Am I a pushover? Rats of Round Mountain


GM Discussion

Shadow Lodge

I recently ran both parts of the Rats of Round Mountain set of scenarios at high tier for 6 players (mostly the same, but two players were different in each group). I had no deaths, I had no one go unconscious, and I had no combat make it more than a few rounds. There were a few things I know for a fact I could have done better, mostly in playing the dragon. I had to knock some rust off since I've been too busy with work to GM or play for several months, but I think this could be more than rust.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not out to kill. It's not a goal that I strive for. It just seems to me that if my players are doing so well in such a notorious set of scenarios, that I might be partly to blame.

As best as I can remember, the party for part 1 consisted of:
9th level bear shaman Druid
11th level two-weapon fighting Rogue
8th level tank Cleric
9th level evoker Wizard
10th level large biped eidolon with 15ft. reach and pet Summoner
10th level musket master Gunslinger with a seeking musket

Part 2:
Same Druid
Same Cleric
Same Summoner
Same Gunslinger
8th level White-haired Witch
7th level greatsword-wielding fighter

I'm not really sure what all details to give about the individual encounters. I don't know if I'm looking more for advice, or commiseration, or what. Just felt like venting a bit, I guess.

Grand Lodge

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Did they enjoy themselves? If so, you did a great job.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

I feel you man. Sometimes players, or just the dice, can surprise you.

Some time ago I recall gloating on how challenging You Only Die Twice would be. Well, what do you know, it was a complete walk in the park: I missed with just about every attack roll, couldn't offer any challenge because of a random set of parameters, such as certain combat grid moves that were made on a whim closing charge lines, etc. Utter disappointment there, but at least the players were relieved.

In Rats' case, I think the dice didn't hate me or anything, my players just had the perfect party. It happens!

Shadow Lodge

Janira L. Gavix wrote:
Did they enjoy themselves? If so, you did a great job.

Aye, they seemed to. I know that's the real point of all this, but sometimes I don't have fun unless I know that I've played the baddies as well as I could. I don't feel like I did in this case.

Muser wrote:
In Rats' case, I think the dice didn't hate me or anything, my players just had the perfect party. It happens!

There was a bit of this. The Gunslinger went first in all but a couple encounters, and critted at least once in every fight, and never misfired. She rolls openly, so no shenanigans there. The eidolon is a beast, and at times had a higher AC than the Cleric who was built for it (both were in the mid to high 30s). They seemed to have the perfect answer to every problem (Archers behind arrow slits? Wind Wall. Wall of Stone cutting the party in half? A race between the DDooring Summoner and the Druid's stone shape. Cleric dominated (not the best choice, but he was in line of sight, and the Fighter and 'slinger weren't)? Successful dispel from the Summoner or Druid, one. They both had it, I think.

Running the dragon, the biggest mistake I made was choosing to stay and duke it out (thinking my own high AC and attack bonus would give me a shot against the eidolon) instead of risking the three AoO's I would have provoked moving away.


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Summoner, Gunslinger, Druid, White-haired Witch... name a scenario that's going to be difficult for these guys.

Liberty's Edge

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Mystic : 2 things here

A) Season 3 was the last season designed for 4 characters/ 4 players. That means that as soon as you add another character.. or even 2 more in this case you are introducing a destabilising influence on the encounter setup. 2 more players means 2 more set of actions each round, 2 more characters for the BBEG to target, more spells and so on.

B) During combat tactics. Sometimes for what the creature can do these make no sense. Just keep in mind you can modify this to react against certain things. Id certainly be breathing the dragons breath on spellcasters/ ranged types.

Shadow Lodge

I've often worried the same thing about games I GM, especially when I play in a lot of games where we're getting through by the skin of our teeth.

But in this specific example, Kyle's right - you've got 4 high powered classes there, and chances are pretty fantastic they were optimised. If you have 1 or maybe 2, it might be worth talking about, but this game had FOUR. And a cleric. And one of them had a wizard.

Shadow Lodge

Kyle Baird wrote:
Summoner, Gunslinger, Druid, White-haired Witch... name a scenario that's going to be difficult for these guys.

The Sealed Gate...

Liberty's Edge

Ive got the sealed Gate Penciled in for Paizocon. Disk: Should I be playing my Wizard, my gunslinger or my Barbarian? :)

4/5

I doubt the scenario would have gone very differently if you'd had a party of two, the gunslinger and the summoner alone.

Certain classes simply negate challenges, and those are certainly two.

The dragon can throw up a wall, which is about your best bet (split the party, and make sure the gunslinger isn't able to full attack you), but if the gunslinger goes first, this doesn't seem likely. Furthermore use attacks of opportunity to trip and otherwise prevent attacks on characters when you have reach.

That said, I think that the gunslinger alone will simply kill it in two rounds unless you manage to take away his weapon (disarm). If the eidolon can full attack it will as well, so, yeah, you've done nothing wrong. Displacement should have helped a bit though, except against that seeking musket master.

Dark Archive 4/5

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Kyle Baird wrote:
Summoner, Gunslinger, Druid, White-haired Witch... name a scenario that's going to be difficult for these guys.

I think the upcoming scenario "Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies" is going to be fairly challenging. :P

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Dresden10589 wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
Summoner, Gunslinger, Druid, White-haired Witch... name a scenario that's going to be difficult for these guys.
I think the upcoming scenario "Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies" is going to be fairly challenging. :P

Good.

5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Georgia—Atlanta aka Yiroep

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Dresden10589 wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
Summoner, Gunslinger, Druid, White-haired Witch... name a scenario that's going to be difficult for these guys.
I think the upcoming scenario "Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies" is going to be fairly challenging. :P

Emergency force sphere! I live!

Liberty's Edge 5/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Readied counter spell! You die!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

*sits quietly with contingency: gaseous form*


Kyle Baird wrote:
Summoner, Gunslinger, Druid, White-haired Witch... name a scenario that's going to be difficult for these guys.

Hehe, I was about to mention just the Eidolon and Gunslinger. I see David beat me to it.

-Matt

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Jiggy wrote:
*sits quietly with contingency: gaseous form*

greater glyph of warding tied to antimagic shell triggered if someone wouldn't be hurt by the rocks.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Andrew Christian wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
*sits quietly with contingency: gaseous form*
greater glyph of warding tied to antimagic shell triggered if someone wouldn't be hurt by the rocks.

My pointy wizard hat is actually a massive iron cone with shrink item running on it; when the antimagic field hits, the cone returns to full size and falls down around me like a little hut or teepee. It shields me from the rocks, and since it blocks line of effect for the antimagic, I then teleport away. Mwahahaha.

;)

4/5

Jiggy wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
*sits quietly with contingency: gaseous form*
greater glyph of warding tied to antimagic shell triggered if someone wouldn't be hurt by the rocks.

My pointy wizard hat is actually a massive iron cone with shrink item running on it; when the antimagic field hits, the cone returns to full size and falls down around me like a little hut or teepee. It shields me from the rocks, and since it blocks line of effect for the antimagic, I then teleport away. Mwahahaha.

;)

Locally we have someone who uses arrow eruption's inability to duplicate shrink item to great effect as well. Very cool spell.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

Immediate actions while flat-footed? Tut tut.

4/5

Muser wrote:
Immediate actions while flat-footed? Tut tut.

Defensive Strategist helps immensely with this. Uncanny dodge for people who find themselves flatfooted in other circumstances, but that is harder to get.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

Oh yeah, my two Rats parties.

Part 1: Inquisitor/Rogue/Shadowdancer 10, Cleric/Fighter 8, Dragoon/Gendarme 11, Grenadier 10, Oracle (Life) 9 and Merciful Healer 10

They talked their way out of every encounter but the second to last and that encounter was a steamroll.

Part 2: Same party sans the Gorumite multiclass cleric. Grenadier went up a level during the middle.

This was a decent challenge. The welcoming committee downed all but two characters and it would have been a tpk without the channelers. Later combats went pretty fast, but the boss was a great finale: incredibly tough main adversary with some greatly built goons.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

How do you talk your way out if the Gug ambush?

Shadow Lodge 4/5

That was the second to last encounter, right?

Eh, been a while.


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Muser wrote:
Immediate actions while flat-footed? Tut tut.

Uncanny Dodge FTW

Shadow Lodge

Matthew Pittard wrote:
Ive got the sealed Gate Penciled in for Paizocon. Disk: Should I be playing my Wizard, my gunslinger or my Barbarian? :)

Whichever one has the best Fort, Reflex, and Will save.

Dark Archive

Yeah, anytime you are running a scenario with a gunslinger the combats no longer matter, everything dies as soon as the GS looks at it.

Gawd I hate that class.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
Gawd I hate that class.

I just rolled one. :D

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Muser wrote:

That was the second to last encounter, right?

Eh, been a while.

Yeah, yer right. But then how was it a steamroll?

That ambush is nasty!

4/5

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Dropped my druid who dug the party a tunnel in the first round. I remember that surprise as nasty.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

Andrew Christian wrote:
Muser wrote:

That was the second to last encounter, right?

Eh, been a while.

Yeah, yer right. But then how was it a steamroll?

That ambush is nasty!

Iirc, an invisible shadowdancer popped his head out of the hole they had dug and went "Huh, well damn". Then a flying grenadier popped a couple of aao's and dove back into the tunnel. What followed was a slogging match/fighting retreat which quickly turned into a charging gallery once the cavalier set his sights on the gugs.

lance +27 (3d8+84/x3)

"What a story Mark!"

4/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Muser wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
Muser wrote:

That was the second to last encounter, right?

Eh, been a while.

Yeah, yer right. But then how was it a steamroll?

That ambush is nasty!

Iirc, an invisible shadowdancer popped his head out of the hole they had dug and went "Huh, well damn". Then a flying grenadier popped a couple of aao's and dove back into the tunnel. What followed was a slogging match/fighting retreat which quickly turned into a charging gallery once the cavalier set his sights on the gugs.

lance +27 (3d8+84/x3)

"What a story Mark!"

If you managed to clear the tunnel without the +27 perception Gugs noticing and setting an ambush, I don't feel the encounter went quite as written.

As an aside, just imagine if hard mode had existed in S3. They could have been Gug savants who further set up the ambush with their invisibility SLA. Then they could use the surprise round to isolate victims for full attacks in subsequent rounds by casting transmute rock to mud, and spike stones.

Liberty's Edge

We found the Gug Battle the hardest in that scenario. They were just nasty!

Shadow Lodge 4/5

It really has been a while, but sure, the gugs noticed, but there's no maiming an invisible character and we went to initiative after the ruse was up.

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