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Pin = Win?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Does pinning an opponent basically equal, the party wins? Most boss fights aren't a room filled of bad guys. It's a single creature, maybe one bodyguard. It seems to me that if you grapple then pin the boss its over. Now most people don't have a grappler running around with them granted but you should they can be as valuable as a healer! I've run down the numbers because one of the players in an adventure path I'm DMing made Brutal Pugilist. At first level he had CMB +7 and a CMD 18. He would run up grapple creature (needing to roll roughly a 9), allow his party to run around it, stab, stab dead. I mean good tactic bravo and all that but it got me to thinking down the road.
The first "boss" they fought to end the first section of adventure one had a CMD 17, so he needed a 10 start the grapple. He grabs on the party moves up and attacks. The monster doesn't really get to hurt that round but here is the rub. Now boss can attack and try to break out. breaking free requires a roll of 13 or attacking required a roll of 12. In this case I opted to attack hit the grappler and knocked him down 8HP. A fine hit and damage, and yes that's with the minuses due to grappled condition. The grappler then get +5 to maintain his grapple and then tries to pin, which he succeeds. party stabby, stabby the boss. Now I can only try to break out which I try and fail. The grapple remains at +5 (that's +12CMB for a first level guy total FYI, although I think he was raging making it a 13.) Stabby stabby dead. So this got me to thinking what going to stop someone with grapple fights from simply removing the be creature from almost every fight? Grappled I can deal with even understand -4Dex and -2 to hit due to condition. Pin now that another story, I know they aren't on top of the monster pinning them to the ground cause the creature isn't prone and doesn't suffer prone conditions. Not to mention that in pathfinder you don't take the square of the monster you're grappling so why does pin not allow an attack, I have no idea, but that besides the fact.
Once a grappler pins a monster the fight is all over except for a few dice rolls, not sure how that makes sense or is fun for anyone. DOn't even think of using a caster as a boss type cause you will be sad when you see their CMD. thias isn't a rules question cause I get how they work, call it a rant or a plea to change pins wording at least let the things fight on not just try to break a grapple to most likely just be regrappled a round later!
Don't even get me started on greater grapple where grapplers can now start and pin in a single round, taking away that one attack a monster might get off. I also don't want to hear about just make all your large/huge ect. Having to alter entire modules because of a flawed pin condition seems like more work than I'm willing to put into a game. Thanks for allowing this rant feel free to ignore it, or agree, or blast me for not being a l33t DM.


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Lost Ohioian wrote:
Does pinning an opponent basically equal, the party wins? Most boss fights aren't a room filled of bad guys. It's a single creature, maybe one bodyguard. It seems to me that if you grapple then pin the boss its over.

That's a problem with encounter design, not a problem with the grapple rules. And, yes, it's been commented on at length. "Boss monsters" are a stupid trope; single boss monsters without any minions around to actually boss are unsalvageably flawed. It's not just grappling that will do it. Any save-or-suck effect will also trivialize the encounter (which is why so many people complain that a witch is overpowered).

There's not much, if anything, that your grappler can do that couldn't be done more effectively by a witch or an enchantment-focused sorcerer. Any time you create an encounter with a single opponent to overcome, there are typically lots of ways to overcome that opponent in a single round if the dice fall in your favor. At least with grapple, the baddie gets chances to escape the grapple (he doesn't, if he's been turned to stone or something)....


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I sympathize with you. When a player finds an "I win" button (and grapple+pin can be one of those in many encounters), it's really hard to get them to understand that their success means the GM and other players will have a lot less fun. And although there are many, many ways to adjust encounters to address that particular problem, it's an annoying amount of work (on top of everything else) for GMs running adventure paths to do.

Dark Archive

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Depends on the level. At low levels grapple builds are pretty good but they fall off quickly. Monster CMD scales WAY faster then player CMB does. Also, spells like Freedom of Movemebt and Supernatual abilities (which do not have concentration checks, don't provoke AOOs, and don't count as spells) make a mockery of grapplers. For example, if a grappler went after either my PFS witch or summoner, I would humiliate them with either 4 save or lose hexes (one of which they are probably going to fail) or just summon my murder eidalon right next to me to maul them.

Dark Archive

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Also, remember that APs are designed for 4 players. If you find they are walking all over tge encounters you should consider adding more fodder so the CR matches the APL at an appropreate rate.


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

if a wizard had cast colorspray and you failed the will save then you'd have not even had the 1 turn.

There are many ways to beat 1 enemy in 1 turn. If there's only 1 enemy to begin with then 1 spell can win the entire fight.


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The problem as mentioned is encounter design. Always try to have a number of opponents equal to the number members of the PCs party. And I personally include pets/animal companion. That way action economy starts off relatively equal. Now, that does mean that your budget for NPCs individual CR is reduced, but that's ok. It will still end up more challenging most of the time than if you only do one or two big enemies.


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Claxon wrote:
The problem as mentioned is encounter design. Always try to have a number of opponents equal to the number members of the PCs party.

I'm not sure whether or not "Always completely rewrite every published adventure from the ground up" is the least helpful advice that I've ever seen offered in my life, but it's probably deserving of an honorable mention.

So,.... congratulations?


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Using quotation marks when paraphrasing (or outright putting words in someone's mouth) is very rude. Bad Orfamay, bad. No cookies for you.


Yeah, I do the same as Claxon- though I don't keep things strictly equal to the party's numbers, but I like to have at least three enemies in any battle I intend to be challenging.

The trouble, though, is that if this is an Adventure Path, I can understand the resistance to modifying it.

In that case, what I suggest is to play the enemies intelligently when you can.

- Have boss enemies move. If they become aware of the players (which should be easy, it's not hard to hear the sound of battle, and if they have minions reporting to them, or divination spells, it's even easier), they should move to the best spot for ambushing the party in their favor. Which usually isn't the obvious boss room at the end of the dungeon.

- Have boss enemies group up. I have my big dungeon minibosses basically bee line for each other the moment they hear trouble. This ends up creating ad hoc boss groups.

This way you can increase the difficulty of the AP without actually adding to the prep. Everything is done on the spot, using the creatures already in the dungeon. Granted, These sort of strategies work best for intelligent enemies in dungeons or situations where they can become aware of the party before the party gets to them. It doesn't work so well for that single dragon in a cave, those encounters the best thing to do is just add minions. Or traps. I love a good trap in a boss encounter!

Shadow Lodge

As was previously mentioned, there are ways around this:

Multiple Bad Guys is the most helpful one, especially because it also defends against four PCs outnumbering a lone Boss Monster.

Enchanting the Grappler tends to work, less often if the grappler is a monk or has Protection From Evil or similar. Other spells or terrain effects (trapdoors/difficult terrain/traps the Bad Guys know about and can avoid, for example) help delay the grappler's advance.

Bigger bad guys are harder to grapple. If they're up against a kraken or some other enormous thing that can Grab, it can turn the tables and show them what it's like.

Also, high Will saves, Protection From Good, and an enemy archer/crossobw/other ranged attacker who readies to counterspell by casting +1 Flaming Arrow can help defend against the spell equivalent, like Hold Person. If they have the cash, Flight potions or Rings of Free Action can also help avoid getting pinned down.

Feel free to mix & match!


Orfamay Quest wrote:
Claxon wrote:
The problem as mentioned is encounter design. Always try to have a number of opponents equal to the number members of the PCs party.

I'm not sure whether or not "Always completely rewrite every published adventure from the ground up" is the least helpful advice that I've ever seen offered in my life, but it's probably deserving of an honorable mention.

So,.... congratulations?

Except it's literally the advice you gave. There's no real solution to the problem that doesn't involve a s*~+ton of work, but being unbelievably kinda snotty about it doesn't help anyone.


Orfamay Quest wrote:

There's not much, if anything, that your grappler can do that couldn't be done more effectively by a witch or an enchantment-focused sorcerer.

Do y'alls gm's just not use monsters that are immune to mind affecting things or something? There's kind of a lot of em.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Except it's literally the advice you gave.

Except that I deliberately didn't give any advice, because I was smart enough to recognize that "rewrite the AP" is negatively-helpful.


How is it negatively helpful? How did that advice actually hurt the OP? Come on, Orfamay. Don't exaggerate. You offered no advice, and they offered advice that you felt would be too challenging to follow through on (it isn't).


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
How is it negatively helpful? How did that advice actually hurt the OP?

You've answered your own question.

Quote:
Come on, Orfamay. Don't exaggerate. You offered no advice, and they offered advice that you felt would be too challenging to follow through on (it isn't).


changing key fights that are obviously BBEG single combats with a party of adventurers to have a number of minions at CR -2 or so isn't really that tough.


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Recycling some previous low level creatures as minions greatly reduces the necessary work for the GM. Players are usally quite occupied with themselves and do notice only a few things about their foes anyway. Hence you can get away with an interesting boss - minions can be repetitions without a problem.


One of my players plays a Pugilist (3PP class) and is a master of grappling and pinning. He's also good at the chokehold, having used it on a smallish dragon to keep it from using its breath weapon. The dragon managed to scrape him off against a tree and flee, realizing it couldn't stand against him and the party Psion.


Ryan Freire wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:

There's not much, if anything, that your grappler can do that couldn't be done more effectively by a witch or an enchantment-focused sorcerer.

Do y'alls gm's just not use monsters that are immune to mind affecting things or something? There's kind of a lot of em.

Following a published AP, the Psychic in the group I currently run sits out or minimally contributes in ~50% of the fights.

Granted, when his spells work, they really work, but so many fights he does nothing.


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Orfamay Quest wrote:
Claxon wrote:
The problem as mentioned is encounter design. Always try to have a number of opponents equal to the number members of the PCs party.

I'm not sure whether or not "Always completely rewrite every published adventure from the ground up" is the least helpful advice that I've ever seen offered in my life, but it's probably deserving of an honorable mention.

So,.... congratulations?

It's not my fault that 80+% of encounters are written poorly.

If you're party is decently optimized you can usually afford to up the total encounter CR by 1 or 2 anyways, and add in some weaker opponents. Yes it takes time and effort. GMing is a lot of work and can sometimes be thankless when players don't know or understand the level of effort you go to in attempting to provide fun and challenging encounters.

So I would say to you, it's far from the least helpful advice ever. It's simply advice that makes GMing more difficult.

Silver Crusade

Yeah, single creature encounters are generally pretty simple regardless just due to action economy. If I'm running an AP I'll usually fudge, give single creatures more actions per round and beefing up their HP by a LOT. Otherwise battles tend to be over in a round or two.


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Snowlilly wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:

There's not much, if anything, that your grappler can do that couldn't be done more effectively by a witch or an enchantment-focused sorcerer.

Do y'alls gm's just not use monsters that are immune to mind affecting things or something? There's kind of a lot of em.

Following a published AP, the Psychic in the group I currently run sits out or minimally contributes in ~50% of the fights.

Granted, when his spells work, they really work, but so many fights he does nothing.

That's some really poor spell selection or knowledge skill rolls, then.


Any well prepared slightly optimized experienced group for players can do the same imo. The CR is broken and does not reflect a party of players who know what their characters can or cannot do. The published npcs and in some cases final BBEGs are also written poorly. The best advice I would give unless one is really pressed for time. Or a novice DM is to make one own encounters.


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Isonaroc wrote:
Yeah, single creature encounters are generally pretty simple regardless just due to action economy. If I'm running an AP I'll usually fudge, give single creatures more actions per round and beefing up their HP by a LOT. Otherwise battles tend to be over in a round or two.

That is amazingly worse than just adding fodder. More actions can easily lead to well-made enemies simply breaking the party over their knee, and more HP, padded sumo style, just makes fights amazingly dull.


Isonaroc wrote:
Yeah, single creature encounters are generally pretty simple regardless just due to action economy. If I'm running an AP I'll usually fudge, give single creatures more actions per round and beefing up their HP by a LOT. Otherwise battles tend to be over in a round or two.

While this can be one way of handling it, it can be dangerous to do so. If you give the BBEG multiple actions per round it can quickly kill a PC because the BBEG is usually high level/CR than the party. Padding hp by too much also doesn't necessarily help, especially on parties that use status conditions to reduce the enemy offense to practically nothing.

I'm playing Hell's Vengeance right now with an Antipaladin character that can cause up to a -10 to saves. I combo this ability with basically anyone party member's save or suck spell and the target is practically out of the fight. HP doesn't matter at that point.


Claxon wrote:


I'm playing Hell's Vengeance right now with an Antipaladin character that can cause up to a -10 to saves.

Which effects does he stack to accomplish that? (I'm not familiar with Antipaladins.)


Claxon wrote:


While this can be one way of handling it, it can be dangerous to do so. If you give the BBEG multiple actions per round it can quickly kill a PC because the BBEG is usually high level/CR than the party. Padding hp by too much also doesn't necessarily help, especially on parties that use status conditions to reduce the enemy offense to practically nothing.

Another thing to factor in is bad dice rolls as well. There is a CR 5 creature with a madness aura. Anyone who walks within a certain radius goes insane on a failed save. I can't remember the name of the creature. I missed a session and that was the one where five other players failed their saves and went insane. The creatures was not too strong for the group but bad dice rolls and the DM had a TPK.


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SheepishEidolon wrote:
Recycling some previous low level creatures as minions greatly reduces the necessary work for the GM. Players are usally quite occupied with themselves and do notice only a few things about their foes anyway. Hence you can get away with an interesting boss - minions can be repetitions without a problem.

Yeah, this is some great advice. Heck, APs often do this anyway- there's often a few "generic mook" statblocks that get reused. Just use those.

Or, pull a relevant bestiary monster. Those are also pretty easy.

Another addition to my earlier suggestion of "make intelligent boss monsters act intelligently" is to have the boss attack in the middle of a battle against otherwise minor mooks. Combat is loud, and if there's a miniboss a couple rooms from combat, it's not strange that they'd want to check it out. The result is a battle that the PCs were not expecting.

Just don't use this trick TOO often. Used once, it's a memorable twist. Used over and over, it's a dick GM move.

Silver Crusade

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Voss wrote:
Isonaroc wrote:
Yeah, single creature encounters are generally pretty simple regardless just due to action economy. If I'm running an AP I'll usually fudge, give single creatures more actions per round and beefing up their HP by a LOT. Otherwise battles tend to be over in a round or two.
That is amazingly worse than just adding fodder. More actions can easily lead to well-made enemies simply breaking the party over their knee, and more HP, padded sumo style, just makes fights amazingly dull.

Not if you play it right. *shrugs* There are bad ways to do it and there are not-bad ways to do it, this is one of the least invasive and easily manageable ways.


I add a vote to the don't make your boss into a super god crowd.

Padding HP is a lovely combination of boring and potentially lethal depending on what the creature can do.

Same goes for artificially inflated actions/AC/saves


Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
Claxon wrote:


I'm playing Hell's Vengeance right now with an Antipaladin character that can cause up to a -10 to saves.
Which effects does he stack to accomplish that? (I'm not familiar with Antipaladins.)

Cornugon Smash gives free intimidate on attack rolls while power attacking. This causes shaken (-2 to saves and other stuff too). With Hurtful, you get a free extra attack when you successfully intimidate someone. With the Cruel weapon enhancement ability it causes sickened (-2 to saves and other stuff too). At level 8, Antipaladin's get Aura of Despair (-2 to saves). That's a -6 to saves. Then you use the conductive weapon quality to channel a Touch of Corruption with the Cursed cruelty, which functions as Bestow Curse. Bestow Curse can cause a -4 penalty to saves (and other stuff). The best part is, that with some luck you can accomplish this whole thing as part of a standard action since you can move, attack (trigger cornugon smash), trigger hurtful, attack (and channel Touch of Corruption). Landing the touch of corruption can be difficult if you don't already have the penalties from shaken and sickened, but it can still work pretty well. A full attack action basically guarantees you can do it and have the maximum penalties to their saves before you use Touch of Corruption.


Claxon wrote:
Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
Claxon wrote:


I'm playing Hell's Vengeance right now with an Antipaladin character that can cause up to a -10 to saves.
Which effects does he stack to accomplish that? (I'm not familiar with Antipaladins.)
Cornugon Smash gives free intimidate on attack rolls while power attacking. This causes shaken (-2 to saves and other stuff too). With Hurtful, you get a free extra attack when you successfully intimidate someone. With the Cruel weapon enhancement ability it causes sickened (-2 to saves and other stuff too). At level 8, Antipaladin's get Aura of Despair (-2 to saves). That's a -6 to saves. Then you use the conductive weapon quality to channel a Touch of Corruption with the Cursed cruelty, which functions as Bestow Curse. Bestow Curse can cause a -4 penalty to saves (and other stuff). The best part is, that with some luck you can accomplish this whole thing as part of a standard action since you can move, attack (trigger cornugon smash), trigger hurtful, attack (and channel Touch of Corruption). Landing the touch of corruption can be difficult if you don't already have the penalties from shaken and sickened, but it can still work pretty well. A full attack action basically guarantees you can do it and have the maximum penalties to their saves before you use Touch of Corruption.

My Inquisitor does something similar. It isn't quite so strong since he doesn't have Aura of Despair, but uses Inflict Pain to give the -4 penalty that stacks with Sickened and Shaken. (He's Viking Fighter 2, allowing for move action Demoralize attempts.)

Start within Reach weapon reach of target:

Move action Demoralize inflicting Shaken,
Swift Action attack from Hurtful,
Hitting causes Sickened from the Vicious weapon,
5' step out of threatened area,
Standard action debuff spell.

Soon, I'll have two Damnation Feats, including Soulless Gaze. This would make it worth another Free Action attempt to Demoralize from Cornugon Smash after the Hurtful attack. If successful, the Shaken condition would be increased to Frightened.

Now that he has 4th level spells, I'm looking forward to playing with the combination to use other SoS spells rather than the Inflict Pain debuff. I'm thinking of spells like Fear, Forced Repentance, and Hold Monster. In this case, the previous conditions are just there to effectively increase the save DC of the SoS.

Silver Crusade

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Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:

I add a vote to the don't make your boss into a super god crowd.

Padding HP is a lovely combination of boring and potentially lethal depending on what the creature can do.

Same goes for artificially inflated actions/AC/saves

Didn't say anything about "super god," just making it so combat isn't a curb stomp. And it's only boring if you play it boring. Sure if you have the thing just sit in the middle of the room and trade melee attacks it's boring, so don't do that.


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Orfamay Quest wrote:
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
How is it negatively helpful? How did that advice actually hurt the OP?

You've answered your own question.

Quote:
Come on, Orfamay. Don't exaggerate. You offered no advice, and they offered advice that you felt would be too challenging to follow through on (it isn't).

That's not hurtful. You used the word "negative", which is a pretty extraordinary claim. "Good advice that Orfamay Quest just can't take" isn't hurting anyone. It's not even that ironic. :P

A good solution for some of this: Treat the boss as two monsters. Give it two actions a round. Hell, even consider giving it a limited "reroll" ability for save-or-sucks. Make it act like two monsters and you don't have to worry quite so much about making it fight good enough for one.


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I think you guys are missing the point. Yes, there are a million ways to change encounters to address the problem. The OP wasn't asking for help, he was expressing annoyance that he has to take the time and effort to change printed encounters to address a single PC's usual tactic. In relationship talk, he's asking for "sympathy, not solutions." ;)


Plausible Pseudonym wrote:


That's some really poor spell selection or knowledge skill rolls, then.

I'm not counting knowledge skills. While he does just fine on knowledge skills, so does the arcanist sitting right next to him. Between the two of them, they generally get at least some information on every encounter.

The first question he always asks these day is, "is it immune to mind-affecting." Assuming the answer is not already obvious, e.g. constructs, vermin, etc.


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Jhaeman wrote:
I think you guys are missing the point. Yes, there are a million ways to change encounters to address the problem. The OP wasn't asking for help, he was expressing annoyance that he has to take the time and effort to change printed encounters to address a single PC's usual tactic. In relationship talk, he's asking for "sympathy, not solutions." ;)

Adjusting the CR for an encounter is part of the art of being a Gamemaster.

There is no sympathy here. Just learn to add one or two more creatures or take one away when needed. It's not rocket science or community service.


Snowlilly wrote:
Plausible Pseudonym wrote:


That's some really poor spell selection or knowledge skill rolls, then.

I'm not counting knowledge skills. While he does just fine on knowledge skills, so does the arcanist sitting right next to him. Between the two of them, they generally get at least some information on every encounter.

The first question he always asks these day is, "is it immune to mind-affecting." Assuming the answer is not already obvious, e.g. constructs, vermin, etc.

I'm not suggesting he should be contributing to the party with his knowledge skills, I'm suggesting either he doesn't have a good spell selection (no effective spells for those immune to mind affecting) or he does, but isn't rolling to know when to use them. It sound like he chose poorly on his spell list.

Dark Archive

I'd like to echo freedom of movement. The badder the bad guy, the more likely the BBEG is to be prepared for the PC, so preperations like that are great. Also, contingency can fill a similar niche.

Have a few fights where the BBEG has some natural attacks. The grappler might think twice if their turn just puts them into full-attack range of a claw/claw/bite.

Plus, once you get bigger than large, CMDs start to get really high from the size and strength bonuses.

I see there was a lively discussion regarding encounter design above. I will agree, many fights in APs are not challenging. I'm going to voice the opinion: They don't need to be. Most fights should take some resources away from the party (wand charges, spell slots, uses of limited use class features), but the PCs should be able to succeed without significant dice-intervention.
However, there ARE fights that SHOULD be challenging. These are your boss fights and such. When those are designed as 1 NPC v.s. the party, I would recommending adding some fodder for team evil, just to make it more challenging.
However, if every fight is a CR > APL+3, it makes the "Boss Fights" less awesome by comparison. If all the fights are truly life-threatening, you lose some of that cinematic feel of the Big Fights.


Eh...natural attacks stop being particularly scary once you get access to abilities to go from not grappling, to pinned in one round. With greater grapple you can do so on a full attack action.

And for my grappler character (which is actually a Constable Cavalier) I am relying on allies to dispel FOM if it exist.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
Claxon wrote:
The problem as mentioned is encounter design. Always try to have a number of opponents equal to the number members of the PCs party.

I'm not sure whether or not "Always completely rewrite every published adventure from the ground up" is the least helpful advice that I've ever seen offered in my life, but it's probably deserving of an honorable mention.

So,.... congratulations?

Paizo encounter design is often terrible. Either 1 strong monster or caster (which get obliterated or obliterate the party) and 17 rooms full of CR 1/8 creatures. As well as places with about 200 rooms.

I must systematically change every single encounter. So this is good advice, if you were to run them as is it probably would not work.

The disclaimer is, you cant prepare an encounter for all groups, table variation etc.


Errant Mercenary wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Claxon wrote:
The problem as mentioned is encounter design. Always try to have a number of opponents equal to the number members of the PCs party.

I'm not sure whether or not "Always completely rewrite every published adventure from the ground up" is the least helpful advice that I've ever seen offered in my life, but it's probably deserving of an honorable mention.

So,.... congratulations?

Paizo encounter design is often terrible. Either 1 strong monster or caster (which get obliterated or obliterate the party) and 17 rooms full of CR 1/8 creatures. As well as places with about 200 rooms.

I must systematically change every single encounter. So this is good advice, if you were to run them as is it probably would not work.

The disclaimer is, you cant prepare an encounter for all groups, table variation etc.

Additionally, encounters typically have poorly chosen Feats and, casters have mostly useless spells. Dragons almost never have Flyby Attack, instead having something marginally useful like Vital Strike, for example.

Redesigning encounters is a pain in the butt. However, if you are a GM running a group that prefers having characters in the upper 50% of optimization, then tweaking those encounters is pretty much necessary. It's even more necessary if your group has more or less than 4 characters.


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It's worth remember that most APs are written for non-optimized characters who spend the feats on things like skill focus on all the skills to still be successful.

Generally, this means the optimization of opponents needs to be quite low, or else those who don't optimize would likely end up in constant TPKs.


Claxon wrote:

It's worth remember that most APs are written for non-optimized characters who spend the feats on things like skill focus on all the skills to still be successful.

Generally, this means the optimization of opponents needs to be quite low, or else those who don't optimize would likely end up in constant TPKs.

Agreed. The level of modification a GM needs to do to an AP is directly related to the type of party for which he/she is running the game.

At a local university, I was running a group of complete Pathfinder newbies through RotRL, and there were several places where I had to tone back encounters significantly, even with a party of six characters.

Conversely, with my regular group, I had to do fairly significant re-designs of most encounters just to make them interesting to the group because my regular group's system mastery is so much higher than the university group.


Ectar wrote:
I'd like to echo freedom of movement. The badder the bad guy, the more likely the BBEG is to be prepared for the PC, so preperations like that are great. Also, contingency can fill a similar niche.

Be really careful how you use this sort of advice. While having a wizard opponent who would have justifiably divined the party and the grappler's tactics to prepare Freedom of Movement ahead of time (or even just have contingency up since Freedom of Movement is such a catch-all), don't have every creature of significant threat or notability the party fights have Freedom of Movement while there is a grappler in the group.

You point out rightly that the numbers get really inflated. It's because of this that most CMB users have to invest heavily to reliably beat any CR appropriate monster's CMD. So often any given grappler will probably be awful at anything else. (this is probably why anyone considering going entirely for grapples should be a tetori monk)

If this happens often enough, that player is going to stop having fun. And that is NOT what you want to do. Period.

My advice is that, if this sort of thing becomes so much of a disruption and causes you, as the DM, to stop having fun, talk to the player and ask to tone it down. Settle it out of game. Find compromise. Maybe allow for a rework of their character for free if necessary. Don't just invalidate them with in-game solutions as that breeds resentment between DM and player.

I'm going to echo what others have said in this thread and say that multiple enemies are how you combat one-trick ponies who invalidate solo encounters, even in AP's. (you should adjust AP's to your party anyway. What's in the book is not set in stone, and a DM should have a better understanding of their party's capabilities to make adjustments if necessary to maintain challenge/maintain fairness and fun) A single big badass is going to be mince meat for even an underpowered party more often then not. Your bad guys should never fight solo, and any intelligent creature will recognise when it is outmatched and outnumbered and will never fight against such odds unless it knew it would survive either way, or doesn't have the intelligence to recognise the threat posed to it.


I would expect any full caster capable of preparing freedom of movement to have one prepared just in case. In the same way they usually have Overland flight prepared (and used) if they have access to it.

That said, those who can't cast it on their own probably shouldn't have it unless the enemies have reason to know that their is a grapple specialist in the party.

Shadow Lodge

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Lost Ohioian wrote:
Does pinning an opponent basically equal, the party wins?

Only if someone spends a standard action to count.

Liberty's Edge

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TOZ wrote:
Lost Ohioian wrote:
Does pinning an opponent basically equal, the party wins?
Only if someone spends a standard action to count.

Does the Improved Counter feat turn this to a move action?


My favourite solution is giving the 'boss' hero points (or call them villain points, see my thread here with some details).
It's a very swift solution, and it helps giving it survivability without adding straight immunities that only hurt some players by making their favourite abilities useless.
Save or suck spell? Either the enemy gets a big bonus to its save roll, or it gets free on his next turn. Anyway, it burned one or two of its precious points so that spell was definitely a step towards the party's victory: those points could had been used for other nasty things!

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