Slumber Hex: Is Turnabout Fair Play


Advice


Our sessions seem to be degenerating into: here comes an X; "I slumber it; (DM rolls); OK, next.

If there's a witch with some minions as a PC foe, can I have the NPCs hold their action to CDG a PC that fails its save?

I think my players would have a fit.

Liberty's Edge

I say yes. If PCs want to play rocket tag it's ultimately them that will lose out.

Alternatively you could talk to the witch player about swapping out the hex or fixing it so it isn't quite so abusable.

Shadow Lodge

I had a fight where the witch used slumber on an NPC villain. The NPC's cleric ally channeled negative the next round, waking his buddy up quite rudely.

As for using CdG on characters, deliberately making kill moves against players is a tool GMs should use sparingly. It's also often not the best tactical move an NPC can make.

For what it's worth, Slumber is on my top 5 list of things I don't like that have come out of Paizo since they released PFRPG.


I'm considering house ruling it to make it a "stunned by not completely helpless" state.


Preston Poulter wrote:

Our sessions seem to be degenerating into: here comes an X; "I slumber it; (DM rolls); OK, next.

If there's a witch with some minions as a PC foe, can I have the NPCs hold their action to CDG a PC that fails its save?

I think my players would have a fit.

Turnabout is fair play. I let my players know about certain tactics up front though. The only thing I try to avoid is coup d grace. I am not saying I will never do it, but I hold it in reserve. As for SoS abilities, don't spam it if you can't take it is what I tell 'em.


Preston Poulter wrote:
I'm considering house ruling it to make it a "stunned by not completely helpless" state.

I would tell them out of game that if you are willing to use anything they use.

If they continue to use then they have just said it is ok to bring to the table.
Yes you can hold an action to do a coup d grace. It is rules legal.

Silver Crusade

Have every bad guy employ two witch allies. Slumber the party to hell.

Alternately, have them liberally use protection from (good, law, chaos) as that makes a slumber hex worthless. That spell protects against enchantment(compulsion) and slumber works like sleep which is an enchanment(compulsion).

Magic circle against also works.


wraithstrike wrote:
Preston Poulter wrote:
I'm considering house ruling it to make it a "stunned by not completely helpless" state.

I would tell them out of game that if you are willing to use anything they use.

If they continue to use then they have just said it is ok to bring to the table.
Yes you can hold an action to do a coup d grace. It is rules legal.

A coup de grace is a full round action, so you can't ready it.

You could delay your turn in order to act immediately after the witch, though.

Shadow Lodge

hogarth wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Preston Poulter wrote:
I'm considering house ruling it to make it a "stunned by not completely helpless" state.

I would tell them out of game that if you are willing to use anything they use.

If they continue to use then they have just said it is ok to bring to the table.
Yes you can hold an action to do a coup d grace. It is rules legal.

A coup de grace is a full round action, so you can't ready it.

You could delay your turn in order to act immediately after the witch, though.

Even then they can't move over and CdG, they have to be adjacent.


hogarth wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Preston Poulter wrote:
I'm considering house ruling it to make it a "stunned by not completely helpless" state.

I would tell them out of game that if you are willing to use anything they use.

If they continue to use then they have just said it is ok to bring to the table.
Yes you can hold an action to do a coup d grace. It is rules legal.

A coup de grace is a full round action, so you can't ready it.

You could delay your turn in order to act immediately after the witch, though.

Holding is delaying.

edit: You just wait until the witch goes. If the guys eyes glaze over you take your turn.

Then again if their eyes don't glaze over you might as well take your turn anyway since you are right beside them and they might kill you.


wraithstrike wrote:
hogarth wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Yes you can hold an action to do a coup d grace. It is rules legal.

A coup de grace is a full round action, so you can't ready it.

You could delay your turn in order to act immediately after the witch, though.

Holding is delaying.

If that's what you meant, the term "hold an action" is misleading; you're just delaying your turn without reference to any action in particular.


hogarth wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
hogarth wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Yes you can hold an action to do a coup d grace. It is rules legal.

A coup de grace is a full round action, so you can't ready it.

You could delay your turn in order to act immediately after the witch, though.

Holding is delaying.

If that's what you meant, the term "hold an action" is misleading; you're just delaying your turn without reference to any action in particular.

Reading the OP's post again I think he meant ready, but in my group hold and delay have the same meaning since you are just waiting to see how other parts of the battle fold out, and not declaring a specific action.


My players used a Greataxe vs my monsters.

could I use Greataxes vs my players? Is it fair game?

Silver Crusade

Kaiyanwang wrote:

My players used a Greataxe vs my monsters.

could I use Greataxes vs my players? Is it fair game?

I don't know a greataxe seems overpowered.


karkon wrote:
Kaiyanwang wrote:

My players used a Greataxe vs my monsters.

could I use Greataxes vs my players? Is it fair game?

I don't know a greataxe seems overpowered.

x3 crits can kill. But that's not the point (Greataxe are slightly UNDERpowered IMHO, BTW).

If PCs use a tactic, and in the gameworld such tactic is effective, they should be not surprised neither cry foul if someone use effective tactics against them.

Theirs tactics too, expecially if quite straightforward.


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Is turnabout fair play? Maybe.

Should you do it?

Absolutely not. You only do such things as damage control for big time cheese (and even then you should use the "threat of turnabout" rather than actual turnabout).

As a GM you are supposed to challenge your players and ensure that everyone (including yourself) is having a good time at your table.

Turnabout will simply cause the game to degenerate into a GM VS Player arms race of a nightmare that will only end up ruining the game for all. It isn't supposed to be a competitive game, it's meant to be a fun and challenging cooperative effort. A group storytelling as it were.

Find some other way of challenging your players. Throw a couple of encounters against creatures that are immune to sleep, have high Will saves (they only need to pass once), or have studied up on the character and have come prepared (such as by bring extra people to wake up their sleeping allies).

Another thing to note is the ability's short range. If he puts one guy to sleep, have the rest of the enemies bum rush him before he can do it again (while one companion stays behind to wake up the sleeper).

There are plenty of solutions to this problem rather than "getting back at your player with his own medicine." That to me is simply a sign of a bad GM who doesn't know how to handle a situation properly.

Still, remember that they are playing heroes, and that they SHOULD be able to shine with their key abilities most of the time, so don't overdo it with the sleep-tough encounters. That being said, play your enemies intelligently (that is, if they are intelligent). You will likely find that your players appreciate the challenge of smart foes. It will force them to think out new strategies while staying within their expectations of the game.

So, let's go over the key points:
- D&D/Pathfinder is not an arms race between player and GM, nor was it ever meant to be, but rather a cooperative storytelling effort.
- Ensure that everyone (including the GM) is having a good time. This is the whole point of the game and is your chief responsibility as GM.
- Remember that the PCs are the HEROES of the setting. They are supposed to shine. They should be winning the fights most of the time.
- Play your enemies to their strengths. Play them intelligently. This will keep your players challenged and engaged.
- Never use turnabout unless everyone at your table likes the player VS GM arm race atmosphere. Instead, talk to your players about the problem and, at worst, use the threat of turnabout if things are REALLY bad (though I personally disapprove, I've heard this works really well at keeping munchkins in line).


Ravingdork wrote:

Is turnabout fair play? Maybe.

Should you do it?

Absolutely not. You only do such things as damage control for big time cheese (and even then you should use the "threat of turnabout" rather than actual turnabout).

As a GM you are supposed to challenge your players and ensure that everyone (including yourself) is having a good time at your table.

Turnabout will simply cause the game to degenerate into a GM VS Player arms race of a nightmare that will only end up ruining the game for all. It isn't supposed to be a competitive game, it's meant to be a fun and challenging cooperative effort. A group storytelling as it were.

I would not say absolutely not is the wrong answer since there is no absolute answer. It kills immersion to an extent if you take the lesser option as a GM. My player(guy picked up on things too quickly) once asked why I did not kill the cleric first. The real answer was the party would have died and I knew it. You really have to decide for your group, and for yourself. The GM has to have fun also. There won't be an arms race if players keep tactic X off the table.

Quote:
Find some other way of challenging your players. Throw a couple of encounters against creatures that are immune to sleep, have high Will saves (they only need to pass once), or have studied up on the character and have come prepared (such as by bring extra people to wake up their sleeping allies).

More people means more loot. If they don't have loot they why are they in combat? If the GM brings in high will save characters they get evil eyed first, and then put to sleep.

Quote:
Another thing to note is the ability's short range. If he puts one guy to sleep, have the rest of the enemies bum rush him before he can do it again (while one companion stays behind to wake up the sleeper).

Most casters are well protected so rushing directly to them is not an option. If it was the caster would have already been dead so the sleep hex would not be an issue.

Quote:


There are plenty of solutions to this problem rather than "getting back at your player with his own medicine." That to me is simply a sign of a bad GM who doesn't know how to handle a situation properly.

Nobody is getting back at anyone. There is no one way to properly handle a situation. A good GM would know that.

Quote:


Still, remember that they are playing heroes, and that they SHOULD be able to shine with their key abilities most of the time, so don't overdo it with the sleep-tough encounters. That being said, play your enemies intelligently (that is, if they are intelligent). You will likely find that your players appreciate the challenge of smart foes. It will force them to think out new strategies while staying within their expectations of the game.

Playing heroes? That is an assumption. In my games and many other GM's you are not heroes. You have the opportunity to become a hero, and even so being a PC does not mean turn a blind eye.

Quote:


So, let's go over the key points:
- D&D/Pathfinder is not an arms race between player and GM, nor was it ever meant to be, but rather a cooperative storytelling effort.
- Ensure that everyone (including the GM) is having a good time. This is the whole point of the game and is your chief responsibility as GM.
- Remember that the PCs are the HEROES of the setting. They are supposed to shine. They should be winning the fights most of the time.
- Play your enemies to their strengths. Play them intelligently. This will keep your players challenged and engaged.
- Never use turnabout unless everyone at your table likes the player VS GM arm race atmosphere. Instead, talk to your players about the problem and, at worst, use the threat of turnabout if things are REALLY bad (though I personally disapprove, I've heard this works really well at keeping munchkins in line).

Well the players should cooperate and not try to one round encounters if they want it done to them.

He is trying to do that by asking for advice.
Whether or not they are the heroes is debatable. It varies by the campaign. They might even be villains or the a campaign may not even be PC-centric.
Playing them intelligently might keep them engaged, depending on what that means exactly.
As for turnabout warn them upfront that the bad guys can come with any idea they can. That keeps the game reasonable so PC's and BBEG's don't end up with anti climatic fights.


Ugh, nothing kills a conversation like line-by-line rebuttals.

Anyways, does Slumber effect Elves and half-elves? If not, send a few Sleep Immune creatures at them.


Well said RD.

If you search the forums, there are at least 3 threads that debate if the slumber hex is overpowered. While I think it is, it isn't really that unique an ability.

To me the real problem is "action denial" which is made exponentially worse by the Coup de Grace action*. There are various things like color spray, sleep, hold, etc, but they usually have fairly sever restrictions (usually a hit-die limit). Basically Slumber Hex is an at-will ability that becomes a Death effect. The bottom line is that save-or-die isn't a very fun way to play the game. It can make for memorable moments, but most of the time it just trivializes the rest of the game, and is highly anti-climatic. Why bother doing anything else but slumber/CdG?

When I GM I tell my players in no uncertain terms before the campaign starts: You are allowed to use some action denial stuff, and CdG monsters, but don't make a habit of it, or build your character around it. I also won't build my encounters around it, although it could happen. That way I don't have to alter every encounter in order to provide a challenge, and everyone has fun, including the GM.

If you have no problem with players executing BBEG's before they get to act, or the same thing happening to PCs, slumber should be fine, but I don't like to play that way.

* Yeah, yeah, yeah, it is a full round action, you have to be within reach, the victim could roll a 20, etc. CdG is EASY to pull off if you put any effort into it at all.

Silver Crusade

Usually these things have a simple counter (prot vs evil in this case) and judicious use will let the DM control the effectiveness of tactics.

Turn about is all right if used carefully. I don't recommend it but hey it's your game.


I play a witch in a Kingmaker game, but I am careful not to use the slumber hex as a go to thing. Otherwise I am turning the game into an arms race myself. I use it on a regular basis, but there are other things in the bag of tricks I can use. And frankly, the massive debuffing potential of the witch bothers the GM more than the things I put to sleep, even when I have ended an encounter via that hex. Stacking misfortune with ray of enfeeblement, ray of exhaustion, and enervation gets him angrier than sleep.

Besides, if I am always putting them to sleep, I can't have fun turning them into stone, or pigs, or something else.


Being as the hex is single target, 30 ft range, and has a 4 HD limit as per sleep spell. The hex should not be insurmountable. Iy suffers the same limits as sleep, plus is single target.

A Sample List of things that can Overcome Slumber:
A Longbow shooting at 30+ range
Elves and Half Elves
Constructs
Undead
Anything with Flyby attack (Hippogriff, Harpys, ect.)
Anything with 5 or more hit dice.
Anything immune to mind affecting
Anything immune to enchantment(compulsion)
Anything with spell resistance


Brambleman wrote:
Being as the hex is single target, 30 ft range, and has a 4 HD limit as per sleep spell.

The Slumber hex states: "This hex can affect a creature of any HD."

Brambleman wrote:
Anything with spell resistance

The Slumber hex is a supernatural ability, so it ignores SR.


hogarth wrote:
Brambleman wrote:
Being as the hex is single target, 30 ft range, and has a 4 HD limit as per sleep spell.

The Slumber hex states: "This hex can affect a creature of any HD."

Brambleman wrote:
Anything with spell resistance
The Slumber hex is a supernatural ability, so it ignores SR.

Okay, messed up on my quick read. But that still leaves more than half of the examples.

A Revised Sample List of things that can Overcome Slumber:
A Longbow shooting at 30+ range
Elves and Half Elves
Constructs
Undead
Anything with Flyby attack (Hippogriff, Harpys, ect.)
Anything immune to mind affecting
Anything immune to enchantment(compulsion)


Examples of foes that will not crumple like tinfoil to slumber hex:

Dragons, Air Elementals, Elves, Half Elves, Giant Eagles, Harpys, Manticores, Pegasus, Phoenix, Roc, Shadow/Greater Shadow, Wyvern, Zombies, Skeletons, golems, animated objects, snakemen, Insect creatures, Hound of Tindalos, all other undead or constructs, anything with protction from XXX active.

Its an impressive list and its not even close to comprehensive.

Sovereign Court

Having played a witch with the Slumber Hex I agree that it can be quite powerful against low HD creatures... then again, without the Hex it is likely that at least one session would have degenerated into a TPK...

Having a witch opponent use the hex against the players is certainly a fair move - but moving to gang up on the players and hammer them just because they found a cool toy is likely to lead to loss of fun and create an adversarial GM-Player relationship.

While I have not played, yet, a higher level witch my expectation is that the Hex will lose utility as we advance and creatures gain improved saves and have access to spells and abilities that will negate it.

I would certainly use some of the options put out by the other posters (Brambleman's list is nice) for some encounters - if only to give other players a chance to shine while the witch tries to figure out what other powers may be useful.

The Exchange

slumber is slightly unbalanced at the moment imho. a at will combat ender is too powerful (didnt paizo plan to get rid of save or be CDG?)
as of right now im making very slight changes instead of outlawing. right now im saying that it affects creatures with hitdie equal to or less than the witch


And with the new Split Hex and Accursed Hex in UM, combat efficiency goes way up.


I made a witch for a short-term campaign about 4 months ago and I picked the Slumber hex right away. Granted if your melee buddies were in the correct position Slumber/CdG works like a champ. And I used the Hex a lot (even against the fighter 1/day out of combat just messing around).

But, our group is now at the beginning of the STAP and I made another witch and chose Misfortune instead. There are just as many groans coming from the GM table when his baddies fail that save. Oh, and I use it sparingly. I think it depends most on the mindset of the player. If I know my character posseses the ability to piss off the GM then I will use it against BBEG or when encounters are winding down to one or two baddies left.

Everyone at the table is there to have fun, including the GM.

The Exchange

outright banned hex modifying feats, ( for slumber and misfortune at least) those where just sorely unneeded


Its of very little value against PCs because someone else will just generally wake the slept guy up.

What it does do is prevent the GM from preparing encounters based on a single BBEG with a bad will save. Some GMs will think this is OK, others not.


Oh, forgot... I agree that it's perfectly cool for the GM to throw baddies at the PCs with Slumber or Misfortune. If the PCs have it then NPCs can as well. But like I said in my first post, don't be a one-trick pony. Don't abuse potentially aggravating abilities.

Don't be surprised when you see your fighter pal drop into a coma then get eviscerated if your party uses that tactic like it's going out of style.


I am playing a witch currently (in PFS), and with slumber (and am really enjoying playing a witch). So slumber seems quite powerful. But I consider CdG being an evil act, at least not reasonable for a good character. So she CdGs - for subdual. Quite similar, but you need still take care of your prisoners.

Grand Lodge

I'm currently running a group through Kingmaker, and estimate we've got about 2 sessions left in the campaign. One of my players has a witch who's gone from level 1-17, and had slumber hex from level 1 or 2.

Having seen it in play through nearly 20 levels, I can say that it's probably the strongest minor hex a witch can take. Granted, my opinion is skewed because Kingmaker has a lot of opponents who are vulnerable to the hex, but against those type of opponents, it can be devastating.

I will note that I'm one of the camp of GMs who don't believe protection from evil blocks sleep effects, which will strengthen it in my games. (And please, no-one try and get into that argument in this thread, I'm just stating the way I play it.)

After most of two books, both the witch player and myself thought that the sleep hex could do with being toned down some. Our solution was to limit its effect to creatures with equal or lower HD than the witch. That means it's unlikely to be usable against 'boss' monsters, but is still useful against a large percentage of opponents. I think it's worked out quite well - I've not had to metagame against one class ability to avoid some very anticlimactic fights, and the witch has an incentive to throw a bit of variety into their hexing.

As always, YMMV, and what works for my home games may not work for you.

Happy gaming!

Sovereign Court

Forgot this... archers! In a setting that allows space archers will generally halt the use of the hex. The witch (myself) moves into hex range and sleeps an opponent (thus identifying myself as a caster) and is then fired at by multiple archers who are (still) out of my range.

As a first/second level witch it does not take very many arrows to make me decide to fall back... or fall unconscious...

Tunnels and indoor encounters limit the archers but increase the risk of an opponent being able to close into melee range. While the hex is much more functional in melee combat than a spell the witch is still a very soft target for most melee creatures...

So archers (or other ranged combatants) and multiple melee opponents that are able (or potentially able) to close with the witch will force the character to decide just how brave they want to be as well as think about how much healing the cleric is willing to spend on them.


Oh boy that takes me back to the time when I playes 4th edition, all those use sleep to kill Asmodeus threads.

About the slumber hex:

Witches are screwed against everything thats not immunte to mind-affecting effects. Since it´s a sleep effect elfs and to some extend half elves will be trouble.

There are plenty of enemies that are immune or resistant to it.

What many forget to remember is that any damage will wake the sleeper, so in theory enemies cut cut themselves once combat starts, a bleeding would would protect them. Getting a swift kick in the ribs will wake a sleeper too.

So unless you use few enemies against the group (always tricky) you should be fine.


Spaetrice wrote:

If I know my character posseses the ability to piss off the GM then I will use it against BBEG or when encounters are winding down to one or two baddies left.

Everyone at the table is there to have fun, including the GM.

Agreed. I had a wizard in a 3.5 Eberron game that had only used Baleful Polymorph twice in his career, each time toward the end of a major fight when things were turning against us, but the GM was furious about it. Out of respect for him and for the sake of having fun, the spell hasn't been used in our group since.

We haven't had someone play a witch yet but I feel the same thing could happen with the Sleep hex.


DM Dan E wrote:

Its of very little value against PCs because someone else will just generally wake the slept guy up.

Well the tactic I was saying was to have another NPC holding it's action to then immediately CDG the asleep character.


Fergie wrote:

Well said RD...............

When I GM I tell my players in no uncertain terms before the campaign starts:.....

That was my philosophy not his. He said tell them after.

RD wrote:
Instead, talk to your players about the problem and, at worst, use the threat of turnabout if things are REALLY bad (though I personally disapprove, I've heard this works really well at keeping munchkins in line).

Reactive solution, and he doesn't even like the idea.

wraithstrike wrote:
I let my players know about certain tactics up front though.


The Hex is annoying at low levels, but tapers off as the monster's will saves increase. Misfortune is annoying also, but it is not as bad as evil to me. I think the hexes are what make the witch though since their spell list is not all that good.


Most of the "rocket tag" problems in Pathfinder can be solved by using groups of opponents instead of single large enemies. There aren't nearly as many spells that can end encounters with multiple foes. Mixed groups of monsters with class levels can make Save targeting a much riskier proposition.

Take some hints from 4e encounter design.


Witches are a lot like rogues; they're skill monkeys and utility casters with a fairly narrow combat niche (save or dies). You can't just throw the same problems at a witch as you would a wizard and then be upset that the witch found them too hard/easy. That would be like presenting a mechanical trap to a rogue and getting mad that he handled it more easily than a fighter would have.

One thing I never see in these threads is a suggestion to provide good alternative courses of action to witches:

-provide an avenue to circumvent or mitigate combat using skills or utility powers.
-provide a means of gaining forewarning of combat. Witches prepare spells, so they likely have a strategically appropriate spell to prepare if given the opportunity.
-give the party reliable rest time so the witch isn't paranoid about using spells per day.
-give the witch a staff. The witch spell list is broad enough that they can charge most staffs, but narrow enough that they benefit disproportionately from them (using UMD to fake that the spell is on their spell list). This also expands their precious few spells per day. Provide sufficient down time that the witch isn't paranoid about running out of charges. A Staff of Fire is a good mid-level option.

A rational squishy caster will want to use more safe and reliable strategies than getting up close risking it all with a SoD. But if you only present a witch with nails, don't be surprised if she reaches for her hammer.

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