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"Please Don't Double the BBEMs!", and Raise Dead ideas


Pathfinder Society® General Discussion

Andoran

In re a possible revamping of existing modules to conform to a new normal average party size of six:

(Original post in the "Polite Discussion: thread for context.)

Quote:
...Just double the bosses & solos! Two creatures is equivalent to CR +2! (Core 398).

Oh, joy! All those single BBEM monster encounters will now have two. Most of these (IMNSHO) are "non-Superstar" and designed to maul one or two PCs within an inch of their lives before they're gunned down. Double them up, and you'll see a massive increase in character deaths, especially in situations where placement at the beginning of combat puts a PC between them. Why? Because the brunt of dished-out damage is usually borne by only a couple PCs in an encounter. If 4-player >>> 6-player average represents a 50% increase, imagine the one or two PCs who take the hit in single-BBEM encounters now taking 50% more. Yeah. Bodies will litter the floor.

And this in a campaign where PC death, aside from a prestige freebie or two, represents a viscous smack to WBL (unlike, say, in Living Greyhawk, where level-loss gave you time to catch up). The deleterious effect will be particularly pronounced in the Tier 3-4 range when most PCs have neither fame nor cash. I had a character I enjoyed immensely get killed in LG at 2nd and 3rd levels, both times while playing the mod which would have leveled her, resulting in her dropping to XP levels 0.5 and 1.5 respectively -- a huge hit level-wise, but I could keep playing the same character without a serious impediment with WBL once caught back up to XP equivalent to when the character died. I.e., I lost the time but not the character. PFS players do not have such an option -- they lose both time and the character, and a certain percentage will elect to bow out if several months' worth of effort in a pride-n-joy character is completely vaporized -- and that, of course, will be bad for the campaign.

= = = = =

Idea for financing Raise Dead: pay with XP as a third option in addition to existing straight money or prestige, or in some combination. (The in-game explanation would be that, lacking personal funds, you were indentured to a patron who assumed payment; your compensatory labor for them took considerable time during which your "adventuring skills" grew soft.) Forfeiting 4 XP is the closest match to 3.x's losing one-and-a-half. (The other details of level loss shouldn't prove insurmountable.)

What results is a mechanism for enabling well-loved characters (of at least second level) to survive meat-grinder scenarios.

*

Wouldn't the option to pay for a Raise with XP automatically be the best option since you take no hit to gold or PA and you then get to accrue even more while you catch up on XP. I think that people doing this sort of thing was a problem in LG IIAC.

You could make a rule that you could only pay in XP if you could not pay by either of the other methods, but that still trivializes death since your character dies, loses, XP and you slap some DM credit on them since it seems like most people have a surfit of DM credit (At least until people agitat s to add unnecessary rules and restrictions to using DM credit, which is a whole other rant). I think that death, especially at low-levels, should be more of a big deal.

Andoran

Saint Caleth wrote:
Wouldn't the option to pay for a Raise with XP automatically be the best option since you take no hit to gold or PA and you then get to accrue even more while you catch up on XP. I think that people doing this sort of thing was a problem in LG IIAC.
It was -- but it shouldn't be difficult to adjust loss of XP to the level of character and/or remaining amount of prestige points, or even remove an XP option after a certain point. (The primary WBL-related problem in LG was due to something entirely unrelated: the ability to "cheat" forced retirement by excessive multiclassing in upper levels, since multiclassing resulted in reduced XP earnings in 3.x.)
Quote:
You could make a rule that you could only pay in XP if you could not pay by either of the other methods,
That's sounds reasonable (and mostly is), but the reason I forwarded it in the first place is because losing WBL while at low-level in a campaign in which you cannot lose levels is an even worse kind of "death", one of by-a-thousand-cuts as you go permanently behind the curve and feel naked even in encounters your contemporaries would consider easy. -- Nothing will take the wind out of noob's sails faster than forcing him to sell his character's newly-acquired +1 weapon and armor at half-price to pay the exorbitant cost of Raise Dead and two Restorations.
Quote:
...but that still trivializes death since your character dies. I think that death, especially at low-levels, should be more of a big deal.

OK. I'm hip to play devil's-advocate -- why does death in a game have to be non-trivial? Why is it a good idea? Whose nose is skinned if a rogue makes it to twelfth level after dying sixteen times to a fighter's twice?

Q. Why is We Be Goblins such an utter blast while most PFS mods aren't?

A. It's because the goblins are one-shots; nobody is afraid to die, and consequently plays as over-the-top as they can imagine.

This is a fantasy game. We couch-potatoes play weekend-warriors in mithral armor with magic swords explicitly because we cannot really die like we might, say, if we whipped our flabby butts into shaped and signed up for a Marine recon tour over the IEDs in Afghanistan.

The game system offers elves, dwarves and gnomes with "natural" lifespans of hundreds or even thousands of years. Assuming such creatures infrequently undertake even the slightest of risks (i.e., adventuring once a decade), it would statistically prevent acquisition of such advanced years without magical help, since otherwise small chances pile up into inevitabilities over time. It is therefore reasonable to assume that death-avoidance is not only relatively common in such an alternate reality, but trivially so to those of some means. Could they scry our technological dimension, doubtless they would view the prospect of minute lifespans with horror; from their perspective, our short lives would flit by like those of mayflies.

-- But be that all as it may, the present prestige-point system make death an absolute no-deal at all (until suddenly it's exceptionally harsh after you've run out), whereas losing real character levels actually puts some teeth in it right from the get-go. (In LG, you lost both money and levels.)

*

I too do not think that it is reasonable to make a player sell his character's equipment before being able to pay in PA or XP, I would just want some safeguard to keep people from gaming the system, especially since nowadays it seems that the energy of this forum is going into closing perceived rules loopholes and such (emphasis on perceived).

I don't know if I agree about the analysis of elf and dwarf lifespans, but I do agree that anything that encourages players to do actually heroic things and not hunker down into the (at least in my experience) all too common "risk-avoidance/paranoia" mode.

I bet the real reason that this will never be implemented is that the developers went out of their way to remove any XP/level removal with the removal of all XP costs as well as changing the way that negative levels work.

** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Saint Caleth wrote:

I do agree that anything that encourages players to do actually heroic things and not hunker down into the (at least in my experience) all too common "risk-avoidance/paranoia" mode.

The risk-avoidance/paranoia mode is my preferred style of gaming; I find it the most roleplay heavy, interesting and rewarding type of game. If I'm adventuring with a bunch of gung-ho nutters who don't care if they die then it ruins the game for me. I might as well be playing a computer game.

But then I never raise characters either, so if they die, they stay dead, because raising them feels like reloading from a save game.

*

Quote:
...Just double the bosses & solos! Two creatures is equivalent to CR +2! (Core 398).

I'm pretty sure that Mike and Mark are not suggesting that.

Mike Schneider wrote:
Idea for financing Raise Dead: pay with XP as a third option in addition to existing straight money or prestige, or in some combination. (The in-game explanation would be that, lacking personal funds, you were indentured to a patron who assumed payment; your compensatory labor for them took considerable time during which your "adventuring skills" grew soft.) Forfeiting 4 XP is the closest match to 3.x's losing one-and-a-half. (The other details of level loss shouldn't prove insurmountable.)

That's an amazing idea, especially if the campaign is slightly harder. You'd need to take a hit to PA/Fame and gold also. Maybe you could spend 3 XP (and 5 PP/Fame) to reduce the gp cost by 50%.

*

From the original suggestion :

Quote:


2. Combats are too easy with a table of 6 that has three optimized characters. If just three characters are optimized to fight against monsters of their individual CR +2, the Average Party Level will effectively be +2 for every level from 1 through 12!

Fortunately getting that CR +2 "Hard" mode encounter turns out to be simple. Just double the bosses & solos! Two creatures is equivalent to CR +2! (Core 398).

....
Afterwards write something like "Hard Mode: CR +2 vs. double bosses and solos" on their reward sheet so they have a record of their conquest.
Just make sure everyone knows what they are getting into!

(Quote edited to bold that last line)

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