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Some kind of playtest framework could be useful, like:
Budget for permanent protective items: X gold
This way you could a limit the amount of money players can spend (to account for the usual expenses characters have while leveling. Maybe limit it to straight classed characters, if you feel that this gives a clearer picture. Personally quite a number of the occult classes seem to scream for a 1 level dip, to get the heaviest armor.
Since playtests are an attempt at escalation (ok guys show us the worst game breaking things you can come up with ^^ ) letting people play something like this could be very informative. Of course giving GM the option not to allow such a playtest pregen should always be the norm, after all even with the current playtest system, what is actually in the PDF, and how the class is supposed to play are two different things. (Just look at the kineticist and the clarifications in the thread).
You didn't just prove, that all (stupid) Paladins are vampires .... right ?^^
Consider using this spell:
Reduce Animal wrote:
This should allow you to bring your animal into most dungeons, and the animal archive has:
Narrow Frame wrote:
I like the class, even if the summer roots are plain as day. It might be a tad on the weak side, but it certainly shows potential.
Some more touch spells like Frostbite would be welcome, to make the most of the deliver touch spells feature.
The Phantoms DR seems quite good at level 1, but it doesn't seem to scale at all, which is kinda disappointing.
Regarding weapons, I assume, that the Phantom can take Martial Weapon Proficiency, but can they use weapons?
Professor Herp wrote:
I think this is actually a negative amount of time, since we are already quite skilled at discussing potential FAQs/Errata.
This character seems to be a striker, pretty high damage, great mobility and very limited personal abilities.
My only worry, is that most classes can benefit from something like versatile weapon and align weapon even if they can't cast it themselves.
Other than that, I like the class.
Would it be possible to revise the language of the burn abiltiy, so it works with the mythic recuperation ability? As written a mythic paladin would regain her spells and smites, but burn is not recoverable since requires actual rest.
I am in the "wonderful" situation of not having characters above level 2, so the use of iconics is going to be a semi permanent feature for the foreseeable future. So I don't really have a horse in this race just jet, but for my 2 cents, is this really a problem?
Playing a pregen when you group makeup would otherwise be disastrous for the adventure, or when your character has some personality quirks that spell doom for the scenario.
If the adventure has a reputation for being deadly, it seems reasonable to not want to play their own characters, but it could be seen as a dick move. Of course there are gradients, when you come to a table with your beloved PC, and learn that you sit with a bunch of newbies with pregens.. chances are that your character would have to do the heavy lifting and the chances of failure are higher. I really can't blame the player there.
However the situation mentioned by the OP is different, it that case, it seems like some players are unwilling to take risks, thus increasing the risk for the other players with "real" characters. And of course, in many cases this will result in the players with non-pregens expending more personal resources on behalf of the party.
Well I don't think it is that unusual for a level 4 or 7 character to own a partially charged wand, after all this is true for nearly every PFS character since wands of cure light wounds seem to be mandatory.
Level 1 with wands are a little bit more unusual, but the pregens are usually only played for one mission, thus their expendables likely won't be used up. This is a nice change from previous pregens, since this allows them to contribute without burdening other players for stuff^^.
Andreas Forster wrote:
A Wand of CLW is only the very first object I decided to mention, that the monk can't have. It only gets worse from there. I won't list everything the monk can't readily provide for himself, and items that would allow him to deal with temporary/permanent conditions, but he also can't invest in some of the staple items (the big 6), so among other things dealing with DR might be a problem.
But ok, if the player has wants his character to shoot himself in the foot, first thing in the morning, so be it.
Your argument about healers doesn't really work IMO, sure if the party has a character with somewhat dedicated healing resources (eg. Channel Energy), great, but I think assuming anything else is might be stretching it.
Of course we should always cooperate, but when a player decides to play a concept, that is extremely reliant on the cooperation and resources of other party members, things get muddy.
If a play someone capable of healing, and now have to heal the stupid barbarian, that charged enraged (-4 AC) into the ranks of the enemy without wearing armor, cause it didn't fit his concept.
I know that playing stupid, and playing a substandard concept aren't the same thing, but with the above example, the barbarian could have bought a better healing wand for the cleric, or a wand of mage armor to help with his AC.
A monk with vow of poverty, does not have this option. Pretty much all he can do is "beg" his fellow party members for buffs (mage armor) and healing, since he is not capable of providing it.
This concept can work in a home game with a permanent group, but since you PFS often consists of pretty random groups...
It may sound insulting, but if someone drops his sick dog on my doorstep, I will make sure it gets medical attention, but I won't thank him for it.
Obviously once you sit at the table with a new player, things aren't nearly as critical, but I still think that taking the vow is a bad trade, the quigong archetype helps just a bit.
Look I don't have the time right now, but I have answered this question quite a number of times already, just searching in my posts should find you answer.
Sorry if this sounds rude, but the answer to that particular question is usually quite long. And remember 5 players are substantially more powerful than 4.
Doesn't this vow impose an unfair burden on the other players?
After all, a monk with this vow is unable to own a wand of CLW, a potion of remove disease and .... well plenty of other things.
Considering Painlords suggestions, you pretty much have nothing in that list.
Can you when this leads to a TPK, and the monk just says "Oh well I have plenty of PP to spare..." while the other characters are just plain dead?
Vic Wertz wrote:
Yes it may not be perfect, but a concentrated proofreading of fresh eyes might be able to catch quite a bit. Problems where an ability is not clearly written (example:Hunter pet skirmisher tricks), where an ability was changed and the changes to the monsters were't updated (Mythic Adventures), or when an item is printed without a saving throw (ACG Cape of Feinting).
These are the sort of errors a most people will be able to find, of course there are others, who take the time to correct things on the level of an editor (the Mythic Adventures errata threat has a good example of this). I think this would be a nice way to prevent some of the negative feelings resulting from some of the recent releases.
Obviously this would not catch everything, some combinations (Mythic x your level of system proficiency) are quite difficult to spot.
I think that the mythic rulesset has the distinct potential for less rules, if used correctly.
Ok to make this short and sweet, would I like Paizo to fix some combinations I personally think are broken, yes.
Will it happen, no.
Do I think Gunslingers with perma stun, a magus taking down a dragon with a critical calcific touch, ranger archers with APG spells...... will be changed any time soon? No.
Just cause two rules create a very powerful combo doesn't mean that Paizo has to see everything. And frankly some of the mythic feats are pretty much garbage.
Just look at mythic power attack and mythic furious focus.
I think it bears repeating, you have to decide between buffing the monsters or nerfing the players, the end result might be the same.
And I still don't see why dazing spell is apparently so good.
The fact that the party is very effective, is nothing new and I am still arguing, that their power equals about 2 parties, not 1 1/2.
I'll try to go into more detail tomorrow, but at this point most suggestions will be how to handle the players given the information you provided. If you give different, or more loot, or allow for more crafting time (ENFORCE THE LIMITS FROM ULTIMATE CAMPAIGN AT ALL TIMES^^) things will change.
In this case the player seems to have found a nice combo (oh and remember you can still sunder the armor, or the gauntlet. "Attacking him is rather vague). But yeah, plenty of ways around that, and killing the rest of the party first, should make things easier.
IIRC Come and Get me is based on Robiliars Gamit, some beast from the dark ages (3.5), is apparently some important fighter from Greyhawk with a metal horse.
A: The more complex this system become, the more likely things like this are going to be. It is going to happen.
B: You can still say no to come and get me.
C: This tactic goes online at level 12, plenty of time to kill the character, and if it doesn't work there are plenty of options.
DR: If the enemy DR is significant enough, even all those attacks will not sting that much.
Confusion and mind control, ranged attacks of all kinds, mirrors of opposition, fire shield and similar effects, swarms that immune to weapon damage and plenty of other effects.
HOWEVER, just like dealing with archers this can feel quite unfair for the player, instead of every enemy suddenly having wind wall or fickle winds active .. other things happen.
One of the problems here is, that the downsides (suffering more damage) are almost entirely eaten by that insane trait. But since you go for superpowerfull you might as well leave them in there.
From your second post, I assume that you don't really want help, cause I know how this tango is played:
GM"My player is overpowered"
But yeah, a witch or a magus with the evil eye and retribution hexes should ruin the barbarians day, there are other spells and effects.
So yeah to reiterate my first suggestion, kill it with fire.
And a question, how is that character supposed to heal ?
Other than the oracle, but that healing will feel like a drop in the bucket.
I would describe it like this:
Mythic rules are an optional subsystem that exists in addition to the traditional level structure. Mythic characters can access a wide array of powers, that allow them have in and out of combat options, that aren't available to non-mythic characters.
It is intended to allow players to replicate the epic feats of characters of legendary status. Examples of mythic abilities are: a fighter that can grab and defelect a ray with his bare hand, a rogue getting the ability to become invisible at will, a spellcaster gaining the ability to cast any spell on their spell list without having to prepare or know them.
Mythic rules can be used for a variety of things, some GMs might chose to reward their players with mythic tiers rather than class levels. This can result in more powerful characters, without access to certain high level abilities. That can be very useful.
They can also be used to improve monsters, and create memorable challenging encounters.
If you want a quick fix, I would suggest a combination of advanced simple template and the templates on page 224 of Mythic Adventures, particularly Invincible and Agile. Arcane and Divine can be a good choice, if you want then to have some sort of evasive ability (blink, mirror immage, fly, teleport...)
And remember that you can always just increase the mythic rank to give it another mythic ability (fortification is often quite good).
Liz Courts wrote:
Can't we have to conserve resources this years nut harvest might be pretty bad (about 70% of the nuts in Nutella come from Turkey and their harvest is projected to be terrible this year.
He have to make it last.... also you can put Nutella and Bananas on top ^^ Maybe even some (white) chocolate shavings^^
Scribbling Rambler wrote:
Well I think, there are legitimate ways to see this situation:
-Some people just need a place to vent, their frustrations with the adventure paths as written. The causes for those problems will likely stay the same, frankly I doubt that even a small fraction of players plays adventure paths exactly with as written or following the assumptions: 15 pts. point buy, 4 players, suggested wealth per level.... and the more you group diverges from these assumptions....
-They have legitimate complaints, no AP is perfect and mistakes do happen. Personally I have a couple of problems with Kingmaker, the kingdom building system, was as written in the AP, pretty broken (magic items...) and the subplot that gets resolved with the 6th adventure, is not very well foreshadowed. But those are the risks of trying something new. I have not played Skulls and Shackles, but it looked pretty solid to me.
James Jacobs wrote:
I think Pathfinder Unchained might solve some of the problems/offer alternatives for perceived problems, that are multiplied by a number of mythic abilities.Alternatively I am quite willing to purchase Mythic Rechained.
Jessica Price wrote:
Voting with my wallet, seems like a nice idea, but it is rather hard to do. I still like Mythic Adventures, I like they way they decided to to it (mythic tiers as a separate system to levels), and as a fan of the old ELH stuff, this is still better.
I bought MA twice, as well as mythic origins (completely different power level aside from one thing, but a nice product) as well as the adventure path. My problem is, that I also buy quite a lot of other things, I am still quite lukewarm about the recent adventure path, but I don't expect too run it.. ever. It is just somethinge nice to read, and steal ideas from.
Are reviews an answer ?
James Jacobs wrote:
Great change, I haven't sunk my teeth into the the technology guide yet, but the AP looks promising (since there is no way in hell, that I can ever GM this for my "traditional" players, the fact that I am still subscribed should be a good sign).
Is there any chance of paizo taking a good look at MA and finding a way to make it more compatible with the Adventure Path? Not asking for anything extensive, just something reasonably short for us to point out to GMs asking if the AP is playable. Call it a mod if you will.
I know that Paizo is incredibly busy, but this could seriously reduce the level of complaints.
Yeah, sorry, but I have to call BS on that one, and while adding tiers to an existing character is one issue, eg. adding a single tier to a level 17 character, caster or otherwise, can be a massive boost in power, a fighter getting mythic power attack, fleet charge and mythic vital strike (exchanging a path abilitiy for an extra feat) is a massive boost. Adding a tier to a level 1 character has a far weaker effect.
But when it comes to the playtest, one of the things that wasn't properly tested was adventure design, and the effects mythic abilities have on certain assumptions.
And plenty of people have spoken out against abilities like mythic power attack, channel power and mythic spellcasting. The number of things a mythic channel power meteor swarm can't kill is rather low.
No, too much listening really wasn't the problem, you can blame the assumption that APs are intended for non- optimized players, but a fighter taking power attack and mythic power attack is pretty much a baseline assumption.
Yeah the setup is crazypants, which makes it soo much worse, since that particular NPCs is currently highly vulnerable. Charging into combat against a group, that just defeated some of his greatest minions (and taking the time to kill the remaining ones first).
Players should not kill that particular NPC in one round by being lucky. If you read the other stuff in that encounter, it is pretty clear that the writer assumes that the PCs will choose to retreat.
But what will happen at this part of their adventuring carrer, is that he will get lacerated by bane arrows.
You might argue that this is the same hubris, that lead to him getting that fancy tatoo (still trying to be vague, but to lazy for a spoiler ^^), but one would assume he learned from that.
A real fight against this guy is supposed to be a pretty handcraftet affair with enemies chosen by the boss, to counter the PCs. Yeah still pretty unhappy with that encounter, especially since the most logical tactic includes abusing mythic time stop.
captain yesterday wrote:
so if you were adding on to monsters in kingmaker why pile on to wrath? You already know the RAW dont work for you so why are you stirring the pot?
My guess is, that when it comes to this AP the difference between a group that does try to avoid the good options and pretty much everyone else is ridiculous.If you slap a couple of mythic tiers on the iconics even they will be able to succeed to an almost comical degree.
Even Kingmaker hat fighs as written that seriously challenged my group - turns out mind controll is even better when you group is optimized but doesn't bother with protection from evil.
I agree, we really need some clarifications on ACG, and frankly MY could use some strategic nerfs to make it more compatible with WotR.
It gets to be an issue once not everybody in the group is ok with the tactic. If the players without darkvision don't mind that they will have problem, there is a meeting of the minds, and thus no conflict.
These problems can be solved just by talking to the others players.
Mike Bramnik wrote:
From where I am sitting there are two sides to the issue:
-Players who do have the money, but are unwilling to support the hobby. If someone comes to a game with expensive desinger clothing, and drinks two cans of a brand energy drink, and eats snack to excess, chances are that he deserves a bit of a stern talk (particularly if he often has to borrow books from other players on the table).
-Players with financial struggles. They exist, frankly I never noticed it before, but I like to think that we are a charitable bunch. I don't mind sharing dice or books if someone has a really hard time.
Especially when your real life is hard, it is nice to find a way to escape that situation, if only for a little bit.
Now when it comes to both groups, I think it is worth mentioning the idea or piracy that I subscribe to:
The other idea is to not see the pirat as an enemy, but as a potential customer. Sure plenty of young and or poor people won't be able to purchase your products right now, but they might be able to purchase product in the future.
Since I have posted this times and times again in the Wotr area, so to keep this short:
- Either mythic characters are fine, or mythic monsters are fine, they do not work in combination, characters are just to good.
- Mythic rules break the encounters per day structure
- Mythic magic items seem fine (with the possible exception of mythic bane)
A 2-3 PDF "errata" could fix it.
Yeah I played the subtier, it was a bucket of fun. My Kyra rolled superb when it came to melee attack rolls, but even max damage didn’t have an effect. Fortunately we had a fighter with an adamantine waraxe.
And lacking the required Knowledge, the adventure ended, with Kyra almost getting eaten by “some weird silver swarm thing”. Only from conversation with other groups, that played the adventure on a higher level, did we learn about the alternate options… and frankly the group had no way to access that very specific spell. Oh and another group at the same event, didn’t get through the first encounter for “hard” reasons.
The GM did his best, but the adventure didn’t leave a great impression (the fighter wasn’t happy about the interaction between deflect arrows and lasers) .
I can understand why you would prefer to avoid GMing the subtier.
Incidentally, I the next purchase with my hunter will be 8-10 durable adamantine arrows, so that particular problem is won’t come back to bite me (yeah they might be a bit cheesy but 10 arrows is nothing for a hunter, and I would prefer to avoid cheesing with abundant ammunition).
I take issue with that item. It is way too cheap, and the colour seems kinda wrong (blue just seems right). And it understanding stuff, doesn’t seem to fit, how about:
“You can make substitute the bluff skill, when interacting with technology. If you do not have Technologist feat, you suffer a -10 penalty on the roll. Does not work on wood or food.” ^^
any reason why Sanguine Wildblooded got the banhammer all of a sudden? I have a friend who will be affected by this and I know she's going to be bummed out.
The dhampir and aasimar blood consumption options have been banned too.Your friend might have to switch to potions of infernal healing, still kinda evil (and might very well look like blood, after all that is the material component) but PFS legal.
A lot of problems have been there since the beta, and are largely connected with the intention to stay compatible with 3.5. Personally I am not a big fan of some of the old mechanics (like sneak attack - the precise strike ability of the swashbuckler is far better), and pathfinder unchained may just be the way to fix some of these.
And of course a new edition should require quite an extensive playtest (and frankly after mythic adventures, I think the process needs some changes).
Realistically I don't see it happen for quite a long time, as long enough players buy the current edition ( and I know from years of experience that some players just buy every new product, even if they don’t have the time to actually use/read most of it).
Crystal Frasier wrote:
Excellent fluff and crunch what a treat. I am very happy about the new iconics and this one absolutely breaks the mold^^, very well done.
Incidentally this might be the first character transgendered character players will come into contact with (well if they read the Paizo blog). And while I really liked Anevia in Wotr, unless the pcs are really interested in the NPCs,(I dropped some hints but..) Anevia and Irabeth are just a normal lesbian couple . One of my temporary players made a stupid remark, but some people are just stupid.
After my extensive research on twilight (not reading the books, not seeing the movies -> but seeing that terrible twilight spoof movie) I can safely comment about this.
The shadow demon being a follower of a demon lord (SPOILER) to the adventure (?), does not make sense to me. But I can’t go into detail without massive spoilers, so assume that the GM is changing things - quite a certainty, since no Paizo published adventure would ever, ever, ever, ever include a forced “mindrape”, and forced impregnation to a player character.
That is a pretty big no no, even if the character was a former player character. And while I already killed two former player characters in my group, since the players no longer attend the games ….. it was a pretty big deus ex machina (getting killed by a 20/10 npc.. in the second adventure) some areas should out of the game.
I can’t argue, that the twilight inclusion is or isn’t terrible, but the group could always kill the baby and/or the former player, thus “euthanize” this part of the plot. If that isn’t an option, just just something like calcific touch, flesh to stone or another spell, to stop this plot indefinitely.
If the group is unwilling to deal with the situation, just call church of Iomedae and wait for the appearance of the inquisition (like the cable company, their arrival is always quite surprising).
Now if you excuse me, I have to rewatch one of my favourite Hellsing (the anime) videos, and while it doesn’t contain spoilers of any kind (well except that fictional anime nazis seem like like war, a lot^^) I like to watch it before I GM, it tends to bring me into the right mindset for this AP. You know the one with all those evil bastards, demons, torture….. (Did I mention that I am German?).
Matt Thomason wrote:
I find the easiest way to deal with balance issues in APs is to go the no-XP route, and also to ignore the recommended level-up points. Just level up the party when they start to struggle, and suddenly the entire AP becomes a near-perfectly-balanced challenge no matter how good or bad the party is.
Yes quite a number of the GMs don’t use XP these days, in my Kingmaker campaign I intentionally kept them 1 or 2 levels below the suggestions, it didn’t really stop them (Kingmaker 4-5 was quite easy for my group with the exception of one combat against a daemon), but almost resulted in a TPK when I dominated the archer.
James Jacobs wrote:
Isn't the simple answer to that "Look at the iconics"? Yes. That's a much more elegant way to put it, in fact.
I actually really like the iconics in the NPC guide, but I would love to see the iconics from the other books.
And again, even the inconic get a serious power boost out of the rules from mythic adventures. Maybe if I find the motivation I will stat my version of some of them, as some sort of benchmark for other GMs.
James Jacobs wrote:
While these boards are a superb resource (particularly because of the friendly and constructive atmosphere and various paizo customers and employees ready to help new players/GMs), a reasonably short product (not hidden within the pages of the Complete Koblods Guide to Game Design or the Pathinder GMG ) could have a pretty large effect, for some reason a printed product carries quite a bit of weight for some GMs. But it would be hard to find a book to delay, so yeah, unlikely. But maybe a short article on the Paizo blog would be nice, at least if would give us something comprehensive to link to new GMs^^
You can created devastating combinations with pretty much anything.
Once a character is disruptive to your game, or outshines all other characters all the time you might have to do something.
All classes should be possible, but it is well within your rights as a GM to ban classes, and archetypes, that will be disruptive to your game (or things you can’t deal with). Examples some GMs ban are summoners (the class and other classes that summon a lot) since they can eat up a lot of time.
The suggested wealth per level guidelines are in the core rulebook, and please not the percentages that players are supposed to have in each area e.g. a player is not supposed to invest 90 % of his wealth into his weapon.
To give you some guidelines:
-Usually a character that can do other things than fighting (cleric, rogue) should have to roll a 14 or higher on his attack roll to hit an enemy of his CR, it is reasonable for fighters and barbarians (and similar characters) to hit on a 8-10. Buffs tend to push those numbers, but you should be a bit worried when players hit an an attack roll of 5 or below (or only miss on a natural one).
If your group has more than 4 players, consider increasing the number of enemies first, and the power secondary. The CR system is anything but an exact science, and depending on your group composition, a 5th or 6th character can increase their power by up to 25 -75 %. in rare optimized cases even more.
Also learn to cheat, it is well within your purview to change a roll or two to normalize a streak or crits/misses.
Sorry, but while I find it admirable that Paizo products are essentially open source (d20pfsrd makes my life sooo much easier, even with hero lab and pdfs), it is unreasonable for a GM/player to have the time to familiarize himself with all the available rules.
And access on the gaming table is really not guaranteed, it is fine for the adventure to feature nonstandard enemies and spells (the GM can prepare that ahead of time) but using a monster from bestiary 3 is not the same as a complex inquisitor with feats and spells from 7 different books.
It is quite possible the find 6 players to do something together for 4-6 hours, finding the same number of people willing and capable to find the time in their schedules to play an AP for months at a time….. not that easy ^^
If your read the boards, you will find that GMs have to change stat blocks all the time, it is pretty hard to avoid, and frankly some GMs like it. Now I would love to have the statblocks preloaded into hero lab, but that is another topic.
20 pts point buy aren’t the problem, I would argue that it could reduce stat dumping.
Yes, but Pathfinder Society adventures are only offered as pdf, and rather short, so the amount of research isn’t that big.And of course society play does ban quite a number of options.
@everyone talking about point buy.
The problem isn’t really based on the stats, it is based on other factors, low stats just make certain builds very very hard - to the point where you have to take those dump stats.
(And to be honest my group uses 20 pts point buy, no stats below 10, and pretty much all enemies gain the advanced or another +1 or +2 templates to compensate, or I just increase the hp)
While it is true that the mythic stat increases can be more powerful for certain abilities like divine grace, they are frankly necessary. Otherwise, a mythic which would have no way to increase the DC of their hexes, or any mythic character would be quite limited in their options to increase their health (HP, fort save..).
I finally found what I forgot in my initial post:
Enemies lack protection against certain tactics
This may overlap a bit with my previous posts, but I feel it is worth mentioning. Certain tactics are extremely useful at most or all levels of the game, and enemies are often utterly unable to respond. A clever GM can and should allow enemies to counter all or some of these tactics, since published adventures can anticipate only so much.
So here are some rather effective tactics:
They are good, and most enemies have no defense against their attacks and powers that punish melee attacks like unholy aura have no effect on them. While there are some effects, that can help against those enemies, giving every enemy a protective spell against ranged attacks tends to get old really fast.
Surprisingly this is one of the areas, where WotR is actually better than any previous AP. With abilities like fleet charge, melee characters have it easier than ever to get full attacks, and with the insane mythic power attack (especially considering mythic furious focus) their damage output quickly reduces enemies to mince.
I admit, that some of the more effective ways to stop or weaken ranged combatants involve areas of concealment (fog, darkness), strong wind, very good cover or very limited spaces - and that is very constraining to adventure design.
To reiterate another point, AC is not a sufficient defense against those characters, miss chance, concealment and combats with against a greater number of enemies can sufficient.
Scry and Die:
The tactic is old, but pretty hard to beat as a GM, the players just use magic to locate the creature, then use a teleportation effect to surprise it and kill it before it can react.
There are ways to discourage this tactic, but most of them are magical (like permanent teleportation cages) and thus not available to certain enemies.
I guess this is one of those tactics, where players only stop one it has proved disastrous one to many times.
Buff, Buff then Buff some more:
This “tactic” is a hard one, I think that players should be rewarded for appropriate preparations, like casting protection from cold before engaging a white dragon. Casting spells that are pretty much like class abilities (mage armor for the wizard, magic fang for the druid) seems reasonable too.
The problem arises, when you consider that buffs tend to represent a nonlinear increase in power, in other words, when it comes to buffs 1+1 does not result in 2.
Some mythic examples: mythic heroism gives +4 to attack rolls, saves and other things, for 10 minutes per level, that spell can last for hours (extend spell) and thus would be available for several encounters every day.
Add to that a +4 courageous weapon and that bonus rises to +6.
Now let’s add haste (or augment the heroism) and/or magic weapon or maybe bull strength and the bonus to attack rolls can easily reach +10 or higher - of course depending on the level of the group.
I do appreciate, that WotR features a lot of enemies with greater dispel magic, but nothing prevents players from buffing the group with lots of low level spells to soak up dispelling.
Enemies could use Antimagic field, but that spell makes it very easy to create a TPK, and might not even be effective (depending on the non-magical defensive abilities of the user).
Sufficiently buffed, even lower level enemies have a reasonable chance to hit and deal a little damage (just rolling to see if you roll nat 20s is a bit unrewarding IMO).
Invisibility is a good spell, it can be very useful for scouting, or on the party healer so she can heal in combat while protected. greater invisibility however is a beast, cast on a rogue, ninja, slayer… pretty much everyone with a precision based ability like sneak attack and it will destroy the vast majority of encounters between level 9-14, after that quite a number of enemies gain some ability to detect them.
It is worth mentioning that a lot of classes can access this spell by level 7, and only a select few enemies can cope with that.
I could be wrong, but I don’t think that this AP is any more effective against this tactic than any other, arguably less, since players can become invisible with a mythic power.
If you don’t know what a “carry” is, it is a term from MOBA games like league of legends. It refers to a character that starts weak, but with enough magic items, buffs and enough levels she becomes extremely effective.
For example, I am sure, that I am not the only GM who had players, who were tempted by the impressive theoretical damage of a rogue/ninja fighting with two weapons. Of course this often results, in fewer damage, since the rogue is already cursed with a less than stellar attack bonus.
Of course once you add good group tactics, that seemingly bad choice can become very effective, without necessarily requiring the other characters to make sacrifices.
Battle against a large demon:
Best case scenario, the rogue now has a much higher chance to hit, can deal sneak attack damage and has more attacks than a rogue with 1h weapon and shield or a two handed weapon.
This is a case where a “weaker” choice can be leveraged to be very powerful, this is another argument against single enemy fights, they are more vulnerable to debuffs, flanking and other tactics.
Of course adventure design, can make use of these tactics, but it usually takes up more space in the adventure. I encourage GMs to toy with the stat blocks and and tactics, so that they are on par, or even better than the player tactics (learning a useful tactic from a previous encounter can be quite entertaining - watch literally any anime, they do this all the time).
For examples, you could add a couple of low level casters to the Storm King fight, to hit him and the group with electricity based attacks.
Of course some powers and tactics are just not very fair for anybody, and I would actually suggest a gentlemans agreement with your players not to use them.
And to repeat myself: Most or all of the problems are rooted deeply in the CRB, expecting additional rules like Mythic Adventures, spat book like UM and UC, or adventures to fix them seems unreasonable.
And while the GM doesn’t have an easy job, having a GM is one of the greatest advantages and resources this hobby has.
These days it would require an intervention to keep me away from my hero lab, my pdfs and d20pfsrd.com.
Yeah, I may add a little bit more later, but I fear, that this talk about the published adventures will bleed over in the general area of GM advice.
Adding nonstandard tactics on the fly is a GM skill I am trying to hone myself. I got the idea from the complete Kobold guide to game design (A book I can, and have suggested to everybody My review ), trying to say Yes (rather than No) when my players want to attempt something outside the options outlined in the adventure. It doesn’t always work, but my players tend to find it quite rewarding.
Scripted boss battles like the ones world of warcraft uses, can be rewarding and entertaining, but the players will need some ways to learn these mechanics (knowledge skills seem like the way to go).
For example here is a version of the fight against the Storm King:
As written in the adventure, but when the players come outside to confront him, they seem him killing one of this subordinates (a demon that is covered in glowing runes)by touching him his bare hands (looks like lightning grasp) seconds later, he explodes in a shower of spark and guts (as detonate reflex DC 25, 20d8 electricity damage).
Throughout the fight whenever his hit points fall below 50% he calls for new minions and becomes protected by a powerful mythic sanctuary effect (DC 30). 2d6 CR 10-15 demons (marked with the same glowing runes) fly up from the nearby rift and try to come close enough to the Storm King to detonate them.
MMO design these days likes to play with stacks and debuffs and you could use the same tactic here:
Enemies hit by the Storm Kings melee attacks and electricity based spells must succeed at a fortitude save (DC 27) or receive a static charge. Creatures with 1-5 static charges, suffer a -2 penalty on all saving throws against lightning effects, creatures with more than 5 charges receive double damage from electricity.
And of course something to discourage attacks from extreme range:
The Storm King is surrounded by a permanent cloak of winds, as a full round action he can strengthen this effect so the penalty on ranged attack rolls doubles and the creatures up to large size have to succeed at at fortitude save (DC 25) to touch or attack him in melee.
There is certainly room for combats like these, but even in this case I would give him 50% fortification and a lot more hit points (but remove the vorpal blade).
Messing with a perfectly good adventure - my campaign and other calamities (Spoiler)
Spoilers are pretty much impossible to avoid
I apologize for the length.
Every group is different, and while the access to material and GM style vary greatly, this post assumes the use most paizo created pathfinder resources. However I will try to use core material for my examples.
And while I have made changes to loot distribution and random encounters, this post is based on the core assumptions.
this topic has been on my mind for quite some time, and while posters like the esteemed magnuskn and various others have highlighted the problems with high level play and adventure paths, I want to talk about WotR.
While this AP does share some of its problems with other adventure paths, it introduces new or worsens existing problems.
While it is not unusual or indeed negative, for a campaign to have a theme, it tends to lower the enemy variety significantly. While I am not a huge fan of the favoured enemy mechanic, whether it is used on a class or feat base (ranger/demon hunter feats) or come in the form of magic items (bane weapons, arrows of slaying) I recognize its potential. After all if a player is properly prepared, he/she should get rewarded for it.
Since the vast majority of enemies in this adventure path are evil, a paladin with smite evil (or similar ability) will find ample opportunities and a holy should be a good investment.
After reading the entire AP, I can say, that they actually tried to increase the enemy variety, particularly in the earlier adventures, but most of the significant threats are still mostly evil outsiders.
Of course this also means that DR is far less useful, it isn’t really unlikely that pcs are prepared to faces the hordes of the abyss, after all that is what this AP is about. This along with other abilities tends to devalue material based DR.
When it comes to the area of spellcasting, the limited enemy variety, makes a number of spells very good. The demon hunters handbook recently introduced protection from outsiders, which is frankly amazing. While outside of the Abyss demons are quite vulnerable to dismissal, holy word and similar effects.
A lot of the “important” and challenging enemies will be mythic creatures and most of them will also be demons. A +2 mythic bane evil outsider bane weapon will be a investment, that is very hard to beat, and it can overcome DR/Epic.
The issues mentioned above affect every AP ( excluding mythic bane), but Mythic Adventures gives the PCs other shiny toys.
Arcane Strike (Mythic) is quite potent in every mythic campaign, but in this case it should allow the player to ignore DR completely and add a significant attack bonus.
Beyond Mortality, while removing alignment and allowing combinations like paladin/assassin, the ability to ignore unholy/anarchic weapons (possible encounter at the end of book 5) , defensive abilities like unholy aura (fight in book 6 among others) , offensive spells like unholy blight and blasphemy, class abilities like smite good and various other creature abilities that only penalize creatures of the opposing alignment.
Ignoring DR, resistances, immunities and SR: Various powers and abilities allow players to ignore DR and resistances either on a limited basis, or permanently.
One of the disadvantages of published adventures is, that either due to limited word count (and/or the authors sanity) it is impossible to provide answers for every possible scenario or player tactic.
Demons have a very broad set of abilities, but some or all of them can be countered by prepared players. This is a good thing.
However since mythic spellcasters can access their entire spell list quite easily, the players can still benefit from good preparation, without actually preparing (preparing the right spells, buying the right magic item) and can respond to challenges with the perfect answer.
Using mythic spellcasting, players can access very efficient long term buffs (mythic mage armor, mythic heroism, mythic magic vestment) and devastating combat spells.
Other mythic choices allow characters to increase their strengths or reduce their weaknesses, but few allow devastating combinations like class mimic.
What I am saying, is that the various slight power increases tend to combine and multiply, this is hardly limited to mythic play, but the players have a lot more options.
Most of the time, the mythic rules tend to enhance existing abilities, or give similar thematic powers, there aren’t usually a lot of ways to adapt the enemies.
It is reasonable to expect GMs to adapt the NPC tactics to the realities of battle, but that rarely gives them more options.
Fortunately Mythic Adventures provides us with a number of additional templates, to solve these problems. While this puts more strain on the GM, I think it could be a worthwhile idea to provide the GM with some options like: “At the start of the encounter, the Storm King can get the benefit two of the following templates : agile, arcane, invincible ;alternatively, instead of a template the Storm King, is subject to a mythic contingency, that releases an intensified detonate that deals 15d8 electricity damage”
Abilities like limited wish, give the GM a way to adapt the opponents on the fly, and while giving everyone limited wish seems unrealistic, something like “the creature can cast up two 3 ranger spells per day, usually the following spells” could be an option. Again, I love templates, but it can add more work for the GM, but since many GMs will “have” to do this anyway, suggestions are appreciated.
TLDR:Players have access to a diverse number of options, enemies don’t.
Players can deal a lot of damage, and their ability to deal damage soon outstrips their ability to survive it.
This poses two distinct problems:
-Enemies tend to die very very quickly, and that tends to be a bit anticlimactic, remember that a round takes 6 seconds.
I think, that as far as mythic play is concerned, Table 6-8 Monster Statistics by CR does not provide the monsters with enough hit points. A melee character with mythic power attack can deal substantially more damage, especially if she is crit based.
Possible solutions include the ability to redirect attacks, like the excellent
Deadly Dodge wrote:
Mirroring Belt wrote:
but those two can quite easily kill player characters.
Increasing the number of enemies and increasing the hit points of important enemies should provide the players with a suitable challenge and satisfying experience.
- Players can kill other players
The ability to redirect, attacks is quite rare, but confused or dominated players can pose a serious danger to their own group, and while there are quite a number of ways to increase AC, increasing your hit points is surprisingly ineffective.
Mythic Adventures includes abilities, that allow a healer to heal a dead creature back to life and I suspect that this is one of the reasons for the inclusion ofdeathless, particularly in the mythic version.
Once recuperation becomes available, it is quite unlikely that players will run out of limited class abilities (spells, rage, bardic music, arcane pool) this makes attrition tactics - a long string of attacks/challenges - far less effective, and I would argue that encounters have to be challenging enough to force the players to spend mythic points.
Mythic power quickly becomes the most valuable resource, since it can be used for recuperation, spellcasting (including giving access to spellcasting via mortal herald), extra actions, activating mythic feats….
While there are some ways to refill your mythic power ambrosia is quite cheap in the grand scale of things.
This fact puts quite a bit of strain on the adventure design, since encounters/challenges, have to be so frequent/challenging that the group has to expend suitable resources, but not so frequent that the PCs get overpowered.
For my 2 cents, if the players are smart and use buffs efficiently, encounters will be over quicker and they won’t be forced to spend mythic power in combat to reverse/prevent negative effects.
As written the AP gives the players quite a bit of freedom, and while the a time limit is heavily implied (even in part 5, that is plenty of time) the PCs should have the ability to retreat after a short number of encounters.
Maybe this is more of a feature than a bug, but it requires quite challenging encounters, you won’t be able to impress the players with lots of encounters.
TLDR Mythic adventure design is even harder than regular adventure design, and while some of the encounters and challenges might be a bit easy, it is a good first try.
Obviously the players won’t become publish enemy number one at the start of the first adventure, but considering their actions on the first and second adventures, they should be a known threat to the demon army.
Since the demons are a pretty chaotic lot, it seems reasonable (and the adventure depends on this fact) that they won’t make a coordinated attempt to kill or corrupt the player characters.
Again this might be due to the limited word count, but I feel that GMs should modify the enemies to respond to the players, if news reaches them, that they favor various tactics.
To reiterate my previous point, giving the enemies some options (various templates chosen by the GM, limited wish, simple arcane/divine spellcasting) should allow them to adapt. And another crucial point, GMs should be willing to incorporate material from all sources that the players have access to. Paizo tends to use spells from the core rulebook, and in some cases adding spells from other sources (like APG spells for a ranger NPC) can make them far more effective.
Of course at this point the GM has to find a good sweet spot, between rewarding the players from being good at the game (some GMs forget that fact) and providing a sufficient and rewarding challenge.
With current rules let’s say CRG, APG, UM and MA, characters with the ability to spend resources (everyone other than fighter and rogue) have a distinct advantage.
The mythic rules allow characters the break rules in small ways (like feats but with greater effect), and while this gives characters unprecedented freedom to build their characters, it makes it very tough to write adventures.
Mythic characters are usually very good at overcoming straightforward combat encounters, so adding a number of nonstandard challenges and customized encounters should provide an acceptable challenge.
Always remember, that the assumption for adventure paths are based on 15 pts. point buy, 4 characters, purchase limit based on city size, wealth per level guidelines (including the suggested values for weapons, armors and one shot items), proper use of knowledge skills to determine enemy weaknesses…..
Pretty much everyone, doesn’t rigidly enforce each and every rule in Pathfinder, so you should always feel confident to make any changes, that you think, make the experience better for your group.
It is highly unlikely that James Jacobs, will come to your home game and shout at you for doing it wrong (highly unlikely, yeah never underestimate a bloody T-Rex)
I hope that once they have a moment, the designers will take a second look at the mythic rules to make some of the abilities a bit more reasonable (like
itan's Bane (Ex)
You can move through the space of any creature two or more size categories larger than you without provoking attacks of opportunity, and you can share such a creature's space. When sharing a larger opponent's space, you gain cover against all melee and ranged attacks made by the creature, and it is considered flat-footed for the purposes of any melee or ranged attacks you make against it.
Surprisingly effective for small rogues or ninjas.