Combat balance in mythic gameplay - Ongoing campaign coverage


Wrath of the Righteous

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Given that players can spend a Hero Point to gain an additional standard action, and that Hero Points recharge quite slowly, I figure that requiring 5 Mythic Points to do the extra Standard Action is quite fair. Players will have to decide which is better - getting an extra standard action, or conserving those points for later.

BTW, what happened to the campaign? I've not seen updates on it of late.


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I do my updates weekly, the last one is on the last page.


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

i got a question for magnuskn, which APs have you guys played and which was your favorite?

its just a curiosity question, im not going anywhere with it so feel free to not answer:)


Is it wrong that I read this thread now to see how many of Magnuskn's players show up as opposed to hear about the damage output? 4-5 seems to be the median but he has been getting a few 6 player sessions which sounds awesome (when I last Dm'd I had 5 players but usually could only rely on 3 every friday.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

We completed three so far and stopped playing a fourth one.

Spoilers, of course, so beware:

In sequence:

- Curse of the Crimson Throne: An excellent AP, with the three first modules building a strong connection to the city you play in, Korvosa. Sadly the three last modules take you out of the city for two of them and in the last one you basically just fight stuff. Still, one of the best AP's Paizo has ever published.

- Kingmaker: The one AP we stopped playing. Didn't work out at all, the city building was tedious and the "one encounter per day" exploration also was the same. The story was pretty weak, too.

- Carrion Crown: A decent AP, marred by a way too combat heavy last module and a complete lack of connection between the modules. I had to introduce the villain in the first module and keep him a recurring character, when with the AP as written his first contact with the party would have been in the final fight of the AP.

The good thing is that Brandon Hodge took the negative feedback I gave to heart and then wrote two of the best single modules Paizo has ever published, with Rasputin Must Die! being the single best thing I've ever seen in RPG's. ^^

- Jade Regent: Another excellent AP. Although on the surface it looks a lot like Carrion Crown, in as that the party travels from one location to the next constantly, the four recurring NPC's you have with you help immensely in making you feel the connection. The AP would have probably benefitted from cutting one of those four, the two sub-systems introduced both were atrocious mechanically (and from an RP standpoint the relationship rules also were horrible), the four NPC's could have needed more development, module three was way too tedious and I had to substitute the way too long dungeon in module four with something else... but nonetheless, the story was overall very good, the setting of Tian Xia was excellent and everybody had a blast. Although the final fight was kinda weaksauce, it needs serious sprucing up. ^^

Overall, Curse of the Crimson Throne and Jade Regent tie for the best APs I've played and as far as I've read the others I have (CotCT, then Kingmaker - Wrath), they are definitely the ones which appeal most to me, too.


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Black Dougal wrote:
Is it wrong that I read this thread now to see how many of Magnuskn's players show up as opposed to hear about the damage output? 4-5 seems to be the median but he has been getting a few 6 player sessions which sounds awesome (when I last Dm'd I had 5 players but usually could only rely on 3 every friday.

Yeah, I can reliably count with four players showing up, but mostly it's five. We play with as few as three, but of course that is a situation which I want to avoid.


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magnuskn wrote:
The good thing is that Brandon Hodge took the negative feedback I gave to heart and then wrote two of the best single modules Paizo has ever published, with Rasputin Must Die! being the single best thing I've ever seen in RPG's. ^^

Which reminds me, maybe I should put in the time and write some demon troops. ^^


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

To add to curiosity questions; how does your group handle missing PCs? Absent people would make a huge difference with buffed mythic encounters.


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Most of the players leave their character sheets, so we just take them with us and play them. This has led to some characters dying while the player was away, but them's the breaks.


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Session of June 24th 2014:

All six players in attendance.

The party arrived at the Ivory Sanctum and after bypassing the illusory wall, was attacked by the Brass Bull (monster supplied by Scorpion) while raising the portcullis. The gorgon really didn't do much, aside form eating two mythic power, due to necessary surges to avoid being petrified. Since it wasn't immune to mind-affecting effects, an Overwhelming Grief was enough to take it out of the action long enough to bring it down.

Entering the Sanctum itself, the party was immediately accosted by four Scions of Baphomet (again provided kindly by Scorpion), who did some impressive damage. They were joined by two advanced Kalavakus from farther back in the Sanctum, but overall that combat also didn't last for more than three rounds. Even with the high mobility of the Scions, they couldn't stand up to the damage output from the three melee characters and the Ranger archer.

Notable moments of the fight:

- One Scion dies to massive damage after getting critted for 90 points of damage and rolling a one on his massive damage save.

- One Scion is exploderized by a critical hit from the Samurai, doubled with the foe-biter legendary weapon ability, for some 200+ damage.

- The Sorcerer is far enough along in his Arcane Metamastery development that he now can use it for maximised spells. A well-placed maximised empowered fireball took 80 points each out of the two Kalavaku's.

The party then continued in the direction of Jerribeth, killing the two Scions posted before her room on the way. They finished talking to Jerribeth, but even with her reasonable offers (from her perspective), they have determined that she cannot be left alive. Next session it'll be that fight to start. I kinda fear that the Samurai is going to spend the last mythic power of his legendary sword to touch attack foe-bite her, which probably will either kill her or get her near death. It'll cost him the chance to use that later, but it still would be a pretty pathetic way for her to go. I'll have to talk with Scorpion about what the best counterstrategy would be. :)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

In our game we have ruled that, unless otherwise specified, using a mythic surge, or a legendary surge is a immediate/swift action. That would prevent the touch attack foe-biter strategy. We are just finishing the 2 book and have found it to be fairly challenging, but our GM is playing the monsters very intelligently. We have a melee cleric, tower shield (very defensive) Paladin, Death dealing Zen Archer/Ranger, Witch, and a Bard. We have found action economy, in regards to mythic/legendary surges, to be a limiting factor. Remember if you use a immediate action prior to your turn you lose your swift action during your turn.

OK, gotta go burn something on the grill, have been greatly enjoying your posts and insights Magnus.


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Oh, I am well aware of the swift action / immediate action thing, however foe-biter and the touch attack thing are not surges, they just use mythic power. The weapon of the Samurai has its own pool of it, so that's the way they kinda circumvent my nerf on their mythic power pool. ^^

And thanks for the compliments. :)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Yep, that's the legendary surge (power) that I mentioned. The rules say that it is similar to the mythic surge ability of the character. In our game, we ruled that since the legendary item cannot take its own action (like casting spells, unlike intelligent items from the CRB) it costs the character their immediate/swift action to active a ability of the weapon (or item), unless otherwise stated. It just prevents stacking surges on an attack, i.e. character rolls their attack, uses a mythic surge to increase their roll, they would then be unable to use a legendary surge to further increase their attack roll if they missed, or use a legendary power to activate foe-biter to double the damage output.


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I don't have the ruleset with me now, but I was under the impression that the legendary weapon has its own pool of mythic power which it can use for surges, but also for other uses. So those other uses would not count as surges. Foe biter specifically states that you need to use two mythic power to double the damage on a critical hit, for example.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Correct, it has its own pool of power, but we have ruled that the player, not the item has to take the action. I believe precedent had been set with the spell-casting ability of the weapon--that it allows the holder to use a spell as a SLA instead of the item being able to cast it as its own action.

I was just presenting this as a possible solution to the touch attack, foe biter problem, and fully acknowledge that this would be a house-rule and not RAW.

For times when multiple surges or power points have to be expended it is still only a immediate/swift action.

It does actually work for the GM and keeping his creatures alive a bit longer...at least in our group....and as long as the Ranger doesn't decide that it must die, that guy is really nasty!


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Well, I am leery of changing things on the group suddenly, so I'll see how it goes next Tuesday.


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OK. Quick question. Where is this Foe Biter thing you all keep talking about?


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

It is a ability for that you can select for a Legendary weapon, pg 172 of MA.

Re-reading the legendary power/surge sections, it looks like our house-rule holds a fair amount of validity.

Foe-Biting basically allows the wielder to double the amount of damage dealt at the expense of 1 legendary power point,or 2 points if the hit was a critical hit.

Sorry for the thread jack, I'll be quiet now.


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Oh, don't worry, the thread always get back on track each Tuesday. ^^


Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Thankfully none of my players took legendary weapon yet, so I've avoided this issue so far. Already had to nerf Clustered Shot to keep my Ranger from killing everything in sight in 1 round.


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Yeah, damage reduction has really been helpful in that regard, although sooner or later our Ranger will get a +5 weapon and then the only thing stopping her will be epic DR. In my game, we still need weapons with an enhancement bonus of +6 to beat that (instead of the nerfed way Mythic Adventures does it), so demons will have a bad time against her, since she uses a Bane weapon.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Creatures have DR? What's that?

Sorry...there are so many ways with paladins, traits and mythic abilities that DR was pointless in that campaign.

Grand Lodge

I am just finding that out too, I also don't like the way that Paizo did the +5 = Adamantine weapons, I don't think I will use it in my games becasue it is game breaking. Better if they have to invest resources.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeah, it's not as if they are lacking in WBL in this AP, rather the contrary.


+4 is adamantine, +5 is good/evil btw

Grand Lodge

Ok, that is an even dumber rule, really you should have to pay to get a weapon to by pass that.

Contributor

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So my party is just about at the end of Book 2 (I'm a player). I've been reading through the comments in this thread (though I've skipped most of the play-by-plays to avoid spoilers) and this is my take on the Wrath of the Righteous Adventure Path.

This AP is not designed to be a party-wiper, especially after the party gets its first Mythic tier. Why? Backstory.

This Adventure spends a LOT of time building up the PCs as heroes. We just got to the part where one of the villains even referred to us by title ("Heroes of Kenerbras"). If we had a party wipe in just about any other adventure, recruitment of new characters to continue onward doesn't really hurt the story too much. But a party wipe in Wrath of the Righteos has HUGE complications storywise, especially as the PCs gain more and more Mythic tiers. "Where did this 10th level / MR 3 character come from? How did he receive Mythic power? Why haven't we heard about him by now? Also, this adventure path is HUGE on time limits as a means of building suspense. If we wiped in Drezden, then story-wise the entire place should explode, which either means the GM needs to heavily modify the story, you hit the reset button on the whole thing and try the AP again, or you pick a new adventure to play.

The book does NOT do as many over-the-top ridiculous encounters as it should. Whether or not you are out for blood is your own business, but I personally think that it is WotR's scale that prevents it from being as deadly as it could be. In all, the story reminds me of something out of Wrath of the Titans. Its high-powered and cool to look at, but although there's some suspense you never have any doubt about who is going to win this engagement.


My party just hit Scorpion's Jerribeth. They had to retreat, she beat the tar out of them, partially due to bad decisions. I knew off the bat, and from how people's backstories were set that they'd never even listen to her, and I was right. The pcs were not quiet coming in, and a couple of the Scions had teleported away and raised the alarm already so she was already prepared.

The Eidolon rushed in immediatly and Jerribeth took a chunk out of her hp. Jerribeth went second on the initiative and promptly began unleashing pain, using Reverse Gravity, and completly dismantling th eidolon with a full attack. She took some damage from a mythic searing Light from the Inquisitor, while the Wizard dispelled the gravity effect. Then the Paladin took the field.

Heading in, he quickly took her down to about 70 hp. So she was going to use Heal to heal herself. Think is, she had already put the terror into the pcs when she full attacked the Eidolon to death (an intentional, and ironic move as by backstory, the Eidolon used to be the summoners fiance before she was torn apart by demons. Specifically Jerribeth, though they didn't connect the dots til then.)

Anyhow, she intended to heal but the Summoner panicked, and threw up Wall of stone, blocking Jerribeth off from the Party. Which gave her time to Heal, summon a Glabresu, both buff, then while the pcs all readied actions for when the wall of stone was smashed, the two teleported two rooms away and snuck up on the pcs from behind.

Realising they were in deep trouble, they got Arueshalae to use the Staf of hers to Planeshift them out of there. Likely we'll see a round two next session, ideally with both pcs ready.

Honestly Jerribeth's biggest game changer is her Power Word Stun 5/d. The Cleric spent most of the fight in that state, and the Wizard joined him right before they planeshifted. No save, entirely hp based, it can really make the main casters sad.

I need to decide how she will react to what she knows of the pcs tactics for next time though.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My PCs never beat Jerribeth and were very frightened of her. I kept her scrying ability so she knew their every move when they attacked the second time. The only thing I had to do was re-arrange her feats and abilities to make her more powerful.

But then again, the only thing you need in mythic to be powerful is dual initiative and mythic power attack.


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Session of July 1st 2014:

Five players in attendance. This was 90% the fight against Jerribeth (Scorpions version), who really gave the party a hell of a battle. Her AC was boosted to 44, a number which was legitimately difficult to hit for the group and she had eight mirror images up. It took the party three rounds to get her images to zero and she took something like 26 damage throughout that period. The only Greater Dispel Magic which went off dispelled her Barkskin and Divine Power, so after the first round she was a little bit less effective, but still had a hell of a punch. After her defenses were stripped down to the Shield of Faith she had going, she went down pretty fast, finished off by a massive critical hit from the smiting Paladin, who combined a Litany of Righteousness with a Foe-Biter attack to deliver something like 300-400 points of damage on her already low-on-HP behind. We didn't roll all the dice, because it was clear that she was a goner.

On her part, she didn't kill anyone, but it really took a lot of good luck and strategy on part of the party to prevent it. I went with the Mythic Power Attack + Mythic Vital Strike combo Scorpion recommended and dished out about close to 100 damage per hit. Even with her dual initiative the party managed to keep the Samurai barely alive for 1 1/2 rounds, which is when the Sorcerer cast Deathless on him. Her Corrupting Whispers failed to dominate the Barbarian, but did work on the Samurai, even with about four rerolls due to resolve and different Samurai/Code abilities. The Samurai challenged the Paladin and managed to hit him... zero times, rolling extremely low. Then again, the party had rolled low on their tries to get rid of the Mirror Images, too, so it was pretty even.

Jerribeth then switched to the Barbarian, doling out AoO's along the way where she could with her reach attacks (critting Arueshalae for 100 damage. Ouch!). But since the Cleric had cast a Heal with Abundant Casting, he managed to keep the Barbarian alive long enough for the party to turn the fight around.

Even with no dead PC's, I think Jerribeth really scared the crap out of them and now they are quite low on resources. I gave them back two mythic power, so that they could push forward. However, they are also low on high-levels spells and are not planning to rest (rightfully fearing that Xanthir would seek them out or retreat with his resources), so I think I will put most of the restant encounters together, with Xanthir pulling his troops back to the giant cave which were added on Thanurels map. I'll leave the Coloxus and the Thanadaemon in their chambers and maybe have the restant Scions of Baphomet as a roadblock, so in about two weeks we'll be done with the Sanctum.

Arueshalae is really pretty useless so far, since she lacks even Precise Shot, she keeps missing most of her attacks. :-/ Her spell-like abilities are mostly worthless in combat, so she doesn't contribute very much.

The party then cleared the Neth-Talgus out (basically I threw that encounter, to keep thing moving. Not that they had any chance, anyway...), then looted everything that they had killed before.

Oh, and they took the Necklace of Strangulation, not recognizing it for what it was. Since the Wizard left the party, high Spellcraft DC's have become a bit of a problem. I am not sure if I should let one of them get killed by it, since it is such an unfair item. Where would they get Limited Wish/Wish/Miracle spells at this level.


They can just destroy the item (possibly auto-critting the wearer) while he is strangulating.


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Interesting. I think I'll keep it in then and make a strong suggestion.

Could be that nobody will use it and that they will sell it, though. ^^


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Disguise it as a necklace of adaptation... not having to breathe is a nice boon especially if you used stinking cloud or poisonous vapors a lot. I know I would keep the item just in case, especially if I don't need a necklace of natural armor.

On an unrelated note, I'm approaching the end of book 2 and I'm about to make some houserules regarding mythic so far.

- Mythic points are 3+tier instead of 3+double tier.
- Characters recover 1d4 mythic points per day instead of the full allotment. This increases to 1d6 ad tier 4, 1d8 at tier 7, 1d10 at tier 10, following the surge dice increases. Every time they defeat a mythic opponent or perform a mythic trial, they recover 1 mythic point for a maximum of 2 points recovered if defeating the mythic opponent is also a mythic trial.
- Each +2 to an ability score is instead a +1 to two ability scores.
- Mythic Power Attack doesn't have a special crit clause.
- Mythic Order's Wrath doesn't daze on a successful save.
- Mythic Heroism only grants the +4 bonus to attack rolls, saves and skill checks.
- Mythic Haste doesn't grant the extra move action each round, but affected creatures gain a +2 dodge bonus to AC and reflex saves, and a +2 bonus on attack rolls, on top of the usual extra attack during a full attack action.


I have made characters who could have worn that thing. I was considering doing it on my cavalier just because I would probably survive for quite some time.


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i'd keep it in, if nothing it'll make them feel not so invincible, and as mythic heroes raising the dead body shouldnt cost too much:)


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Well, I already told them that it was a Periapt of Wound Closure, which seemed to me to be the item they most likely would keep for themselves. So far nobody has asked for it, although two of the five players present had left at the point of looting Jerribeth's room.

We'll see how it goes. If I forget to do bad things to them with this item, remind me to. ^^


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Sounds like your group had a great night of adventuring!!! Definitely take someone out with the necklace.

Not to de-rail again, but did you broach the legendary surge/power thing with your fighter types? If so, what how did they respond? And do you think it would make a significant impact?


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I actually did not, since one of the other players was trying to talk the group into more wholesale nerfs to the entire mythic adventures ruleset. I supported him, but the others were against it. So, things stayed as they were.

And, honestly, I can't blame them. I was in a similar situation only a few weeks back. I had been playing a Master Summoner in a RotRL campaign and the guy was making the other three party members look like complete chumps. We nerfed him once and he still kept making them look like chumps. I spoke out against nerfing him a second time, because that would have taken him too far from the character I was playing before. So, with my consent, the GM dropped an anvil on him. No, not literally, but it was pretty close to it.

In any case, nerfing characters once is one thing. Nerfing them twice or more will get any players dander up. I'd like to avoid that.

However, I nerfed Litany of Righteousness to only affect the first hit a character does in his round. Why thought that this spell was anything close to balanced in its published form? >.<


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I had to tell my paladin 'no' on that spell. Even at only one attack per round who wouldn't want a spell in that range that could do 100s of points of damage.


Just be happy your Paladin isn't mounted with Spirited Charge. A Spirited Charge + Litany + Foe Biter + Smite Evil Outsider = I quit.


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Yeeeah, I really want to avoid the lance-wielding mounted Paladin, since that is again one of those scenarios where opponents just evaporate.


The way I read it, spirited charge is x4 damage, litany is x5, then x6 with foe biter. Double doubling is tripling and there's not the clause "this is an exception to the normal doubling rules" like there is for stuff like weight increases. "Total amount" means that you also double abilities like flaming and sneak attacks that you normally don't double.
Also, you can't smite and use litany in the same round, you have to litany in the second round and that means the opponent had at least one round to do something, likely moving around to prevent a charge.

http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2qva3?Mythic-Vital-Strike-Foebiter


Krinn wrote:

The way I read it, spirited charge is x4 damage, litany is x5, then x6 with foe biter. Double doubling is tripling and there's not the clause "this is an exception to the normal doubling rules" like there is for stuff like weight increases. "Total amount" means that you also double abilities like flaming and sneak attacks that you normally don't double.

Also, you can't smite and use litany in the same round, you have to litany in the second round and that means the opponent had at least one round to do something, likely moving around to prevent a charge.

http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2qva3?Mythic-Vital-Strike-Foebiter

You forget, the Paladin doesn't have to charge the first round, he could actually smite and then hold off on the charge. Even without Litany though, you're looking at x5 damage which basically means auto-death for anything in his path.

I have a 10th level Halfling Cavalier that does 3d6+126 points of damage on a charge when he uses Challenge, and he's not even Mythic! If he were doing x5 damage instead, it'd be 5d6+210 points of damage, for an average of 227.5 points of damage. That's entirely non-Mythic damage shenanigans too (if he were a Paladin).

I could picture something getting even worse for a Mythic Charging Paladin because he has the option for items like silver smite bracelet or using divine bond on his weapon. If he worked together with a party member, it could be even more horrifying as a party member could be a crit-fisher with butterfly's sting.

With Mythic Improved Crit that lance does x3 on a crit...

Hell, non-mythic party with the above set-up could probably handle WotR, it just becomes a simple case of crit-fish + charge = K.O.!


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Tels wrote:
Just be happy your Paladin isn't mounted with Spirited Charge. A Spirited Charge + Litany + Foe Biter + Smite Evil Outsider = I quit.

On a pouncing Synthesist summoner


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

While I don't consider limiting the legendary surge/power "nerfing", (for the reasons earlier posted), I do acknowledge that it is problematic to adjust the rules mid campaign. Each group needs to make the changes that work best for them.

I am really enjoying this thread and your other one about the failed AP, and while I don't agree with everything, I am finding a large amount of very useful advice on your threads.

Thanks for taking the time for posting your thoughts.


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Thank you, JFK68, I am happy that I am contributing to the board. Even if the designers probably wish that I would shut up with my constant complaints about Mythic Adventures, game balance and how the AP's are too focused on combat encounters. :p


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First Mythic fight vs Soltengrab
Party
Paladin 7 Champion 1 Two handed Sword Paladin
Wizard 7 Archmage 1
Ninja 7 two weapons
Ranger 6/Fighter 1 Guardian 1 Dwarf ranger tank with axe and shield
Ranger 5/Paladin 2 Archer
Monk 4/Paladin 2/Champion of Irori 1

The party was on the bridge having a conversation having just killed the Sorceror and his tiefling minions while breaking the chains to the Aurochs so the bridge was safe.
Soltengrab (Using Scorpionmd's stat block with Max hp) Rolls a 20 for initiative going before the entire party and then, again before anyone except the Wizard and the ninja.
Round 1
Soltengrab strafes with breath weapon all saving throws made 17 hp to everyone except the archer and the monk , the archer was outside the cone and the monk evaded.
Wizard casts haste, Ninja holds his action as the chimera is flying
Soltengrab swoops down and full attacks the dwarf leaving him staggered for 4 founds and 50 hp of damage
Party swarms over Soltengrab using fleet warrior do just over 100hp damage
(Epic DR was only beaten by their Mythic strikes, normal Paladin smite did not overcome it)
Soltengrab feels aggrieved that the Paladin did a lot of damage and hits him with full attack, drops him negative but Hero's defiance brings him back he is staggered
Ninja sneak attacks for a big chunk of damage (45hp from several sneak attack hits), the wizard hits him with slow but thanks to the triple mind reroll he just makes his save
Soltengrab protests and rolling poorly drops the ninja to -7 hp
Sadly the dwarf crits him with a waraxe for lots and Soltengrab drops.
The dwarf decides he wants a leopard skin cloak

Soltengrab burned 2 or 3 mythic points from each pc, and had 3 of them on the ropes, more importantly the 3 main damage dealers were in trouble. Overall he put a scare into the party.
In comparison after resting the party took on 11 Brimoraks and wiped them out for minor damage (they had communal Resist fire up and shrugged of 11 fireballs and 11 flaming breath attacks)
The party is going to feel the lack of a cleric I am not sure they will survive the high level rocket tag without one.

I found the comments in this thread helpful in preparing for these mythic battles as besides the opinions there is practical experience to draw on.
I have nerfed Mythic power attack, banned Mythic haste and dropped the ability to buy standard actions with amazing initiative. Also slowed mythic recharge


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Well, it turns out I am doing some minor good in the world after all. :p


magnuskn wrote:
Well, it turns out I am doing some minor good in the world after all. :p

COSMO IS DISAPPOINT!


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This and next week there won't be a new entry, due to work schedule.

Which won't be a problem in three weeks, since I quit. No, not (only) because of the schedule thing, but because of other reasons having to do with the companies desire to control their employees every move. :-/

Anyway, no WotR session for two weeks, which makes nobody happy.

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