Help! Inequality in the Group: Players outshining others during play.


Advice

1 to 50 of 117 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Howdy. I'm currently GMing a mid-high level (11-15) campaign right now. This is my first ever campaign at these levels (I've GMed a few low to mid low games) and I hit a rock patch that I can't seem to work around and I'm turning to the pathfinder community for advice. So here is the story:

I have a game with my roommates that consist of three players, a Warpriest (ACG), Arcanist (ACG as well), and a vanilla Rogue. The other night they just killed a boss fight and after the Arcanist player voiced his opinion about it after the fact that he felt his character didn't shine in the fight. What this means is that the boss had high SR and stats were he was resisting a lot of the spellcaster's power. Our rogue however was the main damage dealer and torn into the boss with her sneak attacks and the like. The Arcanist player told me that he and the Warpriest felt that the rogue has become overpowered (which was interesting because the Arcanist was originally the overpowered one earlier in the campaign when the characters where mid-low levels) and this has made the game for the others not fun anymore because the cannot do as much damage as the rogue.

I expected this because I know our party's abilities (not their actual ability power but what the players themselves are capable of) pretty well. The Rogue specifically made herself the assassin, high damage output but weak in other areas. I geared the encounter best to all their abilities as I could. The Arcanist and Warpriest did really well before the boss fight with his henchmen and I thought they were out shinning the Rogue. The Rogue just happened to work best against the boss because she could focus her hits with flanks and sneak attacks. This made the others feel less glamours in the main battle.

So I guess my question to everyone is this: How do I resolve this issue? It seems that no matter what I do, someone feels under accomplished in my campaign. I've tried going over rules and strategies to even it out but nothing is working. Help me out people of the gaming community!

Grand Lodge

15 people marked this as a favorite.

The high level caster feels outclassed? ...by a rogue?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
claudekennilol wrote:
The high level caster feels outclassed? ...by a rogue?

He doesn't feel like he is doing enough damage. The rogue just outputs too much.


Could you post their sheets and any house-rules you use? Along with general enemy types as in is your campaign an "Against the Giants/Dragons/Demons" campaign, or is it a more varied set of enemies?

This would help at least myself with generating advice.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Someone is always going to be stronger in certain situations. There isn't much to do when people feel bad about this.

Rogues get a lot of calls of being weak and it's not entirely unwarranted, but when everything goes right for them, they can put out some monstrous damage. Their problem is that you just can't rely on that damage in a lot of situations.

Not sure how messed up a level 11+ Arcanist would have to be to feel like he didn't contribute though. Arcanists are all about flexibility. There are a lot of spells that ignore SR. Your Arcanist should pick up a few of those.


8 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm very confused by the fact that the Arcanist is measuring himself by his damage output. That's...kind of the opposite of what a caster at that level should be doing. That's a piece of mental block that they'll need to address.

Sheets would be helpful if the goal is to look at possible rebuild options, either for your encounters or the characters. Otherwise, the main thing to point out is that damage is not the only contribution in combat.


Let them retrain their character and explain that system mastery is the primary difference between the player with the rogue and his character.


9 people marked this as a favorite.

So, the guy who can Scry and Teleport is complaining that his assassin sidekick is effective? I think that perhaps the Arcanist player is not suited to playing casters. It takes a certain mindset to be effective as a full caster, and letting others handle what they can is a large part of that mindset.

Or it could be that the real complaint was that the opponent just sat there and took full attack after full attack for no reason. Possibly they wanted tricky maneuvering and terrain so they could use their own tricks. I don't know, I wasn't there.

Sorry to sound harsh, but it offends my sensibilities for a full caster to complain about a martial character at that level.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I'm also curious what this boss was, and if they had minions, and what the party's level was.


Jiggy wrote:
I'm also curious what this boss was, and if they had minions, and what the party's level was.

This game is based on the four horsemen of the apocalypses. They fought a Purrodaemon backed with a combination of Bearded Devils and Horned Demons. Basically they were ambushed by and army of Bearded devils and after that, they faced the Purrodaemon with Horned Demons. They were all level 11 with the help of companions, all level 10, which were a Ranger, another Rogue, and Summoner.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I would suspect a martial should theoretically out damage a caster many times. The power of caster isn't in pure damage, but in ability to control battle.

Consider a generic level 11 rogue. He would probably have a 18 dex, weapon finesse and up to improved two weapon fighting. His sneak attack is 6d6 hit dice per hit. And assume shortswords to make numbers easy.

So, he would attack Onhand/Offhand at +10,+5/+10,+5. The real numbers would be higher with flanking, weapon focus and magic weapon, but keeping it simple. So, if this rogue full attacked while flanking and all 4 of those attacks hit, he would roll 28d6 damage per round. I am doubtful any one spell at level 11 will outperform that. And the rogue could theoretically do that every round.

The real problem of the rogue is that it almost never actually happens that way. But it totally can.


Covent wrote:

Could you post their sheets and any house-rules you use? Along with general enemy types as in is your campaign an "Against the Giants/Dragons/Demons" campaign, or is it a more varied set of enemies?

This would help at least myself with generating advice.

I'll see what I can do about sheets. As for house rules, I don't have much. I did give them companions and the arcanist did something fancy with magical item crafting. Basically it's a multiclass character who can make magic items cheaper.

Dark Archive

What was the Warpriest doing that he's not doing as much damage as a Rogue?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Chaco Rockhammer wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
I'm also curious what this boss was, and if they had minions, and what the party's level was.
This game is based on the four horsemen of the apocalypses. They fought a Purrodaemon backed with a combination of Bearded Devils and Horned Demons. Basically they were ambushed by and army of Bearded devils and after that, they faced the Purrodaemon with Horned Demons. They were all level 11 with the help of companions, all level 10, which were a Ranger, another Rogue, and Summoner.

You cannot draw any conclusions about inter-party balance issues from that encounter.


Yeah...I'm not sure where the blame lies exactly but around these parts the rogue is the face of underpowered characters. The fact that full casters are complaining...makes me think either they don't know how to effectively play casters, or that the rules aren't being followed on how the rogue can apply sneak attack damage.

Is the arcansit trying to play an evocation damage dealing specialist? If he is then he's chosen the weakest niche in spellcasting. Dealing damage is best left to the martial characters. There are builds that can throw around spells to deal damage effectively, but they are very specilized and require a system mastery. If you're player doesn't know the tricks and tries to out damage the rogue, if wont be surprising that he fails.

At the same time, is the rogue getting sneak attack on every attack? In what way? Usually rogues have a hard time actually hitting the enemy and an even harder time qualifying for sneak attack (unless the Warpriest is helping him by flanking).

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

2 people marked this as a favorite.

...Was the 11th-level rogue shredding the CR 5 bearded devils while the arcanist tried to take on the CR 16 horned devils and/or the CR 18 purrodaemon?


4 people marked this as a favorite.

If it was me, I'd just tell my player that we have a word for equality of outcomes: "Communism."


4 people marked this as a favorite.

When I read "Warpriest, Arcanist, and Rogue" combined with the title, I immediately readied my mental file of all the classes the Rogue could have been instead of a Rogue, and then I find out it's the Rogue that's too good? Uh, what? What a mind screw! This is either a joke or there's something going on in this party/group very different from your typical game. Or I suppose, you just have one person that really knows how to play a Rogue and two that absolutely don't understand how to play an Arcanist/Warpriest.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Claxon wrote:
At the same time, is the rogue getting sneak attack on every attack? In what way? Usually rogues have a hard time actually hitting the enemy and an even harder time qualifying for sneak attack (unless the Warpriest is helping him by flanking).

Well, the rest of the party should be helping with the flanking, but he also said something about a summoner being in the mix, so I'm guessing finding a flank is not a problem. The party was likely also hasted, so the rogue was doing an extra attack a round which was probably sneak attack damage.

Seriously, as far as single target damage goes, the rogue can be great in the right situation. There's just too many conditionals to reach that situation. This doesn't mean that the situation never arises though.


I think the player just needs to accept that he can't do damage as a caster against a boss with SR. That's just it.

Next time they'll fight swarms. Guess who can't get sneak attack damage? And guess who's the only one in the party dealing damage that entire encounter is gonna be?


3 people marked this as a favorite.

It sounds like a knee-jerk reaction to a very lucky rogue who may have successfully sneak attacked multiple times in a round?

We played a high level game once where the two-weapon fighting rogue managed to successfully hit on 7 strikes in a round (hasted) and promptly rolled 70d6 (plus weapon damage plus bonuses) for damage. Fight over, man! But nobody complained because we knew the struggles the rogue went through to get to that point, and because my druid could dish out over 500 points of damage a round when fully buffed and others could dish out solid damage on a consistent basis (barbarian and archer ranger). It was high level play and to be expected. We congratulated him and moved on.

An arcane caster shouldn't be fixating on damage dealt in any case. Maybe the rogue got lucky. Maybe the rogue does that every round. Learn to support one another or switch to a different class. All classes have ways of contributing to the success of the group. Good luck!


6 people marked this as a favorite.

I think the problem is that the casters are so used to shining the one time the Rogue gets everything to go right, they're feeling left out.

Seriously, I think they're being... immature about the whole thing. In this one particular fight the Rogue got to shine. I'm sure they've both had their moment in the spotlight, and they have to learn how to share.


Chaco Rockhammer wrote:
claudekennilol wrote:
The high level caster feels outclassed? ...by a rogue?
He doesn't feel like he is doing enough damage. The rogue just outputs too much.

He is a caster. He is not designed to do damage. He is capable of doing damage. He should expect to be outdamaged, and as for the SR it is a very common defense at high levels. He will have to invest in feats if he wants to deal with it.


The Rogue player is a seasoned rogue. She plays only rogues ever since she started playing. She can build some mean rogues and with the right magic items, she is doing a lot of damage. The Warpriest is the newest to RPGs and we are doing our best to help him get more bang for his buck. I think he is doing an amazing job so far but is feeling bad since he can't do as much damage as the rogue.

In regards to the sneak attack going off, I make sure everything is there before she rolls her dice. In this particular instance, she attacked first out of stealth, then got a flank with the companions help and the Warpriest. She also has Greater Feint when she can't get the flank.

I guess what I'm trying to find out is how to get everything balanced for everyone to shine. I need suggestions. What encounters would would best for everyone?


There will be fights when some people will be better than others. What fights other than the demon fight gave the others(not the rogue) trouble? Also since the demons likely have CR the rogue is less likely to do the most damage unless he is two-handing a weapon instead of using TWF.

Also is the warpriest using a weapon and shield, TWF, or a two-handed weapon?

Also what spell is the warpriest using, and what is his strength?

Is he power attacking?


Larger groups of smaller enemies for one. A HQ piece is nice, but thw system doesn't really support a traditional "Boss Fight" well.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
wraithstrike wrote:
Chaco Rockhammer wrote:
claudekennilol wrote:
The high level caster feels outclassed? ...by a rogue?
He doesn't feel like he is doing enough damage. The rogue just outputs too much.
He is a caster. He is not designed to do damage. He is capable of doing damage. He should expect to be outdamaged, and as for the SR it is a very common defense at high levels. He will have to invest in feats if he wants to deal with it.

Or spells that do not run up against SR.

Wraithstrike has the right of it, the arcanist shouldn't be worrying about damage, he should be worrying about battlefield control. A caster should only be keeping a few AoE spells for dealing with swarms, that's all the damage he should be called on to do.

Seriously, the rogue is generally regarded as a weak class with limited combat potential, it's hard to make a very effective one.


Chaco Rockhammer wrote:

The Rogue player is a seasoned rogue. She plays only rogues ever since she started playing. She can build some mean rogues and with the right magic items, she is doing a lot of damage. The Warpriest is the newest to RPGs and we are doing our best to help him get more bang for his buck. I think he is doing an amazing job so far but is feeling bad since he can't do as much damage as the rogue.

In regards to the sneak attack going off, I make sure everything is there before she rolls her dice. In this particular instance, she attacked first out of stealth, then got a flank with the companions help and the Warpriest. She also has Greater Feint when she can't get the flank.

I guess what I'm trying to find out is how to get everything balanced for everyone to shine. I need suggestions. What encounters would would best for everyone?

What fighting style is the Warpriest using?

If it's not archery, Sacred Fist Unarmed Flurries, or Divine Commander Lance charging then he's never going to do much damage because Warpriests are not too good at traditional Melee. That would make sense for why the Warpriest feels so outclassed.

Traditional melee is sword and board or 2 handed weapon fighting.


Insain Dragoon wrote:
Chaco Rockhammer wrote:

The Rogue player is a seasoned rogue. She plays only rogues ever since she started playing. She can build some mean rogues and with the right magic items, she is doing a lot of damage. The Warpriest is the newest to RPGs and we are doing our best to help him get more bang for his buck. I think he is doing an amazing job so far but is feeling bad since he can't do as much damage as the rogue.

In regards to the sneak attack going off, I make sure everything is there before she rolls her dice. In this particular instance, she attacked first out of stealth, then got a flank with the companions help and the Warpriest. She also has Greater Feint when she can't get the flank.

I guess what I'm trying to find out is how to get everything balanced for everyone to shine. I need suggestions. What encounters would would best for everyone?

What fighting style is the Warpriest using?

If it's not archery, Sacred Fist Unarmed Flurries, or Divine Commander Lance charging then he's never going to do much damage because Warpriests are not too good at traditional Melee. That would make sense for why the Warpriest feels so outclassed.

Traditional melee is sword and board or 2 handed weapon fighting.

What is wrong with Warpriest melee skills is your opinion?


2 people marked this as a favorite.

They take too many turns to get going, deal less damage than other classes in their role such as Rangers, Barbarians, Bloodragers, Sacred Fist Warpriests, Archery Warpriests, Divine Commander Lance Warpriests, Inquisitors, Hunters, Brawlers, Magus, Skalds, or even some melee Alchemists.

If that Warpriest is running traditional melee then it's highly understandable that he's falling behind a Rogue that hits with more than 1 sneak attack a turn.

Archery, Lance charges, and Sacred Fist all do better because they circumvent the 3/4th BAB weaknesses through various means.

Lance Charges hit like 3 attacks at level 6.
Archery just needs Multishot and Rapid Shot to do gross damage.
Sacred Fist has Flurry of Blows for Full BAB.


I'm gonna be honest, I'm pretty sure my Warpriest here (even before he gets Vital Strike!) still does better than most equal-level Rogues. He hits much more consistently (admittedly only getting one hit a round, but getting to roll that hit twice) with much better to-hit and damage due to using a Greatsword with Fate's Favored Divine Fury. And he doesn't rely on anybody else for his damage, nor does he take long to get going (Round 1 - Fervor Divine Favor, move, attack). Obviously other buffs help him, but he doesn't need them. He gets all the same to-hit bonuses as the Rogue (flanking is really the only one the Rogue gets) and then his own, on top of that, and he isn't relegated to relying on the yucky TWF feats (which requires a Dex focus and even further feat investment).


In the scenario that's been given by the OP this Rogue is hitting very often, and if a Rogue hits with Sneak attacks often they can do some good damage.

That's a big if, but in this scenario it is happening.

Dark Archive

Sounds like good dice rolls, more than the player having better system mastery, to me. There's really no way to get the most out of a Rogue that doesn't boil down to "have good magic items and buffs, get flanks".

It also sounds like the problem was that it wasn't "party vs. boss and minions", but rather "party vs. minions THEN party vs. boss". And if that was the case, I bet the Rogue wasn't too impressive when the Arcanist and Warpriest were melting minions left and right.


I don't know you, I don't know your group, so I'm going to have to drop some wider-range advice here.

First: DPR olympics in game is bad. Unless you're group is good with competition or the gang is into White Wolf-style internal strife for fun and profit (up to and including backstabbing, turning evil, and selling fellows out to dark forces for shiny powers) then it's asking for trouble. The game's cooperative.

Second: Arcanist needs to read the first half of the wizard guide. The key elements that he seems to be missing are the fact that a good wizard almost never does hit point damage. He's too busy dropping crowd-control, buffs, ability damage, one-way trips to hell, summoned bruisers, ripping out souls, and doing things which technically do damage but do it over time by crushing the enemy in despair at the bottom of an oubliette from which the enemy has no hope of escape.

Third: if he just HAS to have an entry in the boom-boom hit-stuff-hard tournament challenge, he should retrain to beat SR either with spell penetration stuff (feats, magic items) or with Conjuration spells and other "no SR" spells and tricks.

As for Warpriest, every time I dip my toes in it I find it severely lacking in interesting abilities or exploitable mechanics. Can't help ya.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

This story must be from the Bizzaro universe, or the verseuni.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Clearly the Arcanist is entitled to being better than the Rogue.

Chaco Rockhammer wrote:
I'll see what I can do about sheets. As for house rules, I don't have much. I did give them companions and the arcanist did something fancy with magical item crafting. Basically it's a multiclass character who can make magic items cheaper.

It sounds like he spent his beefed-up WBL poorly.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I find that when somebody is significantly outdoing the others at the table it's usually not a matter of who built what, it's because one player is significantly more skilled than the others.

I'd bet that if you took a veteran player and asked them to build a rogue, and then handed the most optimized wizard ever to a newbie, the experienced player would still outplay them.

Usually when I have one player who's a lot stronger than the others, I ask the strong one to scale it back a bit. Try something creative with a tough build, deliberately make a few poor decisions (in build and in play) in the name of RP, and letting the others keep up. If possible, challenge your skilled player to make the best support character they can manage (One campaign's worth of my most-skilled player running support for the others and most of the others caught up significantly).

Ultimately, things tend to work better if everyone is trying to cooperate and function roughly on the same level as the rest of the party, which lets the GM put out encounters that are appropriate for everyone. Trying to out-damage each other is rarely a good mindset to have.


9 people marked this as a favorite.
Gluttony wrote:
Usually when I have one player who's a lot stronger than the others, I ask the strong one to scale it back a bit. Try something creative with a tough build, deliberately make a few poor decisions

Uh, this person played a Rogue. How much tougher/how many more poor choices do you want them to make? Vivisectionists, Slayers, Investigators, and Bards exist!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

What are the Arcanist and Warpriest doing in combat?

What is the Rogue doing?


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Wait, did the arcanist multiclass??

Doesn't he know the first rule of full casters is "never give up caster levels"?

edit: or maybe I read that wrong, is it his companion who is multiclassed?


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Troll thread?
Bizzaro thread?
Bizzaro universe?
Opposite day?

What is this?

If the rogue outshines anyone the differences in system mastery are bigger than having 3 more or less levels than the other PC's.

The warpriest should do significantly more damage.

I've got an idea of what happened. Did it go something like this.

X Stood still during flanking.

The rogue got a full TWF attack out and hit every swing for massive sneak attack.

The Warpriest wields a basic greatsword and power attacks but has basically no damage gimmicks and as such has abominable damage at level 15.

The arcanist casts fireball and the like. Tell him to try casting haste, stinking cloud, black tentacles, dominate person, exct.


As has been repeated...well...repeatedly...the guy playing the Arcanist is in the wrong class if what he wants to do is damage.

Show him Treantmonk's Guide to Wizards. Arcanists are close enough that he'll get the gist of it.

If he absolutely insists on being a damage-dealing-caster, there's also that flippin' sweet guide to the Blockbuster Wizard, though without admixture the arcanist is going to be severely lacking in his ability to consistently smack targets that are immune to stuff.

Grand Lodge

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

All I can say is, "Go rogue!"

I like it when underdogs shine.

:)

Hmm


mplindustries wrote:
Gluttony wrote:
Usually when I have one player who's a lot stronger than the others, I ask the strong one to scale it back a bit. Try something creative with a tough build, deliberately make a few poor decisions
Uh, this person played a Rogue. How much tougher/how many more poor choices do you want them to make? Vivisectionists, Slayers, Investigators, and Bards exist!

Sounds like the rogue's player is going all-out and has experience with handling rogues as well as they can be handled. If the other players were all at the same skill level, then fine, the rogue's probably not going to compare to the other classes, but there's clearly a difference in skill here. Just 'rogue' alone isn't a death sentence for the character, as is clear in this situation. The difference between these players is greater than the difference between the rogue and other classes. The skilled player doesn't need to be using their best rogue in this group.

...Which is why I listed a second option: encourage the skilled player to play a support role for the less-skilled players, and help them learn. They'll learn the game and catch up to the skilled player much faster if they have someone providing them with the support necessary to be awesome and get real experience with the game, and they'll have fun doing it.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

from what the OP said the rogue, only plays rogues. I doubt they spring for the support character option.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber

disintegrate?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

My GM usually just has me help out the players I tend to outshine in our group. You know, give build advice, help design a character out of their concept, etc.

Asking the player who knows what he's doing to suck more isn't the solution. Teaching the player who doesn't how to suck less is.

Shadow Lodge

Wait wat. The Arcanist, they guy who can summon rogues and empowered maximized fireballs, feel outshined by a Rogue?! WAT! really?.

If he wants to do damage, then you should tell him he should prepare /learn much more evocation spells and for gods sake use metamixing and tell him to stop beign a child.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
ElementalXX wrote:

Wait, what? The arcanist, the guy who can summon rogues and empowered maximized fireballs, feels out-shined by a rogue?! What!? Really!?

If he wants to do damage, then you should tell him he should prepare /learn much more evocation spells and for gods sake use metamixing and tell him to stop being a child.

First, there is no need to be insulting.

Second, how does a 10th-level caster cast empowered maximized fireball spells (which require an 8th-level spell slot) when they only have access to 5th-level spell slots by default?

Third, even if the player in question has enough system mastery to cast empower maximized fireballs at 10th-level, how does that help him defeat energy resistances and spell resistance (which sound to have been the real problem in this particular encounter)?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

"I wanna be da boom wizard!" Is a legitimate form of play, and arcanist is a decent way to get there. So the question is, "how?"

The other, zeroth question is, "why?" Wanting to be the best at burst damage and wanting to be better than all the others at all things and all times are some very different wants. One can allow for things like lousy rolls, varied enemy types, and occasionally just letting other dogs have their days. The other has trouble playing just about any game for long.

1 to 50 of 117 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Advice / Help! Inequality in the Group: Players outshining others during play. All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.