Adventure Paths and high level play


Pathfinder Adventure Path General Discussion

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeah, apparently Paizo did overbalance the fighters a bit into the direction of "Too good". The long, long feat chain to get all the goodies makes it a longer road to power than most, but when they get there, at the mid levels...


Rakshaka wrote:
Magnuskin, I feel your pain. Our Legacy of Fire game ended because the Zen Archer Monk could almost solo any encounter, to the point that I even used bad guys employing Tower Shields, darkness, smokesticks, and Wind Walls. *snip*

I agree with your post. An arcane archer dominated my Legacy of Fire game late. I don't know that he could have solo'd it, but he was certainly the Hero and the rest of the party were his mooks.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I most definitely am enacting the house rule of "Rapid Shot" and "Multishot" not stacking - ie, you can do one or the other, not both.

Fortunately, my overpowered campaign, Runelords, does not have an archer specialist in it (there's the two-handed weapon kill machine but not any archery specialists!). Mind you, they gave him a +4 strength composite bow, but that actually reduces his damage output! ^^;; And I suppose the eventual Eldritch Knight could be considered a faux-archery specialist as he took Archery specialty as a 2nd level ranger... but he's using a repeating light crossbow and is going the path of the Crafter, rather than a combat monster. (The others do use bows, but not to a huge extent.)

The other game, Reign of Winter, DOES have a Ranger specializing in bows, but that game is advancing slowly (they're only 4th level) and they're still relatively new to Pathfinder so my saying "the two skills don't stack" will likely not be protested. (If they are, I'll say "house rule. It won't hurt you to fire one fewer arrows a round.)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It's a bit late to implement those changes in my campaign. Maybe in Wrath of the Righteous, but there the next archer will be played by the most inexperienced player... pre-nerfing her class may not be a good thing.

And Wrath is going to get pretty crazy, anyway.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Which is exactly the reason not to allow it. Can you imagine an archer with Mythic Rapid Shot and Mythic Multishot? That's an additional 2 arrows a round. Um... no. ^^;;


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeah, I saw those and went "Aw, crud". We'll have to see, I'll bring it up when the player comes in next time, she is sick at the moment.


magnuskn wrote:

Is it just me, or does the second half of an adventure path (levels 10+) serially go off the rails in terms of player power vs. opponent power? It seems that the general opposition player characters face cannot even deal with moderately optimized characters?

And I am not saying I want monsters to kill more player characters... we had a case where a Fire Yai critted one of the characters and would have killed him in one hit, were it not for hero points... but the balance of the game seems to shift way too heavily towards the dreaded "rocket tag" in the second half of the AP and characters which need even one round of set-up compared to say, archers, can only deal with the minions which are left milling around stupefied while their boss has already hit the dirt.

It happens way too often that after level ten or eleven PC's autohit opponents with all their attacks and just liquify them into a fine red mist. If they know what they probably will deal with (like... demons in Wrath of the Righteous, maybe?), it only becomes more of a massacre.

What I am trying to say, it isn't fun for the GM and most players I know if 95% of all combats in APs turn into one-sided slaughters and while the lower levels of the AP's are fun and challenging, the higher levels need more extreme situations to do that for the level of power player characters have at that time.

If you DM for a group that optimizes, you're going to have to change more stuff. Most of the APs are written to challenge an "average" party, where "average" seems to mean very little optimization at all. It's more work definitely, but I find as a DM I like having players who optimize. It really let's me cut loose too and throw some extremely nasty stuff at them.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
molten_dragon wrote:
If you DM for a group that optimizes, you're going to have to change more stuff. Most of the APs are written to challenge an "average" party, where "average" seems to mean very little optimization at all. It's more work definitely, but I find as a DM I like having players who optimize. It really let's me cut loose too and throw some extremely nasty stuff at them.

High-level opponents often have highly unrealistic tactics. High-level combat usually last two or three rounds. Many, many times opponents are, according to their tactics section, supposed to spend one, often even two rounds summoning monsters or casting defensive spells (and often not very good ones), before even starting on their offense. What galls me about that is that I don't really see the writers thinking those situations through, when they should know by now, five years after the launch of the game, how high-level combat works.

Whenever I see another high level (or, heck, low-level) Wizard who hasn't prepped Mirror Image I want to facepalm. And, yes, I know that I can substitute those spells in, but why would a Wizard or Sorcerer ever not prepare that one essential defensive spell (outside of being a specialist with that school forbidden to him)?


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I am also frustrated with the combat advice, which can include up to 3 rounds of prep casting--for an encounter that's in the tens of feet range. The result of this is invariably that the foe dies before doing anything. In my current Shattered Star game the length of the average combat is probably 1.5 rounds (counting the surprise round--they are stealth experts). You *have* to do something aggressive with your action as it's the only one you will get!

A similar weirdness happens at the other end of the combat strategy--the NPC entry will say "flees when reduced below 5 hp." Needless to say, with each character's action delivering 20-40 points of damage, this will occur only due to a rare fluke.

I don't think optimization is the whole story. I played in a game where there were two experienced (but restrained) adult players and a teenage newbie. He slapped together an archer character because he liked to shoot things, and just took basic Core feats that support archery. The adult players helped a bit with the math to figure out what those feats did. The campaign ended suddenly when someone cast Dominate on the teenager's archer and he killed the entire party (both of my characters in the first round, both of the other player's in the second round). It is very easy to make an effective archer. You don't need splatbook feats or strange race/class combinations or creative rules interpretations. You just need to pick up the feats that any "advice for beginners" will point out.

Also, there is a pattern that so far has destroyed two of my AP games. The player agrees to be restrained with character design. He then hits a ruthlessly hard module #2, often with a TPK or close, and decides this agreement was a crock. He redesigns his PCs to be capable of handling module #2 at the given levels. Nothing in the AP ever challenges them again. I suspect it will happen again with Shattered Star (though with #3, not #2 as usual).

The Exchange

Mary Yamato wrote:


Also, there is a pattern that so far has destroyed two of my AP games. The player agrees to be restrained with character design. He then hits a ruthlessly hard module #2, often with a TPK or close, and decides this agreement was a crock. He redesigns his PCs to be capable of handling module #2 at the given levels. Nothing in the AP ever challenges them again. I suspect it will happen again with Shattered Star (though with #3, not #2 as usual).

Actually I think Shattered Star is unique in that it actually becomes harder the further you go in... Parts #5 and #6 look really brutal.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

A big +1 to everything Mary said.


I hope Sh St gets harder as I think it was the easiest start to an AP we have done,in terms of combat

Most of the PCs in the group are N or E, so did talk to a lot of the monsters first!!

Tactics most given in APs are pretty poor and things like ..flee when down to 20hps.... are a waste of ink


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Having run a test run of a revamped antagonist for the Scarlet Son module, I do have to say that there is one surefire way to turn the most optimized party into a "we're dead" moment. Dominate the high-damage fighter/ranger/barbarian of the group. (Admittedly, two Mythic Tiers to the Succubus Assassin also was useful, but if she'd used Dominate earlier, she'd not have been reduced to 22 hit points to begin with.)

Don't do this earlier, however. Wait 'til they've been cruising through things for a little bit. THEN hit them with this evil mechanism. You'll hear PCs crying bloody murder. (As for me, I quietly switched out one of the PC Cleric's spells from Detect Undead to Protection from Evil. The tough fight was wanted. Having the party suddenly unable to do anything to the enemy was not.)


Mary Yamato wrote:

I am also frustrated with the combat advice, which can include up to 3 rounds of prep casting--for an encounter that's in the tens of feet range. The result of this is invariably that the foe dies before doing anything. In my current Shattered Star game the length of the average combat is probably 1.5 rounds (counting the surprise round--they are stealth experts). You *have* to do something aggressive with your action as it's the only one you will get!

A similar weirdness happens at the other end of the combat strategy--the NPC entry will say "flees when reduced below 5 hp." Needless to say, with each character's action delivering 20-40 points of damage, this will occur only due to a rare fluke.

This has definitely been my experience. I had one NPC recently who didn't even GET an action before being killed. And another one who was supposed to flee at something like 30 hit points and got knocked from around 75 to dead between actions. I think in the current AP (on book four now) we have had exactly one NPC actually get to flee according to the instructions in the stat block.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I did a test run of one module in which a smart group of players who do a decent Diplomacy roll can find out about an abandoned shrine rather than undergo the ambush scenario. End result is the PCs are going straight to the Shrine and encountering the enemies there.

One enemy did not get a single attack in. Mind you, I almost maxed out her hit points and gave her a couple extra levels to compensate for the PCs being tougher... and a failed save vs. Hideous Laughter had her prone, surrounded by enemies, and with six hit points left on her action. Her "no surrender" bit resulted in her being brought to negative hit points when she tried to stand (seemed stupid to me but hey, she was brainwashed).

If the enemy does not get initiative and does not roll well for initiative then he or she is going to likely be pounded upon and possibly killed outright. If the enemy is attacking out of ambush and gets the drop on the PCs (as often seems to be the case) then they may do better.

------------

Here's an odd question for you all. If the group has to make a perception check for searching, or a sense motive, do you allow each player to roll separately, or do you have one player do the roll? (I figure with Diplomacy or Intimidation checks it's easily the person who is doing the diplomacy or intimidating that rolls. Dunno if when an entire group is involved if you allow each individual roll, however.)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Separately for Perception or Sense Motive, but only if they ask to do it, normally single person for Diplomacy/Intimidate/Bluff, with one additional person able to assist if they ask for it.

Silver Crusade

Tangent101 wrote:

I most definitely am enacting the house rule of "Rapid Shot" and "Multishot" not stacking - ie, you can do one or the other, not both.

Fortunately, my overpowered campaign, Runelords, does not have an archer specialist in it (there's the two-handed weapon kill machine but not any archery specialists!). Mind you, they gave him a +4 strength composite bow, but that actually reduces his damage output! ^^;; And I suppose the eventual Eldritch Knight could be considered a faux-archery specialist as he took Archery specialty as a 2nd level ranger... but he's using a repeating light crossbow and is going the path of the Crafter, rather than a combat monster. (The others do use bows, but not to a huge extent.)

The other game, Reign of Winter, DOES have a Ranger specializing in bows, but that game is advancing slowly (they're only 4th level) and they're still relatively new to Pathfinder so my saying "the two skills don't stack" will likely not be protested. (If they are, I'll say "house rule. It won't hurt you to fire one fewer arrows a round.)

It is a good idea, to houserule that they don't stack. Archers will still be good. Now I would suggest to have a good look at Clustered Shots and that feat, that allows you to shoot without provoking attacks of opportunity.

Silver Crusade

magnuskn wrote:
molten_dragon wrote:
If you DM for a group that optimizes, you're going to have to change more stuff. Most of the APs are written to challenge an "average" party, where "average" seems to mean very little optimization at all. It's more work definitely, but I find as a DM I like having players who optimize. It really let's me cut loose too and throw some extremely nasty stuff at them.

High-level opponents often have highly unrealistic tactics. High-level combat usually last two or three rounds. Many, many times opponents are, according to their tactics section, supposed to spend one, often even two rounds summoning monsters or casting defensive spells (and often not very good ones), before even starting on their offense. What galls me about that is that I don't really see the writers thinking those situations through, when they should know by now, five years after the launch of the game, how high-level combat works.

Whenever I see another high level (or, heck, low-level) Wizard who hasn't prepped Mirror Image I want to facepalm. And, yes, I know that I can substitute those spells in, but why would a Wizard or Sorcerer ever not prepare that one essential defensive spell (outside of being a specialist with that school forbidden to him)?

I have very similar feelings whenever I see a dragon (or really any monster without armor) without mage armor and shield. But yeah, that may be intentional, so their AC fits within the range suggested by their CR.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I'd rule that Clustered Shots doesn't stack with Deadly Aim. So you either get at that point +4 damage per shot (going up potentially to +12) or you stack all those arrows to overcome damage reduction. Seeing you could very well have a strength bonus, a bow with that adjustable strength bonus upgrade, and bull strength... that remains in line with those melee fighters who don't get a comparable feat.

Silver Crusade

Tangent101 wrote:

Having run a test run of a revamped antagonist for the Scarlet Son module, I do have to say that there is one surefire way to turn the most optimized party into a "we're dead" moment. Dominate the high-damage fighter/ranger/barbarian of the group. (Admittedly, two Mythic Tiers to the Succubus Assassin also was useful, but if she'd used Dominate earlier, she'd not have been reduced to 22 hit points to begin with.)

Don't do this earlier, however. Wait 'til they've been cruising through things for a little bit. THEN hit them with this evil mechanism. You'll hear PCs crying bloody murder. (As for me, I quietly switched out one of the PC Cleric's spells from Detect Undead to Protection from Evil. The tough fight was wanted. Having the party suddenly unable to do anything to the enemy was not.)

Yup that happens, and is one reason, why iron will is featured in so many builds. On a related note, do you think protection from evil protects from dominate person, when it comes from an item (like a staff) that is used by an evil creature.

I would say no, total immunity from a first level spell seems mental.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

It does seem odd the spell provides blanket protection. It should, to be honest, provide protection similar to the Globe of Invulnerability spells. We could say the 1st level version protects against up to 3rd level charms, compulsions, and the like. Then you craft a 3rd or 4th level version for single targets that protects up to 6th level, and so on.

Silver Crusade

magnuskn wrote:
Separately for Perception or Sense Motive, but only if they ask to do it, normally single person for Diplomacy/Intimidate/Bluff, with one additional person able to assist if they ask for it.

I do pretty much the same, but if it is really important, I roll Perception and Sense Motive myself.

Tangent101 wrote:
I'd rule that Clustered Shots doesn't stack with Deadly Aim. So you either get at that point +4 damage per shot (going up potentially to +12) or you stack all those arrows to overcome damage reduction. Seeing you could very well have a strength bonus, a bow with that adjustable strength bonus upgrade, and bull strength... that remains in line with those melee fighters who don't get a comparable feat.

Interesting idea, could be nice, of course considering that my next campaign will the Wraith of the Righteous, I really want DR/Epic to mean something.

Before MA came out I intended to give all of my players the vital strike feat chain for free, it might still be a good idea, but I think I will have to nerv Mythic Vital Strike quite a bit (so that among other things it doesn't multiply power attack.

Silver Crusade

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magnuskn wrote:

The problem is not with the point-buy or even the number of player characters (20 point buy and six PC's)...

...The problem is that with party buffs and players optimizing even a little bit opponents are almost impossible to miss and player characters are very, very difficult to hit.

The APs are built on 4 PCs, and although it may not be apparent in the earlier levels, each additional PC past 4 is a HUGE boost to the party's overall power. Going from 4 PCs to 6 is an increase of 50% in terms of raw body numbers, and the CRB suggests that their APL be calculated at +1. We are generally aware, however, that this isn't true, since the power gain isn't linear due to stacking synergies, and the increased opportunity to specialize. With 6 PCs, you should probably be doubling the XP value of each encounter (increase CR by 2). This should be done with a combination of the advanced template (and no more), more minions (extra hitpoints and actions), or doubling, tripling, or even quadrupling the already present monsters' hitpoints (great for bosses). I personally suggest the addition of minions (creatures 1 or 2 CR lower than the PC's average level) since they add alot of hitpoints quickly, give the enemy team more actions, limit player mobility, and allow for flanking and aid another tactics with the enemies that were already there. The biggest advantage, though, is that if each has only 24 HP, it doesn't matter that a character can do 50+ damage a hit, it's no better than the 25 it would have taken to drop the enemy. Basically, hordes of minions are just a giant sponge for character effort. Make sure to position them to make AOEs less devastating.

Also, don't give XP rewards, level them when you feel they need the boost in power.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Tangent101 wrote:

Having run a test run of a revamped antagonist for the Scarlet Son module, I do have to say that there is one surefire way to turn the most optimized party into a "we're dead" moment. Dominate the high-damage fighter/ranger/barbarian of the group.

Don't do this earlier, however. Wait 'til they've been cruising through things for a little bit. THEN hit them with this evil mechanism. You'll hear PCs crying bloody murder.

Full agree, especially at high levels. I used this tactic with Lashonna in my Age of Worms campaign to great effect, targeting the optimized archer.

Magnuskn, how did the Fiendish Pool encounter turn out?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Luz, we're not there yet. We play only once per week and last week the group made it just across the bridge to the Shrine itself. They might make it this week into the pools if they hurry it up, but depending on how long it takes to fight the Furnace Golem, talk with the Emperor and Amatatsu Onoko, they might not get there. Although I think they probably will.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
magnuskn wrote:
Luz, we're not there yet. We play only once per week and last week the group made it just across the bridge to the Shrine itself. They might make it this week into the pools if they hurry it up, but depending on how long it takes to fight the Furnace Golem, talk with the Emperor and Amatatsu Onoko, they might not get there. Although I think they probably will.

Ruiken, thanks for the summary, although we already went over most things you said during the last two pages. ;)

Silver Crusade

magnuskn wrote:
Ruiken, thanks for the summary, although we already went over most things you said during the last two pages. ;)

Yeah, should have started with a "TL;DR" lol. Hope the info was useful anyway. Encounter design is alot more complicated than implied by the CRB, and this issue with published adventures comes up more times than not.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

magnuskn wrote:
Luz, we're not there yet. We play only once per week and last week the group made it just across the bridge to the Shrine itself. They might make it this week into the pools if they hurry it up, but depending on how long it takes to fight the Furnace Golem, talk with the Emperor and Amatatsu Onoko, they might not get there. Although I think they probably will.

Okay cool. If you don't mind, please post an update when they reach it. I'm curious to know how this turns out.


Mary Yamato wrote:
Very good stuff

I've felt this quite a bit. I typically ignore the combat advice when I DM. I may look at it to see if I've missed something, but if the tactics are really bad, I have them do something else.

I've also been that player who made reasonable characters, partially because I was with a new DM, and I feel I've got a fair grasp of tactics. I played in Council of Thieves, and then we hit book 2.

Council of Thieves spoiler:
Then the AP throws a freaking bone devil at the us, at 4th or 5th level? Really? So yes, I start figuring that I need to optimize a little better, be more cautious and strategic in everything. The game slows down cause I'm being overly cautious. I'm wiping the floor with most encounters, and I can sense the frustration of the GM, especially when we hit Liebdaga and he lasts maybe two rounds.

As for Jade Regent, we're still in Book 3.

Jade Regent spoiler:
The PCs just finished off the white dragon. I knew I should have advanced her to a CR 10, but I thought I'd give it a go. She got one action in before falling. We've got multiple archers in the group.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Luz wrote:
Okay cool. If you don't mind, please post an update when they reach it. I'm curious to know how this turns out.

Sure thing!


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Tangent101 wrote:

Having run a test run of a revamped antagonist for the Scarlet Son module, I do have to say that there is one surefire way to turn the most optimized party into a "we're dead" moment. Dominate the high-damage fighter/ranger/barbarian of the group.

My PCs in Council of Thieves worry about this obsessively. They are well aware that the fighter could kill the whole party, two characters per round, and they'd have only a very few chances to stop him. They haven't found a satisfactory defense. (Pro Evil presupposes that your enemies are evil; not always the case. And it doesn't stop Confusion.)

The charm sorceress might also be able to take on the entire party and win (start by Dominating the fighter; he definitely can't make that save). So if she is Dominated, same outcome.

It is not actually hard to challenge high-level AP parties, if by "challenge" you mean "kill". What's hard is to get an interesting fight that isn't basically over by the end of the first full round.

We are currently in Jade Regent #3 and just finished a very complex and tense fight which went 7 rounds. It reminded me of how strongly I prefer this to the "death in the surprise round" effect that sets in at higher levels. The keys to that fight were heavy use of area denial by the enemy, plus forewarning. But those tactics seem harder and harder to use at higher levels.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Protection from Evil actually WILL work against charms and domination from non-evil entities. That aspect remains. The deflection and resistance bonuses do not. This is why every single Protection spell is the same except for the bonuses influenced.

Liberty's Edge

Countersong makes the bard handy in that situation too.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Let's not forget that Protection from Evil does actually not automatically make you immune to mind-affecting effects. It just gives you a second save at +2 and if you make that second save, then you are protected for the duration.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

That is if the person is already under the effect of a charm. It also states this: While under the effects of this spell, the target is immune to any new attempts to possess or exercise mental control over the target.

This suggests then that if someone is not charmed and has Protection from Evil up, then while a person may fail their save vs. the charm, while the spell remains up they are immune to efforts to exercise mental control; the "friendship" aspect of the charm could be ruled a mental control.

A better option may be Spell Immunity, or Greater Spell Immunity. The former protects against 4th level or lower. The latter of 8th level or lower. Of course, you need a cleric to have access to that spell....


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Right, read it again. "While under the effects of this spell, the target is immune to any new attempts to possess or exercise mental control over the target." This refers back to the part above, where you first need to make that second saving throw. The one which said "If successful, such effects are suppressed for the duration of this spell."

It's pretty clear that you need to succeed at that second save to gain the immunity benefit.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

So what you're saying is that the spell gives someone two saving throws at +2 for each save to resist the spell? Maybe it's just my years of playing Warhammer 40K, but somehow that feels wrong.

Moot point though as you DO have an alternative 4th level cleric spell that would help the Fighter resist these problems. ^^;; Actually, you could even make or buy a Wand of Spell Immunity that has a Caster Level of 8; have it go with Charm Person and Charm Monster.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

No, the spell gives you a second saving throw against enchantment spells from evil creatures with a +2 bonus, in case that you did not make your initial save. If you make that second save, you get the additional benefit that for the duration of the spell, you are immune to new enchantment effects. However, the first spell against which you did not make your initial save still is in effect, but it is suppressed during the duration of Protection from Evil.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

By the way, I am kinda fretting the whole upcoming Omox demon encounter to the point that it is preventing me from falling asleep. :-/ As far as I can see, the party really has no good solution when the Omox' raise the water to the ceiling. If I read it correctly, Fly/Air Walking doesn't help at all underwater, so this will put the party at a disadvantage where I can see the same thing happening to them as with what happened to the people Luz TPK'ed in his campaign.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
magnuskn wrote:
No, the spell gives you a second saving throw against enchantment spells from evil creatures with a +2 bonus, in case that you did not make your initial save. If you make that second save, you get the additional benefit that for the duration of the spell, you are immune to new enchantment effects. However, the first spell against which you did not make your initial save still is in effect, but it is suppressed during the duration of Protection from Evil.

I can see where that mistake could be made, but making that second saving throw only suppresses any active effects.

The bit about immunity from new effects is not dependent on making a saving throw against an unrelated spell.

Example:

Kyra, Valeros and Merisiel are fighting an enchanter. He casts charm person on Merisiel and she fails her save. Kyra then casts protection from evil on Merisiel who gets a second save at +2, if successful the charm person suppressed. Kyra then casts protection from evil on Valeros, he is now immune to any new effects that attempt to control him.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

magnuskn wrote:
By the way, I am kinda fretting the whole upcoming Omox demon encounter to the point that it is preventing me from falling asleep. :-/ As far as I can see, the party really has no good solution when the Omox' raise the water to the ceiling. If I read it correctly, Fly/Air Walking doesn't help at all underwater, so this will put the party at a disadvantage where I can see the same thing happening to them as with what happened to the people Luz TPK'ed in his campaign.

magnuskn:
Okay, if the party does not have the resources to handle the encounter then just dial it back a bit. Removing the tick swarms will reduce the deadliness considerably; as I mentioned earlier, their Con drain depletes a PC's ability to hold his or her breath very rapidly. Or maybe keep the dimensions of the cavern as is written in the module so the omoxes cannot flood the entire chamber, which would also significantly take some of the teeth out of this encounter. Is there a PC spellcaster that can summon water elementals or something else that can assist them underwater? If so, then I think the rest of the encounter should be fine. If not, allow them a decent chance of escape (either through teleport or just old-fashioned high-tailing it outta there). There is nothing wrong with living to fight another day. The encounter itself is fairly well balanced, its only a deathtrap if there is no chance to escape and regroup. Even still, the initial encounter may catch them off guard and could result in a few deaths, so be it. You and your group sound accomplished enough that this will not destroy the campaign.

As an aside, when I TPK'd my group with this encounter it was mostly there own doing. They arrogantly thought they could hold their breath long enough to deal with any threats, did not summon any water elementals to deal with the swarms (which was the sorcerer's usual m.o.), did not coordinate their actions, and did not flee when it was clear they were well over their heads (pun intended). It was surprising, I was having the very same problem you have with challenging my group - they had become a fine-tuned machine tactically until this encounter. Then all hell broke loose and it was every man for himself.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Kyra, Valeros and Merisiel are fighting an enchanter. He casts charm person on Merisiel and she fails her save. Kyra then casts protection from evil on Merisiel who gets a second save at +2, if successful the charm person suppressed. Kyra then casts protection from evil on Valeros, he is now immune to any new effects that attempt to control him.

I say the contrary.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Luz:

Spoiler:
Thanks for the additional tips, I'll take them into account. What is your opinion on using Fly/Air Walk underwater? If those are allowed, it would solve most problems with mobility, if not then the party will be in real trouble.
Also, the Tiefling Ninja has Eldritch Heritage and chose the Shadow bloodline, so that he could get Hide in Plain Sight. A side effect of that is that he has darkvision 120 feet. Shouldn't that negate the hiding advantage of the Omox' completely? If they don't get the drop on the PC's, it could be decisive in how the encounter plays out.

Silver Crusade

Tangent101 wrote:
Protection from Evil actually WILL work against charms and domination from non-evil entities. That aspect remains. The deflection and resistance bonuses do not. This is why every single Protection spell is the same except for the bonuses influenced.

You say that, but what about that last line:

Protection from evil said wrote:

Second, the subject immediately receives another saving throw (if one was allowed to begin with) against any spells or effects that possess or exercise mental control over the creature (including enchantment [charm] effects and enchantment [compulsion] effects, such as charm person, command, and dominate person). This saving throw is made with a +2 morale bonus, using the same DC as the original effect. If successful, such effects are suppressed for the duration of this spell. The effects resume when the duration of this spell expires. While under the effects of this spell, the target is immune to any new attempts to possess or exercise mental control over the target. This spell does not expel a controlling life force (such as a ghost or spellcaster using magic jar), but it does prevent them from controlling the target. This second effect only functions against spells and effects created by evil creatures or objects, subject to GM discretion.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

If a charm is preventing someone from protecting comrades he or she has fought with for a while against a foe he or she was fighting against and who has harmed the target's friends just prior, then yes that entity counts as evil in my opinion.

And really, what is evil? You see a woman with horns on her head and leathery wings. Is she evil? How about a woman with black feathery wings, is she evil? And that shining white-winged individual with a halo?

See, I personally come from a gaming philosophy that alignments are too constraining. Thus I don't really hold much truck with alignments within the game as it becomes most vague. For instance, how does Protection From Evil know that the wizard who cast Charm Person is evil? What if he's just borderline evil, just enough to detect as such but slowly reforming? What if he's under a curse to appear evil?

Do we only allow Protection from Evil to work against those people with auras then? What about a devil that has Nondetection up... would that suppress the aura sufficiently to ignore the spell?

And what of situational alignment? Two groups are fighting. One is a hireling for the evil cleric but is herself a Chaotic Neutral wizard and casts Charm Person or Dominate Person on the mainline fighter. Why should that wizard get a pass as she is working for someone who is evil despite not being evil herself?

To me, there is no Protection from Evil or Protection from Law or whatever else. There is a Protection Spell. I would allow Protection from Good to work against neutral characters or even other evil characters. I wouldn't allow a "technicality" to let someone work around the protection (and as I said, Spell Immunity is a better tool in any event).

If you want to adhere solidly to alignments? Feel free. But that path leads to rules lawyering rather than a fun game; at least, in my opinion.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

magnuskn wrote:

Luz:

** spoiler omitted **

Magnuskn:

Jade Regent Spoilers:
As far as I know, fly and air walk have no effect underwater, aside from the increased speed from fly. Some of them should have freedom of movement by now, if none have this then perhaps slip them a few scrolls or ring before they reach the pool area? The ninja's 120-ft. darkvision shouldn't have any impact on the omoxes' stealth/hide abilities, but will be useful for matching the omoxes darkvision so that he can monitor their movement in combat just as well as they can. I'd rule that his hide in plain sight should work normally underwater tho. Remember too that the limited vision from the murky water should apply to the omox demons as well. I'm pretty sure they don't have blindsight while submerged.

Its a slippery slope. One of the most effective ways to challenge a high level party is to limit visibility and/or mobility. The trick is doing it in a way that doesn't cripple them. Do what you can to ensure they are somewhat equipped to handle this encounter, if they are having difficulty then maybe house rule fly/air walk give full mobility underwater on the fly. If they are in serious trouble, always provide them with an escape route. At least this way you have done everything possible to give the party a chance to survive this without pulling a deux ex machina.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

A few more suggestions:

Spoilers:
If the party successfully negotiates with Emperor Shigure without combat, award each of them a hero point. Allow a hero point to buy each PC a full round of mobility underwater a la freedom of movement without the grapple immunity.

Alternatively, perhaps Amatatsu Onoko grants each PC a blessing to breathe underwater while in the Well of Demons, instead of offering to raise dead.

Use one or both as you see fit. Just some ideas.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeah, things went, um, swimmingly for the party this evening.

Spoiler:
After negotiating with Emperor Shigure without a hitch (the bard really has an obscene diplomacy check and having the almost-as-good oracle/priest help her out a bit didn't hurt either), the party descended well-buffed via Communal Air Walk into the Well of Demons. While most of the party missed the four max-HP'ed Omox demons lurking under the water, the priest rolled a 51 on his Perception check versus the 45 Stealth check of the Omox, shouting out a warning and giving the party a standard action to prepare for the encounter. Two potions of water breathing were quaffed, but the demons took their turn early on and one of them raised the water via Control Water to the roof of the cavern. The party already had descended well into the cavern and tried to reach dry land, so they were caught outside of reach of the entry tunnel.

Basically, the combat descended into a "can we dispel the Control Water and then get some shots in before the next Omox raises it again?" contest, which cost the party four Dispel Magic and one Greater Dispel Magic spells. In round three they got the hang of it and the casters delayed after the Omox, so that the beatsticks could get a full attack without raised water in. The Omox really didn't last too long after that.

Final count of depleted resources: Four Dispel Magic, one Greater Dispel Magic, some healing spells to deal with hitpoint damage (about 120 points of damage between Ameiko, Toshiro, Chidori and Falk) and Falk is infected with Greater Demon Fever. Also two potions of Water Breathing.

Lessons learned: Omox lose a lot of their special abilities when they are underwater. Slinging acid, casting stinking clouds and acid fogs... all those don't work too well underwater. They also can't see invisible creatures, which hurt against the two ninja and the bard. Also, swim checks are not that important when the water is calm and the penalty for not making the check is negligible.

All in all not too bad an encounter, the players were pretty happy how it turned out, but so was I. I got everybody interested, they had to spend important resources and, by the way, Amatatsu Maemi is calling on the tiefling ninja, who has been under her geas since the beginning of the campaign to protect Ameiko and Kazumi and bring them to her. I am still a bit unsure how to not screw the player over for having an interesting backstory, but it is very likely that Maemi would like to use him against the party. Oh, well, one week to come up with something.

Silver Crusade

Tangent101 wrote:

If a charm is preventing someone from protecting comrades he or she has fought with for a while against a foe he or she was fighting against and who has harmed the target's friends just prior, then yes that entity counts as evil in my opinion.

And really, what is evil? You see a woman with horns on her head and leathery wings. Is she evil? How about a woman with black feathery wings, is she evil? And that shining white-winged individual with a halo?

See, I personally come from a gaming philosophy that alignments are too constraining. Thus I don't really hold much truck with alignments within the game as it becomes most vague. For instance, how does Protection From Evil know that the wizard who cast Charm Person is evil? What if he's just borderline evil, just enough to detect as such but slowly reforming? What if he's under a curse to appear evil?

Do we only allow Protection from Evil to work against those people with auras then? What about a devil that has Nondetection up... would that suppress the aura sufficiently to ignore the spell?

And what of situational alignment? Two groups are fighting. One is a hireling for the evil cleric but is herself a Chaotic Neutral wizard and casts Charm Person or Dominate Person on the mainline fighter. Why should that wizard get a pass as she is working for someone who is evil despite not being evil herself?

To me, there is no Protection from Evil or Protection from Law or whatever else. There is a Protection Spell. I would allow Protection from Good to work against neutral characters or even other evil characters. I wouldn't allow a "technicality" to let someone work around the protection (and as I said, Spell Immunity is a better tool in any event).

If you want to adhere solidly to alignments? Feel free. But that path leads to rules lawyering rather than a fun game; at least, in my opinion.

It is certainly a point of view, but as far as the rules are concerned, protection from evil works exactly like the other alignment things.

Spells like holy word and blasphemy, abilities like smite evil and smite good, holy and unholy weapons just work against the proper alignment.

Spells that mask your alignment, do not protect you against these effects.

If the "bad guys" can just get around those abilities, by just not identifying as “evil” …. “I think of myself more as a kind of pukisch rogue “, you might as well remove all those abilities from the game.

Alternatively you could just restrict those abilities to creatures with the proper subtype. So holy weapons are only really useful against good outsiders …

Sorry, but that is the way I understand the rules as written.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

So? Holy Word works against enemies of the cleric in question and his God. That could theoretically include party members. ;) I wouldn't have Smite Evil be "Evil" per say and more "enemies of the holy warrior."

I have run entire campaigns without alignment and not had a problem. Then again, I have a rather flexible GMing style so...

And I'll also admit that I've re-introduced alignment to my current campaigns - but only because I'm running the games in Golarion and thus I'm doing so due to the nature of the APs and the world itself.

BTW - while I don't enforce alignment to a huge degree, I do go with another aspect: responsibility. If a player does something illegal there will be repercussions. My players have come to realize that. And really, how many players run chaotic law-abiding characters who never break the law? How many lawful characters break laws "they disagree with"? This is already done in a number of campaigns. Alignment is one of those "iffy" aspects that only has an effect for spells and the like rather than for the character behaviors.

(For instance, in my old game world Paladins of the Goddess of Death (and Healing) didn't Detect Evil. They Detect Undead and have specific rules of slaying the Undying and ensuring the dead do not rise from the grave. To me, this seems more true to what a Paladin should be - remaining true to the faith itself - than a Lawful Good alignment.)

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