Balancing combat for my OP players


Advice


So, quick outline: I am GMing for our party of 8 players. Yes, it's huge but that's the way it's always been. We've actually gotten smaller - we used to have 10 players. We are also very rules oriented, with a penchant for min-maxing and expert strategizing. Thought they deny it constantly, that makes them extremely OP.

Anyway, we started the Wrath of the Righteous adventure path a few months ago. They are now level 7, tier 2 mythic PCs. All things considered, they are EXTREMELY powerful, and that's fine - as long as I am prepared for it. I usually add the advanced template to almost every monster I create, straight out of the box. Then when I finish with them (ramping them up even further), I usually double their numbers over the AP encounter's numbers. For minions, this is fine. But for mini-bosses and one-offs, I'm having some issues.

The issue comes down to this (relatively speaking)

PCs:
Low HP
Wide range of AC
Low-ish to-hit (compared to the monsters)
ZOMG WTF damage

Monsters:
High HP
Variable AC
ZOMG WTF to-hit
Average damage

So, what I'm getting stuck with is that I can raise the monster's AC so that the PCs can't hit them, or I can lower them so that the PCs slaughter them. If I go high-ish, then only some of the PCs can hit them and the others are left out of the fight.

I'd rather have monsters where all the PCs can participate, but they aren't going to one shot them with their ZOMG WTF damage. That's where your advice comes in. Any ideas? As demons, most of them already have DR10, but the PC damage is so great that it doesn't really matter much. The only other option I can think of us to simply ramp up the Monster HP.

I'm open for advice. If I can manage this one balance issue, then I will be better able to create combat in the sweet spot of my party's capabilities.


I had a lot of success not balancing Wrath of the Righteous. After a certain point (you're pretty much there), the PC's were effectively demigods.

But that was ok, because it was that sort of campaign and everyone had fun with it.

It got crazy towards the end... We ended up narrating pretty much the entire last book because the PC's were literrally unstoppable... But it was a memorable campaign I think everyone in my group loved.

If there must be a challenge for your group though... I think limiting and toning back the PC's will have a much more meaningful effect in the long run.

Even if you do things like maximize and double the hp of badguys or things like that, they'll still get rolled by Mythic PC's.


I always give monsters their max hp for their HD as this keeps them in the fight further. Another option i have been playtesting is doubling their (max)hp but as they hit the halfway mark their damage drops to minimum rollable. This should give all party members a chance to engage and contribute to the fight

Sovereign Court

It sounds like your players optimized for damage at the cost of defence. And (whether you mean to or not), you've been enabling them. Because you tend to make monsters tougher to destroy, rather than making them hit harder. Your players are "training towards the test".

I suggest slowly increasing the attack potential of your monsters; after a while your players will start to notice that while they can still kill the monsters, they're getting killed themselves more often as well. But because you increased the attacks of the monsters just a bit, it's possible to repurpose some of their attack power towards defence instead.


Generally maximizing hp is a first step. Next step is adding 50% more creatures to a combat. Never have single target encounters for the PCs. This means no "boss fights" in the sense of a single "strong" enemy. Always have minions with a boss, preferably spellcasting and melee minions.

Mythic really can make things more difficult to balance, and when a party min maxes, I believe it's damn near impossible to challenge the whole party without a high risk of killing someone or virtually excluding one by making it impossible for them to act.

Also, try applying the advanced creature template to all creatures as well.

Also, Ascalaphus makes a strong point. You're players may have put all their eggs into the offense basket leaving little in the way of defense. Don't exploit this in the sense of using it to devestate the party and defeat them. Rather, increase the attack roll or Save DCs of creatures 2 or 3 points and see if they decide that they need to focus on shoring up their defenses and dropping their offensive power some.


Hmm... all good points - thanks!

We have a house rule that we've used wherein players get chips for arriving on time or for contributing majorly to the game. This worked well... until we got surge points. And on top of that, many of the PCs have legendary weapons, too. Now that I'm thinking about it, I think that is part of the problem. The PCs can pretty much throw out almost any roll they don't like. It also means I've despaired of every being able to affect the PCs with anything, because they always just chip their saves. My monsters, on the other hand, don't have the ability to do this - they have to take whatever roll they get.

But with Claxon's suggestion, I think I can fix that. The next few monsters may not get much done, but their main job will be to steal away all of those chips, and a good portion of surge points, too.

Going forward, I haven't decided whether to remove the chip system (we've been discussing it), but I might consider giving the GM chips too, one per day, to use on any monster I want. See how the PCs like the chip system, then. I've already started to make them mythic, so a lot of my monsters have surge points. That might even the playing field a little and give me more control over what abilities are effective when I want them to be.

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