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Curse You James Jacobs!


Age of Worms Adventure Path

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

I would just like to say that I DM the biggest group of munchkin min/maxers you've ever come across, and it has truly amazed me throughout the Age of Worms adventure path how many times you, James Jacobs, and you, Eric Boyd, along with your fellow Legion of Doomers, have been roundly cursed at my gaming table by said twinks. Keep up the good work!


Ya, I dont know how, but in AotW munchkins always die first from what Iv'e heard... Mostly cause we are at part 7 and only had 1 death AND none of them are munchkin/min maxers...


Yeah, in particular that lich. I know the designers knew that its CR was broken, I know its CR was broken, and the six magic missile/round barrage was totally b@+$**@@.


Nice to know other DMs blame the party's woes on the module writers too.


What is it that causes Munchkins to die much quicker? I hear that they have entire tables dedicated to survival, weaknesses, and number crunching. They know so much about the game that it is hard to kill them off in a fair fight.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber
Gwenfloor wrote:
What is it that causes Munchkins to die much quicker?

Well, this quote from my resident munchkin might shed some light on that...

"On level X my character will work as planned."

X is of course the level where all the special abilities from all the classes he's been cherry picking from will reach critical mass. The problem, though, is that until he's reached that point the character is utter crap. I think the problem with many munchkins, or at least my munchkin, is that they plan their characters for kicking ass at level 20, but they miss that their characters must work on every level from 1 to 19 as well.


Thankfully, my party is munchkin free. Unfortunately, we still have the one problem that faces ever munchkin: direct action. Munchkins (and some others) do not look for the way around, or the roleplay solution. Every problem the party comes across must be faced in mortal slugfest. When all a character thinks about is, "my character can kick out X++ damage" they rarely think about if combat is a good idea, or even neccissary. So they dive right in. All the time.

Solution: Make them retreat early in the campaign. Suggest it. Tell them that it doesn't say anywhere that they have to take the whole dungeon at once, and do not penalize them for doing so. Even if it makes good sense to do so. Then, when they get it in their head that they only have to take one encounter at a time (as there are no consequences) give them one heck of a consequence.

IMC this happened in the Sodden Hold. The PC's were hit hard by the mimics, walked over the guards, and then found themselves woefully inadequate against the stalkers. I calmly pointed out that they could retreat, restock, and come back (artificer+scrolls for the win). After defeating the stalkers, they found the way to the bottom level and encountered the octopus. This time they retreated of their own free will, memorizing water based spells for their return. This time they left evidence that they got past the stalkers, so Telakin and crew were prepared for their return. I "warned" them with a firetrap spell on one of the doors, then ambushed them in the main hall.

It resulted in a near TPK :(

When they got to Zyrzog's lair, they took it in two parts. First day was the Drow enclave and the three guards, then they stormed the citadel. After taking a pounding from the museum guard, they debated pulling out and resting. The in game conversation was great, as they debated what Xyrxog would do if given a day of reprieve. They ultimately decided to take him down.

Onto the Champion's Belt. I look forward to their exploration of the understructure.

Anarch of De-Munchkinization

Qadira

*nods* A good assessment, evillash. My last gaming group was 2 parts munchkin, 2 parts powergamer (powerful but intelligent design), and 2 parts casual/clueless :-P. One could always tell the difference, because the powergamer was eager for any level they got, while the munchkin impatiently waited for "level X" as you put so nicely :).


Gwenfloor wrote:
What is it that causes Munchkins to die much quicker?

Because, while they know how to roll stuff, they don't know how to play the game. D&D at its best is about solving problems -- if it can't be solved with a maxed-out set of stats and an ultraweapon +5, they're out of luck.

The munchkin is the one who shows up to build a house with the biggest, most testosterone-packed hammer money can buy. He doesn't have drills, screwdrivers, nails, wood, electrical wiring, etc, etc, etc...

My two cents :)

Jack


I've found that many times the party needs the core classes at the max. level possible. It's when players start to multiclass that it begins to dilute the skills, feats, and the rest of math that they work so furiously to optimize.

A 14th level thief or mage has all the ranks he needs to pick the really hard lock or cast the really powerful spell. The 7th level thief / 7th level mage cannot [ick the lock or cast the spell.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Timault Azal-Darkwarren wrote:


A 14th level thief or mage has all the ranks he needs to pick the really hard lock or cast the really powerful spell. The 7th level thief / 7th level mage cannot pick the lock or cast the spell.

I'd hope most campaigns would be able to allow a 7/7 rogue/wizard to be able to contribute to a 14th level adventure. There isn't anything inherently munchkin about multi-classing. It's the 2 rogue/2 monk/4 wizard/1 prestige A/6 prestige B that reeks of munchkin-dom. Then again, some folks can justify this with good solid RP... you can usually tell if a person is min/maxing and respond by making sure they regret their choice in some way :)

I know a friend of mine was trying to have a character very similar to Conan, and ended up with levels in rogue, barbarian and fighter. He was definately not munchkin, he was just trying to capture the flavor of what he wanted... the character seemed fairly comparable to another level 7 character despite the spread... which wasn't intended to max out a specifical skill or ascend a certain feat tree... just get the right mix of skills available to solve problems.

Osirion

I had to do a GM caveat, and remove some of Brazzemals spells, or my group, which has had a few deaths since the beginning, would have been TPK's. I have not run this for almost a year, to have them fail...at least not until the story is told.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Timault Azal-Darkwarren wrote:
A 14th level thief or mage has all the ranks he needs to pick the really hard lock or cast the really powerful spell. The 7th level thief / 7th level mage cannot [ick the lock or cast the spell.

There is a reason for the Arcane Trickster.

Cheers!


Speaking as someone who is quite frequently labelled a "munchkin" by RP snobs, I gotta say that approaching an encounter with only combat on your mind can sometimes lead to disaster.

Teh diplomacy skill exists for a reason, and it can be utilized equally by rollplayers and roleplayers.


or do what I did as DM...

allow Core Classes only .....

With 4 players that are experienced and another 2 that are so-so, its turnign out very well


wakedown wrote:
I'd hope most campaigns would be able to allow a 7/7 rogue/wizard to be able to contribute to a 14th level adventure. There isn't anything inherently munchkin about multi-classing...

My experience is that multiclassing is often a stupid approach to making a munchkin PC. In the example above, the Rog7/Wiz7 is (in many ways) the equivalent of two characters, a Rog7 and a Wiz7 -- neither one is much help in a 14th-level adventure.

I'm not sure the same can be said for many prestige classes out there -- they often add to the strengths of specific classes rather than detract from them.

What multiclassing does offer, in my experience and opinion, is cool RP opportunities.

Essentially, I'm agreeing. Multiclassing is not a sign of munchkin-play. Or its the sign of a stupid munchkin :)

Regards,

Jack
Long Live Multiclassing!!!

Contributor

IMO, the weakness of certain multiclass combinations is one of the biggest flaws in 3.5e D&D. Mixing and matching fighters / rogues / barbarians / rangers works fairly well. Character level is a good approximation for effectiveness. However, multiclassing spellcasters (clerics, sorcerers, wizards, and to some extent bards) with each other or with non-spellcasters really weakens a character. There are some lopsided multiclass combinations that sort of work from a play balance perspective (e.g. rogue 1 / wizard 9), but for the most part multiclassing suggests a poor understanding of how to min-max or a desire to roleplay cool characters, regardless of the power level.

In effect, the introduction of the eldritch knight and mystic theurge in the 3.5e DMG is an attempt to patch this broken mechanic.

--Eric


Multiclassing is essential for early entry into many prestige classes and good for roleplaying depth (as someone has already pointed out), but obviously has its flaws. Funnily enough I think that every class making a good combination with another class to be an unrealistic and unwanted dream. I think the game holds up well with the inequities between certain multiclass combinations. A barbarian/rogue should be a better multiclass combination than a barbarian/sorcerer. It makes sense that it should from a simple logical standpoint. Unless you are choosing a prestige class, taking any other class when you are a spellcaster or monk is threatening for your welfare. It depends of course on your DM and how you run the PC, though. In a group rich in spellcasters playing a muticlass spellcaster is not such an issue.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

I'd like to give you all some idea of what I'm talking about. Here are a couple of my players' PC's:

Senior Civilar Hawkins Veritas
A.K.A Captain Hawk (PalCW 6/Annointed Knight 10/Fighter 1)
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Medium Aasimar (Outsider)
Hit Dice: 17d10+68 (174 hp)
Initiative: +0
Speed: Move 20ft (W/Divine Vigor) 30ft
Armor Class: 32 (Base 10+0 Dex, +17 Armor/Shield: Nat +3: Def +2),
19 touch, 30 flat-footed [Divine Shield = AC 42, Touch 29]
Base Attack/Grapple: +17/12/7/2
Full Attack: +25/20/15/10/25/(+25)
+3 Intelligent Bastard Sword of Speed, Holy, Stun and Lightning Burst
Space/Reach: 5 feet/5 feet
Special Attacks: Daylight
Special Qualities: Outsider Traits
Cold, Electricity and Acid Resistance 5
Darkvision 60ft, Damage Reduction 3/-, No Dual Nature, Subtype: Native

Paladin Smite Evil, Remove Disease, Special Mount, Turn Undead 17x a day
Lay on Hands (60hps), Aura of Courage, Aura of Good,
Blessed Weapon, Detect Evil, Divine Grace, Divine Health.

Annointed Knight
Unbroken Flesh (DR 3/-),
Inspired Strike, Free Action Extra Attack at Highest Attack bonus 3x a day
Deep Strike, Free Action 2d6 Extra Damage 3x a day
Divine Clarity: Charisma +1

Saves: Fort +30, Ref +18, Will +23

Abilities: Str 20, Dex 10, Con 18, Int 12, Wis 12, Cha 30

Skills: Bluff +11, Concentration +15, Diplomacy +20, Gather Info +11,
Knowledge (Arcana +4), (Religion +18) (Royalty +5) (Kyuss +22)
Spellcraft +5, Use Magic Device +11

Feats: Innatentive (Flaw), Armor and Shield Proficiency,
Blind Fight, Cleave, Parrying Shield, Power Attack, Improved Shield Bash,
Ancestrial Relic, Exotic Weapon Proficiency; Bastard Sword, Flay Foe,
Ranged Precision (Team Feat)
Divine Feats Divine Might, Vigor and Shield 17x a day
Environment: Anywhere I Please (as long as Helm O.K.s it.)
Organization: Company C.O. (WaterDeep) or Special Forces (The League)
Alignment: Lawful Good

COMBAT
Quaero:
+3 Intelligent Bastard Sword of Speed, Holy, Stun and Lightning Burst
+25/20/15/10/25/(+25 w/ Inspired Strike 3x a day)
Damage 1d10+8. Divine Might +10 per hit, Flay Foe +1d6 for each hit after first
Quickened Holy or Lightning Damage 2d6, Deep Strike 2d6 Free action 3x a day

+3 Bashing Spiked Shield +25/20/15/10/(+25 Inspired Strike)
Damage 2d6+8. Divine Might +10 per hit, Deep Strike 2d6 Free action 3x a day

EQUIPMENT ,
+6 Headband of Charisma, Dusty Rose Ioun Stone
+3 Amulet Natural armor
+3 Cloak of Resistance
+2 Soul Fire Full Plate Armor
+4 Bracers of Health
+5 Bashing Spiked Shield, +3 Intelligent Bastard Sword of Speed and Burst x3
Golembane Gloves, Glove of Storing,
Rings, Freedom of Movement & Protection +1
+4 Belt of Strength (Copy of Champions Game Belt)
Winged Boots
Rivivify Diamond
Nightstick
Potions: Fly x5, Silversheen x3, Cure Serious x5, Cure Mod x3,
Non-Detection x3, Undetectable Alignment x3

Quaero Veritas
Awakened Ancestrial Relic
Int 14, Wis 14, Cha 10 Ego 12
Communication. Speech, Telepathy with Hawk only
Languages. Giant, Abyssal, Common
Primary Abilities: Zone of Truth 3x a day, Locate Object 3x aday
Minor Ability: Can let Hawk know if he has taken over the body of a long dead ancestor.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----
Faust "Holocaust" Cenodoxus (Kineticist 17)
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Medium Abberation (Elan)
Hit Dice: 17d4+68+12 (124 hp)
Initiative: +2
Speed: Move 40' (8 squares)
Armor Class: 14, 12 touch, 12 flat-footed
Base Attack/Grapple: +8/+7
Attack: None to speak of
Full Attack: See Attack
Space/Reach: 5 feet/5 feet
Special Attacks: Psionics
Special Qualities: Naturally Psionic, Resistance, Resilience, Repletion
Saves: Fort +13, Ref +12, Will +16
Abilities: Str 8, Dex 14, Con 18, Int 28, Wis 14, Cha 8
Skills: Autohypnosis +22, Concetration +34, Knowledge (Arcana) +29, Knowledge (Dungeoneering) +29, Knowledge (Nature) +29, Knowledge (The Planes) +31, Knowledge (Religion) +31, Psicraft +16, Spellcraft +12
Feats: Noncombatant (Flaw), Psionic Mastery, Privileged Energy [Fire], Power Penetration, Greater Power Penetration, Psionic Meditation, Psionic Body, Overchannel, Expanded Knowledge (Contigency (Psi)), Expanded Knowledge (Evade Burst), Expanded Knowledge (Banishment (Psi)), Maximize Power
Environment: Rifts chock full of Giants and Dragons
Organization: Solitary or Murder (Joachim, Ika et al)
Challenge Rating: 17
Treasure: Goods
Alignment: True Neutral

Resistance is futile. You will be Assimilated (Psion/Wilder 9).

Naturally Psionic: Faust gains 2 bonus power points at 1st level. This benefit does not grant him the ability to manifest powers unless they gain that ability through another source, such as levels in a psionic class.

Resistance (Su): Faust can use psionic energy to increase his resistance to various forms of attack. As an immediate action, he can spend 1 power point to gain a +4 racial bonus on saving throws until the beginning of his next action.

Resilience (Su): When Faust takes damage, he can spend power points to reduce its severity. As an immediate action, he can reduce the damage he is about to take by 2 hit points for every 1 power point he spends.

Repletion (Su): Faust can sustain his body without need of food or water. If he spends 1 power point, Faust does not need to eat or drink for 24 hours.

Psioncs (Sp): Faust has a power point pool of 328. His DC to resist powers is 19 + power level (subject to augmentation) (20 + power level for psychokinetic powers)

1st: Inertial Armor, Vigor, Precognition Defensive, Crystal Shard, Synchronicity

2nd: Energy Missile, Damp Power, Psychoportive Shelter, Ego Whip

3rd: Energy Cone, Energy Wall, Dispel Psionics, Touchsight

4th: Control Body, Energy Ball, Dimension Door (Psi), Energy Adaptation, Telekinetic Manuever

5th: Power Resistance, Anticipatory Strike, Energy Current, Celestial Conduit

6th: Disintegrate (Psi), Dispelling Buffer, Temporal Acceleration, Banishment (Psi), Contingency (Psi)

7th: Mind Blank (Personal), Reddopsi, Evade Burst

8th: Recall Death, Stygian Veil, Greater Teleport (Psi)

9th: Assimilate

EQUIPMENT

Headband of Intellect +6, Gloves of Health +4, Bracers of Dexterity +4, Psionatrix of Psychokinesis, Third Eye of Concentration, Robe of Resistance +5, Ring of Force Shield, Ring of Power Preservation (Gift from Melchor Harpell), Dojre of Mindlink (8th level, 32 charges), Several CLW/CMW potions, 1 Scroll of Greater Spell Immunity, Boots of Striding and Springing

-------------------------------------------------

Possibilities for Level 18:

1. Tornado Blast (Kineticist 9) -- 150 hp damage? 40' radius? 1080 ft range? Untyped damage? No SR? Targets are randomly strewn about the battlefied? -- in case you were wondering . . .Yes, Yes, YES, YES, YES, YES!!!

2. Timeless Body (Psion/Wilder 9) -- Immune to everything for one round? I'll hit that.

3. Expanded Knowledge Feat to get Ethereal Agent (Psion/Wilder 6) -- Like prying eyes but better --> this baby goes through solid objects too!
__________________
Giovanni Vito, aka "Havok" (Warlock 17)
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Medium Humanoid (Human)
Hit Dice: 17d6+51 (60 hp)
Initiative: +9 (+13 with Sign)
Speed: Move 30' (6 squares)
Armor Class: 20 (+5 Dex, +5 Armour), 15 touch, 15 flat-footed
Base Attack/Grapple: +12/+12
Attack: Eldritch Blast +17 ranged touch (10d6)
Full Attack: Eldritch Blast +17 ranged touch (10d6)
Space/Reach: 5 feet/5 feet
Special Attacks: Invocations, Eldritch Blast
Special Qualities: Human traits, Detect Magic (Sp) at will, Deceive Item, DR 4/cold iron, Fiendish Resilience 2, Fire Resistance 5, Electricity Resistance 5, Imbue Item, 3 Fate Points remaining, +1 inherent bonus to CHA, -1 penalty to all strength skill checks
Saves: Fort +11, Ref +13, Will +18
Abilities: Str 10, Dex 20, Con 16, Int 16, Wis 10, Cha 21
Skills: Concentration +28, Knowledge (planes) +22, Knowledge (religion) +22 [+26 regarding Kyuss or his cult], Knoweldge (arcana) +22, Spellcraft +24 (+29 to identify scrolls with detect magic), Use Magic Device +25 (+32 for any check involving scrolls)
Feats: Noncombatant (Flaw), Absent-Minded (Trait), Sudden Still Spell, Spell Penetration, Greater Spell Penetration, Arcane Mastery, Maximize Spell-Like Ability [Eldritch Blast], Empower Spell-Like Ability [Eldritch Blast], Quicken Spell-Like Ability [Eldritch Blast], Improved Initiative, Ranged Precision (Team Feat), Superior Flank (Team Feat)
Environment: Urban
Organization: Solitary or Murder (Gfunk, Ika et al)
Challenge Rating: 17
Treasure: Goods
Alignment: Chaotic Good

Before you stands an unarmed and unassuming bookish young man of no more than twenty years, complete with thick spectacles. As he clenches his fist, you swear that his hand is bathed in a sheen of dark emerald energy.

COMBAT
Eldritch Blast (Sp): The first invocation acquired by all warlock is the eldritch blast. The eldritch blast is a ranged touch attack that is treated as a 1st level spell and has a range of 60 feet. At Giovanni's current level of power, his eldritch blast deals a base of 8d6 damage (10d6 with his Greater Chasuble of Fell Power).

Invocations (Sp): Giovanni has acquired a small number of invocations that he can use. Invocations are identical to spell-like abilities, with the exception that they have somatic components (only). Invocations can be used at will with no limit in uses per day. Giovanni has access to the following invocations:

Least:
Eldritch Spear (Blast Shape): The range of eldritch blast increases to 250 feet.
See the Unseen: Grants Darkvision 60 feet and see invisibility (24 hour duration).
Dark One's Own Luck: Grants CHA bonus to one save (included with Will save above, 24 hour duration).

Lesser:
Eldritch Chain: Eldritch chain bounces into 1 additional target for every 5 levels (secondary targets take half damage).
Flee the Scene: Use dimension door with close range (25 feet + 5 feet every 2 levels) at will, and leave behind a major image of self in its place.
Fell Flight: Fly at land speed with good maneuverability, 24 hour duration.

Greater:
Wall of Perilous Flame: Use wall of flame at will, but half of the damage is fire and the other half results from arcane power. Targets that are taken to 0 hit points by a Wall of Perilous Flame are destroyed.
Chilling Tentacles: Use Evard's black tentacles at will, but creatures also take 2d6 cold damage.
Vitriolic Blast: Eldritch blast deals acid damage, ignores SR, and deals 2d6 additional damage for next 3 rounds.

Dark:
Retributive Invisibility: Use greater invisibility at will, and deals 4d6 damage in 20 foot radius if dispelled.

Detect Magic (Sp): Giovanni can use detect magic at will.

Deceive Item: Giovanni can always take 10 on Use Magic Device, even if stressful situations would not normally allow him to do so (such as combat).

Fiendish Resilience (1): As a free action once per day, Giovanni can call upon the dark forces to heal his wounds. He gains fast healing 2 for a duration of 2 minutes.

Energy Resistance: At 10th level, a Warlock selects two types of energy (in Havok's case, Fire and Electricity) to gain resistance (5 points).

Imbue Item: A Warlock with the proper item creation feats can use his Use Magic Device skill to simulate spells required in the making of items. The DC for arcane spells is 15 + spell level, and the DC for divine spells is 25 + spell level.

EQUIPMENT

General:
Greater Chasuble of Fell Power, +3 Cloak of Resistance, +3 Belt of Charisma, Gloves of Fortunate Striking, Tunic of Steady Spellcasting, Spellsight Spectacles, Headband of Conscious Effort, Ring of Feather Falling, Talisman of the Sphere, Bracers of Health +2, Boots of Dexterity +2, "Dawn's Light" (intelligent +1 Soulfire Mithril Chain Shirt, can cast Cure Moderate Wounds 3/day and maintains a continual Deathwatch), Ioun Stone (+2 Intelligence), Ioun Stone (+2 Strength), Heward's Handy Haversack, Staff of Ghostform (25 uses)

Wands:
Wand of Cure Moderate [23 charges], Wand of Cure Light [35 charges], Wand of Restoration [26 charges], Wand of Mirror Image [35 charges], Wand of True Strike [49 charges], Wand of Enlarge Person [36 charges], Wand of Sign [46 charges], Wand of Benign Transposition [49 charges], Wand of Comprehend Languages [44 charges], Wand of Detect Secret Doors [49 charges]

Scrolls:
2 Scrolls of Silence, 5 Scrolls of Knock, 2 Scrolls of Assay Resistance, 10 Scrolls of Solid Fog, Scroll of Teleport, 2 Scrolls of Ghost Trap, 2 Scrolls of Time Stop


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber

Yeah, well I have an "advanced adventurer" in my party in the SCAP:

Ranger 3/Swashbuckler 2/Fighter 2/Wildrunner 2/Champion of Corellon Larethian 2/Occult Slayer 2

And he's got at least one other PrC that he's planning on taking.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Anarch of Xaos wrote:
Thankfully, my party is munchkin free. Unfortunately, we still have the one problem that faces ever munchkin: direct action. Munchkins (and some others) do not look for the way around, or the roleplay solution. Every problem the party comes across must be faced in mortal slugfest. When all a character thinks about is, "my character can kick out X++ damage" they rarely think about if combat is a good idea, or even neccissary. So they dive right in. All the time.

Agreed. Thankfully I too have some good roleplayers. In fact the party's marshal has taken on the role of the party "face." With an 18 Charisma and the Motivate Charisma minor aura, he can be very convincing. Likewise, the party scholar (archivist/savant) is using her skills to augment the party instead of meeting thing head on.

I have to admit that the group I am running picked some odd player combinations, but as a party they are very dangerous since a lot of their class abilities augment each other. The marshal, battle dancer, and archivist/savant can currently boost the effectiveness of the other players in some way, and both the fighter and shinobi (house variant ninja) are looking at adding a couple of levels of other classes to do the same. This is the first party I have every run that seems intent on focusing on teamwork.


Joseph Jolly wrote:
I would just like to say that I DM the biggest group of munchkin min/maxers you've ever come across, and it has truly amazed me throughout the Age of Worms adventure path how many times you, James Jacobs, and you, Eric Boyd, along with your fellow Legion of Doomers, have been roundly cursed at my gaming table by said twinks. Keep up the good work!

Wow! What point buy system was that for their abilities?!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
I’ve Got Reach wrote:
Joseph Jolly wrote:
I would just like to say that I DM the biggest group of munchkin min/maxers you've ever come across, and it has truly amazed me throughout the Age of Worms adventure path how many times you, James Jacobs, and you, Eric Boyd, along with your fellow Legion of Doomers, have been roundly cursed at my gaming table by said twinks. Keep up the good work!
Wow! What point buy system was that for their abilities?!

We use a 32 point buy system, but these guys believe in spending most of their money on stat boosting items.


The power gamers in my group keep talking about higher levels
as a smokescreen.
They have been combat monsters from the get go.
The rouge spellcaster would work if he uses the magic to
amp the attribute he currently needs for a skill.


I played an aasimar paladin that took levels in Anointed Knight... ooooooh that was too much fun. Not to mention that Ancestral Relic lets you go almost NUTSO with your weapon of choice, which can lead to some very serious number-crunching.

I'll have to admit I have had munchkin tendencies (especially with that character), but I think the assesment on this thread has been right on; we get so bogged down in the rules and numbers we might end up spending 15 minutes digging for that extra +2 to damage.

I use the "+2 rule of DMing" a lot, especially to end rules arguments with munchkins or rules lawyers. If I say something happens, it happens, and if it's not exactly how the rule goes, then have it looked up by the time I get back to your round in combat.


Joseph - No offense, but just looking at the sword makes me think you let them mix/maxx... That sword alone is epic level and at least a +11 (I have no idea what the stun enhancement is) not to mention being intelligent. I don't know if this was an item found in one of the modules or not, but it is extremely powerful.

I can't possibly see a warlock being powerful, no matter how much they min/maxx it. I've had several NPC and PC warlocks of varying level; they can't keep up to true arcane casters, and I'm a pretty hardcore min/maxxer.

A player can't just will such powerful weapons into being, and few people can craft things of that power.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I solved the munchkin problem very simply.

I disallow 1 or 2 level dips into prestige classes. If my players want to have a prestige class, they have to complete all the levels in it, be it a 3, 5 or 10 level class.


Olmac wrote:

I solved the munchkin problem very simply.

I disallow 1 or 2 level dips into prestige classes. If my players want to have a prestige class, they have to complete all the levels in it, be it a 3, 5 or 10 level class.

I would quit that game; your better off just not allowing prestiege classes. There are too many situations where that rule becomes an issue, and most of them are in character issues. I don't think most prestiege classes are very good for "dipping" anyways, base classes provide more benefits.


you would quit a game just because you can't cherry pick classes? isn't that a little extreme?


It is extreme. But I think that not allowing folks to min/max is extreme as well. Why not. It’s only a game, a fantasy game at that let them have their Conan’s and Eliminster's. Some people really like to manipulate the rules, did/does anyone play EQ. That’s 30000 min/maxers all in one game.

Having said that, I won’t allow a few templates/classes into a game I DM. I usually won’t judge to harshly until after the mechanic in question has been play tested by the group however.

I’ve only got one min/maxer in the group and he tries to keep from breaking the rules. But it is fun seeing the things he comes up with.

Also I allowed a 50 pt stat buy to sucker the players away from role master back into DND about 6 months ago. The only real problem I can see is that their saves are too high. I should have started the bargaining at 35pts.


The last thing I want in a game are a bunch of Elminsters.

However, Conan is an interesting example. He is clearly several different classes, rogue, barbarian, and fighter come to mind. However, there's a big difference between a character whose life experiences lead to multiclassing and a character following a min/max build. Call me an elitist, but the former is role-playing, the latter is powergaming.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Paradisio wrote:

Joseph - No offense, but just looking at the sword makes me think you let them mix/maxx... That sword alone is epic level and at least a +11 (I have no idea what the stun enhancement is) not to mention being intelligent. I don't know if this was an item found in one of the modules or not, but it is extremely powerful.

I can't possibly see a warlock being powerful, no matter how much they min/maxx it. I've had several NPC and PC warlocks of varying level; they can't keep up to true arcane casters, and I'm a pretty hardcore min/maxxer.

A player can't just will such powerful weapons into being, and few people can craft things of that power.

The weapon in question is an ancestral relic, per the Annointed Knight prestige class. Read up on it. It is totally allowed by the rules. In the hands of anyone other than the Knight, it is simply a masterwork weapon. The Annointed Knight must spend time, gold, and xp to make the weapon what it is. It doesn't come with all those abilities at once. Each level lets the Knight add more special abilities.

As far as a powerful warlock? I beg to differ. First, by maxing out Use Magic Device, and using the warlock ability to Decieve Item, the warlock can basically use ANY scroll, diven, arcane, etc, and ANY wand. Plus, with the right feat selection, the damage they deal out is insane. For instance, try maximized, empowered, mortal baned, vitriolic eldritch blast, followed up by a quickened, maximized blast. No SR with the vitriolic component, by the way, since it is a conjuration effect. Also, Evard's Black Tentacles...at will. Talk about battle field control. Add to that flight at will and greater invis at will, throw in a scroll of spirit form, and you have an unseeable, untouchable, damage dealing machine.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Paradisio wrote:
Olmac wrote:

I solved the munchkin problem very simply.

I disallow 1 or 2 level dips into prestige classes. If my players want to have a prestige class, they have to complete all the levels in it, be it a 3, 5 or 10 level class.

I would quit that game; your better off just not allowing prestiege classes. There are too many situations where that rule becomes an issue, and most of them are in character issues. I don't think most prestiege classes are very good for "dipping" anyways, base classes provide more benefits.

Oh, I allow them. I think they are a great idea. But I do not see how one can say they are not good for "dipping" when you look at all the min/max and optimization boards and see all the cherry picked prestige classes in them. This thread alone shows that.

Now as for the prestige classes, I like to keep them just that, prestige. How can something be prestigous if they are getting cherry picked by every adventurer in the world. Almost everyone one of them is connected to some sort of organization. Why would those organizations allow someone come and train one level then leave it like they are chopped liver.

Or, maybe that is the DM roleplaying the fact the the organizations want truly dedicated members and will not allow themselves to be used by someone out for themselves. Heck, to further the roleplaying, why would not some of these evil prestige class organizations hunt down and kill everyone that leaves? Why would they let someone run around the world knowing their secrets?

I DM two different groups and play in third. Now what this mean is that I do not have time to sit around for hours optimizing the NPCs to combat the optimized players. Optimization creates an arms race essentially. The players come up a new one hit kill shot optimaized character and I have to spend time coming up with something equally as tough to make it challange for said character. Then what happens is the they come up with a new one to meet that challange and....well I am sure you get the point.

Oh, and as far as I the "I would quit that game", all I would have to say is good riddence because the player that would do that, is likely a rules lawyer, disruptive, and a crappy roleplayer.


Wow, lot of heat on this thread. No need to take such extremist positions. It is very possible to be a good character optimizer and a great role-player, one certainly does not exclude the other.

And look, we are not dealing with LARPing, this is a pen-and-paper RPG. Furthermore d20 is VERY numbers oriented, there's a rule for everything which is one of the things I like about it.

Also, AoW is for the most part a dungeon slug-fest (Prince of Redhand being a notable exception). After Spire of Long Shadows start, you'd better pray that your PC's are optimized or they will die very quickly and violently.

Taldor

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Paradisio wrote:
I can't possibly see a warlock being powerful, no matter how much they min/maxx it. I've had several NPC and PC warlocks of varying level; they can't keep up to true arcane casters, and I'm a pretty hardcore min/maxxer.

Joseph forwarded me to this thread to check out how my warlock is being disparaged. You are right (basically) that warlocks are not the damage machines that high-level arcanist and high-level psions are...but who else is? THAT'S THEIR JOB! Because of Use Magic Device, the warlock's relative level of power is limited to his/her player's imagination, knowledge, and preparation. A warlock is not a arcanist, he/she is a warlock and fills a much different role...much like a station wagon is not a sportscar. There are all kinds of things that you can do with a station wagon that you can't do with a sportscar, even if the sportscar is what catches your eyes.

At the lower levels, this character (Havok) was a damage beast, but my maximum damage was limited in times per day...I had to know when to unleash the fury. As we reach the higher levels, the psion and wizard in the group are becoming ascendent and my warlock has taken on a different role within the group - master of the battlefield. With Walls of Flame, Chilling Tentacles, and (unused so far) Solid/Acid Fog, I can funnel the badguys where I want them to go, if not trap them and kill them. A character is not defined by the number of d6's that you get to roll for their damage, and I can still unleash the fury once or twice a day. Despite your claims to be a 'hardcore min-maxxer' (which isn't a word, but should still only have one 'x'), you haven't convinced me.

BTW, just so you all are aware, Joseph was attempting to take a tongue-and-cheek approach to how our group of very experienced and very smart players (yes, powergamers all...including the DM Joseph) have responded to the difficulty level of the two campaigns that Dungeon has been pumping out. It was not an attempt to get everyone on here to complain about how they have bad players in their game, too.


Having read Joseph's AoW story hour from pretty much the beginning, I can certainly attest to the power of the munch^H^H^H^H^H PCs. However, no one is complaining. They are all enjoying themselves, and the story hour is very entertaining. In fact, Joseph's original post was giving kudoes to the adventure designers on being able to challenge his players despite his players' best efforts. I think Joseph is used to scaling adventures to account for the power level of his group, and he hasn't had to do that with the latest adventures in the AoW.

I hope I'm not putting words in anyone's mouth. My personal opinion is that it only gets "unfun" when there is a great disparity between PC power levels. I can scale the encounters to challenge pretty much anything, but it's certainly easier when I don't have to make any alterations to the adventure!

Cheliax

In our games, Prestige Classes work in a way similar to what Olmac described. A Prestige Class, I think, was originally intended to be a major benchmark for character development, a dream of what a hero/heroine hoped to be one day... and eventually achieved. Since that time, it's devolved into "I'll take this skill so I can get into X Prestige Class and that'll allow me to quickly switch to Y Prestige Class and get lots more from it; I won't take that one level of Z Prestige Class until 20th level so that I can max out the DC of saves against my critical hits."

So, I allow players to pursue only one Prestige Class at a time. Want to be an Arcane Archer? Fine and dandy, but you can't put your focus into that specialty until you've finished your Order of the Bow training.

Careful character development is one thing. Turning Prestige Classes into nothing but a specialized set of stats or abilities of which characters take little bites doesn't do it for me.

Also--I've read some of Joseph's stories, and they are a lot of fun. The characters above--while quite potent--also sound like much thought went into how they functioned in the world and with one another.


Olmac wrote:
Paradisio wrote:
Olmac wrote:

I solved the munchkin problem very simply.

I disallow 1 or 2 level dips into prestige classes. If my players want to have a prestige class, they have to complete all the levels in it, be it a 3, 5 or 10 level class.

I would quit that game; your better off just not allowing prestiege classes. There are too many situations where that rule becomes an issue, and most of them are in character issues. I don't think most prestiege classes are very good for "dipping" anyways, base classes provide more benefits.

Oh, I allow them. I think they are a great idea. But I do not see how one can say they are not good for "dipping" when you look at all the min/max and optimization boards and see all the cherry picked prestige classes in them. This thread alone shows that.

Now as for the prestige classes, I like to keep them just that, prestige. How can something be prestigous if they are getting cherry picked by every adventurer in the world. Almost everyone one of them is connected to some sort of organization. Why would those organizations allow someone come and train one level then leave it like they are chopped liver.

Or, maybe that is the DM roleplaying the fact the the organizations want truly dedicated members and will not allow themselves to be used by someone out for themselves. Heck, to further the roleplaying, why would not some of these evil prestige class organizations hunt down and kill everyone that leaves? Why would they let someone run around the world knowing their secrets?

I DM two different groups and play in third. Now what this mean is that I do not have time to sit around for hours optimizing the NPCs to combat the optimized players. Optimization creates an arms race essentially. The players come up a new one hit kill shot optimaized character and I have to spend time coming up with something equally as tough to make it challange for said character. Then what happens is the they come up with a new one to meet that challange...

So you would force a player to continue advancing in a class you no longer provide him benefits for or he no longer qualifies for?

Or a class that puts him in an organization that no longer exists or is different than in the context of the class?

Or he has a change of heart and the class is evil?

Point being, forcing players to stay in a class is basically railroading in a very severe form, and thats why I said I would quit a group with such a ruling.

I hate to break it to you, but not everyone tries to ruin their DM's game.

I've been in about 4 different D&D groups, every DM save one exploited every possible character weakness at every possible junction. Making me abandon prestiege classes because of how fundamentally he changed the organizations involved, or destroyed them entirely soon after I joined them.

My warlocks probably were never that great because magic items have always been few and far between for my characters. I played with one DM for 2 years; never found a single scroll, staff, or wand.


I've been in about 4 different D&D groups, every DM save one exploited every possible character weakness at every possible junction. Making me abandon prestiege classes because of how fundamentally he changed the organizations involved, or destroyed them entirely soon after I joined them.

I don't think all prestige classess require organizations.
Did your DM push you into organizations, then destroy them?
If a DM isn't pulling fumettes like that then I am ok
with that restriction.
Any DM who plays that confrontational must be pummeled
with the Hackmaster rulebooks.
Yay verily, banish them from Core D&D forever.
It may be wrong to mention the H word here but that's what
that DM is playing.


Sounds like you've had some crappy DMs and have become accustomed to thinking that DMs are "out to get" their players.

I too, would never allow a player to cherry pick prestige classes. Nor would I force the player to continue advancing in a prestige class. Remember, the player can always continue advancing in his/her core class(es). If players want a game where they pick and choose individual abilities, there are better RPG systems out there for this.


Goth Guru wrote:
I've been in about 4 different D&D groups, every DM save one exploited every possible character weakness at every possible junction...

That's bum luck. Such DMs should be pummeled with WotC's full product line -- far more mass than just Hackmaster :)

Jack


dungeonblaster wrote:

Sounds like you've had some crappy DMs and have become accustomed to thinking that DMs are "out to get" their players.

Because they are...? Every DM I know has metagamed NPCs, giving them insight and knowledge not possible (like the complete abilities of someone who just joined the game) and putting me at a huge disadvantage. Regardless of my attempts to hide my class(es) or abilities. The enemy always know I'm a weak spellcaster; regardless if I am in full plate, monks robes, or I've never cast a spell in the party/adventure/region thusfar. DM paladins are allowed to break the rules, murding innocent people and killing the helpless; but they will ban you of all your abilities if you even take a swig of ale or look at that lady of the evening the wrong way; point being, I think most DMs are out to get their players.

I try to take all my experience and make the game more fun for my players; and not go on a power trip.

Seriously, trying to stop min/maxxing is like asking someone if you can break their legs. Disallowing prestiege classes or allowing them to only be in one is basically a challenge. Also, most of the "broken" builds are only 2-3 class characters. So your either better off not allowing PRCs or you need to talk to the players directly about the issues of the "pissing contest" as I would put it.

Age of worms in particular requires player to have strong characters that know how to use the rules to their advantage.

I can remember several PRC which require you to be part of an organization; most of them are campagin specific. But classes like mage of the arcane order require you to be in an organization; but I don't have all my books with me.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6, Contributor

Paradisio wrote:


Because they are...? Every DM I know has metagamed NPCs, giving them insight and knowledge not possible (like the complete abilities of someone who just joined the game) and putting me at a huge disadvantage. Regardless of my attempts to hide my class(es) or abilities. The enemy always know I'm a weak spellcaster; regardless if I am in full plate, monks robes, or I've never cast a spell in the party/adventure/region thusfar.

Just a comment on that particular tactic - I see people trying that sort of thing a lot, but rarely with any ranks in Bluff or even Disguise. It might full the gullible, but someone with a decent Spot or Sense Motive is going to know you're putting on an act. Disguise self and hats of disguise don't really go all that far without Bluff or Disguise to back them up, at least not vs. foes with decent Sense Motive and Spot.

Russ


Russ Taylor wrote:
Paradisio wrote:


Because they are...? Every DM I know has metagamed NPCs, giving them insight and knowledge not possible (like the complete abilities of someone who just joined the game) and putting me at a huge disadvantage. Regardless of my attempts to hide my class(es) or abilities. The enemy always know I'm a weak spellcaster; regardless if I am in full plate, monks robes, or I've never cast a spell in the party/adventure/region thusfar.

Just a comment on that particular tactic - I see people trying that sort of thing a lot, but rarely with any ranks in Bluff or even Disguise. It might full the gullible, but someone with a decent Spot or Sense Motive is going to know you're putting on an act. Disguise self and hats of disguise don't really go all that far without Bluff or Disguise to back them up, at least not vs. foes with decent Sense Motive and Spot.

Russ

You get a sense motive vs a hat of disguise? Wha...? Where is this ruling?

Anyways, i'm not just talking about illusions. I'm talking about actual armor as well.

Cheliax Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

Paradisio wrote:


You get a sense motive vs a hat of disguise? Wha...? Where is this ruling?

Spot is actually the relevant skill (as mentioned above).

From the SRD:

Hat of Disguise
This apparently normal hat allows its wearer to alter her appearance as with a disguise self spell. As part of the disguise, the hat can be changed to appear as a comb, ribbon, headband, cap, coif, hood, helmet, and so on.

----------------------------------------

Disguise Self

If you use this spell to create a disguise, you get a +10 bonus on the Disguise check.

A creature that interacts with the glamer gets a Will save to recognize it as an illusion.

-------------------------------------

Disguise (Cha)
Check
Your disguise check result determines how good the disguise is, and it is opposed by others’ Spot check results.you don’t draw any attention to yourself, others do not get to make Spot checks. If you come to the attention of people who are suspicious (such as a guard who is watching commoners walking through a city gate), it can be assumed that such observers are taking 10 on their Spot checks.

Special
Magic that alters your form, such as alter self, disguise self, polymorph, or shapechange, grants you a +10 bonus on Disguise checks (see the individual spell descriptions). You must succeed on a Disguise check with a +10 bonus to duplicate the appearance of a specific individual using the veil spell. Divination magic that allows people to see through illusions (such as true seeing) does not penetrate a mundane disguise, but it can negate the magical component of a magically enhanced one.

Cheliax Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

Paradisio wrote:

Anyways, i'm not just talking about illusions. I'm talking about actual armor as well.

If you want to look like you know what you're doing in armor, you should have the relevant armor proficiency. Otherwise, your clumsiness is going to tip people off that you are not in fact a fighter/paladin/etc.

I'm not saying that DM's don't metagame this, but Russ is correct that disguise or bluff are really necessary tools for the job.


That really isn't the point, such checks were never made or even brought up.

Cheliax Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

Paradisio wrote:
That really isn't the point, such checks were never made or even brought up.

Try bringing them up to your DM next time you want your character to try and fake out his opponents by pretending to have (or not have) certain abilities. You may find the tactic to be more successful when you use the mechanic designed to implement it.


Sebastian wrote:
Paradisio wrote:
That really isn't the point, such checks were never made or even brought up.
Try bringing them up to your DM next time you want your character to try and fake out his opponents by pretending to have (or not have) certain abilities. You may find the tactic to be more successful when you use the mechanic designed to implement it.

I still don't think it matters.

Wearing armor your not proficient with makes you a spellcaster?

Why couldn't I be a rogue or something?

The point is, I was being unfairly targetting by my DMs by regular NPCs who have no prior knowledge of my abilities (like the common level 1 bandit.) "Oh look at the guy in the back in fullplate, all bandits attack him first (make sure to coup de grace as well)! Here let me use my scroll of AMF!"

It was kinda like the guy who captured me putting a gag in my mouth because I had the warlock shatter, and I had never used it before... but he didn't do it to anyone else in the group.


Sebastian wrote:
I'm not saying that DM's don't metagame this, but Russ is correct that disguise or bluff are really necessary tools for the job.

Since Disguise can be used untrained, and you don't get a Spot check to spot a disguise unless the disguised person draws attention to himself, I'd say "necessary" isn't really the right word. "Appropriate," maybe.

The bottom line: unless the DM is also in the habit of announcing to his players that the NPC in heavy armor who shows no other sign of being a spellcaster is, in fact, a Ftr2/Wiz7, it's BS for him to call for a Bluff/Disguise check from his players.

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