No caster - Thoughts?


Advice


Talking over a situation from another game makes me want to get y'all's opinions on the matter. A friend of a friend is running a Pathfinder game which is suffering what I call 'A Lack of Mikey'. This is when no one will play Class X. No one wants to be the (insert one: healer, talker, skills person, squishy, etc.). Discussions over this situation devolve into the script from the Life Cereal commercials with Mikey in it -- "I'm not gonna play that! You play it!" "I'm not gonna play it!"

In this case, they are lacking several Mikeys. The party consists of 2 Fighters (one Archer, one Big Stick Jock), a Ninja (who went with an 8 Charisma and does not know what the hell UMD is, so didn't bother getting it), a Barbarian, a Gunslinger and a Samurai.

That's right. No casters. No healers. No talkers. And the Ninja refuses to do anything but sneak around and leap out of shadows and backstab, so no skills guy.

The GM refuses to run an NPC healer, as he doesn't want to have to split his attention between an NPC helping the party, and the opposition the party is fighting. He suggested someone switch classes and was ignored. He suggested someone take a level in a class with CLW on the spell list, and the Life Cereal commercial started up again.

The GM is also refusing to alter the game world based on their choices. Their first adventure was an unmitigated disaster, as they had to return to town after the second encounter to rest and recuperate -- and the GM ruled that in the interim, someone else beat them to the prize. The second adventure was "interesting", I was told, as the group was out of money and resorted to banditry -- and ended up angering the local authorities. (Oh, and it ended up with two forced alignment changes, and the Samurai becoming a ronin.)

With what I've been told about the GM, I don't expect this group to last much longer. They already have powerful enemies on their trail, and these include spellcasters.

My question: How would you handle such a group? When no one wants to play a caster, and even incentives fail to change their minds?

EDIT: It's been pointed out to me that the GM is being a little bit of a dick. He could, after all, tailor the game to match the players' skills. He offered that option to the players, giving them opportunities that, while not as lucrative as adventuring, suited their group build, like guarding a fixed location or scouting a bandit camp. The group refused and went on an adventure to rescue a group of villagers from a cult. (This is the adventure that turned into an unmitigated disaster.)


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i wouldnt alter a thing, if thats the party they wanna play then i go with it.

its their fault they cant overcome the chalenges presented and will have to find a way to do so. im flexable on how they want to go about it but im not going to change my story to fit their group.

i consistantly run a group of friends that never take UMD or disable divice, so they usually kick in the door and get hit by traps, and they roll with it, its up to the party to take on the challenges inteligently at whatever pace they choose, but that doesnt change what the challenges are going to be


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Let them play their game.

The only way they will learn is by doing.


Have healers and potion shops. They'll have to work through it on their own, but with some GM assistance this is possible. Just make sure potions of Fly and magical items are available. Sure, the game will be harder, but if they fight smart any party can work. GMs should help facilitate what the players want, so give them a fighting chance and see what these martials can handle.

Sovereign Court

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There are a lot of tools at your disposal in these situations.
On the player side:
Take classes with spell lists so you can use wands
Take classes that can easily pump UMD so they can use wands
Hire a medic to tag along (GM dependant)
Take leadership to gain cohorts (only works if GM allows and high enough level)
"combat as war" Adventure really, really, carefully :)

On the GM side:
Allow the PCs to hire a merc to patch them up
Allow PCs to take leadership and get a cohort to patch them up.
Provide a liberal amount of healing potions, wands, etc.
Adapt adventures, encounters, monsters, etc to fit the style of the group to allow them to play with their chosen classes.
Take the hard knocks aproach and when the PCs die/TPK say "see this is what happens when you dont cover all the roles!" (Not reccomedned for most groups)

From what is in the OP it sounds like a combination of unwillingness to compromise and/or adapt on both sides. I think your prediction is correct. This is a slow moving train wreck you are currently watching.


The game can work fine is the GM works within the player's capabilities. A GM doesn't have to choose monsters and obstacles that require magic to overcome. Now obviously, the classes they are playing have capabilities that the players are just plain ignoring, so as a GM I would be loathe to cater completely to that.


Can't they just hire a combat medic? If the Gm doesn't want to deal with running them let the NPC get handled by the most experienced player. I honestly think this all martial concept sounds pretty fun, it's got a samurai 7 vibe.

If the party is lacking in magic, then perhaps the world at large is as well. I'd tailor a low-magic campaign for this group, getting deep into the knitty-gritty.


The GM is being a bit of a dick, yes. The GM should always take the capabilities (and inabilities) of the PCs into account when designing encounters and obstacles.


The GM did what I would have done -- he offered them jobs suited to their capabilities. Something like guarding a location (a warehouse or a keep) would have given them plenty of opportunity for fighting, but the time scale where they could have healed up between fights. The group said "No, we can handle a REAL adventure!" -- so the GM gave them a real adventure.

And they flubbed it.

Only I wouldn't have given them that option. I'd have said 'Okay, real adventure time," and then set them to scouting a bandit camp or taking on some highwaymen or something equally mundane. (This is called 'giving them the illusion of choice'.) Sure, I'd have hit them with a magician or a divine caster -- only to show them "This is how awesome a caster can be, guys." Like, if the bandit camp had an alchemist in it -- alchemists are pretty frickin' awesome caster types. Especially if the leader of the camp was a Mr. Hyde alchemist. Bombs and a built-in boss fight! And of course the alchemist has a bunch of potions of CLW in a stash in camp, because alchemists get Brew Potion...

And there are some pretty nifty options for DPS casters in Pathfinder -- heck, you give a cleric a couple of turns to prepare, they suddenly become combat gods.

And I'm also confident enough in my GMing abilities that I wouldn't have hesitated to run an NPC cleric. I do it often enough in other games.

But I suppose I should clarify. The question wasn't supposed to be what you'd do if you found this bunch on your doorstep. (I get the feeling they're all pretty young.) The question was supposed to be... okay, you've decided to run a Pathfinder game, your players have sat down and generated characters, and you're looking at a bunch of mundanes with no casting capabilities.

What would you do, in this situation? Talk to them and convince people to play arcane/divine types? Or tailor the adventures to their limitations? What if you were intending to run an AP?


I'm a big, huge, giant fan of letting players play whatever they want. To me, the answer is obviously 'tailor the adventures to their limitations', as well as tailoring the rules to their limitations (for example, making self-healing more efficient if they have no healer) if necessary.

This strikes me as a complete no-brainer. A GM is supposed to challenge a party, which mandates that the challenges be appropriate to the party's abilities. This is called being fair, one of the most important things a GM can do.

Sovereign Court

John-Andre wrote:
What would you do, in this situation? Talk to them and convince people to play arcane/divine types? Or tailor the adventures to their limitations? What if you were intending to run an AP?

I am all for everyone playing what they like even if that means no caster. I'd advise a 6 martial group to have someone consider switching over but I wouldnt be pushy about it. If they really want that lineup then I would do my best to make it work based on my earlier posted options. If I was running an AP I would look them over and try and find the one that would work best for this situation surely they are not all up to this task.

What I wouldnt do is go on a mission to prove to the players that playing without a caster is impossible. I had a GM once that went out of his way to kick our teeth in because we didnt have a cleric in the party. There is a line between teaching the players the value of a balanced group and being a dick. I've also seen players torpedo GMs plans even when the GM is going out of their way to make things work for the party. Its a group effort and some level of compromise is neccesary and I expect my GM/players to accept this.

OP you seem pretty enamoured with casters yourself, how come you didnt play one?


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I was hoping that this thread was going to be about optimizing the hell out of the concept of playing a 4-man party with no casters. I am very disappointed.

The party isn't just choosing not to play casters, they're choosing not to play the classes they picked. They lack the game knowledge to recognize the limitations of their capabilities and DEFINITELY lack the game knowledge to know how to mitigate those limitations. And then they're being brats about it and blaming the GM.

I would have given up on this group when the Ninja said he wouldn't be making skill checks.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

if the players are too poor to make use of good options to overcome their weaknesses.(I'm guessing the case since banditry ensued.) Then they probably will simply have a hard time of it. Maybe if someone was a paladin this would go a bit smoother.


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No casters? No Healers? No one to beg for the party's life?
Oh, this is a treat waiting to happen.

Basically, they will, one by one, die screaming as they are dragged into the night. It might be a random crit, or it might just be from not healing enough damage while sleeping.


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It seems like the players are not willing to bend at all. Let them suffer.


An all martial group should be able to cover all necessary gaps to stay alive in a regular magic world.

Low skills? Everyone picks 3 and specializes.

No Magic? Someone get alchemy ranks/UMD and start churning out potions and casting from wands, law of averages says some spells should get through. Or rely on consumables to simulate spells (fire gel, alchemists fire, feather tokens, etc).

No disable device? Pet pigs and chickens are cheap and easy to push =p

Facing casters? Sneak or charge are your friends here, no time for mage armor = squishy squishy wizard. Heck, you have a shadow jumping ninja, wait till the caster is asleep and coup de grace.

All of this assumes a party that cooperates and a GM that accommodates though. It sounds like TPK or bye bye GM might be the most realistic solutions.


What level(s) are they playing?


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I fail to see why they must be punished for not playing magicians...

If they're a group of young players that lack system mastery or in-depth game knowledge, maybe the GM could fill the role of teacher, instead of opponent.


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If the players want to play stupidly, let them. Don't dumb things down or pull punches, though. Tell the players to have a backup character ready (or two), so they can jump back into the action. Who needs healing when you can play a new character at full hp. With the new character's starting money, this can become profitable for the surviving characters, looting the soon to be dead characters.


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GypsyMischief wrote:

I fail to see why they must be punished for not playing magicians...

If they're a group of young players that lack system mastery or in-depth game knowledge, maybe the GM could fill the role of teacher, instead of opponent.

The problem is not them not playing a caster. They are being very stubborn about not doing anything to help themselves. A game can be ran without casters, but you have to be smart about it.


" It's been pointed out to me that the GM is being a little bit of a dick. He could, after all, tailor the game to match the players' skills. He offered that option to the players, giving them opportunities that, while not as lucrative as adventuring, suited their group build, like guarding a fixed location or scouting a bandit camp. The group refused and went on an adventure to rescue a group of villagers from a cult"

The thing is they could handle an adventure if the GM would adapt. It is just like offering CR appropriate challenges. You need an adventure that is challenging but not impossible for the group. This group should probably have its APL adjusted downwards a level or two is all.

The Exchange

Forced alignment changes.
No healing potions for between battle healing.
So broke after one game they are now stealing.

These aren't "incentives" to play casters. These are punishments for not playing the DMs game.

It seems the players want one thing and the GM wants something else.
GM sounds like they want a sandbox game but may not have the experience to pull it off with a group like this. My advice for the GM is to provide large numbers of options that the players can choose from. Some need to be caster necessary, but others need to be fighter friendly. And not just "guard this house" or defeat the cult of evil kidnappers. One sounds great and the other sounds boring.
Give them options for recovering from poverty without needing to steal. Sure stealing is an option, but they should have had other things pointed out as options such as work for the church in return for the church keeping them alive. The Samurai is now Ronin? Where was his master to give him suitable jobs before this?

If the GM is providing plenty of options and the players are still choosing bad choices then sure, fallen alignments and ronin are going to happen. But not after two sessions.

My advice for the players. Learn that you will need some magic in this world. Buy potions and hire NPCs that you are willing to run with the knowledge the DM will veto actions if the players are abusing or making said NPC into cannon fodder. Be willing to cross class if necessary. Learn from the world the GM is providing you and adapt to it rather than try to force it to adapt to you.

It actually sounds like the players want something hack n slash. If this is a group of friends, then they should sit down and talk about what they all want from the game and go from there. If not, and they're not seeing eye to eye on what to do, time to get different games that better suit what each wants.

Cheers


It seems the players are not trying to buy potions or use wands. I am a little nicer than I used to be as a GM, but I still think the players have some responsibility to take care of themselves.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

I agree with wraith, this is like no one buying swords and people criticizing the DM for using normal enemies. they have plenty of options but have squandered them. the ninja doesn't even have UMD, it seems like the party has no cohesion and isn't working together, each trying to be their own fighting force.

The Exchange

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wraithstrike wrote:
It seems the players are not trying to buy potions or use wands. I am a little nicer than I used to be as a GM, but I still think the players have some responsibility to take care of themselves.

I didn't read that from what was posted by the OP.However I fully agree with Wraithstrike. They need to be proactive as well.

I think its a big disconnect between what players want and what the GM wants to be honest.


Wrath wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
It seems the players are not trying to buy potions or use wands. I am a little nicer than I used to be as a GM, but I still think the players have some responsibility to take care of themselves.

I didn't read that from what was posted by the OP.However I fully agree with Wraithstrike. They need to be proactive as well.

I think its a big disconnect between what players want and what the GM wants to be honest.

Quote:
He suggested someone take a level in a class with CLW on the spell list, and the Life Cereal commercial started up again.

I think UMD should be picked up instead of class dipping. It is only 1 skill point per level, and later, when they can guarantee a 20 they can stop putting points into it.

The GM likely has a lot of this prewritten so before he goes and reworks things he might want to see some effort from them.<---admittedly speculation on my part.. :)

I do agree they need to sit down and talk some more though.


I completely loathe the "hit-points in a can, just add UMD" mentality. Not to say that it's wrong, or that I loathe you, or that you're wrong, or that I don't totally take advantage of it, but, like...it just leaves a funky taste in my mouth.

Also, has the GM presented purchasable healing consumable to the party in any way? I haven't read anything in the OP about the players not trying to buy potions or wands.


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A ninja with 8 charisma... I suppose one could get by with that, but honestly there's alot of cool/useful abilities to get that use ki points. I'm going to assume that's a newbie mistake unless said player is looking to take a four level dip into monk to run ki off of Wisdom instead. That would make sense.

I kinda feel for the GM of this as it'll be problematic at points to try to maintain an adaptive game to the players. This might be a trainwreck in slow motion, maybe not. I don't think I could recommend any AP for this group though. Those things, by design, are tailored to a fairly well rounded group.

I think this group comp would be well suited for something like a war-based campaign. Run out, do your mission, run back to get patched up behind friendly lines, and put an interesting storyline around it to where they were a pivitol reason X side won the war.

I suppose no matter how I could spin it, there probably would be a casualty or two along the way. Keep us posted, would you? I'm curious to how this will work out.


GypsyMischief wrote:

I completely loathe the "hit-points in a can, just add UMD" mentality. Not to say that it's wrong, or that I loathe you, or that you're wrong, or that I don't totally take advantage of it, but, like...it just leaves a funky taste in my mouth.

Also, has the GM presented purchasable healing consumable to the party in any way? I haven't read anything in the OP about the players not trying to buy potions or wands.

The GM suggested they take a class to be able to use wands, so I would assume he would make them available. The players however refused to class dip, which I understand so I suggested UMD.


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Ah, well...you might as well throw a wand at them anyway, paying someone to use it for them doesn't seem unreasonable. Though, they probably wont do that...they'll just kidnap a priest like real bandits.

The Exchange

I see the OPs second post clarified what he's asking. Rather than give advice to this group, he's asking how we'd deal with this situation.

So here goes my advice for my game.
I would talk to them and find out the reasoning behind their choices. If they want hack n slash for the feel of it, then Id run with that. If I feel that there are some misconceptions in there, then I'd try to address those first and offer advice on builds that may do the same trick but offer up better options for other aspects of the game.

Let's run with the fact they meant to build the party as is and that's how they want to roll.

Firstly - drop more health potions. Healing at low levels is the big limiter. Later on I'd consider giving or allowing the crafting of unique items that allowed for stronger healing but not from scrolls or wands ( like an amulet that casts a powerful curative spell 3 times a day etc). Health potions should be in loot as much as needing purchasing in this case.

Secondly - limit the type of encounters that requires a "face" to succeed. These guys have built for battle more than problem solving. That tells me something very specifically about the style of campaign they want. Learn to design challenges and traps that can be overcome by a means other than skill checks. (Strength checks to move barriers, con checks to hold breath vs poisonous gases long enough to escape.) if you understand the limitations of no PC casting, then you design for that easily.

Thirdly - only use strongly magical creatures occasionally. These should be tough encounters that are memorable because of how they challenged the PCs group weaknesses. They shouldn't be very common though, as it doesn't appear to be what they want.

As for APs, I'd go for kingmaker. It's a sandbox and allows for free play if necessary and lets the players decide where their strengths are placed in the kingdom. It also lets them determine what gets into their kingdom to help shore up their lack of magical weaknesses.

The other option is wrath of the righteous, as long as the healing options from point 1 are adhered to. This one has mythic to buffer the pcs, plus a who's who of NPC support.

Cheers

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

i support the GM...
i definitely don't think you should purposefully design anything to be insurmountable due to the PCs shortcomings (or continually exploit weaknesses), but i definitely don't think you should sugar coat an adventure/campaign/world just because the players made sub-optimal (or even just bad) choices. part of the fun of the game is that it's challenging; and a world that caters to your characters might but more upbeat (it is kind of good for your ego to always succeed and be the best at stuff), but (IMHO) it loses some of the immersion or suspension of disbelief (maybe that's just me, but personally i have en easier time accepting a world where magic is prevalent than i do one where i always just happen to have the right tool for every job).

i say run your campaign the way you want to- if the PCs want to play a group that is gonna struggle with certain things let them struggle (if those are really the characters they want to play then that struggle can/should be part of the RP fun). the way i see it, its kind of like playing the original final fantasy and choosing a party of all fighters, thieves, and martial artists... the game doesn't get any easier, so its gonna be tough to be successful, but if you can pull it off the sense of accomplishment is that much greater.


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An Archer, a Big Sword Fighter, a Ninja, a Gunslinger, a Samurai, and a Barbarian.

Honestly, I think the way I'd handle this is with a military campaign. The players are an elite strike force for one nation fighting a war against either another nation or an incursion by monstrous humanoid X. Before every mission, I'd give them a "supply pack" consisting of some healing potions and other useful potions (6 potions of CLW and a couple oils of magic weapon at level 1, for instance). Then, they could supplement their supplies with loot drops. If they were fighting something with a specific type of DR, then I might include some arrows and bullets of an appropriate type. Occasionally I might throw in a support NPC cleric or wizard if the mission called for it, so they could see how useful having a caster is. It might encourage one of them to multi-class.

For opposition they'd definitely have some "take out the enemy caster" options, but for the most part they would fight other martial types.

As far as magic items go, it might be a good thing to occasionally give them all the same magic item as a kind of uniform. Nearly every character buys a Cloak of Resistance, so maybe at level 3 or 4, I would give them one with a +1 bonus for free. It helps to reinforce the military theme, I think.

As for this group, I think there was a definitive miscommunication here about the type of game the GM wants to run and the players want to play. I think they should all have an OOC discussion about what they want out of the game, and try to build a compromised solution. Otherwise, they should part ways now, ending the game before anyone has hurt feelings.


Just to clarify -

The group is all first levels, brand new characters. They're all young players who haven't learned the whole 'teamwork' thing. They spent their starting cash on gear and don't have enough for potions or healing kits.

The GM wanted to tailor the adventures to the party and was told not to do that; the players thought they could just mow through the opposition.

The ninja player is 13 and thinks he's the guy from Assassin's Creed. Seriously. He didn't build an adventurer, he built Ezio Auditore da Firenze from Assassin's Creed II and other games. There's not a lot you can do when you have an idiot PLAYER in the game...

The big problem with this group is that everyone wants to be the star; everyone wants to do the damage, and no one wants to step back and consider tactics. I agree with whoever said it's going to be a train wreck. Honestly, with this group of kids I wouldn't have started them off playing Pathfinder. This is a situation that 4th Edition D&D was designed for and is perfect for. This is a bunch of video gamers taking that first step into role-playing games, and the GM is doing his best, but Pathfinder isn't good with handling that transition.


If this is a group of kids, I'd definitely have run 4th ed, hands down. Pathfinder and D&D 3.5 before it require both a strong understanding of the system and are very bookkeeping focused. With 4E the bookkeeping was less pronounced and all of the classes start on a nearly-level playing field. You could have a party with no casters and your effectiveness would not be strongly affected. It's also much more forgiving on starting hit points and healing.

Once they played 4E for a bit, then I'd introduce them to core only Pathfinder. By then, they would have figured out the core mechanic and some basic party tactics. With an explanation of the differences and how important magic is in the world, they could more easily transition to a more complex system.

Of course, if the GM is one of the "4th edition is the worst thing ever created and I hate it" people, he will never agree to it, in which case I suggest Dungeon World as an alternative.


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Zhayne wrote:

I'm a big, huge, giant fan of letting players play whatever they want. To me, the answer is obviously 'tailor the adventures to their limitations', as well as tailoring the rules to their limitations (for example, making self-healing more efficient if they have no healer) if necessary.

This strikes me as a complete no-brainer. A GM is supposed to challenge a party, which mandates that the challenges be appropriate to the party's abilities. This is called being fair, one of the most important things a GM can do.

The DM has done everything reasonable in this case. He has encouraged casters, etc, and even offered quests which the party is better suited for.

The party has refused.

They need to learn some elementary tactics and not be coddled.


If it is a bunch of kids I would go easy on them, but not so easy them did not get some bumps, but by 5th level... :)


And they're not even 2nd level yet. (The GM tells me that he's planning on using a balanced party to capture them for the local authority, then offer them a deal: suicide missions or prison. The 'suicide missions' will be adventures tailored to their style, i.e. straight-up fights with no arcane backup; their payment for these jobs will be their eventual freedom IF they behave.)


Both sides sounds way too stubborn to me...

From the beginning (before char gen) I as a gm:

Let my players know what kind of adventure I wanna run
Ask my players (unless I know) how experienced they are at the system I wanna use
Hand out lists with house rules, including limitations in char gen...

Any player who feels they cannot live with the above are welcome to find another gm...

The situation in the OP...

with 5+ players I would say no to run a NPC aswell. There are enough players to fill every needed role.

Tell the players how the adventure will be (much combat? Much political intrigue? Etc...) And give them a new chance to rebuild their chars.

Now, keep the adventure going as planned, and when chars die, take the time to go over why that char died... Was it pure bad luck? Lack of healer? Lousy AC? etc. And use the talk to point the player in the right direction for his next char...

---

Alternatively, I would stop the campaign, let some1 else gm, an build a bad ads caster/healer/face to play myself B-)


John-Andre wrote:

Just to clarify -

The group is all first levels, brand new characters. They're all young players who haven't learned the whole 'teamwork' thing. They spent their starting cash on gear and don't have enough for potions or healing kits.

The GM wanted to tailor the adventures to the party and was told not to do that; the players thought they could just mow through the opposition.

The ninja player is 13 and thinks he's the guy from Assassin's Creed. Seriously. He didn't build an adventurer, he built Ezio Auditore da Firenze from Assassin's Creed II and other games. There's not a lot you can do when you have an idiot PLAYER in the game...

The big problem with this group is that everyone wants to be the star; everyone wants to do the damage, and no one wants to step back and consider tactics. I agree with whoever said it's going to be a train wreck. Honestly, with this group of kids I wouldn't have started them off playing Pathfinder. This is a situation that 4th Edition D&D was designed for and is perfect for. This is a bunch of video gamers taking that first step into role-playing games, and the GM is doing his best, but Pathfinder isn't good with handling that transition.

Someone didn't pitch to these players how badass Gandalf would look if he actually threw around spells more often. Or if Gimli was a cleric of Moradin. XD

Ah well, it's tough to deal with when you got a group that's both young and new to Pathfinder and the 3.5 ruleset in general. I saw 4e recommendations being thrown around. While that is a much simpler ruleset, that system *will* force people into balanced team compositions. Healing potions quickly lose effectiveness after the first couple levels. You won't find any healing wands in the 4e system either. It's not a bad suggestion as it teaches basics and the importance of teamwork, which does carry over to alot of other tabletop RPGs, not just Pathfinder.

Still, I wouldn't say that they're too young for Pathfinder, just very inexperienced. We all started somewhere. Phntm888 hit the nail on the head about logistics on a war-based campaign. Give them the basics on what you would expect an army to give for supplies and throw a few curve balls at them every now and then. (You never know what to expect out in the field.)

Taking a step back from everything to look at the situation, maybe this just isn't the group for you if you're the only player with a measurable amount of experience with the ruleset. That's OK too. I've certainly joined up with a few groups in the past and have come to that conclusion before. Amicable splits before feelings get hurt isn't a bad way to go, imo.


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How much systems mastery do these guys have? If they're a bunch of relatively new players then I can understand everyone wanting to be some kind of "kickass warrior". New players haven't realised Warrior is actually an NPC class.

If these guys have been on a single adventure before they must know the relative need for some kind of caster or wand user, or at bare sodding minimum someone with the heal skill. At the bare minimum they've got a group of six, and given that the CR system is aimed at 4-man groups they may be able to brute-force their way through.

It might be fun to point one of them (emphasis *one*) toward Treatmonk's Wizard guide. Once this one person sees how truly ridiculous a caster can be, release them back into the wild. Watch as they shock and amaze the rest of the party by being awesome, and laugh.

Shadow Lodge

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I can't say that encouraging a player to become a spell caster will be beneficial. I also don't see the benefit of GMing with the intent of teaching a lesson.

The objective of this game isn't to train players to be more optimized. If the players want to play as all martials, then that sounds like a blast for them. There are a ton of interesting ways to go.

Additionally, I think I'm missing the bit where the players aren't having a good time . . . Are the players not having a good time? If not, I have a hard time thinking that the problem can only be fixed by the addition of a spell caster.

If the players aren't having a good time because "everyone wants to do the damage, and no one wants to step back and consider tactics," then I'm pretty sure forcing tactics onto them will make them have a worse time.


Tsriel wrote:
John-Andre wrote:

Just to clarify -

The group is all first levels, brand new characters. They're all young players who haven't learned the whole 'teamwork' thing. They spent their starting cash on gear and don't have enough for potions or healing kits.

The GM wanted to tailor the adventures to the party and was told not to do that; the players thought they could just mow through the opposition.

The ninja player is 13 and thinks he's the guy from Assassin's Creed. Seriously. He didn't build an adventurer, he built Ezio Auditore da Firenze from Assassin's Creed II and other games. There's not a lot you can do when you have an idiot PLAYER in the game...

The big problem with this group is that everyone wants to be the star; everyone wants to do the damage, and no one wants to step back and consider tactics. I agree with whoever said it's going to be a train wreck. Honestly, with this group of kids I wouldn't have started them off playing Pathfinder. This is a situation that 4th Edition D&D was designed for and is perfect for. This is a bunch of video gamers taking that first step into role-playing games, and the GM is doing his best, but Pathfinder isn't good with handling that transition.

Someone didn't pitch to these players how badass Gandalf would look if he actually threw around spells more often. Or if Gimli was a cleric of Moradin. XD

Ah well, it's tough to deal with when you got a group that's both young and new to Pathfinder and the 3.5 ruleset in general. I saw 4e recommendations being thrown around. While that is a much simpler ruleset, that system *will* force people into balanced team compositions. Healing potions quickly lose effectiveness after the first couple levels. You won't find any healing wands in the 4e system either. It's not a bad suggestion as it teaches basics and the importance of teamwork, which does carry over to alot of other tabletop RPGs, not just Pathfinder.

Still, I wouldn't say that they're too young for Pathfinder, just very...

There is always the option of giving them too much of a good thing. Have the GM hand them hordes of easy enemies so they can carve their way through baddies like Link through tall grass. 1HD skeletons, 1HD Zombie Minions, 1HD elementals, 1HD rats, 1HD commoners with clubs.

Let them have their Fellowship vs Orcs style session, if they love it, then you know what kind of game to suggest for them, it will let them realize healing is not a bad thing, that flanking and tactics can be useful, and that the hero is strongest when they have a party of friends to help back them up. Maybe by letting them get it out of their system (and maybe level once) they can see some variety to their play style.
Since they are inexperienced, experience would be a good thing to grant them.


For those of you wondering, the descriptor "train wreck" doesn't quite describe what happened to this game.

They were ambushed in their camp by the opposing team. To make it a bit less one-sided, the GM gave them a group Perception "I have a bad feeling" check. They all made it, so they were on alert, had their armor on, etc.

The ambushers were another 1st level group consisting of a sword & board fighter, a cleric, a mage, a rogue and a ranger. I think the GM might have just used the pregenerated characters.

First round, the big stick jock and the samurai go to meet the front-liners of the other group, while the archer and the gunslinger spread out to hit them at range. The ninja immediately ran into the bushes to hide. (The barbarian player apparently decided not to show up -- he wasn't mentioned to me.)

The party inflicts some damage, until it gets to the enemy wizard's turn. He casts Sleep. Four failed saving throws later, only the gunslinger is left.

The player of the ninja immediately loses his stuff. He flips out over one spell taking him out of the action. And then the kid went so far as to pop the GM. Hopefully needless to say, that player is no longer welcome in that GM's games. Ever. (The GM said that since the kid is underage, he wasn't going to press charges, but from now on his minimum age for players is 16. No more psycho teenagers...)

After that, no one wanted to continue, so the game is now kaput. I offered my services, but the GM declined.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

wow

The Exchange

Punching someone over a game is inexcusable.

Some questions though.

Sleep takes a whole round to go off. They should have all got another go before the spell was finished. Is that what happened here?

It's only a ten foot burst. How did it get 4 players when two were holding back for range attack and one was hiding in the bushes.?

If you punish people for not playing your game the way you want they will get angry and leave. This GM punished relentlessly on a group of young and new players.

He was the wrong GM for this group. New players should be encouraged to have fun and explore the game. They should learn over time to modify their thinking so they understand Pathfinder is not all movies and PC games. It takes patience and a certain amount of leeway in both how the scenario pans out and how hard you enforce the rules when training new players. None of this seemed to happen in what you've described so far.

Nothing is wrong with this GM's style, as long as its an experienced group of players on the same page as the GM it would work fine.

I've trained large numbers of new players in this game as a DM. That includes whole groups of young players (teenagers and younger). Expectations need to shift to match the players, cause young folk sure as he'll can't change their thinking fast enough for a situation like you described here. If you want new players, give them what they want, and slowly increase complexity of the game and its in world consequences.

Having said all that, punching someone over a game is pure stupid and inexcusable. That kid was never going to work out in a game like pathfinder.

Cheers


Wrath wrote:
Punching someone over a game is inexcusable.

Agreed. Thus why the child is banned from further play, I'm thinking.

Quote:

Some questions though.

Sleep takes a whole round to go off. They should have all got another go before the spell was finished. Is that what happened here?

It's only a ten foot burst. How did it get 4 players when two were holding back for range attack and one was hiding in the bushes.?

Don't look at me. This is what I was told: "I had the eizard cast a sleep spell on the guys closest to the front line and nailed everyone but the gunslinger."

Quote:

If you punish people for not playing your game the way you want they will get angry and leave. This GM punished relentlessly on a group of young and new players.

He was the wrong GM for this group. New players should be encouraged to have fun and explore the game. They should learn over time to modify their thinking so they understand Pathfinder is not all movies and PC games. It takes patience and a certain amount of leeway in both how the scenario pans out and how hard you enforce the rules when training new players. None of this seemed to happen in what you've described so far.

Nothing is wrong with this GM's style, as long as its an experienced group of players on the same page as the GM it would work fine.

The other players were fine with what happened, and I think had they been shown the benefits of a balanced team -- and avoided the inclusion of the teenager (it sounds to me that much of it was his fault) -- they would have gone on to have a lot of fun.

As I said before, the way I'd have handled it would have been to give them the illusion of choice when it came to assignments -- run them through some missions tailored to their abilities (low-stress combats, role playing and some puzzles, like a good Shadowrun adventure), introduced balanced parties including casters as opposition gradually, and tried to steer the players towards seeing the advantage in casters over other classes. For example, the Archer character might have done well as a Ranger. The gunslinger might have liked to explore some levels in Alchemist or Paladin. And so on. But I was not the GM.

Grand Lodge

It was pretty clear to experienced readers this game was heading for 'trainwreck or worse'. All the signs were there. Obviously, it was pretty clear to the OP, too.

About the only thing they could have done worse would be to start at high level.


Wrath wrote:

Punching someone over a game is inexcusable.

Some questions though.

Sleep takes a whole round to go off. They should have all got another go before the spell was finished. Is that what happened here?

It's only a ten foot burst. How did it get 4 players when two were holding back for range attack and one was hiding in the bushes.?

Either the GM was not familiar with the spell, or more likely, he was in full 'I am god, I shall teach you a lesson' masturbation mode and just let the spell do what he wanted it to do.

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