Encounter design in PFS scenarios


Pathfinder Society

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I suspect that you can have a character go from level 1-12 with a regular non-magic weapon and have little to no trouble.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Tarma wrote:
I suspect that you can have a character go from level 1-12 with a regular non-magic weapon and have little to no trouble.

Until you hit something incorporeal.

Or rather you don't...

Shadow Lodge 4/5

Well I guess so. There's the occasional wraith encounter. And shadows too. I try have magic wpn by sixth level or so, as applying oils gets tedious after a while and there's nothing quite like not getting hit by incorporeal touch attacks or a gargoyle's full attack.

I find the added hardness and hp nifty as well. Rust monsters, caryatid columns, babaus, all kinds of things target weapons.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Tarma wrote:
I suspect that you can have a character go from level 1-12 with a regular non-magic weapon and have little to no trouble.

Until you hit something incorporeal.

Or rather you don't...

This is actually something that I've thought about and there's good reason to believe that incorporeal wouldn't be that large of a deterrent.

1.) Incorporeal creatures are actually not that common in PFS. They do appear, but you could easily have a character get to level 12 without ever encountering one.

2.) There are several ways to enable your weapon to damage incorporeal creatures should the need arise.

3.) When an incorporeal creature is encounter, there will likely be someone else in the party (like an arcane or divine spellcaster) who can handle the creature far better than a character with just a magical weapon would. While this may not always be the case, rare is the time when an incorporeal creature pops up and the spell caster doesn't say "I've got this."

4/5

Tarma wrote:
I suspect that you can have a character go from level 1-12 with a regular non-magic weapon and have little to no trouble.

If you're really looking for a challenge you could always test that theory.


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redward wrote:
Tarma wrote:
I suspect that you can have a character go from level 1-12 with a regular non-magic weapon and have little to no trouble.
If you're really looking for a challenge you could always test that theory.

Bet I could do it with a sorcerer!

Silver Crusade

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My magus has fought incorporeal things in roughly half the scenarios he has played.

He's 8.0


redward wrote:
Tarma wrote:
I suspect that you can have a character go from level 1-12 with a regular non-magic weapon and have little to no trouble.
If you're really looking for a challenge you could always test that theory.

Looking at stats for a random 5-9 scenario, the first encounter in the scenario has an AC of 21 (in both tiers). If you're a barbarian or fighter (other other martial class) With let's say a strength mod of +3 (not at all in over optimization territory) in low tier you would need to roll a 12/13 to hit, while high tier one would need a roll of 9/10 depending on level.

This is before any other equipment, charging, or flanking bonuses. I'm not really sure it would be that much harder. ;)

Scenario mentioned earlier:
The random 5-9 scenario mentioned above is The Immortal Conundrum

4/5

Tarma wrote:
redward wrote:
Tarma wrote:
I suspect that you can have a character go from level 1-12 with a regular non-magic weapon and have little to no trouble.
If you're really looking for a challenge you could always test that theory.

Looking at stats for a random 5-9 scenario, the first encounter in the scenario has an AC of 21 (in both tiers). If you're a barbarian or fighter (other other martial class) With let's say a strength mod of +3 (not at all in over optimization territory) in low tier you would need to roll a 12/13 to hit, while high tier one would need a roll of 9/10 depending on level.

This is before any other equipment, charging, or flanking bonuses. I'm not really sure it would be that much harder. ;)

** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:
If I recall correctly (I've only played, not run the scenario in question), the PCs are meant to be unarmed, or at least have their weapons peace-bound for the first combat encounter. That's also a particularly RP-heavy scenario.

Regardless, I'm not saying there aren't some easy encounters. But many of the people I see complaining about the ease of PFS in the fora are the same people talking in other threads about how they like to optimize their characters. I don't think I've ever seen someone test this by making a purposely un-optimized combat character and seeing how they do. Of course for a real test, you'd need a full party building their characters for this purpose.


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Eh, I guess I'm a pretty decent case for average. Only started playing PF (and DnD in general) for PFS, and although I try and make characters effective they invariably aren't anywhere near Powergamer levels.

For me, I have not found most games to be too hard, but neither have I found most to be walk overs. There were definitely some hairy moments, and in the same way there were some scenarios we walked (whether due to luck or writing who knows!)

I guess my point is just that on average the game difficulty is average if you are average :)

Grand Lodge

redward wrote:
Tarma wrote:
I suspect that you can have a character go from level 1-12 with a regular non-magic weapon and have little to no trouble.
If you're really looking for a challenge you could always test that theory.

I have a character who reached level 13 without having a magic weapon. Never mind the fact that he is a casting-based cleric who never used the few daggers that he owns...

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 aka GreySector

Silbeg wrote:
Step 3... Bard D-Doors Gunslinger and Cleric to safe spot. Cleric heals all three, applies oil of bless weapon to gun.

FYI bless weapon cast on a projectile weapon doesn't confer the benefit to the ammunition.

Bless Weapon wrote:
Individual arrows or bolts can be transmuted, but affected projectile weapons (such as bows) don't confer the benefit to the projectiles they shoot.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

Ryan Costello wrote:
ScrollMasterRob wrote:
There seem to be a few season 5 mods where the writers are trying to TPK the players in the first round. "Elven Entanglement" certainly rises to the top of the septic tank.
As the writer of that scenario and a GM who has seen PCs beat that encounter in one round on two occasions, I assure you the goal was not a TPK. The goal was a good time. It's kind of a bummer to hear so many players didn't get past that encounter in the scenario, especially when there are pretty regular "encounters are too easy" threads, like this one.

Spoiler:
This encounter reminded me of a trap I had put in an old LG mod I had written. The trap did not kill immediately but it was obvious is was going to kill if the PCs didn't pull out all of the stops to not die. Such encounters create a large amount of excitement but not as many deaths as you would assume because it is obvious just how deadly the encounter is. The encounters that kill are the ones that are subtly powerful and the PCs don't realized how deadly they are until it is too late.

Ryan's encounter, as written, is unlikely to kill anyone on the first round, has a fair chance of killing a single character on the second round, and a fair chance of killing half the party by the end of the third round. I have never seen this encounter go past two rounds because of how obviously dangerous the encounter is. The PCs freak out and pull out every trick they had to finish the encounter of before it kills them. In that regard, I think this encounter is far scarier than it is deadly and to me that makes it a good encounter.

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