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10th level Campaign - Things to be aware of?


Advice


Lets get to the point of the matter, I'm running a 10th level game in the near future at my local friendly gaming shop.

They are using point buy, the 25 point pool. I have yet to officially learn what everybody is, but the core, advance players & race, ultimate magic & combat are fair game. (note: while we are using the advanced race book, there are no custom races allowed. I don't know how balanced the system is.)

However, for all my experience I have really played more games at the 4-8th level range and have been in that ball-park for the longest time.

Seeing as this will be the highest level party I have ever run (in Pathfinder that is) I want to know if there are things I should be aware of that any of the good folks here have come across in their 10th-12th level experiences?

to be sure I have looked at what higher level characters get and have made some in that range for bosses and such but a party of 10th level characters will be a new running experience for me.

thanks for the help.


Treat the game like they are super heroes. They can fly, they can leap small building in a single bound, they can see through walls and things will have a very different feel.

Its all good, just make sure not to be thrown off guard when your players do something outlandish because they are capable of it.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

A good rule of thumb to judge PC capabilities at any given level is to take a look at the Spells available. 10th level means 5th level Spells for all Full-Progression Spellcasters, whether Prepared or Spontaneous. A quick trip to d20pfsrd let me see that you should be prepared for:

Arcane Spells: Cloudkill, Lesser Planar Binding, Teleport, Dominate Person, Feeblemind, Wall of Force, Overland Flight, Permanency are some of the things to consider.

Divine Spells: Atonement, Break Enchantment, Breath of Life, Commune, Flame Strike, Raise Dead.

You also might take a quick peek at what Class Features might pop up at 10th Level... which in this case is nothing new, really.

Lastly, a 10th Level Character can be Base Class 5/Prestige Class 5, which can give you good stuff, too.


Coolio. I do have some time for research before the game begins. This will be interesting.

If anything people's advice has helped to keep an open mind on what the party can do.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

really teleport makes everything easier for the players. Running out of spells for the day and only half way through the dungeon? Forget trying to find a room you can secure and sleep, but teleport to town and sleep in the inn. Oh and while you're there hit up Ye Ol' Magic Shop for that one spell you need to cross the barrier.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Now, having run a campaign up to 19th level, I don't consider 10th to be "high" -- but regardless, these are the things I would advise to be aware of:

- Multiple monsters are a more challenging fight than a single powerful big bad. If you do want that single big bad fight, give the really powerful guy really low level mooks to act essentially as speed bumps so the BBEG has time to cast some of his spells/use abilities/do the nasty things he does. The thing about a single monster is it may have one really powerful attack--but he gets one for every four (or however many PCs are in the party) the party gets. This advantage of numbers weighs more in the party's favor than the CR system can adequately address.

- Since you are giving them a generous point buy and you're at 10th level, I would be careful about giving out a lot of stat boosting items. This is an easy way to break the game and end up with PCs that are way more powerful than you expected. Mind, this is hard because NPC design can be made easier by giving NPCs stat boosters...

- Rather than approach adventure design by, "Gee, they can teleport, how do I stop them for teleporting?", simply let the players use the powers they have and accept that they are going to. If they are going to teleport straight to the evil wizard's castle, then they do so. Adventure starts there, that's all there is to it.

Sure, there are appropriate times mobility magic in particular is going to be restricted -- the Emperor's vault is probably protected by a forbiddance spell, the room the skeleton lord is in has low ceilings -- but these things should be rare and occur only when they make sense. Don't design something simply to be an obstacle so the players can never enjoy the powers they have, they need to feel like the heroes they are.

And you can have fun with what they are capable of, instead of fearing it. They can fly? Awesome, now you can run an aerial combat, and use winds and weather effects to provide challenge in a new and exciting way. They can teleport? Well, that's why the Emperor is hiring them to visit the Island of Ultimate Doom, because no ship can safely sail there, and the party are literally the only (or amongst few) people who have the ability to go there. Use their abilities to your advantage as well as theirs, rather than see them as a hindrance to you.

- Don't be afraid to work with big ideas. Low level PCs delve dungeons. Higher level PCs are usually known heroes. They attract the attention of important people. They might be hired as spies, or to participate in warfare, or the thing they may be asked to do may have to do with political intrigue that they can influence. They can visit places others can't--other planes and remote locations inaccessible by normal travel (like the Island of Ultimate Doom). If you use a 1st level style dungeon crawl for a 10th level party, even with more powerful monsters and traps, of course they're going to find ridiculous ways to speed through it. You can get really broad based with the kind of adventures they can have, and that can be really fun to design out of the box.


j b 200 wrote:
really teleport makes everything easier for the players. Running out of spells for the day and only half way through the dungeon? Forget trying to find a room you can secure and sleep, but teleport to town and sleep in the inn. Oh and while you're there hit up Ye Ol' Magic Shop for that one spell you need to cross the barrier.

Basically, figure out how experienced/optimized your players are. Low-level characters, played optimally, can take on encounters meant for characters 1-2 levels higher.

Starting at about level 9 (5th level spells), very good players can take on challenges that are a 4-5 levels higher than their CR.

I recommend that you make an effort to determine how juiced you have to make the bad-guys. Be ready for:

Save-or-die DCs in the mid-20s (23-27)
Serious AOE crowd-control
Full attacks from melee characters which deal nearly 100 damage on average
Problem-Evading Effects. Long-term invisibility, long-term flight, Burrowing if you've got a druid, polymorphing. At this level, the casters have plenty of 2nd and 3rd level spells, and will use them if they can get past a challenge. Set your DCs and defenses accordingly.

-Cross

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 8

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Movement and divination are the biggest things to worry about when planning adventures at this level. Teleport, Commune, Dominate Person (to get all of your plans), True Seeing, Scrying etc can all massively complicate things. Next level you could be up against Legend Lore, Find the Path and Shadow Walk.

It makes for a very different game, but it is certainly manageable. You need to think a bit further ahead, be flexible in the direction it can take and plan your NPCs' defences and vulnerabilities. You don't want to stop the PCs using their funky tools and abilities, but you don't want them barging in on the BBEG in session one, ruining all your careful plans.

Spellcasting villains should probably have wards against scrying and teleporting but henchmen should be vulnerable to this. Have a few ideas ready for when a PC scries that can provide new clues to what's going on that they wouldn't have known of otherwise. That way they feel smug about finding out your 'secrets' and you can drip feed info to them. You can also scare the bejaysus out of them by showing them some terrifying monster on the other end, or you can enrage them with a vision of the villain's atrocities that they cannot stop.

If you throw in an aggressive defence you can give them second thoughts about using those pesky 'game-breaking' spells. A teleport deflecting ward that bounces them into a pool of green slime or traps them in a force cube. Have the villain spot the scrying device and stare them out or start casting a spell at them. Most of the time there should be no problem, but if they always have that one disastrous occasion in mind, you'll find they will be much less gung-ho with the teleporting etc..

Commune and contact other plane are great opportunities for roleplaying. The other being has an agenda and the PC should feel worried about contacting such a powerful being. Powerful angels, infernal dukes and the like will help, but there might be a price at some point. Feel free to have the being contact the PC of its own accord later in the campaign. The PC might regret starting this communion...

Cheliax

Justin Ricobaldi wrote:


Seeing as this will be the highest level party I have ever run (in Pathfinder that is) I want to know if there are things I should be aware of that any of the good folks here have come across in their 10th-12th level experiences?

Magic Jar in the hands of someone who knows how to use it and has the DC to back it up.

Terrifying.

Sczarni

Uhhh don't allow all races in the AR book. Some of those races are not equal.


j b 200 wrote:
really teleport makes everything easier for the players. Running out of spells for the day and only half way through the dungeon? Forget trying to find a room you can secure and sleep, but teleport to town and sleep in the inn. Oh and while you're there hit up Ye Ol' Magic Shop for that one spell you need to cross the barrier.

Though this does make it easier for the players, it changes the dynamics for the GM alot.

I ran a campaign where one of the players had D-Door and Teleport and used them all the time, often as described above. Which was great for the players...

But I had to constantly re-imagine scenarios that they only partially completed, to decide what the 'bad guys' would do in the meantime.

Do they all band together in one area and prepare for another assault? Do they presume the danger is past and go back to business as normal? Do they decide to pack up and go elsewhere? Can they bring in reinforcements? et al.

Its not a bad thing... just be aware it will happen.

Sczarni

EvilMinion wrote:
j b 200 wrote:
really teleport makes everything easier for the players. Running out of spells for the day and only half way through the dungeon? Forget trying to find a room you can secure and sleep, but teleport to town and sleep in the inn. Oh and while you're there hit up Ye Ol' Magic Shop for that one spell you need to cross the barrier.

Though this does make it easier for the players, it changes the dynamics for the GM alot.

I ran a campaign where one of the players had D-Door and Teleport and used them all the time, often as described above. Which was great for the players...

But I had to constantly re-imagine scenarios that they only partially completed, to decide what the 'bad guys' would do in the meantime.

Do they all band together in one area and prepare for another assault? Do they presume the danger is past and go back to business as normal? Do they decide to pack up and go elsewhere? Can they bring in reinforcements? et al.

Its not a bad thing... just be aware it will happen.

Cerberi, Bone Devils, etc. all have a form of Dimension Anchor that is pretty much at will. I use them all the time.

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