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345 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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Opuk0 wrote:

For example, level 1 is your average joe shmoe, level 6 is a veteran general of many wars, level 10 is a hero out of myth, and 20 is a demi-god.

Does that sound about right? Anyone got any more examples?

Paizo thinks a general is a level 11 Fighter.

A Pirate King is level 15.

Cavalry in armies are level 6.

Here's the link to the main list if you want to peruse it.

What books are available? Unchained Rogue is seen as much better balanced than the default Rogue (which is thought of as the weakest or second weakest class if I recall correctly).

Chess Pwn wrote:
I'm pretty sure the point of it is to be bad but something to use. Like Monsters are supposed to have a weakness, ranged combat is often a weakness for strong melee people, fortunately this has a ranged option unlike animals that follow similar trends.

Interesting enough, this topic started brewing in my mind when one of my players asked me "Why aren't the giants throwing rocks at us?" Turns out he's mainly played 5E and in that game the Frost Giant stat block looks like this.

Apparently in 5E Frost Giants actually have the same AB with their thrown rocks and slightly more damage -- but only get one attack per round still (while the axe gets two attacks). Meaning the giant is doing about twice the damage in melee, but he can at least hit stuff with rocks.

In this case, though, I basically had to say "Well...because it's pretty terrible." Which I thought was odd.

Chess Pwn wrote:
So yeah, if you change the rock throwing to be really good you'll maybe need to increase the CR of enemies with that ability, as that weakness could be a balancing factor of its CR.

I'm not trying to make it really good, potentially looking to make it not suck.

blahpers wrote:

Rock throwing is fine. Particularly when the giant is standing on top of a 120' sheer cliff and raining rocks on the foolish PCs below. A PC with AC 30 won't be hit often, but that's okay because a PC with AC 30 is a PC who put decent effort into improving their AC. Plenty of PCs facing a fire giant won't have AC that high.

Once the PCs are in closer range, only a really foolish fire giant will stick to chucking rocks instead of switching to a proper melee weapon.

Here's the problem: why WOULD the PCs get closer? In all fairness part of the issue here is the dedicated archer in the group -- he could take on a small pack of Frost Giants from range while the rest of the group takes a nap. So in this context the PCs want to stay at range while the Frost Giants have to move in or be massacred.

A Fire Giant, for example, attacks at +21/+16/+11 in melee. However, his ranged attack option is +10 with a thrown rock. Meaning a PC with AC30 gets hit over 50% of the time with the Giant's melee attack but the Giant needs a natural 20 on the rock throwing. Which seems pretty terrible.

Was considering letting creatures with Rock Throwing either attack touch AC or use their Strength instead of Dex for AB...but concerned that either of those might be making it TOO strong (i.e. going too far in the other direction). Not sure what a happy middle ground might be (besides literally something like 50% of strength to AB or something).

Rogar Valertis wrote:
That said I think a party of 3 PCs wasn't the best benchmark for this kind of challenge.

Somewhat ironically, I think it might have actually been one of the best benchmarks. Why? Because three level 9 PCs are considered CR12 overall. So a CR10 dragon should have been stronger than any PC individually but the group overall would be twice as strong as the dragon.

But the dragon is CR12-13...then suddenly it's as strong or stronger than the group.

On the flip side, say we had four level 10 PCs (CR14). A CR10 would be a speed bump and a CR12 would still be half as strong as the party. So the CR incorrectness would not be as noticeable.

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Philippe Lam wrote:
Given other dragon examples, I don't see why the nightmare one being a CR 10 is overpowered.

Compared to the two other CR10 dragons you linked to, the Adult Nightmare Dragon has...

- 75%ish more HP
- 4 more AC
- 4 more Fort/Will
- SR21
- 50% faster move speed
- 6 more AB
- 4 more damage per hit
- Breath weapon that deals 50% more damage with 5 higher DC
- Better spells/spell like abilities

And you think the Adult Nightmare Dragon needs the advanced template on top of that to be a CR10? Perhaps you could explain your reasoning on this.

Lady-J wrote:
well its suposta be a nightmare to deal with so it looks fine to me

Let's take it a step further and claim it's a CR4 or something!

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Relevant Adventure Path? It's a standard creature from Bestiary 5. It's not specific to any Adventure path.

I mentioned where I encountered one to give some context, but that has nothing to do with whether it's the stats of a CR12-13 creature that's listed as CR10.

Just compare said dragon to a Juvenile Gold Dragon, for example.

Or to the Monster Creation chart.

Its stats seem more in the CR12-13 range...not CR10.

Just had our party of three people (Armor Master Fighter, Alchemist, and Bard) get wrecked by one. We were level 9 at the time.

Orsephellius in the Lunar Prison from in Strange Aeons

Didn't help that we were apparently breezing through encounters enough that the GM decided to maximize the HP of all enemies to make it harder...which when presented a problem when we ran into this seeming brick wall...

Diachronos wrote:
Alternatively, try introducing more encounters that can't be beaten through brute strength. Being able to demolish an enemy in 1-2 turns won't do you any good when the party needs to make skill checks to get things done.

The players generally seem to prefer combat encounters and have seemed a bit lost at times at more open ended or less violent points of the campaign. Just giving the party what interests them.

Diachronos wrote:
Another thing to keep in mind about the paladin: He might have a lot of uses of Smite Evil with the Oath of Vengeance, but each use of Smite only applies to one enemy. If he's killing an enemy in only 1 turn with his damage output, he's spending one use of Smite Evil every turn just to keep that buff while switching targets.

Sure. And if the party is attacked by three Frost Giants (CR12 encounter) killing one with a Smite in 1-2 turns is already doing more than his part for a "hard" encounter. If the party is attacked by half a dozen Duergar soldiers being led by a captain, smiting the captain and killing him means the paladin could take a nap for the rest of the encounter and the party would be happy. Anything past that point is gravy. He already has eight Smite Evils per day instead of three -- so if there's four difficult encounters (actually difficult ones) per day he can still kill two high priority enemies per combat. And then it's usually just clean-up at that point.

Your logic only works if most encounters involve a swarm of individually weak targets with no leader...but Smite is overkill on those targets anyway mostly and he can kill them easily even without it.

Diachronos wrote:
Plus, Divine Bond/Divine Favor aren't as powerful as Smite Evil, so once he runs out of Smites his damage output is going to go down. It'll still be good, but nowhere near Smite levels.

Honestly? When it matters (on potentially lethal targets), he's going to run out of Divine Bonds/Divine Favor time first. Only has two Divine Bonds per day and a few Divine Favors...but as noted above he could smite two targets per encounter if there's four encounters per day (aka, kill stuff fast when it matters most at the start of each encounter to remove enemy action economy).

Basically, anything not difficult enough means he doesn't bother using his limited use abilities, they're not needed (he can afford to be weaker or the rest of the party can handle it). Anything difficult gets obliterated. In theory there's a extremely fine line that could be walked there, but that's incredibly difficult to do.

Again, though, I don't think he needs to be nerfed into the ground or anything. But I am inclined to think both archery and Paladin buffing potential (pre-combat) need to be toned down slightly...if the Paladin gets ambushed and has to only Smite (or use combat turns to buff with Divine Bond/Divine Favor) I have zero qualms with Paladins.

*Khan* wrote:
Why nerf the damage dealers? They are an important part of every group. A good striker needs to out damage the other members of the party by at least 50-75%.

This striker is out-damaging OTHER strikers by 50%. He's doing 50% more than a Fighter, Barbarian, or Slayer at a minimum. The Fighter/Barbarian/Slayer are ALREADY outdamaging the other members of the party by 50-75% or whatever and that's totally fine.

*Khan* wrote:
Why not nerf the healer who resurrect the dead or the wizard that gates in Solar?

I think we're a long way from Solars. Nor is there a healer resurrecting the dead mid-combat that I know of.

Gavmania wrote:
Also remember that the paladin only gets his smite evil against evil. Make the BBEG a neutral (or at least non-evil) and his big bonus goes away.

The BBEG is a Demon Lord. The PCs are dealing his minions currently, including a cult of his.

Gavmania wrote:
Natural attacks also begin to suffer at this time against opponents with DR. A simple DR 10/Silver is easy to overcome by a weapon wielder - not so a natural attacker. As they get higher level, the likelihood of meeting an opponent with significant DR increases, further nerfing the Natural Attacker.

Doesn't a +3 AoMF do it?

That said, that sounds like "He obliterates anything without natural DR (aka most classed enemies) and struggles against stuff with natural DR (aka stuff like demons)" which doesn't seem amazing.

Djelai wrote:
You missed my point.

Ah. So, say the spell only paralyzed on a failed Will save. Would it then seem like a low-level encounter to you?

That is a serious question -- this is the highest I've ever gotten as a player or GM and everything going forward is new to me.

Chess Pwn wrote:
archery was designed to be the best combat style "balanced" by the lots of feats and how easy it is for enemies to get cover from the archer's allies that are in the way.

The first part seems to be less of an issue as you get higher level, doubly so for classes like Fighters/Rangers/Slayers/Warpriests...especially since archery seems so strong that even lacking feats like Weapon Focus still leaves it as the strongest.

The latter is irrelevant at level 11+ for full BAB classes (or level 6 for Rangers/Slayers) with Improved Precise Shot. Seems hard to say "We're balancing archery by something that doesn't apply for 50% of the game" (arguably more since people could easily spend more time per level at higher levels).

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Later down the road, when people get 3+ attacks, they'll be at a comparable level with the Bloodrager, and as they get more attacks and more supplements to said attacks, the Bloodrager's big advantage (more attacks at equivalent or higher bonuses) starts to go away.

Sorry, to clarify, I see how multiple natural attacks (bite, bite, claw) is crazy good at lower levels. I was more asking how it got so much weaker apparently at higher levels (and I'm not thrilled with the sound of "Oh, he'll breeze through encounters meant to be challenging at low level and then get the party killed due to being weak at high level").

I mean, at level 11 a Bloodrager using a 2H weapon gets an extra attack, sure, but it's also at -10 AB from his best attack. At level 16 it's at -15 AB. Those don't add that much DPR unless you're attacking something with awful AC (either from having awful AC or being much weaker).

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
That's not factoring in things like having to wade into melee, which means there are rounds that they aren't full attacking, whereas the Archer Paladin can easily get away with it.

Sure, but those are two separate issues. I'm comparing a Bloodrager with a 2H weapon to a Bloodrager using natural weapons right now. Ranged vs melee has another whole set of issues.

Mysterious Stranger wrote:
It seems to me that you are not really that comfortable with high damaging characters. A fully optimized martial character is supposed to deal out large amounts of damage. This is pretty much their only real contribution to combat.

So why is this Bloodrager with no buffs but Bloodrage doing 35-50% more damage than a 2H Fighter? Slayer is even further behind the Fighter and Ranger is probably even worse off versus non-favored enemies especially.

Hell, at this point a Barbarian has +2 AB/+3 damage from Rage while a Fighter has +3 AB (1 from GWF, 2 from Weapon Training)/+4 damage (2 from WS, 2 from Weapon Training) unless the Barbarian has rage powers to boost offense the Barbarian is significantly behind as well.

Mysterious Stranger wrote:

A high level 9th level caster can often shutdown an entire encounter with a single spell.

The best way to challenge a party is not to weaken the characters, but rather to increase the power of the opponents.

I'd like to point out that you made both of these statements nearly back to back...

Mysterious Stranger wrote:
If your party is having too easy of a time, increase the power of the enemies. This is a lot better way than nerfing the PC’s.

I'm already getting situations like this one where doing so has me concerned about a TPK if things go wrong due to scaling breakpoints of more powerful enemies.

This gets even messier considering I've been using a fair chunk of humanoid enemies with class levels. Say I determine the party (currently level 9) can handle CR15 encounters using "normal" monsters. Rough fight, but winnable. Per that logic, I could create an evil adventuring party of eight level 9s with PC wealth and send them at the party (that's also a CR15 encounter). But we can clearly see the PCs would be of roughly equal power to the NPCs and then also be outnumbered...that's certainly not reasonable. And then we might be mixing and matching bestiary entries with class level enemies.

And we also get back to your point of power differences -- an enemy strong enough to put up a fight against the Bloodrager/Paladin could very well one round another party member. Power levels should be roughly equal with different strengths/weaknesses.

Also, just to be clear -- I have no qualms with a Paladin being strong against an evil opponent they smited...part of the job description. Yet Smite Evil being strong and Archery being strong clearly does not give license to defeat a Demon Lord while being level 9 -- the power gap is too large. Should they be able to defeat an equal CR evil foe with Smite without too much of a problem? Sure, I'll accept that. CR+1? Sure. CR+2? we're talking double the Paladin's power. CR+3? CR+4? At what point is the Paladin punching too far above her weight class?

Will respond to more later, have to head to sleep tonight.

Taja the Barbarian wrote:
Full Disclosure: I played an Semi-Mythic Oracle in 'Wrath of the Righteous' who stacked caster level buffs on Holy Word. I think I was at +8 Caster Levels (3 from feats which were doubled to 6 by Spell Perfection, 1 from a trait and 1 from an Ioun Stone) and I quickly decided to not cast it if I didn't have to (or if everyone (including the GM) really wanted to 'skip' an encounter and get to the interesting stuff) because it was little more than a 'I Win' button

Joy : /

Djelai wrote:
Otherwise, high-level encounters would just be low-level encounters with bigger numbers.

Spells like "Sleep" to coup de grace an entire party exist at level one...

Djelai wrote:
Yes, high level is "rocket-tag" style. While not ideal, I still prefer this to HP-grinding combats.

How would you define HP-grinding combats? I mean it seems like there would be a middle ground between killing a CR+2 enemy in one round and taking 20 rounds for one PC to kill an equal CR enemy.

Bob Bob Bob wrote:
Basically, you're looking a snapshot of the best possible time.
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Understand that, at this point, the Bloodrager/DD combo is at its high point

I feel it's worth pointing out that said character literally just joined the campaign. At level 9. So this is the only aspect of it I've actually seen.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
and full attacks aren't at a comparable level yet (unless you're an Archer).

Yeah, I'm very much not thrilled with the Oath of Vengeance Paladin archer in the group right now.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
But, the biggest drawback of all is that he is a Natural Weapons specialist. Natural Weapons are static, and in most cases, they are powerful in the early game due that they are plentiful and without drawback, which is almost impossible to replicate at the levels where it's truly strong. However, as levels are gained, they lose value because the things that made them so good become replicated or replaced, and as such makes them obsolete.

Can you elaborate on this?

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
I wouldn't be too worried about him being super powerful. He's not going to outpace an Archer, who is a lot more devastating when built correctly.

Yeah, I've been considering a house rule nerf to the Paladin archer for a while. Feels like the whole "zillion attacks" from archery stacks too well with the static damage bonus from Smite Evil/Divine Bond/Divine Favor...and he can do it from across the map to boot. Inclined to think BOTH archers and Paladins could do with a nerf (smallish one on the Paladin, maybe even just making it harder to pre-buff).

Really feels like archery was designed with a Rogue or Bard in mind who had low strength and lacked a lot of AB/damage they added in things like Manyshot to help. But in the hands of a Fighter/Paladin an archer is going to outdamage a 2H weapon user, even if both always get to full least at this level.

jbadams wrote:
Were you aware that the Bloodrager's bloodline abilities are only active whilst bloodraging (unless they state otherwise, which the Draconic abilities do not)?

How interesting. It seems you are correct. It's not in the description for Bloodrage, though after some searching I did find this:

"When a bloodrager enters a bloodrage, he often takes on a physical transformation influenced by his bloodline and powered by the magic that roils within him. Unless otherwise specified, he gains the effects of his bloodline powers only while in a bloodrage; once the bloodrage ends, all powers from his bloodline immediately cease, and any physical changes the bloodrager underwent revert, restoring him to normal."

Which is what I assume you are referring to.

So he loses 2 AC, 10 fire resistance, the bite attack, the claws, and cannot breath fire while not using his own bloodrage rounds (there's a skald in the party).

That makes a massive difference. He thought he had those active 100% of the time. I have no reason to think he was trying to cheat or anything, but it seems we need to have a chat.

Edit: if I was willing to let him keep his claws 100% of the time (but no bite/AC/fire resist/breath unless raging) would that cause any balance issue that you can see?

TL;DR: Dragon Disciple for Bloodrager is seeming like just a significant raw power increase rather than expanding options...which I thought had changed for Prestige Classes.

There's a Bloodrager 5/Dragon Disciple 4 in my campaign. Without getting into a debate of Bloodragers vs other classes, it seems there's a significant amount of power gained from the Dragon Disciple levels.

- 4 extra strength
- 2 extra AC
- bite attack

This comes at the cost of...

- 1 BAB
- 1 caster level
- DR 1/-
- 8 rounds of rage (looking at it, I think he's made a mistake or I'm missing something -- I'm coming up with 15 rounds of rage for him but he has 22 listed...4 base, 3 from 16 Con, 8 from this might be a bigger deal than I thought)

That works out to a net gain of 1 AB, 2 damage (3 with the bite), 2 more AC, and another primary attack with 1.5 strength the cost of 1 caster level, 1 more damage taken per hit, and less raging per day.

And that bite is over a 50% increase in damage output while not hasted and still over a 33% bonus when that's huge. Seems like you'd be stupid NOT to go DD levels if you want be Draconic Bloodrager (especially if you're going natural attacks).

To rephrase: DD seems like it was written with Sorcerer and Bard in mind...concerned about it combined with Bloodrager (which gets things like infinite claws and thus infinite bite per day, for example). Is Draconic Bloodline just considered weak overall or something? And it needs DD to boost it to the power of other bloodlines? Or is BR/DD just stronger than BR?

I would imagine that in an ideal world BR20 is the same power as BR10/DD10, just BR is more brute force and BR/DD is more draconic abilities to make up for less raw output...but that doesn't seem to be the case at the moment.

Djelai wrote:
You already know the answer to your non-question (because there is no question in your post): just reduce the CL of the demon by 1.

The question is: "Is this unfair for a CR11 monster?"

The witch can try to sleep enemies an infinite number of times per day at a higher DC. Witch can Baleful Polymorph at a higher DC. Witch can Fear at a higher DC (which is an actual AoE). This is all at level 9 (and the witch is effectively a CR9 creature).

And that's just one PC out of six. I've been told repeatedly that Pathfinder becomes rocket tag at higher levels. So the answer might very well be "Yep, this is expected of this kind of enemy. If they don't paralyze several group members then they're weak."

Taja the Barbarian wrote:
Best case scenario for the PCs is if they can take the demon down to half health before it takes its first action and trigger its Rage: Of course, doing at least 95 damage while it's still flat-footed might not be likely.

The Paladin archer could likely do that with a Smite Evil full attack. Really not thrilled with the Paladin archer overall : /

Taja the Barbarian wrote:
(a proper coup-de-grace is a full action)

I've actually house-ruled coup-de-grace to be a one round action instead of full round, which avoids this issue.

Taja the Barbarian wrote:
The only real drawback to this spell is that it is centered on the caster: A 40 foot spread is pretty nice, but ranged characters might be able to stay out of the AoE (although a ranged paladin probably wants to keep fairly close for Point Blank Shot).

Demon is going to be teleporting next to the archer on its first turn (unless it's able to get there normally) to try to prevent the archer from annihilating it.

Sent you a PM earlier.

lemeres wrote:
(presumably, you should put some kind of obstacle so the party doesn't charge in, and you do not need to handwave why the demons didn't attack them; starting off at the top of a cliff/chasm might be good).

Archer Paladin. Anything within 550 feet that looks evil (y'know, like a demon, not talking murder hoboing) is going to get smote and unloaded on.

That's not even getting into the issue of flying.

lemeres wrote:
Let the party watch some warriors at attack this thing, get paralyzed, adn then quickly coup d'graced.

The party would intervene to try to save the warriors.

They don't really know, no, though they do know there's a demon.

How would they be stocking up on Remove Paralysis? Wands? 4/6 characters couldn't use a wand. Oracle doesn't know Freedom of Movement either.

Matthew Downie wrote:
And the resulting characters will have very specific weaknesses - trivial ACs, inability to hit high-AC PCs, and terrible saves.

Echoing this. At level, say, 15, NPCs will have at least 8 less AC, 5 less AB, and 5 less saves than an equivalent PC. That's absolutely massive. And will heavily favor casters with even more rocket tag (less saves being made).

Dasrak wrote:
With that said, the size of your party does give you some leeway in that it's less likely for all of them to fail that save, but on the other hand losing a key party member (like that Paladin) could shut you down even if most people save.

Yeah. If the Paladin and Bloodrager fail, the party will likely be in serious trouble.

Dasrak wrote:
We don't know what the rest of the encounter looks like, but the demon itself is CR 11, so on its own it's an APL+1 encounter, which should be fairly mundane. Its caster level is 14, but its CR is much lower than that.

Probably something like a Vrock lieutenant and half a dozen Dretches. The biggest danger is if most of the party gets paralyzed for the whole encounter. So either the spell could be more or less wasted (even -4 strength wouldn't slow down the party that much) or it could effectively wipe the party.

Dunmuir wrote:

What is your party composition?

What are their builds?

Archer Paladin

Natural Attack Bloodrager/Dragon Disciple

That said, I'm mainly concerned about the 1d10 minutes of paralyzation specifically. And wondering if it's unfair (since if the PCs were one level higher it wouldn't be an issue and if it wasn't CL14 as a CR11 it wouldn't be an issue).

Looking at this vs a party of six level 9s (effectively APL 10). Main concern is the CL14 Blasphemy...which would be 1d10 minutes of paralysis for any party member that failed the save. If the party was one level higher or the CL was one lower that wouldn't be an issue.

Demon won't be alone either, will have some lesser demons, but will be the main threat.

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Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
Its frustrating when not just one of those scenes but an entire 3 hour game session evaporates into a blood-mist with just average rolls.

Clarify? I assume you mean "it dies too fast" rather than "it dies" because the PCs ARE supposed to win with average rolls. Add more monsters, add the advanced template, use tougher encounters, etc.

And as others said, the rules assumed 15 point buy, standard WBL, 4 person party.

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Taja the Barbarian wrote:
Remember, for 5th level PCs, the (rough) guidelines are:
  • CR 9 Opponents should probably kill them more often than not

A CR9 encounter is like facing their clones. Four level 5 PCs vs four level 5 PCs is a CR9 encounter for both. So when you think CR+4, think "as powerful as the group combined, roughly even chance for either side to win."

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Lady-J wrote:
if the most basics of putting a functional character together is deemed to op for a gm maybe they shouldn't be gming it would be like saying your wizard has to have 14 in str minimum and cant have more then 12 int, or that martials aren't allowed to take power attack or weapon focus which is just silly

I never thought I'd be agreeing with Lady-J or liking a post of hers but life moves in mysterious ways I guess...

Kitty Catoblepas wrote:
If the party is fighting a CR 5 monster, it should be equal to a level 6 character.

That isn't quite correct. A PC with normal WBL for a PC has CR equal to its level. So if you took a party of four level 5 Barbarians and had them fight another level 5 Barbarian (and all had the same gear/build), that's a CR 5 encounter for an APL 5 party. Alterive, the enemy could be a level 6 Barbarian with NPC wealth and that would also be a CR 5 encounter.

Which is why CR = APL encounters are so's effectively 4 on 1 odds. Or the same as fighting 4 enemies that are 4 levels lower each (so 4 level 1 Barbarians also equate to a CR 5 encounter...they're going to get stomped by 4 level 5s).

Eltacolibre wrote:
Are you using the guidelines for creating npcs? They exactly tell you how much you should spend on consumable.

Hmm. So according to the guidelines, a level 6 NPC could not even afford one Potion of Invisibiity and one Potion of Bull's Strength, for example (450g for potions). The NPC is only spending 450 out of 4650 gold (9.7%).

On the flip side, the Gamemastering guide says

"15% on disposable items like potions, scrolls, and wands"

A PC will have MORE consumables due to having more wealth in the first place, but it seems odd the "constantly adventuring" PC has a greater percentage of their wealth in consumables compared to the NPC soldier who's only worried about surviving his first battle. You'd think armies would focus on giving their soldiers a larger percentage of consumables, far more cost efficient...

deuxhero wrote:
However many they can use in their (almost certainly) single fight plus whatever you want to give the PCs as loot.

That's what I've been using but I was wondering if that was fair/reasonable.

Elegos wrote:
I guarantee you, however many consumables you give your bad guys, the number of consumables that they will use is close to 1. Maybe 2 if they have mooks screening them while they drink a potion.

These are often for the mooks. A way for them to pre-buff if they're aware the party is incoming (just like the party often pre-buffs like crazy when possible). Potion of Bull's Strength is <2% of the cost of a +4 Belt of Giant Strength but the same effect if you have a round to chug it. And if the party doesn't give the enemy time to prepare, then hey the PCs get more loot.

Since NPCs have drastically reduced WBL compared to PCs (along with drastically reduced life expectancy), how much of their limited wealth should be consumables? It seems like a Potion of Invisibility (300g), Potion of Heroism (750g), Potion of Bull's Strength (300g), Potion of Shield of Faith (50g), etc and using the Potion of Invisibility to hide and drink the other potions is a better combat strategy than spending 2000g on a Ring of Protection +1.

On the flip side, I don't want the PCs to feel like the NPCs get to "optimize" around a single encounter while the PCs have to worry about long term stuff and can't afford to burn massive consumables every encounter.

Does a creature with Trample have to move in any particular pattern (like a straight line) or can it just run around the battleground in any direction/shape it wants and Trample everything in its path?

Do Improved Overrun or Greater Overrun affect Trample in any way?

Do buffs such as Inspire Courage or Greater Magic Fang improve Trample damage (is it considered a "weapon" strike?)?

First of all, in addition to the spell description itself Ultimate Intrigue apparently has the following:

"Dominate Person: Unlike suggestion, this spell gives the caster total control over another character, and the demands don’t need to be reasonable. The one saving grace in a game that employs intrigue is that the Sense Motive DC to detect the effect is only 15, so someone is very likely to notice it. Still, the effect is quite powerful, and it can potentially ruin a player’s time if her character becomes dominated, or it can ruin a plot if players dominate a vital NPC. The spell even allows a caster to use the dominated creature as a spy and see through its eyes, though again, the low DC of the Sense Motive check means that there are usually better ways to do so. In addition to other means of protecting against compulsions, dominate person has two special escape clauses.

First, the creature never takes obviously self destructive actions. The spell doesn’t mention whether this means only bodily harm, but there are many sorts of destruction beyond the physical. For instance, a command to make a king announce something that will obviously irreparably destroy his reputation and tear his kingdom apart likely counts. Even if something isn’t obviously self-destructive, each time a command forces the dominated person to take actions against his nature, he receives another saving throw with a +2 bonus. It’s up to you [the GM] to determine how often to give these new saving throws if orders result in many successive acts against a character’s nature, but be fair in applying them at the same rate for both PCs and NPCs. Since being dominated can be highly frustrating for PCs, you can consider choosing a particularly fast rate in applying these new saving throws in both cases, though be sure to let the PCs know about this if it looks like they can use a dominate effect before the NPCs do. The advice here also applies to dominate monster."


So let's say we have two players, a Fighter and a Wizard. They run across three Frost Giants (Al, Bob, and Chris).

The Wizard goes first and begins a Dominate Person spell on Al.

The Fighter goes second and rushes at the Giants.

The Giants full attack the Fighter.

The Wizard finishes his spell and Al fails his will save. The Frost Giant is now Dominated (and the Wizard has his full turn left).

What happens in the following scenarios:


1. The Wizard moves away (move action) and goes invisible (standard action). He therefore issues no command to the Dominated giant.

A. The Giant (Al) continues to attack the Fighter. He might be Dominated, but he hasn't been given an order to do something else.

B. The Giant stands there in a stupor. He's Dominated and cannot take any action of his own volition short of basic survival actions (eating, sleeping, etc).

C. Something else


2. The Wizard issues a telepathic command (move action) for Al to attack Bob (not using names, just saying "Attack that giant there") and goes invisible (standard action).

A. Al gets a new Will save (against his nature to attack his fellow giants). Say he fails. He then attacks Bob until told otherwise.

B. Al gets a new Will save. Say he fails. He takes one swing at Bob and has fulfilled his immediate order and thus stands there doing nothing.

C. Something else


3. The Wizard issues a command for Al to defend the Wizard.

A. Al gets a new Will save, fails, and starts fighting his former allies.

B. Al gets a save, fails, and tries to non-lethally subdue his allies.

C. Al gets a save, fails, and runs over next to the Wizard, only attacking enemies who directly attack the Wizard.

D. Something else


4. The Wizard issues a command for Al to attack the other frost giants ("Attack the other giants!").

A. Al gets a save and fails and repeatedly attacks both other giants.

B. Al gets a save and fails but the command is too general (Al has to be ordered to attack each target and gets a new save every time he's told to attack someone else) and thus stands there in a stupor.

C. Something else.


5. The Wizard and Fighter have won the fight and Al is still alive (but Dominated). The Fighter attempts to coup de grace Al.

A. Al is Dominated and cannot do anything, he's coup de graced.

B. Al is Dominated but will not take self-destructive actions (like just stand there during a coup de grace) and tries to dodge the blow.

C. Al is dominated but will not take self-destructive actions. He wishes to attack the Fighter back. The Wizard disagrees and Al gets a new Will save for an action against his nature (not fighting back). He gets a new save for each swing the Fighter takes against him.

D. Something else.


Trying to figure out how the spell works and the limits of the spell (particularly in combat, since it seems to be more oriented to out of combat control with its days per level duration).

Say you have a Fighter on foot. You use a Trip combat maneuver against him and succeed. He falls prone to the ground. Simple enough. But...

1, what if the Fighter is on a horse? What happens if you succeed with a Trip combat maneuver against the Fighter?

2, what if you trip the horse instead of the Fighter? The horse goes prone -- what happens to the Fighter?

Now say you have a Wizard on foot. You trip him, he falls down. Simple. Now he casts Fly and is hovering. This time you trip him...and it fails (because he is flying). But...

3. What if the Wizard has cast Fly but is still on the ground when you try to trip him?

blahpers wrote:
Edit:. You nerfed blasting? Seriously?

When I started running this campaign (which incidentally was the first campaign I had ever GMed), I set the allowed books to Core Rulebook, Advanced Player Guide, and Advanced Class Guide. Other material is on a case by case bias, primarily for flavor or new options.

Chromantic Durgon chooses to call this a nerf.

In the middle of a move, won't have time to respond much for two days, but let me address a few things...

Lady-J wrote:
hunters can passively buff their companions stats and at the level the hunter is now they get a +4 boost which is probably going to dex thus 30 ac

Lady J is correct, the 4 Dex from Aspect of the Tiger is the remaining 2 AC. Hunters can have two Aspects permanently active starting at level 8.

Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:

1) It attacks one thing at a time and aint on-shotting anything, so its focusing on one enemy over two turns minimum, functionally the same as a witch with overland flight going Evil eye/Misfortune - Slumber. For example.

2) Target its will save, its an Elephant, it can't be that high.
3) Target its touch AC
4) Split them up, there are lots of places PCs can and will go, that Elephants can't.
5) Fly
6) Dispel some buffs
7) In a normal campaign you could also AoE it down fairly easily targeting reflex, but blasting has been heavily nerfed in Balkoth's game unless his house rules have changed, so thats one less option I guess.

How do #1, #2, #3, #5, and #7 not apply to, say, a Fighter? Many would apply to a Slayer, Paladin, etc as well.

Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
Its just good at its thing.

Let me ask you (and anyone else who cares to respond) a pair of questions.

First, at what point would you say it's TOO good at its thing? What actual numerical values? And how would you determine that?

Second, at what point would you say it's too weak at its thing? As in the first question, I'm looking for actual numerical values and the method of determination.

Lady-J wrote:
i also did some calculating and it the ac checks out and its to hit and dmg isn't that great either so it seems pretty balenced

Lady-J, I appreciate your well-intentioned effort to help...but your view of what is balanced is horrendously skewed as we've seen from past threads.

Eltacolibre wrote:
On top of it said Elephant isn't going to fight CR 9 fights anyway (unless you want to make some very easy fights).

Well, let's throw the Elephant at another CR 9 fight. Specifically...the Hunter's evil twin shows up. The Hunter's evil twin is also level 9 with PC WBL and is thus CR 9 (when combined with his pet).

I don't think the heroic Elephant is going to defeat the evil Elephant AND the evil Hunter at the same time. But that's also a CR9 fight, just like the Frost Giant.

Eltacolibre wrote:
In a party, the group will most likely fight CR 12-13 battle. Which most of the time, the animal companion is just beefy to survive these kind of fights a little bit.

Okay, so let's make a CR 13 battle. That's four Frost Giants.

And...let's have the group be four Hunters. Without buffing their pets, without supporting their pets with Teamwork feats, and without the Hunters doing anything themselves...the Elephants charge the Frost Giants and win.

Eltacolibre wrote:
It doesn't take into account that basically most creatures CR 10 and above, have many special abilities...some that can outright just disable the elephant or even kill it in one standard action.

If we removed "elephant" from that statement and put in "fighter" or "slayer" instead, what would change?

Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
when you come to an actually vaguely focused PC they will solo of a lot of things their CR, especially the earlier bestiary monsters which are kinda lacklustre

If the Hunter and his pet were "soloing" the Frost Giant, I'd be fine with that. But let's break down the hunter. You can quibble with these numbers and I'm not claiming they're 100% accurate, but they provide a starting point. The Hunter's power is...

20% the Hunter himself
20% the Hunter's spells (Greater Magic Fang, Barkskin, Strongjaw, etc)
20% the Hunter's teamwork feats (Pack Flanking, Outflank, Precise Strike, Paired Opportunists, etc)
40% the Hunter's pet (with the permanent Animal Focus buffs)

then in this example we're taking away 60% of the Hunter's power. I'm fine with 100% of the Hunter soloing a CR9. I could even accept 80% of a Hunter soloing a CR9. Not so thrilled with 40% of the Hunter soloing a CR9. See the difference?

Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
My point is, martial PCs with even a vague hint of focusing on a fighting style will be well ahead of the CR curve.

Is that so? Let's take a look (spoilers if you don't want to see the math)...

We've determined the (unbuffed/unsynergized) Elephant has...

+15/+10 Gore (3d6+10) and +15 Slam (1d8+10)
30 AC
96 HP

We've determined he can kill the Frost Giant in 6 rounds and can survive 7 rounds against the Frost Giant.

Now let's make a level 9 Fighter. Fighters have save problems, inability to fly, difficulty affecting the plot, whatever (people posit all of the above and more)...but people seem to agree that in raw numbers Fighters aren't hurting. The Fighter will have the heroic array...and we'll buff strength to 16 (3 more points) and the 13 to 14 (2 more points) to get a 20 point buy. So...

18 strength (human)
14 dex
14 con
10 int
12 wis
8 cha

Gear-wise he can afford...

+3 full plate (11k with MW costs and everything built in)
+2 weapon (8k)
+3 heavy shield (9k)
+1 ring of protection (2k)
+1 amulet of natural armor (2k)
+2 str belt (4k)
+3 cloak of resistance (9k)

That's 45k out of 46k, last 1k is spent on some emergency use consumables or saved.

Assuming (Greater) Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, Power Attack, Furious Focus, and a few other feats (if you want to mention some others specifically we can include them, but stuff like Iron Will doesn't matter in this case), we get...

+21/+13 (1d8 + 18)
31 AC (10 + 12 armor + 2 dex + 5 shield + 1 natural + 1 deflection)
117 HP (assuming FCB goes to HP)

This Fighter deals 36 damage per round to the Frost Giant, which gives us 199/36 = 5.53 = 6 rounds to kill the giant (this is actually less damage per round than the Elephant). AC of 31 is the one higher and the extra HP means we can live for 117/12.925 = 9.05 rounds.

So it takes us the same number of rounds to kill the Frost Giant but we can survive roughly 2-3 rounds longer than the Elephant. That's not well ahead of the curve, the Fighter will be at roughly 33% health when he wins against the equal CR threat.

How about a Greatsword instead?

Drop the Heavy Shield +3, bring the Ring of Protection to a +2, lose 4 AC overall. Now we have...

+21/+13 (2d6 + 24)
27 AC (10 + 12 armor + 2 dex + 1 natural + 2 deflection)
117 HP (assuming FCB goes to HP)

This Fighter deals 49.6 damage per round to the Frost Giant, which gives us 199/49.6 = 4.01 rounds to kill the giant. AC of 27 is lower, but combined with the extra HP we can live for 117/22.325 = 5.24 = 6 rounds.

So if we're barely unluckier than average, we'll kill the Frost Giant one round before he would kill us (winding up with like 6 health).

I'm rushing through this so maybe I'm messing up some numbers, feel free to correct me.

We could also make a level 9 Slayer (who offhand would probably have 1 less AB and 2 less damage per hit at this point than the Fighter along with likely slightly lower AC). The Slayer ain't exactly going to obliterate the Frost Giant with ease either.

And again, I'm not comparing the Hunter to the Fighter/Slayer overall...I'm comparing 40% of the Hunter to the Fighter/Slayer.

Lathiira wrote:
1) Giants (at least earlier giants) don't have many tricks. They're easy enough to deal with because they're beatsticks. That said....

That's exactly the point. But the beatsticks are losing to 40% of the Hunter.

Lathiira wrote:
2) Have you tried running your simulations where the giant (or hill giants, second case) can start the fight by throwing rocks at the elephant? They are all big critters, likely to see each other...and the giants have ranged weapon superiority.

Sure. The Frost Giants throw a Boulder at +9...which means they need a natural 20 to hit the Elephant (AC 30 unbuffed). The Hill Giants are slightly better off -- they throw at +7 BUT there are two of them so twice as likely per round to get a hit from a natural 20!

Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
It's also worth mentioning that you're currently at the levels where animal companions are reall shining, they start to fall off in effectiveness around 12ish

So what would be a good way to reduce their power right now while not hurting them (or even buffing them) at higher level?

TL; DR: An unbuffed Elephant pet that isn't using the Hunter teamwork feats can solo a mob with equal CR to the Hunter plus his pet combined.

Let me mention a few things right off the bat:

1. The Hunter (no archetype) in question is level 9 with an Elephant pet. He has normal PC WBL (46k). The only actual gear the Elephant is wearing is an Amulet of Mighty Fists (Frost) and a Mithral Chain Shirt. That's a total of 1d6 cold damage per hit and +4 armor AC.

2. A level 9 PC with full WBL is a CR 9 creature (his pet is included in the calculation). That's per the rules.

3. If CR 9 creature fights another CR 9 creature each is supposed to have roughly a 50% chance to win (unless there's something special about abilities, environment, etc that tilts the fight in favor of one).

4. A Frost Giant is also CR 9. Frost Giants are immune to cold. Frost Giants are brutes with physical stats above the curve but weaker Reflex/Will and no real special abilities. They are supposed to excel in straight up brawls.

5. Players (and companions) have maximized HP. This means the elephant has 96 HP ((8 base HP + 4 con HP) * 8 levels) rather than 68 Hp ((4.5 base HP + 4 con HP) * 8 levels), which is a 41% increase. Bestiary creatures have a 50% HP boost. This means the Frost Giant has 199 HP rather than 133. Note that this gives the Frost Giant slightly more relative HP.

6. The Elephant does have Improved Natural Attack (Gore) but does not have Dodge or Weapon Focus (meaning its AB and AC could actually be higher). Instead, it has Improved Overrun, Combat Reflexes, and Power Attack (note: I am assuming the pet isn't using Power Attack since that would make the issue even worse, in theory).

7. My current concern is about the pet when it has no limited duration buffs from the Hunter and is not using the synergy of teamwork feats (including Pack Flanking, Outflank, Precise Strike, etc). At a minimum this means it is missing...

4 AC from Barkskin
2 AB and 2 damage from Greater Magic Fang
4 AB from Outflank
3.5 damage (1d6) from Precise Strike

That's a total of 4 AC, 6 AB, and 5.5 damage that it DOESN'T have in this example, and that's not getting into stuff like Strongjaw and other buffs. All the pet has is Animal Focus x2 (which is permanent).


Let's review: the pet has an amulet that's useless versus the Frost Giant, does not have a bunch of buffs from the Hunter, and is not getting teamwork feat bonuses from the Hunter. The pet could also have at least 1 more AB and AC if the Hunter wanted. The pet could also use Power Attack.

DESPITE all of these problems, the pet is still favored in a match-up versus the Frost Giant. This is assuming the Elephant starts in full-attack range of the Frost Giant AND the Frost Giant wins initiative. I'm *trying* to favor the Frost Giant.

Here are the core overall stats...

+15/+10 Gore (3d6+10) and +15 Slam (1d8+10)
30 AC
96 HP

Frost Giant
+18/+13 Greataxe (3d6+13)
21 AC
199 HP

Overall, it takes the Frost Giant 7 rounds of full attacks to kill the Elephant on average (technically like 6.28 but that rounds up to 7). On the flip side, it takes the Elephant 6 rounds of full attacks to kill the Frost Giant (technically 5.45 which rounds up to 6). Meaning the Frost Giant will usually lose even if the Frost Giant goes first.

And again, this is without Barkskin, (Greater) Magic Fang, Strongjaw, Outflank, Precise Strike, the Hunter doing ANYTHING but taking a nap, etc. And also without Weapon Focus/Dodge or something like a +1 or +2 magical bonus on the mithral shirt barding.

This was also tested with stuff like two Hill Giants (7 CR each, 9 CR total). The Hill Giants were put into flanking position and both got to full attack before the Elephant. Elephant still won.

Am I crazy for thinking this doesn't seem balanced? Considering reducing the pet's power a bit, likely something along the lines of dropping its armor class by a few points.

lemeres wrote:
....oh....ooooooh. So this IS a Wrath of the Righteous situation, where there will be just the one kind of enemy?

I've never played Wrath of the Righteous, but taking a guess I'd say no. They will make up an increasing percentage of enemies as time goes on and the final boss is a demon, but there's a reasonable chunk of variety through level 12 at least (haven't played out specifics past that).

lemeres wrote:
Ok, yeah, that puts things into perspective. Yeah, taht is a bad situation to face a ranger in.

They've only had four encounters that had demons so far. In fact, I've been worried that the ranger seems to be struggling compared to what a Barbarian, Fighter, Paladin, or Slayer would be doing...

Bob Bob Bob wrote:
So keep in mind, Instant Enemy has a target line "Target one creature that is not your favored enemy." so it only works if they are specifically not one of his favored enemies already. Otherwise the numbers look correct.

Hmm. So that actually seems to encourage taking one "main" FE and then having the rest be stuff you probably never fight in order to have max power from Instant Enemy?

Bob Bob Bob wrote:
Are you only concerned with combat numbers?

For now, yes, it's a mainly heroic fantasy campaign, not worried about him messing up a complicated intrigue plot or something.

Bob Bob Bob wrote:
Are you sure they're staying single-classed?

Nope, haven't asked. They're level 6 at the moment.

lemeres wrote:
Giving them time to prebuff insures they will tear your monsters apart.

Yeah, I'm seriously worried about this in another campaign which has an paladin archer. If he had to buff in combat I wouldn't be worried. But being able to pre-buff (at level 8) with 1 AB and 8 damage (followed by another 5 AB and 8 damage from Smite Evil) has been problematic a few times.

lemeres wrote:
Of course, some campaigns are ultra focused, like wrath of the righteous or some of the undead stuff... those are places where you want to go all in.

He's aware Demons will be the primary antagonists later on. So far he has +4 vs demons and +2 vs humans (there's a mostly human demon cult).

Vatras wrote:
As Iemeres points out, never present the group with a single enemy. Groups are way better and give everyone a shot.

I rarely do. And when I do it's against something like a cave bear and isn't meant to be a severe test of the party's skills.

Vatras wrote:
On the other hand, Instant Enemy is a 3rd level spell. The ranger gets them at level 10 soonest and has a whopping 3 of them at level 20. So he doesn't get close to how often a paladin can smite at that level.

3rd level Pearls of Power are only 9k each.

Thanks everyone.

Here's the spell in question.

If a Hunter casts it (the Ranger/Druid hybrid), what happens?

Cost for magical weapons is 2000 * bonus squared.

So 2,000 (plus base price and masterwork which you've already paid apparently) for a +1.

8000 for +2.

18000 for +3.

32000 for +4.


Do you mean Alchemical Silver?

So, in one of the campaigns I'm GMing I have a new Ranger. He's a Dwarf dual-wielding a Dwarven Waraxe and a Handaxe (house rule that Weapon Focus affects weapons groups from Weapon Training). He went the Divine Tracker archetype, giving up the Hunter's Bond ability.

I've already told him Demons will be a extremely common foe and the main antagonists, especially at higher level.

If I understand Favored Enemy correctly, this means at level 20 he could wind up with something like...

+10 AB/damage vs Evil Outsiders

+2 AB/damage vs Favored Enemy from level 5 (humans right now, there is a mostly evil demon cult that I mentioned)

+2 AB/damage vs Favored Enemy from level 10

+2 AB/damage vs Favored Enemy from level 15

+2 AB/damage vs Favored Enemy from level 20

Assuming he dumped everything into one enemy. Which seems like the smart thing to do, since Instant Enemy lets him designate a target and make it considered an Evil Outsider for +10 AB/damage.

Also, he'll have Lead Blades or Gravity Bow presumably. His Blessings are Strength and Protection.

Does this seem like a reasonable summary? Am I missing out on anything significant? Not worried about 1-2 AB or AC here and there or whatever right now, just worried about broad stuff.

SlimGauge wrote:
and the "M", because you are your own ally

Why does Bless say

"Area: The caster and all allies within a 50-ft. burst, centered on the caster"

and Prayer say

"You and each of your allies gain a +1 luck bonus on attack rolls, weapon damage rolls, saves, and skill checks, while each of your foes takes a -1 penalty on such rolls."

Why not just say "All allies..." and "Each ally gains a +1 luck..." in that case?

So player A and player B are flanking an enemy. Player C walks up to said enemy waving around his menacing weapon. Player A and B suddenly each gain an extra 2 AB due to the weapon property. That's a gain of 4 AB for 1 AB/1 damage -- clearly an excellent trade.

Now, the description for Menacing says

"Menacing: This ability can only be placed on a melee weapon. This weapon property helps allies deal with flanked foes. When the wielder is adjacent to a creature that is being flanked by an ally, the flanking bonus on attack rolls for all flanking allies increases by +2. This ability works even if the wielder is not one of the characters flanking the creature."

What happens if the enemy is large (or player C has Gang Up, or something similar)? Does the bonus granted by the weapon go up to +6 total (split across three players) for 1 AB/1 damage? Or does it stay at +4 (split across two players)?

I mean, strictly speaking, even granting an single ally 2 AB in exchange for 1 AB/1 damage is still a superior tradeoff, numbers wise.

Say I had a Green Hag. 9 HD, CR 5.

Now say I wanted to give it six Witch levels and PC WBL.

Do I give it...

Level 6 WBL (6 Witch levels): 16k

Level 11 WBL (6 Witch levels + 5 CR creature): 82k

Level 15 WBL (6 Witch levels + 9 HD creature): 240k

Or something else entirely?

I'm *pretty* sure it ain't the 240k at a minimum.

Here's a thought to consider: a 7 Int character is not a tactical genius. That's only 1 Int above a *troll.* But people don't bat an eyelash when the 7 Int PC maneuvers perfectly around the battlefield flawlessly exploiting any advantage he can. People are using the *player's* tactical ability instead of the *character's* tactical ability.

Never seen a GM say "Roll an intelligence check to figure out what your character is capable of doing, tactically speaking."

I also tend to think a lot of GMs overuse social checks. If you have a solid argument backed up with actual evidence, your "target" shouldn't give you the middle finger just because you didn't get a DC 20 Diplomacy check or something. I feel like Diplomacy and such are more used when you DON'T have solid reasons. Kind of "I want you to help me even though you have no real reason to...pretty please with sugar on top."

Like Louise said, plenty of political speeches are devoid of any actual meaning but still inspire/rile up people due to the Charisma involved.

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"Protection From Evil: Does this work against all charm and compulsion effects? Or just against charm and compulsion effects where the caster is able to exercise control over the target, such as charm person, command, and dominate person (and thus not effects like sleep or confusion, as the caster does not have ongoing influence or puppet-like control of the target)?

The latter interpretation is correct: protection from evil only works on charm and compulsion effects where the caster is able to exercise control over the target, such as command, charm person, and dominate person; it doesn't work on sleep or confusion. (Sleep is a border case for this issue, but the designers feel that "this spell overrides your brain's sleep centers" is different enough than "this spell overrides your resistance to commands from others.")"

666bender wrote:

how \ what creatures have AC 20 at level 1 ???

there is non at CR 1 with that AC.
and a full plate opponent? kill and sell the armor!!!


5 AC from Scale Mail (50 gold)
2 AC from Heavy Shield
2 AC from 14 Dex
Dodge or Shield Focus feat

There's 20 AC. Could even skip the feat if you start with 16 Dex.

Something like a Hobgoblin could easily afford those items and would have 19 AC with them.

Disturbed1Smurf wrote:
When you do your AoO make it another trip. To keep him on the ground.

That doesn't work. Until he actually stands up (which is after the AoO), he can't be tripped again.

A numerical quibble.

bitter lily wrote:
A level 5 PC is worth 1,600 XP; four amount to 6,400 XP & five 8,000. If we come up with that much XP fighting them, we've got a 50-50 chance someone in the party would die in a face-off.

It's not a 50-50 chance of someone in the party. It's a 50/50 chance of the ENTIRE party dying. A CR+4 encounter is equal power on both sides. Equivalent CR to fighting your clones. That's in theory. In practice, players often optimize characters better, get extra stats/gear, have better synergy, have better action economy, etc.

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