Scaling up AFF scenarios for more characters

Black Leaf
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Scaling up AFF scenarios for more characters

Postby Black Leaf » Sat Jun 24, 2017 10:47 pm

Hi all,

I'm returning to AFF after a long hiatus (I haven't played it since 1e).

I'm going to be running a year long campaign. Starting with Warlock of FIretop Mountain (as a "prelude" explaining how the party met), then move to either Riddling Reaver or the 1e adventures.

My one concern is player group size. I'm highly likely to have six or seven players. Instinct tells me most of the scenarios expect three or four players.

Does anyone have any experience scaling up the challenge level they could help out with?

The group fights are easy. Just add a few more orcs or whatever. It's the solo monsters I'm worried about. The tension of meeting the minotaur is likely to be lessened if it can be dealt with without risk by them all just jobbing him.

Cheers!
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Re: Scaling up AFF scenarios for more characters

Postby Nuvole! » Sun Jun 25, 2017 3:38 am

First of all, welcome back to the game! 8)

I think you have three main options:
1) adding minions around the solo monsters to equilibrate the numbers, although sometimes it could be difficult to find credible minions for certain monsters (the Minotaur is a fairly good example of this, as it would probably eat its minions)
2) increasing the SKILL of the solo monsters by one for every extra character partecipating to the fight, with the risk of generating monsters with incredibly high SKILL
3) state at the beginning that a single creature can be attacked effectively by up to two (or three) opponents, not more

Said that, are you sure that you want to start from the Firetop Mountain? It requires quite powerful and experienced adventurers. I think that there are better options to start, even if you want to stay within classic FF gamebooks conversions or published adventures.
Maybe you want to have a look at this page of Titannica as well: http://fightingfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/F ... ng_Fantasy
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Re: Scaling up AFF scenarios for more characters

Postby Ruffnut » Sun Jun 25, 2017 7:48 am

I try to edit scenarios such as that so that they instead do not fully kill him and the adventurer in the book does. One way I do this is making Zagor only killable on a certain day, the equinox and that is when the adventurer in the book does is.
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Re: Scaling up AFF scenarios for more characters

Postby Dupont » Sun Jun 25, 2017 3:28 pm

I wish I had added minions to the solo monsters, especially the important ones in Firetop, or that I had added something that fulfilled similar functions. I would suggest practicing against some of the solo monsters a few times using a few pregen adventurers to get an idea about how being outnumbered for instance hampers the threat level of solo 'boss' creatures. We had a priest a Sindla in our group too which reduced monster attack strength very well. This meshed with the outnumbered bonus the party had on some of the bigger fights. Looking back I would have given the dragon some extra abilities, spells maybe or a few other minion types ( or Lair abilities like D&D 5e gives Dragons) and I would have given the warlock a few summoned creatures, or a room of zombies, skeletons etc t make things both more interesting and forcing the players to think a little more.
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Re: Scaling up AFF scenarios for more characters

Postby SkinnyOrc » Mon Jun 26, 2017 12:54 pm

I spent a stupid amount of time trying to work out how to scale AFF to different party sizes and experience for my D&D to AFF conversion system. That included running a lot of trial combats and even got to the point of a spreadsheet that I can put numbers into and have it spit out the result! What I found is AFF scales in a straight line for numbers. So if the adventure's for 4 characters and you have 8 just double the number of all the monsters. If you have 6 add 50% to the number of monsters, and so on. There's a few complications of course.

There's some monsters you don't want to add more of because it wouldn't make sense. Don't worry what the Pitt books say about number appearing, they have way to many moderately powerful creatures appearing only singly, but you're not going to have two warlocks! In that case either add supporting creatures (or extra if there already are some) or make the single creature more powerful. Even keeping to the Pitt books you can increase SKILL by up to 2 for particularity powerful examples of the type. You can also put them in a situation where they have a good chance of getting surprise, that makes a decent difference.

The trickiest thing to adjust for is PC experience. If the adventure is for starting characters they have an Attack Strength of up to 9 (SKILL 7, weapon special skill 2 by standard rules). The best rule of thumb I can come up with is for every 2 AS the PCs have over what the adventure's intended for, increase monster numbers by 50%. But it's a complicated relationship, that's very rough.

For Warlock of Firetop mountain, from a quick look I'd say it's for 4-5 starting characters or 2-3 characters with a bit more experience. The pregenerated characters aren't all starting experience, the human mercenary and human warrior have AS 10, and the elf archer AS 12!
Last edited by SkinnyOrc on Mon Jun 26, 2017 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Scaling up AFF scenarios for more characters

Postby Black Leaf » Mon Jun 26, 2017 1:01 pm

Nuvole! wrote:First of all, welcome back to the game! 8)


Thanks! I've been mostly running 90's stuff like Unknown Armies and SLA Industries over the past few years, so this should be a nice change of place for everyone. I just need to drum into the players that this is supposed to be a heroic setting and they aren't playing the bad guys.

I think you have three main options:
1) adding minions around the solo monsters to equilibrate the numbers, although sometimes it could be difficult to find credible minions for certain monsters (the Minotaur is a fairly good example of this, as it would probably eat its minions)


Yeah, the credibility issue is my concern. Thematically, Minotaurs are supposed to be solo monsters. If every monster has a mate and babies running around it risks getting silly very quickly.

2) increasing the SKILL of the solo monsters by one for every extra character partecipating to the fight, with the risk of generating monsters with incredibly high SKILL


Probably the most effective, but as you say you end up with power creep. If you end up with a bunch of Skill 12 ogres running around it starts to break credibility again. If they're that powerful how have the forces of evil not just wiped everyone else out yet!

3) state at the beginning that a single creature can be attacked effectively by up to two (or three) opponents, not more


Hmm, I like that. I think I'll go with a bit of a variant on it.

Minotaurs may not be that clever, but they're bright enough to back up against a wall when facing six opponents. I seem to recall that Dragon Warriors has some material on how many people can fight in a situation, so I'll probably use that as a guideline.

Said that, are you sure that you want to start from the Firetop Mountain? It requires quite powerful and experienced adventurers. I think that there are better options to start, even if you want to stay within classic FF gamebooks conversions or published adventures.
Maybe you want to have a look at this page of Titannica as well: http://fightingfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/F ... ng_Fantasy


I take your point, but it's actually mostly driven by player demand. They're really excited by Firetop Mountain for nostalgia reasons. I think it will be fine. They're an experienced bunch and should do the sensible things like using tactics and not using up all their spells on a room of orcs.

Ruffnut wrote:I try to edit scenarios such as that so that they instead do not fully kill him and the adventurer in the book does. One way I do this is making Zagor only killable on a certain day, the equinox and that is when the adventurer in the book does is.


That's a nice idea.

I think I'm going with a slightly different approach.

I'm setting Firetop 5 years earlier than the present day in the campaign and having it as the way they all first got together. The adventurer in Firetop Mountain? Actually a Blacksand conman who took credit for the character's hard work. Which I find funny, but it also gives them a rival from the start.

Dupont wrote:I wish I had added minions to the solo monsters, especially the important ones in Firetop, or that I had added something that fulfilled similar functions. I would suggest practicing against some of the solo monsters a few times using a few pregen adventurers to get an idea about how being outnumbered for instance hampers the threat level of solo 'boss' creatures. We had a priest a Sindla in our group too which reduced monster attack strength very well. This meshed with the outnumbered bonus the party had on some of the bigger fights. Looking back I would have given the dragon some extra abilities, spells maybe or a few other minion types ( or Lair abilities like D&D 5e gives Dragons) and I would have given the warlock a few summoned creatures, or a room of zombies, skeletons etc t make things both more interesting and forcing the players to think a little more.


You're right here I think. The only way to do this is probably to try and run through the adventure myself. With a sorceror, to check how the megaspells can affect things.

Thanks for the help everyone!
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Re: Scaling up AFF scenarios for more characters

Postby Dupont » Mon Jun 26, 2017 2:01 pm

Black Leaf wrote:
Nuvole! wrote:First of all, welcome back to the game! 8)


Thanks! I've been mostly running 90's stuff like Unknown Armies and SLA Industries over the past few years, so this should be a nice change of place for everyone. I just need to drum into the players that this is supposed to be a heroic setting and they aren't playing the bad guys.

I think you have three main options:
1) adding minions around the solo monsters to equilibrate the numbers, although sometimes it could be difficult to find credible minions for certain monsters (the Minotaur is a fairly good example of this, as it would probably eat its minions)


Yeah, the credibility issue is my concern. Thematically, Minotaurs are supposed to be solo monsters. If every monster has a mate and babies running around it risks getting silly very quickly.

2) increasing the SKILL of the solo monsters by one for every extra character partecipating to the fight, with the risk of generating monsters with incredibly high SKILL


Probably the most effective, but as you say you end up with power creep. If you end up with a bunch of Skill 12 ogres running around it starts to break credibility again. If they're that powerful how have the forces of evil not just wiped everyone else out yet!

3) state at the beginning that a single creature can be attacked effectively by up to two (or three) opponents, not more


Hmm, I like that. I think I'll go with a bit of a variant on it.

Minotaurs may not be that clever, but they're bright enough to back up against a wall when facing six opponents. I seem to recall that Dragon Warriors has some material on how many people can fight in a situation, so I'll probably use that as a guideline.

Said that, are you sure that you want to start from the Firetop Mountain? It requires quite powerful and experienced adventurers. I think that there are better options to start, even if you want to stay within classic FF gamebooks conversions or published adventures.
Maybe you want to have a look at this page of Titannica as well: http://fightingfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/F ... ng_Fantasy


I take your point, but it's actually mostly driven by player demand. They're really excited by Firetop Mountain for nostalgia reasons. I think it will be fine. They're an experienced bunch and should do the sensible things like using tactics and not using up all their spells on a room of orcs.

Ruffnut wrote:I try to edit scenarios such as that so that they instead do not fully kill him and the adventurer in the book does. One way I do this is making Zagor only killable on a certain day, the equinox and that is when the adventurer in the book does is.


That's a nice idea.

I think I'm going with a slightly different approach.

I'm setting Firetop 5 years earlier than the present day in the campaign and having it as the way they all first got together. The adventurer in Firetop Mountain? Actually a Blacksand conman who took credit for the character's hard work. Which I find funny, but it also gives them a rival from the start.

Dupont wrote:I wish I had added minions to the solo monsters, especially the important ones in Firetop, or that I had added something that fulfilled similar functions. I would suggest practicing against some of the solo monsters a few times using a few pregen adventurers to get an idea about how being outnumbered for instance hampers the threat level of solo 'boss' creatures. We had a priest a Sindla in our group too which reduced monster attack strength very well. This meshed with the outnumbered bonus the party had on some of the bigger fights. Looking back I would have given the dragon some extra abilities, spells maybe or a few other minion types ( or Lair abilities like D&D 5e gives Dragons) and I would have given the warlock a few summoned creatures, or a room of zombies, skeletons etc t make things both more interesting and forcing the players to think a little more.


You're right here I think. The only way to do this is probably to try and run through the adventure myself. With a sorceror, to check how the megaspells can affect things.

Thanks for the help everyone!


The Minotaur didn't fare as badly as other monsters, it's charge helped it, but you could add other similar tactics to it and some of the other similar creatures ( I am really interested to see how you fare running this because I want to run it again someday using what I learned and it would be great to hear your experiences). So maybe it charges, stuns a couple of people then douses the lights somehow, crushing a jar that blows very strong winds or similar. I could see effects like this being temporary and avoidable so the fight has a sense of reason to it and players know if they successfully achieve something in a round rather than piling in enmasse the fight is easier for them, or harder if they fail. This could be a single player focusing preventing further jars being smashed each round ( The air is just an example, the Minotaur might just run off into the corridors again after one round and wait to charge them when they are vulnerable, or there could be traps in the floor). If you wanted minions, they could be worshippers, handlers come to feed him, or prisoners that in true FF style attack the players if they free them... I mean, they have had a lesson previously not to be good Samaritans but here's hoping they misread the cringing cgained up prisoners.... Could be fun. I think if you can concoct credibility that works for you and your group there is a lot to chose from, its a very magical world too and the Warlock has drawn these critters to him to serve him. Theres always that to play on/expand on.

Ruffnut wrote:I try to edit scenarios such as that so that they instead do not fully kill him and the adventurer in the book does. One way I do this is making Zagor only killable on a certain day, the equinox and that is when the adventurer in the book does is.


This is great actually. My group didn't pick up on any of Zagor's weaknesses at all. They were an experienced lot too but we had problems with a disruptive player and it kind of broke focus in many ways. But I think Zagor and his weakness ( a lot like this) could build up to something really quite effective, if a GM is willing to work on that and expand what the module has done. If I was running it again, and like I say I would like to one day, I would want to build up on the problems in the surrounding lands due to his presence. Rumours about his weaknesses could then play a role in adventure that leads in. The adventurer was a surprise for me, my group didn't just kill him or ignore him. He did prove a point of information then and they went back for the book of Di Maggio, oddly they forgot to use it ( they are experienced honest :P ).

There is a gradual attrition that is an equaliser in the dungeon, that too is worth noting. The Wizard we had was a glass canon, very potent, very vulnerable to melee. Wandering Monsters and traps and events were useful too.
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Re: Scaling up AFF scenarios for more characters

Postby SkinnyOrc » Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:40 pm

Dupont wrote:There is a gradual attrition that is an equaliser in the dungeon, that too is worth noting.
That one's a very good point. Food and rest is the main source of STAMINA recovery in AFF, it makes a huge difference how often they're able to do it. If they only get a couple of chances to eat and no chance to sleep (probably realistic) then WoFM becomes pretty tough. If they back out part way it should be restocked when they return and the intelligent guards more alert. I was just looking at a couple of the tougher fights, but run like that it'd be much hatder than I was saying.
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Re: Scaling up AFF scenarios for more characters

Postby Nuvole! » Tue Jun 27, 2017 2:05 am

Dupont wrote: Looking back I would have given the dragon some extra abilities, spells maybe or a few other minion types ( or Lair abilities like D&D 5e gives Dragons)

If I remember right, the Dragon has multiple attacks (three?) and this also reduces significantly the outnumbering issue (i.e. the outnumbering opponents are the ones above three attackers)
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Re: Scaling up AFF scenarios for more characters

Postby Dupont » Tue Jun 27, 2017 10:46 am

SkinnyOrc wrote:
Dupont wrote:There is a gradual attrition that is an equaliser in the dungeon, that too is worth noting.
That one's a very good point. Food and rest is the main source of STAMINA recovery in AFF, it makes a huge difference how often they're able to do it. If they only get a couple of chances to eat and no chance to sleep (probably realistic) then WoFM becomes pretty tough. If they back out part way it should be restocked when they return and the intelligent guards more alert. I was just looking at a couple of the tougher fights, but run like that it'd be much hatder than I was saying.


Yeah it makes a big difference. I wish I had worked through it a bit more, practicing combats more than I did, but I think that was linked to our groups' problems in this area and the dungeon took us ages so concentration slipped , it took a ridiculous amount of time to finish and it dragged everything out.

Attrition was something that you started to see when you practiced a bit and it was actually a really nice element, first readings of the dungeon made me worried, I thought the party would go through everything like a hot knife through butter. I know there were conversations here when I was running it and that dungeon wasn't everyone's cup of tea, but I still believe in it and feel it could be run really successfully. I do think though it would be great to have a modified version of it alongside the way it's made (which is very true to the gamebook), or perhaps some solid advice on how to run the last couple of boss fights. I like how true to the gamebook it is, for nostalgic reasons, but I would also like something tuned towards AFF a little more, not everywhere, it doesn't need it everywhere, just a couple of key fights.
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Re: Scaling up AFF scenarios for more characters

Postby Dupont » Tue Jun 27, 2017 10:53 am

Nuvole! wrote:
Dupont wrote: Looking back I would have given the dragon some extra abilities, spells maybe or a few other minion types ( or Lair abilities like D&D 5e gives Dragons)

If I remember right, the Dragon has multiple attacks (three?) and this also reduces significantly the outnumbering issue (i.e. the outnumbering opponents are the ones above three attackers)


I didn't know that, is that in the basic rule book? If thats true, thats superb and a great balancer for many boss fights
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Re: Scaling up AFF scenarios for more characters

Postby SkinnyOrc » Tue Jun 27, 2017 11:41 am

It doesn't say it straight out but it's implied by combining the bit about outnumbering bonuses, "+1 Per extra opponent, maximum of six opponents vs single", and what it says about multiple attacks, "These creatures may inflict damage on multiple opponents, up
to the number of attacks, but may only attack a single opponent once" (page 59).

The only thing is there aren't all that many big solo creatures with more than 2 attacks like the dragon. And even then a 4 PC party get +1 outnumbering and a 6 PC party +3. The Iron Cyclops with a more typical 2 attacks, they'd get +2 and +4. So it definitely helps but the bad guy still needs a decent SKILL advantage to avoid getting mobbed.
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Re: Scaling up AFF scenarios for more characters

Postby Dupont » Tue Jun 27, 2017 2:49 pm

SkinnyOrc wrote:It doesn't say it straight out but it's implied by combining the bit about outnumbering bonuses, "+1 Per extra opponent, maximum of six opponents vs single", and what it says about multiple attacks, "These creatures may inflict damage on multiple opponents, up
to the number of attacks, but may only attack a single opponent once" (page 59).

The only thing is there aren't all that many big solo creatures with more than 2 attacks like the dragon. And even then a 4 PC party get +1 outnumbering and a 6 PC party +3. The Iron Cyclops with a more typical 2 attacks, they'd get +2 and +4. So it definitely helps but the bad guy still needs a decent SKILL advantage to avoid getting mobbed.


Hmm I never read it that way but I like it. I think it helps to not need to lift oponent SKILL too high all the time, but I also think you are right about not being afraid to do that either. the two mesh really nicely.... Ach hindsight!
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Re: Scaling up AFF scenarios for more characters

Postby SkinnyOrc » Thu Jun 29, 2017 5:14 am

Just clicked there's a second way to interpret that and it reduces the outnumbering more. You consider each attack of a multi-A creature as one combatant for outnumbering. Then with 6 PCs against a 3A creature they outnumber each attack 2 to 1, which is only +1 outnumbering bonus rather than +3 the other way.

The only prob is where it doesn't divide evenly, but you just choose to always round up or down. So 4 PCs against the 3A creature would be no outnumbering rounding down, or +1 rounding up.

That would give all the 1 appearing, 2 attacks creatures in the Pitt books a fighting chance.
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Re: Scaling up AFF scenarios for more characters

Postby shintokamikaze » Thu Jun 29, 2017 9:29 am

Black Leaf wrote:Hi all,

I'm returning to AFF after a long hiatus (I haven't played it since 1e).

I'm going to be running a year long campaign. Starting with Warlock of FIretop Mountain (as a "prelude" explaining how the party met), then move to either Riddling Reaver or the 1e adventures.

My one concern is player group size. I'm highly likely to have six or seven players. Instinct tells me most of the scenarios expect three or four players.

Does anyone have any experience scaling up the challenge level they could help out with?

The group fights are easy. Just add a few more orcs or whatever. It's the solo monsters I'm worried about. The tension of meeting the minotaur is likely to be lessened if it can be dealt with without risk by them all just jobbing him.

Cheers!


I would use both Dragons in WOFTM

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