Mythic: Proper use of Block Attacks as a GM


RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

I'm curious as to the opinion of many of the GM's out there that plan to run mythic encounters and how they plan to use the Block Attacks ability.

If you're unfamiliar with it, here it is:

Block Attacks (1/round) (Ex) When hit by an attack, if you succeed with a melee attack at your highest bonus vs. the attack result, the attack misses.

The problem my players had was that I was saving the ability until a crit came up, then I'd block it. The creature was an intelligent Mythic being (int 13) by no means a genius but smart enough that it would know that crits are certainly more OWWW than normal hits. My rationalization of the tactic is that it's a Mythic encounter, if you're having trouble getting crits in, then too bad, its not supposed to be a goblin.

After a bit of player complaint, I switched to blocking the first attack per round. Needless to say, the encounter went much faster after that. My opinion is that had it been a player with this ability they would save it for the crit, as I had a Paladin using Sacrificial Shield in the same encounter blocking 66 points of crit damage, I feel fairly well justified in saying that.

This is the first Mythic encounters in a chain of Mythic encounters leading to a final apocalyptic confrontation. I plan to use this ability quite a lot and wonder if in later encounters I should just ignore the complaints or if there's legitimate player concern.

Considering rolling a 20 to hit will hit AC infinity, it does feel kinda cheap to beat it by just rolling their Attackbonus+21.

Perhaps allow it to block the confirmation instead on nat-20 rolls, which means it couldn't block a hit-20 followed by a confirm-20.

its a totaly reasonable thing for an intelligent creature to do. It will also result in the ability not being used some rounds. Put in reverse a 13 int pc wouldnt think twice about using the ability like that.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Fair point Jaatu, but you have to roll higher than their total attack meaning if they both rolled twenties and the players roll was say 30 with all the bonuses added in and the creature's was 29 with all bonuses added in, the attack would land. The creature still has to exceed their attack (granted that the attack bonus of this creature, and most likely the bonuses of the future mythic encounters will be significantly higher than the PC's attack bonuses means this ability almost always works, but that's the nature of Challenging encounters).

Just for transparency sake, the encounter was a CR18 Colossal intelligent construct with the Invincible(mythic) template. The PC's were Samurai 15 (Marshall T1), Paladin 15 (Guardian T1), Cleric 15 and Cohort Wizard 13 (Hierophant T1), and Wizard 15 (Archmage T1), and the encounter was a CR 21 in total. (It was the toughest encounter they've had so far and they worked their butts off for the win)

I think it's fine as it is and it makes perfect sense to use like the OP did. Defensive abilities are marginally weaker in PF than the plethora of offensive options, especially the mythic ones. So Don't feel too bad using it that way honestly.

My point was more the sanctity of the natural 20 to hit, than negating a crit :)

If someone has built their pc to crit on 15s and hand those crits off to their 4x damage flanking buddy with the scythe, then by all means, block away.

Liberty's Edge

It is a good way for a single opponent to negate a small part of the PCs' numerical superiority. It is not overpowered to use it as you did.

As any defensive advantage, it will lengthen the combat scene though.

Remember that when they feel their PCs might die, all players will argue, confront, beg and weep for the GM to show some leniency (as you did).

They DO smell weakness, you know.

Jaatu Bronzescale wrote:

My point was more the sanctity of the natural 20 to hit, than negating a crit :)

It's easy to get a miss chance in core, even without magic (fight in the dark against someone who doesn't have darkvision is the quickest), there's nothing all that sacred about 20=auto hit

Players beware, anything they use can be used against them. Nothing wrong with holding defenses for the really dangerous offenses.

Scarab Sages

Jaatu Bronzescale wrote:

My point was more the sanctity of the natural 20 to hit, than negating a crit :)

That sacred cow was killed with Crane Wing, which automatically negates the hit.

^It was dead earlier than that.

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