FS2 : How do you assess the right number of foes ?

Hello ! I didn't want to ask here at first so I asked in the kickstarter comments, but I realise now that it may be of interest to others that do not follow the kickstarter comments.

How can I roughly decide how many enemies to put in a fight ? in the introduction scenario there's "3 mooks per player and one less Featured Foe than there are players". A later scene says 3 mooks per player and as many Featured Foes as there are players.

Is there a rule of thumb for most fights ?

i'm asking because last time I did a scenario with two players, I put 2 Featured foes and 6 mooks (3 per player). At the end of the first sequence, they'd already mowed through all the mooks , and it took FOREVER to end the two Featured Foes. Seriously, it took five sequences, I felt it was way too long (they enjoyed themselves, though). What did I do wrong ?

Next fight, I'm going to put 4 or 5 mooks per player, and one less Featured Foe than there are players. because in the end they very much preferred fighting mooks than featured foes.

Also, I think i'm going to do initiative blocks for the mooks so that 10 mooks don't attack on the same shot, but rather two different initiatives for two blocks of 5 mooks each.

Do you have any thoughs, and can speak from experience of what worked well with you ?

It depends a great deal on what the AV/DVs were. Can you tell us what were the AV/DVs for the two players, and then what were the AV/DVs for the Featured Foes?

Certain archetypes will chew through mooks much more quickly than others: Killer and Masked Avenger can clear the table of mooks on the first sequence. If either of those is present, you may need to up the number of mooks just to keep them from getting bored.

2 mooks per PC is good for a short intro scene or if you want to move things along quickly. 3 mooks per PC is good for "meatier" fights. If the PCs aren't taking any damage and I want a tougher fight, I'll start with 3 mooks per PC and then add some "tougher" mooks (usually something supernatural or more interesting than human thugs) with a combat AV of 10, usually one per PC.

I tend to avoid having any more than 3 featured foes on the battlefield, because for some reason having too many GMCs to keep track of annoys me... it's harder for me to think of interesting and distinct things for them to do if there's more than three. The exception would be to pair up one-on-one grudge matches for each PC, so i can think of it in terms of "How would this GMC take down this one specific hero?"

The key number is not really "How many mooks?" or "How many featured foes?" but "How does their Defense Value compare to the average Attack Value for the group?" The average AV for the PCs should start around 13, and a Swerve is going to average out around +0/-0, so odds are roughly 50/50 that a single attack will take out one mook. Featured Foes with a DV of 13 may take a while to wear down, particularly if no one took an archetype with one of the higher AVs. Try dropping your featured foes' DVs by a point. If the fight starts to drag on, where both sides are having trouble doing any damage to each other, then I'd probably throw in a "Tide of Battle" modifier, subtracting 1 from all the enemy DVs after each sequence to force a conclusion.

Sounds like a good idea to me. In the 1st edition, I got so annoyed with mooks never hitting anything or doing any damage, I'd just pick up a handful of d6's and just see which ones rolled a positive "6", then I rolled a negative d6 just for those. But that was too fiddly, so I adopted a "Group Attack" rule: roll once for the group, add +1 AV for every mook after the first. This makes large groups of mooks very dangerous early on in the fight, and discourages the PCs from ignoring them. I was so enamored with this rule, I made sure it was added to Glimpse of the Abyss.

I know Robin was big on pre-rolling the mook attacks for 2nd edition, but... I'm still bothered that a mook needs to roll a positive "6" to have any hope of hitting. That means you need at least six mooks attacking a single PC just to hit them ONCE. Based on the advice in the books (2-3 per PC), odds are pretty good all the mooks will go down before they have a chance to even scratch a hero. I prefer fewer, more dangerous mooks to a large number that can't hit the broadside of a barn. I'll try the pre-rolled sheet for a bit, but I may go back to using Group Attacks.

The players were an Everyday Hero (Jackie Chan, Mister Nice Guy version) and a Karate Cop (Jackie Chan, Police Story 1 version). So the AVs were 14(mostly 15) and 13 (usually 15), et the DVs 15 and 14.

The 2 Featured Foes were run-off-the-mill Enforcers, so AV and DV at 13.

They took 5 sequences to take down.

I think you're right. In the fight that followed, there was only one Featured Foe, an Abomination using Cyber Ape stats (AV14 DV12) and the fight felt less dragged. probably because of the DV 12 (and the fact there was only one of it).

They still had a hard time and got pretty messed up, but it felt more satisfying.

All in all, at some point I felt the "problem" was that 35HP were a lot for a foe to drop. With a DV of 12 and 13, it took my players forever to inflict that much.

One other thing : I think I don't understand how resistances work. For example the Cyber Ape, since I've got the stats right here, says Resistance : Strength 10. What does it mean ? When does this apply ? Is that supposed to replace its Toughness ?

Yeah the mooks didn't amount to much in the fights. it was a bit disappointing to me, i would have liked for them to hit a few times (but the players still had fun, that's more important).
I like your Group Attack rule a LOT, I don't think I have that supplement. I'm going to use it next time. (i'm a bit worried about rolling high for the first one, so that all the group ends up inflicting damage, though)