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This mentality of OP wizards in 3rd, 4th, 5th...


D&D 4th Edition (and Beyond)

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Dark Archive

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Malaclypse wrote:

A problem with the Paizo APs is that the NPCs aren't built very well, and the advice on how to play them is often .. not so good.

Why wouldn't she touch at least one of them while shifted? She 'prefers' to die?

If you run them as suggested by the AP, well, yes. That's a problem. One explanation I can think of for the state of the NPCs might be that Paizo doesn't want inexperienced DMs or Partys to TPK and therefore nerfs their enemies to some level they can expect even a uncoordinated and unoptimized party to defeat them.

Depends on your point of view. Paizo has said they don't optimize their iconics, I presume the same goes for their NPC's. They like to build interesting builds.

As for the advice for how they fight. Keep in mind people do less than perfect things all the time. You can look back in history and see that time and time again in everything. So why would it be a stretch that monsters might not consider a group of PC's a true threat and be over confident?

Also I imagine their advice is more based on what they think will make a interesting fight as well. Not what will make it the shortest fight.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2013

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Scott Betts wrote:
ciretose wrote:

Scrodinger's wizard strikes again...

"I totally cast all my defensive spells just before the fight while the monsters waited for me to buff, and I totally had lots of other spells for offense too..."

I've never had problems keeping Mage Armor or even 10 min/level buffs up for the entire practical duration of the adventuring day. Even min/level buffs can be sustained for the duration of a dungeon crawl by an efficient group.

Mage armor, sure. If your adventuring day is so predictable that your 10/min buffs are always up when you need it, fail GM.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Malaclypse wrote:
Count Buggula wrote:
Crushing despair is a cone area of effect, while Deep Slumber will only affect one opponent (players were level 7) and is a full round casting time. On top of that, Crushing Despair is DC 18 vs DC 14 for Deep Slumber.

The 3x/d Sp) has a DC 20 (see the links you posted above).

Count Buggula wrote:
Lucretia did hit one of the players later on with Deep Slumber, but in the AP it specifically says that she prefers to shift to her true form at the beginning of combat and fight with her rapier and dagger (she gets 6 attacks per round in a full-round attack, and came very near to killing 2 players using that alone). And trust me, she was making good use of her wisdom drain ability as well.
A problem with the Paizo APs is that the NPCs aren't built very well, and the advice on how to play them is often .. not so good.

While that may be true, my players are hardly all min-maxing optimizers either. We emphasize character design and role-play at our table, even if it means sometimes making non-optimal builds. They still beat my save-or-suck spellcasters. It also doesn't change the fact that we've been TPK'd before by evocation spells.

Malaclypse wrote:
Malaclypse wrote:
Why wouldn't she touch at least one of them while shifted? She 'prefers' to die?
Count Buggula wrote:
I honestly don't know how I could've fought that encounter any better. I wasn't pulling any punches and played the NPCs how they were intended.
If you run them as suggested by the AP, well, yes. That's a problem. One explanation I can think of for the state of the NPCs might be that Paizo doesn't want inexperienced DMs or Partys to TPK and therefore nerfs their enemies to some level they can expect even a uncoordinated and unoptimized party to defeat them.

Dorella cast Confusion and Crushing Despair, not Lucretia. For Derella's choices, I can safety say I chose the better options. I already said that at another point in the battle Lucrecia cast Deep Slumber, but anyways it still will only affect one party member.

Even taking into account Lucretia's preference for melee, I still maintain that I ran a fairly optimal encounter, as I had her switching between spells and melee as the situation arose (and whether could full-round attack or if she needed to move).


Quoted from previous post in thread...

Quote:


Yes, most of the examples I mentioned were in lower level games (probably lower than 10th) but that doesn't take away from the effects those situations overcame with a simple spell. As for a rune-bomb, you really don't know how one works so I'll explain:

Step 1: Obtain the spells Explosive Runes (lvl 3, PHB), Amanuensis (cantrip, Spell Compendium), and Launch Item (cantrip, Spell Compendium) and the Feat Quicken Spell (really, wizards should have this by 10th level, easy).

Step 2: Take Explosive Runes and cast them as many times you want on a single piece of paper. The spell has no mention of a limit, so I went ahead with 10 castings in a week.

Step 3: Prepare Amanuensis as a Quicken spell (4th level slot).

Step 4: When you see your target, grab the rune-bomb (a piece of parchment) and cast Launch Item with it. Ranged touch attack against the sqaure the target is standing in (AC 10). Immediately cast Amanuensis, thus triggering the runes to explode.

Step 5: Roll 60d6 Force damage. Some DMs allow a Save even though the spell specifically says "Anyone next to the runes (close enough to read them) takes the full damage with no saving throw" but because technically the target didn't read the paper, he might be entitled to a Reflex Save against force damage (and Force resistance is hardly ever seen in v3.5). And no application of Spell Resistance. Not many creatures in the CR 9-13 range is going to survive 60d6 (Ref, half) in a 10 ft. area.

This whole rune bomb build-up supports how frightening magic can be nicely. For me, coming up with these sorts of combo's is quite frankly beyond me, I just don't work hard enough to look for combo's like this...partly as I see a combo like this as well as mechanics that support it as being very, very game breaking. I'd be concerned that a GM for which I am a player would unload something like that at me after I dropped it on a baddie, so I guess I also have deliberate blinders on. As a GM, I'm all for combo's like this for my player's to unleash...sooner or later, they'll run up against a nutjob BBEG that is smart enough to come up with an equally, if not more frightening combo to drop on the group. If it's good for the goose, it's good for the gander...or in other words, if the PCs can pull it off, then why can't the BBEG?

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

It's a good question. I find, as someone who generally DMs, that my detailed knowledge of class abilities (and, in particular, spell combos) isn't phenomenal simply because I'm normally playing the monsters and haven't "lived" too many PC classes, with other commitments poring over the books isn't really an option, and it's not really my interest anyway. I don't know how it is for other DMs, but that probably limits my abilities to smack this on PCs, or indeed address it easily when the PCs come up with it.

Paizo Employee Webstore Gninja Minion , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Removed some posts. Flag it and move on.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
ciretose wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
ciretose wrote:

Scrodinger's wizard strikes again...

"I totally cast all my defensive spells just before the fight while the monsters waited for me to buff, and I totally had lots of other spells for offense too..."

I've never had problems keeping Mage Armor or even 10 min/level buffs up for the entire practical duration of the adventuring day. Even min/level buffs can be sustained for the duration of a dungeon crawl by an efficient group.
Mage armor, sure. If your adventuring day is so predictable that your 10/min buffs are always up when you need it, fail GM.

PCs can scout if necessary. That is, in part, what the Stealth and Perception skills are for. Forewarned is forearmed. Or you can do some research as to what you are facing - Knowledge skills, Gather Info, or just Scry. There are plenty of ways to get to understand your opposition. Every time? No, probably not, but maybe enough to make a difference. I'd be reluctant, as a DM, to shut down on PC abilities to impact this stuff because it is inconvenient for me as DM.

And 10/min per level buffs? At any reasonable level you are talking an hour or more a day - that's plenty under most circumstances, at least once you get to the adventure site.

Whether this is a problem for every group is debatable but if you come up against a knowledgable player of wizards, it can have a big impact on the game, and I've experienced that.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Dark_Mistress wrote:
Malaclypse wrote:

A problem with the Paizo APs is that the NPCs aren't built very well, and the advice on how to play them is often .. not so good.

Why wouldn't she touch at least one of them while shifted? She 'prefers' to die?

If you run them as suggested by the AP, well, yes. That's a problem. One explanation I can think of for the state of the NPCs might be that Paizo doesn't want inexperienced DMs or Partys to TPK and therefore nerfs their enemies to some level they can expect even a uncoordinated and unoptimized party to defeat them.

Depends on your point of view. Paizo has said they don't optimize their iconics, I presume the same goes for their NPC's. They like to build interesting builds.

As for the advice for how they fight. Keep in mind people do less than perfect things all the time. You can look back in history and see that time and time again in everything. So why would it be a stretch that monsters might not consider a group of PC's a true threat and be over confident?

Also I imagine their advice is more based on what they think will make a interesting fight as well. Not what will make it the shortest fight.

That's true, up to a point. Some of the stuff the NPCs are supposed to do ("If X hears a fight in the next room, he will cast Invisibility on himself and wait" rather than simply storming next door and joining the fight) does seem intended to stop the PCs getting piled upon by the inhabitants of the site all at the same time, rather then representing what someone would sensibly do under those circumstances. That's more about adventure design than anything else.


Dark_Mistress wrote:
Also I imagine their advice is more based on what they think will make a interesting fight as well. Not what will make it the shortest fight.

I'm not sure if pulling punches makes for an interesting fight.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Scott Betts wrote:


Wizards have never needed splat book material to completely dominate.

Agreed. All they need is a GM who's willing to ignore the weaknesses of the class. Unfortunately, it seems that such GMs are rather common.

The Exchange

Malaclypse wrote:
I'm not sure if pulling punches makes for an interesting fight.

Well, depends on the kind of players you game with. As stated before my players aren't power players/optimizers and forcing them to powerplay/optimize nonetheless just because I'm not willing to pull punches if necessary would certainly decrease their fun in the long run.


Malaclypse wrote:
Dark_Mistress wrote:
Also I imagine their advice is more based on what they think will make a interesting fight as well. Not what will make it the shortest fight.
I'm not sure if pulling punches makes for an interesting fight.

Or their advice is based on the NPCs personality, Lucretia's preference for melee, for example.

DM's (or module writers) can't help but pull punches. They can do anything. If they want the PCs dead, the PCs die. If they want more of a challenge, there will be more monsters or higher level ones.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2013

Aubrey the Malformed wrote:


PCs can scout if necessary. That is, in part, what the Stealth and Perception skills are for. Forewarned is forearmed. Or you can do some research as to what you are facing - Knowledge skills, Gather Info, or just Scry. There are plenty of ways to get to understand your opposition. Every time? No, probably not, but maybe enough to make a difference. I'd be reluctant, as a DM, to shut down on PC abilities to impact this stuff because it is inconvenient for me as DM.

And 10/min per level buffs? At any reasonable level you are talking an hour or more a day - that's plenty under most circumstances, at least once you get to the adventure site.

Whether this is a problem for every group is debatable but if you come up against a knowledgable player of wizards, it can have a big impact on the game, and I've experienced that.

I have always said that if you have complete foreknowledge, the Wizard is the most powerful class in the game.

And I have always said that if you are up against an intelligent enemy and the party has complete foreknowledge, generally it is fail GM.

Often you know when you are at the "adventuring site" and often you run into problems on the way there, or on the way out.

And when you consider how many of the wizard arguments include "leave slots empty then stop and memorize" it is amazing how long those buffs last.

A wizard is an all win or all fail class. They are very, very powerful while at the same time being very, very, vulnerable. They are the best short day class, they have a hard time on long adventure days, and the party should never know with any certainty which one they are having at a given time.

We've been running an experiment using Rise of the Runelords (major spoilers) to compare classes, but it seems to be dying off.

At low levels, the wizard and sorcerer are currently 3rd and 4th.

I think everyone acknowledges this changes significantly in late game/high level play. This is something that is worth trying to address at some point. But since the APs only go to the mid to high teens, and most games seem to only make it to the early teens...


ciretose wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
ciretose wrote:

Scrodinger's wizard strikes again...

"I totally cast all my defensive spells just before the fight while the monsters waited for me to buff, and I totally had lots of other spells for offense too..."

I've never had problems keeping Mage Armor or even 10 min/level buffs up for the entire practical duration of the adventuring day. Even min/level buffs can be sustained for the duration of a dungeon crawl by an efficient group.
Mage armor, sure. If your adventuring day is so predictable that your 10/min buffs are always up when you need it, fail GM.

Not always, just generally. You seem to be operating from the standpoint that the players have little or no control over their own actions, and are unable to decide for themselves when and how they want to go about adventuring. That is not the case in games I run, nor is it the case in just about any game I've ever played in.


Kthulhu wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:


Wizards have never needed splat book material to completely dominate.
Agreed. All they need is a GM who's willing to ignore the weaknesses of the class. Unfortunately, it seems that such GMs are rather common.

As a DM, if you are regularly forced to come up with novel ways to exploit the weaknesses of a specific character because of the features of his class, rather than simply coming up with encounters that offer a challenge to the party as a whole, you are being done a disservice by the game's underlying system. The system should make these things easy on the DM, not harder.

Shadow Lodge

Intelligent BBEG should use intelligent tactics, which includes knowing and uses the weaknesses of the wizard class against them.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the sheer amount of entitlement that people seem to think is part of the wizard class is staggering. Any other class gets their weaknesses put in the crosshairs from time to time, and people accept it as normal. Focus in on a wizard's weaknesses, and people like you start ranting about GM metagaming.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2013

Scott Betts wrote:
ciretose wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
ciretose wrote:

Scrodinger's wizard strikes again...

"I totally cast all my defensive spells just before the fight while the monsters waited for me to buff, and I totally had lots of other spells for offense too..."

I've never had problems keeping Mage Armor or even 10 min/level buffs up for the entire practical duration of the adventuring day. Even min/level buffs can be sustained for the duration of a dungeon crawl by an efficient group.
Mage armor, sure. If your adventuring day is so predictable that your 10/min buffs are always up when you need it, fail GM.
Not always, just generally. You seem to be operating from the standpoint that the players have little or no control over their own actions, and are unable to decide for themselves when and how they want to go about adventuring. That is not the case in games I run, nor is it the case in just about any game I've ever played in.

They do have control over their own actions.

However they don't control the world. Nor do they know what is going on in the world.

The GM shouldn't move the goalposts, but finding out what the goalposts are is a large part of he game for the players.

If players always know exactly what is going to happen and when, that game doesn't sound fun to me.


ciretose wrote:

They do have control over their own actions.

However they don't control the world. Nor do they know what is going on in the world.

The GM shouldn't move the goalposts, but finding out what the goalposts are is a large part of he game for the players.

If players always know exactly what is going to happen and when, that game doesn't sound fun to me.

There's a huge difference between that, and having an invisible force push you along at a breakneck pace all the time. I daresay the majority of the time the PCs have some leeway in terms of timeframe to go about tackling adventures. In addition, the PCs are the proactive force far more often than not - they are the ones traveling to the adventuring locations, they are the ones kicking in the doors, they are the ones checking to see what's around the next corner. Being the proactive party means you are far more likely than not to be able to choose when and where to act. They might be reactive on a much larger scale ("The princess has been kidnapped-" reactive, "and so we must go rescue her!" proactive) but at the encounter level, fights are initiated by the PCs the majority of the time.


Kthulhu wrote:

Intelligent BBEG should use intelligent tactics, which includes knowing and uses the weaknesses of the wizard class against them.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the sheer amount of entitlement that people seem to think is part of the wizard class is staggering. Any other class gets their weaknesses put in the crosshairs from time to time, and people accept it as normal. Focus in on a wizard's weaknesses, and people like you start ranting about GM metagaming.

I guess I'm sort of confused. What other classes get their weaknesses put in the crosshairs? I don't think I've ever seen an adventure where someone says, "In this fight, we're going to target the Monk's vulnerabilities," or "In this encounter, the Ranger's weaknesses are really going to be tested." On the other hand, I see people like you advocating specifically targeting the Wizard's supposed weaknesses fairly commonly. I've never really had to go out of my way as a DM to challenge non-spellcasters. Run of the mill fights do that pretty reliably. But if I want to make life hard on my spellcasters as well, suddenly the system makes me work at it? That doesn't strike you as a pretty big flaw in system design?

Also, I want to be very clear here. I am not defending the power level of Wizards, as a class. They are far too strong, for far too long. My position is not that forcing the DM to specifically challenge the Wizard is hard on the Wizard; honestly, the Wizard can probably take it. My position is that forcing the DM to specifically challenge the Wizard is hard on the DM. The system should not be designed in such a way that the DM regularly finds himself trying to come up with new ways to tax the abilities of the strongest party member - and potentially taxing the rest of the party far more than they can handle in the process, due to the relative levels of power within the party!

The Exchange

Scott Betts wrote:
The system should not be designed in such a way that the DM regularly finds himself trying to come up with new ways to tax the abilities of the strongest party member...

It shouldn't be designed with this intent but it also shouldn't shy away from this as a consequence of higher-ranking reasons. One of them being that in most fantasy worlds a lot of players try to emulate in their games, magic is stronger than the sword.

You may think that game balance is more important than simulationist aspects but that's only opinion, not objective truth. And quite obviously a lot of people have absolutely no problem with the way 3.x and former editions treat this dichotomy between game balance and verismilitude. Especially as it isn't really as hard to tax the wizard's abilities as you pretend it to be.


Scott I've come to the realization that, from reading this thread, most people either don't like to admit that there are problems within the system OR just tend not to let those aspects ruin their fun. That, and I wonder how many actually have high-level, optimizing wizards as their players? Or even just high-level wizards peroid.

From my own experiences, I can say without a doubt that spellcasters are just more powerful than non-spellcasting classes. They're more versatile and rely less on their own resources as they advance in level. I had a Cleric of Tyr 5/ Ordained Champion 4 that did fighting so well, we didn't need a Fighter. Ever. And I didn't even go the DMM: Persistant Spell route. I was able, as a smart player, to understand when strong, offensive spells were needed and when I could carry through without. And there's nothing wrong with that, but I sure would've felt sorry if we had a Fighter in our group that wanted to be all "Defender-ish". I think we stopped just prior to 10th level because our DM was throwing ECL 11's and ECL 12's at us and we weren't even breaking a sweat.

And how this pertains to DDN, I think as a 'defender-ish' cleric I should be able to stand along-side the Fighter, but not forever and certainly not as good. I'll take my few moments of equality in that field, but then I'll go right back to my job at buffing and healing. And from looking at the playtest and reading the reviewes, It appears many are thinking the same, that Balance can be gain even with Old-School thinking and style.

The Exchange

Diffan wrote:
From my own experiences, I can say without a doubt that spellcasters are just more powerful than non-spellcasting classes.

Oh, I'd never deny that. I'd also admit that this could lead to problems if handled the wrong way. I just tend to think that any roleplaying game trying to solve this in whatever way will automatically restrict its customer base. Which may be a smart move for small independent games but certainly not for a game which strives to be the top dog in the industry.

And as an aside: In Dragon Magazine #16, Gary Gygax wrote about game balance in the Sorcerer's Scroll. In the same issue, James Ward "answered" with another article in which he promoted "game equilibrium" over "game balance". Basically meaning that to maintain game balance is the responsibility of the DM, not the responsibility of the rule book (and I seem to remember that Monte Cook argued the same way when he discussed the topic on his homepage).

That basically boils down to the fact that Scott and I simply want different things out of our game book(s). One of the reasons why I'm so skeptical about WotC's unification plans but that's another thread.


WormysQueue wrote:
It shouldn't be designed with this intent but it also shouldn't shy away from this as a consequence of higher-ranking reasons. One of them being that in most fantasy worlds a lot of players try to emulate in their games, magic is stronger than the sword.

And I think that's asking for problems. In D&D, the game, playing a Fighter is presented as a legitimate option. No indication is given whatsoever that Fighters are not actually that awesome, mechanically, and will probably be vastly overshadowed by the party's spellcasters six levels in. If you are presented players with ostensibly legitimate options, make them all awesome, or make it clear that Options A, B, and C are more awesome than Options X, Y, and Z.

Quote:
You may think that game balance is more important than simulationist aspects but that's only opinion, not objective truth.

I'm going to stop you right here.

This is a fantasy tabletop roleplaying game. It can literally be whatever the hell you want it to be. You can make magic awesome, you can make magic suck, you can make dudes with swords awesome, and you can make dudes with swords suck. That's up to you as the designer of the world the game takes place in.

This is also a fantasy tabletop roleplaying game. Every consideration in creating the world must take into account the fact that this is designed to be played as a game. That means that balance probably should be a consideration, as should making it approachable for people unfamiliar with the game's rules.

I get that there are people who have it in their heads that magic must be more awesome than not-magic. Great. Whatever. It's silly to staunchly defend that, because magic doesn't actually exist and is completely made up so of course it could be awesome in your head, but I guess once some people have it drilled into their brains that way it just can't be changed. But please, for crying out loud, stuff the fantasy-magic power trip into a bag and toss it into the ocean for the duration of your game designing process. People are going to want to play dudes with swords, and they're going to want those dudes with swords to not suck. They're going to want to be able to play a dude with a sword without being part of an adventuring troupe named "Thundaxx the Mysterious and his band of Armour-Plated Manservants".

So let them. It's no skin off your back, unless you want magic to be more powerful because you want to be more powerful. This is a cooperative game. It's not about one-upping everyone else, so this kind of power-trip fantasy has no place at the table. When you are designing a game for a bunch of people with different tastes to play, accommodate them without favoring one taste over another. Or, if you just can't be bothered to make a big tent game, at least make it clear that you're designing a game that favors certain tastes over others so that you don't end up with people who suddenly realize, six levels and three months of play later, that they were destined to play second fiddle ever since they filled in that CLASS field on their character sheet.

The Exchange

Scott Betts wrote:
So let them. It's no skin off your back, unless you want magic to be more powerful because you want to be more powerful.

Yeah that's why I, as a player, prefer melee classes over caster classes any time of the day.

Quote:
But please, for crying out loud, stuff the fantasy-magic power trip into a bag and toss it into the ocean for the duration of your game designing process.

No worry, I already have a system which serves my needs just fine. The thing is, that WotC seems interested in regaining former customers like me and they won't do that by simply following your preferences. But it's not as If I'm holding my breath for D&D Next so I certainly won't stop them from creating another game I'm not interested in playing.

P.S.: and, by the way, I'm also not interested in you repeatedly twisting my words, so would you please stop that. Just in case you forgot it: I already stated that there is no such thing as a fantasy-magic power trip at my table.


WormysQueue wrote:
P.S.: and, by the way, I'm also not interested in you repeatedly twisting my words, so would you please stop that. Just in case you forgot it: I already stated that there is no such thing as a fantasy-magic power trip at my table.

That wasn't directed at you - it was advice for hypothetical game designers. Your post was just a launch-off point.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2013

Scott Betts wrote:
ciretose wrote:

They do have control over their own actions.

However they don't control the world. Nor do they know what is going on in the world.

The GM shouldn't move the goalposts, but finding out what the goalposts are is a large part of he game for the players.

If players always know exactly what is going to happen and when, that game doesn't sound fun to me.

There's a huge difference between that, and having an invisible force push you along at a breakneck pace all the time. I daresay the majority of the time the PCs have some leeway in terms of timeframe to go about tackling adventures. In addition, the PCs are the proactive force far more often than not - they are the ones traveling to the adventuring locations, they are the ones kicking in the doors, they are the ones checking to see what's around the next corner. Being the proactive party means you are far more likely than not to be able to choose when and where to act. They might be reactive on a much larger scale ("The princess has been kidnapped-" reactive, "and so we must go rescue her!" proactive) but at the encounter level, fights are initiated by the PCs the majority of the time.

Again pick an AP and I'll show you.

There are timers because the BBEG isn't just sitting around waiting for the PC's to come meandering up a section at a time to kill him, making no changes when the PC's retreat.

The PC's aren't generally a proactive force. They are generally reacting to whatever the macguffin of the day is.

If you Macguffin of the day is a statue that makes no adjustments, that sounds really boring.


Kthulhu wrote:

Intelligent BBEG should use intelligent tactics, which includes knowing and uses the weaknesses of the wizard class against them.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the sheer amount of entitlement that people seem to think is part of the wizard class is staggering. Any other class gets their weaknesses put in the crosshairs from time to time, and people accept it as normal. Focus in on a wizard's weaknesses, and people like you start ranting about GM metagaming.

Sometimes it is metagaming. Sometimes it is player entitlement. For me it just depends on whether or not the NPC's is acting on information he would reasonably know about.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2013

wraithstrike wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:

Intelligent BBEG should use intelligent tactics, which includes knowing and uses the weaknesses of the wizard class against them.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the sheer amount of entitlement that people seem to think is part of the wizard class is staggering. Any other class gets their weaknesses put in the crosshairs from time to time, and people accept it as normal. Focus in on a wizard's weaknesses, and people like you start ranting about GM metagaming.

Sometimes it is metagaming. Sometimes it is player entitlement. For me it just depends on whether or not the NPC's is acting on information he would reasonably know about.

And if you attack and then retreat and come back, you are providing the BBEG with information for them to act on.

Shadow Lodge

Apparently in Scott's games, the BBEG sits on his hands at the end of the module waiting for the PCs until they get there. If there's an evil ritual that will grant him the power of a god, and he has all the necessary things to perform the ritual, it doesn't matter if the PCs spend a week on some side-quest, he won't start the ritual until they burst into the room that he's holed up in.

Shadow Lodge

Also, it's the GM's job to metagame. Without some level of metagaming on the part of the GM, the game would probably be rather boring.


Kthulhu wrote:
Apparently in Scott's games, the BBEG sits on his hands at the end of the module waiting for the PCs until they get there. If there's an evil ritual that will grant him the power of a god, and he has all the necessary things to perform the ritual, it doesn't matter if the PCs spend a week on some side-quest, he won't start the ritual until they burst into the room that he's holed up in.

My friends and I refer to this as the meteor-in-the-sky method of adventure pacing (a.k.a., the best time to finish off all the various sidequests that will take weeks or more of time in-game.)


ciretose wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:

Intelligent BBEG should use intelligent tactics, which includes knowing and uses the weaknesses of the wizard class against them.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the sheer amount of entitlement that people seem to think is part of the wizard class is staggering. Any other class gets their weaknesses put in the crosshairs from time to time, and people accept it as normal. Focus in on a wizard's weaknesses, and people like you start ranting about GM metagaming.

Sometimes it is metagaming. Sometimes it is player entitlement. For me it just depends on whether or not the NPC's is acting on information he would reasonably know about.
And if you attack and then retreat and come back, you are providing the BBEG with information for them to act on.

I agree. They have seen you fight, and they have information on you. They know who can do what to a certain extent. If you take to long to come back divination spells might be cast.


Caedwyr wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
Apparently in Scott's games, the BBEG sits on his hands at the end of the module waiting for the PCs until they get there. If there's an evil ritual that will grant him the power of a god, and he has all the necessary things to perform the ritual, it doesn't matter if the PCs spend a week on some side-quest, he won't start the ritual until they burst into the room that he's holed up in.
My friends and I refer to this as the meteor-in-the-sky method of adventure pacing (a.k.a., the best time to finish off all the various sidequests that will take weeks or more of time in-game.)

I think many GM's do this, but I wish they would do it within reason.

If you know the BBEG is trying to take over the world, and you take weeks off to do something else then don't be surprised if the world has come to an end before you got back.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Caedwyr wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
Apparently in Scott's games, the BBEG sits on his hands at the end of the module waiting for the PCs until they get there. If there's an evil ritual that will grant him the power of a god, and he has all the necessary things to perform the ritual, it doesn't matter if the PCs spend a week on some side-quest, he won't start the ritual until they burst into the room that he's holed up in.
My friends and I refer to this as the meteor-in-the-sky method of adventure pacing (a.k.a., the best time to finish off all the various sidequests that will take weeks or more of time in-game.)

Honestly one of the things I've loved about Paizo's modules and APs is that there's almost always some sort of time based incentive to keep spurring the party onwards. It's a sense of urgency that keeps them going without rest and not retreating back to town to rest after every encounter. Before I discovered Paizo we had mostly gone off WotC's free modules and DM homebrew stuff, and the 15 minute work day was a real and frustrating thing. I've never* had to worry about that playing Paizo adventures.

*Kingamker and The Harrowing are exceptions, though I love Kingmaker for different reasons.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2013

Count Buggula wrote:
Caedwyr wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
Apparently in Scott's games, the BBEG sits on his hands at the end of the module waiting for the PCs until they get there. If there's an evil ritual that will grant him the power of a god, and he has all the necessary things to perform the ritual, it doesn't matter if the PCs spend a week on some side-quest, he won't start the ritual until they burst into the room that he's holed up in.
My friends and I refer to this as the meteor-in-the-sky method of adventure pacing (a.k.a., the best time to finish off all the various sidequests that will take weeks or more of time in-game.)

Honestly one of the things I've loved about Paizo's modules and APs is that there's almost always some sort of time based incentive to keep spurring the party onwards. It's a sense of urgency that keeps them going without rest and not retreating back to town to rest after every encounter. Before I discovered Paizo we had mostly gone off WotC's free modules and DM homebrew stuff, and the 15 minute work day was a real and frustrating thing. I've never* had to worry about that playing Paizo adventures.

*Kingamker and The Harrowing are exceptions, though I love Kingmaker for different reasons.

Agreed on Kingmaker, which had a different purpose and intent that other Adventure Paths.

Have not played or read the The Harrowing.

The 15 minute workday is the exception, not the rule in every game I've played.

Liberty's Edge

After reading that article I was quite surprised, and very saddened, to see that an edition the designers are touting as "modular" and "able to be played in whatever style you'd like" is going to be so strict with a specific class. Why not develop modular classes?

"THIS group likes doing magic like THIS so they use Module A for casting classes."
"THAT group likes a lot more balance, so they use Module B for spellcasters."

For a product that is supposed to appeal to as many people as possible, they sure are cutting large chunks of their fans already.

(In full disclosure, I'm a Pathfinder fan and always have been. Never played actual D&D, and didn't really expect to get into 5th either.)

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2013

wraithstrike wrote:
ciretose wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:

Intelligent BBEG should use intelligent tactics, which includes knowing and uses the weaknesses of the wizard class against them.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the sheer amount of entitlement that people seem to think is part of the wizard class is staggering. Any other class gets their weaknesses put in the crosshairs from time to time, and people accept it as normal. Focus in on a wizard's weaknesses, and people like you start ranting about GM metagaming.

Sometimes it is metagaming. Sometimes it is player entitlement. For me it just depends on whether or not the NPC's is acting on information he would reasonably know about.
And if you attack and then retreat and come back, you are providing the BBEG with information for them to act on.
I agree. They have seen you fight, and they have information on you. They know who can do what to a certain extent. If you take to long to come back divination spells might be cast.

And they may decide to come after you. Often the advantage most parties have is the element of surprise rather than being actually more powerful as a group than who they are facing. Aggro a dungeon, say hello to potential a TPK.


Kthulhu wrote:
Apparently in Scott's games, the BBEG sits on his hands at the end of the module waiting for the PCs until they get there. If there's an evil ritual that will grant him the power of a god, and he has all the necessary things to perform the ritual, it doesn't matter if the PCs spend a week on some side-quest, he won't start the ritual until they burst into the room that he's holed up in.

Actually...yes, more or less. Unless the PCs decide to change the course of events purposefully. As long as the illusion of circumstance is maintained, the PCs will interrupt the ritual at an appropriately dramatic moment.

The best part is that I can totally picture some of you sneering down your noses while reading that. "Oh my stars and bars, I do believe that poor fellow is a narrativist, Susie Mae!"


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Scott Betts wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
Apparently in Scott's games, the BBEG sits on his hands at the end of the module waiting for the PCs until they get there. If there's an evil ritual that will grant him the power of a god, and he has all the necessary things to perform the ritual, it doesn't matter if the PCs spend a week on some side-quest, he won't start the ritual until they burst into the room that he's holed up in.

Actually...yes, more or less. Unless the PCs decide to change the course of events purposefully. As long as the illusion of circumstance is maintained, the PCs will interrupt the ritual at an appropriately dramatic moment.

The best part is that I can totally picture some of you sneering down your noses while reading that. "Oh my stars and bars, I do believe that poor fellow is a narrativist, Susie Mae!"

I just think it is boring.

I get it if the bad guy was waiting for something, finds out people are trying to kill him, and then starts the ritual in a sub-optimal way. That's cool.

Just having it happen for dramatic tension stinks though. It means nothing the players do matters. Just show up and ride along.

Personally, I've ended the world in a 6 month campaign because the players drug their feet on getting to the end boss. Game over. Sucks to be you. It fixed their problem with feeling a sense of urgency forever, starting some 10 years ago.


Scott Betts wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
Apparently in Scott's games, the BBEG sits on his hands at the end of the module waiting for the PCs until they get there. If there's an evil ritual that will grant him the power of a god, and he has all the necessary things to perform the ritual, it doesn't matter if the PCs spend a week on some side-quest, he won't start the ritual until they burst into the room that he's holed up in.

Actually...yes, more or less. Unless the PCs decide to change the course of events purposefully. As long as the illusion of circumstance is maintained, the PCs will interrupt the ritual at an appropriately dramatic moment.

The best part is that I can totally picture some of you sneering down your noses while reading that. "Oh my stars and bars, I do believe that poor fellow is a narrativist, Susie Mae!"

GNS insults aside, it's a hard thing to do.

Obviously a game that ends while you're journeying to the final ritual site, with the GM saying "Sorry guys, you fell behind schedule about 3 months back and couldn't quite catch up." is a lousy one.
Or even, "No, the EHP moved up his plans when he heard you were coming. The night before the full moon is almost as good."

But knowing you'll interrupt the ritual at an appropriately dramatic moment also kills the dramatic tension. There's no need to rush, to risk, if it doesn't matter when you get there.

The key, I think, is to maintain the illusion. Keep the time pressure on, don't let them get hopelessly behind, let them find a way to catch up, but also don't let them abuse it by novaing and resting too often. Also let them fail at lesser goals. If they've dilly-dallied maybe they can still stop the ritual, but the princess has already been sacrificed. Or the undead army has already destroyed some of the villages.


ciretose wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
ciretose wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:

Intelligent BBEG should use intelligent tactics, which includes knowing and uses the weaknesses of the wizard class against them.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the sheer amount of entitlement that people seem to think is part of the wizard class is staggering. Any other class gets their weaknesses put in the crosshairs from time to time, and people accept it as normal. Focus in on a wizard's weaknesses, and people like you start ranting about GM metagaming.

Sometimes it is metagaming. Sometimes it is player entitlement. For me it just depends on whether or not the NPC's is acting on information he would reasonably know about.
And if you attack and then retreat and come back, you are providing the BBEG with information for them to act on.
I agree. They have seen you fight, and they have information on you. They know who can do what to a certain extent. If you take to long to come back divination spells might be cast.
And they may decide to come after you. Often the advantage most parties have is the element of surprise rather than being actually more powerful as a group than who they are facing. Aggro a dungeon, say hello to potential a TPK.

I have sent assassins after my player before. I have also had people use the disguise skill to make life difficult for them by committing crimes, while looking like the PC's. :)

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2013

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Scott Betts wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
Apparently in Scott's games, the BBEG sits on his hands at the end of the module waiting for the PCs until they get there. If there's an evil ritual that will grant him the power of a god, and he has all the necessary things to perform the ritual, it doesn't matter if the PCs spend a week on some side-quest, he won't start the ritual until they burst into the room that he's holed up in.

Actually...yes, more or less. Unless the PCs decide to change the course of events purposefully. As long as the illusion of circumstance is maintained, the PCs will interrupt the ritual at an appropriately dramatic moment.

The best part is that I can totally picture some of you sneering down your noses while reading that. "Oh my stars and bars, I do believe that poor fellow is a narrativist, Susie Mae!"

When you play the game on rails, don't be surprised if you aren't surprised.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2013

cranewings wrote:


I just think it is boring.

I get it if the bad guy was waiting for something, finds out people are trying to kill him, and then starts the ritual in a sub-optimal way. That's cool.

Just having it happen for dramatic tension stinks though. It means nothing the players do matters. Just show up and ride along.

Personally, I've ended the world in a 6 month campaign because the players drug their feet on getting to the end boss. Game over. Sucks to be you. It fixed their problem with feeling a sense of urgency forever, starting some 10 years ago.

The best campaigns I've ever played in came from the PC's having to fix what they messed up.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2013

thejeff wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
Apparently in Scott's games, the BBEG sits on his hands at the end of the module waiting for the PCs until they get there. If there's an evil ritual that will grant him the power of a god, and he has all the necessary things to perform the ritual, it doesn't matter if the PCs spend a week on some side-quest, he won't start the ritual until they burst into the room that he's holed up in.

Actually...yes, more or less. Unless the PCs decide to change the course of events purposefully. As long as the illusion of circumstance is maintained, the PCs will interrupt the ritual at an appropriately dramatic moment.

The best part is that I can totally picture some of you sneering down your noses while reading that. "Oh my stars and bars, I do believe that poor fellow is a narrativist, Susie Mae!"

GNS insults aside, it's a hard thing to do.

Obviously a game that ends while you're journeying to the final ritual site, with the GM saying "Sorry guys, you fell behind schedule about 3 months back and couldn't quite catch up." is a lousy one.
Or even, "No, the EHP moved up his plans when he heard you were coming. The night before the full moon is almost as good."

But knowing you'll interrupt the ritual at an appropriately dramatic moment also kills the dramatic tension. There's no need to rush, to risk, if it doesn't matter when you get there.

The key, I think, is to maintain the illusion. Keep the time pressure on, don't let them get hopelessly behind, let them find a way to catch up, but also don't let them abuse it by novaing and resting too often. Also let them fail at lesser goals. If they've dilly-dallied maybe they can still stop the ritual, but the princess has already been sacrificed. Or the undead army has already destroyed some of the villages.

Easy solution, don't kill the ritual. Let it play out, make it clear it it the players fault that the bad things are happening and make them fix it.

Instant campaign with extended story arc.


cranewings wrote:
I just think it is boring.

Welcome to one-way-mirror storytelling. You think it's dull because you can see the whole picture. As a player, you don't. You see what your character sees, and nothing more. Through your characters eyes, you just happen to show up at an appropriately dramatic moment (or, if the adventure so decrees, a dramatically-appropriate non-dramatic moment!). You have no conception or indication of the DM fudging the timeline, because you were never made aware of what the timeline was "supposed" to be in the first place.

Quote:

I get it if the bad guy was waiting for something, finds out people are trying to kill him, and then starts the ritual in a sub-optimal way. That's cool.

Just having it happen for dramatic tension stinks though. It means nothing the players do matters. Just show up and ride along.

Here's a mind-blowing moment for you, then: Almost nothing the players do matters, at least not in the grand scheme of things. The trick is to give your players the illusion of impact, and the illusion of agency. Give them actual impact and actual agency when the game can handle it, and chuck the rest of it behind the curtain. If you're a halfway-decent DM, your players will never know the difference.

Now, if you're worried that your players might be catching on to your "overly-appropriate" timing, change things up a little. Make it seem unpredictable for a little while.

Quote:
Personally, I've ended the world in a 6 month campaign because the players drug their feet on getting to the end boss. Game over. Sucks to be you. It fixed their problem with feeling a sense of urgency forever, starting some 10 years ago.

Yeah, this is probably the sort of problem that never needed solving. You took something your players were enjoying - a leisurely campaign - and turned it into the very definition of a joy-kill: the world ended. Was this something that you bothered to discuss with your group - out of game! - or was it something that you personally just got fed up with and decided to show them who's boss? (In this case, you, the all-powerful DM)


thejeff wrote:
Obviously a game that ends while you're journeying to the final ritual site, with the GM saying "Sorry guys, you fell behind schedule about 3 months back and couldn't quite catch up." is a lousy one.

SEE: The post directly above yours.

Quote:
The key, I think, is to maintain the illusion.

Yes. The screen is your friend. Don't hide the dice. Hide the plot.


ciretose wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
Apparently in Scott's games, the BBEG sits on his hands at the end of the module waiting for the PCs until they get there. If there's an evil ritual that will grant him the power of a god, and he has all the necessary things to perform the ritual, it doesn't matter if the PCs spend a week on some side-quest, he won't start the ritual until they burst into the room that he's holed up in.

Actually...yes, more or less. Unless the PCs decide to change the course of events purposefully. As long as the illusion of circumstance is maintained, the PCs will interrupt the ritual at an appropriately dramatic moment.

The best part is that I can totally picture some of you sneering down your noses while reading that. "Oh my stars and bars, I do believe that poor fellow is a narrativist, Susie Mae!"

When you play the game on rails, don't be surprised if you aren't surprised.

The best games are the ones where the DM embraces the rails, while giving the PCs the illusion of wide-open choice. From the player's perspective: "Awesome! A whole world to explore and interact with!" From the DM's perspective: "Awesome! A well-crafted story to immerse my players in!"

Games that are on rails (by which I mean adventure paths) are awesome. They just have to be designed intelligently, and they have to be played by a group that is willing to meet their DM halfway (for instance, if the plot involves propelling motivation that is altruistic in nature, a party of evil characters probably isn't going to suffice). Paizo adventure paths are, happily.

Sovereign Court

6 people marked this as a favorite.

Actually as both GM and player, I like actions to have meaningful consequences, both negative and positive- while i'm not sneering down over my glasses at your play-style, its certainly not one I enjoy.

Even in Kingmaker, a delay on my players part cost them a pretty brutal attack on their capital. An attack which I fully rolled out with their NPC's defending the castle walls and in which major allies died. If the NPC's hadn't been so successful in defending it for so long, the place would have been sacked by the time my PC's arrived back. I ran the mass combat out in the open for my players to read as they raced home, right up until the last mass combat round (to preserve a little suspense).

If your playstyle involves there never truly being an incentive to hurry or knowing OOC that you won't be 'too late' for anything, of course the advantage goes to wizards and their ilk...

Even in Paizo AP's, I have my villains be pro-active. They aren't simply sat in a dungeon room, waiting to be killed off, waiting to start their ritual just as the PC's burst in.

Now that is simply my preferred playstyle; but I can tell you that the gap between Wizards and the other classes does not seem nearly as vast as you imply it is in such a playstyle. I often do not even see a disparity until 10th level +, due to a variety of reasons I am sure. Here are a few i'm fairly sure about-

1. Reactive world/playstyle and a sense of player urgency. It becomes fairly clear in my games that if your going to try and clear a dungeon or enemy stronghold bit by bit, novaing every encounter, that bad things are going to happen. This isn't just limited to counterattacks or reinforcements.

2. Intelligent tactics. A wizard has a very mighty toolbox. But there are counters to their spells and encounters do not occur on their terms in my games nearly as much as seems to be implied. Illusion magic in particular can make a wizard blow a significant portion of his payload on a minor threat and readied actions to shoot the spellcaster as he casts remain significant as long as the damage remains reasonably competitive.

3. Perception checks. I mean, seriously. The DC is not particularly high to hear your allies being slaughtered through the next door, or hear the wizard insisting everyone waits while he casts an endless series of buffs on himself.

Adequately prepared and armed with foreknowledge, there is no denying the Wizard in my games is always a force to be reckoned with; the most potent force in fact- when he gets everything on his terms. Villains and adversaries allowing this to happen is, in my eyes, some pretty poor DMing and quite possibly metagaming, depending on their intelligence and the resources available to them.


WormysQueue wrote:

It shouldn't be designed with this intent but it also shouldn't shy away from this as a consequence of higher-ranking reasons. One of them being that in most fantasy worlds a lot of players try to emulate in their games, magic is stronger than the sword.

You may think that game balance is more important than simulationist aspects but that's only opinion, not objective truth. And quite obviously a lot of people have absolutely no problem with the way 3.x and former editions treat this dichotomy between game balance and verismilitude. Especially as it isn't really as hard to tax the wizard's abilities as you pretend it to be.

Evidence, please. Both for the statement that magic is more powerful in most fantasy worlds, and that a lot of players try to emulate those. Please try to bring in Appendix N, since that's one of the clear starting points explaining what D&D is trying to emulate.

I'd also like your opinion on whether previous editions had the same "balance" as 3.x, paying particular attention to saving throws, and why you think that changed. Because you see, if there are demonstrable differences between the editions then clearly the things they're trying to simulate (if they're trying to simulate anything) would be different.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Scott Betts wrote:
cranewings wrote:
I just think it is boring.

Welcome to one-way-mirror storytelling. You think it's dull because you can see the whole picture. As a player, you don't. You see what your character sees, and nothing more. Through your characters eyes, you just happen to show up at an appropriately dramatic moment (or, if the adventure so decrees, a dramatically-appropriate non-dramatic moment!). You have no conception or indication of the DM fudging the timeline, because you were never made aware of what the timeline was "supposed" to be in the first place.

Quote:

I get it if the bad guy was waiting for something, finds out people are trying to kill him, and then starts the ritual in a sub-optimal way. That's cool.

Just having it happen for dramatic tension stinks though. It means nothing the players do matters. Just show up and ride along.

Here's a mind-blowing moment for you, then: Almost nothing the players do matters, at least not in the grand scheme of things. The trick is to give your players the illusion of impact, and the illusion of agency. Give them actual impact and actual agency when the game can handle it, and chuck the rest of it behind the curtain. If you're a halfway-decent DM, your players will never know the difference.

Now, if you're worried that your players might be catching on to your "overly-appropriate" timing, change things up a little. Make it seem unpredictable for a little while.

Quote:
Personally, I've ended the world in a 6 month campaign because the players drug their feet on getting to the end boss. Game over. Sucks to be you. It fixed their problem with feeling a sense of urgency forever, starting some 10 years ago.
Yeah, this is probably the sort of problem that never needed solving. You took something your players were enjoying - a leisurely campaign - and turned it into the very definition of a joy-kill: the world ended. Was this something that you bothered to discuss with your group - out of game! - or was it...

Obviously when someone says something is boring, they are talking about from their perspective. Sorry I didn't preempt my post with a disclaimer that says I don't believe in a heaven of ideals where in is the definition and list of boring things. I think games like what you are describing are boring.

The idea that a GM can give an illusion of player agency if he "is halfway decent" is VASTLY overstated. Any player that cares about player agency can tell right away when he is being lied to. For your illusion of player agency thing to work, you have to have a PC group full of people who aren't looking for real agency and don't mind being lied to. That's what it is, lying, and it is transparent.

As far as the problem of the players enjoying it, sorry, but I care at least as much about my own enjoyment and letting them win when they make wrong choices is boring to me. I've noticed that when players think their is something real at stake, win or loss of the game in this case, they try harder and it makes it more satisfying for them. If they never lose, then it was probably never hard. To make an omelet you have to break a few eggs and all that. Players feelings are the eggs sometimes.

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