Shadowdancer's Shadow Companion is becoming a nuisance!


Advice

Liberty's Edge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

So, I DM RotRL with SS together in one huge campaign.
Since one of the players got his shadowy companion (from the Shadowdancer PrCl), that Shadow is starting to get a nuisance, especially the STR damaging stuff! That was especially hard, against the giants, but he's using it against almost every opponent.

Anyway, I wonder now, if anyone else experienced those problems, and what you did against it.

I know, there are ways to stop that damaging-thing, but on the other hand, it's that fine line between geeting rid of a nuisance and allowing a player to use one of his Class Features.

Any experiences or maybe ways to work with that "problem"?!
Every answer is welcome! :)


Why is it a problem, and honestly if he were to go with being an archer (never taken shadow dancer) he would likely kill more giants faster. Giants have a lot of strength so it should take a while to finish them off.


Well - the Ac of the Shadow is rather low (15), albeit with HP equal to half of the shadowdancer PC (effectively the same HP as the PC if you factor in 'half damage' from magical weapons).

Is the issue more that the things that you're fighting do not have attacks that count as magic (and can therefore damage the thing)? If there are casters being fought, magic missiles are a steady source of damage against a shadow - 'boss' types usually have magic weapons, so should be able to deal with it.

I'm not familiar with ROTRL so I'm not placed to analyse the sorts of scenarios that you're coming up against.

Overall, is the shadow actually a problem though? So long as the PC isn't putting the other PCs in the 'shade' (!) so to speak, is it an issue?


Quote:
If a shadow companion is destroyed, or the shadowdancer chooses to dismiss it, the shadowdancer must attempt a DC 15 Fortitude save. If the saving throw fails, the shadowdancer gains one permanent negative level. A successful saving throw avoids this negative level. A destroyed or dismissed shadow companion cannot be replaced for 30 days.

Its a bold move on the Shadowdancer. The giants should be able to go toe to toe with it for a bit, especially with an initial AoO. Death Ward and/or Ghost Touch, and the Shadow is toast, and in a fight combined with something that lowers their Fort save and there is a real threat for a permanent negative level.

You shouldn't be "out to get it", and thus negating a class feature, but you should throw in a few fights that seriously challenge it. It is probably more annoying on you to constantly be recomputing attack/damage reductions. :)

spoiler:
Conna (if they don't recruit her), Mokmurian, and likely others should give it serious problems I would think.


I feel your pain. There are a few people I run for in PFS who have shadowdancers with Shadows. They can literally send them ahead and give them the "Kill everything until something can hurt you and then retreat command." There have been 2 7-11 scenarios where the shadow actually defeated the entire scenario except for the boss because not a single opponent can hurt it.

I'd say give all the giants magic weapons, but uhhh, that will mess up your WBL pretty awful I imagine. Unfortunately the "shadow" is one pain in the butt class feature. It can be dealt with, but like you said its a fine line between screwing the player and dealing with it. Especially when running published content.

justaworm wrote:
Quote:
If a shadow companion is destroyed, or the shadowdancer chooses to dismiss it, the shadowdancer must attempt a DC 15 Fortitude save. If the saving throw fails, the shadowdancer gains one permanent negative level. A successful saving throw avoids this negative level. A destroyed or dismissed shadow companion cannot be replaced for 30 days.
Its a bold move on the Shadowdancer. The giants should be able to go toe to toe with it for a bit, especially with an initial AoO. Death Ward and/or Ghost Touch, and the Shadow is toast, and in a fight combined with something that lowers their Fort save and there is a real threat for a permanent negative level.

It's not that big of a deal at this level. 1000 GP's (1280 if no one in the party has restoration) and the problem is solved. For the ability to clear large portions of dungeons with no threats or other resource expenditure by the party that is an tiny price to pay, you probably spend that in consumables anyway.

And thats only if he fails a fort save. Ironically martial classes tend to make the best shadowdancers, so the likely hood of failing the save is often very low indeed.


Don't bad things happen to the shadowdancer if his little buddy is killed?
I would not give every giant a magic sword just because but having a few with magic weapons is not a bad idea.


You could always sprinkle in a few more enemies with a small number of caster levels like wizard or sorcerer. Have one of them have something like a wand of magic missiles at 3rd or 5th caster level with a smaller number or charges (like 10). (If I remember correctly, force magic effects like magic missile can damage a shadow, correct?)

Assuming that's correct, it's something that can threaten the shadow without guaranteeing it's destruction, forcing the character to reassess how to use it, but not making it worthless. Also, the low number of caster levels (1-3) shouldn't be enough to dramatically change the difficulty of the encounter. And, lastly, winning the encounter and getting a wand with just a few remaining charges shouldn't impact the magic item/wealth balance for the party.

Shadow Lodge

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Instead of Magical Weapons, the enemies could have Oil of Magic Weapon that they use. Then it works but there's no messing with the economy. It's only 50gp so many NPC's could have it.

John


And at those levels, many NPCs would have it. Just like you buy a dog with scent, because it can detect things you can't.


Has anyone got away or been left alive? Could there be witness who know about this standard tactic they use? If so it would be entirely in character for some of those opponents to have learned about this and pay for a few holy water, oil of magic weapon, and/or ghost salt.

A couple of ghost salt thrown boulders can put quite a bit of fear into the PC running the shadow.


ElterAgo wrote:

Has anyone got away or been left alive? Could there be witness who know about this standard tactic they use? If so it would be entirely in character for some of those opponents to have learned about this and pay for a few holy water, oil of magic weapon, and/or ghost salt.

A couple of ghost salt thrown boulders can put quite a bit of fear into the PC running the shadow.

This is a good point. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that everything has to fight to the death, especially if they're even moderately intelligent. If there's a group of four Stone Giant guards, for example, and they get attacked by an incorporeal creature they can't hurt, why would they all stand around to be killed? They're not stupid; they'd go run to the boss or lieutenant types to find someone who could handle that kind of threat.


Under A Bleeding Sun wrote:

It's not that big of a deal at this level. 1000 GP's (1280 if no one in the party has restoration) and the problem is solved. For the ability to clear large portions of dungeons with no threats or other resource expenditure by the party that is an tiny price to pay, you probably spend that in consumables anyway.

The threat isn't the negative level at this point, it is losing your shadow creature for 30 days.

ROTRL spoiler:
Ideally, assuming you are running RoRTL as written and are referring to the Stone Giants in Jorgenfist (sp?), then this is the perfect point in the adventure to take out the shadow. It will be painful for the PC to lose his companion for 30 days, but there can be a lot of leeway in downtime once Mokmurian is killed. It will set the tone for the rest of the AP that he needs to be careful.

Scarab Sages

Well, a shadow is never in real danger if it stays in floors or walls and attacks from inside a solid object. It has to deal with miss chance, but almost nothing can target it without readied actions.


True, but if the shadow is out there by itself clearing ahead of the party, all those giants are free to ready an action for the next time that dang spirit sticks a claw out of the wall. They won't have a miss chance and it has a lousy AC. So they will usually be hitting it for quite a bit of damage.

Liberty's Edge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Hey guys, thank you all for your answers. There are some really good points! As I said, it's not exactly a matter of how to finish off the shadow (that's easy), but to deal with the situation. Oil of magic weapon and magic missile or a forceful hand, ghost dirge, etc. are all cool. There will definiatelly be witnesses of the shadow, so that future big bosses, like Mokmurian, will be aware of the shadow and be prepared.
I am somewhat reassured, that there's at least one other DM who feels the pain of that class feature as well! ;)

Sovereign Court

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It's a strong class feature, but you do pay a lot to get it. The prerequisites for Shadowdancer are somewhat obnoxious, particularly Mobility.

EDIT: Of course I don't mean that it's okay for the shadow to solo fights without the party even present, that would've otherwise been interesting for the players. But I wanted to point out that you should be careful not to nerf the shadow too hard.

Maybe one solution would be that when the shadow returns after a foray, it reports destroying some encounters (that you inserted just for the shadow), but that there were others that it thought had enough magic weaponry to be able to fight back (the actual scenes in the AP that you really wanna do). The shadow does bring back scouting info on those encounters though, so the party does get a significant advantage when it comes to preparation and buffing.


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Since at the time of this posting this thread was adjacent to the guide to mystic theurge thread, I accidentally misread the title of this thread as "Shadowdancer's Guide to becoming a nuisance!"


There's some good news - At least it isn't a Summoner bringing in Shadow Demons


Dryder wrote:

I know, there are ways to stop that damaging-thing, but on the other hand, it's that fine line between getting rid of a nuisance and allowing a player to use one of his Class Features.

If the roles were reversed what would you have the GM do to your character? All that I can suggest is that you be consistent with the other times that you dealt with characters in a similar situation.


I've had one before.
there ended up being a mage who uses magic weapon spell when it's noticed on various people. Doesn't mess with the wealth either.
wand of magic missle that "happens" to be nearly empty when they die. it makes life a little scarier. granted you can hide underground awfullly easy.

Hrm.. I can't remember but is channeling blocked by substances? otherwise it might be eating an enemy cleric's channel whlie underground


Zwordsman wrote:

I've had one before.

there ended up being a mage who uses magic weapon spell when it's noticed on various people. Doesn't mess with the wealth either.
wand of magic missle that "happens" to be nearly empty when they die. it makes life a little scarier. granted you can hide underground awfullly easy.

Hrm.. I can't remember but is channeling blocked by substances? otherwise it might be eating an enemy cleric's channel whlie underground

Line of effect would be blocked by walls/floors.

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