The negative energy damage was only 4-5 dice. I think it would have taken quite a while to outright channel the thing to death.
I feel bad for your husband, but there was very little I could do. We had three characters that were in the sweet spot to take poundings from the melee NPCs. Plus, there were some crazy initiative rolls involved.
Sorry, my PI (principal investigator) uses a priori all the time. It has sort of worked its way into my vocabulary. It's actually a slick phrase in that it sums up a concept very succinctly.
At any rate, my NPCs always work off the knowledge they know. Which, unfortunately, against many groups, gets them taken out quickly indeed.
"And to argue that it is dishonest for the GM to prioritize targets with their NPCs and creatures using the same reasons PCs use to choose their targets, is in itself disingenuous."
I said a priori. Looking at robes vs plate armor is not a priori. That is using observeables. That's fine.
I'm talking about avoiding a monk that has no obvious source of huge AC for an entire scenario just because the monk proved unhittable in the first encounter. The NPC's in the subsequent encounters don't have the knowledge of the NPC's from the first encounter except in specific circumstances.
I don't think any of it is *wrong*. In fact, I've seen even more powerful animal companions in play. I'm frustrated that it is possible to begin with. I don't blame any particular player for taking advantage of what Paizo has put into print. I'm saying they shouldn't have printed the animal companions table as it is to begin with. Again, I have no idea how it got out of play testing.
It turns out that our other melee sources in that scenario were under armored and one of these melees and the group's gunslinger paid the penalty in form PC deaths. After this scenario, I totally understand the need for ~30 AC at tier 8-9, I just don't think that animal companions should be able to be the ones providing that level of armor class.
And again, I'd like to point out there is nothing stopping you from using the sorcerer as much more than a buffing character. Just as there is nothing stopping any given druid player from running their PC as a side show.
The gold investment into this scheme is certainly more than a single suit of mithril chian barding, but its still not breaking the bank. There's still plenty of money by level 9 to power up CHA to blast on top of the stegosaurus if the player so desired.
Also, if I'm representing the scenario incorrectly, please say so. But if I'm not mistaken, the stegosaur was never really in any peril that whole scenario.
I feel pretty strongly about this, and my only character eligible for an AC cashed it out with an archetype. So I do walk the walk. However, I am considering a summoner just to see if I can make a summoner that is competitive with a druid. Or how close I can get.
I'm not understanding what's going on then. I played Halls of Dwarven Lore at 8-9 and the AC 32 animal companion was rarely hit. The next highest armor class in the group was 25. Now that may be on the heads of the players, but the NPCs were struggling to get anything done against AC 32, even with flanks.
Well, the most obvious answer is that with a druid, the druid itself can still do something. You are not sending an actual PC to do the job.
But, yeah, I guess if you have something like what you listed, they would indeed be better. So I'm getting the impression here that 34 is not considered a high armor class? Because to me, it seems like an extremely high armor class. Just reference BNW's chart up above for how poor NPCs will be at hitting it.
1) You never heard that from me. In fact, I just posted in another thread how super-high AC is the most common scenario busting trait I see. AC is incredibly powerful in PFS.
2) Having a high defense may not be an animal companion-only trick, but as I pointed out before its the combination of its defense and being able to add to the "body overload" that still is able to overwhelm even season 4 scenarios.
Do remember that BNW has stated
Yes, it does, but for every BNW, there is a guy who doesn't make that decision and goes balls to the wall with both. The gear for BNW's listed AC costs all of 4K. My magus can't blow his nose with 4K. So if a 4K investment is considered "making the PC weaker", no wonder so many people are all about regulating gold per level in this game.
My point about the druid is that even though BNW runs his druid as a pseudo-summoner, no particular druid player *has* to do that. It's not too hard to build two combat monsters under the control of a single player. The summoner itself is not nearly the threat that the druid is and the gap between AC and eidolon is not nearly big enough to make up the difference. That's the best way I know to describe it.
Yeah, I know games aren't going to be fair, but I honestly don't see how druids got past play test as they are. Nor the boon companion feat.
I refuse to metagame this as well, but makes for some pretty boring scenarios sometimes. Super high AC is the most common scenario-busting trait I see table to table. There are some others, like Tetori monk builds, that are even worse I think, but they are more complicated.
To me, it is intellectually dishonest in the extreme for NPCs to be able to a priori target the lowest armor class PCs. Unfortunately for GMs, often the NPCs don't get to live long enough to really develop an understanding of what kind of PC group they are up against. So a lot of their attacks end up against targets they are never going to be able to affect in a meaningful manner.
So the 34 armor class animal companion takes the lead in provoking AOOs by charging in a straight line as we discussed earlier in the thread. About half of these attacks will miss by the creatures outlined by BNW above, the ones that hit, won't critically injure it, and now the NPCs have used all of their AOOs on a disposable-if-necessary *class feature*. This effect alone is incredibly powerful. Incredibly powerful. It opens up movement lanes for rogues and allows magi to spellstrike at will just to think of two things off the top of my head.
How can a non-pet non-caster class contribute at this level to the battle? The druid gets to do both.
I'm still stumped on the 29 AC cleric at level 5. It's clear my level of system mastery is not up to that particular task. But yet, its still higher than many people I play with and even under as GMs. If that's what it takes to be competitive with respect to a *class feature*, what other definition of broken do you need?
Interestingly, I still find that 20+level for AC is still more than what I can usually afford for my PFS characters due to lack of $$.
I meant "not" overpowered. Was typing too fast. I was referring to all the obscene armor classes they were spitting out for their ACs.
The problem with this debate is that the druid side of this issue is not acknowledging that fact that it takes an inordinate amount of NPC resources to threaten their "class feature".
Even assuming that the ACs are threatened in the manner that BNW claims, the amount of NPC resources to do it are borderline suicidal because while the NPCs are mucking around with the AC, the PCs run rampant. I've said it once, and I'll say it again. It's not the AC in a vacuum. It's the AC and what can be stacked on it and then the druid itself. It's even worse in some ways when classes that were never intended to get full-powered ACs use boon companion. Clerics and sorcerers come to mind.
BNW has listed a number of to hit rolls that are supposed to threaten ACs in tier 10-11. Frankly, for primary attacks, I find the numbers unimpressive at best. A bunch of attacks that hit on "16" are not going to cut it against a level 9-11 AC. The PCs will have chopped/blasted the NPCs to pieces by the time they have done critical damage to the AC.
Furthermore, since a +28 to hit hits the listed AC on a "6", I think its safe to conclude that none of the listed NPCs in the calculated section of his post have this +28 to hit. The iron golem, adult blue, and storm giant are legitimate threats to an AC with 34 AC, but the rest of it is very dubious. The fact that we have to get down to iron golem and storm giant to give the AC cause for concern is absolutely absurd. This lack of susceptibility to NPC attacks really contribute to the "body overload" caused by pets in general.
Maybe the level of power gaming in the PFS community is just set at a bar higher than what I think it is. None of my characters, regardless of class, are projected to hit this level of armor class we are discussing for the ACs before their PFS career is over. Nosig refers to a level 5 cleric with a 29(?) armor class. While I don't doubt this is possible, I can't immediately think of how to do this, and I can't help but to think that new/low system mastery players wouldn't be able to compete with the ACs being discussed here either. I have a real problem with ACs being able to outshine even mediocre PC builds, given that the AC is a mere *subset* of the capabilities of another PC.
I'm not really surprised by this pet effect in PFS. MMORPGs usually have the same problem. The pet classes make other classes look absurdly weak in the low to mid levels. The difference was that there was a saving grace of end game play where the pets could not achieve high enough stats compared to actual PCs to dominate the epic raiding levels. The problem in PFS is that the ACs *can* achieve these numbers (like the armor class numbers up above) and so AC classes never level off.
BNW posted this:
"10+ 5 dex + ,+5 (mithral barding +1), a +4 barkskin that lasts an hour (long enough for most dungeons), a +6 natural armor bonus from being a druid animal companion, +3 ac from being a Raptor, and usually +1 deflection from shield animal companion being up."
That looks like a level 9 AC build to me. Not sure how many points it loses at 7 or 5, but I'm guessing the answer is "not enough to be vulnerable to PFS NPCs"
I'm not trying to be a jerk here, Nosig, but the other "side" is not posting many facts to support the fact that ACs are overpowered. Am I somehow misreading the AC advancement table? From the armor classes being tossed around in this forum, I'm guessing no. It has been asserted that barding is somehow a limiting factor. 4K gold is not a limiting factor at all in PFS. I'm trying to look at mathematics here and avoid anecdotal experiences, which of course, are arbitrary.
NPCs don't have +28 to hit in the 5-9 tier and it has been shown that ACs can have 30+ armor class in that tier, effectively making them invincible. You are trying to justify brokenness in a one tier by using encounters from another tier. I'd be willing to bet that NPCs don't have a +28 to hit in the 7-8 subtier, either. Making your assertion of this obscene AC being "necessary" only valid in a single subtier of the regular game.
Flipping through the Bestiary, I find it unlikely to even run into too many +28 to hits even at 10-11. I don't know where you're getting that number, other than to justify ACs being able to easily get more armor class than PCs. This doesn't even address how iterative attacks will be at a lower to hit number, and they will fall off quickly against these proposed ACs.
"If they made the ruling that Natural Armor and armor don't stack then no one but casters would use the Amulet of Natural Armor and drawves/tieflings would never take feats that grant them Natural armor."
I'd settle for ACs not having access to barding, and leave the stacking rules in place.
"Nor sure if you realize but barding costs 4x the amount of normal armor. So if a druid wants to buy it they will make that choice and spend there limited gold on the AC."
4K for the mithril chain barding is a pittance to push their AC into the 30's.
"People, it seems to me that each side of this issue is not listening to the other, except to pick thru for "facts" that will support their beliefs. This issue appears to have moved into the realm of "political debate"... I'm not sure if anything will be gained by continuing this."
It's likely a regional meta problem. I have never seen a druid using a pet with a damage profile like Swiftbrook's example past say level three. My experience with ACs are usually the large ones with huge STR scores that have AC piled up to the ceiling.
In fact, at Origins, I played at a table where there was a 3 or 4 star GM who was befuddled as to how a Fey sorcerer was doing what she was doing with her dinosaur AC both in terms of shape-changing it (turned out it was sharing forms with her familiar) and also how its AC was so huge and how it was doing so much damage.
I don't know where she was from, but this, to me, shows that these tendencies might be regional. If ACs I have played with looked more like Swiftbrook's example, you'd never hear a word from me.
I'd also not mind ACs as much if boon companion did not exist in the game. Animal domain clerics would look a lot more reasonable if their pet was three levels down, as would many ranger builds.
I also would not mind so much if the druid was more centered around the AC like the summoner is the eidolon. But this is not the case. The druid is quite strong even without the AC, and the AC itself can end up being more effective than another PC by itself. Maybe there's nothing that can be done about bad PC builds, but I still can't look at the AC advancement table and consider it reasonable for a "class feature" of a 9-level spell caster class.
To further address Nosig's post, the AC advancement table is a mathematical construct, not a belief. However, it is a belief that the numbers on it are too generous for a mere aspect of an already powerful class. I realize the situation has improved since 3.5, but I still think the druid needs some trimming.
Heightened daylight does nothing that regular daylight doesn't already do. The text of this spell is very, very strange.
Heightened continual flame does function as one would expect, but its still not known what the order of operations is:
Ambient -> apply deeper darkness -> apply continual flame
Ambient -> apply continual flame -> apply deeper darkness
Also, we need to know if mundane light effects operate in an area where darkness spells and daylight overlap.
So these issues are still unresolved.
Buba Casanunda wrote:
At least that's a PC and not an AC.
Well, as I pointed out, that's a huge AC with minimal resources expended. Mostly due to the +6 natural armor stacking on top of barding. That's 6 AC points that a PC doesn't have access to.
I didn't want to get into the "buff time" question. I just assume the group is scouting out the fights and then buffing.
"2) 10+ 5 dex + ,+5 (mithral barding +1), a +4 barkskin that lasts an hour (long enough for most dungeons), a +6 natural armor bonus from being a druid animal companion, +3 ac from being a Raptor, and usually +1 deflection from shield animal companion being up."
Well I'd say the above is a good start. You may not have a raptor, but you get the idea. This AC is obviously in the 9th level range, but still. That's a crazy AC.
Obscene. Now that the math is laid out before me, I see the problem. I don't think ACs should be allowed barding, since they already have natural armor. The +6 natural armor is a bonus that PCs can't replicate, at least not without crazy expense. That's way too many defenses for a "class feature".
Andrew Christian wrote:
I honestly have no idea. I have often considered being TFG and asking for a character audit, but if the GM is willing to blindly allow it, it's better just to be bored and collect my sheet than start WWIII over it.
It's also funny how engrossed they get owning things with their pet. One scenario I had passed for one entire fight and three rounds into a second fight before they even noticed I wasn't doing anything. Because I didn't need to.
Uhhh, no. The players in my area usually don't have 30+ AC in the 5-9 tier. Do I even want to know how you are getting 30 AC at level 3?
I once played a scenario with a summoner and two druids and my dwarf fighter never got to swing the whole time. Theoretically, this violates the "don't be a jerk" rule, but this is an example of the complete ineffectiveness of relying on such a rule.
Andrew Christian wrote:
I'm just curious how this happens in your area? Are people not optimizing the ACs? I've seen ACs in 5-9 tier rocking 30+ armor class. They just can't be hit. How do you take that out while following the scenarios as written? Don't forget they have evasion, too.
"Your experience is limited because you haven't seen what high level scenarios can do to a Critter."
I imagine these scenarios can do the same thing to PCs, given that I frequently participate in groups where the AC has the highest AC.
To quote Tarkin, this bickering is pointless. From my perspective, for all the flak summoners get, I think druids are much, much worse. Obviously, many will not agree with that, and that's fine.
I think it is just going to be reality that this is a YMMV topic for now, even with the new books and such. Obviously, some people like BNW will get up from the table when a GM requests AC control, just as I frequently get up from tables with more than one pet class. Maybe that's for the best so no one is in a position where they are unhappy.
N N 959 wrote:
"Its literally a "who are you going to believe, my unfounded supposition or your own eyes""
Not quite, because in my experience, the ACs are never in danger. Maybe its the case that you run with a lot of hyper-optimizers that can actually get ahead of the ACs. I don't know. Even if your AC is frequently threatened by the itemized things you list, that means that the AC is sucking up an NPC resource that could be hitting a real PC. That's incredibly powerful just in itself.
Regardless of the reality of the situation above, ACs are too efficacious in the 7-9 range for a class feature that's supposed to "level off". Maybe I wouldn't be so annoyed if PFS didn't end at 12.
I like how nonchalantly you dismiss my problems with the capabilities of the druid. Okay, so people know its broken. Does that make it any less broken?
As for my example, I pulled trap finding out of thin air. You could really substitute any non-spell casting non-pet granting class feature there and it would still be mostly true.
If I had my way, I'd nerf the AC progression table. That's the real fix. But that's never going to happen. And since the control issue really is almost a non-sequitur, I don't harp about it at tables it sit at. I just kind of disappointing because I don't really have to pay attention or try at those tables. My character's turn: Oops! The ACs got it covered! Nothing to see here!
"That would be the zen archer or the ranger archer."
First off, the fighter archer makes the ranger archer look like a pop gun. Secondly, to show the absurdity of the situation, we are completely leaving out the capabilities of the druid. The AC in a vacuum is not broken. The AC is broken in the context that it is a 9-level caster with wild shape and two good saves that gets to have the thing.
If the druid class itself were weaker, I wouldn't mind as much. Basically, I view the way you want ACs to work as getting an eidolon (with its own magic slots, btw, limited as they are) without giving up spell levels and other good class features like wild shape the way the summoner has to.
"Ironically its the LACK of magic that changes their numbers in comparison. While the rest of the party is piling on armor, rings,belts headbands and cloak the critter has to rely on their natural armor, armor, and the neck slot only."
At least you don't have to share like the summoner. Also, this line really bothers me because you are acting like you don't have a full powered PC in addition to the AC. Which the druid is. And the druid has all the slots you are talking about. The AC is a *class feature*. Other classes get things like trap finding, and the druid gets *pseudo PC*. Really?
"Do you have a build for such a badger?"
I don't play pets. I just know what I've seen. Your own example of the AC 34 AC underlines the crux of the problem to me.
"Critter or other dumb thing like barbarian eating me= use a will save spell is pretty basic tactics they should have covered in wizard school (or the sorcerer correspondence course)"
I'm talking about when the wizard has to decide between, say, two targets. Some AC or a humanoid in heavy armor with a martial weapon.
The reality of the situation is that even with Mr. Brock's rulings and the FAQ ruling, and all that, the AC is still incredibly potent. You call it "suicidal", but in reality, taking an AOO for an AC is probably an NPC resource being wasted on a target that will never be reduced to negative hit points in a PFS combat. Even with every limitation I can reasonably put on the AC through Paizo rulings, they are still broken, due to the generosity of the AC advancement table and size bump.
I have the animal perform the task on init 5 to the best of its ability, regardless of the change in game state. The AC and the PC are completely separate entities. They should have separate initiatives. The AC owner is free to delay to eliminate this possibility. Seems a small price to pay to me.
Oh, so the math is supposed to magically change at 7-11? I don't see anywhere on the AC advancement table where their numbers go down at that level, so I seriously doubt this. I've played regular campaigns that high before, and the numbers I see ACs throwing around will be fine at that level.
Peak at 7? That's over halfway through the PFS lifecycle! Even if what you are saying is true, that means ACs are a dominant force for over half the PFS lifecycle.
How is an NPC wizard supposed to fairly know a priori that the badger over there can actually take and dish out more punishment than the heavily armored guy with the two-hander? I clearly don't like ACs, but I would never metagame that. "Oh, clearly that's an optizimed AC and I should drop my most powerful will save spell on it!"
Perhaps my rational simulations of NPCs is part of the problem. But in too many cases, the NPCs are simply downed in bodies. And the ACs stress the NPCs limited resources too thin.
It is actually to the ACs advantage if it has a better init, so it is less likely to be flat-footed. There is no reason not to roll it separately. One more thing in the init queue is not going to make a big difference. Especially with some practice running battles.
No, I've played in some deadly Season 4 stuff now and the AC was still rocking the house. The NPCs can still beat the PCs to death, but still can't seem to hit the ACs. Funny that.
The alleged "flattening" of ACs at higher levels I was promised by several people several levels ago is not happening. They do the same thing in tier 5-9 that they do in 1-5 from what I'm seeing. The AC is still far too strong of a class feature I think.
I never see any dangerous spells go the ACs way because of the "body overload" effect. The NPCs are too busy trying to stick their paralysis spells on actual PCs, not proxy PCs.
I have never seen an AC die in PFS, but I've seen plenty of PCs die. I don't think you have much to worry about. PFS, even in season 4, is often not dangerous enough to threaten ACs. At least not the ACs I see most of the time.
I'm also not alone in the AC AOO thing. It's going to be a YMMV situation for the pet owners. I was at one table at Origins where the GM controlled ACs and saw a couple others. And as I said, its often to the group's advantage anyway.
I was also at tables where the GM let the PCs do whatever with the ACs. At this point, I just accept that those are going to be easy tables. So I didn't attempt to micromanage the GM. It's just that I think its equally legitimate for GMs who prefer to run the ACs them to do so.
In fact, the March 11 blog entry here by Mr. Brock specifically states that ACs under the attack command takes the most direct route of attack. That sure sounds like to me it will run through threatened squares to get to the BBEG. Quit trying to tease out more utility from an already broken-for-PFS class feature.
The same post states that increasing AC intelligence gives no advantage whatsoever in the control department. So a GM who wants to a run an int 2 AC is certainly within his bounds to run an int 6 AC. If the GM declines, I'm not going to say anything, and if he wants to hand-waive the handle rules, I won't say anything either, because its just not worth it. But if a GM wants to reign it in a bit, it's certainly permitted by these combinations of rulings.
Actually, most PFS encounters have so few NPCs that I have no trouble running the ACs. If nothing else, UCamp justifies a GMs decision at a table to choose to run ACs, even if the material in UCamp is not approved specifically for PFS. No more avoiding AOOs for ACs in the games I run. Although, in reality, this ends up helping the PCs by sucking up NPC resources on disposable hp pools.
"Ultimate campaign also puts sentient critters that can understand a language back under control of the player. Following standard operating procedure to up the critters int to 3 and putting a point in linguistics will get you the critter back."
Not according to the FAQ. They never loose the animal type, nor the necessity for the use of handle animal. I don't see why control would change, either. It is not fair for some players to get two PCs. Period.
In reality, morals are somewhat arbitrary and relative from culture to culture.
However, in a fantasy world with aligned deities granting real-world power to disciplines, suddenly everything becomes a lot more clear. The morality spectrum is as these deities dictate. If the goodly deities consider torture evil, then its literally evil.
As far as the US is concerned, there's plenty of evidence to support the thesis that the US has never really been the "good guy" throughout our history. Suddenly the torture thing makes a lot more sense and seems a lot less out of character.
No, what I'm requesting doesn't exist. I don't see anywhere where it implies that "magical darkness sources only decrease the light level in an area of magical light only if they are of a higher spell level than light. That's what I want. The two spell lines should be mirror images of each other.
They appear to decrease the light level no matter what, which I think is very dubious.
It's not the game, it's just that some of us feel this mechanic is OP when compared to other spells of the same level. At the minimum, light spells need to have a reciprocal clause about a lower level darkness effect not being able to reduce the light level in that area.