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What is the PFS stance (if any) on the One Shot Kill?


Pathfinder Society® General Discussion

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I was reading through here and wow all this math is crazy...

But no ever really looked those numbers and realized it would killed Almost anyone, I think saying you need a 14 con is standard, well that really doe not fit the argument at all. the reality of that who Magus Destroying him in one shot well, it could of happened to anyone.

From the damage listed was 31 and he had not calculated the Empower there was no amount of Con gonna save him or anyone else for that matter.

As several people posted earlier The DICE spoke!

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I've only sold one character into slavery. Thankfully that player is amazing and took it well. It was a far better option than the rest of his party though. They were all reported as dead.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Bob Jonquet wrote:

How does one "buy your freedom?" Do you just pay the cost of a slave? Not much of a "slap" IMO.

I assume the PC's had to forfeit the remaining gold from the mod (since they didn't earn it), but did they lose all their possessions? Depending on the levels, that could be a serious "slap".

Regardless, I have been tempted to use this outcome to save some "dead" PC's myself, but am unsure what an appropriate "cost" should be applied.

It was one of my first PFS games. I do not remember the specifics. I think they got no gold from the scenario and restarted with 150 gp I think they had all played 1 or 2 scenarios prior to this one.

The alternative would have been to report them dead - which i did not want to.
I guess the slap averaged 700 to 800 gp each.

Lantern Lodge

Painlord wrote:


IMHO, Waltero is going to be a big part of the growth of PFS in his home city of New Orleans as the awesome sauce of Pathfinder gets spread there.

Waltero, can you PM me @ xyzzy64 AT gmail DOT com ?

I'm looking for Pathfinders in New Orleans/South Louisiana.

*

Kyle Baird wrote:
Stuff.

Despite your lobbying that the Magus is ok, these are the facts:

1) The Magus has performed one shot kills on numerous PCs across all character levels (1-7) and the scenario has only been out a short while.

The closest example of a character class that has been responsible for so many player deaths would have to be the ___ in Shipyward Rats 1, but that only happenned against 1st level character, not level 7 characters.

2) Theoretically, you argue that the Magus is the same as other classes (such as the Barbarian), however in practice, if you replace the Magus with an equivalent level (of another class), you don't get the same result (numerous PCs one shot deaths and numbers of TPKs).

Let's take some examples from current scenarios:

The ___ at the end of Shades of Ice 3. Threat or joke? Joke I think.

The ___ at the end of Shades of Ice 1. Threat or joke? I'm thinking he's probably not responsible for many one shots let alone TPKs, and that's who you're comparing the Magus to.

What if you replaced the Magus with a equivalent level rogue? TPK material?

What if you replaced the Magus with a equivalent level Monk? Laughing yet?

You get my point. Something seems wrong, the scenario just came out and it's a massacre. That's all I'm saying. But I guess time will tell.


Jason S wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
Stuff.

Despite your lobbying that the Magus is ok, these are the facts:

1) The Magus has performed one shot kills on numerous PCs across all character levels (1-7) and the scenario has only been out a short while.

The closest example of a character class that has been responsible for so many player deaths would have to be the ___ in Shipyward Rats 1, but that only happenned against 1st level character, not level 7 characters.

I think the problem is with having a single relatively high-level spellcaster vs. a party of relatively low-level PCs; that can result in either dead PCs or the bad guy going down like a chump. As you note, the same issue crops up in Shipyard Rats and I seem to recall something similar in Skeleton Moon as well.

Qadira ***

Jason S wrote:
Stuff.

Let's not forget either that that the Magus/Ninja/whatever is just new to us, not all of Golarion. They have been around since Aroden raised the Starstone.

In the metagame/learning picture, our PFS players are still learning and adjusting to the class and what it can do: as players, judges, and as foes.

But in character, our yahoos might be more familiar with them than we are.

Our martial characters are probably pretty aware of what Magi, once identified can do.
Our arcane characters can probably do the same.

In either case, after the Magi/GnomeNinja/whatever does it's thing and you learn what it is and what it can do, you and your characters can have an appropriate response or shift in tactics.

Yeah know what? I don't ever, EVER want to sit next to a big baddie when they are full attacking...unless my character knows he can handle it.

Painlord is *not* a tactical genius but...:

I could be wrong.

But after the first full round spellstriked attack, wouldn't the entire party say "He's a caster! Hit him when he's casting!" And a bunch of readied actions happen to smack the piddlespotter when he's doing his full-round attack action?

You may or may not hit him, and he may or may not be able to make a concentration check, but you've upped your chances of winning significantly.

How long before improved tactics start changing things? How long before people learn?

Meh. I think once people learn what's what with the Magus, like everything else, they won't be much of a issue.

-Pain

Sczarni *** Venture-Lieutenant, Connecticut—Manchester aka Cpt_kirstov

Painlord wrote:


Painlord is *not* a tactical genius but...: ** spoiler omitted **

Meh. I think once people learn what's what with the Magus, like everything else, they won't be much of a issue.

-Pain

I agree like I said above

Spoiler:
Grease, hold person, and other spells that cause him to use actions instead of using his abilities saved our group. The issue was, he opened up with the fireball, and everyone went 'ahh! Caster' and went clore to avoid AoE spells... then he pulled the sword with multiple targets around him.... and got greased, stood up, took 3 AAO. Got Hold person'ed and didn't make it out.
Cheliax *

NiTessine wrote:

It happens. As long as it's not a regular occurrence, it's okay. Combat encounters need a bit of challenge and especially the BBEG needs to pose a credible threat to life and limb. Heck, my first PFS character (a human cleric) was one-shotted by the BBEG in Silent Tide. First PC death in PFS Finland, too. I shrugged and created a new one, and kept playing.

And there's no way that Living Greyhawk had "an expected mortality rate of 25 percent per table". Not even Creighton Broadhurst, He Who Drank Deep of the Blood of PCs, took home that many heads.

Things are different in the Bandit Kingdoms...

Sczarni **

Things are different in the Bandit Kingdoms...

Having been to the Bandit Kingdoms I wholely agree the only place more dangerous than Keoland!!

To the memory of Ulfar Grimkell

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

If built correctly, there are a number of class/ability/feat combos that can be applied to create a one shot. Give a 1st level barbarian a THW and PA. All 1st level, most 2nd level, and some third level PC's better take cover. And I think that scales well thru 7 and beyond.

I magus looks to be a very interesting class to play, but if you run it thru the wash akin to the ol' WoTC opto-boards, you can get a one-man killing machine...at least it's not named Pun-Pun ;-)


the problem with the Magus is

that as A PC it has to worry about conserving resources for future encounters because of the assumed 4 encounters a day guideline.

But as An NPC opponent, it has no such restriction on the assumption that it will only be used for a single fight, and being that the magus is much more nova friendly than any other class. it can literally blow through resources and singlehandedly cause a TPK in a matter of rounds. and that is without spending too much effort trying to optimize it. it is literally the Killer DM's best friend and the player's worst enemy.

you know how the wizard can never really blow all of his spells in a single fight?

a magus can blow through a very signifficant portion of spells, pool points, and limited use arcanas in one fight, maybe not all of them, but a very signifficant amount.

at least a wizard doesn't have the ability to blow through a signifficant portion of his limited resources at this rapid of a rate

if the Wizard is Heero Yui and Wing Gundam Zero, then the Magus is Trowa Barton and Gundam Heavyarms

Wing Zero was more versatile and had more power because of it's versatility. it had the zero system and options for melee, ranged, arial and outer space combat. it utilized energy weapons which were gnereally better, except in corner cases

Gundam Heavyarms was better in the short term on the earth spere, it had a better rate of fire and could more easily take out a few platoons of mobile suits, but once it ran out of ammo, it was screwed. but unlike Wing Zero, it used physical ammunition rather than energy based weaponry. which proved to be effective in taking out the OZ MS Virgo models.

Qadira ****

Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
Stuff

Almost all NPCs don't have to worry about conserving resources (unless they are a recurring campaign baddy). That's their nature.

All NPCs have weaknesses, you just need to be versatile enough to be able to handle all of them. I mean, I have no sympathy for parties who don't carry around alchemist's fire or have some method of dealing damages to swarms. But it's an expected part of the game. If you don't plan accordingly, you're toast.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I know a certain little fire oracle NPC who would give this magus a run for his money.

****

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

After going through 23 wand charges healing myself and my pet monkey after that toasty encounter I'd be hard pressed to bet against that oracle. (120+ damage)

Kyle Baird wrote:
I know a certain little fire oracle NPC who would give this magus a run for his money.

Cheliax *

Kyle Baird wrote:
I know a certain little fire oracle NPC who would give this magus a run for his money.

That Oracle was one of the nastier fights I've had in PFS, and I've yet to play 10-11 Tier.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
bdk86 wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
I know a certain little fire oracle NPC who would give this magus a run for his money.
That Oracle was one of the nastier fights I've had in PFS, and I've yet to play 10-11 Tier.

There's only two or three tier 10-11 fights I can think off off the top of my head that are more challenging.

Andoran ***

Painlord wrote:
Jason S wrote:
Stuff.

Let's not forget either that that the Magus/Ninja/whatever is just new to us, not all of Golarion. They have been around since Aroden raised the Starstone.

In the metagame/learning picture, our PFS players are still learning and adjusting to the class and what it can do: as players, judges, and as foes.

But in character, our yahoos might be more familiar with them than we are.

Our martial characters are probably pretty aware of what Magi, once identified can do.
Our arcane characters can probably do the same.

In either case, after the Magi/GnomeNinja/whatever does it's thing and you learn what it is and what it can do, you and your characters can have an appropriate response or shift in tactics.

Yeah know what? I don't ever, EVER want to sit next to a big baddie when they are full attacking...unless my character knows he can handle it.

** spoiler omitted **

Meh. I think once people learn what's what with the Magus, like everything else, they won't be much of a issue.

-Pain

Pain,

Doesn't work well against this particular Magus.

Spoiler:
At sub-tier 3-4, he has 50 hit points and a 23 AC.

With a +9 to hit, you need a 14 to hit the thing, and it can take the damage.

With a +10 Concentration check, it can easily spam level 1 spells in melee without provoking.

It uses a weapon with an 18-20 crit range, so crits are not uncommon.

And its spells get the same crit range as its weapon when used in spell combat.

+16 to hit means that even the fighter in our group, in full plate +1 and a heavy shield +1, was still a 50% hit chance.

Our party had a Gunslinger 2, Fighter 4, Druid 4, and Rogue 4. That is a fairly solid sub-tier 3-4.

One character went down when he did his first attack. It missed confirming the crit by rolling a 1. Still left this character dying with a DC 17 check.

Another character went down in the next round, after missing. Crit confirmed, fighter went from full hit points to bleeding, with a DC 16 check. Empowered crits hurt.

Only thing that left either of those characters only dying were an above average number of ones on the damage dice.

6d6+3 against a 2nd level character? Average damage is going to be 24. Average it points for a Barbarian at that level is only 27, with a 16 Con and taking his favored class as hit points. The Gunslinger, as a ranged build, had a 10 Con and 16 hit points.

12d6+6, 10d6 of it empowered, against a 4th level character? 35 average damage empowered becomes 52, plus 13 from the actual weapon damage on average, is 65. The fighter he hit had a 16 Con, so 44 hit points. The damage done was below average, or instant death, not just instant out of the fight.

There is a difference between risk and no chance. And, unless things are worked differently, that first attack from invisible is almost automatically going to be against one of the more fragile characters, not against a front-liner.

Do we need to go into AC 23 and starting invisible in sub-tier 1-2? Or the scroll of keen in sub-tier 6-7?


There is a point where tactics won't work, and it starts to feel like final year LG Core modules. This one gives a strong feel of that essence.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Callarek wrote:
that first attack from invisible is almost automatically going to be against one of the more fragile characters, not against a front-liner.

That is a GM problem.


waltero wrote:

Here's my specifics:

Scenario: Dalsine Affair, which I think has low, mid and high tier. We were playing mid tier.
My character: Alchemist 3, hp 21, con 10.
Villain: Likely a Magus from what I've gathered from others. Suspected empowered shocking grasp - I was dead before he even applied the 50% adjustment.

First I am not picking on you. With that said dying sucks.

We as players have to do everything we can to make sure we don't die. I always advise at least a 14 con even before I start to look at my primary stat. I don't have any magical mathematical computation for the 14 to prove that 14 is the right number. It just seems that those with cons of 10 to 13 don't last as long in games I see(FLGS), GM, or play in. In your situation the dice gods would have had you anyway, but in most case I think it helps.

Andoran ****

The scary part is that this magus isn't even particularly optimized.

Just wait until the scimitar-dancing intensified-spell wielding ones show up.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
bdk86 wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
I know a certain little fire oracle NPC who would give this magus a run for his money.
That Oracle was one of the nastier fights I've had in PFS, and I've yet to play 10-11 Tier.

What oracle is that?

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Diego Winterborg wrote:
bdk86 wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
I know a certain little fire oracle NPC who would give this magus a run for his money.
That Oracle was one of the nastier fights I've had in PFS, and I've yet to play 10-11 Tier.
What oracle is that?

If you had met her, you'd know. I wouldn't want to ruin your first introduction.

Taldor *

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kyle Baird wrote:
Diego Winterborg wrote:
bdk86 wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
I know a certain little fire oracle NPC who would give this magus a run for his money.
That Oracle was one of the nastier fights I've had in PFS, and I've yet to play 10-11 Tier.
What oracle is that?
If you had met her, you'd know. I wouldn't want to ruin your first introduction.

She killed both our clerics and dropped my H orc rage prophet to negs in one shot. She does have a way of introducing herself doesn't she.

*

Kyle Baird wrote:
Callarek wrote:
that first attack from invisible is almost automatically going to be against one of the more fragile characters, not against a front-liner.
That is a GM problem.

How is that a GM problem? I'm not even a killer GM, but I'm going play an intelligent opponent... as an intelligent opponent. In my home game, if I played an intelligent NPC stupidly, they'd just laugh and think it was lame, and I'd have to agree.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Jason S wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
Callarek wrote:
that first attack from invisible is almost automatically going to be against one of the more fragile characters, not against a front-liner.
That is a GM problem.

How is that a GM problem? I'm not even a killer GM, but I'm going play an intelligent opponent... as an intelligent opponent. In my home game, if I played an intelligent NPC stupidly, they'd just laugh and think it was lame, and I'd have to agree.

Given that this bad guy has well determined tactics in the scenario, it can never reflect poorly on th GM that s/he follws these.

It is an intelligent and powerful enemy that has laid a cunning trap for the PCs. A trap must will be tempted to jump right into.
It takes very astute players and a good deal of luck to avoid casualties.

In addition one should keep in mind that this scenario is a mile stone in the Pathfinder Society's history and the challenge therefore has to be memorable - if not epic.

My one advice having done a TPK on this scenario is: Not for inexperienced players or the craven of heart.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I just played through this module in the Level 1-2 sub-tier and it was brutal. Our party consisted of:

Level 1 Inquisitor of Gorum (Me)
Level 1 Cleric - Negative Energy
Level 2 Fighter/Ranger
Level 3 Cleric

Battle Report:

Round 1 - the Magus popped out from invisibility dropping the Level 1 Cleric to negative HPs and seriously injuring the fighter. Fighter attacks and misses. Inquisitor moves up and casts True Strike. Other Cleric channels to heal.

Round 2 - Fighter and Lvl 1 Cleric attack ineffectually. Then Magus goes and drops both of them to negative HP. At this point the player playing the Lvl 1 Cleric throws a hissy fit and quits in the middle of the fight. He even tries to erase and rip up the session sheet so it can't be recorded. Very awkward and not fun.

Inquisitor in desperation successfully grapples Magus eating a OA in the process. Remaining cleric channels again although does not heal enough bring fighter up to positive hp.

Rounds 3-5 - Inquisitor manages to pin Magus preventing further damage for a few rounds. Cleric continues to heal and gets the fighter up. Maybe one attack hit the Magus during this time as he was not easy to hit even with the massive penalties from the pin.

Round 6-ish - Magus breaks free of pin. Everyone thought it was going to be a TPK at his point. Then my inquisitor rolls a natural 20 to hit followed by the needed 19 to confirm (+4 bonus vs 23 AC). The 4d6+14 great sword crit damage rolls just enough to finish him off.

TLDR Version: Our underpowered party won but only through a lucky crit on the part of the Inquisitor. It was an awesome moment for me, but I think the fight is too difficult for non-optimized parties.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

As the game-master during that battle, The_Hanged_Man, I would like to report that you would have dropped Dalsine without the critical. But the critical was indeed spectacular.

True-strike to grapple and pin was the winning move.

Andoran ***

Kyle Baird wrote:
Callarek wrote:
that first attack from invisible is almost automatically going to be against one of the more fragile characters, not against a front-liner.
That is a GM problem.

Not unless the tactics used are massively different than the tactics as written, and our GM followed the tactics as written. Actually, he didn't, he didn't use the empowered option on the first attack.

The tactics as written almost guarantee that the opponent is going to be using a Barbarian-killer attack against a d6 or d8 target.

Spoiler:
Magus is in hiding in a corner of the room near the door, BEHIND the party. His tactics as written have him attack the nearest party member, who is going to be a caster/ranged user, not one of the normal melee combatants. His tactics as written have him using spell combat, using an attack at subtier 3-4 that does 1d6+3 for weapon, 5d6 for spell, and, for the first attack against a metal-armored opponent, empowering the spell. 8.5d6+3, not counting a 15% chance of criting, with a +12/+16 against a target who is flatfooted, is going to do massive damage for that tier.

6.5 weapon damage + 26.25 (17.5*1.5 empowered) spell damage, on average, so 32.75, against targets with (given the "required" Con 14) (let's go with a d8 Cleric) average hit points of 31, 35 if they used their Favored Class bonus for HP. So, without using the FCB, you have an unconscious/dying character on the first attack, discounting the likely 5% chance of a miss (1) versus the 13.5% chance of a confirmed critical (18-20 followed by anything but a 1 will confirm against most flatfooted ACs at this level).

So, if you have a 4 character party, that is 25% down immediately, with a good chance that someone is going to be using their actions for the next turn trying to save the one down, rather than against the enemy.

Add in the 23 AC for this opponent, and the 48 hit points, and you find him not going down rapidly, unless you have one of the heavily optimized DPR builds in your party, and that is NOT the person taken out on the first round.

Barbarian:
Level 4
Str 22 (18 base, +2 racial, +2 item)
Con 16
HP: 49 (33 class, 12 Con, 4 FCB)
Raging:
Str 26
Con 20
HP: 57 (Above + 8 from Raging)
Weapon: Falchion
To Hit: +12 (+6 Str, +4 level, +1 weapon enhancement, +1 WF)
Raging: +14 (+2 from Str boost)
Damage: 2d4 + 16 (+9 Str, +1 weapon enhancement, +6 PA)
Raging: 2d4 + 19 (+3 from Str boost)
Feats:
Power Attack (Bn1)
Furious Focus (H)
Weapon Focus: Falchion (B3)

So, Raging Barbarian hits 55% of the time, criticals 6.75% of the time, on the AC 23 Magus. Average damage: 24, critical is average 48.

Druther face the Barbarian, myself.

Andoran ****

Callarek wrote:
Stuff

The other problem with these comparisons is that they always compare the optimized barbarian/2-handed fighter/whatever to mediocre magi such as the one presented in this mod. How much damage does a barbarian with a stat array similar to Chalfon's do? How resilient is he?

Using optimization as the baseline is a recipe for disaster.

Sczarni *** Venture-Lieutenant, Connecticut—Manchester aka Cpt_kirstov

Callarek wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
Callarek wrote:
that first attack from invisible is almost automatically going to be against one of the more fragile characters, not against a front-liner.
That is a GM problem.

Not unless the tactics used are massively different than the tactics as written, and our GM followed the tactics as written. Actually, he didn't, he didn't use the empowered option on the first attack.

The tactics as written almost guarantee that the opponent is going to be using a Barbarian-killer attack against a d6 or d8 target.

** spoiler omitted **...

Spoiler:
He's actually supposed to be hiding right next to the body at the bottom of the stairs. Dealing with his image in the first round is a major boon for the PCs, as it effects his buffing time.
Silver Crusade *

The tactics where followed correctly.

Spoiler:

The characters moved up, once the Pasha had disappeared, when the two combat people moved to the front the Magus was already to the side and had already cast his defensive spells once the Pcs arrived and where watching the Pasha Talk and such. That left the two non combat people next to him so when he moved out to attack it was between the two PC's whom at that time where equal distance since he had moved so I rolled a dice to decide which one he went for.

Andoran ***

Ed,

Get rid of the / in the first spoiler tag.

And I never said you ran it wrong. I was sure you had run it correctly.

My only question, in this instance, is how the Magus works, and whether there is something in the character class we have missed. I just need to sit down, at some point, and read the whole piece on it in the rulebook.

Silver Crusade *

Callarek wrote:

Ed,

Get rid of the / in the first spoiler tag.

And I never said you ran it wrong. I was sure you had run it correctly.

My only question, in this instance, is how the Magus works, and whether there is something in the character class we have missed. I just need to sit down, at some point, and read the whole piece on it in the rulebook.

I know you were not, the explanation was for the other people who posted. And I have been reading over the class itself from ultimate combat and as far as I can tell it seems to be just as it was run, but I will of course be bringing it to games so we can all go over it to see if we find any strange mis-wordings I might have missed.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I ran this at Origins, with a low-level all-caster party (two 2nd-level bards, a brand-new 1st-level wizard played by someone new to Pathfinder, a 3rd-level druid, and a 4th-level witch);the animal companion and summoned creatures were the party's hand-to-hand fighters.

Like clockwork, the wizard and one of the bards lined up right in front of Dalsine to cast close-range spells at the image. He stepped up, killed the wizard (the 23-point shocking grasp itself would have killed him) and dropped the bard.

The wizard's player was disgusted that I would attack the character like that, using an attack that was virtually guaranteed to hit, and virtually guaranteed to kill such a character. This was his first and last encounter with the Pathfinder game system. He left the table immediately, before the rest of the party could talk about pooling funds and selling equipment in order to buy a raise dead for him.

He was right.

I should have soft-balled that encounter. Dalsine might have toyed with them, or perhaps he shouldn't have been invisible. Maybe he should have just attacked with a rapier, instead of using his Magus abilities.

We lost a player, and all his friends who he'll steer away from Pathfinder. And it's my fault.

Grand Lodge ***

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Chris Mortika wrote:

I ran this at Origins, with a low-level all-caster party (two 2nd-level bards, a brand-new 1st-level wizard played by someone new to Pathfinder, a 3rd-level druid, and a 4th-level witch);the animal companion and summoned creatures were the party's hand-to-hand fighters.

Like clockwork, the wizard and one of the bards lined up right in front of Dalsine to cast close-range spells at the image. He stepped up, killed the wizard (the 23-point shocking grasp itself would have killed him) and dropped the bard.

The wizard's player was disgusted that I would attack the character like that, using an attack that was virtually guaranteed to hit, and virtually guaranteed to kill such a character. This was his first and last encounter with the Pathfinder game system. He left the table immediately, before the rest of the party could talk about pooling funds and selling equipment in order to buy a raise dead for him.

He was right.

I should have soft-balled that encounter. Dalsine might have toyed with them, or perhaps he shouldn't have been invisible. Maybe he should have just attacked with a rapier, instead of using his Magus abilities.

We lost a player, and all his friends who he'll steer away from Pathfinder. And it's my fault.

No it's the player's fault. One cardinal rule of playing a 1st level wizard. You don't set yourself up as the first thing the melee target can get to. The player was so anxious to get an attack in the first round, he forgot basic caution and tactics. Pathfinder had nothing to do with it. I know the encounter in question and encounters just as challenging were the meat and potatoes of Living Greyhawk. I do tend to softball damage a bit for first comer newbies, but in that case he still would have gotten enough damage to give him the hint the first time around. Soft-balling isn't a requirement though. It's a discretionary choice.

Shadow Lodge ****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
LazarX wrote:
No it's the player's fault. One cardinal rule of playing a 1st level wizard. You don't set yourself up as the first thing the melee target can get to. The player was so anxious to get an attack in the first round, he forgot basic caution and tactics. Pathfinder had nothing to do with it. I know the encounter in question and encounters just as challenging were the meat and potatoes of Living Greyhawk. I do tend to softball damage a bit for first comer newbies, but in that case he still would have gotten enough damage to give him the hint the first time around. Soft-balling isn't a requirement though. It's a discretionary choice.

It was not the player's fault because as you may not know or are forgetting, mages can stand back and still be the primary target in that particular encounter because the caster is invisible and on the ground floor. A mage may think that they're in the most protected position on the map, in a corner on the main floor away from allies and potential area of effect spells, and never realize that they are about to become very dead. Or maybe they moved in to let off a close range spell like color spray, which when it hits is virtually guaranteed to end the fight in favor of the caster. There are lots of nuances and details that could have made their mage's actions the absolute best option under normal circumstances.

I'm with Chris on this one. The Dalsine affair is a very fun module, but the tactics as written are for experienced players only - forcing a brand new player up against that kind of encounter is not going to endear them to the system.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

Having played this at Origins, I can, thematically, see how the encounter could be a PC-killer.

Spoiler:
Combine the invisible nature of the magus with his illusion at the top of the stairs is somewhat optimized in his favor. The illusion draws the attention of the front-liners, so the "softies" will probable line up right next to the magus. He springs his ambush and can easily slay the nearest PC.

The tactics do indicate how he will use the empower ability so it should not be triggered by back-rank opponents. That may be the difference between life and death for the target.

As far as tactics, this encounter will likely force the players to consider things outside their typical actions. My cavalier who usually stands in the front and tried to provoke the ire of the baddies, knew right away (based on the feedback from the casters) that standing toe-to-toe will not be a good idea. Having a high AC, he decided that incapacitating the magus would be better than trying to weed down his hit points. So he spent two rounds grappling (without training). As it turns out, combat maneuvers is a weakness of the magus. A pin followed the grapple and the rest of the PC's quickly tied him up. No PC was killed.

The moral of the story is that sometimes, especially against powerful opponents, you have to use alternate tactics, even if you are not optimized for them, to win the day.

The earlier a player learns that simply charging at an opponent and beating them into submission is not always a best idea, the better.

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, California—San Diego

Ryan Bolduan wrote:
The Dalsine affair is a very fun module, but the tactics as written are for experienced players only - forcing a brand new player up against that kind of encounter is not going to endear them to the system.

This is also my opinion.

If we do not keep hooking new players then our hobby will not survive. Sometimes this can mean (depending on the table / people / mood) that softballing is recommended.

*

LazarX wrote:
Stuff pertaining to noobs should die in a fire.

Fyi, a lot of people new to Pathfinder (and roleplaying in general), don't know what they're doing.

I don't think it's fair, nice or intelligent to think someone new to Pathfinder should know what they're doing. If making a single mistake in a low level scenario is cause for one shot killing new players, we're going to lose a lot of new players.

Besides, the way the scenario is written, if he'd stayed in the back, he still would have gotten burned and one shotted, so what's the difference? Someone was going to eat it, unless the GM alters the scenario and/or nerfs the Magus.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Bob Jonquet wrote:

Having played this at Origins, I can, thematically, see how the encounter could be a PC-killer.

** spoiler omitted **

The moral of the story is that sometimes, especially against powerful opponents, you have to use alternate tactics, even if you are not optimized for them, to win the day.

The earlier a player learns that simply charging at an opponent and beating them into submission is not always a best idea, the better.

Pfft. You make it sound like it was your Cavalier that won the day. I distinctly remember a certain Boracle landing a Cacophonus Call and a Grease (on his rapier)...

Spoiler:
EXPLOSIVE RUNES!

Andoran ****

LazarX wrote:
No it's the player's fault. One cardinal rule of playing a 1st level wizard. You don't set yourself up as the first thing the melee target can get to. The player was so anxious to get an attack in the first round, he forgot basic caution and tactics. Pathfinder had nothing to do with it. I know the encounter in question and encounters just as challenging were the meat and potatoes of Living Greyhawk. I do tend to softball damage a bit for first comer newbies, but in that case he still would have gotten enough damage to give him the hint the first time around. Soft-balling isn't a requirement though. It's a discretionary choice.

There was nothing the wizard could have done. He could have been in the farthest corner total-defensing. Invisible spell-striking magi don't care.

*** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Richmond aka thunderspirit

Chris Mortika wrote:
We lost a player, and all his friends who he'll steer away from Pathfinder. And it's my fault.

No, it's not your fault. You were doing what you are supposed to do -- run intelligent foes intelligently.

The element of danger is a necessary function of the game system, because if there's no threat of loss, there's no elation from success. Any player who's going to take his dice and go home due to the death of a 1st-level PC just may not be cut out for the hobby.

This is one circumstance -- admittedly rare, but still present -- where the player doesn't appear to fit the game.

Andoran ****

Element of danger is one thing. Strong chance to be instantly killed by not fault of your own and with no realistic defense or recourse is another.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Feral wrote:
...by not fault of your own ...

Choosing the life of an adventurer carries with it associated risks.

Shadow Lodge ****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
thunderspirit wrote:

No, it's not your fault. You were doing what you are supposed to do -- run intelligent foes intelligently.

The element of danger is a necessary function of the game system, because if there's no threat of loss, there's no elation from success. Any player who's going to take his dice and go home due to the death of a 1st-level PC just may not be cut out for the hobby.

This is one circumstance -- admittedly rare, but still present -- where the player doesn't appear to fit the game.

I hear this argument a lot. I used to agree with it, but as I get to know a lot of other players, I begin to understand all the different motivators for why people game. I'll say this, character death is a demotivator for a lot of players. The hardcore players poo-poo these players insisting they're "playing wrong", but in reality, it's just as valid a way to want to play the game. Death does happen, but when a player dies by no real fault of their own except for playing, it's not fun for a lot of those players.

Some like it gritty and hardcore, some want it goal-oriented, some want to just experience a story. All are legitimate methods of playing. Turning a player away because he/she doesn't agree with your particular preference for how the game is played is going to shrink the player base mighty quickly though.

Thing is, in Pathfinder Society in particular, a large array of gamers is represented. Some of those gamers do not feel the way you do, I know several of them. To them experiencing the story is more important

** Publisher, Clockwork Gnome Publishing

Chris Mortika wrote:

I ran this at Origins, with a low-level all-caster party (two 2nd-level bards, a brand-new 1st-level wizard played by someone new to Pathfinder, a 3rd-level druid, and a 4th-level witch);the animal companion and summoned creatures were the party's hand-to-hand fighters.

Like clockwork, the wizard and one of the bards lined up right in front of Dalsine to cast close-range spells at the image. He stepped up, killed the wizard (the 23-point shocking grasp itself would have killed him) and dropped the bard.

The wizard's player was disgusted that I would attack the character like that, using an attack that was virtually guaranteed to hit, and virtually guaranteed to kill such a character. This was his first and last encounter with the Pathfinder game system. He left the table immediately, before the rest of the party could talk about pooling funds and selling equipment in order to buy a raise dead for him.

He was right.

I should have soft-balled that encounter. Dalsine might have toyed with them, or perhaps he shouldn't have been invisible. Maybe he should have just attacked with a rapier, instead of using his Magus abilities.

We lost a player, and all his friends who he'll steer away from Pathfinder. And it's my fault.

Having heard about this, I did not know the party was all casters. That is a hard one Chris. However, GMs make mistakes all of the time and sometimes it means the loss of a character. It sucks, but all we can do after a situation like that is admit the mistake, express your sincerity over the incident, and hope for the best. However, do not beat yourself up over it too much. We are the ambassadors of PFS, it is true, but we are human as well.

Having talked to the player after the session, he might not be gone for good. He had read this thread (I think) before the session, so he might be reading it again. So I hope he sees and realizes that PFS is a great organized play campaign that can be incredibly rewarding. I believe he had a friend at the con who was at my table during your session. She was an awesome person and a great player. So things might not be as dim as you believe.

Now, on other hand, if you are actively trying to kill Kyle's character with a ghost, never say sorry. However, if your dice do roll two 1s and keep you from that illustrious goal, then it might be time for new dice. Not that I know anything about that. ;)

Fortunately the character I did kill at the table belonged to a friend, had all of the resources for a raise dead, and both of us knew it was the ultimate result of a long time dance of GM and player skill. Well, that, and the most horrific dice luck I had seen in a while.


thunderspirit wrote:
The element of danger is a necessary function of the game system, because if there's no threat of loss, there's no elation from success.

I agree, although I would use the word "uncertainty" instead of "danger". But the problem is that if there's a reasonable degree of uncertainty for a party of weak PCs then there's no uncertainty for a party of strong PCs, and vice versa.

I think the worst situation is to have easy and difficult scenarios randomly mixed together with no indication of which is which. Ideally (IMO), you should pick one difficulty level and stick with it.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

I think there is a responsibility for the GM to know his/her audience. If you have a brand n00b at your table, it may be a good idea to "softball" an encounter that will likely mean their death. Despite the nature of the magus to be a PC killer, you can "interpret" the encounter in Dalsine a bit.

Spoiler:

For those who plan on GM'ing this scenario, I suggest that you make note of the skill level of the players at your table and pay particular attention their PC's hit points. The magus starts invisible so theoretically, you could place him where ever you want in the room. If the 1st level wizard with 8 hit points is in the corner, then don't put the magus there. It will be a one-shot kill for sure.

Maybe have him sneak up the stairs as the tanks are interacting with the image and attack. It might drop the tank, but likely would not kill him out right. The magus could then vault over the railing to the ground below allowing him to engage back-rank PC's. They would have seen his first attack and should have a chance to react at that point. This would also occupy at least one extra character to attend to the fallen tank. Perhaps even pre-determine the damage from his attack so as to insure it does not result in a death.


The point is you need to access the ability of the players to have a fighting chance for success. I generally do not like no-win situations. Think back to Tomb of Horrors. If that was your first and only exposure to D&D, would you have continued playing? I suspect, most would not. Or what if unknown to you, the next version of Monopoly replaced the "Go Directly To Jail" card in the chance deck with "Bankrupt, You Lose." Would that make you want to play again?

We should treat n00bs differently than experienced players so they can learn to love the game and understand that death, while unfortunate, is not the end of the world. YMMV

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

Kyle Baird wrote:
Pfft. You make it sound like it was your Cavalier that won the day. I distinctly remember a certain Boracle landing a Cacophonus Call and a Grease (on his rapier)...

You're right. It was all about you ;-)

I'm just trying to demonstrate that good tactics can overcome powerful NPC's even if you are not particularly good at them.

Of course that doesn't matter if the surprise attack results in your PC's death.

Don't be too hard on Chris. Every GM has times where they wish they could have run an encounter better. I hope the player understands that this encounter is not the typical one for PF and never comes back.

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