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In Service to Lore...Two Runs, Two Nearly Avoided Party Wipes


Pathfinder Society GM Discussion

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**

Am I the only one running into an issue with players being KO'd a lot in that final encounter?

The sorceress has color spray, and these are tight quarters. My last session, it KO'd 3 out 5 players (and that's with her staying 5' back to avoid AoO). 4 baddies against 2 remaining players can be scary.

In both instances, I had to really come up with convincing ways to 'hold back' without breaking rules or making NPCs look totally stupid.

Am I just a vicious GM, or are others having issues?

Grand Lodge *

yes, I have seen this run 4x now and there are some serious issues with this scenario imo.
1) starting out obscuring mist directly on the party with these tight quarters means usually only the guy first in line gets to go toe to toe with Ledford(Barbarian) and no one else gets to do squat but heal/support.
2.) if you back out of the obscuring mist, you get hit with color spray until the odds are not in your favor. (at least this is what happened the 1 time we tried it)
3.) for level 1, Ledford 1 hits a great deal of people
4.) Healer + Barbarian is a lethal combination at level 1 when you basically lock down the range to useless with obscuring mist.

what I keep seeing is the GMs having to TPK the party or fudge the numbers/tactics. Everytime I have played though Ledford has 1 shotted the guy in front within the first 2 rounds. Hes got a 40-45% chance to hit most level 1s and his dmg is around 5 to 14. so he 1 shots a large majority of classes unless he rolls a 1.

So my very first pathfinder game, we backup out of the obscuring mist. they advance and the sorcerer runs up and color sprays us. 3 of the 5 fail. TPK

2nd time, is not memorable but I remember it being a grind where 1 guy did all the dmg.

3rd (at DragonCon) GM did not cast obscuring mist and only color sprayed 1 person at a time. It was a balanced fight trading blows back and forth while the healers worked their mojo. It lasted for like 8 rounds and at the end, 1 person had fallen unconcious from damage and 1 had been color sprayed for 7 turns. We pulled it off and it felt like the epic fight it should be.

4th time, same GM that TPK'd us 1st time, he drops obscuring mist ... I of course warn people we can't back out of mist, or be color sprayed into TPK. So we are forced to stand in the narrow corridors while our fighter dukes it out with ledford. round 1, Ledford runs up and nails the fighter with 18 AC for 12 dmg and hes staggered at 0. 2nd round, he advances and swings at the ranger... then the GM has to immediately go into fudging the dice to not wipe the party. he states Ledford falls out of rage and so he only hits for like 6 dmg. 2 points shy of downing the ranger. so in reality. 2 rounds, and we were essentially wiped.
..Now, you don't drop obscuring mist and my oracle fears. Even if Ledford resist, hes still shaken for 1 round so -2 to hit. Ranger shoots an arrow and possible puts Ledford close to unconscious or the druid sleeps him. The whole point is we have plenty of options until you use 2 powerful spells that are setup by a narrow corridor and they get the jump on us.

TLDR; the scenario's last fight is not balanced the way its written. I would bet if the GM runs it as written, it has around a 40-50% TPK ratio. Wonderful way to welcome in new folks to the game.

thats my 2 cp

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

2 people marked this as a favorite.

If memory serves, this isn't exactly a battle to the death - the NPCs just want to rob you. So my advice to GMs running this would be that if there's a "TPK", you steal the most easily-accessible item of worth from each PC, and have them wake up in the infirmary of the Grand Lodge with a very angry Ambrus Valsin who then gives them a lecture about how you could have been dead and Pathfinders need to be more prepared/tactical/whatever than that and you've made a laughingstock of the Society, etc. That way the PCs live (without any serious repercussions), but they still learn that it IS possible to "lose" and the stakes can be high - "Next time it might be in the wilderness where you'd be left to die!"

Just one idea.

Qadira ***

5 people marked this as a favorite.

realizing that in the above examples the judge is not running the encounter as written.

Halli tactics:

During Combat Halli keeps her distance from the fight,
preferring to use acidic ray from range. If she is threatened
in melee, she uses color spray or her scroll of burning hands
to eliminate any foes in range. If somehow depleted of
spells or spell-like abilities, Halli resorts to her crossbow.

the sorcerer would only use color spray if the PCs close with her. and she doesn't close with them.... keeping back (and in the mist, out of sight of the PCs). She can't see them, they can't see her. The only way she would color spray is if the PCs drop the other three bandits (as they are in front of her).

edit: in fact re-reading the discription of the encounter just raises other questions. HOW did the sorcerer, from the back of the enemy party, in a 5-10 foot wide ally, color spray people she can't see, past friends she can only see some of? HOW did she even know she should? Heck, I could see it working like this....

Ledford charges out of the mist and cuts down the PC fighter. A moment of silence ensues....

Halli, thinking things have gone bad for that stupid mustasge with feet, pops a color spray around Deandre (the only ally she can see) and sprays... Larkin and Ledford. The rippleing sheet of color slids over the downed fighter, stopping just short of the Oricle PC moving forward to stablize the fighter.

Larkin never even twitches - falls like a rock (rolls a 10 will save).
Ledford gets cut off in mid giggle - (rolls a 6 save) and falls to the sludge in the ally.

Halli says "ha! got something!"

PCs look at each other... "what just happened?"


Spellbane wrote:
4th time, same GM that TPK'd us 1st time, he drops obscuring mist ... I of course warn people we can't back out of mist, or be color sprayed into TPK. So we are forced to stand in the narrow corridors while our fighter dukes it out with ledford. round 1, Ledford runs up and nails the fighter with 18 AC for 12 dmg and hes staggered at 0. 2nd round, he advances and swings at the ranger... then the GM has to immediately go into...

Wait.....

The 4th time you ran this you warned the party about what heppened on one of your earlier runs?

Before it happened?

I hope I read that wrong.

Qadira ***

Spellbane wrote:

yes, I have seen this run 4x now and there are some serious issues with this scenario imo.

1) starting out obscuring mist directly on the party with these tight quarters means usually only the guy first in line gets to go toe to toe with Ledford(Barbarian) and no one else gets to do squat but heal/support.
2.) if you back out of the obscuring mist, you get hit with color spray until the odds are not in your favor. (at least this is what happened the 1 time we tried it)
3.) for level 1, Ledford 1 hits a great deal of people
4.) Healer + Barbarian is a lethal combination at level 1 when you basically lock down the range to useless with obscuring mist.

...snipping experiences...

1) Two PCs can fight Ledford at first... though the PCs don't start in the mist - it's radius only covers the bad guys. Basicly Ledford has to advance out of the mist to attack - and so can be confronted by up to 2 PCs in melee, and the rest with missiles/spells. Realizing that some of the PCs may have readied actions.....

2) PCs don't start in the mist - the radius is not large enough to cover them. IF they are in the mist - backing out of it puts them out of sight of the bandits. The color spray wont reach (15 foot range, fired from the back of the bandits - thru the bandits? - and the sorcerer CAN'T SEE THE PCS.

3) Ledford get's one ... maybe two good swings. Without a crit - the PCs can easily get 3 melees on him in a round. if they only have one Melee dude - they can always just run. One round and they are out of the ally. Though, with all the PCs on him at once, Ledford has problems.

4) Correct.... wait, you were saying the bandits "Healer"? You realize that she only has one Cure Light Wounds right? and not channel energy. And she is not likely to "waste" the CLW on Ledford - she'll save it for herself.

Qadira ***

Thefurmonger wrote:
Spellbane wrote:
4th time, same GM that TPK'd us 1st time, he drops obscuring mist ... I of course warn people we can't back out of mist, or be color sprayed into TPK. So we are forced to stand in the narrow corridors while our fighter dukes it out with ledford. round 1, Ledford runs up and nails the fighter with 18 AC for 12 dmg and hes staggered at 0. 2nd round, he advances and swings at the ranger... then the GM has to immediately go into...

Wait.....

The 4th time you ran this you warned the party about what heppened on one of your earlier runs?

Before it happened?

I hope I read that wrong.

worst part is he gave BAD advice. Really BAD.


While I agree totally.

How do the baddies know the PCs left the mist? the sorc in in the back? (not to mention the whole "Mist does not actually reach the PCs thing, maybe the sorc ran forward first...?)

Bad advice is not cheating.

Giving Advice based on running the game before is CHEATING.

You would have been gone from my tabe the second it happened.

Qadira ***

Thefurmonger wrote:

While I agree totally.

How do the baddies know the PCs left the mist? the sorc in in the back? (not to mention the whole "Mist does not actually reach the PCs thing, maybe the sorc ran forward first...?)

Bad advice is not cheating.

Giving Advice based on running the game before is CHEATING.

You would have been gone from my tabe the second it happened.

nah, giving that advice I'd say he's working for Deandre too. He's on the side of the bandits. LOL!

Deandre's insturctions - "just keep 'em bunched up in the ally. You'll get your usual split, and you can claim to have been dropped by magic just like the others...."

**

Quote:
If memory serves, this isn't exactly a battle to the death - the NPCs just want to rob you. So my advice to GMs running this would be that if there's a "TPK", you steal the most easily-accessible item of worth from each PC, and have them wake up in the infirmary of the Grand Lodge with a very angry Ambrus Valsin who then gives them a lecture about how you could have been dead and Pathfinders need to be more prepared/tactical/whatever than that and you've made a laughingstock of the Society, etc. That way the PCs live (without any serious repercussions), but they still learn that it IS possible to "lose" and the stakes can be high - "Next time it might be in the wilderness where you'd be left to die!"

This is certainly an option, Jiggy, as are a few other similar ideas.....but, my biggest concern is leaving a bad taste in the player's mouth. While much better than a full blown TPK and reroll, ending an Intro module (which is usually run on brand new players) with something like a lecture, or even them just getting KO'd and healed up by the paladin of the Silver Crusade (just as an example) just seems to give the wrong "Welcome to PFS" message.

I've always said that if you put a player party versus a group of NPCs of the same level with decent feats/spells, your PCs are going to have a decent (25-50%) chance of wipe ...especially in PFS where teams may not be well balanced. This scenario is designed to be run with 4 PCs, so it's not like the PCs may even have a numerical advantage (and if they do, that just makes more targets for color spray).

So, only my fighter was left standing for quite some time....He and Ledford traded blows but Ledford won because he had 5 more hps with rage (not all fighters are optimized for hps, either).

Qadira ***

JCServant wrote:

Am I the only one running into an issue with players being KO'd a lot in that final encounter?

The sorceress has color spray, and these are tight quarters. My last session, it KO'd 3 out 5 players (and that's with her staying 5' back to avoid AoO). 4 baddies against 2 remaining players can be scary.

In both instances, I had to really come up with convincing ways to 'hold back' without breaking rules or making NPCs look totally stupid.

Am I just a vicious GM, or are others having issues?

JCServant - do a run thru with minis on a map without any players there. Use the 4 Iconic PCs... and realize the spells that the bad guys cast to kick off the combat. And be sure to read the printed tactics. The Mist REALLY messes up the BANDITS. They can't see the PCs then. Larkin can't get past Ledford - who is fighting all the PCs. Halli want to shoot, but she can't see past Deandre (or maybe Deandre & Larkin). Meantime, Ledford - who is really tough - is getting hammered by all the PCs, Fighter in front, backed by a cleic, supported by a rogue (trying to flank Ledford?), with a wizard safe to cast in the rear where the Bandits can't hurt him.

Qadira ***

JCServant wrote:
Quote:
If memory serves, this isn't exactly a battle to the death - the NPCs just want to rob you. So my advice to GMs running this would be that if there's a "TPK", you steal the most easily-accessible item of worth from each PC, and have them wake up in the infirmary of the Grand Lodge with a very angry Ambrus Valsin who then gives them a lecture about how you could have been dead and Pathfinders need to be more prepared/tactical/whatever than that and you've made a laughingstock of the Society, etc. That way the PCs live (without any serious repercussions), but they still learn that it IS possible to "lose" and the stakes can be high - "Next time it might be in the wilderness where you'd be left to die!"

This is certainly an option, Jiggy, as are a few other similar ideas.....but, my biggest concern is leaving a bad taste in the player's mouth. While much better than a full blown TPK and reroll, ending an Intro module (which is usually run on brand new players) it Just seems to give the wrong "Welcome to PFS" message.

I've always said that if you put a player party versus a group of NPCs of the same level with decent feats/spells, your PCs are going to have a decent (25-50%) chance of wipe ...especially in PFS where teams may not be well balanced. This scenario is designed to be run with 4 PCs, so it's not like the PCs may even have a numerical advantage (and if they do, that just makes more targets for color spray).

So, only my fighter was left standing for quite some time....He and Ledford traded blows but Ledford won because he had 5 more hps with rage (not all fighters are optimized for hps, either).

If you are running it and it looks like Ledford is going to "Chop" all the PCs... have Halli 'spray him (or him and Larkin). then complain about the "Tactics as written. Stupid writers! having the Sorcer use color spray when she can't SEE the target!"

**

I'm not sure I'm convinced of that. That's presuming Ledford gets initiative and moves right up to the party and chokes things up.

That's depending a lot of dice/initiative order and GM following startegy a certain way to keep the party alive. It also means you have to play the NPCs as if they have no tactical sense..."This is the first time this criminal group has pulled a hit like this, but Deandre and her thugs have planned their tactics."

With that being said, we know GMs can always run character suboptimally to make a battle a lot easier...and I guess that's pretty much what has to happen here to give the PC's a reliable chance to win. I just wish that the author wrote that on the side or something if that was going to be the case.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

JCServant wrote:
This is certainly an option, Jiggy, as are a few other similar ideas.....but, my biggest concern is leaving a bad taste in the player's mouth. While much better than a full blown TPK and reroll, ending an Intro module (which is usually run on brand new players) with something like a lecture, or even them just getting KO'd and healed up by the paladin of the Silver Crusade (just as an example) just seems to give the wrong "Welcome to PFS" message.

It would definitely require the right "spin" on it. Do it right, and they'll be eager to come back stronger and prove to themselves that they can handle it.

Qadira ***

JCServant wrote:

I'm not sure I'm convinced of that. That's presuming Ledford gets initiative and moves right up to the party and chokes things up.

That's depending a lot of dice/initiative order and GM following startegy a certain way to keep the party alive.

bolding mine.

Right. If Ledford gets Initiative and closes (full move of 30' puts him in contact with the PCs in a bottleneck, Ledford in the 5' section, the PCs in the 10'... realizing that he has to move out of the mist on the surprize round so there is no attack then). Then Ledford attacks - if he hits he does 1d10+6 with the Power attack... average is 11-12. He is likely to drop a PC. then he gets to face the rest of the PCs... with no help.
Larkin can throw a dagger (from behind Ledford)? Or is he still in the mist? None of the other bandits can even see anything. So it's Ledford against the PCs. Sure he can "chop all the PCs" - but really, played AS WRITEN, it's not likely, and that's still part of the game. just make sure the "GM following startegy a certain way", or as I say it, "running the adventure as written".

**

Um, Nosig, you're relying an aweful lot on initiative falling a certain way to "Run the adventure as written" as you put it. In my group, 2 PCs had initiative before the bad guys.

**

Three of the four NPCs are scripted to move in, two in the first round. "Larkin waits for the signal before rushing in to strike the first available PC with his rapier."

This is pretty much the way I ran it too. Both the barb and rogue moving forward, the cleric doing her faith spells for the first round or two as scripted. The problem was, my party was already moved up into the larger 10x25 (or 10x30) area. They didn't immediately move to melee because of the fog, but they did move into the larger area. Two of them moved first. Then the NPCs got to go. (Everyone got to play in the surprise round if they recognzied the NPCs from earlier)

You're not going to tell me that the feasibility of this encounter being reliably survivable is contingent on initiative rolls, are ya?

**

The funny thing is, even the way you describe it, the PCs would be at a disadvantage as well. Only one PC has a clear shot at the barbarian. The 2nd melee range PC would be attacking around a hard corner...so +4 AC for Barbarian on that attack. Ranged PCs have to shoot through someone (+4 AC for barb) plus friend is engaged in melee with targe (-4 penalty without feat).

At this level, those +4 ACs really hurt and not every party has sleep memorized (A spell like that would make all the difference). And if you don't take down barbarian boy fast, there's no reason why his cleric wouldn't walk up and heal him. Sorceress chick has 4 1st levels spells which can be used on Magic Missles (It says she prefers to use Acidic Ray, but we would presume that's when she actually has a decent shot...but at her own cumlative -8 penalty for shooting past her barbarian friend, she would logically use up her MM's first.)

Qadira ***

Four (or more) PCs move into an ally and encounter 4 people ahead of them. If they go in the surprize round they ... attack? what? WHY?

spoiler from Scenario:

"If any PCs made their Perception or Sense Motive
checks to notice the thugs watching them as they traveled
about the city, they recognize one of their attackers just
before the ambush, realizing that they’ve seen the thug’s
face before. These PCs may act in the surprise round."

(Surpise Round)
if the PC wins Inititive and "...realizing that they’ve seen the thug’s face before." they get to act, and they do what? attack? Really? Do they normally attack people they have seen before? Or maybe they just move up to the Bandits... that is possible. "'Hey, haven't I seen you guys before?' I'm spending my surprise action to close with them. Now they get a surprise round to act."

if the PC looses Inititive they don't go in the surprise round.

but heck, how would you describe it?

Silver Crusade *

Having just run through this as a player (my first Society game), here's my 2cp.

6 member party. Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Paladin, Rogue, Wizard.

Round 1: Halli drops Obscuring Mist. Ledford charges the Paladin. Larkin moves into position. Deandre does something that we can't see. The Druid (adjacent to Ledford) throws out a Storm Burst. GM rules it removes the Obscuring Mist in that that square. Cleric casts Bless. Paladin and Fighter (w/ reach weapon) attack Ledford.

Round 2: Druid continues to Storm Burst to remove mist. Wizard has line of sight on Ledford now and casts Burning Disarm. Ledford succeeds his Reflex Save but chooses to drop to fire damage instead of releasing his axe. Fighter and Paladin move beyond the Mist and the Rogue knifes Larkin. Cleric Channels positive energy. Selective Channel allows him to avoid healing Ledford.

Round 3: Druid continues to clear the Obscuring Mist. Fighter and Paladin down Larkin. Rogue and Wizard use throwing knife and Ray of Frost to down Deandre. Halli flees.

Overall we thought it was a neat little encounter. I think our GM ran it perfectly. Our party worked together and came through the fight pretty much unscathed. The most tense moment was when the Paladin came close to dropping after taking both a hit from Ledford and an Acidic Ray from Halli.

Qadira ***

JCServant wrote:

The funny thing is, even the way you describe it, the PCs would be at a disadvantage as well. Only one PC has a clear shot at the barbarian. The 2nd melee range PC would be attacking around a hard corner...so +4 AC for Barbarian on that attack. Ranged PCs have to shoot through someone (+4 AC for barb) plus friend is engaged in melee with targe (-4 penalty without feat).

At this level, those +4 ACs really hurt and not every party has sleep memorized (A spell like that would make all the difference). And if you don't take down barbarian boy fast, there's no reason why his cleric wouldn't walk up and heal him. Sorceress chick has 4 1st levels spells which can be used on Magic Missles (It says she prefers to use Acidic Ray, but we would presume that's when she actually has a decent shot...but at her own cumlative -8 penalty for shooting past her barbarian friend, she would logically use up her MM's first.)

yeap, the PCs are at a disadvantage. They have to shoot past thier meatshield, who is only supported by one other PC to has a disadvantage to hit Ledford (who has NO ONE to assist him). The party healer can heal the meatshield. The casters can through spells. Shooters can shoot (at a disadvantage).

Compare this with the Bandits.
Ledford in front. Larkin second (he can't see unless Ledford is out of the mist). The rest can't see to do anything. Perhaps channel Negitive energy? That would hit everyone - even the bandits.

AND the PCs can run at any time! One round of movement puts them back in the street where the bandits dare not go.

Qadira ***

Glenn-Gladdion wrote:

Having just run through this as a player (my first Society game), here's my 2cp.

6 member party. Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Paladin, Rogue, Wizard.

Round 1: Halli drops Obscuring Mist. Ledford charges the Paladin. Larkin moves into position. Deandre does something that we can't see. The Druid (adjacent to Ledford) throws out a Storm Burst. GM rules it removes the Obscuring Mist in that that square. Cleric casts Bless. Paladin and Fighter (w/ reach weapon) attack Ledford.

Round 2: Druid continues to Storm Burst to remove mist. Wizard has line of sight on Ledford now and casts Burning Disarm. Ledford succeeds his Reflex Save but chooses to drop to fire damage instead of releasing his axe. Fighter and Paladin move beyond the Mist and the Rogue knifes Larkin. Cleric Channels positive energy. Selective Channel allows him to avoid healing Ledford.

Round 3: Druid continues to clear the Obscuring Mist. Fighter and Paladin down Larkin. Rogue and Wizard use throwing knife and Ray of Frost to down Deandre. Halli flees.

Overall we thought it was a neat little encounter. I think our GM ran it perfectly. Our party worked together and came through the fight pretty much unscathed. The most tense moment was when the Paladin came close to dropping after taking both a hit from Ledford and an Acidic Ray from Halli.

only minor question would be ... how did Ledford charge the Paladin? he can't see him out of the mist, and he doesn't have the move to reach him unless he can charge? But I am just second guessing - as I wasn't there. sounds like you all had fun... which is the important part. And everyone got to do something.

Qadira ***

The biggest problem with this encounter is when the Judge fails to prepare it or runs it different from the way it's written.

My pet peeve with this scenario (which I think is one of the best in PFS)? I wish WHEN the last encounter takes place was under the control of the Judge. That way he can spring it when it best fits into the evening play. And, if it is early in the night, and Ledford get's lucky and KILLS someone out? Return to the Lodge, swap body for new PC and resume play. But I'll continue to "run as written"!

Qadira ***

SOMEONE NEEDS TO NOTE SPOILERS ON THE TITLE PLEASE!

thank you.

**

This is on GM Discussion board, Nosig. It says in the description "This forum is for Pathfinder Society GMs to discuss game play experience and seek clarification on scenarios. Threads in this forum may contain spoilers for players."

And, Nosig, with all due respect, your attitude is a bit, let's say, confrontational and borderline condensending. You make some interesting and valid points, but I'm not going to continue discussing if you are going to continue in that vein.

Grand Lodge *

Thefurmonger wrote:

While I agree totally.

How do the baddies know the PCs left the mist? the sorc in in the back? (not to mention the whole "Mist does not actually reach the PCs thing, maybe the sorc ran forward first...?)

Bad advice is not cheating.

Giving Advice based on running the game before is CHEATING.

You would have been gone from my tabe the second it happened.

I misspoke but I didn't cheat.

I didn't actually tell them to not run out of the mist. No one suggested it and so I didnt either because I knew what this GM would do. If the GM wasn't playing the sorcerer unfairly, running back should be the natural reaction of any seasoned player. After the fight was over, I told them why I didn't suggest running out and how we had wiped.

Thats it for me defending my actions.. my purpose was to give examples and actually add to a discussion about the fight.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I'm actually running this on Saturday. I haven't read the tactics and such in a while, so I'll review it, run it, and let folks know how it goes (if I remember).

Qadira ***

GM-JCServant wrote:

This is on GM Discussion board, Nosig. It says in the description "This forum is for Pathfinder Society GMs to discuss game play experience and seek clarification on scenarios. Threads in this forum may contain spoilers for players."

And, Nosig, with all due respect, your attitude is a bit, let's say, confrontational and borderline condensending. You make some interesting and valid points, but I'm not going to continue discussing if you are going to continue in that vein.

GM-JCServant - I wish to formally say I am sorry if I have offended in any way! I do not intend to sound condensending and I try NEVER to be confrontational. I can only say that it must be the media that we are in, and my love of this scenario getting me excited (typing to fast maybe? and not reviewing my statements before posting?). I will try to do better, and thank you for pointing out the problem (I will review my earlier posts with a more critical eye after I post this).

Many judges in the past have run this poorly. (myself amoung them). Mostly due to time restrictions limiting how much we have gotten to prepare it. I have run/played this more than half a dozen times. Each time better than the last. I was trying to give some insight into what I think I have discovered (by doing it wrong) to those judges coming after me. Did we read the bandits tactics? I beleave that the bandits in this encounter are badly restricted by their tactics, mainly by the use of the mist spell. It limits their actions while leaving the PCs many options. To run without those tactics, or to change them, results in a much harder experience for the PCs.


and thats totally fair. you made it sound like you actually warned them.

It seems that the GM in this case (and a LOT of others) ran the encounter wrong.

the combat is set off by the mist. the mist is centered on the sorc.

At that point the halfling cant charge, hell none of the baddies can even see the pcs. At best the halfling can walk up to the PCs, totally blocking all his team mates. then IF he wins Init with a +2 he can attack one of the 2 people that are in base with him.

If he loses Init.... well thats 2 PCs opening up on him.

Honestly if run as written this is not that bad. Run like you may want to as a GM, and yeah things get messy.

Andoran *****

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I had no problems like this the time I ran it. Not a single PC was scratched, and the enemy party went down like flies. Mostly because Ledford failed his save against getting his weapon greased, completely neutering him.

**

I appreciate it Nosig. Like I said, I believe you make some good points...unfortunately, in neither of my encounters did it work out as you described because the conditions you lay out were not met.

Like I said, the tactics as you describe them rely on Barbarian getting initiative or the party not getting in on the surprise round. In both of my groups, this did not happen. I can certainly see it happening as you describe in other groups...sure. But, I can see a distinct possibility of the party being in the surprise round and moving in first....and, also see other GMs running this differently. (Just because he moves forward on round one, doesn't mean that he doesn't withdraw back if that proves to be terribly bad move for him...after all, the other NPC tactics say they want to melee as well, so I guess they would bark at him to move out the way...and because that's written into their tactics, I do not believe the author really assumed these exact tactics you describe in making this encounter 'balanced')

Requiring the initiative and suprise deal to work out as you describe is rather risky. Again, it didn't happen in my groups. And reading a few other posts, it didn't happen in some of their's. Now, the GMs running those encounters may have missed something from the tactics...sure. I'm just not excited at the prospect of assuming all of the above to avoid endanging the party to such an extent on a 1st level, intro module.

IMHO, a couple of changes makes nueters this down a bit to where a wipe isn't nearly as likely even if the Barbarian doesn't get initiative and stupidly puts himself out front with little support (and I still maintain that even if he does become a chokepoint it doesn't radically tip the scales in a typical party's favor). Another obvious solution is not to allow the PCs a chance to participate in the suprise round where they may put themselves in the more open area losing the not-so-obvious advantage that the choke point would provide later on (I say not so obvious because the party doesn't know the Barbarian will rush up stupidly and create the choke...and it's first level newbie deal).

We all know that at level 1, a few spells (such as sleep and color spray) are extremely effective on bunched up groups of people. I would simply have exchanged the color spray of the sorceress for another, less lethal spell. This gives most PC's a decent chance to beat the NPCs, tipping the scales in their balance, since they probably have such tools at their disposal.

And, to clarify, I'm not implying that this encounter is an auto wipe. I just feel that the chances are a bit too high for a more difficult than normal (for a "Welcome to PFS") encounter. Indeed, if the party has their own color spray, sleep, etc (or in the example above, grease, hahahaha), it can easily become a battle where the NPCs don't even get a hit in. That's level 1 battles for ya.

*

If I remember correctly, the written directions for the enemies tactics neuter any advantage they may have. With obscuring mist thrown, the spell caster has no way of knowing where their allies are when throwing that color spray. When I have run it as written 50% of the time they hose their allies as well as the players. I think the obscuring mist actually hurts the GMs chances of a TPK by limiting the ability of the enemy spell casters to unleash their spells. t's when the GM reads the tactics, thinks their dumb and alters it in some slight way, that you end up with a high number of TPKs.

Qadira ***

I am still a little confused then.

If the mist is cast in the surprise round, then the PCs would have to go before the bandits Sorcerer - and spend the surprise round closing - to put them inside the mist where the ally widens out to give the Bandits more room. Without fore knowledge that a fight is about to start, why would they do this?

Two possibilities:

(PC goes in the surprize round): they get a single action - if they beat Halli in Init, they get this before the mist rises.

(PC doesn't go in the surprize round): they get no action.

In order to put themselves in danger on the surprise round they would need to 1) go in the surprise round, 2) beat Halli in Init. 3) decide to close with the bandits as the only action they get this round (basicly move up so the bad guys can hit you first). 4) be able to move the 25+ feet to put them in reach of Ledford (who can't 5' step in the mist, and can't see the PCs if he doesn't move).

Otherwise, the action starts on round one, with the PCs in much the same starting place and the Bandits scattered in the mist - with Ledford 15' from his starting point, at the edge of the mist (1/2 move in the mist), where the ally narrows down to 1 square. Larkin should be beside him with the others behind someplace.

How else can this go?

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Los Angeles (Inland Empire)

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Dude, I think I ran this and had it run for me totally wrong. I don't remember there ever being an obscuring mist. Time to reread it in case I ever am running it at a con.

Grand Lodge ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
JCServant wrote:
And, Nosig, with all due respect, your attitude is a bit, let's say, confrontational and borderline condensending. You make some interesting and valid points, but I'm not going to continue discussing if you are going to continue in that vein.

I've been reading this thread with interest, and none of nosig's posts have struck me as confrontational or condescending.

For the record, I've played this once and run it once, and although it is easily the toughest encounter in the scenario, on neither occasion were there any PC deaths. One of my fellow PCs went down to negatives, but luckily my witch had prepared cure light wounds that morning...

Qadira ***

Lab_Rat wrote:
If I remember correctly, the written directions for the enemies tactics neuter any advantage they may have. With obscuring mist thrown, the spell caster has no way of knowing where their allies are when throwing that color spray. When I have run it as written 50% of the time they hose their allies as well as the players. I think the obscuring mist actually hurts the GMs chances of a TPK by limiting the ability of the enemy spell casters to unleash their spells. t's when the GM reads the tactics, thinks their dumb and alters it in some slight way, that you end up with a high number of TPKs.

or when the judge doesn't get the time to prep and misses the tactics in his rush to get it run. THEN we get people who say, "I remember how this was run for me, it works like this" - again, often because the judge is short on time or just doesn't prep.

Qadira ***

Brian Darnell wrote:
Dude, I think I ran this and had it run for me totally wrong. I don't remember there ever being an obscuring mist. Time to reread it in case I ever am running it at a con.

Bingo! and that's why we post here! yeah!

Qadira ***

Paz wrote:
JCServant wrote:
And, Nosig, with all due respect, your attitude is a bit, let's say, confrontational and borderline condensending. You make some interesting and valid points, but I'm not going to continue discussing if you are going to continue in that vein.

I've been reading this thread with interest, and none of nosig's posts have struck me as confrontational or condescending.

For the record, I've played this once and run it once, and although it is easily the toughest encounter in the scenario, on neither occasion were there any PC deaths. One of my fellow PCs went down to negatives, but luckily my witch had prepared cure light wounds that morning...

And I bet the guy that went down was between you and the bandits - doing his job, keeping your protected from the "cutting remarks" of the bad guys. and you saved him, right? made you feel good, and him feel good and ... everyone had fun.

I love this scenario!

**

Quote:
How else can this go?

As I described...the mist spell triggers combat according to tactics. Combat starts with mist up. Party shares surprise round. 2 party members get high ini. They are melee builds, so they move towards/inside the mist. Barbarian and rogue move to engage. A party member, in taking a 5' step, gets bloodly close to sorceress. She 5' steps back and color sprays, getting three out of five party members. they all fair their save. Now it's 2 vs. 4.

Quote:
I've been reading this thread with interest, and none of nosig's posts have struck me as confrontational or condescending.

To each their own. We all read things differently. What comes across as condensending to one is a day in the park to another. Comments in bold such as " just make sure the "GM following startegy a certain way", or as I say it, "running the adventure as written" (implying that I'm breaking the rules in how I run the table but I'm calling it something else) and the caps about the subject/spoilers after that was a wee bit overboard. I didn't say it was outright offensive...just a bit on the condencending side IMHO.

Qadira ***

GM-JCServant wrote:
Quote:
How else can this go?

As I described...the mist spell triggers combat. Party shares surprise round. 2 party members get high ini. They move towards/inside the mist.

Quote:
I've been reading this thread with interest, and none of nosig's posts have struck me as confrontational or condescending.
To each their own. We all read things differently. What comes across as condensending to one is a day in the park to another. Comments in bold such as " just make sure the "GM following startegy a certain way", or as I say it, "running the adventure as written" and the caps about the subject/spoilers is a wee bit overboard. I didn't say it was outright offensive...just a bit on the condencending side IMHO.

wow... let me respond to this in reverse order. Perhaps I was to hasty before and I'll try to be less exciteable.

.
The reason for the caps/bold on the spoiler request was to get a Piazo Staffer to look at it and maybe add to the "spoilers" title on the subject line. (I am just used to seeing "spoilers inside" on many of the titles on this board. And this one only has half the name of the scenario - many people know it at First Steps part 1 and do not recognize In Search of Lore.) Plainly I offended doing this and I am sorry! That was not my intention!
.
the section with
...(Comments in bold such as just make sure the "GM following startegy a certain way", or as I say it, "running the adventure as written")... was a plainly mis-guided attempt by me to point out that you were right - that the Judge should run it a certain way - and that if he does so the danger goes way down. Or that if he fails to do it that way, the danger goes way up.

Perhaps I do not understand your statement:
"As I described...the mist spell triggers combat. Party shares surprise round. 2 party members get high ini. They move towards/inside the mist."

Combat goes:
(Surprise round)
1) Everyone rolls Init.
2) PCs and Bandits who go in the surprise round go in the init order (PCs that did not make the percept or sense motive checks have no action this round).
3) PCs going before Halli may move or act.
4) Halli casts mist.
5) PCs going after Halli, but before Ledford get to act - unless Ledford was delaying because he beat Halli in Init., then Ledford is next.
6) finish out surpise round.

you state: "2 party members get high ini. They move towards/inside the mist." I take it that you are saying two of the PCs moved during the surprise round to close with the Bandits. Either before the mist is cast (they beat Halli in Init and decided to rush the Bandits before anything happened), or they beat Ledford in Init, but not Halli and moved into the mist when they could see no one. Is this correct?

Qadira ***

link to a thread where I was asking questions about running this scenario.

link to different post

this encounter there had a PC going in the surprise round, with a high Init.


I am curious as to something.

The scenerio says "She triggers combat on
Deandre’s signal by casting her scroll of obscuring mist." this is the sorc.

So the PCs make checks to notice that they have seen these people before.... So what?

I'm sure this happens rather a lot in Absalom.

Why the hell do the PCs do anything before the mist?

Do they run up to/attack everyone they have seen before?

When I have run it before we had the Sorc go at the top of the order as otherwise really there is nothing happening.

Qadira ***

Thefurmonger wrote:

I am curious as to something.

The scenerio says "She triggers combat on
Deandre’s signal by casting her scroll of obscuring mist." this is the sorc.

So the PCs make checks to notice that they have seen these people before.... So what?

I'm sure this happens rather a lot in Absalom.

Why the hell do the PCs do anything before the mist?

Do they run up to/attack everyone they have seen before?

When I have run it before we had the Sorc go at the top of the order as otherwise really there is nothing happening.

Even moreso with Diviner wizards. They go in the surprise round, always.

OH! and I don't think the DC to go in the surprize round is given. Just:
"If any PCs made their Perception or Sense Motive
checks to notice the thugs watching them as they traveled
about the city,"

but I don't know what the DC to notice this is... anyone find it in the scenario?

edit: I normally have Larkin do some Stealth checks (Take 10 for 15, +1 per 10 of distance away) while he is shadowing the party... so the PCs may see him a few times during the day (as they leave the Para-Countess town house, as they leave the orphanage, etc.)

**

Yeah...I'm just not used to seeing people use Bold that much....usually just in Pbp boards. Anyway, I already said, "I appreciate it" and moved on already...just answering someone else who didn't understand why I felt it was a bit overboard.

you state: "2 party members get high ini. They move towards/inside the mist." I take it that you are saying two of the PCs moved during the surprise round to close with the Bandits. Either before the mist is cast (they beat Halli in Init and decided to rush the Bandits before anything happened), or they beat Ledford in Init, but not Halli and moved into the mist when they could see no one. Is this correct?

Pretty much what you said in the first half. The line reads, "If any PCs made their Perception or Sense Motive checks to notice the thugs watching them as they traveled about the city, they recognize one of their attackers just before the ambush, realizing that they’ve seen the thug’s face before. These PCs may act in the surprise round." So, this implies that the mist is cast after the PCs see them *and* recognize them as a potential danger. However, since the bad guys are primed to 'spring the trap' as it were, a suprise round of combat is the result. Those who recoginize them react so quickly, the get to move /act as the trap is being sprung...not before and not after (Those who do not recogize them are a bit more lax, and don't get to act until after the surprise round).

If the trap was sprung beforehand (Like right before they entered the alley), the fog would prevent anyone from seeing/recognizing and therefore participating in, the suprise round.

I saw that someone wrote that they put her at top of ini in suprise round to make this work more to the spirit of the trap as written (Kinda goes against the RAW of the game, but I can see that being a necessary evil). Even with the fog, if you have melee PCs, they my approach the fog carefully. After all, they can see five foot in and see there's nothing there, initially. Otherwise, they have to stand back and hope that the enemy comes out of the fog to them. While we all know that is what will happen cuz we know the tactics in the module, I'm not willing to bet a party wipe or bad experience on the players making that decision. I know of a few personally that will at least go 5' in with shield and mace raised.

**

nosig wrote:
"If any PCs made their Perception or Sense Motive checks to notice the thugs watching them as they traveled about the city," but I don't know what the DC to notice this is... anyone find it in the scenario?

As Inspector Gadget says, "I'm always on duty!"

Page 5 wrote:
As the Pathfinders move about the city, they’re shadowed by a band of thugs, upstart criminals looking to get a leg up on their own adventures by mugging a team of weak Pathfinders who they suspect have prime equipment and sizable wealth. During the course of the adventure, allow the PCs to get a glimpse of one of these miscreants. Permit each PC a Perception check as the group moves between encounters. Anyone making a DC 15 or higher notices one of the thugs watching them intently from across a crowded street; as a throng of people moves between the PCs and their observer, the thug disappears into the crowd. Later in the adventure, allow each PC a Sense Motive check. Those that make a DC of 15 or higher get the sense that they’re being watched, but can’t pinpoint who or where the sensation comes from. Make a note of which PCs succeed at either of these checks, as it will come into play in the final encounter of the adventure.

What happens is that each PC gets 3 perception checks vs. a DC 15, as well as a sense motive. So, chances are, the majority (if not all) of your group will participate later in the surprise round.

**

For the record, I really do love this adventure. Its my favorite of the trilogy, hands down. I'm discussing this concern and talking through this encounter with everyone because it's the only spot that I run into a bit of speed bump with. I do believe that most of the time, it probably works out OK...I probably just have bad luck with party initiative and/or groups who have mages without a sleep spell or something that could easily turn this around. I just felt it could be...tweaked a bit. It is interesting to see that a few other people had similar issues, and that one way to address it is to have Barbarian Halfling go first and charge foolishly right into the loving arms of the party. I still maintain, though, that with color spray at her command, and given the fact that, by RAW, Dudley may miss the first move, it's not as cut and dry as y'all make it.

In fact, in my first group, the color spray didn't happen until 1/2 way through the battle when there 2 people KO'd on the party and 3 on the bad guy's side (This was a 4 person group). It looked like the heroes were winning. The 2 remaining party members close in on her. One hits but does not kill her, the other misses. She color sprayed them, and 1 PC went down. It was bard vs. sorcerer. I had her use her crossbow (suboptimal move) rather than her Magic Missle which would have definately finished the bard.

Grand Lodge ***

Every time I read a thread about this scenario, I can't help but remember the Kobayashi Maru. I really think that final fight is intended to illustrate that combat is rarely a straight forward brawl, and that a simple retreat from a foe you have no need to fight is always an option. I've run this scenario several times, and played in it twice, and never has anyone just run back into the street with the intention of finding a longer walk back to the Lodge.

I'm sure running away isn't the intended solution, just a valid one. As it is, I've also never seen this fight end in a TPKO (KO because they're just getting robbed, only a really unlucky roll that kills a PC outright, or some really bad stabilization checks, would result in a PC death here). I've seen it come close, but usually the NPC tactics end up working against them a few rounds in.

Grand Lodge ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
JCServant wrote:
What happens is that each PC gets 3 perception checks vs. a DC 15, as well as a sense motive. So, chances are, the majority (if not all) of your group will participate later in the surprise round.

I read it as meaning that each PC got one Perception check during their travels, and later on got one Sense Motive check.

"Permit each PC a Perception check as the group moves between encounters."

I assume if they were meant to get more than one check, it would say 'between each encounter', or similar.

**

Isn't it interesting how we read things different? To me it reads you should do one between each movement. Essentially, they are being shadowed as they move about the city. Therefore, they should have a chance, logically, to spot their followers during each segment. But, I also see it your way.

Even if it's one peception and one sense motive (given towards the end), then more likely than not, about 1/2 your party would earn the surprise round.

Dust, I agree, though PCs rarely run especially once one of their own has fallen to a KO. You're right in saying that I would never mark them all dead.... its just a robbery. I would just hate to end a 1st level "Welcome to PFS" deal on a party TKO. On the other hand, perhaps it is a good lesson that PFS is dangerous work, and everyone needs to be on their "A" game. That's a different message than, let's say, the evil group totally messes up because of their own tactics, practically handing the group victory.

What does everyone thing? Let's assume for sake of arguement that that battle could go either super easy, or possible TPKO based on how the GM ran the tactics and/or suprise round interpretation. Which message is best for a party of new PF gamers given what you know about gamers overall and other PFS scenarios?

Grand Lodge ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

I've re-read that section, and noticed at the end it says: 'Make a note of which PCs succeed at either of these checks, as it will come into play in the final encounter of the adventure.'

By saying 'either', it seems to imply that each PC is making only two rolls (one perception, one sense motive) during the scenario. But you're right, most PCs have a good chance of succeeding.

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