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Fights... simple vs complex


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion


I was running a game this week and the party went up against a dragon.

The party consists of a magus using many fire spells, a super healing cleric and most importantly for this situation a Paladin using a bow.

in the first encounter with the dragon the paladin alone did 75 damage in the first round of combat.

the dragon flew off and healed up.

when the party entered the dragons lair the dragon knowing that he was dealing with a paladin, an arcane caster wearing dragon hide armor and another unknown divine caster in heavy armor (cleric) opted to use tactics in dealing with the party.

The dragon found the party in a difficult to enter and exit room, filled the room with multiple castings of fog cloud (at will ability lasting about 100 mins per casting) and used its breath weapon from various locations.

to be honest the dragon was not doing much damage because the party had several defensive spells up and the party didnt hit often but when they hit they did 20 to 40 damage per attack. the end result was that the battle was a bit of a chess match as the dragon did its best to kill them without dieing.

the problem is that the end of the night left the party pissed off rather than challenged.

they seemed to feel that the encounter was too stacked against them even though they had suffered little or no damage the entire fight. while I felt that if they just killed the dragon in 2 rounds it would have been extremely underwhelming.

Im wondering how players generally feel about difficult battles.

Not EVERY fight is supposed to be a battle of wits between the playes and the monster... but when it happens occasionally is it generally more fun or just annoying?


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This is one reason why the game favors offensive builds... or at least players and GMs seem to. Nobody likes two defensive teams; not in football, and not in RPGs.

Difficult fights are an acquired taste. Even veteran gaming groups that are accustomed to getting their way all the time tend to blanch when things go wrong for them. As a GM, it's possible for you to keep your cool, and just slowly train them to appreciate it. You may have taken on too much at once, so try slowly ratcheting up the challenge instead.

I faced the same situation when I started running APs for my 15+ year veteran group. At first, they were totally flabbergasted that they actually needed to use smart tactics and play a little defensively, and worry about NPC response (which is what you've got going here). It turns out that our homebrew styles just weren't all the challenging, but we never knew it due to a lack of comparison. It took about two books before they began to enjoy the challenge, but now they're never going back.

Above all, keep communicating with the players. Be firm but fair. Say things like "I completely understand your frustration, but this is a dragon. How do you think it would behave differently if you were the GM?" Be certain that your issues are in-game issues, and be extra careful to sort out OOC interpersonal issues in an OOC manner.

If your players are pissed off, even if they are losing, chances are you're not communicating risk as clearly as you should be.


It sounds like it was a very interestig battle. I do not see any problem with it.

Of course there would be people that just want to full attack and be full attacked, the DM then have to find some middle ground.


Pathfinder combat is too slow for that kind of fight to be fun for some people.

And you're not describing a chess match. You're describing blundering about in the fog. This is going to wind up like the end of Kingmaker 3 did for the group I'm in. With no specifics it involved a *lot* of failed miss chance rolls and dispel checks and passed saves and lasted so long that one of the players had to leave the session early. It was the worst fight I've ever been involved in.

Fights like that suck. Better to have an underwhelming fight.

If you want an interesting and challenging fight use multiple foes that the party can actually hit and damage and that can hit and damage the party so there's some sense of progress.

The more bodies are involved in a combat the higher you should be able to safely push the CR. APL+5 on a single foe is, by the GMG guidelines, out of the question no matter how good the party is because it can have unanswerable abilities, and I would hesitate to buck those guidelines, but an APL+5 or APL+6 where the toughest individual foe is APL+2 or maybe APL+3 is an appropriate challenge for a party that can cakewalk APL+4 either because they're very optimized, your theme is particularly weak to them, or because you're stuck in a 15 minute workday paradigm.

If the Paladin has demonstrated he can solo your dragon you might treat him as a separate party and build a bunch of kobolds to challenge the other members. (remembering that a 3 man party should be treated as -1 APL, maybe -2 if tying the Paladin up with the dragon leaves them with a serious hole in their capabilities)


the dragon would not tie up the paladin. the paladin deals sick amounts of damage. This is of course the nature of paladins and I dont want to take that away from the player but at the same time i dont think killing the dragon in 2 turns suffering only say 10 damage from a breath weapon (or less as they knew they were facing a white dragon and buffed up with protection spells.) is in any way entertaining.

I mean if the party one shots an enemy because they got the jump on the enemy and delt two max damage crits that's fun. the players realize how unusual the quick success was.

But if the powerful and intelligent enemy avoids using any of its abilities while blindly walking into their full attacks and defensive spells I dont see how that is entertaining in the long run.

Im not exactly sure how to end this battle (battle did not complete) the party is currently trapped in a tunnel that they can escape with a bit of effort.

the dragon can simply run away, or wait to attack in bland rage when they get out (dieing in one or two hits as its already very low), or continue the intelligent battle as its not willing to abandon its lair, or possibly run away now and attack again later.

Evil Lincoln I have been trying to do that through the whole campaign and it has been largely successful, stupid monsters fight stupidly but intelligence monsters seek allies, use protective spells, lay traps and run away when defeat is imminent. most to the time the party enjoys this and spend the rest of the week going on about how fun the encounter was... so I was honestly surprised at this weeks attitude and hope that it was a fluke.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Tales Subscriber

This is a sign of lack of expectation management. When players go up against tough opponents (my guys just fought a pit fiend) then they have a huge amount of tricks they can pull to counter players powers. Some people find that unfair that their powers don't auto-work. Others find it a challenge.

In my pit fiend battle my PCs ran out of resources and used their last level 5 spell to teleport to safety, a very long standing trick of theirs. Pit Fiends of course can cast wish once a year........


There's a fine line between making NPC enemies utilize their power and just being a jerk. You want to avoid the later at all costs... the whole point of playing together is to have fun. When a DM acts like a jerk, it defeats the whole purpose of even playing the game because no one else is having fun.

On the other hand, it's one thing to deliberately counter everything the players are trying to do, and another thing entirely for the players to just neglect strategy and expect to win by simply attacking all the time. I could be wrong, but it sounds like the frustrated player(s) here is just expecting a "gimme" all the time.

Regardless, if I know that an upcoming fight is going to be difficult for the players, I try to give them every opportunity to be prepared. You don't want to metagame by just coming out and saying that there's about to be a tough fight (although some groups are fine with this), but you can still "warn" them by giving them in-game clues, like "as you continue, you notice some very large claw marks on the stone wall beside the entry way", then if the players voluntarily try to learn more about the claw marks, someone with the proper knowledge might even surmise what type of dragon it is, etc.

This is just an example, but you get the picture... find ways to warn players in-game about upcoming challenges, but don't just hand it to them on a silver platter. If they ignore the warning signs and make no effort to prepare themselves, then it's their own fault. If they get frustrated later, you can politely remind them of the clues they ignored and the time they had before hand to prepare.


Perhaps the issue is using the same tactic over and over against the PCs? Being perpetually stuck in a fog cloud with its limitations on actions and effectiveness because the dragon can do it at will makes for a frustrating encounter.

I tend to use the same trick a few times, but not over and over. I'm not saying you did, but as both a player and a DM I can see how it would be frustrating and possibly "un-fun." Vary up the tactics so the PCs aren't stuck in the same quagmire of limitations round after round and give them different challenges as they progress through the encounter. My 2 cents at least. Good luck!


blue_the_wolf wrote:
Im not exactly sure how to end this battle (battle did not complete) the party is currently trapped in a tunnel that they can escape with a bit of effort.

If you can't finish your battle in one session you are in the wrong, not your players for not enjoying an endless fight. Admit it's not fun, and let the fog clouds expire instead of lasting for more than an hour and stop making more. Do not do it again. If you want a tough fight use more bodies instead of using fun destroying abilities. You can even down-CR monsters with abilities you're not using. Better two dragons the players can hit than one that they can't.

You also may be playing the dragon too smart, assuming it's white rather than bronze or silver. White dragons are the dumbest dragons out there and a young adult white dragon is less intelligent than Valeros. If you're thinking "dragons are smart" without looking at the numbers you could be mistaken.


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Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Tales Subscriber

This is a modern roleplaying mindset. PCs never have to retreat and should be challenged enough that it feels like they had to work for it. Huh? Seriously? A monster will throw everything they have at the party to survive. End of story. PCs may die, they can be resurrected!! If players are frustrated by their lack of defense against something they should learn from that and patch that hole!! My players 15th level barbarian had a will save of +6 when raging. My intelligent monsters were very well aware of it and attacked that weakness. Am I a jerk GM? Perhaps. When a PC rolls a good knowledge check against the monster and then uses appropriate offensive spells they are smart players?


I'm with the ones that said this is about expectation management.

Dragons are supposed to be the biggest baddest nastiest things you face; as smart as a wizard BBEG and with none of the fragility. It's eaten dozens of hopeful parties before you, and ran away from the few parties good enough to challenge it.

That said, I personally loathe the Miss Chance mechanic. If I've gotten a hit good enough to reach AC, I want it to stick, not to be disappointed after all. You get your hopes up with a good to-hit roll, then see them dashed.

That's why I like the new Incorporeal mechanic a lot. Instead of a 50% chance to miss, it's now a 50% reduction in damage, for attacks that are so-so effective against incorporeal creatures.

That's not going to work so well with miss chance based on visibility. But what you could do is roll the miss chance BEFORE the to-hit roll; that may reduce the sensation of let-down.

Andoran

I want to chime in and say that, for me, that sounds like that scenario would have been a blast to play in. Some people have varying attention spans, so I've been known to shave hit points off enemies here and ther if the party seems like they're getting bored.
Sorry your group didn't appreciate the challenge, I know it can be hard to find that line between "challenging" and "obnoxious".


Something that may be irritating though: an "intangible" enemy. It's one thing to be maneuvering to reach a position where you can attack an enemy, without taking a full attack yourself. Cat/mouse, chess, that sort of thing. It certainly appeals to tactical players.

But it's different if you can't actually see the enemy, if you're just stumbling through fog the whole time. Then as a player you may start to wonder if the GM "just won't let you", or something like that.

Seeing a fast enemy and having some difficulty in cornering it, is subjectively different from having difficulty facing an enemy you can't really keep track of.


Alan_Beven wrote:
This is a modern roleplaying mindset. PCs never have to retreat and should be challenged enough that it feels like they had to work for it. Huh? Seriously? A monster will throw everything they have at the party to survive. End of story. PCs may die, they can be resurrected!! If players are frustrated by their lack of defense against something they should learn from that and patch that hole!! My players 15th level barbarian had a will save of +6 when raging. My intelligent monsters were very well aware of it and attacked that weakness. Am I a jerk GM? Perhaps. When a PC rolls a good knowledge check against the monster and then uses appropriate offensive spells they are smart players?

This isn't the players lacking defenses. It's both the players and the monster having so many defenses that the encounter was not resolved within the session. That's a sign that the encounter is taking too bloody long.

The monster was throwing everything at the party and the story wasn't ending.


There's a difference between a difficult fight and an annoying fight. A fight where both sides rarely hit because there's too many miss chances will get annoying quickly.

A fight where both sides are trying to evade each others' biggest (full) attacks though, because a good full attack can be deadly, that can be pretty exciting; knowing that a bad move can be deadly.

So I'm not saying it should be easy, but not every way of making it hard (because a dragon SHOULD be hard) is equally fun.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Tales Subscriber
Atarlost wrote:

This isn't the players lacking defenses. It's both the players and the monster having so many defenses that the encounter was not resolved within the session. That's a sign that the encounter is taking too bloody long.

The monster was throwing everything at the party and the story wasn't ending.

Yeah, I kinda went off on a tangent :-) Back on topic, it is a good problem to have. I often find Pathfinder battles are, move, full attack, combat over. Or, cast appropriate spell, combat over. I think every group will find different things annoying, it sounded like a pretty cool fight to me.


This thread is part of the reason why I get so frustrated as a GM that my players NEVER roll knowledge checks unless I come right out and say "there's a monster in front of you; roll a Knowledge: X"!

My PCs have blundered into giant vermin when they had slow poison and resistance spells cued up and ready to go; they've front-line charged a Huge Chimeric Worg; they've even ignored clues.

One battle I figured would be "a nuisance" turned out to be almost our entire gaming session. I used the 3PP monster called a Dance Macabre; a minor, skeletal undead that makes you dance and as you do it deals 1d6 with claws. Now as the party entered the main hall they heard music that sounded "ghostly; enchanted even". The party at the time contained both a paladin AND a necromancer, both with Knowledge: religion.

In said hall they destroyed some skeletons. Progressing deeper into the dungeon the music got louder. Hereupon they enter a side passage ending in a chamber at the far end; this appears to be the source of the music. There are "eerie, spectral lights" and it sounds like a ball is in process. They even found a fresh zombie they fought on the way dressed in ball clothes, torn in several places, as if it'd been clawed to pieces.

NO ONE rolled ANY knowledge checks of ANY kind.

Their tactic is to send the rogue once they get w/in 60'. Rogue moves up, makes his save, and calls to the party with help against "a room of skeletons." The party moves up and decides to just simply wade in on the creatures. In rapid succession the barbarian and the paladin fail their saves, enter the dance, and begin getting shredded. The rogue (who decided in an undead-heavy campaign to NEVER take a blunt weapon) decides to ignore any stealth and starts feebly hacking at the base skeletons with daggers. The necromancer tries a couple tricks, one of the Dance skellies makes a save, and he...RUNS AWAY leaving his skeletal champion bodyguard to hack weakly at the undead with a longsword.

In total it took just shy of 2 hours. The barbarian nearly died, the paladin was reduced to half HP and the rogue complained that I had set him up to fail with all these skeletons. In total the party hated the encounter.

From my perspective as the GM: they had a few chances for knowledge checks, they did NO buffing before the fight and the cleric/wizard necromancer hid in the outer hall directing her undead with commands and keeping him healed with selective channeling.

To this day I calmly remind them that the knowledge check, even on such a bizarre undead, was only a 16 (base 15 for being wierd + 1 for CR). The necromancer maxed out her knowledge religion and was sitting at a + 9 at the time. To that end...I refuse to take the blame for "stacking" the adventure against them.


For what it's worth, I had a very similar situation with a white dragon using its blizzard power. My party ran away, requipped, and the next time they ran into the thing they beat it. (It was still a tough fight...)

Grand Lodge

Sounds like good fun to me, I like it when the GM rewards thought and patience rather then simple bashing, but it's an acquired taste.

Just be open about it to the players and ask what they're expectations are. Being a GM is tough, it requires a good bit of adaptability, and I'm sure they understand that. Give some thoughts as how to keep a battle fast paced but still have some tactics involved, and except feed back on what they liked and what they didn't.


Mark Hoover wrote:


NO ONE rolled

How would a Knowledge check have helped? I'm curious.


I tend to think there's already enough stupidity in the world without coddling the players for it. As an exercise try, say, introducing a mystical-seeming, enruned bell or gong in the enemy complex or ruined temple. Or introduce a lever whose only function is to trigger a trap. See what percentage of players succumb.


Starbuck_II wrote:
How would a Knowledge check have helped? I'm curious.

"Knowledge: You can use this skill to identify monsters and their special powers or vulnerabilities. In general, the DC of such a check equals 10 + the monster’s CR. For common monsters, such as goblins, the DC of this check equals 5 + the monster’s CR. For particularly rare monsters, such as the tarrasque, the DC of this check equals 15 + the monster’s CR or more. A successful check allows you to remember a bit of useful information about that monster. For every 5 points by which your check result exceeds the DC, you recall another piece of useful information."

It would have let the players know that if you get within 40 feet of the music's source, bad things happen. Knowledge skills are useful.

On the other hand... a Danse Macabre is CR 14. So wouldn't the Knowledge DC to know about the music and lights be DC 29, not DC 16? What APL was the party at the time of this encounter? That's what I'M curious about... Is there a CR 1 version of this guy somewhere that I'm unaware of?


You made a good choice and did a great job.

I admit that a handful of sentient creatures monsters fighting to the utter end is sometimes unrealistic, but we accept it in the game. On quite opposite end of that spectrum, there is nothing more iconic (in my mind) in D&D/PF than the grand quarry of dragon. Letting it stumble foolishly into death - in two rounds or ten - would be the worst choice - a disrespect to both players and the dragon. Look at it this way: either your players can track it down, or they get tracked, and you give it more of a grand conclusion.


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blue_the_wolf wrote:
Evil Lincoln I have been trying to do that through the whole campaign and it has been largely successful, stupid monsters fight stupidly but intelligence monsters seek allies, use protective spells, lay traps and run away when defeat is imminent. most to the time the party enjoys this and spend the rest of the week going on about how fun the encounter was... so I was honestly surprised at this weeks attitude and hope that it was a fluke.

I think I see what the problem is.

Challenging encounters are all about tension and release. Players get gradually more scared and frustrated until they beat the monster — at which point the more scared and frustrated they were, the more relieved and accomplished they feel.

By breaking the session during a very hard fight without closure, you're not going to hear good feedback. The players will seem very upset. If you had just managed to finish before breaking the session, I'm sure they would be talking all week about how awesome it was when they finally took the thing out.

This sounds like a legitimate pacing issue. Try to make sure you have the break points right in future, even if it means stopping early. Like the old showbiz expression: "Always leave them wanting more!"


Evil Lincoln wrote:
blue_the_wolf wrote:
Evil Lincoln I have been trying to do that through the whole campaign and it has been largely successful, stupid monsters fight stupidly but intelligence monsters seek allies, use protective spells, lay traps and run away when defeat is imminent. most to the time the party enjoys this and spend the rest of the week going on about how fun the encounter was... so I was honestly surprised at this weeks attitude and hope that it was a fluke.

I think I see what the problem is.

Challenging encounters are all about tension and release. Players get gradually more scared and frustrated until they beat the monster — at which point the more scared and frustrated they were, the more relieved and accomplished they feel.

By breaking the session during a very hard fight without closure, you're not going to hear good feedback. The players will seem very upset. If you had just managed to finish before breaking the session, I'm sure they would be talking all week about how awesome it was when they finally took the thing out.

This sounds like a legitimate pacing issue. Try to make sure you have the break points right in future, even if it means stopping early. Like the old showbiz expression: "Always leave them wanting more!"

I think you're probably right here, except that the fight was going unexpectedly long with no appearance of ending soon. And that it wasn't necessarily a hard fight. It doesn't sound like they were much at risk. They just couldn't corner it and bring it down.

That makes it hard to plan for.


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I think Evil Lincoln has hit the nail on the head about the tension and release thing.

The worst fight I ever had was this (Kingmaker spoilers):

Spoiler:
The fight with the Quickling in the ruined elven tower during Book 2. The GM felt it wasn't challenging enough, so he "spiced it up" by giving the quickling a ring that let hime cast Vanish, usable an unlimited number of times per day. Oh, and did I mention that it was *quickened* Vanish? So the quicklings attack sequence went something like: swift action Vanish, Spring Attack to run in and hit someone, then run away.

When our Wizard hit him with Glitterdust, he ran away and stayed out in the forest till the spell wore off, then returned and resumed the same procedure. We didn't have any other anti-invisibility measures. Readying actions to attack him when he popped into visibility did nothing, because he was too clever about choosing his approaches to avoid triggering the actions.

We finally got him based solely on the luck of the dice -- he failed a Will save against a Sleep spell and we coup-de-graced him before his natural invisibility could kick in.

In short, we just couldn't DO anything against our opponent. In-game, the fight went to 43 rounds. Out of game, that combat alone took ELEVEN HOURS spread across two full sessions. We left the first session intensely frustrated, and by the end of the second session (8 solid hours) we were so tired and vexed that there was no sense of accomplishment at all. The general feeling was not so much "Hooray, we got 'im!" as "Thank god that's over."

By contrast the same GM ran a random encounter with a pelluda last session that was a tough fight. We lost our wizard to CON damage, and half the party's horses. But the combat ended by the end of the session, and we all felt great for having stuck it out and won. Even the dead wizard was pleased, since he'll be raised at the next major town.

Obviously you can't plan for everything. But for a stalemate, like the dragon fight, perhaps a valid approach would be for the dragon to get frustrated and leave the party, roaring out something along the lines of "NEXT TIME!" And then let them find a small cache of treasure -- not the dragon's main hoard, but just a small backup hoard, so that they get a reward for having fended off the dragon even if they know he's not out of the picture yet.


The dragon Fighters in the OP, should have used Tanglefoot bags.
Readied actions since Dragon likely using Flyby Attack feat.


I prefer complex difficult fights. Then it feels like I managed to accomplish something.

That said, just blundering around in the fog and then finally managing to win because of random chance does not feel very heroic.

If a particular tactic seems to be going on to long switch tactics after a short while. You could have done exactly the same but after a few rounds, the dragon decides the tactic hasn't been as effective as it hoped (it was still taking some punishing hits after all). So it flys back out of the room. It goes back to its lair to think up some thing new.

Maybe swiming in freezing water to reachout and grap one opponent and drag just that one into the water to snack on.


I would have had the dragon disarm the paladin, and then beat him down. Of course you can do that next time. :)

PS:If the dragon has the hover feat he can do it safely, or at least more safely than he can on the ground.


Tinalles wrote:
In short, we just couldn't DO anything against our opponent. In-game, the fight went to 43 rounds. Out of game, that combat alone took ELEVEN HOURS spread across two full sessions. We left the first session intensely frustrated, and by the end of the second session (8 solid hours) we were so tired and vexed that there was no sense of accomplishment at all. The general feeling was not so much "Hooray, we got 'im!" as "Thank god that's over."

I think that's the real problem. There's nothing wrong with an opponent who fights intelligently, and requires players to do some thinking. However, nothing kills fun quite as fast as a player feeling like their character is completely ineffective, and if the entire party starts feeling that way it creates a real problem.

Another thing to bear in mind (and something I've seen GMs screw up more than once) is to not have complex encounters that require really complicated solution that nobody is likely to think of on the fly. One of my worst experiences with a GM came from him giving us an effectively unwinnable encounter, and when it led to an effective TPK complaining that we didn't find his One True Solution to the encounter because we 1) Didn't metagame monster weaknesses and 2) Missed that one very subtle hint four hours before the encounter about how the One True Solution could have been achieved.


Starbuck_II wrote:
Mark Hoover wrote:


NO ONE rolled
How would a Knowledge check have helped? I'm curious.

Knowledge: Religion tells them they're dealing with some kind of undead; high enough roll tells them they're dealing with skeletal undead, possibly even a skeletal undead that controls your mind with music. This tells them they're going to need a bludgeoning weapon for the rogue (I'd conveniently left a pair of well-carved clubs in the room before) and they may run into saving throws, so fire up the necromancer with his Resistance cantrips and clerical buffs.


Sinatar wrote:
Starbuck_II wrote:
How would a Knowledge check have helped? I'm curious.

"Knowledge: You can use this skill to identify monsters and their special powers or vulnerabilities. In general, the DC of such a check equals 10 + the monster’s CR. For common monsters, such as goblins, the DC of this check equals 5 + the monster’s CR. For particularly rare monsters, such as the tarrasque, the DC of this check equals 15 + the monster’s CR or more. A successful check allows you to remember a bit of useful information about that monster. For every 5 points by which your check result exceeds the DC, you recall another piece of useful information."

It would have let the players know that if you get within 40 feet of the music's source, bad things happen. Knowledge skills are useful.

On the other hand... a Danse Macabre is CR 14. So wouldn't the Knowledge DC to know about the music and lights be DC 29, not DC 16? What APL was the party at the time of this encounter? That's what I'M curious about... Is there a CR 1 version of this guy somewhere that I'm unaware of?

Thanks for the assist on this explanation. CR 1 Danse Macabre here.


I find it usefull in combat situations to embrace "out of the box/rule" actions & thinking from player side.

Instead of simply attack - attack - attack add some intressting elements, leveled floors, lava pits, smoke curtains etc. the players (and NSCs) can use to get a combat advantage. And be prepared to react to strange ideas on the fly, don't negate/punish them but embrace them.

Good example was my groups encounter with the Varnhold Vanishing BBEG

Spoiler:

They managed to go trought the dungeon without much trouble, but at the moment they encounter Big V. they were down to ~ 30% ressources (not HP, thanks to Wands od CLW^^).
The fight last a few rounds and the witch was out-of-spells, the figther was paralyzed and the cleric & alchemist try to do their best. But in the end it looks like a TPK.
Then the sorc/rog had this "great" idea to destroy the soul jars to "free the spirits" as he thought V. got his power from the imprisoned souls.
I ruled that the destruction of all jars will dazed Big V. for 2 rounds, simply because the idea was intressting and they have to spent some ressources to achiev it (use their last fireball scrolls for it).
So this action allows the cleric to dispell the paralysis and the combat turns again.


@ tryn: I concur. I've described the dance macabre thing above but I haven't given up hope completely. I still try and keep things interesting.

One of the things my players make fun of me for as a GM is being too descriptive. I quietly remind them however that this isn't a video game and that the envirionment I describe is interactive. One time they listened.

So the party comes to a 90 degree turn in the hall; there's a trapped statue in the corner guarding the turn and then a door nearby seemingly emanating intense cold. The party defeats the trap and inspects the door; turns out its brown mold and they take a little damage being that close to it.

A couple rooms later they run into a bunch of undead led by a kobold cleric. They retreat for the moldy door and lure the zombies into the trap. Meanwhile the rogue w/the 10' pole uses his Survival skill to gather a chunk of the mold and flings it at the cleric. He rolled phenominally on the Survival so I let him do it, but then he missed the attack roll, though not too badly. I had him roll a splash weapon direction and the mold landed behind the cleric who took some locational damage.

But now, after all that, the cleric is stuck between an acid-spewing trap and a heat-sucking patch of mold, with the party sniping around the corner. Needless to say they felt very proud of themselves.


Sinatar wrote:
Thanks for the assist on this explanation. CR 1 Danse Macabre here.

How did a Paladin fail a DC 13 Will save. Did he dump Wisdom?

At least the Barbarian makes sense.

So it uses it on the Barbarian then next turn the Paladin?


Starbuck_II wrote:
Sinatar wrote:
Thanks for the assist on this explanation. CR 1 Danse Macabre here.

How did a Paladin fail a DC 13 Will save. Did he dump Wisdom?

At least the Barbarian makes sense.

So it uses it on the Barbarian then next turn the Paladin?

Bad roll?

If they're 1st level he doesn't get the Charisma bonus yet. Paladins are MAD and charisma based, not wisdom, so if he didn't dump it he probably didn't invest heavily. Base +2, another +1 or maybe +2 from Wisdom: At best he needs a 9.
Even at second level with another +4, he'll still fail a quarter of the time. And that's with more Wisdom than is likely.


Yar.

Starbuck_II wrote:
How did a Paladin fail a DC 13 Will save.

I don't know all the details, but I can theorize. This game uses dice to determine the results of your endeavors. As far as I'm aware, you don't get to Take 10 on saving throws. Thus, you roll a d20 and add relevant bonuses. Also: saves auto-fail on a roll of a 1. A low level Paladin may still be vulnerable to a DC 13 save with other results as well. Paladins use Charisma for most of their abilities, and they don't get to add their Charisma to their saves until 2nd level. So even if he maxed his wisdom for some reason, a 1st level Paladin will have a Will save of +7 (2 base + 5 wis). He could technically fail a DC 13 Will save on a roll of a 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1. That's statistically 1/4 of the time. Those results DO happen.

And again, on saves (like attacks), a 1 is always a fail, no matter your bonus.

~P

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