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PFS, Questions and Observations From Last Session


Pathfinder Society® General Discussion

Liberty's Edge

First let me say I had fun. This is obviously by far the most important thing to be able to say.
In case anyone recognizes the session or event I am discussion, I want to make clear I have no complaints about the GM or players in any way. I think he did a pretty good job considering he had a table full of newbies. I also think the new players did pretty well. But I will try to keep the observations fairly generic so no one gets embarrassed or anything.


  • This is only my 3rd PFS event and this was after a fairly long absence (due to work schedule). The ending session sheet was different. Didn’t list fame. Seemed we could get 2 prestige points for the faction side jobs but didn’t get one for the main plotline. Did something change?

  • Swarms. Swarms are dangerous due to doing guaranteed damage and conditions for 1st level characters. Plus they are really hard to hurt. I think something a little more clear needs to be put in the guide especially for new players. Or maybe the local captains need to be more explicit when they get new players walking in. They didn’t have anything that could damage a swarm. Oddly enough even the pre-gen character didn’t have anything that could damage a swarm nor enough money to buy something. Two of us had a couple flasks or acid, but the GM ruled that we couldn’t use them on a flying swarm. (I wasn’t sure if that was right or not.) The GM was nice and let my cantrip damage the swarms. (GM’s seem to be split 50/50 on whether the cantrip works on swarms or not.) Out of 5 PC’s, 4 went unconscious (one of them twice). We did eventually kill them (but used up I think 12+ charges of cure light wounds wand). So 2 stupid flying swarms very nearly ended the mission very close to the start. If I hadn’t had a wand, it definitely would have been a TPK.

  • Trouble with NPC again. This seems to happen a lot. The NPC’s history, alignment, description, and behavior did not seem to match up very well. He betrayed his country and joined a very evil cult. Then betrayed that cult when he got scared. Now is trying to cozy up to use. Feels no remorse. Seems very chaotic to me and more evil than neutral. He is supposedly an intellectual magic user of some kind. But he couldn’t remember almost anything at all useful until after things had happened. Insisted on following us into the dungeon then runs away screaming and crying at every encounter. Unless he was intended to be a hindrance and distraction. He got in the way more than he helped. The GM said that was the way it was written up and he was supposed to be a help. It was just kinda odd.

  • Went way over time, but like I said I think that was mostly due to inexperienced players not GM’s fault. But looking back, I still think it would have been tough for either of the other groups I played with to have completed it in time.

  • This was overheard from one of the other tables, but I thought it might be worth mentioning. Player said that this was the 3rd PC he had played that died before getting to the point of being able to be raised. He said he is getting sick and tired of running 1st and 2nd level characters all year long. The person he was talking to said the same thing happened to him and he almost quit but finally managed to get one that survived. I agree, shouldn’t give new players 7th level characters. But is worth considering some method to get an experienced player a boost beyond starting from scratch over and over again. Not my call, but I thought I’d bring it up.

I wanted to lay a few of these out there to see if my experiences meshed with others. I had fun and will go back when schedule permits.

***** Venture-Lieutenant, Georgia—Atlanta aka CRobledo

1. Sheets chaged between seasons 2 and 3. If you were playing a season 0,1,2 scenario there is no fame "box" but it still exists. What I personally do is draw a line vertically and split the box into two, one for fame and one prestige like in season 3+. Prestige points work differently by the season's scenarios. Seasons 1 and 2 have two missions per faction, and no point for just finishing. Seasons 0, 3 and 4 have only one mission per faction, and one point for finishing.

2. Yes, you need a way to deal with swarms. Wands of burning hands, acid flasks, alchemist's fire. Even if the swarm is flying, if it can hurt a player, then its 'on the ground', as in it occupies the entire 5' cube of the space. There is a new neck-slot item in Ultimate Equipment that makes your weapons work against swarms. Cantrips (like any spell) only work if they deal non-direct damage.

3. Not sure what scenario it is, so no insight on this.

4. Going over the time happens. We try to schedule all our game days locally with 5 hour slots, as it is much more reasonable than the usual 4 hour ones. Also, how many players was your game? 6 takes considerably longer than 4, in general.

5. Death happens. In this situation where the player has lost multiple characters before level 3/4 then my inclination is to think either (a) he is having a particularly tough GM run his games, or (b) the player himself is quite reckless regardless of the character he plays. Also, does he play characters with 10 CON? I have seen this happening more and more locally, and I can't stress enough how much of a bad idea this is for PFS. 12 minimum, strongly consider putting your favored class bonus on HP every time! Otherwise, I do not feel bad when you die.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

For the Chronicle Sheet layout, must've been an older scenario. Having separate boxes for Fame and Prestige, and getting 1 of your points from the main mission, are both newer things. What scenario was it?

Swarms? Ha! Wait till you fight a Worm That Walks. ;) Seriously though, swarms are one of those things you have to be ready for. And like everything else you have to be ready for, it wrecks "freshies" who can't afford to be ready for everything yet. I've been at a table where we actually had to run away from a spider swarm because no one had countermeasures.

Regarding dying before being able to be raised: If someone's dying that often (his 3rd?) then something's up. Either his local GM(s) is/are playing too rough (or potentially buffing encounters, or nerfing PCs due to poor grasp of the rules, or any number of things), or the player has insufficient system mastery to build a professional adventurer, or they just happen to play the most killer scenarios at the wrong times. But the point it, that kind of death rate is not the norm.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

Comment withdrawn

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

The plot thickens...

Liberty's Edge

No one in the group could afford a clasp of swarm bane or whatever it's called.

I had bought a want of cure light wounds. Since everyone says that is a 'must have' for everyone. I could have bought a wand of burning hands, but that wasn't what was recommended to me.

I was the only caster in the group. As a first level sorc, I only know two 1st level spells (grease and mage armor). Some GM's going off the ambiguous wording and a quote from JJ saying that ray of frost and/or acid splash can damage a swarm. I don't know the details.

The swarms were attacking us from beside a rope bridge or the open stairway. So the GM ruled that there was nothing to break the vial against to hit them. I think that was how he worded it anyway. He did seem to fudge things to let us get past an encounter that would have been a mission ender otherwise.

We did run away, healed up, and went back 3 times. But there was no other way to get in and complete the mission.

As far as the repeat dying not being normal, like I said it was at another table and I don't have any details. I've only been to 3 events and I've heard this twice, so I thought I'd bring it up.

"... I have seen this happening more and more locally, and I can't stress enough how much of a bad idea this is for PFS. 12 minimum, strongly consider putting your favored class bonus on HP every time!..."
This gets back to my statement about giving more direction to newbs. I think both of the pre-gen characters that I have been shown had 10 con and neither of them had anything to hurt a swarm. A new player doesn't necessarily have anything else to go by to know about that if no one will tell them.

I can't remember the name of the module. I remember he said it was not one of the new ones. It was clearing out a burned out temple that had been infested by a cult of the god of accidental deaths. It was a 3 level dungeon full of traps. I think the NPC's last name was Hustevan or something like that. I can look up the scenario name when I get home.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

I guess I will have to withdraw my allegation... I forgot about that scenario. Yep, 2 flying swarms at Tier 1-2. Dang, that's worse that the Tier 3-4 & 6-7 opponents.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I think swarms against a bunch of newbies would be a situation where I might change up my GMing style a tad. For instance, I usually don't bother noting the GP rewards related to each encounter, since they get the lump sum at the end anyway. But if I thought they were going to need it in order to buy alchemist's fires for a future swarm encounter, I'd let them know so they could say "Hey! Let's go spend that gold we found!" and therefore have an "out".

The Exchange ****

My PFS Lavode De'Morcaine wrote:

...trimming down to what nosig wants to comment on....

"... I have seen this happening more and more locally, and I can't stress enough how much of a bad idea this is for PFS. 12 minimum, strongly consider putting your favored class bonus on HP every time!..."
This gets back to my statement about giving more direction to newbs and swarms. I think both of the pre-gen characters that I have been shown had 10 con and neither of them had anything to hurt a swarm. A new player doesn't necessarily have anything else to go by to know about that if no one will tell them.
...trimed down ....

12 minimum CON, .... is very much a matter of opinion. My opinion differs. I've heard this sense LG days, and almost never have a PC with more than a 10. The only PCs I've had die had CONs above 10. But this is derailing this thread - we have lots of other threads where we have discussed this.

SO... take all advice (even mine) from the board with a grain of salt.
likely scenario:

the scenario was likely Among the Dead

Liberty's Edge

CRobledo wrote:
... 4. Going over the time happens. We try to schedule all our game days locally with 5 hour slots, as it is much more reasonable than the usual 4 hour ones. Also, how many players was your game? 6 takes considerably longer than 4, in general...

There were 5 players.

1/2elf TWF rogue pre-gen (players 1st session)
1/2ling TWF rogue (I think players 3rd session)
1/2orc barbarian 2nd level (players 4th session)
1/2orc ranger (players 1st session)
1/2elf sorcerer celestial (players 3rd session in PFS but I've played in home campaigns before)

There was a lot of time taken by going over the possible actions. So I wasn't too worried about the going over, but it seemed like it would have been a lot even if we had been cruising along.

*

No it's the correct scenario and played at the correct level... it was certainly

description paragraph from Warhorn (local sign-up site) so if you don't want ANY spoilers, don't read:
1-49 Among the Dead (1-7) (Pathfinder Society - Pathfinder RPG)
By Joshua J. Frost. Several years ago, a Taldan Zyphus cult took over a famous Oppara opera house, murdered a Pathfinder, and turned dozens of Taldor's wealthiest citizens into the walking dead. The Pathfinder Society has finally tracked down their hideout and sends you to Oppara for one purpose: revenge. Can you face the servants of Golarion's god of accidents unharmed or will you find yourself among Zyphus's cursed souls? A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for 1st to 7th level characters (Tiers: 1–2, 3–4, and 6–7).

The NPC...:
Joined a cult that was ordered to set up a bunch of traps in its own temple and then kill each other. He doesn't warn you about any of the traps that haven't already been set off, so he's kind of useless, and he did "betray" the Pathfinder society previously by joining the cult.

Regarding swarms (SERIOUS SPOILERS HERE, DON'T READ IF YOU HAVEN'T PLAYED OR GMED SCENARIO 1-49):
I first played this at T3-4 and later at T1-2 (for no credit). There is a rickety bridge to cross right as you go down to the 2nd level of the dungeon; in T3-4 a poltergeist guards the bridge and throws rocks at people, this isn't too bad... but in T1-2 it's two (_2_!) bat swarms... that's 2d6 damage per round to everyone they fly on, plus BLEED, plus distraction. When I played at 1-2 it was very close to a party wipe; I am sure the GM hedged/fudged a little because we got into the painting room and (I cringed when) our NPC cleric opened the far door and set off the burning hands trap... It didn't kill the bats, but he had it scare them out of the room a bit... So the ONLY conscious character could drag our bodies into the cliff/climbing room and stabilize us. The conscious character was a rogue with no UMD, the rest of the party was an Alchemist, a Druid (melee style) and a Kyra (NPC cleric). If the Alchemist hadn't had a potion of Cure Light on his person for the rogue to pour down someone's throat we'd have died/failed because our wands of cure light were useless for getting people conscious (my druid now always carries a few potions).

TLDR: There are 2 bat swarms in this scenario and it's damn hard for a real 1-2 party.


There are one or two choice difficult scenarios for low-level people in the earlier seasons; many experienced players think of seasons 0-2 as cakewalks, and _mostly_ they are... Play e.g. Scenario 29 and 30 "The Devil We Know pt. 1-2 of 4 if you want some super-easy ones that people think of when they think about season 0-2. (_Destroyed_ one of those with 2 PCs and 1 NPC Valeros at T3-4, it was just silly.)

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Swarms are only immune to weapon damage if the component creatures are, IIRC, diminutive or smaller. Just sayin'.

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Captain, Indiana—Bloomington aka CanisDirus

Just a few suggestions for players, especially at 1st level, who, in the OP's situation, don't want to break a bottle of acid or fire on themselves just to get rid of the swarm:

Core wrote:

Candle, Insectbane, Cost: 1sp

This heavily scented candle smells pleasant to humans and humanoids but is repellent to insects. Non-monstrous vermin will not approach within a 5-foot radius of a burning candle. It burns for 1 hour.
Adventurer's Armory wrote:

Vermin Repellent, Cost: 5gp

This vile-smelling white paste keeps vermin at bay if spread on the skin. Normal-sized (Fine) vermin avoid you. Swarms of vermin must make a DC 15 Fortitude saving throw in order to enter your square. Once applied, vermin repellent remains effective for 4 hours or until you spend 1 round washing it off.

Now, neither of these "kill" the swarms, true, but a party armed with the candles (less than 1gp for a whole party's worth of them) should be able to avoid the swarm that way - I'd hope that a GM won't have the vermin follow the party if they light Insectbane candles and keep going...that kind of goes against all logic. As vermin/swarms aren't intelligent, one would think that PCs "protected" by either of the above would cause the vermin to seek to go elsewhere rather than "actively" seek to pursue/harm the PCs.

Just a few low-cost ideas :)

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Where's that candle from? Your quote box says Core, but it's not from the CRB.

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Captain, Indiana—Bloomington aka CanisDirus

Jiggy wrote:
Where's that candle from? Your quote box says Core, but it's not from the CRB.

Wow, that's a rare "fail" for the d20pfsrd:

This link says Core, but doing a deeper search suggests it might be a thing from "A&E" (which I'm guessing is 3.0/3.5 Arms & Equipment guide). So...nevermind that one!

Good catch Jiggy.

***** Venture-Lieutenant, Georgia—Atlanta aka CRobledo

Vermin Repellent is a great item I myself discovered recently. It is super cheap, and at low levels it can be a lifesaver, all for the low low price of 5g. Which everyone will have after 1 scenario.

***** Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Tucson aka Sir_Wulf

That particular swarm can be among the most challenging of the low-level swarms, especially if the GM rules against the party's jury-rigged attempts to deal with it or drive it off. I've played in games where no one in the party had appropriate gear to address a swarm: Those encounters can get ugly. (One low-level scenario even featured a swarm encounter in the water: No alchemist's fire for them!)

Unfortunately, not every GM is open-minded enough to allow improvised anti-swarm measures. If I were the GM in that particular situation, I would have had the NPC give the PCs a hint of what lay ahead so they could come up with a plan to deal with the swarm. Some parties would even be wise to retreat from the dungeon, purchasing additional items and returning with more effective gear.

Keep in mind, not every encounter exists to be defeated by direct confrontation, especially when the party members are first level. There is no dishonor in tactical retreat. Grab your unconscious allies and get out of there. Return with the firepower needed for the job.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

CanisDirus wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
Where's that candle from? Your quote box says Core, but it's not from the CRB.

Wow, that's a rare "fail" for the d20pfsrd:

This link says Core, but doing a deeper search suggests it might be a thing from "A&E" (which I'm guessing is 3.0/3.5 Arms & Equipment guide). So...nevermind that one!

Good catch Jiggy.

Dang, you had my hopes up! :(

Liberty's Edge

James MacKenzie wrote:

... Some parties would even be wise to retreat from the dungeon, purchasing additional items and returning with more effective gear.

Keep in mind, not every encounter exists to be defeated by direct confrontation, especially when the party members are first level. There is no dishonor in tactical retreat. Grab your unconscious allies and get out of there. Return with the firepower needed for the job.

hmm... now that you mention it. I guess he never actually said it, but I was under the impression, for some unknown reason, that there was time pressure. That we had to get it done today. But that may have just been in my head.

Yeah, we could have gone back for some area effect scroll. I would have been willing to spend the money to blow the money, just to get it done. Not sure if it would have been allowed or if we have enough fame to purchase what was needed. I guess the barb probably could have bought it for me to use.

***** Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Tucson aka Sir_Wulf

CRobledo wrote:
Vermin Repellent is a great item I myself discovered recently. It is super cheap, and at low levels it can be a lifesaver, all for the low low price of 5g. Which everyone will have after 1 scenario.

That is a useful item, but illustrates the importance of coaching new players about items or tactics they may not have heard of. GMs also need to be openminded about creative approaches the players might consider. As an example, there would certainly be some drawbacks to doffing one's cloak, dousing it in oil, then setting it alight as an anti-swarm weapon. I've known GMs who would declare that such activity takes numerous rounds and does little damage, or who claim that the cloak can't harm diminutive creatures. Such narrow interpretations of the rules may discourage creative play.

Liberty's Edge

CanisDirus wrote:
...
Adventurer's Armory wrote:

Vermin Repellent, Cost: 5gp

This vile-smelling white paste keeps vermin at bay if spread on the skin. Normal-sized (Fine) vermin avoid you. Swarms of vermin must make a DC 15 Fortitude saving throw in order to enter your square. Once applied, vermin repellent remains effective for 4 hours or until you spend 1 round washing it off.

Now, neither of these "kill" the swarms, true, but a party armed with the candles (less than 1gp for a whole party's worth of them) should be able to avoid the swarm that way - I'd hope that a GM won't have the vermin follow the party if they light Insectbane candles and keep going...that kind of goes against all logic. As vermin/swarms aren't intelligent, one would think that PCs "protected" by either of the above would cause the vermin to seek to go elsewhere rather than "actively" seek to pursue/harm the PCs.

Just a few low-cost ideas :)

I don't think bats are fine sized. So I don't think it would work against them, but I think I will buy some for other swarms.

***** Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Tucson aka Sir_Wulf

CRobledo wrote:
Vermin Repellent is a great item I myself discovered recently. It is super cheap, and at low levels it can be a lifesaver, all for the low low price of 5g. Which everyone will have after 1 scenario.

Spoiler:
Technically, bat swarms are animal swarms instead of vermin, but the repellent is still a good investment.
Liberty's Edge ***

As mentioned by James/Sir_Wulf, bats are not vermink, so vermin repellant, as useful as it is in other cases, won't work against them.

As a GM for a different scenario demonstrated, when we avoided a spider swarm, and setup a fire blockadfe so they couldn't follow us, the spider swarm was considered to be defeated, and wandered off after a couple of rounds. Probably handled under "Creative Solutions", but the area had a very tight path at one point, and we built a fire in the path, blocking the swarm from getting to where we were.

For a bat swarm, even if you don't have somethign that cvan be used on them, you should be able to use a lit torch as a deterent.

If you look up Painlord's profile, there should be a set of very useful threads he started about things like items and options a PC should have available at certain levels, like when to be worried about more than Slashing & Bludgeoning DR, swarm deterents, ranged weapons, etc.

Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Fresno aka Sarta

I've always softballed bat swarm attacks at low tiers. Unless compelled, bat swarms do not hunt down humans and devour them in nature. Ask our players who live in Austen.

However, if you rile a swarm, they will take a couple of passes at you before they get their bearings and fly away.

Spoiler:
This is the tactic described in MotFF.

This isn't the case in Amongst the Dead, where the bats are trapped and the intended means of dealing with them is to simply run through the room as fast as possible. As such, they should be thought of more as a natural obstacle and less as a foe to defeat. If a party is getting hung up on this, the GM should probably hint that the players may want to simply get away.

Otherwise, I do let players "sprinkle" alchemist fire and acid flasks on flying swarms ala holy water on incorporeal creatures. This causes splash damage to the PC, but can help.

Liberty's Edge

Will Johnson wrote:
... This isn't the case in Amongst the Dead, where the bats are trapped and the intended means of dealing with them is to simply run through the room as fast as possible. As such, they should be thought of more as a natural obstacle and less as a foe to defeat...

We considered that, but then won't everyone take 1 or 2 automatic hits for 2d6 damage? Most of our 1st level characters were going unconsious each time they got attacked. I think the GM may have started fudging the rolls to let us stay upright a few rounds.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

My PFS Lavode De'Morcaine wrote:
We considered that, but then won't everyone take 1 or 2 automatic hits for 2d6 damage? Most of our 1st level characters were going unconsious each time they got attacked. I think the GM may have started fudging the rolls to let us stay upright a few rounds.

Bat swarms (if that's indeed what they were) deal 1d6 damage. If they both attack the same PC (can they even do that?) then that's 2d6 damage, and an above-average roll could potentially drop a PC in one round. But we're talking about a really high damage roll against a mid- to low-HP target with both swarms ganging up on them. In any other circumstance, it's going to take at least a couple of rounds to drop even a 1st-level PC.

EDIT: This isn't meant to say they're not still a real threat (two bat swarms make a CR 4 encounter, if I'm not mistaken), just that having a PC drop each round seems... off.

Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Fresno aka Sarta

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Yup, I've made this mistake myself. Swarms only deal damage if they engulf someone at the end of their movement. Swarms also cannot occupy the same space as another swarm.

This means that worst case scenario, with the entire party clumping up, the most anyone would take per round is 1d6 (and a point of bleed if round two).

Grand Lodge *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Tales Subscriber

I remember when I ran it the first time. I had slot zero gamed it at tier 3-4 and the encounter had burned itself into my memory so that I threw the tier 3-4 AND the tier 1-2 monsters at them - ooops

Still - even this din't cause fatalities. Your helper - who indeed is a hindrance in 90% of cases as he 'remembers afterwards' should give players a hint - get trought this room as quickly as possible.
So players just need to get through quickly. The swarms shouldn't attack the same person - that means half the max damage. 1d6 shouldn't drop anyone. Worst case a wizard with low CON should be on zero - enough to tumbe into the next room.

But if you stay and fight - then it becomes ugly if you don't have the right spells. If both swarms are allowed to attack the same character(s) then it becomes deadly.

But I absolutely agree that swarms can be killers for new players.

A) they often don't know what hurts them
B) they try to fight - meaning they get damaged all the time
C) they aren't equipped
D) they don't know yet the only other option - RUN

But you will encounter swarms often enough that players learn - quickly.

*

Jiggy wrote:
(two bat swarms make a CR 4 encounter, if I'm not mistaken)

The mod lists 2x bat swarms as a CR 2 encounter... (Not saying it's right, just that that's what's in the book).

Will Johnson wrote:

Yup, I've made this mistake myself. Swarms only deal damage if they engulf someone at the end of their movement. Swarms also cannot occupy the same space as another swarm.

This means that worst case scenario, with the entire party clumping up, the most anyone would take per round is 1d6 (and a point of bleed if round two).

Do you have a developer quote on that somewhere and/or RAW of it? (I'm not trying to imply a "you're wrong" here, but if I tell a GM his swarms can't stack, I'd like to be able to back it up... it certainly would make this encounter at least MUCH less lethal.

And lastly, regarding my particular experience: the bat swarms followed us into the next room, so just running through didn't help.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Odea wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
(two bat swarms make a CR 4 encounter, if I'm not mistaken)
The mod lists 2x bat swarms as a CR 2 encounter... (Not saying it's right, just that that's what's in the book).

Then it was either calculated incorrectly (and by "incorrectly", I mean "with the belief that two of a creature have the same CR as one of that creature", since a single bat swarm is already CR 2) or else the encounter's final CR was adjusted down due to favorable circumstances (such as, perhaps, the ability to just run past and not actually fight to the death).

Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Fresno aka Sarta

Odea wrote:
Do you have a developer quote on that somewhere and/or RAW of it? (I'm not trying to imply a "you're wrong" here, but if I tell a GM his swarms can't stack, I'd like to be able to back it up... it certainly would make this encounter at least MUCH less lethal.

It's a bit of RAW and a bit of logic. If two separate flocks of geese intersect and merge, how many flocks of geese are you left with? One.

Here's the RAW on swarms from the Bestiary:
Larger swarms are represented by multiples of single swarms. The area occupied by a large swarm is completely shapeable, though the swarm usually remains in contiguous squares.

So, since extra big swarms spread out over multiple squares, rather than become double-strength super-swarms, it follows that two bat swarms can merge to fill 8 hexes, but will not be able to overlap to do double damage.

Now, that's not to say that two different types of swarms couldn't intersect and I'd probably allow two swarm attacks if two swarms converge on a sized large creature.

Odea wrote:
And lastly, regarding my particular experience: the bat swarms followed us into the next room, so just running through didn't help.

I can't help as much with this. The text of the scenario does state that the accepted solution to this room is to run through it as quickly as possible. As a GM, I have interpreted it to mean that the bats do not follow. Evidently there is table variance.

Liberty's Edge

Ok, this was our ignorance then.

We thought each one was doing 2d6, bleed, and save or nausiated.
We also thought, since it was auto damage to the area, that if we went through the area we would take damage. So in total we assumed that everyone would take 4d6, 2 bleeds, and 2 save vs nausia. So that would mean just a big pile of bodies in the middle of the bridge.

oops.

Grand Lodge ****

This is why the First Steps introduction to PFS should have had an encounter where the party needed to RUN!
Pathfinders *shouldn't be* invincible killing machines who can down anything they walk into.

It is simultaneously a pulpy adventure trope and realistic that eventually the adventurers will come across something they can't damage. Real adventurers realize that using brains instead of brawn, or just plain fleeing can be viable tactics too.

Frostfur Captives:
This is why I love the Ice Troll in Frostfur Captives and how much it teaches newer players "Not Everything Should Be Fought"

Dark Archive ***

You can just color spray the swarms as they arent mindless, then walk past while they are stunned and twitching on the floor (or you could acid them as the GM cant say no when the swarms are stunned on the floor)

The Exchange ****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
KestlerGunner wrote:

This is why the First Steps introduction to PFS should have had an encounter where the party needed to RUN!

Pathfinders *shouldn't be* invincible killing machines who can down anything they walk into.

It is simultaneously a pulpy adventure trope and realistic that eventually the adventurers will come across something they can't damage. Real adventurers realize that using brains instead of brawn, or just plain fleeing can be viable tactics too.

** spoiler omitted **

I have seen more than one First Steps Part I just run away from the last encounter.

First Steps Run Away!:
Troupe of performers doing Hellscape in the street. Duck into ally to go around and ... roll inititive! Fog springs up to fill the ally ahead...
Player A: "I'm tapped on spells for today - I run back to the street where all the people are."
Player B: "heck, I'm still down 2 Dex from the damned Imp. Yes, I can say he's damned - cause he's a devil!"
Player C: "Outta here."
Player D: "Ah guys! Come on we can take 'em!"
Player B: "Take who? can't even see them... all you hear is my footsteps away from here. Catch you at the lodge!"
Player D in sullen voice: "I charge ... back to the street!"

Ledford: "hay!... where'd everybody go?"

Dark Archive ****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Modules Subscriber

Kestler: Not every party should.

Just the ones we expect to succeed when on deadly ground.

Liberty's Edge

Caderyn wrote:
You can just color spray the swarms as they arent mindless, then walk past while they are stunned and twitching on the floor (or you could acid them as the GM cant say no when the swarms are stunned on the floor)

There are a lot of spells that can handle them. The only spellcaster we had was my 1st level sorc. The only spell he had that might or might not be able to affect them (depending upon GM call) was acid splash.

Liberty's Edge

KestlerGunner wrote:

This is why the First Steps introduction to PFS should have had an encounter where the party needed to RUN!

Pathfinders *shouldn't be* invincible killing machines who can down anything they walk into...

That we knew. We did run. Healed up. Came back. Run again. Healed up. Came back...

In that module there was no way around the encounter (or if there is we couldn't find it). And we didn't know we had a chance of surviving if we just ran past.

Also, I've heard of the "First Steps Intro" adventures. But I haven't seen them run at any of the 3 places in my area that do PFS. But I may have just missed them.

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, California—San Diego

Odea wrote:

Do you have a developer quote on that somewhere and/or RAW of it? (I'm not trying to imply a "you're wrong" here, but if I tell a GM his swarms can't stack, I'd like to be able to back it up... it certainly would make this encounter at least MUCH less lethal.

And lastly, regarding my particular experience: the bat swarms followed us into the next room, so just running through didn't help.

The general rule

core rules 'moving through squares' in the combat section page 193 wrote:
Ending Your Movement: You can't end your movement in the same square as another creature unless it is helpless

The specifics of how swarms break the general rule

Bestisary - Appendix 3 - page 313 wrote:
In order to attack, it moves into an opponent's space, which provokes an attack of opportunity. It can occupy the same space as a creature of any size, since it crawls all over its prey.

Since a swarm can 'occupy the same space as a creature of any size' it can then occupy the same space as another swarm by RAW.

It does appear that the intent is that this not happen since later in the swarm section is the following:

more from the Bestiary wrote:
Larger swarms are represented by multiples of single swarms. The area occupied by a large swarm is completely shapeable, though the swarm usually remains in contiguous squares

Grand Lodge ****

nosig wrote:

I have seen more than one First Steps Part I just run away from the last encounter.

** spoiler omitted **

And if you try and tell me those players hadn't already played first steps and were meta-gaming I wouldn't believe you.

Dark Archive

sveden wrote:


And if you try and tell me those players hadn't already played first steps and were meta-gaming I wouldn't believe you.

First Steps was my first PFS scenario. My character was very interested in both devils and illusions - he just wanted to watch the dang play!

Grand Lodge ****

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First Steps:
It's Ledford the Halfling Barbarian! LEDFORD! It isn't metagaming to run away from him! Even his moustache has a +5 racial bonus to intimidate!

I love First Steps part 1 and I love the fact that these newbie pathfinders were keen to embark on a career of trekking into the deepest jungles and climbing the highest mountains but an alleyway is way too scary for them! It's like what would happen if Rincewind became a Pathfinder.

Liberty's Edge ***

3 people marked this as a favorite.
KestlerGunner wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

I love First Steps part 1 and I love the fact that these newbie pathfinders were keen to embark on a career of trekking into the deepest jungles and climbing the highest mountains but an alleyway is way too scary for them! It's like what would happen if Rincewind became a Pathfinder.

With the Luggage, Ledford would be no problem. Without the Luggage? Run away!

Grand Lodge ****

"Why can't I have an Inventory Window like everybody else?"

Liberty's Edge **

Alleyways are lovely for a Fire elementalist :)

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