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Sick of 18s at level 1


Advice

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I started a new game a few weeks ago, level 1, pretty standard stuff (20 point buy). There's a magus, a ranger, a fighter and a samurai. The only one without an 18 in strength is the magus. This has happened a few times. Not just with warriors and strength, but also with wizards and intelligence, sorcerers and charisma, etc.

And I am really getting tired of it. I can't pit standard enemies against these guys. I'm forced to throw things like bugbears against a level 1 party because they just shred everything else. And I do understand that it's a party of warriors, and that they normally shred enemies, but it's happened before with high save DCs and ridiculous rogue ACs.

How do I discourage this kind of character-building? I understand that everyone wants to be effective in combat. But "effective in combat" does not equal "meat grinder with legs." A warrior can be effective with a 14 or 16 at level 1.

Thanks in advance,

...Catch Phrase,

-Chris

Andoran

I guess all I can say is be happy they're not going for a 20 right out the door?

Silver Crusade

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

I'm not sure what's "standard enemies" for you, but Bugbears are CR 2 and a party of level 1's should be able to take down several before blowing their resources away.


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Dude -- it's level 1, not exactly a place where you should be 'threatened' by the enemy on a regular basis.

Let them have their cake for a bit I mean really kobolds, dire rats, and experts/warriors are supposed to be their foes, maybe an adept on occasion. It's the introduction, don't expect epic difficult fights at this point.


You could always try using a 15 point system instead. That's what I use for all my games and characters.

Otherwise, you could try for more cinematic style or unorthodox encounters, the type that test stats other than strength.


Christopher Delvo wrote:

I started a new game a few weeks ago, level 1, pretty standard stuff (20 point buy). There's a magus, a ranger, a fighter and a samurai. The only one without an 18 in strength is the magus. This has happened a few times. Not just with warriors and strength, but also with wizards and intelligence, sorcerers and charisma, etc.

And I am really getting tired of it. I can't pit standard enemies against these guys. I'm forced to throw things like bugbears against a level 1 party because they just shred everything else. And I do understand that it's a party of warriors, and that they normally shred enemies, but it's happened before with high save DCs and ridiculous rogue ACs.

How do I discourage this kind of character-building? I understand that everyone wants to be effective in combat. But "effective in combat" does not equal "meat grinder with legs." A warrior can be effective with a 14 or 16 at level 1.

Thanks in advance,

...Catch Phrase,

-Chris

Well you could always make it 15 point buy, have them roll stats or, change your point system.

I hear you, I usually have a 16 in my primary AFTER race attribute increase, because I prefer to have 16, 14, 14, 12, 10, 13 than 18/14/14/12/12/7 or some variation, because I prefer more balanced characters.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yeah, either give them a 15-point-buy or an array that doesn't include an 18, but don't complain about them using the rules you gave them. You're in charge.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Dire Care Bear Manager

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Possibly throw them up against some encounters where other skills are handy?

Diplomacy, perception, sense motive.. Or situations where other attributes are needed, like river crossings over logs needing Dex where they struggle with armor weight when they fall in.

Qadira

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Gosh, they blew their points on Strength? I guess they didn't expect to see archers in inaccessible locations, traps, spellcasters of any kind (but especially enchanters!), social interactions, riddles, or pickle jars.*

*Statistically, the higher your Strength check the less likely you are to successfully open the pickle jar. It confounds mathematics, although one researcher advanced a theory that the d20 was, quote, "a bugger."

Andoran

This is really hard to fix. If your players are determined to optimize, crippling their stats isn't going to stop that. I'm running a Kingmaker game with 15 pt point buy and I still regularly see characters with 18 STR, 18 CHA, 18, WIS, etc.

You have to solve the problem at the source. Talk to your players. Explain what's bothering you.

Shadow Lodge

Or traps, kobolds love traps, archers, things that it takes more than brute strength to conquer. Also, don't underestimate mobs of creature, including swarms and low HP creatures that surround and ping away at them...


Lincoln Hills wrote:
Statistically, the higher your Strength check the less likely you are to successfully open the pickle jar. It confounds mathematics, although one researcher advanced a theory that the d20 was, quote, "a bugger."

???


Ravingdork wrote:
Lincoln Hills wrote:
Statistically, the higher your Strength check the less likely you are to successfully open the pickle jar. It confounds mathematics, although one researcher advanced a theory that the d20 was, quote, "a bugger."
???

and another ?????


7 people marked this as a favorite.

The question is -- are they actually crippling themselves to do this and are they honestly that 'overpowered' and does it fit the character they are trying to play?

Because remember while you are the GM they are the players -- all they have control over is their PC... intruding on that should be done very carefully if at all.

Not every fight has to be a challenge and not every challenge has to be from the foe.


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

I am really pretty floored. You gave them the a generous point buy option. Then you expected them not to invest their points in their primary statistics?

How do you curtail this kind of behavior.

1) Pregenerated characters. You the GM provide the character for the party to play. This has the advantage that lets you set up more intricate starting plot lines than 4-6 six adventures find themselves in a tavern...

2) Don't use point buy stat generation methods. Elite array character are more than capable of handling appropriate CR encounters. Of course its still very likely their best stats are going to go toward their primary and secondary stats.

3) Organic character generation. Take your array and assign each number randomly to the 6 base statistics. And if you really want to weaken the party make them pick their class before they see where the numbers go. 8 int wizard, well you can still read scrolls... most of the time. It'll be a grand experience.

Andoran

Gorbacz wrote:
I'm not sure what's "standard enemies" for you, but Bugbears are CR 2 and a party of level 1's should be able to take down several before blowing their resources away.

Well said.

While I sympathize somewhat with wanting to have players with "real" stats, that isn't going to happen with point buy. Players are going to buy exactly what they want and they will always want to have high scores in the important stats.

It is part of why our group prefers dice rolling then figuring out what to make based on what the dice give you.

18 isn't going to be unusual for an adventurer in Pathfinder with the automatic +2's.

This is part of why they need to be careful with giving more than +2 to anything in the race guide, particularly when it relates to mental stats.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Madclaw wrote:
I guess all I can say is be happy they're not going for a 20 right out the door?

Same here.

Other than that, offer them an array to build characters and not put any number higher than 15, problem solved.


I'm confused as to why you're so upset about this. 18 strength is badass at level 1, but it quickly loses its steam as you gain (vs. 16). It's the difference of +1 attack and +1-2 damage. Plus, you gave them 20 point buy and they spent half of it on the most relevant stat to their class. That's not min-maxing. That's just prioritizing with an eye towards effectiveness.

If you insist on your players being truly mediocre, go with a lower point buy or apply creation restrictions (no stat higher than 16 after racial modifiers).


In the past, I've seen DMs try to offer the players pre-rolled stats that they can assign however they want.

But really... everything else that was said is equally viable.

Alternately, you can just adjust the monsters they are encountering to make things a bit more difficult. Applying a flat +2 to AC and +4 HP should work well enough for you, I'd guess.

Taldor

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More combats... wear them down: Pathfinder Society modules on average present six encounters across a single day of adventuring and all of those encounters average out to APL+1, rather than APL. So the CR system is already a bit off as is and Paizo acknowledges it with how they construct their PFS modules.

More missile fire: If Grog is making humanoids explode with his greatsword, have enemies in superior terrain (CR+1) who rain missile fire down on Grog.

Multiple wave combats: If the spellcaster is shutting down an encounter with a well placed sleep spell, just make sure that you're breaking up the timing and composition of the enemy. Don't have them all come out at once and cluster together, but instead have an initial wave that gets dumped on with choice spells, then send out the second wave.

Bombs: The alchemist class is a wonderful GM friendly class to put on the enemy. Those pesky bombs can coat an area and wear multiple PCs down. Crazed kobolds and hobgoblins work great as alchemists.

Spells: Enemy casters... how about a crack squad of sorcerer kobolds, all who know magic missile. It gets nasty and can make Grog start to cry as he gets lit up with multiple magic missiles from 100 feet away. Grog also likely has a lousy will save so just dump some save-or-suck spells on him. Not enough to TPK, but enough to make them have to think of tactics other than charging forward to meat grind.

Swarms: The big beater weapons are useless against swarms. Watch as everyone scrambles to pull out flasks of oil, if they were smart enough to take some along, and start tossing them all over.

As far as the spellcasters go. The key is that they have to use up their spells for the day, which means lots of combats and no 15-minute work days. Use time sensitive plots, or random encounters to ensure that the high DC spell casters can't unload their show stopping spells and then kick back and rest.

Qadira

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Ravingdork wrote:
Lincoln Hills wrote:
Statistically, the higher your Strength check the less likely you are to successfully open the pickle jar. It confounds mathematics, although one researcher advanced a theory that the d20 was, quote, "a bugger."
???

Kind of an in-joke. I once summed up the point I was trying to make with the Pickle Jar as a haiku (we were having a "D&D Haiku" thread, for reasons which escape me):

Fail at simple tasks,
Succeed when impossible,
Fickle d20!

Grand Lodge

I also echo the comments above
1) 15 pts if you have more than 4 players
2) If 20 points, be glad none of them have 20's. The are optimising but at least they aren't cheesing. When you think of it 16 unadjusted is 10 points from 20, its not that bad when they use the other 10 for their characters.
3) Bugbears aren't inappropriate monsters mixed with other monsters
4) Its ok to let them have some "win"
5) Try waves of encounters... they'll cream the first few, then it will hurt.

Finally don't be afraid to wave the DM stick. You can say, no Adjusted stat lower than 8 (I hate players taking 7s or even worse, adjusted 5's) and no stat adjusted higher than 17.

One GM I saw here was giving 15pt builds then giving extra points for the first 5 levels... and by points I mean as in stat buy points... if someone wanted to change a 13 to a 14, they waited 2 levels and traded those points for the increased unadjusted stat cost.

It gave the players 20pt builds in the end but they grew into those builds.


Last time I gamed with my group we were having a very similar conversation. We were discussing the ridiculous nature of some of our stats. (Int 26, Char 24, Str 25). After much discussion we decided that next game we would use a 15 pt buy and no starting stat could be higher than a 16.

I think it helps that I play with an older group and that at one point or another we've all been behind the DM screen. So we all know the work that goes into DMing and that the mechanics of the game begin to break down when your stats are out of wack. Thus making DMing even more difficult.

Maybe you could talk to your players and see if they would agree to self imposed stat caps. It's not like the game gets less fun.


Like others have said use a stat array, my group uses 18,16,15,14,13,11 but something like 16,14,13,12,11,9 works well for lower power games.

The main problem is focusing on level one, I mean you will be level one for what one or two days of gaming.


Mage Evolving wrote:

Last time I gamed with my group we were having a very similar conversation. We were discussing the ridiculous nature of some of our stats. (Int 26, Char 24, Str 25). After much discussion we decided that next game we would use a 15 pt buy and no starting stat could be higher than a 16.

I think it helps that I play with an older group and that at one point or another we've all been behind the DM screen. So we all know the work that goes into DMing and that the mechanics of the game begin to break down when your stats are out of wack. Thus making DMing even more difficult.

Maybe you could talk to your players and see if they would agree to self imposed stat caps. It's not like the game gets less fun.

I'd say that's going too far. Elite array NPCs cap out at 17 adjusted.


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My friend, I think your priorities are slightly misaligned.

Pathfinder characters, especially on 20 points, are heroes. It should be weird if none of them has an 18, especially if the class is one that doesn't really require much ability score diversity.

You do need to use APL +2 if you want to challenge the party. APL == CR indicates that the players can deal with several consecutive encounters of that CR. Heck, I don't even consider a boss fight lower than APL +4.

You're the GM. You can (and should) challenge the players no matter what the surround math says to do. There are GMs who can game low CR monsters to be way vicious, and there are others who just up the CR. In the end, CR is a guideline that shows you the relative strength of monsters, nothing more. If you are finding that "challenge" corresponds to a higher number than you expected, simply adjust the number!


Yeah, here's the thing: Assuming you let the PCs rearrange their stats and use 4d6 drop lowest or some such - chances are pretty damn good that the players will have at least one score of 16 or better and thus be able to pump it up 18. If you can't handle the normal spread of numbers...why play a dice game in the first place? If, on the other hand, your PCs mysteriously manage to gain consistently above-average rolls or have finagled a favorable point buy or rolling method (such as roll 5d6, drop lowest two or some such) there's a very simply fix.

The monsters in the bestiary are assumed to have the normal 15-point buy for elites/PC classes and 3-point buy for non-elites/NPC classes. If your PCs have upped their base abilities and you want to maintain the challenge, just follow suit with the enemies. Add just a point or two in key stats, calculate the increase to save DCs, attack bonuses and the like, and you'll notice all of your problems evaporate :)


Christopher Delvo wrote:
How do I discourage this kind of character-building?

There are two ways I know of off-hand, either give them a stat array to build their characters that doesn’t have an 18 in it to start with or have them roll their stats.

If you have a to roll die it creates a bell curve where very high or low numbers are less likely. The reason for this is simple, to roll an 18 you have to roll three sixes there is no other way to do it. On the other hand there are a number of ways to roll a 10, two fours and a two, two threes and a four, a five a four and a one, etc, thus the probably shifts toward the center and you are less likely to see 18’s.

Actually having thought about it a moment another option for stat generation would be to make higher stats more expensive so, for example every 1 point of increase above say 16 could cost 2 points from their point buy, that might help make it less likely that a player would max the attribute.

But now that I’ve answered that question I’d like to ask one of my own… Are you sure that’s really the problem? I mean while high stats are naturally desirable, and as several others have mentioned should be expected when using a point buy, would a 16 instead of an 18 actually lower their damage output or other abilities noticeably?

I would tend to think they would still be nearly as powerful. After all, we are only talking about an attribute modifier that is 1 point different so I doubt you’d see much change. It sounds to me that they are a skilled group that make good choices and know how to build effective characters. Also as others have mentioned it's first level they aren't really supposed to be challenged to badly that early.

In any case, while I can understand how it's a little silly that every adventuring group out their seems to be filled with characters that are essentially the smartest, strongest, or otherwise best in their primary attribute, but unless it has a significant negative impact on the game I wouldn't worry about it myself.

For the most part I don't even know the stats of my players, I mean I have copies of their character sheets and can look them up if I'm so inclined, but really I don't see how a slight difference has any significant impact. This is even more true at higher levels. Yes it's always nice to do more damage or have a higher DC but it just doesn't seem to impact the game nearly as much as choices made for spells, feat, etc. Hence I really don't think it's worth worrying about myself.

Anyway good luck with whatever you decide to do.

Andoran

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If it really concerns you, just add +1 to every creatures AC - the effect is to cancel out the extra +1 of 18 vs 16.

S.


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Abraham spalding wrote:
. . . remember while you are the GM they are the players -- all they have control over is their PC... intruding on that should be done very carefully if at all.

This!

This is the most important thing point that has been made in the thread thus far.

You control the entire universe, every NPC, every monster, what items can be made or purchased and at what prices, travel times, adventure opportunities, everything! There is one exception, the characters, and you even have quite a bit of control over characters by deciding on a point-buy amount, house rules, and a plethora of secondary effects.

Leave this one thing to the players, and don't sweat it. Having a +4 hit & damage rather than a +3 isn't going to ruin the game. In fact, it's a significant part of the fun for a player! Why do you think every version of D&D going back almost 40 years gets a little more generous with 1st level characters? Because it's what players want!

Also, keep in mind that the players are stuck with these characters for the duration of the game. Any points they don't put into an attribute now, they won't really have a chance to make up later. (You could say that a +2 item will be available, but that same item would be available no matter what starting number they apply it to.) If a Fighter wants to have awesome strength when the Wizard is casting 9th level spells, the fighter has to spend points at character generation to prepare for that day.

Evil Lincoln wrote:

Pathfinder characters, especially on 20 points, are heroes. It should be weird if none of them has an 18, especially if the class is one that doesn't really require much ability score diversity.

You do need to use APL +2 if you want to challenge the party. APL == CR indicates that the players can deal with several consecutive encounters of that CR. Heck, I don't even consider a boss fight lower than APL +4.

You're the GM. You can (and should) challenge the players no matter what the surround math says to do. . .

If 5 orcs isn't a challenge, send 10. If a dozen kobolds die too easily, start them out in trees that require 3 rounds of climb checks to get up, so that slings for 1d3-1 damage have enough time to whittle down the players. If you have to, just give +1 hit & damage to the enemies. But, there's only one thing your players have control over, let them have it.


The only part about OPs example that bothers me is that there are 3 people in the game with an 18 strength.

One of my red flags is when I see characters stepping on each other's toes. At first level, an 18 is a pretty big deal. Three guys with the same schtick generally means that they're all trying to be "the strong guy" and because all of them are doing it, none of them feel like they are. This often leads to an unsatisfying play experience.

I've seen groups of characters with similar high stats built around teamwork (squads of soldiers, gangs of rogues), but something tells me this isn't the case with this group.

I wonder if the problem would solve itself if the party was a little more diverse?


You know looking at the party it seems to me they want a hack and slash -- after all they are all primary damage dealers. Sure they got other 'abilities' but these guys want to cut things up grab the loot and cut something else up from the looks of it.

In away your players have done you a huge favor -- there is no question about what sort of game will satisfy them!

Might I make yet another suggestion? Plan on mooks -- lots of mooks: Mooks that go down fairly fast and easy, in fact make a point of it. Hp? What Hp? One hit or two for an 'elite mook' and let them fall. Armies of goblins, hordes of orcs, dens of kobolds let them rip, enjoy the laughter and happiness as these creatures fall, then have the boss be B.O.S.S.

I mean The BBEG of BBEG, make him big make him mean, make him multiple stages if possible starts out living goes to die is so bad@$$ he refuses to do so and is now undead immediately and keeps fighting -- I mean DAMN how hardcore is that guy to do it? And then when his undead body falls expended he's still not done -- his freaking ghost steps out and keeps on hitting them.

He doesn't even have to be 'really high CR' at that point cause damn he's going to go on forever.

That gives you the means of really laying it on thick and letting them wade through mooks... all the while you know they are expending resources so the when the boss gets there... wow what a boss.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Christopher Delvo wrote:
I understand that everyone wants to be effective in combat. But "effective in combat" does not equal "meat grinder with legs."

If you want to challenge a bunch of meat grinders, stop tossing meat at them.

Seriously, if they're super-good at doing X and X is all you ever ask them to do, then yeah, it's gonna get silly. Stop saying "Oh yeah? Well can you out-DPR this?" and then getting upset when they do.

Put them in a boat in the middle of a 50-foot-wide river and have archers shoot at them from the trees.

Give them a race against the clock, where sticking around long enough to kill everything will cause them to fail.

Have them get framed for something and need to clear their names (in which case violence will work against them by making them look like public menaces).

No offense, but it sounds like you have one-dimensional campaigns and they've got your number. Your fault, not theirs.

Andoran

I'm sorry:(
I didnt know you felt this way man. Want to redo our campaign or just start Espers instead? I admit I liked to 'cheese' but I've been gettin better at this.


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nkidis2cool98366 wrote:

I'm sorry:(

I didnt know you felt this way man. Want to redo our campaign or just start Espers instead? I admit I liked to 'cheese' but I've been gettin better at this.

What? NO! You can't be reasonable about this! You got to get mad and throw down the gauntlet! Challenge us to make an "unbeatable PC" to upset your GM and 'teach him a lesson!" Then he's got to come back and ask for a PC killer, and how to get control back!

Darn it how am I to be entertained and kept busy if you all act all reasonably and simply talk it all out?


Evil Lincoln wrote:

My friend, I think your priorities are slightly misaligned.

Pathfinder characters, especially on 20 points, are heroes. It should be weird if none of them has an 18, especially if the class is one that doesn't really require much ability score diversity.

You do need to use APL +2 if you want to challenge the party. APL == CR indicates that the players can deal with several consecutive encounters of that CR. Heck, I don't even consider a boss fight lower than APL +4.

You're the GM. You can (and should) challenge the players no matter what the surround math says to do. There are GMs who can game low CR monsters to be way vicious, and there are others who just up the CR. In the end, CR is a guideline that shows you the relative strength of monsters, nothing more. If you are finding that "challenge" corresponds to a higher number than you expected, simply adjust the number!

I have to agree here. I just don't see why having a single (or even multiple) 18 or 20 is a gamekiller.

Andoran

I do love my unstoppable pcs.. Level 2 paladin unstoppable.. He remembers the story lol.
A town bombarded by bullets, end of the day... No more bullets!


nkidis2cool98366 wrote:

I'm sorry:(

I didnt know you felt this way man. Want to redo our campaign or just start Espers instead? I admit I liked to 'cheese' but I've been gettin better at this.

Cody, it's not your game I'm talking about, bro. That one's going just fine.

And thanks everyone for the...advice? Most of it is just "go 15 point buy," which really doesn't help with the current campaign, but I do have a few ideas involving punishing traps and a horde of zombies that may or may not be backed up by goblin ranged support.

We'll see what Saturday has in store.

...Catch Phrase,

-Chris

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Abraham spalding wrote:

The question is -- are they actually crippling themselves to do this and are they honestly that 'overpowered' and does it fit the character they are trying to play?

Because remember while you are the GM they are the players -- all they have control over is their PC... intruding on that should be done very carefully if at all.

Not every fight has to be a challenge and not every challenge has to be from the foe.

This.

Given their choices it's obvious that your group likes a certain style of play.

Now it would be easy as a GM for you to target their weaknesses and throw encounters at them that would keep them from using their awesome melee abilities or target their weaknesses. Sure you could pick them off with archers, pummel them with punishing dex and diplomacy checks, or chuck a few nearly invincible swarms at them. That would "challenge" them no problem. However, I doubt your players would find the experience very enjoyable.

While an adequate level of challenge is generally a good thing, don't forget to let your players have a good time in the process by allowing them to do what they do best as well. Let them be heroes and keep in mind the ultimate purpose is to have fun.


The_Hanged_Man wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:

The question is -- are they actually crippling themselves to do this and are they honestly that 'overpowered' and does it fit the character they are trying to play?

Because remember while you are the GM they are the players -- all they have control over is their PC... intruding on that should be done very carefully if at all.

Not every fight has to be a challenge and not every challenge has to be from the foe.

This.

Given their choices it's obvious that your group likes a certain style of play.

Now it would be easy as a GM for you to target their weaknesses and throw encounters at them that would keep them from using their awesome melee abilities or target their weaknesses. Sure you could pick them off with archers, pummel them with punishing dex and diplomacy checks, or chuck a few nearly invincible swarms at them. That would "challenge" them no problem. However, I doubt your players would find the experience very enjoyable.

While an adequate level of challenge is generally a good thing, don't forget to let your play have a good time in the process by allowing them to do what they do best as well. Let them be heroes and keep in mind the ultimate purpose is to have fun.

I don't know if this is in response to my last post. But be sure that I'm not attempting to hinder their fun. The problem I'm finding is that the combats that my group seems to remember are the difficult ones that really test them. So a mix of a horde of zombies (easy fodder for these guys) with goblin archers and traps will be challenging, but also, I hope, not punishing enough to steal the fun out of the game.

My goal is to make everything enjoyable, not to facilitate the GM vs PC mentality. The problem with the 18s is that standard (APL, APL+1) encounters don't even drain resources. A hack and a slash later, and they're done without even losing 1 HP.

So hopefully mixing things up will make the game a little more interesting for everyone.

...Catch Phrase,

-Chris

Andoran RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

Christopher Delvo wrote:

I started a new game a few weeks ago, level 1, pretty standard stuff (20 point buy). There's a magus, a ranger, a fighter and a samurai. The only one without an 18 in strength is the magus. This has happened a few times. Not just with warriors and strength, but also with wizards and intelligence, sorcerers and charisma, etc.

And I am really getting tired of it. I can't pit standard enemies against these guys. I'm forced to throw things like bugbears against a level 1 party because they just shred everything else. And I do understand that it's a party of warriors, and that they normally shred enemies, but it's happened before with high save DCs and ridiculous rogue ACs.

How do I discourage this kind of character-building? I understand that everyone wants to be effective in combat. But "effective in combat" does not equal "meat grinder with legs." A warrior can be effective with a 14 or 16 at level 1.

Thanks in advance,

...Catch Phrase,

-Chris

I've used the same generation method for years and don't allow point buy characters. Each player is allowed to roll 4d4, drop the lowest die, in three sets of six. They get to pick the set they like best and arrange them as they please. :)

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Christopher Delvo wrote:

My goal is to make everything enjoyable, not to facilitate the GM vs PC mentality. The problem with the 18s is that standard (APL, APL+1) encounters don't even drain resources. A hack and a slash later, and they're done without even losing 1 HP.

So hopefully mixing things up will make the game a little more interesting for...

Sounds good. It seems like you have the right attitude.

Another thing to keep in mind is that in your particular group there aren't a whole lot of resources to drain to begin with (like healing for example), and the difference between challenging and a devastating loss could be blurry at low levels.

I don't think the extra +1 to hit and damage is really skewing things too much for you.


IMO it's quite simple, if all of your players are min-maxed, IE everyone has high str, crap for will, dex etc... then a bard, wizard etc... would be their greatest weakness. A group with no will saves, could be TPKed by a single color spray (I wouldn't TPK them if it went to that, I'd probably have them tied up while unconscious. That actually would simultaniously be a plot-hook, and a life lesson.

Cheliax

Push skills and social interactions. Make it so it isn't possible for thog to carry his big ole 2hander and heavy armor. If you are playing a combat heavy ap pcs will build to suit the situation. Though an 18 in a primary stat after racial modifiers really isn't too far fetched in a 20 point buy though the class played really dictates this.


Onishi wrote:
IMO it's quite simple, if all of your players are min-maxed, IE everyone has high str, crap for will, dex etc... then a bard, wizard etc... would be their greatest weakness. A group with no will saves, could be TPKed by a single color spray (I wouldn't TPK them if it went to that, I'd probably have them tied up while unconscious. That actually would simultaniously be a plot-hook, and a life lesson.

Actually we do not know that anything you have said here is the case at all.

And that's not the definition of min/max I grew up with.

What we do know is they have a lot of 18 strength scores -- you can do that without killing all your other states, and it's likely that the magus has a decent (at least) will save.

They could each easily have:

Str 18, Dex 12, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 7 (magus)
Str 18, Dex 12, Con 14, Int 7, Wis 14, Cha 12 (fighter)
Str 18, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 10 (samurai)
Str 18, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 7 (ranger)

Which means they probably have rather nice save throws.


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


I've used the same generation method for years and don't allow point buy characters. Each player is allowed to roll 4d4, drop the lowest die, in three sets of six. They get to pick the set they like best and arrange them as they please. :)

Now thats harsh. Capping every stat at 12. I don't think I've ever seen a game run that stats generated that low.

Cheliax RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

With a standard 20-point buy, an 18 in a single stat should practically be EXPECTED for any S.A.D. class. You don't even really need to sacrifice much to get it. You can have a human with 18, 12, 12, 12, 12, 12 if you really want. For a fighter, barbarian, or most other martial classes, a 12 in CHA is largely useless unless they plan on pumping Intimidate, so many players opt for 10 or less in that stat in favor of higher DEX and/or CON. WIS is slightly more important, as it influences Perception checks and Will saves (which are used much more often than social skills in a typical campaign) so a 12 here is pretty common. INT is also not terribly useful to martial characters, particularly human ones (who already get extra skills anyway), so this one is also frequently left at 10 or less.

Basically, what I'm saying is that, due to the racial adjustments in Pathfinder, 18 is the new 16. Almost any character is going to have one. Those that don't are either multiclassing, aiming for specific feat combos, playing a M.A.D. class, or self-nerfing intentionally.


Christopher Delvo wrote:

I started a new game a few weeks ago, level 1, pretty standard stuff (20 point buy). There's a magus, a ranger, a fighter and a samurai. The only one without an 18 in strength is the magus. This has happened a few times. Not just with warriors and strength, but also with wizards and intelligence, sorcerers and charisma, etc.

And I am really getting tired of it. I can't pit standard enemies against these guys. I'm forced to throw things like bugbears against a level 1 party because they just shred everything else. And I do understand that it's a party of warriors, and that they normally shred enemies, but it's happened before with high save DCs and ridiculous rogue ACs.

How do I discourage this kind of character-building? I understand that everyone wants to be effective in combat. But "effective in combat" does not equal "meat grinder with legs." A warrior can be effective with a 14 or 16 at level 1.

Thanks in advance,

...Catch Phrase,

-Chris

To answer your question, i first would aks that you tell me this:

What do you want out of your players?


10 little kobolds with 2 hps can become a problem for that type of group... since hitting them will kill them anyway. There are enough they can't kill them all in a single round.

Creatures with high stealth can easily get the drop on a party without good perception.

As someone said earlier, attacks from a guarded position will really tweak their reality.


Xaaon of Korvosa wrote:

10 little kobolds with 2 hps can become a problem for that type of group... since hitting them will kill them anyway. There are enough they can't kill them all in a single round.

Creatures with high stealth can easily get the drop on a party without good perception.

As someone said earlier, attacks from a guarded position will really tweak their reality.

Remember the magus though -- he can get several at a time with AOE spells... if he has the prepared.

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