What to Do about Archery?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

A little background. I am running a Rise Of The Runelords Campaign. One of my players is playing an archer (inquisitor specifically). We have just finished Book 2 and are moving on to Hook Mountain. He has saved up his money and before he left Magnimar he purchased a +1 Adaptive Corrosive Composite longbow (9400 gp) well within his wealth by level and available for purchase in that city (they are closing in on 8th level). We are not a super Min/Max group, although the players do try and find effective options. I have DMed an archer before and was able to challenge the player at higher levels with some windwalls/fickle winds and quite frankly I also just resigned to having the archer machine gun most encounters.

This time around, I don’t really have a lot of casters coming up

Very Light RotRL spoilers:

there are a few in the rest of book 3), and looking at book 4 there is not much there either (ie just a few). Without inserting a bunch of casters (and I do adjust the books to suit, but I try not to change them too much (ie Mammy was a witch..etc..)

Does anyone have any suggestions?

Given time to prep (buffs), most of my players will be doing around 20-40 points of damage a round, the archer will be doing about 50 - 70) in another level he will be doing about 140 round due to manyshot + iterative and he has taken a level of cleric to take advantage of Litany of Righteousness to burst for 1 round to around 280) ummm I don’t see anything coming up that can stand before that.

The player has not done anything too fancy (other than the level of cleric) and has simply progressed down the archery feats. We are paying attention to cover/concealment. He has a +2 equivalent weapon (not to unusual by 8th level). Not sure what to do. I will try and catch them unbuffed, but given the “assault” structure of books 3 - 4 that will happened only occasionally.

1) I can let the archer dominate combat.
2) I can add lots of casters with archery defeating spells.
3) I can change the core rules to nerf archery.

Currently he is just a very powerful force. In one more level he will so outstrip the other players in terms of power they will become nothing more than his support. From my past archer experience this problem gets worse at high level (except in highly magic boss fights).
Eventually I will be able to throw some casters at them, but I see A LOT of dead ogres and giants before we get there (and probably 10+ game sessions. Ie. 5 months of play). What do other groups do about archery? Archers in this AP? Perhaps I should let him shine, as something is coming up that I am not totally aware of (I have read it but don’t have all the encounters prepped yet). Perhaps their own party makeup will be their undoing (I have taken note they are VERY weak arcane wise.)

FYI the party make up is:
A Slumber Witch (yes, problematic too but can be challenged by high will, Improved Iron Will, immunities, helpers…etc..)
A Reach Cleric (a pretty good heavy hitter too)
A Goblin Monk (hilarious and fun as heck to have had in this AP)
A Tanky Fighter/Ranger
The Inquisitor Archer

Any general suggestions/comments are appreciated, but my concerns are mainly aimed at what to do about archery without resorting to a lot of magical shenanigans.


With the changes Paizo made to archery from 3.5 to Pathfinder, it went from one of the worst combat style to very possibly the strongest. The addition of Deadly Aim was big part of that.

If you find that the archer's damage is a problem, rather than attempt to change it in game go to the player and ask him if he would mind toning it down some so he doesn't overwhelm the encounters.

Players can generally be accomodating if asked. They might not see it as a problem though unless someone else points it out.

I am playing a Ranger archer in Skull and Shackles, and while I might not have the highest damage per attack. The fact that I can full attack every round means I usually deal the highest total amount of damage per combat because of the sheer number of attacks I get compared to every melee character that has to move.

The only suggestion I can make is to alter combats so that additional enemies join the fight near the archer. This will force him into moving (where he can't get a full attack) or into melee (unlikely, but possible). He can't get POint Blank Master to avoid the AoO so he will either flee or melee.


It is worth noting that archery is the key to high damage in Pathfinder. It is also worth noting that as the GM, it is your job to ensure combat is challenging for the group, and while the adventure paths are a great framework/starting point, they will definitely require some modification as you progress.

I had the same issue in my Carrion Crown game. Inquisitor archer that would absolutely destroy things. So I played dirty. Potions of invisibility, casters with greater invisibility and wind wall and darkness and obscuring mists, ambushes, etc. I killed him twice and both times were by having something very large corner him and trade bow shots with AOOs. I also stymied his actions with various spells and by adding casters that were not normally in the creature layout for a fight. And minions. Lots of minions that would soak up one to two arrows but still be strong enough to threaten the lower AC casters.

Now, Carrion Crown is nice because you spend the the later books fighting through ranks of a cult, so it is entirely expected that the bad guys will learn the party's combat patterns and tactics, then move to block it (potions of Freedom of Movement became a lot more popular amongst the cultists after the monk grappled and murdered one of the bigwigs in the cult, heh).

So don't feel bad about employing counteractions when the players get crazy. I wouldn't target him from the get go of a fight, but even random one-off combats (in which foreknowledge of a super archer is unlikely) can have a sudden focus on the archer in the back because he killed three people in his first full round. That's usually enough to get some attention from any controllers or ranged types on the bad guy's side.

Lastly, make the combats more dynamic. Add columns, trees, bushes, and underbrush. Have enemies come at the party from multiple angles and stagger the arrival (great way to jump up a fight's size safely; if it is going poorly for the good guys, you can always pretend the final wave was actually on the other side of the castle).

I'd often take three or four combats and just roll them together so there was always a bit more stuff to worry about that players to handle. Sure, the inquisitor is killing the Grillion I wanted to use to grapple the wizard to death, but that means he can't be sniping the four blade spiders coming in to dismember the bard in the other room.


I'm guessing this inquisitor archer is also using Judgments and Bane to augment their damage...are they correctly identifying the creatures they're Bane-ing with Monster Knowledge, first?

How are they in close-quarters encounters, where if they aren't far enough along in their feat tree, they're going to incur AoOs in tight quarters?


Lamontius wrote:

I'm guessing this inquisitor archer is also using Judgments and Bane to augment their damage...are they correctly identifying the creatures they're Bane-ing with Monster Knowledge, first?

How are they in close-quarters encounters, where if they aren't far enough along in their feat tree, they're going to incur AoOs in tight quarters?

Near as I can tell they will allows provoke an AoO with the bow because I see no way for them to get Point Blank Master as it normally requires Weapon Specialization, which requires being a 4th level fighter for everyone but Zen Archers and Rangers.


The other tactic to use is the same way you'd deal with a mage. Have the bad guys shut him down as a priority.

Stealthy assassins
Bigger brutes (and there are a lot of them in this AP) taking an AoO to close him down.etc.

And for the bigger boss fights, there is justification for Karzoug to have screed on the party and warned his minions about the tactics the party uses.

Every min-maxed sort of party will have someone who can pump out that sort of damage, the fact that it's an archer means that it's easier for you to deal with it than when it's a smiting paladin who has strong saves and melees well.


DR (try stoneskin and monsters with DR), gloves of arrow catching, enemy archers, bodyguards (they can take arrows), fog clouds, narrow corridors.

All are ways to make combat less about nuking it with arrows. Don't make every encounter try to hose him, just some.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

Just remember no bow while grappled.


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or when sundered!

Maneuvers kill archers most of the time. Also the shape of the battlefield can help. Give enemies ways to get cover while closing up.

Also, smoke sticks can prevent archers from fullattacking - cheap, easy to use and hard to protect against:)


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I hate telling you this option because I love archers so much. That said, the weakness of all archers is one good sunder. It might be hard to break a sword, but a bow is child's play.

That said, this option is extreme. You have more than enough good options above.

One I do not see above at a quick glance is COUNT THE ARROWS. Until higher levels where durable arrows are an option, arrows do and should run out. Even if the store a ton of arrow in a bag of holding. After firing twenty from the quiver, it time to reload the quiver.

THAT'S ALL FOLKS


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make sure to Enforce the rules of cover and concealement.

Scarab Sages

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Reread the comabt chapter and pay special attention to the cover rules. Almost every GM that I have seen that is complaining about archers is not applying the cover rules properly. There is almost always cover or partial cover. An inquisitor can not get improved precise shot until 15th level, and that is the tool that is needed to overcome cover.

Sczarni

Imbicatus wrote:
Reread the comabt chapter and pay special attention to the cover rules. Almost every GM that I have seen that is complaining about archers is not applying the cover rules properly. There is almost always cover or partial cover. An inquisitor can not get improved precise shot until 15th level, and that is the tool that is needed to overcome cover.

This and what Nicos said.

A huge portion of combats should see your Archer eating at least a -4 penalty once the Cleric, Monk, and Fighter close to melee the enemy.

With no improved precise shot he eats that penalty.

Remember it's from Any corner to Any corner - like Best to worst. The archer chooses the most advantageous corner of his square and if a line from this corner to ANY corner passes through a square occupied by an ally or foe the target gets soft cover AC bonuses.


I've never seen archers be more powerful than melee, though possibly because I've almost never had a combat that rolled initiative with the enemies more than 50 feet away.

Also, it's possible that your inquisitor just happens to be well-optimized while none of the rest of the party is, which is an issue no matter what slipcase you stick it in. Unbalanced parties are unbalanced; be they a storm of arrows, a whirling dervish, or a god-like caster.

Imbicatus wrote:
Reread the comabt chapter and pay special attention to the cover rules. Almost every GM that I have seen that is complaining about archers is not applying the cover rules properly. There is almost always cover or partial cover. An inquisitor can not get improved precise shot until 15th level, and that is the tool that is needed to overcome cover.

Also this. I could swear there was a rule saying defender gets a bonus to AC against ranged attacks when running (moving target) but I can't find it. There are definitely bonuses to ducking, dodging, kneeling, or dropping flat.

Any smart enemy should be able to recognize when an enemy is using an ability they can simply wait out from behind total cover. You can't hit what you can't see and most combat abilities don't last all day.

The Exchange

Switch some equipment to give a few bad guys tower shields? Move + set shield to 'archer immunity', repeat until within a charge of the archer. AoO any melee guys who try to sneak round you whilst you're doing so. If nothing else, it'll give the spell-lobbers a chance to shine instead! You could even try a medieval tactic and use a pavise instead (sort of like a tower shield you can stick into the ground and don't have to hold... or a small mobile bit of wall, if you prefer...).

Sczarni

One moving greater invisibility spell caster/other archer/rogue/etc... can probably down the ranger if your intent is to kill them. 8th level is spell level 4, so there you go.

Now, if the ranger is the one who has gone greater invisible... well he will dominate combat.

I don't know exactly what their build is, but I had a rogue with a composite bow doing this sort of thing for 4 flaming arrows a round (3 sneak attacks at 4d6, so 22d6 total) with a +4 composite bow (+16), pbs +4 (within 30'). Something like that. So while not quite 280, it hit 152 max nicely. If they had known about sniper goggles the encounters would have taken place after a round of running away or something most likely.

Anyway, being able to pump out 140+ damage is possible even with the "weak" rogue class at level 8. (3 8d6 spells do 24d6 = 144 damage - so a "fast" spell and two more (one via a staff/weapon and one cast) and mages can do in the same neighborhood of damage).


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Honestly, it might be a losing battle. Rise of the Runelords is by FAR the easiest of the APs I've played.

Even if your archer tones it down, without heavy alterations you're not going to see a ton of change except instead of the archer killing everything, you'll see the archer killing a lot of things while the rest of the party facerolls over the rest.

Grand Lodge

have more encounters in forests to make use of cover, or in tunnels with a chokepoint, that way they take the penalties for shooting through his buddies. on the creature side, incorporeal creatures and possibly swarms would work well against him.

Grand Lodge

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most of the bases have been covered but,

If you want to go straight by the rules:

Until he has cluster shots, DR is your friend.

Ammo is a thing that needs to be tracked.

Cover, cover, cover. Towershields grant it. ally's grant it. The pile of dead bards grant it.

Concealment = misschances, yes the amount of dice rolling will be obnoxious, but it is a killer of dps.

Location, location, location. Less fighting in the open, more in tight unconfortable spaces.

Or you can go the easy route; Be the cheatiest dm that ever did cheat.

That Hp number in the statblock? doesn't matter, creature goes down when the party hits it X times. Heck other members can count as more hits than others!

hell see all the things in the play it straight section, give cover, concealment, absurd amounts of DR, even when the baddies wouldn't get it.

I <3 Monsters with class levels; and so should you.

Finally, how's their crit defence? A good solid crit, can ruin a rapid pack of murderhobos.


You can also increase the amount of enemies they face and give the under-performing party members some help.
Monks for example are almost always terrible, so some kind of artifact item to bring them up to par can really help.


1) This is an acceptable solution, depending on how much fun the other players are having. There's nothing wrong with steamrolling if it's still fun for the players and you get to DM a heroic story with them.

2) Adding in something to deliberately counter a player with any regularity is both painfully obvious and heavy handed. Once or twice is fun, but this can quickly become a form of passive aggressive behaviour.

3) No. You will lose a player and potentially derail your whole campaign in the process.

What I don't get is, why wouldn't you just apply the simplest option to a powerful adventuring group, which the book itself suggests?

4) Just increase the CR of the encounters your party faces slightly to compensate.

Like, really. It's not difficult in the slightest. Usually the best way to increase CR for a strong damage build is to put in a couple of extra low level mooks in every encounter. Mooks are great for providing cover to the big bad, soak damage VERY effectively (due to overkill causing 'wasted damage') and generally give everyone more targets to go for without making the game become too much like rocket tag.

In hook mountain this means just a few extra ogres around.

Remember: the players are supposed to win. Nothing is really that troubling with your situation. It doesn't really matter if they win the encounter in 10 turns or 2 turns, except maybe your friend gets to feel badass in the latter and you get to look like a jackass in the former, depending on how you limit him.

*edit*

you know, i've never actually been a player or had a player complain about how well a friend is doing in combat: i've only heard DMs complain about it. I would probably check whether anyone else in the group even has a problem first.


I've never played CC, but I've played an archer ranger (guide). In terms of dps it was one of strongest PC I've ever played in pathfinder (second strongest after a barbarian with beast totem, come and get me and reckless abandon). Cover and concealment are generally not an issue for a medium level dedicated archer.
There were a couple of things that could skrew him up though
1) he did not have particularly good saves (especially wisdom). Your inquisitor however should be far better off.
2) attacks of opportunity were brutal until I got to Point Blank Master. This will work for you
3) his AC was decent but not stellar by any means. Combined to the above, a couple of flanking brutes will give you player a hard time
4) a bow cannot be fired when grappled, prone, blind (well, you can technically but...) and a lot of other conditions. Unless he heavily invested into it, his CMD will not be very high I think, saves will be a bit difficult to target but it could work too
5) walls (not necessarily magic ones...) between him and the enemies will require him to get into position and lose a round. Clever enemies may use this tactic given how strong he is

In the end, you have a character that will perform spectacularly in a standard situation but that you may challenge in a lot of ways


Somewhat related, the ogres in part 3 will probably cause your archer a lot of problems if he can't reliably avoid AOOs. 5ft step doesn't cut it against an ogre right next to you...


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thank you for all the awesome suggestions.

For those that mentioned it. I regularly adjust the CR of all the encounters. I have 5 players so I commonly add a combatant or two, sometimes add a class level, give some extra HP etc…to compensate. The fights have been tough so far (X..….!!!), the players are not rolling the mod by any means. I would say that my players feel that this is the toughest AP yet & the combats are the most exciting I have run. I have the pressure up (and I want to keep it that way). I absolutely do not want to kill my PCs, but I want the fights to be challenging (most of em anyways)…I try to be a good DM and throw easy fights at them to make them feel powerful and successful (as most DM guides suggest). But I fear what is coming. As I saw it in my last campaign.

We are very aware of cover and use it in every fight. The archer often has -4 to hit from it. But honestly the ACs they are dealing with in non boss fights are trivial. I don’t think I will change any rules or nerf archery. I think I will follow the above suggestions and use MORE environment, get MORE badguys next to him (a 5’ does not help when baddies have reach!) Probably add a caster in key fights, and a few potions of Invis. (The archer does have the see invis racial from his Aasimar heritage, but it would burn a round to turn it on) Also they use monster knowledge in every fight (I come from PFS so…that is kind of drilled into our playstyle). We track ammo. The one thing I won’t do is sunder. I DO use all the other maneuvers, but breaking a PCs hard earned equipment is dirty pool. We have a game “sunder truce” I don’t break equipment unless the opponent is supposed to tactically do that (ie black puddings…slimey demons…etc..).

I sounds like I am doing most things right and just need to add some more counters (like when I add a bit of iron will to counter sleepywitch, it does not screw her…just makes it tougher to always rely on it.)

Like, for example, we are in Hook Mountain and the book mentions LOTs of rain for some reason ( :-) ) weather effects would be good to play up.


You could first ask your other players if they have a problem with how things are going.
If no, don't change a thing.
If yes, ask the player in question if they want to rebuild some aspect of their pc to lessen the power gab.
Apart from that just upping enemie's hp is always an easy option.


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Quote:
1) I can let the archer dominate combat.

This is usually fine if none of the players seem to mind.

Quote:


2) I can add lots of casters with archery defeating spells.

This is a terrible idea. That said slightly altering the wizard spell's prepared is completely within logical realm of thought. If there is a caster consider a reasonable wind spell which can be overcome.

Quote:
3) I can change the core rules to nerf archery.

No. Please don't do this. Your players will not like it.


Cover is a good situational way of dealing with archers, especially full cover.

Attacks from two or more fronts can overwhelm the pcs line of defence and expose the archer to A.o.O.

Small fast goblins using steal manoeuvres (a handful of arrows!) who then flee (if the pcs follow then they can run straight into an ambush) would fit thematically into R.o.t.R. and present the pc with a problem conserving ammunition.

Warp Wood with a druidic (goblin) caster? Again warn the pc. The pc could pay to 'unwarp' their bow later - I'd go for this option.


Weep
Move on
Wait for PF 2

Make sure the baddies have missiles too.

We have finished 3 full APs. Everything gets shot to pieces pretty much throughout


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

LOL Novalord.

As stated above, I think I am resigned to let the archer pincushion most things. The players will probably vote for this as well. I will just play up the key boss encounters (which are really the lynch pins anyways). Faceless stalkers, orgekin, and even ogers are minions after all. I will just add some extra oomph to the set piece encounters.

And, this is a dice game. One ogre - with 5 levels of fighter - power attacking, can flatten a PC with a lucky crit. The PCs hit hard, my guys hit hard too. And the DM's guys don't have raise dead scrolls like the players do.

I will keep checking this tread, but it seems like most people "just deal with it". And keep it in line with cover, concealment, and the occasional spell.

Weep indeed.


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Archery is a very strong style. In this case it seems you only have one character really focused on damage. 'tanky' characters split their focus between offense and defense. Reach clerics usually buff and protect via aop. Slumber witches are exactly that. I have no idea what your goblin monk is, but I doubt he was designed for DPR.

All in all, it looks like a very good party. The fighter/ranger and the cleric should be pretty good at protecting the witch and the archer, and the witch and the archer should be able to take down foes really fast. Meanwhile, the goblin will do whatever the goblin does. If your players are happy with this, the cleric and fighter/ranger realizing that although they are integral to the success of the team, they don't put up the big numbers themselves, then you don't have a problem that archer does more damage. All of the damage is the parties, and the two guys holding the line are enabling that damage just as much as the archer himself. It is only if they are not happy that you have an issue there.

Now, a second issue is making sure that encounters are challenging. Usually upping # of foes a bit, adding HP, adding the advanced simple template or a combination can keep a more powerful party challenged.


To avoid having the archer dominate the combat, juste a few clues :

- there is no such spell as Litany of Righteousness => remove it completely
- don't hesitate to have the opposition use things like tanglefoot bags (malus to attack & dexterity so double malus to attack), smoke stckis & low level fog spells such as obscuring mist or darkness (block line of view and so prevent attacking with ranged attack).


Melee's more-or-less equivalent to Rapid Shot is two weapon fighting, but that requires two weapons. There is no single melee weapon equivalent to Rapid Shot. Why not? Would a feat to allow making an additional attack (with a -2 penalty) with a one-handed weapon be out of line?

Point Blank Shot also has no melee equivalent that adds a flat bonus to attack and damage. I think this benefit should be dropped and changed to something else, such as a bonus to AC against AoO for making a ranged attack or rolling twice on miss chance.


Well, have the villain roll for knowledge local checks about the adventurers heading their way, or roll diplomacy/intimidate check to gather information on them. Simple potions of "protection of arrow" can be used by intelligent humanoid villains if they learn that the adventurer have this incredibly dangerous archer.

Here is a list of simple consumable your villains can use to save their hides from a dangerous archer:

-Potions of protection from arrows 300 GP
-Scrolls of "Entropic shield" 25 GP (Need use magic device)
-Oil of wind wall 400GP from the ranger spell-list
-Feather token tree 400 GP can spawn a tree for protection

Here are some feat you can check out to give your monsters a way to save their skins:
-Deflect arrows
-Missile Shield

Here are some other things you can use against your archer:
- Strong winds from the weather can give a -2 penalty to ranged attacks
- Sever winds from the weather can give a -4 penalty to ranged attacks
- Actual natural fog give concealment, no need for magic
- Rain lower ranged attacks by -4
- Snow has the same effect as rain


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Kildaere wrote:
(...) but breaking a PCs hard earned equipment is dirty pool. We have a game “sunder truce” I don’t break (...)

I fully understand your situation but we came up with another way to "house-rule" threw it: We allow magic items to me repaired with Make Whole at a straight caster level requirement but with a material cost of 10% of the "crafting-cost" of the item or re-crafted (with the feat) at the same 10% cost.

So it goes both ways (PCs and Monsters) and it allows the "obvious ways" to use Sunder without losing big amounts of the earned treasure.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Slime...I like that! I think I may implement that in next AP.
Great list Laiho!
Noir and Cairan, I want to try and stay away from changing the core mechanics of things. But the gear ideas are perfect.

Weird tangent thought that I don't feel like looking up. If you count reach attacks as ranged when there is cover in play, does that mean that weather affects reach attacks?

Scarab Sages

Kildaere wrote:
He has saved up his money and before he left Magnimar he purchased a +1 Adaptive Corrosive Composite longbow (9400 gp)

Ok, but he is potentially pretty MAD... STR, DEX, CON, and WIS are all needed. I assume strength, since you mention an adaptable bow. I assume CON since he wants to live... if not, pummel his modest REF save (I know he has high dex, but clr1 inq7 is only 2 base) with fireballs, or a few goblin alchemist 5s as henchmen for the big fellas.

So, also, crappy BAB... at level 8, only 5 base attack (unless you are allowing house-ruled partial base attack/saves?)... no iterative or many shot until level 9. So, with only 5 BAB and a +1 enhancement bonus, not to mention -2 for rapid shot, -2 for deadly aim, and effectively -4 for frequent cover... it doesn't seem like you need to do very much to get your monster's AC high enough to put a dent in his damage. Large chain shirts are cheap and effective for an army of ogres and hill giants.

Kildaere wrote:
the archer will be doing about 50 - 70) in another level he will be doing about 140 round due to manyshot + iterative and he has taken a level of cleric to take advantage of Litany of Righteousness to burst for 1 round to around 280)

Ok, given the MAD discussed above, I'll generously assume he has 16 wisdom... even then, that's only 3 instances of Litany of Righteousness per day at 9th level... that only covers three enemies for the whole day. It is strong, but not all day strong. Add a few more enemies and that overkill spell will seem wasteful. If he tries to save it for the BBEG or casters... mirror image is your friend, and then he isn't outshining the rest of the party the rest of the day either.

Also, mind his action economy. Bane, Judgement, and Litany of X are all swift actions. It takes a couple of rounds to juice up. Also, he only has 7 rounds of bane per day... very limited at this point. Adding a little more fodder will make that resource feel less powerful.

You could also consider house-ruling the Litany of Righteousness to apply like a critical multiplier... not multiplying bonus dice, only base damage mod, and not doubling an entire critical hit, but just adding another +100%... effectively making the bow a x4 crit instead of x3 for crits against that enemy.

Lastly, you said you won't sunder... how about disarm? Picking that bow up is a move action that provokes. You can limit the full attack and bring a little extra hurt.

Good luck. Tell us how it goes.


Skeletons have DR 5/Bludgeoning, this means the piercing damage of an arrow is reduced. They also get immunity to sleep typically, so that can offset the witch as well. While you may not have many casters, it's not too much of a stretch that the ones you do have would spend bit of time to raise a few extra guards.


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Kildaere wrote:

Slime...I like that! I think I may implement that in next AP.

(...)

Cool. We took the idea from the story with a famous ranger guy with some halflings and his “ho-so-important” super-elfish-broken sword that finally got fixed thing … ;-)


Clustered shot was the feat that pushed them over the limit


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

DR has its place and at low levels it was killer on the archer. But now when each arrow (approximately off the top of my head) has 1d8 +11? dam + acid + bane + holy (I don't have the whole attack + buffs memorized) the 5/DR does not do much (it helps...). When clustered shots enter the picture....DR is pretty much over.


if you're aiming to buff the bosses: look at 4e's enemy type system.

bosses there usually count as multiple characters in terms of HP groupings and initiatives, allowing them to not get swamped by the party via action economy. adding minions can further mitigate that, and what overlord doesnt have a personal guard?


This may not work all the time , but most my casters as a player take obscuring mist. Adds concealment if you are at the edges and blocks los if you are further in.then summon an earth elemntal and have it tunnel to the archer.I done it as a player to enemy archers, so cannot co plain if the tactic is used back on me.


Slime wrote:
Kildaere wrote:
(...) but breaking a PCs hard earned equipment is dirty pool. We have a game “sunder truce” I don’t break (...)

I fully understand your situation but we came up with another way to "house-rule" threw it: We allow magic items to me repaired with Make Whole at a straight caster level requirement but with a material cost of 10% of the "crafting-cost" of the item or re-crafted (with the feat) at the same 10% cost.

So it goes both ways (PCs and Monsters) and it allows the "obvious ways" to use Sunder without losing big amounts of the earned treasure.

As long as items are only broken, not destroyed a simple mending (or multiple simple mendings) do the trick as well. No cost involved.

mending wrote:
This spell repairs damaged objects, restoring 1d4 hit points to the object. If the object has the broken condition, this condition is removed if the object is restored to at least half its original hit points. All of the pieces of an object must be present for this spell to function. Magic items can be repaired by this spell, but you must have a caster level equal to or higher than that of the object. Magic items that are destroyed (at 0 hit points or less) can be repaired with this spell, but this spell does not restore their magic abilities.

As the one doing the sunder can choose whether he wants to destroy the object or not that's usually enough to not loose treasure. You sunder enemy weapons to give them the broken condition. That's often enough.

Careful with armor or heavy two-handed weapons. They might exceed mending's weight limit.

Shadow Lodge

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The issue with archery IMO is that players and GMs alike react foolishly when faced with an archer. IRL you'd be diving behind the nearest bit of cover you could find, not standing out in the open waiting to get gunned down. Put the mechanics aside for a moment and think how your npcs would react in that moment. Retreat around corners to limit sightlines, push over tables to take cover behind, duck behind a tree, etc.

One thing I like to do for mid-high level play, though you have to be careful it doesn't slow combat down too much, is to throw in extra mooks into fights. First level warriors, the henchman that just exist to be beat up and really offer no challenge, but they get in the way, gang up, provide flanks and assist the to hit and AC of the actual opponents. If done properly it makes things feel more cinematic, more epic, and can soak up all those extra attacks helping to check some of the overpowering characters in a way that is fun for the player instead of oh look another thing that is immune to my [insert unballancing ability here]. They PCs kill them all in a round? Fine, more mooks come piling in the next round. I'm sure you've all watched plenty of action movies to know that mooks come in never ending supply, but run off once the bosses are defeated.


Instead of nerfing the archer, find ways to boost up the other characters. For example, allow melee characters to take an equivalent feat as Point Blank Shot (+1 attack, +1 damage), but with melee weapons. Give melee characters the Rapid Strike feat (+1 extra attack, for -2 to all attacks). Find a way for melee characters to be able to pounce--home-brew magic item: Boots of Pouncing.

Then, boost up the hp of the monsters, and let the characters DPS away at them.

Tactically, force the archer to take a move action to be able to see the target. The main advantage of the archer is being able to full attack every round without having to move. Melee characters have to move into position, so they don't get a full attack as often.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

no no no no no no....boosting the other characters would be very bad. The Slumber witch needs no buffing. The Reach Cleric hits VERY hard. The Fighter/Ranger will be destroying [giants] very shortly. But all those are manageable. The archer is the problem child right now (in terms of combat balance). The Goblin is just pure monk (I could buff him, but he is holding his own currently - He is almost a defender as he occupies an opponent but his AC is approaching crazy unhittable). The party is pretty much where I want them (minus the archer). I want them to earn their "heroes of Golarion" status with a "little" work (I don't want them to curbstomp every encounter).


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Litany of Righteousness does very little for an inquisitor:

1.They lack the good sub-type or a good aura (class ability) so no x2 damage.

2. In paizo damage doubling does not apply to extra die from bane anyway.

the dazzle effect is about all he should get.


Kildaere wrote:

Slime...I like that! I think I may implement that in next AP.

Great list Laiho!
Noir and Cairan, I want to try and stay away from changing the core mechanics of things. But the gear ideas are perfect.

Weird tangent thought that I don't feel like looking up. If you count reach attacks as ranged when there is cover in play, does that mean that weather affects reach attacks?

Happy to help sir!

Reach attack are ranged attack, trying to throw your arms around to call down a scorching ray to an enemy while it's raining and with "strong" wind present would carry a cumulative penalty of -6 to all ranged attack rolls.
Also reduce visibility by half and inflict a -4 check on perception checks.
Spells with no attack rolls like fireballs are not affected by this but the spell caster must succeed a concentration check either way, as per concentration check rules.

Look in the environment section of the GameMastery guide for more neat ideas, like natural hazards such has quicksand or the rule-set to not get lost in wilderness.

My players used to laugh at white dragons saying that a creature weak against fire at mid level was a joke, they did not take into account that fighting one in a snow storm was hell. Difficult terrain, 2X to 4X squares to move around, the windstorm level wind make impossible to use any ranged attacks, everything has 20% concealment. Sure the dragon has -8 penalty on his fly checks, but he has perfect visibility through the snow and his usually still able to pull of a flyby attack.

As a side note make sure to adjust CR to these conditions of your encounters. A CR8 encounter can quickly become a CR10 one with the right conditions, use your judgement.


Wow you have a Slumber Witch and you're concerned about a machine gun!

Seriously though, The close quarter fighting is easy to deal with as he'll not have lines of sight and Ogres with reach weapons will help out enormously - swap out ogre hooks for long spears.
The rural encounters are best adjusted via the previous suggestions - cover from trees/bushes/walls etc, stagger enemy arrival, invisibility, DR and grappling.


As some above mentioned, whatever you do, do not allow Clustered Shots feat. (And make that clear now)

He's not going to get less powerful particularly as time goes on, but he isn't going to get *more* powerful, except for eventually getting improved precise shot. Until then, cover helps.

Also, the Litany spells are just wrong - consider removing them (and allowing that cleric level to be retrained). [Insaneogeddon, he took a level of cleric just to get around that.]

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