Who the hell throws a fire storm at a 5th-level party?


Kingmaker

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WARNING: Kingmaker spoilers:

So we just encountered a hag coven in the forest consisting on sea hag, one blood hag, and a third hag of unknown type that we suspected of hiding in a tree.

They had SIX bloody skeleton trolls. Luckily, we knew about them in advance and came prepared with command undead. In the surprise round and in the first two rounds, we had half of them under our control and grappling the other half.

Then the hags appeared. Opening salvo of freaking fire storm. FIRE STORM! An eighth-level spell! Against 5th-level characters!

Insofar as I can tell, they can do this again and again.

Instant TPK quality material that. What the hell were the writers thinking?

The Exchange

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Which part of Kingmaker are y'all playing through. From what I've read of your other situations, your GM likes to change things up a lot from the printed material (which there is nothing wrong with that) and often throws challenges at your party that are not balanced to your APL.


Yeaaaaaah; having DMed Kingmaker, I can tell you that I don't remember seeing anything like that on any random encounter chart - or written into any of the books (at least not that early on.) Seems to me like your DM added in something extra and y'all got toasted for it.


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Huh? I thought I heard someone else make mention of hags on this forum, so I figured that wasn't the case this time 'round.


Mister Fluffykins wrote:
Yeaaaaaah; having DMed Kingmaker, I can tell you that I don't remember seeing anything like that on any random encounter chart - or written into any of the books (at least not that early on.) Seems to me like your DM added in something extra and y'all got toasted for it.

Exactly that. I DM Kingmaker and three Hags and troll skeletons? No idea...


Spoiler:

I ran Kingmaker and I don't remember any blood hag(CR 8 all by itself), or any hags at all. I also don't remember any blood skeleton trolls. However I will point out a few things.

Hag covens don't even get firestorm, so I dont know how this hag convention got it.

Your GM is the final arbitrater of tactics.

Kingmaker is basically open exploration, and the GM is told that if the players go into the certain areas they could run into much tougher monsters. I told my players then when I ran it, so they would know to turn around if they were in a hex, and something well above their level popped up.

PS: I think your GM made up this encounter, but I will check my books if you want me to confirm if that was a GM made encounter, or if I just don't remember seeing them in a hex


Ravingdork wrote:
Instant TPK quality material

So was it a TPK?


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Yep, looks like you should talk to your GM instead of blaming the writers. :)


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Matthew Downie wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Instant TPK quality material
So was it a TPK?

Blood hags grant their covens fire storm at the expense of other spells it would seem.

It's not yet confirmed to be a TPK. I'm down at -3 and am on fire taking 4d6 damage each round.

The spell did 44 damage (Ref DC 19 half) when the highest HP total in the party is 41 so I think it's a done deal. I don't see a rule anywhere limiting how many times they can do that. Full round action every round means an average of 42 damage every round to the whole party.


Retreat!


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Maybe your GM is sending a message that in a more sandbox campaign, don't assume you can kill everything you come across.


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Or, if the group has optimized characters, it was a serious attempt at challenging them. CR is more an art than hard and fast rule.

From the APs our group has gone through, we really have roflstomped 90% of the encounters and the ones we didn't were usually just made worse because of party composition being horrible for a rough encounter. Party composition and system mastery make a horrible mess of premade adventures.

Not saying whatever happened is right, just saying all we have is a complaint on what happened from one person/view point.


I don't think they assumed anything. They scouted an encounter, prepared for it properly, and then got 8th level spells dropped on their 5th level heads.

I've also seen contextual evidence that RD's games can be pretty far off the beaten path, but this seems out of scope even for his group. They didn't really have a shot if these hags dish out that kind of damage, even just once a day.


Assuming you guys are in the correct area for your level that hag is not supposed to be there. I even checked the next book and they are not in that book either, and that includes the random encounters for both books.


Yeah... not sure what the GM was thinking here. Even with nothing else at all in the encounter, a single casting of firestorm @ CL 15 could potentially kill any level 5 party not ready for it.

Sounds to me like the Gm screwed up by the numbers, unless there were some major hints to back off and run.

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That encounter has nothing to do with KM and everything to do with your GM.


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Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:
That encounter has nothing to do with KM and everything to do with your GM.

Did the Hags yell an ultimatum like "Your GP or your HP!"?


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Glutton wrote:
Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:
That encounter has nothing to do with KM and everything to do with your GM.
Did the Hags yell an ultimatum like "Your GP or your HP!"?

Man, that is so lame.


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Zova Lex wrote:
Glutton wrote:
Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:
That encounter has nothing to do with KM and everything to do with your GM.
Did the Hags yell an ultimatum like "Your GP or your HP!"?
Man, that is so lame.

Firestorms siphon love straight outta the universe. Divorce rates jump everytime they're cast.


Holy cow.

You've definitely got a problem if the GM is throwing spells at you that are the same level as you. Even worse, in that level 5 PCs are dealing with a level 7-8 spell (repeatedly, ugh). Should be the other way around.

Reminds me of one game I played in where one of the minions of the BBEG was a couple of Wights. The only problem was that we were first level.


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Yeah, that encounter isn't anywhere in Kingmaker. Also, way above your pay grade.


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I'm guessing this DM is just trying to get out of playing with RavingDork....


A blood hag by itself should be able to tpk a 5th level party if they don't have protection from energy up. At will scorching rays that do 12d6 damage each round with +18 touch attacks. Adding a whole coven on top of that plus bloody skeletons is ridiculous.

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your DM is a dick... or dickish... or he consumed something before the game...


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Browman wrote:
Maybe your GM is sending a message that in a more sandbox campaign, don't assume you can kill everything you come across.

Between the lich before this, the marut before that, the adult green dragon before those, and the endless army of invisible fast-flying wisps, I think the message is more like "you're ants that can't hope to ever kill anything."

Glutton wrote:
Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:
That encounter has nothing to do with KM and everything to do with your GM.
Did the Hags yell an ultimatum like "Your GP or your HP!"?

Nope.

Dexion1619 wrote:

Yeah... not sure what the GM was thinking here. Even with nothing else at all in the encounter, a single casting of firestorm @ CL 15 could potentially kill any level 5 party not ready for it.

Sounds to me like the Gm screwed up by the numbers, unless there were some major hints to back off and run.

Not a one. We knew about the bloody skeletons (that's why we were there, to investigate them), but then a mysterious hut they appeared to be guarding disappeared (it was an illusion) and there were two hags in a tree. Best we can figure, the third had either was hiding in, or actually was the tree. The two we could see touched the tree together before casting fire storm.

Skylancer4 wrote:
Or, if the group has optimized characters, it was a serious attempt at challenging them. CR is more an art than hard and fast rule.

I have one or two high level items thanks to good use of the downtime and crafting rules, but other than that we're all fairly under-equipped/non-optimized I think.


Definitely a GM generated encounter


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This is all due to a tragic, tragic miscasting of Detect Marshmallow.


Reminds me of the DM that caused a TPK with a full power Lightning Bolt trap in a long 5ft wide corridor... full of 2nd-3rd lv characters. He was somehow surprised that this killed everybody.

I never played in his game. Too many red flags. After that, I was glad to have trusted my instincts.


Uh, aren't bloodhags a Bestiary 4 enemy?

There aren't any Bloodhags in the Stolen Lands, at least by Kingmaker's random encounter charts.

Witchfires also add firestorm to the coven spell list, but I don't think there's any of those in Kingmaker either.

(There are in Carrion Crown and Reign of Winter. But not Kingmaker.)

So yeah, don't blame the module writers; your GM just ran something that couldn't be handled.

(though THAT can be a thing. The Kingmaker random encounter tables often contain encounters that are higher ECL than anything in the normal adventures.)

And so to answer your original question: your GM, that's who =P


There seems to be a patron, RD DMs seems like to see their party suffer and probably die.


a coven of hags with a blood hag can cast firestorm, it is brutal. You're lucky the DM wasn't taking advantage of mindblank+invis that a coven of hags can also cast.

Is that too OP? Yeah, a coven of hags for a party of level 5 is way above CR threshold, did you have no warning that there was a coven of hags about?


Blood Hags are in the Bestiary 4, which was published in 2013, three years after Kingmaker.

That said, a hag coven functions at CL 9. Firestorm should only be doing 9d6, which averages 31.5 damage. In order to drop 44 damage, he would need to be rolling 5+ on just about every die.

This sounds ridiculous all around. Given that you don't know your status, that you can post for several hours without an outcome, I am guessing this is a play by post game? Why not, maybe, try playing at a real table rather than play by post? I have literally never heard of a play by post campaign going well.


Ravingdork wrote:
Then the hags appeared. Opening salvo of freaking fire storm. FIRE STORM! An eighth-level spell! Against 5th-level characters!
Hag coven wrote:
Whenever all three hags of a particular coven are within 10 feet of one another, all three of them can work together to use any of the following spell-like abilities:

To sum up:

- The blood hags were not written yet when kingmaker came out.
- The roll must have been really high for 44 damage
- the three hags would have to have been within 10ft of each others. Possible even with one hiding in the trees.
- Even a single blood hag would be an encounter fitting for your level (not an easy one). Adding not only burning troll skeletons but two other hags as well is overkill. More so as blood hags give their fire immunity and SR to other hags in the coven close enough to her.

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Ravingdork wrote:
Between the lich before this, the marut before that, the adult green dragon before those, and the endless army of invisible fast-flying wisps, I think the message is more like "you're ants that can't hope to ever kill anything."

Now I begin to understand why you've commented about having trouble beating APs before. Criminy.

I've played through the first two adventures of Kingmaker, and while I can't guarantee that our group found all the encounters, I can say

Spoiler:
The only thing from your list there that should have existed is the wisps. There is a forest drake, but it's not a full green dragon. There is one NPC that I suppose could be a lich but we made friends with it so I'm not sure.

But the army of invisible wisps is certainly in the AP.


What? A lich is a base CR of 12, and even if it's Vordakai the Cyclops lich you encounter later, he's a CR 12 without phylactery. An adult green dragon is also CR 12.

1) How many PCs do you have?
2) How were they created? Is it standard 20 point buy, higher point buy, rolled stats?
3)The encounter tables in Kingmaker do skew higher then the normal tables due to the nature of the game (trolls on the level 1-4 chart), but any GM should look at the random encounter table and if they get one that is beyond the party, it should go out the door. An adult green dragon is a challenge for even 8th level optimized characters.
4) Will o the wisps are a pain in the but for most people. That area is designed as a no go zone for PCs until they can get enough kingdom stuff online to go clear them out.
5) A marut? Even a group of mystic 5th level PCs would have problems with a marut. Unless you had 12 5th level PCs equipped with chaotically aligned weapons that could blitz him before he unleashes his chain lightning and turns you into ash, that ain't going to happen.

6) You really, really, really need to bring this to the attention of the other players and the DM/GM. The GM is either really inexperienced, on a power trip, or likes to see you suffer, and none of those are good things to keep a game going.

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stormcrow27 wrote:
4) Will o the wisps are a pain in the but for most people. That area is designed as a no go zone for PCs until they can get enough kingdom stuff online to go clear them out.

They're the one time that I use Feint without Improved Feint. Though even that is DC22.

Lantern Lodge

Hummm... this is Kingmaker right? Kingmaker has like 4 huge hex maps to explore...

Could you have been walking into a part of the map that is meant for higher level play?

Hence the blood hags are like level wall? Something meant to keep you away from that part of the map, till you are of a higher level?


stormcrow27 wrote:

What? A lich is a base CR of 12, and even if it's Vordakai the Cyclops lich you encounter later, he's a CR 12 without phylactery. An adult green dragon is also CR 12.

The Lich template is CR = Base Creature + 2 in PF.

The default Lich entry in the MMI just happens to be a Necromancer 11 on top of being a lich.

Edit: Bleh, nevermind. I missed the phylactery creation requirements of caster level 11. Well, if you circumvent those rules then you could have little kobold sorcerer lich(es) running around, which would be awesome.


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Still not as insane as fighting a blue dragon at level 1 in Rise of Tiamat. 5th Edition you so craaaazy.


Secane wrote:

Hummm... this is Kingmaker right? Kingmaker has like 4 huge hex maps to explore...

Could you have been walking into a part of the map that is meant for higher level play?

Hence the blood hags are like level wall? Something meant to keep you away from that part of the map, till you are of a higher level?

No. If there were a GM planted level wall the other monsters that were above party APL would not have been fought. I think the GM is just having fun with the party, but I don't think the party is enjoying it.


I believe there's a grand total of 1 hag in the entire Kingmaker AP, and she's in one of the later chapters. There are a lot of mentions of the hag god Gyronna, though.

In addition to the requirement that all the hags be within 10' of each other, they also all have to use a full-round action to cast a coven spell. So you'd have a lot of opportunities to disrupt at least one of them, probably. Assuming that the PCs recognized what was going on.

My PCs are 6th level and in RRR, and I've created a hag coven allied with the trolls, but I would never use a blood hag at these levels. My coven is a green, an annis, and a river/sea hag.


mplindustries wrote:

Blood Hags are in the Bestiary 4, which was published in 2013, three years after Kingmaker.

That said, a hag coven functions at CL 9. Firestorm should only be doing 9d6, which averages 31.5 damage. In order to drop 44 damage, he would need to be rolling 5+ on just about every die.

This sounds ridiculous all around. Given that you don't know your status, that you can post for several hours without an outcome, I am guessing this is a play by post game? Why not, maybe, try playing at a real table rather than play by post? I have literally never heard of a play by post campaign going well.

Actually, in this instance the coven is functioning at least at CL 12 do to this part of the Green Hag entry:

"All coven spell-like abilities function at CL 9th (or at the highest CL available to the most powerful hag in the coven). "

Either way, it was a bit over the top.


I said I was sorry. I didn't realize how powerful fire storm was. i just set up a coven of hags that seemed to be the right level of CR then when the fight started used the blood hags ability give the coven fire storm. I thought that having 6 undead trolls that the party knew about ahead of time would help them out and it did! They took them over with out much fuss. Every fight before this has been ended by the enemy being blinded almost immediately so I wanted to do a coven so a single save or suck couldn't beat it.

Every time I've fought a coven as a player I took them down easy and I was only level 3 then. At least when you come back you will likely have protection from fire up.

There was warning that it was coven of hags with blood hag. How else do you think they were spamming nightmares at you?

The lich is not showing up this the later. I wanted the to foreshadow him a bit. The marut seemed like a good way to do that since a lich as old as him should have a marut after him. The green dragon was just so I could have someone unpleasant that you have to negotiate with and you have come up with some fairly good plans for dealing with her.


So you scouted and new that there were bloody troll skeletons. Did you just assume that they had arisen spontaneously, or did you not care that there must be at least 1 12th level caster to create such things?

Basically you knew, or should have known, that this was likely a foe that was beyond you and you charged in anyway, presumably because you were sure that no GM would throw an encounter that you couldn't handle at you and you got your ass kicked.

Sounds like you got what you deserved.

While this particular encounter is not part of kingmaker, there are times in the path when a random encounter is more than what the party can handle if they just choose confrontation. As long as the PCs have a chance to avoid this sort of fight (which you pretty clearly did) that is totally fair and even beneficial to the atmosphere of exploring an unknown and dangerous wilderness. The GM shouldn't always protect you from every encountering anything that can beat you.


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GM tried to add something custom and it backfired. Mistakes happen.

Let's not pile on a guy for deviating from the script. That's not exactly bad policy.


And here I thought our GM was harsh when she threw a couple of 15th level casters at our level 9 party. :P

@Mythic Evil Lincoln: Generally, I would agree with you. Certainly I've screwed up an encounter or three in my career. The problem here is that there seems to be a pretty steady pattern in this campaign. Of all the foes referenced, only the wisps are actually in the AP and everything sounds extremely over leveled for the party. Once or twice is one thing, but when it happens routinely there is likely a problem, or we are not getting the whole story.

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My level 7 5th edition group (my dwarf cleric of life, elf arcane trickster archer, human hunter ranger archer, human diviner blaster, and human eldritch knight) just fought a coven of hags, 5 ogres, 5 ogre fighters, a stone giant, and a rune giant necromancer--all while we were trying to rest. It was brutal, it was tense, but we survived. Hags can be tough because they're pretty tanky, but also spell chuckers with lots of big tough allies.

It looks like the GM put out some clues, and then over-challenged the party. That can happen, and it can be fun and exciting. Hopefully the GM also occasionally throws some easier than average encounters at the PCs.


Powergaming DM wrote:

I said I was sorry. I didn't realize how powerful fire storm was. i just set up a coven of hags that seemed to be the right level of CR then when the fight started used the blood hags ability give the coven fire storm. I thought that having 6 undead trolls that the party knew about ahead of time would help them out and it did! They took them over with out much fuss. Every fight before this has been ended by the enemy being blinded almost immediately so I wanted to do a coven so a single save or suck couldn't beat it.

Every time I've fought a coven as a player I took them down easy and I was only level 3 then. At least when you come back you will likely have protection from fire up.

There was warning that it was coven of hags with blood hag. How else do you think they were spamming nightmares at you?

The lich is not showing up this the later. I wanted the to foreshadow him a bit. The marut seemed like a good way to do that since a lich as old as him should have a marut after him. The green dragon was just so I could have someone unpleasant that you have to negotiate with and you have come up with some fairly good plans for dealing with her.

There is more than one creature that can send nightmares. Unless they made a knowledge check they really had no way to know.

The right CR? The hag alone was enough to be a boss fight. I don't know how you were taking on a CR 10'ish encounter with a level 3 party, but it is not normal.

PS: I am not scolding you. I am just saying that I think your experiences are not the norm for most people. --->Text does not always come across well.


Dave Justus wrote:

So you scouted and new that there were bloody troll skeletons. Did you just assume that they had arisen spontaneously, or did you not care that there must be at least 1 12th level caster to create such things?

Basically you knew, or should have known, that this was likely a foe that was beyond you and you charged in anyway, presumably because you were sure that no GM would throw an encounter that you couldn't handle at you and you got your ass kicked.

Sounds like you got what you deserved.

While this particular encounter is not part of kingmaker, there are times in the path when a random encounter is more than what the party can handle if they just choose confrontation. As long as the PCs have a chance to avoid this sort of fight (which you pretty clearly did) that is totally fair and even beneficial to the atmosphere of exploring an unknown and dangerous wilderness. The GM shouldn't always protect you from every encountering anything that can beat you.

In Kingmaker you are exploring unknown areas. Those trolls could have been around for centuries. Zombies and skeletons can live(you know what I mean) on long past when their creator has died.

Also whether or not a GM should throw encounter X at a party is dependent upon playstyle and expectations. There is no blanket statement of "it being ok or not ok" that can really apply here.


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Dave Justus wrote:
there must be at least 1 12th level caster to create such things

When meeting an undead creature or golem, I don't normally work out the power level of whoever could have created such a thing and assume that they're about to attack me too. Should I?

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