Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Monster Mash: Stats for class fights

Someone mentioned to me last week that a lot of plot people do not understand how to target a fight at a particular class. They know the general basics of scaling but cannot create creatures who's purpose is to challenge a particular member of the player party. taking a quick look at this by class may be helpful to those of you who are just starting out in the plot game. As a note, these are my ideas and they seem to have worked out fairly well, feel free to disagree.

Fighters- Fighters are the basic stick class. They have essentially three strengths, repetitive damage, high body, and close range burst damage. Fighters generally have no packet defenses outside of those given to them by others. Players who play pure fighters often are or aspire to be better at the physical side of fighting as well as the statistical side. A fun fight for a fighter therefore fits into two categories high body low damage monsters, and medium body monsters that require burst damage to kill. A perfect example of these two things are the Revenant and the Golem. The Revenant(Giant Skeleton) generally swings for 7 or 8 and has between 50 and 100 body, a tough fight for people in the lower level range, a good crunchy for higher level folks. If you want to target the fight directly at fighters give the mobs some spell defenses, judiciously or you will turn off your caster players. The Golem is the threshold monster, generally they require burst damage to kill due to a high threshold that reduces damage. To increase the difficulty of a fighter fight while still maintaining its integrity, increase body or threshold, or increase damage to the medium range for the scaling.

Rogue fights- Rogues are the only class that requires a non statistical element to some of their encounters in order to best please the type of player who plays the class. I am going to look at the numbers side of these fights, leaving the sneaky stuff to another post. The rogue excels at two things, very high repetitive damage from the back and the best packet defense in the game(Dodge). The rogue class can fill different roles at different levels, at low levels they are the primary damage dealer, at mid levels they act as a secondary fighter or a tactical advantage fighter, at high levels they can act as fighters outright while still maintaining the high damage from the back. One type of Fun fight for rogues can look like a fighter fight, they enjoy taking tactical advantage of mobs that fighters can kill and killing them twice as fast. If you use this type of fight to challenge a party that includes a rogue or rogues remember to increase the number of mobs to still allow the fight to be challenging. The other type of fight that can make a rogue feel awesome has a mob with ridiculous packet attacks that they can dodge. Everyone loves telling the story of dodging the packet delivered obliterate. This fight MUST be used judiciously, too many of these attacks will feel like mis scaling. To increase the difficulty of rogue fights increase body on the monsters, increase damage output into the medium to high range( To take advantage of lower body), or increase ridiculous packet attacks( CAREFULLY).

Earth Scholar fights- Earth scholars are the healers of the NERO game, they have two primary skill sets, healing and utility spells. It is difficult to target a fight directly at earth scholars without the inclusion of undead. Earth scholars have very high damage spells against undead in two spell slots that are generally underutilized. A fight targeted at earth scholars can give them some big bad, slow moving undead to blow up with destroys. There is a subset of players who play earth scholars who want to be battle casters and not healers, this type of fight will appeal most to them. The other type of fight takes advantage of the earth casters superior healing. The grinder fight has high damage, low body mobs that reset a lot and very quickly. The earth scholar is challenged to keep the fighters/rogues/templars alive while they are taking repeated high damage attacks, this fight is particularly slanted towards the cantrip healer. Fights with a lot of packet delivered takedowns can also be used to target earth scholars, as they attempt to fix the front line to keep them fighting. This last strategy must be used carefully, since the number of fixes at each level is limited and you can quickly go from challenging to impossible with mis scaling. To increase the difficulty of the battle caster fight, remove the slow moving criteria from the target of the destroys, to increase the difficulty of the grinder increase damage on the mobs( Don't increase body, that will slow down the pace), To increase the difficulty of the packet fix it fight increase the number of packets very carefully.

The celestial caster fight: affectionately referred to as Sack the Quarterback- Celestial casters have a similar utility skill set to earth casters, they have only one primary strength, the highest ranged burst damage in the game. Celestial casters have a limited number of modules that they can run per weekend because they have a limited number of spells, they have no form of repetitive damage unless they step outside of their skill set. Therefore the fights that target celestial casters must be carefully planned to allow this class to feel as cool as possible and the best way to do that is to give them a quarterback to sack. This means, a high body, low spell defense, high damage mob that keeps players at a distance in some way. Generally this mob should be important to the weekend or campaign story line to insure maximum cool feeling. The rest of the fight can be structured to target any other class type but the quarterback should not be killable by fighter/rogue repetitive damage without great difficulty. Basically the resource cost for killing the boss should be exponentially higher without a celestial caster. One note about this fight, it is sometimes advisable to use an alternate treasure distribution method here, because it can be very difficult for the celestial caster who blew his tree to kill the big bad to get to the body first to get his treasure. To increase the difficulty of this fight, increase the body or damage output of the boss, not the spell defenses. Spell defenses are incredibly frustrating to casters and will generally cause them to get discouraged and let the fighters try to kill something.

Templar fights- Templars get to feel cool more frequently because they fit into other classes fights, they can be a secondary fighter or a secondary caster. There is really no need to directly target them, nor is there any good way to do it.

Overall remember that these fights still need to fit inside the weekend and module scaling. The resource management part of the game must be kept in mind throughout the weekend and each module must still be scaled based on average party level( Unless it is an unscaled module). How do my fellow plot people feel about this? How do you guys who just play feel about it? Let me know.


  1. I think the trick to making class specific fights is not to make it frustrating for other classes, but to make it easier with a specific class. High damage output re-pops with high damage attacks can be frustrating for fighters who keep going up and down, since there is no quick and efficient way for a fighter to go from dying to 60 body.

    Fighters - I think low-mid range damage with carriers expresses the importance of armor and fighter rotation.

    Rogues - Don't forget about alchemy (humanoids) and waylay, and the fact that rogues can also do close range burst. I don't think they like getting their 10 build defenses used up for flavor on attacks that wouldn't reasonably be thrown at anyone else.

    Earth Scholars - Don't forget Necromancy and curses. These are huge. The same monster you build for cel casters can eat a curse and go down in half the time. I always felt cool being the one to land the curse (after 10 resists).

    Cel Scholars - Wave battles in a specific defense location are also pretty hip for cel casters. They can just pop a boltstorm/magic storm and hold their position. Delays between waves let others pick up packets. This can also be done with earth casters and undead.

  2. Great, thanks for that, I love collaborative writing. We end up coming up with way more content than I originally thought up.

  3. Having spent almost the entirety of my NERO career as an Earth Caster, I had a few thoughts.
    1) Fighting undead is super-fun, but it’s important for Earth Casters to know that it’s coming. Case in point: back when we were playing/running Galvast (a IG location ripe with undead for you non-WAR players) I always loaded up on Harm/Destroy undead. When we started playing/running Lumberton (IG location with little to no undead) I stopped taking Harm/Destroy and filled my block up with utility spells. There was one battle I remember where there had been virtually no undead the whole weekend, and suddenly, there were waves upon waves of mummies. In that scenario, I was pretty annoyed, because it was a situation that I could have helped with, had I had any advance warning. Instead, I had my healing block (which was fine) but felt like I was missing out on my chance to make a big difference.
    2) The grinder fight that requires an Earth caster is a good time, but it doesn’t really feel like an “Earth Caster fight,” it’s just life. Earth casters heal – how we do it doesn’t really make a difference (at least to me).
    3) I, personally, dislike the takedown fight. Even with a 6-block, I may only have four remedies for any given takedown prepared at a time. As soon as those four are tapped, I’m out of juice and running. I think the “lesser” effects from 9th edition will fix the largest issue with this fight. In that case, a series of mobs with lesser takedowns will serve to highlight the one guy with full takedowns and make the earth caster feel like a super-hero
    4) Bill, you nailed it when you mentioned curses. I can’t really speak to Necromancy (I stick to tablemancy, myself) but I love me some curses. One of the moments I best remember from last season is dropping a Curse of Destruction on a nasty golem and watching a cel caster (Sean Wedig) blow it all to hell. We may have high-fived. It was a great moment.

    Tim, great article, looking forward to taking your advice this season.


  4. Mark Henry ~MariusMarch 1, 2011 at 11:03 AM

    Good article.

    As was mentioned 9th edition lesser take-downs will be a great way for plot/staff people to get their feet wet in designing monsters and scaling without over-scaling and causing upset PCs.