What is your style of play?
- Deadly, I keep a stable of replacement magi characters
- Brutal, it's not uncommon for a magus to die.
- Bloody... do missing limbs become part of one's essential nature?
- Brawl-tastic, but wounds heal quick with CrCo.
- Fight? Heh, let the mundanes bring it. I'm packing BoAF and Sidestep.
- Ooooh! Fight! Time to test out the latest in target obliteration!
- Mwahahaha! I love to smell of burnt peasantry in the morning.
The immunity thread had me wondering what sort of play styles other sagas might be running.
We have a fairly rough play style-- one magus has lost an arm, two players are on their second magus, another magus is living on borrowed time, and three companions have bought it in variously unpleasant ways. Losing a grog is certainly something that isn't all that surprising...but even so, combat is uncommon in our saga. We probably see a battle of some kind perhaps one session out of four or five...
What about your saga?
Our saga is best defined by hours and hours of bickering, plotting and scheming followed by 5 minutes walking over the SG's plans. Thus far we've not encountered anything which wasn't either a walk-over (two Perdo specialists and an Ignem-happy Flambeau in a coventant will do that) or approaching a fair fight (or worse) in which case we flee and use old age and treachery to win some other way.
Our grogs tend to either die in the first round or not at all.
All told, our SG isn't that good at statting encounters, but he makes up for it in good stories.
Quite deadly. Magi tend not to die, though, since they tend to get the hell outa there if the treat is really big for them. The loss of the mages means certain death for the rest of the party 99% of the time, though. In normal situations, big wounds are not uncommon. That also has to do with the fact that we tend to solve mage-mundane combat like this:
Mundanes attack. Mages cast a fair of bombastic spells with loads of fireworks. Mundanes flee in terror or surrender en masse, even if they have suffered no casualties.
For supernatural treats, things tend to get much nastier for the party, as do for mundane vs mundane combats, that is where we see most combat (rough grogs on a rough spot, supply party getting in trouble...). However, our grogs are few in number (we have 15 of them, 12 plus 3 custos) but well equipped, so they tend to get the upper hand if they are forewarned they are going into the land of hurt against a similar foe. Combat is not for everybody IMS, though.
Mixed, but most of the time magi tend to survive or get away with minor wounds.
SGs also thinks its more fun to have a magi out of action for a few seasons instead of killed, so if its a close call they will stretch it a bit if they think its a better idea.
Heh, not all should give up that easy! Have the SG let a few hundred pissed off mundanes compete on who can kill a mage first next time(survival not essential), that should give players a nice little shock and break up what sounds like it has become a bit too much "standard recipe".
It has depended on the saga . Mundanes have rarely been a threat once the magi had a bit of experience under their belts. However mages in most saga's I have run or played feared other magi and supernatural beings .
Although the last magi to die in one of these saga's died while fighting a large magical bear in unarmed combat without the use of magic (I had overconfidence , and I believed the bear would only badly injure me before I ran off) when the bear rolled 36 on its attack roll . Instant dead mage.
We lose a LOT of grogs and companions. Familiars don't live too long either.
Covenant staff tend to die a lot too, we always need new cooks, cleaners and seneshals. Altho a lot of those deaths are down to an ex-covenant mage who fell to infernalism and pops back home every now and again for a bit of a covenant killing spree.
We worked out a little while ago that in the 30 years we've been playing this saga, only one of our grogs/companions/staff have survived long enough to retire. And he was old when we recruited him.
Our magi tend to fare a little better. None have died, yet. Tenebrous is often mortally wounded and needs some tender loving CrCo. But to be fair, he's a fragile necromancer, sneeze on him and it's a medium wound. Santiago suffered an unfortunate 'personal' amputation, which turned out not to be part of his essential nature (.. Spaniards!)., and is fond of getting himself stabbed. Ryce tends to assume he'll come out on top of any situation he puts himself in, so sometimes needs bailing out with a little CrCo.
But generally it's the hired help that suffer, whilst the mages take all the glory
Ryce Hit the nail on the head. In fact its become a reasonably common season of service to the covenant for a magus and some turb to go out recruiting new warriors.
Due to our situation (in a war against Damhan-Alliadh, ex-covenant member popping back every now and then to murder, local nobility enraged at us, at war with the remains of house diedne) we have a very well stocked turb with about 40 warriors, half of whom are Welsh longbow man and the other half are Saxon warriors. We tend to lose lots of saxons, the Welsh tend to do better because they tend to be further back when bad stuff happens.
Warriors who survive one or two outings with the magi become elevated to a "favourite shield grog" level and we get distraut when they die. And they always die.
I used to have a companion smith, and in a cramped area he picked up a helmet and suddenly went berzerk, frenzy and all out to kill the magi, one swing downed one magus, and an overconfident tremere thought he could outspeed him and went down in the next stroke, then he got buried in the sand and everything was quiet again.
No baddies, two magi down for the count for about a month, now that is cost effective...
The other question is how often does combat occure and when it does occure are the magi able to cut loose at full power.
In a slightly high powered 4th Ed game I play in we have had 2 pitched battles and a number of skimishes. In the two pitched battles we fought there were radically different circumstances.
In the 1st a warband of magi lead by my Quasitor went to discuss with a covnenant on the scottish border there apparent intent to involve themselves in a brewing civil war in england (Roiughly analagous to the Barons rebellion against King John but our GM is a poor historian) we felt they where going to intervene magically to attempt to being about a Saxon kingdom while we knew they would fail we could not allow the blatant breach of the code. They refused to allow us to invesitage properly and a battle occurred this was fought between 6 magi and a small army on one side and about 1 dozen magi on the other side. The mundane aemy was obilterated for no real gain by 2 magi. the real fight was between the rival magi and ended with the death of four magi on the losing side all in fact killed by the Quasitor.
In the second battle our covenant which has mundane ties which some think are code breakingly tight was besieged in the civil war by a large army, In this battle the magi played no part (one of them the covenant leader fought as a mundane ) as given our earlier actions and that the attack on the covenant was response to one magi's mundane activities we felt we could not justify using magic agaisnt them . We had considered developing boundary range mentam rituals to break the siege with subtlety but felt that may cause problems.
Note that the magi where certain that if they had been allowed to fight freely the sieging force would have been shatterred in an hours fighting, we had two magi capable of mulitcasting group/sight CrIg spells another who had good weather magi and one more who was good at corpus and mentam . I think it is the conditions of this second battle which is more typical and limits the activity of the magi in battle
Well, my new saga is quite new. After 3 sessions we've seen a few fights. Almost solely in the first advanture. First was an ambush with a single bowman in the forest, against two magi an a bear familiar. The weaker magus was hurt badly. The other Magus is a combat machine, and pummled the ambusher. Second fight never really got to be a fight. The combat machine was jumped by a trained group of 3 bandits. He had a ridiculous defense and soak, ans was only nicked. He teleported away before anything else happened. Third fight was a bit more fun, since a mighty faerie made grogs as well as magi lose control of their bodies, and attack at random. Some got hurt lightly, everyone tried their hardest to fight the control, or at least drop their weapons to become the least dangerous. Fourth fight was meant to be a diploamtic meeting. But the combat machine attacked the faerie on sight - thus short-circuiting the bigger picture of the story - but the faerie blinked away, because he could enter and leave regios at will. There also followed some prepared combat against mundane bandits, which waw a cake walk.
Second story was a series of freak-out encounters with huge bugs; termites, ants and bees the size of large cats or dogs even. It wasn't really combat, it just kept them on their toes.
Back in the old days, among the twi sagas, a few magi died.
A single combat killed off one magus, and had another become totallly crippled. A few important companions and one magus were killed when they were all trapped in aregio with some horrible, mutated monsters. In general, people only die in scenes of drama; horrible monsters, epic last stands etc. Or totally random and uncalled for fights, made dramatic by uncoordinated actions, selfish acts, good and bad luck, lack of care when attacking with area effect spells and personalities played to the very edge.
So to sum up:
We often get into fights, and people get hurt, depending on how much they expose themselves. Those who risk some might win some. Those who avoid conflict lose out on a lot. The uninteresting fights - the very easy ones - are quickly forgotten. The epic ones aren't. Not many magi or key companions die, and never without a fair amount of drama.
Most often, people get away with wounds of varying degree. And good doctors or even CrCo and vis will remedy this. We often have magi missing out on a season of work when healing. Or the bickering of whether to use covenant resources to heal.
In the first adventures we saw 2 combats in 3 years of covenant settlement involving all the main characters. One was vs mundanes and was easily solved by the magi, even if some grogs were badly hurt in the process. A pair of them died; usually happens when you are working with logs and stuff instead of being equiped with your full battle kit. I think the whole scene was over in 5-6 combat rounds. After that supernatural stuff started to creep into the stories and the danger factor increased for magi.
We see combat once every 3 seassions or so, right now. My group does like combat, or at least the adtrernaline ruish that combat implies. As a consequence we have a relatively violent saga.
The situation does not necessarily scale to start hitting stuff with sharp sticks necessarily, but the potential and drama of combat is there. In quite a few casdes the players themselves have solved the situation without swinging
That does not mean 1 combat per adfventure since a lot of our adventures are snapshots, solved in a single season or 2. Right now the situations with the most combat scenes is mundanes vs mundanes, and bar brawls and backstreet skirmishes are the most common kind. The pitched battles between 10 characters are relatively6 uncommon. It is more like low intensity warfare; like that of XVth century italian cities, in a sense. When we take out the big artillery (read: mages with NASTY spells) it is because we are going after a combat situation. No subtlety in 80% of the cases, or gouing to investigate in really mean places. In those cases we know that we should look at the grogs and companions for the last time, just in case.
I'm in 2 sagas at the moment, the first involves small groups of magi with personal shield grogs, in addition to more freshly trained villagers - in many cases combat involves only the little trained villager grogs. Among these, injuries and death is pretty common. We've never had a PC magus die yet, but then losing 2 seasons of labwork due to injury (lack of vis for healing) is pretty bad.
In the other saga there are far less grogs available, and the magi see combat, this has so far not resultet in any PC deaths, but only due to extreme luck, and we have seen multiple heavy injuries...
I joined to an old gaming group.
There is no combat mage in the covenant. There were 3 major battles in the last real life year in which only 2 grogs died. Many soldiers will die soon because of old age.
As I know no magus died in this saga yet.
Combat hardly plays a role in our saga, and most combats are finished by our group of crusade-veterans led by my companion with leadership 8. That makes group combat so much easier, and attack totals of 54 also work excellent versus faery queens....
In our current campaign, we played 33 games of about 8 hours each.
All in all, we played less than 5 real combat scenes.
They are deadly, though, so we are carefull and our mages don't enter combat unless necessary.
One of our mages was fighter-type : he died in combat...
Our saga is more story oriented, so it's important to keep the main characters alive for the story to remain interesting. For us, it's not about killing or destroying, but there are exception (like in the case of a renounced magus).
We try to play in a "realistic" manner, so our character are not risking their lives very often. If a character put his life at risk, it will always be for an understandable reason, like love, passion, a "higher purpose", or recklessness.
The aboce mentionned fighter-type mage was too reckless for his own good: he had to learn and change his ways: he didn't and it came to no surprise that he died. (though the event of his death was a surprise to each magus.)
I just wanted to say thank you to all who've responded so far-- 32 sagas! It's interesting that most of the commentary is on the less dangerous end of the scope...personally, I'd always found the lethality of the system a virtue.
Oh, in our saga we agree it's a virtue. That's why there's not much combat and where there is, it occurs when the magi are content that it'll end in their favour and quickly.`Dying burning in a recently created ditch is something other people do - the PCs have better things to spend their time on. Running away is an important skill as far as we're concerned.
Same here. If a potential combat can be siolved without risking your soul (thou shall not kill) and body integrity, the better.
If you look at Ad Fons you can see the difference proper preperation makes. Two of the magi entered battle against a mundane force , one had a protective spell up the other did not , in one combat round the unprotected magi took two medium wounds and is now badly injured. Combat is for the prepared
What is the most important to understand here, I think, it that this is a virtue as far as it serve one own liking and preferences of playing.
The system is malleable enough so to not kill people when the troupes doesn't want to.
Dying basically occur when you get more than 20 points of damage (rare), or when you are badly wounded with no assistance (also rare in our campaign)
One other thing we find very "lethal" is that a medium wound means you lose your lab's season. Somenthing mages really wants to avoid... [/code]