Monday, May 28, 2018

Let's Build a Final Boss Fight

I spoke about it a week or two ago about some things to consider with making a final fight, but today I want to go through actually crafting one. I can't go into all the details as my players read this blog, but we can hit the broad strokes and you can at least see where I'm coming from. For this fight, I'm going to break it down into a series of goals that I have for the fight. If I can pull these goals off, it should be a good time.

Goal 1: Isolated PCs
By the end of any game, or with plotlines as big as the ones I've been running lately, the PCs end up with a lot of NPCs around them. However, for the big boss fight I don't want the PCs with too many NPCs around them. One or two is fine, but ideally I want the PCs alone. This means something has to cut the PCs away from the rest of their support - either by their choice or not.

In this case, the session is starting with the PCs and their army laying siege to a major city taken by the enemy, but the enemy themselves are deep underground. Odds are I may have to resort to some Saturday Morning Cartton shticks to get some groups out, but there are other ways too: up to and including having NPC support for the bad guys too, and then breaking the fights apart.

Goal 2: Epic Scale
This game has been an epic in every sense of the word: large casts of characters, a timeline stretched out over 150+ years in world, large armies, grand magic, and even new and old gods having to find how they work together -or don't- for things to work.

With so much putting the game on the epic scale, I don't want this encounter to fall short of that. So how do you do that? Computer Games frequently do it with multiple stage boss fights, and that does fit but there are other things as well.

With one part of the boss, I think making the boss be a level - another thing videogames do - could be a good idea, where the boss is the whole terrain around.

And, obviously, having some part of it be larger than life - literally - may be an automatic.

Goal 3: Fast and Dynamic
So you want an Epic fight, but you also want it to be fast? These things can be mutually exclusive for a lot of people because in making the fight epic too many rules come in and it slows the game down. The goal here is to keep mechanics simple, fast and loose. Fortunately for me my group is only 4 players big, but the other trick for this is to not call for rolls that don't need to happen. A player should only be making one roll on each turn ideally, so anything you can do to keep that happening will help things go faster.

Goal 4: Someone's Going Through A Wall
This is part of Dynamic for me as well. Dynamic fights move. They involve scenery changes, and a sense movement through out the combat. This is easier to do with less rolls - amusing since moving things around often means more rolls if you go RAW. Along with it, well, I just love putting PCs through walls. it's one of my favorite parts of running Super Hero games, but if you give me someone tanky enough, I love selling it for both the player and the world by slamming them through solid structures of one sort or another.

Goal 5: Fun
Finally, the most important goal. This needs to be fun. This may be hard to determine in the moment. It's going to be a big fight. It's going to be a dangerous fight. If the dice don't go the PCs way it could very easily leave people feeling beat down for parts of the fight. However, these are also good players and I know they can handle it. So mostly, I just need to keep things moving, and keep it fun.

If nothing else, it's the start of a plan.

1 comment:

  1. I will say, I used to sort of chuckle at "Someone's Going Through A Wall" but the most memorable fight from any of your games involved my character getting baseball batted through a wall by a super swinging an APC, then throwing the APC at my character as they were stunned by going through a wall. It was super cinematic, and also gave a breath for recovery which seems to happen a lot in comic and epic stories. Go through a wall, take a breath, go back to the fight.