STAP too difficult?


Savage Tide Adventure Path

Grand Lodge

Has anyone else out there found the adventures too difficult? In my campaign there has been a character death almost every session and the 7-headed aquatic hydra wiped out the entire party which I brought back into the game with "divine intervention". Then there was the Mother Of All on the sargasso. Wiped out the entire party as well. My players decided to quit the STAP alltogether. Anyone else having this problem? I really did not think the Mother Of All would be that challenging and my players are very experienced. We've been gaming together for 8 years!


What sort of game do you run? Core rules, 25 point buy, (often considered bare minimum or restrictive) or Anything goes, 40 point buy (often considered overly powerful or munchkined).

I run most WoTC material approved, some WotC approved on evaluation to specific situation, non-WotC approved only if superior to WotC or fills a role not already filled. And I run 32 point buy (although I think for my next game, 28, but thats part of a huge train of thought fit for another thread).

I have a party of 4, and they are solid. I've had two character deaths, but overall they are smart players who syncronize well, work together, and don't hold back against monsters. They have no problem using consumables, and see it as "use it and hope to not die, or not use it and hope even harder to not die".

I could see even a core rules 25 point buy group having some trouble, but not getting smeared across the table by everything. Do you have any more details of your game to help us understand the situation? You say your players are experienced gamers, but that only means they have been playing a while. Experience, contrary to D&D mechanics, does not mean you become automatically better at something the more you get. They might be good roleplayers, but are the solid tacticians? Do they synergize abilities well? Do they make "strong" characters with "strong" backstories, or do they occasionally under-optimize or even counter-optimize themselves (ala the old craft: basketweaving line).


The Bard is right. It really comes down a great deal to what kind of characters your players can make. I've probably read more threads concerned that the adventures are too easy then ones concerned that they are to hard but either is certainly possible.

At the end of the day the DM decides just how tough these are going to be when he or she chooses what kind of stats the characters are going to get and which books are allowed. Hence the DM has a lot of influence over how many character deaths are likely to result. That said the players are a real wild card in this. If they can't make a party that gels and won't work as a team their going to die a lot more, alternately if they create their characters to be part of a team - even going so far as to make their characters together to make a really good team and they are strong tacticians then their going to be fighting above their weight class.

Still it's worth thinking about this before you start – just how hard to want this to be? How much punishment will your players put up with before they revolt? These are questions you should be answering before the players start making their characters.


So far I've only had one PC death and that was from me applying the Savage template to a large shark. Not got as far as you however as they are only about to leave Sasserine now.


The line up we have has no cleric, rogue or wizard!

Sczarni

we have a party of 6

human cleric of pelor/radiant servant...healer, makes undead a non-issue

changeling rogue/psion/elocator...bluff/diplo, good movement powers, and decent scout. not so much on the sneaky, lockpicking, trapdisarming side of rogue.

human ranger/fighter/dervish...replacement for the bard, decent attacker, and with that floating tower shield, damn hard to hit

human ranger/psion/pyrokineticist...party strategist, pyro, anything dealing with fire is his forte'. has leadership, with a human wiz specializing in transmutation and teleportation

dwarven monk/drunken master. has item that can enlarge him 5/day, hits like a brick craphouse and saves on everything

and a human warmage...straight warmage. shes got extend spell, suddden max, sudden empower, and i think regular empower now @ 9th lvl....is a BIG boomstick...especially with orb spells and sudden empowered fireball.

sounds like the TPKs came about due to fighting in bad ground (in the water vs aquatic hydra, or on the weeds vs the mother of all plant monster?...bad news).

also, having no healer is a BAD idea in this campaign. the warmage took almost all her hp in damage from Olangru's pounce, and if the cleric didn't bring her back to near full with a timely cure critical wounds, she'd be monkey food now.

the warmage nailed the hydra with an empowered shocking grasp, and nearly fried it in 1 shot, and did almost all the damage to the lemorian golem with orbs of force and acid...

and the party was out of the room for the few really bad traps so far...like the spear-floor trap in HTBM since the rogue found, but could not disarm that trap.

all the members are now 9th lvl (excluding the pyro and dervish, due to death or item crafting), built on 30 pt buy, with the complete series, tome of battle, spell compendium, stormwrack, and the core rules (incl psionics) available.

also, the party (if they're from sasserine) get a free regional feat from the savage tide players guide.

-hamster


Yep, the hydra took out one PC before they fled. And they didn't even make it to the Mother, three vine horrors TPKed them in the night.

My group ranges in experience from 2 1/2 to 25 years. We played 28 point-buy anything goes.

I started them over last Friday in an adventure of my own design, gave them 32 point-buy anything goes (to make up for the TPK as this will eventually lead back into the STAP), and we had two more deaths (one because a PC scouted an area that the rest of the party couldn't enter and triggered a nasty trap, the other went down to an Allip as the party fled).

I'm beginning to think the 'anything goes' part is the problem. I think there are some important roles to fill in a party that get passed over because of all the new options:

Role 1) Healer and Turner of Undead. No class outside of the Cleric can fulfill this role. That's 1 class of 26 (just counting PHB, Completes and ToB)!

Role 2) Full Arcane Caster. The new group has a Bard...

Role 3) Trapfinder. While not critical, it does make life easier. At least there are a few extra options here.

Role 4) Frontliner. This is easy with alot of the added classes.

Roles 5 & 6) *I have 6 players.* These are wide open, but if the whole group thinks they can fit in these open roles, balance problems ensue.

I'm not sure what to do about it. I find tailoring the world to the specific party at bit silly, the party needs to adapt their chosen abilities to overcome their opposition. The new group proved to be very effective in straight up combat (took out a devil dog before it could retaliate), but suffered hard against the Allip.

I always tell my players they should play what they want. But I'm beginning to wonder if I need to direct people towards the roles once again.


Vyvyan Basterd wrote:
I always tell my players they should play what they want. But I'm beginning to wonder if I need to direct people towards the roles once again.

I'm trying something with my group that's about to start up the STAP.

I've instructed my five players to submit 2-3 character concepts they'd like to play and then I'm picking which of the submissions each should play. Mostly this was to take advantage of my insider knowledge about what characters and goals would match up better with the course of the Path, but it could also serve to keep the team on track with the core needs of a party.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

We'll be starting in a short time and I'm wondering how long it'll be before the first death. I'm thinking they'll be okay with the rhagodessa but may lose it in the Lotus base.
They have 2 barbarians, a druid, a wizard and a spellthief. They're all v. experienced and strategic players, yet I still wonder if I should ask one to consider a cleric. Think I'll just leave it and see - they can always continue as cleric after 1 level of barbarian or whatever if they see the need.


I don't think its a problem inherent in the AP, but rather with players.

My players liek to make individual characters rather than a party of characters and it shows in actions and activities, sometimes brutally.

It also doesn't help that they tend to all get wrapped up too much by little things or run around headless once combat starts!

The number of times characters have stood and held actions rather than "doing" something is shocking, letting terrain defeat them at every turn. The list is endless, but they ahve fun, so I can't really complain *despair yes" but not complain!

I've tried to steer them all to making a supporting and cohesive group and it does little if anything to help them!

I think the best thing to do is scan over the AP/Adventures and look out for the key things you know YOUR players are going to have issues with, and adjust from there.

The Exchange

I believe I have R4I's party details from the STObits....
Dw'Zin Kegfloater: dwarf cleric 4/fighter 2
Captain Roberto DeMorgan: human swashbuckler 6
Elzedar Ras: mongrelfolk rogue 5/fighter 1
!!Dhurrkh (click-click-dirk): Darfellan ranger 3/fighter 3

There are 2 things that stand out as having a hugely negative role in this group.
1. No arcane caster. Arcane casters do damage to many creatures at once, making the melee meat shields not become overwhelmed by a bunch of mooks.

2. It looks like everyone in the group was trying to be a fighter...fighter/rogue, fighter/ranger, fighter/cleric, only 2 guys in the group look like they to an actual "role" in the party. The ranger/fighter (depending on combat style) looks like he takes the role of meatshield or ranged combat, and the Swashbuckler takes on his role. The other 2 look confused as to where they fit in with the group.

By multiclassing into melee roles they seem to have lessened their effectiveness. A 4th level cleric in a 6th level challenging game is unacceptable as the only healer. No arcane caster, even a limited caster like sorcerer, bard, or beguiler, is unacceptable in a challenging game.
Fighter (barbarian, ranger, etc.)
Cleric (druid, healer, etc.)
Rogue (beguiler, or other trapfinder, etc.)
Wizard (sorcerer, etc.)
That is the classic 4 member crew in D&D with variety thrown in. Your group had mostly fighters mixed with a minimum of healing and stealth classes.
If the group is as experienced as you say, then they should have seen the glaringly obvious deficiencies in their group and compensated for them.
They didn't. They died. Lesson learned.
FH


psionichamster wrote:


having no healer is a BAD idea in this campaign.

Our party has a dragon shaman with the fast healing aura, hopefully this will help somewhat with the lack of healing issues, while another is a wilder (XPHB) -he should be able to fill the role of primary caster.

One player has a healer/monk of Ilmater (from the MH) prepared -just in case her first character is killed and the player of the dragon shaman is itching to reintroduce an old (formerly epic level) elf character from our past Shackled City campaign as a factotum class from Dungeonscape -the factotum makes a great rogue stand-in.

The player has written a short story telling how after the adventures in and beyond Cauldron his (now epic) elf took up exploring the jungles of Chult and tomb raiding, only he got caught by a circle of undead 'druids' and was used for months as a blood-soul-slave in foul rituals to gain the favour Demogorgon.
The elf (drained of his life force and near death) had a vision of Erevan Ilesere (elven trickster god) which told him to: Take heart, hold on and live to sea dread shores… managed to escape during an earthquake and was later found by a team of monster-hunters and members of Zelkarune’s horns in the jungle. The hunters took him back to Sasserine and the elf (now low level) is on the mend, healed up but still only a mere shadow of his former self.
Now armed with the knowledge of the coming savage tide the elf has vowed to follow his heart and stand against the followers of Demogorgon and is slowly regaining his strength, remembering old tricks and skills as the fog around his memory clears and things become clearer.

If only the players would go with these characters as their first choices! :D


Earthbeard wrote:

I don't think its a problem inherent in the AP, but rather with players.

My players liek to make individual characters rather than a party of characters and it shows in actions and activities, sometimes brutally.

It also doesn't help that they tend to all get wrapped up too much by little things or run around headless once combat starts!

The number of times characters have stood and held actions rather than "doing" something is shocking, letting terrain defeat them at every turn. The list is endless, but they ahve fun, so I can't really complain *despair yes" but not complain!

I've tried to steer them all to making a supporting and cohesive group and it does little if anything to help them!

I think the best thing to do is scan over the AP/Adventures and look out for the key things you know YOUR players are going to have issues with, and adjust from there.

Sounds like my group! ;)


Sounds like my group! ;)

I know your Pain ;)


My group tends to be on the chaotic side so these adventures tend to be tough for them. I use action points and the vitality system from Unearth Arcana to help keep them alive. On top of the since none of them know the system super well I make sure they know mechanics wise what they actions will result in before they do them. Things like, "Hey that will make you flat-footed if you do that" or "You'll draw an AoO if you run that way." It keeps them from making mistakes because they don't know the rules backwards and forwards.

With the Hydra it was a tough fight. That things has a ton of heads for a party of four. In the end, I had some of the heads attack the ship with the intent to sink it which seems to be its MO and the rest attacked the folks attacking it in melee. Also I guess I can be a pushover sometimes but when the soon to be STormlord casts his first Call Lightning spell I'm not going to attack him doing casting and ruin his moment. Sure after the first bolt hits all bets are off, but I tend to let the players have their spotlight. It is about them after all.


Fletch wrote:
I've instructed my five players to submit 2-3 character concepts they'd like to play and then I'm picking which of the submissions each should play. Mostly this was to take advantage of my insider knowledge about what characters and goals would match up better with the course of the Path, but it could also serve to keep the team on track with the core needs of a party.

That's a really interesting idea! I'd love to hear how well it works, as I may be starting up an adventure path soon, and I would like the players to start with a group that at least has a chance.

The Exchange

Schmoe wrote:
Fletch wrote:
I've instructed my five players to submit 2-3 character concepts they'd like to play and then I'm picking which of the submissions each should play. Mostly this was to take advantage of my insider knowledge about what characters and goals would match up better with the course of the Path, but it could also serve to keep the team on track with the core needs of a party.
That's a really interesting idea! I'd love to hear how well it works, as I may be starting up an adventure path soon, and I would like the players to start with a group that at least has a chance.

The good part of this is that the unused PCs can be backup characters. Have Lavinia hire them as another minor adventuring group to go to Farshore (on her boat as NPCs)and level them up assuming that they are running minor adventures to help the Farshore community. Investigating supply thefts, the Lizardfolk incursions in the woods, maybe a murder-mystery in town, some aquatic creature is attacking Olman villagers trying to paddle to Farshore and Lavinia wants them to solve the problem, all would be good excuses to get them up to party level if they are necessary.

If you wanted to you could even allow the PCs to delegate orders to the backup team during the invasion of Farshore. I like it and plan on using the idea.

FH


So far, my party has had little trouble with the STAP. No character has died, but everyone has dropped to negatives and almost death, at least once.

However, my party is big, 7 players :

Human Paladin of Hieronious
Gnome Bard
Dwarf Barbarian
Human Cleric of Hieronious
Human Druid of Obad-hai
Elf Ranger/Fighter
Human Fighter

They are missing a wizard, but so far the STAP has not challenged them in this manner. They are all 4th level, and just last week, wiped the floor with the Hydra. I even have the hydra and 8th head and 40 more HPs, but my party can deal damage like there is no tomorrow!

Anyway, I think it is like any other adventure, you need to tailor it to your party, either tougher or easier. I am going to have to throw more numbers at my party. They can take on any single oppenent with ease. When they get to the sarragosso, there will be plenty of horrors to soften them up before they get to the mother.


We're close to finishing TINH, and so far no deaths. Admittedly the only reason the rhagodessa on the Blue Nixie didn't kill a character was because it went after the druid's wolf (a random roll on my part) and almost killed it.

My players are pretty savvy, and know when to rest up and when to run.


We have not started yet, but I am a little worried. Our current munchkin is playing the only fighter--and because of the ship/pirate feel--is specializing in the whip. The other munchkin is the cleric, and a newbie has two 18s and went with monk. Hopefully we will be OK *grin*


I would say it's not soo mcuh what your characters are like, but how smart you play. If you think you're in trouble, you probably are and should run! Rest early and rest often. This adventure path is fairly open-ended timewise, so dont' worry about how long it's taking your characters to get through stuff. Rest when you're low on resources. Which at the low-levels is quite often.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
carborundum wrote:

We'll be starting in a short time and I'm wondering how long it'll be before the first death. I'm thinking they'll be okay with the rhagodessa but may lose it in the Lotus base.

They have 2 barbarians, a druid, a wizard and a spellthief. They're all v. experienced and strategic players, yet I still wonder if I should ask one to consider a cleric. Think I'll just leave it and see - they can always continue as cleric after 1 level of barbarian or whatever if they see the need.

Seems like all the bases are covered (with an extra melee type thrown in). Undead are only encountered occasionally in this AP, so having a druid instead of a cleric won't be a game-breaker. One thing the druid might consider is taking ranks in Knowledge (Religion) and picking up the Spontaneous Healer feat from Complete Divine. If one of the barbarians is a member of the Church of the Whirling Fury, then becoming a Champion of Gwynharwyf (BoED) will add a second (minor) divine spellcaster.

Earthbeard wrote:

I don't think its a problem inherent in the AP, but rather with players.

My players like to make individual characters rather than a party of characters and it shows in actions and activities, sometimes brutally.

A problem too many players have, alas. Sometimes this occurs at character creation, when a cruicial role is not filled, crippling the party's effectiveness. Sometimes this occurs as the players advance their characters poorly, either overspecializing or overgeneralizing. Sometimes they just can't think tactically in combat, ending up with everyone running about willy-nilly instead of working as a team.

The APs are especially brutal on players who have trouble with teamwork and tactics. You may want to give your players a quick primer on these subjects before character creation.

Teamwork:

1) Make sure that the four main roles of arcane caster, divine caster, front-line fighter, and locks/traps specialist are filled from the start.

2) Ensure that the party has a decent mix of melee and ranged capability.

3) When advancing characters, look to become better in your primary role(s) as the first priority. Characters filling multiple roles should pick one (or at most two) to concentrate on.

4) Primary spellcasters (cleric, druid, sorcerer, and wizard; or equivalents from outside the PHB) should multiclass as little as possible to ensure the most rapid progession of spellcasting; between multiclassing and prestige classes, primary spellcasters should usually give up 1-3 levels of spellcasting at most.

Tactics:

1) Front-line types need to protect the spellcasters, but the spellcasters need to protect the front-line types. The casters should be buffing and healing the front-liners constantly. They should also be ready to cast delaying/disabling or summoning spells to help out the front-liners or to provide a decoy/rear-guard so that the front-liners can retreat.

2) Disabling attacks are the key. Blinding, entangling, grappling, paralyzing, tripping, or otherwise preventing a foe from acting at full effect (especially if it gives bonuses to other party members) is much more effective than straight damage. Against tough foes and spellcasters, minimize the number of chances they have to hurt the party. Against weak foes and minions, get them out of the way as quickly and efficiently as possible so you can concentrate on the BBEG.

3) Ranged attacks rule. Unless you need to get into melee rapidly (to eliminate an enemy ranged specialist or spellcaster, for instance), keep your distance and hit your enemies with ranged weapons and spells. Most monsters have poor or no ranged attacks, so are at their least effective until they can get into melee. Even if you can't avoid melee entirely, you should at least soften them up at range first.

4) Fight magic with anti-magic. Dispel Magic and the various other forms of anti-magic spells are lifesavers. Every 5th level wizard should have several Scrolls of Dispel Magic and anyone with the Craft Wand feat should have a Wand of Dispel Magic as soon as he can afford to enchant it. If the party runs into a magical effect and have no Dispel Magic/Greater Dispel Magic/etc. spells to deal with it, then something is wrong. Either they failed to prepare adequately or they are almost out of resources.

5) Divide and conquer. Summoning spells provide one of the easiest ways to increase the party's combat capability by increasing the party's number of attacks. Even if they only last a couple rounds, they still force the enemy to split his attention/attacks. Smart placement of the summoned creatures can provide flanking opportunities and/or threaten spellcasters with AoO. Many of the creatures also have disabling capabilies.


R-type wrote:
The line up we have has no cleric, rogue or wizard!

That ought to be fun.


Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
R-type wrote:
The line up we have has no cleric, rogue or wizard!
That ought to be fun.

I agree. That's just a TPK waiting to happen. It's no fun to feel like you're forced into a certain role just because it's not filled by the other members, but with no cleric or wizard you can't hope to deal with problems effectively.


I have had 3 players die so far. Two in bullywug gambit, and 1 last session in the sea wyvern's wake.

The only death that wasn't preventable was the poor ranger who was criticalled by Drevoraz.

The other two deaths were due to stupid player tactics, so I do not attribute these to the AP being too tough.

My group also has no cleric, no wizard, and their rogue has almost no ranks in Search (he's the talker). The two smartest players have been the ones to survive the longest so far, and generally hang back in combat, fleeing when it turns against them.

Contributor

I have 2 powergamers, one roleplayer, and one newbie in my group. Given the "flavor" of the STAP, they all played roguey pirate types (and one played a wizard). They have limited healing magic. I've toned down the challenges in the STAP considerably to avoid the TPKs that would otherwise occur every session (possibly more than once a session if they brought in similar backup characters).

-Amber S.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Our group consists of 4 characters and we just finished Tides of Dread. I run the adventures as written so I have nerfed nothing. No party deaths so far and in Tides of Dread, my group totally demolished the pirate fleet.

I think it depends on the players and how they run their characters. Their characters are solid builds (based on 32 point buy) and complement each other. My group is like a SWAT team in play. They make solid tactical plans and have alternate plans, they will not jump into a situation without fully checking out things and when they do take action, they try to achieve surprise and hit hard and fast (they call it 'shock and awe'). They know when to withdraw and have used hit and run tactics with great success. Given all the above, I can see how they are not having a difficult time (so far).

If the characters are not solid, classes are not optimal (ie. taking a beguiler as the only arcane caster) and the team work is iffy and the planning and tactical savvy is lacking, then expect a very rough ride. The adventure paths are very unforgiving to players who don't bring their 'A' game to the table every session or who play classes or characters that are sub-optimal for the adventure path.


SPOILER ALERT!!
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Here's a trick: During our first session of STAP, my rogue found (and pocketed) the 100 platinum pieces found aboard the Blue Nixie and somehow failed to tell Lavinia about it. At the start of the second session, while we were sitting aroudn debating the best method to find the brother, a concern was voiced about healing magic. At which point, my rogue pulls out of his jacket a fully charged wand of Cure Light Wounds and says "What? Like this?"

Grand Lodge

Well, my players bought alot of the books and try to use everything they can find. New classes, races, feats, spells, etc. When fighting The Mother of All the party consisted of a Mongrelfolk rogue, Human swashbuckler, Dwarf cleric, and Darfellen Ranger all of 6th level. The books most frequently used other than the Core books are: Stormwrack, Spell Compendium, Complete Warrior, Complete Adventurer, Complete Arcane & Divine. All characters were rolled up with the standard 4d6 and I allow three sets of 6 rolls with the player choosing the best of the three so all PCs were pretty much above average. I've been running the Shackled City Hardcover for a different group and they've been breezing through it! So much so that I had to boost the ECLs by a monster or two (that group is currently part way through the 6th adventure which occurs on the plane of Occipitus where they're fighting demon after demon). I kinda think my players just weren't into a high seas/swashbucklin' adventure path as much as I was into running it. I've always run adventures only from Dungeon Magazine for the group having problems with STAP. Oh! also, this is the first time they've played 3.5! We've been doing AD&D 2.0 since 1999.

Grand Lodge

Fake Healer wrote:

I believe I have R4I's party details from the STObits....

Dw'Zin Kegfloater: dwarf cleric 4/fighter 2
Captain Roberto DeMorgan: human swashbuckler 6
Elzedar Ras: mongrelfolk rogue 5/fighter 1
!!Dhurrkh (click-click-dirk): Darfellan ranger 3/fighter 3

There are 2 things that stand out as having a hugely negative role in this group.
1. No arcane caster. Arcane casters do damage to many creatures at once, making the melee meat shields not become overwhelmed by a bunch of mooks.

2. It looks like everyone in the group was trying to be a fighter...fighter/rogue, fighter/ranger, fighter/cleric, only 2 guys in the group look like they to an actual "role" in the party. The ranger/fighter (depending on combat style) looks like he takes the role of meatshield or ranged combat, and the Swashbuckler takes on his role. The other 2 look confused as to where they fit in with the group.

By multiclassing into melee roles they seem to have lessened their effectiveness. A 4th level cleric in a 6th level challenging game is unacceptable as the only healer. No arcane caster, even a limited caster like sorcerer, bard, or beguiler, is unacceptable in a challenging game.
Fighter (barbarian, ranger, etc.)
Cleric (druid, healer, etc.)
Rogue (beguiler, or other trapfinder, etc.)
Wizard (sorcerer, etc.)
That is the classic 4 member crew in D&D with variety thrown in. Your group had mostly fighters mixed with a minimum of healing and stealth classes.
If the group is as experienced as you say, then they should have seen the glaringly obvious deficiencies in their group and compensated for them.
They didn't. They died. Lesson learned.
FH

This is all true! My players are the total hack'n'slash type. I told them they'd be better off with a well rounded party but one player told me that "it doesn't matter what the party is comprised of". This player also told me that the authors of adventures in Dungeon Magazine write them for their players which are their playtesters and therefore can't judge how another group will handle the adventure. I'm going to print out your reply to show the group! Thanks for your input!


While I definitely think that certain niches need to be filled, I also think there's nothing wrong with tailoring things a bit to your PC's. Everyone plays the game to have fun. If no one likes playing clerics, then having an NPC healer is perfectly fine. If no one likes playing wizards, then have some other way for them to find the BBEG than scrying.

In the adventure paths this is probably a bit tougher, as they are written for a well-rounded party, but I'm sure there are ways it can be done.


cthulhu_waits wrote:

While I definitely think that certain niches need to be filled, I also think there's nothing wrong with tailoring things a bit to your PC's. Everyone plays the game to have fun. If no one likes playing clerics, then having an NPC healer is perfectly fine. If no one likes playing wizards, then have some other way for them to find the BBEG than scrying.

In the adventure paths this is probably a bit tougher, as they are written for a well-rounded party, but I'm sure there are ways it can be done.

Agreed. The problem for some classes like cleric as an NPC, it's very difficult to play it on top of running the game as a DM.

In my group, since I have only 3 players, I've added a complementary npc, a gnome rogue. I've chosen skills like open lock, search, disable device, appraise, some tasks the other character can not handle. I didn't put ranks in skills like move silently or hide, because I don't want to use it for scouting, since this kind of action is not really interesting with an npc (and it can be troublesome).

We only finished There is no Honor and will begin Bullywug's gambit this week end. There was a death in TINH, the cleric was bitten two times in a row by the crocodile, and even at 2nd level at this time, he dropped directly to -10. It's particulary sad because it was at the end of the adventure, when they had done mostly everything in the complex. They managed to wipe out all creatures in one foray in the Lotus guild without never raising it to alert status.

That said, I think that the encounters in this AP are tough. I think characters will need to use a lot of "consomables" to succeed.
But you can always try to tailor the adventures to your group's specifics without necessarily adding a npc. If there is no rogue for instance, try to reduce the number and lethality of traps. Reduce the numbers of enemies in groups if there is no spellcasters with area damage spells.
Also a druid doesn't replace the efficiency of the cleric for healing. Back to the old editions, spontaneous casting didn't exist. So healing was much harder (also healing spells were less powerful, but damage was also often less immportant than now).

I've tried one time in a campaign to remove the spontaneous casting for healing spells. Of course it was much more harder. But then the game headed in a different way of playing. And the cleric class was less essential because of this.

Try to tailor you campaign to your group. It will be much more about playing character the way the players want them to be and not always about making some "essential" choices for survival (like having a standard group of divine caster/arcane caster/trap finder/warrior).

And you will have fun !


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I was worried myself - Lost 2 characters in two games. And yes, the nassssty hydra chewed up the party leader before the others ran away.

However, the group just finished Journey's End and while there were several close calls, they made it through brilliantly.

You see, after the last death they all had a pow-wow and discussed "tactics" that would support each other. They also decided to get "more cautious".

During the battle with the Mother (BTW as a side note - purchase the theme song to John Carpenter's "The Thing" and play that while wandering around the sargasso), the group never split up and the high AC characters drew the Mother's attacks every round (incl. AOOs) - this made a huge difference for the weaker characters casting spells. The group is 6th level.

The Journey's End turned into our best game yet (in ANY world - 3yr campaign).

- halfling bard/druid/green-whisperer
- human rhenee scout
- human cleric of the Traveller
- human sorcerer
- Churtle/NPC (now an expert/dragon-shaman)

Tomorrow we will see how they handle Here There Be Monsters...

~D


Medesha wrote:

I have 2 powergamers, one roleplayer, and one newbie in my group. Given the "flavor" of the STAP, they all played roguey pirate types (and one played a wizard). They have limited healing magic. I've toned down the challenges in the STAP considerably to avoid the TPKs that would otherwise occur every session (possibly more than once a session if they brought in similar backup characters).

-Amber S.

Your to soft on them. Nothing says "I should make a cleric" like having your character expire after being spitted like a fish on the end of a Bullywugs spear.


Tor Libram wrote:

SPOILER ALERT!!

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Here's a trick: During our first session of STAP, my rogue found (and pocketed) the 100 platinum pieces found aboard the Blue Nixie and somehow failed to tell Lavinia about it. At the start of the second session, while we were sitting aroudn debating the best method to find the brother, a concern was voiced about healing magic. At which point, my rogue pulls out of his jacket a fully charged wand of Cure Light Wounds and says "What? Like this?"

If your rogue keeps his Use Magic Device skill up then you'll be OK for a few levels - as long as the rogue is in a position to act like a cleric by running over and healing fallen party members. However wands only go to 4th level and these ones are obscenely expensive. At some point your going to need the heals and mass, cure critical etc. What you guys have is something of a stop gap but I don't think its a solution.

Now if you have paladins and rangers in the party and are willing to spend big bucks on consumable healing then maybe you could get by. If three players are wandering around with healing wands and scrolls then you can get by without the dedicated cleric.


far better to get a "glove healing of light wounds".. usable once per round, at a mere 1k or there about (esp if made in home).
CL1*SL1*wondorous base cost

No good for combat, might work as fast healing for its wearer tho.. if auto activated (think that was a *2 multiplier?), but keeps the party healed between encounters at least.


ikki wrote:

far better to get a "glove healing of light wounds".. usable once per round, at a mere 1k or there about (esp if made in home).

CL1*SL1*wondorous base cost

No good for combat, might work as fast healing for its wearer tho.. if auto activated (think that was a *2 multiplier?), but keeps the party healed between encounters at least.

No alert DM would tolerate such a flagrant abuse of the item creation guidelines, just as no alert DM would tolerate a use-activated True Strike weapon or similar misleading cheese.

To even attempt to use the formula like that, you have to skip the step in the item creation rules where you compare it to other items with similar effects. Your gloves fail this test miserably, and therefore cannot be made as described, at least at a cost within a couple orders of magnitude of what you were hoping for.

Better just to pony up money for Cure Light Wounds wands to UMD, and have the group concentrate on dropping enemies before a bigger heal is required, rather than scrap the item creation acid test.

Contributor

Hmmm. Interesting, Ikki. My first reaction was, "Huh. I don't think so." But there's actually nothing wrong with it. Call the item Gloves of the Healer's Touch. The item would cost 2,000 gp or 1,000 gp to make with Craft Wondrous Item. If you want to spend the extra gold for this over a wand with 50 charges that does the same thing for only 750 gp, I say go for it. Both function the same.

The only cons I can see with such an item is that a wand is easily portable from one PC to another in case of the guy carrying it going down into the negs or even dying. When it's dropped, if someone else can use it, it's just a matter of picking it up (assuming, of course, that it was being carried in hand at the time) with a Move action. The gloves, on the other hand (no pun intended), would probably require a Full Round action to remove from the fallen PC and then another Move action to put them on (and now we're assuming that the other PC doesn't already have gloves or gauntlets on) and then another to pick up whatever the PCs had to drop to free his/her hands up.

For practicality, having them "in hand" all the time instead of having to pull a wand out or cast a spell, isn't worth the extra 1,250 gp to me. But YMMV.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Tor Libram wrote:

SPOILER ALERT!!

*

*

*

*

*

*

Here's a trick: During our first session of STAP, my rogue found (and pocketed) the 100 platinum pieces found aboard the Blue Nixie and somehow failed to tell Lavinia about it.

I laughed at this, the rogue in my party "failed" to find the 100pp that the cleric later did and felt obliged to give over to Lavinia. Of course, this brought on much more favor on her side than not getting the money back.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
ikki wrote:

far better to get a "glove healing of light wounds".. usable once per round, at a mere 1k or there about (esp if made in home).

CL1*SL1*wondorous base cost

No good for combat, might work as fast healing for its wearer tho.. if auto activated (think that was a *2 multiplier?), but keeps the party healed between encounters at least.

A command word activated cure light wounds item could be made at a market price of 2700gp (1st level spell x 1st level caster x 1800gp x 1.5 for uncustomary space limitation). On DMG pg. 288 there is no body slot affinity for healing.

A use activated version could be made at a market price of 3000gp. You have to define how a glove of cure light wounds would be use activated (covering or touching the wound to be healed, for example) and such a definition would preclude the ability for the wearer to gain cheap fast healing/regeneration; a ring of regeneration allows recovery of 1hp per level every hour and has a market price of 90,000gp. A use activated gauntlet of inflict light wounds could be made at a market price of 2000gp, however...

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