Adam Mogyorodi wrote:
While she is a ridiculous pushover in terms of offense, if I hadn't made a mistake and forgot that her shield should have negated their magic missile spells, she would have wiped one party I ran through this. They had 0 ways to summon something flying larger than size small, 0 physical ranged attacks other than arrows, and 0 magical attacks other than magic missile (the babaus killed the guy with the other ones). They did have a fly at one point during the scenario, but they weren't able to bring it to bear--the melee could have defeated her and her little dog too if he could get to her. As it was, the group eventually ran out healing before I ran out of magic missile spam.
I've seen it, but almost nobody is rude enough to say that right away to the player's face, so you only get to here it if it's players you know well enough that you might go out somewhere afterwards or otherwise socialize with them. It's very rarely about builds, though, it's usually about tactics. I've heard a player say to me after I GMed that player through a scenario--"I know you've run this one before with all iconics and they did OK, and I hope it wasn't my character that was letting the team down. I think it wasn't, based on my sense of things. It's just, this guy always plays wizards and other complicated spellcasters, builds up a huge spellbook, and has no idea what to prepare. I get aggravated having to handhold him, but you saw what happened this time--he left over half his slots open and then ran out of spells and then the 7th level wizard was just using 1st level wands for the rest of the scenario."
Hakak the Half Orc wrote:
Kinda the GM's fault. 4 man party with 2 brand new players using pre gens. GM failed to "guide" the brand new players IMHO. i.e. GM: "Well new player, being that you are looking at the BBEG on the roof in front of you you should consider using potion of fly, rather then sit there with a dumbfounded look on your face." Just seems like if the GM was alot more involved with helping the BRAND NEW players, they invited to the table, to use pregens that made the party have a fighter(noob), rouge(noob), barbarian 9 (me), and caster 9ish (other guy that knew what he was doing. At the very least the pregens should have rounded out the party with a cleric or something. I'm just very disappointed with the way the scenario was judged is all. I'll get over it soon enough. I realize everyone makes mistakes. Just sucks the scenario had a decent boon.
The first mistake was that two pregen level 7s were being played in a 5-9 or 7-11 by completely first-time RPG players at all.
My Enemy's Enemy:
There's a guy who watches the party in gaseous form, so if gaseous guy saw the party using invis, or the inquisitor casting invis to start sneaking, it would have been a reasonable and allowed adjustment of tactics to drink it. If gaseous guy saw nothing of the sort, then not.
In general, don't go heavy on the sundering. It will not make you friends at the table.
While I pretty much don't have enemies use their own actions to sunder extracts and the like (how would they know which is which anyway? they might just hit an alchemist's fire), I've had several situations where intelligent enemies with Combat Reflexes have an alchemist in their reach throwing 5 bombs who proves more than a match for their AoOs to hit for damage, so they switch over to AoOs to disarm or sunder the bomb.
This spell is best utilized by buying a single arrow of each special material.
Almost--since the replacement only happens at the beginning of the round, you want as many of each special material as you can shoot in a round.
Joe M. wrote:
Can't have a potion of a self-only spell, you need a scroll.
Maybe he'll get Bracers of Armor?
Don't worry, I GMed that game as I said, didn't play it. None of my characters got singed. I think you've readily explained the incongruity I saw by pointing out that you often significantly lower the damage output in exchange to nearly negate the chance of harming allies, so I think I'm set now other than my curiosity over the source of those last 2 Int if they aren't from one of the two chronicles I've said. It'd be silly to make a new thread for just that, so I'd say just post once more here anyway or PM me to answer that if you feel like it, and otherwise, back to our regularly scheduled complaining about Season 4 difficulty :D
The Toaster wrote:
So at first level, other than when using the 1 minute duration extract for reduce, he was looking at a +2 to hit an enemy in melee (no Precise Shot) and a miss will splash for 6 damage. Yeah, We had exactly that guy with exactly those stats in a First Steps 1 game I ran--after nearly killing multiple other characters multiple times, the party told the guy that he'd better rebuild next game or they were never sitting with that character again.
Since touch AC on enemies doesn't rise at higher levels, it becomes easier and easier to hit as you level up, but at first it's not always so easy. Touch ACs of around 12 are common even at low levels, and that means a nearly 50/50 chance of missing if the enemy is in melee. Granted, you can just go extract-heavy like my alch did at low levels and just tank at level 1, then grab infusion at 2 and buff the heck out of everyone else.
Anyways, is it Feast of Sigils or Eyes of the Ten that gives you the extra +2 for the 30 Int at level 10? Or am I missing something less esoteric that allows such a high score?
How did you get 30 Int? Obviously started with 20 and then two raises and a +6 item, but then Feast of Sigils or Eyes of the Ten? Considering the cost of point-buying up to 20, I'm guessing not as much Dex then, so early levels must have been less fun, particularly for teammates, since Precise Bomb is negated on a missed attack roll and that's a lot of damage for them to take on a splash.
Agreed for In Wrath's Shadow, but for MEE the sickened condition is much much more than -2 to hit. Considering that the Advanced simple template is +1 CR, sickened isn't that much less extreme than an inverse of the Advanced simple template. It lowers the alch's initiative, to-hit, damage, and ability to prevent a death by save-or-lose, to name a few things. The only difference between sickened and the hypothetical "un-advanced" template is that sickened doesn't apply -4 to AC or a loss of hit points or DCs (and in this case, DC at least isn't huge). Certainly sickened is a bigger nerf here than using the Young template to make him an underaged alchemist (which raises accuracy and AC by 3 without hurting much relevant other than CMD and hit points), and Young is the typical -1 CR template for monsters.
I think this is Lab Rat's point--
In any normal home game, characters can load up on scrolls at whichever caster level they can find or scribe themselves. For instance, communal resist energy, which is his thread starter, you can just get at CL7 for 525 gp (probably half that if you scribe it yourself). This gives 20 resistance to all, whereas the basic scroll of communal resist energy gives only 10 resistance for 375 gp. Now, in PFS, you can't buy a CL7 scroll of communal resist energy, but you can use the riffle scroll as sort of a little loophole--since the minimum CL is 7 for a riffle scroll of communal resist, you can now buy one that gives 20 resist (albeit for 700 instead of 525, but that's still 2 prestige), so you might buy this in PFS without even caring that it's silent: just to double the resistance. He wanted to know what other spells had similar advantage for being exactly 2 CL above minimum, which only matters in PFS, as this little trick is unnecessary in home games.
Quintessentially Me wrote:
I generally do this a lot with bard and detective characters. Then the other characters roll their eyes at the bard and say "Do you have any proof?" and he says "Nope, that's just what would make the best story!" Of course, many times he turns out to be right...
Adam Mogyorodi wrote:
Is there meant to be a non-combat way through the Leshy if no one in the group can speak Sylvan or Druidic? My players seemed very earnestly to not want to engage the thing, and so I applied a -5 penalty on their miming that they only wanted to pass through. Good or bad?
Hmm, I dunno, I could see it either way--the scenario seems to make it clear that those languages are important. When I ran it, due to extremely unfortunate double 20s with a quarterstaff, I had killed their Sylvan-spoeaker. I was really proud of the paladin, though--he always has lots of great expendables, and he managed to have Kyra use his scroll of tongues on him so he could talk to it.
This question pulls at me from opposite directions on two of my favorite things to see--On the one hand, I absolutely love non-combat solutions. On the other, I also love rewarding people who take obscure languages or carry around tongues to be sure they can communicate.
I would also like to point out that I played fortress of the nail and I wish that "Boon" didn't exist. It was basically useless because of how inflexible it is, especially for my level 6 gunslinger. I would rather just have had gold, or maybe something actually cool?
Prepped it for a con and am playing it soon--You had a ranged character go through it. Do you have any idea at all what a ranged character would want from that boon in 8-9? I'm completely stumped. I've paged through UE looking at everything. If we actually survive and earn it, I may get a scroll of 8 copies of a 3rd level spell. Casters are absolutely no problem to shop for, but I can't think of a single item for an archer.
(the only reason he joined the party and stays currently its to get treasure)
The player's guide actually tells you that you have to take a campaign trait, thus tying your character to the NPCs by bonds of friendship (and anyway the campaign traits are stronger than normal anyway). This is pretty crucial because a mercenary like him is a terrible fit for this Adventure Path--realistically, the party can't risk someone like him having access to them in a vulnerable position, as the oni are way richer than the party is and could offer him vastly more than what he's currently making in exchange for betraying the party.
Anyway, I think this AP definitely works best with PCs who are strongly tied to the NPCs, if not also heroic PCs (though I wish some of them had been Good, my group are all Neutral, but they are fiercely loyal to the NPCs, so it works out).
Robert A Matthews wrote:
We just had a thread on this a few weeks ago. It had almost 1000 posts. Did you read any of that before creating this new thread?
Indeed here is the 908 post thread. We had a long discussion and then MJM made their decision.
I remember being pretty surprised at the 4-5 BBEG's resilience (in terms of number of hp) when we were playing up to 4-5 with 4 level 2s and 2 level 1s. We definitely would have won in the end for sure (because if I recall correctly, I hadn't used any spells at all up to that point since we'd been cakewalking through everything else), but if it wasn't for someone else dazing or stunning him or maybe laughing touching or something for a round (can't remember exactly it's been over a year), the paladin would have probably died, and as is the level 1 went from full to within 1 or 2 of dead by an AoO.
Staves are actually insanely good value in PFS, where they fully recharge every scenario. In our local lodge, one wizard saved up and got a Staff of Fire relatively early, and he benefited greatly from having those extra fireballs he could throw every scenario at his own DC and at the CL of the staff or his own, whichever was better (5 extra fireballs would cost 45,000 with Pearls of Power, but only 18,950 with the staff). They're also great in Kingmaker or other APs where there's a lot of downtime in between each fight, and they can be even better if you have a familiar who can use them. Also, it's horrifically expensive, but the Staff of Life is worth it if you don't have a party cleric (in our Kingmaker game, the party all chipped in for it, and my familiar has saved the day with heal multiple times). They're pretty bad in APs with a big rush where you're going into the dungeon every day.
Diego Rossi wrote:
Well it's also a swift, I guess, so you can combine it with other actions. But it's nearly useless compared to worst-case scenario just using Spell Combat with arcane mark for the same number of attacks.
Diego Rossi wrote:
Wowzers--with the new FAQ, what is the Hasted Assault Magus Arcana for then?
Just to give a good example of when I had some intelligent NPCs call for a killing blow--
The party quickly proved themselves to have a cleric with Fast Channel and a Phylactery who could heal ~50 damage per round to the whole party in an 8-9 (This was a large percentage of everyone's maximum health) and another cleric who didn't have such good channels but had the healing domain (so not only were single target heals empowered, but he also had Rebuke Death specifically to wake up unconscious allies) and was just before the channel cleric in init.
The enemies (mostly archers) started by targeting damager types, and KOed two of them, but the channel cleric intervened and got them all to nearly full. Then they targeted the channel cleric, knocking him out (they didn't know the other cleric was a cleric yet). Of course, the other cleric woke the channel cleric who double channeled, bringing himself (and everyone else) to maximum health. At this point, the lead enemy called out to his men "Men, I don't like it, but we can't win unless we kill that one--" pointing to the channel cleric, "He heals them faster than we can attack."
Despite giving that order, there was only one chance to actually attack the downed channel cleric during the fight--it was on a late iterative and I managed to miss. No one actually died, but the players and characters knew that they had pushed the NPCs to those extremes.
Half-fiends are even worse. Inspired by James Jacobs's old Fiendish T-Rex avatar, I decided to use as an example a "CR 12" half-fiend T-Rex. As a boss encounter (probably for a level 8-9 party in Season 0-3 or a 7-8 party of 6 in Season 4), not only does it have a CL 18 blasphemy that will certainly be high enough to paralyze (if not kill, for a Season 4 solo against 6 PCs) everyone, it also has an 18d6 horrid wilting and a summon monster IX to summon something higher CR than itself.
Alex Mack wrote:
Thug is widely considered one of the best Rogue archetypes due to it's debuff ability and paired with the Enforcer feat it can be outright broken as any hit that deals at least 3 points on nonlethal damage will send your opponent running if you wish to do so. You give it a red rating. Maybe you should reconsider...
Frightening on its own isn't great unless you jack up your intimidate to insane heights such that you confidently succeed by 10 or more, but Brutal Beating is quite strong (Sickened is a better condition than Shaken, and having both is just about as devastating as a -4 to all rolls Bestow Curse), and it's certainly true that Thug with Enforcer is ridiculously powerful against things that aren't immune to nonlethal or fear. And given that there's already overpoweredly good options for nonlethal sneak attacks in UC, it can all synergize nicely. It's also a great setup for a friendly caster to save-or-suck (particularly if stacked with an Evil Eye hex and a Quickened Ill Omen).
More and more of these sorts of theme builds have become possible with all the new material, and that's one of the main reasons I've never updated my guides to include everything. There's just so much.
N N 959 wrote:
By the time you could have gotten any more information beyond "presence of magic in a 60 foot cone", which really tells you nothing, Chalfon should have already struck someone with a powerful blow that's nearly guaranteed to flat-out kill a 1st level character on a ~37 damage crit (18-20) and will kill backline 1st levels if he rolls above average.
I think people say it's a deadly scenario rather than a hard one. He has a relatively good chance for an instant kill, but then the PCs win.
I think he assumed she won initiative and then hit three times, but all were sneak attacks.
Dhjika, you can always mention that fact to your GM. Most will allow it.
I am always willing to allow it, and I greatly appreciate it if players will also follow the flip-side of this as well when it doesn't help their character (by which I mean, if it's a creature they've encountered since the last time they put a rank in that Knowledge and failed to identify it last time, they refrain from rolling again this time).
I've had round 1 or 2 color sprays from Halli because sometimes PCs actually do corner her right away--"Get the casters!". We don't know for sure that it didn't happen.
Chris Mortika wrote:
The Varki, a race that's a blend of Varisian/Erutaki stock (with a little dash of Tien). They live mainly in the northwestern region of the Land of the Linnorm Kings, in a nomadic culture that moves from village to village (the villages were built by their ancestors and are abandoned when they move until the next tribe comes).
Chris Mortika wrote:
Dtang, Erutaki, Hon-La, Hwan, and Varki are allowed for starting languages and are basically never on NPCs.
Sin of Asmodeus wrote:
Yeah Rogue, I just edited it over, because a brief glance didnt confirm my own suspicions. Still, DC28 distraction is awesome sauce.
Yep, that's incredible--since Spell Focus won't apply to SLAs, did I miss something else or did you somehow manage 32 Charisma?
Sin of Asmodeus wrote:
The swarm's 1d4 poison does Con damage rather than Dex, not the 4d6 regular damage.
Season 4 So Far:
Rise of the Goblin Guild--Above Average. RP, skill uses, and fights.
In Wrath's Shadow--Hard. Basically all fights.
Golemworks Incident--Somewhat Hard. RP and fights.
King of the Storval Stairs--Hard. Basically all fights.
The Sanos Abduction--Slightly Below Average. RP and fights.
The Green Market--Average. RP, story, and fights.
Severing Ties--Very Hard (with a potential horrible fate). Great RP and some gimmicky fights.
Cultist's Kiss--Hard. Plenty of RP, mystery, and some tough fights.
Blakros Matrimony--Difficulty Unclear (about to run it). Tons of RP. Few fights.
Feast of Sigils--Hard (very hard without the right spell, like the time I ran it). Plenty of RP and some tough fights.
The Disappeared--Slightly Below Average (the fights anyway). Mostly skills/mystery, then RP, then fights. One distasteful part where player speed at doing a puzzle determines victory, so you better put the puzzle guy OOC on it even if he brings the 7 Int barbarian
The Refuge of Time--Somewhat Hard (could be worse if you fight a diplomacy-able enemy with some nasty abilities). Mostly fights, but some RP in there too.
Fortress of the Nail--Difficulty Unclear (Read it once to run at a con but then lsot the slot). Seems like plenty of RP followed by extreme challenge.
My Enemy's Enemy--Above Average. RP, mini-puzzle, mini-mystery, fights.
Everything Released After That--???
Race for the Runecarved Key--Hard. Tons of everything. Way too long for a slot.
Day of the Demon--Average. RP and skills, minor mystery. Also a few fights.
Frostfur Captives--Average. Fights, loads of great RP.
Sewer Dragons--Average. Fights, lots of RP.
Ghenett Manor--Slightly Above Average. Lots of fights. Several good RP opportunities.
Tide of Twilight--Somewhat Hard. Lots of fights. Good RP.
Song of the Sea Witch--Slightly Easy. Fights. Minor RP.
Echoes of the Overwatched--Slightly Easy. Fights and RP.
Among the Gods--Below Average. Basically all fights.
Quest for Perfection 1--Hard. Basically all fights.
Immortal Conundrum--Below Average. Tons of amazing RP. Then fights.
Quest for Perfection 2--Below Average (due to nova potential). Lots of RP and fights.
Wonders in the Weave 1--Average. Lots of interesting fights. (PLAYED ONLY, NOT GMED)
Quest for Perfection 3--Slightly Above Average. Fights, RP, skills, interesting setup.
Wonders in the Weave 2--Very Easy. Plenty of fights, lots of RP.
Haunting of Hinojai--Average. High RP potential depending on the GM and what the party does. Few fights.
Midnight Mauler--Below Average. Good use of RP, skills, and fights.
Red Harvest--Below Average. Plenty of RP. Also a few fights.
God's Market Gamble--Somewhat Hard. RP, Skills, Mystery, and Fights.
Icebound Outpost--Easy. Basically all fights. (PLAYED ONLY, NOT GMED)
Rats 1--Very Hard (could be easier for compromising PCs). Some RP. Lots of fights.
Temple of Empyreal Snlightenment--Very Hard. Lots of RP. Hard fights.
Rats 2--Very Hard. Some RP. Lots of fights.
Goblinblood Dead--Easy. Starts with some good RP. Then plenty of easy fights, with some RP potential.
Golden Serpent--Average. Plenty of RP. Plenty of fights.
Storming the Diamond Gate--Hard. Some RP. Lots of fights. Mild riddles.
Portal of the Sacred Rune--Hard. Basically all fights.
Cyphermage Dilemma--Easy. Needs a lot of work from the GM to play up the RP. Also some easy fights.
Blood Under Absalom--Above Average. Loaded full of everything to the point it can't fit the slot.
Before the Dawn 1--Average (one pretty tough fight that may have illegal stats, rest very easy). RP, skills, and fights.
Before the Dawn 2--Easy at 1-2, Average at 3-4, Extremely Easy at 6-7 (can't handle PCs with 3rd level magic). Some RP, lots and lots of fights.
Rebel's Ransom--Very Hard. Puzzles, fights, a little RP, and devious Jason Bulmahn antics.
Shadows Fall--Easy. Fights, a little RP, and an extremely easy "mystery".
Heresy 1--Slightly Below Average (one encounter can go bad if you aren't prepared for it). Fights, some RP.
Heresy 2--Hard. Fights and mild mini-puzzles.
Sarkorian Prophecy--Hard. Fights and some possible RP.
Heresy 3--Somewhat Hard. Fights and some RP.
Fury of the Fiend--??? playing next month
Penumbral Accords--Below Average. All fights.
Silver Tarn--Hard. RP, skills, and fights. Wow, I guess all the Crystal scenarios have all three, huh?.
Throaty Mermaid--Very Easy. Lots and lots of RP. Mystery. A few fights.
Chasm of Screams--???
Shades of Ice 1--4-5 is Easy, 1-2 is Hard. Plenty of RP and some fights.
Shades of Ice 2--Below Average. Lots of RP potential if you have Cities of Golarion. Lots of fights.
Forbidden Furnace--Below Average. Plenty of fights. Very little RP. (PLAYED THIS ONLY)
Shades of Ice 3--Quite Easy. Plenty of fights. A good RP opportunity.
Wrath of the Accursed--Pretty Hard. Plenty of fights. A mystery and some RP.
Dalsine Affair--Hard. Plenty of fights. Also good RP and story.
Shadow's Last Stand 1--Above Average. All fights.
Shadow's Last Stand 2--Below Average. Mystery, RP, politics, and fights.
You Only Die Twice--Average. Excellent RP opportunities. Also fights.
Mantis's Prey--Average. Fights, Puzzle, some RP.
Year of the Shadow Lodge--Average. Fights, though two noncombat things.
Devil We Know 1--Very Easy at higher tiers, Quite Easy (with a potential snag for an all level 1 party) at 1-2. All Combat.
Devil We Know 2--Very Easy. All combat.
Sniper in the Deep--???
Drow of the Darklands Pyramid--???
Assault on the Kingdom of the Impossible--Very Easy. Tons of possibilities for RP/diplomatic encounters.
Encounter at the Drowning Stones--Below Average. Plenty of RP potential. Also fights.
Voice in the Void--Below Average. All fights except for one absolutely awesome RP encounter that isn't in the low tier.
Beggar's Pearl--Very Easy (one encounter can be long and frustrating but it can't really finish the job). Some RP possibilities, but mostly combat.
No Plunder, No Pay--???
Citadel of Flame--Slightly Above Average. Slight RP possibility, mostly combat. Don't play 4-5 with a level 1.
Hall of Drunken Heroes--Average. Plenty of RP possibilities. Awesome fights.
Devil We Know 3--Easy. RP opportunities, puzzles, and fights.
Pallid Plague--Very Easy. Good RP opportunities. Quasi skill challenge. And of course plenty of fights.
Delirium's Tangle--Quite Easy. Lots of skill-based fun. And plenty of easy fights too.
Darkest Vengeance--Varies Wildly (the 1-2 can be a sure TPK if you don't follow the clues). Plenty of fights, and some puzzling clues.
Devil We Know 4--Above Average (don't be shocked by the other 3 being easy!). All fights with a tiny interlude.
Among the Dead--Very Easy. Traps and fights.
Fortune's Blight--Above Average to Somewhat Hard (depends on prep for last encounter). RP, but in the end, they'll all be fights.
City of Strangers 1--Below Average. Plenty of RP and some good fights.
City of Strangers 2--Very Easy. Plenty of RP and some fights.
Infernal Vault--Below Average. Potential RP. Mini puzzle. Lots of fights.
Jester's Fraud--Easy. Plenty of RP. Also fights.
Seth Gipson wrote:
I'll list difficulty and then say what sorts of stuff it has.
Silent Tide--Horrendously Easy, even the 4-5 is super-easy for level 1s. Interesting combats, mini-puzzle encounter
Hydra's Fang--Slightly Below Average. Mostly combat.
Murder on the Silken Caravan--Somewhat Hard, surprisingly for Season 0. Opportunities for lots of RP, but the scripted encounters are combat.
Frozen Fingers--Easy. Interesting RP possibilities. Mostly combat.
Mists of Mwangi--Average. All combat.
Black Waters--Below Average. Plenty of RP potential and atmosphere depending on the GM. Lots of combat.
Among the Living--Below Average. Lots of source material for great RP, but the GM has to bring it. Otherwise pretty much all combat.
Slave Pits of Absalom--Easy. Plenty of RP potential in the encounters. Also possible to be all combat.
Prince of Augustana--Easy. Several RP opportunities. Mostly combat.
Many Fortunes of Grandmaster Torch--Difficulty Varies, but generally Below Average (one encounter can be deadly at certain tiers and the rest are an utter joke that a single character can solo). This scenario is horrible--you can't RP past anything, no matter what, you have to fight innocents.
To Scale the Dragon--Below Average. All combat, but one of them is quite interesting.
Perils of the Pirate Pact--Quite Easy. Potential for RP if the GM is very familiar with the River Kingdoms, but you have to add it in yourself. Otherwise all combat.
King Xeros--Average (with a possibility for a truly horrible fate). All combats.
Fingerprints of the Fiend--??? Playing it next month.
Tide of Morning--Very Easy. Potential for some RP. Plenty of combats.
Decline of Glory--Extremely Easy. RP potential if the GM reads up on Taldor and adds stuff in. Otherwise lots of fights.
Lots at Bitter End--Above Average. All fights, but some very interesting settings.
Our Lady of Silver--Slightly Below Average (all trivial except for one encounter that's much harder than the rest due to the Bestiary version of the monster being much harder than the 3.5 version). Plenty of RP, especially if you read the thread and add in wedding and trial stuff.
Lyrics of Extinction--???
And if the rest of the party has already run away as in the example given where the poster thought the monster shouldn't eat him? (also, there's a good chance the creature was unable to leave the room if it's the encounter of which I'm thinking).
If we're talking shadow mastiff, and it sounds like we are, then they specifically do hunt out of hunger, in their description, even if as outsiders they won't die of starvation it doesn't mean it doesn't feel hunger.
Shadow Mastiff wrote:
On the Material Plane, they prefer to travel in shadow, moving soundlessly and unseen to find prey, hunting in vicious sport just as often as in hunger.
John Compton wrote:
Hey John--those are some very good examples. The solution to the not-getting-enough-XP-due-to-playing-down-for-half issue in one version of the HOD proposal (and the best solution in any version) is to allow the player to be able to choose to take the low tier gold with 1 XP (whether they played up or down) if they wish to do so. This will be unfavorable unless they are in an XP crunch like you describe, and it will probably rarely be chosen except in those circumstances. This also fixes another example you didn't give, where you're signed up for a 7-11 followed immediately by a 3-7 in a con with your only 3-7 character, who's 7 1/3 going into the first of the two, and you have to play up to 10-11.
HOD doesn't have a solution for the person who wants to play up to get 2 XP in one session in order to play the tier they need next session, but with any other proposal, including status quo, they were stuck with a pregen no matter what in this case--HOD is the only one that even offers them a glimmer of hope. Fortunately, this should hopefully be rare enough that we wouldn't see a systematic pressure to play up.
Andrew Christian wrote:
Due to grappling, the darkmantle gets little benefit from the darkness (as Jiggy mentioned, his wife slaughtered it), so let's talk about Mifra. After the centipede disappears (3 rounds after casting) and she runs out of her at most 5 magic missile spells, the party essentially wins. She can at best throw darts for 1d2-4 (+1d6 sneak attack if the party is willing to oblige her by staying within 30 feet of the darkness, but that's still 1 damage on average per turn even with sneak). Then after 10 rounds, the darkness is gone and she dies even more readily. Now granted, the stealth is strong with this one, so they're unlikely to be able to pinpoint her square until darkness is gone, but she just doesn't have sustainable firepower, making her the perfect choice, in my mind, for this encounter--eventually the PCs win because she runs out of steam, and they learn a valuable lesson too, whether they beat the darkness or not.
Intelligent NPCs are trying to win. If you're going to yo-yo all the unconscious characters back to consciousness and they're going to rejoin the fight, those intelligent NPCs can clearly see that they can't possibly win. You might say "well, it's not like I'm not expending my channels and spells on this, so it's not coming for free". And in terms of the next fight, that might be true. But for the NPCs, whose lives are on the line right now and who don't care if your healer has fewer channels next fight, that's what they see--they can't ever win without dropping the whole team, and if each dropped character comes back through healing and keeps on fighting them, then that can't possibly be achieved.
There's two solutions for the intelligent NPC:
Solution 1: Kill the healer(s) dead. Now you don't have to worry about that whole "back into the fight" thing and can instead continue to knock out active opponents and ignore unconscious ones.
Solution 2: Finish off the unconscious PCs so they can't be healed, hopefully using as few resources as possible to do so (perhaps final iterative attacks that aren't likely to hit an active PC but are very likely to hit a 0 Dex unconscious PC).
There's really no way around this conclusion for an enemy with even remotely approaching human intelligence.
As an aside, I dislike this conclusion, so in home games I've instituted a rule that causes the trauma of being knocked out by damage to prevent you from awakening instantly upon being healed. My players love this rule, as it means that there is no longer an NPC incentive to kill unconscious characters.
Of course, this can't be used in PFS. At the least, you're using up enemy resources in most cases to obtain those kills. And if Solution 2 is getting you down, then worry not! Just make sure your healer has breath of life, and you'll probably be able to get them to switch over from Solution 2 to Solution 1.
The room is large enough that there's somewhere to stand outside the darkened area (even if the enemies remain within). So that should allow you to use geometry to find the center. Even if you don't know which object in the square is radiating, you could try tossing a tent or bedroll over the whole square.
Wait--the GM wasn't having the darkmantle use its grab and constrict ability? It only does 1d4 without that and is no threat at all. When I ran it, I was the one initiating the grabs.
Some monsters in Pathfinder, like darkmantles, are very low CR (clearly Tier 1-5 monsters) and have darkness. Given that, if they will ever see use, it's very likely to be in 1-5 scenarios. Further given that, I think this was an extremely well designed encounter to showcase darkness and teach new players about it while still being pretty darn winnable even if you can't counter it. So in that sense, I'm happy about it. It's also fair of you to lower your rating because the darkness tempered your enjoyment. I just thought some of your previous posts about not being able to handle the encounter without countermeasures were a bit strongly worded, given that I assume the author and editorial staff put good work into this scenario to make it, in my opinion, extremely winnable even if you never beat the darkness (and probably pretty easy if you do, but then you get to feel like a hero for having the right ace up your sleeve for whatever reason you had it, so I'm cool with that).
Mike Mistele wrote:
I think there's a difference between requiring strong teamwork to survive and being hard enough that some of the extremely poor teamwork you mentioned leads to failure. There's a middle ground--I would call it "competent teamwork". Season 4 requires either competent (or better) teamwork or tricked out characters or high dice rolls. The gunslinger and bard examples you gave, for instance are not at the level of competent teamwork. I've actually rarely met even a completely new player (let alone a player who is playing a 3-7 scenario) who doesn't use their bard's inspire--performance is so salient for bards, that most newbies who choose to make their first character a bard are all about it (in fact, I sometimes see the opposite problem, though it's much less of a problem, where all the bard does is perform and nothing else).
Or they do something to cut off line of effect from the center of the darkness like throw a sheet over it.
Or more likely, they can just beat the enemy even despite the light/darkness disadvantage. Remember you don't get concealment against someone if you're grappling them. When I ran it, the archer, to show how badass he was, just flat-out beat the darkmantle in a grapple fight, doing 1d3+2 nonlethal damage until he had knocked the thing out. The damage and CMB are pretty low, after all. It's a CR 1.
So while I agree that you shouldn't expect level 1s to be able to cancel the darkness, you don't need to be able to cancel it to win this encounter--you can win it blindfolded.
Christopher Rowe wrote:
I'm just saying that sending Pathfinders into harm's way and asking them to do morally questionable things is hardly something that Sheila Heidmarch came up with. The complaints about her seem, well, odd, since similar complaints aren't so vociferously voiced (her death has been called for in just the last few posts) against the other venture-captains who act pretty much identically, or against the faction heads, who frequently ask for robbery, torture, murder, and even corpse mutilation.
I think you're missing the death-calls for Dreng then. I've definitely seen them.