Been thinking about this recently, I’ve typically used online encounter calculators to make sure things are moderately balanced, but im concious that the addition of a Warjack (even jack marshalled) can skew this!
I’m sure its something i’ll get used to with experience, but thought i’d put it out there in case those with more experience have tips or tricks!
Thanks in advance!
Steamjacks really do have a large impact on encounter difficulty (most are CR8-10). However, I found steamjacks aren’t really as devastating as they seem at first. They’re slow, and not very accurate. I think in lore Vinter actually mentions this as he tears apart a pair of Ironclads single-handedly.
In a four person party, you usually have at least one really good damage dealer. In our case, it was our twitchy Gun Mage. He could deal 2d10 + 2d8 + 4 damage at first level with a rune shot. By the time he hit second level he could do 2d10 + 4d8 + 4 using a runeplate and runeshot. Doing an average of 24 and 33 respectively. Not bad against a Warjack!
As long as you have a damage dealer, you should be fine. However., the best way to beat a steamjacks is another steamjack! If you want to include a lot of steamjacks in you campaign, consider giving your players a clapped out steamjack (found in the Controller subclass of the Warcaster class) or a run-down Light Laborjack. Put them in scenarios where they have to fight a steamjack along with it’s accompanying squad, or a pair of steamjacks. Having a steamjack of their own evens the odds out significantly
You’ve definitely got to treat them extra units in the encounter calculations, although that does depend a bit on if it’s a warcaster controlling them or someone driving them.
One thing that shuts them down is having someone wielding anti-steamjack and/or warcaster spells and abilities on the other side. There are some things that just wreck them, so make use of those to provide a challenging fight.
Well, compared to Vinter Raelthorne, everything in the setting is “slow and not very accurate”.
At early levels, steamjacks have the same issue that all big and chunky adversaries have - they’re not trivial to remove from the field, and with some lucky rolls they can one-round player characters. Accuracy is not a major issue because AC isn’t as easy to get to ridiculous levels as it was in 3.5 - with just a base procifiency bonus and STR16 you’re looking at a +5 attack bonus.
So as a GM, before sending a steamjack (or anything that’s tough and hard-hitting) against the party, I would recommend playing at least some combat encounters where you can gauge the party’s damage output as well as survivability so as not to unintentionally wipe them out.