Balancing/Challenge Rating

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wizard_of_khul
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Balancing/Challenge Rating

Post by wizard_of_khul » Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:40 am

How do you balance the Encounters?

I add up an opponent's skill and stamina, divide the result by 2, and then multiply that by the number of attacks.

Baboon 6+6=12:2=6x1=6
Bullwhale 9+11=20:2=10x1=10
Celastrix 10+11=21:2=10.5x2=21
Chimera (Adult) 12+20=32:2=16x3=48

Next i add up the hero's skill, stamina and luck and divide the result by 3.

Gilbren Stoneaxe 7+18+9=34:3=11,33

Now i divide the opponent's number by the hero's number.

Baboon 6:11,33=0,53
Bullwhale 10:11,33=0,88
Celastrix 21:11,33=1,85
Chimera 48:11,33=4,24

The higher the number, the more dangerous the enemy.

Special Skills, Magic, Weapons and Armor are not included in this equation.
Because of my average knowledge of English, I use the google translator.

Julien
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Re: Balancing/Challenge Rating

Post by Julien » Wed Nov 18, 2020 5:38 pm

Does a final result of 1 means an average encounter?

Nuvole!
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Re: Balancing/Challenge Rating

Post by Nuvole! » Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:27 pm

I think that STAMINA (and, in part, LUCK) is less important than SKILL. I agree with you that the number of attacks is important as well.
If you have similar SKILL, then STAMINA becomes important (longer survival).
Typically, if you have 3 points of SKILL above your opponent, even if your STAMINA is fairly low, you can win quite easily.
For magic users, things are more complicated.
I'm the real Nowhere man, sitting in my Nowhere land, making all my Nowhere plans for Nobody.

Chompy
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Re: Balancing/Challenge Rating

Post by Chompy » Thu Nov 19, 2020 7:15 am

The number of enemies is going to make a huge difference too. If the heroes outnumber the opponents then they will find things much much easier.
I'm afraid I forget who, but somebody had a way of lumping groups of enemies into a single opponent with many attacks. Maybe that could be a way to account for enemy group size, since it ties into your formula.

There's a lot to consider, but formost straight-up fights...
For me, I mostly just compare the two group sizes and the SKILL difference.
  • Outnumbering your opponents is one point of advantage.
  • Having greater SKILL than the opponents (by 2 or more) is one point of advantage.
There's other advantages for more specific contexts - one side surprising or ambushing the other, or a monster having a special ability that makes it more dangerous, for example.
STAMINA only comes into play if there's a time pressure to the fight. Otherwise those other factors kinda dwarf it. So generally I just try to avoid one side having too many advantages.

Tactics and group composition really makes all the difference though, which is another reason outnumbering your opponents is such an advantage. Mage and archer types really want to be free and keep back from a melee fight and they can't always do that if the group is outnumbered. People not stuck in melee can also use items or run around and do other things to turn the tide of a fight.

wizard_of_khul
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Re: Balancing/Challenge Rating

Post by wizard_of_khul » Thu Nov 19, 2020 10:49 am

Julien wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 5:38 pm
Does a final result of 1 means an average encounter?
I don't know yet, it was an idea after a brief brainstorming session.
Because of my average knowledge of English, I use the google translator.

wizard_of_khul
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Re: Balancing/Challenge Rating

Post by wizard_of_khul » Thu Nov 19, 2020 10:53 am

Nuvole! wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:27 pm
I think that STAMINA (and, in part, LUCK) is less important than SKILL. I agree with you that the number of attacks is important as well.
If you have similar SKILL, then STAMINA becomes important (longer survival).
Typically, if you have 3 points of SKILL above your opponent, even if your STAMINA is fairly low, you can win quite easily.
For magic users, things are more complicated.
Skill x 1,5 one could include in the bill.
Because of my average knowledge of English, I use the google translator.

wizard_of_khul
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Re: Balancing/Challenge Rating

Post by wizard_of_khul » Thu Nov 19, 2020 11:06 am

Chompy wrote:
Thu Nov 19, 2020 7:15 am
The number of enemies is going to make a huge difference too. If the heroes outnumber the opponents then they will find things much much easier.
I'm afraid I forget who, but somebody had a way of lumping groups of enemies into a single opponent with many attacks. Maybe that could be a way to account for enemy group size, since it ties into your formula.

There's a lot to consider, but formost straight-up fights...
For me, I mostly just compare the two group sizes and the SKILL difference.
  • Outnumbering your opponents is one point of advantage.
  • Having greater SKILL than the opponents (by 2 or more) is one point of advantage.
There's other advantages for more specific contexts - one side surprising or ambushing the other, or a monster having a special ability that makes it more dangerous, for example.
STAMINA only comes into play if there's a time pressure to the fight. Otherwise those other factors kinda dwarf it. So generally I just try to avoid one side having too many advantages.

Tactics and group composition really makes all the difference though, which is another reason outnumbering your opponents is such an advantage. Mage and archer types really want to be free and keep back from a melee fight and they can't always do that if the group is outnumbered. People not stuck in melee can also use items or run around and do other things to turn the tide of a fight.
Advantage points are a good idea.
Special skills and magic spells that cause damage can be added to the equation with their modifier.
Because of my average knowledge of English, I use the google translator.

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SkinnyOrc
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Re: Balancing/Challenge Rating

Post by SkinnyOrc » Thu Nov 19, 2020 12:00 pm

I tried to work something like this out before and came up with these tables. They're based on a whole load of test combats.

As Nuvole! said, relative Attack Strength (SKILL + Weapon Special Skill) is by far the biggest factor in combat. Outnumbering is also important because it modifies AS. There's other situational modifiers possible of course, but outnumbering is the most common.
Last edited by SkinnyOrc on Thu Nov 19, 2020 11:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

wizard_of_khul
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Re: Balancing/Challenge Rating

Post by wizard_of_khul » Thu Nov 19, 2020 2:05 pm

SkinnyOrc wrote:
Thu Nov 19, 2020 12:00 pm
I did tried to work something like this out before and came up with this.

As Nuvole! said, relative Attack Strength (SKILL + Weapon Special Skill) is by far the biggest factor in combat. Outnumbering is also important because it modifies AS. There's other situational modifiers possible of course, but outnumbering is the most common.
Looks very good. We can close the thread here. :lol:
Because of my average knowledge of English, I use the google translator.

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LordArioch
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Re: Balancing/Challenge Rating

Post by LordArioch » Wed Nov 25, 2020 9:08 pm

The concept of "balance" is very much a New School concept to further the idea that players should be coddled by the Referee. If you are stranded in the remote wilderness with little or no gear, Mother Nature is not going to rewrite the rules of the Wild to keep your skin or your feelings from being hurt. If the PCs enter a given ecosystem (with weather hazards, animal or monter encounters, and so on) they must deal with the consequences. Full stop. IMO, AFF (being a very close descendant of FF gamebooks) is very much Old School in design philosophy, where "balance" has no rightful place. Pull up your big-boy chainmail nappies and just get on with it! :) YMMV, etc.

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SkinnyOrc
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Re: Balancing/Challenge Rating

Post by SkinnyOrc » Wed Nov 25, 2020 11:34 pm

I shudder a bit when I see "Challenge Rating" but I'm not so bothered by "balance". That doesn't mean to me making sure the PCs can safely handle everything. I agree there should be encounters the PCs should avoid, or that they should look for an unfair advantage in, or they should look for a way of resolving other than fighting.

However, you do need adventures for PCs of different experience. There's an enormous difference in the combat abilities of a starting party and an experienced party, you don't want everything to be a cake walk or everything to be too strong for them. All the published AFF adventures seem to either be for starting characters or don't say. I'll suggest that's because in a game without PC levels a way hasn't been agreed on to state that.

You could say an adventure is for PCs of so much XP. That might work, but currently in AFF2 you spend XP but don't keep a total. You could also say it's for PCs with a maximum Attack Strength of blah. Even if you're saying it as XP per PC, the scenario designer probably needs to work out the max AS and get the XP number from there.

Those tables came about because I was converting D&D modules of widely varying level and wanted a way to judge how tough the result was. Number of PCs is easier because outnumbering means AFF2 scales evenly. If the scenario says for 6 PCs and you have 3 you can halve monster numbers and it works pretty well.

Nuvole!
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Re: Balancing/Challenge Rating

Post by Nuvole! » Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:16 am

In the Blackmoor Living World Adventures (http://arion-games.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2402) there are actually some indication linked to the total XPs acquired so far by the character:
  • Low-experienced, up to 300 XPs
    Mid-experienced, between 3001 and 1,000 XPs
    High-experienced, between 1,000 and 5,000 XPs
    Living myth above 5,000 XPs
This approach isn't too detailed, with too many tiers, but it is a general indication that helps you avoiding impossible combats. In my experience it worked pretty well.
Another strategy that can be applied to avoid this tiered approach while still having a flexible adventure that can be adapted is having the opponent's SKILL (when the opponent is a single opponent) as a number, plus the number of the character, or having the number of the opponents (when they are multiple individuals) that depends on the number of characters.
I'm the real Nowhere man, sitting in my Nowhere land, making all my Nowhere plans for Nobody.

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