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The Paladin is Kicking my @#$


Shackled City Adventure Path

Sczarni

So, we are headed off to deal with the Smoking Eye. And I fear for my sanity as the DM. I have a Paladin and a Ranger with Outsider as favored enemy.

These two have cut through every demonic foe ever seen. The demon in the Kua-toa temple was hobbled like a thing. Nabthataron took 150+ points of damage in one round.

How on earth do I keep this interesting on a plane where these two cut through everything like a light saber through flesh?

Suggestions would be nice.


The ranger is problematic because as far as I remember, favored enemy is just.. there, every battle.

Weakening the pally though just becomes an issue of using alot of weaker enemies. basically- increase the number of encounters to force him to either use his smite on things that don't matter as much (while mowing through them) or to have trouble with them and smite the "big ones".

Generally though, look at their attack mods and adjust the AC's of critters correspondingly.

that, or start throwing in some fodder that aren't outsiders. Mercs, or slaves, or just plain ole evil folk working for the demons..

Just thoughts.

-S


First off, all Lawful and all Good characters take -2 circumstance penalties against their Charisma (with Lawful Good characters taking -4) due to being on an evil plane of the Abyss. This should hamstring the Lawful Good Paladin badly (in 3.0 and 3.5).

Secondly, be very specific regarding the use of the Outsider trait with regards to the ranger. Keep in mind that dragons, the salamander, driders, the grave robbers, the mummy lords, rakshasa, fire giant, lich, etc. are not Outsiders. Most of the encounters (other than random ones) should not have the ranger using his favored enemy.

At the same time, you can socially use the ability against the ranger. He is skilled at killing all Outsiders, including good ones. This means that the Avoral Guardinal and the Couatl may not be as friendly as they otherwise would be.

On the other hand, the Paladin is not kicking your @#$. He is kicking the monsters from the adventure, like he is supposed to. Remember that it is not you vs the players or the characters. It is you, the DM, creating a story together with them. It sounds like they are quite tweaked for taking on demons. No problem. They will have an easy time in some ways. Other encounters (like the Beholder or Thrifirane's party) won't be quite so easy. Let them get overconfident. Not all of their enemies are Outsiders. The assassins at the start of Chapter 7 will definitely wake them up.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I also see this as a good thing. Your players are rocking. They're enjoying themselves. Don't take that away from them by having enemies with AC 1 Higher Than You and such. There have already been plenty of good suggestions inthread, so I won't belabor the point.


Quote:
First off, all Lawful and all Good characters take -2 circumstance penalties against their Charisma (with Lawful Good characters taking -4) due to being on an evil plane of the Abyss. This should hamstring the Lawful Good Paladin badly (in 3.0 and 3.5).

No, it shouldn't. It's not a penalty to charisma, it's a penalty to charisma CHECKS. So at worst, he'll have -2 penalty on diplomacy and turning checks. Since Paladins suck at turning anyway, it doesn't penalize anyone.

Quote:
At the same time, you can socially use the ability against the ranger. He is skilled at killing all Outsiders, including good ones. This means that the Avoral Guardinal and the Couatl may not be as friendly as they otherwise would be.

And once again, no. Rangers can't pick all Outsiders as favored enemies, they must pick a subtype, too. There are 9 types of outsiders:

Outsider (Air)
Outsider (Chaotic)
Outsider (Earth)
Outsider (Evil)
Outsider (Fire)
Outsider (Good)
Outsider (Lawful)
Outsider (Native)
Outsider (Water)

He can pick one of those as his first favored enemy, god forbid all.

Sczarni

section8 wrote:
On the other hand, the Paladin is not kicking your @#$. He is kicking the monsters from the adventure, like he is supposed to. Remember that it is not you vs the players or the characters. It is you, the DM, creating a story together with them.
Erevis Cale wrote:
also see this as a good thing. Your players are rocking. They're enjoying themselves. Don't take that away from them by having enemies with AC 1 Higher Than You and such. There have already been plenty of good suggestions in thread, so I won't belabor the point.

I agree with you. But as a DM, I also have to create encounters that are challenging and fun. If one or two players is doing so much damage that a fight lasts for a round or two at most it becomes dull. When you are cutting through everything in sight with easy the game suddenly becomes dull.

The proposition to allow them to just keep going as is, is great. But eventually it will get boring as other characters barely get into position before it's all over, the pally crushes every BBEG before it even starts, etc.

My issue isn't how to get those damnable players, but instead how to continue to entertain and excite players as I prepare to start a several week foray into what should be a frightful and difficult escapade but is looking to become a walk in the proverbial abysal park.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Add some weaker demon minions. And here I don't mean the 1 hp minions of 4e, just weaker demons like Dretches. If you want to up-gun the offense a little but still make some more brittle minions, add more dangerous demons but with 1 hp per hit die. They're a very good 3.5-style minion.

Using average hp for monsters may be easy to setup and run from a prep point of view, but the variability of some watching some criters go down easy or harder than average is lost. Use of the lower end of the hp spectrum makes for a good addition to a fight that won't draw things out too long.

Plus, the characters who do less damage per hit, if they get a minion or three, will feel that they're just about as effective as the paladin and ranger heavy-hitters.


Dante wrote:
section8 wrote:
On the other hand, the Paladin is not kicking your @#$. He is kicking the monsters from the adventure, like he is supposed to. Remember that it is not you vs the players or the characters. It is you, the DM, creating a story together with them.
Erevis Cale wrote:
also see this as a good thing. Your players are rocking. They're enjoying themselves. Don't take that away from them by having enemies with AC 1 Higher Than You and such. There have already been plenty of good suggestions in thread, so I won't belabor the point.

I agree with you. But as a DM, I also have to create encounters that are challenging and fun. If one or two players is doing so much damage that a fight lasts for a round or two at most it becomes dull. When you are cutting through everything in sight with easy the game suddenly becomes dull.

The proposition to allow them to just keep going as is, is great. But eventually it will get boring as other characters barely get into position before it's all over, the pally crushes every BBEG before it even starts, etc.

My issue isn't how to get those damnable players, but instead how to continue to entertain and excite players as I prepare to start a several week foray into what should be a frightful and difficult escapade but is looking to become a walk in the proverbial abysal park.

Add lots of middleweight minions. Foes of the type that apply to their abilities that would be tough to do without using them, but not impossible. Make them feel like they've had a real fight before taking down the BBEG. Don't have the boss mix it up in melee unless they're built for it, have them use their other abilities to make it more of a fight. For example, combined, surely the Paladin and Ranger will do devastating damage. But what if there's a mob of low-level outsiders? The Ranger is better suited for them, and it'll mean that the Paladin will have to go after BBEG himself. What if there's something else the Paladin might need to do besides mix it up?


I just can't comprehend the idea that a Paladin is overshadowing the party. Paladin isn't that good of a class (especially without any prestige classes) and it means that either you or the party is doing something wrong. Since you made the mistake of allowing the Ranger to take Favored Enemy (All Outsiders), why don't you explain to us how is the Paladin doing 150 dmg in one round? Maybe you/him misinterpreted the rules.

It would help if you'd tell us more about the party composition.

But if he's cutting through your encounters, well, beef up the encounters. Change feats, add items to monsters (potions, scrolls) that will make the encounter more challenging.


Bill Dunn wrote:


Using average hp for monsters may be easy to setup and run from a prep point of view, but the variability of some watching some criters go down easy or harder than average is lost. Use of the lower end of the hp spectrum makes for a good addition to a fight that won't draw things out too long.

In a similar vein (hit point modification) I've been following someone's advice around here to increase monster hit points to 85% of maximum (up from 55%). So far this is working well, although I have 'gulped' at some of the new totals. Please note, I have not 'pathfinderized' monsters at all. If I have the time, I'll have a go at it for some of the more level-heavy baddies (Embril and her 2'nd in Command for example)

Overall increased hit points keep the horrible monsters around long enough for the party to experience more of the monster's flavour.

I'm starting to see utility spells and abilities like 'shield other' and bardic music used more often by the players.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Erevis Cale wrote:

I just can't comprehend the idea that a Paladin is overshadowing the party. Paladin isn't that good of a class (especially without any prestige classes) and it means that either you or the party is doing something wrong. Since you made the mistake of allowing the Ranger to take Favored Enemy (All Outsiders), why don't you explain to us how is the Paladin doing 150 dmg in one round? Maybe you/him misinterpreted the rules.

It would help if you'd tell us more about the party composition.

But if he's cutting through your encounters, well, beef up the encounters. Change feats, add items to monsters (potions, scrolls) that will make the encounter more challenging.

Aye, I have to agree. I had a ranger who had evil outsiders as a favored enemy, and then he took nemesis out of BoED, which allowed him to sense all favored enemies with 60 ft. I solved this problem by have the enemy finally scout out the party to "legaly learn" their abilities and weaknesses. Then, the demons each started quaffing potions of nondirection, which negated the rangers ability sometimes.

As to your paladin, I'd like to see the number crunch on that. Even with a greataxe (or whatever he is using), power attack, and x3 critical, I don't see how he could consistantly do that much damage in one shot. You could always do some class rewrites, and throw some blackguards at him. Or some evil rangers with favored enemy. Or paladin bane weapons, or unholy weapons. The list goes on and on. There are ways to give them pause, and if you scout them first, and get away, you can learn them legally.

Qadira

Can we get a clarification that his favored enemy selection (All Outsiders) and not that you just typoed, and meant to say Evil Outsiders?

That could be a big problem and I'd level with him about the mistake of letting him choose it, and make him select a subtype.

Once you've done that, I'd do what some others have mentioned. Have a small horde of light-to-medium-weight Evil Outsiders that are frail, with one big tough enemy that they paladin ends up having to fight solo (at least for a few rounds).

Have the demon's scout out the party to (legally) learn their abilities, and have them start using tactics tailored to challenge them. Illusion magic to make a lowly demon appear much bigger and meaner, with Protection from Good cast on it to boot, and then that demon flies off as soon as the Paladin has used his smite and whacked him a good one.

Make the group fight a BBEG with a cohort who is also a tempting Smite Evil target, one of them being a caster who can fly/teleport/generally get away from the paladin, the other being a heavy hitter with lots of HP and high AC. The casters' spells limit the ranger and paladin's ability to get into melee with either, while the melee cohort goes for PC casters.

Make them really work as a team with the rest of the group to get through a few fights.

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