Monday, 21 October 2013

Deathwatch: The Price of Hubris, part 06

Contains spoilers for, funnily enough, The Price of Hubris from The Emperor Protects.

As always, be aware that the podcast is not really family-friendly, and features a fair amount of background noise, if that sort of thing bothers you.

The Episode

This episode basically consists of us fighting a monster. Here we see a great example of how not to build an encounter. Arthur has already discussed the Diablodon encounter better than I could, and I'll mostly leave it to him. Also, we do talk about it in the post-session chat.

Basically, somehow the designers ended up with a creature that was insanely difficult for a party who actually go with the scenario and fight it with stone weapons in loincloths, having gone to enormous trouble to encourage you to do precisely that and emphasised how dishonourable and politically unwise it would be to cheat. On the other hand, the creature would be a pushover with normal weaponry. What you end up with is a creature that is basically only killable by a party with a Librarian who chose some blasting powers, and will take any other party hundreds of rounds of arrow-fire to whittle down by rolling critical hits for a point or two of damage. It's just really odd. You'd think it ought to be possible for them to create a creature that'd be a challenge to both armed and unarmed parties, by focusing on abilities other than being huge and armoured.

This episode we also get the Big Reveal!

Link to Episode 06.


  1. It's just really odd. You'd think it ought to be possible for them to create a creature that'd be a challenge to both armed and unarmed parties, by focusing on abilities other than being huge and armoured.

    I *suspect* not actually. Power Armour makes the difference of 8 points of damage per hit, which is basically the difference between "no damage at all" and "half your hitpoints". Similarly the difference between a Heavy Bolter (2D10+5 Pierce 5 IIRC) and a bow (1D10 pierce 0) is insane.

    Giving it a Toughness + Armour of about 10 would have been about right, I think. That would have made it just about hurtable by Aurans and *reliably* hurtable by Space Marines. Combined with perhaps 70-80HP and slightly reduced damage it would have been a doable fight with no weapons. It would have been a cakewalk with them mind, but in this case I wouldn't have minded because, honestly, I don't think a dinosaur should be able to stand up to anti-tank weaponry.

    1. That is all very true.

      That bit really deserved to be in a tangent box, because in my head it wasn't entirely related to the paragraph. I don't think for a moment that that actually was their intention; as you and Arthur have both said, I agree that someone just messed up. But it did strike me that given the scenario, designing that sort of creature might be quite a reasonable thing to try. In that case, you'd be rewriting the scenario a bit.

      You're dead right that armour and hit points and so on wouldn't really support that kind of flexibility, which is kind of what I was getting at - rather than going for a scary big strong monster, I wondered if you could use a completely different set of abilities to make it formidable. Being fast and agile is usually a pretty good bet here, for starters, because if something's hard to hit then it doesn't make a huge difference what weapon you're using, and it can potentially dart in to attack and then disappear. For some fun and flavour, you could give it a nasty venom that makes it a major danger to Aurans but doesn't affect Space Marines regardless of armour, which lets them look really heroic and manly. I'd maybe recommend a paralysing or weakening venom because leaving victims helpless to await their doom is a strong play for big bads and sounds creepy to boot. You could give it attacks that grab or knock over, or otherwise limit the benefits of armour. But it's just a hypothetical exercise.

    2. But yeah, I absolutely agree that a generic dinosaur shouldn't be a match for heavy weaponry. Or even medium weaponry, to be honest. It only takes a big rifle to kill an elephant.