View Full Version : [SW:Sagas] Balancing Encounters

2011-01-18, 07:26 PM
I started DM-ing a game of Star Wars Sagas a few weeks ago after a group I game abruptly ended a 4ed D&D game. The system itself is fine, with a few tricks that still bug me [Stacking Persuasion, Use the Force Optimization, and the lack of healing chief among them]. However, one thing has stuck out as being a serious issue in the last three games. That is, I keep almost wiping the party.

Normally, this would imply just easing down the level of the encounters, even though they should be fine as far as CR is concerned. However, the part has seven players. I've tried throwing bunches of CR1 Battle Droids at them, or a single CR6 Assault Crab (the party was lv.4 at the time, but two of the players were busy disarming a trap). They consistently get down to almost no health or incapacitated and barely alive thanks to force points. If I throw less at them, they steamroll through their encounters, but I see a TPK in the near future otherwise.

I'm going to drop them on Nar Shaddaa and try for a less combat-oriented game for a session or two to see if they like it better than destroying waves of battle droids. Any other suggestions? I'm at a loss as to whether to hand them easy encounters, swap the game to RP-heavy (which some of the players might not like), or prepare for the TPKs. The system is rather unforgiving.

Hidden is campaign info and party makeup.

I initially put them on a remote mining world, which the CIS was in the process of seizing to get at a secret Republic facility, and ran them through some sample combat and skill encounters to teach everyone the system and refresh the memories of those that have played before. They nearly TPK-ed the first game by rushing ahead of some "meatshield" NPCs, that I had put in as a precaution in case they started having trouble, and straight into the arms of a group of battledroids that they knew were there. This is made even more painful in that I avoided using autofire the entire first game. Before it was all over, they were fleeing the planet down two PCs and all of them down several force points.

The second game consisted of saving those two PCs from a prison facility, which I ran like a basic D&D-esque dungeon, and went much more smoothly. I had basically given them the XP to hit level three in the hopes that they weren't going to be as squishy, and it seemed to help. They pushed ahead and managed fairly well until I set them up for an encounter of their level. They nearly wiped, again, by funneling into a door and straight into autofire-spewing droids. Thanks to a medkit-toting Kaminoan PC, they managed to all get up and complete the rest of the run without too much trouble and seemed to enjoy themselves.

The conclusion to that little intro-adventure I had planned did not end so well, however. They lost a PC in the first encounter, and almost lost another two to the Assault Crab.

Party-makeup: All lv.4
Human Jedi
Human Mercenary [Soldier-heavy]
Kaminoan Medic [Noble]
Rodian Sniper [Scout]
Human Clonetrooper [Soldier-heavy]
Kel Dor Gunslinger [Scoundrel-heavy]
Twi'lek Noble [Optimized for persuasion]

Talon Sky
2011-01-18, 08:31 PM
The issue is, SW:S is meant to be RP heavy. I'm running a game as well, and there are only two ways I see to run a combat-oriented version of the game: either they're all Jedi, or none of them are.

A group of Jedi PC's is it's own beast, being well able to defeat CR appropriate encounters. All non-Jedi means a CR or less than CR appropriate encounter will challenge then. Mixing the two groups, however, throws encounters off balance.

My best advice is to throw several low-CR encounters at them in quick succession. Sure, they'll steamroll, but hitpoints lost and items expended add up. But spreading the encounters out and not throwing everything at them at once gives them a little chance to recover and retreat as needeed.

Example: They enter a room with 7 stormtroopers, battle ensues. Once they win, give them a few before 8 reinforcements come in. Once all is said and done, the PCs leave, only to find 5 stormtroopers and 2 Heavy stormtroopers outside.

Each of those encounters should be easy-to-challenging, and shouldn't cause a TPK. But if the PCs rush into all those fights without taking advantage of the downtime, then a TPK is very possible.