Constant camping?


Advice


Hi,

I am new to Pathfinder, having played a bit of other RPGs when I was younger. I am now the DM for a few friends, all new to RPGs. We are playing Crypt of the Everflame to get started.

Is it normal in Pathfinder to constantly camp to heal and recharge spells? The player characters have been told that a woman has been captured by the monsters and needs help, but they are not in any hurry, just dismissing the NPC when he tells them he is afraid for his sister.

I think they have spent like a week of in game time in the dungeon by now. They do one or a few encounters, and then pause to heal for a day before moving on. I think it's out of character, but on the other hand, the encounter rate is pretty high and the characters do get worn out quickly.

Is pathfinder balanced to be played like this?

Thanks for any advice.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Pathfinder is balanced around 4-5 encounters between rests.

If the party are constantly resting to heal and replenish spells, you need to do something.

Top of my list would be keep throwing encounters at them while they're resting. If that proves unworkable, kill the hostage (or whatever the adventure says are the consequences of taking too long). Time pressure only works if there is a price for taking too long.


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either start sending random encounters at them or let them fail.
"Sorry guys...the Damsel in Distress got eaten while you were being wusses"


Also remember that sleep/camping isn't enough. Any caster can only replenish spells once per 24 hours. So no one encounter will take up enough time ...


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Well you guys are new to this no? I'd look at your players background to RPG's in general, it would come as no surprise if your group is primarily made of video game RPG players with that they would assume that the world will gladly wait for them. Look at Wow, the elder scrolls series and the countless other permutations of such stuff, people hate time limits in games.
if this is the case it is highly likely that they are reading the pathfinder RPG as something similar to one of those games with nigh limitless time for even those missions where lives hang in the balance.
You will likely want to explain how that is not the sort of game you want to run and how there is no such thing as scripted behavior for your monsters when a human intelligence is running them rather than a massive collection of code. I would suggest you inform them of this out of game as if they were genuinely using past experience with video games as a bar then having the entire dungeon boss rush them with the rest of the monsters in it would be considered unfair.
If they are doing this to game the system then boss rush away.

All of the Adventures are balanced on a party of 4 players so if you have less than this number there is also the chance that is skewing your challenges. The same can be said for not having certain parts of an expected party, like if your entire party is made up of bards and sorcerers possible but hard to pull off without some good understanding of the system. it is normally expected in a pathfinder game to have someone who can defend himself in a punch out with the monster of the week, one that ca spot ambushes/traps, and casters to remove problems like blindness or death and other casters to inflict those problems on others.

As for the healing thing, it will get remedied by either the players playing smarter or purchasing bundles of cure wands in order to pay the "stupid adventurer" tax.


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To help a bit on the DMing side of things, maybe make more of the treasure into consumable stuff.

Rather than a bag full of gems and gold, perhaps a potion of cure light wounds and a 1st level spell scroll.

It kind of gives them the way to keep going without stopping all the time.


capsicum wrote:

Hi,

I am new to Pathfinder, having played a bit of other RPGs when I was younger. I am now the DM for a few friends, all new to RPGs. We are playing Crypt of the Everflame to get started.

Is it normal in Pathfinder to constantly camp to heal and recharge spells? The player characters have been told that a woman has been captured by the monsters and needs help, but they are not in any hurry, just dismissing the NPC when he tells them he is afraid for his sister.

I think they have spent like a week of in game time in the dungeon by now. They do one or a few encounters, and then pause to heal for a day before moving on. I think it's out of character, but on the other hand, the encounter rate is pretty high and the characters do get worn out quickly.

Is pathfinder balanced to be played like this?

Thanks for any advice.

The "5 minute day" is a problem for some groups. If the PCs won't charge ahead and rescue the girl, maybe the players don't care. That's why you need a serious session 0 before you start.

Alternatively, maybe the players are scared. If you're throwing hard encounters at them, they will "turtle" like this anyway.

Are they turtling due to running out of spells, or hit points? If the latter, give them a Wand of Cure Light Wounds so they can quit bandaging their wounds and get back into the game. Inexperienced players don't know to try to buy these things.


Another thought might be to tone down the encounters so that the PCs are breezing through them. If the PCs don't take damage, they don't need to sleep as much. If they're first level have a lot of CR 1 and CR 1/2 encounters.

All of this advice added up together might just get you there. Your adventure might look like this:

1. fight 2 fire beetles
2. fight a mite and another fire beetle; find a scroll of burning hands
3. fight a giant centipede; find a corpse with 2 potions: oil of magic weapon, cure light wounds
4. fight 2 mites and a giant centipede; find a scroll of bless
5. fight a giant spider
6. fight 3 mites; find a potion of lesser restoration
7. fight 3 fire beetles
8. final fight of the night: 2 mites, riding giant spiders, defending their mistress/leader - a female mite adept 3. If they win the party finds 2 potions of cure light wounds, a scroll of protection from chaos and a wand of obscuring mist

Also I just have to ask: what has been done to find said girl? You mean that a week's time has gone by and the party's defeated somewhere between 5 - 20 fights and is still just blowing this off? Some specific questions:

- what clues have they picked up about the girl and her kidnappers?
- what are they doing to find her? (interrogating villains, scouring for clues, Gather Information checks)
- are there consequences for taking THIS long to get after the girl?

While yes, you should inflict the consequences (if there are any) for taking too long the players might not even understand what's at stake. They may lack motivation here. Also they might not be invested because they don't have ANY clue what's happening. If they have the woman's brother telling them, but what concrete stuff have they found out?

Maybe they just want beer and pretzels...


Thanks all for the advice.

The party is four characters, with balanced spread of classes. I instructed them to create a party like that to make sure it would be balanced and work in play. And, yes, these are people used to video games, so that is part of it I think. Some of the players are a bit of min-maxers competitive to their personality and way to approach a game in general. I don't mind too much though, after all it's their game and it should be fun for them.

It's just that I think the fun of a table top RPG is the depth which goes farther than what can ever be possible in a computer controlled game, and I would like the players to experience more role playing and less mechanistic, optimized play.

But since I am new to pathfinder I was afraid that the game might be designed to be so challenging that frequent rests are needed. It's good to know that this is not the case and I can challenge them a bit more.

What I will do is to let the damsel in distress die. She's been without access to food and water for a week now. One of the player characters is a lawful cleric, and I'll let his deity be upset by this behavior, so the cleric loses his powers. That should teach them to take it more seriously. ;-)

I'll bring in a couple of villager NPCs to help them out since losing the cleric might otherwise make it too tough to get through. I also like the suggestion of putting in some healing aids in the loot.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

You might not want to have the cleric lose his powers - that should generally only be used if the cleric acts in a manner directly contradictory to their deity.

I wholeheartedly agree with the poor girl dying as a result of their neglect, but I think it would be fair to have them receive no reward from whoever sent them to rescue her.

Definitely add consumable magic items like potions and scrolls (maybe a wand of cure light wounds) to the rewards you give out: in the low-level game, these should be pretty common.

Scarab Sages

capsicum wrote:

Thanks all for the advice.

The party is four characters, with balanced spread of classes. I instructed them to create a party like that to make sure it would be balanced and work in play. And, yes, these are people used to video games, so that is part of it I think. Some of the players are a bit of min-maxers competitive to their personality and way to approach a game in general. I don't mind too much though, after all it's their game and it should be fun for them.

It's just that I think the fun of a table top RPG is the depth which goes farther than what can ever be possible in a computer controlled game, and I would like the players to experience more role playing and less mechanistic, optimized play.

But since I am new to pathfinder I was afraid that the game might be designed to be so challenging that frequent rests are needed. It's good to know that this is not the case and I can challenge them a bit more.

What I will do is to let the damsel in distress die. She's been without access to food and water for a week now. One of the player characters is a lawful cleric, and I'll let his deity be upset by this behavior, so the cleric loses his powers. That should teach them to take it more seriously. ;-)

I'll bring in a couple of villager NPCs to help them out since losing the cleric might otherwise make it too tough to get through. I also like the suggestion of putting in some healing aids in the loot.

Suggestion instead of killing the damsel: goad the party into knowing that they're on a clock. At the start of the next session, as they wake for the morning, a desperately emaciated man badly wounded stumbles into their camp. He's the damsel's tutor, who was abducted with her since she was at lesson. He managed to escape from the chains holding him to try to find help, but the damsel is barely lucid, and will be dead before the next sunrise without water. This gives the party an immediate reason to act instead of a lesson for next time.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
capsicum wrote:
What I will do is to let the damsel in distress die. She's been without access to food and water for a week now. One of the player characters is a lawful cleric, and I'll let his deity be upset by this behavior, so the cleric loses his powers. That should teach them to take it more seriously. ;-)

So the god was watching them the whole adventure and never sent a warning vision that the cleric was running out of time to save her, yet will punish him after the fact? Sounds like time to find a new god.

Grand Lodge

I always find with new players that the "video game" mentality holds sway. They forget that this isn't a scripted world and that you have a mental clock ticking. Some adventures take place at night and camps can be attacked. If they aren't setting a guard or having one person guarding all night have them roll fort checks to stay awake.

Also they should be keeping track of time themselves as well, don't do all their paper work for them. This will be a hard lesson for them to learn, they should be writing down NPC names and dates and times and events on their character sheets as their is no one to track that and treasure for them.


Ok, thanks, those are good points regarding the deity, so I won't have the cleric lose his power.


Do the players know the nature of the monster that has taken her? If so:

Spoilered for the benefit of people who may wish to play the adventure:
perhaps a suggestion that undead may not consider that a living creature would require such comforts as food and water would be sufficient to light a fire under them.


Ok, so I read some sort of spoilers in another thread and it seems that the PCs are intended to find out background info from Knowledge checks along the way through the dungeon. Also the PCs should be aware they're in a time crunch from the beginning. Finally the poster in the other thread was a player and was frustrated with the time crunch since there's a lot of encounters draining the party between the beginning and the girl.

I have not played the module or run it. That being said, perhaps have anyone with the appropriate Knowledge automatically pass the check and start immersing the PCs. Ask them to take notes about what they're noticing and tell them flat out that it'll be important to the story.

Also above in this thread are a lot of suggestions to keep the PCs going after a couple encounters. Consumable treasure, dumbing down or even skipping an encounter, speeding through to the end. Another thought would be to ad-lib something helpful for the party outside the module.

It's a dungeon crawl right? What if, after a tough fight the party found a partial map of their current level with a secret door noted that takes them right to the heart of the adventure? Alternatively you might just have them find said passage on their own. Also try to follow the Three Clue Rule. So the girl is lost down here and it's important that the party finds her right? 1. you have a torn section of female clothing found with fresh blood; 2. in a couple more rooms you have a chalky rock with some blood on it under some chalk writing on the wall: an arrow where she was taken and her initials; 3. when the party does finally have to rest the cleric gets a vision of her wherever she is in the dungeon and the sense that she's knocking at death's door loudly.

Players, especially new ones, are blank slates. They don't know ANYTHING of what's going on until you tell them. If you or the module need the players to get somewhere, you need to give them the directive, motivate them, and drop the help that gets them there in one piece.


The 13th age has an excellent rule regarding "fleeing" that I think works well here. The rule itself is focused on fleeing battle rather than just sleeping, but the same principle applies.

RULE:
[If the party has to flee or rest too much]...The party suffers a campaign loss. At the GM’s discretion, something that the party was trying to do fails in a way that going back and finishing off those enemies later won’t fix. If the heroes were on their way to rescue a captive from unholy sacrifice, then naturally enough the captive gets sacrificed. Don’t worry, overcoming setbacks is exactly what heroism is about. The point of this rule is to encourage daring attacks and to make retreating interesting on the level of story rather than tactics.

Also worth noting that chronic resting syndrome tends to be directly related to your number of casters. The group I am running is two barbarians, a fighter, and a sorcerer. Ignoring rages per day, 75% of the party is in optimal fighting shape as long as they can have the sorcerer UMD a cure wand or chug potions. If they were three casters, this definitely wouldn't be the case.


A lot of this has to do with level and party composition. I have one group that is Barbarian, Oracle, Magus, Wizard and those guys rest a lot. Granted I can't remember the last time they fought anything that was easier than APL+3, so it is likely 3/4 casters combined with a diet of boss fights. I have another group Monk, Ranger, Cleric, Witch, Wizard that can go all day and all of the night. The Cleric is good at melee and the wizard is a battlefield controller who is stingy with spells, and we sprint through fights as soon as we hear of them trying to get more downtime for crafting.


In our game, we houseruled the rest period to regain spells.

1 hour for levels 1-3, 3 hours for 3-6, and 6 hours for levels 7-9. Per-day abilities still reset after 24 hours. It allows us to do the healing and other stuff necessary without having to spend weeks of game time in a dungeon.

If you're not willing to houserule anything, and your group is still having problems with things like downtime healing, consider investing in some expendables such as healing wands.


That module is an interesting one. When I ran a group of veteran RPGers through it, they swept through the top level of the dungeon in one in-game day, rested in the gateway with the NPC that was worried about his sister, and then headed immediately to the lower level and the end chamber (after having made some knowledge checks about the layout). Unfortunately the ease with which they handled the upstairs level made them overconfident and they ended up making some seriously poor tactical decisions and got TPK'd by the end boss and his minions.

I'll echo Bacon666 too. Casters need a full 24 hours before they get their spells back. So if they are taking on one or two rooms, which in game takes maybe a couple of minutes, then camping/resting, they aren't spending enough time to get spells back. They'd need to rest for a full 24 hours, and NO adventurer is going to sit around a campfire for 24 hours shooting the breeze waiting to get their spells back.

Like many others have said, new players many times bring a video game mentality to the tabletop. There's nothing wrong with that, it can be a great way to bring players to the game, but they'll need to learn the difference between the two systems. Lot's of great suggestions up thread, so I won't reiterate. If I were the GM I'd have the end boss kill the girl at the bottom of the stairs to the upper level so her screams echo throughout the whole dungeon. Then I'd have him raise her as a zombie to fight against the PCs when they finally make their way down to the final chamber.

I'd also have...

Spoiler:
Kassen the ghost express his great disappointment with their lack of urgency and allowing the girl to die. Subsequently I would NOT have him give the PCs the treasure that is listed to be given by him.

Remember, as a new GM with new players you are all learning the system, and your chief job is to make sure they are having fun. You can be a good tutor of the game, without being overtly harsh.


One of the frustrating things with this (and other dungeon crawl type modules), is that the sense of urgency is tricky to sustain. It's not designed to be done in one push (don't you even level in the dungeon?), so you're going to need to rest at least once. Especially at 1st level, where you're not likely to even have CLW wands or anything.
So if you can wait one day without screwing the ending, where do you draw the line? There's no hard limit, at least not that the PCs know about. It's pretty much just a GM call: I think you were resting too much, so I'm going to punish you by killing the girl.

As for "NO adventurer is going to sit around a campfire for 24 hours shooting the breeze waiting to get their spells back", that's true even if you've 4+ encounters in each day. That's still only minutes, an hour or so at most. If the dungeon is a decent size, you're going to have to do exactly that. Or travel back to town or something.


thejeff wrote:
I think you were resting too much, so I'm going to punish you by killing the girl.

I don't see that as a punishment. I see it as a realistic imagination of what the bad-guy in the dungeon might do to draw the PCs into his clutches. Sometimes innocent people die. There's nothing inherently wrong with that. It's part of a dynamic and realistic world filled with evil. Her dying isn't going to have any adverse effect on the PCs.

As to leveling in the dungeon, the module is designed for that to happen, but whether or not that actually happens depends on a couple of factors. How man PCs are there (if it's too many then every encounter's worth of XP might not be enough for them to level)? Do they actually find and overcome every challenge?

In the case where I ran it, the PCs didn't level because they skipped a whole section of the lower level.

As to the necessity of a 24 hour rest, I'd be inclined to disagree. Depending on the time of day that the PCs actually enter the crypt, it might be night time after only a handful of encounters (depending on take 20s and how often/much the PCs parley with each other, and any NPCs). In which case they'd be ready to rest. This is exactly what happened when I ran this module. The PCs arrived at the dungeon in the late afternoon, and spent the rest of the afternoon/evening clearing the top level, including rescuing aforementioned NPC, and moving him to a safe location. They then decided that moving into the lower level fatigued would not be conducive to rescuing anybody. The group I ran through this module actually debated whether or not to continue on, because they wanted to save the girl.

I can honestly say that I've never had a group of adventurers sit around for 24 hours in a dungeon or wilderness waiting to get their spells back. Part of the reason for this might just be the fact that I've dropped too many "random" encounters on them in the middle of the night. If PCs are in need of a rest that badly, they'll travel back to the nearest town. Which of course means travel time ticks off the clock.

I think the OP is looking specifically for those ways other GMs have used to create a world where 24 hour resting and the 15 minute adventuring day are avoided. There are plenty of ways to do that. One of them is through in game means, which is why I gave the suggestions I did.

I do agree though that the element of suspense is a very tricky element to sustain. For this particular module, I think the captured girl is really just a hook to make sure the PCs don't take the first NPC they encounter back to town and tell the local authorities that something really evil has awoken in the crypt. Which is a perfectly viable option, and actually one that the group I ran through it considered also.


Hm, I haven't really had any problem with constant camping, personally. My approach would be to advance time appropriately, which might mean bad things if there is something urgent they need to do.

A few hours could mean the different between interrupting the dread ritual and arriving just after the dread ritual has been completed. This need not be 'campaign lost' thing, but more of a matter of changing the nature of upcoming events. A group of fanatic ritualists vs a newly summoned demon, a fleeing bandit vs a bandit that just found his friends, a damsel in distress vs a damsel cursed/drained/otherwise in a bad situation etc.


MendedWall12 wrote:
thejeff wrote:
I think you were resting too much, so I'm going to punish you by killing the girl.

I don't see that as a punishment. I see it as a realistic imagination of what the bad-guy in the dungeon might do to draw the PCs into his clutches. Sometimes innocent people die. There's nothing inherently wrong with that. It's part of a dynamic and realistic world filled with evil. Her dying isn't going to have any adverse effect on the PCs.

As to leveling in the dungeon, the module is designed for that to happen, but whether or not that actually happens depends on a couple of factors. How man PCs are there (if it's too many then every encounter's worth of XP might not be enough for them to level)? Do they actually find and overcome every challenge?

In the case where I ran it, the PCs didn't level because they skipped a whole section of the lower level.

As to the necessity of a 24 hour rest, I'd be inclined to disagree. Depending on the time of day that the PCs actually enter the crypt, it might be night time after only a handful of encounters (depending on take 20s and how often/much the PCs parley with each other, and any NPCs). In which case they'd be ready to rest. This is exactly what happened when I ran this module. The PCs arrived at the dungeon in the late afternoon, and spent the rest of the afternoon/evening clearing the top level, including rescuing aforementioned NPC, and moving him to a safe location. They then decided that moving into the lower level fatigued would not be conducive to rescuing anybody. The group I ran through this module actually debated whether or not to continue on, because they wanted to save the girl.

I can honestly say that I've never had a group of adventurers sit around for 24 hours in a dungeon or wilderness waiting to get their spells back. Part of the reason for this might just be the fact that I've dropped too many "random" encounters on them in the middle of the night. If PCs are in need of a rest that badly, they'll travel back to...

I've certainly had groups sit for 24 hours in the wilderness. Regardless of random encounters, when it's several days journey back to town, during which you can also get random encounters, sometimes it doesn't make sense to travel.

This particular module may be smaller than I remember. I've read it, but haven't GM'd or played it.

My general point was that without a specific timeline, something like "The prisoner will be sacrificed two days from now at dawn.", it can be very arbitrary whether she dies if the PCs take 8 hours to rest or only if they take an extra whole day. Which of those is "a realistic imagination of what the bad-guy in the dungeon might do to draw the PCs into his clutches"?
The baddie might even kill her as soon as he gets her and the whole thing is in vain.
But it's generally pulled out as "Do this if the players are resting too much."

Silver Crusade

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If there's no reaction from your game world to character actions, then you're pretty much running a computer game from your gaming table. After a week the captive should be dead. Players should always be aware not every adventure is "kill and get treasure," and to preserve what makes RPGs unique, you have to make the world react to both the players' actions and inactions. If you don't enforce a reactive world because it's easier or you want to preserve a certain storyline, then you're not providing the full experience.

A good campaign has events moving regardless of what players are doing. Sometimes those events intersect, and we have grand adventures. In this case, the girl is kidnapped and presumably going to die in a few days. That's the background; players may not even know this and you've hinted at it through an NPC brother. If the players dawdle, do nothing, and so on, the event occurs and the girl perishes. By finding out their "slow and steady" approach didn't work, they'll gain some "experience" about your game world moving on, unlike the computer world of Skyrim where every quest waits indefinitely for you to drop by and do something.

I'm also betting players will respect the game more if you "keep it real" instead of trying to beat them over the head with a timed plot device by sending NPCs ("OMG I just saw her and she's about dead, hurry!"), visions ("The God of Justice demands you get your butt down there in 24 hours!"), or more annoyance by the brother ("I oh so certain she's going to starve in 2 more days if you don't hurry after you've piddled around for a week! Hurry please!")


Don't get me wrong thejeff, I certainly can conceive of a time when a group of adventurers might absolutely need to just take a 24 hour respite, to recoup and gather their strength. I've just always had players that felt like not moving "forward" in some fashion was akin to moving backwards.

I also get that the arbitrary timeline feels, often, like GM reprisal for whatever they consider bad form, or a railroad. The damsel in distress does seem to be a bit of a railroad-ish situation, used to create a false sense of immediacy.

Honestly, there are a couple of things about that particular module that I didn't like, and the damsel in distress was one of them. Which is why when I ran my players through it, I used her as a body-shield/negotiating piece. The BBEG had her tied up (helpless) with sword at throat, and as soon as the PCs entered his sight, he proclaimed his intention to kill her if they didn't throw down their arms.

For whatever reason, be it pure happenstance, or maybe something I set up completely unawares through my own style of play, every group I've ever GMed for has taken to resting at what they feel is an appropriate time of day. Not when they needed to heal wounds, or get back daily uses of magic or abilities.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As others have said, the GAME is designed for between 3 and 5 encounters per day (depending on how challenging each encounter is). Some adventures/dungeons certainly require resting in the middle of them, some dugeons are very large. If you find your party resting more often then every 3-5 fights, if you can add a sense of urgency, thats fine. You could for instance have the clerics deity send him a vision of the damsel starving and in pain in a prison cell (or wherever she is being held), to add a little motivation. Being new to this kind of game it might not have sunk in that the world will be moving around them regardless of their action.

You should also probably talk to your players out of game. Explain that pacing is important not just to the story, but the balance of the game, and that they should make an effort to concerve/supplement spells and other limited resources in order to be able to go through multiple encounters each day. Explain also that if they DONT do that the game isnt going to work out the way it is supposed to.

If they continue resting more often then they should there are still things you can do. For instance adding in 'random' encounters to make sure that the player resources are adequately drained for the 'big' fights.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, one thing to take into account is that low-level parties don't have the durability of mid- or high-level parties. They can easily run out of healing and spells, especially if the group consists of newer players without much experience. If the players in the OP's group have a slow pace, it may be because of this.


The big trap on the main floor is particularly deadly but if they are past that then just let them use the healing font in the basement at will instead of once per day.


Resting all the time can be abused or can be because the party is so beat up they have to. I've run games where the dice just don't go the player's way and that fist encounter works the party. This is quite normal at low levels as couple bad rolls can just ruin you adventuring day.

Now if you have a group of level 8 character pulling this then something is wrong or the dice were particularly bad to the players. I've had games were I couldn't roll above a 10 on a D20 all night.


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Back in the day you could just keep going till you died,3 minutes later you charge down the hall with a new character.

Friggin do that in Pathfinder and aye aye aye What a pain in the arse!


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First of all - welcome to the wonderful world of GMing!

The game is based around a party of four characters fighting the equivalent of four encounters with CR = APL (average party level; this will be equal to the level of the characters if each character is the same level). This is not to say that it will be four encounters in a row of the same CR - the party should encounter some that are easier and some that are harder; if they are going to encounter easier encounters, they can take face more before resting while harder fights will force them to rest sooner. Note that the tactics and equipment of their opponents and the environment that an encounter is set in can greatly influence the difficulty of an encounter in ways that should affect its CR.

There are some assumptions here that the party has roughly the appropriate amount of equipment for their level and that each character is built to a certain level of power - giving out more gear or ability points can make the group more powerful and if a sorcerer doesn't take any spell that can help in combat, the experience will be much different.

If you have four level 1 player characters, they should be fighting the equivalent of four CR 1 encounters before resting (assuming they have roughly appropriate wealth/equipment for their level). The CR's are given in the area overview as follows:

Mildly Spoilery Example:

"18. First Catacomb (CR 3, 800 XP)" means that there is a CR 3 encounter in that area. The total CR of the encounter is determined by the total XP of the monsters in it. In this encounter, there are 4 Human Plague Zombies, each CR 1/2 or 200 XP. Since there are 4 of them, the total XP is 4 multiplied by 200 XP = 800 XP, which is a CR 3 encounter - you figure this out by comparing the total XP to the Total XP column of table: Experience Point Awards, then the CR column of that table tells you the CR of the encounter.

Would you be able to add some more information such as: What classes are each of your players playing? If they are a martial class (fighter, ranger, paladin, barbarian) - do they use melee weapons or ranged? If one of the players is playing a cleric, do they channel positive energy or negative energy? The more information you can provide, the better we can help you. :)

You should ask your players how they feel about their progress. Are they frustrated by the slow pace but feel like they are getting drained of resources and can't go on? Are they blowing most of their abilities on every fight just to make the fights easier? Are they really intent on saving the girl or are they blowing it off thinking that the NPC who asked for their help is a jerk?

Just looking over this module, it looks pretty rough but I would expect the party to be nearly finished after a week of exploring. Are they able to heal back up to full with one day's rest and start adventuring again the next day at full ability?

The main issues I see that could be affecting them:

Spoiler:

Not finding the stash with the Wand of cure light wounds (10 charges) - in area 10 Supply Vault. Not having this could really slow down their ability to recharge after fighting; especially since it implies that they do not have a cleric to help with healing resources.

Not realizing to use the oil of magic weapon to fight the shadow/getting really damaged from the shadow. This is really brutal for players who do not have experience with the game and for low-level characters.

As far as whether the captive is still alive:

Spoiler:
This would be your call as GM. The general rule is that a person can go three days without water, so she would be dead without water. But consider this: Asar took her captive to discover what has happened in the past 200 years. He may be continually attempting to wring more information from her - she won't have a condensed version to tell him, and there are always going to be things she left out or thought were obvious for him to ask her. In addition, Asar knows from her that a group of adventurers are supposedly coming; he might keep her alive to use as a hostage/bait when the final confrontation comes. Though if it takes too long for the party to arrive, he might even decide that she was lying in an attempt to keep herself alive and kill her.

So, if Asar wants to keep her alive, could he do so? I believe he could get to area 19 to retrieve water from the pool of fear (he should be immune to the mind-affecting cause fear trap since he is undead), depending on how you rule the bats in area 20 would react. Since he doesn't need to sleep, he could wait for the bats to leave (if you feel that the bats do leave at some time of day - note the module doesn't cover this). If he doesn't want to wait, he might not disturb the bats when he leaves - he doesn't need light (darkvision 60 ft). He is also fairly stealthy (+6 - which could go higher if he removes his armor) - he would be noticed by the bats since they have blindsense 20 ft - assuming the ceiling is less than that, he doesn't have any chance to not be noticed, if it is higher, they still have Perception +15 - but the module has the bats attacking only if they are disturbed, so you could rule that Asar can get thru without light as long as he doesn't make noise. Alternatively, Asar can hurry past (it takes slightly more than a double-move if he takes his armor off, or two double-moves if he doesn't) and trust to his DR 5/bludgeoning and possibly the bats taking a round to form up to get through without taking damage (he should only be taking 1d6, though you could rule either way on if it gets through his DR).

If you deem it likely he will be injured, he would probably let her die. He doesn't have any way to heal himself and isn't likely to want to waste any resources on her unless he decides her knowledge or being a hostage is of overwhelming importance - not likely in my view.


*Embarrassed*

I was responding to another thread and looking for some backing of the four CR = APL encounters per day that mentioned above on the PRD (an excellent source new GMs should be aware of) and I could not find anything. I found the citation in my 3.5 Dungeon Masters Guide and am pretty sure it is still the same in Pathfinder, but I can't point to anything for where that is defined. And (naturally), I noticed this right after the edit window passed.

So if anyone can back me up or educate me on how it should work in Pathfinder, please do!


CR = APL encounters are going to be an easy encounter. 4 of them throughout the day may deplete 1/2 the parties daily resources. 4 encounters is probably about right and 1 of them probably should be CR=APL, 2 of them CR=APL+1, and 1 of them CR=APL+2.

All of that is of course a guideline. The pathfinder CR system is different (and I believe better) than the 3.5 one, but it is still imprecise.


I was looking for that in the PRD myself, but couldn't find it. I'd swear I'd seen in PF before. My books are packed, so I can't check there.

Still, looking through that adventure, I see in the upper level, 4 Cr3 encounters, 3 at CR2 and 3 at CR1. Obviously party may avoid some of those, but that seems way past four CR = APL encounters.
On the lower level there's 1 CR, 2 CR2, a CR3, 3 CR4 and a CR5. It looks like you're supposed to be 2nd level by the time you hit the lower level, at least for 4 PCs.
If the 4 CR=APL encounters assumption holds, then doing some experience math, it looks like the upper level is the equivalent of about 15 CR1 encounters. Or almost 4 days.
The lower level has the equivalent of ~12 CR2 encounters. Another 3 days.

Obviously some encounters will be missed and an experienced group of players with optimized characters will be able to handle more than this, but it really looks to me like a novice group really should expect to have to rest multiple times in this dungeon.


I found this quote from Sean K Reynolds:

Sean K Reynolds wrote:

The game is already rigged in your favor.

A "level-appropriate" challenge (CR = APL) is one that expects you to use about 20% of your expendable resources. It's not a hard fight.

For a group of 4 4th-level PCs, a level-appropriate challenge is one 5th-level character. Four against one.

For a group of 4 4th-level PCs, a level-appropriate challenge is four 1st-level PC-class characters (individual CR = 1/2, 4 of them = CR 4).

For a group of 4 4th-level PCs, a "fair" fight against 4 4th-level NPCs is CR 7, which is APL +3, which the game defines as an "epic" encounter.

I put "fair" in parentheses because each of those PCs has 6,000 gp worth of gear, and each of those NPCs has only 2,400 gp worth of gear. For a fight against an equal number of NPCs to be "fair," you have to have more than twice their equipment.

An average fight is stacked in your favor.

Even an "epic" fight is stacked in your favor.

The game is rigged in your favor because if the PCs lose, the game is over and everyone stops having fun.

That's why I don't get why people feel the need to powergame. It's like pitting a varsity high school football team against some junior high kids in PE class, and someone on the varsity team insists on using steroids to make sure the other team loses.


My group is the opposite... I have to force them to rest. They would head right into the BBEG without any spells if there is some "timer" :) [and due to pure dice luck they survived most times...]

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