Would you show NPC stats?

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darksoul
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Would you show NPC stats?

Post by darksoul » Thu Aug 15, 2019 4:26 am

While working on my story I've come to a decision and I wanted to get the forums view. I've made up my mind but someone can always say something that might make me think otherwise or add more information to my decision.

Would you make the NPC's stats visible to the players when combat occurs?
The game books gave you the enemies stats because you were playing by yourself and you needed to know what you were rolling for. There is no need to do that on a tabletop game because the monsters are managed by the game master and you reasonably wouldn't know a monsters stamina (skill would be learned after a few rounds. People know when they are outmatched)
It occurred to me that showing an opponents stats encourages players to use their Luck points more in combat. Knowing that an enemy only has 3 Stamina left may make a player decide whether spending a luck point is worth the kill.

The big draw back her is that all the mystery about the enemy might be gone from combat but also a spell-casters entire spell list can be revealed. I can adjust this with a bit of extra work.

So, what's everyone's view on showing monster stats?

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Dawndeath
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Re: Would you show NPC stats?

Post by Dawndeath » Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:51 am

In a multi-player game, I'm fairly against showing monster/NPC stats. Doing so might not be a problem for 'standard' enemies like orcs or skeletons, but some opponents might have special abilities you don't want the Heroes to know about until the enemy uses them. If you reveal monster details for most encounters, then suddenly for this encounter you go all secretive, the players will know the enemy is hiding something and be abnormally cautious. Therefore I'm for not revealing anything the Heroes wouldn't know.

So, don't tell the players how much STAMINA the opponent has, but instead give them hints based on what the Heroes can see for themselves: "he looks in a pretty bad way", or "he has a few minor cuts but they're not slowing him down", or "he's staggering badly and looks like he might be on his last legs".

Sukumvit
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Re: Would you show NPC stats?

Post by Sukumvit » Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:55 pm

I agree with Dawndeath, partly because I'm also a Cthulhu Keeper and like to keep players in the dark about monster strengths and capabilities, but also because of some shuddersome AD&D memories. The players all had their own copies of the Monster Manuals and knew exactly what each beastie's stats, powers and weaknesses were; it didn't make for a great game.
Just describing the monster's condition is enough to let the players know when to try using LUCK (it's the old story-telling rule that we're all familiar with: show, don't tell.)

Although I'm quite partial to monsters that appear to be almost dead, then start regenerating STAMINA or Hit Points... :twisted:

Robb 1
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Re: Would you show NPC stats?

Post by Robb 1 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:40 pm

I agree I never show the pcs monster stats and dont let them look at the manuals . when they are experienced and remember things from a veteran characters point of view in game is fine. gm screens are great for this (official AFF dm screen anyone?) or in my case several cases of miniatures with me and paper notes hidden behind it. half the fun of gaming for me is the look on pcs faces when something they thought was correct about a monster suddenly bites them in the rear sometimes literally and they have to have a rapid rethink :mrgreen: . to quote an old white dwarf article monsters have feelings too.

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Dawndeath
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Re: Would you show NPC stats?

Post by Dawndeath » Fri Aug 16, 2019 4:40 am

Yeah, players looking up monster stats can be a problem that leads to games becoming a bit stale when it comes to combat. That's why I love monster variants, or when there are lots of monsters that all look very similar to one another, but have wildly different abilities. That way the players don't know what they're up against until it's too late...

I also regularly deviate from the stats given in the monster books. One of the first things I do when I start playing about with a new RPG system (and I've done it with AFF) is to put together my own bestiary. Mostly it's to stat up monsters I really like from other systems; but I will also create different versions of monsters already in the official rule books. That way I know I can circumvent player expectations, and keep them feeling a little nervous when they see "just another skeleton" coming down the corridor towards them. :twisted:

Robb 1
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Re: Would you show NPC stats?

Post by Robb 1 » Fri Aug 16, 2019 1:02 pm

Adding skills and feats to normal cannon fodder races is fun too facing of with tbaft pesky goblin who has fast strike or a few levels of a weapon skill is great fun :twisted:

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