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Choco
2010-04-12, 11:03 AM
In short, what is the best way to stat out a powerful enemy NPC that will engage in 1v1 combat with one of the PC's? Usually "boss" characters are elites or solos, but that obviously will not work so well in a 1v1 fight, and the normal enemies of the PC's level get downed way too easily.

Should I just use a normal enemy a few levels higher than the PC, or possibly go off the deep end and build this enemy like a PC since both parties will probably be going all out (which means the PC will likely expend all dailies, which in theory would make an elite monster a fair fight now that I think about it...)?

Kurald Galain
2010-04-12, 11:11 AM
It depends heavily on what class the PC is, and what the monster is capable of. For instance, defenders and controllers suffer in 1v1 combat, because there's nothing to defend or control.

It is likely that whomever wins initiative will start by throwing two daily powers with an action point. Against a regular monster or another PC, it is quite possible that this decides the fight then and there.

In other words, it's not easy: to make the fight interesting, you'd have to tailor the enemy to the PC's abilities. If the PC does a lot of damage, the enemy needs more hitpoints. If the PC is into crippling status afflicts, the enemy needs ways to remove those. And so on.

Vitruviansquid
2010-04-12, 12:20 PM
I would strongly advise against even making this encounter if you don't yet know which PC your NPC will be fighting. Not only do some archetypes (personally, I'd think the Controller and Leader) only work well with a group, but the game becomes more shallow at a 1v1 level (you pretty much just trade blows until someone falls down) or a mismatch will occur just because the wrong enemy archetype is fighting the wrong PC class.

So I know this doesn't answer your question at all... but if you absolutely had to, perhaps roll up a character based on a PC race/class combination?

Parvum
2010-04-12, 01:04 PM
You could take 'honorable' a bit more literally. Instead of the focus being a fight with an enemy, how about a competition? A sumo match, a race, chicken chasing competition... Something neither side is particularly advantaged in. There would be much less to worry about regarding statistics.

randomhero00
2010-04-12, 01:10 PM
What they said. One alternative though if you really want an encounter like that is to make up the rules. What I mean is...say one of their souls is summoned (depends how much your players like playing by the book, if its a by the book game don't do it.) He must duel another soul. It could be a special artifact that does this (last 2 people to touch it must battle to the death in a special arena) or a god or some high level NPC with mojo powers. Could also turn out to be some kind of special illusion.

Anyways, the arena would be unique. You would basically hand him a new sheet for his soul. The combat would be more of a puzzle combat. So new rules. This method also makes it easier to fudge your NPC if the PC is getting his butt kicked.

So for example, you might hand him a sheet that has 4 abilities on it. One ability might say UP. Using this ability causes falling damage to his enemy. If used in combination with DOWN it would do even more damage. That's just an example though, feel free to make up anything. Just remember its more of a puzzle than trading blows. Damage wouldn't affect he combatants in the same way. The goal of the UP DOWN SIDE LEFT SIDE RIGHT puzzle for instance might be to maneuver the opponent into a square of fire (could look like anything.) Or maybe going up puts you in water, down is fire, SIDE LEFT is mud, SIDE RIGHT is wind.

Yakk
2010-04-12, 01:33 PM
You could do it skill-challenge esque.

Each round, each competitor tries to count coup on the other competitor.

This is done with an attack and a skill check. The skill check is an attempt to gain some advantage (be it in honour, or in cheating, or in derring-do), while the attack is how you choose to attack the opponent.

The player has to make up how the attack is going to be used. A simple use is worth 1/2/3 victory points for an at-will/encounter/daily (2 on a daily miss). Creative uses double the yield.

A successful skill check increase the yield multiplier by 1.

A encounter utility power boosts victory point yield by 1 for that round, and a daily one by 2 (before multiplication).

The opponent, meanwhile, is generating a regular stream of victory points and damage -- say, 1d6 victory points, and (level/2) damage for every 5 accumulated victory points, plus 1d10 per tier. You, as a DM, simply narrate what the opponent does in a flavourful manner (being more flamboyant on a 6, and on a 1 being pretty slack).

A player hitting with 4 encounter attack powers and 2 daily attack powers and 2 at-will powers with a 2x multiplier half of the time generates 15 victory points. That is pretty slack...

Set the target number to 20 victory points to win the battle (for the player). That should be quite reachable if the player works at it. (A skill-success, daily-utility, daily-power, creative use is worth 20 VP right out, btw).

Naturally, like in all skill challenges, the use of the skill should be appropriate, interesting, and non-repetitive.

Diplomacy or Bluff is appropriate for doing something honourable, putting your opponent in a position to respond.
Bluff or Thievery to cheat without the opponent noticing.
Streetwise or Insight to take advantage of your opponents honour.
Athletics, Acrobatics or Endurance to position/endure/etc.
Arcana, Religion, or Nature to pull off Arcane/Divine/Primal-type mojo stunts.

Thajocoth
2010-04-12, 02:27 PM
In a game I played, an elven warrior challenged one of my party members to a battle for honor reasons that lasted until one of them was bloodied. The enemy was Elite and Crossbow Jones wiped the floor with him. This was mid-Paragon Tier.

I have no idea if knowing that helps you or not.

Just_Ice
2010-04-12, 02:52 PM
Ideally you'd use a skill challenge, but if you really really care you can just make a character yourself. It takes a while, but it seems to be slightly quicker at low levels than rolling a 3.5 character.

Seatbelt
2010-04-12, 03:10 PM
The idea that this doesn't work well in 4E makes me sad somehow. :(

Kesnit
2010-04-12, 05:31 PM
One idea is to make it 1v1, with party help.

One PC (probably Defender or Striker) actually fights the NPC. The rest of the party adds their powers, but cannot do direct damage to the NPC. (For example, a leader could use a power that does damage when an enemy strikes an ally, but not one that directly damages an enemy.) Powers that do direct damage and add damage to allies only add damage to allies.

Not sure how well that would work, but it's a thought.

cupkeyk
2010-04-12, 05:34 PM
this was discussed in a dragon article. i think its the gladiator one with the arena feats. like brutes go well against defenders, lurkers with strikers. lvl+2 i think. i can just imagine a brute vs, defender as very long and boring.

kieza
2010-04-12, 06:21 PM
Against a controller: another controller. Fairly low HP, moderate damage.
Against a defender: anything but brutes. Brutes are good at close combat, and have lots of HP and high damage, which makes them a pretty good defender-killer when the defender has no support.
Against a striker: not brutes or soldiers. Strikers are designed to take down lighter combatants.
Against a leader: depending on whether the leader is melee or ranged, use a soldier or brute, or anything else. Leaders can take lots of damage, but ranged leaders can get tied up in melee.

I ran this once against a paladin; I used an Elite Skirmisher of equal level, and it was a decent fight. You should probably use an elite regardless of the PC, since PCs have far more resources than monsters.

Gralamin
2010-04-12, 06:23 PM
Against a controller: another controller. Fairly low HP, moderate damage.
Against a defender: anything but brutes. Brutes are good at close combat, and have lots of HP and high damage, which makes them a pretty good defender-killer when the defender has no support.
Against a striker: not brutes or soldiers. Strikers are designed to take down lighter combatants.
Against a leader: depending on whether the leader is melee or ranged, use a soldier or brute, or anything else. Leaders can take lots of damage, but ranged leaders can get tied up in melee.

I ran this once against a paladin; I used an Elite Skirmisher of equal level, and it was a decent fight. You should probably use an elite regardless of the PC, since PCs have far more resources than monsters.

Actually, Brutes are a good fight for Defenders. This is because Brutes have a much lower attack bonus: So the defenders increased defenses give them a large advantage.

Tiki Snakes
2010-04-12, 08:10 PM
The idea that this doesn't work well in 4E makes me sad somehow. :(

Seems simple enough to me, really. Any difficulty will simply be in keeping it the right balance of short enough the people don't get bored waiting for the duelists to finish and long enough to be satisfying.

And depending on whether you're fighting till unconciousness or bloodied, I don't see there being any problem in a fight being settled in one or two swings.

Oh, and if you spend two dailies in the first round of your honorable dual, you kind of deserve to get the win. Because you'll suffer the downside of that when the actual encounter starts as you are ambushed by (Enemies of the Week).

That said, if the four hundred pound frothing berserker challenges the guy with the scrolls and a slight case of asthma to a 'honourable duel', it's going to be a wonky little encounter whatever system you are using, really. Hence advice like that given in the Dragon mag mentioned.

I also favour Elite's of comparable level over non-elites of higher level, especially if it's to first-blood. (The Elite will have more interesting tricks, but won't have such overwhelming defences etc.)

Excession
2010-04-13, 01:01 AM
If nothing else, an elite will have an action point. Maybe the definition of "honourable" should include no action points in the first round, to prevent PC or NPC winning with a nova.

I would make sure that nothing overly bad happens if the PC loses. With the smaller sample size combat will swing pretty quickly based on a few lucky or unlucky rolls.

Maybe if the enemy wins he just says "You fight well, my friend. Now, we drink!". Works even better if it was a Wizard duel :)

Choco
2010-04-13, 08:08 AM
Ah, thanks guys, I am gonna have to check out that dragon article.

Though, if that don't work out I guess some kind of skill challenge would work, or limit the fight to at-will's only.

Tiki Snakes
2010-04-13, 11:29 AM
If you make it clear that it's not to the death, (Or any equivalent level of 'game ends if fail') Then you'll pretty much not see anything more than an encounter power just from natural conservation of resources, I'd think.

Asbestos
2010-04-13, 01:11 PM
this was discussed in a dragon article. i think its the gladiator one with the arena feats. like brutes go well against defenders, lurkers with strikers. lvl+2 i think. i can just imagine a brute vs, defender as very long and boring.
Indeed, 1 v 1 combat was specifically discussed in the Gladiator article in Dragon 368.



The following table provides suggested adversary roles based on the PCs role. An ideal role for an opponent normally produces the best challenge.
Roles
PC Role |Opponent Role
Controller |Artillery*, Controller, Skirmisher
Defender |Brute, Skirmisher*, Soldier
Leader |Controller, Skirmisher*, Soldier
Striker | Brute, Skirmisher*, Soldier

*Ideal role

cupkeyk
2010-04-13, 05:28 PM
Looking at asbestos' quote from the mag, then skirmisher is a safe bet for any scenario. soldier appears in three of four class roles. I find that odd, soldiers hit hard and stand tough. They'd make mince meat of strikers and leaders, a defender may outlast a soldier but possibly will prolly have only a fiftyfifty percent chance, especially if they have recharge powers and the fighter is down to at-wills.