Starter Set Advice: Are Trolls Really THAT Scary?

Cubicle 7 // 2018
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Fyzah
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Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2019 1:25 pm

Fri Aug 30, 2019 1:33 pm

Hello everyone, new DM to WFRP 4th Edition, but not new to DMing in general, so I’m comfortable house ruling and home brewing if I have to, but I like to play things by RAW as much as possible.

Which brings me to my question( Spoiler Alert for the Starter Set adventure!): the party is expected to fight a river troll by the name of the Teufel Terror, and the thing seems entirely insane to me. Regeneration, a flat 9 damage on every hit that’s multiplied by 2 versus everyone because of his size, *and* he ignores crit effects. I know this rule set is fairly lethal, but a monster that can easily one shot everyone in the group seems a bit much. Am I missing something?

My party is custom made, not using the pregens, and I know they’re made of tougher stuff than 0 XP newbies, but is the difference really that severe? Should I tone the monster down or “coincidentally” have the party come into possession of a +5 Sword of Trollslaying before the fight?

Any other general advice on running Making the Rounds would be welcome too! :)
CapnZapp
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Location: Norsca

Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:19 pm

Fyzah wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 1:33 pm
Hello everyone, new DM to WFRP 4th Edition, but not new to DMing in general, so I’m comfortable house ruling and home brewing if I have to, but I like to play things by RAW as much as possible.

Which brings me to my question( Spoiler Alert for the Starter Set adventure!): the party is expected to fight a river troll by the name of the Teufel Terror, and the thing seems entirely insane to me. Regeneration, a flat 9 damage on every hit that’s multiplied by 2 versus everyone because of his size, *and* he ignores crit effects. I know this rule set is fairly lethal, but a monster that can easily one shot everyone in the group seems a bit much. Am I missing something?
There is a counter to Regeneration mentioned by the adventure (sidebar "The Terror" page 22). Its damage isn't "flat" - just like a character's weapon rating (likely +7) - it's the base, modified by the relative number of Success Levels the troll gets on its attack. The Troll is Large, meaning it doubles damage against Small characters but not Medium-sized ones (the example is in error here since Ferdinand is a human)

Those issues aside, yes, the Troll is dangerous. The sidebar suggests skipping the fight. Do note the players don't have to actually kill it, just wound it. It also reminds you the Troll only fights until it kills one (1) foe. My own suggestion is to ask yourself "can my players handle a death so early in the adventure?". If yes, go for it. If no, add a hapless Town Guard NPC that insist on accompanying the party, and have the Troll attack that NPC first.
Fyzah
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Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2019 1:25 pm

Fri Aug 30, 2019 4:38 pm

I understand a lot more now, thank you! I imagine it’s a good thing my party has no halflings then. They’d get splattered!

I suppose I’ve been taught that throwing OP monsters and unfair situations at players is not the way to go, and letting monsters get away is bad too, but I suppose it fits with the overall theming of the universe to have someone killed off. I’ll have to discuss it with my players while trying not to spoil it.
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Toby Pilling
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Sat Aug 31, 2019 8:31 am

I'd have thought that 'killing' a foe can also be mitigated by the loss of a fate point instead - that's usually the case in Warhammer. Fate points are like gold dust, so the loss of one for a PC is hardly negligible.
Whomever1
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Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2019 1:12 pm

Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:16 pm

I'm wondering if I should do this with my guys, but at least the write-up makes it likely that the party will have forewarning. Hopefully they'll do some research and make a plan.
macd21
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Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:28 am

Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:24 pm

Feedback from a lot of groups is that they found the troll too weak. It’ll obviously be outnumbered, and outnumbering your opponent gives a lot of bonuses. Some groups took it out in one round.
CapnZapp
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Tue Sep 03, 2019 2:56 am

Obviously Bestiary monsters are far too weak, mainly because their atrocious Weapon Skill scores. (In a game where heroes can achieve 60 or 70 in WS monsters need to do the same, and not because the GM decides to "tweak" the monster, but right out the gate)

But this is a starter adventure. Player tactics and GMing style matters.

What in one group very well can be a one-round easy kill can in another be a very harrowing hide and seek, where characters act like real scared humans out on a dark night with a scary river nearby.

Since at least half the pregens can easily lose to the troll as written (the female soldier type with WS 67? not so much) I can't really blame the devs.

I just wish the troll's WS 40(?) was intentional and lower than the default. Perhaps the troll was getting old or losing its eyesight.

But that a healthy strong troll, one worthy of a Trollslayer player character's attention had at least 80 in Weapon Skill, so that it likely would win in a 1:1 duel (the Trollslayer is one of the game's most weaponized careers, and crucially, Dwarves get huge starting bonuses)... so that the rest of the party was actually needed - ttrpgs after all being a group activity. (You can easily get +40 for outnumbering a single foe 3:1, not to mention how a party archer can keep the Troll from amassing Advantage, while those the Troll does not attack will quickly build Advantage to astronomical levels)

It really is telling when you could - with a straight eye - claim every Weapon Skill score in the Bestiary could be doubled. That really gives you a scope of how useless it is as written; all those Talents just listed as "optional" instead of actually worked in and precalculated into the stat blocks :-(
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Orin J.
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Tue Sep 03, 2019 5:29 pm

CapnZapp wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 2:56 am
Obviously Bestiary monsters are far too weak, mainly because their atrocious Weapon Skill scores. (In a game where heroes can achieve 60 or 70 in WS monsters need to do the same, and not because the GM decides to "tweak" the monster, but right out the gate)

But this is a starter adventure. Player tactics and GMing style matters.
while zapp's derisive tone is appropriate, he overlooks a key issue for his ranting. 4th edition is a game where your skill/talent investments are a huge part of your stats both in and out of combat and the game skips providing examples of how to stat NPCs in favor of having a "light" beastiary with a varied set of monsters. this is pretty crippling for the game because there is no way to judge how to stat them out fairly, and with the adventures rather consistently either under-statting or half-statting monsters there's nothing to provide any shortcuts to having to stat out every single mook's skill if you want to have a combat focused game session.

the choice to leave out example skills and talents for the book was an expedient choice that makes things harder for everyone except the developers who were tasked at the time with getting the book out the door, the fact they have continues that approach with later releases leaves the people buying the game with no idea how to prep monsters.. as a result judging how to properly lay out the monsters and handling unexpected combats becomes a massive roadblock and effective GMing is impossible for anyone but seasoned veterans.
CapnZapp
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Wed Sep 04, 2019 3:46 am

Orin J. wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 5:29 pm
he overlooks a key issue for his ranting
What would make the Bestiary worse would be if they carefully added appropriate Talents/Traits to all the monsters - and then did not spell the effects out right there in the stat block.

That would turn the Bestiary into something a GM could only use with perfect recollection of the entire ruleset, which is so broken it isn't even funny to talk about.

I believe the devs should focus on assigning reasonable Characteristics to monsters, and maybe, just maybe their key skill or three.
FasterThanJesus
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Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:12 am

I kind of agree with that. Trolls don't need a bunch of skills and talents to show how hard they hit. They probably need traits for regeneration and causing fear, but not much else.

It does look like they intend for a proper bestiary to follow, or more detailed situational bestiaries in forthcoming sourcebooks, so I'll guess we'll see. If they get that far.
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