How to fight people with a DV higher than your AV?

In Feng Shui, I found that a problem my group often ran into in fights was that it was very difficult to hit enemies whose Defense scores were one or more points higher than any of our Action Values. The odds were simply not in our favor, most of the time, so a lot of fights devolved into a slugfest where 3-4 protagonist named characters would ineffectually flail at 1-2 antagonist named characters until we finally got enough lucky shots in to kill them. Meanwhile, they'd consistently be able to hit us hard because their AVs were also higher than our DVs.

Feng Shui 2 has solved part of that problem by separating AVs and DVs, but I still wonder what I'm supposed to do if I'm playing as an out-of-the-box Masked Avenger (Mutant AV 13, Defense 13) and I'm fighting against an out-of-the-box Martial Artist (Martial Arts AV 15, Defense 15). My character might be able to do more damage with my gun if I can hit anything, but I have about a 30% chance to hit unless I use Eagle Eye (which means I'll be shooting less often). Meanwhile, the MA can hit me about 70% of the time if I'm not dodging.

I don't expect all of the character archetypes to be perfectly balanced against each other, mind you, but it seems clear that some are just plain superior at fighting. There's not much you can do if you find that one of them is opposing you, except to leverage whatever shticks you have and hope you get lucky.

As a player, how should I handle situations where I face one or many enemies whose base numbers are better than mine? As a storyteller, should I hold back on making bosses with AVs or DVs much higher than the players'?

Some ideas:

As a player

  • Concentrate on your strength. The Masked Avenger is a Mook Fighter. Go get them, while your friends take out the featured foes.
  • Use the new Boost rule to help your friends.
  • Don't go toe to toe with enemies above your paygrade. The GM will (hopefully) have tailored the encounter to everybody's preferences.
  • Influence the scene in some way that will hinder your enemy (which is probably also some kind of boost in the new rules).

As a GM

  • Check out the Enemies Chapter. Suggested attack and defense stats for featured foes are about one point lower than those of your typical hero.
  • Stalemates are bad for the action unless you want it for the plot. Design the enemies so they can be hit, but also dish out cinematic damage.
  • Boss stats are high enough to regularly hit the characters, but their defense is so that they can be hit with boosts or special schticks.
  • Why would you want to make a boss that has unbeatable stats unless it's an Über-Boss that can be beat in a later fight with preparation that brings it down to Boss level.
  • If you find during a fight that your boss stats are too high/low, describe events that change the stats into the right direction. Let him fly into a rage that raises his attack (or lowers his defense). Allow the characters to handicap him and lower his speed. Have him take a combat drug that raises his toughness.

I think the Boost option was designed for this: pick the PC with the highest relevant combat skill, and everyone else uses boosts to buff up his AV. If I saw a group struggling against a high AV, I'd probably look for opportunities to suggest some possible boosts to them, or give them a "nudge" with a free boost or fortune die on their next roll.

I'm also considering bringing back the old "aiming" rules as a house rule, but since we don't want to step on the toes of anybody who took Eagle Eye, it's not as effective:

Spend 3 shots to gain a +1 bonus on your next Guns attack. If you spend 6 shots aiming, gain a +2 bonus, but that's the highest bonus you can get from aiming (unless you take Eagle Eye).

This is similar to giving yourself a boost, which may be against the spirit of the new rules. I'll have to see if it comes up during play.

As someone else noted, "out of the box" that archetype is designed as a mook-destroyer. So destroy mooks and let archetypes like the old master take on the boss characters.

As you advance, you will come into parity with the higher AV PC's. This is in part because the highest AV PC is not allowed to increase their AV, while you are, every fifth advancement. But its also because you are a gun guy, and while overall FSII doesn't have a lot of schticks that increase AV, gun schticks include three of them. One of them you start with: Eagle Eye lets you basically do a 6-shot attack at AV 16. Click Click Bang 1-3 gives you an add to your AV after you throw your empty gun at someone (hint: carry lots of guns with high reload values. If you are taking CCB schticks, you want to fail your reload), and Both Guns Blazing 4-5 add +1 and +2 to your AV when using them, respectively.

The really amusing thing is that because of the way these schticks work, you can combine all three. Imagine you've had 8 advancements and piked up CCB3 and BGB5. You're in a fight. You roll a 3 on initiative, so in the first sequence you attack with BGB at AV 15 on shots 10, 7, and 4 (you don't fire on shot 1 because you want more shots in round 2. You'll see. Besides, three shots was probably enough to clear out all the mooks in the fight). You successfully clear out 15 mooks with these three attacks, thanks to your "Tremble, Evildoers" schtick. Not bad at all. You fire again on shot 10 of the second sequence, but fail your reload roll. On 7 you throw your gun. On shot 6 you draw another weapon. On shot 4 you do a BGB/CCB/Eagle Eye 6-shot attack at an AV of 29. Let me repeat that: an AV of 29. 13 base + 11 for CCB3 + 2 for BGB5 + 3 for Eagle Eye.

Is that high enough for you? :slight_smile:

First, you mention 1-2 foes with higher AV/DV. I would certainly keep it to one Boss or higher AV Featured Foe, and leave the others in the lower range of 12-13, or even 11-12.

As others have mentioned, Boosts are useful as is playing to the strengths of the Archetype. Also, if you're attacking with a Boost from an ally, that's a good time to toss in a Fortune Die or use Eagle Eye. Plus, if you use EE with a Boost and/or FD, you can afford to add only one or two shots to the attack, since the other enhancements will do some of the lifting, and you won't be spending as many shots.

It's probably good player strategy to keep hold of a Fortune point or three in anticipation of a Boss fight. With one or two players having a few Fortune between them, you can pile on early and bring their WPs up relatively fast. Plus, if you have a FD to spare on Initiative, that can work out to 1-3 extra attacks in a given sequence.

This is exactly the kind of thing you might find a Partial Recovery useful for. Page 107

Several Schticks in the book interact with boosts and could be used to make a group more effective at teaming up on a featured foe. In particular scroungetech and sorcery are good sources of boost enhancing.

Ex-Special Force's For the Squad (? not the same as the gun schtick?) lets him regain a fortune point after making a boost, which incentivizes the action.

Ghost's Hovering Presence (Signature) makes giving a boost a 2 shot action.

Masked Avenger's Utility Belt (Signature) gives you a chance to retain a fortune die spent on a boost.

For the Squad (gun schtick) reduces the base shot cost for an attack to 2 for the ally receiving the boost. This does not match the Ex-Special Forces version of the schtick.

Flashing Katana (Swordmaster Fu) lets you give an attack boost to an ally when you hit a named character with your sword. If the sword master is getting boosts to hit a boss, this lets them give one back. If the Boss has feature foes around, the sword master could attack those to give boosts to a boss fighter.

Quid to Quo (Sorcer) lets allies that grant you a boost also gain the boost too.

Radiant Grant (Sorcery) lets you sometimes give two allies a boost instead of one.

Widen the Circle (Sorcery) lets you gain a boost when an ally gets a boost from someone else by spending one shot.

Omni's Turn of the Wheel (animal) lets you use reversion points instead of the standard bonus to attack from a boost. If you happen to have just a few reversion points, this can make you a monster when allies start giving you boosts.

Monkey's Scratch My Back (animal) lets an ally that gives you a boost also gain the benefit.

Fear Shit (scrounge) lets you give out boosts when allies take marks of death or go down.

Probability Wave (scrounge) lets you spend a shot after missing to give a boost.

Hyper Adrenaline Patch (Scrounge) lets you give a boost as an interupt by taking wounds.