Spellcasters = Win....how? I don't get it...


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:D

EDIT:

Artemis Moonstar wrote:
I'd rather be Siamese. That way, I can cast Mirror Image (fine, I'll dip if I have to), and use Ghost Sound to make me and my copies sing! "We are Siamese if you please! We are Siamese if you don't please!"

I'm pretty sure all of Pathfinder that has ever existed has just been leading up to that moment in a game.

Artemis Moonstar wrote:
I shall be an Oracle! With the Deaf curse! To heck with your silliness of not being able to cast as a cat! My stuff's Silenced!

Slick build, actually. (But you'll want a still spell in some way or another.)

Artemis Moonstar wrote:
Not sure about that other guy, but I got my answers.

Which is what's important, really.

Artemis Moonstar wrote:
Edit: Also, because I feel like it... I'll roll a D4. Male, Female, Hermaphroditic, Genderless. MAGIC DOES WEIRD THINGS!

That it does, my friend. That it does. Take me, for example. (To the loony bin.)


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Hiya.

cnetarian wrote:

A level 1 sorc with the color spray spell, which can usually affect at least 3 opponents and often end a combat by itself, takes an opponent out if they don't save. Compare to a level 1 fighter who, during the time it takes the sorc to cast color spray, can make one attack, which is more likely to miss than the sorc be saved against, and might do enough damage to take the opponent out of combat. Sure the sorc can only this around 4 times/day but that just encourages the party to stop after the sorc has blown his load.

Color spray, end encounter. Great. Two rounds later the ogre 'brute' in the next room comes to investigate. Now what? Another color spray? Ok. So, you've taken out the first 'guard room' of the complex. The bad guys will change guards or at least come to check up on them in...at most, say 2 hours. So, you have 2 hours to run away. Or continue on deeper into the Dungeon of the Iron Master so that you can rescue the merchants wife and kids before they are cooked and eaten in 5 or 6 hours. Yeah...hmmm....

;)

This is the sort of "proof" I get all the time. It's proof of one thing; a wizards spells are powerful. That's it. It doesn't prove that they somehow are "better than everyone else at everything". More diverse? Sure! Capable of 'ending' an encounter in one or two spells? Sure! But when pressed to actually "adventure" with everyone else...I still don't see it.

^_^

Paul L. Ming


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Found it.

Mirror Polish, ACG p. 188:

Mirror Polish
School transmutation; Level sorcerer/wizard 1, witch 1
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M (a soft cloth)
Range touch
Target one metal item of up to 1 sq. ft.
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw yes (object); Spell Resistance yes (object)

You polish a metal item until it is reflective enough to be
used as a mirror. This does not prevent the item from later
damage or corrosion that would ruin the mirrored surface.
The spell can be cast only on a metal item with a fairly
smooth and contiguous surface, such as a breastplate, a
helm, a shield, or a sword, but not a mace, chainmail, or
scale mail.


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Suichimo wrote:


DM's running an enemy intelligently or not has no effect on what the casters are capable of. Even at the earliest of levels, Wizards can toss out a Sleep and effectively kill the majority of enemies in an encounter. No amount of smart play would stop that.

Unless they decide to not all stand right together. Then you can get one, or maybe at best two.


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Last session of D&D.

Our APL 8 party took on 3 CR 9 Demons and a CR 13 Glazrebeau.

Our party was worried about surviving. Our rogue had very little in the ways of cover for stealthing and sniping.

Glitter dust.

1 standard action blinding the glazrebeau and 1 of the CR 9's. Only a 50% success rate and yet it cut their damage to pretty low levels with the front liner Demon having a 50% miss chance on all attacks. Beyond that, the rogue now had instant sneak attack against two enemies.

No feats to fiddle with bothering to feint, no dealing with having to get into melee and worrying about getting hit. Instant sneak.

So the demons in the background fly to the top of a cliff and start dancing instead with their primary damage source gone. Quick knowledge check with my great int. These things dance for 3 rounds and deal 20d6 damage in a half mile AOE. That will outright kill a few members of the party and severely damage everyone.

Being as how my GM has given out 2 scrolls in 5 levels, I did not have the fly spell and the rogue would not do enough damage alone to kill 1 off before the spell went off.

Grease. All 3 of them have to make a reflex save on my turn or fall prone, instantly ending their little ability. 3 reflex saves on their turn or the same. 3 balance checks after the 3 reflex saves, all balance checks required for them to keep moving (required for them to dance) and with possibilities of them falling prone.

A level 1 spell just forced 6 saves and 3 checks from a skill not a lot of creatures have in the first place. If even one is failed their enormous 1/day ability is ruined. And that's only for that round. Even if they make it through round 2 they have to make 3 more saves and 3 more checks on round 3.

Edit:
And just in case number of spells per day is brought up as a limitation. The reason i prestige classed in the first place was for the purpose of combining wizard and sorcerer for ultimate magus. I am progressing as 2 9th level casters. I have over 2 full sets of spells for 6th level casters each day at 9th level. And with each level i gain 2 9th level caster levels worth of spells.


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Alright, time to take the bait. These are in the order of wizard, cleric, druid. So let's start with the highest level game. At level 13/14 (7th level spells) the spellcasters have access to the following:
I am immune to ambush, interruption, and everything else, no matter where I am.
Your non-good army is now blind/paralyzed/dead, worse with caster level boosts. This works with the other 3 alignments as desired.
I'm too lazy to do the work so I'll just Tornado/Hailstorm/Blizzard/Hurricane a 2 or 3 mile radius and leave.
I'm going to call this one a straight victory as every one of our spellcasters gets that last one, and there's nothing here any martial but a barbarian can do (and not in Core).

We drop down to level 5/6 (3rd level spells) and we get:
Can't touch this. and No, seriously, can't touch this.
Feed the masses. Mass invisibility reveal. Never drown again!
Farmer's best friend.
I'm not seeing anything here a martial can do that's similar without an epic survival check, though I guess Deflect Arrows might count as a smaller portion of Wind Wall.

Then the bare essentials, the little level ones.
Never miss. In two different flavors!
Survival for days.
Immune to wilderness threats.
So this one is a little more campaign dependent, but I've just picked out the things that are not duplicatable without a much higher level martial character.

This doesn't include channel energy, familiars, wild shape, the animal companion, this is just straight spells (which 2/3rds of them can pick up at the beginning of any day they feel like, the wizard has to buy them).
At the highest levels the spellcasters are capable of complete safety, mass debuff/murder, and mass destruction with minimal effort. This isn't including planar binding, gate, summons, and all of their other spells. At the mid levels they have relative safety with combos, relative immunity to environmental factors, and the ability to shape the world around them. This is at an extremely low level, not including stone shape/wood shape/wall of stone/wall of iron and all the similar stuff they get later. At the lowest level a wizard can damage something the fighter can't hit (using a bow even), a cleric or druid can completely ignore any of the bad effects of a jungle/desert/tundra, and the druid can just walk with impunity through almost any wilderness.

It's not about damage (you can look up Blockbuster Wizard if you want to see that one) it's about options. There are encounters that martial characters can do nothing about without magic items (and there are ones they can't do anything about with magic items because of low caster levels and at will greater dispel magic). The stuff I listed is just individual spells that are better than anything a martial of a similar level can ever offer.

If all you want a simple combat comparison it's even easier. Level 6+ druid, same stat array as your strength-based martial character, Wild Shape into a Tiger (lasts 6+ hours, have 2+/day), gain +4 STR over your martial, loses 2 DEX (but gains +4 NA) so you're +2 AC, +1 to hit, and +2 to damage, have pounce, 3 natural attacks, and if you have 13+ WIS you can Greater Magic Fang yourself for at least +1 attack/damage (also 6+ hours). Almost always full attack at a similar hit/damage number to a martial, plus the extra 9 levels of spells the martial doesn't get. That's the most boring possible use for Wild Shape, completely ignoring non-combat forms, elementals, plants, and vital striking giant hippos. Oh, and their animal companion.


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pming wrote:

Hiya.

Chengar Qordath wrote:


In my experience, when it's all pure imagination most AoE spells/effects only hit as many enemies as the GM thinks would be reasonable for keeping the encounter balanced/interesting. When there's a map, a single well-placed battlefield control spell can easily turn an encounter into mop-up. Without one, no matter how big the spells AoE, how well it's placed, and how restrictive the terrain is, the GM can easily get away with "You hit two of them, and one makes his save the rest just around it."
Then all I'd have to say to that is...you need to find GM's of a higher quality. A GM should never, IMHO and IME, "arbitrarily decide" stuff just to make an encounter more challenging or easier. That is NOT the GM's job whilst the game is in play. A GM should only adjust the easy/hard scale as appropriate to the situation and combatants in game. As I said in another post, stupid creatures should do stupid things, smart ones should do smart things. Just running baddies as nothing more than AC/HP statblocks sucks almost all of the thrill out of an RPG combat encounter.

Suchimo and Bandw2 already said most of what I would've, so I won't spend too much time repeating their points. It's essentially less a matter of enemies being played poorly as it is that players and GMs don't always visualize all the distances involved very well.

I also think that, when it comes to a lot of area effects, GMs will naturally lean towards visualizing everything in a way that keeps the encounter interesting and balanced. Did that Black Tentacles/Wall/whatever spell completely lock down half the battlefield effectively remove the melee baddies from the battle, or is there juuust enough room for them to go around it if they're careful? Did that fireball catch Bob's bleeding-out and unconscious rogue in it's AoE (a death sentence), or was he just barely outside of it?

Simply put, when there are no fixed dimensions to the battlefield and a lot of people are bad at visualizing distances anyway, it's easy to fudge things one way or another without even consciously meaning to.


What I don't get is why anyone whinging about spellcasters never seems to have any viable solutions. Every "solution" I've ever seen results in the casters being unable to survive long enough reach 5th level. (ok slight exaggeration there but not by much) or they end up being non playable casters.


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pming wrote:
This is the sort of "proof" I get all the time. It's proof of one thing; a wizards spells are powerful. That's it. It doesn't prove that they somehow are "better than everyone else at everything". More diverse? Sure! Capable of 'ending' an encounter in one or two spells? Sure! But when pressed to actually "adventure" with everyone else...I still don't see it.

So! Let's see that in practice!

Wizards start with 70 gold (on average) and Scribe Scroll. A scroll requires 12.5 gold for a first level spell. (It also takes about two hours to craft a scroll, allowing up to 4/day; this can be done while traveling/adventuring over four hours instead, making 2/day possible.)

That's 5 more uses of color spray, unless your GM doesn't want you spending your gold up front (at which point no one really has time to prepare, as shopping isn't really easily or realistically done for adventuring supplies within a few hours anyway).

That said, an ogre is a CR 3. If the dungeon is throwing CR 3 creatures as basic mooks, you're either higher than level 1 (probably level 3 or more), or going to have more problems (as that's considered a hard encounter for a 1st level party, i.e. an encounter that's going to use up more than 20% of your resources on average).

By third level, you're expected to have roughly 3,000 gold-value of goods on-hand.

That's 250 color sprays, if you want 'em (though I recommend against it: one-trick ponies are annoying for the pony, too).

Of course, if your color spray knocked out an ogre, you've instead got an unusual ogre, given that said creature is 4HD, but it could still be enough to take it down in a few rounds, while it's stunned.

But let's presume you are first level heroes.

An ogre has an AC of 17, a melee +7 (2d8+7 dmg; average 16 on a hit), and ranged +1 (1d8+5 dmg). It has 30 hp, +6 fortitude, +0 reflex, +3 will.

A standard array fighter (I think about 15 pt-buy?) with a 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, and 8 probably arranges things like so:

STR 15
DEX 14
CON 13
INT 10
WIS 13
CHA 8

Presuming human, depending on the build, he'd go for a bonus to STR or DEX. The numbers are a bit fudge-able... so I will; let's presume all 17s in physical attributes, to make him "Schrodinger's fighter".

So!

STR 17 means a +3 attack and damage, DEX means +3 AC, and CON means +3 hp. Best BAB, best fortitude, best (basic non-magical core) armor to maximize his DEX (let's ignore prices for now): the agile breastplate. Let's give him a klar (to act like a buckler, granting +1 AC) and an earthbreaker to really ramp up his damage. Heck, let's add an armored kilt, for an extra +1 AC. Add the favored class bonus to hp, why not.

14 hp, AC 20, attack of +4, average damage on a hit 10 (2d6+3), saves +5 fortitude, +3 reflex, +3 will.

So!

He needs a roll of 13 to hit the ogre.
The ogre needs a roll of 13 to hit the fighter.

In a normal combat, the ogre will down the fighter the first time the ogre hits him, while it will take the fighter three hits to down the ogre. Given they have the same chance of hitting each other... that doesn't favor the fighter. You could give the fighter a better chance to hit, but that'd eat up the feats that let you have the nifty klar/earthbreaker combo, and cost you 1 on your AC. That... still doesn't favor the fighter.

Compare Schrodinger's color spray wizard, who has a spell DC 15 (10 + 1 (for 1st level) + 3 (INT modifier) + 1 (spell focus)). With a +3 on the ogre's will save, the wizard has... a better chance to "hit" the creature (if it rolls an 11 or lower, the wizard hits it: that's a slightly-better-than 50/50 chance).

(Of course, as I noted above, that doesn't get rid of the ogre, it just stuns it for a few rounds, unless the ogre is weird, but, you know, you're throwing 1st levels up against an ogre.)

Really, the strategy should be to have the wizard hit it, and then have the fighter wail on it for three rounds (as it's AC will have dropped, due to its stunned state).

But what was an impossible fight for a lone fighter becomes a winnable fight with a wizard.

And for a lone wizard? Color spray and run away, means you live to color spray another day.


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Ravingdork wrote:

Found it.

** spoiler omitted **

Question. This is important to know, can this spell be affected by Permanency?


@PMing

At low levels a caster will no win an adventure by itself but at high levels single caster can fairly easily do it.

Invisibility plus non detection plus gaseous form plus fly means you can get to any where in a compound undetected.

If the goal is to get something then simply touch it an dim door or teleport. If it is to stop a plot you really only need to to win an encounter or two and skip all the rest. Killing a single target is trivial. Also planar binding allows to easily get a replacement for a fighter or cleric.

In beastmass 2 a character built a caster that soloed an adventure for his level and even bad dice rolls would not mean much. Many high level adventures could not even be started with out magic. As to the 15 min work day, just teleport out of the dungeon or use rope trick or many other spells that allow one to rest in safety. Or plane shift to fast time plane and rest up in 1 round if you can find the right plane.


Ravingdork wrote:

Found it.

** spoiler omitted **

That, my friend... that is rather legendary.


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For me it's not theory craft. I have played APs, home games and PFS. By about 5 or 6 a caster is able to keep up with the martials. By the time you start getting to about level 9 they have elapsed the martials. By about level 15 a martial stands no chance against them.

1) Scry and fry - unless your GM always stops this ( i personally do shut this down) this is a legitimate tactic. Particularly in APS this can be hard to stop

2) Lots of people talk about how caster run out of spells - Well i assume they have a party. I usually cast a spell between 1 and 3 rounds a combat. Often 1 spell ends an encounter and i don't need more. Dazing wall of fire anyone? I usually have more resources at the end of a day than people like magus and inquisitor who are much more martial than me.

3) versatiliy - memorized casters can do pretty much anything, often better than non casters that specialize in it.

4) resting - I also see the resting argument a lot, which could be problematic with less experienced players. Sorcerers in particular with pfs have to use resources every round, even if only one guy is still standing and the fighter would drop him in one hit. My particular style doesn't have this issue, but they have like half a dozen spells that let you rest just about anywhere, a few with no chance of getting messed up.

5) Crafting - break wbl, which is a component of determining your personal cr. Don't think much more to be said there.

I could go on for a while but I'm on my phone and lazy.


Natan Linggod 327 wrote:
What I don't get is why anyone whinging about spellcasters never seems to have any viable solutions. Every "solution" I've ever seen results in the casters being unable to survive long enough reach 5th level. (ok slight exaggeration there but not by much) or they end up being non playable casters.

That's because the majority of people here are not game designers. They would like Paizo to fix their game, but do not have the time, inclination, and/or ability to do it for them.

Fixing casters is also exponentially harder than fixing the other broken classes, because caster spellpower comes from spells, both the number and the power level. So you must both ban/remove large swathes of the spell lists and revamp the remainder, making some stronger (mostly blasting options and some odder schools like Illusion) and some weaker (so all the spells are about as good as each other, hopefully with none being gamebreaking or skill/class ability obsoleting. Transmutation, Divination, and Conjuration are the big offenders here).


In my experience casters = win comes from the fact that casters have a regularly, and in some cases unendingly, increasing array of solutions, while non-casters generally don't. There's literally a spell for every conceivable circumstance, and as long as the party takes the time to prepare they'll generally have an answer for whatever a GM throws at them (no 15 minute work day required), but everyone else has limits on what they can do. In most cases, unless you're casting, the number of things you're capable of doesn't increase all that much or all that quickly, you just get better at what you can do.

So that's how it generally works from where I'm sitting, wider array of options means that more often than not the caster is going to have an answer ready.


To elaborate a little, since I ran over-long (as I am wont).

Tacticslion wrote:
Really, the strategy should be to have the wizard hit it, and then have the fighter wail on it for three rounds (as it's AC will have dropped, due to its stunned state).

The better strategy would be to stun it and run away, but, you know, this one will serve if there's no other option.

Tacticslion wrote:
And for a lone wizard? Color spray and run away, means you live to color spray another day.

Yes, you may not save the wife and child.

But, "HOLY CRAP, YOU GUYS, they've got, like, multiple ogres cowed to their will! I'mma need an awful lot of back-up if we're going to stop them from murdering any more children!" is a much more viable (and long-term survivable for more people) than throwing your life away against impossible odds just to fail to accomplish something anyway.

EDIT: By the way, the above is not cowardice or dishonorable. If there isn't a way to win a fight, retreating is the only honorable option.

Option 1) Don't retreat! Keep on fighting! And die, and let them die too!
Option 2) Recognize your limits and retreat. Then gather more strength (and/or numbers+tactics) and hammer them hard enough, now that you know what you're up against.


Mathius wrote:

@PMing

At low levels a caster will no win an adventure by itself but at high levels single caster can fairly easily do it.

Invisibility plus non detection plus gaseous form plus fly means you can get to any where in a compound undetected.

If the goal is to get something then simply touch it an dim door or teleport. If it is to stop a plot you really only need to to win an encounter or two and skip all the rest. Killing a single target is trivial. Also planar binding allows to easily get a replacement for a fighter or cleric.

In beastmass 2 a character built a caster that soloed an adventure for his level and even bad dice rolls would not mean much. Many high level adventures could not even be started with out magic. As to the 15 min work day, just teleport out of the dungeon or use rope trick or many other spells that allow one to rest in safety. Or plane shift to fast time plane and rest up in 1 round if you can find the right plane.

What does the PC caster do to prevent the BBEG from attacking him at home in exactly those same ways? If nothing, then the caster is only alive because the GM is not playing the opposition intelligently. If something, then the BBEG can do that something too.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
pming wrote:

Hiya.

cnetarian wrote:

A level 1 sorc with the color spray spell, which can usually affect at least 3 opponents and often end a combat by itself, takes an opponent out if they don't save. Compare to a level 1 fighter who, during the time it takes the sorc to cast color spray, can make one attack, which is more likely to miss than the sorc be saved against, and might do enough damage to take the opponent out of combat. Sure the sorc can only this around 4 times/day but that just encourages the party to stop after the sorc has blown his load.

Color spray, end encounter. Great. Two rounds later the ogre 'brute' in the next room comes to investigate. Now what? Another color spray? Ok. So, you've taken out the first 'guard room' of the complex. The bad guys will change guards or at least come to check up on them in...at most, say 2 hours. So, you have 2 hours to run away. Or continue on deeper into the Dungeon of the Iron Master so that you can rescue the merchants wife and kids before they are cooked and eaten in 5 or 6 hours. Yeah...hmmm....

;)

This is the sort of "proof" I get all the time. It's proof of one thing; a wizards spells are powerful. That's it. It doesn't prove that they somehow are "better than everyone else at everything". More diverse? Sure! Capable of 'ending' an encounter in one or two spells? Sure! But when pressed to actually "adventure" with everyone else...I still don't see it.

^_^

Paul L. Ming

honestly, I'd have said f those merchants, and would have instead agreed to the mission to gain info on the routes and then just ambush his caravans.

though, if I really wanted to do that. I'd get a bunch of stone to mud and divine what I can about the place and then just burrow into the place where the wife and kids are. though yeah, if we're talking about level 1, this is the weakest point for the casters.

and if we're talking about a full blown dungeon, like crafted into the mountain side, i'm not even joking here, find the entrance, kill some guards, let one escape(if they want to fight to the death, whatever just repeat), and then just hold your ground at the entrance. if anything gets too hectic have someone someway create a cave in on the entrance(always good to have a pickaxe ready so you can dig into walls and such and a few levels of architecture/engineering/dungeoneering).

if he doesn't interrupt his plans on eating the family, man is he dedicated to eating on schedule.

the caster if offense oriented is going to be sitting around until people start facing something they can't easily dispatch. probably if things get really hectic and the cave-in fails he can just create a pit. (otherwise he's just casting his HUGE duration buff spells anyway)

I'm not joking either, I don't dungeon dive, if I need something time sensitive to save in a dungeon, i'm going to instead bring the client the head of who ever killed/destroyed said something. if he doesn't pay me, i just show him the head again.

you're solution is "don't allow 15 min work days", my solution is "don't accept no for an answer", why sleep in a dungeon when you can just harry them and have the caster just sit somewhere hidden waiting for people to start asking for help.


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That sounds neither heroic nor fun! (To me. But if you enjoy it: sweet!)


my 2 copper on why casters win over martials is that casters can affect the world at large on an entirely different depth and scale than a martial can.

while the wizard is busy terraforming the continent while flying around untouchable and privvy to the day's events beforehand and prepared accordingly, the fighter can... swing his sword four times at stuff (five with magic involved)? with reach if he lunges?

mythic only changes the game to high-speed rocket tag for both sides, which the wizard still largely wins due to mythic spells and having their auto-win initiative setup before they even got to mythic tier.


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AndIMustMask wrote:
the fighter can... swing his sword at stuff? with reach if he lunges?

That's actually pretty cool from low to mid levels.

It's high levels when lunge stops being cool.


@JoeJ A caster can to plenty to make his home nearly impossible to penetrate and has fail safes even if you do to get away. Failing even that he has clone witch gets around being killed. This works best if a wizard.

If the bbeg is not a full caster then he can not do these things and is just and easy target.


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I see a lot here about what wizards can do offensively, much less about effective defense against magical attacks. But I find that all I need to do as a GM is have bad guys try one time to break into the PC wizard's workshop. As soon as the player realizes that his spellbook and his horde of treasure/gear/whatever is vulnerable he'll start installing defenses, which in turn gives me ideas I can pick from for the BBEG to use. Not to create something impregnable, of course, because where's the fun in that? But enough to be challenging and almost certainly requiring more than just the wizard alone to overcome.


Mathius wrote:

@JoeJ A caster can to plenty to make his home nearly impossible to penetrate and has fail safes even if you do to get away. Failing even that he has clone witch gets around being killed. This works best if a wizard.

If the bbeg is not a full caster then he can not do these things and is just and easy target.

The BBEG doesn't necessarily have to be a full caster to have a full caster working for him.


Marcus Robert Hosler wrote:
AndIMustMask wrote:
the fighter can... swing his sword at stuff? with reach if he lunges?

That's actually pretty cool from low to mid levels.

It's high levels when lunge stops being cool.

yeah, but if you're a martial who isnt named fighter you're grabbing it at 7th level--the same level where full-casters get some of their niftiest toys (like, say, black tentacles). if you ARE a fighter, you're getting it at 6th, so you get one level of fun before you're not allowed any anymore.

even then it's still a matter of the martial getting to do one thing to one person, while the caster can cover an area with what amounts to a save or die--if he doesn't have a party to mop up the now-betentacled or stinking cloud'ed enemies, he can just summon some to do it, since the enemy is certainly in no condition to interrupt his full-round summon at that point. he can even pull off the untouchable flying+invisible shtick at that point, albeit not for nearly as long a duration as his high-level counterpart.


Mage's Magnificent Mansion is pretty safe place to rest. The only way to get to you is dispel the mansion. Dispelling the mansion and dealing with the wizard before he can get away will be difficult.


JoeJ wrote:
I see a lot here about what wizards can do offensively, much less about effective defense against magical attacks. But I find that all I need to do as a GM is have bad guys try one time to break into the PC wizard's workshop. As soon as the player realizes that his spellbook and his horde of treasure/gear/whatever is vulnerable he'll start installing defenses, which in turn gives me ideas I can pick from for the BBEG to use. Not to create something impregnable, of course, because where's the fun in that? But enough to be challenging and almost certainly requiring more than just the wizard alone to overcome.

Actually, I'm significantly more aware of the ways around my own defenses than most of my GMs.

(In fact, I frequently point these out to them, so they can be aware of such things, if they need it.)

The trick isn't just having good defenses. It's having backups. And really, the only thing you need to have backups for is your spellbook.

Wreck his lab? Meh. Cool, I guess. He's not going to bother wrecking yours because, nice as it is, it's not going to affect your (or his) power now. Similarly, he's not going to destroy your stuff.

He is going to have a lot of tricks up his sleeve to kill you, quickly.

And if the GM starts targeting those close to my character? Well... there's a reason so many PCs turn out to be loner orphans with no social ties who slowly earn the title "murderhobo" on forums (even as they do great good for the world).

They effectively become very skilled terrorists, destroying evil wherever they go, and fading away.

Because any BBEG's plans require lots of time, and a solid foundation of folk to run it.

Any PC's plans require some time, and a loose confederation of allies to run it.

A PC has a huge advantage.

JoeJ wrote:
Mathius wrote:

@JoeJ A caster can to plenty to make his home nearly impossible to penetrate and has fail safes even if you do to get away. Failing even that he has clone witch gets around being killed. This works best if a wizard.

If the bbeg is not a full caster then he can not do these things and is just and easy target.

The BBEG doesn't necessarily have to be a full caster to have a full caster working for him.

... but it's still the caster that's making it all happen.

That's kind of like saying the president is the most powerful man on earth, hence he's more important than his generals and military personnel. Only in this case the personnel is just one person.

Still, he certainly could inspire some sort of religious devotion. Could be neat.


If the BBEG is not a caster but has one working from him then he most likely a lower level caster. Martial just do not make creditable BBEG beyond level 10.


Mathius wrote:
If the BBEG is not a caster but has one working from him then he most likely a lower level caster. Martial just do not make creditable BBEG beyond level 10.

But it's not about whether the BBEG is a martial or a caster or both. It's about creating challenges such that the PC wizard doesn't have an I Win button, because that would ruin the fun for everybody.


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BBEG is either required to be a full caster or required to have the help of a full caster.


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With respect to the 15-minute adventuring day comments, there's a simple problem: the Fighter is limited by hit points every bit as much as the Wizard is limited by spell slots. A 5th level Wizard with 22 intelligence has three 3rd level spells, five 2nd level spells, and six 1st level spells. If you cast 2-3 spells per encounter on average, that will get you through five encounters per day. A 5th level Fighter with 16 constitution, favored class bonus, and average hit die rolls has 52 hit points. If he takes 10 hit points in damage per encounter on average, he's on the verge of death after 5 encounters. You can do the comparison for any level, the Wizard has enough spell slots to make his way through any reasonable number of encounters.

Quote:
Color spray, end encounter. Great. Two rounds later the ogre 'brute' in the next room comes to investigate. Now what? Another color spray? Ok. So, you've taken out the first 'guard room' of the complex.

A 1st level Sorcerer has 4-5 castings per day, depending on his charisma score. He can keep this up for two to three more encounters. And even after that he may have a relevant bloodline power or at very least could spam ray of frost or fire a crossbow. The only way a front-liner fighter will still have any hit points left over at this point in the day is precisely because the spellcasters have been eliminating significants threat before they can deal damage (or there's a Cleric propping him up)

Now, I'm actually one who thinks the difference between casters and martials isn't that bad in combat. Yes, casters have more options, but with good magic item selection martials can be pretty versatile threats that fulfill important tactical niches for the party. The problem is that Pathfinder is not a tactical combat game, it's a roleplaying game. Once you're outside of conventional dungeon-crawling fights, the wizard's broader toolbox gives him way more options, not just for non-combat encounters but also that let them decide how they approach combat. At the higher levels, wizards simply take control of the game. To paraphrase Sun Tzu, they "win first, then go to war". It doesn't make the martial characters obsolete, but it certainly does make the spellcasters overshadow them.


pming wrote:

Hiya.

cnetarian wrote:

A level 1 sorc with the color spray spell, which can usually affect at least 3 opponents and often end a combat by itself, takes an opponent out if they don't save. Compare to a level 1 fighter who, during the time it takes the sorc to cast color spray, can make one attack, which is more likely to miss than the sorc be saved against, and might do enough damage to take the opponent out of combat. Sure the sorc can only this around 4 times/day but that just encourages the party to stop after the sorc has blown his load.

Color spray, end encounter. Great. Two rounds later the ogre 'brute' in the next room comes to investigate. Now what? Another color spray? Ok. So, you've taken out the first 'guard room' of the complex. The bad guys will change guards or at least come to check up on them in...at most, say 2 hours. So, you have 2 hours to run away. Or continue on deeper into the Dungeon of the Iron Master so that you can rescue the merchants wife and kids before they are cooked and eaten in 5 or 6 hours. Yeah...hmmm....

;)

This is the sort of "proof" I get all the time. It's proof of one thing; a wizards spells are powerful. That's it. It doesn't prove that they somehow are "better than everyone else at everything". More diverse? Sure! Capable of 'ending' an encounter in one or two spells? Sure! But when pressed to actually "adventure" with everyone else...I still don't see it.

^_^

Paul L. Ming

Read the rest of the post. There is nothing wrong with the go-til-drop style of adventuring, but PF/3.X has uses-per-day baked into so much of the system that PF/3.X is not a good system for adventuring that way. It can be used for that style of adventuring but will cause problems as most of the classes have uses-per-day class abilities. When the sorc is ready to take a rest after using his spells then so are most of the other classes. A well built barbarian without any rage rounds left isn't as helpless as a sorc without spells but still cannot match the combat effectiveness of a poorly built fighter. A bard with no rounds of bardic performance and no spells left is not too much better than a sorc without spells. And so on.

It is a question of playstyle, but the PF/3.X system supports the 15 minute adventuring day better than the go-til-drop style of adventuring, and in the 15 minute adventuring day casters have sick power.


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Hiya.

Thomas Long 175 wrote:

Last session of D&D.

Our APL 8 party took on 3 CR 9 Demons and a CR 13 Glazrebeau.
*snip*

Glitterdust. Great spell. Definitly helped even the odds. Exactly what a spellcaster is supposed to do. That, however, doesn't mean he "dominated" the encounter. He helped. *shrug*

Grease. Range 25' + 5'/2 levels. At level 9, you're looking at a range of 45'. If you were at the base of the "cliff", it couldn't be higher than 45' (assuming your GM lets you target spells to an area you can't actually see...). If you were, say, 20' away from that 40' cliff...you were out of range. I'm thinking your GM dropped the ball here, or we don't have enough info.
Also, I'm assuming those dancing demons were all size S or T? Because if they were M, they'd have to be holding hands. If size L, you'd only be able to get 1 of them. Max.
Lastly, if we are talking Vrocks (which I think we are...they are Size L, so only 1...but for sake of argument...), nowhere in the description of the Dance of Ruin does it say they have to be on the ground. They should have just flown up and did their aerial dance version.

Lucky your GM wan't paying attention... ;)

^_^

Paul L. Ming


martial characters don't save or increase available resources. they leech the resources of others and lower party stamina. usually, the best martial class is an Oracle, Inquisitor, Summoner, Druid, Bard or other 3/4 BAB class that gains a decent number of skill points, can provide their own buffs, and use weapons from the list of relevant options

i might not have listed 3rd party or ACG classes, but i listed martial classes that are actually better to have than fighters, paladins or rangers, because they provide a sizeable amount of self buffs, decent skills and good party utility. 2 of which come with pocket fighters of their own and 3 of which can summon meat shields on top of that.


Tacticslion wrote:
The trick isn't just having good defenses. It's having backups. And really, the only thing you need to have backups for is your spellbook.

And your life, if he comes after you at home. If you're high enough level to have Clone, then that's something else you need to protect. And if you're that powerful, your enemies are probably going to have Clone as well. (Which is actually pretty good, since it means the GM gets to reuse villains instead of having to constantly create new ones.)


pming wrote:

Hiya.

Thomas Long 175 wrote:

Last session of D&D.

Our APL 8 party took on 3 CR 9 Demons and a CR 13 Glazrebeau.
*snip*

Glitterdust. Great spell. Definitly helped even the odds. Exactly what a spellcaster is supposed to do. That, however, doesn't mean he "dominated" the encounter. He helped. *shrug*

Grease. Range 25' + 5'/2 levels. At level 9, you're looking at a range of 45'. If you were at the base of the "cliff", it couldn't be higher than 45' (assuming your GM lets you target spells to an area you can't actually see...). If you were, say, 20' away from that 40' cliff...you were out of range. I'm thinking your GM dropped the ball here, or we don't have enough info.
Also, I'm assuming those dancing demons were all size S or T? Because if they were M, they'd have to be holding hands. If size L, you'd only be able to get 1 of them. Max.
Lastly, if we are talking Vrocks (which I think we are...they are Size L, so only 1...but for sake of argument...), nowhere in the description of the Dance of Ruin does it say they have to be on the ground. They should have just flown up and did their aerial dance version.

Lucky your GM wan't paying attention... ;)

^_^

Paul L. Ming

Nowhere does it say so. However they were on the ground at time of casting which still forces at least 3 saves. They still need to make 3 saves on their turn because they start their turn on the ground. Flying up is movement. That forces a balance check by grease rules.

So yeah, even if they took off and flew they'd still need 6 saves and 3 balance checks by RAW.

BTW, my caster level is 11. Aka, I've got a range of 50 feet. Wanna see anyone try to climb a 50 foot cliff in enough time to stop that?

As for whether I "helped." I did more to end that encounter than anyone else there and I only used a 1st and 2 2nd level spells. I took out the glazrebeau with a CL 11 Scorching ray empowered with my int added on to damage.

Even with all of my rounds of literally zip damage I matched the 9th level frenzied berserker barbarian who was fighting a monster who lost its dex bonus to AC because of me in terms of damage with that one spell. Not to mention the rogue sneak attacked every round for that entire combat because of me.

Sorry dude, we're an APL 8 underwealth party who took on a CR 15 encounter with them getting a surprise round. My running buffs + disables are the only reason we took it out so easily. The blindness I tossed down literally cut the big guys damage in half, and the grease spell I threw down murdered the vrocks' attempts to annihilate the group.

We walked out of a challenge that should have been epic barely scratched.

Edit: Oh and as for size and length problems i have extend, empower and widen metamagics. So technically I suppose that grease was a 2nd level spell.

2nd Edit: Just for fun. To point out. I'm doing this as the only character in the group with a single ability score beneath 14. I have 3 in the 11-13 range. 3 of our players have a single 14. Every other attribute in this party is between 17 and 21. Mine cap out at 19.

Furthermore. I'm running on a grand total of 6000 gold pieces at level 9 and still performing like this.


Hiya.

Bob Bob Bob wrote:

Alright, time to take the bait.

**snip**
I'm not seeing anything here a martial can do that's similar without an epic survival check, though I guess Deflect Arrows might count as a smaller portion of Wind Wall.

Uh, what does a martial based class have to do with a spellcaster casting spells? Just because one class can't do something another can doesn't mean that it is "more powerful".

I'm getting the distinct impression that I'm old here... Are there any other players/GM's that have been playing D&D for, oh, lets set the bar lowish at 20 years that see the "spellcasters = win" thing?

I read all the spells Bob Bob Bob posted, and I see...spells. I don't see *any* game breaking things going on whatsoever.

^_^

Paul L. Ming (the even more confused now...)


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Auren "Rin" Cloudstrider wrote:
BBEG is either required to be a full caster or required to have the help of a full caster.

No, they aren't. Quite frankly, these sort of comments help drive the impression that the imbalance is just in the minds of a select vocal few.

The caster/martial thing has a few subsets.

1. Fix the fighter. This one actually has little to do with casters. The fighter needs some better options, even in comparison with his fellow martials.

2. Make martials mighty. Mythical (not the rule system) martial heroes constantly show up across legends, and few of them are able to be emulated via the PF martials. Meanwhile, on hand, easily accessible magic is often even more powerful in PF/DnD than it is in myth or legend.

3. Spells are free, feats are paid for through the nose. Every book that prints more spells essentially empowers the casters with those options. Meanwhile, martials already are feat taxed and prereqed to Hell, for even the most basic and simple options, like gaining a +2 attack bonus on your next melee attack against someone whose space you tumbled through. It seems like a martial has to jump through three hoops in order to get a foe to be knocked backwards or down, but casters will get the ability to do exactly the same to multiple foes at once, easier, earlier and at a lower expense.

4. Weaken witches and wizards. One of the smaller arguments, a lot of people point to what was mentioned at the end of point 2...PF wizards have beaucoup options, even in excess of what magic users employ across the fantasy and sci-fi genres. Would limits on spell access make the game more fun?

5. Stop having spell solutions for skill challenges. When one spell fixes a problem, or provides 100% of a solution for the party, it can feel superfluous to invest in the much lower payouts granted by skills. Keep skills relevant.


A wizard can incapacitate large groups of foes, heal injuries, understand any and all forms of language, secure himself and his possessions with magic, survive in hot and cold environments, conjure a horse from thin air, compel others to be helpful to him, change his appearance, fall from a great height unharmed, create an illusion of virtually anything, create light, mend objects, move objects with his mind, detect the presence of magic, poison, alignment, secret doors and undead, and never has to sleep.

And that's just first level!

Yes, he cannot do all of these things constantly or at the same time. Nonetheless, the wide variety of options available to casters are why they are so powerful.


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pming wrote:

Hiya.

cnetarian wrote:

A level 1 sorc with the color spray spell, which can usually affect at least 3 opponents and often end a combat by itself, takes an opponent out if they don't save. Compare to a level 1 fighter who, during the time it takes the sorc to cast color spray, can make one attack, which is more likely to miss than the sorc be saved against, and might do enough damage to take the opponent out of combat. Sure the sorc can only this around 4 times/day but that just encourages the party to stop after the sorc has blown his load.

Color spray, end encounter. Great. Two rounds later the ogre 'brute' in the next room comes to investigate. Now what? Another color spray? Ok. So, you've taken out the first 'guard room' of the complex. The bad guys will change guards or at least come to check up on them in...at most, say 2 hours. So, you have 2 hours to run away. Or continue on deeper into the Dungeon of the Iron Master so that you can rescue the merchants wife and kids before they are cooked and eaten in 5 or 6 hours. Yeah...hmmm....

;)

This is the sort of "proof" I get all the time. It's proof of one thing; a wizards spells are powerful. That's it. It doesn't prove that they somehow are "better than everyone else at everything". More diverse? Sure! Capable of 'ending' an encounter in one or two spells? Sure! But when pressed to actually "adventure" with everyone else...I still don't see it.

^_^

Paul L. Ming

If you are wanting one caster build to do everything then you won't see it, but they don't have to do everything to dominate gameplay.

Example of things that casters do:

Divination spells tend to reveal things the party is not supposed to know unless the GM use GM fiat to make them not get it.

The GM has planned an overland(by walking) trek to meet NPC X because ____. Someone has leveled up and chosen teleport.

Another thing is that Schroeder's wizard does not need to exist because you don't need the perfect spell to handle most situations.

Example: The party is outnumbered. Being able to cast wall of stone, would be nice to delay them and/or break them up, but that spell is not around so you cast solid fog instead. It is not a solid barrier like a wall, but it can buy you time. You don't need the perfect solution, just something good enough for you to survive.

Some players are also creative so a spell can have unintended uses.

Spells allow casters to change the game in unexpected ways.

PS: I really think you should use a grid. It changes things. When you have to remember where 15 enemies are on a map along with the 5 other players it can get difficult for most people. Even with a map placement of spells can be troublesome, but it also be very effective.


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pming wrote:

Hiya.

Bob Bob Bob wrote:

Alright, time to take the bait.

**snip**
I'm not seeing anything here a martial can do that's similar without an epic survival check, though I guess Deflect Arrows might count as a smaller portion of Wind Wall.

Uh, what does a martial based class have to do with a spellcaster casting spells? Just because one class can't do something another can doesn't mean that it is "more powerful".

But one class being able to do something another class can but BETTER, and with less investment DOES.

Which is what casters as a whole do.

Spider Climb is worth 8 ranks in Climb, at the minimum. Fly is worth infinity ranks in Climb.

Invisibility is worth a minimum of 20 ranks in Stealth. Charm Person is worth several Feats/Traits (there are a few, though rare, that increase your ability to influence attitudes from 2 steps to 3) and a bunch of ranks in Diplomacy.

Tongues is worth infinity ranks in Linguistics.

And the list goes on and on and on.

And these are, on the whole, the least powerful (but most annoying) options a caster possesses.

The usual argument is "Yeah but the person with skill ranks can do it all day every day" which is only relevant if the skill is being USED all day every day, which is never the case.


JoeJ wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:
The trick isn't just having good defenses. It's having backups. And really, the only thing you need to have backups for is your spellbook.

And your life, if he comes after you at home. If you're high enough level to have Clone, then that's something else you need to protect. And if you're that powerful, your enemies are probably going to have Clone as well. (Which is actually pretty good, since it means the GM gets to reuse villains instead of having to constantly create new ones.)

No, sir, your ignoring my arguments, though they may be incoherent at this hour. (I'm pretty sleepy.)

The point is: if you punish the player's caster enough times, the player (oft enough) transforms his play style into a murderhobo. This automatically gives them an advantage.

A villain needs lots of things to be a successful villain, or he's just annoying.

A PC doesn't need those things.

Effectively, the PC takes the role of the annoying recurring villain, only as a hero. And if the villain also does that, you've got other effects that can be put into play.

Eventually one of two things occurs in this kind of stand off: the GM wins (and, congratulations, by the way, the game is over, and the guy who literally makes up the rules wins) or the PC still outpaces the villain, because, by being a murder hobo with no earthly ties, they can come in, strike at will, and fade.

Your suggestion is, "if they do it, I do it" which will only take you so far.

Either a stalemate of pointless one-upsmanship ensues (oh look the GM who could do that anyway is doing that because I did), a player grows bitter or frustrated (hence the murder hobo tendency), or the player learns... but what you want is the last, and the best way to do that isn't one-upsmanship (which has a tendency to teach the wrong lesson), but talking to them in the first place.

Basically, I'm trying (badly) to state that the best solution to the caster problem is out of character, or for the GM to come up with unique strategies.

That's for most players. If you have a player who will be abusive! however! that's a different story! and specific to a table. Give them advanced warning if you don't like it, and let them know that you will be cribbing their notes and adding a few... if and only if they don't play nice.

But that may be your exact situation. Since it's not mine, your first instinct comes off as odd to me. Hence our disagreement. It's a variance in local social contracts.


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JoeJ wrote:
Mathius wrote:

@PMing

At low levels a caster will no win an adventure by itself but at high levels single caster can fairly easily do it.

Invisibility plus non detection plus gaseous form plus fly means you can get to any where in a compound undetected.

If the goal is to get something then simply touch it an dim door or teleport. If it is to stop a plot you really only need to to win an encounter or two and skip all the rest. Killing a single target is trivial. Also planar binding allows to easily get a replacement for a fighter or cleric.

In beastmass 2 a character built a caster that soloed an adventure for his level and even bad dice rolls would not mean much. Many high level adventures could not even be started with out magic. As to the 15 min work day, just teleport out of the dungeon or use rope trick or many other spells that allow one to rest in safety. Or plane shift to fast time plane and rest up in 1 round if you can find the right plane.

What does the PC caster do to prevent the BBEG from attacking him at home in exactly those same ways? If nothing, then the caster is only alive because the GM is not playing the opposition intelligently. If something, then the BBEG can do that something too.

1. Not all BBEGS have the same resources.

2. Many things are not done in the game, so the game can continue since the goal is to have fun. A GM always has the most guns if he wants them just because he is the GM. All he really has to do most of the time is have the BBEG pay the PC's a visit when they are still at a low level, and that is not the only thing that could end a campaign early.


fixing martial characters takes too much work, unless i literally pile on stuff from the book of 9 swords or some stuff like that. such as giving every martial class warblade manuever/stance progression and warblade recovery method with the choice of any 6 disciplines they please as their base, buying extras with feats.


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pming wrote:


Uh, what does a martial based class have to do with a spellcaster casting spells? Just because one class can't do something another can doesn't mean that it is "more powerful"

Who is more powerful?

- Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson
- the President of the United States

(Choose one.)


Thomas Long 175 wrote:
Grease. All 3 of them have to make a reflex save on my turn or fall prone, instantly ending their little ability. 3 reflex saves on their turn or the same. 3 balance checks after the 3 reflex saves, all balance checks required for them to keep moving (required for them to dance) and with possibilities of them falling prone.

The spell should have not affected a flying Vrock.


Tacticslion wrote:
pming wrote:


Uh, what does a martial based class have to do with a spellcaster casting spells? Just because one class can't do something another can doesn't mean that it is "more powerful"

Who is more powerful?

- Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson
- the President of the United States

(Choose one.)

the Pope of the Catholic Church. he takes the strong points of the president of the united states, and amplifies them further, having infinitely more wealth, a bigger base of followers, more political power, and a backing of over 2 millenia's worth of generations of nearly ruling the world behind the scenes. anyone who becomes the pope for even a single term, is more powerful than any action movie hero, and more powerful than any world leader, by having an amplified version of the powers possessed by any world leader. not that i mean to be bigoted or political, but the Catholic church has been the most powerful organization for centuries. even superseding the power of kings.


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In regards to theater of the mind play I regularly find that people have no conception of distance or scope. A 30' square room is actually very, very large by the standards of humans. A 30' square marquee tent can fit 90 chairs and a stage pretty comfortably.

By Pathfinder standards for an interior environment it obviously isn't that large. It's about standard for a dungeon 'room'. Some are smaller, few are larger. Whenever I play with a theater of the mind group every structure is cyclopean in a way that there are no comparable structures on Earth or ever will be.

An example in this thread is countering sleep by not having enemies bunch up. Sleep targets a 10' radius, which is extraordinarily large area of any internal structure. Being able to "spread out" so that no significant numbers of people will not be in a 10' radius burst in a room built for humanoid creatures is not even remotely realistic most of the time.


Nicos wrote:
Thomas Long 175 wrote:
Grease. All 3 of them have to make a reflex save on my turn or fall prone, instantly ending their little ability. 3 reflex saves on their turn or the same. 3 balance checks after the 3 reflex saves, all balance checks required for them to keep moving (required for them to dance) and with possibilities of them falling prone.
The spell should have not affected a flying Vrock.

if the Vrock was on the ground and had to get up first, it would be affected as it tried to ascend. it wouldn't need to worry once it was airborne, but the grease would affect it as it tried to exit the ground.


pming wrote:

Hiya.

Thomas Long 175 wrote:

Last session of D&D.

Our APL 8 party took on 3 CR 9 Demons and a CR 13 Glazrebeau.
*snip*

Glitterdust. Great spell. Definitly helped even the odds. Exactly what a spellcaster is supposed to do. That, however, doesn't mean he "dominated" the encounter. He helped. *shrug*

Grease. Range 25' + 5'/2 levels. At level 9, you're looking at a range of 45'. If you were at the base of the "cliff", it couldn't be higher than 45' (assuming your GM lets you target spells to an area you can't actually see...). If you were, say, 20' away from that 40' cliff...you were out of range. I'm thinking your GM dropped the ball here, or we don't have enough info.
Also, I'm assuming those dancing demons were all size S or T? Because if they were M, they'd have to be holding hands. If size L, you'd only be able to get 1 of them. Max.
Lastly, if we are talking Vrocks (which I think we are...they are Size L, so only 1...but for sake of argument...), nowhere in the description of the Dance of Ruin does it say they have to be on the ground. They should have just flown up and did their aerial dance version.

Lucky your GM wan't paying attention... ;)

^_^

Paul L. Ming

They were also a level 8 party. The caster alone is not going to dominate that fight, but let's make the caster level 13, and see what his options are.

Traditionally you have 1 full arcane caster, and 1 full divine caster. A couple of buffs are 10 minutes per level or an hour per level. That is more than enough time to clear most dungeons unless the GM magically says time passed which some do.

For this particular fight I do think the party got lucky. The Glazrebeau alone can be tough fight at APL 8.

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