Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Enemy: Caravan to Ein Arris' "Fighter I"


Caravan to Ein Arris is a free campaign for people just learning GURPS. It was originally created for GURPS 3rd Edition, and then ported to 4th edition. A criticism I have heard recently was that the enemy encounters seem too powerful for an introductory campaign. So, as an exercise in the application of the Combat Effectiveness Rating (CER) from Pyramid # 3/77 Combat, I wanted to see how hard it might be to make a more fair version of the encounter.

Original Stats

So, let's take a look at the beast.
ST: 13 HP: 13 Speed: 5.5
DX: 12 Will: 9 Move: 5
IQ: 9 Per: 9
HT: 10 FP: 10 SM: 0
Dodge: 8 Parry: 10 DR: 0
Broadsword (16): 2d Cutting, 1d+1 Crushing
Large Knife (12): 2d-3 Cutting, 1d Impaling
Skills: Broadsword-16 or Knife-12
So, looking at this guy, we see he is pretty dumb, a little slow, but he does a ton of damage and has a lot of HP. So this character has an "Achilles Heel", but let's see how threatening he is according to CER.
Attack Skill 6 Active Defense 6
Affliction 0 Damage Resistance 0
Damage 11 Health 0
Fatigue Points 0 Hit Points 3
Move -1 Will -1
Total Offensive Rating (OR) 16 Total Protective Rating (PR) 8
So, 16+8= a total CER of 24. Note, his parry skill should be 11, not 10, so even better than the stats might indicate. This enemy is considered a respectable piece of fodder by 250 point Dungeon Fantasy characters. But that is the Broadsword variant. So let's do this again for the large knife variant:

Attack Skill2Active Defense0
Affliction0Damage Resistance0
Fatigue Points0Hit Points3
Total Offensive Rating (OR)8Total Protective Rating (PR)2
The knife version is a CER of 10. Still a nuisance... to a 250 point murder machine. Note, with a knife skill of 12, his parry is actually 8, not 10. But the PCs for Ein Arris are recommended to have a balance of background skills, occupation skills, and combat skills. Hardly close to the Dungeon Fantasy murder machines.

What to Do?

The PR on these two variants isn't that bad. The knife variant isn't even that bad. The big problem is the incredibly dangerous amount of damage inflicted by the broadsword variant. Let's try to get that CER down by 10 points. Let's start by pulling his strength down to 10. This will reduce his damage to 1d+1 and his HP to 10. Let's see what he looks like now.

Attack Skill6Active Defense6
Affliction0Damage Resistance0
Fatigue Points0Hit Points0
Total Offensive Rating (OR)12Total Protective Rating (PR)5

So now he is just a little bit stronger than the knife variety. Still dangerous, but not as dangerous. The next thing to look at is his tremendous broadsword skill. Let's knock it down a few points and reduce his parry some more.

Attack Skill4Active Defense4
Affliction0Damage Resistance0
Fatigue Points0Hit Points0
Total Offensive Rating (OR)10Total Protective Rating (PR)3

At a broadword skill of 14, and a ST of 10, he now has a parry of 10, At this point, he might be considered a more fair fight to a 125-point fairly versatile PC, albeit still dangerous. His new stat block would be:
ST: 10HP: 10Speed: 5.5
DX: 12Will: 9Move: 5
IQ: 9Per: 9
HT: 10FP: 10SM: 0
Dodge: 8Parry: 10DR: 0
Broadsword (14): 1d+1 Cutting, 1d-1 Crushing
Skills: Broadsword-14


The Combat Effectiveness Rating is a useful tool that one can use for the purpose of re-balancing encounters. It breaks out a character's battle properties in a way that helps see what sticks out, and help see what weaknesses a particular enemy might have at a glance. Now, even before adjusting this for example, we see that this enemy has a slightly weak will and speed, which might mean a weak but clever player might be able to use trickery to defeat this encounter, but a player interested in a head-on collision might be in over his head. Someone who would like to host a GURPS Lite session of Caravan to Ein Arris using a lot of combat might find this nerfed version of one of three possible encounters more manageable.

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