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4-03: Golemworks Incident


Pathfinder Society GM Discussion

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Cheliax **

First things first, if this is the direction the scenarios are heading I highly approve. The increased difficulty and steps to curtail the rocket tag game most mid to high level scenarios have become is most appreciated.

Now with that said I do have a few clarification questions for this mod since there are a few encounters that will (but shouldn't) suffer from a bit of table variance.

First,

Spell Interaction:

Black is going to be under the effect of both a Displacement & a Mirror Image simultaneously, how is that designed to work? A quick search of the forums shows half a dozen interpretations of how these two work together but no official statement. What is the author's intention for how these two work together?

Second

Sisters:

I fail to see what these are supposed to do in the lower tier. With a reach of zero they are no threat to even the weakest PC and they don't even allow Black to hear the sound of combat and start pre-buffing. What are they here for ? As creepy as the idea is I don't see anyway for these things to survive the inevitable AoO from just trying to attack.
Now if they were Neutral or neutral evil then yeah, dangerous there.

Finally,

first combat:

This is kinda minor but the angelic guardians don't have any feats or skills listed. Do they have any feats or at the least what is their fly skill since they will definitely need to try and hover in that confined space.

Overall, I like the changes this season has shown me.
More mooks to extend the duration of fighters, Bosses who won't drop from one hit from the optimized melee and a creepy factor that pushes the scale all the way through the floor.
I'm actually looking forward to running this one almost as much as Rats pt. 1.

Cheliax **

No answers for this or does no one else have the scenario yet?

Cheliax ***** Owner - Enchanted Grounds

Unless you're running it at Gencon (or you're a Venture Officer) this is not available. Unless you, yourself, are neither of those. In that case, I'd like to know your secret O.o

I have to run it this weekend and am stressing about whether it will even be available when they say (tonight). If I get it and have any insight after reading it tonight, I'll certainly reply.

Cheliax **

I'm running it for a Con and guess that's why I got it early. Trying to prep for it (I tend to over-prep and over-analyze everything which is where these questions come from). Oh well, I guess I can wait a few more hours then.

Cheliax ***** Owner - Enchanted Grounds

Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
I tend to over-prep and over-analyze everything

Me, too. This is the first time I can ever remember being in a situation where I have two days to prep something without having the benefit of playing it, first. I'm really unhappy with how late these are coming available. "First Wednesday of the month" should be the FIRST Wednesday, durnit, not the THIRD THURSDAY. Ugh...

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington aka WalterGM

Responses:

1.:
I have always had displacement rolled first (to see if the target and the images are even in the line of fire), and then rolled for images. Remember, if the attack is within 4 of the AC but misses the target, it still eats an image.

2.:
I noticed the dolls and considered them as something not so much threatening, but as creepy. Play up how really messed up they - and the entire premise of the scenario - really is. The Golemworks game is one fraught with a sense of wrongness. And these dolls mimic that. I might even have the dolls come to life and walk toward the PCs.

"They move their tiny arms up, hoping to embrace you. As they get closer, you see them pull daggers out from behind their tangle of hair, and their patchwork faces stretch with twisted, sadistic smiles."

Even if they aren't a threat to PCs. The PCs don't need to know that.

3.:
Constructs don't have feats unless they were crafted with them. Check out the other constructs in a bestiary and see the trend ;)

Some Notes:
A well placed tentacles spell at the end fight could shut down an entire party if they don't have someone with dispel. That, combined with bad rolls, the two acid cannons, and some unlucky bolts (read up on the final fight btw) will probably result in a TPK without the players getting to feel like they had a chance.

Also play up the "OH GOD, SOMETHING TERRIBLE IS ABOUT TO COME OUT," feeling with the golem in the large vat. Grab a colossal sized mini and throw it on the board if it bursts out. Leave it there for a round, roaring around, building up the terror as the PCs scatter from its base, and then on the following round have it's lungs give out and it smash back into the ground.

They'll be shaking in their skin :D


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Let me know how this goes at gen con!
Larry Wilhelm

Cheliax **

@walter, my big concern is having a creature with a fly speed but no fly skill in a smallish area. Hover is a dc 15 (flying straight up is a 20) check but with no score listed its tricky to see if they can actually do it.

And yeah I have my concerns on that final fight.

Spoiler:
With high ac, dispalcement, mirror image, and stoneskin running he's gonna be impossible to hit. Add to it the black tentacles, lightning bolts and splash damage going around it looks like a tpk in the making. The room being 150 feet of difficult terrain is really going to drag the pain out before they get to him.

I like the increased difficulty and can see 6 decent players succeeding but there will be blood on my hands at the end of this.m

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington aka WalterGM

Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

@walter, my big concern is having a creature with a fly speed but no fly skill in a smallish area. Hover is a dc 15 (flying straight up is a 20) check but with no score listed its tricky to see if they can actually do it.

And yeah I have my concerns on that final fight.
** spoiler omitted **

I like the increased difficulty and can see 6 decent players succeeding but there will be blood on my hands at the end of this.m

Re your first concern::
Creatures with a fly speed have a bonus to fly based off it. They're average, so +0, as well as +2 from dex. So they have a +2 to fly checks. They can get into position without much difficulty, as checks are only required for hovering or being fancy in the air. Play them with their tactics (open with the flame breath, then focus on the PC with the amulet unless something else draws their ire). Use the fly speed to maneuver them, but probably keep them on the ground to excel with their three attacks around while their breath weapon recharges. It shouldn't be to bad.

Re your second concern::
Yes, from the looks of it the final fight is the most challenging. But remember that this is one of the first new Season 4s. They're designed with 6 players in mind, and to be more challenging. Also, a party of 6, even at the lower tier, should be armed with: dispel magic, seeking on ranged attacks (negates concealment), and they are given a wand of protection from energy. He only has 2x bolts in the lower tier, so with a decent support or a healer that's not going to TPK them. This, and the other new games, reward intelligent play, rather than making it all a cakewalk. So yeah, expect players to be surprised at the difficulty curve.

As far as the blood on your hands. Pretty likely - but as long as you are a fair and entertaining judge, the players won't mind. After about level 4 death is more of a speedbump than a death sentence

Cheliax ***** Owner - Enchanted Grounds

Walter Sheppard wrote:
As far as the blood on your hands. Pretty likely - but as long as you are a fair and entertaining judge, the players won't mind. After about level 4 death is more of a speedbump than a death sentence

We have a saying in our area: "Pathfinder Society - where death is only a condition."

I've even contemplated doing a mock-up condition card with the rules for "removing" it.

Cheliax **

first Concern:

Oh they'll be staying on the ground, with them unable to make the DC 20 check to fly up and not having the room in the greenhouse to move half their speed means they can't ascend at 45 degree angle. Pretty much they can't fly in this room with their fly score at that rank.
If the room was 5 foot wider this would be a different fight but I guess it's a decent intro to season 4 this way.

Second Concern:

Oh I'm not really concerned with Black's direct damage, the real danger is the Black Tentacle/Giant Syringe Combo. If he places it at the optimal location on the map (pretty much where the D3 is on the map or the lower right corner where the ranged is gonna group up) he'll bottle neck access to him and protect the syringes from most ranged damage. At that point anyone who tries to get to him will probably be grappled and held still (which triggers the syringe attack and the damage plus Halt command) shutting down all the casters/healers/ranged since they probably won't be able to break that grapple (CMD=25), leaving it up to the melee to deal with him. We've already discussed the difficulty they will have there (avg PC will miss about 80%-90% of the time).
I expect this to be a difficult fight and if less then 2-3 Pc's die I'll be surprised.

Please don't think I'm complaining about the scenario, it looks like a blast to run/play I'm just trying to get all the clarification I can before the inevitable complaints of OP/rules don't work that way that pop up when the lethality of a scenario is complained about.

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington aka WalterGM

Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

Second concern:

Tentacles have a higher CMD than that after the first round too.
5-6 tier stats
CMB +15
CMD 25 (30 on subsequent rounds, 5 higher if they fail once)

8-9 tier stats
CMB +18
CMD 28 (33 on subsequent rounds)

I'd expect everyone to have trouble escaping with those odds =/

Cheliax **

Walter Sheppard wrote:
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

** spoiler omitted **

Actually no.

Second Concern:

That +5 bonus is only added to the CMB when it is tryying to Grapple not when an opponent is trying to break free.

Black Tentacles wrote:
The black tentacles spell receives a +5 bonus on grapple checks made against opponents it is already grappling,

It's chance to maintain the grapple or re-grab an opponent who breaks free goes up but the difficulty to break out of the grapple stays the same.

Oh and because I've seen it tried so many times you only need to succeed once to avoid the grapple, not one every time you move in the Area of Effect. The number of times someone has tried to do a grapple check for every square you move through that is under the effect of this spell...

Yeah, this is gonna be nasty but fun... for me at least.

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington aka WalterGM

Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
Walter Sheppard wrote:
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

** spoiler omitted **

Actually no.

Second Concern:

That +5 bonus is only added to the CMB when it is tryying to Grapple not when an opponent is trying to break free.

Black Tentacles wrote:
The black tentacles spell receives a +5 bonus on grapple checks made against opponents it is already grappling,

It's chance to maintain the grapple or re-grab an opponent who breaks free goes up but the difficulty to break out of the grapple stays the same.

Oh and because I've seen it tried so many times you only need to succeed once to avoid the grapple, not one every time you move in the Area of Effect. The number of times someone has tried to do a grapple check for every square you move through that is under the effect of this spell...

My mistake.

Cheliax ***** Owner - Enchanted Grounds

Wow. Color me impressed, Mr. Wilhelm.

If the rest of the Season 4 scenarios measure up to this one, this will be one hell of a season. I am thoroughly looking forward to running this on Saturday. I will leave a review after I'm done (and unless a lot of unforeseen things happen during that run, expect a glowing report).

Thank you for the evening's read, at the very least. I truly enjoyed it.

Mathwei, it looks like WalterGM answered your questions, so I'm just going to go back to my prep.

***** Venture-Captain, Indiana—Indianapolis aka Red-Assassin

Larry really liked the RP of this scenario reading it was Awesome.

Complexity this scenario will be challenging.

I look forward to re running this to learn pacing.

Also I rolled a nat 1 with the tentacles.

*****

I ran this one tonight for a group of six 7-9th level characters. We all had a very fun time! There were no deaths, but several close calls.

Spoiler:
The greater earth elemental surprised the heck out of everyone when it burst forth. The funny thing is that one of the PCs was still asleep on the couch when it emerged. Talk about a rude awakening!

The last fight was pretty cool as well, although action economy was the downfall of Mr./Mrs. Black in the end. I really liked the creepy feel of the huge vats of bubbling chemicals, the unknown creature slamming against the tub, and the giant syringes shooting acid.


The players also enjoyed the more open nature of the faction missions. I heard several comments that it was nice that the faction leaders didn't seem to know exactly what was going to happen in the adventure.

Of course, I had to make some terrain. I didn't quite have enough time to finish it, but you can get an idea of it from the pictures. I'll have it finished before I run this one again and will post more pics at that time.

Thanks for another fun adventure, Larry!

Cheliax ***** Owner - Enchanted Grounds

Myron Pauls wrote:
Of course, I had to make some terrain. I didn't quite have enough time to finish it, but you can get an idea of it from the pictures. I'll have it finished before I run this one again and will post more pics at that time.

Boo. No access for me...

*****

Drogon wrote:
Boo. No access for me...

Try it now. I did have it set to share via the link, but it's now public. Alternately, the pictures are now up on Facebook as well.

Cheliax ***** Owner - Enchanted Grounds

Myron Pauls wrote:
Drogon wrote:
Boo. No access for me...

Try it now. I did have it set to share via the link, but it's now public. Alternately, the pictures are now up on Facebook as well.

Much better. Thank you.

And very nice, by the way. I like the syringes; that's a great touch.

Cheliax **

Myron Pauls wrote:

I ran this one tonight for a group of six 7-9th level characters. We all had a very fun time! There were no deaths, but several close calls.

** spoiler omitted **
The players also enjoyed the more open nature of the faction missions. I heard several comments that it was nice that the faction leaders didn't seem to know exactly what was going to happen in the adventure.

Of course, I had to make some terrain. I didn't quite have enough time to finish it, but you can get an idea of it from the pictures. I'll have it finished before I run this one again and will post more pics at that time.

Thanks for another fun adventure, Larry!

That is really nice, what did you use to make the tiles from? I usually use Hirst Arts but it takes like two weeks to build/paint/prep each encounter and your stuff looks much faster.

question:

What issues did you have with action economy? From my estimates it should take them 4 rounds to get from the door to the boss and then with the protections he has up they should only be landing 1 in every 4-5 hits. The cover from the tentacles should keep the ranged damage/spells down (not stopped, just slowed down) and that vicious Feeblemind (DC 24 vs arcane) should really shut down the save or suck and/or blaster sorcerer.
At least this is my plan, what happened in your play through ?
My first run through of this will be at a con and want to prep it to be as impressive as I can without getting steam rolled by some of the optimized characters I've met {like last time}.

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington aka WalterGM

Well I...:

TPK'd the table that played this. They were used to the whole "we don't need a solid party composition, we have 6 people" mentality of previous seasons and, even with my warnings, got rolled hard at the end. Spellcasters were a 6 bard, 7 paladin, and an 8 ranger.

Yes, the LOH and wand of cure light were their only forms of healing.

The rest of the group was a 5 samurai/rogue, 5 rogue, and a 7 monk. They played the 5-6 tier. The final fight was the killer, as they coasted through the rest.

Surprise round: tentacles effecting everyone. Rolled an 18, beat everyone's CMD.
Round 1: no one gets out, takes damage from the tentacles, the boss blasts someone (lightning bolt).
Round 2: no one gets out, takes damage from the tentacles, the boss blasts someone (lightning bolt).
Round 3: no one gets out, takes damage from the tentacles, the boss blasts someone (magic missle).
Round 4: no one gets out, takes damage from the tentacles, the boss blasts someone (scorching ray).
*at this point I remembered about the acid cannons.*
Round 5: THE PALADIN BREAKS FREE, everyone else takes damage from the tentacles, the rogue goes negative, the boss feebleminds the paladin. Paladin ROLLS A 1. Saving Finale! from the bard -- paladin ROLLS A 6. Paladin looses his uses of LOH and the ability to speak.
Round 6: no one else gets out, takes damage from the tentacles, rogue, ranger, and samurai all die, the boss blasts someone (scorching ray), acid cannons kill the bard. Paladin rolls to hit the boss NAT 20!...eats an image.
Round 7: Paladin dies from acid, monk fails to get out, boss misses the monk (ray of enfeeblement)
Round 8: monk doesn't get out, takes damage from the tentacles, acid cannons miss, boss blasts him (magic missle), monk dies.
Round 9: All PCs dead
Round 10: ... tentacles disappear.

I felt like a huge douche after that fight. But then I felt nicer after I let them use PP to get their carcasses recovered, the Paladin got himself rezzed and then used Ultimate Mercy 5 times to bring everyone up. So it really only cost em about 15 or 20k to recover from a TPK. When I run this again, I'm going to definitely leave at least 1 person outside of the tentacles, because damn, that was just painful to watch.

Aside from that fight -- they had a really good time, even enjoyed loosing to some extent, but not *that* much.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Myron, you are awesome! It honors me greatly to see the 3 sets of terrain you have made for my scenarios. Thanks for doing this, it brings me great joy to see this being done.
Everyone, thanks for these reports, I hope you are having fun and its great to hear that the story of the scenario is being well received. Keep it coming! Looking forward to reviews!
Larry Wilhelm

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington aka WalterGM

Larcifer wrote:

Myron, you are awesome! It honors me greatly to see the 3 sets of terrain you have made for my scenarios. Thanks for doing this, it brings me great joy to see this being done.

Everyone, thanks for these reports, I hope you are having fun and its great to hear that the story of the scenario is being well received. Keep it coming! Looking forward to reviews!
Larry Wilhelm

Regarding the story aspects:

Spoiler:
When the simulacrum started remarking on the Paladin's (Cha 20) chin, everyone started laughing. Then, as he started stroking it, and measuring it with various tools from his belt, they got really creeped out really fast. From that point on, everything took on a much more "psycho" feel that was thoroughly enjoyed.

The dolls in the shop, the soulbound sisters, and the micro speech I had him give while the PCs were struggling to break free gave them a pretty good idea of what Black's deal was and why he was dressed up as such. Overall, they had a great time, despite the loss at the end.

As a GM, I loved the final fight and can't wait to run it again -- it reminds me a lot of Delirium's Tangle's BBEG, who was someone I also loved and remember thinking when I first saw him "why aren't there more fights like this?"

Thanks for making it so Larry!

*****

Larcifer wrote:
Myron, you are awesome! It honors me greatly to see the 3 sets of terrain you have made for my scenarios. Thanks for doing this, it brings me great joy to see this being done.

It is kind of strange that three of the biggest set pieces that I've made have been for your scenarios. I don't plan it that way, you must have a knack for writing scenes that I can visualize.

I can't wait to run this again!

Paizo Employee ** Developer

Larry is one of the best mappers working on Pathfinder Society Scenarios these days, and that shows in the quality and innovation of some of his more complex finale scenes. I'm glad you set an equally high bar in representing them in 3 dimensions, Myron! Keep up the great work.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Thanks for the kind words Mark. So gen con goers, share your experiences that you had with this scenario.

Cheliax ***** Owner - Enchanted Grounds

1 person marked this as a favorite.

In my best Chris Farley voice: "That...was...AWESOME!"

Phenomenal run on this today, and I think my players would echo that statement. I summed up what I thought of the individual pieces in the review, but can leave a few more spoilery things here, I think.

I have a few suggestions for small changes; certainly nothing major.

First and foremost, the title of the scenario doesn't leave a lot to the imagination. The moment you tell the players they need to place some constructs from the Golemworks around the grounds, I can imagine they'll start looking sideways at each other.

My solution:
I avoided this by opening with a harried Sheila Heidmarch welcoming everyone to Maginimar. She is excited that some of the promised Pathfinders have actually arrived, rather than gone missing as others have. Moreover, they're veterans and "will be able to get out to a more dangerous part of the Irespan to find one group that hasn't checked in for over a week. They were after some materials for the Golemworks, and were due back days ago." At certain points, I had her get interrupted by by various things, and ended with a delivery from the Golemworks showing up at the same time a steward tells her that "the errand boy who was sent to Mayor Grobaras still hasn't come back, and I need to know what to do with that requisition order."

She sighs, looks at the group, the delivery, and the steward, and says, "Look. Normally I wouldn't ask you to do this, but can you get these crates into the greenhouse and get them unpacked? In fact, you are certainly more tactically minded than I am; why don't you place them on the grounds? By the time you're done, I'll have done what I need to do, have everything together for the mission, and we can get any last minute questions out of the way. Would that be too much trouble?"

It worked. I took them by surprise. It even resulted with the puffy-chested "you can't kill me" fighter going unconscious within one round (he was the one who presented the wayfinder), as fire breath wasn't on the list of things he was expecting to happen.

I used a lot of what was presented above by Walter Sheppard and Myron Pauls to up the "creep factor." That also worked out well.

I even went so far as to write out a few things for the door to the last room.

Various Insults:

"What's the matter, child? Why should I open the door? You can't hold it a little longer? HAVE to go to the bathroom right now? Fool child. Stand there and don't move. And so help me, if you pee your pants you won't be let out for another day!"

"Why can't you be as darling as your lovely sisters? At least they love me. You? You're just filth that walks around and doesn't care for anything I do for you."

"What is that smell? By Asmodeus's beard, child! Can't you at least find a chamber pot before dropping a load like that?"

"Put that down! Why do you even try to impress me, fool boy? It's as though you think I'll suddenly decide you're one of your sisters, and that you're deserving of love."

Of course, this made the players swing all the harder and take true delight in knocking down the door, giving Chrysalis all the noise he needed to hear them and begin to lay down his preparations.

The occupant of the birthing tank:

I had it burst from the tank shouting, "MOTHER! I'm here for you, Mother!" I used a huge Shadow Hulk mini from Against the Giants. The only people at the back of the room at that point were the feebleminded mage and the cleric. The looks on their faces were priceless as the thing bore down on them, shouting for its mom. When one of the fighters shouted back, "She's back here, fool child! One more move and I'll cut her in two!" I wish I had thought to have it spin around and gasp, then expire from a heart attack. It would have been great. Sadly, I didn't think that fast, and just had it fall over as scripted, wheezing. Ah, well. There's always next time.

I only killed one player, though I feel that I could easily have made more tactically minded decisions and taken out a few more, if not the whole group. Happily, there were plenty of avenues to use to simply beat the living hell out of the players, make them fear for their lives, and then they win, which is the perfect outcome.

This one was a blast. Well done, Larry.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Wow thanks for the kind words, and the reviews! Keep the reviews coming!
Larry Wilhelm


Dead Alive meets Psycho!

Andoran *

About reach 0:
Remember that, being tiny, they can, and indeed must, enter an enemy's space in order to make a melee attack. Granted with their applicably small damage output they aren't going to be much of a threat in hand-to-hand combat but I think this is a chance to ramp-up the creepiness factor. I plan to have them swarm one PC and describe them as crawling all over the PC's body, jabbing in their tiny knives while whispering dark and unsettling things: "Where have you been, mommy?". "We're so cold, please warm us up." "Come play with us."...

Taldor ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Philadelphia aka Iammars

In the last encounter, the multi-headed golem is in the big rectangular thing in the center, right? So that should be ten-feet high and block line of sight, right?

(On the readthrough, this looks excellent, but then again I'm biased to scenarios with high-level spellcasters as end bosses with cool terrain features. Just throw dismissal on the spell list and you would have my favorite encounter ever.)

*****

Iammars wrote:
(On the readthrough, this looks excellent, but then again I'm biased to scenarios with high-level spellcasters as end bosses with cool terrain features. Just throw dismissal on the spell list and you would have my favorite encounter ever.)

If that's you cup of tea, you should definitely run King of the Storval Stairs.

King of the Storval Stairs:
The end battle is against a sorcerer 11, hill giant cleric 9. There are even some "mook" hill giants with them, one of whom is a barbarian. The sorcerer even has dismissal! The whole fight takes place in very difficult terrain.

Taldor ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Philadelphia aka Iammars

Myron Pauls wrote:
Iammars wrote:
(On the readthrough, this looks excellent, but then again I'm biased to scenarios with high-level spellcasters as end bosses with cool terrain features. Just throw dismissal on the spell list and you would have my favorite encounter ever.)

If that's you cup of tea, you should definitely run King of the Storval Stairs.

** spoiler omitted **

0_0

*goes and changes his con schedule so he's gming 4-04*

Cheliax *

Walter Sheppard wrote:
APL Expectations Stuff:
Yes, from the looks of it the final fight is the most challenging. But remember that this is one of the first new Season 4s. They're designed with 6 players in mind, and to be more challenging. Also, a party of 6, even at the lower tier, should be armed with: dispel magic, seeking on ranged attacks (negates concealment), and they are given a wand of protection from energy. He only has 2x bolts in the lower tier, so with a decent support or a healer that's not going to TPK them. This, and the other new games, reward intelligent play, rather than making it all a cakewalk. So yeah, expect players to be surprised at the difficulty curve.

I agree with you on all of that; in fact, I have almost become a broken record at casters above APL 5-6 who do not have a what you mentioned. So very, very much can be avoided. But I just played this scenario tonight at tier 8-9 with a level 7 (myself), an 8 (Cleric/Barbarian), and two 9s (Fighter & Summoner) with reduced difficulty for a 4 person party...

My Experience:

And for the second time in two months, the caster at the table high enough to have Dispel Magic (the Summoner) didn't. Being a ranged concept, I had seeking via a cache of Tanglebolts (I needed this scenario to get the GP to get Seeking). The Cleric/Barbarian had the Travel domain and teleportation magic; the Fighter had the CMB to get out. I was stuck and the Summoner's Eidolon was torn apart. The CMD (28) was beyond anything I could reach and being a crossbowman, I couldn't just snipe at severe penalties (need two hands to reload).

Now, I'm going to note the fact that I had the Black Tentacles issue in another scenario just a month prior with no caster at 6-7 having dispel magic; I should have already invested in a potion of Gaseous Form. But I honestly assumed it was a fluke.

I can't imagine having any caster without at least one Dispel Magic on hand. And being a concept without any magic of his own, I kind of expect other party members who are casters to cover this area. And I'm finding I spend a disturbing amount on consumables compared to my Summoner 10 or my Witch 6 as I find more and more others aren't prepared; it's beginning to become a hindrance in keeping up with actual gear (better armor, better weapon, wonderous items).

Anyways...

]

My point is; I doubt the majority of PFS sticks to concepts of "things you need to have by X level with Y character type for Z situations". While I'm thrilled at the challenges the end of Season 3 and the beginning of Season 4 have been presenting, I'm starting to get wary due to the realization that it hurts parties that aren't all adhering to this viewpoint.

*

The problem with Dispel Magic is that it probably won't work, especially in fights like this against a single high-level caster. A level 6 caster needs to roll a 15 to dispel the tentacles in the low tier. A level 6 Wizard can devote half of his highest level slots to Dispel Magic and only has even odds to remove the Black Tentacles that he doesn't know are coming. A level 6 sorcerer/oracle only knows one third level spell, should it really be Dispel? Scrolls have an even lower chance of success.

Witches and Clerics are on somewhat safer ground because clerics can convert and witches were just going to cackle anyway.

Cheliax *

Take Boat wrote:

The problem with Dispel Magic is that it probably won't work, especially in fights like this against a single high-level caster. A level 6 caster needs to roll a 15 to dispel the tentacles in the low tier. A level 6 Wizard can devote half of his highest level slots to Dispel Magic and only has even odds to remove the Black Tentacles that he doesn't know are coming. A level 6 sorcerer/oracle only knows one third level spell, should it really be Dispel? Scrolls have an even lower chance of success.

Witches and Clerics are on somewhat safer ground because clerics can convert and witches were just going to cackle anyway.

Yes, but that 15-20 roll is a 25% chance vs. the 5% chance almost every single PC will have (needing a natural 20) barring a situational item/spell to get out of the grapple. The odds aren't great, but they are a hell of a lot better.

I certainly don't expect a Sorcerer/Oracle to take only Dispel Magic at level 6. I think it's not an unsafe thing to do for a Wizard/Cleric/Witch, though I can understand that some concepts may not want it at all.

But there will always be a use for Dispel Magic at tier 6+; it is a safe assumption at least one bad guy is going to be able to cast spells and they will throw some sort of hazard or buff or debuff or control effect in your path. Or hell, ready to counterspell against another AoE damage spell. It is an extremely flexible spell.

*

I consider Dispel Magic situational as well, because even if it were a sure thing, Dispel wouldn't be worth the action in so many situations (although obviously it is in this one) and I consider "Grappled" a situation worth preparing for itself.

As a side note, AoE damage spells are better Counterspells than Dispel Magic. They're more likely to fail the concentration check than you are to succeed at the CL check.

Really, this is irrelevant to the topic. When I played this Saturday I found the fight pretty easy because I used my own Black Tentacles. Whether the Black Tentacles are subject to miss chance from displacement is unclear to me, but the tentacles aren't relying on sight, are they?

Taldor ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Philadelphia aka Iammars

Black Tentacles still take the miss chance from displacement. They still do attack rolls against whoever is in them, and the miss chance applies to all attack rolls.

That being said, I'm of the firm belief that if you are a high enough level that you can cast Dispel Magic, you should have one prepared. It's such a useful spell. When my sorcerer got his first 3rd-level spell, it was dispel magic, and I've cast it in most of the scenarios he's been in since. I can see an argument for a spontaneous caster not to pick it up right away (say you want haste or some other really powerful 3rd-level spell first), but it should be high on their list of spells.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Fresno aka Sarta

Amazing! Larry, thanks for a fantastic scenario. I played this last night and am really looking forward to running it soon.

Silver Crusade ****

Iammars wrote:


That being said, I'm of the firm belief that if you are a high enough level that you can cast Dispel Magic, you should have one prepared.

That is only going to help if the caster isn't caught by the tentacles. The concentration check to cast while grappled makes it all but impossible to dispel the tentacles.

The difficulty of this encounter is likely to be very related to how many characters are caught in the tentacles. And exactly which ones are caught.

After we ran through this, it was pointed out that oil of grease is a wonderful (and cheap) item. +10 to EITHER escape artist or CMB rolls.

*****

pauljathome wrote:
Iammars wrote:


That being said, I'm of the firm belief that if you are a high enough level that you can cast Dispel Magic, you should have one prepared.

That is only going to help if the caster isn't caught by the tentacles. The concentration check to cast while grappled makes it all but impossible to dispel the tentacles.

The difficulty of this encounter is likely to be very related to how many characters are caught in the tentacles. And exactly which ones are caught.

After we ran through this, it was pointed out that oil of grease is a wonderful (and cheap) item. +10 to EITHER escape artist or CMB rolls.

It also has a somatic component and thus isn't even castable while grappled. No, the real thing you want for BT (if you haven't prebuffed some grease or the like, let's say you're caught unprepared) is multiple casters with liberating command, preferably spontaneous (our group playing this one had a sorcerer with it, and he freed everyone but himself, since you can't free yourself with liberating command). An immediate action and a 1st level spell is a lot less of a price to pay than a standard and a 3rd level spell, and the chance of escaping with a liberating command is higher than the chance of dispelling with dispel magic (even a 10 Dex character with Liberating Command would have +16 Escape Artist with a level 8 sorc vs CMD 28 to escape). Also grease and liberating command will stack for basically an auto-succeed at escaping at the cost of an immediate action from both the escapee and the caster. The lib commands allowed multiple members of our team to go after the BBEG right away (one person wasn't grappled, and the best other character for the job was lib commanded by the sorcerer).

Cheliax *

A potion of True Strike is another good solution for the same price. +20 to attack rolls includes CMB rolls.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
bdk86 wrote:
A potion of True Strike is another good solution for the same price. +20 to attack rolls includes CMB rolls.

True Strike is not a legal spell for potions.

*

Just played this, and it was brutal. At a convention, you can't be sure you will have a well-balanced table. I did wind up at a reasonably balanced one, though we didn't have a dedicated arcane caster. Three melee, a fire oracle and a druid/wizard/mystic theurge as the casters and a gunslinger as the other ranged damage dealer.

Tentacles hit 5/6 PCs right away, but due to a low roll only actually grappled three of them. One managed to eventually break out, but the theurge and oracle were stuck. Did you know you can't cast spells that have somatic components in a grapple? We didn't until after the fact, which is the only reason we survived: two lucky sound bursts from me (I did make the Concentration checks) stunned Mr. Black for two rounds while the melee line got up next to him. I had no 3rd level spells remaining at that point, and the theurge didn't have any prepared.

It was a very unfun fight for me- I got to watch my party members get hit and go down while being completely unable to break the grapple as a halfling oracle with the only healing in the party. The CR is completely wrong- Mr. Black is a CR 9 (10th level wizard) and the terrain is about a +2 with the acid rays that have a command in them. A CR 11 against an APL 5-6 table is ridiculously wrong when it's not going to be against a pre-made group that has played together before. We survived due to an extremely lucky roll from the theurge's animal companion: it got through the mirror images and the displacement with a bite and grappled Mr. Black, who failed a number of Concentration checks and so failed to escape and/or kill anyone.

I appreciate hard mods and hard fights. I really enjoyed the final fight in Rise of the Goblin Guild, even though I spent half of it bleeding on the floor. However, I don't like mods with many easy fights designed to use resources followed by a fight that puts all the CRs in the final encounter, then adds in some wonky terrain that adds to the difficulty but doesn't get counted in the CR of the encounter. This mod fits in that category, which is just annoying.

Silver Crusade ****

Rogue Eidolon wrote:
is multiple casters with liberating command,

We had one. Didn't help +10 on escape artist (the character was only a level 5, we were playing at 5-6) doesn't help somebody with escape artist untrained.

He managed to get one character out but the cleric spent the entire fight entangled.

Fortunately the ungrappled characters managed to succeed.

Its kind of a nasty spell. One more thing that my character can NOW handle in case it comes up again (oil of Grease).

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.

So the moral of this story is that when I run this on Saturday, I should use my GM screen so I can have some limited control on not tkp'ing the PC's?

Cheliax *

Kyle Baird wrote:
bdk86 wrote:
A potion of True Strike is another good solution for the same price. +20 to attack rolls includes CMB rolls.
True Strike is not a legal spell for potions.

Oh, you're right. I did not realize it was a personal spell. Glad I saw this before trying to buy one.

Qadira *** Venture-Captain, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Thorkull

Bob Jonquet wrote:
So the moral of this story is that when I run this on Saturday, I should use my GM screen so I can have some limited control on not tkp'ing the PC's?

I ran the table for bdk86 and friends this weekend. I thought I was going to get a TPK, honestly.

Spoiler:
The party set off every alarm spell Black had set up, and took 7 rounds beating through the doll door, so he was buffed to the nines. The players (except the crossbowman) dim doored across the room on round 1, and the cuisinart fighter walked up next to Mr. Black and took out a mirror image. Mr. Black had seen what the fighter could do, so he dominated him and told him to kill the dwarf cleric. Two players out of the fight at that point, as the dwarf proceeded to lead the fighter on a merry chase around the room and eventually out of the combat entirely. In the process, I dropped BT on the two of them and the crossbowman, leaving me with just the summoner to deal with. Actually that took up most of my spells, although I did manage to take out the eidolon -- but not before he took out my remaining images.. After that, the summoner went invisible and started summoning lantern archons of all stupid things. Those eventually wore me down to the point that I had to retreat, as I didn't have enough spells to get rid of all the archons he could summon over time. I did reserve a scorching ray to deal with the summoner should he re-appear, but never got the chance to use it.

It could have easily gone badly, and it did result in the crossbowman dying, but some smart tactical play on the player's part wound up squeezing out a victory. However, their strategic play wasn't the best, which is why they wound up between a rock and a hard place in the end. Part of that was party makeup - no one with trapfinding, for example.

I don't like the idea of hiding rolls behind a screen -- the relief and elation when you survive a genuinely tough fight is cheapened, IMO, if I think the GM is cheating in the players' favor. YMMV.

*****

pauljathome wrote:
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
is multiple casters with liberating command,

We had one. Didn't help +10 on escape artist (the character was only a level 5, we were playing at 5-6) doesn't help somebody with escape artist untrained.

He managed to get one character out but the cleric spent the entire fight entangled.

Fortunately the ungrappled characters managed to succeed.

Its kind of a nasty spell. One more thing that my character can NOW handle in case it comes up again (oil of Grease).

+10 vs DC 25 probably takes you from needing a 20 to escape to needing a 15, which mulltiplies your escape chance by x6, which is way better than nothing. True, it still isn't a sure thing, but that's why it's fantastic on a spontaneous caster, who can spam it as an immediate action every round. In about 3 rounds or so on average, even a 10 Dex untrained schlub can escape. It's even better if you also have grease, of course. Then you would have had +20 from spells alone vs DC 25.

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