GM not having fun with AC-optimized party


Advice

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Just adapt.

Sounds too simple but it works. When the monsters attack the front line and encounter impenetrable resistance then have them move past the front line and attack the softer targets behind them. After they kill the softer targets they can turn back and gang up on the hard to hit ones or run away hoping the melee buffs wear off before they have to fight the front line again.

Ask yourself this If you were attacking a group and the guy up front turns aside your attack easily... would you keep attacking him? Nope you wouldn't. You would kill his buddies instead. Unless you are suicidal the option to retreat from their magically enhanced assassins is a good one as well. Just come back at them when their guard is down. Another option which often gets overlooked is the outclassed attacker can go get more allies. Numbers can turn a hopeless fight into a winnable one.


DrDeth wrote:
johnlocke90 wrote:
I recommend banning summoners. They are problematic in themselves. I think doing that would help as I am guessing he is doing a lot of buffing while his eidolon does a lot of damage.

Right.

“Hey guys, D&D is a game, and the objective of a game is for everyone to have fun. Having those real high AC means that I, as DM are not having much fun, and it also means that if I design monster than can hit you two, they will insta-kill any other member of the party. How about scaling it back a bit, eh? Bob, I am giving you permission to re-do your eidolon, add some skills or something and scale back the AC & damage. Or, I am thinking about dropping the summoner class altogether, is there another PC you have been wanting to run?” In other words, sit down and talk with them like adults.

Oh and James Jacobs agrees with me in that we think the Summoner class was a mistake, as is. The eidolon with it’s “build your own” becomes too powerful and requires the DM to carefully mathcheck the build.

And yes, Reach is one attack. Just one, not all or even all of a type.

If he is unhappy with a high AC eidolon, he really won't like one that focuses more on damage. Eidolons are expendable. One who focuses on damage will be even more effective. If he reworked to get one with pounce, for instance, he would be breezing through encounters. The druid/monk is doing bad damage to make up for his huge AC. The eidolon is the one doing the damage while being tank focused. If the eidolon swithced to damage focus, it would tear through enemies.


@OP:
I dont know if these has been mentioned yet but here are some of my ideas.

Use fumble rules. When they roll a natural 1 take away a buff or break a weapon or magic item. Its amazing how often this happens and how this increases the tension of the players. Just make sure everyone knows in advance what happens when you roll a one.

Use Mooks with high bonuses to hit but low hit points. "You see 4 Goblins coming your way, these are different somehow. They have red paint on their faces. You find it very odd." Give the mooks like +20 to hit and 4HPs. Increase the damage from 1d4 dog slicer to 2d8+4. When they ask what kind of Goblins were those, tell them they don't know but will have to find out. These will scare the bejeezus out of your players and increase the tension BIG TIME.

Use the environment to debuff. Example being, say to the wizard "You don't know why, but you feel that something is very wrong and your powers that normally flow through you are disturbed. Your spells require a Will check to succeed." Later when they investigate the cause you can plug in anything that adds to the story. It could be as simple as a rune on a nearby wall has a curse on it that causes all magic to be difficult to cast within 500 ft. of it. Someones cursed jewelry nearby. Whatever! Players LOVE mysteries.

Problem with AP's or Modules is you can feel stuck, however I submit that I have never made it through a module yet without the players taking the story into a whole new direction causing us to leave the module storyline for good. And everyone had a great time and none of the players new it until well into the campaign. Use the AP as a baseline and then do your own thing. If they have mega AC, then change the story to properly challenge them. It probably won't take as much time as you think and it may even be funner for you because you get to be creative in setting encounters and obstacles for them.


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DrDeth wrote:
The class is too powerful as it is. Better just to ban the class or dump that power.

Sorry, but the summoner happens to be one of my favorite classes due to its flavor, so I'm not going to ban it. I'd rather let my players have fun with it, but implement a few houserules that prevent powergamers from abusing it (while fixing some issues at the same time, such as the reach evolution).

I really wish people wouldn't have such a knee-jerk 'ban' reaction to such a fun class. It isn't like everyone abuses its mechanics, and there are plenty of classes that are just as powerful (if not more powerful).

Edit: Well, that's just my opinion on the situation at least. I'll try to avoid further derailing the thread with summoner talk ;)


Matrix Dragon wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
The class is too powerful as it is. Better just to ban the class or dump that power.

Sorry, but the summoner happens to be one of my favorite classes due to its flavor, so I'm not going to ban it. I'd rather let my players have fun with it, but implement a few houserules that prevent powergamers from abusing it (while fixing some issues at the same time, such as the reach evolution).

I really wish people wouldn't have such a knee-jerk 'ban' reaction to such a fun class. It isn't like everyone abuses its mechanics, and there are plenty of classes that are just as powerful (if not more powerful).

Edit: Well, that's just my opinion on the situation at least. I'll try to avoid further derailing the thread with summoner talk ;)

Here, here anyway if I really wanted to balance pathfinder the very first step would be the spell lists not the class list.


Matrix Dragon wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
The class is too powerful as it is. Better just to ban the class or dump that power.

Sorry, but the summoner happens to be one of my favorite classes due to its flavor, so I'm not going to ban it. I'd rather let my players have fun with it, but implement a few houserules that prevent powergamers from abusing it (while fixing some issues at the same time, such as the reach evolution).

I really wish people wouldn't have such a knee-jerk 'ban' reaction to such a fun class. It isn't like everyone abuses its mechanics, and there are plenty of classes that are just as powerful (if not more powerful).

Edit: Well, that's just my opinion on the situation at least. I'll try to avoid further derailing the thread with summoner talk ;)

Because its a complicated class(as proven by the number of people misunderstanding the rules on it). Most DMs would have to spend a good bit of time reading up on the class to know what changes to make.

I will contest your statement that there are plenty of classes just as powerful. Summoners have been proven to outdamage other classes by a wide margin. The summoner in the OP isn't even using a very good build and he is causing issues.


I think the other motivation behind "just ban summoners" is turn time. When one player is doing better than everyone else and taking twice as long to do it, it's not too much fun to be sitting around the table.


Just gonna mention I'm in favor of Matrix Dragon's position. I'm really put off that so many people's immediate response to this thread was simply 'ban the summoner' (even when the OP mentioned two characters who are doing this, the other one being... you know, not a summoner).

Anyway though, a lot of the advice that's been given is pretty sound. It's a bit of a repeat at this point but, my advice is:

If you can't hit the frontliner's AC, don't go for the frontliners. Take out the people who are less well protected. Understandably, you don't want to TPK, but wasting your hits on something you have no odds of hitting is silly. Enemies should realize that and going after the better targets (unless you're playing mindless enemies, which is justifiable, but sooner or later, there should be intelligent ones).

Do double check the eidolon. It can't have the large evolution at level 5, and if it's got pounce it's a quadruped anyway, meaning the reach is only via the actual reach evolution, which would need to be taken 3 times for all of the attacks.

@ johnlocke: Every class can be complicated to make. I admit the summoner class is can be more prone to mistakes than others, but it can also be made quite easily. I don't think it's fair to say that it's too complicated, it should be banned.

As for whether or not other classes are just as powerful? How about the fact that the OP is mentioning a druid who's contributing to this issue as well, and that the eidolon is highly geared toward defense. Pounce, claws, bite, as far as offense goes can be helpful but it's not going to beat other classes by 'a wide margin.' So, saying that it outdamages most other classes, and then saying this isn't even a good build, yet causing problems, is silly when it actually is specc'd for high defense (the thing that is considered a problem here).

@ RumpinRufus: Turn time will vary between players. I've played summoners, and had my turn done in half the time of others at the table, even if they're straight up martial characters. That's variable, and not fair for a blanket 'ban all the summoners.'

I don't know, that's my opinion anyway.


Another suggestion towards OP: generous use of the "aid another" action. I once calculated that a horde of goblins with whips could get something like +100 to hit by using aid another.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thank you – every one of you – for your responses. I’m truly overwhelmed.

It’s not that I don’t want to tweak encounters in the AP at all. Quick fixes such as increasing hp’s from average to well above average – and adding opponents here and there. It’s quick fixes that’s doable on the fly without much prep time.

Pushing the party and have them fight more fights than they really are comfortable with, also helps somewhat. As do circumstantial bonuses and letting the bad guys use their single use items.

We’re not using XP – so I do go with a slightly slower level progression than the AP recommends. That’s also a zero prep time fix - and I should probably take that one step further.

I’m sure that my players know that I’m open to them rebuilding their characters.

Helaman (and quite a few more of you guys): Yeah – I fully understand why some GMs bans summoners. I’ll definitely have to try to land more hits on the summoner himself. I haven’t done that consistently enough.

brvheart: I don’t think that I’ll make them tone things down by heaping more challenges on top of their heads or making the game more deadly/gritty. It’ll most likely just make them rationalize that they really need to optimize their characters.

alientude: There definitely is situations where the players are rolling badly or where the makeup of the encounter makes it challenging for the group. I guess that I just feel that it’s happening less and less often.

Riggler: I’m probably philosophically on your page here. I might just slightly adjust the BAB of the monsters upwards over the next few sessions – until I reach a GM BAB Bonus level that’s appropriate for my party.

Heaggles: I’m already rolling behind a screen, and I’m not above fudging or rearranging dices to fit the attacks. Messing with the randomness is just something that I feel that I shouldn’t overdo. It has to be believable.

Ciaran: I hope that your tank is doing better now. Yes – negative levels are always feared, and so far, I really like the way poison works in Pathfinder as well.

Artanthos: I’ll go with your interpretation of Reach – there has definitely been made some good arguments in the thread for your interpretation.

Mergy: Thanks for the offer. It might be that a group review will turn something up.

LazarX: I’ve made one glaring mistake: I’ve been (much) too generous with the point buy (25 pt). That’s one thing to fix for the next campaign. But I haven’t allowed any third party material (including 3.5) or home rules.

Lucent: I was aware of the potential that an Eidolon could make if turned around – thanks a lot for the pointer to Control Summoned Creature. I’ll definitely have the spellcasters in the campaign memorize that one.

Lamontius: You’re absolutely right – there’s quite a lot of things to enjoy when GM’ing. The plot, the unexpected turns and twists, the laughs. Yet, combat is quite an important aspect in our game - and a part that isn’t working quite as well as I would like with the current party.

Matrix Dragon: I like that nerf. It’s simple and makes the Improved Natural Armor a bit less of a no-brainer choice.

Jhidurievdrioshka: Attacks at night and pressing them to more encounters in a single day than they really would like have been weak points in the party. I am exploiting that.

DrDeth: That was more or less what I told ’em. Including the insta-kill on the less-armored players remark.

Zog of Deadwood: I like the pointer to the Teamwork Feats. They’ll fit right into the campaign at the moment.

Jesuncolo: Heh! There’s definitely far between gunslingers in the Jade Regent AP so far. Wasn’t the gunslinger actually published after that AP came out. The firework in the first book were great, though.

Alan_Beven: That’s quite a house rule. It seems to punish melee fighters a bit more than it’s punishing spellcasters. On the other hand: It’s not the spellcasters that feels like a problem right now.

Sic_Pixie: Great story. The general tactic of ”hitting them with their own medicine” might work as a learning tool on some groups.

Aranna: I’ll keep that in mind. That I should try to improve on adaptability. It’s often that retreats has the effect of drawing more opponents into the fray.

Quite a few of you had great advice on which foes, terrain and encounters would work against high-AC opponents. It’s always nice to be reminded of what to try to utilize in encounters.

Scaevola77 and DGRM44: I guess you’re both hitting the nail on the head with the comment that I end up feeling limited in what’s available to me in the AP.

I’m sure that much of my problems stems from expecting a bit too much from the AP – and that I should try to prioritize encounter customization.

Again: Thanks a lot for the advice. I feel a lot more ready to tackle another session on Saturday evening.


Is there some reason you can't give all creatures plus X to hit? you don't have to spend lots of time prepping templates if this is your only problem.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

25 point buy and works well together, my simple solution is what others have said. Use the advanced simple template on everything.

The +1 cr is offset the the parties higher effective CR from point buy/tactical expertise and stays equal on the posted xp/rates.

Your critters/NPC's are a little harder to hit, hit a bit better, and live a little longer.

Should be more fun for you without skewing the game suddenly.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I read through the whole topic now.
And nice to see another danish roleplayer Henning! :)

I would like to make a suggestion. Many people say just buff up the "to hit" on your encounters.

This is very very very wrong. That is just bad GMing. When experienced players makes a group together. They sometimes focus on something. What do we want to be real good at. I once had a party with only spellcasters and we summoned allies alot. The GM response to this was to make very strong AoE spells so he could also hit the PC's. And everything he did was prepared for our focus. And that just made it boring.

Understand me correctly. Dont overcome them on what they have focused on. Deal with it and beat them on their weaknesses - because EVERYONE has them.

We told our GM about this and he changed stuff. He made some combats very claustrophobic. There was no room for all the summons. He made combats in waves. When all your summoned creates is in one direction of the party and there suddenly is new bad guys behind you - there you have a problem.

So find a weakness in the high AC problem - because it's not a problem forever. In higher levels the encounters WILL hit them no matter what. AC is not the main defense at level 8+.

Use spells, use the enviornment, make encounters come up behind them. Make them chase your encounter and run into a trap. Use difficult terrain. Use swarms. There are alot of easy ways to deal with high AC. And this topic is full of them.

Liberty's Edge

Optimization creates this sort self-feeding loop of frustration.

Players that optimize force the DM to adapt by either...

A: Circumventing the optimization (using touch attacks, spellcasters, etc).

B: Raising the general power level enough to compensate (applying the advanced template to everything).

Both solutions create situations that can be just as frustrating for the players.

The best way to beat this sort of problem is to prevent it. Pre-nerf/ban things that you know break the game.

Alternatively, you could talk to your players. Explain the situation and ask them to tone it done. The summoner could drop of natural armor evolutions for example.


Henning Kristensen wrote:
Matrix Dragon: I like that nerf. It’s simple and makes the Improved Natural Armor a bit less of a no-brainer choice.

Glad you like it, and I hope that the player isn't too upset if you implement this rule. :)

johnlocke90 wrote:
I will contest your statement that there are plenty of classes just as powerful. Summoners have been proven to outdamage other classes by a wide margin. The summoner in the OP isn't even using a very good build and he is causing issues.

Well, simply put, the one time I played a standard summoner (and a fairly well optimized one too, though not a 'cheese' one), I struggled to keep up with the power that the party's paladin had... when he wasn't even using smite. He had very well done two-handed weapon build. I had a brief moment around levels 8-9 where my character shined, but the rest of the time he certainly wasn't the most powerful in the party. Most of the time it was the paladin, and at very high levels the party's mystic theurge was going around 'bending reality'.

I admit though that high point buy may have been working against my summoner; they do tend to out-perform other characters in low point buy games because eidolon stats are constant. That's one thing I'm planning to see if I can 'adjust' in my house rules.


I agree. Danish? Yay! 3 cheers for Danish...

I'm colorado born and raised, but my geneology is by way of minnesota by way of prussia by way of denmark by way of norway. I've got a last name that ends in ssen and have done a lot of geneology work. And 3 cheers for not dropping the banhammer on poor summoners!


Darkwolf117 wrote:

Just gonna mention I'm in favor of Matrix Dragon's position. I'm really put off that so many people's immediate response to this thread was simply 'ban the summoner' (even when the OP mentioned two characters who are doing this, the other one being... you know, not a summoner).

Anyway though, a lot of the advice that's been given is pretty sound. It's a bit of a repeat at this point but, my advice is:

If you can't hit the frontliner's AC, don't go for the frontliners. Take out the people who are less well protected. Understandably, you don't want to TPK, but wasting your hits on something you have no odds of hitting is silly. Enemies should realize that and going after the better targets (unless you're playing mindless enemies, which is justifiable, but sooner or later, there should be intelligent ones).

Do double check the eidolon. It can't have the large evolution at level 5, and if it's got pounce it's a quadruped anyway, meaning the reach is only via the actual reach evolution, which would need to be taken 3 times for all of the attacks.

@ johnlocke: Every class can be complicated to make. I admit the summoner class is can be more prone to mistakes than others, but it can also be made quite easily. I don't think it's fair to say that it's too complicated, it should be banned.

As for whether or not other classes are just as powerful? How about the fact that the OP is mentioning a druid who's contributing to this issue as well, and that the eidolon is highly geared toward defense. Pounce, claws, bite, as far as offense goes can be helpful but it's not going to beat other classes by 'a wide margin.' So, saying that it outdamages most other classes, and then saying this isn't even a good build, yet causing problems, is silly when it actually is specc'd for high defense (the thing that is considered a problem here).

@ RumpinRufus: Turn time will vary between players. I've played summoners, and had my turn done in half the time of others at the table, even if they're...

The OP also stated that the eidolon was doing most of the damage while the druid was doing very little. I think the encounters would be much harder if both the eidolon and the druid were doing little damage.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Not everything targets AC.


johnlocke90 wrote:
The OP also stated that the eidolon was doing most of the damage while the druid was doing very little. I think the encounters would be much harder if both the eidolon and the druid were doing little damage.

I didn't miss that the eidolon was doing damage. But how easy or hard that is making the encounters is unclear. If neither the druid nor the eidolon are getting hit on anything other than a 20, and none of the enemies target anybody other than them, the eidolon can be taking 3 rounds to down a single enemy and it'll still be a cakewalk for them.

If the enemies start targeting the people who can actually be damaged more reliably, such as the summoner, taking 3 rounds to kill an enemy would be a big deal, because people who can't stand up to that punishment for very long are probably gonna go down. And if the summoner goes down, his eidolon goes poof.

So, not to sound argumentative or anything, but saying the encounters would be harder if the eidolon didn't do as much damage is as general as saying the encounters would be harder if they had one less character in their party. I'm sure it's true, but to what extent?

Scarab Sages

RumpinRufus wrote:
I think the other motivation behind "just ban summoners" is turn time. When one player is doing better than everyone else and taking twice as long to do it, it's not too much fun to be sitting around the table.

Not a summoner specific issue.

Any melee an be built to have a high number of attacks.

Any caster can spam summons that take a lot of time.

Druids can be melee monsters with a high number of attacks + AC with high number of attacks + summons.

Scarab Sages

Sitri wrote:
Is there some reason you can't give all creatures plus X to hit? you don't have to spend lots of time prepping templates if this is your only problem.

For the same reason you don't give everything DR/- when the party builds for DPR.

Better yet, and I actually had a DM do this to me, give everything 90% magic resistance as a means of controlling the wizard.


Matrix Dragon wrote:


I really wish people wouldn't have such a knee-jerk 'ban' reaction to such a fun class. It isn't like everyone abuses its mechanics, and there are plenty of classes that are just as powerful (if not more powerful).

well I allow players to play a summoner if they wish..

they are just actively hunted by an organization in my world (as I said before, summoners in my world all summon daemons/devils/fiendish creatures and are incapable of summoning anything else)as are witches with an demonic patron.


I'd say level 5 is pretty much the high AC point though, shield and mage armor do not increase for the eidolon, and monsters to hits increase steadily to outpace AC. Honestly I'd just try to grin and bear it for a bit and tweak enemy tactics a little so the lower AC characters a re targeted as frequently, etc.


I am probly a bad DM but here is how I do DM Dice rolls for my baddies.

full BaB types hit on 5+ on a d20
med BaB hit on a 10+
casters have to hit 15+

If a player spends alot of energy bumping their AC or Hit rate, then i up the d20 roll by 5.

So if you have a mob fighter, trying to hit a turtle PC, then roll d20 and if it is under 10 then mob misses. This might seem lazy, but it helps me keep up the pacing of combat. Not every combat encounter goes like this mind you, but it is the majority.

I also fudge enemy crits so the party doesnt get waylaid... if a mob rolls a crit, then I may save it for later when it is more dramatic.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The "to hit" will eventually outshine their high AC.

For now, let them shine, because it will not last.

Scarab Sages

DM Carpe wrote:
I'd say level 5 is pretty much the high AC point though, shield and mage armor do not increase for the eidolon, and monsters to hits increase steadily to outpace AC. Honestly I'd just try to grin and bear it for a bit and tweak enemy tactics a little so the lower AC characters a re targeted as frequently, etc.

This is a myth.

Dedicated AC builds can continue increasing defense at a rate that equals or exceeds attack values.

Again, this is not summoner specific. I have builds for several classes that require the average equal CL creature to roll a 20 to hit, all the way up to level 20.

Heck, wizards can even go Hellknight Signifier for an AC build.


DGRM44 wrote:


Use fumble rules. When they roll a natural 1 take away a buff or break a weapon or magic item. Its amazing how often this happens and how this increases the tension of the players. Just make sure everyone knows in advance what happens when you roll a one.

I want to play a witch in your campaign. And I would never, EVER want to play any of those poor non-caster chumps who actually have to roll dice to succeed at anything.


Lots of great solutions already posted ;)

Seems the least reasonable solution is to force the players to reroll characters that have already been approved, and that already exist within the story. That's a fun killer for everyone, and your goal is to personally have more fun, not bring everyone down to your current level of dissatisfaction.

You did up the Point-buy considerably, and so you'll definitely have to adjust the CR of each encounter. I really enjoy tailoring my encounters, so this seems like the most reasonable solution. Add one critter of CR+1 to the already printed material, or go as far as needed ;) But you'll likely face the GM v Player arms race. More and higher numbers on the enemies only leads to more an higher numbers on the PCs.

Lots of people pointed out that AC is only one of many ways to target the PCs ;)

Your party is highly optimized, which means that they're thinking tactically. They're probably hoping for highly tactical fights which require lots of cooperative metagaming. They're probably more into beating an 'encounter' over just killing a bunch of baddies. I think you would have more fun if you design fights to play in a certain way, with phases--think of designing an MMO-style raid encounter. I'm not saying this is the best way to have fun, but it might very well please everyone.

Also, one of my favorite tools to increase challenge is to bring Environment into it. Terrain is often difficult. One winter mission left the players fighting in a heavy blizzard where they couldn't see father than 10', effectively isolating each PC; one particular summer day was so intensely hot that wearing heavy armor was impossible without huge penalty and/or stat damage (a thick heavy box of wood or metal armor in the sun and sweltering air is literally an Oven). Create situations where they can't be at their best, this is both 'realistic' and adds a simple dynamic to affect challenge. Also, Divide and Conquer. A PC on his own isn't as dangerous ;)


Another way to do it is to take 10 away from all the PC AC and give 11 to all NPCs to hit. Make the PCs roll a d20 for their defense against the static to hits of your baddies. This also takes away from your work, and keeps the players envolved throughout the whole combat round.

Scarab Sages

blackbloodtroll wrote:

The "to hit" will eventually outshine their high AC.

For now, let them shine, because it will not last.

Level 5 fighter

Level 12 fighter

Same build progressed from 5 to 12. There are no buffs involved.

She has a decent AC at 5, but not unhittable.
By 12, most equal CL encounters will need a 20.
By 20, She'll be so far above the AC curve significant penalties can be imposed and encounters will still need a 20.

I have other builds that self buff to 30+ by level 5 and follow the same progression curve for AC.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Your 12 level fighter is a dead link.


Saganen Hellheart wrote:

I read through the whole topic now.

And nice to see another danish roleplayer Henning! :)

I would like to make a suggestion. Many people say just buff up the "to hit" on your encounters.

This is very very very wrong. That is just bad GMing. When experienced players makes a group together. They sometimes focus on something. What do we want to be real good at. I once had a party with only spellcasters and we summoned allies alot. The GM response to this was to make very strong AoE spells so he could also hit the PC's. And everything he did was prepared for our focus. And that just made it boring.

Understand me correctly. Dont overcome them on what they have focused on. Deal with it and beat them on their weaknesses - because EVERYONE has them.

We told our GM about this and he changed stuff. He made some combats very claustrophobic. There was no room for all the summons. He made combats in waves. When all your summoned creates is in one direction of the party and there suddenly is new bad guys behind you - there you have a problem.

So find a weakness in the high AC problem - because it's not a problem forever. In higher levels the encounters WILL hit them no matter what. AC is not the main defense at level 8+.

Use spells, use the enviornment, make encounters come up behind them. Make them chase your encounter and run into a trap. Use difficult terrain. Use swarms. There are alot of easy ways to deal with high AC. And this topic is full of them.

Obviously you didn't read, or listen to the OP. He said he didn't have time to rewrite all the combats. Rather than people making the simple suggestions being bad GMs, you are a bad listener.

"And it's not like I don't know how to manage high-AC fights or set up a custom encounter to challenge such players either - but I really don't have the prep time to go thru' every- or at least most of the encounters to tailor and customize them to fit these two players obscene AC optimizations. On. Level. Friggin'. Five!"

Of course there are many ways around the problem, but if you are looking for the most streamlined way to fix it without much effort, the BAB boost would do it. As long as he doesn't go overboard with it, they probably won't even know the difference. If his players are getting pissy when their mooks hit on 15 or a boss on a 10 when he is taking time out of what appears to be a very busy schedule to run a game for them, they aren't worth the effort. That being said, if time is not an issue, yes there are better ways to solve the problem.


He doesn't have to go through all of the encounters beforehand to get to an encounter mid-game and go "Yeah a +1's not hitting these guys ever, let's up that to a +5 at least".

And TBH if a GM doesn't have time to prepare anything he shouldn't be GM-ing.


Use pack attics, have a look at team work feats. Flanking, charging, moving and combat maneuvers, use those for a time, the bad guys will catch up the the AC. AC will stagnate after a time and won't be able to out pace the to hits.

I frequently make a 1st level PC with 20 AC. Works great for several levels.....


Rynjin wrote:
He doesn't have to go through all of the encounters beforehand to get to an encounter mid-game and go "Yeah a +1's not hitting these guys ever, let's up that to a +5 at least"?

Anyone can do that, but it feels like cheating. It negates the characters if you cancel out their advantages.


But the game simply isn't designed for well optimized characters, it's designed for an average-casual level of optimization.

Negating some of the player's bonuses to bring the challenge in line with what the AP would pose to casually optimized characters is not a bad thing.

I'm not saying give every monster a "Their AC-1 to hit" but bumping the monsters up to where they hit on a 10-11 instead of a 19-20 is more than fair.

Having your PCs roflstomp over all the monsters because they're effectively untouchable isn't fun for the GM and it will likely be boring for the players after a while too.


DGRM44 wrote:


Use fumble rules. When they roll a natural 1 take away a buff or break a weapon or magic item. Its amazing how often this happens and how this increases the tension of the players.

This is a very bad idea. First players really don;t like the items they earned taken away. next, this does absolutely NOTHING to help the OP with his problem, which is the fact that the Eidolon and the druid have too high of a ARMOR class.

It also doesn't do anything at all to the eidolon of the druids NATURAL weapons.

And, fumble rules nerf warrior types all out of proportion to spellcasters, which is exactly the opposite of what is needed.


Rynjin wrote:
Negating some of the player's bonuses to bring the challenge in line with what the AP would pose to casually optimized characters is not a bad thing.

It's better than, say, a whole adventure where no PC is ever hit. But better still would be to find a solution that doesn't rely on GM fudging.


The fumble deck hurts all types of PCs quite well, including spell-casters. It is very hard to lose an item with that deck.

That being said, it would not solve OP's problem.

Arbitrarily changing the statistics of monsters (e.g. +5 to hit! +15 hitpoints!) would work, but it is incredibly unsatisfying to me. While the game shouldn't be about optimizing, it is pretty lame if the DM just arbitrarily changes stats to make things harder on you (note I said arbitrarily; adding enemies, adding templates, etc., is not arbitrary and modifies CR).


Matthew Downie wrote:
Rynjin wrote:
Negating some of the player's bonuses to bring the challenge in line with what the AP would pose to casually optimized characters is not a bad thing.
It's better than, say, a whole adventure where no PC is ever hit. But better still would be to find a solution that doesn't rely on GM fudging.

Especially if it is only 2 PCs with very high ACs, if those buffed monsters have reason to go after the (AC) unoptimized PCs...


Heh. Actually...

Give them all Ranger levels with the Outsider: Native and Outsider: Whatever the f&~% an Eidolon is, and they'd have extra to-hit versus the AC optimized PCs without affecting the rest of the group.


Rynjin wrote:

Heh. Actually...

Give them all Ranger levels with the Outsider: Native and Outsider: Whatever the f#+# an Eidolon is, and they'd have extra to-hit versus the AC optimized PCs without affecting the rest of the group.

Or give all the monsters +2 Jeff and Steve bane weapons (assuming Jeff and Steve are the problem players).


Eh, that might be going too far.

I learned the hard way that fiddling with the AC to HP ratio (and by the reverse, To Dit to Damage ratio) too much screws things up.

Just giving the monsters an equal chance to hit things is enough I think.

Unless you were being sarcastic, in which case nevermind.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I don't know.

If it mattered little whether or not I took the time and energy to invest in something, I might be a little irked.

I still say simply attacking outside AC is the way to go.

Troglodytes Stench, Medusa's Gaze, Swarms, and Incorporeal foes are just some of the ways you can challenge them, without having them feel cheated out of their investment.

Environmental Dangers are another option as well.

Don't fudge things around, and add some +10 to every monster's to hit, or some nonsense like that.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:

I would be very careful "designing" encounters to negate the PCs strengths. There are other ways to adjust encounters to make high ACs less problematical for the GM. Some suggestions:

1. AoE spells
2. Traps
3. Terrain (put a group of archers on a ledge the high AC folks can't reach immediately)
4. Minion hordes (this is something I do a lot, it gives the party something to worry about just through the sheer numbers of creatures, but also lets them get the satisfaction of beating down an army. It's a win-win)
5. Touch spells or attacks
6. Conditions (dazed, stunned, etc.)
7. Swarms. Swarms are one of the things that terrify parties, regardless of AC.
8. Dispel Magic
9. Debuffs (throw a witch at the party. An invisible one even.)
10. Brutes with massive hit points (this is sort of like minions above, a massive beat down on a monster with massive hit points can be fun).

Just the first ten that pop into my head.

What he said.

Anti magic field works well, then toss them against a bunch of sundering power attackers with Adamantine weapons :D

Don't actually do that. You will probably end a 15 year group with that.

Traps could help,
so can splitting the party with environmental effects
Lava does some fun damage.

Good luck, I would be honest and tell them if they are gonna take away my tactical fun, then I would like for them to role play deep meaningful characters so I can at least enjoy the interactions.


try showing the players the CR their stats resemble, compared to the CR a character of that level should have (not stat derived, class level derived, with standard 15 pt buy). ask them how they expect you to run an AP with monsters all scaled for the latter PC party 'CR' when their PCs' effective CR is the former. tell them that yes, they aren't breaking any rules, but the whole point of the AP is to use it as-is as much as possible, and as-is isn't relevant for the result of what they did with their PCs. tell them that if you are expected to GM an AP with certain assumptions, you need the PCs to match that assumption as well. 25 point buy is way too generous btw, certainly when running an AP where compensating means alot of extra work. having your players rebuild with 15 point buy is pretty reasonable and should help with the issue. for the summoner, perhaps count any gear the eidolon uses as 2x or 1.5x towards WBL? if you don't want to disrupt character continuity/story, damage/destroy some of their armor and don't introduce replacements of the same tier. have the eidolon be re-built with less ac and not focusing on attacks either.

if you are using an extra PC in the group, you should be able to add NPCs to the encounters pretty easily. it sounds like bards or cavaliers (sharing tactics feats) would be a good fit. if you have the NPC Codex, you can drop most of those in with minimal work.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

I don't know.

If it mattered little whether or not I took the time and energy to invest in something, I might be a little irked.

I still say simply attacking outside AC is the way to go.

Troglodytes Stench, Medusa's Gaze, Swarms, and Incorporeal foes are just some of the ways you can challenge them, without having them feel cheated out of their investment.

Environmental Dangers are another option as well.

Don't fudge things around, and add some +10 to every monster's to hit, or some nonsense like that.

Indeed, but the OP stated he doesn't have time to rework encounters and is running an AP.

Sczarni

He said they are lvl 5, let's look at the most defensive eidolon possible.

Lvl 5 eidolons have 4 hd (so 20hp) good/bad saves 4/1 2 feats, +4 armor, +2dex and 8 evolution points

two can be spent on natural armor. so +4.

so an Aquatic at lvl 5 ac looks like +10 from natural armor.

so we have what a 25 ac? +4 natural armor from aquatic, +4 from two evolutions +2 from dex, +1 dodge? +4 from level

Even if they are casting mage armor (and why not, that takes it to 25ac, and maybe someone has barkskin? well that takes it to 29 or 31.

But then again, that's using two spells to get it there.

You've said it had pounce and claw claw, so it's probably not a aquatic, it's gotta be quadruped, so we're now looking at an ac of +3(dex)+4 evolutions +2 natural armor +4 natural armor +1 dodge +4 mage armor. so 28ac is the best ac I can possibly figure for them at lvl 5 baring things like rings of deflection (which the eidolon is now wearing and the summoner is not)

(and if this is the case, feel free to have the bad guy cast sleep on the eidolon, it's 4hd so is the only thing impacted in the party, hello coup de grace)

Now to address the evolutions
2 pts for natural armor
1 pt for pounce
1 pt for claws
1 pt for reach

Barring feats, this leaves 3 evolution points for everything else.

and the attacks barring the other feat spent on weapon focus, an attack routine of (+4 BAB, +3 str) +7/+7/+7 and the damage is 1d4+7, 1d4+7, and 1d6+7.

I'm sure it may have a amulet of mighty fists (now the caster can't wear a neck item) so you may adjust it up a bit.

a lvl 5 monk will be a touch behind with a +3/+3 flurry, but he can also do 1d8+full str, or more even if he's gone with dragon styles etc...your monk player will be behind for a level, but at 6, he'll be +4/+4/-1 and lvl 7, ignoring quite a bit of DR that will shut the eidolon down.

This being said though, the ac's just aren't that high without alot of resources spent on it, and evolutions. The offense still isn't really that great compared with other classes, and every piece of gear the eidolon is wearing is gear the summoner could be using to protect himself.

looking at cr 3-5 critters a +7 to a +12 isn't too uncommon in these ranges (particularly with elementals that are cr 5 etc)

Even if your eidolon is topping the max AC, the summoner isn't. and guess how badly that +12 is going to hurt that guy? Because even with a +9 on a charge, that cr 5 elemental with an ac of 16-18 is still going to watch nearly 40% of the attacks miss.


he doesn't care if the PCs miss alot, if the NPCs can't hit, the battle just drags on, and the PCs hit alot more than NPCs who need a 20. i don't think trying to convince him that he really should be enjoying this situation is going to be productive. he's obviously tried a few means at hand, and that he has considered stronger measures means it just isn't enjoyable for him to run. if the players were using pre-gens it would be a different game, that's pretty obvious.

Sczarni

I pointed out a potent flaw, most spell casters in these modules have access to sleep, and even if they don't, give it to them.

The eidolon has a will save of +1 base... regardless of which form it's got... it's going to be in general failing against even the worst caster dcs of sleep (12...)

Regardless of how tough the eidolon is, the summoner is not. Target him.

Sleep for now will only affect the ediolon for now (max 4hd, guess what he's the only one in the party with 4hd)

when we look at the cr 5 elementals, the earth ones are flat out killing killing the eidolon in two hits. (average of 13dmg per hit)

Even in the max ac scenario, a charge gives is a +16 to hit, which even against the best ac I can think of for this level 5, that's hitting on a 16-20.

IF it's been buffed before hand at all, we're hitting anywhere between 75% to 50% of the time pending on what's going on.

I'd have to look through my RotRL stuff, but if they are only being hit on 20s, you're not utilizing charges, flanking, assisting... or exploiting the areas that are weak. IE the summoner, the will save, difficult terrain preventing charges (and pounce then)

-edit- to reply to the he doesn't care if they aren't hitting

He's actually said the eidolon does alot of damage, although either my thought of alot of damage isn't a smiting paladin or a 2hand barbarian doing 20+dmg in a swing that nearly always hits, but a eidolon that does 8-11dmg and only hits 50-60% of the time.

He's upset because

Quote:
"The Eidolon dishes out quite a lot of damage and hitting quite often (claw, claw, bite - pounce, 10ft reach)
and
Quote:

The primary front fighters are a Oread druid/monk and a summoners Eidolon, and they have both been investing heavily into- and are both being buffed by their fellow players - to a degree where their AC's are hovering around AC 30 after about a round of fighting/buffing...

I - as a GM - basically was sitting behind the screen hoping for 20's in order to hit the frontline fighters...

Somethings wrong with the characters (possible) or his thoughts on what he's doing on his end are wrong. I'm guessing it's more his expectations and his grasp of the rules.

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