Adventure Paths and high level play


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Removing alignment from the game is certainly an option (I've done that in some campaigns). If the campaign is meant to be RAW, though, these spells undeniably have alignment-specific aspects; unfortunately they are written very confusingly so there is no consensus on what they do.

This matters to me as I run an LN charm mage myself. Enemies do not tend to have Pro Law in Cheliax; they have Pro Good or Pro Evil or Pro Chaos. If those spells work against her it matters mechanically.

Has anyone seen worked-out errata for these spells? They drive me crazy.

As for Spell Immunity, it helps against casters (though Dominate Person is lower level than anything which could stop it) but is (if I read the rules correctly) useless against supernatural abilities. We have had two near-TPKs due to monsters with Confusion supernatural abilities. (It's quite unclear to me, incidentally, whether Pro Evil blocks Confusion.) Witch hexes raise similar issues. And the more you allow non-Core spells, the less use Spell Immunity becomes.

We are considering revising all of the save-takeout spells to work more like poisons, with ongoing effects that build up to the final disaster if not stopped. It's a big revision and will doubtless mess up other things, but these spells are a problem for us--either defenses are so high that they don't work at all, which makes people like the charm mage no fun, or they *do* work, which makes combats very dicy and short. (The charm mage has settled a frightening number of boss fights with Hideous Laughter.)

Silver Crusade

Tangent101 wrote:

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.)

Well your Holy Word and Protection spells seem really hard to balance - btw I read somewhere, that the demon hunters handbook has a level 2 that protects against a specific kind of outsider (angel, demon, devil...) and provide a +4 deflection and resistance bonus, that one might be useful for your campaign, since it is alignment agnostic - but if you take the time to adjust all the spells and inform the players it could work very well.

Actually it has a kind of old school feeling to it (of course I watch a lot of anime so ... ) .

Arguing about the alignments is something for unemployed crazy people, so I will keep this short.

Alignments - the way I see them - are a kind of aid for your character. The difference between good and evil is rather easy, you could replace it with selfish and selfless (but you would lose the aspect of doing things that are simply evil because of their nature).

Lawful and chaotic are a bit more tricky, but I like to point to the barbarian and monk classes as an example. One depends on a rigid system of more or less personal laws to help him, to bring out his full potential. He doesn't see it as a restriction, it is more some kind of guiding system, that is supposed to help him to do the "right" thing.

The barbarian on the other hand, may have a personal code too, but their outlook is very different. While the monk tries do control his power, to force and mold it the way he wants, the barbarian prefers to stay it a state of chaos. She simply unleashes her power upon the world, and while it may not be available all the time, few aren't impressed by the chaotic power of someone with 30 strength and a large bastard sword.
When it comes to her worldview, it is not like she can't have a vision, how the world should be, it is just that this one is focused on her.

Now to get to the core of the issue as it affects adventures, when is the alignment actually challenged?

If a chaotic character doesn't feel the need to "pillage" the apple seller and instead pays, there is nothing wrong with that. After all, they aren't outsiders based on the very principles of law.
On the other hand, lawful characters usually get the short end of the stick, when it comes to alignment challenges.

Alignment aside, punishing characters for unacceptable behavior should be done as well. The antipaladin can cry all the wants, but if he kills the owner of the magic item shop, he will have a price on his hands.....
and getting killed by 4 ninjas as result of that is fair game too.

Of course variant "detect spells" are fair game, after all just because some one is evil, doesn't mean, that he will do you harm or is guilty.

Silver Crusade

Mary Yamato wrote:

Removing alignment from the game is certainly an option (I've done that in some campaigns). If the campaign is meant to be RAW, though, these spells undeniably have alignment-specific aspects; unfortunately they are written very confusingly so there is no consensus on what they do.

This matters to me as I run an LN charm mage myself. Enemies do not tend to have Pro Law in Cheliax; they have Pro Good or Pro Evil or Pro Chaos. If those spells work against her it matters mechanically.

Has anyone seen worked-out errata for these spells? They drive me crazy.

As for Spell Immunity, it helps against casters (though Dominate Person is lower level than anything which could stop it) but is (if I read the rules correctly) useless against supernatural abilities. We have had two near-TPKs due to monsters with Confusion supernatural abilities. (It's quite unclear to me, incidentally, whether Pro Evil blocks Confusion.) Witch hexes raise similar issues. And the more you allow non-Core spells, the less use Spell Immunity becomes.

We are considering revising all of the save-takeout spells to work more like poisons, with ongoing effects that build up to the final disaster if not stopped. It's a big revision and will doubtless mess up other things, but these spells are a problem for us--either defenses are so high that they don't work at all, which makes people like the charm mage no fun, or they *do* work, which makes combats very dicy and short. (The charm mage has settled a frightening number of boss fights with Hideous Laughter.)

Notebook crashed and ate my longer post, so this one will be shorter and full of typos ^^

If you are LN only Protection from law will protect enemies against your compulsions and charms, it won't protect against confusion.
As far as I can tell, that is intentional, the spell is pretty damn good, especially once you compair it to Shield of faith.

Spell immunity is really good if you can scout your enemies via scrying of just a hole in the wall. It is far better against sorcerers than wizards, but still a pretty good spell.And of course you could use it to make yourself and your minnions immune to your own fireball spells ^^

Changing spells like Flesh to Stone and others is certanly an option, but I would suggest to remove the original spells (or increase their level) and just write up some lower level versions that take time.

You could argue that Calcific Touch is something like that, but personally I call it a dragon killer.

Silver Crusade

I have to apologize to magnuskn for the slight threadjack, but this actually gave me a rather nice topic for this discussion.

In pretty much every adventure path, it really doesn't matter if you are a bloodthirsty corsair, a scrupulous consortium agent, a mercenary fire hire, or any other kind of amoral bastard – a holy weapon, protection from evil, holy word and all the other chose an alignment spell, “evil” is usually a very good choice.

The same isn't true for enemies, the demons all might have unholy weapons, but those aren't all that useful against the LN sellswords, or even other evil characters.

You could make the same argument for favored enemy (Over the years I have started to hate this ability, even more after the APG) and bane weapons. Lets just say that humans tend to creep up pretty much everywhere in the lower levels – and having run Kingmaker, it wasn't all that bad, that the elven ranger was slightly better against them.
But the problem only gets worse, the bonus on attack rolls gets pretty damn huge, and once the ranger can access Instant Enemy... oh well.

But that is just a class feature – and I hope to get a ranger replacement in the next class hardcover – bane weapons are far more effective. A +1 bane weapon is relatively cheap and with the various spells and class abilities that can improve a weapon, it is pretty easy get a big advantage.

Bane arrows and other ammunition are a problem too – but that is at least a bit tempered, since the increased enhancement bonus doesn't help if the main weapon is already +3 (+3 bow with +1 bane arrows =+3 bane at least, that is the way I rule it)

Oh and for those GMs intending to run Wraith of the Righteous, be very aware of paladins/magi with the the mythic arcane strike feat. It will be demon bane , and once the hit tier 4 demon bane and mythic bane... which might stack since it is a separate ability. And that makes DR/Epic pretty much useless.

This is one area where the game is pretty stacked against the enemies in the adventure paths. And just


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With Luz and me discussing about how to improve my Jade Regent campaigns last weeks, the thread kind is off-kilter, anyway. But alignment discussions are of course still a bit of another thing than high-level play discussions. ;)

Silver Crusade

magnuskn wrote:
With Luz and me discussing about how to improve my Jade Regent campaigns last weeks, the thread kind is off-kilter, anyway. But alignment discussions are of course still a bit of another thing than high-level play discussions. ;)

Well as I said, the alignment of the higher level enemies and the tools of the PCs against them, could be worthy of consideration.

I have jet to see an NPC Archer with bane arrows for every occasion. ^^

And, well I remembered one more thing: Dragon with antimagic field^^ a really nasty surprise for a party that depends on buffs too much.

But I am curious, IIRC you have MA and Wraith of the Righteous part 1, what do you think about the AP. After all the PCs will hit the high levels (and high tiers) sooner and reach higher levels in this one.
What do you think, will the PCs steamroll this one too ?

The AP has a CR 26 enemy in the bestiary part, and frankly I am not that impressed (oh and btw this demon lord doesn't seem to be immune to sleep effects, so unless he is on his home plane... mythic hex: sleep drops him for at least one round ...).

I started to stat the iconics and while it takes quite a lot of time (I have only done Valeros and Amiri so far, it takes hours). The damage output is quite impressive. And that is without any kind of synergy from other characters.


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It's a very valid question. I hope the developers come up with something amazing for the opposition (and with that I mean not only the boss fights), because as far as I can see, mythic player characters get a gigantic power-up and I wasn't that impressed so far with mythic monster stat blocks. We'll see with module two, I guess, when PC's will actually be mythic. The real test will come of course with modules four and forward.

I am a bit skeptical, to be honest, because high-level encounters in most Paizo modules so often fall so sharply on the side of the PC's.

Silver Crusade

magnuskn wrote:

It's a very valid question. I hope the developers come up with something amazing for the opposition (and with that I mean not only the boss fights), because as far as I can see, mythic player characters get a gigantic power-up and I wasn't that impressed so far with mythic monster stat blocks. We'll see with module two, I guess, when PC's will actually be mythic. The real test will come of course with modules four and forward.

I am a bit skeptical, to be honest, because high-level encounters in most Paizo modules so often fall so sharply on the side of the PC's.

Btw have you read the sidebar pretty much at the end of the adventure? The one that refers to "points" gained in the adventure, I am really not sure how I should feel about this, they are very powerful boons.

The way I see most mythic abilities, is that they increase the power already there by a factor, rather than a fraction. If you already have a good chance to hit, and deal good damage with power attack, well that only gets better. Improved critical (mythic) even gets more powerful once you have access to keen or improved critical.
The combination of mythic vital strike, mythic power attack and mythic improved critical is quite stunning....

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

magnuskn wrote:
With Luz and me discussing about how to improve my Jade Regent campaigns last weeks, the thread kind is off-kilter,

Speaking of which...

Jade Regent spoilers - Round 2:
Kudos to your players for handling the encounter so effectively. It would have been nice to see them a little more threatened, but it sounds like it went fairly well. And the encounter served its purpose in alerting the hezrous and nalfeshnee. I assume the session ended at the end of the battle with the omox demons and the party is still in the pool cavern. Here are a few suggestions:

1 - Attack: have the nalfeshnee and hezrou summon more allies (I'd pick more hezrou or the vrocks for the nalfeshnee) and send them into the pool cavern (maybe after a buff or two). The cool thing about the hezrous is they can use their spell-like abilities while in gaseous form. They can hide in small crevices and spam blasphemy from a good distance at the party en masse while keeping mobile with greater teleport. Have the nalfeshnee arrive a round or two into the battle with his unholy nimbus ready to go. To make this more dangerous, exchange his Cleave feat for Ability Focus (Unholy Nimbus). With his advanced template that would increase the DC to 26.

2 - Ambush: have the demons wait for the party inside the caverns. For this approach, I would give the caverns abyssal planar traits (strongly evil-aligned, enhanced and impeded magic, etc.). Additionally, give the caverns a sentient trait. I'm thinking the caves are drawn to mortal souls like a magnet and slowly feed off their essence. Effectively, all PCs (at least mortal ones) make a DC15-20 save each round in the caverns between G4 and G5 or become fatigued, or exhausted on two failed saves. An alternative would be to design a fiendish haunt that is harmed by holy damage instead of positive energy. Just some thoughts.

When it comes to the encounter with Shojinawa Ito, have you considered using wind wall (or cloak of winds) with deflection? Might be fun to give the archer a taste of his own medicine. Just once!


This is probably why they're insisting Wrath of the Righteous is best suited for a 15-point build group. That said, I doubt most groups will actually get 10 or 11 Devotion Points unless they have insider knowledge, the GM hits them with a cluebat, or they're really really good roleplayers and roleplaying very devout characters.

And really, let's look at those abilities behind a Spoiler box.

Spoiler:

+2 to any one skill. This is handy, but I'm not sure how "broken" this could be; smart players won't use it to have one uber-high skill and instead will use it to boost a weaker skill like Stealth (which most Paladins will have a low score in).

+5 Permanent Hit Points. This is also quite handy. I'm not sure if it's broken either as it's JUST five hit points. It could improve the survivability of a low-Constitution character or someone playing a squishy class. ;)

One Bonus Feat (that you must qualify for). This one could possibly be considered threatening. But are Humans that much more uber for having an extra Feat? I'm not sure. It's handy, I'll say that... but for most players it's the high point of what they'll be achieving.

+2 to an ability score of the player's choice. This is the biggie. This is the grand prize. If your characters were NOT built from a 15-point build, then it could be considered broken (depending on how the dice rolled). But it also depends on the player. If a player uses it to beef up a weakness (say having used Dex as a dump stat or having a low Strength due to being a spellslinger) then it is not that bad. Upping a high stat to go to uber-levels... moreso.


The simple solution is this: Have the final Devotion Tier (if achieved) be selected by the GM rather than the player. This will allow a GM to boost what he or she sees as a weakness rather than to further mix/max a character.


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Luz: Some great suggestions. I'll try to work them in, although I'm not even sure if the players will go to the demon side first. The side of the devils is just as easily reachable.

Tangent: I think the difference between a 15 or 20 point buy is completely negligible at the power level of Wrath. The six players is a much bigger issue and I'll have to see how the party composition shakes out in the end. At the moment, we got a caster Cleric, a Barbarian, a Paladin and a archer Ranger, with two more characters coming in, both of which could end up being full arcane casters.


I'd say the best solution is to give all the encounters Max hit points. You might also add a foe here or there. And I'd suggest a house rule that Rapid Shot and Multishot don't stack (aren't usable at the same time).

And to be honest? I'm not sure high stats are a problem. I am all for higher point builds (but I also always increase monster hit points). I'm just saying this might have been their way of justifying the stat increase.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

magnuskn wrote:
Luz: Some great suggestions. I'll try to work them in, although I'm not even sure if the players will go to the demon side first. The side of the devils is just as easily reachable.

Which, IMO, is all the more reason to push the offensive. The occupants of G5 and G6 are aware of the party and that they are somewhat spent on resources, it makes sense for them to be opportunistic at this point. I have no doubt your group will take care of these opponents - probably in short order - but their opponents don't and would probably strike with the upper hand.


Sebastian Hirsch wrote:


But I am curious, IIRC you have MA and Wraith of the Righteous part 1, what do you think about the AP. After all the PCs will hit the high levels (and high tiers) sooner and reach higher levels in this one.
What do you think, will the PCs steamroll this one too ?

The AP has a CR 26 enemy in the bestiary part, and frankly I am not that impressed (oh and btw this demon lord doesn't seem to be immune to sleep effects, so unless he is on his home plane... mythic hex: sleep drops him for at least one round ...).

Well after reading the first adventure, and asking James Jacobs about the number of mythic demons in the AP, I'm worried. He basically said that the vast majority of the encounters in the AP are going to be against standard demons. As magnuskn, I'm skeptical. I'll probably have to re-stat all the important encounters to provide a decent challenge.

WotR spoiler:
For example, in the first adventure you have a final encounter against 6 demons that can barely scratch you due to the wardstone buffs, while you are completely restored. I understand the need for the PCs to feel powerful, but this battle is a waste of time in my opinion. You will save time just describing how they shred the babaus to death.

As for Xoveron, all demon lords are immune to compulsion effects. Sleep hex references the sleep spell, wich has the compulsion descriptor, so I think he is immune.


Yes, you have four 5th level characters with 1 Mythic Tier against a bunch of normal demons. Which... are very likely CR 6 or higher encounters. And there are two simple solutions to this. Either you can not allow Mythic, which they explain how to do in the module... or you double the hit points of all the monsters.

For that matter, you can also say "no, you can't take that Feat because I feel it would break the game" to your players.


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Doubling the hit points doesn't do much good if the enemies only hit on a 20 and do minimal damage when they do hit, does it? It just makes a pointless fight last slightly longer.

We call this "Blackwall Keep Syndrome" after the third module in Age of Worms, where the author seems convinced that the mass of lizardfolk is a huge threat (in theory it's about CR11) and gives lots of warnings about how the PCs musn't let themselves be engaged--but in fact the PCs can just stand there fighting lizardfolk until they are all dead, because they can't hit, and on the rare 20's they do a d6 or so. No amount of those is actually a CR11--not ten, not fifty, not a hundred. Probably not a thousand. They just don't scale that way.

And then you get the disaster when a GM feels s/he has learned that lesson, and applies it to the wrong creature--something where several of them really is much more dangerous than one. Harpies are a good one. Seugathi are a *great* one (ouch). CR is something of a black art.

Babau demons are more in the first category. If you can handle them, you can handle a lot of them, extra hit points or no. Succubi, in the other hand, are in the second category: unless you are totally immune to their wiles, you don't want to see ten succubi because you *will* miss a save.


Then there's the Advanced build. +2 to hit because of Strength, +2 to damage, +2 to armor class, and more hit points.

For that matter, there's also fudging die rolls to ensure the combat is more viable. I know some GMs are purists about this, but it's idiocy. The game is about being enjoyable. Just mowing down monsters isn't fun. Having a close fight is fun.

The Exchange

Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
With Luz and me discussing about how to improve my Jade Regent campaigns last weeks, the thread kind is off-kilter, anyway. But alignment discussions are of course still a bit of another thing than high-level play discussions. ;)

The AP has a CR 26 enemy in the bestiary part, and frankly I am not that impressed (oh and btw this demon lord doesn't seem to be immune to sleep effects, so unless he is on his home plane... mythic hex: sleep drops him for at least one round ...).

Ha? the demons lord from the WotR #1 bestiary is a *beast*. At least, it seems that way to me. Admittedly I have 0 experience with pathfinder over level 11, so I guess I don't really have the right to speak here, but:

1) SR 38... Even 20th level character cant really get pass that consistently, right? gonna be tough to hit him with any spell, let alone sleep... which, by the way, your PCs will never even try because it's kinda silly to assume it works.

2) Blasphemy at will, with the DC being 26 (meaning PCs not prepared with the right strong save can easily just not make their save)... and their HD easily 10 less than that of the demon lord... meaning every single melee character in the party could just be dead, easy as that. Besides, some archers/caster could easily find themselves with range, especially when you consider that casting time is a standard action, and the the demon lord is size huge and has 80 ft movement to re-position himself for the spell...

3) Somewhere between timestop, quickend flesh to stone, imprisonment, the special roar ability, greater dispel magic and earth quake, this guy can cause a TON of disruption. And that's not even half the stuff he can do... and it helps that many of the saves will be virtually impossible for many of the PCs (DC 40 saves or take 30d10 damage and be stunned for 1d6 rounds? really?)

4) it helps that once a single PC, or hack, an NPC helping the PCs... or hack, a mook he keeps around for exactly that reason dies, the demon lord gets to consume the body, heal 270 damage and gain the effects of haste...

So, how is this thing NOT impressive?


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Well, maxing hitpoints normally only adds one, maybe two rounds to the combat duration at the high levels, so it appears to be a good idea to do that and apply the advanced template. And adding additional opponents, if they can do something worthwhile to the party.

Some more Jade Regent specific stuff for Luz:

Spoiler:
I am actually loath to bring the main encounter outside of Teikoku Sokai's chamber, due to the ambience of the mirage arcana effect. I will probably do the Hezrou encounter with one additional advanced Hezrou in gaseous form and Unholy Blight in their indicated chamber (their melee is pretty much senseless even in their advanced form versus the AC the party frontliners sport), hoping that the mist hides their position for a few rounds.

As for Sokai, I'll keep his encounter to his illusory throne room, but with maxed hitpoints and the advanced template, he should teleport away to the pool at 100-125 HP, which should be enough give him the chance to do so. I might give him a Potion of Barkskin +5, to up his AC to a level where he does not get auto-hit by everything, even with the advanced template. But AC 36 is already pretty respectable.

In regards to Shojinawa Ito, Wind Wall does not appear to work with Deflection and I am loath to give up Finger of Death at DC 26 (and that is from his base stat block) for something which may well not work. If I max his hitpoints alone, he clocks in at almost 500 "real" HP (due to his incorporealness) and I firmly plan to give him Displacement, instead of Blur.

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Oh, and I also completely overlooked that he has unholy aura...am I just a noob for not understanding what high level PCs are capable of? this guy just seems so invincible, but maybe I just don't have a clue...


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Lord Snow wrote:


1) SR 38... Even 20th level character cant really get pass that consistently, right? gonna be tough to hit him with any spell, let alone sleep... which, by the way, your PCs will never even try because it's kinda silly to assume it works.

Look up the Slumber hex from the Witch class, then what the mythic hex ability does. Yes, it can work and if you take the Archmage path, you get abilities which help you bypass SR.

Lord Snow wrote:
So, how is this thing NOT impressive?

It certainly is, but at the level where you actually get to fight those kind of enemies, the game is so skewed towards rocket tag that it only matters who goes first in initiative. HP pools are too small on both sides to effectively deal with the damage output the game allows, and it certainly appears so far that they are even less adequate for mythic games. We'll see how it goes when the actual high level modules for Wrath roll in.

The Exchange

magnuskn wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:


1) SR 38... Even 20th level character cant really get pass that consistently, right? gonna be tough to hit him with any spell, let alone sleep... which, by the way, your PCs will never even try because it's kinda silly to assume it works.

Look up the Slumber hex from the Witch class, then what the mythic hex ability does. Yes, it can work and if you take the Archmage path, you get abilities which help you bypass SR.

Lord Snow wrote:
So, how is this thing NOT impressive?
It certainly is, but at the level where you actually get to fight those kind of enemies, the game is so skewed towards rocket tag that it only matters who goes first in initiative. HP pools are too small on both sides to effectively deal with the damage output the game allows, and it certainly appears so far that they are even less adequate for mythic games. We'll see how it goes when the actual high level modules for Wrath roll in.

Well, I'll take the words of the expert on it (IIRC you did like 17 adventure paths, so experience is on your side here :P). Even more than that you have access to the mythic handbook and I don't, so It's hard for me to evaluate just how potent are the bonuses you speak of...

but just looking at the slumber hex, the demon lord has a +33 fort save, and I just can't see that it's likely it will fail that save...the base difficulty would be around DC 26, and even if all sorts of extra stuff helps make it harder I can't imagine the demon lord will need more than a 4 or something to make the save... and there's still always a viable chance of just failing to bypass SR... even with like a +10 to bypass SR a 20th level witch has like a 40% chance to miss...

I'm just saying that the numbers on this beast actually look big enough to withstand the maddness that high level PCs are reported to be.
He will lose initiative, though...

The Exchange

And what I meant about the slumber hex is that even though the creature is not ACTUALLY immune, as a player I would assume it is, and will never try a slumber hex on it out of feat of just burning a valuable turn on doing nothing.


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Oh, well, just lost a large post due to message board problems. :-/ Anyway, I calculated that the DC can easily reach 37 at lvl 20/mythic 10 and probably would be higher if an optimizer were to touch that up.

And as for never using that ability... there are ways to negate immunities in Mythic Adventures.

The Exchange

magnuskn wrote:

Oh, well, just lost a large post due to message board problems. :-/ Anyway, I calculated that the DC can easily reach 37 at lvl 20/mythic 10 and probably would be higher if an optimizer were to touch that up.

And as for never using that ability... there are ways to negate immunities in Mythic Adventures.

Yeah, I'm really feeling the lack of this book during the discussion, as I obviously have a serious lack of information here. About the DC though, I can easily say that I don't worry about that too much... if an optimizer put that much into making the save hard, he/she deserves to force a demon lord to roll a 6 instead of a 4 to make that save :P

By the way, part of the demon lord's CR comes from the super power it gets by being in it's realm, which turns all the spells into mythic spells and gives access to mythic power. I'm not entirely sure how Surge works, but IIRC the demon lord could use it to improve a saving throw, right? Even a party of level 20/mythic tier 10 PCs that faces the demon lord in it's layer (where he'll most likely be) will have *serious* trouble with this one. I mean, come on, you described what your PCs are capable of at length in this thread, and most of it sounds much more terrifying than a DC 6 save or suck effect... right? For someone who scrambles to find a way to challenge high level PCs, this here demon lords looks like quite the blessing...

Plus, the demon lord *does* get to summon a balor each turn as a swift action, and those can use power word stun in a rather effective way (CL 20, no save) to neutralize some of the arcane casters in the party.


Well yeah, a Mythic 10 character is quite powerful. You're talking the equivalent to a level 25 character. Though in my opinion Mythic is a little MORE than .5 levels per tier - I'd say closer to .75.

The question is, would a level 20 non Mythic group have a chance. The answer is: it depends. It depends on their magic items, their builds, and how many characters there are. A party of six level 20 characters is decidedly more powerful than a party of four. Add in level 18 or 17 Cohorts for even half of them... and suddenly you're talking a sizable group of high level characters that could do a number on it.

In fact, that might be interesting to do; a larger party that isn't Mythic. See how they'd cope.

The Exchange

Tangent101 wrote:


In fact, that might be interesting to do; a larger party that isn't Mythic. See how they'd cope.

all die together to the first well positioned blasphemy that the demon lord casts? Remember, up until now there were not many enemies capable of outright killing PCs of 20th level because of the gap in HD that it requires, but this demon lord has 33 HD, and a seriously high save DC of 26. I'd say any PC with a weak will save is just about doomed, as they'll have like what? a + 10, maybe even +14 on their save? not bad, you need to roll 12 plus. Oh, you got lucky and won the die roll? nice, you are all still paralyzed for a turn. Speaking of being paralized, the demon lord used a swift action to summon a balor... and it's either casting fire storm to target all those poor, paralyzed people who can't make their save at all, or is maybe using power word stun to take out someone left outside the range of the spell.

Now, I know that you want to go around saying that all the PCs are likely to go first in combat, and that gives that an entire round to try and bring the bad guy down before he gets a chance to kill them.

The bad news are a SR of 38, a frightful presence of impossibly large DC, and a regeneration they can never beat. And plenty of more specific Immunities. Plus an AC of 45 is no joke even to a buffed 20th level martial who has his strength reduced (via unholy aura) every times he scores a hit... I guess the first attack each round is still likely to hit but the iterative attacks could easily miss. Plus, after the blasphemy, the strength is reduced even further.

Seriously, this demon lord is a *beast*. It really is the strongest monster Iv'e ever seen in PF rules.


I was actually referring to Wrath of the Righteous itself (as in a part of six characters with 25-point builds or better).

And let's face it. A level 20 party that's optimized would very likely have magic items to cope with weaknesses, may have used Wish spells to increase stats, and if they were intelligent would have researched their foes.

Let's take a party that finished off Karzoug and looted him and Xin-Shalast. They'd have several minor artifacts and may very well have a couple weapons Empowered in the Runeforge - they may even have something that negates Blasphemy.

Saying "it's impossible" ignores the fact many players are the most cunning and sneaky type of person out there. That's why we are friends with them. ;)

The Exchange

Tangent101 wrote:


Saying "it's impossible" ignores the fact many players are the most cunning and sneaky type of person out there. That's why we are friends with them. ;)

Keep your friends close... and your players closer.

Well, I see your point. I will refrein from voicing my unfounded opinions from now on, since I really just have no experience with the subject matter. I guess it's quite impossible to guess what kind of magic items PCs of 20th level are going to posses... but seriously, the demon lord attacks from so many angles, requiring the PCs to have such incredible resources on all fronts, that he still seems incredibly powerful to me.

I'm starting to have a delightful idea in my head to test the power of the demon lord - to take the BBEGs of five or six different APs and use them as a group of PCs, and try to take down the demon lord. Think about it: Karzoug, Nyrissa, the high priest of Ydesrius + the avatar of Ydesrius, the Xin reliquary, queen elvana... etc.

Actually, do you guys feel like doing this? open a separate thread in the PBP subforum and run the gauntlet?

Silver Crusade

Sc8rpi8n_mjd wrote:
Sebastian Hirsch wrote:


But I am curious, IIRC you have MA and Wraith of the Righteous part 1, what do you think about the AP. After all the PCs will hit the high levels (and high tiers) sooner and reach higher levels in this one.
What do you think, will the PCs steamroll this one too ?

The AP has a CR 26 enemy in the bestiary part, and frankly I am not that impressed (oh and btw this demon lord doesn't seem to be immune to sleep effects, so unless he is on his home plane... mythic hex: sleep drops him for at least one round ...).

Well after reading the first adventure, and asking James Jacobs about the number of mythic demons in the AP, I'm worried. He basically said that the vast majority of the encounters in the AP are going to be against standard demons. As magnuskn, I'm skeptical. I'll probably have to re-stat all the important encounters to provide a decent challenge.

** spoiler omitted **

As for Xoveron, all demon lords are immune to compulsion effects. Sleep hex references the sleep spell, wich has the compulsion descriptor, so I think he is immune.

Thank you I completely missed that descriptor, I was only searching for immunity to sleep effects.

Silver Crusade

Lord Snow wrote:
Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
With Luz and me discussing about how to improve my Jade Regent campaigns last weeks, the thread kind is off-kilter, anyway. But alignment discussions are of course still a bit of another thing than high-level play discussions. ;)

The AP has a CR 26 enemy in the bestiary part, and frankly I am not that impressed (oh and btw this demon lord doesn't seem to be immune to sleep effects, so unless he is on his home plane... mythic hex: sleep drops him for at least one round ...).

Ha? the demons lord from the WotR #1 bestiary is a *beast*. At least, it seems that way to me. Admittedly I have 0 experience with pathfinder over level 11, so I guess I don't really have the right to speak here, but:

1) SR 38... Even 20th level character cant really get pass that consistently, right? gonna be tough to hit him with any spell, let alone sleep... which, by the way, your PCs will never even try because it's kinda silly to assume it works.

2) Blasphemy at will, with the DC being 26 (meaning PCs not prepared with the right strong save can easily just not make their save)... and their HD easily 10 less than that of the demon lord... meaning every single melee character in the party could just be dead, easy as that. Besides, some archers/caster could easily find themselves with range, especially when you consider that casting time is a standard action, and the the demon lord is size huge and has 80 ft movement to re-position himself for the spell...

3) Somewhere between timestop, quickend flesh to stone, imprisonment, the special roar ability, greater dispel magic and earth quake, this guy can cause a TON of disruption. And that's not even half the stuff he can do... and it helps that many of the saves will be virtually impossible for many of the PCs (DC 40 saves or take 30d10 damage and be stunned for 1d6 rounds? really?)

4) it helps that once a single PC, or hack, an NPC helping the PCs... or hack, a mook he keeps around for exactly that reason...

Lord Snow (note to self don't say "you know nothing Lord Snow.... :P ) I actually agree that the creature has some pretty nice and quite powerful abilities, but I have a lot of experience with powerful players, and I could see this one dying to 1-2 archers in a round. And that isn't so much fun for me the GM.

Liberty's Edge

Or put him one on one with Adimarchus.


Technically the arguments on Sleep and Compulsions suggest it isn't affected by those immunities. Specifically the discussion of the compulsions that Protection From (insert alignment here) spells protect from - they protect from Charms and Compulsions but don't protect against Sleep.


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

Little update on the Jade Regent campaign, for interested parties.

Spoiler:
Three fights this session, with the first one (two advances Hezrous in gaseous form in a foggy area) being a bit of a disappointment, since the fog was cleared away by a fireball, leaving the Hezrous with their pants down and subsequently dead in a single round. The second one against a doubly advanced Teikoku Sokai was better, but in the end the superior firepower of the group pulled through, although it cost them some resources.

The third fight was against the combined devil quarter of the Well of Demons, with Maemi just inviting the PC's in to talk to them, resulting in a big brawl between the party and Maemi (advanced Handmaiden Devil), Shiori (double advanced Shiko Me assassin) and the eight advanced Erinyes. And three additional summoned advanced Erinyes, but they really didn't amount to much at that point. All in all about a CR 18 encounter for the level 14 party. With Maemi and Shiori having maximised hitpoints, something like 1500 HP were beaten down by the party, while the monsters dealt around 500 HP damage combined. Without some advanced escape options (Ghost Step, Shift, Dimension Door) on different characters and a ton of healing from the Priest, things could have gotten much hairier. As it is, the party has expended about all of its best resources and will rest one night to go fresh into the lower level.

Normally that would result in one rebellion point being lost, but since the group resolved all the pending situations in the city, that has been voided. It seems like Ameikos rule will be good for Minkai, indeed! Well, one of the Ninja characters got his backstory resolved this session (he was under a Geass spell since the start of the campaign to protect Ameiko and her sister Kazumi and bring them to Maemi) and I fear that he might try to turn his character evil and kill Ameiko. Given that she has been observing his demeanor since the start of the campaign, she will be starting immediately to maximise her sisters and her own security from him, including always having Suishen at her side during rest periods, with an explicit order to Suishen to make sure that the Ninja never gets too close at night without her getting a telepathic warning.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:

One thing that I proposed for the game early on that never even made it into the alpha as far as I know (which is too bad, cause I think it would have sovled a lot of the problem) is "enhancement slots."

Basically, a PC has a limited number of slots for magical enhancement effects from spells. This number should be relatively small. Say, 1 + 1 per 5 character levels, to a maximum of 5 slots at 20th level.

Every helpful "buff spell" takes up a slot, and if your slots are filled and a new buff spell comes in to affect you, you get to decide which slot the new effect fills and replaces or if you want to ignore the slot.

This way, a 12th level PC has 3 buff slots. He might start the fight with a bull's strength, a heroes' feast, and a death ward. Once the combat starts, the bard begins a bardic performance. The character must decide if he wants this boost, and if he does, gets to pick if he wants to replace bull's strength or heroes' feast or death ward.

Enhancements from worn magic items don't fill enhancement slots, since they're already filling "slots" on the body.

Try it out! Tinker as you will! In theory, this not only prevents the PCs from becoming too overwhelmingly powerful by powering up with prep spells, but also makes it easier to track those prep spells since there's a limit, and also works to prevent the "nova" effect of a caster spending all their buff slots in one encounter, forcing them to be more tactical in their adventuring and spreading out these effects during a day.

I do recommend NOT using this for NPCs; let them have as many buff spells as you want, since NPCs don't fill the same role that PCs do. Of course, you can certainly go ahead and use the system for NPCs too if you want... that'll mean more adjustment to stats for published adventures is all...

A little update on that: Now that we've started Wrath of the Righteous, we implemented as a houserule that, while casters can buff themselves with as many buffs as they like (and that bardic music would count as a class feature instead of a magical buff), the party as a whole gets three buff slots, so if a Cleric casts Blessing of Fervor and Prayer, the Wizard casts Haste and the Bard casts Good Hope, everybody has to choose which three of those four buffs are going to affect them. I hope that takes a bit out of the buff synergy advantage a large group gets while not screwing over completely the buff-heavy classes like a melee Cleric.

I also went back to standard magic item crafting, but this time with the WBL limitations proposed in Ultimate Campaign. With the explanation that a caster can only handle so much "permanent magical weight", which with increasing power level gets higher.

I am not sure if Wrath of the Righteous was the right AP to start with this experiment, though, since much of the overpowering aspect of gameplay will be made worse with mythic rules. We'll see what comes of it.

As for people interested how Jade Regents final encounter went:

Jade Regent:
Pretty disasterous. :( I really put a lot of time into preparing for this, adding a level 15 Wizard with a conjured Elder Earth Elemental and buffing the opponents up to the gills (which alone took about three hours to apply all the buffs correctly to their stat blocks) and then running a trial combat to see how it probably would go. In my trial combat, the party went with their standard tactics and killed the Jade Regent and his entire entourage in 2 1/2 rounds. Pretty decent for a high level combat, with one dead player character (saved by spending hero points).

The real combat went differently, though. Instead of using standard tactics, the party had prepared their best buffs for this encounter alone. They got the imperial seals from the vault and then set off directly for the throne room, bypassing all the other Oni (which weren't too eager to face the party, anyway, after they had slaughtered a gathering of their high-level commanders with consumate ease).
The combat was over in one round, with the added Wizard, Anamurumon and Renshii Meida not even getting their turn. The Jade Regent was one-rounded, too and the Raven Prince surrendered after being the only one left. The elemental was dismissed and that was that.

I got taken by surprise by the players not going for their standard tactics, but that's on me. But all the problems I talked about in this thread were highlighted in the final combat. No PC went in with less than 11 buffs, the guys with the most buffs had around 16. To-hit numbers were through the roof, damage was enough to make the maxed-out hitpoints of the opposition irrelevant. One new thing I've noticed is that designers more often should try to maximise the initiative of opponents, since not getting your turn early very often means not acting at all. Food for thought for those oh-so-scary demon lords.

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