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How to deal with a character that trips everything.


Advice

Cheliax

Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I looked through trying to find this as a topic, but I could not in the limited time I have, so I decided to jsut post a new thread. So if this has already been covered somewhere I appologize.

I have a character in the game I am running that is playing a strength based Monk who has improved trip and greater trip. It is a really cool build, and I wish I would have thought of it myself, but now I have to deal with the fact that every combat goes the same way. Cleric casts enlarge person on him, he moves up and trips everything and repositioning mobs to alow the group mates to flank them on the ground. Its a great tactic, I will give them that, but its getting kinda old as the person running it.

I read up on what each of the monsters can do, but no matter what I look at each things CMD and when I see that is it below 30 I know how the fight will go. I am running a AP for the group, so I dont want to change very much of it to deal with this, but does anyone have any advice on how to deal with this, or make it more of a challenge? The way the AP is written there is not a good way to deal with things that trip.

Grand Lodge

Have the NPCs develop a new spell in your AP after having seen the monk in action. Centipede stance, gain +x to your CMD vs trip. That or let him know his trick's getting stale.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber

Well a few things to remember about enlarge person. First it is a full round casting time so that should give the enemies some opportunity to maneuver to advantageous positions or interrupt the casting. Secondly if it is being cast by a cleric I assume that it is a domain spell. Remember that domain spells if not normally on the cleric list may only be prepared in the domain slot so you should only have to deal with one enlarge person per day (there are ways to use feats to get around this).

Secondly remember there are a lot of enemies who really can't be tripped or are very difficult to trip. Each leg past 2 adds an additional +2 to CMD, anything that is flying is untrippable, and so on.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It certainly depends upon the AP, but for the most part the problem will most likely resolve itself as the party levels.

More and more monsters will fly, have additional legs, or simply have outrageous strength/size. CMDs outpace most PCs capability to deal with them, and I haven't seen an adventure path personally that focuses so much on humanoids that late game encounters are trip-able.

Check the monsters in the last few books. If they don't seem like they will be tripped, let the monk have his day. He won't be having good days in the future.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Almost any buff that enhances AC will enhance CMD. That means circumstance, deflection, dodge, insight, luck, morale, profane, and sacred bonuses can be added to the CMD.

Look for spells and items that will add those bonuses. I would also look for spells that would help in other ways. For example, blessing of fervor will allow you to stand from prone without provoking attacks of opportunity. Use of spells like mirror image and blur could also help in preventing tripping as CMB checks are affected by anything that affects attacks.

Quadrupeds are harder to trip, and some monsters can't be tripped at all. Use more of those.

You could also control the field with difficult terrain, cover, and concealment to make it difficult for the monk to reach your NPCs.

You could have flying foes. You can't trip those.


First make sure that his build is ok.
Most of the time trip build are only really strong vs. enemies with two legs.
Animals and monsters with 4 legs get a bonus vs. trip attempts.
If most of your bad guys are humanoids it's not so easy to do something without clearly and directly countering him. And then you could as well tell him that his pc is too strong.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Kill him off!

Just kidding, these things always are a pain in the butt. I have ran only one AP, and dislike running them because of situations like this. I run an AP to cut down on my prep work, and when crap like this happens I just wish I ran a homebrew, which is what I am running now.

I played a maneuver master monk, so understand how his crowd control could get annoying. I was able to trip, reposition, bullrush and grapple with a single attack. It was like playing a melee caster.

So how to deal with trip. Well, if he's really good, your pretty much screwed. The closer you want to stay to the book, the more screwed. But don't give up, there is hope.

1) Creatures with no legs and creatures with 100's of legs (i.e. centipedes) tend to be immune to trip. I think most oozes and swarms are too. There are even some really cool swarm spells where a person can break apart and become swarms(trip me, ha, take this!)

2) Change melee combatants to ranged. This still allows him to trip kill them, but doesn't break down the encounters all together. Often, NPC's have a ranged weapon type already, switch a few feats around and you are keeping the essence of the encounter nearly the same while not allowing him to destroy it as much.

3) Flying creatures! Trip doesn't work on flying creatures. Need I say more.

4) Incorporeal. Make him throw down some loot on a ghost touch amulet at least. Then you can pull the incorporeals. HAHA, try and break me:)

5) Spells that drain strength. There are a ton, after 2-3 rounds of combat his tripping ability just went way down. Or nauseate. Still, he's a monk, these things will be hard to get to land on him.

6) Size - throw something colossal at them, that will teach them not to trip everything.

7) Throw some controllers at him and see who's better. Another good tactic is to isolate that player from the fight. Make him have a separate encounter, where he can shine without steam rolling the main encounter for the rest of the party.

8) Start raising the CR's of encounters. Mo enemies, or mo' harder enemies (they have several templates like advanced you could use to keep the encounters essentially the same. By the same token, you could Max HP's on enemies if the party is just lawnmowering the enemies.

9) Step up your tactics. This isn't always possible, but what is the AP actually giving you? Is there something you are overlooking? I know from GMing PFS with powergamers that sometimes a little more research can make a trivial battle a challenge. Of course, sometimes they destroy it anyways.

Now, dealing with the situation as a whole is different than dealing with trip. Why does it bother you so much? Personally, it doesn't bother me when players dominate encounters, it bothers me when A) One player has all the glory or B) I feel I can't challenge the party. I hate A, especially when other players complain. Now often this is difficult, if other players are new and don't know how to build "good" characters its easy for them to get overwhelmed. If the other players don't care, then that's less of an issue.

For me, as a GM, I feel best when an encounter is very difficult, the players are fearful of death, but nobody actually dies(but a few people are unconscious). Thats how I feel I did my job and designed a good encounter. In an AP, thats hard to do without changing things. Still, I think a few minor things I mentioned above may help quite a bit.

Lastly, you may just need to talk with the player, though it sounds like that would be a hard talk as he's not really done anything wrong.


First of all, you should never feel limited to JUST the stuff presented in APs. If you don't like something, don't hesitate to throw it out and use something else. APs are not GM straight jackets, they are simply tools (as is everything in Pathfinder). Take some liberty to change things when you feel the need.

That being said, there are several counter-measures to tripping. Fighting anything in the air or in the water automatically makes tripping useless. Monsters with more than 2 legs are harder to trip. There are a few feats (Monkey Style and Ki Stand off the top of my head) that make being prone a joke. The rogue talent Stand Up is another easy substitution to implement. You could just have the prone enemies eat the -4 penalty to attacks and AC and just have them fight on the ground. Some NPCs, like dwarves, are hard to trip. If the enemies win initiative, you could just have them target the monk and keep him in check so he can't trip.

Besides the countless countermeasures you can use, sometimes it's best to just let the players enjoy their tactics. If the enemies and encounters you want to use truly have no good way of combating the trip fest, then don't worry about it too much. Don't feel the need to come up with a counter-measure just because the players have a sound tactic they like to use - especially when the enemies have no way of knowing that a trip fest is about to ensue. At the same time, don't just "give in" either; if the enemies are intelligent enough to counter it, by all means do it.

If the party's trip tactics work well and don't completely break the fights, then they should be rewarded for their efforts by getting the advantage they're working for. If it really gets out of hand (which I don't see happening - I would think even a simple large number of enemies or even an ambush would be enough to diminish the tripping), then perhaps the later enemies down the line will have surely heard about the tripping nuisance and will make appropriate adjustments...


Forgotten Knight wrote:

I looked through trying to find this as a topic, but I could not in the limited time I have, so I decided to jsut post a new thread. So if this has already been covered somewhere I appologize.

I have a character in the game I am running that is playing a strength based Monk who has improved trip and greater trip. It is a really cool build, and I wish I would have thought of it myself, but now I have to deal with the fact that every combat goes the same way. Cleric casts enlarge person on him, he moves up and trips everything and repositioning mobs to alow the group mates to flank them on the ground. Its a great tactic, I will give them that, but its getting kinda old as the person running it.

I read up on what each of the monsters can do, but no matter what I look at each things CMD and when I see that is it below 30 I know how the fight will go. I am running a AP for the group, so I dont want to change very much of it to deal with this, but does anyone have any advice on how to deal with this, or make it more of a challenge? The way the AP is written there is not a good way to deal with things that trip.

Just hope he doesn't see the Vicious Stomp feat and realize that he can get two AOO's on the same guy for each trip (when combined with greater trip).

I'd check the build like other people are suggesting, or at least the math. Enlarge person only adds a +2 to trip, combined with the grapple feats only equals an extra +6. Which is nice, but not game breaking.


Just be very careful how you deal with this. This player has invested a lot of resources into developing this capability, and if he suddenly finds it's useless in every encounter, he is not going to have fun and you'll have totally negated his entire character. That said, it's just as important that you are having fun as the GM, and it sounds like he's making things a bit monotonous for you.

So, try to balance the encounters so he has something to do, without allowing trip to be the "win card". Worldbuilder just gave some great suggestions about large opponents, flying creatures, many-legged creatures, archers, etc. Sprinkle these in with the normal encounters, so that you can have fun but also give him something to do. Things like putting archers behind arrow slits or on difficult-to-reach raised platforms could also help.

A couple more ways to make things harder to trip: if he faces a Fighter that's a human, dwarf, or halfling, take advantage of their Favored Class Bonus to make them harder to trip. If they are level X, subtract X from their hit points and add X to their CMD vs. trip (and one other maneuver.) For casters or other classes with slow BAB, perhaps they took the feat Defensive Combat Training so that their HD counts as their BAB when calculating CMD.

Monks tend to have a hard time in general, and if this one is shining right now, don't just take that away because he's too effective. Let him do what he's good at (after all, he's put serious investment into doing all this,) without allowing combat to become too formulaic.


send a Tetori monk after him!

Rocks fall everyone dies!

:)


All are good suggestions, only an addition to Rumpin.

You of course don't want every encounter to nix it, but you should mix full/partial/none useful encounters.

Yes, it's a great trick, but there should be times when it flat out doesn't work. That's part of being smart with a build, is not relying on a 'one trick pony'. If you do, you will never enjoy the game.

Don't feel like you need to play into a one-trick, be real, and if it is a one-trick he'll eventually realize being really uber awesome at one thing simply doesn't work.

Then again, he may not be a one-trick. In either case, follow the full/partial/none if you can for all groups/encounters. It mixes things up, makes them continue to evolve, and focuses towards rounded characters/styles.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Tales Subscriber

Oozes, not only can't they be tripped but many do damage when you hit them.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Tales Subscriber

Creatures with gaze attacks or gaze attacks and multiple legs such as any of the "lisques". "So you run up within 30 feet eh...and you were looking right at the creature ... make a fort save please.


“Bob. D&D is a game, and games are supposed to be fun. For everyone, including the DM. Tripping really slows the combats way down and also reduces my fun. So, can we cut it down a bit? I’ll allow you a minor rebuild if you like.”


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I don't really get how this is getting old. Does swinging a sword get old? It's really the same thing. It's an attack. You don't see the people accusing the wizard of using a save or suck spell as getting old, thinking the Magus with Frigid Touch here.

But when it comes to trip, it works well at the low levels but works less often as you level up. By about level 10 the CMD of creatures start getting really high. It's a common complaint in the games I run that the CMD get too high to effectively use Acrobatics to tumble past an enemy unless you dump everything in acrobatics.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Something else to keep in mind about Trip builds is that frequently they are very party-friendly builds (i.e. a trip build drops the foes and the rest of the party flanks & enjoys the advantages of attacking a prone opponent - assuming non-ranged party members). Some trip builds also deal a lot of damage (especially the ones with the feats that trigger one or more AoO on going prone/being tripped) but generally when my Lore Warden/Maneuver Master Monk trips he does so to help the rest of his party (typically he tries to close with the caster and trip and/or dirty trick to neutralize the caster as much as possible - but this tactic works best when working in conjunction with other party members.

It is also very much the case that Tripping while great against humanoid, ground-based opponents becomes useless once enemies are flying - which is why my Lore Warden took Improved Dirty Trick and will likely focus on other maneuvers that work well against flying creatures.

Being Enlarged is also almost always a great thing for maneuver focused characters (my Lore Warden can't be Enlarged since he is a Tiefling and thus not a humanoid) - but definitely don't forget that Enlarge Person takes a full round to take effect - a round that is frequently enough to do a lot of things.


It really is a self-correcting problem, yeah. Much like sleep makes all combat a total joke at first level, but eventually stops being worth it, the higher your level gets, the more often trip attempts go from "ha ha, you're doomed now!" to "I just wasted my turn!" I say just let the party enjoy it while it lasts.


I refuse to believe the OP's scenario. He's talking about a MONK totally owning combat encounters, and as we all know on these boards, monks are a completely useless class.

Obviously the player in question is cheating - otherwise his monk wouldn't be able to do anything effective in combat.


The higher level you get, the less useful trip will get. Once monsters start flying more frequently his usefulness will drop quickly.


Start throwing these into the fight.

That or give him a taste of his own medicine. Just try not to obsolete his build, he's not doing anything wrong really.


The trip/reposition combo is making me think it's a Flowing Monk. From somebody who played one... They're ridiculously fun and can be incredibly powerful.

The monk can certainly be large every fight, that much isn't a factor. Remember you can only trip things one size category larger than you max. So he will max out tripping Huge creatures and only when buffed.

What AP are you playing?? That makes a big difference on what can actually be done.


* "the npc casts fly"
* "you guys are fighting a hydra"
* "wizard casts ray of enfeeblement"
* "you guys are fighting a ghost"
* "the npc has wings"
* "npc has monkey stance"
* "the npc trips you"
* "the npc has earth glide"

they have soooo many ways to shut a trip based character down past 6th level. the one thing you really need to focus on is not throwing to many at him. many times you will toss npc's at him, ot the AP will have npc's, that will invalidate his character already.

i say let him have his fun now, because once he hits tenth level he will have a bunch of feats and class features that will be USELESS(!!) against most enemies.


oozes, swarms, things with too many legs to trip, things that fly, theres a good deal of options even fairly early.

Andoran

The mean way is to just have a trip wire rigged to a trap that has Reduce Person permanently cast on him. Or send a centipede at them, or something so large that he cannot trip it. Or a curse that makes him roll twice for Combat Maneuvers.

Keep in mind from the SRD:

If your attack fails by 10 or more, you are knocked prone instead. If the target has more than two legs, add +2 to the DC of the combat maneuver attack roll for each additional leg it has. Some creatures—such as oozes, creatures without legs, and flying creatures—cannot be tripped.

Long story short is send some oozes, flying guys, huge devils or ghosts at them. Or have the enemy wizard use Dispel Magic on his buffs heh

Sczarni

Universal advice - Check list of actions which NPCs can do. A simple fighting defensively tactic can bump their CMD by 4. You don't have to apply it to every NPC, but rather those which are infront.

Universal advice - Use enemy buff spells and always prebuff them before combat if they can sense PCs coming.

Universal advice - Adding a simple lv1 potion can be helpful for NPCs. Example: Shield of Faith adds +2 to AC/CMD.


Let the guy have his time in the spot light. I give him a maximum of 4 levels before he starts failing more trip attempts than he maxes due to the sheer size and power of his opponents.

Andoran

Or just drop FoM on the big bad and suddenly he's not getting tripped anymore.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Freedom of Movement does nothing against combat maneuvers other than grapple. You can trip, dirty trick, bull rush, disarm, reposition etc as you like. Just can't grapple. Certainly a powerful buff but a ground based enemy would still be subject to trips. Overland Flight, fly or depending on how you interpret it air walk would however cause problems. (I think by raw you could trip someone air walking resulting potentially in them "prone" but in the air - though I'm not 100% certain about that)

Sczarni

I agree that you shouldn't completely shut him down.

Snakes are immune to trip. Maybe you could have them fight a druid with a snake companion-- he could still trip the druid, but not the snake. Actually, a druid could wild shape into a snake after being tripped-- maybe have the group fight some druids?

Similarly, an alchemist could "summon" an ooze or two. The monk can still shut the alchemist down, but those oozes are another story.

Hell, Summon Swarm is a 1st-level cleric spell. Just about anyone could spring for a scroll of it.

Also, try a few non-combat encounters with traps and the like. You can't trip a trap!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Silent Saturn wrote:
You can't trip a trap!

You can if it's triggered by a Trip wire.

Thank you, thank you. I'll be here all week.

Backs slowly away from the crowd of angry pun haters.


Have him fight the occasional snake-like creature


i don't think you need to do anything special.
there are inherent limits to this tactic anyways.
in many cases, it's not accomplishing much:
if the tripped enemy can reach the monk, they just full attack him, taking a penalty, but they can still hit, and other enemies can still flank with them to counter that penalty for being prone.
if the party's tactics are really top-notch, you can and should play the opposition with more tactical intelligence.
as you level up, more and more enemies will either be immune to trip or have very high CMDs.
let him have his moment of glory... i don't see how tripping opponents is worse than just hitting them for damage, it probably just makes the combats longer.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Thank you for the various suggestions everyone. I appreciate it.

I am running Carrion Crown for them, and just finishing up Broken Moon. I have looked through the rest of the books and most of the creatures tend to be humanoid types. I will look over everything and see what I can do. Once again Thanks.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Forgotten Knight wrote:

Thank you for the various suggestions everyone. I appreciate it.

I am running Carrion Crown for them, and just finishing up Broken Moon. I have looked through the rest of the books and most of the creatures tend to be humanoid types. I will look over everything and see what I can do. Once again Thanks.

Keep in mind that Wake of the Watcher has

Spoiler:
a lot of underwater combat situations. Trip is useless when everyone is swimming.

After Wake of the Watcher, you start hitting levels where many opponents can fly or are difficult to trip (due to size or other circumstances).


i don't believe that there is any exception/immunity to Trip while Swimming, like there is for Flying...?
if 'Prone' while swimming you should suffer the same AC/attack penalties and movement restrictions as while on land...
same for burrowing/earthglide...


Quandary wrote:

i don't believe that there is any exception/immunity to Trip while Swimming, like there is for Flying...?

if 'Prone' while swimming you should suffer the same AC/attack penalties and movement restrictions as while on land...
same for burrowing/earthglide...

Pls 'splain how you got prone while swimming.

Qadira

Dragonchess Player wrote:
Forgotten Knight wrote:

Thank you for the various suggestions everyone. I appreciate it.

I am running Carrion Crown for them, and just finishing up Broken Moon. I have looked through the rest of the books and most of the creatures tend to be humanoid types. I will look over everything and see what I can do. Once again Thanks.

Keep in mind that Wake of the Watcher has ** spoiler omitted **

After Wake of the Watcher, you start hitting levels where many opponents can fly or are difficult to trip (due to size or other circumstances).

I just did that one, it didn't seem to be true. I guess it could be gm variation and player tactics. We asked the gm to skip most filler fights due to them not fitting the plot at all.

spoiler reply:

We did have lots of fights near water and one in it.


A fellow player had a trip master monk, in trial of the beast his trips were hit and miss at best. There were a lot of things he couldn't trip unless he got really lucky and that really only worked in our favor once. It's not game breaking and he died after getting mummy rot.

There's your solution, mummy rot is the bane of monks.


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You could always disintegrate the monk.

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