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Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
So Balky Bartakamous, it's been a few weeks since the OP. What did you eventually decide to do?

I had to look up that reference, very clever.

I decided to give them an alternate way to remove the negative levels at a price, though that hasn't actually happened yet. Will let you know how things go over the next few weeks.

Let's say you're a level 7 Sorcerer who gets three level 2 spells known and two level 3 spells known.

You can clearly cast a level 2 spell by using a level 3 slot.

Could you instead choose to learn four level 2 spells and one level 3 spell upon level up, though?

Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
Isn't the very fact that you had to make this thread proof that it is indeed holding true in practice, because people keep dying...

Nope. Second group at level 7 (APL 8) smoked a CR12 encounter (two CR 10 turtles) without breaking a sweat on Wednesday.

Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
This is the trouble with this thread, you have a problem, people advise you of how to solve the problem, you deny/act as if the problem shouldn't exist.

I think you're misunderstanding the problem.

At low levels if you die you bring in a new character.

At high levels if you die Greater Restoration means the negative levels can always be removed.

It's only in the mid-level that the week delay on negative levels from Restoration (coupled with two negative levels from Raise Dead) becomes an issue. That's my concern.

(Keep in mind I would have been totally fine with zero deaths the entire campaign but rocket tag makes that more and more unlikely as people level up).

Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
I don't know what you expect from us but it feels like you're just looking for us to say, "Oh well, everything you did is perfect, clearly your players are inept and should lose".

"Use the system from 5E where the penalties are capped and disappear within a few days."

"Remove the time limit (or at least shorten it) from Restoration."

"Just don't give negative levels on death, just make it more expensive to get raised."

"Do a Dragon Age/Mass Effect system where party members don't *really* die unless there's a TPK."

I was expecting suggestions along those lines and arguments for why some might work better than others.

Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
Did they possibly handle worse before they gained a tone of negative levels?

I mean, the only time they had people die while a bunch of party members had negative levels was one fight that left four people dead. One fight -- that they provoked when the paladin had zero Smite Evils and other party resources were low.

Cevah wrote:
I agree. The game is balanced at 4 encounters per day at APL. House rules and optimization level of characters can change how things play out. This is where the GM must adjust things to allow for these effects.

Which is what I've been trying to do, aye. And mostly been successful. I've never seen a PC death where I thought "Man, that was unfair, they had rotten luck and/or the encounter was just too hard." Every time one or more people have died I've thought "Did they REALLY just do that?..."

Is it possible the margin of error is too thin and people will eventually make mistakes/dumb decisions and therefore get punished too much when those happen? Yes. The flip side is making every encounter easier means those encounters are all boring.

I used to be a Mythic raider in WoW, got server firsts, etc. My main enjoyment is designing difficult but doable combats. If the margin of errors becomes too large then frankly I'd rather A, run a game with less fiddly bits than Pathfinder or B, entirely handwave combat 99% of the time.

Cevah wrote:
You have 3 full casters: an oracle, a cleric, and a sorcerer. I don't think any of these are acting like a "god-wizard".

I mean, the sorcerer easily could. In reality, he's mostly blasting with Lightning Bolt which is hit by far the worst by the negative levels of anyone (he loses a flat 10% of damage per negative level). But things like Displacement/Dimension Door/Stinking Cloud/Greater Invisibility/etc all function at full power, just lower duration (technically can only move two people rather than three with Dimension Door but still can ferry those two for a flanking full attack).

Say several people are afflicted with a nasty curse. They do have several castings of Remove Curse available but the odds of succeeding are low.

One of the players wants to use Accept Affliction to automatically transfer multiple curses (of the same type) to themself.

At that point, the party wants to spam Remove Curse on that player with the logic of a single success with Remove Curse then removing all of the curses from that player (rather than needing a success on Remove Curse per player).

Is this legal?

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Darklone wrote:
How to get rid of negative levels: introduce the hero point system and get a +8 to the Fort Save.

I don't understand -- what Fort save?

Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
I have to confess; I don't understand how the OP is generating the CRs for their fights, or how they're constructing those fights.

I've been using this table that Paizo provided, which is nearly identical to your method.

Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
That is like playing your fave video game and going back to the last save point 9 times. At that point, you KNOW this section is challenging and don't take anything for granted.

If I play my favorite video game (let's use Half Life as an example) and go through a section that's hard I could probably brute force my way through it by spending rockets/health/scarce ammo/etc like water. But then I expect the next part to be rough since I just played poorly through the previous section and squandered my resources.

Also, they never had to reload -- most video games don't allow you to just die in place and then continue.

I do take your overall point, though, about them not suddenly thinking its on easy mode. I just disagree with your analogy.

Mark Hoover 330 wrote:

Finally, a note on consequences: do your players feel like heroes? Like, are they taking actions and following a path that makes them really proud of what they're doing? Or do they just feel like they're grinding and dying while, elsewhere, other people on a battlefield are grinding and dying too?

That is a good question. I suspect at least some fall into the latter category.

That said, none of them have an expressed an interest in going to the actual war-front -- if anything they've been more interested in chasing down other powerful magic items.

Derklord wrote:
I don't want to sound hostile, because that's not my intention, but maybe you should start heeding them a bit more. The 1b encounter alone was too tough for a anything but a final boss. I don't know what your PCs look like exactly, but I wouldn't run your encounters 1b and 2 like that.

Well prior to some house rules I implemented I literally had cases where the party would take on multiple APL+5ish encounters back-to-back in an effort to preserve their minute per level buffs.

The house rules were implemented to bring some things down to a more sane level because something at a "mere" APL+3 was going to be a TPK due to quick of how level scaling works vs some effects like Blasphemy. And I've had to be less crazy since then.

Is it possible the encounters were still too much? Yes, but it didn't feel like it during the actual felt like the PCs lost (or more accurately won with significant losses) due to tactics and choices rather than overwhelming enemy strength.

Derklord wrote:
Either the party was acting really stupid, or the groups were too close together. Combat is noisy, and apparently line of sight was limited, so the half of the party can't have teleported too far away from that fight. If that teleportation triggered the second group, the noise of combat should have done the same.

The groups were something like 150-200 feet apart on the streets of a ruined city.

The first group was effectively a scouting party which was trying to retreat to the main group. And, hell, the second group was going to try to talk to the PCs...until the PCs teleported like 30 feet away and started attacking.

Cevah wrote:
Explain that the unexplored areas are designed to give them the experience and loot needed to advance their levels so that they will have the needed levels when they need them.

Just for the record, this wasn't an issue. The ruins were all at level 10 and we're using milestones anyway (the ruins were roughly half a level).

Cevah wrote:
By my calculations, 6 tenth level PCs should have an APL of 11.


Cevah wrote:
You have, due to negative levels, effectively: 6th, 6th, 7th, 7th, 9th, and 10th level PCs. This is equivalent to an APL of 9th.

A negative level is not equal to an actual level loss. Maybe about half of a level loss. Some characters (like "god-wizards") barely even notice.

Cevah wrote:
Standard CR = APL is supposed to use up about 1/4 of the party's daily resources (spells, item usage, hit points, etc.). So four encounters of this level should be what a party can handle in a day with nothing remaining.

That's never held true in practice as a GM or as a player.

In the game where I'm playing a bard, the GM sent a tough encounter at us. I happened to know the CRs involved of the creatures on a meta-level. I asked one of the other players (who is also a player in the Monday game) how many of those encounters he thought our party could handle a day. He guessed 6ish.

That single encounter was an APL+4 encounter.

Cevah wrote:
Tales of other parties doing APL+4 and up must be taken with a grain of salt.

How about parties where I was a member? :P

This party I'm GMing for has also handled worse -- and that's both before and after the house rules I mentioned at level 9.

Derklord wrote:
Isn't that more reason to post the actual encounters? After all, that party already did those - no hurt in knowing what they've previously fought, right? I thought the secrecy was for the second group, which can't much tribute to the thread.

One of the players from Monday who I know for sure is reading this thread joined the first group at level 9...and also asked to join the second group at level 5 a little later when a slot opened up.

Derklord wrote:
I've bolded the parts that show why a powerful GMPC is a bad idea - it goes against the very basic nature of the game!

My understanding of a GMPC was that it's a GM basically trying to both GM the game and play the game by running a character of their own. So you have your four "normal" party members plus an extra party member controlled by the GM who accompanies the PCs from level 1, splits loot with them, makes decisions with them, etc.

That seems significantly different than saying "Here's a powerful NPC with their own motivation who will potentially accompany the party for half of a dungeon (quarter of a level) and then go their own way." But perhaps not.

Derklord wrote:
how are the PCs supposed to be the "heroes" or "protagonists" when they're so vastly overshadowed?

Let's imagine a situation:

There's a powerful water elemental and fire elemental at odds with each other but also at an impasse. Both are stronger than the party individually so the party cannot simply go up to one or both and kill them. The players can...

A, ally with the water elemental against the fire elemental
B, ally with the water elemental but attempt to let it get weakened enough in the fight against the fire elemental to then backstab and kill it while it is vulnerable
C, ally with the fire elemental against the water elemental
D, ally with the fire elemental but attempt to let it get weakened enough in the fight against the water elemental to then backstab and kill it while it is vulnerable
E, let them continue at an impasse rather than choose a side
F, come back several levels later to deal with it (though things may have happened in the meantime as a result)

Does this rob the PCs of the ability to be protagonists because the party is so vastly overshadowed?

Derklord wrote:
One different thing I'd like to address: What's with all the secrecy? Can't you simply ask your players not to read this thread?

About to start GMing so only have a few minutes, but wanted to respond to this real fast:

I *WANT* them to be able to read the thread. I *WANT* them to be able to notice if I' misremembering or misrepresenting something so that they can point it out either here or to me privately. I *WANT* them to let me know if their perceptions were drastically different.

I'm *ALSO* asking them for feedback individually and as a group, of course, but this thread offers them the opportunity to see other points of view as well.


Speaking of feedback, here's a piece I got this weekend from a quieter player:

"I think we tend to brute force our way through combat, rather then spend time digging into the world the GM's created to find clues, solve mysteries and potentially unlock additional ways to help defeat our enemies. Our deaths often time are a result of poor tactical planning on our part, our need to push foward rather then rest, retreat or think things through and in rare occurences just bad luck. The deaths we've suffered have only further exposted our weakeness due to the level drain. At the same time it hasn't led to us being more circumspect with our approach. Basically we're in a negative feedback loop primarily of our own making."

On the flip side, the same person got the impression I introduced the NPC ally as a way to help the party which was struggling, rather than a central part of the story/plot of the area. So that was a problem on my end and overall I think the NPC ally didn't work out very well. I'll still run it on my Wednesday campaign a few months down the line to see if the same thing happens again, but I plan to avoid it in the future beyond that.

Derklord wrote:
You apparently don't understand how CR is calculated, resulting in combats that are way to hard.

No, I understand it and I've already read those two articles you linked.

Derklord wrote:
Quite frankly, the surprising part aren't the many character deaths, it's the lack of a TPK!

The party has had extra wealth and consumables. They also usually have the initiative which means they can get the drop (or at least get an edge up with buffs).

Derklord wrote:
Together (69600XP), those two groups are almost a CR+5 equivalent (76800XP).

Yeah, they weren't meant to be fought together as I mentioned.

Also, the party had fought those enemies before a few levels earlier and thus had a rough idea of their tactics.

Derklord wrote:
it's still a CR+3 encounter equivalent, and the large difference between levels makes it exceptionally deadly.

By large difference in levels you mean 2 levels difference?

Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:

Well grats, you’ve consistently killed your PCs and now as a consequence your campaign is going to fail. Presumably you don’t like that hence you’re here.

So clearly you’re going to have to adjust that attitude.

Or adjust the negative levels on death system. Or adjust the campaign world. Or something else.

Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
If some inconvenient crit comes maybe he doesn’t confirm even if he does for example.

I've done that a handful of times during the campaign when I thought *I* messed up and made the combat too hard or the PCs truly had an absolutely rotten string of luck. Like since the start of the campaign I could probably count it on one hand, maybe two.

As someone on a Discord server put it:

"You pitched challenging combat, not softball....Think as a player. If the GM was bailing people out for their dumb moves, you wouldn't think you were getting the challenging combat you were promised. Nothing wrong with pulling punches, except when you pitch something that involves the opposite."

I wouldn't want the GM bailing me out unless he thought he did something wrong.

Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
If you take away an optimal option, either a powerful spell, feat or class feature introduced in a later book then any problems those items were designed to solve occur. Those problems become more difficult and harder than they needed to be.

Again...could you provide a concrete example or two?

Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
Maybe consider asking how you others do it, if you can’t think how to do it yourself.

Oh, I have been. I've been talking to friends and asking in some Discords aimed at GMs, not just here.

Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
To the point I wonder why you ask our opinions.

Because occasionally people do say stuff I find useful. Like the point earlier in this thread about the GM needing to be more proactive in party management compared to a real-life game where people know each other.

Derklord wrote:
What do you mean with "nothing above a CR8/12"?

Meaning the most powerful enemy in each fight was that CR, so there was no issue of "Single high CR creature wrecking a PC in one round."

Derklord wrote:
Could you maybe post us (or PM me) the CRs of all the enemies in those two fights?


Mysterious Stranger wrote:
You stated you were using an APL +4 which I assume would be a CR 15 encounter.

No, I didn't. I asked how Lanathar was defining "significant" and pointed out that APL+4 was SUPPOSED to be an even fight (but I've seen reports of people throwing CR+7ish encounters at PCs as "normal" fights).

Mysterious Stranger wrote:
I mentioned the WBL because you stated you had a character that was worried about being under equipped.

And then I pointed out how he had like twice the expected WBL?

NOTE: I sent Dave Justus a summary of the stuff that's happened. I don't want to post it here since

A, I know people in my Monday group read these boards (and at least one is reading this thread) and what the party might or might not have done might or might not have consequences going forward on a story level.

B, I have a Wednesday group on the same campaign (but level 6) as well

BUT if anyone wants to know more about the stuff the PCs missed and what I thought they did wrong you can PM me and I'll shoot you the same details I sent Dave.

Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
What is it you think you have to lose which is more important to the campaign than the campaign just folding/characters retiring?

Consistency. Consequences.

The whole game is based around resource management, be it consumables or WBL or daily abilities. Is there a significant difference between this and saying "I'm going to make the final encounter of today easier because the Wizard used too many spells earlier?"

I'm also playing in a campaign with another GM, and it drives me up the wall when it's clear he's trying to make things easier for us (like having a dragon only use one natural attack vs a full attack). If we're going to die then we're going to die and let us lose fairly. Or address it as an OOC discussion.

And he's running a Paizo AP, not someone who's trying to homebrew and might mess things up.

Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
Every challenge he should have been able to deal with that he can't is a permanent problem for him, because PCs unlike NPCs have have lots and lots of jobs and can't just be made a new when their task is done.

Can you give an example of this?

Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
Plus their is no point arguing this point, your campaign is on the brink failing because PCs are dying too much and getting bogged down in negative levels.

Two battles went badly. That's really what we're talking about here, two battles in the span of a few days.

Mysterious Stranger wrote:
APL+4 is not supposed to be an even fight. APL+3 is listed as an epic encounter. Your party has 6 members so by the book you add 1 to their APL. That would make a APL+4 an epic encounter. Also if their WBL is lower than normal you are supposed to adjust their effective APL accordingly.

I think you're confused.

One level 10 is APL 6.

Two level 10s are APL 8.

Four level 10s are APL 10.

Six level 10s are APL 11.

In each of these cases, an APL +4 encounter is in fact an even fight where each side *should* have a 50/50 shot of winning.

Their WBL is significantly above normal so I'm also not sure what the last sentence is about.

Lanathar wrote:

It sounds like we have found our answer .

APL + 4 for a 6 person party should be the boss fight especially if under WBL.

I am still confused.

I just posted their WBL above which is far above expected.

I'm also aware APL+4 is (supposed to be) a boss fight. I literally asked

"For the former, you'd have to define "significantly" because APL+4 is supposed to be an even fight."

because I've seen people talk about beating CR20s with two level 10 characters or in less extreme scenarios talk about needing to use APL+7 encounters for their parties. So some people would consider APL+2 to be significant, some people would consider APL+2 to be not even worth playing it's so easy. Hence my question about how you were defining "significantly."

Dave Justus wrote:
As for the question of party fund, with people that don't know each other and aren't going to be having any interaction outside of the gaming itself, I would expect that it a part of the GMs job to provide that sort of organization, or at least make sure that someone is doing it and it is going well.

Funnily enough four of the people knew each other prior to the game, but your point is taken.

Dave Justus wrote:
"I expected at least 1-2 PC deaths."

This is literally the only time in the entire campaign where I specifically was aiming for at least one PC death. It was also specifically set-up with a safety net that guaranteed the PCs would get rescued/raised on the house (or rather, on the crown) even if things went completely sideways. It did not cost the PCs anything except perhaps pride and was intended to be a reminder that despite their success and victory that great dangers still lurked as well as introducing an NPC they'd encounter later.

You are free to criticize that decision but it has nothing to do with the current situation.

Dave Justus wrote:
"a handful of scattered deaths during level nine." That is a lot of deaths. That is a lot of deaths that you thought were not a problem.

I thought those deaths were a problem. Two deaths (in the same boss battle) were due to bad party tactics and worse the party splitting up mid-fight.

There was one other death in a fight where I specifically OOC handwaved parts of because it exposed some of the underlying problems of Pathfinder. And that fight in particular is what drove me to institute some more houserules *which were intended to help prevent rocket tag and PC deaths like what just happened.*

I would have been completely fine with zero PCs dying throughout the entire campaign (I did expect at least one death during the ambush but if they managed to avoid it then more power to the party -- and that death was specifically designed to be consequence free).

All that said, I've also been told that death becomes a status condition to remove at higher level Pathfinder just like Blinded. And things like the following scenario are entirely plausible:

APL 11 party encounters a necromancer. Necromancer is a level 13 wizard with NPC wealth, so CR 12. So far this is an APL+1 encounter. Necromancer casts Finger of Death, PC dies.

Basically things get more and more lethal both in terms of PC abilities and monster abilities so it becomes more likely than death will happen.

Cevah wrote:
Did your missed treasure have multiple opportunities to be found?

Oh yes. Sent you a PM.

BlarkNipnar wrote:
give them a second way to get to those outs they need so badly

Right now I'm planning on doing that. They might not be thrilled by it and it'll cost them in some way, but they missed the "get of of jail free" card from earlier.

Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
You think its a good think to not adjust the campaign to your group? You realise one of the main advantages to a human DM is the ability to adapt and adjust.

The first (Monday) campaign back at level 6 entered a tomb and destroyed an ancient evil within. The second (Wednesday) campaign just entered the same tomb and bargained with the evil to help against the demon invasion in return for being released.

Those two worlds are going to have some very significant differences down the line.

But that's quite different from saying "Oh, you were supposed to find the buried treasure on the island? Well I'll keep making new treasure maps to the same hoard but a different location until you succeed."

Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
Honestly my mind boggles at how people would rather not have a game because it failed than tweak it because they might damage the verisimilitude.

Hang on.

Before you criticized me for tweaking the game because I felt it was failing under the default rules, now you're arguing for me to tweak it to avoid it failing?

Mike J wrote:
There are 6 PCs. When adjusting the APL/CR for 6 players, you have to be really careful (more so at higher levels) about how that gets implemented. +1 APL means +1 CR and now 6 level 10 characters are fighting a CR 13 monster who never misses, does stupid levels of damage, and the PCs can't reliably hit...Alternatively, you can use more lower CR monsters to make a high CR encounter.

For the record...

The first encounter which resulted in 4 PC deaths had nothing above a CR8 but a good group of enemies.

The second encounter which resulted in 4 PC deaths had nothing above a CR12 (and this encounter had the NPC ally as well).

I've avoided doing things like a single super powerful enemy for precisely the reasons you mention.

Andy Brown wrote:
Sounds like you've got a group of adventurers who happen to be in the same place, not an adventuring party.

That is a concern. Especially since there are three new characters since level nine (two were players wanting to swap -- from Skald to Unchained Monk and from Witch to Cleric -- and the other was a new player joining).

Meirril wrote:
So yeah, the first thing you need to figure out is what happens when the party doesn't finish the dungeon before your deadline

There is no hard deadline. Unless you mean "Have the party wait around a month" which is problem because they're in the middle of a war. Things are going to go poorly if the PCs are gone that long.

Meirril wrote:
As for handling the costs of should talk to them before the game starts and work something out. Unless this is a evil party. If it is an evil party, then they are doing it 'right'.

Nope, all neutral or good.

Taudis wrote:
Scrolls of Raise Dead and Greater Restoration are level appropriate loot at this point
Taja the Barbarian wrote:
The simplest band-aid would be a couple of scrolls of Restoration, Greater (although successfully using such a scroll might be problematic with all those negative levels)

They had a shot at more or less that but bungled it.

Taja the Barbarian wrote:
Okay, the first question that comes to mind is: How the heck are so many of your characters dying in such a (relatively) short span?

From my perspective? Each time PCs have died I've thought "Why would they...oh this isn't going to end well."

I will note that (IIRC) eight of those deaths were effectively from two encounters where four PCS died each.

The first encounter was the PCs both underestimating their foes and splitting the party mid-battle. It was literally the first encounter (and meant as a warm-up/introduction)...then half the PCs teleported further in and got the attention of another (tougher) encounter. Basically a "Take out the scouting party and then the main force" and they turned it into "Fight both at once with the party split up and not able to work together as effectively."

The second encounter was much later and the PCs engaged in a very difficult fight (with some warning signs) without resources (for example, the Paladin had no Smite Evils left) and without much coordination (one very fast party member charged way ahead and the group as a whole got very divided by a Wall of Force). And, again from my perspective, they didn't really make use of a powerful NPC ally they had at that point.

The ninth death was very much a Leeroy Jenkins death from my perspective.

In general I think the party didn't make much use of the previously mentioned NPC ally -- which was a problem because the encounters were tuned higher assuming they would.

Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
They’re not working together how I’d expect a party that’s gone through 10+ levels together would, they should want to raise their allies, their should be an emotional connection in character which is worth more to them than a moderate sized diamond. One wonders if this lack of team work extends to combat.

Regarding the last sentence, it's much better than my second campaign but...yeah, I fear so. And only one party member was here at level 1. Five have been here since level 7, though, sixth joined at level 9. It's an online game on Fantasy Grounds so not a RL group of friends or anything.

Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
I remember from passed threads that you impose artificial limitations and nerfs on builds and limit source material for fear of players being too strong. Looks like now they’re too weak, you either need to boost them or tone things down a little.

FWIW it ain't the monsters that have been so's been other classed enemies operating under the same limitations/nerfs as the PCs (and buffs in some cases).

Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
I would not be happy with 9 deaths in a campaign by level 10 unless I’d gone into it being tolled it was going to be a very intense hard no holds bard campaign.

It was advertised as the following -- YMMV:

"Although the campaign has both a narrative and player-driven opportunities for roleplay, the main emphasis is challenging combat. New players are welcome, as long as you're willing to use sound tactics and learn about the game. Work together and play wisely and you'll succeed. But be ready for a challenge."

Rub-Eta wrote:
"I'd rather have a consistent party for long-reaching storylines" - Then stop killing their characters...

There were zero deaths until level seven where there was a TPK on something incredibly stupid that the party admits was incredibly stupid. I literally did not even know how to react I was so flabbergasted.

Then there were four deaths from an ambush that the PCs handled poorly (and I expected at least 1-2 PC deaths) at the end of level 8 -- but due to the party's successful mission and travel required those deaths didn't cost the party anything and those negative levels were entirely removed shortly after level 9 started. Then there were a handful of scattered deaths during level nine.

It's only been at level 10 that things became a true/serious issue.

Lanathar wrote:
It sounds like a key thing people want to know is what you are throwing against them? And to a lesser extent what are their classes/builds?

Various undead. Some classed skeletons (Fighters, Clerics, Wizards, Rogues).

Party is

Time Oracle
Travel Cleric
Draconic Sorcerer
Archer Paladin
Unchained Monk
Juvenile Magma Dragon (long story)

Lanathar wrote:
Are the majority of encounters of a CR significantly above the APL? And how many do they have to go through a day?

For the former, you'd have to define "significantly" because APL+4 is supposed to be an even fight.

For the latter...they went at their own pace. I specifically did not set any kind of hard time limit here (though I did warn them that literally doing one encounter per day and that's it would take too long).

OmniMage wrote:
They also lose 5 hp per negative level.

FWIW I haven't even been enforcing that part.

Lanathar wrote:
If I was such a character, I would take a break from adventuring to recover. Most of the party has negative levels. Its suicide for them to keep going.

Them taking a break would mean dozens or hundreds of other people dying (or worse if we're talking like a month break), there's the rub.

Mysterious Stranger wrote:
One solution to the wealth problem is to use the auto bonus progression.

I don't mind the general idea of ABP but I do have major problems with its specific implementation.

I think it would mainly help the Archer paladin who's a low AC/low HP glass cannon -- had like 22 AC and 10 Con at level 10.

I am GMing a homebrew campaign for a level 10 party (standard heroic "save the world" type adventure). They've been exploring some ruins and...have struggled a bit.

Specifically, over the course of delving through the ruins (half of level 10) they've needed to cast Raise Dead nine times. At this point two people have four negative levels, two people have three negative levels, and one person has one negative level (six person party). They can't remove any more negative levels with Restoration for another week and there are no 13+ Clerics or 14+ Oracles in the nearby region who can cast Greater Restoration (sixth level spells and under, yes, seventh level, no).

This has led to at least two potential issues:

1, how does the party deal with the cost of the raises?

2, how does the party deal with the remaining negative levels?

Also, while the mission the party is on isn't time critical, it is time sensitive (meaning sitting around for a month isn't feasible).

Regarding #2, I had expected the party to find some long lost items in the ruins which could have helped with removing the negative levels. I imagined the party would use said items later in the campaign but they could have used them now (and then just had a harder time later if those items became necessary). However, due to party choices/mistakes that option is no longer on the table.

Regarding #1, I had expected the party to either split the cost of things like raises/restorations (since some party members are more likely to die/get drained/etc than others) and/or set aside a separate "party fund" to make sure they had the money on hand to deal with stuff as it came up. Instead, they've been having each person pay for their own raises.

Which has then in turn led to the current situation where one PC (who has died a number of times in general) is talking to the party about it being better to bring in a new character which hasn't spent a bunch of money on getting raised. Because if he dies again he might need to start selling off some of the gear he's actually using and at that point he'd rather make a new character.

Now, personally, I don't like this idea for several reasons, arguably the most important being that I'd rather have a consistent party for long-reaching storylines. And it's effectively "injecting" extra money into the campaign. But...if he had died at low level then that would just be what's assumed. It's just expected at higher level that the party can deal with such a situation.

So if we're fine with wealth spontaneously appearing then another option would just be to increase loot found for a bit to make up for WBL lost on raises. But...that loot would be split among the party presumably which is then "rewarding" the people who haven't died as much and who don't need the money to stay on track. This problem wouldn't exist if the party was splitting the cost of raises but...the party isn't.

A third option is to try to have several items specific to the player drop. But...if he dies again and "all" he has are new shiny items then he'd have to sell one or more off and then presumably would be back to "I'd rather make a new character at this point than sell off gear I'm actually using."

All that said, I decided to do a full audit of the party to see exactly what the situation was. Level 10 WBL is 62k, level 11 is 82k, level 12 is 108k, and there's no crafting involved. Here's the results (wands are pro-rated depending on charges left):


PC 1
107k in non-consumable items
15k in potions
21k in wands
143kish overall

PC 2 (the one who's worried about losing too much money)
84k in non-consumable items
17k in potions
4k in scrolls
37k in wands
142kish overall

PC 3
103k in non-consumable items (though 18k is a melee weapon and he's an archer)
9k in potions
112kish overall

PC 4
83k in non-consumable items
3k in potions
4k in wands
90kish overall

PC 5
54k in non-consumable items
1k in potions
NOTE: character just joined a few sessions ago with level 10 WBL of 62 and used various consumables

PC 6
Is currently transformed and WBL is not relevant for the character atm

Party Inventory
Counting half-price for some items they might sell and full price for items they're planning on using, it's valued at 73kish


Thoughts? How would you handle the situation?

Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Yes, targeting (decision to attack you) is what leads them to roll the die.

If targeting is separate from attacking, does that mean the attacker can change targets if he sees the monk use Furious Defense and he hasn't actually attacked yet?

Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
You could declare it at the start of your enemy's turn, but you'd usually do so when they target you.

Is there a difference between them "targeting" you and them rolling the d20 to attack you?

Trekkie90909 wrote:
And to answer the OP; closer to A than B, but really it's anything in between those two---the summoner may sacrifice a minimum of 2 hp, and up to 16 hp if they wish to prevent banishment.

The point is, if the Eidolon is dropped to -12 HP or more (so -11, -10, etc) then apparently Life Link does nothing and the Eidolon falls unconscious. But if the hit does one damage and brings the Eidolon to -13, then you can negate the entire hit as the Summoner by sacrificing your own HP. I don't understand why you get a better result by taking more damage.

Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:

I didn't say the life link rule was well-written, just that it unambiguously says what it says. :-)

A houserule that replaced "enough damage to send it back to its home plane" with "enough damage to leave it at 0 hp or below (possibly sending it back to its home plane)" would be more than reasonable IMHO.

Should it be that or should it be the other way, though? Is the point of Life Link to prevent banishment or to allow the Summoner to basically double his Eidolon's life pool?

In other words, was the ability written from the perspective that the Eidolon would always be going from positive HP to dead?

doomman47 wrote:
Get the eidolon die hard?

That would still leave it staggered and unable to full attack. And doesn't solve the issue of going from conscious to dead being better than going from conscious to dying to dead.

Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
(A). The ability says "any number of hit points," it means any number. If it meant "enough hit points to keep the eidolon from being banished," it would say that instead.

That does lead to the seemingly ridiculous scenario where you WANT your Eidolon to drop from positive HP to dead in a single hit to allow you to sacrifice your own HP pool.

Because if it drops from positive HP to unconscious you can't do anything about the hit.

So the Unchained Summoner has this ability:

"At 1st level, a summoner forms a close bond with his eidolon. Whenever the eidolon takes enough damage to send it back to its home plane, as a reaction to the damage, the summoner can sacrifice any number of hit points he has without using an action. Each hit point sacrificed in this way prevents 1 point of damage dealt to the eidolon. This can prevent the eidolon from being sent back to its home plane."

Let's say we have Sally the Summoner, Ed the Eidolon, and Oscar the Ogre. Ed and Oscar are fighting...and Ed is losing.

Ed has Con 13 and thus dies/gets banished at -13 HP. Fortunately, Ed still has 10 HP. Then Oscar hits Ed for 16 damage, meaning Ed falls unconscious and is at -6 HP.

This is NOT enough damage to send Ed to his home plane so Life Link does nothing.

Sally casts a curative spell on Ed and heals Ed back up to 2 HP. Ed becomes conscious and can fight again.

Oscar then hits Ed AGAIN for 16 damage, which would normally drop Ed to -14 HP and thus instantly kill/banish Ed. Which situation then occurs?

A. As a reaction to the 16 damage taken which WOULD be enough to send Ed away, Sally can sacrifice 16 of her own hit points to entirely negate the hit (Ed remains conscious, Sally loses 16 HP).

B, As a reaction to the 16 damage taken which WOULD be enough to send Ed away, Sally can sacrifice 2 of her own hit points to keep Ed at -12 which prevents Ed from "dying." Since only the last two points of damage were enough to "kill" Ed, that's all the damage Sally can absorb and Ed falls unconscious but is NOT banished.

Furious Defense allows you to use an immediate action to gain 4 AC. Say an enemy starts next to you and then full attacks you. When exactly can you use this?

A, at the start of an enemy's turn
B, after the enemy attacks you but before the d20 is rolled
C, after the d20 is rolled but before damage
D, something else?

Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
Note that it may occasionally happen that the deity sends the PC an Ally who doesn't seem to make much sense at first -- is underpowered or has abilities that seem useless or irrelevant.

If they say "Hi we're about to storm a Hobgoblin fortress and want some extra power" that doesn't seem to really give a bunch of wiggle room. It's just a straight power buff (which gets replaced long term)...and can be used to call multiple entities.


Ryan Freire wrote:
Because a character like this one levelling up would likely die from being undergeared and need to spend wealth to be resurrected before accumulating 30k all at once.

I literally just explained how the WBL increase from level 12 to 13 alone would be enough to afford the wand.


So let me make sure I have this all straight.

Say you have a Horizon Walker with +8 Favored Terrain in the Plane of Fire, +2 in the Plane of Water, +2 in the Plane of Air, and +2 in the Plane of Earth.

He also has Terrain Dominance for the Plane of Fire and the Plane of Water.

If he's on the Plane of Fire, he gets +8 Initiative/Perception/etc. If he finds a Fire Elemental (or some other creature native to the Plane of Fire), he ALSO gets +8 AB and damage against it.

Say he returns to the Material Plane and enters an Urban terrain to fight an evil wizard. Fate smiles upon him, the wizard loves to summon Fire Elementals. And since the Horizon Walker has Terrain Dominance (Plane of Fire), he gets +8 AB/damage against ALL creatures native to the Plane of Fire, no matter where they are found. So he obliterates the Fire Elementals but gets no bonuses against the Wizard.

The Wizard, in desperation, summons an Water Elemental instead. The Horizon Walker frowns because he only has +2 against creatures native to the Plane of Water...but hey it's better than nothing, right?

The Wizard tries one last gambit and summons an Earth Elemental. The Horizon Walker is annoyed because although he has Favored Terrain (Plane of Earth)...he doesn't have Terrain Dominance (Plane of Earth) and thus gets no combat bonuses. But he manages to win anyway so this story has a happy ending.

Boy, that got rough, though. So the Horizon Walker decides to invest in a Wand of Terrain Bond and go Elemental hunting at the source.

He enters the Plane of Fire and annihilates every Fire Elemental he encounters with his +8 AB/damage bonus against creatures native to the Plane of Fire.

He enters the Plane of Water. Normally he'd only have +2 Init/Percept/etc as well as +2 AB/Damage against Water Elementals...but now he casts Terrain Bond which brings those bonuses up to +8 across the board (including the Terrain Dominance). So he wrecks the poor Water Elementals.

He continues to the Plane of Earth. He has Favored Terrain for this environment but NOT Terrain Dominance. Therefore when he casts Terrain Bond he DOES get +8 Init/Percept/etc but he does NOT get +8 AB/damage. In fact, he has no combat bonuses and struggles.

Frustrated, he returns to the city (Urban terrain) where he gets ambushed by a Water Elemental seeking revenge. Normally he would only get a +2 AB/damage vs this foe, but now he has his wand! So he casts Terrain Bond...and gets +8 Init/Percept/etc while in Urban terrain...and nothing else. Since they're not on the Plane of Water, his Terrain Dominance does NOT increase to +8 from +2. Drat.


Is any of that incorrect?

1, can you put this property more than once on a suit of armor? In other words, could you have +1 Spell Storing Spell Storing Spell Storing Full Plate (10 AC total, three Spell Storing properties)?

2, if you put Frigid Touch in the armor, does that mean you just go "Oh hey Octopus, your first attack hit so now you're staggered and lose the rest of your full attack?"

Dasrak wrote:
Planar Ally is generally kept in check by its cost.

But do you treat the cost as a permanent expense (aka "Bob you're level 18 and would have 530k WBL BUT you've spent 200k on casting (Lesser/Greater) Planar Ally and thus only have 330k WBL") or do you "replace" it like you would with consumables?

Dasrak wrote:
If your players understand how broken this spell can be and agree to use it sparingly if at all, you won't have problems. Sometimes, though, players may legitimately interested in making use of this spell. In that case, I feel the best course of action is to work it into your narrative.

To directly quote two players...

"so how would you handle planar ally in general? you have two people who can use it"

"I really like the idea for asking for help when we really need it
but there is also
i wanted to make a guy thats about calling for help from allies that I could maybe make freinds with
it overall might be a worse build"

So at least one of the players wants to be it an integral part of their character.

I'm also running two campaigns (or rather, the same campaign just one group at level 10 and the other at level 6). It would be rather awkward to have to shift the narrative of one campaign but not the other solely because of these two lines of spells (and whether the party used them)...

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm running a long term campaign. How do you handle these spells (including their cost and their power)?

I'd rather not have players running around with 12 angels/devils/demons in tow expecting the money spent back at the next level (since presumably it's similar to consumables where it doesn't count against your overall WBL over the long term, at least).

deuxhero wrote:
so it would only work if the unconsciousness was easily removed

Why is that? Is something stopping you from spamming CLW wands on the Fire Giant the level 6 party just possessed?

One of my players was wanting to try this system and I'm still trying to wrap my head around it.

Target words.

Effect words

If someone made a Barrier out of a Lightning Blast...

1, what level spell would that be?

2, does that effectively sort of become Chain Lightning where you can usually angle the wall to hit only enemies in a zig-zag or whatever?

3, does the wall continue to do damage each round to enemies in it? If so, when is that damage done? Caster's turn? Enemy's turn? Something else?

deuxhero wrote:
Or you could just grab Eschew Material Components or False Focus and avoid the issue entirely.

Does that mean you think it should be a valid option to possess any unconscious foe and basically use it as a synthesist summoner would?

Ryan Freire wrote:
Either way, a martial spending like 30% more than the recommended amount on a wand doesn't seem in the spirit of that breakdown at all.

Given how powerful a wand of Terrain Bond is, why wouldn't a character save for a level or two to be able to afford it?

You're supposed to gain 32k WBL going from level 12 to 13 so just save all of that and there you go (this isn't even going into the crafting rules).


The character has adjusted his build to be...

True Primitive Barbarian 1/Rogue 5/Horizon Walker

Which gives 1 + 1 + 5 = 7 favored terrains for a +14 bonus. He doesn't have the boots but that would bring him up to +16.

net-diver wrote:

That said if you beat someone over the head or drug them so they are unconscious I would think it would be reasonable to say that just because are now possessed doesn't make the "body's" condition go away.

They can do it they just better have their buddy bring some smelling salts.

Oh, they're planning on spamming CLW wands or other healing spells. They're just hoping to be able to do things like knock out a Fire Giant and then have the wizard possess it while the party is level 6.

Azothath wrote:
It requires a piece of paper with the target's name as a material component. That can be tricky if foes are using pseudonyms. Writing the name is going to take some time (getting materials out, writing the name...).

They have an unconscious defeated giant/dire bear/whatever -- they have the time they need.

What exactly determines the creature's name? n.html

"You project your soul out of your body and into the body of a willing creature."

"Unconscious creatures are automatically considered willing"

A player wants to be able to knock out foes and then possess them with Marionette Possession with no saving throw.

This...doesn't seem quite right to me but seems it might be "correct" RAW.

Ryan Freire wrote:
You have to be rogue 5 to take favored terrain in the first place, is retraining being used in your campaign?

Where does it say that? l

"Terrain Mastery (Ex): A rogue with this talent gains a favored terrain as the ranger ability of the same name, though the favored terrain ability does not increase with her level as the ranger's ability does. A rogue can take this ability multiple times, each time applying it to a new terrain."

Ryan Freire wrote:
Cause otherwise those first 4 levels of rogue cant be used to take favored terrains either by feat or rogue talent.

Let's assume you're correct. Level 6 rogue talent, level 7/9/11/13 general feats. That's 5 from rogue plus 5 from Horizon Walker.

Ryan Freire wrote:
In addition to that, is his WBL reduced appropriately for retraining costs that far back?

No retraining involved that I know of.

Ryan Freire wrote:
Would need to know the wands/multiclassing to know for sure.

Sounds like it's Rogue 6/Horizon Walker 7. Horizon Walker gives 5 Favored Terrains then another 5 from Rogue Talents (including Extra Rogue Talent feats). So +20 to one terrain, which then applies to creatures native to that terrain.

Wand is Terrain Bond so essentially every terrain gives him the maximum bonus.

Ryan Freire wrote:
Would also need to know if thats in addition to str/magic/level mods or total.

Oh, in addition. BAB + weapon bonus + ability score + etc + this bonus.

"Terrain Dominance: At 3rd level, a horizon walker learns total dominance over one terrain he has already selected for terrain mastery. When dealing with creatures native to that terrain, the horizon walker treats his favored terrain bonus for that terrain as a favored enemy bonus (as the ranger class feature) against those creatures.This bonus overlaps (does not stack with) bonuses gained when fighting a favored enemy."

A level 13 character joined a game I'm playing in saying he had +20 AB/damage against creatures native to every single terrain he has favored terrain in due to some combination of wands/multi-classing.

Is this indeed possible? Seems insane.

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

If an intelligent skeleton mage fails his will saving throw against Hide From Undead but has reason to suspect something is there (due to, say, a door opening), can he Glitterdust the space to try to reveal stuff? It seems this could go one of two ways...

1. The glitter outlines the person the skeleton still can't see but the skeleton can use that to target stuff (more accurate than just knowing square since it outlines the body and moves with the person).

2. The glitter sticks to the person and is perceived by anyone who DIDN'T fail the Hide From Undead save (who can see the living person anyway so Glitterdust isn't needed)...but the Skeleton Mage (since he failed his throw) still can't perceive the glitter.

I'm trying to figure out exactly how Dimension Door works while transporting party members in combat (for example, delivering two melee characters into flanking position for a full attack).

Let's say we start with position #1:

Eolas wants to transport Storm and Marsh to either side of the Baron.

Eolas can clearly do position #2:

What about position #3 (flipping Storm and Marsh)?

What about position #4 (rotating the "array" 180 degrees)?

Or position #5 (rotating 90 degrees)?

Can he even rearrange their positioning as long as both are adjacent to him, such as position #6?

What exactly is allowed for this spell?

Based on this post I would assume only #2 is valid (same arrangement of characters with each character moving the same number of squares in the same direction) but I wanted to double check.

Also, what happens if one or more of the people being transported (but not the caster) would wind up in a square occupied by a creature (or part of a large creature)? Do they get shunted? If so, how do you determine where they end up?

Just trying to wrap my head around this...

blahpers wrote:
2. Diagonally, 15 feet is two squares. Yes, this means the disarmee can 5-foot-step and retrieve the weapon, assuming it didn't end up over a cliff or something.

So why does the effect differ based on whether you roll odds or evens on the d8?

merpius wrote:
Since Greater Disarm specifies a distance in feet, I would use that as if it were movement; so, if it is on a diagonal it would move 2 squares away (so they still couldn't simply 5 ft step and be on the square); if it is one of the straigth directions it would be 3 squares.

You can pick up an item if it's within your reach. Meaning on a diagonal you could 5 foot step and pick up the item (while straight directions would require 10 feet of movement). That's my concern. You would expect the same behavior in both cases.

I have a player who is interested in this feat, but I had some questions...

1, how do you determine the random direction? Pick a cardinal direction with a d4? Pick one of the eight main directions (N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, NW) with a d8? Roll a d100, multiply by 3.6, take your best guess?

2, what happens if it goes diagonally (such as to the northeast)? Does it go two squares or three squares? Normally two squares would be 15 feet but that would also mean the disarmee could 5' step and retrieve the weapon (while the weapon flying north would require 10' of movement).

3, how does this interact with Weapon Cords? Does the disarmer have to cut the weapon cord first to have the weapon fly away?

Any other weird interactions I should know? Thanks!

Yeah, I'm currently level 13 in the AP and really you don't have a good place to try to buy items until level 10ish.

The second book temporarily gives you some overpowered items...that no one in my party could use. That was fun.

And Thrushmoor doesn't have a wizard of note that we encountered, AFAIK the cleric Winter is the most powerful spellcaster in the town.

So Lay on Hands is fine but Hero's Defiance is not? Do I have that correct?

Inspired Rage

"While under the effects of inspired rage, allies other than the skald cannot use any Charisma-, Dexterity-, or Intelligence-based skills (except Acrobatics, Fly, Intimidate, and Ride) or any ability that requires patience or concentration."

Hero's Defiance.

Basically, the question is: does a swift action spell which cannot be interrupted by any means still count as an activity which requires concentration?

Mike J wrote:
Yea, if they are all on the same “power level” with each other, just turn up the CR.

People say this but in practice I found it to be flawed. For example, a Rage Demon is a CR11 mob that is Will save or paralyze for a level 9 party.

Hezrou's the same for a level 8 party.

In other words, higher CR mobs that have more AC/saves/hit points/AB/damage? That works.

Higher CR mobs with abilities that are level dependent? Sometimes a massive issue.

If someone is wearing heavy armor (or has a low acrobatics check for whatever reason), is there a way they can move through Grease slowly but steadily? Can they crawl through it, for example? Something besides "Stand up, try to move, fall flat on face again?"

I have zero problems with the party hacking/bashing through a wooden door with just about anything.

roguerouge wrote:
Pack a crowbar. It's the martial equivalent of a scroll of knock, but way cheaper.

A crowbar just gives a +2 bonus to trying to break open doors. If you're level 1 with 18 Strength (+4 bonus) and have a Crowbar you have +6 still ain't breaking an iron door (DC 28) open.

Claxon wrote:
As for how much time it takes...well I can't tell you since it will depend on the characters in your campaign and I have no idea what their stats are. Going back to the simple wooden door, if you're PC can deal 15 damage in one attack it can sunder the door in one mighty blow.

Level 5 Paladin, 20 Strength (18 + 2 from belt), 6 (PA) + 7 (Str) + 1 (Magic Weapon) + 7 (Greatsword) = 21 damage per hit. So 11 damage per hit if I say it damages the door normally, or roughly 6 swings (36 seconds).

Claxon wrote:
Also, if you don't think time isn't a balance on the martial characters, you probably need to add more things that happen around the PCs.

The PCs are in the middle of a combat with the cultists. However, there's only one hallway between them and the cultists which the PCs are filling with Create Pit and Grease spells -- so far the cultists haven't been able to do much and won't be able to for several minutes at the current rate.

Kaouse wrote:
If a Level 1 NPC Warrior has more than 12 STR, it too is extraordinary. An average person's STR is 10, while 12 is above-average. Anything more than that is extraordinary.

A dog has 13 strength. There are also quite a few human/half-elf/half-orc commoners with 13+ every -- every human COMMONER has one stat in 13, one in 12, and one in 11. If any of those is strength and the +2 racial bonus is strength, there's your 13 strength (or perhaps the farmer just has 13 strength outright).

Kaouse wrote:
While an NPC with a Greatsword could theoretically whittle away at an iron door (better than tunneling through Shawshank with a spoon or filing away iron bars with a nail sharpener), it would take a prohibitively long time, and more than likely attract unwanted attention.

Would you consider 6-7 minutes a prohibitively long time?

And hell, if the NPC has 12-13 base STR with another +2 from race that brings his average damage from 1 to 3 -- so more like 2-2.5 minutes.

Kaouse wrote:
By the time the party is strong enough to deal with that, the wizard should likely already have teleportation or other methods of bypassing doors.

The Paladin (or anyone with decent strength, 2H, and PA) could get past DR 20. The Wizard still only has a 30% chance per knock spell at the cost of a very significant spell slot still -- and I could make the lock DC 35 for a 5% chance or DC 40 for 0% chance.

Kaouse wrote:
At any rate, yes, Doors have Break DCs. From my reading of it, these Break DCs basically allow you to burst down the door with a single standard action so long as you make the requisite STR check. Such a thing is way more efficient than attempting to hack through the door for multiple rounds with no real way of knowing how much longer it will take.

Indeed. Except no one in the party can simply burst it open (yet). That's why I picked such a difficult door in for this particular door.

Kaouse wrote:
As an aside, Level 5 Martial Artist Monks literally have the ability to ignore hardness and DR with Exploit Weakness, so... yeah.

One specific archetype of one specific class is very different from any Fighter/Slayer/Paladin/Barbarian/Bloodrager/etc with high strength and Power Attack.

Wow, this thread got a lot busier than expected. I'll try to respond to what I can.

Kaouse wrote:
Just let them hack the g#%$&%n door with any weapon of their choosing. It's a lot better than the alternative, which is to force your martial characters to sit in the corner and do nothing while the wizard solves the problem in 6 seconds with a spell (in this case, Knock).

Well, the party is level 5 and the lock DC is 30. That means the Wizard has to spend one of their second highest spell slots to have a 30% chance of unlocking the door. And if there's an Arcanist or Sorcerer instead (which there is), it would be one of their highest spell slots.

Kaouse wrote:
If damage is what they contribute to the party, then let them contribute. These characters, even at level 1, are extraordinary, not extra ordinary. They deserve some narrative freedom.

A level 1 NPC Warrior with a normal weapon is extraordinary? Why do the characters need to be able to get through any metal door at level 1 when the rogue can't pick it and the wizard doesn't have a spell to get past it?

Claxon wrote:
Are you really worried about what probably amounts to a 20 gp gold tax on martial characters? Just let them use their weapons.

I'm more worried about a level 1 character being able to break down the strongest standard door in the game in a few minutes time.

Thedmstrikes wrote:
The in game fix for a party of characters going around knocking down all the doors like it is a video game or a board game is to use those random encounter charts to slow them down.

They're not in a situation where a random encounter would stumble across them.

blahpers wrote:
The ranged weapon damage rule is irrelevant to this question. Unless you're throwing the greatsword at the door...?

I was trying to figure out what "Likewise, most melee weapons have little effect on stone walls and doors" meant. Because presumably shooting an arrow into an iron door would be less effective than smacking the door with an sword. Ergo a sword would still have to do 50% damage (or more) if so.

Kaouse wrote:
This is a game where casters can shape and reshape the very cosmos itself, but martial characters can't be expected to kick down doors or shatter stone without people complaining about how unrealistic it is. Apparently Pathfinder martials don't even rise to the level of an action movie star...

I have no problem with the party breaking doors with strength checks (kicking in the door). And it would be easy to do so at this level for weaker doors. But an Iron Door is literally the strongest door described. Nor would I expect a level 5 monk to be shattering stone effortlessly -- in a few more levels, sure.

Mathmuse wrote:

We looked up the numbers. Iron door: hardness 10, hit points 60, break DC 28. The fighter had a +3 strength bonus, so two-handing a longsword gave 1d8+4 damage. If he rolled a 7 or 8, then some damage got past the hardness. The critical hits were more valuable, since they gave 2d8+8 damage. He was fighting defensively (due to the arrows) and the door's AC was 5, so he hit on a 3 or higher. Therefore, his damage per turn came out to 1.13.

Fortunately, due to some lucky crits, he needed only 20 turns to smash through the door rather than 53 turns.

First, objects are immune to crits.

Second, imagine if he was a level 1 human fighter with "only" 18 strength.

6 (from strength) + 3 (power attack) + 7 (greatsword) = 16 average damage per hit.

He'd still smash through that door very quickly.

deuxhero wrote:
What has the party fought before getting to this door? For a wood door I'd just rule the greatsword is "ineffective" and note one of the axes the party left on the thugs last room would work fine.

Some cultists, none of whom had an axe. Swords, bows, and maces.

Claxon wrote:
Also, this isn't to say such an action shouldn't have consequence. It should be loud, attract attention, and take time.

How much time? By my calculations the party paladin was going to take about half a minute.

Kaouse wrote:
So when it comes down to it, 2/3 of Pathfinder is problem solving, with only 1/3 of it being combat. If you relegate the Fighter to only being useful in combat, then for the other 2/3 of the game, the fighter generally isn't having fun. Mind you, the Fighter has massive issues even being useful while inside of combat if they aren't an archer or aren't being carried by the team.

My games are significantly more combat heavy, maybe even 80%+ combat.

I've also significantly buffed Fighters.

Also, the party doesn't have a Fighter -- the person trying to hack through the door is a Paladin (who does have magic and some other stuff).

Kaouse wrote:
Seriously, it's f#*#ing ludicrous to not allow characters to break down doors.

What's the point of having a variety of doors (and different break DCs for the doors) if it's so simple to just destroy them in a few rounds? Why should a level 1 party be able to break down any door in existence in the span of a few minutes? DCs on breaking down doors range from 13 to 28 -- and I don't think any character can reasonably hit a DC28 strength check at level 1. But many characters would easily beat 10 damage per swing with a 2H weapon and/or Power Attack.

Claxon wrote:
A basic wooden door has hardness 5 and 10 hp. Is it really a problem that the barbarian wants to use their greatsword instead of an axe to chop through it?

No. I'm perfectly fine with the party easily being able to hack through a basic wooden door. But my concern isn't a basic wooden door.

Say someone had a steel greatsword (default material) and started smacking a wooden door. How would you calculate the result?

What if the door was stone?

What if the door was iron (same hardness as the greatsword)?

What if the greatsword was adamantine?

What if it was an adamantine rapier?

I'm particularly trying to figure out the interaction of these two sections:

"Ranged Weapon Damage

Objects take half damage from ranged weapons (unless the weapon is a siege engine or something similar). Divide the damage dealt by 2 before applying the object’s hardness.

Ineffective Weapons

Certain weapons just can’t effectively deal damage to certain objects. For example, a bludgeoning weapon cannot be used to damage a rope. Likewise, most melee weapons have little effect on stone walls and doors, unless they are designed for breaking up stone, such as a pick or hammer."

If we say the steel greatsword deals full damage to the iron door, then we'd take the greatsword damage and subtract 10 due to hardness. But that then also means a level 1 Warrior (NPC class) with 13 Strength, Power Attack, and a greatsword could do 1 damage average per swing (7 from weapon, 1 from strength, 3 from Power Attack) to any iron door he found...even a two foot thick iron vault door. That two foot thick iron door would just have 12 times the hit points of a normal iron door (which is two inches thick) 720 HP...or 72 minutes of hacking at the door.

Which doesn't seem reasonable (the sword would break or it just wouldn't be effective...but I don't know how to translate "most melee weapons have little effect" and combine that with the ranged weapon damage rule.


I have a player who's wondering if Divine Power is a bit underpowered. See, the party consistently gets Haste and is level 10. This means Divine Power is more or less using a spell slot 3 levels higher for...10 temporary hit points. And a slightly easier time brute forcing a door I guess. Eventually (at level 12, 15, and 18) Divine Power scales up more but right now both give +3 luck attack and damage.

Again, sure, without ready access to Haste the extra attack would be extremely good...but from what I've seen parties usually have Haste active (both from a GMing side and then also from a campaign where I'm playing a level 12 bard -- I nearly always Haste + Bard Song the first round of combat).

It does seem a bit odd to have the spell be so good if there's no Haste but then barely better than a level 1 spell from levels 7-11 if Haste is present.

Am I missing something here, or is a CR10 creature (Fire Giant) effectively unable to pass through a 10 foot hallway blocked by Grease even if the Grease is cast by a level 1 Wizard? Seems to be something like a -1 (Dex) - 7 (Half Plate) = -8 Acrobatics vs DC 10 to walk through the Grease -- sure, he gets a Reflex save if he gets a 6-10 on the Acrobatics, but a 5 or less results in the giant falling, period. Are they THAT helpless vs Grease?

Cavall wrote:

And he's right it's only way to get it is usually retraining, which may not be allowed. That's bothersome.

For the OP, allow retraining.

At the risk of turning this into an advice forum question...why?

Let's start by distinguishing between retaining and rebuilding.

A. Retraining uses Paizo's rules here. It allows you to...

- Retraining ability score increases one at a time
- Change archetypes (longer per alternate feature)
- Change a class feature to another "you could otherwise qualify for at that point in your level advancement." (that part is really important)
- Change a class level
- Change a feat to another that you currently qualify for, even if this would not be a legal build starting at level 1
- Increase hit points up to maximum
- Learn a new language above and beyond the normal maximum
- Change racial trait
- Change a few skill ranks at a time
- Retain a spell known

B. Rebuilding is the ability to just adjust your character per GM approval (aka, don't remake your character to specialize against whatever the party is currently facing -- so far I've approved every rebuild). Aka, you can rebuild your character from the ground up, essentially. This allows to you...

- Change every ability score increase if you wish
- Adjust your level 1 stats if you wish
- Swap archetypes
- Swap a class feature to one that was legal at the time
- Swap levels
- Swap a feat to one that was legal at the time
- No effect on hit points (players already get maximum hit points)
- No effect on languages except being able to change them
- Swap racial traits
- Swap all of your skills if you really wanted
- Swap out a bunch of spells if they're not working as you hoped

Retraining costs time and gold. Rebuilding is free and instant (though not in the middle of combat).

Now, as far as I can tell, there are only three ways where retraining isn't flat out worse than rebuilding...

1. Rebuilding doesn't allow you to learn extra languages
2. Rebuilding has no benefit for hit points...but they're already maximized
3. Rebuilding feats follows the same rules as rebuilding class features...unlike retraining.

And the third point bothers me most -- why can you give up a low power level 3 feat to get a high power level 15 feat while you cannot give up a low power level 4 rage power to get a high power level 16 rage power (or rogue talent, or magus arcana, or whatever)?

For the record, I think the way the class features handles it is correct...hence why that's how I treat both feats and class features during rebuilds.

But the player is arguing that the existence of this feat proves that retraining is intended because otherwise there's no way to get the feat at level 10 when you can qualify for it.

Of course, there's not a level 11+ Skald sitting around nearby so this would require the Skald to spend his own gold (fine, it's his gold) and hold up the party for 10 a reasonably time sensitive campaign. Or he could take time to search one out which would then likely take just as long. All to get a character that wouldn't be legal if built again from level 1. And all solely because it requires Perform 10 rather than 11.

My players want to cast this curse on a friendly dragon to rather quickly make it into a Great Wyrm (so it takes a few years rather than 1200+ years). Does that work?

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