Advice for new GM needed please


Advice

Sovereign Court

I am running my first ever Pathfinder game (ROTRL) and my players know the system inside and out. I don't. They pretty much run through everything and I want to make it a little more difficult. Not that I want the characters to die, but I want the players to think they are going to be very close to it.

I've thought about upping the number of enemies but I don't want the just hand out XP. I've adjusted classes, swapping feats and such, but there again, they cut right through them.

Any ideas will be much appreciated.


Bump either their HP or AC up by just a bit (so they don't get oneshotted by everything). Not both. Speaking from experience, both can be hell.

What's the party composition like? Why are they running through everything? Make sure they're being honest with you (try to learn the system as fast as possible).

Throw traps and non-standard enemies at them. Archers, spellcasters, anything but your basic melee thug.


Paizo APs are designed for four players, with 15 pt buy.

I'm guessing you don't have that.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I would wait until you get into it to see how your players handle the challenges already set up before you make too many adjustments. That will probably also help you, as a GM, get your footing with running the game.

Keep in mind that an encounter doesn't necessarily have to be life-and-death challenging to be fun.

That said, if you're playing with more than 4 experienced players, you will almost certainly need to adjust some encounters. So so by increasing the number of opponents when you can. If you can increase encounters in the same proportion you have increased players, that's usually a good idea. If that's not enough, then bump their hit points up from about mean to 75% of max.

Sovereign Court

Rynjin wrote:

Bump either their HP or AC up by just a bit (so they don't get oneshotted by everything). Not both. Speaking from experience, both can be hell.

What's the party composition like? Why are they running through everything? Make sure they're being honest with you (try to learn the system as fast as possible).

Throw traps and non-standard enemies at them. Archers, spellcasters, anything but your basic melee thug.

Maybe running through is a tiny bit of an overstatement. None of the battles have been complete push overs for them, but they tend to be one sided.

A fighter/monk
Oracle of Life
Gunslinger
Bard(Arcane Duelist)
Paladin/Oracle

I've been working on traps. Then next session has them going up a tower to a boss fight. A boss that has been warned and has had minions set traps in several places up the rickety stairs leading to her lair.


Ah. The battles are supposed to be pretty one-sided. As long as they're not going "Lol." and ending combats in one round you're good. What is the saying, "The average combat lasts 3 rounds"? If they're lasting 2-4 rounds they're fine.

Maybe bump them up a little bit but every encounter isn't supposed to be punishingly difficult, just the last encounter of the day and boss fights.

Sovereign Court

rkraus2 wrote:

Paizo APs are designed for four players, with 15 pt buy.

I'm guessing you don't have that.

::head bowed, foot tracing circle in sand::

noooo

5-6 using epic fantasy.

The guy that ran previously had used the epic fantasy point buy, but he knew how to control it much better than I.

Sovereign Court

Rynjin wrote:

Ah. The battles are supposed to be pretty one-sided. As long as they're not going "Lol." and ending combats in one round you're good. What is the saying, "The average combat lasts 3 rounds"? If they're lasting 2-4 rounds they're fine.

Maybe bump them up a little bit but every encounter isn't supposed to be punishingly difficult, just the last encounter of the day and boss fights.

Okay, I don't feel so bad about that then. I just need to get them to change their approach and not just rush in and fight fight fight. I think the traps laid out might help with that.


Yeah... that party with EF point buy is not going to care about too much in ROTRL if they're playing well. If I was DMing in your place I would probably just start raising the difficulty of the challenges slightly (an extra two mooks here, an extra 25% hp there, better enemy gear, more well thought out tactics), and see where the PCs begin to struggle, then leave it at that level or dial it back a bit. I tend to come down more on the side of very challenging games, since in my experience the players tend to stay more involved and excited when each players every turn is needed to prevent everyone from dying horribly, but make sure your players are having a good time whatever you end up doing- some groups don't like that level of stress! :P

It's rough that your players know the rules more than you, but that doesn't mean they have any control over what you do. You have full universe control, and if you need to for the sake of the campaign you can always fudge some dice and inject controlled narrative into your battles. Some think this is unhealthy, but as long as you don't completely ignore your player's rolls or free will I've found it to be a great way to make things more challenging, cinematic, and memorable.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I usually adjust everything (number of monsters, AC, hp) because I GM for a 7-person group with a 20-point buy. Until you are comfortable doing all this on the fly, I would use Kyle Olson's Combat Manager and prepare the encounters in advance.

To preserve the intent of the Adventure Path, take the number of experience points that would have been awarded for an encounter and divide by 4. You need to create an encounter that gives that many points (roughly) to each person so multiply by the number of players you have.

You can make the encounters tougher by advancing the main monsters, which is easy to do from the monster tab in Combat Manager. You advance them and then click to add them to the encounter.

If an encounter has multiple monsters already, you need to increase the number by 1 or 2 so that everyone has something they can do in the battle.

Because you used an epic point-buy, you want to raise the CR of each battle by 1 or 2. This will be calculated for you in Combat Manager. Keep adding or adjusting monsters until you have the correct CR rating.

The one thing you don't want is for your PCs to get ahead of the experience point curve in the AP, so no matter how tough you make it, don't give more points than each member of a party of 4 would have earned for the CR in the original encounter. This keeps everything on track.

Anyway, this is how I would approach it. Good luck!


Quote:


Maybe running through is a tiny bit of an overstatement. None of the battles have been complete push overs for them, but they tend to be one sided.

A fighter/monk
Oracle of Life
Gunslinger
Bard(Arcane Duelist)
Paladin/Oracle

I've been working on traps. Then next session has them going up a tower to a boss fight. A boss that has been warned and has had minions set traps in several places up the rickety stairs leading to her lair.

On the tower heres some nasty traps:

- Assuming its a cylinder tower with loops stair cases make no handrail and worn edges on steps. Drop grease spells via traps on the stairs midway up. For fear fun mix magical darkness with it.
- Have pair of stairs missing that they have to cross with a rope. Have a rope from a spiked conveniently in place that breaks when # number of people cross or certain weight. "Oh mr bard cant feather fall for everyone? Yeaaah Wizards are nice"
- Put chests early on that are trapped with magical effects that are annoying and a time sink rather than deadly. Your fighter not scared of dmg cause of healing *poof you've been baleful polymorphed in a chicken.
- Make tile traps that crush when stepped on with a dull bear trap type target (low damage, tough to break free). Might be interesting to make a melee fight while tethered down such as this
- As they start working their way up have summmon nasties start closing in on them from behind coming up the stairs. No one likes to fight on a small space high up between monsters front and back.
- Once they get up a certain height has some of the levels starts to catch fire behind them. Easy to do by trap but can use some action from the party to make it their fault. As they go out the fire will endanger the steps behind them.
- Once at the top the BBEG can dimension door down to the bottom as they fight the minions either to get away or make then fight thier way back down while he preps.

Play to their one-dimensioness, weaknesses and cockiness:
- Lead them into double pincher maneuvers chasing a "retreating" scout party.
- Lead them into an area where they cant maneuver well while taking fire from archers with arrow slits or up difficult terrain.
- You don't have a rogue so traps and pits are going to be hard.
- You have alot of divine but no real arcane so put them where melee/guns arent ever effective and the healing will dry up fast.
- Make them fight something with reach and either difficult terrain or lesser allies to make them deal with reach.
- Send flying creatures at them to make them go "hmm some offensive spells or fast ranged attacks would have been nice"
- Make their divines wish they hadnt given up true cleric for oracles. "oh you dont have restoration on your list? That sucks"
- Hit them with dispel magics in surprise round to make them prepare better
- Because they have very little arcane have a situation when they have to face incorporeal/ethereal or have rogues steal their gear.
- Because of rogue talents, evasion, uncanny dodge, good saves, and mobility a well built rogue with some potions and minor items makes a nasty BBEG.
- Put your caster BBEG in a place you would be in if you were them facing a party of badasses. Would you hide behind your minions in a cramped space or cast from a balcony where the staircase comes form another room with a floor full of nasties making it hard to get around.
- Golems are great due to DR, magic resists, immune to alot of class powers.
- Undead might seem to be easy to divine casters and paladins but make them blow their load on what seems like the main challenge in a dungeon crawl only to trigger some nastier undead by a trap ("oh right no one needs a rogue to disarm traps") such a mummies, wights, vampires, whatever.

- Lastly sometimes throw them a softball, sometimes they are supposed to spank the challenge. Sometimes the BBEG doesnt notice the paladin in the back when he summons up Ye'O'Demon to do his bidding. It should be fun but challenging. Some fights should be risky and make the players think out side the box.


You have one big advantage as a GM - you get to control the terrain. Use difficult terrain when they're fighting archers. Use 10-foot-wide corridors when they're fighting someone who knows Create Pit. Use high ground. Force the party to crawl through a narrow passageway, and ambush them when half of them have gotten through. Use wall spells to separate the party during combat.

Also, make sure you're using smart tactics. A readied action to fire when the PCs start casting a spell can do wonders.


Lots of great advice so far!

I also suggest playing the intelligence of the creature(s) to the hilt. Big dumb giant? Straight charge, no tactics. Highly intelligent with intelligent minions? They use tactics. Lots of them. (Target spellcasters with missile weapons. (BTW: Can you disrupt casting in Pathfinder?) Use area effect attacks on fighters. Etc.

Grayfeather mentioned other tactical ideas as well.

Sovereign Court

Harry Canyon wrote:

Lots of great advice so far!

I also suggest playing the intelligence of the creature(s) to the hilt. Big dumb giant? Straight charge, no tactics. Highly intelligent with intelligent minions? They use tactics. Lots of them. (Target spellcasters with missile weapons. (BTW: Can you disrupt casting in Pathfinder?) Use area effect attacks on fighters. Etc.

Grayfeather mentioned other tactical ideas as well.

YES, awesome advice so far. I can't wait for Saturday.


Harry Canyon wrote:

Lots of great advice so far!

I also suggest playing the intelligence of the creature(s) to the hilt. Big dumb giant? Straight charge, no tactics. Highly intelligent with intelligent minions? They use tactics. Lots of them. (Target spellcasters with missile weapons. (BTW: Can you disrupt casting in Pathfinder?) Use area effect attacks on fighters. Etc.

Grayfeather mentioned other tactical ideas as well.

Indeed you can disrupt spell casting :) From RAW:

Distracting Spellcasters

You can ready an attack against a spellcaster with the trigger "if she starts casting a spell." If you damage the spellcaster, she may lose the spell she was trying to cast (as determined by her Spellcraft check result).

- On AEing fighters I would instead drop Will save or sucks on them, particularly Charm/dominate line and turn them on the party casters. Literally this is almost as bad as it gets for your type party. Only thing worst is you charm the oracles and start having them start healing the BBEG or doing hold/charm/summoning on the party. You kind of have to watch this, because you can kill the party very quickly.

Fun harmless traps: Also another thing thats just fun as hell is make really scary traps that are largely harmless time sinks.
- Have a Create Pit trap start filling with water while the party members start stripping off their armor to keep from drowning.
- Have a black tentacles trap them while illusionary 10'x10x10' blocks from the ceiling start falling around them and sliding slowly down from above.
- Have an illusion of an adamantine golem (or more) come out from somewhere and slowly corner them while they panic
- Have a cursed item as soon as you walk in they cant help but pickup. "Wow an adamantine greatsword with a strong aura". When they pick it up it has to be drench in a cure potion each wrong or cry loudly like a baby. ;)
- Have them need a key for some door they cant pass with stone shape, knock, dimension door etc, that the key is clearly in the open on the bottom floor but its massive and require shrink item or alot of struggling and trouble to take it to the top while fighting. "wow we have the key for this door but its a 6 foot long, 2 ton brass pain in the ass and we have to take it up the 200 ft of brittle stairs".
- Have a false floor where as they put weight on the stairs by pullies they cant reach in the wall it continues to raise the floor. If they push on the floor gets raised higher than the stairs will go. They have to figure a way to either put very little weight going up or find a way around it.

RP challenges:
- Make it so for them to get something they need the paladin, oracles, etc have to skate their moral code/religious beliefs vs close if not slightly over the line where they sweat it.
- Give them a nice piece of equipment that they can all use that they have to fight for that only works for a few weeks before the magic is used up.
- Give them something so valuable they can't move it and have to choose to take only a small part. "you find a workshop with a stack of adamantine ingots 2.5'x'2.5'x5'. However there is some magic on them that is preventing shrinking or dimensional travel".
- Let them find massive amount of loot that don't have time to get and cant come back to, giving them a round or so to grab something small. "as the BBEG lair crumbs into a massive lava fill chasm as the evil unbinds from its walls you run past a room of unimaginable treasure, with gold and platinum piled as tall as yourself 50 yards wide with random swords, helms, staves, spellbooks, rods, all about. Just as you see it the room splits and its starts to pour into the hungry maul of the chasm, you have time to 5 seconds to tell me what type of item you would like to grab"

Just a start, hope this all helped. :)

Sovereign Court

Grayfeather wrote:
charm the oracles and start having them start healing the BBEG

OMG LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!!!

You're my new favorites person in the whole world XD


DonKeebals wrote:
Grayfeather wrote:
charm the oracles and start having them start healing the BBEG

OMG LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!!!

You're my new favorites person in the whole world XD

Glad you like it Don. Because BBEGs can have the CR to have better DCs they can stick alot of stuff thats hard to work around. I typically have a BBEG Charm, Hold, Fear, 75% of the party to drag the fight out for 12 to 15 rounds, usually draining alot of the party spells and making think. Stacking slow and/or confusion on the melees really is a wake-up call that they need to be less cocky and work closely with their debuffers, have respect of arcane, and that it doesn't take much to trump a melee. Have your caster BBEG us quicken all the time and lots of metamagic for the non-quickened. Charm person not scary? How about a 7th level heightened, persistent charm person? muhahaha! Another trick i really like is BBEG with contingency teleport setup for a getaway to fight another day. Not only does it add tension and paranoia but it makes it so the treasure doesn't pile up.

Can you reply back how the things go over the next couple of sessions. Interesting to see how this goes, I bet you and them have alot more fun with the challenges.


Again new to Pathfinder... :-) What does BBEG stand for?

Thanks!


Not sure, but perhaps Big Bad Evil Guy?

Sovereign Court

Juke wrote:

Not sure, but perhaps Big Bad Evil Guy?

That's what I thought too.


DonKeebals wrote:
Juke wrote:

Not sure, but perhaps Big Bad Evil Guy?

That's what I thought too.

Ah! Thanks. (Not even a Pathfinder reference. :-D)

Sovereign Court

Okay, things went pretty well. No one died (from the party) and I think it was a bit more challenging. Hopefully there will be less thinking with weapons in the future.

The stairs leading up the tower required that they be spaced out at least 10' from one another since they were very unstable. This assured no charging or flanking. I used the falling bell trap that the AP called for and added a summon monster trap. I used a large air elemental. It can fly and has reach so it could stay just out of their range and still attack them. It could also suck up a PC in it's whirlwind attack, take them to the center of the tower, and drop them. Luckily for them I decided ahead of time how many rounds before it did that and it didn't make it that far.

When they encountered the BBEG, I had silence cast where they arrive so there would be no casting their first round. I set off a fireball and had 2 archers ready for when they moved to leave the silenced area. The fighter-monk rushed one archer and knocked him off the roof. The gunslinger nailed the BBEG hard and knocker her down to 11hp so she jumps. Both of them had potions of fly. The archer comes back up and BBEG takes off for healing. I kept her gone for 2-3 rounds so the group and archers could square off.

BBEG comes back and stays just out of range. First she hit with deep slumber, a fireball again, then she tries to charm PCs.

Someone was able to hit her and knock her down to 20hp and at that point I decided that she will leave to fight another day.

All in all, they had a tough battle that they couldn't trip their way out of and the gunslinger couldn't hit using ranged touch.

I wanted the BBEG to try and salvage her operational area and try to use the PCs to do her dirty work, so no spamming of fireballs or collapsing of the tower.

The next session is going to be very trap laden and they have no rogues. I might not have much to change in that game.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Bravo! Don, sounds like you're doing fine.

The key to GMing for experienced players is planning. You've played with these players before, so you should be familiar with their typical tactics. Take these into account when you design your major encounters, and you should have some memorable sessions!


DonKeebals wrote:

Okay, things went pretty well. No one died (from the party) and I think it was a bit more challenging. Hopefully there will be less thinking with weapons in the future.

The stairs leading up the tower required that they be spaced out at least 10' from one another since they were very unstable. This assured no charging or flanking. I used the falling bell trap that the AP called for and added a summon monster trap. I used a large air elemental. It can fly and has reach so it could stay just out of their range and still attack them. It could also suck up a PC in it's whirlwind attack, take them to the center of the tower, and drop them. Luckily for them I decided ahead of time how many rounds before it did that and it didn't make it that far.

When they encountered the BBEG, I had silence cast where they arrive so there would be no casting their first round. I set off a fireball and had 2 archers ready for when they moved to leave the silenced area. The fighter-monk rushed one archer and knocked him off the roof. The gunslinger nailed the BBEG hard and knocker her down to 11hp so she jumps. Both of them had potions of fly. The archer comes back up and BBEG takes off for healing. I kept her gone for 2-3 rounds so the group and archers could square off.

BBEG comes back and stays just out of range. First she hit with deep slumber, a fireball again, then she tries to charm PCs.

Someone was able to hit her and knock her down to 20hp and at that point I decided that she will leave to fight another day.

All in all, they had a tough battle that they couldn't trip their way out of and the gunslinger couldn't hit using ranged touch.

I wanted the BBEG to try and salvage her operational area and try to use the PCs to do her dirty work, so no spamming of fireballs or collapsing of the tower.

The next session is going to be very trap laden and they have no rogues. I might not have much to change in that game.

Sounds like it went well. The players seem to be outside their auto-win zone. They should get more fights than not where they cant get to the BBEG directly. Think about it, if you're a respectable wizard are you going to let anyone get near you? They should have security like a head of state. Even if its trash monsters they should have guys out there to eat rounds and movement control.

There should be some moments the players look at each other like "are we going to make it out of this?". I would have pressed harder with the heals and ranged soft attacks (like charm, holds, etc). I refrain from direct dmg spells cause those are either you muscle through it or you get unlucky so youre dead. Better to do something that splits the parties strenghs so either that haves to go outside their comfort zone or lose.

Even then let them out easy, ust killing one or two or just lock the party down where they can't fight. Just cause a BBEG CAN kill you doesn't me he will every time. one of my favorite times as a player was being outsmarted by a wizard with blink that ended up hold personing the entire group then summoning several nasties only to say "dont hurt them, just lick them awhile so they get the point". We got the point, we weren't ready for that BBEG,.. yet.

Sometimes even bad guys respect a good fight or plain just like to play with their food. You shouldn't be afraid to throw things at them they're just boned on that done kill them to say "See, you weren't thinking ahead". I'd always throw some class specifics at them, like someone animating the gunslingers rifle against him or the BBEGs apprentices chain Heat Metal on the fighter or clerics weapons/armor/shield. The Create Pit spell is also great for putting the party in stress without lowering hitpoints.

Another thing is getting caught in the middle of a three way fight. All the plans are great til BBEG2 tracks you on the way to BBEG1. Nothing like fighting two types of fights at once or things going south only to be relieved to see BBEG2 land a crit on BBEG1. It makes for a crazy "how the #&@! did we just pull that off?" session that players love.

Anyway the trap session dont get too bogged down on traps that they're miserable. Some traps early on should be non-lethal like a jet of itching powder and get more advanced and lethal. Most should be deaddrops and such that are time/spell wasters.

Sovereign Court

Last session didn't go as planned, but went pretty well. The party discovered a hunted animal companion that led them back to where it's master lay imprisoned. They made quick work of the one encounter on the farm property and then looked to the two buildings that stood on it. The barn was first. There they encountered 3 worthless ogrekin and a really big bug. They decide that they need rest after all the spell tossing and fighting. Too bad they decided to rest in the BBEG's barn. "Does someone smell smoke?"

Unfortunately for the bad guys, my dice sucked Saturday. A few failed will saves and the rest of the crew dropped hard. No biggie, sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes the bug. The best part happened when they decided to explore the house instead of rest. Two traps go off and they are now hurt and moving e v e r s o s l o w l y. Checking EVERYTHING for traps and not a rogue among them.

That part made my day. Having them work for every step and not blaze through it really helped make it a good game.


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This I can help with. First off, start using adventures that none of the players are familiar with. Me, I've been using the old Dungeon Crawl Classics from pdf files.

Yes, you need the 3 Bestiaries and the Gamemastery Guide to retrofit them, but they are written with tactical advice often included. This is a major deal to a new DM!

Second, because you are learning the system, my suggestion to you is to limit which Pathfinder material is allowed in. For me, I would stick to the core book and perhaps the APG (minus the Summoner, as it creates fundamental problems).

A really vicious pair of adventures to start out with I suggest the two DCC Rat King modules. The first one will lure them into a bit of complacency, and the second basically kicks their butts. Very humbling to realize that when the enemy knows you are coming, you are screwed.

Done properly, dungeoncrawling will teach players to build defensively instead of obsessing over offense and funky feat combos. A PC should be built in response to the campaign, NOT have a prewritten "super combination" of feats etc that are pointless apart from each other.

Dungeons have a rep in fantasy rpgs as being vicious, lethal, and generally evil places, despite their high treasure content. There are good reasons for that. If my players find out that I have a evil grin on my face, they get nervous.


DonKeebals wrote:

The best part happened when they decided to explore the house instead of rest. Two traps go off and they are now hurt and moving e v e r s o s l o w l y. Checking EVERYTHING for traps and not a rogue among them.

That part made my day. Having them work for every step and not blaze through it really helped make it a good game.

I am so glad someone out there still finds use for the venerable Rogue! There's an entire thread here where they are dissing the class.


DonKeebals wrote:

Last session didn't go as planned, but went pretty well. The party discovered a hunted animal companion that led them back to where it's master lay imprisoned. They made quick work of the one encounter on the farm property and then looked to the two buildings that stood on it. The barn was first. There they encountered 3 worthless ogrekin and a really big bug. They decide that they need rest after all the spell tossing and fighting. Too bad they decided to rest in the BBEG's barn. "Does someone smell smoke?"

Unfortunately for the bad guys, my dice sucked Saturday. A few failed will saves and the rest of the crew dropped hard. No biggie, sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes the bug. The best part happened when they decided to explore the house instead of rest. Two traps go off and they are now hurt and moving e v e r s o s l o w l y. Checking EVERYTHING for traps and not a rogue among them.

That part made my day. Having them work for every step and not blaze through it really helped make it a good game.

Keebals one point I would make is that I think you're making mobility to cheap. Make them cross bridges in bad repair, muddy marshes while taking arrows or flying attacks, give them trails that even with survival make tracks/trails ambiguous. Make them work not just in combat but to burn spells getting to combat. Also its fun to throw a sudo-BBEG at them letting them burn spells/HPs only to reveal the true BBEG while their giving high fives and looting, more so if the sudo-BBEG led them into a nasty situation like chasing to a far point so the real BBEG is far away.

Also I think I gave you the impression all BBEG should casters. Rogues also make good BBEGS due to slippy mind, improved evasion, hide in plain site, UMD to setup nasty buffs, traps, and illusions. A high lvl BBEG rogue with even low level wands to setup shield, mirror image, blur, and expeditious retreat for example is quite nasty let alone some of the crazy offense buffs under paladin/magus/ranger lists.

Also assassins as NPCS are terrifying. Not only can they death attack you and flee (boots of flying are only thought but any teleport, dim door item too) but they can make it very very hard to res someone. Drop this on the better of your two ressers for a stunned party. Hard for players to get cocky when they're worried about the BBEG in the front and an assassin returning to one shot them again.

Sovereign Court

Okay, I am a little worried about this coming up game. The group was sent to investigate why a fort has not responded to contact attempts and was side tracked only to find survivors of the fort. They have been informed that the fort is overrun by a clan of ogres. If the group can pull out and tackle a few at a time I have no doubt that they will be successful in reclaiming this place. But we are talking about 40 ogres and some are NASTY.

The thing is, they aren't the nastiest thing there and they all know that the party is heading that way thanks to the escape of the BBEG from the tower in Magnimar.

If they aren't VERY CAREFUL, this weekend could result in my first TPK.


Find some way to subtly warn them that <Insert Admiral Ackbar Here>?


DonKeebals wrote:

Okay, I am a little worried about this coming up game. The group was sent to investigate why a fort has not responded to contact attempts and was side tracked only to find survivors of the fort. They have been informed that the fort is overrun by a clan of ogres. If the group can pull out and tackle a few at a time I have no doubt that they will be successful in reclaiming this place. But we are talking about 40 ogres and some are NASTY.

The thing is, they aren't the nastiest thing there and they all know that the party is heading that way thanks to the escape of the BBEG from the tower in Magnimar.

If they aren't VERY CAREFUL, this weekend could result in my first TPK.

Well you cant adjust CR of the encounter on how stupid a party might act, theres no way to know.

You could spread the Ogres out, some alerted at different times, that come out in streams. Maybe reduce the number of ogres (40 is alot, even once they become trivial but there in a defensive structure, ouch) and maybe make it a handful of Ogre mages.

A fun twist is maybe theres only a few ogres when they get there and they're beat up, many dead ogres already on the ground. Party high fives, starts looting only to see the ogres that were already on the ground sit up and start to rise to fight. BBEG makes an appearance from the rear for a classic "muhahaha! come further if you dare!" moment then disappears. This way the party is exhausted but lives to rest up and think about how they want to proceed.


DonKeebals wrote:
... Okay, I don't feel so bad about that then. I just need to get them to change their approach and not just rush in and fight fight fight. I think the traps laid out might help with that.

One of the best things here is to make it so they can't just always kill everyone and win.

Maybe every third hobgoblin has a chained hostage in front of him.
Possibly one of the lizardfolk lieutenants is really an agent of the king in a magic disguise.
Then again it could be that the Duke wants a military alliance with these people eventually (if the PC's kill to many, the will be too weak for a useful alliance).
A mob riot is confusing. What if the PC's are supposed to keep the peace so the mine stays in operation. But when they get there, the riot is already in full swing. how do they tell who is the good guys and who is the bad guys. Who started it and who is the victim. If they just kill everyone, there are no mine workers.
The PC's specific goals may have little to do with the direct outcome of the fight. The PC's are PART of the forces sent by the Baron. They are highered by the Baron's Ex-Wife to make sure Ensign Wazer (the Baron's nephew) survives but looks like an idiot and or coward. But Master Searjant Whozits is supposed to die heroically.

Don't do these too often, but occaisionally they give them something else to figure out how to manage.


Sigh. It's simple. Let them do whatever they want, but be sure you forewarn them that doing stupid crap like rushing one's opponents when said opponents are vastly outnumbering them is stupid.

Let them think they can act like idiot videogame rpg characters. Seriously. Then spank them hard. After the TPK, inform them that they could have handled it any number of ways, you could even make a list. This is why the only videogames I play are strategy and survival horror, because neither pulls its punches. And it's why I laugh my butt off every time someone online calls himself a "gamer".

I got no pity for raw stupidity, especially when it's BULLHEADED stupidity. Teach your players some respect for the game. This is no mindless shoot em up. This is old school dungeon crawling; it WILL kick your butt if you don't pay attention. Back each other up, and whenever possible, MAKE A PLAN AND STICK TO IT. You don't just go rushing off and do whatever! As DM, I have a rep for giving people enough rope to hang themselves, and then kicking back and watching them do it. When they accuse me of cheating, I simply show them my adventure notes (really easy when you use published adventures or detailed notes) and ask them if they could have done something better.

Did you know that even in the US military, they still tell you NOT to go all John Wayne? That you can't expect to be invulnerable, no matter how big your guns are?

S'truth, I swear.

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