Strategies to reduce player momentum pool?

Looking for strategies to reduce the player momentum pool. Not to be a d#@k to the players, but very competent characters in combat tend to generate loads of momentum. This can be tough with weaker NPCs such as minions. So I am just trying to be clear on how the mechanics allow the GM to bleed the momentum pool to increase the challenge for the players.

  1. Use the squads and mobs rule because PCs will chew up individual minions, generating momentum on attacks and especially on parries. Better to attack once with assists from the squad- better chance to hit and only allows the PC to parry once.
  2. Increase the difficulty of actions in combat using various strategies- environmental, create difficulties spends, etc. Increased difficulties result in lower momentum totals, although I’m not sure 2 Doom for 1 increase in difficulty is worth it.
  3. Hit the PCs with non core tests they don’t want to fail at, such as Fear tests. Typically, they will use some momentum to pass the test and you can force multiple PCs to test at the same time.
  4. Obviously, hit the PCs with tougher opponents with special abilities and armor forcing them to spend momentum or pay Doom.
    What do you think?
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If players parry a lot, this means you have a lot of Doom. I’d use that Doom to create Complications or to make their opponents stronger.

Complications include knocked-over braziers which could turn an entire zone into a fire hazard. Or a wall begins to crumble and collapses. You could require a skill test from players or they suffer damage.

I also use Doom to “upgrade” normal minions to mobs and toughened NPCs to squads.

Come up with things for the players to spend Momentum on, and give players the opportunity to think of things they’d like to spend it on. Players hoard Momentum, as often as not, when they don’t have anything else to do with it. Even little things like adjusting the way you do description of new scenes or handle perception or insight tests (give less information, remind players to use the Obtain Information spend to get more detail) can help get Momentum flowing.

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Players tend to have free parries- a parrying weapon or buckler and maybe a talent. So I am not really generating Doom from parrying.

They are often more susceptible to mental attacks in this regard.

Attack mentally. The players will probably react. Gain doom.
If things go well for the NPC the players take a little damage, the NPC generates momentum, they can then swift action and attack.

First of all the maximum Momentum they can have is 6. Secondly, usually only the very first parry or reaction is free, after that the cost goes up. And the players should be mowing through hordes of Minions. I also have a small group - 3 players usually. A squad of 5 minions get 5 dice to attack. Though I think my players were a little confused by the squad rules at first.

“I’m facing three cultists, I’ll parry the first one.”
“They only make one attack all together.”
“Oh, nice.”

Another couple of thoughts on this topic.

As mentioned pool tops out at 6.

Immediate spends: Some spends are not tied to tests and can be paid for immediately out of the grou pool (Page 102)

General spends.
Create opportunity and Create obstacle are the only ones listed as “Immediate”.

On the combat spends, the ONLY one listed as immediate is Second Wind (Page 118).

So yes I can understand the frustration of the players having a full momentum pool, but what it can be used for it pretty limited. Rolling more dice is great and probably gains them momentum they can use for more fun things, but it also increases the chances of a complication or two.

Your battle-axe crashes into the onrushing guardsmen, tearing through his armor, but the shock of the blow causes you to lose your grip and the blade drops to the ground just out of reach.

That is interesting. I’m going to have to reread the rules.
We have been playing that momentum in the pool can be spent by any player as if they generated it.
Not just for immediate spends.

That is a major difference. runs off to get rulebook

This means my players are constantly spending it.

Page 102. You can use pool momentum for anything.

So penetrating armour, rerolling damage dice. So someone with low damage could generate loads of momentum so the person with high damage can blow it all on a huge death blow.

When it comes to momentum I’ve never had a problem with my party having too much. I made a cheat sheet for them that I keep on the table that shows them all the momentum spends that they can make. If this is a problem that you run into then my guess would be that you are being too cautious about how you spend your doom. One player can bleed the pool dry easily and encouraging them to do that I’ve found is as simple as freely spending my doom. The characters in Conan are designed to be exceptional by nature. That being said most of my npcs (not the average characters they encounter) are created using the character generation sheet as well. Because of this my npcs usually have the same advantages as pcs but then by adding some of the abilities unique to enemies they get a small buff that helps make them more interesting and prevents them from dropping on the first round of combat. Don’t know if that helps and I kind of rambled here but… yeah… spend your doom. It’s ok for your players to make lots of momentum. The more they have the more epic things they can do. Just remember that the pool maxes out at 6.

You may also want to try multiple toughened enemies that do not attack as a group. Having to deal with multiple attacks (albeit weaker because they aren’t in a group) should have players spending momentum as usual (particularly more cautious players) and having to make multiple Defends in a round will also give you more Doom, whether or not players have Parry.