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Player Characters are like Super Heroes. Discussing Mortality.


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion


I've been looking around for threads about this and I haven't found any that fit. I'm curious to hear some opinions.

I've been generally dissatisfied with the approach my group takes to playing table-top games. I feel like our group has fallen into the "we can't die" mentality. I've tried discussing this individually with players and with the group as a whole. I've also taken the time to discuss this with other gamers outside my group that I'm familiar with. I feel like the self-assured attitude of the PCs is hurting my suspension of disbelief. Every puzzle we encounter we can overcome. Every enemy we fight we can defeat by charging it. And every NPC we encounter can be diplomanced into liking us. I feel like the PCs are super heroes.

I've had an instance of holding a knife to an NPC's throat to threaten him and a player wigged out because it would only deal 1d4 damage and the threatened character clearly had way more hit points than that.

I've seen a party encounter a Digester in a cavern and get sprayed with acid first turn then decide to ignore it because it rolled low and was no longer a real threat.

I've seen an entire tavern draw guns on a PC and he continued to insult the bar tender because they were all "low level NPCs."

I'm disillusioned with the Superman approach to encounters. It seems very unrealistic to me that a person would throw themselves into the blades of five to ten enemies without fear of death. I'm tired of PCs who are more than willing to free dive off a cliff with full confidence that the Wizard's magic will save them. I don't feel like there are enough repercussions to the player's choices. I recently discussed completely removing magical healing from a campaign to try to convince the players to take a more tactical approach to combat. It didn't go over well.

Does anyone else feel this way about gaming? Am I playing the wrong games? I mean, I understand that not everyone is going to take issue with these concepts. I don't feel like our group lacks in roleplay skill either. Some of these situations can be resolved with good roleplay. But I feel like there is a disconnect in my group between what can be achieved through roleplay and what is governed by numbers. I feel like the mortality of the group is never emphasized. We never face challenges that are too hard for us. It's like we're never afraid of anything.


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Mortality is for the weak.

Andoran

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

You're going to just have to play that style with the groups that think that way and find another group that thinks your way to get that.

Me, I play my characters like real people as best I can. They avoid pain where they can, and don't treat death as an inconvenience, because that gold can be put to better use. My NPCs are only fight-to-the-death drones when they are actually fanatics.

You can't force your current group to change their playstyles. You can only change yours. Try to find a different group that can accommodate yours.


If your the GM, just kill one of them. If not, you may be in the wrong group. Higher level characters are super heroes compared to level 1 npc's. But if your not running the game, you'll have a hard time making other characters fear for their mortality.


oh and a knife to the throat should be "helpless", and subject to instant death despite of hitpoints.

Andoran

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Nu'Raahl wrote:
If your the GM, just kill one of them.

This is not going to work. Do it arbitrarily, and they will turn on you. Don't, and they'll just rez the character or go get a brand new one from PCMart.

Passive agressive DM tricks are not going to change a players mind if honest discussion hasn't.

ikki3520 wrote:
oh and a knife to the throat should be "helpless", and subject to instant death despite of hitpoints.

I often use the coup de grace rules for this as well.

Osirion

Vycamros Chandler wrote:
Does anyone else feel this way about gaming? Am I playing the wrong games?

3.0 and later versions of D&D are much 'safer' feeling than 1st edition, and the artefact of abstracted 'hit points' only exacerbates the notion that 'damage doesn't hurt.' (1st edition had a lot more arbitrary 'you die' scenarios, which 3rd edition phased out, like system shock survival rolls.)

Perhaps give other systems like GURPS or Call of Cthulhu (or playing mortals using the Storyteller system) a spin. The danger of combat is quite a bit more pronounced in systems that give everyone a fixed number of 'health levels' and don't generally increase them as 'levels' accrue.


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One of my friend used to say that he didnt feel like a real DM unless atleast one player died in the first session, that kind of set the tone for his games.

I think that the trick is to hurt them bad enough once in a while that they have to run away or experience a TPK. I think once the party relizes that sometimes you can meet dragons or evil vilains that are simply to tough to handle, then they will have to think a little about how they handle themselves.

I will have to say though, that leveling a character from level 1 to level 8 and then feeling like a superhero when you walk into a tavern, is also one of the things i enjoy, it gives you a feeling of how far the character has come.

But my solution would still be to kill the whole party, or atleast put them in a situation where they have to run or die, so they realise that they are mortal.

Osirion

You want players to feel their mortality, then start throwing things that do permanent ability damage at them. That's how I do torture in my games: mutilations do permanent ability damage. I've only had to use it once or twice. :P

I've also severed limbs and given players permanent scars or disabilities, but only in cases of extreme "special" damage - it can't be some random thing you throw in. There has to be some kind of warning to the players. Example:

A chest with a trapped lock. The lock is in a recess that you have to stick your whole hand into to manipulate. The trap is a scything blade that tries to cut off the hand. If it does X points of damage, the hand is gone, along with a permanent point of DEX.

It's an obvious thing, and the players can easily find their way around it, unless of course they think they're invincible and are being careless...

Silver Crusade

When I run campaigns, while hitpoints are a good metric for facilitating gameplay, I tend to take...well lets call them extra measures to make sure that PCs understand that combat has consequences.

If the PCs take an incredible beating, they can't just "Walk it off" after healing.

Oh, and I love removing limbs if a PC takes massive damage. That's so much fun and discourages the "Charge the big thing" mentality that you dislike so much. As it turns out, Bob the fighter dying doesn't suck as much as Bob the fighter losing his leg.


agreed you might not be among 'your people' and so might better find a different group. it can be kind of like breaking up. try to 'let them down easy' explaining that you guys seek different things and are at an irreconcilable impasse.

unless they are sport for the DM taking control back of the game!

it's ok as DM to say "this is what happens despite how many HP or BAB you have" because indeed they are not supermans. a whole bar shooting one guy! dead. 10 to 1 in a knife fight? dead. rolled a 40 w/ Diplomacy vs the arch-king to hand over the throne? no.

the rules are there for the DM to use, bend, ignore.

what prevents the DM from being a tyrant? that if he or she is, the other players can walk away. that is the balance.

it's okay to say no. a group that can't respect that probably isn't worth playing with.

and just so you know, it is hard to find a good group. and if you have one, you are fortunate to be amongst the company.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Nu'Raahl wrote:
If your the GM, just kill one of them.

This is not going to work. Do it arbitrarily, and they will turn on you. Don't, and they'll just rez the character or go get a brand new one from PCMart.

Passive agressive DM tricks are not going to change a players mind if honest discussion hasn't.

ikki3520 wrote:
oh and a knife to the throat should be "helpless", and subject to instant death despite of hitpoints.
I often use the coup de grace rules for this as well.

There are many ways to kill a pc without doing it arbitrarily and while I don't like suggesting pc killing, if they don't think they can die, it might take dying to put that fear in them.

If a knife to the throat rendered them helpless for coup de grace to work, they wouldn't be able to just wiggle free in the first place. If your going that route you may want to at least include a grapple check or two. However, it could be a higher level fighter holding that knife with the river rat trait, weapon spec knives, weapon training light blades etc... You might make that knife a keen kukri, but I'm not sure if river rat works with it.
Looking at the OP's last sentence, it may just be a matter of needing higher CRs, or someone might just freedive off a cliff into an anti magic zone.


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I think it depends on character level and how deadly is a threat.

A 4th~5th level Fighter should be able to start a bar brawl and leave on top, although a bit tired and with a few bruises. Remember, 5th level is about the peak of a real-world human (This is probably the level of the characters of The Expendables). 6th level is Cap.Americal level of fitness.

At 10th level, a Fighter is (supposedly) a CR9 creature, he is (or should be) someonr like Hercules, capable of feats of strength and skill that while theoretically possible, no human could ever do. This means he fights dragons, giants, ogres, elementals, and even demons on a daily basis. A bar brawl should be nothing to him, almost like if he was fighting a bunch of 4 year olds.

At 15th level, he makes Hercules look weak. He is like Zaraki Kenpachi from Bleach. He should be perfectbly capable of slashing buildings with his sword, wrestling giants (and winning) and kicking dragon's asses. No normal army can face him.

At 20th level, a fighter is a real threat to lesser gods, and maybe on his way to claim godhood for himself.

So yeah, to a point, feeling like a super-hero is appropriate. And fun. This is only a problem if they decide to laugh at CR appropriate challenges, but if the challenge is really CR appropriate, they'll soon see how mistaken they are.


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rainzax wrote:

agreed you might not be among 'your people' and so might better find a different group. it can be kind of like breaking up. try to 'let them down easy' explaining that you guys seek different things and are at an irreconcilable impasse.

unless they are sport for the DM taking control back of the game!

it's ok as DM to say "this is what happens despite how many HP or BAB you have" because indeed they are not supermans. a whole bar shooting one guy! dead. 10 to 1 in a knife fight? dead. rolled a 40 w/ Diplomacy vs the arch-king to hand over the throne? no.

the rules are there for the DM to use, bend, ignore.

what prevents the DM from being a tyrant? that if he or she is, the other players can walk away. that is the balance.

it's okay to say no. a group that can't respect that probably isn't worth playing with.

and just so you know, it is hard to find a good group. and if you have one, you are fortunate to be amongst the company.

So this is definately 3 things i would absolutely ignore as a GM. Do not change the rules during game play to scare the players, there are plenty of stuff within the rules that can be scary.

The problem with suddenly deciding during gameplay that Diplomacy doesnt work, or a 10 to 1 fight is auto death, or even the "sorry you took 25 damage to your arm, now you cant use it", is that it is outside the rules, and as such there is no way that the players can prepare for it or even know that they should avoid it. GMs that has to bend the excisting rules because they dont like how they work, need to read the books and get further mastery of them before GMing, or play a game where you just tell a story instead of letting the players actions matter. Remember that this is a fantasy world where people can shoot fireballs, who can tell what is possible or not, if you as a GM dont inform you players and even throw some huge signs up that certain things are a bad idea.

As a rule of thumb you should always put atleast 3 warning signs up that they should or shouldnt do something, as they will most likely miss the first two. Remember that they dont know every thing in the world, you are the medium to describe it for them.


Than change your strategy and take the kid gloves off. I've killed my player's tons of times, and I've killed player's with my characters when I'm playing when they drop big explosive spells on me although I'm evil most of the time when I do.

Taldor

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You've killed players? How obnoxious were they?

Dunno, when i see that players begin playing their characters a little to freely, i usually drop them a very deadly monster random encounter (not random at all) and play the monster to the best of it's ability, usually killing off one or two characters and seriously hurting the rest. Then they become more careful.


Anomander wrote:
Do not change the rules during game play to scare the players, there are plenty of stuff within the rules that can be scary.

Have to agree there, changing the rules mid-game is something a GM needs to extremely careful about. At the very least, any house rules need to be discussed with the players before they're implemented, to make sure that everyone understands how the rules are changing and is on board with it.

That goes double when it comes to any house rules that's likely to result in character death. Pulling out a fiat house rule with no warning that kills someone's character is pretty much guaranteed to piss at least that character's player off. It's borderline "Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies."


Personally, I would use flavor text to let the players know how deadly a particular adventure is going to be.

Deadly snake crawling through the eyes of a bull's skull, corpses floating in the river? Gonna be a rough day.


My group plays very different from the way everyone else on the boards describes there games, and we play a lot of evil games, and when you get hit by a fire storm 2 times in a row than you need to make sure that player understands you weren't happy with that, and he can hope another player will res him.

Our group has also backstabbed each other taken bounties on each other, and when it doesn't work out sometimes we just laugh about it.


long ago (during 2nd edition) our DM back then played a dirty trick on us. The "mere goblins" we were ignoring as mooks turned out to be 7th level fighters or 5the level wizards.

So we they annoyed us enough to launch an arrow at one, and did 8 hp of damage, we would shout hah! hes dead!

But he wasn't, and he hit back harder.

How does one know they are mooks?

Why not poison the dagger that only does 1d4?

If someone is holding a knife to their throat, maybe they have precise strike? or apply the sneak attack damage because they got the drop on the character and the person witht he knife is a ninja, rogue or vivisectionist?

Spice things up, kill a few characters, it's refreshing!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

How exactly did they know there were nothing but lvl 1's in the tavern? The world isn't static, there could be anyone in that tavern and if they get obnoxious make sure somewhere there is higher lvl than they are, and they aren't amused at being threatened by some punk. Even if someone isn't there at that moment, everyone knows someone, maybe someone that doesn't like some out of towner coming in and roughing up his friends. Maybe someone that could crush the PC like a bug. Its a big world out there. Use it.


Wolfsnap wrote:
A chest with a trapped lock. The lock is in a recess that you have to stick your whole hand into to manipulate. The trap is a scything blade that tries to cut off the hand. If it does X points of damage, the hand is gone, along with a permanent point of DEX.

Why cut the hand off? Make the chest very, very sturdy (adamantine? maybe with a very small radius but permanent anti-magic field?), and have a manacle close around the wrist of person who trips it. Congratulations! Your'e doing the rest of the adventure with a 70lb chest dangling from your arm unless you can figure a way to get it off.

Still teaches them a lesson that they can be hindered if they are not careful, is less permanent, encourages creative problem solving and gives everyone a funny story about how Grak the Barbarian fought his way through a nest of demons by braining them with his chest-hand.

More on topic, it sounds like straight Pathfinder just may not be your cup of tea at the moment. Maybe an E6 variant would be more to your liking (although not necessarily to the liking of the others in your group)?


Vexous wrote:
How exactly did they know there were nothing but lvl 1's in the tavern? The world isn't static, there could be anyone in that tavern and if they get obnoxious make sure somewhere there is higher lvl than they are, and they aren't amused at being threatened by some punk. Even if someone isn't there at that moment, everyone knows someone, maybe someone that doesn't like some out of towner coming in and roughing up his friends. Maybe someone that could crush the PC like a bug. Its a big world out there. Use it.

this is a very good point.

Take the hobbits arriving at the green dragon in Lord of the Rings.

Assuming they were all level one adventurers, everyone in that Inn could have handed them their arse.

The Ring Wraiths at that point were heavily over powered for the hobbits to handle, without the intercession of Strider (who knew their weakness) even the much more powerful and higher level ranger couldnt have defended them.

By the end of the trilogy, the hobbits are of sufficient level to wound the witch king, (which means able to hit his AC) but still not a match for him.

So clearly in this world, the main characters were the lowest level.

Im not saying surround your characters with gods, but keep things real.


Vycamros Chandler

I just realized you never actually mentioned if you were the GM or not. If you are the GM, the world is putty in your hands. If you are just another player, you could be a lot more limited. Most of these posts are geared as if you were the GM, but as a player? ya that can be tough. Here most of your options are going to be diplomatic, so try talking to the GM about vamping up the difficulty. Remember you are a player to, so he has to work with you as well to ensure you are having fun. Suggest different ways of reading the rules (like the helpless idea for the knife to the throat) as in a game this complex, it is actually real easy for 2 people to read the same thing and come to different conclusions. build your character sub-par, but make sure that you have fun doing that, as it is very hard to convince someone else to do what you are doing while you hate it yourself. Most of these solutions are diplomatic as you really have little else you can do. If you feel up to it, talk to your DM about you starting to DM a game yourself and express intrest in learning that aspect of it. If you do this, dont make sweeping changes but build it very similar to the old DM and introduce changes slowly. Remember, the world is in your hands, but in this case, you already have the semi-complete work of another, you cant just smash it apart! So slowly change small pieces here and there. Implement the helpless rule. after a while, have all the villagers in the bar shoot the prick and give him a negative circumstance bonus of -2 to his touch ac because he was unprepared (first round only). If he retaliates and kills everyone, have it get out and all of a sudden he is a mass killer (NOT good for him), if he dosnt, have the villagers keep shooting him, eventually he will have to fight or flee. then have the villagers shoot him on sight until he proves himself. He will get the message quite quickly (hopefully).

Hope this can help a little and good luck! I hate the advocating of just get up and leave, as that breeds a false belief that you can just leave the next one as well. Groups are people, learn with them and grow with them. You will gain more than just a game then.


I would like to step back to TriOmegaZero's advice.

Making the game more difficult and setting up encounters with a high likelihood that one or more characters die, is probably not going to change the game the way you want.

In a game where the characters seem like superheroes, dead characters is just going to get raised or reincarnated. Thus death is devaluated into little more than an inconvenience.

Changing the feel of an existing campaign is difficult and likely to fail. The players are used to solve encounters in a certain manner, and more importantly their characters react in a certain way, which need to be changed dramatically. At this point the previous experiences of the campaign stop being something to build upon, and instead limits the new direction of the game.

Making a new campaign is more likely to succeed. You don't necessarily have to get a new gaming group, as talking to the group might show that the players (or some of them) share your views. Hack'n'slash is a big part of Pathfinder mechanically, and the playstyle you oppose against is one that is easily defaulted to when playing the game. However that doesn't mean that it is what your players prefer to play.

Additionally I would suggest shifting to another system for a while. Realistic, dangerous roleplaying can be done in d20, but it isn't what it is best at. Using another, preferably new, system, makes the transition to a different playstyle easier.


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My players know that death isn't a threat to their characters. I've told them flat out that dying will not end the story. Somehow, they'll always come back, either through a deity, a friendly NPC, or just plain dumb luck. They can take risks when it's appropriate. They can play their personality quirks in ways that might risk accidental player deaths. They can act like superheroes. It's cool.

However, they also temper it. Why? Because any death will have consequences that their characters feel. And sometimes others that they'll feel as a player.

TPK while trying to save a village? Everyone there dies, which really hurts the good aligned characters now living with that guilt. While trying to beat an enemy to a treasure trove? Oh, well that belt of giant strength +6 you wanted was in there, guess you'll have to wait a few levels until you can get it.

If they die because of my mistake, then obviously I can soften the blow, but if they die because of their own, they feel it. And I give them challenges they can fear.

Let them be superheroes. Superheroes fail sometimes too, and then reality ensues.

At least until the retcon. :P


Yes, it's all about expectation.
You are playing at the wrong APL, it's just that. If you want your PCs to slug it out with balors and great wyrms (or even frost giants and adult dragons) you can't expect them to feel threatened by a simple fall or by the local tavern's owner. There was a fantastic post on a blog (Alexandrian or something, can't search from here) which did a great job at explaining this.

So, either play at levels 1 to 4 or understand that a level 12 character is not someone out of our world.
If you want environment to be significant, make your players go to really dangerous places (which mostly means other planes), and make the local tavern owner a balor with a wooden leg.


Play lower levels they are easier to die in.


I would play another game, 3.0+ is designed like this. Most player character could take over the world.

Play GURPS, they would be more careful in situations like you described.

Shadow Lodge

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I had to deal with groups that, surpassing the 6/7 level tought were immune to every single commoner they encountered.

My solution?
An angry mob.

Not a moltitude of low level character but one single and powerful swarm monster made of angry people.

The good thing about swarms... they engulf and automatically hit.

the first time they piss of an entire village create this kind of swarm ... you don't have to kill them with that... just make them feel seriously at risk.
My mob had tons and tons of health, not a very high damage but as I said, automatic damage once you are engulfed, and a nasty grapple attack.
While grappling they take away your weapons while beating you.
I assure you ... after a near TPK and the loss of several magic Item via a screaming pissed off mob they never arrassed commoners again.


Try a different game to get your players back to "reality".

Or...

Make a few houserules to make the game dealier

- Each attack that deals more damage than their constitution score causes a "wound" (negative level)
- cut down the Hit points, maybe to HD12=+3 per level, HD10=+2 per level, HD8=+1 per level, HD6=+0 per level, lvl 1to4=6hp, lvl 5to8=5hp, lvl 9to12=4hp, lvl 13to16=3hp, lvl 17to20=2hp
(example:fighter lvl5 hp=39+5*con)
- use the critical hit deck
- use monster with a higher challenge rating

Or...

Your players like this style of game when they are "immortal", leave it this way, it is possible that your players getting frustated and have no fun.


So, I apologize for taking so long to post again. I'm really very pleased with the amount of feedback. I'll give some details of how my current groups, I have two, operate.

Group A consists of myself and a high school friend as well as his girlfriend, two ex coworkers, and one of their girlfriends. I rarely GM. Three of us are rules lawyers and together we can usually come up with the solution to any problem that comes up in game. Rarely do we have to consult the rules. So this, I think, is part of the problem. There's no real surprises we can throw at each other anymore because when someone pulls an unofficial creature out we know what they were trying to do and can call them on it. We never use any third party resources. As of now I am on hiatus with that group.

Group B is the same high school friend, another high school friend, and his close friend. This is a much more loose group. We have some players who can't recite rules and everyone takes a turn GMing. I'm still gaming with them currently. Recently we discussed running E6 and I was really excited to try it. Unfortunately it was voted down by the group.

I think I'm most inclined to agree with Anomander about the situation. I don't like changing the rules. In my opinion the rules are written in such a way as maximize enjoyment for everyone that plays the game by offering them an equal playing field. My personal belief system when it comes to gaming is that fun is second to fairness and the rules are meant to make things as fair as possible within the system. This is generally why we don't use third party resources or house rules very often.

I'm going to attempt to look for another group in my area and try to play with all three groups from time to time. I'm also going to look into some of the other games suggested. Thanks again to everyone who posted.


ikki3520 wrote:
oh and a knife to the throat should be "helpless", and subject to instant death despite of hitpoints.

helpless isn't subject to instant death. You can coup the grace a helpless creature, but that's only a crit, followed by a Fortitude DC of 10+damage dealt. So, with 1d4, without str modifiers, that's 5 hp on average, and a DC 15 FOR save. Enough to kill a common person, but not enough to kill legend heroes.

To the OP: the maximum peak for human beings is lvl 5. Everything beyond lvl 5, is, in essence, an epic hero. Even Aragorn is lvl 5. People above those levels, like Cu Chulain (that could defeat an entire army while raging), Beowulf (who fought 9 days under water), Sigfried, Jason, Achilles, Hector, and the like.

If you don't like mythic heroes, I suggest you to play Epic 6 (a D&D variant, where players can't go beyond level 6)


Elamdri wrote:
Oh, and I love removing limbs if a PC takes massive damage. That's so much fun and discourages the "Charge the big thing" mentality that you dislike so much. As it turns out, Bob the fighter dying doesn't suck as much as Bob the fighter losing his leg.

Cross thread:

Spoiler:
So requiring Bob the Druid to know about triceratops before he can wildshape into one is the GM being a dick, but making Bob the Druid to lose his leg is fair game? I'm lost here

Andoran

This is very hard (possibly impossible) to break players of.

Honestly, you're better off finding other folks to game with.

Andoran

I see many suggesting that the players need to feel danger from mundane situations - if they're above 5th level, this need not be the case.

Eventually, characters will get so powerful that things that once were major stumbling blocks will no longer be so. This is built into the game. Eventually, your characters are going to be able to teleport around the world to sell their loot, rise from the dead with nary a scratch, and slay armies as fast as their hasted speed will let them. They'll make pocket dimensions, and create bent (if not broken) magic items),

True, things were a little more deadly in early editions, but it would be a bit cruel for a DM to dispatch a 13th level character via knife in the back during a barroom brawl (I would quickly stop playing with that DM). If the player was acting in a way that some say would "justify" it, well, how did they get this far? Did they go mad with power?

My suggestion: If the players won't agree to try a low-level game, or a different system, you must up the ante. Do not start making minor threats more deadly, but ramp up the danger. Place them in a planar city (the City of Brass is a personal favorite, massive risk, wondrous reward, and just enough hostility vs. the party that they might watch their step), put them at odds with demigods and divine heralds, and run them ragged through unfamiliar homebrew environmental.

The goal should be not to kill them, but to give them a sense of accomplishment when they do stuff. Getting in a bar fight at 13th level isn't doing stuff. Getting into a bar fight in Caydin's Pub in Elysium, that's doing stuff.


gustavo iglesias wrote:

To the OP: the maximum peak for human beings is lvl 5. Everything beyond lvl 5, is, in essence, an epic hero. Even Aragorn is lvl 5. People above those levels, like Cu Chulain (that could defeat an entire army while raging), Beowulf (who fought 9 days under water), Sigfried, Jason, Achilles, Hector, and the like.

Bleh. There's plenty of people in real life who can do things even the most twinked-out level 5 character will have trouble with.

Grand Lodge

They can charge and beat CR appropiate encounters? Either they are twinked to the max or the DM isn't running the encounters properly.

First is easy to deal with...consider the party 1 or more levels higher due to their twinkness and send higher CR encounters after them.

The second is not. It takes experience to run encounters well. If the DM is new to the game, he may have to step down so he can play in more games that are run by a better DM so he can figure out how encounters are suppose to go. If he has some experience of play under his belt, he may wish to get some APs and run them so he can get a better feel for encounters and how they should be run.

Grand Lodge

Vycamros Chandler wrote:


Group B is the same high school friend, another high school friend, and his close friend. This is a much more loose group. We have some players who can't recite rules and everyone takes a turn GMing. I'm still gaming with them currently. Recently we discussed running E6 and I was really excited to try it. Unfortunately it was voted down by the group.

Start a low level game anyways and play it for a whiles - see if thats the expectation from the players at all levels of play or just the mid-high levels.

If you make it challenging for them up until 6th, keeping it in line then see if they like this challenge level and are they willing to try E6 (or E7, my preferred, or even E8). It may be they don't like the idea of ending at 6th but may be happy with a slightly higher level. It could be they hate low level play and love the rush of being 'godlike'


Arbane the Terrible wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:

To the OP: the maximum peak for human beings is lvl 5. Everything beyond lvl 5, is, in essence, an epic hero. Even Aragorn is lvl 5. People above those levels, like Cu Chulain (that could defeat an entire army while raging), Beowulf (who fought 9 days under water), Sigfried, Jason, Achilles, Hector, and the like.

Bleh. There's plenty of people in real life who can do things even the most twinked-out level 5 character will have trouble with.

Tell me an example.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Vycamros Chandler wrote:


Group A consists of myself and a high school friend as well as his girlfriend, two ex coworkers, and one of their girlfriends. I rarely GM. Three of us are rules lawyers and together we can usually come up with the solution to any problem that comes up in game. Rarely do we have to consult the rules. So this, I think, is part of the problem. There's no real surprises we can throw at each other anymore because when someone pulls an unofficial creature out we know what they were trying to do and can call them on it. We never use any third party resources. As of now I am on hiatus with that group.

Couple of things here jump out at me. First, the idea that you can't surprise each other because you know the books so well. Are you telling me that everyone has the three bestiaries memorized? It is really irrelevant if that is the case, but it would shock me. In any case, generally speaking what you know as a player should not influence what you know as a character. That is pretty basic RPing 101. Out of game knowledge stays out of game. If players cannot respect this and consistently drag what they know into a game in which their character does not have that information then I would not award any experience award for the fight. You mention a focus on fairness, well their actions are unfair to you as the DM, and to other players who have invested resources (knowledge skills).

You don't agree with using "unofficial creatures". That does not mean you have to feed players stock monsters. Changing feats is entirely legitimate, as is giving monsters treasure they actually use. Further, there is nothing wrong with simply re-skinning monsters so players who are metagaming do not immediately recognize them. The hulking monstrous arcane creation might have the same stats as a troll, while appearing nothing like it. If players call foul then you should call foul right back on them for metagaming.

Rules-Lawyering should only go so far. When you start suggesting ideas that go outside your characters context as a living breathing creature in the game world the GM should step in and slap you down, because you are once again metagaming.

Finally, not all challenges should be within the capabilities of the party to overcome. This is again, from the Core Rulebook. Some encounters should be too difficult. They should be things the players are expected to run from or achieve a diplomatic solution with. When every foe can be overcome with force of arms the game becomes boring.

A few weeks ago half of my group ran into a very high level canon fighter with a reputation for murdering adventuring parties. All we knew was his reputation and that he was heavily armed. We did not know his stats, abilities, or defenses. We didn't even think of starting a fight, even as he physically abused and humiliated one member of the party. If we had it would have almost certainly resulted in many PC fatalities. It served as a nice reminder that we are not the only fish in the pond. Incidentally, we were 14th level, so this is not something that has to happen at low levels.

Taldor

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I have played and GMed for so long that even the beginning of a description of a monster is enough for me to (mostly correctly) assume what the monster is.

All of my players are also longtime players of D&D and Pathfinder...they know their stuff and are extremely hard to surprise...

Osirion

Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I use the called shots rules (Ultimate Combat)and a hit location die'bodypart dice. A critical hit has the attacker role the hit location die and the hit becomes a critical called shot against that location. I am still in the tryout phase but so far, my players and me like it and combats are much much more dangerous.

Taldor

Better get a book called torn asunder...wonderful thing


Not sure i caught it if you mentioned it, but this is a style decision that is adopted by the gaming group and typically implemented by the GM. If you are a party member, keep it in character and roleplay your human emotions. If you are the GM, and this campaign has been going for some time, it may be too late to change the paradigm now.

If you want to try a more realistic game, use wound points rules (I think they're in APG), limit casting classes to one per two character levels, severly limit magic item availability, cap chars and most npcs to 13th level at campaign conclusion, and plan on giving your PCs an encounter about once out of every five or so that they need to run from (hint: give good context clues that it is too much for the PCs)

You can do it with the Pathfinder rules, just know that when PCs get fly, restoration/regeneration, raise dead/ressurrection, amazing cures, teleportation, bags of holding/portable holes, etc... yeah they pretty well are super and almost immortal. In fact, at level 20 there are several immortality options in the rules.

Grand Lodge

Hmmm, this sounds like a tough one, but not unfixable.

What it honestly sounds like is that the party isn't fighting challenges appropriate to its level and capability. I honestly suggest encounters which send enemies that are even more difficult. I know people here disagree with me saying that the players will get mad, which is quite possible, but if the players are truly able to handle any situation thrown at them currently with no problem, then I suggest you take the kid gloves off.

I suggest you send them against the hardest encounter any group of players can ever face.

A balanced enemy party.

Seriously.

Go ahead and tell me one group's party composition, level, and rough description of build. Then I'll show you a group of enemies that will give them a true challenge.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So, old thread is old, but I figured I'd drop in here because I had something relevant to say.

Kingmaker: my character is a psion (3.5)/wizard (PF) cerebromancer (3.5) who granted himself a template (3.5) and other stuff and basically becoming a superhero as a result, making it hard for the GM, though those first four levels were iffy at times. I even solo'd an ancient lich! It was awesome! ... but hard on the GM. So I kind of retired him and set up a kind of clone-golem of him with far less magic and more physical prowess to better fit with the story. Still kind of a superhero, but more manageable. Despite the superheroism, the story is still pretty awesome, and the GM, despite having a difficult time with said superheroism, is actually very much so enjoying it. And, yes, it does tend to be crushing to the GM's ego when a character can take on anything the foes throw at them, laugh it off, taunt the ancient li-, er I mean, taunt the generic bad guy, and then uber-shatter them to death. But fun!

Hangman's Noose: my character is a fetchling ninja (PF). I nearly died a large number of times, and we used up most of our reserves, resources, and abilities, and I was constantly in fear of death. I didn't know until later that the GM was actually only dealing half damage (including ability damage, fortunately for me): had full damage been dealt, it would have been a TPK many multiple times over, and, as it was, we were already strained to our maximum (it doesn't help that three quarters of our class abilities were useless). Man that was a really sweet game! I loved every minute of it!

Playing a super-hero character and desiring to continue to play that character (Kingmaker) does not automatically mean that you're the kind of player who can't enjoy a really good dose of "crap I'm nearly dead the whole time" (Hangman's Noose). I quite enjoy both extremes, though I tend to focus on the whole high-power thing more often, as that's the harder thing to accomplish (or at least accomplish well).

They might be surprised if you make a short game in which they're all first level, normal stats, and near death how much they like it. (Or they might not be surprised at all). Just be sure to soften blows when you need to as well (though you don't always need to). Make the game fun.

I know you're not always GM, but if you grab a module that's one idea where you can GM a different style for a short time, maybe get them used to it.

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