Advice for what to do with tough GM


Advice

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So I'm in a campaign that is focusing on fighting dragons. We are level 13 and just fought are first dragon. It was not evil had 700Hp, AC 38, is attack rolls were in the 40s, Reflex 20, and SR 31. Our dragon slaying ranger needed an 8 for his first attack to hit. Our optimized paladin needed a 16 to hit. (this was after he weakened it because a player couldn't make it. it was going to have 1200 HP and fullplate.)

So I'm a blaster wizard and had spell specialization, spell pen, greater spell pen, Otherworldly Kimono, and the team Shaman cast font of spirit magic to help me. That put me at a 25 for spell pen, and I have a rod to boost it 5 more, but It's not the rod I'd like to use. I'd rather be able to use persistent rod or maximize rod. I used 6 fireballs and used the piercing rod on the first two before the FoSM was up. Then I switched to my other rods and had 1 of them fizzle. So all in all it worked okay and 1 of my 4 fizzled like average.

Well the GM felt that the fight was way to easy and that he really needs to up the SR since I only had 1 spell fizzle. So now he's going to modify the SR based upon how easy will killed the last dragon, and the next one will "probably" have a SR higher than 31.

I told him that I'm only good because I've invested so much into it. That I'm useless if spells fizzle, and that I can't increase it much more. That I feel it isn't fair to up the SR even more just because I worked to have a good spell pen. He says he's going to do it anyways cause it should be HARD and to quit being a baby.

Would you guys suggest sticking it out? See if I can roll a new character? Or should I just leave the group/side with the dragons?


Sometimes, tough GMs need to learn the difference between challenge and enjoyment. I'd say go up against the new dragon he makes. If it wipes the party, it wipes the party. He's got learn that there needs to be balance if he wants people to play his games.


Well, if he ups the SR, to the point where you're much less effective. It should raise the CR value perhaps, which gives you more exp.

It doesn't sound like he really understands what it takes to get good against SR, and if his words are "quit being a baby" then... Is he a newbie GM?

I've had some pretty bad GM's, this sounds like alot of bad cliches of GM.


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I would say let him wipe the party. Refuse to be raised. Don't let him hand wave the resurrection of the whole group. Say, "now that you got that out of your system, what did you have in mind for the next campaign?"


He's "an experienced GM" Since he's been playing older editions of D&D. And I'm pretty sure he wouldn't up the EXP from it if he upped the SR.


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If he ups the difficulty SPECIFICALLY to overcome all the investment that you've done, that is just shoddy GMing. It's like saying "you could have put those feats into Skill Focus [Profession (gardening)] and Skill Focus [Craft (baskets)] and it would make 0 mechanical difference."

If he needs to make it harder, he should do it in a way that makes things, like adding interesting tactics or distractions. Adding challenge by deciding "your spells fail now" is frustrating and super uninteresting.

I think you should talk to him, and express your frustration that you've built your character to specialize in one area, and by arbitrarily changing the monsters he is neutering your character decisions. If he doesn't relent, and you're not having fun, then just leave.


RumpinRufus wrote:

If he ups the difficulty SPECIFICALLY to overcome all the investment that you've done, that is just shoddy GMing. It's like saying "you could have put those feats into Skill Focus [Profession (gardening)] and Skill Focus [Craft (baskets)] and it would make 0 mechanical difference."

If he needs to make it harder, he should do it in a way that makes things, like adding interesting tactics or distractions. Adding challenge by deciding "your spells fail now" is frustrating and super uninteresting.

I think you should talk to him, and express your frustration that you've built your character to specialize in one area, and by arbitrarily changing the monsters he is neutering your character decisions. If he doesn't relent, and you're not having fun, then just leave.

I did

Chess Pwn wrote:


I told him that I'm only good because I've invested so much into it. That I'm useless if spells fizzle, and that I can't increase it much more. That I feel it isn't fair to up the SR even more just because I worked to have a good spell pen. He says he's going to do it anyways cause it should be HARD and to quit being a baby.


I'm pretty much with BigDTBone. GMs sorta gotta learn, eventually, how to balance encounters in pathfinder so that everybody enjoys themselves. Fighting with the GM is always a bad idea.

That said, you could also just do stuff other than blasting next time you fight a dragon. Plenty of things you can do that don't involve SR.

Seems like you're both being a bit inflexible to me. You believe that you should always be able to blast things. He believes that his dragons should be super-difficult to blast.


Crosswind wrote:

I'm pretty much with BigDTBone. GMs sorta gotta learn, eventually, how to balance encounters in pathfinder so that everybody enjoys themselves. Fighting with the GM is always a bad idea.

That said, you could also just do stuff other than blasting next time you fight a dragon. Plenty of things you can do that don't involve SR.

Seems like you're both being a bit inflexible to me. You believe that you should always be able to blast things. He believes that his dragons should be super-difficult to blast.

What options would you suggest I do that doesn't involve SR? Also basically everything we fight now on Will be dragons. So being a blaster that can never blast dragons doesn't seem fun. See I agree that if this was a once in a while fight yeah I could do something else. But it being the test of the campaign makes it a bit different


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Is the rest of the campaign fun for you? I'm getting the impression that this is not a "let's tell an interesting story together" campaign, it is more of a "I want to make monsters and see if I can kill you with them" campaign.

Adversarial GMs are just not very fun, because then the focus is on min/maxing and not storytelling. How willing are you to walk away?

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Let him wipe you out.

Don't fight it at all.

Seriously, do this.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Even a self-styled "blaster wizard" should have enough flexibility to do things other than blasting when blasting just isn't going to work. Buffing, battlefield control, monster summoning are all viable options, even if you have focused on blasting.

Don't be a one-trick pony, because sometimes the DM will just block your one trick. Wizards are better than that. Now, if you were a sorcerer, I could commiserate, because you would lack flexibility for clear class-based reasons. But a wizard? Fill out that spellbook, man!


RumpinRufus has a good point. It's not sounding like you are enjoying the idea and thus may not be enjoying the game. You might want to bring this up with the GM.


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MrNastyButler wrote:
Sometimes, tough GMs need to learn the difference between challenge and enjoyment. I'd say go up against the new dragon he makes. If it wipes the party, it wipes the party. He's got learn that there needs to be balance if he wants people to play his games.

Well, first I'd talk to your fellow players. How many people enjoyed the battle? Some GMs seem to have this idea that pathfinder is a guideline. Although, it strictly states that if you are going to change any of the main rules or put in houserules it needs to be discussed thoroughly with all players in agreement. The reason is because most people are playing a game based upon what pathfinder set forth and not the DM.

Personally, I don't want to be forced into encounters at more than +4 the parties APL (Unless there were warning signs beforehand and the party has the option of running). I don't want the GM to max HP on encounters ever (I know when it happens). I want the GM to be intelligent, tactical, and inventive. When a DM just ups the HP or increases the number of enemies I feel like I'm playing a video game where the programmers said "Oh, we need to make things more difficult, lets change the rules for the AI". I feel the sameway when the GM makes unreasonable augmentations without changing the CR or strays too far away from the pathfinder ruleset. If you feel the GM is doing this and you can't adapt your spellcasting to summoning, or buffing, stop playing his campaign and go to a different section of the world. I once had a DM's campaign world get a makerover because none of the players enjoyed playing it.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Chess Pwn wrote:
Crosswind wrote:

I'm pretty much with BigDTBone. GMs sorta gotta learn, eventually, how to balance encounters in pathfinder so that everybody enjoys themselves. Fighting with the GM is always a bad idea.

That said, you could also just do stuff other than blasting next time you fight a dragon. Plenty of things you can do that don't involve SR.

Seems like you're both being a bit inflexible to me. You believe that you should always be able to blast things. He believes that his dragons should be super-difficult to blast.

What options would you suggest I do that doesn't involve SR?

Not all blasting spells involve evocation. Need I mention the Snowball family of spells which are all conjuration and bypass SR?


Wheldrake wrote:

Even a self-styled "blaster wizard" should have enough flexibility to do things other than blasting when blasting just isn't going to work. Buffing, battlefield control, monster summoning are all viable options, even if you have focused on blasting.

Don't be a one-trick pony, because sometimes the DM will just block your one trick. Wizards are better than that. Now, if you were a sorcerer, I could commiserate, because you would lack flexibility for clear class-based reasons. But a wizard? Fill out that spellbook, man!

See I understand that, and I do have some stuff. But this is going to be basically every fight for the rest of the campaign. We only started at lv12 and had a few sessions to get used to our character. Then he leveled us and now the dragon invasion begins. So I totally get a few enemies that shut me down, cool I adapt. But if every fight now will stop my "trick". And what battlefield control do you use against a dragon? What SM7 can do anything against a CR20 dragon? And for buffs I'm struggling to see much beyond haste and heroism. If you have more suggestions I'd welcome it. I'm just not seeing much I'll be able to do from now on.

Grand Lodge

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Noctani wrote:
Some GMs seem to have this idea that pathfinder is a guideline.

It is... there's a very wide variety of the type of adventures you can have within the ruleset.

Liberty's Edge

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First, he is a poor GM if he TELLS you how he will make future encounters more difficult as this takes away from the story.

Second, he is a poor GM if he skews future encounters on the failings of past encounters as this sets up a GM vs Player atmosphere (which is generally not good).

Third, he is a poor GM if his response to the player is "I will do what I want" and "don't be a baby". That is pretty arrogant and disrespectful to the player.

If the players are aware ahead of time that they will be in a 'dragon-fighting' campaign, then (of course) they will tailor their characters towards fighting dragons. Players who invest themselves towards that end should not be penalized when their characters are effective.

Of course, it is also OK for a GM to throw in a curve-ball by setting an encounter that the party is not optimized to handle, but those should be less common or the GM should give the players hints on what they may face so that they have some opportunity to prepare or react.

As for the original question, I do think that your GM is handling it the whole thing poorly. As for what you can do now, I suggest that you prepare yourself for a possible loss. You may want to consider taking a defensive stance to upcoming encounters or trying to use other elements to your advantage such as choosing the battlefield (perhaps laying a trap for the dragon) or enlisting NPC help. If the GM is unwilling to let you use creative measures to make the fight easier, you may need to consider dropping out of the game. After all, why play in a game that frustrates you instead of being fun?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The CR system isn't a hard science. Adding additional adversaries or increasing hit points slightly or using the advanced template are legitimate DM answers to player groups that are optimised to the point that encounters at supposedly "level-appropriate" CRs are cakewalks.

This said, the levels the OP is talking about are naturally tough to balance, and people don't talk about "pocket tag" just to be funny.

I don't really like the way the DM here was described as planning to boost the next dragon's SR just because the last one was "too easy". The very least he could do was have plausible story-based reasons for it. But it is legitimate, IMHO, for the DM to want dragons to be "hard".

Liberty's Edge

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Your tried to talk it over with the DM. He seemed kind of dismissive about your concerns. My advice is to leave. Better no gaming then bad gaming.


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Caster Level Math for my reference:
At level 13, your modifier to overcome your caster level check is :

13 (Caster Level) + 2 (Spell Specialization) + 4 (Greater Spell Pen) +4 (Otherworldly Kimono) = +23 to the d20 roll. Increase that by +2 from Font of Spirit Magic while it's active. Piercing Spell treats spell resistance as 5 lower on the target. A metamagic rod is good for 3 uses a day.

So, +25 to hit effective SR 26 for the first two fireballs, and +23 to hit SR 31 for the last four.

Honestly, I see a bit of where your GM is coming from. Those first two fireballs only failed on a 1, which makes the SR pointless. The last 4 only needed to hit an 8, which still gives you a better than 50% chance of having them hit. If he only ups the SR by 5 or more, you're still in pretty good shape. If he ups it by 10 or more, then you're in trouble.

I see two mistakes in your GM's reasoning. The first is that it looks like he saw what your character was capable of in focusing on taking Spell Resistance out of the equation, and it's caused him to overestimate your capabilities. He thinks you're just being petulant at encounters not being a cakewalk for you, not realizing how easily he could make you meaningless in a fight.

I'd make the fights more challenging by putting energy resistance on the dragons. Maybe two types plus what it already resists (e.g. cold and electricity on a red dragon), making you have to guess which element to hit it with. That could be fun, and won't nullify your focus on blasting to overcome SR.

The second is that he's carrying over some of the GM mentality from older editions, where, if the players don't fear for their lives in every encounter, his job isn't being done correctly. It's not a mentality designed to work for Pathfinder, which is inherently balanced in the players' favor.

My advice, see how the next fight goes. He might only up the SR by 5, your fizzle chance will increase, but still keep you relevant. Any higher, and you'll quickly be sidelined, at which point ask to rebuild your character since obviously everything you've done so far is now irrelevant.


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Wheldrake wrote:

The CR system isn't a hard science. Adding additional adversaries or increasing hit points slightly or using the advanced template are legitimate DM answers to player groups that are optimised to the point that encounters at supposedly "level-appropriate" CRs are cakewalks.

This said, the levels the OP is talking about are naturally tough to balance, and people don't talk about "pocket tag" just to be funny.

I don't really like the way the DM here was described as planning to boost the next dragon's SR just because the last one was "too easy". The very least he could do was have plausible story-based reasons for it. But it is legitimate, IMHO, for the DM to want dragons to be "hard".

Even if every encounter from now on will be dragons? And we knew dragons was the main focus of this game and thus I made a character to have lots of spell pen for fighting said dragons. I still had to burn through most of my spells per day for this fight. The hospitalar paladin used all of his lay on hands and 2 channel energies during the fight. I feel that that indicates it was a hard fight, it used a lot for us to beat it.


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Just play the game and what will be will be. Sounds like your GM is out to TPK you if he's telling you what he's going to do to make things harder. GMs are supposed to have a poker face.


Phntm888 wrote:


Honestly, I see a bit of where your GM is coming from. Those first two fireballs only failed on a 1, which makes the SR pointless. The last 4 only needed to hit an 8, which still gives you a better than 50% chance of having them hit. If he only ups the SR by 5 or more, you're still in pretty good shape. If he ups it by 10 or more, then you're in trouble.

See, I feel though that if he's going to do that, I might of well not spent 67,000gp on the kimono, or not spent 3 of my feats boosting my spell pen ability. If's he going to raise it because I have those, I have no options to raise it further, and now I have dead feats, since the fight is as if I didn't take them. Like if it was going to be a few fight, then I'd be cool. But he's saying that every dragon will have higher SR now.

Liberty's Edge

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Brother Fen wrote:
Just play the game and what will be will be. Sounds like your GM is out to TPK you if he's telling you what he's going to do to make things harder. GMs are supposed to have a poker face.

Seconded. If the op toughs it out make damn sure the DM takes responsability for what looks like a upcoming TPK. I remember being in a few games where killer DMS liked to to do TPKs then tried to place the blame on the players.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It's kind of funny that I mistyped "pocket tag" instead of "rocket tag".

It does sound like it was a hard fight. But it also sounds like you're ready for a slightly harder one. As long as the rewards are commensurately greater. Those dragons have got to have some good loot!


LazarX wrote:
Noctani wrote:
Some GMs seem to have this idea that pathfinder is a guideline.
It is... there's a very wide variety of the type of adventures you can have within the ruleset.

Then you need to re-read the core books again because it states any changes need to be agreed upon by all players. I wouldn't call that a guideline. Yes, there are varied rulesets and variants within pathfinder, but all variants are just optional rules for the players to use which should also be in that discussion. I wouldn't call something everyone needs to discuss as guidelines, but I don't want to argue semantics. GM houserules also requires agreement.


Wheldrake wrote:
It does sound like it was a hard fight. But it also sounds like you're ready for a slightly harder one. As long as the rewards are commensurately greater. Those dragons have got to have some good loot!

haha, good loot? Since we teleported to where the dragon was it "hadn't had time to bring it's horde" with him. So me being a wizard left us with no loot either for this.


Chess Pwn wrote:
Phntm888 wrote:


Honestly, I see a bit of where your GM is coming from. Those first two fireballs only failed on a 1, which makes the SR pointless. The last 4 only needed to hit an 8, which still gives you a better than 50% chance of having them hit. If he only ups the SR by 5 or more, you're still in pretty good shape. If he ups it by 10 or more, then you're in trouble.
See, I feel though that if he's going to do that, I might of well not spent 67,000gp on the kimono, or not spent 3 of my feats boosting my spell pen ability. If's he going to raise it because I have those, I have no options to raise it further, and now I have dead feats, since the fight is as if I didn't take them. Like if it was going to be a few fight, then I'd be cool. But he's saying that every dragon will have higher SR now.

I get what you're saying. It sucks to have your entire build invalidated just because of 1 fight. Once you hit level 15, you can get spell perfection, which doubles those spell pen bonuses, but it's a long way off. I was just saying that I understand your GM's viewpoint.


Chess Pwn wrote:


See, I feel though that if he's going to do that, I might of well not spent 67,000gp on the kimono, or not spent 3 of my feats boosting my spell pen ability. If's he going to raise it because I have those, I have no options to raise it further, and now I have dead feats, since the fight is as if I didn't take them. Like if it was going to be a few fight, then I'd be cool. But he's saying that every dragon will have higher SR now.

This is an enormous problem that stifles players really severely. In our last campaign our witch took measures to ensure that she would be able to reliably get slumber off on enemies. When this combo shut down two medium difficulty encounters in one round (our fighter's CDGs were potent) our GM decided to give us hell. Instead of hitting us with enemies with stronger will saves, or groups of enemies that shrugged off one member falling asleep, or a higher number of encounters per day so that not all of them got shut down (we were literally fighting one encounter per day), our GM just decided to destroy slumber by hitting us with the stupidest slew of sleep-immune enemies we'd ever seen. Constructs, dragons, swarms, undead, etc. The real reason this was obnoxious wasn't that our witch had to switch over to misfortune, it was that it stopped our other members from being able to use any of their mind-affecting abilities as well. My Fell Rider cavalier's abilities were all inactivated, and our enforcer rogue found himself unable to give anything the shaken condition. It was obnoxious. Trying to strip a class of one of it's cool things that it gets to do is silly for GMs. Diversifying your encounters so that each player gets their chance to shine is a much better route to go.

Also,

Phntm888 wrote:


Caster Level Math for my reference:
Honestly, I see a bit of where your GM is coming from.

You said you see where the GM is coming from because you've done the caster level math to show that fireballs are almost a sure thing. Do the math for what a level 13 dragon slayer ranger's or optimized paladin's DPR is. I promise it's a lot more than 35 DPR (average damage of a level 13 fireball), and they can do it more than 5 times per day. So whether or not spell resistance is shutting them down, there's no reason to think that the fireballs are overpowered. It would take roughly 20 of them to kill that dragon.

In general, if your DM wants you to have to adapt to differing situations so that you don't just spam fireballs then he can throw red dragons your way, but making spells just not work half the time is going to feel crappy for everyone involved.

Grand Lodge

The GM should realize that starting characters at level 12 was a terrible idea. That's just where the system starts to break down. That's a big part of where this problem is coming from. Also, PCs created at high level are invariably inferior to those leveled up. This supposedly 'experienced' GM ought to know this.

Just go with it. Seek out the TPK. Don't let the GM hand-wave away the TPK. Next campaign, your GM should start everyone at first level.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Noctani wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Noctani wrote:
Some GMs seem to have this idea that pathfinder is a guideline.
It is... there's a very wide variety of the type of adventures you can have within the ruleset.
Then you need to re-read the core books again because it states any changes need to be agreed upon by all players. I wouldn't call that a guideline. Yes, there are varied rulesets and variants within pathfinder, but all variants are just optional rules for the players to use which should also be in that discussion. I wouldn't call something everyone needs to discuss as guidelines, but I don't want to argue semantics. GM houserules also requires agreement.

Please quote the reference where it says exactly that. Because I'm sure you're misreading the text.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

First, I'd see what happens. Clearly you think the fight was difficult, but also the GM thinks the fight was too easy. I would lean toward the players view, except that it is clear you sought out this fight...you teleported to it, rather than it coming to you, which may well mean this particular threat was indeed supposed to be harder, perhaps even harder than the party could defeat at this point (this is just speculation, I certainly don't know all of the back story).

Now, I clearly agree with you that it isn't fair that you be penalized because you are good at something. However, it may well be that your GM simply underestimated all the ways you can increase your chance to overcome SR, and as a result didn't get the mix he wanted. If his idea is that a non-SR focused caster has virtually no chance, and a very SR focused caster has a 50% chance, then he missed the mark and needs to adjust, not directly as a penalty to you, simply because he didn't realize what options were available.

I would give him the benefit of the doubt, view the increased difficulty as a challenge, and try to enjoy yourself. If you end up not having fun, then talk to him again, with the idea that if you can't come to an agreement you will bow out of the game.


He planned this fight for us. He told us the session before that we'd be fighting a gargantuan dragon next session and to be ready for it. In have we got summoned to go kill this dragon. I just skipped the day of walking there. and the paladin see a cool spell and then remembers this wouldn't work on normal dragons, let alone these stronger ones. And I'd have no problem I'd dragons were rare the he buffs them. It's that this is the standard fights we should be expecting from here on

Liberty's Edge

Noctani wrote:
Then you need to re-read the core books again because it states any changes need to be agreed upon by all players. I wouldn't call that a guideline. Yes, there are varied rulesets and variants within pathfinder, but all variants are just optional rules for the players to use which should also be in that discussion. I wouldn't call something everyone needs to discuss as guidelines, but I don't want to argue semantics. GM houserules also requires agreement.

Sorry, but I very much doubt the rulebooks state that. It may state something to the effect that GMs are urged to talk over houserules with their players, but it does not make it a requirement.

But I will bite...Can you please provide the passage and section in the rulebooks that states this?


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It seems less like you're playing Pathfinder and more like you're playing Pathfinder Tactics (tm).

A few thoughts:

1.) You're a wizard. You can cast almost every spell in the game. Even if you sank a level into sorc to get the +2 damage per die, you have a ton of no SR spells to get and you can teleport to get them.

2.) Spend some money and buy some Gates. Nothing says hilarious like 30 lantern archons wailing away at crappy touch AC.

3.) Prep spells that make other players into insane superstars. Ask how quickly you can add +10/+10 to any/every other combatant.

4.) Summons and Simulacra. Make Druids of a high enough level to bring in cyclopses and the AC doesn't even matter. Then have them snowball lock the dragon into perpetual staggered. Have the cyclopses pin the dragon and finish it.

5.) Ready walls of force to let the dragon smash into if he's flying.

In the end, if you bring in all the summons, cast all the perfect illusions, make all the perfect tactical decisions and the DM ignores it all and beelines over to wipe you, it's a bad DM and you were going to wipe no matter what.


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Dennis Deadsky wrote:

The GM should realize that starting characters at level 12 was a terrible idea. That's just where the system starts to break down. That's a big part of where this problem is coming from. Also, PCs created at high level are invariably inferior to those leveled up. This supposedly 'experienced' GM ought to know this.

Just go with it. Seek out the TPK. Don't let the GM hand-wave away the TPK. Next campaign, your GM should start everyone at first level.

That's just, like, your opinion, man.

Seriously, that might be true for your group and your campaign. Don't make the mistake of assuming everyone else plays the game just like you do. Some of us are absolutely sick of starting every game at level 1 and having to scrabble for every single copper and hit point to make it up to the level where we can actually consider ourselves heroes. It's even worse when every AP stops right at the point where we start getting the actual fun toys, like the ability to significantly impact the story and/or the game world.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

I had this issue with a player who optimized SR and Enchantment based spells. I'd never get into that with a blaster but the enchanter was just a save or make the challenge irrelevant.

Maybe your GM somehow feels you do the same? I think discussion offline is the best option here.


Tvarog wrote:

That's just, like, your opinion, man.

Seriously, that might be true for your group and your campaign. Don't make the mistake of assuming everyone else plays the game just like you do. Some of us are absolutely sick of starting every game at level 1 and having to scrabble for every single copper and hit point to make it up to the level where we can actually consider ourselves heroes. It's even worse when every AP stops right at the point where we start getting the actual fun toys, like the ability to significantly impact the story and/or the game world.

^ +1


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Gevaudan wrote:

It seems less like you're playing Pathfinder and more like you're playing Pathfinder Tactics (tm).

A few thoughts:

1.) You're a wizard. You can cast almost every spell in the game. Even if you sank a level into sorc to get the +2 damage per die, you have a ton of no SR spells to get and you can teleport to get them.

2.) Spend some money and buy some Gates. Nothing says hilarious like 30 lantern archons wailing away at crappy touch AC.

3.) Prep spells that make other players into insane superstars. Ask how quickly you can add +10/+10 to any/every other combatant.

4.) Summons and Simulacra. Make Druids of a high enough level to bring in cyclopses and the AC doesn't even matter. Then have them snowball lock the dragon into perpetual staggered. Have the cyclopses pin the dragon and finish it.

5.) Ready walls of force to let the dragon smash into if he's flying.

In the end, if you bring in all the summons, cast all the perfect illusions, make all the perfect tactical decisions and the DM ignores it all and beelines over to wipe you, it's a bad DM and you were going to wipe no matter what.

Critiquing his build doesn't help. For better or worse, he's a Blaster-centric Wizard. For better or worse, that's what he wants to do, and has done. By telling him to ignore his build choices, you're doing the exact same thing the GM is-- invalidating his build.

For better, he should have at least some of those options available anyway. I would bet money that he does, too, that while his spell list may not be loaded with Hastes and Summon Monsters that they do exist.

But that's not the purpose of the discussion. The discussion could have just as easily begun with "I built my Wizard to buff up all of my allies and my GM thought the fight was too easy, so he's told me the next twelve fights will take place within an area that negates all magic spells active on the PCs and prevents Summon Monster spells".

And what would your response have been then? "Sorry, carry some blasts?"

The point being made is not "My Wizard is suboptimal and my GM is screwing me for it, help me optimize", it's "My GM is screwing me choices that I've made in a way that specifically invalidates those choices, how should I deal with this?".

Personally, I'd advise playing through the next session and seeing how it goes. Best-and-worst case, you get TPK'd, the GM learns his lesson. Worst-case, you get TPK'd and the GM doesn't learn, or you find a new way to breeze through it anyway. Best-case, you have a tough fight and the GM gets what he wanted when he realizes how tough it was. Personally I would avoid significantly altering your tactics. See if you can still punch through the SR with a fair degree of success. It might be that it was bumped up a couple points and everything is fine. Or it might be that it's been bumped up ten points and the GM sees that you've been invalidated and scales things back.

It means fighting stupid for a session, it may be frustrating, but it will hopefully be rewarding in the long run by educating your GM. If it's not, and he keeps the SR that high, then you need to decide if massively altering your build is worth staying in the game.


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Ugh. Sounds like somebody needs education in how to make encounters challenging. There area ways besides layering on numbers to make the adversaries invincible. You can play with terrain and weather. You can play with encounter goals. You can add more monsters. You can give the PCs cowardly followers.


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If you've already talked with your GM and his response is to be a jerk, just walk. Ain't nobody got time for that.


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Noctani wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Noctani wrote:
Some GMs seem to have this idea that pathfinder is a guideline.
It is... there's a very wide variety of the type of adventures you can have within the ruleset.
Then you need to re-read the core books again because it states any changes need to be agreed upon by all players. I wouldn't call that a guideline. Yes, there are varied rulesets and variants within pathfinder, but all variants are just optional rules for the players to use which should also be in that discussion. I wouldn't call something everyone needs to discuss as guidelines, but I don't want to argue semantics. GM houserules also requires agreement.

The only agreement required is to play at the table. Discussion is good and all, but in the end the GM is the final arbiter of the game rules. There is no democratic requirement--you don't need full agreement or even consensus. The only voting right the players are guaranteed is the right to "vote with their butts".


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LazarX wrote:
Noctani wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Noctani wrote:
Some GMs seem to have this idea that pathfinder is a guideline.
It is... there's a very wide variety of the type of adventures you can have within the ruleset.
Then you need to re-read the core books again because it states any changes need to be agreed upon by all players. I wouldn't call that a guideline. Yes, there are varied rulesets and variants within pathfinder, but all variants are just optional rules for the players to use which should also be in that discussion. I wouldn't call something everyone needs to discuss as guidelines, but I don't want to argue semantics. GM houserules also requires agreement.
Please quote the reference where it says exactly that. Because I'm sure you're misreading the text.

P14 GameMastery Guide

"Rules of the House

Once you have a place to play and a date for your first session it's time to decide what "house rules" are needed for your campaign. While the term normally refers to modifications to the mechanics of the game, house rules can also be litereal rules of the house, covering the basic courtesies and dynamics of the game table. Some typical house rules are discussed below, but this list is by no means exhaustive. Discuss the issues and the options for handling them with your players before play begins, and make sure everyone agrees to abide by the final decision. If you see a need for a new house rule as play proceeds, talk to your players outside of the game, then implement the new rule at the next session, reminding the group about it before play begins."

-Cam Banks et al Piazo publishing, LLC under the Open Game License version 1.oa Section 1(e) and are not Open Content, 2010

House rules refers to modifications of the games mechanics. If you deviate too much to how pathfinder has set up the game you need to talk it over thoroughly with your players. I thought it was common sense...a common courtesy so your players don't have different expectations or waste their time playing under changed rules that they know nothing about or disagree with.


blahpers wrote:
Noctani wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Noctani wrote:
Some GMs seem to have this idea that pathfinder is a guideline.
It is... there's a very wide variety of the type of adventures you can have within the ruleset.
Then you need to re-read the core books again because it states any changes need to be agreed upon by all players. I wouldn't call that a guideline. Yes, there are varied rulesets and variants within pathfinder, but all variants are just optional rules for the players to use which should also be in that discussion. I wouldn't call something everyone needs to discuss as guidelines, but I don't want to argue semantics. GM houserules also requires agreement.
The only agreement required is to play at the table. Discussion is good and all, but in the end the GM is the final arbiter of the game rules. There is no democratic requirement--you don't need full agreement or even consensus. The only voting right the players are guaranteed is the right to "vote with their butts".

The GM is the final arbiter, which means is everyone else at the table disagrees with him the GM should change his behavior. A good part of this is common sense and suppose to build a good playing environment. The key word is Arbiter. If something is arbitrary that means it's not stated clearly somewhere else or it isn't covered in the rules.

Please read the post above or page 14 of the GameMastery Guide under House Rules. WOW that subject is covered! It's not arbitrary anymore.

Do you have to read the book? Do I have to listen to the GM as a player if he says I can't do that? Does the GM have to listen to the player when he wants to do something. Now we are having quite a ridiculous conversation. Can you play without using all the rules? Yes, but pathfinder says this is the way they forsaw gamers having the best experience and this is what they wrote.

Scarab Sages

Noctani wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Noctani wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Noctani wrote:
Some GMs seem to have this idea that pathfinder is a guideline.
It is... there's a very wide variety of the type of adventures you can have within the ruleset.
Then you need to re-read the core books again because it states any changes need to be agreed upon by all players. I wouldn't call that a guideline. Yes, there are varied rulesets and variants within pathfinder, but all variants are just optional rules for the players to use which should also be in that discussion. I wouldn't call something everyone needs to discuss as guidelines, but I don't want to argue semantics. GM houserules also requires agreement.
Please quote the reference where it says exactly that. Because I'm sure you're misreading the text.

P14 GameMastery Guide

"Rules of the House

Once you have a place to play and a date for your first session it's time to decide what "house rules" are needed for your campaign. While the term normally refers to modifications to the mechanics of the game, house rules can also be litereal rules of the house, covering the basic courtesies and dynamics of the game table. Some typical house rules are discussed below, but this list is by no means exhaustive. Discuss the issues and the options for handling them with your players before play begins, and make sure everyone agrees to abide by the final decision. If you see a need for a new house rule as play proceeds, talk to your players outside of the game, then implement the new rule at the next session, reminding the group about it before play begins."

-Cam Banks et al Piazo publishing, LLC under the Open Game License version 1.oa Section 1(e) and are not Open Content, 2010

House rules refers to modifications of the games mechanics. If you deviate too much to how pathfinder has set up the game you need to talk it over thoroughly with your players. I thought it was common sense...a common courtesy so your players don't have...

While I agree with you, id point out that the GameMastery Guide is NOT core. It is not required for play and not everyone has it. I GM quite regularly in home brew and occasionally for PFS, and never felt the need for the gamemastery guide.


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I'm not sure I would call jacking up a monster's SR by five points a house rule.

And realistically the application of that has to be limited, especially in regards to monsters. Should I, as the GM, tell my players before the session, "Hello, tonight you're going to be fighting some home-built monkeys with horns and electrical attacks. Here is the stat sheet for the creature, make sure you're okay with it before we fight"?

'Cause to me, as a GM and a player, that takes the fun out of everything.


Ask him if he be open to not jacking the SR of future encounters and allowing you a rebuild to refund your otherwise wasted feats and other expenditures.

Sell it as "why should the other spell casters in the party be at a huge disadvantage just because I speced for SR"

If that doesn't work, actively try and get the character killed.

- Torger


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Noctani wrote:
Some GMs seem to have this idea that pathfinder is a guideline.

Some players seem to have this idea that every single decision about how the world works should be made by committee. Even if this wouldn't bog the creative process down in a mire of minutia eventually two people will have divergent opinions and neither will budge. Much simpler from the get go if the person tasked with running and creating the world doesn't have to ask permission.

- Torger


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Torger Miltenberger wrote:

Ask him if he be open to not jacking the SR of future encounters and allowing you a rebuild to refund your otherwise wasted feats and other expenditures.

Sell it as "why should the other spell casters in the party be at a huge disadvantage just because I speced for SR"

If that doesn't work, actively try and get the character killed.

- Torger

Thing is I'm the "only" spellcaster as the ranger and paladin know their spells wont be getting through an SR. And the shaman is more about hexes and buffs. So jacking up the SR only effects me.

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