New group: the honeymoon's over, need some advice


Advice


1 person marked this as a favorite.

So, my players have stated that they aren't overly tactical and for 8 gaming sessions now (1/mo) we've had mostly small and very personal adventures with as many RP encounters as tactical. I (the GM) have been hankering for a good old fashioned dugeon hack. I talked with the players, they tenatively signed on, and I planned a homebrew megadungeon. Now their one stipulation was that I leave the opportunity for some RP and I agreed.

Now when they'd come by the dungeon earlier in the game I alluded to there being a wolf in sheep's clothing at the entrance, so I left it in but toned it down to CR 7. Now just inside I added an area haunted by a ghost and I used the standard one from the bestiary (also CR 7).

Here's where the game went sour.

Party gets to the dungeon which is warded so that evil can't get in or out. At the entry they start to walk in, triggering the Wolf. Combat ensues; they use a lot of resources from a distance and take it out; party is fine/no permanent damage or HP loss. But then they enter, look around, and trigger the ghost.

So they've already sacrificed a lot of resources just to walk in the door. Now the ghost appears. The creature uses it's mournful cry and sends an animal companion and an NPC packing. By random roll the small cat runs deeper into the dungeon to get eaten and the NPC pinballs through the hall and eventually makes it out the front door.

The rest of the party lines up to fight the ghost. They have a ghostbane dirge spell, several magical weapons, they feel they're ready. The combat begins and the engaged creature deals 23 points of damage to a PC. Bear in mind the APL is 4.

The party deals some damage and then the creature spends the entire next round casting off it's funerary veil, fighting some inner battle for control of itself, and not fighting the party at all. They continue the fight and lose more HPs; eventually they flee altogether.

I wrapped the game at the end of the night everyone went home, and then today I responded to multiple angry emails crying foul over 2 tough fights back to back, having to flee, not liking being tactical and losing the animal companion after waiting 4 levels for it. Now the animal companion loss and the difficulty of the fights I apologized for, but the angry emails kept coming.

I need to know what I should've done differently so I don't make the same mistake again. Through email I've already talked to the players and they seem to hit on 2 points - more diverse fight CRs which I'm definitely willing to do but the other one is...more chance for other options.

Now...other options? The ghost never had them cornered, it attempted its fear attack twice rather than only dealing damage AND it glitched for a full round and attempted to engage them in conversation. How many other "options" should I have given? I have a couple ideas for RP solutions deeper in the dungeon and the ghost has a set area (the party hasn't discovered this yet) but I'd be willing to entertain just about ANY idea to deal with the thing. I also warned them this level of the dungeon was haunted by a ghost through an NPC they talked to JUST before their first outing.

I don't understand: I talked to them about a plan for a dungeon hack and that I'd just let the dice fall where they may. I warned them about the ghost. Heck; the NPC warning them spent an hour of RL time trying to convince the party NOT to go and detailing that the surface ruins level alone contained a ghost, aberrations and creatures of the Shadow Plane. What should I have done?


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Mark Hoover wrote:
What should I have done?

Besides not have a party that isn't "overly tactical" fight two APL+3 (Epic) encounters back to back?


Ha! The little children need to grasp, that you don't always win easily, and sometimes you lose and sensibly have to rout.

You did nothing wrong pal. They come back for the quest or they quit it, a stain on their future tales of heroic deeds.


Bearded Ben wrote:
Mark Hoover wrote:
What should I have done?
Besides not have a party that isn't "overly tactical" fight two APL+3 (Epic) encounters back to back?

Yes BB, ASIDE from that. (sighs audibly) I know that was dumb; knew it after the first round where it actually dealt damage. Should I have had the ghost run away when it glitched, to lure them deeper into the dungeon? They'd used so many resources they would've had to have fled anyway.

I don't want to be the killer GM. I do however want the players to begin to get a sense that not everything is a. killable and b. equal to APL.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I wouldn't be too quick to run back in there either if the first two fights seemed incredibly difficult. It's the impression that you've stumbled into the Dungeon Entrance for a Higher Level Party. "Excuse me, but where's the Dungeon Entrance for Level 4 groups?"

If you're trying to show them the joys of dungeon hacking, start slowly, with softball fights, before giving them a epic.


Two Cr 7 encounters back to back and you wonder what went wrong? Sounds you and your group want two different types of games, you want hack and slash and they want something more along the lines of political intrigue. I would suggest.finding a new group and they find a new Dm.

Edit: slow phone. ninjad by three posts...


Whoa there. I do not want hack n slash and have worked my butt off for an engaging and multi layered plot. I've also presented tough fights before that the party's talked their way out of:

1. Level 1 they encountered a patrol of hostile dwarven soldiers (CR 4 encounter) that they used diplomacy to reduce their mood all the way down to friendly and got an armed escort into the next town; they're now heroes there.

2. Level 2 they encountered a full pack of wild dogs in the midst of thick fog (CR 4 encounter) and used Entangle Handle Animal and Intimidate to drive the things off

3. Level 3 they came across a fey garden filled with angry leshys that they had to pass through in order to cross a bridge protected by a topiary guardian (CR 5 encounter). The use of Knowledge and Diplomacy skills calms the leshys enough to earn the party a side quest which, when successfuly completed gets them passage AND an NPC boon.

I GET IT that the primary problem was the 2 big bads, back to back. I didn't want a hack n slash. Since I DIDN'T want that, but if I DID want the ghost there, right next to the "Wolf", should I have used different tactics, given stronger clues, or what?

Per the examples above plus other situations, I guess I just took it for granted that, when the thing stopped to talk to the party, they'd respond in kind. When they took that opportunity to dog pile the thing, I feel like that was the tipping point at which I should've changed tactics but I didn't.


Mark Hoover wrote:
I don't want to be the killer GM. I do however want the players to begin to get a sense that not everything is a. killable and b. equal to APL.

These are contradictory goals. You cannot put people in front of things that have a serious chance to kill them without them sometimes killing them. Unless they're bestiary experts they cannot know something is a real danger until they've fought it for a round, and then they need to actually disengage and escape. Even things that aren't supposed to be threats can kill PCs in two rounds if the dice fall badly.

The players you've described probably will not enjoy megadungeon-style play. Nor will they likely enjoy the gotchas of unkillable opponents or opponents outside the CR guidelines.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Mark Hoover wrote:

Whoa there. I do not want hack n slash and have worked my butt off for an engaging and multi layered plot. I've also presented tough fights before that the party's talked their way out of:

1. Level 1 they encountered a patrol of hostile dwarven soldiers (CR 4 encounter) that they used diplomacy to reduce their mood all the way down to friendly and got an armed escort into the next town; they're now heroes there.

2. Level 2 they encountered a full pack of wild dogs in the midst of thick fog (CR 4 encounter) and used Entangle Handle Animal and Intimidate to drive the things off

3. Level 3 they came across a fey garden filled with angry leshys that they had to pass through in order to cross a bridge protected by a topiary guardian (CR 5 encounter). The use of Knowledge and Diplomacy skills calms the leshys enough to earn the party a side quest which, when successfuly completed gets them passage AND an NPC boon.

I GET IT that the primary problem was the 2 big bads, back to back. I didn't want a hack n slash. Since I DIDN'T want that, but if I DID want the ghost there, right next to the "Wolf", should I have used different tactics, given stronger clues, or what?

Per the examples above plus other situations, I guess I just took it for granted that, when the thing stopped to talk to the party, they'd respond in kind. When they took that opportunity to dog pile the thing, I feel like that was the tipping point at which I should've changed tactics but I didn't.

It sounds like the group just got too cocky and then found out wait... we can die? *background* my kitty! noooooo spot don't! *sound of spot being mauled* ... s-spot?... *ranger starts crying*

A mountain that eats people... I want one... -Richard LFG


I'm kind of wondering how you figured two CR 7 fights for apl 4 would lead to anything but a lopsided struggle.

Secondly, while you say they aren't "tactical", their previous handlings of things sound pretty tactical to me. Next time they're going up against the CR 7 encounter, maybe when you realize they're in over their heads, a ghostbuster NPC comes by, drops some buffs on them, hammers a debuff on the ghost, and helps them out before warning them of what else lies beyond.

Maybe the Ghost had an adventurer friend who he was waiting for, and said friend happens to come through the door while they're fighting. The adventurer NPC steps in and can be persuaded to help the party out, there by resolving the CR 7 encounter and allowing them their RP stuff. They befriend the ghost, and as they progress through the dungeon crawl, sometimes the ghost pops up and helps them out or parlays with creatures deeper inside to allow them that sense of social intrigue while still getting the dungeon crawl.

But next time, phase them in. Sounds like you're taking hoitty toitty adventurers who's idea of risk is offending the queen and tossing them into a meat grinder. No wonder they're a bit shellshocked.


This is old, really old. It is simply the case of not going in the front, do not walk into the nastiest of guardians. Go around, go the safer and more interesting route that the dm intended.

Kind of like going up a side of a building from an alleyway, instead of walking up to the front door and head-butting one of the many guards in the face.

As for email complaints, wonderful isn't it? People can bi**h and snivel from the safety of their own homes, and not have to listen to the dm.

Sovereign Court

Hey Mark how are you? I'm not going to dog pile on you like everyone else. Well except the "By random roll the small cat runs deeper into the dungeon to get eaten" that was really weak. Any how, I am noticing a pattern of "My players want A, I want B, so I decided to try C and it failed" postings. Maybe you can fill us in some more. How long has your gaming group been together? Are you sure they signed off on a "let the dice fall where they may" and didn't just sign up to game?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Mark, first I'd just like to commiserate. Last Friday I took my long-time group into a pretty tough encounter that actually took all night (three hours basically). The party tank, a super high AC paladin, was pretty much out of commission for most of the fight, due to being attacked, grappled and carried away by a flying giant snake. The opposing spellcaster walled off part of the party and they had to climb over the wall to enter the fight, delaying them for two to three rounds. The party sorcerer was blinded for three rounds and the party rogue was paralyzed for two.

In the end they narrowly won the fight, chased off the remaining combatants and managed to rescue the paladin and heal the bard before he bled out.

I didn't get any angry emails, but I did get one from our other group GM who said "I don't think any of us were expecting a major boss fight at a random place in the caverns."

So I've been thinking about that. Frankly I put the boss fight in at that point for two reasons, one plot based and the other just to test the party before the REAL boss fight that is coming up. I considered this to be a sort of junior boss fight, and since they didn't kill the junior boss, they'll have to deal with him in the next fight too.

One of the things that I run into more and more these days is players expecting a standard APL progression series of fights.

My issue is very specifically that I don't want to be predictable. I want the party to always be wary of a sudden encounter that will push them to the limit. But I don't want to irritate them either.

It's a fine line. I'm not sure how well I walked it myself this last gaming session.

However much they may have been frustrated by the unexpected encounter, I do believe that they will be far more cautious in the future. They basically just blindly blundered into this encounter in large part because they hadn't seen anything telegraphing a major encounter coming up.

In your case I think one issue might just be the whole ghost angle. Ghosts tend to engender fear in parties in excess of the threat the ghost usually presents. Had you presented the party with some other CR 7 encounter, maybe some ogres or something they could just beat down, I suspect the reaction would have been much different.

Anyway, if nothing else, your gaming group should have learned to be on their toes. That's not entirely a bad thing.


Okay, so they're not tactical... sounds like they're saying they don't really want a challenge that could result in death. Give us puzzles and roleplay so that we can continue to advance our characters.

This seems like a difference in goals. Why RPG? Some, to take risks which lead to greater glory or death. Others, just to hang out and interact. Try to figure out which your players are.


@ Pan and others: gaming group's been together for seven months, playing once every 4 weeks. One player just joined 2 sessions ago. Before this game none of us knew one another, except for one guy from a previous campaign before this one.

From what I know of these players: they are all RP types except the one I knew from way back before. That means that 3 of the 4 prefer roughly a 50/50 mix of fighting to non-fighting scenes. However when I proposed a dungeon hack to them they all said they were down.

Now, only AFTER this first, disasterous start did I come to realize: 1 of the 3 RP players has NEVER played an adventure with bigger than a 5-10 room, small-scale dungeon. Another hasn't done a full-on dungeon hack in over a decade.

Now while I didn't want to treat them with kid gloves, in hindsight I DO realize and fully admit that, if I'd wanted them to RP a little with the ghost, I shouldn't have had the creature manifest and immediately wail. Perhaps have it manifest above them and be murmuring something as it did so. Then they might have tried talking to it and only THEN, if they failed some kind of Diplomacy to mollify the thing; THEN it should've descended to attack, or some other sort of delay.

On the other hand it is is true that I set up 2 tough fights for JUST that reason - to test their readiness for this dungeon. Granted, I could've just put them through the paces of 4 puff fights then a CR 6, but that wasn't what I chose. I'll have to deal with the math and the fallout now indefinitely.

One good thing though: in the course of all the angry email chains I got one player DID in fact begin plotting out tactics. Once he did they all suddenly realized that they'd had the power to defeat the ghost all along and just got caught off guard. "We'll still try to RP the scene with it if we can, but if that doesn't work now we'll be ready for her!"

I feel bad for not fudging the random path of the cat though, I really do. I should've just sent it out the door, not rolled face up. Sorry to the universe on that one...


1 person marked this as a favorite.

What level are they? How old are the players?

Also, has anyone looked over your homebrewed dungeon. What you might be wanting to do and what should actually be done for the character level might be two different things.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

1 person marked this as a favorite.

In defense of you:
Sometimes players need to learn it's okay to run away. A lot of times players equate "running away" with "losing." And while maybe in this fight it felt like they did, it's actually a good lesson to teach that you don't have to fight everything to the death (many TPKs occur when PCs don't realize a tactical withdrawal is in order).

Tell them sometimes this is okay, and I would even give them some XP for enduring the encounter--not as much as if they found a way to defeat it, but it was a learning experience and that should be reflected. I would suggest in a future tough fight, if they run away, actually make it worth their while somehow--doubling back causes them to run into an ally, find something they didn't notice before. They shouldn't get MORE out of a fight by running than fighting necessarily, but it's good to realize that fighting to the death isn't the only way to "win."

It is a hard balance to find. My struggle with the last group I ran is that despite their having near godlike power (it was a high level campaign) they frequently refused to take risks regarding things they could have easily dealt with (and missed out on experience, treasure, and story rewards because of it).

In defense of the players:
You've already acknowledged this, but I wouldn't have let the animal companion get killed--especially if it was just "earned," as it were. I'd try to go out of your way to make sure the player gets a new one quickly (fudging rules if needed). I might have even made it hard for them to get it back--have it run in a random direction, sure, just don't let it get killed while there's nothing they could do about it.

An animal companion is a viable target but if he just got it I can understand why that really smarts. Also again it's about making sure the PC had a chance to protect the animal companion which it sounds like he didn't.

Good luck, it actually sounds like an interesting campaign, it just sometimes (perhaps always) does take some work to smooth out the wrinkles. :)


As awesome as you made it and as much time as you put into it, you put something together for a group that didn't necessarily want it. You put together an awesome dungeon hack for a group that doesn't really want to do dungeon hacks.

If you're hankering for that kind of run/campaign/game/session, it might be worth finding another outlet for it. Maybe an online group, a convention game, an alternate LGS group, etc.

You can keep moving forward with this group and putting them in this dungeon hack, but it's going to get adversarial, Mark. Even if they embrace it, they're embracing it in order to stick it to you by crushing your scenario, not to have fun and enjoy what you've created for them and for your own thematic enjoyment.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

As for the ghost that's already there - you could try this:
When the party sees it again, RP it out so that the ghost now reacts differently to them because they haven't been "scared away" from the first encounter (even though, ironically, they actually were). Now the ghost isn't as set on destroying them, but following them? Of course, you have to watch out - when it's obvious that you're holding back on a creatures abilities due to previous trouble, it can seem patronizing or insulting.


For the non-tactical groups, implement Hero Points.

With this, you can grant them points for deeds or other types of actions, and if a player needs to Deus Ex Machina his character, you can charge for it.

It works extremely well for my group, who thinks the best character to lead is the full-plate fighter, instead of the high-reflex Ninja who can disable traps.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Lamontius wrote:


As awesome as you made it and as much time as you put into it, you put something together for a group that didn't necessarily want it. You put together an awesome dungeon hack for a group that doesn't really want to do dungeon hacks.

If you're hankering for that kind of run/campaign/game/session, it might be worth finding another outlet for it. Maybe an online group, a convention game, an alternate LGS group, etc.

You can keep moving forward with this group and putting them in this dungeon hack, but it's going to get adversarial, Mark. Even if they embrace it, they're embracing it in order to stick it to you by crushing your scenario, not to have fun and enjoy what you've created for them and for your own thematic enjoyment.

This is also a good point.

I had the opposite problem once. I ran a game, describing it up front as a city-based intrigue game. The majority of players created combat-oriented characters who refused to do any investigation or interaction even when I threw the opportunities to do so in their faces, and even most of the more social oriented characters didn't do much investigation either (I had one rogue and one paladin who did most of the intrigue and investigation, while everyone else sat back and watched). Every time the party "woke up" to do anything, it was when I gave them a direct mission to go somewhere, fight something, take its loot, and come back. So I turned the game into a dungeon crawl, and everyone managed much better (what's funny is I have one player from that group who insists to this day she hates dungeon crawls and prefers RP oriented intrigue games, and yet I've only ever seen her thrive in dungeon crawls, and she was one of the people who by far "waited for a mission" more than sought one out in that game).

While I initially didn't want to run a dungeon crawl, running something that met and fed player expectations ultimately kept me from being frustrated, and I had plenty of ideas for dungeon crawling to go around.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

There seems to be some consensus about the GM 'putting' too high of challenges for the characters to face.

Ridiculous.

This 'expectation' of fair CR is the measure of a written module for an unexperienced DM. Someone who doesn't know how to make encounters.

The idea that there is supposed to be a certain flow, or that no traps or locks should have a CR higher than the party rogue can defeat is firkken silly.

Why is the dungeon there? Why hasnt three hobbits and their kobold buddy kicked down the door and defeated everything? Oh right, because it's full of nasties!

What do people think happen? Dungeons just SPAWN when the PCs are ready for it?

There should be warning signs "CR 7 encounters within"?

a RL example. While on patrol, my team and I set eyes upon a rather large force of enemy, we reported back to the CP what we had found. During the process we realize the enemy was also out of patrol AND we were about to be compromised by more than one patrol.
This would have been a rats nest that would quickly have become a hornets nest of combat quickly ending not in our favor.

We sat tight, hid, and waited for the situation to change. One of the patrols ran into one of our mounted units, causing a fire fight which enabled a distraction for us to escape and evade.

Was there supposed to be some encounter god keeping us from running into the bulwark of the enemies forces? should we instead have just bumped into an enemy patrol that was easy to ambush, would that have been more fun??

I also recall another time we ran into an enemy tank platoon and had to run for our lives (all the time the LT in my truck screaming turn around! stop and fight!) Sir, we're in humvees.....

In the case of this dungeon, the PC's were warned, TWICE about the specific monsters they would fight. That's like complaining about the land mines you stepped on after reading the sign "warning mine field"

The PC's were not ambushed OR forced to fight.

This idea of "you have to give us fights we can win" is as dumb as WBL.

The group COULD have searched for another dungeon entrance, no they kicked down the front door.

In your own home do you guard your door with chihuahuas or do you train the doberman to take out anyone not recognized out at the knees?
At the junk yard the kittens guard the tires, the french bull dog guards the car parts and I save the mastiff to guard my business records locked up in my office?

I personally remember having to sneak through 3/4 of the Carrion King Dungeon in LoF only to accidentally sneak into the Carrion King himself without actually clearing a good path for escape. The denizens of that dungeon were decidedly nasty and the way we TRIED to go in first was guarded by salamanders and we had to flee! (not one mind you but more than one)

IF for some reason the DM doesn't make a back entrance to this dungeon, COME BACK when you are more prepared.

Oh poo I lost my animal companion.... summon another bud, everyone loses fluffy more than once.

No one SAID they HAD to go in that dungeon.

I drowned in the pool! It's your fault for putting the pool in your backyard!


thundercade wrote:

As for the ghost that's already there - you could try this:

When the party sees it again, RP it out so that the ghost now reacts differently to them because they haven't been "scared away" from the first encounter (even though, ironically, they actually were). Now the ghost isn't as set on destroying them, but following them? Of course, you have to watch out - when it's obvious that you're holding back on a creatures abilities due to previous trouble, it can seem patronizing or insulting.

Hello, Professor X? Yeah, I was wondering if you could stop taking thoughts out of my head?

Yes, this is almost exactly what I was going to do. The ghost is related to the party's backstory, so when they come back it will be somewhat in control of itself. It will attempt to RP with them, get the party to put it to rest. As a reward it will use the last vestiges of its own power to open up the crypts below so that 1. it's own bones can be interred and 2. the party can scratch a goal off their list.


no one said the ghost has to remember them either.

He could just 'reset'.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm sorry, but the problems here seem mostly a GM design issue, not the players. What you've created is not a 'classic dungeon hack' so far.

When not one, but two, of the very first encounters are epic level CR's with creatures that start the fight themselves and no way around... the party has no choice but to stop and recuperate constantly. Large dungeon crawls are supposed to be about resource attrition, not constant novas.

If you want the players to RP with one of those encounters, then it certainly shouldn't be attacking them on sight, else their options are extremely limited. You can't really stop to assess and/or chat with something touch attacking you for 7d6 at level 4. That'll get people killed.

(a paniced creature should run away from the source of the fear... which should be back the way they came, not further into the dungeon, neh? The randomness of killing off the AC seems a bit suspect, though not knowing the dungeon layout, hard to say.)


P to the Gast: I completely respect both your RL and in game experience, as well as the point you're making; not EVERY fight will be fair. I think what I genuinely feel bad about was that they had no warning that, AT THAT MOMENT, the ghost was going to strike. It went like this:

Me: you come to the end of the grand hall - before you is an open, circular chamber with a stairwell winding up the back wall to disappear above. Piles of rubble are heaped in the corner from a section of wall which have collapsed.

Cleric PC: we're advancing slowly, keeping an eye out for traps, but I want to get up on that dais and see where the ooze that we're following went.

A check for traps went by; I had them roll a couple of Perception checks but no one noticed the manifestation beginning as they found and discussed the trap.

Cleric PC: ok, so I made my Acrobatics check to get over the trapped step onto the dais; do I see the ooze?

Me: you note where the ooze flowed out through a few cracks in the collapsed wall. There is a sudden, horrible wail as if a sorrow from the depths of a tortured soul! You few folks give me a will save...

And so the encounter began. They were ambushed with a fear effect, the NPC and the animal companion lost it, and the party went defensive. Reacting from the surprise round the ghost started off near the top of the initiative, beaten only by the fleeing NPC and the animal companion ironically.

The cat fled down the hall, the NPC behind it; the animal just moved faster is all. The ghost, fully manifested, attacked dealing some massive damage to the cleric. The party identifed the thing and the trap, triggered by the NPC, went off (no one was hurt by this). They then cast Ghostbane Dirge and began attacking.

Now...I've never encountered this spell before, so I asked the player for the description. He said the spell allows 1/2 damage from all weapons and full damage from all magic spells. What neither he nor I realized was that the ghost should've ALSO taken full damage from the party's 3 magic weapons.

Anyway, fighting under this incorrect assessment the party proceeded to hit w/every attack but doing tiny damage while this thing spent one round doing nothing but crying out, then moaned again, and finally attacked with it's devastating touch attack twice more before they all got out of the dungeon except the animal companion.

The players are all adults in their 30's, as am I. We've all played a very long time, but none of us have played together that long and 2 of the players have very little experience with this kind of gaming.

So what I feel particularly guilty for is 1. the cat, and 2. the ghost just appeared, like a haunt, only it kept inflicting harm instead of turning off in a round. And the damage was really intense; 2, maybe 3 hits would've killed any one PC except the unbreakable dwarf fighter.

These ARE RP-type players, so regardless of what I wanted I should've at least RP'd a little instead of just doing ghost-in-the-box. I still don't feel bad about the CR of the monsters though. The party survived both encounters and they know how bad walking in the front door is now.


Ok. so there was a mechanical mistake.

This ended a campaign we played once.

We encountered a man, he seemed some sort of spell caster. As the combat went on, it came down to him, my wife and I. the rest of the party was dead.

The goal at that point was to kill this last baddy and get the others raised.

My wife was a paladin and I was a monk/rogue.

The encounter went south when the "spell caster" grappled the paladin and in a single turn sucked her dry of con, killing her!

WHAT was that!

My particular character had been tweaked for CMB and had once pinky twisted a giant into a hold. So naturally I jump on the guy, Ill fix this.

We grappled back and forth for 8 rounds, I was getting pretty pissed because he kept getting out and this constant reversal thing, seeing as I was built for it with the feats and this guy was a spell caster?? WHAT the HECK was he??

I finally tripped him and subsequently was able to get in two rounds of flurry sneak attacks, he was hurting and I could tell it.

He tried to grab me again and I got him in such a way that I literally jumped off this raised area we were fighting on to pile drive him.

At which point he went gaseous.

Huh?

WTH.

After chasing him down, AND getting killed my self, the DM reveals it was a vampire....

huh.... how was it he sucked the paladin dry of all her con in one round?

Oh yes 3d6 con drain.

SURE that's in the book. OOPS the DM had made a mistake in his notes for the monster.

Not to mention how do you just clandestinely be a vampire and grapple a paladin?
no mention of biting?

A real mess up.

Anyway.

It ended in a TPK, the DM offered a redo, but you can't at that point.

Here's the deal.
None of your PCs were killed.
So there is no real loss.

You can't retcon this ghost now tho either. He's a super powered ghost. Other wise if feels like a do over in a game of kick ball.

So, the party knows it now. possibly allow for something they can go after, a special item or a spell to help them. Once they defeat the super ghost, or maybe even CAPTURE it in some kind of ghostly vessel similar to trap the soul. It can be diminished into a plot device that talks to them as they carry it around?

They also need some really nice treasure when the defeat the encounter to make such a powerful nasty worth it.

That's the best way to fix it.

A side quest to get what they need to bypass this guardian, then return prepared.

They WERE warned it was in there. No one said it had to be a "normal Ghost"

So it's CR 9. just give them the goodies they need to beat it, but no so powerful it will beat everything else too.... needs to be encounter specific.

Maybe some arrows of ghost slaying or specifically, if the ghost is part of the plot a device of undead control with a few charges or a 'genie bottle' of ghost trapping?

Lantern Lodge

Ok out of the 35ish years ive played i figure out at least 1 thing for sure. Ignore CR. Figure out the average to hit and ac of the party and work that for the monsters. A monster's to hit should be a few points higher or lower, depending on how challenging u want the fight to be, than the average AC of the party, sum of the entire party's ac divided by the number of members in the party. Same goes for the monster's AC which is the same but using the party's average to hit. For the longest time now ive used that formula and my players and i have found the fights to be challenging for them when its supposed to be. When dealing with casters its slightly more difficult. For casters it not how beefy u make the targets but how many targets u throw at them and how many targets u throw at them at 1ce.


Mark Hoover wrote:

They then cast Ghostbane Dirge and began attacking.

Now...I've never encountered this spell before, so I asked the player for the description. He said the spell allows 1/2 damage from all weapons and full damage from all magic spells.

Ya, missing the full damage from magic weapons wouldn't help. You don't want to be nickle and diming a creature with a 7d6 melee touch attack at level 4.

In my own experience, Ghostbane Dirge is a big disappointment. There are so few ways to get passed incorporeal creatures you'd think the one spell that is actually designed for just that, would be more effective.

Our group has cast it half a dozen times recently, resisted every time but once (most undead have good will saves)... and the one time it wasn't resisted, it failed to bypass the 50% failure rate for corporeal source spells.

Personally, if it were me, I'd house rule a 'force' descriptor on the spell so it at least wouldn't have to bypass a will save AND a 50% spell failure chance every time.

As a side note: If one does successfully cast ghostbane dirge on a ghost like this... would it change its incorporeal touch attack to a regular attack?

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Advice / New group: the honeymoon's over, need some advice All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.