on top of that. This exceeds even the base damage of those with 51-60 supernatural PS, so it's especially great for those guys with a supernatural PS of 15 or less who only do a 2d6 base power punch.

I think part of the problem with Palladium's rules is there isn't that huge an incentive to use a "Power Punch" when trying to destroy a tank, because you could do more damage in 2 attacks costing 1 action/each than you could in 1 attack costing 2 actions.

If we had a "subtract damage" type of system (like GURPS does with DR) however, power punches (and risking breaking your weapon) would be a LOT more useful.

The "Punch Through" aspect on GMG54 does actually make damage matter though: you need to get at least 25% of the barrier's SDC (in a single hit) to punch THROUGH it. Otherwise you'd have to deplete ALL the SDC by whittling it down.

If this is too complex an approach to give them extra damage, pg 135 has Superhuman Strength as a 5th level spell, so 2nd level Night Priests could learn that and boost hounds with low PS up to 30. I expect Hound-buffing like this to be a pretty common tactic when the Nightlords' minions are prepping for an attack.

If there are any 13th level Night Priests out there, they might even make Talismans (pg 149) of SHstrength/SHspeed en masse for Hounds to activate on their own. Scrolls (pg 146) would be available earlier (11th level spell) but only Hound Masters might plausibly use them (normal Hounds can't speak, so can't read it aloud) and even then you'd need some way of imparting LITERACY to a Hound Master (you could kidnap Rogue Scholars from RUE-Earth to teach it to them)

Nekira Sudacne wrote:
they don't feel pain so they can just simultaniously attack for garenteed unavoidable hits.

It's not like feeling pain actually prevents normal characters from doing that :) I mean that's good RP but... metagamers.

Tactically speaking, hounds can rely on their AR 13 to just soak up normal attacks (a parry would only be better if they rolled 14+ with it) and even against supernatural/magic attacks, 200 SDC which can be healed in an hour (though not as good as Nightbane doing that in 5 minutes...) is nothing to sneeze at.

Keep in mind the bonus 30 SDC they'd get if buffed with Superhuman PS. Nightlords MUST know about this spell, and want to make it available to their frontline troops so they'll last longer.

Nekira Sudacne wrote:
and then you have doppleganger agents and human cultists with assult rifles dishing out another 4d6*5 damage 4x per round, so about 50-70 damage a hit on that end.

This is why you buy Shadow Slide or Lightning Rider :) I think being insubstantial means bullets don't hurt you?

Createive placing of Doorway to block a firing path should probably also be allowed to stop attacks.

Swarm Self (-5 to hit tiny versions) and Alien-Shape Plasmoid (1/2 dmg from physical) also pretty useful here.

Even armor-type NB didn't get ARs like Hounds until Survival Guide's new tables, I think? AR 16 seems to be the best one (Ankylosaur on 86 and Large Alien Robot on 90) with the 15s (Small Alien Robot on 89, Heavy Plating on 85, Giant Crutacean on 75) tying for 2nd at one less. Pg 74 Mystical Protection can possibly buff these up to 19.

Nekira Sudacne wrote:
Basically if you actually go through and crunch numbers, on average the Nightbane are very powerful but are up against highly organized enemies with highly effective and leathal weapons, such as the Nightbane are routinely the underdogs and in grave danger, forcing them to rely on hit and run tactics because they frankly have no chance in a stand up fight.

Especially if we apply those rules about assuming if 4 guys engage you in melee, 1 gets behind you and you can't parry him. I don't remember them being Nightbane, I probably saw them in N&S or Rifts, but they'd made sense anywhere in the Megaverse unless you were using a map to play and declaring you had your back to a wall.

Someone with their back to a wall (prevent attacks from behind) should probably get some kind of penalty to dodging/parrying though, because I think the normal assumption is you have room to step back while doing those.

Nekira Sudacne wrote:
If anything the problem is if you actually stick to the randomly rolled tables for Morphus forms as the rules say, there's a very slight chance a PC gets a tanky build but a much larger chance they can't last more than one round in a fight. and even the tankiest builds fall to automatic gunfire very, very quickly.

Being non-tanky wouldn't matter if you were able to outrun hounds...

That's very feasible for those with Spd 10, though harder with those with Spd 40 (or the Masters who manage Spd 60)

What mixed speeds WOULD allow though, is by running, you either force the fast hounds to hang back at the speed of the slower hounds, or else they run out ahead by themselves and you can take them on alone, so the number's game can't be used against you.

The "while they are chasing me, I am not taking damage and I am healing" approach is generally a pretty solid tactic for a nightbane. They might take an occasional hit from the faster hounds who run up ahead, but eventually if they keep doing that, they'll get isolated and you might spend some time doing a Disarm (so then they'll have to hang behind to retrieve tehir Darkblade Spear) or a body flip (lose action) so you'll have time to re-establish a lead.

One big problem in playing this tactic is we don't really have extensive rules for combat while running at top speeds. The closest I can think of are the "Murderthon" rules in Rifts World Book 10 : Juicer Uprising. It might make sense to borrow from there to resolve combat of this type, with some modifications for stuff like obstacles, climbing ladders in alleyways into apartments, giant leaps, etc.

One thing we should also keep in mind here: hounds presumably can't smell a nightbane in their Facade, so if you can just get to a populated area, you could probably shift back and lose yourself in a crowd, get some distance (100ft to base safe... normal hounds sniff at 60ft but master sniff at 80ft) and then shift back to morphus and heal.

Biggest threat would be hunters. Not just because they can sniff at 100ft but also because flight allows them to utilize that range from overhead unlike hounds/masters, so even if you were hiding inside a 200ft x 200ft building (minions would need to enter the building to sniff you) a hunter could just fly overtop (as long as it's less than 100ft high) to know Morphused-Bane was in side.

The problem of mixed speeds (because there's such a HUGE difference, there's literally 4 distinct types of hound speeds) makes me wonder if Nightlords actually organize hounds by their speed. A pack of "all-40s" would be extremely dangerous to nightbane (pursuing them) while a pack of "all 10s" would make more sense to use for defence where they don't need to chase anyone down.

ANY can be boosted to spd 44 (only the 1/3 of Hound Massters who have spd 50/60 would not benefit here) using a Talisman of Superhuman Speed, of course! Who knows, maybe Priests of Night even know Fleet Feet to boot?

Nekira Sudacne wrote:
Fearing that the players are too powerful is not something a Nightbane GM has to worry about. a much bigger challange is setting up challanges so they are not hopelessly outclassed whenever they try to do something. Nightbane is very much an underdog's game, and unless you have an overwhelming advantage in surprise and firepower, you're best bet is to just run whenever the G-men show up.

Running is so crazy-essential... though at +10 spd I could see a problem if there are non-Nightbane in the group most likely falling behind, so NB would have to hang back to cover for them...

UNLESS we hd some rules for just running around CARRYING your slow non-Nightbane allies around on your backs or in your arms. NB certainly would have the strength/endurance to manage this.

You might even have your allies firing guns or spells at chasing hounds as the NB focused on running at max speed. That'd be wild shots for guns but I don't know how we would penalize spells cast when riding on horseback or baneback as it were.

Hunters max out at Spd 80 flight, pg 94 Full Bird can get up to 120, so those would be godly in getting away to heal. The downside is there's usually not much cover when you fly (unless there's a tall building nearby) so a preevert with an uzi might snipe you down.

Spdx20 is yards/minute, since there's 3ft in a yard that means Spdx60 is feet per minute... ergo Spd = feet per second.

Rocket Jets (pg 105 is 80mph) go ~117.333fps so they fall just short of what Full Bird can do :) But on average (since you don't often roll 12 on 2D6) Rocket Jets are the better bet, but noisy so harder to hide.

Landwise the highest speed seems to be if you're full Equine (+1d6x10 spd) with Wheels instead of legs (+2d4x10) though maybe just the latter if it's not possible to stack.


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