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Massive AC problem


Advice

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Liberty's Edge

As a gm how do I get around a player with a massive AC.
One of the players in my group has a much higher AC then the rest of the party members.

I either have to bump up npcs attack rolls, which means that l the other pcs pretty much get auto hit or i need to roll 20s to hit the one pc.
Eventually even he is starting to get tired of npcs always targeting him with area effect spells. His saves are also massive (paladin)


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

There are tons of effects and attacks that a high AC does nothing against. Check out swarms.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Don't attack him. Attack all the other party members.


Touch spells.


If he's an armored ac type, swarms and oozes are fun, and anything that uses a touch attack. Nets, for example.

If you're feeling extra mean, Rust Monsters are the classic anti-armor foil. Rusting Grasp, also.

For non-metal armor, Shatter, Warp Wood, Disintegrate and anything that Sunders well can counter them.

Unarmored high AC types are harder. Touch attacks are generally just as hard as anything else. Try Combat Maneuvers. CMD tends to be lower for those characters.


Touch attacks are always nice. Sundering the armor could work. If it's metal try a pack of rust monsters. Auto hit spells like Magic Missle. Make spells in game that lower a armors defense.

High ACs can suck. Even now I've just started a Dark Sun game where two of my players are Ageises (I think that's the plural) and have ACs of 30. So, after them spending 4 hours saying, and I quote, 'nothing can touch us, we are gods!' So I threw a swarm at them. The expression on there faces? *Sniff* Brings tears of joy to my eyes. No AOE users in the party. The 'gods' had to run for there lives. Ha!


touch spells, spells in general, swarms, brilliant energy weapons(becareful with this one, dont want to give PC's too much money), if its magic based, like generic enchants magic items ect.. then anti magic field/dispell/greater dispell magic, cmb/cmd maneuvers (tetori monks are very nice for taking fighter types out), then stacking penelties on top of eachother like bestow greater curse,tripping,and then flanking + grapple... <--- this would nuke his ac to almost nothing lol.


15 people marked this as a favorite.

"Hey, Steve. It is really cool that you managed to bump you AC so high, but now, with the disparity between your character and your fellow party members, I'm having a bit of trouble designing varied and appropriate difficulty encounters; they'll either be too easy for you and you'll be bored, or too hard for the others and they will get frustrated. I don't want to have to resort to tricks to damage you regularly that bypass your AC and ruin all of the work that you've done on your character, would you mind doing a slight rebuild or modification to tone it back some? I'd appreciate it a lot."


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Is the AC just from armor and shield?


Ringtail wrote:
"Hey, Steve. It is really cool that you managed to bump you AC so high, but now, with the disparity between your character and your fellow party members, I'm having a bit of trouble designing varied and appropriate difficulty encounters; they'll either be too easy for you and you'll be bored, or too hard for the others and they will get frustrated. I don't want to have to resort to tricks to damage you regularly that bypass your AC and ruin all of the work that you've done on your character, would you mind doing a slight rebuild or modification to tone it back some? I'd appreciate it a lot."

as both a player and a gm this is my favorite choice you can make. i do this all the time, well not ALL the time. i make a character optimize it within my concept, then play it. i usually build better characters then the rest of the people i play with, because i can almost memorize the books feats and class features.

every time i make a new character, i sit down with my gm. then i explain everything my character is going to do and how he works. i come here to make sure they are legal and im not breaking any rules when i do it. then we discuss weather or not i should tone it down or not.


Acid Arrow.

Flaming Extended Acid Arrow from a Draconic Half-Orc Sorcerer. 3rd level spell if they've got a 3000 GP rod of Extend Spell. 4th level spell if they have Extend Spell as a feat.

At 6th level, it does 2d4+2+3 fire damage per round for 6 rounds. It hits touch AC. It has no saving throw, it has no spell resistance. It also goes out for 640 feet of range with no range modifier...

Which means that you can probably cast two or three of them on the Paladin before he gets within BOW range of you. :)

And if it's a CR+2 BBEG (6th level spells), it now lasts for 10 rounds per casting, doing 2d4+2+6 per round. Three casts with the metamagic rod means that:

Round 1: 2d4+8
Round 2: 4d4+16
Round 3-10: 6d4+24
Round 11: 4d4+16
Round 12: 2d4+8

So, 60d4+240 damage for three 3rd level spells. That reach out to 1080 feet...


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

How the high AC was obtained is needed for better suggestions.


Post the build. Also target other defenses before you make him revise his character.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hold Person now they can't do anything.

Dominate Person turn their AC against the party.

Use an enemy like a Dark Stalker, Deeper Darkness in which the Stalker can see and apply sneak attack while the PC cannot and will be flat footed against the attacks.


As a person playing a similar high AC build, my suggestion is this: Don't worry to hard about it.

His invulnerability is what he's playing for, and from experience, shouldn't detract from other's enjoyment so long as he's not soloing encounters by coupling his Defense with a similarly massive offense or tactical ability. If the latter is the case, either ask him to tone it down or ask him to help others tone it up; either way will even things out.

...But if you are just looking for chinks-in-the-armor so to speak...

1) Touch AC attacks
2) Save for half or partial abilities
3) Swarms and other auto-damage sources
4) holes in the ground (Traps or the pit spells) or other forms of Falling
5) Night-time surprise attacks (unless he sleeps in his armor)

...just to name a few.

Liberty's Edge

Hey guys thanks for advice.

High AC comes from magical armour and shield with a defending longsword and ring of protection. Also has stalwart defender and when possible smites (paladin). 10th level character and when his is properly buffed etc gets his AC over the 40 without breaking too much of a sweat.

Grappling etc is out of the option as he has a ring of freedom of movement. Spells etc are difficult as he has massive saves due to Very high Cha Paladin and cloak of resistance.

Swarms have worked in the past very well. And I successfully turned him to stone when he rolled a 1 on his save vs a basilisk the other day.

His character is designed to rush up and engage in Melee while the spell caster and Archer hang back and unload from range. He is also backed up in Melee by a combat Druid and a Cleric of Gorum. So manouvering past them to get at the squishies is difficult.

As I said I have to bump up the attack rolls on most bad guys just to be even able to have a chance of hitting him. The end result is if any other players stand beside him in melee they almost automatically get hit (reducing their fun obviously)

Smiting and rust monster etc seem like quite good ideas. Although I feel a little bad at the idea of destroying an expensive suit of magical armour on him. Spell casters generally try to remove him from combat by surrounding him in a wall of stone or ice etc.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I still would not punish the player for such a heavy investment.

Scarab Sages

I've had this issue before. When one PC is clearly optimized much more than the others it makes it hard to balance encounters for the very reasons you mentioned: the other PC's get stomped. Overt and continuous use of attacks that circumvent defenses get to be unrealistic (ha!), too. Even if the PC in question is the tank, who tries to attract as much attention as possible, it tends to make no sense when enemies ignore the rest of the group. When this happened, I dealt with it two ways.

First, I talked to the player in question. He is a mature player and is in the game for everyone's enjoyment. It just so happens that he's good at min/maxing. Once I pointed out to him that if his character falls, it will result in a certain TPK, he realized that his character's power needed to be brought in line with everyone else. He was willing to retool his PC to remove some of the optimization. However, after I thought about it, I felt that I would be punishing him for playing his character well and/or knowing the rules. So I decided on a different tactic.

Second, I brought it up to the group. I pointed out to everyone that this one PC is the backbone of both offense and defense and when he dies, the rest of the gorup will die, too. Since the other players were not quite as good at min/maxing as the other player, I allowed them to rebuild their own characters with the more knowledgeable player's assistance. They all stayed true to their own character concept and agreed to purchase/create magic items in the near future to specifically cover some of their weaknesses. Money was pooled to buy items for a couple characters who needed extra help.

In addition, we made a "cheat sheet" for everyone, describing what maneuvers and tactics are available (e.g., new players frequently forget flanking bonuses - in this case remind them). I encouraged everyone to become familliar with the combat rules for cover, concealment, reach, ranged attacks, touch attacks (hello, alchemists fire), etc. I also asked everyone to review all of their character's spells and class features, even making notes if needed. This closed the gap in DPR and AC in the group to some extent. With the issue fresh in everyones mind, the next few sessions were devoted to closing the gap even more. Soon enough, things balanced out. The campaign did not have to be written off nor did they suffer a TPK (which made me happy, since I refuse to fudge rolls and yet I hate unhappy players). The PC in question was still tougher than the others, but I didn't have to worry so much about slaughtering the group accidentally while simply trying to challenge one PC.

I realize this solution may not work for everyone. Mature players are required, as is a GM who is willing to allow some character adjustment. I found rebuilding the characters was not much of an issue when they all remained true to the original PC idea (class levels remained the same, a few ability scores were adjusted, feats changed out and skills redone). In the end, it worked out well, and there was much rejoicing.

Liberty's Edge

blackbloodtroll wrote:
I still would not punish the player for such a heavy investment.

My though exactly. He has designed his character well in invested heavily in this style of combat.

My problem as a GM is I still need to make encounters challenging and fun for the group as a whole.

On a side note he is halfway through kingmaker atm and I do try not to deviate too heavily from the module so as to simply counter the PCs. They have designed their characters well and deserve the rewards from that. AS I said I still want to make it a challenge for them though.


a tenth level tetori would shut the ring down. FYI

and most likly knock the pallys teeth out in the process.

and dont feel bad about sundering a pallys armor:

Make Whole

Spoiler:
School transmutation; Level cleric/oracle 2, sorcerer/wizard 2

EFFECTRange close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target one object of up to 10 cu. ft./level or one construct creature of any size

DESCRIPTIONThis spell functions as mending, except that it repairs 1d6 points of damage per level when cast on a construct creature (maximum 5d6).

Make whole can fix destroyed magic items (at 0 hit points or less), and restores the magic properties of the item if your caster level is at least twice that of the item. Items with charges (such as wands) and single-use items (such as potions and scrolls) cannot be repaired in this way. When make whole is used on a construct creature, the spell bypasses any immunity to magic as if the spell did not allow spell resistance.


rust monsters, sunder, acid baths all can be fixed with this spell. UNLESS you completely dissolve the armor into nothingness.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The terrain can help, heavily armored foes usually are not good at acrobatics.

Liberty's Edge

Obirandiath wrote:

I've had this issue before. When one PC is clearly optimized much more than the others it makes it hard to balance encounters for the very reasons you mentioned: the other PC's get stomped. Overt and continuous use of attacks that circumvent defenses get to be unrealistic (ha!), too. Even if the PC in question is the tank, who tries to attract as much attention as possible, it tends to make no sense when enemies ignore the rest of the group. When this happened, I dealt with it two ways.

First, I talked to the player in question. He is a mature player and is in the game for everyone's enjoyment. It just so happens that he's good at min/maxing. Once I pointed out to him that if his character falls, it will result in a certain TPK, he realized that his character's power needed to be brought in line with everyone else. He was willing to retool his PC to remove some of the optimization. However, after I thought about it, I felt that I would be punishing him for playing his character well and/or knowing the rules. So I decided on a different tactic.

Second, I brought it up to the group. I pointed out to everyone that this one PC is the backbone of both offense and defense and when he dies, the rest of the gorup will die, too. Since the other players were not quite as good at min/maxing as the other player, I allowed them to rebuild their own characters with the more knowledgeable player's assistance. They all stayed true to their own character concept and agreed to purchase/create magic items in the near future to specifically cover some of their weaknesses. Money was pooled to buy items for a couple characters who needed extra help.

In addition, we made a "cheat sheet" for everyone, describing what maneuvers and tactics are available (e.g., new players frequently forget flanking bonuses - in this case remind them). I encouraged everyone to become familliar with the combat rules for cover, concealment, reach, ranged attacks, touch attacks (hello, alchemists fire), etc. I also asked everyone to...

The other players are starting to catch up quite well. The archer is a killing machine (another problem I need to counter) he has no AC but deals massive amounts of damage pretty much ignores cover etc all the usual archer buffs. The Druid is finally coming into his own and can deal some massive damage when shape shifted but again no AC and goes down fairly quickly when engaged. Spell caster is begining to hold his own now and has a decent AC (for a caster that is). The two other characters need a little work perhaps. Its just the massive AC that seems to have me stumped.


It sounds like he's compromised his offensive abilities (he's a full BAB class, so "compromised his offensive capabilities" DOES NOT mean he should be hitting as well as the wizard, just worse than a normal fighter would) in order to be hard to hit. I agree with calagnar. Have the smart enemies ignore him. Take AoOs if they need to. Show him that being a turtle = enemies going after the easier targets. Make him give up on using some of his defensive abilities to make hus offense stronger and become a more viable threat.

Also, how is his CMD? Armor and shield don't add to it and it sounds like his dex isn't so hot. Use maneuvers on him. Attack touch AC. Anything like that. For the most part though, either ignore him and go for the others, or when appropriate, let him be the awesome tank he is and hold off the enemies single handedly while his allies shoot them down. That's what the tank's role is, after all.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Seriously, where you fight can have as much impact as what you fight.


Snow Crash wrote:
The other players are starting to catch up quite well. The archer is a killing machine (another problem I need to counter) he has no AC but deals massive amounts of damage pretty much ignores cover etc all the usual archer buffs. The Druid is finally coming into his own and can deal some massive damage when shape shifted but again no AC and goes down fairly quickly when engaged. Spell caster is begining to hold his own now and has a decent AC (for a caster that is). The two other characters need a little work perhaps. Its just the massive AC that seems to have me stumped.

]

archers are negated by first level spells, thats why it kinda sucks to play an archer sometimes. obscuring mist, darkness, all wall spells, invisibility, so many more will take an archer out of the fight. so you should have no issues controlling how much damage he tosses out. i dont know his build so i can say specifics, but ranges are so awesome at damage because they are so vulnerable.


Remember to run the monsters smartly. They are unlikely to attack him if they can see that he is very well armoured. So don't waste monsters actions by attempting to hit him, or if you do, don't waste all of them. After one or two rounds most monsters should be able to figure out there are easier targets.


Post some numbers so we can help you more. Also wind wall is funny against archers. THEY DON'T EVEN GET A SAVE LOLOLOL. I personally think that the anti archer spells are too abundant and poorly written.


Touch attacks should ignore his armor and shield and drop him down at least 10 AC if not more. Alternatively get the party in their sleep, destroying his stuff is an option and probably the simplest or just have him have a dream or something of a vast tide of foes that he rushes out towards which split around him and slay all his allies while feebly tries to fight them. He awakens a changed man understanding that his focus on his own safety is threatening the lives of his friends. (Give him either a limited repick on gear or just a full retcon)


I can't believe people are suggesting rust monster/ sunder / other means of destroying his stuff as a serious means of handling the problem... If the OP comes on here next week saying that a new PC wizard ended an encounter one the first round with baleful polymorph, the mature means of dealing with it will be, "have an NPC steal his spell book!"


no, althought that is one option, a player should not be immune to features in the game that are there for the purpose of countering these atributes. they also have counters to prevent those counters. a gm should not go out of his way to "ruin" a players game time, but every player should be prepared to have there stuff sundered, disarmed, stolen, melted, disintergrated etc..

never should it happen on a regular basis, but i most likly should happen once.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Difficult terrain will challenge him without taking away his ability to shine. A battle on a ship with rough waters will do this as well.

Silver Crusade

Stalwart defender can definitely get the ac up high... but a lot of that comes from the bonuses they get to their shield if I remember correctly. In a game I run which my son plays in he has such a character and is around level 10. He also can easily get his ac rather high, especialy compared to his brothers barbarian.

In a particular fight with a frost giant who was having a heck of a time hitting him the giant, who had improved sunder, decided to remove the biggest obstacle against smacking the little dwarf. He sundered the crap out of his shield... knocked the crap out of him and finished up the with an awesome blow that knocked him across the room.

Sunder is there for a reason. It isn't "mean" to use it against a player. Break his shield, if need be break his armor... then you can hit him. It can be repaired. My son was able to put his shield back together... after he got ressurected that is. ;)

Bottom line is people will come to rely on something and expect it to always work. The problem is that absolutes are almost always incorrect.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Use a CMB to trip his CMD, then hit his prone self at +4. Flank for another +2.

Sunder his armor to give it the broken condition (-2 to AC or whatever).


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Ringtail wrote:
"Hey, Steve. It is really cool that you managed to bump you AC so high, but now, with the disparity between your character and your fellow party members, I'm having a bit of trouble designing varied and appropriate difficulty encounters; they'll either be too easy for you and you'll be bored, or too hard for the others and they will get frustrated. I don't want to have to resort to tricks to damage you regularly that bypass your AC and ruin all of the work that you've done on your character, would you mind doing a slight rebuild or modification to tone it back some? I'd appreciate it a lot."

LOL

Translation:

"Hey steve, you know all that time and effort you put into building a character who specializes in basically one area? Yeah, well I neither want to reward your industriousness by letting you shine at times because of it nor do I want to put out the extra effort to flesh out adventures with some of the many, many other threats that you would find challenging... so would you mind re-working your character into something you would find less fun to play? I'd appreciate it a lot."


I'll second the environment as a condition to consider. Mostly you want to throw things in with battlefield control.

Outside in the open, flying creatures can engage their choice of combatants, underground things with burrow or earth glide(earth elementals, xorns, spell: elemental body). Walls are also useful to divide PCs, wall of ice, stone, force, even transmute rock to mud or vise versa. Even with freedom of movement water will not allow him to breathe -- and acid is even better than water.

Even with high saves, many spells and effects will still do half damage to a paladin, many spell and super natural abilities like fireball or cone of cold, breath weapons, poisons(poisons often require multiple saves, last over several rounds,inflict and *inhaled* multiple exposures increase DC).

Also second touch attacks, much of his ac is from armor bounces(remember enhancements bounces to armor is still an armor bonus).

Kingmaker -- just throw out one counter a day, or at the very least include situations where they have multiple encounters to draw down resources

Dispel magic, check out greater dispel.

Ultimately, yes, reward a player who makes a character difficult to hit, consider what it means for the party to have encounters where the paladin might be the last standing -- such moments are dramatic and can epitomize what a paladin (literally) stands for.

Consider the sort of things that might begin to target mid, mid-high level paladins -- eg. coven of night hags (anyone in the party chaotic?) At 10hd deep slumber will work, ray of enfeeblement is save for half, etherealness allows for easy escape, fly-by-night attacks. Be especially dastardly and give one cleric levels or nightmares to ride. Depending on style, it can be much more punishing to target player missions/goals instead of players, a coven of night hags and seriously disrupt the plans of mid level pcs, and ultimately, making them fail their mission/goal is (almost) as good as killing a pc.


Snow Crash wrote:

Hey guys thanks for advice.

High AC comes from magical armour and shield with a defending longsword and ring of protection. Also has stalwart defender and when possible smites (paladin). 10th level character and when his is properly buffed etc gets his AC over the 40 without breaking too much of a sweat.

Grappling etc is out of the option as he has a ring of freedom of movement. Spells etc are difficult as he has massive saves due to Very high Cha Paladin and cloak of resistance.

Swarms have worked in the past very well. And I successfully turned him to stone when he rolled a 1 on his save vs a basilisk the other day.

His character is designed to rush up and engage in Melee while the spell caster and Archer hang back and unload from range. He is also backed up in Melee by a combat Druid and a Cleric of Gorum. So manouvering past them to get at the squishies is difficult.

As I said I have to bump up the attack rolls on most bad guys just to be even able to have a chance of hitting him. The end result is if any other players stand beside him in melee they almost automatically get hit (reducing their fun obviously)

Smiting and rust monster etc seem like quite good ideas. Although I feel a little bad at the idea of destroying an expensive suit of magical armour on him. Spell casters generally try to remove him from combat by surrounding him in a wall of stone or ice etc.

I had a player like that. Kingmaker is already pretty easy so if someone optimizes it just gets easier. .

I had to change encounters in order to challenge the party.

What I would also do is to help the other boost their AC, and use attacks that don't target AC. What are his saves like?


stalwart defender, single-handed Defensive weapon? Ignore him.


If his Armor Class is so high, insert some gunslingers. In fact, if you give an NPC Gunslinger with a Far-Shot feat a Far-Reaching Sight, he'll retain his Touch attack at his maximum range with only a -5 (you could, in effect, snipe him).

Use touch attacks that aren't spells.


I would ignore him also, and go after the easier targets. That is the tactical thing to do anyway. Let him know he is being saved for last.


wraithstrike wrote:
I would ignore him also, and go after the easier targets. That is the tactical thing to do anyway. Let him know he is being saved for last.

Trying to avoid him in combat is only going to piss him off. He'll quickly call foul about metagaming. His primary character concept revolves around being the tank.

If you want to cause drama, yeah, that will work.


CommandoDude wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
I would ignore him also, and go after the easier targets. That is the tactical thing to do anyway. Let him know he is being saved for last.

Trying to avoid him in combat is only going to piss him off. He'll quickly call foul about metagaming. His primary character concept revolves around being the tank.

If you want to cause drama, yeah, that will work.

I mean once they realize they can't hit him. When two people fight and one person is obviously better than another the skill difference is apparent. Unless he is going to argue that it is better to waste time on someone/something that can't be beat I don't think he has much of an argument.

The best thing to do is to gang up on the difficult obstacle last.

Having the low level minions go after him is also an option, just to keep him tied up.

Even when not dealing with a really high AC it makes sense to take the squishes out first anyway. That way the tank has no support(buffs and heals as an example).


Is it really metagaming to see the dude in full plate with heavy shield and be like, "imma gonna go skewer the guy in the bathrobe." ?

If it is, then yeah...once they attack him, it becomes apparent quick enough.

Scarab Sages

Well, buffs/debuffs are a great way to change his effective ac level. Multiple attacks are great also, since a 20 is an auto hit and the more attacks a round you have, the better the chances of a 20.

Granted, negating his massive ac isn't something that you should try to do every encounter, but it's good when you want him to feel the heat.


Ok, so I read the thread and don't see the issue. I would hardly call an AC of ~40 optimized for a 10th level character that is specializing in being a tank. Of course, doing so would hurt his offensive capabilities but then... that is what specializing in being the tank actually does.

The ranger being an archer killing machine also doesn't seem like a "problem". Why not deal with him the same way the enemies seem to be dealing with the druid? If he is proving to be the biggest threat on the battlefield to the well being of the baddies then focus on him. It is the intelligent thing to do.

Asking the player who worked hard on making his character be effective is NOT a good solution. If a DM asked me to do this I would refuse. As long as the character is using legitimate rules that were approved by the DM and nothing questionable is being done to munchkin the character then the player has done nothing wrong. Punishing him by forcing him to make his character weaker does not solve the problem. It only moves it from changing who is going to enjoy the game as much. Besides... how would he "tone down" his character? Force him to get rid of some of his equipment? Make him change his feats? Out of game this makes no sense as little as it does in character.

If the other characters were under powered and needed help then I would say that they would need some work. That doesn't sound like the case here as it sounds like they are filling their roles as to be expected. I don't want to sound like a jerk here, but if the characters are all filling their roles well and the modules are not challenging them then it is the responcibility of the DM to make the content more challenging. This is a fluid thing. You do not have to use all of the content in modules as is without modifying it. In fact, IMO, this is needed.

Each character is doing well in their own regard. Of course if the tank falls and there is no one to fill that role it is going to hurt the party's survivability. But the same thing holds true if the damage dealers in the party fall and the tank is left by himself. He can't survive unsermountable odds and he lacks the damage output to take care of them. He can't smite them all.

IMO, the issue here is not with the tank. It isn't with the ranger killing machine or the druid. It is with the encounters not providing the proper challenge. I would suggest following the advice that many posters here have made about making the encounters themselves more challenging long before requesting that someone alter their character.


Mercurial wrote:
Ringtail wrote:
"Hey, Steve. It is really cool that you managed to bump you AC so high, but now, with the disparity between your character and your fellow party members, I'm having a bit of trouble designing varied and appropriate difficulty encounters; they'll either be too easy for you and you'll be bored, or too hard for the others and they will get frustrated. I don't want to have to resort to tricks to damage you regularly that bypass your AC and ruin all of the work that you've done on your character, would you mind doing a slight rebuild or modification to tone it back some? I'd appreciate it a lot."

LOL

Translation:

"Hey steve, you know all that time and effort you put into building a character who specializes in basically one area? Yeah, well I neither want to reward your industriousness by letting you shine at times because of it nor do I want to put out the extra effort to flesh out adventures with some of the many, many other threats that you would find challenging... so would you mind re-working your character into something you would find less fun to play? I'd appreciate it a lot."

Or:

"I don't always have the spare time to re-balance encounters because of life. I acknowledge your creativeness and rules mastery, but fear the overall fun at the table might suffer for it. It would be appreciated if you'd help the other players catch up by helping them come more in line with your level of power or challenge yourself by holding back a little bit or diversifying a little more."

Group's fun > individual's fun, but neither needs be exclusive. Talking to your players is usually the best solution to most troubles and the quickest way to assure fun.

It is all about keeping an open line of communication with the players, one that goes both ways. They can address their concerns with the GM and vice verse, and everybody gets to go back to having fun in no time.


Most GM's I know pick their targets based on visible armor level for intelligent opponents at least, meaning the paladin gets hit last (heavy armor likely to be hard to hit).

Also a smart GM wouldnt target the paladin with the gunslingers anyway he would target the archer (only ranged damage dealer) and just outrun the paladin while sniping him well assuming you wanted to TPK the party otherwise I would seriously avoid the gunslingers idea as unless you play them badly you will TPK the party easily.

Massive AC is nice and all but honestly unless the party as a whole is safe from AC targetting attacks its only a single piece of the teams overall defence.

Also be very careful about buffing monsters just because of 1 character (picking better monsters is fine but buffing the ones that exist leads to a very slippery slope of countering peoples niches with monsters that they should shine against).

Liberty's Edge

Lune wrote:

Ok, so I read the thread and don't see the issue. I would hardly call an AC of ~40 optimized for a 10th level character that is specializing in being a tank. Of course, doing so would hurt his offensive capabilities but then... that is what specializing in being the tank actually does.

Asking the player who worked hard on making his character be effective is NOT a good solution.

If the other characters were under powered and needed help then I would say that they would need some work. That doesn't sound like the case here as it sounds like they are filling their roles as to be expected. I don't want to sound like a jerk here, but if the characters are all filling their roles well and the modules are not challenging them then it is the responcibility of the DM to make the content more challenging. This is a fluid thing. You do not have to use all of the content in modules as is without modifying it. In fact, IMO, this is needed.

Which is kinda my point. I dont want to penalise him for building a good character. And most party members seem to be filling their roles nicely. Maybe two characters need to be optimised a little more but thats neither here nor there.

My question was, what can I use to indeed make the encounters more challenging. Up til now I have been pumping up attack rolls a little. I am a single parent with two little kids and I work full time so I dont have a lot of spare time to be fiddling around with modules. Hence why I run pre written APs like kingmaker. However with the modules as written, nearly every encounter except the BBEG pretty much need to roll a 20 to hit him which tends to take a lot of the challenge out of it.

I was hoping for some advice on how to tweak encounters a little to try and provide a challenge for him without unbalancing it for everyone else. A lot of the encounters, especially in kingmaker do not use intelligent creatures with a variety of spells at their disposal to counter him. Simply increasing the power of creatures will risk all other party members being way too easy to kill. But having him wade into combat feeling pretty much invicible sort of takes the challenge out of it as well.

As it is I am maxing out all the NPCs hit points to make them last a bit longer. I am liking the ideas presented here and will starting using terrain, traps and the odd sundering foe in the future.

I try to keep thing realistic (haha)in the fact that only intelligent foes will fight with tactics etc while wild animals will act like animals, lashing out when cornered, attacking nearest when surprised or picking out the weakest party members when they are hunting the party.


Ah. Well. Then it looks like your on the right track. I don't know a lot about Kingmaker so I can't give you specific advice. I think the ideas here have been good so far.

Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

First thing:
Don't punish the player for creating a specialist character!

Second:
Prepare your combats to include fast movement, tactics and clever use of abilities from your side. This is most often the problem if PCs seem OPed - the GM not handling the tools he has optimally (which, I agree, is sometimes time-consuming).

Given that I'd say you should face no problem.

If an encounter really seems too weak and you haven't got the time to push it up by redesigning it, then handwave it ("you laugh at the feeble attempts as you dispatch..."). This will make the players feel powerful and gives you the time to add a little something on the next encounter (pittrap is just evil on a low climbskill pally in heavy armor, as is trip).

So, in short, don't make your combats HP grindfests, make them roller coaster rides with a dead stop at the end that will crush anyone not getting out fast!


I actually WAS this person in another d20 system campaign. I was a Dex animal in a game where not much armour existed at all, and the GM eventually approached me asking me to make life easier for him.

We then made a deal: the character did the equivalent of "finding Jesus" after a huge battle where he was mortally wounded, allowing me to retrain the character over time without it going against the character, swapping some Dex for some Str without gimping the character too much. His AC went down by 2 I think, and that evened things a lot in the party, and he became better at hitting things with swords. IC we also explained the Dex/Str swap with him having been so injured that he started to limp, thus making him less agile. (I know, the rules don't cover this kind of thing, but in our groups we like to have drama play a bigger part than the rules anyway.)

So there can be agreement about changing the character. But overall I think I prefer the solution where enemies can actually think tactically enough to not keep attacking the tank when they realize he's gonna make Sloppy Joe's out of them. Rather withdraw and attack again from behind or whatever. I realize the campaign path is already set, so don't bother changing the enemies too much, just optimize their tactics.

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