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New scenarios too difficult?


Pathfinder Society® General Discussion

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Andoran *****

David Bowles wrote:

I played Shadow's Wrath tiered up. We succeeded despite having a level 3 in the group. We had no level 7. I'm telling you a full group of level 6's and 7's of even average PCs would obliterate the boss room. A single black tentacles spell makes it very trivial.

I played and ran Rise of the Goblin guild. It is still filled with helpless mooks until you get to the last guy. And we all know what happens to lone badasses in PFS. Yup; permaflanked and eviscerated.

David,

I have both played in, and run In Wrath’s Shadow at tier 6-7 with a group of 6 mostly 6th & 7th level.

The final boss was not easy. He wasn’t as deadly as some are making him out to be, but he wasn’t easy.

Your experience tells me one of three things. Your dice rolls were well in your favor, your GM had horrible rolls, or your GM was seriously either softballing or not tactics savvy.

Spoiler:
How did you guys handle the mooks paralyzing? The BBEG paralyzing? Did you guys happen to make every single save? The Ghast’s stench? The large swath in the middle of the room that was essentially caltrops? Even at level 7, a fighter with possibly 24 STR (20 + bull’s STR) would probably have a +15 or 16 to hit on average (maybe with the right feats he pumps that to +18 and with a Bard or Prayer/bless going +19 or 20). Which then leaves him very vulnerable to the will save spells and reflex save spells. In any case, on average, to hit AC 27, he has a 50/50 shot on his primary attack, and if hasted, a 2nd attack as well. Are you saying he never missed?

Silver Crusade **

I notice how you left out the possibility that the PCs knew what they were doing. Which helps a lot in every case like this.

Okay, since I didn't spell it out, we barely squeaked by. It was by far the hardest fight I'd had in PFS, which is good, imo. Keeps me interested.

That being said, a group of 6/7's should wipe the floor with that room as I said. Maybe you guys got unlucky.

Spoiler:
We got paralyzed a lot. We mostly were able to win through action advantage. We had two clerics that channeled the mooks down instantly, so the BBEG was permaflanked and had to choose between casting and attacking. Action advantage is absolutely killer. But, yes, the only reason we won was because of two clerics and a wand of magic missile. But we were underpowered.

A full powered group at 6 or 7 have so many options to deal with this room. Some who can stick trip on the BBEG. Game Over. Dispel his buffs, game over. Silence him, game over. Level 7 paladin, game over. Black tentacles, game over. What makes this room so hard for a 6/7 group again?

A 6/7 group might even have access to freedom of movement spell! Game over!

Even more, there is the distinct possibility that DC 15 will save is an "anything but 1" save for multiple PCs at 6/7. Add in a Paizo T-shirt, and a cleric of level 7 could probably self buff and kill the thing mostly alone.

There is still potentially the room to make things more challenging by making mooks more effective.

*

My response to the slight increase in difficulty and the problems it is bringing was to roll an unselfish Bard. I don't see many Bards in the St. Louis region so I felt that bringing one to the table could help out a table that is struggling by acting as a table power enhancer rather than just another character rolling dice. My only worry is that he will cause a decent table to absolutely steam roll a scenario, but we will just have to wait and see.

With the slight increase in difficulty that people are seeing in the new scenarios have you seen an increase in players choosing new characters that act as table multipliers? I feel that Bards and Witches can really expand what a table is capable of. An unselfish Bard can hand out huge amounts of damage potential to the rest of the party while a well built Witch can neuter multiple baddies for entire combats. Nothing says useless like -4 to AC/attack/saves, and roll twice and take the lowest. Not to mention the possibility of dirt napping two creatures every round.

Andoran *****

David Bowles wrote:

I notice how you left out the possibility that the PCs knew what they were doing. Which helps a lot in every case like this.

Okay, since I didn't spell it out, we barely squeaked by. It was by far the hardest fight I'd had in PFS, which is good, imo. Keeps me interested.

That being said, a group of 6/7's should wipe the floor with that room as I said. Maybe you guys got unlucky.

** spoiler omitted **

There is still potentially the room to make things more challenging by making mooks more effective.

If you don’t have a cleric, or a spellcaster with exactly the right spell, this is a huge challenge for even six 7th level characters.

Sure, a perfectly optimized party for the encounter, can take down any encounter tiered appropriately (possibly even up one or two tiers).

I ran Green Market, and had a perfectly optimized party.

Spoiler:
read that as 3 clerics to quickly neutralize the haunt—thus neutralizing the shambling mound encounter. Then they were very important in helping to take out the ghost as well.

You can’t base an analytical theory on the extremes (either really terrible party composition/bad builds or optimal party composition/uber builds).

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
David Bowles wrote:

I notice how you left out the possibility that the PCs knew what they were doing. Which helps a lot in every case like this.

Okay, since I didn't spell it out, we barely squeaked by. It was by far the hardest fight I'd had in PFS, which is good, imo. Keeps me interested.

That being said, a group of 6/7's should wipe the floor with that room as I said. Maybe you guys got unlucky.

** spoiler omitted **

There is still potentially the room to make things more challenging by making mooks more effective.

For all the lamentations about balance and the difficulty of the final boss, my turnover for In Wrath's Shadow had

Spoiler:
1) a permanent desecrate spell emanating from the altar and engulfing the entire room; and 2) tactics for the BBEG directed use of his quick channeling for two negative energy blasts right from the get-go. Adam (wisely, it seems) dialed that down in development. Also, the BBEG was an Allip/Cleric, not a Ghast/Cleric, with the nastiness that accompanies non-corporeal enemies in combat.
Qadira ****

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I have 2 main problems with the season 4 and later season 3 mods I have played/read.

1) it feels like you're kind of waltzing through until you run into the BBEG, which is then a fun and challenging fight, but it took 4 hours of smashing useless enemies to get there.

2) the scaling. oh god the scaling. for 6 players the 6-7 is fine certainly challenging, it is a fight afterall, for 6 players the 3-4 is... dangerous. but the problem with that fight is that 99% of the challenge is the boss.

Here's what happens; Mooks get blown out, probably by ranged attacks before anyone tries to go over the caltrops.

now you fight the boss which is a real fight. what's the difference with a 4 person party? well you see there are 2 less people to fight the only relevant enemy in the room, so the lethality goes up massively.

4 PCs vs 6 PCs: it's mathematically 33% power, but in actuality its more than that, especially at a PFS table. There is a lot of variation in classes and what they can do, more people, more options, and as we all know, options are power.

This is my problem with design in season 4. If you have 6 I think most of the encounters are fine. In the case out of wrathful ghoul, I think his defenses are 2ish too high in everything for the low tier, and totally fine in the high tier. If you applied the simple level down template too him I think he'd be in a very solid place.

Action Economy. We all know that it's a flaw inherant in the system.

I have a question for writers, is there a limit on enemies in encounters? under the pretense of "don't take too much time from the players".

the problem is always action economy, yet i'm still not seeing fights put that many enemy actions on the table.

*

Mike Shel wrote:


For all the lamentations about balance and the difficulty of the final boss, my turnover for In Wrath's Shadow had ** spoiler omitted **

You are Evil! Oh imagine all the lamentations of players with dead characters had it not.

Taldor *

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Benrislove wrote:
I have a question for writers, is there a limit on enemies in encounters? under the pretense of "don't take too much time from the players".

There is a STRONG SUGGESTION that writers don't pad encounters with low-level mooks, as it drains time for encounters. It makes sense, as PFS scenarios need to be run in a pretty tight time-frame, and GM knowledge/skill can greatly effect this. This is why you don't see lots of encounters with mobs of smaller CR creatures.

*****

Thurston Hillman wrote:
Benrislove wrote:
I have a question for writers, is there a limit on enemies in encounters? under the pretense of "don't take too much time from the players".
There is a STRONG SUGGESTION that writers don't pad encounters with low-level mooks, as it drains time for encounters. It makes sense, as PFS scenarios need to be run in a pretty tight time-frame, and GM knowledge/skill can greatly effect this. This is why you don't see lots of encounters with mobs of smaller CR creatures.

On the other hand--the right mooks for the job can be scary and effective.

Rats of Round Mountain Part 2:
Those 5 CR 8 inquisitors in 10-11 are low enough CR to qualify as mooks, but I've seen multiple people say it was one of the hardest encounters they've seen in PFS.

Silver Crusade **

Benrislove is spot on again. i won't repeat what he said.

Furthermore, I don't propose to pad the scenarios with low level mooks. I propose to pad them with level appropriate mooks. That means mooks with power attack. Mooks with cleave. Mooks with spells. If a DM knows the rules well, it's not that hard or slow.

Less BBEG. More encounters that require actual tactics like bottlenecking, etc.

@Andrew

I'm really not trying to be a jerk, but how is a group that includes a level 3 and no level 7s an optimized group? We had two clerics, true, but still. There is no way to call that an optimized group. Just the equipment difference between a group of 3-6 vs all 6-7 makes a huge difference.

Spoiler:

Once the ghasts are down, the single BBEG simply doesn't have the action economy to threaten 6 6-7 PCs unless the group is dominated by ineffective builds.

The odds of not having spell casting out of 6 PCs is low. First off, if you don't, you might should play it down. But failing that, what does this theoretical group have then? A bunch of melee beatdown? If so, they'll likely beat it to death before it can paralyze everyone. Range? That's even better. Play the kite ballet and deny the thing its full attack action.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

There are two encounters in PFS that I'm aware of that truly count as having "mobs" of mooks. Unfortunately I can only remember one. lol. Let's just say that encounter is thematically cool, but tactically boring.

Echoes of the Everwar Part 2. I think it's something like up to 24 CR 2 creatures. The most difficult thing in that encounter is a 10-ft pit.

Silver Crusade **

That is the opposite of what Bernislove and I are looking for. 24 CR 2 monsters are begging to be fragged by a single fireball, or hopelessly tarpit a squad without such a spell.

Silver Crusade **

Mike Shel wrote:
David Bowles wrote:

I notice how you left out the possibility that the PCs knew what they were doing. Which helps a lot in every case like this.

Okay, since I didn't spell it out, we barely squeaked by. It was by far the hardest fight I'd had in PFS, which is good, imo. Keeps me interested.

That being said, a group of 6/7's should wipe the floor with that room as I said. Maybe you guys got unlucky.

** spoiler omitted **

There is still potentially the room to make things more challenging by making mooks more effective.

For all the lamentations about balance and the difficulty of the final boss, my turnover for In Wrath's Shadow had ** spoiler omitted **

Now THAT'S a fight for levels 6-7. Rock on!

Andoran *****

David Bowles wrote:

Benrislove is spot on again. i won't repeat what he said.

Furthermore, I don't propose to pad the scenarios with low level mooks. I propose to pad them with level appropriate mooks. That means mooks with power attack. Mooks with cleave. Mooks with spells. If a DM knows the rules well, it's not that hard or slow.

Less BBEG. More encounters that require actual tactics like bottlenecking, etc.

@Andrew

I'm really not trying to be a jerk, but how is a group that includes a level 3 and no level 7s an optimized group? We had two clerics, true, but still. There is no way to call that an optimized group. Just the equipment difference between a group of 3-6 vs all 6-7 makes a huge difference.

** spoiler omitted **

Party composition, more than levels, can determine whether the party is optimized for the encounter, or not.

Silver Crusade **

That's an interesting take. I think that's true to an extent. But at some point, the gear, the raw BAB advantage, and the multplicative nature of higher level class abiities can not be overcome by party composition. Again, if a 6-7 group doesn't have any casting, then the should be strong in other areas.

Spoiler:
Even having a single fighter with AC pimped out to make it so the ghasts only hit on 20s and the cleric ghast only connects sometimes makes that fight very manageable. It's all in teh maths.

Qadira ****

to some extent, but as you get more gold your casters are more likely to have scrolls ect.

Party composition is exactly why the down scaling for 4 players doesn't really work with BBEGs. Your composition is much more likely to be... lacking with 2 less PCs.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

FWIW, this thread had some really good advice and feedback on Season 4. I think it's more than run its course and I suggest that anyone reading this hit the ignore button. :-)

Silver Crusade **

No I agree. The scale down for the scenario in question is nuts. Going from 6 to 4 PCs is huge. Absolutely huge. I hurts action advantage, it hurts composition, and also you just have less bodies to spread the hits around to.

Qadira ****

Kyle Baird wrote:
FWIW, this thread had some really good advice and feedback on Season 4. I think it's more than run its course and I suggest that anyone reading this hit the ignore button. :-)

I wholeheartedly agree, I think this thread did an excellent job of outlining the problems, and offering reasonable suggestions. I think we just have to see where the feedback takes us in the future of season 4 and beyond.

I'm loving PFS, and I like the Paizo listens to their community :D. I'm excited for the future of PFS!

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Kyle Baird wrote:
I think it's more than run its course and I suggest that anyone reading this hit the ignore button. :-)

I remember a time when you'd have enlisted the PFCBG to glitter it out of existence. Now you're just asking people to stop talking. What a let-down!

*

Kyle Baird wrote:
Jason S wrote:
I'm really surprised to hear you say that some groups deserve to die.
I have run a handful of tables where the PCs (or most of the PCs) deserved to die. Some did die, some didn't.

I agree, some PCs deserve to die based on their actions. However, I was referring to the PCs "build" when I made that statement. So again, I've never met a group of PCs that deserved to die because they had "poor builds". I've seen about 200 PCs and maybe only 6 of them were crap, the other 97% of them were fine.

CptTylorX wrote:

I recently played Golemworks this past weekend at U-con with a very thorough judge, and my tale cakewalked the mod.

YMMV of course

OK, here is what I'm saying. "New and casual players will get killed playing these scenarios and it will lead to a bad experience, where they might not want to play PFS. At best, it will promote everyone to start making combat monkey PCs."

When you tell me you cakewalked a scenario, it means absolutely nothing. Dude, your PCs are extremely optimized and your system mastery is extremely high.

Your PC almost solo'd the end boss in Rats of Round Mountain 1, to give everyone an idea of the kinds of PCs he can generate. Basically, there is no scenario that can challenge your PC without killing 99% of the PCs in PFS.

Same goes for Kyle Baird. Just because Kyle and his group destroy a scenario, is absolutely no indication how average or new players will handle it.

So obviously this doesn't apply to most readers on this forum. If you're on this forum, you know what you're doing.

Just curious, am I the only person who heard complaints coming from players at Gencon about the scenario difficulty?

Victor Zajic wrote:

People who keep chiming in that "module x wasn't that hard, we beat it like this" really are missing the entire point of this discussion. No one is saying that the modules are unbeatable for experienced or optimized characters. We're saying that those encounters easily TPK inexperienced and casual player's characters. And organized play is going to have inexperienced and casual players, and they deserve to have fun playing too.

A new player who is super excited about getting to level 3 who then gets pounded flat by a large earth elemental when he's not playing up is likely to just stop playing.

People who want more challenge can easily get it by making less powerful characters. Telling new players that it's their fault they died and they should make better characters is a terribly way to grow the game.

Wow, someone gets it.

Running with 6 players, the scenarios are tough. I think the main problem is with the scaling of 4 player tables. The encounters are tough with 6 players but with 4 players they . I've read several of the scenarios now and the adjustments they're making is not enough considering you just lost 2 PCs.

I'm getting a bit offtrack, but in general I don't think that increasing you party size by 50% (4 to 6 PCs) is worth a mere adjustment of +1 CR. I think an additional 2 PCs helps much more than that. So conversely, you can't apply a mere -1 CR adjustment when you lose 2 PCs, you've lost more than that. Maybe that discussion is worthy of new thread.

Paizo Employee ** Developer

In general, I think there's merit to the observation that a BBEG scaled to a 6-person party doesn't scale down by lessening the number of mooks present. This is valuable feedback that we'll use going forward. I'm going to revise our design document to better reflect the difference between increasing an encounter's CR by lowering the PC action to NPC action ratio versus simply putting in a more powerful single opponent.

Thanks for the feedback, folks. With this sort of discussion, we'll hone in on the correct balance between challenging and too deadly for the campaign.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Yay for progress! And so early in the season, too!

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Mark,

A question for you: what do you consider to be the baseline assumptions for party composition, character efficiency, and team tactics?

If a baseline party goes into a current adventure, how bady do you expect them to be chewed on? Do you expect that they'll most always be successful? Do you expect that they'll most always come through without a fatality?

Silver Crusade **

Sorry it took so many posts Mr. Moreland :\

Silver Crusade **

That's a good point Chris. The difference in pounding that a group can take *in combat* between having a cleric or life oracle and not having one is pretty huge. Any group can heal up after the fact with CLW wands.

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington aka WalterGM

David Bowles wrote:
Any group can heal up after the fact with CLW wands.

Except a group of Dhampirs! :P

Silver Crusade **

Walter Sheppard wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
Any group can heal up after the fact with CLW wands.
Except a group of Dhampirs! :P

True that.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Don't forget that spell casting BBEGs can use some of their (best) spells before the PCs get there. I've seen this done and I think it works great in combination with reducing the number of foes and changing the NPC tactics.

Paizo Employee ** Developer

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Chris Mortika wrote:

Mark,

A question for you: what do you consider to be the baseline assumptions for party composition, character efficiency, and team tactics?

If a baseline party goes into a current adventure, how bady do you expect them to be chewed on? Do you expect that they'll most always be successful? Do you expect that they'll most always come through without a fatality?

The baseline assumption is that it's a party of 6 PCs, all built with high fantasy point-buy values and with a reasonable number of extra boons and bonuses from prestige not included in the normal scaling of character abilities, that has at least one character able to cast arcane spells, one that can heal, one that can be sneaky/skilled, and one that can dish out physical damage and soak it up. Parties that lack one or more of these pillars of an adventuring party are likely to find things more challenging than parties with a better balance. We also assume parties are not playing up; when balancing an encounter, we do so assuming at least some of the PCs are the highest level within the subtier and that the APL is at least the lowest number and not lower. As far as tactics go, that's something we really can't account for, but the system assumes PCs are making wise tactical decisions and using Knowledge skills to identify monsters' threats and weaknesses. Poor tactical decisions may result in expending more than the expected amount of resources while particularly good tactics will result in less.

What I'm hearing from this thread is that, in general, parties that meet these expectations are challenged while parties that don't can have too difficult a time. Whether the discrepancy from the design assumption is in number of PCs, party balance, level spread, or tactics seems not to matter, but when two or more of these variations from the base assumption occur, then things quickly become too much to handle. As such, I'm looking at how we're scaling encounters down for 4 PCs as well as other design factors.

The benefit of a campaign like this is the sheer number of "playtesters" we have for finding the right balance and getting feedback on how different experiments pan out. Please keep it up, folks.

Silver Crusade **

Come to think of Mark, I've been in several groups that had healing and arcane support, but no high AC guy. This is not much of an issue in the old seasons, but I can see where it could be trouble in season 4.

At any rate, it's really cool for you to share your baseline assumptions.

Taldor ***

Mark Moreland wrote:
Thanks for the feedback, folks. With this sort of discussion, we'll hone in on the correct balance between challenging and too deadly for the campaign.

Now that we have you on the line, Mark...

What of the issue of too many combats per module, thus forcing too-long sessions in order to slog through them all? Will this be addressed as well?

-Matt

Paizo Employee ** Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.

That's a different topic, but yes, it's already being addressed, including in this month's releases.

Taldor ***

Mark Moreland wrote:
That's a different topic, but yes, it's already being addressed, including in this month's releases.

Sweet, thank you. I look forward to being able to do weeknight sessions again.

-Matt

*

Kyle Baird wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
Players who want a harder game should build less powerful PCs

In my humble experience, nearly all players who complain that scenarios aren't hard enough, don't actually want them to be difficult. They find their joy in 1) steam rolling encounters and 2) complaining or bragging about them not being difficult enough.

Again, just my experience.

Your post borders on offensive. The scenarios are too easy. I hate steamrolling encounters. I hate complaining about scenario difficulty. I have to do it because the scenarios aren't difficult enough. It's a problem. Stop acting like it's not a problem. And, by the way, stop speculating about other players' motives, and address the game design.

That said, I will also admit that "the scenarios are too easy" is an overly simplistic way of looking at things. Most gaming systems (and certainly d20 system) face a significant challenge: how can you have both customization and balance? Adding more of one always seems to limit the other. Pathfinder has a lot of customization, so we have the problem this thread is indirectly addressing: in d20, character level is not actually a good indicator of character power. One character can be overwhelmingly more powerful than another character of the same level. Ultimately, this is really a problem that some future edition of the game is going to have to deal with. In the meantime, as far as PFS is concerned, how do you communicate the relative difficulty of a scenario to players when level is not a completely reliable indicator?
A rating system might, as many have suggested, be a good idea. And yes, people can check reviews, but in general these kind of crowdsourcing methods, while in-vogue, are time consuming not terribly reliable either. If Paizo were to rate the mods as easy/normal/hard (or whatever), there would be an official standard. Alternatively, they could change the tier system. Instead of releasing two version of the mods for different levels, they could, for example, release three different difficulty grades for each mod of a given level range.

Of course, you'll still have problems between those who want to play the easy and hard versions. But these problems exist already, and without an established standard, difficulty-related conflicts degenerate into name calling and finger pointing between "gamists" and "role-players"(or however you want to characterize the two sides).

It is a difficult thing to discover that many of the other people engaging in what is already an extremely niche hobby have entirely different goals and interests in relation to that hobby than you do. But it is very often the case (especially when playing the game with relative strangers) that when seven people show up at a gaming table they are looking for seven very different experiences. Our community needs to acknowledge this fact soon, and learn how to best address this issue, while hopefully belittling and alienating as few people as possible in the process.

*

I am enjoying the harder difficulty, but there is something that's really bugging me. A truly difficult encounter should still be within CR limitations for a party, but I've noticed a few encounters being way outside the guidelines.

Count CRs correctly! A humanoid with 10 PC class levels is CR 9. If they have a terrain advantage, it adds to the CR. In one Season 4 mod whose name I shall not mention, the Tier 5-6 encounter is a 10th level caster in a room that is quite advantageous to him. I counted it as CR 11, which is APL+5 to a full level 6 party, higher if some of the players are level 5. Even if the room is only +1 instead of +2, it's still APL+4 for a non-optimized party that is likely running low on resources (final fight after a lot of other fights the same day). The Tier 8-9 caster is 14th level and has the same terrain advantages.

This fight isn't fun because it is, quite honestly, higher level than the party is supposed to face. TPKs and deaths because of poor tactics, poor decisions, or hot DM dice are one thing, but deaths due to "should not face this encounter" are something else entirely because in PFS, running away is not always a good or even viable option.

I bring up this mod specifically, but it's a theme I've been noticing in Season 4 mods in general. Harder is good, but stretching CR rules until they break is not good.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

For what it's worth:

I'm running a home campaign based around PFS scenarios. A group of players who know each other's characters and play styles, and make decisions based on the strength of a coherent group, have had a straight-forward time through most combats, including the recent ones. We know that Jerska is going to throw bombs, Maleeha is going to buff the fighters, and proud yeoman El Dorado is going to miss targets with his arrows.

I suspect that most of the people who argue "the threats from season 3 and 4 are still too easy" are coming at them with a decent team. I'm not sure PFS scenarios are intended for that. Walk into those encounters with a bunch of strangers, playing characters who don't know each other's capabilities, and I'm not sure you'll have the same level of success.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Fresno aka Sarta

Melissa, with regard to that encounter, I believe that there was an attempt to temper the CR of the encounter by having that wizard not have a full compliment of combat spells. He's already cast several and has such devastating combat spells as scry memorized.

It's probably a wash with the room difficulty.

Silver Crusade **

Erick Wilson wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:

In my humble experience, nearly all players who complain that scenarios aren't hard enough, don't actually want them to be difficult. They find their joy in 1) steam rolling encounters and 2) complaining or bragging about them not being difficult enough.

Again, just my experience.

Your post borders on offensive. The scenarios are too easy. I hate steamrolling encounters. I hate complaining about scenario difficulty. I have to do it because the scenarios aren't difficult enough. It's a problem. Stop acting like it's not a problem. And, by the way, stop speculating about other players' motives, and address the game design.

Please note that he stated that was his experience twice. He did not say that all players who say scenarios are too easy are that way, only that his experience points him towards that. Please do not attack people for providing their experiences in this thread.

Further, as to addressing game design, are you aware that Kyle Baird has written several Pathfinder Society scenarios? They are also quite challenging but not overpowered. I rather think he understands the game design and challenges.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Melissa Litwin wrote:
A humanoid with 10 PC class levels is CR 9.
In some cases, they're actually CR 10.
Melissa Litwin wrote:
In one Season 4 mod whose name I shall not mention, the Tier 5-6 encounter is a 10th level caster in a room that is quite advantageous to him. I counted it as CR 11, which is APL+5 to a full level 6 party, higher if some of the players are level 5. Even if the room is only +1 instead of +2, it's still APL+4 for a non-optimized party that is likely running low on resources (final fight after a lot of other fights the same day). The Tier 8-9 caster is 14th level and has the same terrain advantages.

A subtier of 5-6 is assumes 6 players of level 6 and "APL 7." That means that a CR 7 creature is a CR +0. In your example, the 10th level caster alone is only a CR +2 with a +1 for terrain, that's a CR +3, a very hard fight indeed.

*

Melissa Litwin wrote:

I am enjoying the harder difficulty, but there is something that's really bugging me. A truly difficult encounter should still be within CR limitations for a party, but I've noticed a few encounters being way outside the guidelines.

Count CRs correctly! A humanoid with 10 PC class levels is CR 9. If they have a terrain advantage, it adds to the CR. In one Season 4 mod whose name I shall not mention, the Tier 5-6 encounter is a 10th level caster in a room that is quite advantageous to him. I counted it as CR 11, which is APL+5 to a full level 6 party, higher if some of the players are level 5. Even if the room is only +1 instead of +2, it's still APL+4 for a non-optimized party that is likely running low on resources (final fight after a lot of other fights the same day). The Tier 8-9 caster is 14th level and has the same terrain advantages.

This fight isn't fun because it is, quite honestly, higher level than the party is supposed to face. TPKs and deaths because of poor tactics, poor decisions, or hot DM dice are one thing, but deaths due to "should not face this encounter" are something else entirely because in PFS, running away is not always a good or even viable option.

I bring up this mod specifically, but it's a theme I've been noticing in Season 4 mods in general. Harder is good, but stretching CR rules until they break is not good.

The real issue you're addressing is that they didn't factor the advantageous terrain into the encounter. I agree they should do this, but there really is no official standard/method for doing so. Lacking that, the encounter was calculated correctly, assuming that there weren't more than three previous encounters and that none of those was more than CR 7 or so. I personally like the idea of encounters that are above normal CR but have some other method of avoiding/engaging them. I'm assuming this spellcaster you speak of had to be put down in the usual way though.

****

Erick Wilson wrote:
The scenarios are too easy. I hate steamrolling encounters. I hate complaining about scenario difficulty. I have to do it because the scenarios aren't difficult enough. It's a problem. Stop acting like it's not a problem.

The thing about opinions--like "this is too easy" or "this is too hard," for instance--is that they aren't objectively quantifiable. So you can think they are too easy while someone else thinks they are too hard and Goldilocks thinks they're juuuust right, all without anyone being incorrect. That's actually the beauty of a community game like this one--we all have different views and we're all well within our rights to express them. Please keep this in mind in the future instead of demanding that people stop disagreeing with you.

*

Patrick Harris @ SD wrote:
Erick Wilson wrote:
The scenarios are too easy. I hate steamrolling encounters. I hate complaining about scenario difficulty. I have to do it because the scenarios aren't difficult enough. It's a problem. Stop acting like it's not a problem.
The thing about opinions--like "this is too easy" or "this is too hard," for instance--is that they aren't objectively quantifiable. So you can think they are too easy while someone else thinks they are too hard and Goldilocks thinks they're juuuust right, all without anyone being incorrect. That's actually the beauty of a community game like this one--we all have different viewings and we're all well within our rights to express them. Please keep this in mind in the future instead of demanding that people who don't agree with you change their minds or cease participating in the conversation.

Did you read the rest of my post?

*

Alexander_Damocles wrote:

Please do not attack people for providing their experiences in this thread...

Further, as to addressing game design, are you aware that Kyle Baird has written several Pathfinder Society scenarios? They are also quite challenging but not overpowered. I rather think he understands the game design and challenges.

I didn't attack him for stating his empirical experience. I attacked him for attacking other players based on his purely subjective assumptions about their behavior.

As for mentioning that he has written scenarios, I think that is what is called an "appeal to authority." Still, your point would be well taken had I called his knowledge about game design or his competence into question. I have not done so. I questioned his characterization of other players' psychology, and the potential implications of his statement within the context of a much-needed discussion about game design.

Silver Crusade **

Personally, I give encounters the "eyeball" test after I calculate the CR in my home games. I realize this is right out in PFS, but not all CR 8 fights are the same difficulty by any stretch. I guess my point is don't be married to CR ratings; they are guidelines.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Erick Wilson wrote:
Your post borders on offensive.
Damn, I hate being borderline.
Erick Wilson wrote:
The scenarios are too easy.
Thank you for sharing your opinion. Please keep in mind that your opinion and your experiences do not make this statement a fact.
Erick Wilson wrote:
I hate steamrolling encounters. I hate complaining about scenario difficulty.

I choose not to believe this considering the length and tone of your post. There is a small portion of the player base who enjoy the attention they get by complaining the scenarios are too easy for their characters. In fact, I really only hear two types of stories (in my short and limited PFS experience..):

1) OMG, my character is awesome. I solo'd that guy. My friends can solo every scenario. Look at me!
2) OMG, our group handled that scenario by doing X. We struggled but were ultimately victorious or we had a great balanced party and we were able to walk through without too much difficulty.

To be clear, I'm not saying #1 is badwrongfun, just not the type of people I care to associate with if given the choice. I *do* like to discuss builds and character's personalities and stuff like that, but I like to frame it within the concept of a group and part of a Society.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Fresno aka Sarta

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Alexander_Damocles wrote:
Further, as to addressing game design, are you aware that Kyle Baird has written several Pathfinder Society scenarios? They are also quite challenging but not overpowered.

Thus speaks the Risen.... Alexander learned posthumously to pack neutralize poison from a scenario Kyle worked on.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Erick Wilson wrote:
I attacked him for attacking other players based on his purely subjective assumptions about their behavior.

I'm pretty sure that I'm allowed to draw conclusions regarding these specific individuals. Each one started with "scenarios are too easy," and finished my table with "this scenario isn't fair." Different players, different scenarios, all the same and the only ones to complain like that. Draw your own conclusions.

Erick Wilson wrote:
As for mentioning that he has written scenarios, I think that is what is called an "appeal to authority."

To be fair to A_D, I believe he was stating that in regards to understanding the concepts of encounter design, at which a published author is likely going to need in order to, you know, get published. Of course, that's not necessarily true, but is a likely conclusion to draw.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Will Johnson wrote:
Alexander_Damocles wrote:
Further, as to addressing game design, are you aware that Kyle Baird has written several Pathfinder Society scenarios? They are also quite challenging but not overpowered.

Thus speaks the Risen.... Alexander learned posthumously to pack neutralize poison from a scenario Kyle worked on.

That was probably Tim's poison, not mine. ;-)

*

Kyle Baird wrote:
Erick Wilson wrote:
The scenarios are too easy.
Thank you for sharing your opinion. Please keep in mind that your opinion and your experiences do not make this statement a fact.
Erick Wilson wrote:
I hate steamrolling encounters. I hate complaining about scenario difficulty.
I choose not to believe this considering the length and tone of your post.

"I choose not to believe you" is an indirect way of saying "you are lying," which, since you have never met me and know nothing about how I play, is a character aspersion and is very disrespectful. Also, it's misleading to address my supposed belief that my word is absolute fact out of context with the 3/4 of my post where I readily concede that it is not. It is furthermore misleading to address the length of my post as evidence for how much I love to complain about encounter difficulty, when 3/4 of my post is talking about something completely different.

Quote:

There is a small portion of the player base who enjoy the attention they get by complaining the scenarios are too easy for their characters. In fact, I really only hear two types of stories (in my short and limited PFS experience..):

1) OMG, my character is awesome. I solo'd that guy. My friends can solo every scenario. Look at me!
2) OMG, our group handled that scenario by doing X. We struggled but were ultimately victorious or we had a great balanced party and we were able to walk through without too much difficulty.

To be clear, I'm not saying #1 is badwrongfun, just not the type of people I care to associate with if given the choice. I *do* like to discuss builds and character's personalities and stuff like that, but I like to frame it within the concept of a group and part of a Society.

Thank you, this is a helpful clarification. It is inaccurate, however, in a discussion about encounter difficulty, to characterize all players who find the encounters too difficult as the #1 type players you mention above, as your earlier post did. An official difficulty-standard would in fact limit the ability of the annoying type of player you are describing to brag about his character, since ideally he would be unable to solo the high difficulty mod, and would look ridiculous bragging about doing it on the low difficulty one.

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