6 Scene Beat Sheet for extended LARP mods (Scene #3)
Scene 3 – Ambush them in the Dick
goal(s): stress the players mechanically
element(s): combat, vertical stakes
This is the hardest fight in the game when it comes to challenge/attrition and tactical disadvantage of the players. More than the final fight. The best way to do this is an ambush, hence the name for this scene. Hiding the NPCs in a place they cannot be seen in RL is what we’re talking about here.
Here’s why this is done:
- The players have used almost no resources at this point. It’s time to take a big bite out of them.
- The last fight will have gimmicks to make it easier.
- The players will have a bunch of lore about the final fight, and that’s on purpose. Here, they get punched in the dick with no warning.
- This doesn’t need to be an ambush, but an ambush is best. The tactical advantage is brutal, and scary
These NPCs should be working with/for the villain. There should be no doubt who the opposition is at this point.
This is also the place to introduce a new recurring monster. You can reuse the same monster again in the final fight. This is convenient if you are iron-manning your NPCs, they don’t need to re-costume or re-stat. Reusing the monster lets the players strategize for when they face them next, which they will do if you made these guys mean enough.
The fight should be spikey
Your NPCs need to have the ability to hurt the PCs, and be statted accordingly for your system. You want this “hurt” to be spikey. In other words, the NPCs should be able to do something very mean and dangerous as an opener, but not consistently. (i.e. high burst damage, or a brutal CC condition).
Because of the spikiness of this fight, you should have a 1-2 of the NPCs be trustworthy, and have them be ranged if possible. Regardless, they should hold back on attacks and start sucking if it looks grim for the players. A ranged NPC is able to notice these things better, and it is much easier for them to start sucking and get mowed down quickly. The players will never know that the game went into “fudge” mode.
The fight should lack gimmicks
This should be more of a straight-up fight. Little terrain and no gimmicky monsters. Just a brutal and sudden asswhoopin’.
Vertical stakes are raised
When you introduce a brutal monster in service to the villain, you have established that these things work with the villain. Now it becomes clear “oh crap, this guy has some very scary monsters working for him.” Normally, folks but these showcase monsters in the final fight, but that’s not correct. At that point, the information that Evilbadgai has Exploding Stone Golems is too late. Evilbadgai and his golems have either been defeated or victorious. There’s nothing to look forward to.
This is a good spot to put in Z-axis stakes as well. Make the conflict personal for a single PC that previously didn’t have skin in the game.
- retcon a PC relationship with the new monster (Exploding Stone Golems stole my baby)
- have instructions carried by the NPCs detailing something important to the PC
- One of the NPCs takes time during the fight to challenge the famous “Sir PC-Pants” to single combat, or threatens to do nasty things to the PC’s family once they have fallen here.
Gimmicks.. ok, there’s possible gimmicks
There’s some possible gimmicks here that accomplish the same goal.
Brute NPCs – NPCs that are incredibly powerful and almost unkillable. Conveniently, they move a bit slow. The players will need to flee from these guys. These NPCs could chase the players into Scene #4, and then there is some gimmick there that can stop the pursuit of the brutes.
Trap Corridor/Trail with Snipers – A bunch of snipers behind a long series of traps. This is hard to pull off if you only have packet archery/casting, but doable with nimble NPCs. You’ll need a GM dedicated entirely to the traps, and the traps are the real damage in the scene.
Skirmisher NPCs – These are NPCs that have mechanics that enable them to hit-and-run. They burrow, or phase out, or fly away. Flyers are a great place to have your caster/archer PCs shine (i.e. “flying” means you cannot hit me in melee, but can with thrown/archery)
transition to scene #4
This scene might overlap with #4 when it comes to site. If it doesn’t share the site, then you need a clean transition.